Franchise Weekend – Mad Max (1979)

maDirector: George Miller

Writer: James McCausland, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Lisa Aldenhoven

 

Plot: In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic

 

Story: Mad Max starts in the near future from now which would be the past for us watching I guess as we have police of this world chasing down criminal in their flashy yellow pursuit vehicles. We see how hapless the two first pursuit vehicles and motorcycle were but the criminals had no idea the Max (Gibson) was waiting for them.

When Max learns the people, who supporting the man he killed are after him he just laughs it off like nothing but the gang led by Toecutter (Keays-Byrne) comes for revenge by causing trouble causing Max to respond but when the case is thrown out Max’s partner flips but the pursuit team get can do what you want on the streets from their sergeant.

When the gang make things, personal Max becomes Mad Max and goes on a bloody mission of vengeance against the whole biker gang leaving bodies in his path.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max

 

StoryThe story behind Mad Max comes off as a simple revenge story as we follow a police officer who loses everything he has to a gang of criminals and goes on his own mission to kill them all. This work on so many levels because we are introduced to one of the icons of action cinema. I do think a lot of the scenes are shot to feel like a bloody version of Batman which adds light hearted comedy to what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action going on through this film are all over the top car chases with explosive consequences on each one, we are told this is in the future but it just doesn’t feel like the dystopian world it is advertised to be in the later chapters. The car chases do keep you on the edge of your seat throughout though.

Characters/PerformanceMel Gibson becomes the overnight sensation with his performance and this character becomes one of the popular action heroes of cinema. When it comes from the rest of the cast we don’t get too much special going on with the villain being slightly out there but never a true threat and the rest of the performances being good enough for the film.

SettingsThe Australian outback is perfect for the setting for this film as we get to see the open roads for the chase scenes and they show how they can go on for miles with no safety.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great for the budget behind the film making everything work for the world created by the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the beginning of the film franchise following the adventures of Mad Max but this film is actually a very slow build to meet him for the origin story because his quest for vengeance doesn’t start till well over the hour mark and is over within the hour and half run time. I did find this disappointing but great for what it is.

 

Overall: Never dated, never dull often misleading though.

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The Warriors (1979)

warriorsDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: David Shaber, Walter Hill (Screenplay) Sol Yurick (Novel)

Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Tom McKitterick, Marcelino Sanchez

 

Plot: In the near future, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Cult Classic

 

Story: The Warriors starts in New York City where the Warriors a gang get called for a meeting with Cyrus who wants to unite the gangs, the meeting must go down unarmed and the Warriors are not the only gang called on for this meeting.

When Cyrus is assassinated the gangs split and the Warriors are framed forced to run from the police but in the what makes a more dangerous threat, the rest of the gangs in the city are targeting them. Each neighbourhood they enter becomes more dangerous with the gangs building to come after them can this small-time gang make it home and clear their name before it is too late.

The Warrior is an action thriller that follows a very simple idea which is one gang having to survive all the odds to get to safety from all the other gangs. The gangs are all filled with colourful characters that make each gang feel different with their own trademarks. The only bad side is that you don’t really know which ones are good gangs or bad gangs as the Warriors are made out to be the bad ones in the eyes of the rest.

The settings are all great with each location coming off as different gang territory which all again has its own look. The performances are all good from each member of the cast with the gang having a natural feel about their relationship throughout. The fight scenes are al designed well to make us see how united our lead gang really it. Overall this is the cult classic people see it as and one I think everyone can enjoy.

 

Overall: When you hear the term cult classic this is one of those films that will be the first on anybody’s list.

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Rocky Week – Rocky II (1979)

rocky 2Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

 

Plot: Rocky struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed, while the embarrassed champ insistently goads him to accept a challenge for a rematch.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Continuing Story

 

Story: Rocky II starts right where the last film finished as we see aftermath with Rocky (Stallone) and Apollo (Weathers) both being treated in hospital, continuing their rivalry on camera. Rocky wants to treat his friends and loved ones well with his new wealth which includes marrying Adrian (Shire).

When Rocky starts struggling to make ends meet he tries his hand in different fields but constantly fails, with a pregnant wife Rocky turns to the only thing he knows and that is fighting. When Apollo demands a rematch so he can beat Rocky we are left to watch as he brings all the dirty tricks out there to bring Rocky out of retirement for one last fight.

Rocky II follows on which is a great way to continuing the somewhat incomplete story in the original story. It is great seeing the side effects from sudden rise to fame and how difficult it would be for someone to go back to normal everyday life. We also get to see how pride can get someone into trouble with the problems Apollo is facing after the events in the first one showing how it can take over even the best in a sports stars.

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: Rocky fresh off his success and new found fame finds himself struggling with everyday life, he struggles with money and loss of respect from the people who once looked up to him. He finally comes out of retirement to show the world that he wasn’t a one fight wonder. Sylvester gives us a great performance in this role that continues to show he could be a big sports actor.rocky

Talia Shire: Adrian is now married to Rocky and expecting her first child, she has to go back to work to help ends meet as Rocky is struggling to find a job. When she pushes herself too far she finds herself in hospital where she finds herself fighting for her life. Talia gets a bigger role and a much more important role in the film letting her show off her talent in the role.

Burt Young: Paulie is Adrian’s brother who wants to help Rocky through his struggles with his new found success in business thanks to the first fight. Burt unlike Talia really doesn’t get too many scenes in the film.

Carl Weathers: Apollo is embarrassed by how the first fight ended and wants to prove to the world that Rocky was nothing more than a fluke, he goes out to publicly humiliate Rocky until he accepts his challenge for a rematch. Carl gives a better performance in this role where he ends up getting more time to go against Rocky.

 

Support Cast: Rocky II really continues to just have the standard supporting cast you would expect to see in a sports film.

Director Review: Sylvester StalloneSylvester steps behind the camera for this version of Rocky showing he knows how he wants to tell his story.

 

Sports: Rocky II has the build up to a big fight which all works for the sports involvement in the story with the boxing looking good too.

Music: Rocky II continues to use the now iconic music being used through the film.

Settings: Rocky II keeps the setting in Philadelphia which shows how one small town man can define the odds.
Suggestion
: Rocky II is one to continue watching the series of films but don’t start with this one. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: Better story.

Worst Part: Paulie gets a small role.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $85 Million

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: This time he’s fighting not for glory, not for money, but for love…Once again, the Italian Stallion proves he’s got what it takes.

 

Overall: Great addition to the original story

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Halloween Kingathon – Salem’s Lot (1979)

Banner-1logoDirector: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Paul Monash (Screenplay) Stephen King (Story)

Starring: David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, Lew Ayres, Julie Cobb, Elisha Cook Jr.

Plot: Vampires are invading a small New England town. It’s up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Just too Long

Story: Salem’s Lot starts in the small town of Salem’s Lot where visitor and author Ben Mears (Soul) is looking to stay. The town has a mystery to it with Ben trying to figure out what is happening around a house on the edge of town but it doesn’t take long for Ben to make a new friend in Susan (Bedelia). The house in question is owned by Richard K Straker (Mason) who goes on trips and upon his latest trip he is having a delivery being handled by Larry Crockett (Willard).

As each nightfalls vampire like creature start haunting the town and people start disappearing leaving it up to Ben to lead the investigation into what is going on.

Salem’s Lot is one of those alternative vampire films it pushes the idea to become an American centred story too, because most vampire films have always seemed to have a European location. I like how the idea was to have a town taken over by the vampires which I do believe other modern vampire films have taken to the next level again. My big problem with this is the length of the story because it just seems to go on and on. In the end this was a landmark at the time horror film that seems to have got forgotten in the modern cinema. (7/10)

Actor Review

David Soul: Ben Mears is the author who has come to the back to his home town but once he returns strange things start happening leading him to start to investigate what is happening to the people in the town. David does a solid job here but I am never convinced with his performance. (6/10)

James Mason: Richard K Straker is the mysterious man who comes to the town to start his new business but when people start going missing he becomes the prime suspect but just what is he hiding? James makes for a good villainous role always thinking he is one step ahead of the rest. (6/10)

Support Cast: Salem’s Lot has a large supporting cast that all seem to be the victims of the vampires in all their own ways as the story decides to let them become the victims.

Director Review: Tobe Hooper Tobe brings his vision of the vampires to this film and each built up brings the scares needed. (7/10)

Horror: Salem’s Lot builds up tension built up horror through each moment the vampires come for their latest victims. (7/10)

Settings: Salem’s Lot uses the small town for the horror which works because they are not sure what is happening to the friends and loved ones. (8/10)

Suggestion: Salem’s Lot is one for all the horror fans out there but make sure you leave enough time if you want to watch all at once. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Vampire creatures.

Worst Part: Too long.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

Awards: Nominated for 3 Prime Time Emmys.

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: Around 3 Hours

Tagline:  Iconic terror from the No 1 bestselling writer.

Overall: Well constructed horror mini series.

Rating 70

Alien (1979)

logoDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Dan O’Bannon (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story)

Starring: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

 

Plot: A commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew Dallas (Skerritt), Ripley (Weaver), Lambert (Cartwright), Brett (Stanton), Kane (Hurt), Ash (Holm) and Parker (Kotto) head home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.

 

Verdict: The classic sci-fi thriller

Story: It would be fair to say when this came out it was brilliant and stand alone on the type of film. Now the story has been copied, pinched from and used to the death. This paved the way for the truly trapped horror films because the space mission means it’s the ship of nothing. The twist that comes half way through offers a surprise and of cause the mood of the film changes drastically when the alien makes its first appearance. (10/10)

 

Actor Review: Sigourney Weaver – Ripley, just part of the crew really but steps up when the alien starts wreaking havoc. In a role that will be remembered as one of the best and most iconic in sci-fi history this performance will never be forgotten. Breakout Performance Award, Iconic Performance Award, Star Performance Award (10/10)

 ripley

Actor Review: Tom Skerritt – Captain Dallas puts the team together to investigate the planet but has to step up when they don’t come back alone. Good performance showing leadership in time of panic. (9/10)

Actor Review: Ian Holm – Ash the science officer who is very distant as well as keeping a big secret from the rest of the crew. Good performance from Holm that opened a door for a twist in films that people actually have to think about. (9/10)

 holm

Actor Review: John Hurt – Kane gets a creature stuck on his face before looking like making a full recovery only to make film history. This character has one of the most iconic sci-fi horror deaths in history. Unluckiest Character Award (9/10)

 hurt

Director Review: Ridley Scott – Creates a world that no one saw coming and shows brilliant direction to create atmosphere throughout. (10/10)

 

Horror: There is no escape from a creature you have never met. (10/10)

Sci-Fi: Redefines the sci-fi genre to use true horror. (10/10)

Special Effects: Stunning special effects that even after 30 plus years still haven’t dated. (10/10)

Believability: We don’t know what is really in space until we go deeper enough. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: When it comes to horror you need great location isolation is the best as we know the characters have nowhere to run, this offers that making the setting perfect. (10/10)

Suggestion: Most films can come and go and gain a few fans, this is not one of them it is one of the first films people will say when you say sci-fi. This makes it a must watch and when you do you will be reward but I expect most of you have already seen it so watch it again. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Alien first reveal.

Kill Of The Film: Kane

Trivia: The original title was Space Beast.

Oscar Chances: Won for Best Effects.

Chances of Sequel: Has three direct sequels and a couple of versus films.

 

Overall: Masterpiece classic must see

Rating 97