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My thoughts on 21 Bridges (2019), The Good Liar (2019), VFW (2019) and The Gentlemen (2019).

genre: action, crime, thriller

Predictable but solid crime drama with good action. 21 Bridges is one of those films that makes very good use of it's cast and atmosphere. There is a constant tension present even when it's quite obvious what route it's going to go. Very suitable to watch late at night or rainy Sunday's.

Ian McKellen and Hellen Mirren in one film. Surely they will provide fireworks with their acting power?

Right form the start you will have a certain idea of what the main characters are about. With Ian's character it's quite obvious. At first I wasn't sure about Hellen Mirren's character. But I don't know if she was supposed to or if she couldn't be bothered. At one point it is clear that there is more to her than she is letting on. Hence the question who is the good liar or actually the better liar. To be honest I knew that the film was going to be about con artists and such. However, I also expected the film to at least give me a couple of decent twists and turns. One or two were nice but the one that really mattered was stupid. Beyond stupid. I wished I could phrase it differently but I can't even fathom that they thought that it was any good. Not only is it preposterous it's not built up properly. Ian's character is quite despicable but I did find myself rooting for him pretty much throughout. Mostly because of his charm.

The final part is completely disappointing. And McKellen and Mirren aren't even giving it their best. Not worth your time by any means.

Throwback to an Eighties John Carpenter film without the elements that made the Carpenter films so much fun. The names involved alone should have made this a better film. But they are not given that much to do. All of them are old, worn out veteran soldiers with slight differences in characteristics. The deranged junkies and the drug dealing gang members aren't nearly as evil and menacing as one would expect. Sure it's fun to see the old veterans smash their heads but apart from the gore and brutal action there is very little else going on. 

Real shame that they didn't do more with the concept. Disappointing!

The same could be said about The Gentlemen. The names involved could and should have been able to make more of the film. But in all fairness it's writer and director Guy Ritchie who yet again proves that he is a very limited filmmaker and can't even make the films like he used to.

The early Guy Ritchie films always stood out because of the healthy dose of humour in them. That and it's lightheartedness even when some real evil and dire events were at play. The Gentlemen takes itself far too seriously in a plot that seemed quite similar to Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake. I know that Vaughn was attached as a producer to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But seeing how Ritchie went downhill from there and Vaughn hasn't been involved with Ritchie it almost looks like that Matthew Vaughn did a whole lot more than he is been given credit for. Naturally this is pure speculation on my part. I could be wrong of course. Still Vaughn almost has no failures on his resume while Ritchie has made one after another. 

The Gentlemen takes too much time to get going. And once it does, it never truly delivers on the shock and awe it's going for. Why? Because you have seen it all before. There are no real surprises. While the plot usually is vital in these films the humour helped a lot in making these films enjoyable. Take out the comedy and you are left with a pretty boring and uneventful film. Major standouts are Colin Farrel as Coach and Hugh Grant as Fletcher. They are the one who provide the most laughs.

I liked it while it lasted but I do have to admit that I almost gave up on it since it really takes forever to get going. Slow burns are nice when there is a real payoff. The Gentlemen fails to deliver this.

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