Sylvester Stallone Weekend – The Expendables (2010)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin

 

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.


Tagline – Every movie has a hero. This one has them all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindlessly Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: The Expendables starts as we get to see Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team Lee (Statham), Yin (Li), Gunner (Lundgren), Toll (Couture) and Hale (Crews) eliminate a threat, to show just how capable they are at dealing with international threats.

Once home Barney is given a new assignment, to take out General Garza (Zayas) and James Munroe (Roberts) who are controlling an asset the government require, this soon turns into the five-man army taking on a full army.

 

Thoughts on The Expendables

 

Characters – Barney Ross is the leader of the mercenaries, he does play by a rule book, which sees him needing make a difficult decision with one of his team. He takes the latest job once he realizes that sometimes the impossible can make a big difference being a better all-around combat asset. Lee Christmas is Barney’s second in command, the one that Barney will turn to most, during this story he finds himself having lady problems and shows a man what will happen if you beat one up, he is also the knife expert on the team. Yin is the smallest member of the team, he is the martial artist of the team and is always worried about enough money for his family. Gunner is the member of the team which gets kicked out because he wants too much brutality in the missions, he has a drug problem which needs to be cleaned up before he could ever be considered back on the team. Eric Roberts is the businessman that has taken over the island, he is paying for everything even if it makes enemies out of the locals, he will strike fear into them with fear. Paine is the strongest member of Munroe’s team, he has been waiting for a challenge which Barney and his team will offer him.

PerformancesThis movie does have an all-star cast of action heroes, Sylvester Stallone does take centre stage here and does what he knows how to be, a lead action star, Jason Statham does this too, with a little more subtle side to his outside the business performance. These two both get the best action moments in the film. Jet Li does well with the action, but gets wasted outside of these moments, while Dolph Lundgren does what he can with a character that does have plenty more to offer to this film. Eric Roberts fits the generic villainous role, he doesn’t get enough time to make his character as memorable as he could have been.

StoryThe story follows a group of mercenaries that are hired to solve the militant control of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to the story, we don’t need too much, this film is more designed to show of the action stars of the movie industry. By keeping everything on the simple side we get an enjoyable story to see unfold, though it would have been nice to get some sort of character development about the crew. This story is easy to watch without ever needing to test us.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is wildly over the top with a mix of guns, knives and hand to hand combat, all you would want from the cast we have here. The adventure side of the film does take our crew to a new island that they haven’t heard of before to make the events of the film happen.

SettingsThe film mixes the home that the men have back in America with the island that needs freeing, showing how they can and will adapt to any landscape they are placed in.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly by.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough Jet Li.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that is purely for the action fans, it goes well over the top and deliveries you favourite action stars doing what they do best, shooting gun and fighting.

 

Overall: Fun Filled Action Film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – H – Hijacked (2017)

Director: Alex Merkin

Writer: Jesse Mittelstadt (Screenplay) Tyler W Konney, Jesse Mittelstadt, Richard Switzer (Story)

Starring: Denise Richards, Jonathan Lipnicki, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddel, Greer Grammer, John Posey

 

Plot: A female FBI agent is offered millions to help a thief escape from a hijacked airplane.


Tagline – A Heist at 30,000 Feet ..

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action 101

 

Story: Hijacked starts as we meet FBI hostage negotiator Gretchen Blair (Richards), whose technique was to play along as a sexy call girl to distract the hostage taker. This has left her in hot water and out of a job, returning to her new role she boards a plane meeting Terry (Barker) who offers Gretchen money to keep him alive on the flight.

Terry has crossed the wrong paths, with Matthew Sharpe (Lundgren) and his team Sadie (Grammer) and the mystery members who could be anybody on the flight, as the plane is hijacked. Gretchen must use her skills and training to keep everyone alive.

 

Thoughts on Hijacked

 

Characters – Gretchen Blair is a hostage negotiator whose career has just gone down the drain, she gets a chance to redeem herself though on her flight home which become taken over by hostage takers out for revenge against a thief. Matthew Sharpe is the man wanting what is his, he takes the plane becoming the pilot while his team get the package. Sadie is the lady on the floor of the plane, making sure the hostages stay in position and the people they want are where they are. Sadly neither of these two villains become anything special and could be interchanged with ease.

PerformancesDenise Richards in the lading role, well this isn’t something you would be expecting to see and you can see why it doesn’t click for this role, she does handle the break down side of things but everything else not so well. Dolph Lundgren is fast becoming an actor I will watch in anything, this is why he is good enough for the role even if he does feel like he could be chewing the scenery at time. Greer Grammer is ok as the villain, she does have the most time for the villains and just being nothing that special either.

StoryThe story is hijackers take over a plane holding the passenger’s hostage while plucky FBI agent tries to take them out before they take lives. This is an easy to watch late night action movie story, it never challenges your brain and doesn’t always make the most sense, but by the end it has done everything it says it will.

Action/CrimeThe action is basic, there isn’t a memorable scene, while the crime side of the movie is the hijacking itself.

SettingsThe film taking place on the plane is great because we are left to see just how the characters could get out of this situation.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the best, in fact they are poor which only makes it difficult to see certain moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening sequence is the highlight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The effects are poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a late night level action film, it basic and just becomes simple enough to watch. It has questionable casting which pulls everything don.

 

Overall: Not the best.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Creed II (2018)

Director: Steven Caple Jr

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor (Screenplay) Cheo Hodari Coker, Sascha Penn (Story)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

 

Plot: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Legacy Continues Strongly

 

Story: Creed II starts when Adonis (Jordan) finally captures the title, on top of the world he proposes to Bianca (Thompson) whose career is also going place and wants to enjoy the next chapter of his career as champion. Buddy Marcelle (Hornsby) a promoter has a different plan for Adonis, when he brings Viktor Drago (Munteanu) to America, the son of Ivan Drago (Lundgren) who killed Apollo in the ring.

Adonis must learn to rise up against his biggest challenge to date, learning to control his emotions as he takes on Viktor, who has his own personal fight to restore the family name, while Rocky (Stallone) is torn between helping and advising Adonis about whether to follow in his father’s footsteps.

 

Thoughts on Creed II

 

Characters – Adonis starts this film by winning the belt he didn’t win in the last film, he take the next step in his family life proposing to Bianca, having his first child being on top of the world. He loses it all and must learn to rebuild his reputation and defend his belt against the son of the man that killed his father. Now for this story Adonis has a nice arc, but he never feels like a champion. Rocky refuses to help Adonis in his match against Viktor, he is worried he will make the same mistakes as his father when his future is waiting for him. He has gotten over his cancer from the last film and must make his own difficult decision on whether to help Adonis to make up for his own mistakes with Apollo and rebuild his own bridges. Bianca has her music career taking off, ready to be involved  in the festival circuit, her hearing is only getting worse, so she wants to make the most of her chance, she doesn’t want to stand in Adonis’s way, but she also wants to make sure she doesn’t  have to raise their child alone. Ivan Drago has seen his reputation ruined after his loss to Rocky, kicked out of the country, he had to rebuild his life and with his son, he has made a fighting machine. Viktor is the son of Ivan, he is a machine in the ring just like his father, we get to have a lot more sympathy for him than we should because he is fighting his father’s battle, he lost his future and when his success comes the flocks that abandoned his father return.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan does have a lot more emotional moments to go through in this film which he does well, he however never makes us feel like he would be a champion. Sylvester Stallone continues to show this is turning into one of his go too roles for his best performances, while Tessa Thompson continues to show her talent to the world reprising the role which helped her break through. Dolph Lundgren gives one of his best performances in recent years and Florian Munteanu makes for a great fighting villain, who shows much better range than anyone was expecting.

StoryThe story picks up when Adonis has gotten himself into a number one contenders match, winning the title reach the peak of his early career and personal life, until the Drago’s arrive in an attempt to knock him off his perch and reclaim the fame that they once had. The story does feel like the weakest part of the film though, we seem to just skip Adonis reaching the title match, we never learn how good he is in the ring, because in the first film sure he surprised everyone, but he didn’t win, going 12 rounds and winning by points isn’t going to be enough to get a title shot. Most of Adonis’s side of the story is him needing to find himself as he goes to the next chapter of his life. The more interesting story comes from the Drago side of things because we get to see what happened to the once unstoppable fighter and how his life changed after that defeat, raising his son to follow in his footsteps, being shunned by his country and love, shows us just how different the two cultures are towards competitors. Rocky’s side story, while nice, it does feel tacked on just to give him something else to do in the film.

SportsThe boxing is good once again in this film, not quite as the same level, mostly because we get more fights which we don’t need to see too, we like to wait for that one big fight moment which stands out as the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we don’t just stay in one city this time and the training regime is something new for the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Adonis never gets made to feel like a champion or even a contender for a belt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great addiction to the legacy, it does feel like we will be following Adonis’s legacy from now on which is what needed to be done for the franchise.

 

Overall: The legacy has past the torch.

Rating