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Homefront

tn_homefrontHOMEFRONT is a Jason Statham vehicle with an interesting pedigree: screenplay by Sylvester Stallone (Academy Award nominated writer of ROCKY), meth manufacturing villain played by James Franco (Academy Award nominated lead for 127 HOURS), James Franco’s girlfriend played by Winona Ryder (Academy Award nominee for LITTLE WOMEN and THE AGE OF INNOCENCE). Unfortunately the weak link is director Gary Fleder (CableACE Award winner for an episode of Tales From the Crypt), who’s just the guy who did KISS THE GIRLS and RUNAWAY JURY and stuff like that. He’s not terrible but also not the type of strong director that could shoot a bullseye with a simple story like this.

This is the second movie in a row where Statham starts out wearing a long hair wig. This time it’s because he’s a DEA agent undercover in a biker gang. He busts the kingpin Danny T (Chuck Zito), whose son gets shot to death by other cops. Danny and his gang want to kill the shit out of him for this so he has to shave his hair. Also he either goes into witness protection or just retires and moves to a small town somewhere in Louisiana.

His name is Phil Broker. Not alot of movie badasses named Phil. Respect for that. The name actually comes from the novel it’s based on by Chuck Logan, and there are several other books about Phil Broker. From the summary of the book it sounds like the movie is pretty similar except that in the book part of the reason he’s hiding out is because he foiled a terrorist plot in the previous book. So this might be a rare case where the action movie is more down to earth than the book version. A reverse EXIT WOUNDS.

mp_homefrontThe premise of this movie is cool because the conflict starts with a dumb little thing and snowballs into a war. Phil’s daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) gets picked on by a fat bully kid on the school playground, and since she’s Jason Statham’s daughter she knows a few moves and puts the prick down with a bloody nose (see also: Seagal’s niece in UNDER SIEGE 2).

In most stories that’s a funny moment when a female surprises a male with fighting skills. For example I just reviewed GREEN STREET 3 and that has a part where a guy is sexually harassing a female bartender so she twists his arm and makes him beg for mercy. Ha ha. Here the initial enjoyment of a bully getting his due is overshadowed by how much trouble it causes. Phil has to come into the school where the bully kid’s parents (Kate Bosworth and Marcus Hester) flip out on him and he ends up doing almost the same thing his daughter did – he pins the father to the ground by his neck, humiliating him in front of all the teachers, his wife, his son and the sheriff (Clancy Brown).

It’s that satisfying action star vehicle formula where people just cannot seem to figure out that they’re dealing with fucking Jason Statham here. They think they can push him around or send some thugs after him at the gas station or whatever, but he is always gonna be Jason Statham, who if he gets pushed is gonna Jason Statham them for sure. They should know better.

The mother, Cassie, is fucking furious about her husband looking like a pussy in front of everybody. She just won’t let it go. She goes to her crazy brother Gator (Franco) and begs him to go “mess with” Phil to get him back. So this turns into a WALKING TALL type situation where everybody’s harassing Phil and trying to scare him out of town and he has to keep violently defending himself, but also trying to hide from his daughter that anything’s wrong. Of course, Gator finds out about Phil’s secret past and tries to leverage that to his advantage.

Learn from Phil’s mistake, you guys: when you go into hiding don’t keep a file that shows photos of you in disguise with your fake name and a detailed account of what you did that people want to kill you for. I know it’s supposed to be good to be organized and keep records and everything, but this particular one is just not worth the risk.

In a way it’s like FIRST BLOOD, it’s a clash between egos that escalates out of control. But in that story both Rambo and Teasle are too stubborn to back down. In HOMEFRONT, Phil takes some advice to swallow his pride and go apologize even though it’s clearly the other party that should be apologizing to him. And he even smooths things over between the kids to the point that the bully is laughing and having a good time at Maddy’s birthday party. But, you know… fuckin Gator, man. Once you get him started…

It’s good to see Ryder in movies again. Now she’s playing damaged but likable characters instead of the smartest girl in the room, but she’s good at that too. And I didn’t really think about it until after the movie, but it’s cool that Franco gets to have a lady friend that’s from a previous generation of teen star instead of a younger one (like in SPRING BREAKERS). She’s only 7 years older than him, but you know how it is in movies, the men almost always have women that are way younger than them.

Cassie questions how Broker could afford the new truck he has, and that had me wondering too. Even if he gets some kind of allowance for being in witness protection it seems like he should have a job so as not to cause suspicion. But if he does have a job it seems to be carpentry, and his only gig is him and his friend Teedo (Omar Benson Miller from Fleder’s THE EXPRESS) fixing his own stairs.

