Archives for posts with tag: Lena Headey

In the future, America will have one night where virtually all crime is legal.  From 7 P.M. to 7 A.M., citizens can roam the streets or break into homes to do whatever violence they please.  The purpose is to give an outlet once a year for the hatred and violence that brews in the hearts and minds of most people, thereby pacifying the people for the rest of the year and lowering the crime rate and the cost of fighting crime.  High ranking, government officials are off the menu, though.  I know!  They just took the fun out of this whole thing!

Ethan Hawke stars in “The Purge” as a successful, security expert who sells “the haves” with anti-home invasion products — as for the “have nots,” well, they’re just s*#t out of luck during the 12 hour purge.   Hawke spends this year’s Purge in the safety of his home with his wife (played by Lena Headey) and bratty daughter and a son who may as well be a second daughter judging by his looks.  The son, by the way, is also piss poor in a fight.  Yeah, I know, he’s just a boy.  But damn it, he put the whole family’s life on the line and now that the s*@t’s hit the fan, girly-boy needs to man the f&#k up and fight harder than what you’ll see him do in the movie!  Plus I don’t like kids anyway, so hell yeah, I’m going to be a tough critic on the little snot factory.  Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Let me back up.

So, Hawke and family are all set to spend a quiet night at home and wait out the Purge.  But then a homeless man who has been injured comes to the uppity neighborhood of Hawke’s and starts screaming for help, begging to be let in.  Hawke’s son disarms the security system and lets the man in.   Seeing that Hawke isn’t too happy with his presence, the homeless dude disappears within Hawke’s very large house.   So now Hawke and Headey, with guns drawn, search the house to find this stranger and boot him out.   After all, this guy could be a rapist, murderer, or worse…a politician.

To make matters worse, a group of about 8 heavily armed preppies track the homeless guy to Hawke’s house, and now they want Hawke to hand over the homeless guy.  If Hawke doesn’t do it, the preppies will force their way in and kill everyone inside.

“The Purge” is the best, independent movie I’ve seen in many years.  At a cost of about $3 million (I’m assuming Hawke and Headey took a big pay cut in exchange for a bigger back end), this goes to show you that good writing and directing and acting are better than having a big budget with a  mediocre script.  Yes, many of the fight scenes ended the same way (the writing got lazy in those parts), but overall “The Purge” is a must-watch.  The movie deals with many subjects such as: what your neighbors really think of you beneath all those fake smiles and compliments; what morals and values you are willing to compromise to keep yourself alive and safe; how people view and treat those who are poor; and how easy it is to turn your back and ignore the suffering of others as long as it’s not happening to you.

With a run time of under 1 1/2 hours, “The Purge” moves fast, locking in the audience’s attention early in the movie even before the Purge begins.  Hawke’s drive home, Headey preparing dinner and yapping with the neighbors…all these scenes have a lot of tension because of what will begin when the sun goes down.  That is good writing, directing and editing.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Purge” is the scene when Headey makes a decision on what to do with some of her home invaders.  Since this happens near the end of the story, I won’t go into any details.  Depending on who you are and what your views are regarding certain things, you’ll agree and like what she does, or you’ll disagree and tell yourself that it didn’t make any sense.

Whatever you’ll feel about the ending, “The Purge” will stay with you long after it’s over, and you’ll probably ask yourself if you were in that situation, would you go out and participate in the Purge?  If so, who would you go after?  Me: I’d go after that neighbor who always likes to park in front of my house with the ass-end of his big, SUV partly blocking my driveway.

— M

 

 

The future of America is bleak: irradiated wastelands force people to live in overcrowded, enclosed cities; unemployment is extremely high, and many turn to crime, feeding on those who are weaker.  Gangs run the streets and the mega-buildings that litter the cities.  The only ones who defend the innocent and uphold the law are the Judges: police officers who are a combination of judge, jury, and executioner.

Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd, a fearless, veteran law enforcement officer who is saddled with a rookie Judge (played by Olivia Thirlby) who happens to be a powerful, mutant psychic.  Together, they enter a high-rise building with 200 levels to investigate 3 gang related murders.  Urban and Thirlby arrest a gang member who they suspect is the killer; but Lena Headey (who plays the leader of the Ma-Ma gang that rules the entire building) puts the building on lockdown to prevent the Judges from taking their prisoner for questioning.  With their wireless communications blocked out, the Judges are on their own as hundreds of gang-bangers hunt them down.

“Dredd” is as serious and brutal as a heart attack.  I can almost feel the grime of the city crawling on my skin as I watched this fast-paced, well written and well-directed movie.  Within 5 minutes of watching “Dredd,” I was hooked; and it took me on an almost non-stop, violent and bloody ride.  Although Urban is the star, Thirlby steals the show; and that’s mostly because the story deals with her character more deeply than it does with the Dredd character.   We see her as an outcast at first, unsure of herself; but she quickly gets her bearings and proves herself more than a match for those who seek to kill her and her partner.

One of my memorable moments from “Dredd” is the scene when Thirlby, unarmed, charges two gangsters who have their backs turned to her.  The speed and viciousness of her attack against the two gangsters was a bit shocking because I didn’t expect it from a petite, pretty, short, and young rookie.  The shot where Thirlby shoots one of the gang members in the face with a fully automatic sub-machine gun deserves several rewinds.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Dredd” is the scene when Headey has her goons set up three, very large mini-guns (I know, it’s like saying jumbo shrimp) and fire it in the general direction of where they think Urban and Thirlby are.   The guns fire non-stop for about a minute, shooting thousands of large caliber bullets that destroy anything and everyone it hits.  Lifeless, civilian bodies drop as there is nothing in their apartments to stop the bullets.  It’s one of those moments when you simply and quietly say, “holy s@#t” when the carnage is over.

As raw as “Dredd” is, there is also hope and beauty in this movie.  The hope is embodied in Thirlby, who came from the slums and is now on her way to become one of the best Judges ever…if she survives.  The beauty comes from the slow motion shots which are works of art.  I watched the DVD version of this movie, and I’m sure the Blu-ray, 3D version would really make the slow motion parts of “Dredd” stand out even more.

Whatever format you watch “Dredd” in, if you’re an action-movie fan, you need to invest some of your precious time into watching this very good movie.

M

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