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Despite an odd mixture of genres and several different plots, a very entertaining film!
From watching the trailer I had my doubts about the film. It made it appear a very boring drama with no action and little plot. The fact that it was set in London, had quite a small budget (for a cinema movie) of $20 million and had no other big names apart from Statham made me think that it would be similar to Statham's film, Blitz, which was absolutely terrible. However, when I obtained free tickets to the premiere there was no way that I was going to turn this down and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
The film begins with flashbacks of Joey's (Jason Statham) army days with explosions and lots of gunfire. The film then quickly moves to night-time in London and shows Joey, now living on the streets with some woman called Isabel, getting beaten up by a group of thugs. The scene is bloody and brutal. However, there weren't many close-ups so if you hadn't seen the trailer, then you wouldn't know that the tramp with the long hair was Jason Statham. Joey then escapes and manages to get into a rich guy's apartment. The next part of the film shows Statham's character recovering from his wounds and exploring his new apartment and getting drunk. This bit of the film was slightly too long and could have been cut down a bit. At this point the film sort of splits into several different story lines. First there's Jason getting accustomed to living as a rich guy and dealing with terrible memories from his time in Afghanistan, second there's the romance between Joey and Sister Cristina, brilliantly played by Agata Buzek, third there's Statham's character doing all these dirty jobs for the gangsters then lastly there's Joey's quest to find out who killed Isabel and obtain revenge. Now, I imagine that some people may not like this and I notice that the negative reviews so far have cited this as a complaint. It's true that there isn't really a focus on one of the story lines in particular and we could have got more of a feel for the villain of the film, who only appears in like 2 scenes. However, I found all these plots refreshing and blended well to make a film, which has a little something for everyone.
One of the main things you want to see in a Statham film is action, particularly hand-to- hand combat. I was worried that there would be hardly any and others must have thought the same because before the premiere the producer said "Don't worry, Jason does get to beat up some guys!" How wrong I was! The film actually has a lot of action; about 5 fight scenes plus a scene where Jason gets to throw someone off the roof of a tall building. Amazing stuff! The fight scenes are as good as any Jason's done before and one of them is perhaps the most violent, bloody and gruesome I've ever seen in a Statham film.
If I were to describe the genre of the film I would say it was a mixture of action, drama, comedy and romance. Some of the comedy is very well done, e.g. when Joey buys 60 pizzas and 60 garlic breads for the homeless, but other parts such as when Joey and Cristina visit an Art Gallery with pictures of penises all over the walls, just doesn't belong in a film of a mostly serious nature like this. Another complaint I have with the film is the ending, which seemed very sudden and a bit of an anti-climax.
There are terrific acting performances from Statham and Buzek. The character of Joey is written in a way that it is tough for the audience to admire/like him but Statham manages to succeed in this. Buzek makes for a very sweet and beautiful nun. Her character also has a troubled past.
The filming is terrific. I've seen quite a few films made in London with very dull and plain locations but this film picks the best areas of London and actually manages to get lots of beautiful shots of the city. The music is pretty good but perhaps lacks variety.
I definitely recommend this film to Statham fans and to anyone who wants to be entertained yet see serious issues dealt with as well. This film feels very different to the typical Statham film yet will satisfy both fans and non-fans. Steven Knight has gone as far from a typical Statham flick as he possibly could without removing the best bits. Of course there will be those who think that the action should be removed completely to allow complete focus on the homeless theme but Jason Statham is an action star. He belongs in action films and that's where people want to see him. All in all a superb first film for Steven Knight as director.
My top 5 Jason Statham films as of now are:
1. Transporter 2 2. Safe 3. Transporter 4. Hummingbird 5. The Mechanic
The Real Truth About Skyfall By A True Bond Fan.
I am a huge James Bond fan. I have watched all the films many times and have played all the video games. I will admit that my favorite James Bond is Pierce Brosnan and I don't think they will find anybody like him ever again. His Bond was a charming gentleman with a great sense of humor but also could be a cold-hearted killer and a lover. Daniel Craig looks like an East European bus driver. He is a ruthless thug with no sense of humor and his Bond is very boring. He is good at the action though and I won't let my dislike of him affect my review of the film.
Many newspapers said that Skyfall was the best Bond film ever. What a load of nonsense! They must have been bribed or wanted to increase Britain's success in this glorious 2012 London Olympic Games year. The first half of the film was abysmal. The opening sequence supposedly took ages to film but was overlong, dull and unimpressive. It was very forgettable. It was just cars chasing cars with no explosions and few stunts. There wasn't another action scene for about 40 minutes, which is far too long when you have a James Bond with no humor and charm to keep you entertained. It was obvious that the budget was lower than previous films with rooms being very simple and locations being cheap and most of it filmed in Britain. The plot was confusing and very poor. What happened to that disc? Surely Bond couldn't have survived a huge fall from the train into the water with two gunshot wounds? The bit in Shaghai when that guy assassinated someone was so confusing. Who was that man and what the hell were those lights/screens and what was this building? The whole Shanghai part was pointless and so was the character of Berenice who only appeared for about 7 minutes. Silva's base was a really low budget location especially the room in which we first saw him, which had plain walls and floor and no furniture except a chair and a few hard drives. The gadgets in the film were terrible. Exploding pens? Yes please. A gun with a fingerprint scanner? No thanks; utterly pointless. The action in the first half of the film was poor. It was mostly hand-to-hand combat and very poorly coordinated. The villain(Javier Bardem) was all right, same standard as the average Dominic Green basically, but it was a little strange that a Spanish person could have been an MI6 agent. Some of his jokes were a little silly and made him look like a pathetic weakling instead of a ruthless, smart and deadly villain.
The music in the film mostly didn't suit a Bond film but there were a few great pieces of music such as the one used at Bond's arrival in China. Adele's theme tune is fantastic, sung really well, and it has a great catchy chorus. It's definitely the best Bond theme tune since 1999's The World is not Enough.
However, the film wasn't all bad. Dame Judi Dench was fantastic in her final Bond film. Ben Whishaw, although he is young, makes a fantastic Q whom you can actually believe is a genius. Ralph Fiennes certainly looks promising as the new M and the character of Tanner played by Rory Kinnear was stronger than in the last two films. The second half of the film (from Silva's escape to the end) was superb; the best stuff I have seen in a Bond film since Die Another Day. The chase on the tube was really exciting and some great stunts were used. The shoot-out in the courthouse where M was being interrogated was the best action scene in the movie: very realistic shooting and the smoke grenades were a nice touch. Bond opening the garage to reveal the Aston Martin DB5 was a classic moment with a nice line by M: "hardly conspicuous!" The house in Scotland actually turned out to be a fantastic location for the finale and the sort of place that has never been used in a Bond film before. The action there was top-notch again and the death of M was very emotional. Eve Moneypenny was quite a good Bond "woman" but didn't play a major part in the film. The very ending with the copy of that door with the red leather which used to be M's office in the old films was a nice touch. The increase of humor was a great improvement over the last two films. Craig had one funny line "not exactly Christmas" but a lot of the humor came from Q and M.
In conclusion, the film is definitely Craig's best (nowhere near the best Bond film though, perhaps not even in the top 10) but it was really let down by the first half of the film. It was far too long and so boring. Surely if you know you've got a tight budget, the answer is to make the film shorter rather than longer? Quality is more important than quantity! Daniel Craig still is a very dull Bond and when there is no action and a poor story, the entertainment has to come from the character of Bond himself and this just doesn't work for Craig as it did for Brosnan and the others. However, the film is totally acceptable and enjoyable unlike Quantum of Solace.