Have you noticed how alot of action heroes have some friend who is basically a saint, who gives them all the information they need about everyone in town and are 100% selfless and loyal to them all the time and (SPOILER) also sacrifice themselves to save their pal? In this one it’s especially odd because he’s new in town and I don’t think they ever say Teedo is his old war buddy or anything like that. They must’ve met recently and they’re blood brothers for life. Hats off to Teedo. There could be no Phil Brokers without a few Teedos.

In this one Statham doesn’t even bother with his subdued accent, his International Statham. It’s weird that the locals are suspicious of him and outsiders in general but nobody ever comments on the accent. I guess the baseball hat fools ’em, like Clark Kent’s glasses. Or maybe his accent is supposed to be a metaphor for an American accent.

Anyway, this is a good one, but unfortunately the action scenes are presented in the standard shitty way we’re all becoming resigned to. Shaky camera and fast cuts that generally work against the flow of the action instead of with it. Not the worst post-action you ever saw, because sometimes you’re able to see a cool move from Statham, but it clearly could’ve been better. I think that’s the danger of a trend like this. Not long ago an undistinguished director would’ve shot all the action straight and if anything a little too bland. Now they feel like they gotta copy how other people are doing it these days, and that’s dangerous. Turns into a mess.

I noticed UNDISPUTED II fight choreographer J.J. Perry on the credits, but I guess he was stunt coordinator and not necessarily choreographer. IMDb doesn’t say who did that.

Despite the obvious weakness in action scenes I liked this movie quite a bit. It’s pretty much humorless, but I always like Stallone sincerity. There’s a surprising amount of humanity in it. None of the main characters are 100% bad guys. The Boz gives a great performance as an obnoxious, hateful bitch, but by the end of the movie I felt sorry for her. Not just in a pathetic way, because of her drug addiction. She also lightens up about the feud she started and realizes that it’s gone too far. She’s messed up but redeemable. This is actually the second time I’ve been surprised by Kate Bosworth in an actiony b-movie. Last time was THE WARRIOR’S WAY. If she keeps this up she could become one of my top Bozzes. Not #1 of course but up there near the top.

I was hoping Franco would go mega in this one. That seems like it would be the reason to sign on as the villain in a Jason Statham movie, especially a villain named Gator. But Franco takes the less obvious route of treating it very seriously and creating a character that’s scary but in some ways sympathetic. He has some dimension to him. When we first see him, his sister begging him to go harass Phil for her, he actually seems like the most reasonable member of the family.

He tries to calm her down. She comes to him for drugs, but he hesitates to give them to her, and sometimes refuses to. He mentions that he stopped using and that she could too. Before all the shit is gonna go down at the climax of the movie, when he’s making a big move with some bikers he can’t trust (led by Frank Grillo from WARRIOR and THE GREY), he falls off the wagon. So he has some vulnerability.

His nephew, the Boz’s son, who starts the entire conflict by shoving Maddie on the playground and stealing her hat, is a good example of the movie’s respect for its characters. The first time we see him clearly it’s a close up of his hateful bully smirk, the last shot of him is a closeup of him crying as he hears his mom and uncle arguing about drugs on the porch.

A weird thing about the movie’s history: Statham has said in interviews that it was originally written as a Rambo sequel. So Stallone rewrote the Phil Broker book to be about John Rambo, then went back to Phil Broker. It’s a pretty interesting idea, actually, to have Rambo living in an American town and running into problems with the locals. I don’t think there are many locals who wouldn’t end up regretting that. Also, if Rambo was living in some small town they could have a scene where he enters some kind of eating contest. You know about his training.

Statham is the most reliable action hero we have in mainstream western movies, so I wish we could consistently hook him up with directors who take the action parts seriously and have the proper skills to do a good job. A movie like this with fight scenes as good as the ones in the first TRANSPORTER would rate highly in my book. Until then this is in the upper half of his starring vehicles. A classic recipe with a little extra flavor. Just not quite the right temperature.

acr_homefront


VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 at 1:43 pm and is filed under Action, Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

50 Responses to “Homefront”

  1. >Or maybe his accent is supposed to be a metaphor for an American accent.

    this made me sensibly chuckle

  2. The accent seem to be the biggest obstacle for most action stars. We know that there are a few American stars that can do a passable English accent. And vice versa. But the tough guys not so much. Maybe they should all do what Adkins did in UNDISPUTED III and pretend to be Russian?

