The Specialist (1994)

logoDirector: Luis Llosa

Writer: Alexandra Seros (Screenplay) John Shirley (Novel)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Rob Steiger, Eric Roberts, Mario Ernesto Sanchez

 

Plot: A woman entices a bomb expert she’s involved with into destroying the mafia that killed her family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure 90’s Action Entertainment

 

Story: The Specialist starts with Ray Quick (Stallone) and Ned Trent (Woods) planting explosives as they are bomb specialists on a dam but when Ray sees a kid in the car he wants to pull the plug on the execution failing in the process. Years pass by and Ray leaves the forces with Ned also being shamed because of his action.

Ray now works as a private assassin for hire and is working for a sexy voice May Munro (Stone) on the telephone who wants him to eliminate three men who killed her family when she was a child. Ned has also gone into the private sector as he works for the Leon’s Joe (Steiger) and Tomas (Robert) bringing their enterprise into the next level of technology. May has an approach to become close enough to Tomas while Ray figures out whether he should help or not because he isn’t interested in killing anymore. Ray eventually agrees to take part as long as May agrees to follow the rules including never seeing the men again, but if he finds out she is involved he will kill her, while being track down by his old friend Ned, but not everything is what it seems.

The Specialist takes the action film in a slightly different direction because how often have we seen an action hero use bombs as his only means of attack? We usually see the bomb expert as the twisted person trying to kill people. We get the standard revenge idea but we do get plenty of twists and turns along the way that will keep you guessing from the moment Ray gets hired. I will say don’t expect too much peril put upon our leading man until the final third with plenty of planning but not action that we could have had. I think this will go down as a typical 90’s action film that will keep every fan of that era happy. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: Ray Quick is the former soldier and bomb specialist who now works as a private assassin (I think) who gets hired by May to help her take out the Mafia who killed her family, things take a turn for Ray when he finds out an old friend is working for them. Sylvester gives us the typical action star performance here. (7/10)

 ray

Sharon Stone: May Munro is the lone survivor of her family’s killing who hires Ray as well as going undercover to try and get her revenge on the Leon family. Sharon plays the femme fatale well as we know she can. (7/10)

may

James Woods: Ned Trent is the old friend of Ray’s who ends up getting an innocent child killed which leads to both of the men leaving the forces. He now works for the Leon family helping keep the enterprise moving forward. Ned has to work for the Leon’s to figure out who is trying to take out the family. James gives a scene stealing performance here. (8/10)

 ned

Eric Roberts: Tomas Leon is the son who May tries to get close to while undercover; she knows he was the one who was responsible for pulling the trigger on her family. Eric does give a solid supporting performance as the hot headed gangster. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: The Specialist has a supporting cast that all come off as generic gangster film guys who all end up meeting their maker through Ray’s skills.

 

Director Review: Luis Llosa – Luis gives us a typical 90’s action film that will still be enjoyed today. (7/10)

 

Action: The Specialist keeps the action all saved for the bomb moments with excitement happening in the final act. (7/10)

Thriller: The Specialist does keep you guessing to who is on what side throughout the film. (7/10)

Settings: The Specialist keeps the settings easy to follow as most feel like a place a high ranking gangster would be in. (7/10)
Special Effects
: The Specialist uses good effects to create the realistic looking explosion but that is the only thing it is needed for. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Specialist is one for the fans of the 90’s action movies, but don’t expect something truly special here. (90’s Actions Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Hotel escape.

Worst Part: Slightly slow moving.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final scene.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Won Two Razzies.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $170 Million

Budget: $45 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Killing is his profession. Revenge is her goal. Together they take on the battle against the underworld of Miami.

 

Overall: This is a typical 90’s action film that doesn’t offer anything to the action genre but is entertaining.

Rating 60

Dead Rising Watchtower – Escape

Fresh out now available on iTunes, VOD Platforms, DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK today is Dead Rising Watchtower, this is based on the popular video game and could easily be the best video game adaptation to date.

How will you escape from the zombie outbreak?

 

I reviewed this early in the year and you can read my views here

What is Transit (2012) Really About?

