“You have to take time to enjoy these moments in life.”
“I think you enjoy these moments too much.”
It’s films like these that are a bit difficult to review for me. Yeah it’s a solid film, one of the best Eastwood has done since Gran Torino, which was a decade ago. But trying to find things to talk about when I enjoyed the film, and padding it out to a respectable length, I find that difficult for something like this.
I could talk about how there’s a surprising amount of comedy in this, with his anti-PC quips that I know for a fact several people knew ahead of time were coming.
I could talk about the crowd I saw this with, which was made up primarily of old people, Vietnam and Korean War veterans. And how there was this one old lady who laughed too often a little too loud.
I could talk about how this is loosely based on a true story (ie inspired by), where the film mainly gets the jist of the real-life events and character, but took plenty of liberties with it. But that’s why the film itself never really prides itself on being a true story. It’s not trying to be that per-se. It is its own thing.
I could talk about how crazy it is to see Eastwood directing and starring in a film at his age. How I keep thinking that this is the last film he’s going to do, and then he does another one. I always keep wondering just how many more he still has in him.
But the fact of the matter is that this is a fairly straightforward movie, without any real twists and turns. So I figure it’s more important to focus on the message Eastwood is trying to deliver here.
The film starts off in 2005, where Eastwood’s character Earl Stone (name changed from the real life individual Leo Sharp; that’s how loose of an adaptation this is) is doing his usual florist business. But he sees an early sign of things to come, with cell phones and the Internet offering a new avenue of selling and purchasing products. Sure enough, 12 years later (roughly a year after Leo Sharp actually died), his home is foreclosed due to his business doing terribly with everyone opting to buy flowers (among other products) online rather than in-person. His business is over, and other businesses are closing down as a result. There is always suffering to come with change. Out with the old, in with the new.
Thankfully, the film also doesn’t shy away from the other downsides to the Internet. As efficient as it makes things for various businesses, whether it be retail, talking/texting over cell phones, among other things that can also be used to help drug cartels run their business; it also makes people too reliant on it. This is demonstrated in this one scene where Eastwood helps this black family out who suffers from a flat tire… who don’t know how to swap it for a spare. Becoming too reliant on one thing has its downsides.
While change has its upsides with more efficient business with technologies and ways of social life have their upsides, there are also downsides, as demonstrated with the drug cartels who have no problem killing off one another to gain a higher position of power, who may not be as intelligent as they think they are when it comes to running a business. Just as the drug business has its upsides and downsides. In this film’s case, on the one hand one can make a lot of money in the business. On the other hand, many tend to have a short life expectancy doing that sort of business.
So the film is partly a reflection of the past, and taking jabs at the way things are now, while also having a sort of acceptance to it regardless. While showcasing that times have changed with how people are meant to speak to one another (by “filtering” their words), it also doesn’t have a problem showing that there are still some towns that are still about as xenophobic as they were in the 60s, where Earl stops at one point to have a sandwich with his Mexican “friends,” and the whole time everyone is giving them “looks;” and a cop shows up who is about as racist of a caricature as many would have you believe is the rule rather than the exception nowadays. But the reflections mainly happen with the people Earl hangs out with, those he financially supports; and the songs he sings during his drug runs while taking in the scenery.
And, of course, there’s the whole issue of family. This usually tends to be Eastwood’s weak point when it comes to film-making. He never seems to be able to pull off family aspects without coming off as way to sentimental, overdramatic, etc. The prime example of this can be found with True Crime. The black daughter in that movie needed to die; the mother/wife needed to take a chill pill and shut the fuck up; but the dad was ok. Let alone that stupid zoo scene.
Thankfully, in this film, the family drama is actually solid. Which is something I honestly wasn’t expecting. Especially with Alison Eastwood, Clint’s daughter, playing the role of his actual daughter. It worked. Which helps, considering the other major theme revolves around the consequences of putting family second to work. The film doesn’t go as in-depth with this as I would’ve liked, considering how work is usually necessary, financially-speaking, to keep a family together. But it’s implied that it was prioritizing his time socializing with others and being the center of attention at parties, rather than prioritizing his time with his family, so it’s not exactly a weak section of the film. Just wanted it to be a bit stronger is all.
And yes, the film does get tense at times; but there’s plenty of laughs to be had too at many points throughout the film. The kind of laughs those of us can appreciate who aren’t overly sensitive. And honestly, the quips aren’t anywhere near as anti-PC as in Gran Torino (I wish they were, but that’s not where the film has its priorities). The humor, in fact, acts as a good way to cut the tension, especially considering that Earl is naive to just how out of his depth he really is, until much later on in the film. To the point where when someone attempts to intimidate him for the first time, he starts making jokes about the guy being a dictator for several minutes. The film is as funny as it is tense as it is dramatic.
All around solid, albeit straightforward. Recommended.
So I’ve been curious to see this movie after watching the trailer. The trailer actually made me laugh, plus I was curious to see how Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves would work together again, considering how long it’s been since Bram Stoker’s (or Francis Ford Coppola’s) Dracula. Unlike that time, Keanu doesn’t speak with an accent in this film, though I do wonder if it would’ve been more hilarious if he did.
Unfortunately the film wasn’t playing at any theater near where I lived. Figures, considering it’s a small budget indy film (though that doesn’t mean the film suffers for it, it still looks great). So I decided to put it off and wait and see if it will be on the rental shelf of my local library a few months from now.
That was, until I read a single-sentence review of the film.
What’s this, a film that makes tranny jokes? Well now I was more curious to see it than ever. But being the smartass I am (more emphasis on the “ass” than the “smart” in this case), I decided to make a joke in the comments section of this review. Bit difficult to resist, considering she took a John Wick assassination jab at Keanu’s character in this film.
Unfortunately, despite my inner warnings telling me I should take a snapshot just in case, my comment was deleted a couple days after being made, and after having several people remark on it. From what I recall, the comment went something like this: “Nah, he’s off shooting trannies and pansexuals.” I was tempted to add on to that, “You know, because the pansexuals raped his dog and the trannies shot it.” You know, in an attempt to consider this a shared universe where John Wick and Destination Wedding can coexist. But I didn’t want to go that far, so I just stuck with the first sentence. Had to show some restraint after all. As for the replies I got…
So first of all, it probably would’ve been more appropriate if my name was Donny.
Second of all, they obviously didn’t see that I gave favorable reviews/ratings for Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and The Crying Game (though I do still need to see Bound and rewatch Boys Don’t Cry).
Third of all, now I realized how sensitive they all are. Probably should’ve known better, considering the author of the review stated in the comments section that she walked out of the film after the film made its pansexual and transphobic joke. But now I knew for sure just how uptight their assholes really are. You probably couldn’t even stick a chopstick up there. It’s no wonder their so pissy all the time, they probably can’t even get laid the way they want because there’s no one in existence with a dick small enough to penetrate that region of their anatomy. And on top of that, they probably don’t even remember the last time they squeezed a turd out of their ass, considering they’re so uptight they’re incapable of doing so. They’re so full of shit they spout out this pro-outrage culture bullshit while virtue signalling, which inevitably happens when you get so backed up the shit starts to seep into your brain. They make themselves and everyone around them unhappy. People who are this pissy and this full of shit need to sit on the toilet for at least 20 minutes, learn to relax, and remember what it was like, how blissful it is to have that turd just slide out of you. They might actually be able to walk around more normally in society without feeling like someone’s jammed a broomstick up their ass.
In other words: STOP BEING SO UPTIGHT AND POLITICALLY CORRECT!!! Learn to take a joke for Christ’s sake. Oh wait, they may not believe in Christ. Let me rephrase that: Learn to take a joke for fuck’s sake. Hell, according to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, being less uptight so you can get fucked in the ass while congested actually helps.
But I digress. That whole incident made me want to see the film even more, which I eventually did, after seeing that it could be rented on the Playstation Store. And it didn’t take long before I realized I was really going to enjoy this movie. Aside from the nice laughs provided early on, it had this dialogue exchange (for the record, the whole movie is basically just Keanu and Winona’s characters conversing with each other), starting with Keanu:
“What do you do anyway?” “I prosecute companies and institutions for culturally insensitive actions or speech.” “You’re the politically correct police.” “Pfft, no.” “You parse what people say and do and then accuse them of being racist or misogynist or otherwise horrible. You destroy lives and reputations for money.” “Uh, no.” “Is that what you dreamed of, a career in reverse fascism?” “I can’t remember dreaming.”
It’s at this point that I’m starting to realize why it is the film didn’t get a mainstream release, outside of the fact that it’s an indy film, aside from the fact that it’s made differently than most rom-coms (with emphasis on the “com” in my opinion) by having the entire movie stay with these two protagonists who pretty much only converse with each other throughout the runtime.
Ah, but I know what you must be thinking. “What was that transphobic pansphobic joke that was made earlier?” I’m glad you asked.
“Why is the minister in a seersucker suit?” “Because he’s not a minister. He’s Keith’s friend from college.” “Levy, I think his name is.” “Kaplan?” “Kaplan, right. Is he wearing makeup?” “Always. Usually the Nars Radiant Creamy.” “If memory serves, he’s gay.” “The correct term is ‘Effeminate American.’ And actually, he’s pansexual.” “What does that mean?” “He’s attracted to all genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations.” “Come on.” “I’m telling you.” “How’d he get the gig?” “He fucked the bride and the groom.” “Which was like no big deal.” “Vanilla.” “I mean, because he would fuck, for example, a man who believes he’s a woman?” “Absolutely.” “Or a straight woman who believes she’s actually a gay man?” “Not a day goes by.” “What about hermaphrodites?” “You’d have to think.”
So in other words, it’s a joke about pansexuals who take it to trannies and pannies in the fannies.
But in all honesty, I don’t see what the big deal is. People make jokes all the time about how straight cisgendered men are pigs who always want to fuck the next straight hot female they see, yet you can’t joke about who or what trannies and pannies want to fuck because… they’re underprivileged or underrepresented or misrepresented or something? Well what the fuck makes you think straight people who are steadfast in their sexual orientation and are confident that their gender matches their DNA and what they were born with aren’t being underrepresented or misrepresented either in numerous cases (nevermind that there are plenty of white people who are underprivileged; go see American Heart for an example). Because that’s the hill they want to die on. And I can’t help but laugh and treat it as a joke. Because it is a joke. That’s why stand-up comedians from pre-2005 were taking jabs at that sort of shit all the time. And make no mistake, it’s ok to joke about everything and everyone. Jokes are universal and gender-neutral, and I’m not talking about the watered-down kind.
Which brings me to the point of this movie. Yes, with all that talk of trannies and pannies (I’m lazy and I prefer using less syllables and less letters, regardless of how blunt and anti-PC it is) and assholes and shit-talk I’ve been doing, there’s actually a way to come back full-circle and tie that in with this movie. And for the record, that dialogue exchange quoted above is the only instance I could find of the film making a joke about sexual orientations.
The two protagonists are individuals who have built walls around themselves throughout a good portion of their life, whether due to their upbringing, a failed relationship, or a combination of both. They resist any attempt at having a relationship with others to avoid feeling that pain again. This resistance comes in the form of bickering, both to and about each other, and about everything and everyone around them. They are pessimists to the extreme. Anything that can be viewed in a positive light they always find a way to look at in a negative light. From the petty things such as airplane food, massages, various locations hobbies and trivial things; to more significant things like relationships and an overall outlook on life (and the afterlife to a small extent). It’s done primarily for comedic effect, but it can be taken in that serious manner as well, especially during the last act of the film. The film does have it’s traditional 3-act structure similar to most rom-coms by having the couple starting out by hating each other, to finally having sex with each other and developing a friendly (at the least) relationship, to the (sort of) break-up and ending with the (potentially) getting back together at the end. But it does this by having the characters talk to each other like the writers from The Social Network wrote the script for them (they didn’t, it was just one guy named Victor Levin, who also directed the film, who is mostly experienced with writing for television shows rather than full-length feature films; but the fast-paced dialogue reminded me a bit of that). And they don’t beat around the bush during the third act, they straight up tackle the subject of long-term relationships head-on. They are aware that it is highly unlikely that it would ever work out, they weigh the pros and cons (primarily focusing on the cons). They don’t treat their chances any differently than the chances of the couple who’s wedding they attended (who they also bad-mouthed and said they would likely turn out miserable later on in life). Because while opening oneself up to such a passionate relationship can feel great at the start and for a while, there’s a good chance you can be hurt and become miserable and bitter for a long while afterwards. The protagonists know, because they’ve been through it once before.
In the end, they realize how much it sucks to be alone. How could they not? They’ve been reminded of what it’s like to have a significant other. As protected against such emotional attack can be when you’ve closed yourself off and stay isolated, looking for any and every excuse to not get close to anyone else again by having such a pessimistic outlook on everyone and everything; you’re never truly happy by being alone. So, to take a chance. To take a chance by lowering your guard and to be optimistic for at least a moment, which may lead to more moments. Chances are it could end badly, and thus lead to one becoming just as bitter and pessimistic and closed-off as before (if not more-so); but then there’s the off-chance that it won’t. It is uncertain. Such is life.
PS: Thank you lauren for giving me that push to shell out money to see this flick, and for providing me with enough content to pad this review out to a length that satisfies me. Here’s to you; may you learn to be every which way and loose, and find happiness in your future.
Edit (11-16-2018): So Letterboxd may have shown its true colors (either that or my account on that site got hacked; but I doubt that considering they only did 1 thing as far as I can tell). They took down my review of this film, which I had already redacted considerably, removing any mention of names of site users like lauren who has such a hard-on for pansexuals and trannies that she easily takes offense at any joke made at their expense, but had no problem making a joke at Keanu Reeve’s expense. I also removed entire paragraphs of this review just to keep it safe from censors. Well, not good enough they say. And like the last two times, they removed it without warning. Well that’s fine. Now I’ve got no problem not holding back on any of my reviews I make on that site from now on. I’m looking forward to them burning me. I’ll lose much, but I’ve learned that digital friends and family are easy to replace. They have nothing on friends and family that you can socialize with outside of the digital realm.
