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I'm bored and/or prophetic

In Fast and Furious 9: Furious Night, Cipher performs on herself a destructive brain uploading process that injects her mind into the Deep Shadow Net, taking control of every advanced military device and facility in the Western world. She secretly builds and launches a miles-long space station housing her program and armed with advanced orbital and defense weapons. World governments not feeling like acceding to her demands, WWIII looms.

So Mr. Nobody, barely escaping an attack from a Seal strike team following a phony order planted by Cipher 2.0, warns Dom and the gang just in time for them to weave a narrow path through an entire platoon of urban combat systems in LA. During the next hour and a half or so they have to build from scratch a fleet of combat vehicles outside Cipher 2.0's control and travel through the world collecting favors until they can build a giant linear rail gun hooked into the Hoover Dam and, while the gang fights a hopeless stalling battle against Cipher 2.0's robots, shoot Dom and his pressurized car on the least defended end of Cipher's space station.

The climatic race is then Dom driving is car on the outside of a space station, car pressed again the surface by extra nitro rockets, so far and so fast that he can evade Cipher's defense weapons, reach the central core, and put inside it a mini-nuke they stole from a French arms dealer's submarine mansion twenty movie minutes before during the heist part. The bomb explodes, but Dom survives by diving through his back seat into the car's lead-reinforced trunk, which falls somewhere in the Pacific. They find him three days later on a beach, drinking from a coconut in the porch of the cabin he built for himself.

Legendary Weapons of China

In what ended up being a day, and night, and morning of awful time management (although with some excuses for part of it), yesterday I watched Legendary Weapons of China, a Shaw production from the early '80s, and everything you'd expect given that, and more.

The sub-genre is of course predicated on the Extra, but this movie felt doubly so, and, despite of course some different cultural touchstones, I laughed out loud in many of the places where the movie intended me to. Recommended if you like that kind of movies.

Spoiling an early scene as an example, as well as the main plot conceit.Collapse )

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The Five Venoms

A classic/"classic" 1978 Shaw Brothers martial arts movie. It begins with the fastest, sketchiest, most expositionful Quest Setup ever... and then it somehow segues into an honest bit of old-fashioned thriller (triggers for police abuse and torture). But that's just a phase, and the movie does end with the usual big meaningful fight and a flash denouement that I found almost hilariously matter of fact.

I'm not sure it's a rec — there are better ones of its type and era — but it wasn't boring, either.

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For some reason I don't quite understand, this week a few cable channels here in Buenos Aires have been showing Fast and Furious movies at a pace I'm hard pressed not to use the words fast and furious to describe — multiple showings of each movie in multiple channels (and actually some other Vin Diesel ones as well, so maybe he has a movie coming up?).

Anyway, right now the ending of The London One is on TV, reminding me of one of my favorite headcanons: that the movie takes place during a period of Diana of Themyscira's life where, for the usual cracky reasons, she was depowered and, if not amnesiac, at least going through a bit of fuck-this-shit phase; heck, maybe she was reacting to the loss of her powers to pull a Bruce Wayne and going to dangerous people to complement her already extensive training.

Besides the fun of making the crack sort-of work, this has the side effect of implying that she survived (if she had been amnesiac she recovered here memory, or at least her powers as her body shut down).

Diana has been around for a long time, and not always doing the lasso-and-bracelets thing. I'm sure not all of her personas have been in the antiquities business...

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Not the worst of the Mission Impossible movies (and consider as given all the caveats and eyerolls about its politics, logistics, strategy, plots, et cetera).

I see the MI movies as existing in a quantum superposition of nearly unwatchable Ethan Hunt-olatry (where the two basic plot points are: Ethan Hunt sucks, and Ethan Hunt is the world's most important and choicest quality human being) and the action-est, spy-est pole of the heist movie (where the two basic scenes are: awesome clockwork heist-y thing and something doesn't quite work out and there's panicky faces everywhere, followed by hilarious improv). I love the latter, and/but the former makes me cringe. What makes it weirder is that those are perhaps less superimposed than spliced — you just need to not shoot, or, worst case, cut, the scenes where somebody is talking about Ethan Hunt, and you'd get an snappier, and IMHO better, movie (plus, with a more sympathetic protagonist).

The obvious analogue here is Bond — my favorite Bond bits are those that aren't about Bond, because the essence of the character is precisely that he's a professional — he doesn't go on a rampage to avenge a loved one, he does it because it's literally in his job description. Hunt is avowedly more humane — and sequel metaphysics seem to require ever-increasing stakes, which if you ask me is a nice way to paint yourself into a corner for no reason at all, as if people cared about the scale of the stakes — but, still, the point of the heist is the heist. I don't care about Hunt's non-suffering and soul, I want plastic masks and weird stunts, split-second teamwork and Tom Cruise's character bullshitting his way thru a situation in a way that lets you know that Tom Cruise has *one* actual social superpower, and that is bullshitting his way thru a situation. Like the best old-fashioned martial arts movies, seeing a Tom Cruise character put up a facade of like forty-five ultrawhite teeth and eyes deader than the dark side of the moon while everything around him is glitz and money and the mounting sense of violent, well-deserved, biblical comeuppance, is to see not an actor playing a character playing a role, but true expertise displayed under the excuse of fiction.

