A Week In Film #557: Clocking up

[Zero Dark Thirty title screen]
Zero Dark Thirty
AND THIS ONE.

[The Raid: Redemption title screen]
Serbuan Maut AKA The Raid: Redemption
Gareth Evans announces pencak silat onto the international stage, with this low budget immense fight-your-way-out-of-the-labyrinth actioner about a squad of Indonesian police launching a raid on a crime boss’ stronghold. Iko Uwais is a ready-made star as incorruptible cop Rama; Ray Sahetapy, Yayan Ruhian, Donny Alamsyah and Alfridius Godfred are all memorable as the bad guys. Some of the best ever on-screen fight choreography.

[Atomic Blonde title screen]
Atomic Blonde
David Leitch, one of the team behind John Wick, brings a similar non-CGI sensibility to this adaptation of a muscular Cold War mystery comic, set against the backdrop of the imminently collapsing Berlin Wall, Charlize Theron is a British spy sent out to the German capital to investigate the murder of a colleague. James McAvoy is the quirky head of station meant to be assisting her. Some great physical sequences, and impeccable period touches – music, set dressing, vibe – but ultimately it falls short of excellent.

[Layer Cake title screen]
Layer Cake
The directorial debut of Guy Ritchie’s producer Matthew Vaughn is confident and colourful and enjoyable, though at times the dialogue is somewhat ropey. But a tasty little tale of the drugs trade and gangsters and double cross, with Daniel Craig auditioning for 007, and a heavy-hitting supporting cast doing the heavy lifting – Colm Meaney, George Harris, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Tamer Hassan, Ben Whishaw, Marcel Iureş, Dexter Fletcher, Steve John Shepherd, Louis Emerick, Stephen Walters, Francis Magee, Jamie Foreman, Sally Hawkins, Burn Gorman, even Sienna Miller.

[Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed title screen]
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
Now, I unexpectedly really enjoyed the first live action one; this one, however, despite involving pretty much the whole creative team, is something of a turd.

[Beverly Hills Cop II title screen]
Beverly Hills Cop II
So long as you don’t expect it to be as good as the first, then you’ll be alright. A lot slicker, in a coked-up Tony Scott/Simpson/Bruckheimer way, with Jürgen Prochnow, Brigitte Nielsen and Dean Stockwell making a colourful crime triumvirate for our heroes Eddie Murphy, John Ashton and Judge Reinhold to face.

[Fargo title screen]
Fargo
Peak Coen Bros, with thoroughly competent local cop Frances McDormand almost immediately solving the case, thanks to her adversaries being arch-incompetents William H Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare.

[We Were Soldiers title screen]
We Were Soldiers
Goes on a bit. A LOT. Relentlessly bloody – and yet in no way critical – account of the Battle of Ia Drang between Vietnamese forces and a newly deployed airmobile 7th Cavalry, led by God-fearin’ Mel Gibson. Both effective and horrifically partisan. Directed by Braveheart scripter Randall Wallace.

[Thunderbolt And Lightfoot title screen]
Thunderbolt And Lightfoot
Lovely 70s caper movie, with wisecracking young drifter Jeff Bridges teaming up with taciturn ex-soldier turned safecracker Clint Eastwood (and later his chippy old comrades George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis) to take down a score in Montana. Directed by Michael Cimino.

[The Terminator title screen]
The Terminator
It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear! And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead! Oh, and viene una
tormenta!

[Peppermint title screen]
Peppermint
So-so revenge fantasy – Jennifer Garner is a suburban soccer mom who goes on the offensive against the gangsters who killed her daughter and husband, and against those corrupt officials who helped the killers go free. Totally just a shuffled-around Death Wish. The odd nice action sequence; from director Pierre Morel.

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