The Culture Cast with Zack and Nick

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Nick saw “Olympus Has Fallen”

The perfect review for Valentine’s Day Weekend!

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2013 saw the release of Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerald Butler and Aaron Eckhart.  It was one of the two “Die Hard in the White House” movies we got that year (which is interesting since that is a somewhat specific premise).  The premise is pretty simple: North Korean terrorists are able to attack and infiltrate the White house, kill all the security forces, and take the president (Eckhart) and his staff hostage.  However, one lone secret service agent (Butler) is all that remains to save the president before the Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman) gives in to the terrorist demands.

If you can get behind that scenario (which is completely ridiculously and full of holes), then you can probably find yourself enjoying Olympus Has Fallen.  Be warned, however, the film is fairly joyless.  It is a straight-up action film.  Though some moments do get a bit cheesy (like when Butler announces to a bad guy “I’m going to stab you in the brain” and then proceeds to do so), don’t expect any Schwarzenegger or Willis self-awareness or winking at the camera.  The same can be said about the violence – it is “movie extreme” and fairly realistic.  I wouldn’t call it graphic in the “torture porn” sense.  It just isn’t as sanitized that you would see in a standard R-rated action flick.

That, in Olympus Has Fallen’s case isn’t a bad thing.  The movie uses its style effectively and makes the movie stand out when compared to other films of its kind.  And because director Antoine Fuqua went with more of a realistic and gritty take, we are spared from mustache twirling villains and incompetent “good guys” who are trying to push their own agenda.  We are even spared a kid who was dangerously close in becoming Butler’s sidekick during the second act of the film.  The only real character who stands apart from this realistic atmosphere is the corrupt agent played by Dylan McDermott.  However, I am able to let this slide as, like Nicholas Cage, McDermott is a character actor who can, somehow, make otherwise ridiculous characters work.

But, of course this all depends on if you buy into the films initial hook of the White House being occupied.  If you can suspend your disbelief enough to buy into it, then you will probably like what this movie has to offer.  If you can’t, then Olympus Has Fallen is not for you.

~N

Trek Tuesday: Star Trek 13 Update

Lots of news came out over the last two months concerning the next Star Trek movie.  For starters, as it was already known, JJ Abrams (the director behind the previous two entries) isn’t returning as a director (due to his commitments to Star Wars).  It is reported his is still on as a producer (more on this below).  In his place, frequent collaborator and co-writer of the rebooted Star Trek, Roberto Orci was chosen to direct and co-write the next Star Trek feature.  Meanwhile, writer Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof were not returning.  Paramount wanted the film out by summer 2016 to capitalize on Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

Everything seemed to be going along normally until early December.  Then, everything changed.

Director: No More!

Director: No More!

Seemingly overnight, Orci was ousted from the director’s chair and was no longer writing the movie.  Rumors abounded online on why this was.  Some thought that because Orci would have been a first-time director, Paramount got cold feet before production really started to ramp up.  Other rumors had Orci being difficult to work with or that his script was incredibly disappointing.  Truth is, nothing is really known on why he was replaced.

According to reports (including interviews he has given), he still remains as a producer on the film.

Within weeks, it was announced that Justin Lin (the director who revitalized the Fast and Furious franchise) will helm the next adventure of the USS Enterprise.  In a more surprising movie, it was later revealed that Simon Pegg (Scotty in the new movies) signed on as a co-writer.

Lots of things to discuss.  First, it is somewhat surprising that, with the exception of producer Bryan Burk, most of the group who resurrected the franchise after it puttered out ten years ago is gone.  The so-called “Supreme Court” included Abrams, Burk, Kurtzman, Orci, and Damon Lindelof.  Kurztman and Lindelof are gone.  Abrams and Orci are still producers, but I really question how active they will be in the creative process.  Not that this is a bad thing or that all of these people need to commit their lives to Star Trek.  It is just strange when you sit down and think about it.

I know other series have their primary creative staff depart between installments, but this, somehow, feels different.  When Orci was directing, I could at least see how the visual style and themes might continue on from where Star Trek Into Darkness left off.  When he was removed and there wasn’t a director listed, I questioned if the new film would feel like an extension from what came before.

