ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Police Story 3 (1992)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma, Lee Wai Yee (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Wah Yuen, Bill Tung

 

Plot: A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.


Tagline – Meet the cop that can’t be stopped!

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Jackie Chan Movie

 

Story: Police Story 3 starts when a Hong Kong gangster Panther (Yuen) is rumoured to broken out of a Chinese prison, Inspector Ka Kui Chan (Chan) is sent to China to work with the authorities, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh). He must break Panther out and escort him back to Hong Kong so he can face his own countries law.

When back in his home city, Chan must work with Yang as the crime boss Chaibat (Tsang) is preparing to free his wife from prison, while trying to keep his cover from his girlfriend May (Cheung).

 

Thoughts on Police Story 3

 

Characters – Inspector Ka Kui Chan (or Kevin in the dubbed version) he is considered a super cop in Hong Kong and must go undercover in China to bring down a gangster, he can handle himself in a fight even if certain moments it looks like luck over judgement. Inspector Jessica Yang is working for the Chinese police and works with Ka as she looks to use her strict style which clashes with the laidback nature of Ka. May is the girlfriend of Ka Kui and she is the one that blows his cover because the two have no form of communication. Chaibat is the gangster that is trying to get his wife out of prison, he runs Hong Kong and taking him down is just what is needed for the city.

PerformancesJackie Chan is one of those actors you can watch do anything, he is committed to his art form and this shows that he has a little bit of everything, from his pure energy in the action, but his comic timing too. Michelle Yeoh showed us that she was going to become a big action star in this film, handling the comedy just as well as the action. Maggie Cheung is mostly wasted here, her character doesn’t have much to do, while Kenneth Tsang fills the villainous role without any problems.

StoryThe story follows two cops from different countries working together to try and take down a big crime group who find themselves split between the two countries. We get the undercover idea here which works well, the awkward chemistry works well, thee action blends into the story taking our attention away from the simple side of everything involved. This does end up being by the books, we know they will get made and will be forced into action police wouldn’t consider and by the end we will see the cop come out on top with the criminal needing to face him in a final battle. The twists are not going to shock and the major turning point comes from somebody else’s stupidity.

Action/Comedy/CrimeWe are going into a Jackie Chan movie, we know the action is going to be big fight sequences and crazy stunts, this hits all the required expectations for this movie, certain stunts or fights get the laughs required too, which surprises with the number of funny moments that don’t take away from the action.

SettingsThe film keep the settings ready for the set pieces, we have the big cities, the working prisoners and the hideouts, everything you would expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The badly dubbed version shown on TV.

Final ThoughtsThis is a purely entertaining Jackie Chan movie, it has the action we would expect, the comedy that works without trying to be more than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – H – Hijacked (2017)

Director: Alex Merkin

Writer: Jesse Mittelstadt (Screenplay) Tyler W Konney, Jesse Mittelstadt, Richard Switzer (Story)

Starring: Denise Richards, Jonathan Lipnicki, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddel, Greer Grammer, John Posey

 

Plot: A female FBI agent is offered millions to help a thief escape from a hijacked airplane.


Tagline – A Heist at 30,000 Feet ..

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action 101

 

Story: Hijacked starts as we meet FBI hostage negotiator Gretchen Blair (Richards), whose technique was to play along as a sexy call girl to distract the hostage taker. This has left her in hot water and out of a job, returning to her new role she boards a plane meeting Terry (Barker) who offers Gretchen money to keep him alive on the flight.

Terry has crossed the wrong paths, with Matthew Sharpe (Lundgren) and his team Sadie (Grammer) and the mystery members who could be anybody on the flight, as the plane is hijacked. Gretchen must use her skills and training to keep everyone alive.

 

Thoughts on Hijacked

 

Characters – Gretchen Blair is a hostage negotiator whose career has just gone down the drain, she gets a chance to redeem herself though on her flight home which become taken over by hostage takers out for revenge against a thief. Matthew Sharpe is the man wanting what is his, he takes the plane becoming the pilot while his team get the package. Sadie is the lady on the floor of the plane, making sure the hostages stay in position and the people they want are where they are. Sadly neither of these two villains become anything special and could be interchanged with ease.

PerformancesDenise Richards in the lading role, well this isn’t something you would be expecting to see and you can see why it doesn’t click for this role, she does handle the break down side of things but everything else not so well. Dolph Lundgren is fast becoming an actor I will watch in anything, this is why he is good enough for the role even if he does feel like he could be chewing the scenery at time. Greer Grammer is ok as the villain, she does have the most time for the villains and just being nothing that special either.

StoryThe story is hijackers take over a plane holding the passenger’s hostage while plucky FBI agent tries to take them out before they take lives. This is an easy to watch late night action movie story, it never challenges your brain and doesn’t always make the most sense, but by the end it has done everything it says it will.

Action/CrimeThe action is basic, there isn’t a memorable scene, while the crime side of the movie is the hijacking itself.

SettingsThe film taking place on the plane is great because we are left to see just how the characters could get out of this situation.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the best, in fact they are poor which only makes it difficult to see certain moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening sequence is the highlight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The effects are poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a late night level action film, it basic and just becomes simple enough to watch. It has questionable casting which pulls everything don.

 

Overall: Not the best.

Rating

 

 

Michael Rooker Weekend – Whisper (2007)

Director: Stewart Hendler

Writer: Christopher Borrelli (Screenplay)

StarringMichael Rooker, Josh Holloway, Blake Woodruff, Sarah Wayne Callies, Julian Christopher, Joel Edgerton, Dule Hill 

 

Plot: Sinister things begin happening to kidnappers who are holding a young boy for ransom in a remote cabin.


