Lean, Tailored, and Ferociously Fit: Jason Statham in Transporter 3

Transporter 3, produced by Luc Besson and directed by Olivier Megaton, is an international product tailored for the American market. Despite its French locales, German cars, and adorably freckled Ukrainian hottie, the hero and villain are both quite American. The titular Transporter is Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a fighter and driver par excellence who earns […]

Mutant Mayhem: Bryan Singer’s X-Men

On a whim, this blogger decided to rewatch X-Men and found it surprisingly good, even better than I remembered from my first viewing almost 10 years ago. I used to be a comics fan, and read most of Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr.’s lengthy run on The Uncanny X-Men series in the mid-80s. Even […]

Competition is Weakening in David Mamet’s Redbelt

Redbelt is writer/director David Mamet’s ode to jiu-jitsu, of which he himself is reportedly a purple belt. Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a struggling black belt jiu-jitsu instructor, one of the few remaining practitioners of martial art in its authentic Japanese origins. The professional combat sport association MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has tainted the martial […]

A Clash of Faiths: Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies

Ridley Scott’s follow up to the gentle comedy of A Good Year and the crime drama American Gangster (partly modeled, I think, on Michael Mann’s epic Heat), returns to the politically-themed yet still action-oriented territory he first visited in Black Hawk Down. The key difference here is that, like Peter Weir’s The Kingdom and Pete […]

Michael Douglas vs. the yakuza in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain

Ridley Scott’s police thriller Black Rain (1989) opens in New York City at a time when The Meatpacking District actually was a meatpacking district. Tough cop Nick (Michael Douglas) is a ridiculously aggressive, foul-mouthed tough guy who tools around the city astride his crotch rocket. The despised Internal Affairs department suspects him of being a […]

Material Witness: Ridley Scott’s Someone to Watch Over Me

Ridley Scott’s Someone to Watch Over Me (1987) is more of a drama than a police thriller, refreshingly focused on its characters over suspense and action alone. Mike Keegan (Tom Berenger) is a salt-of-the-earth Queens detective assigned to protect material witness Claire (Mimi Rogers) from assassination. Keegan is a modest family man, recently promoted to […]

John Sturges honors Kurosawa honoring Ford in The Magnificent Seven

John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven is Hollywood’s answer to Akira Kurosawa’s hugely popular Seven Samurai. It suffers in comparison, especially if, like this blogger, one watches them in succession. The remake is quaint, chaste, and dated in ways the fairly frank original isn’t. To put it another way, Seven Samurai is a period piece of […]

They don’t make PG movies anymore like Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark

In order to catch up on the overwhelming backlog of movies I intend to cover here on this blog, this blogger is going to keep it brief with a few disconnected bullet points: • The 2008 DVD reissues of the classic Indiana Jones trilogy have terribly designed menus; it looks like everything’s been overprocessed with […]

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is the second worst Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is ultimately disappointing, especially if one reflects too much on its plot and basic plausibility, but it has some to commend it. It is also far from the worst entry in the franchise (that would be Temple of Doom – blech! stay tuned for our forthcoming […]

9/11-ploitation: J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield

First of all, let me just say I get it. I get that Cloverfield is meant to be a modern day analogue of Godzilla. I get that postwar Japanese moviegoers witnessed an enraged giant lizard borne of nuclear technology stomp Tokyo flat in an unstoppable pique, and I get that Godzilla became a classic for […]

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