Thunivu (2023)

One of the biggest adjustments in my life recently has been getting used to getting around without a car.  It’s been fine.  Between bikes, buses, streetcars, and long walks, I’ve been able to access pretty much everything I want or need within New Orleans city limits . . . with one major exception.  The weekly screenings of Indian action movies I used to catch at AMC Elmwood are now prohibitively far away, so I’m a lot less likely to make that expensive trek out to the suburban multiplex unless it’s for a major hit, like the recent high-octane spy thriller Pathaan.  Despite the ongoing pop culture phenomenon of RRR, the two lone theaters in Orleans Parish (The Broad & The Prytania) have yet to take a chance on programming the Indian action blockbusters I love & miss. Even the recent EncoRRRe “fan favorite” screenings of that breakout hit were all held at AMC Elmwood, the exact venue where I first saw it a full year ago.  And so, I’m now relying on at-home streaming services to provide access to Indian action content, which isn’t quite the same as being obliterated by their explosive sound & spectacle on the big screen, but at least they’re sometimes quick to the punch.  The Tamil-language bank heist thriller Thunivu popped up on Netflix only one month after it screened at AMC Elmwood this January, so if I had any lingering FOMO from the missed opportunity it didn’t last very long.  And hey, I’m pretty used to watching these obnoxiously loud action flicks in empty theaters anyway, so there really wasn’t all that much difference in watching it on my couch.

In Thunivu, middle-aged action star Ajith Kumar plays a mysterious bank robber who pulls off a heist of a smaller, scrappier heist that’s already in motion.  Through a never-ending supply of preposterous flashbacks & plot twists it turns out that that heist was also sub-heist under a much grander, more complex theft being pulled off by the real criminals of the modern world: investment bankers.  So, Kumar’s anonymous Dark Devil persona is hijacking two different groups of thieves—gangster & corporate—by lumping them in with the usual crowd of everyday hostages typical to a bank-heist plot.  It takes a long time for him to assert dominance over this convoluted triple-heist, quieting the room with a relentless storm of machine gun bullets until no one dares stand against him.  He feels laidback & in control the entire time, though, cracking wise and impersonating Michael Jackson dance moves to win over the common people watching news coverage at home.  And then, when he has the world’s attention, he narrates a lengthy flashback that explains in great detail how the bank itself is the biggest thief of all, scamming working-class customers out of their hard-earned money without any legal consequence.  Thunivu starts as a standard bank heist thriller (complete with a “Here’s the plan” montage for the scrappier bank robbery that never comes to fruition), but eventually evolves into the DTV action equivalent of The Big Short.  It’s trashy, brutal, earnest excess featuring an action hero lead with self-declared “charismatic presence” and a healthy disgust for banking as an industry.

If that heist-within-a-heist-within-a-heist plot description was kind of a mess, it’s because the movie is too.  It’s at least a stylish, entertaining mess, though – one that remains excitingly volatile even when it defaults to infotainment monologues about the evils of modern banking.  There are some wonderfully explosive action scenes, some childish cornball humor, and a jolty, hyperactive editing style that plays like the modern CG equivalent of an overcranked nickelodeon projector.  If Thunivu starred Liam Neeson and was directed by Neveldine & Taylor it would be celebrated as a cult classic for decades to come by action movie nerds everywhere.  Instead, it’s mainly a victory lap celebration for Ajith Kumar’s adoring fans in India, now over 60 titles deep into his career as an action star & a “charismatic presence”.  As with all the leads of the Kollywood & Tollywood actioners I’ve been seeking out in recent years, Kumar’s Dark Devil persona is celebrated in Thunivu as the coolest dude to ever walk the earth.  He’s constantly adorned with sunglasses, a wind machine, and a hip-hop theme song declaring him “the gangsta”, living the full music video fantasy as a rock star bankrobber while everyone on the other side of his machine gun is blown to bits.  The movie goes out of its way to modernize this populist action hero archetype with CG graphics of cybertheft & corporate thuggery and with the Dark Devil taking on a masked Anonymous avatar when dealing with the press, but it’s all pretty basic, classic action hero machismo. He’s a hero of the people, fighting back against the villainous slimeballs in suits who hold us down.

I don’t want to complain too much here about the programming at The Broad & The Prytania, which between them offer just about every new release I’d want to see on the big screen.  Just about.  Even when explosively over-the-top Indian action blockbusters like Thunivu play out at the suburban multiplex (which has 20 screens under one roof to play around with), they often play to near-empty rooms.  I guess what I’m most lamenting is that the recent successes of films like RRR & Pathaan have yet to drum up much of an appetite for other Bollywood, Kollywood, and Tollywood action epics, despite their routine delivery of the most exciting populist entertainment on the market, Hollywood be damned.  These crowdpleasing genre pictures are still treated like a niche interest in America, an esoteric cultural novelty that you can only access via a 90-minute bus ride or, if you’re patient enough, a subscription to Netflix. 

-Brandon Ledet

Project Wolf Hunting (2023)

Often, when movie buffs say “They don’t make ’em like they used to,” they’re lamenting the loss of movie-star vehicles, serious dramas for adults, or mainstream movies that include any visual depiction of sex.  The “They don’t make ’em like they used to” complaint could extend to much trashier tropes & genres that have disappeared from American multiplexes in the past few decades, though, and it occurred to me while watching the Korean gore fest Project Wolf Hunting.  There is no time in history when a major American studio would have produced a film as grotesquely violent as Project Wolf Hunting for wide theatrical release, but it still plays like a nostalgic throwback to the blockbuster days of 1990s Hollywood.  Specifically, it’s a revival of the preposterous prison thrillers of that era, titles like Con Air, The Rock, Death Warrant, Ricochet, and Alien³.  Back when movies used to be led by action stars instead of IP brands, there was a wave of grimy, idiotic thrillers set in futuristic superprisons, which repentant or wrongfully convicted dirtbags played by Jean Claude Van Damme or Nicolas Cage would have to escape via brute lone-wolf strength & communal riots.  Project Wolf Hunting wistfully calls back to that era in its chaotic “story” of prisoner cargo ship mutiny, but it also triples down on the genre’s hyperviolence with tons more blood & viscera than all its previous titles combined.  Tons.  It’s an exciting change until it’s a numbing one, and by the end I would have much rather returned to the dinky charm of its Bruckheimer Era predecessors than spend another minute slipping around in its red-dyed corn syrup slop.  They just don’t make over-the-top prison thrillers like they used to, and apparently they never will again.

