ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Director: Ti West

Writer: Ti West (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.


Tagline – Keep Your Finger on the Trigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: John Wick the Western

 

Story: In a Valley of Violence starts when lone drifter Paul (Hawke) rides into a remote town with his trusty dog Abby, trying to keep to himself he gets the town drunk Gilly (Ransone) gets involved in a fight, which Paul wins with one punch. This grabs the attention of the Marshal (Travolta) and father of Gilly, who gives him a chance to walk away no questions asked, no more trouble.

When Gilly and his men comes for Paul in the dead of night, they leave him with nothing and now he swears to break his promise of no more killing, one last time.

 

Thoughts on In a Valley of Violence

 

Characters – Paul is the former soldier, he has lost everything while in battle and is heading to Mexico with his horse and dog. When this is taken from him, this former soldier will go on to show his skills by tracking down the men in an act of revenge. Marshal is trying to keep the peace in the town even after his son’s actions, he gets caught in the middle of follow the law and protecting his son. Mary-Anne is one of two sisters in this town, she is one of the few people in town that is vocal of her dislike to Gilly and offers Paul a reminder of his own daughter.

PerformancesEthan Hawke is wonderful in this leading role, he gives us a performance we can believe as the lone drifter with skills that can leave any town running red. John Travolta is strong in his scenes which are seem rare but are a major part of the film. Taissa Farmiga is good even if her character doesn’t get enough to do out of the typical girl in the west.

StoryThe story does bottle down to a simple revenge movie, think John Wick the western and you have the story set up. We have the lone trained killer that takes out the people that have don him wrong. This is a simple and enjoyable style of storytelling, the pace makes the film fly by and will leave you wanting more.

Action/Crime/WesternThe gun slinging action is all good and fits the western style the film is taking on, we get a simple crime story which works for the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in just one singular location in this remote town in the wild west which keeps things contained for the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are used with the kills and are done nicely without being over the top.


Scene of the Movie –
The main street shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The women characters are written bland.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, blood filled action western film that is well worth watching, this is a good watch and has a strong performance from Hawke.

 

Overall: Good addition to the western genre.

Rating

 

 

Money Talks (1997) Movie Review

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Joel Cohen, Alex Sokolow (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Tucker, Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear, Elisa Neal, Paul Sorvino, David Lee McLain

Plot: Sought by police and criminals, a small-time huster makes a deal with a TV newsman for protection.


Tagline – They’re getting the lowdown on the high price of living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Forgettable

Story: Money Talks starts as small-time criminal hustler Franklin Hatchett (Tucker) gets busted while TV reporter James Russell (Sheen) is trying to get a big story on criminals. When Franklin gets caught in the middle of a grand escape, he becomes targeted by the police for killing their own, only Franklin didn’t have anything to do with the escape, turning to James to help clear his name.

James plans to hide Franklin for the weekend by taking him to his wedding, which sees him trying to clear his name and clean up the mess that was created during the escape, now the unlikely couple are forced to work together from the dangerous criminals hunting for him.

Thoughts on Money Talks

Characters – Franklin Hatchett is a fast-talking small-time hustler that has been making a living on the streets getting tickets and just doing the odd deal, while illegal, it isn’t hurting anybody, he does get caught and sent to prison, only to get involved into the escape. He constantly gets himself in trouble by not being able to keep his mouth shut. James Russell is a TV reporter that is always looking for a big story, his latest centres around Franklin and once Franklin gets out of prison, he is the only one he can turn to, James is always ready to help his career no matter who he steps over. Grace and Paula are the loved ones of the two, they both get frustrated by the actions of their partners.

PerformancesChris Tucker is an actor that has a borderline between being entertaining or annoying, here he hits the annoying more often than not. Charlie Sheen doesn’t bring much to the film either, never looking like a desperate enough as a reporter. Sadly, nobody else gets a chance to do much in the film either.

StoryThe story here follows a small-time criminal that must turn to an ambitious reporter in hopes of clearing his name after a ruthless criminal and the police start trying to hunt him down. This is a story that tries to play into the buddy cop idea that have worked very well in the past and if you get a great partnership, you have something entertaining to watch, sadly, the two just don’t click they you would imagine and just become just a set of random scenes. The whole story just does seem to have a lot missing to make it feel connected which only just disappoints. By the time the story has finished it does seem to leave us trying to put together the bland story.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film isn’t very impressive, while the comedy just misses more often than getting close to hitting, while the crime world again just could have been gritty that we see.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, which is always going to be filled with the criminal activity next to the luxury side of the world.


