Conservative Movie Reviews
Terminator Salvation is the single most action packed movie I have seen in the past six months. I am talking non-stop-take-a-breath-when-you-can-and-hold-on-to-your-popcorn action because the director takes you for a ride that you won’t soon forget. And you know what? I for one couldn’t get enough of it. The chase scenes are a rarity in action movies. They are “smart” and they are logical and they hold enough surprises to keep you interested. We are not talking about mindless car chases here. Oh no. We are talking about the prodigy child of a marriage between the best of Star Wars and the best of Transformers (if there was such a thing as the best of Transformers). And just as you think you can relax, hold on, popcorn breath, ’cause McG ain’t done with you and you don’t want to be done with either. When you hire McG to direct action movies you will get chase scenes, and compared to the ones in Terminator, Charlie’s Angels seemed like slow motion playdough that got left out in the summer sun. I know he did Coyote Ugly. So what? Are you gonna the be the one to throw the first stone? He is also doing T5 – in development- and I can’t wait because the man can do action movies! Am I saying that the movie is perfect? Far from it. There is some loss of focus and there are some superfluous scenes with Moon Bloodgood’s character Blair Williams but its nothing major what is a bit more troubling is some of the acting.
Oh maaaaaannnn. I’m not gonna win too many friends with this. I might not even speak to myself for a while either, but I have to call ‘em like I see ‘em. Christian Bale! I am a big fan, or at least I was, but I have to tell you that he is beginning to wear just a little bit thin. Sure he does a good job as John Connor…buuuuttt, what more did he bring to the role? What extra dimension does he bring to the character? Truth be told I couldn’t tell if he was John Connor, or Bruce Wayne or Quinn Abercromby. In this movie, Christian Bale is two dimensional and predictable and quite frankly a bit boring. McG is not known for bringing out command performances from his actors and this is no exception. The good acting in this move, and there was some, was, I suspect, individual efforts on the part of the actors. (I can’t help but wonder what DiCaprio would have done with this role)
The first stand out is Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright. The story goes that casting was looking for someone able to stand up to Christian Bale. Ha! What they found is someone able to upstage him. That is exactly what Sam Worthington does. The guy has to play a role that is supposed to be devoid of emotion and yet manages to steal the movie.
The second acting gem, albeit a very small role, is actually no surprise at all. Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter playing Dr. Serena Kogan manages, in a few seconds, to show us why she is one of the best actresses in Hollywood. I can count on one hand the number of other actresses who I think are in her league. I am not aware of many that can do what she did in just a few seconds of film. I really wish she had been given more time, but then they’d have to call the movie something else.
I won’t give away too much, but skip the blue font if you don’t know and don’t want to know.
The machines are kicking our butts and what’s left of the human armies is desperately trying to find an edge to turn the tide. John Connor, not yet the leader of the resistance, is tasked with implementing a Hail Mary plan to end the war in one fell swoop. In this mix enter Marcus Wright as a half human-half machine contraption that no one knows what to make of or do with. There aren’t many plot twists, but who goes to a see a Terminator movie for the plot?
A high speed low drag celebration of the eternal human spirit. A tighten your seat-belt lesson in tenacity and determination against overwhelming odds. A movie about loyalty and sacrifice. Gotta love it.
Of course, you should go see it, but you probably did!
After last week’s false start with the somewhat disappointing ” Wolverine” , the summer season got right back on track today with Star Trek. Hold on to your seats because the on screen action grabs you and takes you for a warp-speed spin giving you barely moments to catch your breath. Is it formula? Not nearly as much as you’d expect and besides its supposed to be! This is big bold unabashed unapologetic huge budget blockbuster movie making at its best.
Directing and Writing
J.J. Abrams feature movie directing resume isn’t long but man is it ever action packed. His previous big budget movie was Mission Impossible III. Any director that can keep an audience looking at Tom Cruise for two hours deserves another chance and Mr. Abrams got it with Star Trek. It was a gamble that has paid off. The directing is perfect for this type of movie. The camera angles complemented the special effects, the pace was spot on and the top notch cast was expertly , directed. No doubt “traditionalists” will compare this movie to the iconic “Wrath of Khan” but it will be to the detriment of the later. This one is better except maybe in one or two ways. The writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did a very nice job but the movie does lack that one memorable line to rival Montalban’s Ahab-esque, immortal “from Hell’s heart I stab at thee”. (“To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell‘s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”) The other thing that is lacking may or may not be a shortfall depending on your taste. Rarely has the screen seen such a dramatic clash of characters played by such exceedingly dramatic actors as William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.I believe that we won’t see their like again for a long time to come. This movie lacks that dynamic but I suspect that not everyone will miss it, truth be told I sort of did.