It appears that even the team behind Project Wolf Hunting knows that the nonstop hyperviolence of its cargo ship prison break can be numbingly monotonous, since it only plays the scenario straight for its opening hour.  The premise starts simple enough, with a ludicrous prisoner-exchange transport returning all of Korea’s cruelest, most dangerous criminals from their Philippines hiding place for trial & punishment via one lone, vulnerable cargo ship.  Of course, their criminal buddies on the outside seize the opportunity to start a jail-break riot on the ship, and most of the first hour is nonstop slaughter of cops & prison guards at the receiving end of bullets & blades.  Just as the movie’s threatening to tire itself out halfway into its runtime, the prisoners accidentally free a new flavor of violent threat they didn’t know was being transported in tandem: a Frankensteined supersoldier that has been kept “alive” via sci-fi superdrugs since Japanese experiments in World War II.  The zombie monster among them has stapled-shut eyes, a mouth full of maggots, and a bottomless appetite for “extreme & indiscriminate violence.”  He’s an impossible intrusion into what starts as a fairly pedestrian prison break thriller, so you’d think he’d change the film’s rhythms & trajectory in an exciting way.  Not really.  All the invincible Frankenmonster really does as a late addition to the party is allow the bloodbath to continue after practically all the cops have been destroyed, giving the prisoners a single target to focus their fists, knives, and bullets on, now to their own peril.  The practical gore and close-quarters combat is impressively staged throughout, with all victims & villains spraying the supercharged blood geysers familiar to vintage martial arts films like Lady Snowblood (and their modern homages like Kill Bill).  Whether they’re impressive enough to justify two consecutive hours of “extreme & indiscriminate violence” is up for debate.

The #1 thing that would’ve made me more enthusiastic about Project Wolf Hunting is if it were made when I was still a teenage gore hound.  The #2 thing is if it had a more charismatic action-hero lead.  This is the kind of large ensemble-cast action thriller where the main objective is to pack the cargo ship with as many high-pressure blood bags as possible without bothering to assign any one of them much of a distinctive personality.  The range between the most sensitive, pensive criminal on the ship and the scariest, most violent one is pretty wide, and no one really matters between those two extremes outside the brutal novelty of their individual kill scenes.  Because they’re all professional scumbags & sociopaths, they don’t even have much motivation to distinguish personalities amongst each other.  In the aggro parlance of the film, everyone is either an “asshole”, a “bastard,” a “motherfucker”, or a “piece of shit” – all unified in their collective need to “shut the fuck up.”  I always find that kind of shouted-expletive dialogue to be the telltale sign of a weak screenplay, but I also don’t know how much that matters in this particular instance.  Project Wolf Hunting‘s greatest assets are its value as a revival of the preposterous prison thriller genre and its eagerness to overwhelm the audience with bone-crunching gore.  As someone with a baseline affection for any monster movie with a high-concept gimmick premise, I’m willing to overlook a lot of its narrative shortcomings to enjoy its practical-effects violence.  It’s a pretty good movie in that context.  All it really needed to be a great one was a charismatic action star to help anchor the audience amidst the sprawling mayhem.  Unfortunately, they don’t really make those anymore.

-Brandon Ledet

Pathaan (2023)

Maybe it’s a hacky move to constantly compare Indian action blockbusters to their Hollywood equivalents, but the latest wide-release Bollywood export Pathaan doesn’t leave me much room to avoid repeating the offense.  Between its global spyware espionage, military-grade streetracing warfare, and 92-floor supertower heist sequence, it’s impossible to not compare Pathaan to the soon-to-conclude Fast & Furious saga – its most obvious genre template.  At least it compares favorably.  I want to call Pathaan the best Fast & Furious movie since Furious 7 in 2015, but that would be inaccurate.  It’s only the best Fast & Furious movie since the Tollywood actioner Saaho in 2019, further proof that India’s various film industries are outshining Hollywood action spectacle in a way that hasn’t been seen since Hong Kong’s martial arts boom in the 80s & 90s.  It’s no surprise that the basic thrills of the Fast & Furious saga would be echoed & warped in its Indian equivalents, since the streetracing-turned-espionage action brand has been one of Hollywood’s more successful global exports for the past two decades.  Only, as the Fast & Furious saga has become self-aware of its situational humor & blatant disregard for real-world physics, it’s also become weirdly timid about sincerely pushing itself to an over-the-top extreme.  Movies like Pathaan & Saaho are outperforming their American inspiration point because they’re willing to sincerely indulge in the cartoon physics that CGI affords their car-racing superheroes without any ironic “Well, that just happened” meta-commentary.  They also take the thudding fight choreography of hand-to-hand combat seriously in a way American action films were starting to lose touch with (until the success of John Wick reinvigorated the practice), perfectly balancing the uncanny computer graphics and tactile physical brutality of the genre for thoroughly entertaining blockbuster spectacle – with music video romance & dance breaks.

What makes Pathaan special within these larger, global industry concerns is that it’s gunning for a second American action franchise’s genre template, beyond its debts owed to Fast & FuriousPathaan is an overt, unashamed bid to establish a new MCU-style interconnected universe that unites several pre-existing action epics under one behemoth brand.  It’s an origin story for its titular tough-as-nails superspy Pathaan (played by the immensely popular Shah Rukh Khan), but it is somehow not a standalone action thriller.  Pathaan is the fourth film in a series that previously did not exist, acting as a better-late-than-never crossover that groups together 2012’s Ek Tha Tiger, its 2017 sequel Tiger Zinda Hai, and the standalone 2019 actioner War into what will now be called YRF Spy Universe, as if that were production company Yash Raj Films’ plan all along.  Of the three previous entries in this brand-new series, I had only seen War, which made the mid-film cameo from the Salman Khan character Tiger and the obligatory post-credits “Assembling The Avengers” stinger hilariously incongruous with what was otherwise a functionally independent shoot-em-up.  So far, this legion of superspies is only connected through their occasional employment by the government intelligence agency RAW (India’s CIA equivalent), which they frequently disregard to serve global justice outside of legal means.  Both War & Pathaan detail the on-again, off-again bromance of two unstoppable supersoldiers who find themselves falling on opposite sides of the patriot-terrorist divide.  Our hero, of course, is the jingoistic patriot who will do anything to uphold the sanctity & security of Mother India – in Pathaan’s case because Mother India adopted him after a tough childhood orphaned in a poor Afghani village.  Naturally, our villain is the terrorist defector who has lost his way, using his training as an Indian supersoldier to take down his own country out of selfishness & bitterness.  You don’t need to know much more than that to enjoy these car chase blow-em-ups, which generally have a pro-wrestling sense of face-heel dynamics that are easy to jump into with or without three backlogged films of build-up.

