Reviews written by registered user
fmarkland32

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441 reviews in total 
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The Last Stand..., 30 August 2014
5/10

This time, the greatest group of mercenaries (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes and Randy Couture) are retired by big boss Stallone in favor of a new group (of less charismatic) mercenaries (Lutz, Rousey, Oritz and etc) to go up against super villain Stonebanks (Mel Gibson!) however when the new group is captured, the old school is brought back in to save the day with the help of rival teams (Schwarzenegger, Ford and Li.) The Expendables 3 is the weakest of the series for but one reason it sidetracks the stars we want to see. All of us 80s action fans who watched Stallone flicks (let alone the Lundgren, Snipes, Jet Li and so on) want to see the stars in question share the big screen. Indeed for two movies in a row, Stallone has showed that he got what fans wanted and his formula, as meatheaded as it is delivered what we wanted, but in this sequel we are only given glimpses of what could have been. For instance Mel Gibson is a great villain, but is given no henchmen to up his stakes. Snipes, Lundgren and Li are all great in their roles, but are completely wasted by a movie that sidetracks in favor of humorless heroics from Stallone and his younger crew. Indeed this sequel actively finds away to resist all good ideas, for instance the rivalry between the old school guys and the new people, it sucks because there is a build up and then there is no pay off at all. The Expendables 3 then is a fun action move and is never boring, but after the last two entries, this is somewhat of a letdown. Here's hoping Stallone gets back to the basics and remembers why we liked the 80s action guys in the first place.

** out of 4-(Fair)

Legendary (2013)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Lame from the legends.., 30 August 2014
2/10

Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren star as rival bad-ass hunters who look to go up against some type of kimono dragon. Legendary is the type of B. movie that boggles your mind. After enjoying Adkins work with Van Damme (and Lundgren, as I both enjoyed Expendables 2 and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning)I admit being somewhat optimistic about seeing these two charismatic kung fu guys in a monster movie. The problem though is that Adkins and Lundgren are completely wasted in what feels like a busted made for TV pilot for a TV show that never should air. The problem is that Adkins and Lundgren are not cut out for Indiana Jones antics and as a monster movie the film is completely unexciting. Overall this movie will even bore the most ardent fans of the two stars. Therefore this misfire is best forgotten, so if you want to see the combined talents of the two stars used effectively, re-rent Universal Soldier:Day Of Reckoning, because this painfully boring dud will be remembered solely as a low point in the careers of both stars.

* out of 4-(Bad)

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Final Confrontation..., 26 October 2012
7/10

Stop me if you've heard this premise before. A telepathic mutant summons up two celebrity gladiator type butt kickers to lead her and her telepathic friends out of the city and into a safe place away from the corrupt government. Endgame actually is about as enjoyable as Z-grade Italian rip offs get, my three star rating then is meant solely for those who know what they're getting since nobody else would rent this in the first place. Endgame actually is true guilty pleasure because it's just so weird and loopy, there are fights against blind monks, a kung fu expert named "Ninja" who helps our hero and weird vehicles and costumes. This is a movie that they just don't make any more and is based on taking Mad Max and adding so many ideas and weird touches that it becomes somewhat enjoyable. The twist ending truly must be seen to be believed and I mean what can I say, I liked it.

* * * out of 4-(Good)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hunting season is over..., 26 October 2012
2/10

Todd Jensen plays a journalist and ex-super soldier type who finds himself hunted by a group of South African rich men, and along the way Jensen falls for the girl (Michelle Bestbier) and the fight is on. Prey For The Hunter has adequate acting believe it or not, I mean they're not very good but they're merely wooden instead of laughable which makes it hard to enjoy as camp. Meanwhile the action sequences are completely lame. You would be hard pressed to find any excitement in any of the confrontations that take place on the screen and the movie is very badly photographed so that there is no mood, no sense of atmosphere and no landscape beauty to make the backdrop sort of interesting. Prey For The Hunter is just completely lifeless dreck, a movie that you suspect nobody enjoyed making. One thing about movies like this, is that there is sort of a nostalgia and when you're bored you sort of wonder how the actors now (having not worked in 15 years) tell their friends about their attempt to make it in showbiz, but with this,you suspect it was an unhappy experience for all involved. Todd Jensen did actually go on to make more movies but to my knowledge never in a starring role and it's kinda sad that his one big movie, is one nobody wants to remember.

