Angel Has Fallen (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Matt Cook, Robert Mark Kamen, Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay) Katrin Benedikt, Creighton Rothenberger (Characters)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nick Nolte, Lance Reddick, Danny Huston, Tim Blake Nelson

Plot: Secret Service Agent Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat.


Tagline – Fallen. Framed. Forced to Fight for His Life.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Franchise Hasn’t Fallen

Story: Angel Has Fallen starts when Mike banning (Butler) is the only survivor of a drone attack on President Allan Trumbull (Freeman), the rest of the team are killed and Mike has been framed for the assassination attempt. FBI agent Helen Thompson (Smith) is investigating the case, with Mike looking cut and dry to have been the man behind it, but when Mike escapes, he sets out to prove his innocence.

Mike turns to his estranged father Clay (Nolte) as he looks to discover why his old friend an private contractor Wade Jennings (Huston) has set him up and how he can prove his isn’t involved despite a nationwide manhunt for him.

Thoughts on Angel Has Fallen

Characters – Mike Banning is still a senior secret service man, playing righthand to the President, he has been keeping his injuries secret, which is nice to see an action man actually suffering injuries, instead of just being fine, like most action stars. He does his duty saving the President from an attack, only to find himself framed. When the people come to finish the job on Banning, he escapes and uses all his training to allude and search for a way to prove his innocence. Allan Trumbull is now the President, stepping up from his role as the Vice in the previous two outings, he is looking to change certain ideas, though he spends most of his film in a coma after the attack, he is the only other witness who could defend Mike’s involvement too. Wade Jennings is the private military contractor and old military buddy of Mike’s, he has framed him and is using his expertly trained team to hunt him down and finish off the job. Leah is the wife of Mike’s she is trying to keep him from working now they have a child and must deal with the consequences of seeing the name dragged through the dirt. FBI Agent Helen Thompson is trying to put the pieces together, seeing Mike as the prime suspect, she just wants the case closed without anybody else being hurt. Clay Banning is the estranged father of Mike’s he has been off the grid for years because of his own trauma from his time in the war, he is the only person Mike knows he can turn too.

PerformancesGerard Butler is great in the leading role, he is always going to be a bankable star when it comes to action roles and this is no different. Morgan Freeman does everything you would expect from a President role, without needing to do much. Piper Perabo takes over from Radha Mitchell in the wife role, which doesn’t have much to do if we are being honest. Danny Huston is one of these actors that you know is always going to be a villain, he does everything we know he can do in this role. Nick Nolte is a lot of fun, bringing his trademark estranged father role to the big screen once again, he gets a few laughs in too.

StoryThe story here sees Mike Banning being framed for the assassination attempt of the President, the figure that he has been guarding for years and he must go off the grid to prove who was really behind it. The story is one that is great to watch for action, but if you have seen the previous instalments of the franchise, you will be left asking a few questions. First what happened to President Benjamin Asher, we have zero mention of him, secondly, how is nobody on Mike’s side after all he has done in the past, like seriously, he pretty much saved the President against impossible odds twice. While this question could be answered with the number of pieces of evidence placed on him, it still doesn’t seem to fit the character these people have created. Away from these questions, we must say this does build on the scale of the previous film’s stories, which is good because it does feel different, which each film does do. We could easily watch this story as a single film too and the fact that we do touch on the physical injuries that Mike has suffered through his job, does show a vulnerable action character.

ActionThe action is big, we might not have the large scale opening attack, but once we get into the military formations ideas, we get plenty of tactical shootings.

SettingsThe film does build on the settings, with the first one being one building, the second being one city, now we have a nationwide hunt.

Special EffectsThe effects, well this has been an issue for the franchise all along, but the green screen scenes are so clear to see it almost feels like they didn’t finish the job yet.


Scene of the Movie – Mike and Clay have an escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – No mention of former President Benjamin Asher, like what happened here?

Final Thoughts This is a action sequel that does enough different to make it feel fresh even if certain parts of the story feels too farfetched, it does continue to have a 24 vibe to everything, but it is well for a watch if you have seen the franchise or not.

Overall: Trilogy that hasn’t Fallen.

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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

 

 

Robert De Niro Weekend – Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace, at first, in her imaginary friend.


Tagline – If you want to know the secret, you have to play the game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Horror

 

Story: Hide and Seek starts when psychologist David (De Niro) loses his wife to a sudden suicide, to help his daughter Emily (Fanning) through the trauma he decides to move to a more remote location upstate of New York.

David is trying to settle in with Emily, who soon starts to have her own imagine friend named Charlie, David does turn to colleague Katherine (Janssen) for advice, while trying to move on with both their lives, only Charlie starts to show an evil side.