Scene of the Movie – Helicopter jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of chemistry between Sheen and Tucker.

Final Thoughts This is a forgettable action comedy that doesn’t have any redeem qualities anyway and will just leave you trying your hardest to remember anything that happens.

Overall: Forgettable.

The Host (2020) Movie Review

Director: Andy Newbery

Writer: Finola Geraghty, Brendan Bishop, Laurence Lamers (Screenplay) Laurence Lamers, Zachary Weckstein (Story)

Starring: Mike Beckingham, Maryam Hassouni, Doughie Poynter, Nigel Barber, Suan-Li Ong, Togo Igawa, Tom Wu, Derek Jacobi

Plot: A opportunity arises for Robert Atkinson, a London banker who risks his bank’s money to leave the mundane behind to start a new life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Crime Horror 101

Story: The Host starts as we meet down on his luck Robert Atkinson (Beckingham) who has filled his life with bad decisions, including an affair with a married woman, stealing from his bank and gambling with money he doesn’t have, facing even more trouble, he gets offered a deal to make a delivery to Amsterdam.

Once in Amsterdam, Robert finds what seems like a simple delivery, taking a turn when DEA Agent Herbert Summers (Barber) picks him out and Robert is caught in the middle of completing the delivery or jail or something way worse.

Thoughts on The Host

Characters – Robert Atkinson is a banker that has spiralled out of control, he steals from work, gambles with money he doesn’t have and has cut ties with most people in his life. To get out of his problems, he is offered a delivery job, one that will clear most of his debts, it seems simple enough, but it does take a turn for the worse for him. Vera Tribbe runs the accommodation that Robert stays in, it is a giant house that is filled with secrets behind her welcoming nature. Steve is Robert’s brother that has tried to help him get back on the right track, no matter what he has done in the past, he will help him through the toughest time. Herbert Summers sees the delivery Robert is on and looks to use him to get what he needs in the battle against the gang running deliveries around the world.

PerformancesMike Beckingham takes the leading role, showing us just how desperate his character has become, Maryam Hassouni is the star performer in the film with her truly dark turn, where Dougie Poynter, Nigel Barber and Suan-Li Ong giving strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows a man who is down on his luck making a deal with a gang leader to make a delivery to clear his debts, only for this simple task to take a very dark turn. This does start out looking like it will be a routine crime thriller with somebody needing to clean up their debts, we get the mix Robert getting stuck in the middle of the criminals and the law. This story does take a big twist, which will surprise and go in a very different direction which is shocking to see. The story does try to blend the two together, but does struggle though because we focus on the crime side dragging us in, only for most of this to get forgotten through the horror side, which does take over the second half of the story.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crime side of the film does feel routine for the most part, only this takes the back burner once the horror side of the film is unleashed, which is surprising by what happens.

SettingsThe film is mostly set inside the mansion like house in Amsterdam, the house shows us the mystery with the size, the secret rooms and the eerie feel to it.


Scene of the Movie – Vera’s true nature.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The crime side of the story does seem to get forgotten once the horror comes out.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that is covered with a big horror twist to everything going on which is nice, only it does seem to get stuck in the middle of both sides.

Overall: Killer Twist to the Crime Thriller.

THE HOST is available on demand from 17th April 2020 http://www.thehost.movie/

ABC Film Challenge – Action – E – The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim (Television Show)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?


Tagline – There will be consequences

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Slow Action Film

 

Story: The Equalizer 2 starts as we see how Robert McCall (Washington) driving around helping people when he learns they have been mistreated, just being a good guy around the neighbourhood. Robert still has his connection with the agency in Susan (Leo) who gives him the information to help with problems she can’t deal with.

After she is killed investigating a case, Robert reveals himself to his former partner Dave York (Pascal) who has believed he has been dead for years, to help get the people that killed their friend, all while trying to be a mentor to young man Miles (Sanders) who is being drawn into the gangster life.

 

Thoughts on The Equalizer 2

 

Characters – Robert McCall no longer works at Home Depot, he is a driver for hire around the town and he listens to the people’s stories and where he sees fit to step in to solve the problems. This time somebody makes it personal and he must come out from the shadows to get revenge. Dave York is the former partner of Robert’s who believed he was dead, he sees his new partner killed and is looking for answers to why his friend stayed away so long. Miles is a streetwise teenager on the brink of making a terrible decision to join a gang, Robert aims to guide him to make the right decision. Sam is an elderly client who Robert wants to help out, he is here to show just how good natured Robert is. Brian and Susan Plummer are the only connections with the agency Robert has, he will do anything to help them, as they help him with little matters he has.

