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

 

 

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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

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Walken Weekend – Last Man Standing (1996)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: Walter Hill (Screenplay) Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa (Story)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly, Karina Lombard

 

Plot: A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.


Tagline – In a town with no justice, there is only one law… Every man for himself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoy the Simple Film

 

Story: Last Man Standing starts as the lone gunslinger John Smith (Willis) rolls up in the small Texan town of Jericho, it two battle gangs the Irish and the Italian during the prohibition era, they are at peace for now but both sides are trying to get the upper hand, trying to recruit John to work for them.

As the battle between the mobs intensifies we are left to see what the motives of John are as he continues to keep one step ahead of the mobs even after the must deadlier player in the game Hickey (Walken) arrives in town.

 

Thoughts on Last Man Standing

 

Characters – John Smith is the unknown gunslinger that rolled into Jericho, he makes an instant impact by taking out a high ranking member of one of the mobs but his motives remain a mystery to us all. Sheriff Galt turns a blind eye while taking a little something on the side to keep quiet about anything going on. Joe Monday is the bar tender in the middle of the battle, he is simple-minded which keeps him in the neutral zone for the mobs. Hickey is the deadliest member of either mob, he has the shortest temper and is considered a myth with his stories of what he has done to people.

PerformancesBruce Willis is good in this role, we get to see part of what he went on to use again in Hartigan for Sin City but he isn’t all one liners like we have seen in the Die Hard films too. Bruce Dern gives us a reserved performance as the sheriff, while William Sanderson add the only moments of light humour in the film. Christopher Walken is the star of the show here as we see just how calculated his character is.

StoryThe story follows to waring gangs that have a mysterious man come into the middle of the war only to intensify the war as he seems to be in business for himself. This is an action story, so we are left a guessing upon just what the motives behind John are which entertains, while the gangs are painfully generic on how they are treated. If you like a battle between gangs with a lone man being the biggest problem in the peace breaking process this is one for you.

Action/CrimeThe action is plenty of shoot them up moments, we see bullets flying, bodies falling and punches thrown in the crime world we enter following the two rival gangs.

SettingsThe small town of Jericho gives the film isolated feeling it requires for the illegal activities going on, it gives the film a modern western feel too.


Scene of the Movie –
New in town.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might feel let down for Smith’s motives in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tidy action crime thriller, the shooting scenes are intense but otherwise this is easily one film you would have seen elements of before, it is fun though.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action crime thriller.

Rating