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Dog Bite Dog (2006)
8/10
Bridges the Gap . . .
14 January 2008
Those individuals familiar with Asian cinema, as a whole, are aware that Japan is renowned, or notorious, for it's hyper-violent films and Korea is now garnering a reputation for viciously brutal films. Dog Bites Dog, while not necessarily getting as hyper-violent as the craziest Miike film, nor is it as unapologetically brutal as some Koreas more ambitious efforts, it is a perfect in between with its own brand of brutality all it's own. The greatest strength this film has though, like the greatest of the Japanese or Korean efforts, is that the brutality, rather than detracting from the film, actually develops the characters, if not, pushing the story forward. The two main characters are both incredibly vicious individuals with their own motivations and emotional underpinning for being as such. Sam Lee's character, for instance, is on the edge from the very start and slowly and surely, amidst various encounters with Chang's character, it is revealed why he is. Without spoiling this part of the story too much, it involves the morally ambiguous nature of his father. Chang's character, on the other hand, has his most primal instincts honed to, if not perfection, brutal efficiency. Surprisingly, Chang's story arch, while not necessarily revealing a more human side, actually reveals a side to our animal nature which many forget about which is the natural ability to recognize a fellow broken animal (and no I am not talking about Sam Lee, rather Pei Pei's garbage dump girl character). Ultimately however, for the first 80 minutes or so, it is a, more or less, straight forward cat and mouse, or Dog chase Dog, film in which every encounter ends in at least one death (seriously, once Sam Lee and Chang Square off, some one will die) and the fun part of movie is you never know who hands will commit the act. Which brings us to the film's one weakness. Unforunatley to delve into it would be yet another spoiler but, to put it simply, it is guilty of pushing one of the main points of the film since, rather then letting the point be made as is 80 minutes into the film, the film goes on for another 20 minutes or so to further emphasize it. Don't get me wrong, if transitioned better from the 80 minute mark to the climax and if the final act wasn't filled with sweet music (in fact if it, like the majority of the film, kept the music to the barest minimum and let the disturbing sound effects do their job), it still could have worked and not detract from the film. As it is though, despite the third act having the most vicious and bloody of the encounters, the way it was handled made it feel tacked on, and almost, insults the viewers intelligence since it felt it had to go this far to get it across. Nevertheless, it is still a breath of fresh air from Hong Kong cinema since even the most bloody of the martial arts films never reaches the level of viciousness and brutality while keeping the the character archs in tact.
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Spider-Man 2 (2004)
interesting
30 June 2004
It is difficult to determine whether or not this is indeed a better moive then the first one. In that sense, and a slew of others, it is similar to Superman 2. Like Superman 2, one of the major plot elements is the loss of superpowers. Although it is an interesting idea to play around with, it is also one, once finally seen, that you don't really want to see done. However, the key difference in the way it is handled in SPiderman 2 is that there is not a how or a why to the superpower loss whereas in Superman 2 both were covered (he gave them up for lois Lane and he used a contraption in his Fortress of solitude). Being that it is perfectly understandable as to why no explanation would be given (there is no logical reason why he all of sudden lose them and then gain them back and it would have only created another subplot that would have merely been a distraction from everything else) it just makes it all the more obvious that they really used it as plot contrivance then any real story element.

Luckily, his loss of powers leads to some of the film's most humorous moments which could make it forgivable. Now what separates Spiderman 2 from pretty much 95% of all the cmoic book movies, it actually tells a story instead of merely trying to. This is also both good and bad. Its good because it is showing that the life of a superhero is not as enticing as people would assume it is. He does not live in a huge mansion or larger than large apartment with the latest in entertainment technology. He lives in a single room apartment maybe with a TV in a really run down hotel. His good deeds make it difficult for him to hold a job and keep up in school. Those are the good points of the story since it does deal treat the idea of a superhuman concealing his identity realistically. However, it does get incredibly serious and really brings the emotional level down since it does get pretty depressing. It also appears that Sam Raime tried a little bit too much to enforce the idea that Peter Parker's life turned to sh!t. One such contrivance used to emphasize it is him never paying his rent. In the beginning of the movie, it does provide an explanation as to how he makes money but he also fired in the beginning of the film too. He also not getting sufficient income from his photjournalist job either (his paycheck does not even cover an advance he was previously given). SO it is kinda a huge mystery as to why he is able to keep his living quarters since he is clearly not paying it. This accompanied with the incredibly intense scene between Petger Parker and Harry Osborne, it really is a bit too much. Another character that is a bit much is Peter's Aunt May.

There is no way in hell this person could exist in the real world and, even with Spidey's CG aided rubbery special effects, she is the most cartoonish and gives a a full fledged speech to answer a simple question (I am referring to her "theres a hero in all of us" speech which is given as an answer as to why a little kid wants to be SPiderman). With all the screentime devoted to showing wjhy a person like Spiderman is needed, the speech is tacked on and kinda pointless. Speaking of tacked on, the character of Doc Ock is also kinda tacked on. This character suffers from the same disease as pretty much every other scientist with good intentions who turns evil suffers from. Hes not cool or interesting until he is consumed by evil and then hes likable (it reall is ironic. This is not really a good thing since we are supposed to care for the good side of Docter Octavious but you don't really and just want him to turn evil so he could use his mechanical arms to start throwing cars and people at SPiderman. Which is in direct contrast to Harry Osbrne's Green Goblin. You actually sympathies with him and side with him.

The Green Goblins original approach is also altogether different since he was trying to show Spiderman an incredibly big picture as well as presenting the reality of people ("the only thing want more than a hero is to see the hero fail"). Doc Ock, on the other hand, has a very miniscule and trivial endeavor to create this thing that does nothing but absorbe all sorts of energy (mostly metal). What makes it even more interesting (as well as confusing) is that the meechanical arms are what want this thing to be made. It really boggles the mind as to why machines would want want to make this thing since it would do nothing but destroy their creator and source of power (in essence the machines would be destroying themselves). Luckily, all the other characters act like real people and the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane is done rather well (except for the end which is overly romantic and gay). All in all, it is an entertaining movie (and possibly a great date movie) but it does get way too serious at times and it is filled with contrivances that tend to drag on a bit long.
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Public Enemies (1996 Video)
Pleased with what i saw
14 June 2004
Now, i was up late one night flipping thourhg the HBOs, Cinemaxs, what have you when I came upon Public enemy No.1. It starred Theresa Russel and other actors I've never heard (except for Frank Stallone and that name does not really spell greatness) so I was expecting something along the lines of a low rent Impulse only with more nudity, sex and all the good stuff and less of everything else. However as I read the little synopsis given, listed as a biography, it said tels the the story of Ma barker and her boys robbing banks in the 1930s. So now I did not know what to expect and what I got was rather enjoyable. The production did a rather nice job of recreating early 1900s America which is interesting in and of itself. Not knowing of Ma Barker before seeing this, I cannot really comment on the accuracy of Theresa Randle's portrayal of her but it appeared that all the actors and director were going for a more pure fun approach rather an authentic one. Also, as is the case with all movies about gangsters from the 1930s, it is, at time's over romanticized and it is trying too hard to make you like these people even though, in reality, you would really want nothing to do with them. What really surprised me was the amount of action that was in it. It has a slow beginning, as it kinda should since its developing the Ma Barker character and her kids but once they decide to rob banks, its like almost every ten minutes guns are being fired. These shoot-outs are well-done too and seem to adhere to the thinking of the 1930 gangsters (who had no real professional training in firearms) with some of the strategies taken by the Barker family. These scenes are also rather violent (another nice surprise).

