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8/10
You Either 'Get It' Or You Don't!
17 February 2012
I saw a sneak preview of this movie w/ somewhat 'curious' expectations. This is mainly because of the style of 'Crank' directors Neveldine/Taylor. Being a fan of the Ghost Rider comic book, I was a bit disappointed in the original film as I found it a bit flat. However I gave it a bit of a pass because I knew that 'Daredevil' director Mark Steven Johnson's style was simply not suited for this type of subject matter. So whenever I watch that installment I can't help but feel a bit torn because although I didn't care for GR1 overall, I have to admit that there were aspects of it that I can appreciate.

But after watching GR: Spirit of Vengeance I was very refreshed and impressed. They gave it more of a 'cult film' feel which I thought was PERFECT for this project. Neveldine/Taylor seem to never be scared to take risks w/ going outside the box of contemporary filmmaking and GR:SOV is a true testament of that. Since I can relate this feeling w/ the one I got when I first saw Lexi Alexander's "Punisher: War Zone" I strongly anticipate that this film is gonna take a beating from the masses. But I don't care because IMHO, the mainstream nowadays apparently have no idea of original thought and much of their opinions are spoon-fed to them by corporate media.

Also what helped make this work is the performance of all the actors, ESPECIALLY NIC CAGE! I admit I had my doubts about him reprising the Johnny Blaze character but it's quite evident he was in tune w/ the directors' vision. SOV (like PWZ) is clearly a 'love-it-or-hate-it' movie which works for me because since movies like this don't rack up at the box office and tend to be viewed as commercial flops, they come out on home releases pretty quick at very reasonable prices (w/ extras to boot). IMO this film will make most of its money on DVD/blue-ray sales.

Not wanting to spoil it for anybody, all I can say is if you go see GR:SOV, "try" to have an open mind. Otherwise you might just be setting yourself up to be disappointed w/ no fault being that of the movie. The only reason I didn't give this a higher rating is because I thought it was a bit short (1:36) and I admit I'm a bit torn because perhaps it may have been best not to draw it out.

Chalk up another 'underground hit' for Marvel Knights!!!
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8/10
It's Better To Be Dead And Cool Than Alive And Uncool!
11 July 2011
Here it is 2011 and I'm STILL lovin' this movie! As a matter of fact up until I looked over my IMDb history, I thought I had already reviewed it but much to my surprise I haven't. I guess that will make this review that much more better as it will be one of the more current ones.

This is one of those "you-either-get-it-or-you-don't" movies made to appeal to the egos and fantasies of the rugged alpha male. You get that sense at the opening credits as Mickey Rourke's intro scene during the opening credits makes you want to go out and ride a chopped up steel horse. It's the ultimate escape, at least for men! It's laced w/ moral fiber in that it's all about being down-and-out and still managing to drum up the where-with-all to help your fellow man. IMHO I think this movie's setbacks are through no fault of any of its creators or participants. Looking at many of the cynical reviews of movie-goers and critics of its time, it was clearly ahead of its own genre. And although many might find the title as well as some of the names of the characters to be cheesy (Virginia Slim, Jack Daniels, etc), I admire that they took the risk to acknowledge the outlaw, anti-hero biker image through images of Americana. I also read somewhere (probably on this site) that Rourke did this movie out of desperation which doesn't help a new viewer go in w/ a favorable attitude. Hopefully Mickey can look back and appreciate this piece of work like much of us do. I've still yet to see Butch & Sundance but now I'm inspired to check out Redford and Newman's piece even if it's just for the similarities that many reviewers have suggested.

I guess it comes down to the fact that this is much like anything else in that it isn't for everybody. Perhaps the audience it was intended for has dwindled substantially (if it's ever really been out there). But if that's so, we can always take comfort in knowing that we have something we can truly appreciate w/o having to be fashionable.
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7/10
Let Us Have Our Fun!
24 August 2010
Seems like everyone has their own perception of what a "good movie" is and even furthermore what a "good time" is. The Expendables IMO has succeeded in many aspects of molding the two together.