Like everyone else I was very curious to see how Chris Pine would fill William Shatner’s shoes. He filled them very well and, naturally, with significantly less overacting. The biggest surprise is Carl Urban’s Leonard McCoy. Urban gives the character a more rounded, more edgy and more of a three dimensional feel than that made famous by his predecessor. This new rendition is as comfortable in the “sick bay ” as away from it, and that works out just fine. The most controversial of the new generation will probably be Zachary Quinto‘s portrayal of a young Mr. Spock. This more youthful version is also somewhat more emotional and conflicted. I thought the performance to be very appropriate given the plot but don’t be surprised if this turns into an all out Trekie cat fight between the traditionalists and the noobs.
I’ll give away as little as possible but if you don’t want to spoil the surprise skip the blue.
A good part of the movie is a biography of Captain Kirk literally from birth to his first Star Ship command. Truth be told this was big gap in the Star Trek saga that has been now properly filled. We are also treated to a much shorter version of Mr. Spock’s life story up to and including his not so peaceful acquaintance with James Tiberius Kirk. The unanticipated sub plots that ensue form this keeps us guessing and adds yet another dimension to the movie. I am not used to that in a Star Trek sequel it certainly is a pleasant surprise and one of the reasons why I say that I give this movie an edge over “Khan.”
The movie also introduces us to the twenty something version of the rest of the Enterprise”s crew and how they ended up on the fateful ship. There is also a very surprising romance interest which the purists might deride but, logically speaking, I can’t find fault with it.
The main story line is that a mad Romulan, Eric Bana is hell bent on destroying the Federation or at least a few chosen planets. Stopping him falls on the shoulders of the young cadets manning the Enterprise. I know, I know cadets were called int o battle once before . As the cadets are the future most storied crew ever to serve on a Star Ship, the Romulan gets his pointy ears boxed but good.
A heroic tale of self sacrifice, friendship, loyalty, love and duty and honor. Yes its all that, and isn’t that great!
I’ll go see it again next week, with the wife this time, and I imangine that many of you just might go see it more than once too.
Come on you knew that I just had to do this
This movie is made for those who love and appreciate fine acting, and yeah it is like fine wine, and in many cases it does get better with age. The acting is so great in fact that you begin to be thankful for the sub-par directing, makes the great acting performances seem to last longer, and maybe even forgive the awkward screen adaptation.
As I was watching the movie I had the impression that Gregor Jordan’s directing seemed distracted or maybe even overwhelmed by the project and by having the opportunity to work with a tremendous roster of some of the most experienced actors in Hollywood, and some really talented younger ones as well. As I learned later that’s not really the case but its rather a matter of Mr. Jordan trying desperatly to piece together what surely was a ridiculous screen adaptation.
The pace of this movie is really, well , it’s not easy to characterize. Jordan does have quite a few really brilliant moments when his hands-off approach, merciful lack of quirky camera angles and letting the pros do their thing truly creates movie magic, but that’s also the problem with the movie. It’s more of a collection of great scenes lacking a strong directorial hand to knit them together and to keep the movie on pace. The format of the screen play itself – seemingly unrelated story lines weaving in and out of each other’s existence – is really a minefield for a directors. Gregor Jordan does avoid blowing up the movie on any of those mines but he navigates trough that mine field at a pace that is in contrast with the fast and furious lives of the characters.
Since we are on the subject of the screenplay, it is an adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis’ novel by the same name. Mr. Ellis collaborated on adapting his novel into a big screen script with newcomer Nicholas Jarecki and hence the problem. I wasn’t there so I don’t know what happened, but I suspect that, like all writers, Ellis jealously guarded the adaptation to be as faithful to the novel as possible, Mr. Jarecki didn’t have the pull or knowledge to correct him, and the end result is a train wreck of a script that landed in the director’s lap.
You are sitting there watching the movie wondering why they didn’t at least allow a good editor to fix this movie and then you realize, there is some really top notch acting going on hereh, I think I’ll stay.
The performances of Billy Bob Thorton and Kim Basinger as estranged husband and wife rival any put on celluloid anytime, anywhere by anyone. Billy Bob Thorton shows exactly why he is arguably the most accomplished actor in Hollywood today. Kim Basinger rises to the challenge and gives us her best performance since LA Confidential and, for my money, I have to tell you that I think she bettered it.
