Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

Classic: Trainspotting – ***

Posted: October 2, 2017 in 1996, Action, Dramedy, UK, XXX

Just back from a visit to Edinburgh. Decided to watch some movies from Scotland. Starting with a classic.

Damn. This movie dates from 1996. Back then, it was a riot! A movie with a killer soundtrack, the first chart topping techno club filler (‘Born Slippy’ by Underworld), the mainstream debut of Ewan McGregor (who’s been EXCELLENT ever since), great surrealist scenes with the main character sinking into a dirty toilet for instance, with Robert Carlyle being incredibly violent, with heroin and shit and hiv and sex and alcohol just splashing around on the main screen. Yeah. Back then, this was THE movie to see.

And, hey, it’s still a pretty cool movie anno 2017.

Favorite line this time around:

Tommy: Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?

Mark “Rent-boy” Renton: It’s SHITE being Scottish! We’re the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized BY. We’re ruled by effete arseholes. It’s a SHITE state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and ALL the fresh air in the world won’t make any fucking difference!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951

 

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Generally, Hollywood blockbuster comedies aren’t really funny. Or only partly funny. Luckily, from time to time, there are exceptions. Like The Hangover for instance. And also 21 and 22 Jump Street. Binge watch both of them and you’re in for almost 4 hours of pure fun and entertainment. Both movies are consistently funny. They are extremely silly and outrageously absurd, but very refreshing as well. There’s also subtle humor and plenty of cultural and social references/critiques. They often reverse the expectations. Which is great. The fact that within the script they joke about rebooting a tv series from the eighties (in the first one) and making a more expensive sequel (in the second one) is proof of how cleverly the script was written. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are really good at this kind of action comedy. And Ice Cube is just being Ice Cube to the fullest. There are quite a lot of surprises. And several quotes and one-liners are instant classics. You do need to have seen the first one, to understand the jokes of the second one. So that’s why it’s better to watch both of them in one rush. Yep. Very surprising.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1232829

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294449 

The Expendables 2 – (*)

Posted: July 28, 2017 in 2012, Action, USA

Decided to put on this sequel while cleaning a few boxes of old print material at home. It’s not the most convenient background media. It’s loud. There are a lot of explosions. People get killed by the hundreds. There’s hardly any dialogue or soundtrack material. Just gunshots and blasts and a lot of engine rolling (of cars and planes).

But from time to time you want to look up to see what it’s all about. It’s about some Russian plutonium mine and many people want to know its location. One of them is the Bruce Willis character, who orders Stallone’s gang to go get the location (from a laptop in a lost suitcase). Unfortunately someone else is one step ahead and manages to steal the suitcase, killing an ‘expendable’ in the process. And so it becomes a revenge tale.

The only surprisingly cool thing about this movie is the presence of Jean Claude Vandamme as the villain. He’s actually the best actor of the whole action hero bunch in this sequel. Which says a lot.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764651

The Expendables – *

Posted: July 20, 2017 in 2010, Action, USA, X

There are times when the brain doesn’t want to think and just be entertained. With action and laughter. And a little bit of nostalgia. The Expendables has a lot of car chases/shootings/explosions, silly one liners and cinema heroes from the eighties.

However, somehow, all these elements don’t really make the experience entertaining enough. More than 200 people get killed in this one. (in fact 221 according to Kill Count) But none of them are really killed in a cool Tarantino kind of way. Apart from that one scene where Stallone stabs a guy in the throat and then turns around the knife a few times. Not really cool, but at least it was different.

Yes, it’s a movie with and directed by Sylvester Stallone. And yes, the list of cast members is impressive. But most of them just have cameo’s. That one scene with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger is funny, but redundant. You watch this movie because you want to see the interaction between these guys, not for a one scene joke.

There’s a story of course. But it’s too silly to even start summarizing.

