Cinepub


Review: Fast And Furious 6 by Jamie

I’m not a car guy. Never have been, never will be. Because of this fact I pretty much ignored the Fast and Furious franchise for quite some time until pretty much earlier this year, or maybe late last, when I began listening to a podcast called “How Did This Get Made“. It has quickly become not just one of my favourite podcasts but one of my favourite things. Anyway, one episode they delved into Fast 5 and, being somewhat obsessively compulsive when it comes to film, I decided to watch all five entries in the series. Back to back. To say it was something of an endurance test would be understating it.

The first four films are terrible. At least I think they are. I remember literally nothing from part 4. Nothing. Then I watched the fifth one and it was, well, it was stupid but it was fun. Ridiculously fun. Yes, it was still a pretty bad film but it was unashamedly so. It was pure, high-octane insanity and the thing that made it beautiful was how little it relied on CGI. Things actually happened. Cars were wrecked, things exploded and stunts were pulled. It was also greatly improved by the inclusion of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who, it could be argued, is literally impossible to hate.

So what then of the 6th installment of this series? Does the insanity continue? Well, I’m happy to say that it does. Not only that but, and I realise that I risk losing some credibility here but fuck it, it’s a legitimately good movie. I mean that wholeheartedly. I didn’t like this film ironically or sarcastically. I enjoyed it pretty much from beginning to end, an end which literally had me on the edge of my seat. I understand that the trailer somewhat spoils the last scene though so it’s a good thing I managed to avoid it.

That’s not to say that the film isn’t stupid in places. It is but it revels in it’s stupidity in such an endearing and enjoyable way that you can’t fault it for it and the bits of the film that are great are genuinely great.

Once again the stunt work here is amazing. You can tell that the film makers love cars and want to try and get them to do crazy shit you haven’t seen before. There may be a little more reliance on CG here than in, say, part five but the basic skeleton of it is all practical stunts and just seeing it all unfold is wonderful.

I will say that this is the first Fast and Furious film that I’ve actually seen at the cinema and it’s entirely possible that seeing the stunt work on the big screen with surround sound is part of why I loved it so much. In fact I’m sure it is. It’s entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that my opinion will change when revisiting this film on Blu-ray. But that’s all in the future, for now I’ll just say see this movie where it will be most effective.

As for the plot well, and this is very rare for me to say this, the plot isn’t that important. Still what is here is a perfectly serviceable means to get from point A from point B. In this episode of the series, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew are approached by special agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to help him take down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his crew who are robbing and wreaking havoc all across Europe. Hobbs offers them a full pardon for their past transgression and sweetens the deal even more by informing the crew that the formerly thought dead Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Toretto’s past love, is working with Shaw. The mission laid out, the crew head to London to stop Shaw and get Ortiz back.

So yeah, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. There are countless times that retired criminals are offered a pardon in exchange for helping law enforcement catch someone who are just like them. In movies, I mean. Not in real life. That’d be awesome though…

Still, the movie points out the ridiculous in the plot even going so far as having the comic relief Roman (Tyrese Gibson) point out that the villains are essentially the crew’s evil twins. It’s as if the movie is saying “Look, we’re on the same wavelength here. We know that you’re not really here for a deep, involved story. You want stunts and explosions. Trust us, so do we. Just stick with us while we get this out of the way and we’ll return you to that.”

Adding to this is the fact that Hobbs is referred to three times as different Marvel superheroes. Captain America, The Hulk and Thor. Again it’s almost like the film is referencing them directly as if to say “Look, those superhero movies you all like are equally as ridiculous as this and you love them. Love us.” I may be overthinking that one, I’ll admit. It may just be that The Rock is ridiculously muscled.

Still, the story moments are enjoyable because the characters are all, in some way or another, likeable. Are they all somewhat cliches that serve to fulfill certain cliched roles? Yes, to an extent but they’re all just having so much fun with it and sometimes you just need something simple and uncomplicated with pretty cars even when you didn’t know that’s what you needed. Seriously guys, I loved this fucking movie.

