The Heygate estate in South London is once again the preferred gritty urban battleground in this taut and violent thriller from Matthew Hope, providing gloomy textures as background to the pared-down melodramatics. Kebbell bears the 1000-yard stare with aplomb, giving little evidence of his lethal skills for most of the film's build-up. Despite its familiar theme (war vet trying to make sense of civvy life), TV eschews the usual OTT treatment for a more meditative pace (which evaporates once its titular hero lays waste to the drug scum and warmongers with extreme prejudice) via an intelligent script and believable dialogue. Brian Cox delivers another assured cameo as the villain while assorted hoodies and terrorists add to the warped ethics and moral dilemmas bombarding our returning hero. Its explosively bleak finale, while reminiscent of Scorsese's Taxi Driver, will leave you with whitened knuckles and a renewed respect for the British film industry. Compelling, hard core and well worth watching, TV is a shoot 'em up on a par with the similarly-located Harry Brown. Recommended.
While I can immerse myself in most Chinese romances, Wong Kar Wai's movies seem, despite their rich and detailed visuals, to be slow and under-emphasised dramatically. I wasn't caught up in the tangled relationships, probably due to the similarity of the different threads but the battle scenes were truly awesome. Shot and filtered in hot colours, this redux still falls flat, with its patchy sound, choppy editing, and intrusive, saccharine soundtrack. I was never a fan of either 2046 or In the Mood for Love, mainly because both films, despite Wai's obviously painstaking attention to the visuals, are poorly-paced and, quite frankly, boring. I dropped off twice in the cinema until the combined power of Sammo Hung's choreography and Christopher Doyle's cinematography left me gasping for breath in three of the most amazing sword fighting scenes I've ever seen. A little less talk, a lot more action and this could have been a worthwhile experience for me. Top marks to the camera and fight guys.
While no-one would expect Battleship to be anything other than what it is, I fear that Battleship's recent drubbing by the critics will deter cinema-goers from viewing some pretty spectacular CGI set-pieces. Sure, Rhianna can't act and King of the 2012 turkeys, Taylor Kitsch, is an adequate if bland action lead but it is the overwhelming excellence of the digital mayhem that is the star here and if you can shut out the dumb dialogue, plot implausibilities and general gung-ho silliness of it all, there is plenty of awesome to be had. Give it a whirl, if just for the visuals.