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The Package (2012)
This is a direct to video movie with Dolph Lundgren so it is fair to say that my expectations where not really that high. Nevertheless, I do like action movies and I do have a faiblesse for Dolph Lundgren. If nothing else we share the same country of birth. So I sat down to watch this movie yesterday.
I have to say that I was surprised. This movie is surprisingly good. Compared to the average direct to video action-flick it is very good indeed. Both Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren are great as the tough silent gun-slinging hard-hitting bad guys. Yes both of them are really bad guys although one of them not so much and the other one so very much. I really liked them walking through the movie leaving a trail of surprised, knocked out or dead, mostly dead actually, people.
The story is not really that bad and it has somewhat of a twist to it even though that twist is fairly easily guessed once you are a bit into the movie. There are plenty of action using both fists and guns. I felt it was pretty well done. A wee bit stupid and illogical at times of course but nothing that ruined the enjoyment. The movie moves at a brisk pace yet there are enough material in between to tie the action together in a logical (logical for a direct to video action movie of course) way.
Dolph Lundgren have never exactly been an actor who would win any awards for his character portrayal or actual acting performance. I have to say that in this movie he is doing a god job of the role though. "The German" is not just a dumb thug that muscled himself to the top. I quite liked Steve Austin as well. Dolph and Steve are the ones that carries the movie. The rest are mostly props.
I would say that this is a classical "boys" movie with two classical macho heroes. No silly attempts to put some comedy into it with juvenile jokes. No heroine to save. Just the guys slugging it out. Well, of course there is the obligatory sex-appeal female in the movie but she is one of the bad guys so, not surprisingly she is not around for the grand finale.
Bottom line: this is a fun classical action movie and I definitely enjoyed it.
Jack Reacher (2012)
A good straightforward crime/action movie
When looking for something to watch the other day I found this one in the program tableau for Cine+ Premiere on CanalSat. Not a movie that had caught my attention before so I decided to have a go at watching it. I have to say that I have spent 130 minutes in worse ways. I found this movie quite good.
It is a pretty classical crime story where it appears that one guy is the guilty one without a doubt but the truth is of course a bit more complicated than this. So our hero, who just to complicate things storms onto the scene also being convinced that the guy did it, have to unravel how the real bad guys managed to frame the poor sod.
The movie is a fairly hard boiled crime story and a cross between Columbo, Dirty Harry and something else. It is reasonably intelligent, holds together without too many holes and quite well implemented. There is some decent good old detective work combined with a fair amount of action ranging from fist fights to car chases and shootouts. The major complaint I have is that Tom Cruise is really not the right guy for the role. He does not look half as tough as the character he is trying to portray.
Other than that it is indeed an enjoyable movie. It is perhaps more of a grandiose TV-movie than something you (or at least I) would go and watch in a theater (then since I got a proper home-cinema system I rarely go to the theaters at all any more anyway) but nevertheless quite likable.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
silly and somewhat childish but rather funny sci-fi comedy adventure.
This movie is more of a comedy than anything else. It is truly a comic magazine brought to life on the big screen and more focused on delivering a sequence of action scenes and laughs than anything intelligent in the form of plot or characters. I would say it is a movie for the younger audience and comic fans. Having said that I must admit that I found it rather fun to watch.
The main characters are two mostly irresponsible rascals, one dumb but likable living tree and two fanatics of which one certainly need not apply to the Mensa club. Of the five I liked Rocket and Gamora the best. Rocket is a rather likable rascal and Gamora is simply cool. Quill is sometimes just silly, Groot is more of a living prop and Drax is just too stupid.
The story is more or less just there to tie the scenes together. Unfortunately we do really not get much of a background to the Guardians of The Galaxy universe. It would have been nice to get a bit more understanding of why things are as they are etc. The return of this movie is watching the action, the special effects and the laughs. It is an action-adventure-comedy plain and simple. If you approach it as such it works reasonably well.
