Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation (2020) Movie Review

Director: Mike Gunther

Writer: Michael Day (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Yun Lee, Jermaine Love, Rory Markham, Bertrand-Xavier Corbi, Katie Keene, Fernando Chien, Chris Mulkey

Plot: The Black Mask Organization coordinates a twisted plot which will devastate the world within the next 36 hours.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Finish to Trilogy

Story: Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation starts as Daniel (Lee) is still struggling with the effects of his time in captivity under the Supreme Leader (Ferris), suffering nightmares of wanting to get his revenge, with his team Ralph (Love), James (Markham), Jacques (Corbi), Galine (Keene) and Xu (Chien) preparing their next attack on The Black Mask Organization.

With the team searching for the Supreme Leader, he has one plan set up to get his revenge on the western world, the question is, can the team stop him before he unleashes his devastation on the world.

Thoughts on Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation

Characters – Daniel returned to safety now, filled with more anger than before, wanting to kill the man who kept him captive for so long, his nightmares are showing him how this will reflect on his own life. He must make sure his mind is in the right place before leading his team on the next mission to finally stop the Supreme Leader before his plan is unleashed on the world. The soldiers around Daniel, are loyal, they are from different militaries from around the world and will always check that Daniel is ready to return. We have followed these soldiers for three films now, they have all be same through the trilogy.

PerformancesWill Yun Lee takes centre stage here, he shows us the most about his character with the damaging time his character has been through during the film, showing glimpses of leadership, while the trauma can cause problems. The rest of the cast fill their roles very well never looking out of place as the different nationalities of military personal.

StoryThe story here shows the continuing battle Daniel and his military unit are facing against the Black Mask Organisation led by the Supreme Leader as they look to stop his plan to build a bomb to destroy the western world. This story ramps back up the action showing the peril the world could be facing if the plan goes ahead, much like the last hour of a 24 season, we have built up to this to unleash the biggest attack, the most important attack and we even get involved with seeing how the PTSD Daniel could have suffered could affect his judgement through this mission.

ActionThe action is military heavy, it does give us the biggest operation in the series so far, which is just what we were waiting for in a final battle.

SettingsThe film continues the same settings, with the military base being created to be like a level in any video game, it used for different tactical spots during the mission.

Scene of the Movie – The final assault.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – If you haven’t seen the previous films, you might struggle to understand just how damaged Daniel is.

Final Thoughts This is a nice conclusion to the trilogy, like the final episode in any continuous tv series, we get everything bigger, better and continues to show the continuing building unity between the unit.

Overall: Great Finish to Trilogy.

Rogue Warfare 3: Death Of A Nation will be available on Digital Download from 13th April and is available for Pre-Order here

Vince Vaughn Weekend – The Cell (2000) Movie Review

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, James Gammon

Plot: An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.

Tagline – This Summer… Enter The Mind Of A Killer

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunning

Story: The Cell starts as we meet Catherine Deane (Lopez) who works by going into the mind of people in comas to try and help them get out of the trauma, with her patient being a young boy, elsewhere serial killer Carl Stargher (D’Onofrio) who drowns his victims before performing sadomasochistic acts on the bodies, with FBI agents Gordon (Weber) and Peter Novak (Vaughn) trying to track him down.

When the FBI find Carl, they learn he has fallen into a coma, with little chance of waking up, he has taken another victim and they need the location, which leads them to Catherine, who is assigned to go into the mind of the serial killer to learn the location before the time runs out.

Thoughts on The Cell

Characters – Catherine is the doctor that goes into the minds of comatose people in hope of finding a cure that will let the victim get over the trauma that has locked them in. she experiences all sorts inside the minds of people, usually helping a young boy, now she gets to go into the mind of a serial killer who has a victim locked away somewhere. Peter Novak is an FBI agent leading the investigation into the serial killer, he turns to Catherine to help, being the one that explains just how difficult this case has become. Carl Stargher is the serial killer that has been racking up the kills with a method being as twisted as they come, he has started getting more regular and with the latest victim taken he falls into a coma, which sees him needing to have his mind visited to learn the truth about the location of the missing woman. We fill out the characters with fellow officers and the scientists that work with Catherine.

PerformancesJennifer Lopez is wonderfully in the lead role, she shows how calm her character needs to be even in the face of pure nightmares. Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing as the serial killer, because he is so cold in how everything is delivered you don’t want to see what he does next. Vince Vaughn as the FBI agent is great, but doesn’t have the level of work that the lead two must get through during the film.

StoryThe story here follows a FBI agent that turns to a new form of science to get help from Catherine Deane to figure out where a comatose serial killer has left his latest victim. Where the serial killer hunting of this side does get trimmed off, so we can focus on the searching for the missing victim, by diving into the idea of explore the mind of a comatose person is where the film stands out. The world we enter is incredible and shows that serial killers could have been raised in a world of pure torture causing them to break, while the story is fantastic, it could easily be one that gets bought to today world to explore the mental side of serial killers even more. The race against time element also helps makes this story feel like we are in the real time frame to get everything done.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from what we see Catherine experience as well as seeing what Carl does to his victims, while the sci-fi of the film does look at the idea of being able go into the mind of somebody else without truly getting into the science of it.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the routine FBI searching areas, but where the settings improve are the different environments Catherine finds herself going through during her trip into the mind, each one could be more shocking than the last.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are wonderful too, they really do push the boundaries for the time and don’t look like they have been dated.

