JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM REVIEW AVAILABLE AT X-PRESS MAGAZINE

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It was a lot of fun to be on assignment for X-Press Magazine for the first time this year to review John Wick: Chapter 3 -Parabellum. Karen and I returned to the Myer Centre in the Brisbane CBD to check out the sequel at a preview screening the night before opening day.

To give a comparison I would say John Wick was a pleasant surprise I enjoyed late one Friday night after getting the DVD from my now defunct local blockbuster. John Wick Chapter 2 I know got around to at some point either DVD or steaming. I thought there was less to that film than there was to the original but I still marvelled at the action in particular a fight scene featuring Keanu Reeves and Common.

You can find out what I thought of the third chapter in my review which can be found here http://xpressmag.com.au/john-wick-chapter-3-parabellum-gets-7-10-doggone-violence/

X-Press Magazine was established in 1985 and at one point was Australia’s highest circulating free weekly entertainment publication with over 40,000 copies reaching 1,0000 outlets every week.  On the 24th May, 2016 Issue 1527 hit stands. Like many publications of its ilk X-Press Magazine is now foremost an online magazine engaged globally and making the most of the possibilities that new digital technology offers. It’s roots though are tied to its home city, love of local artists and productions and music which it supports wholeheartedly. Perth a capital city most isolated from all the other capitals is continuing to grow and develop culturally and artistically with its own identity and talent. X-Press has always been there to capture this growth and will continue to do so.

I do my best to get my car after work and travel to and from these events that way, but on occasion I catch the train home instead. Sometimes we have dinner after a show too before we head home but not this time. As we arrived at central station and were heading towards the escalators for our platform I noticed something off-putting.

In a split second I came to realise there was someone on the ground. I dropped the bag of Karen’s I was carrying and jogged over and got to my knees next to the body. Somethings are a blur and can be coloured by our own perceptions but I will try to recall to the best of my perspective what happened next.

There was a small middle aged Asian woman on the ground too lying next to the fallen person who was an older white woman. Her husband was leaning over the scene. I asked if she was okay and she said she was fine, she had taken a fall. She explained that she was on medication and I had drunk a little too much which had led to the fall. I think I told her we should get her up, of course I was concerned that something was broken or sprained.

Her husband carried the air of someone who had to deal with such concerns from time to time and his wife’s personality. He bent down and put back one of her shoes that had fallen off her foot, he struggled to get past the heel initially but was soon successful.

The woman’s pants were made of soft material and her legs slid across the floor. Initially when I had gotten to her she was pushing her top half up off the ground almost like she was just hanging out at a picnic.

This was a setback and she now almost had her face on the ground and was lying down on her front completely. At the sound of my worry she said “I just need to rest here for a minute, I’ll be fine.”

I don’t know what got into me next but I leaned over her and in a calm voice said into her ear “Ma’am I used to be a hospital wardie, I don’t think you should stay in this position, I would like to roll you onto your back. Okay?”. I think she nodded and I could hear her husband agreeing and urging her.

I placed one hand on her hip and one on her shoulder and attempted to pull her onto her side but her positioning and mine were not well placed. I didn’t move her far but then she moved with me and she was now on her back and she raised her torso up.

Her husband grabbed both of her hands and she anchored her feet pushing the soles down on the ground. I clambered up behind her squatted on my feet and put both my arms underneath her armpits. The Asian lady who had been with us throughout held onto her left arm and as we lifted a young man raced to our side and grabbed her right arm.

Then she was up.

Throughout her husband had known what to do, gotten the shoe back on, talked to her and kept calm in what any one of us would find distressing. Both he and she had really played the most important part in positioning her body correctly and most importantly with the anchoring of her feet for the lift. For me she was light as a feather and I think part of that might have something to do with the husband lifting her with her hands. The other woman had stayed throughout and reacted with nimble swiftness as the body got moved around and when the young man arrived we had gained someone with more strength than any of us three.

She repeated she was alright to me, she had just had something to drink with her medication and it had caused her to lose balance a bit. I was thankful she was not in any real pain otherwise my untrained involvement could have been a disaster.

She looked over at me with a smile and touched my cheek and thanked me. Given how little I had helped I felt a bit undeserving but I suspect it was due to the calmness and confidence I had given her when I whispered in my ear.

Looking back there was a lot I would’ve liked to have done differently but it was a good feeling to have done anything and to have it turn out alright. I asked if she felt anything kind of broken or really painful and to maybe look for an escalator. The stationmaster was with us now and she repeated her story that she was alright. I and the husband suggested she go with him just to be sure.

I think I asked again if she would be alright, to see if there was anything I could do and she smiled that smile. I joined Karen and looked back one last time as they moved away with the stationmaster.

On the train home I told Karen a story, many years ago I was in Queen St Mall in the middle of the day and I saw some middle aged business men help someone back into their wheelchair or stop them from falling out. One of them had reacted the fastest and helped the most. He was middle aged, overweight and in a nice suit. I don’t remember which year this was, it could be anywhere from 1998 to 2007 I guess. I can’t even really remember what happened. Afterwards as they stopped at the lights to cross the street, I saw the middle aged man look back at the person in the wheelchair. There was a haunted look on his face. Was he shaken by what could have happened had he not been there? Did he think therefore but the grace of God go I? Had it triggered a memory of someone he cared about? I don’t know but I remember that look and I suspect I always will.

