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Contract to Kill (2016)
Pretty good movie.....Don't believe the negativity.
The Plot: Seagal plays ex C.I.A operative john Harmon. His character seems like an off-shoot of Jonathan Cold (more 'The Foreigner' than 'Black Dawn' though) Harmon is lured back into taking out an Islamic terrorist, who is brokering a deal with Mexican Gangsters in Istanbul (?) for safe passage into the U.S. in order to activate (previously planted) 'cells'
As part of a 3 person team, Harmon utilises technology and surveillance to play both fractions off against one another. When given an eleventh hour change in plan by his handlers, Harmon disobeys orders and together with his team, take the fight to the badguys on the night of their meeting.
Action: Despite a rather talky start, the movie moves along at a fairly brisk pace, and is pretty much non-stop carnage, for the final third of the movie. However, the action is rather low-key (so don't go expecting any huge set pieces) what you get is about 2 or 3 explosions, a brief car chase, multiple shoot-outs and about 6 or 7 quick (but brutal) fight scenes for Seagal. The quick cut editing is on display (as per usual) but there's a few longer shots of Seagal dishing out punishment. The doubling is kept to a minimum. He bends a lot of arms (no snaps, sadly) flips a few guys over, kicks a couple, punches most of them, crunches one guys head open with a metal pole (ouch!) and shoots the rest (although, to be fair.....Seagal doesn't actually shoot too many people, preferring to actually fight them.....which may please those sick of the over-reliance on gunplay in previous movies?)
Production Values: For a lower end DTV movie, it looks pretty polished. As previously stated, there's no big set pieces, but the cinematography is crisp, and the locations colourful enough (if sometimes uninspired) The green screen employed in the car chase actually look stylish (for a change) The editing is good (albeit, erratic during certain fight scenes) and the soundtrack has a cinematic feel to it.
Performances: Seagal (as with 'End Of A Gun') is extremely profane throughout this. At one point, whilst giving a briefing to his team, he likens the mess of a mission to (quote) "A monkey trying to fcuk a football" (which not only raised a wry smile from myself....but also to the actual characters he says it to) Seagal isn't as 'quiet' as usual in this movie.....but speaks very slowly. Which is just as well, because most of his dialogue consists of abbreviations for various law enforcement agencies and terrorist groups and other organisations. The first third of the movie is very dialogue heavy....and if you're willing to endure a bit more exposition than usual, there's a pretty good thriller for the remaining hour. The other performers are competent enough (no one embarrasses themselves, I guess?) and Seagal's team also kick a lot of ass also (but not as much as the big guy)
Final thoughts: Whilst not perfect, Contract To Kill is a competent enough thriller. The problem being that it's marketed as an 'Action' movie. If it was sold as a thriller, it would be an action-packed thriller. But sold as an action movie, it probably doesn't have enough "kiss kiss bang bang" for jaded millennial audiences. It's problem might be that (even for a Steven Seagal movie) it's actually (scarily) plausible? Playing like a downscalled 20 minute 'Mission Impossible' segment (with a touch of 'Eye In The Sky' added for good measure) Contract To Kill isn't likely to give THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR sleepless nights, but I do think the recent bad reviews it's received have been rather unjust. It's fairly complex, but not at the expense of 'filler plot & characters' Had the exact same movie starred a bunch of A-listers....I'd wager critics would probably praise it. Unfortunately, critics seem to expect every new Seagal movie (however low the budget) to be 'Under Siege' (and quite frankly those days, not to mention 'budgets' have long gone, I'm afraid) Fans of Seagal would do well, to ignore the negativity of the critics (let's face it, they pretty much slammed all his earlier movies as well) and give this movie a chance. The key to enjoy recent Seagal movies is to like them for what they are (and not for what they aren't)
The Low Down (2000)
A really heart-breaking 'personal' movie that rewards it's viewers
What I love about THE LOW DOWN is the complete lack of narrative (which in turn becomes a narrative) The movie feels hyper real. As previously stated, there seems to be a real sense of lingering menace to the movie (not because of any great impending danger...although there's a few tense moments) I seriously can't find one scene that rings false. The end sequence, as Frank looks up to the aeroplane sent a shiver down my spine (and I can't quite put my finger on it) is it Frank thinking of leaving....Is it Ruby leaving....Is it a metaphor for time passing him by. As the credits roll (and Groove Armada's "At The River" kicks in) we're no wiser as to the future of Frank, primarily, because he isn't either.....and that (to me, anyhow) is the crux of the movie. We all seem to be travelling at different speeds in life, and sometimes we're either going too fast (or slow) for people (Partners, Friends, etc) to stick around.