I wouldn't go as far to say it was gratuitous or gory but the gunshot impacts are realistically graphic and the carmae rarely, if at all, shys away from them. What also made this film fun to watch was the portrayal of the early FBI. Again, I don't know if its accurate or not but it was very entertaining to watch the FBI guys do their thing because they were treating there job like a game (albiet a very serious one): the FBI vs. The various gangsters (The main FBi guy got a cigar for every one he either brought in or killed). All in all it is a very entertaining movie that does deal with a real family of robbers and killers that has god quality (and a good amount) of action. Speaking of action, you also get to see Alyssa Milano as a whore for a nice chunk of the film and she is always easy on the eyes and she does the part well.
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good becuase of Vol. 1
16 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
First, I must say that When Quentin Tarantino edits together the complete film, he will have a masterpiece. However, in Kill Bill's current form, Vol. 1 feels more complete and is more entertaining then vol. 2 (which is ironic considering that Vol. 2 is really the conclusion to vol. 1). What also doesnt help Vol. 2 is the drastic change of pace. When the critics write that there is less action and more talking they "ain't kidden". A good portion of the movie is pretty much all set up to what already has been set up in Vol. 1 which makes it somewhat repetative. Even though it tevhincally goes into greater detail of what happened at the wedding chapel, you dont really feel it since when the killing begins you dont see any of it and it cuts away to a new chapter (which is why Vol. 1 is almost a prerequisite for Vol. 2 since it goes into greater detail of what exactly was done to the bride by the deadly vipers). We also get to know Budd a little bit more, again all through talking and his life seems rather depressing and its hard to beleive that he was once a deadly assassin.

Although, the training scene with Pei Mei is entertaining and finally brings martial arts back into the film, the real action doesnt start until Elle arrives. The bout between her and the Bride (SPOILER now Beatrix Kiddo) reminds us of why we wanted to see Kill Bill in the first place, the kick-ass fighting. That being said, the fight scene was a bit overhyped and really is the only prolonged action scene in the movie (although I feel that the fight was at most only 4 minutes long but thats being generous and including the liuttle diologue they have that brings the fight to dead halt). However, this fight has one of the best conclusions a fight scene will ever have. Considering that the Elle vs The Bride fight is the onyl real action scene, the movie relies heavily on its main villian, Bill, and he does not dissappoint. David Carradine played the role perfectly. Bill was always calm, never lost his cool, even when his emotions ran high. When the Bride finally came face to face with him, is when more layers of their history are revealed which does kinda turn the tables around and make you question the Brides actions. Other than the Elle fight scene, my favorite scene in the movie has to be with Pei Mei. Mainly becuase where Vol. 1 was pretty much all Japanese based (even Yuen Woo Ping did chorepgraph the Blue lleaves battle), this scene is all chinese in insperation. The fighting that takes place is very reminiscent of the old chinese wuxia movies of the 70s. UNfortunately the scene does not really go too much in depth and it appears that the only thing The Bride actually learned and utilized was the 3 inch punch (well she did utiloize another move thats wil ruin the movie if I tell you what it is). It would have been nice to see the crane or eagle style present in the Elle Driver fight but, even though both were taught by Pei Mei, we dont see any of it. I hope that it was originally alonger scene and he cut it dow fro some reason onyl he would understand. Again, what makes Vol. 2 good is Vol. 1. As a whole movie it would have been magnificabt becuase the first half would be all about kicking ass and the second half would be taking a break and thinking about why she is kicking ass. With the split, Vol. 2 starts off with us taking a break from the action but, unless you have seen Vol. 1 you dont know what we are taking a break from and if you have seen it, you took a big enough break to want more kicking ass whcih you dont get for what seems to be an enternity.
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presentation is everything
28 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a rephreshing change of pace for DMX. Lately he has been typecasted in the "thug with a heart of gold" role in action movies in NDA, h plays a character whos the exact opposite if the character he played in Exit Wounds, Romoe Must Die, and Cradle 2 the Grave. The movie itself is different then anything he has done. The film is grainy and the solow is faded and is anything but glossy (even DMXs debut movie Belly had a slick and glossy finish). However, that is one of the movies strengths (as well as weakness). FIlming it in such a manner, gives a gritty realistic look which makes scenes appear to more grpahic then they actually are. It also serves as ymbolic irony, but more on that in a minute. The story is an interesting one a told in an innovative way. The movie begins with King David's death (literally the first image of DMXs character, King David, is when hes already in a coffin). However, the gist of the story is told through cassette tapes that have King's recorded diary. He indvertantly gave them to a white writer, David Arquette, when he religuished all his belongings to him on his deathbed. But, there is much more to this film then King david's life since the white writer has problems of his own and Mike, a lowly thug whos vengeance on David comes with a price, is trying to kill before being killed himself. The movie seemlessly flows from one story to the next and eventually shows the relevance of them. As I said earlier, this is a huge departure for DMX becuase he plays a bad guy, a very bad guy. He has one main concern and thats selling his product. Un like in Exit Wounds or Cradle 2 the Grave, DMX plays a more subdued character who hides his evil intent with a smile and charm which quickly turns to a cold gaze and needle in the arm (a needle full of battery acid) if you threaten his business. Even the one he loves (yes this man is able to love, which creates depth in character and makes you think "can a man like this love?") isnt excempt. Of course this leads to one of hte movies major criticsms against it which is, why would anyone feel sorry for this man (since the movie is centered around him and his redemption). Well, if the movie was without a doubt asking the audience to pity him or forgive him, then the critiscism has merit but it does not really appear that the movie is asking us to forgive him but rather presenting the man's life to the audience and leaves it up to the viewer to determine if there is redemption for a man like this. Also,the final image of his coffin suggests that there isnt and that we shouldnt feel sorry fro him since the final image is of his coffin being burned in the ooncenerator (thus symbolysing his descent to hell). Even though King David is the movies focus, the more interesting character is Mike, King david's assasin. SPOILER His character is dealed with in the same manner as Marcus in Irreverssible. When we first see Mike, he is very demanding, but not loveless, anddisinterested in pretty much everything he does. When he ears of King's David return, we see is need for vengeance build up inside of him and take him over. Mike was not even supposed to kil David, just accept a payment from him. His anger becomse so great that he becomes careless and uses his own sister to bate David (he also slaps her when she asks whats going on). What we masically see is a monster consumed with anger when we first see Mike. However, as the film progresses,we see exactly what made hiom like that. What also makes him the most interesting charcater of the film, is that when he is on the run from his former boss, he kinda turns into a ghetto ninja. He moves silently and striekd with quickness and effeciency. David Arquettes character is both alomst overshadowed by the other characters, and overwelmed by the situation hes in. However, he does have his own problems and ends up not feeling sorry for King David after listening to the tapes. However, what makes this character so intrigueing is his almost blissful ignorance of the situtation hes now in. Hes the only witness to King David's murder and he tried to save the one person that Mike wants dead so Mike could be after him too. However, the big thing on his mind are the King David's tapes and making a story out of them. Even though this well made film, one major chriticism against it is that it glamourises the life of crime. Clearly they didnt notice that King David got Killed (not died of naturla cuases) becuase of an aciton that hjeppened years prior to his death. What they also arent paying attention to is the actualy quality of the film. ike I said eralier its grainy, gritty, and almost ulgy. The film is symblically ironic since King David's life might have appeared to be glamourous but realy, it was an ugly life to live, as is Mike's, and the white writer got cuaght up in the ugly life of drugs and murder.

