MUWT 2: The Quickening



the production design of Guava Island rules


Fury Road last night, almost as gripping as it was in theater. Makes me want to look into good wireless surround options again, maybe this time settle on something.

Enough time’s passed for me to revisit the original and Thunderdome.

Barterjams 3:21

Road Warrior already gets thrown on once every couple years, if only for bg mood.


oh man… i should rewatch fury road again


Thunderdome gets unfairly maligned in my opinion. Sure it’s more of a goofy family film,
but I think it works decently in that regard. Every movie in the series is a completely different beast anyway so it would probably be worse off if it was just more Road Warrior.


I recently bought the Sister Street Fighter Collection on a whim and just finished watching all four movies now. I think it might have been a mistake? The first three have a certain amount of cheesy good fun in them, but overall they kinda have a bit too much of a mean-spirited exploitation vibe to them for my liking.

Like, any female character who is not the main character or just there to kick butt in a single scene ends up either tortured, raped, murdered or a combination of t he above. The main character Koryu’s own sister even gets her eyes graphically poked out by needles in the second movie.

Each of the first three movies has pretty much the exact same plot (what little there is of a plot anyway), with the same actors playing identical yet different characters. They all start in Hong Kong with that racist stereotype Chinatown music playing, she always goes to a strip club to gain information, she always fails to save the person she is supposed to rescue. The first two have the exact same mid-air wire-fu climax. The scenes barely even string together coherently, like they suddenly just cut to the next one before the previous one had time to finish.

I know that in these types of movies the plot is just an excuse for the fight scenes, but often it just feels like they are generically martial arting at each other until someone falls off screen into the void, never to be seen again.

The fourth movie though, is completely different and unrelated, and actually was pretty good? Like it actually had a plot, and didn’t have any of the mean-spirited exploitation trappings of the others. It surprisingly holds back on the martial arts until pretty far in, but when it does happen, there feels like a bit more choreography going on so it’s a fair bit more satisfying. The main problem with this one is the extremely abrupt ending


Some high quality scowling, in this frame:

I had never seen Heat.

I watched it a couple of months ago, via streaming. Its quite good. It feels long, but not in a bad way. It really takes you on a journey through the feelings, emotions, and motivations, of these two men. Almost none of the time is wasted. When the movie starts ending things, you really feel like you came some way to get there. A LOT of movies fail to do that.

I was not expecting the subdued performance in Val Kilmer’s character. Heat is at times quite a bit more interesting, because of his performance. Although he is said to be an irresponsible gambler ----- on screen he subverts expectations. Not only due to the actor playing him, but also the usual nature of side-men, in movies of this general type.

The dating relationship for Al Pacino’s character was surprisingly interesting. More layered than usual, as she’s antagonistic and its revealed in a matter-of-fact way, which doesn’t directly highlight that she’s the bad-guy. Also, an interesting woman who was cast.

As loaded as this movie is with talent on all sides of the production: Its pretty amazing how many easily noticed flaws there are.

  1. on the flip side, I feel that they fumbled De Niro’s character twice, at the end. They spent all this movie showing how smart and careful he is. How he is steps ahead of Pacino ---- and then he suddenly gets dumb at the end so that we can cheaply get them to have a final shodown. Dumb. Also, De Niro’s dating situation was taken too far. I’m not really sure but its almost like they wanted to flesh her out as sort of late significant character. But they didn’t have the run time to do it and it weakens the movie as it is. They should have cut that relationship off when she first see’s on the news that he’s the one in the headlines. And she even could have ended up being his weak spot which ends up tipping Pacino’s character on how to find him. Rather than making De Niro’s character just outright decide to be out of character for that last job. and also having her willingly decide to come along for some confusing times. So yeah, almost no time wasted in this film.

Basically an entire fast car driving scene for Pacino’s character is noticeably out of focus.

Pacino’s delivery in some scenes is so stilted. It sounds like he’s reading it off the page for the first time. I can’t believe they didn’t do some more takes.

The “big” shootout is not that good. Apparently the cast went through a whole lot of firearms training and they kept the live audio rather than over dubbing, and this and that. But the angles and especially framing they used, weren’t good. Actually, a recent movie with Gerard Butler called “Den of Thieves” which takes heavy inspiration from HEAT: has a much better big shootout. (Den of Thieves is also actually pretty good, overall.)

The last couple beats in Pacino and De Niro’s final shodown is bad. baaaaaad. The buildup is pretty great. But its like the director and editor didn’t know what to do to payoff the final moments. Its a pretty glaring sour note, for an otherwise pretty excellently constructed movie.


