Posts Tagged ‘Alice Braga’



USA / CANADA 2010  Directed by: Miguel Sapochnik Written by: Eric Garcia, Garrett Lerner Produced by: Scott Stuber  Cinematography: Enrique Chediak  Editing: Richard Francis-Bruce  Music: Marco Beltrani  Cast: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga, Carice van Houten, Chandler Canterbury, RZA

An idea is just an idea until it’s been executed. And good ideas are dime a dozen. They float in the wind, waiting for anyone to grab them and turn them into something of substance.

I was quite excited about “Repo Men” when I saw its trailer. Seeing Jude Law taking on an action role is out of the norm. The scenes cut in the trailer were gritty and fast paced, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Nothing from the story was original. I mean, we understand that everything that can be told has been told under the sun. But, isn’t creativity the point of putting a new spin to old things? “Repo Men” was a bag of cheap tricks and copyright infringement, if it could be held up in the court of law. It’s a big bowl of chef’s salad tossed together by a busboy – little creativity, even less integrity.

Remy (Law) is an agent that roams around town looking for clients that have past their dues on paying for artificial organ implants. This, of course, sets us in the future. A future you wouldn’t otherwise could tell beyond a few snippets of CG establishing shots of the city – one that reminiscences “Blade Runner.” Once these clients are found, Remy stuns them and cuts out the organ, repossessing it to the headquarters. One day, Remy stumbles into an accident on job, and wakes up finding himself a receiver of an artificial organ implant. He now realizes that unless he can pay the company off, he’s stuck working for them forever.

Now the hunter’s become the hunted, on the run and fighting off ex-colleagues (other agents) who are out to repossess his organ. Halfway through the movie, he decides that he could run no more, and with a moral awakening, must shut down the whole system. Sounds like “Minority Report”? It gets better.

Remy befriends a stray woman who’s filled with artificial parts, who ends up helping him taking down the company. The end scene sees the two walking into the wolves’ den, strapped in leather with guns and knives, and topping it off with bags filled with more guns and more knives. And, with homage (rip off) to “Matrix” and “300,” the two clumsily stagger through oncoming traffic of agents and security guards.

Jude did buff up a bit for the role, but his awkward physique and “Alfie” mannerism just didn’t pull off all the “cool” sequences the way that Keanu Reeves did. His character also didn’t imply enough wit and strength to making him take down the company the way Tom Cruise did in “Minority Report.” It would have been much better had he sacrificed himself as a martyr in the name of morality and repent for what he’d done to humanity. The story was just too over the top to come together. While the parts had intentional values, the whole of “Repo Men” fell short of executing an otherwise promising idea.



USA 2010  Directed by: Nimrod Antal Written by: Alex Litvak, Michael Finch  Characters: Jim Thomas, John Thomas Produced by: Elizabeth Avellan, John Davis, Robert Rodriguez  Cinematography: Gyula Pados  Editing: Dan Zimmermann  Music: John Debney Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changien, Carey Jones, Brian Steele, Derek Mears

Boom. Brody falls from the sky, smack dab in the middle of a tropical jungle. Gets up and realizes there are others like him: mercenaries, yakuza or criminals, all ending up on the – island (?) – with no recollection of what’s happened and how they got here. Very soon they’ll have other things on their minds: chased by abominable carnivores, walking from one lethal trap into another they begin to realize they are not here coincidentally, but are obviously part of some cryptic master plan. The only question is: who is the master and how do you beat him?

With Robert Rodriguez quasi-helming the project expectations were high that the PREDATOR franchise could be taken back to the roots of a man vs. alien all-out war, with some over-the-top set pieces and gross stuff a la PLANET TERROR as a bonus. In fact, PREDATORS literally is planet terror as it turns out. And Rodriguez initially doesn’t let us down.

First off, PREDATORS begins on a high note, with a great opening sequence and cool punch lines. Brody is exceptional; what Neeson did for TAKEN Brody does for PREDATORS. Impressive. The exploration of the jungle, the hints to what’s going on here and the first encounter with our old fiend friend keep us tied to the seat, eagerly waiting for the story to unfold.

But watching PREDATORS very quickly resembles watching the stock market on a bad day, opening on a high and closing on a low: PREDATORS lives up to fan expectations until lunch time, but then plunges and never recovers. What a shame.

With a strong cast (including Brody, Walton THE SHIELD Goggins, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo and Lawrence Fishburne), early action mayhem and enough mystery to keep us guessing PREDATORS is on course to genre movie greatness. Then however it becomes clear that Rodriguez first and foremost is a borrower, not a master blender.

Soon after the opening we feel LOST. I was willing to look the other way but it’s just too obvious. Yet, it works for a while. Then we walk into the tribal camps of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, marvel at futuristic planets just like the ARMY OF DARKNESS, finally we don’t know anymore if we’re on a planet or in a CUBE. When we meet John Locke in his cave – excuse me, Lawrence Fishburne / Noland –, it is too late to turn the ship around.

PREDATORS must have dropped its compass in the row, and the remaining forty minutes or so are as repetitive as the world’s most nonsense island saga. One after another gets killed, with the BATTLE ROYALE interspersed by the well-known thermal images: man vs. alien, man vs. man and beast vs. beast, they really throw in everything they’ve got.

Along the way the movie’s hard-boiled coolness and black humor keep flaring up, so PREDATORS is nevertheless watchable throughout. In fact, it is the best PREDATOR sequel to date (that includes the AVP spin-offs), but different from the original it lacks suspense and sophistication. I liked Antal’s KONTROLL that showed his ability to dramatize and change the pace anytime to steer the audience’s expectations, but it seems he lost control over PREDATORS and succumbed to Rodriguez’ tendency to outsmart everyone, including himself.

We are witnessing a tragic case of opportunities unseized. Too bad. Another one bites the dust. Two stars or the movie, one star for Brody.