ABC Film Challenge – Crime – E – Edge of Darkness (2010)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Television show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O Sanders

 

Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.


Tagline – Few escape justice. None escape vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Darkness starts when Craven (Gibson) get to spend his daughter Emma (Novakovic) only for an unknown gunman killing her on his doorstep, Craven being a homicide detective isn’t allowed to investigate the case for legal reasons, so he decides to go against the law in his search for the murderer.

The early signs make it looks like Craven himself was the target, but it soon comes to light that it might be Emma’s work for a government company run by Jack Bennett (Huston) that might have made her the target and the deeper he digs the more he learns about his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Darkness

 

Characters – Craven is a respect homicide detective, everyone in the force knows just how capable of solving a murder he can be, but when his own daughter is murdered, he starts to go against the law to figure out who and why she was murdered. He will not stop at anything to locate the truth and take out the people that murdered his daughter. Jedburgh is an English man that will help Craven fill in the gaps, while trying to keep him away from the answers, he has been hired to make sure the investment stays safe, without building up a body count. Jack Bennett runs the company that Emma works for, he knows how to answer questions to keep the press happy, while keeping the shady operations under wraps. Emma is the daughter that Craven is delighted to spend time with once again, only she gets murdered and it is her life before this meeting that we get to see her in.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have had his problems in Hollywood, but when it comes to crime thrillers, he is in his element always shining in these roles without ever looking out of place, and demanding the screen whenever he steps on screen. Ray Winstone is great in his role, which only seems to be around for the calmer or criminal sides of the film. Danny Huston is an actor that can play a villain in his sleep and this is no different, he brings the smug figure to life here. Bojana Novakovic is great in her smaller role which doesn’t need to get much more screen time to add to the story.

StoryThe story here follows a homicide detective that starts to investigate the murder of his daughter only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy that puts his own life in danger. This story starts off looking like it is going to be a revenge like movie because of how the first murder happens only to become a big conspiracy movie that offers up plenty of miss-direction as we lead to the truth. Any story that can keep you guessing and let try to figure out the ending yourself is an entertaining watch, with the outcome not even needing to be spoon fed to us either. This might well be a remake of a television show, but it plays into the modern ideas and works with how the conspiracy could be relevant for today’s climate.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film starts by just looking like a murder, it soon dives into cover ups, conspiracy and secret groups which shows how the government might go about trying to cover up a secret. The mystery in the film comes from just how the conspiracy keeps managing to unfold to expose more truth about what Emma was involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the Boston setting to show how many crimes have been committed in this stricter state which does show us just how big of a conspiracy needs covering up.


Scene of the Movie –
Riverside meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see more of Jedburgh.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully intense crime thriller that does keep you guessing throughout the film, we get strong performance throughout and a story that has been modernized without looking out of place.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Braveheart (1995)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Randall Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Brian Cox

 

Plot: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.


Tagline – Every man’s spirit is free. Not every man has the courage to follow it.

Runtime: 2 Hours 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Biopic

 

Story: Braveheart starts when young William Wallace see his father and brother killed fighting for the independence of the land, taken in by his Uncle Argyle (Cox) he is raised to be a fighter. King Edward I (McGoohan) is trying to take control of the whole of Britain planning on leading the pressure on the Scots to fold, his son Prince Edward (Hanly) marries Princess Isabelle (Marceau) to unite with France.

William (Gibson) wants a life of peace which sees him marry Murron (McCormack) in secret after seeing what happens to the brides on their wedding night. When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, she fights back, only for this to lead to her execution. William is now ready for war and will lead the Scottish into battle against the English.

 

Thoughts on Braveheart

 

Characters – William Wallace saw his family die at war, raised in the peaceful land, wanting a peaceful life, his life if turned upside down when his wife is executed by the English. William becomes thee general for the Scottish army in the fight for freedom, becoming a leader put into legend. Princess Isabelle is from France, married to the Prince of England, she doesn’t like the conflict, turning to William to help him in the time of need. King Edward I is driven by war, he wants to conquer Scotland using his armies to try and keep them in order. Robert the Bruce is torn between keeping the peace or joining William’s war, he comes from the royal bloodline knowing his choice will be seen by the people. Murron is the common woman that William marries and sees killed for defending herself.

PerformancesMel Gibson in the leading role is strong for the most part even if he can’t manage to pull off the accent to a high enough standard, add in his age isn’t on the right scale required for this man. Sophie Marceau gets the strongest female role in the film, while the rest of the performance come off strong without anybody becoming overly memorable.

StoryThe story here shows a fictionalised version of the battle between William Wallace as he led the Scottish in battle with the English after the king tried to take control of the land, taking their freedom. While the scale of this story is massive, the reality it that most of the historical side of the film just doesn’t live up to the reality of what really happened, you can use the internet yourselves to learn the truth. For an inspirational hero of war leading a nation this is everything you want though. We do see how both sides prepare for the battles and just how they believe they are in the right, with both sides having people that don’t back what the leaders are doing to each others.

Biopic/History/WarThis is where we must look at how you read the movie, for a history lesson that is wrong this is easy to watch, it does everything to make it feel like a realistic version of events, but not the complete truth. The war between the English and the Scottish was real, was bloody and this film shows us just how brutal the wars of this time would have been.

SettingsThe film shows us just how large scale the battles were, when it comes to the pure numbers involved in the battles, we get the beauty of the highlands too which show us just how beautiful the land would have been for fighting for.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a historically incorrect movie that can be watch for the pure scale of the epic battle between the nations, with have strong performance, wonderful directing when it comes to the battle scenes too.

 

Overall: Brutal at times, long at others.

Rating

 

 

Dragged Across Concrete (2018)

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Writer: S. Craig Zahler (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael Jai White, Don Johnson, Laurie Holden

 

Plot: Once two overzealous cops get suspended from the force, they must delve into the criminal underworld to get their proper compensation.


Tagline – Those Who Can’t Earn A Living Must Find Another Way To Provide.

Runtime: 2 Hours 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More like Drags Long Concrete

 

Story: Dragged Across Concrete starts with Henry Jones (Kittles) released from prison, returning to the world he knows to sort out his life. We move onto Brett (Gibson) and Anthony (Vaughn) a couple of police detectives completing their latest bust, who can go over the top when it comes to completing the job which ha gained the attention of their captain LT Calvert (Johnson).

With the pair suspended, Brett starts to think about the future and the fact he wants to move his family out of a rough neighbourhood, because his wife Melanie (Holden) in ex-officer who is sick and teenage daughter are attracting the wrong attention. The pair decide to turn to a life of crime by taking on drug dealers to make the money they deserve.

 

Thoughts on Dragged Across Concrete

 

Characters – Brett is an older police officer, he hasn’t gotten the promotions his former partners have in the past, his wife is an sick ex-cop, he has a teenage daughter and gets rough on his cases. He needs to find enough money to move his family out of the neighbourhood, which sees him take on a potential drug dealer for money. Anthony is the younger partner, preparing to propose of his girlfriend, he is loyal to Brett, which seems him wanting to help Brett during their suspension. Henry is the ex-con that has returned to the life of crime with no option, but to. Biscuit is the connection for Henry, he gets the jobs they can go on together. Kelly is the new mother facing her first day back at work, she is struggling with separation she is facing. LT Calvert is the man forced to suspend the to officers, he was once the partner of Brett and challenges him on why he has never gotten higher up the system.

PerformancesMel Gibson is perfectly cast in this role, he is an older cop that is left with no option, he gets to preach about problems that have affected his own career too. Vince Vaughn doesn’t do anything wrong in his role, showing a much more serious side to his abilities.  We do have a big cast here, each actors do what is needed for their roles.

StoryThe story here follows two suspended cops that turn to a life of crime, an ex-con looking for one big score and the big score that is done by the psychotic gang. The idea of a cop turned to a life of crime is one we have seen before and works, the idea an ex-con will do one more job to escape the life has been done before, in fact the whole basic concept of this film has been done before. The problems with the story here comes from the pacing, we might have some clever dialogue, but we get a lot of seemingly pointless scenes too, which just drag for way too long. The story being as simple as it is, doesn’t need to be two and half hours long, there is one character who get introduced for no apparent reason that waste a good 10-15 minutes of the story too.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film comes from just how this director tends to us the style of explosive body parts, the crime side follows the one incident which takes out character on their mission in search for what they want most in the world.

SettingsThe film puts us in the big city which shows the divide in the neighbourhoods, it shows how each side of the city the people have come from.

Special EffectsThe effects used are what we have seen from the director before, they look for explosive weapon injuries.


Scene of the Movie –
Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This movie is about 50 Minutes too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long action crime film, that just goes on way too long for what is a simple story.

 

Overall: Just too long.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – A – Apocalypto (2006)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia (Screenplay)

Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead

 

Plot: As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Film

 

Story: Apocalypto starts as we meet a peaceful Mayan tribe living in the jungle, using it to survive the hardship as a unit, we have our hero of this story here Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) with a family, wife Seven (Hernandez) and a young child.

When morning comes Zero Wolf (Trujillo) sends his tribe into to attack and capture Jaguar Paw’s tribe, killing many and leaving the children to fend for themselves, but Jaguar Paw does get Seven out before she can be captured. The women are sold into slavery but the men they have been selected for ritual sacrifice to the Gods to solve the famine running through the city.

When it comes to Jaguar Paws sacrifice an eclipse happens and the people believe no more are needed force the captures to use them as target practise game, this gives Jaguar a chance to escape into the jungle and return to his wife.

 

Thoughts on Apocalypto

 

Characters – Jaguar Paw is our leading man, he is just a hunter for his tribe, but one with the forest, when his tribe comes under attack, saving his wife and child is the most important for him before he gets captured. He shows he will be the hardest to deal with and given a chance to escape he takes it using his knowledge of his forest to defeat his enemies. Seven is the wife that spends most of the film in the cave waiting for her husband to return. Zero Wolf is the leader of the hunters that take Jaguar Paw’s tribe captive for his own gain hoping to use them to sacrifice to the Gods, he does command the best from his men.

PerformanceNone of these actors were that well known before this film and that is an excellent thing because the performance do feel natural through each of the moments in the film, the situations show the horror, the pure desperation and harsh reality of the world they are living in.

StoryThe story shows the Mayan culture, the calm life they did live mixed with the heavy beliefs they once had which was considered one of their downfalls. We mostly just follow one man Jaguar Paw as he is taken into slavery but escapes to return to his wife before he becomes a sacrifice, it is a brutal adventure showing how barbaric the Mayan’s were when it came to sacrifice but it is also an intense experience seeing the struggle to survive.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly surrounding the final third which follows the chase back to Jaguar Paw’s forest and how he must defeat the enemies chasing him using his knowledge, which does end up feeling like an adventure at times too.

SettingsThe setting all look fantastic, mostly jungle sequences with one temple based town which does have elements of CGI about it but does still look good through the film.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects we have good use of practical ones as we see the brutal kills throughout the film

Scene of the Movie – Waterfall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is one film that does suffer with the subtitles, which in all honesty weren’t needed to tell the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brutal bloody action adventure with the ones desire for our character to get home, back to safety with his family.

 

Overall: An intense experience worth watching.

Rating