Ticker (2001)

Director: Albert Pyun

Writer: Paul B Margolis (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Steven Seagal, Jaime Pressly, Nas, Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, Peter Greene

 

Plot: After a San Francisco detective’s partner is murdered by Northern Irish terrorists, the officer joins the bomb squad in order to bring them to justice.


Tagline – When the countdown hits zero, you’re dead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Explosive Nature

 

Story: Ticker starts as Detective Ray Nettles (Sizemore) sees his partner killed in a routine investigation, this sees him join the bomb squad under Frank Glass (Seagal), who has been tracking explosives terrorist Alex Swan (Hopper) who was involved in the senator’s murder a year ago.

When Ray arrests Claire Manning (Pressly), Alex will do anything to get her out of the station, it means he will start playing games with the police forcing Frank to use he own knowledge to take down the terrorist.

 

Thoughts on Ticker

 

Characters – Detective Ray Nettles sees his partner killed in a routine investigation into open warehouse, he needs to try and put his career back together after a previous incident, this could be the case which sees him needing to work with the bomb squad to take down a terrorist. This will give him a redemption that he is determined to have. Alex Swan is the terrorist bomber that has been targeting the city, he ups his aggression once one of his people is taken by the police, he proves to be dangerous to everybody in the city. Frank Glass is the bomb expert that has years of experience taking down bombs, he has been working on this for years and wants his own redemption too. Claire Manning is the woman arrested, she has her own past with Alex that is planning on just being left as the target for Alex.

PerformancesTom Sizemore does his best in what is a poorly written film, he is the only one that looks like he is interested in being here. Dennis Hopper can’t keep his Irish accent up and it soon turns into a parody of what we know he can do. Steven Seagal was never really the star of acting, he doesn’t even get to do any action in this film though. Jaime Pressly does try too but we don’t get enough of her character in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a down on his luck and life detective that must work the bomb disposal unit to track down a terrorist who has been planting bombs around the city. This does complete the basic check list required for the cop needing to redeem himself after personal tragedy, learning to work with others again and dealing with a villain that will do anything to complete their job. The relationship between Ray and Frank is hard to watch because they don’t seem to actually be talking to each other, while the third act twist just doesn’t seem to come to anything satisfying when you think about it. It all falls into late night TV action story, nothing deep, but easy enough to watch.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is mostly just explosions, they are shot for shock value over anything else, which is what the crime side of the film tackles with a terrorist trying to take control of the city.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which gives us easy stock footage to use in the background to fill time, but for the most part you wouldn’t even know you were there.


Scene of the Movie –
Ray trying to disarm a bomb.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of chemistry between Ray and Frank.

Final ThoughtsThis is what you would have to call, a basic late night action movie that just doesn’t get going or give you anybody to be invested in.

 

Overall: Basic action.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – U – USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Cam Cannon, Richard Rionda Del Castro (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter, James Remar, Brian Presley, Yutaka Takeuchi

 

Plot: During World War II, an American navy ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine leaving 890 crewmen stranded in shark infested waters.


Tagline – Based on a true story of survival.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Confusing

 

Story: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage starts when the USS Indianapolis is selected for a new mission, Captain McVay (Cage) must lead his ship solo in an attempt to deliver weapons on the secret mission, the ship can handle any ship or plane, but the weakness comes from submarines, which they usually have destroyers to help with.

After completing the mission they are returning home, when the ship gets torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the men get scattered in the ocean with limit supplies and sharks waiting to pick them off, this turns into a battle to survive in wait for rescue.

 

Thoughts on USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

 

Characters – Captain McVay has the respect of the crew, they know they can trust him, they know he will treat them well, he is part of the crew that is sunk, he will make sure his men are safe taking control in a fair way where everybody is given the same, he will spend his time searching for more crew. McWhorter is one of the crew that gets injured in the sinking, he fights through with McVay by his side. Lt Adrian Marks is a pilot that manages to finally find the crew while searching for lost planes. We do meet way too many crew members to keep on top of who was who in this film, which only confuses us while trying to keep on top of the cast.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is the highlight of the performances and he ends up making certain scenes feel like a comedy. Tom Sizemore does all he can, while Thomas Janes doesn’t have enough time to do anything. The overly large cast just makes everything confusing, making it hard to judge any of the performances.

StoryThe story looks at the history behind the USS Indianapolis sinking after delivery the weapons that bought about the end of the war. The story should be one that brings historical survival moment to life, instead we spend way too much time following too many characters just stranded in the water, which I understand is a big part of what happened, but seeing the political side of the story felt a lot more interesting. This is a story that does seem to end up falling into one that drags for way too long, we are left wondering just why we need to end up seeing too many characters, which makes it difficult to support any of the characters involved. This is hard to say because we know this really happened and these were real people of the horrors of war.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film is war based which is solid enough, to tell the historical moment at the end of the war.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the ocean as the survivors need to wait in hope of rescue, surrounded by sharks with limited supplies.


Scene of the Movie –
Court Case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis should be a much better movie when you see just how serious the story should be, sadly moments feel like comedy and it is hard to keep up with he pure number of characters involved.

 

Overall: Misses the point.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Paparazzi (2004)

Director: Paul Abascal

Writer: Forry Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Tom Sizemore

 

Plot: A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.


Tagline – It’s time to settle the score.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flashy Action Flick

 

Story: Paparazzi starts when rising star Bo Laramie (Hauser) has his break out action film, seeing him become an overnight sensation in Hollywood. This new fame brings more cameras on his life, with vultures known as the paparazzi, while most respect his privacy, one group led by Rex Harper (Sizemore) push the boundaries, trying to take photos of his family, Abby (Tunney) and son Zach.