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Justin Lin

 

As for Justin Lin being announced as the new director – I’m all in.  He has an incredible eye for action and visual flare.  I completely dismissed my question of visual continuity.  Though different, he has a style that would complement what JJ Abrams started.  I truly believe that of all the other directors Paramount was considering (including Edgar Wright), Lin was the absolutely best choice.  I am really excited to see what he does with the film.

With Simon Pegg writing…that is a real head scratcher.  This can be either really good or really bad.  I generally like Pegg and he’s a comedy writer.  I like comedy, but I feel the new Trek films have the right amount of comedy in them already.  Pushing it to be more comedic might just be too much for its own good.  Then again, he’s paired with other writers, so that might balance it out (and just because Pegg typically writers comedy, doesn’t mean that’ll be his focus here).

While there were some preliminary pre-production issues, I wouldn’t label Star Trek 13 a troubled production.  Many films have these kind of issues before shooting begins.  Most don’t get reported, because most are not popular franchises that people are extremely devoted to.  I am pumped for what this new team of filmmakers can give audiences and how they will make their imprint on the Star Trek universe.  The previous two films, while not perfect, have been pretty fun so far.  I want that to continue, and I think the film has the right people in place to make that happen.

~N

Nick saw “The Interview”

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In a move that likely surprised no one, the controversial comedy film, The Interview, was released on Netflix and other streaming devices.  Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I came across it and, with nothing better to do, wanted to see what the big hub-bub was.

Shh….Don’t tell North Korea.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and laughed a lot.  It is incredibly dumb, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.  Many great comedies are full of dumb humor such as Dumb and Dumber, Dodgeball, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and, arguably, the earlier works of Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell.  As opposed to something painfully dumb such as 2001’s Out Cold or Freddy Got Fingered, those aforementioned film’s use their “dumb comedy” in intelligent ways be it through clever writing, deeper characterizations, or better delivery.  The Interview falls within that group, and that is why it largely worked for me.

Considering that it is a vehicle for Seth Rogan and James Franco, The Interview had its fair share of toilet humor, but not as much as one would expect.  In many respects, it has more in common with classic screwball comedies absurd characters with nutty back-and-forth exchanges.  On that level, it really succeeds.

In particular, James Franco is absolutely hilarious as a self-absorbed, over-the-top, infotainment journalist.  I think the reason why Franco works as “Dave Skylar” is that his is totally committed to the role.  There is no mugging or winking at the camera.  He is the character.  He also delivers enough pathos to where Skylar isn’t a complete caricature, and that’s what sells it.

As it has been noted by many other people (and I am going to contribute to the chorus), Randall Park as North Korean Kim Jong-un is utterly fantastic.  He shows a vast array of convincing emotional states from friendly guy-next-door to emotionally wounded to batshit crazy (sometimes all within the same scene).  As my girlfriend and I discussed later on, probably one of the reasons North Korea was so angry over this film was that their leader was a bit too accurately depicted on screen.

If I had any sort of major complaint about The Interview, it would probably be with the excessive violence that dominates the third act.  I am not opposed to violence (and in a film about the assassination of a world leader, violence is to be expected), but I think this movie could have survived without the graphic representation of biting fingers off.  Violence can work in a comedy, but it needs to fit within the tone the movie has set for it to work.  Here, it was tonally off, and felt out of place.

I enjoyed The Interview, but like many movies, it isn’t a film that I will feel the need to revisit.  I laughed and got what I wanted out of it.  It does some really great things that hinge on the performances of Franco and Park.  It is worth watching even if you temper your expectations on what kind of movie you are getting yourself into: a big, dumb, funny comedy.

~N

The Gorehound Reviews: Dead Snow 2 (’14)

Oh Krampus! Following up to the well-made and solid campy horror film with the unique influx of Nazi soldiers, Dead Snow 2 (aka Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead or Død Snø 2) succeeds in the execution of a well-progressing film, bloody entertainment, and enough aesthetics to bring you back to your first snow day.

DeadSnow2_TEASERIn the first film, five teens go to cabin and most all get killed except one. There was a really cool dreadlocked girl who gets killed by the last remaining member to carry over. The sequel starts with the survivor running from/hunting down Herzog, the Nazi leader who returns to (I think) get his treasure? Anyways, by a crazy set of events, Herzog and the protagonist switch arms surgically which really adds some fun (anyone remember Idle Hands?). It is, to say the least, a solid horror movie. Despite the a similar and insistent formula in many horror movies, it always rings true in a Gorehound’s point-of-view. Pulling nothing too extreme in the first, this entry was sure to follow through.

