Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King (2002)

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter (Screenplay) Stephen Sommers, Jonathan Hales (Story)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov

 

Plot: A desert warrior rises up against the evil army that is destroying his homeland. He captures the enemy’s key sorcerer, takes her deep into the desert and prepares for a final showdown.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: The Scorpion King starts in a world where tyrant Memnon (Brand) is taking over the land with ease, killing anyone who goes against him with his Sorceress (Hu) by his side everybody fears him. When the last remaining leaders Balthazar (Duncan), Queen Isis (Howard), King Pheron (Rees) Takmet (Facinelli) want to end his dominate destruction they hire Mathayus (Johnson) and his brother Jesup (Richmond) to kill the Sorceress who is helping Memnon on his rampage.

When Mathayus is betrayed the Sorceress spares him being killed at the hands of any of Memnon men’s hands, he finds himself in a sticky situation where trickster Arpid (Heslov) aids his escape. Mathayus sets out to bring down Memnon and save the land, the Sorceress while teaming up with a range of former enemies fighting the biggest common enemy.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is an elite warrior assassin, so basically nothing like the Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns. He has honour and will fight against all odds for his family, freedom and mostly money. Memnon is a hands-on tyrant warrior who kills anyone who doesn’t follow him, he is the lands best swordsman and we see this in his combat against Mathayus but his weakness is believing in a Sorceress visions. I liked that he is happy to fight against any enemy, this is rare in action adventure films. The Sorceress sees how the fights are going to end, only she doesn’t because her visions don’t come true. Balthazar is a strong leader who is willing to fight up against a worthy opponent. The rest of the character all fit what you expect, the comic relief, the crazy old guy, the betraying son, the henchman the list goes on.

Performance Wise, this film was designed to make Dwayne Johnson look like a new action star, Brand is good as the villain but isn’t the worst for the action genre, with Kelly Hu being the beautiful sorceress works for the film.

StoryThe story is easy to follow as long as you are not looking to learn more about the Mummy Returns character because this guy is a hero. When you look into just this story we get a basic action adventure showing the rise of a warrior uniting a nation.

Action/AdventureThe action is all fun with plenty of hand to hand, sword fights and stealth like action going on through the wild adventure. The fantasy side brings up the mythology behind how Scorpion King came to be, again going against the original idea behind the character.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a land of sand and Gods which works but doesn’t create anything iconic.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all fine but don’t get used too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun, easy to watch action adventure film that can be enjoyed as you see Dwayne Johnson on his first steps in leading actor.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Writer: Larry Brand, Sean Hood (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin, Katee Sackhoff, Luke Kirby, Thomas Ian Nicholas

 

Plot: Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful Sequel

 

Story: Halloween: Resurrection starts with Laurie (Curtis) now in a mental home as we learn that she killed an innocent man thinking it was Michael, now she waits for him to arrive so she can finish the job. When Michael finally gets to kill Laurie his rampage must be over, but no, let’ see where this film goes now.

We are not back in Haddonfield meting student Sara (Kajlich), Jen (Sackhoff) and Rudy (Thomas) who have all signed up for a reality television show hosted by Freddie Harris (Rhymes) and Nora (Banks) and joined by Donna (McCrackin), Bill (Nicholas) and Jim (Kirby) where they must stay in the Myers house for one night.

As the students look to investigate the home, they learn that Michael is still living there and ready to kill anybody inside his home, who will make it out and just what is the point in these victims.

 

Thoughts on Halloween: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is in this movie, for about 5 minutes and I feel this is the only connection to the Halloween franchise. Michael is deadly but you kind of route for him because the people are invading his home. Sara seems to be the main innocent student that gets pushed into something she wouldn’t normally do. Jen is the slightly slutty friend with Rudy being the lead hero. Freddie is the arrogant host that wants to make money and become famous and that is your ABC cast.

Performance wise, well, where do we start here? This isn’t known for its performance ability, Busta Rhymes please no more acting, and why in the hell would you hire an actress that couldn’t scream or cry on cue for a horror film, Jamie Lee clearly didn’t want to be in this film either.

StoryLooking at story we have a HUGE problem here, one you kill off the Laurie in the opening sequence and forget she has a kid now a young man in his twenties now too. We get an awful run around Michael’s house being picked off one by one for reality TV, none of these characters have a connection to Michael and this is just a hack em slash em film for no reason.

HorrorThis is fine as a standalone slasher horror but the connection it needs sucks the horror out of the film.

SettingsBeing set inside Michael’s childhood home works because it brings us back to Haddonfield, where we need to be but the stakes just don’t feel enough in this house.

Special EffectsThe kills have good effects but otherwise we don’t get many or need many.

Final ThoughtsThis film feels like someone watched The Truman Show and thought let’s make it a slasher film where we have an audience watching what is going on inside the house, we have terrible acting, terrible storytelling and just a boring reason to bring Michael back.

 

Overall: Terrible, terrible sequel.

Rating

 

 

Dog Soldiers (2002)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, Liam Cunningham, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt, Chris Robson

 

Plot: A routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Werewolf Films

 

Story: Dog Soldiers starts as we follow military unit led by Sgt Harry Wells (Pertwee) on a training mission in the Scotish wilderness, in his team is Private Cooper (McKidd) who has been rejected by the special forces Captain Ryan (Cunningham) but this does make him the strongest member of the unit.

