Archive for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Looking for an evening of high-brow, intellectually stimulating, cinematic entertainment done with sophistication and panache? Look elsewhere! This riotous sequel has very little plot and scads of deliciously vulgar, politically incorrect and just plain idiotic humor as presented by the master of rubber-faced lunacy, Jim Carrey. As a sort of prologue, the great pet detective is assigned to rescue a racoon stranded on a steep Himalayan hillside. After much danger, Ace manages to reach the stranded critter only to accidentally send it hurtling to its death. Devastated, poor Ace enters a Tibetan monastery to search for peace. His quest is interrupted when a British emissary arrives and begs him to head for Africa

What people are saying:

Nature Calls in this Ace Ventura sequel, and it’s answered by the law of diminishing returns” 2 stars

“Warner Bros. doubled the budget for this sequel in 1995. For their trouble, they got half as funny a film.” 1 star

“The first six unnecessary minutes are skippable. If you didn’t skip it, luckily it’s forgettable as the film goes on, which it’s in somewhat level that it’s better than its predecessor by being funnier.” 3 1/2 stars

“I just discovered that many people and Critics disliked this movie, in reality it is a 4 start movie it is very silly at times, but this is a movie me and my dad have quoted for over 20 years it is hilarious. It is so strange how for the longest time we talked about how much better When Nature Calls was than the first one only for me to find out now that Critics did not feel that way at all. There are way to many quotable hilarious scenes in the movie to not give it a chance, I feel it remains funny throughout the run time, still love it and quote it to this day.” 5 stars

“It’s just as good as the first. This sequel has even more ridiculous moments that are impossible to achieve, but what do you expect in a Jim Carrey movie? It’s just as funny as the first with the jokes but I liked the setting and plot better in the first one. But the humor is just as good.” 4 stars

Suicide Squad

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the aftermath of Superman’s death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.

One of Waller’s intended recruits is Flag’s girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch-goddess known as the “Enchantress”. Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother Incubus to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.

Harley’s homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails Dr. Van Criss into disabling Harley’s bomb. On approach, the squad’s helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress’ minions. They eventually manage to fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress’ siege.

The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard upon Dr. Van Criss disarming the bomb. However, Waller’s men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller’s whereabouts, Enchantress’ minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller’s confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath Incubus. El Diablo embraces his abilities and manages to distract Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.

The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress’ heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress’ weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress’ heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash against her role in Enchantress’ rampage in exchange for access to the government’s files on the expanding metahuman community.

REVIEW:

With all the superhero movies out there today, shouldn’t we start having some that put the spotlight on the supervillains? That is what the idea behind Suicide Squad is, I believe. No matter what side of the fence you are on regarding this film, you can’t deny that it brought some new characters to the big screen. Regardless of that fact, though, one must wonder if this worth the time to watch or would it be better to just find clips on Youtube.

What is this about?

In this thrill-packed visit to the dark side of the DC Comics universe, a covert government organization drafts a team of jailed supervillains to carry out black ops missions in return for clemency.

What did I like?

Harley. A lot of people don’t know or don’t realize that Harley is actually a pretty young character. She was created originally for Batman: The Animated Series and gained so much popularity that she was written into the actual comics. Now you see her almost as much as you see major Batman adversaries such as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc. When I saw that Margot Robbie was set to play her and saw her costume, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. At least we got the easter egg with her in the jester outfit, though. Also, Robbie is doing her best to keep the Jersey accent that Harley is known for, and I can appreciate that. Now, the chemical bath thing, I’m not so sure about, but I can let that slide.

No longer in the Arrowverse. I think it was in season 1 or 2 of Arrow that audiences were given a fairly decent take on Floyd Lawton, otherwise known as Deadshot. Just as we were starting to get used to the guy, they kill him! Turns out that was so they could have him for this film. Truth be told, I like Will Smith’s version better, as a person. As the character, I would go with the guy from the tv show. Still, Smith stepped out of his comfort zone a bit and played a villain, and he deserves kudos for that (and not dragging his no-talent son into this with him).

Amanda Waller. This is the second time Amanda Waller has been portrayed on the big-screen. Third if you count that chick that play her on Arrow. In Green Lantern, she was played by Angela Bassett, but I didn’t get the villainous vibe from her there. In this film, Viola Davis plays her and it very much feels like she would shoot you in the face as well as shake your hand. The duplicitous nature of this character is what makes her so interesting and I am very glad they really played it up in this film. Hopefully we’ll get more of her in future DC films.

What didn’t I like?

