Casino (1995)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Nicholas Pileggi (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak


Plot: Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia underboss and a casino owner, for a trophy wife over a gambling empire.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Long Crime Drama


Story: Casino starts as we see the rise of mobsters Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Pesci) two friends that get involved in the casino industry, Ace is the calm face of the operation keeping the casino in order with the money going to the people it needs to, Nicky does the dirty work beating down the people who go against the casino.

As Ace runs the casino smoothly along with his new wife Ginger (Stone), he keeps the casino clean making more money than he would with other the books work. Nicky continues to do the dirty work as he wants to make as much money as possible from the casinos but his methods brings in the attention of the authorities, getting himself banned from every casino in Vegas.

Over the time the two clash over business as Nicky style flashes the spotlight on Ace, leading to the two friends becoming strained and broken.


Thoughts on Casino


Characters/PerformanceAce is sent to Vegas to run the books through a casino for the mob, he keeps the business going well but when his friend Nicky interrupts the business, Ace finds himself needing to defend himself through the trial. Nicky is the hot head that joins the casino industry to keep an eye on Ace’s back but soon he finds himself trying to take over Vegas by force which leads to the problems between the two.

Performance wise, De Niro and Pesci both give great performance in what is easily their strengths the crime world, the rest of the cast do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story does balance both the stories of Ace and Nicky but you can’t help but feel this is very long, the film is nearly 3 hours long and is a giant flashback because we see Ace killed in the opening scene. This is a crime story you feel we have seen before and it was nice to see the balance between the violent and the calm reasons for running the businesses.

CrimeWatching how the crime world is run from the calm front and the violent front does come off interesting in places but is slightly rinse repeat.

SettingsVegas always makes for a wonderful setting for a crime story because we all know the vices within the city through the 70s and 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is too long for the story being told, yes the performances are good but it in the end the drawn out story feels forced throughout.


Overall: Long crime drama.





The Specialist (1994)

logoDirector: Luis Llosa

Writer: Alexandra Seros (Screenplay) John Shirley (Novel)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Rob Steiger, Eric Roberts, Mario Ernesto Sanchez


Plot: A woman entices a bomb expert she’s involved with into destroying the mafia that killed her family.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Pure 90’s Action Entertainment


Story: The Specialist starts with Ray Quick (Stallone) and Ned Trent (Woods) planting explosives as they are bomb specialists on a dam but when Ray sees a kid in the car he wants to pull the plug on the execution failing in the process. Years pass by and Ray leaves the forces with Ned also being shamed because of his action.

Ray now works as a private assassin for hire and is working for a sexy voice May Munro (Stone) on the telephone who wants him to eliminate three men who killed her family when she was a child. Ned has also gone into the private sector as he works for the Leon’s Joe (Steiger) and Tomas (Robert) bringing their enterprise into the next level of technology. May has an approach to become close enough to Tomas while Ray figures out whether he should help or not because he isn’t interested in killing anymore. Ray eventually agrees to take part as long as May agrees to follow the rules including never seeing the men again, but if he finds out she is involved he will kill her, while being track down by his old friend Ned, but not everything is what it seems.

The Specialist takes the action film in a slightly different direction because how often have we seen an action hero use bombs as his only means of attack? We usually see the bomb expert as the twisted person trying to kill people. We get the standard revenge idea but we do get plenty of twists and turns along the way that will keep you guessing from the moment Ray gets hired. I will say don’t expect too much peril put upon our leading man until the final third with plenty of planning but not action that we could have had. I think this will go down as a typical 90’s action film that will keep every fan of that era happy. (6/10)


Actor Review


Sylvester Stallone: Ray Quick is the former soldier and bomb specialist who now works as a private assassin (I think) who gets hired by May to help her take out the Mafia who killed her family, things take a turn for Ray when he finds out an old friend is working for them. Sylvester gives us the typical action star performance here. (7/10)


