ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – Mercury Plains (2016)

Director: Charles Burmeister

Writer: Charles Burmeister (Screenplay)

Starring: Scott Eastwood, Nick Chinlun, Andy Garcia, Jorge A Jimenez, Justin Arnold, Justin Park, Angela Sarafyan

 

Plot: A troubled man runs away to Mexico and is recruited to join a paramilitary group of teens fighting the drug cartels. He proves himself to the group, but questions their motive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Actioner

 

Story: Mercury Plains starts Mitch (Eastwood) a young man from a dead-end town in Texas travels to Mexico with his friend Jesse (Park) they find themselves in trouble, Jesse brings Mitch to meet The Captain (Chinlund) a freedom fighter against the drug market in Mexico.

Upon joining the group Mitch learns not everything is as it seems as the rest of the group seem just like runaways looking for trouble, rather than himself just looking for a fresh start. Mitch slowly becomes the big brother figure to the rest of the boys as he learns this all feels like more of a cult rather than a legal unit.

 

Thoughts on Mercury Plains

 

Characters/PerformanceMitch leaves his abusive life with no future behind him to travel to Mexico, he does want to a job and his own life but in Mexico he joins a group that claim to be fighting drug dealers. He is turns into a mentor like character to the younger members of the group as he sees the error of the ways. The Captain leads the boys in this freedom fight but it appears he isn’t as honest as it seems.

Performance wise, this is a film designed to see if Scott Eastwood can be like his father and while he is leaps and bounds above the rest of the cast he is only good in this role.

StoryThe story does have a slow pace about it, we have elements of coming of age for the teenage boys needing to learn life lessons and seeing how Mitch evolves through the story is good to see. The problem here does come with the fact this isn’t the most interesting story and in places does just come off boring at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is very basic through the film, we don’t get much going on through the film, the adventure shows life lesson learned by the people involved.

SettingsWe have the remote settings which helps keep things low budget as the leader can make himself the king in the middle of nowhere showing us the settings working well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a largely forgettable movie that just doesn’t hit the levels it could and just becomes something you won’t care about.

 

Overall: Skip it, or regret it

Rating

 

 

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Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)

Director: Steven S DeKnight

Writer: Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin (Screenplay) Travis Beacham (Characters)

Starring: John Boyega, Rinko Kikuchi, Scott Eastwood, Adria Arjona, Tian Jing, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Tian Jing, Jin Zhang

 

Plot: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.


Tagline – Rise up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action Film

 

Story: Pacific Rim Uprising starts in the aftermath of the great war with the Kaiju, cities have been rebuilt, while others became squatter’s paradise, Jake Pentecost (Boyega) has taken to this life style, getting what he wants through stealing, not following in his father’s footsteps. When he meets genius engineer Arama (Spaeny) who has built her own illegal Jaeger unit, the get captured.

Jake is force back into the Jaeger program by his step-sister Mako (Kikuchi) with Amara being one of his cadets. When Liwen Shao (Jing) has created drone controlled Jaeger, it looks like the program has become obsolete, until they malfunction bringing the Kaiju back with a bigger and deadlier threat. Jake must put his past a side, follow in his father’s footsteps and work with his rival Nate Lambert (Eastwood) to save the world again.

 

Thoughts on Pacific Rim Uprising

 

Characters – Jake is the son of the great Stacker Pentecost, he hasn’t followed in his father’s footsteps, believing the war to be over for good, getting himself in trouble with the law brings him back into the program to train new recruits in case the Jaegers return. When they do he must become the leader his father was. Nate Lambert is the Ranger that has been working in the force for years, he enjoys training and was once a brilliant combat operator, he is the rival in the sense of having different mentality, but they both respect each other. Amara is the 15-year-old genius engineer that can build Jaeger’s like the best, she gets to become a cadet where she must prove herself to the fellow cadets. We have a random love interest, that seems to be there to add slight, weak tension between the boys, the scientists are back with their experiments and Liwen Shao is the brilliant mind behind an improved defence system.

PerformancesJohn Boyega gets to have fun in this role, his performances feels like a mix of his Attack the Block streets wise and Fin who is being brave on the outside, this works even though he does get more screen time that you think he needs for certain moments. Scott Eastwood is good in his role, its not the most difficult role to play and he doesn’t put a foot wrong. Cailee Spaeny is the new comer here, she has good chemistry for the banter with Boyega which is important between the two. No one really gives a bad performance, it is the lack of time given to Jin Zhang and Rinko Kikuchi that disappoints the most.

