I've already written about the amazing Tony Jaa before when I was talking about Prachya Pinkaew's latest film. I guess both this guys are struggling mightily after parting ways. This movie, much like Prachya's latest effort, this movie is a hot mess. The story is pretty basic and not worth wasting your time and the martial arts felt a little too sporadic for my liking. There are some cool fight scenes, but most of the movie is this main character that I couldn't stand as he cried his way to the end of the movie because life sucks and all that crap. I don't get why they tried to make a movie like this instead of doing an actual martial arts movie. Sure, they were trying something different and all that jazz, but they failed pretty miserably. Hopefully, this Ong Bak series is finally over and Tony Jaa can move on to better things.
3 out of 10
I have a soft spot for revenge films. Movies like Oldboy and Dead Man's Shoes make me empathize with their characters and in the end, I root for them to overcome whatever it is that they have to overcome. Movies like this might get formulaic, but once in a while you see one that is interesting enough to keep your interest. When I read that there was a revenge movie that starred the great Michael Caine, I was in. It deals with the title character who sees how gang life has ruined the way of life in the apartment complex that he lives. It is not until it touches him directly that he decides that someone has to do something about all this. There is a sort of side story that deals with Emily Mortimer's character which I thought was pretty weak. She really had no business being on screen with Caine as he made her look bad. Other than that, its a good movie with a nice surprise. Nothing really amazing, but seeing Michael Caine kick all kinds of ass is pretty cool.
6 out of 10
Takashi Miike is one of the worlds most prolific directors. He is also a director that tries to break boundaries and leave his viewers questioning themselves, especially their morality. His early movies show the ways in which human beings can degrade themselves into their base animalistic and violent selves. But he is not only a master at horror and suspense. He is a fantastic director all around. 13 Assassins is Miike's homage to the samurai classics of the Kurosawa era. And boy, does it work. The movie deals with 13 samurai who are asked to murder a crazy lord that might bring the downfall of Japan. The premise is simple, but the story is as subtle as the first half of the movie. Slowly building up tension with the first half in order to explode with an amazing battle that shows how these samurai follow the code of bushido and basically become samurai in the purest way possible. I have to give a lot of props to Koji Yakusho for his role as Shimada. There is a quiet confidence that he exudes that is an important part of his character. Sure, there might not be a lot of development for these characters, but that is not what Miike wanted to portray with this film. The star of the film though is the villain, Lord Naritsugu as played by Goro Inagaki. There is a reason why you root incessantly for Shimada and his samurai and that reason is Naritsugu. You can't help but loathe this monster of a man. You really question id he should be a man at all. Inagaki plays this masterfully. The emptiness in his gaze, the sheer apathy but at the same time pleasure he gets from what he does is etched on the face of Inagaki during the film. I would really recommend this movie to anyone.
9 out of 10
The last film in this group is one I had actually been looking forward to seeing when I heard from people I trust that it was a really good movie. I am not a very big fan of Matthew McConaughey work, since all he seems to do is lame chick flicks about his undressed torso. The movie stars torso boy as a defense lawyer who does his job and does it pretty well. He has charisma and guile so he is excited when a big payout finally falls on his lap. All is not as it seems though in this interesting courtroom drama and thriller. Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy and Ryan Phillipe round up the pretty damn talented cast. I have to say, McConaughey did a fantastic job in making Mick Haller into an incredibly likeable character. It was hard not to smile mischievously when he does something he shouldn't be doing and still gets away with it. Phillipe does a pretty good job as the person accused of assault. It has a couple of nice curveballs that you might or might not expect, but they are very well executed. It's overall a very good and entertaining movie. Not sure if it would have worked as well with anyone else as the lead.