I think this is an amazing movie. Haters miss the point, when they say stuff like "It's boring" or "Nothing Happens"
I don't expect everyone to like it (like I said it's all about "Different Speeds") but I'd hope at least they understand it? I feel biased towards the movie, because I can identify with the lead character. We're of a similar age, and I pretty much had similar experiences and friendships, during the timespace of the movie (I'm 43 now, and still plodding along, unsure of where I'm heading in life) Although I often find myself looking up at the aeroplanes.
True Justice (2010)
Deadly Crossing (27/12/10) DVD
Another month another Seagal release. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, except that 'Deadly Crossing', is in fact, a two episode compilation of Sensei's latest TV show 'True Justice' (Which although a bit of a con, may either gain interest, or warn off potential viewers) Sadly to say, i don't think it'll gain Seagal any new fans, but the (ever-forgiving) die-hard Seagal buffs, may find something to enjoy here.
Seagal stars as Elijah Kane, head of a Seattle unit of undercover cops, that use 'Unconventional methods' (Tm) to take down various bad guys (usually Russians) from Crimes (usually drug deals) in a variety of 'glitzy' locations (usually strip clubs) The plot (already hard to follow, due to the fact that it's been edited from two 'open-and-shut' episodes to resemble one full case) is strained even further, by not giving Seagal enough screen-time and instead concentrating on secondary characters (who mostly resemble 'Sunset Beach' rejects) Seagal looks in OK shape (we've seen him look heavier) but seems to constantly doubled in any shot that shows him from behind (i'm not entirely sure why this is?) But there's no audio dubbing of his voice. The other actors (as mentioned) seem more like 'models' and 'clothes pegs' rather than characters...but Seagal interacts OK with them.
Now being a TV show (and more importantly not a H.B.O TV show) the profanity and nudity is non-existent The fight scenes (despite the expected 'erratic' shaky-cam) still contain a few 'trademark' Seagal moves, but lack the brutality of recent fare (like Driven To Kill or A Dangerous Man) Some of the more basic stuff looks doubled, yet more of the better moves are Seagal (he even throws a kick or two) but rarely does any scene last longer than a few frames (fights or otherwise) One plus point, is that the production values of this show looks more professional than some of Seagals movies (of late)
The one big annoyance being the whole 'sped-up' and 'Fast Zoom' camera techniques, that punctuate the beginning of nearly every scene (seriously guys....move on, 'Nypd Blue' finished years ago) Any fans expecting this show to be a C.S.I rival, can think again. The plot occasionally has a bit of police procedure and cop-lingo.....but little running time goes into solving the case, other than receiving tip offs, or being at the right time at the right place. Hopefully, this show will have more genuine 'detective' work, if it intends to have a second season.
As a whole, 'Deadly Crossing' should have been released in a £5 price bracket, as it's not a genuine movie, yet is rather misleadingly advertised as one. Casual punters paying full price for a TV show, may resent and unjustifiably overlook any future projects, due to feeling shortchanged with this one. Optimum DVD (who seem to be releasing most of Seagals recent offerings) don't even offer up a trailer (despite a trailer actually existing) and the cover art features 'Helicopters and explosions' (very 'Out For A Kill') despite the fact that none are featured in the movie.