  3. I liked this one, and why shouldn’t I? It’s essentially the same plot as the movie I stole my name from. I like these movies with humble badasses who would really rather not punch you in the neck if it’s all the same to you, but if you insist… It’s more satisfying that way, because you know that these motherfuckers really have it coming. I’ve been saying for years that this is the kind of plot Steve Austin should do more of. I don’t really buy him as a SWAT team member or a special forces guy or whatever, but he’d be perfect for a blue-collar dude who just got out of the joint and now he just wants to settle down, except these assholes keep showing up and begging him to cave in their faces for them.

    The action in HOMEFRONT could be better, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. I could tell what was happening most of the time, and there were some good moves. I particularly liked the part where he brained a guy with a car battery. All in all it’s a better Bronson movie than the actual Bronson movie Statham remade a couple years ago.

  4. I really wish Statham would nail a role that gives him ICON status, like Sly with ROCKY and RAMBO and Schwarz with CONAN and TERMINATOR. He’s got the goods. Maybe it’s the directors who are letting him down. Like you said Vern, Gary Fleder was the weak link in this one. So were Nev/Taylor with the CRANKS. Hackford with PARKER.

    He’s clearly got a role model in, and support from Sly.

    I think Statham could have nailed the JACK REACHER role better than Cruise. He’s more genuinely tough. It’s not too late for Cruise to do an Alec Baldwin and jump the Jack Ryan rails.

  5. Cinematically, Fleder might be the weak link, but on television he did that glorious episode of Homicide where the dude got trapped between a train and the platform.

    Gotta give him props for that.

  6. Majestyk – and don’t you like that his daughter has been taught the same badass code? “I warned you *twice*” she says, disgusted, before beating up the bigger kid and taking her hat back.

  7. Fleder also directed THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD and a particularly good HOMICIDE episode with Vincent D’Onofrio.

  8. I would also like to see Stallone write more for current action stars. I like his sense of values, and really Bosworth was the scariest character. You knew no apology would be enough for her. She was the type of motherfucker who’s always trying to ice skate uphill.

  9. I really like THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU ARE DEAD, perhaps the most underrated Tarantino knock off, with a hilarious performance from Treat Williams as a character named Critical Bill. I thought Fleder was a promising director at first, it’s a real shame that he turned out to be a forgettable hack, still HOMEFRONT seems to be a step in the right direction.

  10. DENVER was ok. I remember liking it in the late 90’s. But I watched it recently and it didn’t hold up very well. I think it was going for the self-aware gangster thing that QT mastered. Andy Garcia does his usual slick guy thing. Treat Williams was the standout as always.

  11. I was pleasantly surprised by HOMEFRONT. I thought it was gonna be some goofy bullshit probably worth seeing just for Franco playing white trash satan. But he’s actually playing a character with human shadings. I almost felt bad for him when (spoiler) statham is pounding him into pulp.

    I thought some of the fight scenes were good, especially the gas station one. The editing could’ve calmed down a bit but it wasn’t horrible, and the camera didn’t shake excessively. I think they’re better made than the hand to hand fights in FAST 6, for instance. But the movie did bungle the movie’s most important fight (spoiler) between Frank Grillo and Statham. That should’ve been the badass centerpiece of the movie, and it totally fucked it up by making it a sidenote – intercutting between it and Winona Ryder (who was great in this) and the kid, and by shooting it in way too dark an environment.

    One thing I liked is that Clancy Brown’s sheriff wasn’t a corrupt or useless asshole. Just a regular sheriff who happened to have Gator for a confidential informant. There’s a scene where he pulls Statham over and instead of intimidating him like you might expect, he’s just genuinely worried about the guy’s safety but also concerned that this mysterious stranger could be trouble for the town.

    Darren – he’s not genuinely American though, and Reacher’s an all-american he-man.

  12. Dikembe – how important is it though? Arnies played a lot of American he-men and pulled it off. John Matrix in Commando, The Last Stand, True Lies. Statham would need some accent coaching to make him more American, but it’s not hard to conceive.

  13. Darren – Arnie still had explanations for his accent in some of his films, he mentions growing up in East Germany in Commando and refers to himself as an immigrant in The Last Stand.

  14. Sure hope Jason’s remake of “Heat”, the Burt Reynolds one comes out ok. I remember reading Vern’s review of both that one and also Reynolds’ “Malone.” Both are worth your time in looking into. (the reviews that is)

    Never having seen Malone and how well Vern described it I had to see it. Finally got the chance not that long ago and Vern described things to a Tee. Like him, I didn’t get the whole white supremacy angle either.

