Eminence Hill (2019) Movie Review

Director: Robert Conway

Writer: Robert Conway, Owen Conway (Screenplay)

Starring: Barry Corbin, Dominique Swain, Lance Henriksen, Clint James, Owen Conway, Anna Harr, Charlie Motley

Plot: A trail of revenge leads a notorious killer and a lawman to a town of fanatics. Blood will flow.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Real Red Dead Redemption Chapter

Story: Eminence Hill starts when Royce Tullis (James) and his gang of outlaws including Gretchen (Swain) kill a couple for their land, kidnapping their daughter Ruth (Harr) to trade down the road, Quincy (Conway) a lawman talks Carson (Motley) into joining him hunt down the Tullis Gang after their latest killing spree.

As Royce and the gang are looking to escape, they stumbling upon Eminence Hill, where Noah (Corbin) runs a community that play by strict rules, which sees the gang being put through their own test, giving Quincy his chance to catch up with them, before a final showdown.

Thoughts on Eminence Hill

Characters – Noah is the leader of a religious group, he takes it into his own hands to play judge jury and executioner in his community and doesn’t take to lightly towards the Tullis Gang coming into his territory. Royce Tullis is the leader of the gang with his love Gretchen, they have been targeting jurors who sentenced his brother to death and now finishing their killing spree, they look to escape, only they both find themselves questioning their actions while being held captive by Noah. Quincy is the lawman that is trying to track down the Tullis Gang, he is uses his gun skills when needed and can read a person through any conversation.

PerformancesBarry Corbin does bring his character to life in this film to change the tone of what we had seen. Clint James and Dominique Swain are both strong as the outlaw figures, not being full blown crazy evil like members of their gang. Owen Conway is the star of the show with his calm calculated character.

StoryThe story here follows an US Marshall tracking down a group of outlaws, who have fallen into the hands of a religion community that want to make them pay for their sins. We do follow three different sides of the stories unfold, we get the outlaws planning their escape, they have US Marshall planning his way of capturing them and the religious group wanting to stay out of world’s view. We do get to see each side develop and with secrets behind certain ones being held back long enough. We do get to see just how every does feel like a chapter in a Red Dead Redemption chapter, where the outlaws meet a random group which will be the problem they need to overcome, while avoiding a fate coming for them.

WesternThe western side of the film is well designed, showing us the outlaws, bounty hunter and strange groups that could have been built up not knowing too much more outside their comfort zones.

SettingsThe settings are well crafted sets for the town, while the open plains represent the world in the era the film would be set in.


Scene of the Movie – Noah’s dinner offer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have spent more time on the Royce hunting down jurors.

Final Thoughts This is a western that plays everything out well, without being as edgy as the subject matter wants to be, the religious group could have gone a lot darker, with plenty of signs of this, while the Marshall is the most interesting characters of the whole cast.

Overall: Western by the book.

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Rambo: Last Blood (2019) Movie Review

Director: Adrian Grunberg

Writer: Matthew Cirulnick, Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Dan Gordon, Sylvester Stallone (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal, Louis Mandylor, Oscar Jaenada, Sheila Shah, Sergio Peris-Mencheta

Plot: Rambo must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission.


Tagline – They Drew First Blood. He Will Draw Last.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bloody Soaked Action

Story: Rambo: Last Blood starts as John (Stallone) has returned to a quiet life helping raise Gabrielle (Monreal) on his ranch, when she learns of the location of her father in Mexico, she heads down there becoming the latest victim of the Martinez brother Victor (Jaenada) and Hugo (Peris-Mencheta) and their prostitution ring.

John goes in search of her, starting a war with the gang, one that will have casualties on both sides, but will let him use all of his skills as a solider, unleashing the monstrous side to his time in combat.

Thoughts on Rambo: Last Blood

Characters – John Rambo is the war veteran we all know, he has retired to a small ranch away from the world, where he has created a series of tunnels, he has helped raise Gabrielle and wants her to achieve what he couldn’t in life, with college in her future. When she goes missing, John turns the switch he keeps on the off button, becoming the soldier that will kill anybody in his way, dealing with the traumas of war and not caring about the consequences, he starts a war with the Mexican gang, one that he is prepared to end. Gabrielle is like a daughter to John, he help raise her with her love of horse riding helping their bond, she is ready for college, but the one question she wants more than anything is why her father left her, which sees her go against John’s request to Mexico in search for him. She gets drugged at forced into prostitution, with no way of escaping her captors. Victor and Hugo Martinez are running the operation, they use the girls up and sell them, they use the gang numbers to deal with any unwanted attention, including John and if a girl escapes, they will make them pay. They are pretty much routine Mexican villains though.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is back in one of his favourite franchises, he does keep John looking a lot more like a true veteran that is still haunted by his nightmares of war, even if he is mumbling his way through the film. Yvette Monreal fills her role with ease, naïve young girl, while both Oscar Jaenada and Sergio Peris-Mencheta don’t put a foot wrong in the villainous roles.

StoryThe story here follows a retired calm John Rambo that is called into action when his adoptive daughter gets taken by a gang in Mexico and he will go to any lengths to get his revenge at save her. When it comes to this style of action film, the story doesn’t need to be very deep at all, in fact the basic plot is broken down as war veteran takes on gang who took family member, lots of bodies left lying. We do get glimpses at the idea that John is still dealing with the traumas of his experiences in war, though they are very small, if we didn’t have these, we could have easily have had just another older military person doing the same thing, it didn’t need to be Rambo for the most part. Saying this, it was nice to see Rambo returning to what made his actions popular in the First Blood, with his stealth ability over the countless bullets flying around. This is everything you want and need from a Rambo movie when it comes to the story.

Action/WesternThe action in the film does take it time to get going, but when Rambo starts, my word this is one of the most graphic action movies you will see, certain sequences will make John Wick’s kills look like a Disney movie.

SettingsThe film does use the Mexico setting for the fish out of water when it comes to John wanting to take the fight to them, so he makes them bring to the fight to him, showing us how deadly he is when he knows the land. The settings are key to the final act of the movie.

Special EffectsThe effects are brutal, when it comes to the injuries people were wincing in the cinema at certain moments, they don’t hold back in anyway.

Scene of the Movie – Whole final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain stories don’t seem to get an ending.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most violent action films that you will ever see, it uses the brutal action to highlight Rambo’s military skills and doesn’t hold back in anyway.

Overall: Graphic, Violent, Rambo’s Back.

Forsaken (2015)

Director: Jon Cassar

Writer: Brad Mirman, Tari (Screenplay)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Michael Wincott, Brian Cox, Chris Ippolito

 

Plot: In 1872, an embittered gunslinger named John Henry Clayton attempts to make amends with his estranged father Reverend Samuel Clayton while their community is besieged by ruthless land-grabbers.


Tagline – Haunted by his past, searching for peace.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Westerner

 

Story: Forsaken starts when John Henry (Kiefer Sutherland) returns to his family town where his father Reverend Samuel (Donald Sutherland) has a strained relationship due to him not returning to help his mother on her deathbed.

With the Clayton’s discussion their own beliefs in God, James McCurdy (Cox) has taken over the town and starting to expand his empire with Dave Turner (Wincott) doing his dirty work, John refuses to go down without a fight and decides to challenge the rule of the town.

 

Thoughts on Forsaken

 

Characters – John Henry Clayton left his town for war, he never returned until his mother died, he has become distant from his father not believing in God, the town does fear his actions in the past, which has made him the threat to the gang controlling the town and when things become personal, he becomes the man people need to fear. Reverend Samuel Clayton is respected in the town which he has made a place believing in God, he doesn’t like his son returning, but learns that he hasn’t for a good reason. James McCurdy is the man running the town, he lets his men kill to get the property he wants. Dave Turner is one of the men that works for James, one that does play by honour over many of the shot first men in the gang.

PerformancesKiefer Sutherland in the leading role is fine, though his mumbling doesn’t help us care enough his character, opposite his father Donald who isn’t the most entertaining either. Michael Wincott was the most interesting character because he seems to get some development and want to see more from him. Brian Cox feels completely wasted in his role that gives him nothing.

StoryThe story follows a man returning home with a reputation while he needs to learn how to make a stand to protect his town which has become a problem overrun by a gang of outlaws. This does follow the generic idea of a returning man helping clean up his town without offer anything new, it keeps us seeing how the action are building up to the problems that will be facing before the final showdown. The pacing does become slow which does make things unfold at a snail’s pace which just doesn’t keep our attention for long enough.

Action/WesternThe action does feel flat, we just don’t get enough of it to make us believe it is action heavy movie, though the mood makes us feel like the western we are entering.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are the small town which has a community feeling about it.


Scene of the Movie –
Dave doesn’t like his men not following orders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mumbling from Kiefer.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced action western movie that just never gets going and ends up feeling the pace taking age to get through.

 

Overall: Slow and bland.

Rating

 

 

El Dorado (1967)

Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Leigh Brackett (Screenplay) Harry Brown (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey

 

Plot: Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.


Tagline – Range War! A lawless time when no man dares turn his back… even to a friend!

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Western

 

Story: El Dorado starts when Sheriff Harrah (Mitchum) turns to his former gunslinger partner Cole Thornton (Wayne) for assistance against a ruthless rancher Bart Jason (Asner) who wants to force another rancher off their land.