Transit will be the next chapter in the fun reviews and remember this will be spoiler heavy.logo

Starring Jim Caviezel a few years after his icon Jesus role, but now he can’t walk on water he can only drive his family cross country.jesus

Starting with a double crossing heist of an armed car cliché.heist cliches

Thieves get pulled over at the road blocks to try and create tension but we know they won’t get caught because we wouldn’t have a film would we?pull over

Awkward drag race between a sports car and a land rover leads to good guy done bad being arrested by over pushy police officer.car chase 2

Everything will be fine, boom, clichéfine

Wife kicks husband out in the middle of no where thinking he is a criminal but ends up only having to regret it because he never did anything wrong.nate

Deal goes bad, another car chase.

Well not this good

Well not this good

Calm leader goes psycho after the money finally get out of hand.frain

Stupid cop gets killed for standing in the middle of the road.cop

Another car chase where the land rover goes toe to toe with a muscle car.car hase 1

Criminals show why they never used guns in the heist with the aim of a storm trooper.storm trooper

Dad tries to redeem himself by being a hero.fight

Family get cornered for big finale before dad literally nails the bad guyfamily

Family find lost wedding ring on road hours and miles after seeing it last.ring

The Impossible (2012)

rob challengeOn the weekly challenge this week Rob ha selected the inspiring story of survival after the Boxing Day tsunami, The Impossible, this is a film that I knew about but have also chosen to avoid because of the subject involved.

logoDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay) Maria Belon (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sonke Mohring

Plot: The story of a tourist family in Thailand caught in the destruction and chaotic aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspirationally Story

Story: The Impossible starts by telling us about the tsunami that hit Thailand and the damage to countless lives it caused. We meet our family parents Maria (Watts) father Henry (McGregor) and children Lucas (Holland), Thomas (Joslin) and Simon (Pendergast) as they have travelled from Japan to this exclusive resort right on the beach. The family get to celebrate Christmas on the resort with their holiday going on perfect things are going to change.

When the Boxing Day tsunami hits the resort on Thailand thee family finds themselves separated Maria with Lucas as they battle the waves avoiding the objects left in the destruction in the path of the wave as they get thrown through the streets. Maria & Lucas stick together and save a stranded little boy before they are rescued by thee banded together locals.

Rescued Maria gets treated while Lucas becomes an unlikely hero who tries to help families get reunited in the hospital, mixing every language as each person just wants to find their family. We also follow Henry as he saves his youngest children before sending them to safety as he searches for Maria and Lucas. We know the outcome of this story but the human side of the story will test you to see if you do believe in the Impossible.

The Impossible tells a true story that comes out of one of the most shocking natural disasters in recent years. We all witnessed the disaster and saw all the suffering the people had. The story is just one family’s amazing story of reuniting after the disaster, we don’t end up seeing enough of the other survivors. It is hard to criticise this film because of how difficult the survival was. I always find these films difficult to watch because you know what will happen but in the end I don’t feel profiting on other people’s suffering is good. (8/10)

Actor Review

Naomi Watts: Maria is the stay at homee mother with doctor qualification who while on holiday with her family becomes a victim of the Boxing Day tsunami, she gets badly injured but is saved by her eldest son Lucas. Trapped together they get help but they are left with the impossible decision of how they will find the rest of their family. Naomi fully deserved her Oscar nomination by giving a great performance here. (9/10)maria

Ewan McGregor: Henry is the father of the family, he is a constant worrier and as the tsunami hits he finds himself trying to save his youngest two children Thomas & Simon. He keeps them safe in the hotel ready for rescue not knowing the fate of Maria or Lucas. Ewan does a good job but I feel he sometimes looks out of place. (7/10)henry

Tom Holland: Lucas is the eldest son of the family, he starts the holiday tired of protecting his younger brothers but when the tsunami hits he gets stranded with his mother. He has to show his heroic side and stay strong while his mother is injured. After saving her he becomes a hero at the hospital as he helps reunite families that have become separated while still searching for the rest of his. Tom shows why he was selected as the next Spiderman here by giving the best performance in the film. (9/10)lucas

Samuel Joslin: Thomas is the middle child that gets caught in the tsunami who is saved with by his father and younger brother, he gets put in the situation where he will have to look after his youngest brother while his father looks for the rest of his family. Samuel does a good job for a young actor. (7/10)

Oaklee Pendergast: Simon is the youngest son of the family who gets saved by his father before being sent to the mountains with Thomas while his father looks for the rest of his family. Oaklee does a good job for a young actor too. (7/10)

Support Cast: The Impossible is filled with other survivors from the disaster but we don’t get to meet them for long enough which is do think puts us in the situation where you will only get one moment with each survivor.

