A mixed bag of good and bad.
I’ll admit it has been years since I read Enders Game. In fact I think I read it when it was a novella (the book actually went through several revisions) as when I went home and reviewed the story it was closer to the movie than I remember. It was a good book, and good source material for a decent movie. However, what we got seemed to alternate between good and seat squirming bad.
The biggest issue here is the pacing. The book is a tremendous story (actually several different stories, depending on which version you read. Orson Scott Card likes to match his book to the political clime) that takes place over six years. This movie tries to incorporate all that but in truth leaves the entire movie rushed and feeling like there are a lot of missing scenes. The whole development of Ender as a military genius had a very organic approach, with him and his friends at age six figuring out how to beat the other teams in the zero gravity game. In time they become a very tight group who knew each other instinctively and worked together as a team. In this film it all seems to come together like a portrait made by tossing cans of paint into a tree shredder. All of a sudden there is a completed mess and not a dook of an idea how it all came together. I honestly am going to blame this on the director not being willing to cast several boys to play Ender at different ages.
Another problem is this film more or less starts off with the base assumption that Ender is the savior of the human race and everyone is just there to help him realize it. In the book he was just another kid recruited into the Battle School and over time exhibited his command potential, along with certain psychotic personality traits.
Yet another issue that the movie actually shares with the book is the squirmingly inappropriateness of recruiting preteen children to fight wars. It’s actually harder to watch here than in the book (although the book started them off at six). When you see a bunch of kids together your brain wants to channel a Disney film, and to then see a bad imitation of Gunnery Sergent Hartman from Full Metal Jacket yell and scream at them like they are in Li’l Tykes boot camp is just dumb. The whole time you see these kids learning to fight you can’t help but feel that this is just wrong on so many levels. One of the adult characters more or less says the same thing by mentioning that using anyone under the age of 15 to fight is a war crime, but the issue washes off the screen and is never really approached again.
On the other hand the film is very pretty if you like long video game trailers, and all the acting exceptional. I am a huge Ben Kingsley fan and he looks weirdly great with face tattoos. Harrison Ford is a welcome presence on any screen for me, and Asa Butterfield pulled his role off nicely. Like I said, there is a lot of good here too.
The story starts off with a personal bee in my jock strap, a monolog about how the Formics invaded Earth and were defeated by a hero named Mazer Rackham (I wish Hollywood would realize how out of the film a monolog really takes us. It is a lazy directors tool to get around actually having to film something). Skip forward 60 years and the Earth forces are preparing for the next big push on the Formics by training children (in the book the training took the form of increasingly complicated games (kind of like the title of this movie) but here it is all classroom stuff) to be the soldiers. Ender (Asa Butterfield-Hugo, the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the Wolfman. Image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category (yes I know it’s not the same Wolfman. I only have so many resources)) beats another kid in a game and gets bullied by him afterwards. He beats the kid near to death and is expelled from the program.
Meanwhile Col. Graff (Harrison Ford-Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner) decides that the cold blooded psychotic approach Ender took with the bully might be just what they need and with Major Anderson (Viola Davis-the Help, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Won’t Back Down) re-recruit him. He goes into orbit where Graff purposely alienates him for some reason (there was a lot of missing motivation in this film too) and he is more or less hated by his classmates. They don’t do any of the zero gravity games that were such a big part of the book until Ender is transferred to another group. There he has to deal with miserable bully Bonzo (Moises Arias-Hannah Montana, Despicable Me 2, the Kings of Summer) but meets good friend (and closest thing to a romance) Petra (Hailee Steinfeld-True Grit, She’s a Fox, Romeo & Juliet).
There he gets pushed around by Bonzo until he excels and is given his own army. His army beats Bonzo, who takes it the wrong way and tries to beat him up. In the fight Endor cracks Bonzo’s skull for him (in the book I think Bonzo dies) and feels so badly he resigns (again, missing motivation here really). Graff gets Enders sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin-Zombieland, Signs, Little Miss Sunshine) to talk him back. Once back in orbit he trains more. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the book so sufficed to say aliens/human space battle is joined.
