Futuristic technology that can predict crimes before they happen is no new inspiration for film. Demolition Man did it, sort of. Freezing criminals, travelling back and forth in time to arrest them and slap them in a cryo tank to keep them rested, Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction piece from the turn of the new century certainly has smatterings of that Sylvester Stallone-led feature. Thankfully Minority Report manages to slice out the 1990s influence and the heavy new wave of bright colours and wildcard populism that oozed its way through the Wesley Snipes performance of old. Tom Cruise wouldn’t stand for that, the no-nonsense leading man at the heart of Minority Report is a good example of how dated science fiction can act and feel quite homely.
Big burly action is what Pain & Gain offers with its successful call-backs to the glory days of big-budget action entertainment. A dying breed this sort of film may be, it does not stop Michael Bay from turning in another expectedly explosive bit of work. The American Dream, in one way or another, will chew up and spit out whoever it can. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) was one such man. His belief in fitness as the future of the country and as part of his own personal American Dream is a fascinating self-made rise and fall. Daniel Lugo is of the Jordan Belfort category in the sense that he is a self-made man that will stop at nothing to fulfil his goal as a freewheeling, charismatic businessman.
Asteroids are always threatening Earth. Just today, there were two that skittered on by like bowling balls rolling along the gutter. There’ll be five more in just as many days over the first week of May. We have nothing to worry about. Armageddon thinks not. Instilling within its audience is a fear founded by the dinosaurs. It happened to them; it will happen to us. Michael Bay tends not to disappoint when blockbuster blowouts are concerned. As he opens with the immediate destruction of Earth, narration rolling on saying “…it will happen again, it’s just a question of when,” you get the feeling this is not just a threat from the sentient powers beyond the stars, but from Bay too.
Straight and narrow roads coated with snow, the scenes depicted by Joel Coen in Fargo present an opportunity to admire the white coat of icy grimness, and the buried deceit hiding underneath. No person is sacred. They each battle their demons either privately and conspicuously or with public bravado and an uncaring glance at those around them. A tangled web presents itself almost immediately, as a collection of characters find themselves in over their heads in a series of events that destroy any sense or semblance of clarity. Fargo adapts this well, this collation of horrible moments and slimy characters comes to life, a spark is thrown into the torrential horrors of ignitable crimes and condescending, self-interested demons.
When Governor of California and former Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would be back (pardon the pun) in an acting capacity, I can only imagine a resultant split between audiences. On one side, the Schwarzenegger action fans, those that remember his glory days in Commando, Predator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Big budget action fans, explosions galore, encasing themselves in a cocoon of catchphrases from a pillar of the action film glory days. There is of course the dark underside though, those that realised The Last Stand would not be able to affectionately cling to those days gone by, and would find themselves facing off against the likes of Killing Gunther and this, the Kim Jee-woon directed action flick.