Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In short: 7 Seconds (2005)

Super-mega hardcore ex-Special Forces dude turned thief Jack Tuliver (Wesley “What’s a facial expression?” Snipes) has a super-mega hardcore plan to rob twenty casinos at once. Or something. Alas, things become problematic because he accidentally also steals a case with a Van Gogh painting. Soon, his gang is murdered by another gang, his favourite partner kidnapped and he’s on the run from said gang, the police, and other factions. Jack’s only ally apart from a guy named Spanky (Deobia Oparei) who just might not be an ally at all is a disturbingly orange-coloured British military cop (Tamzin Outhwaite). Why should the audience be the only ones who suffer?

Let’s start with the positives, shall we? Simon Fellows’s 7 Seconds certainly does not suffer from the bizarre phenomenon that plagues quite a few direct-to-video action films that causes so-called action films to contain as little action as possible. In fact, 7 Seconds is perfectly action packed, with nary a scene going by without a car crash, shots, explosions, or what goes for martial arts in the world of Snipes. It, therefore, should be pretty fantastic.

Unfortunately, the action direction and editing is so incompetent the film might as well not bother. Some horrifying demon must have convinced the director that there’s never any reason not to cut to a different camera angle, leading to action scenes that cut to a differently angled shot every two or three seconds – I’m not even exaggerating. Not surprisingly, for most of the time it is completely impossible to make out who is chasing whom, in which position chasee and chaser are to each other, or frankly, what is going on at all beyond “car chase”, “people shooting”, and so on.

To add insult to brain damage, about every third cut is accompanied by a whooshing noise and random camera swirling. And sometimes the film just goes completely ape-shit, like this: close up on countdown timer with the number 3 – whoosh-cut – now it’s at 2 – whoosh cut – now it’s at 1 – whoosh cut - etc. It suggests a rather peculiar idea of what words like “editing” or “direction” mean. In this context, it probably won’t surprise anyone that the film also likes to cut into tiny little flashbacks to scenes that happened five or ten minutes ago, just in case some of the viewers suffer from really bad short term memories, had a little nap, or went to the loo.

I could go on, but I really, really don’t want to.

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