Archive for the ‘McG’ Category

Parisian Reunion

3 Days to Kill

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Director: McG

Cast: Kevin Costner, Connie Nielsen, Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard, Tomas Lemarquis, Richard Sammel

French screenwriter and director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) teams up with This Means War, Charlies Angels and action TV series director McG in an uneven tale of a professional CIA hitman, Ethan Renner, expertly played by an aged Kevin Costner who after a botched operation in Belgrade returns to Paris to reunite with his estranged wife and daughter, Christine and Zooey Renner, played by Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) and a brilliant Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). Renner learns that he has a rare form of brain cancer which prompts his sudden and awkward reunion with his Parisian family while discovering that he has really been an absent father to the now teenage and rebellious daughter Zooey.

In the scenes between Costner and Steinfeld, the narrative works beautifully but in between all this familial reunion is a spy plot involving a femme fatale CIA agent Vivi Delay seductively played by Amber Heard (The Rum Diaries) who coerces Renner back into operations as a professional assassin in a bid to discover the whereabouts of The Wolf played by German actor Richard Sammel (Casino Royale, Inglourious Basterds) who is viciously protected by a henchman The Albino, played by crystal clear blue-eyed rogue Icelandic actor Tomas Lemarquis.

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In between the vicious action sequences and Renner’s constant attempts to reconnect with his teenage daughter is an elliptical narrative which will often confuse and confound audiences, but nevertheless entertain them. Overall impression of 3 Days to Kill was that is was a typically European action film in the vein of Taken or Unknown, directed by the wrong director. If Luc Besson himself had directed 3 Days to Kill, the uniformity of vision in the films narrative would help bolster the general credibility of the story, that of an aged assassin who wants to reconnect with his family before his dying days commence. As screenwriter Besson as displayed in the Taken franchise definitely has a penchant for setting his stories about tough old fathers reconnecting with their vulnerable daughters.

3 Days to Kill is slick, flashy and generally entertaining especially with such stars as Costner and Steinfeld playing father and daughter in a rather tender scene on the steps of Le Sacre Coquer, but generally the Parisian locations do little to bolster the overall vision of this Nikitaesque type film. Naturally Amber Heard makes the best of her roles as the lethal CIA operative Vivi, complete with dazzling outfits and sleek sportscars. 3 Days to Kill is not a terrible film, but it could have been so much tighter, better plotted and conceptually driven if Besson (The Lady, Leon, The Professional) had taken the reigns as director.

American action director McG (also known as Joseph McGinty Nichol) should stick to the type of comic action films like This Means War and The Charlie Angels franchise and avoid delving into a far more European aesthetic. It simply does not suit his episodic style which he naturally got as TV director for the popular action series Chuck and Nikita. 3 Days to Kill is a fun, but not a provocative or gripping thriller.

Return of the Hairy Man…

Return of the Hairy Man: Wolverine, Terminator Salvation and Zack and Miri make a Porno…

So in these time of global economic gloom, a clean-shaven, metrosexual is not your saviour. Besides all these good-looking, well-dressed beautifully groomed corporate types were the ones lending money out to those hapless citizens who were fiscally irresponsible. Investing in outlandish off-shores accounts, allowing an international unregulated banking system to flourish in a world where credit was supreme, and sensibilities had gone out the window. In the times of a crisis, strong hairy men are here to save the world!

That’s if the batch of summer blockbuster action and comedy films is anything to go from the archetypal X-Men Origins: Wolverine directed by South African Gavin Hood to the hilariously off the coffee counter, Zack and Miri make a Porno. Whether the world has come to a sticky and apocalyptic end in the monochromatic world of Terminator Salvation, with an unshaven Christian Bale as John Connor, all grown up and ready to take on Skynet or audiences discover the real origins of the gorgeously sexy hairy beast of a man, well, mutant, Wolverine who along with a band of fellow unshaven mutants is out to wreck havoc on an suspecting America, the truth be told that clearly the Hairy Man has returned!

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fantastic action film appealing to the younger testosterone filled male generation, which tells of how Wolverine and his brother Sabretooth, an equally hairy and deadly character played with sinister panache by Liev Schreiber fight each other, the world and all those in between, including every major world war from the Napoleonic era to Vietnam. Even the normally clean-shaven Canadian actor, Ryan Reynolds is quite revealing in his role as Wade Wilson but then let’s not discount that Reynolds did appear in the Blade Trilogy.

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Terminator Salvation paints a grim and grimy picture of a post-nuclear blasted world where the Skynet controlled Robots have wrecked havoc on America with the cities resembling industrial junkyards from hell. Christian Bale returns in another blockbuster but here again, as in the far superior The Dark Knight, it is his co-star that steals the shows. The Dark Knight, such a brilliant film of anarchy reigning supreme featured the flawlessly demented performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker and now in Terminator Salvation it is the more subtle less frenetic performance of Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright who is propelled into a future abyss only to discover redemption is beyond his electronic grip…


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On a lighter note, and much more grounded in the present day recession-laden America is Kevin Smith’s fantastically funny and very raunchy film Zack and Miri make a Porno, about a couple of loser flat mates in Pittsburgh that realize that the financial crisis calls for more drastic measures. Seth Rogen saves the film as the unsexy but very hairy, Zack next to the gorgeous demurely (I kid you not) Miri, played by Elizabeth Banks. Rogen plays every type of hairy anti-hero with such effortless wit and perfect comic timing, who manages to save his reputation, make some underground cash and with the help of an extra-terrestrial cast make a Porno! Watch out for superb cameos by Brandon Routh (from Superman fame) and the delightful Justin Long at Zack and Miri’s reunion…

Although all three films are vastly different, it denotes a new fashion of fury heroes ready to save us from the grim realities of the strange 21st century recession obsessed reality most Western nations find themselves in.

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