Any Bullet Will Do (2018)

Director: Justin Lee

Writer: Justin Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Makely, Bruce Davison, Jenny Curtis, Meg Foster, Todd A Robinson, Mark Ryan

 

Plot: Taking place during 1876 in Montana, a ruthless headhunter tracks his own Brother through Big Sky country with the help of a young fur trapper.


Tagline – Mercy is something you beg for.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Western

 

Story: Any Bullet Will Do starts when headhunter Hollis Ransom (Makely) arrives in the small town to collect his bounty from Jonathan Carrington (Davison) before stopping off at Ma Whitman’s (Foster) bar. Everett Ransom (Robinson) the brother of Hollis who is a murderous man, that Hollis is hired to eliminate them.

In need of a guide, Hollis reluctantly agrees to take the services of Rose Gage (Curtis) who knows how to deal with the snow-covered mountain ranges of Montana, can Hollis get his revenge.

 

Thoughts on Any Bullet Will Do

 

Characters – Hollis Ransom is lone headhunter that isn’t afraid to collect any bounties, he has a tortured past with his wife murdered by his own brother during the war, now he hunts his brother and must learn to trust Rose who can guide him to the end of his revenge mission. Jonathan Carrington pays the bounty hunters, he is ruthless when it comes to business though not always keeping his word. Rose Gage is the young woman that is the only one that will help Hollis in his journey across the mountains, she knows how to survive the terrain proving to be an excellent partner in his journey. Ma Whitman runs the local tavern, she will look after the loyal customers including Hollis.

PerformancesKevin Makely in the leading role as the headhunter is good, he makes us feel like he would be an outsider too which is what we need from this performance. Bruce Davison is solid enough in his supporting role, he doesn’t get that much screen time though. Jenny Curtis is strong in her role and works wonderfully well with Kevin. The rest of the cast do fit the roles they are given.

StoryThe story here is a old school western revenge one, with one man hunting down the person that killed his wife, this person just so happens to be his brother though, giving us a sibling rivalry in the fallout of the civil war. When it comes to the lone man on a revenge journey we see how reluctant they are to let others in, this is Hollis, we see how the one person he does let in, is only there dreaming of a better life for themselves. My only issue with the story is not getting to see just how twisted Everett is, sure we see what he did to Hollis’s wife, but on the journey he seems to pick up a reputation which makes him a terrible man, seeing a couple of action would only make us hate him more.

WesternThe western theme is one I have spoken about as one that we don’t see too often now, this shows we can do them and we can step away from the heated environment.

SettingsThe setting for this film is snow-covered mountain ranges which look as beautiful as they do seem deadly, showing us the man might not be the only danger for the men.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using Bruce Davison enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the surprise westerns of the year, we get to see just how strong characters can come together in a battle even if it is between a family, we have two strong performances and a shoot-out worth waiting for.

 

Overall: Western full of gritty and determination.

Rating

 

 

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Five Fingers for Marseilles (2018)

Director: Michael Matthews

Writer: Sean Drummond (Screenplay)

Starring: Zethu Dlomo, Garth Breytenbach, Anthony Oseyemi, Kenneth Fok, Vuyo Dabbula, Warren Masemola

 

Plot: Lives change forever when Tau, the young lion, kills two corrupt policemen in a South African shanty town.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Western of the Year

 

Story: Five Fingers for Marseilles starts as we meet the group of friends who decide to create a group known as the Five Friends and the girls that loves them, Zulu the leader, Lerato (Dlomo) the heart and soul, Unathi (Poolo) the pastor and storyteller, Luyanda (Mabaso) the broken one, Bongani (Nkosi) the richest one, Tau (Dabula) the fastest most ruthless one. together they plan to former a group to protect their rural town or Marseilles as children.

Tau must flee the village after killing two corrupt police officers, now 20-years later he is still fighting the law. Returning home Tau seems Marseilles has changed with Bongani running the town and Sepoko (Dhlamini) looking to eliminate the town, Tau must step up to defend his childhood home and with the remaining members of the gang.

 

Thoughts on Five Fingers for Marseilles

 

Characters – Tau was a member of the Five Fingers gang as a boy, he killed two police officers forcing him into hiding, 20-years later he returns to see the town still being controlled by criminals. He must use the fight he always showed to lead the remaining members of his gang to freedom. Sepoko is the ruthless man that wants to kill anyone that gets in his way to control the area, he is filled with stories that can only show us what he is capable of and doesn’t give second chances. Lerato is the girl from the gang, she has been raised to take over the tavern with her father and her own son, she is surprised with Tau’s return after he saved her in the incident, she knows how to handle the drunks and trouble makers. Strong is the best word to describe this character. Luyanda is known as the cockroach by the gang, he has always had to fight to survive turning himself into one of the cops in the village, waiting for his chance to return the village to the right way.

