Jean-Claude Van Damme Weekend – Death Warrant (1990)

Director: Deran Sarafian

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Guillaume, Cynthia Gibb, George Dickerson, Art LaFleur, Patrick Kilpatrick

 

Plot: In a violent and corrupt prison, decorated cop Louis Burke must infiltrate the jail to find answers to a number of inside murders. What he finds is a struggle of life and death tied in to his own past.


Tagline – In “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer” he won it all, now there are no rules, no escape, and NOBODY’S playing games!

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Film

 

Story: Death Warrant starts as we meet the Canadian detective Louis Burke (Van Damme) who has tracked down serial killer The Sandman (Kilpatrick) who killed his partner. 16 months later Burke is assigned to go undercover inside a prison to solve a string of murders coming from within it.

Inside the prison Burke learns who to trust with Hawkins (Guillaume) being someone he wants to trust, the warden Sergeant DeGraf (LaFleur) having a strict rule through the prison and the gangs running the riots in shadows. Burke uses all his fighting skills to stay alive and solve the murders in a style only he could.

 

Thoughts on Death Warrant

 

Characters – Burke is the determined never say die attitude cop that gets assigned to go undercover in a prison to solve a series of murders happening inside. He must fight to survive against all enemies wanting to kill him. Hawkins is the ears to ground prisoner that Burke wants to work with, he has his own problems with the racial divide within the prison too. Amanda is the rookie agent that assigned to work with Burke from the outside, this is a big case for her and she learns a lot from working with Burke.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is the star of the film, we are only invested because we want to see him kick ass and he does that. The rest of the cast fit their roles which is good without any of them trying to out shine the star.

StoryThe story is a good simple story to follow, it is a cop going undercover to figure out who is behind a string of murders only to find himself uncovering something much bigger. We know the story isn’t going to be the main focus here which is fine, but it does give us enough time to keep guessing about where the film will end up going.

Action/Crime/MysteryVan Damme brings the action we want to see as he fights the countless amounts of enemies in search for the truth. There is a crime mystery to be solved but this can take the back burner to watching Van Damme fight.

SettingsVan Damme side of the story is inside the prison which is good as we see how he must doubt everyone on all sides, anything outside the prison does solve part of the mystery but is largely forgettable.


Scene of the Movie –
Burke versus the Sandman the final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have more focus on the crime story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical easy to watch Van Damme movie, lacking the story but is full of the action that entertains.

 

Overall: Easy to watch throughout.

Rating

 

 

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Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Director: Adam Robitel

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay)

Starring: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Josh Stewart

 

Plot: Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet – in her own family home.


Tagline – Fear comes home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice World Building Horror

 

Story: Insidious: The Last Key starts as Elise (Shaye) is getting used to her new team of Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Sampson) the ambitious paranormal investigators. Elise gets called to investigate her childhood home, where she learnt to battle the ghosts even against her strict father Gerald (Stewart).

Returning home to help Ted Garza (Acevedo) Elise must confront her past in the house and outside the house as her family gets taken by the very demon which took killed her mother, leading Elise to enter the Furthering one more time.

 

Thoughts on Insidious: The Last Key

 

Characters – Elise has slowly become the face of this franchise, she shows the strength to battle ghosts and demons which would leave many people screaming in fear, her skills show her to be a powerful warrior against the evil. We do learn how Elise learnt to cope with the visits at a young age too. Specs and Tucker are the experts and easily the funniest thing in this movie, they come of socially awkward at times, but are learning how to battle the spirits with Elise. Ted Garza calls for help and here he becomes terrified about what is in the house. Imogen and Melissa are nieces of Elise who only meet for the first time, they make the bad decisions in this movie and are too easily understanding of what Elise can do.

PerformancesLin Shaye is the star of the film, she remains calm through the film and by the end you want to see her be a real ghost hunter. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson do have great chemistry together which helps with their performances. Kirk Acevedo is good without being great, we don’t see enough of his character for him to do much more that look worried and scared. Caitlin Gerard and Spencer Locke are easily the weakest links in this movie, it feels like the producers went, ‘you can have an elderly lady in the lead role, but you must have beautiful blondes making terrible decisions too’ hence why they got hired for beauty over understanding the horror side of these films.

