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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

The best action movie of the summer

And it's the best Stephen King adaptation I can think of aside from The Shining and Carrie. For the past few weeks, TNT has aired hour-long, mini-movies of King's short stories every Wednesday night as part of their Nightmares and Dreamscapes miniseries. Battleground, a story King wrote back in the late '70s, makes for an hour of television that beats anything in Mission Impossible 3.

What happens when an aging assassin in a high-tech penthouse makes the mistake of opening a mysterious package filled to the brim with incredibly pissed-off toy soldiers? 60 minutes of atmospheric, dialog-free mayhem that plays like an R-rated episode of the Twilight Zone more interested in blowing up furniture and minibars than moralizing. A ten-minute scene where the assassin, played by William Hurt, takes on a tiny commando in a fight that leads from a swimming pool to an elevator is as ridiculous as it is incredibly entertaining.




I was expecting a low-budget, cheesy TV movie along the lines of those King adaptations that pop up on ABC every May. Despite its short running time, Battleground is worthy of a wide release in movie theaters and the special effects aren't too shabby either.

While the premise is mindless, that goes with the genre in general. Trust me on this one. This thing is pure, quality TV and better than most of what passes for action movies these days. If you're curious, Battleground should re-air a few times on TNT over the next month or so. Keep an eye out for it. You shant regret it.

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