ABC Film Challenge – Action – Z – Zone Troopers (1985)

Director: Danny Bilson

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Timothy Van Patten, Art LaFleur, Biff Manard, William Paulson, peter Boom

 

Plot: In Italy, during World War II some American soldiers find an alien UFO.


Tagline – They Take War To A New Dimension.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Cheesy B-Movie

 

Story: Zone Troopers starts by following an America troop in Italy during World War II, The Sarge (Thomerson) leads his men including Joey (Van Patten), Mittens (LaFleur) and new solider Dolan (Manard). The four men find themselves standard behind enemy lines.

Preparing their own escape, they learn that the German’s are not the only threat in the woods as they discover an alien ship with aliens running around the woods too.

 

Thoughts on Zone Troopers

 

Characters – The Sarge is the leader of the soldiers, he doesn’t make friends in the troop because of how many people he has lost before, he just wants to get his men home even if Dolan makes everything more difficult. Joey is the naïve member of the squad the youngster, but also the wheeler and dealer in search for the quick solution. Mittens is the tough member of the squad he will keep everything simple while doing the smarter decisions. Dolan is the newest member of the squad, which will see him try to get the story as he is a reporter.

PerformancesThe performances from the four leads play into the generic figures you would expect to see in any movie set during the war time, the actors do the best with what they get without making their characters feel like they need to standout.

StoryThe story follows four American soldiers that get caught behind enemy lines only to learn the Germans are investigating a spaceship that has crashed, the Americans and aliens team up to escape the situation, defeat the Germans for today. This is a simple story of how the Americans will be looking win the war against the Germany villains, easy enough formula just adding aliens into the mix. The story isn’t the deepest and doesn’t offer too much refreshing, only to easy to follow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is all war based bullet flying without being that anything overly realistic, which does mix in with the sci-fi side of the film with the aliens being laser weapons in the action too.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods which shows the lower budget behind the film, it does show the war can put people into a situation they don’t know how to get out off.


Scene of the Movie –
The laser guns, cheesy as they come.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It hasn’t dated well.

Final ThoughtsThis is one hell of a cheesy fun action film that can just be enjoyed rather than studied.

 

Overall: Cheesy actioner.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Danai Gurira

 

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.


Tagline – Avenge the fallen.

Runtime: 3 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cinematic Masterpiece

 

Story: Avengers: Endgame starts in the aftermath of the actions a Thanos (Brolin) in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the remaining Avengers and the world are dealing with the consequences of the snap. The Avengers, Ironman (Downey Jr), Captain America (Evans), Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Johansson), War Machine (Cheadle), Nebula (Gillan), Rocket are joined by Captain Marvel (Larson) and Hawkeye (Renner) to go face to face and look to undo Thanos actions.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Endgame

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie I just don’t want to get into any more details about the story, or characters action through the film. This is however one of the greatest achievements in cinema history, to be able to bring us the 22nd film in a franchise and have the stakes on this high of a level, you are just left stunned by the spectacle of this movie. We easily get the best performances from many of the big cast members including Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans.

We do get one of the finest, most breath-taking scenes in the whole franchise that will bring the emotional factor to a level unlike anything we have see before. This does help us because of the factor of the emotional effect of the snap that we see not just the Avengers, but how the world is dealing with them.

This is one that I want to revisit for a lengthy review, which could include spoilers.

 

Overall: The Cinematic Event that we were Promised.

Rating

 

 

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Tom Patchett, Frank Oz, Jay Tarses (Screenplay) Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses (Story)

Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price, Louis Zorich

 

Plot: Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it’s a more difficult task than they anticipated.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Muppet Madness Delight

 

Story: The Muppets Take Manhattan starts when Kermit and the gang graduate college and decide to head off to New York City and Broadway to get their show put on there. In New York they learn the harsh reality that they will not get an easy option, this leads to them going their separate ways, leaving Kermit to try and get the show put together.

With Kermit doing his best to sell the musical, when he finally does, he brings the gang back together, only to lose his memory and the gang must locate him before the musical debuts.

 

Thoughts on The Muppets Takes Manhattan

 

Characters – Kermit the frog is the leader of the muppets, he is the one they all turn to and pushes them to achieve their dreams, when the gang struggle to make it in New York, he is the one that must stay in the city to follow the dream while the rest return to their normal lives. He does lose his memory and starts a new life in the big city. Miss Piggy is jealous of Kermit’s friendship with Jenny and is as controlling as we know. The rest of the muppets go on their own adventures while waiting for the show to come about. Jenny is the student waitress waiting to get her big shot in the fashion industry, she helps Kermit follow his dreams. Ronnie Crawford is the one that takes a chance on Kermit, he sees potential in the group even if he isn’t telling the full truth.