But I digress.

The short version: I rolled my eyes at the whole set of personal and thriller-y subplots, but the physical comedy was enjoyable. (I don't want to spoil anything, but, although I didn't really laugh a lot, there was a moment where an extra nodded and I nearly lost it.)

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Deadpool 2

Con: I have issues with the and theme. Also, and related: The R rating should cover not just violence/gore/language (as expected) but also psychological issues.

Pro: The humor and action is pretty much the same as of the first one, so if you liked that one you'll probably like this one (with the obvious caveat that in this blighted sublunar sphere of ours, a repeat is never the same; The Matrix was what it was in part because it was the first that was what it was).

All in all: not as good as the first one, but I did laugh at some points.

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Avengers: Infinity War

It's tentpol-y and of course busy and, at times, cursory, buy holy crap, it takes its premises seriously and *goes* for it. I'd quibble with their choice for Thanos' motivations, but they nailed the gravitas, menace, and directness.

Gutsiest billion-dollar movie I've seen since, well, Black Panther.

I'm glad I saw it; if you plan to, do avoid spoilers --- although haste or pharmacological coma might be the only effevtive ways.

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Is Batman Ninja

  • an AU? No, that'd have been a much less crack-tastic option.

  • racist? Well, yes. I think the local with the most lines mostly uses them to call Batman "Master" and swear loyalty to him, for reasons described but never fully explained.

  • an absolutely nonsensical mix of every known Japanese visual and storyline animation stereotype, with the Gotham players being mostly there as visual ciphers of themselves? That's the understated way of putting it.

  • insane? Damian has a monkey sidekick. Behold the mighty bat-god is a line actually spoken in earnest at one point in the movie. And I'm ignoring the truly giant, arguably spoilery points of insanity, although for something to be an spoiler it has to be a surprise in an apparently predictable story, and it takes about fifteen minutes before you give up on being surprised.

  • a glaringly unfunny, badly written, character-wise nearly worthless collation of animation frames? Yep.

  • visually pretty, if a bonkers hyper-pseudo-japanese style is among your things? I guess.



Bottom line: this would've worked better as "Grodd telepathic tech gets mixed up with Tetch's, some Scarecrow fear gas, and research-grade hallucinogens as the entire collection of Dick Grayson's old martial arts movies is uploaded into Bruce Wayne's brain, who has to stay sane through the ordeal until he can figure out how to wake himself up."

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Movies! (Violence For Money Edition)

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie: I keep stumbling upon new-to-me Ghost in the Shell material. There are perfectly reasonable explanations for this, but I choose to believe it's due to a side effect of the virus lodged in the e-brain the virus is designed to keep me from knowing I have. I also choose to believe the Ghost in the Shell memeplex is the slowly complexifying digital incarnation of an asymptotic attractor in techno-psychological phase space. Motoko Aramaki doesn't need to be real, in any sense, in order to engineer herself into existing; she is inevitable.

About the movie itself: a competent, enjoyable episode during the Major's time between Unit 501 and Section 9. I very much like how she set her unit on her own — it's *her* private army, and will remain so even after it nominally gets to work for Aramaki. It makes her post-Puppeteer an even smoother continuation of her usual MO.

Line Walker: Hong Kong thriller movie that follows up a TV series of the same name I'm currently wondering if I'm too spoiled for to watch. Like many of its type, it's basically it's own AO3 section. I enjoyed it.

John Wick: A rewatch. I fast-forwarded past the dog thing. The movie's not as spare as I remembered it (you mostly remember the gun kata, of course), but not without some other touches of inspiration. The way the revenge is motivated is sheer genius — revenge for the death of, say, her spouse, would've have been the same. Marcus' character played a larger role than I remembered (his relationship with John is one of the deliberately unexplored but load-bearing aspects of the world), and Viggo's attempts to deal with the whole thing don't lack reasonableness and a certain level of pathos. Part of you can't but sympathize with the guy.

Whatever range might Reeves' acting skills span, this movie lives right in the middle of it.

All in all, I understand why they chose to explore the world of The Continental to a larger degree in the sequel, but it cost the movie some of its forward movement. In anything, the first movie had slightly too much backstory, even if it was much less than usual. A John Wick we don't learn much about because the surviving people who know would rather not remember, much less speak of it, is much more interesting. Plot-wise, John Wick 2 was a step backwards, IMHO, as much as I love the enormous, steampunky, historical AU potential of The Continental's back-office.

I mean, having met and fought the original Assassins, the Templars couldn't avoid being intrigued by the business model... The gold coin thing is probably an historical artifact, and — and this is the part I love the most — how would an order originally dedicated to protecting and hosting travelers base itself in the contemporary world but as a chain of high-end luxury hotels, catering particularly to the profession?

In short: some of the Templars back from the Middle East decided assassination as a service was going to be the second most popular cultural import after putting spices on everything, so they cornered the market of supporting functions.

Justice League

Not that I expected it to, but it regrettably failed my gets out of the movie humming the main theme from the soundtrack and half-seriously planning to become a superhero superhero movie test.

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