Saturday, 19 May 2018

IN THEATRES: Deadpool 2

Unable to come up with a satisfying emotional arc for Deadpool's second movie, screenwriters Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese and Ryan Reynolds kill his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Suicidal and looking for purpose, DP joins the budget version of the X-Men on a mission to stop the boy from Hunt For The Wilderpeople (Julian Dennison) who is trying to burn down his school.

In an attempt to help out, Deadpool deploys his usual bag of homicidal tricks. Said bag gets him and Russell sent to the mutant prison known as the Icebox. From there DP has to contend with Cable (Josh Brolin), a man from the future who is out to kill Russell before he grows up to kill Cable's family and Cable turns into Thanos.

To save Russell, DP enlists a team of super-powered folks (including Terry Crews, Pennywise the Clown, that Irish Boxer from Snatch and Van from Atlanta) and Peter (Rob Delaney), the best guy alive.    

Will they be able to stop Cable, and save Russell before he turns into Carrie White?


I was a little dubious going into this movie. You get this with any sequel - will we get a carbon copy of the first movie, or a complete break that tries something different?

The movie is not a massive leap above the first movie, but it's no disaster. The big problem is that it is overstuffed - with characters, subplots and jokes that don't hit. Deadpool 2 is best viewed as a buffet - there is plenty of good on offer, not all of it good, but you can cobble together a filling meal from it.

The main through-line of Deadpool dealing with Vanessa's death feels like a tired trope to give Deadpool a 'journey' (she gets fridged about a minute after they decide to start a family). It is so dark yet feels cosmetic when sandwiched together with the introduction of Cable, the birth of X-Force and all the returning players from DP1. Wade's relationship with troubled mutant Russell gets short shrift - their bond is established and broken so quickly that the final resolution does not carry the catharsis the filmmakers probably intended.

The plot is so dark that there is a certain disjunction with the film's humour, which is so meta that the movie's attempts at real emotional weight don't really work.


This movie made me wonder if Deadpool makes sense as the protagonist of a movie - does he really need to have an emotional arc? Does he need to grow?

The best parts of the movie are where Deadpool has to bounce off other characters dealing with big emotional burdens - Colossus's earnest belief in being a superhero; Cable's single-minded desire for vengeance. I am interested to see where they take the character in future sequels. If they continue down the road of finding some area of personal growth for Wade, will he just end up like Jack Sparrow?

Johnny Depp's character was the highlight of the first Pirates of the Caribbean because he was not encumbered by having to anchor the movie - he could float about doing whatever he liked. In the sequels, the filmmakers tried to turn him into a hero and whatever was interesting about the character was neutered.

A big reason why these problems don't bother me as much as they probably could is Ryan Reynolds' performance: Reynolds is underrated as a comic and dramatic actor, and Deadpool gave him the perfect vehicle to show his range. The same is true of the sequel - he does so much heavy lifting that he makes the emotional stuff work, while being able to make the transitions to DP's pithy asides seamless. He has a lock on the contradiction between the character's fourth wall-breaking humour and his earnest sense of loss that I never felt whiplash.


As the ostensible co-lead, Josh Brolin is a terrific straight man. The character comes off a little one-note at first, but that is the point. He is like the proverbial bull in the china shop, and most of the film's best moments come from watching the established characters try to get out of his way.

Brolin is a great minimalist, which works for the character's pain, and his gradual softening as the story progresses. I am really hoping that the next movie ends up being some kind of buddy comedy between him and Deadpool. It would probably result in the kind of sweet and sour dynamic that would work for both characters.

For a movie that delights in turning things on their head, it's a pity the marketing department could not  have done a switcheroo with these standee posters so Beetz was not doing this pose.

Zazie Beetz - so good in Atlanta, and the saviour of the cinematic black hole known as Geostorm - is great here. She does not get a lot of to do here character-wise, but she gets so many great comic moments that she comes close to stealing the movie away from its ostensible leads.

My bigger qualm was with the director - David Leitch's last solo directorial effort was Atomic Blonde, which I was not too keen on. Considering the tone established in the first Deadpool, I wondered if he would be able to juggle the violence and comedy as well as Tim Miller. All in all, I think he did a pretty good job.

