REVIEW: Fast Five

5 04 2015

Generally speaking, I am very against walking out of – or turning off – movies (see Random Factoid #4, which still holds true nearly 6 years later).  But one movie that I can unashamedly say I stopped watching halfway through was the original “The Fast and the Furious” movie.  Rarely had I found myself so unengaged with the story and action of a film, so I just deleted it off my DVR after quickly hitting a wall.

A few years later, I don’t quite know what inspired me to watch its fourth sequel,  “Fast Five.”  (Though if I recall correctly, it was a 99¢ rental on Amazon Instant Video.)  I felt completely vindicated in my decision to turn off the original after watching it.  I didn’t turn it off like I did with the first film, but I think I tuned it out around the same time to do homework.

I can certainly understand why this series appeals to people, be it the diverse cast or the undeniably impressive car chase/action sequences.  I just need more from a movie, like a real story to tie those things together.  I don’t remember a single thing that happened in the film, and I don’t feel the need to go Wikipedia the plot summary to even offer the pretense of what I thought of the events.  See this movie if you have a pretty low standard for entertainment and do not require a lot of substance to satisfy you.  C / 2stars

REVIEW: Battle: Los Angeles

9 10 2011

Battle: Los Angeles” may be the worst Michael Bay movie not made by Michael Bay.  And regardless of who directs a stereotypical “Michael Bay movie,” you should probably know that my recommendation for that movie can be summed up in one word: RUN!

Jonathan Liebesman directs a symphony of discordant noise and pathetic human drama without even the slightest hint that he knows he’s making a truly painful movie.  It’s a nearly two-hour long (still a marathon but no “Transformers“) montage of bullets flying and strange aliens invading shot in a gritty documentary style.  It has no substance, no emotional pull, no fantastic special effects, no impressive technical aspect.  It’s just a waste of time.

How can I fill this obligatory third paragraph?  Hmmm … I could blast Aaron Eckhart for taking two giant steps backwards from all of his independent and mainstream successes.  I could ask why Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, and Michael Peña chose this movie, but I don’t necessarily put their acting skills on a pedestal.  I could ask why this movie isn’t acted solely by rappers like Ne-Yo (models might have also done this nonexistent script justice), but all the “why?” questioning won’t get me those two hours back.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll learn my lesson.  D / 

REVIEW: Machete

15 08 2011

I live in Texas, and in case you haven’t looked at a globe in your life, it’s the state situated along the border of Mexico.  With America being so great and all (cue up the NSFW national anthem), people have been pouring over that border for safety and prosperity.  Many do this legally; many don’t.  Those that favor the latter option tend to cause big problems in my great state.

I’ve spoken with the second highest ranking man in the Texas Rangers about this problem; it’s serious.  It endangers not only our economy but brings much of the conflict that is ravaging Mexico into our country.  I’ve met Governor – and now Presidential candidate – Rick Perry and heard him articulate his plan on how to secure our borders; if his plan doesn’t have you convinced that something needs to be done, I don’t know what will.

Meanwhile, Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” is totally and blissfully on the other side of that debate.  (He wouldn’t have made “Shorts” if he couldn’t be.)  Playing with the exploitation film style that he and pal Quentin Tarantino are so fascinated by, his film farcically and irreverently takes on border control and immigration like a live-action, full-length “South Park” episode.  It’s hardline message is hardly something I agree with, as it – whether seriously or not – promotes an almost Marxist revolutionary uprising of a Mexican proletariat.  But if you can get past that, it’s wickedly gory fun.

The movie stars Danny Trejo as Machete, a stone-cold former Federale turned illegal immigrant who kills and maims with the weapon in his name.  After being framed for the attempted murder of a state senator (Robert DeNiro in yet another career-staining role), he joins the underworld of illegal immigrants led by She (Michelle Rodriguez) to rebel against the Americans who view them as parasitic maggots, all while romancing and converting an Immigration officer (Jessica Alba) to their side.  Because they didn’t cross the border, THE BORDER CROSSED THEM!

So put your politics aside, your maturity at bay, and your squeamishness to rest for “Machete,” a rip-roaring Mexploitation film that brings a great deal of violently cartoonish laughter your way.  It shamelessly is what it is – that is to say, it’s ridiculous.  From the message to such profound quotables like “Machete don’t text,” Robert Rodriguez was having a whole lot of fun … and we get to share in quite a bit of it.  I don’t know if this is necessarily worth him polluting the world with yet another “Spy Kids” movie, though.  B /