Despite my better efforts, there are some huge gaps in my film-watching repertoire. Gaps which, since 90% of my friends are just as film-nerdy as I, I am constantly given sh*t for. Which I super deserve. So now, to shut all of them up, I’ve decided to get to work on catching up on these gaps.
This week, I endure 1989’s “Kickboxer” and experience 1999’s “The Sixth Sense”.
Why did I have to watch this? At what point did my life reach this horrific nadir? Who did I wrong to deserve this punishment? After this film, I feel as if I have been kicked in the face. Scratch that, I would rather be kicked in the throat by JCVD himself than watch this movie again. Even though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it already, but we’ll get to that.
The film,directed by Mark DiSalle and David Worth, stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Kurt Sloane, a cornerman for his kickboxing champ brother Eric (Dennis Alexio). The duo travels to Bangkok, Thailand so Eric can fight Tong Po (Michel Qissi), the undefeated world champion. Spoiler alert: Po remains undefeated and Eric gets paralyzed. So know Kurt has to
training montage train to defeat Po himself, even though he is NOT A KICKBOXER. He does, fights Tong Po, the credits rolled, and then I closed my laptop and stared at a blank wall for about an hour to recover.
Ok, so before I ever started OFIWI, the guy who recommended “Kickboxer” to me had told me to watch another movie: 1988’s “Bloodsport”. I did, I live-tweeted it, and the experience served as the inspiration for this very column. I bring that up to make this point: “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer” are the same goddamn movie. The differences in the plot are negligible enough that I can’t quite remember them, both feature JCVD making weird-ass faces while kicking things, and both are at least fifty percent music video.
I honestly don’t know what to say. This movie is really hard to talk about. Also, I’ve been playing Half-Life: Source and I’d rather get back to that than continue to b*tch and moan about this movie. But b*tch and moan, I shall, because I Have a set amount of content to produce each week. I would warn the feint of heart that the film features a dog-death scene, but it’s the least convincing death scene of all time, so I’ll think you’ll be fine. Um… lemme think… What can I talk about? Uh, I’ve been reading a lot of 1950’s Superman comics, and MAN does he do a lot of cousin-kissing and other assorted douchebaggery. Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to punch a lightning bolt. Did you know that donkeys were used by the American army during World War 1? Kinda cool, right? Erm… Star Wars looks pretty good, I hope it lives up to expectations. Come on, just ten words left until I can say this review is DONE! Ok, so to summarize, I didn’t watch “Kickboxer”, “Kickboxer” happened to me.
One out of five stars.
THE SIXTH SENSE
Some movies don’t really exist in the popular consciousness as movies, but as pop cultural touchstones. “The Sixth Sense” is one of those movies. Even if you haven’t seen it, there’s a good chance you know a good deal about it. You know the whole “I see dead people” thing, you know that (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU’VE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO AVOID HAVING THIS MOVIE SPOILED FOR YOU) Bruce Willis is a ghost the whole time, you know all’a that. So seeing this movie is more an exercise in seeing how all those things tie together. And how do they tie together? Pretty damn well.
The film, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, was a critical and awards darling the year of its release, and established Shyamalan as a very talented and promising new talent. Man, hindsight’s a b*tch, ain’t it? The film stars Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear (get it, “See-er”? Because he sees– never mind.), a troubled young boy with a mysterious gift. Child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) decides to help Cole in an attempt to make up for his past mistakes while also trying to deal with his crumbling marriage.
Let’s talk about Shyamalan. Many people today question whether or not we were “wrong” about his promise, and you only need to watch this movie to see that we were not. If THIS version of Shyamalan had made more films, I would gladly watch every on of them. I think the problem with Shyamalan is simple: there’s a saying that everyone has a great story in them. I believe that, but I believe that some people only have ONE great story in them (maybe two, I haven’t seen “Unbreakable” yet). Watching this movie honestly made me sad that this creative mind also gave us “The Happening”. It’s like if you had a child, and your child kept getting D’s in math, and you went easy on them because you assumed they were doing their best. Then, when you find out they got an A+ on a test earlier in the year, you get extremely pissed off. C’mon Shyamalan, WE KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS. MAKE A GOOD MOVIE.
The acting in this is top notch. Special credit to Toni Collete as Cole’s mother Lynn Sear, as she has an under appreciated role that she executes flawlessly. Her scenes with Osment are fantastic and enthralling and their last scene together is beautiful. Osment is also really, truly, wonderful. It really goes to show just how much a good child actor can help a film. Osment is kind of adorable, in that “you just want to give him a hug and take him out for ice cream” kinda way. He sells the emotional moments and carries the rest of the film with his likability. Bruce Willis is also excellent, and his last scene is great, even if you already know it’s coming. And if you don’t know it’s coming, then you simply MUST give me the address of that rock you’ve been living under, I need some place to stay when my media blackout for Star Wars starts.
FIVE out of five stars.
Next week, I review two movies. That’s… that’s kinda how this whole thing works.