StoryThe story here brings us into a world which has seen the war, believed it was over and moved with life. This reflects what would happen with major disasters, parts gets rebuilt others forgotten. The idea that a tech firm wants to improve, this time by going drone warfare is something we know and have seen before, while the twist behind everything just seems random and out of place. we come into this movie to watch giant robots fight giant monsters, we get moments but for a story this felt like almost a forced sequel that believes it will become a franchise. The characters arcs are basic Jake’s has the clearest one at that.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are a mixed bag here, the big finally one, great loved how it was shot, tracking the different battles, the problem with most of the action sequences comes when we jump between non action moments, taking us out of the carnage. The adventure side comes from new people needing to prepare for a big battle, been here seen this. The sci-fi side of this is giant robots fighting giant monsters from another dimension, can you get more sci-fi than this?

SettingsThe settings show us once again that Kaiju only attack tourist destinations, like Sydney and Tokyo, we have some random time in the snow because why not.

Special EffectsThe effects do look flawless on the surface, my only issue here is watching the destruction sequences, it always feels like the buildings just vanish at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The building destruction never feels permanent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it does everything a brain switch off movie needs to, grab popcorn, don’t car about anything for 2 hours and enjoy. If you want a deep story you will be disappointed and loveable characters, look elsewhere.

 

Overall: Solid popcorn nonsense.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon Levitt Weekend – Snowden (2016)

snowdenDirector: Oliver Stone

Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Anatoly Kucherena, Luke Harding (Book)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Rhys Ifrans

 

Plot: The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Slow True Story

 

Story: Snowden starts as we follow documentary film maker Laura Poitras (Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Quinto) meet Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) who is a private contractor for the NSA giving his interview to why he did what he did.

The story begins back when Snowden was training to be a soldier only to be discharged on medical grounds and entering a career into the CIA. We see how Snowden meet his love Lindsay (Woodley) but on the other side of this life he gets to see how the minds of different people inside the CIA work leaving him questioning each decision within before he went onto exposing all the secrets from around the world.

Snowden is the story of one of the biggest whistle-blowers in American history, he gave up his whole life to show the secrets of America and other intelligence communities. This is an important part of history we haven’t fully seen the effects of yet which makes this film almost feel too early. The film moves at a steady pace but can get complicated when certain technological talk going on.

Joseph gives his ever-reliable performance as Snowden without ever looking out of place in the role. When it comes to the reporters exposing the story they all come off great without shining or coming off badly. The rest of the government characters all work well too. The truth is no one lets the film down on performances it is another film that can get caught up on tech talk.

 

Overall: This is an interesting look at how one of the biggest leaks in intelligence history happened.

Rating

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The Longest Ride (2015)

longestDirector: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Craig Bolotin (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Melissa Benoist, Lolita Davidovich

 

Plot: The lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: SO Unrealistic

 

Story: The Longest Ride starts by making me feel like this is going to be a shallow feel because the selling point for Sophia (Robertson) to go and watch bull riding is ‘hot guys’ when she clearly doesn’t want to go. To the surprise of us all Sophia meets handsome rodeo Luke (Eastwood) and enjoys herself, well boy this is going to be a hard watch.

When Sophia and Luke go on their first date they find Ira (Alda) who has had a car accident and the pair save his life and his box of memories. Sophia becomes friends with Ira (Alda) as she learns of the young love he once had.

As Sophia and Luke learn about Ira’s love story theirs blossoms even though they both know they will be going in their separate ways.

The Longest Ride gives us yet another one of these fictional love stories that would never happen but give people the unrealistic belief that it could. The only good part of this film is the flashback relationship that has the struggles going on throughout it. The leading love story is all about what you would give up for love and then boom easy happy ending no struggle to make things work between to pretty people, you know the type that annoys you.

 

Actor Review

 

Britt Robertson: Sophia is a college student about to start her dream job in New York when she meets a professional bull rider. Her life is thrown upside down when she falls in love and torn between her lifelong dream or the man who has never made her feel like this before. Britt is good in this role playing you typical dream filled romantic character.

Scott Eastwood: Luke is the professional bull fighter who has suffered a serious accident before he meets Sophia. He will not give up the ‘sport’ he loves even for the girl that changes his life. He is very traditional in how he goes about his relationship but also not willing to learn something else to get away from bull fighting. Scott is the highlight of this film where we see him make a name for himself in a leading role.

Alan Alda: Ira is an elder gentleman that the two rescue from a car accident and who Sophia turns to for all of her advice when she learns of the love story he went through. Alan is solid in this role where we get to see him in a narration style role.

Support Cast: The Longest Ride has a supporting cast with Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin playing the younger couple in the flashbacks who really shine above the rest.

Director Review: George Tillman JrGeorge gives us a good date movie but characters who are written to be too over the top and unrealistic doesn’t help the story.

 

Romance: The Longest Ride gives us an unrealistic love story that is about two people coming from different worlds and what they will would give up for love.