Sharon Stone: May Munro is the lone survivor of her family’s killing who hires Ray as well as going undercover to try and get her revenge on the Leon family. Sharon plays the femme fatale well as we know she can. (7/10)


James Woods: Ned Trent is the old friend of Ray’s who ends up getting an innocent child killed which leads to both of the men leaving the forces. He now works for the Leon family helping keep the enterprise moving forward. Ned has to work for the Leon’s to figure out who is trying to take out the family. James gives a scene stealing performance here. (8/10)


Eric Roberts: Tomas Leon is the son who May tries to get close to while undercover; she knows he was the one who was responsible for pulling the trigger on her family. Eric does give a solid supporting performance as the hot headed gangster. (6/10)


Support Cast: The Specialist has a supporting cast that all come off as generic gangster film guys who all end up meeting their maker through Ray’s skills.


Director Review: Luis Llosa – Luis gives us a typical 90’s action film that will still be enjoyed today. (7/10)


Action: The Specialist keeps the action all saved for the bomb moments with excitement happening in the final act. (7/10)

Thriller: The Specialist does keep you guessing to who is on what side throughout the film. (7/10)

Settings: The Specialist keeps the settings easy to follow as most feel like a place a high ranking gangster would be in. (7/10)
Special Effects
: The Specialist uses good effects to create the realistic looking explosion but that is the only thing it is needed for. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Specialist is one for the fans of the 90’s action movies, but don’t expect something truly special here. (90’s Actions Fans Watch)


Best Part: Hotel escape.

Worst Part: Slightly slow moving.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final scene.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Won Two Razzies.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $170 Million

Budget: $45 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Killing is his profession. Revenge is her goal. Together they take on the battle against the underworld of Miami.


Overall: This is a typical 90’s action film that doesn’t offer anything to the action genre but is entertaining.

Rating 60

Total Recall (1990)

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Titcotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell


Story When mild man Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger) is feeling bored with his life he decides to take a virtual holiday. When he starts the process things go terribly wrong and Quaid get dumped off to avoid knowledge of the process. When he comes too he is met by one of his work friends who proceeds to try and kill him. Confused Quaid must go on the run from Richter (Ironside) who is tracing his every move.


Quaid discovers he must go to Mars to discover the truth and with this the Sci-fi action adventure starts.


Verdict This Sci-fi action adventure is a bit of a classic filled with some great effects for the time of release. Having excellent re-watch value is this films strong point being it is just plain fun. This is one of Schwarzenegger’s best films and roles. All the supporting cast add to the movie in a very good way be it Richter (Ironside), Lori (Stone), Melina (Titcotin) and the villainous Cohaagen (Cox). A very ambitious movie is arguable the best Mars based film made being as ‘Doom’ ’Ghost of Mars’ are both poor attempts to create the same atmosphere on the planet.


With its impending remake due out this year 2012 starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston it only seemed like a good time to review now. The remake it clearly never going to be anywhere as good as the original and Colin Farrell in Schwarzenegger roles just isn’t going to be the same.


Overall this is one of the best Sci-fi action adventure made that doesn’t really age as it’s still just as easy to watch over twenty years later. I would personally recommend watching for the enjoyability rating it has sit back and enjoy.


Story Mark 10/10 Good story with plenty of twists and turns


Action Mark 10/10 Great action in an environment people haven’t experienced.


Character Development Mark 9/10 Every scene seems to teach you something else about Quaid’s past.


Special Effects Mark 10/10 Brilliant for its time still very good to watch,


Star Performances Arnold Schwarzenegger the role was made for him so simple for him to step into without really looking out of place.


Favourite Characters Douglas Quaid as he is strong leader, has brilliant one-liners that are still considered funny to date.


Benny the fast-talking taxi driver on Mars very good character in supporting role.


Best Part Special effects are top part but over all it nearly everything is great.


Worst Part Nothing about this film but the idea of a remake is bad much like ‘The Thing’ they both don’t need one.


Best Quote Quaid (after shooting his wife in the head) ‘Consider that a divorce’.


My Rating 94%