PerformancesVuyo Dabula could easily be a break out star this year, he gives us a performance that could be put in any western conversation as one of the best especially in the modern era of cinema. Hamilton Dhlamini does fit the villainous role wonderfully too, we completely believe he delivery of his twisted words towards anyone who gets in his way. The whole cast are great through this film because one performer makes us believe their characters are real.

StoryThe story here follows a once tight knit teenage gang that get separated fighting for their village, 20-years-later one member of the gang returns to the village to learn the fates of the rest and learns the fight is still going on. In this story we get characters that feel like we could see them living the 20-years between the start and present part of the story. we get the returning member of the gang that we have seen facing his past and how the rest of the gang has adapted to survive while staying in the same village. This follows the known traits for any western and only adds to the story interest and suspense.

WesternWhen it comes to westerns, we just don’t seem to get that many anymore, this brings us one that uses all of the typical western themes to make us care about the reluctant hero, the outcast and one that makes us want to see the villain get what they deserve.

SettingsThe film is set in a small South African village, one that has been put under pressure by a police presence, each location truly feels lived in and helps us enjoy what we are seeing as money talks when it comes to holding back potential.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown, which shows us just how real these people feel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This almost feels like it should be even longer to help us learn about the rest of the gang.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful western that could easily be the best of the year, this is a film people should be watching and most importantly, be one people are talking about.

 

Overall: Western done to perfection.

Rating

 

 

Oklahoma! (1999)

Director: Trevor Nunn

Writer: Oscar Hammerstein II (Book) Lynn Riggs (Play)

Starring: Maureen Lipman, Hugh Jackman, Josefina Gabrielle, David Shelmerdine, Jimmy Johnston, Shuler Hensley

 

Plot: Cowboy Curly McClain tries to win the heart of a girl in a singing and dancing extravaganza.

 

Runtime: 3 Hours

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Theatre Experience

 

Story: Oklahoma! Starts as cowboy Curly (Jackman) is trying to get farm girl Laurey Williams (Gabrielle) to be his date for dance, her heart is torn between what she wants in him and what would be right, going with the farm hand Jud (Hensley).  Playing matchmaker is Aunt Eller (Lipman) who wants best for her niece.

The battle between the men is on leaving Laurey to make the difficult decision herself, while on route to the party just where will everything go.

 

Thoughts on Oklahoma!

 

Characters – Aunt Eller is the lady pulling the strings between her niece and the other single women in the west, she can keep peace between the different backgrounds. Curly is a cowboy that is full of confidence that wants to be with Laurey, he is honourable and desirable for the women in the town and sets his sights on Laurey only. Laurey is the farm girl in search of a husband and is torn over two men, one she loves and one that has helped her family the most. Jud is the rival that wants Laurey’s hand in marriage, she is rougher around the edges making him feel like he would be a bad husband.

PerformancesWhen going into the performance we must understand this is the stage recording of the story, the whole cast show their talents off here to make this feel truly believable like you are one of the audience, and Jackman doesn’t even stand out over the rest of the performers.

StoryThe story here is a theatre classic, it focuses mostly on a young farm woman that is searching for a husband and being torn between her feelings and marrying for supporting in the wild west era. This is a slow story and you can understand why it is a stage musical, making it 3 hours is strange because there isn’t too much going on for the most part though.

Musical/Romance/WesternThe musical numbers are big and magical, easily the most important part of the film. the romance side of the film follows Laurey as she must make her choice about how to treat love. The western side of the film comes from the setting and time which shows us just where we are meant to be watching.

SettingsThis is a recording of the theatre production, we know the settings are only going to be the stage and what can be placed on it, this does work for this very well.


Scene of the Movie –
Dream sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is way too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a musical production that gets to highlight Hugh Jackman when he first broke into Hollywood, it is known as the classic show and has nothing wrong with the performance, but it is overly long.

 

Overall: Easy access to Musical world.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – G – Gallowwalkers (2014)

Director: Andrew Goth

Writer: Andrew Goth (Screenplay) Joanne Reay (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith, Tanit Pheonix Copley, Simona Roman, Steven Elder

 

Plot: A cursed gunman (Snipes) whose victims come back from the dead recruits a young warrior to help in the fight against a gang of zombies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Misses the Targets

 

Story: Gallowwalkers starts as gunslinger Aman (Snipes) travels around the wild west in search for the dead, executed men and women that come back from beyond the grave with Kansa (Howarth) being the leader of the zombie like gang that he killed years before.

