Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jeremy Walters (Screenplay) Rick Porrello (Book)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, Robert Davi

 

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Tagline – Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Biopic

 

Story: Kill the Irishman starts in Cleveland 1975 where somebody tries to kill Irish thug Danny Greene (Stevenson) where detective Joe Manditski (Kilmer) fills in the past relationship between the two. We learn how Danny rose from smart worker to take over the union and begin ties with the Mafia John Nardi (D’Onofrio).

As Danny builds his reputation through Cleveland becoming somewhat of a Robin Hood figure, as he tries to leave the life behind even with his connections still strong, it soon becomes the challenge that no one could find a way to kill Danny.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Irishman

 

Characters – Danny Greene is a working man in Cleveland, he makes the connections within the Mafia he becomes one of their thugs before leaving the life to become a real businessman until he crosses them and becomes the target for a bounty on his head. John Nardi is the connection within the Mafia, that one that befriends Danny and offers the guidance he needs. Joe Manditski is the detective that is trying to keep everything in order and with his previous relationship with a younger Danny, he knows the character of Danny better than anyone. Shondor Birns is one up the next step up in the ladder of the Mafia that trusts Danny, only a business deal goes wrong and he puts the first hit out on Danny.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this leading role, this is easily he best leading man performances of his career. Vincent D’Onofrio is good in the supporting role as are the whole supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and a host of faces we are used to seeing in gangster movies.

StoryThe story here follows the rise through the Mafia of Irishman Danny Greene through Cleveland through the 1970s, his story become big news for the area and some people saw him as a hero, others a criminal. We see how the gangster world is unfolded when the lines between right and wrong are crossed and the self-destruction from within will be their biggest weakness. This does follow most of what we do know from the genre and being based on a real person shows how the world can be easy to become the latest victim off. The time jumps in the storytelling are annoying because we don’t truly get to see just how much success he is having in the film.

Biopic/CrimeThe crime world we enter is what we know, gangster who will kill anyone that crosses them. The biopic is everything we need to see as we learn about Danny Greene.

SettingsThe film keeps us in and around Cleveland with a 70s feeling throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Danny knows what is happening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Vinnie Jones’ Irish accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at one of the members of the gangster that’s story helped change thing how the Mafia too.

 

Overall: Good biopic on the Irishman.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay) Kieran Parker, Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Story)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost

 

Plot: In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden secret in an abandoned WWII bunker.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Outpost starts when Hunt (Wadham) recruits DC (Stevenson) to bring his mercenaries Prior (Brake), Jordan (Blair), Taktarov (Fancy), Cotter (Frost), Voyteche (Rivett) and McKay (Smiley) to an abandoned WWII bunker in the middle of the war in Eastern Europe. The bunker which seems easy to find does grab the attention of a passing patrol but now the men must make this safe in case of a meeting with any enemy soldiers.

When the truth about Hunt’s mission becomes clear, DC finds all his men in danger against an enemy they don’t seem to be able to kill and a lone survivor that doesn’t say a word. The group must fight to survivor against the remains of a Nazi experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost

 

Characters/PerformanceDC is the generic leader of the mercenaries, he doesn’t have a backstory of any merit, he just demands the respect of his unit. Prior is the top soldier in the unit keep it together for the rest of the unit. Hunt is the man who hired the unit and of course he is alternate plans for the mission. The rest of the soldiers are what you expect to see from a team of mercenaries.

Performance wise, well Ryan Stevenson is a good leading man but does struggle to make the most of his character, if you are to be honest we do find most of the cast struggling to make enough impact.

StoryThe story is a good watch for horror, we all know the stories of how the Nazi’s were trying experiment with the supernatural so, this is the main part of the story. There are not many twists and this can give the horror fans enough without getting carried away.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly just shooting in the way you would expect soldiers to be part of. The horror is a lot of creepy material that leads to the extra horrors where we see the gore involved in the kills.

SettingsMost of the film is set around the bunker which does keep the film easy to follow and adds to what you expect from the Nazi based horror film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used well to add to the extra kills in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the idea of Nazi war experiments to the full.

 

Overall: I enjoyed this one for a basic horror film.