Visually stunning, with great CGI and special effects. Camera work was really good too. Two stars. All the acting and casting was excellent, especially Asa and Harrison. Two stars. Sci fi movie. One star. Sci fi movie based on a book that made a strong effort to remain true to the book. One star. Ben Kingsley. One star. In the end a decent time watching. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
The pacing issues really hurt the story, giving you little connection to the continuity of the plot and consequently made me not really get invested into the characters. A lot of good stuff got cut out I think. Two black holes. The whole child soldier thing was really off putting. One black hole. There were a lot of unexplained motivations, like why Ender even wanted to be in the program and then later why did he quit? One black hole. The ending, while true to the book, was truly underwhelming and opened up a whole new box of unanswered questions. I guess they are setting up for the movie version of Speaker of the Dead, but while Enders Game was great that book was garbage. Bottom line the whole movie kind of puttered out. One black hole. Total: five black holes.
A total of four stars. Decent, but based on having seen about 100,000 trailers all of which seemed more interesting and exciting than the actual movie I was expecting more. I’ve noticed that I tend to come down harder on films that are based on books I have read, but I really tried to see this film as a stand alone project. Should you see it? If you read the book, like science fiction, and are not bothered by pacing and continuity issues absolutely. See it on the biggest screen you can track down. It will be worth it. Date movie? Probably not. There isn’t the slightest whiff of romance in this film, and the cute kid is kind of off putting as a young sociopath. I’d choose something else, although I don’t know what based on what is out right now. Kind of a dearth of date friendly movies. Maybe Free Birds?
Thanks for reading as always. I’ll try to see at least one more movie this weekend. Maybe two. Follow me on Twitter for review announcements. If you have a comment on this film or my review feel free to post them here, but I get a lot of spam so don’t hate me if I accidentally delete it. If you have an off topic question or suggestion feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks and have a great night.
If the plan was to make a halfway decent action movie I guess it succeeded.
I actually saw this almost a week ago and haven’t gotten around to writing it up. I’m not sure why I have been less than motivated. I guess because this film is neither brilliant or bad. Middle of the road is dead boring for me to write up.
This film tanked horrible at the box office, a fact that does not bode well for the action careers of either Stallone or Governor Schwarzenegger (both of whom had other action films flop recently; most notably Bullet to the Head for Sly and the Last Stand for the Gov). While none of the recent crop of action films are worthy of winning an award of some kind (unless the NRA is giving out awards for ammo expenditure) none of them could be considered really horrible (except for A Good Day to Die Hard, but that should go without saying), thus leaving us with the question as to why all our classic action heroes are failing.
Honestly, I think it’s a change in the nature of the audience. If you look at what is popular in TV, movie, and music male stars it is no longer muscled burly manly men but rather girls who happen to have been born with a penis. Sure they might have the chiseled abs of a Greek statue but when you get up close they are just girly men who are in really good shape. Most of them look like you could knock them unconscious with a feather duster. The guys who actually look like men are relegated to the level of villain (and even most of those guys are girlish).
This bodes ill for the future of the action movie genre in my opinion. Can you name a new action hero worth anything in the last few years? The most recent new guy would have to be Jason Stratham, but even his films like Parker are sucking bad. Guns, guts, and brawn are no longer enough to make for box office success. You need fit, non threatening man/boys who girls can identify with.
The other issue with the new “breed” of action hero is most of them will never be capable of creating a legacy. Say what you will about Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, or any of the others but at the end of the day they each could kick your ass seven ways to Sunday. Not only do they look dangerous, but you know they are dangerous. I suppose there is some hope derived from Dwayne Johnson, but if he keeps doing kid friendly comedies the genre is doomed. (Expendables image courtesy of the movie t-shirt category)
By the way, Stallone must have a think for prison escape films. As far as I can tell this is the third film wherein he escapes from a maximum security prison. The other two I can think of are Lockup and Tango and Cash (eww. You made me think of Tango and Cash. Thanks a lot, Escape Plan). Also didn’t Schwarzenegger start off the Running Man buy escaping from a prison?
I’m not going to say this film is all that. In fact, if I were to dissect it with my usual cruel precision I could find any number of dumb issued to take up with it. However, you don’t got to SDSU for a quality education and you don’t go to Chuck E. Cheese’s to buy crystal meth, although you may find either by coincidence if you are lucky or unlucky. You go to an action movie to see action, and if by happy coincidence a quality movie lands in your lap happy day!
