Last week, I selected a Michael Bay film as my weekly Streaming Video Suggestion (SVS) and said a few nice-ish (and subsequently controversial) things about his prowess as an action director in the early stages of his career. I stand firmly behind those nice-ish things, and by the aforesuggested Armageddon's value as a mindless-yet-fun bit of cinematic escapism. So there.
This week, undaunted (it would seem) by the (mild, but I'll take what I can get) controversy, I'm picking another action film from another action auteur: Mr. John Frankenheimer. Because whatever else one might be tempted to say about the Frankenheimer filmography, there is one fact that is incontrovertible: The man was an absolute master when it came to directing action. A veritable virtuoso of cinematic vim and vigor.
Amazon describes it as a "character-driven post-Cold War action adventure," but that's not quite right. Yes, the script takes full advantage of its post-Cold War setting, delivering a story-line as twisty and clever as one would expect from a Mamet-penned offering. And yes, the characters and the cast that plays them really are fantastic, especially De Niro, Reno, and the ever-watchable (with the single exception of his Michael Bay-directed performance) Sean Bean. But it's action-driven, not character-driven; it's the heart-pumping, head-pounding stuff that really makes it tick. (And when I say "driven," I mean it literally. It's got some of the finest chase sequences ever put to film.)
Dat ending, tho.
Legendary director John Frankenheimer helms a taut adventurous tale of mercenaries brought together in search of a mysterious briefcase. Robert De Niro stars as the former U.S. intelligence agent searching for the package––but he's got to beat the Irish and the Russians to it first.