ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco


Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.

Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller


Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.


Thoughts on Vertical Limit


Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.

Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.


Overall: Survival Film at its best.




Oscar Isaac Weekend – Sucker Punch (2011)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn


Plot: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.

Tagline – You Will Be Unprepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Sexy & Stylish


Story: Sucker Punch Starts when Babydoll (Browning) is se to a mental institute by her evil step-father, looking to cope with this new world, she creates an alternative reality where the other patients Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) entertain clients for Blue Jones (Isaac) the orderly who in this world is a gangster.

Babydoll has a plan to escape which involved winning over the girls, most support him, while Sweet Pea isn’t so happy to go along with the plan, with each performance putting the girls in a life or death situation outside of the current reality.


Thoughts on Sucker Punch


Characters – Babydoll is thrown into a mental home after trying to defend her younger sister from their abusive stepfather, here she knows she has five days before it is lights out, which means she must plan her escape, which sees her create alternative reality where she can escape the hands of the people who will end her life. Sweet Pea is the eldest the girls in the home, she is most opposed to going through with the escape plan, believe it will get the rest of the girls in trouble. Rocket is the first of the girls to let Babydoll in after being rescued by her, she guides her around the home teaching her just what they need to know to survive. Blondie and Amber some off as the two naïve of the girls as they will go along with any idea which would make their lives easier. Dr Gorski looks after the girls preparing them for their performances. Blue Jones is the one that runs the club, an orderly in the home that holds the key to the only exit.

PerformancesEmily Browning in the leading role fits the part perfectly, we needed her character to look the youngest of the group. Abbie Cornish fits the oldest of the girl’s role well too because she see her vulnerable side through the film, while trying to be the strongest. Jena Malone plays the middle ground between the girls well as we see just how conflicted her character becomes through the film. When we get into the supporting cast, we do know that we performances that fit the film without looking out of place in any point in the film.

StoryThe story can be cut down to a simple escape plan movie, that would be the simplest way to describe the story, only this isn’t a simple movie. It creates worlds, within worlds to cope with an impending outcome for Babygirl. The idea that we jump into other realities does help the film feel a lot more enjoyable because the wildly imaginative ideas only improve the story, even if it could have borrowed from many subgenres. While this does have a comic book feel and you could easily see more chapters being added to make more adventures, it does have to go down as original in the story front, something that shouldn’t ever be criticised.

Action/FantasyThe action is massive set pieces each one from a different eras from a samurai to war, they all work and feel unique to this film, which is filled with fantasy ideas of just what the characters use to create the world they can fight through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just where the girl’s minds will go through the performances, each one makes the mission to escape feel like we are fighting for something.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic, they show us just how you can create something this visually stunning no matter how big it could be.

Scene of the Movie –
Dragon fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blondie and Amber are too similar.

Final ThoughtsThis is a truly ambitious movie, it shows us just how you can make an original movie which will completely go against anything you believed you would be seeing.


Overall: Brave, ambitious, wildly over the top, what more could you want?




Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)

grizzyDirector: David Hackl

Writer: Guy Moshe, J.R. Reher (Screenplay) J.R. Reher (Story)

Starring: James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn, Michaela McManus, Billy Bob Thornton, Adam Beach


Plot: Two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Monster Movie


Story: Into the Grizzly Maze starts when Rowan (Marsden) returns to his home town to search for someone believed to be lost in the famous Grizzly Maze. He gets a chance to make amends with his estranged brother Beckett (Jane) who just so happens to be one of the sheriffs in town along with Sully (Glenn). When the hunting teams have been illegally hunting bears, but one bear has been taking humans out in the most violent ways possible.

Douglass (Thornton) a bear expert wants to go and hunt this killer bear while Beckett is against this he needs to go and protect his wife Michelle (Perabo) who is in the maze and his brother but who will make it out the maze alive?

Into the Grizzly Maze really does come to the simple concept of man against nature as we have our small group of survivors trying to get away from a killer bear. The story does come off as a way to try and campaign against hunting which I know I wrong in its own right. I found myself actually cheering for the bear because the most of the human characters are the reason why the bear is acting the way it is. I personally found this an easy watch with the story but found myself getting slightly annoyed with the way the bear only attacks the disposable characters and letting our main characters getting enough time to react.


