ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating

 

 

Christmas Weekend – Silent Night (2012)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Jayson Rothwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Rick Skene, Ellen Wong

 

Plot: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Remake

 

Story: Silent Night starts in this small town where deputy Aubrey Bradimore (King) is forced to work Christmas Eve by Sherriff Cooper (McDowell), the town is overrun by Santa’s but we learn early on that one of them is killing he residents.

As the bodies start to build up Aubrey and Cooper must track down this serial killer Santa that has a past to the town that has caused the vengeful nature of the killer Santa.

 

Thoughts on Silent Night

 

Characters/PerformanceDeputy Bradimore is expecting Christmas off but that changes when she is forced into work, her day gets worse when a serial killer Santa starts killing people and she must face her worries to take down this killer. Sheriff Cooper is the heartless boss of the cops, he expects them to be good at his jobs and will stay loyal to them when they are in danger. The killer Santa is menacing through the film with his increased size making him a threat to anybody who gets in his way.

Performance wise, Malcolm McDowell is always a good for a horror film and he is solid throughout the film. Jaime King continues her run in horror remakes and is solid through the film too. The rest of the cast are fine but most only have the odd scene.

StoryThe original Silent Night Deadly Night is something of a cult classic now and these are the type of horrors you don’t mind getting a remake happen. This time we don’t get enough of the backstory to why the Santa has gone on the rampage, we also don’t have the best written characters as they all come of plain and the kills are all created to try and push some boundaries in the slasher kill list. The strong point is that this all happens over one day.

Comedy/Horror/MysteryCertain parts of the film will give you a laugh, this does include some of the kills too, the horror side is all slasher and a joy for the fans but does lack any suspense. The mystery comes into this one as we want to know why he is killing people.

SettingsThe small town setting does make for a good choice because the cops all know the victims and understand the trauma the families would be going through.

Special EffectsLooking at the effects the practical kills are good throughout but a couple of shots look very awkward CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for all the slasher horror fans to enjoy, I can’t see a mainstream audience wanting to see this film. most of the kills are not Christmas related which you feel is part of the ongoing joke of this style of film too.

 

Overall: Drunk Slashing Enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Miles Chapman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Xiaoming Huang, Jesse Metcalfe, 50 Cent, Wes Chatham, Chen Tang, Jaime King

 

Plot: Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world’s most impenetrable prisons. When his most trusted operative, Shu Ren, is kidnapped and disappears inside the most elaborate prison ever built, entirely computerized and constantly changing shape, Ray must track him down with the help of some of his former friends.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Boring

 

Story: Escape Plan 2: Hades starts as Ray Breslin (Stallone) sees his team Shu Ren (Huang), Like (Metcalfe) and Kimbral (Chatham) go wrong resulting in the death of a team member. We pick up one year later we travel to Bangkok where Shu Ren is watching over his cousin Yusheng Ma (Tang) and things don’t go well as Shu Ren ends up in Hades, a new state of the art prison known for a zoo for inmates to fight.

Shu Ren uses his training to survive and plan the escape with Luke, while Ray looks to make contacts including Trent DeRosa (Bautista) to help conduct the big rescue attempt in the new prison that no one seems to be able to escape from.

 

Thoughts on Escape Plan 2 Hades

 

Characters – Ray Breslin is the man that runs the security team, we met him in the first film, he has created a team that can do the job for him and for the most part in this movie he is trying to figure out where his team is and how to get them out, his narration to Shu keeps him relevant in this film. Trent DeRosa is an old friend of Ray, he has the connections in Bangkok which brings him to Ray side, though he is mostly just here for the tech side of things. Shu Ren is the student of Ray, he has been learning how to conduct himself in the solution of the escaping from prisons and now he must put all his lessons together to figure out how to escape. Luke is another student, he is reckless as times, but will work for the team, Hush is the connection around the world with his hacking skills and Jasper is the teammate that gets let go only to end up in the prison with Shu Ren.

PerformancesWhen we come to the performance, we need to understand certain factors, first Xiaoming Huang is the star of this movie and he is good, but his character is written to handle things strongly, but seems to come off weak when it comes to knowing what he is doing. Stallone is mostly the mentor in this film, he gets a couple of scenes though he isn’t involved anywhere near as much as the first film and looks like he is here for a pay check. Dave Bautista is one of the hottest action stars in Hollywood now, he is completely wasted in this role, which is sad because he could be the star is written correctly.

