Tag Archives: Action

Public Transit

5 Jun

After a particularly grueling morning on the C-Train, I started wondering about movies that feature public transit and how it’s depicted.

In almost every movie there are scenes that take place on or around public transit (subway, bus, trains…and more). What I noticed is that very few movies take place exclusively on transit. 1994’s Speed is the only movie that comes to mind other than The Taking of Pelham 123. The problem is both movies fall into the action genre. Anyone who rides the bus or train with regularity knows that a horror movie should be made about transit. Think about it – crowds of strangers, the filth, the weirdos, power failures, nowhere to go…

What do you think?

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Contraband Review

24 Jan

From the trailers, Contraband is a toted as a gritty action packed heist film.  Unfortunately it never escapes being a B grade action movie.

The story follows Chris Farratay (Mark Wahlberg) a one-time smuggler who’s started a legitimate business and is father to two young boys and a devoted husband to Kate (Kate Beckinsale). When Kate’s little brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a job and dumps a shipment of cocaine, Chris has to pay back the lost money or local thug, Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) will kill Andy and Chris’ family.

Chris tries to negotiate with Briggs, but with little success and he only has a couple weeks to get the money back. With help from his childhood friend Sebastian (Ben Foster), Chris sets up a heist smuggling counterfeit American bills from Panama.  There are typical heist movie betrayals, twists and turns, but the plot feels formulaic and most of the “surprises” you can see coming a mile away.

Contraband is full of plot holes and ridiculous moments.  At one point Andy steals money from Chris and abandons him in Panama to buy a new shipment of cocaine from a drug dealer named Rueben. How did Andy know how to get to the drug dealer’s place without ever having been to Panama City?  Chris is obviosuly angry, but also angry that he was smuggling drugs.  Oh look, he’s a smuggler with morals.  It’s trivial I know, yet I found myself concentrating on these tiny problems instead of worrying about what would happen to the characters.  Not a good sign…

Casting is decent.  Mark Wahlberg plays the same character again. He looks tough and acts tough, but he’s such a sweetheart underneath it all. Tears.  Giovanni Ribisi as Briggs is perfectly sleazy and dirty just how I like him. There are other talented actors sprinkled in Contraband, like Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and J.K. Simmons (Spiderman). They’re a welcome distraction from the stilted plot and it’s too bad that you don’t see more of them.  My biggest problem with casting is Kate Beckinsale. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a babe, which is the problem. It’s distracting how pretty she is next to all the gritty drug dealing types.  An A list celebrity is not required in a B action movie as the “Put Upon Wife”.

As for action, it’s not in the same league as Jason Statham films.  There’s one or two chase scenes and a couple of scenes where Wahlberg beats on Briggs, but definitely not enough action.  One thing I was surprised about was how often Kate was roughed up in the movie.   It’s amazing her character didn’t have permanent brain damage; she’s thrown into a sink, slammed face first into a counter and a mirror.  It’s surprising to see Beckinsale getting her ass kicked when you’re used to her as Seline in the Underworld movies.

All things considered, if you like modern action movies and are looking to shut off your brain for two hours, Contraband is the movie for you.

Totally Recalling

19 Oct

The other day, I was talking to a friend about all the awesome 80s action stars.  We talked about Jean Claude Van Dame, Stephen Seagal, Sylvester Stallone…and then we came to the always polarizing Arnold.  As I expected, my friend went on a tirade about how overrated Schwarzenegger is:  “Arnold can’t act”, “He’s not attractive”, “He’s a bad politician” and my new personal favorite “He’s a cheater”..ohhhhhhhhhhh.  A male action star a cheater? NEVER! I’m not going to pretend Arnold’s some kind of angel and that the media portrays him in a bad light. Please, have you seen how Arnold acts in Pumping Iron?   What I wanted to get across to my friend was, who really cares?  All big action stars have done scandalous things. The problem is that people don’t remember what our heroes did in the 80s and 90s.  Well, allow me to educate you…

Jean Claude Van Damme

JCVD is one of my first childhood crushes because nobody can pull off a mullet like him.  But what horrible things has he done other than teaming up with Dennis Rodman in Double Team?  At one point in his career, JCVD spent upwards of $10,000 a week on cocaine. His cocaine addiction ended more than one of his five marriages.

Steven Seagal

Portrait of Steven Seagal

Douche!  Admit it.  You know he is.  I can’t think of anything really horrible that Segal has ever done other than be a complete doucebag.  Look at the way he dresses and that stupid ponytail braid.  How embarrassing.  Now, Seagal is  training with Champions John Jones and Anderson Silva: the two biggest jerks in the UFC.

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone has overall been a pretty stand-up guy. You never really hear about him in the tabloids or any stupid things he has said or done to the paparazzi. Keep in mind, we didn’t hear much about Arnold till about 4 years ago.  The most you heard about Stallone was during his divorce from actress Brigitte Nielsen.  Yup, the Brigitte Nielsen that dated Flavor Flav.  He was also caught in Australia with synthetic human growth hormones in 2002, which explains why he’s insanely buff at 65.   My favorite seedy thing about Stallone is that he starred in soft core porn in 1970.  The porn was released when Sly got famous under the title, The Italian Stallion. Hehehehehe

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