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March 20th, 2009, 16:25
Undeclared War
An older Hong Kong action fireworks by Ringo Lam. Typical buddy movie story, exlosive action, fast pace, mixed acting (often quite solid, but a few actors … are more suited for action scenes), lots of clichès and no Jackie Chan style comedy. Entertaining and still watchable. C, if you like this kind of movie maybe even a B.

Afro Samurai & Afro Samurai: Resurrection
Overrated. The ultimate style over substance manga movie. The drawings look modern in an old fashioned way, meaning they look hand drawn and then pimped up, instead of using a lot of CGI crap. The hip hop sound track is the true star of the movies. The RZA should have gotten an Oscar for each of them. Absolutely superb. Both films look and sound great.
The weakness is the lack of a hero the audience can identify with. Afro looks cool and is an invincible, emotionless killing machine. He wants revenge, the reason why is shown in flashbacks. A pretty flat character. His victims are more interesting, but they always die. Which leads to both a lack of suspense and a feeling of unease.
The first movie is more artsy, the 2nd more commercial.
B- for the first, the 2nd starts great but collapses in the 2nd half. C. An A for the sound track. And yes, I don't listen to hip hop.

The First Power
An early 90s horror/thriller with Lou Diamond Phillips. Didn't age well. No trash, but also not really worth your time. D.

The Baader Meinhof Complex
This year's Oscar nominee for best foreign language picture. Unfortunately I don't understand why. The 7.4 at IMDB are too much IMO.
As most (all?) films produced by Bernd Eichinger (check him out at IMDB, you'll be surprised how many of his movies you've seen ) , this one has great production values and a convincing visual style - always in context of the available budget. Germany really looked like that im the 70s, at least AFAIR. The cast is packed full with German A-list stars. Great actors like Bruno Ganz and Alexander Maria Lara (both from Downfall) only have small supporting roles. The actors with sufficient screen time deliver good or better perfomances, the others are at least solid.
The Baader Meinhof Complex doesn't work as a movie though. It doesn't tell a story, but rather a collage of key events involving the RAF (Red Army Faction) group. Everything is already known, everybody has read Aust's book, everything RAF is still headline news. The movie is neither complete nor does it create any suspense whatsoever, not even in the brutally realistic action scenes.
The Baader Meinhof Complex fails on a high niveau. It's only interesting as a lesson on how terrorism grows, and as an introduction to the historical facts surrounding the RAF.
The far better movie is the 2 part docudrama Todesspiel (= Deadly Game) (IMDB 8.3). It focuses on the later events including the kidnapping of Hans-Martin Schleyer and Lufthansa plane "Landshut". Both were meant to put pressure on the German government under chancellor Schmidt to release the first gen RAF. This is only mentioned briefly in Baader Meinhoff. The first gen members committed suicide after the GSG 9 anti terror force had stormed the Landshut in Mogadishu.
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