ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Exit Wounds (2001)

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writer: Ed Horowitz, Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay) John Westermann (Novel)

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke, Jill Hennessy, Tom Arnold

 

Plot: Orin Boyd, a tough cop in an inner-city precinct discovers a web of dirty cops and corruption.


Tagline – This Is Gonna Hurt

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Seagal Action 101

 

Story: Exit Wounds starts when tough police officer Orin Boyd (Seagal) prevents an assassination attempt on the Vice President against orders from his superiors and Secret Service. This loses him his job at his prescient and being sent to a rougher one where new Captain Annette Mulcahy (Hennessy) sends him anger management.

When Orin starts investigating a known gangster Latrell Walker (DMX) he is assigned a partner in George Clark (Washington) and the two only honest sounding cops trying to bring him down and uncover the dirty cops in the force.

 

Thoughts on Exit Wounds

 

Characters – Orin Boyd is a tough no nonsense cop that will always run in first to do the right thing for people in danger, he doesn’t like dirty cops or criminals or partners and will go all out to bring down the criminals. Latrell Walker is the criminal that Orin is tracking, he is a genius, but not everything about what we learn about him is what it seems on the outside. George Clark is the partner that gets forced onto him, he has a family and just wants to do the right thing but could easily be another one of the dirty cops. We do meet plenty of cops that are dirty through the film, we see many different clichés for the genre in our characters too.

PerformancesWe know what Steven Seagal is capable of as an actor, he can handle the fighting fine, but when it comes to the line delivery he isn’t the best, this is typical for what we know about him. DMX was trying to make an acting career and he does show promise in a time when all musicians seemed to want to get into acting. When we look at the rest of the cast they are what we need in the film without anyone standing out too much, Anthony Anderson gets the funniest moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a tough cop trying to bring down criminals and corruption from within the force. This does play into Seagal’s strengths where he gets to beat people up and be the good guy doing this. We have a big third act twist which does turn the film on its head and doesn’t really get implied early on which is nice. By the end this will have checked the boxes for a fun easy to watch action film and that is all we want from a story at times

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is short fight sequences, shootouts and chases sequences which are fun to watch with plenty going on through them making the action all we want. The comedy is in small moments and does give a couple of laughs with Anderson being the one with the most. The crime world we enter is everything we know when it comes to corrupt cops which is fine for the film.

SettingsThe film brings us to Detroit with crime running through it, we know it is generic for crime world, so this works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Seagal versus White sword fighting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy works, but can takeaway from the main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard Seagal action film, it is easy to watch and will keep you entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Simple to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Elves (2018)

Director: Jamaal Buden

Starring: Lisa May, Deanna Grace Congo, Stephanie Marie Baggett, Amy Jo Guthrie, Melissa L Vega, Chelsea Bella, Loran Haskins, Norma Mendiola 

 

Plot: The Holiday Reaper, a ruthless killer that terrorized a small Texas town, has been caught. While celebrating, a group of friends find an elf inside a magical toy box.  When a freak accident kills one of them, they discover a group of elves have been scattered throughout town, each representing one of the seven deadly sins.  It’s a race against time to survive the elves’ wrath before Christmas ends.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Elves starts when a group of friends including Clover (Congo), Tiffany (Martinez) and Leah (Baggett) add themselves to the naughty list for a laugh, only to learn they have become part of a sinister action involving a mysterious elf toy figure that appears in their lives.

Once you see the elf, you start to see people looking differently as you become intent on either killing yourself or somebody else, have the group been naughty or not, how can they escape this situation without losing too many of their own friends.

 

Thoughts on Elves

 

Characters – Clover is the member of the friends who is trying to help the rest get out of the curse placed on them, she will team up with Leah to see who placed it on them and how she can lift it. Tiffany is the loose cannon of the friends, she enjoys her drugs more than the rest, so much so it has been an addiction to her. Leah is the friend that is desperately trying to lift the curse where she believes she is next on the list. Elves does take the film in a different direction which does give us a host of characters who are mostly here to be introduced only to become a disposable character.

PerformancesDeanna Grace Congo is solid enough in the leading role of the film, Elves does have one big problem with all the performances though, we just don’t get enough time with any of the characters to let the actors make a big enough impact.

StoryThe story here follows a group of friends that seem to have become cursed by an elf figure that makes them do unthinkable actions. The story does leave you questioning a lot because this is meant to be a sequel to a film with a story that made sense, felt twisted and seems to forget the first film. now this does help the story get its own identity as a form of horror that does borrow from the weird effects from the ‘Truth or Dare’ movie and almost ‘Final Destination’. The film is short which doesn’t help because we do have a large cast and we give each character a large time to go through the moment of terror against what is after them.

HorrorThe horror we get to experience in this film is a mixed bag, the slow build and twist to the graphic action works well, then we get the moments of bad effects which don’t hit home well enough to make it scary.