Actor Review


James Marsden: Rowan returns to town to find a guide who had been helping poachers that has gone missing in the woods, he knows the woods better than most people but having to spend time with his estranged brother Beckett shows the different mind-set both have about the bears. Rowan wants to get into town and out before anyone he knows, knows he is back in town. James is solid in this role but is never the most convincing in the character’s actions.

Thomas Jane: Beckett is the deputy in town that has been going out of his way to make sure the bears are tagged and protected from hunters. He remained in the town while his brother left, but when the bears start attacking people he must find his wife and brother in the maze and stop the killer bear. Thomas is an actor who has battled sharks but this time he is just the sheriff in the town nothing special.

Piper Perabo: Michelle is the deaf wife of Beckett, she spends plenty of time in the woods trying to stop hunters plans but this is a bad day for here when we learn the killer bear is fighting back. She must use her experience to survive with the rest, but for some reason she reacts to sounds. Piper does ok but sometimes seems to forget her character is deaf as she reacts to the sounds.

Billy Bob Thornton: Douglass is a hunter that has been hunting bears for years, he knows how to track them and stay out of trouble. He hunts for the killer bear with just his horse and gun. He isn’t afraid to kill anything that gets in his way. Billy is good as we only see him in spells because of the nature of his character.

Support Cast: Into the Grizzly Maze has a supporting cast which mostly are disposable with Kaley being there just so the better known actors don’t get hurt early on.

Director Review: David HacklDavid gives us an easy to watch action horror that isn’t the most challenging but simple.


Action: Into the Grizzly Maze uses the action side of this for the bear attacks which all come off quite realistic throughout.

Horror: Into the Grizzly Maze puts our characters in the battle for their lives which is the horror side of the story.

Thriller: Into the Grizzly Maze does keep us guessing to wonder what will happen next.

Settings: Into the Grizzly Maze puts us into the middle of the woods which is a great setting for this to take place in.
Special Effects
: Into the Grizzly Maze has average effects, the basic attacks all look good but when we see the kills the CGI is clear.

Suggestion: Into the Grizzly Maze is one to try, it is an easy watch that could be enjoyed by all. (Try IT)


Best Part: The bear.

Worst Part: CGI

Action Scene Of The Film: Final act.

Kill Of The Film: Final one.


Believability: Parts could happen even though this goes onto a bigger story.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: Hunt or be hunted.


Overall: Easy to watch monster creature feature that keeps you on edge till the end.



Buffalo Soldiers (2001)

logoDirector: Gregor Jordan

Writer: Gregor Jordan, Eric Weiss, Nora Maccoby (Screenplay) Robert O’Connor (Book)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Anna Paquin, Elizabeth McGovern, Michael Pena, Leon, Gabriel Mann


Plot: A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Forgettable ‘Comedy’ Drama


Story: Buffalo Soldiers starts by introducing Ray Elwood (Phoenix) who is having a problem with his dreaming of falling, he is part of a military base in Germany. Cue the introduction of the macho men all trying to one up each other before an accidentally death of one of the soldiers. Ray secretly sales whatever he can on the black market and is the go to guy for both the locals and the soldiers.

When the autopsy comes back on the soldier’s death Colonel Berman (Harris) starts to panic about the idea of drugs on the base, this will put a spanner in the works for Ray’s business. When a chance shipment of arms comes into Ray’s hand he decides to enter into the arms race with the brand new weapons. The make matters worse for Ray a new Sergeant Lee (Glenn) decides to try and clean up the barracks starting with trying to get to the bottom of all of Ray’s plans. Ray deciding to come back in his own way by dating his daughter Robyn (Paquin) ends up stuck in battle of one up man ship while avoiding conflict with a rival dealer on the base.

