ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – O – The Kid (2019) Movie Review

This is going under O because of the director Vincent D’Onofrio, clutching at straws again here.

Director: Vincent D’Onofrio

Writer: Andrew Lanham (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, Jake Schur, Chris Pratt, Leila George, Adam Baldwin,

Plot: The story of a young boy who witnesses Billy the Kid’s encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett.


Tagline – An Outlaw. A Lawmen. A Boy Caught In The Crossfire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Western

Story: The Kid starts when Rio (Schur) and Leila Cutler (George) must go on the run after killing an abusive parent, with Grant (Pratt) the brother of the victim chasing them down, the pair meet Billy The Kid (DeHaan), while he is getting chased down by Pat Garrett (Hawke), finding themselves caught in the middle of their battle.

Once Grant catches up with the siblings, Rio must look to break Billy out to learn where his sister has been taken, showing that he has learnt a lot from his limited time with the famous outlaw.

Thoughts on The Kid

Characters – Rio Cutler is a young teenage boy that defended his sister, forcing them to go on the run from their Uncle. He learns a lot from Billy The Kid, wanting to be like him, fighting for the people who get walked over. He must learn to break the law to save his sister, joining forces with the most notorious outlaw in America. Billy The Kid is the outlaw we know, he will always look to escape from Garrett and isn’t afraid to kill, he isn’t as friendly as the other films portray him. Pat Garrett is the Sheriff that has been hunting down Billy and his men, he wants to claim the rewards, which does make him enemies on both sides of the law, he is just as heartless as any bounty hunter. Grant Cutler is the Uncle that wants his Rio and Sara to pay for the death of his brother, he will do horrible things to them if he catches them, forcing Rio to new limits to stop him.

PerformancesEthan Hawke and Dane DeHaan are both strong with the iconic names from history, being the cold heart figures. Jake Schur is great in his role for such a young actor, while Chris Pratt surprises us all with his truly disturbing performance.

StoryThe story here follows a couple of siblings that get caught up in the middle of the battle between Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett, with their own battle, putting them in a position of not knowing which one they could trust to help them. This does bring a slightly new twist to the Billy The Kid story, where this one stands out more is by showing both the positives and negatives in both Billy and Pat, with a young teenage boy needing to decide which would be able to help him through his own struggles. By doing this we get to see how the people could saw the two men, how they would have been judge while the chases were on. How everything plays out though, is nothing fresh, we have been seeing this style of story for years and you know exactly what is going to happen before we get to the end.

WesternThe western themes are here and strong throughout, using two iconic names from the history does help, with the stand offs, towns and mentalities all being shown through here.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings making us feel like we are part of the old west, the small towns with dust running through, it all works for the film.


Scene of the Movie – Showdown with Grant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have spent more time with the Grant, Rio story, instead of just following how Billy and Pat are doing.

Final Thoughts This is a typical western that doesn’t do too much to break the genre trends, the performances are strong throughout, which is the highlight of the film.

Overall: Strong Performances.

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.

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