Reviews written by registered user
Dan_the_DutchMan

7 reviews in total 
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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Very illegitimate cult classic - Actually a block of old cheese, 19 July 2009
3/10

Yesterday I saw this movie for the first time. I expected lots of cool gangs fighting their street wars in a gritty urban tale. What I got was a laughable travesty of incredibly gay looking and acting groups of cardboard cut-outs. No names (a few nicknames) and all dressed up in the same ridiculous Halloween fashion.

The plot of this smelly block of cheese can easily be summarized in a single sentence. "When an important gang leader gets assassinated at a large meeting meant to unite all gangs, The Warriors of Coney Island are accused of murder and forced to make a long run for it, back to their turf, meanwhile having to fight off several gangs chasing them, in the end to face off against the actual killer." That's it.

Michael Beck plays Swan, the leader of the bunch. He gets the whole leader type point across, but without any personality or charisma. A boring empty shell. The only one who brought a little fun to the table was James Remar as the rebellious Ajax. I can hardly recall any others. Of course there is also a girl involved somewhere. She is ugly and annoying, and not worth mentioning. The acting overall was that of a high school play.

Gang members (in movies anyway) are supposed to be intimidating, tough and cool at the same time. But these pussies... none of the words mentioned apply to them. The fight scenes are badly choreographed and cheesy, and the movie doesn't have any special photography worth mentioning. I watched the Director's Cut, and did like the whole comic book intermezzo editing throughout. That however doesn't change there is virtually no excitement and no genuine humor, not even in the shape of irony.

This thing appears to have a cult following, but even if I wanted to, I couldn't figure out why. It is unbelievable this was ever part of pop culture. Maybe it's a different story if you grew up with this, seeing it in the theater at the time. I could imagine this as one of those shallow date movies that allows young couples to focus on each other during the movie, in stead of having to focus on the screen. Because what you get here, judging as a twenty five year old first time viewer, is 94 minutes of nothing.

That's right Boppers, this is a seriously dated product that does not deserve to be recognized the way it is. If you are exploring '70's cinema, I would definitely recommend you skip this one.

8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Intentional absurdity turns into one dumb movie, 25 April 2008
2/10

Pulling guns in movies stopped being interesting a long time ago. However, if it serves a cool story (even if it's a little goofy) with somehow believable characters, it can still be lots of fun to watch. Sadly enough, this does not apply for Shoot 'Em Up. I knew what to expect before watching it. I was prepared for lots of over the top absurdity. The movie does offer enough of that, but on the other hand there are characters you just don't give two sh*ts about.

Clive Owen seems to be repeating the Dwight character. In Sin City that was awesome, but here it's an empty shell, with lots of one-liners that rarely hit the spot. He plays it too seriously. Again, this was cool in Sin City, but here it doesn't work. The Bugs Bunny - carrot eating thing was quite lame. Monica Bellucci's character is even more shallow and without emotion. Without a doubt this was intentional, and we can still enjoy her stunning appearance. She just embodies sex. The only wrong move was to let her pass for a Latina, while she still can't conceal her French accent. Don't even get me started about Paul Giamatti. I loved him in a few other films, but this perverse and disgusting Elmer Fudd impersonation repeatedly made me want to turn off the film.

The "story", if there is such a thing, isn't even worth mentioning. Some extremist group starts killing babies. Mr. Smith (Owen) just happens to be in the neighborhood to save a baby and decides to see the whole case through, by killing all evil parties involved. Have you ever… ah never mind. I won't spoil the "deeper plot" for those who still want to see it.

What about the action? Well, there are a few stunts and moves worth seeing, but the most of it consists of very bad CGI. The skydiving sequence was the worst ever seen on screen. And o yeah, lots of bullets flying…, and none hitting Owen's character. Yawn, where have we seen this before? O I don't know, in just about every other action film ever made. The only difference being this time it looks ridiculous enough to cause serious agony.

No, save your precious time and money, and avoid this piece of utter junk at all costs. If you're looking for a good absurd action film, try Transporter or Crank. If you want to see really good recent stuff, pick up Die Hard 4 (Unrated) or Bourne Ultimatum.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Bigger action, more positive tone, still Mad Max, but a small step back, 14 January 2008
7/10

Every Mad Max is a new experience. Making objective comparisons between all three movies is more difficult than it seems to be. There is however a great underlying continuity to the entire trilogy. The first one sets up the universe en presents Max' personal challenge. The second one represents the struggle and the first step towards mending. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome represents salvation, for Max and the rest of the world.

In some aspects, Beyond Thunderdome is the best of the trilogy. The action in this movie is the biggest and most spectacular. More in number and more extravagant chase vehicles. Faster and meaner. It is also the most positive and fun of the three. The first two being considerably darker. The future lies with children; a concept executed quite nicely in this movie, with a few very familiar references.

Than why is this movie a step back, after the superior Road Warrior? The first part of the movie (taking place in Barter Town) with Tina Turner's character is considerably less interesting. Still entertaining, but without much credibility, partly due to some bad overacting and partly because of the cartoon characters. I know, much is possible in this universe, but even here you can go too far. But, it was great to see Bruce Spence back in the air, now as a different character. Turner's music at the beginning and end of the film is a nice addition too. Especially "We don't need another hero" at the end.

A visually stunning production, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome delivers a good ending to a memorable trilogy. Most importantly, it brings a satisfying ending to the story.

Bigger and better!!! The Road Warrior still delivers!!!, 14 January 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those sequels turning out to be a bit better than the original. It's "cult" reputation is even bigger than the first one's. If Mad Max shows you chaos, The Road Warrior presents complete anarchy.

Events in this movie play a short time after the first one. A nuclear war has left the world in ruins, and all types of energy have become rare commodities. Commodities to ravage and kill for. After the tragic events in the first film, Max has become a lone drifter trying to survive on his own. With his V8-powered Interceptor he comes across allies and villains even weirder and crazier than in the first one. With nothing to lose, he encounters a community of outcasts threatened with extermination by an even more extravagant band of maniacs than the one in the first film. An evil rag tag army led by the unforgettable villain Lord Humungus, and his "first lieutenant" Wez.

Just like in the first one, the story is rather common, but once again this is not the main drive of these movies. The strength of Mad Max lies within great memorable characters (Bruce Spence as the Gyro Captain, little Emil Minty as the Feral Kid) and really cool motor vehicle chases. Some of the best you've ever seen. The spectacular chase vehicles with raw engine sounds going through the dusty badlands are unforgettable.

Max is still the man of the show. His development comes across perfectly. The Road Warrior represents his darkest hour, in which he has lost everything. Can he find hope and purpose in a world where all seems lost?

Like Die Hard has become a mold for action movies to this day, The Road Warrior also became a mold for a very specific type of movie. Waterworld essentially took the same story to the sea, and Soldier took it into deep space.

The Road Warrior in that sense is the original. An explosive sequel to Mad Max that proves bigger and better really is possible.

Mad Max (1979)
69 out of 95 people found the following review useful:
After nearly 30 years still an amazing trip at high speed, 11 January 2008
7/10

After not seeing it for about seven years, I just saw it on DVD for the first time. I remembered it as an exciting near-chaos-future adventure with highway cops in muscle cars and one insane biker gang. It's great how it keeps on standing the test of time. High speed and raw power are of every age, past and future. The way the highway action is shot in this movie simply stays exhilarating, putting it in the top ranking of best high-speed-chase movies ever. Seeing the camera follow the highway marker at high speed, along with the sound of a bike- or V8-engine delivers a Mad and chaotic but really cool result. The pace of the movie remains considerably high, without many slow moments.

Some aspects of the movie have (understandably) dated. Obviously the 70's clothing and hair styles. Sometimes the acting is a little over the top, and some characters could come directly from a comic book. And of course the story is not that deep or difficult. It's partly action-thriller, partly science fiction adventure. All weaknesses are covered and compensated by lots of a-moral fun though.

At the heart of this one of a kind look movie, there is a hero character named Max. This speed-demon-cop is at the top of his game on the highway, ruthlessly dealing with maniacs ravaging his jurisdiction. But he is also a happy family man with his wife and son. This duality makes the character human, timeless and very memorable. In some scenes you can clearly see Mel Gibson was only just getting into acting. For a rookie he was doing a good job nonetheless.