After the (dissapointing) Born To Raise Hell, this release is a misleading misfire, and it's deception/pretension of being perceived as a genuine release, won't win any Seagal new fans (nor help drum up any interest in future stuff) I'd have sooner Seagal knocked out a genuine 'quickie' dtv movie, than to follow up 'Machete' with a TV show (but hey, i guess these decisions are way out of his hands)
Big Lee gives this movie 6 (and a half) out of 10
Born to Raise Hell (2010)
A step back from A DANGEROUS MAN
Just watched BORN TO RAISE HELL, and i've got mixed feelings about it. I won't bore you with the plot (partly because they wasn't much of one, anyhow)
But first off, let me say the cinematography was good. The locations and camera work were crisp, sharp and better than most DTV releases. It could have done with less of the (as VERN calls them) "Avid Fart" technique (of jump-cuts, speed-ed up, slowed down shots)
Seagal was OK (extremely foul-mouthed, i might add) but (and as usual, with these Eastern European releases) he only had about 70% screen time (as the rest was filled up, with either semi-naked female dancers, "Avid Fart" stuff, or other character plots)
The dubbing (as previously mentioned) is rife throughout (not as bad as ATTACK FORCE, but almost near enough) The doubles are also there, in the movies 4 (or so) fight scenes, not particularly noticeable, but for nearly every shot of Seagal fighting, there's another 'Below the neckline' or 'From behind' to match it. And it's all the more infuriating, because Seagal does some fast handy-work, punch kick and flip combos himself, in this movie...so the doubles weren't really needed. The fight scenes also consist of a lot of fast (close-up) edits also.
The plot is (like i previously stated) wafer-thin....which consists of Seagal leading a strike force police unit in Romania...getting the drop on some drug dealers, who rat out an even bigger criminal (not to mention psychopath) to get a lighter sentence. This Psychopath likes to commit 'home invasions' on rich couples, and rapes the wives before killing them both.Then Seagal teams up with another mobster, and they both go after the psychopath.......The end.
Despite the fact, that this is a by-the-numbers Seagal effort (nowhere near as good as A DANGEROUS MAN, URBAN JUSTICE or DRIVEN TO KILL) it does have a few interesting points. The plot (however slim) has parallels to early 70's Italian 'Polizia' movies (in that it shows the Law teaming up with the lesser evils to bring down the greater ones)
And Seagal adds real police procedures to the 'raid' and 'arrest' sequences (probably picked up from his stint as a real life deputy) A mixed bag for sure, but not without interest....but a step back from A DANGEROUS MAN. The one good thing about a less than memorable Seagal movie, is that, when i watch it again (in about 6 months time) i'll barely remember a thing about it (thus, it's like watching a new movie) and chances are, i'll either see something i didn't notice before, or it'll just plain grow on me. Either way, it's far from the turkey it could have been, but could have been better. I suppose it's A DANGEROUS MAN's fault, for being so good
A Dangerous Man (2009)
Fast-paced action movie (spoilt with dubbing issues)
THE PLOT Seagal stars as Shane Daniels, who we first see defending his wife from a car-jacker (within the first minute or so of the movie) and after beating him up a little, Shane gives chase after the crook. Skip forward to the next day, and the car-jacker is found dead (not to mention, brutally mutilated) and Shane (given his 'special forces' history) is imprisoned for the murder. The opening titles kick in, and they're pretty stylish (showing scenes from the movie, to introduce the actors, and giving them a kind of pastel coloured background around them)
Fast forward 6 years, and it seems that Shane's wife can't wait any longer for him, whilst he's still in prison, and writes him one of those 'Dear John' letters. Daniels is now all alone, but the good news is that vital evidence in his appeal, proves that he did not actually murder the car-jacker, and he is released (although, understandably angry)
It seems that whilst this is going on, a gang of Chinese crooks are smuggling immigrants into the U.S, and they take one special refugee aside (more on that later) Anyhow, Daniels now released calls into a liquor store, and is soon back in trouble, when two (foolish) hoods try to rob him. Despite pleading with them to "leave him alone, before he (quote) "f**ks them up ugly" Daniels gives them both a severe and brutal beating, drives off in their car, bottle in hand, and heads to (what he thinks is) a deserted wasteland to remember about his wife (with some quite 'sexy' flashbacks....so prepare to get jealous, girls!) Also driving through this wasteland are two Russian youths, who stop to unload empty beer cans from their van. Suddenly a deputy sheriff in his police-car pulls up another car, and interrogates two Chinese drivers, who are reluctant to say whats in their boot, and promptly shoot the officer dead, and notice the two witness Russian youths. One of the young Russian men is killed, Daniels intervenes killing one of the Chinese criminals, and knocking out the other one. Looking in Chinese car boot, Shane finds a carry-case full of money, and a tied up Chinese girl. Daniels, the girl, and the surviving Russian drive off with the money. The Chinese girl wakes up, and tells Shane that her uncle is an important business man, who has been smuggled into the country by the Chinese gangsters, but (upon realising that he's a VIP) they've double crossed his niece, and are now holding him hostage. Daniels agrees to help her, if her powerful uncle can secure him a visa out of the U.S. The grateful Russian man, also thanks Daniels, and points out that his father is a powerful Russian mob boss, who will gladly help him out (should he need it?) Daniels and the girl, part way with the Russian, but soon realise that there's a 'tracking device' in the bag of money, and Shane finds himself killing more Chinese hoods, intent on retrieving it. The Chinese hoods, are also working with a corrupt U.S cop, who's only one step behind nailing Daniels himself. With the net closing in, Daniels visits the Russian mob boss (who thanks him for saving his son, and swears undying loyalty) but soon the Chinese hoods are blasting the mob bosses mansion, so Daniels, The Girl, the mob boss and his son, take the war to the Chinese, and attack their HQ to rescue the girls uncle.....
