I readily admit that I’m a fan of clichés. I wouldn’t be able to tell you why, but when a review earns the right to fall under a cliché, for example: “life affirming,” I find joy in using the phrase. To be fair, it’s not often that I get to use clichés. I use the word “earn” to the fullest extent. For a film, such a tired phrase like “life affirming” from me, it needs to be something truly special.
It’s been sort of an off-again, on-again year for action movies. We got Lucy (which got more hate than it deserved) and Taken 3 (which deserves all the hate it gets), but there wasn’t really an action movie that stood out last year. Nothing that felt visceral, that had that mad punch adrenaline that comes with a great action feature.
Last week, we talked about how Justice League – Throne of Atlantis was a very pretty but ultimately forgettable movie. The animation, character designs, and voice acting were all about perfect, but the story made little to no sense and the character arcs were largely illogical or downright insulting. Worse, the movie didn’t seem to know who it was targeting with the brutal murder happening everywhere and the simplistic slapdash excuse for writering.
When the original Taken released back in 2008 it was, for the most part, a sleeper hit that became an instant cult-classic. Fans of Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Lock Out) probably knew it was going to be something special though, considering the Writer/Director’s previous works. It was a film that offered Liam Neeson renewed stardom and spawned a resurgence of the classic action revenge-fuelled film genre (The Equalizer and John Wick most recently).
Personally I feel like cult-hit action films should probably be stand-alone features… but the “brilliant” money-centric minds in Hollywood would beg to differ, and so regardless of good taste one of the best pieces of action film in the last decade received two more (completely unnecessary) follow-ups. Based on the success of the third instalment, it’s likely to be the last of the franchise as well. (more…)
Whiplash might be the hardest movie that I’ve ever had to sell anyone on the premise of. However, one of the benefits of having – in my own humble opinion – a pretty good track record with recommending film for friends, I don’t have to do much. If you’re familiar with my prior reviews and feel like you’re inclined to give me the benefit, then let me say, straight up: Watch Whiplash.
For those of you whose trust I haven’t yet earned, let’s continue. (more…)