Sunday, June 30, 2013
Cindy Prascik’s Review of Redemption (Hummingbird) & White House Down
Dearest Blog, this week my local cinemas conspired to keep me from seeing a Jason Statham film on opening weekend. However, thanks to my heroes at Xfinity, I not only got to see the movie, but also didn't have to follow through with my threat to boycott the cinema in protest. WHEW!!
Spoiler level here will be mild.
First on the weekend's agenda, a Friday night On Demand screening of the new Statham flick Redemption, originally known as Hummingbird.
A tormented ex-special forces soldier does the mob's dirty work while seeking vengeance for a friend's murder.
Everybody knows I love Jason Statham. Jason Statham movies must be seen on opening weekend and, if my schedule permits, I'll burn a vacation day to see them opening day. Even if I don't like anything else about a movie, the fact that it has Jason Statham is good enough for me. Redemption is lucky it has Jason Statham.
Redemption tries to be more than just the average ass-kicking flick. It is a Very Serious Movie, with Very Serious Acting. Nobody in it is so good or so bad as to be worth writing home about, but, as a fan, I enjoy Statham getting to stretch his wings sometimes...and of course there's always a bit of ass-kicking to fall back on. When critiquing actors, I try to avoid taking jabs at anything other than their acting skills; however, here I must note that the leading lady, Polish actress Agata Buzek, has distractingly bad teeth. She's like an honorary member of the Pogues or something.
Redemption is a slow-moving animal, with a couple...um...I couldn't precisely call them "twists," but I'll say "aspects" that might have been intense or even shocking in the hands of more adept filmmakers. Here they are clunky, contrived, and even a little gross, and I wasn't buying any of it. This is a dark, dull, depressing film that builds to an unsatisfying conclusion.
Redemption runs 100 minutes and is rated R for "strong brutal violence, graphic nudity, and language." I've seen some very positive notices, but whatever those folks liked about it, I clearly missed.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Redemption gets four...all for Jason Statham.
Next up was a Saturday trek to the cinema to see the Olympus Has Fallen reboot, White House Down. Wait...what? It's not the same franchise??? Huh.
While on a tour of the White House with his politics-obsessed young daughter, a Capitol cop ends up having to save the President and the country from a paramilitary invasion.
I've gotten the tired joke out of the way, but, yes, this movie was released far too quickly on the heels of the year's earlier White House invasion flick, Olympus Has Fallen. Where there was nary a chuckle to be had in Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down plays it more like Die Hard, with one-liners and gags to spare.
Channing Tatum seems to be Hollywood's "it" guy of the moment and, while I don't find him particularly hot (yeah, you heard me!), I can't think of a film where I haven't enjoyed him. Here he holds up fine opposite Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, though obviously this movie's much more about action than it is about acting. Foxx is solid as the leader of the free world, and the supporting cast has plenty of familiar faces, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins, Jason Clarke, James Woods, and Matt Craven. I was excited to see two of my TV faves, Jimmi Simpson and Kevin Rankin, in pretty important roles.
The action in White House Down is huge and, at times, silly, but great fun. If the movie tends to beat you over the head with certain points (we get it, President Sawyer is a REALLY GOOD GUY!), it's not too hard to forgive because it's with honest intent, and, hey, we were rooting for him anyway. The film's biggest flaw is a runtime of almost two hours and twenty minutes, excessive times 12 for a summer popcorn flick.
White House Down clocks in at a bloated 137 minutes and is rated PG13 for "prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language, and a brief sexual image" (musta been very brief...I don't even remember it!).
White House Down is definitely the more fun of the year's "let's blow up Washington" movies, and, of a possible nine Weasleys, it gets seven.
And so, dear Blog, we come again to my favorite time of year, that time when my next trip to the cinema includes something new from Johnny Depp. I am giddy with anticipation.
Until next time...
What the hell...I'll vote for him! ;-)