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In the Blood (2014)
Direct to Video done RIGHT !
I really enjoyed this movie, i am actually surprise i did enjoy it that much. When i got Haywire i was a bit disappointed, Gina did her best but the scenario was really not a strong point. This movie scenario is extremely interesting despise being very simple. You want her to find it, you root for her and you feel her pain. I think Gina's acting has also improved a lot. I tough she was a bit wooden in Fast and Furious 6 despise playing her part OK, but in this she show emotions, she make you feel for her character.
So yes, i did enjoy the scenario, which is something that really help make a movie interesting obviously, but what about the action? It was pretty nice actually. I maybe hoped there would be a little more of it, but it was very well shot. You could feel the blows, you can tell she knows her stuff and it look real.
This movie came as a huge surprise for me, since its only Gina's second lead role, and i think really if she sign on good projects, she could very be the next action star.
She is tough, she is build up, muscular, yet she manage to be so hot at the same time its crazy. She knows fighting (for real) and how to make fights interesting and as i said above, her acting really improved a lot since i saw her in the last movie. If Stallone makes Expendables 3, please bring Gina in it, she would be the perfect match for a role.
Part of me want Gina to get back into MMA, but then again if she choose to remain in the movie industry, i think ill enjoy it just as much, if not more.
I am giving this movie 8, maybe its a bit higher that what i should, but since i really enjoyed it, had a good time, and its awesome to see a movie without a gazillion $ budget be that interesting, i think it deserve it. They manage to keep me entertained, have fun, get into the story, and that without CGI and lots of special effects or such. Thats quite an accomplishment for an action movie.
Mercury Man (2006)
Not much to redeem, Thais will never learn...
A Thai superhero movie? Sounds weird huh? But why not... After all MIRAGE MAN starring Colombian Martial Artist Marko Zaror was not bad at all, rather interesting despise its lead actor very minimal acting skills.
But when it comes to Thai, it seem they ALWAYS have to include some kind of religious factors into there story, and this is always where they are gonna loose us, the western public. We don't care at all about those. The hero happen to be a fireman... thats enough, we like him already, no need to make him somewhat religious or have a religious side kick... I know that the amulets must come from somewhere, but i was hoping for once of having a Thai movie not including something like that at all. Take Ong Bak, take The Protector, what make them fun is Tony Jaa and the fights, nobody cared for the scenario involving religious artifacts...
When i watch a Thai Movie, its always the problem, the action is usually great but the scenario does not interest me at all. But sadly in this case even the action was not stellar. Its not atrocious, but this is nowhere near close to what you will expect reading "ong bak" and "The protector" on the cover. It seem the only decent martial arts scenes are the ones when the hero is in costume, which i supposed are done by his stunt double... The action scenes of the girls fighting are pretty weak... and when the hero is out of costume he fight terrible also.
But after all its a superhero movie, then how are the special effects, the bad guys, the powers, the costume? Well the power themselves are pretty cool. The black costume ain't bad either, it look a bit in the vein of "Kick Ass" if i can say so don't aspect some Nolan Batsuit, but its decent.
The special effects on the other hand... well in some parts there pretty good, but when they want to overdo, it seem our hero morph into a video game character CGI sequence and it looks TERRIBLE. Super Fake looking. The bad guys, now this one made me wondering. There supposed to be some afghan terrorist, but some of them look Caucasians(??) and the hero and his side kick totally look Thai... The worst part is the leader actually wear eye liner and make up that make him look extremely goofy and the dubbing have him talk with some cheap Arabians accent...when every other character talk normal English. Oh and the dubbing... lol... terrible. I know Americans are not used to dub movies... I'm from Quebec, i watch most of my movies in french dubbing, and we know how to do the job well, but here, it seem some American dudes where just reading the lines and thats it... They even dubbed a guy looking like he is 85 years old with a 40 years old sounding voice....
So in the end what can i say? Well enough action to entertain me, but some of it is good, some of it is bad, the special effects where cool in moments, cheap DTV CGI looking in others, the dubbing horrible, but the part that disappoint the most is the story.
You are never really explain where the amulets come from, the terrorist goal and back story is terrible, and that little boy that seem to have mind control over human and electronic... they never explain where he come from at all... but he become a key part of the story so your like.... WHAT??? So Mercury Man is more or less what Jeremy Jahns would call "You'r not gonna remember it in T-minus 15 minutes"...
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Yep, i really enjoyed this !!
From the producers of Underworld... Yeah easy to see and i loved it ! I just love this Gothic kinda look they put into monster movies, it gives them charm. Is the plot really original? Yes and no. No because its more or less a retail of Underworld meet Van Helsing... and yes because its a new take on the Frenkenstein's monster.
I will be honest, i never cared for the original story, be it the book or early movies. I don't give a crap about any cinema made before my birth actually which is 85... maybe except Enter the Dragon... and thats because im a sucker for martial arts tournament movies... In other worlds old black and white "classics" ... i just don't care.
