Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Movie: Prince of Persia

Movies based on video games have, almost without fail, been pretty lousy. There are pockets of fans who staunchly believe that the first Mortal Kombat film was, in its relative faithfulness to the game, actually decent. It had its moments, but Street Fighter, Doom, and their ilk have cast such a shadow over anything related to gaming that breaking through that barrier at this point seems almost impossible. It isn't just the stigma attached to the crappy movies; there is a feeling about video games themselves that they are childish, silly, and could not possibly tell a good story. While anyone who has actually picked up a game can tell you differently, movies are not targeted just at gamers. They have to appeal to the widest possible audience, so whether or not the source material is good enough to stand on its own is often a moot point.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Movie: District 13: Ultimatum

Going international with this one.

Luc Besson, most commonly known for his work writing and/or directing films like The Professional (aka Leon), The Fifth Element, and Transporter, often does work in France as well, evidenced by the first District 13 film, released in 2004 and which I randomly came across on Netflix. That film was set against a near-future Paris split into districts, with a particularly nasty ghetto (B13) in line for total destruction by some nasty dudes. Starring David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli, it was a neat, if not terribly thought-provoking action movie that showed off the respective skill sets of its two main players. Belle is regarded as the founder of an increasingly popular athletic discipline known as parkour, which is a sort of open world gymnastics. The agility and athleticism required to reach full potential are what Belle brought to the first District 13 film, as he runs and jumps fluidly and without hesitation. In one of the recent Bond films, Casino Royale, the man Bond is chasing early in the movie is practicing parkour.