Including Bill (Martin Starr) from Freaks and Geeks, all the characters are all uniquely different from each other and interesting. It’s fantastic because it drives the story forwards. It isn’t another Dead Snow, but rather a separate entry within the same canon. The story carries on, but in an evolved form.

There is plenty of gore and this movie deserves an R-rating. It may have some darkly comedic elements but not quite enough to qualify as a horror comedy. It’s refreshing because it’s not torturous or sexual, just entertaining in a goretastic and horrific way!

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First zombie sex scene? Check. Russian zombies fighting Nazi zombies? Check. Bill from Freaks and Geeks? Check. Yes, this movie is wonderful. The protagonist is sincere. This guy is actually scared shitless by fact that he killed his girlfriend. On top of that, that babe had dreadlocks. While the main character’s emotions may go deep, the story doesn’t. The storyline does progress smoothly and this movie felt to go by very quickly. Perhaps the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” would best fit this movie. The final scene didn’t appear climactic but it’s like, who cares because this is awesome! It’s unfortunate that Graveyard Queens may find it heresy to watch horror during the time of frankinescene and myrrh (around the time this was released), but anyone who passes up this horror flick is sure to have (un)pleasant dreams. 5/5

Paranoia!

It has been far too long since we’ve had a movie where computers can do anything with a few keyboard taps.  The late ‘80s and most of the ‘90s were riddled with this.  But, as society has become more accustomed to and aware of how your standard home computer works, films largely dialed back that trope.

Then comes 2013’s techo-thriller Paranoia, and the “computers can do anything” trope comes roaring back with a vengeance.  And it is glorious.

Paranoia_Poster

Make no mistake, this film is absolutely abysmal.  The story is completely convoluted, over-plotted, clichéd, and lacks any sort of internal logic.  But, besides all those terrible things, the film completely embraces the fantasy aspect that you can use any sort of internet/computer technology and make it do whatever you want in just a few simple steps.

Paranoia commits to this.  Commits.

Considering that, this pushes the movie into “so bad, it’s good” territory.  But, it’s not good.  Unlike Batman & Robin, I will never watch this movie ever again.  It is entertaining enough while you are watching it.  In an Abduction kind of way (which, eerily enough, I reviewed a year ago today).

Even after watching the movie, I am still not sure what the story actually was beyond the basics.  Gary Oldman blackmails Liam Hemsworth to spy on the company of his rival, Harrison Ford, so he can get something from him and do something with it.  But, oh no!  Harrison Ford knows what is going on and tries to blackmail Hemsworth in a scheme to get Gary Oldman.

Yeah…it is a total mess.  But, on the plus side, like the writers were committed to “computers doing anything”, Ford and Oldman were committed to their roles.  Obviously, they were there for the paycheck, but they seemed to throw themselves into their respective part, particularly Oldman.  To be honest, it was fun seeing the two of them play off of one another.

As Zack noted so long ago, this film was a total disaster critically and at the box office.  Surprising lows for both Oldman and Ford.  And, to some extent, for Liam Hemsworth.  Actually, most of the cast has a pretty strong pedigree.  How did they all end up in this?

This is just an insanely bad movie, but I enjoyed how stupid it was.  If you like incredibly bad, but watchable movies, look no further than Paranoia (a title which also doesn’t make any sense).

~N

Those Weird and Wonderful Wachowskis

We are now just about one week out from the opening of Jupiter Ascending, an original science fiction film starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. The film’s release is big news for a few reasons. First of all, it was considerably delayed from a would-be cushy summer 2014 release date to the dregs of winter, causing wild speculation about the film’s production. Secondly, Jupiter Ascending is a big budget original science fiction film, the likes of which we only get every so often. These films are often massive failures (Gravity and Interstellar being two recent examples to the contrary). But the biggest reason why Jupiter Ascending interests me so much is that it was directed by the Wachowskis, the brother/sister directing team responsible for some of the most interesting films in Hollywood of the past 15 years.

