Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Wreck-it Ralph, Flight Are Certified Fresh

Plus, The Man With the Iron Fists is a spirited tribute to classic martial arts films.

by | November 2, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a sensitive villain (Wreck-it Ralph, with voice work by John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman), a troubled pilot (Flight, starring Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle), and a fighting blacksmith (The Man With the Iron Fists, starring Russell Crowe and RZA). What do the critics have to say?

Wreck-it Ralph

87%

What do video game characters do when the lights go off at the arcade? That’s the inspired premise of Wreck-it Ralph, which critics say is a visual phantasmagoria with a clever story and heartfelt characters that should appeal to kids and their parents. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the bad guy in a retro arcade game, but he longs for acceptance and love from his fellow video game characters. So he ventures out of his game in search of adventure and respect — a trek that could have devastating consequences for his pixelated peers. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Wreck-it Ralph falls a little short of the Toy Story movies, but it’s a deft mix of strong storytelling and sensorial ingenuity. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down memorable video game movies.)

Flight

77%

Flight is the tale of the flawed man behind a great act of courage, and critics say it features a terrific performance from Denzel Washington, while director Robert Zemeckis successfully balances white-knuckle action with a perceptive look at a vulnerable, troubled man. Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot whose mid-air heroics help to avert a catastrophic crash. Soon, however, his halo is tarnished, as investigators examine whether Whip was under the influence while flying. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Flight is effectively unsettling, a smart, surprisingly entertaining film about addiction that never lets its message overwhelm its narrative.

The Man With the Iron Fists

51%

As the mastermind of the Wu-Tang Clan’s sound, RZA famously sampled dialogue and sound effects from classic martial arts films. And he basically does the same thing in his directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists, which critics say is a disjointed but spirited and exciting pastiche of movie styles. RZA stars as a blacksmith who tries to defend his village against a bloodthirsty clan that descends on the town in search of gold. The pundits say The Man With the Iron Fists overcomes its narrative flaws to deliver an action-packed spectacle that brims with over-the-top exuberance. (Check out 24 Frames for a crash course in martial arts movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Finally, props to Linda Burke for coming the closest to guessing Silent Hill: Revelation 3D‘s five percent Tomatometer.

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