Archives for posts with tag: Bruce Willis

Ever seen a movie with so many halfway decent actors and so much half-ass dialogue and continuity errors that it just leaves you paralized? That’s right, paralized. Just like the “paralized” headline I saw in the Pittsburgh newspaper during “Striking Distance” (spellcheck hates me right now). This 1993 detective flick has a lineup that runs from Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker to Andre Braugher and Timothy Busfield. But infamous writer/director Rowdy Herrington also has people with two crutches and then no crutches and then one crutch, buttoned-then-unbuttoned shirts and a hilariously preposterous car chase. Except this isn’t a comedy.

What is a hero, exactly? Depending on who we are, we may define them in different ways. A kid idolizes his dad. Maybe his dad idolizes the star quarterback. This would be a good way to discuss “Unbreakable” (2000) if this were a college class on “movies as modern literature.” But it’s not. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that M. Night Shyamalan’s movies are mostly f’d up, with sinisterly twisted endings. This is no different. As a bonus, Bruce Willis walks through the entire film like a guy with a concussion. Or maybe it’s us who feel that way.

It’s tough watching a spy thriller like “The Jackal” (1997) 16 years after it comes out. You lose interest in the ripped-from-yesterday’s-headlines espionage and focus on oddball crap that isn’t central to the plot. Russian mafia, Irish Republican Army, blah, blah, blah. But dude, did you see Jack Black? Bruce Willis totally blows his arm off! It was so gross, yet so cool! And what about Richard Gere’s Irish accent? It’s weird hearing a bad actor sound so awesome. And what about Sidney Poitier’s voice? Does he always sound all Shakespearean like that, even when he’s ordering at the drive-thru?

People enjoy looking at Channing Tatum. That’s good, because his picture’s in the dictionary next to “derivative.” Want to see Tatum, big ass explosions and helicopters on a big screen? By all means, go and see “White House Down” (2013). Otherwise, save your money and wait for Netflix. It’s not a bad action movie (yes, I’m damning it with faint praise). But it has no original ideas. It steals its plot (and Bruce Willis’ dirty old shirt) from “Die Hard,” sprinkles in a little “True Lies” and gives you a knockoff 98 days after the release of “Olympus Has Fallen.”

Remember what I said about “The Expendables” trumpeting an era of video-game-style movie violence? Well, “The Expendables 2” (2012) is the same thing all over again, except Sylvester Stallone didn’t even try to come up with an interesting subplot this time. The all-star team from Action Hero Retirement Home (Holy shit! Chuck Norris!) takes a testosterone ride to some godforsaken locale for a mercenary mission that comes with a side order of righteous revenge. As before, people don’t just die, they go down in a hail of bullets and a mist of arterial spray. That’s all you need to know.

You’re probably familiar with cartoon violence in action movies. Big stacks of tires falling on bad guys, people slipping and falling in oil slicks, the hero getting shot in the shoulder, but nobody dying. Well, “The Expendables” (2010) is part of a new trend: video game violence. Amputations, decapitations, arterial sprays and lots of death. Lots. We even get to see a waterboarding. But hey, it’s all in a day’s work for Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and their fellow wise-cracking mercenaries, who spread American-style mayhem around the world and then head back to the tattoo parlor for a knife-throwing contest.

“The Fifth Element” is a satisfying 1997 save-the-world, sci-fi movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Well, except for a peacenik moment at the end, which briefly takes itself waaaay too seriously. Bruce Willis plays the usual – a wisecracking lug with a heart of gold and fists of fury. Gary Oldman plays the villain, the evil offspring of Adolf Hitler and Mr. Rogers. Tiny Lister is HNIC (nuff said). Chris Tucker is a flamboyantly androgynous radio announcer (aren’t they all?) and Milla Jovovich is a supreme being with a supremely small wardrobe. There’s also a Luke Perry sighting (don’t blink).