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The Grand Master
Originally it was a top 50 list but I feel there are too many awesome movies to leave out of the list hence why the list was extended to 100.
The list spans across 43 years from Dirty Harry and A Clockwork Orange which were released in 1971, to American Sniper which was released in 2014.
Trivia: Movies in the IMDB Top 250: 50 Movies in the IMDB Top 100: 32 Have won Oscars: 39 Won Best Picture: 14 Best Director: 14 Best Actor: 6 Best Actress: 2 Best Supporting Actor: 7 Best Supporting Actress: 1
Most Prolific Actors in list: Robert De Niro: 10 Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis: 6 Christian Bale, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon and Mel Gibson: 5 Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Hanks: 4
Most Prolific Directors in List: Martin Scorsese: 6 James Cameron: 5 Christopher Nolan: 5 John McTiernan: 3 Stanley Kubrick: 3 Francis Ford Coppola: 3 Clint Eastwood: 3
Most Popular Years: 1999: 6 1995: 6 1987: 6
Random Stats: Based on a Comic Book: 5 That are Rated R18+: 24 That are sequels: 15 That were followed by sequels: 19 That are remakes or have been remade: 5 That are from Australia: 4 That are from the UK: 3 Longest Movie: The Godfather Part II (202 mins) Shortest Movie: Mad Max (88 mins) Highest Rated Movie: The Shawshank Redemption (9.3 #1) Lowest Rated Movie: Rambo: First Blood Part II (6.4) Highest Grossing Film: Avatar ($2,782,275,172 also currently the highest grossing film of all time as of 2013).
Movies that frequently contain f..k: The Wolf of Wall Street: 569 Casino: 398 End of Watch: 326 Goodfellas: 300 Pulp Fiction: 265 The Departed: 237 American History X: 214 Training Day: 211 Scarface: 207 Lone Survivor: 161 Platoon: 159
Anyway on with list...
L.A. Confidential (1997)
A brilliantly done detective crime thriller that is still a winner.
L.A. Confidential is a brilliant detective crime thriller that is solidified by a terrific all star cast, an engaging story, and top notch direction. Director Curtis Hanson has certainly created a winning masterpiece.
Based on the neo-noir novel by James Ellroy, L.A. Confidential is set in 1950's Los Angeles and flips the city upside down and exposes the ugly side of Los Angeles with many issues rife such as organised crime, pornography, prostitution, drug trafficking, police corruption, political corruption, and the ugly side of Hollywood. L.A. Confidential centers on three uniquely different but capable police officers. Detective Lieutenant Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is an intelligent and ambitious police officer however his honesty and rigid adherence to policies and regulations see him as a pariah amongst fellow officers. Officer Bud White (Russell Crowe) is a brutal short-tempered thug who dispenses his own brand of justice against women beaters. Detective Sergeant Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a narcotics detective who moonlights as a technical adviser on the popular TV police drama series Badge of Honor based on Dragnet. He is only interested in maintaining his image on the social scene in Hollywood and boosts his own image by providing Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito), publisher of the infamous Hush-Hush magazine, confidential tips about celebrity arrests that will attract more readers to Hush-Hush in exchange for kickbacks. The three police officers are brought together initially following the Bloody Christmas scandal which saw several Hispanic suspects beaten by a number of drunken police officers. Exley testifies against several officers which results in White suspended from duty and several police officers forced to take early retirement including White's partner Dick Stensland (Graham Beckel). While Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) and District Attorney Ellis Loew (Ron Rifkin) promote Exley following his testimony, White and many fellow officers have taken a disliking to Exley seeing him as a snitch and a coward. The three police officers are later connected to an investigation of The Nite-Owl massacre which saw a number of coffee shop patrons gunned down including Dick Stensland in what appears to have been a robbery gone wrong. Though the investigation seemed to have been cut and dried by linking the murders to a group of young African-Americans discharging shotguns, all is not what it seems when Exley, White and Vincennes conduct their own investigations which uncover corruption all around them as well as a prostitution ring run by Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn) which has prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film actresses including Veronica Lake lookalike Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger in an Academy Award winning performance for Best Supporting Actress).
