Entertainment

Road House director Doug Liman’s studio star vehicle is always refreshingly jagged, unpredictable and strangely dynamic


If you heard around 2000 swinger and go has signed on to remake the 1989 action film Roadhouse, you might feel trepidatious that another seemingly independent-minded filmmaker has been sucked into the vortex of Hollywood nonsense. Then you might be patiently waiting for the movie to flop and bring him back to that small-budget world in which he clearly thrived.But the weirdest thing about director Doug Liman’s career isn’t that he would eventually remake Roadhouse After experiencing the new version in 2024, Roadhouse It feels very similar to Liman’s other films.He didn’t make headlines for the recent studio feud by prematurely denouncing his sellout; he made headlines by angrily insisting that his new movie deserved to be seen in theaters rather than with a bizarre title direct streamingNo matter what he’s doing, Doug Liman takes it seriously.

Maybe he’s still sensitive to his first film, a little-seen dark comedy. Admission, was made straight to film back in 1994.It quickly got a reboot of sorts when Liman directed the 1996 indie comedy swingernow more closely linked to writer-star Jon Favreau (who himself is no stranger to corporate-sponsored fare). swinger and its 1999 follow-up goLiman has established himself as a feisty chronicler of post-Tarantino semi-youth culture, tracking those who would have been part of the scene as well as some of the actual misadventures, often including a side trip to Las Vegas. A quarter of a century later, go It may seem dated on certain fashions or cultural concerns, but it’s still a fast, fun crime comedy – the only one pulp Fiction It feels like it occupies its own unique milieu, perhaps due to Liman’s admitted tendency toward “chaotic” shooting, where the film is shot on a whim rather than following a strict and disciplined blueprint.

© Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Eve

Liman moves on to bigger projects The Bourne Identitythough he retained enough of the old mayhem during filming that the studio kept him away from many subsequent sequels. “Sellout Trilogy” As he once put it, you could feel the creative process starting to wobble, the wheels about to come off: messy but icon-heavy Mr and Mrs Smith Relying on its star power and occasional, gentle Soderbergh touches, Jumper (Or as my tour guide at the Coliseum mentioned when listing the movies filmed there, Jumper) should be a good fit for Liman’s direct, scratchy style, but it falls apart in a pile of teenage franchise spare parts. His subsequent transitions from large to small to large only occasionally seemed strategic, even under the vagaries of the studio’s release schedule, and his last batch of films have been released in bursts of complementary size contrasts. : “War Operator Streamlined” wall Also one of Tom Cruise’s only non-franchise films made in America A few months apart in 2017; the long-overdue science fiction YA picture chaos walking and anxious covid-19 projects. locking In 2021, our relationship will grow even stronger.

Roadhouse It’s kind of two scales at once; on the one hand it’s a high-profile action movie with its stars, and on the other hand it’s a straight-to-streaming remake of an unambitious exploitation film.Liman had a few tricks he used constantly when working on an infamous cult classic, chiefly panning his camera so ostentatiously at such an oblique angle that it looked virtual, like James More breathing sequences from James Wan Neptune The movie, just doesn’t have the high fantasy imagery. The fight scenes are more polished and sustained than in the 1989 original, and, befitting this era of filmmaking, look even more fake. It is difficult to make any connection, both thematically and formally. movie and said, goin addition to a sly sense of humor and indomitable energy.

At the same time, there’s a boring uniformity to most of Liman’s films. This is best summed up by his best big-budget film, perhaps even his best film ever: edge of tomorrow, a Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt time loop adventure. In following the life, death, and equally ill-fated battles with hostile alien invaders as a young military PR officer (Cruise) comes of age, Liman discovers that Cruise A lively rhythm of repeated deaths, haphazardly mixed with montages and more sustained sequences.It felt like the movie he was looking for Jumper or Mr and Mrs Smiththe perfect vehicle for his energetic ’90s comedy, and the same for Tom Cruise at a time when his star-driven career could feel overly brand-managed.

Road House fight scene: Conor McGregor fights Jack Gyllenhaal
Photo: Amazon

The same thing almost happened to Jake Gyllenhaal Roadhousealbeit with lower wattage and a greater caveat to his own later career tendencies: the film feels tailor-made to Gyllenhaal’s personality, as Mr and Mrs Smith almost instinctively reinventing herself around Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and The Bourne Supremacy Even though the protagonist’s void seemed interchangeable, it became a signature upgrade for Matt Damon. Still, none of these films have the bittersweet romantic soul. edge of tomorrow, Cruise has done his most effective audience surrogate work in the past 20 years, simply falling silently in love with Emily Blunt while being shot down multiple times — literally. Limiting the comparison to action movie techniques alone, there is nothing to compare with. Roadhouse have tomorrowEven Liman seems interested in using CG action to bend and stretch the laws of physics, as in the scene where a pickup truck plows into Gyllenhaal, reverses and then manages to pick him up and pull him off a bridge. The scene’s visuals are dodgy, but there’s more power behind the illusion than Matthew Vaughn’s similar moments. ArgyllLiman drifts in and out of the uncanny valley throughout the film, and I still don’t know if he can be called any good at directing action.I do know that a sloppily choreographed Vegas car chase go much more than anything that happens in it Jumper or most cartoon confrontations Roadhouse (or even a relatively streamlined wall).

So why does Doug Liman make such crap? Roadhouse Still sounds strangely hopeful?How come I love so much, for example, his seemingly deliberately annoying Marriage Disintegration movie lockingand his computerized Roadhouse Even largely ignored/reviled chaos walking? I think it’s because there’s a real weirdness and erratic quality to Liman that often makes his big-budget films jagged, unpredictable, and weirdly dynamic. On paper, Roadhouse Reboot culture is just wrong: it’s trying to steal the grit of a movie with a cult following cultivated by cable television; it’s laden with “updates” in mind-boggling special effects; it’s actively wasting multiple talented actors time; it throws away any opportunity for anyone to say anything with reckless abandon (other than to point out its own questionable sincerity as a quasi-western). In fact, this movie is fake until it works. Perhaps that’s why many of Liman’s disparate and jagged works still feel spiritually connected.arrive swinger: These guys also use fumbling, cajoling, and improvising to achieve unexpected charm.

Jesse Hassenger(@rockmarooned) is a writer living in Brooklyn. He is a regular contributor to outlets including The AV Club, Polygon and The Week.His podcast is at www.sportsalcohol.comalso.





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