Bullet Points: Standoff
The best surprises always happen when you least expect them. That is why I always give my wife her birthday and anniversary gifts days after they’re supposed to be given; it’s all about keeping her on her toes. But when it comes to movies and television shows we normally have a pretty good idea of what we’re getting. The internet reminds me on a minute by minute basis every time a new trailer or clip appears and sometimes I’ll find myself watching random movie trailers while I take a dump, and I take a lot of dumps!
That means that I’ve seen 97% of movie trailers and/or read about most shows before they’ve been canceled by FOX or hit the dollar bin at Walmart. The problem with that, however, is that I rarely am surprised by a movie. But it’s when we least expect them that we’re most surprised! I think I already mentioned that once before. Anyways, today’s Bullet Points is an example of a film that I had never heard of before scrolling onto it on Netflix two nights ago, but it stars a couple of somewhat heavy hitters in the action world and it far surpassed any expectations that I may or may not have had for it.
Synopsis: Carter Greene (Thomas Jane) used to be military man, a husband, a father; he used to have a life. Now he sits in a dimly lit farmhouse, accompanied by a half-empty bottle of booze and the memories of the life that he lost. When 12 year old Isabella runs screaming onto his front porch, Carter does his best to pull himself together to find out what her problem is. Moments later, Carter is abruptly introduced to her problem in the form of an assassin named Sade (Laurence Fishburne). Stranded in the middle of nowhere, a standoff between a professional killer and man with nothing to lose pushes each man to his brink.
- Cold Blooded: Fishburne’s Sade isn’t pulling any punches. There may be no better way to introduce a stone cold killer than to show him murdering a priest during a funeral. Of course Sade couldn’t just let the guests go after seeing his face so he is forced to kill the rest of the people too.
- Poor Tom: I felt sorry for Tom Jane. We don’t learn about why we should feel sorry for him until later in the movie but as a viewer you can pretty well theorize that his wife and kid are dead or just gone. I thought they would go for the “Tom drunkenly wrecked their car” trope but they decided to go another way. It’s good to not see another movie about a soldier who returns from combat with PTSD and he ruins his family.
- “I’ve got a cell phone asshole”: Yes! Carter finally gets it! Too often do we see horror movies or action movies that could have easily been solved by a character and his iPhone. Standoff doesn’t come up with some amazing way of clearing up that whole situation but it does it in a way that makes total sense and it serves more than one purpose. Imagine how many movies from the 70’s and 80’s could have ended differently if someone had a cell phone.
- It’s the Little Things: Some movies are well-crafted from start to finish. The characters appear to really pop on screen and each scene is filled by memorable lines. Tarantino movies always had that quality to me. Most of the characters were ridiculously unrealistic. No one talks the way that he writes, but often times we watch movies because we don’t want to hear just a normal conversation that I could have with my next door neighbor. The opposite is true sometimes as well. A movie written in the same manner that we talk can also be very entertaining. I guess it depends on the characters and setting of the film. I don’t expect Han Solo and myself to speak in the same way. I do expect a character who was in the military and lives in the Midwest to share some of the same euphemisms and language as me though. That is where I really enjoyed Standoff. I feel like both Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne’s characters sounded like real people. And that can be really refreshing in a movie about some not-so-real stuff.
- Home Alone Survival Guide: I can’t prove that Carter Greene learned this trick from Christmas classic Home Alone but I won’t be told any differently. When Carter and the little girl make it up the stairs with the bad guy on the first floor, Carter shatters a bunch of light bulbs and tosses the broken glass down the stairs. It essentially makes for a early warning system as now they can hear if Sade tries to walk up the stairs. I think Carter should have probably given a shout out to young Kevin McCallister but I guess I’ll let it slide. Points would most definitely have to be deducted though as Carter just sits at the top of the stairs. I feel like Sade could have easily popped out from behind the book shelf and blasted him before he heard a thing.
- The Likeability of Thomas Jane: It’s the main reason for this movie not being a pile of shit. That and the charisma of Laurence Fishburne. There are only about 7 actors in the entire movie so you’ll have to either really like the good guy or really hate the bad guy. Don’t expect the movie to be great but I think that it was better than the 5.9 that received on IMDB.
There’s no reason to be standoffish about reading these extra Bullet Points. You’ll be happy that you did.
- Fish describes shooting a dude in the head as “fixin’ to Jackson Pollack this guy’s brains on the floor”. It sounds pretty cool hearing Laurence Fishburne say stuff like that.
- I learned that there certain things that Tom Jane will let happen; you can kill a cop, try to kill him, attempt to kill little girls. But one thing that he doesn’t let slide is calling his ex-lady friend and threatening to “explore” her.
- Thanks be to Crom that Standoff is one of the few movies that doesn’t have an annoying ass kid! I so rarely get to mention a child actor that doesn’t make me side with the bad guys that it deserves mentioning.