When the men get attacked they learn Captain Ryan has been on a mission within in same location hunting something down and they soon meet these creates, werewolves hunting at night in the wilderness of Scotland, this is no longer a training mission and the men must show their skills to survive the night.

 

Thoughts on Dog Soldiers

 

Characters – Sgt Wells is running his military unit through a routine training exercise, he shows his strength in leadership even if Cooper is the best soldier in the unit. Private Cooper is soldier who missed out on special forces even though he has all the skills to be one of their best, returned to the small unit he must take control of the situation when the werewolves attack. Megan is seemingly a random woman in the woods but she has a connection to the bigger picture studying the werewolves. Captain Ryan is the leader of the special forces unit and has been involved in hunting the werewolves down, he is fully behind the cause over the right thing.

PerformanceSean Pertwee in the lead soldier role is something he becae famous for because he talks the shit needed as well as getting the respect from his unit and in the early 2000s no one did it better. Kevin McKidd is great is the super soldier that knows how to battle against anything thing that gets in his way. Emma Cleasby is an actress that seemed to fall of the face of the Earth after this performance which she did a good job in. Liam Cunningham as the villainous soldier is something we know he can do and we all like to just sit and listen to him talk.

StoryGroup of soldiers must fight against werewolves over a one-night period, well that is the core of this story and it works perfectly, keeping things simple. We do have a couple of twists along the way which work and are fine for the story but overall we didn’t need to see anything overly complicated for this movie.

Action/HorrorThe action is all bullets flying and blood spattering off the walls, this is a good use of the action horror genre because we might not get jump scares but we have the threat to the soldiers in werewolf form.

SettingsMost of the film is set in one location, a house in the middle of the woods, we make sure the communications are lost and the nearly location is too far away to make this a fully enjoyable isolated location for our characters.

Special EffectsFilled with most practical effects we see our soldiers and werewolves in battle in what is one of the best uses of the mix since American Werewolf in London.

Scene of the Movie – House goes Boom.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment In the opening sequence we have campers killed, then we move back 2 hours earlier in a different location before going forward 4 weeks. This just seems like overkill.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best modern-day werewolf films if not the best.

 

Overall: Enjoyable horror rush.

Rating

 

 

40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

40Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Robert Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Paulo Costanzo, Adam Tree, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Vinessa Shaw, Maggie Gyllenhaal

 

Plot: After a brutal break-up, a young man vows to stay celibate during the forty days of Lent, but finds the girl of his dreams and is unable to do anything about it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: 40 Days and 40 Nights starts as we meet Matt (Hartnett) who has been struggling with his break up from Nicole (Shaw), this has led Matt to a string of one night stands that lead to him having visions of a black hole. Matt’s brother John (Tree) is in training to become a priest where Matt learns about lent and vows to give up all sexual activity for 40 days and 40 nights.

When his roommate Ryan (Costanzo) decides to spread the news about the vow a betting pool opens up and to make Matt’s life more difficult when he finally meets the perfect woman Erica (Sossamon). Matt has to learn to balance his vow while starting a new relationship where sex is out of the question.

40 Days and 40 Nights is a film I did enjoy watching even if I can see big flaws in the story, this mostly comes from the idea that it is written that every guy is obsessed with sex and couldn’t possible go 40 days without having it. The problems comes where everyone is against Matt rather than having even just one person supporting him through his self-improvement idea. I do however feel the story works for what it is trying to be even if it comes off unbelievable throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Hartnett: Matt Sullivan is a struggling man who can’t get over his ex-girlfriend Nicole. Running through a string of one night stands he wakes from these with a vision of the world coming to an end. Coming up with the idea to give up sexual activity for lent his life becomes a game for people around the world who has bet on when it will end and the perfect woman come into his life his whole life becomes difficult. Josh shows with this performance he can handle comedy.

Shannyn Sossamon: Erica has been struggling to find the right guy and her job doesn’t help. She meets Matt and see him as a different guy to the normal ones she meets but doesn’t fully understand the vow. Shannyn is good in this role being a strong leading lady.

Paulo Costanzo: Ryan is Matt’s roommate who is always looking to go out and meet girls for sex. He keeps watch over Matt after telling everyone about the vow. Paulo is solid as this supporting friend even if this generic.

Adam Tree: John Sullivan is the priest in training brother of Matt’s who doesn’t believe he can achieve his vow because he knows how difficult it is to go through. Adam is solid but in the end is just another supporting character.

Support Cast: 40 Days and 40 Nights has a supporting cast which includes plenty of different characters that are trying to make Matt break his vow with not a single person actually supporting him.

Director Review: Michael LehmannMichael gives us a fun comedy even if it is very one sided with the reactions and mind set people are meant to be in.

 

Comedy: 40 Days and 40 Nights has moments of comedy which mostly surround people trying to make Matt break the vow.

Romance: 40 Days and 40 Nights does try to tackle relationships by trying to make it more about how sex isn’t the most important part of the relationship.

Settings: 40 Days and 40 Nights keeps the settings around San Francisco which is always a great visual location for a film.

Suggestion: 40 Days and 40 Nights is one to try it does have good moments of good comedy but it also has a story which seems to be very much sex is all people think about. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hartnett works for comedy.

Worst Part: Not everyone is sex obsessed.

Romantic Moment: No contact date.

 

Believability: The way things go I would say no.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $17 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline:  It’s Easy to Say But Harder To Do! 

 

Overall: Simple comedy that does work well for what it is trying to achieve.

Ratingcard

 

 

John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

Ratingcard