On this week’s show, Fernando talks about earthquake readiness in Tokyo, James reviews Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in San Andreas, before we get into a wide-ranging discussion about the disaster movie genre itself, & the cause of its enduring popularity…
00:00 – Theme Music
00:46 – Introduction
01:25 – Discussing last weekend’s tremblor in Japan & living with earthquakes
15:29 – Review Of San Andreas
30:52 – The State and hiistory of Disaster Films
58:09 – End Notes and Outro Music
Mark Wahlberg plays Daniel Lugo, an ambitious bodybuilder and personal trainer turned criminal in this based-on-a-true-story action caper from Michael Bay. Lugo recruits a born again criminal, Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and a fellow gym rat Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) to perform a sting operation on dubious local businessman Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). When the police refuse to take Kershaw’s story seriously he turns to retired police officer and private detective Ed DuBois (Ed Harris).
Despite a promising start and a natural chemistry between Walhberg and Johnson as lead characters, Pain And Gain is an anaemic piece of storytelling. The extended middle section of the film meanders along without any real sense of tension, drama or comedy. There are laughs to had, but they are like flowers in the otherwise arid desert of what could have been a fantastically bizarre crime caper and instead ends being a crude and forgettable buddy film.
James also saw this film and you can read his thoughts here.
Taking its lead from the phenomenally successful Fast Five, Furious 6 ploughs forward at law-breaking speed in the franchise’s newfound action movie guise. Gone are the car chases, save for a ridiculously traffic-free whizz round central London, and instead, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and their gang have become crack special ops agents, lured out of hiding by Dwayne Johnson’s Interpol cop, to catch a dastardly British supervillain (Luke Evans). The team reassembles and proceeds to cause mayhem and carnage on a major scale wherever they go, with an increasing disregard for the law, physics or plausibility. But does the audience care? Good lord no.
The stuntwork here is some of the most-jawdroppingly ridiculous work imaginable – no small feat in this age of digitally enhanced everything. For the most part, what is up there on screen appears to be actually happening, and franchise captain Justin Lin does a superb job of keeping the film whipping along in top gear, barely giving the audience or his characters a moment to catch their breath, let alone process the audacious absurdity of everything that’s going on. Once the dust settles, is it all utterly ridiculous? Absolutely – but it doesn’t change the fact that while strapped in – Furious 6 is insanely entertaining.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does “serious” in this solid drama about a committed father who sets out to catch a group of fearsome drug dealers in the act in order to get his first-time offender son off the hook and out of jail. A clear departure from the more outright action-oriented work the actor has been putting out recently, this was certainly more deliberately paced than expected, but not without its moments. Johnson is helped along the way by a strong supporting cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Michael Williams, Jon Bernthal and Barry Pepper’s scene-stealing goatee.