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Death Race (2008)
Critcally Bashed, Fan Appreciated
While many critics openly criticized this film, the fans took to it with over $75million in ticket sales.
The synopsis of the film is a testament to brazen authority and strong arming the little guy. A man who is JUST trying to get by with his wife and newborn is ultimately framed for his wife's murder. He is subsequently sent to a hellish prison known as Terminal island. There he is forced to race in what they deem "Death Race" in order to try and gain his freedom.
The film has it's moments of personal clarity, it is a action driven movie with Jason Statham at the helm. It is a wild ride that has Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane, and Joan Allen along as great supporting cast.
I enjoyed the film, but hey, it spawned 3 sequels after this. All in all it had drama, it had thrills and of course action. A decent afternoon filler.
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Comedic Cross-Country Fun
If you take an all-star cast, supped up cars and trucks, and writing that was classic of the 80's, you end up with the comedic juggernaut The Cannonball Run. Having big names like Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Farrah Fawcett, Sir Roger Moore and throw in the likes of Adrienne BarBeau, Jackie Chan, Mel Tillis, Terry Bradshaw, Jamie Farr, Jack Elam, Peter Fonda, the laughs and fun are upheld with the entire film.
The Marine 6: Close Quarters (2018)
The phrase uttered half a dozen times "finish it", subsequently could mean the end of the franchise. Mike "The Miz" Mizanin portrays the soldier Jake Carter in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th films. I have reviewed all the films and let's just say the acting in each in every one is sub-par at best. I have mentioned time and time again that the billion dollar company WWE should have invested more time, money, and talent to make the franchise work. However, these films will eventually become a cult phenomenon because of the star power of the WWE.
The film has a generic storyboard with a girl who is kidnapped by malicious Irish gang and Jake and his CO in the service are in the wrong place at the right time. The entire film takes place in an abandoned brewery with close quarter fighting that leaves little to be desired for. Shawn Michaels (Luke) is the CO and I have to say his acting is horrid, fight sequences terrible and watching him run is laughable. Now Becky Lynch on the other hand was the surprise in the film as the baddy. I enjoyed her performance and fighting style.
The Marine 5: Battleground (2017)
Being a former USAF member and trained in certain hand to hand combat, this film lacks a lot in belief. Yes, we as the audience know it is fiction, but there has to be some believability in it's action sequences. The stunts were lacking entirely and the fight scenes demonstrated bad format in my opinion. WWE as a conglomarte has the resources and funding to put more effort into their films. Mike Mizanin has lead the charge of the marine franchise for 3 films and they do not get much better. In this film the WWE enlisted the help of Maryse Mizanin, who subsequently had 2 minutes before her character died, Naomi who did nothing for the film, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater and Curtis Axel. This film certainly did not impress me in the least.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Iconic Second Telling
The two most iconic and legendary characters for film are Rocky and Rambo. Sylvester Stallone brings to life these physical specimens of men that break the mold of heroic. In the second chapter of John Rambo we find him doing hard time in a labor prison when Colonel Trautman comes calling. The storyline takes the character back to Vietnam to locate a camp and take pictures of anything that resembles POW's. The audience relates to the struggles and pain endured by Rambo's expressions. This is NOT a great film by any stretch but coming off First Blood this flows perfectly in the storytelling. The writing is typical Stallone with good flow and character development. The audience will leave this film with great pride for the character. Good sequel.
Not much to say with the idiocy within the film. I feel absolutely embarrassed for Ron Pearlman to be in this film. It lacked wit, creativity, humor and was just dull. I laughed maybe, maybe once. BOMB
With the film series having a total of 7 sequels it really, REALLY should have stopped at 3 or 4. After Steve Guttenberg left the franchise it fell flat and left sour notes along with it. A storyline about a small gang of criminals with a "MR. Big" calling the shots threatens the city, and Commandant Lassard and his merry band of misfits are the cities last hope. SAME drowl and tasteless humor, same meaningless writing style. The one thing about these films I find entertaining is the many ways of pulling pranks on Captain Harris. G.W. Bailey is a great character actor and his exploits in this franchise are at the top.
Jumped the Shark
The childish pranks and adult façade of humor continue in the 5th installment of the cult classic franchise. Again we see America's most inept law enforcement clowns that head to sunny Miami to honor Commandant Lassard as Police Officer of the Decade. The aging and often-confused head of the Police Academy, Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes), has reached mandatory retirement age, much to the pleasure of the devious Capt. Harris (G.W. Bailey), who is still scheming to take over his job. Lassard, Harris, and a handful of the Academy's "distinguished" graduates (including Bubba Smith, Michael Winslow, Leslie Easterbrook, and Marion Ramsey) travel to Miami Beach for a special ceremony to commemorate Lassard's years of service as he leaves the force; however, a luggage mix-up puts the clumsy cops in the middle of a massive illegal arms deal. Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach was the first film in the long-running series that did not star Steve Guttenberg (Bob Goldthwait also left the franchise at this point), but most of the other regulars bravely soldiered on without him.
driving off the cliff
The fourth installment of the franchise "Citizens On Patrol", tries to be funny with ordinary citizens bringing comedic nature to the academy. In watching this film again I forgot David Spade and Sharon Stone were in it. It was falling in the 3rd film, this one begins it's decent off the cliff.
