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Posts Tagged ‘John Cena’

The Suicide Squad

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

THE SUICIDE SQUAD, from writer/director James Gunn (SLITHER, SUPER, writer of TROMEO & JULIET and DAWN OF THE DEAD) is kind of miraculous as far as these big ol’ corporate franchise movies go. Imagine the odds against a director starting out as a writer at Troma, making some well-liked-but-not-super-successful hard-R comedies, then going mainstream with two beloved Marvel hits, then being temporarily fired by Disney due to right wing trolls feigning offense at his old tweets, and spending his time off going over to a different comic book universe to make a super gory and death-filled but heartfelt sequel to someone else’s widely-hated part 1, building off of his horror comedy past, the skills he built on his GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movies, and what was fun about that first SUICIDE SQUAD movie, to make something really special?

Though I didn’t hate David Ayer’s 2016 SUICIDE SQUAD the way most seem to have, I had many complaints. I suspect he had a more sensible version before the studio literally hired the trailer company to re-edit it, but even in its present form I think the movie deserves praise for establishing a rowdy, cartoony take on the DC Universe that BIRDS OF PREY and now this were able to riff on and use as a jumping off point. And of course even bigger than that is its casting of Margot Robbie (THE LEGEND OF TARZAN) as Harley Quinn, as close to a universally beloved character and portrayal as has ever come out of such a widely hated movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

F9: The Fast Saga

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

F9: THE FAST SAGA, a.k.a. FAST 9, actual onscreen title: FF: F9, is not the Platonic ideal of a FAST AND FURIOUS movie. That would be FURIOUS 6 or FAST FIVE. But if Plato is anything like me he would’ve appreciated this one for what it is. I don’t know how much of a grump he was.

(lots of spoilers here of course)

This is the first FAST movie since 2003’s 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS that’s not written by Chris Morgan, instead being credited to Daniel Casey (KIN) & director Justin Lin (HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES) with a story by those two & Alfredo Botello (uncredited revisions on TOKYO DRIFT). They’ve come up with a patchwork that certainly shows the dangers of a movie series going on for twenty years with at least half that time spent trying to top itself in size and ridiculousness each time out. But for me it has a much better balance of preposterous action and sincere melodrama than, at the very least, HOBBS & SHAW and FATE OF THE FURIOUS. It has more and better spectacle than your average movie, but also requires that you like the characters and themes of the series to enjoy it. In fact, in between a car somehow Tarzan-swinging across cliffs on a rope and another one being (as you’ve surely heard) launched into space, you’re gonna spend a surprising amount of time in 1989 when Dominic Toretto’s dad (J.D. Pardo, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2, SNITCH) was killed in a racing accident and Dom went to prison for beating another driver (Jim Parrack, FURY) with a wrench. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bumblebee

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Weird, but true: turns out you can make a TRANSFORMERS movie that’s sweet and funny, with sensible, reasonably concise storytelling that never feels like it’s whacking you in the face with a frying pan, and has characters you can care about. Even a human female one! All you gotta do is get the director of KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS and a script by Christina Hodson (SHUT IN, BIRDS OF PREY).

Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg are both listed as executive producers, but BUMBLEBEE definitely feels more like the latter, taking heaps of inspiration from E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL but none that I noticed from ARMAGEDDON. Set in 1987, it does work as a prequel to Bay’s TRANSFORMERS (2007), telling the story of a soldier robot who flees the war on his home planet of Cybertron to hide out in California disguised as a car and wait for the others while evading the secret government agency Sector 7 and two evil Decepticon robots voiced by Angela Bassett (STRANGE DAYS) and Justin Theroux (MIAMI VICE).

But that’s all going on in the midst of a teen movie centering on Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld, 3 DAYS TO KILL), who has just turned 18 and has been going through some shit ever since her dad (Tim Martin Gleason) died suddenly an unspecified few years ago. She resents that her mom (Pamela Adlon, THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE) has a dorky new husband (Stephen Schneider, 2012: SUPERNOVA), she fights with her little brother Otis (Jason Drucker, BARELY LETHAL) and gets into it with mean girls like Tina (Gracie Dzienny) and hunky asshole Tripp Summers (Ricardo Hoyos, Degrassi: The Next Generation) who embarrass her while she’s working at Hot Dog on a Stick. Not necessarily unrelated, her favorite band is The Smiths. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Reunion

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

tn_reunionTHE REUNION is another entertaining and kinda unexpected release from the prestigious WWE Studios. Even more than INSIDE OUT it doesn’t really follow THE MARINE’S approach of just sticking one of their wrestlers into the lead of a formula action movie. This one’s an ensemble crime comedy with only one wrestler, WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World or whatever John Cena, as Sam, one of three estranged brothers forced to work together in a family business to earn a big-ass inheritance. The other two brothers are Leo (Ethan Embry), a fast-talking fuckup bail bondsman, and Douglas (Boyd Holbrook), a James Dean type leather-jacket wearing, brooding, fresh-out-of-lockup half brother they didn’t even know about ’cause he grew up in youth homes. Embry wears an I’m-quirky-and-sort-of-retro hat like Michael Rapaport in INSIDE OUT or like a less boneheaded Matt Dillon in THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. (read the rest of this shit…)

12 Rounds

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

tn_12roundsI think I owe each and every one of you an apology, because I’ve been neglecting my duty by not seeing 12 ROUNDS until now. The thing has been out on video for a month or two – how are ordinary citizens gonna know whether to watch a Renny Harlin/WWE Films tag team event if I don’t test it out first? Honestly I planned to see it in the theater, but the PG-13 kept me away. Let that be a lesson to you, Fox Atomic. Next time go for a hard-R, maybe you won’t go out of business.

From the director of DIE HARD 2 and the plot of DIE HARD 3 comes this generic but enjoyable festival of property destruction. Wrestler turned wrestler who is in movies John Cena plays Danny, a New Orleans police detective who one year ago arrested a terrorist or arms dealer or something named Miles (Aiden Gillan from THE WIRE – that’s where all the cheesy villains come from now). Miles’s girlfriend randomly got run over at the scene and he blames Danny so he’s after him With a Vengeance. (I’m not sure if he’s already gotten revenge on the guy who drove the car.) (read the rest of this shit…)