Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (1986)

Director: Robert Harmon

Writer: Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Rutger Hauer, C Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, John M Jackson

 

Plot: A young man who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Thrills

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as student Jim Halsey (Howell) travelling across America to San Diego. Against any warnings, he might have been given he decides to pick up a hitch-hiker John Ryder (Hauer), John promises to kill Jim in the most graphic possible way. Escaping Jim witnesses the path of destruction Ryder has been leaving, this leads to Jim trying to warn people only finding himself as the prime suspect.

Ryder continues leaving bodies including cops in his path as Jim teams up with plucky waitress Nash (Leigh) to clear his name, the problem is the police and Ryder are after Jim in this suspense driven thriller.

 

Thoughts on The Hitcher

 

Characters/PerformanceJim is a young man just looking to get across country to make a new start, he is naïve in how he acts but also desperate to prove his innocence. Ryder is a hitch-hiker with a lust for blood, well killing, it doesn’t matter who you are, your age, sex or reason to be travelling along this road, he will just kill you. His emotionless enjoyment of killing is what makes him stand out. Nash sees a chance to leave this dead-end life she is living by help Jim.

Performance wise, Rutger Hauer is brilliant in this leading role full of terror in every single look he gives us. Howell is good in his role as the determined young man with Leigh giving us a good supporting role.

StoryWhen it comes to the story, this film keeps it all very simple, a young man is chased around the open roads of America by the psychopathic killer as the young man tries his best to prove he is innocent. This is all the film needs to do, keeping everything simple for us the audience to enjoy, but if you want deep character development you need to look somewhere else.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror side of the film comes as we are left wondering how we would act if this happened to us, the thrilling side comes wondering just what Ryder will do next.

SettingsKeeping the film on the open roads shows us just how difficult the situation would be to escape for our character.

Special EffectsThe special effects are only used when needed and the truck tie up scene is brilliant use of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple idea that reaches all the tension levels need for a thriller film, it keeps you on edge throughout the film and has a psychopath that is genuinely scary.

 

Overall: This is one of the best horror thrillers of the 80’s one that all can enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Top Gun (1986)

top-gunDirector: Tony Scott

Writer: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr, Warren Skaaren (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Tim Robbins

 

Plot: As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic 80s Film

 

Story: Top Gun starts as we meet rebellious hot shot fighter pilot Maverick (Cruise) and his co-pilot Goose (Edwards) who take risks but also loyal to their unit within the Navy. The pair get set to the elite training program known as Top Gun to see who is the greatest pilot the US Navy has to offer.

When the pair meet the competition the main threat is Iceman (Kilmer) and under the tutelage of Viper (Skerritt) all the pilot learn the lessons of the sky and combat but most importantly life.

Top Gun bought in this new style of action where everything was way over the top and more about the style rather than believability of what is actually happening. We get an interesting look at fighter pilots because we have a film that has the hero character in Maverick but doesn’t have a true villain because while Iceman is his rival he is right most of the time. We don’t get into any actual combat until the final act where we get to see the full training put to the test and as for the at time awkward romance angle this film ends up being everything you could see in the wildly enjoyable 80s film.

 

Overall: A film that gave birth to the wildly over the top action films.

Rating75

 

 

Jeff Goldblum Weekend – The Fly (1986)

flyDirector: David Cronenberg

Writer: Charles Edward Pogue, David Cronenberg (Screenplay) George Langelaan (Short Story)

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel, Leslie Carlson, George Chuvalo

 

Plot: A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Horror

 

Story: The Fly starts as Seth Brundle (Goldblum) is talking about his invention that can change the human history to reporter Veronica (Davis). Taking her back to his lab he shows her his teleporters and he wants her to record his moment in history.

Seth wants to be able to make his teleporter be able to teleport living creatures but after failing to teach his teleporters to learn he find himself killing the animal involved. When he finally makes a breakthrough he could well have created something to ease transportation.

When Seth jealous of Veronica’s previous relationship with Stathis Borans (Getz) he has a few drinks and puts himself through the teleporter. Seth’s rash decision finds himself mixing his own DNA with a fly and the transformation has started to take over Seth.

The Fly has a storyline which does challenge the motion of what is best for science as well as asking the questions about what happens if science goes wrong. The story itself is pretty easy to follow and builds upon what the original offered. It would be fair to say the most important aspect of this film was put into the practical effects and trying to make the transformation look as real and shocking as possible but that all helps take away what could have just been a bog standard remake. This story works because of the horror created within the effects and could easily be considered one of the best ever made.

 

Actor Review

 

Jeff Goldblum: Seth Brundle is a brilliant but loner scientist who has committed all of his time into his work but with his life’s work almost done he searches for a reporter to help tell his story. when he finally gets his machine to be able to teleport living things he enters the machine himself only to have his DNA mixed with fly only for him to transform into a life size fly. Jeff gives what could easily be his best performance if not his most famous in this role which is filled with pure terror.

Geena Davis: Veronica Quaife is a reporter looking for a story at a science event where she meets and is instantly intrigued with his story. the two become romantically involved as she witnesses the progress and eventually deconstruction of Seth. Geena is great in this role with each reaction coming off how you could see this really happening.

John Getz: Stathis Borans is the editor of the magazine that Veronica works for as well as being the former partner of her. He doesn’t want anything to do with the story but soon gets involved when he learns about the romantic side to their story in an act of jealous. John is good in this supporting role being your typical jealous former partner.

Support Cast: The Fly doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast with most just being involved in an odd scene.

Director Review: David CronenbergDavid gives us a film that is over 30-year-old and still easily one of the greatest and most shocking horror movies ever made.

 

Horror: The Fly is one of the best if not the true best body horror films ever made.

Sci-Fi: The Fly gives us an answer to what would happen if DNA got wrongly crossed and the horrific effects it can cause.

Settings: The Fly keeps most of the settings within the lab where Seth works showing us just how secretive the work he is working on is.
Special Effects
: The Fly has some of the best practical effects you’ll ever see within any film.

Suggestion: The Fly is one of the most must watch horror film you will ever see. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Final Transformation.

Worst Part: It might be too much for some people.

Oh My God Moment: Brundlefly.

Scariest Scene: Baboon scene.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won an Oscar for Best Make Up

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: Something went wrong in the lab today. Very wrong.

Trivia: The famous tagline, “Be afraid. Be very afraid”, originated in this film as dialogue spoken by Veronica Quaife

 

Overall: Simple put one of the best sci-fi horror movies ever made.

Ratingcard

 

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger Weekend – Raw Deal (1986)

raw dealDirector: John Irvin

Writer: Gary DeVore, Norman Wexler (Screenplay) Lucian Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati (Story)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Robert Davi, Ed Lauter, Darren McGavin, Joe Regalbuto

 

Plot: A former FBI agent turned small-town sheriff agrees to help the FBI chief infiltrate the Chicago mafia when the FBI chief’s son is killed by them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Action Film

 

Story: Raw Deal starts as we see the mob take down a witness protection post killing the son of Harry Shannon (McGavin). We move on to meet Mark Kaminsky (Schwarzenegger) a small town sheriff that was forced to leave the FBI with him and his wife struggling with this quiet existence.

With a phone call from Harry gives Mark a chance to regain his FBI status by going undercover in the Patrovita (Wanamaker) organisation with the promises of getting his old job back. Mark’s new identity is Joseph P Brenner and it doesn’t take long for him to start getting noticed and welcomed into the crime organisation.

Raw Deal is what you would call a typical action crime thriller from the 80s, it has nothing truly fresh but can be enjoyed from the casual viewing. We get to see the redemption story but I do feel we should have seen what Mark had done rather just hear about it. We do get a film that continues to grow Schwarzenegger reputation in the action genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Mark Kaminsky/Joseph P Brenner, Mark is the former FBI agent turns small town Sheriff because of his rough justice. He lives a boring life where his wife has grown to hate him. Mark gets a chance to get his old job back by going undercover in a criminal organisation against the men which killed his former partner’s son. Arnold shows his action skills without being trying to hard.

Kathryn Harrold: Monique is a lady Mark meets in the club where he strikes up a friendship with her as the two are only ever friends but nothing more. She is trapped under the thumb of the mobsters who are making her do their scouting from the tables. Kathryn is a simple female character that never really offers too much to the main story.

Sam Wanamaker: Luigi Patrovita is the crime boss who has control of the city that Mark has to get close to, he doesn’t let people in easily but if you mess with him you won’t be around much longer. Sam makes for your typical villain in the business man type of role.

Darren McGavin: Harry Shannon is the former partner of Mark in the FBI who secretly funds the undercover mission to get revenge for the death of his son at the hands of the mob. Darren is a solid supporting character one that is typical for 80s films.

Support Cast: Raw Deal doesn’t have the most memorable supporting cast with most just being extra members of the mob for Mark to take out.

Director Review: John IrvinJohn gives us an easy to watch action film that never really tests us.

 

Action: Raw Deal has standard 8os action going on from start finish.

Crime: Raw Deal puts us into a crime world where we get to see one man undercover looking for revenge for a friend.

Thriller: Raw Deal tries to keep us on edge but we all know Arnie is never in danger.

Settings: Raw Deal doesn’t have the most memorable settings being used in the film.
Special Effects
: Raw Deal has typical effects for the time period the film was made in.

Suggestion: Raw Deal is one for a late night TV where you can sit back and relax. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Arnie is still strong.

Worst Part: Nothing really fresh.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: Nobody gives him a Raw Deal.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film

Ratingcard

 

 

Aliens (1986)

aliensDirector: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters) James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill (Story)

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews

 

Plot: The planet from Alien (1979) has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Still Stands the Test of Time

 

Story: Aliens starts when Ripley (Weaver) is finally rescued from her hyper sleep, only to find out that she has been sleeping for centuries, questioned for her action on the spacecraft she learns that the same planet LV-426 has been colonised with no problems from any alien species.  We get to see how the colony is building on the planet which includes us watching Newt (Henn) and her family being the ones to find the alien ship.

The company representative Burke (Reiser) looks to recruit Ripley into helping them once the company loses connect with the colony, this time armed with marines led by Lieutenant Gorman (Hope). The elite unit including Corporal Hicks (Biehn), Private Hudson (Paxton), Private Vasquez (Goldstein) and Private Drake (Rolston) to mention a few is armed to the teeth ready for any combat needed, but it is the android Bishop (Henriksen) that cause Ripley the worries especially after what happened last time she was on a mission with one.

Once at the colony the soldiers find the place abandoned at first until they find Newt only to learn the truth about what happened at the base. The unit find themselves under attack from multiply xenomorphs and only Ripley knows how to fight them off.

Aliens is the sequel to one of the greatest horror movies that actually takes the film in a different direction by adding action element. This doesn’t take away anything because if the sequel had just been on one ship with limited weapons it simply would have been a remake feeling, this story feels fresh because we already know the basics of what our heroes are up against we just needed to learn how they will deal with them this time. When it comes to the story it once again is simple soldiers versus aliens in a battle to survive which all works perfectly for this classic 30 years later.

 

Actor Review

 

Sigourney Weaver: Ripley is the lone survivor from the events of the first film, she has been in hyper sleep for years. She is charged for her actions as no evidence of any alien life form is discovered in the wreck, dealing with all the side effects we get to see how she is getting on with her life again. All this changes when the company that blamed her turned to her for help on the same planet that we first met a xenomorph. When things go wrong she takes charge of the situation while trying to protect a little girl. Sigourney was nominated for an Oscar for this performance and it would hard not to praise her brilliant performance.ripley

Carrie Henn: Newt is the little girl that was living on the colony before the attack, she is also the lone survivor once the soldiers turn up to deal with the situation. She has survived by hiding and offers the soldiers much needed advice on where to survive. Carrie is great in this role for such a young actress at the time.

Michael Biehn: Corporal Hicks has to take charge of the soldiers once his seniors become incapacitated. He will listen to Ripley and make the right decisions when it comes to fighting the xenomorphs. Michael is great in this role where he actually plays the sensible soldier.

Lance Henriksen: Bishop is the android on the mission, he is instantly disliked by Ripley but this time we only see good from the android who is willing to risk his own life to save the humans. Lance is great as this android keeping the emotionless expression throughout.

Support Cast: Aliens has a supporting cast that is mostly the soldiers who are generic in their own way along with the company man that also works for this film very well.

Director Review: James CameronJames is a director that always makes classics and this could well be his best.

 

Action: Aliens is filled with combat driven action which comes off very nicely in the confined spaces.

Horror: Aliens is still filled with horror of isolation on the planet being hunted down by an alien enemy.

Sci-Fi: Aliens puts our characters in space and a new planet ticking off all of the sci-fi elements to make this an action sci-fi film.

Settings: Aliens creates a larger isolation idea with the characters being trapped on a base rather than a ship with no escape from the enemy.
Special Effects
: Aliens has stunning effects that still stand the test of time.xena

Suggestion: Aliens is one I do feel everyone should have watched at least once in a lifetime. (Watch)

 

Best Part:  First meeting the aliens.

Worst Part: Depends which cut you watch, the shorter cut takes away a lot of back story.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final fight.

Favourite Quote: Ripley ‘Get away from her you bitch’

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won Two Oscars for Best Sound Effects and Visual Effects.

Box Office: $85 Million

Budget: $ 18.5 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes

Tagline: There are some places in the universe you don’t go alone.

Trivia: The knife trick scene was not in the original shooting script. According to Lance Henriksen, the adding of Hudson’s hand to the knife trick was discussed with almost everyone, except Bill Paxton.

 

Overall: Stunning sci-fi action horror that really comes off as the true classic

Ratingcard