Sunday, July 28, 2013
Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Red 2 and The Wolverine
Dearest Blog, yesterday I trekked to the cinema to see two highly-anticipated (for me) releases: Red 2 and The Wolverine. If I'm guessing by the number of people with whom I shared the theatres, not everyone anticipated these films quite so highly.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda was the middle-aged comic-book sequel Red 2.
Ex-CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) has retired (again) to domestic bliss with Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), but the life he thinks he wants is re-interrupted when his crazy old pal Marvin (John Malkovich) drags him back into the world of international espionage.
I tend not to read many reviews before I write my own, but as much as I'm online, I can't help but see headlines. The headlines I saw about Red 2 led me to believe it's worth an eye-roll and no more, in keeping with the first one.
However, I loved Red, and I'm pleased to report I loved the sequel equally well.
Bruce Willis is Bruce Willisey in the lead. This is a compliment. He carries this sort of film about as well as anyone, and the wisecracking tough-guy routine has yet to wear thin with me. Helen Mirren is the coolest Dame on the planet...all the more so when she's armed and dangerous. John Malkovich has his kooky on and is enjoyable as always. Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones kick up the star power of this cast, though I didn't entirely buy either in his/her role. Brian Cox is amusing in another brief appearance, and I was delighted to see David Thewlis. I'll cop to being absolutely fixated on Byung-hun Lee, whom I've only ever previously seen in the G.I. Joe movies, and wishing he had more screen time. I still hate Mary-Louise Parker, FYI.
Plot-wise Red 2 isn't trying to reinvent the wheel. It's action heavy, with the usual not-too-complicated (and somewhat holey) "save the world" storyline. Again, this is a compliment. It does slow down enough in some places that I wished they'd made it a bit shorter, but it's not bad enough to derail enjoyment of the whole.
Red 2 runs 116 minutes and is rated PG13 for "pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material."
With its likable, familiar cast and likable, familiar storyline, Red 2 is much like an afternoon passed with good, old friends...except Mary-Louise Parker, who's that one person you don't actually like, but you have to put up with because one of your friends does.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Red 2 gets seven.
Next up was the weekend's big new release, The Wolverine.
A meeting with an old acquaintance draws Logan into a conflict that is more than it seems, and forces him to confront his personal demons.
So...y'all hated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, yeah? See, I didn't. I liked it. A lot. I also liked this one. A lot.
Hugh Jackman is one of the more gifted and well-rounded leading men working in Hollywood these days, and it's to his credit he can do things like Wolverine and things like Les Miserables and be credible in both. He sings and dances on the Tonys and the Oscars, and he still embodies the macho superhero perfectly. The bulk of Wolverine's supporting cast is comprised of Asian actors with whom I'm only vaguely, if at all, familiar, but I thought they all did a fine job. I did pause to wonder whether Hollywood ever offers these actors any decent roles that have nothing at all to do with martial arts. I feel sure they've more to offer.
I am not invested in X-Men lore, so I can't comment on how well this film represents the comics, but the story is engaging, with (obviously) a good bit of action. It does run a bit too long (I ought to just copy and paste that line from review to review), and there were times, particularly some of the fight scenes, where I wished they'd just get on with it already.
Scheduling forced me to see this in 3D, and it was worse than useless; there wasn't a single scene where I thought it added anything. For the more shallow among us, Hugh Jackman is looking extremely fit, and there's plenty of gratuitous shirtlessness to be ogled.
The Wolverine clocks in at 126 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality, and language."
If you were waiting for that perfect superhero movie of the summer, well, you'll still be waiting, but the Wolverine is a solid couple hours of escapism that should please most fans of the genre.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Wolverine gets seven.
So, dear Blog, that closes the book on another Star Trek-less weekend; however, as the next four weekends are giving me 2 Guns, Elysium, MY BELOVED GARY OLDMAN in Paranoia, and The World's End, they should be filled with enough awesomeness to get me through.
Until next time...
Not gonna lie, I gave it six and a half Weasleys, looked at this, and changed it to seven.