ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – Gene Quintano – Sudden Death (1995)

Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Gene Quintano (Screenplay) Karen Baldwin (Story)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J Barry, Whittni Wright, Ross Malinger, Dorian Harewood

 

Plot: A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.


Tagline – Tonight, 17 thousand hockey fans have been taken hostage…but just one of them knows it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: Sudden Death starts as we meet firefighter Darren McCord (Van Damme) who is involved in a tragic rescue resulting in a young girls death. 2-years-later McCord has got a job as a fire inspector for the city ice hockey team as they are preparing for the seventh game in the Stanley Cup, taking his two children Emily (Wright) and Tyler (Malinger) to the game.

With the game under way Joshua Foss (Boothe) executes his plan to hold the Vice President (Barry) hostage along with the rest of the arena threatening to kill the hostage unless he gets paid, McCord becomes the only person that can save the arena and redeem his reputation.

 

Thoughts on Sudden Death

 

Characters – Darren McCord is a former firefighter who lost a young girl during a rescue, 2-years-late he is now a fire marshal for the ice hockey arena, he takes his kids to the game only for his daughter to be taken by the terrorists. He must use his fighting skills to stay ahead of the terrorists and save not only his daughter, but the vice President and the rest of the spectators in the arena. Joshua Foss is the leader of the terrorists, he wants money and lots of it, knowing where to take it from, he will kill anyone who is involved in the plan, he will kill hostages being a man of his word knowing he has a full arena of victims. Vice President is the man being held hostage by Joshua, he remains calm knowing that the situation doesn’t need to get out of hand no matter how many people Joshua executes. We do have Darren’s kids who are both just what you would expect with the members of the terrorist group completing the mix with the generic ones we know.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is one of the biggest icons in action, this could very well be one of his best roles, he looks like an everyday man with his own problems acting like a hero and showing us the fighting skills which have made him famous Power Boothe is great in the villainous role, he calmness makes his character fell disturbing throughout the film and is easily on of the underrated villains of the action genre. The rest of the cast are good, while the main two steal the show.

StoryThe story is what people branded ‘Die Hard, in an Ice Hockey Arena’ that is the best way to describe it, a former hero needing to redeem himself from a past mistake and when the chance presents itself in the ice hockey arena he must save the people from a criminal. It uses the real-time feeling as the have the game being the countdown through the events which does help show the rush to save the day as well as dealing with a villain that is cold-hearted and has been planning this job for years. For action we don’t always need the deepest of stories, this shows us what we can have achieved within the time period in question.

Action/CrimeThe action shows McCord going up against different henchman in different locations around the arena, even if the kitchen one against the penguin suit is the one you will most likely remember. The crime shows how a robbery can be put together to work like clockwork even if things don’t always go to plan.

SettingsThe film is set in the ice hockey arena, the action needs to remain here for the whole game giving us a tidy timeline to deal with through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
McCord versus the penguin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We miss the comic relief needed for the bonkers side of the idea.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable action film that shows us just how entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme can be if we are allowed to let him off his leash to fight.

 

Overall: Action film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Room for Rent (2019)

Director: Tommy Stovall

Writer: Stuart Flack (Screenplay)

Starring: Lin Shaye, Oliver Rayon, Valeska Miller, Ryan Ochoa, Linda Cushma, Casey Nicholas Price

 

Plot: Lonely widow Joyce rents out a room in her house and becomes dangerously obsessed with one of her guests.


Tagline – All she wanted was a decent man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lin Shaye is Truly Unsettling

 

Story: Room for Rent starts when Joyce (Shaye) loses her husband, feeling left alone in her house that she needs to pay for the debt left behind, she decides to open her own Bed n Breakfast in her home. Her first guests are a couple which sees her become friends with Sarah (Miller) helping her with her problems.

Learning from her early mistakes with her bed n breakfast, Joyce upgrades certain parts and starts searching for more guests with Bob (Rayon) being her next one. Joyce starts to get an unhealth obsession with her guest who helps her deal with problems including the local teenage troublemakers Wayne (Ochoa). Will Joyce obsession take things too far or not?

 

Thoughts on Room for Rent

 

Characters – Joyce is an older lady that has lived her life with her husband for years, her husband dies which leads to her feeling lonely wanting attention. She is considered strange in her town, she turns her home into a bed n breakfast in an attempt to make new friends which she does, even if she starts to become obsessed with one of her guest, acting like a school girl trying to impress him. Bob is her first long term guest that Joyce takes in, he is mysterious about his personal life and does grab the attention of Joyce, he will stand up for Joyce with the local troublemakers. Sarah is the first guest that Joyce gets, she is an author working on her latest book which sees her need to decide on her own future, she stays in contact with Joyce becoming a pen-pal and visiting when Bob has been staying long enough, seeing how Joyce is acting differently.

PerformancesLin Shaye is fantastic in this role, we are left truly unsettled by here performance which sees her making decisions which seem odd. Oliver Rayon is left looking confused by Joyce’s character which is needed for the film. Valeska Miller completes the supporting cast with a performance that doesn’t do anything wrong.

StoryThe story here follows a lonely widow that opens her house to guests, only for her to become obsessed with one of them, making up her own stories to what is happening between the two. This story does make us feel unsettled throughout, we see Joyce become more obsessed with each passing moment, acting like a school girl trying to grab the attention of her crush. It must be pointed out there is a hint of grief of losing a life partner, which could see anybody do something out of the normal. The story does suffer in places because we get the ideas of certain side stories to why Joyce is the way she is, only they don’t seem to get completed to the most satisfactory levels for us.

ThrillerThe film doesn’t take long to build up the tension because Lin Shaye makes her character feel like she could be up to anything in the film.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the home, it does feel disturbing when you know how Joyce could always pop up somewhere.


Scene of the Movie –
When Joyce gets betrayed in her eyes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of follow through on one story about Joyce’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the more disturbing and unsettling movies of the year, even though it doesn’t pull all the triggers it could.

 

Overall: Unsettling and chilling.

Rating

 

 

Blood & Oil (2015)

Director: Curtis Graham

Writer: Samantha Iwowo (Screenplay)

Starring: William R Moses, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Dayton Sinkia

 

Plot: Based on True Events. A story about the 1st oil well drilled in Nigeria and how the impact has affected a small Nigerian Delta Village  (Oloibiri) and the lives of those involved.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Shocking Truth

 

Story: Blood & Oil starts after oil is discovered in a small Nigerian village of Oloibiri, the locals under a man known as Gunpowder (Mofe-Damijo) look to control the people, while businessman Powell (Moses) wants fair working conditions on everyone working for the transport of the oil.

Where the oil wasn’t controlled properly the first time, it led to the locals becoming sick and dying, this has led to the tension growing between the two sides when the new investment arrives with the locals not wanting to risk the lives of their own children.

 

Thoughts on Blood & Oil

 

Characters – Powell is the businessman that wants to run an oil business in Nigeria, he wants a honest business, with safe working and environmentally friendly towards the neighbourhood, unlike the previous people that run the company, he finds himself on the run after the locals want nothing to do with him. Gunpowder runs the local area, believing the oil will in fact be his to control, he rules by killing and forcing people to give him what he wants. He is feared by most of the locals in the area. Azu works for Powell, he has seen the consequences of the oil in his country and is torn between which side to be working on.

PerformancesWilliam R Moses is the America figure in the film and does a good job which is mostly trying to do the right thing. Richard Mofe-Damijo does bring us a character that does strike fear into the audience with just how dominate he makes his character.

StoryThe story here shows how one Nigerian village is dealing with the latest oil discovery and soon we see just how the different sides react to the latest look at investment. This does show us just how the oil business will make people do the craziest things for greed, we see how relationship between outsiders had become strained because of the actions of the people beforehand. We see how this behaviour is still happening in the modern times which shows how oil is only going to drive people to do crazy actions.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the militant behaviour of the Gunpowder and his men that use their guns to control people.

SettingsThe film is set in Nigeria in one village that shows how the people here have been affected for years and turned the mentality of the people in the area.


Scene of the Movie –
The captured reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more from the Powell ideas of doing things the right way.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at how the mentality of people when it comes to oil and the potential money that could come from controlling it.

 

Overall: Interesting look at the oil industry.

Rating

 

 

Ron Perlman Weekend – Blade II (2002)

Director: Guillermo del Torro

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay) Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan (Characters)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kirstofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: Blade forms an uneasy alliance with the vampire council in order to combat the Reapers, who are feeding on vampires.


Tagline – One Man Still Has The Edge

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Blood-Soaked Sequel

 

Story: Blade II starts as a new breed of vampire Nomak (Goss) hunts down vampires for feed, meanwhile Blade (Snipes) has unfinished business with the vampires, he wants Whistler (Krisofferson) back after he was turned and taken from him. Once Whistler is saved, Blade returns him to the human form with his new assistant Scud (Reedus).

When the Vampire council approach Blade to help them stop the Reaper strain Nomak is carrying, Blade must team up with the Blood Pack led by Nyssa (Varela) and including Reinhardt (Perlman), Snowman (Yen) and Chupa (Schulze) to put aside their difference to defeat the newest enemy to them both.

