Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Machete Kills

Alternate Title:  All Blade and no Point

One sentence synopsis:     Unstoppable killer Machete returns to battle drug cartels and corrupt arms dealers on behalf of Mexico and the United States.

Things Havoc liked:  At some point, I lost track of whether it was or was not cool to like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' 2007 exploitation double feature "Grindhouse". I for one enjoyed it (the Tarantino side in particular), and particularly enjoyed the ludicrous fake trailers that were included with it. Apparently I wasn't alone in my appreciation, for two of those trailers were turned into movies: the Rutger Hauer-helmed Hobo with a Shotgun (?), and Machete, starring stern-faced badass extraordinaire, Danny Trejo. Machete was many things, crude, violent, stupid, unhinged, and with all the political subtext of a sledgehammer, but it was also a hell of a lot of fun, showcasing Trejo at his baddest alongside a cast of basically half the films Robert Rodriguez has ever done. And so it is that here, three years after the original, we find ourselves with the sequel to the movie made from the fake trailer in the exploitation double feature (?????), Machete Kills.

Once (many decades ago) a real gangster and thug, Danny Trejo has been in something like three hundred films since 1985, of varying qualities, and with some exceptions I've loved every minute of them. His range is not tremendous, not generally straying beyond "badass with a face that could curdle milk". But within those boundaries, he has for four decades been an incredible presence on any screen he graces, scything his way through a legion of mooks with a scowl and an assortment of bladed weapons. The movie wisely does not ask him to do much beyond that in terms of the acting department, leaving the scenery chewing to others, better suited to the task. One such man is Mel Gibson, playing a weapons dealer drawn directly from the Goldfinger/Scaramanga school of Bond villainy, complete with lengthy and unnecessary explanation to the hero as to the nature of his evil plan, and a cool looking accoutrements to compensate for a hideous disfigurement. Another one is Charlie Sheen, he of the Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA, here credited as Carlos Estavez, playing none other than the President of the United States. Surprisingly enough, Sheen plays the character fairly cool, trying to channel his father perhaps, but his mere presence is a lot of fun, as are the zany situations he appears in the course of. But the best one of the bunch is probably unknown-to-me Demian Bechir, who plays a schitzophrenic drug cartel boss who alternates between scenery-chewing madness and tearful repentance. Bechir doesn't so much devour scenery as vacuum it up, but in a movie like this, that is the appropriate reaction, and he enlivens the movie every time he's on screen.

Things Havoc disliked:  ... something the movie badly needs.

I had expected a number of things to come out of Machete Kills, but not the one that ultimately kills this movie. Machete Kills is straight out boring. And the reason for this is somewhat complex, but ultimately comes down to someone forgetting what the whole point of the Grindhouse-inspired films was.

Machete had a plot, a preposterous one, grounded in racism and immigration policy and other topical issues, but nevertheless secondary to the overall experience of having Machete kill people in a violent, bloody fashion. We were not here to experience the struggle of the Mexican immigrant, nor discuss the weighty issues involved in immigration policy, we were here to watch Danny Trejo kick people's asses in the company of other Robert Rodriguez regulars. And while this does technically remain true in this movie, the film seems to think that we not only give a damn about the plot this time, but retroactively gave a damn about the previous movie's plot enough to remember every single step it took. Lengthy sequences of the film consist of people monologuing about plans and politics, punctuated by Machete killing some of them and the whole thing repeating. The original film had extremely clear-cut good and bad guys, racist murdering scum on one side and Machete's crew on the other, and while this film does keep some of that (William Sadler plays an obvious standin for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio), the vast majority of the film is wrapped up in a labyrinthine plot involving drug cartel bosses that may or may not be evil, CIA agents that may or may not be evil, and a whole host of other characters with their own agendas and plots, all of whom betray one another seemingly at random. And in the middle of all this is Machete, who has no real ties to anyone present, and therefore seems to just drift through the film, as though this were the Big Lebowski starring Jason Voorhees. I get that in a grindhouse movie, the protagonist's invulnerable badassery is taken for granted, but the plot here is not merely unnecessary, it's actually irrelevant to Machete himself, who winds up feeling like the afterthought in his own film, so much time is taken up with exposition, double-crossing, and irrelevant plot development.

