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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Still boldly going forward
The original series had a LOT to say; particularly for its time.
Without pontificating (show, don't tell) the original series featured a black, female officer -while Martin Luther King was still alive-, a Russian pilot -introduced only three years after the Cuban Missile crisis- and a Japanese helmsman -"only" 21 years after WW2 and still, I think it's fair to say, at a time when Asians were broadly seen (by whites) as a lesser race-.
AS a kid, I just soaked it all up. It never occurred to me that officers who were Russian, Black, Japanese and/or female were somehow unusual. We were all human, right? Sure, Spock was weird, but hey, he was way smarter than 'us'; what if it was really us that was weird, not him? Woah!
And Star Trek was far from perfect. It had (and the movies still have) fist fights and a distinct tendency to treat women as sex objects. (Great to see that THAT is gone from TV now, eh?) But it also often had a really great story-line and it managed to present real ethics without moralizing. It made me think, not just watch. God, how I loved it.
So, (finally) what's the point of all this long-winded preamble? (sorry)
Like its ancestors, Into Darkness also has a lot to say.
In particular the US response to 911 and the assassination of Bin Laden resonates in this movie.... and not in a positive light.
How do we respond to attack, or the threat of attack? Do we have the right to invade alien territory when we're not at war? Do we have the right to execute an enemy without a trial? If not, what does that make us and, more importantly, where does it take us?
Kirk's final speech started with these issues and could have been one for the ages; right up until they F'ed it up by duct-taping in the "Space, the final frontier..." bit. Sadly, that was clumsy, completely inappropriate and the only "original" Star Trek reference that they really, really got wrong. Up to there, I was sold.
But hey, that aside, I really loved the movie. I sure hope JJ can take enough time off Tatooine to make us a few more of these wonderful films and, if not, I'm really, really glad that he took this opportunity to teach us something worth learning.
Great movie. Go see it.
No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)
This is my absolute favourite BAD movie. I love it.
The plot is ludicrous, the acting atrocious and the score is straight out of a Z-grade '60's Western. Barack Obama looks more like Bruce Lee than Tai Chung Kim.
But it's the dialogue that makes this movie great.
Who can forget Van Damme's immortal line: "So, it is you!"?
To be fair, Van Damme looks great and speaks little and there are some good fight scenes if you can stick it out.
This movie is so bad that I own a copy and watch it at least once a year. Laugh out loud from beginning to end.
A must-see. Preferably with a few friends and a bunch of beers.
Robin Hood (2010)
MAJOR spoilers ... look away now.
Great visuals and an excellent cast. (I loved getting the crew of Mystery Alaska back together.)
BUT France did not attempt to invade England under John's reign. Instead, Richard and John after him had large holdings in France (until John blew most of it.)
A fortyish stranger comes to a keep pretending to be the son and heir missing these ten years and only his 'father' and 'wife' notice that he's an impostor? Really?
You turn up, unknown and unannounced, at a meeting between a king and his fractious barons and everyone shuts up and listens to you. Uhuh.
Later the king is incensed because he can't work out why the barons are following you and not him. Well, at least his reasoning makes sense.
You leave your love drowning while you take steady aim and fire an arrow half a mile down a beach? Hooray, she's still alive!
Sorry, Ridley. Love your work but I won't even be hiring this one.