Archives for posts with tag: action movies

I’ve heard enough from Jessica Chastain to believe she simply wants to be treated like one of the guys. The problem with that is if your only goal is to be like everyone else, you’ll never be better than anyone else. “Ava” (2020) retraces the steps of “Atomic Blonde” by building a mediocre spy thriller around the novelty of a female assassin. Chastain’s subplot (complicated family and substance-abuse baggage) is also somewhat novel, but it’s a slight variation on a role her co-star, Colin Farrell, could have played in 2006, or Burt Reynolds in 1986 or Gene Hackman in 1976.

Early in “Apex” (2021), Bruce Willis’ character is described: “He used to be something great. He’s at the end of his rope now.” How cute. I see the filmmakers watching me watching them. Later, there’s a scene with movie references that make me believe they want me to believe they’re not taking this whole “The Most Dangerous Game” plot too seriously. It’s really camouflage for laziness. If you want to watch rich A-holes stalk humans, “The Hunt” is much better. Willis, as the prey here, seems perpetually tired despite his general lack of (acting) effort. Everyone’s dying to kill him.

The irony of “Bullet Train” (2022) is that it takes about 20 minutes too long to get to its destination. Not that it’s a bad movie, if you can get beyond the implausibility of a multiple-assassin showdown on Japanese public transit. (And also close your eyes to the increasingly ridiculous violations of the laws of physics.) Hapless Brad Pitt’s Zen-fueled express ride through the valley of death has the same joie de vivre that makes Guy Ritchie’s and Quentin Tarantino’s films darkly absurd instead of darkly grotesque. Unfortunately, it gets to be too talky and twisted, requiring an overlong untangling.