lördag 21 december 2013


After the three movies about renegade cop Johan Falk, director/creator Anders Nilsson called it quits. The Third Wave was supposed to be the concluding installment in the series.

But a few years later he found inspiration for a television series about his lone wolf protagonist from the swedish headlines; There was a scandal about a secret swedish crime fighting unit using illegal means of bringing down organized crime. One of those illegal means was using a civilian as an undercover informant. An informant that actually performed various illegal activities in order to protect his cover.

This is probably nothing new in the States, but here in Sweden, organized crime is a relatively new threat and the legislation about handling them has been lagging behind the times.
The moral ambiguity of it and the insight into howstressful it would be playing an informant is part of what is interesting and fresh about the tv-series and because of it the focus shifts from Falk to the undercover informant in question,Frank Wagner played by Joel (the new RoboCop)Kinneman. Johan Falk becomes his handler and the relationship between them is central to the arc of this suspenseful series.

As this is the first entry in a new context for Falk, it introduces all of the characters relevant to the series. Falk comes back to Sweden after being stuck behind a desk at Europol in Brussels looking for some action. He is offered a job in a special unit against organized crime whose methods lies in the grey area of the law and one of them is handling civilian informants,something that is not even legal. Falk has his doubts about the methods involved throughout the series, which I think is good and also debunk a lot of the criticism that the series acts as a proponent for fascism. The series continues throughout to show how problematic such an approach would be and what effect they would have.
As I have stated in previous Falk-reviews I think the more socially relevant issues might be more interesting to scandinavians but it might also be interesting for genre fans to see familiar genre conventions operate within a different national context.  Don´t expect the spectacle of american actionfilms, but as with the other films in the series it relies heavily on realism, and the quality of the writing when it comes to the plot and character ,even though  the dialogue is just as bad as previous efforts.
There are currrently twelve feature-length episodes that cover this story-arc  and there are six more in development that is probably going to shift its focus elsewhere storywise. What path Nilsson has decided to take with these is anyones guess, I know I am excited for more.

lördag 14 december 2013


I am glad this movie exist. I never heard of the books before.These are very interesting times we live in.There is so much stuff being put out and despite the medium of Internet of advertising your product, it is still possible for good shit to slip under your radar. But moviestudios are good at one thing. Getting your attention.

There has been some moaning about the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher, since Reacher is a gigantic,muscular and intimidating character in the novels. I can see that. The problem with adaptations from books to film is the individual visualization process of books,of how everything should look like according to people. There are a million different intepretations, which is one of the reasons books are such a great medium. but focusing on only one aspect of the books seem kind of onenote. Sure, getting the character right is important, but translating him, marketing him, making an audience aware of the character is very important as well. And without a high-profile name as Cruise I probably would not even have noticed or bothered about the books. For instance, apparantly there was an adaptation of  the first John Rain-novel. John Rain,who is that, you say? Exactly. I wouldn´t say that the movie was  directly responsible for me seeking out the books, but when I was browsing through the bookstore this summer, I noticed a large amount of them had the name Lee Child and they all seem to have kind of pulpy titles and when I saw "A Jack Reacher Thriller" I remembered the movie and the name and I knew I would perhaps be into it. So its not a bad thing at all to be able to spread the awareness of a franchise and if it takes a household name to do that, then perhaps sacrifices must be made.

Five innocent people gets seemingly randomly gunned down by a sniper.,The cops find the killer but they cannot get an confession out of him,. only the message "get Jack Reacher" and  Reacher starts . unwhillingly at first,working with  the defense lawyer Helen Rhodin to find out what really happened.


One of the problems with how the movie portays Reacher compared to the novels.The movie only shows how great Reacher is at everything. In the books his flaws are presented as well. He can´t run fast, he is a shitty driver etc. Partly because he is a big guy.The driving part is the only real flaw of the representation of the character. He is just too good a driver compared to the books.  Also the carchase is completely made up for the film. But since this movie reminds me more of a gritty realistic 70´s action tough guy movie, you´ll have no complaints from me regarding the addition of a carchase. It is just that Reacher does not drive well in the books. So by removing the more awkward aspects of Reachers character and instead  making Reacher as awesome as possible also makes him harder to distinguish from other  movie action heroes .

Then there is a real dumb selfconscious sequence where Reacher explains to  Helen and the audience about his way of life and "wouldn´t everyone want to live like me?" Reacher would never do that, but I kind of get of what they were trying to do; since this is the first in a possible movie franchise, getting the idea across about what Jack Reacher is about to non-readers. I did not like it though.

The plot behind the shootings is reminiscent of similar tactics by the killer in a previous Reacher-novel: The Visitor. Hiding in plain sight. Disguising the true motives and  their target but instead of making it look like a serial killer it is made to look like the irrational work of a massmurderer going rampage.

The movie deals with the exposition parts quite good´. The books are very plot-heavy, usually filled with scenes with people sitting in a room explaining the plot, but McQuarrie has found a way to make it visually more interesting. The script of the movie also does a good job of streamlining the plot by removing a lot of fat from the book, characters and plots being reshaped to fit better into a sleek two hour action spectacle.It might annoy readers familiar with the book. But the plot feels as result a bit tighter and a lot of elements are condensed really well, like the Zec character and were he came from. And as a whole the movie is a successful adaptation. It is not  entirely true to the book but should be seen as  natural. After all it´s about catering to  a contemporary cinema goers sensiblities, making them more aware and interested in the character and hopefully get to read the books. I hope so.

UPDATE:  I reviewed the very first Reacher book on another blog:

lördag 7 december 2013


I kind of like the title revengeance, because it is about time Carpenters neglected sequel came to a forefront. It is a satirical commentary on not only totalitarian bullshit but  Carpenter also explores a multicultural , eclectic and really goofy  Los Angeles.  In  Escape From New York you were met with a cold hostile environment. Los Angeles is much more vibrant but in a way more dangerous. I have yet to visit these cities, is it actually true? New York being a colder, but safer place and L.A being diverse and energetic but dangerous at the same time? I probably shouldn´t pass judgment until I experience them for myself.

Making the president much more of a biblical lunatic, might also be something Carpenter was seriously afraid of happening. That the most fanatic fringe of the republicans would get total power and this is the result of it. The whole cold war aspect is gone. It used to be cold fascism and inhuman solutions in the old movie, but now madness without a particular enemy (except domestic "moral" decay) has taken power and all bets are off. The president is crazy!

The plot is basically the same, but I feel the context has shifted. The religious aspect of this totalitarianism is really creeping me out. Cliff Robertson  as an eerily prophetic parody of George W Bush, where this character is motivating his decisions using the Bible. The crazy fuck is  even willing to sacrifice his own (admittedly blue-eyed and stupid) daughter and would not  bullshit about it. He even has a mobile electric chair to execute her on spot!. Jesus,you bastard. You really think Jesus would have signed up for this ,you cooky religious fucker?

Then we have the prison that is L.A. There are some likable characters here. Carpenter uses the token hippie (Peter Fonda) and the celebrity chasing coat-turning Map to the Stars Eddie(Steve Buscemi). Eddie is the typical career chasing idiot who only serves whoever is in charge of the moment. Sounds like some bitter as shit critique of Hollywood from Carpenters side.  Fondas character is a lot more sympathetic. He is more an outsider like Snake and Snake has also easier to band with  him as a result. 

Then we have George Corraface as the Che Guevara looking motherfucker Cuervo Jones who is driving around in the most pimpest dollheadwearing car that I have ever seen. I am sorry , Duke Of New York ( A Number One), but your lanterns on your car is shit compared to this pimpmobile. He also has these  deadly Thunderdome- esque  events that are so enjoyable in these post apocalyptic movies. At least he is a great dictator, like some Roman ones, knowing how to quell a rebellion. Giving them bloodthirst to calm the masses. Not bad thinking,hombre.

And then we have , Bruce Campbell as the Evil Plastic Surgeon. What a great character in a really creepy scene where fakeness rules. It is a disturbing satire on the obsession of human perfection that is part of the Hollywood myth and a great scene depicting just that.

It feels like I am just scratching the surface on this movie, but it must have been some sort of an angry way of telling what a hard time Carpenter has had making movies in America but in Europe he always seems to have enjoyed greater critical acclaim. Hollywood  is here being portrayed as an exclusive kind of world,in the shape of  a prison from the outside and where Snake (Carpenters alter ego) is neither a caught in the Hollywood hype, nor is he a puppet for the government. He is despised by both worlds and as a result he terminates the world.  Snake as a character motivates that "change only leed to the same thing" or something like that, which probably means that no matter who is in charge it will always stays the same. A very cynical world view, but also a movie that feels truthful to that view. Then the world shuts down and now perhaps Carpenter (Snake) can shape a new future. John Carpenter,please come back. We need you. We need your revolution.

tisdag 3 december 2013


Whereas Executive Protection dealt with the possibility of foreign mafias operating and penetrating Swedish borders, The Third Wave is much more high concept. The tagline for the film is "A continent is about to be stolen" pretty much sums it up. Apparently the term  Third Wave itself refers to the possiblility of how fascism can arise (democracy takes pride in individualism, but is harmful for the common good is an argument) and part of that is integrated in the third Johan Falk story.

Johan Falk has retired. He has this great bad ass monologue about how he does not believe in the democratic justice sytem anymore and intend to build a heavily fortified home for his family and the first asshole to come through will be shot on sight. Here we see a different Falk at work. Already he operated out of the system in the second film, but he did contact the police at the end. Here he seems much more disconnected from the system, it is almost postapocalyptic so. He is not concerned of how organised crime slowely infiltrate the european community, slowely corrupting the system until a personal death affects him. Then shit is on and he is hunting down the people behind it and in the process a huge cogwheel in european organised crime.

The villain this time should be recognised by an international audience. It is the same guy who played Göring in Inglorious Basterds : Sylvester Grothe. to be honest though, he is just a henchman to the powers that be, the suits. But he is still great and sleazy.

Shit is going down in Europe and Falk has to save the day
As previous review, I do not want to spoil the plot, it is much more international in scope, has a bigger international cast and a heavilier use of english dialogue. Unfortunately one of the films biggest gripes I have with it is just the english dialogue. Why could not the british actors  complain about some of the most obvious mistranslatings and point it out to the director and rectify it? Very poor indeed and it is just too bad that an otherwise narratively and such cinematic strong thriller would hinder at poor dialogue.

Otherwise it is very interesting how the series has progressed from an fantastically swedishly imagined copthriller to a more broad international thriller with higher stakes, I think this is where the creator Anders Nilssson intended the series to end, but then real  things happened in Swqeden and  more films were to come.

I have yet to spoken about the soundtrack to these fil,ms, but Bengt Nilsson is the genius behind them and are available on Spotify. They contribute so much to the films you need to acknowledge its presence:

Bengt Nilsson