Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Belly of the Beast (2003)
Recent Seagal film that manages to be entertaining
Here's something I never expected I'd be saying about 'Belly of the Beast': It is an entertaining action movie. That's right, it may a new Seagal movie that has a totally disjointed plot and an identity crisis regarding what style of action movie it wants to be, but its a fun way to kill time.
Seagal plays Jake Hopper, an ex-CIA agent (you guessed it) working on the side as a professional ninja for an old agency buddy. This led me into thinking that ole' Stevie could very well star in a 'Beverly Ninja Hills Ninja 2' film, he certainly is getting to look a little like Chris Farley. Jake seems rather uninterested when he is informed that Muslim extremists in the north of Thailand have kidnapped his daughter, but that's only a cover for his apparent unlimited rage, at least according to the tag line. So Jake is off to Thailand to his rescue his daughter and show off his UNLIMITED RAGE!
Now I realize that 'Belly of the Beast' is a poor film in every aspect of film-making, but its one of those endearingly bad films. The plot is disjointed and sometimes predictable, sometimes suffering from an identity crisis. Seagal seems as excited as he always is (i.e. he actually looks really bored and seems as though he would prefer a quiet night in with a video instead of attempting to kick arse), and his physical fitness really needs to be questioned. You can hear his heavy breathing throughout the film, seemingly suggesting that Seagal just carried a box of donuts up small flight of stairs and now he he needs to recover. The fact that he even has a sex scene is just disturbing to even think about and is best left as one of those "let's never speak of this again" moments. In a scene in which Seagal is chatting up a monk, his voice actually changes! Some suggest Seagal was dubbed in that scene, but I always suspected that Stevie was the romantic type (at least when talking to monks).
The lack of any distinct action style doesn't help things. Seagal starts the movie off with some Tai-Chi and kicking that Stevie can't possibly perform in his shape and also sends his opponents flying through walls. When I realized who the director was, none of this surprised me and I even expected some sort of mystical battle to end the movie. I did not expect random normal shootouts and random 'Matrix'-style shootouts. Basically what we have here is almost a fantasy ninja movie with John Woo adding lots of guns, or something like that. It is confusing, it isn't compelling, but it makes for cheap entertainment.
I should probably feel shame for saying 'Belly of the Beast' was enjoyable. It is a terrible film, and most people really should avoid it, but there are a select few out there who (like me) can use this for cheap laughs - 2/10
'I Know What You Did Last Summer' is one of those movies I was told avoid, and because of that warning, went out of my way to watch it. I have no one to blame but myself. Even by slasher standards, 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' is stupid, boring, and insulting.
The premise is that four teenagers (who are generally rich and beautiful people) run a man over, and apparently kill him. Displaying a callous disregard for human dignity while trying to protect themselves, they dump the body in the ocean, and make a pact never to talk about it again. One year later, Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) receives a note indicating that someone knows all about the hit & run, and wants to off the group of self-serving brats.
I don't know how this crap managed to become so popular. It is a terrible movie, all based upon the fact that we're supposed to sympathize with these beautiful teens, even after they've killed someone and dumped his body in the ocean. No dice. If I was the guy they ran over, I'd be pretty ticked off too. A good horror movie should make you feel for, and sympathize with the characters in peril, but these kids are annoying, shallow, and have already covered up manslaughter - why should I sympathize with them? If anything, they're getting what they deserve.
Aside from that, IKWYDLS is obvious and boring. All the slasher clichés are present, but there are no surprises at all. The standard red herrings turn up, but shouldn't fool any avid horror fan (or anyone else for that matter). The cast are not convincing at all, especially Freddy Prinze Jr. He looked rather bored, although I suspect that may be the product of a lack of acting talent.
'I Know What Did Last Summer' is a terrible film, even by slasher standards, and is insulting to intelligence (though it takes a certain lack of intelligence to consider watching this. I'll freely admit to being guilty on that point) - 1/10
Street Fighter (1994)
Street Fighter rules!
'Street Fighter' rules. Sure, it is either plain old terrible movie or movie so awesome and cheesy that only few people will actually admit to liking it, but it rules.
Shadaloo is a nation in crisis. The Allied Nations force, led by Colonel Guile (Van Damme) controls the capital city, but General Bison (Raul Julia) remains at large. Bison is totally off his nut, and threatens to kill 63 AN hostages if the AN does not pay him twenty billion dollars. With the help of some of the world's best fighters, Guile is "going to kick Bison's ass so hard, the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it!". 'Street Fighter' rules.
'Street Fighter' rules. I can't say that often enough. Every line, every moment, and every explosion is awesome. Sure, 'Street Fighter' may push the lines of silly comedy into inept stupidity, but I love it. Sure, Kylie Minogue would normally belong far away from a martial arts film, and Van Damme will never pull off a convincing all American GI, but I love it. Sure, there is a strange lack of martial arts for a movie based on 'Street Fighter' movie, and it displays some real miscasting, but I love it. 'Street Fighter' gets sillier and funnier as the movie progresses, and providing some really funny lines and even better scenes (the Godzilla scene between E. Honda and Zangief is my favourite).
