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Well, nothing original here in terms of plot. Action? Yes, plenty! If
there is anything to talk about this film, it's due to the endless
action that happens through out the film, whether is be between cars,
people, or both. I was highly surprised by how well the stunts were
performed and even the fighting sequences. Although my comment is on
the good work the stunt people have done for this film, the fact is
that ever car winds up being launched in to the air.
I was impressed that most cars didn't blow up for just being in an accident - something Hollywood does far too often. The ultimate for me was the school bus car chase, lots of damage. Not only did this bus ram innocent people, it even rolls over a few! The bus scene is worth an extra star.
This film ranks well with me for mindless violence. I expected a cheesy movie that I wouldn't be able to watch, but instead, the constant supply of bad guys to kill or cars to destroy makes this actually entertaining to watch.
One element I laughed about was the soundtrack. The composer seemed to mismatch happy, sad, action, and serene music with the entire opposite scene.
The film truly is shot and directed well, sadly what does this film harm is the lack of believability in the story. The film has constant car accidents, gunfire, and murder, yet no police ever intercept. I'm sure that you can't steal a bus and run 20 cars off the road without getting at least ONE person calling the cops!
Keep in mind that just because the PM Entertainment Group made this film,
does not guarantee that this will be a high quality action picture. LAND
THE FREE is overflowing with car crashes, explosions, shootings, paranoia,
and more paranoia. On the other hand, this film lacks an intelligent
script, redeeming social values, energy, and efficacy. It also does not
have a shred of ingenuity either! This is one of the Pepin-Merhi duo's
lamest films in years...
Imagine this: William "Captain Kirk" Shatner stars as Aidan Carvell, a militia-based terrorist who wants to be a politician representing America! He has even written a book titled "Land of the Free." Carvell has won the hearts and votes of the people across California. He has made his own proposal known as the "Free America." Little do these denizens of California realize that they are supporting a politician who is working in cahoots with the militia. Carvell has his own inner ambitions...
Aidan Carvell may be connected to a surreptitious militia organization called the "Northern Militia." Once the haughty Carvell wins the Senatorial election, he can help these guys organize a plan to take over the United States!
Martial arts expert Jeff Speakman is Frank Jennings, Mr. Aidan Carvell's campaign manager. Jennings has recently uncovered quite a ton of dirty dealings made by Mr. Carvell himself. What Jennings has discovered can jeopardize his entire family's lives.
Desperate, Jennings forces his family to enter the Witness Protection Agency for the sake of their own safety. There are only a few minor problems... One, Jennings and his family are still in the city! Two, everyone else seems to know the Jennings' aliases. Third, there is no one that they can trust! Last (and certainly the worst possible outcome), Carvell's men are hunting the Jennings down like helpless prey...
If you like watching total carnage in the name of justice, then maybe you will give LAND OF THE FREE a try. LAND OF THE FREE has plenty of mayhem as we watch cars skyrocket, and then crash and burn. LAND OF THE FREE has the opportunity to be a solid, well-written political thriller with intense action. However, torpid direction, listless performances, a lackluster script, and repetitive action sequences maul what could have been at least an interesting film.
Granted, this movie does deliver the works. There must be at least half a dozen car crashes in this movie...maybe more. The best highlight has to be a joyride on a speeding bus! I am usually always ecstatic to see car chases and the ensuing destruction. This time though, it's as if the batteries ran out of juice. These action scenes all could have been very exciting...but they are not briskly paced. The way these action sequences are directed in this movie just seem too awkward with little confident orchestration. We have also seen the same redundant car wrecks in other previous works by the PM folks. They have done so much better.
In addition, the plot holes in this movie proliferate more than the number of cars demolished. I mean, what's up with the botched assassination attempt?! Why murder an FBI agent who is barely introduced into the story? Do motorists purposely crash their own vehicles? As for these bad guys, how come when they are firing their weapons, they can never hit their target? These bad guys can shoot anything, but they cannot put a single bullet into the protagonist! With problems like these, not even the great William Shatner can save this movie from being sealed by its own fate...
Speaking of William Shatner, I was surprised that Captain Kirk has contributed more than just a small cameo. He actually appears in the WHOLE (well, most of the) movie. Shatner is the only character who actually breathes life into this lifeless project. His portrayal of a dishonest politician is sometimes absurd, but mostly amusing. One question that I have continuously pondered about is what made William Shatner want to sign up for this piece of drivel anyway(?)
LAND OF THE FREE is just a disaster waiting to happen. Besides the lackluster action and the wooden performances, this movie also suffers from a lack of cleverness. There are no surprises here, we already know who are the true despicable villains. The action scenes are dull and predictable. The musical score is constantly dreary and horribly bothersome. The cinematography is pathetic. The people behind and in front of the camera fail to handle the limited material given to them. They just could not make the best of what they have. LAND OF THE FREE is without a doubt, one of the poorest entries from the prolific PM duo. Events that do not coherently connect together plus inadequately directed action sink this whole production.