Speaking of special effects, they are generally well done. The designs are interesting. The shape of the bad guys spaceship is totally ludicrous of course but visually pleasing and goes with the rest of the movie's tendency to be more of a comedy than a serious movie. The same can be said for that cool but weird net they made by interlinking fighter crafts.
On the whole an entertaining movie. I have to say that the dancing scene at the end was a wee bit too silly for me though. I have a problem understanding how a movie like this can get such a relatively high rating at IMDb but okay it was fun to watch and it is not entirely undeserved. Personally I think a 7 out of 10 is more in the right region.
I really liked this movie
A lot of people appears to have gotten into some hate-mode when watching this movie. I guess they did not check up what the movie was really about before watching it. The movie is not perfect, it has its flaws, but a 1 or 2 star bullshit rating is hugely unfair. Personally, I really liked this movie. It is science fiction, pure and simple. If you expect science without the fiction, well then you should go and see some other movie. With Luc Besson both writing and directing and statements like "merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic" in the blurb well I got pretty much what I expected.
The movie starts off making you think it is a "simple" revenge story with science fiction elements in the form of the superhuman Lucy. However it gradually evolves into something else. Lucy knows that she cannot survive in her new state and it becomes a quest to preserve the knowledge that she has acquired while she still has the time and at the same time dodging the drug dealers that are the cause of her situation in the first place.
Lucy is great. Her powers and how they develop are awesome. I really like surprise effects in movie and books of the kind that you get when someone like Lucy reveals her powers to the "mundane". Especially when the revealing means swatting a few bad guys. This movie is full of moments like that. It is quite a roller coaster ride of action with Lucy exhibiting her growing powers. Not too surprisingly the movie is also full of scientific bullshit and plot holes. I do not really care. I'm in for the ride and it is a fun ride.
Scarlett Johansson is very good in her role as Lucy. Most of the other actors are OK although the Asian drug boss could have been better. He came out more like a brainless thug than anything else. Certainly not as the mastermind of a criminal organization.
The ending was a bit unsatisfactory compared to the rest of the movie though. I was a bit disappointed that the big fight at the end more or less was done without Lucy. The long cinematic sequences where Lucy wondered about in time and space felt a bit like yawn-filler-material. The actual ending, well that "I am everywhere" bit was really been there, seen that, done that. Also, if she was indeed everywhere, why the hurry to create that fancy memory stick? Anyway, apart from that I really enjoyed this movie.
Not great but mildly entertaining
As a sci-fi fan this movie was one of those must-see movies for me. I have to say that I was not having the highest of expectations on it though and I also have to say that my expectations was more or less met. To me this is a mildly entertaining movie but it is certainly not a great movie.
The special effects with the apes are very good indeed. The apes look very much real and I was surprised at how much emotions that the special effects people managed to get into their facial expressions. The human actors also did a quite good job within the limitations of the script of course.
However, the previous movie felt reasonably new, fresh and original (although it was fairly predictable) while this movie just feels like a rehash of some fairly standard, thirteen on a dozen, post-apocalyptic story with some apes thrown in to make it stand out. I really do not understand why so many people seems to think so highly of this movie. It is the all too common catalogue of stupid behaviors and sadly enough the apes seems to have inherited plenty of stupid behaviors from the humans.
It starts of with the usual scared-trigger-happy-idiot-shoots someone. In this case an ape of course. How many times have that boring excuse for kick starting the story been used? Then it pretty much goes on. The only mildly intelligent people in the town seems to be the Malcolm and Dreyfus. The two morons wasting ammunition on firing at a old car and drinking Whisky as well as the original idiot who tried to hide a gun deserved to be shot.
The only somewhat intelligent part was when the captured apes turned over a bus and took a bunch of their adversaries with them. The movie was indeed very predictable. The only thing that elevated the movie above the level of downright boring was the fact that half of the characters were apes and, luckily as I wrote, those special effects were very well done.
