|Nope...nothing subtle about this photo...nothing a'tall...|
2) I liked the fact that the film never shied away from acknowledging its comic book roots, from the Jock-drawn introductory cards to the place titles done in the style of the comic's logo.
3) It took a while, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan has managed to find his place in the world. His raw-but-smooth voice, his body language and the way he handles firearms makes him this generation's 'quiet cool' action star along the lines of Clint Eastwood.
4) The script, by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, understands a fundamental rule of action filmmaking--keep it moving, keep it fast. And, refreshingly, the film also understand what far too many filmmakers these days don't...namely, that not every movie needs to be two hours or more. Some, like this one, are perfectly fine at a little over ninety minutes.
5) Another clever thing about the script--Berg and Vanderbilt cleverly seed the film with a few outlandish element like the 'snuke' that pretty much clue the audience into the fact that this is Not A Realistic Film...thus allowing director Sylvain White to go a little overboard with the stylized action. And speaking of overboard...
6)...one of the two weaknesses lie in Jason Patric's villian, Max. He certainly digs into the role with both hands, but oversteps the generous boundaries set up by Berg and Vanderbilt. It doesn't help that Max seems to have invaded the world of The Losers from the land of Mark Millar, with the way he casually kills, or orders killed, people for the simplest of reasons, makes racist comments and primps like a cartoon transvestite.
7) A little better is Holt McCallany as Wade, Max's henchman, who has a similar 'quiet cool' feel about him, and has a wry delivery that is highly reminiscent of Clancy Brown.
|Cougar, he may not know much English..but he knows he's coo'.|
8) Chris Evans should have Ryan Reynolds' career, if not his wife. The man does everything that ass-hat does in terms of comic timing and handling action moments, only he does it better. His give and take with both Columbus Short's Pooch and Oscar Jaenada's Cougar goes a long way to cementing the sense that the leads have a history prior to the film. Anyone worried about him being Captain America needs to shut up.
(Hell, on second thought, give Evans Reynolds' wife. That asshat doesn't deserve coming home to Scarlett Johanssen every night.)
|"Alright, Reynolds...hand her over..."|
9) The other big weakness is how the film very, very self-consciously presumes there's going to be a sequel. Yes, there's a final confrontation between Morgan's Clay and Patric's Max, but it ends up being too short, and no amount of humorous codas featuring Patric getting mugged on a public bus can help disguise that.
10) I still don't get why everyone is going nuts over Zoe Saldana, who seems to have that Ally-Sheedy-like tendency to let her smirk do all her acting, but she does show up in a number of revealing outfits, including a black corset-and-panties number she engages in a firefight in. I'm sore a lot of people would argue that there's nothing at all wrong with that; I'm just not one of them. I fear she is going to go the way of all these 'It Girls' who disappear after two or three years of intense stardom.
In short--it's a big, dumb, action movie with very little touch in touch with reality. But the cast of known-but-not-very-known stars manages to hold it all together by sheer dint of chemistry.
Incidentally, there was a strange frission going on in the trailers, as we were treated to The A-Team (There are shorts where Liam Neeson looks positively eireely like George Peppard), The Takers and The Expendables....all films about outlaw mercenaries trying to pull off impossible missions, all but The Takers to clear their names. It only emphasized how in marchstep some of these studios are creatively. But at least they're better than Lottery Ticket or...shudder....Step Up 3-D. Who is actually watching movies like this? Who'd be willing to watch movies like this in 3-D?
Oh, and this is the first time I had to pay nine dollars for a matinee show. Thank God the film was worth it.