* out of 4-(Bad)

6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Wrecking Machines..., 26 October 2012
6/10

Scott Adkins stars as a UniSol designed by the government to take out Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme who doesn't look good bald), Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) and all the other UniSols who have gone rogue. The main flaw here is that the movie just doesn't explain enough, the ending, the plot and everything is just too vague. The ending in particular leaves a lot of unanswered questions, perhaps this is a set up to another sequel but it's very open ended. Everything else is well put together and the action sequences are thrilling. The sporting goods battle is a real classic and the choreography is very good, indeed one is surprised that Van Damme and Lundgren can still pull these moves off, also there are a lot of interesting ideas here, as director Hyams goes more for suspense and atmosphere. Surprisingly Van Damme and Lundgren aren't in it as much as you would expect, but then one sees this as both of them passing the torch to newcomer Adkins. Considering Adkins' work in Undisputed II and III, Expendables 2 and Ninja, I can't think of a better screen presence to hand the franchise keys to.

* *1/2 Out of 4-(Pretty Good)

Bloodsport..., 5 September 2010
8/10

Spoilers within

Ricky (Fan Siu-Wong) is a super-powered martial artist in a corporate run prison (year 2001 A.D) where the warden (who turns into a giant demon) and assistant warden (who keeps mints in his eye and has a hook for a hand) mistreat the prisoners and deploy the use of the gang of 4 (A yakuza guy, a gay kung fu expert that runs opium, a giant guy that also has super strength and a blonde guy who uses a wire blades to pierce people) Suffice to say Ricky has his hands full and he endures numerous torture devices that includes being buried alive and forced to eat razorblades in what is one of the most enjoyable anime adaptations that really kicks ass mainly due to the level of carnage. The Story Of Ricky really must be seen to be believed, I mean you just can't take your eyes off what is going on. The best example is the opening in which a cannibal sumo threatens Ricky and Ricky then punches through his stomach and tears out his guts. Also where a guy guts himself and uses such to strangle his enemy and of course the meat grinder finale. The Story Of Ricky is also best recommended in dubbed format, the subtitles actually showcase that the acting isn't too bad, but in dubbed form it truly becomes that much goofier, as it's dubbed like a 70s kung fu effort and the dialog contains cornier jokes and really flat voice dubbing (once again it's dubbed like a kung fu movie) The movie then is hard to decipher on whether it is very bad or a masterpiece. Indeed I lean with the latter because you can tell this was made with a lot of love and ambition. In other words this is a must see, and a perfect reason why Hong Kong cinema is often times so interesting.

* * *1/2 out of 4-(Very Good)

Ninja Death..., 5 September 2010
5/10

Rain stars as a well Ninja Assassin who single handedly destroys a ninja clan (apparently the only one in existence) for killing his girlfriend (?) while he was a preteen, the leader of the clan Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi, the film's only decent performance) meanwhile swears vengeance and sends his ninjas to wipe out various FBI agents. There isn't much I can say about this one, it is one of the most neutral i've ever felt regarding a movie. While the movie has some fun moments of carnage, all of this detracted by the fact that lead actor Rain is beyond uncharismatic. People might give Kosugi and Michael Dudikoff a hard time for perhaps being in silent and deadly mode but they had a form of charisma. Rain looks too much like a boy-band pop star and for that the movie fails to deliver an edgy hero. The romantic subplot between Rain and Naomie Harris is useless and dull. Overall Nina Assassin is a passable movie, I mean I was reasonably entertained but it's not on par with the classic 80s output and it especially comes nowhere near some of the Shaw Brothers classic ninja flicks. That said it's nowhere near the worst (And boy they're some doozies in this genre, ever see American Ninja 3, Lethal Ninja or Ninja The Protector?) Ninja Assassin then is just in the middle. It has some fun action and it moves well but it has no personality, much like the leading man Rain.