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The two broke onto the scene in 1996 with Bound, a crime drama starring Gina Gershon and Meg Tilly. Though the film failed to gross back its 6 million dollar budget, it was well regarded and a critical hit (scoring a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes). The directing duo obviously became best known for their sophomore effort, the 1999 Keanu Reeves-starring science fiction masterpiece The Matrix. It cannot be understated how important and influential The Matrix was (and still is) to both science fiction and action movies. Itself influenced by Japanese anime and manga (in the years leading up to the “Cool Japan” fad), The Matrix went on to become a sleeper hit and spawn a multimedia franchise while also probably earning Warner Bros. several billion dollars in revenue.

It is approximately at this point where the Wachowskis promptly went insane, never to make a coherent movie ever again. I say this in both good and bad terms. The sequels to The Matrix, subtitled Reloaded and Revolutions, were both hits (more so Reloaded, a film that still holds several records for an R-rated release), but were also critically derided and met with intense scorn from fans online. I personally love Reloaded even if it is a giant mess. The atrocious cave-rave scene is ludicrous and bad, but that highway action scene is one of the most amazing sequences captured on film, and it was shot in 2001. I have to imagine the sting of the ultimate failure of these films hurt the Wachowskis credibility, however, because the two did not direct a film again until 2008, five odd years after their perceived follies.

It was that 2008 film, Speed Racer, that nearly put the final nail in their coffins. Speed Racer was positioned as a summer tentpole release by Warner Bros. This did not go super well. The $120 million dollar film was a huge bomb, grossing only $93 million dollars worldwide. The film failed critically as well, scoring an aggregate 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite some positive notices for acting, the film was trashed by critics and ignored by audiences. In addition to being a critical and commercial disaster, Speed Racer was embarrassingly surrounded by product tie-ins that almost immediately entered bargain bins at retailers. The film has, however, seen a bit of a critical revival in recent years, with many now appreciating what the Wachowskis did with the product.

It would be another four years before the Wachowskis would make another film, this time a collaboration with German director Tom Tykwer. That film, Cloud Atlas, disappointed upon release in late 2012. A would-be awards contender, Cloud Atlas left critics cold and flopped with audiences, grossing only slightly more than its $102 million dollar production budget. For what it’s worth, I really liked Cloud Atlas, wild ambition and all. It was, however, the fourth boondoggle in a row for the Wachowskis. Even if it seemed they were making ambitious and interesting films, it also seemed as if no one save for a few people were interested anymore. I have to imagine a lot of their older fans remained frustrated or just moved on completely.

That leads us to Jupiter Ascending, their aforementioned latest science fiction film. The film was recently screened at Sundance for a surprise audience, who did not seem to like it that much. Sundance is admittedly not the best audience for a $175 million dollar science fiction epic, but this is still not a good sign. In a world where the release schedule goes something like Marvel movie, young adult adaptation, Marvel movie, awful horror franchise, young adult adaption, the Wachowskis are providing some interesting and fresh content here. I just want it to be good so much. While I enjoyed Cloud Atlas, I would still rather have something akin to The Matrix. It remains to be seen whether Jupiter Ascending will fit that bill, and though I like the Wachowskis, I have my doubts.

-Z-

Someone Had to See “Dumb and Dumber To”

About a month or so ago, I went to the theater to watch the long-in-development Dumb and Dumber To.  The original, as Zack talked about on this very blog, is considered a comedy classic.  Combining a lot of slap-stick and clever wordplay, it is easy to see why it connected with audiences, especially those in high school or college.

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This sequel, twenty years later, wants so hard to recapture that magic of what made the original one so great.  Unfortunately, it fails at nearly every turn.  I can really see that the people involved (Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, and the Farrelly brothers) are really trying and do care about Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels), but this movie is really derivative of the original even down to reusing gags.

And, on the surface, I get it.  People remember the various bits from the 1994 original. That’s kind of what made it the classic it was.  Dumb and Dumber To retreads a lot of the same ground, but making it slightly different to make it seem fresh.  Instead, it is very distracting.

That really is the movie’s biggest sin.  The film, itself, isn’t too bad.  It isn’t great, but it is entertaining enough.  The story has our heroes on a road-trip trying to find Harry’s potential daughter who Lloyd develops a crush on.  As such, it largely follows the same formula of the original (with a villainous subplot taken from the Farrelly’s The Three Stooges), but doesn’t do anything fresh with it.  And the similarities detract from the overall (not helping matters was a montage of clips from the original film during this sequel’s end credits).

