McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.


The Bank Job (2008)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, Alki David, Michael Jibosn


Plot: Martine offers Terry a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London’s Baker Street. She targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don’t realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets – secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal.

Tagline – Based on a true story

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Overly Busy Heist Film


Story: The Bank Job starts when former lover Martine Love (Burrows) turns to Terry Leather (Statham) to do a bank job which can get him out of his debts and start a fresh life, Terry puts together a team including Kevin (Moore), Dave (Mays), Guy (Faulkner), Bambas (David) and Eddie (Jibson) for a Foolproof plan.

The job does seem easy, but Terry doesn’t know that Martine is working for the government who are trying to get condemning evidence back and that Terry is just a pawn in this game, can they get the job done without being caught?


Thoughts on The Bank Job


Characters – Terry Leather is a car salesman in London, he has amounted debts which will see his business go under if the loan sharks don’t get to him first. He has worked on small crimes before, but a former lover offers him a job he can’t turn down, one that can get him out of his problems once and for all. Martine is the former lover and model who has been assigned to steal the photos from the safety deposit box in exchange for charges being dropped, she picks Terry and his team to get the job done, not giving away her own side of the deal.  Kevin and Dave are two members of the team doing the robbery, the two closest to Terry which gives us the friendship being put on the line between the men.

PerformancesJason Statham as a wise talking Londoner this sounds like something he can do well, he looks the part, you could see him in the underworld without needing to use his muscles either. Saffron Burrows can make herself the model figure that uses her looks to get a job done. When we look at the supporting cast, they all handle their roles well through the film.

StoryThe story follows a group of Londoners that get offered a chance to commit a bank robbery to get out of the area only to find themselves in the middle of a much bigger operation to retrieve photos which can be used to bring down important political figures. This is a heist story which does have an extra edge because it isn’t just about the job, it is about the bigger picture which puts the rich and famous live into chaos. While we do have a lot going on, which is part of the idea because the chaos is meant to be getting out of control once the robbery is complete, though it does feel like we see too much to keep up on at times.

Crime/RomanceThe crime is set-up to work perfectly well and goes well, it is the aftermath which shows us just how chaotic the crime world can become for the people who commit the robbery or have been robbed.

SettingsThe film is set in London which shows us just how corrupt certain parts of the city can be at times and if you are the right person, you can get around like nothing is happening.

Scene of the Movie –
The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much going on post-robbery.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very busy heist movie, it does work with just how much is going on which is good, though it isn’t as relaxing as a lot of heist film can be.


Overall: Heist film that keeps everything going on.




Cocktail (1988)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Heywood Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon


Plot: A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Barely Dated a Day


Story: Cocktail starts a Brian Flanagan (Cruise) returns from the services and heads to New York looking to walk into a successful job on wall street, he gets rejected everywhere due to his lack of qualifications. Finding a job in a bar as a bartender where he learns the art of the cocktail from Doug Coughlin (Brown). While studying he finds, himself failing once again but his cocktail reputation grows.

When Brian and Doug decide, they want to go into business together and open their own cocktail bar, but their friendship is broken and Brian goes out on his own to Jamaica to make the money to have his own cocktail bar. Falling in love with Jordan (Shue) he decides to let her go to following in Doug’s footsteps and marry a rich woman, but love will have control over him.


Thoughts on Cocktail


Characters/PerformanceBrian is an ex-service man that finds it hard to get a job without qualification, wow if this isn’t a relatable character or what? Brian finds to make money as a cocktail bartender but his friendship and romantic personality changes his path. Doug is the teacher to Brian, he teaches the tricks of the trade and how to get away with everything. Jordan is the woman that Brian falls for but only finds a way to make a mess of it.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is good in this leading role showing that he was always going to be a big star for years to come. Bryan Brown is good in his role with Elisabeth Shue doing a good job through the parts of the film she is in.

StoryThe story here isn’t the most important thing going on here as it isn’t the most interesting part of the film. The part of the story that does stick out is the fact we see how hard it is to find a job without qualifications. There is a romantic angle which is fine without being anything stand out in the film and the success the guy faces also works well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is light in places but nothing fancy, the romantic side is something we have seen before but is mostly about a guy that screws up and gets a second chance somehow.

SettingsThe settings all work for the film showing the New York setting, the Jamaica setting as well as the high life and lower life the characters find themselves in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable movie that has poor scores everywhere but it is hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it.


Overall: Enjoyable film.




No Way Out (1987)

logoDirector: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Robert Garland (Screenplay) Kenneth Fearing (Novel ‘The Big Clock’)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Howard Duff, George Dzundza, Jason Bernard, Iman, Fred Dalton Thompson, Leon Russom


Plot: Tom Farrell (Costner) is a navy officer who gets posted at the Pentagon and is to report to the secretary of defence David Brice (Hackman). He starts an affair with Susan Atwell (Young) not knowing that she is Brice’s mistress. When Susan is found dead, Tom is assigned to the case of finding the killer who is believed to be a KGB mole. Tom could soon become a suspect when a Polaroid negative of him was found at Susan’s place. He now has only a few hours to find the killer before the computer regenerates the photo.