The Expendables 2 is also on the shelf. (they only cost 1 euro). But not sure if it will ever make it to the dvd player.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1320253/

Hacksaw Ridge – **(*)

Posted: March 14, 2017 in 2016, Action, Australia, War, WW2, XX1/2

A member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (some kind of evangelical group) enlists to help out in World War II, but refuses to carry a gun as he refuses to kill anybody. He enlists as a medic as he wants to save lives, but he needs to go through a training in which shooting a riffle is part of the program. It’s a tough training and he nearly doesn’t make it to the battle fields, but when he does, he’s heralded by his bravery. Because it’s possible to help, save and serve in war times without killing.

This Mel Gibson movie starts off slowly, but is quite powerful in the second half, during the actual taking of Hackswaw Ridge on Okinawa Island near Japan. It’s an interesting story regardless if you think it’s extremely silly or incredibly brave to enlist for war and refuse to  use a weapon . It’s based on a true story. But it’s of course a fictionalized version of it. To learn more about the real Desmond Doss, check this history vs hollywood site. But do it after you’ve experienced the movie.

Some critics call it christian propaganda. Just because the main character acts out of faith, prays and carries a bible with him. But Mel Gibson (a notorious catholic) never glorifies the religion conviction. He just shows a man who is very firm in his principles. Which again can be interpreted as silly or brave. But at least it isn’t negative.

The action is hardcore though. Limbs fly around. Some scenes can be considered horror. So it isn’t for the weak at heart. Nor is it for people who think Andrew Garfield is an overrated actor. In fact, the whole cast are just okay performers. There’s not one performance that sticks. But it’s a good war movie. A tad too long maybe.  But worth watching.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532

Logan – **

Posted: March 12, 2017 in 2017, Action, Drama, Fantasy, USA, XX

Logan is the newest episode in the successful X-Men saga and is very different from last year’s Apocalypse. It’s a dark tale about a troubled, alcoholic superhero who’s getting older, weaker and more cynical by the day. It feels more like a drama than a special effects-filled fantasy blockbuster. And it works. Kinda.

The character of Logan, better known as Wolverine, has always been one of the more intriguing in the X-men universe. He’s not on average mutant. His special gift has been tempered with. He’s an angry being, who has learned over the years to control his temper. He has no interest in using his powers either for the good nor for the bad. He just wants to be left alone. And that never seems to happen.

The story takes place in the distant future. There are almost no mutants left and Professor X is being contained in a remote place because he can’t control his brain any more (the mightiest on the planet). Logan provides medication for the professor and saves up to bring him to safety somewhere far away. He works as a limousine driver and gets through the day by almost drinking himself to death. It’s not the best of lives, but it gets much worse when a Mexican woman contacts him and introduces him to a girl who needs protection. That’s all you need to know.

It’s a good story. It’s a bit different. But it entertains. And Hugh Jackman owns his character. So his acting is excellent. However, it’s very predictable and what’s with the repetitive and flawed action scenes? Yes, the wolverine has sharp knifes coming out of his hands. And so has the little girl. But every single action scene involves either or both of them slicing up people with those knifes. It gets boring after a while. The fights aren’t original at all. And when the girl attacks it’s more comical than frightful. In fact most of the action scenes make you laugh instead of making you thrill from excitement. And apart from Logan and maybe Professor X, none of the new characters are intriguing.

But hey, it’s a fun 2 hours escape from reality.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3315342/

The remarkable thing about this new police thriller from Belgium is that it starts of really well and then falls totally flat by the end. Sadly, because the trailer looks promising.

A notorious chief of police is retiring to start a political career. But on the eve of his retirement he is tempted to do one last drug bust.  Not in the city of his jurisdiction (Antwerp), but in Charleroi. However, something is wrong. No drug lab is found. No drugs are found. A lot of people get killed and the informant seems to have damaging information about the soon to be politician. This does not look good…

Again, the movie starts of great. The tension and intrigue are built up well. The acting is good (Peter Van Den Begin is excellent in these kind of roles). Some of the scenes are shot in unique ways. The editing is excellent. The story lends well to an interesting collaboration between the movie industries from the north (Flanders) and the south (Wallonia) of the country.

But it’s all a bit predictable, and as the story comes to a climax it totally bombs.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5546540