The story starts out with Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone-Rocky, Rambo, Copland) in prison effecting a masterful breakout. Turns out he is a security expert hired by the prison system to make sure prisons are escape proof. He is aided by his partner Lester (Vincent D’Onofrio-Full Metal Jacket(Gomer Pyle!), Ed Wood, the Cell), his tech sidekick (50 Cent-Real Steel, the Hangover, White Chicks) and kinda hot girl Abagail (Amy Ryan-Before the Devil Knows You are Dead, Win Win, Gone Baby Gone). He breaks out of prison only to be hired by a CIA lawyer to test out a brand new top secret prison.
Once inside the prison he discovers it to be unlike any other he has ever seen. They are in giant glass cubes with jackbooted, masked guards. There he meets Emil Rottmeyer (Arnold Schwarzenegger-the Terminator, Predator, Kindergarten Cop) and warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel-the Thin Red Line, Person of Interest, the Count of Monte Cristo). This is his first sign that something is wrong as the warden was supposed to be someone else.
For some reason the people who hired him want him to not get out ever (this at first seemed to be a major plot hole but later resolved itself nicely). Emil befriends him and starts working on his escape plan. At that point you know all you need to know about the story, except that the entire plot relies entirely on a series of fortuitous coincidences that would embarrass a Harry Potter novel. Deus ex machina-ago-go.
Natch I have to give a star each for Stallone and the Terminator. No matter how bad a film may be they always put a happy smile on my face. Two stars. The story, while far fetched, was a little more complicated than the typical action film these days. One star. As I sit here thinking about it I realize it was kind of original, something I thought was verboten in Hollywood these days. One star. I actually enjoy any escape plan movie (or high tech burglary movie, for that matter). One star. At the end of the film I decided I had had fun (to my surprise). Two stars. Total: seven stars.
The black holes.
The biggest anchor on this film is the respective egos of both of the two stars. Neither one of them is willing to be anything less than the coolest, most actiony action star on the screen and it gets a little ridiculous after a while. Two black holes. The whole plot could have fallen apart if it weren’t for the writer holding it up with coincidence after coincidence like a father running along side a kid trying to learn to ride a bicycle. One black hole. For a movie that started off as kind of a thinker it shifts gears in the last 20 minutes into a dumb shooter with Arnold mowing down dozens of bad guys who can’t hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn. It actually gets kind of comedic. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
A grand total of three stars. Meh. I was also kinder with the black holes than I could have been. It’s not awesome, but it’s not awful. If you like action movies that star guys who look like they have a Y chromosome you will probably enjoy it. If guys like Justin Bieber and Taylor Lautner are your idea of the perfect male specimen than odds are give it a pass. Due to the fact that most of this film takes place in fairly tight spaces you could probably watch it at home and not miss much. Date movie? Another meh. Bathroom break? Nothing jumps out at me. About halfway through there is a scene where Arnold is babbling in German than could be missed.
Thanks for reading. I’m seeing something tonight and will write it up tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu for the three times a week I tweet something (I secretly hate social media). Feel free to post here if you have a thought on this film or my review, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an off topic question or suggestion. Thanks again and have a great night.
Carrie, Carrie quite contrary. Why was this movie made?
I’ll give you all fair warning: this review is going to have a lot of me bitching about and bemoaning my own miserable high school experience (or, as I like to think of it “The years whose name must not be spoken”). To say this movie struck a nerve or two with me is like saying being eaten alive by fire ants is an unpleasant way to die or George Lucas has ruined his legacy. However, you know how the saying goes: cows moo, pings oink, Dave bitches about high school. Read on if you are cool with it.
The real question here (and the same question that came up in movies like Footloose and Red Dawn) is “Why did this film have to be made?” It has been years since I saw the original Carrie (image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category) so I had to look up the plot in order to make sure my impressions were correct and sure enough this one is almost a scene for scene remake (with some YouTube thrown in). Remakes are as always a sure sign that Hollywood has just given up on the whole original idea thing (hey, creativity is hard work) and as the trend continues we can expect to see inevitable remakes of Citizen Kane, Blade Runner, Alien, Dumb & Dumber, and the Neverending Story (oh, wait. That last one is in production). Since there were two other remakes for Carrie done already (one for TV and one for something else I forget) this is actually the fourth Carrie, so I guess in three years we can look for another Carrie starring Willow Smith.
