Not-unreasonably maligned on release, Ted 2 is a far inferior product to the original talking bear movie, but has a few hidden virtues. When so many sequels are reverent and respectful of the original property, in the hope of spinning a franchise, Ted 2 is a more old-fashioned sequel in the it’s completely slapdash and careless; it’s in the spirit of Smokey and the Bandit 2, and even as a few similar action sequences in the unrated version. Ted 2 also has an interesting idea, as Ted (Seth Macfarlane) and John (Mark Wahlberg) engage lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) is fight in court to prove that Ted should have ‘human’ rights. While the original was on-point and engaging, the sheer randomness of the in-jokes is the appeal here, with everyone from Liam Neeson to Morgan Freeman pulled in, unwarranted and self-indulgent musical breaks and lots of really filthy humour in the auteur’s patented style.
Like most true stories, Deepwater Horizon takes liberties with a true life story; BP are painted blackly as baddies here, mainly though John Malkovich’s sneering exec, and the oil-workers are all blue-collar cannon fodder, braving the deadly mistakes foisted on them from upstairs. A quick check of the facts reveals a different story, but it’s hard to blame director Peter Berg for playing to the gallery. Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell are ideally cast as the rig-workers who find the pressure mounting as a drill-operation goes wrong, and the intensity is well developed until the explosive finale. As with The 33, a far more upbeat story, the public stayed away in droves; a shame, because the film’s sympathy with the plight of ordinary people, risking their lives to make a living, shows that it’s heart is in the right place, even if the facts are slightly askew.
Pre American Hustle work from David O Russell, this Gulf War drama with a difference is a key film in his canon, demonstrating that he could deal with big stars and action while retaining his indie style. Russell and star George Clooney reportedly came to fisticuffs during filming, but if there was on-set tension, it doesn’t show in this heist film with a difference. Archie Gates (Clooney) and Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) are US soldiers who gets wind of a stash of hidden gold. She soldiers have selfish motives for their adventure, but the find themselves politicalised, and end up helping a group of Iraqi insurgents who are rebelling against Saddam Hussein. David O Russell makes this tale of mercenaries turned freedom fighters into a comic parable, staging one action sequence to the strains of Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now and there ‘s also a notable torture sequence in which Troy is made to drink oil but his captors. A forerunner of Clooney’s Monuments Men, Three Kings is a war film that doesn’t reply on patriotism, but attempts to establish a common good across racial and international borders.