Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Written By: Yale Hannon
Story By: Yale Hannon & Joe Lynch
Cinematography By: Steve Gainer
Editor: Evan Schiff
Cast: Salma Hayek, Jennifer Blanc, Togo Igawa, Gabriella Wright
An action/thriller centered on a woman who faces down assassins sent by her ex, a mob boss, while holed up in her apartment.
A B-movie that is fun and more exploitive when it comes to violence above all. Released by Dimension Films it feels like a return to their heyday
Inspired the film takes place in one location. Making it feel like a live action comic book or graphic novel character taking on assassins in her home turf. Taking on all challengers as there is a sizable bounty on her head. Like DIE HARD only different as she is supposed to be there and amazed at what she can do for a supposedly inexperienced killer.
The film is like a Shane black script set during Christmas only not as witty, but just as violent and inventive.
I am happy to see Salma Hayek finally star in a film, that is deserving of her talent and knows how to use her talent in not such a sexual way or only for her looks. Here she gets to inhabit an iconic character. More recently she has really gotten a chance to make interesting choices other then the sexpot or damsel in distress. Though would still like to see her get a chance to play a true femme fatale in a film deserving of her. But with this film, BANDIDAS, AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT and SAVAGES. She really hasn't played a lead or noteworthy character since FRIDA.
Even in BANDIDAS it was more about her and Penelope Cruz's looks that the film was based and marketed on and I will admit like that film here her looks help when it comes to her character and the audiences initial interest, but eventually watching her run around and struggle for survival. Slowly learning her history and how she got into this situation. Watching her become a full fledged action heroine under extreme circumstances. As the villains and us in the audience initially underestimate her.
Interestingly supposedly Kate Hudson was long attached to the role, before dropping out and Salma taking her place.
I am happy as more recently she just seemed to be a regular in Adam Sandler produced films. Playing a love interest with no personality. I will admit I think she is a better actress in her natural language, but her usual hindrance as an actress here is used in her favor either that or we at this point are just used to it.
I hope she stays making films just as inspired. Just as I hope the director keeps on the same track and stays unpredictable in his choices that show a fan boy appreciation.
Not that the film doesn't offer any villain who is tested with generic reasons for this plan with plenty of interchangeable henchmen and a fun sick right hand man of sorts. All the Hench people other than having particular weapons or specialties and appearance feel interchangeable until a new big boss shows up making the film feel like a video game. Where the main character has a narrative and has reached the end of this level and must rise up to the challenge and use the skills and experience up to this point to eliminate this enemy boss to proceed and get a new prize or power-up usually in the form Of a new weapon or extra life.
The revelation of the villain is played to be a big surprise, but lacks an actor of that magnitude. Though makes him so nasty. It tries to give us a personification of evil or at least treachery. That works in the films perimeter, but feel like a ok gesture. Rather then a memorable adversary.
Like JOHN WICK this film feels familiar, but at least feels like life is being breathed into something so routine at this point. That makes the film noteworthy, entertaining and feels fun and almost born again.
One Could easily see this as a franchise, but would truly be stretching the little credibility the film has. Better as a one shot spectacular curiosity.
The film directed by Joe lynch a noted genre filmmaker is interesting as it seems natural that horror filmmakers would move naturally into action films. As both need a certain tone and usually call for extended sequences of action and suspense. Plus both call for violence that it seems you get into more trouble with in horror movies or at least more noted and looked down upon. Where as in action it seems to be understandable as a necessity and no matter how excessive it is accepted. Plus not seen so much as dark and evil.
This film is not for everyone as it stays small scale. So if looking for an action epic this isn't the film for you. This feels like a marginalized special.
The films tone changes at times and feels enthusiastic for the wrong things at times it feels a bit trashy.
It's not high art, but it is guilty pleasure entertainment. Breathing life in it's time.