Solid action flick—although it’s more style than substance. By that I mean the filmmaking (camera movements, compositions, cinematography, etc.) is very stylish and much of my enjoyment came from that aspect. Next, I liked Post-Modern elements like the references to the action films and the ending with the writer struggling to find an ending for the movie. (Reminded me of Adaptation.) The characters and story, for an action, film was just OK. Still, I enjoyed the film for the most part.
Some comments and questions off the top of my head:
>I can see why Matt Parks likes this film, as it feels like it could have been made by Tony Scott. Indeed, I’m starting to wonder who influenced whom. Anyway, that was my favorite aspect of the film. Also, fwiw, I thought the script was a lot better than most Tony Scott movies.
>I think if the film developed Chin’s character a bit more—if she had better chemistry with the two leads—in other words, if I cared a lot more about the love triangle—this could have been a better movie. I understand that this is an action film, but if the filmmakers handled her character and the relationship aspects better (perhaps a casting issue), I would have liked the movie a lot more.
>Andy Lau reminded me of Jason Scott Lee. (Dang, I really have nothing much to contribute.)
Ok Jazz, you caught at least one fish. How could I not watch “full on PoMo action”? The nod to Adaptation helped too. And that Matt and Greg both like this one seals the deal. So it is going right into the queue. Thanks (I hope).
I’d say if you like Tony Scott’s direction and you like action films, then seeing this is a no brainer.
Parks, what’d you think of my reaction?
So if you do not like Tony Scott’s direction, should you stay away?
Yeah, I would say so. The filmmaking isn’t as kinetic or extreme like Domino, but it’s in a similar ballpark. Let me me put it this way. When I say the film, I either thought To copied Scott or Scott copied To.
I forgot to ask: you don’t like Tony Scott’s direction—as opposed to not liking his films? I don’t care for a lot of his films, but I like his direction (at least the visual elements).
I’m sort of the opposite. I like some of his films but don’t care for his direction.
And by direction, I’m talking more about his more recent films that take that frenetic style to the extreme (from late 90s onward – probably starting with The Fan or Enemy of the State). That style just annoys the hell out of me, even though some of his films are entertaining (and admittedly that style sometimes works). For instance, Enemy of the State and Unstoppable were fun. But generally speaking, the films of his I like the most are the ones that don’t have that extreme pronounced style (True Romance, Crimson Tide).
I don’t think this film is as frenetic as Scott’s recent films. Besides the filmmaking, I think there’s a decent chance that you would like the film (especially if you like the Post-Modern approach). Hopefully, Matt will weigh in on this.
Oh that’s what PoMo means – post modern.
Sorry, I’m a little slow on the lingo.
Yeah—or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it means. lol. (I’m pretty slow on the lingo, myself. ;)
I get why you’ve made the Scott connection, Jazz, but to answer Santino’s question, I would say no, liking Scott specifically (or not) won’t have much bearing on whether one likes this film. They’re definitely both working with versions of so-called “intensified continuity”, but their stylistically very distinct from one another. You could just as well reference Kathryn Bigelow and Richard Donner and a number of others.
…but their stylistically very distinct from one another. You could just as well reference Kathryn Bigelow and Richard Donner and a number of others.
I don’t know about that. The filmmaking is highly kinetic—e.g., not static shots. I haven’t seen a Donner film in a long time, but I don’t really recall either him or Bigelow moving the camera in the same way or with the same frequency. There’s also that harsh light, washed-out look like in the picture above in the theater that I associate with T. Scott. But I’m not the expert on T. Scott, so I should defer to Matt. Btw, I’m not saying that they’re exactly the same, but they seem very similar, imo. The editing in this film isn’t as frenetic as some of Scott’s later films. The use of music is not as “big” as well, but besides those two elements the styles seems very similar.
“The filmmaking is highly kinetic—e.g., not static shots. "
Yeah, that’s the part where I was saying I understood the basis of the making that connection (although, FK came out in 2001, around the same time as Scott’s Spy Game, so it’s predates the high style of Man on Fire, Domino and Deja Vu). Bigelow moves the camera a lot, but her cutting is general much smoother than either FK or Scott’s films of that period, and she tends to use handhelds or steadicams, so her camera movements have a different look to them.
Donner doesn’t move the camera as much, but he was cutting really fast about that same time:
(It’s sort of interesting, by the way, to look at the differences in how To, Bigelow, and Donner handle action in confined spaces)
The cutting doesn’t seem to be extraordinarily fast for action films—especially not compared to someone like Michael Bay and some of the newer films. (Btw, I remember LW4 being awful—but Jet Li was a very good villain in that. It’s a shame he was wasted in that film.)
I don’t remember the filmmaking in Spy Game, but I’d guess the FK and something like Enemy of the State would be closer in terms of style. The filmmaking in FK is more restrained and more “invisible” than Scott’s later films (that’s a good thing.)
Here’s a scene I like from the film:
What’s interesting to me is that as an action set piece it’s lacks imagination—not to mention the lack of believability. But the filmmaking makes it interesting. I liked the way O’s camera shots zoom into the action; the use of slow motion with “Figaro”—making it an operatic dance; I also like the blood splatter on the camera. The filmmaking is stylish, even though the actual plan of action is sort of dull.