Friday, August 19, 2011

august MOVIE MEME, day 19: my least favorite action movie

...and on the other hand, it's far more likely to come across the worst of the genre.  In this case, movies that were disappointing on so many levels there's really no way of coming across redeemable.  Beg to differ?  Get those comments in the section below!

Wild Wild West (1999, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld) - Now, I was never a fan of the original TV series - not that I actively disliked it, just that I never actually watched it.  But I'm willing to bet this semi-atrocity probably did away with whatever was good about the original series in this explosive, look-what-we-can-do action romp.  Fresh off of becoming the biggest star in the world thanks to Independence Day and Men in Black, Will Smith signed on to this western/sci-fi/action movie, probably with the best of intentions.  I mean, the great Kevin Kline is his co-star, the beautiful Salma Hayek plays the love interest, and Shakespeare-approved Kenneth Branagh is the devilish villain.  But then it turned out the story was weak, predictable, and not nearly as funny as the people behind it thought it was.  It's best to forget this one ever happened, despite its inexplicable $200-million-plus worldwide gross.

Godzilla (1998, dir. Roland Emmerich) - I seriously doubt there's anyone who will find this entry surprising.  It's essentially the pariah of monster movies, and it's primarily to do with the preposterous storyline (saying a lot considering we're talking about a giant lizard attacking a city) and the poorly chosen monster design.  Not to mention, the dialogue is unforgivable.  I saw it in theaters, so I'm not exactly able to quote it word-for-word, but not one of the central trio of Matthew Broderick, Maria Pitillo, and Hank Azaria plays a redeemable character in any way.  I distinctly remember hoping that Godzilla destroyed them all and took over New York.  Not that the old Godzilla movies are paragons of film achievement, but at least they're aware of what they are.  This one is trying to be a legitimate modern action flick and falls completely flat.

Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999, dir. George Lucas) - Sure, this isn't exactly an imaginative choice.  This movie was universally hated by pretty much every one of those nearly 200 million people around the world that went to it in theaters.  But aside from the dry subplots - are Star Wars fans really that interested in galactic senate stuff as opposed to actual "star wars?" - and the atrocious acting - newly minted Academy Award winner Natalie Portman and otherwise skilled Liam Neeson are particularly offensive - the movie should've been fun on paper.  Sure, the effects were pretty amazing at the time, but it's hard to buy into what the producers were thinking when the long-gestating project finally came to the big screen in this form.  Is this really all that can come from 16 years off?  (Please note that I managed to get through this whole write-up without even mentioning the infamous Jar Jar Binks.)

1 comment:

TomS said...

I would agree that action movies (and there are a lot of bad ones) on the whole are at the bottom of my movie totem pole. Most of them have to make lots of money overseas, so those with less dialog (and the flimsiest plots) are easier to subtitle (or dub) and produce a higher return. So explosions and loud action dominate. Not my cup of tea.

I don't see these very often... One that I remember hating like mad is the 1973 version of "Walking Tall" with Joe Don Baker.

Can't think of a more recent example that turned me off in the same way.