Stepping away from vampires and Japanese anime, today’s comic-based films are back in the action-adventure categories of hitmen (Accident Man) and westerns (the star-studded Cowboys and Aliens).
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
The film Accident Man is based on the graphic novel of the same name created by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner. You may be familiar with Mills work, particularly in comics founded in the 1970s including Action, 2000AD, and Starlord. Mills work tends towards violence, anti-authoritarianism, and lower class characters. In both Accident Man the comic and the film, the protagonist Mike Fallon is a hitman who arranges the deaths of his clients to look like accidents. In keeping with Mills’ work the character comes from a poorer estate background who has “made good”. When his ex-girlfriend is killed, Fallon seeks revenge on those responsible with much violence ensuing as he works his way through an ensemble cast of fellow hitmen and villains.
A literary masterpiece it is not, but if you can stand the violence it is a perfectly watchable Friday night flick that doesn’t require too much brainpower.
Director: Jon Favreau
Cowboys. Aliens. Top shelf movie stars (Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford; Olivia Wilde). What more could you want for a Saturday night with a nice drink and some popcorn. Again, this film follows reasonably closely it’s original comic book property created by Scott Rosenberg for his Platinum Studios company back in 2006.
There is quite a back story to how this graphic novel got to be a film (see: The Secret Story Behind Cowboys and Aliens at the Bleeding Cool website). In short, the protagonist, an outlaw with no memory but a strange technological bracelet, teams up with a stereotypical evil cattle baron, a beautiful woman, and native tribespeople to defeat an alien incursion before the aliens can get a full blown invasion underway. It is what it is, but I enjoyed it back in the day as it doesn’t take itself too seriously.