Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Movie: Man of Tai Chi

Keanu Reeves directs, both in reality and story, the fall and redemption of the heir to a Tai Chi school. This martial art is noted as being very "soft" and meditative, and rumored as very powerful when grudgingly applied in earnest. A wealthy death match coordinator discovers and grooms him, unto facing his own consequences. Stylish and with a notable soundtrack, this comes together much better than most tales of the genre. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Movie: The Numbers Station

A competent, compact drama/thriller. Her job is to inform black ops agents of their missions - just transforming and relaying encrypted messages. His job is to protect her, until he's told the opposite. Everyone - that being a very small number of authoritative & violent anonymous persons - seem too bent on her demise. 

Engaging and taut, a little retrospection questions why those unbreakable codes are cracked so fast, and the sequencing is rather cliched. The happy ending doesn't want to be. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie: Safe

Jason Statham makes one kind of movie. This time around, the down & out yet supremely capable hero finds life's purpose in protecting a girl whom many disreputable characters seem very intent on acquiring. The McGuffin is her uncanny ability to memorize, and what she has done so with. As always,  his unvarying purpose is to protect the McGuffin through extraordinary skilled violence and an uncanny ability to connect arcane knowledge of the criminal underworld to bring down the powerful who seek it. As always, the result is an entertaining and not entirely shallow slugfest. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Movie & Book: Jack Reacher - One Shot

James Barr was obviously guilty of the crime. Textbook case. Jack Reacher was so mad at him he came out of nowhere to bury him - not knowing Barr had asked for him. The ex-military "man with no name" will do whatever it takes to see justice is done, finding the truth by eliminating the impossible and accepting the improbable. 

Both the book and movie depict this popcorn thriller in textbook fashion. Not deep, but enough so to be engaging. Of course they differ, but only as a matter of allotted time, settings, and actors (imagined vs, well, Tom Cruise).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Movie: The Hunter

There is a category of movies seldom noted: well done quality dramas which few would ever choose to watch if not for the deceptive previews. Not action, not comedy, not compelling, yet must be advertised as such for any market penetration. Good movies nobody would complain of watching, but which would not be chosen for what they are. The Hunter, of course, is one. Superb acting depicting a moving drama, telling of a hired gun's emotional bonding with an unwitting host family and the betrayals of all involved. One action scene aside, it is anything but. Worth watching, but hard to imagine someone knowingly choosing to.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Movie: From Paris With Love

John Travolta likes playing over the top sociopaths.
Waaaaaay too much.

Movie: Assassination Games

Jean Claude Van Damme returns for his most cerebral role yet: an assassin teaming up with another to take down a drug cartel. The reasons are deep and moving, insofar as a hard hearted loner can have deep and moving reasons. JCVD has abandoned his drug-fueled violent dance extravaganzas and moved on to gritty dramas - and by gritty I mean akin to a breakfast of asphalt. If you liked Se7en or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo you'll want to see this; if not, don't.