A Few Best Men

There aren’t many original film ideas these days with each copying the other in the hope of making more dollars.  ‘A Few Best Men’ is no different as it replicates the recent template of the ‘Hangover’ and ‘Bridesmaids’ movies.  Set in the picturesque Australian Blue Mountains it treads a familiar path.  Occasionally it amuses as the mix of American-style slapstick comedy and English farce blends within the local landscape.


British born David (Xavier Samuel) looks forward to marrying his fiancé Mia (Laura Brent).  Deciding to marry at her parent’s home it meets with much questioning from her mother Barbra (Olivia Newton-John) and father Jim (Jonathan Biggins).  Rounding up his three mates as best men, little does David know of the horrors in store as wayward sheep, booze and drugs lead to a litany of marital mayhem.


Crude, lewd and very rude, ‘A Few Best Men’ eagerly plumbs the comedic depths in search of laughs.  Its gross-out type humour is popular in some quarters although this seems a rather lazy way in conjuring mirth.  Adding some wit or satire amongst the naughty brew may have worked wonders although the cast seem to enjoy themselves.  Newton-John and Samuel especially show some genuine comic timing even if most around them ham it up for all its worth.


It’s a shame director Stephan Elliot is at the helm as the unique and uncompromising vision making his other work so interesting is missing.  This is very much a by the numbers effort from him – as if he is using this film to pay for a better future project.  There’s no other explanation as the humour is one we’ve all seen before as he has shown he can be more creative.  The scenery looks suitably lush however even if the story’s facsimile of moments from similar films quickly becomes tiresome.


Australian comedies usually work due to having their own unique style without mirroring their overseas counterparts.  There’s not much of it in ‘A Few Best Men’ although it may raise a chuckle or two.  When Elliott returns to his more adventurous ways will truly be something to smile about.


Rating out of 10:  3


Underworld: Awakening

If the ‘Twilight’ movies have shown a romantic side to vampires and werewolves the ‘Underworld’ series has seen them at their most blood-thirsty.  A high octane action franchise, its fourth entry sees the battle between the supernatural beasts kick up a notch.  A celebration of noise and spectacle than acting, it does the job in ensuring fans obtain the most out of its heavily CGI-led monster mash.


Captured by humans and kept in prison for twelve years, vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) escapes.  Re-entering a world where the existence of vampires and werewolves are known, she discovers humanity wanting to kill both species.  On the run from shadowy scientist Dr. Jacob (Stephen Rea) she is also joined by the mysterious Eve (India Eisley).  Cutting a swathe through a beastly army, Selena attempts to find an end to a seemingly unstoppable war.


Having already travelled the prequel route with its last outing, ‘Underworld: Awakening’ valiantly tries to further its mythology.  Only partly succeeding due to a wafer think plot, it makes the most of its cavalcade of action.  There are lots on display as Selene whizzes her way through a litany of Matrix-style fighting and dazzling pyrotechnics.  It’s a bit unfortunate the cheap looking special effects aren’t terribly ‘special’ although director Mans Marlind’s flair for comic book-style cinematography is a plus.


The actors give it their all and attempt to emote while partaking in various over the top stunts.  They aren’t serviced too well by an uninvolving story offering few surprises.  While it has its moments, events don’t really go anywhere as relies on the old ‘mad scientist taking over the world’ standby.  Although lumbered with this story cliché – which often makes it resemble the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise – it generally slots in well with previous instalments if you don’t think too hard about things.


One is appreciative watching a film where vampires don’t sparkle or provide love-lorn looks.  Not quite the best in the series, ‘Underworld: Awakening’ provides a reminder of the blood-thirsty origins from which vampire lore derived.


Rating out of 10:  5