StoryThe story continues to show us about Elise which is good, we knew when we met her in the first film that she had battle paranormal spirits before and learning about one of her first grabs our attention. The story does try to throw twists and turns in as well as Easter Eggs from the previous films, which is fine and good fan service. The creature spirit they must face has plenty of ups and downs, the way its collects is terrifying, but we don’t learn enough about its own origin. We know horror doesn’t need the deepest of stories and this is fine, this world builds for the next chapter without damaging the previous films.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is a right mixed bag here, we have moments which is just BANG something on screen where the sound makes you jump over the actual image, this is bad, but the creature creation for the key holder is terrifying especially with what it does to keep people quiet. The mystery is good, but never feels truly solved by the end of the movie.

SettingsThe setting for the most part is the house on prison grounds, fine this should have extra spirits here and the Furthering always looks good for us to see.

Special EffectsThe effects when it comes to creating the creature are wonderful as we see less for the most part until the final showdown, by the book but it works.


Scene of the Movie –
The key creatures locking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Rainer twins were awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is another good addition to the Insidious line, it continues to build the world and doesn’t give too much away for future films.

 

Overall: Nice addition to the universe.

Rating

 

 

Darkest Hour (2017)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones

 

Plot: During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.


Tagline – Never give up. Never give in.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Historical Drama

 

Story: Darkest Hour starts as we come to London in 1940, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Pickup) is forced into resignation to help unit the divided parties as they faced in impending Nazi invasion. Who to turn to next is the question, they turned to Winston Churchill (Oldman) a formerly disgraced government member who is known for never backing down.

Churchill takes the reigns in Britain’s darkest hour as they faced certain defeat or peace talks with Hitler, but Churchill isn’t taking into lying down as he comes up with a plan to rescue the stranded troops on the beaches in Dunkirk, even with fellow members of his office trying to push him into peace talks.

 

Thoughts on Darkest Hour

 

Characters – These are all based on real people, in a rea time of crisis, which would have changed Britain as we know it today. Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest world leaders the Earth has ever seen, he we only follow around two weeks of his career, as people are using his past mistakes against him even after picking him to be the leader, he has always been honest, he doesn’t care if you didn’t like him and he will listen to the people when searching for answers in one of the most difficult times Britain ever faced. Cemmie is Winston’s wife and one of the few people that could control him and bring out his nice side, she proves an important part of his life during this tough time because she knows how long and hard he has worked to be Prime Minister. King George VI admits to Churchill he is scared of him, he didn’t want him, but will support him decisions if they are best for the country, he gives us the most important scene in the movie. Elizabeth Layton is the new typist for Churchill, she represents the everyday person that is concerned about what might be coming and her fear helps Churchill make the decisions he does.

PerformancesIt would be fair to say that Gary Oldman has the Oscar in the bag this year, any actor that can make you not realize it is him after 2 hours of watching him deserves all the praise in the world. Jumping into the supporting cast we have wonderful performances throughout, Kristin Scott Thomas, ben Mendelsohn and Lily James take their characters and make them shine.

StoryThe story focuses on two weeks of Winston Churchill’s life, starting the day Neville Chamberlain resigned to the moment Britain refused to surrender to the Nazi invasion heading our way. This is a huge moment in history and seeing the political divide between the people in office shows the terror, fear and panic the minds would have been going through during this horrendous time. The story does shine a spotlight on the idea that the public were not completely sure what was going on and had to trust the government to make the right decision too.

Biopic/History/WarChurchill was an inspiring leader, we have seen three versions of him in the last 12 months too, to show of him in this time is important too and a moment in history that will never be forgotten during our time of need World War II.

SettingsThe settings are well constructed, but at times the military view points seem added because no one knew how to describe the situations or didn’t trust the audience to understand the terms.


Scene of the Movie –
A Royal visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The look up moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant look at how Churchill help guide Britain to victory during World War II, he stood up when no one else would to be the leader Britain needed to win.

 

Overall: Brilliant, Masterclass performance from Oldman.

Rating