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Born To Fight (2004)

Born To Fight (2004)

What starts as a friendly expedition to a rural town soon turns to a hostage take over, but fortunately the participants in this expedition are all masters of martial arts, and other sports, and athletes, and then there's the police officer - ready to light that final spark.

It's gritty. It's dusty. It's a bad ass battle, like Ong-Bak on steroids. If you loved the early days of HK action you'll enjoy this! The red thread may squiggle, but the energy's there. It's in the title as much as it is in the movie, and although I don't recognize a single name on the cast list I love them all. And the plot's no small-scale one either! It's nuclear. Military. Heavy stuff.

With patriotic American movies I often get annoyed at the constant propaganda and self-justification of actions that are often not really all good (isn't all violence always not good?), but with patriotic Thai movies?

I get inspired.

Maybe it's because they're fighting among themselves. They're not bringing any involuntary party into their battle. It's not America VS The World, but rather a clash between the essential good and bad... and sometimes it's not obvious, but depends on which side you stand. In this case though, yeah, it's most definitely a clear case of good versus pure evil.

And it's awesome! It might not be as awesome as the first time I watched it, but seeing it again, and feeling like it still is... that's gotta mean something! The stunts being real (like that one guy very barely evading getting his head crushed under the wheels of a truck) has a lot to do with it, but it's not just that. It's the energy. It's the intent. It's on a whole other level!

That some people almost died (and that some were probably seriously injured) during the filming isn't really anything to be proud of, but their willingness to put their lives at stake for this does say something about the movie itself! And about their mentality. And about working conditions in the third world, for good or bad...

Thai movies. Man. They're on their own level. If you haven't seen any before now's a good time as any to get started, and apart from this I'd highly recommend the original Ong-Bak and Chocolate. They're all great.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Bleeding Steel (2017)

Bleeding Steel (2017)

A special-force agent/police officer is assigned to protect a young woman involved in a science experiment of longevity, from a gangster with an army of advanced technology who desires to obtain her power, while also having connections with him.

It's like Black Mask again! The good old days of fast-paced Asian sci-fi action are back. Merciless. Violent. Mythical, too. All the great things.

It starts with promise, but towards the end the special effects and fight choreography with such included... just don't feel right. It looks cool, the characters are a fun bunch, and there are some pretty serious moments there too, but it also comes across a bit of a mess. It's like a HK take on the G.I. Joe franchise, but... it's messier. It's inconsistent.

It's still great, though. Reminds me of the good ol' Rumble In The Bronx with one particular scene, and Black Mask with the sci-fi stuff, and the fights? They've still got those covered.

The behind the scenes scenes are always fun to watch too, and they show that plenty of pain did go into some of those stunts. And a lot of explosives. It's not bad, just not wholesome enough to be as good as it could be. Props Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Na-Na OuYang and the others. They give the movie personality, but it's still a mess.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

What a twist! And then what a twist. And what a twist at the end too.

I was sure I'd seen this one before, but now that I've seen it again I only remember fragments... didn't I watch it till the end last time around? What put me off about it then?

The topic of virtual reality is as relevant as ever, and the world layered on top of the other one reminds me of Inception. Maybe this is the movie that pioneered the rest of them. Maybe this was where it all started - and both this and The Matrix on the same year to boot.

Seems the other one might've cast it's shadow over this masterpiece, even if it does get a little cheesy sometimes, the special effects aren't flawless (though they do all adhere to their time) and once you've figured things out: you've figured it out. You pretty much know how it'll go after that. All the little details seem almost too obvious when they start appearing.

It reminds of Dark City that way, too, and comparing the two I think this one kept the veil a little bit longer.

There must've been something special with that one year bridging the millennial gap, huh? Making way for such mind-screwing movies as this one. Tech on the rise. Parallel worlds and dimensions, simulations, figments of imagination... they keep making them, but this decade seems to have been the very pinnacle of not post-apocalyptic (like we have now) but more post-psychological sci-fi. Thrillers bordering on other worlds.

