Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Envelope Round-Up: January 9-11, 2009

Sukiyaki Western Django (2008) (**1/2).  This is director Takeshi Miike's (Audition) take on the spaghetti western genre, and though it has buckets of blood and a hammy cameo from Quentin Tarentino, the story (about feuding clans and a couple caught in the middle a la Romeo and Juliet) never really amounts to much and none of the actors make an impression.  The big sell here is the comic violence, and though it's somewhat amusing in spurts, it quickly grows numbingly repetitive by the end.  

Never Back Down  (2008) (**).  A movie aimed at ninth graders and seemingly directed by one.  Never Back Down is a limp non-remake of The Karate Kid, only this time jacked-up high schoolers beat the crap out of each other using the far more brutal Mixed Martial Arts.  The acting is amateurish, the drama (loaded with all kinds of daddy issues) is laughable, and Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou is wasted in the Mr. Miyagi role.  The fights, the lone reason this movie even exists, lose all sense of choreography thanks to the frantic, Red Bull-addicted editing.



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