Michael Rooker Weekend – Cliffhanger (1993)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Michael France, Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) John Long (Premise)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Leon, Craig Fairbrass

 

Plot: A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains.


Tagline – Hang on!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun 90s Action Film

 

Story: Cliffhanger starts when Gabe Walker (Stallone) returns to the Rocky Mountains 8 months after a tragic event which saw his best friend Hal (Rooker) lose a girlfriend through a rescue attempt gone wrong. Gabe and Hal must put their differences aside when a distress call from a botch mid-air flight crash lands on the mountains.

Qualen (Lithgow) leads the criminals as they force Hal and Gabe to guide them to their loot, which takes them across the mountains with the only rescue team being led by Jessie (Turner) that can help them survive.

 

Thoughts on Cliffhanger

 

Characters – Gabe is known as being the best climbing around, he works on the rescues and can reach spots others wouldn’t event try to get too. After an accident he has walked away from this world, but his return is just in time as he needs to navigate the mountains to say ahead of the criminals searching for their money, picking them off one by one. Qualen is the leader of the criminals, he has a plan which would make him rich and money is the only thing that matters to him. Hal is the old friend of Gabe’s, he blames him for the accident and ends up becoming the reluctant guide for the criminals, using his knowledge to slow them down. Jessie is the final member of the search and rescue team who is working with Gabe to get ahead of the criminals, only her position makes for an extra problem for Gabe. The rest of the criminals fill in the generic roles, the British henchman, the pilot, the lover and the one with pride in a kill.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone was the prime example of one of the best action stars in the early 90s, this movie shows why because his one-liner deliver is on point and the physical side of the performance showed he was read for the role. John Lithgow as a villain is one of the easiest choice we see, he shines in this role which will make you just hate him. Michael Rooker in the good guy with a grudge role does work well too with Janine Turner filling out the main cast doing the best she can with her own character.

StoryThe story here is simple, two rescue mountain rangers are tricked into helping a group of criminals that have seen their heist go wrong and need to locate their money. This is as simple as it sounds, we never try to over complicate anything going on in this film, it is good guys versus bad guys on a mountain which adds to the peril, we have a small sub story about Gabe and Hal needing to put an accident behind them, which does work as they  must work together instead of just fighting or blaming each other. While we can work out how this will happen and we do get plenty of one-liners this all works for a 90s action film.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is strong, we focus on different fight, explosions and just difficulties of being that high up in the middle of a battle for survival, which does play into the adventure elements as this takes the characters on an unlikely journey to try and collect money.

SettingsThe film keeps the whole film on the mountain range, it shows just how difficult it would be to just escape and how knowing the lay of land the climbers have the advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just how capable the villains are to do all the mountaineering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical fun 90s action film, it will entertain the audience and gives us plenty of one-liners to laugh at.

 

Overall: 90s action through and through.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Criminal (2016)

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writer: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molla, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Amaury Nolasco, Alice Eve

 

Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.


Tagline –  Take me to the Dutchman.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Action Thriller

 

Story: Criminal starts when CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is working on bringing The Dutchman (Pitt) to America in exchange for closing the wormhole on the dark web that he has created, the problem is Xavier Heimdahl (Molla) also wants the Dutchman and kills Bill before getting the answers.

Turning to Dr Franks (Jones) for an experimental memory transfer Quaker Wells (Oldman) the head of the CIA operation uses death-row inmate Jerico Stewart (Costner) to learn where the vital information is, but letting a killer lose becomes harder to control than believed.

 

Thoughts on Criminal

 

Characters – Jerico Stewart is the dangerous death-row inmate, we don’t learn what he has done, but anyone that crosses him usually ends up in a body bag. He is forced into receiving Bill’s memories in a hope that he can save a major release of secure information, he doesn’t want to work with the CIA and is happier to operate in his own means. Quaker Wells is running the CIA operation which goes wrong, he will go at any lengths to get the answers he needs to stop the information leak, company man who does go too far. Dr Franks has been working on transferring memories for 18 years, this is his first human attempt which shows how he wants to help with the new memories. Important to the story but lacking the impact he should have on the story. Bill Pope is the family man and CIA agent, it is his memories which hold the answers after he is killed. Xavier Heimdahl wants to bring an end to governments across the world, he will go public with his speeches while also having his darker side coming out when getting what he wants.

