The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Peter Stone (Screenplay) John Godey (Novel)

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, Earl Hindman, James Broderick, Dick O’Neill

 

Plot: In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it’s paid, how could they get away?


Tagline – 1:23pm. Grand Central Station, New York. A packed commuter train is hijacked. A ransom is set – at one million dollars. The subway is a closed system. For the four hijackers, surely there is no way out. But they have a deadly plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense 70’s Thriller

 

Story: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three starts when four man codenamed Blue (Shaw), Green (Balsam), Grey (Elizondo) and Brown (Hindman) hijack a New York subway train, they have demands, one million dollars or they will kill the hostages, Police LT Zachary Garber (Matthau) is left in charge of trying to negotiate the freedom of the passengers.

As the race against time continues to prepare the money we see just how far the hijackers will go for their money and just what is their motives for picking the train system to hijack, which should leave them little chance of escape.

 

Thoughts on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

 

Characters – Lt Garber is trying to show off the New York subway system to the Japanese investment group, only for his day to turn into chaos, as he must work to protect the passengers on the train from the office, figuring out how to stay ahead of the ring leader. Blue is the man running the operations on board the train, he knows what he wants, how to get it done though he doesn’t trust his whole team. Green is the most trusted man working under Blue, he will not ask questions and will get the job done. Grey is one of the hijackers that Blue isn’t keen on, the newest member of the team which only draws attention to him.

PerformancesWalter Matthau in the leading role is strong, he brings a role that is only considered an everyday person to life, needing to stay ahead of the hijackers. Robert Shaw as the lead hijacker is strong through the film taking control of the situation well. When it comes to the rest of the cast we get strong performance that don’t make the biggest impact from all involved.

StoryThe story follows a group of hijackers that take over a New York subway train wanting money in exchange for passengers and the transport police officers that is trying to stop them. This does play into the ideas of just how people were committing hijackers during the 70’s, it shows how the cities will pay to save the lives of their citizens, it shows us the panic that would come over a city, with the location making everything around watching over the train difficult. We get the usual idea behind the robbery with the team not a smoothly operating as they should be.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mostly how the tactical approach is used to prepare for the attempts to take down the hijackers. This does show how the criminals are acting and have put a plan together.

SettingsThe film mostly is set on the train and with the station that the police are watching over the events preparing for the problem to be solved.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hostages are slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic action crime thriller that did get a remake, certain parts haven’t aged that well, while others make it feel more raw.

 

Overall: Classic Action Thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Thor: The Dark World (2013) Revisited

Director: Alan Taylor

Writer: Christopher L Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, Robert Rodat (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson (Comics)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi

 

Plot: When Dr. Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor is heralded of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.


Tagline – There was darkness.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sequel

 

Story: Thor: The Dark World starts as Thor (Hemsworth) must restore the power in Asgard after Loki’s (Hiddleston) actions, this has made him in the position he should be, waiting to take over his father Odin’s (Hopkins) role. Meanwhile on Earth Jane (Portman) is trying to move with her life, but in London she discovers an unusual series of events which ends up taking her to Elf world.

When Jane becomes cursed, Thor takes her to Asgard to find a cure, which gives Malekith (Eccleston) a chance to lead his army back into combat so he can return the universe back to darkness. Thor must turn to Loki t help him defeat Malekith and save the universe.

 

Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

 

Characters – Thor is once again preparing to take his throne in Asgard, he has restored faith in the nine realms, but he still misses Jane. When she becomes cursed, he returns to Earth to save her, which only brings back an ancient enemy to the Asgardians in the Dark Elves, he must disobey his father once again to end the threat and save the woman he loves. Jane is trying to get on with her life now, her research has taken her to London where she is trying to get over Thor, her investigation sees her cursed and taken to Asgard to learn about Thor’s home world. Loki is locked up for his actions, after his mother is murdered, Thor turns to him for help to get vengeance. Malekith is the leader of the Dark Elves, he has waited for his chance to bring the universe into darkness once again, killing Frigga the mother of Thor.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth continues to make Thor one of the most entertaining character in the universe. Natalie Portman was known to not be interested in being in the film, it does show in her performance which does disappoint. Tom Hiddleston brings another dimension to his character here which is only going to make him a more loved character. Christopher Eccleston does give us a basic villain, one that is only after power and is mostly under make up, making his performance harder to judge.

StoryThe story here follows Thor on his latest adventure, one where he must face an ancient enemy who wants to put the universe into darkness, while finally returning to Jane who has become cursed by the Dark Elves magic. This is another sequel that does address the previous films in the franchise by showing the hints the Thor and Loki could still rebuild their bond even after what Loki has done, we address forbidden relationships between Thor and Jane, have a villain that is obsessed with power, though isn’t the most three-dimensional and see Thor needing to learn more about his responsibilities as a potential king. This is everything you would expect a sequel to be in this universe.

Action/FantasyThe action involved in this film is mostly big CGI chases sequences between spacecrafts, we do get Thor doing the hammer routine which works well enough for the film. the fantasy side of the film continues to build on the idea that the worlds above have been fighting longer than people could imagine with fresh enemies waiting in the shadows.

SettingsThe film uses Asgard, the home world of the Dark Elves and London as the main settings, each has its own action sequences which also shows what Thor is fighting for.

Special EffectsThe effects are not as strong as previous films, but we do get some very impressive scenes none the less, the certain moments of weakness do hold the marks up though,


Scene of the Movie –
London battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t as interesting as previous ones.

Final ThoughtsThis is still an entertaining sequel, it might not be as strong as some of the previous films, but it entertains throughout.

 

Overall: Fantasy Filled Sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Thor (2011) Revisited

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings

 

Plot: The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.


Tagline – Two worlds. One hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining

 

Story: Thor starts when astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) discovering a cosmic event in the New Mexico desert with her team Erik Selvig (Skarsgard) and Darcy (Dennings). We head up to Asgard next as Odin (Hopkins) tells the history of his people, the battle with the frost giants, his two sons Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) that will one day replace him as King.

When the Frost Giants try to enter Asgard, Thor decides to lead a team to retaliate, which sees Odin banish him to Earth. Thor must learn his place in the universe, with Jane helping him, while Loki takes his place as King of Asgard even if his past sees him wanting the events of the film to happen.

 

Thoughts on Thor

 

Characters – Thor is the son of Odin, he is soon to become King, but his over confrontational nature sees him disobeying his father’s orders, he is a fearless warrior who is banished to Earth, without his powers. This is a lesson for him to learn about fighting the right wars, not starting them, until he learns this, his powers won’t return to him. Janes Foster is an astrophysicist that has been searching for answers in the cosmos, her research has seen her finding unexplained answers in the universe, she could finally get answers with Thor’s appearance, she is willing risk her career for answers. Loki is the brother of Thor, he has been planning on taking over Asgard instead of his brother, he knows his past and has been waiting for his moment to become King. Odin is the king of Asgard, he has kept the peace for centuries and is running short on patience for his son’s action, he wants to teach Thor a lesson, while needing to tell Loki about his own past.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth is fantastic in the leading role, he has the look and shows the comic timing which has become the staple of his character. Natalie Portman is strong enough even if the character is disappointing, Tim Hiddleston shows us his calm persona behind his character, with Anthony Hopkins doing everything you would imagine he would bring to a father figure.

StoryThe story here follows Thor as he must learn his truth strength when it comes to one day become King of Asgard, this will see him losing his powers and learning to control his desires while his brother is positioning himself for power. Thor is yet another character we knew very little about going in (unless you read the comics), we get to see his past, how the world he is from is created, the dynamics behind the characters involved, even before we get to Earth. On Earth we learn more about the SHIELD and how they are still investigating the bigger picture of unexplained weapons. This does show us just how important waiting for power is more important than being given power, we get to see how another hero is introduced to us for the bigger picture.

Action/Fantasy The action is at the large scale here with the battles being hordes of enemies for Thor at times, we do get the giant battle against the enemy physically bigger and stronger that Thor must learn to defeat as well as the traditional final fight which shows us the sacrifice a king must make. The fantasy world created shows us the world of Gods being real, being one away from our own, while still being connected in folk lore.

SettingsThe vision of Asgard is beautiful, with towering buildings, a place where you would imagine Gods living. The second settings takes us to New Mexico which plans into the fish out of water scenario.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best in the franchise to date, the pure scale of the enemies involved, the worlds created and fight sequences makes this look beautiful to watch even with the CGI heavy usage.


Scene of the Movie –
Bifrost fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts of Loki’s plan seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the enjoyable comic book movies you will see, we get the big action sequences, we get some laughs and we see the star of Chris Hemsworth take full advantage of his opportunity.

 

Overall: Great Fun.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – T – Taking Lives (2004)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Writer: Jon Bokenkamp (Screenplay) Michael Pye (Novel)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Gena Rowlands, Oliver Martinez, Tcheky Karyo, Jean-Hugues Andlande, Paul Dano

 

Plot: An FBI profiler is called in by French Canadian police to catch a serial killer who takes on the identity of each new victim.


Tagline – He Would Kill To Be You.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Good as it Should Be

 

Story: Taking Lives starts as we see a young man kill another young man to steal his identity, years later a body is discovered in Canada which leads to the local French-Canadian police to call in FBI profiler Illeana (Jolie) to help with the new mystery body. Things take a turn when a man Costa (Hawke) believes he interrupted the next attempted murder before the killer is finished dealing with the body.

When the police learn this killer has been killing and stealing identities the case takes a turn and now they must figure out who the latest victim is and who he has become.

 

Thoughts on Taking Lives

 

Characters – Illeane Scott is an FBI Profiler bought in to help with the case of a killer that is stealing identities of the people he is murdering, she gets the profile correct and wants to had home after starting to become interested in one of the key witnesses. Costa is a key witness who interrupts one of the murders before the killer can complete his plan, he gives the information to track the killer. Hart is a man that soon enters Costa’s life after the incident making him the prime suspect as the killer.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie is solid enough in this leading role which disappoints because we know she can be a fantastic cop figure. Ethan Hawke struggles with his role too which is only really filled with disappointment as he never convinces in his witness role. Kiefer Sutherland disappoints because we know how good he can be and want to see him more often in a film.

StoryThe story is a FBI agent needing to help track down a serial killer who steals identity, yeah these are usually entertaining to watch but this just doesn’t reach the levels of mystery it needs, this might be because this is a repeat viewing and I know the ending, but there are never really any hints or suspects to work with through the film. the film lacks the true tension needed in a film that is filled with twisted crimes going on.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is interesting for a killer to be acting the way they do, the weakest part is the mystery as we just don’t meet enough potential suspects.

SettingsThe film is sent in a big city which plays into the idea that someone could steal and identity and kill someone without people noticing someone going missing.

Special EffectsThe effects are good because we get to see practical effects when it comes to the kills and aftermath from them.


Scene of the Movie –
The lift opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough suspects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a crime thriller that lacks the punch to make it stand out from the crowded market, we always need a large group of suspects, but this didn’t give us enough, while it did create a great killer.

 

Overall: Lacklustre crime thriller

Rating

 

 

Triple Threat (2019)

Director: Jesse V Johnson

Writer: Joey O’Bryan, Fangjin Song, Paul Staheli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tony Jaa, Tiger Hu Chen, Iko Uwais, Scott Adkins, Celina Jade, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping

 

Plot: A hit contract is taken out on a billionaire’s daughter who is intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down and out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins and stop them before they kill their target.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Action Flick

 

Story: Triple Threat starts when a group of professional assassins led by Devereaux (White) breaks Collins (Adkins) out of a remote holding location in the jungle, Jaka (Uwais) is the only survive of the assault which sees the love of his life killed. Xian (Jade) the daughter of a billionaire is planning to use her fortune to take down a crime syndicate, which makes her a big target for the syndicate.

Jaka searching for the people responsible locates two members of the team Paya (Jaa) and Long Fei (Chen) who were also left for dead by the assassins, soon Payu and Long Fei will find themselves needing to defend Xian, while Jaka using other means to get revenge.

 

Thoughts on Triple Threat

 

Characters – Payu is one of the guides that helps the assassins through the jungle, he is betrayed and left for dead with his partner, returning to the underground fighting scene for money, he soon finds himself going up against the assassins once again, using his connections from his mysterious past to do the right thing. Long Fei is the partner of Payu, he is much more straight down the line with everything, equally as good in combat, the two make for a deadly team. Jaka is one of the guards of the camp, he is left for dead and left to bury his wife, he wants revenge and knows how to get it, he is hunting down everybody involved, playing them against each other to get what he wants. Collins is the leader of the assassins, broken out of prison to take on the latest job, he must complete the last job, which sees him hunting down Payu and Long Fei, while leading his team in the assassination mission of Xian. He is cocky and believes he can always win in a fight against any level of opponent. Xian is the daughter of a billionaire, she has made it clear she will be giving up for fortune to make the streets clean for the next generation of children, this sees her being the target for the crime syndicates of the country, forcing her to figure out who to trust for her own safety. Devereaux is the second in command, he doesn’t trust Jaka in any of the missions and is quite happy to watch anywhere they have worked burn to the ground.

PerformancesThis has a cast that will be an action fans dream, Tony Jaa, Tiger Hu Chen and Iko Uwais fighting is something we can watch all day long, seeing the human side of the story has help show how the three are improving outside of the action scenes in film too. Scott Adkins in the villainous role works very well too showing his fighting skills, while being a villain that is easy to see how they are performing through the film. Celina Jade and Michael Jai White complete the main cast not putting a foot wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows an elite group of assassins that have been hired to eliminate a billionaire woman that wants to end the crime world going on in her home land, only for her to need to turn to new mercenaries who will be the ones that will keep her safe from the danger. This is a story that focuses on the action over any really difficult subjects going on, we do get people coming from different sides searching for a moment which will see them getting their own objective, be it a paid job, revenge or change. The story is mostly, lets get to this location or lets get away from this location usually involving a fight along the way, it is nothing completed hitting everything it needs to by the end of the film.

ActionThe action brings some of the best martial artists together in dream fight matches, we have each unique style given to the actors involved, they don’t go to the full levels of their hits or give away all their best moves.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to create different locations for the fights, be it the jungle, the police station or the final showdown location.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing Jaa, Uwais and Adkins fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact they don’t let Xian show any fighting skills.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action film that brings together some of the brightest fighting stars in the business today in a story which will see them get a chance to fight.

 

Overall: Pure action fun.

Rating