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Great Action Flick!!
The opening scene blew me away!! Absolutely amazing action at the beginning. Andrei (Pitbull) Arlovski stole the show with a great action performance. JCVD had a smaller role than the previous film and did a solid performance. I was disappointed that Dolph Lundgren's role was so small but he did a great job. The long fight sequence between Dolph and JCVD had some amazing parts as well.
The action at the beginning is by far the best; yet the film continues to deliver till the very end. I especially appreciate the minimal use of dialog. Extensive dialog was not needed for this film and was not included (useless and excessive dialog drives me nuts in action films).
*************SPECIALIZED CRITIQUE TO FILL SPACE!!****************
My only complaint was the tactics, weapons and armor employed by the US Army forces in the film. The weapons used by the Army forces appear to be the fully automatic M16A1 (with after market banana clips) which was used in the Vietnam War. The Army now uses the M16A4 with a 30 round magazine (slightly curved but not banana style) which is not fully automatic (Burst/Semi/Single) and Infantry are trained to rely primarily on well place single shots leaving the fully auto fire to the 240B or the SAW Gunners.
Additionally the US Army relies heavily on night-time operations thus ALL combat troops are equipped with Night Vision Devices. Mid day attacks are rarely ever performed especially against a heavily embedded enemy force. None of the "good guys" had night vision devices.
The US Army ubiquitously uses the Interceptor System of body armor which utilizes heavy ceramic plates in front and back of the soldier to protect from small arms fire and to minimize wounds from explosions. The soldiers in the film appear to wear simple Kevlar.
Furthermore Recon operations are never performed by a single operator but by small silent teams (2 or 4 men) moving slowly, smoothly and silently together. The lone Recon guy's equipment, weapon, and movements were completely wrong and his equipment made way too much noise.
I guess my main complaint would be the Director didn't do his research when it came to a large portion of his film. This is a common complaint for me in most movies which attempt to show modern US Army tactics and weapons. You would think that with all the unemployed Iraq War veterans out there they could find a few to advise them on their films.
Ultimately Universal Soldier: Regeneration was an enjoyable film. I read one snobbish review relegating it to "B" movie oblivion yet I found the movie to be better than most "A" action movies coming out of Hollywood.
Congrats to Dolph and JCVD for a great movie I hope to see more films of this quality from both!
This is the most intelligent and impressive sci-fi series pilot I have ever seen. The dialog is excellent and the acting superb. The show brings to the realm of sci-fi the quality and excellence that the Sopranos, Deadwood and The Tudors brought to HBO and Showtime.
I was a fan of the first couple seasons of Battlestar Gallatica however I felt that the show lost its way and proceeded onward for financial gain versus a commitment to excellence. Caprica begins much more intelligently and better-crafted than its predecessor, Battlestar Gallatica, did and with even better talent.
Eric Stolz and Esai Morales were excellent casting choices! They both bring a dignity and vitality to their characters.
I hope the show is picked up and we are privileged with several seasons of intelligent, dramatic and suspenseful sci-fi from this great ensemble.
A Bad Ripoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I can just imagine a bunch of producers and writers sitting around a big table throwing around really bad ideas such as:
Producer #1: We need a show that targets the 13 to 19 market, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer did in the US.
Producer #2: I've got a great idea; how about a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Writer #1: Brilliant!
Producer #1: We don't want to look like we're copying the Americans though.
Writer #2: We could change it up with a male lead.
Producer #2: That's good but not enough.
Writer #3: How about instead of a vampire slayer he's a demon slayer?
Producer #1: hmmm....I like where this is heading...
Producer #2: By using a comic book hero we could cut costs on the back story and comic book heroes are big time money makers. Look at Spiderman 1-3, X-Men 1-3, Iron Man, Batman, and The Hulk.
Producer #1: I like where you're going with this. We could even come up a video game to market the show.
Writer #1: So who's the comic book hero?