THE MOVIE A Dangerous Man is a fast-paced action movie, that even in the non-Seagal scenes moves along at a brisk pace, with rarely a dull moment. The cinematography is crisp, and the camera-work is great. As previously mentioned, the opening titles are really good (and get the viewer pumped up for the next 90 minutes) The film has numerous fight scenes, explosions, profanity....everything a good 'Seagal-movie' should have
SEAGAL Steven gives an OK performance (better than THE KEEPER, on par with DRIVEN TO KILL) He performs most of his fights and dialogue (read more about that later) and still has amazing hand-speed, and his usual 'baddass persona' is present and correct.
FIGHTS As mentioned there's a well spread out series of fight scenes (again, probably on par with DRIVEN TO KILL) and more (basic) 'bang-for-your-buck' action than THE KEEPER
DUBBING Probably the worst aspect of the movie. Seagal is dubbed throughout (although not as bad as KILL SWITCH or ATTACK FORCE) it's all the more infuriating that the dubs are actually the same dialogue that Seagal is wording anyhow (i think the directors should tell him to "speak up" during takes?) I'd say about 20-30% of Seagals dialogue is dubbed
DOUBLES Yes, we tend to know that when you see a shot of Seagal from the back, it's usually a 'double'. This happens quite a lot, and in a few of the fight scenes. But it seems to be SEAGAL doing most of the good stuff.
OVERALL A dangerous Man is another good movie for Steven Seagal (had the dubbing/double issues not arisen....i'd rate it higher) As it is, the casual viewer would probably not notice these gripes, and enjoy it for what it is....a simple-minded fast-paced action thriller. It's nowhere near as good (or as flashy as UNDER SIEGE 2) but for a DTV release it's a pretty good movie. If BORN TO RAISE HELL is 80% as good, i won't consider it a failure, and gladly welcome MACHETE when it hits the big screens.
Big Lee gives this movie a solid 8 out of 10
The Keeper (2009)
Solid DTV effort
Just watched THE KEEPER and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it wasn't 'Out For Justice', but it was a lot better movie, than it's distributors give it credit for (can't believe they printed an earlier draft of the script on the back cover......don't the people at OPTIMUM have proof-readers for these things?)
Anyhow, the story gets straight to the action, with Seagal as Roland Sallinger, a cop with 25 years on the force, teamed up with an over-ambitious (and greedy) partner. After a drug bust, Sallingers partner is Keen to pocket the drug money. Sallinger (a good cop) hates this idea, and is promptly shot by his crooked partner (who then phones it in a gang-shooting)....Only thing is, Sallinger is rushed to the hospital, wounded, but not dead. The crooked partner turns up at the hospital looking for Sallinger, who has a visit prior by a female colleague (and lifts her gun from her handbag, in order to defend himself) As the lady cop leaves the hospital, she realises her gun is gone, and races back to Sallingers ward. The crooked cop tries to suffocate Sallinger with a pillow, and is promptly shot with the gun Roland stole (never take a pillow to a gunfight, i say!)
