And a few bad ones too. It’s been a while since I’ve done a film review, so here’s some I’ve seen recently that are worth watching, or worth avoiding.
JCVD. Jean Claude Van Damme was always one of the best action stars back in the day; the day being the ’90s. It always amused me how he somehow managed to do the splits in every flick. A few expensive divorces and bad films later and he’s not the star he once was. I can’t even remember the last time he was in a cinematically released film. Anyway, JCVD is his comeback of sorts. He plays himself as a fading star, with fans everywhere he goes, and gets caught up in a robbery at a post office. Let me just say that he’s brilliant in this. Yes, brilliant. He gives an Oscar worthy performance and shows the audience that he’s more than just the guy with the fancy footwork. If you don’t mind subtitles, give this a go. It’s more of a drama than an actioner, but hopefully it allows Van Damme more meatier roles in the future.
Punisher: War Zone. I liked The Punisher with Thomas Jane and John Travolta, back in 2004. It stayed close to the dark comics, and despite the low budget and speed with which it was shot, it worked. The sequel, of sorts, doesn’t have as much – character, and Ray Stevenson does have a hardness that Jane didn’t bother with. The fight scenes are more brutal and gory and the plot is thin. Classic characters such as Microchip and Jigsaw aren’t really explored at all. It’s – okay as an action film, but Frank Castle deserves better.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop starring hefty Kevin James is somewhat funny. James is great in it, as a naive and loveable security guard in a shopping centre. It’s a little too Disney, but at least it’s safe for family viewing. The bad guys aren’t really so evil and the physical comedy mostly works.
Fighting. If you’ve seen last year’s Never Back Down, which was a cross between Fight Club and The O.C, there’s no need to see this film. It stars Channing Tatum as a young, homeless ex-wrestler who doesn’t mind a fight. Terrence Howard is in this film for some reason as a hustler who guides Tatum in his fights for cash. It’s a simple film and there’s no real substance to it.
12 Rounds. The best of the WWE Studios films so far, but that’s not saying a lot. Wrestler John Cena does his best to become actor John Cena and doesn’t too badly. He’s a New Orleans cop who accidentally kills the girlfriend of a bad guy who then kidnaps Cena’s woman a year later and forces him to run around the city completing 12 tasks in order to save her. Yes, it’s a little too similar to Die Hard: With a Vengeance (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger) but director Renny Harlin stamps a visual flair on it that makes it better than average.