Watch 'Street Fighter' for laughs, and don't think about the game. In fact, don't think at all, just watch and laugh. It is a really entertaining film. In IMDb's worst 100? That's not fair, there are plenty of worse films than this.
Gamera tai daiakuju Giron (1969)
'Attack of the Monsters' is quite a movie. Not only does it show off Gamera's great range of talents, but it is also the silliest giant monster movie I've ever seen, and oddly violent for a giant monster that is obviously intended for kids. Gamera: if you can hear me, you rule.
Akio (Nobuhiro Kajima), an idealist kid, dreams of finding a planet with no wars,traffic accidents, or long pants. He and Tom (Christopher Murphy) get whisked away by an empty UFO to the planet Terra, a planet that is exactly like Earth and conveniently shares Earth's orbit and is always on the opposite side of the sun to Earth. On Terra, they watch as a Gyaos turns up, only to get dismembered by Guiron (Terran for: 'Giant-Knife-Head-Monster').
Only two Terrans still live on the planet: Two space-babes with names so nice and pretty that these space-babes are obviously evil (apparently the rest of the population left to find a new planet, but we all know they died in a mass traffic accident). When the Terran women reveal that they must eat the kids brains in order to adapt to life on Earth, the kids are saved by Gamera, friend to children everywhere.
Gamera should have had a toy range based on this movie. He is the most multi-skilled monster in the universe! I can see it all now: Regular Gamera, Jet Propulsion Gamera, Ninja Gamera, Baseball Gamera, Airborne Gamera, Judo Gamera, Dancing Gamera, Gymnast Gamera, Aqua Gamera, and Gamera the Repair Monster. 'Attack of the Monsters' is a very silly movie - silly in the most funny ways. The poor special effects, the very basic dialog, the far out story, and Gamera's range of talents all make for some quality monster movie entertainment. Some of the monster mayhem seems rather brutal, even by regular monster movie standards (really, how many Godzilla films feature bloody dismemberment?), but my only complaint is the lack of Gamera's theme song in the 'Attack of the Monsters' version of the film. I want Gamera's theme song! I want it now!
Gamera rules. 'Attack of the Monsters' may be one of the most poorly produced movies you'll ever see, but it's great fun, and you know it.
Mi ni te gong dui (1983)
Kung-fu on drugs
I've seen some pretty bizarre movies from Hong Kong, and I've long since learned my lesson about old kung-fu movies that have Jackie Chan on the cover. Sure, 'Young Tiger' and 'Eagle Shadow Fist' were terrible, but things like 'Spiritual Kung-Fu', 'Half a Loaf of Kung-Fu', and 'Killer Meteors' were great. In fact, I thought 'Killer Meteors' could not be beaten when it came to random kung-fu awesomeness and fake Jackie Chan movies...
... but then I saw 'Fantasy Mission Force'. And it transcended levels of awesomeness that 'Killer Meteors' could not even dream of. By now, fans of my writing will be saying "But Dave, in your Killer Meteors review, you said, and I quote, that Killer Meteors is 'pure awesomeness'!". Well, I'm sorry, but not even Killer Meteors could quite prepare anyone for 'Fantasy Mission Force'.
I would summarize the plot, but I'm not entirely sure that is even possible. It goes something like this: China, 1944 - a group of crusading kung-fu heroes are assembled by Chinese officers. They have 4 days to travel (on foot) to Luxembourg and rescue captured Allied Generals from some Japanese Nazis who watch too much Mad Max. Hence the 'fantasy' in 'Fantasy Mission Force'.
That was saying nothing about the Chinese Scots, the ninja Amazons, card-playing ghosts, or the movie having the feel of an old silent comedy. 'Fantasy Mission Force' appears to be how Jimmy Wang Yu would have made 'The Dirty Dozen' if he had been under the influence of many, many drugs. I'm not ashamed that I'm easily amused by really random comedy stories, movies etc, and thus 'Fantasy Mission Force' is something of a God-send. It may fall short as a kung-fu movie, but does that really matter when really random scenes depicting Chinese people dressed up as a Scottish marching band come and go? Yet I still think there is some method to all this madness. Did I mention that 'Fantasy Mission Force' is awesome?
Entertaining, and much much better than Freddy's Revenge
'A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge' is probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen. With that in mind, I thought that 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors' couldn't be any worse. Bam, 'Dream Warriors' was actually pretty good, probably due largely to Wes Craven returning as the writer and not having anything to do with 'Freddy's Revenge'.
