Tag: chase scene

Driven by James Sallis

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Driven by James SallisClocking in at an amazingly short 147 pages, Driven is a breath of fresh air when compared to the books I have been reading lately.  The writing is clean and simple.  The sentences short and to the point.  The vocabulary purely functional.    I liked it.

Driven finds our mysterious hero Driver alive and well and living in Phoenix.  In the opening scene two men try to kill him. He kills them, but not before they kill his girlfriend.  This leads to the Jeremiah Johnson plotline where random men crawl out of the woodwork and do mortal combat with Driver.

Cars play a large part in Driven, just as they did in Drive, but there’s not even the hint that Driver picks up spare change by being a getaway driver.  He spends time tuning up his ride.  He loses tails by being a better driver than those who are following him.  He meets a woman who also works on cars, but he’s still a pretty much a cold fish on the emotions front.

With the help of a few friends, he narrows down the pool of potentials that want him dead.  He again ends up hanging out with mysterious Mob Boss types who live by their own rules and want Driver dead for reasons of their own.  Driver kills with speed and efficiency which is never fully explained.  He pauses once in a while to remember the good old days when he was a stunt driver.

Driven is mostly one long chase scene and the explanations, when they come, don’t really seem to matter.  Driver will always have someone chasing him down and trying to kill him.  One day they’ll succeed, but not today.

 

John Carter

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I can’t remember the last time I watched a Disney movie-oh yeah, it was Tron 2.  Shudder.

John Carter of Mars is the story of a US Civil War vet who ends up transported to Mars, where he has amazing adventures and wins the heart of a Princess.  The CGI is good enough, it looks exactly the the CGI used to animate the last three Star Wars films and there is a strong Star Wars feel to John Carter.  Hordes of computer generated aliens, a chase scene that stole a couple of moves from the Speeder scene in Return of the Jedi and sounded a lot like the pod races in Phantom Menace.

But then, George Lucas says that Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of his many inspirations for Star Wars, so maybe these little similarities are intentional.

And since it was a Disney film, even when our hero John is butchering dozens of aliens, there is no real sense of violence and the gore is just gallons of odd colored blood-so John looks more like a loser at paintball than a blood thirsty killer.

I have to admit that it has been a good thirty years since I read Edgar Rice Burroughs and I have no idea if this film is true to the source material. The alien villains are pretty familiar though, their The Watchers from J.J. Abram’s Fringe.

John Carter was not all that great or all that bad.  It was just one more formula driven film cranked out of the Hollywood movie machine.

 

Alcatraz

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Alcatraz is the story of time traveling murders and the people who want to catch them before they kill again.  It’s a good show on many levels, the actors are great, the production values are high, and who doesn’t long for a glimpse of the good old days of prison life in the early 1960s?

The problem with all new Sci Fi shows is that the Sci Fi fan base has a very long memory and it’s all but impossible to come up with something completely new.  Alcatraz has the look and feel of Fringe, The X-Files, Prison Break, LOST, The Pretender, and just about every other Sci Fi show with something mysterious going on and random people wandering around trying to figure it all out.  There was even a strong feeling of The Matrix as the opening chase scene had our hero jumping between rooftops.  But that should be OK, we all like Fringe, et el, right?

House is a great show, but it has lost a lot of it’s appeal because we can all see the formula that the writers use.  We open with someone getting ill, House says they are boring, but then takes the case, he nearly kills them before each commercial break, and finally saves them with a sudden flash of intuition at the end.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And so it is with Alcatraz, the show’s formula is clearly on display in the first two episodes.  Bad guy shows up, kills people, good guys catch bad guy and put him in secret prison.   Of course, they may get away from the Murder of The Week formula as the show progresses, after all, they are going to be bringing back Guards at some point as well.

Alcatraz was a tad on the violent side, with lots of blood spatter and lots of random killings of strangers we had no real reason to care about.  We even get the feeling that our hero Doc Hurley is a little too soft for being upset at the sight of so much carnage, while our other heroes calmly wander among the blood soaked bodies.  Except for Jorge Garcia’s character, most of the people we meet are pretty cold blooded and often downright nasty.  Sam Neill is not a nice guy at all.

I’ll keep watching Alcatraz and hope that J.J. Abram actually has something to do with the show, other than letting it use the Bad Robot logo.