I went into this fairly blind. I knew it was directed by Edgar Wright, who’s style had impressed me with movies like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Shaun of the Dead, and well… who doesn’t enjoy a good car chase movie?
Relative new-comer Ansel Elgort plays a young guy who works as a getaway driver for Kevin Spacey’s heist planner, and has to work with a variety of violent crims along the way. The thing is, he happens to have a bad case of tinnitus following an accident and resorts to playing his iPod to drown out the ringing (good way to make it worse, mate). This unusual spin on a tired formula has a likeable lead performance, a gentle slow burning love story involving a (very) cute waitress and several heart-in-mouth action sequences involving some damn fancy driving. So this delivers as a fast, fun and frantic ride but what does it bring to the table we haven’t seen before? The inclusion of music ranging from Motown to jazz is an interesting idea and has some of the action and gun fights even playing along to the tunes – albeit only marginally successfully. Thing is the music itself isn’t that memorable and when it really should have stood out, the other sounds, like gunfire and tires screeching, drowned out what is actually being played (including a near inaudible ‘Brighton Rock’ by Queen).
Thankfully the script is sharp and often funny, and the central love story is engaging with Ansel good as the lead (although his frequent dancing and bopping gets a little silly). Also turns from John Hamm, a scene-stealing Jamie Foxx and of course Spacey are all on-par. Oh and Edgar Wright sure can film action, with lots of clever, ultra-stylish imagery making every sequence explode. So all in all this was a fun …ride, but what originality it tries to inject ultimately left this feeling overly familiar instead. One to check out though.
I went into this fairly apprehensive. I’d heard only luke warm opinions of it and the usual it’s no ‘Shaun of the Dead’ which has been ringing in my ears with every movie the comedy pairing of Simon Pegg & Nick Frost have appeared in since. This time around Pegg plays a lovable loser whose never really grown up and still yearns to complete the sacred ‘golden mile’ pub crawl that he and his friends attempted and failed at on the last day of school. Now approaching forty, he decides to ‘get the band back together’ and hunts down his old mates who have all moved on, got jobs, gained families, become someone where as Pegg is still the same person he ever was.
A great initial concept sets forth a very energetic ride with snappy dialogue-a-plenty and the usual slapstick pop-culture referencing fun of Pegg & Frost at their best. Lending a helping hand is a wealth of familiar Brit actor faces, including The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman along with Paddy Considine to name but a few. Unlike Pegg & Frost’s last outing ‘Paul’ however this is brought endlessly to life by the scatter-shot, imaginative direction of Edgar Wright, yes the same man that brought us ‘Shaun and Hot Fuzz not to mention the underrated Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. Very clever editing and stylish camera work and surprisingly excellent effects work too. You see the friends all go back to their home town to attempt this so-called pub crawl and suddenly find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion where the majority of the towns folk have been assimilated, ala The Stepford Wives.
I’m not ashamed to say it, but I had a riot with this. There’s some very funny lines (… ‘he may be a bit of a cock, and he is a cock … but he’s my cock’…) and some great action (the gents fight scene is first rate, think the matrix with a twist) and the on-going gag of getting a pint in in every pub, no matter what is happening just never stopped being funny. Yes the ending feels a tad thrown together, and well the alien invasion concept is almost as tiresome as zombies … but that never hurt Shaun of the Dead.
It’s easy to like Brit comedy actors Nick Frost & Simon Pegg, two obvious best buds whose television and movie parings have made for comedy gold, helped by their obvious talent and endless knowledge of pop culture. Shaun Of The Dead, their big-screen debut was the perfect marriage of romantic comedy and zombie horror and remains one of the best comedies to ever come out of the UK. Pegg has subsequently gone onto a Hollywood career, starring in the likes of the Star Trek reboot. But as is expected, he’s right at home alongside Frost, and again we have a sure-fire hit on our hands.
Movies about dating, famously known as rom-coms are a dime a dozen and to be honest, do little to grab my attention. Now movies about dating with a plethora of video game references and over-the-top surreal special effects, kung fu and sword fights – that’s a different matter entirely!
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