ABC Film Challenge – Action – U – Under Siege (1992)

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: J.F. Lawton (Screenplay)

Starring: Steven Seagal, Gary Busey, Tommy Lee Jones, Patrick O’Neal, Glenn Morshower, Erika Eleniak

 

Plot: An ex-Navy Seal turned cook is the only person who can stop a group of terrorists when they seize control of a U.S. battleship.


Tagline – It’s not a job…It’s an Adventure!

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Film

 

Story: Under Siege starts as the USS Missouri is planning a party in honour of the captain Adams (O’Neal) who has had a successful meeting with the President. The cook of the ship is Casey Ryback (Seagal) who hasn’t always seen eye to eye with his superiors including Commander Krill (Busey).

When Krill is joined by the entertainment William Strannix (Jones), their plan is revealed as they take over the battleship leaving the only person that can save the day being Ryback, the loyal soldier.

 

Thoughts on Under Siege

 

Characters – Casey Ryback is the former Navy Seal that has taken the role of chef on the battleship, he is a decoration officers and soon becomes the one leading the fight back against the terrorists who have taken over. Commander Krill is the officers that has snapped, tired of being second in command, he arranges the takeover of the ship with Strannix, he is a loose cannon that should have been taken off duty years before. William Strannix is the mastermind behind taking the ship, he has planned for the moment as an act of revenge against the government who betrayed him in his eyes.

PerformancesSteven Seagal is always going to be known for being a certain type of action star, this plays into his strengths, not needing too many lines, bit of fighting and of course a lot of shooting. Gary Busey as an unstable villain, well this sounds like the perfect choice, while Tommy Lee Jones can always be picked for a villain role to look the part.

StoryThe story is terrorists take over a US battleship and one man must use his skills to get it back before they can do too much damage. It is nice to see it domestic terrorism rather than just slapping any nationality in the role. There isn’t anything overly original in this story, but it is a tried and tested formula that works on every level.

ActionThe action is everything you would have come to expect from the movie, we have fights, gun battles and explosion, what more do we want?

SettingsThe film takes place on the US Battleship, this keeps everything contained and with little or no place to run and with the weapons on board to make them a threat.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking on the Submarine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is easily too much by the book.

Final ThoughtsThis is everything an action fan will enjoy in a movie, it is easily one that can be enjoyable by all the fans of the genre before Seagal became a parody of himself in his later films.

 

Overall: Action fans will be enjoying.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Police Story 3 (1992)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma, Lee Wai Yee (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Wah Yuen, Bill Tung

 

Plot: A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.


Tagline – Meet the cop that can’t be stopped!

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Jackie Chan Movie

 

Story: Police Story 3 starts when a Hong Kong gangster Panther (Yuen) is rumoured to broken out of a Chinese prison, Inspector Ka Kui Chan (Chan) is sent to China to work with the authorities, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh). He must break Panther out and escort him back to Hong Kong so he can face his own countries law.

When back in his home city, Chan must work with Yang as the crime boss Chaibat (Tsang) is preparing to free his wife from prison, while trying to keep his cover from his girlfriend May (Cheung).

 

Thoughts on Police Story 3

 

Characters – Inspector Ka Kui Chan (or Kevin in the dubbed version) he is considered a super cop in Hong Kong and must go undercover in China to bring down a gangster, he can handle himself in a fight even if certain moments it looks like luck over judgement. Inspector Jessica Yang is working for the Chinese police and works with Ka as she looks to use her strict style which clashes with the laidback nature of Ka. May is the girlfriend of Ka Kui and she is the one that blows his cover because the two have no form of communication. Chaibat is the gangster that is trying to get his wife out of prison, he runs Hong Kong and taking him down is just what is needed for the city.

PerformancesJackie Chan is one of those actors you can watch do anything, he is committed to his art form and this shows that he has a little bit of everything, from his pure energy in the action, but his comic timing too. Michelle Yeoh showed us that she was going to become a big action star in this film, handling the comedy just as well as the action. Maggie Cheung is mostly wasted here, her character doesn’t have much to do, while Kenneth Tsang fills the villainous role without any problems.