SPOILER: This movie also hgas a message about vengeance. After Mke avenges his mothers death by killing David (David killed his mother with the battery acid switcharoo) he ends up getting his younger sister killed while trying to survive a double-cross set by his former employer. This again begs the question "is vengeance really worth it?"
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Thunderbolt (1995)
the very definition of mixed bag
5 March 2004
First off, this review is based off the version used on TBS and one thing I learned that TV versions of films (other then the obvious editing for content and length times) often zoom up way too close to have the picture fill up the screen. Anyway, thius movie is enjoyable in sections, not really as a whole. One key difference that seperates this film from all other Jackie Chan films (except for maybe the protector and Crime Story to some extent) is that the movie goes for a serious, dark, and gritty tone. Kackie Chan himself is very (or at least does his best to be) hardedged and unmerciful. That in of itself is difficult to watch becuase that is not Jackie Chan and if anything it cuases more giggles becuase hes actually acting tough (not that hes not tough but he is not known for being a tough guy, hes known more for being a nice guy you dont want to p*** off). Even the story is a hugedetour from what his fans are used to mianly due to the fact that the movies focus is on racing: both on the street and on the track. That cuases a problem becuase it is very difficult to incorporate martial arts action scenes into a film into a race film in any sort of concievable or even tolerable fashion. That being said, the way the story incorporates both amazing kung-fu and int4ense racing is done very poorly. You have a villian who is insanely obssessed with racing and getting people to race. Its one thing to always want to prove you're the best, its another thing entirely to nearly kill (along with kidnapping his two sisters) the guy you want to race in order to get him to race. The villian himself is horrible (even for a Jackie Villian. What makes this villian even worse is that he cant even fight so he cant even save some face that way, he is just poor villian). However, this is a Jackie Chan movie, not a Steven Soberdough movie, so its the action thats important. Again, this is a huge mixed bag becuase there really is no way to smoothly transtion to an intense race scene from kung-fu. But the big mixed feeling comes from the most incrediblely choreographed, staged, and performed fight scenes (and race scenes) shot and edited in a bizarre manner. The name Tony SCott came to mind with some of the shot choices since the figh6t and race scenes feature rabid fire editintg and extreme close-ups that confuse rather than contribute. Another downfall for the fight scenes (for Jackie Chan purists especialy) it is all too obvious thjat a double is used for Jackie Chan (ironically enough, if you are a huge Jackie Chan afficionado you should notice right away whena double is used since the double fights in a different manner than Jackie Chan). This could be the cuase for the editing but somne shots still show it clear as day that a double was used. Again, this is real disconcerning for Jackie Chan fans since one the mian reaons to like Jackie Chan is becuase he doesnt use doubles. Nevertheless, the strange editing choices contiue into the race scenes. Now, the first race scene between Jackie Chan adn the villian was actually done rather well, even if shot a bit too close). The final race however (instead of a final fight. Another dissappointment to Jackie Chan fans) is just one huge mixed bag. You have some incredible race footage and crashes, but most of it is undercranked givning it an irregular feel that takes away from the intensity. It really boggles the mind as to why the director made the decesion to undercrank (of course you could say that about the editing and shooting of the fight scenes as well). So, to put it simply, if you just enjoy action scenes (although lacking the jackie chan sense of humor) then its worth a gander and possibly a purchase. If you can get opver the fact that an obvious double was used (and dont minf undercranked racing footage), then its worth a gander and possibly a purchase. If you prefer to beleive that Jackie Chan never uses doubles, dont even watch it once, the pain will be too great.

sidenote: for those Jackie Chan nuts out there (me included) I have read that the main reason why a double was used was becuase he was recovering from an earlier injury. Of course, you could always use this defense: since the film involved wires and Jackie chan (at the time which would 1995) did not like using wires, he probably prefered to have a double used for those scenes (of course this defense wont hold up for too long).
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Assassins (1995)
What was written before the Matrix
21 December 2003
When I firast watched this film,I enjoyed it thoroughly. Ironically enough in the advent of John Woo (his american popularity and his imitators) as well as Micheal Bay, Tony Scott, and Jerry Brukhiemer, it is rephreshing to see an action movie, a shoot-out action movie, where the emphasis is on efficiency and control rather than chaos. Unlike the John Woo pilosophy of keeping the guns firing non stop even if they hit nothing, Assassins works on the exact opposite theory of every shot has a purpose and a meaning and no shot is taken wildly even to distract (add on to the fact that in most John Woo movies, and especially Michael Bay movies, the guns are super loud, whereas in Assassins, pretty much every shot thats fired is silenced). I beleive there is only one instance in the film where shots are fired wildly wnd wrecklessly, and that is during the apartment scene where Antonio Banderas' character. Micheal Bein, shoots blindly through a wall at Slyvester Stallone's character, Robert Rath. Other than that, there is not really anytype of panic fire or wild bullet spraying (in fact I dont beleive this film even features automatic rifles of any kind). Strangely enough, this allows for events that move extremly quick: example, the first scene featuring the three title characters in the hotel. We see Antonio Banderas, in the blink of an eye alomst, take out 3 guards, walkinto the room they were guarding and then take out the 4 targets in that room in the same amount of time. In a way, it is very similar to the old Samurai films since their action scenes moved in a similar manner with nothingn then all of a sudden a few quick sword strikes and the conflict is over. That being said, this movie would require a certain type of taste in action movies or is a type of movie you have to be "in the mood" to watch.

sidenote: When I first watched this film, I had no idea it featured the would be superstar Antonio Banderas, nor that it was written by the soon to be Matrix creators. In that sense it is almost a fun movie to watch because it kinda answers the question "what did they do before they were famous?" and now you know.
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Violent, Deplorable, and sometime, just plain silly . . . but in a good way
18 December 2003
Now, you always have to hand it to the japanese filmakers. When it comes to onscreen violence, no other culture is as creative, brutal, and wierd like the Japanese. Such is the case with Ichi the Killer, so much so in fact, that the story (or lack of it) is almost lost. AS for the story, it begins with the dissapearence of a yakuza boss and a whole bunch of money. So the new head of the yakuza Kakihara goes about the usual ruotine of finding out what happened by slowly torturing a rival yakuza underboss (if that what they are called). This proves futile other than to show that they were being manipulated by the very person who told Kakihara that the underboss new somthing. The manipulator, Jijii, doesnt stop, nor began, his manipulation with Kakihara, in fact, he is in complete control over one of the most bizarre killers in cinema history (in any culture) Ichi. Not only is he completly oblivious to his real past, but so are we since its never fully explained. All we know is what Jijii tells Ichi which is a whole bunch of lies about Ichi witnessing a rape and doing nothing. What makes Ichi so bizarre is that he cries over everything (when we first see ichi, hes trying to make a decent living as a waiter, puked on a custumer, and then is crying about it). He also cries right before, dring, and then after a kill as if hes both upset about his past (the rape memory) and of his present (being a killer).His only justification for what he does is that he is killing bullies. Anyway, whjen Kakihara find out about Ichi, the story shifts from them trying to find out what happened to the Yakuza boss and more on Kakihara's fascination with Ichi (Kakihara has a huge fetish for pain, so much so, that he broke a relationship becuase his girlfriend could not inflict the right amount of pain on him). This storyshift peads to what is quite possibly the most anticlimantic and strange showdown ever (lets just say theres more crying in this one scene than an entire liftime movie).