My favorite scene in the movie is a duet with Billy Bob Thorton and Winona Ryder, as his mistress, stealing a rendezvous in the ladies room of an LA Restaurant as the former’s family is waiting at a table in the dining room. It’s a short scene in a relatively minor role, but I have never seen Winona Ryder do better. Ms. Ryder recaptures the sparkle of the troubled teen from Girl Interrupted, subdued by the years gone by and the daily grind of the successful career woman of the early eighties. In that scene, dialogue seems almost superfluous and we are transported back in time to the glory days of Hollywood. Seriously, it’s really that good.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that Brad Renfro ‘s portrayal of “wrong side of town” Jack, the doorman is the best that I’ve seen him do and at the very least it rivals that of Thorton or anyone else in the movie. ( The morons who wrote that “we don’t know if he is acting or he was just being himself” should borrow a few bucks and go rent some shame) Alas this was his last rolle as he passed away last year of a drug overdose. Hollywood and us will miss him and we will be deprived of seeing a talented actor.
There’s the rub, apparently somewhere in the three year long write and rewrite of this movie there was a vampire plot and some other such supernatural nonsense which the director edited out. This does however create a pretty big and confusing gap and a couple of minor ones as well. A young boy is kidnapped and sold as would be hors d’ouvers for the un-dead beasts. The thing is that without knowing that there are vampires lurking about the audience doesn’t really know what to fully make of this sub plot.
That the bat-boys and gals were tossed out of the movie is probably a very good thing. Do we really need a “Lost Boys Sequel?” That the rest of the movie wasn’t massaged better to integrate the rest of the stories is not. What is left is a collection of short stories some which have more to do with each other some which don’t.
I suppose that in that way theh movie sort of resembles real life and its not lost on anyone that the director might have intentionally done that, but if you are going to make an avant-guard movie warn me ahead of time. If not then try hard to not make the movie as disjointed as real life we have enough of that on our own thank you. There is no plot just sex debauchery and some regret and some redemption and generational tug-of-war and lots of drugs, some death and life goes on .
Oh yeah and the movie probably has a record number of Wayfarers per inch of celluloid, but weren’t they great?
Is this Hollywood begging for forgiveness?
Along with the acting this is the other reason to go see this movie. The life of a powerful Hollywood executive, his family, their friends and associates is shown in all its glory and all its misery. From the glitz of a paparazzi flanked red carpet fund raiser to habitual multi-partner sex, to drugs and finally to the misery and pain of Aids the movie wraps it all up and puts in on display for you to see. (The reviews from other critics are evidence that freaks really don’t like mirrors.) The lives of young people that have everything handed to them on platinum platters, except a moral compass, quickly dissolve into a meaningless abhorrent drift of debauchery interrupted by occasional bouts of reflection and the inevitable scream of agony that that fleeting moment of lucidity brings. Somewhere in all this a clumsy awkward doorman with dreams of movie stardom is trying to find a way to get inside what, from his vantage point, seems to be the circle of happiness. That he never gets in and that he’ll never know how lucky he was is just another of the great subplots of this movie. What he does get to do is to provide the symbolic redemption for all those involved.
Graham, played very well by Jon Foster is the heir apparent to his father’s entertainment fortune, and as such is the prototypical and timeless, poor little rich boy. In yet another great scene his friend and sometimes lover and sometimes lover of his girlfriend, you get the picture right, asks he why he’s complaining, “you have everything”. Graham’s response is the movie and is the summary of the human condition from Cain to 1980′s Hollywood and forever more, “I just need someone to tell me what’s right and wrong.”
Oh yeah, you think Hollywood will ever forgive a movie that brings forth a statement like that?
If you can stand the sex and drugs scenes go see the movie it has a lot of merit, and great acting.
OK so this is what you do: first you count your blessings; then you go to see this movie; and then count your blessings again.
After the theatrical disappointments that Hollywood put out in the past few weeks, this movie is just what the doctor ordered. “17 Again” is a great feel good movie; the kind that has audiences cheering and clapping in the theater (teenagers to boot) It is well acted, well written and well directed. Did I mention the writing? You will be laughing a lot and out loud. Great job. The movie’s writer, Jason Filardi, managed to do something that up to now may have been considered nary impossible; teach tanagers morality and life lessons without being boring or tedious. Bravo!