So here’s some images that tell of the story, from when I became aware of it yesterday:
So I’ve been curious to see this film after watching the trailer a while back. I mean, an action film with Mark Whalberg, partnering once again with director Peter Berg, and putting Iko Kuwais of The Raid film in for good measure. It’s something I had to see. Unfortunately, it suffered from the one thing I hoped they wouldn’t fuck up that they did fuck up, capturing the martial arts segments. They can’t go one full fucking second without doing a camera cut. Didn’t they watch Mission Impossible Fallout?
There are only 3-4 martial arts scenes in this film, and it’s 2 too many. The first martial arts segment, which you can catch a glimpse of in the trailer where he’s fighting while handcuffed to a hospital bed (or whatever you call that), it’s as good as the camerawork and long takes get, and it’s already subpar. Iko Kuwais can fight. I’ve seen him fucking fight, and any respectable action junkie should’ve seen him fucking fight by now. But the director doesn’t know shit about choreographing well enough to make it look good. Either that, or he thinks that fast cuts make a good fight scene. That shit doesn’t even work with shootouts, and this film is just adequate with that as-is. So the medical room fight is sub-par, but one can still understand what is going on, mostly. Though that fight lasts way too fucking long (all of them do, honestly, save for the only other semi-decent bit during a car getaway where we see a glimpse of The Raid influence as he smashes a guy’s head through the car window and then rakes his neck along the bottom while glass is still sticking out, God that moment was great; hope they use it in The Raid 3 whenever that happens). But it gets worse when there’s a fight in a cafe. I couldn’t tell what the fuck was going on for 90% of that sequence, and that’s not an exaggeration. I was hoping other people were being too hard on the film by saying there were too many quick cuts and undecipherable action sequences, but that whole bit proved them right.
The piss-poor editing prevents this film from being as good as it should’ve been, and the action sequences tend to go on for longer than they should. When it involves a shootout, the film isn’t half bad. The quick cuts take this film down a peg or two.
As for the story and characters, they’re decent enough. It’s nothing all that exceptional, it’s a typical “unofficial government organization does illegal stuff to get desired results” fair. Whalberg’s character is the most interesting and self-aware, though he is a major asshole.
And, entering into spoiler territory…
First off, Ronda Rousey gets killed, and fucked up before getting killed. Well that made my happiness meter go up a tinge. But in all honesty, she’s not half bad in this movie, and it did kind of suck to see her get killed off. But on the other hand, it’s difficult not to make some joke along the lines of, “I haven’t seen her this fucked up since she lost her last UFC fight.”
Second, the story may be a bit on the bare-bones side, but it attempts to add a little meat to it with the narrative interruptions by Marky-Mark off and on, pretty much giving away that he would survive at the end of it all, and that the mission wouldn’t be a complete success. He talks about how, “Governments suck, but so does everyone, so what can you do?” And the film basically ends on a note of, with these secret op games that the U.S. and many other foreign governments play, they all win some, they all lose some. We lost today, but we’ll come after you tomorrow and win. With a theme like that, given recent news development of how virtually all undercover CIA agents got killed in China after a data breach/leak/hackbetween 2010 and 2012, would’ve been more relevant if this took place in China as opposed to Indochina (but they were close, they just needed to remove the first 4 letters). But that was never going to happen, considering 2 Chinese production companies helped finance the making of this film. That seems to be happening a lot with many Hollywood films these days.
Third, the film somewhat subtly puts in this theme of everyone is an asshole. Or I should say, there are 3 types of people in this world, dicks, pussies, and assholes. The film primarily deals with the dicks and assholes who constantly fuck/shit on the pussies in one form or another (though it’s politically incorrect to say pussy now, guess it’s more of the norm to call them front holes; still sounds vulgar to me). It is stated primarily by Whalberg’s character, who has no problem acting like a blatant asshole, and states that the U.S. government, and all other governments, are dicks who fuck the pussies and assholes they call citizens. But there is a little more depth to it than that (but only a little). There are those who are assholes who try to disguise the fact that they are assholes by trying to act polite in a “holier than thou” manner. This is evident with Whalberg’s female partner who is having domestic troubles abroad, with an upcoming divorce and possibly being unable to see her daughter again. And her husband rubs this in her face as much as he can, trying to act like he’s above her in spite of what she does, and stating that her cursing just proves his point. Then it almost becomes comical (I say almost because shit like this hits so close to reality it can’t even be called satire anymore) by forcing this woman onto an app that censors/blocks any messaging she does that involves any sort of cursing. And while this woman is a bit of a bitch, she is constantly under pressure and put in so many stressful situations that it becomes impossible to act proper so often. And the husband is no better, just being a typical politically correct dick. And then of course there’s those Indochina officials who also act “holier than thou,” but it’s all a facade considering what they actually do, and what is going on while they’re negotiating diplomatically. Whalberg’s character can see through all the pretense, through the facade, through the bullshit, and just calls everyone out on it while making no attempt to disguise his own assholishness.
So yeah, there are a couple layers to this film, and it had potential. But those layers aren’t utilized well enough to make the film any better than a solid B film. And the terribly shot martial arts sequences bring it down closer to C range territory. All in all, the movie isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. Disappointing, because it could’ve been better.
And it turns out these assholes are just proving the point of that film Death of a Nation. August 4, 2018, the pro-Trump rally in Portland, Oregon gets attacked by ANTIFA thugs, and results in at least one person getting his skull cracked open and pouring out blood (he lived). You know, like the black shirts in Pre-WWII Italy did to other peaceful protesters and assemblies.
And on top of that, YouTuber Jeremy Hambly (of the channel The Quartering) gets attacked by an SJW at GenCon, allegedly by a guy who wears a “Punch Nazis” T-Shirt. At GenCon.At a boardgaming convention. In my type of atmosphere, my type of hobby. It’s not just limited to filmgoers and film critics, now we have board gamers to worry about. The worst part is that this SJW thug is supposedly one of the people running a booth at GenCon, and owns a shop. A police report is filed, Jeremy followed the proper procedures for GenCon in terms of reporting unacceptable activity such as harassment and violence (let alone assault), and GenCon officials do nothing. The police so far do nothing. Rather, GenCon would rather ban users from their Twitter feed who bring up the topic (90+ users last I checked), and YouTube would rather take down the video where Jeremy brought up the incident on his channel. Thugs physically attacking people for their political beliefs, authorities not doing much to dissuade them, and media outlets covering it up as much as possible. Tell me that’s not similar to the shit being brought up in this film? Tell me this isn’t something that will lead us down to either a civil war, or the rise of a socialist dictatorship?
