Hey folks, Harry here... Personally there would be a certain level of beautiful coolness if next summer gets stolen by WORLD OF TOMORROW and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS... if only because like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - they defy "studio logic" in many ways. Both existing in traditionally (read - the last 5 years of film history... yeesh) unpopular genres... However, I hold that the difference is inspired non-traditional casting... Johnny Depp as an action hero will prove to be a stroke of genius for not just Pirates, but the upcoming ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO... and next year... I feel Jude Law as a lead and Steve Coogan as leads will strike audiences as a breath of wonderful fresh air. We'll see, here ya go...
Props on the site - Been reading it forever, now I finally have something to write about:
A buddy of mine works over at a _____________ in LA. Last week I got to see some touch up work he was doing for Around the World in 80 Days. I didn't know much about the movie, except Jackie Chan was in it. That didn't excite me too much. Yeah, the Rush Hour and Shanghai movies were great, but the Tuxedo was garbage, and let's not even talk about the Medallion. So needless to say I wasn't expecting a whole lot.
I was shocked, because what I saw blew me away. Chan plays a character named Passerpartout and heads in a completely different direction with his action, with a lot of homage to silent film comedy ? probably the closest stunts to Keaton or Chaplin he's ever done. But there were a lot of other reasons I got pumped about 80 Days - and the first is Steve Coogan.
"Who the hell is Steve Coogan?" Come back to me in a couple of years and see if there?s anyone who can?t answer that. He's a comic genius from the UK who made a name for himself on a TV show called "I'm Alan Partridge" and was absolutely brilliant as Tony Wilson in the incredible, but too often missed 24 Hour Party People. Watching Coogan is like watching a genetic hybrid of Peter Sellers and a young John Cleese. He plays Philleas Fogg, an idealistic Inventor in a verry closed-minded 1890's London.
The reel I saw was huge, spanning over four continents. I've only seen parts of the original film from the 50s, but given all the action and stuntwork I'm figuring this is a whole new take on the material. The sense of humor is kind of Shrek-ish - redefining the genre with a lot of slapstick and irony. There's a crazy bit where Fogg straps Passerpartout into an experimental jet pack that goes haywire, rocketing Passerpartout through London. There's a sequence in Paris, where Passerpartout fights a team of Swordsmen at an art gallery with paintbrushes, buckets and canvases while Fogg steals a hot air balloon. Passerpartout hangs off the side of the basket from a rope, still fighting off the art gallery thugs as the balloon drags him through the streets of Paris, slamming him into buildings left and right. Passerpartout falls through a window, sprints through the building and dives out the other side, grabbing the rope - one of the coolest Chan stunts I've ever seen.
Fogg and Passerpartout meet up with an artist named Monique. I didn't recognize the actress playing her and couldn't really tell what she was saying because of her accent, but she was cute as hell, so I won't complain. The three get kidnapped by a band of Turks, who bring them to their ruler, played by none other than the Terminator himself, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Sporting perhaps the craziest haircut in film history - remember Marge Simpson's sister, Selma?). I won't spoil the details of his role, but no question, aside from those prank calls that hit the internet a couple of years ago, this is the funniest thing he's ever done. The hot tub sequence alone is worth the price of admission.
The movie has a ridiculously jacked cast. Aside from Coogan, Chan and Schwarzenegger, there were a ton of other suprises: Jim Broadbent as the villain, John Cleese, Ewan Bremner from Trainspotting, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider and Owen & Luke Wilson at the Wright Brothers.
I was a pretty surprised when I found out Frank Coraci, the director of The Wedding singer was behind all this. Yeah, that was easily one of Sandler's best movies, (with a Brilliant Billy Idol cameo), but I didn't figure a smaller-scale comedy director could make the leap to something this huge. This is like the jump Steven Sommers took from directing crap like Deep Rising to directing big stuff like The Mummy. From what I saw he totally hits it out of the park, with action that's juxtaposed better than any of Chan's previous American directors - particularly this sequence where Chan takes on an entire legion of warriors atop a Chinese mountain range. Coraci makes Brett Ratner look like a punk.
As far as I know, the movie doesn't have a distributor yet. My friend said some select studios are seriously pursuing the project. It figures that no Hollywood outfit was involved in making of the movie, since they never would have put Coogan in the lead. 2003's "Summer of the Crap Sequel" (aka Charlie?s Angels, Tomb Raider) proves what happens when you play it safe. I'm just hoping whoever picks this up doesn't try to turn it into The Tuxedo 2. No BS, if the rest of the movie is anything like what I saw, 80 Days will kick ass.
From the rugged lands of Shaolin - this is Method Man signing off - Peace