Where this film differs from the original is in tone and scope. The first film was a true horror film in the sense that Carrie goes nuts and mind murders her entire class. This film is more a teenage outsider angst drama with 20 minutes of action but none of the horrible dread that so made the first film work. Only the real trouble makers get killed, the gym teacher survives, and you tend to lose your hatred of Chris (the main bitch) when she is pleading with her daddy via text to come rescue her. A true horror film has one (and only one) survivor, not a bunch of kids sitting on the lawn while firefighters come to save them.
That being said, the fantasy of the alienated outsider gaining super powers and using them to kill most of his or her school mates is one that sat heavily in my mind from 1st grade up until my 30th birthday. In most films you are supposed to identify with the protagonist and revile the antagonist. When a film has you thinking “there but for the lack of mind powers goes I” while watching Carrie incinerate her class the film stops being a horror film and kind of turns into a dark comedy. I’m sure for those of you who enjoyed high school and didn’t view each school morning with the dread of a prisoner walking the Green Mile this film looks pretty awful but there was a big part of me wishing for a higher body count.
The story. If you have seen the original Carrie skip ahead a few paragraphs. If you haven’t and find them annoying there are a bunch of spoilers incoming so SPOILER ALERT. It starts out with Margaret (Julianne Moore-Crazy, Stupid Love, Children of Men, Magnolia) having the creepiest birthing scene since It (another film that is on deck for a remake. Can’t wait). She has a child who grows up into Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz-Kick Ass, Hugo, Let Me In). Margaret is a crazy super religious nut and more or less raises Carrie in a Bible Skinner box. Chloe has an awkward menstruation episode in the shower at school and thinks she is bleeding to death. Her classmates, headed by main bitch Chris (Portia Doubleday-18, Youth in Revolt, Big Mammas: Life Father, Like Son) and Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde-the Three Musketeers, Dark Horse, Endless Love), throw tampons at her and make fun of her. Chris films it on her phone. While this is going on a lightbulb bursts. Carrie is rescued by Mrs. Desjardin (Judy Greer-Three Kings, the Village, What Women Want), the PE teacher.
Carrie is picked up by her mother and locked in her prayer closet. Over the next few days Chris posts the video on YouTube and has the whole school laughing at her. Meanwhile Carrie is discovering she has telekinetic abilities and is researching and practicing with them. Mrs. Desjardin is pissed at the whole group of girls and forces them to do punishing exercises. Chris refuses and is expelled and banned from the prom.
Sue is feeling guilty and gets her boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort-first film credit) to ask Carrie to the prom. At first she refuses but he shows up at her house and she agrees (with some encouragement from Mrs. Desjardin). Chris is pissed and gets her hoodlum boyfriend Billy (Alex Russell-the Host, Chronicle, Wasted on the Young) to kill a pig and rig a bucket with it’s blood over the stage at prom. She arranges for the king and queen vote to be rigged and Tommy and Carrie are voted in. On the stage the blood is drenched on Carrie and the bucket falls, knocking out Tommy. Carrie thinks everyone is laughing at her and goes on a mad TK killing spree, ending with the death of Chris and Billy in their car.
She eventually ends up home and washes the blood off. Her mother finds her and they pray together, but Margaret stabs Carrie in the back with a knife convinced she is a witch. Carrie kills her as Sue arrives to help her. More TK nonsense ensues leaving Sue pregnant.
Very well executed. The director Kimberly Peirce also did Stop-Loss and Boys Don’t Cry and her expertise shines through. Two stars. I am hesitant to give this film a star for story as you literally can’t get more derivative but if this were a stand alone film I would reward the plot, so one star. All the acting was excellent, and the characters all very believable. The bitch is a bitch, the hood a hood, the little goody goody a goody goody, and the alienated religious girl just as troubled as you would believe. One star. A bonus star each for both Chloe and Juliane. Both were awesome characters and very well portrayed. Two stars. If you have a burning hatred of your high school experience and all the little pretty children who went to prom (guess who was working at a pizza restaurant that night instead of attending? I spent most of the evening hoping they all got each other pregnant) than the last 20 minutes are very gratifying. One star. In spite of the first 60 minutes being all high school drama and build up I thought the pacing was excellent. I was engaged the whole time and never felt the need for a fast forward button. One star. Total: eight stars.
