Maximum Risk (1996)

Director: Ringo Lam

Writer: Larry Ferguson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger

 

Plot: A cop/flic discovers that he had a twin who just got murdered in Nice, France. In order to find out who did it, he takes his place including the cute girlfriend in Little Odessa, NYC.


Tagline – The other side of safe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Van Damme

 

Story: Maximum Risk starts when a French police detective Alain Moreau (Van Damme) sees a man killed, the man looks identical to him and Alain learns that he did in fact have a twin brother. Alain must now look to investigate the murder of his twin brother with his partner Sebastien (Anglade).

Alain learns that his brother was adopted by a Russian family and that he has gone onto to raise up the Russian mob, only he is wanted by them, Alain is joined by Alex (Henstridge) his brother’s girlfriend as they look to bring down Ivan (Grenier) the leader of the Russian Mob.

 

Thoughts on Maximum Risk

 

Characters – Alain is a French police detective that lives a normal life in Nice, his life if turned upside down when he finds a body that looks identical to himself, learning that he does have a twin brother. Alain go in search for answers which leads him to New York city and the Russian mob, here Alain must learn who he can trust and why his brother is killed, while showing all his fighting skills. Alex is the brother’s girlfriend, she knows he danger Alain has walked into and will help him get out of the life of crime that his brother was part of. Sebastien is the partner of Alain back in France, he has worked with him for years, only he stays in France for the investigation. Ivan Dzasokhov is the Russian that has been hunting down Alain, he wants something that he posses and knows it could give up his freedom is the secret it released.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is the man we know for action, when he gets to fight we know we get quality scenes, when it comes to becoming serious he isn’t on the same level. Natasha Henstridge was fresh of the back of Species here and easily fit the role for looks, while never getting her chance to do much more. The rest of the cast fill their roles to help make Van Damme look good in the action sequences.

StoryThe story follows a man that must unlock the mystery behind why his unknown brother was murdered, which sees him enter the world of the Russian mob. Let’s be honest, the story isn’t always the most important part of any Van Damme movie, we just want to watch him kick people’s asses. This story puts him in a place where he just doesn’t know where each step will take him, we get plenty of people that want Alain dead which shows he doesn’t know who to trust, but we always know that he is going to come out on top, it is an easy relaxing action film for the story side of things.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action here involves Van Damme doing his thing, kicking ass regardless of the size of the opponent. We follow a police officer entering the world of the Russian mob which brings us into the crime elements of the story, while the mystery comes from just who could be trusted during this time.

SettingsThe film takes place in two main cities, Nice in France and New York, we do get the fish out of water idea with Alain in New York here.


Scene of the Movie –
The sauna fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty basic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple easy to follow action movie that we are used to seeing from Van Damme.

 

Overall: Simple Van Damme Action Film.

Rating

 

 

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The Super (2018)

Director: Stephen Rick

Writer: John J McLaughlin (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick John Flueger, Val Kilmer, Louisa Krause, Mattea Conforti, Taylor Richardson, Paul Ben-Victor, Yul Vazquez

 

Plot: A man becomes the superintendent of a large New York City apartment building where people mysteriously go missing.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Saved by a Shocking Twist

 

Story: The Super starts when Phil Lodge (Flueger) takes a job as a new building super after giving up his career in the police force to raise his two daughters Rose (Conforti) and Violet (Richardson). We see quickly that there is a killer in the building that is killing tenants in their own apartments.

With Phil getting to know the fellow supers Julio (Vazquez) and the strange Walter (Kilmer), the number of people who are disappearing is raising to alarming numbers, this forces Phil to put his police hate back on to learn the truth about this building.

 

Thoughts on The Super

 

Characters – Phil Lodge was a police officer, after his wife’s death he must give this life up to work in a safer field for his daughters. He becomes a super for an apartment building, but soon he must put his detective hat back on to figure out who is making the tenants disappear around the building before his family becomes the latest target. Walter is the strange super that the people believe is weird believing in his voodoo religion, he keeps to himself for a reason and is the easy first suspect behind the disappearances. Beverly is one of the tenants in the building, one that takes a shine to Phil, the two get on as even friendship would help he settle in. Rose is the youngest daughter than does have a habit of going on wonders around the apartment in search of people, learning things she shouldn’t, seeing things she shouldn’t.

PerformancesPatrick John Flueger in the leading role is good, he starts slow being the basic figure, but grows into the role as the film continues. Val Kilmer gives us a creepy role which is what we need from his performance. Louisa Krause struggles to make an impact compared to the rest in this of the cast in the leading roles. Mattea Conforti and Taylor Richardson as the two girls both work well for what we would imagine for the ages to be acting like.

StoryThe story here follows a father that takes a new job as a super in an apartment who must start to figure out what is going on with the disappearances in the apartment which is starting to become alarming high. This does the usual and points the figures clearly at one person while giving us a couple of shady people that could be the killer. This follows the normal traditions of this storyline, though it is surprising to just where everything goes, surprising, great and even confusing when you stop and think back at things. The twist does save the film from become too mediocre for the genre.

ThrillerThis does keep us on edge as we wait to see just where the movie will take things, who is the killer and why, anything film that can keep us guessing is all we want as an audience.

SettingsThe film does take place in the apartment building throughout, which is all we need to keep us interested in just where things can go wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kills just seem random early on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that will keep you guessing throughout, but it is the final twist which will save the film from being too average.

 

Overall: Thriller that keeps us edge after a slower start.

Rating

 

 

Fighting Demons (2015)

fighting demonsDirector: Rustam Branaman

Writer: Rustam Branaman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Bean, Eva Longoria, Kate Walsh, Tom Arnold, Nolan Gross, Paul Ben-Victor, Aedin Mincks, Peter Mackenzie

 

Plot: An ex-fighter finds redemption from his troubled past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Redemption Story 101

 

Story: Fighting Demons starts as we see fighter Vian (Bean) lose control at a party leading to him ending up in jail. 12 years later he is released pushed out of his gym but accepted by his sister Bethley (Walsh) Vian looks for a fresh start. Vian is trying to get back into the swing of things but doesn’t get chance when it comes to his criminal record as we see him try his best to pick up woman with Jolene (Longoria) being the first attempt.

When Roland (Arnold) finally gives Vian a job working is his restaurant while Vian starts into a relationship with Jolene all while trying to be a good role model for his nephew Jimmy (Gross) who is getting bullied at school.

When everything seems to be going well for Vian it all gets taken away in seemingly one day as he quests for redemption gets tested.

Fighting Demons is a drama thriller showing one man trying to make up for the crime he committed, the film shows the ups and downs the character has to go through. This does end up feeling very much like an easy pull of a film and I really would have liked to understand more of the action Vian is making to cause him to kill the man. This is easy to watch and will shock you with certain twists of the story.

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Bean: Vian is the trained fighter who finds himself in trouble with the law, we follow him from his time after jail trying to put his life back together. He stays with his sister and finds himself a job as well as starting a new romance, he also ends up being a role model for his nephew. Vian finds his past catching up with him as he tries his hardest to get away from his past. Sean is good in this leading role showing his dramatic side throughout.vian

Eva Longoria: Jolene is the new love interest of Vian where the sparks fly between them, she doesn’t know Vian’s past but once her obsessed ex-boyfriend tells her the truth her mind soon changes. Eva is good in this supporting role but I do feel we needed slightly more screen time for her character.

Kate Walsh: Bethley is the sister of Vian’s who gives him a place to stay, she is a single mother struggling to make ends meet. She doesn’t get a chance to spend time away from busy life with William being the most important part of it. Kate is good in this role dealing with all the extra emotional side to her story.

Tom Arnold: Roland is the man who gives Vian a job, he understands the struggles and respects his honesty but when he shows interest in Bethley the twos friendship gets shattered. Tom is good in this supporting role stepping away from the comic role we are used to seeing him in.