YouTube may have taken down the video [EDIT: not the case, see below], but that’s why alternatives such as BitChute exist. And long story short, if you want to keep video evidence of something to support your arguments that you’ve found on YouTube, download it yourself. Otherwise, it’s nice to have alternatives. Try supporting BitChute just for the sake of having a platform alternative. Though that being said, it’s based in the U.K., so it’s questionable if even this will last considering all that’s been going on down there. Also, feel free to support Jeremy in his lawsuit:
Edit (8-6-2018): Ok, so I read through The Quartering’s tweets, and it turns out he made those YouTube videos “private” for now in an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating until the legal endeavor is over. YouTube didn’t take those videos down. That being said, I still support BitChute because there were (multiple) times in the past where YouTube did in fact block videos or have them removed (sometimes an entire channel, like the recent InfoWars), while BitChute has remained reliable (even if their “streams” aren’t always stable).
This franchise. 1st film should be a case study for how a director can take a mediocre script and turn it into a solid action/thriller. 2nd film is, eh, I don’t remember it entirely, it was ridiculous (though it did utilize the who face-mask thing that’s been used in a good amount of the films nowadays). 3rd film gave the franchise the bump it needed. 4th film finally made it solid. 5th film kept up the momentum. And this film, Jesus. It somehow tops the stuntwork in the previous entries (well, that opening airplane sequence from the last film still rivals the stuff found in this film). That shouldn’t be possible, especially with Tom Cruise, who somehow defies his age restrictions and still moves around like a guy in his 30s.
And honestly, that’s the main draw for me in regards to why this film works. The stuntwork, the choreography, the camera successfully capturing it all without resorting to unbearable shakey-cam, and not relying so much on green screen. There’s plenty of sequences shot on location, and there’s a few different locations used to great effect. Driving and running around France, and a helicopter ride through New Zealand. It’s refreshing to see a film this grounded and making this much of an effort.
Now, that being said, this film didn’t do the one thing I thought it would do, that the trailers implied it would do, that the film title indicated it would do, and that the film’s theme indicated it would do. The whole point of “fallout” is that there are consequences to Ethan Hunt’s actions. How he’s willing to compromise the mission to save his friends, though with the intent of improvising on the spot to find a way to still complete the mission. How those compromises will eventually have long-reaching effects he can’t control, which will eventually cause him to lose something he values. Whether he loses a friend or loved one, or if he loses a mission. This film cheats on that and decides at the end, “Nah, we want to keep this light-hearted and fun in the end. You’re all here more for a popcorn flick rather than an emotional gut-punch, right?” You can’t just fucking tease us like that goddamnit! That makes the title a fucking lie! Same thing with the theme. And you can’t just brush that aside with some dialogue conversation like this:
“I feel bad. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have been put in this position. I put your life in danger.”
“But you are here for me now, and you saved me, and everyone else.”
So that makes me not want to like the film as much as a do. But I’m a sucker for action and stuntwork like this. Still, the film could’ve been better if it actually let the title carry some weight.
And, honestly, that’s all I have to say about the movie. But this blog post, it’s too short. I need to put in something else. Bonus movie time.
Rated: 3.5 / 5
What the hell? Been Kingsley is in this?
What the shit? Anthony Hopkins is in this?
What the fuck? They share a scene together?
The movie had better live up to the standards those 2 just set.
Oh yeah, and Felicity Jones (the chick from Rogue One) is also in this. I don’t care if her acting is mediocre, she’s smoking hot and I’ll watch anything she’s in.
So the first third of the film is typical romantic interest to build up stakes for the action that comes later. And it’s not exactly done that well either. Not much chemistry, and neither actor/actress has the acting chops to make the intimate moments work.
Then comes the last two-thirds when this movie turns into Grand Theft Auto. I shit you not. Assuming you’ve played just one of those games since San Andreas, picture one of those missions where you have to steal some drugs or money, and make it to a safe zone, but it doesn’t go anywhere near as smooth as you would like, because gangsters and drug dealers keep chasing you down and fucking up your vehicles, and eventually the police take notice and the star wanted level climbs from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 (but not to 5, because at that point it wouldn’t be realistic; you know, like this movie), and your forced to keep hijacking one car after another to try and get away hoping you don’t get wasted, but at the same time you start getting into it and start wondering how much more damage can you and those around you cause, and how insane is it really going to get?
Yeah, that’s what the last 2/3rds of this movie is like. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t in the same league as those Raid film’s (or even the Mission Impossible: Fallout film, even if the rating indicates otherwise), but damn if I didn’t have a fun time watching this movie! I watched this film just on a whim not expecting much. The first 1/3rd makes seem like it’s not going to amount to much. But it’s just saving everything for the last 2/3rds which is nothing but non-stop action throughout.
If you want to see an honest-to-God videogame adaptation that doesn’t try to be a videogame adaptation yet does a better job at being a Grand Theft Auto movie than most films do at being an adaptation of any other videogame, give this a spin. Don’t expect a masterpiece or anything, it’s basically something to watch when you’re expecting C-grade quality, but end up getting B+ quality. No masterpiece, but still quite entertaining.
Plus it has Ben Kingsley hamming up the role as much as possible, and he’s the most entertaining character in the entire movie. He has more charisma than the 2 lead protagonists and Anthony Hopkins combined (though to be fair, the lead protagonists hardly have any, so…).
PS: This fucking movie pulled the mother of all homo-erotic cockteases on me though, which is bullshit. There’s this scene where our protagonist gets into a car dazed and exhausted and worn out and waiting for another adrenaline rush to get him going again. Meanwhile, Been Kingsley brushes off a bullet wound and gets up, presumably towards the protagonist. And our protagonist goes into a dream-state, and imagines the door opening and his girlfriend getting into the car and making out with him. Now, if this movie had a solid pair of balls, and firm buns you could bounce a quarter off of, and a solid pair of tits than anyone of any sex would want to motorboat, they would’ve shown Been Kingsley making out with the protagonist. Any other faults this movie had would’ve been forgiven, and I would’ve given an initial rating of 5 stars just on principal.
Rated: 2 / 5
So they did it, they made a modern adaptation of the novel (itself I have reviewed). How is it compared to the novel? As in most novel-to-film adaptations, not as good. And it suffers from some of the problems that I feared it would. Yet does have some balls with some of the subject matter contained, which is something that is much needed today. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go as far with it as it should have, which is something the book did.
Oh, by the way, I will be spoiling both the book and the movie here. But I’ll be doing this review under the assumption that you’ve read the novel. Because if you haven’t, you should. Plus it’s a short book anyway.
Anyway, so the film is in a more modern, somewhat futuristic (by our present day standards) setting, with the only real technological advances being that video is shown along the entire outside of a building. So sort of like modern day New York, but more extreme than that. And it just doesn’t seem practical. You know how fucking difficult it is to keep something like that cleaned? What if it breaks? What if there are pixels that need to be repaired? Plus the film doesn’t do the one thing I was expecting it to do from a technological standpoint, and that’s having a living room with all the walls made out as television screens. Considering that was something not only in the main protagonist’s home in the novel, but also that it was considered common, and considering the film has entire skyscrapers that act as one big-ass tv screen, you would think the movie would’ve had that in it.
