* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Simon West
Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Chase, Mini Anden, James Logan
CBS Films/Rated R/Action/92 minutes
The 1972 movie starring Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent, is remade starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster in the roles of seasoned assassin, and assassin-in-training, respectively. The story's interesting, complex relationships, are undermined by numerous cliches. Statham's velvety voice and intense focus enhance the right role, and he's found one in Arthur Bishop, a highly disciplined hit man. Bishop's garage houses a classic Jaguar that he fine tunes between jobs. His orderly life and minimalist home --outside New Orleans -- are disrupted by Steve McKenna (Ben Foster), his new protege. Bishop's orders to kill are issued by unctuous Dean (a serviceable Tony Goldwyn), CEO of a secret, well-funded syndicate that counts on his meticulously planned and executed hits. Though Bishop's mentor, Harry McKenna (Donald Sutherland), is cautious and wise, he has spawned reckless son Steve (Foster). Following Harry's murder, Bishop steps in as a surrogate father, agreeing to teach Steve the family trade. Steve fails to follow Bishop's instructions and winds up in an excellently choreographed brawl. His volatile presence ensures that all the player's misdeeds are brought to light, sometimes cleverly, other times predictably. Such lapses in diligence detract from the story. DVD or Blu-ray features: Get Inside the Action with the "Tools of the Trade" featurette, Deleted & Extended Scenes, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Summit Entertainment/Rated R/Action/104 minutes
A gun-toting joyride, "Drive Angry" hurls every type of exploding vehicle and body part at the audience. Though it feels like a graphic novel, the original screenplay was cowritten by director Patrick Lussier. The film's worships of redneck icons, muscle cars and hedonistic sex, casts a nihilistic spell barely dented by its hero's efforts to defeat Satanic worshippers. In a nod to the 17th century epic poem, "ParadiseLost," Nicolas Cage's John Milton, escapes from Hell in order to save his infant granddaughter from a Satanic cult led by Jonah (Billy Burke). Milton races to their sacrificial site in his 1969 Dodge Charger, killing dozens of Jonah's minions along the way. Milton's sidekick is Piper (Amber Heard), the car's plucky owner. Cage is decked out in a scraggly wig and black leather, while Heard's long blonde locks, denim cutoffs, cowgirl boots and clinging T-shirt, complete the ideal hillbilly pin-up girl. As Satan's dapper "Accountant," William Fichtner runs away with his scenes, giving his character the campy twist this film so desperately craves. DVD features: Commentary with filmmakers Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer, Deleted scenes, How to: Drive Angry, Milton's Mayhem, English or Spanish language tracks and subtitles, widescreen.
I AM NUMBER FOUR
* *1/2 (B-)