This is not the only problem. With respect to Danny Trejo, who is one of the better menacing badass character actors of the last thirty years, at the age of 69, he is no longer able to fight and kill as though he were 20. He can still sneer and look terrifying with the best of them, as well as beat the hell out of someone should it be required, but the acrobatic machete-fighting scenes are simply beyond his capacities, buttressed as they are with deceptive camera angles, ultra-close up shots, and bad CGI. Once more, I understand that this is an intentional throwback to the classic B-movies of yesteryear, but bad CGI simply does not have the retro-charm of bad practical effects, and the CGI in this movie is uniformly bad, to the point where I suspect that Rodriguez was trying to ape such legendary bad films as Birdemic.

Finally, some of the directorial decisions here simply baffle me. Machete Kills comes with an excellent cast, courtesy of Rodriguez' power as a star-magnet, but several of these excellent cast members are completely wasted in throwaway roles. Jessica Alba shows up for two minutes just to remind us that she was in the previous film, while a character called "El Cameleon" absorbs the services of a good half of the A-listers in the cast. The character is a shape-changer, by magic or theatrical talent it is never revealed, with the result that he is played (like the Doctor) by many different people at various points in the film including Antonio Banderas, post-Butler Cuba Gooding Jr, and Lady Gaga. There's nothing wrong with this idea, I suppose, except that all of these actors are utterly wasted due to El Cameleon having nothing whatsoever to do in the film. His (its?) presence consists of a handful of short scenes, each of which is played by a different actor, totaling maybe 8 minutes at the most, before being dispatched in the most perfunctory manner possible, rendering the services of all of these actors, every one of which I would have liked to see in precisely this sort of zany Rodriguez-style B-movie pastiche, into little more than glorified cameos.

Final thoughts:   Youtube has recently been showing ads for a direct-to-DVD film starring Trejo as an old west gangster raised from the grave to kill the crew that betrayed him. In these trailers, which I have to assume were made post-Machete Kills, Trejo looks perfect, a poised, menacing, glowering badass old west killer, who could be 40 or 50 or 70 or immortal for all anyone can tell (or cares). His acting looks sharper and his action cleaner and cooler than that which I saw in Machete Kills, and while I grant that trailers are intentionally designed to make people look good, this well illustrates the problem with Machete Kills. The draw of these films was Trejo, and the irreverence of Rodriguez, who was willing to let Trejo do scandalous, bloody things simply because they were awesome. It was not the shock value of stunt casting, nor the deep politics, nor some other convoluted venture into labyrinthine plotting. I literally lost track of what the hell was going on in this movie (something I don't often do), and could not, despite active efforts, catch back up. And once the plot was lost, there was simply not enough else going on to keep my attention.

The movie promises yet another Machete film in the future, one with an even more outlandish premise. But given what I saw from this movie, I'm afraid that the next time Machete takes up his blade, I'll be watching something else.

Final Score:  4/10

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Alternate Title:  The Men who Drive in Circles

One sentence synopsis:     Racecar drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda face one another over the course of the 1976 Formula One Championship season.

Things Havoc liked:  Sports enthusiast though I am, Formula One racing is about as far outside my context as it's possible to get (Buzhkasi notwithstanding). Yet the sport's appeal is evident, as it consists of certifiable lunatics getting into explosive bombs that travel at substantial fractions of Mach and hurl themselves around fiendishly devised tracks in the vain hope that they will not die screaming in the midst of a 900 degree bonfire. If NASCAR carried this level of risk (and didn't consist of a single oval) I might even be a fan. But for those of us ignorant Americans to whom Formula 1 sounds like a chemistry reagent, acclaimed director Ron Howard has arrived to show us what we've all been missing.

Rush is the story of two Formula One drivers, Englishman James Hunt, and Austrian Nikki Lauda, and the events leading up to and during their tumultuous battle for the Fomula One championship during he 1976 season. Played respectively by Thor's Chris Hemsworth, and Inglorious Basterds' Daniel Bruhl, the two men, like any good rivals, are a study in contrasts. Hemsworth's Hunt is a well-liked party animal and playboy, a dilettante whose racing and lifestyles are bold and uncompromising, with whirlwind affairs and nights of blackout drinking. Yet the film does not portray Hunt as a degenerate, merely a man who lives and thrives upon the razor's edge of immense danger, driven to race so as to prove his worth to some unknown figure, or perhaps himself. During the several different moments when his life falls apart, he evidences quite clearly that nothing, not his ill-advised marriage, not his life, not any talking-to by figures of authority, matters to him more than his vocation, and thus we see him earn the respect of other drivers and racing managers alike. This is, after all, not a sport which caters to restrained people, and in one of the best lines in the film, he tells his wife, with whom he is having great difficulties, not to look to for normal behavior amongst men willing to die driving cars in circles.