Killer Croc. I’m not the biggest fan of Killer Croc. The only time his character has really impressed me is in the first Arkham Asylum game where he chases you through the sewers. I know its just a game, but that was some terrifying stuff when I went through it the first time. The main reason I don’t like this Croc has to do with his design. I’ve always preferred him to be more of a giant reptile type creature, rather a normal size dude with bad skin. They could’ve at least done something about making him more of a threat height wise.

Cholo. The whole film has this L.A. gangster vibe that I wasn’t feeling. A couple of characters can fit that mold, such as El Diablo, but everyone didn’t need to be tatted up throwing around gang signs and whatnot. The Joker is the worst culprit! I know this is Jared Leto’s interpretation of the Joker. More power to him! The whole tatted up, slicked back hair, and the silver grill…nuh uh! These things are not the Joker! That’s some cholo mess right there!

Just put the mask on! Once again we have a case of a major star cast as a character who wears a mask 99% of the time, but refuses to wear it except for a couple of scenes. Smith’s excuse in the film is that “people die when I wear it.” This is coming from an assassin! WTF?!? Put the damn mask on and be Deadshot, or find another role! I’m so tired of these diva actors who are “too good” to wear a mask because they think we won’t see their face!

Final thought on Suicide Squad? I didn’t expect to like this, to be honest with you. I had heard bad things when it was released this summer and, coupled with my busy schedule, just didn’t bother going to see it back then. Finally getting a chance to watch it tonight and I have to say that I enjoyed myself. If those reshoots they did were to add some action and comedy in, then I’m all for it. Had this film been another ultra-serious, brooding, dark film like everything else DC has put out, im likely to have jumped off a bridge! With that said, do I recommend this? Believe it or not, yes I do. This isn’t a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it worth a watch.

4 out of 5 stars

Pompeii

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The movie opens with scenes of the bodies of victims of Pompeii encased in magma as quotes on the destruction are made.

In 62 AD Britannia, a tribe of Celtic horsemen are brutally wiped out by Romans led by Corvus. The only survivor is a boy named Milo whose mother Corvus personally killed. The boy is captured by slave traders. Seventeen years later, a slave owner named Graecus watches a class of gladiators battle. He is unimpressed until he sees the grown Milo, a talented gladiator the crowds call “the Celt.” Milo is soon brought to Pompeii with his fellow slaves. On the road, they see a horse fall while leading a carriage carrying Cassia and her servant Ariadne. Milo kills the horse to end its suffering and Cassia is drawn to him. Cassia is the daughter of the city ruler Severus and his wife, Aurelia, happy to have her back after a year in Rome. Severus is hoping to have the new Emperor Titus invest in plans to rebuild Pompeii but Cassia warns him of Rome becoming more corrupt. A servant named Felix takes Cassia’s horse for a ride only to be swallowed up when a quake from Mount Vesuvius opens up the Earth under him.

At the gladiator arena, Milo soon has a rivalry with Atticus, a champion gladiator who, by Roman law, will be given his freedom after he attains one more victory. The gladiators are shown off at a party where Corvus (now a Senator) tells Severus the Emperor will not invest in his plans but Corvus will. It turns out Cassia left Rome to escape Corvus’ advances as he desires her for his wife. When an earthquake causes horses to become excited, Milo helps calm one down. He then takes Cassia on a ride, telling her that they cannot be together. Returning to the villa, Corvus is ready to kill Milo (not recognizing him from the village massacre) but Cassia pleads for his life. Milo is lashed for his actions and Atticus admits respect for the man as they prepare to face each other at the upcoming festival.

To punish Milo, Corvus orders him killed in the first battle and wicked trainer Bellator convinces Graecus to sacrifice Atticus as well. The two men, and other gladiators, are chained to rocks as other gladiators come out as Roman soldiers, to recreate Corvus’ “glorious victory” over the Celts. Working together, Milo and Atticus survive the battle, Atticus realizing the Romans will never honor his freedom. During the battle, Corvus forces Cassia to agree to marry him by threatening to have her family killed for supposed treason against the Emperor. When Milo and Atticus win, Cassia defies Corvus by holding a “thumbs-up” for them to live and he has her taken to the villa to be locked up. Claiming an earthquake is a sign from Vulcan, Corvus has his officer Proculus fight Milo one-on-one. Their battle is interrupted when Mount Vesuvius erupts, creating quakes that cause the arena to collapse, sending Milo and Proculus crashing to the jail levels. Milo opens up the gates to allow his fellow gladiators a chance to attack, Proculus escaping while the gladiators kill Bellator. Seeing Corvus fallen under a collapsed beam, Severus tries to kill him but is stabbed by Corvus, who escapes.

The volcano unleashes balls of fire across the city as the populace tries to flee to the harbor. One fireball destroys a ship killing the escaping Graecus. Aurelia tells Milo that Cassia is at the villa before dying. Milo races to the villa to rescue Cassia, saving her but Ariande is killed when the villa collapses into the sea. Corvus and Proculus kill civilians blocking their path to safety. Atticus tries to reach the harbor but a tsunami created by the volcano smashes into the city, destroying the outer walls and smashing apart ships, Atticus barely rescuing a girl and her mother from the tidal wave. Reuniting with Atticus, Milo suggests searching the arena for horses to escape to the south. As the gladiators face Roman soldiers at the arena, Cassia sees to the bodies of her parents only to be abducted by Corvus. Atticus has Milo chase after the chariot carrying the two while he faces off against Proculus. The Roman manages to mortally wound Atticus but the gladiator rises up to break the blade and use it to kill the soldier.

Milo chases Corvus across the city, both barely avoiding balls of fire and collapsing roads and buildings. Cassia manages to free herself before the chariot crashes into a temple. Milo and Corvus battle it out in a duel as a fireball destroys the temple. Cassia chains Corvus to a building as Milo declares that his gods are coming to punish the Senator. Milo and Cassia ride off as a wave of ash and fire races from the mountain to wash over the city, burning Corvus to a crisp. At the arena, Atticus proudly meets his fate, proclaiming he dies a free man. At the city outskirts, the horse throws off Milo and Cassia. Milo tells Cassia to leave on her own but instead, she sends the horse off, not wanting to spend her last few moments running. She and Milo kiss as the volcano’s fury washes over them. The last shot is of the duo’s bodies encased in solid magma, locked in an eternal embrace.

REVIEW:

Over the holidays, I first saw a trailer for Pompeii, and ever since then, I’ve been trying to learn a little more about what happened there by watching some documentaries on Netflix. I’ll cover those a little bit later, if I think about it, but here is a spoiler about this film, spoiler alert, EVERYBODY DIES!!!!

What is this about?

In the days leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, a slave on a ship headed for Naples is determined to get back home to save the woman he loves, as well as his best friend, who is a gladiator trapped in the city’s coliseum.

What did I like?

Gladiator. So, the filmmaker decided to tell a story that happens the days leading up to explosion of Mt. Vesuvius (correct me if that is the wrong volcano). One of the things he decided to do was take a page from the Spartacus TV show that was so popular before the death of its star. Gladiators take center stage for a good portion of the film, complete with matches and being used as sex slaves. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would agree with this, but it turns out that this gave us some action while things were stirring up there on the mountain.

Laying in wait. With the gladiator fights, love story, and the hint at what life was like in Pompeii scenes ended, there would be a scene showing the mountain rumbling, giving the audience notice that it is there and while we may be watching some action drama for a disaster flick. Personally, I thought this was a nice touch, as the whole reason we’re even watching this film is to see the horrible fate that befell the city of Pompeii.

Run for your life. Now, before I go any further, I should let it be known that my stomach literally erupted at the same time as the volcano and I was fighting off sickness, to no avail. I was able to catch most of the exciting action that took place after the volcano erupted and was spewing flaming rocks towards the city of Pompeii, buildings falling into the sea, ships being destroyed as they attempted escape, etc. Watching these people run for their lives was a sadistic treat for me, especially as I was sitting in pain there in theater.

What didn’t I like?

Not Caesar. I know everyone loves Kiefer Sutherland because of that overhyped show, 24, but I have yet to see this guy do anything blow me away. This role as a villainous senator from Rome just has him as a token antagonist for a film that doesn’t really need him. The opening scene with him murdering the Celtic rebellion was supposed to do something towards making him (and the Romans) a credible bad guy. Thing is, he is chewing up the scenery so much, it is hard to take him seriously as anything more than your typical moustache-twirling villain, which if he had one, I’m sure he’d have been twirling it. This guy does nothing that we haven’t seen from other villains in other films, so why should we care?

No sangre. Let’s go back to the gladiators for a wee bit, shall we? Watching Spartacus, Gladiator, and even the Kirk Douglass Spartacus, to an extent, there is blood, lots of it in those first two examples. In this film, not a drop of blood was spilled, even though people are getting their asses handed to them, heads are sliced in the opening scene, and buildings collapse on people. By all accounts, this should be a bloody, violent film, but there is little to no blood. What is the reason for this? Simply to give it a PG-13 rating. Ugh! I hate it when films do this. This could have been so much better if it was bloodier, if you ask me. Gladiators without blood is like watching flag/touch football, rather than tackle football, it just isn’t the same.

No love. So, a few years back, there was this little film you may have heard of, Titanic. It was another disaster movie that everyone already knew what happens in the end. The love story in this film has been compared to the one that happened on that boat. I won’t go into the similarities and all that jazz, because you can read every single other review of this film that you can find to get that. I want to focus on how utterly pointless it was to have this love story. Now, Kit Harrington and Emily Browning made a cute couple, and their ultimate fate was the only redeeming factor in this angle. However, the whole slave falls in love with nobility (or whatever her station in life was) we’ve seen so many times before. Was this love story really necessary? No, at least not as a focal point for the film. The ending imagery of the two kissing while the magma encompasses them was ok, and it is something that Pompeii is known for (people preserved forever in their last pose). A little while before, though, Browning’s character’s parents were killed and dies holding each other’s hands. For me, I was more invested into that than some manufactured romance that didn’t work as well as it was supposed to, despite what the film would like to believe.

The story of Pompeii is truly a heartbreaking tale, as those two documentaries I watched last month, Pompeii: The Last Day and Pompeii: Back from the Dead. The former of the two, I warn you now, is so dark and depressing you will want to slit your wrists after watching! Coming back to this film, though, it has been getting trashed by critics and the average movie goer, but for me, I didn’t find it to be that bad. Thing is, there is a blueprint for making a disaster flick with a story around it, in Titanic, but they seemed to not follow it, or at least not execute is as well. That being said, this is a valiant effort, just not good enough. Truth be told, most people will forget this film not long after the final credits roll. Do I recommend it? Actually, yes I do, but only for the second half of the film when the volcano starts. The rest of the film is forgettable, maybe even including the gladiator scenes. So, if you think about it, check it out. Otherwise, go find a documentary on this subject, many of them are quite more entertaining than you would imagine.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Bullet to the Head

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In New Orleans, hitman Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda) kill a corrupt policeman, Hank Greely (Holt McCallany), although Bobo leaves a prostitute, Lola, alive. Later, at a bar, Blanchard is murdered by Keegan (Jason Momoa), who also attempts to kill Bobo, but fails.

Washington D.C. Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) arrives in New Orleans to investigate Greely’s death and meets Lieutenant Lebreton, who informs him Lola confirmed Greely was assassinated. Kwon goes to the morgue, and, after seeing Blanchard’s body and finding out who he is, he deduces that Blanchard and Bobo killed Greely. Meanwhile, Keegan meets with his employer, Robert Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Morel’s lawyer Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater). Baptiste reveals that Greely tried to blackmail Morel, and provided local mobster Baby Jack (Douglas M. Griffin) with a file detailing Morel’s illegal operations. Keegan later kills Baby Jack and his men and retrieves the file.

Kwon meets Bobo in a bar and informs him that he knows Bobo and Blanchard killed Greely. Bobo leaves, and when Kwon tries to follow him, he is attacked by corrupt cops who were ordered by Morel to prevent Kwon from further investigating about Greely. Bobo rescues Kwon and takes him to a tattoo parlor, where Bobo’s daughter, Lisa (Sarah Shahi), treats Kwon’s wounds. They later go to a massage parlor where Bobo interrogates Ronnie Earl (Brian Van Holt), the middleman who hired Bobo and Blanchard on Morel’s behalf. Ronnie Earl tries to kill Bobo, but Bobo manages to kill him, although his gun jams. Bobo later confronts Kwon, who admits to having tampered with Bobo’s gun, nearly causing his death. Bobo and Kwon agree to work together.

Bobo and Kwon kidnap Baptiste and take him to Bobo’s house, where he is forced to give them a flash drive detailing Morel’s plans to acquire housing projects and demolish them to build office buildings and reveals Keegan is an ex-mercenary hired to be Morel’s enforcer. Afterwards, Bobo shoots him in the head. Keegan and his men trace Baptiste’s cellphone to Bobo’s house, but Bobo and Kwon are able to escape and detonate a bomb, killing Keegan’s men. Keegan then becomes obsessed with killing Bobo.

Kwon meets with Lieutenant Lebreton to ask for his help, but Lebreton tries to kill him, as he is also on Morel’s payroll, but Bobo kills him and saves Kwon. Meanwhile, Keegan learns about Lisa and kidnaps her. Morel then calls Bobo and offers to trade Lisa for the flash drive. Bobo agrees, and meets with Morel in an abandoned warehouse, where he delivers the flash drive to him and rescues Lisa, while Kwon infiltrates the building to arrest Morel. Keegan becomes furious when Bobo is allowed to leave and kills Morel and his men before going after Bobo.

