Blue Streak (1999)

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal, Stephen Carpenter (Screenplay)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, Nicole Ari Parker, Graham Beckel

 

Plot: A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.


Tagline – To cop the loot – he became one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Blue Streak starts when Miles (Lawrence) is committing a robbery when it goes wrong when his crew member Deacon (Greene) turns on the team, Miles stashes the diamond and ends up in prison for a couple of years. Once released he goes to pick up his diamonds only to learn the building has been turned into police station.

Miles decides to go undercover as a police officer and assigned rookie detective Carlson (Wilson) as he tries to blend in retrieve his diamond and get out quickly only to prove himself as a good cop that helps with major crimes.

 

Thoughts on Blue Streak

 

Characters – Miles Logan is a career thief that’s latest job goes wrong, when his crew turned on him, he stashes his loot. Once released Miles thinks he can just walk bac into the building and pick up his diamond, only to learn it is now a police station, he tries to go undercover as a pizza delivery guy before deciding police officer is the way to go. He turns out to be a great police officer helping with many cases which increase in nature including trying to take down a big drug lord. Carlson is the rookie detective struggling with his new role in the department, he gets assigned as the partner to Miles who teaches him how to take more chances when trying to solve crimes. Deacon is the one that turned on Miles and has waited for him to get out of jail to take what he thinks is his, the diamond and isn’t afraid to kill the people behind it anymore. Tulley is the idiot crew member who is used more for driving and has resorted to small time robbery after Miles ended up in jail.

PerformancesMartin Lawrence is good in this leading role, sure his career didn’t go in the same direction Will Smith did, but he still had the ability to lead the right role in the film. Luke Wilson is good, though his character is slightly basic when it comes to having too much to do. Most of the support performances focus on the actors reacting to what Lawrence gets up to.

StoryThe story follows a thief wanting to collect his stash after being released from prison, only to learn the building he put it in is now a police station, forcing him to go undercover to retrieve it. The story works for crime comedy genre because it puts our character in a position like the fish out of water and shows that criminals are better at catching thieves than the police as we see how he accidentally rises up the ranks through his time undercover. If we could have had more about the crew member turned bad during the search it would have added a little something more to the film as we spend nearly the whole film focusing on Miles journey to get his diamond back.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is mostly saved for the final chase to Mexico which is simple enough action to watch. The comedy comes from how Miles seems to solve the crimes the cops couldn’t and we also get plenty of laughs from Tulley being the dumb criminal partner. The crime side of the film includes the opening robbery and how Miles helps solves different crimes along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, though nothing is used to make it clear it is in that city, the idea of the settings play more into the idea that the diamond was hidden in a police station.


Scene of the Movie –
Working with the FBI.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using the villainous crew member enough through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable 90s action crime comedy, you can have a lot of fun watching this one without needing to take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple, Fun and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

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Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Godzilla (2014) Revisited

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Max Borensteing, Dave Calaham (Screenplay) Ishiro Honda, Takeo Murata, Shugeru Kayama (Character)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Carson Bolde

 

Plot: The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.


Tagline – The world ends, Godzilla begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Godzilla Movie

 

Story: Godzilla starts the Brody family, Joe (Cranston), Sandra (Binoche) and son Ford living in Japan where the parents work in a nuclear reactor when a disaster strikes that Joe believes he sees coming, Sandra is killed and the town is evacuated.

15-Years later Ford (Taylor-Johnson) is married to Elle (Olsen) with his own son Sam (Bolde), he serves in the military and finally under leave, when he must bail his father out of a Japanese prison and reluctantly goes into the quarantine zone in search for answers. The Brody’s learn about that something is being covered up by Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and that secret is about to escape becoming a threat to the world with MUTO and Joe is assigned to try and help bring the creature under control with a little help from Godzilla.

 

Thoughts on Godzilla

 

Characters – Ford Brody was raised in Japan where he lost his mother, now a solider he is used to being away from his own family, giving his father one last chance to forget about the past. Ford finds himself on a mission and journey to get from Japan back to his family in San Francisco, he somehow always ends up in the location of the attacks, doing the right thing without wanting any thank you from the people he saves. Dr Ishiro Serizawa is the man leading the investigation into the first appearance of the creatures, he has studied the cocoons they have emerged from and has ideas on how to stop them. Elle is the wife of Ford’s who is a nurse that stays in town when the attacks start in an attempt to save lives where she can, she doesn’t really do much more than this. Joe is the father of Ford that worked at the nuclear power planet which saw his wife killed, he believes there is more to what happened and is determined to figure it out, risking his life too often.

PerformancesAaron Taylor-Johnson is an actor who has gone onto do bigger projects that have tested his acting, this isn’t a film that will show off much acting, mostly because his character is so painfully average. Elizabeth Olsen suffers from this too which brings both their performances down to solid. Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston bring the best performances with characters we just want to see more from.

