This year, the Action continues to roll onto screens (though current Box Office receipts will dictate something different for 2014) as the weather chills with Films like Gangster Squad, The Last Stand, Broken City and next week's Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. I think I'll definitely pass on that last one. I really don't need to see the Grimm Brothers' classic tale find the titular duo be turned into bounty hunters. I did sit through enough of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to put me off of those kinds of Movies, like forever.
The Last Stand - Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to where he belongs: Headlining Action Films, and The Last Stand turns out to be pure Action trash goodness. It's plenty silly, but it's directed with expert skill by Jee-Woon Kim (I Saw The Devil, The Good The Bad And The Weird & A Tale Of Two Sisters). Kim's camera is masterful, and he makes the most out of what could have been routine Action. This Movie is a lot like the souped up Corvette ZR-1 prominently featured in the Film: It's fast, it's loud and it's a lot of fun. Though you may find yourself questioning why exactly is Schwarzenegger's character so seemingly asexual? At least I did. But I'm weird like that.
Oh, and, good news: Johnny Knoxville is NOT the co-star of the Movie, unlike some advertising and trailers suggest. He's part of Arnold's gang of misfit deputies, and thankfully isn't allowed to upstage the Terminator with endless stabs at crude comedy. The Movie has a good balance of laughs, action and even some suspense. A crime that it didn't fare so well at the box office. I'll be happy to see it again once it hits DVD/Blu-ray.
Gangster Squad - Stylish, super violent and as dumb as a brick. Don't go in expecting a classic 30's or 40's Warner Brothers Gangster Picture, The Untouchables or even L.A. Confidential (You know, all the Movies Gangster Squad cribs from, but never quite reaches) and you'll be entertained or diverted enough.
Props to Sean Penn for his take on Mickey Cohen. I know some critics liken him to a villain in a Dick Tracy Movie, but I thought he was convincing, especially due to a very stock and limiting script. Josh Brolin's no-nonsense tough cop also occasionally rises above the material as well. I have a feeling multiple viewings won't be as kind to this one. For now: Grade: B-
Arnold, blowing shit up.