If there’s anything especially disappointing about Pathaan and its retroactive YRF Spy Universe brethren, it’s that celebration of jingoistic patriotism.  War pulled direct inspiration from Hollywood’s vintage Jerry Bruckheimer & Michael Bay era of the 1990s, and its own nationalistic bent was indistinguishable from the rah-rah-America rabblerousing of that action blockbuster heyday; all that changed was the colors of the flag.  That ugly streak bleeds into Pathaan, despite it finding a more modern, multicultural point of inspo in the Fast & Furious saga.  Say what you will about Top Gun: Maverick‘s recent revival of Reagan-era American militarism, but it was at least polite enough to not name the home country of its enemy combatants.  Every time Pathaan squares off against Pakistani terrorists, Somali pirates, and Indian defectors he demands to speak his only acceptable language—Hindi—there’s a sharp reminder of why American action greats like Rambo & Commando have been neatly quarantined as a thing of the past.  Of course, that political queasiness does nothing to sour the in-the-moment pleasure of watching Pathaan whoop ass.  Something modern Indian blockbusters get exactly right about their vintage Hollywood equivalents is their breathless, wide-eyed celebration of their titular heroes as the coolest motherfuckers to ever walk the planet Earth.  Pathaan models aviator sunglasses in front of a high-powered music video wind machine; he pilots CGI helicopters inside enemy warehouses, flying away just ahead of a whooshing fireball; he locates & defeats international terrorists in the deepest corners of “the darknet”; he eats apple slices off the tip of his knife, accompanied by hard rock guitar & soaring synths.  The movie reminds you how mind-blowingly sexy & cool Pathaan is in every single scene, even when that means backing his latent xenophobia.  It may not be politically conscious art, but it’s at least more honest about its gleeful militarism than the more timid approach of Top Gun: Maverick.  It may hit every single pulled-out-of-retirement, assembling-the-team, tough-guy-narcissism action cliché mocked in MacGruber, but it at least appears to do so with full-hearted sincerity.  It may indulge in the worst IP-conscious industry maneuvers established by American brands like Fast & Furious and the MCU, but it at least delivers the goods when it comes to its over-the-top, jaw-dropping action set pieces.  Maybe I should stop comparing these Indian blockbusters to their American equivalents, or maybe I should just stop watching the American ones entirely, since they’re just not keeping up with the competition.

-Brandon Ledet

Solomon King (1974)

I recently went on a delightful vacation to San Francisco, where I was free to explore the city on my own throughout the day while my travel partners were busy at an academic conference.  Of course, I used that unstructured free time to bus around the city in search of movie nerd indulgences – including a City Guides walking tour of Hitchcock filming locations (as suggested by and enjoyed with my internet friend Sunil), an Oscar-qualifying screening of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and a raid of local book & record stores for locally flavored physical media (where I scooped up copies of Kamikaze Hearts, Luminous Procuress, and San Francisco Noir).  By far, though, my most rewarding indulgence in Bay Area movie tourism was my trip to the Roxie Theatre, a century-old, Prytania style single-screener in the Mission District.  I was lucky to be in town for their only listed showing of Deaf Crocodile’s new digital restoration of the locally shot, locally proud blacksploitation relic Solomon King.  The screening was a riot, a one-of-a-kind communal celebration that felt more like being invited to a family reunion than paying to see vintage schlock.

Local entrepreneur Sal Watts shot Solomon King on-location in Oakland, relying on his own businesses & employees to help buoy the budget as ready-made sets & cast.  Self-credited as writer, director, producer, editor, and star, the film is undeniably a vanity project for Watts, who of course props himself up to be the most badass action hero who’s ever graced the screen.  The titular Solomon King is positioned as a Black folk hero and wish-fulfilment fantasy, recalling other action heroes of the time like Shaft, Coffy, and Black Samson.  Watts was working with a self-funded, sub-Dolemite budget, though.  His kung-fu choreography is even less convincing than Rudy Ray Moore’s, with the editing room cuts doing most of the work to convey the film’s “action” sequences.  Most of the dialogue is ADR’d onto the soundtrack as characters are walking & driving a long distance from the camera.  Every shot holds a few seconds too long; the boom mic’s shadow often sways on background walls; the climax teases a sequel Watts couldn’t afford to produce.  Still, Watts makes sure that he’s always the coolest, toughest brute in the room.  He beds every hottie he meets within minutes of locking eyes; he single-handedly takes down an army of terrorists the racist higher-ups at the CIA are too cowardly to touch.  The entire movie is about how awesome Solomon King—and by extension Sal Watts—is as a lone-wolf badass, and no budgetary limitations could hold back that kind of self-aggrandizing exuberance.

If anything, it’s Watts’s charming self-determination as a D.I.Y. filmmaker that makes Solomon King so delightful.  The film’s story of an ex-CIA renegade (and current smooth-talking nightclub owner) who takes down the corrupt kingdom of an ambiguous Middle Eastern country all by his lonesome is pretty loosely defined, an afterthought secondary to celebrating Watt’s badassery.  Mostly, Solomon King delights as a document of community theatre, as most of its cast consists of non-professional Oakland locals (give or take a small role for celebrity baseball player Tito Fuentes).  That’s why it was such a treat to attend that screening at the Roxie, where I got to watch that community theatre with the community in question.  During a post-screening Q&A with Watt’s widow Belinda Burton-Watts (who is set up as the star of the never-made sequel), it became increasingly apparent that about half the audience was connected to the production of the film in some way.  It was the most heartwarming version of a “This is more of a comment than a question” Q&A session, since people were piping up to point out that they were in the movie as children or related to the cast or crew.  I was also seated in front of Watts’s children, who provided live commentary throughout the screening (unprompted, free of charge), with adoring quips about how cheesy it was to see their dad act tough and how “Nobody wants to see their dad in a lovemaking scene.”  It was quite literally a family affair, both in production and in presentation.