And yet Lauda, on the other hand, seems to torpedo that entire line of argument. The scion of an Austrian banking family, Lauda is an abrasive, cold, and unlikeable individual, who pretends, at the very least, to have no passion for anything, regarding racing as merely his job. This is a lie, of course, as it rapidly becomes clear that Lauda is driven by the need to be better than everyone else, not necessarily at racing (though that is a major element), but in general, in any field he values in his life. His driving style is mathematical and precise, predicated on a sober analysis of the risks that he will face. Lest that sound cowardly, the movie opens with his flat declaration that every year, 24 Formula One drivers begin the season, two of whom, on average, will die during the course of it. Strategic and calculating, he creates a plan for victory based on the knowledge that Hunt's fearless risk-taking may well win him a race or two, but that in the long run, he will be the one to stand triumphant. His lack of warmth and reputation as an asshole are badges he proudly wears as evidence that his 'system' for racing is producing precisely the results he wishes it to, and damn all other costs and concerns that come his way.

So far, we have a setup for your average sports movie, I know, yet Rush is anything but. Lauda and Hunt hate one another from the day they meet, yet their parallel rises through the lower circuits to Formula One itself carries its share of challenges and surprises for both men. In an early sequence, Lauda, the unshakeable, meets a woman in Italy whom he almost accidentally charms by first correctly diagnosing her car's problems just from the feel and sound, and then, at her request, demonstrating his own abilities with the replacement car that picks them up. Despite all odds, they soon wed, yet Lauda now fears that happiness will ruin his competitive edge as he pushes into the grand campaign. Hunt meanwhile, whose racing team is as dissolute as he is, finds himself without sponsorship, without a car, and without a wife, but manages through grit and desperation, to overcome at least two of these obstacles (no prizes awarded for guessing which). By introducing and developing the characters separately, the film grounds us in both of their stories, making it all the more important to us what will happen when they finally do meet, compete, and suffer the inevitable consequences of that competition. The two characters' relationship begins and remains complicated all the way through to the end of the film, and is clear that Howard recognizes that this, not merely the cars, is what holds our attention.

Not that the rest of the movie has short shrift at all. Hans Zimmer's score is excellent as usual, incorporating period (70s) music for a dash of verisimilitude, and punctuating the actual races well without overpowering them. The racing is overall fantastic, giving a sense of the incredible speeds which these machines employ, alternating close in views and skycams with the occasional heads-up shot just to demonstrate what the experience of actually driving one of these things is like. The elaborate and frankly arcane scoring system that Formula One uses to determine who wins what is thankfully more or less dispensed with, the film simply giving us what information we actually need to know what the stakes are. I was surprised just how many races one can fail to complete in the course of a circuit while still remaining a top contender for the championship, but given the hair-thin margin on which these cars are balanced, I suppose events such as your engine spontaneously exploding into fine powder are the sorts of things one must expect to experience over the course of a year's campaign. All of the supporting actors, from World War Z's Pierfrancesco Favino to Downfall's Alexandra Maria Lara, play their roles just right, be it as other racers who understand the unspoken compact that such men engage in when risking their lives, or bystanders, family, and friends, who do not, and simply must live with this facet of their drivers' lives. Finally, the film does not shy away from the horrific, gruesome aftermath of car wrecks at 160 miles an hour, nor the exceedingly unpleasant process of trying to recover from a crash in which most of your body was burnt and your lungs filled with flaming gasoline fumes. These are the risks these men take to this day, and one need only look over the list of fatalities associated with Formula One in the last few years to grasp why these men might act as they do.