I went to see this movie twice already and both times I've walked out feeling fulfilled. Perhaps it might be because I knew how to approach it.

The first time, I admit I felt a bit of conflicted angst mainly because I didn't know how Stallone can almost single-handedly create a decent product w/ all of that established star power. Too many times I've seen movies w/ big ensemble casts fall flat simply because there simply isn't enough space and time to get the most out of each performer. This movie has every right to be a big "abortion" mainly because Stallone runs the risk of having chemistry issues among a diverse cast of action stars from different generations nonetheless. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that he managed to pull it off! Was it as good as the first two X-Men movies? No, but Bryan Singer only had the one director role to play in that franchise while Stallone has to don several hats (writer, director, star, etc). I can only recall one other time I've seen anyone come close and that was Eddie Murphy's "Harlem Nights" project which IMO was mediocre at best. To me, the Expendables was a display of many multi-faceted stars w/ one common goal to produce an entertaining piece of film and that I can fully appreciate.

I guess the second time I went to see it was to ingest each actor's character contribution and to get a better appreciation of the actual story and once again I was not disappointed. Although this is a "man's movie" there's quite a bit of substantial entertainment to be had by all types of viewers. I guess my own biased criticisms is that there was not more involvement by Bruce Willis' "Mr. Church" character but that's cool because the path may have been laid out for that in the announced sequel(s)which many people have seemingly forgotten about or chose to ignore. I also really enjoyed seeing the more philosophical side of Mickey Rourke's performance in his portrayal of "Tool". I'm not going to give an individual synopsis as I've taken up too much space as it is but I'll just summarize by saying that everyone played their parts to the hilt w/ not much more to be desired.

I just have to laugh at the harsh criticisms and at times almost feel sorry for the cynics who seemingly don't know what to look for in these types of films.
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The A-Team (2010)
9/10
Don't believe the critics or the box office!!
14 June 2010
Admittedly it's hard to give a thorough review of this film w/o spoilers so this one shouldn't be very long. All I know is that I've yet to see one of these "retro-remakes" as well constructed as this one. Not only did this movie exceed my expectations in regards to mixture of plot, action and humor it's a true compliment to the television series. Carnahan's respect for this franchise's core audience is truly genuine and his creativity in introducing these characters to a new genre is truly admirable. In my opinion although I'm not a fan of "shoulder/handheld-camera abuse" it's not nearly enough to bring this film down as a whole. I think the only other criticism one can make is its plot similarity to "The Losers". And while both films were thoroughly entertaining, I think "The A-Team" stands on more solid ground. This is one of the few bubble gum action movies that's worth going to see more than once. And you can't say that for a lot of other flicks of this type (i.e. Charlie's Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky & Hutch, etc)!
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6/10
Buggy's Before The Horse On This One!!
17 July 2006
I pretty much agree w/ the overall consensus on this one. I too believe that, giving what I've seen so far the benefit of the doubt, that the one "setback" (my attempt at diplomacy) w/ this project is its main subject, Blade! I've been accused at being 'overly lenient' to say the least when it comes to my viewing tastes but I think a lot of viewers will agree that I'm pretty justified on this one.

Stay w/ me on this one. The real problem w/ this project is that the big budget trilogy has already been done. Now practically anyone whose been following Blade and his adventures since then is pretty much "fixated" on the image of the main character as he's presented on the big screen. This is a huge hump for many viewers to get over and the more dedicated the Blade fan, the harder it will be for them to take Kirk "Sticky" Jones seriously. It's almost unfair to cast Jones in the same light as Snipes.

W/ that being said, one has to put oneself in a certain mindset when watching the series (granted I'm aware that that's a lot easier said than done). For one thing, we all can agree that Wesley pulls off fight sequences MUCH better than Sticky. But remember, Blade is an immortal vampire killer...PERIOD!! Never in any of the comic book tales is it written that Blade only uses flawless, proficient martial arts tactics to kill vampires. The big screen presentations had this luxury because the lead actor has a martial arts/boxing background. Sticky barely has an acting background!! So you really can't fault him for the choppy, dry and lackluster fight sequences. Had the series been done before the movies, I think it may have been better received simply because you wouldn't have had anything to compare it to.