A representative from Deaf Crocodile was also on-hand at the Roxie to explain how lucky we were to be watching Solomon King on the big screen, as even the audience members with direct ties to its production likely hadn’t seen it since the 1970s, if at all.  He apologized for the scratches and unintentional jump cuts in the digital scan, which was cleaned-up from a battered, pink-faded print borrowed from UCLA’s archives.  Those flaws were occasionally noticeable but never severe, the kind of thing that would only drive you mad if you spent years restoring the film frame by frame.  Their new scan of Solomon King is likely sharper & more vibrant than its local celluloid projections even would have been in its initial, limited release.  More importantly, they were able to work with a copy of the original soundtrack negative from Belinda Burton-Watts’s personal archive, so that the dialogue was clearly legible in a way these regional action relics rarely are.  That pristine soundtrack was also a boon for the original funk score & genre-obligatory nightclub acts that accompany Solomon King’s exploits.  This upcoming Blu-ray release from Deaf Crocodile isn’t so much a restoration as it is a life-saving rescue mission.

Solomon King totally earns that treatment too.  It’s easy to get hung up on (and delighted by) the film’s limitations as a truly independent, outsider-artist production, but it’s a consistently surprising, entertaining entry in its genre.  Occasional shots of a criminal biker’s blood spurting onto cocktail glasses or Solomon King firing a pistol through a perfectly arranged stack of warehouse shipping palettes prove Watts had genuine artistic ambitions as a filmmaker, no matter how short-lived that side career might’ve been.  The film isn’t as artistically substantial as similar Black, independent works of the era like Sweet Sweetback or Ganja & Hess, but it is substantial as a novelty action curio and an authentic slice of Oakland history.  The closest I’ve ever gotten to experiencing a New Orleans version of that afternoon at the Roxie was an NOFF screening of the similarly rescued & restored Cane River in 2018.  Even though I grew up in closer proximity to the community art project documented in Cane River, that regional romance melodrama cannot compete with the pure, skull-cracking entertainment value of Solomon King as a low-budget action picture, though.  And there was just something magical about walking into the Roxie without knowing how intimate of a communal, familial experience that screening was going to be.  Nothing but love for Oakland and San Francisco; and all hail Solomon King.

-Brandon Ledet

Bottom of the Gun Barrel

There are a lot of handwringing articles making the rounds right now about why Awards Season movies like She Said, Triangle of Sadness, and Tár aren’t luring audiences to theaters.  Of course, this annual ritual is always followed by complaints from “The Fans” that the Oscars and other highfalutin institutions don’t nominate movies that people have actually seen.  Personally, I’m glad they don’t.  Given that most casual audiences only show up for a few scattered Disney acquisitions, talking CG-animal comedies, and disposable opening-weekend horrors throughout the year, Awards Season would be an absolute bore if it were driven by box office sales.  This is the one time of year where smaller, stranger, quieter films get a little room to breathe in the public discourse outside the otherwise constant cacophony of jump scares, superhero battles, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile’s bathtub croonings. Taking that away to boost an awards ceremony’s TV ratings would be anti-Art, if not outright evil.  Case in point: the top-grossing film of the year to date—and the only Actual Movie of the year in wider audience’s minds—is the decades-late nostalgia stoker Top Gun: Maverick, a movie that it is, to put it as generously as possible, an absurdly expensive pile of ice-cold dogshit.

A lot of people will tell you that the only way to truly soak in the majesty of Top Gun: Maverick was to experience it in its large-screen format at your local multiplex’s imitation IMAX.  Personally, I feel like I watched it the way it was meant to be seen: scaled down to the back of a plane-seat headrest on a late-night flight.  While Maverick‘s biggest fans ooh’d & ahh’d at the Navy’s high-speed fighter jets roaring in perfectly calibrated digital clarity, I got the full 4D experience, with a real-life airplane engine providing aural background texture and the dull fear of a tragic mid-flight crash pumping up my adrenaline levels.  Even in my personal one-man rumble seat theatre in the sky, I despised the film, increasingly growing angry at audiences’ lack of appetite for the much tastier delicacies that were left to rot in empty theaters this year.  Top Gun: Maverick is a rusty carnival ride through a cobwebbed Hall of Memories – an algorithmic simulation of cinema.  Making Maverick after it was already pre-parodied in MacGruber is exactly as embarrassing as making a by-the-numbers musician biopic after Walk Hard.  It might even be a worse offense, considering how much more money was wasted on its $170mil production than smaller projects like Bohemian Rhapsody or Stardust (and for a much more insidious political purpose).  Either way, it was already perfectly, ruthlessly mocked years before release.  It’s nothing; it’s a joke; it’s the most popular movie of 2022 (at least until the next bloated-budget blockbuster sequel down the line, Avatar: The Way of Water, is given time to catch up).

Martin Scorsese has become a Gen-Z punching bag for an off-hand comment he made comparing modern superhero blockbusters to amusement park rides, and I think he’s only been proven right in the years since.  In this dual Navy recruitment tool and elaborate vanity project, Tom Cruise’s renegade fighter pilot is a real-world superhero, with every other character marveling that “He’s the fastest man alive” in slack-jawed awe as he Supermans his way through the sky.  He looks ghoulish in close-up as the force of his supernatural speed yanks his skin to the back of his skull, but we’re meant to fawn over his eternal good looks & boyish charm.  Since he has no grey hair and total control over the flattering angles he’s filmed from, we see no signs of his decades of aging since the original Top Gun, other than that he texts with full punctuation.  It’s like revisiting a Disney park attraction every few decades; the animatronic hosts behind the red ropes look mostly the same as they did your last visit, except a little haggard from years of repeating the same few robotic maneuvers.  And the wonders he’s there to guide you through only appear smaller & sadder as you grow older: a simulated ride in an airfighter’s cockpit; a technical showcase of your local multiplex’s outdated sound system; a soullessly reenacted clip from a movie you used to like, scored with just as many notes of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” to stoke the memory before moving on to the next empty, sad display.  Maverick is the abandoned wing of the amusement park that the owners didn’t bother to update, just a few months away from being replaced by something new & worse.

