Category: Films

Bad Boys II

Bad Boys II [2003]

Director: Michael Bay
Actor: Will SmithMartin LawrenceGabrielle UnionTheresa RandleJoe PantolianoPeter StormareHenry Rollins

Let me start out by saying that when I walked into the movie theatre last night, I fully expected to get the same as in Bad Boys, just more of it. And I was right. Bad Boys II is almost the same as Bad Boys except that everything’s a little more. More beautiful women (Theresa Randle as hot hot hot!), more guns (bigger, mostly), more explosions, more funny shit, nicer cars (Ferrari instead of Porsche) and just more insanity. If you liked Bad Boys, then you’ll like this. And if you’ve seen Bad Boys, then you sorta know what this film is going to be like so I’m not going to bother with breaking down the story.

A few points that I found interesting:

  • Yesterday I watched the first ten minutes of The Cell, and it struck me that it has been a while since I was so immersed in a film that I was sad to see it was over. I remember being a kid and not wanting the films to end because they were so cool. I started to wonder why that was, and when I was watching Bad Boys II, I got a pretty good idea…

    I think it has to do with the way movies – especially action films – are cut; everything’s fast cut, changing angles and POVs, places and sometimes even time so fast that you can’t really settle into the scene. You’re constantly changing directions and the director keeps you in a constant state of confusions, which, I suppose, could be seen as a good thing, considering the almost pro forma state of action and violence.

  • I was very pleased to see the introductions of a bad boy Yardie gang into this film, because, to be honest, it’s a threat that has yet been overlooked by most cinema. Sure, there was Predator II and Marked for Death, but the films portraying these gangs, gangs with such self-sacrificing drive, mysticism and predispostion towards violence in real life that they often just come off as ludicrously portrayed while in all actuality it’s closer to fact than fiction.
  • One of the things that they stepped up more is the goofy inaptitude of Martin Lawrence and the “I’m an over-the-top cop with a badge, a gun and a trustfund” coolness of Will Smith. Smith couldn’t do anything wrong in the entire film – even though Lawrence’s character criticised him for killing potential suspects, etc. they really didn’t do a good job of conveying how much of a lose cannon Smith’s character was – and Lawrence wasn’t able to do anything right. And even when he did, all the way near the end, Smith’s “That’s how I want you to shoot! From now on you _always_ shoot like that!” bit just didn’t accentuate the fact that it was Lawrence’s dedication and not Smith’s bad-assedness that saved the day.
  • As seen in the opening shot of Panic Room, Michael Bay made use of a camera technique where it seemed the camera was moving through tight holes in objects. In Panic Room it was still rather crude – I think Fincher came up with it, or something – but Bay perfected it during a shoot-out in a Yardie hide-out with the camera spinning around a wall, with on one side Smith and Lawrence, and on the other side a squad of pissed of Yardies. Very well done.
  • Oh, right, I almost forgot; this film is gratuitous in it’s violence, gore and it’s want for shock. It wasn’t bad, but it did make me cringe sometimes…because of what they were doing to their rating, rather than their display of blood and brain.

Romper Stomper

Romper Stomper [1992]

Director: Geoffrey Wright
Actor: Russell Crowe

If this film would have been found credited on the credits of American History X, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all. Though definitely not the same movie, it deals with Neo Nazism and hate crimes.

Hando (Russel Crowe) is the head of the Melbourne skinhead faction fighting against the “Yellow Danger” – asian immigrants settling in Melbourne. He believes in the words of Adolf Hitler, and reads Mein Kampf like some read the bible.

When his favourite pub gets bought out by Vietnamese people, wanting to turn the bar into a restaurant, Hando and his crew declare war on the Vietnamese. They underestimate the ferociousness and tenacity with which the Vietnamese fight back and are forced to retreat back to their headquatres. The retreat doesn’t seem to be enough, and their HQ is trashed and burned by the enraged Vietnamese. The survivors of the fight lay low and start plotting a way to get revenge.

During all of this, Davey, Hando right hand man and best friend, finds himself falling in love with Hando’s girlfriend Gabe, a troubled girl with a history of serious drug use and the victim of incest at the hands of her wealthy father. As Hando gets more and more obsessed with revenge, Davey falls more and more in love with Gabe.

The film feels like it wants to go somewhere, wants to reach a point in the story, but constantly falls short and takes another direction. Too many loose ends and a pretty weak and shoddy plot keeps this film from being a mainstream film.

The rest of the movie is pretty good, though. Rough and quick editing, the fast cinematography. It’s all cut and put together pretty well.

The Italian Job

The Italian Job (2003) [2003]

Director: F. Gary Gray
Actor: Mark WahlbergCharlize TheronDonald SutherlandJason StathamSeth GreenMos DefEdward Norton

I liked this film. Oh yes, I did. The people I went to see it with, notably Sam, didn’t like it at all. I don’t care about her opinion. It’s obviously wrong when they blow the pavement out from under an armoured truck in order to have it drop down into a subway tunnel. There has to be something wrong with Sam’s opinion don’t you think? I do. :)

Sure, the acting is pretty appaling. Mos Def’s pretty good, Seth Green basically plays himself…but the rest is pretty fucking bad. But that’s the thing…that’s not a problem when you’ve got people driving tuned Mini Coopers through the stormdrains. At that moment, it’s all you need. This film is the equivalent of a good beach read. Definitely worth the 2 hours you’ll waste of your life.

Terminator 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]

Director: Jonathan Mostow
Actor: Arnold SchwarzeneggerNick StahlClaire DanesKristanna LokenMoon Bloodgood

Okay, I admit it, I laughed pretty fucking hard when I saw Ahnuld “talk to the hand,” and I really enjoyed all the new visions of the future, and I even like the plotline of the film – although it was really fucking thin. I liked the casting of Stahl as John Conner – even though he has something…whiny over him – and I like Claire Danes’ character, because she seems so straight laced, and an unlikely lieutenant to the great John Conner. Until, of course, she picks up a full automatic assault rifle. I also loved looking at Kirstanna Loken. Loved it!

But the story was too meager to warrant a movie. It was like…like a short story instead of a novel, you know? I fucking hate short stories, they’re not meaty enough for me, and even though I can get over the fact that the Terminator is an aging mainstream action movie icon, I want my films to have some substance! I mean, it wasn’t like I was watching Chicago, but still…