As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Weekend Quintuple Feature – it’s all been done before

Posted by Hedwig on May 4, 2008

So, I’ve finally been watching movies again. And since I’m not the type to do things half-heartedly, I actually watched 5 in a day, or to be precise, one 90-minute television pilot and 4 movies. The day was an initiative of my friend Joost, and well… it ruled.

The theme? Previous incarnations of recent movies

The program?

– Miami Vice (the pilot) – 1984
– Rocky IV – 1985
– Transformers: the Movie (the animated version) – 1986
– The Punisher (the Dolph Lundgren version) – 1989
– Beowulf (the Christopher Lambert version) – 1999

As you can tell, quality wasn’t the primary selection criterion (though in a way, it was). But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have tons of fun.

The best thing that can be said about the pilot of Miami Vice is that it’s much more coherent than the recent movie. As for style… well, I’m sure Miami Vice was the epitome of style in it’s day, and that’s probably what makes it so dated now, and what’ll make the recent movie dated two decades from now. Don Johnson’s hair looks a lot more natural on him than the crazy wig does on poor Colin Farrell, and Philip Michael Thomas is having a lot of crazy-accented fun, unlike dour Jamie Foxx. In conclusion: the new one has a dreamy style and some stunning photography, but the older version wins this round on the grounds of sheer fun.

As for Rocky IV, I can’t really compare, not just because I haven’t seen Rocky Balboa, but because this was my first Rocky film, period. Yet another gap in my cinematic education bridged – I am a Rocky-virgin no more. It’s a series so ingrained in pop culture, though, that it felt like I’d seen it already. But it’s fun: montage after montage, an insanely bulked-up Dolph Lundgren, and patriotic sentiment galore.

Next up were two move movies whose recent manifestations I’d stayed clear of. Transformers: the Movie it most notable for how incredibly exhausting it is: wall to wall music, flashy animation, and pretty much non-stop action, not to mention too many robots to keep track of if you’re not versed in the Autobot/Decepticon lore. I wouldn’t call it more than an interesting experience.

The Punisher, on the other hand, was probably the most enjoyable movie of the day. Lundgren again, slightly less bulky and with black hair here, and not really speaking that much more. He’s a silent, brooding type, but he kicks ass, and I liked how simple and briskly paced it was (it jumps right into the action, forgoing the usual origin story), not to mention some of the very nice, clearly comic-inspired images. And well, while I haven’t seen the new one, I’ll bet it doesn’t feature the Punisher rescuing a bunch of kids from a crazy Yakuza woman. Also: Jeroen Krabbé!

Finally, Beowulf, the only movie not from the eighties (basically, this means the awful synthesizer music has been replaced by even worse techno), featuring the one and only Christopher Lambert with a white haircut that’d make Samuel L. Jackson in Jumper jealous. I wondered why Beowulf needed to be done motion-capture style, and now I’m even more mystified, since it works pretty well in live-action. The clumsiness of the effects even kind of adds to the enjoyment. And who needs fancy special effects when you can resort to that other teenage-boy-trigger: boobs! It’s the first thing you think when Kyra (Rhona Mitra) walks into the room, and the Playboy playmate who plays Grendel’s mother is so pornoish she gives Angelina Jolie a run for her money.

Next time: a truly artsy double feature to compensate. But I refuse to apologize: bad movies can be much more fun than quality ones, and they beat mediocre ones every time.

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5 Responses to “Weekend Quintuple Feature – it’s all been done before”

  1. Kaj said

    Funny, I has myself a little marathon too, only with 8 other people, 8 movies & an hour-long tv-episode, and it stretched over 2 days.

  2. Jeroen Krabbé makes every movie better.

    I think Rocky is highly overrated in general, but III and IV are such pale shadows of the first couple. You should definitely check them out.

    I can’t speak for the new Rocky since I didn’t see it.

  3. Kaj said

    The first Rocky is actually quite a decent movie, that has some honesty and integrity to it. The second is a bad Hollywood version of it, the third is utterly ridiculous (but introduces the use of Eye of the Tiger, now synonymous with the whole series). I’ve not dared to venture further.

    Oh, and I found the recent Punisher to be abominable.

  4. I never saw the new Rocky either but enjoyed the first one.

  5. Alison Flynn said

    Wow, you’ve never seen the original Rocky? It’s worth checking out just once. As for me, by the time they got to Rocky III I was tired of the franchise, so I’ve never seen anything after II. That includes the newest one, Rocky Balboa.

    The Punisher isn’t bad for what it is.

    Nice writeup. 🙂

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