Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Two-paragraph review: The Old Guard (2020)

I can see a pattern emerging in the way Netflix produces its high budget action movies. The Old Guard seems to be a perfect representation of this recipe. First of all, you need a famous lead, who is, in this case, the always solid Charlize Theron. Then you need a simple but engaging plot, which is here a story about a band of immortal warriors. You need a setting that suggests a lot of intrigue and geopolitical concepts behind someone hunting down those warriors in the present day, but which explores none of them. Finally, you need a lot of action, but none of it too much at any given time. Instead, it should be spaced out across the runtime of the film in neat chunks. Now shoot, edit, and there you go - you have your Netflix hit.

This film works in the same manner as The Extraction. Even with the fantasy element, it provides a similar viewing experience, where you emotionally barely connect with the characters, as well as their desires or needs. This goes for the plot itself, which might be predictable - still it is never becomes boring or stupid. What you end up with is a cookie-cutter action film that is neither good nor especially bad. If you took out the lead actress from the set-up, as well as a few other characters and one exotic shooting location, you'd have your run-of-the-mill SyFy film.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Greyhound (2020)

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick of Tom Hanks commandeering any kind of big vehicle. From boats to airplanes, Hanks was there. So, you can imagine I wasn’t too thrilled about the prospect of watching Grayhound, where he yet again takes control of a ship, this time in WW2 and the Atlantic ocean, as he protects a convoy from Nazi U-boats as a semi-trained first-time captain.

However, the sheer technical focus of the film is very refreshing. I’m clueless about what it was like to hunt subs with a destroyer but this movie paints a very good and dynamic picture, filled with a lot of old-school tech and people shouting orders about things I don’t get. The absence of any other element, besides a slow start and an unnecessary love interest of the aging Hanks, makes the 90-minute movie an ideal thing for all fans of war films who are otherwise more keen on watching a TV show than anything like this.