I don’t want to dump on this film too much.  There are some legitimately funny line, clever visual gags, and Rachel Melvin as Harry’s daughter is a really fun addition to the cast.  It is just that the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.  It isn’t an outright bad movie.  Just incredibly disappointing and mediocre.

If you are a big fan of the first one, Dumb and Dumber To is worth a Redbox rental.  Otherwise, just stick with original.

~N

Trek Tuesday: Voyager at 20

It has been a while. Trek Tuesday never meant to go away, but life happened, and it just wasn’t in me to write new entries. But, things change, and I cannot promise a new entry every Tuesday.  I’m ready to go again, and there is much to do.

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And, what a time to come back to it! Star Trek: Voyager premiered twenty years ago this month (January 16th to be exact). I distinctly remember when the show came on. I was off of school for Martin Luther King Day. The United Paramount Network (UPN) was being heavily hyped on Chicago WPWR (Power 50!) and Voyager specifically. It was to become the flagship show of the new network. A week or so before the premiere of “Caretaker”, my family got package of popcorn in the mail in some sort of promotion for the show. Nothing was special about the popcorn other than it had a very large Star Trek: Voyager logo on the packaging. My parents and I decided to eat it during the show.

Ah…memories. And I can’t believe that was 20 years ago!

Despite a really solid pilot episode, Voyager was a mixed bag of a series (especially after the second or third season). To celebrate its anniversary, I do not want to focus on the negatives. Instead, I want to celebrate Voyager and all the good it did as a television series.

One of Voyager’s strongest attributes was its cast, specifically Kate Mulgrew. While her character might have been dubiously written over the course of seven years, Mulgrew committed to the role. Captain Janeway was very much a mother to her crew, and Mulgrew really conveyed her concern and loving nature a mother would have. Perhaps she drew on her own experiences as a mother, but she completely sold it. But she wasn’t a pushover either. Mulgrew had a commanding presence, and you knew Janeway meant business.

Much was hyped about having the first woman captain in a Star Trek series, but the fact that she was a woman was never a focal point of the show or her character. In the ’90s, the movie/TV business was trying to really diversify their casts, but many times, despite good intentions, it was clumsily handled and not written all that well. Gay and lesbian characters were especially dogged by this. Voyager did it right in that regard by not making her character having to overcome others’ issues with her because she is a woman (a popular trope then and now). I really think this was one of the aspects that really pushed Janeway to become a culture icon at the time. Her character was tough, intelligent, and was portrayed by an impressive actress. Janeway had flaws, but was never a damsel (at least no more than any of the other characters).

Voyager was also very action-oriented, much more than other Star Trek series. That isn’t meant as a slam. Voyager did its action very, very well. It was always interesting and exciting. The show started to make use of CGI in its later years, which opened up what the showrunners could do during the space battle sequences.   As I noted in my “Endgame” review, Voyager knew how to put on a spectacle

Additionally, Voyager was just completely crazy at times. Many episodes really pushed the boundaries when it came to incredible high-concepts. Some of the crazier episodes involved an evil clown, the ship all twisted around, space dinosaurs, 1930s B-movies, and the ship being split into multiple timelines. Not all of these ended up working, but I can’t help but be impressed with the risks and the ambitious nature of what they were trying to do. Considering that the show was spearheaded for much of its run by Brannon Braga, who likes to play with high-concepts, it isn’t a surprise that that became one of the staples of Voyager.

Star Trek: Voyager is twenty years old. Its reputation isn’t the greatest, but you cannot deny that the show definitely carved out its own identity. I’d argue that the show was middling at best. However when it was good, it was good. Unlike the more popular Deep Space Nine series or the more recent Enterprise series, pop culture enthusiasts seem to remember Voyager. Its imprint has been made, and twenty years later, it remains.

What about another twenty more?

~N

The Gorehound Reviews: The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The Taking of Deborah LoganAnother found footage film that takes hold of the viewer, but fails to reach any elevation on Horror Mountain. There are a few portions which really grapple the viewer but fail to hold on. Starting off in documentary mode, the viewer watches a particular Alzheimer’s patient and how the disease affects caretakers, which then escalates into the actual haunting. To say the least, the film is good, but certainly not excellent. It is much less bloody and gory than some modern day scary films, which should appeal to more viewers but still has very frightful scenes.

