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Sinatra meets Monty Python
This is and probably forever will be my shortest and also most fitting review. One line completely fits the bill and you really do not need to say more. Only reason I am doing so it because IMDb wouldn't let me post the review unless I write enough words and lines. But here is all I got to and need to say: Frank Sinatra meets Monty Python. Rocks!!!
Bad showcase for Beau Casper Smart
The general acting is OK for a zero budget movie like this. It is FAR from good but the bigger problem than the actor's abilities is the horrible directing. The whole make of the movie looks like a film school project of a beginners class and that's 50% the director's fault. 40% of the rest that is bad is on the seriously bad and cheap production. I wouldn't be surprised if it was made over the course of two weekends with a budget of less than 10.000$.
The story is predictable but if you watch a movie of this type you are probably a martial arts fan and can forgive a lot. I know I have enjoyed movies with a story that's worse if the action rocks. So how about the fights? In few and fitting words: Unimaginative and boring. You can see that Beau Casper Smart has the moves - being a professional dancer it comes as no surprise. But it seems the choreographer has no experience choreographing fight scenes. It looks like he watched a few MMA fights, then made up a list of moves that he thinks are typical, pressed shuffle and just went with the outcome. There are barely any dynamics in the fights, the camera angles are boring and mostly sub par, the cuts feel like someone said "hey, don't forget a cut and angle change there, dude" at some point.
I think if you put a real fight choreographer in charge of the fights, give the camera to someone who's used one for more than a couple of family vacations and make sure the director isn't stoned or on the crapper while the action is happening you could get some really good results out of Beau Casper Smart. Comparing his acting to Van Damme or Segal he actually looks pretty good. Compare him to Scott Adkins, though, and you see he still has a loooong way ahead of him. But I'd definitely watch it if he gave another martial arts flick a try.
Tom yum goong 2 (2013)
Story: Ridiculous, boring, tons of plot holes - but who cares, it's got Tony Jaa AND JeeJa Yanin in it, right?
Martial arts choreography: Tony Jaa, half of the time, is running away from something and not fighting back. They could have shown off his great athletic skills but compared to the chase scene in Ong Back it's a joke what they do here. Also the variety of moves is rather small and unimaginative and the only thing that sets it apart from other martial arts movies is that it's Muay Thai. Enter JeeJa Yanin who has shown in her previous movies that she is a force to be reckoned with. In this movie I felt like they didn't really know what to do with her and she has to be saved by Tony's character quite often. They didn't really give her enough room to shine. Here and there you see a hint of what she's capable of but it stays more of a hint. And what's up with all the jumping against walls? I've never seen any other movie where they do kicks and jumps pushing of a wall as often as in this one. a) It gets boring after a while. b) Half the time the person doing it gets thrown or kicked (so you could call it a fail).
As a fan of martial arts I gave it a 5/10 which in my case means it's OK, I didn't fall asleep. I didn't watch it for the story. If you like a movie to also have somewhat interesting story that makes some sense it's more of a 4/10.
for martial arts fans
Other people said enough about the language issues, silly story and bad acting. As a fan of good martial arts action those parts are not thaat essential, so let's talk about the action.
It's not the pinnacle of martial arts movies but, taking into account how high the bar has been set by Ong Bak and The Raid: Redemption, you can still call it pretty damn good. For the most part there is no shaky cam. When shaky cam is used it's not for making the action look faster and harder but rather as stylistic means for the scene. Every fight scene is different. The style of choreography varies a bit, the stage is never the same (from locations with almost no room to fight to completely open street) and also the directing is never completely the same. For some scenes the latter works, for some it does not so well. But you definitely won't get bored.
With a bit of luck the dry comments from the main character might even hit your humor. The emotionless way he delivers a couple of lines made me giggle hard a few times :).