Support Cast: Fighting Demons has a good supporting cast that all do a good job with where the film ends up going.

Director Review: Rustam BranamanRustam does a good job directing which follows the drama side to give you all the emotions required.

 

Romance: Fighting Demons shows the romance between Vian and Jolene without being too much of an important part of the story.

Thriller: Fighting Demons keeps us wondering where the story will go next with a few lose ends at the end.

Settings: Fighting Demons shows us in a small town as we see the people struggling to make ends meet through the film.
Suggestion
: Fighting Demons is one to try, it is a powerful film that will leave you slightly shocked by the end. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Drunken vision.

Worst Part: Slight too much over the top with final scene.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Never give up

 

Overall: Very powerful redemption story that tries to tug at the heart strings.

Ratingcard

 

Empire State (2013)

logoDirector: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam Mazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Angarano, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Ben-Victor, Jerry Ferrara, Greg Vrotsos, Emma Roberts, Nikki Reed

 

Plot: Two childhood friends plan to rob an armoured car depository. An NYPD officer stands in their way.

 

Verdict: Not Good Enough

 

Story: We start with Detective Ransome questioning Eddie about the location of Chris, before going back to three months earlier where we meet out two friends in the 1980s New York. After getting rejected by NYPD our hero enters into the world of security pickups hoping to continue working towards a better future. After a robbery goes wrong Chris’ mentor gets killed and he gets harassed by the lead detective, relegated to night shifts where he learns how the company is screwing over its employees. With far too much time on his hands he starts to devise a plan to steal from this company firstly to look after the family of his deceased partner but soon his best friend is talking him into something bigger. He plans to rob the place with his friend but soon things get out of hand and he is left over his head.

This is loosely based on the real case so that takes us straight to the realms of interesting, but this ends up boring. The characters are all very bland and offer you no incentive to actually care about what happens. The whole case turns out to be a very messy outcome where everyone tries to outsmart the rest without getting very far. It all comes off very poorly and you can see why it ended up going straight to DVD. (3/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Liam Hemsworth: Chris family man in 1980s New York who wants to become a cop, after he gets rejected he ends up going into the security work. When he gets puts on night shifts he starts to consider the idea of robbing the place but he soon finds himself in way over his head. Liam ends up give a solid performance but things just aren’t clicking for him like they are for his brother. (5/10)

 liam

Dwayne Johnson: Detective James Ransome looking into the attempted robbery, he is straight talking and wants to make sure he gets to the bottom of the robberies that keep happening on Chris’ watch. Dwayne should be giving better performance than this, this really does disappoint from him after liking nearly all his other films. (4/10)

 

Michael Angarano: Eddie Chris’ fast talking friend whose relationship with Chris leads him to lose out of his chance at becoming a cop, he is the friend that the family dislikes due to his style which could end up leading Chris down the wrong road. Michael gives a solid performance and seems to be the only one to give any extra performance in his role. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Filled with cops, gangsters and family members the support cast all help the characters try and move to the next stage but most are easily forgettable.

 

Director Review: Dito Montiel – He ends up with a messy film that doesn’t pull you in like it should even though we are looking at a real story. (3/10)

 

Action: Little action with one shoot out being the only highlight. (3/10)

Crime: Looking at the case but ends up losing its way. (6/10)

Thriller: You don’t get pulled in to the leaves you are meant to. (2/10)

Settings: New York always makes a good setting but in this it ends up not being used well enough. (5/10)

Suggestion: This is one to miss it really doesn’t pull you in like it should. (Miss)

 

Best Part: The shootout.

Worst Part: The rest.

What Could Have Been Better? – Give the story more intensity. Improve character development.

Lessons Learned: Liam Hemsworth is having no luck as a leading man.

 

Believability: Based on a real case. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Opening Credits Rating: Reporting about what has happened with the robbery before classics 1980s music as our hero and friend cruise around their neighbourhood. (9/10)

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

Overall: Avoidable, Forgettable Plain

Rating 30