ABC Film Challenge – 90s Movies – R – Rapid Fire (1992) Movie Review

Director: Dwight H Little

Writer: Alan B McElroy (Screenplay) Cindy Cirile, Alan B McElroy (Story)

Starring: Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J Barry, Kate Hodge, Tzi Ma

Plot: When student Jake Lo witnesses a killing, he finds himself caught between two feuding drug lords. Betrayed and set up by the federal agents, the only person he can trust is Ryan, a Chicago cop who reminds Jake of his deceased father.


Tagline – Unarmed and extremely dangerous.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: By the Book

Story: Rapid Fire starts when Jake Lo (Lee) finds himself being the only witness in a gang war which sees Antonio Serrano (Mancuso) murder his competition and him wanting to clean up the mess. Jake is helped by Mace Ryan (Boothe) who has been investigating the gangs for a decade now.

Jake must face his own past if he is going get out of this alive, with the whole police force thinking he is a cop killer, Serrano and his men hunting him down, as well as Tau (Ma) the leader of the rival gang.

Thoughts on Rapid Fire

Characters – Jake Lo is an art student from China, where he saw his father killed, he is the traditional bad boy figure, riding his bike, staying out of the way of people, when he witnesses the murder, he shows the combat skills, as he fights his way out of trouble, though his hot headed nature will see him getting into fights he doesn’t need to be involved in, as he looks to clear his name. Mace Ryan has been investigating Serrano for a decade, giving up his personal life in his pursuit of this gang leader, he wants Jake to help him finally get his man, where he will do things the right way. Antonio Serrano funds one of the biggest drug rings in the country, he wants to continue to grow, which sees him start a war with a rival gang, only he needs to clean up the witnesses that could expose his true identity.

PerformancesBrandon Lee showed he was excellent at the combat scenes, never looking out of place, while he might not have been the best in the more serious scenes. Powers Boothe is the star of the show here, he brings the heavyweight performance as the desperate cop. Nick Mancuso as the villain is great, showing he won’t stop for anyone who gets in his way, always looking like he would be a danger.

StoryThe story here follows an art student from China that joins forces with a determined cop to eliminate both sides of a drug war, after he finds himself being a target from both sides. This does fit the 80s and 90s action story, where an unlikely pairing will take down a drug war, it gives us the increased stakes per fight and shows how both need to learn a lesson to succeed. It might well be by the book, but it does everything right to achieve this.

ActionThe action turns to Brandon Lee’s strengths of combat, he gets to show all his best fighting skills even with bullets flying around.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how the criminal world would operate, with massive warehouses being the locations for most fight sequences.


Scene of the Movie – Lee vs Ma.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The musical montage.

Final Thoughts This is completely by the book action film that does everything right, without being as ground breaking as it could have been.

Overall: Action 101.

ABC Film Challenge – 90s Movie – H – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) Movie Review

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, Devin Ratray

Plot: One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City – and the same criminals are not far behind.


Tagline – Yikes! I did it again!

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York starts as the McCallister family are preparing for another holiday away in Florida, Kevin (Culkin) who was forgotten last year, is being extra prepared for the trip, even though he doesn’t want to go even after having yet another clash with his older brother Buzz (Ratray).

When the family is at the airport, Kevin ends up getting the wrong flight, taking him to New York, where he finds himself alone, while his family in Florida is praying he is ok, but Kevin will come into contact with a pair of old foes, Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Stern) who has escaped prison.

Thoughts on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

ThoughtsHome Alone 2: Lost in New York takes us back to the McCalister family as they look for another trip for Christmas, with the full chaos of the 14-person vacation, which will see them lose Kevin again, only this time he isn’t Home Alone, he is Alone in New York. This does make a major change to the concept of Kevin needing to operate alone to protect his home, to him seemingly just avoiding the law, and old foes. Everything in the story comes off like it could have been prevented with responsible adults around. The comedy for the most part works giving us the laughs when we need, while still managing to have the heart when Kevin gets to talk to the strangers in the neighbourhood. Macaulay Culkin did continue to prove he was one of the best child stars of all time standing out from the rest of the cast. This is still just as enjoyable for the wackiness, but does take too long to get to the best parts of the film.

Final Thoughts Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is an enjoyable but overlong sequel that does get the vital factors right.

ABC Film Challenge – 90s Movies – E – Boomerang (1992) Movie Review

We are under E for star Eddie Murphy.