But I digress, it does have some nice modern touches to it, such as having an Alexa-like unit in most places, responding to questions, offering advice, and spying on you (even when you think you’ve shut it off). And it does have the whole “brainwashing kids in school” thing, though the film is being a bit devious about this by having law enforcement figures be shown doing the brainwashing (thus metaphorically saying, “Cops are bad, m’kay?”). And it does a bit of satire on social media, by having all the news stuff showing little facebook-like icons floating all around live feed bits, showing people’s reactions to them (in a far too simplistic manner in my opinion; The Orville did that better in one of its episodes, and I thought that show was mediocre).
But other than that, the film is just a typical by-the-numbers movie, rather boring at times, and not all that interesting. It doesn’t get across the important bits of wisdom as effectively as the novel did. Probably because it dumbs it down, which is rather ironic considering what the novel’s message is. The acting is decent, but none of the actors seem to have any real chemistry, and the relationships all come off as forced.
It also doesn’t help that our protagonist Montag, played by Michael B. Jordan (who’s casting has been met with some reservation by die-hard fans of the book, for reasons I’ll get into later), doesn’t have a wife in this adaptation, like he did in the novel. Instead, it opts to let him have a more close relationship with the captain of the fire team, a sort of father-son relationship (even though they’re not actually father and son), or sort of bromance, a comradery thing. This causes the film to suffer in a great way compared to the novel. For starters, the relationship in the novel demonstrates how isolated the husband and wife are from one another, how they don’t really love each other, how the wife is more into television shows and chatting with her friends about said-shows. The media creating a kind of isolation, something I pointed out as a danger to society in that film Suicide Club. And it shows just how far gone she really is, how much the way society is, the instant gratification mindset, the materialistic mindset, has led her to not care about Montag at all. It’s a symptom most in this society have (at least in the novel version), which showcases the overall problem on a smaller scale. We don’t get that in this film. Rather, it just does the typical totalitarian society ala 1984. Look, if you wanted to do a modern adaptation of 1984, then just do a modern fucking adaptation of 1984. Fahrenheit 451 isn’t supposed to be like that. It’s about how society has become its own worst enemy, rather than those in charge being the ones as the primary cause of the harm.
The other issue with the film is that these firemen (and I assume many in the society) take drugs via eyedrops, which I guess is supposed to suppress emotions and/or emotional memories. You know, like the drugs in the film Equilibrium. And none of that shit was in the novel either. So why did they do it? As I indicated in the last paragraph, it dumbs down the ideas in the novel. In the movie, they take drugs to make their job easier, to function in society with less emotion and less remorse. In the novel, members of society drifted into this direction without drugs because of the instant gratification mindset, because of the simplistic tv shows (doubtful they have full-length movies, considering the attention span). Sure, people took drugs in the book, but not for the same reason they do in the movie. It was mainly anti-depressants, a side-effect of becoming so isolated via technology and the lifestyle. Montag (in the novel) also has this mindset; he smiles and acts happy even though he isn’t. And he has been doing this for so long he has forgotten what true happiness is, and just assumes he really is happy even though he isn’t. This is not something the film contains within it, for anyone. Makes the film shallow and uninteresting.
In fact, the manner in which Montag gets an awakening from this mindset is also far different than in the novel. In the novel, he meets, by random chance, some little girl who acts carefree and different from everyone else. This is to highlight what the children are actually like, what they’re expected to be, and emphasizing an important quality that all humans should have, lest they lose semblance of meaning and happiness. Now, this little girl isn’t in the movie per-se, but there is an older substitute (otherwise I guess some would mistakenly assume Montag is a pedophile or something, because we can’t have adults having an innocent conversation with a child, in the middle of the night, alone on the street, with no one else around; the 50s were a more innocent time period). An older substitute that he eventually makes out with (well now that would just make the novel version awkward). The thing is though, she doesn’t awaken Montag to this way of thinking so much as she brings him in to the revolution. Yep, it all comes back to challenging the totalitarian pricks in power, as opposed to pointing out how society is flawed because of its own self-inflicted wounds. Again, why the fuck do this and call it Fahrenheit 451 as opposed to 1984?
Oh, and also, there’s no killer robot dog in this. Ah, whatever.
There’s also this strange plot development halfway through the film. The revolutionists, somehow someway, have utilized digitized versions of old novels and created an artificial DNA molecule that can be implanted into DNA. It’s not explained too well, but I guess the implication is that, once this spreads into more humans, it will eventually infect everyone with this DNA strand, and they will naturally know about all these books on an instinctual level. The more I think about it, the more dumb it seems compared to the ending plan in the novel, which was also far-fetched but at least seemed more achievable compared to this. Besides, this plan never made it to the human stage, it only got into a single bird species. How the fuck is it supposed to spread to humans? DNA spreading doesn’t cross-species like that! And even if it did, it would take so fucking long it wouldn’t even matter by the time it kicked in! The bird species might have died off by that point! Honestly, this would be one of those contexts where that speech Yoda makes in The Last Jedi would actually work (sure as shit didn’t work in that movie). Plus it all ignores the other plot element in the novel about the other danger to society being the way it is. Lack of compassion leads to not caring about impending doom to the point where no action is taken when a fucking missile blows up an entire city! I don’t know, maybe it was a budget thing.
Lastly, the main actor himself. He’s black. Some have an issue with this, and they’re not KKK members or neo-nazis. They take issue with this the same way they take issue with having the human torch from Fantastic Four being black in that one incarnation no one liked. Not accurate to the novel/comic. Now, personally, in this film’s case, I didn’t have a problem with it in terms of being faithful to the novel. But it is worth bringing up an element of the novel that I just knew this film wasn’t going to have the balls to do. The novel mentions that minorities are one of the potential faults in society. Not necessarily because minorities in of themselves are bad people so much as it’s easy to put the blame on them for when something goes wrong, like the stock market crash of 2008 or some shit like that (indicated in the film The Big Short). However, while they can be used as scapegoats for something they didn’t do, there are some bad things they are responsible for, and it’s addressed in a very brief manner that gives something for the reader to think about. And when this book was written, blacks were considered minorities. Today, many would still attribute that label to them. And considering the manner in which the captain has a conversation at certain points with Montag (in the novel), he addresses him as a white man, telling him how black men are (grouping them with other minorities). It’s not done bluntly, it’s on the more subtle side, but it’s there.
With that being said, I didn’t really give much of a shit about them changing the main protagonists race, he could be played by anyone (don’t push it with the sex change though, we’re already getting enough of that shit with Ghostbusters: Answer the Call and Ocean’s 8). But I do take issue with the intention behind it, and this is a thinking outside the box sort of thing that is inconsequential to the events that happen within the movie itself. It’s the same reason why all the villains are white, and why the leader of the revolution is a black lady. The whole subliminal thing of making blacks out to be the good guys, and whites out to be the bad guys (excluding Black Panther, where Michael B. Jordan played the villain, but that film is an exception). Another one of those films which we’re going to see much more of that take little jabs at the white guilt complex. It’s really petty stuff honestly. Did find it a bit strange that Montag was pretty much the only black guy on the fire team though.
