MOVIE REVIEW: FURIOUS 7 (James Wan, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Furious 7:

1. So James Wan, the director of torture porn Saw, ventured into automobile porn and actually made a senseless albeit oftentimes fun and always frenetic action movie. His camera was on a perennial adrenaline rush.

2. Iggy Azalea showed up for 10 seconds and said one line and people considered this her film debut. If Judi Dench can win an Oscar for an 8-minute performance, maybe it’s time to bring out the For Your Consideration ads.

3. Whoever said that Jason Statham was walking testosterone could not be further from the truth. Several women probably went out pregnant after the screening.

4. These were my favorite “so bad they’re bad” lines that almost triggered an epileptic seizure due to my constant eye-rolling:

“I have nothing.”
“You got me.”
“I believe in you. I believe in us. That’s all that matters.”

And that final scene where Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) went on an “I remember everything…” aria in lieu of CPR made me fart through my nose.

5. To its credit, the movie promised a lot of explosions and car chases and unbelievable stunts and it delivered all of that and more. All those flying cars were worth the price of admission.

6. That blatant Corona Extra product placement just put My Big Bossing to shame.

7. Every other scene set to a banging hip hop soundtrack felt like an MTV music video. But again, who’s complaining?

8. If I were a billionaire, I would have golden dancers in my party as well. More kitsch, more fun.

9. We all know everyone gets out of a secured prison in time for the sequel. Just ask Magneto.

10. The CGI scenes with “Paul Walker” were a bit noticeable especially when the camera focused on his face. His lanky build was also obvious in the beach scene. The ending was a fitting tribute to him, though. The series just won’t be the same without him.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published April 8, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE EQUALIZER 2 (Antoine Fuqua, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Equalizer 2:

1. Back in my sophomore year of college, I would usually spend the long gaps between classes with the rest of the boys in an internet shop right across our school. We would be playing this first-person shooter game called Counter-Strike in two opposing groups (sometimes against other schools) killing terrorists and defusing bombs. People hated having me on their team because I was the noob that would shoot at anything that moved (including my teammates) and never fully grasped the concept of stealth.

In the final action sequence of this movie that closely resembled that game, the main villain (who looked a bit like Justin Trudeau) committed every amateur (read: loser) move until he finally got himself killed. Because seriously, why would you be standing on a tower, thereby exposing yourself to any opponent below you? Any long range sniper rifle could easily take you out. I was so frustrated that I had no control on this character until I realized that I was just basically the pot calling the kettle black.

2. I wasn’t fond of the Death Wish-like vigilante original so I felt surprised when Denzel Washington chose to reprise his Robert McCall character (he should have left these action sequels to Keanu Reeves or Jason Statham). Given our country’s current political setting, I also found it off-putting that he played a character that still took matters into his own hands. Sure, it felt slightly good watching him serve justice on these rapists by breaking their noses and ribcages and fingers, but there was still this nagging feeling at the back of my mind whether that was the (morally) right thing to do.

On the other hand, maybe I was just overthinking things and this violence-filled entertainment was really just an excuse to watch good ‘ol Denzel beat the crap out of people. (It still didn’t explain how he actually found the time to set up posters and other props for that final, stormy showdown, though.)

3. It was a relief to see that he actually played a Lyft driver on the side because after all of my horror stories with Grab, I would never think that any of them were modern-day superheroes. If they could easily pretend to be stuck in traffic while asking me to cancel the booking on my end, why would I even trust them to save my life? (Ang pait!)

Side note: If he was registered in the company’s system (and even ordered five star ratings), wouldn’t his enemies know how to track him down? Wasn’t that against the entire point of superheroes having secret/alter identities?

4. Nuggets of wisdom:

• “There are two kinds of pain: the pain that hurts and the pain that alters.” (This was so ripe for a Star Cinema translation!)

• “Always be nice to anybody who has access to your toothbrush.” (One of the reasons why I always tried to avoid conflict with Madam Rose, especially since I never saw her clean my bathroom with an actual toilet brush.)

My favorite line though was when a young man asked “Who the (f-word) is this (n-word)?” and Denzel replied without missing a beat, “I’m your father. Your momma just didn’t tell you.” (Insert dab pose here.)

5. Melissa Leo was horrible in this movie. Her performance reminded me of that cringey “Did I really win even if I collected almost all of the precursor awards and even paid for my own FYC ads?” act during her Oscar speech.

6. Were the Hurricane references intentional? My inner trivia geek was happy.

7. That tense phone call was taken straight out of Taken. It didn’t make the two-way mirror scene any less nail-biting, though.

8. See this would be one of the reasons why I never wanted to make a lot of enemies. The easiest and most cruel revenge would always be to get back on your loved ones. Or maybe use your toothbrush to clean the toilet.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