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

 

 

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Summer Night (2019)

Director: Joseph Cross

Writer: Jordan Jolliff (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Chatwin, Analeigh Tipton, Lana Condor, Victoria Justice, Ella Hunt, Callan McAuliffe, Melina Vidler, Ellar Coltrane

Plot: A coming-of-age story about the complexities of young romantic relationships.


Tagline – Thirteen Friends. One Night to Get it Right.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: TV Pilot?

Story: Summer Night starts as we head to a small American town, we go on to meet the young adults in Andy (Chatwin), the newly pregnant Mel (Tipton), Lexi (Condor), Harmony (Justice), Dana (Hunt), Taylor (McAuliffe), Vanessa (Vidler), James (Coltrane), Corin (Kampouris), Rabbit (Milner), Seth (Nelson), Caleb (Szeto) and Luke (Davis) as they all know each other, they all have connecting stories and spend a typical summer night socialising at the local bar, where the issues get dealt with, from broken hearts, unplanned pregnancy, first dates and old love.

Thoughts on Summer Night

Characters – We do meet a lot of different characters, they do all know each other and they each represent a different version of a young adult trying to balance their romances, these characters do feel like we are jumping into a television drama, because nobody seems like they are a main character and a different story could cover their story in a deeper level.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are all strong, considering the actors don’t get that much screen time, we see how they are all dealing with different emotions and understand each characters mindset through the performances.

StoryThis story follows a group of young adults that are spending their summers having a good time dealing with love and all the things around it over one night. It would be fair to say this could easily be a pilot for a television show by just how the story unfolds, we do meet a lot of characters with each chapter of the film feeling like it could be bigger with longer conversations between the people having moments in their lives. By not having a true main character we are often left wondering why we needed so many characters for a film. Certain points being discussed are serious and do need to be looked at in a serious light too.

ComedyWe do get moments of comedy which can get laughs, though we do focus on the drama of life more often than not.

SettingsThe film is set in one small town, it shows that the group of young adults are close and the drama of their lives can cross paths.


Scene of the Movie – The band performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters for just a film.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how young adults can spend a summer night, partying and trying to figure out relationships and life in general, it would work better as a television series as we could spend more time with the characters.

Overall: Young Adult Life.

Robert De Niro Weekend – The Family (2013)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo (Screenplay) Tonino Benacquista (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo

 

Plot: The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the Witness Protection Program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging, as their old habits die hard.


Tagline – Some call it organized crime. Others call it family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Twist on the Mafia Movie

 

Story: The Family starts when the Manzoni family head into witness protection in Normandy, France, under the names, Fred (De Niro), Maggie (Pfeiffer), Belle (Agron) and Warren (D’Leo) where they must start new lives. The problem the family have, is that they keep getting themselves into troubles with their violent behaviour, which sees Robert Stansfield (Jones) needing to keep moving them around.

The family are also being hunted down by Fred’s former boss, who is the reason why he has gone into hiding which will see the family needing to improve their behaviour just to survive.

 

Thoughts on The Family

 

Characters – Fred Blake is a former Mafia leader that has gone into hiding after taking a deal, he is trying to remain calm for the most part, but his violent tendencies take over whenever things are not going his way, while he tries to write his memoirs. Maggie is the wife that has gotten used to the lifestyle, now she has got just as a dark side towards people that upset her. She is turning to religion for answers in her life once again. Belle and Warren are the teenage children that use their skills to stay ahead in school even if it means they show their own violent side too. Robert Stansfield is the agent that is trying to keep the family away from the spotlight, finding it more difficult because of their actions.

PerformancesRobert De Niro gets to poke fun at the idea that he was famous for his gangster roles and now needs to be put in a retirement age, where he is strict, smart and able to stay ahead of the game. Michelle Pfeiffer brings us the frustrated housewife that wants more normality in her life. Both Dianna Agron and John D’Leo bring us strong teenage character performances. Tommy Lee Jones is great too as an FBI agent that is struggling to keep the lid on everything.

StoryThe story follows a former Mafia family that have gone into hiding after giving up other members of the family to the authorities, the problem with the family, is that they are too violent and often bring attention to themselves, as they are still being hunted down. The idea that a Mafia family is living in the shadows only they can’t stay out of trouble, does feel original in how everything is executed. The number of times we have seen a Mafia story end with ‘they are not in the witness protection program’ without following the life they end up living. This almost feels like the next chapter that we have never gotten before because they will still be wanted for their action. Each of the family members does get their own issues to deal with too which makes them feel like real people too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from just seeing how the criminal fan acts once they are meant to be out of the criminal life, it does create laughs through the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Normandy village which shows the new life the family must adapt to after the life in New York City.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The family must surely need to learn to act better with this world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice spin on the Mafia film, it gets plenty of laughs when it needs it, while trying to show the world could still be looking for them.

 

Overall: Fun twist.

Rating

 

 

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019) Movie Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino

Plot: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.


Tagline – The 9th Film from Quentin Tarantino.

Runtime: 2 Hours 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Look at Hollywood

Story: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starts as we head to Hollywood in 1969, television actor Rik Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) as we follow Rick trying to put his career back on track, he is shown the reality of his situation through his agent Marvin Schwarz (Pacino). Rick must face his own future in the business when he learns that Sharon Tate (Robbie) and Roman Polanski have moved into the house next door to him.

As we follow the three around LA, Rick working on another television appearance, Sharon watching her own movie in a theatre and Cliff stumbling in to the Spahn ranch where he once worked that has been overtaken by the hippies control be Charles Manson. With Hollywood being the home for dreams, Rick, Cliff and Sharon will end up having a night that will change their lives forever.

Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Characters – Rick Dalton was once the star of a popular television show, now his show is cancelled, he has been left to work on guest spots usually playing the villain, the film roles have dried up and he must rely on Cliff to drive him around LA, he knows he is better than what he is getting and does believe that he will one day get a big role, he is a great look at how actors can see their careers turn into a rollercoaster in Hollywood. Cliff Booth is the stuntman for Rick, he helps drive him around town too, with he two being best friends. When he isn’t helping Rick, he cruises around town and isn’t far from breaking the law once again, he does seem grounded in this world and isn’t afraid to get into a fight, including challenging Bruce Lee. Sharon Tate is the beautiful actress that was on the rise to stardom, she parties with her husband and friend Jay and is the talk of the town. As for the rest of the characters, we meet actors of the era, on set members that help or hinder the roles for both Rick or Cliff and members of the Manson family.

PerformancesLeonardo DiCaprio proves once again that he can become any character he wants with a performance that shows that he could be an actor trying to be an actor and know just how to play this role. Brad Pitt steals the movie with the personification of cool in every single scene he is in, the laidback nature and the relationship he has with his dog, just makes you want to see more of him. Margot Robbie looks perfect for the role of Sharon Tate, she doesn’t put a foot wrong even if she doesn’t end up having a big of a role that we are made to believe.

StoryThe story here follows an actor suffering with a career identification that teams up with his stuntman to go in search for the next career move, all with the background of the growing actions of the Manson Family. This is a story that does feel misleading at times, firstly because it felt like it should be heavily about the Manson family murders, while instead that is just the background story, while we are much more focal on the idea that an actor is trying to rebuild his career. This does make everything feel more entertaining though, because we get to flashback to certain life decisions which might have left the characters in the position they find themselves in. if you are a fan of 60s Hollywood, you will get plenty out of this story which will be filled with references for the golden era of Hollywood.

ComedyThe comedy in this film flows through how Rick and Cliff get involved in everything, we will get laughs through certain things, without it being a laugh out loud comedy.

SettingsThe settings for the film truly do put us back into the 1960 Hollywood era, be it the sets, the streets, the vehicles or the houses, it truly feels like we are there.


Scene of the Movie – Cliff visits the ranch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – What is Tarantino’s obsession with feet.

Final Thoughts This is an truly entertaining Tarantino movie, it pays tons of respect to the golden era of Hollywood and will keep you laughing along the way.

Overall: Entertaining Respect to Hollywood.

Blue Iguana (2018)

Director: Hadi Hajaig

Writer: Hadi Hajaig (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Phoebe Fox, Ben Schwartz, Peter Ferdinando, Peter Polycarpou, Al Weaver, Robin Hellier

 

Plot: Ex-jailbirds Eddie and Paul are on parole and working in a New York diner. Their lives are a dead end. That is, until English lawyer Katherine Rookwood walks into the diner with an offer they can’t refuse.


Tagline – Mullets. Bullets. And One Gem of a Heist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Crime Comedy

 

Story: Blue Iguana starts when to ex-cons in New York Eddie (Rockwell) and Paul (Schwartz) are hired by a timid English lawyer Katherine (Fox) to do a job in England, it should be simple in their strength, only things don’t go to plan when local criminal Deacon (Ferdinando) gets involved throwing everything out the window.

To get revenge Katherine brings Eddie a new plan which will be a larger pay day and could set both sides up for life, can they pull off this job with their different mindsets.

 

Thoughts on Blue Iguana

 

Characters – Eddie is a thief out on parole working in a diner in New York, he is trying to go straight only for his latest job offer to take him across the sea to England. When it comes to making the deal, he is the smartest one of the pairing, he handles the combat better than anyone else on his team and is willing to say no if the deal doesn’t suit. Katherine is a timid lawyer that hires the two men to get a job done, she is strict with her rules and wants to get her own back on the people she is planning on stealing from, for some reason we have her eating in nearly every scene. Paul is the partner of Eddie, he is quicker to say yes, not knowing the art of the deal, he talks a lot more which can get them in trouble. Deacon is a local pub owner with plenty of criminal activities going on, he sports a proud mullet which sees him be aggressive towards anyone that fails him, even if he must answer to his own boss.

PerformancesSam Rockwell is front and centre of in this film, he is clearly the best part of the movie. Phoebe Fox is entertaining because she makes her character feel uncomfortable in the world she is entering, which adds the layers to her character. Ben Schwartz is meant to play a lot of comic relief, sometimes it works other times it just gets annoying. Peter Ferdinando makes the for villainous criminal with ease.

StoryThe story follows two Americans that get hired to complete a job in England which sees them put a team together to rob a diamond to help a timid lawyer getting her own back the mod boss that has put her through hell. This is a heist crime movie that does follow the traditions well, we try to give each character their own unique quirk which in certain moments does add to the comedy, in other times it just makes the story feel like it is dragging along. The world created is filled with the criminal world characters that does play into the story well, while seeing how each side operates gives us an insight into just how much it means to the characters involved.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film follows how the crime gets completed which is mostly fights when needed, they do work and make sense, the criminal world we enter does show us how everybody operates. The comedy is the biggest hit or miss which is disappointing in most places.

SettingsThe film is set in London which gets a chance to bring us British gangster humour for the most part, it shows the shady locations criminals would act in.


Scene of the Movie –
The Tottenham references.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The relentless eating scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun easy to watch crime comedy that gets plenty of British humour going on throughout, it is simple enough when it comes to story which isn’t going the bring anything new to the heist genre.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating