Avoiding Responsibility: Tron, Green Hornet, and The Mechanic


I waste time in a lot of creative ways. One way is by watching what ever marathon is on USA, organizing my music for 12 hours at a time, reading the New York Times (or if I’m really desperate, the Wall Street Journal). On Tuesday, it meant watching three bad movies. Because this is my blog, and another way that I avoid being productive, I’ve decided to share my experiences. What else do I have to do?

I’ve never written a movie review before, so don’t expect professional analysis (read: above decent) of the movies I watched, rather, anticipate these posts being moderately coherent reactionary pieces.

On Tuesday I spent my afternoon and evening watching Tron: Legacy, The Green Hornet, and The Mechanic (with a break between the first two to have dinner with some friends – I’m not completely anti-social). Thoughts/Pseudo-Reviews after the jump.

Tron: Legacy

I remember when Tron was in production (for like 8 years) and Disney just kept putting out these beautiful images of the movie. I got REALLY excited about the film, but then when it actually came out, I never went to see it. I did, however, read a bunch of reviews that weren’t as positive. The visual and audio (i.e. Daft Punk’s awesome score) components of the movie were exceptional, but the reviews ripped into the story and the acting. Now, my thoughts: Watch this movie in HD, with surround sound, and with the lowest expectations. If you follow this simple formula, Tron: Legacy will leave you very satisfied. The acting and the story weren’t as bad as they were made out to be in the initial reviews (which ranged from completely incoherent to something slightly less negative). It was simple, required a suspended disbelief, and exactly what a movie based on people being sucked into a video game needed. Look, I don’t know about you, but I watched Tron because I wanted to be dazzled by the pretty lights and sounds, not to have my mind-blown by the philosophic implications of creating a perfect system and then translating that to the “real” world, so I wasn’t really expecting a logical plot (though, to be honest, if you remove the technical details and break this one down into bits, it’s starts to make sense: Initial Harmony: Happy family. Lack: boy without father. Quest: boy searches for father. Helper: Olivia Wilde, and father. Magical Opponent: CLUE. Trial: Bring father home. Outcome: Fail (due to sacrifice of father). Reward: Partial, he get’s Olivia Wilde instead of his father.). I didn’t really expect to use Propp-R ever again in my life, but apparently, Tron: Legacy fits the structure of a Magic Tale. Kind of a fun discovery, haha. Anyway, I say see Tron: Legacy if you have 125 minutes sitting around. It’s pretty. It’s fun. And it doesn’t make you think. Which, I suppose was my whole goal when I sat down for this expedition. Final thought: I’ve heard that Tron: Legacy is similar to what the original Tron was like back in 1982 when it was first released: state-of-the-art visuals with crater sized holes in the plot. I can’t speak on the comparison as I haven’t seen the original, but I can’t disagree with that assessment for this rendition. It also doesn’t make me want to go out and watch the original either since it seems to have very little going for it at this point aside from its position as a cult classic.

(I don’t have a rating system yet… any ideas?)

The Green Hornet

I’m generally a big fan of Seth Rogen. He doesn’t make me think too hard but he always gets me to laugh, generally by acting like an idiot on screen and getting hurt. The Green Hornet was no exception, except that the story kind of sucked. Now, I didn’t have huge expectations for the movie (again, I’d read poor reviews), but it was a movie that I wanted to watch because I’ve actually seen a few of the episodes and Michel Gondry intrigued me with some of his camera work (i.e. the way Kato’s fight scenes were done). As I was anticipating, Jay Chou (who played Kato) stole the show, albeit a disappointing show. Unless you want to watch a bunch of things get blown up for really no good reason, or you’re like me and like to waste 120 minutes of your life with contrived plots, poor scripts, and some mildly amusing moments, this movie’s not for you.

Finally…

The Mechanic

This was by far the worst of the three films. Look, I love Jason Statham for what he does (killing people), and that’s exactly what I got out of this movie and that was awesome, but even I have some threshold on how bad a script can be, and I think The Mechanic found it. The Mechanic, which runs at 93 minutes, is about 90 minutes of good ole’ fashion fun with Jason Statham. Then there’s the last three minutes. The so called “conclusion” of the film, in which it felt like the writers just gave up. I won’t ruin the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie and who I haven’t turned off to it in the last three sentences, but when Ben Foster starts to laugh, I just about lost it. I generally have more faith in writers’ ability to tell a story than Hollywood’s dedication to actually letting people hear that story, so I’m not going to blame who ever wrote the script, but c’mon! That was just terrible. In other news, I just found out that The Mechanic is a remake of a 1972 movie by the same title. I may have to watch that one to see how they compare.

Anyway, that’s the first edition of “Avoiding Responsibility.” Hope you liked it. In other news, I saw Thor this past weekend. One word: Awesome! Go see it.

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