Not your regular 90 minutes martial arts flick
It is really good. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to watch it with the completely wrong ideas about it in their head. This movie is not about empowered women and it doesn't make any political statements. It shows how women from different walks of life act when thrown into an impossible situation. For this the organization who kidnaps them chose women who know how to fight or else the whole setup wouldn't make much sense. But it is not like your regular 90 minutes martial arts flick. There is nothing heroic about it. The directing, the lighting, the soundtrack - that's all closer to what you see in horror movies and they way they went about making this film reminded me a little bit of Saw.
I gave it 7/10. The acting is damn good and the general mood of the movie is dark. The fighting isn't glorified and flashy like in your regular action movie where male fighters have to fight in a to-the-death tournament. It is extreme, unpretty and direct. If they had given the story a little bit more room for getting into the surroundings and the organization who's holding the fights I'd probably have given it an 8. A few things were to compressed in my opinion.
Forced to Fight (2011)
I'm not going to write anything about the story, other reviewers have already done so. Only so much: yes, it's pretty basic, has been done before a million times BUT... I think in this one it's done comparatively well. As another reviewer wrote, the time which passes between scenes has not been worked out well and you wonder about the jumps in behavior and emotion. But the acting is much better than you would expect from such a movie and the actors can't be blamed for inconsistencies in the script and what the directer/producer did with it.
Now, to those who wonder less about the story and more about the fighting: The choreography is done much better than in most 80s and 90s martial arts flicks. You also have a lot of grappling but not so much as to make it boring. I think it's a very entertaining mix of fancy moves and realistic MMA techniques with a stand up fighting to grappling ratio of roundabout 80/20%.
If you are a fan of Gary Daniels anyways you gonna LOVE this one :).
Zhang wu shuang (2009)
If you are looking for a movie with Ninjas: This movie has not even remotely to do with anything Ninja. The cover and the title are purely a marketing lie, there are non Ninjas in it.
Story: Lame, but if you like martial arts movies you, like me, probably don't always expect a witty story.
Martials arts action: Like another reviewer wrote, the editing is bad. But it's not the kind of super-fast editing that covers up completely lame fight choreography, it just feels amateurish. Here and there the choreography lacks a bit of diversity but it is definitely above average. There is some wire work but for my taste it wasn't overdone. And Luxia Jiang got some fine moves.
Bottom line: If you love martial arts movies and don't need outstanding acting and a good story, go for it if you can rent it for a buck or if all the good movies are already rented out.
For everything there is a first time. This is my first time giving a 1-star-rating.
You get: - A "strange killer kills off wasted teens in the woods" story without gore. - An Olivier Gruner movie without any martial arts scenes. - A movie that looks as if the budget was somewhere around a trip to Disneyland (and if they had gone to Disneyland instead of making this movie at least someone would have had fun with the budget). - A sound that sounds like the whole movie was dubbed by actors even worse than the ones you see.
The camera work is simply abysmal and the director must've been very intoxicated. The angles from which a lot of scenes are shot are absolutely ridiculous at times.
I could go on and on but I'll just say one more thing: Even if you are a HUGE Olivier Gruner fan... it's not worth your time, he really doesn't do much in it.
Transporter: The Series (2012)
Disappointing even with low expectations
It was clear this show wouldn't be as good as the movies, you don't have the same budget for a TV show. Therefore I watched the first episode with low expectations hoping for some mild entertainment and relaxation after a long day at work. Unfortunately even with expecting not much I got disappointed. The acting is really bad, the humor feels forced, the driving action is boring, the fight scenes are badly directed (could have been way better without quick cuts and some shaky camera) and the tries at coolness remind me of 6 year old boys trying to sound tough at the playground.
I usually give a show at least 2, more often then not 3-4, episodes, before writing it off completely. But I don't see anything here that gives me any hope of it getting better.
Edit: I gave the 2nd episode a shot and it had an even worse script. After I read another review here where the reviewer said the "original" German dub was better and would make more sense I also tried the 3rd episode. About that: 1. The original language the actors talk is English not German. 2. Most of the actors are European and not everyone seems to be really comfortable with speaking English, that, at times, makes it painful to listen to them. The German dub isn't bad if you are used to dubs but to me it's mostly even overacted or underacted and just doesn't feel natural to my ears. 3. The German translation does not only sometimes have a completely different meaning, it is also quite embarrassing when it deviates from the original meaning.