Veteran director Burr Steers needs no introduction. While some directors might let down their guard when directing a “light comedy,” Mr. Steers has too much self-respect and so much passion for making movies that he devotes his full talents to anything he does, be it ground breakers such as “Reservoir Dogs” or the era-defining “Last Days of Disco” (or for that matter, the instant classic “17 Again”). The movie could have so easily slipped into a boring corny formula vehicle for Zack Efron – that it didn’t is a credit to Mr Steers.
Another mark of a great director is his ability to impart his vision to his actors. Burr Steers does just that and the movies all-star cast responds as true professionals.
Zack Efron has had a very busy young career, most notably with the hugely popular “High School Musical” movies and a long list of appearances on TV shows. He is the star of the movie and the the built-in teen magnet that the producers are counting on to bring in the core audience. His acting credentials will be further enhanced by his performance in this movie.
The supporting cast, drawn from actors with a lot of television acting experience, is equally talented and equally professional . Thomas Lennon as Ned Gold, Zack Efron’s sidekick and best friend, is perhaps one of the most underrated comedic actors of our time. It may seem silly to say that an actor with such a resume is still undiscovered, but I feel that given the right vehicles he can possibly rival great comedians such as Jim Carrrey, sans the overacting.
The rest of the cast includes Sterling Knight as Michael O”Donnell’s (Zack Effron) son , Michelle Trachtenberg as his daughter and Matthew Perry as the thirty-eight year old O’Donnell. And, of course, what good would a “high school movie” be without a bevy of beauties, including Allison Miller as a young would be Mrs. O’Donnell, Katherina Graham , Tiya Sircar , Melora Hardin and Melissa Ordway?
I try to give away as little as possible but if you don’t want to know the plot, just skip the blue font.
Thirty seven year old ex-high school, jock Michael O’Donnell is experiencing one heck of the wrong kind of a mid-life crisis. His kids don’t want to know him. His wife wants a divorce, and he is being passed over for a job promotion in favor of a really long pair of legs attached to the company’s newest bimbo. Seeking some respite from this reality, he heads to his former high school’s trophy case to reminisce about his golden days – a habit which seemingly helped create his current crisis. As a high school star he was heading for a collegiate basketball scholarship when life throws him curve ball in the form a pregnant girlfriend. Michael chooses marriage and raising a family over basketball stardom and, as the years pass and life grinds down to what he views as insurmountable disappointments, he regrets more and more his decision. At this crucial point an angelical janitor offers him a second chance to be “17 again” and see if he would make the same choices.
I am flabbergasted that Hollywood made such a movie. There is so much to like in it and so many reasons to support it that I am certain that I will miss quite a lot. For starters the movie’s basic premise is that choosing life and a family over death and possible material riches is much more rewarding and fulfilling even if at times we don’t recognize it. From there, other subjects that Hollywood usually belittles such as abstinence, self-respect and fidelity are treated with the attention and importance that they deserve. And it works! Again – there were teenagers cheering and clapping throughout the movie in the very urban theater where I went to see it.
Please go see this movie!
Its getting so that every time I go to see a movie I have to expect some sort of unpleasant surprise or another. This movie was no exception. Its really too bad because it would have been a really nice way to ease in to the coming summer blockbuster season with a cute, irreverent, well written comedy. This movie is that and that would have been more than enough, but, you see, Hollywood just can’t help itself.
I have to admit I could become a big fan of Greg Mottola’s directing. The pace of the movie is just right, the acting is kept at a nice, subtle level, and comedic timing is spot on. The writing is, of course, key to a comedy and in this case it’s very good and it’s also done by Mr. Mottola. It seems that Mr Mottola matured artistically far more than just the two years that have passed since Superbad would indicate. Compared to that, Adventureland is a slick polished jewel that undulates through subplots with the grace of a lean, sinuous, expert belly dancer in her prime.
Jesse Eisnenberg as the leading young man gave a performance that in anything other than a comedy would have critics take notice. In a world awash with over actors, method actors, God only knows what other kind of actors it’s good to see someone this young and with this much on-screen self control.
Opposite Jesse Eisenberg is Kristen Stewart playing Em Lewin, an NYU college student spending her summer slumming as a carny in her hometown’s amusement park. If there is a weak link in this movie, and it’s a big if, it is Ms. Stewart’s performance. It’s not bad, but it’s not memorable. The deer in the headlights routine worked just fine when surrounded by vampires, but it doesn’t really work in an environment where the character has contempt for most of those who surround her. The supposed seething tension between her and her stepmother never really comes through. You may ask who needs that in a comedy anyway (and you may be right), but if it’s written, you might as well try to make it work, no?
