Thursday, 21 April 2011

Batman Forever

Val Kilmer phones in this third incarnation of the Batman franchise after Michael Keaton and Tim Burton sensibly jump ship in this hugely inferior sequel.

Tommy Lee Jones (Two Face) and Jim Carrey (The Riddler) mug their way through the film as two of the most annoying supervillains in comic book history whilst attempting to steal the intelligence of Gotham’s citizens through some spurious mind control device.

In the first half an hour Batman attempts to thwart Two Face’s elaborate attempt to steal an enormous bank safe by ripping it from the vault by a chain being pulled by a huge Sikorsky helicopter.

Batman manages to free the safe and whilst hanging from the chain gets dragged through a glass billboard. He manages to climb up and obscure the pilots view with his cape forcing him to crash into the Statue of Liberty (even though this isn’t New York).

Verdict

A pretty decent explosion and associated fall out but you would expect that from a film that cost $100 million to make.

Relevance to plot

Pretty negligible really as it is more an introduction to Two Face’s crazy criminal escapades rather then a crucial plot point. Is hauling a safe out a bank via helicopter and dragging it half way across the city the work of an evil mastermind or a showboating idiot?

Artistic merit

Joel Schmacher knows his action onions and the scene is handled well although if you look carefully the helicopter itself looks a little model-like.

Exploding helicopter innovation

First helicopter to crash into the Statue of Liberty.

Positives

I like the artful way the rotor blades hack into the head as the debris slowly burns its way down the Statue of Liberty’s robes.

Negatives

Its rather unclear how Two Face escapes from the burning depris and a 500ft fall with no superpowers to speak of apart from the ability to toss a coin and act like an inferior version of the Joker.

Review by: Neon Messiah

Still want more? Then listen to the Exploding Helicopter podcast episode on Batman Forever. Find it on iTunes, YourListen, Podomatic or Stitcher.


Friday, 1 April 2011

Exit Wounds

Steven Seagal is unconventionally cast as a maverick cop consigned to a unruly precinct after one act of insubordination too far.

The opening 10 minutes document Whispering Steve’s fall from grace. After a public speaking engagement the US Vice President’s convoy is attacked. The Secret Service response is ineffectual so Seagal steps in to save the Veep.

A typically alloy crunching car chase and shoot ‘em up follows. Alongside a pair of gun wielding motorcyclists the villains also have use of a helicopter complete with machine gunner. Intriguingly the helicopter has an acid house smiley painted on the side.

Being a respected blues artist Seagal takes great displeasure at this visible reminder of how glo-stick wielding, E’d up dance music fans killed blues-based guitar music.

Wrestling a machine gun from one of the assailants, Seagal takes careful aim at the helicopter and deploys some precision firing to take out the chopper fuel tank. The door of the helicopter blows off before a secondary explosion rips through the fuselage and the chopper fully combusts.

Verdict

A rather uninspiring helicopter explosion. Aside from Steven Seagal's one man war on acid house and precision shooting little imagination been brought to the scene.

Relevance to plot

Any group capable of organising a high level plot to assassinate the US Vice President would easily have the resources to muster a helicopter as part of the plot. However, the rave culture livery seems a rather odd choice for a red neck militia.

Artistic merit

Perfunctory is the highest praise I can summon. Disappointingly so given the production involvement of action movie specialist Joel Silver.

Exploding helicopter innovation

First known destruction of an acid house style helicopter. OK, I'm really struggling here. Pretty much none.

Positives

For a man with a 20+ year action career Steven Seagal rarely ever blows up helicopters.

Negatives

Rather than take out the chopper with a gun, the scene could have entered cinematic folklore if Old Totem Face had taken out the helicopter with well-timed roundhouse kick or some of Steven Seagal's patented fast hand movements.

Review by: Jafo