There it is! There’s that Texas summer heat. I was getting a little worried there, mother nature, but you came through for me. Now I can go hit the pool or wear flip flops or spend some time inside watching movies and avoiding the unforgiving glare of the summer sun.
I know you folks all have your own lives. You’ve got school, jobs, friends and family. But it is summer and it is hot out there. You need a little break too. So, here are a pair of movies you can enjoy with your buddies in your flip flops after an afternoon dip, while another summer sun dips below the horizon.
CHiPs (2017) [R]
Let’s start with a suggestion from a friend of mine that, well, I wasn’t particularly jazzed about. I do try to go into things with an open mind, so I said, “Sure, I’ll check it out.”
CHiPs stars Dax Shepard, who also wrote and directed the movie, as Jon Baker. In this reboot of the late ’70s – early ’80s TV series, Jon Baker is a former freestyle motocross star who’s body is now paying the price. His marriage is failing and, in an attempt to rekindle the flame, he joins the police force. His partner is undercover FBI agent Frank Poncherello, played by Michael Peña, who is attempting to sniff out dirty cops responsible for a local crime wave.
But really, that’s all window dressing for some fun stunts, a ton of raunchy humor, a little nudity with a “Buddy Cop” action movie underneath. And you know, that’s not a bad thing.
It’s not a great thing either. I won’t pretend that this is something you need to go out and see today. It’s not going to “challenge” you. It isn’t art. But if you’ve got a free Red Box rental and an hour and a half on a Wednesday afternoon, I thought CHiPs was funny and sometimes, we all need a little teenage boy toilet humor in our lives.
5.5 paws out of 10
Free Fire (2016) [R]
I can see this review being a tad divisive. There are going to be folks who hate Free Fire and folks who love it. While I lean more to the “love it” category, I definitely can see your arguments, haters.
Set in the late ’70s, Free Fire is about a group of criminals who meet together in a warehouse for a weapons deal. An already tense situation boils over when two of the opposing gang members recognize each other from a fight the night before. Words are exchanged and all hell breaks loose.
Director Ben Wheatley orchestrates what is essentially an hour-and-a-half-long shoot-out in a single location. What caries the movie, in my opinion, is the dark, dark humor and the fantastic attention to detail.
This is one where you are going to want to go to your buddy’s house that has the killer surround sound system so you can hear bullets whizzing by or ricocheting off of things behind you. The sound design is incredible. The staging is great. Wheatley and his crew made physical and digital scale models of the warehouse so they could plan exactly where each character was and each bullet landed. I don’t think there is a single repeated camera setup in the whole movie. The set is laid out well and the action is very well thought out.
Now, I can also see where someone might find this a bit of a tedious exercise. There is really only one location. The characters are mostly unlikable and seem like terrible shots. I can also easily see how folks might not enjoy the dark humor. And yeah, I see that, in some ways, this is mining the same territory as every other shoot-out movie you’ve seen in the past. But there is an energy, attention to detail and realism here that I feel invigorates the film and elevates it a little above the usual shoot-em-up fair.
7.5 paws out of 10
So, now that we’ve just talked about a pair of action movies, I just wanted to bring up one last thing. Have you all seen the trailer for The Foreigner that comes out in October? If not, give it a watch. Folks, Jackie Chan is in his sixties and still doing stunts like this? He needs to be in a lab where doctors can study him. That’s just ridiculous.