Kevin Spacey is faultless as the charismatic Jack Vincennes. Although he received top billing, the spotlight remains focused on Australian actors Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe. Guy Pearce is perfectly cast as the ambitious Ed Exley and Russell Crowe channels his inner angry man as Bud White who although is seen as a brutal thug actually is exposed as someone with a good heart. Kim Basinger has always been a talented and attractive actress and she finally receives the deserved recognition for L.A. Confidential. Danny DeVito rounds out the cast perfectly as Sid Hudgens, the chief publisher of Hush-Hush magazine.
Keep an eye out for The Mentalist's Simon Baker (billed as Simon Baker Denny) in a small but pivotal role as actor Matt Reynolds who finds himself in trouble.
Director Curtis Hanson and screenwriter Brian Helgeland have done a brilliant job bringing James Ellroy's novel to the big screen. Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent score actually brings us back to 1950's Los Angeles. Art direction is also top notch.
Winner of 2 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, L.A. Confidential would have netted more awards including Best Picture and Best Director had the blockbusting crowd favourite Titanic (1997) not been there. But that's the way it is.
One of the few movies that gets better with multiple viewings, L.A. Confidential is a brilliantly done detective crime thriller that is still a winner in the eye of many viewers.
Band of Brothers (2001)
A stellar one of a kind mini series that has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the best.
Band of Brothers has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the best mini-series to have graced our television screens. The critical acclaim that the show has received has been well and truly deserved and you can add a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. After the series aired in 2001, Band of Brothers was also a very popular best seller on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have done an exemplary job bringing Stephen E. Ambrose's true story novel to life on screen.
Band of Brothers follows the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division with the U.S Army from their early days at basic training through their tour of duty across Europe in World War II including Normandy (France), Holland, Belgium and Germany. Band of Brothers features a large ensemble of characters however the main character of the series is Richard D. Winters (Damian Lewis, Homeland). Also featuring throughout the series includes Lewis Nixon (Ron Livingston, Office Space), Denver "Bull" Randleman (Michael Cudlitz, Southland), Herbert Sobel (David Schwimmer, Friends), William "Wild Bill" Guarnere (Frank John Hughes, Bad Boys), Robert F. Sink (Dale Dye, Platoon), Ronald Speirs (Matthew Settle, Gossip Girl), Joseph Toye (Kirk Acevedo, Oz), Carwood Lipton, (Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods), David Webster (Eion Bailey, Almost Famous), Buck Compton (Neal McDonough, Minority Report), Joseph Liebgott (Ross McCall, White Collar), Donald Malarkey (Scott Grimes, Party of Five), Frank Perconte (James Madio, The Basketball Diaries), George Luz (Rick Gomez, Justified), John Martin (Dexter Fletcher, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Eugene Roe (Shane Taylor, Strike Back).
Much of the cast can truly give credit to Band of Brothers for stamping their Hollywood career on the map, with a special mention for Damian Lewis, Neal McDonough and Michael Cudlitz who have been involved in a variety of movies and television shows since Band of Brothers.
Keep an eye out for Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire), Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars), Colin Hanks (Orange County), Jimmy Fallon (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), James McAvoy (Wanted) and Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter) in early roles.
Though the series showcases the horrors of the war, there's no denying that it evokes a lot of emotions from viewers throughout its time. There's plenty of drama, light hearted moments and some very sad scenes that will tug on heartstrings in which I unashamedly admit that I have shed a tear. You can't but help sympathise with all of the characters from the show given that they are all based on real life people. The authentic realism cannot be faulted one bit throughout the series.
