James Bond Month – GoldenEye (1995)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Jeffrey Caine, Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay) Michael France (Story)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane

 

Plot: James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop the hijacking of a nuclear space weapon by a fellow Agent formerly believed to be dead.


Tagline – When the world is the target and the threat is real, you can still depend on one man. 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Most Action Packed Bond

 

Story: GoldenEye starts with James Bond (Brosnan) joined by 006 Alec Trevelyan (Bean) on the latest mission, one that goes wrong, seeing Alec executed and James escaping. James starts his latest mission 9-years-later investigating a Georgian woman Xenia Onatopp (Janssen) who has connections to a criminal group operating in Russia.

When the group launch their first attack, James must search for the lone survive Natalya Simonova (Scorupco), first to find out what was being worked on in the apparent abandon satellite facility and soon stop an old friend that has changed sides.

 

Thoughts on GoldenEye

 

Characters – James Bond still sees himself, charming the ladies, completing the missions, enjoying a drink. This latest mission will see him come face to face with an old friend, which will see him face his toughest enemy, a man he once trusted. Alec Trevelyan is the fellow 00 agent who James believed died in action. He didn’t and now he has been working with the Russians to become richer than God (his words), he does hold a grudge against James, with this being a chance to kill two birds with one stone, he will become the most difficult enemy to face because of his knowledge of how James operates. Natalya works in the satellite facility, she becomes a target after not being killed, which makes her one of the few people in the world that could disarm the bomb that is being planned to be released. Xenia Onatopp is the henchwoman in this case, military trained, willing to kill anybody, she even enjoys killing her victims.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan in his first outing as Bond is great to watch, he mixes the charm of the most popular, with the action presence needing to make the character his own. Sean Bean brings us one of the best villains to the franchise, he makes his character feel like a try terrorist over super villain. Famke Janssen as the henchwoman is strong, she does make the character her own, but it is the lack of character behind Izabella Scorupco that struggles the most in this film.

StoryThe story here sees James take on one of his closest enemies, in Alec a former agent turned terrorist that is planning on sending England back to the stone age. This story does seem to bring everything into a more personal level for James, it feels fresh from the last few outings, it does have the longest gap between the film to date. We do seem to have the most realistic battle between hero and villain because Alec could easily be James himself if he was to turn, they know each other’s tricks. For me this is easily the most entertaining story we have seen, as we do start to lose some of he sexist behaviour James was known for.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is easily the best the franchise has offered to date, we have the tank chase through St Petersburg before the train collision with a tank, even the fight sequences feel more intense in this film. The adventure takes James around the world once more, this time we go through Russia and Cuba to save the world.

SettingsThe settings takes us to the known locations we are used to seeing, this does however have one of the most memorable endings in any Bond film with the hidden satellite dish.


Scene of the Movie –
The old friend returns.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Alan Cumming’s generic Russian accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best Bond movie in the franchise to date, it has the most intense villain for James to face and a personal story for James to take on.

 

Overall: Pure action entertainment.

Rating

 

 

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Braveheart (1995)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Randall Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Brian Cox

 

Plot: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.


Tagline – Every man’s spirit is free. Not every man has the courage to follow it.

Runtime: 2 Hours 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Biopic

 

Story: Braveheart starts when young William Wallace see his father and brother killed fighting for the independence of the land, taken in by his Uncle Argyle (Cox) he is raised to be a fighter. King Edward I (McGoohan) is trying to take control of the whole of Britain planning on leading the pressure on the Scots to fold, his son Prince Edward (Hanly) marries Princess Isabelle (Marceau) to unite with France.

William (Gibson) wants a life of peace which sees him marry Murron (McCormack) in secret after seeing what happens to the brides on their wedding night. When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, she fights back, only for this to lead to her execution. William is now ready for war and will lead the Scottish into battle against the English.

 

Thoughts on Braveheart

 

Characters – William Wallace saw his family die at war, raised in the peaceful land, wanting a peaceful life, his life if turned upside down when his wife is executed by the English. William becomes thee general for the Scottish army in the fight for freedom, becoming a leader put into legend. Princess Isabelle is from France, married to the Prince of England, she doesn’t like the conflict, turning to William to help him in the time of need. King Edward I is driven by war, he wants to conquer Scotland using his armies to try and keep them in order. Robert the Bruce is torn between keeping the peace or joining William’s war, he comes from the royal bloodline knowing his choice will be seen by the people. Murron is the common woman that William marries and sees killed for defending herself.

PerformancesMel Gibson in the leading role is strong for the most part even if he can’t manage to pull off the accent to a high enough standard, add in his age isn’t on the right scale required for this man. Sophie Marceau gets the strongest female role in the film, while the rest of the performance come off strong without anybody becoming overly memorable.

StoryThe story here shows a fictionalised version of the battle between William Wallace as he led the Scottish in battle with the English after the king tried to take control of the land, taking their freedom. While the scale of this story is massive, the reality it that most of the historical side of the film just doesn’t live up to the reality of what really happened, you can use the internet yourselves to learn the truth. For an inspirational hero of war leading a nation this is everything you want though. We do see how both sides prepare for the battles and just how they believe they are in the right, with both sides having people that don’t back what the leaders are doing to each others.

Biopic/History/WarThis is where we must look at how you read the movie, for a history lesson that is wrong this is easy to watch, it does everything to make it feel like a realistic version of events, but not the complete truth. The war between the English and the Scottish was real, was bloody and this film shows us just how brutal the wars of this time would have been.

