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November 05, 2012 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-05

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8A - Monday, November 5, 2012T nd

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

FILM REVIEW
Denzel soars in
captivating 'Flight'

Director Zemeckis
excellently creates
empathy for antihero
By ANDREW MCCLURE
Daily Arts Writer
A broken hero is more redun-
dant than the busty co-ed in
contemporary cinema. We sym-
pathize with
his melancholy
only because it
"shouldn't have 1
happened to
him." Any Dis- AtQuality16
ney Channel and Rave
Original Movie
could produce Paramount
a salty dis-
charge front even Tony Soprano's
eyes. But the void? Empathy. In
"Flight," a lofty Denzel Washing-
ton shoots for exactly that: the
antihero worthy of empathy.
Accomplished director Rob-
ert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump")
beautifully packages a compel-
ling character study in which
deceit trumps all. In Forrest
Gump, we saw an ideal man
born with external deficiencies.
"Flight" presents Whip Whita-
ker (played with oozing and toxic
poise by Denzel Washington,
"Training Day") equipped with
the ideal exterior and a hugely
flawed mental game. Viewers
sympathized with Forrest, but
they probably empathize with
the equally right and sinful Whip
of "Flight."
Whip is an all-smiles, cool-
as-a-cucumber veteran pilot. An
everyday flight takes a horrify-
ing turn when heavy turbulence
evolves into a nosedive, free-fall
with about a hundred on-board
passengers. Whip quarterbacks
an incredible last-second effort
to flip the plane upside down in
order to regain a coasting glide
- with- no working engines, In
a blood-pumping scene, cockpit
alarms sound uncontrollably as
the plane suffers a rough landing

PARAMOUNT
They put a bandaid on my forehead. No one puts bandaids on my forehead.

in a field. Five casualties. Whip
is a hero. Things are hunky-
dory until the toxicology reports
reveal Whip's 0.24 BAC and a
positive cocaine test.
Not such a hero anymore,
right?
The remaining film probes into
all the reasons we should give up
on Whip: his incessant and ubiq-
uitous alcoholism, estrangement
toward his son and an intractable
inclination to lie and lie and lie.
Zemeckis is smart - he wants to
build a collective aversion aimed
at a truly likable yet corrupt
character. He wants the charac-
ter to earn your trust by the end,
without guaranteeing anything
more than a downward-spiraling
debacle of pathetic proportions.
This game of self-identity, addic-
tion and egoism paints a poeti-
cally dreary picture that begs for
rebirth.
In the most moving scene of
the film, Whip drunkenly and
spontaneously returns home to
his divorced wife and distant son.
It ends badly - his wife threaten-
ing to call the police, the son vig-
orously trying to wrestle out of
Whip's grasp, and Whip-laughing
as he forcibly embraces his son,
kissing his forehead. This emo-
tive climax showcases a major
thematic element in Whip's
crooked mentality: holding on. to
what is unrightfully his.
Surprisingly, the glimmer of
enlightenment comes from the

minor role of a charming cancer
patient during Whip's time in
the hospital. Knowing his end is
within weeks, he softly says that
"death gives you perspective." A
message that resonates through-
out as people deem the plane mir-
acle "an act of God."
The' depressing moments
are somehow inspiring though,
like an Edgar Allen Poe work in
which the bad revives the good.
Luckily, Whip's buddy-slash-
drug-dealer (played hilariously
by John Goodman, "The Artist")
counterbalances the attitude of
"Flight" via his comic slights,
like dropping off "stroke mags"
for a hospitalized Whip.
Even the wrongful acts of
Whip are brilliantly made
cool, courtesy of a dynamite
soundtrack. The Rolling Stones'
"Gimme Shelter," Joe Cocker's
"Feeling Alright" and similar
toe-tappers flood the scenes of
white line-sniffing and booze-
guzzling. It's all part of the plan:
make the uncool cool. A pretty
simple task with Washington at
the helm.
"Flight" will soar confidently
above mass expectations. Den-
zel junkies will continue to feed
the addiction. Denzel unbeliev-
ers (Do they even exist?) will be
converted. Whetherloaded or not
entirely sober, Whip's words, ges-
ticulations and undying ego don't
make us cry for him - we root for
him.