    Speaking of white supremacy and with it being Christmas, I recall Vern’s Christmas movie list from last year. On it he had anther gem I had never seen: Don Johnson’s “Dead Bang.” It, like Malone, had a plot line dealing with white power folk too. Strange how I had never seen either of those.

    Damn, I’m all over the map on this one. Need to get my ducks in order and stop using chemicals. I’m a bit buzzed at the moment.

    Happy Holidays everybody!

    Thanks for the recomendations and happy holidays.

  15. Yeah I guess the character of Reacher(who im only familiar with from the movie so far) can’t be tampered with if he’s written that way.

    But it wouldn’t have been too much of a stretch for Statham. He pulled off Parker(mostly) and Stark wrote him as American. And Parkers been played by an American, an American/Aussie and a Brit, that I’m aware of.

  16. As always when we discuss Statham Charles Bronson’s name turns up. And the comparison is more interesting now than ever because it’s 15-16 years since Statham first turned up. And give and take a year that’s the excact number of years it took from Bronson’s first lead to his big breakthrough. It is of course debatable if the next 10 years were as good for Charlie as the 10 previous, but debating is our game, right?

  17. Sofia Vergara’s screen name in HEAT is D.D. It’s a trap!!!

  18. Kate Bosworth really impressed me in this one. Nice work from her here.

  19. Dikembe: Not necessarily true. Reacher’s father was American but his mother was French, and he spent the vast majority of his life living on military bases all over the world. He didn’t actually live in the United States until he was in his late thirties, after he retired from the army. In fact, the premise of his book series is that he’s wandering around the U.S. to explore this land he spent his whole life serving but never got to know. So Statham as Reacher is not ideal, but if he tried to stifle the Cockney a bit, him having a kind of off-brand American accent would fit the character. He’s not 100% American and he never really will be. Also, let’s not forget that Reacher is written by a Brit as an outsider’s view of the classic American badass.

    Vern: Yeah, that was my favorite part. She’s indignant about it, too, like everybody should know that if you violate the two-warnings rule then you got an ass-kicking coming.

  20. Majestyk – good points. But all that just makes me think Cruise is already perfect for the role, since he perpetually comes off as an outsider to the human race trying to figure out how we work.

    Vern’s paragraph on Teedo reminded me that I really liked his dialogue. He was a good version of the weirdly-selfless-friend-character-with-no-concern-for-their-own-safety. There was also some pretty nice cinematography in this movie. The car chase at the end was really cool looking for me.

  21. I was totally against Cruise’s casting, but after I saw the movie I recognized that there was a certain logic in it. Cruise has an alien sociopathy to him that makes sense for Reacher. I like his performance in a vacuum but I still don’t think his take on the character fully works. A lot of Reacher’s tactics are based on the fact that he is a naturally scary motherfucker, which doesn’t make sense when you’re looking at somebody like Cruise. There’s also a sense of total self-comfort that Reacher should have that is completely beyond Cruise, whose entire existence is predicated on proving to the world how awesome he is at everything all the time. Cruise is by nature a showoff; Reacher doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.

    An example: There’s a car chase in JACK REACHER that wasn’t in the book, and wouldn’t be, because Reacher isn’t a particularly good driver. He gets the job done but he’ll be the first to admit that it’s not his forte. He just doesn’t give a fuck about cars. His whole life, he drove whatever vehicle the army issued him, so he doesn’t fetishize them. Cruise’s Reacher, however, is a stunt driver who can’t wait to get his hands on a slick muscle car. The Real Reacher would drive a golf cart if it would get him where he needed to go. The script maintains Reacher’s lack of vanity and intimidating presence, but little things in both Cruise’s presence and persona undermine the character as written.

  22. I was curious about that car chase. I have yet to read ONE SHOT. But I do remember reading about Reachers unprofficent driving skills in some of the books and wondering about whether that was actually in the book. Also, everyone seemed to have heard of Reacher before like he was some legendary hero, which for some reason I felt was weird.

  23. I also said Jason Statham IS Phil Broker in my review.

  24. My bad, every time we discuss Statham the Jack Reacher crowd shanghais the thread…But seriously Charles Bronson would have made a good Jack Reacher.

  25. Homefront taught me a lesson: It can be more entertaining to watch a movie with rednecks among your theatre audience rather than watching them portrayed onscreen.

