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Martial Law II: Undercover (1991)
One of the better B-movies out there.
There are plenty of low budget martial arts flicks in the world, many of which are total embarrassments. Thankfully, this is not one of them. Martial Law II has a plot that's simple enough to be believable but also has a few bits of creativity thrown in to make it distinguishable but not stupid. Furthermore, the actors do a good enough job with their roles to make the viewer suspend their disbelief and care about what's happening. And, of course, there's plenty of fighting throughout the movie to make it fun. It's not a great movie, but considering the limited amount of stories one can do with this genre of films, it's pretty unique and makes for an entertaining watch on a Saturday afternoon.
Son of Bambi Meets Godzilla (1999)
Thirty years have passed since Godzilla crushed Bambi and now he looks to extol the same fate upon his son. Unfortunately for Godzilla, he's gone somewhat blind over the years and Bambi's son is a technological weapons specialist.
When I first saw the original "Bambi Meets Godzilla" in '86, I laughed out loud because it was so funny. At the same time, seeing a harmless little deer get squashed by a gigantic lizard monster just didn't seem fair to me. Deep down, I felt there should be some sort of retribution for what happened. This little short provided the closure people, like myself, were looking for (I say this half-joking, of course).
Is this as good as the original? Hardly. Nevertheless, seeing Godzilla answer for what he did thirty years earlier made this computer animated short a very satisfying watch for me. It's certainly worth 2 minutes out of your day to see.
Saw II (2005)
All I can say is....WOW!!
I saw "Saw 2" this past Sunday and from the opening scene all the way to the end my heart was beating a mile a minute. It was an absolute, nonstop thrill ride which was exactly what I was hoping for. It's also an ideal sequel to the first "Saw" as it ties up a number of loose ends: what inspires John to do what he does and if he had an accomplice.
After watching the previews I had a lot of questions going in; like why Amanda, who survived one test, would be put back in another? The answer would be later revealed. And I must admit that, just like the first movie, I never saw the ending coming. Yep, I was completely fooled and I'm glad I was. This one of the few films I've seen in recent years that really got me, which this a true, screen gem.
Dark Water (2005)
More of a drama than a horror.
Jennifer Connoley's character was a sympathetic one as she dealt with the real stresses and strains of starting a new life as a divorcée with a child in tow. Things such as finding work, an affordable place to live, bad building conditions, helping Cecilia adjust to a new life, are all very real scenarios and one can really feel the stress she was under in the movie. The sf/horror part of the picture seemed to play a secondary role to the drama portion. Throw in her own past abuse from her childhood along with Natasha's parents leaving her behind and the result is more of a sad, tragic flick rather than a horror.
I really liked this movie but probably not for the reasons the director intended. It was marketed as a horror but played out as a sad drama. Sometimes, an occasional sad movie is a good thing because its different from the traditional, Hollywood formulas with the happy ending. It shows a willingness to take a chance and I respect the director for doing so.
Open Water (2003)
Not a horror movie, but a sad story instead.
This was very good. The majority of the film deals with the genuine torment of being abandoned in the ocean in shark infested waters with no hope of being rescued. You can really feel the sadness and desperation of the couple enduring this situation. The cameras used and the lack of music gave this a documentary feel which added to the realism. Even the sharks are real.
Some people will complain as to how this wasn't scary. Well, it's not supposed to. This wasn't some fictional story involving a psycho killer or supernatural beasts, it was a retelling of an actual tragedy. Fiction allows the addition frightening effects and plot twists, reality doesn't. Simple as that.
If you want something frightening, watch 'The Ring.' 'Open Water' is about real-life tragedy.
Extreme Ops (2002)
That's what it was and it never promised to be anything better. It was an inoffensive movie with great stunts and lovable characters. Sure the plot was small, a big one would have gotten in the way of all that skiing & snowboarding. It had a few embarrasing moments, but how many Hollywood films don't. Besides, you're not supposed to take this movie seriously anyway. It's just plain old fun. I guess I liked it.