Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Dated Men, Lucid Ladies, and Asinine Alliteration: The November Man, Lucy, and John Wick

I have better things to do than waste time mashing out a review on a movie that didn't really keep me glued to the screen throughout- at this point in time I should actually be feverishly googling places to visit in Denmark, where I'll be leading a group of 6 other demanding personages on a relatively sedate romp across Scandinavian soil. Then again I did survive a terrible fever which caused me to take my first medical leave in two years, so I guess I should cut myself some slack and distract myself from what's important by focusing on my now-silly, almost forgotten, once lofty and important oath to churn out a post on at least something, anything, once a month. So hey- I've wasted spent some time so far on (frankly speaking) mostly worthless media recently, so I might as well make the most of it, eh? Spoilers (may) abound!

First up- The November Man, For a while I thought this had something to do with that other movie about a Russian sub, before dismissively tossing out that train of thought, thinking 'nah they've milked that story dry already', before (most embarrassingly) finding out- by myself, luckily- that the movie I had in mind (and have not watched yet) is actually called 'The Hunt for Red October'. So maybe this is a movie about Pierce Brosnan looking for the sub in the wrong place? Har-har.

Long story short. Pierce has a sort of sifu-bromance going on with his disciple, and the disciple has a sort of inferiority complex as a result. One day Pierce-sifu retires to an idyllic life in the Swiss countryside (mountainside?), leaving kid disciple with unresolved issues weighing him down. Questions like "why can't I do this?" to which Pierce-sifu replies "because daddy says so!" A few years on their old boss, Mr Bald Eagle shows up and 'reactivates' Pierce by telling him that an active spy has asked for his help personally, to extract her before her cover is blown- and Pierce happily goes along for the ride, conveniently forgetting to ask higher-ups for verification, because Bald Eagle had such a big smile, and really, they're best buds. What's there to doubt? Pshaww.

Long story cut even shorter- bullets fly, Pierce-sifu is looking spry despite his age, Sifu and disciple reunite and play games. Sifu and disciple both pick up young girlfriends along the way. No prizes for guessing who gets to walk hand-in-hand with Olga Kurylenko. Baddies are revealed and kicked out of the way. Only one reference is made to the "November Man" and it is really a "yawn and you'll miss it moment", and you might have been yawning frequently by then- perhaps nodding off. It is revealed that Sifu has a daughter named Lucy, and the trio (counting in Olga) walk off into the sunset to live their lives happily every after until little Lucy is a slightly oldish looking college girl fooling around in Korea before/after(?) finals in her own feature film, titled, a tad less creatively, but more to the point: Lucy.
That was a most productive half hour. Anyhow. Pierce-sifu's daughter has morphed into Scarlett Johannson. Lucy proves herself terrible as a judge of character- you'd think that being kidnapped as a child would make her more cautious of her surroundings (does anyone have proof to substantiate this? Actual evidence in support of whatever nonsense I say would be nice)- she gets roped into delivering a briefcase of an experimental drug to a crackpot Korean mobster, and then gets her first job (before graduating) as a drug mule. Pierce-sifu was chronologically in no condition to save her by now (he's probably expired by now), and Lucy doesn't have any Liam Neeson on her side- she only has God, uh, Morgan Freeman on her side.

In brief- while en-route the drugs rupture in her tummy and Lucy experiences odd side-effects. For one, she's now turned into a female Neo (Keanu Reeves), but slightly loopier, since she doesn't really know what to do with her new powers. The drug unlocks the remaining capacity of her brain, which allows for fairly useful powers like changing clothes, hairstyles, and appearances on the go, levitation, mind-reading, etc... though it's been bugging me as to WHY SHE TOOK A FLIGHT TO PARIS instead of just teleporting there. It would have been much faster, wouldn't it? Maybe she just wasn't sufficiently intoxicated yet.

All in all, this one was pretty solid, unlike November Man which pretended to have the potential for being something more than just another vehicle for Pierce Brosnan to have some fast-paced exercise. The philosophical points raised are well-worth considering, though I won't bring them up here- just look at the surrounding context- even Einstein would lose all credibility in this nonsensical environment. Overall I enjoyed Lucy, though I do have to object to the presence of Morgan Freeman. He didn't have much of a role in this film- it felt more like they just needed another big-name but didn't have any bigger role than Lucy, who pretty much cast a shadow over everyone else. So- sorry Morgan, you're just window dressing here. Stephen Hawking would have been a more interesting choice, though he probably wouldn't have any qualms over picking out logical holes in the film...
Now say hello to Keanu Reeves. It's been a while, Keanu! You've been missed. Actually I did watch 10 minutes of 47 Ronin, and gave up on it (though mom watched till the end end liked it,so...), so it's not really been all that long. I'd read summaries of John Wick and found the premise to be ridiculously simple- a retired assassin's dog gets killed, and his car stolen, by some kid gangsters. John Wick is set on fire (that pun is intended by the creators, I guarantee) and goes all-out for vengeance. I didn't expect anything more out of this than a gritty Keanu action movie, and that was exactly what I got- though I don't deny hoping for more at times. More what? More of a plot. Then again you can't blame John Wick for being what it is- unlike November Man up top.

What galls me is that there's talk of a sequel to John Wick- what will happen next? Hong Kong triad members step on John's shoes causing him to spill coffee over his fluffy new pet hamster (named Pierce, by the way, renewing the cycle), instantly killing it? Spare me.

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