Iron Chef Coolio, your secret ingredient for tonight's match...Cocaine!
I've seen a batch of movies that in one way or another hit me the same - they were OK. These were three films of different genres, from different years, still my reaction was the same. Let's see what these movies were:
China Strike Force (2000)
Stanley Tong who directed Jackie Chan in films like Supercop takes his stuntfest style to a new set of actors in China Strike Force. The plot is basic action movie stuff, there's good guy cops, ruthless bad guys, drug running and yada yada yada. Let's hit the points of interest shall we? This is a Hong Kong film that appears to have almost all English dialogue yet the audio track seems like it was dubbed making it a weird effect, you hear English dubbing yet the mouth movement matches the words and the voices seem to be the original actors. You know its the original actors because the pretty Japanese actress Noriko Fujiwara struggles with her almost good enough english, resulting in an attempt at a sexy performance while sounding like Daffy Duck. The bad guys are what make this flick watchable because it's the host from Iron Chef teamed up with the rapper Coolio portraying a drug dealer named...Coolio. Take that Iron Chef Batali! Despite some audacious stunts (particularly an exciting foot chase in moving traffic) and fun wire work enhanced martial arts action the bottom line is less charismatic actors and an absence of fun had me missing Jackie Chan.
Sex Drive (2008)
After American Pie hit a decade ago (that was ten years ago? I'm getting old) raunchy teen comedies found new life in the movies. Just like the first wave in the 80's, what followed was a glut of poorly scripted low budget junk designed to pick that same audience out. The commercials for this movie, Sex Drive, caught my attention because I thought it was funny to see a cop try to taser a guy inside a donut mascot outfit. As far as this genre goes, Sex Drive has some laughable moments mostly due to an overamped James Marsden (X-Men) as a mega alpha male in full Chet Weird Science mode. Loud, bullying, super macho and destructive, Marsden owns every scene he's in. The movie is willing to give some sappy sincerity to its characters which keeps the thing from being as crass as it really is. In terms of originality, there is none here though the Amish get picked on a lot. Not that they are likely to find out. Watchable junk I half paid attention to while surfing the net. But the part where the donut mascot gets tasered? Love that part.
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
Miyazaki ably adapts Sabrina the Teenage Witch (thanks Bunny for that observation) in this story of a young witch and her sarcastic talking cat looking for a city with no witches. Like the other stuff I've seen from Miyazaki, the youthful behavior of children is well captured and the animation is good. Also like the other stuff it seems best appreciated by the young (or maybe young at heart) as Kiki's Delivery Service has all the bite of a Hallmark card. It's so innocent that the lead character Kiki has a nervous breakdown when she discovers that...oh no! There are spoiled children who say mean things about others!! I can't say Kiki's Delivery Service was bad anymore than I could say one of those High School Musical movies are bad (mainly because I haven't seen them) because I'm just not the target audience for these things anyway. Still have one Miyazaki movie in the house, Princess Mononoke, my cousin says I might like it because it's violent :)
Here's to hoping my next film choices are less mediocre! Iron Chef Tong, Iron Chef Miyazaki, Iron Chef Sex Drive, you end in a tie. Below is a video clip someone put together of China Strike Force where they manage to pack the best moments of the movie together, all six minutes of it!