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Don't waste your time
This is, by far, one of the worst action films I have ever seen. When this was finally over I had to check if this was some kind of amateur movie. The director, editor and fight choreographer need to book a flight to Hong Kong ASAP to learn their craft - from the beginning. A special mention must go out to the person who selected the music/songs (classical music, punk, local pop, spaghetti western and march music): what the heck were you thinking???
I regret having wasted more than two hours for this. Don't make the same mistake.
Red Sparrow (2018)
How not to adapt a novel
Having read the book the film is based on, I'm really disappointed by this movie. The major reason for this is the screenplay by Justin Haythe.
It removed way too many interesting points from the novel, for example Dominika's synesthesia. It would have been really interesting to have seen this translated to the screen. Also, the novel is rich in details about spycraft. Of course, you can not include all this in a movie but the film features almost nothing. Then, the screenplay changes major plot points for absolutely no reason, for example the demise of Matorin has much more impact in the book because Dominika defeats him alone. And the fact that Vanya Egorov dies at the end instead of Korchnoi changes the entire movie to basically a bland revenge story without giving Korchnoi the kind of resolve he wished for himself in the novel. And last but not least this film contains maybe the most awkward sex scene in recent time (when I was watching this in the cinema, the entire crowd was laughing about it) - that is saying a lot when you compare this to the way the intense relationship of Dominika and Nate is described in the book.
Apart from the screenplay, I'm not really sure if Joel Edgerton was the right choice for Nash - the chemistry between him and Jennifer Lawrence feels off to me. And while I get that you need some name actors to sell the movie, are there no Russian actors available for speaking parts to play Russians in a spy movie involving Russia?
In the end, the only things saving this movie from being a complete waste of time are Jennifer Lawrence's performance, the cinematography by Jo Willems and the score by James Newton Howard.
Fack ju Göhte 2 (2015)
This film tries very hard to top the first one in humor and scope. Some of the jokes work very well and are on the same level as in the original film (the chili condom, the river scene). Volker Bruch's performance as Hauke is brilliant.
However, in my opinion the film falls flat for a variety of reasons. For the most part the kind of humor has changed from a clever mix of stupidity/slapstick/wit/gutter language to two hours of hearing Chantal talk. The reasoning behind this is understandable because the character was one of the highlights of the first film. But this is too much. In contrast, characters which were highlights in the first film only appear in better cameos (e.g. Palaske's Charly) in this film.
The length of the movie is another issue. There are some dramatic elements in the film (the orphans) which in my opinion just don't work and simply drag on the movie. Deleting them would have sped up the film considerably. Another example for something that should have been cut is the last scene with M'Barek in the vending machine. While a similar scene in the first film was a highlight, this scene is just completely redundant.
There were also some technical issues which were distracting. First, the editing of the first minutes is very fast paced which does not fit for what is happening. Then, the score did not fit either for some scenes (e.g. fast paced/"action" music for quieter scenes). And last but not least, the explosion of the boat was one the worst VFX shots I have seen in a long time (in a theatrical film). This almost felt like something from a cheap C-movie.
All in all, I had some laughs, but the film is not on the same level as the first film.
Lasko - Die Faust Gottes (2009)
For the first time in like ages this show has done something quite amazing for a German TV show: it doesn't suck.
If you're not familiar with German TV shows you might think "So what?". But if you're familiar with them you probably know that many German shows have at least one of the following problems: there is no adequate budget, the scripts are boring/ridiculous/... and many actors perform like they never visited a drama school. This renders many shows unwatchable if you're used to quality shows from the UK and US.
Now, I won't say this show is perfect, far from it. On the positive side, first comes Mathis Landwehr as Lasko. He may be a bit stiff on the acting side but is a great fighter and IMHO a good choice for the title role. The other cast members are okay. The fighting scenes are pretty spectacular for a TV show, I think they are on the same level as US shows. You can see that the producers have collected a decent budget so they can afford location shooting and some nice looking visual effects. The basic story principle is interesting and has a lot of potential.
