Archive for Amy Smart

Varsity Blues

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is an intelligent and academically gifted backup quarterback for the West Canaan High School football team. Despite his relative popularity at school, easy friendships with other players, and smart and sassy girlfriend Jules Harbor (Amy Smart), Mox is dissatisfied with his life. He wants to leave Texas to go to school at Brown University. He is constantly at odds with his football-obsessed father (Thomas F. Duffy) and dreads playing it under legendary coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), a verbally abusive, controlling authority who believes in winning “at all costs”. He has a strong track record as coach, remarking in a speech that “in my thirty years of coaching at West Canaan, I have brought two state titles, and 22 district championships!” His philosophy finally takes its toll on Coyotes’ quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), Mox’s best friend and Jules’ brother. Lance is manipulated into taking anesthetic shots into an injured knee that finally succumbs to failure and results in even greater injury during gameplay. He is rushed to the hospital, where doctors are appalled at the massive amount of scar tissue found under his knee.

Mox, who has accompanied Lance to the hospital, is shocked when Kilmer feigns ignorance to Lance’s doctors about Lance’s knee problems, when in fact Kilmer ordered the trainer to inject the shots. In need of a new quarterback, Kilmer reluctantly names Mox to replace Lance as captain and starting quarterback. The move brings unexpected dividends for Mox, one of them being Darcy Sears (Ali Larter), Lance’s beautiful blonde cheerleader girlfriend, who is interested in marrying a football player in order to escape small-town life. She even goes so far as to attempt to seduce Mox, sporting a “bikini” made of whipped cream over her otherwise naked body, but he rebuffs her as gently as he can.

Disgusted with Kilmer and not feeling a strong need to win, Mox starts calling his own plays on the field without Kilmer’s approval. He also chides his father, screaming at him, “I don’t want your life!” The elder Moxon had been a football player at West Caanan, and although Kilmer dismissed him for lacking talent and courage, Moxon still respected and obeyed Kilmer. When Kilmer becomes aware that Mox has won a full scholarship to Brown, Kilmer threatens Mox that if he continues to disobey and disrespect him, the coach will alter Mox’s transcripts in order to reverse the decision on his scholarship.

Kilmer’s lack of concern for players continues, resulting in a dramatic collapse of Billy Bob (Ron Lester). When Wendell Brown (Eliel Swinton), another friend of Mox’s, is injured on the field, Kilmer pressures Brown to take a shot of cortisone to deaden the pain from his injury, allowing him to continue even in the face of a permanent injury. Desperate to be recruited by a good college, Wendell grants his consent. At this moment, Mox tells Kilmer he’ll quit the team if the needle enters Wendell’s knee. Undaunted, he orders Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan), a friend of both Mox and Wendell, to replace Mox, but Tweeder refuses. Mox tells Kilmer that the only way they will return to the field is without Kilmer. Realizing that he will be forced to forfeit the game, Kilmer loses control and physically assaults Mox. The other players intercede and then refuse to take to the field. Knowing his loss of control has cost him his credibility, Kilmer tries in vain to rally support and spark the team’s spirit into trusting him, but none of the players follow him out of the locker room. He continues down the hall, and seeing no one following him, turns the other direction and into his office. The team goes on to win the game without his guidance.

In a voice-over epilogue, Mox recounts several characters’ aftermaths, including the fact that Kilmer left town and never coached again and that Lance became a successful coach.

REVIEW:

Well, in a few hours the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks will be defending their title against a team that is no stranger to winning the big game themselves, the New England Patriots. I’ve already got the snacks ready to go, so two things have to happen. I need to decide who to cheer for, since I could really care less about these teams and tradition dictates I watch a football movie. A couple of years ago I dug out the Robert Downey, Jr. “classic”,  Johnny Be Good and last year was the George Clooney underrated gem Leatherheads. This year, let’s have us some Texas high school football with Varsity Blues.

What is this about?

When the Coyotes’ star quarterback is injured, second-stringer Jonathan Moxon is thrust into the spotlight. Yet Moxon is more interested in academics.

What did I like?

The stars shine bright. Sometimes a film will put together a group of young talent that, at the time, doesn’t seem to be anything more than young people working together, but some 5,10, 15+ years later, we can look back at these films and wonder at how the cast has gone on to bigger and better things. Ali Larter, Scott Caan, Amy Smart, Paul Walker (may he R.I.P.), and to a lesser extent, James Van Der Beek all have become TV/movie stars and household names since this flick and that ay be its biggest legacy.

Expose a problem. Growing up in the south, one thing has always been clear “Football is life!” It may seem like this flick is an exaggeration of that mantra, but I know a few guys from high school and college who possibly could have gone on to bigger and better things had it not been for injuries and coaches who wanted to ignore said injuries so that they can win another game or two (and maybe get some hardware along the way). This was a problem when I was in school and, while it may not be as big now, I imagine it still is an issue. Hopefully, someone saw this film and it opened their eyes. Stuff like this doesn’t get written without some kind of truth behind the source material.

