It’s standard practice in Hollywood nowadays. Take a great premise, dumb it down to Larry the Cable Guy level and then watch the fun as the moolah pours in. Or does it? Guys you should have realized that this fuckin’ no-brain strategy backfired a long long time ago when John Travolta thought that Battlefield Earth would do to the book what Gone With the Wind achieved. Damn you never learn.
Repo Men starts off with great premise and an impassive but impressive looking Jude Law. He s a man entitled with legal powers to repossess organs that have been give to sick patients when they default on their payments. Now, this does make for great science fiction and the premise does make for a dark, brooding, bloody picturesque entertainment… think Soylent Green. So there you have it great actors (Jude Law, Liev Schreiber, Forest Whitaker – I just tolerate this one) , great arc, action, good body count. Now what could go wrong with all this stuff in there? Lot’s, for one – the screenplay is completely dumbed down. Forest Whitaker is irritating as hell. A unique premise turns into the worst cliche ever.
Things move fast in Repo Men and when they do they make absolutely no sense. This nonsense is extended to the characters emotions and the acting goes from interesting, to bad and finally if It hadn’t been for the remaining movies in my system (Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris starrers) I would have very well thrown the damn laptop into the concrete machine next door where they were getting their house renovated. Repo Men has a defective screenplay and a defective director who would not have been worth directing Universal Soldier 5. Besides being a debut director I think Miguel Sapochnik‘s only other claim to fame was parking studio executives cars without a scratch in the Universal parking lot.
Save Jude Law and to some extent Liev Schreiber, every other character in the movie is unbearable. Cliches break the unique nature of this film and Steven Seagal could definitely have directed a better action film. What the fuck – Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal should have headlined this piece with Chuck Norris in a guest appearance. Seagal and Van Damme as Repo Men – repossessing organs. Love that shit. Woah, why didn’t the studio think this up? If ever there is a reboot of this movie and I am a studio executive, I would sell every damn Universal property to get this cast in. And of course there’s the chick in the flick who has a body full of artificial organs. Some Latino belle. I am gonna replace her with Lucy Lawless. Van Damme, Norris, Seagal, Lawless…. sigh.
I can’t go on with the story without cringing when thinking of that look on Forest Whitaker’s face as he chases his former partner for repossessing his artificial heart… whoops! did I give away too much. After Idi Amin, Whitaker better stick to playing African dictators. His hang-dog face ain’t cutting shit out there in Hollywood.
The ending does have its twist, but the demented middle of the movie screws up every other scene. Watching the one hour forty five minute Repo Men brought out just one tagline – Damn… what a waste.
Tried getting onto WordPress this morning but looks like it was down for some time. First time I am coming across this problem, but there had to be a precedent for this. Googled and voila, there are many instances of maybe the system getting updated or something…
For all its worth technology ain’t god. Thanks wordpress, being down and out for a while does make this communication platform much more appealing. We are in the same league – wordpress and me. The next time a client of mine complains about there being downtime they better get their pawns in place, cause when you are lower down the pecking order you gotta be prepared for the downtime. Don’t blame me . I am not god, neither are you and the more you demand the more will I be in a position to sock the teeth out of you.
Pardon the rambling, perhaps getting ready for the week ahead does get me into a foul mood. What the hell, it’s Sunday morning still. And I am just back from India Coffee House on Church Street and a breakfast of 2 dosas, 1 vada and 1 plate of scrambled eggs on toast (love the stuff fried with a hint of milk), washed down by a cup of coffee tainted with an overdose of chicory… but boy was it good and to top it all stopped by the local coconut vendor for some semi-sweet nut water. Good once again. At cousin Shaun’s place today. Lazing.
I have absolute faith in Guillermo Del Toro‘s abilities as a film director. After all he did resurrect some pretty difficult comic book stars (Hellboy & co.) and completely engaged audiences with Pan’s Labyrinth. And before I forget, yes he is directing one of my all time favourite adventure classics – The Hobbit. When my sister asked me to get a book by Chuck Hogan from Blossom’s, it did take me some time to get through to the book. ‘The Strain‘ was actually listed in Blossoms’ database under Guillermo Del Toro’s name and on checking out the book I realised Del Toro and Chuck Hogan were co-authors here. This should be something. It’s no doubt that I expected the onscreen brilliance of Del Toro to be reflected in the novel. About Chuck Hogan I had not heard much except the fact that he is having one of his books converted into a Ben Affleck movie which does say quite a bit of his skills (I rate Affleck very highly after watching Gone Baby Gone).
The book is sort of a modern retelling of the Dracula story, but the start of this novel really had me hooked. It begins with a legend of a vampire somewhere in Eastern Europe and then moves to present day New York where a plane eerily shuts down completely after landing on the JFK tarmac from Germany. It is creepy and a page turner at this point as security and airport crews try to figure out why no one is making an effort to disembark from the plane. The platform is set for a horror thriller as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tries to ascertain what’s happening here and whether this could be some terrorist biological threat. I love books that start of as scientific challenges and end up with a supernatural twist that break all rules of logic. That’s why X-Files worked and that’s why the show still remains my favourite.
The Strain progresses at a fast pace and every page reflects its share of the action from different points of view. However the central theme of the story revolves around a motley group of New Yorkers who have their own agenda in fighting this strain. I would not like to give away too much, but this I have to say, towards the end, the book did veer into cliched territory at times. But I am not going to take away any credit from the authors. The news is this book is a part of a trilogy and will then be moved to the big screen. The book does read like a vivid big screen portrayal and you can almost imagine the Xbox gaming opportunities in some of the action sequences. Del Toro and Hogan are great storytellers and credit goes to them for rising above the cliches (most of the time) that they could have so easily fallen into while writing this novel. I got a sneaky feeling that whatever cliches were in there, were inserted deliberately as a tribute to the horror genre.
The book plays like a roller-coaster ride into a nightmare thats very real and present. I rate a book by the speed with which I complete it (high marks for a quick completion) and I did finish ‘The Strain’ pretty quickly so it does rate highly on my review radar. The next book in the trilogy is called ‘The Fall‘ and ‘The Strain’ does lay the groundwork for an interesting sequel. Horror fans, Del Toro and Hogan do not disappoint. For the others, its still a great read.