In some ways, I am your ideal consumer. I have an attention span that lasts shorter than a sixteen-year-old boy’s first fuck. Thus, I am a fan of crappy, running-gag and or witty dialogue movies (e.g., Billy Madison, Clerks) that require a budget of whatever it costs to supply the 21-year-old writer with Slurpees and porn, and action films that, while costly in production, do not necessitate any sort of annoying creative contributions like, say, plot or character development.
However, ever since The Matrix succeeded in making action films arty, you dumb fucks have decided that the key to success is whomever making fanboy-types jizz in their pants over a new special effect. Of course, rather than actually building a well-developed plot, complex sets, and intriguing characters in which to frame and present said special effect (like The Matrix did, or Terminator 2, for that matter), instead you just take whatever hollow-ass script you have, toss it to the manatees in the FX department, and give them creative license to build a plot around some lame “new” visual effect they’ve created. Fuck the critics: this is how you will make it to the hallowed crown of Sequel Bound! Congratulations!
Death to your progeny,
Since I’ve had the misfortune of being sick, I decided that renting a couple of movies would be enough mindless distraction to distract me from the desire to project my lung out of my mouth. As bed-riddedness isn’t conducive to exercise, I figured I’d go with some nice, violent, aggressive movies that would get my heart rate up. Clive Owen is pretty, so I grabbed Shoot ‘Em Up, and I had heard not-bad things about Wanted, so despite my personal distaste for Angelina Ho-lie I opted for that. It is worth noting that because these were provided for free by the library, I don’t have to weigh my legal options for restitution.
Regarding my love of action movies, let it be known that I am a permissible audience. I can get behind the impeccable aim of my movie’s protagonists, their ability to drop witticisms under duress, and the inevitable and abnormally large explosions that result when a car hits any number of items. I take it for granted that the protagonist’s life-meter, if you will, is at least a dozen times that of his or her enemy’s, that s/he can endure more beatings and bulletholes than the average person. And I expect that, no matter what the pattern of destruction, our primary antagonist will make it to the final climactic scene, which will be drawn out to ridiculous lengths because, despite all other efficient one-bullet deaths, Major Enemy Number One can never be an easy kill.
After sitting through both of these poofests, however, let me make something clear: there is a not-fine difference between a willful suspension of disbelief and the complete dismantling of one’s shit detector.
Shoot ‘Em Up tries and tries and tries to be over the top, and succeeds in being trying. Let’s get past the tired-as-fuck stereotypical dark, mysterious, monomonikered, trench-coat wearing anti-hero and his stripper-call girl-no-prostitute requisite female company, whose boobs have more lines than she does. Really, this movie is a competition between which scene is more unenjoyably ridiculous. Delivering a baby with one hand and making one-shot kills with the other? Shooting dozens of bad guys while running with an unprotected baby in his arms? Picking off baddies while fucking the hooker on the bed, the floor, and against the wall? No, I’m going to have to go with the physics-defying sky-diving scene, where bullets make magical trajectories and falling bodies don’t bother to heed gravity. Do not, under any circumstances, waste lifespace on this, even when rolling on NyQuil and Red Bull.
Wanted lost me at the first scene where Ho-lie’s anorexic arm-like appendage lifted a massive gun. Sorry, but you can’t convince me that bitch could bicep curl a can of Pork ‘n’ Beans, never mind a piece like that. I kept looking for where the plastic darts came out of it. Oooh, the bullets curve? Laaaaame. Throw in an extremely poorly cast James “Get Thee to a Period Piece” McAvoy, Morgan Freeman losing more of my respect playing yet another Omniscient Respected Paternal Type Yet Implied Badass, and a fucking LOOM (!) as the mastermind, and we are DONE. Seriously, the only thing this movie made me want to do was get high on ‘Tussin and try to read secrets in those loop-potholder things I was forced to make as a Girl Scout.
Anyway, I hope I have saved some of you some pain. Fuck all of this, next time I’m renting Die Hard With a Vengeance for the eighth time.