I could understand skepticism that watching Maverick on an uncomfortable airplane flight—eyes occasionally drawn to the private screening of That Thing You Do! on the headrest next to mine—is sufficient enough of an attempt at genuine appreciation.  As a counterargument, I’d like to report that I watched the original 1986 Top Gun on my connection flight that same night, and I loved it.  I remember being bored by Top Gun‘s rah-rah militarism on my first watch decades ago, so maybe it only clicked with me this go-round in comparison to its algorithmic snoozer of a sequel.  Either way, it’s undeniable that it looks better than its 2022 counterpart.  Tony Scott’s high-style approach to the material makes for gorgeous, horned-up pop art that only could have been produced in the MTV era.  In Maverick, Tom Cruise frequently repeats the mantra “Don’t think, just do” as an overt suggestion to the audience that we shut off our brains and enjoy the ride.  In contrast, Tony Scott shuts our brains off for us, packing the screen with so many wordless, sweaty music video montages that the film somehow plays more like a wet dream than a military recruitment ad.  Both films have visible hard-ons for the tools of US imperialist warfare, but only the original conveys the sexiness of the machinery and the meatheads who operate it in a genuinely swoonworthy way.  All of the color, flavor, and texture of that MTV reverie are drained from the sequel to the point where all that’s left is the machinery itself – none more important than the T-800 hyperalloy endoskeleton just under the surface of Cruise’s synthetic skin.

It’s okay that Top Gun: Maverick exists.  Something has to sell enough popcorn & sodas to keep movie theaters afloat.  What’s chafing me is the argument that it needs to be formally recognized as one of the best movies of the year in order to keep the Oscars’ TV ratings viable.  This movie belongs on the showroom floor of a Best Buy, advertising overpriced 4K TVs, not parading across an awards stage or printed on a critical publication’s Best of the Year list.  It’s not even a movie, really.  It’s an echo of a movie, an expensive version of Fathom Events re-running choppy digital streams of E.T. & The Goonies to make up for the industrial slow-down of pandemic-era #content.  The next time you hear someone complain that “They don’t make good movies anymore,” keep in mind that the only movies they’ve watched this year were a couple Spider-Man crossover sequels and this piece of shit.  Otherwise, they just halfway listened to a few Netflix Originals in the background while thumbing around on their phones.  There’s no need for critical institutions to cater to that audience; they’ve already spent all the money they’re going to spend at the carnival.

-Brandon Ledet


I first watched S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR the same way I enjoy most big-budget Indian action: alone in a near-empty AMC Elmwood theater, with no prior context and no friends to discuss it with on my exit through the lobby.  I reviewed the film with the same approach I usually take with muscles-and-explosives action flicks from Tollywood & Kollywood (films like War, Master, Karnan, Saaho, 2.0, etc.), judging it against the relatively timid payoffs of comparable Hollywood series like Fast & Furious and the MCU.  The difference is that RRR has taken off in a way none of those other films have. It’s been constantly praised in the months since that first viewing (sometimes hyperbolically, often charmingly) in every corner of online film discourse I can name.  By the time I revisited RRR for a recent episode of the podcast, I was armed with way more cultural & industrial context about what makes it so explosively entertaining, as well as what makes it politically shaky.  I still don’t fully understand why it’s the only Indian action epic that’s enjoyed such a long, prominent shelf life in Western film discourse, but I do love that one has broken through.  It would be great if others follow, at the very least so I can better understand the roided-out action media I’m used to watching alone in the dark.

The only thing that’s really helped clarify why RRR is such an international hit was seeing a more recent, mediocre entry in its genre without as much novelty or fist-pumping energy.  Shamshera is another ahistorical Indian action epic about violent rebellions against British colonizers.  That rebellion is also led by the strongest, most badass hero the world has ever seen – a man so over-praised and over-muscled he can only be compared to superheroes or gods, often in his own titular theme song.  It’s a formula you’ll see repeated dozens of times if you watch enough Indian action, and it’s one that’s always entertaining, no matter the overall quality of the film.  Watching Shamshera wield a comically huge battle axe and command an army of CGI crows against his people’s British oppressors is a familiar thrill that never loses its potency no matter how many times it scorches your eyeballs.  And yet, when compared to more deliriously over-the-top actioners like RRR & Enthiran, it’s a little lackluster.  Shamshera plays like a Bollywood studio attempting to outgun the more eccentric action coming out of South India without ever quite matching their volatile energy. It still was an entertaining trip to the movies and still highly preferable to its American contemporaries, but it’s also such a straight-forward, barebones entry in its genre that it makes RRR stand out even more in contrast.

Speaking of RRR‘s American equivalents, I continued to think a lot about the qualities I crave in Indian action flicks on my very next trip to the theater after Shamshera.  Not only is Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic just as long & loud as Shamshera (a whopping 159 minutes), it’s also yet another sprawling epic that elevates a real-life historical rebel to the status of a god-like superhero.  In this case, the proto-rockstar’s superpower is making white teenagers horny, something Luhrmann conveys through on-screen comic book panels (which are also used to illustrate Shamshera‘s prologue) and the wild shrieks of teens witnessing his pElvic thrusts for the very first time.  It’s possible I was only thinking about Indian blockbusters while watching Elvis because I had revisited RRR & Shamshera within 24 hours of that screening (accounting for 6 of those very hours, combined), but it’s just as probable that they’re all pulling inspiration from the same source.  The grandeur & spectacle of Baz Luhrmann’s cinema feels like a direct descendant of traditional Bollywood musicals, which both he and modern Indian action directors like Rajamouli are now warping into new, weird pop art.  I often struggle with that same attention to spectacle in American films, especially in CGI-heavy action franchises like Star Wars & The MCU.  Luhrmann’s Elvis transcends that mental barrier in a lot of ways though.  It’s maniacally tacky, and it has the most individual camera set-ups I’ve ever seen outside of a Russ Meyer production, playing more like a three-hour trailer than an actual movie.  I wasn’t even sure if I liked it until I heard someone complain “That is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen” on the way out, and I found myself getting defensive.  It’s also, in its own deranged way, kind of brilliant.  Elvis delivers the exact propulsive, baffling, brain-smashing entertainment I actively seek out in South Indian action movies but find questionable in Hollywood productions, to my shame.  In a roundabout way, revisiting RRR made me eager to revisit Baz Luhrmann’s back catalog of Moulin Rouge!-style spectacles to see if I’ve just been snobbish in my rejection of their shameless, spectacular cheesiness, which I suspect is the case.