Keegan confronts Bobo and they have an axe fight, which ends with Bobo slashing Keegan’s throat with Blanchard’s knife, followed by Kwon shooting Keegan in the head. Kwon retrieves the flash drive and Bobo shoots him in the shoulder to make it appear as if Kwon failed to capture him. Lisa decides to stay with Kwon, with whom she initiates a romantic relationship, and Bobo leaves. He later meets Kwon at a bar, where Kwon tells him he did not mention Bobo’s existence to the police this time, but if Bobo continues in the business, Kwon will take him down. Bobo welcomes him to try and drives off into the night.

REVIEW:

The two biggest action stars of the 80s are now trying to capture a new generation of audiences with new action flicks. Arnold Schwarzenegger had The Last Stand and now Stallone brings us Bullet to the Head. I’ll try not to compare the two, because it is like apples and oranges, but one has to wonder which is the better film.

What is this about?

Justice and revenge go hand in hand in this thriller, which follows a young New York cop and an experienced hit man as they team up to track down and take out an enemy they have in common — the person responsible for slaying their partners.

What did I like?

Throwback. This films takes us back to the gritty buddy cops genre that was prevalent in the 70s as well as just straight up actin films from the 80s. For me, as someone who grew up watching the action from the 80s, I was eating this stuff up. As far as the cop stuff, I wasn’t hating it, as it was nice temporary respite between action scenes. I realize there are folks out there who would have preferred more character development and such, but seriously, if you’re coming into a film like this look for some deep meaning, then you really need to have your head examined!

Sleek sly. It is kind of funny that this is set in New Orleans because obviously, Stallone has been doing some kind of voodoo to have a body like that as his age (no comment about is face). Perhaps that is what happens when you’re not governor of California. I should also mention that his character has a very, very, VERY hot semi-estranged daughter. I wonder if she’ll be doing the taking up the family voodoo practice.

Conan. There are some actors that are just meant to do one thing and one thing alone. Jason Momoa is one of those guys. Aside from being a remake, one of the things that I couldn’t really get into in Conan the Barbarian (2011) was his acting. This director was smart enough to give him very few lines. All the guy has to do is stand there and look intimidating and spout off a few cliché’ lines until it is time for him to actually do something. I’d say that was good use of the guy, wouldn’t you?

What didn’t I like?

Narration. I think we have all been spoiled by the golden voiced narrations of Morgan Freeman, Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones, and more recently Bill Nighy, Jeff Bridges and John Corbett. The thing about all these guys is that they have clear enunciation. In a bad narrating decision that rivals having Blake Lively do the narrating in Savages, someone had the brilliant idea for Sylvester Stallone to narrate this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but should narration fill you in on what is going on with clear and precise thoughts, not mumblings?

Evil plot? Mayhaps I missed something or got confused, but what exactly is the evil plot here? Best I can tell is that is has something to do with real estate, but I’m not sure. I’m also not real clear on why this led to the murders and double-crossing and how Christian Slater’s character factors into everything. Could they not have thrown the audience a bone with all this?

Punk. As is often the case when we see differing generations team up, the more youthful has no respect for is elder, has a smart mouth, and seems like they’ll die if they don’t have their electronic device. This detective that was brought in fits that bill to a ‘T’. Did I mention they cast him instead of Thomas Jane to make the cast more “ethnic”? So, he’s brought in to fill a quota, if you will, and is just an unlikable guy.

If I don’t say anything else about Bullet to the Head, I really should mention that 99.9% of the people who are shot in this film, and there are quite a few, all get bullets through their skulls. So, at least this film isn’t guilty of false advertising, but is it worth watching? Well, there’s blood, violence, gratuitous nudity early on, and an axe fight between Stallone and Momoa…hmm…sure! This is one of those films that is fast paced and fun from start to finish and I say you should most definitely check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

 

Killer Elite

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1980, mercenaries Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), Hunter (Robert DeNiro), Davies (Dominic Purcell), and Meier (Aden Young) are in Mexico to assassinate a man. Danny unwittingly kills him in front of his young son, then is injured during the getaway. Affected by this outcome, Danny retires and returns to his native Australia.

One year later, Danny is summoned to Oman where Hunter is being held captive. He meets with the Agent (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who arranges missions for mercenaries, and learns that Hunter accepted a $6 million job but failed to accomplish it. If Danny doesn’t complete Hunter’s mission, Hunter will be executed.

