Archive for the C Category

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) Woody Allen

Posted in C, Woody Allen Retrospective on May 29, 2013 by moviemoses


Production Budget: $33 million
Worldwide Gross: $18 million

CW Briggs (Woody Allen) is an insurance investigator who is currently having trouble at work with the new efficiency expert Betty (Helen Hunt). The two hate one another but are drawn together on a case when a hypnotist (played by David Ogden Stiers) hypnotizes them and forces them to steal jewels without their knowledge.

Ten minutes. That was literally the moment where I said „Oh no.“ at the concept of watching the rest of this movie. There is a scene so bad that starts this movie and it encapsulates perfectly how the rest of the movie is going to fail. It is a scene where Allen and Hunt are in a resteraunt trying to establish their work relationship. I know what Woody Allen was trying to do, but it ends up being a complete disaster. Allen is trying to make a romantic comedy about a couple that starts off as adversaries but become lovers. The movie that immediately sprung to mind is Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. But then upon saying that you realize why this would go horribly wrong even on paper. Woody Allen, even on his best day, is no Cary Grant. Woody Allen is the intellectual who can spout jokes off at the drop of a hat and who has a witty retort to anything. Cary Grant is the kind of person who would steal Woody’s girlfriend without any effort because he is so damn suave and sexy, and Woody would still probably end up being his friend because Grant plays the lovable rogue perfectly. They are damn near as opposite as you can get. And as I said before, that is even on Allen’s best day. This is 69 year old Woody Allen who sounds more like a confused old man rather than the rapid fire comedian of old.

You watch this scene play out and you are painfully aware of the disconnect between what should be there and what actually is there. You should see two sexy actors who are exchanging pithy barbs at one another and who are trying their best to conceal their attraction to one another. What we get is a pervy old man and a shrill secretary bicker and bicker and bicker and bicker until the scene mercifully ends. But it doesn’t end, because you still have the rest of the movie to go.

I’m sorry to keep harping on that one scene but it really is the movie. Stuff happens, the couple meet to bicker over what happened, more pointless stuff happens, the couple meet to bicker more, boring plot reveal, more bickering, conclusion, they love each other…for some reason. This on screen chemistry was supposed to be what carried the movie and when it died in the first ten minutes, you know you are in for a long ride.

I really don’t know what else was supposed to be interesting or funny about this. We know from the beginning what the plot is but for some reason we have to follow Allen as he tries to piece together a mystery we already know the answer to. You may think the characters might do some wacky things while under hypnosis but they don’t. Every couple scenes, Stiers’ character calls up to give the trigger word, Allen goes off like a zombie to steal jewels, and that’s it. Where’s the humor in that? I can understand a scenario in which it could be funny. For example if we had a movie where a hypnotist programmed several code commands in our main character and these codes could make him act in several different ways (for example he could think he was Don Juan or a tough guy like The Rock or some comedian etc.). The hypnotist thinks he eliminates the code words at the end of the show but our main character for some reason keeps them. So during the course of normal life, people use these ordinary words in conversation which are the code words which makes our character transform into another person altogether. Hilarity ensues. I shouldn’t be thinking of funnier movies while watching your crappy movie.

What else can I really say without repeating myself? Oh, this was the first time I was creeped out by the age difference in a Woody Allen romance. We have this scene where Chalize Theron is practically throwing herself onto Allen’s character and I have to admit I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. Seriously, it was semi-unbelievable in the 70’s and now its disturbing.

This movie was a chore. I know I shouldn’t admit this, but at one point I just had this on in the background while trying to beat Gradius on one life. You will find some apologist who loves any Woody Allen movie, but this one more than any other is the one pointed to as the low point in Allen’s career. This is an absolute botch of a filmmaking experience. It is like if Gordon Ramsey tried to make Filet Mignon and he somehow ended up with Jack in the Box Pizza Bites. Do not watch this, even if you feel you are a Woody Allen completist.