Now, on the down side, the most problematic thing are, as usual, the scripts. The basic approach should be a serialized episode form where an overall story arc is established (something is indicated with the Ares organisation but not really elaborated). Instead we get too many "mystery-of-the-week" episodes. Then, even for a genre TV show like this, some things are way too convenient/unbelievable (like the takeover of German air-traffic control). The portrayal of the BKA, like a small incompetent agency where you can come and go as you wish, seems extremely far-fetched. Another crucial thing the show is missing so far is a proper antagonist for the main hero (which should be played by a really good actor, see i.e. Die Hard, Lost etc.). The writers had the chance of establishing not one but two of them (two female mercenaries) in the first episode, but they decided to kill them off. Quintus was going in the right direction but this character was killed too. Some smaller issues which should be fixed are a few of the more obvious visual effects (green screen effects of characters driving in cars) and the absence of a memorable opening theme/sequence.
All in all this show is a decent surprise. I like what I've seen so far and hope the writers will come up with good stories in the future. You should give the show a chance...
Mercenary for Justice (2006)
What the f...???
What in God's name has happened to Steven Seagal? Sure, his movies were never... the intellectual type but this film is so bad he should be ashamed to have done it. The action is boring, the story/script is a joke (where did the blonde from the beginning go? Where did Bulldog come from?), the characters are flawed (ie. John and Maxine kill everybody in the bank but when some guy asks not to shoot him John just punches him in the balls?!?) and the acting from the supporting cast is on porn-level. And that so called high security prison with it's 20 guards? It looked like it would cave in after the next storm. After this Steve should really consider to either stop acting or wait for a decent script to come along...
Attack of the Virgin Mummies (2004)
You'll cry to have waisted your time on this...
All right, I didn't expect anything of this, but I think that this is one of the most laughable excuses for a movie I've ever seen. This is so painful to watch (the mummy!) even Ed Wood would be ashamed of it. Even for a no-budget-movie this is so bad you wouldn't believe it until you see it. There is virtually no script, the actors are a joke and rural America is supposed to be Ancient Egypt (???). I guess the only reason for those guys to do this was to say to their friends "Some porn stars appeared in my own movie!" (how did they get them to appear in this anyway? It couldn't have been the money, so...).
My advice: go get a Playboy DVD or similar instead, but don't watch this!
Transporter 2 (2005)
Even the Taxi remake was better!
Just saw this movie and when I walked out one thought entered my mind immediately: What in God's name has happened to Luc Besson? The guy who made Nikita, Leon and the over the top but great Fifth Element wrote and produced one of the worst movies of the year (well, IMHO even his American Taxi remake was better than this and that's saying a lot!). Where to start?
First the script... utterly disastrous (granted, it's not to be supposed realistic but this was so WAY over the top I was wondering if this was a Neal Moritz film. Even the first Transporter was a little more down to Earth). The story had so many holes even Swiss cheese makers would be jealous of! Example? Gianni injects himself with the antidote to hide/transport it... Hello??? Another one? How do we escape from a parking lot? Hmm, there was this James Bond movie... let's jump to the next building... yeah, right.
Which leads me to the second point... the visual effects. Who did this? Some guy with his home PC? Man, this was done in such an incompetent way that the whole audience was laughing at it. The plane, the jump of the car, the exploding helicopter, the greenscreen shots, everything. This was not even TV standard... Not every film has a budget with millions of dollars for visual effects but there are other ways. There are so many talented people out there I can't believe this was the best they could find.
Well, on the positive side you have Jason Statham, one of my favourite actors at the moment (Snatch and Mean Machine come to mind), who again delivers a fine performance as Frank Martin. Then there is Kate Nauta as the psychotic henchwoman. IMHO played in the right way creating a good antagonist for Frank. Again the script fails to deliver by disposing of her in a few seconds in a really stupid way. I had hoped for a really great fight here. Most of the other actors like Keith David, Matthew Modine and François Berléand are completely wasted.
In the end this was a total waste of time of money and time due to a ridiculous script by a once great filmmaker and very bad visual effects.
See the original!