Now, the main reason why this movie is so infamously popular is becuase of its violence, of which, it is very deserving of such popularity. It appears to mix the realistic violence of Irreversibe with old school horror violence, with a touch of new school horror violence as seen briefly in Freddy vs. Jason (a la CGI aided violence). However, as mentioned earlier, the violence is very stylistic at times and inventive (key example being a face sliding down a wall). Of course that is the new school horror violence. The torture scens on the other hand, have the Irreversible touch. They are slow moving and dont cut away. What makes the torture scens even worse is how much the torturer, kakihara, enjoys torturing his victums (in fact he surpasses pretty much every other character's limits with the violence he dishes out and takes).

The most interesting aspect of the movie, however, would have to be the characters themselves. Basically, there is not one character that anyone would really want to be associated with in anyway especially Ichi and Kakihara. Both of them are equally screwed up in the head but in different ways. One really enjoys pain way too much and the other cant function as a normal adult and is still very much an ignorant child who lashes out at people when things get tough. You really want to feel sorry for Ichi but in the end you cant becuase, in the end, he seems to be beyond the point of help, not to mention that he himself in a very subtle way enjoys killing.

Of course, being that its a japanese horror/action film, there are bits of humor that only the japanese would do like Kakihara cutting off the front of his toungue then take a call right after or a crooked (and screwed up) cop sniffing a womans crotch to find out where her lover is.

All in all, if you are into japanese film, give it a try and you might be suprised. I would also say that if you are into philosphy or psychology, it might be a good movie to check out becuase of Ichi and Kakihara.
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1 is a lonely number
5 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
In a way you can relate this film to Payback. Both films are about one man determination to achieve his goals and desires. The big difference being that Paybhack did this to a comically shallow effect while Gangster No.1 did it to horryfyingly (and almost erotic) deep effect. Where Mel Gibson's character would basically go from thuhg to criminal to thug to try and get his 70 grand, Paul Bettany's character devoloped an obssession over a crime boss, so much so, that he wanted to be a better version of him. Nevertheless, both characters go about their business without much care for anything else, the consequences, or what he will ultimatley accomplish. Again, Payback had the more comical angle while Gangster No.1 had the more depressingly pathetic approach. On to the story now. We first see the older and successful of Paul Bettany's character who hears about a former collegue getting out of prison. Then a good portion of the film is given to him reminscing about his formoer colleugue as well his rise to power. One thing that is blatantly clear is that he has an intense obssession over Freddie Mays who is the leading crime boss in london. As he said he love Freddies, suit, shoes, tie, demeanor, and even his cuff links. We also see that Paul Bettany's character, who has no name and is credited as young gangster, clearly has no sense of conscience or morality. When he find out that Freddie Mays was going to be jumped, e killed the only other guy who knew and then watched as Freddie got beaten and his wife's throat get slit. POSSIBLE SPOILER: Ironically enough, even though he did backstab Freddie Mays, when all is said and done, it appears that the only way he can justify hi9mself and what he has done is threw Freddie Mays who now hates the young (or old) Gangster. in the final act of the film, we see the gangster desperatly trying to impress Freddie Mays who really wants nothing to do with him. The gangster gets so desperate to be acknowledged that he actually tries to get Freddie to kill him kinda like all attention is good attention. HOwever, Freddie Mays hates the gangster so much that he isnt even worth killing. The ending speech is very similer to Denzel Washington's in Training Day, heck, they both refer to King Kong, however, the huge difference is, in Training Day, Denzel Washington lost everything but is still trying to show that he should be feared whereas, in Gangster No.1, the gangster actually has everything, money, the crime syundicate, yet he is still unhappy and tries to justify his existence by contantly reminding himself that he is number 1. It might not be an all too original ending but it fit so well and its hard to imagine how else it could have ended.

