UnReviews:Big Budgeted Action Movie with Tons O' Explosions
- (Note: This review has been edited to contain the opinion of two well known movie critics; Johnny Positive and Dick Felwank. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.)
Johnny Positive: Well, it's been a long time coming, ever since Big Budgeted Action Movie with Tons O' Explosions has been announced I've been actively following the movie like a hawk; there is just something about the premise that attracts me. A movie about a mystical object that could grant the possessor power, a battle between good and evil, tons of CGI and awesome muscular characters, what movie hasn't done that? I've been through the trials and tribulations from the moment where the actor threatened to leave the movie if he didn't get some respect to the budgetary issues where the movie almost ran out of money and I've reached the moment which matters the most; the premiere. I was excited, I put on my T-Shirt and Hat which the movie producers graciously gave to me and I entered the theater with high expectations. Let me just say that after watching the movie, my expectations were extremely satisfied and I have a lot to tell you about this newfound movie classic.
Dick Felwank: Ugh, you cannot believe what I had to suffer through. Ever since I first saw the trailer for it, I've been dreading this movie; baseless explosions with no purpose, cliched action guys saying catchphrases, a textbook plot with all the meaning sucked out of it? That spells sucky movie to me and that's not the worst part. Everywhere I looked there were promotions for Big Budgeted Action Movie with Tons O' Explosions from the billboards to the walls to the sides of buses and even on the top of certain car dealerships and it was clear the movie studio paid big bucks in order to promote this thing. They say that there's no limit to promotion but when it comes to this movie, I think we should make an exception. It just sickens me that they have to place this movie everywhere, it was like God was punishing me for criticizing the very existence of this movie. Hell the only reason why I went to this movie was because the company I worked for required me to go, I didn't want to go in the first place but here I am, writing a review about a movie which will no doubt go down as one of the biggest busts of the year and if you're reading this right now, be prepared to drop all expectations.
JP: First off, we got the story which constitutes the meat of the bone. Some of you may be afraid that the story isn't up to snuff; well I'm here to tell you that the producers haven't forgotten about you, the viewer and in fact went above and beyond to give you two times the meat than your average movie. In my opinion this is a brilliant interpretation of a classic story; good fighting evil, damsels in distress, the fate of the world as we know it... It's unlike any movie I've ever seen, the producers literally thrust you into the world of the movie and they force you to view their world as they see it. Take for instance the main character; now normally he would be perfect but in this movie, his right hand is missing! The fact that he has experienced loss makes this movie have layers that make the story go skin deep; it gives motivation to the story at hand, it gives purpose to the action and most of all, it shows that the producers truly respect the audience.
Progression is the movie is nice and smooth and best of all, there is reason for every major event that happens in the movie. Just when you think they're going to introduce another obstacle in the enemy's path, they pull a twist on you and give you something unexpected such as a long lost friend or an old rival. These twists make the story feel more real in that they add a sort of dynamicism to them and that dynamicism is what makes you care about our hero; our poor, poor hero. Because you care, the movie becomes instantly entertaining as you have a hero to root for as he progresses through a story that's unpredictable. I'm not going to spoil much but let me just say that the second-hand man becomes the lead villain. How innovative is that? And it all builds up brilliantly to the amazing ending which just takes everything you know and turns it against you. The ending is psychological, deep and defies the definition of "feature film ending" and best of all, it rewards you for making it through the movie.
DF: If I were a movie producer, I would certainly focus on story as much as I would the effects and characters. That's what holds the movie together, the moments which makes the audience expect more and which twist the story into something intriguing and deep. This movie has no idea what story is; in fact if I had to guess, I'd say that the movie was written in 30 minutes by writers who are being paid way too much and if I had to guess how much they were payed, I'd say about $500 million. Compared with other movies, this is bare-bones and just plain pathetic; the sole progression that comes from this movie is "starring role gets into action sequence, starring role defeats bad guys and comes out without a scratch, rinse is repeat." Sure, they throw the occasional curveball but they don't even manage to take any risks. You'll put your hand on your head at such scenes such as the evil guy getting pissed at the good guy and the hero talking to the obvious damsel in distress; have these people not heard of depth and innovation?
Worst part about it is there's no buildup or suspense; in fact the end fight between the titular good guy and the bad guy is just thrown half-assedly on the screen. You're foolish to think that this battle will be like the one in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker fights Darth Vader; this battle is textbook to the end with catchphrases like "I shall destroy you evil enemy" and "Bring it on" and "I'm undefeatable, you can't defeat me", fancy camera angles that focus more on the skill of the cinematographer than the flow of the action and extensively choreographed moves that in no way feel human or unique. I was disgusted with what I saw to the point where I'd walk out and leave the theater but that would result in me losing my job and God knows I don't want that. The most laughable, pitiful moment in the movie has to be where the damsel in distress instantly appears out of nowhere after the bad guy has been defeated; is there no way to add subtlety and surprise? Come on, you know there has to be better ways for a hero and a damsel to reunite and be happy.
