Monday, July 16, 2007

Die die die die

I loves me a good action flick. I love the noise and excitement and the lovingly shot pyromaniacal fetishism of explosions. I love the hysterical horn-heavy soundtracks and the panting, fricative cello low-notes that accompany angry men wearing resolute expressions of vengeance. I love the henchmen and the hot deconstructed-Catwoman outfit that the Evil Chick always wears. I love that once, the bad dudes were the ones with no hair, but now the best indication of evil is a very expensive haircut.

Usually, though, stunts leave me cold. I like the sounds. Smash! Kapow! Crash tinkle tinkle tinkle as the hero is propelled through a plate glass window. Doo'oof as the karate block hits the ninja chick in the chest. VrooooOOOm! as the car leaps a fifty foot gap in the obligatory unfinished bridge. Klklklssskrcksssftft as the protagonists wander through the smouldering wreckage of another inflagration. And best of all, fffs-ga-BLAM as yet another something apparently made of 99% accelerant blows up. But I'm tapping my fingers waiting for the dull, frantically edited boredom of the visuals to be over.

Die Hard 4.0, to my fantastic and enduring delight, contained the most inventive, creatively shot and witty 129 minutes of stunt material I've ever seen. I was even distracted from the cellos and injury-chic sported by Mr Willis and the oh-so-hot brushed steel belt buckle on Timothy Olyphant's all-black Evil Dude ensemble. And even Maggie Q's FBI bullet-proof vest. Which, seriously. If you want to know if a woman is completely unnaturally spectacular looking, put her in a bullet-proof vest and see if she becomes hotter. If yes, she is Not Normal. But I digress.

Stunts, man. If you want to see a helicopter-mounted gunman expelled towards the camera at high speed in close-focus after a car is ramped into aforementioned helicopter, which is (naturellement) exploding in the background of the shot, get thee hence to the multiplex immediately. Because you know what's cool? What is cool is when a helicopter is exploding in the background.

Long live the blam.

1 comment:

Tom Bozzo said...

Interesting observation regarding the inversion of villainous hairstyles. Maybe that explains the U.S. media's obsession with what presidential candidates spend on their 'dos.

I'd be willing to give DH4.0 a chance, though I used this quarter's theatrical movie-going allotment to see the movie about the rat. (Which could have been more tightly edited in the 3rd act, but had a couple of brilliantly "staged" shots and which should spur sales of plenty of high-def DVD players in time.)

I couldn't forgive DH2 for fumbling material which, even pre-9/01, had such potential. (They lost me with the ticking-clock planes running out of fuel over Dulles scenario, which didn't pass the laugh test considering the number of alternates within an hour's flying time.)

It seems that the big problem for action-filmmakers these days (see: Michael Bay) is not letting digital pseudo-stunts descend into unintelligible mayhem. My own preferences are for analog work, a la Ronin, which makes me feel sorry for that poor Audi S8 every time I watch it (and would make me want an S8 were I not swearing off cars).