Franchise Weekend – Starship Troopers (1997) Movie Review

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: Edward Neumeier (Screenplay) Robert A Heinlein (Book)

Starring: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam

Plot: Humans in a fascist, militaristic future wage war with giant alien bugs.


Tagline – Mankind just became an endangered species

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Instant Classic

Story: Starship Troopers starts in a world where humans are not at war with a bug planet across the galaxy, students and young people are expected to join the federal service to become citizens. Johnny Rico (Can Dien), Dizzy (Meyer), Carl (Harris) and Carmen (Richards) all have their sights set on enlisting, Johnny and Dizzy are mobile infantry, while Carmen has bigger sights of being a pilot and Carl has his sights set on military intelligence, with his mind reading ability.

While Rico is going through his training and constant battles with the flashy Ace (Busey) battling for squad leader, Carmen is flourishing in the flight academy, but this is just training, now they must go into combat against the giant deadly bugs.

Thoughts on Starship Troopers

Characters – Johnny Rico comes from a wealthy family that want to send him to Harvard, but he has other plans, he wants to become a citizen, which means he must join the military, here he excels in training until a mistakes sees him disgraced. He loses his family and will remaining fighting under a new squad leader, proving himself as one of the best soldiers in the infantry. Dizzy has spent her school life crushing over Rico, she follows him to mobile infantry, proving herself as one of the best soldiers. Carmen is the girlfriend of Johnny’s through school, she has set her sights on becoming a pilot in the Starfleet, something her grades could make easy for her, she proves an asset to the fleet rising up the ranks with ease. Ace is the rival of Rico’s in training, they both want squad leader and with the rivalry they become brothers in arms.

PerformancesCasper Van Dien in the leading role makes himself remember forever with his character, this will define his career without question. Dina Meyer shines too, while this cast is fantastic and understands just what movie they are in. Denise Richard has been criticised before, but here she works in the modern future world and Jake Busey add more comedy as times to his role.

StoryThe story here takes us to the future where humans are waged in a war with bugs from across the galaxy, we see how the soldiers and pilots are dealing with the increasing threat they are going to be facing. This story does present itself in a satirical look at the military behaviour and how it can become a propaganda machine forcing young people into joining under false promises, it also shows how humans will always look to conquer another area no matter how outnumbered or out of place they are in their invasion behaviour. Plenty of this story over accentuates the idea of what is going on, which will add moments of comedy.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is war style military attacks with laser bullets flying literally everywhere and the bugs ripping bodies apart. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just how far the human race has come with transportation across the galaxy, despite not giving them the brains when it comes to war.

SettingsThe world created is fantastic with Earth looking futuristic without being all that different, while the bug planet feels like a battleground.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are also flawless, with a mix of practical and CGI which barely look like they have dated even after being over 20 years old.


Scene of the Movie – The first battle shows the scale of the war.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best sci-fi films you will see, it is wildly over the top and doesn’t miss a beat with style that knows just what the film is meant to be.

Overall: Fun, Brilliant and Entertaining.

Money Talks (1997) Movie Review

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Joel Cohen, Alex Sokolow (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Tucker, Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear, Elisa Neal, Paul Sorvino, David Lee McLain

Plot: Sought by police and criminals, a small-time huster makes a deal with a TV newsman for protection.


Tagline – They’re getting the lowdown on the high price of living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Forgettable

Story: Money Talks starts as small-time criminal hustler Franklin Hatchett (Tucker) gets busted while TV reporter James Russell (Sheen) is trying to get a big story on criminals. When Franklin gets caught in the middle of a grand escape, he becomes targeted by the police for killing their own, only Franklin didn’t have anything to do with the escape, turning to James to help clear his name.

James plans to hide Franklin for the weekend by taking him to his wedding, which sees him trying to clear his name and clean up the mess that was created during the escape, now the unlikely couple are forced to work together from the dangerous criminals hunting for him.

Thoughts on Money Talks

Characters – Franklin Hatchett is a fast-talking small-time hustler that has been making a living on the streets getting tickets and just doing the odd deal, while illegal, it isn’t hurting anybody, he does get caught and sent to prison, only to get involved into the escape. He constantly gets himself in trouble by not being able to keep his mouth shut. James Russell is a TV reporter that is always looking for a big story, his latest centres around Franklin and once Franklin gets out of prison, he is the only one he can turn to, James is always ready to help his career no matter who he steps over. Grace and Paula are the loved ones of the two, they both get frustrated by the actions of their partners.

PerformancesChris Tucker is an actor that has a borderline between being entertaining or annoying, here he hits the annoying more often than not. Charlie Sheen doesn’t bring much to the film either, never looking like a desperate enough as a reporter. Sadly, nobody else gets a chance to do much in the film either.