sidenote: there is one particuilar scene that is both an unfliching look at murder and quite possibly a technical achievment. We actually see from the point of view of the victum a murder including his loss ond return to conscienceness.
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So Close (2002)
mcg should watch this and take some notes
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
So close, which is Coery Yuens version of Charlie's Angels, is far superior, in every respect, to its american counterpart. The woman are cuter, the action is crazier, and it deals with various aspects a bit more realistically (IM using that term looesly but remember the movie Im comparing it too heh). First the story. Well, it has a litte bit darker story then CA. The girls are not misfits that were recruited by some organization to fight for good. Instead they are assassins who got into the profession through the hit on their father. Their father created a program that utilizes all the satillites to jack into computer systems, mainly security systems and such. Clearly, there is little to know reality to this program, nevertheless, their father is killed over this by a ruthless businessman. The two duaghters (Shu Qi and Vicky Zhoa)would have been killed also but one of the assassins (there was a crapload of assassins ordered to kill this one guy. its an asian movie, what can I say?)saves the girls and teaches them to become assassins utilizing their fathers program. However, things get very complicated when a) Lynn (Shu Qi) runs into an old fling who asks for her hand in marriage and b) their employer turns their back on them and plots their deaths and c) there is a detective (Karen Mok) determined to bring them down. Being that this is an asian action movie, their is a bunch of stuff shoved into this semingly tight plotline. Now, since lynn has been asked to be married, she agrees and wants to quit. This upsets Sue (Vicky Zhoa) becuase she feels that Lynn is ditching her for this guy. If that is not enough, Sue is devoloping an infactuation over Hung Yat hung (Karen Mok) who is chasing her. What is very interesting about this film is that, in a way, it is emotionally realistic, as in, Lynn understands what she is doing and knows it is nothing to grow used to and tries to keep her younger sister from doing any hits even though Sue really wants to. Also, when Sue asks why, Lynn tells her that she is too emotional and reckless (clearly this is radically different then Charlie's Angels when the characters seem to have absolutly no problem with doing what they are doing and are far more reckkless then even Sue. Neither of the Angel's would last long under the tutilage of Lynn). SPOILER: Another key scene where reality is interjected in it, is when Sue comes hom and sees Lynn's dead body. She is absolutely devastated becuase a) her sister is dead and 2) this is very liikely outcome if Sue continues to be an assassin. Also, the night before, they had a huge fight over Lynn wanting to quit so she can marry her sweetheart so the last time they were together they were fighting. It is a very emotional scene which, I have to admit goes on a bit long becuase she goes to a cemetary to bury a digital camcorder with a still image of Lynn only to find out that Lynn recorded an apology (that in turn makes Sue even more sad becuase she did not apologise or even forgive Lynn). What is equally interesting is Hung Sat Hung, thje detective who is after Sue and Lynn. She is a uinique character, whos uniqueness, has to do with both her extraordinary abilities and her attitude. She has a memory that appears to be better then any computer (in one innovative scene, she notices two criminals and seems to have entire profiles, incuding pictures and detailed information memorised and searches through them in her head to find a match. Then she proceeds to fight them in the elevator). As for her attitude, she is just spontaneous and hard headed. During a steakout wqith her new partner she plays a questoin game where the first question she asks him is "How old were you when you first jerked off?" and her next question was "When was the last time you got some?" Nothing appears to be taboo with this girl. Now to look at the action scenes. This is where So Close just leaves Charlie's Ang4els in the dust. They nothing short of spectacular and they involve minimum use (well minimum when compared to Charlie's Angels) of CGI and wire-stunts. Even Shu Qi (who i would consider the Cameron Diez of So CLose since she looks the most unsatble out of the three) manages to tough it out and look convincgin in being a good fighter as well as shooter. ANd unlike Charlie's Angles which relied heavily on CGI and wires, So Close fight scenes and shoot outs are frantic becuase there are real people doing the actions without the aide of wires and the aformentioned CGI. that is not to say that its not without its fair a=share of CGI use. Pretty muich everytime a glass window is shattered its CGI and anytime we see an elevator shaft, it CGI there is the occasional wire-stunt here and there; however the wirestunts do not come near the lunacy that was done in Charlie's Angels. The highlite of the film would be the end swordfight between VIvky Zhoa, Karen Mok, and the ruthless businessman. It is just insane and frantic with little to no wire-stunts (or wire-stunts so cleverly hidden that you dont notice they are wire-stunts).
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Irréversible (2002)
unrelenting
21 October 2003
This is, by far, one of the most disturbing films ever made. The main reason for this is due to the way it is shot, that is, it is like you are a fly that never blinks and follows everything and everyone unoticed. There are no conventional cuts or edits or even conventional camara movement. The camara will twirl, go sideways, go upside, go diagnal, remain in one place, immobile for long periods of time, anhy type of camara movent you can think of, happens and happens like it is one long continous shot. What this does is make everything seem more real and raw while at the sametime gives it a surreal feel to the film since many camara movements are physically impossible. To make things even a little bit wierder, the events occur in reverse (like Momento) instead of chronoligcally. So what is this, reverse story about? Well, again, the story is not really conventional either since it is more about characters then any real encompassing story. The film focuses on three main characters: Marcus, Pierre, and Alex (played by the hypnotic Monica Bellucci). All three of them give very realistic performances, which is probably due to the fact that most of the movie was improvised and adlibbed, including the two most brutal scenes in the movie, as well as, cinema history possibly. SPeaking of which, the movie almost begins with one of the most graphically realistic scenes of violence ever created. Thje scene starts with Marcus going through a homosexual nightclub to find a man called El Tenia. At this time, we dont know why he is looking for him butthere are a few hints as to why. However, once the fight scene starts, you are treated with a seemingly single take of Marcus having his arm broken and Marcu's friend Pierre, smashing in Marcus' opponent's face with a fire extinguisher again and again. The second incerdibly vilent scene actualy supports the reason for Marcus's rampage which is Alex's, Marcus's wife, rape. What realy makes it hard to watch is the diolgue spoken by El Tenia then after he is finished raping her, he visiously beats her. I would try to describe them but they have to be seen to believed.
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A real rarity
17 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Now I am huge fan of the original so hearing that there was goin to be remake, could only mean bad news. And the more ifon I gathered about the movie really granered no further hope. First, it was said that it would focus more on thrills than gore. Then I saw a screenshot with Jessica Biel, even though she looked extra hot, it really made me think that it was going to be crap. However, a huge ray of sunshine came when Roger Ebert gave th e film zero stars and was just appalled by all the grotesque actions taking place. After reading the review, I knew that this was not going to be the typical 90s teen horror movie and was going to be the good old fashioned horror which highly respected critics just dont get. Thew first thing I have to say is that this is by far the best remake to ever to come out. It is changed enough for it to be its own movie but it still captures some of the original essence of the 1974 film. Ironically, unlike the 1974 film, these4 teens are all complete idiots. Not that they are incerdibly that smart either but they dont do things just to do things, they actually have a reason for their actions (exception being jessica Biels bf. he was all Idiot, I mean, it wouldnt be a horror movie if their wasn't). Speaking of which, Jessica Biel really suprised me. She actually has acting talent (and a nice jiggle factor but thats an entirely different issue). She doesnt act overtly dumb or overly smart, she acts scared and confused but still determined to do somthing. Does she know what she wants to do? No. Does she know what will be acoomplished? No. She is just doing her best to remain as calm as she possibly can given the circumstances but does breakdown at certain points because she realises the utter hoplessness of a particular situation. And when she does fight back, it is purely out of desperation becuase there is no other way to escape other than to attack and hope for the best.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Now, there are a few particular scenes that stand out and differentiate it from the original. First one being the SHeriff forcing one of the teens to renact the hitchhikers suicide. This scene's disturbing nature, in a way, surpasses the original. The sheriff forces the teen to sit where the hitchhiker was sitting, which of course, is covered in blood, and brain matter. The Sheriff goes as far to have the teen stick a gun in his mouth just like the hitchhiker. the other scene that stuck out is where jessica biel and one of the other male teens (who is hanging on a meat hook) are in the basement of the of house and the male teen is begging her to kill him becuase he cant stand the pain of being ona meat hook and any attempt to get him off the hook would possibly kill him. In most horror movies, it usually the killer forcing someone to kill her friend or the killer kills the friend in front of the girl. In this one, there is no one really forcing her to kill him or forcing her to watch him be killed. It is being done out of their own accordance.

