Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fall (Flicks) Brawl: Oldboy & Homefront

Two movies, two nights, lots of fights.  Thanksgiving weekend started off with Oldboy, Spike Lee's remake of the 2003 Korean flick starring Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen and the world's best curser, Samuel L. Jackson.  The story of a man imprisoned for 20 years, suddenly set free and given a finite amount of time to figure out why his life was taken away from him.  If you've seen the Korean version, this American joint might seem a bit unnecessary.  On it's own, Lee's version of Oldboy is a little cheesy, extremely brutal, generally well crafted and visually attention grabbing.  Brolin is perfect as the asshole turned prisoner turned crazy ass kicking detective.  The twist is a little more complex than the original's but just as disturbing.

The hallway hammer fight along with a run in with some not quite deserving jock douchebags show off an over the top, bone crunching, cringe inducing style of cinematic carnage.  An interrogation scene literally had me curling up in my seat, not wanting to watch.  Well done, Spike.

Post Thanksgiving Day gorging, it was off to see Homefront, the Jason Statham VS James Franco movie written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by Don't Say A Word's Gary Fleder.  Or basically:  Statham fucks up honkey rednecks and Kate Bosworth plays a drug addict a little too well.  Statham versus Franco seems about one of the most lop sided bouts in movie history but seeing that Frank Grillo was involved, I knew you'd have a henchman confrontation before boss man Franco got his. 

Like Oldboy, the action in Homefront is fast, intense and brutal, there's just lots more of it.  No need for elaborate choreography here; it's all a wam, bam, you got beat down by Handsome Rob affair here.  Grillo caught my eye in Warrior and continued to impress in The Grey.  I believe he's a former boxer so I was hoping for a bit of a show against Statham.  The two mix it up with some MMA moves, complete with the "cool when Rampage did it in Pride but not so much now" sequence where Grillo has Statham locked in a triangle choke but gets lifted from the ground and slammed.  Yeah, they did the same thing in that MMA movie with Kevin James, Here Comes the Boom.  Oddly, both flicks show the hero stomping on an opponents ankle and crushing it into the wrong angle.

Word is that Sly had wanted to make the flick for some time but realized he was too old for the part and offered it to his The Expendables co-star Statham.  It would have been nice to see him pop up for a cameo but no such luck.  It would have been interesting to see Stallone in the role since there's a dramatic, father/daughter angle mixed in with the mayhem.  He's also got the greatest movie punches ever and usually doesn't get too fancy or flashy.  I'm trying to think of similar movies where the hero returns home and gets mixed up with the local riff raff.  Walking Tall and Best of the Best 3 come to mind but not much else.  EDIT:  Upon rising I realized the familiarity of the concept comes from your basic western and the samurai flick, Yojimbo.  From that you get Bad Day At Black Rock, Last Man Standing, (mother fucking) Roadhouse and Van Damme's Desert Heat!

Makes me want to eat three hamburgers then hit the gym:

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