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Celebrity (1998) Woody Allen

Posted in C, Woody Allen Retrospective on April 30, 2013 by moviemoses


Production Budget: $12 million
Domestic Gross: about $5 million

Now you’ll have to excuse the quality of the next few Allen reviews. I have seen the movies a while back but these past few months have been some of the busiest for me so I couldn’t write them when they were freshest in my memory.

Celebrity is about a couple (played by Kenneth Branagh and Judy Davis) who divorce and go in different directions afterward. Lee (Branagh) ruins several opportunities for success while Robin’s life gets much better.

Celebrity is a movie that has had a roller coaster of reactions. It was panned by critics and the public initiall and has since gained a cult following (I guess like many Allen movies now that I mention it). So where does my opinion lie?

Like every other review I have to discuss the elephant in the room which is the casting of Kenneth Branagh. Now I’ll discuss this in more general terms and move specifically to Branagh himself. In general I’m reminded of a time I saw American Idol (like ten years ago) and one week they did covers of the Bee Gees. Immediately I knew that no matter how talented these singers were, there was going to be some butchery with these songs. Because like him or hate him, there was only one person who could do the shrill womany shrieks of Barry Gibb and that was Barry Gibb. He was unique, and no wannabe karoke singer could ever do that voice justice. Or to put it in acting terms, no one can ever do Christopher Walken (a serious version anyway). The guy is a unique character and no one can do a Walken performance justice. I will also put Woody Allen in the same category. Yes, many people have been cast in the Woody Allen nebbish persona. Some have done it better and some have done it worse, but no one could or should honestly try it. Really, Allen should have known better.

This brings me to Kenneth Branagh speaking of the “worse” performances. Yes I’m beating a dead horse but believe me when I say I tried giving him a chance. I’m all about re-evaluating long held opinions and for the first ten minutes or so, I didn’t have a problem with it. It started as a rather toned down version which wasn’t that bad, but then he ramps it up to 11. He stutters and sputters and flails his arms like mad and you wonder what part of the scenery he won’t chew. To some this is a deal breaker for the movie, for me I’ll settle with very annoying.

Celebrity doesn’t play like a three act movie so much as a series of vignettes. I’m reminded of Mr. Bean episode titles. Mr. Allen dates a Supermodel, Mr. Allen’ Vegas Weekend, Mr. Allen’s wife Learns How to do a Blowjob. Okay the last is a little long but you get the idea.

I will admit the movie is very funny at times. The best parts are the scenes where he tries to pick up Charlize Theron’s character and when he spends a crazy weekend with Leonardo DiCaprio. But then there are scenes that don’t really go anywhere or fall flat like when Lee tries to pick up on Melanie Griffith’s character with no good payoff.

To me the movie really drags when the narrative switches to Robin. Now I know she serves a purpose in the narrative and we are contrasting the two stories. However she is not a very interesting character and she doesn’t have as good material as Lee does. Probably the most comical scene she is given is where she learns a proper blow job from a prostitute and even that is tame and worn out by today’s standards.

To me Celebrity’s misses outweigh its hits. It has some funny and even iconic scenes but there is far too much down time and scenes that just fall flat. Judy Davis is completely underwritten compared to Branagh’s character and it really doesn’t help that Branagh gives one of the most annoying portrayals of Allen ever. I don’t hate Celebrity or think it is one of his worst, I just didn’t find it a satisfying experience overall.

The Chaperone (2010) Stephen Harek

Posted in C on August 31, 2011 by moviemoses

I will apologize in advance for this review.  I had written this review several months prior when I originally saw it.  Somewhere along the way it magically disappeared off my computer (there are several possibilities but for the time being I will go with the magic excuse).  So I am writing this from faded memories seeing as how I like to forget some of the movies I’ve seen after I’ve written the review.  (in the case of the Chaperone doubly so)

The Chaperone is about Ray (Paul Levesque aka HHH) who is released from prison.  Ray is trying to reconnect with his family and become a functioning member of society again.  That is difficult for Ray and he soon falls back into his former ways with former gang member Phillip (Kevin Corrigan).  Ray, prior to robbing another bank, has a change of heart and hides out on his daughter’s school bus as their chaperone.  Little does Ray know that somehow the loot from the heist gets on the school bus.  Shenanigans ensue.

