16 August 2013

A Good Day to watch any other Die Hard

I have not heard anything good about the fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, but that did not stop me from renting it over the weekend.  I am a fan of the first four films, to various degrees.  The preview looked decent, but not great.  I chose to see something else the week it opened in theaters.  Upon looking into that statement, it had to be scheduling conflict.  I saw Safe Haven.  So, with low expectations, I hit play.

What a monumentally terrible film.  Here is a brief synopsis of the plot: Jack McLane (Jai Courtney), the son of John (Bruce Willis), is in Russia. He kills a guy so that he can get arrested and put in jail with Komarov (Sebastian Koch), who is being held by corrupt politician Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov).  Komarov has a file that incriminates Chagarin.  John gets word that his estranged son is being held in a Russian prison, and heads to Russia to try and help.  Everything goes to shit, in the film, and the film itself.

I am a firm believer that Skip Woods, the “screenwriter,” has not even seen the other four films.  I doubt there was even a real script on set.  It feels that this could have been a script that was bought and adapted into a Die Hard film, not a Die Hard script in the first place.  The most common line of dialog from John McClane is “Jesus Christ!”  I am not sure how many times he says it, but it has to be in the dozens.  The other lines of dialog are just as bad.  The interaction between John and Jack are terrible.  The story is not a Die Hard story.  It does not fit the same pattern or feel as the rest of the franchise.  The action sequences are ludicrously over the top, unbelievable, and stupid.  John Moore just did not know what to do with such a stupid premise. There truly is nothing redeeming about this film.  There is no silver lining.  The closest thing would be its short running time.  That is just not enough of a reason to watch this.

A few years back, the Die Hard franchise made a surprise comeback with Live Free or Die Hard.  It had an updated story idea, and the film felt like a Die Hard movie.  The Harrier jet sequence was terrible and should have been cut, but other than that, the only other misstep was the PG-13 rating.  Yet, a sequel was inevitable, and five years later, this is what we get: a giant steaming pile of shit.  I believe that A Good Day to Die Hard has effectively killed this franchise.  If I am wrong, I hope that the time is taken to develop a good story.  I cannot sit through another disaster like this.  What a waste of a free Redbox rental code.

RATING: 1/10

Elysium: Who Remakes a Dolph Lundgren film?

Over the weekend, I went and watched Elysium, the latest from Neil Blomkamp, the director of Best Picture Nominated District 9.  Matt Damon took the lead role after two rappers turned it down, most notably Eminem.  Eminem wanted to film it in the dying city of Detroit.  When the deal couldn’t get made, he left the film.  Unfortunately, Damon signed on, and this absolute waste of time was still made.

Elysium refers to the city in space built by the rich.  The rich have migrated there to live ever since the environment on Earth has reached an all-time low.  So, of course the inhabitants on Earth are the poor dirty people that work in factories that support the rich.  The people still on Earth pay lots of money to try and get on a shuttle that will take them to Elysium.  On Elysium, they have beds that can heal humans of pretty much anything, including aging.  This seems like a terrible idea since part of the reason the rich left was over-population.  This is only the tip of the “bad science” iceberg of Elysium.  So, the sick and injured poor pile into shuttles that have stolen access codes that will hopefully allow them to get through the automatic defenses of Elysium.

Down on Earth, one such factory grunt is Max (Damon).  He works at a factory that builds robots for the rich businessman John Carlyle (William Fichtner).  We are not really told what these robots do, but we see some similar robots as bodyguards, police officers, and servants.  For some reason, they must be irradiated.  During his shift, Max is exposed to a lethal dose of this radiation.  Max goes to Spider (Wagner Moura) for a ticket to Elysium.  Of course, he has no money.  So, Spider puts him on a mission to steal information from a rich Elysium resident, and apparently any will do.  Max picks Carlyle.