But anyway, at the end of the day, the film is dull, a poor adaptation of the novel, and dumbs down if not altogether eliminates the important points made in the original source material. Plus I don’t think they had the budget to pull it off. It’s just not that interesting of a film, which is frustrating when it has such interesting subject matter. The potential is there, which makes it all the more tragic and infuriating that it has been wasted. The irony.
“So you’re going to save the animal that shot him!?” “If I can.”
So I was interested in seeing this film in November of last year when it was set to release, but then it got pushed back to May 2, 2018, due to concerns of it being released after the events of a mass shooting. Guess that turned out well.
While I was eager to see this flick after watching the trailer last year (and becoming dismayed when I found it its release would be delayed until, well, today), I had my reservations. First, with Bruce Willis. The last film I saw him in where he looked like he gave a damn about the role and attempted to put some effort into it was Looper (a film I found to be mediocre, mainly due to some holes in the time travel logic, and the altered pace of the second half). Outside of that, most of the stuff he’s in he’s just sleepwalking through. Not putting hardly any effort into his role. Unfortunately, that’s still the case with this film, but he does become more alive during the action scenes. On the other hand, despite people stating how awesome Charles Bronson is, he pretty much did the exact same thing in the original 1974 Death Wish film.
The second reservation is with Eli Roth. Now, this director, he couldn’t make a great film to save his life. The best anyone could ever hope for from him is a B+ movie, and that’s it. Most of the time he releases C-grade material that can be entertaining, but not good enough to be entirely memorable. He loves putting gore into his films, can keep a film interesting enough to sit through all the way to the end, and usually injects enough thought-provoking material to consider when the film is over; but let’s be fair here, it’s stuff you would only think about for a couple moments and then move on, it’s never heavy. That being said, for a film like this, a competent B+ actioner was all that I really needed. Plus, unlike just about every other film he’s done, this one doesn’t star annoying youngsters. He finally directs something with a middle-aged (or older-aged; sorry Bruce) protagonist having the lead role.
When the original Death Wish film was released in 1974, it was released to much controversy. Critics decried its support of vigilantism, repulsed by the violence and the rape scene, and proclaimed the film as immoral to society. Yet it was a hit with audiences, and it sparked discussion on the concept of vigilantism, especially with the rising crime rates. Cut to today, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the controversy aspect, except that now “racism” is thrown into the mix, and choosing to attack groups of people with certain political views in addition to the concepts brought up in the film, as opposed to just exclusively attacking the ideas in the film itself.
One could say it’s definitely not a good time in America to release a movie which embraces gun-toting vigilantism with a complete disregard for any repercussions, one that offers a well-to-do white man as the answer to crime, but it’s never really a good time to release such an insensitive, tone-deaf movie. The crucial arc of pacifist-to-maniac is missing here, leaving the feature pointless, merely staging a “protect your family” parade. The only challenging thing about this movie is watching it.
Moving it to Chicago is basically code for “let’s shoot black people”
In moving the setting to Chicago, a city where gun violence is both well-documented and highly politicized, and setting the trailer to “Back in Black”, the remake tips its hand: 2017’s Death Wish comes off as a work of cowardice and opportunism, piggybacking off hard-right fear-mongering and a government that’s completely and utterly disingenuous in its rhetoric about violent crime when nationwide, crime rates—despite rises in cities thanks to mass shootings like the Pulse massacre in Orlando—remain historically low. This stands in stark contrast to the state of violent crime in the U.S. during the ’70s, a decade that did see rising crime as well as some of the most notorious killers in the nation’s history.
The new Death Wish has an entirely different context, one where guns are routinely turned on black citizens by white supremacists and white cops, where mass shootings regularly occur and lawmakers refuse to do anything about it, where guns in the hands of the populace is not a rarity but arguably an epidemic. It takes a profound level of either ignorance or craven, willful opportunism to think that this is a moment to make a film about a white man’s rage channeled through the barrel of a gun.
Although, even trying to have fun with the gritty revenge flick can prove troublesome; for some indefensible reason 95% of the criminals are minorities. The self-aware jabs at how easy it is to acquire a gun in America (Bruce Willis takes a few comedic trips to a satirical weapons store similar to Ammunation the Grand Theft Auto games) feel halfhearted and edited in after recent tragedies to throw criticism in both directions of the political spectrum. And let’s face it, watching a teenage girl fear for her life during a shootout right now is probably the last thing people will want to see, regardless of how the scare turns out. Honestly, an enlightened remake of Death Wish would not place Jordan in a coma, instead, it would give her a real character alongside PTSD in the aftermath of such events. The limited amount of perspective we do get from her is better than anything else in the movie from a narrative standpoint,
It’s the absolute wrong movie at the absolute wrong time. With our country currently reeling from the latest in what seems like an endless cycle of sickening school shootings, there couldn’t be a worse moment for a film that not only fetishizes gun violence, but also seems to get off on it. I’m sure there must have been long hand-wringing debates about whether to shelve the film for a couple of months and let the still-fresh wounds heal. At least I hope so. But whatever the case, the louder and more irresponsible voices in the room seem to have won out.
The audience I saw it with (in a Blue State, no less) cheered like crazy during the moments that might have otherwise given them pause. […] But the marketing of the film is another matter entirely. It has an unmistakable stink of rah-rah Make America Great Again-ness to it. It’s patriotic red meat thrown to the NRA crowd.
A time of Trumpist racism, incoherent gun policy, fear of police, etc., would be fertile subjects for mainstream films that use genre metaphors to address real national debates. That’s something this Death Wish doesn’t even try to be. Something has gone very wrong in Hollywood when one longs for the moral nuance of a Charles Bronson exploitation flick.
The NRA would have you believe that the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But what about a bad movie with a gun? There will surely be those who approach Eli Roth’s updated “Death Wish” — with Bruce Willis taking over outlaw-justice duties for Charles Bronson — as the fantasy balm of righteous violence they need after the headline horrors of so many mass killings.
But is an upstanding man turned instant vengeance machine, who slays only the right criminals, who never hits a bystander, really the message our roiling gun-debate conversation needs right now?
Never addressed, though, is the racial truism that if an anonymous, hoodie-shrouded person of color from a poor neighborhood were dispensing street justice, he’d hardly be labeled a “guardian angel” or people’s hero. He might not even be covered by the media. But that kind of truth-telling would just harsh this movie’s NRA-friendly buzz.
It’s anyone’s guess if the nation’s newly politicized, gun-control-hungry teenagers will be a decisive demographic in this movie’s box office fate. But as I left the screening for “Death Wish,” one middle-aged white guy barked out over the credits, “God bless the NRA! Arm the teachers!” Trigger warning, indeed.
It’s difficult to think of a film more out of step with the current culture than Eli Roth’s remake of Michael Winner’s 1974 action thriller Death Wish. At a time when Americans are constantly bombarded with reports of unpunished police brutality, the film suggests that the true problem with justice in our country is that law enforcement isn’t violent enough.