All of this is just to say that I’ve been enjoying discussing & thinking about RRR for the past few months.  Usually, I can only sustain a discussion of a similar Indian action film for a few minutes, as I try to explain how that industry is matching the delirious heights of American & Hong Kong action in their own 80s & 90s heydays to someone who could not care less about the inane words flooding out of my mouth.  Nobody was around, for instance, just one month earlier than RRR to discuss Radhe Shyam, a volatile romcom about a lovelorn palm reader who essentially gets into a fistfight with the Titanic.  Not all these over-the-top action films deserve the same level of attention & adoration as RRR, which really is an exceptional specimen of its genre, but it’s been cool to see one of these wildly entertaining action flicks break through with American audiences instead of just disappearing after a single-week theatrical run.  The continued discussion not only made me appreciate RRR even more on revisit, but it’s also helped me clarify my thoughts on other films with similar, soaring payoffs.

-Brandon Ledet

The Batman, The Northman, the Vengeance, the Romance

Between the wide theatrical release of Robert Eggers’s The Northman in American multiplexes and the streaming debut of Matt Reeves’s The Batman on HBO Max, it’s been a big week for tough-guy action movies about Vengeance.  I expected to make pithy jokes about The Batman & The Northman‘s thematic parallels as superhero origin stories about traumatized orphans growing up, getting buff, and seeking bloody revenge on the criminals who murdered their fathers.  It turns out the two films genuinely do have a lot in common, though – right down to those orphans’ childhood phases being played by the same actor: 12-year-old newcomer Oscar Novak.  What really struck me in these two sprawling epics about brute-force vigilante justice was the tender hearts beating just below their hardened, muscle-men surfaces.  Both movies announce themselves to be growling heroes’ journeys in search of “vengeance”, but in time they both lament the ways those heroes’ tunnel-vision revenge missions ruin their romantic prospects with the (equally violent, vengeance-obsessed) women in their lives.  It’s kind of sweet.

I was prepared to dismiss these films based both on their macho surface details and on their directors’ respective obsessions with realism & historical accuracy.  I am philosophically opposed to this current trajectory where we just keep making Batman movies increasingly “realistic” & colorless forever & ever, to the point where it already takes 90 minutes of narrative justification for The Penguin to waddle (after Batman & Gordon bind his legs together for a brief visual gag).  Likewise, the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way in Eggers’s calling-card debut The VVitch was its concluding title card that emphasizes its narrative was drawn “directly from period journals, diaries, and court records” from 17th Century New England, preemptively defending its more fantastic deviations from reality with the noble shield of Academic Research.  His 1st Century Icelandic tale The Northman appeared to be even more obsessed with grounding its breaks from reality in the Valhalla of “historical accuracy”, which is not something I especially value in my high-style genre films.  It’s the kind of literal, pedantic thinking that appeals to Redditor bros with years-long grievances over movies’ logistical flubs & narrative “plot holes” but little to say about how art makes them feel.  That’s why I was so pleased to discover that both The Batman & The Northman had more emotions filling their hearts than expected, considering all the real-world logic weighing on their minds.

The Batman is essentially a 2020s goth-kid update for The Crow, with Robert Pattinson eternally brooding under his emo bangs, smeared mascara, and Nirvana-blaring headphones – alone in his logically plausible inner-city Batcave (an abandoned subway station).  He stubbornly insists on living in isolation & despair as if it were a badge of honor, but when he finds a kindred goth-girl spirit in Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz, rocking the same rainbow-dyed bobs she sported in Kimi) he reluctantly warms up to a fellow human being for the first time in his miserable life.  The Northman plays out much the same, with the revenge-obsessed Viking warrior Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) declaring he has “a heart of cold iron” and a “freezing river of blood that runs in [his] veins” until he meets his romantic, dark-sided counterpart in a revenge-obsessed Pagan witch (Anya Taylor-Joy).  When the witch coos, “Your strength breaks men’s bones.  I have the cunning to break their minds,” it plays like a dual-purpose blood pact & marriage proposal.  Both the Batman & the Northman have genuine love interests that meet them on their respective levels of hedonistic bloodlust, which you might not expect from this kind of tough-guy power fantasy.

Neither the never-ending Batman franchise nor the Robert Eggers Extended Universe are strangers to lust.  Batman & Catwoman’s S&M power plays in Batman Returns are legendary and, not for nothing, the main focus of the script.  Meanwhile, the romantic chemistry of The Batman is a slow, quiet burn, taking a back seat to the creepy found-footage terror attacks & old-fashioned detective work of Batman’s search for The Riddler.  Likewise, The Lighthouse is the one Eggers film that fully succumbs to the hunger & ecstasy of sex, while The Northman is much more tender & low-key in its central romance.  It’s telling that neither the Batman nor the Northman abandon their single-minded missions for vengeance to blissfully pair up with their partners in thwarting crime; they both give up their chances for happiness to pursue vengeance at all costs.  Neither romance blooms to its full potential, but I still appreciated that these films had major soft spots in their hate-hardened hearts.  For a couple of tough-guy movies about vengeance, I was shocked that both films had genuinely romantic moments that made me go “Awwww <3” (between all the bombings & beheadings). 

My preference is for Batman movies to be as goofy & horny as possible, but I’ll settle for creepy & romantic if that’s what’s on the table.  The Northman has similar saving graces.  It’s not soft & sweet enough to be just another live-action Lion King (which, along with Hamlet, was inspired by the same Scandinavian legend as Eggers’s film), but it is at least romantic enough to be more than just a live-action Spine of Night.  It’s wonderful to feel hearts beating under these films’ rock-hard pectorals, when they just as easily could have been militant, macho bores.

-Brandon Ledet

The Heroic Trio (1993)

I recently read an encyclopedia of classic Hong Kong action movies titled Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head, which is overloaded with hundreds of capsule reviews of the once-vibrant industry’s greatest hits.  Each blurb makes each title sound like the most explosively badass movie you’ve never seen, fixating on the industry’s unmatched talent for absurd plot details, tactile fight choreography, and for-their-own-sake visual gags.  It’s a daunting surplus of giddy movie recommendations, with no real guide for what to prioritize besides whatever happens to be available to access.  After being pushed to check out the bonkers Indiana Jones mutation The Seventh Curse by the We Love to Watch podcast crew, I had no clear path for where to go next.  Thankfully, that decision was taken out of my hands by happenstance.  I lucked into a small haul of Hong Kong action DVDs (some bootlegs, some official releases, all pictured below) during a recent trip to Goodwill, which included the 1993 superhero oddity The Heroic Trio.  This was the same week that Criterion announced an upcoming Blu-ray release of The Heroic Trio and the same month that one of its stars, Michele Yeoh, was gifted a career-high acting showcase in the Daniels’ own novelty superhero picture Everything Everywhere All at Once, which made it the most obvious must-see.  I’m often overwhelmed deciding what movie to watch next when I’m left to my own devices, so it’s always a pleasure when the universe steps in to program that selection for me.