My whole brain shut down.


ok thanks for your great response. I’ll be happy to get more just like this one.


the characters fates play out according to how they think the world works. chris has no rules, he walks away from the person he earlier said the sun rises and sits with for him, so he survives.

neil mccauley is supposed to be delaying the emotional life he wants until he gets to new zealand, but in meeting eady, he’s suddenly feeling a whole new unknown way to be, which isn’t going to work out mid crime life that he has up til now only successfully navigated by following his strict doctrine. the two times he smiles in the movie is one when he’s one up on hanna and then the great scene in the tunnel, right after he and eady commit to one another and he’s Feeling Great about life and thinks now is a good time to waste waingro on the way out.

hanna basically skips for joy down those hospital steps away from his wife and her just attempted suicide daughter so he can chase after neil cause “all he is is what he’s going after” and is able to catch wind of neil cause he see’s a woman sitting alone behind that hotel and remembers neil mentioning having a woman in the diner cause everything he does is about getting him an edge over whoever he’s after.

the scene on the hill where he lays it all out and she goes for it is what makes it good and interesting and make you want to see them succeed. she ratting him out to the cops is the dumb shit that’s in like every other crime movie.


ash is the purest white is about a woman who in the world of the film embodies outlaw values better than any other person on the planet, but being a woman, seems she still isn’t offically officially allowed into the criminal world she exists in. her boyfriend is a crime guy who loses interest in both her and crime and is drawn to more legitimate capitalist type pursuits. at one point he says “am I that important” and she says “if you aren’t then what is” as over the course of the movie the world gets more unrecognizable from the beginning despite only taking place over 16 years.

this movie seemed purpose built to destroy my ass and I’ve been in a funk ever since seeing it. I loved it


I’m so annoyed that no one has leaked the iTunes exclusive 4K release of this yet the way they’ve leaked all the iTunes exclusive old Bond movies


I honestly don’t know how to process this, the geography is impeccable and it’s one of the few filmed shootouts I’ve ever seen where the shooters’ tactics produce step by step results


Yeah, this is a movie that has sat better with me in retrospect than it did while I was watching it. That final act is just such a huge downer, but obv. it’s supposed to be that way.

I really like your point about the rest of the world becoming even more unrecognizable. The other thing that struck me about that (esp with the Sanxia gorge scenes and all the talk about people moving to Xinjiang to strike it rich) was how it really subtly implies that in the end the movie’s characters are just small time crooks. Even though they are criminals whose lives get fucked over by the law, all around them people doing basically the same thing on a much larger scale are able to do so without consequence.

The more legitimate pursuits the boyfriend is lured away from the criminal underworld by make sense because it’s the big leagues of the same profession (protection/cover for people stealing the land and resources out from under other people’s noses). But that system chews him up and spits him out too. In the end none of the actual underworld characters are soulless enough to actually make it big.

I feel like this is a theme that comes up in a lot of crime movies but censorship bullshit is so strict in China right now, and I think because of that it was just extra subtle in this movie which I really appreciated.

in the last sequence, the doctor character is played by the director feng xiaogang, and because of some bullshit with fan bingbing and tax evasion he is currently a persona non grata, so jia zhangke literally had to cut him out of the movie for the chinese release. people asked him about it and his response was basically like uh, ‘it is complicated to make a film in china these days.’ talk about art imitates life.


I know slightly what you mean for the first point, I mean it’s kinda in De Niro’s methods anyways and don’t see it as a problem.

2 I’ve always took mild issue with the shoutout’s sound design (and a couple other scenes in the movie overall really). It’s come up about the movie before, technical gripe to me since the rest of it’s extremely tight.

The airfield finale is great, feels understated at the very end but the rhythm to get there is good, I can’t think of another way to end it that wouldn’t have been a lot of bombast.

Finding a lot of love for Heat here was a nice fucking surprise (mostly Parker), whenever that occurred to me. I watch it every couple years and about time again.


Vincent Hanna is actorly because he’s usually on. He’s consciously playing a part to manipulate and intimidate people. When he’s not you can see him in the languid trough of recovery from a high and that’s where Pacino does some great, subtle work. (Mann has said they decided he was skimming coke to really keep his edge up which isn’t necessary info to get the performance but I think helps?)

The shootout’s sound design is masterful.

Hannah’s wife is not “the bad guy.” She (and Ashley Judd) get stuck with some of the worst lines in the script tho. Michael Mann? Female characters? What?


Exhibit A in Michael Mann Stop Going Back And Fucking With Your Movies is the removal of Pacino’s “Ferocious, aren’t I?” after the "BECAUSE SHE’S GOT A GREAT ASS!, etc.: line. Great in-text acknowledgement that Hanna is doing a bit and knows it.


Mann does his best ladywork with Chinese actresses who are obviously doing their English dialogue phonetically. The facts are self evident but I’m not sure what conclusions to draw?


sometimes you just got to sift through the detritus


Exhibit A in Michael Mann Keep Going Back And Fucking With Your Movies is he cut some of that shit