"’: Gen- James Bond or dud?: Diesel-powered film is fun
I probably should preface my review of “” by mentioning that, before the movie, I spent the evening shooting guns and drinking tequila (in that order, just in case my mom or any impressionable young people are reading). In fact, given the fact my certified public accountant friend and I were more satisfied with “” than many others, I think I have to recommend such festivities as a precondition to viewing.
What’s fun about “” is its ability to whack some of the crust off the James Bond franchise: It’s Red Bull instead of martinis, motocross bikes and a GTO in place of Aston-Martins and Lotuses, and a tatted-up Vin Diesel in a Stein Ericksen fur coat in lieu of some aging British reptile in a tux. But “” keeps the cool stuff – gadgets, girls (like Asia Argento, whom one Associated Press writer described as having a “catlike sexuality,” which I think calls for her to spend some time away from the local animal shelter) and high-octane stunts. Only it’s slightly more believable that the buff, 35-year-old Diesel (nee Mark Vincent) can pull off the stunts and the girls than – I don’t know – Timothy Dalton.
Even with our ears – and maybe a few other things – buzzing, we didn’t find too many surprises within the storyline. On the other hand, happily missing were the kinds of things Mike Myers likes to make fun of in the “Austin Powers” serial: Unnecessarily ironic, clever, slow ways for evil masterminds to off their victims; unnecessarily ironic, clever and slow intricacies of plot – or, really, some would charge, anything clever, intricate or ironic at all. But, while looking like some kind of Schwarzeneggerian meathead, Diesel is pretty funny, tossing one-liners like grenades throughout the course of the movie. If this seems too easy a way to earn laughs, it reminded me of Harrison Ford in the “Indiana Jones” cycle. Vin’s also a credible enough action hero to carry the shoot-em-up scenes.
We didn’t actually hit too many of the targets dead center the other night. On the other hand, my friend and I both thought “” scored a bull’s-eye, a direct hit with its target audience.
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