    Allow me to backtrack:

    It’s Friday November 1st, and I’m in a sparsely-filled theatre watching an 8:00 P.M. showing of Ender’s Game. Two rows ahead of me are seated a couple not unlike Kate Bosworth’s Homefront character, and a typically/perpetually mesh cap-wearin’ kinda guy who accompanies such trashy wenches. Maybe her boyfriend, maybe her husband, one hopes not her brother. They seemed rather cozy together.

    So… the movie ends, the lights go up, and Mesh Cap pronounces in an all-too audible voice: “That wuz a STOOPID movie!”.

    To which I reply, automatically and with a lack of regard for personal safety, “No, Bubba… it was an intelligent movie. YOU’RE the one who’s stupid”.

    Oops. So he hears me, turns around with a look that’s 75% pissed and 25% indignant, squares up like he’s about to salute, and replies “Mah name’s not Bubba… it’s Cooter”.

    (And here’s where I almost blew it)… I replied with an expression on my face equal parts ridicule and pity: “Of course it is”. Bad move.

    He starts to move out to the aisle and back towards me, and suddenly his girlfriend/wife/hopefully not sister grabs him by the arm and scolds him: “Now Cooter, settle down! Remember that fella from the Avengers movie… he nearly beat you all to hell with the karate when you got into it with him!”.

    So he kinda glares at me for a moment, and then she leads him away saying (presumably calming words) stuff that I can’t quite make out.

    Was I bad? Maybe. Did I say things best kept to myself? Probably. Was it more fun that watching their counterparts onscreen five weeks later? HELLS yeah.

    Live and learn, guys. Just be careful how you do it.

  26. Reminds me of a joke – How do you circumcise a redneck? Punch his sister in the mouth.

  27. Amazing Larry – I just about spat out my coffee when you wrote the guy’s name was “Cooter.” That couldn’t get any better.

  28. pegsman- since the tough guy genes of Bronson is flowing through Reachers muscular veins you owe it to yourself to read the books

  29. Shoot, please don’t complicate things. After seing OBLIVION and finding out that it is possible to see movies with…him…I’ve decided to try JACK REACHER just to test the theory. If I go in knowing stuff I won’t make it.

  30. Back when Stallone was trying to revive interest in a fourth Rambo movie, he actually mentioned a couple of plotlines that were similar in tone. One involved Rambo moving his family away from the city and running afoul of Deliverance-style good ol’ boys. Another had Rambo and his wife working on military bases to help police meth activity. I assume one or both of those would’ve been adapted in part from Homefront.

    As for the film, I agree it’s among Statham’s better efforts. The fight scenes were a little too shaky but at least the violence was satisfying.

  31. I remember the rumor that the fourth (or maybe it was the fifth) would actually be a monster movie.

  32. yeah, I remember that, I think it was supposed to be a genetically modified “super soldier” run amok

  33. Yeah it was cause Stallone had the movie rights to this man vs. genetic monster novel titled Hunter. He was trying to get it off the ground for years and at some point went “Hey why not make it RAMBO 5?”. I think he’s still trying to get it made but not as the next Rambo movie.

  34. Sounds like this could be Stallone’s PREDATOR by way of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER.

  35. That somehow is reminding me of the time the 4th DIE HARD was going to be a jungle picture. Hindsight being what it is, it could have worked in turning around the cliches of the series by then. The parts of the Nakatomi building where a lot of the action takes place could be described as a jungle made out of steel, concrete, and glass, etc. Transferring it to a place where those concepts could be executed with Mother Nature could have made for an exciting picture.

  36. onthewall – maybe they saw what McTiernan did with MEDICINE MAN and thought better. McClane with a constant hangover in the jungle would be funny though. It might have worked as a RUNDOWN type action/comedy.

  37. Wait wasn’t TEARS OF THE SUN (or whatever that boring Fuqua movie was called) originally DIE HARD 4 or something like that?

  38. Since we’re off-topic, man alot of movie stars died today. Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin.

  39. what’s the theory about why post-action shaky cam and the like became a thing?

    my pet theory is that it’s less of a stylistic choice (at least at first) and more of a necessity due to the MPAA cracking down on violence post Columbine, now maybe it has nothing to do with Columbine but that seems to make sense to me, I mean it all started in the 2000’s right?

    either way, for whatever reason, the MPAA simply frowns on clear depictions of guys getting shot up in this day and age, forcing filmmakers to edit around it or only show it for a fraction of a second

  40. Bourne Identity was the first time I remember seeing a fight sequence in post-action. I think it was a stylistic choice for Bourne since the violence was never the point. Liman made it fit with the disorientation of the character, so for me it worked. Greengrass and his sequels lost me though.