As far as the rest of the cast goes, they are all really good - although most of them end up just being set-ups and/or punchlines to jokes. The X-Force assembled here is a collection of sight gags - their horrific fates are one of the highlights of the movie, although I would have liked to see Terry Crews get more to do.

As the movie's unorthodox villain, Julian Dennison is fine. His character is set up as a key part of Deadpool's arc, but he gets a bit lost in the deluge of gags and other characters. Speaking of jokes that did not work, the jokes about Russell's size just feel mean-spirited, and make Wade's talk of 'caring' about the kid feel superficial.

Standee unavailable. For shame 
The other standout for me - like a lot of people, I'm sure - is Rob Delaney as Peter, a regular joe who signs up to X-Force because it sounds exciting. Sure, the character is just a gag, but it is such a good gag I am completely onboard with Peter returning as a Rosencrantz and/or Guildenstern character. The one bummer to his character is that it marginalises the already-established Dopinder (Karan Soni), who is already the regular joe in Deadpool's world. 

It feels weird to call a movie 'cocky', but there are parts of this movie where it feels like it is in cruise control. The final scenes, in which Deadpool goes back in time to correct the past (including shooting Ryan Reynolds as he reads the script to Green Lantern), are funny if you know the references, but I'm not sure if anyone else is going to get them - also, didn't this get covered in the first movie?

While it is a lot of fun I hope the next Deadpool slims down a bit, and does not get caught up trying to give him an emotional arc. Too many franchises feel the need to give their lead character emotional stakes, but it doesn't work because the next instalment will probably re-set the characters to their established persona (e.g. most Marvel movies). It would be fresh to just allow Deadpool to be Deadpool, without having to do all the heavy-lifting.

Related

Deadpool 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

NOIR WATCH 2018: Night and the City (Jules Dassin, 1950)

Directed by Jules Dassin with the heat of the Blacklist on his neck, Night and the City tells the story of Harry Fabian, an American grifter living on the edge of London's seedy underbelly. Harry is always on the lookout for the easy buck, but his latest scam might also sow the seeds of his downfall: after he gains the confidence of a former wrestling star, Harry thinks he has found the key to controlling the city's wrestling scene. However, his plans are based on stolen money, multiple double crosses, and a promise from a business partner who believes Harry is cuckolding him. With so many variables, it is only a matter of time before Harry's luck runs out...


My local art house theatre is running a festival of film noir and noir-adjacent movies from around the world. Though I am a fan of the genre, there were quite a few movies on the schedule I have not seen. These movies are best seen on the big screen, so I have held back on watching a lot of these movies until opportunities like this (see my Joseph H. Lewis reviews from last year as examples).

For me the essence of noir is a central character who is caught up in a series of events that they cannot break out of. Harry Fabian's trajectory is a sterling example of this theme. From the start of the movie (he is introduced running from creditors), Harry is constantly working angles to keep himself above water. Harry is basically a home fatal who preys on anyone who gets in his way. He figures out what their weakness is and turning that to his advantage.

In the lead role, Richard Widmark is great. A few years from his breakout as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, he gives Harry a similar level of nervy energy. His character comes off as cocksure and reckless - a consummate performer who is totally comfortable when playing people for his own ends. Though he displays a fleeting self-awareness, he is addicted to his delusions of wealth and power. Every time he catches a whiff of an opportunity, he jumps without thinking - a testament to his arrogance, it is the quality which ultimately leads to his downfall.


Admirably, this movie does not resolve with a happy ending - Harry's luck runs out, he loses the one person who loves him, and he dies.
In fact, nobody leaves this movie in the black - Kristo (Herbert Lom) keeps his empire but loses his father; Phil Nosseross (Francis L. Sullivan) loses his wife and shoots himself; his wife Helen (Googie Withers) tries to make it on her own and discovers she has been betrayed. The movie's overall message is extremely nihilistic: no matter what you want - you will not get it.

In this respect it is easy to see this movie as an allegory for what was happening off-screen: director Jules Dassin was a victim of the House Un-American Activities Committee for his supposed communist sympathies, and was blacklisted from Hollywood while he was shooting the film in England.

