Money Train (1995)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Doug Richardson, David Loughery (Screenplay) Doug Richardson (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Blake, Chris Cooper, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: A vengeful New York transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares; his foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.


Tagline – If you’re a criminal, Stay on the Train!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Throughout

 

Story: Money Train starts as we follow two New York Transit Cops John (Snipes) and Charlie (Harrelson) foster brothers that work well together as they look to take on pick pocketers in the subway system. When they get a new member to their team Grace (Lopez) the two brothers argue over who gets first chance at hitting on her.

When one of the brothers is pushed too far, he ends up going against the law and the only person that can save him in his brother.

 

Thoughts on Money Train

 

Characters – John is one of the foster brother pairing, he is the responsible one that always has Charlie’s back and bails him out of the trouble he gets in. Charlie is the screw up of the brother pairing, he has drinking and gambling problems which have caused him to fall of the straight life. Grace is the rookie cop that joins the unit causing the brothers to bicker over who should hit on her first, this isn’t the strongest woman character because it implies that a new girl to a unit will become first one to be hit on and quite happy to go along with things, rather than be a free thinker, but she can handle herself in a fight.

PerformancesWesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson had fantastic chemistry during this time and it shows in their performances here as they nail the comedy and action required for the roles. Jennifer Lopez is good in her role filling the support role well.

StoryThe story follows two foster brothers that have overcome their upbringing to become good transit police, we see how the bicker and have big plans for life, but when one gets pushed too far the other must stop him making the biggest mistake of his life. While this is entertainment the film does lack from a true villain for the brothers needing to work together to overcome and when one turns he is only desperate over being a danger.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is by the book with the final chase being the highlight of the film, the comedy is not thrown in too heavy and comes through Snipes and Harrelson’s chemistry. The crime side of the film shows how the two brothers must get their jobs done against the odds

SettingsNew York makes for a good setting for this to unfold because it shows the high crimes in the subway system. The subway tracks work for the big final chase too.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of a real villain.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that shows us that Harrelson and Snipes were fantastic pairing, most of the film is routine, but its lack of a true villain puts a spanner in any threat they face.

 

Overall: Fun, funny and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – R – Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Francoise Yip, Bill Tung, Marc Akerstream, Garvin Cross

 

Plot: A young man visiting and helping his uncle in New York City finds himself forced to fight a street gang and the mob with his martial art skills.


Tagline – No Fear. No Stuntman. No Equal

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Action Flick

 

Story: Rumble in the Bronx starts Keung (Chan) heads to America to visit his Uncle Bill (Tung) a shopkeeper in the Bronx, as he gets married Elaine (Mui) plans to buy the shop with Keung overseeing the takeover. Keung finds there is a gang problem on the streets which it doesn’t take him long to clash with them protecting the shop.

Keung starts to look to clean up the streets when he continually gets targeted while trying to convert one of the gang Nancy (Yip) into being a better sister to her disabled younger brother.

 

Thoughts on Rumble in the Bronx

 

Characters – Keung is the kind-hearted young man coming from China to help the trade of his Uncle’s shop but ends up in the middle of a gang war. He uses his combat skills to clean up the streets while learning the new culture, while trying to focus them on new lives. Elaine is the young lady who takes over the shop but is left disappointed when Keung keeps leaving her in trouble. Nancy is one of the gang members that just so happens to live next door to Keung which shows her that she needs to change her ways. Tony is the leader of the street gang who doesn’t care who he hurts to steal and cause mayhem in the neighbourhood.

PerformancesJackie Chan is the star of the show, this film is designed for him and it shows with his performance here as the reluctant hero. The rest of the cast are good throughout letting Jackie take the spotlight.

StoryThe story follows the Asian figure coming to America trying to learn the culture but ends up getting stuck in the middle of a gang battle over the streets of the Bronx. It is the classic fish out of water film where the kind natured man teaches misled characters a new direction while taking on a bigger criminal causing the problems in the area. This is a great fun story to see unfold that could be enjoyed by all.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is the highlight here, it is Jackie Chan’s bread and butter, giving us some truly entertaining action sequences from start to finish which seem to increase each time the film goes on. The comedy comes and goes which I feel it depends which couple of the film you watch to get the best of it. The crime puts us in the underworld of the Bronx which has different levels of crimes.

SettingsThe film is set in the Bronx which shows the new culture Keung must learn about and it shows the different levels of criminal activity going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Hovercraft

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sadly the version I watched was the edited and dubbed version.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun action film, it clicks to both entertain and excite, showing of Chan’s skills without making the story difficult to follow.

 

Overall: Must watch for action and Chan fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Jumanji (1995)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth

 

Plot: When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.


Tagline – Roll the dice and unleash the excitement!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Adventure

 

Story: Jumanji starts when a bullied young Alan Parrish finds a mysterious game called Jumanji he joins Sarah to play the game, he gets sucked into the game where he must wait for someone to rolls a 5 or 8 to release him.

26 years later orphaned children Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce) move into the same house with their Aunt Nora (Neuwirth), the two discover the game and start playing, releasing Alan (Williams) from the game. Realizing there is only one way to fix the problems they have created, they must finish the game and bring Sarah (Hunt) back from her once nightmare.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji

 

Characters – Alan Parrish was a bullied school boy, trapped in the jungle for 26 years, he returns to him home town to finish the game he started. He is the best line of defence against everything that comes out of the game. He does have daddy issues because of how his father felt distant to him, he will learn to be the father figure he wants as the film continues. Sarah was the friend that joined Alan in the game, she has spent years in therapy to learn that it wasn’t real, forced to face the truth and play the game. Judy and Peter are the orphans forced to move town that just so happen to move into the old Parrish house, they have different ways to deal with the grief of losing their parents.

PerformancesRobin Williams was the star of this movie, he was at his peak of family films and gets to have plenty of fun in this role as a character that never grew up. Bonnie Hunt is good as the traumatised character facing her fears. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce do a good job in the children roles

StoryThe story follows one young man that gets sucked into a board game only to be released as an adult, which will see him need to guide the rest of the players to finish the game. The story plays out like you need an adventure movie, as each enemy becomes deadlier for players and has a large variety of different potential effects. It is easy to follow and does touch on personal problems the characters have, Alan with his father problems, Sarah dealing with what she saw and the children dealing with the grief of losing their own parents.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action we see fits in hand in hand with adventure side of the movie as we have chase sequences and battles against the enemies. This does play into the family themes well too which is to see an unlikely family dynamic working together after their own personal problems.

SettingsThe film takes place in New England town, it works for the film because of how the random creatures coming out of the game would never be seen there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the movie because most of them have dated in a bad way.


Scene of the Movie –
Realizing he is becoming his father.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tasteless gun shop scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun movie that will keep you entertained from start to finish, it is one that is a must for the fans of the genre and Robin Williams.

 

Overall: Watch and enjoy with the family.

Rating

 

 

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Charlie Murphy, Michael Lucker, Chris Parker (Screenplay) Eddie Murphy, Vernon Lynch, Charlie Murphy (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison, John Witherspoon, Zakes Mokae

 

Plot: Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and as a vampire, he must find a mate to keep the line from ending. He knows that a child had been born to a woman who had a vampire father, and he searches for her in Brooklyn. 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Horror Comedy

 

Story: Vampire in Brooklyn starts as the Caribbean based vampire Maximillian (Murphy) heads to Brooklyn to find a woman that can continue the race of vampires, a descendent of his family. Arriving in Brooklyn Julius Jones (Hardison) becomes his lackey and Detective Rita Veder (Bassett) and Justice (Payne) are investigating the sudden appearance of the ship Maximillian arrives on.

Maximillian believes Rita is the woman he is looking for and sets about spending the nights trying to win her over while keeping his identity secret.