Maybe this movie is worth a laugh or too. Shatner's performance deserves a few chuckles and you will laugh often at how Speakman does not seem to take the menacing perils very seriously. This is better particularly when one is intoxicated. This way, the person will not realize what kind of agony he/she is subjecting him/herself into...
RATING: NO STARS out of ****.
Jeff Speakman plays a campaign manager for would-be senator William Shatner
who finds out that Shatner wants to take over America with the help of
militias. This is a lesser PM Entertainment film that concentrates on being
a kindler, gentle action film. With the inclusion of a wife and kid amidst
all the on-the-run action, it's obvious that this film is pandering to many
varying demographics. It slows down the pace and adds only bad melodrama.
Even the action scenes aren't as good as some other PM releases. William Shatner isn't even allowed to ham it up. It's not bad, but, it ain't good.
Any of the movies from the company "PM" are usually gonna be pretty
bad. PM uses the same actors quite frequently, especially Dennis Hopper
and Michael Madsen. I was surprised to see Bill Shatner show up. The
most ridiculous part of the movie to me is the climactic fight between
Jennings (Jeff Speakman) and Shatner's character Aiden Carvell (however
it is spelled, who cares!!). Speakman at the time was only 38 or 39
years old and is a martial arts expert. He is supposed to have a hand
to hand fight with portly, aging, senior citizen Shatner. Come on!
Shatner only got one good lick on Speakman anyway in the fight. Plus,
he was another example of the kind of bad guy who talks instead of just
killing the hero when he has the chance. He walks up to Speakman with a
gun and says "It's over!" Just shoot him! Speakman then kicks Shatner's
ass while he is badly injured (Speakman).
Bad movie but I bought it cheap on DVD and watch it frequently if I am bored just alone because the climactic fight is so hilarious! Why do they have all these former TV stars in this movie by the way? Bernie "Doc" Kopell from "The Love Boat" shows up. Charles Robinson from "Night Court" plays a bad guy and of course William Shatner of "Star Trek" plays the bad guy ringleader.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's not much to redeem this movie. But when you see Jeff Speakman
and William Shatner on the cover, you pretty much know what to expect.
Cheese, and lots of it.
Chris Lemmon was actually passable as a bad guy, despite being the worst actor in the entire world. Charles Robinson (Mac from Night Court) was also very good.
One of the best scenes is the schoolbus car chase. Although we're meant to believe they're driving across town, they are clearly just driving up and down the same street over and over, passing--and crashing into--the same cars repeatedly. There are only about four cars in that scene other than the bus and the bad guys.
The car chases were very impressively overdone. Each time a bad guy's car rear-ended another car, it would take flight as though launched from a catapult. The bus was hit broadside, and exploded like it was packed with dynamite. Then it blew up again a bit later.
The music was remarkably terrible. It's like they just picked random pieces for each scene, and turned them up even louder during the quiet scenes somehow believing this would add to the suspense.
Overall, I have to give it a 4 just for cheese value.
I got stuck watching this film on a bus from Chiapas to Mexico City, and I
felt like apologizing to everyone on the bus (most were Mexicans, of course)
on behalf of the entire American entertainment industry.
The logic errors in this movie just pile one on top of the other. Why would this candidate secretly stock his campaign staff with violent militia cronies... with the one law-abiding exception being the guy who just happens to be IN CHARGE of the staff? Why is a campaign manager also a karate expert? What does the opening assassination attempt have to do with the whole rest of the movie? Why would this secret militia kill one FBI guy at his home and think that that would somehow throw the law off their tails? Why is a guy who's trying to keep himself (and his family) incognito hop on a bus and drive it down the wrong lane of a freeway? These are all questions the movie does not bother to answer.
Another question I'd like answered, though, is why Arthur Hiller makes an appearance in this movie. Did he lose a bet, or something?
The saving grace of this movie lays in the sheer pleasure you'll feel at seeing that the guy who played Mac in _Night Court_ is still getting work. 'Cause weren't you beginning to worry about him? Me too.
In a way LAND OF THE FREE was a good action movie about a campaign
manager that discovers the senator he is working for is actually part
of a terrorist group that wants to take over the U.S, and goes on the
run once the the corrupt senator dispatches his henchmen to go after
him and his family.
Although the film has a lot of car crashes, shootouts and fight scenes, all very well done, the thing that is really poorly done is the film's music score, its basically this one little tune that sounds like a kind of national anthem that plays repeatedly throughout the film including action scenes, and it really doesn't go well with the film at all, to give an idea of what the score is like, imagine Celine Dion's My heart will go on being played during all of the film's action scenes.
