Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – H – Hudson Hawk (1991)

Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Steven E de Souza, Daniel Waters (Screenplay) Bruce Willis, Robert Kraft (Story)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, Richard E Grant, Sandra Bernhard

 

Plot: A cat burglar is forced to steal Da Vinci works of art for a world domination plot.


Tagline – Watch your step. Hold your breath. Hang on for dear life. And catch…the hawk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Crime Comedy

 

Story: Hudson Hawk starts when Hudson (Willis) is released from prison, only to be drawn into committing one more burglary with his partner in crime Tommy Five-Tone (Aiello). The next day Hudson learns that not everything was as simple as just stealing a horse figure.

Hudson learns that the piece that he steals is involved in the world dominations and follow a strange amount of events, finds himself working for Darwin Mayflower (Grant), stealing the great works of Da Vinci.

 

Thoughts on Hudson Hawk

 

Characters – Hudson Hawk is a cat burglar that even after getting released from prison ends up back in the world of crime, only after stealing the first piece of art, he ends up needing to battle a world domination plan which takes him to the most famous art galleries in the world. he is wise-cracking that often on makes his own holes deeper without trying to. Tommy Five-Tone is the best friend of Hudson and does work with him on the crimes, he is often the butt of most of the jokes going on through the film. Anna Baragli is a nun that is undercover trying to stop the Da Vinci crystals coming together, she pushes off the flirts from Hudson who doesn’t learn her true place until too late. George Kaplan is the head of the CIA team tracking down Hudson, he knows each move he makes and will follow him to every location the job takes him too.

PerformancesBruce Willis really struggles with anything comical and this shows just how badly he handles this material, Danny Aiello does ok with the supporting comic moments. Andie MacDowell looks lost in this role for the most part, with only James Coburn seemingly knowing his place in the film.

StoryThe story follows a cat burglar that gets given a job which soon sees him travel the world forced into helping criminals try to claim world dominance. The story here does feel very messy, it might well surprise where things go, but they do end up feeling completely random and make you feel like you are watching a sketch show rather than a coherent story. this is just a story that becomes difficult to watch and will end up making you lose interest quickly in the film.

Action/Crime/Comedy The action plays into the comedy, we have silly moments throughout the film which try to get laughs and fail to achieve this, we do enter a crime world that does feel like it will just be robbery before getting out of hand.

SettingsThe film does use the locations of the famous galleries from around the world for the main locations, with each needing to used for the latest robbery.


Scene of the Movie –
The first robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy is a big miss throughout the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sloppy comedy that misses more often than it hits, it feels like a drag to watch and completely miss-cast movie.

 

Overall: Sloppy throughout.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Steven E de Souza, James V Hart (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora’s Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Sequel

 

Story: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starts when Lara Croft’s (Jolie) latest treasure hunt ends up with her team killed and her treasure stolen by Chen Lo (Yam) who is willing to sell the orb to arms dealer Jonathan Reiss (Hinds) a former MI6 agent turned evil, that wants to use the orb to locate Pandora’s Box which could bring about the next viral apocalypse on the world.

Lara working with MI6 is joined by disgraced former agent Terry Sheridan (Butler) as per her request as they race around the world to unlock the truth about Pandora’s Box before it ends up in the wrong hands.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

 

Characters – Lara Croft the treasure hunting heroine that travels the world to locate the treasure of the world before they fall into the wrong hands. She is still the kick ass resourceful heroine we know, we see how her connections around the world can help and hinder her quest. Terry Sheridan is the disgraced former MI6 agent, he is granted freedom for information and his former connection with Lara puts him in the middle of the two sides. Jonathan Reiss is the arms dealer that wants Pandora’s Box to be able to sell to the highest bidders to create chaos in the world. he knows how to get results and is happy to kill anyone that crosses his paths. Bryce and Hillary return in the same roles getting the laughs and doing the background work Lara. Kosa is one of the many connections that Lara has around the world, they are good friends after the previous work and respect between the cultures.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie continues to be great in the role of Lara Croft, she had the perfect look for the character and handled the swagger about the character perfectly well. Gerald Butler is good as the shady partner to Lara through the film, giving us rough around the edges figure. Ciaran Hinds is good in the villainous role even if the character is everything you would expect them to be. Barrie and Taylor continue to give the humour when needed. The rest of the cast are fine as they just fill the role required.

StoryThe story here follows Lara Croft on her next treasure hunt where she faces a new shady society lead by weapons dealer who wants to unlock the power of Pandora’s Box. We get to see her globe trot as she is aided by MI6 to locate the mysterious and deadly item. This does continue keep us in the peril filled situations, the idea that Lara has connections around the world to make treasure hunting possible, the shady organisation and treasure that could cause major destruction to the world. This doesn’t test us to the same levels as the first film because as it ends up just following the same formula.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is big as we have bigger stunts going on through the film including a motorbike sequence along the Great Wall China, flying through the streets of Hong Kong and giant monsters in Africa. The adventure does take us around the world once again which is what we want, but we don’t get enough in tomb locations.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world as we see different locations some iconic, some secret tombs with historic stories.

Special EffectsThe effects are weaker than last time without taking us too far out of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Great Wall motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Tomb location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel that the fans of the original should enjoy, but if you didn’t like the first one you won’t be enjoying as much.