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have done an exemplary job with Band of Brothers. Without a doubt this is a one of a kind mini-series that is by far and away the best to have graced our television screens and 15 years later is still very popular amongst viewers. No mini-series has reached the standard set by Band of Brothers and although The Pacific (2010) was still a critically acclaimed series, it suffered from its inevitable comparisons with Band of Brothers. I have been hard pressed to find a series that is as addictive and highly engaging with characters you can feel like they have been a part of your life. Band of Brothers is strongly recommended and you would be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this stellar mini-series.
A well deserved 10/10.
Had its fun moments but otherwise nothing new.
While it was good to see a new Star Wars movie on the big screen I strongly felt that despite some fun scenes overall it was not that memorable. To sum up my experience, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was nothing new. I feel conflicted here. Yes it was a good time filler. Yes it was good to see a new entry into the Star Wars franchise. But the movie just felt like it was going over old ground, and it's nothing that hasn't been done before.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star which occurred in Return of the Jedi (1983). Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last Jedi, has disappeared. The First Order led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate Luke and the Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke's twin sister, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is captured and interrogated by Kylo Ren following an unsuccessful operation to capture Poe's droid BB-8 which is carrying vital information on the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. A storm trooper who wants to leave his past behind named Finn (John Boyega) helps Poe escape and crash lands onto planet Jakku where he runs into BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley), a resourceful scavenger. After escaping in the iconic Millennium Falcon following an air strike Rey, Finn and BB-8 encounter Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca where they embark on a quest to locate Luke Skywalker as well as evading Kylo Ren and the First Order.
It was a trip down nostalgic lane catching up with Han Solo, Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-P30. The franchise receives a welcome injection of new blood with Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren. Out of the new characters I liked Rey the most, and I hope to see her again in the franchise should there be a sequel. She's resourceful, adventurous, and appealing. I liked Finn but I must have missed why he grew tired of becoming a storm trooper. Kylo Ren was just another version of Darth Vader and Darth Maul but I thought his lightsaber looked more intimidating that the character itself.
The plot was just like the same old path that has been taken before. It was good to see JJ Abrams take on the Star Wars franchise but I missed George Lucas' midas touch that he gave the previous Star Wars movies. John Williams returns as the composer and his musical score gave the movie an energetic feel.
There was a large amount of hype surrounding the movie and rightfully so. Most people have raved about how good it was and there is a small minority that dislike the movie. I'm sitting firmly in the category of people who thought it was good but not great. While Star Wars The Force Awakens was worth a watch overall I felt as if it was rehashing old ground with a touch of nostalgia thrown in with the characters from the original movies. But nonetheless, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a decent time filler.
Who would have thought a show about nothing would become a permanent fixture in today's popular culture.
Seinfeld is still a show that everyone talks about even since the show graced our television screens in 1989 to when it ended in 1998. Many of the memorable catch phrases including but not limited to "Yada yada yada", "Festivus", "Serenity Now", "No soup for you!", "Giddyup", "These pretzels are making me thirsty", "Not that there's anything wrong with that" and "Even Steven" still hold a permanent place in popular culture to this day. I bet whoever passed on Seinfeld and dismissed it as a show about nothing would never admit to anything would be kicking themselves.
To describe Seinfeld would be kept simple. Basically the show centers on neurotic New York stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld, his old girlfriend who he is still friends with Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), his eccentric neighbour with outlandish ideas and wacky appearance with his upright hair and loud clothing "Cosmo" Kramer (Michael Richards), and his loyal best friend the balding, self-loathing, miserly, dishonest, petty and insecure George Constanza (Jason Alexander). Most of the episodes center around Jerry's apartment as well as many other places out and about New York City.
Many minor characters appear throughout the series including but not limited to Kramer's best friend and Jerry's worst enemy Newman (Wayne Knight), Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller), Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris), Uncle Leo (Len Lesser), David Puddy (Patrick Warburton), "J" Peterman (John O'Hurley), Susan Ross (Heidi Swedberg), Jackie Chiles (Phil Morris), Mr. Kruger (Daniel von Bargen), Morty Seinfeld (Morty Seinfeld), Helen Seinfeld (Liz Sheridan) and The Soup Nazi (Larry David).
The humour throughout the series is cleverly done. It is not over the top nor is it outrageous, yet it relates to everyday events and the writers even incorporated their own experiences and brought it to life in the show.
There will never be another show like Seinfeld and all four actors will always be remembered for Seinfeld no matter what happens throughout their careers. For a show about nothing, it certainly has reaped its benefits for everyone.
The Doors (1991)
Oliver Stone and Val Kilmer do a fine job in paying tribute to Jim Morrison and The Doors.
There's no denying that Jim Morrison at the height of his popularity was a free spirited, larger-than-life icon of the 1960s music scene. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. Away from the microphone, Jim Morrison's life was plagued by alcoholism, drug use, obsession with death, womanising, and bizarre behaviour which saw him having numerous run ins with the law. Oliver Stone does not apologise in pulling no punches and navigating through controversy in telling the psychedelic tale of Jim Morrison's short life and his band The Doors.
The movie centers on Jim Morrison's life (Val Kilmer) as well as his fellow band members including John Densmore (Kevin Dillon, Entourage), Ray Manzarek (Kyle MacLachlan, Blue Velvet), and Robby Krieger (Frank Whaley, Pulp Fiction). The movie also depicts his relationship with Pamela Courson (Meg Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle) and Patricia Kennealy (Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13). As the Doors become hugely successful, Jim becomes increasingly infatuated with his own image as "The Lizard King" and his lifestyle descends into alcoholism and drugs. Jim Morrison also raises the ire of many club owners and managers as well as his own band members and friends growing weary of Jim's bizarre and confrontational behaviour as well as his tardiness for rehearsals and concerts. Jim also finds himself in hot water with the law after being arrested for obscene behaviour on stage.
Val Kilmer gives one of his best performances as Jim Morrison. Their likeness is very similar to each other and Val Kilmer does the movie justice by paying tribute to a legend who's untimely death has seen his legacy immortalised. It was also surreal to watch and listen to many of the old songs being resurrected in the movie.
The rest of the supporting cast rounds out the movie quite well. In particular the likable Meg Ryan was excellent as Jim Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson. There is an assortment of actors and actresses in small roles including Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), Kelly Hu (Cradle 2 The Grave), singer Billy Idol, Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), Debi Mazar (Entourage), Michael Wincott (The Crow), Josie Bissett (Melrose Place) and Titus Welliver (Bosch).
Director Oliver Stone is not one to shy away from controversy especially evidenced by movies such as Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991) and Natural Born Killers (1994). A lot of Jim Morrison's family, close friends and even fellow band members did not appreciate the way how Jim Morrison was depicted and the movie caused a lot of upset.
The Doors pays tribute to Jim Morrison and his band The Doors and this was made possible largely due to the efforts of director Oliver Stone who brought the story to life on the big screen and Val Kilmer in one of his most memorable performances showcasing his abilities as a quality actor by bringing to life the tragic tale of Jim Morrison who was destined to live a short life.
Universal Soldier (1992)
Ignore the critics, Universal Soldier is pure action packed entertainment.
Universal Soldier is one of those violent action movies that is much maligned amongst a lot of critics but still popular amongst audiences. Released in 1992, Universal Soldier was a box office success however critics dismissed it as a mindless and derivative action film with over the top violence. I first saw Universal Soldier when it first premiered on TV as a 10 year old back in 1994 and I have always considered this movie to be a fun an entertaining movie. Not only that, you cannot deny that Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as the star leads boosted its eye candy appeal.