The black holes:
This film will get a black hole from me until someone can explain to me what function was served by actually making it. Remakes are like wearing water wings in a wading pool. One black hole. I don’t know where Kimberly Peirce went to high school but if I were to hazard a guess I’d say it was the world of the Time Machine where all the fat, ugly, nerdy, pimply kids were forced to move underground as Morlocks leaving the beautiful Eloi above ground to attend the Prom. One of the reasons Chloe worked as Carrie is until she dresses up for the prom she is the least attractive girl in the film and you know that is saying a lot. Normally I reward films for only casting hot chicks but in this case I really think a kid with self esteem issues (i.e. all of them) could really be damaged. Also all the dudes were pretty much hot chicks too if you know what I mean. One black hole. This film failed to really strike a tone. Was it a horror flick or a teeney bopper coming of age film with 20 minutes of blood? Were we supposed to hate Chris or feel sympathy for her? Are we supposed to identify with Carrie or Sue? A lot of grey in this film. One black hole. This film ate the rated R pie and then toned down the actual horror and violence anyway. Without the cussing it really was straddling the PG-13 line. It definitely felt softer than the first film. If you are going to draw a zero comp on your Warhammer army anyway I say make it as broken as possible. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
A total of four stars. Not bad. If you are a fan of Chloe or never say the first Carrie I’d say this is well worth your time. However there is nothing really hear to require a big screen. Even the action horror parts of the film would not have look out of place on an after school special. There was only one scene that had the potential for visual excellence and it cut short super fast. Date movie? Odds are your date has fond memories of prom night and therefore you should probably steer clear. Bathroom break? You absolutely don’t want to miss Prom night but the rest of the film really is just so much lead up. I’d say any scene up until Carrie finishes making her dress is disposable.
Thanks for reading. I’ll try to see something else tonight and write it up tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. If you have a comment on this review or the movie feel free to post it here. If you have an off topic question or suggestion email me at email@example.com (single ladies are especially welcome to take advantage of this option). Have a great night.
Killer of fun.
I, like many people, enjoy frozen yogurt. I usually go for french vanilla with strawberries and those mini M&M’s, or sometimes Reeces Pieces. I don’t do it often as it can be a lot of calories, but find it to be a nice treat for when I’m feeling self indulgent or am dealing with getting dumped (I guess I do eat a lot of frozen yogurt).
If the original Machete were my nice cup of frozen yogurt (and the trailer from Grindhouse the free sample on a wooden spoon) than Machete Kills is a water tower full of rancid yogurt with the output hose inserted into my mouth and turned on full blast until I have yogurt spurting from every orifice, ruining yogurt for ever and probably giving me diabetes. I’m sure you’ve heard of too much of a good thing, but this is too much of a bad thing that is supposed to be good but in the end is just bad.
(Machete poster from the Movie Tshirt category)
Don’t get me wrong. I am a big Danny Trejo fan, and think he is a great character actor. I loved him in Heat and From Dusk ’till Dawn, and he has been in at least two different zombie movies. I enjoyed Machete in that special bad/good sense that seems to guarantee cult movie status, and am glad his career has taken off. I hope to see him in any number of future productions.
I also used to be a Robert Rodriguez fan, but he seems to suffer from the same brain chemistry imbalance that Luc Besson has in that his movies fall apart as soon as he tries to do a sequel. El Mariachi is frickin’ brilliant, but Desperado was laughable. Machete was great but this one sucks. He is working on a sequel to Sin City and now I worry about that franchise. For every good film he has done (usually teamed up with Quentin Tarotino) he has also done a couple crappy ones, mostly comprised of the whole Spy Kids franchise.
