Security: A Movie Review

 

I’m not a film aficionado. The fact that John Wick didn’t win an Oscar was scandalous. But last night, tired, sore, and frustrated (reasons for which will be in my next Group Writing submission, I think on November 5), I needed an excuse to drink as much as I required to be able to get some sleep. I fired up Netflix and hit whatever came up first in the “we recommend for you” category.

The movie was Security, it was outstanding. Classic scrappy, outgunned underdogs fight to keep the MacGuffin away from totally well-trained, well-equipped, thoroughly evil antagonists. A great set up for any storyline. As I’ve read and believed repeatedly, all good stories are basically conservative. So I got ready to watch a rote, pro forma guns ‘n’ explosive fireballs movie. Security was that, and much, much more.

“C’mon, it’s a shoot ’em up, how great could it be?” asks the philistine who thinks it fitting that John Wick didn’t win an Academy Award. They did three things making this movie that put it over the top.

First, they did a great job with the raw material that Antonio Banderas brings to the table. Banderas plays a former Special Operator/International Man of Mystery who has fallen on hard times and will take any job, even a minimum wage rent-a-cop job (I know, Ricochetti are shocked, shocked that I’d find this storyline compelling). But they did something brilliant: Instead of playing the high-strung pretty boy that gave Banderas his stardom (see Desperado or Assassins), they took the same power but changed the frequency. Banderas’ frequency is dropped so low, the brother is broadcasting on earth waves.

He does extraordinarily well as the beat-down father, frustrated that he cannot provide for his family, and is dealing with his own demons. He also portrays a guy that needs to work. Given the skills that he evinces as the plot progresses, there are plenty of ways he could make money, most of them illegal. He needs money, but he needs to work for it.

Second, the relationship between Banderas and the MacGuffin is sound and appealing. It’s hard to play that trope right, without going straight to cliche. They do it well. Pinky swear.

Finally, the mall Banderas is securing has a night crew of five. They are typically diverse with the smart-aleck Asian, the strung out white/latina/Italian chick, the self-important, glib, self-impressed white kid crew boss, and the anxiety-ridden white dude that is too smart/good/well-bred for the job; it’s an interim stopgap.

Great, I thought. They just crammed 19 stereotypes and jammed them into a five-man crew. Watching this is going to be such a slog. It’s not. It’s friggin’ awesome. They did it right, though. (I keep saying “they” because I don’t know from directors, writers, or producers; if I had any idea what I was talking about, I’d be swanning around in an ascot, like @titustechera.) They let your brain fill in the blanks on the obvious stereotypes they’ve presented, and then let the American nature of the characters blow all those stereotypes apart.

Want to know why Americans form a human chain to rescue a family in a car trapped in floodwaters? Want to know why Americans drop everything to haul their flat boats down to Houston and help out? Ye can’t know. It’s that indescribable, totally awesome aspect of the American character that impels people to perform these incredibly heroic acts.

Want to know why a ragtag group of unarmed, ill-trained rent-a-cops would stand against a slick, hyper-violent Big Bad* to protect a wee, innocent MacGuffin? Ye can’t know. But you can watch, and it’s well worth your time.

If you might be inclined or swayed to watch this movie, don’t watch the trailer. Wrong vibe, wrong perspective.

*Ben Kingsley plays the leader of the Big Bad, so if your internal radar is going off saying “Mongo’s taste sucks! He thought John Wick should get an Academy Award,” stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

There are 93 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Boss Mongo: (reasons for which will be in my next Group Writing submission, I think on 05 NOV)

    Confirmed.

    And Kingsley is pretty good at playing evil, I mean, he played Gandhi after all.

    • #1
  2. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo: (reasons for which will be in my next Group Writing submission, I think on 05 NOV)

    Confirmed.

    And Kingsley is pretty good at playing evil, I mean, he played Gandhi after all.

    Well said, sir.  I was kind of thinking Sexy Beast, but yeah, you’re right.

    • #2
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    all good stories are basically conservative

    So true. I’ve started this movie. I’m only at the part where the guy is telling them she’s his daughter.

    • #3
  4. Larry Koler Member
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo: (reasons for which will be in my next Group Writing submission, I think on 05 NOV)

    Confirmed.

    And Kingsley is pretty good at playing evil, I mean, he played Gandhi after all.

    A, you are risking your soul saying that.

    • #4
  5. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    all good stories are basically conservative

    So true. I’ve started this movie. I’m only at the part where the guy is telling them she’s his daughter.

    It kicks off from there.  Buckle in.

    • #5
  6. Larry Koler Member
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    I liked this movie, too. Thanks for the writeup.

    Your point about being American is spot on. It explains so much about how we take ownership (see Trump at al.) and that fact explains so much about what it means to be American.

    I loved the mall cop honcho and his transformation thru the movie. Nuff said until more people watch this.

    • #6
  7. Larry Koler Member
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Good idea for the shoutout to @titustechera because he loves heroes and he knows how to explain Americans to Americans.

    • #7
  8. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Larry Koler (View Comment):
    I loved the mall co-op honcho and his transformation thru the movie. Nuff said until more people watch this.

    Yeah, that’s what made me love the movie, and what made me think about the ineffable nature of the American spirit.  ‘Nuff said.

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Larry Koler (View Comment):
    Good idea for the shoutout to @titustechera because he loves heroes and he knows how to explain Americans to Americans.

    And @titustechera also loves to be called to grand threads such as this is.

     

    • #9
  10. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    It sounds like something that I’d like, but I just can’t do “typically diverse” anymore.  I just can’t.  Give me 5 of 5 Asians, 6 of 6  women, four of 4 white guys, or an all black cast.  Anything but the usual.

