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Strange Wilderness (2008)
save time, watch the trailer and wash your hands of this.
what might have been a brilliant series of short clips on funnyjunk or youtube, this film (and i use the term loosely here) is a complete waste of your time. any laughs that can be found in this film are all condensed down into the 2 minute trailer. watching the full hour and a half film will leave you disappointed and with an awful taste in your mouth. while the movie is studded with very capable actors (steve zahn and jonah hill) the characters they play are entirely forgettable, the plot is utterly pointless, the gags are not only cheap but unfunny the majority of the time. seriously, your time is better spent just watching the shark scene from this movie on youtube for 187 minutes than the actual film.
The Purge (2013)
what might have been a pretty decent movie, completely ruined by awful plot twist.
a fascinating premise, and likely would have made a wonderful book. this film however falls short. pacing was a little slow, and plot holes a plenty. ethan hawke and lena headey are great individually, however lack chemistry on screen. the children's performance left something to be desired. as i said in the summary, the twist ending was awful, and completely unnecessary, having the bloodied stranger simply saving the family and cutting the unnecessary twist out completely would have been sufficient to conclude the story. i don't recommend spending any money to watch this one, but if you happen to have netflix already, or it happens to pop up on TV at some point, its worth checking out.
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Not even this talented star-studded cast can shovel enough sh*t off a script THIS BAD to make it good. Legacy effectively ruins the series.
Mindless action flick I found unworthy of the Bourne title. The 4th installment (more of a spin off rather than an installment, which i find to be slightly less insulting) is subject to poor story telling, over-explaining of the poor story telling (which in turn makes the story awful), and is littered with action film clichés left and right, such as when lead female , Dr. Marta Shearing, is saved "just in the nick of time" or that suddenly there are all sorts of government assassination programs that were never mentioned previously in 3 films.
The film's protagonist, Aaron Cross, fails to capture any of what makes Jason Bourne the super agent that we know and love. When it is revealed that the protagonist is merely a superb secret agent because of medication/genetic mutation, it seriously hurts the entire film series.
In the previous 3 films, we know that nothing Jason Bourne does is by accident. it is carefully calculated premeditation, or it is carefully calculated improvization. Everything that Bourne does is done because he knows what to do, he knows whats going to happen, because he is the best. Bourne blends in, master of disappearing into crowds and speaks just about every damn European language known to man. Cross is none of that. From the very beginning of the film, through dialogue, you get the feel that Cross has no idea what he is doing or why he is doing it. Aside from knowing how to kill with his barehands, no parallels can be drawn between Bourne and Cross.
He lives merely by accident because he happened to step out of the house (oh that was convenient.) In a gun battle in the house he effortlessly slides across the floor into the basement of the house through a hole in the floor (oh thats also convenient.) In a foot chase across the roof tops he has no indication he knows that Marta is below him, he just happens to slide across the right roof top and stops for no reason (conveniently) Poorly conceived plot devices. The movie is littered with them. He's a super spy because he takes these pills (a plot device set up so there is an excuse to move the story to a foreign location), Aaron Cross is chased by wolves (a plot device so that conveniently he has a warm body to put his tracking device into), We're shutting down all our special operations assassination programs and killing all our field agents. except for one LARX #3 that we left alive in Asia, so we'll send him after Cross (plot device to give Cross a nemesis. A nemesis that he never even had a showdown with, in which case you could have completely skipped the "hes from another special government program made for murdering people" aspect and just left the motorcycle chase with a random goon.
all in all, the Bourne series has always been a "smart" action thriller. with Legacy, they took the smart out, and turned it into just another generic action movie. i was very disappointed in this film, i feel that it hurts the series a lot with all its shortcomings. the only thing that felt almost right was the fighting. and even then its not quite right. Bourne didn't kill anyone except for the assassins sent to kill him. Cross murders a number of people by shooting them, and even breaks one guy whos just trying to get by in the world as a security guard at one point.
In Time (2011)
Simply not very good
A terrific concept but horribly executed. In Time's idea that humans are genetically engineered in the future to stop aging at 25, and that subsequent time spent living is used as currency. The idea of this is certainly interesting, but In Time fails to deliver. the entire movie gave off a very "student film project" vibe. None of the characters are likable, everyone is about as wooden as Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, and on top of that people show an entire lack of compassion for their fellow man (such as seeing a dead body in the street, "look there's another one" remarks Borel, but no one cares they just walk by like there's no body there), even people who have nothing to lose by showing compassion (such as the bus driver who pretty much condemned Will's mother to death by not letting her ride the bus, which is of no cost to him to let her on the bus, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT SHE WILL DIE BEFORE SHE CAN MAKE IT TO HER DESTINATION. this is the equivalent of you trying to hop on a bus to get to the hospital while bleeding to death and the bus driver tells you, "no fare? no ride.")
nothing is explained in this film at all. why were people genetically engineered to stop aging? why is time used as currency? why are there "time zones" and what are their purpose? what stops a person from simply walking past the time zone? a car barrier thats 3 feet high isn't going to stop someone from simply hoping over it without paying the toll. at what point in time did humanity switch to running on time? why has civilization not advanced at all in what appears to be at least 100 years, especially if some people are apparently immortal? more specific things are not explained at all as well.
when Time Keeper Raymond exclaims "doesn't he know hes hurting the people hes trying to save?" why is it never explained how this hurt people when Will gives them free stolen time? if it is so dangerous to give out free time, then why the happy ending when a million years are given to the ghetto? who did Will's father take time from when he was a "fighter"? why is he made out to be some sort of folk hero? if he was fighting other people in the ghetto and giving away free time as it is implied in the film, why bother killing someone to redistribute their time (which should only be a few hours anyway since people in the ghetto apparently live day to day) if Will's father was such a good fighter, then how did he die? who is the organization that Philippe Weis is conspiring with? what is their purpose and why? why do the Time Keepers need the Minute Men to handle business in the ghetto? there is no apparent gain for them to do this.
if Henry Hamilton was so eager to die, then why didn't he just go give his time away to the Mission anonymously? why go through all the trouble of trying to attract attention so you can get killed? if Will was a fugitive with a hostage from the Time Keepers, why would he then go home? wouldn't you think that would be the first place they would look for him? and there is so much more thats not explained.
all in all, the film was as i previously stated, simply not very good. don't waste your time or money, wait for this one to hit cable TV and watch it if you want to see a sub-mediocre film that feels like it was made by a college sophomore.
The 6th Day (2000)
Wonderful in concept. Terrible in execution.
The idea and story is fantastic and showed a lot of potential, however this film suffers from the same problem as Total Recall, poor casting choices were ultimately the downfall of what could have been a brilliant sci-fi thriller in line with Minority Report. Arnold's performance lacks emotion and leaves much to be desired. While not a terrible actor, he does much better in mindless action films and comedies, which are much more his forte. Had a much more emotive actor (such as the original choice of Kevin Costner) been cast to play Adam Gibson, this film would have been lauded by critics. With Hollywood's recent trend of remaking and rebooting films, I would love to see them have another go at this one.