Director Review: J.A. BayonaJ A goes in a completely different direction from his last film by showing he does have the talent to give us a range of genres. (9/10)

Drama: The Impossible is a powerful drama about survival that works from the moment the tsunami hits. (10/10)

Thriller: The Impossible keeps you guessing even if you know what happens by the end f the film. (10/10)

Settings: The Impossible creates accurate settings that will make you feel like you are part of the disaster. (10/10)
Special Effects: The Impossible uses stunning amount the special effects to create the tsunami effects look very real. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Impossible is one to try but I can understand why people will miss this one. (Try It)

Best Part: Tsunami effects works brilliantly.

Worst Part: Can be difficult to watch especially if you knew someone who was trapped in the tsunami.

Believability: Our family is real and their story is real. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: You might have a few. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Nominated for one Oscars

Box Office: $19 Million

Budget: 30 Million Euros

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.

Overall: Stunning true story that will tug at your heart strings.

Rating 85

Dead Rising Watchtower – Zombrex

Fresh out now available on iTunes, VOD Platforms, DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK today is Dead Rising Watchtower, this is based on the popular video game and could easily be the best video game adaptation to date.

Have you had your Zombrex today?

I reviewed this early in the year and you can read my views here

Sharknado 3 Oh Hell No! (2015)

logoDirector: Anthony C Ferrante

Writer: Thunder Levin (Screenplay)

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Bo Derek, Frankie Muniz, David Hasselhoff, Cassie Scerbo, Ryan Newman, Holly Madison, Jack Griffo, Diana Terranova, Rick Fox, Mark Cuban

Plot: A monstrous tornado unleashes ravenous sharks from Washington, D.C., all the way down to Orlando, Florida.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Magic Wearing Off

Story: Sharknado 3 starts with Fin Shepard (Ziering) being summoned by the President Marcus Robbins (Cuban) as a storm is approaching. Fin is being celebrated for all his efforts in fighting the Sharknado in New York but a new Sharknado is approaching and Fin can sense it. When the storm hits sharks fly through the hall ways of the White House where he is left to fight the sharks while protecting the President. As this Sharknado starts to vanish Fin knows things have only just started.

April (Reid) is away on vacation for her daughter’s Claudia (Newman) 18th while being pregnant with her mother May (Derek), Fin is trying to get to them so they can spend time together for the birthday from Universal Orlando. Nova (Scerbo) is back and she is now fighting the Sharknados with Lucas (Muniz). We have to watch as the two groups must meet up and fight against the Sharknados finishing them forever.

Sharknado 3 continues to madness of the Sharknado has given us through the years. We get the traditional storyline that we have got used to and even though I felt the first half was too similar the final act is the most over the top in the series too date. You know what you are getting yourself into, it brings little new but it ends up being fun. (6/10)

Actor Review

Ian Ziering: Fin Shepard is the hero of America who gets awarded for his work against the last Sharknado but when a new one starts brewing he has to race to save his family along with an old friend and finish off the Sharknados forever. Ian brings his action star power keeping his cheesy character. (7/10)fin

Tara Reid: April Wexler is partner of Fin’s who is carrying their newborn but half way across the country as the next Sharknado hits leading her to use her knowledge too save as many people as possible. Tara does a solid job in this role fitting into the style of film well. (6/10)april

Cassie Scerbo: Nova Clarke is now back and she currently goes around fighting Sharknados with her new friend Lucas, she is ready for anything and has become a major kick ass star. Cassie returns and ends up giving us the best character in the film. (7/10)nova

Support Cast: Sharknado 3 has a string of cameo performances that are mostly in this film to be killed by the sharks.

Director Review: Anthony C FerranteAnthony does a solid job bring us the entertaining film we have all learnt to expect. (6/10)

Horror: Sharknado 3 gives us the basic horror that keeps us entertained in the comedy horror style. (5/10)

Settings: Sharknado 3 brings us landmark location that we don’t need any explanation about where the people are. (8/10)
Special Effects: Sharknado 3 gives the normal bad special effects which the effects are famous for. (3/10)

Suggestion: Sharknado 3 is one for the fans of the original two to watch but I wouldn’t start with this one. (Fans Watch)

Best Part: Final Act

Worst Part: Slow starting

Funniest Scene: Final scene.