I am sure that the new Criterion restoration of The Heroic Trio will lovingly highlight the film’s technical beauty and pop-art iconography in a way few audiences have seen before.  I’ll still admit that I was charmed by the tape-warp warmth of the bootleg DVD that found its way into my collection, since it plays right into the film’s vintage appeal.  The Heroic Trio is a retro superhero team-up featuring the masked & powerful heroines Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung), Wonder Woman (Anita Mui), and Invisible Woman (Yeoh) – each a total badass.  They start disorganized & distrustful of each other as a mysterious case of 19 kidnapped babies derails Hong Kong into chaos.  Eventually, they find love & unity amongst their super selves to fight the methane-breathing sewer god responsible for those kidnappings, brutally confronting the gender-ambiguous deity in their underground lair/baby-storage facility.  Tonally, the film plays like the kind of R-rated kids’ movie that you’d normally find through American labels like Troma & Full Moon, even featuring the children’s nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down” as a soundtrack motif.  It is S&M superhero cinema for the permanently immature, indulging in vintage Saturday-morning-TV cheese with far more gore, kink fashion, and shock-value baby deaths than any child should be consuming with their breakfast cereal.  It just executes that volatile immaturity with exquisite technical skill you will not find in its low-budget American equivalents, especially in the beauty of its complex, tactile fight choreography.

Michele Yeoh’s inclusion in the titular trio was my prompt to watch the film and, dramatically, she gets the most to do.  Invisible Woman is the only complex character of the bunch, starting off as the brainwashed lackey of the baby-snatching Evil Master but eventually coming around to join arms with her master’s enemies.  I still found Maggie Cheung to be the MVP of the trio as Thief Catcher, providing most of the film’s comic relief as a Bugs Bunny-style anarchist, a motorcycle-riding vigilante in dressed in bike shorts & lingerie; Tank Girl, eat your heart out.  Anita Mui is saddled with the least exciting part as Wonder Woman, who—as her name implies—is the most stereotypical comic book hero of the bunch.  Her mask & cape iconography and secret-identity shenanigans are essential in grounding the film in a recognizable superhero genre, since most of its in-the-moment indulgences are more aligned with Hong Kong action antics than with comic book tradition.  Director Johnnie To uses the superhero team-up template as a playground for martial arts chaos & Looney Tunes goofballery, playing around with as much Evil Dead POV camera movement, wuxia-style wire work, and bone-crunching brutality as his scrappy budget will allow.  He gives each heroine room to establish separate, distinct personalities in the film’s early scenes, then smashes them together like action figures during an especially sugared-up recess.  It’s the most gleeful, energizing movie experience I can think of that depicts the death of a dozen innocent babies.

Watching The Heroic Trio left me no better equipped to select my next Hong Kong action title.  Yeoh, Cheung, and Mui each have extensive careers in martial arts classics exactly like this.  To was equally prolific in his directorial career without them.  All four of those collaborators reunited for a direct sequel to The Heroic Trio titled Executioners, also released in 1993, but it is not regarded as any of their respective best.  Below, I’ll list the essential continued-viewing titles for Michelle Yeoh alone, as suggested by the authors of Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head, just to demonstrate the overwhelming wealth of great, over-the-top Hong Kong action pics there are to choose from.  And she’s only one of the industry’s many, many creative geniuses.  I’ll likely just wait until another title falls directly into my lap the way The Heroic Trio did, taking the decision out of my hands.   Otherwise, I’ll browse these titles & blurbs for hours without ever settling on one, the modern movie streamer’s dilemma.

Michelle Yeoh’s “Selected Filmography,” per Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head, printed 1996:
Magnificent Warriors (1986)
Royal Warriors (1986)
Yes, Madam (1986)
Police Story 3: Supercop (1993)
Project S (1993)
The Tai Chi Master (1993)
Butterfly and Sword (1993)
The Heroic Trio (1993)
Wonder 7 (1994)

-Brandon Ledet

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

I enjoyed the Daniels’ debut feature Swiss Army Man, which I categorized on my Top Films of 2016 list as “an unconventional love story, a road trip buddy comedy, and an indie pop musical about a farting corpse with a magical boner.”  Even as a fan of that understandably divisive gross-out, I still agree with the consensus that their follow-up film is a huge step up for the music video director-duo.  Everything Everywhere All at Once triples down on the Cold Stone Creamery approach to filmmaking that the Daniels toyed with in Swiss Army Man, mashing every cinematic indulgence the directors could manage—from alternate-dimension sci-fi to vaudevillian slapstick to sincere Wong Kar-Wai homage—into a massive, delectable headache.  And yet it securely anchors that chaos to a solid emotional rock in a way that Swiss Army Man could not, which left it feeling adrift.  I don’t even know that I would encourage fans of Everything Everywhere double back to check out the Daniels’ debut.  You probably already knew in 2016 whether a farting-corpse boner comedy was going to appeal to you, and that likely has not changed.  In contrast, Everything Everywhere crams in a little taste of something for absolutely everyone, so much so that you’ll find yourself recommending it to family & coworkers despite it featuring its own gross-out gags involving butt-plugs & hotdog fellatio.