Same slapstick crude humor, same decisive character involvement. One thing to note in the editing is when Zed and Sweetchuck are alone in the plane in a split second you can see a stunt person flying it so the editing is poor.
Still funny, but starting to lose control
The franchise of Police Academy has become a cult phenomenon among individuals. The writing is essentially poor with adult satire and humor that draws on the audiences complex nature at stupidity. The characters do the routine, Mahoney goes after the girl and pulls pranks, Jones motors his mouth into an array of sounds, Hightower shows his superior height and strength, Tackelberry is gung-ho and watches his in-laws continue to punch one another, Zed and Sweetchuck continue their love/hate relationship.
One portion of the film is the Blue Oyster again makes it's appearance. It's laughter, it's comedy, it's raw and it again begins to lose it's luster in this film.
Gut punch laugh track
Quickly made after the success of the first film, but this had some missing elements. First we have the fact that some of the new recruits were absent, and we were introduced to new characters like Vinnie Schtulman, Sweetchuck, Mauser, Procter, Kirkland and Zed. Now Bobcat Goldthwait is hilarious as the leader of the gang. Missing were G.W. Bailey as Harris, Kim Cattrall as Thompson, Leslie Easterbrook as Callahan, Barbara, Copeland and Blankes.
I enjoyed the sequel as it was fun, entertaining and laughable in it's characters. It was toned down some but still had the rawness of adult humor. It is enjoyable and sets up the 3rd installment of Police Academy 3: Citizens on patrol.
Police Academy (1984)
Funny bone Hit
This is NOT a GREAT film by any stretch of the imagination, but brings adult humor through it's entirety. The writing is picturesque of "Saturday Night Live" with raw humor and adult content. The comedic elements and character development made us fall in love with characters; Mahoney, Hightower, Jones, Lassard, Harris, Hooks, Tackleberry, and Hallahan. The film became a cult classic and spawned six sequels and is in talks of a reboot or TV series. I truly enjoyed the comedic elements, the adult humor of the '80's.
Following in the footsteps of the franchise, J.A. Bayona delivers again. The film franchise does a solid job NOT veering away from it's original predecessor. The obvious conglomerate is the CGI effects of the dinosaurs. It is absolutely amazing how incredibly real the composites are.
In the film we go back to the island where a volcano is on the brink of eruption and will essentially destroy and kill everything, once again confining the dinosaurs to extinction. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as Owen and Grace, racing to the island to save the creatures and find Blue, the last remaining raptor Owen trained.
The film is entertaining with great effects, humor and action throughout. The whole franchise is a fun series.
The Marine 4: Moving Target (2015)
Doesn't Hold water
The 4th installment of the WWE franchise film series "The Marine" finds Mike Mizanin once again at the helm as Jake Carter. Newly assigned to a private security detail for a HVP (High Value Package), he finds himself immersed in a betrayal, combatant victim and endlessly hunted throughout the film. Let's be realistic with the film shall we. The acting is dismal, the storyline is an abortion of overloaded material in many film before, the dialogue is simplistic and holds no attention. The action sequences are abysmal, the editing and cinematography are mashed together. The character development is pointless and the audience will find themselves going "what the hell" a lot in this film. Summer Rae had literally no dialogue, maybe 20 words at most, and the highlight was actually Melissa Roxbourgh.
A multi billion dollar company such as WWE sure as hell could afford better development in a film and better actors.
Triple Frontier (2019)
The storyline and plot has been so overdone in films that this does nothing for the audience. A group of "Ex-commandoes" now doing their own thing, come into a plot to take down a drug leader and liquidate him of all his money. Storyline context is about GREED, nothing more, nothing less.
There is no real backstory of the main characters other than they all served together. We truly know nothing about them or what makes each individual who they are or what they represent. We know one was the captain (Affleck) and two of these guys are brothers (Hunnam and Hedlund), one was a pilot and one was in the unit.
The writing could have been much more authentic sounding instead of generic. I did like the cinematography and landscapes they shot in as that was picturesque in the film. The action sequences were rather dull and almost non believable. I felt the film dragged but had it's moments of clarity. I mainly watched because of Charlie Hunnam and Affleck.
In the end this film is about GREED, unity of brotherhood, doing the right thing and a bond. Ths is a nice afternoon filler on a rainy day.
Dangerous Assignment (1952)
Complex for it's time
A radio spot series that began in 1949 and became a tv series in 1952. Granted the show only ran for 39 episodes it had left a mark as one full of intrigue and interesting cases. Both the radio and tv series starred Brian Donlevy. Donlevy formed a production company to convert the radio show to a television show - but, no TV network would invest in the series, so, instead, he produced thirty-nine episodes with his own cash and sold them to individual stations nationwide in First-Run Syndication (though NBC did aid in the distribution.