StoryThe story follows two cops from different countries working together to try and take down a big crime group who find themselves split between the two countries. We get the undercover idea here which works well, the awkward chemistry works well, thee action blends into the story taking our attention away from the simple side of everything involved. This does end up being by the books, we know they will get made and will be forced into action police wouldn’t consider and by the end we will see the cop come out on top with the criminal needing to face him in a final battle. The twists are not going to shock and the major turning point comes from somebody else’s stupidity.

Action/Comedy/CrimeWe are going into a Jackie Chan movie, we know the action is going to be big fight sequences and crazy stunts, this hits all the required expectations for this movie, certain stunts or fights get the laughs required too, which surprises with the number of funny moments that don’t take away from the action.

SettingsThe film keep the settings ready for the set pieces, we have the big cities, the working prisoners and the hideouts, everything you would expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The badly dubbed version shown on TV.

Final ThoughtsThis is a purely entertaining Jackie Chan movie, it has the action we would expect, the comedy that works without trying to be more than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Luke Perry, Michele Abrams, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: A flighty teenage girl learns that she is her generation’s destined battler of vampires.


Tagline – Sometimes it takes more than just good looks to kill.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Not as Good as the TV Show

 

Story: Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts as we meet high school cheerleader Buffy (Swanson), one of the popular girls in school preparing for the latest dance. Buffy’s life is going to take a turn when the mysterious Merrick (Sutherland) enters her life, with the tales of vampires and her being the chosen one to fight them and protect her town.

Buffy now goes through the training process, so she can defeat her first deadlier enemy, Lothos (Hauer) a vampire that is haunting her dreams with the history of the previous slayers and make it to the dance on time.

 

Thoughts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 

Characters – Buffy is the high school cheerleader who is more worried the latest school dance to notice her own destiny. She learns she is the slayer that is meant to fight vampires and her town is now in danger. Merrick is the watcher, the man that must teach Buffy how to defeat the vampires and becoming the slayer warrior she is destiny to be. Lothos is the big bad vampire that is waiting to take control of the town that Buffy is part of, we see how he has been planning this attack for a while with his vampires in the shadows.

PerformancesKristy Swanson is good in this leading role, we might not the role of Buffy as Sarah Michelle Gellar, but Kristy was here first and built the unlikely hero very well. Sutherland is good pick for the watcher because it is the answers for wise old man. Going into the supporting cast, none of these performers make an impact on the way they could which only disappoints when we know how these characters are going to be known in the TV series.

StoryThe story is difficult to talk about, because I grew up watching the show and for me, I was used to a different Buffy, an outsider, seeing the popular girl become the slayer just seems strange, but for a teenage action fantasy comedy works as we see one girl find her place in the world. This is an enjoyable watch and plays out just how you would imagine without being as interesting as it should be, because we want the world to be so much bigger.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorWe have action sequences which see Buffy face increasing numbers or difficulties in her battles, in a world that is filled with vampires which plays for the fantasy and the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in the small town with a high school, this works for the movie because it shows us what Buffy will need to protect.

Special EffectsThe effects were good for the time of release, while moments have dated, we don’t get the need for the effects for the most part.


Scene of the Movie –
The Dance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its not the Buffy I am used to seeing.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like the 90’s movie it is, it gave us the film that went onto become a wonderful TV series, which is something that people will forever be grateful for.

 

Overall: Simple action fantasy.

Rating

 

 

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe (Screenplay) James Fenimore Cooper (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Jodhi May, Steven Waddington, Wes Studi

 

Plot: Three trappers protect a British Colonel’s daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.


Tagline – The first American hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good, but Hard to Follow

 

Story: The Last of the Mohicans starts in the middle of the French Indian war raging through America we meet trapper Hawkeye (Day-Lewis) who doesn’t want to get involved in the war when the British try to recruit support in the battle. Major Duncan Heywood (Waddington) is preparing to escort the General’s daughters Cora (Stowe) and Alice (May) across the country, hoping he can marry Cora one day. When the group get ambushes, Hawkeye guides them to safety but then finds himself in the middle of the war he was trying to avoid. Hawkeye falls in love with Cora and soon finds himself needing to free himself from the British who treat him like a war criminal even after what he did for the British and continues to do when Cora is in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Last of the Mohicans

 

Characters – Hawkeye is the adopted child of an Indian family raised to be one of their greatest trappers, he along with his family would like to stay out of the war, but he gets dragged into the battle after rescuing the British General’s daughters. He shows the strength to lead an army, determination to win a battle and the love it feels for Cora. Cora is the daughter of a British general trapped in a world at war, she becomes the love interest for Hawkeye who spends most of the film trying to rescue her. If I am honest, I found it hard to tell any of the British apart or any of the Indians, which at time made it confusing to follow who was on the good side and bad side.

PerformancesDaniel Day-Lewis is good in the leading role, which is something you would have come to expect from him, but his combat scenes don’t seem to click at times. Madeleine Stowe is good to as is the whole cast who are good without being great and not being bad through the film.

StoryThe story follows a neutral trapper in the middle of the British and French battling in America who gets caught up in the middle of the war because of his love for a British woman who needs protecting. This does play into moments of history without being anything special if we are being honest, we try to learn more about the history of the early battles in America without us knowing too much going in, we barely learn anything afterwards too.

Action/Adventure/Romance/WarThe action while massive on scale can become plenty of well placed battle moments searching for shock value, the romance drives Hawkeye to fight and save during a war backdrop, one he never wanted to be part of.

SettingsThe settings show the clash of worlds, the Indian beliefs, the British forts and the French forts which shows us who will be comfortable in different battle situations.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambushes number two.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Figuring out who was on which side, just gets confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is filled with praise before I went into it, by the end I found it just to be fine, I wouldn’t consider it a great and in fact not one I would be watching again.

 

Overall: Overly hyped movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Scent of a Woman (1992)

Director: Martin Brest

Writer: Bo Goldman (Screenplay) Giovanni Arpino (Novel)

Starring: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabriele Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Benture, Bradley Whitford

 

Plot: A prep school student needing money agrees to “babysit” a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.


Tagline – Col. Frank Slade has a very special plan for the weekend. It involves travel, women, good food, fine wine, the tango, chauffeured limousines and a loaded forty-five. And he’s bringing Charlie along for the ride.

Runtime: 2 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Special Drama

 

Story: Scent of a Woman starts as prep school student Charlie Simms (O’Donnell) takes a weekend job caring for blind veteran Lt Col Frank Slade (Pacino), with Charlie’s future on the line at school after a prank by the rich kids on the headmaster, he wants the weekend to help him focus.

Frank has other ideas, he wants to go to New York for one last weekend of living the highlife before killing himself, he needs Charlie to be his guide on this journey. This weekend will change Charlie’s life as he gets the guidance he needs to help him through his difficult time.

 

Thoughts on Scent of a Woman

 

Characters – Lt, Col, Frank Slade is a short tempered blind veteran, he loves a drink and can identify a woman’s fragrance with the slightest smell in the air. He knows the people in his life don’t care about him much anymore, but Charlie gives him the guide he needs for this one last adventure. Charlie Simms comes from a poor family of hard workers, he earnt his place in the school with a scholarship, this is now at risk if he covers for the rich kids, but his Thanksgiving job of looking after Frank gives him a life lesson he could never learn in a classroom. The rest of the characters we meet are people that Frank wants to see once more, Charlie’s classmates and the women that Frank believes he can impress.

PerformancesAl Pacino won his Oscar with this performance, he commits and convinces throughout this film, showing he can break out from the cop or gangster roles you could see him being known for. Chris O’Donnell is great here too showing he was one of the main young actors waiting to come in the early 90s. the rest of the performances are great through the film showing us that the host of talent knew how to make an impact in a small amount of screen time.

StoryThe story follows a school student that must look after a blind veteran who wants to commit suicide after one last weekend. This story gives Charlie life lessons that he needs as he approaches a dog eat dog world, but also shows Frank that not everyone has given up hope on him and the service he gave to his country. This shows us how one weekend can change lives, an adventure that is unlike anything Charlie could have imagined.

SettingsThe film takes our characters from a smaller town to the big apple, this as I say a lot if always a wonderful location for learning about life in a way you could never imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Ferrari

That Moment That Annoyed Me Charlie doesn’t seem to have any real friends at school and you feel this should have been addressed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that deserved the praise it got, it has brilliant chemistry between the two leads as you understand both their problems in life. This is one of Pacino’s best performances and a must watch for any of his fans.

 

Overall: Must watch drama.

Rating