PerformancesDenzel Washington is an actor that will always give us good performances, this is no different because we get to see the calm character and the deadly which he can switch between without blinking an eye. When we look at the rest of the cast, they are good without being anything overly memorable, with the villain being forgettable and the supporting arcs of the story not being given the time to truly focus on.

StoryThe story here continues to show how deadly, but fair Robert McCall can be, he wants to help people out, give them a chance to better their lives or admit to their mistakes. This time the story becomes personal after one of his friends in the agency is killed, sending him on a warpath against anybody involved. This side of the story is easy to watch, the more intense side of the story which is good to watch. The sentimental side of the story is interesting because we see how the problems in the world can be solved with moments of kindness which Robert shows different generations of people in his life, trying to teach people how to treat people, this is nice to watch, only for the two sides of the story struggling to connect to each other.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is good when we get it, the final sequences being the highlight of the action, the crime side shows how one man can use his connections to get a job done to clean up the streets.

SettingsThe film shows Robert operating in a normal big city, this shows us how stories can be found in most corners for most people.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing between the serious side stories and the action heavy main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action film that does everything you would imagine, it isn’t going to be one of the greatest just one you can enjoy without worrying too much about what is going on.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action.

Rating

 

 

Kid Cannabis (2014)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: John Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Yoo, Ron Perlman, John C McGinley, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson

 

Plot: An eighteen year old high school drop out and his twenty-seven year old friend start trafficking marijuana across the border of Canada in order to make money and their lives are changed forever.


Tagline – Everyone wants to be a kingpin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Story

 

Story: Kid Cannabis starts as we meet high school drop out Nate (Brown) who is telling the story of how he along with his partner Topher (Wormald) become involved in the drug trafficking business. We start at the beginning where Nate learns about the idea that trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border.

We follow Nate who works with Topher and crime boss Barry Lerner (Perlman) to start up the business and just how often the border patrol would pull him over to check whether he is smuggling anything illegal. This was just the beginning of what become a small empire created that changed their lives forever.

 

Thoughts on Kid Cannabis

 

Characters – Nate is a high school dropout working a dead-end job getting high in his free time. He learns about the idea of trafficking across the Canadian border, he uses his intelligence to plan an operation which will see him become an overnight sensation, he does start to get carried away with his new money which sees him needing to fight for his own dominance in the field. Topher is the older friend of Nate’s who can handle the transport with his enjoyment of the wilderness, he can lead the teams across the borders and keep the peace between Nate and the fellow runners. Barry Lerner is the local crime boss that Nate turns to for the investment to the idea, he gives the basic threats and the money rolling in which will keep him happy. John is the farmer in Canada making the product, the best the Americans can get their hands on.

PerformancesJonathan Daniel Brown in the leading role does make for good story teller, he doesn’t look like a drug smuggler which is why it is a more unique story. Kenny Wormald fills the lead runner role well, he makes us believe he is just as desperate as the rest. Ron Perlman and John C McGinley are both here just to have big names in the film, they are mostly just cameo like performances.

StoryThe story follows the high school dropout that built a drug business worth $68 million simply by trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border. This is based on the true story, which does show us through the eyes of the leader just how he pulled the operation off, while preaching about the laws on drugs within America. While it might be an interesting story, it is one we have seen before, it does promote breaking the law, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to be promoting, while relying heavily on the drug community to support the actions of these young men. We do also have too many pointless party scenes, which are clearly here just to put some boobs in the film and fill time.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe does show the drug trafficking side of the people involved in the story, shows how their lives changed with an idea however illegal it turned out to be. It does use the comedy to make light of the situation which is fine because this doesn’t ever feel like it needs to be serious, while the crimes being committed show just how the people involved didn’t care about the punishment they could face.

SettingsThe film is set between the borders of America and Canada, it shows the different life styles that Nate would have had between his time making the money and the environment taken to do the drug smuggling.


Scene of the Movie –
The travelling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless party scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interest look at the true story, it shows how the operation came about, how quickly it gathered steam and how the lives of the people involved were changed forever.

 

Overall: Interesting true story.

Rating