August 16, 2006 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight: July 2006

A relatively quiet month for me, due to a mixture of illness (briefly hospitalised), being away from home, and my computer destroying itself on a daily basis (more of which at a later date). Cinema was also pretty quiet, with no-one going up against the summer blockbusters.

First up is the already month or two old Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, selected simply because it was starting just after we arrived. From the previous films you know what to expect: some vaguely criminal activity, a wreckless hero with a good heart, a girl causing a feud and, of course, cars rammed with random bits of plastic and awful paint jobs. This film, due to it’s sequel in name-only status (forgetting that cameo), does all of the above worse than ever before; the weak story and dire performances aren’t balanced by some eye candy, the dialogue wandering out of the big book of cliches. Bad.

One of three Luc Besson related films out in the last month is the free-running madness of District B13. Set in a near-future Paris where entire suburbs have been cut off and left to fend for themselves, our hero is trying to live an honest and clean life to which the local kingpin doesn’t take kindly. Events conspire and get a little ridiculous, leading the two lead characters into a buddy action film. All of that aside, the film is really an excuse for Besson and co to show off the free-running skills of David Belle. Leaping seemingly impossible gaps, acrobatics and wall climbing skills abound, and choreography as beautiful as anything from the East with the impact of anything from the West. Fantastic, just to watch.

Finally, the blockbuster of the summer was always going to be the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is fun but contrived, bustling but overlong, a film the spirals through a bunch of plots for the sake of giving everyone plenty of screen time, rather than to create a tightly edited film. Half a dozen of the featured characters could easily be excised with no hit to the over-arching plot, and no harm done to the franchise. Despite the wayward scriptwriting, I rather enjoyed the film: it was fun and goofy and a little magical, the areas in which Disney excels. That the series is being stretched beyond the current material is the only concern here.

The clear winner of the three is the visual spectacle of District B13. Pirate’s might be epic, but District will be the film to make your jaw drop.