Showing posts with label Tony Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Scott. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Enemy of the State

Tony Scott’s 1998 thriller Enemy of the State was the first film I ever bought on DVD. Though that disc has since gone walkabout, I remember going into my local Woolworths to buy a different film (an 18 Certificate whose title I can’t remember) but was told by the lady on the checkout that I didn’t look 18 and had to choose another one. Being around 14 I panicked and grabbed Enemy of the State, attracted by the picture of that guy from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on the cover. I remember enjoying the film all those years ago and marvelling at how modern it was. Unfortunately it hasn’t aged particularly well.

Will Smith plays D.C. Lawyer Robert Dean who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy and high profile assassination following a chance meeting with an old acquaintance from college. Without knowing it, Dean takes into his possession a video tape containing footage of the murder and is tracked by rogue NSA official Thomas Roberts (Jon Voight). With nowhere else to turn, Dean tracks down a shady communications expert called Brill (Gene Hackman) with the hope that he can clear up the mess he finds himself in.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Man on Fire

Midway through watching Man on Fire last night I wanted to look something up about it so paused it and put a search into Google. One of the top results was its IMDb score which was a very impressive 7.7/10. Now the IMDb is a great resource but its rating system is susceptible to the whims of the masses and as a result, many films which don’t deserve them get high scores. On a related note, Star Trek into Darkness just yesterday crept into the IMDb Top 250, perfectly illustrating my point. For me Man on Fire is another example of this sort of overly hyped mass critical reception. While at its heart there is a great revenge story, it is surrounded my poor musical choices and cinematography which is so ill judged that it made concentrating on and enjoying the movie close to impossible.

Mexico City is one of the kidnapping capitals of the world and to protect his daughter (Dakota Fanning), businessman Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) hires a bodyguard to protect her when she’s out of their home. The bodyguard is former Marine and covert-ops officer John Creasy (Denzel Washington), a man with a drink problem and issues connecting with other people. Unsurprisingly the child is kidnapped and in the ensuing fire fight, Creasy is seriously wounded. When on the mend, though still critically ill, Creasy takes it on himself to track down the girl’s kidnappers and on a revenge/killing spree gets closer and closer to ‘the voice’ a master kidnapper, responsible for the taking and murder of several children.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Taking of Pelham 123

2009’s The Taking of Pelham 123 is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. I haven’t seen that film so I can’t comment but the remake is a let down. A man by the name of ‘Ryder’ (John Travolta) takes control of a Subway train in New York City where he and three fellow hijackers take several hostages and demand $10m for their freedom. Ryder is in contact with a NYC train dispatcher called Garber (Denzel Washington) and the film follows his attempts to control the situation and stop any hostages from being killed.

The film starts off with an annoying frame rate which is reminiscent of watching strobe lighting. Thankfully this technique ends with the opening credits but it was a bad start to a poor film. At times it had my heart pounding, thanks in most part to a thumping techno soundtrack, but for the most part it was lifeless and dull. It is difficult to get excited about the film when the majority of the dialogue takes place via radio with Garber in his control room and Ryder in a Subway tunnel. When the action is taken outside these confines towards the end of the film, it picks up somewhat but by then it is too little too late.

I've got a goatee, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Denzel Washington does his thing of the everyman caught up in an extraordinary situation but John Travolta is completely unconvincing as a bad guy. Even with a gun to a passenger’s head he seems more like he’s playing a man who is a little bit naughty than the part of a deranged psycho with a score to settle. The supporting cast featuring John Turturro and James Gandolfini are given little to do and Gandolfini’s character of the Mayor takes off half way through the film, seemingly with a plan in mind, never to be seen again. It didn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps the edit messed up his character’s arc…

The film’s ending seemed rushed and was disappointing but to be fair even a fantastic ending wouldn’t have prevented the film from being just mediocre.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Grey

I read somewhere the other day that in the last three years, Liam Neeson has had more number one movies than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, George Clooney or Denzel Washington. This is down to movies such as The Grey. It is a no nonsense stupid action movie that draws in the teenage and young adult audience like a chav to a velour tracksuit.

Neeson plays John Ottway, who is employed by an oil company to kill wolves in the wilds of Alaska. During a flight back to Anchorage, the plane crashes, killing most on board but leaving a few survivors to fend off the isolation, bitter cold and a pack of ravenous wolves who seem hell bent on killing everyone. Joining Ottway in his quest for survival are a bunch of typical action movie characters; there’s a cocky, arrogant man who learns cooperation is better than going it along, an annoying, say what you think guy, a geeky type with glasses and a notepad and a few more cliché characters who have the task of speaking briefly with Neeson before being eaten alive. 

Fight for survival

The freezing Alaskan landscape creeps into the audience during the film. It feels very cold! You feel like the actors were really there, freezing their bits off. A faulty multiplex heating system also helps add to the cold feeling so I have our local Cineworld to thank for the freezo-vision.

The animatronic and CGI wolves look quite realistic and behave in a menacing way throughout. The human actors are also quite good and there is an unexpected emotional scene just after the crash which surprised me. It was really good.

The plot is fairly formulaic. It is obvious that the men will be picked off one by one until there is only one left, and I bet you can’t guess who that one will be? This being said, the ending was very satisfying. The film happily wastes 117 minutes of your life and goes along at a decent pace. There are some silly bits and plot holes and it is extremely annoying when Neeson, who is obviously in the wolf’s den, almost turns to camera and says “I’m in the fucking wolfs den!” But other than this, The Grey is thoroughly enjoyable.