ABC Film Challenge – G – The Good, The Bad and The Dead (2015)

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Sean Ryan (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Messner, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Vivica A Fox, Michael Pare, Natassia Malthe, John Laughlin

 

Plot: Brian Barnes (Johnny Messner) wakes up in the desert wounded and with no memory and no idea why he’s surrounded by eight bodies, a van with four million in cash and a van full of cocaine. Brian is pursued by not only notorious drug lord Danny Perez (Danny Trejo) who desperately want his money back, and DEA Agent Rooker (Dolph Lundgren), but also a by the corrupt Sheriff Olson (Michael Pare) who will stop at nothing to get his hand on the new found fortune. On the run, Brian discovers the more he remembers the less he wants to know about who he really is.


Tagline – Who can you trust?

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Populated Action Film

 

Story: The Good, the Bad and the Dead starts as the outlaw (Messner) wakes after a drug deal goes bad, corrupt sheriffs try to claim his prize which brings in the Enforcer Bob Rooker (Lundgren) to do the work for the Suit Imani Cole (Fox) who has been trying to stop the drug deals coming across the borders. When the drug lord Mateo Perez (Trejo) wants his drugs back, it becomes a race against time to see who ends up with the drugs, money and lives.

The race to solve the case and close the case brings us many twists which leave Outlaw Brian needing to face the facts about who he really is and what he was doing at the crime scene.

 

Thoughts on The Good, the Bad and the Dead

 

Characters – Brian Barns is the outlaw, he is left shot in a drug deal gone bad, he has no memory which leads him to need to go on a journey to first learn who he is and later how to escape. Bob Rooker is the DEA Agent tracking down the events of the shootout, he is following clues while staying on the right side of the law. Mateo Perez is the drug lord that is wants to track down who killed his son and took his money. Imani Cole is the suit trying to put the pieces together with her team. Most of the characters we meet don’t get enough development and we keep getting more characters added to complicate things.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the pure number of characters we are dealing with, nobody gets a chance to stand out or is given enough screen time to be effective for the film.

StoryThe story does try to bring us a story that has plenty of interweaving arcs, which the film doesn’t get enough time to get flushed out and then we try to make every single character seem like they are the most important character to the story. The story does try to stay fast paced which doesn’t help either because we do get a lot of scenes which involve talking and just shooting or planning which takes a lot away from the final outcome of the story.

Action/WesternThe action is by the book shooting which never feels challenging to watch and leaves you not caring too much.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings well enough for the film making none of them having any memorable scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when it comes to the wounds, but otherwise it will not become anything memorable.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequences works well.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters and twists.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly complicated and populated movie that brings in too many characters to make the twists happening.

 

Overall: Too busy.

Rating

 

 

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The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (2018)

Director: Anthony C Ferrante

Writer: Scotty Mullen (Screenplay) Thunder Levin (Characters)

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassandra Scerbo, Vivica A Fox, Jonathan Bennett, Judah Friedlander

 

Plot: Fin has to go back in time to rejoin his shark-battling friends to stop the first Sharknado and save humanity.


Tagline – History’s biggest disaster comes to an end.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Really Does Jump the Shark

 

Story: The Last Sharknado: It’s About time starts right where the last film finished, Fin (Ziering) travels back in time to destroy the first Sharknado, leading him to rich the dinosaur era, meeting old friends April (Reid), Nova (Scerbo) and Bryan (Friedlander), the friends learn they much go through time to save the world, including reaching Merlin’s castle, the American Revolution and the Wild West.

Through each time period the group must get through a critical moment in history to save the world from Sharknadoes once and for all.

 

Thoughts on The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

 

Characters – Fin is our hero once again, leading the team in the fight against the Sharknadoes. He will do anything to keep his friends safe a stop the future being changed given a second chance to help his loved ones los in the past. April returns in human form this time where she must help Fin travel through time to save the world, Nova returns once again only this time she gets to have a moment that could change her own reason for fighting sharks, while kicking ass again. Skye is a character we lost in the second outing only to become part of the tour through history.

PerformancesThe performances are being measured compared to the previous films because we know the returning performers are enjoying these roles now. Ian Ziering is good in leading role which gets us given the wildly over the top leading man. Cassandra Scerbo is the standout of the supporting performers while dealing the most through the film.

StoryThe story continues our saga of Sharknadoes, this time we get complete time travel through big moments in history, the one thing you will say, is that is does commit to what it is doing. We know the story is wildly over the top and you wouldn’t expect anything less this far along into the franchise. On the negative we don’t get enough focus on the Sharknadoes which do feel like they have suddenly taken the back burner to the bigger story. we do get plenty of big quotes from popular movies that will get thrown in your face, though if you don’t understand them you might not get what we are doing with the story. This is meant to be the final chapter in the saga and I do feel the story rounds things off nicely.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in the film gives us a chance to see how different eras would battle a Sharknado which adds to the adventure we are going through with the time travel element adding to the sci-fi chapters which are heavily borrowed from over films. The film does have a comic tone throughout which is enjoyable to watch work.

SettingsThe film takes us to different locations in time which lets the location become bigger again after the World tour last time.

Special EffectsThe effects do feel like the lowest in the franchise to date, with less sharks it just doesn’t feel strong enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Deadpool joke.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough sharks.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice finish to the franchise which will keep the fans of the previous ones happy while not going to pull in a new audience.

 

Overall: Nice finish.

Rating

 

 

Jason’s Letter (2018)

Director: Terrance Tykeem

Writer: Terrance Tykeem (Screenplay)

Starring: Vivica A Fox, Michael Pare, Robert LaSardo, Quinton Aaron, Joseph R Gannascoli, Claude Jordan, Jamol Manigault

 

Plot: This powerful film addresses the unarmed police shooting in America thru the eye’s of 2-young boys, one of whom had to give his life in order for change to even be considered.


Tagline – This is a film that will do more than any other before it to humanize young black boys, while shining a bright light on an on going problem in America.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Message

 

Story: Jason’s Letter starts as we head to a city in Delaware, the city has been having an ever-increasing number of black men and children being killed by the cops, the latest killing has bought City Hall to look for a solution, Sammi Brooks (Fox) is part of a city meeting, which has teenager Jason McKey (Manigault) has come up with a letter which he believes could end the killing problem.

As the Principal of the school is trying to figure out how to control the bad behaviour by bringing the parents into detention to see how their children act, we get to see how the white cops treat the black residents and how one council meeting is looking to bring a stop to the problems in the neighbourhood.

 

Thoughts on Jason’s Letter

 

Characters – Jason McKey is the teenager that has seen his friends killed by the police and has come up with a letter/petition to hopefully bring an end to the heartache families would be feeling, his vision could bring a change to the way the country is run and his innocent views reflect the culture that won’t be budged. Sammi Brooks works in city hall, she has been working on the problems, she is the connection that will get Jason to speak to the council. We get to meet a lot of characters in this film, parents of victims, council members and we get the generic push against the white police.

PerformancesJamol Manigault is good in the leading role of the film, he keeps the vision his character wants to feel innocent like we needed it to be. Vivica A Fox is the biggest name of the film at gets to give a good performance in the role. We do have good performances throughout the film, through the many different performers.

StoryThis story looks to find a solution for the police brutality being used on the black people in America focusing on the most innocent victims, the children. We follow the town who have been searching for a solution, which one of their own children might have come to a big, ambitious solution too. This is also one of the hardest stories to discuss without getting political, this does have the big message that needs to be addressed, the idea is big, but there are clearly certain points that paint people in one light only. The only issues with the story that should have been addressed is that not all white police officers are bad.

SettingsThe film is set in a minority black, Hispanic and Asian neighbourhood almost running in fear of the number of deaths in the neighbourhood.


Scene of the Movie –
The Letter Reading.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a brave message, though one sided.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film is a big important message about a real problem going on in America, it does show a solution which could realistically work too.

 

Overall: Important and brave message.

Rating

 

 

Idle Hands (1999)

idleDirector: Rodman Flender

Writer: Terri Hughes, Ron Milbauer (Screenplay)

Starring: Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Hensen, Jessica Alba, Vivica A Fox, Christopher Hart, Jack Noseworthy

 

Plot: A teenage slacker’s right hand becomes possessed with murderous intent.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull Lacklustre Comedy Horror

 

Story: Idle Hands starts as we meet three stoner teenagers Anton (Sawa), Mick (Green) and Pnub (Henson) who live in a small town that is in the middle of a serial killer rampage. With his parents gone missing Anton thinks nothing of this before coming to the shocking conclusion the killer is inside his house.