Overall, after watching three episodes, I can't stick to my 3/10 anymore and have to remove one.
Dragons: Riders of Berk (2012)
Predictable and boring story lines
I really loved "How to train your dragon" and was overjoyed when I saw they made a series out of it. Watching the first 5 episodes my mood got darker from episode to episode. The formula is always the same: Something happens with the dragons that starts a problem, you usually know exactly what the real problem is, who'll get any blame and how they'll fix it within the first 5 minutes and then you have to suffer through how blind and stupid they all act until it's cleared up at the end.
OK, have to admit I'm 36 and probably far off the target audience ;). For kids 5-10 it might still be a great series.
Relic Hunter (1999)
I watch a lot of TV shows and a show doesn't have to have a gigantic budget to keep me entertained. If it's witty, charming and has likable characters you don't mind cheap sets and more often than not bad actors around the main characters. I really like Tia Carrere in this show and... well that's almost about it.
In everything I read about Relic Hunter before watching it myself the figures Indiana Jones and Lara Croft were brought up. Let me put it in few and simple words where the similarities lie: * Indiana Jones is a university professor -> Sydney Fox is, too * Indiana Jones looks for relics -> Sydney Fox does, too * Lara Croft got martial arts skills -> Sydney Fox does, too
Now let's take a look at the differences: * Indy Jones is a really intelligent man who knows very much and has to figure out intriguing riddles -> Sydney Fox never gives the impression she is a top professor with a vast knowledge about what she does. When she solves a riddle its more like putting a puzzle together than using a lot of wit. * Lara Croft is just completely kick-ass in everything she does -> Sydney Fox shows some vulnerability here and there (not a bad thing in general), and being kick-ass mostly focuses on the fight scenes.
In most shows there is the concept of the hero of the show and the comic relief sidekick. In this case the sidekick would be Nigel, nerdy teaching assistant from England with his slightly distinguished British accent and manner. This would be a good mix if the Sydney character was actually really knowledgeable and kick-ass and the sidekick really nerdy and funny. Thing is they're both just not all that extreme in their ways so you sometimes wonder who plays who's part.
The one thing that is really above average about this show are the fight scenes. Those are well executed and pretty often have some slapstick element to them that is actually funny. And Tia Carrere is really good in her role. I'm not a fanboy but have to say, if it wasn't for her charisma I wouldn't have gotten past the first episode.
I give this show a 5/10 because of Tia, the fight scenes and the general concept of the show.
Tactical Force (2011)
Worst "SWAT" movie ever.
A really good example where larger than live characters work is Stallone's "The Expendables". Here they tried but the characters just sound dumb. As do all dialogs in "Tactical Force". Throughout the movie I had the feeling that the cast wrote the script themselves while having a few drinks too many and now they made it into a movie with the sole goal of having some fun themselves, no matter the outcome. But while it looks like they really had fun doing it the only reason I watched through the whole thing was to see all martial arts scenes with Michal Jai White because those few were the only half good thing about the flick.
I'm pretty sure if any SWAT member ever sees this movie he'll face-palm himself black and blue because kids playing cowboys and Indians in the garden show better tactics and skills then the SWAT team in this movie.
Then there is the endless talking of the bad guys in every moment they are in control. It's like they were thinking "how long can we stretch the cliché of the bad guys talking too much until they get overpowered until someone switches off the movie or starts taking vodka intraveinously to find some fun in it?".
The movie also had two female characters but they don't do much except getting one over the head at some point and more or less looking pretty. Lexa Doig in SWAT gear is the "less" and Candace Elaine in leather the "more".
It seems they tried to give the dialog this cult movie style of humor, the one that's pretty well executed in "Mean Guns", but all I could do here was roll my eyes. As I said before, it just sounds dumb.
I think you really have to be a fanboy/fangirl of one of the actors to find anything enjoyable about this movie. For me that was Michael Jai White, without him I'd switched it off after 10 minutes.
