Dec. 25th, 2012

innocent_man: (tick)
Jackie Chan's First Strike, since that's the full title, technically should have gone under "J", but fuck it, we already watched it. It's one of his Police Story series; I think the only other one I've seen was Super Cop, and I can't really remember.

Anyway, Jackie Chan plays himself as a Hong Kong cop working with Interpol to track down an arms dealer (I think), but then he gets mixed up with FSB, sent to Australia to find the sister of the CIA double agent who's stealing a nuclear warhead. And then there's this climactic underwater battle with a killer shark and POW! Everything is fine.

Well, there's more to it than that, but honestly you don't watch this movie for the plot. The plot is pretty straightforward, though I don't know how much of that is due to the dubbing job. I know it was released in (mostly) Mandarin, and I don't know how much of that changes things. But really, the awesome bits of the movie are Jackie kicking ass with various household implements. The scene where he takes on a gang of folks with a stepladder is pretty amazing, especially when you stop to remember that he does all that shit himself (always the takeaway message to a Jackie Chan flick).

Personally, I like Rumble in the Bronx better; the fight scenes are more interesting and the story is easier to follow and more compelling, but this is fun, too. Plus he wears koala underwear.

My grade: B-
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Flatliners
innocent_man: (buttons)
Flatliners is a 1990 film starring Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt and Billy Baldwin in some wacky medschool hijinks, directed by Joel Schumacher.

OK, not so wacky. Actually, I really like the premise of this movie. The characters are a group of med students, at the top of their class. One of them, Nelson (Sutherland) has the bright idea to experiment with life after death by inducing brain death and having the others revive him. As he puts it, "Philosophy failed. Religion failed. Now it's up to the physical sciences."

They all have their own reasons for going along with this, of course. Steckel (Platt) is writing a memoir. Hurley (Baldwin) wants to be rich and famous. Lebraccio (Bacon) is Nelson's friend, but also thinks this is all bullshit and wants to be right about that. And Manis (Roberts) is obsessed with NDE anyway.

Nelson "dies" for a few minutes, and comes back talking about his senses being finely tuned, comforting presence, blah blah. But after Hurley does the same thing, odd things start happening - a pivotal moment from the characters' pasts haunts them. In Nelson's case, said pivotal moment is a 9-year-old kid he accidentally knocked out of a tree and killed when he was a boy, and that kid shows up at random points and beats the shit out of him. In Hurley's case, he sees images of the women he cons into bed and then secretly videotapes (he's engaged, by the way). Labreccio sees a little girl he used to bully at school, while Manis sees her long-dead father.

Steckel never flatlines, and that's actually a complaint I have about this movie. I like Platt's character. He's rational and well-spoken, but he's also a privileged ass. He never really risks anything (other than by participating, which I guess is something), but he talks like he has a stake in all this to match the others. I would have liked to have seen that character with a few skeletons in the closet.

But that's actually a pretty minor point. The movie works fairly well, and I like that it never really explains what's going on. The characters make a lot of assumptions - it's people we've wronged who want revenge (by the way, Manis makes that suggestion to Labreccio, and he responds, "I don't know how it works," and then the next day, she says "You said it yourself, people we've wrong want revenge" - no, honey, you said that), we need to make amends, atone, gain closure, it's God, it's the dead, it's the afterlife, who knows. It does seem to be the case that it's not so much the most pivotal thing that a character does (you can't tell me that bullying a classmate was the worst thing Labreccio ever did) as what that character holds onto the tightest. Likewise, we see it in that character's context. Hurley, based on some of the things that his phantom women say to him (implied to be lines he used on them) has come perilously close to date rape, but when his fiancee finds the tapes and leaves him, he sticks to "those women meant nothing to me" - he hasn't learned a lesson, but that's the end of his character arc. Are these flatlines, then, less about making karmic balance and more about dredging up the worst in a person's own mind, giving it a voice or a pair of fists (or a hockey stick) and letting it go to work? Is it a Jungian shadow?

(Can you tell I've seen this movie a bunch of times and played a lot of Wraith: The Oblivion?)

Anyway, it's good movie in premise and in performance. The script and set design are a little overwrought, but y'know, Schumacher. This is a flick I could see getting remade with some success, though you'd maybe have to compensate for the fact that we totally know more about NDE than this movie wants to admit.

Oh, and another thing: I could see this movie as an RPG. I don't know what game, exactly. Probably something froofy and indie. But four guys, one girl, with all the guys trying to either fuck or protect her? Yeah. That's totally how it would go in a lot of circles.

My grade: B+
Rewatch value: Medium-high, but I admit I'm weird

Next up: Hmm. Well, technically Brave (I got some movies for Xmas), but we've already scheduled Fletch, so it'll be one of those two.

Profile

innocent_man: (Default)
innocent_man

January 2013

S M T W T F S
  12 345
67 89101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:45 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios