Friday, June 10, 2005


A Charming Love Story… with Ferociously Exposive Action
By Reymundo Salao

Just for curiosity's sake, ever wonder what it would be like if James Bond settled down on a married life with Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider? And that they still kept their very dangerous lifestyles as secret alter-egos from each other? More or less, it is a question answered by the movie MR. & MRS. SMITH. This film topbills Angeline Jolie and Brad Pitt as a typical suburban couple who lived a quiet, boring, and over-domesticated married life, unbeknownst to each other that both have secret lives as assassins, until time came when during a mission to hit the same target, they stumbled upon each other, discovering each other's secret. This pit the mister and the misis on the same deadly playing field; from explosively relentless gun-battles, to ticking bomb gadgets, to fierce hand-to-hand combat, Mr. & Mrs. Smith fight it out in an evenly matched competition. But how will it end? Will they indeed kill off each other? Or just kiss and make up?

(Warning: may contain spoilers)
This film is a ferocious and explosive action movie that doesn't bore. It's got great car chase scenes, bloody martial arts, high-powered firearms, and John Woo style stunts. But THAT is not why this film is really worth watching. Behind the action is the very witty underlying tale of marriage. A kind of marriage that is actually too typical for just about any couple could relate to. Like many typical love stories, it starts out with a sexy, rendezvous that could bear resemblance to most cologne commercials. The steamy love flame burns nicely that, in no time, it leads to marriage. Then BOOM, five or six years later, all that steam of love and romance simmers down to mediocrity and repetitive dullness. Sometimes that leads to some sort of clash: breakdown, fighting, endless bickering, arguments, separation. To Tagalog movie satires, there's the throwing of plates and the packing of the maleta, to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it's the getting into a high-powered firearm duel with each other. And after surviving that clash, can the typical married couple grow from the pain, and realize their love with a beautiful reconciliation. So basically, with that thought, it's clear that this film really is a love story; a marriage satire…with lots of guns, lots of explosions, lots of action. Not only that, it has great witty lines as well. With the humor it is saturated in, you will find that the comedy aspect of it is what will make you love this film. Noteworthily the best scenes of the film are when the couple are still in doubting uncertainties whether they would and should indeed kill off each other.

The stunningly beautiful Angelina Jolie plays it well as Mrs. Smith, an action superchick, just like her many tough-chick roles like Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. But in this film, she plays a married woman, as well, which makes her character a bit more emotionally vulnerable. She has a fluid comedic chemistry with Brad Pitt, who plays Mr. Smith. Though the two provide charming onscreen presence, it was also the supporting character played by Vince Vaughn, who has had a preferably excellent image transition from being just some poster boy, into a wackily-reputed comedian, that has stood alongside the topbilled duo on the giggle-meter spotlight of the film. Vaughn plays Eddie, Mr. Smith's friend, business associate, and ignorable blabbering conscience.

The film was directed by Doug Liman, who also directed "Go" and "The Bourne Identity". Although Liman was a good choice for a spy-action that can more or less be related to his work with the "Bourne Identity" remake, his signature styles (especially that of film-speed alteration) have become overshadowed by his employment of John-Woo-style action-choreography and other action film styles that have either been overused and immersed by its many duplicates, especially on Jerry Bruckheimer action flicks. Doug Liman's style we saw in his previous films was just too easy for other filmmakers to copy so much so that his signature hasn't been so original anymore.

But MR.& MRS. SMITH isn't supposed to be a meticulous study of film styles anyway and it just gets the job done: Give the audience a trippy roller-coaster action ride that has some smart storylines and smart dialogues to give it a higher value. Extremely charming, sexy, and ultimately romantic, MR. & MRS. SMITH is packed with wit and firepower that will stir you into steaming satisfaction.

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