Kid Cannabis (2014)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: John Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Yoo, Ron Perlman, John C McGinley, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson

 

Plot: An eighteen year old high school drop out and his twenty-seven year old friend start trafficking marijuana across the border of Canada in order to make money and their lives are changed forever.


Tagline – Everyone wants to be a kingpin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Story

 

Story: Kid Cannabis starts as we meet high school drop out Nate (Brown) who is telling the story of how he along with his partner Topher (Wormald) become involved in the drug trafficking business. We start at the beginning where Nate learns about the idea that trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border.

We follow Nate who works with Topher and crime boss Barry Lerner (Perlman) to start up the business and just how often the border patrol would pull him over to check whether he is smuggling anything illegal. This was just the beginning of what become a small empire created that changed their lives forever.

 

Thoughts on Kid Cannabis

 

Characters – Nate is a high school dropout working a dead-end job getting high in his free time. He learns about the idea of trafficking across the Canadian border, he uses his intelligence to plan an operation which will see him become an overnight sensation, he does start to get carried away with his new money which sees him needing to fight for his own dominance in the field. Topher is the older friend of Nate’s who can handle the transport with his enjoyment of the wilderness, he can lead the teams across the borders and keep the peace between Nate and the fellow runners. Barry Lerner is the local crime boss that Nate turns to for the investment to the idea, he gives the basic threats and the money rolling in which will keep him happy. John is the farmer in Canada making the product, the best the Americans can get their hands on.

PerformancesJonathan Daniel Brown in the leading role does make for good story teller, he doesn’t look like a drug smuggler which is why it is a more unique story. Kenny Wormald fills the lead runner role well, he makes us believe he is just as desperate as the rest. Ron Perlman and John C McGinley are both here just to have big names in the film, they are mostly just cameo like performances.

StoryThe story follows the high school dropout that built a drug business worth $68 million simply by trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border. This is based on the true story, which does show us through the eyes of the leader just how he pulled the operation off, while preaching about the laws on drugs within America. While it might be an interesting story, it is one we have seen before, it does promote breaking the law, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to be promoting, while relying heavily on the drug community to support the actions of these young men. We do also have too many pointless party scenes, which are clearly here just to put some boobs in the film and fill time.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe does show the drug trafficking side of the people involved in the story, shows how their lives changed with an idea however illegal it turned out to be. It does use the comedy to make light of the situation which is fine because this doesn’t ever feel like it needs to be serious, while the crimes being committed show just how the people involved didn’t care about the punishment they could face.

SettingsThe film is set between the borders of America and Canada, it shows the different life styles that Nate would have had between his time making the money and the environment taken to do the drug smuggling.


Scene of the Movie –
The travelling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless party scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interest look at the true story, it shows how the operation came about, how quickly it gathered steam and how the lives of the people involved were changed forever.

 

Overall: Interesting true story.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay) Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark DiSalle (Characters)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sara Malakul Lane

 

Plot: A kick boxer is out to avenge his brother.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Kickboxer: Vengeance starts as Kurt Sloane (Moussi) arrives in Thailand in search for underground fighter Tong Po (Bautista) the man that killed his brother Eric (Shahlavi) in one of the underground fights. Eric was trained by Durand (Van Damme) a master in his own right.

When Kurt’s plan goes wrong Tong Po has his arrested leaving local cop Liu (Lane) to hide him in Durand’s place, where he can have the training he requires if he is ever going to be able to fight Tong Po.

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Vengeance

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane is the young brother of champion fighter, he has trained with him and saw his brother killed in an underground fight. He is out for vengeance, first he must be trained by Durand to be ready to take on such a fighter, while this is a simple character to create, we don’t see him win all his fights preparing for Tong Po, so it is hard to take him serious in a full fight. Tong Po is the champion fighter in Thailand, he is known to have the largest body count in the fighting world, he will fight for honour in the battles, he won’t turn to dirty tricks, making him a strange villain to behold. Master Durand is the man that is training Kurt and his brother previously, an expert in Mauy Thai making him an expert to be learning from. Marcia is the lady pulling the strings, she is setting up the fights to make her own money. We do end up meeting more characters than you would expect, we have cops, corrupt and one that is helping Kurt and other fighters that want to learn from masters.

PerformancesAlain Moussi takes the leading role, known more for his stunt work and fight co-ordination, he does a good job stepping into the shoes made famous by Van Damme himself. Dave Bautista is always going to be a threating villain and he isn’t afraid to step into these roles, he has the look and attitude to pull them off with ease. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the film franchise which made him famous, this time he takes the mentor role and does everything you expect from him. While it isn’t her own fault, I do feel like we wasted what we could have had from Gina Carano.

StoryThis is a soft remake of the much loved original, with the Sloane brothers facing Tong Po, get this side of the story straight, it was an easy to follow idea in the first place and this doesn’t do anything to over-complicate things either, it does modernise certain aspects which is good to see, but in the end bottles down to the idea of one man wanting vengeance for his brother’s death, we have the training time and the questioned asked whether it is right or wrong, simple to follow and all we need.

Action/CrimeThe action is the fighting sequences which are hard hitting with different styles through the rounds. The crime story shows us the underground fighting going on.

SettingsThe film is set in Thailand and shows us the big city, the training grounds and the underground fight arenas.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly confusing why Kurt was escorted out of the country.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie with hard hitting fighting sequences that does everything you want in this style of movie.

 

Overall: Hard hitting action film.

Rating

 

 

Top Gun (1986)

top-gunDirector: Tony Scott

Writer: Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr, Warren Skaaren (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Tim Robbins

 

Plot: As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic 80s Film

 

Story: Top Gun starts as we meet rebellious hot shot fighter pilot Maverick (Cruise) and his co-pilot Goose (Edwards) who take risks but also loyal to their unit within the Navy. The pair get set to the elite training program known as Top Gun to see who is the greatest pilot the US Navy has to offer.

When the pair meet the competition the main threat is Iceman (Kilmer) and under the tutelage of Viper (Skerritt) all the pilot learn the lessons of the sky and combat but most importantly life.

Top Gun bought in this new style of action where everything was way over the top and more about the style rather than believability of what is actually happening. We get an interesting look at fighter pilots because we have a film that has the hero character in Maverick but doesn’t have a true villain because while Iceman is his rival he is right most of the time. We don’t get into any actual combat until the final act where we get to see the full training put to the test and as for the at time awkward romance angle this film ends up being everything you could see in the wildly enjoyable 80s film.

 

Overall: A film that gave birth to the wildly over the top action films.

Rating75

 

 

Paul Walker Weekend – Into The Blue (2005)

logoDirector: John Stockwell

Writer: Matt Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin, James Frain, Tyson Beckford, Dwayne Adway

Plot: A group of divers find themselves in deep trouble with a drug lord after they come upon the illicit cargo of a sunken airplane.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Deep Sea Dribble

Story: Into the Blue starts with a plane going down during a storm where it crashes into the ocean lost at sea. Now we meet our main characters Jared (Walker) a diving instructor who takes tourists on dives, Sam (Alba) who works with sharks on a tourist sea life. This makes us have a madly in love leading couple. We meet treasure hunter Bates (Brolin) who Jared once worked for and is always ready to offer Jared a job back. When hot shot lawyer friend Bryce (Caan) turns up with new flame Amanda (Scott) Jared finds himself with a new boat as the four go out and enjoy the sun, sea and the dive.

The friends discover the plane from the opening scene and a shipment of drugs leaving the friends to decide to try and figure out what to do with the discovery. Jared and Sam convince the other two to explore the area for historical treasure before reporting the plane where the friends discover treasure that will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Everything takes a turn an hour into the film when Bryce & Amanda try to sale the drugs back to the dealer Reyes (Frain) who ends up forcing them into retrieving his drugs in 12 hours or he kills everyone he loves.

Into the Blue is clearly a film that ended up going on too long, mainly because we have a good hour of the story where we just see our four characters diving and deciding whether to search for the treasure or not. Literally no villain is introduced until around the hour mark which makes us lose a lot interest in what is happening. Once the villain is introduced we end up with a good action thriller that keep you guessing that does have a few questionable fights. I feel if you cut around half the opening pointless diving out we would have a much more interesting film. (6/10)

Actor Review

Paul Walker: Jared is the experienced diver who wants to go into treasure hunting with his girlfriend Sam, when his old friend joins them on the island of the Bahamas they go in search a good time where they discover a treasure. Jared is an honest man who will protect his men but is also ambitious. Paul does a good job showing he could be a leading man in the industry with this role. (7/10)jared

Jessica Alba: Sam is Jared’s girlfriend who works in the world of sea life where she gives talks on sharks to tourist. She is an experienced diver too where she ends up helping in the treasure hunt but on the honest side of the law. Jessica brings her beauty to the role where she gets to play the good girl girlfriend. (7/10)sam

Scott Caan: Bryce is the lawyer friend of Jared & Sam’s who comes to the island with a new fling for a good old catch up with his old friends. He is very crazy with his money where he has got to the level where he does spend to impress, he makes the bad decision with his new fling to try and deal with them about the rugs they have discovered. Scott ends up playing that friend that always gets you into trouble well. (7/10)bryce

Ashley Scott: Amanda is the free styling girlfriend who is a loose cannon from the start, she likes to party and could easily be the reason why everything gets out of hand. She doesn’t think about the others with any decision she makes. Ashley does a solid job in this role being the almost villain in the piece when it comes to dealing with the three friends. (6/10)amanda

Josh Brolin: Bates is a fellow treasure hunter who doesn’t always play by the rules when he is working on ideas, but he does have honour when it comes to fellow divers. Well his surface looks like an honest guy but he really is working with Reyes. Josh brings the role of the nice guy villain to the forefront showing he was ready to start making a serious impact in Hollywood. (7/10)bats

James Frain: Reyes is the drug dealer who plane has crash landed in the ocean, he ends up blackmailing Jared into bringing him is drugs back in 12 hours or he will kill everyone he loves. James only appears in one scene where he does make an impact. (6/10)

Support Cast: Into the Blue has a supporting cast that includes the drug dealers and their men along with the honest folks of the island that help Jared, they all become generic without making a really impact in the final story.

Director Review: John StockwellJohn brings us a solid action thriller that does have a few longer than needed scenes but will satisfy the fans of the stars. (6/10)

Action: Into the Blue is very generic even if they try to make parts under water fights and chases which doesn’t quite work. (5/10)

Thriller: Into the Blue doesn’t pull you in until the final half of the film where things get a lot more interesting. (6/10)

Settings: Into the Blue uses the Bahamas as its setting which works for the idea behind the film perfectly. (10/10)

Suggestion: Into the Blue is one for the action fans to try, I do think the fans of the stars will enjoy but I know for a fact I would rather watch Fool’s Gold again. (Try It)

Best Part: Final kill.

Worst Part: First half.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Fool’s Gold

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $18 Million

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Temptation is bliss

Overall: Underwater action film that nearly drowns before being saved but left adrift

Rating 55

 

Christine (1983)

logoDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: Bill Phillips (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, Harry Dean Stanton, Christine Belfrod, Robert Blossom

 

Plot: When nerdish boy Arnie Cunningham (Gordon) buys his first car a 20 year old Plymouth Fury called Christine he starts to change. Arnie gets bullied at school, controlled at home but his best friend Dennis Guilder (Stockwell) tries to help him out and give him advice but Christine has a mind of her own and starts sorting out his problems.

 car

Verdict: A smart horror thriller

Story: Stephen King can always tell a great story and with this we get that. The idea is or was fresh when it came out a killer car was new to the over the top killer and a welcome addition. The story also tackles to ideas of not fitting in during high school and deals with bullying and being different. (9/10)

 

Actor Review: Keith Gordon – Arnie the young boy who gets bullied at school before buying an old car that turns him into everything he never stood for. Good performance but never really excels. (7/10)

 arnie

Actor Review: John Stockwell – Dennis the popular best friend to Arnie who looks out for him and tries to talk some sense into him when he starts going off the tracks. Good supporting role but again never really excels. (7/10)

dennis

Director Review: John Carpenter – The master of horror directions creates some very creepy scenes that will make you think twice when you see a car follow you. (9/10)

 

Horror: Good horror that will make you scared of cars. (8/10)

Thriller: Some thrilling scenes involving the car. (8/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects throughout as well as smart use of camera to make things more horrific. (9/10)

Believability: No chance of a car coming to life. (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Most of the setting is around a small town and where the cars go but the junkyard is creepy for the cars home base. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the horror fans; they will enjoy the classic tale from the master writer and director. Non-horror fans may not enjoy this. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The Flame car chase.

Worst Part: It could be gorier

Kill Of The Film: The Bullies.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No

 

Overall: Classic horror tale

Rating 78