Tag Archives: Scott Eastwood

Inner Conflict

Dangerous

by Hope Madden

I remember watching the inexplicably popular Bad Boys for Life and marveling at the film’s narrative purpose: to convince Marcus (Martin Lawrence) that being a violent man is better than being a man who does not commit violence against others.

Sure, there’s a mother/son angle, some explosions, a disco scene, but everything that happens does so to convince Marcus that his real purpose is to commit violence.

It’s different than the traditional “one man against the world” action flick, where a peaceful man is forced back into violence to avenge the death of his wife/child/puppy. Those have long existed. This idea that a man who chooses not to physically harm others needs to somehow be persuaded that he prefers a life of violence, that it is his nature and should be celebrated, is kind of new. This theme is also the driving force behind the admittedly enjoyable Nobody, among others.

The latest film that hates to see a man get his baser instincts under control is David Hackl’s Dangerous.

Scott Eastwood leads a solitary life. He works out. He eats frozen dinners. He waters his plants. Then his mind-numbing peace is disrupted when his brother Sean’s death brings him to the remote island where Sean had been renovating an old military base into a hotel.

Eastwood, who channels his father more and more these days, is now non-violent with the help of some personality-deadening drugs and call-me-whenever guidance from his therapist, played by Mel Gibson.

That’s funny.

Hackl’s clearly working on a shoestring here, and though the film sometimes shows a lack of funds, on the whole, it’s competently made. The humor Hackl, Gibson and Eastwood mine from Christopher Borrelli’s script delivers Dangerous’s saving grace.

Because, yes, D (Eastwood’s character) falls into ex-military, Black Op style gunplay once on the island, but first the recovering sociopath has to deal with his mom. Beyond that, the mystery is convoluted beyond measure, Tyrese Gibson and Famke Janssen are pointless, performances are forgettable.

In the end, the whole mess feels like the familiar fantasy of doing right by your mother just one time and then disappearing so you can’t screw it up. Which is a better story than the one about a sociopath who decides being a decent human is just not being true to himself.

Jaeger Bomb

Pacific Rim: Uprising

by George Wolf

I like to think it went down this way…

After hours, in a dimly lit Hollywood bar, the makers of Pacific Rim: Uprising met up with Michael Bay and his crew (let’s call them the Bay-o-nettes) for a good old-fashioned excess-off. As the final challenge was accepted, Uprising director/co-writer Steven S. DeKnight had agreed to break the record for use of the phrase “save the world,” AND include a bit of the “Trololo” viral video guy.

Done and done. And there’s some Transformer-type robot fighting.

This unnecessary sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s lackluster original picks up 10 years after the invading kaiju were defeated by giant Jaeger robots and their skilled pilots. Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) died cancelling that apocalypse and now Stacker’s son Jake (John Boyega) and his frenemy Nate (Scott Eastwood) must whip a rag-tag bunch of new recruits into shape just in time to battle a brand new threat and …pause for close up and crescendo…save the world (ding!)

After a number of TV projects, Uprising marks DeKnight’s feature debut, and it shows. Most every frame succumbs to an invasion of empty dialogue and the cliche of least resistance. The actors pose more than they move, and even the cheapest of attempts at emotional manipulation seem too much for this film to handle.

But hey, who cares, we’re here for the robot throwdown, amirite?

Probably, but even that, minus Del Toro’s stylish pizzazz, becomes a confusing and repetitious snooze. Seriously, the guy down the row from me at the screening was snoring (which was confusing at first and then repetitive).

Too bad, he totally missed the part when Pikachu showed up and slaughtered everybody.

Okay, that didn’t happen.

Dammit.