One by one, the teenagers of Elm Street have been committed to the Springwood psychiatric facility. All have been having nightmares, and all apparently attempted suicide. The senior doctors blame a mass psychosis on moral guilt and attention seeking, but the new intern is none other than Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), the heroine of the first 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'. Nancy is now a psychology student specializing in dream therapy. When Nancy discovers that Kristen (Patrica Arquette) - one of the patients - can pull people into her dreams, Nancy resolves to take the Elm Street kids into Kristen's dream for one more stand against Freddy.
'Dream Warriors' is easily one of the stronger entries in the Elm Street series. The story is far more involved in fantasy / horror than it is in horror. 'Dream Warriors' is well written, and much more engaging than the second Elm Street movie (Freddy's Revenge). Instead of attempting more of the same like 'Freddy's Revenge' did, 'Dream Warriors' is much more imaginative and expands on the Elm Street / Freddy Krueger story and explores new territory. We get new insight into Freddy's origin, and an interesting - but sometimes unsettling - new story as Nancy and the kids manipulate their dreams to fight back against Freddy. The characters in 'Dream Warriors' are far more likable and sympathetic than the characters in 'Freddy's Revenge'. I felt sorry the kids, unlike in the second film when I was hoping Freddy would off Jesse soon just so the movie would be over.
Naturally, 'Dream Warriors' is filled with 80s cheese. Some of the SFX hold up today, but others are just incredibly cheesy. In between serious moments, we have dream moments in which the kids proclaim to be "the Wizard Master" or "beautiful and bad". It is oh so very cheesy. Heather Langenkamp isn't as convincing as she was in the first, and doesn't even seem to be trying while John Saxon in a brief return as Nancy's father. The soundtrack even features several songs by 80s metal band Dokken - you know you love 80s metal.
'Dream Warriors' is one of the better Elm Street movies. It isn't perfect, but anyone who wants to watch the series should skip part 2 and straight to this - 7/10
Fang Shi Yu (1972)
Above average, or awesome?
'Kung Fu: The Punch of Death' is quite a movie. First off, it has a title so awesome that no mere mortal can resist it. It also appears to be strive to be a bit more than an average kung-fu movie, but the DVD version my mate bought could possibly be one of the poorest quality DVDs in existence (the digitally degraded copy, perhaps?).
'Kung Fu: The Punch of Death' begins with our hero, Fong Su Yi (Meng Fei), being cheated by members of a rival martial arts school. Apparently Fong believes that the appropriate course of action is to start a fight his rivals and kill at least one, which he does. Fong then proceeds to cause trouble elsewhere, but then Iron Fist and Iron Leg - the masters of the rival school - seek vengeance against Fong and kill his father, leading Fong to take vengeance against the killers.
I would be lying if I said 'Kung Fu' made perfect sense. Scratch that. I would be lying if I said 'Kung Fu' was easily understood. The dubbing on the version we watched was the average dub that simplifies everything and tends to make you laugh through most of the movie and miss various chunks of dialog (which were probably just as useless / awesome anyway).
As an action movie, 'Kung Fu' tends to deviate from the standard kung-fu movies at the time. There are random fights throughout the movie, but most of them end with our hero getting beaten to within an inch of his life. The fights looked pretty good, but fight editing was distracting, and the quality of the DVD doesn't help when it changes colour during a fight or flashes red for a second.
'Kung Fu' is technically a better movie than most other kung fu movies of the time. It does put more effort into costuming and scenery, such as having most of the male cast in traditional pig-tails. Of course, if you are like me or my mates,extended shots of people racing around in attractive locations will only serve to distract people from the kung-fu. And what's the deal with Fong's mother looking around about the same as Fong, and being more attractive than Fong's love interest?
As a movie, 'Kung Fu: The Punch of Death' is an above average 6/10. For a kung-fu movie to watch with some mates, 'Kung Fu: The Punch of Death' transcends a numbered rating in awesome value (for that to make any sense, check out my 'Killer Meteors' review).
Gin gwai (2002)
Damn my attention span!
My attention span has much to answer for. I try to watch and enjoy a real horror movie, but given my ADD-like attention span for anything that doesn't involve giant monsters or kung-fu, I generally find myself becoming rather bored halfway through. For that reason, I tend to enjoy mindless slasher movies more than actual horror movies. 'The Eye' was no exception. It seemed like a genuinely scary horror movie, unfortunately, I became bored at the halfway mark and stopped paying full attention. Damn my attention span.
Blind from a very young age, Mun (Angelica Lee) undergoes a cornea transplant that restores her vision. The twist is, that Mun now has x-ray vision and can shoot lasers from her eyes, and must use her powers in the good fight for truth and justice. Wait - that's what SHOULD have happened, instead Mun just starts seeing dead people and having strange visions...
