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The Tourist

Like many films, ‘The Tourist’ heavily relies on locations. Setting the story somewhere interesting elevates even the most poorly written script. With scenes mainly shot in Paris and Venice, ‘The Tourist’ promises a visual feast. It does well showing off those two locales at their best. Although not perfect, ‘The Tourist’ backs up the visuals with a solid romantic thriller embracing those genres with ease.

Ellise (Angelina Jolie) is being followed by Scotland Yard Inspector Acheson (Paul Bettany) and dangerous gangster Shaw (Steven Berkoff). Under the command of Chief Inspector (Timothy Dalton), Acheson must follow Ellise so he can capture her lover, a wanted fugitive who has stolen a fortune. Unwittingly embroiled in this is timid Maths teacher Frank (Johnny Depp). All isn’t as it seems with double cross and skulduggery the order of the day.

A remake of a 2005 French movie, ‘The Tourist’ is consistently enjoyable. Its most important ingredient is the lead’s chemistry. Although Depp hasn’t exactly made a career out of being a romantic hero, he does well along with Jolie. Both generate the necessary sparks even if more depth could have been given to their characters. The same could be said of their co-stars who don’t have much to work with in their roles but bring a sense of engaged fun anyway.

The locations make ‘The Tourist’ shine. You get a true sense of scale in the Venice scenes, with its ancient canals creating much atmosphere. It works as a romance with a few thrills thrown in with the sole big action set-piece memorable. The surprises are genuine as the viewer is forced to navigate the twists ‘The Tourist’ relies on. Its glossy, scenic look brings a style all its own ensuring that slow moments are few.

‘The Tourist’ is a very light caper not taxing heavily on the brain cells. It provides fun escapism in a glamorous setting effectively taking your mind off things for a few hours. Films like these shouldn’t be shunned as it saves plenty of dollars for those wanting to be a tourist from their lounge rooms as its characters walk amongst stylish landscapes.

Rating out of 10: 6

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX.

Mechanic: Resurrection

Jean Claude Van-Damme has been called the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger labelled the ‘Austrian Oak’. Despite their macho nicknames, their common link is the ability to deliver silly quips whilst brandishing weapons. Although Jason Statham doesn’t yet have a nickname, his rugged, chiselled looks have seen him overtake those two giants in the action stakes. ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ is a sequel to his hit 2010 remake. Despite him barely giving anything resembling a performance, this ridiculously over the top action flick allows Statham to look heroic in all manner of deadly manoeuvres.

Enjoying his retirement living in Rio, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) was an assassin for hire. His idyll is short-lived when an old enemy, Riah Crain (Sam Hazeldine), blackmails him into doing a job. His mission involves killing three dangerous criminals, including shady arms dealer Max (Tommy Lee Jones). Reluctantly re-joining the fray, he is joined by mysterious new friend Gina (Jessica Alba) and contact Mei (Michelle Yeoh). Bullets, bodies and brawn soon fly as Bishop and co zip around the globe with all guns blazing.

‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ is a pure ‘popcorn and Coke’ movie. While watching the over top antics, you drink and eat without fear of missing any of the story as characters move from one calamity to the next. As a sequel ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ isn’t anywhere near as good as the first, even though that was hardly a masterpiece either. Bishop is more a pawn than an instigator of events, making the character seem weaker than previously.

Statham gives a fairly listless performance, scowling and staring rather than emoting. He equips himself admirably in the many action scenes he’s paid for. He puts plenty of energy into them as does his co-stars with Alba also showing deft moves. The locations ranging from Thailand to Sydney look gorgeous, having the appropriate comic-strip lushness the film needs. It’s a fast and colourful adventure with a run-time as brisk as Statham’s acting range.

It is doubtful Statham will be haunting the Academy Awards lists anytime soon. In terms of perseverance in action movies, he wins hands down. ‘Mechanic: Resurrection’ won’t hurt your brain cells by thinking too much about it. The only tough element is seeing Statham’s character blaze away his foes to cinematic oblivion.

Rating out of 10: 5

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX