Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in a truck stop populated by vampires, with chaotic results.


Tagline – How far can Too Far go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Blast

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts after Seth Gecko (Clooney) is broken out of prison by his brother Richard (Tarantino) before they commit a daring daylight robbery as they race towards the Mexican border. They have a hostage which Richard soon kills, meaning they must find another one. The brothers pick a family the Fuller family, whose loss of faith priest father Jacob (Keitel) and his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) are just travelling.

Once across the border the five head to a bar known as the Titty Twister for bikers and truckers alike, but soon they must put their differences aside when it turns out to be a vampire hideout, where they must fight to daylight.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

Characters – Seth Gecko has just been sprung from prison by his brother, he wants to get across the border to complete a deal which would see them both have freedom, he is the one that remains in control wanting to keep everything calm, which would mean not leaving a pile of bodies behind them. He does deliver the threats which would see them as a danger, though he does just want things to be simple. Richard or Ritchie is must more of a loose cannon, he is paranoid and this makes him more dangerous, as he will kill people putting their safety at risk. He is protected by his brother, as he doesn’t seem like he is capable of putting a plan together himself. Jacob was a priest that has lost his faith after his wife’s death, he I taking his family on a vacation and gets forced into helping the brothers, he wants to keep them safe, willing to risk his own life to make this happen. Kate and Scott are his children, they are dealing with their own loss the best way they know how to and being supportive to their father. Santanico is the beautiful dancer that will stop a bar with her dance, she is one of the leaders of the vampires who has been waiting for the food in human form.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is great to see in this role, after this we only usually see him in smooth talking roles, rather than a rough criminal, showing he could become any role offered to him. Tarantino in this film is creepy and putting himself in the supporting role does hide any restrictions he might have as an actor. Harvey Keitel is great showing a character that is meant to be hating his life choice, but remaining strong for his children. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu are both solid enough in the supporting roles without getting too much more to work with, while Salma Hayek turns heads with her performance.

StoryThe story here follows two criminals trying to get to Mexico, the family they force to help them across the border and the bar they find, filled with vampires that they must fight to survive the night. Where this story stands up on its own, is by making it a criminal tory to start with, having no hints of horror or vampires involved, as we just watch the two loose cannons trying to get to safety, by pulling the rug out from under us to thrown us into the horror idea is genius switch of pace for the story. we do have themes going on especially with the Jacob character needing to find his lost faith which finding it will become the big part in fight the vampires. The story also exists in a world where vampire stories do exist, which gives them ideas on how to fight back, which was the main attraction to the 90’s horror stories.

Action/HorrorThe action in the film involves the fighting with the vampires, we get to take everything to a new level for this side of the genre, with the blood splatter in the action, which the horror gives us because we vampires which are a staple of horror, but we do focus on the action over the scares.

SettingsThe film uses the getting to the location setting of the camper van which does show us the road trip feel to the film, but it is the bar that will be one that is always going to be hard to forget, being a run down biker and trucker bar.

Special EffectsThe special effects are some of the best you will see in the vampire genre, it shows that you can get plenty done with practical effects, with the only weakness come from the human to vampire transformations, which look CGI and have dated.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The transformations have dated badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun vampire movies you will ever see, it has plenty of blood flying around the screen and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

 

Overall: Purely entertaining vampire movie.

Rating

 

 

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Crawl (2019) Movie Review

Director: Alexandre Aja

Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Jose Palma, George Somner

Plot: A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.


Tagline – DANGER! Alligators are common in this area. They can be dangerous. They have been known to stalk prey. THEY WILL HUNT YOU

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Creature Feature

Story: Crawl starts when college swimming student Haley (Scodelario) who after a family disagreement with her father Dave (Pepper) hasn’t spoken to him in a while gets a call from her sister Beth (Clark) to make sure their father is out of Florida after a hurricane has taken a turn to put him in the path of the destruction.

Haley arrives back home, bringing back the memories with father and his training to make her an elite swimming, only to find him injured in the crawlspace, where he has been a victim of an alligator attack, the two find themselves trapped against the alligators, with the flood water rising and time running out, can they make it out, that is the question.

Thoughts on Crawl

Characters – This is a film that only really has two characters in, we have Haley who is a college student on a scholarship for her swimming, she has been training her whole life and is starting to question her place in the sport going forward, she reluctantly goes to make sure her father has gotten out of Florida before the hurricane hits and here she must put aside their differences to face off against the alligators that are looking to feed. Her swimming skills do come in crucial when it comes to staying ahead of the gators, but she does fall into the stupid decisions being made. Dave is the father that has buried himself in work after his wife left him, he had spent most of Haley’s childhood coaching her to be the best in swimming, with them both getting success, he has however become injured due to the attack and helps his daughter to escape, so they can rebuild their relationship. Where the two have been going through a strained relationship, it does show how the working together process isn’t working well to start with and as they rebuild their relationship, we see just how well they can work together.

PerformancesKaya Scodelario in the leading role is strong for the most part, we get to see how she manages to look like she isn’t completely in a comfortable place with her future and that she will never give up the fight. Barry Pepper, despite spending most of the film injured, does bring us a strong performance too which shows us that both the main stars of the film do carry the load well.