Universal Soldier starts off in Vietnam in 1969 where Private Luc Deveraux (Jean Claude Van Damme) has discovered a village in which US soldiers and Vietnamese villagers have been brutally murdered with their ears severed off. The person responsible for the massacre is the platoon Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren in a cracking performance as the villain) who has kept the severed ears as a necklace and is also holding a young Vietnamese couple hostage. Luc Deveraux tries to reason with the deranged Andrew Scott however the couple end up being killed and both Deveraux and Scott shoot each other to death. Deveraux and Scott's corpses are recovered by a second U.S. Special Forces squad and cryogenically frozen, their deaths covered up as "missing in action". Deveraux and Scott are revived without memories of their previous lives and are selected for the "Universal Soldier" program, an elite counter terrorism unit. Also known as UniSols, they are genetically augmented soldiers with enhanced healing abilities and superior strength, but also have a tendency to overheat and shut down. They are given a neural serum to keep their minds susceptible and their previous memories suppressed. Fast forward to 1992 and the UniSols are deployed to resolve a hostage situation in which a number of armed hostiles are taken a number of hostages at Hoover Dam and have killed a number of hostages and police officers. Deveraux's callsign is GR13 and Scott has been assigned GR44. The situation is resolved however there is some flaws that start to surface, when Deveraux becomes unresponsive after having a flashback and Scott is seen using excessive force. One of the technicians, Woodward (Leon Rippy), wants to remove Devereaux for further analysis, but UniSol commander Colonel Perry (Ed O'Ross) refuses and insists there is no problem. After being fired, television news journalist Veronica Roberts (Ally Walker) attempts to get her job back by trespassing onto the military base to further investigate the UniSol project along with her cameraman. After they are detained by Deveraux and Scott, Scott executes the cameraman in cold blood and Deveraux escapes with Veronica. Deveraux along with Veronica must uncover his past life and how he was resurrected, and how the Universal Soldier project came to light in the 1960's by Dr. Christopher Gregor (Jerry Orbach). Unbeknownst to Colonel Perry and everyone else, Scott slowly regains his psychotic behaviour and spearheads the mission to kill Deveraux and Veronica.
A lot of people saw Universal Soldier as a rip off of the Terminator movies and the plot as unoriginal. I didn't see it that way nor was it a concern for me. I liked all of it. In particular, the butt kicking old school action was enjoyable and Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were fantastic as the main leads. Van Damme was still at his height of his popularity and his 360 kicks are still on display. Dolph's physical prowess was also at his best and he has still maintained his physical abilities many years later.
Director Roland Emmerich who later became well known for blockbusters such as Independence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004) does a quality job in one of his early movies that helped gain him recognition.
I didn't care for any of the sequels, they were just pure rubbish. Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) was one of the worst movies that I had the misfortune to see and I refuse to see the rest of the direct to DVD sequels that have since followed.
Universal Soldier is pure action packed eye candy and you certainly can't go wrong with Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as the main attraction. Although it may be a bit dated now, many years later I still have a soft spot for Universal Soldier. Ignore the critics and ignore the plot, just sit back and enjoy the action packed fun.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are excellent in this top notch thriller.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are both cast against type in Michael Mann's thriller Collateral. Both are excellent in this top notch thriller that had me engaged from beginning to end. Michael Mann who is best known for the crime caper Heat (1995) can add another excellent movie to his filmography with Collateral as one of his best movies.
Max (Jamie Foxx) is a taxi driver who is meticulous in his routine and knows his way through the streets of Los Angeles like the back of his hand. He's seen it all as he's been doing it for 12 years. Max also has big dreams of having his own limousine company which has not eventuated. Amongst his passengers include US Department of Justice prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) who has taking a liking to Max. Soon after a mysterious man dressed in a grey suit named Vincent (Tom Cruise) enters Max's taxi and offers Max $600 to drive him around Los Angeles for the entire night making various stops along the way. The first fare turns out to be anything but routine when a man riddled with bullets falls out of an apartment window and onto Max's taxi. Vincent later reveals himself to be a hit-man and takes Max hostage, ordering him to drive him to various stops to complete his task. Not only must Max work to save himself, he must also try to save the remaining targets. Hot on the path and trying to make the connection between the victims is LAPD Detective Ray Fanning (Mark Ruffalo).
