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Directed by Philip G. Atwell.
Written by Lee Anthony Smith and Gregory J. Bradley.
Starring Jet Li, Jason Statham and Devon Aoki.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  8/24/07


As much as I love the cliché, bad "doesn't even scratch the surface" of how fucking dogshitty the new Jet Li actioner "War" is.  Shouldn't our man Jet be showing up in halfway-decent American films by now?  "War" is an indication that Jet Li might be hurting his chances of ever entering the worldwide action hall of fame; plus, Jason Statham continues to make his case to be the next Jean-Claude Van Damme, albeit one who speaks much better English.

I think the plot in "War" deals with an FBI agent (Statham) who, angry over the murder of his partner (Terry Chen), goes after a badass killer named Rogue (Jet Li), who is now playing the role of hitman for two different crime organizations, creatively named the Triads and the Yakuza.  (It's WAR, baby!!)  This setup, while light on story, should have given us ample opportunities for action, be it gun violence, beat-'em-up fun or the assorted Staged Action Sequence possibilities, like car chases, foot chases, Tony Jaa-style choreographed fight numbers, and the like.

But, no.  Actually, FUCK NO.

"War" has legitimately awful action scenes, strange given that the fight sequences were choreographed by Corey Yuen, who used to be good at this until he started making moves like...wait, this year's "DOA: Dead or Alive"!!!  The gun battles are ridiculous, make no sense and feature scores of "federal agents" who are running around with tactical shotguns trying to take out small armies of Triad/Yakuza guys.  Jet doesn't really deal it to anyone with martial arts; here, his character is a cold-blooded, gun-toting killer, and to be honest, this isn't the Jet I signed up for.  Statham must know this script is a fucking dog (as does Jet), because both men look like they are running for the exits in nearly every scene.

Devon Aoki is wasted as the daughter of the Yakuza clan (by the way, you'll love that "Yakuza Headquarters" is actually a Ferrari showroom...); she's the last actor that most anyone will have heard of.  The FBI team going after Rogue is so low-budget they look like they are straining to read cue cards.  The cop extras suck, the bad guy extras suck, even the random club scenes suck.  ("War" also sucks because Vancouver was used to double San Francisco, throwing me off until I read the end credits and learned the TRUTH!!!)  The acting by so many characters in "War" is barely above the middle-school play level.  Wow, this was fucking bad.

Even a ridiculous plot twist late in the game was not enough to save this crap.  Even the ending without the plot twist would have been crap.  "War" is fucking bad on every available level, and now I must admit, I'm sad I wasted $7 on this atrocity.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09