Just saw this film at the sneak preview and was heavily disappointed. It misses everything the original had: flair, fun and exciting car races. Instead there is Jimmy Fallon. Who the heck is Jimmy Fallon? This guy is totally unfunny and can not act. Whenever he appeared I was clenching my teeth. Queen Latifah was okay but the relationship between her and Fallon's character was... not existent. The four gangster ladies are nice to look at but totally miscast. Even for a film like this it is laughable to think of them as bank robbers or villains. And the mother... ARGH! My suggestion: see the original! It IS funny, has actors who can act, the wonderful Marion Cotillard, car races in Marseilles and (the always popular) evil Germans ;) 3/10
MTV's Most Wanted (1992)
True gem of the old MTV
When you grew up with MTV in Europe back in the 90s you possibly hate the current MTV like I do. You are exposed to stupid comedy/reality shows, even more stupid hosts, countless mind-numbing commercials for the latest SMS tone and, hey, sometimes a music video...
Back in the 'old days', MTV was different. When you tuned in, the chances were high that you actually saw a music video. There was a great mix of new and old ones, they had really enjoyable hosts (like Pip Dann, Paul King, Lisa I'Anson, Steve Blame and others) and some really funny shows.
One of these shows was MTV's Most Wanted, a truly wonderful gem. It was a mix of talk, comedy and live music. The host was the brilliant Ray Cokes, supported by Andy Cam, Naughty Nina and others (always giving comments from behind the camera/back of the studio). Cokes just had a way to go with people, it was a joy to watch. Always very gentle and witty, he was able to host the show in a way that made me tune in every weekday. The guests seemed to feel the same way, as some came back to the show rather often. In the school the show was an issue almost every morning, there was just such a large bunch of people who watched it.
If you ever have the chance to watch some old recordings, do it. I guarantee you will not regret it.
Tödlicher Umweg (2004)
Why, oh why...
I saw this film at the local sneak preview and, boy, it was one of the worst movie experiences I ever had. After seeing this film I was asking myself if the guys who financed this piece of junk read the script before agreeing to do so. It has so many holes it is impossible to overlook them. For example: a guy is running away from a house in the middle of the night, trying not to raise any suspicion from the other guys inside. The only problem: he is running with his flashlight turned on... The script was obviously influenced by David Fincher's "The Game" and "Big Brother", but instead of BB the authors should have watched some Hitchcock movies and read some scripts by David Mamet, that might have helped "a little" bit.
The actors... all below-average. Especially Eva Haßmann, who got many laughs from the audience for her performance, played even worse than the guys on "Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten" (a German soap opera). The entire cast gave the impression that most of the money was spent on the German voice of Harrison Ford for the dubbing process...
The music felt like from some cheap TV show. The guys who did the sound mixing need to get back to film school (or have some evening classes at Skywalker Sound): on many occasions the dialogue was too quiet, in other scenes the sound effects didn't match the events on screen (ie. you see the police car crashing down into the river, but it sounds like a giant monster truck splashing into a big lake). Editing was a little too much MTV-like.
Bottom line: this film is so unbelievably bad, you should avoid it at all cost! 1/10
Nid de guêpes (2002)
At last! A good action movie!
At last! Here comes a film where the French show the Americans how to make a good action-movie. And that without high-tech effects or a multi-million dollar (eh, euro) budget.
I never heard of this film anywhere, but the guy in the video store recommended it to me, so I checked it out... And, man, was it worth it!!! This film is the best action film I have seen for years. Not since Die Hard or Shiri have I enjoyed an action movie this much. As with most of these films the story isn't original and may be copied from other films, but so what? As long as it is done properly, so be it. And this film delivers. Non-stop action, realistic violence (meaning when someone catches a few bullets he/she stays down) and (the most important thing in an action film) good villains with absolutely no conscience. There is no exaggerated humour, no gags and no unbelievable gadgets. There was only one thing where I scratched my head: why do the terrorists give the others enough time to rearrange all the containers?
Bottom-line: if you hate these so called high-profile action films from Hollywood which want to be so über-cool (Bad Boys II anyone?) then check out this film. You will not regret it! 9/10
Above average adventure/fantasy film
'Lenya' is a film about a young peasant girl who is chosen by the gods for a special task. She has to find a special sword and deal with an evil witch. So much for the story which could be lifted from a Xena episode. But I think it is better because it is not as goofy as Xena, the actors are better and the look of the film is more convincing. The performances of the actors were good, especially Sonja Kirchberger was fun to watch as the evil witch. Anja Kramers performance was good too, but her voice sometimes was so flat I thought she was reading a book.