Up on Elysium, the Defense Minister Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is leading a coup to take over the Presidency, and she has hired Carlyle to help her by writing a reboot code for the space station.  He does this, but this is when Max, now in a super suit, and some of Spider’s cronies, hijack Max’s shuttle.  This is also when the film becomes a remake of Johnny Mnemonic.  The reboot code is uploaded from Carlyle’s brain into Max’s.  Delacourt sends ex-Agent now mercenary Kruger (Sharlto Copley) and his team to apprehend Max.  Now, Max must try to get to Elysium before the radiation kills him while being hunted by Kruger.  There is also a stupid storyline about Max’s old best-friend Frey (Alice Braga) who is a nurse, and her daughter that is dying of leukemia.  But, like I said, it is stupid and pointless.

Elysium, flat out, is a dumb movie that did not need to get made.  It is just a 110 minute waste of time and money.  Matt Damon’s acting is bad, but that is not entirely his fault.  The script by Blomkamp does him no favors.  Yet, it felt as if Damon was trying to be Eminem in the role.  At what time did Jodie Foster stop giving a shit about her career?  Her role was terrible, and she was terrible in it.  Copley’s Kruger is just an over the top maniac that spouts bad line after bad line.  Braga’s character is there to serve a few “critical” parts in the script, but they just feel forced.  During this onslaught of stupid, Blomkamp’s slo-mo choices only serve to slow down this already boring film.  One time in particular really bothered me.  It happens when Kruger makes a jump over Max and company to block their progress.  I actually laughed at this it was so stupid.  I cannot convey to you how completely dumb Elysium is.  Do not waste your time or money on this.  Learn from my mistake.

RATING: 2.5/10

06 August 2013

DTV: Erased (aka The Expatriate)

Erased, aka The Expatriate outside the US, is a lowly action movie with a few B-list, border lining on A-list, stars.  It was supposedly released theatrically on May 10 or 17, but I have yet to find a box office take for it, so I doubt that it actually hit theaters.  Anyway, it hit DVD a few weeks back, and I took a quick look.

Erased opens on ex-CIA agent Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) as he works to break through a new type of lock for some foreign company, The Halgate Group.  His co-worker uncovers that the company does not actually own the patents for the lock they are trying to break into.  His team is supposed to test the locks of this foreign company.  The next day, Logan realizes that his company is gone, and that it was fake.  His whole involvement in the company has been erased, too, including his back accounts.  Meanwhile, someone uses Logan’s lock breaking device to steal something from a safe deposit box.  Also, a subplot about some cover-up over a boat sinking and killing innocent civilians lurks in the background as motivation for all of this.

Back with Logan now, he picks up his daughter Amy (Liana Liberato) from school and they are immediately attacked.  Logan thwarts the assassin’s attempt, and now they are on the run.  The rest of the film plays out pretty much like every other film of this nature.  Logan tries to figure out what happened.  He discovers a deep conspiracy involving one of his old CIA colleagues, Anna (Olga Kurylenko).

Erased suffers from being boring.  It starts off with an interesting premise of a guy who is hired to test the secureness of locks.  The conspiracy angle with The Halgate Group and the boat wreck is interesting, but becomes generic.  Erased is a terrible title change, as it welcomes comparisons to the far superior The Net.  It also feels a lot like USA’s Burn Notice.  Arash Amel’s script tries too hard to do too much with too little.  Apparently, he is a good screenwriter, and his Grace of Monaco is being filmed for release later this year.  And, he has been hired to pen the unnecessary I am Legend sequel.  Phillip Stolzl’s direction doesn’t help.  So much of the dialog cannot be heard because they are whispering to each other.  Then, BLAM, a gunshot sounds.  So, if you have the volume up to hear them talking, the gunshot is deafening.

Save your free Redbox code and let this one go.  If you happen to catch it on Netflix, go ahead and give it a chance.  It is just not worth the money.  This was shelved for a year, and now I can see why.

RATING: 3/10