I watch a lot of dumb movies. To get something out of it, I am going to start occasionally writing thoughts about them on my website. These are not reviews, because almost always these will be terrible films, just things I think of while watching.
Today’s Movie Thoughts are about Fatal Justice.
The plot is pretty basic. A CIA Assassin code-named Diana is sent to kill a more senior CIA assassin code-named Mars. Early plot twist: Mars is her long-lost father. Later plot twist: The CIA is actually trying to wipe out its entire current generation of assassins to get new ones who are more loyal to newer administration (some of whom are compromised to the Russian mob).
It’s definitely a movie that uses violence and action as a spectacle, but it actually has a pretty anti-killing stance within the text. As he nears death, Mars says: “You know, it’s funny. You start killing for Uncle Sam, you’re young, you believe in the system. You want to do the best you can do… but when you find out that it’s a lie, it’s too late. You don’t have nothing left. You don’t have nothing left. It’s just you and your conscience. I’m so tired of killing. I just want to rest.” Of this, PDR, your local Pacifist Who Likes Action Movies, wholly approves (while admitting the hypocrisy).
When Diana is introduced, she is posing as a pizza deliverer to gun down an old man in front of his family. It’s implied the guy “deserved” it, but she feels bad for his family. Mars, meanwhile, is introduced as training the next generation of assassins. There’s a scene I actually like where Mars is doing a drill sergeant thing with the new volunteers. He asks one of them why he joined and the guy is like “To serve my country” and Mars is like “You are not! You’re here because you want to kill people” and he goes on about how this job lets them act out their sick fantasies and the government will sanction it and “pat you on the back”. Mars’s training technique is very much like the Marvel character Taskmaster’s, in that the students aren’t guaranteed to make it through alive. I suspect this is not how he’s always trained them, but that he’s only doing it this time he knows what’s coming.
As Diana and Mars team up to go into what seems like it’ll be a suicide mission: “You go East, I’ll go West.” “We’ll meet in Hell.” Someone thought that was deep.
Naturally, for all the movie laments what killing does to the protagonists, Diana still achieves her victory by slaughtering everyone who wronged her. (I mean, her ultimate victory is actually seeing through the CIA’s last ditch attempt to get her and escaping, but mostly the violence thing.)
What else? There’s some surprisingly expensive-seeming stuff going on: helicopter scenes, cars flipping, stunts where people fall from windows. Speaking of the helicopter(s)* There is a bit where a cop, over a speaker from a helicopter, was saying “This is the police, come out with your hands up” and then Diana shoots at him and he says, still over the speaker “Oh Shit” in a pretty bad delivery but it made me laugh. Diana actually does manage to bring down the helicopter with the pistol.
But those few scenes with a budget can’t cover up the fact that the movie is pure B-Grade trash. The bad camera quality, some terrible ADR work, crappy lighting. It’s all stuff I myself could probably exceed in these days of 2018 with my phone. Granted a lot of the acting is bad, but they do have actors. That’s one thing that even 2018 PDR can’t rival. Amusing to me: at one point Mars assigns four trainees orders to head North, South, East, and West respectively, but the actors don’t move in directions that can correspond with their orders.
Finally, for a movie that has nudity and swearing and such, Diana keeps using these exclamations that are endearingly mild. She’s all “You better believe it. And how!” and “Oh, man!” even in times of danger. Unfortunately, “You picked the wrong day to mess with me, buster” is not going to rank among the top action one liners of all time.
*While multiple helicopters appear in the narrative, I suspect they were all played by the same helicopter.
A group of young adults living in the big city and trying to get by, except the city is the capital city of Islopia, a nation on a world where magic exists alongside modern technology.
Righ is a druid working for the Islopia Parks Department. It’s his job to keep the parks in the capital city nice and healthy. His job is nice work, which contrasts sharply with the mess he’s made of his home life. After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, he has had to move in with his brother until he can get back on his feet. But Righ is a nervous wreck and navigating the world of a newly single young man in Islopia is not easy for him.
While the Wizard King of Islopia has a team of super-powered enforcers to act as his police, he also has an army of normal law enforcers, known as the Purplewearers, who serve as law enforcement on a more mundane level. Righ’s big brother Vick is one of those. Unlike his brother, Vick is stubborn, rigid, and stupidly brash. He is very actively social and has relationships come and go without letting it bother him at all.
Carlane lives in the apartment above the Tarnage brothers. She works in an advertising firm downtown and makes enough to live on her own, even in this nice neighbourhood, but she constantly feels like she doesn’t belong there and that everyone hates her, even though it isn’t true, and most of the neighbourhood’s denizens don’t even care that she exists. She has an on-and-off relationship with a man at work, but Righ has a thing for her, and there’s a definite will-they-won’t-they thing brewing.
An apprentice wizard in the city’s science labs, Nyss is Vick’s best friend since they were in school together. She is impressed that he has taken in his little brother, and mocks them slightly less than she mocks everyone else. She is constantly conniving ways to get out of work so that she can hang out with her friends all day.
Hem Gredley is a server at the trendy tavern down the road from the apartment building. He never really found Vick to be all that nice a guy, but has taken a liking to Righ since he moved in, and now he’s part of the gang. He’s a bit dumb, and very vain, but overall Hem is a nice guy.
Lisa is a musician who is trying to get a job in the music industry. In Islopia, that industry is all about singing ballads about historical figures, so musicians are basically history nerds. This is definitely true of Lisa, but she overcompensates by trying to appear cool, and it backfires every time.
The high concept of this show would probably wear itself thin pretty quickly in our world, but in a fantasy world where these are relatable characters, this show would air for years, I tell you, years!
It’s a typical family sitcom, except that the father is an inventor who keeps accidentally altering the timestream.
Though Don is a super-intelligent genius, he works as a mechanic and he is happy to do it. He saves the superscience for his own free time. He tinkers with a time machine in the garage, but he has no idea that he has actually got it working dozens, or even hundreds of times, because he always winds up altering the time machine such that he doesn’t remember and has to do it again.
The family matriarch is, in stereotypical sitcom fashion, the glue that holds the family together. She’s the one who deals with all the problems that crop up while her absent-minded husband makes a fool of himself.
Tammy’s sister is an acid-tongued minx who likes to show up for a few minutes a week and deliver some one-liners.
The oldest of the Reed-Owens children, Jake is in high school and is dealing with all the typical problems of adolescence.
Thinking of herself as the ignored middle child, Emily is actually the one who gets the most attention, since she’s always complaining about something.
Oscar is the only family member cognizant of the ways that the timestream is constantly being altered. For some reason, he is the only one who notices that Jake and Emily have to keep learning the same lessons every week like they’re caught in a time loop. When his aunt Janice stopped appearing, Oscar was the only one who even remembered that she existed. And he’s the only one that noticed that he seemed to grow from an infant to a four year old over the course of a summer. As a kid, he takes this stuff in stride as best he can, but his best isn’t very good. He’s stressed out and it is only ever getting worse. More than anything, he wishes he could figure out why some weird thing always happens for 22 minutes every Thursday at 7:30.
Obviously this whole thing is a setup to mock the typical things that go uncommented on in regular sitcoms. I don’t know if it’d catch on, but if it were a real show I’d hope it lasts long enough to see Oscar progress into a complete and total wreck.
Almost certainly a real television show called Family Time has existed. I refuse to google it to find out because it is the ideal name for this show. I threw on the word “It’s” just to hedge my bets. The Reed-Owens surname is because it sounds like “Redoing” and it is quite a reach.