Tag Archives: assassin movies

Movie Review: True Memoirs of an International Assassin

Image result for true memoirs of an international assassin movie poster free use“Why would an actual assassin write a book about being an assassin? It’s beyond stupid.”
“Or is it so beyond stupid, it’s brilliant.”

I love this line. I really do. It’s the type of insert that slithers its way into comedies, presenting a line of thought that causes a burst of joy and also drops a trinklet of apparent wisdom into the minds of its viewers. You have to take a double take and think. Would it really be stupid or is it jaw-dropping how genius it is?

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a Netflix original that from the beginning, demonstrates this same wit and charisma.

Sam Larson, an accountant who’s dove into the cobwebs of assassination and writing, has created an alter ego for himself, one in which he feels he truly gets to live. Mason Carver is everything he’s ever wanted to be. And unknown to him, that chance at a more exotic lifestyle has arrived.

The introductory phrases of Jeff Wadlow’s Netflix special deals with vicariousness and journalistic integrity, offering both food for thought regarding ethics and some life advice that, while endlessly cliché, doesn’t seem to ever be heard by some. Do something worth your time. Live life.

These points are accompanied with a quiver of writing jabs and a parlance for dialogue that has the versatility to be both thought-provoking and worthy of a gigglefest. It’s whimsical but also odd in an amusing enough way that you’re willing to put up with it.

That’s generally the basis for Kevin James videos, to be honest. How much are you willing to endure?

You can see the prototype for Kevin James’ career in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Is it a good movie? Hell no, but like Sandler has come to do, it tiptoes the trapeze of the funny and the galatically stupid. It hits and misses and at the end of the run, it’s up to the viewer to decide if the shooting percentage was worth their time.

What you see with True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a film that shows signs it wants to take itself seriously but then quickly retracts and goes back to being the fun, silly movie that certainly attracts younger audiences, but dampers the chords trying to be played.

This is what holds it back. Its insistence on keeping a younger audience engaged prevents it from being a tempting thriller, showcasing what can happen when life steals you away from your comfort zones and your routine that affords you the peace of mind you desire. In some ways, its failings are similar to Sandler’s The Do-Over, creating an appetizing adventure and possessive writing style that’s forced to run concurrently with ill-timed humor, interrupting the pleasant balance the film is trying to maintain. As the movie proceeds, True Memoirs of an International Assassin becomes more of an slog through comedy tropes than it does that endeavor we signed up for at the beginning. There is a direct rift between the first and second halves of this piece, one that allows its drama and personality to run freely, unleashed, and the one that feels the need to act like someone other than himself. That second part can only be viewed sympathetically for so long before the damn breaks free and that’s what comes here. Its flamboyance downplays the narrative drive and its continual detours for quick ad libs from James and crew do not provide the productivity that would warrant them. It leaves it in a run in pig slop or a tractor trying to mull through the fields after a downpour. It’s a mess and requires too much effort for too little gain. Difference is, True Memoirs of an International Assassin didn’t have the effort either.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (SinisterOlympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the Sun)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide SquadBatman Forever)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great WallRobin HoodUnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: Apocalypse)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsport)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the Apes)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for True Memoirs of an International Assassin: 57.

While certainly containing its own batch of cleverness, I can’t help but wish this was a film that took itself seriously.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Leon: The Professional

Hey everyone. Some quick updates before I get started.

1) I’m aiming for 100 movie reviews for the third year of WordsofWisTIM. 52 weeks in a year, so I’m aiming for two reviews a week.

2) Round 2 of Winners And Losers (WAL) will be out by Wednesday.

Leon: The Professional has gotten some high marks from some of my blogging buddies and is another one of the films that has been sitting on my desk waiting to be watched. It came out on Netflix two weeks ago so I guess I didn’t need to buy it after all, but alas, the sacrifices of a critic.

This isn’t the first time that Luc Besson has been involved in a film I’ve reviewed here and it won’t be the last. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Luc Besson is the best thing to come out of France in the last 50 years. He’s a straight shot most times but his targets do sway to the side of what I’d like them to be sometimes and that was the case with Leon: The Professional.

Leon (Jean Reno) is a simple man. He buys two quarts of milk each day, takes precious care of his plant and has few material possessions. In fact, I’d say his life is boring. However, Leon is an expert cleaner and by that I mean fixing messes, the messes that are best cleaned with bullets. He’s very orderly and professional, but outside of work we never see him do much. He goes to a theater and gets some fun out of a movie, but aside from that, cleaning his plant and exercising in the morning, he doesn’t seem to have much of a lifestyle.

