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|Index||35 reviews in total|
For an action movie I rate this as 8. I rarely touch 9 or 10, but this
came close to 9. Someone mentioned the "action purity" of the film. He
was right, no useless background stories, not much of a dialog and no
cry-for-me ending. A lot of action, Counter-Strike like, with good
overall strategy (except for the bad guys, but when did the bad guys
ever had good strategy? :) ).
There were some bad parts in this movie: First of all the only "celebrity" actor here is the guy from Taxi, Samy Naceri, and his role is rather small, even if performed well.
Then there is the stupid mass attack of the bad guys, who somehow managed to get a whole army with weapons and unlimited ammo in France, then they decided to kill most of it.
Third and last is the "badness" of the bad guy, who was brought to justice (oh, the cliché) because he raped hundreds of women. Somehow, rape became more atrocious than brutal beatings, then more terrifying than murder and soon it will probably become more evil than terrorism. Come on! Conclusion: a good, fast-paced, adrenaline-rush French flick, worth watching.
The Nest is a good movie but it lacks one thing. A soundtrack. It's rather dull without a soundtrack. Here's a tip. If you are watching it on Netflix or from another online source, open a few ,more tabs in your browser and go to YouTube and open the theme songs to every John Carpenter movie ever made (Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween, Starman, Escape from New York and so on), as well as theme songs from The Warriors and horror movies such as Suspiria or The Excorcist or whatever else you can think of and play these theme songs simultaneously while you are watching The Nest. You will find it a much more enjoyable experience.
The Nest has a lot of things going for it. An interesting premise, pretty good acting, intense action, and some really above average cinematography and direction. However I found that I just couldn't get as engaged as I really wanted to in this movie. I think part of the problem was the dialogue, which tended to be a bit comic-bookish. Also the characters, while not totally one-dimensional, don't really add up to anyone you like enough to seriously root for. And I think in a siege movie that's an important element - you have to want the people who are holding out to make it. I wasn't invested enough in any of the characters to care whether they came through the other side. But watching this film isn't a total waste of time either - some of the scenes are really amazingly well done, almost poetic. A mixed bag, but tons of eye candy for true action fans.
The worst with Nid de guêpes is not really the lack of originality.
More than a rehash of Assault on precinct 13 it copies and pastes the
narrative structure of Night of the living dead. But it's pretty well
done with only a few mild and immature scenes. The worst is how they
tried to sell this stuff: the trailer is awful (I only went to see it
for the technical interest of some scenes I heard about) and the
promotional tour failed to arouse people's interest on some good
points. So if you want to play low key with a basic structure which
shan't lead viewers astray and won't appeal to the critics you must
have good marketing men. (Hey! it's always cool when a good director
can blame his failure on the lame marketing men)
OK. Now the true weak points according to me.
1- the converging paths of three different groups of people as a starting point. It kills the suspense about what will come up: almost everyone knows and expects the assault to take place. This delaying dodge is not as compelling as it might have been (Romero and Carpenter stay focused from the start on one single inescapable path).
2- corollary: the care for every guy involved depends too much on the individual story of his group. OK, narrative and visual shortcuts are really efficient but I think it could have been more tense than the dispatching experimented here. The hell with all those damned sentimentalist backstories to plastic-surge characters! it only shows a director's lack of self-confidence to rely on simple images and pure action. The same goes with the assault forces: with a big fat backstory to back their motivation it's yet another plot element written off from the audience's intelligence (imagination, identification, whatever you call it, the McGuffin rules - note to discursive film-fiddlers: maybe you need to start over with The Birds, Duel and Jaws?). Which leads to...
3- narrative space encompassing: the assault death squadron is weakly used. I would point out here the major flaw (originality flaw) since the helmet guys are just as dynamic as George Romero's Zombies. The general rhythm is o.k., that's why it seems not to matter on the whole. But the screenplay (co-writ by Siri's former movie teacher) seems quite pleased with itself once the global thing is set up.
4- if you will kill your heroes try not to care for their background (oh! it's your daughter in the photograph? she's so cute). Cheap tricks never pay off: we only want them to care for their lives here and now! ...
Bottom line: building up from a basic structure is not piece of cake or as some could say 'Movie making for dummies'. But even if you've learnt a lot from the classics you need to be original to go one step further: basically, show the audience you got guts.
-UPDATE (24/1/05)- On second viewing the core problem is definitely about the narrative space encompassing. The point being the warehouse is too vast a building to make the pressure of the assault a permanent one (just compare with the small rooms in Night of the living dead or Assault on p13). Actually there are quite a few moments in the movie when the assault stops and you may wonder why those über-equipped terrorists take so much time trying to get in through the main entrance. That's not so much 'icebox logic' as a real narrative and structural flaw. What with the big warehouse and the three distinct narrative groups inside, Nid de guêpes lacks a sense of claustrophobia, of some outer pressure crushing gradually inwards from every wall.
This is pretty ordinary stuff for those not devoted to brainless action
flicks; a kind of fusion of the ideas behind Assault on Precinct 13
(which was itself a remake of Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo) and the Living
Dead pictures, this French spin on the Hollywood action genre takes too
long to set up its siege scenario and populates itself with colourless
characters with whom the viewer has no chance of identifying, but has
enough enthusiasm and zip to lift it above the more cynical efforts
produced by Hollywood these days..
The action mostly takes place in a warehouse to which an under siege armoured vehicle carrying a Mafia chieftain to trial retreats when it is ambushed by what seems like the entire Albanian chapter of the organisation. As luck would have it, a bunch of crooks are in the middle of stealing a couple of container's worth of laptops when the police arrive, and an uneasy alliance is formed between them as they attempt to prevent the gangsters gaining entry.
Now if I was one of those highly-trained strategic swatty-types with a security guard who knew how to operate a gantry crane at my disposal the first thing I would have done is place a couple of fully-loaded containers in front of each entranceway and sat it out in relative safety. So would you, I imagine. Granted, it wouldn't make much of a movie, but at least you'd have been safe. But of course this is action movie land 'pure' action, apparently, which as far as I can gather means that there is virtually no attempt made to give any of the characters any, well character, and everyone races around firing indiscriminately like a testosterone-charged stag party on a paintball weekend.
It takes nearly forty-five minutes for all the strands to be pulled together into anything approaching a coherent storyline up until then only the scriptwriter knows what is going on but once the real action starts, in the form of enthusiastic gunplay, the film does at least begin to entertain in that mindless sense that draws us to these kind of flicks in the first place. There's nothing very original about any of it although I liked the way the advancing mafia army in their night vision outfits resembled alien invaders, and the prominent and strong roles given to the two women and the plot doesn't stand up under even passing scrutiny, but it's all pulled off with a certain Gallic style by director Florent Emilio Siri, who has since gone on to direct action heavyweight Bruce Willis in The Hostage, and the film is also free of any misplaced sentimentality as it winds its way towards an entirely predictable climax.
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