ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – # – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Movie Review

This is under the numbers because of the fact it is a sequel.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Jeffrey Boam (Screenplay) George Lucas, Menno Meyjes (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover

Plot: In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler‘s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.


Tagline – Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starts when Indiana Jones (Ford) learns his father Professor Henry Jones (Connery) has gone missing in search of the holy grail, his life’s work, this returns Indiana to Europe where he meets Elsa (Doody) and comes face to face with the Nazis once again.

Indiana and Henry must put aside their differences and get to get to the holy grail first and stop it getting into the hands of pure evil.

Thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Characters – Indiana Jones returns to his double life of a history professor teaching about fact and the adventurer that goes in search of treasures, only this time he will need to go in search of his father, he must deal with the fact his dad was distant from him growing up and now he must continue his fight against the Nazis. Professor Henry Jones is Indiana’s father and has been studying the Holy Grail his whole life, to which Indiana believes is only paperwork, but his time in the field is now causing more problems for Indiana. Marcus is the smart friend of the Jones family, only he is useless in the field, usually gets laughs along the way. Elsa is the Austrian scientist working for the Nazis looking to get the book belonging to Henry, we are never sure completely which side she is fighting for though.

PerformancesHarrison Ford continues to be wonderful to watch in this role, showing excellent chemistry with Sean Connery who brings us the older figure that is played for laughs we never thought he could handle. The rest of the cast are entertaining to watch through the film, bringing to life their different roles with ease.

StoryThe story here follows Indiana Jones on his latest adventure to help search for his missing father who went in search for the holy grail. This does bring Indiana back to his fights with the Nazis who want to use historical religious artifacts for their own benefit, this time the holy grail. We continue to build the world here, with an on going rival for Indiana to face, one that he has been up against for his whole life, one that is greedier, but one Indiana has started to get ahead off, along with a father son relationship that needs fixing despite knowing there is love between them.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences continue to follow what we know from the Indiana Jones trilogy, we have big chase sequences, one through Venice, one through the skies above Germany and the desert tank one is brilliant too.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world on the adventure as we get to see each location with history being used to help lead the path to the answers.


Scene of the Movie – The Holy Grail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing in this one.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent conclusion to the trilogy, one that builds a bigger world for Indiana and returns to a familiar foe for him to face.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – Y – Black Rain (1989) Movie Review

This is going under Y because of the involvement of the Yakuza.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Craig Bolotin, Warren Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda, Shigeru Koyama

Plot: Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he’s extradited to Japan.


Tagline – An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Drama

Story: Black Rain starts when bad boy cop Nick Conklin (Douglas) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Garcia) look to clean up their own problem, they stumble into a Yakuza gangster killing the godfather of the Japanese mafia.

Nick and Charlie find themselves needing to escort the killer, only for them to hand him over to an imposter, the pair need to work with the locals to try and recapture the killer in a country that has a battle between two deadly gangs.

Thoughts on Black Rain

Characters – Nick is the bad boy detective that doesn’t always play by the rules with how he gets the job done, this has landed him in trouble on countless times, his latest hearing ends up with his catching an international killer and needing to escort him back to Japan, only to find himself needing to investigate the gang war raging on in the country. Charlie is the by the book cop that knows how to keep Nick in line when he starts going too far, he is willing to be more open about the difference in culture, even if he doesn’t agree with everything, being the good cop to the bad cop attitude to Nick. Masahiro is the local Japanese cop that is assigned to show the detectives around, he ends up working with them to try and get deeper into the bigger case going on within the city. Joyce is an American living in Japan, she does fill in certain parts the locals don’t want to give up.

PerformancesMichael Douglas does do his best at trying to be more of a bad boy figure within the film, he has the attitude required for the role, Andy Garcia does bring a more relaxed approach which works well for the film, with the rest of the cast working well with what they need to bring to their roles.

StoryThe story here follows two New York detectives who travel across the world to escort a prisoner only to lose them and need to find themselves in the middle of a war for power in Japan, trying to understand the bigger picture. We are given a story here that shows how the change in culture will change how an investigation might well be addressed, it does seem to focus more on how Nick is more aggressive at times than he needs to, he is a shady cop. The investigation doesn’t seem to get into the intense level it should because we don’t focus on any of the criminal activities through the film though.

Action/CrimeThe action is simple enough, with most circulating around the motorbike usage of Nick and how controlled he is behind the world, with the criminal side of the film focusing on how everything will be different for the American cops in a new land.

SettingsThe film uses the Japan setting to show the cops with a new setting, which will operate in a different manner to what they are used to dealing with. It does show us how the world will feel darker to the criminal world they have come from.


Scene of the Movie – The motorbike riding sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the criminal’s actions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama, it has a cop that isn’t a smooth around the edges forced into a world he knows nothing about.

Overall: By the Book.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movie – N – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Director: Jeremiah Chechik

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd

 

Plot: The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.


Tagline – Yule crack up!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True American Christmas Film

 

Story: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starts when Clark Griswold (Chase) has decided his family, Ellen (D’Angelo), Audrey (Lewis) and Rusty (Galecki) are going to host Christmas for the whole family this year, as per normal for Clark he goes through a series of mishaps as the family reacts to his action.

Clark will soon learn that hosting Christmas isn’t going to be as easy as he once thought as the series of unfortunate events seem to be piling up.

 

Thoughts on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

 

Characters – Clark is the ever-enthusiastic father, husband and son that wants to impress his family with his first Christmas as a complete family, this soon leads him to make a series of clumsy errors which only he could find himself in. Ellen is the ever-supportive wife of Clark that isn’t sure this will be a good idea, though she supports this decision through. Audrey and Rusty are the children that are seeing their father and his series of events, while we do get to see many of the family members through the year.

PerformancesChevy Chase was always the heart of the vacation movies, his performance shows a comic timing are perfect through the film, while the rest of the cast know how to let him get the most out of his moments.

StoryThe story follows the events of the Griswold’s as they look to celebrate their first Christmas in Clark’s household. This continues the idea of seeing the holidays that the family go on and how they go wrong, while teaching the lesson about supporting your family no matter how different they are, because family is what is important at the holiday time. This doesn’t do anything to that we don’t already know and we have seen many movies try to do this since and failed. This is the one that the Christmas time will call for seeing once a year, at Christmas.

ComedyThe comedy here shows us just how brilliant at timing Chevy Chase is, because nearly every laugh comes from him, we do also get the set-up laugh moments which pay off well through the film too.

SettingsThe film is set in the Gridwold household which shows us how everyone can come together for Christmas.


Scene of the Movie –
Squirrel chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The neighbours is almost pointless.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant America Christmas movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family for years to come.

 

Overall: True Christmas classic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – J – The ‘Burbs (1989) Movie Review

We are under J because of the director Joe Dante.

Director: Joe Dante

Writer: Dana Olsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Rock Ducommun, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, Henry Gibson

Plot: An overstressed suburbanite and his fellow neighbors are convinced that the new family on the block are part of a murderous Satanic cult.


Tagline – He’s a stranger in an even stranger land… Suburbia

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Silly Comedy

Story: The ‘Burbs starts as we head to the suburban neighbourhood, where Ray (Hanks), Mark (Dern) and Rick (Ducommun) all start wondering about the newest member of their neighbourhood, a mysterious family that don’t tend to their garden or come out in day time, with the rumours spiralling out of control, the guys do look to find an answer.

The deeper the group get, the wilder the imagines run with just who the neighbours are, from vampires, to satanic cult members, but just how far with the rumours go.

Thoughts on The ‘Burbs

Characters – Ray is the member of the neighbourhood everyone turns to, he is trying to have a week away from the stress of work, which only gets caught up when the rest of the neighbours want to learn about the mysterious new neighbour, where he must lead the investigation, being the most normal of the three main group. Mark is the military nut that will be able to undercover, but wants to solve the problems quickly, letting other people do the more dangerous tasks. Art is the member of the group that gets thrown into the wackier ideas, which sees him getting the slapstick laughs through the film, with Carol being the long suffering wife of Ray that just wants him to have fun on his time off.

PerformancesTom Hanks is strong enough in the leading role, he does make himself the most likeable of the three main guys, while Bruce Dern does get the most laughs, even if we waste Carrie Fisher at times.

StoryThe story here follows three neighbours that start to question the new neighbours believing there is a bigger mystery about who they are, which leads them to investigate the mysterious family. This is a story that just shows how suspicion will only escalate into something deadly, when the rumours are just looking to make the boring lives interesting. We don’t get into the levels we could get too, with the hints of something big, only for it to end up being more of a problem between grown men.

Comedy/MysteryThe comedy in the film is a mix of slapstick, which doesn’t really hit, while the clever movements of Hanks which will get some low key laughs, with the mystery being about the neighbours being the main part of the story.

SettingsThe film is set in suburbia and shows how the neighbours are getting too close and suspicious about what is going on within their street.


Scene of the Movie – Ricky watching the events unfold.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It kind of feels flat.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that misses more often than not and ends up lacking in the story side of the film.

Overall: Flat Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – D – DeepStar Six (1989)

Director: Sean S Cunningham

Writer: Lewis Abernathy, Geof Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Taurean Blacque, Nancy Everhard, Greg Evigan, Miguel Ferrer, Nia Peeples, Matt McCoy, Cindy Pickett

Plot: At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace.


Tagline – Six miles below the surface of the ocean, something beyond your imagination will scare the hell out of you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard TV Level Sci-Fi

Story: DeepStar Six starts as an underwater contracting team in the ship with the title in its name are digging for missile silos, with the contract running out, they are being forced into blowing a hole in unstable surface at the bottom of the ocean, Captain Laidlaw (Blacque) agrees to the job, with Joyce Collins (Everhard) running the operation.

When the explosion seems to release something unknown, one of the subs goes missing, while another one comes under attack, it turns into a rescue mission for the crew as they need to survive an attack from a deadly enemy from the deep.

Thoughts on DeepStar Six

Characters – Laidlaw is the captain of the crew, he keeps the deadlines running, while wanting to put his team first, he will lead the investigation into what is happening and isn’t going to let them get injured for their actions. Joyce Collins leads the scientific side of the job, she is here to question decisions for safety, even if she doesn’t always getting given the same respect back from the rest of the crew. McBride is the confident member of the team, he believes he can have any woman too which shows him needing to make the difficult life decision during the rescue mission. Snyder is the member of the team that doesn’t want to still be on the team, he believes he has done his time and when things start going wrong he hits the panic button.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are basic at best, each actor does see them get their moment to shine with most of them usually performing before their big death scene, Miguel Ferrer is the exception to this rule, with his performance that is the highlight of the acting.

StoryThe story here follows a group of underwater engineers building missile silos for the military that accidently release an unknown life form that isn’t happy about being disturbed and wants to kill them, which sees them racing to find a way to the surface without injuring themselves through decompression. This story does feel like a low budget version of ‘The Abyss’ which is easy to see with just how the everything unfolds, the characters having the same kind of arc, with this having a horror side, rather than a mystery side with the unknown lifeform. This does fit into the 80s styles of story telling and production which is all simple and enjoyable to watch.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mostly the group screaming when they get attacked by the creature, it isn’t very intense which does disappoint for the most part, this goes for the horror too, which just never gets past the weak creature style, even if the sci-fi side of the film does want to become much more of a central point of the film.

SettingsWith most of this film being set underwater, it does give the film a contained environment for the film when it comes to the race to survive.

Special EffectsWe do go into practical effects here which should be praised, even if it is mainly just a creature wobbling around all over the screen.


Scene of the Movie – Decompression mistake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The characters aren’t very interesting.

Final Thoughts This is one of the attempts to copy a much more popular film, by putting characters in the similar environment only with a horror twist to everything.

Overall: Simple Sci-Fi