November 26th, 2008

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON (2008) ***

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, the man who wrote the seminal Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, pioneered the art form of “Gonzo Journalism” in which the writer covering the  story throws himself so deep into the story that he in fact, BECOMES the story.  Thompson wrote about himself in such a drugged out exaggerated way that his legend eventually eclipsed the writer.  The documentary Gonzo:  The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson chronicles Thompson’s legend remarkably well, but it also leaves you wanting to know more about the man behind the legend.

 

We follow Thompson through his tour of duty with the Hell’s Angels, running for the Sheriff of Aspen (on the “Freak Power Ticket”), working on both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, and onto his drug addled decline of the late 70’s.  Much of this is fascinating although director Alex Gibney relies too much on Rescue 911 style recreations for my taste.  Gibney also uses way too many scenes from the film version of Fear and Loathing as well as stuff from the Thompson biography, Where the Buffalo Roam.  The problem with that is the footage of the real Thompson is far more intriguing (especially his appearance on To Tell the Truth) than the scenes from movies I already own on DVD.  Fear and Loathing star Johnny Depp narrates and reads excerpts from Thompson’s novels, but I really wished they would’ve interviewed him as well.  I’m sure he had some good Thompson stories.

 

These are really minor quibbles because the documentary is on the whole well done.  Any Thompson fan worth his salt oughta check it out. 

TRANSPORTER 3 (2008) **

Jason Statham is back as The Transporter, Frank Martin, dressed to the nines, karate kicking the snot out of bad guys and driving around Europe in his Audi like a goddamn madman.

 

Unfortunately it wasn’t worth the trip.

 

This time out Frank’s mission is to transport a package along with an annoying freckle faced Ukrainian girl to Budapest.  The catch is that he’s forced to wear a bracelet that will make him explode if he gets 75 feet away from his car.  Anyone who can use 1% of their brain functions will be able to predict that the “package” in Frank’s trunk is nothing more than a duffle bag full of phone books and that the idiot Ukrainian chick is the REAL “package”.

 

Honestly, Frank would’ve been a lot better off if the Ukrainian bitch had been in the trunk the whole movie.

 

This idiot Ukrainian cunt ruined the whole movie for me.  I had no problems with Statham.  He was as cool as always, playing a man of few words.  Sadly, that gives the dumb Ukrainian broad plenty of time to talk, talk, talk. 

 

Even though the plot is a bit iffy, it still could’ve worked in a Speed 3 sort of way.  The problem is that very little is ever really done with the fact that Frank must stay close to the car.  There’s the one scene where the car gets stolen and Frank has to hop on a BMX bike and retrieve it (before you ask how can a bike go just as fast as a car, never mind, he’s the fucking Transporter, he can do shit like this) and the finale where he drives the car onto a moving train to catch the villain, but that’s about it. 

 

The fight scenes are all capably choreographed.   We get a Steven Seagal-ish style kung fu battle in a piano bar, a fight scene in which Frank uses each piece of his three piece suit to do some damage to his enemies, and a car chase where he puts his Audi up on two wheels and drives in between two semi trucks.  While the aforementioned train sequence is suitably bonkers it lacks the absolute balls-to-the-wall, batshit insane, WTF-ness of Transporter 2.  If director Olivier Megaton tossed in more ludicrous action and less of that annoying Ukrainian twat incessantly gabbing on about God knows what, we could’ve had ourselves a classic on our hands.

 

I’m sorry, when you’re watching a film directed by a guy with the last name of Megaton, you just expect more.