We are pinballed through loud nonsense from an “original concept” by Luc Besson (so original he must have missed John Carpenter’s Escape From New York). Mainly this is more waste from the Blade Runner flush pipe. How could a movie that vividly impressive have spawned so much slop? Many viewers will not get the John Wayne joke, but the set up for a sequel (please, no) is obvious.
Aung San Suu Kyi, held under house arrest for years by the Burmese military regime, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose democratic crusade has not been hurt by her elegant looks. She is rather like Gandhi crossed with Audrey Hepburn. The Malaysian-Chinese beauty Michelle Yeoh does a fine and touching impersonation, but The Lady is, despite some realistic brutality, too ladylike.
We sense director Luc Besson, who filmed more exciting women in La Femme Nikita, Angel-A, and The Messenger, straining under the spell of his subject’s gentle, patient dignity. Her spaniel-eyed English husband (David Thewlis) suffers in sync. Dialogue stacks up clichés (“There is still a great deal to do”), and settings are burnished to a travel-magazine gloss in a film of honorable but uninspired sympathy.
Unforgotten: On Tuesday (April 17), how many recalled that Dick Shawn died that day 25 years ago on the stage of UCSD’s Mandeville Hall? Still a very cool comedian at 63, Shawn had the crowd so digging his act that when he fell dead of a heart attack it took some time for viewers to realize that he had, in fact, had the last laugh. His best work on film will forever be LSD, the crazy hipster who plays Hitler hilariously in Mel Brooks’s The Producers (1968).
Reviewed in movie capsules: Blue Like Jazz, The Island President, and The Three Stooges.