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Archive for August, 2012

Total Recall

!!!There will be spoilers, but the only thing that will really spoil this film is watching it!!!

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So here it is the remake of Total Recall it’s been long coming and to be honest I’ve been looking forward to ripping into it only I didn’t think it would be quiet this easy. My problem now is I don’t know where to start. It’s like this movie was produced purely with the intention to piss me off, it pretty much contains all the tropes that make me hate modern films. However I don’t really even need to go into detail on those, instead I will just comment on its colossal lack of originality; this film borrows so much.

 

So let me begin by saying this film is essentially Bourne 2099, we find ourselves in the future the world has been devastated leaving only two areas of inhabitation where the entire human population is forced to live. You know like in judge Dredd, only they don’t call these two cities Mega city one and two instead they are the United Federation of Britain (England) and the Colony (Australia) The UFB is where all the elite and rich live while the Colony is where all the workers who keep the UFB running are located. The workers of the Colony commute to work everyday on a train that runs through the centre of the earth. (I’m not going bother to comment on that one)

 

Douglas Quaid our erstwhile hero lives with his hot wife in an old run down apartment in the colony. A quick side note. The colony is the best character in this entire movie, but that’s because it’s pretty much been lifted from Blade Runner, even Quaid’s apartment looks like a run down version of Deckards. Basically the Colony is a pseudo Chinese Japanese wonderland inhabited by pedestrians with paper parasols mired in perpetual rain, saturated with the colours of neon lighting. I can’t stress this enough it is a beautiful sight to see but only because It was taken from a far superior film.

 

So Quaid dissatisfied with his life goes to Recall after running into the obligatory girl with three breasts, Which is never explained but desperately needs to be. Because there are no mutants in this film, and there is no Martian colony so why do we have a girl with three breasts? other than the fact that one of the main things that people mention about the Original is; the girl with the three breasts. But I digress. Quaid goes to Recall to live out a spy fantasy, and it turns out he is Jason Bourne. So from now on we get the running, shooting, efficient fighting style, and quest to find out who he really is, that you get from one of the Bourne movies. Yes from here on things just go from bad to worst.

 

We have possibly the slowest ever car chase in the history of cinema, admittedly they are floating cars but they never seem to get any speed up, they just sort of plod along while the camera moves around trying to give the impression of speed, which never really takes. I’m guessing the only reason the cops didn’t get out and run up to Quaids car was the fact that it was floating several stories above the ground, because running would be a lot faster than the cars themselves.

 

Then Quaid finds his other self’s apartment (Huaser) where he activates a hidden hologram, by playing a piece of music on a piano, if it was the Moonlight Sonata I would have called Bullshit right there and then and walked out, because this is a puzzle lifted directly from the original Resident Evil on the play station. Basically what I’m saying is its ridiculous. Oh by the way the hologram of Hauser that Quaid calls up tells him that ‘This hologram can only answer specific questions’. Seen I Robot lately? Isn’t that how the film starts?

 

When Quaid is eventually led to the sans-belly mutant leader of the rebels. They hook his mind up to a Recall chair so they can access his memories and the information that he has. Turns out Quaid is a Mnemomic Courier (Johnney Mnemomic) because he had the Blueprints for all of the UFB’S robot army hidden in there, when they said he had information that could help the rebels they didn’t specify that it was blue prints, I thought it was going to be tactical information but no it seems someone who worked on this film is a fan of a pretty poor pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves film.

 

As a final kick in the pants to it’s audience this film never for one second leads you to believe that Quaid is still in a Recall chair, it asks you to consider it at one point when Quaids work buddy tries to convince him that he is stuck in his implanted memories waiting to be lobotomised. But there’s no subtlety to the scene and you know he’s chatting shit. The original film had the set up that Quaid asked for the blue sky on Mars scenario in Recall, and that’s how the film ends. There is no such similar situation in this remake; essentially you never doubt that it is all real. Possibly the biggest mystique about the original is; did Quaid get the happy ending because it’s what he asked for?

 

So finally to sum up, this film takes a load of different influences, spits out Bourne 2099, and then treats you like an idiot.

 Seriously Fuck this movie!!! Do yourself a favour, go out buy Blade Runner and the original Total Recall and watch them instead.

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The Watch

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So it’s another Ben Stiller action comedy. If you’ve seen Starsky and Hutch (2004), Dodgeball (2004), and Tropic Thunder (2008) you know what to expect.

Ben Stiller takes his usual role as a socially retarded man, who teams up with a few other oddball characters to create a neighbourhood watch group. You have the overly enthusiastic Bob (Vince Vaughn), the psychotic Franklin (Jonah Hill) and the English Jamarcus (Richard Ayaode). These unlikely heroes team up together to fight a threat from beyond the stars.

 

All the hallmarks of a Stiller comedy are here, the cruel sense of humour usually revolving around suffering, pain, social awkwardness, mixed with a good dose of the ribald. Along with your standard story of a group of mismatched individuals finding true friendship after a few falling outs.

 

The film is centred on Stiller and Vaughn as you would expect, but Hill and Ayaode put in excellent performances, each of them earning some genuine laughs along the way. Ayoade is very much in Moss mode here only a little more adult and sweary than we would expect our favourite IT technician to be. I have to admit it’s bizarre to hear him talking about getting his balls sucked by an Asian housewife; still made me laugh though.

 

I can’t fault this film because it did exactly what I thought it would do. It made me laugh, and despite my cynical nature I couldn’t but help be somewhat elated at the growth of the characters friendships. Ultimately I would say if you like the other Stiller films go see this, if you don’t then there’s nothing different here to make you suddenly like him, so watch ‘The Burbs’ (1989) instead because that film is awesome

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The Expendables 2

!!!Warning may contain spoilers!!!

I loved this film; it’s by no means perfect. Some of the older action stars deliver their lines a little woodenly; as if they are uncomfortable with being in front of the camera, the CG gore is back, and the in jokes are a little cheesy. But hell I don’t care because I got to see Arnold Schwarzenegger emptying hot lead into a crowd of mercenaries, the defining image of my childhood.

This is as close to a prestige action movie as you can get. All the greats are here and they all get involved this time. We get Schwarzenegger, Norris and Willis picking up weapons for the final throw down along with the regular Expendables; in an epic shoot out of almost commando like proportions, Which acts as a nice bookend to a movie that opens with one of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time. Its loud, it’s violent, and it’s dumb. It’s everything I’ve always wanted. Also it’s good to see a total lack of that shit bag Bourne series style of fighting that has dominated cinema for the last ten years. Instead we get big guys, with big muscles, pummelling the seven shades out of each other, Jet Li doing some martial arts, and Jason Stathem doing a good impression of someone doing martial arts.

One of the best things is seeing characters grow, albeit in very subtle ways. We learn Gunner is a genius (Incidentally Dolph Lundgren has a Masters in Chemical engineering in real life), Lee Christmas likes girls who cheat on him and possibly the best Hale Caesar with his culinary expertise and love for a nice cup of coffee while camping out (in the middle of a war zone). These idiosyncrasies really flesh out the characters and their relationship with one another.

Also I have to say hats off to Van Damme. He swaggers around like a corrupt decadent French aristocrat who regards people as nothing more than commodities for him to use. He has very few lines but the way he moves and looks at people tells you straight out; he just doesn’t care about you or anyone but himself, an absolute master class in action film villainy and no English accent for a change.

If you haven’t seen this yet go see it, if you have go see it again, because this is a film straight from the golden age of action cinema transplanted in 2012