Early in The Last Stand,
the small-town sheriff played by Arnold Schwarzenegger says, "It's my
day off. Should be a quiet weekend." That's the new way of saying, "I've
got one week to retirement," because it signals — with flashing neon
and everything — that life is going to royally upend those plans.
One of the most inconsistent franchises in movie history is the one beget by Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. How does one follow all those less-than-beloved sequels? Lionsgate's latest in the series — the seventh — has a solution: Ignore 'em.
Not long after Batman changed Hollywood in the summer of 1989,
every studio wanted to have the next comics-based blockbuster. I
remember visiting Penn Square Mall’s multiplex (as I did often back
then) and seeing a poster for Captain America. The one-sheet was comprised of little more than a close-up of Cap’s iconic shield and a promise to arrive next summer.
With the Broken Lizard comedy troupe becoming increasingly broken, member Paul Soter has branched off to write and direct something about as far away as one can get from the likes of Super Troopers and Beerfest: a horror film. Now that I've seen it, I'm thinking maybe he should stay on his own.
Attention, fans of Asian blockbusters: You have a rare opportunity to see one play on the big screen, when The Viral Factor
opens Friday exclusively at AMC Crossroads Mall 16, 1211 E. Interstate
Highway 240. Provided you’re already into the genre, it’s worth the
Directed by Dante Lam (The Stool Pigeon), the action-thriller revolves around the world’s last two surviving samples of the smallpox virus, one of which is an arm’s length away from being used to develop a biological weapon to unleash of five of the world’s seven continents.
Best known on our shores as Kato to The Green Hornet, Jay Chou stars as Jon, the International Security Affairs agent in charge of preventing disaster. In the exciting, extended prologue fueled by plenty of firepower, he takes a bullet to the head. He lives, but is in constant danger of full paralysis; complicating matters, one of his enemies turns out to be the brother he never knew (Nicholas Tse, The Stool Pigeon), a felon who earlier makes a daring courtroom escape by jumping four floors above ground level.
The proceedings put Jon’s family at grave risk, which is an element I’d like to have seen shaved from the story, but Lam at least makes up for that manipulation by staging one fast-break set piece after another, especially a great chase through a train station, where a microwave comes into play. Neither Chou nor Tse is in danger of becoming the next Jackie Chan or Jet Li, but Chou in particular continues to impress with his confidence and presence.
More Outbreak than Contagion as far as virus-driven movies go, this one wears its big-budget American influences on its sleeve. Like those influences, it’s longer than it needs be, but also louder than your mom would like it to be. —Rod Lott