10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
An advert perhaps but one done with style, comedy and a large budget
bob the moo from United Kingdom
21 February 2011
LA Lakers star player Kobe Bryant has been nicknamed "The Black Mamba"
as, when he plays he strikes fast and is deadly. Looking to expand on
the branding, Bryant takes a meeting with director Robert Rodriguez to
discuss a project he proposes to do just that an action movie with
Bryant in the lead role, wherein various villains are after The Black
Mamba to take away his shoes.
It is hard not to watch this "film" as an advert since it is
essentially a Nike commercial with their current star endorser being
shown off wearing their trainers and a shed-load of money being spent
doing it. That said, despite using the shoes as a plot device (and
making sure they are regularly in shot) the short film is actually a
pretty fun little Robert Rodriguez piece, as it is in his style with
all the faces that you would expect to turn up in one of his films. So
what we get is a very stylised action movie with lots of Sin City style
darkness and design in it but also an awareness that it is perhaps
overblown and daft. So, in essence the film gets to have its cake
(gently mocking the style) and eat it (embracing the very thing it is
slightly mocking). It is a good approach because it produces some good
gags (particularly relating to casting and who Rodriguez would get in
reality) but also allows the money to be up there on screen in regards
the look, the feel and the special effects.
The film within a film is very Rodriguez stylish, contains the cast
he would have and has overblown basketball action it works well for
what it is but it is greatly helped by the contrast with the "real"
scenes of the pitch meeting between Bryant and Rodriguez. These are
where a lot of the jokes are set up and the two men are good with one
another. Bryant surprised me in these bits; I already knew he can do
the posturing and the dramatic poses that the action stuff required but
he made the "real" parts work thanks to how natural and charismatic he
came off doing those. Likewise Rodriguez's passionate pitch gave the
film energy. Credit to Willis and West for their parts, while Trejo
(although not given the best character) is a good sport in
acknowledging that he is a frequent bit player in such films.
Ultimately this is a commercial venture designed to sell Kobe and, more
specifically, sell Kobe wearing Nike trainers, but this is not to say
that this is all it does I mean, it is certainly not an advert in the
30 second "hi, my name's Kobe Bryant, you may recognise me from etc
etc" variety. Put together with style and budget, the short is run
through with a sense of fun that allows the viewer to laugh at what
they are seeing while also enjoy it for the same qualities. Not quite
as funny nor as clever as I would have liked though and it is hard to
shake the feeling of a star-driven sales pitch rather than enjoy it as
a short film in its own right, but it is still good enough to check out
and at least it deserves credit for being an advert I enjoyed watching.
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