Sunday, June 7, 2015

Double Feature - Equalizer (2014), TMNT (2014)

I was trying to figure out what these two movies have in common, because I wanted some sort of unifying theme to this blog post.  Well, there's action in each of these movies, although one is mostly from CGI-animated Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the other action is mostly from Denzel Washington.  The only other thing the movies seem to have in common is they both have hot chicks in them.  One has Chloe Grace Moretz, and the other has Megan Fox.  Both, admittedly attractive woman-folks.

Equalizer (2014) is the story of an ex-operative (not sure which agency he may have worked for), who has retired and is now living and working quietly at a home supply store, or something like that.  McCall (denzel) is going about his daily life, trying to enrich the lives of others in a good-sorted way, when a teenage hooker he knows (Chloe Grace Moretz) is badly beaten up by what he thinks are her pimp and his goons.  McCall takes it upon himself to try and free the hooker of her pimps in whatever way he can.  Unfortunately, as it turns out, the men McCall tangles with aren't just pimps, they are russian mafia.  After that, things just get all bloody, and stabby, and a bit explode-y.  You know, like your girlfriend after she's had 7 too many Mai Thai's.  You know what I am talking about.

Equalizer was probably based off this 80's TV show I used to watch with an english ex-MI6 guy (i think it was) who basically helped out people in need.  Seems to be the same premise at work here, only with Denzel instead of a pasty white english guy with a stubby revolver and a trench coat.  Both shows seems to have the same appeal, some serious badass who helps out the little guy, along the same vein as Person of Interest (only without the computer AI).

Equalizer as a movie version wasn't bad, but felt kind of generic.  The acting was okay, but the violence seemed, I don't know, not realistic enough, if that makes any sense.  I mean sure, Denzel is way past 50 now and getting on a bit for action roles, but he doesn't really LOOK like an old guy yet.  It just seemed like the action was almost a CGI effect rather than some stuntmen beating the crap out of each other.  Just my opinion.

On the plus side, there's already a sequel in the works.  It's funny, my mom watched this at the same time I did, and she asked me afterwards if Denzel was doing sequels now, because this one was open-ended.  Recalling Denzel's career in film, I didn't remember too many sequels, so I said I doubted it, and then afterwards, I looked it up, and sure enough, there's an Equalizer 2 announced.  I wonder if Chloe Grace Moretz will be in that one as well?  I guess we'll find out.  Equalizer is currently playing on Starz! if you want to watch it.  Maybe catch it once for Chloe Grace Moretz, or if you like Denzel Washington's work.  I'll be honest, I just watched it for Chloe.  :-)  I can't say as I'd watch it over again, because there wasn't really any nudity in it that I recall, and the action was kind of lame, but I may watch the sequel when it comes out.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is playing on Epix this month.  If you don't know what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are, either you're over the age of 70 or you been living under a rock for some years now.  Here, let me sum them up.  They're turtles.  Mutated into sentient humanoid lifeforms.  They're teenagers.  And, they're ninjas.  So, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Now, you know as much about them as any 10-year-old.

The latest incarnation of TMNT (these things go back a good 20 years, at least), involves Megan Fox playing April O'Neil (a nosy reporter who uncovers the existence of the turtles), and is another retelling of their origin story.  I won't give away all the details, but they are again facing the Foot Clan (evil ninjas), led by Shredder (the turtles' usual nemesis) and all the turtles have to fall back on are the ninja teachings passed onto them by Splinter, their Ancient Mutant Ninja Rat sensei.  Why are there no cartoons about Ancient Mutant Ninja Rats?  Seems like that's an unexplored and potentially profitable side-story, or prequel, or something.

I watched TMNT for the ninjas, quite specifically.  Since the 80's, when ninjas exploded out of japan and ended up in the states (in the movies, anyway), I've been fascinated by them.  I even made up a Ninja blow up doll that I pretended I had to defeat in single combat before I could have sex with her, but the damn thing is so good at hiding, I haven't seen her since about 1997 or so.  That's ninja blow-up sex toys for you.  Sneaky bastards.