Max Greene's photography of London locations is terrific - you really get a sense of the post-war cityscape, a scrap heap fought over by scavengers. The movie is filled with great visuals: Nosseross's darkened office, shot from low angles as the owner gloats over his domain; the way light plays across Richard Widmark's sweaty face as he hears the footsteps of his pursuers approaching. It is incredibly claustrophobic and oppressive, reinforcing the sense that the city is suffocating everyone living in it.


All the characters are defined by their inability to escape: with Harry, it is his own nature; with Helen, it is her economic dependence on other people; her husband cannot live without Helen, despite her open disdain. The one character who manages to break free is Harry's on-off girlfriend Mary, played by Gene Tierney. And that is because she gives up the thing (Fabian) that she desires. 


Of the supporting cast, the standout is Googie Withers. Beneath her tough veneer, Helen is just like Harry. She wants her own piece of the pie. Unlike Harry, she does not have alternatives (i.e. his relationship with Mary). While we do not get a lot of backstory, the implication is that she used to be a hostess who struck a rich man's fancy. Her motivation is financial independence for survival. Harry  has opportunities (both past and present) to have a better life - Helen never does.

Filled with great sequences, and an incredibly bleak tone, Night and the City is a great noir based around a turbo-charged lead performance and the unique atmosphere of its main location.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

IN THEATRES: Unsane

Recovering from recent trauma, Sawyer (Claire Foy) has moved to a new town and started a new job. Despite her new surroundings, Sawyer is struggling to move on and seeks treatment at a local facility.

Everything is going fine - until she is prevented from leaving...


Man, you have to love Steven Soderbergh. No modern mainstream filmmaker has displayed such a consistent hunger to try new things. He may not have cracked the box office in a while, but Soderbergh is so eclectic and self-aware that only a fool would count him out.

Following the interactive project Mosaic and the redneck heist comedy Logan Lucky, Soderbergh is back with the shot-on-an-iPhone horror movie Unsane, starring Claire Foy and Jay Pharaoh.

By the way, there will be spoilers in this review so stop reading now.


A down-and-dirty companion to his 2013 thriller Side Effects, Unsane is a gloriously unpretentious potboiler - boosted by Soderbergh's aversion to obvious genre tropes and use of editorial ellipses, which turn a silly premise into an escalating nightmare as Sawyer - and the audience - begin to question her sanity.

The unusual camera (which has been augmented by rigs and lenses, give the movie a claustrophobia and intimacy that works as Sawyer's world gets smaller and smaller. 

While the camera is an interesting bit of trivia, for me the most interesting aspect of the film was Foy's character. Unlike most thrillers, Sawyer is never shown to be obviously likeable. By that, I don't mean unsympathetic - it's that Sawyer is not out to sugar-coat things and is not given to overt displays of empathy. A rarity for a female protagonist in a (semi) mainstream movie, Sawyer is smart, blunt, and can spot bullshit a mile away. While her accent wanders all over the place, Foy is really good.


Sawyer is also dealing with trauma, and is choosing to tackle it head-on (until she heads into the facility). It makes a neat change of pace from the usual character set-up of most genre movies which try to give their central characters a 'save the cat' moment to bring the audience onboard. 
Foy's performance (spiky and withdrawn) also works as a neat misdirect for the film's big twist. It becomes very easy to start believing that she is an unreliable narrator who really does need treatment.

As far as the supporting  cast go, Jay Pharaoh of SNL is great as a fellow patient who shows Sawyer the ropes. While it is great to see Amy Irving in something, there is something a little odd about her performance. Maybe it was a choice, but there is something stilted about there delivery that made me think she was in on the plot.

The movie is really a triumph for Soderbergh's aesthetic choices. In the past he has spoken of how his natural approach works to inhibit melodrama and easy emotional responses, and it gives his more genre-specific films a pleasing unpredictability - with Unsane, he knows the aesthetic of this type of thriller (fisheye lens, super-impositions, extreme low angle close-ups and disjunctive edits), and deploys it with economy. Even an average viewer develops a subconscious understanding of cinematic vocabulary, and to its credit, Unsane is always working against visual and aural choices that a viewer can use to start putting the story together. 

It might be a little too cool for a lot of people (my theatre was almost empty) but if you are in the mood for it, Unsane is worth a look.

Related

Logan Lucky & The Informant!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

AFS Screening: Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

While spending time with his nephew Gerard, M. Hulot (Tati) finds himself at odds with the ultra-modern home of his in-laws.

