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Sam J. Jones
Jonathan Ecks, an FBI agent, realizes that he must join with his lifelong enemy, Agent Sever, a rogue DIA agent with whom he is in mortal combat, in order to defeat a common enemy. That enemy has developed a "micro-device" that can be injected into victims in order to kill them at will. Written by
Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment. In a movie like this, the producers don't pay expensive actors to act or to create realistic performances or to use their talents to win our sympathy. No, they pay these actors for face and name recognition, so when a movie like Ballistic: Banderas vs Liu comes along we don't have the inconvenience of learning about characters and plot. Hell, we don't even have the inconvenience of wondering, "Is this actor hot while all this excitement rushes them by?" Name recognition, baby, it's all marketed by name recognition.
And why should they let actors acting take up precious moments from the rooftop chases, the explosions, the gunfire, and posing like models? Everyone already knows these actors right? No need to develop anything more than flimsy excuses for action/motivation, right? Sarcasm aside - I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I think Ballistic would have been a better, more sophisticated, film if they scrapped the plot and cliché character developments and just went for 90 minutes of uninterrupted Banderas and Liu gunning at each other backdropped by a slow-mo explosions.
This film would have to scale a cliff before reaching the level of plot intricacies and intelligence that just thrive in Michael Bay films.
We get a crappy plot and crappy characterizations anyway just in case we don't have a favorite actor to root for. We get ultra cliché scenarios that anyone who has been to a theatre in the last fifty years will pick up on. Oh no, a child's been kidnapped we're supposed to sympathize with the boy. There's the old (young?) has-been former cop (FBI guy in this movie) who lost his motivation we're supposed to sympathize with him and the loss of his family. And then there's--oh, but wait? What are these plot revelations? What are they pointing towards? Gasp! They're making the already obvious villain even more obvious! Me? I was rooting for the aliens from Independence Day to come down and blow them all up, but the bastards got stuck in traffic.
Somewhere in the movie is a subplot about a nano-assassin, but I cared about that as much as the movie does.
And since we're being honest, I admit this is a great film to watch after a night of provocative and cultured cinema to recalibrate your personal scale to the realities of the industry. Like I explained to the guy at Blockbuster, "I just got a box-set of Hitchcock, been watching those back to back, and the other day I watched De Palma's Femme Fatale. I need something trashy before I become a full-blown film snob." So I walked out with Ballistic and Shark Attack 3, went home, and turned off my mind for a marathon of stock footage and needless gunfire/explosions . . . and all was well.
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