 

Thoughts on Blade II

 

Characters – Blade, daywalker, the half human, half vampire is continuing his battle against vampires, but this time he learns of a new threat the Reapers, who are deadlier than any vampire he has face, so he must unite with the vampires to defeat them. Still as deadly as before, with sword or guns, no vampire can just defeat him. Whistler returns only this time Blade must help him to recover, which leaves us wondering which side of the battle he will be on through the movie. Reinhardt is a member of the Bloodpack, he is the one that hates working with Blade, his sworn enemy for years. He shows his discontent while be one of the best soldiers in the unit. Nyssa is the daughter of Damaskinos, a pure blood vampire and leader of the Bloodpack, she becomes a Love interest for Blade in a strange turn of events. Scud has filled the Whistler role for Blade in his hunt, he creates the weapons needed to defeat the enemies while mostly being a slob for the most part. Damaskinos is the leader of the vampire council, he brings the rivals together to try and end the war. Nomak is the reaper terrorising the streets, he is the first of his creation and now deadly to anyone who he infects.

PerformancesWesley Snipes will always be remembered for this role, it is his most iconic and the one the fans enjoy watching. Here he does everything needed to continue making it people’s favourite. Kristofferson on the other hand does feel like he is mailing it in for the most part. Ron Perlman does the best to try and steal the spotlight bring the few moments of humour to the film. Leonor Varela is good as the only major female character in the film and does have a good opening fight sequence with Blade. Luke Goss is good as the villain showing us the sympathetic side and the brutal side of his character. The rest of the cast are good through the film.

StoryThe story puts our hero Blade needing to team up with his enemy to take on a new enemy, this does work because we didn’t need to see Blade just take on more normal vampires, we needed to up the stakes and the new breed does this. We also get the tension between the two sides with the common enemy, needing to trade secrets to make things happen. We must remember this is a comic book movie, so we need things to be farfetched at time too. We have the traditional twists you would come to expect at times too.

Action/HorrorThe action is fun, we have great fighting sequences, but certain moments feel like a video game. The horror uses the vampires for the blood filled violence moments in the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the dark underworld you would imagine vampires would live in, the new breed in the sewers shows us how they are starting at the bottom looking to raise to the top too.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills are good throughout, the effects for the fight scenes are at times seems poor CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
Sewer invasion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Donnie Yen’s characters death, wasted opportunity.

Final ThoughtsThis was a fun comic book action horror, we get plenty of blood flying around with plenty of kills going on which will keep the fans happy.

 

Overall: Great sequel for an iconic character.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – The Negotiator (2018)

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Khalid Benchgra, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge

 

Plot: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.


Tagline – The Americans want to keep their secrets. The Israelis want to raise the stakes. He only wants to save a life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes  

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels it Should

 

Story: The Negotiator starts as we see American Diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) involved in a tragic event in Beirut. Walking away from this career, he is dragged out of retirement when his old friend Cal (Pellegrino) is taken hostage by the Israelis.

Mason working with Sandy (Pike), Gary (Whigham) and Donald Gaines (Norris) must enter negotiations to free Cal without a body count in a high-tension situation in Beirut.

 

Thoughts on The Negotiator

 

Characters – Mason Skiles has been working in a diplomatic position for years, until a tragic event sees his wife killed in Beirut, he steps away from that world, living a business life back in America. He gets pushed back into the field when his friend is kidnapped and one of his former connections is the prime suspect to everything going on, he must use his connections to try and get a peaceful end to the situation. Sandy is the connection that must keep an eye on Mason, she is considered the skirt that will entertain the America to keep him there, she has her own connections though and will be the one that is happy to let Mason off his leash. Donald Gaines and Gary Ruzak are both involved in the operation with their own agendas coming through.

PerformancesJon Hamm in the leading role is the strongest part of the film as he has the most about his character who has been through the trauma and must use this mission to redeem himself.  Rosamund Pike struggles to make the impact you feel her character is meant to, while the rest of the cast just don’t get the time to make any sort of impact.

StoryThe story follows a negotiator that has walked away from the diplomatic position only to be forced back into the field to help his old friend who has become the latest kidnapping victim by terrorist group. This tries to create the same sort of atmosphere as the true events that went on during the Beirut problems with the Israeli terrorist groups that were at war with the Americans, we struggle to get sucked into the movie because the tension is never given to us enough to make us become interested in what is happening to the characters. the one that does have an arc is Mason which gets glanced over more than anything as we try to show him in the middle of a situation he knows how to play, though he isn’t meant to be in control of.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film struggles to come through as strong as it should because of the lack of tension in the film, while the stacks are high, nothing seems in any way out of control.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings being used in the streets of Beirut which does show us how much trouble the city was in during the terrorist attacks.


Scene of the Movie –
The deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The political side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak tension based movie that just never hits the levels it should do like many of the films in this genre.

 

Overall: Just not on the strongest levels.

Rating