Jarv’s Birthday Series: War (2007)
Well, I’m now up to the year 2007 in the Birthday Series, and as I approach the finish line, with only Death Race as a problem film ahead of me (fingers crossed for Conan), I’m stuck with having to write a review for the most mundane, uninspired film that’s come up. I’m actually struggling to pen this, so I’ll open with an easy question:
War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Actually, that’s a bit harsh. Actual war is pretty awful, true enough, but this 2007 (release date August 26th in America) Phillip G. Atwell film starring Jet Li and Jason Statham isn’t that bad. It’s not great, we’re not talking about the Locarno Pact or anything (I know this was a failure and a bit of a joke in the end, but it was a nice idea) on that level, but it’s not exactly hateful crap. If I had to use a word to describe War, then I’d use “forgettable”. That’s what this film is, completely and utterly forgettable. When the disc arrived from Lovefilm, I looked at it, swore that I hadn’t seen it and put it in. Only to remember about a quarter of the way through when Devon Aoki appeared that, actually, I had seen it. I couldn’t recall a damned thing about it, but I had sat through it nonetheless on TV. What’s pitiful, is that I watched War less than 3 days ago, and this was the third time, and I’m struggling to write this review (even resorting to crap music based jokes to open with) because I have managed to almost completely forget it again.
Can someone please explain the appeal of The Stath to me? I know he’s well-built, and is good at kicking people in the head. He’s also bald and looks permanently as if someone’s shagged his missus. Wait, never mind, got it. Did you know that Statham was a professional diver before he became an actor? He’s like the Greg Louganis of Action films. Except without being gay, and, to be fair, having AIDS. Mrs. Jarv once had dinner with him (Statham, not Louganis, wouldn’t that be really weird?) and Kelly Brook, but that’s another story.
If you can’t guess, I’m waffling here, because I can’t remember the plot of this film, so I’m filling out words with trivia and whimsical musings. Wonder when the test match starts. The weather’s a bit shitty so it may be delayed…
*knuckles down* RIGHT. LET’S DO IT.
War is about Jason Statham’s FBI agent Crawford. He hates Yakuza because he saw his partner’s house explode in the early scenes in the film. In the meantime, Jet Li’s Rogue is climbing the Triad Ladder to kill everyone in the way, but John Lone’s Triad boss is a bit of an idiot and thinks Li is loyal to him. Crawford is befuddled and struggling to work out what the score is with Rogue so uses his underworld contact Luiz Guzman to help him track the man. Yakuza boss (Can’t remember what actor) has sent his daughter, Devon Aoki, over to San Francisco because the operation isn’t running properly. What this amounts to is lots of gunplay, a few fights (including a swordfight) and a crap and pathetic twist.
I’m struggling here, to be honest. It’s just not memorable enough to do a review of. I suppose everything is competent, the acting is OK- the Stath does his usual slaphead growling routine, there’s the odd good set piece, some hooker gets her norks out for Li, the swordfight at the end is quite exciting, but really, it’s not exactly inspired stuff. It’s just another OK Jet Li American film, and watching it invokes exactly the same feelings of meh-ness that every other American Jet Li film invokes. On an unrelated note, I recently watched The Warlords again, and Li was brilliant in that (albeit in his first language), but what happens to him in America? Why does he star in these completely mundane films? He’s like an acting John Woo: Great in China, crap in the US.
On an entirely unrelated note, does anyone else think Devon Aoki looks a bit, well, weird? OK, just me then.
I’m tempted to wrap this review up here, because I think I’ve said everything that there is to say about this film. It’s just so unremarkable. I suppose I could have a go at Atwell’s use of Slo-mo, but there’s no real point. Really, why bother casting Jet Li to crack some heads in a film then fuck around with camera tricks? What’s the point of hiring one of the finest martial artists of his generation if you are then going to film it in such a way that any old tool could do the moves? I’ve often wondered about this, because it strikes it as inherently dumb and a complete waste of talent.
Oh, I suppose I could talk about the twist and the end. Can’t be arsed though- just take my word for it: they suck. It’s even a pretty generic twist, in all honesty.
Overall, I’m all out of things to say about this movie. It isn’t a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just a completely unremarkable one. It’s so seriously lacking in imagination and, well, panache, that nothing about it sticks in the memory longer than the closing credits. I’m not bothering with a recommendation here, there’s no point as I’ve almost completely forgotten it and will no doubt watch it next time it’s on TV before getting to the point where Devon Aoki orders Chef Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and realising that, yes, I have seen this film before. Therefore, in the interests of balance, War can have two weirdly smiling Staths out of four. Doesn’t he look unnatural smiling? Seriously, he’s almost grimacing.
Next up, the Stath is back in an absolutely stinking film. P.W.S. Anderson ruins something else I like with his cretinous version of Death Race. So, yes, I am going to whinge about how the bastard is persecuting me on purpose.
Until next time,
The full list in this series:
- 1978 – The Driver (3 out of 4)
- 1979 – Life of Brian (4 out of 4)
- 1980 –Xanadu (Orangutan of Doom)
- 1981 – An American Werewolf in London (4 out of 4)
- 1982 – Class of 1984 (3 out of 4)
- 1983 – Fire and Ice (1 out of 4)
- 1984 – Cal (1/2 out of 4)
- 1985 – Teen Wolf (3 out of 4)
- 1986 –Reform School Girls (2.5 out of 4)
- 1987 – Dirty Dancing (Orangutan of Doom)
- 1988 – Married to the Mob (1 out of 4)
- 1989 – Millennium (1 out of 4)
- 1990 – Darkman (3 out of 4)
- 1991 – Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (2 out of 4)
- 1992 – Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (Orangutan of Doom)
- 1993 – Hard Target (3 out of 4)
- 1994 – Natural Born Killers (1 out of 4)
- 1995 – Desperado (3 out of 4)
- 1996 – Freeway (2.5 out of 4)
- 1997 – Mimic (2.5 out of 4)
- 1998 – Blade (3.5 out of 4)
- 1999 – Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1 out of 4)
- 2000 – Bring it On (1 out of 4)
- 2001 – Heartbreakers (0.5 out of 4)
- 2002 – Sim0ne (2 out of 4)
- 2003 – My Boss’s Daughter (Orangutan of Doom)
- 2004 – Exorcist: The beginning (1 out of 4)
- 2005 – The Cave (0.5 out of 4)
- 2006 – Invincible (3 out of 4)
- 2007 – War (2 out of 4)
- 2008 – Death Race
- 2009 – Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
- 2010 – Piranha 3D
- 2011 – Conan the Barbarian