Buffalo Soldiers really ends up falling into a lot of things I hate about films, first we have the excessive drug use which you all know I really hate in film. I do understand that it is important to the storyline but I would like to think soldiers were doing more than just making drugs or getting stoned. I did like the idea of the wheeler and dealer through the army but the film never settles on which genre it wants to be or which battle is the most important. It all comes off very bland and forgettable once it is all finished. (3/10)


Actor Review


Joaquin Phoenix: Ray Elwood is the wheeler and dealer on the base, he can get his hands on anything and makes sure he can sale it on for a profit. The men all turn to him for their stuff but when a strict Sergeant turns up on the base his worlds starts changing leaving him battling to stay in control. Joaquin shows why he was the lead actor with a strong performance that doesn’t have the cocky level I feel it needed but otherwise looked confident through every scene. (7/10)


Ed Harris: Colonel Berman is the laid back Colonel looking towards his retirement who is also good friends with Ray even if he doesn’t know what he is doing on the base. Ed does a good job but doesn’t get enough screen time for my likely. (6/10)


Scott Glenn: Sergeant Lee is the strict new man on the base who targets Ray and his man before things start getting personally when Ray starts dating his daughter. Scott starts strong but ends up fizzling out to a generic strict father figure. (5/10)


Anna Paquin: Robyn Lee is the daughter that catches the eye of Ray before they get involved in a relationship against her father’s will. Anna shows she was coming into her own during the time of release with this role. (6/10)


Support Cast: Buffalo Soldiers has a big supporting cast that includes the fellow soldiers who both work with and against Ray.


Director Review: Gregor Jordan – Gregor gives us an average film that doesn’t have any truly memorable scenes but doesn’t completely go down as bad. (5/10)


Comedy: Buffalo Soldiers doesn’t really have too many funny moments the high tank drivers was the highlight for me. (3/10)

Crime: Buffalo Soldiers does put the characters into an underworld of crime throughout. (5/10)

Thriller: Buffalo Soldiers doesn’t manage to pull us in enough to make us truly care what happens to all the characters. (4/10)

Settings: Buffalo Soldiers creates authentic settings for the time period being used. (7/10)

Suggestion: Buffalo Soldiers is a late night television job, I couldn’t recommend this to anyone to watch fresh. (Late Night TV)


Best Part: High tank drivers.

Worst Part: Not enough happens.

Funniest Scene: High tank drivers.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: War is hell… but peace is f*#!%!! boring.

Trivia: Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on 9 September 2001. The events that happened two days later effectively killed the film’s chances of distribution within the United States.


Overall: Very average at best.

Rating 40

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

logoDirector: Tony Gilroy

Writer: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy (Screenplay) Tony Gilroy (Story)

Starring: Jeremey Renner, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz


Plot: Following the events of the original Bourne trilogy a new hero Aaron Cross (Renner) has be activated but with the system trying to hunt him down and terminate him. Aaron goes on the run with Doctor Marta Shearing (Weisz) while ruthless operative Col Eric Byer (Norton) runs the operation to stop him.


Verdict: Action packed thriller

Story: Entering into a world of arguable the best action series of films in recent years is always going to be hard. The introduction of Aaron Cross offers a chance to look more into the science behind the more advanced soldiers. The man hunt side of the story is nothing new and I feel it takes a little while to get going but once it does its edge of the seat stuff. (7/10)


Actor Review: Jeremy Renner – Aaron Cross one of the next generations of the Jason Bourne operatives. Jeremy does a good job stepping into the role but never reaches the same levels as Matt Damon. Action Star Award (8/10)


Actor Review: Rachel Weisz – Marta Shearing one of the doctors who tests the subjects but after surviving an attack at the lab she teams up with Aaron to escape from the people after them. Good performance but you have to question why she is doing a supporting role in another action film when she can lead alternative films. (7/10)


Actor Review: Edward Norton – Eric Byer charged with closing down tredstone and eliminate everyone involved in it. Good performance dominating the screen whenever he is on it. (8/10)


Director Review: Tony Gilroy – Stepping up from just the screenplay writer for the whole series he does a good job directing the latest instalment. (8/10)


Action: When the action final starts it is some of the best you will see. (10/10)

Thriller: Edge of the seat throughout. (9/10)

Believability: The government will cover anything that makes them look bad up. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Some good settings most notable Manila for the final action sequence makes it feel very unique. (8/10)

Suggestion: I would say any action to watch they will enjoy it, but I feel you have to have seen the first three to really enjoy and fully understand what is going on. (Watch)


Best Part: The hauntingly frightening scene in the lab.

Worst Part: Bit slow to start with.

Action Scene Of The Film: Manila scene.

Kill Of The Film: The Larx operative

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes with rumours about joining Aaron and Jason together is one.

Similar Too: The Bourne series


Overall: Strong action thriller

Rating 80