StoryThe story continues to follow the lives of security expert Ray Breslin who along with his team can break out of any prison, we enter a new computerised prison with state of the art protection system which should be uncrackable. We do focus on one of the students Shu Ren more than Ray this time as he goes over the rules we learnt first time in the battle to survive the prison. If we look at the story, it does feel slow paced for the most part and doesn’t get going enough, we compromise on characters we know to cover up the lack of screen time the originals have and the prison never really feels like a prison. The whole escape seems rushed and you will not believe in anyway they won’t make it. 

ActionThe action when it comes to the fight sequences are good and you can see they bought in Xiaoming Huang for the fight sequences. The shooting scenes are fine, but nothing overly interesting.

SettingsThe film puts us in the new prison, though it is so computerised it never feels like it would be real. Outside the prison it is all generically forgettable location.

Special EffectsThe effects are not impressive either, because we do get moments of computerised electricity to contain that look bad.


Scene of the Movie –
Give big Dave a gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ray is barely in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bad sequel, it does come off slow and boring for the most part and is hugely miss sold on the idea Stallone is the star of the movie.

 

Overall: Sequel not worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Scream of the Banshee (2011)

screamDirector: Steven C Miller

Writer: Anthony C Ferrante, Jacob Hair (Screenplay)

Starring: Lauren Holly, Lance Henriksen, Eric F Adams, Marcelle Baer, Edrick Browne, Leanne Cochran, Thomas C Daniel

 

Plot: An archaeology professor unearths a dangerous artefact, unwittingly releasing a creature that is able to kill with the power of its bone-splitting scream.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Horror

 

Story: Scream of the Banshee starts in 12th century Ireland as we see an evil vanquished before moving to present day. We get to meet researcher Professor Isla Whelan (Holly) and her students Shayla (Baer), Janie (Cochran) and Otto (Haberkorn) who are getting the latest project ready.

When the team discovers a box from the 12th century they discover the head inside which unleashes a terrifying scream before vanishing. When the research team start getting haunted by the banshee they must locate former professors Samuel Page (Adams) and Broderick Duncan (Henriksen) for answers on how to stop the creature.

Scream of the Banshee plays into the screaming banshee myth which is the first time I have seen this in a horror movie which I am happy to see. The problems do build from that though because the story makes a big point of this being an Irish myth and sets the film in America almost randomly. We get the banshee that can only attack when you scream but in the final act it doesn’t seem to matter so we have built up nicely on for it to end playing against all of the rules created earlier in the film. The overall story is easy to follow so just enjoy the kills and look into an interesting myth.

 

Actor Review

 

Lauren Holly: Professor Isla Whelan leads an archiving team at the university who discover a 12th century box with a head inside. Once they open the box they start getting haunted by the banshee as she needs to rebuild her crumbling relationship with her daughter. Lauren is solid in this role but the character doesn’t seem to be as big of an expert as we are led to believe.

Lance Henriksen: Broderick Duncan is a former professor who was obsessed with the box so much so that he has become a fanatic theorist. Lance is the big name in the film even though we don’t meet his character in person till the final act.

Eric F Adams: Samuel Page is the former assistant to Duncan who doesn’t want anything to do with but once he starts also getting haunted by the banshee he must help the researchers find Duncan to put a stop to everything. Eric does a basic job as the character telling more of the story.

Support Cast: Scream of the Banshee has a supporting cast which are mostly made up for the students who just become disposable as the story unfolds.

Director Review: Steven C MillerSteven give us a horror that looks into Irish folk law to get the horror but has one too many false jump scares.

 

Horror: Scream of the Banshee plays into the jump scares of horror as we see each character getting haunted with jump scares coming in nearly every scene but often too many times.

Settings: Scream of the Banshee throws us into the university style settings to start with before moving out, the settings don’t really have any impact on where the story actually goes.
Special Effects
: Scream of the Banshee has solid effects throughout while not everything is jaw-dropping it all works for the concept of the film.

Suggestion: Scream of the Banshee is a late night television experience that can be enjoyed by the horror fans. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Banshee idea works.

Worst Part: Certain inconsistency in how the banshee acts.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: She hasn’t been out for a thousand years.

 

Overall: Simple horror that does all it needs to.

Ratingcard