ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Exit Wounds (2001)

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writer: Ed Horowitz, Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay) John Westermann (Novel)

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke, Jill Hennessy, Tom Arnold

 

Plot: Orin Boyd, a tough cop in an inner-city precinct discovers a web of dirty cops and corruption.


Tagline – This Is Gonna Hurt

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Seagal Action 101

 

Story: Exit Wounds starts when tough police officer Orin Boyd (Seagal) prevents an assassination attempt on the Vice President against orders from his superiors and Secret Service. This loses him his job at his prescient and being sent to a rougher one where new Captain Annette Mulcahy (Hennessy) sends him anger management.

When Orin starts investigating a known gangster Latrell Walker (DMX) he is assigned a partner in George Clark (Washington) and the two only honest sounding cops trying to bring him down and uncover the dirty cops in the force.

 

Thoughts on Exit Wounds

 

Characters – Orin Boyd is a tough no nonsense cop that will always run in first to do the right thing for people in danger, he doesn’t like dirty cops or criminals or partners and will go all out to bring down the criminals. Latrell Walker is the criminal that Orin is tracking, he is a genius, but not everything about what we learn about him is what it seems on the outside. George Clark is the partner that gets forced onto him, he has a family and just wants to do the right thing but could easily be another one of the dirty cops. We do meet plenty of cops that are dirty through the film, we see many different clichés for the genre in our characters too.

PerformancesWe know what Steven Seagal is capable of as an actor, he can handle the fighting fine, but when it comes to the line delivery he isn’t the best, this is typical for what we know about him. DMX was trying to make an acting career and he does show promise in a time when all musicians seemed to want to get into acting. When we look at the rest of the cast they are what we need in the film without anyone standing out too much, Anthony Anderson gets the funniest moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a tough cop trying to bring down criminals and corruption from within the force. This does play into Seagal’s strengths where he gets to beat people up and be the good guy doing this. We have a big third act twist which does turn the film on its head and doesn’t really get implied early on which is nice. By the end this will have checked the boxes for a fun easy to watch action film and that is all we want from a story at times

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is short fight sequences, shootouts and chases sequences which are fun to watch with plenty going on through them making the action all we want. The comedy is in small moments and does give a couple of laughs with Anderson being the one with the most. The crime world we enter is everything we know when it comes to corrupt cops which is fine for the film.

SettingsThe film brings us to Detroit with crime running through it, we know it is generic for crime world, so this works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Seagal versus White sword fighting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy works, but can takeaway from the main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard Seagal action film, it is easy to watch and will keep you entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Simple to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

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Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos

Writer: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke

 

Plot: Mandy is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Craziest Film of the Year

 

Story: Mandy starts as we meet Red Miller (Cage) a lumberjack who lives with the love of his life Mandy (Riseborough) living in the woods away from the world. religious cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Roache) sees Mandy and wants to make her the connection to his higher power, taking her and forcing Red through a traumatic night.

With Mandy murdered on front of Red, the cult leaves, but when Red gets free, he sets out on a revenge mission which will show that he is a deadly hunter with weapons that will give the most damage to anyone who was involved in Mandy’s murder.

 

Thoughts on Mandy

 

Characters – Red Miller is a lumberjack who lives a quiet life with the love of his life, this is shattered when she is murdered, causing him to go on a bloody revenge mission, he will not stop until he has killed everyone involved in his loves death. Mandy is the love of Red’s life, she is a dreamer and perfect for how Red sees life. Jeremiah Sand is the leader of the religious cult, he goes to the extremes for his belief searching for the higher power he believes he has made contact with, he followers will give their life for his. The rest of the characters we meet fill up the quota for the religious cult showing their devotion to their leader.

PerformancesNicolas Cage has been known for taking stranger roles in recent years, this is by far the craziest one yet and it is one that he shines in, you just can’t keep you eyes of his characters behaviour in this film. Andrea Riseborough does add the mystery to her character early one, which would make us understand her draw. Linus Roache gives us one of the more disturbing performances as the religious cult leader, one that is as unsettling as it should be.

StoryThe story her can be bottled down to a revenge thriller as we follow one man whose love of his life is murdered and he goes after the religious cult behind the murder. This is the simple side of the story, what we get sends us down roads we never imagine seeing as we focus on just how obsessive the cult truly is and how the one man will use anything and everything he can get his hands on to get his revenge. There are a few questions about how religious cults can be misleading to anyone that falls into one, while this does balance the line between what could be and what is very finely before we see the explosive bloody end.

Action/HorrorThe action in this film takes place once the revenge angle starts, we see Red go into battle with any weapons he can, with fight sequences that are as bloody as the are entertaining. The horror comes from seeing just what the cult will do, what the cult are doing and what the cult believe in.

SettingsThe film takes place in the 80’s in the woods which takes us away from people, making us understand just isolated both sides of the battle want to be.

Special EffectsThe effects are a perfect blend of practical bloody effects and well used CGI moments that don’t take away from the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nicolas Cage’s crazy being used to perfection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the craziest films you will ever see, it does something many directors haven’t been able to do, use Nicolas Cage crazy performance correctly. You will see some of the strangest images that you brain will not be able to take everything in.

 

Overall: Just bonkers fun.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – P – Payback (1999)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Donald E Westlake (Novel)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, David Paymer, Bill Duke, Deborah Kara Under, John Glover, Lucy Liu

 

Plot: After a successful heist, Porter is shot by his wife and his best friend. They leave him there to die but when he recovers, he seeks revenge and wants his share of the money.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Revenge Thriller

 

Story: Payback starts as Porter (Gibson) is left for dead by his partner Val (Henry) and wife Lynn (Unger), Porter explains everything he wants to go and why it happened as he tells us all his plan. We watch how Porter dives into the criminal underworld to get his hands-on Val first to get his money, then to kill him.

Porter’s mission is filled with twists and turns along the way as he deals with his former bosses, Bronson (Kristofferson), Carter (Devane), dirty cops and his only friend is old flame Rosie (Bello), can he get what is owned to him?

 

Thoughts on Payback

 

Characters – Porter is a streetwise criminal that does the small jobs in the underworld until he is betrayed, he only wants his money but ends up going after the whole organisation in his cold calculated way. Val is the man that betrayed Porter, he has a short temper and gets himself into trouble more often than not. Rosie is the one person Porter is willing to trust but mostly used to show Porter could have a life after this revenge mission. We also have the traditional crime characters that don’t seem to have anything overly original about them.

PerformanceMel Gibson was one of the hottest properties in the 90’s before any controversy and here you can see he knew how to be the star of the show. Gregg Henry is a good villain but we have three main villains that all get the limited amount of time. Maria Bello is also good in this film as the helper showing us she can pull off the sexy smart partner in crime.

StoryThe story is a by the book revenge story of a betrayed criminal that goes after the man who turned on his just to get the money back but ends up facing off against the how organisation. This is also a film which is known for how the editing changed the tone of the film which is something you can see through the story a lot, one minute it feels like a dark thriller the next it has a moment of what feels slightly comical. This does take part of the film out but the story still ends up going the same way.

Action/CrimeThe action is shoot ups which are a good watch throughout the film, each having bigger stakes and each trying to give us something original. The crime world shows us the world all the characters are from which helps us understand all the motivation they show.

SettingsNew York, my old friend and favourite for a crime setting, nothing can be flawed and staying away from some of the bigger iconic monuments or structures helps us enjoy the gritty underworld.

Scene of the Movie – Pearl in a jam.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would agree with the people who say the edit doesn’t click for the tone.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good by the book crime thriller but the tonal problems stops it reaching the highlights of everything it could have from what I hear of the director’s cut.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Created Equal (2017)

Director: Bill Duke

Writer: Ned Bowman, Thada Catalon, Joyce Renee Lewis, Michael Ricigliano Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Aaron Tveit, Gregor Alan Williams, Edy Ganem, Lauren Compton, Yohance Myles

 

Plot: A cocky, up-and-coming attorney, begrudgingly takes on a case to sue the Archdiocese of New Orleans for sex discrimination; after a woman, who’s desperate to become a priest, solicits his help.


Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Courtroom Drama

 

Story: Created Equal starts as we see how Sister Alejandra Batista (Ganem) who gets punished for wanting to become a priest, this leads her to meet with lawyer Tommy Reilly (Tveit) to represent her in a case to sue the Catholic church for discrimination.

When Tommy known for not going to trial accepts the case and to take it to trial against Monsignor Renzulli (Phillips) to take on the church for the simple right to enter the church, which sends family and business partners into a frenzy of panic as everything goes against what they believe, can this case break the grounds it intends too.

 

Thoughts on Created Equal

 

Characters – Tommy Reilly is a lawyer, he was raised catholic, but doesn’t follow the religion to the strictest beliefs, he isn’t loyal to any woman in his life and doesn’t take any of his cases to trial. He takes his case which could destroy his career, but he knows it is the right thing. Alejandra Batista is the sister that wants to become a catholic priest, the only thing stopping her is that she is a woman, she shows the strength to want to fight the catholic church in an attempt to get her chance to follow her dream. Monsignor Renzulli is the church’s lawyer who follows the strict following to make sure no woman will ever become a catholic priest. Judge Watford seeing over the case in his courtroom, he acts fairly to both side of the trial.

PerformancesAaron Tveit in the leading role is good, he shows us two sides of his character with the lawyer side coming off stronger than the womaniser. Lou Diamond Phillips is the biggest name in the movie and he doesn’t take that for granted as he is strong from start to finish. Edy Ganem is great as the woman standing up for her for what she wants to do for a living, she shows the strength needed for this role.

StoryThe story comes into the idea of dealing with equality between the government versus religion, this makes everything interesting to see how things unfold especially in the time we are in trying to accept everyone as equals. Who doesn’t love a good court case too, this has the right questions, the right answers to show the divides between the beliefs.

ThrillerThe has a thrilling side to the story as we follow the one person trying to stop Alejandra from taking on the church in a court of law.

SettingsThe settings show us where this case takes place because it doesn’t turn into the circus courtroom dramas can do.


Scene of the Movie –
Final hearing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The threat from the outside seems to be added when it isn’t needed at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good religious based courtroom drama that gives the question about equal rights within the catholic church.

 

Overall: One for courtroom drama fans.

Rating

 

 

Henry’s Crime (2010)

henryDirector: Malcolm Venville

Writer: Sacha Gervasi, David N White (Screenplay) Stephen Hamel, Sacha Gervasi (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, Danny Hoch, Bill Duke, Drew McVety, Tim Snay, James Caan, Vera Farmiga, Peter Stormare

 

Plot: Released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit, an ex-con targets the same bank he was sent away for robbing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Heist Film

 

Story: Henry’s Crime starts when toll booth operator Henry Torne (Reeves) finds himself unwittingly drawn into being a getaway driver for small time robber Eddie Vibes (Stevens) only to get himself caught and spending 3 years in prison. While in prison Henry meets Max (Caan) who teaches him to focus himself on life.

Once free Henry finds himself searching for his meaning in life and what he searches into is doing the crime he was meant to have committed.

Henry’s Crime is a heist movie that tries to play into the comedy genre while missing the mark on every single joke. The heist does work as a film because it all adds together well. The film has a slow pace with the romantic angle coming off slow and over dramatic in places too. The motivation of Henry’s character does seem to get lost in places as we just have a character that doesn’t come off strong enough to be the lead character of a heist film.

 

Overall: This is a plain and forgettable heist film that wastes the talent involved.

Rating35