Thursday, 12 April 2012

Steve Reviews – Unknown


I watched a movie; it had that Liam Neeson in it. I was a bit worried because the last thing I saw him in was the A-Team and that was a steaming pile of crunk. Here’s what went on.

So It Isn’t The A-Team Movie?
No it isn’t, that was very a very awful experience and one that I had to stop happening while it was going on. I did manage to make my way through the whole of this film.

And You’re Sure It Wasn’t The A-Team Movie?

Yes, I would have noticed if that was on again, it definitely wasn’t the A-Team because although it had a bit of ridiculousness in it, it wasn’t so ridiculous as to be unwatchable. No one tried to steer a plummeting tank that had just fallen out of an airplane by firing the gun. In fact there were no tanks in it at all.

Oh, That’s A Shame. I Like Tanks.

I know, me too. But you can’t have a tank in every movie. If you need to watch a film with a tank in it watch that Bond film where he razzes about Moscow in a tank instead. Definitely don’t watch the A-Team though.

Is It Set In Moscow Then?

No, good question though. It’s set in Berlin, which is good because I like Berlin and also The Bourne Supremacy spends much time in Berlin but then that does go to Moscow and then Bourne and the evil Russian Assassin have a very lovely car chase in a shitty old taxi and a one of those slightly vulgar but also a bit cool Mercedes G-Wagons, yummy car chase.

So Is There A Car Chase In This Film?

Yes there is, it’s ok as well. Although some bits of it are definitely CGI’d and it’s a bit obvious. It’s not as good as the one in the Bourne film, in fact it isn’t as good as any of the big car chases in any of the three Bourne films so if you want car chases, and I do like car chases, then watch one of those instead.

Is It A Bit Like Bourne Then?

A bit, although I won’t say why because of the spoiler rule but it has Bourneish elements to it, it feels more European than American, (probably because it’s in Europe) and as a rule I think Europe has more to it than America so when a movie is based in a European city it tends to have something extra about it. There’s also a lot of chasing about and not being sure who to trust and more chasing about and then a bit of a twist and then a double-twist and then oh, yeah that was a bit obvious and okay then.

Do Things Blow Up?

Yes they do, several things blow up. Quite nicely too.

Do People Get Killed In Entertaining Ways?

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne.
Yes, again, enough people die so that it feels like there’s something exciting going on. The deaths/fights themselves aren’t as well choreographed or probably as good/exciting as any of the ones in Bourne, but they are adequate. Actually there is one nice death, ouch! Sort of a bit Final Destinationyness rather than hand-to-hand combat, spy-on-spy action deathyness but it still quite produces a quite nicely mangled, eye-watering outcome.

So Is It As Good As Bourne?

No, clearly not. It borrows a fair amount from the Bourne franchise, without being a total rip off, but the Bourne stunts, action and storylines are all better and they did it first and you can see the paint-by-Bourne-numbers direction that’s going on. It’s easily as good as the last Bond film I watched but that was the one with Pierce Brosnan in an Icelandic glacier and that was a dreadful film, in fact it was so bad that A) it made me not want to watch Bond films anymore and B) it may have been nearly as bad as the accursed A-Team movie. If I hadn’t been in a cinema and shelled out nearly a tenner to sit and watch it instead of getting it through the post from the guys at LoveFilm I’d have probably walked out… much like I did with David Cronenberg’s Crash.

Is It Twisty Enough?

Well it isn’t The Usual Suspects but it’s ok. It was a bit obvious which way the twist was going and it didn’t throw in an extra twist to fool you right at the death but it was adequate, sometimes a movie can overtwist itself out of any sort of sensible conclusion and end up looking ridiculous in an effort to be just too complicated. This falls somewhere short of being totally mind boggling and wonderful but still ok enough to be watchable, plausible and entertaining.

So It’s A Good Movie Then?

I suppose you need to define good, it was watchable and exciting but not staggeringly memorable. It’s worth watching but it probably isn't a must-see film. There’s nothing really in it that’s especially noteworthy or incredible, it doesn’t stand out as anything more than a decent action movie with a neat but not complicated twist. It’s certainly not going to reshape cinema or reinvented any action movie wheels, and it does feel like you’re watching a carbon copy of some other films and if it’s obvious to me that the stuff in it isn’t exactly original, and I’m no professor of movies, then it’s never going to be a great movie.

But I guess it is a good enough film. A lot of action movie boxes are ticked, car chases – yes, explosions – yes, fight scenes – yes, excitement – yes, twists and turns – yes, so things are looking okay on that score. It does a good job of getting on with things, it’s well paced and the action sequences, the plot developments, the excitement value and the intrigue levels are more than acceptable, in fact they work well.

Franke Potente standing still with a gun
in Run Lola Run... what could be better?
Liam Neeson’s good as the lead, he plays it a bit less stony faced and dead behind the eyes than Matt Damon plays Bourne, which my other half thinks is better, and you do find yourself following his emotion swerving journey with more than mere interest. He’s certainly good enough in the lead role so that you aren’t waiting for action sequences to start when he’s on screen and the plot’s moving wherever it’s moving like he’s just filling a void between a car chase and a punch up.

The support cast is good, Aiden Quinn, Frank Langella, the intriguingly named January Jones and Bruno Ganz, who I last saw playing Hitler in Downfall, are all good. As is lead supporting actress Diane Kruger, and although there is a slight feel of Franka Potente’s (you see you can’t escape Bourne in this movie) performance in Run Lola Run to her role she gets stuck in well enough and does a decent job of looking as baffled, excited, scared, and all the other things she’s supposed to be doing while the plot’s developing and the turns are twisting. So all in all a very decent movie that has its moments and is enjoyable enough to stick on when there’s not much on the telly and it’s raining outside, just don't expect it to leave that much of a lasting impression when you’re done with it.


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