Friday, 26 January 2007

.45 (2006)

Two words why you’d watch this: Milla Jovovich

When they stumble on the remains of our civilisation, aliens from a distant world or scientists from a distant time will have to unravel the mystery that is Milla Jovovich. They will have to explain the rise and rise of the model-turned-actress, whose movies consist of her appearing in skimpy clothing (bandages in The Fifth Element, a leather suit in Ultraviolet and the Resident Evil series) and a breathtaking hairdo, and kicking the ass of assorted characters (alien invaders, the English army, infected zombies) in the same movie.

No doubt alien visitors will be wiser beyond our comprehension, and no doubt scientists from the future will be laughing at our primitiveness, but one thing they will never get is Milla Jovovich’s movies. You see, there are movies where people watch Milla Jovovich. Then there are movies where people watch Milla Jovovich act. The second category is of course a null set... but .45 comes very close to a well-written movie that is far less ridiculous and no less entertaining than most of Ms Jovovich’s movie appearances.

A very short .45 Milla Jovovich cheat sheet
Milla is Kat, a hot and smart chick who: sells guns to gangsters with Big Al, her lover and partner in crime.
Her unique look in this film is: battered girlfriend with chopped up hair and black eye
She kicks the ass of: Big Al, who creates her unique look in a fit of jealousy
And so you better look out for Milla is out for REVENGE!

As you can tell, .45 is a neat little revenge film that is typical of its genre, with a simple premise, and uncomplicated setup. What makes it fun to watch are (as you may have guessed) the gratuitous amount of fanservice involving the physical charms of Ms Jovovich, as Kat slowly persuades and seduces her friends (some female!) and colleagues of Big Al to exact her vengeance. Here’s the not-so-simple premise of .45: you know that she succeeds in her revenge when the first opens, and the question is how did she do it, and who did the dirty deed in the end? You’d also admire the director’s effort in his not-so-straightforward telling of a straightforward story, mixing in expletive-laden interviews with Big Al’s neighbours, families and friends after his imminent demise (apparently even his mother wants him dead!) as the movie ambles from a Bonny and Clyde style love affair to its eventual breakdown, and then to Kat’s vengeance arc. If anything, this method of storytelling gives the film a sense of fun and tells a very familiar story in an unexpected manner – setting up audiences for a few surprises along the way.

I like genre films, because this is where directors hone and sharpen their writing skills by applying and stretching the genre formula to create something that is unexpected despite its familiarity. With .45, Gary Lennon, whose last directorial effort in a movie was in 1995, proves that he can turn out a great tale, and tell it well.

First published at incinemas on 1 February 2007

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