Our country has never been more polarized, and facts have never been as important as they are now. But despite our differences, we should all be able to come together with pride to denounce that the new, R-rated, raunchy, gory, silly "America: The Motion Picture" tries way too hard at pretty much everything it attempts to do.
This might be the revisionist history we deserve, but it's more of a missed opportunity.
We've come to expect implausible, over-the-top ridiculousness in the "Fast & Furious" movies...heck, we almost rely on it.
But with "F9," the franchise is dealt a critical blow in that it forgets to be fun. Yes, in a film series where it is completely acceptable for cars to jump from skyscraper to skyscraper, where the laws of physics and all beliefs are permanently suspended, where men and women have perfected the ability to leap unscathed from exploding vehicles, "F9" is the first chapter that feels tired, uninspired, lazy and most egregiously of all for a "Fast & Furious" film, stuck in second gear.
If you were a fan of the original 2017 action-comedy, "The Hitman's Bodyguard," there is almost no way that you won't also like its sequel, "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard." That's because it's essentially the same movie, with the same primary cast, writer and director, but it's a lot leaner (shorter), tighter and funnier than its predecessor.
Did we need a sequel to "The Hitman's Bodyguard"? Nah. But in a world where Intellectual Properties reign supreme, there are worse universes to find yourself thrown back into.
Zack Snyder has worked his way into the hearts of millions and is one of the most talked-about directors of the past year. The "Zack Snyder Cut" of "Justice League" that was recently released was well-received and dreamed into fruition by his fervent fan-base. But long before he ever took on The Caped Crusader and his Super-Friends, Snyder cut his teeth on a zombie movie...a George Romero zombie movie no less...the 2004 remake of "Dawn of the Dead." It was Snyder's first feature-film and he returns to world of the undead with his own original zombie tale, "Army of the Dead."
Yes, it's way too long (it is a Zack Snyder film after all), and it never quite lives up to its outstanding opening sequence. But sometimes it's nice to just rest one's brain, and that particular muscle is not at all needed to enjoy this one. "Army of the Dead" definitely pays tribute to the zombie genre, in that mindlessness is not only welcome, it's the main dish.
If only it didn't take itself so seriously.
"Wrath of Man" is a tough-guy action-film featuring characters with names like Bullet, Hollow Bob and Boy Sweat Dave, who all talk in witty sound-bites and phrases typically found in movies but not in real life. In other words, of course it's directed by Guy Ritchie, the director of other like movies such as "Snatch," "RocknRolla," "Revolver" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."
But instead of simply existing as a stylized heist movie and finding comfort in that, the convoluted plot of "Wrath of Man" turns this into an over-long, shoot-em-up that devolves into mindlessness the further it goes along.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold," Khan tells Captain Kirk, in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." That film also featured Spock, an alien being who otherwise, was not capable of human emotion. Spock would have had what it takes to star in "Tom Clancy's Without Remorse," since showing emotion is not a prerequisite. Its subject, played by Michael B. Jordan, is a ruthless, cold and unfeeling individual who kills, kills, kills as he tries to hunt down his wife's murderer.
"Without Remorse" is a revenge tale not just served cold, but without any spice or flavor. It's a bland genre entry that renders its star useless. And come to think of it, Spock would have never touched this film, seeing how monumentally illogical the whole thing is.
You're alone. You turn on the TV as not to alarm anyone in the house. You survey the room. You see your wife gracefully picking up a toy, clearly she must have a child. Probably toddler age. You see a toddler run naked into the room. Suspicions confirmed. You begin to focus. You settle in to watch a movie. That movie is called "The Virtuoso." You think the movie should be good. You notice the credits say that it stars Anthony Hopkins. You note that he is now a two-time Oscar winner, having won previously for his role in "The Silence of the Lambs." You remember you also liked him in that show "Westworld." You are inspired by your own knowledge of Oscar history and HBO. You turn up the volume. You crack open a beer. You wait.
If you were a kid in the 90s, there's a great chance that your parents did not let you anywhere near the "Mortal Kombat" video-game. The game alone, with its ultra-realistic graphics, excessive violence and its patented "fatalities" end-moves sparked a national debate on video-game violence and led to the creation of a video-game ratings system that is still in use today.
In other words, it was super bad-ass. "Mortal Kombat" was the bloody cousin of the neutered "Street Fighter" franchise, and it has since grown into one of the most massive, successful video-game properties of all-time, spawning more than 20 game versions, a 1995 film (and it's horrible 1997 sequel) and now this 2021 movie incarnation.
Like it's big-screen predecessor, the new "Mortal Kombat" knows its audience and in that vein, it delivers what's expected. If you were offended then, you'll most likely be offended now, and if you're new to the whole thing, you probably won't think that this is anything all that special at all, given that blood, gore and violence have become pretty mainstream across all mediums, since the "Mortal Kombat" video-game debuted back in 1992.
Those that choose to watch monster movies such as "Godzilla vs. Kong" do not have very high expectations. They're not looking for an intricate plot, Oscar-worthy performances or clever twists. They just want to watch these monsters wreak havoc, and beat the hell out of one another.
With that in mind, "Godzilla vs. Kong" checks all the boxes you'd expect it to: Intricate plot? Nah. Oscar-worthy performances or clever twists? Nope and nope. Havoc being wreaked, and lots of beatings? You betcha.
But sadly, while the ingredients are all there, the two heavyweights on the title card don't share the screen quite enough...a real letdown for a film called "Godzilla vs. Kong." And the "fun" spirit of "Kong: Skull Island" is discarded for the more serious overtone of the past two "Godzilla" movies, which makes this one clunker of a clash.
If the crime-action-farce "Nobody" seems oddly familiar to you, it's probably because you've pretty much seen it before when it was called "John Wick." But coming from a critic who did not like "John Wick" or "John Wick 3" ("John Wick 2" was admittedly pretty cool), I actually think that "Nobody" does it better.
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