Posts Tagged ‘jason statham

05
Dec
08

Movies on DVD Review: The Bank Job

bank_job

 

 

Bank heist movie, Seventies style.

 

Starring Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, and Richard Lintern. Directed by Roger Donaldson

 

Terry Leather (Statham) owns a small car dealership/ garage in London. Constantly harassed by thugs he owes money to, opportunity knocks in the form of Martine Love (Burrows). Love lets him in on a foolproof score: the Lloyds Bank on Baker Street. Terry rounds up his friends Dave (Mays) and Martine’s former lover Kevin (Moore) to help him plan it out, along with “proper” Englishman Guy Singer (Faulkner) and on lookout with a walkie-talkie, Eddie (Michael Jobson). What Terry doesn’t know is that the bank job is a setup being orchestrated by Tim Everett (Lintern), a member of MI5 (which is akin to CIA covert operatives) which doesn’t want to be connected to the crime. MI5 want to get a series of photographs being held in a safe deposit box at the Lloyds Bank by Michael X, the British version of Malcolm X. When a ham radio operator listens in on the walkie-talkie conversations and alerts police, events take a turn. When Terry realizes the objective of the caper (the photos of a Princess in a ménage a trios) wasn’t just money or jewels, everyone is at risk. The heat is turned up when a porn producer’s “real” ledger is being held by the group, unbeknownst to them. Terry must try to keep the group together and keep from being killed by the porn producer’s thugs, the cops, MI5, and the guys he owes money to.

 

Honestly, I didn’t think I would like this movie as much as I did. For the more “Americanized” movie watcher, it’ll take a bit to get into London circa 1971. My only experience with British gangster movies is “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” and “Get Carter” and this is an interesting addition to the genre. Playing more as a drama than action/adventure, the film is a little slow on the setup of the principal characters. However, once the job is pulled off everything shifts into high gear and you’ll want to stay to the end to find out how it all works out.

 

With it being “based on a true story,” is it all true? The movie does a great job at suspending disbelief. In reality, the bank job was a success. A group of people did rent out a shop and tunneled under it to break into the lockbox area of a bank .A ham radio operator did intercept and record the calls, notifying the police. While four people were supposedly sentenced to twelve years none of the money was ever recovered, the “take” being valued at over $5 million. The rest is speculation. Were the newspapers given a D-note, telling them not to talk about the robbery for the purposes of National Security? Was MI5 really afraid of Michael X and the pictures he had? Couldn’t they have just went into the bank and retrieved them? One of the biggest mysteries is that Michael X’s “file” is closed until 2054; most criminals’ records stay closed for 25 years, spies for 100. Guess we won’t know until then.

 

Overall, a good British caper movie.

 

My grade: a recommended B

Advertisements
01
Sep
08

Movies on DVD Review: Revolver

 

 

 

Guy Ritchie at his best doing his worst.

 

Stars Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, and Andre Benjamin. Directed by Guy Ritchie.

 

Okay, let me explain.

 

I had somewhat high-hopes for this movie. Ritchie is famous (or infamous) for two of the best gangster films of the last twenty years: “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” and “Snatch.” Most of us film geeks/nerds/buffs write-off “Swept Away” because… well, Madonna had a lot to do with it. Anyways, Ritchie climbed back onto the genre saddle and delivered… “Revolver.”

 

“Revolver” tells the story of Jake (Statham), a man released from prison after choosing 7 years of solitary confinement versus 14 regular. He has a cache of money but what he really wants to do is payback the guy he did the job for, Macha (Liotta). After he cleans up in a card game against Macha he leaves, with Macha sending his men to assassinate Jake. Problems occur when Jake is mysteriously saved by Avi (Benjamin) and Zach (Pastore), two loan sharks that ensnare Jake to use his money to loan out to other people.

 

What begins as a gangster drama with supernatural/ mysterious undertones quickly unravels to a point where, as the end approaches, you have the feeling the movie should have stopped earlier. I am a big fan of cerebral movies however this takes the image of trying to be cerebral without going the complete distance.

 

Let me pause for a moment and tell you that this is not a horrible movie. In fact, if you’re a die-hard fan of Guy Ritchie and/or an upcoming film-person, I suggest giving it a rental. Why? Because Ritchie uses anything and everything that inspires him when he makes a film, trying to compliment style with substance. There are a few moments when the picture does erratic shifting editing. One scene has Liotta in a living room-sized tanning bed, completely blue. Another scene has an Asian gangster sitting under dark room lighting with his naked girlfriend, who is keeping a beer strategically placed. Finally, one of my favorites involves a TV set showing anime of the scene that’s taking place.

 

Overall, it was okay. As a film person, worth watching once. Would I recommend it to non-film people? Not really.

 

My grade: C

30
Jul
08

Remake Radar: Death Race

 

 

 

Welcome to the July edition of Remake Radar, where we tackle Hollywood’s penchant for remaking previous films (for better or worse). Ripping down the highway of recent “remakes” is none other than “Death Race 2000.”

 

“Death Race 2000” (1975)

 

Stars: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone

 

Director: Roger Corman

 

Story: It’s the future and David Carradine is Frankenstein, a government racer in a three-part transcontinental auto race where you earn points by killing people and surviving against the other drivers. Frankenstein has been continuously rebuilt and is as much machine as man. He is the government’s champion.

Second stringer is “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo (Stallone) plans on taking Frankenstein out of the picture; he’s tired of always coming in as #2. Added to that is Annie (Simone Griffeth) who is against the government and slips into being Frankenstein’s co-driver.

 

What do we know now? It’s coming out in August! Although Roger Corman was against it, the makers of the film showed him designs and clips from the film, and now he’s apparently on board (in a manner of speaking). Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Event Horizon”) it’s due for release on August 22. 2008 and will be called “Death Race.” Purportedly this film is a “prequel” to “DR2000.”

 

Cast

 

Jason Statham              Frankenstein

Tyrese Gibson              Machine-Gun Joe

Joan Allen

Ian McShane                Coach