In coming up with the idea for his latest screenplay, Kurt Wimmer apparently sat down for a triple feature consisting of Law & Order, The Dark Knight, and any of the first five Saw films. But when a screenwriter’s only good movie is the Christian Bale-starring Equilibrium, maybe studios should start second guessing his writing ability.
Aside from that single fun flick, which graced the cinematic world with the term “gun kata,” he has also brought us some pretty abysmal offerings. After his first feature outing, the Barbarian Brothers abomination Double Trouble, he managed to lay low but kept up his resume with contributions to the completely-missed-the-point Michael Crichton adaptation Sphere and The Thomas Crown Affair, which one can’t help but think was completely rewritten by Leslie Dixon and helped even more so by its cast and director.
Equilibrium is by far Wimmer’s one shining example of star power coming together with some cool direction and a great idea. One would think after watching this that maybe he should direct his own work but even that wasn’t a great idea since this was followed up with Ultraviolet. In between he managed to spit out the Colin Farrell/Al Pacino thriller The Recruit.
Director F. Gary Gray (try typing that ten times fast) is no better than Wimmer. With a few crowd pleasers such as Friday, Set It Off, and The Italian Job, at least he has a few good films to his oeuvre. But most of the time his movies wind up being far too silly in their execution and take themselves way too seriously relative to how ridiculous the plots are. These films would include both The Negotiator and A Man Apart.
The worst film in his arsenal is one of the worst sequels imaginable, Be Cool. Taking a great cast consisting of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Harvey Keitel, Dwayne Johnson, Danny DeVito, and James Woods in an Elmore Leonard adaptation and turning it into the resulting suckfest is quite an accomplishment. Not to mention that it was supposed to be a reunion of sorts for Travolta and Thurman, last seen together in Pulp Fiction.