StoryThe story here follows a small-time criminal that must turn to an ambitious reporter in hopes of clearing his name after a ruthless criminal and the police start trying to hunt him down. This is a story that tries to play into the buddy cop idea that have worked very well in the past and if you get a great partnership, you have something entertaining to watch, sadly, the two just don’t click they you would imagine and just become just a set of random scenes. The whole story just does seem to have a lot missing to make it feel connected which only just disappoints. By the time the story has finished it does seem to leave us trying to put together the bland story.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film isn’t very impressive, while the comedy just misses more often than getting close to hitting, while the crime world again just could have been gritty that we see.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, which is always going to be filled with the criminal activity next to the luxury side of the world.


Scene of the Movie – Helicopter jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of chemistry between Sheen and Tucker.

Final Thoughts This is a forgettable action comedy that doesn’t have any redeem qualities anyway and will just leave you trying your hardest to remember anything that happens.

Overall: Forgettable.

Conspiracy Theory (1997) Movie Review

Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Cylk Cozart, Steve Kahan, Terry Alexander, Alex McArthur

Plot: A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.


Tagline – Jerry Fletcher sees conspiracies everywhere. One has turned out to be true. Now his enemies want him dead. And she’s the only one he can trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery

Story: Conspiracy Theory starts as taxi driver and conspiracy theorist spends his day believing the government is out to get him always believing different events in the city are bigger than what the story is being told. He tries to turn to district attorney Alice Sutton (Roberts) about any story he gets, while also having a crush on her, before he is taken by a group of the government where Dr Jonas (Stewart) tries to get him to talk.

With Jerry needing to go on the run, Alice becomes a target too, as they must try to figure out why they have been targeted and which one of Jerry theories is the one that is trying to be covered up.

Thoughts on Conspiracy Theory

Characters – Jerry is a taxi driver in New York City, he also is a conspiracy theorist that believes everything is the government trying to cover something up, while most people to bat him off as crazy person who is just talking nonsense, one of his theories turns out to be true, as the government comes hunting for him, he every nightmare is coming true, only he doesn’t know which one of his ideas is the one that is true. Alice Sutton works in the district attorney office, she is the person Jerry brings his ideas too, while the rest of the office is scared of him, she will help him when he gets targeted, not believing everything she is being told, even after spending most of her time just listening to his ideas. Dr Jonas is the man trying to track down Jerry, he will use all the shady tactics to get his man even if he has the biggest secret about why he is hunting him down.

PerformancesMel Gibson is wonderful in the leading role here, he gets to play the full crazy without looking like he is completely out of his mind, just on edge about everything. Julia Roberts is great to trying to remain calm around the Gibson’s crazy side. Patrick Stewart as the villainous government agent is great to watch too, he knows how to make his character make a big impact on screen.

StoryThe story here follows one man who believes everything in his life is a giant conspiracy and has always gone to one person to tell his theories too, only now he has found out one is real and the government what him silenced, can he expose the truth before it is too late. When it comes to conspiracy theories we can see how people can believe in anything once they have enough information, with this one, we see somebody who does believe in way too many, he just doesn’t know which ones are real or just parts of his mind, seeing how the government wants to cover them up shows just how big the theories can be if people will kill to keep them secret. We do get to see how Alice reacts to the world she is caught up between, never knowing which side to believe through the story, which does add another level to the narrative.

Action/MysteryThe action in the film is a couple of pursuit sequences rather than full blown chases, everything feels calm, even though it is fast paced though, the mystery comes from why Jerry is being targeted this time, he just doesn’t know which one of his theories is being leaked.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many people will just let somebody get away with saying whatever they want and not be considered out of place.


Scene of the Movie – The pizza order.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could be trimmed down about 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts This is a great mystery thriller that leaves plenty up there with conspiracy theories, showing how plenty can be talked about and the ones that are true could be the ones that cause the most problems.

Overall: Keeps You Guessing.

Gary Oldman Weekend – Air Force One (1997) Movie Review

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Andrew W Marlowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley, William H Macy

Plot: Communist Radicals hijack Air Force One with The U.S. President and his family on board. The Vice President negotiates from Washington D.C., while the President, a Veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board.


Tagline – Impenetrable. Invincible. In Trouble.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Classic 90’s Action

Story: Air Force One starts after America has led an attack to bring down one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, President James Marshall (Ford) gives a stirring speech about not talking to terrorist in Russia. Returning home on Air Force One, the President, his family and his staff on board, find themselves being taken over by a Russian military group led by Ivan Korshunov (Oldman) who wants the terrorist released.

When the President refuses to just escape, he stays aboard to continue his fight against terrorism, with his Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Close) needing to find a solution back in America, going through the political paperwork to find a solution to get the people home safely.

