Homefront: when an undercover narc is re-located his past eventually comes back to bite him, and his daughter. I was really looking forward to this: Statham playing Statham in an action film, James Franco as the baddie, and Wynona Rider… things were looking up; then I saw this phrase in the credits “written and produced by Stallone” and my heart just sank. We know Statham’s a badass (he’s Jason Statham), we know Franco is the baddie, we know the cop is bent, we know the revenge story… don’t spend over an hour backgrounding these basic characters, and genre plot. And don’t sell it as a non-stop action-fest when it’s only really the finale that’s action-heavy. And don’t cast a young girl with an old-lady’s face! (She was like ‘Chloe from Vine’). And don’t be so loose with your accent, Statham. While this isn’t a completely terrible film it just feels like nobody’s really trying: not the writers, not the director, not even the actors… everyone involved is better than this. Distressingly average.
The Fighter: Hollywood biopic about two half-brother boxers as they each try to make it to the professional level. You can’t mention The Fighter without focusing on the Award-busting cast: Wahlberg’s humble performance is somewhat overlooked with all the ‘big acting’ around him, but he’s at the very top of his game here; Bale and Leo trump the ‘crazy good’ pile with larger than life characters; and if you need a respectable actress that gets down to her knickers there can only be… Amy Adams, duh! It’s technically sweet, the sound is great for a boxing movie and the TV effects on the 1990s fights make it more believable and documentary-esque. What gets you most is the story, and the fact that it’s real; there’s more drama outside the ring and with a cast of explosive, rounded, characters like this my only complaint is that, if anything, there are too many of them – biggest family ever! Because of the territory, there’s definitely an element of running through the sports movie checklist, (“right, that box is ticked, next!”) after every fight, argument or pivotal scene. Although it tugs at the heart-strings with shameless precision through the family story, and despite being over-dramatic at times, The Fighter totally did it for me. Cracking sport’s / boxing film.
Newsmakers: When Moscow police are left looking weak a hot-shot PR chick turns their next operation in to a media circus live feed news event. The synopsis sounded familiar, but about 5 minutes in I knew I’d definitely seen this before… What starts off with homage feel to Breaking News soon digresses into a scene for scene re-make that doesn’t shake off the lethargic pacing, bizarre minor characters or sushi lunch of the original – although it does leave out the farting! Being Russian, the subtitles are beyond dubious – favourite line was “what the devil are they doing” – also, this is supposed to be about cutting edge technology but still uses classic rhetoric like “Virtual hyperspace“, “multimedia technology” and “information war” – GROAN!! The action however is still pretty sweet, particularly the opening quality gunfight and car-flipping chase scene. Bottom line; Newsmakers isn’t a bad stand-alone film, but when you’ve seen the original it’s a needless carbon copy with less style and flare, poorer direction, and additional to say. Made me feel like I’d been a bit too harsh on the original – which I’d probably bump up a full mark now.