Monthly Archives: August 2012
Stallone eventually nails it in his follow up of what was touted to be a second round of the same old buffed up heroes of the yesteryear teaming up more to flex their rippling muscles and have a ball rather than tell a story. The first thing he got right is have Simon West direct it rather than himself. The homage to the 80′s – 90′s flavored action sequences are not only shameless but are taut with adequate dosage of gung ho and mastery over testosterone, garnished with pitch perfect humour between Statham, Li, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger, Willis & Stallone. Keeping in mind these lads are masters at kicking butt, its a task that must have been a lot more difficult to achieve than anyone else would make you believe.
Please do not go expecting state of the art CGI action and a compelling story line. They are not there. But what makes this gun slinger tick is its right balance of absolute mayhem and unabashed attempt to relive the fantasies of the bare knuckles and blown out heads that you and I have grown up watching. There is no dull moment in this one, decimating enemies at a feverish pace adding on to the unsurpassable number of body bags. The new entries in the likes of Chuck Norris & Vandamm do wonders to leave a rather warm aftertaste you may even attempt to try devouring more than once. Arnold has more lines this time and makes no two bones about his age and the notority of how misplaced he thinks he is in the scheme of things. There are plenty of quotable phrases from box office hits of their yore thrown along the screenplay that not only adds to the sarcasm quotient but also fits like a glove. I’ll not spoil those for the interested patrons.
Do yourself a favour. Buy a ticket to “The Expendables” this weekend and ensure you leave your narcissistically critical mind outside. The chances are you would have spent a rather enjoyable (may be the best) 102 minutes at the cinema in a very long time. To me it was one hell of a ride from start to finish punctuated with several moments where I’d giggle uncontrollably.
Ogre Scores : 9/10
For the one’s who’d been living under a rock, here’s the trailer:
If you refer to 15th August to any kid who spent their formative years in late 80′s to the 90′s in Assam, like I did, there is a mighty likelihood you’d find one common resonance.It’s meant to be a day off coupled with alarming indifference mostly due to the “petty” bandhs (strikes) called by the local insurgents. It was not until my high schooling years in New Delhi that I realised that people of India, atleast the rest of it celebrated the day in a rather different way. A stark contrast to the days back home when early mornings of today, constitutes watching the telly as the Indian flag is hoisted by the Prime Minister of the country often followed by rather boring and lengthy addresses and a highly elaborate and colourful parade. Unfortunate as it may be; in hindsight, absorbing the occasion for what it is, is a lot easier for the one’s who were given the opportunity to interpret the significance of this day when they were much older to comprehend its meaning, rather than inherit it from their elders.
I for one always had high regards for the text book stories that told the tales of India’s formative years. Both under the British rule and the ones right after. Some derived from very relevant sources like my maternal grandfather. Hence freedom from oppression and birth of a nation’s identity were two such significant factors that heavily influenced my perspective of 15th August : India’s Independence Day. From whatever I have seen, heard and learnt since has contributed in diluting that meaning a little.
Sometime in the year 1999, my first year out of home, driven by utter curiosity I chose to watch Deepa Mehta’s just released “1947 : Earth” over a major Hollywood release, the name of which skips my mind now. Infact my friends and me dared the Delhi afternoon sun as we bunked classes & stood in unfathomably long queues to avail of the cheap front row seats behind PVR Anupam, Saket. It was only moments before my turn came that I decided to leave the queue and buy a normal ticket for Deepa’s show all by myself, while the rest of my friends went for what we originally decided on.The movie in its entirety did appeal to me at the time but left me rather circumspect over a few facts. The amount of blood shed and broken promises were not one of those things. It was evident that there is a high possibility that we may have lost way too much in our attempts at securing this win over a kingdom of stiff upper lips from the far west – seven seas away, who ruled us for 200 years.
This documentary goes on to elaborate the conundrum that both side of the border at large are still paying for in one way or the other :
The comparisons of gain vs loss deem futile more so when the perception of freedom is accompanied with growth or as for this instance, rather the absence of it. The opinion is derived from the perspective of ROI and a democratic govt by the people and for the people. The pent up remorse for a neighbouring nation for the decades of unstable foreign relations derived from tales of our ancestors seeped in violence, massacre and blood shed will not do either side of the border any good. Generations of the past 60 years have achieved very little in terms of reinstating the faith between these countries which can be a deciding factor to its fundamental development. Both social and economic. The notion that the well read will often debate about is self sustainability and foreign investment although logical doesn’t do enough to justify the funds reserved for the general security and militia of a nation that not very long ago was basking in the glory of potential super power and the one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The mindless pompousness about one’s military strength and nuclear power harbours nothing but fear and exploits nothing but the common man’s tax money sometimes at the cost of their basic human rights including security of livelihood. Fear (to me) was the one explicit reason that led to the division at the first place & potentially the one reason why we are destined to live under the blanket of psuedo nationalism and make belief growth. For that to change a polar shift of breeding brains at a grass root level needs to happen.
This article is solely based on my opinion. It is not intended to advocate my interpretation of right from wrong and should not be seen in that way.
Tony Gilroy (screenplay) resume boasts of some notable money spinners in the box office of which The Bourne Series, Armageddon, Proof Of Life, State Of Play & Michael Clayton are the ones we are most likely to remember. He now takes upon himself (with the producers nod ofcourse) the arduous task of writing & directing the newest Bourne story with a few exceptions of course. First of all, unlike the title there is no room for the character in the screenplay hence “legacy” and its a completely new story with an abundant dash of conspicuously similar narrative.
Jeremy Renner who garnered the most attention through Kathryn Bigelow’s “Hurt Locker” after a substantial span of time and work in the industry, gets his first solo lead of an original screenplay in “The Bourne Legacy”. Rachel Weisz is also seen after a while, followed by Edward Norton whose most recent work was Wes Anderson’s remarkably accepted “Moonrise Kingdom“.
The Good: No shaky camera. So for the folks who’d rather spend an evening hoping to catch Jason Bourne in HBO, can opt to make their way to the theater. The build up of the story is very straight forward and not very hard to follow. Although the code names of the gamut of programs and their interpretation can toss your grey around. Jeremy Renner sleep walks through the role as he was expected to but in a good way. Fantastic stunts (mostly the scenes shot in Asia). An exceptionally shot and executed bike chase scene which is longer than most chase scenese these days. (I am not complaining) But no Bullitt or French Connection please.
The Bad: As much as they wanted to sell the idea of a new story, the remarkable similarities in the narrative and treatment of the subject creates a deja vu of sorts, in a mediocre if not bad way. Some characters in the bad camp are too cardboardish. Edward Norton is wasted (I mean he reads such lines in his bathroom).Most often two dimensional facet of the story with lesser twists and turns, tends to leave a little to be desired. It has a rather abrupt climax with little or no room for expectations for the next installment if there is to be one.
Final Verdict : Bourne fans watch it. And as we already have come to know Renner is a great actor but sadly not Matt Damon. Just like Tony Gilroy is no Paul Greengrass (minus the shaky camera) Much like most big budget releases these days, The Bourne Legacy justifies its title but chooses to tread the middle path between “great” and “ok”.
Here’s the sleekly cut trailer + some behind the scenes :