Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the glitz-glammy rom com, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg actioner “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
If director Peter Berg’s oeuvre could be boiled down to one sentence it might read something like, “American heroes battle against overwhelming odds.“ Films like “Lone Survivor,“ “The Kingdom“ and “Patriot Games“ have carved out a singular niche for Berg in the action genre. True to form, his new film “Mile 22 “ pits Berg regular Mark Wahlberg and a small team of “problem solvers” against the military might of a corrupt government.
Wahlberg plays CIA operative James Silva, a fast talker and thinker who “only responds to two things, intelligence and pain.“ He heads a team who fight the “new wars,“ the conflicts that don’t make the front pages. They live in a world of violence and “unknown knowns.” “This is dark work,“ Silva says.
Their search for deadly radioactive powder, fear powder as Silva calls it, leads to Li Noor (Iko Uwais), a Southeast Asian informant who wants out of Indonesia. The informant has a disk containing the location of the deadly stuff but will only give the code to open the disc if they guarantee his safe transport out of the country. Trouble is, the corrupt government will do whatever it takes to keep him in their borders.
“Mile 22“ is a violent movie. How violent? The GNP of some small countries probably couldn’t cover Berg’s bullet budget. By the time the informant is scraping one of his victims Max back and forth against a broken, jagged window you may wonder how many more unusual ways there are to off a person. Their handler, played by John Malkovich, says they are involved in “a higher form of patriotism” but the film’s hyper kinetic editing and palpable joy in blowing away the bad guys suggest their elevated patriotism may have a hint of psychopathy mixed in.
Large sections of the film play like a first person shooter video game. There’s even a “scoreboard” where the vital statistics of the team are listed and then go dark as they are killed.
“Mile 22“ wants to make a statement about the murky depths our protectors brave to keep us safe but ends up expending more ammunition than insight.
SYNOPSIS: The tough-as-nails Expendables are back. A mission to stop a shipment of bombs brings grizzled mercenaries Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Caesar (Terry Crews) face to face with their toughest adversary yet, arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Determined to bring down Stonebanks, Ross retires the oldtimers and recruits a fresh group of soldiers—Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell—but just may find that his old dogs have some new tricks.
Richard: 3 Stars
Mark: 2 Stars
Richard: Mark, more people die in the first five minutes of this movie than in any other two war movies combined. There is death by bullet, bazooka and bomb. It’s a wild but oddly bloodless beginning to the movie. Perhaps its because they have scaled back the rating to PG13 from the hard Rs the last two Expendables enjoyed, but removing most of the over-the-top violence leaves an absence of the over-the-top fun of the originals. Why arm Stallone and Company up the wazoo and then skimp on the fake blood and faux carnage?
Mark: I kind of liked the first two but this installment felt…expendable. All the young guns recruited are interchangeable and even the old guys are pretty boring. Schwarzenegger exuded more danger as a governor of a state with18% inflation, Dolph Lundgren looks like a Dutch drag act and only Mel Gibson registers as a crazed billionaire bad guy, a role he ‘s been rehearsing for years.
RC: How could you not love Wesley Snipes saying that his character was put in jail for tax evasion? It’s art imitating life! Or something. I thought that most of the performances weren’t so much performances as they were action star posturing. Kelsey Grammar, as a recruiter for the new batch of Expendables, stands out because he does some actual acting. So do many of the obvious stunt doubles. The rest are bulked-up chunks of machismo floating in a sea of testosterone.
MB: Wesley snipes and his tax joke did make me smile but then he disappears from the story until the end. There are just too many characters to follow: even the poster is in widescreen. The movie felt like an abattoir populated by frisky sides of beef.
RC: Still, as an old-school action movie, it works well enough, despite the lack of gallons of fake plasma. I liked the attempts of creating new catchphrases—which are a must in these kinds of films—like Crews yelling, “It’s time to mow the lawn,” before spraying thousands of bullets into a dock packed with baddies. Also, the action scenes are shot clearly and effectively, and unlike last week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you can actually see who is shooting-punching-blowing up-kicking-garroting-etc who. It makes it easier to cheer for the good guys when you can tell who the bad guys are.
MB. Even with a high body count there’s this little thing called plot that I demand. I’m still waiting.