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Entries in Action (46)

Tuesday
Aug132019

The New Classics: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

by Michael Cusumano

Scene: Scaling the Burj Khalifa
In the course of writing this column, I eventually got around to asking myself the inevitable question:  “What is the 21st century scene I’ve watched the most times?” 

I knew with certainty that the answer was the Burj Khalifa scene from Brad Bird’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, even if I couldn’t immediately account for the why. Of course you could simply say ”Why not?” It’s already firmly established in the pantheon of great action scenes. But it’s not like the past two decades have seen a dearth of great action filmmaking. Why not “Ship’s Mast” from Death Proof or the centerpiece car chase from Drive? What exactly is it about Tom Cruise pawing his way up the side of the world’s tallest building? 

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Saturday
Aug032019

Hobbs & Shaw: The Daddyness of It All

By Sean Donovan 

The Fast & Furious films have become some of our most trusted purveyors of pure Hollywood excess, concocting outlandish set pieces and barely logical heist plots that deliver thrills in big bold screaming letters, with an automative fetish that has been worth billions of dollars. But this spin-off, focused on two characters who joined mid-franchise, re-prioritizes the car fetish in favor of two male stars (and a third new one) whose bodies and larger-than-life macho personas are fetish objects in and of themselves. I have been affectionally naming this film ‘Daddy Fight’ ever since I first saw the trailer, for indeed that is what it is- gladiatorial combat to see who among Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, or Idris Elba will emerge as Daddy. The result is, quite simply, one of the most triumphant adrenaline-fueled homoerotic explosions in recent memory...

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Monday
Jul222019

YNMS: Top Gun Maverick

We're way behind on movie trailers. So here's another Yes No Maybe So courtesy of Tony Ruggio...

The interwebz collectively threw shade a year or two ago when Tom Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Joseph Kosinski (Tron Legacy, Oblivion) announced the twenty-years-too-late sequel to Top Gun, complete with some premise about sons and legacies and an aging Maverick. Sounded like the same ol’ routine any time a long-dormant brand or franchise suddenly decides to reboot or, in the case of Top Gun, sequelize for the very first time. It’s somethin’ else what a good trailer can do...because all of that is here and more in the first trailer which dropped on Thursday, and yet it’s one of the best teasers this year...

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Saturday
Jul132019

"True Lies" at 25

by Mark Brinkerhoff

On July 15, 1994, the re-teaming of James Cameron, fresh off the monstrous success of his previous film (1991’s groundbreaking Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and his Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger, not so fresh following the flameout of The Last Action Hero the year prior, debuted in theaters across the U.S. In one of those packed theaters that day: a teenaged me eagerly anticipating the ballyhooed, $100+ million spectacle. 25 years later, has True Lies held up? For that matter, have I? Let’s dive into one and the other, n’en parlons pas...

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Monday
Jun102019

"Speed" Turns 25

by Lynn Lee

When Speed was first released a quarter century(!) ago, the premise seemed ridiculous: Bomb on bus is triggered to go off if the speed ever drops below 50 mph.  A bus in Los Angeles, no less.  At rush hour!  (Actually, it’s always rush hour in L.A., then as now, which only reinforces the preposterousness of the scenario.)  Nevertheless, Speed managed to suspend viewers’ disbelief – and their breaths – with a combo of taut white-knuckle thrills that didn’t require elaborate special effects and light humor that relieved but didn’t distract from the constant tension. 

A major hit both critically and commercially, it went on to win two Oscars (for sound mixing and sound editing) and elevate the then up-and-coming Keanu Reeves to full movie star status.  Now that Keanu seems to be having another “moment” in his long and eclectic career, it feels like an especially opportune time to revisit the movie that vaulted him on to Hollywood’s A list.

How does it hold up?

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Tuesday
May212019

Review: John Wick 3: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

By Lynn Lee

“Guns.  Lots of guns.”

That line is only one of several of John Wick 3’s nods to its spiritual predecessor, The Matrix, albeit the most overt one.  With the right audience, it draws appreciative laughs.  It also embodies everything that’s both most effective and most lacking in Keanu Reeves’ latest blockbuster franchise.  The action pyrotechnics are dazzling, the callouts to his last blockbuster franchise amusing, but once the last gun stops firing, there’s nothing left.  Nothing to feel, think about, or care about, even as the story ends on yet another cliffhanger that practically ensures the next installment we all knew was coming and was sealed by the movie’s gargantuan opening box office haul.

It wasn’t always this way.  The first John Wick had a simplicity of premise that made for a sharp and clean, if fundamentally goofy, revenge narrative...

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