Let me say upfront that I make no apologies whatsoever for the Speed reference in the headline.
It is after all, the movie that first drew Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves together – the less said about Speed 2 the better thank you – and one of my favourite movies of all time.
And while they haven’t been in a movie since 2006’s underrated The Lake House, I figured it was high time to bring them together in some form, and their two new movies proved the perfect way to do it.
First up we have Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuarón’s space thriller Gravity, in which two astronauts, Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) find themselves fighting for survival after space debris fatally damages their space shuttle while they’re out on a spacewalk. With air fast running out, and any communication with the authorities on earth severed, they have no choice but to depend on each other for survivial, impossible a goal though it may seem.
Cuarón wrote the script with his son Jonas, and it captures with nightmarish precision, the terror you would feel as you spin further and further into the cold, unwelcoming depths of space with only your space suit and ever-decreasing levels of oxygen between you and a painful death.
Just how well they have realised the horror of this sort of experience was brought home this week with the release of a 2 minute clip that was shot in one vertigo-inducing continuous take and released at this year’s Comic-Con.
It is astonishingly, mind-bogglingly good, and a promising portent for what will no doubt be one of the movie highlights of the year.
Meanwhile back down on earth but not really any safer is 47 Ronin‘sKeanu Reeves who plays Kai, a famed warrior who is called out of retirement to battle all manner of terrifying supernatural beasties including dragons and ghosts, in a bid to assist a “group of Ronin, led by Kuranosuke Oishi (Sanada), who seek vengeance on Lord Kira, who killed their master (Asano) and banished the group.” (source: wikipedia)
The people who come seeking his help pull the old “Help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope” gambit, according Kai a saviour-like status that as Cinemablend correctly points put conjures memories of Reeves as Neo in the Matrix trilogy:
“Will we ever be able to see a Keanu Reeves film that positions him as the last-ditch savior of any given race – particularly a movie that relies on kung-fu fighting techniques – without immediately calling to mind The Matrix? Not that the first full trailer for Carl Rinsch’s 47 Ronin looks like The Matrix, or that Reeves’ character, Kai, resembles Neo (though they both are three-lettered names). It’s just that when we get to the line, “We believe you are the only one who can help us,” we’re going to take the blue pill and tumble down all those old, familiar paths toward The Matrix land.”
It looks a larger than life fantasy adventure, the perfect holiday fare when all you want to do is escape reality for a little while.
This looks like just the film to do it.
47 Ronin opens in USA on 25 December 2013, and in Australia on 9 January 2014.
If that’s not enough martial arts drama for you, Reeves is also in another karate-themed movie, Man of Tai Chi.
It’s the first directorial effort for Reeves and according to imdb tells how “a young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.”
Man of Tai Chi is currently showing in China, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. No release dates for USA and Australia are available at this time.
While you wait for both films, here are the trailers for firstly 47 Ronin, and then Man of Tai Chi …