Costner vs Neeson

Aging action stars are all the rage in Hollywood right now. But how do dramatic Hollywood stars stack up?

A Movie to Kill

Director McG stays in his favorite genre: spies. Three Days to Kill attempts to add a real storyline to a shoot ‘em up but adds too much cheese for the movie to stand on its own.

amber-heard-in-3-days-to-kill-movie-2Kevin Costner is Ethan Kenner a CIA operative who opts out after he finds out he has brain cancer. He heads to Paris to spend time with his estranged wife and daughter before he dies. But he is brought back into the fold to catch a terrorist only he has seen. When he is promised a magic experimental drub as payment, he can’t turn down.

The cast is a problem. Though I give Costner more credit for this role, he’s not the one that brings the movie down the most. Hailee Steinfeld gets staring credit but her portrayal of a teenage girl is truly one dimensional and stale. Though she has more emotion in 3 Days to Kill than she did in Ender’s Game, she does have the natural talent her Ender Counterpart Abigail Breslin had at an early age. Connie Nielsen as the wife was terrible and, like the daughter, the poorly written and relying on making the mother a nag. The movie does not even use its best character to her best ability. Vivi (played by the fierce Amber Heard) is negated to small roles egging Costner’s character to do her bidding without much explanation.

The movie tries to become a family oriented film but cliché after cliché bogs it down. He teaches his daughter to ride a bicycle, he teaches her to dance, the ex-wife gives in and sleeps with him, and more. The only saving grace in the humor that peppers the movie bringing enjoyment in the dullest or most sappy moments. Luc Besson is often a genius but his basic story is lost in the sap and I want to blame Adi Hasak for that, but I’m sure I can.

Non-Stop Thrills

Liam Neeson has turned into an action star. Many complain that he shouldn’t be. But he is and will continue to be a bad ass. Though critics have a point, he seemed like the least likely action star candidate, he does well with the persona and is always himself.  We love to watch him kick ass.rs_560x415-131016133110-560.liam.cm.101613

Non-Stop seems very out there, but it puts itself together well. An Air Marshal must find out who is killing a passenger every twenty minutes. But things get more complicated as things turn against him. His past and life as an alcoholic works against him as staff and passengers turn against him. But Bill never gives up intent on saving those on the plan.

Non-Stop doesn’t stop. The plot is always twining keeping the audience on its toes. What you think you know you don’t. And while the reasons behind the terrorist attack are lame, the actual process is gripping and exciting. You never know who to trust, even questioning the “hero” himself.

Bottom Line: Non-Stop is one if just plain fun (no pun intended).  It’s soars over 3 Days to Kill focusing on action and not family feel good cheese.

Jack Ryan Still Not On His A Game

Hollywood is obsessed with repeating itself. Chris Pine helped kick off a new reboot? Let’s put him in another one! Let’s take a franchise ruined by Ben Affleck and hope that Pine can do his magic again. This results in a very mediocre espionage movie.
Jack Ryan. That name should be familiar with to most. He is the star of a string of novels by Tom Clancy many which have been made into movie. Jack Ryan come to the big screen in Alec Baldwin’s shoes, but hit his peak with Harrison Ford. Then in 2002 Affleck stared in a reboot that removed itself from the chronological events in the first movies. This movie failed to bring Jack Ryan back.
jack-ryan-shadow-chris-pine-kevin-costner-bench-600-370Pine’s version in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit brings Ryan into our generation. He joined the military after 9-11 and was injured in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan which ended his military career. Ryan is brought into the CIA by Thomas Harper, played by Kevin Costner who is viscously trying to reboot his career. Ryan starts off in office work, tracing accounting and national security threats with in big money. When he stumbles across a grand scheme involving Russia, Ryan must go out to the field and see if he still has what it takes.
This whole movie is confusing. I am curious as why Russia was once again chosen as the villains in this piece when they are updating Ryan’s story. Russia figures prominently in earlier works especially during those during the Cold War. Are they just going from this or trying to make us see that Russia is still a valid threat while we are concerned with the Middle East and North Korea? Or is it simply, just an un-thought-out plot idea?
Then of course is the actual threat to the American government that only someone with a PhD in economics can understand and decode. When Harper says dumb it down, the script should have dumbed it down. Somehow, Russia is selling off American money and coordinating a terrorist attack so the American dollars sinks so low the Great Depression will look like drop in the bucket. Not that I understood any of that, but I nodded my head and went with it. There are various other things along the line, but let’s look at other aspects of the movie.jack-ryan-shadow-recruit
Ryan fiancée Cathy Muller is played by Keira Knightley with a horrible American accent. Once again, Knightly plays a rather bitchy female with no empowerment that seems to have become her staple character. Not all of the horribleness of this character is her fault though; she is written horribly and in a very ant-feminist way. She thinks Ryan is cheating on her throughout the movie though he is begging her to marry him so he could confide everything to her. Cathy is moody, week, and unrealistic.
Pine does attribute something positive to the movie. Ryan is given some very complex emotions. While these do not last long, Pine actually makes the audience feel how upset Ryan is with having to kill someone. His Ryan is not all swaggers. This is probably his best role to date.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit leaves a lot to be desired. Kenneth Branagh dos double duty playing the villain and directing the film. I think it may have gone better, if he had chosen one role. But I do have to admit Jack Ryan looks really good up on that IMAX screen.