Of course, it cannot surpass the original as an overall movie becuase the reamke does not have the originals originality. Basically, in 1974, nothing like this has been done, storywise or gorewise. Nowadays, we have action movies that match the horro gore and the chaisaw killer has been imitated time and time again.
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Kill people who compare this to The Matrix
11 October 2003
First off, critics write this off as a movie with little story and all action. Not that this is a bad thing but but they are wrong. It is not action all and throughout like all the critics say. There is almost too much story being told for there to be comments about their being no story. they have seemed to forgotten that this Quentin Tarantino and his big movie was Pulp Fiction in which it was not really one large story but a lot of little stories all connected through characters. Kill Bill is made in a similer fashion but a little modified. He makes it very clear that he is only telling you what is essential for every CHAPTER. And each chapter has an incredible amount of story to tell considering that they are mere parts of the entire story. Also, the chapters progress with the amount of signifigance that it holds and clearly, the killings weren't done in order of signifigance. As for the stories being told, the route story of The Bride's revenge is pretty much left at face value, she is p*ssed and people will pay for it;however, the side stories being told have an incredible amount of depth, mainly Cottonmouth's. Obviously, the focus at the start of the Kill Bill is not really The Bride but her enemies which adds further layers to the overall film because now she is not simply killing faceless killing machines, the Bride is killing living and breathing human beings who have their set of beliefs and fears (especially Vernitta Green). If anything, this really hints at the brutality of the attempt at the Bride's death (in fact, The Bride actually describes to Vernitta Green what it would actually take for her to get even and it is not pleasant). Speaking of Vernitta Green, that sequence is pretty much is metaphoric of how the movie will move after that point (only in reverse). Now the scene literally kicks off (or more accurately punches off) and they are fighting no holds barred and then they are interrupted and it returns to the slow Tarantino pace with his snappy diolgue and slow movement. Again, that pretty much summurises the rest of the movie's movements (again in reverse) because after that, the movie slows down and we can really see the pain, both physical and emotional, that the Bride is going through has well as her preperations for her next (or actually first) kill. The action picks up a little bit with the anime sequence explaining Cottonmouths history and then it returns to the slow pace once again. Remember, this is Quentin Tarantino so the slow pace is not really a bad thing at all and allows him to simply show the humanity of these characters (mainly the Bride). And since he pretty much knows that we know what will happen, he worries more about showing us what is happening in the moment then what will happen eventually. Now, the performances were superb, especially Uma's because it was more physical then vocal and why would she really want to talk when she has 5 people that need to be killed. Everyone else plays their roles equally well but not really as physical (only exception being maybe Vivica A. Fox becuase she doesnt have anytime to say anything and starts off defending). i would say the big suprise, to me at least, was Sonny Chiba. Now i have all his Street Fighter Films and think of him as that crazy assassin who pokes out eyes, and rips off people's nuts. in Kill Bill, he has a more homely type role and it is more hummorous then anything else. And he plays the part very well, it was hard to believe that this was the same guy who brutally and slowly broke a guys arm bone by bone in the Street Fighter. However, the standout performance (in this first part) would have to be Lucy Liu's. She is almost the Polar opposite of her character in Charlie's Angels. In Kill Bill, her character is no one to mess with (which she makes very apperent in the film) but at the sametime, does not freak out or get overemotional. She is really cold and calculating and every action she does is planned out in her head before she does it. Now to talk about the action (and to refer to the one line summary). Without a doubt, simply becuase this movie has martial arts, wire-stunts, and Yuen woo-ping as the choreographer, it will be compared to The Matrix. the big problem with this comparison is, well, they have absolutely nothing in common with each other. Now enough abot the Matrix. Yuen Woo-ping is known for his fantasy-like choreography that makes fight scenes more like dances then actual fights. In Kill Bill, this is not neccessarily true. It looks more like an actual fight then a dance. he has been known to say that when choroegraphing a fight scene "keep the swords banging to keep people interested". in kill Bill this is a bit modified (in the final 200 man battle at least). It is now, apprently, keep blood gushing and and slashes deadly and the people will stay interested. there are only brief moments that are genuine Yuen Woo-ping but the majority of the fight scene is almost entirely different then what we (at least me) are used to seeing from him.

As for the climantic Duel between Cottonmouth and the Bride, it is somewhat apparent that this is where Sonny Chiba made is other contribution to the film. It is rather slowly paced when compared to the fight scene preceding it but it is no less entertaining.

sidenote: everybody seems to assume that the fight scenes are anything but realistic. this is because of the blood special effects and the way the fight scenes are shot at certain moments. However, it is far more realistic then past american efforts at martial arts (again like the Matrix). there is very little so called "flying" and when people get punched or kicked, they feel it. When some gets slashed by the samurai sword, they either die or bleed profusely. The wound is not passed over like a simple scrape.
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Naked Killer (1992)
I need to see the uncut version
31 July 2003
This movie has far more in commen with Charlie's Angels then Cory Yuen's SO Close (not that So close is a worser film, in fact, i consider So close a far better film even though it is tame when compared to this film). Mainly due to the fact that this movie seems to rely more on the sexiness of the actresses then the actual action scenes. However, what seperates this film from Charlie's Angels is that it is more violent and more sexy (without havng to show gratuitess nudity. Again I have seen the cut version). And when the action scenes come, they are extremly stylised and and almost fantasy-like. Again, unlike Charlie's Angels, it appears that the action choreagraphers either resisted the ich to use wire-stunts, or they were far more clever about hiding them. That ius not to say that the action scenes incredably spectacular, in fact, they seem like pale imatations of John Woo or Yuen Woo Ping as well as their being more flips and twirls then actual kicks and punches. What almost saves the action scenes though is the demented violent acts committed by the characters. What also helps is that the actresses are always carressing each other and such in between the action scenes.

note: as mentioned before this review is for the cut version. That being said, there are certain scenes that appear to be cut short (like 10 minutes had to be cut to get it down to an R-rating so one has to wonder what was done in the movie). the good thing about this R-rated version is that you can get it for a relatively cheap price, 15 bucks, under the HK classic series along with jackie Chan's CIty hunter and Hong Kong 1941 with Chow Yun Fat. However, I would reccopmend you try and get the uncut copy becuase the R-rated copy just makes you want to purchase the uncut version.
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Bad Boys II (2003)
How summer action movies should be
19 July 2003
Now, this movie clearly demonstrates that a cohesive well though out story is meaningless and almost pointless when it comes to making an action movie. It does not try to make any political statements about drugs, cops, dirty cops, or even woman taking part in a man's world. It simply has incredable action scenes accompannied by hilarious skits performed by Will SMith and Martin Lawrence. Also, it is very rephreshing to see an action movie that is not afraid to get almost disturbingly violent. In fact, many of the jokes are said within the most violent moments. About the only complaint I have about the movie has to do with Micheal Bay's way of directing. He likes to shoot things very close as well as have music video like edits which almost takes away from the action. Also, ther are a couple scenes that are put there simply to be there with absolutely no pint whatsoever (this might sound contradictory to what I said in the beginning but Let me explain). One scene in partricular is when they show Will Smith dressing up in a designer suit with Martin Lawrence impatiently waiting for him. Now, this scene is very brief and leads to a very lack luster joke which is shown in the trailer ( "dont hate the player hate the game" "I hate the tailor"). That is the scenes only purpose for being. All the other funny scenes at least had something to do with the mixed batch of a story and lead to great luaghs and then moved on to something related in some way. The "hate the tailor" scene is just spliced in with absolutley no purpose and leads to nothing of any signifigance of any kind.