Much time passes, and we witness Sallinger (banished from the police, due to injuries) taking medication, lifting weights, throwing knifes (we also get to see his many, many awards, medals and trophies, earned during the line of fire) We also notice a picture of him and a wealthy Texan millionaire (but more on that later.....) As he mends his injuries, aided by his female colleague, the scene shifts to the glitzy night-life, of a wealthy young (Paris-Hilton- like) heiress (named Nikita) who's saddled with a playboy boxing womaniser (NOT a football player, as the cover states) who we know from the outset is rather crooked, as he flees the scene of an attempted kidnapping on the heiress. Sallinger is slowly getting better, when a surprise phone call, from his texan millionaire friend, asking him to fly over and help him with a problem. Feeling better, Roland agrees, and is met at the airport by a cop, who warns him from causing trouble, and reminding Sallinger that he's no longer a cop anymore. A mutual respect is brought about, and Sallinger and the cop, part ways. Driven to the Millionaires ranch,Roland also strikes up an off-beat friendship with the chauffeur, andis quick to help out en-route, defend the drivers sister against twogangster types. Sallinger kicks the s**t out of them, and finally meets up with his millionaire friend. He explains that his daughters life is in danger, and would Sallinger be her bodyguard? Roland agrees (but senses that his friend is not giving him all the 'intel' required) Sallinger has the security updated/modified/changed at the ranch, and puts his 'bone-breaking' skills to good use, on his first nights work (as he defends the Heiress, against two heavies at a bar) whilst Nikita's boyfriend is smooching with another girl in a back room. Nikita feels safe with her new bodyguard, and she regains her confidence again. But unbeknown to her, her cheating boyfriend has been 'leant-on' by her earlier (would-be) kidnappers, and plans to assist them in her kidnapping, next time they are out alone. Sallinger almost thwarts this kidnapping, but is arrested, after a crunching car-chase, and brutal shoot-out, leaving the kidnappers to get away with Nikita, and sending a ransom note to her wealthy father. I've gave away enough for you to guess that Sallinger, won't stop until he saves the girl, and kills the bad guys.......
Seagal is fine (although some of his dialogue is quiet) but i didn't notice any dubbing (other than the opening scene....which was an overhead shot of a car) He drops a few 'F-Bombs' from time to time, and is basically a (soft-hearted) bad ass throughout.The supporting cast are capable enough (no big names) but efficient enough, to keep ones interest. The Chauffeur gives the best secondary performance (emoting a lot, just through his looks and gestures)
Once again, i wasn't expecting UNDER SIEGE 2, but thankfully the movie had a fair few shoot-outs (about 3) a few fights (mostly a few quick moves) but brutal enough, and well spaced out (about 4) and a half decent car chase.
THE KEEPER was a good solid DTV movie. A lot better (and easier to understand, than say) KILLSWITCH or AGAINST THE DARK And coming after DRIVEN TO KILL, it's fine as a companion piece to both URBAN JUSTICE and PISTOL WHIPPED. Fans of non-stop action, might feel a little short-changed (but luckily, this has a coherent plot to fall back on, and it's pace rarely sags) But fans of Seagal himself, will enjoy this modest thriller (especially if they enjoyed MAN ON FIRE?
My rating 8 out of 10
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Gervais preaches (and forgets to add 'jokes' or 'coherency')
I like Ricky Gervais (not so much THE OFFICE, but i love EXTRAS) and (having skipped GHOST TOWN) i went to see THE INVENTION OF LYING tonight at the cinema, expecting at least a few 'squirm-inducing' belly laughs.
Panic sunk in immediately, as Gervais feels the need to voice over the plot set-up, during the titles. The movie would have been a lot better, had Gervais had a bit of faith with his audience (who are probably aware of the synopsis, anyhow?) or at least, it would have added a 'quirkiness' to the unsuspecting cinema-goer. It could have had a whole 'David Lynch' like quality, in that, it focused on a town of petty, nasty people, all speaking their minds. No need for the "Oh yeah, and everyone had to tell the truth", almost apologetic explanation, for what was soon to become, a one joke movie.