Other than that, everything else seems to serve its purpose. The 'Chase' and 'Krista' characters are presented pretty colorfully and of course one of the reasons their respective actresses were chosen is because they make great "eye candy." And while the 'Van Sciver' character gets to be a little gimmicky at times, I think overall it goes over real well. I must also admit that the story is growing increasingly more intriguing. It might even be too early for me to accurately comment right now but I had to say something at this point. I guess my only fear is that this may come to a very intense build-up only to have a somewhat bland letdown as closure simply because the main actor was unqualified to bring any life to his character.

My advice to anyone watching this series is try to be as objectionable as possible. DON'T try to compare it to the big screen presentations or you'll be setting yourself up for major disappointment. But you never know, we're only approaching episode 4. Overall, so far, it's a somewhat decent attempt.
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Drop Squad (1994)
8/10
Just Ahead Of Its Time!!
8 May 2006
I believe this film was made w/ its creators knowing that it would be shot down by various "types" of people who'll just simply refuse to look at it objectively. In my opinion, it is a "must see" for everyone aimed particularly at the Black bourgeois. I like the fact that not only does the DROP Squad address the problems of Blacks self-exploiting racial stereotypes for personal financial gain, it also questions the tactics that must be enacted to solve these problems. The aim of the DROP Squad is very provocative but I especially like the human aspect whereas the "Rocky" character debates w/ "XB" and "Garvey" on how to deal w/ the captive individuals to be "dropped." Rocky has a more diplomatic approach that seems to have been more effective back in earlier times around when the group was founded. Seemingly as time has passed and the situation has evolved to crazier proportions, XB and Garvey have resorted to more drastic tactics in order to "get their attention first." I believe what many people fail to realize is that this picture is asking the question "Which, if any, of these methods are more appropriate to addressing this problem?" The tone of the film gets "crazier" as time moves on and the problem gets worse, thus developing the drama where the Squad questions itself altogether. Whether you like this movie or not, you've got to admit that it serves its purpose and that's to "incite dialogue" and not racism.
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Training Day (2001)
9/10
What Movie Were You Guys Watching?!!
24 April 2006
I know I'm late as hell and I hate to break the overall 'vibe' about this movie but this movie was great when I saw it in the theater and gets better every time I watch it over again. And this is mainly because of the performances by Denzel and Ethan. I don't know what you guys expected but the movie CLEARLY suggests that Denzel is a crooked, burnt-out, streetwise cop and Ethan is a 'wet-behind-the-ears' clueless rookie. So knowing that, WHAT DID YOU GUYS EXPECT, Malcolm X, Remember The Titans, The Hurricane?? If you were, then maybe you all need to be checked out. The reason why this movie was so great is because it wasn't the typical Denzel 'role model' movie. We KNOW that he can play those roles well so it's a testament to his acting ability that he can portray the other side of the spectrum. And my hat goes off to Ethan because he bounces off Denzel flawlessly.

I hate to break the news to you guys but cops like Alonzo ARE OUT THERE and need to be acknowledged. Acting like the problem doesn't exist does not solve it. You don't have to go that deep to know that Alonzo was once a good cop who just got fed up w/ 'police procedures.' If you acknowledge that Jake's shallow-mindedness at the beginning of the film only allows him to look at the perks of making detective and how the progress of the day transforms him, you can really appreciate Ethan's portrayal of him. Let's face it, a bad day at the office when you're a narcotics detective differs greatly from that of an office executive and the different stresses can warrant different results.

Even the street rhetoric was authentic. Maybe you guys need to get out of the 'burbs more. You guys didn't actually expect eloquent dialogue with little or no profanity, did you? The only part of this movie I struggle with is Dr. Dre's terrible overacting and that isn't nearly enough to take away from the overall result.

