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.

Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation (2020) Movie Review

Director: Mike Gunther

Writer: Michael Day (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Yun Lee, Jermaine Love, Rory Markham, Bertrand-Xavier Corbi, Katie Keene, Fernando Chien, Chris Mulkey

Plot: The Black Mask Organization coordinates a twisted plot which will devastate the world within the next 36 hours.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Finish to Trilogy

Story: Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation starts as Daniel (Lee) is still struggling with the effects of his time in captivity under the Supreme Leader (Ferris), suffering nightmares of wanting to get his revenge, with his team Ralph (Love), James (Markham), Jacques (Corbi), Galine (Keene) and Xu (Chien) preparing their next attack on The Black Mask Organization.

With the team searching for the Supreme Leader, he has one plan set up to get his revenge on the western world, the question is, can the team stop him before he unleashes his devastation on the world.

Thoughts on Rogue Warfare: Death of a Nation

Characters – Daniel returned to safety now, filled with more anger than before, wanting to kill the man who kept him captive for so long, his nightmares are showing him how this will reflect on his own life. He must make sure his mind is in the right place before leading his team on the next mission to finally stop the Supreme Leader before his plan is unleashed on the world. The soldiers around Daniel, are loyal, they are from different militaries from around the world and will always check that Daniel is ready to return. We have followed these soldiers for three films now, they have all be same through the trilogy.

PerformancesWill Yun Lee takes centre stage here, he shows us the most about his character with the damaging time his character has been through during the film, showing glimpses of leadership, while the trauma can cause problems. The rest of the cast fill their roles very well never looking out of place as the different nationalities of military personal.

StoryThe story here shows the continuing battle Daniel and his military unit are facing against the Black Mask Organisation led by the Supreme Leader as they look to stop his plan to build a bomb to destroy the western world. This story ramps back up the action showing the peril the world could be facing if the plan goes ahead, much like the last hour of a 24 season, we have built up to this to unleash the biggest attack, the most important attack and we even get involved with seeing how the PTSD Daniel could have suffered could affect his judgement through this mission.

ActionThe action is military heavy, it does give us the biggest operation in the series so far, which is just what we were waiting for in a final battle.

SettingsThe film continues the same settings, with the military base being created to be like a level in any video game, it used for different tactical spots during the mission.

Scene of the Movie – The final assault.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – If you haven’t seen the previous films, you might struggle to understand just how damaged Daniel is.

Final Thoughts This is a nice conclusion to the trilogy, like the final episode in any continuous tv series, we get everything bigger, better and continues to show the continuing building unity between the unit.

Overall: Great Finish to Trilogy.

Rogue Warfare 3: Death Of A Nation will be available on Digital Download from 13th April and is available for Pre-Order here

VFW (2019) Movie Review

Director: Joe Begos

Writer: Max Brallier, Matthew McArdle (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Lang, William Sadler, Fred Williamson, Martin Kove, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Tom Williamson

Plot: A group of war veterans must defend their local VFW post and an innocent teen against a deranged drug dealer and his relentless army of punk mutants.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Big, Bloody and Violent

Story: VFW starts as we head into a world where a new drug nicknamed Hype has taken over the streets, causing the junkies to do anything to get their hands on it. Fred Parras (Lang) runs the bar in the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign War), with the locals Walter (Sadler), Abe (Williamson), Lou (Kove), Doug (Kelly) and Thomas (Wendt) meeting on a nightly drink, with a new member Shawn (Williamson) joining them this night.

When a young woman called Lizard (McCormick) arrives in the bar running from the drug dealer Boz (Hammer) the former soldiers must use their skills to fight back and protect their bar and life, to understand what has caused the new guest to enrage the drug dealer.

