Being from LA, I love any movie that blows New York to smithereens.
With the definite exception of Godzilla.
It's not that I feel any animosity towards New York. In fact, I've
never actually been there. I simply enjoy watching the Big Apple's
destruction. So this week, I got my jollies by watching the new "Let's
Blow-up New York" flick, The Siege.
Here's the basic story. Islamic terrorists start blowing up New York.
Denzel Washington and Annette Bening try to stop them. Then Bruce
Willis come to town and things just go all to Heck.
The film has gotten some flack from people who are protesting the idea
that the bad guys are Islamic. Folks, listen up. Action flicks need
good guys and bad guys. It's called conflict. Sometimes the bad guy is
a normal guy or gal. Sometimes the bad guy is a minority. Sometimes
the bad guy is an evil comet, heading to Earth to kill everyone.
Problem is, when the bad guy is a minority, people say "Hey! You can't
do that! All minorities aren't bad guys!" Chill out folks. You didn't
see a bunch of people up in arms when Silence of the Lambs came out,
crying "Hey! Not all lonely dog owners are psychotic killers!!!"
Although many of them actually are.
In The Siege, the bad guys are Islamic terrorists. But the movie goes
to great length to show that these bad guys do not represent the Islamic
community. There are many Islamic good guys in the film, including one
of the main characters. And finally, the movie makes a point to show
the dangers of stereotyping people into a minority, the dangers of
giving in to the racist hysteria.
Now, from a strictly demolition point of view, the movie was pretty
cool. Lots of things blow up, and you just gotta love that. But this
film was more than just some action bonanza. It had a point to make. I
mean, it wasn't Gandhi or anything, but it did carry a message. And the
message was this: Bruce Willis is better when he really isn't in much
of the movie.
You would have thought that we would have learned that from Pulp
Fiction, but more and more movies waste their time by putting Bruce on
the screen for far too long. Look at some of the evidence.
Pulp Fiction: Bruce in about 1/3 of the film. Nominated for Best
Last Man Standing: All Bruce, all Bad. 0 Nominations.
The Verdict: Bruce is an extra, nothing more. A Great Film, Nominated
for Best Picture.
Color of Night: Whole lotta Bruce. Whole lotta bad. Won the Razzie
for worst film of the year.
Look Who's Talking: He's a voice, nothing more. Huge Box Office
Hudson Hawk: More Bruce than you can shake a stick at. One of the
Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time.
I could go on. But the point is made. This film, which doesn't really
have much Bruceness to it, is a better film because of it. (I
completely ignore the Die Hard movies in this comparison because their
success, with such a high Bruce Factor, is a complete fluke.)
Also, I want to give props to Tony Shalhoub, who is really excellent in
this film. You may remember him as lots of things in lots of movies,
but I remember him best for getting his head blown off in Men In Black.
And then growing it back. Great scene.
The Siege, for all the protesting and what not surrounding it, ends up
being just a pretty decent action flick. It really wants to be more,
wants to make you think, make you take a look at yourself. But it kinda
runs long, and tries to tidy up with a very Hollywood ending that just
felt, easy. Still, it gets extra points for bombing the living
daylights out of New York. Give it 3 1/2 Babylons and call it a night.
I love it when the SMC tries to get political. Remember, movie-going
public, this man actually gave Sphere 3 1/4 Babylons, Bean 3 3/4
Babylons, and Vegas Vacation 3 Babylons. And he actually SAW Free Willy
I beg you not to listen to him.
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Tony Shalhoub, and Just
Enough Bruce Willis to make us all feel whole again.