Review: Deadpool

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DIR: Tim Miller • WRI: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick • PRO: Simon Kinberg, Stan Lee, Lauren Shuler Donner • DOP: Ken Seng • ED: Julian Clarke • DES: Sean Haworth • MUS: Junkie XL • CAST: Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds, Gina Carano

Following in the steps of Chris Evans upgrading his superhero persona, Ryan Reynolds has abandoned the green suit of Green Lantern for red and black spandex ‘so his enemies won’t see him bleed.’ If that sounds macabre, Deadpool slash alter-ego Wade Wilson is, but he has several other qualities to make up for this such as cockiness, cheekiness and explicit crudeness. Reynolds (literally) kills in the superhero/villain role and has never seemed so comfortable as he does in a super tight one-piece. Does the long-anticipated film disappoint? Well, if you enjoy your humour, violence and action served in near equal doses, then Deadpool is the film for you.

As a mercenary, Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is ‘just a bad guy who gets paid to beat up worse guys.’ Because of his job, Wade keeps little company other than bar tender friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), that is, until he meets a beautiful escort named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) whom he soon falls for and moves in with.

Without giving anything significant away, Wade is talked into subjecting himself to experimentation which, he is told, will make him all-powerful. Wade thus becomes a mutant with self-healing powers and enhanced strength and agility, but also deformed skin. After he escapes the laboratory, he becomes a vigilante and vows to take revenge against those who tortured him: Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his accomplice Angel Dust (Gina Carano).

With such a storyline, Deadpool is fairly by the numbers. It finds particular resonance with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is interesting given that Reynolds first appeared as Deadpool in that film. However, the character has been significantly rewritten here – in fact, superhero fans have been waiting for over ten years for Deadpool to hit screens as the project hit various development and writing issues from the mid-noughties. In spite of such hindrances, the wit of Reynolds in the leading role and direct-to-audience address, biting self-references, and restructured narrative structure sets the superhero movie apart from others of the genre.

Based in the X-Men universe, the movie also features appearances from mutants Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and the moody, ambiguous Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). While these and other supporting characters, particularly Weasel, are fun and entertaining, this show is all about Deadpool. Having waited so long to act the part, Reynolds takes an infectious delight in playing the sardonic egotist.

From its opening slow-motion car chase sequence, Deadpool is as full of back talk, action and violence as promised by its 16s (or R) rating, and its many TV spots and trailers. Speaking of, a potential point of criticism for Deadpool is its overt marketing campaign, which has included the release of several versions of trailers for the film. The film delivers exactly what it says on the tin, but the plot could have benefitted from a few more surprises.

Still, Tim Miller delivers a feat for his directorial debut, and on the superhero movie rating scale – which we can safely say has certainly had its ups and downs – Deadpool is pretty fresh.

Deirdre Molumby

 16 (See IFCO for details)

 107 minutes

Deadpool is released 12th February 2016

Deadpool – Official Website

 

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Cinema Review: Haywire

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DIR: Steven Soderbergh  WRI: Lem Dobbs  PRO: Gregory Jacobs, Alan Moloney, Michael Polaire,Tucker Tooley  DOP: Peter Andrews  ED: Peter Andrews  DES: Howard Cummings  Cast: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan Mc Gregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas

Director Steven Soderbergh has averaged a film a year since his acclaimed 1989 debut Sex, Lies & Videotape, an incredible work rate by modern filmmaking standards especially for one who frequently works within the political vagaries fof the studio system. A slippery stylist, Soderbergh’s films hop from genre to genre with creative restlessness appearing to be his defining characteristic whether filming glossy,  expensive star laden confections such as the Oceans series or experimenting with digital video and unknown actors on low budget conceits such as Bubble or The Girlfriend Experience.

With Haywire – his 23rd full length feature – he takes another stylistic left turn this being an independently financed, relatively low budget B-movie style action film of which a large portion was filmed in Dublin back in 2010. Mixed martial arts star Gina Carano portrays Mallory Kane, a covert operative for hire who performs certain ‘tasks’ for shady global organizations such as rescuing a Chinese journalist held hostage in Barcelona  which is the first instance in the film that we witness Carano’s and Mallory’s athleticism and asskicking skills as she fights her way out of a corner.

After a successful mission, Mallory is then dispatched by her handler Kenneth (Ewan Mc Gregor) to Dublin. Her mission is to assassinate an Iranian ambassador with the help of a suave British operative portrayed by Michael Fassbender but things go awry and she soon finds herself doublecrossed and left for dead. On the run, she flees back to the States where she devises a plan to exact revenge on those who’ve betrayed her.

The  generic plot of Haywire could have been lifted from any ‘international’ action thriller stretching back from 1960’s to the present day. In fact, one could easily imagine Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson or James Coburn or on the lower end of the scale Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal inhabiting Carano’s role in decades past.

What makes Haywire stand out from the pack? Well probably the only thing for this reviewer were the fight scenes which crackle with realism, vigour and fluidity meaning there is none of the fast editing/shakycam technique that has become the signature style of Hollywood action films since the success of the Bourne franchise. Obviously the fact that Carano is quite a formidable physical presence in her own right  adds to the believability of these expertly choreographed confrontations and we get a sense of the sweat, the struggle and pain of close combat in Soderbergh’s long takes.

The film makes light use of  a fairly heavyweight cast: Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas  in particular come and go, act in a couple fo scenes and then leave without making much of an impression. Of course, Carano is the star here and Soderbergh is subverting a male dominated genre so maybe the point is to make these iconic actors subservient so that their mere presence doesnt detract or overwhelm the female lead. Fassbender makes the strongest impression but then he does get to take on Carano in a violent hotel room one on one.

So as a showcase for Carano’s natural abilities, sultry good looks and relaxed screen presence, the film is enjoyable but outside of the action, the film feels rather lethargic, which is only exacerbated by the rather flat dialogue and understated David Holmes score. It feels like a detached exercise rather than a project which the director was passionate about, a chance for him to develop his skillset in another genre and while there is certainly nothing wrong with a stripped down action film too often Haywire feels diffuse and perfunctory.

Derek Mc Donnell

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Haywire is released on 20th January 2012

Haywire – Official Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU_v6Wl3tBw

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