I saw this movie, “The Cold Light of Day,” the other night with some friends of mine. I didn’t know what to expect going in, although it had a couple big names, specifically, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver. Basically, it was supposed to be an action, thriller, spy story type of deal. Sounded good; so we sat down to watch.
Henry Cavill plays the main character in the movie, a young businessman named Will who starts the movie learning his company is bankrupt while he’s on vacation with his family in Spain. Shortly thereafter, he has a spat with his father (Bruce Willis) and he heads into town by himself. When he comes back, his family has disappeared and he must begin a tenacious search for his family in the hopes that he can rescue them. He soon meets his father and discovers that he (his father) is actually a CIA agent and that his family’s kidnapping is linked to his dad’s activities. Then, his father is shot and taken out of the picture, leaving him alone to deal with the mess.
What follows is a harrowing adventure through the city of Madrid. Will experiences just about every form of physical abuse known to man. He’s shot, he’s burned, he’s in a bike accident, he’s choked out, he’s beat up, he’s choked out again, he’s in a car accident … basically, he’s having a really, really bad day. But it’s all in good fun. He survives, wins the day, discovers he has a sister, and he and the surviving members of his family live happily ever after. Or something like that.
Overall, I thought the movie was good. The plot was easy to follow with a number of clever twists that made it interesting. Some of the dialogue, at least in the beginning, I thought was forced, but I soon moved beyond that and got absorbed in the story. The amount of physical abuse the character of Will underwent was actually amusing. My friend and I were making jokes about it. “Yes, all he needs to be is maced and tasered now, and he’ll have run the whole gamut.” The Israeli Mossad made a showing in the film, but they were suspiciously absent at at least one critical moment just so the hero could be, well, a hero. Also, Bruce Willis’ role in the movie is surprisingly short, which is annoying when they use his name as one of the draws to the film. Other than that, I found the movie quite entertaining.
Overall, I’ll give the film three and a half, or maybe even four stars out of five.
“Looper” was a kind of interesting idea for a film. Time Travel and all the resultant paradoxes it entails has been done quite a bit by Hollywood. This film takes that well-traveled plotline and throws in a few unique twists of its own. I normally don’t like stories where the protagonist is evil, but this film pulled it off quite well.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the younger version of Joe, a Looper for the mob. Basically, a Looper is someone who kills people who are sent back in time by the mob of the future. The catch is that at some point the mob will want to end the contract and “close the loop” by sending the killer’s future self back to be killed. Bruce Willis plays the older version of Joe; the one sent back to be killed. Of course, the future Joe has plans of his own and won’t go easily. But there’s more to the plot than that (although I think that would have made an interesting film in its own right). The writers weave in a theme involving telekinesis and the genesis of a future mob overlord. It’s well done and kind of interesting the way they do it.
If I have a complaint about the movie, it is that I think they tried to do too much. The telekinesis aspect appeared in the beginning of the film, then disappeared for a while because they were developing the story along lines that it need not be in. Then it came back in the last half of the movie where it was a critical element. I think the storyline involving telekinesis would have made a decent film in its own right. The same can be said for the time traveling mob hit man. Putting the two together, though, made the theme of the movie seem a little crowded. Not too much. Just a little. I still enjoyed the film, but by the end, I was thinking it should have been pared down a bit in a few spots.
Other than that, the special effects were good where they were needed, and the acting was excellent, as well. The logic of time travel, of course, still posed its hideously unanswerable objections to the story when you think it through, so … don’t. It’s a time travel movie; don’t overthink it. Just enjoy it.
Overall, I’ll give this movie four out of five stars.
(Okay, so not only is this movie not fantasy, it’s not even sci-fi. Still, it’s my blog and I’ll review if I want to.)
I saw the original Expendables when it came out, so I knew what to expect when it came time for me to watch the sequel, The Expendables II. Big names of yesteryear, explosions, and gore. I was not disappointed. This movie has everyone and his mother in it: Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, and a few other newer names. There was lots of explosions, lots of killing, and even a Chuck Norris joke by Chuck Norris himself. It was… amusing. I was gonna call it a blast, but the movie was just too silly to warrant that description. Of course, it never takes itself seriously. It was just old action heroes doing a remembrance film, or something like that.
One particularly memorable part was when Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger quoted each other. “I’ll be back,” … “Yippey kay yeah.” Classic. What else should I say in this review? I suppose I should summarize the plot: there wasn’t one. Okay, that’s not true. Basically, Sylvester Stallone (again, I don’t remember the names of the characters in this film… but the movie really wasn’t about character development anyway, so it’s a small loss) is the leader of a mercenary gang. They are sent on a “cakewalk” mission by their CIA contact Bruce Willis. But, of course, things go horribly wrong. One of their team is killed by Jean-Claude Van Damme and his gang of evil thugs (they are even Satan worshippers to boot… just to make sure you know they are really BAD). The thugs take off with some precious intel that will lead them to a large supply of weapons-grade plutonium. Angered at the death of their comrade, the good guys spend the rest of the movie tracking the bad guys to their center of operations. Chaos ensues. Blood and death everywhere. And guts galore.
The drawbacks: I was kind of disappointed by how little screen time Jet Li got. He was in the film in the beginning, then dropped out and was never seen again. Also, I would have liked to see more of Chuck Norris and Arnie… they were there, but only for a few minutes of screen time.
Anyway, the special effects were good. I could almost believe that guy really was decapitated by the sniper’s shot. Did I mention there was a lot of blood?
Okay, the summary: the plot was pretty standard action hero stuff. The amount of killing was pretty high. And the cast was in it largely for laughs. It was a fun time, but certainly not a cinematic masterpiece. But that’s okay, because it was never meant to be.
I’ll give it three and a half stars out of five.