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Leverage

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Movie reviews- Hangover 3 & Fast and the Furious 6

Over Memorial Day weekend, 2 sequels battled it out at the box office. One had a huge opening weekend and pleased fans, one had a much, much smaller than expected weekend and displeased fans. This time, I tend to 100 percent agree with the audience and box office returns.

Fast & Furious 6- Is this a good film? I will say no. Is this a fun, all out action movie? A giant YES to that!
The Fast & The Furious series is strange to me. I actually greatly disliked the first film because it was silly, Most of the fans love it for the car racing, but the car racing was almost all CGI, so what made that so fun and cool? I didn’t get it.
2 Fast, while being a bit better filmmaking-wise was still dumb, bubblegum filmmaking and I couldn’t buy into the plot.
Tokyo Drift was a nice change of pace where the stunts got to be done more live and it helped set up the film better.
Fast ^ Furious brought the live car stuynts together with the original cast (who, while not being able to act their way out of a paper bag) at least brought the team back together with an iuntriguing enough storyline, real stunts, and made for a fun time at the movies.
Fast 5 was an amazingly over-the-top piece of filmmaking that turned the Fast movies into a globe trotting heist thriller with a lot of car chases, stunts, fighting between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and it just clicked.
While Furious 6 (its onscreen title) does not live up to 5 as a whole, it is a very worthy sequel which again takes a few twists and turns, bringing back a character we thought was dead, bringing in a new villain in the closing seconds for the inevitable Fast 7 (to be released in summer 2014), and has not one but 2 amazing girl fights!
The car action is ramped up with tank chases and battles on airplanes and around London with speed ramps, and any other over the top sequence that the filmmakers could come up with.
And it works.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (while not really believable) have a nice macho chemistry together, the supporting cast which includes Ludacris, Tyrese, also exude an on-screen breeziness which makes this whole thing go down easy.
Special mention must be made of Gina Carano who joins the cast as an associate of Johnson’s. It must be noted that she also adds that extra bit to this film due to the fact that she’s an MMA fighter and does all of her own stunts in the fighting scenes- and it shows,.
Jordana Brewsater’s Mia is sidelined into being the damsel in distress but, other than being a fan of Jordana’s, I really didn’t mind as far as the film went. She was not needed in this storyline and hopefully that changes in Fast 7.
The plot is extremely silly, but that doesn’t matter if the action delivers and it does. The fights with carano are intense and hard hitting, the car stunts are well choreographed and filmed. The geography of the fights and chases are well staged and executed (well, okay, except for the longest runway in the history of the world),but it is always easy to follow and understand what it happening.
I also loved the fact that several characters die in this film, upping the ante for the next one. When the team can’t stay in one piece (as anyone who saw Tokyo Drift should have expected), anyone can go out in a blaze of lorry come next summer, and it will be exciting to see how they wield that sword.
This is not rocket science, to be sure, and it doesn’t even attempt to reach down and show the deep existential quandaries of life, but, as a mindless summer film, it rocks!
Film rating- 4
Movie Rating-8


Hangover Part 3- I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the first Hangover film. First, I saw it at Brewvies, and, if there is a perfect film to watch at brewvies, it is either Being John Malkovich or the original Hangover.Secondly, as a writer, I love any film which has this particular line- “I keep forgetting about the goddamn tiger!” and it makes perfect sense in the story.
The second Hangover was a lazy excuse to make more money. They took the action to Bangkok, upped the raunch and disgusting factor, and released it to theaters where it made a huge ton of money, but no one who saw it seemed to really like it. I did think that the mystery of where the brother went was better than where the groom went in the first film, but, otherwise, there was not much there.
I have to say that I am pleased that the filmmakers did not fall back on their laurels and just try to make more money this time around. They tried something different. They went from a crazy comedy to a gritty action film that has comedic moments. While I don’t think it works as a whole, at least they tried and I would much rather watch a film that tries something different and fails (this or Brothers Bloom, for example), than a film that takes all the easy roads and offers nothing interesting (Hangover 2, Transformers, and most sequels, to be honest).
The film this time centers on The Wolf Pack trying to take Alan to a mental facility for help but getting kidnapped by a vicious druglord (John Goodman, perhaps expanding the drug dealer role that he played in Flight?), who wants their help to find Chang, who stole his money from him. And, if they don’t agree, their friend will be killed (Justin Bartha, again being taken out of the large majority of the film).
Again, the film works in fits and starts. Some scenes are fun, some are deadly dull, some action scenes are good, some fall flat. The experience is all over the place. A perfect example is the scene where they go to visit Heather Graham’s character again. There are a few funny lines, she gives a piece of information to the gang that proves useful, but mainly, it is a nice dramatic scene showing that she has moved on from the events of the first film and has a good life. While it is a very nice sequence, it adds very little to the film as a whole, and seems to be there just for fans of the first film and make it okay that Stu left her.
As I left the theater, I can honestly say that I was glad that I saw it, but it quickly left my brain and it didn’t stick around much like the first one did. Again, points for breaking from the mold, but take away those points for being uneven and relatively uninteresting.

Film rating- 5
Movie Rating- 5

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