JP: Ultimately a story is nothing without characters and I'm glad to say that the characters exceed all expectations. Never have I seen such multi-layered, complex characters in my entire lifetime. You have your bad guy right? Now you may think that he's going to be one dimensional but check this out; he has a dead son; that is pure genius right here. It's like the movie makers tapped into what makes a person evil and they found out that the guilt of having a dead child on someone's hands tends to make a person really complicated. Same goes to the hero who has tons of problems; he's recovering from a drug addiction, he has a limited amount of time to live, did I mention that his right hand is missing? That sort of stuff can harden a person and give them all sorts of problems and it's that which makes us care for the hero, which makes the hero truly unique when compared to other movie heroes.
They even spread that to the damsel in distress who you'd think would just be a silly woman screaming out for help but you'd be so wrong; in a curveball the film producers make her sterile, meaning she's unable to have children. Not only does this make the damsel in distress more desirable but it also gives a new dynamic to the entire thing; they can't have kids, they're not going to have a normal life, it even puts into question the actions which the hero is doing. In an additional surprise one-time characters are also given complexity. Take for instance Jimmy who only appears in one scene saying one word, normally he'd be just a disposable character but get this, he has cancer. That alone is brilliant beyond what I can possibly comprehend. Moviegoers will have no trouble identifying with these characters and in some cases, will even compare their friends to the characters they saw on screen. Will you be compared to the heroic character or will you be compared to the evil guy? That alone is for you to find out!
DF: Ah stock; it's a word that describes the bare of the bare, the standard of the standard. There's no other word to describe these characters, they are so stock in fact that they manage to make a tricked out race car look like a 1996 Honda Civic. Heroic character with catchphrases; check! Evil character with the barest of malevolence; check! Damsel in distress whose only purpose is to get saved; check and check! Sure, they might have things like a missing right hand and infertility but they're just ruses; truth is they're nothing more than gimmicks designed to provide the thinnest amount of complexity that'll fool an audience. Anybody can have a missing right hand or a dead business partner but it's the execution of the thing that makes it work; you can't have characters sprouting catchphrases and shooting guns perfectly onto disposable bad guys, you have to add some sort of depth that makes the audience interested.
After watching this movie, I was convinced that the only actors in Hollywood must be muscular men without any experience in the fine art of acting. That must be the only way I can explain the bad acting and the bad characterization. I'm not a female or a gay person dammit, I don't feel anything whenever these men appear on the screen; I mean look at me, I'm a fat, slobby person and I don't have to be muscular at all in order to mean something. In fact I may quit my job as a critic and follow an acting career; think about it, nobody else looks like me. I'll be the most innovative person in Hollywood. Breaking down barriers, defying stereotypes, being rich and famous. If only this movie had the smallest bit of integrity that I have.
JP: As the movie title suggests, there is definitely tons of action and forgive me if I say this but this must be the best action in the history of movies. There is definitely all kinds of action going on, you have your basic gun action which is brilliantly deconstructed to its purest elements; never have I seen gun action that has been all about the guns, it made me very, very happy. You also have your kung-fu action sequences which showcase the art perfectly, every kick and punch is utilized to full effect; those people aren't kicking like they're bored, they're kicking it with style and it manages to be a successful homage to all of those ancient kung-fu movies and I can tell you, I'm a big fan of kung-fu myself.
The space battle presented in this movie was both unexpected and awesome; it just goes to show the risk-taking nature of the film itself and guess what? They definitely did the research to make it both accurate and compelling. From what I've read, the producers watched lots of 1940s Aerial Combat videos just to get the thing right and it definitely, definitely paid off; the maneuvers they do feel authentic from the wide banked turn to the loop-de-loop and at times, they even manage to create their own maneuvers. Not only does this reflect the hard work ethic but it reflects the ingenuity and creativity which this film has. If you're a hardcore action fan, you won't be disappointed with the action presented and there can never be too much action; just look at Stargate Atlantis.
DF: I detest that the word action is in the title and I detest the actual action in the film itself; it seems like the motive behind the movie is to put as much action on the screen as possible and at that note they succeeded; you have guns being fired, explosions everywhere and even the occasional kung-fu fight. However, the sheer fact that they combine multiple elements at once is very jarring. When I was watching any random action sequence I was like "Holy fuck, don't they know how to be subtle and use less?" Seriously 10 fucking explosions happened on the screen when they were firing the guns and I didn't know what I was supposed to be focusing on, was it supposed to be the explosions or was it supposed to be the guns. It got to a point where they had to place text describing what they should be focusing on; I think I was the only one who noticed this because everybody seemed to be focused or at the very least, apathetic.