Kansa has built up an army but is still searching to find a way to bring his son back from the dead, killing people in hopes of being able to give him the ability his gang has. Aman recruits Fabulos (Smith) to help him battle the gang as both side wants to eliminate the other once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Gallowwalkers

 

Characters – Aman is the gunslinger roaming the wild west in search for the undead that have returned causing havoc across the land. He has a connection to the gang as he is the one who killed them in an act of revenge and is happy to spend his days killing them again. Kansa is trying to bring his son back from the dead, like he has been able to, he will kill people in search for the chance and has been waiting to showdown with the man that killed him for years. Fabulos is the young hero that Aman recruits to help him defeat the undead, he learns as the times goes on about his skills and reason to fight.

PerformanceWesley Snipes is here in name only, he gets to have a few fight scenes which you feel he enjoys more than he should because his delivery is sloppy throughout. Kevin Howarth does make a good villain without being as twisted as you think his character should be while Riley Smith looks lost at times out there.

StoryThis is a story that doesn’t seem to click, but you do have to respect the idea they didn’t want the traditional undead zombie problem rather focusing on resurrection. The problems with this story is that we only seem to focus on Aman or Kansa story and they were only meeting in the final act of the film. we have Aman just wondering around killing odd undead while Kansa looks to resurrect his son. It does feel like we needed more of a connection between the two storylines instead of just focusing on the captive’s boobs.

Action/Horror/WesternThe action is mostly lazy western styled action, a few gunshots here a few there while we also focus on a couple of by the book fights. The horror side of the film comes off weak too as we do want to see a lot more from the zombie figures.

SettingsThe western settings put us in the desert for most of the film which does work without being anything truly iconic like the best westerns.

Special EffectsThe effects are the highlight of this film because we do get to see plenty of head explosion through the film which is a lot of fun.

Scene of the Movie – The train meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of connection with the stories.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple to watch action horror that is basically a tame western, it has action scenes we have seen before, a story that doesn’t work but the head explosions are the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Watchable but not great.

Rating

 

 

Cassidy Red (2018)

Director: Matt Knudsen

Writer: Matt Knudsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Abby Eiland, David Thomas Jenkins, Jason Grasl, Jessy Knudsen, Gregory Zaragoza, Rick Cramer, Lola Kelly

 

Plot: Cassidy Red is a western romance set against the backdrop of the 19th century American southwest. The film follows the headstrong daughter of a prostitute who returns to her hometown, seeking vengeance against the corrupt lawman she believes murdered her lover.


Tagline – Hell hath no fury…

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Western Adventure

 

Story: Cassidy Red starts with the town’s storyteller Cricket (Zaragoza) telling Quinn (Knudsen) the story of Joe Cassidy (Eiland). Joe is out for revenge on her ex-fiancée Tom Hayes (Jenkins) that has killed her new fiancée Jakob (Grasl). The story isn’t as simple as this though, the three grow up together, Tom and Jakob going from different backgrounds and we see the training Joe must go through to prepare for her own vengeance.

 

Thoughts on Cassidy Red

 

Characters – Joe Cassidy is a woman that grew up to with both Tom and Jakob, after falling in love with one she only finds herself going on a revenge mission after the other kills the one she fell in love. This is a strong character, we focus on how she was loyal to her mother, dealt with her father’s flaws and would follow love over money. Tom is the son of a rich member of the town, he has seen his family kill for their own success, but the one thing he can’t buy is Joe’s love, which cause him targets them both. Jakob is an apache boy that gets adopted by Tom’s family only for him to steal Joe’s heart from under Tom. He shows Joe a different life of happiness over money.

PerformancesAbby Eiland in the leading role is one of the two strongest performances in the film, she shines in this leading role. David Thomas Jenkins does give us the second strong performance, as the villain of the piece, he gives us a performance which feels just as twisted as his character needs to be. While I don’t think Jason Grasl gets enough time to show everything he has, this is mostly done to wanting to make the Joe character a stronger force than the Jakob one.

StoryThe story here throws us into a love triangle in the old west that is spiked with revenge, while this does sound like it should be a tried and tested formula that we all know and enjoy, this story takes a spin on this which does make things feel refreshing, but does feel like an extra chapter in the ‘Red Dead Redemption’ game franchise, as we follow the steps which become more challenging as the story unfolds. This is a fun story to watch along with even if moments of the timeline can jump in places.

Action/Adventure/Romance/WesternThe action is the gunslinger style we know, it works, but isn’t the most original to the genre. The love triangle gives us the motivation for the story, with the western genre being used to show us the environment we are watching the battle unfold in.

SettingsThe film is set in the wild west, the town could be any because in that time, the towns nearly all look the same and ran the same.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are used sparingly which helps because we don’t have any over the top bloodshed for the gun battles.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning to shoot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One twist comes too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good western that gives us a good love triangle to see unfold, with twists along the way and a strong final showdown.

 

Overall: The western stands strong.

Rating