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Rise of the Planet of the Apes & Killer Elite

by on February 9, 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

After years of testing a new, revolutionary drug to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s, Will Rodman (James Franco) has a breakthrough. It not only heals diseased brain cells, but also enhances them. This he finds out when the chimpanzee he’s been testing it out shows incredible intelligence and cognitive function. Several mishaps later, the project is shut down, and Will takes the chimp home to live with him. A few more mishaps, the chimp is taken from Will and placed in a horrible primate sanctuary. Cute, fun chimp becomes angry emo chimp and decides to take over San Francisco.

Say what you will about the acting of Charlton Heston, but he sure managed to make a whole bunch of mediocre movies great just by chewing the scenery. James Franco doesn’t have a chance in hell of doing that. 1968’s Planet of the Apes was by no means a bad movie, but it wasn’t great either. What made it memorable (and spawned countless sequels/remakes/spinoffs) was Heston with his steel-jawed scowl telling the “damned, dirty apes” to get lost. The iconic last scene where he writhes around in the sand and calls humanity as a whole turds of the highest caliber. Without Heston it would be forgotten like so many other sci-fi movies of the 60’s and 70’s.

I was quite excited to see this new one, as it has gotten good reviews and almost unanimous praise from the public. Once again, I’ve been duped by public opinion. I found this film to be a mishmash of characters I didn’t care about at all, a plot that didn’t move me and enough CGI to make George Lucas wince. I’m not a big fan of movies using lots of CGI, especially when they introduce whole characters (and in this case dozens of characters) that are 100% computer-generated. James Franco and Freida Pinto are both terrible actors that seem to be very popular right now. However John Lithgow was his usual awesome self as Franco’s father.

Final verdict: You can trust public opinion and see this, however, public opinion did give us 3 Transformers movies. Your call

Killer Elite

Killer Elite follows buddies and professional mercenaries/hitmen Jason Statham and Robert De Niro. Statham’s retired in Australia when he gets the news that De Niro has been kidnapped, forcing him to do one last job. The job is to kill several ex-SAS members and get confessions of guilt from them. Statham puts on a tight t-shirt and a scowl, and gets to work.

I didn’t want to end movie night on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, so I started on this one, even though it was late. I thought that Killer Elite would take care of my urge. I’ve always been a fan of Jason Statham, loving the utterly hilarious and over the top Transporter movies, the lunacy of Crank (second one doesn’t count), and the sheer fun of The Italian Job (even if it did have Wahlberg *shudder*).

While I wouldn’t put Killer Elite anywhere near my favorites of his, it’s definitely a solid movie. It’s set in the 1980’s, and captures that feel with ugly clothing, horrible haircuts and fuzzy TV reception. The plot is a bit muddy and nonsensical at times, although that might just be because I was watching it late at night. I had that happen when I saw the first Mission Impossible film, after two 6 hour flights and no sleep for a day. I had no idea what the hell was going on the entire time. Killer Elite isn’t quite in MI territory concerning the plot, but it comes close.

In the end, Killer Elite is an enjoyable film in the line of 70’s and 80’s spy thrillers, following the characters around the globe as they got in (and out of) dangerous situations. Not great, but not bad either.

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