SettingsThe film is set in a Texas town, that is about all we see from the use of setting in this film, nothing becomes creepy, nothing becomes important to the plot, its just a town that gets cursed.

Special EffectsThe effects at times are good for the budget, the elf faces are creepy as they come, then we get the injuries which just don’t ever come off realistic for what the film should be achieving.


Scene of the Movie –
Red fury, any scene with this character, I think her name is Sky as they never introduce her by name.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There isn’t a strong enough connection to the first film and the twisted games the Elf played in it.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, it feels like it should have been a stand alone movie over a sequel because of the lack of connection to the first film. The horror fans could easily have a good time when it comes to watching the kills though.

 

Overall: Christmas Horror has started with a lump of coal

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – # – Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Director: Ellory Elkayem

Writer: Ellory Elkayem, Randy Kornfield (Screenplay) Jesse Alexander, Ellory Elkayem (Story)

Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E Doug, Rick Overton, Leon Rippy, Matt Czuchry

 

Plot: A variety of horrible poisonous spiders get exposed to a noxious chemical that causes them to grow to monumental proportions.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Creature Feature

 

Story: Eight Legged Freaks starts by showing us the Mike Parker (Terra) visiting Joshua the spider expert of the town who has been feeding his spiders enlarged crickets and of course they now escape. One week later when Mike goes to return his mother Sheriff Samantha Parker (Wuhrer) stops the visit because of waste being dumped into the local watering hole.

With this we get to see the rebellious teenage daughter Ashley (Johansson) who is dating bad boy biker Bret (Czuchry) step-son of Mayor Wade (Rippy) who is trying to cover up the fact the town is nearly broke. Chris McCormick (Arquette) a local who returned to town after his father’s death refusing to sell the mine in a deal which could save the town.

When Mike makes it back to Joshua’s he learns of the super-sized spiders that have been released into this small town, the resident must now fight against the spiders that have infested the town.

 

Thoughts on Eight Legged Freaks

 

Characters/Performance –  Chris McCormick returns to his hometown to claim what is his, the mine, he also needs to make up for the mistakes he has made and this gives him the perfect chance too. Sheriff Parker is a single mother of two trying to keep the local community together and being the former love interest of Chris. Mike is the expert on everything going on playing out as the reminder to all the different spiders attacking styles. Ashley is the bad girl daughter of Samantha who is mostly trying to discover who she is. We have the rest of the town which includes the conspiracy crazed radio host, the greedy mayor the comic relief deputy.

Performance wise, David Arquette is great in this leading role managing the comedy side of everything as well as the action horror when needed. Kari Wuhrer fits the part of sexy sheriff very well too. Both Scott Terra and Scarlett Johansson are good choices too. The rest of the actors all give good performances to fit the films mentality.

StorySmall town gets invaded by giant spiders thanks to cost cutting measures. We do have a reluctantly hero needing to help save the day but otherwise this is everything you need in a creature feature, plenty of potential victims, plenty of creature and plenty of laughs.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is all big and plans into the idea of the comedy being used in the creature feature side of the film.

SettingsThe small town setting helps with the story telling here because they have no communication with the outside world after the attack starts and not many escape routes of places to hide.

Special EffectsWe have a mix of practical and CGI here which all help create the low budget feel behind this film and while moments have dated other parts are all fun.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of my favourite creature features out there, it is fun, over the top and filled with perfect comic timing, never trying to be serious.

 

Overall: Purely fun creature feature.

Rating

 

 

Escape Room (2018)

Director: Will Wernick

Writer: Noah Dorsey (Screenplay) Will Wernick, Noah Dorsey (Story)

Starring: Evan Williams, Annabelle Stephenson, Elisabeth Hower, Dan J Johnson, John Ierardi, Kelly Delson, Iris Avalee

 

Plot: Four friends test their intelligence in a game that takes a dark turn.


Tagline – Will you survive?

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Saw of Escape Rooms

 

Story: Escape Room starts with Tyler’s (Williams) birthday, Christen (Hower) surprised her boyfriend and their friends Natasha (Stephenson), Anderson (Johnson), Conrad (Ierardi) and Tabby (Delson) to attend an escape room.

With Christen setting the night up, she leaves the five friends to navigate their way through the escape rooms where they must look to save Christen before the timer runs out as the game turns out to be very real indeed.

 

Thoughts on Escape Room

 

Characters – Tyler is the birthday man he is highly intelligent thriving in being about to solve problems which does make the escape room a perfect choice for him. Being this intelligent doesn’t make him the most likeable character as he is often looking down on his friends. Christen is the one that arranges the escape room for her boyfriend, she knows it would be perfect for them and arranges to pay for them all, only she is the one being held captive in need of rescue in this game. Natasha is the friend that clearly has a crush or a past relationship with Tyler, she is there to try and be with him. Anderson is the smart but clumsy one of the group, he can help solve the puzzles, but is reckless in the way he goes about things. Conrad and Tabby are two of the other friends that are more interested in hooking up than anything else.

