The other day I was wondering why they don’t make those sort of mid-budget movies that are fun and silly but are never really ever destined for cinematic superstardom. Films like 48 Hours or Midnight Run or Convoy or Romancing the Stone etc. Solid entertainment, acting and storytelling, but lacking that X-Factor that transforms some cheap-ass script into a franchise. Now there’s nothing wrong with just wanting to make a good movie. It’s just these days it’s all about the expanded universe. The sequels. The bigger picture. There’s no room for those “blue collar” flicks of old. Or so I thought. The Hitman’s Bodyguard proved me wrong.
No Whitney Houston Songs Were Harmed In The Process Of Making This Film
Fresh off the heels of mega-hit comic-book adaption and meme goldmine 300, Zak Snyder had the world at his feet. Like a conquering hero, the grandiose success of only his second feature film afforded him his pick of the best, juiciest and most bountiful of projects. He could have done anything. He could have slipped into a franchise like Bond or the X-Men. He could have played it safe and made a sequel. Instead he choose to adapt the unadaptable He’d make The Watchmen; the labyrinthine, epic comic book that had lingered in development hell for nearly twenty years. The plan was to steer the floundering ship into port, and once again prove that he was the Alpha and the Omega of all comic-book movie directors. Fuck Christopher Nolan’s puny Batman or Hugh Jackman’s pathetic Wolverine. Snyder was gonna make a giant budget movie about a giant blue man with his giant blue CGI dick out.
Who Watches the Watchmen?
In Batman, solitary billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton – Birdman) was inspired to become the famous vigilante crime-fighter after the unavenged death of his parents. After terrorising the criminal underworld, he ended up dropping their killer, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson – A Few Good Men) into a vat of chemicals. The Joker was born along with a new type of villain. The super villain. Eventually he was defeated (AKA killed), and a relative peace returned to Gotham City.
The Bat, The Bird, and The Cat
It’s nearly four years since I took an in-depth look at all the bastards and badassery of 1989 mega-hit Batman. Beyond making household names out of Michael Keaton and Tim Burton, it demonstrated that darker, edgier, sexier super-hero flicks could hang with the square-jawed, frothy wholesomeness of Superman. A sequel, nay a harem of sequels, was inevitable. And so was this review.
Rejoice, Batman has Returneth
Comedy movies headed up by action stars was still a mysterious, uncharted land back in the 80’s. Eventually Schwarzenegger would dispel the myth that muscle-bound killing machines couldn’t do funny with Twins, pile-driving the box office for the sum of over $200 million. Macho badasses juxtaposed into hilarious scenarios has now become a bit of a sub-genre unto itself. The Pacifier finds Navy SEAL Vin Diesel looking after some kids, is just one example. Dwayne Johnson’s entire back catalogue is pretty much the same. So why can’t it be done the other way around? Why can’t comedians become badasses?
South of OK, North of Cancer
In the 90’s you could actually go to the cinema not knowing what you were going to see. You didn’t have to take out a small mortgage to pay back then so you could risk taking a punt on things. The Negotiator was one such punt. A tight action thriller starring two stars at the peaks of their power, it somehow failed to capture the credit it deserved. So let’s revisit this little beauty nearly twenty years on. And that’s not a request. It’s a demand…
Let’s see how you negotiate your way out of this one…
You have to give Nicolas Cage (Face/Off) a fair shake. Just because he’s the direct-to-video ying to Steven Seagal’s yang, it doesn’t detract from his Oscar win or the balls out classics in his back catalogue. It doesn’t matter if most of his recent work is a bit trashy. You never for one moment get the impression he isn’t enjoying himself, and how many of us can say that about our day jobs? So stop clenching your anus the moment you see his balding head on the cover and start appreciating. Plus it’s a nice surprise when you actually find him in something that turns out to be good. Now is that what you gonna find in his 2016 adventure, The Trust? Well we’re gonna find out…
Trust Me, I’m a Doctor