K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Jarhead 3 The Siege (2016)

Director: William Kaufman

Writer: Chad Law, Michael D Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert

 

Plot: A group of Marines must protect a US Embassy in the Middle East when it suddenly comes under attack from enemy forces.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Siege Movie

 

Story: Jarhead 3: The Siege starts as new recruit Evan Albright (Weber) who has just gotten a role working in the US Embassy in the Middle East, welcomed by Hansen (Ainsley) and under the orders from Gunny Raines (Adkins) with the job to protect the Ambassador Cahill (Hogan). With Evan going through the lesson of how to operate in the embassy we are ready to begin.

Evan notices somebody outside the normal outside the embassy, which soon sees him learning the lessons of the protocol. The marines find the embassy under siege and must use all their training to keep the Ambassador alive against countless enemies.

 

Thoughts on Jarhead 3: The Siege

 

Characters – Evan is the newest marine bought into the embassy, he does fill in the gaps for the protocol that must be followed by the team, learn to work with the rest of the unit and is the first to suspect something is going on around the embassy and ends up being the one leading the fight back. Gunny Raines is the leader of the marines, you play by his rules or face the consequences. Major Lincoln is the one leading the rescue attempt, bringing the back-up required to hopefully help the stranded marines, spends most of the film in a helicopter racing to the scene. Olivia Winston is the computer operative at the embassy, she like Evan has bigger dreams when it comes to rising up through the military rankings.

PerformancesCharlie Weber does take the leading role here where we follow his character entering the world, he works as a soldier never setting the world alight, which can be same for the whole cast sees Scott Adkins, Sasha Jackson and Dennis Haysbert.

StoryThe story here follows a newly recruit marine in an US embassy that must deal with a siege from the locals on the building meaning he will join the marines to show off their skills to defend the embassy. This is one of the simplest stories you will ever see, we follow Evan as he and we learn the lay of the land, the siege is everything you would expect too, following the usual ideas of needing to have safety and out live the numbers that are trying to kill you. It does feel like the story is safe rather than challenging.

Action/WarThe action plays into the war side of the film, we get plenty of military manoeuvres to see bullets flying around.

SettingsThe settings in the film show us the embassy and how the marines operate within it, we see how this makes the positions difficult to defend.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the books.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to follow military action film, it doesn’t do anything wrong, only it just seems to be by the book and overly safe.

 

Overall: Safe Military Film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jarhead (2005)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: William Broyles Jr (Screenplay) Anthony Swofford (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Scott MacDonald, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Ming Lo, Lucas Black

 

Plot: A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.


Tagline – Every man fights his own war.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow and Effective War Film

 

Story: Jarhead starts as we meet Anthony Swofford (Gyllenhaal) who joined the marines, it isn’t long before he gets taken by Staff Sgt Sykes (Foxx) to the US Marine Sniper division going through the training regime meeting his spotter Alan Troy (Sarsgaard).

When war breaks out the marines are set to the middle east, where they must adapt to the desert condition before going into to conflict, this will test their psychical shape and their mental health as the waiting is just part of the sniper’s game.

 

Thoughts on Jarhead

 

Characters – Anthony Swofford who wrote the book the film is based on, we see how he joined the military out of college and struggled at first through the training regime. Anthony soon discovered he was ready for this life as a sniper, but his time in the gulf sees him start to lose his mind. Alan Troy becomes the best friend of Anthony’s and his spotter, he seems to be the most level-headed marine in the unit. Staff Sgt Sykes is the one running the sniper unit, he demands respect and isn’t afraid to put the marines in their place.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the leading role, he shows everyone how he can play the calm soldier, the crazed soldier and the broken man through the scenes of the film which only increase what he is dealing with. Peter Sarsgaard give us a brilliant supporting performance which shows how the fear can be kept inside a calm outer layer. Jamie Foxx brings us the energy of a career military man.

StoryThe story follows the experiences of one soldier that joins the marines before being put in the sniper division when war breaks out, he must adapt to life in the desert during the waiting game before the conflict. This story does show us just how difficult adapting to war can be for the soldiers and just how the war can be fought without needing to fire a weapon. It shows us just how the mindset can change over a set amount of time which will see the soldiers make decisions they wouldn’t normally consider making. This does focus on the idea that the main soldier Anthony never truly feels like he was part of the war followed by the effects of returning back from war can have on the soldiers who have returned.

Biopic/WarThis film follows Anthony’s experience with war, it shows how war isn’t everything he was planning and how his mindset wasn’t in the right place for parts of his experience. The war side of the film shows us just how different war has become over the years, where the ground soldiers are not as required as once before.

SettingsThe film has some wonderful uses of settings with the march sequence showing us just how open the area in question will be for the soldiers.


Scene of the Movie –
Returning home.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slow start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fascinating look at the modern war effort, how the biggest problem is now waiting for the war to begin rather than the fighting.

 

Overall: Modern war time.

Rating

 

 

Beyond the Line (2019)

Director: Jason Mills

Writer: Jason Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Walters, Jackson Berlin, Darren Andrichuk, Stephen Kloppenburg, Robert Allen Hughes

 

Plot: It’s the close of World War II. Unwilling to surrender, rogue German forces shoot down a returning British squadron leaving Sydney Baker wounded and lost with the enemy closing in. He’s saved by American soldier and the duo must face their fears, both internal and external, to defeat the enemy and make it back to friendly territory alive.