I remember watching the trailer for this movie and at the end of it being thoroughly confused.  Was this a comedy?  It seems to be since it has kids and a goofy premise of having WWE Superstar HHH as the chaperone of the field trip.  Yet despite trailers usually putting in the best jokes in the trailer I could not find anything that even remotely resembled a joke.  Turns out the trailer wasn’t too far off of how the movie felt since this is one of the unfunniest movies I have seen in a good long while.

Here is an example of the non-humor being written in this movie.  A long running joke is that Ray has read many self-help books in prison and refers to it many times during the course of the movie.  That’s it.  That’s the joke.  Can’t find the humor?  Neither can I.  I think what the writers were *intending * was Ray reading books about anger management and becoming more “sensitive”.  The humor coming from the fact you have a roided up (allegedly) wrestler whose gimmick is crippling people in the ring and having him be a big cuddly teddy bear who doesn’t want to fight anymore.  That somewhat resembles humor at least.  But having him quote cheesy inspirational crap like “when a door closes for you a window opens” or some such nonsense; that’s not funny.  That makes no sense.

Much of the humor is like that; stuff which is supposed to be a joke but isn’t.  It’s like space aliens looking at Earth culture and trying to re-create this thing called “humor” but failing miserably.  For example, the bus driver played like a surfer dude who takes everything mellow.  AND!?  And what movie?  What is supposed to be funny about that?  Is the actor playing that part supposed to be funny in it of itself? A kid on the school bus has a backpack full of firecrackers…AND?  No punch line.  No reason for why this kid has a backpack full of firecrackers except it gets shoe horned in at the finale (even though it didn’t have to be).  Do you see what I mean; this stuff not making any sense?

Even the central premise of the movie (the fact WWE Superstar HHH is a chaperone) gets played out inside of a minute.  If you have seen the trailer you have seen HHH give a speech in his grumbly tone about how he is the chaperone and how he is not going to take crap from any kids and that’s it.  He doesn’t really do anything else in the movie.  I never thought I would be referencing all the good things Kindergarten  Cop did but at least in that movie they embraced the stupid premise.  Much of that movie was laughing at Ahnuld’s thick Austrian accent as he was trying to act tough in front of a classroom full of kindergarten kids.  In The Chaperone all we really get is one scene of HHH glowering at kids on a bus with his freakishly gigantic forehead ridges and the kids are scared straight.  HHH doesn’t have the charisma of Arnold.  Hell, he doesn’t even have the charisma of Tommy Wiseau.

You would think the director would play up to HHH’s strength and put in several action scenes but no.  He has about two fight scenes that don’t take up much time and aren’t at all memorable.  Even the climax of the movie has the kids rescuing Ray for crying out loud.  It’s not like I came to this piece of shit for HHH’s fantastic acting ability.  HHH is to acting what WWE’s Big Apple Takedown is to literature.  It’s an abomination.

The compound the problem of not having any jokes, the movie doesn’t have nearly enough to fill it’s 80 something minute running time.  It doesn’t help that there is no conflict in this movie.  Ray quickly finds out about the money and is perfectly willing to give the money back.  Stuff keeps coming up though which prevents him from going to the designated meet ups to deliver the money.  Eventually the bad guys capture him and ransom him for the money.  The money he was willing to give them in the first place.  Someone may argue it could be a recurring gag that Ray wants to do the simple task of giving money away and is thwarted by random chance.  But this is The Chaperone we are talking about here.  I’m not giving them credit for shit.  I’m further not giving them credit because it really doesn’t feel like it is done for humor.  It just feels like they needed to artificially pad out the movie so they threw in some bullshit speed bumps in the way.