Tagline – The devil’s work is childs play

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Horror

 

Story: Whisper starts when a group of criminals Max (Holoway), Sidney (Rooker), Roxanne (Callies) and Vince (Edgerton) kidnap a young boy David (Woodruff) in an attempt to gain a large ransom, as they look to sort their lives out.

Once David is in their possession, the four criminals soon learn that they have bitten off more than they can chew, when it turns out David has some kind of power which he will use against them as he is pure evil.

 

Thoughts on Whisper

 

Characters – Max is the member of the gang that wants to go clean, he wants his own business, but doesn’t have the capital to achieve this, he take the job in hopes that it will give him the money required to get the business and seems to be the only one that can keep it together through the events of the kidnapping. David is the boy that has been kidnapped, he is shown to be a loner even at his own birthday party, but it soon becomes clear that he has some form of powers that even his mother is scared off, using them to trick the criminals. Roxanne is the girlfriend of Max’s she is the first one to fold and want to quit the job as the mother instincts start taking over. Sidney is the leader of the gang that is putting the job together, he knows who to pick which does make this easier for him, though he isn’t prepared for this job.

PerformancesThis is a strange one for performances because our leads are Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies who at the time were involved in two of the biggest television shows, they both do an acceptable enough job playing to their strengths. Michael Rooker brings the strength in his performance, while young Blake Woodruff makes for an evil child with ease.

StoryThe story here is interesting because it does take a different turn when it comes to the kidnapping genre, by adding the horror elements. It does seem like everything is going to be by the book, until we learn early on when David is pure evil and turns the tables on the kidnappers. Now this should all work well and for the most part is an enjoyable enough watch, only we get a third act twist which only leaves us question large parts of the first act along with certain characters decisions.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film follows the kidnapping which seems to have gone smoothly for the criminals, the don’t get enough focus on the investigation though, which does feel like it could be an important part of the film. The horror side of the film focuses on the idea of the pure evil that David is and just how he uses his powers to make the people do the terrible things.

SettingsThe film has a couple of settings with the safehouse being the cabin in the woods away from any visitors, the small town just helps show how desperate the criminals are too.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we get a true mixed bag because the film doesn’t seem to commit on the levels needed to create the scares required.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The shower scene is shot badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch horror that is all we ask for at times, this isn’t the scariest film you will see and by the end it does have enough surprises to turn heads.

 

Overall: Simple and easy to watch horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Criminal (2016)

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writer: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molla, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Amaury Nolasco, Alice Eve

 

Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.


Tagline –  Take me to the Dutchman.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Action Thriller

 

Story: Criminal starts when CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is working on bringing The Dutchman (Pitt) to America in exchange for closing the wormhole on the dark web that he has created, the problem is Xavier Heimdahl (Molla) also wants the Dutchman and kills Bill before getting the answers.

Turning to Dr Franks (Jones) for an experimental memory transfer Quaker Wells (Oldman) the head of the CIA operation uses death-row inmate Jerico Stewart (Costner) to learn where the vital information is, but letting a killer lose becomes harder to control than believed.

 

Thoughts on Criminal

 

Characters – Jerico Stewart is the dangerous death-row inmate, we don’t learn what he has done, but anyone that crosses him usually ends up in a body bag. He is forced into receiving Bill’s memories in a hope that he can save a major release of secure information, he doesn’t want to work with the CIA and is happier to operate in his own means. Quaker Wells is running the CIA operation which goes wrong, he will go at any lengths to get the answers he needs to stop the information leak, company man who does go too far. Dr Franks has been working on transferring memories for 18 years, this is his first human attempt which shows how he wants to help with the new memories. Important to the story but lacking the impact he should have on the story. Bill Pope is the family man and CIA agent, it is his memories which hold the answers after he is killed. Xavier Heimdahl wants to bring an end to governments across the world, he will go public with his speeches while also having his darker side coming out when getting what he wants.

PerformancesKevin Coster is in the middle of his recovery/mid-life crisis roles in action movies, he knows how to make his performance work keeping everything entertaining throughout. Gary Oldman as a company man CIA agent, well this always works as he never needs o do anything challenging. Tommy Lee Jones likewise does what he needs to without bringing anything unique to the role. Reynolds is hard to judge because of the smaller part in the film. Jordi Molla does make a good villain showing the calmness needed for the character to feel calculated. Gal Gadot is solid in her supporting role without needing to do much.

StoryThe story gives us the idea that vital information is about to be leaked by a hacker if he doesn’t get a passport and immunity, but things go wrong when the agent with the connection is killed. The experimental idea of transferring memories is put in motion as the candidate doesn’t follow orders the way they had hoped and different agencies from around the globe want the information. This plays out like an action film, but in reality it should have been a tense thriller with the characters we have here. It is an easy to watch and enjoy even if the premise does seem wildly over the top for a simpler idea.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiWhen we look at the themes being used action gives us the shoot out we have seen before with a couple of car chases, nothing overly memorable though. The crime world we are placed into shows how the CIA are trying to protect the world from a new threat in London, it seems weird the British intelligence agency are not involved in this. The mystery in this film doesn’t work too well as the only thing needing to be solved is where the package was left. The sci-fi side of the film does come from the idea of transferring the memories, it is only used here though.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the surrounding area, it does feel weird that an American operation happens in England though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being over used for the action scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambulance chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a tonal problem with the action and thriller side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid easy to watch action thriller that doesn’t test the audience too much, throws in a wild sci-fi idea and big-name actors hoping it will be a classic.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating