Sylvester Stallone Weekend – Driven (2001)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Jan Skrentny, Neal Tabachnick (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacey Edwards, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard

 

Plot: A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.


Tagline – Get ready for the race of your life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sports Drama

 

Story: Driven starts as we get to see how a racing season is going, Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) the reigning champion starts shinning until rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) starts becoming competition for the title. When Jimmy starts to fade, team manager Carl Henry (Reynolds) brings back former champion Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help keep the head on straight of the rookie driver.

With Joe back to be used as an experienced blocker to help Jimmy, it is Jimmy that will need to make the difficult decisions and with his brother and manager Demille Bly (Leonard) who is trying to control the young drivers ever movement. Can he get the title won on his rookie season or will the pressure get to him?

 

Thoughts on Driven

 

Characters – Joe Tanto was the once great driver, former champion and past his prime, still considered one for the experience factor. He needs to help guide the rookie who is destining to become champion, while facing his own personal regrets. Carl Henry is the owner of the team, he knows Jimmy will become champion and will do anything to make sure his team brings the title back. Jimmy Bly is the rookie making big waves in the sport, controlled by his brother to avoid the pressure that comes with being at the top. He makes the rookie mistakes and need guidance to become champion. Beau Brandenburg is the champion, the best in the game right now even if he can come of arrogant at times. Sophia is the girlfriend of Beau, she has been for years now and after a disagreement she befriends Jimmy adding extra tension between the two potential champions. Demille Bly is the brother and manager of Jimmy, he is trying to control every decision of his career, he is the closest to being the villain in the film.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is solid enough for this film he fills in the mentor role well enough. Burt Reynolds as the team manager works for the film, we needed an older figure in this role. Kip Pardue does suit the rookie driver well even certain parts of the script are poor. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Robert Sean Leonard are good in the supporting roles which give them a chance to have fun with their roles.

StoryThe story follows a rookie facing a champion for an unlike season in race car driving, we see the good and bad moments for the whole field, the pressures thrown on the young driver, with a friendly rivalry being created between the two. We have the older mentor role needed to keep the head on the straight for the younger driver. While being a Formula One fan I can enjoy a good rivalry film which this does give us even if the races have been intensified for the cinematic audience. We get lesson to be learnt by the drivers, team and managers which this season will give us.

Action/SportsThe action in this film comes from the races, while the special effects used have dated horrendously the flat out racing is a join to watch. The sport side of the film gives us a look into the racing industry and just how dangerous it can be when racing for victory.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world to different race tracks used in the sport in real life.


Scene of the Movie –
The accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film the fans of racing will enjoy, it has good sequence even if the special effects are weak, it does feel like we are watch Cars the live action movie.

 

Overall: Racing fun film.

Rating

 

 

Deliverance (1972)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: James Dickey (Screenplay) James Dickey (Novel)

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Ed Ramey, Billy Redden

 

Plot: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.


Tagline –  Four men ride a wild river. A weekend turns into a nightmare.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Deliverance starts when four city man Ed (Voight), Lewis (Reynolds), Bobby (Beatty) and Drew (Cox) head to the Cahulawassee river for a river-rafting trip down the river before the river is turned into a lake, Lewis leads the group being an outdoors man.

What seems like a pleasant enough trip takes a brutal turn when the locals force themselves on Bobby before Lewis kills one of them. The friends now face a race against time to make it out of the wilderness before the rest come for revenge in the deadliest chase of their lives.

 

Thoughts on Deliverance

 

Characters – Lewis is the outdoors man of the group, he is close friends with Ed and you feel like they have been on many an adventure together. He has the plans for the trip believing he doesn’t need to ask for help and when their backs are against the wall he must step up. Ed is the linchpin between the friends, the one they turn to when things are not going their way for advice and almost comfort, he does witness the attack on Bobby, left helpless to only watch. Bobby is an insurance salesman that joins the trip, he clearly isn’t used to being in the outdoors and goes through the worst ordeal of them all. Drew is the final member of the group or tries to play the morale and legal compass when things get out of hand.

PerformancesThe performances here give us four of the best actors of a generation at different stages of their careers, they are all fantastic in what they do too. Jon Voight stands above them all, but you can’t deny they shine in the moments they need too.

StoryThe story keeps things very simple, four friends go on an adventure rafting trip only for a peaceful trip to turn into a nightmare as they are attacked and hunted down by the local hillbillies. We have a moral discussion about what to do when you murder to protect yourself, seeing how difficult it can be for one man to get pushed to the limits of needing to take a life and an environmental discussion around the ideas of what would happen when rivers are being turned into lakes. This is one of those movies where the story never needs to get complicated, you truly believe the peril the characters are in too.

Adventure/ThrillerThe adventure the friends go on, takes out characters on a rafting trip, one that was meant for pure happiness and endurance, they got the endurance, but a race against time too. We are kept on the edge of our seats from the moment the attack happened, because we don’t know how many people are going to be looking to hunt them down.

SettingsThe film takes place in the wilderness of the American countryside, this is used for the beauty of the settings and the peril of the situation with the nature and the locals being the threat.


Scene of the Movie –
The clifftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel like there would be bigger scars after what happened to Bobby.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest thriller to ever be made, it has four excellent performances and shows that we can have horror in moments that should be calm.

 

Overall: Brilliant from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – U – Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998)

Director: Jeff Woolnough

Writer: Peter M Lenkov (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Battaglia, Andrew Jackson, Eric Bryson, Kevin Rushton, Desmond Campbell, Michael Copeman, Gary Busey, Burt Reynolds

 

Plot: The Universal Soldiers are used to smuggle diamonds for a CIA Director, but Luc Deveroux continues to cause him problems.


Tagline – No memory. No emotion. No mercy… Until one of them decides to become human again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ouch!

 

Story: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms starts as Luc Devreaux (Battaglia) has escaped with reporter Veronica (West) the only known living members of the universal Soldier project run by Otto Mazur (Busey). Wanting Luc back they set out his programming to return to base where Veronica must track him down while avoiding the law.

When Veronica reaches the base, she must sneak in (as you do) and work with Luc’s long lost brother Eric (Wincott) another member of the program to rescue him and stop Otto’s plans.

 

Thoughts on Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms

 

Characters – Luc Devreaux is the universal soldier, one of the last ones standing and now he has been reprogramed, but can his memories be stirred to bring back the human side from inside him. Veronica is the reporter that has found out the secret about the program and now she wants to expose it with Luc, she will do what it takes to save Luc from the base. Eric is the elder brother of Luc’s he has been missing for years, but he is one of the original universal soldiers now he works to save his brother. Otto is the recruiter for the program, he finds the dead soldiers, or he makes his own to keep the program filled for his bosses.

PerformancesDo I want to talk about the acting, well no because most of it is almost painful to watch through the film, Matt Battaglia doesn’t come close to Jean-Claude Van Damme and for the rest they are better but nothing overly convincing.

StoryThe story follows the idea of the universal soldiers being developed and how the government want it kept a secret. The story lacks the punch that the first one had, it does feel like the pilot for a television show which was the point. The story doesn’t have the twists but does want to continue to world build.

Action/Sci-Fi The action is also messy, we get too many cuts with not enough pure fighting which you would have had with Van Damme. The idea of enhanced soldiers works for the story, but we don’t get enough time to see everything going on with the project.

SettingsThe settings do feel almost pointless, we don’t get much happening with knowing as the we have plenty of random roads and no iconic buildings.

Special EffectsThe effects continue to show the weak points off the film which doesn’t connect the way they should.


Scene of the Movie –
Karaoke time

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just the acting in general.

Final ThoughtsThis is a pretty poor to terrible action sequel, the film just doesn’t hit the marks the other films in the franchise have and you will be left disappointed by the end.

 

Overall: Universally Bad.

Rating

 

 

Boogie Nights (1997)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C Reilly, William H Macy, Heather Graham

 

Plot: The story of a young man’s adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama About Success

 

Story: Boogie Nights starts as we meet high school dropout Eddie Adams (Wahlberg) working in a club for Maurice TT Rodriguez (Guzman) in his disco club. The club brings in porn director Jack Horner (Reynolds) with his number one star Amber Waves (Moore). When Jack sees, and hears the rumours about the size of Eddie’s penis he wants him to be the new star of his movies.

Leaving his home Eddie move in with Jack and it isn’t long before he becomes the hottest property in the porn industry as Dirk Diggler, as he learns that along with the fellow pornstars Rollergirl (Graham), Reed Rothchild (Reilly) and Becky Barnett (Parker) the production company dominates the industry through the late 70’s and early 80’s, but with the success come the darker side of the industry the drinks, drugs and knowing age could be an expire date in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Boogie Nights

 

Characters/PerformanceEddie Adams is the typical high school dropout that lands on his feet entering into the porn industry. The characters sum up how a young star can rise too quickly and become blinded in the overly famous. Jack Horner is the director of the films but also the man preparing the latest talent even if not everything is strictly legal. Amber Weeks is the experienced star guiding Eddie as well moving onto new thing. We do get a couple of well-developed characters in the supporting roles too who we can all learn about as we are invested in their supporting roles.

Performance wise, Mark Wahlberg burst onto the main stream with this impressive performance, Burt Reynolds in the star of the show here dominating the screen whenever he appears. Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, William H Macy, Nicole Ari Parker all are great in the supporting roles in this film.

StoryThe story shows the rise and fall inside of the porn industry, we see how some people get out and start a life outside the industry, others get consumed by the lifestyle, others never move forward with the times and others can struggle in the post industry life. I do think this brings us brilliant character development even if the story is slightly long at times but the afterlife outside the industry becomes fantastic viewing.

SettingsThe settings show us the time the film is set, the struggles the people are going through, I think each setting comes off perfect as we get to see the world we are entering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a long film but it is also a rewarding film too, it does a brilliant look into how lives can be ruined by a career choices.

 

Overall: Brilliant, haunting look at the porn industry.

Rating