Jack Reacher (2012) vs. Collateral (2004)

December 20, 2012 Eric Volkman

Thankfully, Tom Cruise has never gone the Evil Twin route, facing off against himself in a movie. But that doesn’t mean he can’t do it in a Smackdown.

Here we pit two of the actor’s star turns against each other: He’s the would-be savior in the just-released Jack Reacher, while he plays a nasty contract killer in Collateral. Both are hard-edged, violent dramas featuring brooding anti-heroes. And if Collateral faced a challenge by casting America’s favorite boyish grin as a cold-blooded assassin, Jack Reacher ups the stakes by coming out a week after Sandy Hook and featuring the aftermath of a broad-daylight massacre whose victims include a nanny accompanying a small child. This one’s a reacher all right. […]

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) vs. The Hurt Locker (2008)

December 18, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

Not quite satisfied with making history as the first female Oscar winner for Best Director with The Hurt Locker (2008), Kathryn Bigelow, working again with screenwriter Mark Boal, is back with Zero Dark Thirty, another topical and suspenseful Middle East adventure that’s already a serious contender for this year’s top Oscars. The new film expands far beyond the modest scope of its predecessor, taking on one of the biggest stories of recent years, the decade-long, multi-country search for 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and how it eventually found closure, a mere 19 months ago (maybe you heard about that part). […]

Immortals (2011) -vs- 300 (2006)

November 12, 2011 Adam Gentry

With 11/11/11 upon us, the cinematic powers-that-be saw fit to unleash upon the world a new take on the legends of gods, men and color-coordinated ancient civilizations. While the distributors didn’t find a way to release Immortals at precisely 11:11 a.m., the film is nevertheless set to give Grecophiles everywhere a timeless chance to wet their whistles afresh at the trough of glorious battle. […]

Inglourious Basterds (2009) -vs- Saving Private Ryan (1998)

January 23, 2010 Bryce Zabel

High-profile directors like Tarantino and Spielberg dearly love taking a shot at putting their own brand on a World War II movie, no doubt because of the lure of working with badass villains and ass-kicking good guys.

Both of these films re-defined the genre as it existed when they were released and were considered Oscar-worthy enough to get Best Picture nominations (although both fell short).

Here at the Smack, they’ve each won a first round against a lesser contender: Saving Private Ryan knocked out the intense but difficult The Thin Red Line in our review, and Inglourious Basterds did the same against Spike Lee’s mediocre Miracle at St. Ana. Both of the winners in this Championship Round come with their passionate defenders. You can express yourself in our reader poll embedded in our post. Meantime, here’s how I call the fight… […]