The Dawson. While all the girls I knew were crazy about Dawson’s Creek, I just skipped on by it, so my extent of James Van Der Beek knowledge is his cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and his character (a parody of himself) in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (really good, underrated show, btw). I’m impressed to see that Van Der Beek can hold his own with the likes of a heavyweight like Jon Voight. At the time, you would think this guy would have been skyrocketing to superstardom, but something has kept him from that goal, not really sure what, though. At any rate, we can cherish the fact that he give a great performance which mirrors his character, wise and mature beyond his years.

What didn’t I like?

Comparisons. A high school football movie set in Texas where the star player gets injured and the focus shift to the backup who suddenly becomes the “golden boy”. Sound familiar? Well, if you’re familiar with Friday Night Lights, it should. Well, let me take that back. There are similarities to the film, to be sure, but I think this parallels the TV series a bit more closely. I can imagine the comparisons are nonstop and take credibility away from one or the other. Isn’t it a shame that they can’t exist as separate entities that just happen to have the same subject matter. Then again, we are a society that insists on comparing and contrasting everything, I suppose.

Daddy issues. Before Paul Walker’s injury, we are privy to the great relationship he has with his father. At the same time, we also see the tumultuous relationship Van Der Beek’s character has with his dad. What are we to make of this? That’s just it! We don’t know what to make of all this because it is never resolved. At least in the movie version of Friday Night Lights, the daddy issues were resolved. Here, they just seemed to be forgotten, with a slight resurgence before the “big game”.

Race. You would think with a major topic like race, this would be front and center, right? Wrong! There are two ways to look at this. First, the film didn’t want to make a big deal of the race thing, and just casually brought it up because this is a small town in Texas and there is only one African-American player (who actually did play in the NFL for a couple of years). On the other hand, if you didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, then why bring it up at all. All that needed to be said was that the guy wasn’t getting touchdowns because the coach didn’t like him, rather than playing the race card, only to totally ignore it for the rest of the film.

For as a good a film Varsity Blues is, there are two things that overshadow it. The superior Friday Night Lights, which was released 5 or so years later and Ali Larter’s whip cream bikini scene. These things aside, it should be noted that this film is no slouch. It delivers strongly on the levels of late 90s teen drama, throws in some comedy here and there, and the game scenes aren’t bad, either. Personally, I enjoyed this flick and, while it isn’t the best football film out there, I think it is one that more people should check out. In a nutshell, I give this a pretty high recommendation.

4 out of 5 stars

Just Friends

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1995, Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) is an obese, curly-haired high school student with a lisp, braces, and a “gentle giant” demeanor. He attends the graduation party of his best friend, Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), on whom he secretly has a crush. He plans to confess his feelings by writing them in Jamie’s yearbook. When Chris tries to return Jamie’s yearbook, it is taken by her despicable ex-boyfriend, Tim (Ty Olsson). Tim reads Chris’s confession aloud at the party wherein Chris is publicly humiliated. He is further demoralized when Jamie doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. Chris receives a kiss on the cheek from Jamie and is told that they are like brother and sister. When the mob of partygoers burst out of the house again, Jamie admonishes them for making fun of Chris. Chris leaves on his bicycle tearfully and vows to leave town and never return in order to achieve greater success than his classmates.

Ten years later, Chris has lost weight, is handsome and is a highly successful Los Angeles record producer. He is also a womanizer. Prior to Christmas, Chris’ boss, KC (Stephen Root), orders Chris to accompany an emerging, self-obsessed pop singer called Samantha James (Anna Faris) to Paris. KC wants Chris to ensure Samantha signs with him. Chris sees difficulties in this but follows orders. During the trip to Paris, Samantha sets her private jet on fire by using aluminum foil in the plane’s microwave oven. This necessitates an emergency landing in New Jersey, near Chris’s hometown. Chris takes the singer to his mother’s house for a place to spend the night and re-engages with his teenage past, including his unresolved feelings for Jamie. At the local bar, Chris encounters some old classmates, including Tim, who is now balding, fat and a heavy drinker. Jamie also appears, working as a bartender to support herself through graduate school. Chris plans to impress and seduce Jamie. However, a number of unexpected problems, including a growing realization that Jamie’s friendship is important to him, hamper Chris’ plan. Chris bonds with Jamie on several occasions and during a friendly ice skating “day date”, Chris is taken away in an ambulance after being injured in a game of hockey. Jamie is reunited with Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein), a paramedic and former high school nerd who was also in love with her.