  41. Dang, we lost Lawrence of Arabia and Billy Jack in one day.

    I don’t think shakycam has anything to do with the MPAA or Columbine. Movies are more violent than ever, just not the giant tentpole movies. As much as we like to think that lots of kids went to see R-rated blockbusters like ROBOCOP, ALIENS and T2 in the theater, and they did, just as many stayed home. Film studios can’t afford to limit their audience like that anymore.

    Post-action was due to a few different things. Digital editing made rapid, flashy, what-used-to-be-called-MTV-style-editing easier to pull off and more mainstream. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and especially THE BOURNE IDENTITY made wobbly handheld cameras a kind of shorthand for docu-realism and you-are-there immediacy.

  42. NARC also employed shaky post-traumatic-stress-cam which I thought fit the world of the undercover cops, mainly to emphasize Jason Patrics mental unravelling.

    Hand-held realism is not a new millennium idea but it’s definitely a popular one.

    Some 70’s films which come to mind that used hand-held for realism are ACROSS 110TH STREET and THE FRENCH CONNECTION as well as it’s sequel. And Frankenheimer used it in the 60’s in SECONDS and I think THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

  43. “Movies are more violent than ever”

    I’m not sure I believe this, horror movies maybe, but not action movies, I think the MPAA’s distinction is if it involves guns or not, you can hack someone up with a machete clearly but if you want to shoot someone it has to be glimpsed quickly

    I mean THE EXPENDABLES was pretty violent, but it all flashed by so fast you barely had a enough time to even register what you were seeing (and the fake looking CGI blood didn’t help either)

    anyway, THE BOURNE IDENTITY is the first movie I remember seeing it in too, I think over the years it has become equally a stylistic choice, which is why you see it even in non-violent car chases and the like, it’s just a “me too” syndrome at this point, every director sees every other director doing it so they figure that’s just the way it has to be done nowadays

    however, I still maintain that if a director did make a movie where the action showed people getting violently blown away crystal clearly, he’d run into trouble with the MPAA

  44. You guys are about 10 years off. NYPD BLUE started the shaky cam trend in 1993. It was supposed to give a sense of docu-realism to an otherwise standard cop show. And obviously some directors still think it works.

  45. It’s also a very convenient way of hiding the fact that “real actors” like Matt Damon can’t pull off the kinda moves that a guy like Jean-Claude Van Damme can.

  46. it all seems so fucking sloppy to me though, in fact that’s how I would define modern film-making, “sloppy”

    because it’s not just the way they shoot action, it’s also things like music and screenwriting, when was the last time you heard a score in a movie that was actually memorable? I can hum you John Williams’ Superman theme but I sure as shit don’t remember Hans Zimmer’s Man of Steel theme (was there even one?)

    and modern screenwriting is all about coming up with a list of out of context cool shit and then failing miserably to string those things together in a cohesive story that has actual flow and rhythm and isn’t just a bunch of shit thrown together (STAR TREK INTO CONFUSION, MAN OF BLOAT)

    about the only thing they put any actual effort into anymore is CGI, but with CGI companies dropping like flies, how much longer will that last?

  47. The big question is why they still do it, when TV moved on decades ago. For references, look the action in JUSTIFIED or STRIKE BACK.

  48. It is an effective way of immersion if doing it correctly, like in THE SHIELD. It works because of the realistic feel. It should make you feel like if you are at those seedy L.A locations in THE SHIELD with the characters.But for uses in staging action-sequences I do not approve of this method.

  49. The camera does not have to be bolted in the floor or anything. I liked how the fights were shot in THE RAID, giving the choreographed fights some more dynamic nerve and they felt less static than usual in martial arts films while still maintaining the quality of showcasing the talent on screen.

  50. This was actually pretty solid, and *SPOILERS* – I kinda like that with the exception of Grillo (who’s a pretty minor character) – pretty much everyone lives. Bosworth (who really commits here) gets shot and lives, Franco and Ryder get arrested, Clancy Brown as the corrupt sheriff doesn’t get killed like you think he would. Even the black friend who sacrifices himself for Statham shows up ok after getting shot point blank with a shotgun. Pretty much every character that would die in any other movie lives here. Hell, I was expecting the catnapped cat to get strung up to show how nasty these bad guys are, but even the cat (and the horses) live!

    As a modest cross between Walking Tall, Roadhouse, Breaking Bad and High Noon (I think that’s what they were going for with the Grillo character), you could do much worse than this one.

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