Director: Robert Luketic, Lionsgate, Rated PG, 93 mins
Australian filmmaker Robert Luketic who recently directed Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth returns to cast her again together with Ashton Kutcher (from Spread) in what can best be described as a nonsensical romantic action comedy involving a spy with a licence to kill, an innocent girl from the suburbs, and a couple of over-possessive parents, the Kornfeldts, played by Magnum P.I. TV star Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara from Away We Go.
While holidaying in the exquisite city of Nice with her parents the delightful Jen (Heigl) meets up with the muscle bound Spencer (Kutcher) who immediately falls in love with her and decides to abandon his James Bond career.
After three years of wedded bliss in the suburbs, Spencer's former life rears its ugly head when he unexpectedly learns that he is the target of a multi-million dollar contract on his life.
The hired killers turn out to be fellow workers, their friends and even their neighbours, forcing both Spencer and Jen to run for their lives to avoid being killed.
As their suburban paradise turns into a deadly game of hide and seek-and littered bodies, they do everything to find out who wants Spencer killed at the same time try to save their marriage, manage Spencer’s in-laws, and simply survive.
Even though there are similarities to the roles played by Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day, there are a number of obvious shortcomings.
These are especially evident in the development of the plot, not to mention the lack of chemistry between Heigl and Kutcher.
Fortunately, the comedic performances of Heigl and her parents (Selleck and O’Hara) at least provide some entertainment value to Luketic’s farcical comedy.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 ½ Rubber Stamps
The Book of Eli
Release date: August
Director: The Hughes Brothers, Sony Pictures, Rated MA, 118 mins
Sony’s soon to be released DVD is an exhilarating post-apocalyptic action thriller from the Hughes Brothers starring Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington.
The opening scenes reveal a desolated wasteland (following a nuclear war) and a lone traveler by the name of Eli (Washington) who is carrying a back-pack that contains his prized possession-a Bible.
Along the way he encounters hijackers but quickly disposes of them through a combination of quick-action skills that include martial arts and a long knife.
In entering a particular town to get refreshments Eli meets up with Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who is impressed with both Eli's fighting skills and his ability to read.
Eli rejects Carnegie’s hospitality and leaves with Solara (Mila Kunis) the daughter of Carnegie’s mistress.
He is soon pursued by Carnegie and his gang after learning that Eli has the Bible that he desperately wants.
During the course of the pursuit Eli teaches Solara some of his skills (which she later displays) and the importance of taking the Bible to its final destination.
One of the major highlights of this entertaining movie is the slick but stylistic and well-edited action sequences that demonstrate the Hughes Brothers’ unique style as action directors not to mention the powerful performance of Washington as well as that of Oldman and Kunis.
Sony’s Blu-ray DVD also includes a number of fascinating features including behind the scenes footage and interviews that make this a must to own in one’s home movie collection.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
From Paris with Love
Release date: August
Director: Pierre Morel, Lionsgate, Rated MA, 102 mins
Another of Sony’s soon to be released DVDs is French director Pierre Morel’s highly entertaining crime thriller From Paris with Love following his success with his earlier movie Taken released in 2008.
Instead of Liam Neeson in the lead role it is John Travolta playing the rough, bald headed and unconventional FBI agent Charlie Waxwho is the key in this fast, action-packed special effects extravaganza.
Wax is aided by an Ambassador’s assistant, the mild mannered James Reece (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who partners him in his assignment to rid the Paris streets of drug gangs and terrorists.
One cannot help but think that Morel is jumping onto the Bourne Trilogy bandwagon with Travolta perfectly cast as the glib speaking fast moving action man who disposes of his opponents in a flash.
Even though From Paris with Love appears at times over the top, there are reasonable performances by the assembled cast and this is complemented by the chemistry between the two main characters.
Together with a wonderful array of features on its Blu-ray edition, including The Making of From Paris with Love, Sony’s DVD is sure to be a great addition for collectors of entertaining action movies.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
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