Things Havoc disliked:  Some of the dialog in the film is a bit on the nose, particularly a couple of speeches given by Lauda to Hunt during one of their many conversations or confrontations. Most of them sound like prepared speeches instead of spontaneous dialog, as though the scriptwriter couldn't think of a way to demonstrate some particular facet of a character, and instead opted to have him explain it to the audience. Hardly the only film to do this, but it stands out when it happens.

There were also a few questions in my mind as to some of the racing decisions made here. Several of the races that year take place under torrential downpours, producing conditions so hazardous that, at least according to Lauda, they pushed the risk of someone dying in the course of the race up past 20%. Yet in every case, not only does the race continue on, but attempts to get it canceled or postponed are brushed aside almost contemptuously. Perhaps there is an element here that my American mind is not qualified to speak to, but I'm used to sporting events, even dangerous ones, where such elements as monsoon rains turning the track into a death trap are taken into account. The Super Bowl itself, the holy grail of American sporting, has been delayed several times in its history due to weather conditions, despite the fact that nobody has ever actually died in the course of playing it. Soccer, Cricket, and Rugby matches are also so governed, as is NASCAR, yet I am to believe that the most dangerous sport in the world (statistically) is not? The weather conditions in one of the final races of the season are so bad that I would not, in a million years, even consider driving in them, and I'm not customarily trying to race around a hairpin turn at a hundred and fifty-seven miles per hour.

Final thoughts:   I am required to find bad things in every great film, just as I am required to find good things in every terrible one. By now I think you know which this is. Rush is tremendous movie, interesting, even fascinating throughout, expertly crafted and compelling even to a non-fan. If you're not considering the film yet, then perhaps this little anecdote will convince you: As I said before, I am no follower of Formula One racing in general. But having seen this movie, I actually watched part of this year's Japanese Grand Prix, and may, in two days, watch some or all of the Indian one.

I'm pulling for Raikkonen personally, but the safe money is on Vettel to threepeat.

Final Score:  8/10

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Alternate Title:  A Bad Place for a Bad Day

One sentence synopsis:     Two astronauts caught in the middle of an escalating orbital cataclysm must attempt to survive and somehow return to the Earth.

Things Havoc liked:  I was very uninterested in Gravity when I first saw the trailers. Impressive though the visuals of the film appeared to be, there are few things that drive me out of a theatre faster than what I call "deathwatch thrillers", movies in which the main characters are quite obviously doomed, without hope of escape by any means, and our task is to watch them panic, suffer, and die. Many dead teenager movies fall into this category, but the ur-example is probably Open Water, a movie I described once as being one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. Any film that seems to promise a repetition of that is liable to go unwatched by me, but ultimately, with nothing much else to see and extremely favorable reports from many people I knew, I decided to give it a shot.

And goddamn, am I glad I did.

It is the near future, and the five-man crew of the Orion-class shuttle Explorer, are attempting to make repairs on the Hubble telescope during spacewalk, two of whom, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Cloony) are the sole survivors when a counter-orbit debris field from a Russian anti-satellite missile test gone awry smashes into the orbiter, the telescope, and largely everything else nearby. Trapped in nothing but their spacesuits, they now have to find a way to escape orbit and return to Earth alive. This is the entire plot of Gravity, and yet unlike the deathwatch movies I spoke of earlier, this one is an incredibly tense thriller, thanks to brilliant actors and smart decisions on the part of the writer, director, and producer, Alfonso Cuaron. Clooney and Bullock here play standard Clooney and Bullock roles, him the smooth, veteran mission commander whose confidence and wisdom are paramount, and her the frazzled, nervous technician who just wants to get the mission over with. Shallow though these things may sound in text, Bullock and Clooney do fantastic jobs, never letting the characters turn into one-note cutouts, getting much across with simple intonation and half-finished reference, no mean feat for a film wherein the character's faces are all but invisible for large sections of the film, and many scenes consist entirely of them, alone, or together, sitting in a capsule somewhere for long, multi-minute shots.

Speaking of which, Cuaron's last film, Children of Men, showed his penchant for such things, and here he lets himself go wild. The entire introductory sequence is a single ten-minute unbroken shot, done with computer effects of course, but that hardly matters. Unlike Lucas' prequels, this film uses long takes for stylistic purposes instead of showing off, letting us concentrate on the gorgeous visuals attendant to simply being in space. Almost everything in the film is not merely photo-realistic but physically-realistic. Fire and water behave as they actually do in zero gravity, as do thrusters, momentum, and high speed collisions. One thing I'd never really realized is just how violent the process of getting around things in orbit can be, as people bounce into and off of space stations, satellites, and odd protrusions of every sort. Granted, the circumstances are somewhat trying, but when momentum can only be generated by pushing off of or pulling onto something, one gets whip-lashed about almost constantly. This, and a hundred other little details about how one actually gets by in space are fully realized, giving the movie an excellent pedigree, and grounding us in the absolute remoteness of space, with all its attendant dangers and inability of rescue.

But cementing everything together for Gravity is the music, an eclectic collection of electro-orchestral pieces from all around the world. With a film this light on dialogue (many sequences take place in complete silence), the music must fill the space to keep our interest, something made all the more important as (true to life) the sound effects in space are portrayed realistically, meaning there are none when the source of the effect isn't happening in an enclosed atmosphere or through direct physical contact with a character's spacesuit. The music itself, light on percussion and heavy on synthesizers and strings, is a strange beast, but powerful in its own right, reminiscent of Blade Runner as much as anything. I can't speak for everyone on a subject this personal, but it certainly fit the bill for me.

Things Havoc disliked: By and large, the movie is about one single disaster which rapidly begets new ones as though by alchemy, but on the occasions where this fidelity is lost in favor of entirely unrelated disasters that also happen to afflict our heroes at the same time, the movie begins to stretch credulity. By the end of the film, as things went wrong which had nothing to do with the initial debris storm, one begins to stop suspecting bad luck and start suspecting a sadistic writer. I grant that this is a survival movie, and that fresh dangers are required to keep us in suspense, but some of these catastrophes (I won't spoil which) begin to get a bit ridiculous, taken in summation.

There's also a few elements that just don't make sense. Early on in the film, one of the characters is stranded with nothing but their spacesuit, a hundred kilometers from help, with almost no oxygen left in their tanks. A fine conceit for suspense, certainly, but not five minutes ago, this person was working on the Hubble, in an operation that was expected to take another hour. Were they intending on running the air in their suit down to the last possible second just for fun? I don't know NASA's policies, but I would expect there's a bit of a margin of safety built into spacewalk air calculations. Similarly, a sequence wherein one astronaut is dangling from wires attached to a space station while another astronaut dangles from a rope attached to the first, straining against the forces pulling them away, seems to forget that in space, momentum, once checked, is not recovered without another external force acting upon it, and that there is no such force when one is floating weightless in orbit. Given the decisions that some of the characters must make based on these sorts of situations, this would seem to be something of a major oversight.

Final thoughts:   But then, how much does that really matter, so long as the movie is both entertaining and reasonably accurate? After all, a normal person, even an astronaut, in a situation like that would probably die instantly, or at best linger on for a few hours, thus turning the film into exactly the sort of Open Water-esque exercise in futility that I wanted to avoid in the first place. Ultimately, Gravity is a spellbinding film, tense and majestic and incredibly well-crafted, one that simply gives us a pair of excellent actors and a situation for them to be in. And if this year has shown me nothing else, it has revealed just how difficult pulling off something that simple can actually be.

Ten months into this dismal year of film, and we may finally have turned the corner into a stretch of good movies. And if not, well, at least we have this one.

Final Score:  8/10

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Grandmaster

Alternate Title:  Too Cool for School

One sentence synopsis:     Famous Martial Artist Ip Man fights for position and respect in Warlord and WWII-era China.

Things Havoc liked:  For those who've never heard of him, Ip Man was one of the progenitors of modern martial arts teaching, a practitioner of Wing Chun, who brought martial arts into the mainstream through a succession of students who would go on to become famous in their own right (such as Bruce Lee). Active from roughly 1920 to 1960, first in mainland China and later in Hong Kong, Ip Man lived through the warlord period, the Japanese occupation of large portions of China, the civil war and subsequent communist takeover, and all the myriad chaos woven through those difficult years. The Grandmaster is not the first movie to chronicle Ip Man's story (the eponymous Ip Man series is a particular gem for fans of kung fu movies), but it is one of the first to find a major American distributor, and thus here we are.

