Memory Director Martin Campbell Reviews The Latest Big Action Movies [Exclusive]

Martin Campbell is going to put us out of business, and that's okay. We sat down with the "Casino Royale," "The Mask of Zorro," and "Memory" director for an exclusive /Film interview to chat about all things action and he did not disappoint. As a legend in his own right, Campbell has crafted some of the film industry's most memorable action scenes to date, and he definitely has a lot of opinions when it comes to the new crop of action films that have tumbled into theaters recently. From Michael Bay's latest flick to the "Fast and Furious" franchise as a whole, Campbell, like his characters, did not pull any punches. It all begs the question, can he do all of the /Film reviews? Is /Film his personal Letterboxd?

For "Fast and the Furious," perhaps one of the most beloved modern action franchises, Campbell had some high praise for the first few films, but not much love for "F9," the most recent iteration:

"... I can go to a film like the last 'Fast and Furious,' which I walked out of, because the action is so preposterous, it's just boring. You know what I mean? The physics of the thing is ludicrous. It's just like watching wallpaper. I actually walked out of that movie because the action was what they thought was spectacular. Of course, it made a ton of money, being based on the franchise, but it was a lousy film. None of the action is character-based. It's all visceral nonsense whereas the early ones were terrific."

More than anything I need to know which film in the "Fast" franchise is Campbell's favorite, but I think we can all agree it's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," right? Because that's the best one? Anyway, trying to elicit more compliments than critiques, we asked him if there were any action movies he'd enjoyed recently:

"God, I'm just trying to think. I liked 'The Batman,' but I thought the action was okay. I didn't think it was brilliant, the action in that movie."

Welcome to Martin Campbell's Letterboxd account

While the grungier, more emo "The Batman" didn't quite hit his high expectations, Michael Bay's "Ambulance" was the dark horse that took the lead. It's hard to deny Bay. He might only make one kind of movie, but damn is that one movie fun. While Campbell definitely seemed to have a good time with the ludicrous "Ambulance," he still snuck in a quick barb:

"I saw the Michael Bay movie, 'Ambulance' ... It's sort of fun. I mean, if you've got epilepsy, you should never go and see a Michael Bay film, but it's kind of fun. And because you've got Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who's a terrific actor, and Eiza González was good too. There were 48 cuts every two seconds, but he really does get some brilliant shots. It is a slightly preposterous notion, the whole thing, it's fun, and I actually sat back and enjoyed it. Whereas his previous one, for Netflix, I just couldn't watch."

Campbell might have some mixed feelings about the new class of action films, but he has an unending appreciation for the classics. Comparing some of these more modern, high octane as hell thrillers made him look back fondly at some of them, specifically:

"You look at 'Die Hard,' for example, the best movie was the first one, by far. Why? Because you believed it, you believed the action. It had its feet well and truly on the ground."

That's it. I can't wait for Campbell to write every movie review at /Film from now on. It was nice working here, but at least we're all being replaced by one of the greats.

Campbell's upcoming film, "Memory," explodes into theaters on April 29, 2022.