The Legend Of Tarzan
Warner Brothers Pictures
Rated PG-13 for action, violence, sensuality and brief crude dialogue
Alexander Skarsgard Stars As Legendary King Of The Jungle
Tarzan became a sensation soon after his initial introduction to the world via pulp magazines published in 1912. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the character proved to be such an enduring cultural icon that he would become the subject of a series of best-selling novels, 200+ movies and a long line of consumer products.
According to the lore spun by Burroughs, Tarzan, aka John Clayton, was the son of a couple of British aristocrats who perished in Africa while the boy was still an infant. The baby was subsequently raised by apes in the wild where he became so in tune with nature that he learned to speak the language of all the beasts residing there.
Moreover, as the legendary “Lord of the Jungle,” he not only exercised dominion over the animal kingdom but over cannibalistic tribes eager to rape white women and to boil missionaries in a big pot. Such insensitive portrayals of Africans as evil and uncivilized eventually became controversial in more enlightened times. And after decades of uncritical appeal, Tarzan finally witnessed a sharp decline in popularity.
Now, for the first time this millennium, he’s been brought back to the big screen. Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter 5, 6, 7 and 8), The Legend Of Tarzan features a more politically-correct version of the controversial character.
Set in 1884, the film stars Alexander Skarsgard in the title role as well as Samuel L. Jackson as his sophisticated sidekick, Dr. George Washington Williams. The American doctor was ostensibly shoehorned into the story to offset the relatively-primitive image of the indigenous black folks.
At the point of departure, we find Tarzan and wife Jane (Margot Robbie) living in the lap of luxury in London as Lord and Lady Greystoke. It’s apparently been ages since Tarzan has even set foot on the dark continent.
He leaps at the chance to return to the Congo, when invited by Parliament to serve as a trade emissary. What Tarzan doesn’t know is that he is merely a pawn in a plot masterminded by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), a diabolical villain dealing in blood diamonds. Upon arriving, it doesn’t take long for Tarzan to revert from a proper gent to a feral vine swinger who can summon a thundering herd of elephants with that distinctive yell. Aaaaaaaargh… Aaaaaaaaarghaaaah… Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 109 minutes
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated R for sexuality, nudity, graphic violence and pervasive profanity
Ex-Black Op Agents Go Rogue In High Body-Count Revenge Thriller
Vigilante Diaries is a movie that’s hard to pigeonhole only because it doesn’t have a coherent plotline. What I can say with confidence is that this balls-out action flick features a high attrition-rate as well a measure of eroticized violence for folks who like to be titillated while satiating their bloodlust.
At the picture’s point of departure in 2005, we find members of a Special-Ops team already embroiled in a deadly shootout overseas with Armenian mobsters. They accomplish the dangerous mission, namely, freeing a mysterious figure known as The Vigilante (Paul Sloan), leaving bodies strewn all over the place in the process.
Fast-forward to the present and we find Mike Hanover (Jason Mewes) now searching for the psychos who killed his brother, namely, The Vigilante and his sidekick, The Kid (Kevin L. Walker). What ensues might best be described as a gruesome snuff flick with a good sense of humor.
There’s an abundance of excellent acting by guys who know how to die on screen. One gunshot victim is more concerned about his ruined suit than his wounds, yelling, “Yo, mother-[expletive], this is Gucci!” at his attacker.
Without any logic or explanation, the revenge theme eventually morphs into a terrorist scenario. Suddenly, we have a character called Barrington (Michael Jai White) talking about somebody being offered a billion dollars to set off nuclear IED’s all over L.A.
Despite the fact that this high-octane thriller never made any sense, I must confess that it held me in its thrall from start to finish purely on the strength of the over-stimulation of its incessant visual capture.
Good (2 stars)
In English and Armenian with subtitles
Running time: 108 minutes
For movies opening July 8, 2016
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