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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant, psychotically entertaining joke that pushes all the right buttons..., 19 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you walk into the B-movie/campfest/action-thriller "Snakes On A Plane" and not feel some modicum of giddy joy when Samuel L. Jackson (a.k.a. The Man) gets fed up with the situation happening to him and yells "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing plane!", then you are not worthy enough to watch films ever again. Seriously, this movie epitomizes the concept of a "so good, it's bad" style, and you should be perfectly clear that this is what the film is, plain and simple.

Basically, the plot involves a witness (played by Nathan Miller) who witnesses the murder of a prosecutor by a generic villain named Eddie Kim, and he ends up being hunted by a group of assassins, but is eventually saved by Agent Neville Flynn (played by Jackson) and is persuaded to go to Los Angeles to testify against Kim and put him in jail. Unfortunately, Kim has found out about this, and decides to put a box full of venomous snakes on board the plane in an attempt to bring it down, and yes, you guessed it, all sorts of mayhem ensues once the plane is halfway to it's destination. It's up to Flynn and the passengers to work together, keep the plane running and keep the snakes at bay while trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Pretty much every film stereotype that has appeared in an airplane movie is represented here. The comic relief, the reluctant passenger who has a special skill, the sacrificial lamb, the peppy attendant, a death in an airplane bathroom, people locked up in tight quarters, you name it, this film's got it, but then again, the film is supposed to be like this, so it's interesting to see how the film actually plays against those stereotypes (the married couple gets killed, the reluctant hero really doesn't have a special skill, etc.) When you go to a film called "Snakes On A Plane", you expect that there will be numerous snake-related injuries and snake deaths, and this film delivers in spades. Snake bites to every major part of the body, a snake eating a man(!), snakes getting tasered, toasted, microwaved, stomped, depressurized, and everything but the kitchen sink is in this film.

There are also scenes that take place on the ground with a group of FBI agents (led by Bobby Cannavale) who are trying to figure out who put the snakes on the plane in the first plane, and personally, I thought the action on the ground was just as good as what was happening in the air.

The acting and plot are actually pretty good for a film of this reputation. I went in expecting to see non-stop snake bashing for 2 hours, but it was actually kind of charming and funny in a way. Sure, there are numerous people who only serve to exist as cannon fodder for the snakes, but the main characters do good work with their parts, considering that their personalities are designed to be paper-thin.

This is not a film to be studied and analyzed. If you see the word "Snakes On A Plane", that's what you should go in expecting. The only thing I would have liked to see was footage of the FBI busting Eddie Kim, because he is such a throwaway villain, and it would have been nice to see him get his "just desserts". Still, that's a minor quibble, as this film does things I didn't even expect. I mean, the final plan to get rid of the snakes involves depressurizing the whole plane! It's so ridiculous that it works, and I loved it.

Bottom Line: Make no mistake about it, this film is snakes on a plane with Samuel L. Jackson, and that's about it. You should expect nothing less. I give this film a 10 out of, my highest rating, for being the most entertaining film experience I've seen all year. If you do go to see this, make sure it's with an audience who appreciates it's campiness as well. You won't regret it.

Miami Vice (2006)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Push it to the, not really, 12 August 2006

After watching the remake movie based on the popular 80's show "Miami Vice", I felt this was an interesting, but somewhat flawed film that suffers from a couple problems that keep it from becoming a truly great picture in the vein of Michael Mann's previous works like "Collateral" or "Heat", but I'll talk about the plot first.

Basically, the film is about two Miami P.D. vice cops, James "Sonny" Crockett (played by Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (played by Jamie Foxx), who stumble onto a multinational drug-running operation after an informant named Alfonzo gives up the identities of undercover DEA agents. To break into this ring, the two cops go undercover and start a business deal with drug boss Jesus Montoya, and like Tubbs says in the film, "there's undercover, then there's in over your head", as the two men realize this may cost them everything. Meanwhile, Sonny decides to go romance the business partner of Montoya, a woman named Isabella (played by Gong Li), which could be problematic for him.

I guess the first thing I should mention is that this film has no opening credits, no mention of who the actors are, or even where the setting is. It just sort of drops you into the action. For some people, this may confuse them and make them upset, but personally, I thought it was a good way to put the audience right into the plot. Seriously, if you've been following the production of this film at all, you probably have an idea already who the main characters are and what the basic plot is, so my thought is that Mr. Mann doesn't take his audience for a bunch of idiots.

The plot is interesting, but I guess it's also something that hinders the film, as it really does feel like an extended version of one of the old series' episodes. It really made me feel like there was a sense of immediacy, and yet, also a sense of impending doom, as these two guys escape quite a few close calls in the two-hour film. From almost getting killed by Montoya's men to almost getting blown away by a bomb hidden in a trailer, these guys really get put through the wringer. I felt that Sonny's romance with Isabella really impeded the flow of the film. Seriously, he goes on a boat with her and the next 20+ minutes of the movie are them having sex and sharing time together. Sure, it's nice to see them having a good time, but what happened to everyone else?

The acting in the film was solid work all around. I think the most important thing to mention is that there is virtually no character development in the film. We simply see these two guys busting crime and going undercover, and we get the barest minimum of information about the people. We have to decide who they based on their actions or their facial expressions, and let that decide the way the story goes. This is why the acting works well, in my opinion. Colin Farrell plays a man who looks like he's been doing this job a long time, and it shows in his actions. He's probably the strongest thing about this film. However, other characters (like Tubbs, Castillo, the head drug boss, the organizer guy in the apartment near the beginning, etc.) have virtually no character development whatsoever, and only serve to drive the plot, which I didn't like.

What I also liked is that the film really is more of a team-based movie than simply "Crockett and Tubbs all the time". The other members (especially the woman named Gina, who really shines in one of the film's pivotal action scenes) all play a part in the completion of the mission, which I liked. As well, the action is very quick, very bloody and very urban. There are no fancy camera moves or slow-motion deaths. It feels a bit more realistic than the 80's show.

The film-making will probably be one thing that throws people off, and it did for me to some extent as well. Near the beginning of the film and in the final gunfight at the boat, it is often very difficult to see what the heck is going on because the camera is moving around a lot. Still, for the most part, the film looks absolutely beautiful, as it was shot in high definition, The ending is another thing that was sort of in the middle for me. While I thought the downer ending of Sonny having to leave Isabella and the drug dealer getting away worked well, the final shots were really reminiscent of Mann's earlier work, Collateral. Still, it was a fitting end for a dark police drama.

Bottom Line: While I liked the film a lot, there were things in it that kept it from being truly great. I give this film a 7 out of 10. If you want to watch it, get it on DVD when it comes out.

EarthBound (1994) (VG)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A game that far and away exceeded the expectations of the RPG crowd..., 14 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's somewhat sad to see how unfairly maligned the 1995 Super Nintendo classic "Earthbound" was upon it's initial release. People thought the graphics were too simplistic, and not representative of what a good RPG is (and what, Chrono Trigger had better graphics?). I would also point out that people (like myself, I must add) initially dismissed the game as being too simplistic and childish for older gamers.

How wrong I was. This isn't the best game ever, but it's certainly one of the standout games in the RPG genre to be released in the last 20 years, and I firmly stand behind that statement.

Basically, the plot goes like this: Ness, your average ordinary kid, is set on the path of a great adventure when a meteorite crashes near his home in the town of Onett. Journeying through many different cities and acquiring items, spells, and allies (including a pre-schooler named Paula, a math nerd, and the prince of a far-off Kingdom), Ness and his friends must stop the evil Master Giggas from plunging the world into eternal darkness.

What I most liked about the game was that, even though it follows a somewhat linear structure (in that you must get Item A to get to Town B, and so on), the variety and depth of the situations makes for a very immersive and fulfilling experience. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this game. You don't kill monsters with swords and arrows, rather, you beat them to death with baseball bats, frying pans and rulers. Better still, the variety of enemies in the game is quite impressive. Ranging from wild animals to possessed zombies to demonic statues to giant piles of vomit and everything in between, the battles never feel repetitive.

Also, considering the age of this game, it still holds up quite well today, giving gamers a different role-playing experience. Instead of you winning money from battles, it all gets deposited into ATM machines that you can hit up, and then you can buy bizarre items like teddy bears that fight alongside you or even bottle rockets that you can fire at enemies. The only way to save the game is to call your unseen father up and get him to record your progress. Hell, you even use a UFO to get around in the late stages of the game! It's things like this that set Earthbound apart from the countless other RPG clones that tried to emulate the major RPG series like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger.

Bottom Line: Without a doubt, this is one of the best console games for the SNES. It's a shame that the cartridge is discontinued, because I think that more people should play this game. I give Earthbound a 10 out of 10, my highest rating. Pick it up if you have a chance.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Apparently, the sheer sight of playing a D&D game can cloud a person's mind as to what is actual quality or not..., 9 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After reading the hilarious (and terribly misguided) reviews about Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, I have decided to voice my opinions on the game. Now, I realize that this is the Internet MOVIE Database and not the Internet GAME Database, but it's on here, so that makes it fair game.

Basically, the game is about you, the player, trying to stop a group of villains from sowing discord and despair throughout Baldur's Gate and beyond. As a new visitor to the city of Baldur's Gate, you get robbed, then you have to go on a quest to find the thieves that took your possessions, which in turn to you subsequently being the sole savior of Baldur's Gate.

I own the original Baldur's Gate and expansion pack, and I have never played the second game. Needless to say, while I was playing this game, I was expecting a lot more, and my expectations were high because of the sheer volume of game-play in the first installment. However, I wasn't very impressed at all.

To begin with, while something like the original Baldur's Gate is truly mammoth in size, and can easily take over 30-40 house to complete, this game (and I kid you not) can be finished in under 8 hours (believe me, I know because I've done it). There's no depth to it. Sure, there's a variety of monsters and various riff-raff to slaughter, but it just gets old after a while. It's basically the same 20 types of enemies over and over again. In addition, while there are some nice types of weapons and armors in the game, there is little to no variety in them. The original game had a truly varied assortment of items, spells, weapons and armor to choose from, and there were literally hundreds of possible armor combinations to choose from. Here, I couldn't even buy half of the stuff in the game because it was too bloody expensive. And the best weapons in the game (i.e. those that you can sell for a profit to buy better armor) only are found in the final dungeon! Gone is the allegiance element of the first game (that is, whether you were Chaotic, Neutral, Good or anything in between), as well as most of the spells. Hell, there's not even a team element in this game. It's just you slashing monsters for a long time. There is very little variation in the landscapes and areas. It looks like the same set of paths and bridges multiplied a half-dozen times.

You can't even create a custom character or makes your own strengths and weaknesses, a fundamental part of D&D. Who's the clown on the comment page that said that this game is more D&D than any other game so far? It's a hack job, a complete butchery of what made the first game so unique and popular.

Bottom Line: Even though a new player who is unfamiliar with D&D might enjoy this, I see it as a waste of time. You can't automatically give a game a perfect score just because it's D&D-related. I give this game a 4 out of 10.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One of the best episodes of Season 4..., 7 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To me, the greatest thing I can say about 24 is that the best episodes of the show's history don't always have to be action-oriented or violence-driven in order to have a compelling plot or be interesting. Rather, I think that the best episodes focus not just on the action, but also on the everyday happenings of the characters when they're not on the job, and this show (episode 4.8) manages to capture the personal lives of some of the customers quite skillfully, as well as providing an enjoyable episode.

Continuing from the previous episode (in which Tony Almeida arrived in the nick of time to save Jack and Audrey at the security office after they were ambushed by Marwan's thugs), Tony decides to take the pair back to his house to retrieve some information about Henry Powell, a suspected felon. When Jack and Audrey arrive at Tony's place, however, they find out just how far he's fallen since being released from prison.

I think the reason why this episode works so well is because of the established chemistry between the two lead actors (Kiefer Sutherland and Carlos Bernard). We see that Tony has fallen on hard times since Michelle left him, and as a result, he is unemployed and living with a woman he doesn't really love, which causes Jack to be resentful that Tony didn't come to him for help. Indeed, there is also a nice mixture of action (at the end) and comedic elements, as well as a couple totally surreal moments. Watching Tony sitting on his couch drinking beer out of his Chicago Cubs mug and watching soccer while Jack explains how far Tony has fallen to Audrey is definitely one of the more memorable moments from the season. In addition, there are also scenes of unintentional humor (such as Jack accidentally pulling a gun on Tony's girlfriend) and a couple hilarious jokes as well (such as Tony's remark about being unemployed).

The split-screen effect was also used to a somewhat greater degree in this episode, which I also enjoyed.

There were a couple minor gripes I had with this episode. The cliffhanger at the end with Powell's death feels unnecessary and tacked-on, and only feels like a way to have a cliffhanger at the end of the episode. Another problem I had was that there were a lot of supporting characters who were introduced here (Jen Slater, Marcy, Henry Powell) who kind of showed up, and then never appeared again (except for Jen, but she appeared for a few seconds in another episode). It would have been nice to find about more about these characters (especially Marcy, who seemed to have inside contacts in Washington). Then again, it's a minor gripe, and it didn't really affect the episode that much.

Bottom Line: I think this is one of the highlight episodes of the fourth season, and definitely representative of the feel and look of 24. I am giving this episode a 9 out of 10. A real winner.

29 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
The best episode of 24. PERIOD., 7 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While the first season of 24 had it's up's (the first 12 episodes all formed the most cohesive plot of the show's run) and it's down's (Teri's unnecessary amnesia plot), I don't think any fan of 24 can deny that this is one of, if not the best, episodes of the entire season. 1.24 has it all: deception, miscommunication, suspense, action, pathos, and what will arguably be the greatest surprise ending ever in the show's history.

Continuing from the previous episode, in which Jack foiled another assassination attempt on David Palmer's life from the Drazens, Jack decides to trade himself for his daughter, but Nina Myers (a.k.a. Yelena) discovers that Palmer is still alive, and worse yet, since Kim escaped in the previous episode (and she safely gets away from the docks in this episode), the Drazens have no more bargaining chip. Nevertheless, the Drazens have Nina call Jack when he gets to the docks to tell him that Kim is dead. The Drazens think this will break Jack's spirit, but instead, this leads to what is arguably the greatest pier shootout in history, as Jack goes commando and drives a van barreling right into the Drazens' hideout, and single-handedly wipes out every occupant in the vicinity, including both of the Drazen brothers. It is here that we really see how Jack has been affected by the events that have transpired over the course of the day, and how he is finally letting it all out in one big orgy of violence.

In addition, we also find out that David has won the California Presidential Primary, and that he will be sworn in as President, an event that causes David to re-evaluate his relationship with his wife Sherry. I have never had any problem with the acting on the show, and this episode is certainly no exception. Dennis Haysbert and Penny Jerald both give excellent performances as David informs Sherry that he won't take her on as his running mate, and you can feel the emotions on the actor's faces.

Still, the best part of this episode is how it absolutely blindsides you. Jack has killed the bad guy, saved the Senator twice, and can now go back to his family. Of course, it's never that easy. Jack finds out that Nina was the one who killed Jamey earlier in the day, and he realizes that he was being played all along. This leads to an insane shootout in the CTU parking garage as Jack and Nina exchange gunfire while driving towards each other. In the end, though, it is Mason's calm advice that keeps Jack from killing Nina, and the ironic thing is that Nina had already hurt Jack by killing a person that he loved. It is in the final moments of the season where we find out just how needless Nina's actions were, as Jack finds Teri dead in the CTU communications room. It was so shocking that fans of the show even refused to believe she was dead, but there was nothing that could be done. I dare say that Kiefer Sutherland gives his best performance of the series to date, as he goes from anger to vengeance to elation to sadness and grief all in the span of a single episode.

One thing I also enjoyed throughout the show was that the action scenes didn't take place at the end of the episode, like they happened to do in nearly every other episode of the series, which I thought allowed more room for the characters to interact and react to situations.

I have seen this particular episode of 24 at least three times during my life, and every time I have viewed it, I have never noticed any discernible plot holes or errors. Yes, there is a flashback in the final moments of the episode as Jack is holding Teri's lifeless body and remembering their past experiences, but it is the only such instance of a flashback occurring on the show, and it works to great effect here. Again, everything just clicks, and from the use of the split-screens to the acting and direction, it is quite a sight.