Scene of the Movie – The first entry into Carl’s mind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cops do come off pretty routine.

Final Thoughts This is an amazing sci-fi film that takes the hunt for a serial killer in a new direction, one that has endless possibilities of horror.

Overall: Disturbing Thriller.

Vince Vaughn Weekend – Swingers (1996) Movie Review

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Jon Favreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn, Alex Desert, Heather Graham, Deena Martin

Plot: Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Tagline – This movie plays reality.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Reality Check Comedy

Story: Swingers starts when two friends Trent (Vaughn) and Mike (Favreau) head from LA to Las Vegas for a night to try and help Mike shake off his breakup with his girlfriend. Trent does have a way with women, which he is trying to teach Mike for their return to LA. Joined with Rob (Livingston) the three struggling actors talk shop about how they haven’t gotten their big break yet.

We continue to follow the friends around the town as they try to help Mike rebound from his breakup, pushing him to take risks, despite the group of aspiring actors just going through the same routine, not partying till late and Mike wanting to get back together with his ex.

Thoughts on Swingers

Characters – Mike is one of the aspiring actors, he has had the most gigs of the rest of the friends, he is struggling with a break up which has been holding him back for 6 months and now, the friends are trying to help him break out of his shell, as he always ends up getting nervous about everything whenever he is put on the spot. Trent is the confident ladies man, he is always trying to teach Mike about how to pick up women, showing his confidence through any chatting up situation. Rob is the friend that followed Mike, he looks up to him and wants to follow in his footsteps despite the constant job rejections. Sue is another one of the group, he has a different attitude which could see them getting into trouble. Between the three of them of the friends they all want to help Mike in their own way.

PerformancesJon Favreau as the down on his luck actor is great to watch in this role, he makes us understand why he feels life isn’t going his way. Vince Vaughn brings all the energy to his role, showing that he was always going to be great to watch in the fast-talking roles. Ron Livingston bring gravity to his role, showing a man with his feet on the ground, while Patrick Van Horn brings a mix of the three while not knowing his own motivation.

StoryThe story here follows four struggling actors as they look for women every night which sees them trying to help one of them get over their blues of a breakup, each has their own style which they try to imprint on the others. This story mixes up the styles of helping a friend with a breakup and highlights how difficult it is to make it as an actor in Hollywood. We might spend a lot of time just watching the guys party, which is mean to highlight their struggles and watching them all give advice to Mike shows that friends will always be there for you, but you will need to make the biggest step in changing your future.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from the mishaps that happen to the guys on their adventures through the night showing how not every plan is as well exercised as the next.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA, it shows the bars that people would go to hoping for a late night party, the ones that only the locals would truly know about.

Scene of the Movie – The awkward phone, mainly because it is and can be so real for people.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show any of their acting lives.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that shows the struggles being an actor really are, while also trying to highlight the party lifestyle people in LA like.

Overall: Strong Look at Hollywood Lifestyle.

Come to Daddy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ant Timpson

Writer: Toby Harvard (Screenplay)

Starring: Elijah Wood, Stephan McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley

Plot: A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twist Filled

Story: Come to Daddy starts when Norval (Wood) goes to his estranged father’s Gordon (McHattie) remote cabin to visit for the first time in years, it doesn’t start off smooth, with Norval feeling unwelcomed, trying to figure out what is father wants with this visit.

When the two get into an argument, Norval finds himself needing to look more into the past of his father, which slowly uncovers a bigger mystery, one with terrifying truths he wasn’t ready for.

Thoughts on Come to Daddy

Characters – Norval is a 30-year-old man that has received a letter from his estranged father in his remote cabin, this doesn’t go well as he finds out he doesn’t have the same connection he had hoped, only when things take a dramatic turn, when he learns what is really going on in the cabin and must do anything to protect his mother. Gordon is the Norval’s father waiting to spend time with him, only he doesn’t show the compassion Norval has hoped, he is heartless towards him, which only ends up showing an even darker side to him. Jethro is a connection to Norval’s father, he will kill anybody who gets in his way. Brian is a man that is discovered by Norval, he has a bigger story that might add everything up more for Norval.

PerformancesElijah Wood is wonderful in the leading role of the film, he does show the innocent side to his action, who is pushed to new limits by the events, each proving to be more shocking than the last. Stephen McHattie and Martin Donovan in the support roles are strong in the supporting roles, with Michael Smiley getting plenty of the extra laughs.