 

Thoughts on Hide and Seek

 

Characters – David is a psychologist in the big city of New York, he has a wife and daughter, only all his skills can’t help him see the depression his own wife is suffering through, needing to put his life back together with his daughter, he needs to  make sure Emily doesn’t fall into needing more help, while navigating learning to live in a new town. Emily is the daughter that became traumatised after the death of her mother, she uses her imaginary friend to get away with doing evil things around the house. Emily is a character that you can understand the acting against the normal because dealing with loss can be difficult for a child. Katherine is the colleague that specialises in helping children, she is the one that David turns to for added advice for helping his daughter. Elizabeth is a local divorced woman with a child the same age as Emily, David tries to build a friendship for both himself and Emily with her, Elizabeth shows that people can be patient when searching for new friendship.

PerformancesRobert De Niro stepping into the horror genre is something refreshing, he does show how difficult it could be for a father to keep everything together after losing a wife. Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter brings the fear required, while also being creepy through the film. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue are both solid enough supporting the film, without needing to make that big of an impact in what is going on.

StoryThe story follows a recently widowed father taking his daughter to start a new life in a quieter neighbourhood, only for her to get a new imaginary friend that doesn’t like the people in her life. Now this story could and does start by showing the effects of a trauma on a young girl, after she witnesses her mother’s suicide, this could explain the actions she ends up causing through the film, the problem with the story comes from the fact the film sets this up, only to go in a direction which makes zero sense for anything we have seen in the first act. It also doesn’t help the fact we have five yes FIVE different endings too. This is a story that completely derails because of a simple choice and ends up just being difficult to watch.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is confusing too, mostly because it is weak dream sequences before anything being remotely scary happening until the final third of the film which, does have strong moments, just doesn’t make sense to what we knew before. The mystery in the film comes from trying to figure out who Charlie is, because we get suggestions it could be a person with the number of people that get introduced around the new home, add in that it could be supernatural, we are left to figure out who they are.

SettingsThe film is set in upstate New York where the father and daughter are trying to start a new life away from the busy life that could have caused added stress in life. It does give the family an isolation factor which adds to the potential suspense in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Not interested in new friends.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The third act twist just confuses everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that was going in a smooth direction to be interesting only to take a twist which makes it frustrating by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Weak ending horror.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Peter Stone (Screenplay) John Godey (Novel)

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, James Broderick, Dick O’Neill

 

Plot: In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it’s paid, how could they get away?


Tagline – 1:23pm. Grand Central Station, New York. A packed commuter train is hijacked. A ransom is set – at one million dollars. The subway is a closed system. For the four hijackers, surely there is no way out. But they have a deadly plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense 70’s Thriller

 

Story: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three starts when four man codenamed Blue (Shaw), Green (Balsam), Grey (Elizondo) and Brown (Hindman) hijack a New York subway train, they have demands, one million dollars or they will kill the hostages, Police LT Zachary Garber (Matthau) is left in charge of trying to negotiate the freedom of the passengers.

As the race against time continues to prepare the money we see just how far the hijackers will go for their money and just what is their motives for picking the train system to hijack, which should leave them little chance of escape.

 

Thoughts on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

 

Characters – Lt Garber is trying to show off the New York subway system to the Japanese investment group, only for his day to turn into chaos, as he must work to protect the passengers on the train from the office, figuring out how to stay ahead of the ring leader. Blue is the man running the operations on board the train, he knows what he wants, how to get it done though he doesn’t trust his whole team. Green is the most trusted man working under Blue, he will not ask questions and will get the job done. Grey is one of the hijackers that Blue isn’t keen on, the newest member of the team which only draws attention to him.

PerformancesWalter Matthau in the leading role is strong, he brings a role that is only considered an everyday person to life, needing to stay ahead of the hijackers. Robert Shaw as the lead hijacker is strong through the film taking control of the situation well. When it comes to the rest of the cast we get strong performance that don’t make the biggest impact from all involved.

StoryThe story follows a group of hijackers that take over a New York subway train wanting money in exchange for passengers and the transport police officers that is trying to stop them. This does play into the ideas of just how people were committing hijackers during the 70’s, it shows how the cities will pay to save the lives of their citizens, it shows us the panic that would come over a city, with the location making everything around watching over the train difficult. We get the usual idea behind the robbery with the team not a smoothly operating as they should be.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mostly how the tactical approach is used to prepare for the attempts to take down the hijackers. This does show how the criminals are acting and have put a plan together.

SettingsThe film mostly is set on the train and with the station that the police are watching over the events preparing for the problem to be solved.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hostages are slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic action crime thriller that did get a remake, certain parts haven’t aged that well, while others make it feel more raw.

 

Overall: Classic Action Thriller.

Rating