My biggest problem with it? Probably Vin Diesel. I just kinda don’t like the guy. He’s aweome in Pitch Black and, to hi credit, he does exactly what he needs to here but there’s just something about the guy that rubs me the wrong way. My fault not the movies.

So yeah, the plot’s paper thin and it’s all something you’ve seen before but you’ve never seen it this way before. And it’ eminently enjoyable. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

Poster



2011 in Film: Number 4: Green Hornet by Jamie

(This is a repost of a review from 17, February, 2011)

Nothing really too spoilery as far as I can tell. Still, be warned.

I’ve never seen the 60s Green Hornet show as far as I can remember. Never listened to any of the old radio shows and if there are or have been comic books as well then I’ve never read ‘em. Still, I have some knowledge of the characters involved simply due to the way that pop culture just generally seems to infect my brain. Still, I can’t say I was really anticipating this film but everything else good had already been seen and ‘True Grit’ wasn’t coming out for another week so what the hell.

The story is that Britt Reid (Played by Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen) is the layabout, no good partying son of newspaper tycoon James (Tom Wilkinson). One day James is killed by a bee sting and Britt fires his mansions staff except for the maid. The next morning he finds that his coffee is not to his usual liking. He discovers that his father’s mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou) used to make the coffee. It turns out that Kato is a technological genius as well as a Master of the martial arts. Britt also inherits his father newspaper, a position which he doesn’t really want and decides to basically leave it in the hands of Mike Axford (Edward James Olmos playing a watered down version of William Adama if he worked at a newspaper).

Britt and Kato get hammered and come to the conclusion that both of them hated Britt’s father. They decide to cut the head of off his memorial statue but, during the process, they see a couple being mugged and the two leap into action to save them with Kato doing most of the actual saving thanks to his Kato vision (?) and his ability to make cars multiply or something (???). The two are mistaken for criminals themselves, which technically they are having just committed vandalism, and they flee the area.

Britt convinces Kato that they should join forces as a crime fighting duo who pose as criminals in order to get into the seedy criminal underworld of what ever city this is supposed to be… Los Angeles. Right… And also in order to protect the innocent people in there lives which, considering they’re both orphans who don’t seem to have any friends apart from each other, seems to be an odd reason. Britt uses his position at the newspaper, deciding he should take a more active role in the way it’s run, to raise the profile of the newly dubbed Green Hornet (a name which was thunk up by Kato after Britt suggested the name The Green Bee in a scene so hilarious I had to stab myself in the legs to prevent myself from laughing too hard… Yes. That was sarcasm… Actually to be fair that scene did include the one line which I probably laughed at the hardest involving blowing this man all out of proportion…)

Anyway, Britt hires Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) to be his personal assistant after she comes in looking for a temp job. She has a degree in criminology and so Britt uses her to try and figure out what moves The Green Hornet should make next. This also begs the question as to why someone with a degree in criminology is seeking a temp job at a newspaper rather than doing some criminologying but whatever. And so The Green Hornet and Kato start blowing up meth labs much to the chagrin of local crime lord Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz playing a watered down version of the Jew Hunter if he was a crime lord rather than a Nazi).

That’ll do for the synopsis I reckon. Needless to say the villains and heros clash and more things occur. Also there’s a shitty kind of love triangle that develops between Britt, Kato and Lenore. You know, kind of like what happened with Peter Parker, Harry Osborne and Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 3. And I guess that’s my biggest problem with this film. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. If you want a film about an ordinary guy who decides he wants to be a superhero, you’ve got Kick Ass. If you want a film about a billionaire who can afford all kinds of shit to help him fight crime then you’ve got the Batman films. If you want a Seth Rogen comedy then you’ve got a lot better Seth Rogen films out there you could be watching instead.

Also, why the fuck is Michel Gondry directing this film? There where a few of his stylistic touches here and there like the aforementioned baffling car multiplying and an interesting kind of dream sequence type thing but other than that I honestly can’t think why he’d sign up for this. It was just… weird. And not in the good Michel Gondry weird way.

