Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Saturday, 3 September 2011
When a series of terrorist attacks hit New York FBI Agents Hubbard (Denzel Washington) and Haddad (Tony Shalhoub) have their investigation taken over by US Army Major General Devereaux (Bruce Willis), with the soldiers patrolling the streets, imprisoning and even killing the members of New York's Arab community as they abuse their power.
Although there are some scenes that do a decent job of building the suspense, and the action scenes are appropriately graphic and gritty, with powerful explosions and vivid use of blood, the film's problem is the fact that it can't make up its mind about what it is. After a poorly paced first half, which is adamant that it is about stopping the terrorist attacks, the film can't decide if it is an all guns blazing action film, which it pretty much is as guns and shoot outs are in almost every scene of the secong half, or a political comment.
The gun violence, although gritty, is just repetitive and predictable after a little while, while the political comment is effectively saying that the US Army is prejudiced, big headed and make up their own rules, which is not only hugely incorrect, but also a weak and sloppy idea, that never gets any more developed than the soldiers walking around like tough guys, imprisoning and even killing members of the New York Arab community in a clear abuse of power. It is also racist as it reinforces what has unfortunately become a stereotype that all potential terrorists are Islamic, as only Islamic Arabs are rounded up in the film, no white male, or European is even considered for a second, and to watch this is quitely frankly sickening to the stomach. For more on the racial controvesy the film caused click here.
As for the cast, we are offered a cast where most of the actors give underdeveloped and unenthusiastic performances Willis tries too hard to be cocky and just cocks up his performance, although Washington is a decent lead and Shalhoub puts some good emotion into the character of Frank, though they are the only two reasonable performances in the film.
If you watch the first half of the film you'll get an enjoyable, albeit flawed experience. The second half has little redeemable quality to it and just can't be taken seriously at all, not least because it is reinforcing racist stereotypes, which has sparked controvesy.
Stars: Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Bruce Willis, Tony Shalhoub, Sami Bouajila, Aasif Mandvi, Ahmed Ben Larby.
Golden Raspberry Award: Worst Actor (Bruce Willis - also for Armageddon and Mercury Rising).