The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear (Screenplay) Dave Stevens (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O’Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy


Plot: A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.

Tagline – Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America’s first battle against the Nazis.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Adventure Film


Story: The Rocketeer starts in 1938 as young pilot Cliff (Campbell) and his engineer Peevy (Arkin) find a mysterious jetpack in one of their planes after a group of mobsters crash in their airstrip. Neville Sinclair (Dalton) wants the rocket and has Eddie Valentine (Sorvino) and his men try to retrieve it.

With Neville turning out to be one of the biggest stars in an emerging Hollywood, Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Connelly) has a part in his latest movie, which brings him to the attention of Neville and his goons, once he uses the jetpack to save a friend.


Thoughts on The Rocketeer


Characters – Cliff is a quiet, shy and clumsy pilot, well clumsy on land, he has a blossoming romance with aspiring actress, he is always trying to prove he is the best in the sky and when he gets his hands on a jetpack he becomes the Rocketeer. Jenny is the aspiring actress that has only been getting small roles and only wishes Cliff would support her dreams more. Peevy is the engineer that can fix anything for Cliff, he watches him risk his life and knows he can handle himself. Neville Sinclair is a big-name actor in Hollywood, he wants to get his hands on the jetpack and will use his goons to get his hands on it.

PerformancesBilly Campbell is good in this leading role, you can see the innocent reactions in his eyes. Jennifer Connelly is good even if she is just mainly the damsel to Cliff’s character. Alan Arkin does get to have fun in his role, while Timothy Dalton works well as the primary villain in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that suddenly gets the equipment to make him superhuman with the addition of the jetpack, though the mob are also after the jetpack and he must protect his friends from his secret. This is adapted from a graphic novel and you can see this as it is mostly an origin story about how Cliff became the Rocketeer. When it comes to the villains we get cliched mob figures throughout which is fine, but soon becomes tiresome with their reactions to everything going on. This is however a fun story that can be enjoyed throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is a lot of fun because it is wildly over the top and fits the comic book ideas we are now used too. The adventure takes Cliff from a small time role of a pilot to one of the most wanted men in Hollywood and not for the good reasons. The sci-fi elements from the film come from the inclusion of the jetpack and how it comes from the mind of Howard Hughes.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood where we have the rise of mobsters in the corrupt on the early stages of Hollywood are shown through the use of the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good for the most part, the flying sequences are a step forward from the old school Superman films and have dated when it comes to modern film stylings.

Scene of the Movie –
First time with the Rocket.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mobsters feel too cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun film that can be enjoyed, it has dated in places but for a time when comic book movies didn’t come along that often this shows you can make them fun without them being connected.


Overall: Fun from start to finish.





Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (2014)

logoDirector: Nick Gomez

Writer: Stephen Kay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Gregg Henry, Stephen McHattie, Sara Botsford, Hannah Anderson, Andrea Runge, Billy Campbell

Plot: The true story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: TV Case History

Story: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe starts by introducing us to the Borden family with Lizzie (Ricci) finding the butchered body of her father Andrew (McHattie). We are in the 1892 and the families all dress to impress while attending church on a weekly bases we have Lizzie, Andrew as well as Emma (DuVall), Abby and (Botsford). Lizzie dreams of getting out of the shadows her father casts and not wanting to become a victim of her father’s nature.

Lizzie continues to go against her father and her step mother Abby as she keeps getting accused of stealing. With Emma away the events follow with both Andrew and Abby getting murdered and the district attorney Hosea Knowlton (Henry) eyeing up Lizzie as the murderer. Old friend Andrew Jennings (Campbell) comes to the house to offer his services to Lizzie if she would require it.

What follows is Hosea trying to put together a case which does make Lizzie look guilty but he can’t find that evidence so the case goes before a judge to figure out what really happened.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a story I have to say I am slightly confused about, I personally thought there was some sort of supernatural side to the story but this only look at the basic case. The story is one that still gets talked about today because it never got solved which instantly makes it an interesting story to look into. I do feel this version of the story never really gets into enough detail because it just seems to come off very slow and automatically makes Lizzie a villain which is disappointing because it may look like she was guilty but we will never know. (6/10)

Actor Review

Christina Ricci: Lizzie Borden is the very calm sister in the family who dreams off getting out from the shadows of her father, but as the tension rise the parents are murdered making her the prime suspect. This leaves us to wonder if she is the killer and if she is how she wants to prove her innocence. Christina does what we know she can giving us a god performance throughout. (7/10)lizzie

Billy Campbell: Andrew Jennings is the defence lawyer who knows the father and offers to defend Lizzie in the court case. He advises Lizzie during the trial as well as defending her. Billy gives a solid performance in the supporting role. (6/10)jennings

Clea DuVall: Emma Borden is the sister of Lizzie, who wasn’t around during the murders. She starts by defending Lizzie but over time she starts to question her sister’s reaction after the murders. Clea also gives a solid performance but doesn’t do enough to make us care about her career. (6/10)emma

Gregg Henry: Hosea Knowlton is the District Attorney who wants to build a case against Lizzie and he has a good case but he does lack the evidence to fully convict without a trial. Gregg does a good job in the role opposite Ricci. (7/10)

Stephan McHattie: Andrew Borden is the father that gets murdered, he is very strict making Lizzie feel trapped inside her own home, not letting her see the world or find herself a husband, but just who killed him. Stephen may only have a small part but his character drives the motives to what everything happens and he does a good job. (7/10)father

Support Cast: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe has a supporting cast of people who either help the case unfold without really doing enough for the whole story.

Director Review: Nick GomezNick does a solid job telling just one theory of what happened in the case of Lizzie Borden. (6/10)

Crime: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe shows the crimes that were committed but never managed to figure out who really did it. (6/10)

Mystery: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is a mystery we are still studying today, this film only offers one outcome. (9/10)

Thriller: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe doesn’t really make you wonder what will happen because we all know she doesn’t get found guilty and we don’t know who did the crime. (3/10)

Settings: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe creates authentic looking settings to match the time period in question. (9/10)

Suggestion: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is one to try but it might as well just have been a crime show looking at one theory about what happened. (Try It)

Best Part: Ricci’s performance.

Worst Part: Not enough answers about what could have happened.

Believability: The case is real as is the mystery behind it. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Ended up having its own television show.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Trivia: The Medical Examiner’s Assistant was an uncredited courtesy role created by the film’s producers for Jono Borden, an author and regional authority on the Borden family based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was asked to consult on his family’s history and offered an appearance onscreen. The irony of his casting saw him assist in the fictionalized depiction of the postmortem examinations of his very real cousins, Andrew and Abby Borden, and in an alternative courtroom scene cut from the final film, present the exhumed skulls of his relations to the jurors.

Overall: Just one side to a story that is one of the most interesting in crime history.

Rating 55