Franchise Weekend – The Fast of the Furious (2001)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine

 

Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Begins

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious starts as we meet Brian (Walker) a want to be street racer trying to find his way into the good books of street racing icon Dominic Toretto (Diesel). Earning the respect of Dom after saving him from the police, Brian finds himself welcomed into the world.

This opens the door for us to meet Dom’s enemy on the street, Johnny Tran (Yune) before we learn the truth about Brian’s involvement as an undercover police officer trying to uncover who is behind the crime spree behind the street racing thieves.

The deeper Brian gets into the family the greater the respect both sides have towards each but with his superiors running out of patience Brian must learn what is really going on before Dom’s crew get hurt.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters we have all come to love start here with Brian the undercover police officers trying to up his ranking in the police force while growing the respect of the underground street racers. Brian fits this world as the outsider as the way in for us the audience too. Dom is the alpha male of the group that everyone respects and once you earn his you become untouchable. He is the best racer, the loyalist friend and brother. Johnny Tran makes for a good starter villain who is just a racing rival to Dom. Letty is the girlfriend of Dom that does have control over him but we don’t see too much from, Mia is Dom’s brother that becomes a love interest for Brian. The rest of the characters are all small parts to the big world Dom controls.

Performance wise, you can see the draw of Paul Walker to this role where you can argue his is the bigger name for the time and he is great, in this film you can see how early into his career Vin Diesel was and he just doesn’t have the screen presence we know from him now. The rest of the cast all do well playing the parts how you would expect them to be.

StoryThe story side of this movie is easy to follow, uncover cop gets drawn to the world he is investigating because of the excitement it gives him. We have the checklist for story here offer us just flashy races to make this different than for example Point Break.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe races are all good to watch, as well are the heists being pulled off which show us both the crime sides of the story because of the illegal racing and they keeps us all on edge for the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA which makes for the style the film has because it is away from the glitz and glamor of the world we know.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all here for the races and showing how certain elements of the engine work to increase speed.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise is the go to for nonsense action, but it didn’t start that way and this film shows us the street racing, beginning of a friendship and just how far these guys would go.

 

Overall: The true fans will always love this one over any sequel because of the importance this film gives us to the future franchise.

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George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay) Harry Brown, Charles Lederer (Original Screenplay)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin

 

Plot: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick, Stylish Heist Film

 

Story: Ocean’s Eleven starts with Danny Ocean (Clooney) getting released from prison after his life has fallen apart with his wife leaving him. Danny heading straight to Las Vegas looking for a team to rob three casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia). The team Danny puts together is his right-hand man Rusty (Pitt) blacklisted dealer Frank (Mac) finaceer Reuben (Gould), gadget men Virgil (Affleck) and Turk (Caan), tech guy Livingston (Jemison) acrobat Yen (Qin), senior player Saul (Reiner) explosives expert Basher (Cheadle) and pickpocket Linus (Damon).

With the location set the team set out to prepare for the heist but things take a turn when Rusty learns of Tess (Roberts) involvement with Benedict as this has turned into a revenge mission against his ex-wife.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Eleven

 

StoryThe story is about the heist going on with the careful planning that goes into everything. we do get the slip ups along the way which makes it all fun to watch and with the pacing being almost perfect you barely notice the time fly by. We have a film that builds the character to make everyone important to the heist.

Crime/ThrillerWhen you go into heist films you always have an expectation level and this one nails it on every single level as we are all kept guessing to what the next trick up the guys sleeves will be.

Characters/PerformanceDanny is a great leading character that is filled with charisma and with the tea he puts together you care and are interested in all their stories. Terry Benedict makes for a great villain who people are all looking to get one over. It is the Tess character I have most issues with in this film because she is made out to be mostly a money grabber. The performances are all fantastic because we get Clooney leading the film with ease but each of the supporting characters know exactly just how much screen time they are getting and how to make the most of each and every scene they are in.

SettingsThe film is set inside Vegas with most of the set inside the casino as we see the planning and execution of the plan in its full.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the finest heist movies you will be lucky enough to ever see.

 

Overall: Enjoy the heist unfold.

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The Order (2001)

orderDirector: Sheldon Lettich

Writer: Les Weldon, Jean-Claude Van Damme (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charlton Heston, Sofia Milos, Brian Thompson, Ben Cross, Vernon Dobtcheff

 

Plot: Van Damme plays Rudy whose father, Oscar is an archaeologist. His father goes to Israel. When his father disappears, he goes to Israel to find him. The chief of police claims that his father never entered the country, but an old friend of his father’s was expecting him and before he could tell him more, some people start shooting at them. He manages to get away, and when he goes back to the police chief, he still refuses to believe that a crime has been committed. He then has Rudy deported, but Rudy convinces the police woman assigned to bring him to the airport not to and help him find his father.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Van Damme 101

 

Story: The Order starts with a history lesson because we need back story to what happen in this one battle in Jerusalem where a new order was born against the religious crusades. We move to the present day and meet Rudy Cafmeyer (Van Damme) who is a world class thief applying his latest job in Ukraine. Rudy’s father is archaeologist who has discovered the final chapter of the Visialy script while Ruby’s last adventure has led him to be wanted by the Russian Mafia.

When his father goes missing Ruby travels to Israel to uncover the truth and working with his father’s old friend Walter Finney (Heston) he learns just how much danger his father has got himself into. Rudy must work with LT Dalia Barr (Milos) to uncover a religious movement that his father has discovered the final piece off being led by Cyrus Jacob (Thompson) in the city of Jerusalem during the time when other religions have come to pray thanks to their gods.

