Maximum Effort / by Frixos Masouras

I (and a lot of you) belong to a very peculiar demographic who DEMAND that the violence and obscenity in their art is unabashed, raw and functional. Is that too hard to fathom, dear Studios? No? This used to be the norm back in the day you know. Gallons of blood, profanities galore, cool-as-ice (not the film, Cthulhu forbid...) characters just being awesome for the sake of being awesome. 

Through the end of the 90's something changed and for the next 10-15 years we witnessed cinematic stereotypes merge to create an amalgam of individuals. I use the term amalgam because therein lies the implication that the resulting figures were presented to us sans impurities. IMPURITIES! It was suddenly expected of almost every film with a history of violence to re-appear in "friendlier" garbs, with writers and directors jumping hoops in order to avoid using violence and profanity extensively. Why? Because we all know that an R-rated film will sell less tickets than, well, anything below that. 

Well, as I am typing this, Deadpool is about to crack half a bill' (in slightly more than two weeks of showing). On a $60 million budget (with no screenings in China AT ALL). If you read between the lines, dear Studios, you will find that there's A FUCKING COCK THERE FOR YOU TO SUCK... to put it mildly and in terms you can understand. 

So what is it about Deadpool that turned shit into gold? What is this secret original ingredient that made this recipe POP? Absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G new. You wanna go gloves-off, kids-to-sleep, balls-to-the-wall honest here? Well, shit. Deadpool is essentially Ryan Reynolds playing the same character he played in 70% of his career so far, wearing the Deadpool suit and with a couple of X-men thrown in there for good measure. The villain? Please, he was a joke-bag for Deadpool. The plot? Absolutely stupid, paper-thin and quite tired at this point. Hero finds himself in a situation, is betrayed by bad guy, loses the women he loves and then he goes after her. 

But wait. If like me, you were knee-slapping your way to next Tuesday that's because the whole thing WAS FUCKING HILARIOUS! From the very first frames, you see intro-credits pop up with every member/part of the crew being titled negatively or funnily. All but one part of the crew. The writers were presented as the "real heroes here". If Deadpool is anything then that is HONEST. From Reynolds cracking wise about his own lackluster acting capabilities, the budgetary constraints, you name it. It's there.

They didn't weave an Argiopian opus with multi-layered characters writhing in a minefield of deep moral dilemmas into a soul-punching narrative. The heroes, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick basically sat down and wrote million-dollar wisecracks! Were the action sequences mind-blowing? In hindsight, not exactly! There's TWO action set-pieces throughout the film. The bridge and the ship at the end. It's not exactly brimming with edge-of-your-seat action and that's OK because the film shines elsewhere. The sequences where Wade was still pre-Deadpool? They drove the film's pace and face hard into the ground but hey, those fucking jokes though!!!

All the right brushes of violence are there, and I dare say, I wanted more! This is new ground people, as stupid as that sounds. Part of why I LOVE Man of Steel is because we finally get to see what happens when Superman punches shit! And it's fantastic, the release I get from the battle sequences in that film are borderline erotic. Of course, violent comic book films have been around a while now, this ain't something fresh! 300, Sin City, BLADE, the Punisher films, Watchmen... it's a big list! Stop going easy on the rating fellas, and I mean that. You lot de-fenaged Alien and Predator for fuck's sake (at one point). Well, enough dammit! 

If you produce garbage, it will still be garbage whether it's R-rated or E! But it will sell more if it's not R-rated because you get more butts in seats who don't necessarily look for masterpieces when "hanging out at the movies". But that's just the thing about art. People will interpret something differently, you all know that. It's a science for you guys at this point. You KNOW that if you bet on an R-rated film, you better make it count because if it's shit then you will know about it and so, too, will your accountants when the dust settles. 

Deadpool was a project of passion for everyone involved, a fact that shines throughout the running-time. Of course Reynolds was perfect for the part because THAT'S ALL HE'S BEEN DOING HIS ENTIRE CAREER! Even Hannibal King in the unfathomably craptastic Blade Trinity. It's Wade Wilson! Or...when...he....you know... played Wade Wilson in that Wolv... yeah. No. And here he is, flying high on a film that has currently made half a billion. 

The lesson learned here is this: Fuck you. Make better R-rated movies. And fuck you.

Frixos Masouras - 2016