PerformancesEvan Williams in the leading role does the best job in the film, because we are meant to hate him and he makes us hate him through the film. The rest of the performances are not on a good level, mostly overreactions that are just panic riddled.

StoryThe story here follows a group of friends that put into an escape room for a birthday surprise, but it soon turns into a real battle of life and death. Think saw only as an Escape Room concept over just a serial killer testing people. It starts slow because just watching people do an Escape Room isn’t the most interesting thing to watch, once the stacks get raised we now want to know just what is happening. The problems come from the final reveal of what is going on, with an act that doesn’t seem to make the most sense when you look at the full story. we do have strange decisions going on and having the random girl naked in a cage only confuses.

HorrorThe horror in the film doesn’t start early, but once it does we can see the Saw fans enjoying elements of this film.

SettingsThe film is set in the Escape Room which already locks the characters away from safety and willingly for the most part of the film. the rooms are filled with clues on how the escape.

Special EffectsThe effects do come off strong once we see how real the game has become, which mostly looks at the traps being left in the escape rooms.


Scene of the Movie –
This is a real game, that moment makes things a lot more interesting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How are there perfectly placed cameras for Christen to watch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror thriller that does take time to get going, once things intensify we are all in before a confusing conclusion which will leave you scratching your head.

 

Overall: Horror Thriller that falls flat in the end.

Rating

 

 

Edge of Fear (2018)

Director: Bobby Roth

Writer: Scott Barkan, Gregg Zehentner (Screenplay) Daxing Zhang (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Zhu Zhu, Shen Lin, Robert Knepper, Rockmond Dunbar, Amaury Nolasco, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe

 

Plot: After being stabbed in the heart by ruthless home invaders, a man is left for dead. Now weak, outnumbered, and knife sticking from his chest, he attempts to do the impossible: save his wife from these murderers before he bleeds to death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of Your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Fear starts as we get the introduction to our doctor couple Laura (Zhu) and Patrick Chen (Lin) who show their skills saving Mike Dwyer (Dunbar). We move on to meet our criminals led by Jack Pryor (Patrick) who along with his team break Victor Novak (Knepper) out of a prison convoy.

With Patrick and Laura spending time with Mike in his remote cabin, which just so happens to be the first place Jack and his team find as they look for a new vehicle, when the two collide, Patrick is left with a knife stuck in his chest and must figure out how to save his wife from the criminals.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Fear

 

Characters – Patrick is a brilliant surgeon, he is spending a weekend away with his wife and at a patient whose live he saved cabin in the wood. When the unwelcome visitors arrive he tries to defend his wife only to be left with a knife in his chest, somehow he survive with the knife lodged in his chest and starts to figure out how to fight back to save his wife. Laura is the nurse wife that was involved in saving the patient’s life, her weekend sees her husband stabbed and being forced to help one of the wounded criminals. She is trapped forced to wait with the criminals believing her husband is dead. Jack is running the breakout operation, he knows he will be getting a massive payday for getting Victor out of prison, he doesn’t have complete control of his team though which causes the problems, he doesn’t hold up promises which only annoys Victor. Victor is the man they all want to get out of prison, he is one of the most famous criminals in Mexico, however he does seem to honour promises believing karma will help him along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we see Shen Lin give us a performance which needs to remain wound and not physical strong while facing the criminals. Robert Patrick as the loose cannon criminal, this is his strongest skill and he shows why he is picked for these roles. The choice of Robert Knepper in the role is strange because we are used to him being one of the crazy ones over the kinder villain of the piece. Zhu Zhu is solid enough in her role even though she is just the victim for the most part.

StoryThe story is nice and simple, it is a group of criminals that home invade a group of friends while waiting for a vehicle, they try to kill one man, only for him to not die and plan how to save his wife from the group of criminals. This is a formula that we have seen before, it is one that works, we have seen the biggest names in action handle this role, think Crank only without the bonkers side. The idea that our leading character Patrick is stuck with a knife in his chest only add suspense to the story as we know any movement in that knife would result in his death. the weaknesses in the story comes from the criminals themselves who are generic as they come giving us nothing new along the way.

ThrillerThe does keep us on the edge of our seats because we know that Patrick is seriously injured and any wrong moves will finish him off.

SettingsThe film is set in a remote cabin which is where the friends are for calm weekend and the criminals are looking to stay off the radar. It shows us how there isn’t going to be an easy escape for anyone visiting.


Scene of the Movie –
Tractor time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The group of criminals are not the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable thriller, it doesn’t reinvent the genre and follows the rules to a level that can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable thriller

Rating