 

Thoughts on The Order

 

StoryThe story is designed to give Van Damme a chance to show his fighting while have a loss idea on how to deal with a potential religious uprising in a modern world. This is a treasure hunt style movie which all works for fun and that is all you need from it.

Action/ThrillerWhen it comes to the action we have plenty of chase sequences as well as good fight sequences again all designed to show off Van Damme’s skills.

Characters/Performance –  Ruby is a thief that has a way of being able to look after himself and has a way to cover his tracks while uncovering the truth, this is what you would call a typical Van Damme character that is there to show off his fighting ability. Charlton Heston is pretty much here to fill in the gaps for Rudy in the history before biting the bullet early on. We do have the typical good cop working with Ruby too as well as a good religious leader ticking off the villainous role.

SettingsThe film uses Jerusalem as the main setting which works because of the religious implication going on within the story as well as looking good for the chase sequences.

Special EffectsHas good enough effects for the characters involved because we don’t need anything fancy just a few explosions during the chases.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film designed solely to show off how could Van Damme is as fighting, it has a good religious idea going on. This is fun easy to watch action film from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is easily the rule book on how to make a Van Damme movie.

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The Glass House (2001)

glassDirector: Daniel Sackheim

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay)

Starring: Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgard, Bruce Dern, Kathy Baker, Trevor Morgan, Chris North

 

Plot: An orphaned teenager is taken in by a Malibu couple but discovers they aren’t the caring friends they seemed to be.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Solid Thriller

 

Story: The Glass House starts as high school student Ruby Baker (Sobieski) and her younger brother Rhett (Morgan) lose their parents in a car accident they find themselves orphaned and having to move into the Glass household with Erin (Lane) and Terry (Skarsgard).

After spending time with the family Ruby starts to suspect something strange going on with the Glass family and that they have an alternative motive for wanting to take the orphaned children in.

The Glass House is a thriller that does follow the ABC ideas of most of these domestic thrillers where the eldest child has to prove their new guardians are not who they thought they could be even if they have trick the others into believe they are good and all the people that are important. The problem here is that this is nothing overly fresh, it also doesn’t push any of the boundaries needed for the thriller side of the story. it all just becomes extreme average as easily forgettable.

 

Overall: Basic thriller that just doesn’t hit any of the good marks needed in a true thriller.

Rating45

 

 

Movie Reviews Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)

casting card

 

Plot: Third entry in series returns to the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada seen in the first and briefly in the second.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Yet Another Solid Sequel

 

Story: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection starts as Burt (Gross) has continued to track graboids and shriekers around the world and this time he is in Argentina to rid them of the problems. Completing this mission Burt returns to Perfection only to find Jack Sawyer (Christian) has been leading tourists around the desert for a graboid experience.

When the graboids return to Perfection Burt leads a few familiar faces including Nancy (Stewart), Mindy (Richards) and Miguel (Genaro) in what was meant to be a fight until Agent Rusk (Pappas) and Dr Merliss (Livingston) arrive claiming it to be illegal to hunt an endangered species of the graboids. This time the graboids and shriekers have evolved once more into ass-blasters.

Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings the action back to the home town of the graboids which is what the second film lost. I do think we need to keep the action in this location because we also bring back fellow members in the town. As for originality we don’t get too much as it is just a group of people trying to survive. The only fresh angle which never got used enough was that the government want to protect the graboids. For some reason I remember more from this film from when I was younger though.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Gross: Burt returns home only to find that the graboids have returned, he has built his house to be a fortress when the graboids try to attack but he can’t hunt to kill this time as the government wants to protect them. He uses all his experience to follow these rules and save his hometown once more. Michael finally becomes the character I have known went I heard the name Tremors.

Shawn Christian: Desert Jack runs a fake tourist attraction in the town of Perfection but when the graboids really turn up he must work with Burt to fight and survive from the attacks. Shawn fits the description need for the role without being anything special.

Susan Chuang: Jodi is the new shop keeper of the town of Perfection, she has been selling merchandise from the graboids that have made her money after giving up high salary job in the big city. Susan is good in this role that is the strongest of the leading females we have seen.

Charlotte Stewart: Nancy is one of the town’s people still leaving in Perfection, she is still protecting her daughter from the graboids but this time she calls in the government to deal with the problem. Charlotte is good but nothing over most of the supporting cast.

Support Cast: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has a very standard supporting cast not adding too much to the final film.

Director Review: Brent MaddockBrent continues the fun behind the movie which works for making it enjoyable.

 

Action: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has good action when it comes to fighting the creatures.

Comedy: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has a few laughs but not to the same level the first two did.

Horror: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings in us yet another creature into the battle making the horror coming from three different directions.

Settings: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection brings us back to Perfection which I feel is the best thing for the franchise.
Special Effects
: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection has solid special effects with a mix of practical and CGI effects.

Suggestion: Tremors 3: Back to Perfection is one for the fans of the franchise to still enjoy. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: New creature.

Worst Part: We do keep losing the leading actors who are not returning.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: They’re Baaack!!!!

Trivia: In the scene involving the tourist mother and son conversing with Burt Gummer, the boy asks for his picture to be taken with ‘the tremor’, playing on a common misconception that the title ‘Tremors’ was also the name of the creatures despite the fact they are actually referred to as ‘graboids’ in the previous films.

 

Overall: Solid sequel that is yet again a fun watch.

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