This movie was so monumentally frustrating for me for a few reasons.  For one (something I say so often it could be a catchphrase or something) there is nothing worse than an unfunny comedy.  The other reason is for what I outlined earlier.  I was watching this movie trying to find out where the jokes were and what the writers thought were jokes.  The only thing that could be funny for people would be watching me watching this movie and yelling “Where’s the joke!?” at my TV.  As a person that appreciates good screenwriting this was like my kryptonite.  I am not sure if there is anything else to say: the acting blows, the plot is not only non-existent but artificially lengthened nothing, and there are no jokes in this supposed comedy.  This movie is fucking awful and there is no reason for it to exist.

 

Caddyshack II (1988) Allan Arkush

Posted in C on August 9, 2011 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $20 million

US Gross: $11 million

Before I start, I will admit I only found the US box office receipts.  It is possible the Worldwide gross made a profit but I seriously doubt it.  With that out of the way, on with the review.

So tell me when this movie doesn’t seem like a good idea.  Is it the fact that the movie is coming out eight years after the original?  Is it the fact Harold Ramis is not directing and hands it over to Allan Arkush (who really has done nothing in his career)? Is it the fact Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, or even Ted Knight have not come back for the sequel?  If it still seems like a good idea, you may have seen Caddyshack II.  Or, you know, if you are a movie reviewer on the Internet.

So instead of Rodney Dangerfield coming back (who left over a dispute of the script), our main character is Jack Hartounian (Jackie Mason).  Jack is a down to earth entrepreneur who builds housing for low income families.  Jack joins the Bushwood country club so his daughter Kate (Jessica Lundy) can have a better chance getting into a prestigious college (or something, it’s not super clear).  The stuffy upper class are taken aback by Jack’s crude lower class shenanigans which causes a feud between him and the head upper class twit played by Robert Stack.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with a sequel to Caddyshack but everything in the making of this movie feels like we are trading down.  Harold Ramis doesn’t feel like directing so we get a hack TV director, Rodney Dangerfield doesn’t want to come back so we get Jackie Mason, Bill Murray doesn’t want to come back so we get Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase doesn’t really want to star in it so he will be credited as “Special Appearance by…”, we couldn’t really get anyone with talent so we pulled Randy Quaid out of the unemployment line, the main character of Danny Noonan is replaced by a piece of cardboard, and Ted Knight is replaced by Robert Stack.  Now I’m not dismissing all these new actors by saying they are shit.  For example I think Dan Ackroyd can be hilarious at times and Robert Stack is the man.  But it says something right off the bat when we gut everything that made the original special and go for the comedy hand-me-downs.

There is no nice way about saying this, I hated Jackie Mason in this movie.  He doesn’t even have a quarter of the charisma of Dangerfield and all of his terrible jokes die a horrible wheezing death on the screen.  Even if we did get Dangerfield back for the sequel this wouldn’t be good.  One of the nice things about the original was the fact there were many different characters spreading the comedy out.  You had Dangerfield, of course, doing his schtick but you also had Chevy Chase with unique style of humor, you had Murray’s classic role of Carl Spackler, and you also had charming protagonist of Danny Noonan.  Now, Noonan wasn’t in the same league as the other acts in the movie, but he was a charming everyman the drove the plot along nicely.  He was the grounding influence and (compared to everyone else) the straight man to everyone else’s screwball antics.  Can you imagine an entire movie where Al Czervik as the main character?  As much as I like Dangerfield, he is nice in small doses.

But in this movie we abandon the larger cast for making Jackie Mason the main protagonist.  This obviously hurts the movie because, as previously alluded to, Jackie Mason sucks donkey balls.  The movie wants to have it both ways where he is both an over the top money flasher, but a down to earth everyman who just wants to help the poor people.  It also doesn’t help that he really doesn’t have a plot in this movie.  In the original Caddyshack, Noonan was trying to work his way out of his lower class status by trying to butter up the dickish judge he caddies for.  In this movie there really is no reason for any of the conflict.  In fact, an hour an ten minutes into this movie it seems like the writers realize there should be golfing in this movie called “Caddyshack” and the third act drops with an audible thud.  Seriously, this climax with a golf tournament is one of the laziest, poorly written blow-offs to ever get shoe horned into a movie like this.  If they seriously turned to the audience and said “We got nothing better to wrap this movie up with, so let’s play some golf” I would at least had more respect for them instead of what they ended up with.