StoryThe story here follows a father and daughter that find themselves trapped in a crawlspace where they are being stalked by alligators, making walking out difficult, while also being in the path of a hurricane which will see them below water sooner rather than later. When we break down this story, we do have a creature feature film that does see man versus nature, with it being both natural disaster and a living predator. This is a battle to survive which does feel intense, even if the trailer does give away most of the film’s story, which is highly disappointing to see. This story does keep the pace up and does have the side of the story which sees the family needing to put aside their issues to make it out.

Action/HorrorThe action comes from the alligator attacks, they are intense and show just how deadly they can be, this is a horror that wouldn’t be terrifying to live through, this all shows just how deadly of a predator alligator can be.

SettingsThe film is set in one location, the house where Haley grew up, starting with a large part inside the crawlspace under the house, it is contained, and you can understand why the gators would be in there too.

Special EffectsThe effects when it comes to injuries are brutal to watch, with one scene involving a leg being placed back together standing out, the alligators look terrifying too through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Boat wave.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Does nobody in Florida know how deadly Alligators are?

Final Thoughts This is a fun and intense creature feature that doesn’t hide away from the blood and will keep you on the edge of the seat.

Overall: Creature feature fun.

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating

 

 

Angel Has Fallen (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Matt Cook, Robert Mark Kamen, Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay) Katrin Benedikt, Creighton Rothenberger (Characters)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nick Nolte, Lance Reddick, Danny Huston, Tim Blake Nelson

Plot: Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat.


Tagline – Fallen. Framed. Forced to Fight for His Life.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Franchise Hasn’t Fallen

Story: Angel Has Fallen starts when Mike banning (Butler) is the only survivor of a drone attack on President Allan Trumbull (Freeman), the rest of the team are killed and Mike has been framed for the assassination attempt. FBI agent Helen Thompson (Smith) is investigating the case, with Mike looking cut and dry to have been the man behind it, but when Mike escapes, he sets out to prove his innocence.

Mike turns to his estranged father Clay (Nolte) as he looks to discover why his old friend an private contractor Wade Jennings (Huston) has set him up and how he can prove his isn’t involved despite a nationwide manhunt for him.

Thoughts on Angel Has Fallen

Characters – Mike Banning is still a senior secret service man, playing righthand to the President, he has been keeping his injuries secret, which is nice to see an action man actually suffering injuries, instead of just being fine, like most action stars. He does his duty saving the President from an attack, only to find himself framed. When the people come to finish the job on Banning, he escapes and uses all his training to allude and search for a way to prove his innocence. Allan Trumbull is now the President, stepping up from his role as the Vice in the previous two outings, he is looking to change certain ideas, though he spends most of his film in a coma after the attack, he is the only other witness who could defend Mike’s involvement too. Wade Jennings is the private military contractor and old military buddy of Mike’s, he has framed him and is using his expertly trained team to hunt him down and finish off the job. Leah is the wife of Mike’s she is trying to keep him from working now they have a child and must deal with the consequences of seeing the name dragged through the dirt. FBI Agent Helen Thompson is trying to put the pieces together, seeing Mike as the prime suspect, she just wants the case closed without anybody else being hurt. Clay Banning is the estranged father of Mike’s he has been off the grid for years because of his own trauma from his time in the war, he is the only person Mike knows he can turn too.

PerformancesGerard Butler is great in the leading role, he is always going to be a bankable star when it comes to action roles and this is no different. Morgan Freeman does everything you would expect from a President role, without needing to do much. Piper Perabo takes over from Radha Mitchell in the wife role, which doesn’t have much to do if we are being honest. Danny Huston is one of these actors that you know is always going to be a villain, he does everything we know he can do in this role. Nick Nolte is a lot of fun, bringing his trademark estranged father role to the big screen once again, he gets a few laughs in too.

StoryThe story here sees Mike Banning being framed for the assassination attempt of the President, the figure that he has been guarding for years and he must go off the grid to prove who was really behind it. The story is one that is great to watch for action, but if you have seen the previous instalments of the franchise, you will be left asking a few questions. First what happened to President Benjamin Asher, we have zero mention of him, secondly, how is nobody on Mike’s side after all he has done in the past, like seriously, he pretty much saved the President against impossible odds twice. While this question could be answered with the number of pieces of evidence placed on him, it still doesn’t seem to fit the character these people have created. Away from these questions, we must say this does build on the scale of the previous film’s stories, which is good because it does feel different, which each film does do. We could easily watch this story as a single film too and the fact that we do touch on the physical injuries that Mike has suffered through his job, does show a vulnerable action character.

ActionThe action is big, we might not have the large scale opening attack, but once we get into the military formations ideas, we get plenty of tactical shootings.

SettingsThe film does build on the settings, with the first one being one building, the second being one city, now we have a nationwide hunt.

Special EffectsThe effects, well this has been an issue for the franchise all along, but the green screen scenes are so clear to see it almost feels like they didn’t finish the job yet.


Scene of the Movie – Mike and Clay have an escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – No mention of former President Benjamin Asher, like what happened here?

Final Thoughts This is a action sequel that does enough different to make it feel fresh even if certain parts of the story feels too farfetched, it does continue to have a 24 vibe to everything, but it is well for a watch if you have seen the franchise or not.

Overall: Trilogy that hasn’t Fallen.

Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating