Mission: Impossible 2 and Shanghai Noon (review)

Can it be a coincidence that both of the big new flicks this Memorial Day weekend — the kickoff for Hollywood’s first summer movie season of the twenty-first century — are basically Hong Kong action movies? The people who think about these kinds of things — current-events journalists, mainly — have already predicted that if the 1900s were the American century, the 2000s may well be the Asian century… but they were speaking economically and politically. I guess it’s probably inevitable that Asia would start to hold some cultural sway in the West, too.

Gladiator (review)

Is Gladiator an action movie? Is it an historical drama? Is it a sweeping epic? Yes. Like The 13th Warrior, this is a thinking person’s action movie. Like Braveheart, this is a story of a brutal era told with stunning realism. Like Terminator 2, this is a violent movie that indicts our appetite for violence. Like The Matrix, this thrills on both a visceral and cerebral level.