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The Limey

Don't mess with the Brits.

I used to think British people were all a bunch of lame pansies walking around with top hats and bad teeth, but I have seen a movie which has changed my mind.

The film is called The Limey. It's about a British guy (called a Limey, because, I guess, they eat a lot of limes over there or something) who comes to Los Angeles to find out why his daughter got shoved into a flaming car and pushed over Mulholland Drive.

Shoot him, punch him, kick him, stab him. He just gets up and comes back for more. He's like the British Terminator. "I'll be back, old chum!" Pretty damn scary, if you ask me.

The Limey is played by Terence Stamp, an actor who has been in all sorts of movies, from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace to some other movies with punctuation in the title. But I will always love him for being General Zod in Superman 2.

Kneel before Zod.

He's mean, he's tough, he talks with an accent. Basically, he rules.

The thing is, this is an independent movie. Which means it's kinda slow, because instead of a lot of car chases and gun battles, they're wasting time building character and plot and stuff. Also, it means that not one of the five previews they showed before the flick had Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. Talk about lame.

The story is told in a weird way. It starts near the end, flashes to the beginning, periodically flashes back to the end and to some parts in the middle and then to some parts that are right about to happen, and then you see the parts you just saw. Sometimes the actors are actually moving their mouths when they're speaking, other times it'll cut to moments afterwards visually while staying in the present audibly and then cut back to the past visually and back to the present while never actually interrupting the dialogue. Some people call it a brilliant use of style and pace, I think it was just bad editing.

Another problem I had with it was that just about everyone, the good guys and the bad guys, are really old. Terence Stamp is our geriatric hero and Peter Fonda and Barry Newman are the sinister bad guys who could really use a walker to help get them around. I mean they're all good actors, but I'm reminded of just how unsinister Wilford Brimley was in The Firm. It's the same effect. How worried is anyone gonna be when they're stalked by Grandpa?

A lot of critics really liked this movie, and I expected to like it a lot myself. but I didn't. Yet I don't think that means it was a bad movie, I just think I wanted a faster movie. The basic premise "They killed his daughter, now he's come for revenge." is great. Plenty of chances for sex and violence. And it delivers. At it's own pace. Which is to say, slowly. Really slowly. Again, lots of character development taking up valuable fighting time.

You know what else bothered me? No surprises. You start the film by pretty much learning what he does, then you watch him do what he needs to do to get to the point where he'll do what he does. Then you get to the climax and he does what you know he was going to do in the first place, and the movie's over.

Personally, I don't think the movie needed to be made. We already have our British action guy, his name's James Bond, and he's back kicking serious ass in a couple of weeks. And yet, something about how The Limey could basically withstand anything anyone did to him and bounce up and kill them was pretty cool.

I guess you could say I'm of two minds on the movie. I liked it, it was a good movie. I didn't like it, it was dull and slightly confusing. The film critic in me says it was a good movie highly deserving of praise. The movie junkie in me almost fell asleep.

So I'm siding with the junkie and giving The Limey 2 1/2 Babylons.

Just don't tell the Brits, I don't want any of them to get angry with me and force-feed me marmite.

Editor's Note:

For those of you who have been complaining that the SMC was getting away from his "less blabbing, more stabbing" attitude of years past, I hope you're happy.

The Limey
Rated: R
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Barry Newman, Lesley Ann Warren and Her Majesty The Queen.

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