I try to give away as little as possible but if you don’t want to know the plot, just skip the blue font.
Ivy League bound James Brennan (Jesse Eisnenberg) finds out that his father’s income has taken a turn south. Because of that, his graduation trip to Europe is canceled and his attending Columbia in the fall is in jeopardy as well. Lacking any sort of experience, and self-confidence, James get the only job that he seems qualified for – a carny at the local amusement park. There he meets Em and the two develop an relationship that takes more turns and ups and downs than the park’s rollercoaster. At the end of summer, James finds himself with less money than at the beginning and with no way to attend Columbia. He is seemingly fated to stay home and go to a local college, while Em returns to NYU.
James is made of sterner stuff and decides that if going to NY to attend an Ivy League school isn’t in the cards, at least he’ll get half-way there and just go to NY. He shows up in front of Em’s apartment. The two reconcile as the NY rain washes away whatever it was that temporarily tore them apart and NYC embraces them with the promises of a brand new future. I bet Greg Mottola is a big Saul Bellows fan.
OK. So, why am I telling you not to go see this movie? Well, because about a third of the way through, the movie manages to introduce the worst kind of gratuitous blasphemy, and as a Christian I refuse to endorse any movie that does that.
It doesn’t stop there, however. The movie also introduces further Christian bashing, Catholic to be more precise. In a subplot that has nothing to do with the story line and adds nothing to it, Mottola portrays the local Chatolics as bigoted and segregationists against Jews. That’s another thing the movie doesn’t for one second allow us to not understand – that the protagonists, their families, and their friends are mostly jews except, of course, for the evil Catholics. It seems that every movie and movie director from the Cohen brothers to a relative newcomer like Mottola must include the worst kind of blasphemy and Christian bashing in order to get the stamp of approval. Well fine, but I refuse to endorse it and I hope you do the same. If we all stop going to see these movies, they’ll get the picture.
So that’s it, event tough its a decent enough movie I would recommend that you don’t go to see it. On the other hand judging by the weekend’s box office numbers that would be redundant.
American Swing…and sloth and filth
There is nothing redeeming about this film and there is no reason to go and see it or rent it or turn the channel to PBS when they will inevitably air it and market it as Americana.
It is a sort of fictitious tripe masquerading as a documentary of the pig sty that was once New York’s Plato’s Retreat.
The film relies on interviews with various former denizens of Plato’s Retret sprinkled with television interviews of the former owner, Larry Levenson and laced with vintage photos and footage from the estaqblishment.
I have to tell you, this team of directors have a rare and special talent. They manage to turn a story about sex into something that makes you want to go home, scrub tyourself down, put on many layers of clothing and engage your spouse in an all night discussion of St. Cyrius of Alexandria.
Granted, the subject matter is despicable and the protagonists have, as expected, the personalities of deflated tennis balls (with some determination their IQs might match said tennis balls), but don’t sell John Hart and Matthew Kauffman short.
They also manage to take a true story about how two bumbling bookkepers on the run from the mob end up on a televised game show in Vegas and turn it into a snoozer. (I am betting that somewhere, somehow someone will see or hear that plot line and turn it onto a really funny movie.)
There is no mention in the film of the scars that Plato’s retreat indubitably left on its patrons’ already unstable psyche, and there is no metnion of STDs other than Aids. Those interviewed try to tell us, and mostly themselves, that they didn’t regret going to Plato’s and engaging in some of the most depraved behavior since Caligula. I don’t think that anyone in the theater believed them and the audience laughs out loud – really they do – at the absurd claims made by the former patrons.
I never had much interest in Plato’s retreat. Sure, I knew of it. What seventeen year old boy growing up in NYC at that time didn’t? And, as such, I can’t claim to be an expert on the subject matter. Among the many things that I didn’t know about it, but that the film made perfectly clear, is about the overall “Jewishness” of the place. One of the interviewees (I think it may have been Al Goldstein, the despicable worm who edited “Screw Magazine”), had the one line in the movie that was inteneded to be funny and actually was. Describing the paper thin walls of Plato’s retreat he mentions that among the oft overheard conversations were those of girls looking for car poolrides to the next day’s Hebrew School.
Larry Levenson thought that he was the vanguard of the future sexual behavior in this country. Thank God he was wrong. He passed away at 62 years old, alone and impoverished. Plato’s Retreat closed in 1985, but it reopened in Florida and operated there until 2006.