StoryThe story here follows a 30-something year old that goes to visit his estranged father, only for this trip to take an unexpected twist along the way, one he couldn’t imagine happening. When we look at this story, we know with it being a horror comedy, we are going to get some twists along the way, this story doesn’t disappoint and takes us in directions we couldn’t have imagined, with each twist feeling genuinely surprising. We don’t want to get too involved with what happens, because it does leave plenty to surprise us with, though deep down we are getting into the ideas of dealing father son relationship with the father leaving the son early in his life.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy often comes from Norval’s reactions to everything, along with how Michael Smiley acts through the film, the horror does come from the twist into the story, which does put Norval into a world he never expected.

SettingsThe film does keep a lot of the film set in the remote cabin, only for secrets to be discovered the longer we are there, when we leave it does hold the film back at times.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong with most being injury infliction which looks as brutal as it is meant to.

Scene of the Movie – The kitchen fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The change in Norval seems too realistic, like he was waiting to be allowed to do this.

Final Thoughts This is a cool, horror comedy, which does show us how to keep a story twist a secret and surprise the audience when it is unleashed upon everyone.

Overall: Fun, Shock Filled Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – # – 1917 (2019) Movie Rob’s Pick

Head Over to Movie Rob’s Site for more reviews

George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman in 1917 (2019)“But, chin up. There’s a medal in it for sure. Nothing like a scrap of ribbon to cheer up a widow.” – Lieutenant Leslie

Number of Times Seen – 3 (2 Jan 2020, 2 Feb 2020 and 26 Mar 2020)

Link to original review – Here and Here

Brief Synopsis – Two soldiers are sent on a dangerous yet essential mission during World War I where they must try and stop an attack before it happens because high command believes that it is a trap.

My Take on it – When trying to choose a second film to watch for this month’s theme, my first instinct was to watch this movie again.

Unfortunately due to the world wide Corona Virus Outbreak, all of our lives have been put in to disarray and I had to drop my plans of rewatching this while needing to acquaint myself with the new realities of working at home with 4 kids home from school all day.

After a week of trying to find some kind of semblance of a schedule for myself, I was able to find time to rewatch this film.

This is a film that is made for the theatrical experience, but it still works almost as well on a screen at home.

They do an amazing job giving us a simple war story that is quite poignant and works on so many levels in order to give us such a profound experience again and again.

The film’s use of a single track shot helps allow the viewer to feel the story in a very unique way that is both intimate and personal and remains focused on the actions of these characters especially given the fact that we get to only see a very small event within the larger sum of the actions during war.

The film is paced really well and the way it moves along allows us to get a close look at all of the horrors of war along with the good deeds that can happen along that journey.

They show us the camaraderie of brothers in arms in these difficult situations while at the same time allowing us to see the brutality of war.

The way that the story is presented allows us to use all of our senses to try and experience this story on a whole new level.

The film is quite detailed and they paint a very realistic picture of the gruesome aspects of war but that helps make things feel so much more alive and genuine the whole way through.

They even give us the impression that we can smell the stench of battle by using visual techniques like lots of flies on a dead animal that can trick us into believing that we can smell the rotting corpses due to the way that we can get so emotionally involved in all that is happening.

The way that they shot this film makes us feel as if we are right there with the characters in the thick of the battle and that allows for things to feel even more suspenseful because it takes away the distant feel that most films have and that enables us to feel even more involved in all that transpires here.

It has been 6 weeks since the Oscars and I’m still disappointing that despite this film winning 3 technical awards, it undeservingly lost the two biggest prizes of Best Director and Best Picture.

I truly believe that in a few years when we look back in hindsight at the nominees in both of those categories, we will see that this film will age much better than any of the other nominated films and wonder what the voters were thinking when they sent in their ballots in a similar fashion to what we all think about Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) 22 years after those films vied for the top award at the Oscars.

Bottom Line – Amazingly poignant war film that works on so many levels. The one track shot of the film gives us a very intimate and focused look at parts of the sum of the situation during a war.  The story moves along at a great pace and allows us to take in all of the things that occur during war. We get to see the camaraderie of brothers in arms while at the same time get to see the brutality of war.  This movie also allows us to get the feeling that we can use all of our senses while watching the story unfold.  The sights shown can be gruesome at times and the attention to detail helps make things come alive and feel so realistic the whole way through. We even get the impression that we can also smell the stench of this battlefield because we get so emotionally involved with this story as it moves along.  The way that the film is shot makes us feel as if we are right there in the center of the action with these characters and that helps make things even more suspenseful because they are able to take away the distant feeling that is used in most films.  This film was very deserving of its 3 technical Oscar but even after two months, I’m still disappointed that it lost Best Director and Picture because I think it was the most worthy film of the nominees in both categories. I think that with time as a factor, we will view this film in hindsight as being the very best of the year.  Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sam Mendes (director) and Lee Smith (editor) stated that despite the apparently continuous shot (broken only by one interval of unconsciousness), there were actually dozens of “invisible” edits, concealed by transitions through black, moves behind objects, and so on. According to Mendes, the shortest unbroken shot was 39 seconds long, while the longest single continuous shot was 8 1/2 minutes long. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)