The blurb from Twentieth Century Fox states that " both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.". Well yes I guess that you cannot say that this is a downright lie but it is definitely a bunch of hyperbole to sell the movie. Come on, we are talking about a very limited group of apes, badly decimated as well, against the rest of the surviving humanity, which obviously have some modern facilities left and a war that is more or less just assumed will happen.
A mildly entertaining movie but certainly not a great movie.
Great FX, abysmal movie
I have watched all the other Transformers movies and I have liked them. I have liked them a lot. Yes the stories have been comic book quality but it has been fun watching them nonetheless. This one not so much. I was actually rather disappointed at the end despite having tuned down my expectations on pretty much everything except the special effects.
The special effects are good. It has to be said. They are really great. The transformations are cool as ever and the new transformations by the human made transformers adds a nice FX twist. The fighting is gorgeous. The Dinobots were really cool.
However, 165 minutes where the only enjoyment is one FX after another and where the scenes without FX are simply a drag is just not what I call a good movie. It is at best a special effects catalogue of what can be done. A showcase for other movie makers telling them: "Look how good my team is at making FX".
The story of this movie is pretty thin. That the Autobots, that saved the planet, should be hunted down again is just an unintelligent and dumb cliché. It could have been made into something usable though if it was not implemented with utter incompetence. I mean, come on, there is not a likable person in the entire bloody movie. Well, with the possible exception of a few side characters. The hero is an ass, his "friend" that betrays them is a dumb ass, his daughter is just a dumb poor actor, the chief of staff is laughable. The list goes on. To make matters worse the bad guys that are supposed not to be likable are just bland, dumb arses. No character and mediocre acting at best.
Sometimes the scenes are disconnected with strange jumps in the middle of the action as well. This must be the worst implementation of an already poor story that I have watched it a long while. The only thing that lifts this movie above a zero star rating are the great special effects. For once I side with the so called "critics" that trash this movie.
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Totally ruined by some Hollywood dimwit changing the bad guys
Well, if we start with the good. The story itself is not really too bad and if you forget the title, the mention of Tom Clancy and Jack Ryan, then the movie is decent enough. It is a reasonably well implemented thriller. Not great but worth seeing.
However, the book is about Arab terrorists performing terrorist acts by means of thermonuclear devices causing the two superpowers to come to the brink of a nuclear war. The movie has replaced this foe with some nonsense story about emerging neo-Nazis wanting to take over the world. This is just utter rubbish. It is obviously a political decision by some asshole not wanting to upset the Arab community so he picks a "safe" bad guy instead. The speech where the head Nazi compares themselves with a virus was just unintelligent writing and painful to watch.
Nazis are obvious bad guys and can be put to good use in movies, just as communists and Muslim terrorists and a whole bunch of other groups, but not when the original material uses another, much more logical, foe. The original foes in the book would have some force behind them in the radical Muslim community that made their plans for world takeover after the superpowers had annihilated each other at least somewhat plausible. If you ignore minor details like that there would really not be much to take over after a barrage of nuclear missiles from USA and Russian of course. But a few twisted old Nazis that sits in hiding in dark rooms cooking together this hair-brained scheme? No way! I am sad to say that whoever asshole that decided to rewrite the main adversary of this movie ruined it totally for me. I am really happy that I never watched it when it came out in the theaters but instead watched it, in a sense "for free", on my Netflix subscription.
I liked it better than I thought I would
I was not sure whether this movie was my type of movie or not. I have not read the book and, even though it is considered one of the classic horror movies, I have kind of put off watching it expecting not to like it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
As I wrote I have not read the book and thus I do not know how well the movie interprets the book. In my experience it is usually best, when it comes to movies based on books, not to have read the book though.
The story is probably well known by most fans of the genre. To me it was well implemented. Fairly predictable but still enjoyable to watch. Keith Gordon characterized Arnie Cunningham very well as far as I am concerned. His journey from quiet nerd to insane madman was quite well done and at the end he flipped between looking almost normal to madly possessed with an ease that was almost scary.
