WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews 16

Let's see what I saw this week for Weekend Wrental Wreviews in my 16th WWW:

1) Formula 51:
This was no Guy Ritchie film, but it had a lot of the same sensibilities. After a badly shot introduction in which we're supposed to believe Samuel L. Jackson is playing his character 30 years ago in the ‘70s, we jump ahead to the future, where he's now making a living designing illegal drugs after his past mistakes cost him a legitimate career. Betraying his boss(Meat Loaf) and jetting off to England wearing a kilt(which isn't explained until a scene in the end credits), he seeks to sell his new product, a designer drug made from legal, over-the-counter ingredients, and something which holds a secret. He ends up in an unlikely partnership with Robert Carlyle, a smalltime hood whose ex, played by Emily Mortimer, just happens to be the assassin sent to find Jackson. It's a fun ride, with a lot of action and Samuel L. Jackson doing his thing and hamming it up, and certainly worth a rental.

2) Crank 2: High Voltage:
Jason Statham returns in the unlikeliest of sequels to Crank, a film I enjoyed for the suspend-your-disbelief-at-the-door video game movie nonsense that it was. This is more of the same, only EXTREME. In the first movie, he had to keep his adrenaline up in order to keep from succumbing to a poison. Disbelief didn't have to be suspended as much. Now, his heart is removed and replaced with an artificial one, and when the battery pack dies he goes through a series of increasingly bizarre and unbelievable methods of keeping it charged, from grabbing jumper cables to rubbing up against an old lady with a sweater to wearing an electric dog collar to having sex with his girlfriend on a horse track during a race. That all probably sounds a lot more awesome than it actually is, and by the time he's wearing a prosthetic jaw and fighting as a giant in a Godzilla fantasy sequence or talking to the disembodied head of an old enemy kept alive in a fish tank, you'll be fairly certain that you haven't rented a movie, but have instead taken some serious, serious psychotropic drugs.

3) Transporter 3:
This Statham sequel, on the other hand, is much more believable, with only one physics-defying stunt that fans of any ‘80s show involving a car will accept and enjoy without question(::waves::). For the most part, it's true to its roots, with Robert Knepper playing the diabolical villain manipulating our hero into transporting a kidnapped girl. To his credit, Knepper for once dispenses with any accent or accents and still manages to be menacing and conniving. There are the requisite chase scenes for the fellows, the requisite “let me take off my shirt, jacket, and tie during the course of this choreographed fight sequence” scene for the ladies, and plenty of action and attitude for everyone. Statham is cool, Knepper is gleefully bad, and Natalya Rudakova, while 85% of the time given annoying dialogue, is consistently nice to look at.

4) Cruel Intentions 2:
A better title for this would have been, “Cruel Intentions Too”, since it's basically the same movie with a few details changed, and some actions assigned to different characters in the name of a twist. Apparently, this direct-to-DVD film was made by editing together episodes of an unaired series based on the first movie, with some scenes added and names re-dubbed to make it almost work as a prequel. With the exception of Amy Adams, no one in the cast went on to anything noteworthy on the big screen, and no one comes close to the performances of the original cast. I vaguely remember adding this to my Netflix queue years ago when I first joined and learned it existed, and for years it kept getting bumped to the bottom of the list in favor of hundreds of better movies before finally working back up to the top. In hindsight, I probably could have deleted it entirely, but it's not the first bad movie I've rented, and I'm sure it won't be the last....

More reviews to follow next week after I've spun a few more discs!



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