Kill Of The Film: Lucas

Oh My God Moment: Final Scene

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: If it is as popular as the rest.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Oh Hell No!

Trivia: Most of the production crew from the original Sharknado (2013) were hired to work on this film. However, most of the crew were fired when they asked for a union contract.

Overall: Switch off your brains and just enjoy.

Rating 60

Dead Rising: Watchtower Fresh Out on DVD

Fresh out now available on iTunes, VOD Platforms, DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK today is Dead Rising Watchtower, this is based on the popular video game and could easily be the best video game adaptation to date.

I reviewed this early in the year and you can read my views here

Here is a video about the making of the film.

Opinion Battles Round 7 Best Sports Movie

Opinion Battles Round 7

Best Sports Movie

When it comes to Sports movies we have had nearly every sport put onto camera, we have had football to ping pong, ice staking to boxing and most include the typical underdog story but just what is the best film?

If you want to join the Opinion Battles our next round will be Best Remakes, email moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk by 9th August 2015

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Warrior (2011)wrrior

When it comes to fighting films I am normally turned away because I find boxing films rather boring, but when I sat down to watch this one I wasn’t really sure what to think. I couldn’t believe how intense this film was, I have never seen UFC before but the film managed to pull me into a world of sport I have no interest in. the fights come off realistic and the conflict between the two brothers works because you really don’t know which one will win the final fight. Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte all shine through every seen.

Rob – Movie Rob

Hoosiers (1986)hoosierrs

The way that Gene Hackman works his team to give them a chance at glory is so inspirational. His teaching methods are different, but he nevertheless has his share of doubters and supporters alike.

Hackman is not the first actor that would come to mind when casting a high school basketball coach, but he was able to somehow pull it off, thus giving IMHO one of his best performances.

This movie tops many people’s list for being the best sports movie ever made. A case can definitely be made for that, but very few could argue that it doesn’t deserve to be close to the top if not already perched on top of it.

Excellent sports as an analogy for perseverance in life movie.

Kim – Tranquil Dreams

Shaolin Soccer (2001)soccer

Shaolin Soccer is more of a personal choice.  One reason is that I watched Stephen Chow growing up and he is my absolutely favorite comedy actor.  His humor is of the absurd and ridiculous variety but it almost always makes me laugh. Of his newer movies, this one has to be the one I enjoy the most.  I don’t watch a lot of sports movies to begin with but to merge the art of Shaolin with the intensity of soccer was a unique match.  Shaolin Soccer revives how great humor in the Stephen Chow world and reunites him with his greatest partner in crime Man Tat Ng, plus it focuses not only on dedication in winning the competition but also rebuilding teamwork and each of the characters find their pride and their confidence in their journey through Shaolin Soccer.  Fun, entertaining and even a little sad and heartwarming at times, Shaolin Soccer mixes in a little bit of everything but doesn’t forget the essence of a sports movie being in pride in the sport and the concept that it takes a team to win in a team sport. 

Emma

Mean Machine (2001)mea machine

I don’t think I’ve ever had a guilty pleasure as big as this guilty pleasure. Mean Machine is a light

hearted comedy about a football match in prison, between the cons and the guards. I believe

Adam Sandler did a dumb US version. Anyway, I love this film and I’ve definitely watched it more

times than Scarface (for your benefit James!) it’s really funny and it has a great soundtrack. It’s

totally silly and ridiculous of course but I still enjoy it every time I watch it. Plus the cast is great -it’s pretty much every actor who was in Snatch or Lock Stock (except Brad Pitt obvs). Also, Danny

Dyer is adorable in it! I love his character in Mean Machine more than any other, even the fit bloke

in The Busineess.

Jenna & Allie – Flicks Chicks

Cool Runnings (1993)runninga

I’m generally not a huge fan of sports movies, there are a few that I enjoy but this one, is the best, by far!! It has all the makings for a great sports movie, actions, tense moments, high emotion and the ‘bad guy’ team – plus the comedy genius of the four guys hoping to be Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team with the help of disgraced coach, Irv played by the legendary John Candy.


After Leon loses his chance at becoming an Olympic runner, he convinced a team of local lads to join him as the Jamaican bobsled team, although there are hilarious moments in there quest to succeed.  It’s also really heart-warming and you find yourself on the edge of your seat with your fingers crossed hoping that they win.  Never have I been so engrossed in a sports movie and so desperate for them to prove everyone wrong.

