The Legend of blahblahblah tells the story of a tiny Asiatic kingdom beset by evil pirates and evil-er prince dudes. The queen and her two princess sisters are in deep shit and the only thing that can save them are some kind of magical cannons that sank to the bottom of the sea years and years ago. Also they have a bodyguard named Jarang who is all scarred up from protecting them in a bad-ass manner.
Meanwhile, there is a "sea gypsy" (their words, not mine) orphan boy named Pari, who is being trained in the art of Du Lum, which is like the Force, but with fish. Yeah. So Pari grows up to be exceptionally good-looking and wants to use his Force-powers to fight pirates and whatnot, but this only leads to the deaths of everyone in his village. And also lots and lots of implied rape. Which is icky.
As you can probably figure, Jarang, Pari and the princesses, the elder one being extremely bad-ass and the younger a weenie, team up to save the kingdom, keep the cannons from the bad guys and learn that hatred and revenge are bad because when you have and/or do these things, you're Force fish powers turn evil, you get weird black smoke tattoos and your village ends up dead and raped. And that is bad.
There a lot of things to like about Tsunami Warrior. The sets and costumes are all really cool, the acting is actually pretty decent all around (except this one Chinese girl who is all mewling noises and irritation), and the visuals are impressive. Unfortunately, it's boring. The beginning is messy and choppy and you're not sure who your main character is supposed to be and it just kind of drags on and on as old dudes warn Pari not to use his Fish Senses for evil and the queen rambles about power. The fight scenes in between are well-staged, but considering this the same studio that gave us The Protector and Chocolate aka "Tony Jaa beats the shit out of people with elephant bones" and "dude that autistic girl just rearranged that guy's ribcage" it's disappointingly bloodless and Jarang is easily the most versed in martial arts, kicking all kinds of ass. But it just gets old after awhile and I lost interest.
You know your film is doing something wrong when you're riding a giant manta ray and I am still disinterested
So, all in all, it was a ok film that with a bit more direction, tightening, and pacing, could've been a really good one. Two and a half catapults out of five for some decent-ish epciness, and also for Pari's inclination towards loincloths. NICE.
The next movie I attempted was Franklyn, a strange British movie I have yet to properly classify.
Ok, I'm gonna try to keep this simple, which might be difficult since I watched this at like, one in the morning: Franklyn, a title with very little bearing on the movie, centers on four seemingly separate but (gasp!) actually intertwined stories. There's Milo, a mousy romantic who was just jilted at the altar and is moping around London, suddenly seeing his childhood sweetheart Sally in every crowded street, next is Emilia, a tortured (read: bitchy) art student who keeps attempting suicide as part of an art project. Yah. Then there's Peter, an oldish gent out looking for his son who has escaped from a mental hospital. Finally, there's Jon Preest, a vigilante in the creepiest dead-eyed mask EVER, running around a parallel world known as Meanwhile City, a crazy neo-Victorian pseudo-steampunk place where religion is mandatory, practicing his growly Batman voice and stalking cult leaders.
Got all that?
Obviously, Captain Creepazoid in Meanwhile City sticks out as sort of random amongst the contemporary British angst but it all ties together with the help of possible hallucinations, implied abuse and a janitor who is less a character and more a poorly-written plot device.
Like Tsunami, there's a lot to like about Franklyn and a lot wrong with it as well. For one thing, the whole plot is a house of cards, you breath too hard next to it and the whole thing comes crashing down. There a bunch of big reveals that I won't ruin for you but honestly, the movie does that job for you. I mean, it doesn't take long to connect Jon Preest to the rest of the story and by the time the movie gets around to it and is all like "Ta-dah!" you're like "yeah...and?" Another issue is the characters. Milo is bland and uninteresting and the whole resolution of his subplot leaves you with more questions than answers, and not the good kind but the "you pulled this out your ass" kind. Emilia is annoying. Like, I get we're supposed to be sympathetic to her because she's this "pained artiste" but mostly she comes off as selfish and anti-social. She's played by Eva Green, who I think does a good acting job, it's seems like it's largely the material that makes her so unlikable.
Peter, the father looking for his son manages quite well to flesh out what is seriously the most underwritten character in the movie. Except maybe that damn janitor. Who might be God. Or just a janitor.
So yeah, good things: Ryan Philippe is Jon Preest and my goodness is he ever attractive. Also his story of going up against his arch-rival The Individual whilst dodging "The Ministry" is by far the most interesting. Also,
It's all Gothic spires and Victorian arches smooshed in with neon lights and mohawks. So cool. The mixing of waistcoats and top hats with TVs and trucker hats is all kinds of awesome. Also the whole bit about religion being forced, but you can have whatever religion you want, which leads to things like the Seventh Day Manicurists. Basically, if the director had cut out Milo-the-weenie and Emilia-the-suicidal and just focused on Preest, it would have been a better movie. Very different, message-wise and junk, but still better, less meandering.
Still, the Meanwhile City bits are way cool, the musical score is surprisingly fantastic and Ryan Philippe is just, just really really hot.
So in the end, Franklyn nets two and three-quarter catapults out five, because it was better than Tsunami Warrior, but still a meandering bit of what-the-fuck with unresolved plot points, poorly written characters, and a subplot that would have been much cooler as the main event.
And now you know. This is Sugary Cynic, riding a manta ray and finding religion, 'night!
Emilia: "Life's too much of an adventure as it is without making anything else up"