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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 1 Aug 1994 08:07:27 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Andrew Gordon writes:
"In reply to Don Larsson:  Yes, Speed is formulaic, but aren't they all?
So are Elizabethan sonnets.  It's what you do with the formula that
matters.  Speed has three acts:  elevator, bus, and subway car.  Each
maintains a high pitch of suspense with enough surprises and tension to
keep you on the edge of your seat.  Speed is as efficient as its title.
True Lies sagged in many points and stumbled between sitcom farce, spy
spoof (poking fun at James Bond), and preposterous action.  At least
that's how it struck this viewer.  But the best thing about both films
was the women (Bullock and Curtis) not the male action heroes."
Yes. I'd agree on all points.  I just wanted to say that SPEED is a good
action film and better overall than TRUE LIES if you take it one its own
terms, but it's still preposterous.  I didn't expect more than formula
from SPEED, so I wasn't disappointed.
        There are cases, of course, where the film can be utterly presposter-
ous and still be complex and compelling without being formulaic.  TOUCH OF
EVIL comes immediately to mind (talk about negative female images!).  In all,
the point is that "realism" is an extraordinarinly vague criterion to use
in discussing a film.  (Did someone actually write earlier that TRUE LIES
was realistic?)
        Context is all!
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN