Quick Reviews: Run Hide Fight, Batman: Soul of the Dragon, and Outside the Wire
Controversy, terrible animated Batman and a ho-hum Netflix entry!
It took me a couple weeks but I recently decided to sit down and officially kick off 2021 by watching a few movies. Instead of writing a normal, lengthy review for each, I opted for the quick review format so I could just cover the lot of them all in one place. I understand that some people prefer mini-reviews and I’m trying to service everybody here. What a little hero I am! Let’s just get on with it.
Run Hide Fight
This may as well kick off with a movie that will likely be among the most controversial of the year when 2021 reaches its fateful end. Right now this flick is a goldmine for my Fans vs Critics series, and I will dive deeper into the reception/conversation around it in a few weeks when it shows up in the February 5th instalment of Fans vs Critics. Why February 5 you ask? I want to give it time to really gather ratings before I analyze its impact.
With that said, look at these screenshots taken recently and then I’ll get onto the actual review:
Is Run Hide Fight worthy of 10s and the adoration that the audience is heaping onto it? No. Should it be the victim of the hellacious scorn that the critics are inflicting on it so far? No. So what’s going on here? It’s a good movie despite the absolutely atrocious title.
It takes a sensitive subject–school shootings–and places a teenage girl in a situation where she attempts to stop the shooters. The obvious, and often used, comparison is Die Hard and that’s apt. It is not the Bruce Willis classic in how it’s filmed or how it handles its action, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. As just a tense action thriller it succeeds quite well, actually. It’s competent in all regards.
This is one of the few flicks where I looked at some reviews after I watched it because I wanted to comprehend where the issues were. One of them that popped up was in how it dealt with the mentality of school shooters. I’d agree that at times it handles it with a degree of slop that isn’t acceptable, but it still mentions some of the key factors that drives this behaviour. That I’ve seen people completely ignore that is rather repulsive and seems ideologically driven–and that’s a criticism I detest using because it’s lazy and might further division. But it’s what I see right now.
Isabel May puts forth a compelling, empathetic and gritty performance as Zoe, and in my opinion when the year closes out her performance will be a dark horse pick in my own awards. She may not win the number one spot, or even crack the top three, but it’s very possible that she gets in the honourable mentions at least. We will see how the year goes.
The weakest aspect of it is how it attempts to tie Zoe’s mental anguish in with the loss of her mother. That’s a relatable plot point but having her mother show up as a vision to talk to throughout the movie is cheesy and adds nothing to the experience. They could have delved into her pain in a more satisfactory way.
Look, I’m not a conservative, nor am I against conservatives. I don’t care that Ben Shapiro and The Daily Wire had anything to do with this, ultimately. It doesn’t offend me. A movie is a movie to me. But their inclusion in the conversation made me seek it out because it caused such a stir that I knew I had to seek it out.
Batman: Soul of the Dragon
That last review was longer than I had planned so I’ll keep this one shorter. I will always pursue an animated Batman movie because his character is so ripe for that format. As much as I love some of the live-action Batman movies, when he’s in an animated context they can lean harder into the comic book nature–something that really only Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did–and give us something fresh.
Batman: Soul of the Dragon ain’t it. I actually talked myself out of liking this one because upon finishing it I thought it was decent. Then when I thought about it I realized there was about twenty minutes of decent material, which is mostly one Batman moment and some ideas that they flirt with and never actually explore. I wish they would have fleshed them out more.
Aside from that, it’s just basic animation and to make matters worse, the fight scenes are uninspired. Considering a large portion of the flick is based around martial arts that’s a serious problem. On top of that, this really isn’t a very good Batman–he’s almost silly, but not intentionally. He’s also rather pathetic and while I know they were trying to prove that his real strength is his determination, that doesn’t change the fact that he looks incredibly weak. This was not an interpretation I was on board with.
Avoid this flick and wait for better animated Batman.
Outside the Wire
One thing you need to know about me is that action movies need to try a lot harder to fail me than almost any other genre. I’m a stereotypical male in the sense that you just give me a film with a bunch of fighting and I will generally enjoy it, regardless of how mediocre it is. Outside the Wire is mediocre but passable.
The plot twists keep it a little engaging and at the very least it’s attempting to say something. Some of the action sequences also go beyond the typical “stand behind cover and shoot” standards that often plague the genre–not that I’d say this is John Wick levels of choreography by any means. Anthony Mackie is also relatively endearing, as well.
Opposite him is the character Harp, who is so bland as to almost not be there at all. Sure he has a character arc but I couldn’t care about him in the least. He was just a trope and the way he evolved was something we’ve seen a million times, often done better.
The way in which the film is shot is so lifeless and a world like this should be more interesting than it was. By the end of it I felt that it was, as noted, a decent flick but it’s also a squandered premise wrapped up in being just another Netflix action movie. It will come and go with no memorable fanfare.
He could beat up the Batman that is in Soul of the Dragon.