The killer is actually his own hand which he no longer has control over and goes on to kill his best friends. Anton must find a way to defeat his own evil possessed hand get the girl Molly (Alba) and stop demon hunter Debi (Fox) from killing him.

Idle Hands is a horror comedy that plays into the simplest levels of comedy that might have worked at the time but has dated now. The whole idea of having the evil hand can’t help but make us feel like we have seen it before at a higher level in the Evil Dead 2. Nothing about this film really does come of original or memorable which disappoints throughout.

The cast are all very much over the top with the three guys being the normal nonsense teenagers while Jessica Alba is left to be the overly sexualised female lead. As for the supporting cast, we barely get to meet most of them for long enough to make an impact.

 

Overall: Horror Comedy more like horror sleep fest

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Double Feature – Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

casting card

 

Plot: The Bride awakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her – a team she was once part of.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Soaked Action Frenzy

 

Story: Kill Bill Volume 1 starts in typical Tarantino style by having the first act being from the middle of the story as we follow the Bride (Thurman) checking off her list of names she is going to kill after her former hit squad known as the Viper Squad crashed her wedding killing everyone and somehow The Bride survived. We see how she meets Vernita Green (Fox) for a fight to the death.

As we do in Tarantino we move back to the beginning of the story as we see the brutal beating The Bride took at the hands the Viper Squad and her recovery from the coma they left her in, we see how she travels to Japan to find O-Ren Ishii (Liu) and along the way get her weapon of choice a Hanzo samurai sword. This will be the first steps on this revenge blood soaked revenge mission by the Bride.

Kill Bill Volume 1 really is only the beginning of this story, we see what has happened to The Bride and where she is heading when it comes to her revenge. We only see the first chapters with the real personal stuff coming in the next film. This keeps everything simple which is needed and in typical Tarantino style you hardly notice the time pass by.

 

Actor Review

 

Uma Thurman: The Bride was left for dead on her wedding day while carrying child by the former boss and partners in the Viper Squad, awaking from a coma she starts on her own revenge mission against the people responsible and this outing we see her go after O-Ren and Vernita. Uma is fantastic in this role which could well be the one she will forever be remembered for.

Lucy Liu: O-Ren Ishii is one of the Viper Squad, she has been killing people nearly her whole life after witnessing her own parents killed. She has risen to the top of the Yakuza with her no-nonsense style which leaves anyone that crosses her dead but she will fight the Bride with honour. Lucy is great in this role where we see her taking on a role we wouldn’t be used to seeing her in.

Vivica A Fox: Vernita Green is one of the Viper Squad with the code name Copperhead, she has now settled down starting her own family with a child that would have been about the same age as the child The Bride lost. She plays that she wants a fair fight but The Bride knows better than to trust her making this a fight to the death inside her home. Vivica is good in this supporting role.

Daryl Hannah: Elle Driver is another member of the squad that has always been against The Bride and even tries to finishes the job. Daryl is solid but really is just another supporting character ready for the sequel.

Support Cast: Kill Bill Volume 1 has a supporting cast which is mostly just O-Ren’s soldiers which are being used to show just how deadly The Bride is.

Director Review: Quentin TarantinoQuentin gives us one of the most perfect action films of recent years that even builds to the second part of the film.

 

Action: Kill Bill Volume 1 has amazing action going on with the seemingly endless final fight which takes a good half an hour.

Music: Kill Bill Volume 1 uses outstanding music to show the tone of each scene.

Settings: Kill Bill Volume 1 takes us to Japan for most of this action with the final act being inside the club.
Special Effects
: Kill Bill Volume 1 has amazing effects to show the weapons damage on its victims.

Suggestion: Kill Bill Volume 1 is one I think everyone should watch, it really is something special. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Club fight.

Worst Part: Nothing.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: This October, Go For The Kill

Trivia: As Quentin Tarantino was leaving Japan after initial location scouting and securing the studios, he heard the all girl band “The 5,6,7,8’s” playing over the store’s speakers. He was so intrigued by the music that he asked a clerk who the band was. When he was told, Tarantino, who didn’t have enough time to go to a music shop to get their CD, begged the clerk to sell him their copy. Quentin took the disc home, listened to it, and immediately signed the band to play during the “Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves” segment. All of the band’s songs, including the stand-out “Woo Hoo” are covers of early 60’s surfer songs.

 

Overall: This is really a special film that can be watched over and over.

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