Browse Tag: car chase

RECAP: Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde (2017): Joe Leitch

The success of 2014’s taut action hit John Wick likely got Atomic Blonde green lit. Joe Leitch was one uncredited half of the directing team behind Wick, and Charlize Theron wanted to work with him.

Armed with punishing martial arts and a relentless soundtrack of ’80s pop hits, Atomic Blonde borrows a few elements from John Wick.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In 1989, MI-6’s top agent Lorraine Broughton lands in Berlin to recover a list of Soviet agents before it lands in the wrong hands.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity (2002): Doug Liman

Based on the Robert Ludlum series of books, The Bourne Identity came to theaters 22 years its eponymous novel. More importantly, the movie arrived on the heels of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, an event that forced any movie dealing with the US government, terrorism, or Americans abroad and in trouble to be viewed through that lens.

The Bourne Identity was filmed before 9/11, and that probably saved it. Director Liman often battled with the studio, which wanted several reshoots and rewrites, and we can only imagine that a huge terrorist attack would have woven into the story had the timing worked. Somehow, the movie came out great.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A man with superior fighting skills awakens in the sea with no memory of who is, and he fights a lot of people until he finds out his identity. Continue Reading

RECAP: Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne (2016): Paul Greengrass

Strap on your puke bags, kiddos, because Greengrass and Damon are back to shaky-cam you to oblivion. After a forgettable Bourne outing minus Bourne, Matt Damon returns to the fold for a cool $25 million, and to right a few more wrongs buried in his forgotten past.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Jason Bourne returns to the grid to find out what his father had to do with Bourne’s crappy adult life as an assassin.   Continue Reading

RECAP: Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher (2012): Christopher McQuarrie

Lee Child’s novel One Shot served as the source material for Jack Reacher. Four years on, I can’t decide which title is better.

“One Shot” is practically meaningless, the least sexy title in recent memory. On the other hand, “Jack Reacher” is…quite a name. Better to be weird than boring.

Jack Reacher limped into theaters and strode out with more than $200 million global box office. That’s money that Tom Cruise gets you.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An off-the-grid ex-military cop investigates the alleged murder of five Pittsburgh citizens by a former Army sniper.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Anthony and Joe Russo

The 2014 sequel titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a taut political thriller that dealt with espionage and double agents. Were it not for a guy in a blue spandex suit, we might have forgotten we were watching a Marvel movie.

For Cap’s third solo turn, Marvel decided to cast Robert Downey, Jr. on the same level. The studio used a major plot line from the comics and maxed out the emotional stakes for the world’s greatest team of heroes (Justice League be damned).

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Captain America refuses to sign away his do-gooding powers and suffers the consequences.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015): Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie’s interpretation of the 1960s TV spy classic was the first of two 2015 films to depict Berlin’s famous Checkpoint Charlie, suspect Number One to be flashpoint of World War III.

You can learn all you need to know about the style of these two movies (Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies was the other) from how they film this checkpoint.

In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. a dapper man confidently walks to the checkpoint in the summer in bright daylight. In Bridge of Spies a car slowly creeps to the checkpoint at night in a snowstorm. Ritchie tells us to get ready for some fun, and style, and that’s what we get.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Mr. Solo, a suave womanizer (no, a different Mr. Solo), teams up with a KGB agent and a car mechanic to track a black market atom bomb.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014): Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh descended from atop his mountain of Shakespearean prestige and Marvel money to direct and appear in this tight, Clancy-inspired thriller. He does a bang-up job.

This movie came out in January, a major setback for its box office chances and the future of the character, a shame, because Branagh’s movie is every bit as good as those Bourne movies, and devoid of nauseating handheld cameras.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: CIA operative Jack Ryan clashes with Russian terrorists, all while keeping his girlfriend from dumping him. Continue Reading

Mad Max

Mad Max (1979): George Miller

George Miller, on the road as a traveling doctor, shot a little movie about a cop fighting some thugs terrorizing rural, gas-starved Australia. Miller had spent some time in an ER, where he treated accident victim after accident victim, fueling a phobia of the road that turned into a, so far, four film franchise and launched the career of an unknown actor named Mel Gibson. Not bad for a doc.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Well Adjusted Max fights crime in a crumbling society until a motorcycle gang kills his wife, driving him Mad.  Continue Reading

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): George Miller

Imagine spending thirty years thinking about one creative project. You were ready to make this thing three decades ago, but forces of nature (and Hollywood, and Mel Gibson) conspired against you, always pushing back back back the thing you were trying to create. Imagine now that someone with some power somewhere gave you the green light, allowing you to unleash decades of pent-up ideas and energy, despite your seven decades of life. What would your creative work express? Imagine now that your long-dormant idea was a movie, a movie about the destructive nature of men, and a whole ton of things to blow up. Congratulations, you are George Miller, and you just made Mad Max: Fury Road.

ONE-SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A renegade general steals an armored truck to ferry fertile females to freedom as her boss pursues her with his glut of gonzo gas guzzlers.  Continue Reading