Watch it now, and you laugh at the campier aspects, cringe at the outright racism and sit slack-jawed as a Southern yokel/NRA avatar circa ’74 talks about how the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
But it helps to remember that this Nixon-era law-and-order wet dream also became a huge blockbuster hit, sparked a lot of point/counterpoint conversation about vigilantism, gave Charles Bronson’s career a shot in the arm and kicked off a revenge-fantasy franchise that went well into the Nineties. […] And given how Trump resurrected that same “law and order” rhetoric to scare voters and play to his base’s baser instincts, you can see why an opportunist might want to remake it now, right?
2018 is turning out to be a truly inclusive year for on-screen representation. “Black Panther” invited African-American audiences to see themselves in a massive superhero movie that wasn’t about their own oppression, “A Fantastic Woman” gave transgender women the chance to see themselves in an acclaimed film that wasn’t terribly retrograde, and now Eli Roth’s dangerously enjoyable “Death Wish” gives right-wing lunatics the opportunity to see themselves in a fascist fairy tale that wasn’t directed by Dinesh D’Souza. To each their own cinema.
The grossest part of the entire movie are the milliseconds between when you smile at what you’re seeing and when you recoil at what it means. Roth implicates us in the violence to an extent that the original never did, or never could.
Irresponsibly tone deaf, maverick in its thematic ignorance and pornographic in its fetishistic gun obsession. There’s never a point where vi-o-lent vigilante justice might *not* be the answer, always gruesomely inflicted with Rothian levels of fatal body trauma. For a movie that opens with media chatter about how Chicago’s criminal epidemic has reached near-dystopian levels, there’s a shocking lack of responsible messaging under peeled layers of flesh. No matter how much you might want to separate your politics from movies, Death Wish refuses to let you. It’s a dumbfounding example of the exact kind of weapons normalization we *do-f#&king-not* need in mainstream pop culture right now.
The scene, by all rights, ought to be a nasty bit of business: a middle-aged white avenger in a hoodie, popping out of nowhere to blow a black drug dealer away. But that “last customer” line plays like an old Schwarzenegger kiss-off, and the lawless killing is followed by equal-time commentary from black and white talk-radio hosts — the film’s explicit attempt to defuse any racist overtones.
More than that, the reality of a glib execution like this one is that audiences have been consuming overripe revenge thrillers for 45 years now, and they no longer take them all that seriously. Blowing someone away with unsmiling moral cool is now an act of violent comedy. (That’s certainly how the multi-racial audience reacted at the preview showing of “Death Wish” I attended; they hooted and hollered with glee.)
“Death Wish,” make no mistake, is a movie that has its heart in the wrong place. It’s an advertisement for gun fetishism, for taking the law into your own hands, for homicide as justice, for thinking of assault weapons as the world’s coolest toys. Given that the eternal debate about gun control has now been heightened, post-Parkland massacre, to a new state of urgency, the film, depending on your point of view, is either horribly timed or spectacularly well-timed. An N.R.A. cultist might see the new “Death Wish” and think, “Hollywood finally made one for our side.”
There is no clear explanation as to why Roth decided today’s world needed to revisit the franchise’s ultra-right-wing dog whistling. Perhaps a George Zimmerman biopic fell apart due to rights issues, and this was the closest producers could get. Or maybe the cinema needs just that much more sickeningly sincere gun fetishization – they’ve certainly got an audience in Senator Marco Rubio, so that’s one ticket sold.
Death Wish is the last movie we need right now. Eli Roth‘s remake of the 1974 original is just as tasteless and tone-deaf as its exploitative trailer promised, with Bruce Willis‘ doctor-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey doling out gunpowdered justice against the milieu of Chicago’s real-life gun violence epidemic after his wife is killed during a home invasion.
Actually: No. There’s no better time to sit with director Eli Roth’s version of “Death Wish.” Sixteen days after Parkland; 17 days after the murder of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer; the same week as our president’s assertion that he would’ve run into that Florida high school and taken care of business, gun or no. Yes, it feels like the week for this movie.
Funny thing: Initially, MGM had this Bruce Willis “Death Wish” reboot scheduled for a Nov. 22, 2017, launch. But a week after last fall’s gun massacre in Las Vegas, the studio thought, well, maybe this isn’t the moment to get audiences jazzed about an NRA wet dream. So MGM waited, forgetting that America never goes too long between massacres.
So that’s the general atmosphere of mainstream film critics, and I’m sure mainstream news sites and talk shows, most of which are liberal and pro-gun-control. Unlike the 70s where they just called the film repulsive, today they not only call it repulsive, but call anyone who enjoys it repulsive, and call anyone related to being pro-Trump or pro-NRA repulsive (and racist, and alt-right, and pro-fascist).
Ok, first of all, can’t we just agree that there are people out there who don’t give a fuck about politics and just want to see a revenge-thriller? Not everyone who would find enjoyment in this move fits those “negative” traits, and even if they did those trait definitions have been stretched so broadly just about anyone could fit into their definition.
Second, just because someone is pro-NRA, pro-Trump, anti-gun-control, doesn’t mean they’re an asshole who promotes violence and wants to kill everyone. I’m tired of seeing people like that, including me, being labeled as such.
Third, and this is the big one, I think they fear that films like this, about vigilantes and how their way can work because police aren’t a guaranteed source of protection (as many recent shootings have demonstrated; if these cocksuckers are going to exploit shooting massacres to justify not seeing a film, then I’m going to be one of those cocksuckers who will exploit the shootings and justification for seeing the film). Because this film, and the original Death Wish (among other films between 1974 and 2008, nevermind the 1973 Walking Tall film), provide reasons as to why and how having guns (good guy with a gun) can eliminate criminals early on who wish to cause violence among innocent civilians (ie the bad guy with a gun). They wanna label anti-gun-control individuals as people who want violence to happen and as deplorables who will make things worse, that can go both ways. Why not label the pro-gun-control individuals as those who also want violence to happen. See how things work out if you ask that some guy with a gun follows the law and not shoot anyone when he’s about to start shooting people. See how that worked out for many examples in the past where a good guy with a gun stopped such incidents before they got exponentially worse. Forget about seeing so judgemental and open-minded and letting people make up their own decisions.
“Everyone is very sensitive, everyone is ready to take a stance against something, but c’mon guys.
“You have to be aware of your audience, if you want to handle that subject matter, you have to be smart about it. And we do.
“When you see the film, you’ll see exactly how we handle the killing, how it’s not about race. It’s about good, it’s about bad. He’s going after bad guys, he’s going after the guys that did this to him. But you know what, everybody gets a taste of justice in this movie.”
Some are actually calling for the movie to be plugged from theaters or questioning the decision of the studio to make the film at all ( just by the critic’s interpretations of the film’s politics) and that’s why I say that a lot of these guys are definitely no different nor any better than those “1950s book-burners right-wing assholes” they claim to hate so much.
But thank God we still got some freedoms left and the movie was released and viewed by yours truly.
