Summer Movie Preview: Action


At last, I’ve finished the Summer Movie Preview and what better way to end than with action, the genre summer movies are founded upon. There’s something about sun and stuff blowing sky high that just works like peanut butter and jelly. This summer has a lot of action to offer spanning different sub-genres from fantasy to historical to superhero. And a lot films I’ve already previewed I had to put in other genres (namely comedy and sci-fi) just to keep this post from overcrowding. Needless to say, if you ever want to watch something get destroyed these next few months, you’ll have that option at the movies this summer.

Here’s a quick table of contents for the rest of my previews:

takers10. Takers (Aug. 20)

The Word: “Armored” meets “The Losers” meets “Ocean’s Eleven” in this heist action thriller co-executive produced by Chris Brown and T.I., who both have roles in the film. The cast is its calling card with Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Hayden Christiansen, Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Jay Hernandez and the lady with a penchant for guy-only action movies, miss Zoe Saldana. The story is of a $20-million heist that doesn’t quite go as planned.

My Thoughts: That’s a heck of a cast list, which should help “Takers” make a bit more noise than most films of its ilk. The talent, however, is mostly on camera; director and co-writer John Luessenhop is a rookie in both jobs, but by looks of the trailer it appears as if he’s got the stuff exploding part down, which if you’re going to try and compete in the summer, is more or less covering your bases. I don’t know if “Takers” will have enough juice to explode past any of the films on this list. (View Trailer)

jonah_hex9. Jonah Hex (June 18)

The Word: DC/Vertigo’s vengeful wild west anti-hero Jonah Hex gets the big screen treatment. Josh Brolin stars as Hex, a man who’s family is killed and his face left scarred by a nasty outlaw (John Malkovich). When he resurfaces, Hex catches words and goes after him, meeting Megan Fox on the way and blowing stuff up with all kinds of Wild, Wild, West-style gadgetry. Not so surprising when you learn the script comes from the writers of “Crank” and “Gamer.” The only odd thing about the film other than Hex’s mangled cheek is former Pixar animator Jimmy Hayward in the director’s chair.

My Thoughts: I’ll give any comic adaptation a chance, even if “Jonah Hex” appears to be a run-of-the-mill revenge story set in the West. Josh Brolin gets his first blockbuster star vehicle (much-deserved) and he appears to pull it off really well. Everyone knows a memorable character can save a movie, but what if that memorable character has a facial deformity? “Hex” has some stiff competition in an action-heavy June and a release the same weekend as all-ages favorite “Toy Story 3.” (View Trailer)

salt8. Salt (July 23)

The Word: Angelina Jolie makes a fan-appeasing return as female action star with “Salt,” which is about a U.S. intelligence agent that is accused of being a Russian spy expected to kill the president. Although she has no idea what that’s about, she stills goes on the run from her own peers and finds that she has some pretty sweet tactical and weapon skills. Is she really a spy? Is she some kind of drone? The trailer is smart enough to keep that line blurry.

My Thoughts: Writers Kurt Wimmer (“Law Abiding Citizen,” “Equilibrium”) and Brian Helgeland (“Green Zone,” “Man on Fire”) team up for the script, which has me equating this film to the closest thing summer 2010 has to the Bourne movies. “The Quiet American” director Phillip Noyce is in the driver’s seat, which is another vote of confidence. Plus, Jolie is back in action and she dyes her hair from blonde to black, which we all know is how it should be. “Salt” will have to find away to stay appealing despite similar films coming out before it this summer in “Knight and Day,” “Killers” and “The A-Team.” (View Trailer)

sorcerers_apprentice7. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (July 16)

The Word: From the famous scene in “Fantasia” comes a whole movie from Disney featuring “National Treasure” collaborators Nicolas Cage and director Jon Turtletaub. With “Prince of Persia” (scroll down for that one) out in May, this summer is a double feature for Jerry Bruckheimer. One of these films will surely draw the audience to warrant becoming a franchise that will replace “Pirates,” even with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” currently in production. Anyway, Cage is the sorcerer and Jay Baruchel (“How to Train Your Dragon”) the apprentice. The film takes place in our world under the assumption that sorcery is in fact in our own backyard. Alfred Molina (also in “Persia”) co-stars as a bad sorcerer.

My Thoughts: I haven’t officially made up my mind about this movie, but we’re likely to get a second trailer by the time “Prince of Persia” comes to theaters, which should help my indecision. Turtletaub and Cage working together is always affirming, but at the moment I see a whole lot of sorcery and not a whole lot of proof as to why this movie should have been made. Then again, we know minimal plot details. Tough for “Sorcerer’s,” because Chris Nolan’s “Inception” comes out that weekend. (View Trailer)

expendables_ver36. The Expendables (Aug. 13)

The Word: Watch out for an onslaught of pure testosterone. “The Expendables” reunites just about every tough-guy action star that’s graced the screen consistently in that role over the last 20 years. Headed by Sylvester Stallone, the cast also includes Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and some juicy cameos, namely … AHnold. They all star as a group of mercenaries taking up a dangerous job in 2010’s last “team of guys really good at killing” movie.