UNIVERSAL
"Where's the buffet?"
Fight sequences can't
save feeble 'Iron Fists'

ByCONRADI
For the]
First-time di
encounter a pro
cially in the acti
films are too
centralized on
fight scenes and
action sequenc-
es, leaving the
story to wallow
in mediocrity.
Unfortunately
for RZA, direc-
tor, writer and
star of "Man
with the Iron
Fists," this
problem is not
visually impressi
unable to capturi
imagination due
plot and underder
ters.
The film is set
lage, a small come
century China. T
(RZA, "America
explains the area
clans, includingt
for whom he ma
He hopes to earn
to be able to skip t

FOREMAN
Daily
rectors often
blem - espe-
ion genre. The

Silk, his girlfriend and local
prostitute. When the Lion Clan
is charged with the task to pro-
tect government gold as it passes
through Jungle Village, the town
becomes a battleground.

The Man RZA-score
With the almost makes it
IronFists worth it.
At Quality16
and Rave
Universal Greedy for glory and gold,
members of the Lion Clan assas-
sinate their leader and decide
avoided. While to take the gold for themselves.
ve, the film is Meanwhile, a British soldier
e its audience's named Jack . Knife (Russell
to a confusing Crowe, "Gladiator") with a tal-
veloped charac- ent for violence and unknown
motivations has checked into the
in Jungle Vil- local brothel owned by Madam
munity in 19th- Blossom (Lucy Liu, "Charlie's
the Blacksmith Angels"). With the Lion Clan
in Gangster") holed up in the brothel to defend
's four warring " their recently acquired wealth,
the Lion Clan, it's up to Jack and The Black-
akes weaponry. smith to seek revenge and justice
enough money against the ruthless Lion Clan.
own with Lady The film features several very

impressive action sequences, but
unfortunately the story is lost in
a fury of fists. The murky plot is
often inexplicable, which may be
attributed to RZA's inexperience.
Complementary performances by
veterans Crowe and Liu are not
quite enough to make up for the
rather lackluster and dull per- S
formances by the rest of the cast.
Even the main characters suf-
fer from a lack of development,
and while action films do not
necessarily require high drama,
this absence leaves the audience
without a vested interest in the
story and turns "The Man with
the Iron Fists" into more of a
kung-fu montage than a film.
Where the film finds redemp-
tion is in the soundtrack and the
visual aesthetics. Produced by
RZA, who is the leader of the Wu
Tang Clan, the soundtrack fea-
tures a pleasing blend of modern
rock, hip hop and, of course, Wu
Tang songs to enrich the clas-
sic sound of.kung-fu movies. As
a longtime fan of kung-fu films,
RZA also did not disappoint in
the genre's defining aspect - the
fight sequences are impressively
well choreographed and very
entertaining. One in particular
features Madam Blossom slaying 6
through a dozen Lion Clan mem-
bers with a Chinese war fan.
As promised by the "Quentin
Tarantino presents" heading on
the movie, "Iron Fists" deliv-
ers violence and gore in droves.
While the film does not match a
Tarantino production in witty
dialogue and interesting story-
lines, the brutal death scenes and
sprays of blood satisfy even the
most sadistic viewers.
Ultimately though, "The Man
With the Iron Fists" is anunder-
whelming directorial debut for
RZA. However, for viewers seek- .
ing a bloodbath with entertain-
ing, physics-defying fights, there
are worse ways to spend an hour
and a half
REMEMBER,
REMEMBER

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

G
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n,
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RELEASE DATE- Monday, November5, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword PL
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 8 Magazine with a 41 Hula swivelers 54 The"l" i
1 Chinesetemple Stylewatch spinoff 46 Family-friendly, Abbr.
instrument 9 Eat noisily, as filmwise 55 End-of-tl
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the chalet 24Ragamuffin MA SIBASR 5111
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be_" 27OldDodgeautos C L E A R N A I L P 0
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38-and 46-
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64 Voting no
65In an unusualway
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67 Very familiar nte
recipient?
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smelling safts!"
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DOWN
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7One-namedIrsh
folk singer

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