The big space battle was a poor recreation of the one in Star Wars Episode IV: The Empire Strikes Back. There's barely anything to care about as generic ships fill the screen and extremely choreographed moves dominate the action. At least you had a reason to care for the Rebel Alliance as they executed their attack against the Galactic Empire; what is there to care about, random pilots of similar looks? Don't get me started on the diversity of the pilots; it seemed like every one of them was as white as a light except for a few African Americans and Asians that were included solely so the film wouldn't be seen as racist. And seriously what is the purpose of the space fight? To have ships flying around shooting their guns taking down evil ships just so the hero can get to his destination safely? If that were the case, it would make the hero look really selfish which goes against every moral code he is supposed to be following.
JP: Alas, what movie wouldn't be complete without special effects and luckily, this movie comes with lots of them. They certainly used their big budget to full effect as the effects I've seen are both realistic and fucking awesome. I have to commend special effects company "Industrial Light & Magic" for their work on the movie, they went all out into providing the movie with its spark. A trademark scene has to be the beginning when a large spaceship flies through space. Now normally this would be a nondescript ship but they focus so much on the details that it almost feels real; just look at the small bumps that populate the ship; the visible circuitry, the various antennas and dishes and you can't forget about the lighting which the ship produces. It makes the ship feel like a character in itself and gives it purpose in a movie that already has a lot of purpose as it is.
In a surprising twist, the best effects have to come from the subtlest sources. I've read that all of the explosions and sparks and interiors are all CGI generated. Watching the movie, I would have never guessed that. This just made me respect the special effects team even more as they all possessed the ability to make anything look real. In fact, this movie can be accurately compared to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a movie which also extensively uses CGI. I was constantly confused as to which were CGI monkeys and which were real monkeys when I was watching the movie and it was not until way later that I learned that all of the apes were CGI generated. I was stunned, how could people create such lifelike creatures and this is how I felt when I was watching the movie, in total awe of the photorealism. The fact that it was photorealistic enhanced the movie viewing experience for me and made me felt like I was in another world entirely and for that, I give them credit.
DF: Remember a time when we used to build our models from scratch and when we had to use creative methods to create effects? I certainly do after watching this movie; in fact it even revived parts of my memory which I tried to repress. The producers throw every effect at you from the overly detailed ship in the beginning to the interiors of the various set pieces of which the action takes place. Sure it looks nice but then again, my car looks nice and I take good care of it. It's obvious that they had a big budget to spend and decided to justify it by spending a lot of it on the effects; after all, they can't spend it on Ferraris and Gucci bags, that would just garner the suspicion of the movie going audience. There's no other way to spend it and hey, they'll get it back when the movie sells a lot of tickets right? Especially when it hits the overseas market.
In many parts it gets to a point where the special effects dominate the scenes; they seem more like special effects demonstrations than actual compelling scenes. Was there any need to devote 5 minutes of a movie to show a detailed ship or to get special views of the environment? In a movie like this, every minute counts and I just hate when they waste those minutes on special effects scenes. Of course I'm sure that the people who produced the special effects will get doors opened because of this movie but I'm not a special effects artist, I'm just a movie critic who goes to the movies to enjoy himself. It just sickens me that today's audience likes overt CGI effects rather than stuff like plot and complexity. Back then our movies had real content dammit, we had to focus on the characters and the plot; it wasn't just thrown out on screen and explained to us, we had to figure out the meaning ourselves. You people have it too easy.
JP: This is the best movie in existence and it showcases what movies are all about; sitting back, letting the action take over you and not worrying about your troubles. Everybody put their heart and soul into the movie and it shows from the complex and detailed plot to the amazingly deep characterization to the lifelike CGI effects. Everybody will be talking about that epic space battle or that battle between the good guy and the evil guy and lots of people will be putting this movie in their top 10; including me. If you ask me, critics need to sit down and actually watch this stuff; not try to find flaws and nitpick on. I'm sure that this movie will be ragged upon by every critic in the world but fuck it, I loved every moment of this movie and it certainly lives up to its title. It's big budgeted, it's got tons of explosions and it's a blast to watch. A must see!
DF: I don't know how I can express my disgust. I have never seen such gobshittery in my life; everything was overblown from the acting to the characterization to even the effects; this is grade Z level shit where catchphrases and simplistic dialog rule supreme, where special effects and explosions take presidence over everything else and where the ideology is "more is better". It was obnoxious, it was loud and it was gay. I'm sure there will be people who will criticize me for my opinion solely on the fact that I gave it a bad mark, especially since I didn't sit down and watch the entire movie. Fuck those people, I analyzed the movie and sat down like everybody else and I hated it. What do I get in return? Absolute bullshit. Take it from me, I sit down and watch these movies so that you don't have to; this is the worst movie in existence and I hope it gets some sick and dies.
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