Producer #1: That's your department; my dear boy.
Writer #1: Right; hmmmmm....
Writer #2: What about Van Helsing?
Producer #1: Who the hell is that?
Writer #2: Remember that terrible vampire/werewolf film with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale?
Producer#1: Oh yea...that Steven Somer's bomb
Writer #2: Hugh Jackman's character was Van Helsing, a famous monster hunter who goes to Transylvania to kill Dracula.
Writer #1: And Van Helsing's got all kinds of cool old weapons and gadgets like a medieval James Bond!
Producer #2: This sounds perfect guys!
Producer #1: I like it! Add a couple sexy teens to the script, leather, some cool demons and we got ourselves a UK hit!! I want you guys to write me up a pilot and I'll sell it to the big boys.
And Viola! just like that you have another crappy TV show called Demons!!
The Man from Earth (2007)
A Gem In Need Of A Little More Work
I enjoyed this movie. I appreciated that the entire film was solely based on dialog and that there were no fancy flashback scenes. And I also enjoyed the intellectual challenge posed by the film.
I think though that this film could have been so much better. For this film to work it really needs to be a lot more thought-provoking and ground breaking intellectually.
As a historian I loved the idea and was thrilled to see it being played out. However I was disappointed that the story revolved around Western Civ 101.
The story of the birth of Christianity as told by the main character is an old and favorite of amateur historians mostly told at cocktail parties to impress and create controversy.
I was really hoping and expecting something new, exciting and thought-provoking. Instead the story is based on trivia and historical generalities (e.g. pig farmer friend of Van Gogh, student of the first Buddha, etc...).
The idea of a man living from the dawn of human history is a vast literary treasure trove. And yet all this movie focuses on is the roots of Christianity. David Lee Smith's character, John Oldman, lived 40,000 years and yet the only details of that incredible story he re-tells are of being Jesus and his convenient friendship with Van Gogh which he never describes.
This film could've been a beautiful and amazing insight into human history and into the human condition and all it turns out to be is an agnostic vehicle.
I rated the film 7/10 as the idea is wonderful, the dialog is decent and the simple presentation is daring and well-done.
Where the film fails is in the poor cinematography and lighting. Its almost as if the director was directing a play vs a film. The characters are all boring stereotypical professors with the addition of their attractive female devotees/flunkies--Alexis Thorpe and Annika Peterson.
Furthermore the film's inability to tap into the wonderful richness of the human story keeps it grounded in mediocrity.
Ten Dead Men (2008)
BDSM, Homo-Erotica, MMA and lots of Bad Acting
I was hoping that "10 Dead Men" was going to be as good as "Rise of the Foot Soldier." The premise/plot is a decent yet typical tale of revenge while the fight choreographing is superb. The acting, dialog, cinematography and editing are horrible (i.e. terrible directing).
The small budget excuses the poor cinematography and editing however it doesn't excuse the bad acting, dialog and overall horrible directing.
The film seems more a vehicle for sadistic homo-erotica than serious story-telling with lots of violent BDSM, torture, transvestites, and big burly men.
As a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fan I was offended by the film's portrayal of MMA competitors as brutal, blood-thirsty, mindless goons.
The entire film is summed up in one scene halfway though the movie. Two of the main characters are mindlessly watching TV on the couch. The supporting actor channel surfs past an MMA fight to a porn channel which bores and annoys Ryan (the main character). Ryan then takes the remote and returns to watching the MMA fight and is visibly excited by the action.
If you're looking for a film featuring homo-erotica, BDSM and MMA to watch with your guy buddies then this is the flick for you. However if you are looking for a good action film like "Rise of the Foot Soldier" look somewhere else.
Don't be fooled by a high IMDb rating of this film. I watched it as it had an IMDb rating of 8.1/10 with 156 votes. After watching the film I am very certain that the entire cast and everyone they know voted a 10 for this movie.
