Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Movie Review "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "12 Rounds"

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine", with Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, and

This is the most brainless superhero film I've ever seen. That doesn't mean it's bad, and it has a good plot on paper, but when 20th Century Fox filmed this they obviously screwed up. The only superhero films more brainless than this is Fantastic Four (and that's only bearable because Jessica Alba is in those films). The beginning is when a scrawny pre-teen Wolverine (in the 1800s), sees his "dad" killed then kills his friend's dad with his newly grown bone claws, then finds out that his friend's dad is his dad, too, all in the space of about a minute. Then the entire opening credits has Wolverine and his friend/newly discovered brother fighting in the Civil War (for the Union, weird because they're both Canadian), World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War (all for America, obviously). Then his friend/brother (called Victor, but in the comics his name is Sabretooth), tries to rape a Vietnamese woman, is stopped by an American soldier, then grows claws from his fingers and kills the soldier, then forces Wolverine to help him, and then they're put in front of a firing squad, then the opening credits are over. Oh, and they survived D-Day.

So then the movie actually starts with them both in a prison in the late 1960s. A dude named William Stryker (a character from another X-Men movie), meets them and forces them to join a mutant team for no reason. Then I think the movie goes to like the 1990s or something because Wolverine and Sabretooth are with a bunch of other mutants (with Ryan Reynolds, who is in the movie for less than five minutes as a sword wielding guy called Deadpool), and they're in an African country. Than Stryker finds some odd metal on a desk, asks the leader of the people he's after where he got it, takes the mutants to the people who found it, and when they won't tell tells the mutants to murder them all. Then Wolverine gets cold feet (because he's the good guy, duh), and leaves. Then six years go by, he's dating a teacher who won't shut up about a Native American story about some dude that picked flowers for the moon and couldn't give them to "her," (probably an actual myth, but I have no idea). But the guy in the myth has a name that means "Wolverine" in a Native American langauge, then Sabretooth comes out of nowhere and apparently kills her, then Wolverine screams, then he goes after Sabretooth, then he stupidly lets Stryker take him to some place to have adamantium (a made-up metal that's "harder then diamond") injected into his bones so he is literally indestructible, including his claws, then he escapes.

The rest of the movie is Wolvering trying to kill both Stryker and Sabretooth at the same time, fighting almost every mutant he meets, good or bad. There's mutants I've heard of in this movie (Gambit, Deadpool, the Blob, Professor X from the other X-Men movies, Cyclops from the other X-Men movies), and mutants I haven't heard of (all the other mutants in the movie, and some guy who can fire guns really good called Zero, and Wolverine kills him). The final villain (called Weapon XI, who has what looks like almost clear goo covering his mouth, black tatooed lines all over his body, and swords growing out of his arms) is so stupid that the response to his obvious defeat is "Finally!". Actually, this movie is so funny at some points that it's almost a comedy dressed up as an action flick. Lots of people die. Dun dun dun. And Wolverine kicks all their asses. A good action film, but kinda cheesy.

Score: 7/10

"12 Rounds", with John Cena

The thing that threw me off is the back of the cover, which shows that this was made by the same wrestling group that John Cena fights in. The only big guy in this is John Cena, and he does a good job for a guy who's acted in only one other film (The Marine), as far as I know. But this movie is decent, though the villain is some arrogant jewel thief. The story: A jewel thief is almost caught by the FBI in New Orleans (yes, New Orleans), so the FBI makes the obvious move to send average grade cops (John Cena and a friend) after some guy who's avoided every other guy sent after him. So John Cena and Co. actually catch up to this guy, his friend the other cop is shot in the ass (literally) by the jewel thief who's hiding in the trunk of his smokin' hot girlfriend's car (Not to mention that the jewel thief's name is literally a rip off from the Mission: Impossible movies), and then John Cena ends up breaking several minor laws just trying to catch the jewel thief. He stops our friend the jewel thief by grabbing the hitch for a tethered up speedboat and pushes it in front of the approaching car the jewel thief is in. They crash, both the girlfriend and the jewel thief come out alive, jewel thief gets girlfriend to make a run for it before John Cena catches both of them, the music gets more climatic, she's almost away...then she's literally run over by a car. And then cops pop out of nowhere and catch jewel thief.

The screen says "A Year Later". So John Cena and his girlfriend are having the usual little banter that movie couples have, their sink breaks, a plumber comes to fix it. Cena's girlfriend leaves to go on a ferry to get to work. And then jewel thief calls Cena and kidnaps the girlfriend at the same time. jewel thief, being the melodramatic bastard that he is, forces Cena to play a game called "12 Rounds" to get her back. So Cena does all kinds of amazing stunts that you would never have expected a Grade-D cop to be able to do.

That doesn't mean the movie is bad. Oddly, Cena, the only guy in this movie who isn't actually an actor, does the best job. Everyone else is just a cliche. The villain, the loved one, the best friend, the law enforcement guy who's much higher up the ladder than the main character but somehow does a worse job, etc. Oh, and don't forget the cute little dog that Cena seems to like more than the girlfriend. Cena has only two emotions in this movie, annoyed and angry as hell. He doesn't crack a smile once. But despite all the bad stuff about the movie (the worst part about this is everyone else's reactions to "12 Rounds," treating it like an ultra-important game of Clue, with such gems like "You only have x number of "Rounds" left!"), it's still good. John Cena does a good enough job that you want him to win, and though he doesn't give a damn about anyone else (he destroys New Orleans' main power plant in an attempt to stop a trolley in one "Round"), at least he's catching a jewel thief that only kills one person in the actual movie. The villain is so laughably bad that you want John Cena to kill him. For that reason, you're on John Cena's side the whole time.

Score: 7/10

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