Thursday, August 22, 2019

Angel Has Fallen (And Can't Get Up)

Gerard Butler returns as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning who was introduced in the dumb, and not really that much fun, Olympus Has Fallen. Things haven't changed much. The sequel frames the decorated agent as the mastermind behind the assassination attempt of the President (Morgan Freeman). Armed with circumstantial evidence, and ignoring the agent saving the President's life and his service record, a dimwitted FBI Agent (Jada Pinkett Smith) fingers Banning for the bad guy while his friends at the Secret Service do nothing to help. Luckily for our hero, the real villain is just stupid enough to not only fail to kill his patsy but also arrange for his escape allowing Banning to go on the run and attempt to clear his name.

Since it isn't much of a list, let's look at what works in the film. I'm always happy to see Piper Perabo who offers the film's best performance as Banning's wife, angry at him for keeping secrets about his health but not enough to believe her husband has become a terrorist. And second, there's Nick Nolte who is the only one having fun in this dog of a movie that takes the ridiculous events far too seriously.

Lucifer - All About Eve

"All About Eve" offers a proper introduction to Eve (Inbar Lavi) when the second human being in all of creation shows in Los Angeles in need of Lucifer's (Tom Ellis) help. When the man who flew her to Los Angeles turns up dead with his priceless necklace missing, the Devil sets out to protect Eve from both the mob and the police. Having fled Heaven to enjoy life on Earth, it isn't until the end of the episode that Eve reveals her true interest is Lucifer (whom she is able to accept for all that he is, unlike a certain police detective). Chloe (Lauren German) seems finally able to make an effort to accept Lucifer, Devilnes and all, but has she missed her chance? And is Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) correct to worry that Eve is exactly the wrong kind of influence Lucifer needs as she may push him back in bad habits?

The Boys - Good for the Soul

Much of "Good for the Soul" centers around the Believe Festival, where Starlight (Erin Moriarty) continues to chafe under the expectations of what others want her to be and Hughie (Jack Quaid) blackmails a supe to give the Boys dirt on Compound V. Despite having to trade on her fame to further Butcher's (Karl Urban) plans, Hughie continues to grow closer to the new woman in his life while she loses her shit a little standing up against the hypocrisy of what her beloved festival has become (or what she had just failed to notice when she was younger and even more naive than she is now). Hughie's inner conflict and Starlight's common sense allow the pair to be the only likable characters in a world gone to shit.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wu Assassins - Drunken Watermelon

The opening episode of Netflix's Wu Assassins offers an interesting premise, with some impressive fight sequences, even if the storytelling is bit less focused than one would hope. At the core of the story is a Chinese-Indonesian chef (Iko Uwais) whose sense of honor and justice gets him in hot water with the Chinese Triad. Luckily for Kai Jin, he's granted the power to become a Wu Assassin (although he is hesitant to live up to the later-half of that title) and tasked with taking out the heads of five criminal families to the recover supernatural powers before they destroy the world.