Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keep it simple stupid!

This post is a reaction to Tranformers 2. If you're into movies as much as I am then you might of noticed the reviews of this movie are pretty much decrying it as a turgid piece of well you know what. I have gone through several stages kind of reminiscent of those of mourning. I've accepted the movie for what it is and am grateful that it did two things well in my mind. These being the robot fights and the dynamic between Megatron and Starscream. But thinking about it all, this could of been such a great movie if they just kept it simple. This seems to be the problem of so many movies that tred into the domain of the action, the plots are just too complicated for their own good.

My god they got Starscream right.

I won't get into the plot of Tranformers 2 as I'm sure there are people out there who haven't seen it. Needless to say the main drive of the movie is just an overcomplicated plot that at times doesn't really make any sense. A few friends have told me I'm missing the point, that this movie is just about big robot fights, fine but if that's what this movie is all about then why do we need this crappy plot that just adds time to an already long movie?

Let's move onto another adaptation that at time of writing has had three attempts to make a successful movie and I believe is an excellent example of what i'm trying to get out. Based on a Marvel comic this is the story of one man's revenge, that man is Frank Castle otherwise known as The Punisher. I mean how can people screw up this story? A man's wife and child get caught in two gangs crossfire. Man sets out to punish criminals. There done. But as we will see instead of keeping it simple the makers over complicate story destroy the movies.

Strike 1: In 1984 the first Punisher movie was made with Dolph Lundgren and we really can't blame Dolph for this mess. Lets look at the plot. The Punisher is killing all the bad people which causes Gianni Franco a mobster to try and unify the remnants. Now lets stop there. Already we can have a decent movie which focuses on The Punisher maybe trying to destroy the remnants of the mobsters with a final battle with Gianni. This doesn't happen thought. We have the Yakuza also coming in trying to take over the city seeming the mob is so weak. It tries to gain control by kidnapping the children of the mobsters. Enter The Punisher who must now save the loved ones of those who killed his. You know if they were good writers they might of gotten away with this added complication, but really why? Why did they need this extra little bit to the story? Sure I get it but sometimes less is more. I'm not going to a Punisher movie for a dramatic look at how the soul of a man can still find redemption. I just need a simple plot that holds the action scenes together.

Strike 2: The second attempt at the story was in 2004 and starred Thomas Jane and John Travolta. Now I like this movie a little bit but it still isn't the best. Really the only reason to see this movie is Thomas Jane as he's pretty much on the money as The Punisher, Mr Travolta as Howard Saint is a bit of a bust. However on to the plot. This time around Howard Saint is the man first seeking revenge as his son dies in a botched undercover sting that of course Frank Castle was helping on. Que Howard Saint having Frank Castle's entire family killed, and I mean everyone. Father, mother, cousin, nephew, brother in law, next door neighbour, pool cleaner. It's ridiculous, why do they need to emphasise this with the entire family, are we that desensitized? Call me old fashioned but having a child and wife killed is pretty much enough for me to get on board. Anyway I went off on a tangent. Frank Castle survies, becomes The Punisher and decides to exact revenge in one of the most stupidest ways. The Punishers plan is apply pressure on Howard Saint so that he snaps and does most of the killing. The biggest flaw is that this intricate plan for vengeance doesn't allow for much action, which is a problem in an action movie. The only time it really amps up is when a mercenary called The Russian is sent to kill The Punisher, the only problem is that if Howard Saint knows where The Punisher is then why just send one man? How about one man with a rocket launcher cause as the beginning suggests Howard Saint isn't a man who does things by halves. HE KILLED THE FAMILY PETS AS WELL. Why couldn't you have The Punisher shooting his way to the top? I mean lets face it the 1984 version didn't do that so you would be covering new ground. SIGH

Strike 3: Done in 2008 this little chestnut skipped cinemas in some countries and went straight to DVD. Already you can smell the class. Now it's unfair for me to give too much crap as I haven't watched the movie in full, but i've seen some scenes and from that i'm wary to actually hunt this down on dvd. But there is one thing I want to touch upon. In this version they actually go to the comics and bring in one of Punishers big foes Jigsaw. While it's always nice for an adaptation of comics to stick to the source I really think maybe they should of tried to make a good movie with normal foes before they get into the crazy. Oh well lets up Punisher 4 in 2012 is good.

So anyway maybe all this talk boils down to the fact that a revenge movie just can't work on celluoid. Or maybe that's just crap. I have two words for the people, DEATH WISH. Yes that's right Mr Bronson made a great movie, a great revenge movie. To move it back to action movies, in 2007 Shoot em Up was released and it was pretty good. This had a simple plot that really just moved the action from scene to scene. It didn't try to be anything more. Anway i've typed a bit so lets sum this up.

Forget action movies lets moves this to movies in general. Sometimes a movie can be simple and still be successful. You don't to have throw everything into a script. I do think that maybe people are affraid of making a something that is just entertaining but not deep. Also I think that sometimes you don't need to constantly have the world in danger to grab the audience you can make a small movie and still get that audience. The evidence is all around, or maybe that's just me, damn I have too many dvds.

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