Cole meets a young man Mississippi (Caan) that proves he can handle himself in a fight, which sees him continue to build a team to take down Bart Jason once and for all.

 

Thoughts on El Dorado

 

Characters – Cole Thornton is the gunslinger for hire, he doesn’t mind which side of the law he works as long as he gets paid, his loyalty comes back to show that sometimes he doesn’t get bought, when his old friend comes asking for help, he will help people he does believe are getting into trouble for the right reasons and will fight for the people next to the people he trusts the most. Sheriff J.P. Harrah turns to his old friend for help, only to see him turn to the bottle after failing to help on the levels he most requires. Mississippi is the young bounty hunter that is deadly with a knife, he will need to use a gun if he is to work with Cole, who he wants to learn from.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is one of the most famous actors for westerns, he really is a commanding presence on screen even if he doesn’t always hit up the most realistic acting. Robert Mitchum gives us a performance that gets laughs at time and easily goes through the biggest arc through the film. James Caan does well when he gets his time to shine, though he does get overshadowed in places.

StoryThe story follows two men from either sides of the law that team up to take down a rancher and his men that are causing problems in the town. When it comes to westerns nearly every single story is the same, the law makers and reluctant gun for hire joins forces to take on a troublesome group of ranchers or outlaws or something, this is everything we have seen before without needing to offer anything new to the mix. We get a time jump which does come randomly which does disappoint too. We do have a mentor like position which ends up falling short in the way everything pans out.

Romance/WesternThere is meant to be a romance angle in this film which doesn’t seem very interesting in anyway, the western side of the film is everything you are expecting it to be without taking away any of the normal western traits.

SettingsThe film is set in the normal western towns which feels like the sets most likely were used in other films too.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunk J.P.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just like every other western.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book western, it is easy to follow with stronger performances, but just offers nothing new to the genre.

 

Overall: Simple Western.

Rating

 

Franchise Weekend – From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999)

Director: P.J. Pesce

Writer: Alvaro Rodriguez (Screenplay)

Starring: Marco Leonardi, Michael Parks, Temuera Morrison, Rebecca Gayheart, Ara Celi, Lennie Loftin, Sonia Braga

 

Plot: Set 100 years ago in Mexico, this horror/western is the story of the birth of the vampire princess Santanico Pandemonium.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Western Re-Hash of Original

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter starts when an outlaw Johnny Madrid (Leonardi) escapes his hanging, taking the Hangman’s (Morrison) daughter Esmeralda (Celi) with him, to reunite with his gang, with a new rescuer who offers them a new job which will see them trying to rob Ambrose Bierce (Parks) the gang gear up.

It isn’t long before the outlaws end up in a mysterious saloon which will offer the men anything they want, which will soon put them in the false sense of security as it turns out the saloon is run by vampires.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter

 

Characters – Johnny Madrid is one of the most feared outlaws in the west, about to be executed, he is rescued and returns to his gang to continue his life of crime, he will kill some people, while protecting others, making him a morally confusing figure. Ambrose Bierce has come from America where he has survived a shooting, he wants peaceful life only to find himself in the middle of the battle. The Hangman is trying to eliminate the threats in the gang world including Johnny, mostly to protect his daughter, only it isn’t for him to choose. Esmeralda is his daughter that has been getting controlled for too long and is in love with Johnny, she goes on the run with him only to be left questioning his choices.

PerformancesThe performances here are poor once again, Marco Leonardi overplays is role in the film, while Michael Parks does the best he can with his role. We do end up meeting too many random characters that just seems to make everything struggle to get going in the performance side of the film.

StoryThe story does return to the original format only in the western era, we have the outlaws, the victims and the authorities all ending up in the bar which is crawling with vampires and must put their difference aside to survive. This style did work first time, it doesn’t fail this time, but it is hard to become invested in the characters. the build up before the bar is a lot of filler because we do have a lot of people to learn their place and mentality which makes it hard to figure out who is the good and bad guys for the piece. We try to have a connection to the original movie with the creation of one of the vampires which better than the last time out too.

Horror/WesternThe horror involved in the film is returning to the vampire outlet which again doesn’t feel scary as it could have been. The western side of the film just uses the criminal side of the last one only making it a prequel to the original.

SettingsThe film is set in the western area, we do eventually hit the saloon made famous from the first film and this time we get to dive into the larger scale of the building.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not at the best, we do get a couple of good moments only nothing that reaches the levels of the first film.


Scene of the Movie –
Escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me To many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough prequel, at least it does feel connected to the previous film which helps build on the legacy of the bar.

 

Overall: Simple prequel.

Rating