To sum up, this how action movies used to be, offensive and void of any logic but hilarious and intense. No deep thinking is invovled, just sit back and enjoy the images as they pass by (especially in the night club scene where Micheal Bay gets the most stylistic and degrading shots of women in short skirts)
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Hulk (2003)
Not as good as X-Men 2 but btter then X-Men 1
22 June 2003
First off, I knew kinda what to expect becuase of Director Ang Lee. He is very good with action sequences but then equally good with telling a story. eeing as how the movie was 2hrs and 18min, I had a feeling that it would not one long chase to stop the Hulk as I though it was going to be (and really wanted it to be). However, Ang Lee managed to keep you entertained with scenes that normally wouldn't be entertaining at all. In a way, it is like a story told for people with ADD becuase there is always some image moving, changing size, resulting in a very good movie impression of the comic book design. Of course one of the big issues with this movie is that it takes a long time for Bruce Banner to finally turn into the Hulk. That is true, but it almost makes The Hulks appearance that more climatic, basically, it is well worth the wait to see the Hulk. Speaking of which, the CGI Hulk is very impressive. Thye two most memorable scenes, which is why the movie is worth seeing, is the fight bewtween Hulk and the mutant dogs (which turned out much better then I thought it was) and the Hulk fighting the entire U.S. Army (I dont know how they did the tanks being demolished but it looked amazing). Whats even more impressive about the Hulk is that this big green CGI monster is able to make you feel sorry for it, it does a better job then Eric Bana. Of course, the movie is very ironic becuase you have all of these comic book movies, and the Matrix, in which there are great spectacles but not really full of emotion and then there is a movie about a guy who turns big a green when he gets angry and the CGI monster is the character that makes it emotionally moving, in fact that CGI monster had more human qualities then pretty much the entire cast of the Matrix (and I am talking about the cast that has to play humans. However, the ending is a little lack luster. It seems the onyl reason becuase that is the only they felt that Bruce banner would be able to escape. I mean the Absorbing man is a interesting Idea but they should have saved that for the sequal or had the escape be more sneaky instead of so over the top. Again, the only aspect that saved that scene was the Hulk. Im serious when I say that the HUlk deserves an oscar for his performance.
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Quirky
10 June 2003
Picture this: a light-hearted action movie about a cold-blooded killer that does not hold back on the violence. Well that pretty much describes Love and a bullet. Ironically, whyat makes the the movie light-hearted is the honest and probably realistic reactions to many of the little speeches as well as certain actions that the main character has. A key example being when a fellow hitman gives him a speeck about "the life" and the main character simply says that after thinking about it for awhile he has no clue as to what his associate was talking about. Also, there are many points where this movie will fall into the typical hollywood syndrome of making the character overyl pathetic with the rush of emotion but it doesnt, instead, it makes him even more of a badass. Another unique aspect is that the majority of the movie is the main character reflecting on how he became a a hitman, eventually going into into his confusion over his presetn situation and comparing it to another similar event in which he fall s on love with a fellow hitman (or hitwoman to be more accurate). As for the action scenes, three movies came to mind: The Way of the Gun, Eqilibrium, and Legend of Drunken Master. The final martial arts bout at the end clearly shows its Legend of drunkne master unfluence with the villian fighting mainly on one foot and at oppne time balancing himself on one foot in a kick stance. Also, you kinda see a rugh draft of Equilibrium's gun-kata although Love and a Bulllet's obviously has break-dancing as a basis for it. As for way of the gun, i only though of that becuase there is an instance where a baddy is hiding behind a corner and his foot is visible by the hero resulting in the baddy's foot being shot.
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more of the same in something entirely different
7 June 2003
Whats common in many reviews of this sequal is that it has very little to do with actual street racing. Ironically, that is about the only simularity it has with its predecessor (along with having the same film lead Paul Walker). The first film was more about Dom Torreto and his crew hi-jacking semi-trucks, he just haapened to be a well respected and skilled street racer. Conversely, the 2 Fast 2 Furious, is more about trying to catch a money laundering druglord and the two people that will help police just happened to be well respected and skilled street racers. As mentioned before though, this is where the simularities stop. The first film was trying (key word being "try") to show an authentic portrayal of a street racers life. The story was simple and focused and attempted to be deep (like with the whole "team" being more like a family that neither of the characters have had but always wanted) but at the same time, also be fun and entertaining. 2 Fast 2 Furious, on the other hand, did all it could to be fun and entertaining, and thwarted any attempt at a simple, focused, and deep story. This becomes quite clear after the first race when the finish is jumping off a bridge that is half up and the victor wins by literally jumping over the car ahead of it in mid-air (this would have an impressive stunt but since it is quite obvious that the cars were digitally composed in mid-air, it kinda takes the thrill out of it). Beleive it or not, that is not the craziest thing to happen in the movie. Anyway, onto the story . . . there is not really much to talk about with the story. The best way to put it is it begins as a race movie, turns into a buddy/cop movie, turns into Miami Vice, has a little of Canonball Run, goes back to being a race movie, then returns to Buddy/cop movie, goes back to Miami Vice, then turns into Dukes of Hazard briefly, then ends like a buddy/cop movie. Clearly, any attempt at a well thought out story, or even a cohesive one, took a back seat to create the maximum fun factor (in fact common sense is thrown out the window becuase in the middle of a race, Paul Walker's character does a 180, drives in reverse, then does another 180 to face forward just before going onto a off-ramp).

on a personal note, I found it rather disturbing that the mustang, corvette, Baracuda, and Camaro all got destroyed while the evolution and Eclispe escaped unscathed. ALso, they had the 2003 Viper in it for only about a total of 20 seconds racing against the evolution and eclispe and amazingly, the viper stayed behind (an example of the direcotr, writer, producer, whatever completely ignoring cold hard facts: none of the cars racing against the new Viper could have kept up with it period).
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Wrong Turn (I) (2003)
A reminder
30 May 2003
This is how a horror movie should be (except for the ending). It is simple, direct, and not too outlandish. It does not resort to the MTV tricks of trying to make it "thrilling" by having the nu-metal music playin while the action is happening or having quick cuts or an overuse of CGI (in fact, the only points when acomputer aide was used, possibly, was when there will be extreme close-ups of an eye so u can see the reflection off it). Instead of constantly moving at a quick pace, the film takes it time and gradually boosts up the tension. For a modern horror movie, the gore factor is impressive. What also helps is that the cast does not overact or underact, instead all the actors and actresses give as realistic of perfomance as possible with very little screaming. In fact, the characters themselves have common-sense which is unheard of in a horror movie of this kind which is a plus and a minus. It is a plus becuase the teenagers arent being killed out of their own stupidity but, in a way, that is part of the fun in a horror movie, to see really stupid kids getting killed in horrible ways. Also, the cannibalistic family, is, at times, so overly evil that the little humanside that they have resulting in them being more like movie monsters instead of human beings. What made Texas Chaisaw Massacre so disturbing was that Leatherfaces family acted somewhat similer to any other family with Leatherface and his brother arguing and the father being overbearing (what makes it even more terrifying is that you almost sympothise with Leatherface). Amazingly though, the movie worked, very well actually, and was quite entertaining. The only two gripes I had with it, one minor gripe, one majoor gripe, is that at one point, one of the charaters gives out a very sad story about how good her friends were to her which seemed out of place and the ending goes away from the classic horror and goes into a typical modern horror/action movie ending, which is done very well, but keeps it from being on the same playing feild as Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The one thing that does seperate the ending from most similer endings would be the brutality of both the cannibalistic family and the teenagers.
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Windtalkers (2002)
GREAT!!! . . . when viewed as an action movie
29 May 2003
Windtalkers is almost a paradox. When viewed as an action movie, it is spectacular but as a war movie, it leans towards the mediocre side of things. The reason why this is is because well, other then introducing the small but signifigant part that the navajo indians played in the war, Windtalkers really offers nothing new in terms of how to view war or how the soldiers viewed the war. Also, when there is an attempt at a message of any kind or some ironic conversations among the characters, it seems forced and only in the film becuase it is trying to be a war movie and all war movies must have them. Another thing that war movies have is confusion and an uneasy flow of the battle scenes which works for a war movie. Windtalkers has a more comfortable and natural flow with the battle scenes which are great in terms of action scenes but not really in terms of a war movie. Saving Private Ryan, and We Were Soldiers are great examples of how a war movie battle scene should be because the actions of the characters and such are disjointed and has an uneven pace. However, the battle scenes in Windtalkers are by far the best, amd most brutal, that I have ever seen. In fact I would go as far to say that they are more brutal then Saving Private Ryans (We Were Soldiers is a toss up). The reason being is that tyhe characters, mainly Nicolas Cage's and the Ben Yahzee, get down and dirty with the enemy. Nicolas Cage takes out 6 guys at ppoint blank range with a pistol and Ben Yahzee swings a knife wildly at enemy soldiers slashing throats, legs, arms, or whatever is in the way of the knife. Basically, it is a great action movie masqurading as a war movie. If you watch it for the battle scenes, you wont be dissappointed. If you wacth it and expecting something like We Were Soldiers or Saving Private Ryan, you will be dissappointed.

