Allow me to to break off here before going any further so I can lay down a high praise for the only piece of CG effect in the whole film: Gina Carano's ample torso. She's got a cute smile which she uses a lot since other acting skills sadly elude her, but really, who cares, those bad boys steal the whole freaking show from start to finish. I mean really, those gigantic carumbas should get arrested for violating the laws of gravity - they NEVER budge! She runs half the movie and fights every which way the rest but come what may her spectacular bronskis stay perfectly still and straight. Even more mind boggling, a scene where she takes a bad fall sees her landing flat on her back instead her nature-issued air bags... Dude, Hurley could bounce off these Tommy Knockers! USE them, smother someone, break down a door, something! Ok, I'm done, promised. So,...
|Go-Go Gadget Helium Balloons!|
The story is pretty much straight forward and doesn't really need to be picked off a Pulitzer winner's brain; it's an action movie about a covert spy betrayed by her own who goes on the run trying to figure out who burned her and why. Ergo every spy/action thriller for the last 25 years. But really, it's a chance for Steven Soderberg to yet again explore a movie genre unfamiliar to him, and to have MMA superstar Gina Carano mop the floor with an array of Hollywood pretty boys. and that in a nutshell is your storyline.
Tech wise, it's everything you've come to expect from The Sod, which isn't a bad thing at all. The guy is renowned to be comfortable using a steady cam by his own damn self to great effect, and makes creative use of discoloration and lighting to amphisize on the action taking place. Even his use of music, which as I said reminded me a whole lot of Quentin, is edited in a sparse manner too seldom seen in Hollywood. This isn't James Cameron trying once again to push the limits and reinvent movies, this is an acclaimed indie director using his whole bag of tricks to have himself some fun.
Where that 70's thing fails though is in casting the multiple -albeit short- male supporting roles. Carano, even during her fighting scenes (which she should excel at) looks rehearsed and guided and obviously worried she might humiliate a famous hunk by defacing him, which is exactly what low-grade actionners looked like in the 70s, so perfect match. BUT you got Ewan McGregor who couldn't turn in a lame performance even if he tried, Banderas who shines by his mere presence and by one simple stare reminds men how jealous we all are of his incredibly successful pick-up line which no chick can resist -Hi, I'm Antonio Banderas- And Michael Fassbender is Michael friggin Fassbender, the fastest rising star of this young decade. Mike Douglas phones it in but he's Mike Douglas so who cares, while Bill Paxton never has to break a sweat to be too cool for school, even if now playing a dad to a full gorwn adult. That leaves Channing GI Joe Tatum the only one who looks as cheezy as the film seems to require, and not necessarily in a voluntary manner...
|Begbie says hi, biotch!|
Agreed that when you headline your film with a complete unknown to film audiences, you surround her with famous and popular faces. But in this case it just ruins the film; go indie or go Hollywood, chose one because the difference between the two is this case is canyon the size of Gina Carano's cleavage (honestly, somebody stop me!). Still though, Soderberg stays focused on making this a fun ride and avoids overdoing the rest, which is enough to overlook the principle flaw. Overall interesting and entertaining movie, but I do wish he'd gone with an entirely unknown cast. Wouldn't pay to see this in theatres, but I probably will check out the DVD release.
Final Word: 7.5/10