One thing I will say about “Ashes to Ashes” is that it sure is on par with all those “Best of the Best” movies you’ll see on late night cable. And that’s not a compliment. “Ashes to Ashes” is a film that has no idea what it wants to be. Is it an action film, a martial arts spoof, a jab at typical martial arts actioners, or a comedy? I could never really tell. All I knew was that it wasn’t comedy because there was nothing remotely funny about it, and this was one of the most uneventful action films I’ve ever seen. Trotman has no idea how to compose a coherent and watchable story within his own film, so he pulls us in to all sorts of directions.
Most of the scenes I witnessed made no sense because they had no clear importance or statement. In one scene while a suspect is being beaten, one of the interrogators is bickering with his wife about disciplining their children. Why did we have to see this scene for nearly ten minutes? Was it to add a sense of humanity to this man, making light of his character? No, I think it was padding, because, there’s plenty of padding to be had here. There’s padding, padding, and more padding. Watch a man having sex with a woman and then fingering her for five minutes: padding. Fight scenes that end up being dream sequences again and again in a gimmick that became really old really quickly, padding; Almost five minute long establishing shots, padding; five minutes of a woman dancing for no real particular reason, padding in its purest painful forms.
And can anyone tell me what the f**k was up with that ten minute exchange on how Ali would have massacred Bruce Lee? Should I comment on how dumb it was having a black man defend Ali, and an Asian man defending Lee? Or should I comment on how derivative it was imitating Tarantino ala “Pulp Fiction” ad nauseum? Or perhaps how clever it could have been to have the Asian man defending Ali, and the black man defending Lee? No? Okay. “Ashes to Ashes” is made in to much more of an antecedent with very bad acting by its entire cast, including Trotman who can never seem to deliver his own really bad dialogue with enough conviction. The story is just your typical Italian mafia tangling with the average Joe who builds up courage to fight them all, there’s your stereotypes, your weak performances and brutally lackluster fight sequences.
On second thought, maybe those “Best of the Best” films aren’t so bad after all.