    Agreed on John Wick though.

     

     

    • #10
  11. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Epic.  I’m on it.  Yes a thousand times on john Wick.  I should kill the academy.  With a freaking pencil!!!!

    • #11
  12. JcTPatriot Member
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    Ah, John Wick. The finest stylized violence ever presented on film except maybe The Wild Bunch. I was talking to a co-worker about John Wick on the day the sequel came out, and we both decided than it would be fine with us if Keanu Reeves did nothing but John Wick sequels from now on. I used to reach for The Matrix when I wanted to see a Keanu movie, but now I reach for John Wick.

    As far as the Oscars, let’s look at the 2014 Nominees: “12 Years a Slave” “The Wolf of Wall Street” “Captain Phillips” “Her” “American Hustle” “Gravity” “Dallas Buyers Club” “Nebraska” “Philomena” – I can’t even pick one that is half as good as John Wick. So I agree, Boss Mongo. We were robbed.

    Thank you for the recommendation. I still pop in Desperado now and then, because Robert Rodriguez understood who Antonio was born to play, and it is El Mariachi. He was pretty much El Mariachi in Assassins, too. So, I will watch Security and I am sure I will enjoy it.

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Security sounds good, but …

    An Academy Award for a noir pic starring Keanu Reeves? What was the problem — was Pauly Shore busy or something?

    • #13
  14. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Larry Koler (View Comment):
    I loved the mall co-op honcho and his transformation thru the movie. Nuff said until more people watch this.

    Yeah, that’s what made me love the movie, and what made me think about the ineffable nature of the American spirit. ‘Nuff said.

    I so agree with this. I had a French friend who told me that the French see us as a big friendly dog wagging his tail and knocking everything off the coffee table. I sort of see what he means. I also see that we’re maybe too naive to think there might be something we can’t do or a problem we can’t solve. Since it doesn’t occur to us that it can’t be done, we just do it. Europeans are so entrenched in the past that they can’t begin to think this way. They do not get us at all.

    • #14
  15. dajoho Member
    dajoho
    @dajoho

    This Wednesday.

    • #15
  16. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    dajoho (View Comment):
    This Wednesday.

    No. It’s Monday. Tuesday in Oz and Japan.

    • #16
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    It’s not enough that Boss Mongo wore Superman’s cape like he was born to it. It’s not enough that women find him sexier than a multi-season pass to Outlander. It’s not even enough that Mr.-damn-perfect-Mongo is an astute commentator on politics and current events.

    No, he also has to be such a witty film critic that I’m leaning forward in my chair to keep up. He does my own damn job better than I do. And that can mean only one thing.

    I hate you, Mongo. But I really, really love you, Mongo.

    • #17
  18. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Don’t worry, @garymcvey , the chicks dig you too.

    • #18
  19. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Hmmmm: filmed in Bulgaria and first released in Vietnam and only 37% on the audience Tomatometer.

    2/3rds through and it’s fun.

    • #19
  20. JcTPatriot Member
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I had a French friend who told me that the French see us as a big friendly dog wagging his tail and knocking everything off the coffee table. I sort of see what he means. I also see that we’re maybe too naive to think there might be something we can’t do or a problem we can’t solve. Since it doesn’t occur to us that it can’t be done, we just do it. Europeans are so entrenched in the past that they can’t begin to think this way. They do not get us at all.

    Well hell, while I am knocking everything off the table with my wagging tail, I’m loving me some Catherine Deneuve too. I don’t hate everything French.

    • #20
  21. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I hate you, Mongo. But I really, really love you, Mongo.

    Uh.  Thanks?

    • #21
  22. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Die Hard in a Mall. Belief suspended. Good fun.

    Why do bad guys waste so much ammunition?

    • #22
  23. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    but I just can’t do “typically diverse” anymore. I just can’t.

    @hoyacon, Do it again.  Just this once.  Worth it.  My word.

    • #23
  24. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Epic. I’m on it. Yes a thousand times on john Wick. I should kill the academy. With a freaking pencil!!!!

    A. Freaking. Pencil.

    • #24
  25. Mike LaRoche Member
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    MLH (View Comment):
    Die Hard in a Mall. Belief suspended. Good fun.

    Yippee ky yay!

    • #25
  26. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @nandapanjandrum

    Maybe the Panda will try it, @bossmongo? @mlh? What say you?

    • #26
  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I so agree with this. I had a French friend who told me that the French see us as a big friendly dog wagging his tail and knocking everything off the coffee table. I sort of see what he means. I also see that we’re maybe too naive to think there might be something we can’t do or a problem we can’t solve. Since it doesn’t occur to us that it can’t be done, we just do it. Europeans are so entrenched in the past that they can’t begin to think this way. They do not get us at all.

    Not a dog. Not all the time.

    • #27
  28. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    MLH (View Comment):
    Die Hard in a Mall. Belief suspended. Good fun.

    Why do bad guys waste so much ammunition?

    And they’re such terrible shots.

    • #28
  29. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    MLH (View Comment):
    Die Hard in a Mall. Belief suspended. Good fun.

    Why do bad guys waste so much ammunition?

    And they’re such terrible shots.

    Good guys too.  Watched the second episode of this season’s Walking Dead last night.  Pitched battle, everyone firing full auto.  Some of the good guys move to a new position, have three or four enemy fullly in the open, 20-30 feet away.  They blaze away and don’t manage to hit any of them.  The whole battle was like that.

    I kept thinking that I could be the deadliest guy in the world, because even with almost zero training, I can shoot straight.

    • #29
  30. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    So I watched it tonight.  Great budget movie with a couple solid actors to hold it together.   Nice flick dude.

    • #30

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