The rest of the cast is no good either.  Dan Ackroyd tries to be like Murray’s character but it comes off as extremely annoying rather than enduring.  I mentioned before that Robert Stack is the man, but here he just plain sucks.  He has nothing to work with and you appreciate what Ted Knight did in selling what probably was poor material.  Even Chevy Chase, who actually does show up for about 8-10 minutes isn’t all that funny.  Here it seems like he walked on set, collected his paycheck, said a few jokes and lines from the original Caddyshack and bolted.  And the less said about Randy Quaid, the better.

I have heard some say this is the worst sequel of the 80’s.  I don’t think I can go that far (I haven’t seen that much to judge), plus I don’t really want to put the challenge out for people to name off worse sequels.  I would list it among the most unnecessary sequels probably.  In any case, I am content by saying the movie just plain sucks.  Caddyshack II is one of the most consistently unfunny movies in a long time.  This is a movie crippled by horrible acting and really off screenwriting day by Harold Ramis.  This is a complete failure of a sequel which has nothing good of note.  Well, except maybe Kenny Loggins returning for another original song.

 

 

Cowboys & Aliens (Jon Favreau) 2011 Some spoilers

Posted in C, C on August 3, 2011 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $163 million

Worldwide Gross: $178 million

In Cowboys & Aliens we follow Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) who wakes up in the desert with no memory and a strange alien device on his arm.  Jake gets in early trouble with a local cattle baron named Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) whom he apparently stole money from in the past.  All that is put on the back burner as aliens come and abduct several people in the town including Dolarhyde’s son.  The town must then come together to fight the aliens and get back their family.

Genre mash ups are usually a bad idea.  I mean, look no further than The Wild Wild West.  Or, more preferably, don’t look there at all.  But I think what was giving most people hope on this one was the talent involved.  Here you have geek director Favreau, some writers used by JJ Abrams, and stars like Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.  To be fair and to cut straight to the chase, Cowboys & Aliens is one of the better attempts at doing a movie like this.  That doesn’t mean though, that I can’t bitch a little bit.

For one, this movie seems to take the subject matter just a tad too seriously.  The title, kind of like Snakes on a Plane, is in a way an advertisement of what the film is.  It’s playful and indicates something played for camp.  Something of a better example of a silly concept is Bubba Ho Tep in which an elderly Elvis fights off a mummy in his nursing home.  Cowboys & Aliens comes off more as like an Independence Day type summer blockbuster.  It is an effects driven action movie with some goofy characters thrown in.  Which doesn’t necessarily mean that is a bad thing, but it does give something of a false impression to people going in.

I also feel as if the “Aliens“ part of the storyline seems like an afterthought.  I was absolutely loving this movie in the beginning when it was almost purely a Western.  Favreau seemed to have the look, feel, and attitude down.  I was loving the characters and the situations they were in.  Then things just started heading downhill as soon as the aliens showed up.  By the third act when they actually had to explain what the aliens are doing and why they are here that it was really losing me.  It is probably the fault of the five writers this movie has that sometimes the script goes off the rails. Now I am going to be talking about the plot so if you don’t want spoilers skip this paragraph.  I won’t be spoiling everything but talking about details so be warned.

