Due to reasons of international security, being away from the bunker for a series of military operations and attending the general officer's orientation course, my movie reviews slipped but I do have time for a quick rundown...
In the sublime original Kick-Ass we saw our geeky hero get the idea that anyone can be a superhero in the modern world if you’re prepared to put up with both the hilarious, and dire consequences of putting on a wetsuit and wading knee-deep into the criminal underworld. It was an OTT action setup and a uniquely fresh entry into the saturated genre. Kick-Ass 2 is different, now Kick-Ass decides that he’d be better off as part of a team and so seeks out and finds an unlikely band of social misfits led by Jim Carrey - who delivers a superb performance as Colonel Stars & Stripes [a pity you can’t actually stand by the performance Jim, it’s one of your better ones] and together they go and dispense justice, with baseball bats.
To be honest however, it’s actually the movie’s b-story that seems more fluid and less forced and this centres on Chloe Grace Moretz’ Hit-Girl as she basically comes of age. To be honest it’s far more entertaining to see a schoolgirl/professional vigilante try to fit in to ‘normal’ [un]civilised society than it was to watch Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the idiotically-titled The Mutherfucker, deliver another failed attempt at being evil [including the always unwelcome “comedy rape” scenario] with the most ridiculous dialogue ever.
Kick-Ass 2 is one of those rare occasions not seen since Men In Black II, when the second movie of a series pales in comparison to the original. It is more likened to Superman 2 as a sequel - it had all the action and excitement of the original but none of the charm which breathes life into a movie and enables repeat watching years down the line. I can’t see myself deliberately watching this again sadly.
Colonel Creedon rating: **
There was never any doubt that Neill Blomkamp would make another movie after the success of District 9. This time he got more money, and sidelined his former leading man The A-Team’s Sharlto Copely to the role of the antagonist in favour of Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon. The result is a competent and often thrilling yet somewhat derivative science fiction tale that could have been an extraordinary example of modern cinematic excellence, but falls short due to Jodie Foster’s woeful performance [and strange dubbing] as well as over 100 glaring plot holes that make confetti of an otherwise solid screenplay.
Colonel Creedon rating: ***1/2
The cinema is a time travel device. Through the images on the screen and sounds surrounding you, you can literally be transported to any place, any time. To use this wonderful prose to describe a bog-standard action-buddy-movie made in 2013 and by all reckoning, set in 2013 may seem a waste but that's not the type of time displacement at work here.
No, you see this movie is from 1990. It's as if it was made in the late 1980's early 1990's, it's story, it's action, Denzel and Markie Mark's acting, it's singular simplicity and sense of purpose is straight from that glorious era of cinema. There have been many recent contenders to it's genre The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head, 12 Rounds, but none of them capture the essence of the 90's as well as this hidden gem!
Colonel Creedon rating: ****
Pain & Gain
A pun on 'No pain, no gain' this flick is at it's heart, a bodybuilding movie but it's wrapped up in a crime caper. The main hook of this movie is not that it's Mark Wahlberg and The Rock together on screen [although that's certainly interesting], it's the fact that the movie is directed by Michael Bay.
What you have to try to do is forget the usual formula of the majestic and explosive banality that is Bay. This is different. Here there is a message. It's as if for the first time, Bay is actually trying to tell us something, to tell a story! Sadly he chooses to alter the true events in such a manner as to portray the 'Sun Gym crew' in a sympathetic light, much to media [and victims relatives] chagrin and I can see their point.
While it is entertaining, it's leads do some of their better acting of their careers as well as excellently supported by Tony Shalhoub and the legendary Ed Harris, it's still insanely edited with the usual helping of slow motion for which there is no place in something like this, a bizarre satirical comedy crime-caper - based on true events.
Colonel Creedon rating: ***
Isn’t Riddick great? He can fall hundreds of feet with tonnes of rock resulting only in a dislocated ankle - which is easily reset of course and held in place with screws through some armour. He can tame predatory wild beasts by kicking them in the face and glaring at them menacingly. He can immunise himself against toxic alien poison by deliberately introducing it into his bloodstream. He can behead people on the other side of room with both hands tied behind his back. He’s so masculine that he can ‘cure’ lesbianism. Yes Riddick is great, even when the script is the written equivalent of a 14 year old’s book report.
Bottom line, nowhere near the excellence of Pitch Black but easily surpasses the nonsense of The Chronicles of Riddick and allows to to see that only Vin Diesel can actually be out-acted by CGI.
Colonel Creedon rating: ****
Read this and tell me if you’ve heard this plot before:
A young rookie cop gets recruited by a secret organisation unknown to the world and gets partnered up with a old crusty veteran. With the aid of advanced technology they go off and apprehend/shoot abnormal beings before the world finds any of them exist.
If at any point you thought “Colonel! That’s Men In Black”, you’d be right - but this is R.I.P.D., a cheap knock-off that’s substitutes the aliens with undead but otherwise is exactly the same premise.
While it’s fair to say it was fun, the lack of charm mixed with the woefully wooden Ryan Reynolds coupled with Jeff Bridges phoning it in is a stumbling block that will push this movie into oblivion. Thankfully it bombed so we’ll be spared any sort of sequel which could have similarly R.I.P.D.O.F.F. the plot of the already substandard MIB2 – shudder!
Colonel Creedon rating: *