If I were to make a list of the DVDs I’ve rented that I wish I hadn’t, it would be as long as my arm, and I’d get depressed. After all, not only do these cost me money, but they cost me time.
So I’ll just read off the two most recent: Triple-X: State of the Union, and The Shield: Season 1, Volume 1.
I’ll start with The Shield. I picked this up on the strength of Michael Chiklis’ performance as Ben Grimm/The Thing in The Fantastic Four. And make no mistake, his performance in this series is strong. All the actors, in fact, are putting forth strong performances. It’s a great drama. It’s also depressing. I didn’t want a story of a severely flawed hero who (I assume — I haven’t seen more than the first two episodes, but I know Chiklis appears in at least two seasons of this show) gets away with murdering a fellow officer. So… while it’s a good program, it wasn’t what I wanted to be entertained by. It didn’t “bring the happy” (Sandra’s expression for programs that we enjoy watching together.)
And now, Triple X: State of the Union. Simply put, here is a film that never should have been made. The premise of the first “Triple-X” film was pretty good, and it looked like it could have been the heir to the James Bond franchise. Vin Diesel was great. I would cheerfully have paid to see another Diesel/TripleX film in the theaters.
This film, however, was flawed from the get-go, in that they didn’t have Diesel to work with, so they wrote him out of the story (he dies off-screen), and the NSA chapter for which he was working decides to keep his code-name and slap it on somebody else. Oh, and there’s a huge plot for a coup of the U.S. presidency on the part of the Secretary of Defense, and it gets foiled with the help of the Boyz ‘n the Hood.
I’m not sure who the target audience was supposed to be, and I’m not sure the filmmakers knew that, either. Regardless, it did not include me, in spite of the fact that it had car chases, helicopter chases, boat chases, train chases, explosions, shootings, martial arts, black ops, heaving bosoms, and intrigue. The ability of the director to assemble these elements in such a fashion as to alienate me (and, I’m projecting now, most of the rest of the action-film demographic) is masterful. It’s like he took chocolate syrup, chocolate shavings, chocolate cake, ice cream, cream-cheese frosting, oreo cookies, and whipped cream, and managed to create a lima bean and brussel-sprout salad.
I want CSI Season Five, and I want it NOW.