James Bond Month – Live and Let Die (1973)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Tom Makiewicz (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Julius Harris, Geoffrey Holder, David Hedison

 

Plot: 007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Bond Movie

 

Story: Live and Let Die starts when three secret agencies are killed, James Bond (Moore) is set to investigation the three locations, Harlem, a Caribbean island and New Orleans. His investigations lead him to tarot card psychic Solitaire (Seymour) who is being controlled by heroin magnate Kananga (Kotto).

We watch how Bond must take on a fresh villain with his own plans to bring chaos to the world, this time lives are at risk and he must do everything he can to stop the plan from taking over America and the world.

 

Thoughts on Live and Let Die

 

Characters – James Bond is back with a slightly different look and swagger, he goes undercover in a location you wouldn’t expect to see Bond, dealing with a heroin dealing company, he still gets his girls along the way and manages to escape each person trying to kill him. Kananga is the heroin magnet with a masterplan which has involved killing undercover agents that have gotten to close to his operation, he however is obsessed with tarot cards that will help him make the right decisions. Solitaire is the tarot card reader that can see the future unless she make love, so until she meets Bond, she sees him as a way out of the control of Kananga.

PerformancesRoger Moore steps into the shoes of Bond and while he does bring a different dimension to the character, he doesn’t hit the full quality levels Connery did. Yaphet Kotto in the villainous role is good in the role without ever feeling like a complete threat. Jane Seymour is good in her role even if the character never seems to fit the complete story going on.

StoryThe story here takes James into battle against a drug lord trying to reshape the drug world, James must go through the black neighbourhoods while dealing with his voodoo beliefs and a tarot card worshiping mad man. For a Bond movie this is one of the weaker stories, not because of the performances, but because the case just seems very basic with no peril, it’s a drug lord over any mastermind world dominance plan. It does feel like a bi of a reboot with the new actor, showing him complete an easier case rather than continuing the battles against the bigger enemies, we do try to get a henchman which should bring peril, though he is more comic relief and the whole boat chase feels like something out of a comedy.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is good for the basic moments, the airplane moment is great fun, though the boat race is comical for the most part.

SettingsThe film does use more recognizable location which is nice, the Harlem and New Orleans settings stand out for this discussion because they make us feel like James is just a police detective.


Scene of the Movie –
The airport sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain, while interesting, he never feels like a threat.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Bond movie, not good one, but one you can easily watch without feeling completely out of the previous world created.

 

Overall: Simple to watch Bond.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween Kingathon – The Running Man (1987)

Banner-2logoDirector: Paul Michael Glaser

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Erland van Lidth, Richard Dawson

Plot: A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Vintage 80’s Action

Story: The Running Man starts by explaining how the Running Man game show is the most popular on television in the future before moving to Ben Richard (Schwarzenegger) and his team being forced to fire on innocent people, where Richards refuses but the mission still goes on as planned. Richards end up in a working prison where he takes part in an escape with Weiss (McIntyre) and William (Kotto) along with the prisoners escape.

When the ratings start becoming too similar Damon Killian (Dawson) starts looking for a way to improve these ratings, while Ben tries to prove his innocents only to run into feisty Amber Mendez (Alonso). Killian decides that Richards is what he show wants and makes him the latest contestant in the Running Man where Richards must take on a string of villains known as Stalkers including Dynamo, Captain Freedom, Buzzsaw, Fireball and Subzero to survive along with his friends Weiss, William and Amber.

The Running Man is one of those ultimate 80’s action films, that lets the action do the talking on screen. It should also be noted this also bought on the idea of television game shows being run by the government and leading to a revolution. While this story won’t get too many marks for the script, but when did action films need good scripts? The big plus on this film is the fact it is fun. (7/10)

Actor Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Ben Richards is the wrongfully committed man who ends up becoming the latest contestant on The Running Man but this gives him a chance to prove his innocence for a crime he never committed and lead a revolution against the government running the television network. Arnold gives one of his good typical performances where we know he will win in the end. (7/10)richards

Maria Conchita Alonso: Amber Mendez is the feisty woman that gets Richards captured but when she starts to look into the truth about him she ends up being part of the game too. Maria does a good job in this role. (7/10)

Richard Dawson: Damon Killian is the charismatic and ruthless host of the Running Man, he picks Richards to help boost the rating but this show could end up being his undoing when Richards starts taking out his Stalkers. Richard does a great job in this role as a villain that wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight against Schwarzenegger. (8/10)

Support Cast: The Running Man has a supporting cast that includes the Stalkers who are all menacing in their own way, the friends of Richards who lead the revolution and an audience that cheer along with us by the end.

Director Review: Paul Michael GlaserPaul gives us a fun filled film that still feels great to watch near 30 years later. (8/10)

Action: The Running Man has plenty of fighting action sequences along with a few chase moments. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: The Running Man gives us a look into the future where the government run the lives. (9/10)

Thriller: The Running Man keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout even if you can work out who will make it out by the end. (8/10)

Settings: The Running Man creates the bleak looking future that we could one day see. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Running Man is one to watch especially if you are a fan of classic 80’s action films. (80’s Action Fans Watch)

Best Part: One Liners.

Worst Part: Stereotyping in supporting characters look.

Action Scene Of The Film: Buzzsaw.

Funniest Scene: Subzero.

Kill Of The Film: Dynamo.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $38 Million

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: It is the year 2017. “The Running Man” is a deadly game no one has ever survived. But….. Schwarzenegger has yet to play.

Trivia: Many people who worked with Richard Dawson, on game show Family Feud (1976) say that in real life Dawson was much like his character Damon Killian in his handling of underlings.

Overall: Fun action film that best describes 80’s action.

Rating 80

Midnight Run (1988)

logoDirector: Martin Brest

Writer: George Gallo (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Richard Foronjy, Robert Miranda, Jack Kehoe

 

Plot: Bounty hunter Jack Walsh is sent to find and return bail jumper and former Mafia accountant, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas. The FBI have had no success it locating The Duke, so when Jack finds him in next to no time, they are a little embarrassed. In order to collect his $100,000 fee, Jack must take The Duke from New York to Los Angeles. However, the Mafia and the FBI have other ideas, as does Marvin, a rival bounty hunter. On their long cross-country trip to LA, the two get to know each other and they build up a strange friendship.

 

Verdict: Classic Odd Couple Road Trip

 

Story: The odd couple gets De Niro entering it for the first time (I believe, sorry if I am wrong) and all this films do they have plenty of different people chasing them, be it FBI, mobsters or fellow bounty hunters. Making the film a road trip gives it a chance to explore plenty of different locations and forms of transportation. With the bounty hunter being an honest man makes it harder for the gangsters to bride because of a previous encounter changed his career. It does turn into a good thriller that keeps you guessing on who and what they will have planned in their attempts to catch the duke. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert De Niro: Jack Walsh the honest bounty hunter and former cop, who gets assigned Jonathan by his boss. Jack ends up getting in deeper than he thought he would and bounding with the criminal doing the right thing. Good performance from De Niro showing he can keep his intensity but in a less serious role. (9/10)

 de nmiro

Charles Grodin: Jonathan the man everyone is after for stealing from a gangster and giving the money to charity. Seems like a good deed but he has enough information to bring down the whole gang and he needs to talk Jack into helping him. Good performance always trying to talk jack into letting him go. (8/10)

jpnathan

Yaphet Kotto: Alonzo the FBI who has been tracking down the man in question to help take down the mobster but unlike Jack can never seem to get his hands on him. Good but standard FBI performance. (6/10)

 alonso

John Ashton: Marvin a rival bounty hunter who has a lot lower morals next to Jack and he will step on and do anything to get the criminal. Good supporting performance. (7/10)

 marvin

Dennis Farina: Jimmy the man the FBI is trying to take down and had the money stolen from. He wants nothing more than the Duke to be killed so everything can be washed under the rug. Good villainous performance getting some good threatening lines in. (7/10)

 denis

Joe Pantoliano: Eddie the bails bonds man who hires Jack to track down the man who hasn’t returned in he required time, he plays Jack and Marvin against each other in attempts to recover his money. Good supporting performance. (7/10)

 joe

Director Review: Martin Brest – Good direction to create an odd couple action film that doesn’t become to comical but also isn’t all serious. (8/10)