Rating

 

 

Final Score (2018)

Director: Scott Mann

Writer: Jonathan Frank, David T Lynch, Keith Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Stevenson, Martyn Ford, Ralph Brown, Victoria Broom, Lucy Gaskell, Lara Peake

 

Plot: After deadly terrorists abduct his niece at a soccer match, an ex-soldier with lethal fighting skills wages a one-man war to save her and prevent mass destruction.


Tagline – 35,000 lives. 90 minutes. No extra time

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action Delight

 

Story: Final Score starts when Michael Knox (Bautista) visits his niece Danni (Peake) in London to take her to the last ever game at the Boelyn Stadium for West Ham in a European Semi Final (This is hilarious because West Ham haven’t been near one in decades) against a Russian team called Dynamo FC.

With his niece going to be with her boyfriend, Michael must search for her, which just so happens to become locked down by terrorist Arkady (Stevenson) who wants to use the game to kill his brother Dimitri (Brosnan), when Michael learns of the problem, he must become a one man fight to save the stadium.

 

Thoughts on Final Score

 

Characters – Michael Knox is a soldier that has travelled the globe fighting the good cause, his brother was lost in battle and he watches over his niece taking her to football matches. He sees that there is a big problem and uses his training to save his niece and the people in the stadium. Arkady is the terrorist that has taken over the stadium, the former war criminal will do anything to get his hands on his brother even if it means killing everyone in the stadium. Dimitri is the brother that recreated his life after leaving his brother to be destroyed and bring peace to their home country, he is now the target for the nights terrorist actions. In the rest of the characters we get the typical men working for Arkady, the one that is bigger than Michael, the bad ass woman and the tech heavy one etc, we also have the rebellious teenager and the quick talking steward.

PerformancesDave Bautista has been steadily getting on with the action genre, he does a good job once again as the reluctant hero of the situation, handling the combat scenes well and looking like the uncle that would only scare boys away from the niece. Ray Stevenson in the villainous role is good to never letting his accent drop through the film. Pierce Brosnan is good even though he doesn’t really do too much in the film, as are the rest of the cast working well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man that must stop a terrorist attack within a certain amount of time, 90 minutes well 105 minutes if you include half time. This is simple enough for a story and by having the countdown helps us feel like part of the action. This does follow the trend of any action film which can be compared to Die Hard, only this time in a football stadium. When we look at the villains motives we get mixed feelings as it seems simple to start with only to become overly complicated when we get the mass numbers outside the stadium trying to stop anything happening. Overall the story isn’t challenging, it is watchable and enjoyed which is all we want to see.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the fights, which all play into Dave Bautista’s strengths, with the highlight of the film being the motorcycle chase through the stadium, which shouldn’t work only to be brilliant.

SettingsThe film is set inside Upton Park, now this could be easy to say this is Die Hard in a football stadium and it is, but having the match going on at the same time gives us a true look at the time rolling by and just how difficult it would be to stop people from knowing what is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film don’t always look good, but strangely enough fit the movie well.


Scene of the Movie –
Motorbike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too hard to believe West Ham would be in a semi-final in European football.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action film that gets most things right to make us enjoy what we are seeing, easy to watch and shows Bautista to be a good action star.

 

Overall: Action packed fun.

Rating

 

 

Cold Skin (2017)

Director: Xavier Gens

Writer: Jesus Olmo, Eron Sheean (Screenplay) Albert Sanchez Pinol (Novel)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, David Oakes, Aura Garrido, John Benfield

 

Plot: A young man who arrives at a remote island finds himself trapped in a battle for his life.


Tagline – How much horror can the heart endure?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Isolation Versus Monster Movie

 

Story: Cold Skin starts in 1914 with Friend (Oakes) goes to work on a remote island in a weather station, he only company on this island for the next year should be Gruner (Stevenson) a grumpy lighthouse keeper. This is until the first night when Friend gets visited by sea creatures, planning to defend himself he loses everything, forcing him to move into the lighthouse with Gruner.

Learning the Gruner has kept on of the creatures on the island, Friend starts to communicate with her and naming her Aneris (Garrido), but the onslaught that comes at night is countless numbers of the creatures the two men must work together to fight off, but what is their try reason for targeting this island.