The fight scenes were a mixed bag, some scenes looked obviously staged. The visual effects were a little bit too much in my opinion but of acceptable quality for a TV film. I really liked the locations of this film because they looked simply magnificent with all the old castles and wide landscapes (unlike Xena where every village looks the same). As far as I can tell the interior scenes were shot in the real castles or buildings and not on a soundstage which adds to the atmosphere. The camera work, however, was a mess. Whenever people were talking or fighting the camera moved around which was pretty annoying. Another overused technique was to show the same scene four times in a row from different angles. If used one or two times for an important scene it looks cool and emphasizes the tension, but used every five minutes (as in this film) it got pesky very fast. One further issue was the sound mixing because music was at some points too loud and the lip synchronisation was now and then (especially in the camp scene at the beginning) very poor. Also some scenes included more hissing and breathing than any other sound which was probably supposed to rise the suspense but made it sound awkwardly. The editor cut the film very fast but, again, at some points it just didn't fit and disturbed the pacing of the film. Given more attention in post production this should have been avoided.
For a TV movie produced by RTL (for people outside Germany: RTL equals crap) I was pretty surprised to have seen a film where I didn't had the feeling to have wasted two hours. The story isn't original in any way, but the actors perform very well and the look convinces so if you like Xena or Hercules you will probably like this too. I voted 7/10.
Solid action film
If you ever ask a German moviegoer if he or she has seen a good German action-thriller the probable answer will be: 'No'. The reason is simple: there is none.
This film, however, goes in the right direction. The actors, especially Klaus Löwitsch, Thomas Kretschmann and Martin Semmelrogge play their characters very well and the action scenes are some of the best I've seen for a long time (in a German film) as is the production design.
IMHO Carl Schenkel did a good job on this film. It is an entertaining popcorn movie which will not leave you with the feeling that you wasted your money on a German film (again) but due to miserable marketing most moviegoers will probably not even register its existence...
Taxi 2 (2000)
I think this film is above average. Most of the jokes work and the stunt scenes are really good. And of course you got to see Emma Sjöberg, doing some very, ahm, impressive karate/judo moves ;-) Then there are some cameos of characters from the first film, which really make you laugh. On the other side some things really bring the film down. First the on-screen time of Chief Inspector Gibert. It was way too much! Secondly the computer animation is pretty obvious (because you can see directly what is done via CGI). And of course the ending... I mean what is this? Big action sequence, gangsters are trapped, suddenly the screen goes black and the credits roll... Hello??? What is that supposed to be? Had Luc Besson no ideas left or what?
This film brings nothing new to the screen compared to the first Taxi. Still it had its moments, so if you got some time to waste, then this one may be something for you. 6/10
What the f*ck?
What the f*ck? That was my exact thought when this 'movie' ended. Who wrote this crap? The acting level is even lower than in a porn film. The only person who seemed to act at least a little (!) bit was Debra Xavier as the bitch Nora. The rest is ... undescribable. Oh, and the guy(s) who did the sound effects should change their profession ASAP!!!
If you're a fan of Carmen then get a Playboy or whatsoever but don't watch this film!
It's a shame that it's not possible to vote 0/10...
Dull and uninteresting
This film might have looked quite good on paper (which was the reason why it was eventually produced). But instead of a suspenseful Thriller they made a 180 minutes long soap-opera like movie. The story around an immortal serial killer is quite okay, but the actors 'act' as if they just swallowed some tranquillizer and the music sounds like this tunes in elevators and department stores. So if you are unable to sleep, watch this film and you WILL sleep. Guaranteed! My vote: 4/10
The Bone Collector (1999)
Above average film, except the end...
I went to this film expecting not too much after all the bad commentaries about it, but in the end I think this film is quite entertaining. The acting is quite good and the filmmakers understand it to build a 'scary' atmosphere. Of course, this is no masterpiece like Se7en, but its okay... What I did not liked at all, was the ending. It was so (!!!) predictable. Some people even made bets à la "5 bucks she will save him". Moreover it was really stupid, that the killer's motive had nothing to do with the entire film. And maybe the worst about the film was this completely ridiculous christmas scene where both lead characters seem to be a couple. It seemed to me like the writer thought "Oh s**t, I forgot the two have to fall in love" and so he wrote this scene.