Kill Speed (2010)
113 minutes... for what?
Your usual brainless action flick that still entertains you enough when all the good films are already rented out is usually about 90 minutes. Why they made this horrible ride 23 minutes longer is beyond my comprehension because the movie just doesn't have enough substance for that. The basic story of some "cool" guys drug trafficking with airplanes, getting mixed up in some bad stuff and in the end pulling off a "glorious" rescue mission that makes them the good guys COULD be entertaining enough as a basis. Unfortunately we get confronted with dialogue that is barely more interesting then the white pages, acting that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a Oscar winner and action scenes that, except for the showdown, are so boring that not even an "exciting" soundtrack and fast cuts can make it really interesting. And even the showdown isn't that cool.
Save your money for something else, you'll only end up very angry if you don't.
Nochnoy dozor (2004)
Plot hole galore and a director on drugs
I haven't seen a movie with so many plot wholes in years. The book on which it is based is a best seller but you would have never guessed so from just watching the movie. The change from one scene to the other is everything but smooth and the movie felt like driving on a road that's 50% potholes. The director must have been on drugs. There is a high use of shaky camera every time there is an action scene or they want to make the dialogue more intense and probably give it an hectic pace. But it so overdone that it is simply annoying. When there is hardly anything going on shaking the camera some doesn't make it better.
The action of this movie were very boring. There weren't any interesting fights and except for the one or other vision and two shape shifting scenes there just wasn't much of the supernatural. If you are looking for a movie about supernatural stuff with superhuman beings using superhuman powers this one is gonna super bore you to death.
Midnight Chronicles (2009)
100 minutes of boring foreplay
The costumes are great and the overall setting well crafted. Except for the the cheap below TV quality recording the look of the movie is really good. The acting is very mixed, some characters are played well, but most actors are as uninspired as the pace of the movie which drags on and on.
I agree with the other comments about this movie, there are some good ideas in the story but they aren't played out. For a hundred minutes you wait for something to happen that's being hinted on and then the movie is through after a short and totally meaningless "climax" that makes you think: Was the whole movie just a character introduction?
The high rating of this movie on IMDb comes as a big surprise. I only gave it 3/10 as a thank you for the costumes and scenery and because I am in a very good mood while typing this. I think the other voters are the actors of the movie who received a bonus to come here and give it a good rating ;).
Perfect movie if you love to shake your head. Often. Repeatedly.
Nothing much new about the story but you don't watch a Steven Seagal movie for that. Nonetheless a doc without a conscience using a mind control machine as the evil guy has room for a lot of fun. Through in a team of various military guys lead by Steven "wood face" Seagal and two hot chicks who can fight and you have a recipe for a very likable no brainer. So far so good...
There are plenty of gun fights. And most of us who like this kind of action flick have gotten used to the bad guys shooting a lot and not really hitting much. But the camera work in this movie makes it as ridiculous as can be. In one scene you see that about 40 or 50 bad guys are standing like 30 feet away and still take minutes until they hit one of the 5 or 6 good guys. Of course they still lose or the movie would have been over in its first third.
Hand to hand fights: They actually COULD have been pretty good if the cut hadn't been totally awful. There are some nicely executed moves but you barely get the chance to appreciate them. With a less hectic cut I would have given the movie one more star.
The characters: Steven Seagal is Steven Seagal, same role he always plays. The above mentioned chicks look good and do some fighting - what more do we want? OK, boobs would have been nice, but we can live without it ;). The highlight of the movie, to me, is Vinnie Jones who plays some bad ass Brit, which he does damn well in every of his movies. A pity he didn't get more camera time. The rest of the military team just sucks and is totally colorless. You don't connect and you don't mind when almost all of them get shot up. The evil doctor, played by Nick Brimble, looks evil, talks evil and acts evil. There are also a corrupt agent and a rich company owner being a little bad here and there but they should have put more into the doctor instead of bothering with boring and useless additional characters.
With a better director this movie could have easily been a 5 star movie. As it is a lot of potential just got wasted and I really can't recommend this flick to anyone. I had a really hard time giving it a 3 and not a 2.
