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Mini-Reviews: Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, Epic

Fast & Furious 6:

As someone who has been a low-key fan of the franchise once Justin Lin took the helm with the third entry, I was very pleased to see Fast Five take off the way it did. It was the best of the franchise, with a whizbang finale sequence, and critics and audiences alike embraced these characters– a studio film making money with non-whites and women as the majority of its characters! Saints be praised! It didn’t seem like the success of Fast Five could be topped, which is why it’s so fantastic that Fast and Furious Six outdoes its predecessors in nearly every way. It’s quintessential summer entertainment, with plenty of one-liners, impossible stunts, hand-to-hand combat, car crashes, more impossible stunts, and macho men posturing earnestly. The film’s one flaw: too many action sequences coated in the shadows of night instead of the glorious color palate of the day. If every nighttime scene took place under the watchful eye of the sun, we’d not only be looking at a four-star summer film; I’d be tempted to use the word “classic.” Instead, it’s merely terrific, as fun a film as we’re likely to get in 2013. A post-credit tag leaves me mildly concerned that the franchise might be entering shark-jumping territory, but no matter: the last two entries alone have solidified this series in the annals of cinematic history.

The Hangover Part III:

The good news: it’s less obnoxious and detestable than the last one. The bad news: The Hangover Part III is barely a comedy. Its only attempts at humor come from random asides from Galifianakis or Jeong, with the occasional animal cruelty scene sprinkled in. Animal cruelty can be funny: see Mongo punching a horse in the face in Blazing Saddles. Here, sadly, it isn’t. There is a nifty action sequence towards the end set in Vegas with actual stakes and tension: it wouldn’t feel out of place in an effective action-comedy, and it might be the best thing in the whole franchise. However, an action sequence can’t save a comedy sequel, which feels tremendously slight and plotless and jokeless. Still, I can’t stress enough how relieved I was that it didn’t make me want to leave the theater in anger like the previous installment. So take that for whatever it’s worth. One final Hangover note: Bradley Cooper returns as the character with the least defined character in the history of successful movie franchises. He’s top-billed, but can you name one thing about Phil other than how much Alan admires him?

Epic:

Epic boasted a terrific trailer, cutting shots of a magical new world to soaring Snow Patrol music. The final product, sadly, doesn’t come close to living up to that expectation: it’s a very dull color-by-numbers affair. The story itself, about a race of magical tiny people who live in the forest and maintain the order of life, is interesting enough, but nothing here feels new. Irreverent talking animal sidekicks, the bland self-sacrificing heroes, the underachieving male protagonist who needs to become the great man he was born to be, the female protagonist who fights with her family only to learn how important they are by the end… this is tried and true formula stuff. It could have still worked with proper execution, but the character design for our leads gives them squinty unexpressive eyes, and the script gives them a notable lack of humor. It’s all very earnest and sweet and by the end relatively winning, but you can’t help but think there was something in this film’s DNA that gave it potential. My suggestion: the next time we have a plucky female protagonist in an animated film which should clearly appeal to girls, I’d love to give her something to do other than look for strong and smart male characters to help her take care of an egg (not a joke, I’m afraid). Epic lacks girl power– or, for the most part, any type of power.

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~ by russellhainline on May 31, 2013.

One Response to “Mini-Reviews: Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, Epic”

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