Sunday, September 26, 2010

Movie Review, "Wall Street 2"

Sequels rarely live up to the lofty standards of originals. Expectations are too high, the characters grow stale, and to compensate writers create cluttered scripts that overstretch trying to accomplish too much. Wall Street 2 doesn't disappoint in that regard but the rest of this wretched film is truly disappointing. To put it mildly.

Shia LaeBouf's acting makes Keanu Reaves look expressive. He's too young for the role, and the depth and aptitude demanded of him at such a young age doesn't fit this hobbledehoy. Don't forget, this is the dude from Transformers and Nickelodeon. The role required someone with piercing gravitas, like Leo DiCaprio or a young Ben Affleck. This error alone taints the film significantly.

Michael Douglas delivers a typical performance shining brightest when he's at his despicably worst. Unfortunately we only see his nefarious side toward the end and by that point, we've all but lost hope. Josh Brolin is the unsung hero of the movie, and that high point is equivalent to a speed bump.

The plot picks up approximately 8 years after Gekko is released from prison. While he's away, his daughter blossoms into a liberal blogger and is infatuated with LaeBouf, a mini replica of her father. Their chemistry is largely unseen as the women in the film are stereotypically emotional and underdeveloped. LaeBouf's mentor off's himself after the sudden plummet of his stock and LaeBouf seeks revenge on the man responsible for the banks demise. Meanwhile, LaeBouf befriends Gekko in hopes of reconciling his fiancee and his future father-in-law. A few sub-stories are within but are hardly worth mentioning (except for a shot out to green techonology).

Channeling the original, Shia seeks a job with his nemesis to extract his revenge. However, his efforts are thwarted by a hot temper after a brief stint on the job. I don't want to play spoiler in case you may see it (you shouldn't), but the rest is a bunch of emotional moments tied disjointingly together.

Perhaps the only bright spot in the film is the cinemetography.

Leaving the theater I almost asked for a refund. I expected this film to be a zeitgeist story, detailing the financial crises in layman's terms for the average bloke to grasp. Instead, the economic gobbledygook is thrown around so casually, that it's doubtful the writers themselves didn't research credit-default swaps and derivatives. Should've hired Matt Taibbi as a consultant.

Our country is seeking a narrative to conceptualize the sensational damage caused by the major investment and commercial banks. We're all pissed off, but instead of learning how to prevent the incident from repeating, we're fleeing to the inchoate Tea Party. Tea, the sophisticated drink, now being served for morons. We should be mad. We were robbed and then sold at gunpoint our own wallets back. But we're kept in the dark about how we were robbed in the first place and how the culprit seems as invincible as the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Sadly, this film doesn't dig into the anger Americans feel. Instead of engaging the audience, empowering us with knowledge and channeling our disgust, we're left feeling empty and scammed again. In this seemingly never-ending recession, where many Americans are making abysmal wages, forced into furloughs, and working multiple jobs they're overqualified for, we deserved better. We deserved a fiction that brought to life the evil empire that has become Wall Street. This movie was an objective bust.

Another regretful investment for Americans...the price of admission.


Anonymous said...

Oh my.Poor Michael Douglas. I hope he does not read this review. I do think he was probably at his best, as he usually is. In spite of all of this negative reviewing, I still want to see the movie, cause I am so damn curious.

Anonymous said...

The picture you craved is way too large for an audience so used to fast paced action schlock. To create an in-depth noir on the melt-down would be equivalent to a 6 part Ken Burns television product. Who the hell in America will sit through that?

After 20 years of financial syphylis one cannot expect a fictional movie to deliver profundity when even the players themselves were befuddled by what the hell they were doing. It could play as a comedy if scripted right, i suppose. But so many were injured it's like making a joke about 9-11.

Anonymous said...

So this movie did receive alot of hype. Too bad it did not live up to it. I still plan to see it, but maybe Michael Moore should make a movie about this fiasco that will be more worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

For the last commenter who said they are going to see it, don't. The movie failed on almost all counts: action - fail (fairly lack luster motorcycle scene); love - fail (no romance, no connection, the girl is always crying); acting - fail; writing - major fail; meaningful depiction of the crisis - fail.
Not sure what else is worth seeing a movie for, I'd wait for TV and save your money. However, I do agree Michael Moore should take on this project.

As to the second commenter, I do think the movie missed the mark it could have achieved. I didn't expect an in-depth analysis of the crisis. But the movie just scratched the surface and it seemed as though had they left out a few superfluous and confounding story lines, they would have had more time to reveal more about the crisis itself. The movie missed the opportunity to explain what happened in an entertaining and simple way. It had a few scenes between the corporate giants and the federal reserve which revealed a bit, and could have been expanded.

All in all, worst movie I've seen in a long time.