Meet the Deedles (1998)

Director: Steve Boyum

Writer: Jim Herzfeld (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Van Wormer, Paul Walker, A.J. Langer, John Ashton, Dennis Hopper, Eric Braeden, Robert Englund

 

Plot: Two surfers end up as Yellowstone park rangers and have to stop a former ranger who is out for revenge.


Tagline – To protect and surf.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless Comedy

 

Story: Meet the Deedles starts as we meet the two surfer school slackers Stew (Van Wormer) and Phil (Walker) Deedle whose father has given them everything in life which leads them to expelled from school, as punishment the boys are set to camp to learn responsibility and end up being recruited as rangers in Yellowstone after a misunderstanding.

While learning the ropes from LT Jesse Ryan (Langer) the boys must try to eliminate the prairie dog problem, which does have a connection to disgraced park ranger Frank Slater (Hopper) who is out for revenge.

 

Thoughts on Meet the Deedles

 

Characters – Stew is the brains of the two brothers, he always comes up with the plans to keep their cover while in rangers in Yellowstone. He is the one that is doing the work the pair should be doing. Phil is the dumb brother who does feel like he is a surfer who does take a shine toward the Lt Ryan, he does get the funniest lines and is easily the one that is too honest to lie. LT Jesse Ryan is the rescue chopper pilot, she has been raised to be part of the park and following in her step-father’s footsteps. Frank Slater is the villainous former ranger that plans to ruin the big celebration with his goons doing his dirty work.

PerformancesPaul Walker is the only reason I even considered watching this movie, he does show us that he has the most talent in this role because the playing dumb needs commitment and he hit them on every turn. Steve Van Wormer is solid enough as the other brother either though while watching he isn’t the one we came to see. AJ Langer is good enough as the love interest without getting much to do other than being that. Dennis Hopper was doing a strange number of villainous roles which he always liked to milk.

StoryThe story follows two slacker surfers that end up going into the park ranger training program to help ride Yellowstone to prairie dogs being controlled by a vengeful former ranger hell bent on revenge. This is designed for a younger audience with how most of the jokes unfold and to say this is a 90s movie is the perfect example to describe the story. we get the message of trying to seek parental approval after a string of failures, which mixes nicely with the endless plans to get away with their own mistakes to be a success, we get a villain that gets his goons to do most of his plans which all play into the comedy of the film, overall this is easily one of those films that uses the story to tell the story that everyone will have their day just let them show their potential.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is a mix of slapstick which usually sees someone flying through the air or jokes between the two brothers that only they will understand.

SettingsThe film is set in Yellowstone national park, we know this has place of beauty, legacy for its tourist attraction which all play into the reasons for the villain to have his own plan.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain climbing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The jokes miss too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a 90s comedy that showed us the potential of Paul Walker, it does use basic comedy and by the end of the film you will feel like it has dated.

 

Overall: Simple family comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Urban Legend (1998)

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Robert Englund

 

Plot: A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.


Tagline – Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You’re Told

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Slasher

 

Story: Urban Legend starts as we meet our college students Natalie (Witt) Paul (Leto), Brenda (Gayheart), Parker (Rosenbaum), Damon (Jackson) and Sasha (Reid) who are all studying in a class where Professor William Wexler (Englund) teaches them about the origins of urban legends.

When Natalie sees Damon killed in the myth of an urban legend she starts to believe there is a serial killer on campus and it is up to campus security officer Reese Wilson (Devine) to keep everyone safe, while Natalie tries to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legend

 

Characters – Natalie is our leading student, it is her old friend that is the first victim with the next couple of killings are people close to her, she is determined to learn the truth believing there is an Urban Legend serial killer taking advantage of the anniversary of a tragedy on campus. Paul works for the campus newspaper and with the murders starting on campus he gets big stories even if the Dean is trying to spin them into nothing, he helps Natalie investigate the truth even though he knows each murder could have an answer. Brenda is the best friend of Natalie’s who helps her through her time of need being the most frightened about the Urban Legends. Reese is the head of security that idolises Pam Grier and wants to keep the student safe no matter what.

PerformancesThis cast is filled with young actors that only went onto bigger projects, Alicia Witt in the leading role is good throughout, the innocent slasher style final girl figure. Jared Leto shows us that he is mostly likely the best performer of the students, Rebecca Gayheart is good at the typical best friend figure which again helps fill the generic roles the film painfully uses. Loretta Devine is the potential show stealer here with her character getting the best lines while trying to solve the crime. As I was saying most of the characters are generic with each performer getting their parts done very well.

StoryThe story here brings us to a slasher horror movie which makes the killer select different Urban Legends to kill their victims. This does bring an original twist to how the kills are being completed, until things just turn into a slasher generic movie for the later kills, lets all be honest, we know slasher movies don’t need the most intense stories and you generally will follow the traits of the genre. One big plus point for this movie is that we get plenty of suspects, just when you think it is one person, things take a twist a throw another suspect in the prime position, this happens plenty of times which is a huge plus for any movie.

Horror/MysteryFor a horror movie this gives us the generic characters, mistakes that we know too, the kills start being unique with the urban legend style behind them and the mystery comes from just who is behind the murders with plenty of different characters with motivations.

SettingsThe film takes place on a college campus, this give our characters reason to not be able to just run with the Dead believing things are pranks and good reasons behind other deaths. The one negative about this location is that these kids are all stupid enough to believe urban legends are real in the first place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the kills which are simple and never needing to be over the top either.


Scene of the Movie –
Urban Legends kills.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Understanding American laws, partial spoiler, but how did the girls not get prison time?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable and original slasher movies, it has a unique idea that makes it standout with a wonderfully talent young cast.

 

Overall: Slasher that stands out.

Rating

 

 

Vampires (1998)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Don Jakoby (Screenplay) John Steakley (Novel)

Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell

 

Plot: Recovering from an ambush that killed his entire team, a vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to walk in sunlight.


Tagline – They’ve been around for 600 years…and they’re very, VERY thirsty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable addition to the vampire genre

 

Story: Vampires starts as Jack Crow (Woods) and his gang of vampire hunters including Anthony Montoya (Baldwin) as they clean out a nest of vampires only they can’t find the master. Celebrating the success of the day the gang party but when the Master Jan Valek (Griffith) arrives looking for revenge he kills every member of the team except Jack and Anthony while turning Katrina (Lee).

Jack ordered to rebuild the team, must first regroup before he goes against his orders with a new priest Father Guiteau (Guinee) using Katrina as bait to locate Jan Valek who is in search for a legendary relic that would allow Valek to walk in the sunlight.

 

Thoughts on Vampires

 

Characters – Jack Crow is the leader of the vampire hunters, he has been hunting them his whole life, training other to aid in his quest to kill them all. He is ruthless in his action not accepting excuse from any man, woman or priest. Anthony is the only other member of the team that makes it out of the attack, he is a trusted second to Jack but keeps a secret from him during this story. Katrina is the young lady that gets bitten by Valek, Crow uses her to find him while she must battle the turning process. Jan Valek is the ancient vampire that has been terrorising for centuries, he isn’t getting killed as easily as others and now he targets immortality in the day light.

PerformancesJames Woods is great in this leading role, he takes the aggression needed to make us believe the vampire hunter is doing the right thing also showing the loyalty required in his performance. Daniel Baldwin is good but not to the level of Woods while Sheryl Lee does make for a good sexy vampire figure. Thomas Ian Griffith does make for a great vampire villain too being imposing in every single scene.

StoryThe story follows the old school vampire hunters hunting vampires but this time the enemy is stronger than they have ever faced. This film does move away from the gothic tones of previous film and takes us into a realistic setting for our characters to do battle with the vampires. This does work for the story because we now need to see a new less traditional style to vampires even if the story follows the normal it is a fun watch.

Action/HorrorThe action comes with the battles with the vampires, it is bigger than normal for the genre and we get plenty action. The horror comes from how we see the vampires disposed of along with how powerful Valek is

SettingsThe western settings make this feel like a race against time for gunslingers to stop an outlaw, which is what the idea was going for.

Special EffectsThe effects all seem practical with the fire behind the sunlight being some of the most horrific in the vampire genre.


Scene of the Movie –
Valek’s revenge is bloody.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was slightly confusing why stakes were used when they didn’t kill.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very enjoyable modern take on the vampire genre, it adds action and realism to a traditional gothic style of film which on one hand works but the other hand could get people not enjoying it.

 

Overall: Vampire fans must watch.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mulan (1998)

Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Writer: Rite Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip LaZbnik, Raymond Singer, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer (Screenplay) Robert D San Souci (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Pat Morita, Miguel Ferrer, BD Wong

 

Plot: To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.


Tagline – This time, the princess saves the prince.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Dark Adventure Film

 

Story: Mulan starts in ancient China with Shan-Yu and the invading Hun attack. Mulan is a young woman that hasn’t been following the traditions on the family, she isn’t ready to just be a bride, when her father is summoned to serve in the impending war, she wants to help, running away to fight in her father’s place. Spirit dragon Mushu is sent to be her guardian on this adventure, to return her safely, but Mulan has other plans.

Mulan sets out to join the army in her father’s place under the leadership on Captain Shang, in a hope to rebuild her family honour that she has disrespected.

 

Thoughts on Mulan

 

Characters – Mulan is a young woman, she has been raised to follow tradition, something she wants to break and taking her father’s place in the army shows the independence she wants to achieve. This is a strong anti-princess role which is something Disney broke the mould with. Mushu is the guardian dragon that needs to rescue and watch over Mulan, though he mostly just causes trouble for her. This character is here for all the laughs in the movie. Shan-Yu is the leader of the Hun that are attacking China, his armies are ruthless when it comes to battle, with him being a great and powerful warrior.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that wants to make a difference in a world where only men can become the leaders of the armies, she breaks tradition to make a difference and become great. This brings us the idea of breaking away from the tradition just because the people tell you follow that path. For Disney this movie broke their own traditions of have a princess in distress needing rescuing and now feels like the trailblazer it wanted to be.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of the film does give us real peril because it takes Mulan into a war battle which has taken lives of many, this could be slightly too dark for the whole family to enjoy too.

SettingsThe film brings us to Ancient China which brings us a new animated setting for an American movie, we have the mountain range which looks beautiful and the towers that show the empires built.

AnimationThe animation is the usual top notch from Disney never looking out of place for their level of excellency


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain range attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me For me Mushu got annoying after a while.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that does show us the courage one woman showed to save her country against tradition.

 

Overall: Disney’s last good movie of the late 90s.

Rating