Since we know how important at-home-entertainment is for all of us – every week we do a little “what’s getting released on DVD/on demand/Netflix this week” round up for you, with nice little excerpts of our past reviews and more. You’ll love it. Trust us. This week we’re helping you see spy thrillers from the mid-aughts:
OUT THIS WEEK & PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
- Escape Plan 2: Hades. Here’s Brian Ordurf over at Blu-ray.com:
When it was released in America in 2013, Escape Plan was sold as a major reteaming of action heroes Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, pairing up for a prison break feature that was a bit more dramatic in execution, failing to live up to standards set by modern adventure pictures and the burning presence of nostalgia. Escape Plan didn’t do big business in the states, but it performed better than expected in China, which claimed a sizable slice of the film’s international gross. Never one to leave a paycheck on the table, Stallone returns for Escape Plan 2, which transforms a one-shot concept into a franchise, and one that’s now produced for the Chinese marketplace. Stallone’s here, kind of, but Escape Plan 2 doesn’t have much interest in his participation, going the easy-peasy B-movie route to cough up an inexpensive, easily marketable sequel that’s led by actor Xiaoming Huang, not Stallone.
INSTANT VIEWING OF THE WEEK (spy thrillers edition):
- Breach (now on Amazon Prime). Here’s what we said in our Scene in DC column:
Breach gets D.C. right because of the small details: characters use the right Metro station, Eric’s apartment looks like what you would expect from a GS11, and the climax takes place in Rock Creek Park at night. Still, the film’s storytelling masterstroke is to use D.C. as part of the story. There is a suspense sequence where Hansen is due back to the office too early, and to bide time, Eric puts both of them into a traffic jam on Ohio Drive. Few things are more demoralizing than D.C. rush hour, and here the film uses that ubiquitous problem for dramatic effect.
- Body of Lies (now on Netflix). Here’s what we said in our original review:
The movie’s strongest aspect is its understanding of espionage. Unlike James Bond, Ferris isn’t particularly showy. He’s not one to sip on shaken vodka martinis – in one scene, both he and Hoffman share about a dozen Budweisers. The strategy these two develop is kind of brilliant – they invent a more sinister terrorist, which sparks Al-Saleem’s jealousy, causing him to let down his defenses. As with many spy movies, personal interests get in the way of the ultimate objective. For someone so competent, it’s hard to believe that Ferris lets himself get caught up with Aisha, an Iranian nurse. Hoffman first appears like a cut of the Cheney mold: victory at all costs, collateral damage be damned. The screenplay, written by William Monahan, slowly flushes out the Crowe character. He ends up not as evil as I initially thought.
- The Kingdom (now on Netflix). Here’s AO Scott over at The New York Times:
Just as Rambo offered the fantasy of do-over on Vietnam, The Kingdom can be seen as a wishful revisionist scenario for the American response to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. In some ways it’s an anti-Iraq movie, not because it expresses opposition to the war there but rather because it makes no mention of it. Instead, the film spins a cathartic counternarrative. After a murderous terrorist attack a few of our best people — four, rather than a few hundred thousand — go over to the country that spawned the terrorists, kill the bad guys and come home. And they even leave the door open for a sequel.