Leon is almost childlike in some respects. We never see him drink anything but milk over the course of this movie and while it’s probably for the sake of fitness, I want to believe there’s a deeper meaning there. Leon doesn’t know how to read, doesn’t own much and never has any money, instead letting his employer hold onto all of it and asking for it as he needs it. He continues to bounce between small apartments and hotel rooms, never owning a place of his own and he remains sheltered in terms of what life has to offer.

As I’ve seen plenty of times before, when Natalie Portman enters your life, things get a lot messier and Leon’s tale is no different. In her motion picture debut, Portman stars as 12-year-old Mathilda. Her whole family is murdered by a corrupt DEA agent while she’s out shopping and with as much composure as she can hold onto, walks past the corpses of her family to knock on Leon’s door and after a long mental argument the audience is not privy to, Leon finally lets her in.

Mathilda discovers Leon’s work rather easily and wants in. She wants to learn how to clean and Leon, who can’t find it in himself to throw her out of his life, comes around to the idea.

As the story progresses, Leon and Mathilda form a friend-to-friend, parent-child relationship. Leon gets protective and Mathilda begins to look at him as a role model and maybe even something more.

Leon has never had a real friend aside from the boss that continually employs him and has never had a relationship like the one he has with Mathilda. At times, he is unsure of what to do, something a professional assassin is not used to because assassins that don’t know what to do in crucial situations end up dead.

The character originality of Leon and Mathilda is worth applauding but holds little depth. It reminds me of a children’s book, like an older bear taking care of a stray rabbit. Leon’s quaint life was begging for more audience discovery, to really uncover what has made Leon click for all these years and what new sound he’s discovered with Mathilda but Mathilda’s vengeance escapade takes center stage sadly. The need for revenge needed to be there, but if the run time had been expanded, it could have been pushed to the wayside for a little so we could further unearth these one-of-a-kind characters. Leon’s simplicity is more complex than people will give it credit and Mathilda’s strength and desire to become a full-functioning weapon is admirable, but she can’t hold it together and Leon is right when he says at the beginning of the movie, “I don’t think you’d be able to go through with it.” Portman can scream and stomp in front of the lens all she wants, but it’s evident that Mathilda still has a heart. I was practically begging for Besson to change the character midway, but again, his aim swayed to the side of my target.

Had Mathilda been a darker shade, suddenly the themes of childhood innocence, enabling and guilt are thrown onto the court. Leon and Mathilda would have still had the unique companionship we see here, only Leon would be helpless to clean Mathilda of the darkness growing inside of her. It was an angle I think could have worked.

Instead, Leon: The Professional remains a family appropriate film and takes a rain check on becoming a more impressive, long-lasting film.

I also must give another clap on the back to Gary Oldman. As corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield, Oldman’s civilized barbarism is gripping and that look in his eyes when he gives a stare at the camera is a “No one’s getting out of their chairs” type of look. One of my Hollywood truths: there’s no such thing as too much Gary Oldman and man, Besson’s work needed more Gary Oldman. The short shots are performed great by Oldman but really diminish the heights the character could have reached had he been given the chance to let the character’s lunacy unhinge from the wall.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (EnemySleeping with the EnemyEquilibriumDead Snow: Red vs. DeadSnowpiercer)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Black SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe Raven)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Mad Max: Fury RoadBlitzThe PunisherDrive HardRun All Night)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (CrankErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (OutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafe)

My score for Leon: The Professional: 75.

With the majority of its action hidden, which is a rare sell from Besson, Leon: The Professional rests on the acting trio of Reno, Portman and Oldman. All perform well, Oldman the best of the bunch despite the limits put on him, but the relationship between Leon and Mathilda could have gone further. I know it could have and that coupled with unseen action, keeps it an average film. Rather than Besson’s usual action-obsessed animal, Leon: The Professional is a drama about how a man who could only find death finally found life.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
CCY's Movie Reviews

Movies Worth Sharing!

Days Gone

Meeting the insanity that is reality

epileptic moondancer

Imperfection is Perfection.

vinnieh

Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists

pickoftheflix

EMPIRE'S 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME REVIEWED - to watch or not to watch?

Shit Jon Gruden Says

"Spider 2 Y Banana Shake?"

kylerehm005

I will show the world( or whoever reads this) my passion for movies, sports, life and Jesus

ramblingsofsam

A place for sharing, fleshing out, and fine-tuning thoughts and ideas

Mr. Movie's Film Blog

Film and Anime Reviews, new and older releases!

Thomas J

My Journey Through Film

Snap Crackle Watch!

A blog dedicated to television and movies

The Cinema Monster

unparalleled film reviews, news, and top 10s

Silver Screen Serenade

Praising the high notes and lamenting the low notes of all things film and television

Cinema Parrot Disco

Musings on Mainly Movies from a Table 9 Mutant

wordsofwistim

For those searching for wistim regarding life, sports, movies and more