Bottom Line: I believe (in my opinion) that this is the finest episode of the show's run. There isn't anything before or since that has come close to conveying the right balance of action, drama and emotion in such a small time frame. I am giving this episode a 10 out of 10. It is definitely a winner, and representative of what "24" is all about.

Memento (2000)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Truly a great film; a definite must-see..., 2 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's actually quite rare to see a full-blown character drama in this day and age, but that's exactly what "Memento", the 2001 film by Christopher Nolan, really is. I actually didn't want to write a review on this film for quite some time, because it was hard to grasp all the layers of the film, and believe me, there are many. Needless to say, though, this is one of my all-time favorite films, and it is truly a novel experience in film-making.

If you haven't seen the film, the plot goes like this: Leonard Shelby (played by Guy Pierce) is an amnesiac. Ever since an intruder broke into his home and murdered his wife (played by Jorja Fox), knocking him unconscious in the process (or so he would like to believe), Leonard is cursed with a fragmented and quickly-disappearing memory. He can remember everything that happened prior to the event, but everything that happens afterwards quickly fades away, unless Leonard writes a note about it. Throughout the course of the film, Leonard interacts with a variety of individuals in the search for the man who killed his wife, and in addition, an extraneous plot (from the audience's perspective for most of the film, anyway) occurs with Leonard remembering flashbacks about an insurance salesman named Sammy Jenkins.

It's hard to understand the film, especially since it progresses in a non-linear fashion. The movie runs "backwards", in that it shows a scene, then the scene prior to that one, then the scene prior to that one, and so on. It is difficult for the audience to understand what is going on, but it's possible that we are feeling the same way as Leonard: confused and disoriented. Even by the end of the film, some things still don't make sense, requiring multiple viewing to understand the motivations of all the characters and how they relate to Leonard.

Personally, I don't think Christopher Nolan could have picked a better cast of actors. Guy Pearce does an incredible job of portraying a helpless and confused man who is never quite sure of what's going on, but by the end of the film, the audience realizes just how out of it Leonard really is. I also thought Carrie-Anne Moss did a great job as Natalie, Leonard's lover with suspicious motives, and Joe Pantoliano as Teddy, a cop who is playing Leonard to his advantage.

It's a testament to this film that it works as well playing in a forward pattern (as seen on the Special Edition DVD) as it does when shown in non-chronological order, because it still manages to surprise the audience, and also shows how the other characters in the film manipulate Leonard for their own means.

The audience is right there along with Leonard as he struggles to figure out what the tattoos on his body mean, who his friends are, and how he can solve the mystery of his wife's killer. The only trick is that the "B-plot" of Sammy Jenkins, and Jenkins' wife forcing Sammy to do a test on her, is the real cause of Leonard's condition, and is subtly hinted at throughout the film. This puts Leonard in a new light and forces the audience to re-evaluate their opinion of him.

The directing and action are second to none. I think that Christopher Nolan realized that to tell a good story, you need a good plot, good interaction between the characters, and that you need to keep the audience guessing, something that is sadly lacking in many films nowadays.

It is true that if Leonard has a memory condition that causes him to forget things, he wouldn't be able to know that he has a problem, but I didn't notice that until the third time I viewed this film, and by that time it was just a minor distraction. Unless you have hours to try and dissect this film looking for anything that isn't true to real life, there aren't any real plot holes or inconsistencies in the film.

Bottom Line: Without a doubt, this is one of the best movies I've seen. It's hard to explain, but if you see it a couple times, you will understand what the film is all about. Rent this when you have a chance.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I can't believe it came to this..., 28 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a sad thing when a movie franchise hits the rails, and in the case of Police Academy 6: Mission To...oh, who the hell am I kidding, the franchise started dragging from the second film! PA6: Mission To Moscow is a bland, retarded piece of film-making, and totally (and rightfully) killed off the Police Academy franchise for good (I hope). Whereas the first film was mediocre, but humorous fare, this film has killed any and all attempts at police comedies. Seriously, the stuff in this film is so outdated, cheesy and stupid that it's a miracle the film was even released in the first place.