I think the best word to describe this film is juvenile. It plays out like two 11 year old kids playing with action figures. I know it is supposed to be a parody of cheesy action movies, but if you try to make a movie to make fun of crappy acting, story, action, filming, and editing by using all those elements in the end you get a movie with crappy acting, story, action, filming, and editing. It’s like if I wanted to make a joke about how much feces smells and took a crap on your dining room table to illustrate my point. The joke is surely funny in my head but at the end of the day you are dealing with a ruined table and your fist hurting from punching me in the face over and over again. To the average viewer (i.e. not Robert Rodriguez) you really can’t see anything except the crap.
I suspect this is going to be one of those bear trap movies for hipsters. What do I mean by that? It’s like the Star Wars Holiday Special, a movie that should never be watched by any human on the planet. However, every year jackasses like me think something like “Sure, it will suck, but I’ll gain some kind of nerd credibility for having watched it and really, it has Luke, Han, and Leia in it so how bad can it be?” only to find that there is nothing in there but pain and suffering. This movie isn’t necessarily as bad as that but if you feel like you need to see it just to maintain your bad movie watching status don’t waste your time.
(By the way, at this point I have to caution you to not misinterpret that last paragraph as my recommendation that you actually watch the SWHS. Some things once watched can never be unseen, and there is nothing to be found in that film except a steady draining of your will to live. If you have any love of Star Wars, film in general, or your childhood you will avoid it. That being said I know there is some idiot out there who will disregard all my warnings and go for it. To you I say you have been warned.)
When I first started watching this film I thought I might have to do one of my double reviews; once as a legitimate (haw!) film critic and once as a fan of camp movies. However, by the end of it I realized I hated this film from both perspectives. Fans of camp are fans of fun, and this movie is not fun. It is ploddish and looks like it was filmed in someones back yard. The brilliant timing, parody, and insight that Tarantino brings to a movie like this are missing entirely, leaving something a failing film student might have done (except for the fact that Rodriguez did el Mariachi as a film student and it was infinitely better than this).
The story, in addition to being bad, is convoluted as hell. I’ll run over the highlights. Machete (Danny Trejo-Heat, From Dusk ’till Dawn, Anchorman) is accused of killing his partner in a rogue US Army-sells-guns-to-a-drug-cartel-but-gets-busted-by-special-forces-and-the-local-sheriff raid gone bad and is going to be lynched by the local hillbilly lawman. In spite of the fact that the lynching is completely illegal and secret the president (Carlos Estevez (Charlie Sheen)-Hot Shots, Two and a Half Men, Wall Street) calls to recruit him. He is sent to Mexico after a mad revolutionary Mendez (Demian Bichir-A Better Life, Savages, the Heat) who wants to blow up Washington DC with a missile (or something. It all kind of blurs together after a while). He travels to Mexico with the help of his beauty queen handler Miss San Antonio (Amber Heard-Zombieland, Pineapple Express, Drive Angry), the most fake character in a movie of characters that felt fake. There he goes to a brothel run by Desdemona (Sofia Vergara-the Smurfs, Four Brothers, Modern Family), a sadistic madame who has a stable of murderous psychotic super vixens. The last contact with Mendez is her daughter Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens-Sucker Punch, Spring Breakers, High School Musical). Desdemona gets her crew to try to kill Machete for some reason (?) while her daughter agrees to help him for some other reason (??).
They escape and are picked up in a helicopter by Mendez’s henchmen. Cereza is killed for some reason (???) but Machete is allowed to live in order to hear Mendez’s megalomaniacal rant (if you’ve ever seen Dr. Evil than this scene should be shockingly familiar). Turns out the missile aimed at Washington is hooked to a detonator attached to a deadman switch on his heart. Machete captures him but rather than just destroy the missile or calling in an airstrike he opts to try to find the one man in the world who can disarm it. Mendez has put a contract out on himself for some reason (????) and Machete so now everyone in Mexico wants to kill them, including La Cameleon (played alternatively by Walter Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr, Antonio Banderas, and Lady Gaga).