 

Thoughts on Cold Skin

 

Characters – Gruner is the lighthouse keeper on the island, he has been there for a long time (though we don’t get told how long) and just wants to be left alone, he plans his battles against the creatures and knows how to defend himself, he doesn’t like carrying people and is a strict master of Aneris. Friend is the young scientist that has been assigned to the island to record weather, he sees this as a chance to start his life again. He learns the hard where about the creatures and while he will defend himself, he does believe there is more to what the creatures will be searching for. Aneris is the female of the species, she stays on the island with the men calling out for help at night, she doesn’t fight against the men and is treated mostly like a pet to them.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this role, if you ever want someone to play a grumpy figure, you need to never look further than this man. David Oakes is an actor I was unfamiliar with going into this film and he does a good job in this movie. Aura Garrido as the female creature gives us a wonderful body language display.

StoryThe story here follows two men that are in isolation on a remote island, who are under attack from creatures and spend most nights planning their own defence against them. There is a question about what would a scientist do when it comes to meeting a new species, even if there is a deadly side to them too. The story however is reduced to humans versus creatures in overly long battles with both sides knowing what they were fighting for.

Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe adventure should be where Friend finds himself going to make what should be his own history. The horror comes from the battle between humans and the creatures who only come at night. While the sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea of a new species being found, unlike anything they human characters would have seen before.

SettingsThe film has the perfect setting for this style of movie, it keeps our characters in complete isolation from the rest of the world, they have no way out of the situation and now we see the weather conditions being just as deadly as the creatures.

Special EffectsThe effects are used very well through the film, most seems practical even with the swarms of the creatures that attack the lighthouse.


Scene of the Movie –
The beach moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The battles seem repetitive.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sci-fi horror that gives us the question of man verses the unknown, something we have seen before, but is such an easy story to be telling.

 

Overall: Good creature feature.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – B – Big Game (2014)

Director: Jalmari Helander

Writer: Jalmari Helander (Screenplay) Jalmari Helander, Petri Jokiranta (Story)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtulus, Ted Levine

 

Plot: A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Action Film

 

Story: Big Game starts as Oskari (Tommila) is entering his right of passage as a 13-year-old that must go into the woods and hunt alone, like his father and his grandfather. Over his time in the woods Air Force One is overhead with President William Alan Moore (Jackson) on board, but it is shot down leaving Moore (I am going to call him this from now on) stranded in the woods while the traitor Morris (Stevenson) works to recover the Moore.

Oskari rescues Moore and uses his skills to help him out of the woods while Morris and his business partners treat this as a hunting trip with the CIA running operations back in states to figure out who has targeted the President and who has betrayed him.

 

Thoughts on Big Game

 

Characters – President Moore is the man losing approval rating, not used to being in the wild but brave enough to take anyone who would get in his way, he shows the inspiration, selfless nature you would expect from the leader of the free world. Oskari is the teenager sent into the woods to prove himself as a hunter, even though people doubt him, he stands up for what he believes in making him the President’s only hope of survival. Morris is the secret service agent that has betrayed the President for money and he leads the plans to keep the President away from rescue. We do also have the officials trying to find the President back in America all using their own set of skills and the billionaire trying to kill the President.

PerformanceSamuel L Jackson looks like he does have a lot of fun in this role where he understands he is playing the mentor figure to Oskari. Onni Tommila is great as the young man looking for his right to passage. Ray Stevenson is good as the main villain but you do feel we could have had slightly more from the character.

StoryThe story is about a terrorist plan to kill the President but a boy on his right to passage is the only one that can save him, this side of the story I found entertaining enough with a couple of moments that show both facing their own weaknesses to improve themselves. With that being positive we most look at the negatives, first I don’t really understand the motives of the villains and you just gloss over the war room politics of what was going on which seems like it should be a lot more interesting than we are shown.

Action/AdventureThe action is big when we see it, mostly CGI with the big plane crash and mega explosion at the end, the adventure side of things show Oskari learning the important lessons to become a man in the woods showing he is just like the villagers he is from.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the woods showing how the hunting side of the film is going to become the clear point of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are CGI for the action sequences, we get plenty going on with the moments and the final explosion feels like one of the biggest I have seen in a pure action film.

Scene of the Movie – Final explosion is shocking impressive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We spend time in the war room with the Americans trying to fine the President and it is a mix of pointless additional storyline or not involved storyline going on there.

Tagline – The President has one small chance of survival

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch action film, it does have a weak side story which does feel out of place at times but away from that you can enjoy this one.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film.

Rating