Tag Archives: Danny Lerner

Command Performance (2009, Dolph Lundgren)

As Command Performance‘s end credits began to roll, I turned to my wife and instructed her to always say “No” if I ever suggest watching a Dolph Lundgren movie again. And it’d be hard to find a Dolph-ier Lundgren movie than Command Performance. He stars, he directs, he cowrote the screenplay. He also gives himself a love interest thirty-five years his junior (Melissa Molinaro), but that issue’s more with Lundgren’s ego than his filmmaking sensibilities.

Strangely, I like Lundgren to some degree. His acting has reached a point where he’s affably bad. And his direction isn’t completely terrible. Sure, it’s that lame video vérité television like “24” has made acceptable–Lundgren doesn’t need to actually compose shots–but if you’re going to direct a grandiose Die Hard knock-off on a rather low budget, it’s not a stupid way to go.

Unfortunately, the writing is completely atrocious, but it’s not all Lundgren’s fault. The screenwriter he brought in to script his story–Steve Latshaw–is clearly incompetent.

There’s a lot of terrible, terrible acting. Molinaro’s Britney Spears impression is probably the most hair-pulling, as Molinaro firstly can’t act, her character is just a lousy, lame person.

But Zahary Baharov (in particular), Hristo Shopov and Dave Legeno are all fine.

And Lundgren does have a sublime scene with a father being bewildered by his pre-teen daughters enthusiasm over a talentless, slutty pop star.

The writing’s just really bad, making it a tedious chore to watch.

Never again.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Dolph Lundgren; written by Steve Latshaw and Lundgren; director of photography, Marc Windon; edited by Peter Hollywood; music by Adam Nordén; production designer, Carlos Silva Da Silva; produced by Danny Lerner and Les Weldon; released by Millennium Films.

Starring Dolph Lundgren (Joe), Melissa Molinaro (Venus), Hristo Shopov (President Petrov), Dave Legeno (Oleg Kazov), Zahary Baharov (Mikhail), Clement von Franckenstein (Ambassador Bradley), Ivaylo Geraskov (Leonid), Shelly Varod (Ali Connor) and Katarzyna Wolejnio (Major Pavlikova).


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Thick as Thieves (2009, Mimi Leder)

Maybe ten years ago, Thick as Thieves wouldn’t be a direct-to-DVD release (it’s actually a hit, which is kind of scary). Ten years ago, Mimi Leder hadn’t bombed out with Pay It Forward, Antonio Banderas movies–most of them–were still opening in theaters. Morgan Freeman usually gets even a limited release out of his more vanity projects.

But Thick as Thieves (or The Code, the also inexplicable title for DVD) isn’t a vanity project. It’s an attempt at a heist movie with a couple film personalities in it, putting it in the same sub-genre as films like Desperate Measures and, I don’t know, something else with Andy Garcia in it after it was clear he wasn’t going to break through.

Leder’s a terrible director. She was always bad–her positive buzz was based entirely, as I recall, on her “ER” experience–but now she does fast-forwarded shots and all sorts of other malarky for a movie with seventy-two year-old Freeman and forty-nine year-old Banderas. The film doesn’t acknowledge their ages, but since one is supposed to watch it with them in mind as actors not characters, it’s inevitable.

The script’s dumb. Ted Humphrey’s script’s desperate for flavor and has none.

The acting’s fine. Freeman is solid (is he ever bad? I didn’t see those Ashley Judd movies), Banderas is fine. Radha Mitchell is okay. Rade Serbedzija and Robert Forster both pretend they’re in a real movie.

Still, an inoffensive time killer.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Mimi Leder; written by Ted Humphrey; director of photography, Julio Macat; edited by Martin Nicholson; music by Atli Örvarsson; production designer, Nelson Coates; produced by Randall Emmett, Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Johnny Martin, Lori McCreary and Les Weldon; released by First Look International.

Starring Morgan Freeman (Keith Ripley), Antonio Banderas (Gabriel Martin), Radha Mitchell (Alexandra Korolenko), Robert Forster (Weber) and Rade Serbedzija (Nicky).


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