This particular incarnation of TMNT didn't seem as good as the previous ones.  Megan Fox isn't exactly winning any oscars for her acting skills here, and the CGI turtles aren't quite capable of replacing real actors yet.  For some reason, Raphael is the size of the Hulk, and all the other turtles seem a bit lesser, by comparison.  In the old cartoons, all the turtles were the same size, and the only real differences in them was their personalities and weapon choices.  Sure, giving them different bodies kind of makes sense, but their weapon choices don't seem to match their bodies or personalities for some reason.

For instance, Sai, Raphael's weapon of choice, is a great defense against swords, so it would seem a good foil for Leonardo's weapon choice, since Leo prefers Katanas, and Raph and Leo are often at odds.  However, Sai are typically not wielded by gigantic hulking brutes.  They're usually the weapon of choice for much smaller people, and are great for defending against swords, but not so good for much else.  If they wanted to make one of the turtles bigger and stronger than the rest, I would have thought Donatello (who wields a bo or staff) or Leonardo were the best choices, since their weapons are the largest and heaviest, and require the most strength to wield properly.  Sai (Raphaels weapon) and nunchaku (wielded by Michaelangelo) are typically weapons of strategy and leverage, wielded by smarter, smaller people.  Think Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, and not Thor in the Avengers movies.  Michaelangelo sort of fits the bill for his nunchaku, while Donatello is a geeky sort, and doesn't seem like he's wield a staff well.  Wielding two swords at once is an odd choice even for Leonardo, who not only isn't that big to start with, but a katana is typically wielded with both hands on the hilt.  Using one in each hand, like Leo does, would seem difficult for even a large man, and foolish for someone who should theoretically know how to use them properly.

But then, maybe I am overthinking things a bit too much.  It's a movie about teenage mutant ninja turtles.  I didn't even know Megan Fox was in this until she popped up, and frankly, I think she should be doing a Jennifer's Body sequel.  Instead, she's filming TMNT 2.  Catch it on Epix if you're a Megan Fox fan, or have a thing for CGI-generated mutant ninja turtles.  I won't be watching TMNT again, but I will probably catch TMNT 2 when it comes around on TV.  Apparently, they filmed part of it in my neck of the woods, and I'll probably watch it to see if I can see myself on screen, waving hysterically in the background.  At night.  In dark clothes.  About 50 miles away.  Yea, so, the odds are pretty slim.

In other news, American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes horse race today, becoming the first racehorse to capture the triple crown (winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont) since 1978.  Secretariat, if that name means anything to you, became a famous household name back in the 70's by winning the triple crown back in 1973.  So, you can guess there's probably going to be some movies coming out in the next few years about horses and horse racing and American Pharoah.  And yes, I know it's spelled pharaoh.  Pharoah is how the horse's name is spelled.

In other other news, John Oliver, who hosts Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO every sunday (strange coincidence, that his name happens to match that of the guy who hosts the show), is probably wetting his pants this week.  As of last sunday's show, the FBI had arrested and pressed charges against many of the leadership of FIFA, who John Oliver has been lampooning on his show for a while now.  John Oliver mentioned that without taking off the head of the snake, as it were, it would just be business as usual for Sepp Blatter, whom John names as the source of most of the corruption in the world's largest soccer (or, non-american football) association.  This week, Sepp not only stepped down as the head of FIFA, but the FBI announced it was still seeking to press criminal charges against Blatter.  I guess John got his wish!

Now if only I got my wish, that a rich female supermodel with a thing for chubby older guys wanted to keep me supplied with food, sex and beer while I play computer games all day long.  Still waiting on that one.  It's only been about 20 years since I started wishing for that.  Could happen any day now!  Yep!  Any day now.

That's all for tonight.  Should have some Netflix titles for review tomorrow evening.  Until then, if you happen to know a rich female supermodel, and you aren't using her, uh, well, did I mention I am single?  Yep!  I am.  Not counting my ninja blow up doll, of course, and I can't guarantee she's not still in the house, hiding, and waiting to strike.  She may even be armed, and jealous.  Who can say?  Damn ninja sex toys are not only unreliable, they can be downright dangerous.  Press the wrong button and a blade pops out at just the wrong time, and try explaining that one to the ER doctor.  Bad enough he's still making jokes about the Kusari-Gama Incident of 2009.  Don't ask.  Just look up a picture of a Kusari-Gama and try not to use your imagination too much.  Might be as hazardous to your health as a ninja blow-up doll.

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