I already have heard the instant rebuttals to all this.  “Oh, I’m sorry there were ALIENS in this movie called Cowboys & Aliens.  I’m sorry you didn’t see that coming.“  Or “Really?  You are picking apart the plot of a movie called Cowboys & Aliens?“  This isn’t my cheif complaint, but yes, I am complaining about the plot of Cowboys & Aliens.  The thing is, I can take a silly plot or if a few things that just don’t make sense.  But the third act gets so stupid that it is REALLY hard to ignore: Olivia Wilde’s character and what she does is one big WTF, the answer of why the aliens are on Earth doesn’t really make sense,  and why the aliens are abducting people doesn’t really make sense either.  The thing I find most hilarious is the aliens are beat by basically a group of dudes with spears.  Yeah, I know it is a tad more than that, but come on.  You perfect intergalactic space travel, weapons that can blow the holy hell out of anything, and can make machines impenetrable to conventional weaponry and by the end its like “AHHHH!!! Pointy sticks!  We didn’t figure they would have those! Run away!”  That goes into my chief complaint about the aliens too.  These are creatures that again, have perfected intergalactic travel, but when they come into contact with humans are rabid animals.  For example they completely ditch their super energy cannons and just charge blindly in and maul the humans as if they are some mutant bear on the loose.  See what I mean in that it goes beyond silly into stupid?  Why does the advanced alien race drop their superior guns and try to bite the humans who do have guns?

Okay you can come back to reading the review again.  I’m not going to spoil anymore.  Another problem is with the characters.  Almost all of them are stock two dimensional stereotypes from westerns.  Which, again, is fine when you are doing a kind of comedy mash up like this.  But even so, there has to be some growth during the course of the movie out of their pre defined roles.  That is why for me, the second act drags a bit because you have these characters on a long journey and do nothing to advance characters during that time.  The first act did such a good job of setting things up and establishing everything, it is surprising that in the second act we aren’t really given a reason to care about what happens.  The only person with any kind of growth is Harrison Ford’s character.  Which even that isn’t great, but compared to the nothing everyone else gets, it is a breath of fresh air.

Now that I’ve spent the majority of this review bitching and complaining, it is time for me to give some perspective on the movie as a whole.  The movie is shot well as Favreau is able to capture the look and feel of a good Western.  The acting (even though the characters are not fleshed out) is very good.  Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Sam Rockwell all do their best to impart some life into their rather flat characters.  The action is okay up until the end when I feel the final fight is rather confusingly shot and rushed.  A rushed villian climax is almost a staple in Favreau movies now that I mention it.  But I digress.  And I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this movie overall and found it fun.  On the other hand you have paper thin characters, inconsistent writing from the five writers, downright stupid plotting with the aliens subplot, and some other minor issues.  Basically what this all boils down to is Cowboys & Aliens is a good movie that I think just about everyone can enjoy somewhat, but that the flaws keep it from being a truly great movie.

Cry-Baby (1990) John Waters

Posted in C on April 6, 2011 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $11 million

Gross: $8 million

This movie used to be the favorite movie of my ex-girlfriend. Keep in mind this is the woman who hasn’t seen such little known movies as Star Wars or any of the Indiana Jones movies. I had not seen it before, but I figured now was as good a time as any. Of course don’t think that just because I have broken up with my girlfriend that it will have any influence on my review. Okay, let’s get this piece of donkey dick out of the way…

Cry-Baby is both a parody and an homage to 50’s rebellion movies. Just by looking at the cover you get the vibe of a Grease type movie and it would be Grease probably as told through the strange mind of John Waters. The movie is about square Alison falling for Drape gang bad boy Cry-Baby Walker (Johnny Depp). The squares don’t like the match up and put Walker in juvenile detention to try to keep them separated. As I mentioned this movie feels part homage and part parody. The homage comes in by way of the musical portion of the movie. The soundtrack is great and harkens back to the Elvis type movies it tries to mimic. But the parody comes in with Waters’ own statements of 1950’s culture. Hell, most of the comedy comes from making fun of the “square” culture and applauding the drapes for being who they really are.

It is strange that I have seen so many movies and this is actually the first time I have seen a John Waters film. Truth be told I can’t really say why I haven’t gotten around to them. It is not so much that I avoid them but I have not really been interested in seeing anything he had to offer up till now. I have put off reviewing this movie for a few days because I am still trying to really wrap my head around why I didn’t really love this movie. Because if I went down the line of the different aspects of the movie, I would say most are good. I absolutely loved the soundtrack and found the musical numbers to be the most enjoyable parts. I also found Johnny Depp to be very entertaining in his parody of the bad boy with the tortured soul.

