Sunday, 24 February 2008



Well I was expecting this film to be pretty good, based on some early kick ass trailers and word of mouth, but no way in hell did I think it was going to be this awesome!

I will confess I’ve only seen the first Rambo completely and bits and pieces of the other two, but from my understanding Rambo: First Blood is the more realistic film, where as the other two went a bit cartoony and over the top with the action, and the fact Rambo inadvertently helped Osama Bin Laden in Part 3 we’ll have to ignore!

Even so, I still had so much fun with this movie it is unbelievable, it’s the sort of action film that makes you want to be ten years old again, where you and you’re mates rush outside and start re-enacting the action, playing war, diving and rolling for cover as you shoot at each other.

Slight predicament though as the film is pretty hard hitting and really quite horrible in places, no ten year old should probably see it, and the fact it’s based on events that actually are taking place in the world, it raises a bit of a conundrum as to whether you should enjoy it.

But viewed as a purely movie going experience, it is one hell of a ride. Paced and set-up to absolute perfection, it’s edge of your seat stuff from beginning to end. It starts with some disturbing footage of Burma news reports and then another unsettling scene which helps to establish the “bad guys” as real evil pieces of work. From there we move to setting up Rambo and the story, whilst cutting back to the Burmese army to keep the tension building. Once events occur and the full story is set in motion it just doesn’t let up.

From a stealthy entry and rescue into the enemy base (which is so well directed Stallone should almost definitely direct the Metal Gear Solid movie!) to the final shoot out in the jungle. Everything is just handled expertly. It is all shot so well, you feel like you’re there, hiding in the shadows and sneaking to save a hostage and later diving for cover dodging bullets and explosions. It really is amazing!

I must say the film is absolutely brutal in its depiction of violence, and a lot of it will make your jaw drop in disbelief, sometimes for being sheer awe-struck and other times for thinking they didn’t just show that! Limbs fly, even women and children get mutilated, it sure isn’t nice but it holds you firmly on the edge of your seat.

The action sequences are filmed in such a precise way that they feel completely realistic yet over the top at the same time! Not once did I catch myself thinking anything looked fake or was a special effect, yet at the same time so much hell is going on its insane.

Sly looks and performs incredibly throughout, there isn’t one part where you don’t think he’s capable of what he’s doing (Harrison Ford will be hard pressed to pull off the same feat in Indy 4).

The only thing I didn’t feel was necessarily the right choice to make was using the real news footage at the beginning, this makes the film have quite an unnerving edge as it informs the audience of the horrors of war, but then to have a film which is built more as a product of entertainment then a real message follow it just feels wrong. I don’t think the footage was appropriate as it brings a film that is really an all out cowboy and Indian style action adventure, where the violence is almost celebrated, being preceded by something that essentially says this is really happening and its devastating. The two messages conflict and don’t fit together.

As a film on it’s own though, pure awesomeness in a bag! I actually said to my friend “contender for best film of 2008?” as we left, I really thought it was that good! And bare in mind Indy 4, Dark Knight, Wall-E and a new Bond film are also coming out this year!


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Tuesday, 19 February 2008

No Country For Old Men

I’m not even going to pretend I liked the ending….

I don’t care what any pompous indie type movie fan argues, you just don’t end a film like this. It goes against everything they teach you in film school 101. I don’t care if some arty folk deems that a good thing, the ending to this film was a complete let down and anti-climax, not to mention pure frustration.

How it’s getting so much praise as a masterpiece is beyond me. The first 90% of this film, yes I agree are absolutely brilliant, great acting, well told story, tense atmosphere, interesting characters and premise (and with no music no less). I was loving every second of it, and marvelling in its greatness. Now if this had built to it’s logical conclusion or some form of a climax, somewhat related to the story or character that the audience had invested the last two hours in, then yes I would feel the praise was warranted, but this ending really ruins the experience.

To have an audience invest 2 hours with a lead character, understand his motivations, feel his pain, hope for his success, and then to kill him off-screen, with no resolution to his story or the item it was built around, then spend a further 20-30 minutes with a secondary character for no apparent reason but to then again end abruptly.

What. The. Hell.

Seriously, you can shove your new age theories of modern art up your ass. This ending was a total cop out! “Oh it doesn’t have to make sense or have a conclusion, it’s art it’s up for interpretation” some new age hippy will say in the background. Whatever. It’s like the Coen Brothers had a decent screenplay in front of them, they filmed it page for page, then realised “Wait a minute this isn’t quite indie enough” then threw the last ten pages away and tacked on a random ending, involving the characters who weren’t dead, just to make it arty and up to interpretation. Well thanks for ruining what was for the first two hours a brilliant film!!

It’s just so annoying to think what sort of a thought process does this to a film, did someone really think “Well the audience is going to be invested in this character and his struggle now, we’ve done an excellent job of getting everyone absorbed into the story, oh well lets ignore that, kill him and will do what we want for 20 minutes.” They say the marketing department can kill a story, well so can pretentious assholes!

So to the uninitiated a bit of advise, when our “hero” finishes talking to the lady at the swimming pool, stop watching and imagine how it should logically have ended. That way you’ll think this was one of the best films you’ve seen in a long time.

As it stands, I’m having a major hard time coming up with a review score for this film as a whole. So….

First 2hours – 9/10

Last 20 minutes – 4/10

Trust me, you’ll understand when you see it.

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Have a sick bag ready…

The idea is unique in it’s own little way, lets have a giant monster attack New York, but film it from the perspective of civilians via home video. Very interesting concept, that works on quite a few levels, but also has one obvious drawer back.

Firstly as the film was written as a movie (i.e. not a documentary as such), it has a 3 act set-up like most motion pictures and builds to a climax and conclusion. Also you only see glimpses of the monster to begin with until the full-blown money-shot at the end. So in that regard it works, it pulls you in and keeps you entertained, not showing all it’s cards until the end.

Atmospherically the film is brilliant, you really feel as if you’re roaming the streets of New York, and as buildings smash and the monster crashes around the fear of constant dread holds the film up. The special effects are top notch, the monster looks real, when buildings fall they really fall, cars fly and bridges tumble, it could all have been shot for real.

Acting is mediocre and the scripts does what it needs to do to get people from point A to B.

But then the problem, the whole video camera angle, good concept, but in practice, try watching the action sequences with out feeling a little bit queasy. It’s hard, I began feeling a bit bad at points and needed to close my eyes to regain my bearings. Usually this the action sequences, as when the monster turns up, people start running like hell, and the camera is pretty much thrown every which way and direction. Which means some of action sequence for me were a bit ruined as I couldn’t fully enjoy them, and I was actually begging for everything to slow down again.

The film was fun and entertaining, though I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I would have liked due to the aforementioned camera issue.


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