The story of a simple man in world moving too fast for his liking, Mon Oncle is the second film to feature Jacques Tati's character M Hulot (played by Tati himself). It is also the first Tati movie I have seen. And after watching this, I'm keen to check out more of his movies.

This movie took a little while to get used to - because the movie's basically based on physical gags I was expecting grander set pieces - but once you get on its wavelength it is a joy.

There is not much in the way of plot or character - on top of being a comic picture in the mould of a silent comedian like Chaplin or Keaton, Mon Oncle is also an instalment in a series, based around an iconic archetype: M Hulot.

Hulot is no acrobat, but physicality is key to the role. He is not even that clumsy - there is an understatement to Tati's performance that was a breath of fresh air to a layman familiar with the more extroverted hijinks of other physical comics (Keaton, Carrey, Lewis). Hulot is a simple soul who has an affinity with children and dogs and is justifiably confounded by the futuristic technology that his in-laws, the Arpels (Jean-Pierre Zola and Adrienne Servantie) insist on using.

I felt there were some thematic similarities with the work of Frank Tashlin, who is famous for his satirical views of fifties consumerism, but I frankly laughed harder at this movie. The key difference is that Tati's style is mostly physical and not tied to specific contemporary references (Tati is also less inclined to mug like Tashlin's frequent leading man Jerry Lewis).

While it is funny, the subtext if this movie is terrifying - Hulot is an outsider in a mechanised where every human (inter)action has been reduced to empty ritual. Hulot's brother-in-law works for a company that makes plastic. In one scene, a company man brags about their plastic homes (including lawns).

The Arpel's house is a cubist nightmare of metallic grey and harsh angles. For a family home, it looks like a child's play-set or a mockup for an atom bomb test. The lack of music during these scenes plays a big role in evoking the sterility of this environment. All diegetic sound has been done in post-production, making it feel stark and distended from the image - footsteps and giggles echo unnaturally, making this place feel like a tomb.


By contrast, M. Hulot's home in the outside world is more earthy and lived-in - there are people everywhere, rubbish clutters the streets and there are few vehicles. The colour palette is also the inverse of the Arpels' home: worn browns, yellows and greens. Unlike the cold, sterile future-house, Hulot's space is bustling and chaotic, a mess that no one can be bothered to clean up. Life seems to carry on regardless (by contrast, when something goes wrong at the in-laws' house, everything grinds to a halt). 

Despite the film's favour for this environment, Tati makes plain it is not impervious to change: everywhere, there are signs of that this world is under threat - in the background, old buildings are being destroyed to make way for the new, clean empty future.  

The film's best gags are based around the cash between old and new - change is inevitable, but Tati has great fun ridiculing the Arpels' self-satisfied belief in the efficiency of modern technology. Rather than catalysts of order, this tech - the Arpels' new car; the garden fountain; the garage door - are agents of chaos that do not work for the people they are designed for. They are needless complications, making the simplest tasks more arduous.

In contrast to the Arpels, the film's genius lies in its simplicity: my personal favourite set piece was the protracted standoff between M Arpel's car and an old man trying to cross the street. Captured in an overhead wide shot, the scene goes on for a few minutes, and just gets funnier and funnier as it goes along.

I could go on, but there is something kind of horrifying about dissecting why something is funny. Mon Oncle is a really funny movie that you should check out. I'm kicking myself that it took this long for me to see it.

Previous AFS reviews

Purple Noon (2015)

The Servant 

Eyes Without A Face 

Night of the Demon (2016)

Grand Central

Tales of Hoffman


Fatima

The Last Command & Ministry of Fear

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (2018)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

IN THEATRES: The Breaker Upperers

Mel (Madeleine Sami) and Jen (Jackie Van Beek) run a business providing 'break-up' services for people who are too scared to do it themselves.

When Mel gets too close to some of their recent clients - including James Rolleston's Jordan - her crisis of conscience threatens to destroy their business and friendship.


Written, directed by and starring Madeline Sami and Jackie Van Beek, The Breaker Upperers is a new comedy from the producers of Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (as you can see on the poster). I think a lot of people are going to go into this movie thinking it will be a similar experience to those movies - off beat humour underpinned by a bitter-sweet foundation of emotional truth.

