The Dark Tower is a Real Buzzer Beater

The Dark Tower is a Real Buzzer Beater

Reviewed by Annie Poppler for

(Editor’s note: Film critic Annie Poppler is a sports novice who has recently begun dating a sport’s writer. Keep this in mind when reading the following review, which is for entertainment purposes only.)

The latest Stephen King adaptation to totally body-slam multiplexes around the globe, The Dark Tower, is a stunning achievement, combining the majesty and power of a LaBron James slam dunk, the silky smoothness of a Steph Curry 3-bomb, and the looming terror of Dennis Rodman doing just about anything. The film, which seamlessly combines genre elements of horror, westerns, action, and fantasy, is directed with a sense of confidence and surehandedness of something akin to Bill Belichick leading his New England Patriots onto the field of battle in pursuit of yet another Super Bowl victory.

The film stars Idris Elba as Roland, a gunslinger on a mission to save his world from extinction while being pursued by a ruthless horde of creatures hell-bent on stopping him. These villains are headlined by Matthew McConaughey as Walter o’Dim (a.k.a. The Man in Black, a.k.a a few other names I don’t remember). Both Elba and McConaughey are perfectly cast. Elba’s gunslinger reminds me of Joe Montana, the legendary 49ers QB who earned the nickname “Joe Cool” due to his ability to never be rattled in the face of adversity. (By the way, Montana also boasts a career touchdown to interception ratio that is absolutely ridonkulous. This may not be relevant to my review, but it’s just one of those things that we sports fanatics can’t help but notice whenever we think about Joe Montana—which is, like, a million times every day. Am I right?) And McConaughey plays The Man in Black with the ticking-time-bomb intensity of a young John Daly in the tee box in that critical moment just after one final puff on his cigarette before he totally punishes the poor golf ball with a 5 wood. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if McConaughey were to publicly acknowledge drawing inspiration from Daly’s legendary tee shots—it’s just so obvious in the performance.

So anyway, the Gunslinger and The Man in Black begin this whole Magic Johnson-Larry Bird-style rivalry that can best be described as the cinematic version of a Conor McGregor back kick to the balls. It’s just that powerful. The chase scenes bring to mind the best of the storied history of the Daytona 500. The fight sequences are every bit as harrowing as Ali-Frazier 3. Watching Elba do his thing as the Gunslinger is like watching Mario Lemieux terrorize St. Louis Blues goaltender Rick Wamsley on his way to a hat trick (he actually scored 4 goals; one more than necessary for a hat trick) on New Year’s Eve in 1985. This is one of those movies that is best enjoyed with a Dodger Dog (mustard only) and a cold one … and maybe some nachos. The action is just that awesome. Of course, to be completely honest, I missed a good bit of this film because I was busy checking the day’s baseball scores on my phone. No need to worry; the Dodgers won.

About an hour into the film I settled back in my seat, tore open a pouch of Red Man Chew (I prefer the Golden Blend), and basked in the brilliant glow of men shooting at each other while I occasionally scratched my groin area and spat into a half-empty cup of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Now that’s a great time at the movies!

I give The Dark Tower three gold medals and half a bronze out of a possible 4.

(The Dark Tower is rated PG-13 for some kick-ass stunt work by some amazing athletes who are totally ripped, graphic locker room talk, sporadic taunting, and extended depiction of untended wounds.)

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