Thursday, August 07, 2008

Best Served Cold

I was putting up the "Quantum of Solace" trailer (see post below) and getting giddier by the minute thinking about a new Bond film. Then it hit me, not only am I excited because it's a new Daniel Craig Bond movie, but it's also a revenge story. Oh I love those. The interesting thing about revenge is that we all have our little payback fantasies. Don't deny it. But we usually don't act on them (at least I hope you don't) so there's nothing better than a revenge flick to get out some vicarious aggression. It might not feel as good as taking a Louisville Slugger to someone's car, but it's probably healthier. In fact, this is such a great topic I may have to go into more detail later about why we love the vicarious thrill we get while watching these stories play out. But for now, here are a few of my favorite revenge films, in no particular order. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2: I never thought of Uma Thurman as a badass, but she sure wielded a mean katana in Quention Tarrantino's bloody Kill Bill series. I was actually a little scared to watch the first movie when it came out because I kept hearing how violent it was-- not shocking since it was made by Tarrantino. But stylistically it was so over-the-top I found I didn't mind the blood-- it seemed almost cartoonish. Therefore I was able to enjoy Thurman's quest to hunt down everyone who did her wrong. What really shocked me about these movies was how intimidating Darryl Hannah could be. Who knew she had it in her? But at the end, it was all about The Bride and Bill and I loved the whole thing. Payback: Just the name of this movie lets you know what's going on doesn't it? I remember liking this movie a lot when it first came out and I just watched it again recently, and you know what? It's still good. If you haven't seen it, it's about a guy (Mel Gibson) who was betrayed by his wife and his best friend over $70k. Despite being shot in the back, he survives and comes back to reclaim his money. What I liked best about this movie was that Gibson's character was focused on getting exactly what he was cheated out of-- not a penny more. This was Mel at his menacing best. The Crow: This was probably one of the first really dark comic book movies I ever saw and it made such an impression that my tastes have really been defined by mood and style of this movie. I haven't read the graphic novels the movie was based on-- but after reading "Watchmen" I may have to go get it-- so I only know the movie version of the story. Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by thugs who break into their apartment. Draven, resurrected and guided by a crow who is his guide between the world of the living and the dead, seeks revenge on those who killed him and his fiancée. Just writing this post reminds me of how much I love this movie. There's such a determination and sadness to Draven's character, made all the more poignant since it was released after Lee's death. I may be up late tonight watching this one again.... War of the Roses: I just watched this one again about a week ago and cracked up throughout the whole thing. I don't know about you, but I love black comedies. If you haven't seen this, it's about a married couple, Barbara and Oliver Rose (Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas) who have decided to get a divorce; though neither side will give up the house. Instead of a civilized separation, the divorce devolves into a messy game of one-upmanship that is cringe-worthy, but funny. It's also a little too real when it comes to marital conflict, but I try not to think about it too much. There are a lot more revenge films out there, many better than the ones on this list, but for some reason these stick out in my mind right now-- probably because I've seen many of them recently. Of the one's I haven't seen in awhile, "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan", "The Punisher" and "Mad Max," come to mind. So what about you? Do you like revenge films? If so, which ones? And are you super excited to see Bond kick some ass this November? I know I am.

10 comments:

Avery DeBow said...

The best thing about Kill Bill is Beatrice knows by getting revenge she's locking herself into a potential cycle of vengeance. When she kills Vernita, she knows the daughter just might want her own piece of revenge someday, and she accepts it--invites it, even.

While we're talking about Tarantino, Death Proof is a pretty good revenge movie. Takes it a while to get there, but when it does...mucho payback.

Stewart Sternberg said...

There is nothing as cathartic as a revenge film. You know, this is not the first James Bond film where revenge has played a major theme. Look at Diamonds are Forever, not well done, but in the return of Connery, it begins with him going after Blofeld as payment for the death of his wife in the previous film. In For Your Eyes Only, the Bond girl is thirsting for revenge for the death of her parents. Goldfinger? Tilly Masterson for Goldfinger killing her sister by painting her gold. In Bond, it's the theme that keeps on giving..I could probably mention four or five more of them such as "The World Is Not Enough", "License To Kill". In face this last one has Bond going rogue to avenge the death of Felix Leiter's bride and the crippling of Leiter.

Charles Gramlich said...

Payback is a way underrated movie. And "The War of the Roses" is one of the blackest comedies I've ever seen. What a great movie, with great acting by Turner and Douglas, and Devito.

I like a good revenge film myself.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Point Blank with Lee Marvin is one of the best revenge movies.

SQT said...

Jean-luc

I had no idea that "Payback" was a remake-- starring Lee Marvin no less! I'll need to rent "Point Blank" for sure.

Steve Malley said...

*Love* all of those! I've been trying to find the novel Payback was based on (it's Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark) but with no success.

There's actually a whole series with Parker (GIbson's character) in them...

SQT said...

Oh oh Steve, I must pick me up some of those.

Fab said...

Revenge films are fun cause they are edgier. The main characters usually don't give a damn to what happens to them that much, as long as the other one pays.

War of the Roses is a favorite. It just goes to where you don't imagine a couple to get to. (Pardon my English, I'm foreign!).

I am sooooo curious about the new Bond. I can't wait!!

Carl V. said...

Good revenge films. I like them as well. Have you ever seen the Korean film Old Boy? Now that is a revenge film! Whoa!

Cannot wait for Bond. I'm already planning on diving back in to the Bond books come November.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I really liked Payback and I remember it got all these negative reviews when it came out. I thought it really worked, a little over the top but nothing too wacky, a little stylistic, but again I thought it worked. I never really understood why it got the negative reviews.