My knowledge of chinese actors is very limitted, and the only two actors I recognize are, providentially, the two leads, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, and Zhang Ziyi, respectively playing Ip Man himself, and Gong Er, the exceptionally skilled daughter of one of Ip Man's confederate martial arts masters. Leung has been in a hundred films, most of them unseen by me, but insofar as I can compare this performance to others of his at all, this is probably the best I've seen from him. He plays Ip Man not as a brooding badass, nor even as a young, indestructable lion, but as a martial arts master, who, when we meet him first, is at the top of his game, and knows it. His manner is refined and very restrained, with no un-necessary bragging or even needless demonstrations of his "true" power. He can, when necessary, destroy numbers of armed men who confront him in the streets, or defeat the mightiest martial artists in all of China, but failing the absolute need to do so, and to practice his craft, he seems perfectly content to allow others to attain glory and reputation, secure in the knowledge that his own place among the grandmasters is already unshakeable. Most Kung Fu movies are about the invincible protagonist triumphing over a sea of arch-rivals and evil foes. This invincible protagonist doesn't even bother to recognize his foes as worth worrying about. If they confront him, they will be beaten. And if they do not, then his life is unmolested by them.

Probably the only actor that anyone else here in the states will recognize however is Zhang Ziyi, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoires of a Geisha, and The House of Flying Daggers. Though she looks roughly half of Ip Man's age, Zhang does manage to play the foil to him very well, partly because of her undisputed martial arts credentials. Indeed, weirdly enough, Zhang's character of Gong Er is the one who has the more traditional martial arts badass journey through the film, as she swears revenge against her father's finest student, who, following Japan's invasion of China, joins with the puppet government of Manchukuo and seizes control of his former master's training academy after slaying him. Gong Er's obsession with revenge (she forsakes marriage, children, and teaching in favor of vengeance) alongside her stern retainer Ding Lianshan, comprises a good half of the film, culminating in an inventive martial arts battle in a train station. Whether this actually happened or was made up out of whole cloth, I have no idea, but this thread provides the movie with much of its action...

Things Havoc disliked: ... which is really the problem.

I was prepared for many things when I sat down to watch this movie, but one thing I did not expect was to be bored. The reason for this is not the actors, who are uniformly excellent, nor the choreography, which is as high quality as one expects from Chinese martial arts movies, but because the story itself involves nothing happening. Ip Man literally does nothing for most of the film, save for the occasional philosophical discussion or sparring session. So detached that he doesn't even seem to be offended by his enemies, he simply saunters through the movie, leaving nothing whatsoever to look at. Yes, this is probably much more like the real Ip Man than the high-octane kung fu extravaganzas that have borne his name before this, but those movies at least had something in them worth watching. This movie is painfully dull, particularly in the long segments following Ip Man's appointment as grandmaster of the southern chinese martial arts schools, to say nothing of the entire last third of the movie, following the aforementioned battle in the train station, in which nothing happens for interminable periods of time.

And it's not like the movie has nothing to do in those periods either. Ip Man's fall from grace during the 1930s mirrored that of China itself. His daughters died of starvation, his wife was threatened by the Japanese puppet government if he did not join them publicly, he had to flee China for Hong Kong in the face of the Maoists or risk being killed as a symbol of China that was. Yet every one of these events is glanced over as unimportant next to scene number thirty-seven of Ip Man staring longingly out a window while Gong Er reads his letter and contemplates the beauty of snow on the cedar trees. If the film had just left these things out entirely, I could have understood it. Film is a narrative medium, and not every biography has to be scrupulously accurate. But worse than that, it actually references these seminal events in voiceover narration, passing off the deaths of Ip Man's family from starvation as though it were a minor incident of no importance. Worse yet, the movie actually goes on to treat it as such, scarcely giving Ip Man the slightest reaction to the horrific death of his entire family.

Final thoughts:   The above may sound worse than it actually is, but it illustrates the problem with this movie. Refreshing though it is to see a martial arts master who doesn't need to flex and attack every fifteen seconds to prove his manliness, this film goes way too far in the other direction, resulting in a main character who seems barely human in his reaction to the tragedies that shape his life. I appreciate the desire to do something new with a character that has, up till now, mostly been fodder for kung fu extravaganzas of mixed quality, but if the movie can't be bothered to take an interest in its own goings on, then why should we?

Final Score:  4/10

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