I rated it a 4/10 as the fight choreographing is superb.
Great Action Film!
I love it when an action film has a solid plot, decent acting and tons of great action. If you liked the movie Seraphim Falls and you enjoyed Liam Neeson's character then you will love this film! A previous reviewer compared Taken to the Bourne films and complained that it could've been better. I agree as some of the supporting acting was terrible however I personally detest the political nature of the Bourne films.
The great thing about Taken is that it has no socio-political agenda. Liam Neeson's character is solely focused on saving his daughter and will do anything to accomplish his mission whether it means killing or torturing those who get in his way.
Towards the end the action gets a little unbelievable however nothing that deters from the enjoyment of the movie. My biggest problem with this film is Maggie Grace's horrible acting as Liam Neeson's daughter.
Taken, is a typical Luc Besson action film that cares very little about character development and strives to provide the best action and cinematography possible. And in that sense this film is a major success!
I gave this film 10/10 stars because it embodies what I look for in an action film--intense action, gripping suspense and absolutely no socio-political agenda!
The Hammer (2007)
A Knockout Film!
For being such a low budget film I was very surprised at how good this film was. Just goes to show that money doesn't make a great film; good story, good acting, lots of funny one-liners and a heart-warming plot do.
I definitely recommend that you watch this!
***FILLER*** aka blah, blah........
I hope Adam Coralla puts together another film. Its too bad this one went straight to DVD with little to no publicity. I've seen numerous films with huge budgets and tons of publicity which were absolutely terrible...........
I was lucky to see a screener for this film. At first I wasn't expecting much as the last film I saw with Val Kilmer-Conspiracy-I shut off 15 minutes into it in disgust.
Felon, is an excellent film with great acting, a great plot and good dialog. This is by far the best movie I've seen Stephen Dorf in and Val Kilmer gives a solid performance. While the storyline flirts with typical prison antagonists and a pseudo-familiar plot the story is very realistic and highly believable.
Lots of suspense, good solid action, excellent cinematography and great acting make this film a must see for drama/suspense fans. Its great to see Val Kilmer resuming his place as one of the best actors of his generation.
The Art of War II: Betrayal (2008)
Waste of Money
Wesley Snipes would have been better off using the money to make this movie to pay his taxes.
The original Art of War was decent yet part 2 is absolutely horrendous. Its like watching a train wreck. Snipes tries to act which is never a good thing. His best movies are where he does very little acting and has very little dialog with a lot of action.
The Art of War: Betrayal, is a worse than the typical Snipes vehicle and is headed straight to DVD. Maybe Snipes can watch it in prison and learn from his mistakes. The film is obviously shot in Vancouver, BC (to escape US taxes) with a few scenes filmed in Washington State however the story is set entirely in LA.
The cinematography is decent (overly trendy and often too techy) however the plot, dialog, acting, directing and casting are all horrible.
There are so many ludicrous moments in this film its sad. One of the worst is at the beginning where Snipes' character is being paid as a subject matter expert on a Hollywood film. Snipes' character offers a line of critical advice on an action scene and then swaggers off scene while the entire crew looks at him in awe.
If you are looking for a highly implausible, totally unbelievable and predictable film with a lot of bad acting(aka your typical Snipes film) I would still recommend you look elsewhere for mindless entertainment.
The Killing Floor (2007)
Decent beginning, Predictable Ending
The beginning of the film is quite decent with a lot of potential. However the story quickly dissolves into several "suspenseful" misdirections which are mildly entertaining yet predictable.
Marc Blucas plays a young, handsome and rich literary agent. The casting of Blucas for this role was a poor decision. Not because he's not a good actor; he's just not a believable yuppie bookworm. I did like that Blucas' character wasn't afraid of the dark and wasn't jumping at every strange sound or seeing things.
The end is predictable although the writers didn't think so as the ending is supposed to leave you in shock. All it left me was bored and glad to hit the stop button.