action

Elysium – Neill Blomkamp (2013)

Somehow I see a lot of Matt Damon films recently. Here he is with no hair again. This time more his usual genre though: action.

Actually this is more of a dystopian scifi. A century from now earth is an overpopulated mess. Rich people have moved to the space station Elysium which resembles earth in better days.

Damon plays a man with a troubled past. After an accident at work he needs to go to Elysium because there are ‘curing machines’ there. With a group of heavy criminals he forges a plan.

The film has a bit of a “Mad Max” atmosphere which is good. The parts with Jody Foster as ruthless minister at Elysium as less strong. There is some annoying drama too and the last 15 minutes are downright awful. A dreary ‘the people you are supposed to sympathize with’ against those you do not.

Not bad, too bad about the end.

Spenser Confidential – Peter Berg (2020)

Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) has too much sense for morality, so he beats up his boss and is sent to prison for five years. As soon as he gets out, he bumps into another quest for which he has to go against the police force, his former colleagues.

“Spenser” is a standard but entertaining Hollywood action film with some humour woven in.

Brawl In Cell Block 99 – S. Graig Zahler (2017)

This film had been on my wish list for a while. Zahler made some descent films such as “Dragged Across Concrete” and “Bone Tomahawk“. “Brawl” by and far does not reach the level of these other two though.

Just as the named titles, “Brawl” is a slow crime film that is very violent. Vince Vaughn plays Bradley Thomas who looses his job and starts to run drugs to get a descent income. This of course goes wrong and Bradley lands in prison where his problems grow even bigger.

Bradley has to violently work himself through the containment system to solve problems outside the prison walls. The story is quite unlikely and basically just to hang violent fights on.

Parker – Taylor Hackford (2013)

I thought / hoped that this would be one of these action comedies, but actually “Parker” is a revenge action thriller.

Parker (Jason Stratham) is a thief who is doubled crossed by some temporary partners. Of course he is going to get back at them and claim the money they owe him.

Along the line Parker picks up Leslie who is played by Jennifer Lopez.

Nothing surprising, not boring either. Well perhaps the very old Nick Nolte is somewhat of a surprise.

6 Underground – Michael Bay (2019)

A friend was enthousiastic about this film which was an over-the-top action.

Indeed, in the opening scene it is. After some robbery gone wrong, a group has to flee through Paris in a fast car. The scene is fun for a few minutes, but it looks as if it is largely CGI.

Then there appears to be a story. Some rich guy gathers people who allegedly die so they can join his group fighting bad people.

An all-American story unfolds in which bad leaders of bad countries have to be get rid off. This indeed leads to a lot of action and a couple of descent scenes, but overall I found the film pretty dull.

Polar – Jonas Åkerlund (2019)

The latest Åkerlund is available on Netflix and he even managed to get Mads Mikkelsen for the leading part and there are more familiar faces.

Mikkelsen plays Duncan Vizla, a contract killer who approaches the age of 50. This means that he can retire, or actually, that he has to. His employer has a business model in which it is better that Vizla is dead though, so he sends a few people after him.

Storywise, “Polar” reminds a bit of “John Wick“, but Åkerlund has made his film both more ‘teen’ and more violent (indeed!). Vizla’s boss and colleagues are hip comic-like youngsters who do not care for a dead more or less (the story is indeed based on a graphic novel). This leads to explicit and very violent scenes. The story has no real surprises and I do not think that was intended. Also known from other Åkerlund films are kaleidoscopic scenes with rapidly changing images, explicit female parts, drugs use, bad language and grim humour.

Ying Hung Boon Sik – John Woo (1986)

“A Better Life” is an old Eastern mafia film. It looks old too with flat colours, 1980’ies (Western) clothing and 1980’ies music (Eastern and Western).

We follow a family making money by printing it. When their power grows, they become quite violent. Not all goes well and some end up behind bars or get shot. A few years down the line, some want to lead another life.

Once you have connections with the underworld, you will never get out. This is quite obvious as the pressure on those who opt for a normal life grows.

“A Better Life” makes an alright film, but I think it is somewhat overrated. It didn’t stand time as well as some seem to think. For its time I think the film was pretty violent, but the acting is not too convincing and the drama seldom works.

No waste of time, but not a classic either in my opinion.

World War Z – Marc Forster (2013)

I thought this would be some apocalyptic science fiction film and the 7.0 on IMDb gave me hope that it was any good too. Soon it becomes clear that the “Z” from the title means “zombie” and that is just what this is, yet another zombie film.

It is an expensive one with here and there some more detail in the story, but “World War Z” is but a very poor zombie film to me

Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, a family man who formerly worked in dangerous areas. For his former occupation he is rescued with his family and taken to an aircraft carrier, but in return, he has to help to find the origin of the virus to help to find an antidote.

So Lane flies to the far east, to the near east and then to Wales to find the totally unimaginable zombies everywhere and of course has to fight and flee them until he does no longer. Not surprisingly Lane completes his tasks against all odds. There is the obligatory romance, drama and American patriotism.

Yawn.

The Nice Guys – Shane Black (2016)

I do not often feel like comedy, but Ryan Gosling’s presence convinced me to give this film a try. Oh, the other actor is Russel Crowe. When was the last film I saw with Crowe? “Gladiator” or so?

The two prove to make a very funny couple. A private detective and a private detective in the making, are working on cases that are connected, so after an initial clash, they start working together.

Initially “The Nice Guys” is an amusing screwball comedy. Towards the end we move more towards a nerdy action film which worked out less.

Overall, the film is a descent comedy though.

Altered Carbon – Laeta Kalogridis (series) (season 1) (2018)

This interesting-looking Netflix series is rated 8.1 on IMDb.com. So far I have had more luck with series on Netflix than with films. To me, “Altered Carbon” is by and far no 8.1 though.

The story is a bit thin. At some point humanity found a way to put a personality (or consciousness) on a disc (“stack”) that can be put in the neck of any body (“sleeve”).

Takeshi Kovacs is an “envoy”, a rebel soldier, who had been in “cryosleep” for 250 years (“put on ice”) after which he wakes up in a different body. As ‘the last envoy’ he draws attention. Then he is hired by an extremely wealthy man for a job in trade for his freedom. The case: the man has been killed, but fortunately he keeps a backup of his “stack” on a satelite, so he can just download himself and put himself in a new (newly cloned) “sleeve” when the old one perishes.

All good and well. Muscle-body Kovacs sets out to investigate. He is constantely followed by police-woman Kristin Ortega. Of course they run into all kinds of situations that make some action, romance or drama. The story gets less and less interesting as we go along. The series have some nice findings here and there, but overall, it is amusing at best. I doubt I will ever watch the second season.