The storyline is nothing new, the acting isn't too bad at all and the film isn't badly directed either, but it gets my vote for a razberry award because of its score.
While William Shatner's performance was the best part of the movie, the rest of the acting by every single every other person in this movie is just awful. The music is one of the worst scores I have ever heard, and the car chases are just non-stop and totally unrealistic. On the plus side, the hand-to-hand action scenes are actually entertaining. If you feel like watching a movie that really defines 'B-movie,' this is it.
PM Entertainment made some good action movies, but this isn't one of them. It does have its trademark high production values (for direct-to-video movies), and it has a few good stunts. The rest of the movie is pretty poor. The acting is terrible - Shatner hams it up, and Speakman isn't much better. The action sequences are poorly directed - the martial arts become a jumble of fast-moving limbs, and the driving sequences frequently use slow-motion that make them as exciting as pouring molasses out of a jar. The rest of the movie is just as slow-moving, and it seems to take forever to end. And you would swear that the movie's music composer wasn't watching the movie he scored, because he always uses the same somber-sounding military music, even during the action sequences! If you want to see a good movie from PM Entertainment, try RAGE, LAST MAN STANDING, EXECUTIVE TARGET, or THE SWEEPER instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Politician extraordinaire Aidan Carvell (Shatner) is running for the
U.S. Senate. His campaign manager, Frank Jennings (Speakman) is
dedicatedly working to make sure Carvell achieves his goal. However, in
the course of working on his election bid, Frank discovers that Carvell
is the secret head of a militia group that wants to overthrow the
government. Now he knows too much, and he goes on the run. Carvell's
people, including McCaster (Robinson), and Thornton (Lemmon) are
spearheading the "let's chase down and kill Frank Jennings" initiative,
so he takes his wife and son and joins the witness protection program.
But that's not enough for the megalomaniacal Carvell, who wants Frank,
a serious thorn in his side and sole blocker of his evil plans, dead.
So who will come out victorious, and who will live in the LAND OF THE
FREE? Wait. You mean to tell me there's an actual movie where Jeff
Speakman and William Shatner co-star, they get into confrontations with
each other, and eventually fight? Where do I sign up? In truth, Land Of
The Free isn't quite as awesome as the presence of the aforementioned
power-duo might imply, but it's still entertaining and worth seeing.
Chalk it up to PM, they really have a winning formula and they stick to
it. Plenty of car chases and exploding, flipping cars are the order of
the day once again. But as we've said before, PM has turned it into an
As for Shatner, he's looking quite robust and apple-cheeked here. His classic herky-jerky line reading delivery of course is on show. Be it Star Trek, Land Of The Free, TekWar, or any of his other projects, Shatner always speaks the same way. So it's nice that, even in a DTV PM movie, he'll say a line such as "I don't believe it" like "I-don't-believe...it." Does anyone else find it amusing that in this movie he plays a supposedly pro-American guy, but he's really Canadian? That truly is range. And yes, his name is Carvell, which will inevitably remind you of ice cream. Adding an extra "L" isn't the cleverest way to cover that up. Judging by the pounds that both Speakman and Shatner put on, maybe Carvel sponsored this movie. Perhaps naming Shatner's character that is just an homage to Cookie Puss and Fudgie the Whale.
Cleverly, the filmmakers never assign a political party to Carvell. You can read your own biases into him. He's sort of a melange: they call him a "Maverick", which will remind you of John McCain, but his enthusiasm is very Howard Dean-esque. His political stances seem to be in the Ron Paul camp. So he's a little bit from every party, and even the name Carvell, after all, maybe isn't from the ice cream, it's a sly reference to James Carville? We may never know. Like the world in general, the movie needed more Shatner. There are large sections where he's not even involved with the plot. But we know one thing for sure, he really loves his antiques.
So Frank Jennings, Speakman's character, is constantly beating people up with his trademark Kenpo style, shooting people, and using renegade tactics like jumping off buildings and wild car chases to evade the baddies. Keep in mind he's not Carvell's bodyguard, he's his Campaign Manager! That's one badass campaign manager. He should run for a new political position: Speakman Of The House! But he does wear a red shirt, blue jeans, and his skin is white, so we can only assume he is, without saying it, more "American" than the evil Carvell, at least based on his wardrobe choices. And that really is the best way to express your patriotism.
People shoot their guns sideways in true "gangsta" style, there's a restaurant that sells something called "pastrami shrimp", and the movie is more relevant today than ever before. It's all underpinned by inappropriately patriotic musical stings, even during car chases. Are they supposed to be especially patriotic car chases? Again, we may never know.
Especially in this election year of 2012, more people should see Land Of The Free.
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