This movie is scary, but not in the sense of Paranormal Activity or Insidious (which are very high up on Horror Mountain). It’s nothing atypical among the other suspenseful/psychological horrors in the sense that it’s a haunting person. The difference is the focus on the elderly, rather than a child or a middle-aged person . The use of an elderly person is good because it’s uncommon. It’s great to see a horror movie where the focus isn’t on a child because that gets old before it even starts. In addition, Deborah gets incredibly scary!

The transition between symptoms of Alzheimer’s to demon possession symptoms is solid. At the beginning the viewer knew she was afflicted with Alzheimers. The indication that she was haunted, didn’t occur until Deborah’s mind has become so weakened, that the demon was able to take over, as logically described by the documentary crew. It is truly a dilapidating disease and while the film isn’t an actual informative documentary, it doesn’t exploit the disease.

The brilliance in this film is Deborah Logan (Jill Larson). She is the scary part about the film though you want to feel bad, but it is clear she isn’t in control of the haunting. She truly is the victim. Her use of snakes adds another dimension which really hammers in the religious undertones. Unfortunately there are too many cheap scares. Most of the time when the camera turns around or looks up, there is something to scare you. Its quite obvious and unoriginal.

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Jill Larson (Deborah) and Anne Ramsay (Sarah)

Is it worth watching? Not really. It won’t be remembered because among found footage films, it doesn’t stand out or use the method in particularly fantastic way. There isn’t enough religious symbolism to make this religious-horror movie either. It doesn’t excel well at anything except seamlessly moving from documentary to horror. It’s got a decent budget, but unfortunately nothing really sticks. 3/5

Jack Ryan: Shadow Review

Over the past few months, I have seen a variety of movies, and I want to talk about them all.  With the holidays and things in my personal life, I haven’t been able to!  But, starting today, I will have a better opportunity to get to all of these.  So, I begin today with my review of 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

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I don’t really know much about the Jack Ryan character.  I’ve never really read the works of Tom Clancy, and I’ve only seen various clips of the previous films (I am pretty sure that I’ve seen The Hunt for Red October, but never in its entirety in one sitting).  Because of that I went into this 2014 reboot of the series with no expectations.

I’ll admit I was looking forward to it when I saw early trailers a little over a year ago.  Kevin Costner is probably one of my favorite actors, and I do like Chris Pine and Kenneth Branagh.  I’d figure that I would at least be entertained.

And, for the most part, I was.  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what director Branagh was going after.  The little I do know about the Jack Ryan films is that they tend to be more political thrillers as opposed to action flicks.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is much more of an action film than I was expecting with a villain (also played by Branagh) who would probably feel more at home in a Bond film than here.   To be fair, this film is an original story and not based on any of Clancy’s original novels.  That might be why I found the heavier emphasis on action to be unexpected.

Whatever the reason, the film itself is a mixed bag.  Jack Ryan (Pine), a Wall Street analyst for the CIA, is sent to Russia to investigate some mysterious Russian-owned stocks.  It leads him to Viktor Cherevin (Branagh), an influential Russian businessman, who is plotting to crash the American economy so it could prop Russia up as a stronger world power.  Or something like that.

The first two-thirds or so work well as a techno-thriller.  The story is interesting enough, even though there are a couple of really strange character and plot beats (including a needlessly long prologue).  What works is that the actors are charming and charismatic enough to keep you invested in what is happening.  Where the movie goes wrong is the final thirty minutes when everyone seemed to take stupid pills.

Characters begin acting dumb and start making extremely questionable decisions for no other reason than to stretch out the movie.  The prime example is that Ryan and the CIA had the opportunity to take out the central villain, but they don’t.  And no reason is given.  Up until this point, every character (both good and bad) were competent at their jobs.  Then, suddenly, it is as if they stopped caring.

It was a really strange thing to witness.  I don’t know if the screenwriters just didn’t know how to end it,  how to get various characters from point A to point B, or just had ideas for sequences they wanted to do and didn’t care how they got to them.

I really want to recommend this movie, because there is a lot of good in it.  But that last half really destroys what could have been a fun little movie.  Unfortunately for those involved, Shadow Recruit failed to be successful at the box office which killed any potential follow-ups.  The January release date likely didn’t do it any favors.  I’m sure Hollywood will eventually try again with Jack Ryan.  Hopefully, they will be successful next time.

~N

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