 

Overall: Solid enough for a sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Another 48 Hrs (1990)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: John Fasano, Jeb Stuart, Larry Gross (Screenplay) Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E de Souza (Characters)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Brion James, Kevin Tighe, Ed O’Ross, David Anthony Marshall, Andrew Divoff, Bernie Caser

 

Plot: Jack Cates once again enlists the aid of ex-con Reggie Hammond–this time, to take down The Iceman, a ruthless drug lord operating in the San Francisco bay area.


Tagline – Here they go again. Only faster. And tougher.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Humour

 

Story: Another 48 Hrs starts as Jack (Nolte) is desperately trying to track down the Iceman, a drug dealer roaming San Francisco, but his latest bust goes wrong leaving him up for man-slaughter charges, with only one clue, a picture of Reggie (Murphy) who is about to be released from jail who now has a bounty on his head, placed by the Iceman.

When the Iceman’s hitmen including Ganz’s brother Cherry (Divoff) come after the pair, they must reunite to bring down the deadliest drug lord in San Francisco area.

 

Thoughts on Another 48 Hrs

 

Characters – Jake Cates has continued his grizzled ways, now he has focused on capturing a drug lord known as the Iceman, but finds the Internal Affairs on his back for his reckless behaviour turning to the only person he can trust Reggie. Reggie is fresh out of jail after being framed into a longer stint, but now he is free, he finds himself being targeted by the drug lord forcing him to work with Jack once again. Cherry is the brother of Ganz who is know being paid to kill Reggie for the Iceman, he turns this into a personal vendetta against Jack too. Blake Wilson is the Internal Affairs agent that is searching for a way to put Jack in jail for his reckless behaviour.

PerformancesNick Nolte is solid in this role, he makes us feel like we are watching a man on edge too. Eddie Murphy tries to bring more energy to this performance which only leaves him not reaching the marks we know he could. Divoff makes for a good villain on the same sort of level of Remar as the next level of psychotic. The actors playing the cops are what you expect through the film.

StoryThe story does continue to build from the last film, it shows the consequences from the previous action to build a bigger world, while also falling into more of the same because we are expecting to see something bigger, but it is just odd couple team up to take down criminals. We do have the story about how the two could swap places with Jack facing criminal charges and Reggie becoming free. The final outcome of the film does see strange when you take into account of the original film too.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action does feel bigger, we get a lot more shoot-ups and moments of chases too, the crime does feel bigger too with criminals coming from different corners of the world. The comedy is the biggest disappointment here, we have fleeting moments of humour, but nothing comes off with any true effect.

SettingsWe stay in San Francisco for the film which makes for a good choice for a crime story to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Basketball.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lacks any strong moments of humour.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak sequel to an enjoyable first outing, it does feel rushed and loses the humour the first one had. The crime side of the film does try to world build which is good, but we lose out with a strange ending.

 

Overall: Disappointing sequel that doesn’t hit the marks.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – 48 Hrs (1982)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O’Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly

 

Plot: A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.


Tagline – When a tough cop has a cool convict as a partner and 48 hrs to catch a killer, a lot of funny things can happen in . . . 48 HRS.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: 48 Hrs starts as Ganz (Remar) gets broken out of jail while on work detail by Billy Bear (Landham), he heads off to clean up old debts leaving cops bodies in his path of destruction. It doesn’t take long for Ganz to clash with detective Jack Cates (Nolte), where Ganz forces Jack into a difficult situation.

Jack must go to prisoner Reggie Hammond (Murphy) a wise cracking con man to help track down Ganz using his street knowledge. In what is an unlikely partnership turns into something special as the two find a way to get to the bottom of the crime.

 

Thoughts on 48 Hrs

 

Characters – Jack Cates is a grizzled cop, he gets the job done with his experience keeping him in high regard. He must stop the killer using criminal Reggie Hammond as the best chance to catch this killer. Reggie Hammond is a criminal near the end of his stint in jail, he is wise-cracking fast-talking meaning he can bullshit his way out of any situation he finds himself in. He uses this chance of time out of jail to settle a few scores. Elaine is the girlfriend of Jack who is tired of not making things serious between the two. Ganz is the killer on the loose, after his break from prison, he has a short-temper which causes his itchy trigger finger to fire on any enemy he comes across.

PerformancesNick Nolte is a great choice for a seemingly warn down cop, he takes the non-sense style needed for the role and goes with it. Eddie Murphy was one of the most popular stand-up comedians at the time, this was his film debut and he handed it very well, bringing his own energy to the role which could have been something we have seen before. James Remar is good as a villain because it is a character we have seen before, but he really convinces in this role. There is a negative here, that is Annette O’Toole, which to be fair isn’t her fault because the character is written so poorly

StoryThe story follows a cop and a criminal work together to stop another criminal, yes this is a buddy cop movie. We have unlikely partnership which must work together to get the common goal. This is a story we have seen plenty of times since and it seems to be a hit or miss through the years, but this does keep things simple enough to enjoy not looking to throw us any surprises along the way.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action is by the book for cops and criminals, nothing is over the top and mostly comes off like you would expect. The crime world is the cop needing to work with the criminal that is the best chance to catch a cop killer. The comedy comes from the odd pairing that must work together.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which always seems to be a great location for any crime comedy world to unfold.


Scene of the Movie –
Settle this with fists.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ganz seems a lot easier to catch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good buddy comedy that bought us Eddie Murphy to the big screen. We get the action and comedy without being buried with one too often and most importantly we are entertained.

 

Overall: Great fun action comedy.

Rating