Transporter 3 (2008)
Fun movie - worst of the series
The first Transporter movie was the essence of a coolness, had awesome fight scenes, nonstop action and that typical Luc Besson touch that more or less any movie's got, even if he is not directing it. The second Transporter tried to top the stunts of the first movie or at least keep up with something that already is way up there - and not in a bad way as long as you can fully tune out any sense for reality and just enjoy the ride.
Now what is happening with Transporter 3? I think they tried to put more depth to the characters. In a way it worked because if you come from almost zero it's hard not to improve there but the movie went from an awesome roller-coaster ride (1&2) back to just a good popcorn action cinema. I guess as a screenplay writer you don't want to repeat yourself over and over but in the case of Transporter I wouldn't have minded at all. Still enjoyed the movie, still awesome action which leaves the competition looking pretty dry and tame but definitely less intense than its predecessors.
80s Hong Kong action resurrected
I usually can't watch indie movies that have this lifeless cinematography that TV documentaries have, it looks cheap, cold and boring. BUT... Contour went to the action in the first few minutes and there it delivered and kept me watching.
The acting in this movie is not for everyone. These guys are no Oscar-drama actors but they capture the fun and spirit of 80s Hong Kong flicks and the humor, as well in the acting as in the fight scenes, reminded me of earlier Jackie Chan movies. It's like a comic come to life and if you can forgive the horrible editing in the non-fight-scenes and like the cheesy humor you're going to have a great time watching the whole thing.
The fight scenes are just awesome. They use the complete environment around them and go at it with everything they can get their hands on or throw somebody into and they never take themselves too serious. Every actor uses a different fighting style and you see a lot of artistic falling, jumping and kicking out of every possible angle.
This was the first movie of The Stunt People I've seen but after writing this I'll order some more. I think in time this group could become a big name in martial arts movies and I can't wait to see what they will do when the budget becomes a little bit more serious.
Bonus for being a Transformers movie?
This was one of the movies where I had no problems going to the rest room and buying another coke while the movie was still running. Sure, the special effects were top notch but I can really not understand why the overall ranking is so high. The story is OK but not really brilliant. The characters are likable but not really bright. The comedy was pretty average and didn't make me give it more than a gentle smile here and there. And when the big show down came it made me almost wish the bad guys would win because the good guys were so lame and stupid. I'm not angry I paid money for it, there are worse things to waste an evening with but I really have to shake my head at the ranking here...
Wow, this movie was dumb! But wow, did I have a good time anyway!
Wow, this movie was dumb! But wow, did I have a good time anyway! At some points it's almost painfully illogical and cheesy and the acting was more or less none existent but there is just so much nice action going on throughout most of the movie it's just a great ride. It even had a couple of really funny moments (the mighty bad knight getting hit by a car twice in 2 or 3 minutes for example really made me laugh, well executed *g*).
There are many movies with better special effects but in my opinion what you get here is just fine and you get loads of them. If you like monster movies like Godzilla where the whole city gets destroyed, this is just what you wanna watch. When the show down starts you really feel like in the middle of a huge war zone.
You have to be able to switch your brain off while this movie runs but if you are able to do so you will be rewarded plenty.
I give it a 5/10.
BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007)
If I would drink heavily for two days in one run and then wake up to the mother of all hangovers I could still come up with a better story than this one. Bye the way, the camera movement looks like the camera man DID drink for two days in a row.
If I would close my eyes and blindly pick 20 people while walking through town I'd probably pick a better acting crew than the one in this movie. Even if I ran into a lamp post because of the closed eyes. Rayne is looking sexy, though, if Boll would have included a sex scene like in the first movie I might have thought about giving it 2 stars. Naw, just kidding.
The thing that bothers me the most is how weak Rayne is. If she was mankind's last hope against vampires... kiss this world goodbye. Hell, if she was mankind's last hope against a gang of kindergarden babies she might get overpowered. She gets beaten up more than she is beating up the bad guys. Half human, half vampire? In one scene you see her show canine teeth. In this scene she is almost dying and then is given blood from the arm of a friend. Very powerful hero she is...