Verdict: Suspense Thriller


Story: What starts out as a simple investigation into a murder, that we know who did it gets turned into an attempted cover up leaning more into a frame. We know who committed we know who saw but the eye witness has to work the crime to prove the other man was guilty. Being trapped in the Pentagon working the case without being a loud to leave keeps everything tightly together. This is unusual as we know everything about the crime but we have to watch as each side figures out how to expose or create a truth. Add in a twist ending that makes things seem even tenser you get yourself a very good thriller. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Kevin Costner: Tom the navy commander who gets the promotion to help work a connection case between the senator and secretary of defence. He ends up falling in love with the secretary of defence’s mistress and has to prove he murdered her when they are all after the other man, him. Good performance from Costner. (8/10)


Gene Hackman: David the secretary of defence who kills his mistress but instead of going to the police he is talked into covering it up and framing it on her new lover. Good performance that doesn’t take away anything from the more villainous role involved. (8/10)


Sean Young: Susan the victim who is quite happily a mistress but falls in love with a complete stranger. Good performance for a totally bitch woman performance. (7/10)


Will Patton: Scott the man behind the cover up, thinks he is on top of everything and quite willing just to sweep it all under the carpet to keep his man in power. Good performance from Will showing a political villain. (8/10)


Director Review: Roger Donaldson – Good direction to create a tense thriller throughout. (8/10)


Action: A couple of foot races is about as far as you get for action but they are good for the time it was made. (6/10)

Crime: The crime solving is not up to us but it more about trying to get their own truths out. (9/10)

Thriller: Thrilling throughout keeps you are the edge of the seat. (9/10)

Settings: Being trapped in the Pentagon is good setting to create the thrilling story. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one to give a go, I think the fans of the thriller genre will enjoy but it may be a bit slow starting for the more casual viewer. (Give It A Go)


Best Part: The final foot chase through the pentagon.

Worst Part: Bit slow starting up.

Believability: Cover ups happen all the time and this could very much be a true one. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $35,509,515

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: A tightly would and engrossing thriller!


Overall: Well Created Thriller

Rating 75

Dante’s Peak (1997)

logoDirector: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Leslie Bohem (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Jamie Renee Smith, Jeremy Foley, Elizabeth Hoffman, Grant Heslov, Tzi Ma


Story: Harry Dalton (Brosnan) is a volcanologist and after a tragedy refuses to stop working to stop more people losing their lives to volcanos. While on forced vacation he gets the call to go to a small town to check out the dormant volcano. The town called Dante’s Peak has just been name the second most desirable place to live in America. Mayor Rachel Wando (Hamilton) has to show Harry around and after his assessment he wants to put the town on alert, unfortunately his boss refuses to cause a panic until more evidence is gathered. After the worst happens Harry must race against time to save Rachel’s children before the volcano finally erupts


Time to get out before the lava gets them

Time to get out before the lava gets them

Verdict: A disaster film that packs plenty of punches, showing how Mother Nature can take back what was hers.

Story: This story at the time was all the rage with the likes of ‘Twister’ ‘Deep Impact’ ‘Volcano’ ‘Armageddon’ but now the disaster film almost gets over looked or way over done ‘2012’ for one. In truth this is a good story about one man’s chance at redemption. You will need to suspend your disbelief when it comes to some of the sequences along with any science you know can be thrown out the window. (8/10)


Actor Review: Pierce Brosnan – Harry is a great character he has the knowhow on how to judge volcanos and also has enough guts to make the big decision. Pierce was fresh of his debut as James Bond in Goldeneye and was just starting to be considered a lead man, this film continues to show why he is and not just making him 007 fighting a volcano. Star Performance Award (9/10)



Actor Review: Linda Hamilton – Rachel is a strong leader on a town, knowing how everyone in the town thinks as well as making sure everything decision made is right for her people. She also works in a variety of jobs and being a single parent. Linda plays the role great and after a string on poor performing films after Terminator 2. Favourite Character Award (9/10)


Director Review: Roger Donaldson – Being best known for his action films in the early 90s he took a chance on alternative films, This film follows ‘Species’ and shows that Roger does know how to take on a different genre without too much trouble. (8/10)

Action: Good action sequences throughout which lead to the car versus the Volcano at the end. (9/10)

Thriller: Keeps you very interested in what is going on but never really reaches the edge of the seat level until late in the film. (7/10)

Settings: A beautiful small town under a volcano fits perfect for the film show how feeling so safe can make you more vulnerable. (9/10)

Suggestion: All action disaster fans will enjoy but the more serious viewer will not find this too interesting as the story never challenges the mind. If you want an action film that will keep you entertained this is one for you to see. (Give It A Go)

Volcano Erupts

Volcano Erupts

Best Part: Car versus the Volcano.

Worst Part: Flaws in the story like the stubborn old lady.

Favourite Quote: Harry ‘I’ve always been better at feeling out volcanoes than people and politics’.

Trivia: Roger Donaldson once studied geology.

Similar Too: Volcano, Twister

Overall: A disaster film that like a volcano never stops erupting.

Rating 82%