Danny is introduced to Sheikh Amr, a deposed king of a small region of Oman who wants Danny to kill three former SAS agents—Steven Harris (Lachy Hulme), Steven Creeg, and Simon McCann—for killing his three eldest sons during the Dhofar Rebellion. Danny must videotape their confessions and make their deaths look like accidents, and he must do it before the terminally ill Sheikh dies. This will allow the Sheikh’s fourth son, Bakhait (Firass Dirani), to regain control of the desert region his father had ruled. If Danny fails, Hunter will be killed. Danny reunites with Davies and Meier. They agree to help him in exchange for a share of the money.

As Danny and Meier sneak into the house of their first target, Steven Harris, in Oman, Davies questions local bar patrons about former SAS members. This is reported to the Feathermen, a secret society of former operatives protecting their own. Their head enforcer, Spike Logan (Clive Owen), is sent to investigate.

After Harris has confessed on videotape, Danny and Meier take him to the bathroom. Their plan is to break his neck using a hammer with tiles similar to those of the bathroom floor to make it appear that Harris slipped and broke his neck. Danny is distracted by the arrival of Harris’s girlfriend and when he returns to the bathroom he finds that Meier was forced to kill Harris hastily in a struggle.

Back in London, Davies discovers the second target, Steven Cregg, preparing for a long nighttime march in wintry weather at a local SAS base. Davies pretends to be a civilian having car problems outside the base’s fence, allowing Danny to infiltrate the base. There he drugs Cregg’s coffee to induce shock and cause Cregg to die of hypothermia during the march. Danny, in uniform, follows Cregg on the march, and a delirious Creeg confesses on videotape to Danny before he dies.

Going to their last target, Simon McCann, currently a mercenary, they rig a truck to respond to remote control with the help of a new and inexperienced team member, Jake (Michael Dorman). As McCann is on his way to a fake job interview, Meier and Jake take control of the truck from another car and cause it to move in front of McCann’s car, killing him. However, Logan and his men were watching over McCann. A gun fight in the docks ensues, and Meier is accidentally killed by Jake due to his lack of experience.

Danny returns to Oman and gives the Sheikh the last taped confession, which he has faked. Hunter is released and returns to his family, while Danny heads back to Australia and reunites with his girlfriend, Anne (Yvonne Strahovski), a childhood acquaintance. Soon, he is informed by the Agent that there is one last man who participated in the Sheikh’s sons’ murders and that this man, Ranulph Fiennes, is about to release a book about his experiences as a member of the SAS.

Danny tells Anne to go to France with Hunter to protect her while he carries out the last job. The Sheikh’s son confirms that Harris was an innocent man. Logan, meanwhile, traces Danny through the Agent and sends a team to protect the author, but Jake distracts them, allowing Danny to infiltrate the building and shoot the author. He chooses to only wound the author, however, but takes pictures that appear to show him dead. Logan chases and captures Danny, taking him to an abandoned warehouse, but he is interrupted when an agent from the British government arrives and reveals that the British government is behind the events because of the Sheikh’s valuable oil reserves. A three-way battle ensues, with Danny escaping and Logan shooting the government agent.

Danny and Hunter head to Oman to give the Sheikh the pictures. However, Logan arrives first and confronts the Sheikh, telling him that the pictures are fake and then stabbing him to death. The Sheikh’s son does not care and gives the money, which was intended for Danny and Hunter, to Logan. Hunter spots Logan leaving, and they chase after him, along with the Sheikh’s men.

After stopping the Sheikh’s men, Danny and Hunter confront Logan on a desert road. Danny says that Logan can keep the money (though Hunter takes some of the money for his expenses and his family). They give Logan the remainder, telling him that he’ll need it to start a new life away from the government after killing the government agent and acting against the wishes of the Feathermen and the British government. Danny says that it’s over for him and that Logan must make up his own mind. They leave him there, saying they’ll send a cab for him from the airport. Danny meets with Anne in France to start anew. His fate is left unknown

REVIEW:

One of my friends is always giving me flack for what she thinks is a “man-crush” on Jason Statham. What can I say, he is the current bad ass action star, and I love my action flicks, most of which have him in them, coincidentally.

