Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Reserved Seating: AIR STRIKE

by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
The review duo who just witnessed the new cinema.

Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.

Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: This week we’re reviewing the new Bruce Willis movie that was made in China but is also banned in China: Air Strike. It’s the craziest movie we’ve reviewed to date. Rob correctly said after we watched it together (more specifically, we live-chatted while watching it separately), “This movie beat us.” In the spirit of that 100% accurate comment, here are some of our best observations while watching Air Strike.

Rob: “It looks like someone is holding Bruce Willis upright in this scene.”

Adam: “Is his name Col. Jack Johnson?”

Rob: “Is this guy is dressed like Indiana Jones intentionally?”

Adam: “TFW you realize everyone is dubbed like a ‘90s Jackie Chan movie.”

Rob: “These piglets better not die. I already named them.”

Adam: “The aerial combat is like a mixture of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and a screensaver from 1995.”

Rob: “Willis clearly refused to get up from this table, so they just set up the shot there.”

Adam: “Willis can barely be bothered to hold another actor’s collar.”
Rob: “At least the CGI fire isn’t terrible. Oh wait, never mind.”

Adam: “Mel Gibson is credited as this movie’s Production Designer and also its Consultant. That’s not a joke.”

Rob: “Did that man just pull that bullet out of that other man with his bare hands?”

Adam: “I want the ‘slow motion pig jumping from a bomb’ moment on a shirt.”

Rob: “I hope this guy finds a whip and a hat soon. It’s actually starting to bother me that he doesn’t have them.”

Adam: “This movie hates children. I have seen at least 75 blow up so far.”

Rob: “I hope it cuts to a shot of the three piglets flying one fighter plane.”

Adam: “Is Adrien Brody in more than one scene of this movie? Why does Rumer Willis have an ‘and’ credit when she’s only in ten seconds total?”
Rob: “It keeps cutting from horrible violence to goofy mahjong parlor antics. Is that for levity? Because children in this movie keep exploding.”

Adam: “This movie looks like it was made in a dollhouse. Also, if this is what Willis’s performances are like when he’s 63, can you imagine what they’ll be like when he’s 73?”

Rob: “Willis is letting out every ‘fucker’ he hasn’t been able to use in those PG-13 Die Hard sequels.”

Adam: “This movie’s harder to follow than Upstream Color.”

Rob: “Wait, what did he just spit on that woman’s face?”

Adam: “Ok, this birthday party scene for the watch he’s describing that he got from his dad the same one from Walken’s ass in Pulp Fiction? That can’t be a coincidence, right? Did he just say ‘Let’s have some cake and celebrate being a soldier?’”

Rob: “Did this movie just go Schindler’s List for one scene?”

Adam: “This is a very sad, serious story which you’d never be able to tell from this movie. This movie has to be disrespectful to someone.”

Rob: “Damnit, another 2018 climax I don’t understand because I don’t play mahjong.”

Adam: “This movie is outcomprehensible.”

Rob: “‘Most admirable trainee?’ This script was clearly translated literally to English without any colloquial adjustments, and Willis just went with it. He didn’t care.”
Adam: Rob, would you give this a Mark Ahn?

Rob: That’s a complex question. I think I would because I had a ton of fun watching it with you. It’s baffling, overwrought, cheap, and earnest. If I use Little Italy or Slamma Jamma as a precedent, I have to say yes. This isn’t dunking on a bad movie to be hipster ironic guy. I think the filmmakers were genuinely interested in telling an important story, but (as you said) had little idea of how to do it. I have to give them credit for the effort, if not the execution. You?

Adam: I would definitely give this a Mark Off, but I had fun watching it with you. My main thought during this was Chinese cinema and American cinema are not good bedfellows yet. I’m not sure what’s going on in the film industry right now. I have seen so many good films from China over the years that seeing this is pretty disheartening because not only are US audiences getting things like Skyscraper and The Meg but Chinese audiences are (or would have) gotten Air Strike. I’m just at a loss right now.

Rob: I agree that there’s still some miscommunication between the two cultures. One of your early comments that we didn’t use was that all the good filmmakers have left China. You were kidding, but I think there’s something to the idea of the exploding Chinese film industry trying to approximate an American model — despite not having the infrastructure for it yet — and teaching their filmmakers to mimic blockbuster scope on modest (by Western standards) budgets. I could be talking completely out of my ass here, but that’s the impression I get.

Adam: This movie makes me feel like society was too hard on Pearl Harbor, which I never thought I’d say. Also, I’m going to make a prediction: Bruce Willis will give a good performance in Glass and people will say it’s his comeback.

Rob: I certainly hope so. He barely seemed conscious in this one, although that birthday party scene has to be seen to be believed. It’s a dramatic speech during which you can actually see him dreaming about the craft service table. I wish we could include a link.

Adam: Do you want to talk about his Movie Pass deal? I’ve been getting emails from them that if I re-subscribe I get 53% off, which I think means I get to see 53% fewer movies than I could with AMC Stubs A-List.

Rob: Movie Pass is building on the success of Gotti by signing Willis to a three-year deal. The first film will apparently be called 10 Minutes Gone, and, according to Deadline, concerns “a man who loses ten minutes of his memory due to being hit by a stray bullet during a bank heist gone wrong. He must put the pieces of his broken memory together in order to find out who sabotaged the job and took the money, all while being pursued by a powerful crime boss hellbent on recovering the cash. Willis plays the pissed-off crime boss.” So. Yeah.

Adam: I can(t) wait. This seems like a mutually not-beneficial partnership.

Rob: All I know is that it’ll keep my precious Redbox loaded for the next three years. What are we hitting after the new year?

Adam: Next week, we’re doing a special edition of Reserved Seating where we each name five movies everyone hates but we like. It should be fun. Hopefully our defenses will win over some naysayers. Until next time….Happy New Year and…

Rob: These seats are reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Rather enjoyed this entertaining read gentlemen, thank you for your service. The image of Bruce Willis reading literal Chinese translation lines without any grammar correction or localization is hilarious.

    you are on point Adam about Pearl Harbor.