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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 1:17:55 PM
Cheers: A fearsome gangster (Robert De Niro, left) finds himself becoming friends with a lawman (Tommy Lee Jones) when the latter is responsible for looking after him in Malavita.
A mob family, undercover agents and espionage provide the twists and turns in our three mini movie reviews.
EVERY family has its ups and down, doubly so when there is an extended family in the picture.
In the case of the Manzonis – who used to be part of the Mafia family in New York – things turn really bad when Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) snitches on his boss.
Put under the witness protection programme, he and his family end up in a small town in France.
Of course, old habits die hard, so whoever crosses this family suffers some lasting injuries – like the French boys who are taught a lesson on how to respect women by the tennis racquet-wielding daughter, or the plumber who receives the brunt of his own tools when the father doesn’t get the proper answers he’s looking for.
There are sparks of fun when the scenes are commanded by De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, and whenever the Manzonis are depicted as a normal family.
While the film is not to be taken seriously — obviously since there is always a touch of ridiculousness in it, be it in the performances or a scene itself – its narrative does dip to low points.
This is apparent when it focuses on Giovanni’s daughter (Dianna Agron). It’s just amazing how Agron can make any role dull and colourless.
She’s not doing herself any favours by playing a silly girl here – someone who considers suicide because the man she loves does not feel the same way. We’re suppose to find this funny?
Even when director Luc Besson shifts the story to an explosive action sequence, he stretches it really thin.
In the end, Malavita – or, The Family – is like a relative that you never, ever, want to see again. — Mumtaj Begum (**)
Denzel Washington is an actor who’d have chemistry with a table. Luckily for him, his partner in 2 Guns is Mark Wahlberg, an actor who can play a thug like he is one.
These two actors do have fun with their characters and ask the audience to hop on the ride. Unfortunately, the film operates on convenient storytelling, which has too many scenes in which the audience has to suspend disbelief. The movie works only when the focus is on the two main characters together.
Washington and Wahlberg play two undercover agents from different agencies. Not knowing that they are on the same side, they hatch a plan that gets them into trouble with both the bad guys and the so-called good guys.
Besides the two actors and more than decent action scenes, the only thing you can glean from the film is that corruption and disloyalty are rife within government agencies.
The CIA, Naval Intelligence and DEA all have members who are as dirty as a drug cartel, or just plain ignorant. It’s scary that these people have the most power in the country then. — MB (**)
This is a serviceable movie.
By that, I mean that it’s an OK movie to watch if you just want something to do, but there’s really nothing outstanding about it at all.
The whole paranoia thing? Not really happening.
It’s just the occasional interspersed surveillance scenes and security camera footage – ho-hum, I say. There are other films that have tackled this subject way, way better.
The actors, including lead Liam Hemsworth (Adam Cassidy), Gary Oldman (Nick Wyatt) and Harrison Ford (Jock Goddard), do an OK job, but they never really draw you into the story.
Cassidy’s love interest, Emma Jennings (Amber Heard), has the weakest story of them all, what with her sudden turnabout from viewing Cassidy as a one-night stand to serious boyfriend material.
Basically, the film is about industrial espionage, with Cassidy being blackmailed by his boss Wyatt, into stealing a revolutionary new phone from arch-rival Goddard.
And that’s about the most exciting thing you can say about it.
I was more amused by the observation that Cassidy and his best friend and smarter sidekick Kevin (Lucas Till) actually have the same type of relationship that Goddard and Wyatt have. Intentional or coincidence, I wonder?
I’d probably have been better off reading the book by Joseph Finder.
Watch only if there’s nothing else available. — Tan Shiow Chin (**)
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Lifestyle, Entertainment, Movies, Reviews, Malavita, 2 Guns, Paranoia
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