I don’t know about you guys, but that winter break came at just the right time for this cat.  Sometimes you just need a little time to relax and let your mind wander a bit.  I hope you all feel as refreshed and ready to get back to work as I do.  And with that in mind, I should probably talk about the movies for this month, shouldn’t I?

Our first review was suggested to me by one of you, dear readers.  Truth be told, I already wanted to see it, so if you want to accuse me of cherry-picking suggestions . . . well, you’d have a case this time.  The second is another in our series of films about businesses and their upper management, in particular, and how they relate to their customers.  If you are getting bored with this, don’t worry, I only have one more in mind. 😉

Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) [R]
Mechanic: Resurrection 2016So this is a sequel to a remake of a Charles Bronson movie from the 1972.  All three of the movies concern assassin for hire, Arthur Bishop.  In the remake and the sequel to the remake, Bishop is played by Jason Statham.  Now, I bring this up because the first movie with Bronson is pretty darn good.  Then came the remake in 2011 with Statham.  That one was all right.  And then there is the sequel, Mechanic: Resurrection that we are going to talk about today.  Well, I’ve seen worse.

This is an action movie, so acting is not going to be the most important thing, but these performances are so flat, so uninspiring that I wondered if the actors were being forced to appear in the movie.  I can only assume that Statham and Jessica Alba were not happy to be working with each other because they have zero chemistry in this.  You are supposed to believe that Statham cares enough about Alba to put himself in danger.  You won’t believe it.  To call their relationship in the movie “lukewarm” would be an overstatement.

That being said, there are a few good action sequences in the movie.  The poster there to the left shows Statham hanging from the underside of a glass-bottom pool high above downtown Sydney, Australia.  That’s a pretty good action sequence, but it is marred by the same problem; most of the action sequences in this suffer from: pointless and shoddy CGI.

There is a scene in the beginning of the movie where Statham blows up a boat.  But instead of actually blowing up a boat, they composite in a computer-generated explosion.  According to IMDB, this movie had a roughly $40 million budget.  I’m sure Statham and Alba are pricey, but they could afford to blow up a real boat.  That’s what pyrotechnics and stunt men are for.

I really wanted to like this one more.  It just seemed like a quick and easy-to-turn-around money grab.  The story was weak.  The action was all right with a few good moments.  The acting was sub-par.  If you’ve got nothing better to watch or you are a huge Jason Statham fan, it is all right, but otherwise you aren’t missing much by skipping out on Mechanic: Resurrection.

4.5 paws out of 10

Other People’s Money (1991) [R]

Other People's Money (1991) posterWritten for the stage in the 80’s but adapted for the screen in the early 90’s, Other People’s Money is the next in our series of reviews about movies that deal with business and management.  The film follows the exploits of corporate raider, Lawrence Garfield (or Larry the Liquidator, as he is nicknamed) played by Danny DeVito.  Lawrence sets his sites on a struggling “mom and pop” company led by Andrew Jorgenson, played by Gregory Peck.   Larry threatens to take control of the company, so Andrew enlists the help of his daughter, a lawyer, to try to protect his company and his workers.

There is a slightly silly love story here.  And like many other critics, I would argue that the film version isn’t as biting as the stage play.  However, I still think the story here is very compelling.  I think the brushes of comedy are well-placed and don’t distract from the serious nature of the work, even if it is a little dated in style.  And it does a fairly masterful job of explaining arcane and complex financial and business situations in words and emotions that those of us without MBAs can understand.

What really sings here, in my opinion, is DeVito.  He does a great job of imbuing Larry with enough charm and humanity that you can’t help but cheer for the man whether or not you approve of his actions.  Granted, at the point this movie was made, DeVito had spent 20 years in front of a camera, but this was still a surprisingly good performance from someone who had just finished shooting a movie where he and Arnold Schwarzenegger play twins.

Does the ending feel a little “tacked-on” as Roger Ebert said in his review?  Yeah, a little.  Does the comedic style come from a bygone era?   Sure.  But I think if you give it a shot, Other People’s Money is a very interesting, thought-provoking film that teaches and entertains.

8 paws out of 10

As always, if you have a movie you think I should check out or you want to talk further about one of these reviews, drop me a line at collincougar@collin.edu or leave me a message on Facebook.