Franchise Weekend – Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004) Movie Review

Director: Phil Tippett

Writer: Edward Neumeier (Screenplay)

Starring: Billy Brown, Richard Burgi, Kelly Carlson, Cy Carter, Sandrine Holt, Ed Lauter, Brenda Strong, Colleen Porch

Plot: In the sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s loved/reviled sci-fi film, a group of troopers taking refuge in an abandoned outpost after fighting alien bugs, failing to realize that more danger lays in wait.


Tagline – They’re coming back to wipe us out!

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Noticeable Small Sequel

Story: Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation starts straight after the first film, the humans know have the upper hand in the war against the bugs with more soldiers on the ground ready for battle. We follow a small unit that find themselves surrounded in a night assault, who seek refuge in an abandoned outpost, deep in the bug territory.

The unit finds Captain Dax (Burgi) locked away inside, while the unit gets surrounded Lei Sahara (Porch) does what she can to save her unit against her LT Dill (Monoson) who wants to get involved in paperwork and ranks, when the real enemy is a new threat they have never seen before.

Thoughts on Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation

Characters – Captain VJ Dax is the officer found trapped in the outpost, once a hero of the war now a disgraced man, he is the only one that seems to know how to fight back on a more aggressive way than other soldiers are. He will demand the best from the soldiers no matter how it might see him clash with the others. Pvt Lei Sahara is one of the strongest members of the unit, she is a weak psychic that gets visions that don’t always get taken seriously, she makes the rash decision to release Dax. LT Pavlov Dill is the inexperienced soldier put in a position of power that is more interested in dealing with the ranks and orders than saving the soldier’s lives. Pvt Soda is one of the soldiers saved that needs medical attention, though she isn’t everything she looks like.

PerformancesRichard Burgi is the best of the performers here, he does continue the tone of a strong military man, while most of the rest of the cast don’t reach this level. Colleen Porch does handle the serious side of the film well too.

StoryThe story continues the war between humans and bugs, only this time we see the soldiers cornered in battle which will see them finding an enemy coming from within. The story here does scale back big time what we are dealing with, giving us a small unit that must battle from within one location instead of different warzones. We do move the story on from the original as we see just how humans once again understatement an enemy, as well as providing more to the bug intelligence that we are seeing. One of the problems with the story though does come from the fact we are making the story more contained, this doesn’t help on the idea of the large scale war going on, this conflicts the audience into seeing almost like a small chapter of the war over the next battle for victory.

Action/Sci-FiThe action does continue to be large scale shooting between the humans aiming for the bugs that don’t stop, while the sci-fi is more horror based with the idea of the new bug that no human has seen before.

SettingsThe film does use the outpost as the main setting, it would be a safehouse for the soldiers during the attack, though just how safe is a different question.

Special EffectsThe effects while given a much small budget, don’t look bad at all, they continue to make the bugs look terrifying for anybody that comes across them.


Scene of the Movie – Stand off on the roof.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We try to swap genres doing an alien to aliens reverse tone for the film, that just doesn’t work.

Final Thoughts This is a sequel that doesn’t live up to the original, it does try to do something different, though it just fails to make everything hit the heights of the original.

Overall: Simple Sequel.

Catwoman (2004) Movie Review

Director: Pitof

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, John Rogers (Screenplay) Theresa Rebeck, John Brancato, Michael Ferris (Story)

Starring: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, Michael Massee

Plot: A shy woman, endowed with the speed, reflexes, and senses of a cat, walks a thin line between criminal and hero, even as a detective doggedly pursues her, fascinated by both of her personas.


Tagline – CATch Her In IMAX
Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just Bad

Story: Catwoman starts with aspiring artist Patience Phillips (Berry) who works for the Hedare cosmetic company in advertisement, Laurel (Stone) is stepping down as the face of the company, while her husband George (Wilson) is planning for the future. When Patience tries to make a deadline, she overhears the side effects of the latest product, she is targeted by security leaving her dead.

Patience doesn’t stay dead, with the cats bringing her back to life with heighted sense. As Patience’s tries to remember what happened that night, she is left to learns that she has been chosen to be a Catwoman and uses her new powers to fight crime before setting her targets on her former employers.

Thoughts on Catwoman

Characters – Patience Phillips is the woman that dreams of more from her life, works too much to get anything else out of her life until she finds herself murdered by her bosses for learning a secret. Bought back to life, Patience has new skills ones that make her a threat to anybody that crosses her path, becoming Catwoman and more confident in life. Tom is the cop that walks into Patience’s life, she wants to get to know her only for him to get caught up trying to understand the crimes of Catwoman. Laurel and George Hedare run the cosmetic company that Patience works for, they both hate each other and will do anything to cover up the truth about what is happening when they get targeted by Catwoman who wants to expose their greed.