Others strengths lie within the scary nature of the biker gang. An extravagant rag-tag band of maniacs, led by the iconic villain The ToeCutter. To this day, their actions remain tough and very disturbing. It will have you staring at the screen dead serious, making Max' battle against them even more gratifying.

There is much to say about this movie, but first and foremost it is a must see. A cult classic still as enjoyable as it was nearly 30 years ago.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Terrific timeless character-drama, 10 January 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Personally I was never really into Woody Allen's work. But then there was Match Point, with a story that was very appealing to me, starring people I somehow felt comfortable with. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays an impressive lead as Chris Wilton, an ex tennis pro who becomes a teacher in an expensive tennis club in London.

Here he becomes friends with Tom Hewett (a very decent Matthew Goode). As they get closer, Chris meets Tom's sister Chloë (an ever so sweet Emily Mortimer), and Tom's fiancé Nola (a very attractive Scarlett Johansson). Nola becomes an extremely dangerous aphrodisiac to Chris. From the moment they meet, Chris will never feel the same again. When the relationship between Tom and Nola ends, Nola disappears out of Chris' life for a while. During this time he builds on a future with Chloë, but Nola is never really out of his thoughts. She becomes an obsessive addiction, that affects his entire life. The development he makes during the film is really scary. From a steady and down-to-earth guy he becomes an obsessive and deceptive person, unable to choose between a good wealthy but boring life with Chloë, and an unstable but passionate relationship with Nola.

Allen takes time to play out all the events taking place in this film. Every emotion without dialogue comes across perfectly, making you really feel Chris' impossible situation. Another important thing you genuinely feel is the erotic tension between Chris and Nola in their scenes together. There is no original score, making you focus on the characters even more.

There is not a single bad performance in this film. Every character feels real, natural and deep, as if everything is actually taking place as you're watching it. For instance Brian Cox plays a very gentle character, as you've never seen him before. Everyone on screen makes it very easy for you to get into this very human story about passion and obsession, and you are kept in, for the full two hours. Adding in the realism is the London setting, that is simply there, without any unusual production design. A splendid achievement.

If you like down-toned and real character drama with great performances, Match Point is your ticket.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Splendid performances in gritty contemporary drama, 10 January 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After Training Day and Dark Blue, writer/director David Ayer delivers his third feature that displays a gritty and realistic ghetto drama. Ayer clearly knows this terrain, because the entire setting of dark neighborhoods in L.A. feels very real, giving the viewer the constant feeling that something threatening could happen any minute. The story being partially based on Ayer's own life experiences corroborates these findings. The realistic setting alone however does not make the movie flawless. The story in general is not deep and rich enough to become forever memorable. The movie has a fairly simple three-act structure, but it doesn't take away any of the excitement that awaits you.

This movie came to my attention by following Christian Bale's filmography. He is clearly one of the best actors of his generation, and with Harsh Times, he adds yet another memorable character to his impressive resume. In Harsh Times he plays Jim Davis, an honorably discharged U.S. Ranger, who served in Irak. He portrays his inner struggle with traumatic experiences very intensely. The rapid personality shifts give you an uncomfortable feeling about this character. One moment you find yourself laughing with him, the other he will aggressively pin you down. In some respects similar to Denzel Washington's character in Training Day.

The movie mainly follows Jim Davis on the road with his friend Mike, played very well by Freddy Rodriguez. On their way, both looking for jobs, they continuously deviate into serious mischief: drinking, smoking weed, hustling and gunrunning. Sometimes ending up in life-threatening situations. Davis' continuous disappointment in the government he served drives him over the edge, and that is where the movie's greatest strength lies: with Bale's performance. Unlike the story, the character is deep. You know his irrational actions go too far, but on the other hand you do feel for the guy's condition and situation.

All supporting characters are played very natural, almost making it feel like a documentary. Eva Longoria's character desperately tries to protect her man Mike from his reckless friend. She doesn't have very much screen time, but in the time given, she does leave a good impression.

When going into this movie, do not expect an all-out action movie. This is a character-based realistic psychological drama about a man so emotionally messed up, his rational sense has been distorted.

Even with this very serious basis, Ayer and everyone else involved in creating this picture have managed to make the movie entertaining also. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.