I will say this. The film was a little funnier than I expected but not really funny enough and then the action scenes just seemed to kind of bore me. There were interesting moments but overall the whole thing just seemed to fall a bit flat. Speaking of which, the 3D was utterly pointless. Two pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: The Green Hornet by Jamie

Nothing really too spoilery as far as I can tell. Still, be warned.

I’ve never seen the 60s Green Hornet show as far as I can remember. Never listened to any of the old radio shows and if there are or have been comic books as well then I’ve never read ‘em. Still, I have some knowledge of the characters involved simply due to the way that pop culture just generally seems to infect my brain. Still, I can’t say I was really anticipating this film but everything else good had already been seen and ‘True Grit’ wasn’t coming out for another week so what the hell.

The story is that Britt Reid (Played by Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen) is the layabout, no good partying son of newspaper tycoon James (Tom Wilkinson). One day James is killed by a bee sting and Britt fires his mansions staff except for the maid. The next morning he finds that his coffee is not to his usual liking. He discovers that his father’s mechanic, Kato (Jay Chou) used to make the coffee. It turns out that Kato is a technological genius as well as a Master of the martial arts. Britt also inherits his father newspaper, a position which he doesn’t really want and decides to basically leave it in the hands of Mike Axford (Edward James Olmos playing a watered down version of William Adama if he worked at a newspaper).

Britt and Kato get hammered and come to the conclusion that both of them hated Britt’s father. They decide to cut the head of off his memorial statue but, during the process, they see a couple being mugged and the two leap into action to save them with Kato doing most of the actual saving thanks to his Kato vision (?) and his ability to make cars multiply or something (???). The two are mistaken for criminals themselves, which technically they are having just committed vandalism, and they flee the area.

Britt convinces Kato that they should join forces as a crime fighting duo who pose as criminals in order to get into the seedy criminal underworld of what ever city this is supposed to be… Los Angeles. Right… And also in order to protect the innocent people in there lives which, considering they’re both orphans who don’t seem to have any friends apart from each other, seems to be an odd reason. Britt uses his position at the newspaper, deciding he should take a more active role in the way it’s run, to raise the profile of the newly dubbed Green Hornet (a name which was thunk up by Kato after Britt suggested the name The Green Bee in a scene so hilarious I had to stab myself in the legs to prevent myself from laughing too hard… Yes. That was sarcasm… Actually to be fair that scene did include the one line which I probably laughed at the hardest involving blowing this man all out of proportion…)

Anyway, Britt hires Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) to be his personal assistant after she comes in looking for a temp job. She has a degree in criminology and so Britt uses her to try and figure out what moves The Green Hornet should make next. This also begs the question as to why someone with a degree in criminology is seeking a temp job at a newspaper rather than doing some criminologying but whatever. And so The Green Hornet and Kato start blowing up meth labs much to the chagrin of local crime lord Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz playing a watered down version of the Jew Hunter if he was a crime lord rather than a Nazi).

That’ll do for the synopsis I reckon. Needless to say the villains and heros clash and more things occur. Also there’s a shitty kind of love triangle that develops between Britt, Kato and Lenore. You know, kind of like what happened with Peter Parker, Harry Osborne and Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 3. And I guess that’s my biggest problem with this film. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. If you want a film about an ordinary guy who decides he wants to be a superhero, you’ve got Kick Ass. If you want a film about a billionaire who can afford all kinds of shit to help him fight crime then you’ve got the Batman films. If you want a Seth Rogen comedy then you’ve got a lot better Seth Rogen films out there you could be watching instead.

Also, why the fuck is Michel Gondry directing this film? There where a few of his stylistic touches here and there like the aforementioned baffling car multiplying and an interesting kind of dream sequence type thing but other than that I honestly can’t think why he’d sign up for this. It was just… weird. And not in the good Michel Gondry weird way.

I will say this. The film was a little funnier than I expected but not really funny enough and then the action scenes just seemed to kind of bore me. There were interesting moments but overall the whole thing just seemed to fall a bit flat. Speaking of which, the 3D was utterly pointless. Two pints out of five. Laterz.




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