Everyone is used to seeing Tom Cruise as the good guy but without a doubt this is one of his best performances as the cold and sleek hit-man Vincent. It was a shame Tom Cruise did not receive any awards for his performance because this was one of his most memorable roles. Jamie Foxx who frequently plays loud and charismatic characters also goes against type as the mild mannered and diligent taxi driver Max. Jamie Foxx was a well deserved nominee for an Academy Award for his role as Max. Rounding out the supporting cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Barry Shabaka Henley, Javier Bardem and in a brief cameo Jason Statham.
Director Michael Mann brings to life a neo noir thriller with his trademark visuals and a tightly wound story that does not have a single dull moment. Everything about it is vintage Michael Mann. Australian writer Stuart Beattie brings to his life his excellent work which originally started as an idea which popped into his head as a 17 year old catching a taxi from Sydney Airport to his home. I bet he's glad he put that idea on paper and seeing it brought to life on screen.
Collateral is a top notch thriller. Not only is it engaging from start to finish, Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are both memorable in their respective roles which keeps the film moving at a cracking pace. Collateral truly deserved its critical acclaim.
Thank you for an awesome television series. Justified is a winner.
Justified was a unique show that had me hooked from the first 10 minutes of the first episode and from there, I became a die hard fan of the series. Although it was bittersweet to see the show finish up this year, like everything all good things must come to an end and Justified did not suffer from the fate of going stale due to going too long. Justified had it all, action, drama, and plenty of dry humour.
US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Die Hard 4.0) is a modern day cowboy who looks the part with his iconic Stetson and is not above employing unconventional methods of employing his own brand of justice. Following a controversial but justified shooting in the line of duty, Raylan Givens is transferred from Miami, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky. Also included within jurisdiction of the Lexington office is Harlan County, where Raylan was raised and which he thought he had left behind in the past. This also puts him within a collision course with several of his old friends and members of his dysfunctional family. This includes his former best friend turned adversary Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins, The Shield) a charismatic career criminal and Raylan's estranged father Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry, Falling Down). Raylan also seeks to protect his ex-flame Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter, American Pie 2) from Boyd after she shoots dead Boyd's brother following years of abuse. Raylan must also get used to working under his new boss Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy, Cast Away) who aims to ensure that Raylan Givens toes the line with his impulsive tactics. Raylan's colleagues also include the laconic and dry humoured Deputy Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts, EuroTrip) a former Army Ranger sniper, and the sensible Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) who is often seen as a level-headed person but is not to be underestimated. Raylan also must put aside his differences with his ex-wife Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea, The Other Guys) as they both work in the same government building as each other.
Timothy Olyphant is top notch as US Marshal Raylan Givens. This role suits him right to the ground and without a doubt this is my favourite role of his. He is awesome! The rest of the supporting cast was fantastic as well. I have always liked Walton Goggins from The Shield as corrupt police detective Shane Vendrell and it was great to see Walton Goggins on another series. I always thought Jacob Pitts would always be known for his role in EuroTrip (2004) and I didn't know what would he be like here but I thoroughly enjoyed his role as Deputy Tim Gutterson. I also found Joelle Carter to be an attractive woman and she was a pleasure to watch as Ava Carter.
Also featuring throughout the series include a treasure trove of guest stars including M.C. Gainey (Con Air), Jere Burns (Burn Notice), Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump), Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers), Margo Martindale (Million Dollar Baby), Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan), Kevin Rankin (White House Down), Adam Arkin (Chicago Hope), Michael Rapaport (Cop Land), Alicia Witt, (Urban Legend), Sam Elliott (Tombstone), Mary Steenburgen (Back to the Future Part III), Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day), Garret Dillahunt (Deadwood), Jim Beaver (Supernatural), Stephen Root (Office Space), David Andrews (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Matt Craven (Crimson Tide), Ron Eldard (Black Hawk Down), Damon Herriman (Love My Way), Brent Sexton (Life), Demetrius Grosse (Banshee), Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens), Jonathan Tucker (Hostage), Scott Grimes (Band of Brothers), James LeGros (Point Break), and Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man).
