Reviews Too Late: the IRS Edition

by wjw on March 7, 2011

Once again I’ve been slogging through hundreds of inadequately-labeled bits of paper in an effort to get my taxes in good enough shape for the accountant to make sense of them.   And once again, I’ve been watching action films in order to make the time pass, if not more quickly, at least with more entertaining explosions than the sight of me shouting at the incomprehensible scribble on some old receipt.  So here are some quick reviews of what passed before my eyes while I was engaged with Quicken.

Centurion.  This is one of two films in the same year about the disappearance of Legio IX Hispania north of Hadrian’s Wall.  Unfortunately this isn’t the one based on Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Eagle of the Ninth.  It starts out well enough, with spectacular scenes of a Roman legion being bushwacked by hordes of screaming Pictii; but then it degenerates into a lengthy chase scene that goes on for what seems like hours.  The film looks really good, however, with authentic-seeming Gaels and Romans, and spectacular views of what I’d guess are the craggy peaks of the Swiss Alps, this time standing in for the Cheviot Hills.

The Good, the Bad, and the Weird. What would this be called, a Kimchee Western?  At any rate, it’s a Korean production, inspired by Sergio Leone’s classic, set in the 1920s, and filmed in Manchuria.  Or maybe Mongolia.

Bounty hunter Park (who dresses like a Western gunfighter) encounters gangster Park (who dresses like a gangster) and the hyper-kinetic bandit Yoon (who rides a motorcycle)  in a quest to find buried treasure, along the way having to fight off bandit gangs, more bounty hunters, and the entire Japanese Army.   The battles, chases, gunfights, assassinations, and explosions are filmed with great vim.   Cross-cultural madness explodes across the screen like a overripe tomato with an M-80 at its core.

Fun, but a little exhausting.  And I was disappointed that all the main characters weren’t named Park.

Hellboy. I was rather enjoying this somewhat quirky piece of occult extravagance from Guillermo del Toro, until we came to the end, and it was just another extravagant action-filled climax like all the other extravagant action-filled climaxes.  It was definitely better than the sequel, which for some reason I watched first.

Frat boys can entertain themselves by chugging a beer every time Ron Perlman yells, “Aw, crap!”

Batman: Under the Red Hood. I’d never watched a Batman animated feature before.  There were lots of fights.  It would have been cooler with live actors and CGI: somehow the animation seemed like cheating.  And we needed a better actor for Batman— the voice was fine, but the animated figure needed to change expression now and again.

RED. This was basically an exercise in watching cool people being cool while piling up enough corpses to build a pyramid, and it would be hard to be cooler than a certain Dame Commander of the British Empire, who looks better behind a .50 caliber Browning than anyone else I can think of.  Fun.  Almost hip.    (Cliche warning: the black guy dies so the white folks can live.   My heartstrings remained untugged, mainly because I wanted him to live and kill lots more red shirts.)

Primeval. This British series shows what happens when time warps occur and dinosaurs start coming through.   Moderately entertaining, and the show takes a swerve for the better when some of the anomalies open up into the future, and what lives there turns out to be a lot nastier than creepy-crawlies from the Pleistocene.

Perhaps what struck me most is our British heroes’ casual attitude to being pursued by 80-ton rampaging carnivores.   The protagonists just wander around in their shirtsleeves, and very often leave the party to go poking around on their own, naturally attracting predators.  Yet if I were going through one of those wormhole gates, I’d insist on a Kalashnikov, a grenade launcher, a flamethrower, a helmet, lots of body armor, and— if I could swing it— a tank.

We’re told that our team doesn’t want to change the past and cause anything unfortunate, yet if I were in a world where an allosaurus might come lunging out from behind a tree at any moment, I’d be a lot more concerned about the dinosaur changing my future.

And now I guess we’ll find out if the IRS has any plans for me.

Dave Bishop March 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thanks for reminding me to grab the DVD of ‘Centurion’ when it appears on the cheapo shelf of my local supermarket.

Rob Wright March 9, 2011 at 2:12 am

Actually Centurion was filmed on location in Scotland, the DVD had a decent making of extra and talked about the locations with some detail.

wjw March 10, 2011 at 1:23 am

Scotland actually has mountains like that? I don’t remember any from when I visited, but then I didn’t see the whole country.

Lance Larka March 10, 2011 at 2:52 am

I was oddly entertained by “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.” Or maybe I just was drunk at the time.

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