SettingsThe film shows us just how large scale the battles were, when it comes to the pure numbers involved in the battles, we get the beauty of the highlands too which show us just how beautiful the land would have been for fighting for.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a historically incorrect movie that can be watch for the pure scale of the epic battle between the nations, with have strong performance, wonderful directing when it comes to the battle scenes too.

 

Overall: Brutal at times, long at others.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – Gene Quintano – Sudden Death (1995)

Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Gene Quintano (Screenplay) Karen Baldwin (Story)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J Barry, Whittni Wright, Ross Malinger, Dorian Harewood

 

Plot: A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.


Tagline – Tonight, 17 thousand hockey fans have been taken hostage…but just one of them knows it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: Sudden Death starts as we meet firefighter Darren McCord (Van Damme) who is involved in a tragic rescue resulting in a young girls death. 2-years-later McCord has got a job as a fire inspector for the city ice hockey team as they are preparing for the seventh game in the Stanley Cup, taking his two children Emily (Wright) and Tyler (Malinger) to the game.

With the game under way Joshua Foss (Boothe) executes his plan to hold the Vice President (Barry) hostage along with the rest of the arena threatening to kill the hostage unless he gets paid, McCord becomes the only person that can save the arena and redeem his reputation.

 

Thoughts on Sudden Death

 

Characters – Darren McCord is a former firefighter who lost a young girl during a rescue, 2-years-late he is now a fire marshal for the ice hockey arena, he takes his kids to the game only for his daughter to be taken by the terrorists. He must use his fighting skills to stay ahead of the terrorists and save not only his daughter, but the vice President and the rest of the spectators in the arena. Joshua Foss is the leader of the terrorists, he wants money and lots of it, knowing where to take it from, he will kill anyone who is involved in the plan, he will kill hostages being a man of his word knowing he has a full arena of victims. Vice President is the man being held hostage by Joshua, he remains calm knowing that the situation doesn’t need to get out of hand no matter how many people Joshua executes. We do have Darren’s kids who are both just what you would expect with the members of the terrorist group completing the mix with the generic ones we know.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is one of the biggest icons in action, this could very well be one of his best roles, he looks like an everyday man with his own problems acting like a hero and showing us the fighting skills which have made him famous Power Boothe is great in the villainous role, he calmness makes his character fell disturbing throughout the film and is easily on of the underrated villains of the action genre. The rest of the cast are good, while the main two steal the show.

StoryThe story is what people branded ‘Die Hard, in an Ice Hockey Arena’ that is the best way to describe it, a former hero needing to redeem himself from a past mistake and when the chance presents itself in the ice hockey arena he must save the people from a criminal. It uses the real-time feeling as the have the game being the countdown through the events which does help show the rush to save the day as well as dealing with a villain that is cold-hearted and has been planning this job for years. For action we don’t always need the deepest of stories, this shows us what we can have achieved within the time period in question.

Action/CrimeThe action shows McCord going up against different henchman in different locations around the arena, even if the kitchen one against the penguin suit is the one you will most likely remember. The crime shows how a robbery can be put together to work like clockwork even if things don’t always go to plan.

SettingsThe film is set in the ice hockey arena, the action needs to remain here for the whole game giving us a tidy timeline to deal with through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
McCord versus the penguin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We miss the comic relief needed for the bonkers side of the idea.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable action film that shows us just how entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme can be if we are allowed to let him off his leash to fight.

 

Overall: Action film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Before Sunrise (1995)

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

 

Plot: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.


Tagline – Jump on and live a Eurorail journey you will never forget!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stunning Look at Love

 

Story: Before Sunrise starts on the train heading through Europe, American man Jesse (Hawke) meets French woman Celine (Delpy) and get chatting, until they end up in Vienna, Jesse’s stop, he takes a chance to invite Celine to spend the evening and night with him wandering the streets to Vienna before his flight home.

As the two spend their time together, they visit the landmarks and learn how they both see life, being able to discuss the futures they are unsure about while falling in love knowing they can’t have more than this night together.

 

Thoughts on Before Sunrise

 

Characters – Jesse is an American traveling through Europe, he is on his last day after breaking up with his girlfriend a few weeks before. Heading to his flight home, he meets Celine, a woman he falls in love with and asks to join him around Vienna while waiting for his flight. Celine is the French woman heading home to Paris from Budapest, she joins Jesse knowing she can head home tomorrow. To truly talk about these characters, we need to simplify the idea that these two are strangers who meet on a train and fall in love, they are smart enough to know their lives will go in different directions, but don’t want to waste this one moment together.

PerformancesWe have a two person show here, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have brilliant chemistry which is what makes this movie stand out, to see an acting partnership feel so natural in everything they do makes you believe each feeling and emotion their characters are going through.

StoryThe story of love is one that is filled with happiness, sadness, missed moments and moments that change our lives. This story has all of these moments that two strangers meet on a train, fall in love with completely different lives that will see them thousands of miles apart after this night. It answers the what will happen, where can you go and tackles the realisation that this is a once in a lifetime meeting which will only break your heart being apart. These moments are so rare and to see one shown on film shows us just how magical they can be.

RomanceRomance has never been shown in such a natural story than this one, one evening, night with the one person that will take your heart in true love, the one person you can’t be with.

SettingsVienna is a beautiful setting for this movie, we have the historical buildings providing the backdrop for this movie which adds beauty to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Goodbye and what next?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing, just watch it.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best romantic movies I have ever seen, it feels so natural and hits hard for the reality of what we will go through ourselves.

 

Overall: Beautiful, wonderful and amazing.

Rating

 

 

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