I loved how this movie pretty much wrapped the original story in 5 min, like yeah that happened and now its our story going on, and its original. Original for the monster, but like i said, yeah its more or less Van Helsing and Underworld combined... But hey it worked...
Aaron Eckhart was good as the monster, the visuals are amazing, the plot is simple but effective, its a joy to see Bill Nighy plain the same type of villain once more, and the fights where entertaining.
Is that a cinematic masterpiece? No, but its a good fun action movie and i enjoyed it really much. I would like to see more. Just don't expect a drama or an horror movie. Yeah lots of CGI, lots of action, thats what this movie is, its fun and its for entertainement.
Tapped Out (2014)
Very pleasantly surprised !!!
I was also expecting a movie like those Hector Echavarria MMA movies from a couple years back. They where OK, but had predictable stories, decent fighting yet nothing especially crazy, they also had a bunch of MMA fighters doing cameo to market the project like this one.
But the comparing stop there. The story in this one is really well written and i could really feel for the hero trough the movie. Some people mention there is not much action til later in the movie, i didn't even really notice it, the story really kept me on the edge and i loved how the hero trained. Although it does take some references from a couple known movies(like Karate Kid) i really like how it mix so well a good old Karate setting that remind older movies with todays MMA.
The villain really play his part well, he is truly believable. He does have very little lines but he did a pretty good job when he had ones. The fighting also has an authentic feel to it and the fight choreographers really mixed well a more realistic set-up with some "movie moves".
Of course if you expect Anderson Silva or Lytto Machida to have big roles in this, don't. They seem like the lead on the covers but they have very little screen time, more like an extended cameo, but again what you expected really? They can't really act, there just there to promote the movie.
Really Tapped Out is really one of 2014 best surprise for me. I wasn't expecting much yet i got a strong martial art movie that i enjoy from beginning to end. The hero, the love interest, the villain, the sensei/trainer, they where all memorable characters that i felt for.
Give this a chance you won't regret it.
Searching an identity
When you watch this movie you have a feeling you are not really sure what you watch. Sorry this review will be full of spoilers, but i don't know how to put it otherwise, in any case there ain't much story to it in the first place.
So these women are kidnap, forced to fight "to the death" and being locked away during all the other time. First flaw is that they show the main character in a very completely bad set up. She ambush in a way a new comer, faint "submitting" to only sucker punch her, and yes i get it they have to kill them, but do they have to beat them to a bloody pulp? I guess the movie wanted to shock, and show lots of violence but damn show your "bad guy" doing that, not the hero. She could had just slap her neck...
Oh and by the way that was Rachel Nichols... you know the more known of the bunch, one that got top billing and make you think she star in the movie... yeah 10 min and she is out... bye bye.
Then there is the fact that every women is a fairly attractive one... no bulky manish woman here, only pretty girl. The "bad guy" of the movie is a sick crazy super hot chicks who probably has the best acting of the movie, she play her role great, but sadly the fight with her is rather disappointing and lead to a weird anti climatic finale.
Speaking about the ending... you heard it, they say its bad... well yeah it is... and hard to believe...
For the fights you may ask? Well there bloody for sure, and made to be realistic, but they lack entertainment to my own opinion... the fights are really not a reason why you should watch this...
Despise all the flaws, i still enjoyed it enough to not be bored, but i would had hope the story would had been better developed, the fights more entertaining, and the ending better for sure.
Ill give them credit because they tried to do something different with an old concept.
Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite (1999)
Should had been called something else...
I was surprised to realize i didn't made a review for this movie yet. I saw it a couple years ago, when i was in the pinnacle of my martial art movies buzz, and i remember even back then i was disappointed by it compared to the 3 other Bloodsports.
First of all, i love both the first and second one equally, despite the second one not having Van Damme, i think Daniel is just as good if not better when it comes to fighting scenes. Third one was a little step down but i liked it a lot too.
With this forth one, i don't know what they where trying to do really. I know some franchise use the same actor in different sequels with different characters, like Don Wilson's Bloodfist, but in this movie something really felt off about it. I really like Alex Cardo as a character but it was obvious his story was done, but they wanted Daniel for another movie, the problem is, they should had called it something else. Probably to make money because of the bloodsport name, they decided to call it "Bloodsport The Dark Kumite". Honestly the main character is far less interesting than Alex Cardo, the set-up although already done previously is not that bad, but its just something feel off about the whole thing.
Fight scenes are OK, but way under the ones in the previous movies, and the budget look very small, the acting is not convincing. Well what can i say, its really not as fun as the previous Bloodsports despise not being a total turd as some people call it.
I think it would had work a bit better with another title but oh well...
Blood of Redemption (2013)
Had potential but goes below your usual Dolph...
Cool, a new Dolph Lundgren, thats what i said when i found out about this movie. I watch most of the stuff he did in recent years and one thing that always comes to mind, minus the Expendables(which is awesome), his movies are always decent, minus a few exceptions. They never give me any "wow feeling" but they are honest DTV release.
