REVIEW: Still ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’ but not for ‘Parker February 18, 2013 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns
All contents ©2013 Mike Pascale. Visual content ©2013 their respective owner(s).
Couple quick movie reviews:
Bruce Willis can still pull off John McLane in terms of attitude, superhuman survival and gun-toting. Oddly, he gets more superhuman with each film. (He’d have made a good, older Captain America or Nick Fury.) After being shot at by multiple machine guns small, large and Russian military-grade-extra-large, after falling several stories through wooden beams and plastic tubes, landing on cement and rolling around on broken glass, he gets off with some superficial cuts and scrapes that require nothing more than a single arm bandage. Apparently he’s got Wolverine’s self-healing powers.
As he ages, though, he seems to be getting more zen-like, easy-going and subtle. The wisecracks are subdued and repetitive (“I’m on vacation!”). Even the requisite “Yipee Ki-Ay” (or however it’s spelled in the script) was spoken quietly alone—no one else even heard it. He’s still intense, but with a lot less yelling. Some may think he’s phoning it in, others will see it as “maturing.” You decide.
The McLane mantle appears to be picked up by his estranged son, John Jr./”Jack”, played equally shallow, strong and silent by Jai Courtney (also one of the main bad dudes in JACK REACHER). One gets the feeling that, as the Jason Bourne role was passed from Matt Damon to Jeremy Renner, the Die Hard franchise could go to him. (Note the final freeze-frame shot and see what you think.)
The plot was straightforward but complicated and included an interesting (if hard-to-follow) “double twist”. But this kind of film should be taken for what it is: an excuse to fire a lot of bullets and blow stuff up. A lot of stuff! Kudos to director John Moore and writer Skip Woods for devising some new takes on old stunts and conventions. Yes, the car chases are impossible, absurd and ridiculous, the battles one-sided and bad guys lousy shots, but it’s all still fun to watch. Like most action flicks, this is no more than a thrill ride in a movie seat.
My rating is “See It”, for no other reason than the explosions, gunfire, chases and stunts would be much less impressive on a home screen. And if you take those away, you’re left with little other reason to watch!
The latest Jason Statham tough-guy flick starts out with a well-shot, well-crafted and suspenseful opening caper. Unfortunately, the rest of the film didn’t live up to the promise. Statham is the same character as The Transporter: a strong-silent-stubborn criminal-with-a-code.
The fight scenes are okay, with one excellent, drawn-out (and impossible-to-survive) one about three-fourths through. But that’s it. The middle is slow. The other main character, played by Jennifer Lopez, comes off as annoying and unsympathetic (my wife almost wished she’d have been shot!); you expect her not to make it. For us straight guys, there’s a couple butt shots and a gratuitous/creepy strip-to-undies scene—but not enough to make us care about the character.
I really wanted to like this one, as I’m a Statham fan. But if you don’t have the thrilling stunts of THE TRANSPORTER or the lightning-paced absurd action of CRANK, you gotta have a great story and characterization, and PARKER doesn’t have either.
Rating: “Catch It.” If it’s free OnDemand and there’s nothing else on, watch the opening caper and then fast forward to the car chase, cheesecake, major fight scene, and the climactic stand off towards the end. Otherwise, watch a football game.
Or better yet, read a good graphic novel.
P.S.: How about an original art commission with a car chase, cheesecake or battle scene featuring your favorite hero and/or heroine, super or otherwise? Or better yet, with you and your buds? It’s the same price as a night at the movies with overpriced snacks and drinks for two, yet it can hang on your wall to enjoy for a lifetime. Just ask Craig here!