PerformancesThis is a hard movie to criticise the actors for trying to do something with such a weak story or poorly directed movie, you can see Halle Berry try and makes something of Patience, while going way overboard with Catwoman side of thing. Benjamin Bratt is fine without getting much more to do, while Sharon Stone does what she can with the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows a nice shy quiet lady who gets killed by her employers only to get resurrected by the cats that turn her into catwoman who will help fight crime and take down her evil bosses. In the early 2000s comic book movies were just starting to become a major thing, pre-Marvel explosion on the scene, we saw studios trying to bring different characters to centre stage, Catwoman made sense as a decision because it would bring a female lead to the world, sadly the story is told so badly it just doesn’t help the genre, it is strange because the basics of the origin story are here and easy to see, though the dialogue is appalling throughout. This will have to go down as one of the weak to poor stories in comic book history.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is awful to watch, with the fight sequences all looking like they are slow downed through each fight, with most of what we see coming off flashy over tough.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which does help with the big company coming off filled with corruption and makes for the shadows a criminal or Catwoman could hide in.

Special EffectsThe effects are bad here too, with most of the flying sequences only coming off this way to add some form of flash to the movement, though it looks terrible.


Scene of the Movie – Cats revive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fights.

Final Thoughts This is a poor excuse for a comic movie, the actors try their best, but the directing is just so bad.

Overall: Completely Awful.

Pierce Brosnan Weekend – After the Sunset (2004)

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn, Troy Garity

Plot: The story of what happens after a master thief achieves his last big score, when the F.B.I. Agent who promised he’d capture him, is about to do just that.


Tagline – Who will walk away?

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Crime Heist

Story: After the Sunset starts as master thief Max (Brosnan) and his partner Lola (Hayek) get one over FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson) once again, stealing the diamonds he is transporting despite Stan’s fear of Max coming for them, escaping to tropical island, Max and Lola find themselves getting bored in retirement.

Stan heads down to the tropical island to watch over Max and Lola believing they will be trying to pull off another job, with a new potential diamond for Max to steal, Stan teams up with local cop Sophie (Harris) to try and catch him in the act. The island gang leader Henri Moore (Cheadle) wants the diamond and is pushing Max into doing the job, will he come out of retirement.

Thoughts on After the Sunset

Characters – Max Burdett is a famous diamond thief, he has managed to get away with the most difficult jobs and has always managed to find a way to have an alibi for when the robberies have taken place, he has retired with his partner until a new temptation and gang leader pushes him into one more job, while he uses his charm to stay one step ahead of the FBI agent tracking him. Lola is the partner of Max, she is used for distraction using her beauty to turn head, but she is keeping herself busy in the retirement life in which she is getting bored of. Stan is an FBI agent that has always found himself losing Max, he decides to follow him to the tropical island believing he is going after another job, hoping that he can catch him in the act this time around. The two men have a rival friendship which sees them needing to word their conversations correctly and even help each other with their relationship issues. Henri Moore is the island gangster, he has been turning the island into what he wants and wants Max to help him steal the diamond. Sophie is the local cop that doesn’t take anything from anyone and is the only one that is willing to tackle the gangster problem through the film. She works with Stan on the tracking of Max.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan is wonderful to watch as a confident thief, he is great in these styles of role and it shows here. Salma Hayek is always going to great to watch and this role shows her at her best, with Woody Harrelson also shining through this film, he knows how to hit the comedy needing for his role despite him having a serious side to him. Don Cheadle doesn’t really get that much screen time, while Naomie Harris shows us a strong performance through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a thief living in paradise after retirement, only to find himself followed by his nemesis FBI Agent and pushed into a new job by the island’s gangster. This is a story that plays out like the crime heist story, by having the five main parts each trying to stay ahead of each other, with plenty of twists and turns along the way as they each believe they have the upper hand. This does have the slick style needed in the story and does show that both men will find themselves getting into trouble with their personal lives, with the unlikely friendship being there to help each other out.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from how Max and Stan keep their friendship with them getting into funny situations, all while keeping the criminal line between the two of them.

SettingsThe film is set on a tropical island which does give us the beautiful backdrop and shows this could be a place for thieves to retire in.


Scene of the Movie – Fishing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Could have more from Cheadle’s character.

Final Thoughts This is a fun heist movie with enjoyable characters and a slick style when it comes to deal with the relationship between thief and authority.

Overall: Enjoyable heist film.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)

Director: Peter Winther

Writer: David N Titcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart, Kyle MacLachlan, Kelly Hu, David Dayan Fisher, Jane Curtin

 

Plot: A bookworm becomes the librarian. Same night a magical spear gets stolen and he’s off to get some real life experience around the globe on his quest for the spear – starting with being thrown off a plane over Amazonas by his cute helper.


Tagline – Intelligence can only get you so far when you have to save the world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure

 

Story: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear starts as 30-year-old student Flynn Carsen (Wyle) gets pushed out of his latest course, needing to find himself a job to move on with his life and get some life experience. Flynn lands on his feet quickly when he gets selected by Judson (Newhart) and Charlene (Curtin) to become the next Librarian, the keeper of the secrets from the history of man.

