Robert Downey Jr Weekend – Tropic Thunder (2008) Movie Review

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Etan Cohen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr, Jay Baruchel, Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Coogan, Brandon T Jackson

Plot: Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

Tagline – The movie they think they’re making… isn’t a movie anymore.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

Story: Tropic Thunder starts as three very different actors, the academy winner Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr), Tugg Speedman (Stiller) who has is trying to recover from flops and grossed out comedian Jeff Portnoy (Black) are working on a war epic under rookie director Damien Cockburn (Coogan), when the filming becomes a disaster after only one week.

The plan to get the actors to take things serious, it to leave them in the jungle without assistants or contact to the outside world, only they find themselves in the middle of a real war against the locals who still believe the war is going on.

Thoughts on Tropic Thunder

Characters – Tugg Speedman is an actor who has always been trying to make a bigger name out of himself, only he has been on a string of flops and clashes with Kirk’s style on screen. He does come off like a dumb actor who will believe in only what he thinks to get through the shoot, while becoming the leader his character is meant to be in the film. Kirk Lazarus is a method actor that has had black pigmentation put into his skin for the latest role as a black man, his style does clash with Tugg, understanding the situation more than anyone else. Jeff Portnoy is the grossed-out comedy star who is battling his own addiction with drugs and drink, always getting himself into trouble in the press. Less Grossman is the studio head that demands money from his investment, he is loud and will abuse anyone who doesn’t follow his orders.

PerformancesBen Stiller does give us a wonderful role, which does give us moments that feel like Zoolander, poking fun at certain actors reality of life. Robert Downey Jr is great too, as he got an Oscar nomination for playing an actor who will go to extreme lengths to get the job done, Jack Black does give us a little bit too much at times, while Tom Cruise could well have given us the most surprising of his career.

StoryThe story here follows five actors who believe they are making a war movie, only to find themselves trapped in the jungle being hunted down by the locals and they must put together everything they have learnt to make it out alive. The story here does manage to turn the filmmaking process on its head, by showing us just how difficult the actors can be to work with and then only to become more extreme when they must fight against people who want to kill them, while also showing the behind the screens process too, while also willing to leave everything as over the top as it could be.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film does give us military and over the top action clichés which is fun to watch and does add to the comedy we are experiencing through the film.

SettingsThe film use the jungle setting to show us just how alone the actors become after trying to become a more extreme shot.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the explosions, which are cinematic just like the idea behind the movie being made.

Scene of the Movie – The rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Jeff’s character is a lot to deal with.

Final Thoughts This is a clever comedy that manages to build up the idea of making a film and the switch to a reality through actors who will do anything to get the perfect shot.

Overall: Comedy that hits.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – L – London Has Fallen (2016) Revisited

Director: Babak Najafi

Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St John (Screenplay) Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Alon Aboutboul, Radha Mitchell, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Colin Salmon

Plot: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning is caught up in a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

Tagline – Prepare for bloody hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Action Packed Sequel

Story: London Has Fallen starts when the prime minister of England dies suddenly meaning the world leaders are going to be heading to London for the funeral, President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart) along with his most trusted bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler), they are going without a true plan because every leader wants certain plans put in place, with none being offered.

When the world leaders start getting killed off by Aamir Barkawi (Aboutboul) and his men, destroying major parts of London, leaving Mike the last man standing to protect the President as they search for a way out of the city, can Mike perform him duties once again and save the President from another group of terrorists.

Thoughts on London Has Fallen

Characters – Mike Banning is the bodyguard to the President, he will always be there for him and has a strong friendship with him too. He isn’t comfortable with this visit and shows why, he will go on to show he combat skills and planning skills to keep his President safe. President Benjamin Asher is doing the right thing going to the funeral, he knows and trusts Mike to keep him safe despite the odds they will be facing. Aamir Barkawi is a terrorist that has been targeted in the past, he has planned this revenge on the world leaders, wanting to bring the war to countries targeting him. We do see the world leaders, the people trying to find a solution to what has happened and finding a way to get people out safely.

PerformancesGerard Butler is once again great in this leading role, he is a great choice for any action role. Aaron Eckhart once again bring sus a President we could believe in, while the rest of the returning cast don’t do anything wrong.

StoryThe story here follows the President and his most trusted bodyguard needing to navigate the streets of London after a massive terrorist attack has targeted world leaders. This is a simple enough story for action, it is literally just the two needing to stay ahead of the countless enemies coming after them, while more of the technical side of the story being handled about who is involved and why. It does feel like an episode of 24 at times, this one, but that isn’t always a bad thing.

ActionThe action is the big part of this film, be it the excellent opening attack that doesn’t hold back on the body count, right down to the tight street combat scenes too.

SettingsThe film is set in London, hence the title, we do see landmarks destroyed before falling into the narrow streets in hope for safety against the enemies coming their way.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are stronger than the last one, though it does have moments that does look CGI including a bridge sequence, which doesn’t stand up.

Scene of the Movie – The opening attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Referring to London as the capital of Britain, not England.

Final Thoughts This is an action packed sequel that builds on the action from the first film and shows the bond between Mike and Aaron.

Overall: Great sequel, even though I didn’t like it first time around.