This one... isshhh, i want to like it, but there is major problems. As some people mentioned, holy cow the special effects where terrible... I mean i expect some very cheap CGI in an episode of the Angry Video Game Nerd... but not in a real movies. Gunshot sounds and effects where horrible... And if at least the shooting was decent... but way too much "guy stand in the open, kill everybody in 1 bullet, never get shot" Fist fights where below average, especially when it came to the ladies in this... felt fake as hell... Speaking about fake, we have the pleasure of a cameo of Tasha Reign and Rikki Six, two well known pornstars with fake tits in this, which made me smile. But to come back to fist fights, well a couple ones where decent but again the noise of them... felt very cheap 80s movies...
Finally the story... decent. Overly complicated a bit in some part but the whole scenario was interesting and all.
In the end i would say thanks god they manage to get decent B actors like Dolph and Vinnie(also Billie Zane), which is probably the reason why a bunch of guys like me watch it in the first place. But in the end, not a movie to be remember. I know the budget may not had been the best, but please guys... i saw better gun wounds and effects in 80s movies...
Vamp U (2013)
A fair review...
*Very Minimal Spoilers, i put it mostly cause i am not sure if it can be considered spoilers really, better prevent than being sorry* Its kinda surprising this movie only got 3 reviews considering i saw it in the video store of my local village in the Eastern township of Quebec.
Honestly i was expecting something somewhat middly funny with some teen romance but that could also make me feel for the characters. Honestly i was half satisfy in that department. Let me explain. This movie enter the category of Never Cry Werewolf, My Babysitter's a Vampire, Suck and even Decoy which use aliens, all of those funny light hearted vampire/werewolves movies. Even maybe Fright Night which is a bit more adult based, especially the remake. Its not to be taken seriously, its teen stuff, you usually get yourself in the place of the characters and think "how cool would it be if that was me" lol.
The thing is, this movie failed a bit to relate me over the characters. The fat dude ain't that funny or cool, the "boyfriend" dude ain't really a boyfriend and more or less a childhood friend with a very minimally developed relation in the movie. You never really feel for this guy. The prof vampire, i couldn't even really feel for him either as he seem to show regret killing sometimes but you see him kill and pretty much he don't care really about the guy that he killed. Or he make bad jokes about siring(and now having to kill her) the daughter of his former love that he tough he killed...
All the relations in the movie seem to be somewhat badly developed and the laughs are kinda minimal. Yet somehow i still kinda liked the movie and was not bored or anything... i would say it was borderline. The chick playing Chris was interesting and she was to my opinion the best character of the movie. The Sorority girls where also hot, and somewhat i kinda liked the movie... so i would say honestly its OK, don't expect to be impress but it ain't trash either. The fact that it don't take itself seriously at all really help giving it the free pass...
Mang lung (2005)
Won't remember it in T-minus 30 mins...
I seem to give a lot of 5 recently, i am not sure if its because my standards are higher or i stumble across many ordinary movies. Lets just say that my opinion of Dragon Heat is a roller coaster. In some part i was getting into the story, in other parts i was bored, i could say the same for the action as some gun fights where nice, but some others where ridiculous(snipers can't hit anything for example). The fist fights where not that numerous, but when there was one, they where pretty fine...
But the problems reside in 2 things, the plot and the bad cinematography. The director tried to give the movie a special touch or i dunno, using all kinds of blurry filters and effects, and it end up just being a mess. Also the movie kinda use the old formula of presenting every character with a 5 secs clip and name on screen, because there is a lot of them, yet those clips are used and re-used in the movie, which is way too much.
The plot itself is confusing a bit, hard to follow, not the worst i ever saw but its hard to get into it and understand who do what in it. At some point you just give up and tell yourself, well good cops must kill bad guys, end of the story...
As for the lead roles, i would say Sammo Hung has decent screen time, he appear first like a side character but at the end your kinda thinking he is more or less one of the lead. As for Maggie Q, she only play a bad guy with not much personality. She is the Sniper who can't hit anything... lol. No fight scene either. Don't let the cover fool you.
Enemies Closer (2013)
Good DTV action !
This is exactly how to do a low budget DTV movie right. The location is quite simple, yet big enough to carry the movie and what will happen. The characters are pretty good. I would say the protagonists where fine, the Ranger was lovable, the black dude was OK, but the show stealer is definitely Van Damme. He has been going out of his comfort zone lately in different type of role, and after having seen him in Expendables 2, i knew he could pull off a bad guy.
In this movie, he is just so over the top and nuts its amazing. He is really what give a special feeling to the movie. In lots of his post 2010 or so roles he appeared as a depressing, never smiling anti-hero and even tough some of these movies where nice(6 Bullets, Assassination Games) i was eagerly waiting for him to do something else which he is doing with this and Welcome to the Jungle.
I loved the role of Xander, and he got the hair cut to go with it ! The story itself is pretty simple yet OK, don't expect a high budget of special effects, but the fights are done nicely and there is enough action to satisfy most fans.
Overall a nice addition to your Van Damme collection, and for a guy that is now not so young, i am glad he can still pull out movies like that.