PerformancesKevin Coster is in the middle of his recovery/mid-life crisis roles in action movies, he knows how to make his performance work keeping everything entertaining throughout. Gary Oldman as a company man CIA agent, well this always works as he never needs o do anything challenging. Tommy Lee Jones likewise does what he needs to without bringing anything unique to the role. Reynolds is hard to judge because of the smaller part in the film. Jordi Molla does make a good villain showing the calmness needed for the character to feel calculated. Gal Gadot is solid in her supporting role without needing to do much.

StoryThe story gives us the idea that vital information is about to be leaked by a hacker if he doesn’t get a passport and immunity, but things go wrong when the agent with the connection is killed. The experimental idea of transferring memories is put in motion as the candidate doesn’t follow orders the way they had hoped and different agencies from around the globe want the information. This plays out like an action film, but in reality it should have been a tense thriller with the characters we have here. It is an easy to watch and enjoy even if the premise does seem wildly over the top for a simpler idea.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiWhen we look at the themes being used action gives us the shoot out we have seen before with a couple of car chases, nothing overly memorable though. The crime world we are placed into shows how the CIA are trying to protect the world from a new threat in London, it seems weird the British intelligence agency are not involved in this. The mystery in this film doesn’t work too well as the only thing needing to be solved is where the package was left. The sci-fi side of the film does come from the idea of transferring the memories, it is only used here though.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the surrounding area, it does feel weird that an American operation happens in England though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being over used for the action scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambulance chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a tonal problem with the action and thriller side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid easy to watch action thriller that doesn’t test the audience too much, throws in a wild sci-fi idea and big-name actors hoping it will be a classic.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Captain Marvel (2019)

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Screenplay) Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, Meg LaFauve (Story)

Starring: Brie Larson, Gemma Chan, Ben Mendelsohn, Samuel L Jackson, Lee Pace, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening

 

Plot: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.


Tagline – Discover what makes a (her)o

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Superhero Movie 101

 

Story: Captain Marvel starts as Vers (Larson) a Kree soldier is still figuring out how to control her powers, with her trainer Yon-Rogg (Law), her first mission sees her captured by the enemy alien race the Skrulls who help her learn about her past, on Earth as a pilot.

Vers must learns who her true self is once on Earth with Nick Fury (Jackson) helping down memory lane, before deciding which side of the war she should be fighting on.

 

Thoughts on Captain Marvel

 

Characters – Vers is how we meet her first, she has been trained to be a Kree warrior soldier, ready to get into the war against the Skrull. Vers does have powers she hasn’t fully learnt how to control yet and returning to Earth on the mission, will help fill in the blanks in her memory to show her a life she had before her training, as a fighter pilot named Carol Danvers. This is a character that is easier to write for, because it is the trademark design of a hero needing to learn about their powers for their first battle. Nick Fury is a younger agent in SHIELD, he witnesses first hand what Vers is fighting for and decides to help her even if it means going against the rulebook, he gets the bigger picture and in this film loves cats. Talos is the leader of the Skrull, he needs information from Vers to help his side in the war, he has become desperate and can shapeshift into any species he sees. Yon-Rogg is the leader of the Kree unit, he has been training Vers for combat and with his team, can be a threat for any opponent. Mar-Vell is a scientist that Carol worked with on Earth, her research is key to the war, she also appears as the Supreme Intelligence for Vers communication, which is meant to be somebody important in your life. Maria is the old pilot friend of Carol’s she believed her friend died and has spent her time raising her daughter away from the busy world.