Ugh. Remember when I said this movie was like two boys playing with action figures? At some point the boys decided Machete had to fight a million Mexican police, drive an armored car, have Sofia Vergara shoot bullets at him out of two mini mini guns in the tips of her metal bra and then out of a pistol in her crotch that she fires by thrusting her pelvis, cut off a bunch of heads, and sleep with every woman on the screen. Mendez gets killed but his heart is connected to a respirator to keep the missile from firing. When things get slow they introduce the real villain Voz (Mel Gibson-the Road Warrior, Braveheart, Lethal Weapon), who is a super genius who wants to blow up the world so he can live on his satellite with a bunch of kidnapped Mexican slave labor (nothing helps establish the plot of the movie like introducing the villain 3/4 of way through the film). Machete kills a bunch of people usually by cutting off their heads. Rodriguez thinks of the joke of having a bad guy thrown into the whirling blades of a helicopter and then decides the only way it could be funnier is if he repeated it 20 more times. Stuff blows up, Machete kills more people, and the movie is left with a cliffhanger in a clear prelude for Machete 3 like a kid begging for five more minutes of TV before going to bed.
That might be my worst recap ever, but trust me when I say I don’t have a lot to work with and am already bored writing this. Let’s get to the fun part, shall we?
Danny Trejo is pretty cool, and while you get fairly tired of his character by end of the film I still like him. One star. All the women were drop dead gorgeous, and as lame as it sounds I do get turned on by girls with guns. One star. If his goal truly was to make a crappy movie than I would have to say Robert Rodriguez succeeded in spades. One star. Total: three stars.
The black holes:
The “plot” was like a Mad Lib story where the only words you could use were “guns”,” kill”, “tits, “machete”, “decapitated”, “whore”, and “Mexican”. Two black holes. There were a couple of times it seemed like some decent acting could have been had from some of the actors (Damian Bichir and Mel Gibson, for the most part) the combination of the horrible roles and the average effort put in (cough cough phoned it in cough cough) made me wish I were watching the Vagina Monologs as played by the Thunderbirds cast using the robot voice from Wargames. God awful. One black hole. As amusing as I find his rants I am going to say that Charlie Sheen was a particularly painful bamboo shoot under the fingernail part of this film. One black hole. Remember how the original Machete was rated R and consequently had some nudity? Well, we wouldn’t want anything interesting to taint the horrible experience of watching this film so rated R with nobody naked. One black hole. Editing and pacing from hell. There is a 24 hour countdown clock going for a lot of the film and about six weeks worth of stuff happened in that time. At the same time the editing was rushed with less than critical but jarringly elements missing. Overall a convoluted editing failure. Two black holes. Really kind of boring. 107 minutes and you will feel every one of them. One black hole. A parody of bad film making that really only subjected us to a bad film. One black hole. Action from hell, with recurring sequences all derived from other, better films. One black hole. Leaving the film as a cliffhanger with a plea for us to see the next horrible version. One black hole. At the end of the film it really felt like a waste of time. Two black holes. Total: thirteen black holes.
A grand total of ten black holes. Honestly the only reasons to see this film is if you are a screaming Machete, Rodriguez, or camp fan and even then you will lose more respect than you gain. In general a big waste of time with very little redeeming. Date movie? Do I really need to answer that for you? Bathroom break? Pretty much anywhere. The best scenes all had Mel Gibson in them so if you want to get something out of this try to do your business around him. Not a lot to miss in this film.
Thanks for reading. I don’t feel good about dumping on this film. I love camp and wanted this to be either really good or that special kind of bad that is actually good but it was neither. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Comments about this film or my review can be left right here, and if you have an off topic question or suggestion feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.
Pretty much lives up to it’s name.
Yes I’m still sluggish getting these out. Saw this movie Thursday night but honestly if you saw the amount of work I have piled up (literally) you would understand.
So I enjoyed this film about as much as I expected to (something of a singular event these days). Fortunately I expected to enjoy it a lot. This film follows the typical sequel pattern of a kick ass first movie (haw!) followed by a sequel that is about 80% of the first one. However, when you have a movie as good as the first Kick Ass 80% of it make it as good or better than all the Ryan Reynolds films put together.
The film definitely had a different tone. I would have to say this one was darker, grimmer, and lacking in the cuteness of young Hit Girl. Her assault down the hallway in the gangster penthouse (with Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts playing in the background) is one of my personal favorite action scenes of the last ten years. She is an iconic character and based on the number of HG costumes I saw at Comic Con a popular one.
Hit Girl is back, but now is cursed with all the teenaged angst that they seem to hand girls on their first day of high school. Due to the nature of the story she is in the film less and fight less, at least until the last 20 minutes, and her fights are just not as super squirrelly as they were in the last one. Her best fight she is not even wearing her HG costume, although that was the fight that most reminded me of the last film.
On the other hand Kick Ass is back and faces some interesting comic book-ish issues, such as why he even became a super hero and what he hopes to accomplish from it. A lot of this movie is taken up with him and Hit Girl in street clothes trying to figure out what they should be doing in life, which tended to make the film less cool and exciting but added a nice note of realism and drama otherwise missing from the last one.
The story starts off with Kick Ass (Anderson Taylor-Johnson-Kick Ass, Savages, Nowhere Boy) back in high school with Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz-Dark Shadows, Hugo, Let Me In), except Hit Girl has been cutting class to train. She gets Kick Ass (yes, I know his character name is Dave and Hit Girl’s is Mindy. I just like calling them by their superhero names) to join her and they start fighting some crime. During their first caper she gets caught by her now legal guardian Marcus (Morris Chestnut-the Call, Boys in the Hood, Identity Thief) and he gets her to promise to stop with the Hit Girl thing. She does out of respect for her father.
Meanwhile Kick Ass has a taste for the action and looks for other super heroes to team up with. New York is now lousy with them and through a guy called Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison-Scrubs, Remember the Titans, Clueless) he meets up with Justice Forever, a team lead by the psychotic Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey-Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, The Truman Show). One of his fellow team members Battle Guy is his old friend Marty (Clark Duke-Hot Tub Time Machine, A Thousand Words, the Croods) and a hot chick named Night Bitch (Lindy Booth-Wrong Turn, Relic Hunter, Dawn of the Dead (image courtesy of the Zombie T Shirt category)). They run around the city doing public service and catching bad guys.
Meanwhile Kick Ass’s old enemy Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse-Superbad, Role Models, Pitch Perfect) is back. He has kind of lost it and is now a super villain named the M-F-er whose sole purpose is to cause pain and suffering in order to destroy Kick Ass. He recruits a bunch of other psychopaths and they go berserk.
I’m going to blow off the rest of the story mainly because it’s late and I always find the story recap to be the most boring and arduous part of these reviews. A movie like this I expect any of my readers to see so the recap is redundant anyway. Sufficed to say crosses are doubled, stuff gets blown up, and a lot of asses get kicked.
Hit Girl is awesome again. One star. The evil team the M-F-er put together was also pretty awesome, especially Mother Russia. One star. I expected all the new super heroes to suck (except for Col. Stars and Stripes) but in fact they were each cool in their own way. One star. All the acting was dead on perfect. One star. The story delved deeper into the angst of being a super hero than most films bother to. I thought it was neat. One star. The fight scenes were all really cool and fun. One star. Comic book movie. One star. Over all a fun, exciting film. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
Honestly I’m at a loss. I could give one for there being less action and more character development, but I just gave the film a star for that a in the last paragraph. Pacing slugged up at times but overall felt right. I’m going to have to do my very rare no black hole reviews. There wasn’t anything I wish they did differently.
So a total of nine stars and my hearty endoursement of this film. Not better than Kick Ass, but worthy be being mentioned in the same sentence. Please see this film in a theater. We need to encourage quality film. Date movie? Meh. Romance was kind of limited to Kick Ass knocking boots with Night Bitch in a bathroom, so not really. Plus if are a Hit Girl fan you might end up looking kind of creepy. Bathroom break? Depends on what you are here for. If all you want is action that kicks ass (that’s the last one I swear) I’d say go in any of the scenes where Hit Girl is trying to convince Kick Ass to put on his costume or Kick Ass is trying to do the same for Hit Girl. If you like the characters and angst involved go during any of the action scenes. (Or if you are a true fan just hold it. It’s only 103 minutes long).
Thanks for reading. I’ll see something tomorrow for sure, but have another trip to Las Vegas that I leave for Monday so I don’t know if I will have time to write it up. Sorry. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. By the way it would be very cool if you liked us on Facebook. If you have comments about this film or my review feel free to post a comment here. Off topic suggestions and review can be emailed to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.