Again the film is a ridiculous exercise that has no merit whatsoever
Fresh off the success of “The 300” and “Dawn of the Dead,” Zack Snyder has tried his hand at directing a high-budget movie where the characters and the plot require more than five minutes to develop. More daunting still, the amount of information that he needed to impart to the audience to cover the script was large indeed. To be fair, that’s more the script’s fault rather than the director.
Back to Zack Snyder. Forced to straddle the line between comic book and real movie, Mr. Snyder, as is to be expected, excelled at imparting the feel of neither. While “The 300” was entertaining precisely because we could easily think of it as a comic book whose pages are turning so fast that the drawings move, “Watchmen” is the opposite. It comes across as if real life characters are squashed and reduced to two dimensions to fit the movie’s formula.
Character development, so easily accomplished in a straightforward story like “the 300”, falls short in the Watchmen. The actors are seemingly not allowed to act, with the possible exception of Jackie Earl Haley whose character, Rorschach, dominated the screen, as much by design as by the dark nervous energy that Haley forcefully dishes out. The writers and the director lobbed him a slow pitch right down Broadway and he hit it out of the park. When you consider that in most of the scenes he was wearing a burlap mask over his face his performance gets that much more interesting. I can’t wait to see him in future roles where he doesn’t have to wear a bag over his head, (who didn’t love the Bad News Bears?).
Patrick Wilson as the Night Owl (a superhero who comes out of self-imposed retirement to fight evil, find action and get the girl) was not what I expected. Sure, the director may share responsibility, but the performance was flat any which way you look at it. The role called for vulnerability and self doubt and what we got instead was lethargy. He was not alone. Other than Jackie Earl Haley, there were really no acting performances in this movie and that points the finger straight at the director. And since we are on that topic, I have to confess that I dozed off. Yeah, I didn’t see it until Monday after work and I was tired, but the movie just wasn’t enough to keep me fully awake for three hours (was it three hours or did it just seem like it was?)
To make matters worse, the best special effects parts (that would be Dr. Manhattan loose in the Vietnamese rice paddies) are too short and drown in stereotypical anti-Americanism. It’s really sad, but I don’t think that at its worst, Hanoi ever portrayed an American soldier as bad as Hollywood does and evidently will do forever. For that alone, the movie deserves to be passed on, but there is more. While Zack Snyder didn’t seem able to direct his actors to decent performances or keep the film at a captivating tempo, he does manage to sneak in a lesbian blasphemy of an American Icon, but then again that’s all that Hollywood does these days.
Not surprisingly, however, the movie also manages to glorify adultery. In what is perhaps the movie’s only “grown up” scene, the mother super hero, Sally Jupiter, ably played by Carla Gugino, confesses to the her super hero daughter Sally Jupiter portrayed by Malin Akerman, that her father is not her biological father. Like many other scenes in the movie this one doesn’t add an iota to the plot and other than to induce further boredom I saw no reason for it to not rest comfortably on the editing room floor.
(I try to divulge as little as possible of the actual plot, but if you don’t want to spoil the surprises, please feel free to skip the blue font)
In the world of this comic book, teams of superheroes, The Watchmen, work with the government to promote the interests of the various administrations. That cozy relationship ends via a bill passed by congress. In the wake of that, the current Watchman team is broken-up and either retire, freelance as underground crime fighters, devote themselves to scientific research, or go into the private sector and make billions of dollars.
A brewing conflict between the US and the USSR threatens to bring the world to an end via nuclear war. The movie doesn’t really make the case for why the two superpowers would opt to destroy the world. Instead it is content to somehow imply that Richard Nixon – a president who has contributed more to world peace than perhaps any other in the modern era save perhaps for Ronald Regan - being in the White House for a third term is reason enough for nuclear holocaust.
No matter, the circumstances bring some of the team together to try and stop the threat. The ensuing adventures culminate in the movie’s de rigeur plot twist which, in itself, is engaging enough, but the journey gets perilously close to being tedious. For an action movie that relies heavily on special effects, the latter fall short. There are enough of them, but save for the above mentioned rice paddy scene, the “wow” factor is sadly lacking.
Finally, the worst failure of suspension of disbelief is the screechless portrayal of liberal screech pot, Eleanor Clift. Not even a single solitary demented, high pitched trademark “let me speak” or “excuse me”. Who can believe that? Overall, the movie is good enough to rent the DVD, but not good enough to merit the $12 ticket price.