When the vultures push Bo into a car chase, his family is injured in a car crash, turning Bo to the police trying to get them away from his family. The rivalry between Bo and Rex starts putting Bo’s new career in danger, forcing him to make his own plans to end the paparazzi following them.

 

Thoughts on Paparazzi

 

Characters – Bo Laramie is a rising star in Hollywood, he is about to have his first hit making him an overnight sensation, the talk of the town. He is also a family man off the screen, finding it difficult for him to balance the celebrity lifestyle and personal on. He gets targeted by the paparazzi, who want to bring him down, trying to hurt his family, he will do what needs to be done to keep his family safe against the paparazzi. Abby is the wife of Bo, she is a teacher and isn’t prepared for the gossip magazines that are showing the life of her family. Rex Harper is the leader of the paparazzi ring, he knows how the push the buttons of Bo to gather more stories and starts targeting him after he learns that he has triggered him.

PerformancesCola Hauser does give us a strong performance in the leading role, he look like a typical movie star which was needed for this role. Robin Tunney is the concerned wife, she does everything needed without doing too much difficult. Tom Sizemore does make for great pick for a seedy paparazzi reporter, you believe he is trying to make the life hard for Bo. Dennis Farina as the detective plays right into his wheelhouse as a former police officer.

StoryThe story follows a rising Hollywood star who becomes the target for the paparazzi who try to make his life a living hell, until they injury his family forcing him into his own revenge against them. This does fall into the revenge thriller which gets played along with a celebrity dealing with somebody trying to risk his family for a couple of photos in a magazine. The idea the celebrity is getting followed around by the paparazzi isn’t new, we do get cameos from actors that have had issues in the past too. This plays out just like you would imagine and will make you care about the characters motives being against the vulture like paparazzies.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is restrained because we can’t have anything over the top, it is mostly small fights and chases. The crime side of the film shows just how the life of the actor is being affected by the criminal actions of the paparazzi.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is the place where you would see the most type of paparazzi behaviour like this.


Scene of the Movie –
Rex learns his fate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The police would surely be able to offer more than they give Bo in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the paparazzi look to try and control the celebrities with photos and just how they will look to get revenge for risking their family.

 

Overall: Great action thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – D – Wyatt Earp (1994)

This is fitting in with the D for ABC Film Challenge because of the involvement of Doc Holliday.

 

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: Dan Gordon, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, David Andrews, Linden Ashby, Jeff Fahey, Joanne Going, Mark Harmon, Bill Pullman, Tom Sizemore

 

Plot: The story of Wyatt Earp as he interacts and battles other famous figures of the Wild West era.


Tagline – The epic story of love and adventure in a lawless land.

Runtime: 3 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Biopic

 

Story: Wyatt Earp starts as we meet young Wyatt who has been growing up in the shadow of his father Nicolas Earp (Hackman), he has been to war and doesn’t want his children to follow in his footsteps. Wyatt grows up to becomes a well-respected young man who wants to become a constable while finishing his education.

When his life is shattered after his wife dies of illness, Wyatt falls into the drink nearly losing his life in the process, saved, reformed, Wyatt becomes one of the most feared lawman in the land cleaning up the city of Dodge before meeting Doc Holliday (Quaid) as they look to take over the town of Tombstone.

 

Thoughts on Wyatt Earp

 

Characters – Wyatt Earp is one of the most iconic names in western history, we get to see how he went from lawman educating himself, to drunken mess, to skinner, feared lawman that most outlaws were scared off. His thinking was before the time of the wild west which showed with how he handled bringing down confrontation at the quickest possible chance. Doc Holliday is another lawman, he is dying which has made him disliked within his field with only Wyatt working with him. Nicolas Earp is the father of Wyatt who has shown him how to live his own life, he puts Wyatt back on his right path when he needs him most. We get to meet plenty of characters along the way here, be it the brothers of Wyatt, the men he takes under his wing, the wives and the outlaws causing the problems in the towns.

PerformancesKevin Costner is brilliant in the leading role, he had the epic long films down in the 90s, this shows just how he could pull of these films with ease. Dennis Quaid is great to watch to bring us a character that is larger than life. Gene Hackman might only have a small role, but he makes a big impact. We do have a wonderful cast that is filled with big name actors, everyone is great too.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Wyatt Earp as he rose up to become one of the most feared lawman in western history. We get 3 hours to learn the ups and downs he faced in life, from trying to become an educated man, to grieving man, to fearsome strict lawman. We see how he made friends and enemies along the way, how his methods were before the time with the no guns allowed in the towns and how he would shoot first. This is a story on epic level because of the scale of the years being followed and even at the 3-hour runtime, it doesn’t seem to get bogged down in anyway.

Adventure/Biopic/WesternThe adventure side of the film shows us just how Wyatt would travel to make a change in the towns he stepped into. We do follow Wyatt from childhood, to his time in Tombstone which will see him do things other lawmen couldn’t get done. For westerns this is easily one of the best you will see in the modern era, making you feel like you are part of the towns involved in the film.

SettingsThe film is set out in the wild west, with Dodge and Tombstone being the two main settings, they do show use the increased scale between the two and how they can become overrun by outlaws.


Scene of the Movie –
Tombstone shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have too many characters at times it is hard to remember who is who.

Final ThoughtsThis is an epic scaled western with great performances throughout, it does tell the life and times of one of the most famous lawmen and keeps the enormous length feeling like it is flying by.

 

Overall: Epically long western.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus

 

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie

 

Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.

 

Thoughts on Black Hawk Down

 

Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.

 

Overall: Must watch war movie.

Rating