I guess if I can come up with a complaint it is that it doesn’t feel like a movie, but a string of Saturday Night Live sketches. There really is no plot to this movie and it feels like we just go from one silly scenario to another. Cry-Baby goes to the dance, Cry-Baby goes to juvie, Cry-Baby goes racing, and so on. I was about a third of the way through the movie and I was wondering if there was going to be any point to it. There are no real characters with any motivation or depth. Instead we have caricatures who are just mugging for the camera. Again, it feels like a ten minute comedy sketch and not a 90 minute film. It was the strangest experience I’ve had watching a movie in quite some time. As I said I was loving the music and I was laughing occasionally, but at the same time I kept staring at the clock seeing how much time I had left. The movie seemed shallow and I ended up rather wanting the soundtrack instead of the DVD.

This review is probably going to come down to a matter of personal taste. I admit I probably am being a little unfair judging this movie by what it is not, instead of what it is. This movie has become a cult classic on DVD and I can see why people like it so much. It is a silly little blast to the past with some great young talent and a killer soundtrack. Overall though, this movie just wasn’t my cup o’ tea. Although, it did make me interested to check out Water’s other musical Hairspray.

 

Chain Reaction (1996) Andrew Davis

Posted in C on March 3, 2011 by moviemoses

Production Budget: $50 million

Worldwide Gross: $58 million

To anyone that reads this blog enough knows I like to review movies while they are still fresh in my memory. Obviously it helps to make the movie review more accurate. Unfortunately after I watched this movie there were a number of personal issues and blah blah blah it’s now been awhile. Suffice it to say I’ve now seen Chain Reaction about six times total and that is just about my limit for this movie.

Chain Reaction is about Eddie (Keanu Reeves), a machinist who is helping a group of scientists perfect a new clean renewable energy source. Just as they perfect the technology, hit men assasinate all the members of the crew except for Eddie and another scientist Lily (Rachel Weisz). Eddie and Lily are now on the run because of a shadow organization is trying to pin the murders on them and take the technology for themselves.

The director of this movie, Andrew Davis, also directed the Fugitive. I think that is a little relevant because I see Chain Reaction as a low rent Fugitive. You have low rent Richard Kimble being chased by low rent Tommy Lee Jones (Fred Ward) and all the while, both are trying to uncover the mystery behind it all. Except the mystery in this movie is nowhere near as interesting or complex as the Fugitive. In fact, it is almost odd that the movie all but tells you who the bad guy is in Morgan Freeman, and we spend half the movie trying to “figure out” that Morgan Freeman is the bad guy. Either the writers really think that little of us, or they made some error in thinking I really give that much of a crap. Either way, the story isn’t that good.

The movie seems more interested in giving us chase scenes of which there are plenty. We get a foot chase through city streets, we get a fan boat chase, we get another chase through a museum. But again, unlike Fugitive, these chases seem to strain all credulity in how Eddie gets out of these situations (I don’t think cops are that dumb). Speaking of straining credulity, Keanu Reeves outruns a nuclear explosion on a dirt bike. And yes, that scene is as dumb as is as dumb as it sounds.

The acting in this movie is serviceable. Both Reeves and Freeman play up to standard in their particular roles. I actually liked Fred Ward as the persistent gumshoe. Rachel Weisz though is completely wasted in this role though. At first she is set up as an intelligent independent woman, but by the time the action rolls around she is effectively Olive Oyl. She does nothing but stand around and wait to get saved by Eddie.

Now the science in this movie is utter crap but don’t get the impression I’m dismissing the movie just for that. I’m not. I’m dismissing the movie because it has an dull mystery plot, rather uninteresting (at least for me) action scenes, and no great performances. As I mentioned before, I have seen this movie multiple times. Most of the times I have watched it, it has been on the TV in the background as I am doing something else. So really there is nothing in this movie that I hate and I’ll even say as far as generic actioners go, it is serviceable. But to anyone wanting ANYTHING else than a bare bones (although scientifically stupid) generic actioner, don’t waste your time with this movie.