After the Library is broken into and part of the Spear of Destiny is stolen by former librarian Edward Wilde (MacLachlan), Flynn is set on his first quest to returning the missing pieces from around the world, join by Nicole Noone (Walger) in an adventure that Flynn could never have imagined in the Amazon rainforest.

 

Thoughts on The Librarian: Quest for the Spear

 

Characters – Flynn has spent his whole adult life being a student always looking for another degree he can achieve, he get forced out of classes to find his own job, which sees him selected as the new Librarian, a role he likes the sound off until it means he must go on quest which will see him facing life or death situations. He is a wealth of knowledge, but struggles with everyday life. Nicole Noone is the lady sent to help Flynn on his quest, she is the muscles and true adventurer of the pair, letting him use his brain, while she uses her knowledge of combat to keep them both alive. Judson is the man that selects Flynn to be the next librarian, he has seen people come before and is used to the new reactions from the people. Edward Wilde is the former librarian that has joined the serpent crew in search for a new power to terrorise the world.

PerformancesNoah Wyle in the leading role is fun to watch, he just about balances the ideas of being smart and awkwardly funny. Sonya Walger does work in the strong adventuring partner of Flynn, she gets go against plenty of the stereotypes of the adventure female character. Bob Newhart does everything he needs to in the mentor figure role, while Kyle MacLachlan seems to enjoy the villainous role without being anything we haven’t seen before.

StoryThe story here follows a man that would rather learn that get on with life that gets thrown into a new job role as a librarian, a keeper of secrets from history, he gets to go on his first adventure against the former librarian to discover what he was always meant to be doing for a living. This is the first adventure, so it plays out like an origin to the mysterious Librarian world Flynn goes into, the adventure does have plenty of puzzle that need to be solved, only they do seem very easy to solve, but this is just the first adventure, which makes it easy to watch without challenging us as an audience.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action in the film is simple combat, which even watch Bob Newhart beat people up will get you laughing, the adventure does take Flynn away from his comfort zone on an adventure around the world.

SettingsThe film takes Flynn from the big city where he has lived his whole life in, he does get to go to the Amazon and Himalayas which are covered in history.


Scene of the Movie –
We need to leave the plane now.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The puzzles do seem slightly easy.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch adventure film, it does keep everything simple and gives us an easy way to enter this world.

 

Overall: Easy start for the franchise.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Paparazzi (2004)

Director: Paul Abascal

Writer: Forry Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Tom Sizemore

 

Plot: A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.


Tagline – It’s time to settle the score.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flashy Action Flick

 

Story: Paparazzi starts when rising star Bo Laramie (Hauser) has his break out action film, seeing him become an overnight sensation in Hollywood. This new fame brings more cameras on his life, with vultures known as the paparazzi, while most respect his privacy, one group led by Rex Harper (Sizemore) push the boundaries, trying to take photos of his family, Abby (Tunney) and son Zach.

When the vultures push Bo into a car chase, his family is injured in a car crash, turning Bo to the police trying to get them away from his family. The rivalry between Bo and Rex starts putting Bo’s new career in danger, forcing him to make his own plans to end the paparazzi following them.

 

Thoughts on Paparazzi

 

Characters – Bo Laramie is a rising star in Hollywood, he is about to have his first hit making him an overnight sensation, the talk of the town. He is also a family man off the screen, finding it difficult for him to balance the celebrity lifestyle and personal on. He gets targeted by the paparazzi, who want to bring him down, trying to hurt his family, he will do what needs to be done to keep his family safe against the paparazzi. Abby is the wife of Bo, she is a teacher and isn’t prepared for the gossip magazines that are showing the life of her family. Rex Harper is the leader of the paparazzi ring, he knows how the push the buttons of Bo to gather more stories and starts targeting him after he learns that he has triggered him.

PerformancesCola Hauser does give us a strong performance in the leading role, he look like a typical movie star which was needed for this role. Robin Tunney is the concerned wife, she does everything needed without doing too much difficult. Tom Sizemore does make for great pick for a seedy paparazzi reporter, you believe he is trying to make the life hard for Bo. Dennis Farina as the detective plays right into his wheelhouse as a former police officer.

StoryThe story follows a rising Hollywood star who becomes the target for the paparazzi who try to make his life a living hell, until they injury his family forcing him into his own revenge against them. This does fall into the revenge thriller which gets played along with a celebrity dealing with somebody trying to risk his family for a couple of photos in a magazine. The idea the celebrity is getting followed around by the paparazzi isn’t new, we do get cameos from actors that have had issues in the past too. This plays out just like you would imagine and will make you care about the characters motives being against the vulture like paparazzies.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is restrained because we can’t have anything over the top, it is mostly small fights and chases. The crime side of the film shows just how the life of the actor is being affected by the criminal actions of the paparazzi.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is the place where you would see the most type of paparazzi behaviour like this.


Scene of the Movie –
Rex learns his fate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The police would surely be able to offer more than they give Bo in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the paparazzi look to try and control the celebrities with photos and just how they will look to get revenge for risking their family.

 

Overall: Great action thriller.

Rating