PerformancesBrie Larson does a strong enough job in the leading role, she doesn’t quite have the comic timing for her jokes to come off, like many other actors in this universe, but does shine in the more serious moments. Samuel L Jackson gets to enjoy playing a younger version of himself, he gets to poke fun at the ideas people might have about him as a person too. Ben Mendelsohn is strong too, his accent can jump around in places, but for being under the makeup, we understand his characters emotions. Jude Law does well in his role too, he takes the mentor role, which is better than his outing in Fantastic Beasts. Annette Bening becomes the one you most want to see more from, in dual roles, she can make us want to see more of her characters.

StoryThe story follows Vers a Kree soldier that must learn about her past to understand her own powers, to make a decision on which side of a war she should be fighting for. This is an origin story for Captain Marvel, so we know the stakes are going to be less, because we don’t need true end of the world stuff going on here. The strangest way to describe most of this story would be like a Star Trek story, a person meets both sides of a war and must decide which side to fight on and once we get to the decision it plays out like how Kirk or Piccard would deal with the situation. This doesn’t mean it isn’t good or entertaining. The rediscovering the past is interesting to see and gets to play a lot of 90’s nostalgic moments too. One of the biggest negatives in the story does come from having the inclusion of characters we have seen die latest in the universe, because this does take peril away from them, both good and villainous figures. This does tick al the boxes for an origin story, it makes us care about this new character and ties in nicely to what will be happening next in this universe.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is a mix of hand to hand combat, weaponry combat and flying combat, be it space or on Earth, everything is enjoyable enough to get what is required from this side of the film. the sci-fi side of this film uses the idea of an inter galactical war that Carol has become a part of, showing that the human heroes and enemies might not be the only threats to Earth.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the space location each has it own unique look to show us on different planets, while on Earth we go through the military bases and quiet of the radar places without needing to just blow everything up.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout, we know and expect this by now in the Marvel machine.


Scene of the Movie –
It’s just a cat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Captain Marvel seems too powerful.

Final ThoughtsThis is another entertaining fun addition to the MCU, it gives us a by the book origin story that we can understand the difficulties that Carol must be going through.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining origin story.

Rating

 

 

Carga (2018)

Director: Bruno Gascon

Writer: Bruno Gascon (Screenplay)

Starring: Michalina Olszanska, Vitor Norte, Rita Blanco, Sara Sampaio, Miguel Borges, Dmitry Bogomolov

 

Plot: A lorry, a road and an unpredictable destiny, all intersecting in a human trafficking network. Caught up in this web, Viktoriya has only one chance: fight to survive.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unsettling & Disturbing

 

Story: Carga starts as Viktoriya (Olszanska) trying to leave the Soviet Union, sees herself taken across the borders, only to be handed off to human traffickers, they execute the men, keeping the women. Antonio (Norte) getting tired of his part in the operation, faces a difficult decision with Viktor (Bogomolov) blackmailing him into staying in, following his every wish.

As Viktoriya sees the reality of the world she is living in now, she knows she must fight to survive, as Viktor will kill anybody who tries to escape or lets him down, can she make it out?

 

Thoughts on Carga

 

Characters – Viktoriya is the latest victim of the human trafficking group, she is taken, forced into the sex trade, facing little hope of getting out before it is too late. She never gives up hope of getting out of this world, even if it takes her time to wait for her chance of rescue. Viktor is the ruthless leader of the operation, he will kill anybody who lets him down, tries to escape or isn’t required from the selection of people he is given. Antonio is the man that transports the people across the borders, he is filled with regret for what he is doing, which only makes him feel the guilt for the fate the victims are facing.

PerformancesMichalina Olszanska is brilliant in this film, strangely playing two roles, with the lead be the victim, while the second role being one of the traffickers. Both roles are very different which does show the range she has to offer. Dmitry Bogomolov is disturbing, like we need him to be, his role is the one that will grab your attention the most. Vitor Norte does show just how difficult his characters decision is, just how much guilt he is feeling.