And creating an environment were everyone told the truth, obviously blinded Gervais into lazily assuming that that *only* means...'people being rude to each other' (one of the many plot holes this movie had me pondering,throughout it's running time, partly due to the fact that it is not *at all* funny)
And herein, lies the main problem....it isn't funny (nor interesting) Gervais seemed content to 'dumb' down his usual 'put-down-upon-everyman' shtick, to the point were it merely became a question of people disagreeing with him. No well-written (or thought-out) lines, no depth, nothing at all to think about later on......just lazy writing and performing. The movie reminded me of the Garry Shandling fiasco WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM, in that it was a comedy without any form of humour whatsoever (other than watching an ego, failing at a 'message' movie)
I know that Gervais, has been accused of being 'big-headed' in the past, but i found it insulting (and slightly narcissistic) that he not only attempted to mock religion, but to also imply he created it (and i thought Messers Carey and Sandler had 'god complexes?)
All in all, THE INVENTION OF LYING was a terrible movie (Shaun Williamson had the best 30 seconds in it.....so that sums it up) and given Gervais' star power, i'd strongly advise him to try something new, or at least make any kind of effort, when rehashing his usual 'act' and to ditch the preaching ego.
Easily the worst movie....ever!
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
More Homage-frais from a tired director
This usually all sounds a lot better in my head (so forgive me for rambling) I'm hardly Tarantino's biggest fan (and will *try* not to stoop to calling him a 'hack'....which is quite hard) I don't like to mock or critique a movie before seeing it. So with cautious hesitation, i walked to the cinema today to watch 'Inglorious Basterds'
Now, to call it a 'rip-off of a rip-off' would be unfair here. Tarantino is happy enough to take the title from Enzo Castellari's (less than spectacular) Dirty Dozen clone, but not it's plot points (that, he takes from all other genre of movies) 'Inglorious' opens with a Nazi officer and his lengthy interrogation against a farmer who is hiding Jews in his basement. This is such an anti-climax, in that, it's dialogue is stale, and outcome signposted a mile off. Of course, one of the hidden Jews makes her escape (but more of her later) We (the obviously, easily pleased) audience are treated to the introduction of Lt. Aldo Raine (ha-ha, that name almost sounds like B-movie king ALDO RAY....ha-ha Quentin...keep those 'tributes' coming) and this character is played by none other than Brad (DALLAS) Pitt (sorry, DALLAS was about the only good thing he's ever starred in) and with jaw-jutting, Mr Jolie treats us to a hound-dogged, southern drawled, smirking Nazi-killer. Meanwhile Mr Tarantino forgets that actual grown-ups may be in attendance, so assumes that the teenyboppers won't have heard of the 'Dirty Dozen'?
Raines 'platoon' consists of (John Cassavettes looking) blood-thirsty Jewish soldiers, all looking to get the big payback on Adolf Hitler. Tarantino in all his superior knowledge, pays special attention to two of these men, by casting his long time best buddy (and fellow homage-sycophant) Eli Roth (as the baseball bat wielding 'Bear Jew') The other man is called Hugo Stiglitz (and i'll wager more than half the QT fan-boys had never heard this name before this movie) Keep up the good work Tarantino, you've managed about 6 or 7 'hommages' so far (in the first 15 minutes) keep adding them, and it may detract from the plot (or lack of?)
Anyhow, cutting a long (and extremely boring and protracted) story short, both Raine and his men (the 'Inglorious Basterds') and the sole survivor from chapter one, both have separate plots to kill Hitler at the showing of a Nazi-propaganda movie, in a french cinema (owned by the fore-mentioned survivor, now grown up)
More boring (and pointless) conversations follow two and fro, as Pitt mugs away at an audience past caring. And any genuine suspense, leading to the assassination of the most deadly tyrant of all time, is thrown-away by the directors insistence of placing a 1980's David Bowie song in a WWII movie.
My problems (and there are many) with this movie, is the re-occurring problem i have with most Tarantino product.....he rarely knows when to either start or stop. I don't need 'homage' after 'homage' to get the *joke* (whatever it may be) I knew of Inglorious Bastards, Enzo Castellari, Aldo Ray, Hugo Stiglitz (and the ultimate crime of the entire movie) Ennio Morricone's haunting score from REVOLVER. I go to the cinema to see the stars.....if the best you can do is the dire Barad Pitt, i'll assume You (Mr Tarantino) are the main draw here? I don't want the audience directing the movie. I pay to see YOUR vision, your ideas, your creativity....NOT how you can patchwork (time and time again) endless scenes from endless movies. It's high time the fan-boys (on IMDb) employed some 'tough love' on your 'idol' (god knows, if you don't....the studios should?)