 

Action: The chase scenes are good with the one in the desert being a stand out scene. (8/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing on what will happen next to the characters and by which characters. (9/10)

Settings: Moving across America we get plenty of different settings that help identify how much further than have to go. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is a classic that should be watched by all the fans of a good old school action thriller. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Desert car chase with about twenty cop cars chasing the pair.

Worst Part: A little bit slow for the modern audience.

Action Scene Of The Film: Desert Car chase.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $82 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

Tagline:  Taking The Midnight Run Is A Hell Of A Way To Make A Living.

 

Overall: Vintage Odd Couple Action

Rating 85

Alien (1979)

logoDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Dan O’Bannon (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story)

Starring: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

 

Plot: A commercial vessel Nostromo receives a distress call from an unexplored planet. After searching for survivors, the crew Dallas (Skerritt), Ripley (Weaver), Lambert (Cartwright), Brett (Stanton), Kane (Hurt), Ash (Holm) and Parker (Kotto) head home only to realize that a deadly bioform has joined them.

 

Verdict: The classic sci-fi thriller

Story: It would be fair to say when this came out it was brilliant and stand alone on the type of film. Now the story has been copied, pinched from and used to the death. This paved the way for the truly trapped horror films because the space mission means it’s the ship of nothing. The twist that comes half way through offers a surprise and of cause the mood of the film changes drastically when the alien makes its first appearance. (10/10)

 

Actor Review: Sigourney Weaver – Ripley, just part of the crew really but steps up when the alien starts wreaking havoc. In a role that will be remembered as one of the best and most iconic in sci-fi history this performance will never be forgotten. Breakout Performance Award, Iconic Performance Award, Star Performance Award (10/10)

 ripley

Actor Review: Tom Skerritt – Captain Dallas puts the team together to investigate the planet but has to step up when they don’t come back alone. Good performance showing leadership in time of panic. (9/10)

Actor Review: Ian Holm – Ash the science officer who is very distant as well as keeping a big secret from the rest of the crew. Good performance from Holm that opened a door for a twist in films that people actually have to think about. (9/10)

 holm

Actor Review: John Hurt – Kane gets a creature stuck on his face before looking like making a full recovery only to make film history. This character has one of the most iconic sci-fi horror deaths in history. Unluckiest Character Award (9/10)

 hurt

Director Review: Ridley Scott – Creates a world that no one saw coming and shows brilliant direction to create atmosphere throughout. (10/10)

 

Horror: There is no escape from a creature you have never met. (10/10)

Sci-Fi: Redefines the sci-fi genre to use true horror. (10/10)

Special Effects: Stunning special effects that even after 30 plus years still haven’t dated. (10/10)

Believability: We don’t know what is really in space until we go deeper enough. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: When it comes to horror you need great location isolation is the best as we know the characters have nowhere to run, this offers that making the setting perfect. (10/10)

Suggestion: Most films can come and go and gain a few fans, this is not one of them it is one of the first films people will say when you say sci-fi. This makes it a must watch and when you do you will be reward but I expect most of you have already seen it so watch it again. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Alien first reveal.

Kill Of The Film: Kane

Trivia: The original title was Space Beast.

Oscar Chances: Won for Best Effects.

Chances of Sequel: Has three direct sequels and a couple of versus films.

 

Overall: Masterpiece classic must see

Rating 97