The elevator pitch for this unlikely crowd-pleaser is that it offers a glimpse into an alternate reality where The Matrix was directed by Michel Gondry.  It’s nice there.  Everything Everywhere is structured around a standard-issue comic book plot in which a maniacal supervillain attempts to gain ultimate power over the infinite alternate timelines of “the Multiverse,” with only a specially equipped Chosen One hero standing in their way.  It distorts that superhero blockbuster template through the hand-crafted dream logic & heart-on-sleeve sentimentality of our twee yesteryear, bringing an earnestness & personality to the genre that’s sorely missing from its megacorporate equivalents.  The superpower that allows ordinary characters to leap between these infinite timelines is the cosmic surprise of an unexpected, improbable act, “the less it makes sense the better.” The Daniels openly dare you to roll your eyes at the “LOL! So random!” humor of that premise, packing the screen with randomly generated totems like googly eyes, talking racoons, pro wrestling finishers, lethal fanny packs, and an all-powerful, apocalyptic Everything Bagel.  However, every silly, randomsauce image is lovingly crafted and thoughtfully anchored to the film’s emotional rock, earning its place on the screen beyond a for-its-own-sake indulgence.  They somehow even make their Chosen One heroine’s Deadpool-style observations about the absurdity of her predicament (especially her stubborn mispronunciations of the villain’s name) feel well-earned & natural to her character.  It’s an incredible feat.

The aforementioned emotional rock is the lead performance from the always-solid Michelle Yeoh.  The infinite alternate timelines premise demands that Yeoh play infinite alternate versions of herself, and she excels at every turn.  Yeoh is funny.  Yeoh is frustrating.  Yeoh breaks your heart into a thousand shards, then lovingly glues them together again.  The Daniels obviously have immense respect for her range as a performer. They allow her to show off both the stern dramatic severity & classic Hong Kong action superheroics she’s already famous for, then demonstrate the thousands of possibilities in-between those extremes we’ve been robbed of seeing onscreen.  Ke Huy Quan & Stephanie Hsu are also wonderful as her husband & daughter, respectfully, exploding the boundaries of what audiences have been trained to expect from their Nice Guy side character & flamboyant Gay Villain archetypes.  It’s Yeoh who leaves you in total stunned awe, though, especially as the rare Strong Female Character who’s allowed to be a genuinely complicated person.  We’re introduced to our hero as the absolute worst version of herself across the vast multiverse.  She’s terrible at the enormous entirety of everything, most crucially in the way she relates to her family as they frantically scurry through their shared daily routine.  Watching her learn to be a better person by breaking out of her rigid-thinking patterns & emotional cowardice is inspirational, something I can’t say about most Chosen One superheroes.

It’s easy to be reductive about what makes Everything Everywhere great, since the Daniels are willing to pummel you with an infinite supply of absurdly disparate, deeply silly imagery.  Pushing past that impulse, it’s impressive that a loud, chaotic superhero movie can prompt you to evaluate how you live your daily life and how you can work towards becoming the best possible version of yourself.  Considering that I only walked away from their last picture with fond memories of laughing at farts & boners, I’m okay conceding this follow-up was a major improvement.  My own rigid, stubborn, contrarian impulses would usually have me defending their earlier, messier work against their popular break-out, but in this instance the consensus take is the correct one.

-Brandon Ledet

RRR (2022)

As I’ve already stated in reviews for titles like Karnan, War, Saaho, Master, and 2.0, there is nothing Hollywood has to offer than can out-entertain mainstream Indian action cinema.  While American action franchises like the MCU and the Fast & Furious “saga” have long outlasted their initial novelty, Indian movie industries like Kollywood & Tollywood routinely escalate the explosive absurdism of the genre to new, delirious heights audiences have never seen before.  They recall Hong Kong’s heyday as the most exciting, inventive action scene in the world, when seemingly every new title—no matter how anonymous or cheap—instantly earned a place in the canon of all-time greats.  And even with that miles-high industry standard looming over him, director S.S. Rajamouli might be establishing himself as the very best craftsman in modern Indian actioners – recently striking big with the two-part action epic Baahubali, and now following it up with the ferociously entertaining RRR.  While most modern, bloated American action pics only offer a post-nap headache, a Rajamouli picture guarantees a skull-cracking good time.

RRR is an anti-colonialist epic about the power of friendship (and the power of bullets, and the power of wolves, and the power of grenades, and the power of tigers, and the power of dynamite, and the power of bears, oh my!).  The two friends at the center are a fantastically unlikely pair, frequently compared to fire & water, or “a volcano & a wildfire” in the rock anthems that underscore their volatile bond.  One is a militant supercop whose wuxia superheroics enable him to fight off an ocean of unruly protestors while armed with just a baton.  The other is a rural tribal leader on a one-man, Schwarzenegger-style mission to avenge his people against a governmental wrong – culminating in releasing wild, blood-starved animals at a fancy garden party in a righteous act of terrorism.  Separately, either one of these burly supermen could’ve been highlighted as the hero of their own over-the-top action adventure; likewise, either one could’ve played villain.  Instead, the movie gives them equal time as dual protagonists, eventually pushing them to form Voltron (see also: Krang, Master Blaster) as one united force against a common, worthier enemy: white British colonizers.  It’s a beautiful bromance between good, muscly buds, with plenty explosions, dance-offs, and feral animal attacks keeping up the energy as they fall further in bruv.

RRR never strays from its mission as a populist crowd-pleaser, but it’s also a fiercely political film.  Every white British colonizer that rules over 1920s Delhi in the picture is a sneering, monstrous piece of shit, and the entire arc of the unlikely cop-dissident friendship that forms at that colony’s fringes is pushing for their violent overthrow.  A pre-credits warning explains that the events of the film are fictional (a disclaimer that’s even less necessary than its companion warning that the wild “animals” are entirely CG), but both of the film’s dual heroes were real-life revolutionaries & populist heroes.  Alluri Sitarama Raju & Komaram Bheem violently revolted against colonialist rule in the 1920s & 30s in separate rebellions.  RRR functions as a kind of anti-imperialist fan fiction that turns those historical heroes of the people into modern heroes of the screen.  At the very least, it’s a much more politically purposeful & satisfying superhero team-up than any comic book or street-racing equivalent I can name in its genre’s American competition.  That probably goes without saying, but it is stunning to see populist cinema with sharpened fangs, since so much of what we’re fed at home is conspicuously toothless.

Anything else I could say in praise of RRR would just be a rambling list of exciting images.  You don’t need to hear about a motorcycle being launched as an explosive projectile any more than you need to hear about a wolf & a tiger brawling for dominance or our two heroes locking arms for the first time against a full-flame backdrop.  All you need to know is that friendship is beautiful, imperialism is evil, and S.S. Rajamouli knows how to entertain.  See RRR big & loud while you can.  Otherwise, you’ll regret missing the chance when it’s shrunken down to TV-scale on Netflix in a couple months.

-Brandon Ledet