My Thoughts: With “The Losers” last month and “The A-Team” in June and all the action comedies and the like leading up to August 13, I would normally say there’s no way I’ll have anything left in the tank to withstand another movie with explosions, but “Expendables” is such a unique assembling of talent that I can’t help but stay intrigued. Hopefully if I am to take a chance on it, “Expendables” will live up to its billing. (View Trailer)

robin-hood-poster5. Robin Hood (May 14)

The Word: Summer 2010’s lone historical epic is “Robin Hood,” which re-teams Russell Crowe with longtime collaborator Sir Ridley Scott. If they do half of what they did in “Gladiator” together, it will be a success. This grittier take has Robin Longstride returning from France to find an oppressive regime has taken over England. Because it’s what he believes in, he rejects this authority. The film co-stars Cate Blanchett as Marion, Mark Strong as Godfrey and Danny Huston (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) as King Richard the Lionheart.

My Thoughts: I was stoked for this film until that little green screen popped up before the trailer and said “PG-13.” Come on, Universal, I can’t believe you’d do that to us and to Scott, who rarely makes a PG-13 movie. “Robin Hood” will have a hard time being “Gladiator” without the visceral spilling of blood and most parents are going to think its inappropriate for ages 10-15 anyway, so why shoot yourself in the foot? Good storytelling could make up for it, but I’m a believer in gore for realism’s sake and to make a film feel more authentic. (View Trailer)

a_team4. The A-Team (June 11)

The Word: Based on the ’80s television show, “The A-Team” is about a group of special ops soldiers (updated to Iraq War vets) who are imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit. After busting out, they become mercenaries for hire, but decide nothing would be sweeter than some payback. Join Hannibal (Liam Neeson), Face (Bradley Cooper), Murdock (“District 9’s” Sharlto Copley), B.A (Quinton Jackson) along with Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson as they blow stuff up in ridiculous fashion. Joe Carnahan (“Smokin’ Aces”) directs.

My Thoughts: When the first trailer hit, there was nothing to turn me, someone who has never seen the TV show and just knows from Mr. T, on to this movie. This new trailer shows much more promise. I still feel bogged down by watching all these actions trailers featuring a team of guys, but with “The A-Team” first up to bat this summer, it could be easier to stomach. The cast has a nice blend of veterans and blooming stars — the prospect of seeing Copley playing a total kook is also exciting. (Watch Trailer)

prince_of_persia_the_sands_of_time3. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28)

The Word: Disney hopes that if Jerry Bruckheimer can turn a theme park ride into a movie franchise capable of hundreds of millions (Pirates of the Caribbean), then perhaps he can make “Prince of Persia” the first critically acclaimed and cash-generating video game adaptation of all-time. Jake Gyllenhaal plays his first ever blockbuster hero role as Dastan, the main character in the video game series with a penchant for jumping far and scaling walls. In the film, he must bring a dagger with the ability to control time to a temple so that evil peeps don’t get their hands on it. “Clash of the Titans” beauty Gemma Arterton helps him get it there under fourth Harry Potter director Mike Newell’s supervision.

My Thoughts: The visual effects are top-notch in this trailer, which should solidify “Persia” as a good time. It could be a hollow film at this point and still be better than “Clash of the Titans.” I don’t know if Gyllenhaal and Arterton will be able to carry on the comedic adventure film chemistry that the Depp-Knightley-Bloom trio set the bar for in the “Pirates” movies, but they’ll do well in making this an adventure film that more than teenage boys who played the games will enjoy. (View Trailer)

tlabposter-550x8142. The Last Airbender (July 2)

The Word: Nickelodeon’s hit animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” comes to the big screen with an option for 3-D courtesy conversion by George Lucas’ ILM, so this could be a muh better conversion then say, “Clash of the Titans.” Directed by M. Night Shyamalan who enters the realm of blockbuster epic for the first time, “Airbender” is the story of a young boy who is the last of his kind (hence the title), with the ability to control all the elements in a world where the nations embodying the different elements are at war. To give you a mental image, there’s a lot of water, ice, dirt, air and fire whizzing about this trailer.

My Thoughts: This cartoon is not something I was ever familiar with, but after hearing roars of excitement when this trailer showed up before “Iron Man 2,” it seems that Paramount truly might have a second major hit on its hands. The action looks terrific and Shyamalan has made sure the film has this creepy “nothing is as it seems” vibe that he’s become so well-known for. It will have to make up for a lack of star talent, but it should have no problem competing with “Twilight Saga: Eclipse” in its opening week. (View Trailer)

ironman2-finalposter1. Iron Man 2 (May 7)

The Word: What is there to say that you don’t already know about “Iron Man 2?” The film has grossed more than $132 million so far overseas, now it lands in the U.S. with even higher hopes. RDJ returns as publicly out superhero Tony Stark aka Iron Man. A resentful Ivan Vanko (Rourke) has developed the technology to kill him, so Tony’s arms-dealing rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) swoops him up. Meanwhile, Tony’s buddy joins his fight as War Machine and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) continues to recruit Tony for his Avengers group, which all of Marvel’s upcoming films are leading toward.

My Thoughts: I’ll say no more and let you read my review here.


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