Posts Tagged ‘John Wick

28
Sep
19

Polar: Just the Tip of the Crapberg

Polar is one of those movies that seems like it would be impossible to fuck up. It stars cool-as-hell Mads Mikkelsen as a contract killer known as The Black Kaiser. That alone should have been enough to make this a great movie. Yet, they managed to completely bungle everything from start to finish.

The story is tired. Mikkelsen is retiring, but he has to do one last job before his employer lets him go. Of course. It’s always one last job, or one week until retirement, isn’t it? Anyway, the final job is a double-cross. The employer plans to kill Mikkelsen so he doesn’t have to pay him his $8 million pension. Mikkelsen survives, and vows vengeance against those who turned on him. Once again, this premise seems impossible to fuck up. It’s astounding that they did.

The biggest problem is the style of the movie. It has this over-the-top, loony comedy style. But it isn’t funny at all, it’s just really fucking annoying. It’s trying to go for, I don’t know, a Smokin’ Aces vibe or something. When a new character shows up, the film freezes to show their name in bold letters. When the movie changes locations, it shows the name of the place in a funky font with cash register and gunshot sound effects. It focuses on bloodletting, but not cleverly. It’s not like John Wick or Kill Bill that showed ultra-violence in inventive ways. No, it’s just blood splattering around the screen, or a CGI head getting tossed out a window. It’s uninspired. It’s like a teenage boy obsessed with Quentin Tarantino got hold of a multi-million dollar budget.

I’m not sure if the villain, this Baby Huey tub of lard is supposed to be funny or intimidating, but he’s neither, he is really fucking annoying. The movie drags on far too long, offering nothing new to the genre. Mikkelsen miraculously manages to bring in a solid performance, because the guy is a professional. Otherwise, there’s pretty much nothing worthwhile here. There’s some pretty good sex scenes, though, so I guess that’s cool.

Verdict: Shitty

01
Jun
19

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

The John Wick series keeps the action clever and explosive in a franchise that just keeps getting better. By now, most franchises would be out of steam and out of ideas. John Wick 3, however, maintains a steady stream of action, and manages to keep doing things that have never been done before. It’s a wonder that 55 year-old Keanu Reeves seems to be at the top of his game here, and the entire creative team delivers a film that defies expectations.

This film picks up immediately where John Wick 2 ended. Reeves is on the run with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and every assassin in the world after him. The first act of the film is his desperate attempt to flee New York City. There is a great nod to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the greatest knife fight ever filmed, and a cool horse chase/battle. It sounds bonkers, but every bit of it works.

Continue reading ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’

05
Aug
17

Pirates of the Caribbean 5, John Wick 2

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The fifth film in the franchise tells a bit of an origin story, showing how Jack Sparrow became Jack Sparrow. He double-crossed (of course) a ruthless privateer when he was a young man, and simultaneously became captain of his first ship. Decades later, the privateer, Captain Salazar, returns from beyond the grave to exact his revenge.

This outing was a step up from the previous one, Pirates of the Caribbean: I Can’t Even Remember What It Was About. It was essentially a rehash of the first movie, featuring young male and female leads who are in search of a fantasy McGuffin, and reluctantly enlist Jack Sparrow’s help in order to get it. While it is a rehash, it doesn’t contain the same effortless storytelling, and elements of whimsy and adventure the first film had. Let’s face it, the first film in the series is a modern classic, and they haven’t been able to recapture that.

This film wasn’t a complete waste. While most of the jokes were lame and forced, some of them absolutely worked. There was still a sense of high-seas adventure, although held back a bit by an over-reliance on CGI. Instead of letting two ships duke it out in a naval battle, they had to throw in stupid bullshit like the mast coming to life and attacking Jack Sparrow (ugh, why?). Back on the positive side, the finale was pretty inventive, and I loved the Black Pearl dropping anchor as it skirted the edge of the ocean.

Johnny Depp is still watchable as Jack Sparrow, and there was fun to be had in this film. Overall, though, the franchise is completely out of steam. It wasn’t exactly a memorable film, but it wasn’t complete garbage. Disney should do the smart thing and end the series on a decent note. But they probably won’t, and will make another one.

Verdict: Average

John Wick 2

 

Taking place immediately after the first film ended, John Wick 2 shows Keanu Reeves getting deeper into trouble in the world of assassins he tried to leave behind. An old ally of his returned and cashed in a favor Reeves owed him. Then, the ally double-crossed Reeves, making him the target of every assassin on the planet. The action scenes were incredibly inventive, flashy, and a whole lot of fun. The only thing that didn’t work for me was Reeve’s bullet-proof suit, which made him nigh-indestructible. Other than that, I liked everything about this movie. I especially enjoyed the hall-of-mirrors finale, and kept on wondering how they filmed it without ever showing the crew. All in all this was a worthy sequel in a cool-as-hell franchise.

Verdict: Awesome

19
Sep
15

John Wick, This is Where I Leave You

John Wick

Keanu Reeves has been languishing for a long time. Ever since the Matrix trilogy wrapped up over a decade ago, he hasn’t been in much. And what he has been in hasn’t been very good. That all changed when he starred in John Wick. This is a true return to form for Reeves. John Wick is a fantastic, fun film that plays to Reeves’ strengths. Here, he plays the strong silent type who kicks copious amounts of ass. The story has been done a million times before. He’s a former assassin who got out of the business, but revenge pulls him back in. The way John Wick distinguishes itself from the pack is in the action sequences. The shooting and the fighting are like a ballet. They are extremely (perhaps beautifully) well choreographed. They manage to do things I’ve never seen in an action film before. Reeves is like a god of combat who dispatches countless nameless hooligans on his quest for vengeance. Plus, headshots, so many headshots. I was impressed by the visual style and the cinematography. Reeves delivers a good, restrained performance. This was an inventive action film, and it was nice to see Reeves in something good again.

Verdict: Awesome

This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You is a dramedy of the worst kind. It is rarely funny and it is barely dramatic. The general thrust is that the head of a dysfunctional family has died, and he requests that his family spend a week together to mourn him. His ulterior motive was to get the family to become closer. Basically, this doesn’t happen. Everyone has their heads stuck up their own asses to a preposterous level. Nobody can keep their lives or their relationships together. Everyone flies off the handle at any perceived slight. Everyone is detestable, and there are no characters to root for. In the end, they kind-of, sort-of make amends, but not really. The entire thing was an exercise in futility. Given the tremendous cast they assembled, the whole thing was a big letdown. They should have focused more on the comedy aspect, and maybe then the movie would have been watchable.

Verdict: Shitty




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