1/5 Dir Guy Ritchie UK (18+) Oh dear. Revolver is a humourless, leaden and incoherent car-crash of a movie. Worst of all, it’s a car-crash with a disturbing sense of its own self-importance. Guy Ritchie as artist-philosopher? I don’t think so, matey. Here, Ritchie revisits the gangster milieu of Lock, Stock… and Snatch but ditches the easy-going cartoon-drama of those earlier films in favour of what he clearly considers to be higher art. Why else employ ponderous choral and piano music, a fractured and indecipherable narrative, countless unsuccessful aphorisms and pretentious flash-quotes from the likes of Julius Caesar and Machiavelli to tell the simple story of Jack Green (Jason Statham), an inscrutable villain who steps out of jail and is straightaway caught up in a complex stand-off with perma-tanned casino boss Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta)?
The behaviour of Green’s Mephistophelean sidekicks Zach (Vincent Pastore) and Avi (André Benjamin) further complicate the drama. To be honest, we barely understood the plot; Ritchie’s core method is to confuse. The roll-call of Ritchie’s crimes is extensive: disorientating use of flashback; overuse of voiceover; cheap use of crucifixion imagery… where are the laughs (by god, it needs them)? Where are the ideas? Ritchie trades here on narrative obstruction and sixth-form clever-cleverness (chess is a recurring theme). During a Q&A session at the Toronto Film Festival, Ritchie told an audience who had just watched the film that it was probably worth viewing a few times to understand it properly. We can’t think of a pastime more likely to turn you off cinema for good. Dave Calhoun Dhs85 at Virgin Megastore.
1/5 Dir James Wong US, Hong Kong (12+) Live-action caper based on the original manga cartoon strip that started in the ’80s, Luke Perry look-a-like/act-a-like Justin Chatwin makes for an utterly nondescript hero as orphaned teenage martial artist Goku, who’s forced to set aside his school studies in order to save the planet from the evil (and equally nondescript) Lord Piccolo by gathering up the seven mystic Dragonballs. Despite its relative brevity, it’s a garbled and monotonous film, comprising the usual episodic trek around various disparate and exotic locations where a band of mostly superfluous hangers-on are assembled, one of which is Chow Yun-Fat as an ass-grabbing sensei and who, frankly, deserves better than this. Making no effort to be original, exciting, witty or even vaguely plausible, it may pass the time as sparkly fodder for 12-year-old boys with plenty of sugar in their bloodstream. Parents, meanwhile, will have to make do with sniggering at lines like ‘The Dragonballs are within my grasp!’ David Jenkins Dhs85 at Virgin Megastore.