PerformancesWe know the muppet characters and the masterminds behind them, they are all great, the additional characters or the real actors, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price and Louis Zorich are all good too knowing how to be part of a muppet movie without looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the Muppets as they look to make their names on Broadway, the idea that dreams don’t come true over night works very well because it plays into the reality that many people would have seen as achievable in time. The important side of the story does show us that there is a life away from dreams where jobs can be a back up. The story puts our characters through the usual problems as we see the gang grow as they expand to a wider audience, we know we are going to get a song and dance or two along the way which gives us plenty to work with and can just enjoy ourselves.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure side of this film takes us to a new city for our muppets, we also see them in a life away from the group, the comedy comes from a mix of different reactions along the way to how the muppets act, we get jokes for all ages in here too. This helps give the whole family the entertainment required in this film.

SettingsNew York City, one of the best settings for any movie, this shows us how big dreams can come from going to this city.


Scene of the Movie –
The show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain guest appearances aren’t as big as they once thought they would be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fine addition to the Muppet franchise, it has plenty of humour, a strong story and is the one that fits in the middle of the quality of the films, behind Christmas Carol.

 

Overall: Muppet fans will always enjoy this.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – X – XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) Revisited

When I first reviewed XXX: Return of Xander Cage it got a 7.1.

Director: D.J. Caruso

Writer: F Scott Frazier (Screenplay) Rich Wilkes (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Toni Collete, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.


Tagline – Guns, girls, global domination.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Popcorn Film

 

Story: XXX: Return of Xander Cage starts when Gibbons (Jackson) is killed by a falling satellite, CIA know the one device which could have caused this, ‘Pandora’s Box’ a device capable of taking satellites out of the sky turning them into warheads. Xiang (Yen) and his team Serena (Padukone), Talon (Jaa) and Hawk (Bisping) steal Pandora’s Box right from under the CIA agent Jane Marke (Collette) hands.

Jane is forced to turn to long thought dead Xander Cage (Diesel) to return Pandora’s Box, with his own team of Adele (Rose), Tennyson (McCann) and Nick (Wu) to travel the world to even the odds in the fights that will go around the world.

 

Thoughts on XXX: Return of Xander Cage

 

Characters – Xander Cage has returned from the dead, the extreme sport lover is bought back in for a new mission which will see him take on the deadly Xiang as his team of elite fighters. He uses his connections to get the mission complete, with his extremes sports to escape the situations he finds himself in. Xiang has led a team to steal the Pandora’s box, he is highly skilled and went through his own XXX recruitment program. His plans might not be as evil as first thought. Serena works for Xiang, she has the same background as Xander, working on the rebellious good guy nature. Adele is one of Xander’s team, she hunts hunters with her sniper skills. Jane Marke works for the CIA and needs recruit Xander to return the stolen weapon, she isn’t as friendly as Gibbons as she knows the stakes. We get the generic side characters too, each having their moment to help the mission.

PerformancesFirst thing before we get into the complete conversation on performances, we must praise the international cast, which sees actors from around the globe join forces. Vin Diesel is the leading role does better than I first gave him credit for, this is every you would expect from him. Seeing Donnie Yen stepping into an American movie is great because we get to see his fighting skills in action. Deepika Padukone steps away from Bollywood for her first Hollywood role never looking out of place in the action heavy role. We do have a wonderful supporting cast that includes Tony Jaa, Ruby Rose, Rory McCann and Toni Collette each getting to show off their time on screen.

StoryThe story brings Xander Cage back from the dead as he must lead a team in an attempt to return a stolen device which could be used as a weapon against the world. let’s be honest, we don’t need the deepest story because this is a film used to showcase the combat abilities of the cast, needing to keep the story nice and simple, good guys need to get device back before devastation could happen. We have a few twists along the way and we do get to build upon the universe that XXX operates in. this is one you can switch your brain off and enjoy.

Action/AdventureThe action is massive with fights, stunts and chases going on through the film which is a joy to watch if you want to switch your mind off, physics might well be out the window, but extreme sports fans will enjoy. The adventure side of the film takes us around the world as the mission is put into play.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show different locations that the XXX team would be operating in, be it hiding or willing to fight in.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane ending.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ice Cube’s role is mostly wasted.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the action films you can just switch on and switch off to enjoy the action unfold.

 

Overall: Pure popcorn action blast.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco

 

Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.


Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.

 

Thoughts on Vertical Limit

 

Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.

 

Overall: Survival Film at its best.

Rating