While it makes a good fist of balancing the laughs with the relationship between our anti-heroines, this movie is at its best with offhand inanities (the Rainbows End line had me crying) and gobsmacked bystanders (if there was an award for 'mass stupefaction', the extras in the rugby club would win).


As the leads, Madeleine Sami and Jackie Van Beek are great. They have been doing great work in supporting roles for so long, it's about time they had their own vehicle. Together, they have a sweet-and-sour dynamic that carries the movie through some of its lulls.

Sami gives Mel a goofy warmth and a sense of child-like fun that softens the cynicism of what the pair are doing. You feel like she really enjoys the play of their masquerades, while Van Beek is more interested in their ruses as a means to an end.


James Rolleston is pretty funny as Mel's dim bulb love interest, Jordan. Maybe it is just the nature of the role, but I was a little bummed out that Rolleston didn't get more to do. Ana Scotney is also a lot of fun as Sepa, Jordan's firebrand ex.

The real standout was Rima Te Wiata as Jen's mother. After great supporting roles in Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, someone needs to give her a movie to headline. She appears for minutes here, and steals every scene she's in.

My one problem with the movie was that it wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. It is consistently amusing, but some of the big set pieces didn't quite hit for me. The highlight is a sequence in which our anti-heroes have to take their police impersonation into a police station. The problem is that this scene takes place about midway through the movie and no sequence really hits that high again.

Overall, The Breaker Upperers is a solid comedy that should act as a calling card for Sami and Van Beek to get more and bigger opportunities.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Other April viewing

Here's a run-through of other stuff I consumed this month.

First Match (Olivia Newman, 2018)
In an attempt to get her father's attention, a young woman joins her high school wrestling team.

Though it follows a familiar trajectory, First Match benefits from committed performances from lead actress Elvira Emanuelle and a solid script that gives all the characters clear, understandable motivations. A great showcase for its writer-director and cast.

Scandal (Michael Caton-Jones, 1989)
A dramatisation of the 1963 Profumo Affair which almost brought down the British Government, focusing on the woman at its centre, Christine Keeler (Joanne Walley) and her friend Stephen Ward (John Hurt).

The end of an era, viewed from the POV of one of its romanticists, Scandal is a fine drama featuring a great performance from John Hurt as the doomed Ward, who ended up as the scapegoat for the the titular scandal.

The theme song by Dusty Springfield is a belter.

Night Owls (Charles Hood, 2015)
A one-night stand turns complicated when Kevin (Adam Pally) discovers a) his paramour Madeline (Rosa Salazar) trying to kill herself and b) that the home they just did the dirty deed in belongs to his boss...

Set in one location for the entire runtime, Night Owls is a solid character piece, featuring compelling performances from Pally and Salazar.  

Atlanta (S1, 2016)
The story of Earn (Donald Glover), as he tries to manage his relationship with his kinda-ex Vanessa (Zazie Beets) and the career of his cousin, upcoming(?) rapper Alfred/Paper Boi (Bryan Tyree Henry). 

I was so happy when this popped up on Netflix, and totally worth the hype. Glover is great, but Beetz is the real standout as the grounded Van. The Juneteenth episode is excruciating and the TV debate about Paperboi's use of transphobic slurs is hilariously on-point 

Nailed It (Netflix, 2018)
Every episode, a group of amateur bakers attempt to re-create the most ambitious and eye-popping cakes. 

Cakes. Nicole Byer. An Italian cop named Sal. Nailed It is the cooking show for people who don't like cooking shows.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (Jim Gillespie, 1997)
A year after accidentally killing a man, a group of teens are stalked by a mysterious figure in a rain slicker.

Well, that was a movie I watched. While not terrible, there is something so lifeless about this  late 90s slasher. In its favour, Ryan Philippe is good as the douche-y ex-football prospect and it features one great stalking sequence in a closed store. Other than that, a little blah.

If Looks Could Kill (William Dear, 1991)
High schooler Michael Corben (Richard Grieco) finds himself mistaken for a secret agent and forced to go on a mission to save Europe from a fascistic mad man intent on... continental domination.

This is one of those movies that I remember vividly from  childhood - Linda Hunt and her extendable collar; the interchangeable bus drivers; the beautiful femme fatale who gets blown up. All those things are great, but not much else is.