Next time you guys bash a movie, make sure to try to be objective and rate what you see and not what you're used to seeing!!
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The Protector (2005)
9/10
Who Cares About The Plot?!!
21 April 2006
After watching maybe (3) of the fight scenes on a VCD copy a friend of mine brought by, I immediately had to obtain my own copy. I sat there watching it with my instructor in total awe and all we can do is just stare at each other w/ our jaws dropped. And my instructor isn't even into movies!! I've been a fan and student of martial arts practically my whole life and in my opinion, this movie is a martial artist'dream! Tony Jaa and his crew performed to near perfection and the camera angles were such that I can appreciate these performances to their fullest.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate a substantial plot as much as the next person but this was one of those rare movies where the action more than made up for what may be considered a "lackluster" storyline (i.e. The Transporter 2). To tell you the truth, I think I've only watched the movie in it's entirety once because I've practically memorized the chapters of every fight scene on the DVD. I've even showed it to people who have no interest in martial arts whatsoever (like my mother) and they've got copies of their own now!! There's got to be something to be said about that.
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Don King: Only in America (1997 TV Movie)
10/10
Rate The Movie, Not The Man
18 April 2006
I'm not a big fan of ol' Don King although I have no problem saying that I do admire his accomplishments. Let's face it, people. The man hasn't done nothing to boxing that any other boxing promoter hasn't done (or aspires to do for that matter). He's just the best at it. And if history has proved anything, it's that when you're at the top of the mountain, people look to knock you down. There's nothing etched in stone that says that in order to be a good fight promoter, you've got to love your fighter(s). As a matter of fact, you don't even have to LIKE them!! Truth is all of his fighters (most of all, Tyson) knew the risks when they signed with King and a gun wasn't put to any of their heads. I think this movie may rub a few people the wrong way simply because Ving Rhames gave the performance of his life portraying a figure of great controversy from that person's perspective (i.e. King narrates the story by occasionally talking to the camera). King even bashes HBO in the movie and they're the ones who made it (which I thought was quite sporting of them)!! Bottom line, this movie was excellent and should've went to the theaters in my opinion. It would've given more people a more dimensional perspective of the man and the business of the sport. Remember, everyone has some dirt on them (some quite more than others) and perfection should not be expected of another if it cannot be achieved by one's own self.
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Tyson (1995 TV Movie)
8/10
The Best That It'll Get
18 April 2006
I think we all agree that the character Mike Tyson leaves a lot to be said which is why I think the movie "Tyson" was pretty good given the resources it had to work with. The problem with making controversial biographies is that you can't provide the complete overall perspective, no matter how much of a budget you place on them. And also the fact that many viewers come in watching these movies with previously fixed opinions doesn't help either. For a 'made for TV' biography, I thought this movie was borderline excellent. I realize you can't encompass Iron Mike's entire life in an hour and some change but I thought this movie provided a great objectionable summary. It didn't uphold his character nor did it insult; it just stuck to the facts. I thought George C. Scott and Michael Jai White gave great performances. The only criticism I have is that a lot of the other character actors came off a little flat but it wasn't enough to take away from the overall result. To tell the truth, I'd watch a sequel provided the same crew got back together and stuck with the same (or rather similar) formula.
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7/10
Thank God I'm Not Crazy
27 July 2005
You can't imagine how relieved I feel to know that I'm in good company with others who have seen this before. Like one other person indicated, I was beginning to think I dreamed this up. I've always been into comics so when I talk to people today (who claim to be even more into them)about these episodes, they say they never heard of them.

I remember seeing them when I was about 7 years old and thought they were extremely funny and entertaining. That's why I can't understand why some of the other reviews are so critical. Isn't this show SUPPOSED to be campy and cheesy? I find it amazing that so many people who crave the substantial often times don't know where to look for it. And to add insult to injury, they look for it in places it OBVIOUSLY can't be found. C'mon guys, I got the humor when I was 7!! Lighten up a bit.

I've recently ordered a brand new copy in DVD format off eBay.
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