So, I might sound like I hated 'The Eye'. I'm not trying to give that impression, but at best, it was average. There are a couple of creepy moments in the first half, but the second half of the movie loses pace and focus. My attention span isn't all that trivial - if the 'The Eye' had stayed on track, it would have been a much better film. As it stands, it has a promising start, but quickly becomes convoluted before turning a detective story. How very exciting. When the end comes, you'll probably come to the conclusion that you've seen this movie before: it borrows heavily from other notable horror films.
I don't know whether I'm a jaded horror fan or just a lout with a really short attention span (perhaps both?), but 'The Eye' promised to be a good horror film, but was just too unbalanced - 5/10
The Punisher (2004)
Having never read a Punisher comic in my life, all I can say about the new 'Punisher' film is: "awesome, totally awesome". I've also seen the Dolph Lundgren version that was made in the 80s, and Frank Castle turned up the 90s Fox 'Spider-Man' cartoon (to kill Spidey, of course). Given that exposure alone, and me being an action movie fan-boy and everything, I think I should start reading Punisher comics. They must be totally awesome.
Frank Castle (Tom Jane) is the average "cop on one final special operation before retiring to a desk job but something goes wrong" kind of cop. In this case, Castle is an undercover FBI Special Agent investigating the Saint family. The operation is blown, and Castle accidentally kills Bobby Saint. In retaliation Howard Saint (John Travolta) tracks Frank to a family reunion, and orders his goons to kill Frank and the entire Castle family. Left for dead, Frank somehow survives, and takes it upon himself to 'punish' Howard Saint and his cronies.
I mentioned before that I've never read a Punisher comic before. Without having read any Punisher stories, I can not comment on how true the latest film stays to the source material. For all I know, it could be straying very far from the comics. The movie is dark, sometimes funny, and oddly captivating. The only thing separating this from the multitude of "man's family is killed, man gets revenge" 'Death Wish' clones out there is that 'The Punisher' has strange violent opera feel to it.
As an action movie, 'The Punisher' is totally awesome. It is violent and aggressive, perfect for any action movie fan, and probably perfect for the character of Frank Castle. While the movie does slow down at times, it boasts some really cool action scenes. The best is easily Castle's one on one fight against the Russian (Kevin Nash). The fact that Tom Jane is nowhere as physically imposing as Nash or good ole' Dolph Lundgren makes that scene (and others) all the more impressive.
I've seen a few Marvel movies recently, from the terrible 'Nick Fury: Agent of Shield', through the average at best 'Elektra' to the totally awesome 'The Punisher', and I haven't even reached the 'Blade' trilogy yet, but I will, oh I will. For now, 'The Punisher' is an awesome movie, and easily my favourite of the Marvel comic adaptations - 9/10
Nothing happening here...
Elektra, or, as I know her, "that chick from Daredevil who turned up in Wolverine's solo book once or twice". So, 'Daredevil' wasn't THAT bad. It served me well as mild entertainment once or twice. I figured that 'Elektra' might also pass as amusing - after all, it promised to be about ninjas, and I do love a good ninja movie.
After carking it in 'Daredevil', Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is brought back by her master Stick (Terence Stamp). She becomes an assassin for hire, but while on an assignment, she becomes fond of her supposed targets Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his thirteen year old daughter Abby (Kirsten Prout), and decides to protect from the Hand, a shadowy underworld organization of ninjas with freaky powers. Led by Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), a small group of the Hand's elite set out to finish Elektra's job and Elektra too.
Woah, so I never thought a movie all about good ninjas and bad ninjas involved in some sort of ninja war could be so boring. 'Elektra' turned out to be a character-driven ninja movie, instead of a ninja-driven ninja movie. I don't mind a non-action movie every so often, but 'Elektra' was presented a full on action movie, and that was all I wanted in the middle of doing university assignments and studying for tests. Basically, it followed the same style as 'Hulk', but was less exciting.
Jennifer Garner spends long periods of the film standing around looking bored, and generally giving out a performance one might usually expect from someone like Steven Seagal. Her Elektra was much more interesting in 'Daredevil' than in 'Elektra'. Despite an entire film about her, you really don't learn anything about the character: At one point Abby mentions that Elektra has OCD, but it just seems pointless and is never referred to again. The other characters get shafted too: Elektra's apparent love interest makes very little impact on the movie, and all we know about the villains is that they are ninjas with freaky powers. No explanation, no origin, nothing.
There is barely enough action in 'Elektra' to even qualify as an action. Much of the time wasted on following the character's around as they do nothing could have been used to beef up 'Elektra' as an action film. As it stands, they were pretty ordinary and almost nowhere to be seen. I mean, a few more extended fight scenes could have made 'Elektra' amusing at least.
'Elektra' isn't as terrible as Marvel's 'Nick Fury' movie, but it doesn't come close to some of Marvel's more awesome movies, like 'The Punisher'. At best, 'Elektra' is barely average: very little happens - 4/10