The Rundown

By Adam Lippe

rundownThe Rundown has furious action sequences, at a pace not seen since Jackie Chan’s First Strike, is edited like a Robert Rodriguez movie, so you can’t see the seams, and Christopher Walken trying to explain The Tooth Fairy to people who don’t speak his language. The surrounding material is a mishmash of clichés, but The Rock works as an actor basically playing a wrestler (not literally, but he gets thrown around like one), trying to find Seann William Scott in the jungle. Scott can be ignored and Walken has lots of good lines in the first 45 minutes. There is an astonishing fight with The Rock (who takes a huge beating throughout the film) vs. many men flying through trees at great speeds and heights. This is what Crouching Tiger should have been. The Rundown cribs from Jet Li classics like Fong Say Yuk and Tai Chi Master, but cuts them even faster to hide the extensive effects and stunt work.

Unfortunately, it turns into an Indiana Jones rip-off after the tree scene and never really regains steam as it approximates each shopworn idea. It was nice to see Trainspotting‘s Ewan Bremer as an unintelligible again. It’s a shame they decided to make him decipherable after his opening scenes though.

Director Peter Berg’s other action film Truck 44, which he mentioned on the very first episode of Jon Favreau’s show Dinner For Five, was finished and was awaiting release in 2001, seems to have disappeared. I thought that this movie, which originally had the much better and goofier title of Helldorado, was actually Truck 44, but apparently not. I guess Berg, who was great in The Last Seduction, has given up acting (except when obviously trading for projects as with Corky Romano) for directing action movies.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.