Killer Elite has Statham playing an assassin who has walked away from the craft, only to be pulled back in by the capture of his mentor, played by Robert DeNiro. The only way to get him back is to pull off some jobs for the Sheikh who has him captive. upon doing so, he will be released Danny will be paid in full.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it was until this secret society called Feather Men, is made aware of what’s going on. They send their, I guess the word would be watchdog?, to investigate. Spike, played by Clive Owen, is one of those by the book types (with an awesome porn star moustache) who won’t rest until the job is done, so you can imagine how things play out, right?

One review I read of this praised it for being an action flick that relies on the story rather than special effects. I have to agree. While the action is there, these scenes aren’t just randomly occurring, but rather they are set up by what is going on in the story. I normally go for the more mindless action flicks, but every once in a while, it is nice to get a film that deviates from that formula.

Two of my favorite action flicks of the last few years are Crank and Shoot ‘Em Up, so you can imagine what a treat it was to the stars of those films to go mano a mano here. Let me tell you, it was not a let down at all!

Judging by the writing before the credits, it appears as if this is a true story. I wonder where these people are today (the film is set in 1981).

Killer Elite is good, but not great. I mean, I would watch it again without hesitation, but I’m not in love with this flick. Will you average movie watcher enjoy it? I think so. There is a good story, lots of action, decent amounts of blood, and a bit of a love story in there as well. In other words, something for everyone. Give it a shot when you get the chance, why don’t you?

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2009 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

In the near future, weapons expert James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) has created a nanotechnology-based weapon capable of destroying an entire city. He sold four warheads to NATO, and the U.S. Army is tasked with delivering the warheads. Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are delivering the warheads when they are ambushed by the Baroness (Sienna Miller). Duke and Ripcord are rescued by Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). They take the warheads to The Pit, G.I. Joe’s command center in North Africa, and upon arriving rendezvous with General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), the head of the G.I. Joe Team. Hawk takes command of the war-heads and excuses Duke and Ripcord, but when Duke reveals that he knows the Baroness, Hawk allows them to join G.I. Joe.

McCullen and his associate the Doctor (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are revealed to be using the same nanotechnology to build an army of soldiers. McCullen plans on using the warheads to bring panic. Using a tracking device McCullen locates the G.I. Joe base and sends Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) and the Baroness to retrieve the warheads. After a fight, Storm Shadow and the Baroness retrieve the warheads and take them to Baron DeCobray, the Baroness’s husband, for him to weaponize. They then plan to attack the Eiffel Tower.

The G.I. Joe team tracks down the Baroness and Storm Shadow and pursue them through the streets of Paris but are unsuccessful in stopping them from launching the missile. The nano-mites eat through part of the tower before Duke hits the kill switch, but in doing so he is captured and taken to McCullen’s base under the Arctic.

G.I. Joe locates the secret base and fly to the Arctic, meanwhile McCullen loads three missiles with nano-mite war-heads. Ripcord pursues the missiles while Scarlett and Snake Eyes rescue Duke.

The Doctor reveals he is Rex Lewis, the Baroness’s brother believed to have been killed on a mission led by Duke four years ago. He was trapped in a bunker with Doctor Mindbender (Kevin O’Connor) and learned about the nano-technology. He was disfigured in a blast which Duke and the Baroness believed killed him. The Baroness tries to free Duke but the Doctor reveals he has implanted her with nano-mites (which explains why she turned evil; it wasn’t a personal choice, she has been under her brother’s control).

McCullen tries to kill Duke but he is unsuccessful and his face is burned as he flees with the Doctor to an escape vessel. Duke and the Baroness pursue him while Scarlett, Heavy Duty and Snake Eyes attempt to stop the missiles and shut down the Arctic base.

Snake Eyes destroys the first missile using his snowmobile. Ripcord takes off in a prototype jet, and destroys the second missile before it reaches Moscow. In destroying the third warhead, the jet is covered in nano-mites and he pilots it into the atmosphere, then ejects and lands in Washington DC.

The Doctor heals McCullen’s burned face with nano-mites, but in doing so he encases it in silver. He declares McCullen to now be Destro, and the Doctor reveals that he himself is the new Cobra Commander. They are soon captured by G.I. Joe. In Africa the G.I. Joe team makes final preparations to decommission their North African base of operations, transferring all personnel and equipment to the supercarrier USS Flagg. Anna (back with Duke) is in custody there until they can remove the nano-mites from her body. Meanwhile, the master of disguise Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who was surgically changed by the Doctor, infiltrates the White House and assumes the identity of the President of the United States (Jonathan Pryce).

REVIEW:

Yo, Joe! Yes, I was one of those little boys in the 80s that had every G.I. Joe action figure and never missed an episode (along with Transformers, He-Man, Thundercats, etc.) Having said that, I have to admit that I wasn’t counting down the days for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra like I was with both Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the FallenAlthough I’ve always been more of a Transformers fan, this was more a fact of me not really being a fan of military movies, which is part of what I expected going in this afternoon.

