Spy Games (The Spy Who Dumped Me, 2018)

Spy_Who_Dumped_Me_PosterIt is Audrey’s birthday and she has not been having a good day. Recently, her boyfriend Drew dumped her via text, and her best friend Morgan is determined to bring her spirits up. When Morgan texts Drew that they are going to burn his stuff, he suddenly responds, asking her not to, and promising to show up the next day, but in the meantime, she is accosted by the CIA who announce that Drew is actually a spy. Drew shows up and gives vital information to Audrey and Morgan before being killed.

What ensues is the two being caught up in an international espionage plot as they try and determine who they can trust. Hunted by the CIA, British intelligence and a terrorist group they try and survive shootouts, car chases and evil torturers.

Honestly…I feel like I should just hate this movie and trash it. The plot is not fresh and the film is incredibly predictable. At no point did any surprises…well, surprise me. But you know what?

I enjoyed this flick. A lot. This is largely because the cast makes it work so well. I was laughing throughout the movies and the cast was the reason. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon totally have great comedic chemistry.  They sell the heck out of their friendship and their comedic timing with each other is a blast. Gillian Anderson is a straight man character, but she creates laughs with the simplest of moments. The small roles are filled with people who just make the most of them (Lolly Adefope killed me with her role as a condescending co-worker and Kev Adams had me in stitches with his role as an Uber driver).

The Spy Who Dumped Me makes up for it’s shortcomings with such engagingly funny interactions and jokes that it left me smiling and laughing as I left the theater.

The Hunter or the Hunted? Pt 2 (Aliens, 1986)

Aliens_PosterAbout seven years after Alien, hotshot director James Cameron brought the franchise roaring back to life.  Rather than make a generic sequel, Cameron made a bold choice.  The first film was a haunted house movie, Cameron opted to make a war movie.

Ripley is awakened 50 years after the first film to find everything she knew is gone.  On top of that she is plagued by nightmares of the alien creature.  Ripley joins a mission at the request of the corporation to check on a colony that is on the same planet they found the eggs with the alien xenomorph.  It is promised to Ripley this is a search and destroy mission.

She is joined by a platoon of Space Marines.  They don’t believe her claims of an alien monster, but of course, they soon find out she is neither crazy nor a liar.  And then things get bad.  And then?  They get worse.

Aliens is one of those rare sequels that manages to rival it’s predecessor.  Ripley is angry and aimless at the film’s beginning.  When she discovers a young girl named Newt hiding in the remains of the colony she starts to see beyond merely destroying the aliens.  In the extended cut of the film, it is revealed that Ripley had a daughter on earth who grew up and died in the time Ripley floated through space.  This gives an added dimension to Ripley and her dedication to Newt throughout the film.

The marines are a hearty and confident lot.  Their banter feels natural as they trade insults and yet fight to protect each other when it all comes crashing down.  They are a compelling group.  And then there is Bishop.  A synthetic or android, Ripley does not trust him, due to the fact that the android on her ship tried to murder her.  Bishop represents the other side of that coin.  He is kind and polite.  He is also willing to risk himself.  At one point, after volunteering for a risky mission he states, “Believe me, I’d prefer not to. I may be synthetic, but I’m not stupid.”  How much of this is programming that compels him, versus a certain human quality is unclear.  He notes his programming prevents him from causing harm to a person, but does that programming extend to risking himself to save a person from outside threat?

This is a near perfect action film, with thrills and twists and turns.  It manages to expand upon the mythology of the first film’s animal without being a tired retread of information.  The performances are compelling and the visual effects have withstood the test of time.  On top of that, in spite of being a sequel, you could go into Aliens never having seen Ridley Scott’s film and follow the story with few, if any, questions.

 

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