Well written and addictive, Justified was a winner. It was always a pleasure watching Justified and although it has come to an end, I can take comfort that it did not run out of ideas or go stale.
To all the cast and crew of Justified, I say thank you for all your stellar work on an awesome series. It was an absolute pleasure watching Justified.
Strike Back (2010)
Add the elements of 24, Rambo, and Lethal Weapon, mix it with sex and graphic violence, amp it up with plenty of action and you have Strike Back.
Strike Back is one of the most enjoyable action packed TV series that I have had the pleasure to watch in recent times. Strike Back contains a lot of elements borrowed from 24, Rambo, and Lethal Weapon which made the series appealing and addictive to its loyal fans who stuck with the show during its run. Strike Back is certainly not for everyone due to the graphic violence, sex scenes and language which may have not earned the mainstream recognition it deserved.
Strike Back centers on Section 20, a secretive branch of the British Defence Intelligence service (DI). It's two main operatives are former British Special Forces operative Sergeant Michael Stonebridge (US actor Phillip Winchester) and former disgraced US Delta Forces operative Damien Scott (Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton) who fearlessly operate several high risk, priority missions throughout the globe. They take down many of the numerous bad guys and terrorists and bed numerous hot women throughout the show (in particular Damien Scott is the show's ladies man).
US actor Phillip Winchester is so believable as British operative Michael Stonebridge that I honestly thought he was British in real life. Here's he's a quality hard nut who's right up there with Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer. Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton has since made a splash with US audiences with roles in 300: Rise of an Empire (2014) and TV's Blindspot (2015) after featuring in numerous Australian TV shows and movies.
It is a shame that Strike Back has since come to an end, because each episode is addictive. After watching the first episode I was hooked and I was very eager to see the series return for a new season each year. Strike Back was one of those underrated shows that I enjoyed watching every time.
Rambo III (1988)
It's good to see Sylvester Stallone return as John Rambo for Rambo III
Rambo III may not be the most popular in the Rambo series due to many people criticising the ordinary and derivative plot. Then again, apart from First Blood (1982) nobody is taking any of the Rambo movies seriously. First Blood (1982) saw a tormented John Rambo symbolically wage war on society following his mistreatment. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) sees Rambo redeem himself saving the forgotten POW's left behind enemy lines in Vietnam. Rambo III sees Rambo back in action to save his friend. I thought Rambo III was enjoyable for it's quality action and Sylvester Stallone in his element.
Rambo III starts off with John Rambo now living in Thailand helping out the locals build a Buddhist monastery while dabbling in stick fighting contests on the side. When his friend and former commander Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) and Embassy official Robert Griggs (Kurtwood Smith) approach Rambo to join him to help the Mujahedeen rebels who are fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Rambo declines, stating he is tired of fighting and wants to live the rest of his life in peace. Trautman reluctantly leaves and continues to proceed with the mission. The mission goes awry and Colonel Trautman is captured and taken prisoner by the brutal Soviet Colonel Zaysen (Marc de Jonge). Griggs later informs Rambo of Trautman's capture and upon hearing the news, Rambo launches a rescue operation to save Trautman with the rebels. When asked why Rambo is doing this, he simply replies "Cause he'd do it for me." Sylvester Stallone returns in his now famous role as John Rambo along with Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman. Kurtwood Smith, well known as his role as Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, has a small role as embassy official Robert Griggs but as a good guy. Marc de Jonge was a quality villain as Colonel Zaysen although he was rarely sighted in Hollywood but instead well known for his roles in France before his untimely death in 1996.
The best way to enjoy Rambo III is to ignore the negative reviews and criticisms about its plot. It is what it is. Enjoy Rambo III for its explosive action and Sylvester Stallone in his titular role.