Review by contributor Anthony Hall
Even though the fourth film in the Transporter series, Transporter Refueled, is an amateurish mess, I would personally recommend it as a fun, sometimes charming film that theater-goers will view as money well spent if there is, say, a heatwave in your neighborhood and no place else to go with air conditioning. Truth be told, I went in expecting to hate this movie or to fall asleep in the first twenty minutes.
The last thing I expected was to enjoy the film, which is being reviewed with some spicy vitriol. “Just Plain Stupid,” is one review’s headline. But with that in mind, it is a far more amusing film than say, Charlie’s Angels or John Wick, although they all share a similar purpose. But I think my own personal journey here is emblematic, so let’s begin there.
First off all, I expected a big budget monster of a film with sci-fi overtones – a transporter moving from time zone to time zone. Instead, I find a modest, organic film – just people punching each other and taking pot shots (many of them in two scenes) at each other and some pleasing, leggy women to ogle and nobody is time traveling at all. This I found to be the good news.
On the way to the film, my cohort informs me, “It’s about fast cars and beating people up.” To this, I react with a loud groan. But when the punching starts, it is served up with a novel, comedic touch or two, especially in the special effects that are meant (thank god) to get past these scenes quickly.
So, here’s the sobering news: At this stage in the game, it is time to admit that the seven Fast and Furious movies, to which Transporter owes the most allegiance, have systematically lowered the bar on action film expectations. Films are now pitched first by stunts, then by earnings potential, then by star power and then, somewhere down the line a director is chosen and a script is glued together. So, let’s not kid ourselves: Eye candy and shiny cars makes for one absolutely moronic pretense for a movie. You know it and I know it. End of discussion.
However, it’s Transporter’s job to compete with stupid. – with big budget stupid, at that. That said, while the punching is punchy in Transporter Refueled, the car scenes are insipid by comparison. There’s a neat trick in which Frank Martin, the Transporter, played by Ed Skrein, pivots his Audi sports car around a cobblestone circle and knocks the caps off four successive fire plugs, which erupt in fountains of water that dethrones the four motorcycle police in pursuit. But the rest of the car chases are comically bad. The police drive like Japanese kamikaze pilots in pursuit of objects to hit with preference going to large, loud, explosive and suicidal. Look – a double-decker bus full of plastic explosives! Yay! Crash! Boom! Didn’t see that coming.
As part of the amateurish aspects to this film, one police car in pursuit is cruising through traffic at about 25 miles per hour. But when it rams into another car head on, it suddenly catapults about 35 feet into the air, as if it had been going 150 mph. Whee!
In a second dopey moment, one of the leading ladies is shot. In pure thriller-movie mode, Martin’s father (played by Ray Stevenson) calls for sugar and a mass of spider webs. The sugar is to serve as an antibiotic, we are told. The mass of spider webs, which he jams into her gaping stomach wound, hastens blood coagulation.
This is perhaps the highlight of the movie’s script. But later in the day Maria (played by Tatjana Pajkovic) is up and running around, dodging bullets again as if some sort of miracle cure had gotten her off her deathbed and back into a tight dress.
In short, if you have very high standards for this sort of thing, this movie will strike you as stupid. If you don’t really care one way or another, there are some fun, tense moments in this film. Despite everything, that is.
Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman
Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????
“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office
It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.
As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.
Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.
View the full top ten weekend box office results below:
Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)
Wonder Park ($16,000,000)
Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)
No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)
Captive State ($3,163,000)
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)
Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)
Green Book ($1,277,000)
Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.
“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back
With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.
Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.
The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.
Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)
Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)
Green Book ($4,711,000)
Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)
Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)
What Men Want ($2,700,000)
Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)
Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.
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