Thursday, November 13, 2008

Street Kings and The Condemned movie reviews

Street Kings (2008) Directed by David Ayer
For fans of James Ellroy's books, the plot of his original screenplay will be very familiar. There is no mystery as to why someone gets shot in a hold up and Keanu adds to his collection of clueless characters. That said his acting is not bad in the movie. The cast is full of familiar faces, and some of the non-actors take on different than normal roles, i.e. Cedric the Entertainer as a drug dealer. And to his credit I did not recognize John Corbett. Not a bad movie but it is one thing for Ellroy to reuse themes like police corruption, it is another for him to reuse a key scene from earlier works.

The Condemned (1976) Directed by David Chiang
This Shaw Brothers dvd has sat on the shelf waiting to watched for a long time. Now that the election is over and I don't feel the need to watch the news channels as much I can get back to watching movies. The dvd cover for this film has kept it from the top of the pile as I had bought it online thinking it was a kung fu movie and the cover shows David Chiang in modern clothing in a prison and the description was not encouraging.
The movie does have a surprising amount of kung fu and some special effects. In a move likely inspired by Sunny Chiba's Streetfighter we see x-ray renditions of blows, but done in a low budget way. Instead of using actual x-rays the film has clay skeletons against a dark background that snap and crumble as the blows land.
This is not the movie to use to convert people to the ways of the Shaw Brothers studio but it was much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be.

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