The tired old argument with Tarantino worshippers is "well, if you can do better...do so" Let me tell you, if i was a 46 year old director, with the (unfortunate) pull QT has.....i'd want to offer YOU a lot more than a warmed up muddled re-hash of better WWII movies than this tripe. The directors he attempts to emulate, made movies so bad by accident, or due to budgetary constraints. It's a cop out, time and time again, to hear his fans campaign his lack of imagination as 'art'. I'm sure he's capable of better (but after giving him the benefit of the doubt, once more....and not to mention 2 and a half hours of my life.....) maybe he isn't?
Where do you start with such a lazy movie like this? First off Guy Ritchie is so divorced from the 'gangster' lifestyle that he tries to portray in this wretched movie (not that he was ever a 'part' of it in the first place) that his dialogue, characters and scenarios are stilted and forced to the extreme. Secondly, it borrows heavily not just from his own back catalogue, but also from classics like THE LONG GOOD Friday and PERFORMANCE.
The plot centres around (the charisma-free, smug, self satisfied) Gerard Butler, and his gang of RADA-trained 'mockney' cohorts (all spouting un-hip cockney slang, and pretending to be something, they're clearly not) getting mixed up in stolen mob money, and a missing painting.
The cast is rounded off with (the equally dire) Jeremy Piven, and a near skeletal Thandie Newton (how this woman gets 'work' amazes me?) Ritchie (in a final act of desperation) throws in every camera trick, to compensate his second (third and forth) hand material. And just like it's cast, it's pointless and nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.
The end result is an instant (ahem) 'cult' (did i spell that right?) movie, designed for wanky fan-boy types, favouring second hand style, over (any kind of) substance, other than to shift t-shirts, cds and books. The fact that it didn't shift nearly as much of either, is maybe an indication that audiences are wising up to Ritchie, and possibly demand more from a movie (like maybe a smidgen of 'heart' or 'soul'?)
The sweetest victory for a disgruntled viewer (like myself) is the movies finale which promises that a sequel. I (for one) hope this never happens. But if it does, i hope that the money-men bankrolling this 'one trick' pony's 'mockney' wish-fulfilment, finally have the guts to tighten Mr Ritchie's reins, and force him to add some substance to proceedings (and maybe a cast that consists of genuine 'talent', and not just the 'flavour of the month brigade'?)
This movie would make sufficient grounds for a 'divorce' (oh....wait a minute....it probably did?)
The Last House on the Left (2009)
Watered down nonsense
Seriously....what is it with this trend of remaking classics, and replacing the casts with Benetton models? This movie was weak, compared to the 1972 original. It copped out on all the 'sleazy' elements that MADE the original such a hit, and replaced it with silly macho heroics, a cast devoid of ANY personality, and pointless gore. Look at the 1972 version.....that was a nasty movie, that earned the criticism it provoked. The cast was excellent, haunting music, just enough on-screen violence to get it's point across, but plenty of what Hollywood is too scared to replicate nowadays......NASTINESS. At least the original portrayed what actually happens to people taking the law into their own hands, in a realistic manner. This remake gives the impression that it's OK to torture people, afterwards (losing all of what made the original movie so dark) Look at the end of LHOTL (72) the father and mother are morbidly disgusted by their actions (however justified) and are soon to be carted off to prison for their actions. The remake has no connection with reality at all, and even feels the need to tack on an extra amount of added brutality, as if to keep up with HOSTEL 2, whilst forgetting that it's missed the point completely and portrayed the parents as even bigger psychopaths (hell, their daughter doesn't even die in this one!!!!!)
In the original, i actually felt sorry for Mari and Phyliss (they came across as ordinary-looking, young girls) which made the actions of Krug & Co, even more deplorable. The (ahem) actresses in this one were vile, Hannah Montana wannabes (with zero personality, character or dialogue) Don't get me started on the Krug from 2009 version either.......
All-in-all, another nail in the coffin of genuine 'horror' cinema, by the hacks at Hollywood (who treat it's audiences with the contempt, you obviously deserve)
Shame on Wes Craven, for having anything to do with it (he surely has enough money, these days?)