Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

February 27, 2013

CALLERI: With action movie 'Snitch,' personality counts for something

Niagara Gazette — Action movies are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, and people eagerly line up for the opportunity to participate in them. They are relatively easy to make, earn scads of money around the world, and are more about fire power than brain power. It’s rare that a film relying on car chases and ricocheting bullets has anything up its sleeve other than a desire to entertain.

There have been a number of action adventures this movie season, including Jason Statham’s “Parker,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand,” Sylvester Stallone’s “Bullet To The Head,” and the fifth John McClane film, “A Good Day To Die Hard,” which features the indefatigable Bruce Willis as the eternally angry New York City detective.

The Schwarzenegger and the Stallone movies bombed at the North American box office, which, because of the excessive explosions in them, is some sort of wacky example of life imitating art. “A Good Day To Die Hard” is fading fast in the United States, but is huge overseas. The film is a mere shadow of what we expect from Willis and McClane. If the first “Die Hard” is a classic with a great villain in Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber, then the latest effort is a pale imitation; muddled, unfocused, and seems to have been made only to showcase insane weaponry and the barren destruction of Chernobyl. There isn’t even a good villain. Because I like Statham’s concept of what an action hero should be, I enjoyed “Parker,” which has solid character elements in it.

We now have “Snitch” starring Dwayne Johnson. He also calls himself “The Rock,” primarily because he’s a mass of human physicality, an honest to goodness real-life Hulk, and when push comes to shove, as in the professional wrestling ring, an unmovable object. Adding to his massive presence is his superhero voice and pleasant personality, which makes him a natural for motion pictures.

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