ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – H – Hudson Hawk (1991)

Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Steven E de Souza, Daniel Waters (Screenplay) Bruce Willis, Robert Kraft (Story)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, Richard E Grant, Sandra Bernhard

 

Plot: A cat burglar is forced to steal Da Vinci works of art for a world domination plot.


Tagline – Watch your step. Hold your breath. Hang on for dear life. And catch…the hawk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Crime Comedy

 

Story: Hudson Hawk starts when Hudson (Willis) is released from prison, only to be drawn into committing one more burglary with his partner in crime Tommy Five-Tone (Aiello). The next day Hudson learns that not everything was as simple as just stealing a horse figure.

Hudson learns that the piece that he steals is involved in the world dominations and follow a strange amount of events, finds himself working for Darwin Mayflower (Grant), stealing the great works of Da Vinci.

 

Thoughts on Hudson Hawk

 

Characters – Hudson Hawk is a cat burglar that even after getting released from prison ends up back in the world of crime, only after stealing the first piece of art, he ends up needing to battle a world domination plan which takes him to the most famous art galleries in the world. he is wise-cracking that often on makes his own holes deeper without trying to. Tommy Five-Tone is the best friend of Hudson and does work with him on the crimes, he is often the butt of most of the jokes going on through the film. Anna Baragli is a nun that is undercover trying to stop the Da Vinci crystals coming together, she pushes off the flirts from Hudson who doesn’t learn her true place until too late. George Kaplan is the head of the CIA team tracking down Hudson, he knows each move he makes and will follow him to every location the job takes him too.

PerformancesBruce Willis really struggles with anything comical and this shows just how badly he handles this material, Danny Aiello does ok with the supporting comic moments. Andie MacDowell looks lost in this role for the most part, with only James Coburn seemingly knowing his place in the film.

StoryThe story follows a cat burglar that gets given a job which soon sees him travel the world forced into helping criminals try to claim world dominance. The story here does feel very messy, it might well surprise where things go, but they do end up feeling completely random and make you feel like you are watching a sketch show rather than a coherent story. this is just a story that becomes difficult to watch and will end up making you lose interest quickly in the film.

Action/Crime/Comedy The action plays into the comedy, we have silly moments throughout the film which try to get laughs and fail to achieve this, we do enter a crime world that does feel like it will just be robbery before getting out of hand.

SettingsThe film does use the locations of the famous galleries from around the world for the main locations, with each needing to used for the latest robbery.


Scene of the Movie –
The first robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy is a big miss throughout the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sloppy comedy that misses more often than it hits, it feels like a drag to watch and completely miss-cast movie.

 

Overall: Sloppy throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating

 

 

Glass (2019)

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Luke Kirby, Spencer Treat Clark

 

Plot: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.


Tagline – You Cannot Contain What You Are.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Concept

 

Story: Glass starts not long after the events from Split where Kevin (McAvoy) and his multiple personalities on the run from the law, continuing his hunt for the Beast, David Dunn (Willis) branded the Overseer works with his son Joseph (Clark) to locate him. Once he locates him the fight, before becoming interrupted by Dr Ellie Staple (Paulson) and the authorities.

Ellie takes the two to a hospital to study their belief they are from comics, with Elijah (Jackson) joining them as they must learn the truth about what they are capable of and what is in the world.

 

Thoughts on Glass

 

Characters – Kevin being the first identity of the multiple personality man, he has mixed amount personalities, who are trying to gain control for moments as he is just trying to deal with his own personal problems, with The Beast being the most deadly of all of the personalities. David Dunn is now wanted by the authorities because of his vigilante behaviour, he works with his son now and they help people indeed, including the latest victims of Kevin. He remains super strong and becomes the first person the Beast can’t defeat instantly. Elijah or Mr Glass remains locked up for his actions, he is too intelligent to keep awake, but he is always planning, he puts everything into motion as he gets to play the puppet master once again. Dr Ellie Staple has bought the men together as she searches for the truth about their beliefs, she wants to help them and stop them believing they are form a comic book. Casey returns and it is her relationship with certain personalities of Kevin that helps us learn more about him.

PerformancesThe performance from James McAvoy does shine through, he does get to bring even more of the personalities out in this one, being able to switch between them all effortless. Bruce Willis gives one of his best modern day performances, with this character feeling like an older version of the one we saw in Unbreakable. Samuel L Jackson shines to with his character doing a lot of his acting through his facial expression, while get the cold delivery of his lines when it is his time. Sarah Paulson is a welcome addition to this universe and never looks out of place, though it does feel like Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t get enough screen time in this film.

StoryThe story brings the three figures from Unbreakable and Split together in what is a superhero movie about not being superheroes, just being genetically different or it being in your head. The idea that we are trying to cure these men does seem to borrow heavily from X-Men and many of their storylines. One of the biggest problems with this story is that you HAVE to see the previous two films to truly understand everything that goes down, though it does seem to forget certain things that happened in the past too. The going through the could this be in their head is interesting, only for it to not be possible because we have seen what they are capable of, it feels like this aspect is a film behind. We do get the trademark from M Night which we know is coming, we are waiting for it and the question is can you figure it out? In a Superhero heavy market this does feel original enough bring a human touch to what has been happening.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from just why have they been bought together, which does get solved, which will surprise, the sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how the world has reacted to these advanced people.

SettingsWe stay in Philadelphia for this story, which is great because it contains the action to one city through the films, we spend most of the film in the hospital as the world unfolds between them all.


Scene of the Movie –
Beast vs Overseer 2.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over used of the comic book metaphor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful competition of the trilogy that we didn’t know was coming, it ties everything together, has brilliant performance and keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Overall: Tense conclusion to the saga.

Rating

 

 

Unbreakable (2000)

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Eamonn Walker, Leslie Stefanson

 

Plot: A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident.


Tagline – Some things are only revealed by accident

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Masterpiece

 

Story: Unbreakable starts when David Dunn (Willis) is involved in a train crash, everybody else on board is killed, David isn’t even hurt, not even a scratch. This leads the mild-mannered man to question if he has ever even been sick in his life, his wife Audrey (Wright) can’t remember any time either.

Becoming headline news David attract the attention of comic book collector, Elijah Price (Jackson) who believes the two men are on the opposite scale of a gene defect. David discovers that he is stronger than he could ever imagine and decides to start risking his life fighting crime.

 

Thoughts on Unbreakable

 

Characters – David Dunn is a security guard, his marriage isn’t working out and then he becomes the sole survivor of a train crash. Making himself front page news he tries to get back to his normal life, only to have attracted the attention of Elijah, he discovers just what he is capable of, being stronger than he could imagine, though he does have a weakness, water. Elijah Price has lived his whole life knowing that if he was to get hurt, he would most likely break a bone, he was branded ‘Mr Glass’ at school, he has grown up to study comic books which led him to the conclusion that if he can get hurt easily, someone else wouldn’t get hurt. Audrey is he wife of David, she is going through rough times between the two, she is willing to start again as neither had done anything that could ruin a relationship. Joseph is the son of David, he wants to see just how unbreakable his father is after seeing just how strong he can be.

PerformancesBruce Willis showed us here in a role with little dialogue that he can give us a character that is meant to everyday man, who would be someone you wouldn’t notice, become the most interesting person on camera. Samuel L Jackson gives us an amazing role here where delivers his line in such a cold calculated manner it is disturbing on the second viewing. Robin Wright gives us a wonderful supporting performance that is just as withdrawn as Bruce’s, while Spencer Treat Clark complete the cast bring the youthful enthusiasm required.

StoryThe story here plays into the human elements of the superhero concept, we have the idea that we have an unbreakable man and one that breaks easily meeting and learning their place in a human superhero story. The story does show us just how people will not know what they are capable of until they get pushed to the limits which is clearly how David’s story unfolds in this film. We are waiting through the film for the M Night twist which wasn’t such a big thing when this was released, but his reputation means you are waiting for one, which will leave you in shock.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from us learning just what David is capable of, how has he gone this long in life without knowing more about his own abilities, the sci-fi elements are a lot subtler as they look into real life abilities people could have that would show evolution.

SettingsThe film is set in Philadelphia even if it does have a bigger concept to what is going on, the idea it could have been set in any city is the big thing about this film.


Scene of the Movie –
A handshake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Comic Book store and the camera angle looks like a set rather than a shop.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of best modern movies that involves the ideas of superheroes without being a comic book superhero film. it will keep you on edge from start to finish just grabbing your attention through the film.

 

Overall: Must watch mystery.

Rating