Basically, for those of you who haven't seen the film, the plot goes like this: the Russian government is having trouble with the local Mafia, and decides to call on the Police Academy recruits for help (are you kidding me? You telling me that the Russian police are so inept that they need help from a bunch of young cadets?), and the veterans of the PA force (read: the only actors actually needing paychecks) enlist the help of some young recruits to help them stop this guy named Konstantine, who has made a new video game called "The Game" (nice marketing tie-in) that can brainwash people or hack into computers...whatever the script calls for.

This film is truly something. I mean, most of the original cast left (including the actors who played Hightower, Hooks, Proctor, and Mahoney) and were replaced by a few no-name actors. There's even a subplot in the film that deals with a young recruit trying to woo over a Russian translator (played by Claire Forlani, who really should know better than this). Heck, the main "plot" of the video game just sort of disappears for most of the movie, as does Sgt. Lassard, who strangely ends up living with a Russian family for the majority of the film. The jokes are tired and lifeless. Captain Callahan STILL emphasizes her breasts, Tackleberry STILL loves guns, Sgt. Jones STILL makes weird noises, and Captain Harris is STILL a bumbling fool.

The filmmakers should have known that when the supporting cast from the previous films backed out, they were in deep trouble. As it is, the film just drags for the entire running time. It's only saved by the performances of the veteran actors like George Gaynes and Christopher Lee (and no, I am not counting Michael Winslow). The film ends up resorting to physical humor in order to elicit a laugh, and doesn't focus on the interaction between the characters. It's just the same things from the past few films repeated, ad nauseum. The film doesn't even really have a proper ending, just Cadet Connors hooking up with the Russian woman.

Bottom Line: This truly was the death knell for the Police Academy series. Still, it did have a few good actors doing what they could to lift the material, so that is one point in the film's favor. I give this film a 3 out of 10. Stick to the original.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Take this one behind the shed and put it out of it's misery..., 28 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No. Just no. I refuse to believe, for lack of a better word exists. I guess it was true that Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (and what a joke that title is) was the final nail in the coffin for the Superman films, at least until it was rebooted with "Superman Returns". While the first film could make you believe that a man could fly, here, you'd probably think he was sailing along on wires behind a green screen. So what was so bad about this film? For those of you who haven't seen the film, basically, it's about Superman stopping nuclear arms conflict and beating up a guy who was created from a strand of his hair. Oh, and there's some other stuff about Clark going on a date and some old guy trying to take over the Daily Planet. That's about it.

Where do I begin? The lame storyline? The truly atrocious acting? The god-awful special effects? It honestly boggles my mind to see how the franchise went from a blockbuster starring Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve, to a piece of tripe starring Reeve and Hackman as caricatures of themselves. It feels like everyone is just hamming it up in this picture, which is a shame because the actors could have done so much more with their roles.

The "plot" is a total waste of time and space. Who cares about ever being in danger, because no matter who you are around the world, Superman will save you! Whether it's Russian cosmonauts in space or conveniently-timed subway train problems, it seems that Superman can actually sense problems in advance! That's...really stupid. And apparently, Superman is all-knowing enough that he can just ask every single world leader to disarm their nuclear arsenals, and that they will comply WITHOUT HESITATION. I mean, it's not like some of those countries based their entire economies on the development of nuclear power, right? Right? There are some really terrible special effects shots in this film. It's plainly obvious to see, because there is footage recycled from the earlier entries in the series, bizarre effect shots (most notably, one instance where Superman flies through space with his cape flapping (???), and another instance in which he flies through a subway station, and the extras don't even bother turning to look at him!), some truly horrid green screen work (in the Fortress Of Solitude with the elders and the 1/3'rd size Superman flying through the subway!), and just plain strange visual effects (Superman repairing the Great Wall Of China with some random green beam that came out of his eyes!). Needless to say, this is not the shining hallmark of glory in the FX department.

Character development? Ha! Forget it! Superman still acts like a bumbling fool, Lex Luthor is STILL a conniving clown, and it actually looks like Lois Lane has regressed in intelligence and thought from the first film. Then again, there is Nuclear Man, who barely even has a vocabulary, so I guess we should be thankful for that development.

