Atlas Shrugged: Part II: The Strike (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Atlas Shrugged: Part II: The Strike (2012)

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Guess that's it for AmericaAndrew DISLIKE BannerHere's what America needs, another 2 hours of people talking about bridges.

I am not anywhere close to the intended audience for Atlas Shrugged: Part II: The Strike.  This series, which is getting close to Rambo in the amount of colons that can be crammed into the title, is for people deluded enough to think that their contributions to this planet will cause it to end if they disappear and entertained so easily that the sight of someone filling a truck with gas should titillate.  It's filled with narcissistic and outright boring characters who exist to serve exactly one function in life that they will detail to you endlessly in breathless conversation.

Meanwhile, I'm a professional who is completely aware the system will survive without me and likes to utilize my talents writing for nothing on a website I love.  No doubt if I were to run into the equivalent of Taggart or Rearden in the real world they'd spit on me and then describe the pristine arc of that globule for five minutes.  But we're the same culture that listened to Tarantino talk about big penises and that was at least entertaining.  The world doesn't need another long series of conversations over desks and in hallways culminating in a ooh-rah for the rich cheer once, twice, and soon three times to boredom.

A film with more self-awareness would at least insert a less confused-looking aide since the main character looks nothing like she did in the previous film. Then again, a bit more self-awareness and it should turn into a comedy.

A film with more self-awareness would at least insert a less confused-looking aide since the main character looks nothing like she did in the previous film. Then again, a bit more self-awareness and it should turn into a comedy.

For those of you tuning in from the first part, Dagny Taggart (Samantha Mathis) is nearing the completion of her dream to build the John Galt line on the strength of Henry Rearden's (Jason Beghe) experimental steel.  The economy is still in a flat spin but don't expect to see any of the effects of that through the main characters since most of the events take place in high society functions and bright offices filled with digital screens.  Taggart is forced to deal with her wealth-redistributing phony of a brother (Patrick Fabian) and Rearden the more overtly evil government who is trying to get all industry to redistribute everything.

Capital plan, I'm sure, and not one that makes a lick of sense but since the first film wasn't built on a solid and well presented ideological foundation I didn't have much hope for this either.  The ethical system is built on ever stricter lines with neither Taggart nor Rearden deviating from their lives of pro-corporate noodling and the government presenting nonsensical ideas by the barrel full.  I'm all for a good straw-man argument in movies if it's at least entertaining since that's a huge part of how Aaron Sorkin has managed to stay so popular.  What I don't accept are nonsensical events reflected on by flat archetypes who repeat themselves constantly.  That is not entertaining or informative, just the evidence of shallow minds at work.

Leaving the philosophy aside, this film is terrible.  The first part at least had some kind of style by trying to root its visuals in a colorized noir world.  It was a bad fit, but considering how often the story yearned for "the good ol' days" it at least made a sort of ironic sense.  The sequel does a complete 180 and puts everything in bland, brightly lit corridors and buildings in an attempt to squash all shadow.  It's dull to start off with and after about an hour of harshly presented faces it started to give me a headache.

No - seriously - who the hell are you?

Don't worry if you don't recognize a character. They'll get two facile details then shoved into the closet with the rest of the supporting cast.

Advance word on the casting for the sequel did not leave the impression that passionate performers were going to be bringing this second part to life and the results disappoint accordingly.  No one returned to their role from the first film, which has still yet to recoup half its budget from an ungrateful free market, so everyone had to be recast.  The performances reach new plateaus of professional boredom as Mathis and Beghe manage to underwhelm even the passionless leads of the first part.  The supporting characters really suffer, especially Rearden's evil wife played with great relish by Rebecca Wisocky in the first film.  In this rendition the heir to Mrs. Rearden, Kim Rhodes, puts on a nice dress and calls it a day.  I may have gotten annoyed with them in the first part but their performances were at least memorable.

The third part is set to debut in 2014 with only the producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro set to return.  If history is set to repeat itself a new set of faces will greet us to talk about trains and metal yet again.  I couldn't blame a returning cast though - these two are willing to throw money away with such horrible results it's hard not to see a return for such a weak effort.

After all, everybody's got to get paid.

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Atlas Shrugged - Part II - The Strike - TailAtlas Shrugged: Part II: The Strike (2012)

Directed by John Putch.
Screenplay written by Duke Sandefur, Brian Patrick O'Toole, and Duncan Scott.
Starring Samantha Mathis and Jason Beghe.

Posted by Andrew

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  1. I absolutely hated the first installment and glad to see so many reasons to skip the second. What boring movies.

    • Thanks for the comment! I’m going to finish the series as a masochistic venture – but if the third really is going to be a musical we could have a wonderful flop on our hands.

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