The World Is Not Enough (Michael Apted, 1999)

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (Alex Gibney, 2010)

Directed by Alex Gibney, this doc chronicles the series of events leading up to the fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, and the hypocrisy of the men who brought him down. Worth watching for a supporting performance from future Trump booster Roger Stone. 

    BITE-SIZED REVIEW: Command Performance (Dolph Lundgren, 2009)

    Joe (Lundgren) is the veteran drummer of a heavy metal band. Booking a slot as the opening act for pop starlet Venus (Melissa Molinaro) at a Moscow concert attended by the Russian president, it looks like the band is about to finally hit the big time.

    Sadly the festivities are interrupted by a group of rogue dissidents thirsting for vengeance against the president for actions he committed during the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    It falls to Joe to save the audience and the president before it is too late...


    Die Hard is my favourite action movie. There is something about action in a confined space that gets my juices flowing. When I heard the longline for Dolph Lundgren's Command Performance - heavy metal drummer saves the Russian president from terrorists at a concert - nine years ago, it sounded right up my alley. I finally found a copy floating around and watched it.

    I haven't seen that many Dolph joints, but then ones I have seenI really enjoyed - I Come In Peace is a fun mashup of buddy-cop movie and science fiction, with Dolph as a cop going after an alien drug dealer; Men of War is a solid men-on-a-mission riff about a group of mercenaries who turn on their corporate employers to protect an island tribe who refuse to give up their mining rights (the script was co-written by John Sayles).

    This is a long way of saying my expectations might have been too high going into this movie.


    DTV releases like this do require a different set of expectations in terms of aesthetics. You cannot expect the same production values as a theatre release, but DTV action subgenera does have its compensations: more violence, fewer special effects and pretty short runtimes. If you are a fan of old-school action movies, or just fancy a palette cleanser from the excesses of modern blockbusters, these movies are great (and if you take the time, you can find talented filmmakers like Isaac Florentine, director of the Undisputed sequels and Ninja franchise, who has made a name for himself as a talented genre filmmaker).

    The biggest problem is the direction. The movie was released during the height of the 'shaky-cam' craze, and it really shows here. The camera whips around so much, and features so many unnecessary cuts to different angles that it is hard to follow what is going on, even during dialogue scenes.


    The big problem I had with Command Performance was that it did not lean on the more ridiculous aspects of its story - drumsticks as murder weapons; the shallow headliner Venus (Melissa Molinaro) who has the hots for our over-aged hero; the hero's baffling, half-remembered backstory involving a dead brother and Colombian cartels (or something like that). With these elements, there is a version of the movie that brings them together in a more satisfying way.

    The movie's biggest sin is that it is boring - once the terrorists take over the concert venue, the movie just slows to a standstill with all the principal characters scattered. In any other Die Hard-style movie, either characters would band together to - if they were captives - try to outwit the villain to save the other hostages until the protagonist can get to them.


    Watching the trailer, there was so much focus on the 'relationship' between Joe and Venus that I was expecting something like Under Siege (Navy Seal + Playboy playmate(?!?) taking on terrorists), with Lundgren and Molinaro teaming up to take down the terrorists with their murderous musical talents.

    The movie even sets her up for a fall as a spoilt pop star - sadly the vehicle from bringing her down is having her watch her brother take a million bullets to the face and chest. Molinaro does a good job of conveying Venus's utter despair and blind rage in this moment, but it sets the tone for the rest of the movie. You can't really have an escapist action movie and have characters deal with serious trauma like this. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    In the fun version of this scenario, Venus's brother would be wounded, and Venus would spend the movie trying to save him. On the way she would learn to grow up by killing 10-15 terrorists (as you do).

    Nope. Instead we get people wandering around not killing people, or planning to kill people, and a couple of unnecessary subplots involving traitors within the terrorists' ranks (great way to undermine you bad guy, movie!).

    And we only get one scene of Dolph Lundgren imapaling a bad guy with a drum stick. And if you are thinking it is the terrorist leader, you would be wrong. It's just some random cannon fodder. For shame!

    Here's hoping Isaac Florentine rips this movie off and casts Scott Adkins as a hard-bitten SAS man-turned-dance choreographer who has to team up with a self-obsessed pop starlet (insert flavour of the month here) to save the Chinese President from hardliners intent on World War 3.