Yes, it was a military flick, but unlike so many others, this one actually was fun to watch. As a matter of fact, that goes for the movie as a whole. Stephen Sommers did an excellent job capturing the spirit of the original cartoon, even if he did deviate from the source material a bit too much for my taste. While the rest of Hollywood is busy trying to make the most dark, dramatic, and boring flicks, sommers remembers that movies are first and foremost about entertaining the audience.

I’m not going to sit here and erect a shrineto the man just yet, though. As I said, he deviated too far from the source material for my taste. Many of the origins were changed. Similar to the original Transformers,the characters that were chosen aren’t necessarily well known to you average, pardon the pun, Joe. Sure, we all know Destro, Baroness, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, ans Storm Shadow, and some may even know General Hawk. Howver, Heavy Duty is from the comics, if I’m not mistaken and not as well known. Ripcord is supposed to have been a white guy (you can make an issue about that if you want, but I don’t see the need).  Breaker I vaguely remember, but not sure how big of a role he played. Cover Girl is in the film, but she’s nothing more than Hawk’s secretary, who gets killed early in the film and we never learn her name. Personally, I think Heavy Duty should have been Roadblock, or at least if they insisted on using Marlon Wayans, he could have been Roadblock. Roadblock was  such a major character in the cartoon, it makes no sense to not have him in here, unless they’re holding him for the sequel. Along those same lines, you can include Flint and Lady Jay. As far as Cobra goes, I think they did a good job. Perhaps they could have brought in the twins, Tomax and Xamot if anyone, but that would have been just overkill. Baroness, Destro, Storm Shadow, Zartan, and Cobra Commander worked just fine.

I’ve made it perfectly clear that I have no love for CGI. Using it for giant robots or spaceships and stuff is fine, but when it is pretty much the driving force of the film, then there are some issues that need to be looked at. This is the case with the film. There is a ton of action, but very few scenes that don’t encompass CG at some point. It came off as a bit of overkill. Now, I will go so far as to say that the scene with the nano-mites devouring the Eiffel Tower is a sight to behold, and I doubt it could have been done without CG, but other action scenes didn’t require the use of CG, scuch as when Duke and Ripcord are chasing the Baroness and company through Paris. This could have very well been done with some careful camera work and highly trained stun doubles. Maybe it’s just me, though.

The story is not a bad one. Could it be that the writers actually took some time to write a decent plot? It sure seems like it, but as good as the story is, the acting falls short. Don’t get me wrong, its quite obvious that they had fun making this move and wanted to do a good job with their characters, but they just didn’t pull it off. I’ve seen better acting in elementary school plays. If they wanted to make a flick that was all about the action, then they should have cut back on the dialogue and done more action. It would have diverted the attention away from how bad this film was acted.

Yes, the action scenes are great. The best of which has to be the fights with Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. These are epic and save for some changes to Storm Shadow’s character, faithful to the cartoon. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that hte powers that be behind this film were fans of one or the other. Strange thing, though, is that these are the only ones that have a full back story. Yeah, Duke, Baroness, Cobra Commander, and to s lesser extent Destro and Ripcord, have stories, but none as complex or as well explained to us as this one is.

As a guy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about the hotness of the Baroness and Scarlett. Played by Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols, respectively, some creative padding and wigs here and there turn them fully into the characters they play. Personally, I swing a little more toward Scarlett, which is weird because in the cartoon I always loved Baroness.

So, the critics are torn on this one. Some are loving the action and fun, but tearing every other aspect of it apart. However, those of us that actually know what we want to see in a movie seem to love it. Personally, I liked it. I was a little disappointed and expected a bit more. At one point, a though came to my head, Michale Bay would be awesome as director of this film. Think about it, he has ah ard on for the military and loves to blow stuff up. It would be right up his alley.

It is obvious that they expect this to be the beginning of a franchise. I hope that we get more and they they bring in more characters that make sense. Hell, they could bring in Sgt. Slaughter or William “The Refrigerator” Perry (both special edition Joes, Sarge was actually a character in the cartoon). What did ultimately think of this film? It is worth seeing, especially in theaters, so that you can get the full effect. Of course, make sure you’re not sitting next to a family of redneck children who can’t sit still and keep going in and about of the theater, as well as babies crying all over the place. When this comes out on DVD, I’ll be able to know for certain if I like or love it. You should go see it for yourself.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars