Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Death Sentence (James Wan, 2007)

James Wan is really underrated, I think. While watching Death Sentence, I thought back on his previous directorial efforts, Saw and Dead Silence, and realized that basically everything he's done, I've been a fan of. I'm not saying he's the next Scorcese or anything, but he's a great genre director. In that vein, Death Sentence is a great piece of exploitation action; what Grindhouse would have been if the directors didn't take themselves so seriously (though I still prefer Grindhouse, this is just the Death Wish to their sexploitation-horror films). Kevin Bacon plays the father of a promising youth athlete who is murdered in a gas station gang initiation ceremony. The gang member is caught, but Bacon is shocked that he would get 5-7 years in jail at the most, so he purposefully ruins the case and decides to take revenge.

The change from white-collar businessman to no-nonsense vigilante is a really genuine seeming one; it really could happen to someone you know. In particular, one chase scene, which goes from the streets to a parking garage, is done for several minutes in one continuous shot which is really impressive. It brings you into the action and is just an impressive directorial feat (there's even a bonus feature on the DVD about the making of that particular scene). So while it may seem like a far-fetched premise, Bacon, the writing, and Wan's direction really bring it to life. Not to mention, John Goodman has an incredibly badass role as an arms dealer and gang leader. James Wan really pulled this modern day Charles Bronson movie off, and not least because he understands that a double-barrelled shotgun is the most badass weapon there is.


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