ABC Film Challenge – 80s Films – Q – Red Sonja (1985)

This is being used for Q because of he evil Queen Gedren.

 

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writer: Clive Exton, George MacDonald Fraser (Screenplay) Robert E Howard (Characters)

Starring: Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, Paul L Smith, Ernie Reyer Jr, Ronald Lacey

 

Plot: A female Redhead sets out on a killing spree to avenge her family’s murder.


Tagline – A woman and a warrior that became a legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure 80s Cheese

 

Story: Red Sonja starts in a wasteland of a world, Red Sonja (Nielsen) has seen her family butchered and been left for dead by the evil Queen Gedren (Bergman), who has gone onto rule the land with terror including take a relic which will be able to control the land.

With Queen Gedren’s rule continuing to grow, Red Sonja joins forces with fearless warrior Kalidor (Schwarzenegger) and abandoned Prince Tarn (Reyes Jr) to fight back and free the land from her terror.

 

Thoughts on Red Sonja

 

Characters – Red Sonja is a fearless warrior, her rebellious nature has seen the Queen turn on her, murdering her family, seeing her left brutally attacked. She rides the land in search of the Queen, where she leads a small group in battle to show how tough she is in battle. Kalidor follows before helping Sonja on her quest, he too in a fierce warrior roaming the lands fighting for the good of the people. Queen Gedren is the evil ruler that kills anybody that doesn’t follow her beliefs, using her newly acquired relic that can bring destruction unlike anything seen before.

PerformancesBrigitte Nielsen is the star of the movie bring us a strong action heavy female character, sadly this movie is overly marketed on Arnold Schwarzenegger who is nothing more than just a strong support character in the film, it was an early role that showed just what we were going to be getting from him. Sandahl Bergman in the villainous queen role does everything needing to make her feel in control and not like her character.

StoryThe story brings us to a world of warriors where one woman warrior is going on a revenge quest against the evil ruler that killed her family. This is one of the easiest styles of stories to tell, we just need a lead character we support, a villain we hate and a series of quests which will become more challenging the closer they get to their target. This does everything right without being a complete edge of your seat film because we focus on moments of comedy that don’t always work, as well as looking to show off the muscles involved from both the leads. This is easy to watch and can be enjoyed by the fans of the 80s action fantasy genre.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy The action involved in the film comes with the sword wielding fights which are watchable without being edge of the seat, which become bigger as the adventure continues on, going hand in hand together in the genre side of things, with the fantasy world showing how the different creatures can come from the world.

SettingsThe world feels big and baron like it would be completely under control by an evil ruler, with candle room look beautiful for the closing fight.


Scene of the Movie –
Candle room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It isn’t the most standout in the genre.

Final ThoughtsThis is an 80s movie you can easily watch and enjoy, everything is basic, so just enjoy it without expecting anything ground breaking.

 

Overall: Enjoyable 80s film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – O – Flash Gordon (1980) Movie Review

We are under O because of star Ornella Muti.

Director: Mike Hodges

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr, Michael Allin (Screenplay) Alex Raymond (Characters)

Starring: Sam J Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed

Plot: A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.


Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gloriously over the Top

Story: Flash Gordon starts when Flash Gordon (Jones), Dale Arden (Anderson) and Dr Zarkov (Topol) accidently leave Earth finding themselves on the planet Mongo, face to face with their evil ruler The Emperor Ming (von Sydow).

After becoming captured, Flash must search for his friends, break out and defeat the evil Emperor Ming to save planet Earth.

Thoughts on Flash Gordon

Characters – Flash Gordon is a star football player whose latest adventures ends up taking him to space, where he clashes with an evil emperor, one that wants to destroy Earth. He must first learn the culture of the new planet, before stepping up to become the hero both planets require. Dale is the girlfriend of Flash, she hates flying and is the damsel in distress that is often needed rescuing. The Emperor Ming has been ruling Mongo for years, keeping the land in his fear and always looking to expand to other planets, with his latest target being Earth, ready for his destruction. We meet the leaders of the different kingdoms, where they rule under Ming, only they are waiting for a chance to reach a level to escape him and fight for the freedom of the land.

PerformancesSam J Jones is a lot of fun in the leading role, he embraces the film to make his character stand out, Max von Sydow is one of the few actors that could always play a villain and here he makes him a truly enjoyable campy villain. The rest of the cast do a good job through the film, they all understand how their characters are meant to be performed.