sidenote: What also seperates Windtalkers from SPR ans WWS, is the use of slow motion. SPR and WWS had very little slow motion withyin their battle scenes and when they did it was the clunky, unpolished kind that fits them well. Windtalkers has the smooth slow motion from high speed camaras which looks very impressive but makes the battle scenes very stylistic which is great for a action movie but seems out of place in a war movie.
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The Italion Job in L.A.? Mark for Michael? Surprisingly it WORKED!!!
26 May 2003
I have not seen the classic version from 1969 with Micheal Caine so I had no preconceptions of how it should be but what I saw was very enjoyable. It is very similer to Ocean's Eleven in the sense that the two most important factors to a Heist is teamwork and an unlimited budget. Both feature heists that are very convincing in explanation and execution but as far as the heists being a plausible reality (in terms of real thieives actually seriously going about a heist in such a way and then executing it flawlessly), is a whole other story. However, just like Ocean's Eleven, this implausablility only makes the movie that much more fun. What also makes it a fun movie is that all of the actors go about their characters in a very enjoyable fashion. They seem to know that this type of Heist is very unlikely but still go about it as if it is such a heist could be done and pay attention to little details (like the cars having the proper power and suspension for transporting gold) which, in most cases goes ignored. That is not to say that the movie had no fun or funny scenes, in fact, it is quite the opposite. The majority of scenes were light hearted and only got real serious when it called for such seriousness (like mourning the death of a character). Ironically though, given the incredable chase sequence at the end, the best part about it is the mutual respect that every character has for one another and not resulting to the compitition of genders (Charlize Theron plays a very important part in the Heist) which usually leads to scenes that are nothing more then showing the woman having the advantage or the man having the advantage which really amount to nothing (unless you are either a male shovonists or a femonist).

Moving onto the action, there are actually only two action scenes both of which are chase scenes. Again, these chase scenes are executed very convincingly but are very unlikely in terms of practicality but still 100% fun. The rest of the movie is comprised of heist preporation scenes which are as interesting as they are fun.
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fights and car chases, it cant get any better
15 May 2003
First this movie surpasses the first in every way. There are more and longer action scenes, there is more story, and more flesh. First the action scenes. All the fight scenes are well-choreographed and performed. Of course many people would consider the 100 agent smiths vs Neo scene the highlight fight scene which has some validity. Not so much so for the fighting (which is great dont get me wrong) but more for the special effects. only on very few occassions is it obvious that Neo or agent smiths were all CGI but the majority of the time it is very difficult to tell. In my opinion though, the best fight scene would be in the mansion. I believe this becuase, there is little to no CGI, it is mainly wire work. Also Keanu Reeves uses an assortment of weapons including: a long sword, sais, twin sticks, and a staff. Now on to the chase sequence towards the end. One of the people is quoted, "The best car chases ever." while making the scenes. This is not a lie. The Washowski bros. set up some of the most extravagant car crashes and captued them on film in ways crashes has yet to filmed. In many cases you would want to tell yourself that it is CGI but it just looks too good to be CGI. About the only times they used CGI was when people were invilved (the agent jumping on the car, people turning into agents) and it seemed that there was only one crash in which it was heavily aided by computer effects ( a crash invilving two semis and there two people flying off of one of the semis). As for the story, I will just say it goe more in depth about all the major characters as wel as introducing some new ones.

One thing to keep in mind is that this movie does not end, it stops. However, the last 10 or fifteen minutes or so has some of the most bizzare explanations and a couple of strange events (one of them being a real sappy one but stil a little weird).
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a true sequal
2 May 2003
This has to be the best sequal in a long while (of course there are countless other sequals on the way, about 3 or 4 or so, but this could be an omen of things to come). There are more characters, more story, and much more action. Whats even more amazing is how the director and writer managed to pay close attention to almost every character (many of which that were already glimsped at in the first one) without it being tiresome or slowing the pace of the film. Ironically, even with a longer running time then the first, it moves at a quicker pace, mainly due to the action scenes. Speaking of which, the action scenes are incredible with the high lites, I beleive, to be the beginning with Nightcrawler taking on the secret sservice agents, and then the end fight scene between Wolverine and Deathstrike (played by Kelly hu who has seemed to have mastered the hot chick silent killer role). That is not to say that the action scenes in between are mediocre. In fact, its quite the opposite. They are expertly done in every sense as well as unique. There is a raid on the school in which you get a glimpse at other mutant powers, a jet chase where tornadoes are used as a defense, and a brief but well choreograhped and shot fight scene with Mystique and military guards. There is a whole lot that I am leaving out, special effectwise and storywise, but then I will give out too much of the movie's story and which could in turn ruin the experience.
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theres just one little thing
2 May 2003
First off his is a very interesting movie and it brings up unique ideas all and through out most of the running time. Robert DOwny jr. Heather Graham and Wagner, all perform their parts well and with feeling as well as realism (somewhat). However, there is just one little thing that will either break this movie or get looked over due to the great performances which why in the world the two girls stayed. I was able to look over it because it lead to some interesting diolgue of which no character really had the upperhand but the fact that they stayed to understand why they were cheated is one (if only) of the most unrealistic aspects of this movie. Of course maybe this story came to be by the writer asking himself "What if someone really wanted to know why they were cheated on?"

p.s. the very explicit love scene, I beleive, was done very well. It was not presented in an overly romantic manner and instead shown in a more raw style which was very beleivable.
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could have been worse
28 April 2003
First off, do not make the mistake of comparing this movie to the Matrix or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, just becuase it stars Chow Yun Fat or has similer concepts as the precious movies mentioned does not mean the execution will be the same. Anyway, this is also one of those movies where the opening scene will determine whether or not you will like the movie. It begins with Chow sparring with his master on a bridge and it basically demonstrates what the rest of fight scenes will be like so if you are unimpressed or do not like the comic book like action where people constantly do impossible feats with no clear logic behind it, you will most likely not like this movie. However, if you enjoy that type of action scene, the beginning scene, the Jade/Evil Nazi chick fight, and the final battle will be the movie's high lights. As for the story, its not really anything new but the pairing up of Chow Yun Fat and Sean William Scoot is another love/hate aspect of the movie: either you love the combination or hate it. So if you like the combination, this movie will be quite enjoyable. There are many funny moments between Chow and Willaim Scott. However, the movie does hit points where its taking itself way too seriously and then all of a sudden something funny happens. In fact the same goes for the fight scenes. The beginning fight scene is quite impressive then the following fights are a little lack luster (poorly shot and edited) but they gradually improve upon themselves returning to the quality of the opening fight scene. So all in all, it is a very enjoyable movie if you let be by not comparing it to far superior movies. I mean if you compare every fight scene to the end fight scene in Legend of Drunken Master, you will always be disappointed.
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