Thoughts on Air Force One

Characters – President James Marshall is a former soldier that has always managed to use his reputation of speaking and acting from the heart lead his actions. He has just declared war on terrorism with a zero tolerance of negotiating with terrorist, when his flight home is hijacked, forcing him into using his skills to save the plane and maintain the new policy bought in by the country. Ivan Korshunov is the terrorist that leads the hijacking on Air Force One, an extremist who wants his leader released, one that will die for the cause if he needs to, he will kill hostages every 30 minutes if he doesn’t get his demands met. Vice President Kathryn Bennett must run the operations from DC with the advice from remaining cabinet members who will do anything to keep the country safe. She must remain strong through the members trying to get their own agenda through. Grace and Alice are the wife and daughter of the President who are left on board the only reason he doesn’t leave, used as pawns in Ivan’s game.

PerformancesHarrison Ford in the leading role is great because we know he is a top-level action star, while giving us a President that people could fully support. Gary Oldman as the villain is great for the era, he is completely over the top which works wonders the for film. Glenn Close does a great job keeping her and the situation grounded while the action happens in the sky. Elsewhere we do have a wonderful cast that all work very well for the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group of hijackers that take Air Force One demanding the release of a known terrorist only for the President refusing to go down without a fight. This could easily just be branded Die Hard on Air Force One, which on the outside it can be, only we do get to deal with a lot more deeper because of political outcome of everything. This is an easy to follow action story and will show just how intense the situation will become if the President I caught in the middle of a hijacking situation.

ActionThe action in this film does give us plenty of action on the plane with tight fights or gun fire, only being available on the plane we are on, which each starts to get bigger as the situation escalates.

SettingsThe film uses two key settings, first Air Force One itself, which leaves us watching the helpless people hijacked with no easy rescue, while also showing us the DC side of the events as they look to remain in control.


Scene of the Movie – Get Off My Plane!

That Moment That Annoyed Me – While interesting to see, we don’t get enough of the political side of the events.

Final Thoughts This is a high octane action movie which might well be Die Hard on a Plane, it works wonders for keeping us on the edge of our seats.

Overall: Edge of the Seat Action.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – V – Volcano (1997) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: Jerome Armstrong, Billy Ray (Screenplay) Jerome Armstrong (Story)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, Don Cheadle, Jacqueline Kim, Keith David, John Corbett

Plot: A volcano erupts in downtown Los Angeles, threatening to destroy the city.


Tagline – L.A. Erupts in 1997

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Disaster Film

Story: Volcano starts when a small earthquake hits LA, Michael Roarke (Jones) the director of the office of emergency management gives up his holiday with his daughter Kelly (Hoffman) to make sure everything is getting cleaned up without needing his help, with Emmit Reese (Cheadle) trying to cover for him.

Needing an expect Mike turns to Dr Amy Barnes (Heche) who is an expert in geology and earthquake activities as they discover lava under LA and soon it erupts putting the whole city in danger and the race to save as many people as possible is on.

Thoughts on Volcano

Characters – Mike Roark is the director of the office of emergency management in LA, he has been through a messy divorce, giving him less time with his daughter and is a workaholic. He is spending his vacation with his daughter only a small earthquake leads him back to work, putting a strain on his relationship with his daughter, but when things start escalating, he will do everything to protect the city from more chaos, trying to save as many lives as possible. Dr Amy Barnes is a geologist who is used to facing the press, she leads her team in searching for the answers and will fill in the science that Mike isn’t away for. Kelly is the daughter of Mike, she is often a deer in the headlights type of teenager, never understanding how to get away from danger, though she does get to learn quickly when she is helping around the medical area of the disaster. Emmit Reese works under Mike, he secretly wants his job and is planning to take over one day, he learns in this situation that he isn’t ready for this role anytime soon.

PerformancesTommy Lee Jones in the leading role seems like a perfect choice, he is a man that can demand centre stage and needs to in this role, while showing he needs advice to make things right. Anne Heche handles to scientific role very well throughout, not coming off as a know it all character like she could have been made to look like. Gaby Hoffmann as the kid fills the role well, even if she isn’t written as well as they could have done. Don Cheadle is more in a commentary role which he is great to see in.

StoryThe story here follows the emergency services and geologist working together to try and save the city of LA from an unexpected volcano that was laying beneath the city. When we look at the story we get the disaster elements where people need to team up to save the city from disaster, we see how they work together to find solutions with any troubles between people never being more than a little argument, no real human villains does make this feel more natural. It is nice to see a story that doesn’t over complicate anything too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is big, it comes from the erupts that hit when the people are trying to avoid getting hurt, we get more action from the plans to keep the city safe too. The sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how people could have been with science fiction behind it happening.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, a place you wouldn’t expect to see a volcano erupt, it does show the chaos the locals will be going through.

Special EffectsThe effects are wonderful to see just how the destruction happens with the lava not stopping for much.


Scene of the Movie – The sound of silence

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of Norman’s scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a fun disaster film that flows at a great pace, showing us just how people could work together to get over a problem they are all facing, with great acting throughout.

Overall: Disaster film that is a joy to watch.