-Lloyd Marken

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MINOR ROLES THAT HAD A MAJOR IMPACT – JAGUAR OWNER FROM SPEED

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A minor role will usually only involve a few minutes of screen time but will usually see the character given a name and have some relevance to the main characters. A friend who in a twist is the key villain, a mother who only offers advice in one scene, somebody whose importance to the plot is only revealed at the eleventh hour. Other times it’s a showy role for only one scene and everybody is talking about that performance after they leave the film.

A long time ago there were these ice skaters named Torville and Dean. They scored a perfect 6 from all the judges in their final routine at the 1984 Winter Olympics and naturally became legends. Image result for torvill and dean in australia 1994Following their Gold Medal winning performance at the winter Olympics they went professional and performed for several years. In 1994 they returned to the Winter Olympics and won Bronze. Some time passed and they came to Australia to perform. My family were fans and on a whim one day decided they would see if they could get tickets. It was not in my parent’s nature to go to such shows, they were luxuries to be weighed up heavily. Hence the last minute enquiry and the resulting lack of availability. So as a consolation prize we decided we’d go to the movies. Speed termed as a “Die Hard on a Bus” was out  with Keanu Reeves playing against type. We knew of his Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Parenthood (1989) and Point Break (1991) although only the first had been really watched by me as the others were probably deemed too adult. We went in with no expectations, my father, mother and siblings. I still think about that night every now and again watching Speed up on the big screen. Kids become teenagers and get too old to go see movies with their parents. Then your parents tend to not want to go out to the movies because its easier to wait until it comes out on Foxtel. 🙂 Speed was on the cusp of that change and an unexpected gift. This action film inadvertently became a family film  because we all have that memory and we all enjoyed that night and that movie. A great movie will be universally loved and bring people together.

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Torville and Dean would have been a once in a lifetime experience but there are no memories from that day tinged with disappointment only amazement. It turned out Speed was to be bonafide classic with amazing cinematography, a rip roaring score, amazing stunts, witty dialogue, and a fantastic ensemble cast. There’s no denying that Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves have a huge part to play in engaging the audience and making them care about the outcome. As a kid who’d never seen Easy Rider it made Hopper relevant again, it introduced the world to Sandra Bullock and it allowed Reeves to be seen in a new light. Yet there is not one speaking part in that film that isn’t memorable. That gun wielding latino “Stop the busss!”, the aw shucks tourist “We’re at the airport…I’ve already been to the airport.”, the lady with the G-string coming out of the elevator, the elderly African American couple weeping “The baby.” just before that incredible jump. I could fill out the rest of the year in this series of posts with actors from Speed. I’m half tempted to, but on initial viewing there was one guy who we all strode out of the cinema talking about-the black guy who’s car gets commandeered.

Credited as Jaguar Owner Glenn Plummer is still listed seventh on the cast listing at IMDB. An ordinary man finding himself in the extraordinary situation of flying down the LA Freeway after a commuter bus that has a bomb on it. I look back now and wonder how this played to African American audiences to see a black man in an expensive vehicle have his car commandeered at gunpoint by a white police officer (Keanu Reeves’s Jack Traven) who then proceeds to wreck said vehicle and put both of their lives in danger. Related imageAt the time this was standard behaviour for film action heroes to pull guns when civilians black or white did not play nice with them. Now I wonder if Plummer’s performance is a little over the top, at the time African Americans were featuring more and more in films and to Australian audiences any unique ways they spoke were lively and fresh and exciting to see. Bad Boys come out a couple of years later and the banter between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith was riveting because we weren’t used to seeing this in mainstream American films. Now two decades later I wonder if Glenn Plummer was encouraged to ham it up but I like to think he maintained his dignity. Related imageThe characters always plays as real to the situation, the off hand way he says “Take the phone.” after losing his car door feels right but you know a white guy wouldn’t say it the same way and that’s kind of the point. Well I guess it will be interesting to hear what you think but I thoroughly enjoyed  Glenn Plummer’s performance as Jaguar Owner and it seems I wasn’t the only one.

They made a point of having his character now named Maurice appear in a similar manner in the sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) courtesy of an amazingly ridiculous coincidence and he got some high profile roles directly after Speed in Showgirls (1995), Up Close & Personal (1996). More recently Glenn Plummer had roles in The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Saw II (2005), Sons of Anarchy (2008) and Suits (2016).

He has also branched out into other jobs co-writing, producing and directing in 2006 VooDoo Curse: The Giddeh (2006) and the upcoming Charlie Charlie (2017).

Some people will remember him in his early work in Menace II Society (1993) and his break out role in South Central (1992). Others know him from his recent television work. Yet if you’ve seen Speed it’s doubtful you’ll not remember him in that. He took a small thankless role and sold every line, every joke, every reaction and I hope to see him again soon holding my full attention with his incredible talent.

-Lloyd Marken

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