Stunt Granny Movie Review: Brick Mansions

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“Brick Mansions” is a Spike/TNT special. A movie in which if you stumble upon it on a random Sunday afternoon, you’ll stay for the finish. It’s not a good movie. It’s not a well-made movie. It’s a goofy caricature of an action movie. Once you accept that, you’ll realize it’s an enjoyable movie. It’s a Luc Besson film that Liam Neeson and Jason Statham wouldn’t wipe their behinds with. Luckily Paul Walker doesn’t believe on standing on trite movie ceremony – this film is right in his wheelhouse as the likeable, slightly believable action star. He may get flack for being a mediocre actor (I look at him as a man who accepts and embraces his limitations), but compared to the rest of the cast, he might as well be Daniel-Day Lewis. Any film in which RZA is the second best actor by far should tell you the type if film being made. “Brick Mansions”  is a gussied up B movie with a silly plot, parkour, cringe worthy representatives of black people, and in flattering view of Detroit. “Brick Mansions” is basically RoboCop if Donald Sterling directed it and got rid of the robot.

Guess what – I enjoyed it. Within 5 minutes of the film I accepted it for what it was and enjoyed the ride. I accepted that Detroit walled off an entire section of the Detroit projects to reduce crime. I accepted that RZA somehow stole a military transport and was able to attach a neutron dirty bomb to a Russian rocket for ransom. A French parkour expert who never lost his accent despite growing up in Detroit, who defeated armed gunman through brooms and flips? No problem. Paul Walker basically playing the love child of Keanu Reeves and Jackie Chan? I’m all in. Thugs speaking proper stilted English as if it was learned at a French catholic school – damn right. It has no logic besides its own, and follows its own rules. It is a better movie for it. I still remember “Brick Mansions after a week and smile thinking about it…more than I could say for better movies which fall by the wayside. It also reminded me how enjoyable Paul Walker was on film. I would say it’s a shame that his last starring role was this film, but he wouldn’t. So go see it. Definitely turn off the logic and reason and have fun. -Shahid

Stunt Granny Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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G.I.Joe: Retaliation, directed by Jon M. Chu, is a fun, brain dead movie. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily but for everything it does right it does a lot wrong. The movie both suffers and excels from having to alleviate the failings of its predecessor. The first quarter of the movie sets the new tone for the franchise and quickly dispels the ridiculous battle suits and sci-fi elements that made the first movie reprehensible. They still use high-tech weapons but this in a grounded approach. These are soldiers this time around instead of cardboard cutouts with Robocop suits. Immediately the tone is set as a combat movie with over the top circumstances and it works for forty-five minutes. After this initial establishing of tone and house cleaning, the flaws of the film start to show through as the plot progresses.

Chu, whose last feature effort was “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”, yeah that one, steers the movie with a loose hand. He pushes the plot at such a rapid pace that nothing really seems to matter. When a character dies it isn’t dwelled upon at all but we are supposed to believe it carries great weight. Nothing resonates so there is no emotional attachment. The larger actions scenes are chaotic and confusing and it works. The ambush of The Joes in particular is all over the place and it helps tie in to the characters confusion. On the other hand the close combat hand to hand fight scenes are shot too close. Sure the fists and feet are flying but none of the blows carry weight. The use of the bullet time slow-motion technology has really run its course and was used as a crutch to prop up the schizophrenic battle between Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes.

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