Vulture on David Gordon Green’s action prowess

Posted by · 10:18 am · August 7th, 2008

(from left) James Franco and Seth Rogen in Pineapple ExpressIn my review of “Pineapple Express” yesterday, I mad it a point of mentioning director David Gordon Green’s salute to the greatest (or worst) of 1980s action cinema.  At the time I wrote:

Green’s obvious devotion to the action epics of the 1980s that his generation grew up on makes its way to the surface more than a few times (I swear I’ve seen that knife toss before…can’t place it). He makes no bones about an affinity for Steven Seagal and lord knows he found a proper outlet to show his respect for what I like to call the “Steven E. de Souza subgenre” of actioners. But to mix it in with a pothead extravaganza…absolute genius.

And today, it looks like the ever-insightful writers of New York Magazine’s Vulture blog have taken it a step farther, asking with the utmost sincerity, “Who’s the better action director: David Gordon Green or Christopher Nolan?”

Take a look:

Obviously Green is no John Woo, but the [finale] is lucid, well paced, and nowhere near as stupid-looking as one might reasonably anticipate, especially considering that it includes shots of Rogen firing an automatic weapon. There are explosions, bleeding injuries, and some passably impressive stunt work, not bad for a freakin’ Judd Apatow movie.

They then go on to point out the problems with Nolan’s handling of action sequences in “The Dark Knight” that have been mentioned in a number of mixed or negative reviews of the film.  “Sure, the action in Nolan’s film is more ambitious,” they write, “but the fact that Green’s is infinitely more coherent and suspenseful is…well, sort of funny, right?”

Gotta love those caljones.  And it’s not exactly an out-of-bounds observation.  Read the full post here.

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2 responses so far

  • 1 8-07-2008 at 1:11 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    I was nearly murdered last night when I said I thought Green directed the best action scenes of the year so far. But I stand by it. Three fantastic, fantastic set-pieces: the fight at Red’s, the car chase and the final set piece.

    I knew Green would’ve been great at the improv, comedy, etc., but I wasn’t expecting to love the action scenes so much.

  • 2 8-09-2008 at 2:19 pm

    Kyle Leaman said...

    To be honest, although more easily coherent, Pineapple’s action sequences don’t carry any weight and really lacked any anticipation or buildup. Was there any visceral rush? They are competent and coherent and offer reasonable thrills, but I don’t know how they can be compared to the Honk Kong snatch and grab sequence or the Joker trying to kill Harvey Dent sequence, climaxing with the Batpod showdown with the Joker. There is anticipation, buildup, consequences, gravitas, and coherence. They aren’t the greatest action sequences by any means, but they are fairly unique, visceral, and memorable. I don’t know how Pinapple Express can really compare.