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Mini Reviews (April 2015)

The Gunman, Freddy vs. Jason

The Gunman (April 6/15)

An almost astonishing dull and misguided thriller, The Gunman follows Sean Penn's Jim Terrier as he becomes the target of deadly assassins while working on a humanitarian basis in the Congo - with the movie detailing the very long, very slow battle that ensues between Jim and his pursuers. It's clear right from the outset that filmmaker Pierre Morel, working from a script by Penn and Pete Travis, isn't looking to cultivate an atmosphere of coherence or even entertainment, as The Gunman, by and large, suffers from a hopeless lack of narrative propulsion that's compounded by Penn's unusually wooden performance and a storyline that remains impenetrable from start to finish - which ensures that the viewer remains entirely unable to work up an ounce of interest in or sympathy for the central character's plight. The remarkably uninvolving vibe grows more and more suffocating as time slowly progresses, with The Gunman's few action sequences, which admittedly aren't terrible, consequently unable to pack the visceral punch that Morel has clearly intended. It's ultimately difficult not to wonder just which demographic The Gunman has been geared towards, as the movie across all levels and boasts virtually zero attributes designed to even fleetingly sustain one's attention - which finally does confirm the film's place nothing less than a jawdropping trainwreck of decidedly epic proportions.

no stars out of


Freddy vs. Jason (April 30/15)

The coda to both the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises, Freddy vs. Jason fares just about as poorly as one might've surmised based on the quality of its various predecessors - with the movie suffering from a seriously questionable sense of style and a raft of hopelessly bland central characters. The narrative follows several teenagers (including Monica Keena's Lori, Jason Ritter's Will, and Kelly Rowland's Kia) as they run afoul of both Freddy (Robert Englund) and Jason (Ken Kirzinger), with Damian Shannon and Mark Swift's screenplay eventually pitting the two iconic monsters against one another (in a battle that is, to put it mildly, anticlimactic). It's ultimately clear that Freddy vs. Jason's most obvious failing is its head-scratching lack of both Freddy and Jason, as the film's first hour is primarily concerned with the less-than-engrossing antics of the aforementioned teenagers. There's little doubt, too, that Ronny Yu's hopelessly (and shockingly) inept filmmaking choices play a key role in the movie's failure, with the director's reliance on aggressively hackneyed elements of style (eg the dreaded and awful choppy slow motion) exacerbating the atmosphere of progressive pointlessness. Freddy vs. Jason's failure is disappointing, certainly, but hardly surprising, and yet it's difficult not to feel a touch of surprise at just how thoroughly the film falls short on virtually every single level.

out of

© David Nusair