 

Thoughts on Vampire in Brooklyn

 

Characters/PerformanceMaximillian is a Caribbean vampire who needs to find a woman to keep his bloodline alive and Brooklyn is the place where she lives, he is eccentric throughout the film and always planning for things to happen as he has planned. Detective Rita Veder is one of the cops investigating the strange shop that crashed into the docks and soon finds herself crossing paths with Maximillian but getting answers about to her childhood and the nightmares she has been having. Detective Justice is Veder’s partner, he is a good cop and cares for her more than he should do. Julius becomes the goon of Maximillian slowly turned into death after being given blood of Maximillian’s.

Performance wise, Eddie Murphy has always struggled post 80’s in the comedy roles and this clearly shows he wasn’t the powerhouse he once was. Angela Bassett looks beautiful as always but her character is written poorly for how she seems to be performed as. The rest of the cast are all fine without doing anything great.

StoryThe story here is vampire coming outside his comfort zone to search for other vampires. We get the whole crime situation with how the cops are investigating the killings that Maximillian is leaving behind him but otherwise this story just feels very flat.

Comedy/Fantasy/HorrorWe don’t get many laughs in this film, we enter the idea of shape-shifting vampires for the fantasy and nothing comes off scary which makes this film feel very plain.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn, hey I guess the title gives that away here, this does make for a good setting because the crimes don’t get answered as quickly as other places.

Special EffectsThe effects used are all fine and are used more for the comical tone of things.

Final ThoughtsWes Craven is one of my favourite directors and we do have classic that he does, this isn’t going to be one of the classics in fact this could be his worst, the comedy doesn’t hit, Murphy mails in his performance and we are left with one of the most overly boring films of Murphy’s career.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror comedy.

Rating

 

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Jane Austin (Novel)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, James Fleet, Harriet Walter, Gemma Jones

 

Plot: Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Period Piece

 

Story: Sense and Sensibility starts when Mr Dashwood (Wilkinson) dies leaving his inheritance to his son John (Fleet) by law, his wife Fanny (Walter) wants his second wife Mrs Dashwood (Jones) and the daughters Elinor (Thompson), Marianna (Winslet) and Margaret (Francois) to move out as soon as possible living off just the £500 a year.

As the family moves to a small cottage Elinor must leave the early feelings she has for Fanny’s brother Edward Ferrars (Grant). While in the cottage Elinor watches as Marianne gets courted by a couple of men Colonel Brandon (Rickman) and John Willoughby (Wise) who both could bring the family back to the high life.

 

Thoughts on Sense and Sensibility

 

Characters/PerformanceElinor Dashwood is the eldest sister of the family she falls for Edward but knows she can’t be with him because of her new social status, she also looks after the younger sisters. Marianne is the middle sister and the one easily led astray by her heart never being able to hide her feelings when it comes to love. Edward Ferrars is the kind quiet brother of Fanny who wants nothing more than a life away from the high society. Colonel Brandon is a middle-aged bachelor that has lived with a broken heart but does take a shine to Marianne, he does what he can to support her through her own heart break even if he has his own desire to marry her.

Performance wise, Emma Thompson is brilliant in the leading role as well as her work on the screenplay which won her an Oscar. Kate Winslet burst onto the scene with this role which has firmly put her into the minds of any film fan now. Hugh Grant is great through his supporting role and Alan Rickman shows he had the class to perform in any film role. We do have a good supporting cast of well-known British actors too that all perform well.

StoryThis is a Jane Austin novel, so let’s face it, I will never have read the novel in the first place, I am not the biggest fan of this era movies because I find the high society annoying to see how people used to act for money rather than love. Saying this I did enjoy watching the story unfold I found it showed just how frustrating the era in British history was and is one that can be respected by all film fans. We do have love, heartbreak and money but it also spends plenty of time watching over how things could be considered farfetched.

RomanceWe get to see the swings and roundabouts of love through the romance side of the story here but mostly focusing on potential heartbreak and lost love.

SettingsEach setting brings us into the time era perfectly making everything come off flawless throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t a film I would be re-visiting but it is one I can say is wonderfully made, written and performed throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant period drama of a classic novel.

Rating