Animal World (Review)

Animal World

aka 动物世界 aka Dongwu Shijie
Animal World
Based on the manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto
Written and directed by Han Yan

Animal World
The trailer for Animal World featured a murder clown slicing and dicing his way through subway cars full of rejected alien designs from the Star Wars prequels. Also Michael Douglas was randomly in it. These things meant that of course I was going to go watch it if I got a chance, and thanks to the magic of it actually getting a release in America and MoviePass, I snagged me a seat as soon as humanly possible. It also meant that I saw two separate Michael Douglas movies in theaters in one week, as Ant-Man and the Wasp also dropped. This is what we call synchronicity, and further solidified the goal of seeing Animal World in theaters. While the trailers were almost entirely murder clown-focused, Animal World is actually a movie about high-stakes gambling, as in you play Rock/Paper/Scissors on a ship in international waters, and if you lose, you get experimented on until you die! Don’t worry, it’s even more weird than it sounds, yet I can’t say I was disappointed.

Zheng Kaisi (Li Yifeng) is your typical young guy with problems, in that his parents were brutally assaulted as a child, leaving his dad dead, his mom in a coma, and Kaisi imprinted with a cartoon of a murder clown that was playing on the television during the attack. Now, whenever he is stressed, he will start seeing images of the monsters and believes he is transforming into the murder clown himself and striking them down. While this leads to some ridiculous imagery, it doesn’t lead to a healthy mental life, which is why he’s working as a clown in an arcade and perpetually broke. He can’t even afford to marry his girl Liu Qing (Zhou Dongyu – This Is Not What I Expected), who works at a nurse at the facility his mom is kept at. This changes when his former childhood friend Li Jun (Cao Bingkun) reappears with a can’t miss opportunity to make money. We all know this will miss spectacularly, and now Kaisi is in massive debt. Big enough debt goons are following him. Goons working for Michael Douglas, who plays a bored bankster who has resorted to organizing death sports among people who have gigantic debts. I guess it’s more profitable than them dying in bankruptcy?
Animal World
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Written by Lem Dobbs
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Why is the hallway all lime green all of a sudden?

Versatile director Steven Soderbergh has a cinematic talent and creative desire that he will work in almost any genre at any level of funding. Soderbergh also has a realistic view on his output, he knew he was in a creative funk at one point (and used one of his own films to help inspire him to greatness) and knows he will get jaded at film directed again, so is setting his eyes on becoming a painter. But before critics with even snootier voices begin tearing into his work, it’s still our time! Haywire is Soderbergh’s action spectacle, a femme fighter basher that gives us some great fights. Continuing Soderbergh’s trend of using nontraditional actors, MMA fighter Gina Carano making her major film debut (she was previously in the DTV flick Blood and Bone, was an American Gladiator as Crush, and is featured in the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 as Natasha).

Oh, honey, that’s not how you apply foundation!

Opening with an on the run Mallory Kane meeting Aaron at a diner, Kane quickly ends up beating him up, as he’s assigned to take her in. Now in a stolen car, she relates her tale to her hostage Scott, letting us into her recent escapades in Barcelona and subsequent betrayal in Ireland. Though fleeing from every law enforcement branch in the country, she remains calm and collected while trying to evade her pursuers.

Haywire‘s greatest strength is the choreography, but unfortunately I’ve seen things that may Haywire look like a snooze in the park. Haywire does excel at showing just how brutal violence is, especially physical violence in close quarters. Mallory Kane battles several men in claustrophobic situations, either trapped or led to an isolated area. Kane doesn’t back down from the fights, either out of a sense of desperate survival or a sense of duty to track the one man who escaped the raid on a hostage situation.

I’m just gonna take a big smoke on my phallic symbol…

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) – Our heroine, former marine, and private military agent who goes on the run when she’s framed for murder and flagged as wanted. There is lots of looking and slightly squinting eyes by Gina, it is called acting. It’s probably even a method acting, under the great Franz von Lookensquint.
Aaron (Channing Tatum) – Fellow agent who also works for Mallory’s employer, is sent to go get her when she goes on the run.
Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) – Kane’s former husband and her employer, though she’s leaving his business.
Paul (Michael Fassbender) – British agent who is teamed with Mallory in Ireland…where’s she’s betrayed. Will turn out to not be a big fan of ladies’ thighs…
John Kane (Bill Paxton) – Kane’s father. The two aren’t close, he’s retired military and spends his time writing long military fiction. It is unknown if any of his books are about bughunts.
Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas) – Spanish agent who doesn’t like Kane and her team playing in his pool. There is more going on than that, though…
Hi, yes, I recently bought your Automatic 2000 garage door opener, and I think there may be a problem…

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Haywire Trailer

[adrotate banner=”1″]Gina Carano kicks all sorts of butt for 90 minutes. I’m there, dude!

Also starring Bill Paxton, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Angarano, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, and Antonio Banderas. Steven Soderbergh directs.
Gina Carano