Thursday, 29 December 2016

Cell (2016)

Tagline: When everyone is connected no one is safe
Cusack plays: Comic Book Artist Clay Riddell

Technically, messing a little with the IMDB order of things here - I'm skipping over Hot Tub Time Machine 2 - the version I watched last year didn't feature Cusack (and it was AWFUL), but he appears uncredited in the unrated version for a few seconds - watch here)

I'll also come back to Chi-Raq which is next listed, and skipping on to Cell, which I watched with a (thankfully) free Amazon credit.

After 2007's 1408 Samuel L Jackson and Cusack reunite for another Stephen King adaptation. In this, a weird signal suddenly pulses through everyone's mobile, or Cell, phone, turning them into mad zombie types, bashing each other over the head, planes falling out of the sky etc. Those lucky enough not to have their phone pressed to their ear quickly scarper and band together to fight the evil.

The start of this is very fast paced, we quickly establish Cusack's situation, living away from his wife and child for a while and at the airport, thinking of heading home to them when the evil Cell signal strikes. Everyone very quickly accepts the situation, rather than running around trying to work out what happened. The rest of the film is given over to grouping together and attempting to fight the evil, with a weirdo apparition turning up in their dreams etc.

I can barely be bothered writing anymore about this  - it is terrible FULL STOP. Interesting enough premise, but I'm not really a fan of crazy zombie type stuff, and no character is interesting or sympathetic enough to invest in. AVOID.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Dragon Blade (2015)

Tagline: Where the eagle meets the dragon
Cusack plays: Lucious, Roman solider

I was pleased to see this pop up on Netflix recently as I'm not sure that it got an UK cinema release, or if it did, it was very limited. It was also a pleasant distraction and reason for a break from essay writing. Had Cusack not featured this isn't something that would have particularly appealed to me, but I queued it up, poured a drink and got ready to experience Dragon Blade.

The plot sees a Chinese Silk Road protection squad (led by Jackie Chan) encounter a roman legion (headed by Cusack). Initially they square off, but then decide to work together to protect the Silk Road from the nasty Roman Tiberious (Adrien Brody, manically chewing the scenery). Various fights and buddy bonding moments ensue.

This is a mixed bag. It was primarily made for a non-Western audience, only half of it is in English, and I couldn't manage to turn the subtitles off for these parts, which only made the wooden script more obvious. It's also ridiculously obvious it's on a set rather than location. On the other hand, the action scenes (directed by Chan) are pretty decent.

 We first encounter Cusack riding in, in slow motion, and he's pretty good. Great to see him not playing a vaping baddie for once! He and Chan develop quite the bromance and he's looking pretty good.

If you can stand a child actor singing like a little cherub, you might want to give this a go. It's fairly forgettable, but probably worth a watch. I haven't a clue how historically accurate it is!