StoryThe story here follows an America footballer that ends up on a new planet, where he must help unite the planet in an attempt to fight back against an evil emperor that has been looking to destroy Earth. This is a story that brings to life a massively ambitious world that understands it isn’t going to take anything too seriously and just wants to have fun. The story is all about trying to make sure the rebels could fight back against an evil leader, with the right leader and inspiration. While we do see the brutality of the villain, it does seem to become tamer as the film unfolds, where others do most of the evil side of his work.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is laser shooting, fights, which including football tackles and plenty of over the top situations, with the adventure take Flash to a new world, in space, a perfect creation for the sci-fi side of the film, where everything works well for the future style for the time.

SettingsThe film takes us to a new planet Mongo, where we have the different creation per kingdom, one with a futuristic world throughout.

Special EffectsThe effects have dated, but they would have worked for the release to complete play into the cheesy style of the film.


Scene of the Movie – The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too random how Flash just randomly goes to space.

Final Thoughts This is a full blown cheese fest of a movie, it is enjoyable because nothing is taken seriously and could be one everyone gets a kick out of.

Overall: Cheesy Fun.

Paul Walker Weekend – Eight Below (2006)

Director: Frank Marshall

Writer: David DiGilio (Screenplay) Toshiro Ishido, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsui Nogmai, Susumu Saji (original Film)

Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Wendy Crewson, Gerald Plunkett, August Schellenberg, Jason Biggs

 

Plot: Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival.


Tagline – The Most Amazing Story Of Survival, Friendship, And Adventure Ever Told

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Survival Story

 

Story: Eight Below starts as we meet our Antarctic research team, with dog handler Jerry Shepard (Walker) who has 8 Siberian Huskies and knows the lay of land, while Charlie Cooper (Biggs) has mapped the land. When scientist Davis McClaren (Greenwood) wants to head towards dangerous territory in the wrong season, Jerry reluctant agrees to take him with the dogs.

When an accident occurs on the expedition, Jerry must get Davis back with a storm breaking out, the team need to evacuate and as the weather continues to turn, the dogs are left behind. Jerry does everything he can to get back with everybody refusing to let him.

 

Thoughts on Eight Below

 

Characters – Jerry Shepard is the dog handler and guide for the Antarctic post, he has a connection with the dogs where he has earnt the respect from them who will do anything to help him, following his instruction, we do get to see his experience as a guide shine through and after saving his guest he learns the dogs were never rescued. He does get filled with guilt and tries everything he can to get back to them believe the worst will happen. Davis is a scientist that is headed to Antarctic in search for meteors, he does push the limits with his last minute changes to the plan, but his determination lets Jerry’s guard down. Katie is the pilot who will take them to and from the research centre, she is known for taking risks and her former relationship with Jerry keeps them close. Charlie Cooper maps the land and gives us the comic relief because of his fear of flying and dogs.

PerformancesPaul Walker was always an actor brave enough to take a role outside of his comfort zone, this is one of those and he shows us that he was an actor that could pull off the serious with one of his best performances of his career. Bruce Greenwood is always an actor that can give us great performances in supporting roles and this is no different, Moon Bloodgood and Jason Biggs complete the main cast and they both known how to hit their roles well. The dogs who performed in the film do require a special mention too as they invest you in their survival story.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Antarctic researchers that must leave the dogs behind when a storm hits early, the story continues to follow their handler try to figure out how to get back to them and we get to see their amazing story of survival during the time away. This is a very loosely based on true story which test us as the audience because there is no way to know what the dogs got up to, away from that minor flaw in the story this is one that dog lovers will understand completely because we would do anything for our dogs, however impossible it might well be. This does have moments which would hard to watch too because of what goes on with the dogs. We could have also seen more of the determination behind wanting to get back even if they were all going to be ‘no’.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure shows us just how incredible the story the huskies go through, we do have moments from the human side too, but it cuts between because they are pretty safe too. The youngest members of your family might get upset because of certain moments in the film too.

SettingsThe film uses the Antarctic settings wonderfully because it shows us just how difficult of a place it is to one get to and two survive in.


Scene of the Movie –
Max versus the sealion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The journey home is overly safe with no peril.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of survival from the dogs that get left behind through a winter season with little hope of survival, while their handler does everything to get back.

 

Overall: Must watch for dog lovers.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – I – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Movie Review

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone

Plot: In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom starts as Indiana Jones (Ford) looks to escape from Shanghai, which sees him joined by singer Willie Scott (Capshaw) and kid Short Round (Quan), only for them to end up crash landing in India.

Once in India Indiana finds himself trying to help a small village locate a stolen stone, only to find himself in the middle of a secret cult mixed up with enslavement and human sacrifice.

Thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Characters – Indiana Jones is back, taking part in shady deals with criminals, making narrow escapes, before showing his true nature helping a small village respect their history. He knows how to handle himself in a fight and will always be ready for his next daring escape. Willie Scott is a famous singer in Shanghai, one that is a complete diva, not wanting to be away from the glitz and glamour, she ends up being part of the team, spending more time screaming than doing anything else. Short Round is the quick talk, quick handed young boy that helps Indiana, he seems him as a father figure that could help him have a better life after his own parents death. Mola Ram leads the cult, believing they will get the power if they control the stones.

PerformancesHarrison Ford is always going to be remembered for the role of Indiana Jones, he bought the character to life with ease being one of the most iconic characters in film. Kate Capshaw does get annoying in her role, with the pure amount of screaming she puts us through, this is more about the script than her though. Ke Huy Quan does bring us the loveable sidekick for Indiana, getting laughs through the film. The villainous side of performances do well, giving us very dark characters that are prepared to do anything for their own cause.

StoryThe story here brings us another adventure of Indiana Jones as he finds himself in India trying to stop an evil cult from gaining power, after they start using the local children as slaves. This might well be a much darker tale than the first Indiana, which does make it even more enjoyable, it shows us how Indiana will do the right thing without a monetary incentive being involved, it shows him in a light that history is the most important thing to him. The idea of the secret cult of evil is very dark, it is important to reflect the darkness they are trying to create, which we see through the film. The story does leave us wanting more adventures from the Doctor.

Action/AdventureThe action involved in the film is fights, chases, daring escapes, everything you would expect to see in an adventure, with the bridge sequence being the true highlight of the adventure.

SettingsThe film uses the settings excellently, to show us the hidden world of the cult, the trap tunnels an adventure would find himself in and each location is added to the environment of the adventure sequences we follow.


Scene of the Movie – The bridge sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The crocodiles look so out of place.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent sequel that often gets overlooked compared to the other two in the trilogy.

Mulan (2020) Movie Review

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Rich Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek (Screenplay)

Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Tzi Ma

Plot: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney’s ‘Mulan.’


Tagline – Loyal, Brave, True.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mulan starts as Bori Khan (Lee) looks to start a new war on the Emperor (Li), which sees the Emperor demand one male from every family to come forward and fight for China. Mulan (Liu) the eldest daughter of Zhou (Ma) disguises herself as a male soldier to represent her family in battle.

Mulan joins the forces under Commander Tung (Yen) who looks to bring out the best in her abilities, the abilities which could well be the difference in the war.

 

Thoughts on Mulan

Characters – Mulan grew up with a sense of adventure, she never wanted to follow the traditions of village, she wanted to become a warrior like her father, being a woman meant she wasn’t allowed to enter this world, but when it came to her family needing to send a male to war, she pretends to be a man to fight for the honour of her family, for her country, proving to be one of the deadliest warriors in the war. Commander Tung is assigned to lead the honour of China’s imperial army putting together the troops, following the rules of creating the fiercest male soldiers. Xianniang is the witch fighting against the Emperor, she sees the power in Mulan and wants to help her become the warrior she was destine to become, even if it meant they would fight on opposite sides of the battle. The Emperor is the leader of China, he needs to put together an army to protect the people from a vengeful threat. Bori Khan saw his father killed in the hands the Emperor, now he has built an army to take control of China at any price, bringing together other fallen soldiers to make his army feared and dangerous, with a witch leading their moves.

PerformancesYifei Liu in the leading role is great to watch, the handling of the conflict scenes, the undercover scenes and fighting against outdated traditions comes strong from her performance. Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee and Tzi Ma bring the male leads to life with their own style you would have come to expect to see in them. Li Gong brings us the colourful witch who wanted change to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young Chinese woman Mulan that defies the rules of her homeland to become a warrior that will look to fight for the dynasty to save the Emperor. This is a remake that does bring the animated favourite to life, losing a lot of the fantasy elements, focusing on the Mulan, a woman looking to defy the traditions to defend her homeland and family honour. This does show that traditions can be broken to make something big happen in life, break traditions to start new ones. While this does show the change happening, it still comes off very safe, with the villainous character not looking like a truly terrifying figure, not showing enough of what they are trying to fight for in their battles.

Action/AdventureThe action scenes are big, while they do have a couple of strange camera angles, while the massive battle scenes don’t bring anything new to the game.

SettingsThe film looks visually beautiful landscapes for the scenes, with discovery location that Mulan visits to be alone being a place of true beauty.


Scene of the Movie – Avalanche attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bori Khan doesn’t feel like the threat he is implied to be.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful Disney Live Action Remake that brings to life the characters in a way that feel most natural from the animated one.