|Index||7 reviews in total|
I have just watched "Red Skies" and I really liked this pilot. The
story of a special FBI squad has all the usual clichés of a martial
arts police movie, but it really works. Vivian Wu is excellent in the
role of a Shangai Military Police Colonel chasing a criminal in the
United States of America, and the screenplay gives great lines to the
lead cast. Of course "Red Skies" is not a masterpiece, but it is an
excellent entertainment and I really liked it. I am not sure whether
this pilot became a TV Series, but it might be a great show with such
nice characters. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Céus Vermelhos" ("Red Skies")
I intended to write a full critique of this but found someone had beaten
to the draw. I agree entirely with the long essay describing
characterisation, et al. I would just add that the only reason I logged in
to comment was the subtle (and not so subtle) humour amongst the
lifted this above the normal drear cop pilot shows we see from the
I would enjoy a series based on this: a strong start with a good cast.
The movie which I found very fast moving and entertaining would make a great series. The cast quickly found a chemistry that really proved to make this a first rate action movie. The way the movie ended seem to leave it open for continuation. Any one who likes action movies should really enjoy this one. It is the kind of movie you could watch more than once.
Enjoyed movie a lot. Great action scenes. Good enter action between actors. Nice fluid movement. The scene where Cross is interviewing the immigration agent was great, he told him straight up that the FBI was a beast looking for blood and if he did not give up some one then the bureau would consume him. Great lines.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Red Skies, while the title may not tell much about what it really has to
with, should be a guideline for the entertaining, action/drama. Lately,
it's hard to find many good shows that have both action, and performances
actors worth watching. You either watch one of the countless cop shows on
network and cable TV, retreading the same ideas again and again, or you
decide you want to see some action: the only programs available are either
on, or are only worthy to be on, Saturday afternoon programming. And as
entertaining as those shows can be, I've never seen one that would give
Emmy's a reason to blink when sweeping them off the ballot. And yes, this
movie was not an oscar candidate, but it also wasn't really a movie. It
a pilot for an upcoming television series (that is, if this pilot scores).
So, comparing it to the other pilots out there, this movie definitely gets
So, now that I've sung about how good this movie is, I ought to start explaining why outside a few criptic remarks.
First off is the action and choreography. This was very much like watch a Woo picture. The guns fit seemlessly into the martial arts world, and the martial arts was pulled off in a way definitely not tacky. I've seen worse in big budget flicks as of late. The actors fit very well into the roles of these people who have different ways of fighting. Shawn Christiansen (main character Agent Cross) who's 180 pounds at least, doesn't fight like a 90 pound limber boy. He fights like a man with martial arts skills. And his partners each have their own deals. Vivian Wu, as Li, of course is the most graceful in the martial arts arena, since she's the "tough as nails asian cop" and martial arts perfection is a requirement there. Kadeem Hardison, Cross's partner from the start Agent Riley, is a shooter, more comfortable with the gun than the fist to fist. And Agent Nicole, done excellently by Rachel Crawford, plays the rookie who is far from sure about herself when it comes to fighting, and about goes into shock when she shoots someone for the first time. This all is so well done not only to make interesting fight scenes, without the monotonous "fire bang kick kick" that many action shows have, but character growth and exploration while battling. Not many pilots can claim that, for sure.
And the best point, which I've already gone over by talking about the fights, is the characters and their interaction. Agent Cross is not someone who loves to do things by the book, but he is the responsible, authority figure of the team. He interacts and creates fusion between the members, and looks damn attractive while doing it. His partner, Agent Riley, is a man who has seen plenty and has no illusions about everything around him. He's getting his guns ready, knowing they might not be enough to save him one day, but he'll deal with that when it comes. And Agent Nicole, and brand new rookie. She's fresh out of the academy, like a kid to be babysat in Riley's mind, and in her own too. She's great with the detail work, and very insecure. She never expected anything but a whole lot of desk work. Cross explains to her in a beautifully done scene (I'm paraphrasing) "The cold war is over. We used to always win because we had more numbers. But it's not the same now. Our enemies use terrorist tactics, and the clean little lines aren't there any more." And obviously, she's not ready for those lines to dissappear. But she grows comfortable as the pilot progresses, leaving you waiting to see how else she can influence the newly formed team. And finally, there is Li. She's a chinese Colonel and the military police. She is the enemy to the people she came to america with, huddled in the back of a truck for a month. She convinced her partner to come with her to America to track a druglord, and that lead to his death. Now she's got a vengeance to take out, and a guilty conscience. All this while still chasing the drug lord, and having culture clashes with the american FBI agents she must work with.
All in all, this forms together for what could be a perfect new series. I personally am just crossing my fingers to see this made into a television series on the USA network. This seems like a great addition to Alias and... well, I can't think of anything else in that same league for it to join, just a whole list of cop shows recycling the same theme and plot every other episode, despite the new "circumstances" each episode brings. Anyway, I digress. This pilot was very well done, and left me (and others) wanting much more. Please deliver, USA.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Apparently this was the pilot meant to launch a new TV series back in 2002 (biggest tell (SPOILER): they don't even capture - or kill - the main villain!), but the series never came to be. It's a bit of a shame: this is not a great pilot per se, but you can see the potential for an enjoyable weekly series. The characters are fairly stereotypical, but also fairly engaging, and most importantly, they click as a team. It might have been interesting to see Shawn Christian's "dark side" explored more in further episodes. Vivian Wu seems very comfortable in the action genre, but the show is stolen by that blonde bad girl who has a dominatrix thing going on; ironically enough, the actress who plays her, Pauley Perette, joined another TV series the next year - "Navy NCIS" - which had quite a different fate: it's still running! My biggest complaint has to do with the too-loud rock songs that play over some of the action scenes. Otherwise, not a bad way to spend 75 minutes. **1/2 out of 4.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Schwarzenegger had done a film about the Russian police arriving in New
York running after some Georgian Mafiosi, under the title of Red Heat.
But that is passé now. It was in 1988 before the end of the Cold War.
So now we invent something even better. Some police officer from
Beijing arrives running after some Mafioso from Shanghai and has to
cooperate with the local FBI. Last twist in the game: that Chinese
police officer is a woman. Apart from that the film has no depth at
all. Corruption in the immigration services. Obsession of the FBI about
legality and procedural purity, if not virginity, forgetting that he
who is obsessed about his virginity ends up in the can, all his marbles
out spilled on the floor and his eyes crushed under a power roller
under the disguise of a bulldozer. And one lullaby please for the
virgin mind to doze off nicely without any nightmares. If you like
corrupt people, good old quick and effective cops, some nice action and
kung fu choreography, get it and enjoy. You can be sure you will not
get a sprained neuron or two on that highly un-intellectual exercise.
At last something simple that both prevent you from sleeping with its
action and shouting, and that does not strain or stress you mind in our
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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