Director: Ben Affleck, Legendary Pictures, Rated MA, 125 mins
After his pleasing directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone in 2007 about a child abduction case in Boston, Ben Affleck returns with a gripping adaptation of Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves.
The title of the movie refers to Charlestown, the town in Boston which supposedly has the largest number of bank robberies in the United States.
It is also the actual setting of Affleck’s second movie which he co-wrote, produced and stars in as the leader of a gang of four bank robbers.
There is action aplenty in this gritty crime heist movie from start to finish with the initial scenes showing Doug MacRay (Affleck) and his gang – complete with skeletal masks – robbing a bank and kidnapping the bank manager Claire Keesey (Frost/Nixon’s Rebecca Hall) whom Doug later releases against the objections of his childhood friend Jim Coughlin (Jeremy Renner from The Hurt Locker).
To make matters worse Doug takes it upon himself to keep an eye on Claire but then develops an intimate relationship that ultimately leads to dire consequences for all concerned-in particular for Doug and Jim.
Despite the brutality of some of the action sequences, Affleck does manage to create an intense storyline around a central character whose life is at a crossroads.
It is further complicated and intertwined through the relationships with his gang (especially the unstable Jim), his jailed father who refuses to divulge the whereabouts of his long lost mother, and his newfound love for Claire.
Doug also realises that it is only a matter of time before the relentless FBI agent Adam Frawley (Mad Men star Joe Hamm) succeeds in capturing and killing him and each of his gang members.
There is no denying the blistering and gripping realism in this movie which, besides being filmed in Charlestown, is essentially propelled by the performances of a great cast in particular from the three main stars (Affleck, Frawley and Renner).
Even though there is nothing original in this type of movie, The Town is still worth seeing and visiting.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
Director: Scott Stewart, Sony Pictures, Rated MA, 100 mins
Unlike such apocalyptic movies as The Book of Eli and The Road, director Scott Stewart’s rendition incorporates a number of religious undertones as well as having angels as its focal point.
Even though there are similarities to the horror movie Zombieland, it is evident that Stewarts’s Legion does contain some surreal action scenes and images in spite of lacking any real plot.
The story is set in America’s Mojave Desert, in an out-of-the-way diner which becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race.
As depicted in the opening scenes, having lost faith in the human race God has sent down a legion of angels to bring on the apocalypse.
Humanity’s only hope lies with a renegade angel, the heavily tattooed Michael (played by the talented Paul Bettany) and a group of strangers trapped in the diner owned by Bob Hanson (Dennis Quaid).
According to Michael, he is there not only to protect the inhabitants from the attacking zombie like hordes but in particular to safeguard the diner’s waitress, Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) who is eight months pregnant with the child considered to be humanity’s salvation.
Besides Bettany’s performance and some visually entertaining scenes, Stewart has managed to inject some fascinating CGI effects including a fight sequence between the two main angels Gabriel (Kevin Durand) and Michael.
Legion is certainly worth watching and owning, especially because of the inclusion of some interesting bonus features on the DVD.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 Rubber Stamps
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