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Writer: Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield (Screenplay) Eddie Murphy (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence, Grace Jones, Geoffrey Holder

Plot: A successful executive and womanizer finds his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new female boss turns out to be an even bigger deviant than he is.


Tagline – A Player Who’s About To Be Played.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Boomerang starts as successful executive Marcus (Murphy) has built up the reputation for getting the job done in the office and in the bedroom, with his two colleagues Gerard (Grier) and Tyler (Lawrence) always believing he is a master.

When Marcus gets a new boss in Jacqueline (Givens) who he wants to add to his collection of women, only she isn’t what he was expecting, not falling for his normal tricks and turns the tables on Marcus, treating him just like he has been treating women for years.

Thoughts on Boomerang

Characters & Performances – Marcus is a marketing executive in a company about to be bought out, he expects to stay in control after it happens, where he can continue to work on his womanizing ways, having it all down as an art form. He gets caught up in the opposite end of the games when he meets his match in his new boss, finally learning how to feels to be used and dumped. Eddie Murphy does do a good job in this role, it was a style of film that we wouldn’t have normally seen back in the early 1990s, where he gets the lead role without a problem. Jacqueline is the new marketing manager that takes over from the role Marcus believes he is getting, he sees Marcus like Marcus has seen women before, wanting to have him when she wants, while continuing on her own work, turning the tables on him, showing us a strong business woman. Robin Givens is great in this role showing the strength in a male dominated world. Angela is bought into the company with Jacqueline and brings a girl next door nature about her, one that Marcus puts aside with one of his friends, her artistic nature helps keep her interested in other things in life, showing Marcus there is more to life than just sex. Halle Berry is fun in this role, showing us a nice calm nature in a nicer person out of the three. Gerard and Tyler are the best friends that have a completely different look at how love should be found, often wondering why Marcus hasn’t got what he has been looking for.

StoryThe story here follows a marketing executive that finds himself having the table turned on him by his new boss, leading to him needing to make the decision on what he wants next in life. This is a clever story idea, as we have always seen the womanizing male figures, but having one having the tables turned against by a stronger woman, gives us the chance to see how the man would feel being used. We tackle the friendships between lifelong friends who are interested in the same woman and showing us just how one person can learn the bigger life lesson about how to treat people with respect. It does get delivered well throughout making this an entertaining watch for all.

ThemesBoomerang is a romantic comedy that will turn the tables on a womanizer, giving us a look at how people will look to find love before letting their ways stopping them enjoying the best part of life. The New York setting shows us just how hectic life can become for anyone that is trying to find a career, as always showing us just how difficult love can be to find in a world where you could meet more people each day.

 

Boomerang is an enjoyable romantic comedy, which shows that Eddie Murphy was once one of the best leading men in the business.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports Movies – D – A League of Their Own (1992) Movie Review

A League of Their Own – Outstanding

This is under D because of the star player Dottie Hinson.

Director: Penny Marshall

Writer: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel (Screenplay) Kim Wilson, Kelly Candaele (Story)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Cavanagh, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, Jon Lovitz, Bill Pullman

Plot: Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.


Tagline – To achieve the incredible you have to attempt the impossible.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: A League of Their Own starts as World War II is raging on the owner of the Major Baseball teams back on the road, turning their attention to making a women’s league, this sees the scouts travelling America to find the best talent, sadly not only the best players, but the best looking.

Dottie Hinson (Davis) and her sister Kit Keller (Petty) are two of the women selected and joined by Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (O’Donnell), Marla Hooch (Cavanagh) and many more, they end up on the Rockford Peaches, being managed by washed up alcoholic legend Jimmy Dugan (Hanks). While Jimmy has no interesting in taking part, Dottie takes charge to make sure the women make the impact that will keep them in the game they love.

Thoughts on A League of Their Own

Characters & Performances – Dottie Hinson is dairy farmer that is content with her life, with her husband at war, she doesn’t expect want much from her life, in her spare time she plays baseball, which catches the eye of a scout and recruited to join the women’s baseball league. She only agrees to join if her sister can try out and it isn’t long before she becomes the star of the league, taking control of the team and helping the league gain the attention it needs. Geena Davis is brilliant in the leading role, which is going to be said about most of this cast in the film. Kit Keller is the younger sister of Dottie, that has always lived in the shadow of Dottie, she is determined to get out of the hometown with the baseball opportunity being the first and best option for her. Jimmy Dugan is the former legendary player who saw his career taken from him by his alcoholic ways, which got him injured, unable to play or fight in the war, his name could help draw eyes on the league, he doesn’t want anything but the pay day, but soon gets invested in making his team the best, looking to finally battle his own demons. Tom Hanks gives us one of his very few unlikable characters for large parts of the film, while he doesn’t take away the fact that his character is on just as an important arc as the rest. We do get to meet a host of other players, each one with different characteristics to bring humour and reality to the situation of the time the film is taking place.

StoryThe story here follows the creation of the first women’s baseball league to help keep people entertained during World War II, it shows how the women came from around the country to play in a league which wasn’t only about the sport, but about the image, they wanted pretty girls to turn heads and put a positive spin on the world, we follow one team as they overcome the problems to make it to the world series. This story shows how that even over time, the sexism in sport will still stick, to be the best here, you didn’t need to be the best player, but the best looking, which is tragic to see, but it ended up being the building blocks to get the more serious side of the sport of the ground. The story balances the character well for the most part, putting the main focus on the sisters, but the only negative side of this film does come from the fact they made a big point about Marla, first being brilliant both handed, then not being pretty enough for the league, getting her in the league, but not making a big point of anything she achieved in the league.

ThemesA League of Their Own brings us a sports drama that gets plenty of baseball in (even though I still don’t understand the game), with the hits, catches and outs along the way, showing the tactical side of trying to prepare each player for what they are facing, which is balance perfectly with the comedy, mostly from Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna, holding the series side of the film, for the big moment, which captures you attention in fear, when one of the women is going to learn about their death of their husband at war. The Settings are used to show different backgrounds the women come from, the rich owners life of luxury, the crowds coming into the game getting the attention the sport deserved and the most important side, the locker room, where the bonding needed to happen for the players to achieve what they did.

A League of Their Own an amazing sports drama, highlight the efforts of the first Women’s Baseball League and how they defined expectations to build their own legacy.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – X – FernGully the Last Rainforest (1992) Movie Review

We are going under X because of Hexxus, the villainous character.

Director: Bill Kroyer

Writer: Jim Cox (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tim Curry, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Jonathan Ward, Robin Williams, Grace Zabriskie

Plot: The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.


Tagline – They live in a secret world touched by magic and surrounded by nature, and the only human who has ever been there, must now fight to save it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark and Important Message

Story: FernGully: The Last Rainforest starts as we meet the fairies in the rainforest, Crysta is a young fairy learning from the wise Magi Lune who defeated the evil Hexxus that would bring devastation to the rainforest if released, spreading the poison to the land.

When Crysta discovers smoke in the distance, she wants to explore, with Magi Lune knowing the threat the return of the humans could bring to the rainforest, with Hexxus being given something to feed and grow on, so it can consume the rainforest once again. Crysta must work with the other fairies and the human she accidentally shrunk Zak to save the rainforest.

Thoughts on FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Characters – Crysta is a young fairy that is still learning how to control her magic like the elders, she is curious about what she could discover in the world, where she brings a human back to the village, where she must learn the harsh reality of humans involvement in the world as well as stop an evil coming to the land. Magi Lune is the mentor of Crysta, she has fought the battles for years and is ready to pass on her experience to Crysta to fight for the next generation of fairies. Zak is the human that gets shrunk, he is a city boy that is just working mostly as a slacker, only he learns the magic of the rainforest with his time with the fairies. Hexxus is the evil toxic poison that was defeated from consuming the rainforest, now he has been freed and looks to bring his devastation on the fairies and other creatures in the rainforest.

StoryThe story here shows how an evil toxic poison created by humans will destroy a rainforest unless the fairies can come together to look for a way to defeat it before they lose their homes. This is a story that seems like it is way before its time, with the message about deforestation coming through clearly, we might well have a fantasy element involved, but the idea that humans will destroy different species homes unless they can learn is clear here. We have the musical numbers and the side of the story that is about someone learning their own potential coming through strong too. The message is clear, the importance is relevant, this is a great story for all to understand.

FantasyThe fantasy side of this film is about the idea that fairies and toxic poisons are real in the fight for nature, rather than just the battle between humans and nature.

SettingsThe film uses the rainforest setting to show the beauty that was once there, the destruction caused and how we can have beauty once again in the world.

AnimationThe animation is on the top level for the early 1990s, we see the brightness of the beauty and the darkness that could consume the world.


Scene of the Movie – Hexxus growing into the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It isn’t long enough.

Final Thoughts This is an important animation that has a clear message that should be told to all, it has beauty and darkness through the film and is one that could become one of the most important for years to come.

Overall: Important Animation.