Friday, February 17, 2012


This Means War

This Means War I don't have any doubt that the US government wastes my tax dollar like there's no tomorrow. However, if there is a remote chance for what is happening in director McG's ludicrous comedy "This Means War" (USA 2012 | 98 min.) to be true, the C.I.A. should have been dissolved long time ago. The film looks like a desperate attempt of creating an episode of a mediocre TV sitcom, and it fails miserably.

Two good-looking hunks FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are partners as C.I.A. agents. After a mishap during an operation in Hong Kong, they are grounded in the office. In order to kill the boredom, they decide to go on a dating Web site to find a woman to date. By coincident, they miraculously pick the same beautiful woman Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon).

Unknown to Lauren, FDR and Tuck are waging a war to see who can court Lauren, at tax payer's expense. Believe it or not, both FDR and Tuck are able to mobilize all the technology and facility available at the C.I.A. as well as other C.I.A. personnel to conduct surveillance on each other during this alpha male's dating game. Really?

Lauren is a good sport as well, she innocently dates these two guys, not exactly at the same time, but on alternative days of a week, so FDR and Tuck can escalate the tension with new developments in their war.

Of course, the film is filled with other unrealistic fighting, mindless actions, big explosions, mean drug traffickers, reckless car chasing and all other necessary fast-food ingredients in an unhealthy happy meal.

Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy in This Means War

Like most fast food, the film provides no nutrition value; but to some, it offers instant gratification. Afterwards, you wonder what you have to do to get rid of the bad stuff you take in. Here are things you can do that might help. Watch Reese Witherspoon in "Election" (1999) when she is actually funny. Watch Tom Hardy in "Warrior" (2011) when he is tough and brilliant. Watch Chris Pine in "Unstoppable" when he heroically deals with true crisis.

If anything in this film resembled truth, you would know the real reason why the US has such a huge deficit—it's all C.I.A.'s fault for having guys like FDR and Tuck messing around with our tax dollars.

"This Means War," a 20th Century Fox release, opens on Friday, February 17, 2012, at Bay Area theaters.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Safe House

Safe House "You do what you have to do." That's the advice given by a former C.I.A. agent Tobin Frost in director Daniel Espinosa's exhilarating thriller "Safe House" (USA 2012 | 115 min.). Actually, that becomes the only protocol for the film's protagonists to follow in order to survive, because the integrity of the intelligence community has been compromised by corruption and no one can be trusted, in this film anyway. This well-executed film confidently unfolds its story that takes place within a 48 hours period.

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a formal C.I.A. agent who disappears in South Africa years ago and he is accused of providing intelligence to foreign agencies. When he is captured in Cape Town, South Africa, he is brought into a "safe house"—C.I.A.'s code name for secrete locations for interrogating captives. The safe house's keeper is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) who is eager to prove himself in a real operation after being the lone house keeper for over a year.

However, soon after Tobin Frost's arrival, the safe house is under attack. Matt Weston must transfer Tobin Frost to another safe house. Despite the fact that just about everyone in the audience can guess that C.I.A. is to blame on every bullet fired at them, Matt is a little slow on figuring that out, even he moves pretty fast when he is in action. It's a cat and mouse game and we can safely predict who will prevail.

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Safe House

While the plot is certainly not something refreshing, the film is skillfully crafted and terrifically acted. Even it might sound absurd for Matt to reveal his identity to his girlfriend and break up with her at the same time, Ryan Reynolds makes it completely convincing when he displays raw emotion on the big screen.

Let's face it, Denzel Washington almost always plays characters who posses unshakable authority and extraordinary confidence. His voice and body language exhibits that trait effortlessly. Once again, there is no exception in this film when he plays an intelligent C.I.A. agent who calmly voices quips between exciting action sequences.

Although this film doesn't provide much food for thought, if any at all, it surely provides ample entertainment. It also gives us a chance to see how water-boarding is performed, properly. Finally, the film shows that it's not terribly hard to figure out who is a C.I.A. agent—sometimes you just need to ask, maybe not nicely, and they will tell. See it by yourself in the film.

"Safe House," a Universal Pictures release, opens on Friday, February 10, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.

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