I did like the car as well. As a person that have always liked American cars I have to say that it is a beautiful car if nothing else. Also I actually found myself sympathizing with the car for a good chunk of the movie. Those assholes that terrorized Arnie truly deserved what they got. Then of course it got out of hand when the cars influence on Arnie took on more sinister proportions.
The ending was a bit disappointing though. It felt rushed and unintelligent. Up until then both Arnie and the car had shown evidence of some intelligence. That went out of the picture in the last couple of scenes with the car first behaving like a bull with its balls in a tight squeeze and then like it was drugged allowing a slow moving Caterpillar to just move up behind it and start to trash it. That was rather disappointing and it is a star less for that alone.
Otherwise I am not unhappy that I spent two hours of my life on this movie.
Wake of Death (2004)
Wow not what I expected
When I sat down to watch this movie last evening I expected a fairly ordinary direct-to-video (actually it was released to cinema in France) action movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme that would, at best, be somewhat entertaining. Well I was wrong. After having watched the movie I had to say: Wow that was a good movie! Now the threshold for that wow was of course a bit lower than usual since I was not expecting that much from the movie but still, this is a surprisingly good movie.
Sure it has its silly moves and plot holes like most movies of this kind but it is miles away from the usual brain-dead run-of-the-mill action movie.
First of all, Jean-Claude Van Dame makes a quite decent, even good, performance. Personally I am not much for these sentimental cry-scenes but Jean-Claude manages to make these parts well and at the same time he is brutally cool when he is out seeking his revenge.
The action in the movie is also very enjoyable whether it is car chases, motorcycle chases or martial art displays. When it comes to the latter Jean-Claude proves that he is still good at making these scenes unlike for instance Steven Seagal who mostly stands in one spot waving his hands while trying to hide his beer belly. At times the movie is quite cruel. There is a torture scene which is really good without being unnecessarily graphic. Speaking of graphics, the entire movie is well shot. The cinematography is simply very good. I would even say that for this kind of movie it is great. At times this is a very dark movie and those parts of the movie are really the best.
For me this was a very positive surprise and I found this movie very well worth watching
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Quite funny, even hilarious, British comedy
I was not sure what to expect from this movie that I found on Netflix a while ago while browsing through the catalog. The movie poster makes it look like a hard-boiled police action movie but reading the reviews it became clear that it was more of a comedy. I had not heard of the movie before but it generally got good reviews so the other evening me and the boys sat down to watch it.
This is a fun movie. A good, old-fashioned British comedy. The core story could very well have been a serious crime story but the way it is implemented makes it so incredibly silly in a fun way. It starts off pretty much right away when PC Angel is told that he will be promoted but moved, because he makes the rest if the bunch of the dimwits at the precinct look bad, to a small British town where the most fun you can have is to watch the grass grow or get drunk and from there it goes downhill for Angel.
His new colleagues are somewhat weird not to mention more or less useless when it comes to police work. The by-the-book Angel is getting more and more frustrated and his only friend is the son of his new boss, whom he arrested on the first day by the way. When the grizzly "accidents" starts to happen the movie, in particular the explanations as to why they are "accidents" and not crimes, become more and more absurd. The special effects guys seems to have learned a trick or two from the Monty Python gang when it comes to over the top gory blood splattered scenes by the way.
In the final showdown between Angel and the totally wacko gang that keeps the town "clean" by deadly serious methods is short references to great many action movies. The amount of shots fired and the ratio of misses versus actual hits is nothing short of ludicrous. It was just so absurdly funny that it is difficult to describe.
If you are in the mood for some good solid British comedy then I can recommend this one. It is a very well done comedy and a lot more enjoyable than the get drunk and/or fall on your arse and/or and puke all over the place "comedies" that comes thirteen to the dozen today.