Olivier Gruner's first movie was my entertainment last night, Angel Town
As I said, this was Gruners first movie, and it seems like he's very much trying to go in a Van Damme direction here. After this, he went in a more sci-fi action direction with Nemesis, Interceptor Force, Velocity Trap, etc...(which I actually think he did much better in). One similarity is the seeming need to come out with an back story to explain his accent. For some reason, I sometimes confuse him with Gary Daniels as to what movies he has been in.
Anyway, the plot of this one is that Gruner, as Jacques, if a foreign exchange student from France to Los Angeles. He arrives late and their are no places for him to room, until he ends up a little outside the normal range of students, down in a barrio controlled by a latin gang. The son of the lady he is renting te place from, Martin, is being pressured to join the gang, Jacques gets caught in the middle, and a lot of people get hurt.
This was not a very good movie :)
- Fight choreography. The fight scenes were not well choreographed. Or rather, they were not well executed. I've seen Gruner move before and know he can do better. These hits didn't look very good at all. I don't expect much from an action movie starring a martial artist, but believable fights are one of them. I don't mean believable in a 'yeah, that makes sense' but believable in the sense of 'yeah, that hit looked good'
- Acting. Gruner was about the best. enough said. Actually, Peter Kwang as Jacques friend, Henry, wasn't bad. But the hispanic gang members were pretty bad
- Story Elements. I think they tried too hard to fit things in to provide reason, but they didn't really hold together and should've been left out. Like Jaqcues being a 5 time world champion kickboxer who decides to go into Engineering going to California to study Engineering (and never go to class) and teach the US Olympic Kickboxing(?) Team. Lots of little things in that sentance that go nowhere and don't make any sense so don't think about them. Jacques has a back story in the French slums and gangs to apparently explain his empathay for Martin, as well as some time in Hong Kong to explain why he knows Henry, who happens to own a nearby martial arts gym. Also, the entire 'gang' is just about 20 guys with no connections to the rest of the world. And I can't help think how many people died or were hurt (or raped) and it all started with trying to pressure a 16 yo kid to join a minor street gang. They tried to add some moral weight by insinuating that Henry sis paying protection money to the local Chinese mafia as well. Way too many non-sensical, or non-connected, story elements trying to bring sense and order to a story that really doesn't have much or doesn't need mucj.
And probably *the* most gratuitous "random gratuitous breast shot" I have *ever* seen, in the first five minutes of the film, from a throwaway character that added *nothing* to the story.
There was a quite unitentionally hilarious scene where Martin is being chased by the gang members and Jacques is chasing them. Everyone is on foot running between houses and allys and empty lots and such. Along with this, off camera for the most part, is the gang leader chasing them in a car, trying to get through the streets. The sound effects from the car roaring and screeching around corners is edited into the shots of the characters running through lots and ducking around corners and such. If you watch it and listen to the car sounds, sometimes they seem to match up, and it's funny watching, for example, Jacques start running as the car tires squeel. This one scene is almost worth the price of rental. watching guys in tennis shoes go roaring and screeching through he neighborhood
Sorry to say but Gruner actually did much better his second time out with "Nemesis" :)
I hesitate to ever say that a movie is so bad it's not worth watching. There was plenty of action and some good tension in very much a B-Movie low budget way. Just...know what you are getting into
Post Edited (07-25-05 13:29)