ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – Y – Speed (1994) Movie Review

This is under Y because of the writer’s last name, these are my favourite films and Y is very limited.

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Graham Yost (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Heff Daniels, Alan Ruck, Glenn Plummer

Plot: A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.


Tagline – Get ready for rush hour.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Action Film

Story: Speed starts when hot shot police officer Jack Traven (Reeves) and his partner Harry (Daniels) stop the plans of bomber Howard Payne (Hopper), getting awarded for saving the lives of the hostages, believing Howard died in his explosion.

Howard isn’t finished yet and plants his next bomb, forcing Jack to find the bus her has placed it, where if the bus goes over 50mph is activates the bomb, Jack needs to keep the bus travelling over 50mph to prevent it exploding, with passenger Annie (Bullock) needing to take the wheel for him.

Thoughts on Speed

Characters – Jack is the young police officers that will always look to protect and serve, his latest job is to rescue hostages from a bomb threat, which he uses his quick thinking to stay one step ahead of the terrorist, he tries different ideas to win the battle, or so he thought. Now he must go through the same struggles as before as he has become the target of the terrorist, needing to keep a bus safe from his next target. Howard Payne is the calculated bomber, he wants money and after losing the opening dual with Jack, he has taken it personally this time around. Annie is one of the passengers on the bus, she is on the bus because of losing her licence for speeding, she takes over the driving side of everything usually screaming about what is happening too. Capt McMahon is trying to run the operation from outside the bus, he might well be Jack’s boss, but he lets him make the decision during the operation.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves is brilliant in the lead action role, showing he was always going to become one of the biggest names in this side of film, following up Point Break. Dennis Hopper will always be one of the greatest actors for villains, this is no different, while Sandra Bullock steps up in the heroine role, showing more fight than just another woman in trouble.

StoryThe story here follows a police officer that gets caught in a cat-n-mouse game with a terrorist that plants bombs around the city, with his latest one being placed on a bus that once it goes over 50mph, become active. This story is one of the more simple cat-n-mouse battles between law and criminal, it is pure simple action, we need to keep the bus over 50mph whatever the situation is, showing the officers needing to find a way to keep the bus moving whatever gets in the way, thinking on their feet, the terrorist is also well prepared for what could happen, remaining in control for most of the film. The story just keeps everything simple and this works for the film with ease.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the different problems that Jack must overcome at high speed, along with the explosion.

SettingsJack finds himself trapped on the bus for the most part of this film, here he will not find escape, rescue or disarming the bomb.


Scene of the Movie – Bridge jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of Harry’s side story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best action films of the 90s if not of all time, it keeps everything simple, while not sacrificing the intensity level.

Overall: Fun, Action Packed Movie.

Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – D – Wyatt Earp (1994)

This is fitting in with the D for ABC Film Challenge because of the involvement of Doc Holliday.

 

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: Dan Gordon, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, David Andrews, Linden Ashby, Jeff Fahey, Joanne Going, Mark Harmon, Bill Pullman, Tom Sizemore

 

Plot: The story of Wyatt Earp as he interacts and battles other famous figures of the Wild West era.


Tagline – The epic story of love and adventure in a lawless land.

Runtime: 3 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Biopic

 

Story: Wyatt Earp starts as we meet young Wyatt who has been growing up in the shadow of his father Nicolas Earp (Hackman), he has been to war and doesn’t want his children to follow in his footsteps. Wyatt grows up to becomes a well-respected young man who wants to become a constable while finishing his education.

When his life is shattered after his wife dies of illness, Wyatt falls into the drink nearly losing his life in the process, saved, reformed, Wyatt becomes one of the most feared lawman in the land cleaning up the city of Dodge before meeting Doc Holliday (Quaid) as they look to take over the town of Tombstone.

 

Thoughts on Wyatt Earp

 

Characters – Wyatt Earp is one of the most iconic names in western history, we get to see how he went from lawman educating himself, to drunken mess, to skinner, feared lawman that most outlaws were scared off. His thinking was before the time of the wild west which showed with how he handled bringing down confrontation at the quickest possible chance. Doc Holliday is another lawman, he is dying which has made him disliked within his field with only Wyatt working with him. Nicolas Earp is the father of Wyatt who has shown him how to live his own life, he puts Wyatt back on his right path when he needs him most. We get to meet plenty of characters along the way here, be it the brothers of Wyatt, the men he takes under his wing, the wives and the outlaws causing the problems in the towns.

PerformancesKevin Costner is brilliant in the leading role, he had the epic long films down in the 90s, this shows just how he could pull of these films with ease. Dennis Quaid is great to watch to bring us a character that is larger than life. Gene Hackman might only have a small role, but he makes a big impact. We do have a wonderful cast that is filled with big name actors, everyone is great too.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Wyatt Earp as he rose up to become one of the most feared lawman in western history. We get 3 hours to learn the ups and downs he faced in life, from trying to become an educated man, to grieving man, to fearsome strict lawman. We see how he made friends and enemies along the way, how his methods were before the time with the no guns allowed in the towns and how he would shoot first. This is a story on epic level because of the scale of the years being followed and even at the 3-hour runtime, it doesn’t seem to get bogged down in anyway.

Adventure/Biopic/WesternThe adventure side of the film shows us just how Wyatt would travel to make a change in the towns he stepped into. We do follow Wyatt from childhood, to his time in Tombstone which will see him do things other lawmen couldn’t get done. For westerns this is easily one of the best you will see in the modern era, making you feel like you are part of the towns involved in the film.

SettingsThe film is set out in the wild west, with Dodge and Tombstone being the two main settings, they do show use the increased scale between the two and how they can become overrun by outlaws.


Scene of the Movie –
Tombstone shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have too many characters at times it is hard to remember who is who.

Final ThoughtsThis is an epic scaled western with great performances throughout, it does tell the life and times of one of the most famous lawmen and keeps the enormous length feeling like it is flying by.

 

Overall: Epically long western.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Flintstones (1994)

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Tom S Parker, Jim Jennewein, Steve E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor

 

Plot: In this live-action feature of the cartoon show, Fred Flintstone finally gets the job he’s always wanted, but it may just come at a price.


Tagline – Yabba-dabba-doo it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: The Flintstones starts as we jump into Bedrock the place we loved as the cartoon, Fred Flintstone (Goodman) helps out his best friend Barney Rubble (Moranis) adopt Bam Bam their first child, in return Barney secretly swaps test scores with Fred leading to Fred getting a promotion to vice President.

Fred finds himself in a role he isn’t prepared for as he is being used by Cliff Vandercave (MacLachlan) who wants to use Fred to get away with stealing from the company and leaving Fred to take the blame, it isn’t long before the two families friendship put to the test.

 

Thoughts on The Flintstones

 

Characters – Fred Flintstone is the loveable idiot with a heart of gold, he works in the quarry, enjoys bowling and always has Barney for company, in this adventure he ends up in a role he can’t handle and his friendship being tested. Barney Rubble is the best friend of Fred’s that helps Fred get a promotion only to suffer the consequences, he wants to keep it a secret which will ruin the friendship. Wilma and Betty are the wives that support in the places with Cliff Vandercave being the typical business minded villain.

PerformancesJohn Goodman in the role of Fred work wonderfully because he first looks the part and secondly knows how to handle comedy. Rick Moranis handles the side comedy wonderfully while the rest of the cast are good without being overly interesting.

StoryThe question here was how do you turn the much loved cartoon into a functional feature length film, the story here does show us how Fred gets himself into a position he can’t handle and shows how Barney is the one to help him out of the position. It does feel like a feature length episode of the show which works well for the story even if it does have a couple of more serious sides to the story. the story is what we have seen in other comedies and won’t be overly testing on the audience.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe film uses the comedy much like the cartoon does, things feel over the top and do get the laughs required, the whole family can enjoy moments of this film which does know how to offer comedy for all ages.

SettingsThe look of the Bedrock look great and pays the respect to the cartoon where we see the different dinosaurs living with the humans. Everything looks and seems to be practical too.

Special EffectsThe effects show us how practical effects can be used to create a world where the human dinosaur relationship works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The quarry showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Dino.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by the fans of the original show, it has the jokes and references to what we know.

 

Overall: One for the family.

Rating

 

 

Tim Burton Weekend – Ed Wood (1994)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Rudolph Grey (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bill Murray

 

Plot: Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams, despite his lack of support.


Tagline – Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful

 

Story: Ed Wood starts as we meet Edward D Wood Jr (Depp) an aspiring director in Hollywood, with his work making the stage for now, when he learns of a story of a transvestite, he jumps at the chance to get his big break in Hollywood. Once Ed Wood makes friends with aging Hollywood icon Bela Lugosi (Landau) he gets given the chance to direct.

When his film gets completely panned, Ed Wood becomes an outcast in Hollywood and sets out to makes his own movies with Bela Lugosi in tow, become the cult favourite in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Ed Wood

 

Characters – Ed Wood was the aspiring director that has crazy ideas in his head, after his first studio produced film is panned, he must set up to make his own movies for limited budget with his new friend Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood also enjoys dressing up in women’s clothes which puts him out on the different in a time when that wasn’t considered acceptable. Bela Lugosi was once one of the most famous men in Hollywood after his role in Dracula, now he is older and mostly forgotten by the fans that once loved him. He befriends Ed Wood and starts to return to acting and hopefully see him kick his drug habits. Dolores is the long-suffering girlfriend of Ed Wood who stars in his pictures, even though she doesn’t like his lifestyle. Kathy O’Hara is a woman that Ed Wood meets that brings new meaning to his life. We meet other characters who are involved in the life and Ed Wood and the films he makes.

PerformancesJohnny Depp is fantastic in this leading role, he showed how he was carving out his career by taking chances against his typecast of a pretty boy. Martin Landau went on to win an Oscar for his supporting performance, this is easily one of the greatest portrays of an actor you will ever see. We do have a host of talents in the supporting roles with Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray who are good through the film.

StoryThe story follows the career of Ed Wood as he was trying to make his name in Hollywood and is only known for bad films which have their own cult following now. Seeing how he went about making this happen is very interesting and the friendship he struck up with Bela Lugosi is what we know with fellow directors and actors in modern film making. Any film that tells a story about Hollywood and the movie making process is one to be checking out.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film comes from where we find Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi friendship and the eventually production of Plan 9. The comedy comes from just how the movie was made with the reactions of the people involved.

SettingsThe film is set in the 50s Hollywood and from start to finish you will feel like you are part of this era in time.


Scene of the Movie –
When Ed Wood snaps on set.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Orson Wells scene because the dubbing was bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look the movie making process behind one of the most infamously bad movies in the history of the business, we have two performances that are simply brilliant and is easily one of the best moving making movies ever made.

 

Overall: Wonderful movie making movie.

Rating