Bottom line: Quite entertaining but too predictable to be good. My vote: 6/10
BTW: What do Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts have in common? The wide grin :-)
Die Diebin (1998)
A pleasant surprise...
I watched this film only by accident, but it was a pleasant surprise...
The acting is quite good. Sandra Speichert is the perfect choice for the title role, Kier and Mendl are convincing as villains and Kretschmann as Tim is okay.
From the technical side this film was really surprising. Unconventional editing, good stunts and some professional computer animation. This good mix is unfortunately quite seldom in a german production... On the contra side it was sometimes quite obvious when a green screen element and a normal sequence were composed.
The script... Well, take elements from Total Recall, Mission: Impossible, The Real McCoy, GoldenEye and some other Bond movies, then you have the script for this film. But I think it is a good script because its good fun and thats the entire purpose of it. Though, this script has some BIG plot holes. For a example the wounded Tim. He is shot in the stomach but three scenes later he's jumping around as if he is Superman himself.
But forget that... its just entertainment. If you like a good action/comedy mix, try this. You will not be disappointed.
My vote: 7/10
Am I supposed to laugh?
Here in Germany the audience is used to dumb TV Movies produced by RTL. But this series is so dumb that even an RTL-produced movie looks like a 12-Time Emmy-Winner. On the pro side you get some nice looking people in nice looking locations. That's it. On the contra side there are bad actors and actresses, bad dialogues, bad sound effects, ridiculous special effects and the worst computer animation I've ever seen on a TV series. I have seen only two episodes of it but it was enough for my entire life. I will never ever waste my time with this again.
Delta Team - Auftrag geheim! (1999)
X-Files meets Soldier of Fortune
This show is a strange mix of action, sci-fi and mystery elements. Some episodes are standard 'special police force against evil gangsters', but on some episodes I thought I am watching a ridiculous X-Files remake. The actors do their job quite well, overall the production seems professional. The only bad thing are some fight sequences. Sometimes they are pretty good, in the next episode you can't stop laughing about the fight choreography. Nonetheless a quite good show, better than the recent german 'action' shows like 'SK Kölsch', 'Alarm für Cobra 11' or 'HeliCops'.
Der Kopp (1999)
What started good ended in a standard TV-Movie
The film started with a thrilling storyline and ended in one of these standard TV-Movies, which are so common for german television. Most of characters are transparent, so you are able to say "This is the Killer!" after 30 minutes. In addition comes a bad editing. One scene ends, you see the next and ask yourself "Hmmmmmmm? Who is that?". On the other it has some nice stunts. But nevertheless I was bored by this TV-movie. I give it 4 out of 10.
Warriors of Virtue (1997)
Good fight scenes and production design but...
After I saw this film I had mixed feelings about it. The film has a good production design and some very well done fight scenes. On the other hand it has a lousy script. As soon as anybody opens his his mouth you start to cry and beg him/her to shut it immediately because it is really annoying to hear the same old cliches over and over again. It seems that the entire budget was invested in fight scenes etc. and the pitiful rest into the story and/or the actors. I give this film 5 out of 10.
The title should be S.O.B. - Save our Brains
Well, I didn't expect very much of this TV-movie because it was shown and produced by RTL. But what they did here was so ridiculous I couldn't believe I was watching it. How do you stop a ship running full speed on the coast with all computers blocked? According to the writer of this film, you just have to run a flight simulation on the (blocked) computer, land the jet on the carrier and the engines of the boat stop... The actors were playing as if they had never visited a drama school and the special effects were also b-class. Only Heinz Hoenig did a great job playing the villain Picard.
Future Fear (1997)
The worst film I've ever seen
Well, I didn't expect much of this film, but what I saw was the worst film I've ever watched. Everything in this 'film' is d-class: the actors, the production design and ... oh yeah the special effects. I think they used some old firecracker left from last New Year's Eve. If you ever see this film in your video shop, don't touch it. 1 out of 10