Tagline – Never Give Up

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Survivors Story

 

Story: Beyond the Line starts with the German’s surrendering in World War II, only certain forces of the German’s aren’t going down without a fight, as they shoot down a British squadron with the lone survivor Sydney Baker (Walters) finding himself trapped behind enemy lines, rescued by American William Summers (Berlin) the two team up to try and get to safety against the large number of German soldiers still in the woods.

As the number of German bodies piles up, the more German soldiers go in search for the enemy taking out their own, with the two-man army needing to face impossible odds to survive.

 

Thoughts on Beyond the Line

 

Characters – Sydney Baker is a nervous soldier that is on his final mission, he is involved in a plane crash after being shot down, being the lone survivor, needing to find his way through enemy lines woodland area. He must learn to be a soldier that will fight if he has any chance to survive with the help of William Summers. William Summers is an American soldier that is out for revenge against the Germans that took out his whole unit, he will kill anybody that gets his way and even pushes Sydney to become stronger in the field.

PerformancesWe only have two actors who get any real screen time, Chris Walters is our British solider that shows us how many soldiers weren’t ready to be in war, while Jackson Berlin does show how prepared a soldier would be to fight for the right thing. Both actors don’t put a foot wrong through the film which is nice to see, even if they don’t get challenged as much as they could be.

StoryThe story here follows to soldiers that are trapped behind enemy lines, where they must fight to survive against the Germans looking to hunt down any remaining soldiers left in their land. This is a very simple story when it comes to a war story, we get the basics of surviving done without feeling like we are facing threat that you feel will put them in danger, even though they are in extreme danger. The story is told in the form of a flashback which does give us heavy vibes about how Saving Private Ryan did everything, even if it goes in its own direction. It does show us how two different people will need to work together to make it through the tough situation they find themselves in too.

WarWhen it comes to the war genre, one of the major factors we see a lot, is just how difficult the situation the soldiers found themselves in and how many odds they needed to overcome as well as how not everybody was in the right condition to be fighting in the first place, this give us all of that.

SettingsThe film is set within woodland area, this shows us the struggles the soldiers are facing, while giving them enough cover to make it out of the situation, if they play it correctly.


Scene of the Movie –
The barn.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of feeling of peril.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at how the war did make things difficult for the soldiers fighting, how they must overcome the odds if they want to survive.

 

Overall: A strong war survival story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – Warsaw 44 (2014)

Director: Jan Komasa

Writer: Jan Komasa (Screenplay)

Starring: Jozef Pawlowski, Zofia Wichlacz, Anna Prochniak, Antoni Krolikowski, Maurycy Popiel

 

Plot: A story of love, friendship and the pursuit of adventure during the bloody and brutal reality of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong War Reality

 

Story: Warsaw 44 starts as we meet Stefan (Pawlowski) a young man living in Warsaw in 1944 during the war, he lives with his mother and younger brother bring the money back to the home, this changes when he meets a group of people similar to his age, they offer him a chance to go into the Polish army as they plan to fight back against the Germans.

As the Uprising starts to attack the Nazi’s Stefan learns the harsh reality of war up close and personal, with the love of his life Biedronka (Wichlacz) being the only one that will help him through the destruction.

 

Thoughts on Warsaw 44

 

Characters – Stefan is the honest hard working young man, he supports his family, protects his brother from the horrors of war, he is however led to join the Uprising in Warsaw against the Nazi’s, a move which will change his life, he will learn love and heartache as the war comes closer than he would imagine. Biedronka is the woman that Stefan falls for in the uprising, she fights alongside the men and will do everything to save lives. Kama is another woman in the uprising that shows love towards Stefan, we get plenty of characters in this film that are mostly following the ones in the uprising that will do anything to get their freedom back.

PerformancesJozef Pawlowski is good in the leading role, the charm he shows saying goodbye to his little brother could melt a heart and seeing his reaction to the war side of the film shows us how any young man would have been going through during the time. The rest of the cast is good, getting their moments to shine with the desperation needed through the war.

StoryThe story follows the young people of Poland setting up an uprising to take on the Nazis during World War II, it starts as a small fight and soon throws them into the true harsh reality of war. While seeing the realities of war isn’t anything new, we do know how destruction, devasting and brutal war is on the people involved and World War II could well have been the worse in modern history, these people didn’t have any hope and only wanted freedom, they were willing to lay die their lives to do so. The characters however are fictional which could hold back being truly connected to the real people that would have suffered through the events. The story isn’t an easy watch and does have parts we don’t need to see, mostly the romance.

History/Romance/WarThe history behind this film is true, we knew how bad the war was on the people and just how fighting back was the only way, these two parts of the film are shown near perfectly for what it could have cost people. The romance however just feels tacked on and unneeded for most of the film.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are there, feeling each explosion, moment of destruction with hauntingly created settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The graveyard battle, because it shows us what they will truly be battling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting war drama, it shows us just what people were willing to do through the war through the eyes of the young adults.

 

Overall: Hard-hitting war drama

Rating