Chemistry: The Longest Ride doesn’t have the biggest spark between the lead couple which takes away part of the film.

Settings: The Longest Ride has an array of settings which all give us how the class between Sophia and Luke comes through.
Suggestion
: The Longest Ride is one for the date night really only. (Date Night)

 

Best Part: Ira and Ruth’s story.

Worst Part: Opening scenes are unrealistic.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $34 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

 

Overall: Unrealistic story about love which will pull people in.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Texas Chainsaw (2013)

texasDirector: John Luessenhop

Writer: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kirsten McCallion (Screenplay) Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan (Story) Tobe Hooper, Kim Henkel (Characters)

Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen

 

Plot: A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just What is This?

 

Story: Texas Chainsaw starts right were the original 1974 classic ended with Sheriff Hooper (Barry) coming to arrest Leatherface leading to a stand-off against the Sawyer family with the local town’s people burning the house to the floor.

Move forward in time (we don’t know how many years though) where we meet Heather (Daddario) who receives the news that her grandmother has died, only to find out she was in fact the baby of the Sawyer family. Heather sets off with her boyfriend Ryan (Songz) best friend Nikki (Raymonde), Kenny (Malicki-Sanchez) to Texas and along the way they pick up hitchhiker Daryl (Sipos).

We do go through a large amounts of really stupid questions being asked including ‘Why didn’t you tell me I was adopted?’ ‘how could you not tell me I was part of that murderous (My choice of words) family?’ after nearly running over Daryl ‘where you heading’ ‘do you want a lift’ before Daryl offers to pay for the lift. Really this interaction has already made me hate this film and we have barely even got started. Time to get back to the real story going on.

Once in Texas Heather discovers the home she has been left the friends get ready for a party only to learn they are not alone in the house that Leatherface (Yeager) still lives in and he wants to be left alone. We end up having to watch as the friends get picked off one by one by the deranged killer.

Texas Chainsaw really tries to give us a sequel to the original completely forgetting the remakes that could have been a building block for this. I am hugely disappointed with this one because Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most iconic horror films of all time. We get disposable characters and stupid question and decision making from start to finish. The fact we have Leatherface kill the friends before teaming up with his relative to get revenge on the town makes NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER. We could have the revenge film, fine I will accept that but having him kill the innocent members first then become the good guy just doesn’t work. I could easily go on about how wrong this story really is but I am getting tired of moaning about this one.

 

Actor Review

 

Alexandra Daddario: Heather just so happens to inherit the house where Leatherface lives, she brings her friend there for what she thinks will be a dream home only to find herself in the middle of a nightmare but it is her own family she never knew she has which is the true shocking reality Heather must face. Alexandra fits the leading role well, being the beautiful damsel in distress, but won’t get into the acting.heather

Dan Yeager: Leatherface is the icon that went on a killing spree years ago and long thought to be dead. Well he isn’t and now he lives in the house Heather inherits and just so happens to be related to her. He is bigger, faster and deadlier that ever. Dan makes for an imposing Leatherface character.leather

Trey Songz: Ryan is the boyfriend of Heather who goes along on the journey only to find himself having to fight off Leatherface. Ryan really is just there as one of the friends the character offers very little to the main story with only a small side story that he is having a fling with Heather’s best friend Nikki. Trey does all h can with such a poorly written character.

Scott Eastwood: Carl is the young officer in the town that helps Heather fight off Leatherface, he comes off as the friend officers always trying to do the right thing which is the complete opposite to others officers we meet or is he after something else. Scott doesn’t get used enough for where his character goes.

Support Cast: Texas Chainsaw has a supporting cast that really is just disposable for the main story.

Director Review: John LuessenhopJohn takes this in a different direction but loses all of the tension this original once had.

 

Horror: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t have the scare factor it should have with it going down the action horror film genre.

Thriller: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t have any tension which is needed for this film.

Settings: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t make any settings stand out with where the film goes.
Special Effects
: Texas Chainsaw has a couple of good effects but you can almost see the CGI gore which is disappointing.

Suggestion: Texas Chainsaw is one to avoid and if you are a fan of the original don’t even look at the case. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Camera phone blood trail follow.

Worst Part: Story.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No, maybe another reboot.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Won 2 Awards (Including Worst Film) and nominated for 7 more.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $34 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Evil wears many faces.

Trivia: Originally, a plan for a new trilogy was pitched. The films would be released out of chronological order, with the second film coming out first and being set almost entirely in a hospital. The next film would be a prequel explaining the events that led up to the hospital scenario. The third film would complete the storyline. Fearing it was too ambitious and risky, the producers opted for a follow up to the original instead.

 

Overall: Terrible sequel to one of the best horror movies or all time.

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