StoryThe story brings us the first chapter if the universe, without needing to make a big point about it, which is the weakness in other films, such as 2017 The Mummy. By doing this we get an introduction to Godzilla the one creature that can save humanity from another deadly creature that is using radioactive material to grow. We do have a human side to this story as we follow the military try to do battle against the creatures that are killing millions. Unlike the 1998 Godzilla we do keep the beliefs of what makes the original brilliant in the story behind their origin. The weakness in the story comes from the idea that our main human character just happens to always be in the location of the latest attack surviving against all the odds.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action in the film plays into the less is more, we get teased early on about the giant creature battles which could frustrate the fans because they will want to see them fight, but the wait for the final battle is worth it as Godzilla gets involved in one of its biggest battles to date. The adventure side of the story must be the focus on Ford and his journey home, just being unlucky when it comes to being in the middle of the battle, with the sci-fi side of the film uses the idea that the giant creatures have been created through our own human errors.

SettingsThe film does go for iconic locations which is understandable with the final battle being in San Francisco providing the watery side for Godzilla’s entrance.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects that Gareth Edwards is most known for, the less is more idea which makes the film feel like it has the original motivation behind the attack making the fights feel real.


Scene of the Movie –
The big battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blandness of our human characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant monster movie, that action is giant destructive and worth the wait for, while the human characters could be considered slightly bland, the beginning of this universe is worth the wait.

 

Overall: Must watch monster movie

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney

 

Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.


Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Tense

 

Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.

 

Thoughts on In the Line of Fire

 

Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Point Man (2019)

Director: Phil Blattenberger

Writer: Phil Blattenberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Long, Jacob Keohane, Chase Gutzmore, Marcus Bailey, Matthew Ewald

 

Plot: Set in Vietnam in April 1968 – three months after the tide-turning Tet Offensive and one month after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. – Point Man is the story of a U.S. Army fire team fractured by racial tensions, moral crises, and the crushing pressures of combat in a war nobody wants to fight. Andre “Casper” Allen, a rough-edged ideologue, finds his radical politics put him at odds with the squad’s machine gunner, Silas Meeks. When their search-and-destroy mission in the Mekong Delta goes terribly wrong, both men find themselves pitted against each other and their recalcitrant platoon commander, Lieutenant Sutter. Point men die like flies in the bush, and as loyalties dissolve every step forward comes with a price.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Reality of War

 

Story: Point Man starts in Vietnam with a platoon of mixed raced soldiers, Andre ‘Casper’ Allen (Long), Joe Creighton (Gutzmore), Felix Wake (Bailey) and racist Silas Meeks (Keohane) all under the strict Lieutenant Sutter (Ewald). On their latest mission they four men get separated from their platoon and are left behind enemy lines.

The journey back sees the four men clash with Joe making difficult decisions when they see how the fellow American soldiers are acting, Silas needing to put his racial problems behind him with Casper trying his hardest to keep the four men together knowing it will be the only way they can make it back to safety.

 

Thoughts on Point Man

 

Characters – Andre ‘Casper’ Allen is one of the black soldiers in the platoon, he is tired of the racial divide within the platoon, but after he is split from the platoon, he must do the correct decision-making to see his friends back to safety, the decisions he must face will see him go after his own side that have gone too far in the war. Joe is the one that will do the right thing, he knows just how bad the situations will be and will do the right thing even if it means his life will end doing it. Silas is the racist soldier that ends up with the three black soldiers, he doesn’t want to work with them, but knows this will be the only way to get out of the situation alive, he is always looking out for himself. Lieutenant Sutter is the strict platoon leader that has been forced into difficult decisions, he seems like he going to be the one that is against everyone through this film almost in a cowardly way too.

PerformancesThe performance in this film are interesting because when it comes to the discussion points, we get strong acting from the whole cast, it gets to the conflict side which also plays into the budget which does expose the weak points in this film. Christopher Long in the leading performance shows the chemistry required with Chase Gutzmore and Marcus Bailey, with the tension feeling real with Jacob Keohane.

StoryThe story gives us a glimpse into the mindset of three black soldiers in the Vietnam war, they believe they are just there to be part of the body count, while being given the jobs which are more likely to die, mostly the Point Man role. We see how they react to becoming separated with a racist behind enemy lines and how they must work together to survive, while dealing with the soldiers in the land that could cause just as much problems whichever side of the fight they are on. This story gets to show us how war can affect people, make them do things they wouldn’t normally consider and how the skin colour of these soldiers is going to seeing them get the blame for anything going wrong. This story shows us just how difficult the war was on the victims, how doing the right thing can make you an enemy to your own side. The only part of the film I didn’t like from the story side of things was the final act, it felt to quick.

ActionThe action in this film comes from the standard war related material, we see guns firing and people falling, none of the graphicness of war though.

SettingsWe follow our soldiers through the forests and plains of Vietnam, nothing looks out of place for the settings side of things, though it could have look slightly more war torn.


Scene of the Movie –
The first difficult decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending was too quick.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at the reality of war, we see how the lives of the men would have been affected by their decisions and how they are in constant fear of being the first to be picked off.

 

Overall: Strong Look at War.

Rating