Monday, November 19, 2007

New DVD O' The Week.

Based on this early entry in the upcoming wave of "one last jump from the fireball" sequels, I think we can assume that Rambo 4 (Indiana Jones 4 too, if Spielberg can't muster autumnal sweetness) will reveal that life has not been kind for our hero since we last saw him a decade or two ago. The few thrills gained from being dragged one more time into yet another shitstorm will be sadistic and vengeful in nature. Even when the supporting cast honor steadfast determination in the face of true evil, little pride will be confessed, as he's simply resigned to the "job," one only he seems able to do right. I'm guessing this is a very moving concept if you're an aging, popular actor with little chance of getting Oscar love anytime soon. But as far as popcorn Searchers go, this one's pretty enjoyable, shrewdly playing both sides of the fence: mocking the government while defending the country, letting the droll hacker drop conspiracy theories while he learns sometimes it's necessary to kill, getting away with the lead's fondness for the phrase "Asian bitch" by casting Maori Cliff Curtis as no-bullshit FBI Assistant Director Bowman, a character I assumed was Arab-American until imdb revealed his first name was Miguel.

As in Armageddon, Bruce Willis initially irritates his daughter by psychotically defending her virginity, but a climactic act of selflessness earns her love and respect. Justin Long finds the right tone for his character, wry but not distractingly deconstructive, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the strong kind of smoking hot. Maggie Q, even hotter, executes security guard after security guard with such gorgeous serenity that you resent Willis's glee in punishing her. Still, my only genuine disappointment with the film is that Timothy Olyphant's annoyed, glaring villain wasn't given an awful dyejob a la John Lithgow in Cliffhanger or Christopher Walken in A View To A Kill. Olyphant and Q looked so damn good bringing America to its knees that you wanted to see their sex tape more than their downfall (they'd do a great Thomas Crown Affair). Here's my pathetic attempt to fix this mistake:

"You have no idea what my band-aid is capable of, Officer McClane..."

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