StoryThe story here takes us into the world of human trafficking, following one of the latest victims as she looks to escape, the transporter filled with guilt being forced to remain in the game and the boss running the operation that doesn’t always go to plan for him. The story plays on the reality that this is happening, shows the bleak future the girls will face if taken into this world and just how deadly it can be for the people working in it. It has moments that are clearly unsettling which will disturb even the strongest minds, while also showing us just how easy it could be to be placed into this world. the story doesn’t hold back, but doesn’t dwell on any of the sexual side of the film, we don’t need to see this and the film doesn’t force us through it.

SettingsThe film takes us to the realistic settings that show how the girls will be taken to isolated locations to be put into practise before being sent to the open world to make the money the boss wants.


Scene of the Movie –
The car boot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We tend to not spend enough time with Viktoriya in the early part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking and disturbing movie that shows us just how the human trafficking world operates.

 

Overall: Shocking, eye opening film.

Rating

 

 

The Cannibal Club (2018)

Director: Guto Parente

Writer: Guto Parente (Screenplay)

Starring: Tavinho Teixeira, Ana Luiza Rios, Pedro Domingues, Ze Maria, Breno Baptista

 

Plot: Otavio and Gilda are a very wealthy couple of the Brazilian elite who have the habit of eating their employees. Otavio owns a private security company and is a notable member of The Cannibal Club. When Gilda accidentally discovers a secret from Borges, a powerful congressman and the Club’s leader, her and her husband’s lives are in danger.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: High Tension and Quirky

 

Story: The Cannibal Club starts as we meet rich couple Otavio (Teixeira) and Gilda (Rios) who live the life of luxury, having people work for them, with their own security around their home. When the couple get tired of their employees, they kill and eat them to fulfill their fantasies.

When Otavio’s powerful congressman friend and leader of their club Borges (Domingues) believes somebody is letting their secrets out, he assigns Otavio to learn the truth, things only take a turn for a worse when Gilda catches Borges in an uncompromising position, the couple find their own lives in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Cannibal Club

 

Characters – Otavio runs a private security company, at home his wife Gilda and himself have very dark fantasies, which sees them being cannibals, getting sexual pleasure from the murder of their own workers, he is good friends with a congressman, well within the elite of the secret club of cannibals. Gilda is the wife of Otavio, she selects the newest employees that the couple can have, she gets the pleasure she requires, but it is her curiosity which puts both their lives in danger. Borges is the leader of the secret club that Otavio is part of, he has a secret with Gilda witnesses, he is afraid it will come out and looks to clean it up before it does.

PerformancesTavinho Teixeira gives us a performance that shows us how a man can balance his high-powered life, with a secret that is against the law, which also sees him controlled by his wife. Ana Luiza Rios brings us a seductive figure to life, she makes the men want to do anything for her. Pedro Domingues fills the mysterious leader role well, not giving too much away about his real life.

StoryThe story follows an elite couple in Brazil that get their pleasure out of killing their employees and eating them. The story does take us into a world where the elite can get away with this kind of activities is clearly built and showed how the couple have the routine down to perfection in their eyes. It does, however, show us how a secret club can look to clean up if they believe somebody is getting out of control. The story is short, which is just what we want in places, though we could have been given more when it comes to the enjoyment the couple have from this world.

Horror/ComedyThe horror in the film comes from the world created with cannibals, the comedy comes from the idea of the world being used to create this world, which will give the film dark humour.

SettingsThe film is set in Brazil which will see the high class position which will work for the club to happen, the rich could get away with anything in the eyes of the law.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are clever, they use the ideas of showing us the aftermath of the attacks, rather than the impact of them.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get to see the couple go through a lot of kills, which feels like we could have done.

Final ThoughtsThis is a cannibal film that creates a wonderfully imaginative world for them to live in, only to not give us the blood or body count we desired.

 

Overall: Interesting Cannibal film.

Rating