Derek Haas

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Wanted Review


Good
A scrawny, self-loathing office drone gets plucked from his humdrum existence by a steely, gun-wielding super babe, is mentored by a Zen warrior with limitless intelligence but limited patience, then endures harsh physical training to prepare for a deadly mission only he can complete.

What sounds an awful lot like The Matrix is actually Wanted, an adaptation of Mark Millar's 2004 comic book miniseries by style-conscious Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov. His name may ring a bell with adventurous moviegoers who sampled his frenzied vampire thriller Night Watch and its muddled sequel, Day Watch. And though it's unlikely Bekmambetov will become a household name once Wanted explodes on the scene, a wider audience certainly will become more familiar with the director's uniquely kinetic aesthetics.

Continue reading: Wanted Review

3:10 To Yuma Review


Weak
Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, a writer known more for loan sharks and confidence men than ruthless bandits and old-soul lawmen, 3:10 to Yuma originally sold Glenn Ford as slick outlaw Ben Wade and Van Heflin as Dan Evans, the rancher burdened with delivering Wade to a prison train heading to Yuma. Directed in 1957 by Delmer Daves, the original was a perversely intimate piece of rawhide for a genre that already prided itself on its strange seclusion.

Fit for our time, Evans is now played by master of reticence Christian Bale and Wade is now played by a rough-and-tumble Russell Crowe with just the right hint of sadism. Evans' cathartic mission to get Wade on the train to the gallows now spans three days rather than one, and Bale's cavalry includes Alan Tudyck and Peter Fonda. To give room for the new additions, director James Mangold stretches Daves' film from its airtight 90-minute runtime to a full two hours, throwing in a father-and-son angle and a chase through a railroad path being built by Chinese laborers. The man who keeps the Chinese in line? Luke Wilson, of course.

Continue reading: 3:10 To Yuma Review

2 Fast 2 Furious Review


Grim
Two years ago, Rob Cohen's The Fast and the Furious tapped into a subculture of gearheads and speed freaks as it transformed Vin Diesel and Paul Walker into overnight sensations. Its $145 million domestic gross guaranteed a sequel, even after Vin hit the brakes on his involvement.

Not surprisingly, Diesel's presence is missed in John Singleton's lame 2 Fast 2 Furious. Seriously, did anyone leave the first Furious wondering what happened to Walker's cardboard cutout cop character? If anything, the sequel should've tracked down Diesel's gruff-and-tumble Dominic Toretto, who sidestepped the long arm of the law after proving his loyalty to Walker's undercover officer, Brian O'Conner.

Continue reading: 2 Fast 2 Furious Review

2 Fast 2 Furious Review


Grim
Two years ago, Rob Cohen's The Fast and the Furious tapped into a subculture of gearheads and speed freaks as it transformed Vin Diesel and Paul Walker into overnight sensations. Its $145 million domestic gross guaranteed a sequel, even after Vin hit the brakes on his involvement.

Not surprisingly, Diesel's presence is missed in John Singleton's lame 2 Fast 2 Furious. Seriously, did anyone leave the first Furious wondering what happened to Walker's cardboard cutout cop character? If anything, the sequel should've tracked down Diesel's gruff-and-tumble Dominic Toretto, who sidestepped the long arm of the law after proving his loyalty to Walker's undercover officer, Brian O'Conner.

Continue reading: 2 Fast 2 Furious Review

Catch That Kid Review


OK
There's an important lesson every male should learn, even at a young age: Women always get their way. You listening, fellas? Pack it up, party's over, that's the way of the world. The likable but unambitious Catch That Kid delivers this bubble-bursting curveball to ten-year-old boys everywhere, delivering a preteen heroine that knows the only way to make things happen. Be a playa.

She's a cute tomboy named Maddy (Kristen Stewart, Panic Room), a determined mountain climber-in-training who idolizes her dad (Sam Robards) and helps her overworked mom (Jennifer Beals). She's got two pint-sized buddies: Gus (Max Thieriot), a mini-Mr. Fix-It who loves go-karts and really digs Maddy, and Austin (Corbin Bleu), a crack technology whiz who also really digs Maddy.

Continue reading: Catch That Kid Review

Invincible (2001, TV) Review


Unbearable
Looking for a wild, kung fu-infused, ass-kicking action movie?

Invincible is about as far from that as you can get.

Continue reading: Invincible (2001, TV) Review

Derek Haas

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