It's filmed well. The actors do their acts well. Each world feels authentic and typical of its time - and the thirties in particular were refreshing to waltz through, until you realize... that's just a tiny part of the bigger picture.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Wonder if this was the first guy-wakes-up-one-day-to-realize-he's-living-the-same-day-over-and-over-again movie that was ever made! I've seen a few others, all newer, and only heard this title without really knowing what it was about until it was mentioned within Happy Death Day (2017). How does it compare? Better. Way better. Both more normal, and more better.

It's nothing fancy though. It's the story of a jerk who realizes there's more to live for, but with the little but well-presented plot twist that it takes a considerable amount of days for him to do so. Or more correctly: just the one. Over and over. And it slowly turns from a sad story to a happy one, and to a love story, but with plenty of comedy and drama along the way.

Bill Murray's got a way with words too! He fits the role as weather reporter perfectly, and seeing him in front of the blue screen in the beginning was an interesting glimpse into the profession (reminds me of a field trip I went on as a kid). It's a good intro. And then the way they portray winter... I'm feeling like it might actually not be so bad this year! It's atmospheric.

Andie MacDowell does a great job too, and you might recognize a few other faces from these times, like the cameraman Chris Elliott. It's a feelgood movie with a well-tread script. And Bill Murray from this time looks a lot like Tom Hanks, doesn't he?

Fun fact: The Swedish translation of this title is Monday All Week. Which makes me wonder... did it really take place on a Monday?

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

I Am Paul Walker (2018)

I Am Paul Walker (2018)

Here's an intimate, yet not all that personal, portrait of the one and only, with clips from movies, and bits of interviews from his nearest and dearest - Tyrese (I'm really starting to respect this dude) and Cody in particular. Though I'm missing his wife, and most of the Fast and Furious cast. I wonder why they didn't join in.

It feels a bit incomplete that way, and unlike his life's work it also feels commercial. Like they wanted to get this documentary out quick to ride on his wave of fame and unfortunate demise, and though I appreciate the gesture of giving this glimpse behind his name - and doing it in such a positive way, I feel that is a shame. Is this what he would've wanted?

It feels a bit quick, and it doesn't tell the full story. The title, too. I Am Paul Walker. It's as if it was made by him. And it wasn't. Who's directing? Adrian Buitenhuis. A stranger. He's not involved with any of Brian's prior movies. He's not family. I question his intentions, and especially so consider he's made a couple of similar documentaries with similar titles, starring the also unfortunately deceased Heath Ledger, and Sam Kinison. The latter doesn't ring a bell. I might just have to watch that one.

Can't say this was a bad documentary, because it did give a pretty good picture of who Paul was, and a good picture, mixing happy childhood photos with newer footage - both of him when he was alive, and those who knew him later on - but it's not all it could've been. Too possibly purposed on profit. Too short. Too intent. Too soon.

The ending in Fast & Furious 7 seemed like a more honorable tribute, even if this one didn't do anything particularly wrong.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Bright (2017)

Bright (2017)

Set in a world where fantasy creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.

They could've done so much more with this one! It could've been so awesome. It could've been iconic. Unfortunately it wasn't.

It's almost like a new line of Men In Black, but in a whole new world. Unfortunately we never get properly introduced. We just get a glimpse, and like the movie content the title seems to take a little figment of this new world to place that one thing first and foremost.

The acting's not bad (Will Smith is great as always, Joel Edgerton plays a somewhat shallow sidekick, and Noomi Rapace and Edgar Ramírez do their parts well too), the action's rough, the idea was new - and relevant in how it plays on our real race relations, the special effects are cool, but it's messy, it's rushed; it's missing bits and pieces. It's not complete.

In a movie where they could - and seemed to want to - make a statement about the complexity, difficulty, and common injustices with interracial relations, they sure made everything really black and white. And basic.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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