ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus

 

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie

 

Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.

 

Thoughts on Black Hawk Down

 

Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.

 

Overall: Must watch war movie.

Rating

 

 

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All the Money in the World (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: David Scarpa (Screenplay) John Pearson (Book)

Starring: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer

 

Plot: The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.


Tagline – J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everyone else paid the price.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Thriller

 

Story: All the Money in the World starts when John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) get kidnapped in Rome, the ransom is $17 Million, the only person that can help her mother Gail Harris (Williams) get the money is the estranged billionaire grandfather J Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) who isn’t willing to pay a single dollar to get his favourite grandson back.

Fletcher Chase (Wahlberg) is recruited to negotiate a deal with the kidnappers, but Getty isn’t willing to spare a dollar to get him back as the situation starts to get out of hand as time starts to run out on getting John Paul Getty III back alive.

 

Thoughts on All the Money in the World

 

Characters – Gail Harris is the mother of John Paul Getty III, she has given up her fortune she could have had from her divorce to keep her son, she must go back to her old father in law to get the money, even after she doesn’t get the money she leads the campaign to save her son. J Paul Getty is the richest man in the world, he has made the money by taking whatever he wants and will never give up money for anything that doesn’t increase his value. Businessman at heart he will only do a deal for his own good. Fletcher Chase is the deal maker, he has been able to negotiate deals for Getty for years and now he is assigned to help retrieve the grandson.

PerformancesMichelle Williams is the true star of this movie, she shines in every scene she is in, showing the strength on front of the cameras and the weakness behind them. Christopher Plummer is great in his role which was one that we get to see him take very late in the process. Mark Wahlberg is surprisingly good in his role, taking a supporting position he handles everything without becoming over the top like you would imagine him doing.

StoryThe story here follows the kidnapping of the grandchild of the richest man in the world and follows whether he is willing to spend his fortune to get him back alive. We have the concerned mother that will do anything to get him back, even go against the father-in-law. While the story does come off slow at times as we do go through the same process too often, but it does show how greed can drive people to make terrible decisions.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThis is meant to be about a real person, not sure how real the story is truly about, this could be considered one of the biggest kidnapping cases of all time if is real though.

SettingsThe film does use the backdrops wonderfully through the film to make us feel like we are part of the scenes we are watching through, the beauty stands out here.


Scene of the Movie –
Williams performance is something to sit and enjoy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it shows us just how far people will go for money and how far people will go to keep it.

 

Overall: Long strong movie.

Rating

 

 

Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating

 

 

Blade Runner (1982)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Novel)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hanna, William Sanderson

 

Plot: A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.


Tagline – A chilling, bold, mesmerizing, futuristic detective thriller.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Iconic Classic

 

Story: Blade Runner starts in the 21st century where humans have created replicants to work off world in hazardous condition, but when a mutiny makes them free they become illegal on Earth where Blade Runners hunt them down killing them on sight in a process known as retirement not execution.

When four replicants Roy Batty (Hauer), Pris (Hannah), Leon (James) and Zhora (Cassidy) return to Earth Bryant (Walsh) brings Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Ford) into track them down. With newer models being developed like Rachael (Young) tracking down the replicants is becoming harder for Deckard but with him being the best in the business he must use all his experience to stop them causing anymore problems in the world.

 

Thoughts on Blade Runner

 

Characters – Rick Deckard is the Blade Runner, well one of them, the best of them, he keeps to himself for the most part but when a job becomes too serious, Deckard is the man to clean up by hunting down the replicants. He does have a moral compass when it comes to dealing with the upgraded Rachael who doesn’t seem to be a threat but when dealing with the others it will be his hardest test. Roy Batty is the leader of the escaped replicants, he only wants to find a way for his replicants to extended their lives and is filled with philosophical ideas. Racheal is the upgraded replicant that is being kept secret until she goes on the run with on Deckard to protect her from retirement. We also have the other replicants looking for freedom in their own way as well as the people who want Deckard to hunt them down.

PerformancesHarrison Ford gives us a performance that does against everything we were expecting from his Han Solo and Indiana Jones days where he plays the serious character in the bleak look at the future. Rutger Hauer gives us one of the best villainous performance of any film, he is haunting with his lines and deadly with his fights. Sean Young is good in the film too as the learning replicant. There isn’t a single weak performance in this movie which is always good to see.

StoryThe story shows how the androids created known as replicants only want to survive and be treated equal in a world that will not accept them. We watch the one man try to hunt down the escaped replicants before they hurt anymore innocent people. This is a noir thriller that keeps us guessing the in bleak sci-fi world that has a story without many twists which keeps the story flowing in the one direction needed.

Sci-FiWhen this was released sci-fi was all aliens and space travel but this showed us a future, a bleak future reliant on technology for the people, it showed us how the world could look in the future.

SettingsThis is a visual treat for the settings, it takes us into the future where we see the world we could one day be living in.

Special EffectsThe effects still stand the test of time because of the visual look at the world we are finding out characters in with the technology designed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
I always like the final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Deciding which cut to watch.

Chances of Sequel: We have one now.

Budget: $28 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film that inspired a generation of film makers, it broke boundaries and became one of the all-time classics in cinema.

 

Overall: Classic we can never get bored off.

Rating

 

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper (Screenplay) Jack Paglen, Michael Green, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story/Characters)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett

 

Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Plain Bad

 

Story: Alien Covenant starts with the colony ship the Covenant heading towards a new planet, a crew of 15 and over 2000 colonist on board with just Walter (Fassbender) the android running the ship. When the ship encounters a freak storm in space leads the crew suffering loses they need to let the new captain Oram (Crudup) guide them through the damage to the systems.

When the repairs find a ghost transmission from a planet which appears perfectly habitable Oram goes against first mate Daniels’ (Waterston) opinion to continue their mission and takes a crew to this planet.

While on the planet the crew learn, this planet isn’t as safe as they had thought as they learn the deadly species waiting to be awoken along with a discovery which will give them answers about one of the mysterious of space.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

 

Characters/PerformanceWalter is the latest model of the androids that joins the mission to do the jobs humans can’t manage he is good natured and understands his mission. Daniels is the second in command after the early tragedy, she doesn’t want to investigate the new planet but soon becomes the one we must rout for once she decides to fight. Oram is your standard captain trying to take the role with his own stamp, also he is meant to be religious. The rest of the crew are what you expect.

Performance wise, well this is where things get interesting, Fassbender is fine but let’s face it he is wasting his talent in movies like these. Waterston struggles to follow in the strong leading action heroine footsteps with Crudup being easily forgettable. This does have known names but nothing that comes off truly memorable in the performances.

StoryThe story looks to follow up what happened after the Prometheus in what just feels like a complete rip off, of plenty of films, we have horribly written characters that just do panic instead of being professional in the role that would remain calm through each situation. This is a rinse, repeat film that ends up being one of the most predictable movies you have ever seen.

Horror/Sci-FiThere is little to no horror in a movie that has ALIENS in which is the whole point. The sci-fi side of the story is all what you have come to expect from the genre without being anything fresh.

SettingsThe film looks beautiful and stunning throughout but they also don’t have anything looking original though.

Special EffectsThe special effects show us the settings looking almost flawless, it is the aliens which come off weak in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor addition to the franchise of aliens, we barely see them and the science versus religion question doesn’t end up getting discussed enough.

 

Overall: Poor franchise addition that is weak in every single aspect.

Rating