Bottom Line: It's terrible, no doubt about that. I give this film a 1 out of 10, the lowest rating. Seriously, ANYTHING is better than this. Go watch the first one to see how the character was done right.

5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely horrendous..., 28 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must say, after watching the 20th entry into the James Bond franchise, "Die Another Day", I think that it was a wise move to "re-invent" the Bond franchise with a new cast, because honestly, this film is complete trash. I will admit, I haven't seen every Bond film available, but I must tell you that this movie approaches B-movie levels of campiness and cheese.

For those of you who haven't seen the film, I will explain the plot to you: James Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan, who, in my opinion, gives the only good performance in the film) goes to North Korea, ends up "killing" a Colonel in the Korean army. As a result, Bond gets captured, tortured for a while, and is then exchanged for his freedom. Unfortunately, MI6 (and M, Bond's boss) think he's compromised their security, and so Bond must work to clear his name and stop...a British guy who built a super-suit that increases his powers. No joke. Also along for the ride are Jinx (who might be a secret agent, but I honestly didn't care because she was a bland, lifeless individual), some guy named Zao who has diamonds stuck in his face (are you telling me that he can't get them pulled out?), and some other people who are just there for plot exposition.

Where do I start? The "plot" is a complete joke. If the producers had actually focused on making a believable and coherent story instead of trying to cram references in from all the previous Bond films (as per this movie's trivia page), the end result might no have been half-bad.

As it is, the story is just plain ridiculous. Bond has gone from fighting worthwhile villains (like Auric Goldfinger, Scaramanga and Alec Trevelyan) to fighting a media mogul, a man slowly being killed by a bullet in his head and a Korean-turned-British man who wears a cybernetic suit. Worse yet, it feels like the film focuses on the women, gadgets and stunts rather than the actual story, but I'll get back to that in a minute. I mean, I've seen some things in the bond films that stretch credibility, but come on, a giant laser that stalks Bond across a snowy landscape trying to fry him? A random encounter with a woman who just happens to be a spy (and Bond girl) as well? Come on.

It doesn't even feel like a James Bond film anymore.

Looking at all the Brosnan-helmed movies, James has gone from a British secret agent with a knack for getting himself into trouble, an inventive mind and a dry wit, to a one-liner spouting fool who relies too much on flashy gadgets and can apparently do anything or be with anyone just because his name is "James Bond". In addition, he is completely overshadowed in this film by other characters (most notably, Jinx, who James meets near the beginning of the film and subsequently works with her until the end of the movie).

I understand that there were some ridiculous gadgets and devices in the earlier Bond films (Moonraker comes to mind), but my God, here the level of CGI'd effects and gadgetry becomes almost ridiculous. It's like something straight out of a video game. First, we have a giant laser that can shoot at any part of the Earth, can cause untold amounts of damage...and it's being used to shoot at a guy driving really fast in his car. Next, there's a giant car chase sequence in which Bond uses an ejection seat to turn his car upright after it flips over (wouldn't the ejection seat bounce around in the car and kill him?). Finally, and in what is the most ridiculous action sequence I have seen in quite some time, Bond and Jinx successfully start up a helicopter IN MID AIR after having it fall out of a giant plane that's flying. And all this showcasing the graphics of a Playstation 2. I can contend with Bond driving a tank in "Goldeneye" or a remote controlled car in "Tomorrow Never Dies", but this is nuts.

A lot of things didn't make sense in this film. For instance, is it really possible to turn from a hard-nosed Korean general to a sword-fighting, debonair British millionaire solely on the basis of "DNA therapy"? And wasn't it true that the one woman who Bond meets at a party that knows about him probably will betray him at the end? And what about the American agents who just show up near the end for no reason at all than to provide plot exposition?

Bottom Line: This feels like the "Batman And Robin" of the franchise, which is truly sad in that it could have been so much more. I give this film a 3 out of 10, if only for Pierce Brosnan's performance, which was seriously hampered by the inanity of the script. There is no reason for me to recommend this. Go see any other Bond film for greater satisfaction.

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