Action overload committed to celluloid

4 07 2010

A busy week (or so) at the movies!

THE ITALIAN put it succinctly in a text message when he said that it seemed that I had an insatiable appetite for the movies last week.  This turned out to be a sad thought that came crashing down when I realized that there just wasn’t anything else to see at the movies today.  I mean, save for “I’ll Be There” for which I won’t fork over even a peso.

Saw everything on this line-up... well, except "Letters To Juliet."

I wasn’t keen on seeing the remake of The Karate Kid.  I don’t even know if that is the politically correct term or if it is re-invention or re-interpretation.  But there’s just no denying I was quite skeptical.  It was because I have fond memories of the 1984 original which my Mommy, then my Mama, brought me to see.  For one, I find the new protagonist, Jaden Smith (as Dre Parker), really young – literally a kid.  I probably wouldn’t be able to relate.  But more importantly, I was not sure if Jackie Chan would even come close to filling the shoes of Pat Morita as the Miyagi-san character.  That to me was the taller order than the lead.

I liked it that this version paid homage to the original, staying faithful to the original storyline – Dre getting uprooted (the move to a totally different place); Dre meeting his future martial arts master in the person of the the building maintenance man he sought to help with the plumbing; Dre earning the ire of the school bully – of course because of a girl.  Subtle references to unforgettable scenes in the original were also present – especially the one with the chopsticks and the fly, and yes, the car wax sponges / buffing towels.  The best part?  That last kick that won for Dre both the tournament and his enemies’ respect.  I clapped enthusiastically at the last scene.  My friend laughed at me.  My fave scene from this movie?  The pinkie swear.

I never saw The A-Team on TV.  Though I’m very well-aware that its success hinged on how effectively Mr. T played the part he played (see, I don’t even know the character’s name).  To me, Mr. T was The A-Team.  Unfortunately, that’s something I couldn’t say about this movie that the TV series inspired.  Not even the stellar casting of Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel could save the movie.  Somewhere between the opening scenes and the prison break and all those black ops, I dozed off.  Not even the loud action scenes could keep me awake.  My fave scene?  Are you serious?!

Knight & Day turned out to be different though.  The diner scene from its trailer – “He’s the guy.” / “I’m the guy.” – made me make a mental note to watch it.  Knight & Day was quite brave in its attempt to fuse together two genres – romantic comedy and action – for which the leads have already proven their box-office success.  Tom Cruise fit the role of CIA agent Roy Miller to a T (though I texted Friendship saying that I kept picturing Brandon Routh in the role).  And Cameron Diaz was quite lovely as vintage car restorer June Havens.  They literally bumped into each other – twice, I have to add – at the airport and found themselves in the same flight.  Throw in the plot about a perpetual energy battery that needs saving from the wrong hands and so started their wild and action-packed adventure that would happen in a dizzying, breakneck speed.  I loved it.  My favorite scene?  The “with me, without me” scene after Roy saved June from the custody of intelligence agents.

Animated motion pictures do not appeal to me generally.  Up until recently, only Up has managed to captivate my heart.  I say up until recently because I’m adding to it Toy Story 3 – which I saw both on 3D and 2D.  I loved it so much that I’m seriously thinking about watching the first two installments (which I haven’t seen ever).  The movie attempted to answer the question:  What becomes of one’s toys once he or she outgrows them?  Long-term storage is the most likely answer.  But once volatile emotions – yes, the toys’ – get in the way, a long and unexpectedly dangerous adventure ensues.  Towards the end of the movie, I found myself in tears.  I missed my toys growing up.  I remember my three brothers and I built our own armies of many toy soldiers.  For playtime, we’d setup either side of the bedroom with our battalions.  Using slingshots, we’d wage war until one side was completely wiped out.  I miss those days.

Oh, where could the The Karate Kid tickets be?

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