San Andreas (2015)
Nothing Earth Shattering About This
When titular star Dwayne "The ROCK" Johnson helms a film the audience expects big things, and "San Andreas" delivers in that context. However, this being said, nothing earth shattering depicts the nature of the film and it's played again plot line. A Fire/Rescue chopper pilot (Johnson) along with his ex-wife played by (Carla Gugino) go on a desperate search for their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) as a super earthquake rattles California bay area.
The CGI is top notch with the destructive force of what the earthquake does as followed by a tsunami. The audience gets to share the horror and shock value of destruction. A seismologist working with Cal-Tech played brilliantly by (Paul Giamatti) delivers what the world needs to know information wise before these forces hit. The film is driven by the Rock's stardom and prowess, action, drama, suspense intertwined through the films core.
Succeeds where Others Fail
The fil has a feel of "Speed" and "Heat" as well as "Ocean's 11" mixed in. A typical movie of cops vs robbers in a sense of the getaway. There is nothing special or truly unique about the plot as a man who has a daughter that is sick and he has to go to desperate measures to pay the medical costs.
As with magic and slight of hand, this film has a small twist you really don't see coming but in the back of your mind are aware of. The cast is really fitting for the story, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Robert De Niro, Dave Bautista, Morris Chesnutt, Kate Bosworth, Gina Carano and add in Mark-Paul Gosselaar to the mix it fits nicely.
This is a suspense/action/drama thrill ride pretty much from the start and has a nicely wrapped ending. The cast propels the story and is worth the watch.
From the very start of the film with poor soundtrack/music editing I knew this film was a washout. A complete disaster of acting from each and every actor involved. Gina Carano was a highlight with her sassy looks and strong brute demeanor, she provided the sex appeal of the film. Bruce Willis the icon that he is MUST be bored or owe someone favors because he sure has taken roles that fall off the chart. One aspect of the film I liked were the fight sequences, they appeared to be semi-well choreographed.
Point Break (2015)
Extreme Sports=Extreme Dud
In 1991 Katheryn Bigelow brought us the idealistic pairing of Keanu Reeves (Utah) and Patrick Swayze (Bodhi), along with Gary Busey (Papas), Lori Petty (Tyler). The audience went on an absolute ride with these stars. The characters were well developed and story was plausible.
Fast forward to 2015 and Ericson Core brings us extreme sports involved with an FBI agent which subtly brings the audience an extreme dud. Extreme snowboarding, motor cross, surfing, wind gliding, rock climbing is all here. The story differs from the bank robbing of the original film as extreme athletes look to complete the Ozaki 8, extreme death defying events that harvest the earth, wind, rain, fire, all while liquidating companies of money, gold, diamonds.
The acting was extremely poor, characters did not develop as in the original, they fell flat and stale throughout. The action was ok at best.
American Ultra (2015)
Almost a Natural Born Killers ReDUX
The complexity of a film comes from it's pen to paper mindset. Written by Max Landis this action/comedy comes across with a similar theme as 1994's "Natural Born Killers". A definitive cast with Jessie Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart leading the way as the catalyst for the film. When you add Walton Goggins, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, Bill Pullman, Connie Britton and John Leguizamo it makes a recipe for a pretty decent film. Eisenberg pulls off the slow stoner role perfectly but is actually a brainwashed secret agent created by the CIA.
The fil begins rather slowly but soon picks up speed and becomes action filled with some silly dialogue mixed in. I went into the film with mild expectations and came away pleasantly surprised by the storyline as well as some of the performances.
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown (2015)
I gave this a 3 out of 10 simply because I like Dean Ambrose. The screenplay was ok by it self, the acting and fight sequences were garbage. The plot was to simplistic and had no believability. dean Ambrose is indeed an up and comer in the WWE but should stick to the squared circle.
In select films there are stars who grasp at straws to entertain, 4 Got 10 is that film. Having Dolph Lundgren, Johnny Messner, Vivica A. Fox AND Danny Trejo involved in this film, one would expect a solid storyline. Instead we get a horrendous screenplay written, acting at it's worst, terrible cinematography and baseless fake action. Seriously a waste of time on this film.
The Condemned 2 (2015)
Bad Any Way You Cut It
The Condemned with Steve Austin was different, unique and had a flare to it. Sure the acting wasn't superb but it was decent. The Condemned 2 was horrible from start to finish. This film was poorly adapted, screenplay had a feel of being written by a high school teen, plot was weak and characters were dreadful. Randy Orton is horrid as an actor and the fight sequences were so distasteful they landed like a middle school fight. I give this poorly done film a 3 out of 10.
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013)
Stunt Choreography Well Done
I gave the film a 6, why, JUST because of the well choreographed martial art scenes. Scott Adkins is not a good actor by any stretch but his prowess as a martial artist is well documented. The story is weak and pointless, jumps around from place to place and character development s flawed.