Posts tagged ‘Action’

Blindspot

Y’know … when your show’s conceit is that Lady Sif has been found naked and covered in tattoos in Times Square, then I want to be able to see Lady Sif naked.

But no.  This is NBC.  Broadcast channels don’t play that game.

The rest of the show?  Yawn.  Boring.  Clues from the tattoos feel manufactured rather than coming naturally out of real investigations.  Sigh.  Jaimie Alexander wasted.  And nowhere near naked enough.

Mission: Impossible III

My boys have never seen the Mission: Impossible films, so we are slowly working our way through all of them prior to seeing Rogue Nation. I saw the first two in the cinema way back when and my daughter swears up and down that I also saw Mission: Impossible III. Um, nope. I would’ve remembered it based on the beautifully tense pre-credits sequence alone.

Wow. Awesome. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a wonderfully insidious son of a bitch, the exact level of baddie that was missing from the first two films. The first film got a little too caught up in confusing people with convoluted pseudo-espionage, and as much as I love John Woo the second film focused a little too heavily on overly stylized action set pieces. J. J. Abrams caught the perfect combination of both in this film. Normally I despise flashback-based storytelling and hand-held shakycams, but both worked extremely well here. And the cinematography in this film was gorgeous.

Now I’m really looking forward to finally seeing Ghost Protocol.

John Wick

Normally I would say “Wow!” here, but considering the star I think it’s more appropriate for me to say “Whoa!”

This is a fine example of how pure unmitigated vengeance can become a thing of beauty.

All cylinders are firing on target here.  Awesome cinematography, awesome stuntwork, great characterizations and a flashback format of storytelling that for once does not annoy me.  And like High Moon, I absolutely love how they did the subtitles for when the characters were speaking Russian.

My only complaint is that I have absolutely no memory of this film hitting the cinemas.  I wish I had known about it when it was first released last year, cuz I really would’ve loved to have seen it on the big screen.

 

The Raid 2: Berandal

Wow.  What an experience.

I’m not quite as shellshocked after this as I was after watching The Raid: Redemption, but this was still a beautifully brutal experience.

I do have to say that I think the original was better.  The Raid 2: Berandal was amazing, intense, and had some mind-boggling choreography – both for the fight scenes and the car chase – but the original The Raid: Redemption maintained a relatively consistent level of intensity/action/brutality throughout, whereas this film had more of a tendency to ebb and flow.  So in one respect I’m disappointed, but in another I’m still flabbergasted.  For example, please don’t ever explain how they did the shot where the camera is outside the car, goes in one broken window, goes all of the way through the car, and goes out another broken window IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLEEDIN’ CAR CHASE!

That’s a particular piece of filmmaking magick that I don’t ever want spoiled.

 

Unstoppable (2010)

This film gave me a migraine.  I’m very glad I saw it on the small screen, not the big one.

I usually like Tony Scott’s films.  He doesn’t make great films, but they’re usually flashy enough to be fun to watch, and I can usually appreciate his intriguing choice of camera angles if I can’t appreciate the missing character development or the abysmal dialogue.  Knowing what I was in for, I took a healthy dose of aspirin before we popped in the DVD.  It helped a little, but not enough.

With Unstoppable, my interest in Scott’s fluidly spiraling camera movements only lasted an hour.  After that, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh get on with it.”

I never saw any trailers for the film.  Never really paid attention to any synopses.  All I knew about the film ahead of time was that it was directed by Tony Scott and starred Denzel Washington.  And Chris Pine, my daughter kept reminding us.  And it’s about some sort of runaway train.  So … safe assumption then that every attempt to stop said train will fail until Washington & Pine figure out a way to catch up to it.  Yep.  Which in turn makes potentially exciting set pieces boring because we know how they’re going to turn out, which ends up with me thinking to myself, “Oh get on with it” that much more.

I honestly could not care less about Pine’s character’s domestic problems.  It was all totally irrelevant, seemingly stuffed into the script as some sort of half-assed attempt at character development.  Maybe it would make a difference if his wife and son were actually developed as characters … but no.  Oh get on with it.

And every time I was almost getting caught up in the story, we jumped to fake Fox news coverage of the impending disaster, which ripped me right out of it again.  Given the exaggerated descriptions of what would happen if the train went kablooey, would reporters and news helicopters actually be that close to the action?  I understand that good reporters will do whatever they can to nail the story, but stoopidly standing or hovering well within skin-melting fireball range (along with scores of police officers and fire fighters)?  They’re frequently close enough to be hit by the passing train long before they’re roasted in the hellacious fireball of doom.  This totally undermined my suspension of disbelief.  They talk about various evacuations … yet the townspeople are all still out there, gawking at Satan’s locomotive of death as it races towards them.  Yep … again, oh get on with it.

I can’t help thinking there must be some kind of fantastically tense R-rated director’s cut out there somewhere, and maybe the studio demanded that Scott cut it down to deliver a PG-13 rating and insert the Fox news bits as blatant marketing of their own network.  It feels like there’s a good 30 minutes or more missing from the film.  This could have been a Hitchcock-level masterpiece of suspense … but no.

I hear Runaway Train is supposed to be good.  I should track that down as a comparison.