Khalid – The Blazing Reel

Raging Bull (1980)

bull

Boxing films and more importantly sports films simply do not get any better than Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. Arguably the best film of the 1980’s, this film for me defines everything a sports movie should be about. Scorsese directs this film with such flawless precision and focus that his direction shines through and there are not enough words to describe how amazing Robert De Niro is in this movie. If Taxi Driver and The Godfather Part 2 established De Niro as one of the best actors of his generation, this film established him as one of the all-time bests and his performance in this film is one of the greatest ever put on screen. Raging Bull presents us with perhaps one of the most fascinating character studies in recent times, it takes the rise and fall story to a completely different level. It’s powerful and riveting and I don’t think any other sports film even comes close to rivalling it.

That Other Critic

Point Break (1991)point brek

I’m going to pull in a technicality here and pick Point Break as the best sports movie. Okay, it’s not a conventional choice, and Point Break is more of a cops and robbers flick than a sports movie. But, the main bulk of the movie is spent on extreme sports, so there!

Point Break, for those of you who have never seen it, is a movie in which Keanu Reeves plays a Los Angeles cop named Johnny Utah who goes undercover as a surfer to sniff out a group of bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents who wear masks of former presidents as they commit crimes. Utah befriends Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze), and eventually learns that Bodhi and his friends are the bank robbers. So, it’s basically a better version of the first Fast and Furious film, but with extreme sports. Yes, this is an extremely tenuous choice, but I’ll stick to my guns, and pick Point Break as the obviously best sports movie.

James – Back to the Viewer

Moneyball (2011)moneyball

Very rarely do we come across a sports movie that isn’t based on a true story. There’s something inherently moving about a sports movie that deals with magnificent feats of sporting achievement, that tells a touching underdog tale and takes the viewer on a personal journey. Because of that trend this week has been particularly difficult to choose from many worthy options. I’ve opted for Bennett Miller’s Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.

Telling the story of how Billy, the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics vies to rebuild his team after his major players are swiped by major budget teams such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Sitting at the bottom of the pile and trying desperately to rebuild and replace his key players he employs the help of computer-generated analysis to build his team with a tiny budget around anaysis and statistics. A gutsy move that is painfully never fully appreciated by the suits or the Manager as Beane builds a championship team against all odds. A great sports movie that delivers outstanding performances from Pitt, Jonah Hill and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Drew- Drew’s Movie Review

Caddyshack: (1980)
caddyshack

Personally, I don’t consider golf a sport. It’s more of a past time.  But my opinion on the matter doesn’t count for much, especially since there is a whole organization in the US saying otherwise.  In this case, I will change my stance, if only for the next two weeks.  You see, for my best sports film pick, I chooseCaddyshack.  Most sports movies have some sort of a lesson, something along the lines of determination, not giving up, don’t bend the rules, play with all your heart, or some of that jazz. Caddyshack, on the other hand, couldn’t give a damn about any of that.  It’s all about being as crude as possible.  This film boasts three great comedians: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray. Each has their own unique humor and delivery that makes each scene special and stand out on its own.  Caddyshack may be a non-traditional pick for a ‘best of sports movie’ category but that’s what makes it such a great choice!

S.G. Liput

Rudy (1993)

 rudy

Sports films are dominated by one major element: the underdog. From boxing to golf to anything with a ball, most films feature an unlikely player or team who manage to beat the odds and gain the glory, despite unsympathetic parents or invincible opponents. While I could have chosen any number of such films, the most uplifting underdog story I can imagine is Rudy, the real-life account of Rudy Ruettiger (played by a determined Sean Astin). He’s just a working class kid, much too weak and short to impress, yet a childhood of passionate football viewing has planted deep within him the dream of playing for Notre Dame. He takes every opportunity he can find to make that dream a reality; he earns some sympathy and kindness but even more opposition and slammed doors. Yet for every time he’s knocked down, he gets back up for more; for every time he’s rejected, he profoundly celebrates the little victories. Even his inspiring moment of truth at the climax is small compared with most sports films, but as the culmination of all his efforts, it’s a cheer-worthy achievement. By the end, he has earned the respect of the audience, his team, and the entire university, not for possessing the strongest tackle or fastest legs, but the biggest heart. That’s what the sports underdog story is all about.