From Redbox: Zombies and Prosthetic Leg Swords <br><i>Maggie</i> and <i>Kingsman: The Secret Service</i> Can Get You Through a Bored Weekend

Well nerds, it’s that time again — time for me to tell you what I thought about two movies I got from Redbox. To be fair, one of them was a movie I saw in the theater, and I’m pretty sure I just never got around to writing a review about it at the time. I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but be warned that there may be some spoilers below.

Maggie

When I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be playing the father of a girl who gets turned into a zombie, I was intrigued, especially in light of the fact that it appeared to be an apocalyptic drama piece instead of his normal action movie fare. I never got to see it on the big screen, but after renting it I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. That isn’t to say that Maggie was a bad film, quite the contrary, but rather it wasn’t so good that I would have felt great about giving up $11 to see it.

Maggie-Movie-Poster-641x950If you’re into the kind of movie that Maggie is, then you’ll come away happy. If you’re expecting something that really blows you away with how awesome the zombies are, or the interesting take on the apocalypse, or whatever normal reasons you’d have for watching a zombie movie…well, your expectations might go unmet. The film is a bit sluggish, but again that’s because it’s not a normal zombie film — it is neither a horror film (in the traditional sense…we’ll get to that) nor an action flick.

But Maggie is a horror story. It’s the true horror of what happens when you lose someone so young to a virus. It’s watching Abigail Breslin’s titular character slowly descend into zombification and start to lose everything and everyone she holds dear. It’s watching her father, played by Arnold, hold on as long as he can to his daughter. It is a horror story…just not one that’s played for scares.

The movie is well-acted. The main “twist” this throws on the zombie apocalypse thing is that the humans seem relatively prepared to ward off/fight zombies (i.e. civilization has been, largely, held intact) and the disease itself has a very slow progression (weeks).

My main fault with the plot of this movie, and I could have missed it, is that they don’t really expressly explain how the ailment is transmitted from person to person, so there are a lot of interactions in the movie where you would assume a person would be exposed. The other fault I had with this movie is that the pacing seems slow and uneven. The movie does do a good job of having some touching moments and some moments of true tension.

Rating: 7 out of 10. I enjoyed Maggie — I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re in for a slow-ish drama about loss that just happens to feature zombies, it’s an oddly beautiful movie.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Now this is a movie I went to see in the theater and I really enjoyed it…both times. Matthew Vaughn did a pretty good job of turning yet another Mark Millar comic into a movie (Kickass being the other one). If you like spy movies, over the top action movies, or cheeky British movies…well, then this movie is for you!

I’ll just start with what is the most awesome thing about this movie: Sofia Boutella’s character, Gazelle! This is, without a doubt, the coolest evil sidekick character in a spy movie to my mind. Even though she’s a villain, it’s awesome to see such a capable, badass female character on the screen — especially one who is disabled. Gazelle has prosthetic legs from the knees down which are made of blades…so you can guess that she spends most of the movie doing amazing acrobatic stunts and dispatching people with gory results.

Samuel L. Jackson’s lispy accent in this movie was awesome to me, but I know it won’t be everyone’s favorite thing. His character is great and he’s played as only Sam Jackson can play him. Colin Firth’s Harry Hart (code name: Galahad) is just pure badass swagger. Mark Strong’s Merlin is great…plus it’s nice to see him play a good guy once in a while. The whole cast is strong. It says something about how well-cast your actors are and how well-written the characters are that the least likable character in the movie is Eggsy, the main character. This isn’t to say he’s a bad character, he’s just not as cool as most of the other characters, and that’s fine.

The action in this movie is bonkers. The fight scenes are fun, the choreography is cool, and there’s a continuous shot scene in this movie where Harry Hart does some stuff to a lot of Westboro-type folks that’s just a glory to behold. If you’re not into violent movies and/or you’re one of those hand-holdy types who thinks that violent movies cause all of society’s problems (as opposed to capitalism and shitty parents), then this probably isn’t for you.

Rating: 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed this movie, and other than the fact that the main character is weak compared to the character’s he’s surrounded by, this is a pretty solid and fun spy film.