Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy (2018)

Director: Don Michael Paul

Writer: Tony Giglio, Don Michael Paul (Screenplay) Paul W.S. Anderson, Tony Giglio (Story)

Starring: Zach McGowan, Danny Glover, Danny Trejo, Velislav Pavlov, Lucy Aarden, Frederick Koehler

 

Plot: After an attack on inmate Frankenstein fails a Black Ops specialist enters the maximum prison to join the illegal Death Race and take down Frankenstein.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Action We Expect, The Thin Story We Expect

 

Story: Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy starts as America has completely broken down, the one former hope Death Race is deemed illegal and has taken the dark web by storm as the prisoners have free roam of the arena formerly used as the prison. Frankenstein (Pavlov, voiced by Nolan North) runs this world, he isn’t like the Frank we have met before, he runs the city and the race.

The government are getting sick of the Death Race and want to bring it down, Baltimore Bob (Glover) runs the races and when new prisoner Connor Gibson (McGowan) is searching to be part of the race, in an attempt to bring down Frankenstein.

 

Thoughts on Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy

 

Characters – Frankenstein rules the death race circuit from behind his mask, this is made clear that he can be replaced with ease and isn’t the same man that we have met in the previous film, this version of Frankenstein isn’t as good-natured or innocent as the previous ones, he is a killer, he will execute people who try to cross him and has created the chaos in the world they are living in. Connor Gibson is the man sent to the prison, he is sent there to take down Frankenstein in an attempt to regain control of the prison, he uses his skills to rise up the ranks to put himself in the position to race Frankenstein. Carley is the seductive and navigator that is on Frankenstein’s arm. Baltimore Bob runs the Death Race operation, he has the connections outside to the outside world and is willing to use them to create the most buzz about the event.

PerformancesZach McGowan gets the action sequences done well through the film, though when it comes to some of the talking moments he does struggle in places, though the script isn’t exactly anything notable. Danny Glover is getting too old for this shit now, he gives us the supporting role you would have come to expect from him now. Velislav Pavlov brings the physical look for Frankenstein, though Nolan North voice work makes the character feel more sinister.

StoryThe story here follows the now illegal death race which has become a dark web sensation in a crumbling American economy, one man gets sent into the prison to eliminate Frankenstein. Now this might be the first actual sequel in the franchise, I kind of got lost after 2 and 3, but if this is a sequel it does show us just how the world changed after what happened with Frankenstein’s escape, how the world continued to fall into disorder. When it comes to the Frankenstein figure, we know he can be replaced, which does explain the evil nature behind this version, though it goes against the need we have to support the underdog wrongfully placed in the prison system. The story is filled with unworthy showdowns with characters we barely know, we do also just resort to too many party scenes which are unrealistic and just want to show off nudity for no reason. The script is also poorly written just turning to explicit swearing insults which are here to sound edgy rather than making sense.

ActionThe action in the racing sequences is the highlight of the film, the final race being the best part of the movie, even if we have plenty of jump cuts.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison locations, the land might be larger now which does make sense for an ever growing environment that has become overrun.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film come from the explosion we see caused during the race itself.


Scene of the Movie –
The race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the pointless parties.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another sequel that just doesn’t reach the levels of the previous films, it does have a fun race, though it does fall into the generic filler leading up to the race though.

 

Overall: Fun & Simple

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – G – The Good, The Bad and The Dead (2015)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Sean Ryan (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Messner, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Vivica A Fox, Michael Pare, Natassia Malthe, John Laughlin

 

Plot: Brian Barnes (Johnny Messner) wakes up in the desert wounded and with no memory and no idea why he’s surrounded by eight bodies, a van with four million in cash and a van full of cocaine. Brian is pursued by not only notorious drug lord Danny Perez (Danny Trejo) who desperately want his money back, and DEA Agent Rooker (Dolph Lundgren), but also a by the corrupt Sheriff Olson (Michael Pare) who will stop at nothing to get his hand on the new found fortune. On the run, Brian discovers the more he remembers the less he wants to know about who he really is.


Tagline – Who can you trust?

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Populated Action Film

 

Story: The Good, the Bad and the Dead starts as the outlaw (Messner) wakes after a drug deal goes bad, corrupt sheriffs try to claim his prize which brings in the Enforcer Bob Rooker (Lundgren) to do the work for the Suit Imani Cole (Fox) who has been trying to stop the drug deals coming across the borders. When the drug lord Mateo Perez (Trejo) wants his drugs back, it becomes a race against time to see who ends up with the drugs, money and lives.

The race to solve the case and close the case brings us many twists which leave Outlaw Brian needing to face the facts about who he really is and what he was doing at the crime scene.

 

Thoughts on The Good, the Bad and the Dead

 

Characters – Brian Barns is the outlaw, he is left shot in a drug deal gone bad, he has no memory which leads him to need to go on a journey to first learn who he is and later how to escape. Bob Rooker is the DEA Agent tracking down the events of the shootout, he is following clues while staying on the right side of the law. Mateo Perez is the drug lord that is wants to track down who killed his son and took his money. Imani Cole is the suit trying to put the pieces together with her team. Most of the characters we meet don’t get enough development and we keep getting more characters added to complicate things.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the pure number of characters we are dealing with, nobody gets a chance to stand out or is given enough screen time to be effective for the film.

StoryThe story does try to bring us a story that has plenty of interweaving arcs, which the film doesn’t get enough time to get flushed out and then we try to make every single character seem like they are the most important character to the story. The story does try to stay fast paced which doesn’t help either because we do get a lot of scenes which involve talking and just shooting or planning which takes a lot away from the final outcome of the story.

Action/WesternThe action is by the book shooting which never feels challenging to watch and leaves you not caring too much.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings well enough for the film making none of them having any memorable scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when it comes to the wounds, but otherwise it will not become anything memorable.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequences works well.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters and twists.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly complicated and populated movie that brings in too many characters to make the twists happening.

 

Overall: Too busy.

Rating

 

 

Cartel 2045 (2017)

Director: Chris Le

Writer: Chris Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexander P Heartman, Brad Schmidt, Blake Webb, Jay Whittaker, Kyler Steve Fisher

 

Plot: Its the year 2045. War on drugs in Mexico has escalated as a ruthless drug Cartel use robots to enforce their operations.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Robot Drug Wars

 

Story: Cartel 2045 starts as the war against drugs in Mexico looked like it was going to get cleaned up by the introduction of robots, but when the Cartel get their hands on the robots, drug lord Angel Malvado (Trejo) takes over the war. In the latest attempt to tackle the war former US Marine Carson Wright (Schmidt) is assigned to a team to take down Estevan Flores only for Angel to become the bigger threat.

 

Thoughts on Cartel 2045

 

Characters – Angel Malvado is the ruthless drug lord that controls the trade in Mexico with his robot bodyguards that will do any of his dirty work, he knows how to get the honest people to work for him and is smart enough not to waste a resource before their worth to him. Carson Wright is the former US Marine, being placed in jail, he gets offered a chance for freedom to be with his family by going on this latest mission, he has a past in battle and isn’t fond of the technology being used in battle.

PerformancesDanny Trejo is the biggest draw for this movie we know he can play the drug lord role with ease and this is no different. Brad Schmidt is good in the leading hero role looking just like any other soldier.

StoryThe story in this movie is the Mexican drug war with robots included, they are similar style to what we had in Chappie, we have the secret mission version the criminal drug lord that will stop at nothing to stay ahead in the game. The story is by the book and easy to follow, it is the other sides of the film which feel overly ambitious for the budget available.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is basic shooting between human guns and robots with the robots not always looking convincing enough. The sci-fi side of everything feels very ambitious for the budget the film had because the robots seem placed into the scenes over the being part of it.

SettingsThe film does have a generic Mexican town which could be anywhere in the country.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most parts are not the strongest because everything feels too ambitious.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The robots don’t seem to be very effective with their shooting.

Final ThoughtsThis is an ambitious movie, that doesn’t always hit the marks because it gets held back by the budgets the film has.

 

Overall: Try this sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Con Air (1997)

con airDirector: Simon West

Writer: Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, Monica Potter, Danny Trejo

 

Plot: Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Purely Enjoyable Action Film

 

Story: Con Air starts as war veteran Cameron Poe (Cage) returns to his wife Tricia (Potter) but due to the local drinks attacking him 3-1 style one ends up dead and Cameron finds himself facing jail, somehow. We get a montage to show how Cameron spends his time in jail never wanting to meet his daughter but communicating with her through letters.

Cameron is about to be released on a transport that includes his friend Baby-O (Williamson) but also a large number of deadly prisoners including Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom (Malkovich), Diamond Dog (Rhames), Johnny-23 (Trejo), Swamp Thing (Gainey), Pinball (Chappelle) and Garland Greene (Buscemi) as well as other characters. Vince Larkin (Cusack) is overseeing the transfer with Duncan Malloy (Meaney) who are trying to interrogate one of the prisoners on route.

Once in the air Cyrus has arranged a prison escape and as he quotes ‘welcome to con air’. Cameron decides to stay on the plane and protect his friend and female guard, making him the only line of defence between the prisoners and freedom.

Con Air gave us one of the most entertaining action thrillers of the 90s, the story is very thin which is what we need to let the action unfold. Our leading man is the main development as we instantly feel sympathy for him after his imprisonment for defending himself. One man doing the right thing against criminals all works for what we need but let’s face it we only want to see the action unfold and this gives us everything.

 

Actor Review

 

Nicolas Cage: Cameron Poe is the war veteran who gets sent to jail after defending himself in a bar brawl, he has served his time and his coming home on the prisoner transport. Once the prisoners take over the plane he stays to stop them escaping and saving his friend. Nicolas gives us one of the most entertaining action leading performances of the 90’s.poe

John Malkovich: Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom is the leader of the prisoner escape, he has spent most of his life in jail becoming a genius in the process. He is calculated with every move he makes when it comes to this escape making him a villain not to be messed with. John makes for a great villain that stays calm until the very end.cyrus

John Cusack: Vince Larkin is overseeing the prison transfer and is battling with the loud mouth Malloy. He using longer words to annoy Malloy but is the only one to believe that Cameron is the hero on the plane. John works in this role but sometimes feels out of place with the action stars.

Steve Buscemi: Garland ‘The Marietta Mangler’ Greene is a late addition to the transport, he is one of the most notorious serial killers on the planet. He is completing out of his mind but not involved in the main part of the escape. Steve gives us one of the most memorable supporting character that never really seems to be involved with the main story.

Support Cast: Con Air has a big supporting cast that all help show the hero side of Cameron.

Director Review: Simon WestSimon gives us an action film we can all enjoy still 20 years after its release.

 

Action: Con Air has plenty of action from the moment the plane gets taken over to the final scenes.

Crime: Con Air gives us a prison escape on a plane which helps the crime side of the story.

Thriller: Con Air keeps us on edge from start to finish as we watch waiting to see if Cameron will save the day.

Settings: Con Air keeps the settings mostly on the plane with the criminals having rising tension while the scenes outside always feel desperate against the time.
Special Effects
: Con Air uses great effects throughout for all the action sequences.

Suggestion: Con Air is one to switch on and just relax and enjoy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Bunny.

Worst Part: Malloy is terrible character for the role he is meant to be in the DEA.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final sequence.

Favourite Quote: Garland Greene ‘Define irony. Bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.’

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Rock

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Budget: $75 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: One wrong flight can ruin your whole day

Trivia: The song “How Do I Live” was nominated for both an Oscar as Best Original Song and a Razzie as Worst Original Song. It did not win either award.

 

Overall: Action film that will always be one that is easy to watch.

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Franchise Weekend – XXX (2002)

casting card

 

Plot: An extreme sports athlete, Xander Cage, is recruited by the government on a special mission.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Film 101

 

Story: XXX starts as Agent Gibbons (Jackson) is bought into help with an operation where normal agents keep getting killed, his plan is to have criminals enter into the worlds. We go onto meet Xander Cage (Diesel) who is an extreme sportsman using his skills for campaigning.

We go through a training routine with Xander who ends up having to help Gibbons as an alternative looking agent in Czech Republic. Xander has to get close to Yorgi (Csokas) and his group Anarchy 99 which he finds to be an easy thanks to his extreme sports background but when he finds out what they have planned he has to find a way to save the day.

XXX is one of those films you can just sit back and enjoy, you have to suspended your disbelief to see what is going on and could easily be a video montage to make extreme sports popular again. We get a very average villain that would be something we have become used in 2002 with the weaker Bond films at the time. We know the story is easy so just enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Vin Diesel: Xander Cage is extreme sports man that has been breaking the law with his antics. He gets recruited to become an agent to get information from a terrorist group where he learns of a plan to build weapon and must use all his sports skills to save the day and the world. Vin is good in this leading role very much a performance you have come to expect from him in action film.

Asia Argento: Yelena is the lady who is up close and personal with Yorgi but we soon find that she isn’t completely like we thought as we learn her true nature in the situation. Asia is a good female lead but isn’t on the level we have come to know in modern cinema but only because of writing not her performance.

Marton Csokas: Yorgi is the criminal that Xander must get close to, he accepts Xander into his crime world because of his fame in the underground world but once we find out his real motives we see just how dangerous he really is. Marton is a good but simple villain which is only really one dimensional.

Samuel L Jackson: Agent Augustus Gibbons is the man who comes up with the idea of using criminals to take down the crime ring and his first recruit Xander Cage. This is a very easy authority role that we could see in many other films. Samuel is good for this role even if it never really tests his skills.

Support Cast: XXX has a supporting cast we have all come to know with a henchman, gadget guy and unlucky guys, thy all help the film really well in the film.

Director Review: Rob CohenRob gives us an easy to watch action film that works for what it is without being a classic.

 

Action: XXX is everything you want in an action film with extreme sports.

Adventure: XXX is great for an adventure side of the story which all works well.

Thriller: XXX keeps us on edge throughout without being full edge of the seat.

Settings: XXX uses the Czech Republic setting which does have good visual but never really feels in peril.
Special Effects
: XXX has good effects with everything that happens with avalanche scene having a few moments that you can see the CGI.

Suggestion: XXX is one for all the action fans to enjoy but don’t go in too seriously. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Extreme sports scenes.

Worst Part: Isn’t the most original.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one, with another in the works.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: If you want someone to save the world, make sure it’s someone who likes the world as it is.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film that is nothing too special

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