Tag: mission impossible

Extraction

As The Swivel Chair Spins #7

Minutes after the is-it-all-really one take action sequence; Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) and Ovi Mahajan (Rudraksh Jaiswal) decide to take shelter in an office room of a warehouse, the grey walls are lit in the sodium vapour shades emanating from the factory- this could be any office from the developing part of the world, yet to differentiate it and place it well within the sub continent was a pink water dispenser. Someone on set did a good job to keep it in, knowing our preference for color in these mundane objects. 

It was these things I was looking for, not really following the story, because from the get go this is a mission film. Hero gets into a mission, has a target and obstacles pile, have seen many of those before. The only differentiator was that the movie was shot in India. I have always held that India could be one of the best locations for action movies. I was also among those who were disappointed when there was news going about that Skyfall would start in Mumbai with Bond running in line with the local trains and that didn’t happen. 

For some reason or the others, previous depictions of India like in Octopussy were of an imagined nature and less involvement of Indian technicians or it would be to the other end of the realistic scale. Slumdog to an extent was a departure, it was showing the India I was familiar with but its intentions were different from those of action films. Slumdog Millionaire was trying too hard to smudge its Hollywood roots. 

What I wanted was an action thriller in the Hollywood mould set in Indian cities, like how Paris is used in Ronin or how London was used in MI:Fallout, a destination! Even the middle east. Yes, there have been attempts, including Ghost Protocol which were set in India and not shot here (so yeah).  Maybe I was asking for too much. 

But then Extraction changed all that. Maybe it’s the lockdown, but no really it is my love for live locations. Ok coming back to the Indo-Hollywood look, here cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (among his credits include the recent Bohemian Rhapsody and cult favourite Drive) kicks up a dust storm, the dust and smoke that rises from the ground merges with the yellow-orange of the sun and this is just the opening drone shot. It’s the cinematography and the production that would leave many a lesson for our future filming crews. 

Yet,I wish there was more chaos, there is a through the curving lanes car chase but it is brief. Our daily street congestion & chaos adds to the effect of the action film itself, for example there is a tight hand to hand combat fight in a street between Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda, only to be momentarily separated by a two wheeler. 

The one shot action sequence that proceeds from one apartment floor to the other and ultimately to the ground, reminded me of an enjoyable sequence in Saaho and the rooftop chase brought back Kamal doing parkour in Mylapore in Vikram (1986). 

So yeah I hope, you would have got what I meant by now, but this Extraction is not as fun as either of them.

This Netflix product is otherwise pretty basic and the only thing that could come as a shock is how Hemsworth rash driving is shocking even to the Indian kid. 

Extraction is now streaming on Netflix.  India and Thailand were used as the filming locations to portray Bangladesh in the film.

FRS: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

jackreacher2

Well by now, you what this FRS is all about. It is basically a movie rating system which has striven to be unscientific and hence is fun, we hope.

-30: Tom Cruise never seems to age, he is doing something.

-10: Thus critics can never accuse him of ‘not playing his age’ because he  is not ageing only

-5: Critics

Anyways

+26: Makers actually came up with a title, instead of calling it Jack Reacher 2

-15.7: But title seems to be telling audience that this film does not need a rewatch, seriously yeah we know it is from the book title and all, but then you didnt called the first movie One Shot (which was the book it was based on, why start now? )

+1 : No Narration, yes it helps

+42: To Lee Child, for actually creating a character who doesn’t use a smart phone and hence is actually smart, it’s not like you walk up to Reacher and ask “Hey Reacher, where is the closest laundry place from here”,  and Reacher wont be like “hey, wait let me google that for you”. Geez, he will actually tell you where the closest laundry is, wherever in the world. He also will beat up anyone. Cool no? Take that Marvel/DC.

Whenever Reacher uses a cellphone it is a feature phone and not a smart phone and he seems to have a peaceful life, I mean apart from being chased by the military police.

-10: to the reader who would have mind voice “hey buddy, this was same in first movie as well, so why giving extra points now”; we didn’t review the first one that’s why

+4: Reacher takes public transport, good for health

-30: Hero who doesn’t want to be seen, or does not want any company will do casual flirting with one army major, also note, no whatsapp

+3: that’s what anyone would do if the major is being played by Cobie Smulders, but then Reaccher doesn’t know that because he doesn’t use skype or anything, I’m confused either to give or take points.

Live and let live.

-90: This is actually the plainest of all action films, even the action isn’t pulsating like Cruise’s MI films which we can just watch for the jumps, this looks like a Kathadi Ramamurthy family drama compared to that. Nothing cinematic, see first five mins of part one and you will fall in love with Chris Macquarrie.

-10: Tom Cruise escaping from prison cliche

-8: CCTV camera will capture everything except hero escaping from prison. Dei!!

-34: Tom Cruise running away from bad guys

-6: High school girl outruns two army majors, ok one ex-major, shows US army training, Indians will be happy.

-23: Whatever happens to hero, however he gets hit, in the end he will have only one cut on the face, and that too strategically placed so as to enhance his handsomeness

-109: Main characters will always discuss important plot details while undressing, because….

+10: Even in USA, low cost airlines will not even give water until you ask for it

+10: Even in USA, aadar card xerox and original self will be absolutely different

-670: One more time we use, Even in the USA you can burn down our blog, dei learn new phrases (to self)

-34: For a movie that has military espionage as its core, has very little excitement, ending feels like “ok…hmm”

+39: Female characters out shine male character (here Cruise), most of the plot progresses because of them, Cruise looks up to them but then also accepting that he is not used to being worked with

+7: The Girl, really very very good. funny .

-6: Typical senior officer shouting dialogues like “I wanna know what he eats, where he eats, where he sleeps and i need all these details by yesterday”. Dei dei how many days, also why being unreasonable, give them 48 hrs, this movie is not so much into world saving. It is an intimate thriller.

-20: henchmen dont realise what Reacher can do, which means they haven’t seen the first film. and he hits them very bad.

-83.9: Always during Black Ops operation or any other operation, team leader will say “Go!Go! Go!”, dei

-45.1: A good part of the movie is set in New Orleans which means surely they will show that parade and have a chase in it, esp in this it seems like low budget.

I know these fellows want to be subtle about acting and all, which comes down to much of jaw clenching again and again to express what shouldn’t be, Cruise does this well; but I can see that Sivaji would have had a tough time in Hollywood, especially in scenes where he is supposed to embrace his daughter or is she? Sivaji Ganeshan would have teared down the streets of Washington crying. Cruise just walks down cooly.

-6: Americans don’t give lift to Tom Cruise. Which is sad.

As always all numbers are totally arbitrary and absolutely irrelevant.

Nandri. Vanakkam.

FRS  Desk,

The Lowly Laureate.

Holy Mackerel!

A note on De Palma: the documentary
BaradwajR in his review of the Tamil film Thoongavanam cried out that what that film really needed was the styling of De Palma, not workman like direction; but that is just reducing De Palma to a stylist, Thoongavanam on the other hand got the workman like director it needed (just a flat out thriller), it certainly did not deserve the twisted visual brilliance that a De Palma film is expected to have.

It also reinstates the prevailing notion that De Palma is just a stylist, which he isn’t, just.

Like the people who I know who love Mission Impossible, I fell in love with the De Palma film without actually knowing that it was his film, and when I did and later re-watched Mission Impossible (my permanent laptop lock screen is the cyclical staircase from the film), I went “holy mackerel!”
Obviously when I heard that a documentary was being made, it went right to the top of my ‘to watch’ list of the year and I finally saw it yesterday.
De Palma, the documentary is a very straight-plain-just-the-director-talking-about-his-movies kind, of course interspersed by clips from his films, but it doesn’t have the admittance of peers or future admirers like the documentaries of Kubrick or Orson Welles or even Woody Allen, which is sad because De Palma deserves more than just a talking head documentary, the least is to have arranged for the rest of the New Hollywood to say few words about him.
Maybe BDP wanted it this way. His life, his work, his words.
bdp
<Idea Suggest: one big round-table with Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese and De Palma>
Even among New Hollywood, De Palma stands a little away; he has never got the widespread admiration of the others (which itself is enough reason to re-look DP films) but somehow managed to stay commercially relevant. The bright spot of this documentary is De Palma himself, to use the often cited “he carries the film on his shoulders” expression, but here there is no other option, you just have an aged film maker being very matter-of-fact about his films, there is no romanticizing or bowing down to any of the greats, very avuncular.
DP also realizes that he was fortunate to have worked in a time when studios were more genial towards filmmakers.
The stylistic flourishes that have now come to be known as the De Palma catalogue: the long takes, split screens, character juxtapositions, ominous music or the general feeling of accentuated darkness are not mere add-ons(as they have been written about in every style vs substance argument), these are the tools of a director who thinks visually, a director whose stimulus comes from walking through art galleries, a director who know holds the same thread that Hitchcock had; these aren’t just gimmickry (well but some are).
Let us just say that De Palma uses style like how a writer uses words, well but then he uses them lightly without pretense so that you don’t have to run and look-up a dictionary every time.
I think it is very difficult to un-see a DP film, a part; ok that is too much, a moment or the visual experience always remains, like say the fireworks in Blow-Out (my favorite DP, possibly one of the best tragedies in cinema), the church in Obsession, the staircase in Mission Impossible, the opening of Snake Eyes, the ending of The Untouchables; with only great difficulty that a person can lie about forgetting the above.
It is the paranoia that he creates which just comes out of the film and surrounds the audience much like the atmosphere, to keep me thinking about the places that I’ve never been to and situations I’ve never been in. In this way even the below-average De Palma thriller is cut above your everyday thriller and holy mackerel, entertaining as well.
Proof of what a thinking mind can do a medium.
(insert Brain De Palma joke here)
De Palma films have divided people and critics, thumbed down on many efforts, even the critics who adore him only see him within Hitchcock’s shadow, clouding him from adulation are his dubious distinctions including sharing shoulders with Michael bay on the number of Razzie nominations for Worst Director.
If not for nothing, De Palma the documentary would be a good place to start or revisit a wonderful director.
Because the real life of a movie only begins when it has been removed from the theaters.