Thoughts on VFW

Characters – Fred Parras runs the bar, he served with the regulars and isn’t afraid to get into a fight to protect his bar. He does try to find the best solution for the regulars and former soldiers once they come under attack, even if it does mean giving up his own life for what he sees as his soldiers. Walter, Abe, Lou and Doug served with Fred and get another chance to show of their military skills defending their bar. Boz is the drug dealer that will kill for his product or anyone who gets in his way, including Lizard who ended up in the VFW. Lizard wants revenge for her sister’s death by Boz, she is lucky to end up with the vets because they will fight for her.

PerformancesStephen Lang is great to watch taking the leading role along with the veteran actors of William Sadler, Fred Williamson and Martin Kove, while the young stars don’t get the chance to make as big of an impact on the story.

StoryThe story here follows a group of war veterans who see their bar come under attack by a group of junkies and their dealer who want their product back and are willing to kill to get it back. The story does become an easy watch because it is mostly older or people with respect, versus young junkies, while have a different location and style, it could easily be compared to Assault on Precinct 13 with the numbers game being against the soldiers, and the enemy being people showing no respect. We don’t get into anything deep, it is just battle between two different sides.

Action/HorrorThe action is blood filled with violent weapons which only give us plenty of violent action in the fights, which can end up in the horror world, by showing us just how violent the battle between the two sides.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a contained area, with the battle between both sides coming from two opposite buildings.

Special EffectsThe effects are used very well to show the injuries through the film and they aren’t afraid to hold back.

Scene of the Movie – The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Shaky Cam, even though it is meant to show the effects of injuries suffered.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly over the top action horror that isn’t afraid to show the bloodshed, it might not get the strongest character development, but does feel like a throwback to 80’s action horror movies.

Overall: Throwback 101

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – Z – The Core (2003) Movie Review Revisited

I have put this under Z because of the character Zimsky

Director: Jon Amiel

Writer: Cooper Layne, John Rogers (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Greenwood, Tcheky Karyo, Richard Jenkins

Plot: The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again.

Tagline – The only way out is in

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Disaster Movie

Story: The Core starts when people from around the world die suddenly when their pacemakers all stop, bringing in scientist Josh (Eckhart) and Serge (Karyo) to confirm this isn’t just a weapon, it doesn’t take long before over events in nature start bringing a worrying reality to the world, this becomes clear when astronauts Commander Richard Iverson (Greenwood), Beck (Swank) and Timmins (Johnstone) see their landing plan thrown out the window, forcing them into a daring landing in downtown LA.

Turning to Zimsky (Tucci), Josh, Serge, Beck and Richard are selected for an impossible sounding mission with the invention of Dr Brazzelton (Lindo) that would take a team into the centre of the Earth through the core of the planet in an attempt to kick start the planet once again, hoping to save the world from destruction, can they do the impossible or not?

Thoughts on The Core

Characters – Josh is a lecturer that gets assigned to help figure out what caused a sudden amount of deaths, he is a man that likes being able to use science to help solve problems and comes off like the cool teacher. His theory is what leads to the mission and he brings the brains to the operation. Beck is the astronaut who has always wanted to lead a mission, she is ready but held back, though she does know how to save the day for her craft, she is selected as one of the two pilots for this mission which sees her facing a task she has never seen before. Brazzelton is the man that has created the theory behind the ship which would take them to the core, he has seen himself become an outside in the science community, but the one they have to turn to, to save the day. Zimsky works for the president which shows him going to a different direction to his former partner Brazzelton, he does want to use this mission as his chance for his next best seller. He is the closest to a villain that you will see in this film.

PerformancesAaron Eckhart in the leading role is strong being the reluctant hero that is better with his brains that his actions, not having the physical image required for the role. Hilary Swank doesn’t have as much to do as her talent deserves, though she does get to show a strong female presence in the astronaut world. Stanley Tucci in the villainous role is amazingly smug with his character. Delroy Lindo as the one that is considered the crazy one does bring the genius scientist to life well.

StoryThe story here follows a group of scientist that must go into the Earth’s core to restart the planet before the world comes to an end after a string of natural disasters have hinted the end is coming. When it comes to disaster movies, we started with the extremes of a realistic disaster, then this one comes along, building on the desire to have bigger bolder edgy ideas for total destruction in new ways. If you are happy to watch a wildly over the top idea for a disaster story this is a joy to watch, we do focus on the human side of the mission, where the crew must make difficult decisions along the way, not putting too much focus on the disasters happening back on the surface, the only time we go into the world is for snippets of what is happening. You will need to suspend your disbelief for this one and once you do this we are going to see.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is big to see, we do get a couple of large scale disaster as well as the chase down through to the core, while this jump largely into sci-fi however much it wants to play on the idea the science could be real.

SettingsThe film has the disasters in big cities, which is what we would expect, the poor Golden Gate Bridge didn’t stand a chance. Inside the core we get different ideas to what we could see in the different layers.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film haven’t aged the as well as they could, these are mostly used to try and create a big moment or two along the way too.

Scene of the Movie – The dive down.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The effects have one or two bad spells.

Final Thoughts This is a fun disaster movie that will do everything you want in a disaster movie, it has bonkers science which does work and an idea that is so far out there you can enjoy.

Overall: True Blast.

Rumble in Hong Kong (1973) Movie Review

Director: Mu Chu

Writer: Mu Chu (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Chin, Qiu Yuen, Betty Pei Ti, Chin Hu, Jackie Chan, Nan Chiang

Plot: Ho Mei Fong is a young woman in trouble, running from a gang of criminals with something of importance hidden in her purse. She dies in Chien Chen’s taxi while trying to escape, but not before hiding the purse. Chien Chen is now involved whether he likes it or not, along with Ho Mei’s sister, who turns out to be an undercover Hong Kong policewoman. They must solve the mystery of the missing purse and what it contained, while being pursued by the criminals and their hired thugs 

Tagline – Before The Bronx there was..

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Martial Arts 101

Story: Rumble in Hong Kong starts when Chien Chen (Chin) picks up a woman in distress running from a gang in Hong Kong in his taxi, she is wounded and dies in his cab, hiding her purse before doing so. The gang led by (Chan) comes after him next demanding the purse, leaving him beaten and bruised, before the woman’s sister Jo Mai-Hua (Yuen) arrives to take on the gang and find out what her sister was hiding.

Thoughts on Rumble in Hong Kong

Characters – Chien Chen is an innocent taxi driver, he keeps his nose down can handle himself one on one in a fight, but finds himself being targeted by a gang of one of his passengers, he doesn’t know who to believe either as they are desperate to get what he doesn’t know he has. Ho Mai-Hua is the sister of the victim (I think, this isn’t the best copy the film I have seen) who has become distant from her and is looking for answers about her disappearance. The gang is led by the thugs who will beat up anybody who gets in their way no matter who they are or what they want.

PerformancesThis is a film where the performances can only be judge on the martial arts skills, the fights all look good for the era without being anything more than they should be, while the basic side of the acting is simple enough. Let’s be honest I only watched this because Jackie Chan was plastered on the poster.

StoryThe story here follows an innocent man that finds himself in the middle of a battle between a gang and a policewoman trying to end the battle which to her sister’s life. The story does everything it needs to without doing anything fancy, we know how this will play out without being anything fancy and by the end of the film you will be left feeling satisfied enough by the outcome. This is a story which does follow one person as each chapters get unlocked without showing us too much up front.

ActionThe action in the film is martial done to the basic, it never feels like they are as hard hitting as the modern style, but does everything he needs to.

SettingsWe are set in Hong Kong for most of this film as we see the different types of people that might get met through the time here.

Scene of the Movie – First proper fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t see enough Jackie Chan, considering he is on the cover.

Final Thoughts This is a simple martial arts movie with nothing more than the simple stuff being done well, it is being sold on Jackie Chan, who is barely in the film either.

Overall: Simple Action.