Action Movie Friday: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: Mr. & Mrs. Smith
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2005
Genre: action, romantic comedy
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Distributor: Fox
Budget: $110 Million
Box Office: $486 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 59%

Gingersnaps Rating: Five Cookies!

Summary:

After five or six years of marriage, Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith feel as if their marriage is drifting apart. A passionate beginning has turned cold after years of suburban living and all the things they aren’t saying to each other. Both Smiths have secrets they’re keeping, who they really are and what they do for a living are just the beginning. Assassins working for rival agencies can’t live under the same roof. Once they ID each other, they’re given 48 hours to take each other out. But they both have to decide if the passion they felt was real or if they were both each other’s mark from the very beginning, before their agencies decide they’re too big a liability and kill them both.

Review:

I think that this was the first movie where I figured out that action and romantic comedy could go together. With critics and audiences, this film was about fifty-fifty, either you loved it or you hated it. Scandals (reputed) with the actors actually overshadowed the actual movie at the time. Numbers wise in the states, this movie barely made back its production budget. It made 60% of its money overseas, and at the time, the foreign sales weren’t as big of a drive as they are now. So, we’ll never see a second Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which is sad in my opinion. I would have loved to see a movie with the characters having the dynamic they had at the end of the movie.

If there is such a thing as a relaxed action movie, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is it. The writers and directors made a deliberate choice to focus on the dysfunctional aspects of marriage with the action as the backdrop instead of the other way around. This makes the movie in comparison to a lot of others very slow. It takes time to build up to the point where the two realize they’re supposed to be enemies and not lovers. The movie is character driven rather than plot driven. If the characters made different choices, the movie would be very different. The conflict within the two main characters is shown to be very real.

Like I said, you either love this type of thing, or you hate. I loved it. I loved 99% of the dialogue. The quips between John and Jane during their fist fight in the house went a little cheesy, even for the time. I loved the characters. There was a deliberate contrast between the way John and Jane worked and it was shown the conflicts they would have if they worked together. There were places were innuendo was deliberately used and left open to interpretation. I even enjoyed Vince Vaughn, who is not my favorite actor.

There were also plenty of explosions that weren’t needed. They blew up the house. Jane tried to blow up John. They used rocket launchers in the last fight scene.

The fights were well choreographed and in places rather brutal then bordering on sexual. In the very beginning as John and Jane are really starting to try and kill each other, John’s brutal treatment of Jane is actually very uncomfortable to watch. Since it isn’t until later that they show Jane can be just as brutal as he is. So, at first, John’s forcefulness in contrast to his urbane exterior is rather jarring. Still, the fights are entertaining, and amusing.

It is interesting to note, that of the two of them John is shown as the more emotional. Jane is logical and controlled. So, it is Jane whose internal conflict is focused on more. So, while equal time is given to each of them trying to figure things out. It is Jane who has the harder time deciding whether or not she loves John or if she really does need to kill him to correct her stupidity. This movie isn’t going to pass any Bechdel tests or any sort of feminism tests that you can come up with that deal with characters having independent story arcs free of men. It isn’t that type of movie. And it would have been really easy for the writers and directors to ignore Jane’s emotions in favor of fight scenes and explosions. That, and they don’t give Jane girly guns, and even make a joke out of it.

Okay, it’d be really easy to go through all the goofs, inconsistencies and contradictions that are in this movie. That’s not what this review is for. Imdb can do it much better than I can. In fact, I don’t really care if Bogota isn’t really as hot as they portray it. I don’t know where La Paz is and in the middle of a movie I’m not about to google to see if they’ve done their homework or not. (I guess they didn’t.) The question I have to ask is does the movie stand up within itself? Yes. Of course, it wouldn’t hold up in the real world. Hollywood physics is being applied here. The house explosion would have killed them. The cars in the car chase probably shouldn’t have flown up in the air like that. And the guy with the rocket launcher in the last fight scene either can’t aim or his rockets are just way too slow. (Who brings a rocket launcher to a gun fight?) My point is, it wasn’t blatantly over the top and didn’t pull me out of the movie by going ‘that’s impossible’ like some movies do.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith isn’t for everyone. If you want a fast paced action movie with lots of fights and explosions, then this movie isn’t for you. However, if you’re in the mood to sit back, relax and be pulled along for the ride with entertaining characters and a few explosions sprinkled in for thrills, then this is your movie. It’s funny. It addresses tough issues with a light hand and showcases a lot of amazing acting. If there was any movie I wish had a sequel, it is this one just to see where John and Jane Smith would have gone next. Five Gingersnaps.

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