söndag 8 maj 2016

NINJA IN THE DRAGONS DEN



This is perhaps my favourite Ninja movie of all time. Not only is it preposterous fun, but shows off some serious film making skills in the visual departments. Sit down and I will tell you a story of Ninja adventure.

But first, take a look at this crazy amazing opening title sequence:




Conan Lee plays the typical Jackie Chan persona. The loveable , mischeavous country boy who apparantly have  no greater concerns in the world. Just finding stuff to annoy people or play tricks on them. The great Hiroyuki Sanada plays a stoic-as-fuck Ninja travelling to China, coincidently enough to the same village Conan lee lives in, to exact revenge on a former ninja. That former Ninja also happens to be the Uncle to Conan. Wow, a lot of coincidences here,folks.

We get to see a few comedic scenes that sets up Conans character as a mischevious guy who likes to play tricks on people. There is a scene in which a bunch of spritual boxers perform and show off their remarkable spritual prowess as they show off in different ways how they´ve trained their bodies to withstand weaponry.

But as Connan comes in, humiliate the leader, starts a fight and ends it with kicking their leader´s ass it puts a real dent on an otherwise damn fine show. The leader promises that his dad is gonna get revenge. What a whiny bitch. I´d say fight your own battles,dipshit.

I don´t know if David Copperfield would have liked som joker comes in ruining the trick and the whole show for a paying audience. They did get to see some awesome kung fu so it could not have been a total waste.

We get to see Conan, the trickster, expose the fraud , that it was all deception, which is a larger theme in the movie. Part of Theme of being Ninja. Conan Lee can´t himself stand the religious zelots that blows smoke up peoples asses. Later he meet a ninja who throws smoke bombs at him. How do you like them apples?

This is a well shot film. Sometimes a lot of gorgeous imagery. Classic ninja imagery of light reflecting the blade:



But also use of mirrors in a scene to hint that the Uncles image as he has shown himself to Conan is just a mirror image of his true self of his guilty past long forgotten.

First time we see Uncle Ninja
Throughout the scene we only see his face through reflections. At least in the close ups A really nice visual touch.




Here are some more unusual images from the film.



One of my favourite shots. Ninja fights off other ninjas
as old ninja master visiting from Japan just sits not flinching a bit.


Deception and trickery are motifs that are used throughout the film in clever ways. And this has some strong film making talent behind it. Corey Yuen Kwai, known mostly as an action chreographer creates some stunning set pieces, very cinematically, stylish and inventive in a lot of ways.


The story is well told and there is no fat to it. It introduces the characters cleverly and visually so there is not a lot of abundance on dialogue. Of course the visuals are what HK action cinema is renowned for. But there is very little local humour that does not trancends as the tricks that are being played are part of the larger Ninja theme of tricks and deception. Who can fool who the most. Even his uncle has tricked him into believing he is just a loveable old fart. Ninjas wife is also surprisingly resourceful with her own bag of tricks up her sleeves as we are shown in a later scene.

The fight when Ninja is trapped inside the house is a masterpiece. It is Home ALone- Ninja Ediition as traps have being placed to trap him inside.Ninjalone. One tries to outdo the other in trickery. It is so much fun.

Here is a nice shot of when Ninja has vanquished all lights in the house and Conan Lee casts silver dust on him so Ninja becomes more visible:




This is do damn entertaining. Everyone seem to be playing tricks and deception even the most unexpected ones.

There are literally tons of nice visual touches to reflect trickery. In the end fight for example, Conan uses a white sheet to blend in whit the white backgrounds. A completely preposterous idea, but it works cinematically, I feel. The Ninja becomes Ninja´d as his trick are being played on him








The Ninja comes to China to avenge his fathers death as he ses Uncle responsible for the deed,but even this is not entirely  accurate . What he perceives as a revenge spree turns out the uncle was his fathers brother in arms. So even the plot indicates that what we perceive can be highly misleading and as chinese and japanese speak different languages things can be seen as misleading as one does not know how to communicate. As the scene in whch Uncle commits harakiri in front of Ninja, Conan Lee comes in and thinks he see Ninja kill his uncle, And now they communicate with fists and legs instead through words.

But then the deception continues as Ninja later reveals he understands Chinese perfectly but he did not let it up until at the part of te fight when they start torespect each other as he also reveals he knows kung fu. Technically wou could say that conan has shown his understanbding of Ninjitsu as he is a highly skilled trickster. The art of deception is what the sneaky fuck excels at.

That we learn this at the end of the movie is part of what makes the film enjoyable. I like that every detail is revealed in small portions throughout the movie which  makes you engaged with it better.Not everything is at it seems at first.  It has not a single dull moiment in it. It is as surprisingly competently  made as it is crazy. A perfect mix and a sign of a truly awesome movie. The kickass opening with the brillaint Ninja theme is so nuts and 80´s but sets you up in  the right mood.

If it has a .flaw it is the final confrontation between Conan and the religious zeölots in the final. It has hardly been built up or developed with the exception from one scene. But I guess those assholes makes a big deal out of being shown they are jerks. That one scene was almost an hour ago and by now at the end we have forgotten about them by now. Well, the priest or whatever he was promised revenge, so I guess having them as villains in the final fight as Conan and Ninja bonds against these asshats we  finally see them united in a fight. It is also in this fight when I feel it becomes too much standard hokey kung fu nonsense and the campy parts that have been doled out in perfect portions previously in the film  comes now into full force. It is a fun fight, more reminiscent of Looney Tunes than the truly great Ninja movie we ahve been watching, but not as clever as some of the stuff we have seen earlier in the film. Just hokey shenanigans. But it is kind of a backhanded complaint as there are some laughs to be had.

One final thought on the  villains. I guess  the spiritual boxers might represent something similar to deception like magicians they put on this big elaborate show for the masses and deceives them. And then as Conan comes along to kick their asses the whole business model fall aprt. I guess I can´t blame them for being mad.

This is one of the greatest ninja movies. Because as ludicrous as some parts in it are, it is a very competently made film in some aspects. Especially compared to a lot of other martial arts movies at the time.   Ninja in the Dragons den shows way more flair than your  usual kung fu movie .Using visual motifs that makes the film more engaging on an intellectual level even though the material is hardly intellectual. It shows flair in the filmmaking skills of Corey Yuen. He can direct movies as well as action that is for damn sure

The story, while not being unique, is told very well, effectively and enjoyable. And the whole deception/trickery moments of the film is so much fun. It really shows the Ninja and why this mythic character can be fun to watch .

See also  Revenge of The Ninja with Sho Kosugi for almost equally great Ninjery)


fredag 29 april 2016

JOHAN FALK SERIES PART 15: CODE NAME LISA





Previously on Johan Falk:

The events in Organizatsija Karayan has opened up suspicions on the way the drug trafficking/white slavery trading or whatever these scumbags are up to have been constantly intercepted by Swedish Police. We got introduced to a shady mob guy named Dudajev, that runs the Karayan organization.

Another shady guy,scumbag lawyer Fredrixson who´ve we have seen before exactly as a scumbag lawyer to Nicolas Lehman in Executive Protection, has come across some information that Dudajev would possibly be interested in. About a certain informer

Frank Wagner and family is temporarily in Gothenburg to resolve some final issues before starting a new life in France. With them they have a shitton of money.

Stuff gets real.

Plot:

The cat is out of the bag or something like that. Frank Wagners secret identity as informer/infiltrator is now known to the crimnal underworld.

Asshole  assailants attack Frank Wagners family at their apartment. Frank shoots one of them point blank in the head,they flee, leave all their money and possessions behind. They seek shelter at Johan Falks house. Now they need for the GSI to live up to their promise and give them new identities.

Also, Sophie gets shot by unknown men in masks. What is going on?

But the leadership, the higherups do not believe that Frank should get away from what he has done, despite the blessings and the silent approval. They want to indict him. Ungrateful bastards.So Frank says fuck y´all and escapes. Now desperate, seperated from his family, hunted like an animal. What can he do?

Johan Falk and the GSI are figuring out how that information can have come into the wrong hands.
And it is not only Franks identity. the identities and personal information of GSI are out. That is why they attacked Sophie. And now target the families to get to Frank.

Jibber jabber:

This one feels more cinematic. It played theatrically in Sweden, which I can understand. It has more production values over it. The opening credits are more elaborate than usual, with close ups on Dudajev and flashes on case file reports in which Lisa ( Frank Wagners code name in the reports) has been part of accompanied by Bengt Nilssons  as usual great music that weaves different themes from the past harking back to Executive Protections haunting Oh crisuts valgus with the more recent ones.

It works also as a collage, a resumé of what has happened before. Remember Sam Raimis Spider-Man intros that had these animated events from previous films? This is kind of similar. I guess Frank Wagner is kind of a super hero, leading double lives :he  is Infiltrator-Man. That actually sounds horrible. I am glad he is not called that.

Speaking of production values ,there are some gorgeous shots  in Codename Lisa of Gothenburg:
If you stare to deeply into Gothenburg, then Gothenburg stares back at you

This is from the climax in which Wagner and GSI has setup a trap with him as bait. Here he prepares for walking into the criminal underbelly, into a gauntlet of sorts to lure out the foreign gangsters that are targeting Frank and GSI in order to get to them

This is the second movie (The Outlawed was the first) in which everything built up culminates in a confrontation. Both with the criminals but also with the law on the opposing side. Both targets the GSI and their methods. The consequences are now apparent. Like in The Outlawed, the bosses are not prepared to go the distance to stand up for something that was silently approved. But here it is less about hanging out GSI to dry for the media and more about not acceppting a civilian infiltrator that has killed people. they feel not obligated to live up to any deal that has been made. A Catch 22 situation here. The problem is, the reason why Frank has been so successful infiltrating is because he made those choices, did some awful stuff that solidified him as a believable hard ass in the eyes of the criminal underworld. GSI would not have gotten that type of information otherwise. It is a bit of a moral conundrum, but if you are dealing with  infiltartors you need to go all the way in order to be successful. And it does not exactly fit in in a modern democratic society. Is it really possible for a government to officially approve those methods without endangering democracy? 

As a result, when the heat starts to get turned up, the higher ups bail like chicken shits. Now, Franks position is so extraordinary, he is caught between two worlds, often opposed one another, but not always. He is the result of that. Caught in the middle of the acceptable society and the shady underworld that does not abide to some codes or laws other than the cheap value of human life. And in the eyes of the law it seem certain human life is not worth much either.

As I have written before, great crime dramas always show the more murky real life aspects of cops vs robbers. They may be two sides of the same coin in reality, and sometimes depending of how the coins is flipped it can come up either way depending of the circumstances. Johan Falks actions in the past has been highly questionable, now he stands up for an outlaw.

And in the end when they´ve caught Dudajev, Dudajev threatens to kill Frank and his family when he gets out. Frank prepares to shoot him, but Johan straight up executes Dudajev in his place. Making sure Frank can get away. Johan has done some questionable stuff in the past, but never executed someone before. We will see the consequences in later films.

Code name Lisa is one of the best entries in the series up until this point in the series. If not the best. It is highly exciting and thrilling as everything  in the bigger narrative  has been built up and explodes into a very enjoyable thriller. Rivaling Zero Tolerance and Executve Protection. It has some of the production values of Zero Tolerance, with great visuals of Gothenburg and the relentless suspense from Executive Protection.

I still feel that Falk has been for the most part of the series left a bit on the side.. He has not punched telephones into peoples faces, nor has he pistol whipped them into broken windowframes. But I guess I can´t get everything in life. What we have gotten so far is  a great infusion of crime drama meld with the action films aestethic from the first three outings.

Frank Wagner and family says bye bye.

But what happened to Frank really? Well I figured he settled down in France, but I found this image. What the hell is this:

That guy looks suspiciously like Frank Wagner. Playing videogames with President Frank Underwood? On further invetigations on the matter it turns out his name is Will Conway, a republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States. Does this mean Frank Wagner pulled a fast one on the American people? Are they going to vote for a former police informant from Sweden? I am curious how he has managed to keep this under the wraps. Not to mention what an idiot he must have been as he has a  pricetag on his life. .But it could also be a masterstroke on his part. Nobody fucks with a President or even a Presidential Candidate. He has more protection now than ever. I´ll take Secret Service over that shit that was the Swedish Police.They took care of him badly considering what he´d done for them.  It would be pretty funny if he´d won the election and he could come back to Sweden on a visit and push around the Swedish security as he saw fit.

I am curious to Seth Rydells reaction as he switch on the morning news and see this guys face on the telly. From Vice President in Rydells "Kalasklubb" to  Presidential Candidate of the goddamn United States of America.

That is quite  a success story.

Next time on Johan Falk:  Some sort of retrospective  of the series so far which delves more into "Falkology"






tisdag 26 april 2016

Small ramblings: BOUND from 1996

Bound is a real interesting piece of art. It is a clear genre piece. It is film noir. But also neo noir as it breaks the mould. Deconstructs the genre. It elevates itself by breaking genre conventions, making them stand on their head .It  breaks the mould a bit from conventions in terms of the femme fatale archetype being reused here for a different purpose. 

Lesbians have been dealt a pretty rough hand by Hollywood. Depicted as manipulative and devious in films like Basic Instinct, the femme fatale in that one was just an updated version., seemingly meant to accomodate modern viewers, but it failed in one particual aspect; treating the archetype as just the same. It was nothing new or groundbreaking. It just came out as mean spirited towards the lesbian or bisexual community.


But a  few years later came Bound.



The brainchild of Andy and Larry (later to become Lana) Wachowski, they crafted a clever genre piece to stand conventions on their head in a smart and new way especially dealing with the femme fatale.  Making the new modern version of the femme fatale that Basic Instinct never could or was smart enough to conceive.

Plot:

Corky (Gina Gershon) is just out of jail and in an elevator she comes across her new neighbour Violet (Jennifer Tilly) a gangsters moll who then proceeds seducing  Corky to concoct a scheme to steal money from Violets husband Ceasar (Joe Pantoliano) and run away from him.

Stuff to talk about:

At my newest viewing I feel Bound might be the most progressive, at least at the time, deptiction of lesbians. They are not portrayed as evil, Having girl-to-girl sex is not shameful, the film revels in the scenes like it should. It is okey for girls to have sexual experiences with each other if they so please. It never feels exploitative. In fact I get the feeling the scenes are liberating more than anything. And as they are only a small part of the movie in the beginning it sets up these two women as unapologetically attracted to each other. They are not portrayed as  decadent. Just two women really liking each other.

Lines like: " I am not apologizing to what I did to you. I am apologizing to what I did not do to you" after being abrupted by Violets husband Ceasar. If that is not unapologetic towards her sexuality I do not know what is.

But it is also about a women trying to free herself from a male oriented world. Violet, as the typical femme fatale is the real hero, or protagonist here. She is the more resourceful character of the two. Corky spends a large time behind the scenes waiting to see how things are played out.

I think Bound plays a lot of genre conventions and expectations. Tweaking the femme fatale character into a more likeable character by presenting us with the despicable world she is trapped within and the incredibly possessive nature of Ceasar makes the viewer feel empathy for her. It is not like in The Last Seduction, another great 90´s neo noir classic, that shows instead how fucking lame and dumb the male lead is,getting snared into the sexy smart ladys trap. It was a great neo noir and deconstruction. But I think this one is perhaps more relevant.

And though the "lesbian couple"  are indeed manipulative, as Basic Instinct "taught " us about lesbians, they are clearly the less of evils here. The macho bullshit patriarchy of the Mob is confronted here. nd we are presnted with two much more likeable characters as opposed to the others.

Violet  the femme fetale. Dressed in black, with black hair, is the one who sets everything up. Seduces Corky into her world. She motivates Corky. Corky is also the "masculine" female, the male equilaent of this movie. With tattoos and attitudes she is different from Violet. But they like leather jackets both.Good to have things in common.

Here is their introduction. It is cinematic as fuck.Words are not needed:





And here we see "masculine" Corky in a male tank top (wife beater shirt):



The person who thinks lesbian living being deviant or sickening is the alphamale part of a patriarchal socirty in which deviant sexual orientations are not even on the map. Ceasar., the possessive fuck who will not let Violet out of his sight. And  maybe that is why he is so surprised at the revelation? What a dumbass.

Here we are presented with a different  depiction and attitude towards the femme fatale archetype rather than the victims of her actions. The dumbass in this one is caught up in a macho bullshit discourse and as a result he is helpless to counter it until it is too late. Not the one trapped in the web of a treacheous woman, really. He only has himself to blame. Which is what also the previously mentioned neo noir classic The Last Seduction taught us.

Bound is a real fucking great movie. Twenty years on this year. it still remains a piece of my heart as a thrilling ,suspenseful genre movie. But also deals in sexual politics in more clever ways than most people would expect which make sthis movie even more relevant and intelligent. If people just could see past the tits....

This is one of the great ones in my opinion. One that is both subversive but also a helluva lot of fun. Blue is the warmest color is apparantly a great movie depicting the topic but here we have an entertainng genre piece that deals with similir topics, is subversive and it totally works. Which is the winner here?


lördag 23 april 2016

JOHAN FALK SERIES PART 14: THE CHILD INFILTRATOR


Previously on Johan Falk:

A much larger organization shows its face. No, it is not SPECTRE. Johan Falks family gets involved leading to Falk taking matters in his own hands, defending his family.

Seth Rydell and his handler Sophie is on a collision course as he pulled a fast one on her, making her responsible for getting a criminal killed.

Plot:
It starts off in medias res, or at the end of the story. Johan Falk gets shot in the neck by Simon. Then back to the beginning of the story. (Way to  spoil a movie.  What if M Night Shyamalan did that with his movies...?)

Someone is selling pre-prepped robberings. Someone from Seths past. A gang of youths pulls off a heist but fails to get rid of the ink in the moneybags. Now they need someone to wash the papers free from any of that particular Color of Incrimination. And one of those people is a fifteen year old kid named Simon

This story is about how juvenile delinquents are being used on both sides as robbers or as infiltrators or undercover informants. It is as questionable as it can get. And it creates a rift between the members of GSI.

A lot of the small time criminals in this one comes from white trash families without any real future. Especially a boy who has to suffer the acts of his parents,

Jibber jabber:

GSI involves one of their new guys into the way a handler manages an informer . Like an observer. Watch and learn. His name is Vidar (Mårten Svedberg) and has been like the moral voice of the series, questioning the tactics of GSI. I don´t know, for the most part he has been a whiny bitch. Instead of contributing with constructive feedback he has only been grumpy about the culture. And to be honest a bit of a nay-sayer. His partner Niklas ( Alexander Karim) actually tells him if he does not like it here he can leave. Which is a good response. Vidar whines a bit.

I mean, I don´t blame Vidar really. It is perfectly natural to look at GSI and what they are doing and have been doing as non-constitutional and highly questionable. I think in this movie, Vidar draws a line that I think most of us agree with. It is not ok using kids like Simon. Someone who has had shitty parents should not suffer the consequences . Johan is also kind of on board with this. He does not care for using minors. Although technically as Simon is fifteen he is legally responsible, the real world does not deal in numbers. It is muddy to say the least

If you are not uneasy about this, you should think twice what this can do in the long run. As soon as something becomes acceptable there is no way turning back,

Simons parents pulled an insurance fraud scheme leaving him taking the shit storm.an original sin if you will, hence he has to do all this stuff as he is more or less ostracized from society as he is up to his neck with debts.

This is a nice  different take on the depiction of criminality. The type of white trash parents a kid cannot be blamed for having, neither can he be blamed for their short comings as he is getting the short end of the stick from society.

Some backstory to Seths past is revealed as he confronts the person behind selling the robbery plans. A finnish jerkoff named Heiki. Old conflicts lead to tragedy as Heiki kills Seths younger brother in the climax. We also get more of Sophies and Seth relationship deepening. She has been duped by him in previous film, but now she needs to set things straight and actually starts to manage the situation

At the end of the film, when the obligatory shootout happens Simon flees from the scene, Johan follows him. Simon shoots Falk because he is scared. And who wouldn´t be in his situation?

When Falk gets shot he also ends up lying on his back shooting the bad guy .This reminds me of the end toThe Thrid Wave. But that time he was shot in the head with rubber bullets (oww...) and now in the neck with a real bullet (argh...), but like real movie cops he takes it like a man, gets some bandages and walk it off. Well, sort of.

Here is a comparison




The shooting takes place in a dark basement rather than a open street of turmoil in Germany. He is not saving Europe or his family, but rather perhaps more importantly, a child put into a life situation he has had no choice of. By saving this kid, he sorts of redeems himself with all the shit he put Frank Wagner through. It is less selfish and more about sacrifice for greater things.

I like to see recurring stuff in a series and compare them. Falk at the end of Third Wave protected his family  by shooting the bad guy as he promised in the first act of that movie in a monologue.. Here, with all the murky, shady GSI bullshit going on  he seem to come through a bit here. Some light in the shadows of this underworld is trickling through. Kind of nice. 

Patrik Agrell , his boss, asks Johan Falk why he never pulled the trigger at Simon as he clearly threatened a police officer. Falk responds with  just because the police fuck up, shouldn´t mean someone else should lose their life.  In The Third Wave he protected his own self interests, now he protects the integrity of the police force. Funny how things work out. Maybe it is a maturity thing , I don´t know.

I am just guessing here. But I feel we have met a different Falk now in some ways. He is more protective of his surroundings and has saved his family more than once, He saved Nina in the previous film as well he got married. Now he has responsibilities and perhaps now he can see beyond his tunnel vision that he had in the past. I like that. I am not sure the old Johan of Zero Tolerance or Executive Protection would be so aware of other people or their predicaments. It seems like his tunnel vision has extended a bit, looking past the blinders  into the deep blue eyes of life.

Jesus that last part was such horse hit. Do not read that!!

Great crime dramas always explore the thin line between cops and bad guys. Here we clearly see people being taken advantage of on both sides. 

My big compaint is there should have been more shootings. There, I said it. 

Next Time on Johan Falk: Shit gets real in one of the finest installments in the series.

From a Punisher game. Fucking hilarious!



tisdag 19 april 2016

THIEF (1981)






Thief is a story about a man wanting to be his own. Not letting someone else tell him what to do. Frank is a professional thief, working completely solo, until one day he gets an offer of joining a bigger organization that can make his life much more comfortable and easier than his current living.

But it is a Faustian falseness. The devil comes with a seductive propostition. Lurng Frank into  a part of a large crime organization. A sort of mafia opertaion led by Leo ( Robert Prosky)

I can relate to Frank. For five years I worked on a small industrial laundromat, getting treated like dirt. I felt suffocated,trapped, my life belonged to that place. I realized too late after I signed the employment contracty that the place was wrong for me.

This is similar to what whappens to Frank ( James Caan). But Frank has been in jail and doesn´t give a fuck anymore. That is where we both seperate. I´ve never been in jail, I´ve been fined once, that is it. I am not a nihilist, like Frank is. And I don´t kill people

Thoughts:

The visuals are breath taking.





Tangerine Dreams scores a real dreamy landscape of athmosphere. the whole thing just oozes mood and style because of it.

Here is a link to a soundtrack version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srVzEMM9d0U

Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn seem heavily influenced by the  mood of this piece in terms of visuals and sound. The neon drenched world is told through the same type of electronic beats.

They also kind of share  a similar  main protagonist. They both lead a normal day-to-day life but at night they become someone else,Like Batman, but instead a thief or a getaway driver.

The heist parts are real fucking good. Like Rififi, the french crime classic, it is reliant on visuals and sounds and has no dialogue in them. Very stylishly directed and to the point. We are dealing with professionals, knowing what to do., What the fuck would they talk about during a heist? They are one hundred percent focused on the task at hand whn they need to. I enoy watching  this kind of criminal professionals in films.


I can relate pretty heavily to a guy trapped in a way of life he realizes too late. But instead of leaving that shitty awful place that strangled the life out of me to go study like I did, Frank kills the people that put him in that situation. As I said, we kind of differ in cerrtain places in the way we deal with things. I think the comparison may be more metaphorical.

But that is what is great about Thief. Even if it is about a thief, the point is; it is about a character that stands outside of society, someone that is bound by no family, no greater moral standards, and most likely never will. he do what he wishes, have full control of his destiny. It is pure individualism. And for people who never felt truly to belong to society they are like Frank. And Leo is the type of corrupt society that wants to snare Frank, use his abilities but also trap him in conformity, hence kill his individual streak for his own society of which he is king over.

There is a great  piece of dialogue in which Frank calls Leo out on his corporate bullshit, that he is entitled to make money of his own sweat and  blood. Amidst all of this individualism, some Marxism arises.

This is truly a remarkable film. That there is so much in it, it is so rich but at the same time be the type of no nonsense tough guy cinema is a true testiment to Michale Manns skills as a filmmaker.

måndag 18 april 2016

Short ramblings: SINNERS AND SAINTS.






This is one I started to watch late at  night. I was in no mood for sleep and  I had this one lying on the floor for months. Lying there, waiting to be played, waiting to get my attention away  from rewatching Johan Falk-movies and other important shit.

It has lied there silently. Not making any ruccus. Just patiently abiding its time. Knowingly that I love the kind of shit it promise me to deliver.

And I watched it. And it wasn´t bad. I kinda liked it. But no more

The story might be seen as cliched, but it does the job, and the plot is not bad. It is actually kind of good.  But there are some snags that I found to be, not poorly handled, but just kind of meh.

Flanerys character goes on and on about the terrible shit he has done. And when we see what everything is about, it just wasn´t what I expected. He never does anything bad, but his unit does, so I just don´t  feel his guilt tripping.

The action is good. But consists mostly of  people ducking and shooting.with variations. Some good fist fights and wrestling like moves like body slams are satisfying enough. Some kifing and punching combines it to make quite a satisfying package.

I just don´t think the shootouts are all that great. As they are the meat and the potatoes of the film, I was hoping for something with a bit more oomph!  But maybe it was me lying there on my ass on the couch playing the grumpy asshole

The actors do a serviceable job. Johnny Strong especially. he makes for a convincing tough guy. Someone who is rough around the edges.

Its contemporary backdrop is both convincing and a bit scary. the locations are gritty and believable and lends a sort of authenticity to the disparity of the place.

I think I prefer James Lee Burkes take on the Katrina and what it did to New Orleans and to the residents. . Read Tin roof blowdown  as it is both a hard edged crime novel and  existential piece at the same time. A hard book to get through.

The blu-ray looks back at me disappointed that it could not convince me of its greatness. That it never quite fulfilled my appettite for hard boiled crime drama/action.

But I paid attention to it. Not bad, so it have no reason feeling guilty for what it has done to me. It was ok.