The action is slow paced, badly executed and boring. I can't remember the last time I saw such a bad fight choreography.
The one thing that was actually REALLY good was the sound effects and the score. Guess that's where all the money went.
You liked the first BloodRayne movie? This one will deeply disappoint you. You didn't like the first one? Well, then you probably think what I thought, it can't possibly get worse. If you want to broaden your horizon watch this one - it CAN get worse.
Nice popcorn cinema without much depth
It's got everything you need if you are looking for some light, mindless popcorn action cinema. The hero in doubt, some people who have to be saved, the really evil villains and the regular wise old man.
I feel like they tried to get to what Elektra is really about but got to distracted by trying to explain the other characters. It's like Elektra, Elektra... whoops, have to quickly throw in some lines about somebody else... Elektra... damn, here's another quicky about somebody else... and so on and so on. After the movie you know a bit about Elektra, almost nothing about the oh so important Abby they call "the treasure" and hardly anything really about the villains and what "The Hand", the evil organization who wants to obtain the treasure, is.
The action is OK. Looks to me as if the director wanted to create a music video instead of a movie but as cynic as that may sound... it would have been a good video clip ;-). The choreography is nothing mind blowing but not too boring either, nicely paced.
All in all it is the kind of movie you shouldn't watch with any expectations. Invite a couple of friends over, grab a six pack, put some potato chips on the couch table, turn off your brain and lean back.
Comparison to Dare Devil: This could become a matter of religion, I enjoyed Dare Devil much more and in my humble opinion the fight scene choreography and the general mood was more intense and the cut is way above Elektra. On the other hand the Elektra character gives more room for acting, therefore Jennifer Garner looks less wooden than Ben Afflek in Dare Devil. But whatever you might say, in Dare Devil you don't have the feeling the movie is on the run to get through with it.
An Na yu wu lin (2003)
Somebody really made an effort to prduce sh..
The actors: They have three facial expressions and emotions: 1. Overly silly happy, 2. wooden (no, wood has more expression on it...), 3. saaaad, in fact sooo saaad you wonder if they die of that damn stupid face.
The Plot: I've been watching Asian movies for many years now and I am used to the different mentality and sometimes absurd stories and to westeners sometimes unlogic cut of the movie. But this really tops everything I have ever seen in being senseless, dumb and unlogic. A martial arts contest is being held to promote a health drink. Kin (Ekin Cheng) flies to Japan to get a great kung fu master to attend the tournament but this master sends his daughter instead. Before I really recognized what's going on, Anna (Miriam Yeung) is close to Kin but Kin already has a girl friend which is being covered with the help of Kin's brother. No, there is not this hide the one from the other stuff going on. The two guys are "so good" at twisting things that both girls can sit together with Kin not realising he goes out with both of them... And when I write "so good" I mean a 2 year old (if he could talk properly) would be able to see through it. I told myself maybe I'm just too stupid to understand what's going on here but in the end I have to admit I just saw the most stupidly scripted movie ever... Ed Wood movies have a better plot that makes more sense. Oh, I almost forgot the martial arts contest. That's because you almost forget about it while watching the movie. In between this torrent of stupidity there are a couple of very, very boring martial arts sequences. They look a bit like some sort of "beginner's guide to basic martial arts moves".
Action: There are some martial arts scenes but as I said above they are really, really basic and boring. The charakters are so awefully cheap and lame looking it makes you beg the movie to switch back to the dumb wanna be romantic plot - which then makes you think about burning the movie or sueing the producer of the movie for psychological cruelty. All interesting martial arts scenes cut together would result in about 2-3 minutes of action. These 2-3 minutes would include parts of 6 different fights. So bottom line is every action scene has no more than 2 or 3 good moves and they are repeated throughout every fight scene...
Cult factor: Z-E-R-O!!! The movie is meant to be comic style which it succeeds in. And you know there are a lot of reaally baad comics on the market...
I give this movie a 2, worst Asian movie I've ever seen.