* * out of 4-(Fair)

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Blackbelt..., 5 September 2010
7/10

Michael Jai White stars as Bone, a fighter just out of prison to compete in street fighting circuits and get revenge on the man who killed his cell-mate and who's girlfriend is now with the mobster (Eamonn Walker) who is responsible for that man's death, many great fight sequences follow in the wake of this brisk blaxploitation/kung fu action gem. The story is pretty much Lionheart all over again but done with a great degree of style and truly thrilling fight sequences. Indeed the finale in particular is suspenseful and choreographed with imagination and energy. Michael Jai White also makes for a charismatic hero while maintaining a stoic and stone faced presence. Overall though, martial arts movies are about the fight sequences and whether it has just enough character development to get us involved into the fight, Blood and Bone works in the same vein as Bloodsport and Kickboxer. It's no Oscar caliber film then, but it's well worth it for kung fu fans.

* * * out of 4-(Good)

Machete (2010)
4 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Cuts like a knife..., 4 September 2010
7/10

Machete (Danny Trejo) is an ex-Federale turned day laborer who has a tragic past involving a drug lord Torrez (Steven Seagal, in an unexpectedly lively performance) while in the country illegally he is given 150,000 dollars to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (DeNiro) who's stance on immigration is unpopular and hence needs to be made a martyr or so his campaign manager Booth (Fahey) thinks, the job goes awry and all of it leads to a fight between Mexican revolutionaries led by Machete going up against demented minute men led by Don Johnson (in a great performance) in a movie that delivers what is expected and occasionally flirts with greatness. Danny Trejo is an excellent actor and he makes for a charismatic hero in the vein of Charles Bronson, meanwhile the villains are first rate, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson and Jeff Fahey are all fantastic playing against type. Indeed it's ironic that De Niro is the most lightweight of the villains here. Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan and Cheech Marin also lend strong support to a movie that works well as parody. Indeed Jessica Alba is the only one who comes off as lame. Indeed she ruins what chance this movie has for 4 stars by being far less charismatic than Rodriguez and Lohan. The movie also has faults in the way that Johnson doesn't get nearly enough time on screen and Rodriguez' return is unexplained as well, but for what it is, Machete works and although the comic level isn't as inspired as in Planet Terror, Machete is certainly worth a look. Indeed my only other complaint was that they didn't try to make the film look vintage 70s like in the original Grindhouse trailer.

* * * out of 4-(Good)

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Excessive Force..., 4 September 2010
3/10

Kurt Russell stars as geriatric serial killer who uses his "death proof" car to mow down women who reject him. Such targets include Sydney Poitier (daughter of Sidney),Jordan Ladd, Vanessa Ferlito, Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Zoe Bell. That's pretty much it for plot. The problem with Death Proof is that it doesn't utilize the only bright spots it has. Mainly Kurt Russell and the action sequences. When Russell is on screen, Death Proof comes alive and the chases are truly thrilling, indeed the finale even features Russell in a hilarious change of character that brings a welcome sense of humor. The only problem is this is 20% of the movie. Most of it is taken up with women talking about 70s movies like Vanishing Point as well as men. What this lacks is any sense of reality. Very few women talk about movies from the 70s, indeed very few men do as well, ergo the idea that women could go on about such for that long doesn't work. Also the women aren't very likable. The final women in particular leave their friend alone with a country bumpkin rapist (see Kill Bill Volume 1) and we are apparently supposed to root for them by default. What bothered me most though was that it just feels too self indulgent, Tarantino obviously loves 70s cinema and he often times invites us to enjoy his passion, but with Death Proof he assumes his passion is enough and that we will be sold on his name alone. He is wrong. Death Proof then only comes to life in short spurts and that isn't enough.

*1/2 out of 4-(Poor)


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