ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco

 

Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.


Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.

 

Thoughts on Vertical Limit

 

Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.

 

Overall: Survival Film at its best.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Legend of Zorro (2005)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (Screenplay) Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso

 

Plot: Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California’s pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) — and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) — to take action.


Tagline – This Fall, adventure begins with a Z.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Become a Parody of Itself

 

Story: The Legend of Zorro starts as Don Alejandro (Banderas) is still riding under the mask of Zorro, his wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) wants him to retire the mask and be the father to their son Joaquin (Alonso), with his desire to continue to help California prepare for the statehood, has put a strain on their relationship.

When the two go through a divorce, Elena starts dating Armand (Sewell) from Spain looking to make a vineyard only he has other plans which only Zorro could stop.

 

Thoughts on The Legend of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro is Zorro, he has been working on trying to retire, but America needs him, he is left with a hard choice on whether to protect the land or be there for his father. He choices wrong and ends up falling back in the same circle he once did, before needing to put the mask on again to save California. Elena is the wife of Alejandro that wants him to give up the life, when he doesn’t, she divorces him to go under cover with an old family friend that has moved to the area, who has his own ideas. For some reason this character goes in a different direction from the stronger figure we met in the first film. Armand has moved to California to open a vineyard, he has stolen Elena from Alejandro and now he has bigger plans for America, which brings Zorro out of his retirement.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas has all the right parts to make this character legendary, he just struggles to make the impact we know he can this time, this follows Catherine Zeta-Jones who disappoints too as we know she could lead the film with ease. Rufus Sewell does a solid enough job in the villainous role, though he never makes his character feel like a threat.

StoryThe story takes place 10 years after the first movie, this does work for the film because it takes us to a time where the couple have a child and must decide what to do (following in the Mummy’s footsteps here) with their future adventures. The decision-making process shows us just how important the figure of Zorro has become to the people and just how difficult walking away from it would be for the city. The problem comes with the tone of the story which seems to just spend more time watching the couple bicker it just takes everything out of the life of the story.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action continues to bring us the sword swing fights we are used to seeing from the Zorro character, with a stronger final chase, this doesn’t seem to offer much new to the western action genre, with the adventure that we go on, never seeming like it will go anywhere new for the characters. the romance is the most annoying part of the film because it just focuses on the bickering between the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in the early stages of California which never looks out of place for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bickering.

Final ThoughtsThis is not on the same level as the previous film, it feels like it wants to be taken seriously, only for it to become somewhat of a parody of itself.

 

Overall: Disappointing sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – F – The Foreigner (2017)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: David Marconi (Screenplay) Stephen Leather (Novel)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, David Pearse, Michael McElhatton, Katie Leung, Rufus Jones

 

Plot: A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers’ identities.


Tagline – Never push a good man too far

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chan Shines in Political Action Thriller

 

Story: The Foreigner starts as Quan Mgoc Minh (Chan) is getting ready to buy his daughter Fan’s (Leung) graduation dress in London, but this peaceful moment is shattered when a bomb goes off killing many, including Fan, with UDI claiming responsibility. England is now in locked down searching for the people responsible, while Quan has lost everything, a broken man.

Deputy Irish Minister Liam Hennessy (Brosnan) looks to investigate what happened using his power with the Irish government to try to get a deal between the two countries done. Quan will not rest until he learns who killed his daughter, he turns up at the police station everyday for answer before turning to the former UDI member Hennessy.

Refusing to accept we don’t know as answer Quan takes matters into his own hands, sending a warning to Hennessy, which soon turns into a cat-n-mouse chase around Ireland as we learn the truth about the bombing.

 

                 Thoughts on The Foreigner

 

Characters – Quan Ngoc Minh is a humble restaurant owner in London, his only daughter is about to graduate after losing the rest of his family years before, she is killed in a bombing leaving him empty and broken. He just wants names to see justice for those responsible and will use the training he has to get those answers. Liam Hennessy is the deputy Irish Minister who does have ties with UDI, he remains the on the peaceful side of the battle trying to find a solution, but the question remains just whether he is truly involved or not. The rest of the characters are the British police trying to solve the crime, The UDI members that have been working towards re-igniting the war between the two.

PerformancesThis is easily Jackie Chan most serious English Language role, he never let’s on to have any comic timing which is refreshing to see, the emotionless performance is just what we wanted to see. Pierce Brosnan is great too, he shows us how we imagine politicians to be like during the tension being shown in the film.

StoryThe story is where the things get interesting, the trailers made us believe we are heading into an action heavy movie about one man’s revenge mission about his daughter’s death. What we get is a thriller that looks at the tension between the British government and the Irish who still show the tension because of the difference between the two sides. We do have the revenge angle don’t worry if you want action you will get it, just be aware we balance the two stories very well to make this a thriller you will want to see the next chapter of the story.

ActionThe action lets Chan show off his skills in what is mostly a more serious style and includes him using a gun, which is something we rarely see him do in the English Language movies.

SettingsThe two main settings are London, which in real life has been a target of bombings and is a location which would make the biggest statement for any terrorists and the Irish farm where Quan is picking off anyone who tries to stop him.


Scene of the Movie –
The takedown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does fizzle out in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprisingly entertaining action thriller, you will want to see everything unfold, while also getting rewarded by the action sequences that are only used sparely.

 

Overall: Strong action thriller.

Rating