And some people going, “A white guy in a hoodie killing a black gangster (nevermind about the white guys he offs, that’s mandatory to avoid being labeled UBER-RACIST!). That’s racist!” Fuck you! You wouldn’t be bitching about that if it was a black guy killing off a bunch of white people, like Denzel Washington did in The Equalizer. Hell, you wouldn’t bitch about it if it was about a black guy going all vigilante on a bunch of white guys who killed his family. Stop trying to make this a racist black vs. white issue! Everyone from all sides has a thing for revenge films!
“This film is the last thing we need released right now because it’s a sensitive subject!” Fuck off! Having a movie about a sensitive subject allows for more potentially constructive conversations to happen. Besides, every movie contains material that some may find offensive and triggering.
“My best friend was killed by a thug with a gun!” Mine wasn’t, so I don’t give a shit.
“My family died in a car crash!” Well, guess we better ban all racing films from theaters.
“My family died in a plane crash!” Doesn’t mean everyone else still can’t watch Fearless or Airplane! or Con Air.
“My dog died!” Fuck you, I’m still going to watch and enjoy Old Yeller!
“Me and my wife got gang-raped!” Guess we can’t have films with rape as a plot device anymore, not even if it tackles the subject with how to recover/recoup from it, nevermind other revenge flicks that can come from that such as I Spit on Your Grave or Elle.
“My girlfriend broke up with me!” Then avoid all the straight and lesbian romance flicks and go watch Brokeback Mountain or some movie where homosexual men or transgenders or futas fuck each other up the ass!
“My waiter was mean to me!” Cry me a river and starve to death while I watch Waiting.
Virtually anything can set someone off. Some have their personal traumas that they are unable to get over (or that some don’t want them to get over, at least not too quickly, because we can’t encourage people to get over traumatic experiences on their own and be tough and independent now can me?) which prevents them from watching and enjoying a film containing that particular subject matter. But just because that’s the case for them doesn’t mean they should bring the experience down for everyone (including those tough enough to get over the traumatic experience) else who is interested in seeing the fucking film, whether it’s a stupid fucking film, a smart fucking film, a poorly made film, a richly made film, etc. Let individuals decide for themselves if they want to see it or not, and whether they’ll enjoy it or not. And if they want your input, they’ll fucking ask for it (or visit a website and read about it, hello readers). The only reason this is controversial is because of the social/political/cultural climate that the mainstream has been stirring up ever since 2014, and doubling down on it, and doing their damnedest to make us hate ourselves and each other, and I’m fucking sick of it, and hope they burn in hell for dividing us like this. A part of me hopes this film stays at the top of the box office for 3 weeks straight just to spite these assholes, and especially if it beats out Black Panther so that Disney and Marvel lose their shit.
Actual Film Review
Alright, enough with the ranting, which will probably take up more space than the actual review. So how was the film? I enjoyed it. It’s roughly what I was hoping it would be. Didn’t exceed expectations (that would’ve been a miracle), but it didn’t fall below them either. Bruce Willis is typical, nothing to special about his acting talents; just sleepwalking until the action scenes (so basically like Bronson, except he also sleepwalks through the actions scenes too). Eli Roth kept things interesting with the pacing and the action for the most part (though the first 30 minutes is a bit slow, because they needed a better dialogue writer and better actors and actresses to deliver them, and it’s all by-the-numbers). And the violence is much appreciated, not shying away from any of it.
Now I wouldn’t say it’s quite as gritty as the original film. Roth may like to think he’s making gritty material, but just because it’s violent doesn’t mean it’s gritty. He’s not skilled enough for that, and he’s too clean with his directing, despite what the gore may make you think. That being said, I prefer this remake to the original simply because it’s more fun and energetic. The 1974 film is rather boring by my standards, and monotonous. The only reason it’s hailed as a classic is because it was released in a “timely” matter (even if critics back then claimed otherwise) when it was relevant (like this film today), and because it was the first true vigilante film. Many were fed up with the high crime rates and the lack of police successfully protecting citizens, so the idea of taking the law into their own hands appealed to many. And crime isn’t much better today in some areas of the country (Detroit, Chicago, the latter of which is where the film takes place, and I firmly believe this was intentional on the screenwriter’s part). Because crime rates and violence is still a problem today, this theme is still relevant, especially when we’re in a day and age where we’re encouraged to be less independent than ever. Doesn’t usually work out that well.
The other element this brings is how social media and radio hosts and podcasters react to vigilante Bruce Willis. You know, like what Boondock Saints did (one of the most overrated movies ever, even for something that only has a cult status). Or what The Brave One did, something I reviewed alongside another film called Miss Sloane, the latter of which was a very pro-gun-control film which bombed in theaters (hah!). The Brave One had a female being in the role of the vigilante, a good girl with a gun. And it’s a film I consider to be superior to Death Wish (both versions) and Boondock Saints in terms of dealing with the pros and cons of being a vigilante. The other good film on vigilantism (that focuses primarily on what the consequences are) that I’ve seen is the under-rated Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon. This new Death Wish film attempts to show the grey area of vigilantes, by having podcasters ask if he’s right or wrong (it came off as very shallow and tacked on), by having another vigilante wanna-be get killed off (that addition worked better), and showing how Willis’ character becomes more closed off from others, and how his den becomes more and more littered and trashed as he continues on this lifestyle. It doesn’t go far enough to point out how unhealthy the lifestyle is, in my opinion, but it’s there. But regardless, the film clearly sides with vigilantism, and one could argue without much outcry from me that vigilantism is glorified. But at least it’s nice enough to show that Willis doesn’t start out as a pro. He almost gets killed from a bullet ricochet when he fires for the first time (pretty sure it was played more for laughs then as a warning; entertaining regardless), gets his hand messed up from the slider, and the gun gets jammed on one occasion. Plus he lucks out of getting killed in one instance. So I wouldn’t say it entirely glorifies vigilantism to the point where it encourages anyone to be a vigilante. But I would say, like the original film did, that society could use vigilantes to make society better, because law enforcement isn’t always enough. In any case, Eli Roth is like Scott Snyder when it comes to themes; neither director is capable of going far enough with them to be considered satisfactory.
And the violence does get quite brutal at times, especially when he visits the auto-shop (that’s all I’ll say about it). And I always appreciate a film bringing some hard R violence into the cinemas to remind me that not everything is bland and holding back (just most mainstream movies). It worked far better in this film than it did in Eli Roth’s previous film The Green Inferno.
From the films I’ve seen in the director’s repertoire, this is probably his best-made film to date, better than Hostel (that’s probably not saying much for some readers out there, but there it is). Roth does miss far more than he hits, and in my opinion this film is only his second hit (next to Hostel, all other films of his I either don’t care to see, or I have seen and think they’re shitty).
Good fun shoot-em-up entertainment with a dose of torture in the middle, and we have a protagonist who doesn’t come off as invincible (he gets some scars and hits off and on). Recommended.
PS: For those who bitch about Willis’ character not puking out of sickness and disgust from his first kill like Bronson did in the original adaptation, I chalk it up to Willis being used to being around dead people; you know, being a hospital surgeon and all.
PPS: Doesn’t the daughter in this film look like Anne Hathaway?