Sunday, November 27, 2005
I've gone with the continental poster here as it is much better than the British one don't you think, even if it does rip off Bond a bit. Actually the film rips off quite a lot of other movies.
The original was a film that didn't do that well in the cinema but seemed to do well enough through DVD sales to justify a sequel. The second is more of the same; lots of action sequences spliced together with bad acting from untalented 'actors' and a ridiculous plot with more holes than the film "Holes".
Jason (lock stock) Statham plays a special agent, who is very skilled at diving to the side whilst shooting (see poster) who has now settled down as a chauffeur to the son of a man due to speak at a large DEA conference. Bad guys come up with an elaborate plot to infect the kiddy with an air-borne virus that he'd pass on to his dad who in turn would infect everybody at the meeting; a bad case of halitosis if you will. After MI:2 you'd have thought the bad guys would have come up with something a little bit imaginative as this is pretty much the same as that. Anyway, it becomes Jason's job to be Tom Cruise and save the day whilst keeping his suit and car immaculate.
In fact, the lack of damage to the car was the first thing I noticed watching this film. He does damage his shirt and jacket but they get replaced. The car however gets flipped, shot at and driven through steel support poles amongst other things but seems to come off scratch free. One funny sequence with the car sees him remove a bomb from the underside, not by getting out and removing it by hand, but by barrel-rolling it in the air beneath the hook from a crane which knocks it off. Either inspired or dumb, depending on whether or not you left your brain at home, and with films like this it's best to have done the latter.
Fight sequences aren't too bad. He does rip off Jet Li in a sequence involving a fire hose. There is also a scene involving a fight in and around some scaffolding which could easily have come from a twenty-year old Jackie Chan film. However, for reasons unknown, this scaffolding contained steam which sprayed out of the pipes when broken. Maybe scaffolders in Miami require central heating in their scaffolding although given it's climes I can't see how. The first film had a novel sequence involving Jason covered in engine oil and being ungrippable by the baddies and there is a little nod to that here too.
There are no big names in this film. Statham isn't quite up there with the Hollywood elite just yet. The baddies seem to consist of models or former linebackers or boxers. I recall seeing Shannon Briggs throwing 500 punches a round in his heyday as a heavyweight boxer, a career that seemed to end when it was realised that his incredible work rate hid the fact he couldn't take a punch. He plays the token heavy here and whilst he has the muscle to see the role off, he lacks the acting talent. Admittedly this isn't Shakespeare and he does OK considering the genre. The model who plays the crazy girl with the 2 mini-uzis is much more watchable. Fortunately being set in Florida she was able to walk around the place in just her lingerie. If the film had been set in Alaska, I doubt her presence would have been as enthralling, unless they made her wear lingerie there too that is! Fellow lock stock actor Jason Flemyng (neither Fleming or Phlegming) does play the first russian scientist baddy since Alan Cummings in Goldeneye, no pen spinning here though.
The film is quite short coming in at around 90 minutes and the ending does seem rushed. The final sequence involving a fight in a crashing aircraft is technically well shot but it's ridiculousness and sloppy CGI let it down.
If you liked the first then you'll like this. If you fancy a change from the 8 screens of Harry Potter (as is happening at my local) then you can do no wrong with this, if you're prepared to accept it for what it is and not criticise it too much.
Oh, and he doesn't appear to transport anything this time around. Maybe he will in the third one, if the DVD sales do well again. Let's face it, it's not going to get much from the cinema given it is up against The Goblet of Fire. A shame it can't rip off the sales of that film.
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