Movie Review Roundup: Six Movies in Two Days

I’ve come down with a nasty bug the last few days, and you know what that means: movie time! I’ve now watched six films in the past two days, and I’m here to share my opinion of them with all of you. All of them on Netflix Instant, waiting for you even as we speak. Ready? Let’s go.

First up, we have Haywire, a movie I had never heard of until it popped up in Netflix’s recommendation queue for me. (Seriously, that queue is one of the best things ever. What a great way for movies to get noticed.) It said I’d give it 3.8 stars, and for an action flick, that’s pretty high for me. So I gave it a shot. I don’t want to tell you too much about this one–it’s a twisty turny plot that’s not really original, but is a fun ride nonetheless. The thing that stood out the most to me in this movie was the star: Gina Carano. It’s not often you have a leading lady in an action movie, and she did such a great job with the action sequences. I looked her up online to discover she’s got an extensive fighting career in MMA, and it shows on the screen. The movie is realistically violent (or at least, it feels that way)–meaning, the characters actually deal with consequences when they get hit. They get hurt. That’s always a plus. And it had a fantastic opening scene. Three stars out of four.

Next, there was Snatch. one of my favorite Brad Pitt roles even if he’s just a supporting character. This is a convoluted heist movie, with tons of intersecting plot lines and more than a little gallows humor. One of my favorite heist films, actually. What’s it about? A huge diamond, and a boxing match, and a Russian gangster, and a dog with a squeaky toy inside it, and–everything else. Very quotable. Totally brutal movie, but really spot on for what it tries to be. This was my third time watching it, as I recall. Three and a half stars, but not really for the faint of heart.

Killer Elite was another new one, following Jason Statham over from Snatch. Statham is an elite assassin who’s decided to get out of the killing business. But when his mentor (Robert De Niro) is captured, it’s up to Statham to get back in the game and assassinate three last victims, or De Niro will die. Again, nothing ground breaking about this movie, but if you’re in the mood for some action, it scratches that itch admirably. Three stars.

Empire Records is a cult classic I’d heard a lot about, but never watched. Netflix thought I’d only give it three stars, and I ended up giving it five. Not a perfect movie, but an almost perfect-for-Bryce film. It’s a day in the life of the employees at an independent record store. Sort of along the lines of High Fidelity (which I adore), but more of a teen movie than a romantic-comedy. Released in 1995, so the soundtrack was aimed directly at me. The characters are goofy. the plot is predictable, but I just didn’t care. It was just . . . fun. Maybe you have to be in the right mood for it, but I give it 3.5 stars.

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a Donnie Yen sequel to a Jet Li remake of the Bruce Lee film, Fist of Fury (which I almost mistyped as “Fists of Furry,” which would be a much different movie.) If that last sentence made any sense to you, then congratulations. You’re in the target audience. If it didn’t, you should probably look elsewhere. I’m in the target audience. It’s an interesting marital arts movie, primarily because it’s got a strong Communist vibe to it. Donnie Yen released it in 2010, and it’s a movie that’s unabashedly obvious in its “China is going to dominate the world one day” undertones. Which I actually kind of appreciated, mainly because American movies do that sort of thing all the time, and it was nice to see a Chinese take on it. (But maybe I’m just more sensitive to that sort of thing, having lived in former East Germany for two years. Communist stuff is often pretty easy to spot.) Don’t get me wrong–it’s hardly a commie propaganda movie. It’s still martial arts fun. But it’s there in the background, and Yen lets it dominate the plot from time to time. Still, I enjoyed the movie and gave it 3 stars.

Last, I rewatched the original Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible flick. And you know what? It’s aged very well. I bumped up its Netflix rating from a three out of five stars to a four out of five stars. The action scenes are tense, I had no trouble following the plot at all, and I thought Cruise did a great job. I was very glad I’d given it another go around. Three stars out of four.

Maybe I’ve been in a three stars kind of mood the past two days?

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got for you today. I’m going to go back to sleep now. Tomorrow I have to head off to Bar Harbor with Denisa to do a service project as part of the Mormon youth group in the region. (Well, I’ll at least be watching the service project. I might not actually participate.) And tomorrow night? BYU/Utah, baby! I love me some fall football . . .

See you all on Monday.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review Roundup: Six Movies in Two Days”

  1. “The fat man walks alone…” glad you finally watched Empire Records. My friends and I loved that movie. We’ll definitely check out Haywire thanks to your recommendation.

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