Action Movies 2017 – Guide28.01.17 # Action Movies # No Comment
Boom. Let’s take a look at the biggest and best action movies of 2017 with a Top 20 countdown. It’s another huge year for superhero movies (‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, ‘Logan’ etc), there are many keenly-anticipated returns (‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’, ‘Kingsman 2’), probably the best ‘Star Wars’ in decades, and the biggest gamble of Luc Besson’s career. I’ll update titles with a Netflix icon when they become available to watch there.
20th – The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Élodie Yung, Salma Hayek
Director: Patrick Hughes
Out: August 18, 2017 (U.S. Dates)
The world’s top protection agent, aka bodyguard, (Reynolds) has a new client: a hitman who has come in from the cold (Jackson). They’ve been on opposite ends of a bullet for years and hate one another. Now they’re stuck together and have 24 hours to get to the Hague to take down a murderous dictator (Oldman)… With the director of ‘Expendables 3’ in charge and a newbie on the script, it’s probably headed for guilty pleasure territory. The best thing they can do after ‘Deadpool’ is give this an R rating and let Ryan Reynolds off the chain.
19th – Geostorm
Starring: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Andy García
Director: Dean Devlin
Out: October 20, 2017
A net of climate-controlling satellites are being used to prevent the natural disasters caused by climate change. But after successfully protecting us for two years, something starts going horribly wrong. A satellite designer (Butler) must head into space to correct the malfunction and save the world from a storm of catastrophic proportions. Meanwhile, his estranged brother uncovers a plot to assassinate the president… The feature directorial debut of Dean Devlin, longtime producer and frequent co-writer of Roland Emmerich’s spectacular but dumb disaster movies including ‘Independence Day’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘ID: Resurgence’. The presidential assassination subplot suggests a similar level of cheesy overkill. ‘Geostorm’ was filmed way back in October 2014, its release long-delayed after “below average” test screenings, and recently underwent significant reshoots with a new director (Danny Cannon of 1995’s ‘Judge Dredd’). Still, as ‘Rogue One’ showed, reshoots can sometimes do enough to tip the balance. The production hired the visual fx teams that worked on ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’, so expect the global storm and space-repair visuals to be epic at least.
18th – The Dark Tower
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Katheryn Winnick, Jackie Earle Haley
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Out: July 28, 2017
Gunslinger Roland (Elba) roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the Dark Tower (a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes) in hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world. Meanwhile the Man in Black (McConaughey), an ageless sorcerer and deceiver, aims to reach the Tower first and rule over its infinite kingdoms… Based on the enormous Stephen King fantasy series comprising 8 novels and 4,250 pages, King has said the movie starts from the middle of the novels, but also hinted it’s a sequel to the series, leaving some confused. It seems to be more an adaptation of the characters and universe ala, say, ‘Iron Man’, than any specific book. Signs indicate a significant amount, perhaps the majority, is set in modern New York instead of the more interesting fantasy setting of Midworld. It’s helmed by a veteran writer-director from Denmark, best known for the original ‘Dragon Tattoo’ screenplay and for ‘A Royal Affair’ which was Oscar-nominated in 2013 for Best Foreign Language. King’s writing can sometimes be muddled or translate that way (eg ‘Dreamcatcher’), the ‘Dark Tower’ mixes a lot of genres, and it’s some concern that those who’ve read the novels struggle to explain what the story is (at least on YouTube evidence). The director is fairly low profile to have been anywhere near their top choice, however… McConaughey’s pick of roles should be trusted and it’s going to be a lot of fun getting acquainted with this world-famous series. There’s also a prequel TV show coming afterwards that covers the early years of The Gunslinger.
17th – Ghost in the Shell
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Michael Pitt
Director: Rupert Sanders
Out: March 31, 2017
In a near cyberpunk future, cyber-enhanced brains and prosthetic-enhanced bodies are common, but vulnerable to skilled hackers. Cyborg policewoman The Major (Johansson) and her elite force are tasked with thwarting cyber criminals, and technological threats. Now they face a new enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage the A.I. tech firm on which she also relies… Live action remake of the seminal 1995 manga animation, from the director of ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. The producer has said, “We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves the Kuze story. We’re not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story, inspired by the ‘Affection’ [episode of the animated series].” The original animated movie has been highly influential, most famously on ‘The Matrix’ (they showed it in their pitch meeting, paired VR with martial arts/gunplay, and borrowed many details – from a plug in the head, to the digital rain of green numbers). Johansson has looked stilted in the trailers, but the original still plays like a modern mainstream action-thriller so all they have to do is convert-to-live what’s already there and it’ll be compelling sci-fi cinema. It’ll be a shame if it ends up where other manga properties have, like ‘Dragonball’.
16th – Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Kris Wu
Director: Luc Besson
Out: July 21, 2017
Epic sci-fi saga. Valerian (DeHaan, ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’) and Laureline (Delevingne, ‘Suicide Squad’) are special operatives for the “government of human territories” charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. He’s always chasing her with propositions of romance, but his history with women and her traditional values see him repeatedly rebuffed. Under directive from their Commander (Owen), they head to a breathtaking intergalactic city comprised of thousands of different species from across the universe. Its inhabitants share their talents, tech and resources for the betterment of all. But not everyone has those ideals, and soon hidden forces will put everyone in grave danger… Rihanna plays shapeshifting entertainer “Bubble”, John Goodman provides a voice, and Ethan Hawke appears as the well-named “Jolly the Pimp”. Although it’s English-language this is the most expensive French film ever made with a reckless reported budget of $180 million. The “Valérian and Laureline” French comics it’s based on are old enough to have influenced 1977’s ‘Star Wars’ but, despite some popularity in France, remain obscure elsewhere. With the trailer’s immensely tall metropolis, alien design, space travel and cinematography, it’s quite reminiscent of director Luc Besson’s ‘Fifth Element’ from 1997. That was visually spectacular too but lacked cohesive storytelling and featured a few lifeless or over the top performances. Here Cara Delevingne is in fashion but undoubtedly a wooden actress. Besson has been writing a lot of so-so European action since ‘Leon’, with the occasional success like ‘Taken’. Expect mixed bag content, with some memorable sci-fi visuals – in a box office flop that will go cult.