Prior to his date, Chris had left his younger brother, Mike (Christopher Marquette), to spend time with Samantha. Samantha eventually pushes Mike against the bathroom wall to find out Chris’ location and, following initial resistance, Samantha, knowing Mike’s strong feelings towards her, passionately kisses him, resulting in the brother’s disclosure (thinking that Chris and Jamie have had sex already, Mike uses the term “lover”). Samantha consequently becomes jealous towards Jamie, believing that the old classmates are in a relationship, and in an angry rage, Samantha destroys Jamie’s family’s Christmas decorations. Embarrassed by Samantha’s actions, Chris returns home but is visited by Jamie there. Jamie reveals that she is not mad at Chris and plans to spend the night with him; but, due to Chris’ continuing lack of assertion, the two end up falling asleep and no romance ensues.

The day after Samantha’s vandalism, Jamie speaks with Darla (Amy Matysio), who is now married to Clark (Fred Ewanuick), about the night before and her fear that Chris lack of affection might mean that he doesn’t like her. Jamie admits that whilst the two are “just friends”, she tried to “put herself out there” to Chris, to show Chris that she is interested in a relationship. Meanwhile, Chris attends Clark’s workplace, a dental surgery, to talk to Clark, revealing to him that “the timing wasn’t right” and that their shared history hinders his willingness to have sex with her. Chris explains that he feels like he is in high school again.

Later, Chris and Clark catch Dusty singing to a sexy nurse and then kissing her. Dusty then reveals to Chris and Clark that he only plans to have sex with Jamie, as he wants to humiliate her in the same way that he felt she used to humiliate him. Chris tries to warn Jamie about Dusty during a children’s Christmas pageant, but instead ends up attacking Dusty and ruining the play. Jamie refuses to listen when Chris tries to tell her about the nurse, leaving Chris angry and disappointed with both Jamie and her family. Chris consequently gets drunk and enters the bar where Jamie works, proceeding to blame her for keeping him in the “friend zone”; he also exclaims that Jamie will never amount to anything meaningful. Jamie punches Chris and he is tossed out of the bar at her request.

Upon returning to LA, Chris realizes that Jamie is his one true love interest and returns to New Jersey hoping to finally be with her. Chris declares his true love for Jamie at her house and the two kiss outside in view of the neighborhood kids

REVIEW:

Look at Ryan Reynolds today. Does he look like someone who was ever overweight and/or nerdy? Let alone had any trouble picking up girls? I don’t know if he was anything like his character in Just Friends, but I am very appreciative that this film was made, as I can totally relate.

What is this about?

After being snubbed by his high school crush, an overweight nice guy moves to Los Angeles, where he slims down and blossoms into a womanizer. But when he’s stranded in his hometown, he bumps into the girl who once broke his heart.

What did I like?

The zone. Unless you were one of those guys that was a teen heartthrob and/or you were superjock, chances are that you had a few crushes, many of which didn’t even know you existed. Hell, some of them to this very day, don’t know I exist. If this film accomplishes anything, it is that it brings attention to the fact that girls push aside the sweet guy who would do anything for them and make them a pseudo-gal pal, in favor of the guy who will trample all over their heart and leave them a shell of their former selves. Not that I’ve had any experience with this subject, mind you. It is still good to know that this is a phenomena that occurs everywhere.

Brittany. So, Anna Faris was tapped to play this Brittany Spears-like character and she knocks it out of the park. First of all, it should be noted that this was made in 2005, which was around the time of Spears’ “meltdown”. Faris, who is comedic gold, steals the show with her diva like behavior and overactive sex drive. I was wishing for more!

Revenge. The sheer thought of getting revenge on the females who spurned my affections is quite thought-provoking. I can’t help but say that I would get immense pleasure out of seeing them reap what they sowed. I know that sounds vindictive, but  this is something that need. Chris Klein’s character, which is a departure from his normal schtick, has it right, if you ask me!

What didn’t I like?

Fat suit. I was telling my friend, Alyse, about this film and just happened to mention that it has Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit. As you can see in the poster up there, Reynold’s suit is not very  well crafted. On top of that, I just have a hard time believe that Reynolds was this fat guy who turns into a handsome guy. It all seems to Cinderella-ish to me. If they wanted to do that, then they should have gone all out with the Cinderella angle. There is even a moment where he is asked how he los the weight, but he never answers. I’m curious, too, it could be some weight loss surgery is the reason or it could be old-fashioned diet and exercise. Who knows?

Change. Being from a small town, myself, I know how rare it is for anyone to leave and make a name for themselves while everyone else stays home and works at the mom and pop store. My issue is this. 10 yrs pass from the beginning of the film to when Reynolds returns, and yet everyone looks exactly the same, except for him, another geek (Chris Klein), and the jock/bully. The object of his desire, played by Amy Smart (I still was expecting Jason Statham to crashing through the window and use her to get his heart pumping again). < Crank reference. seemed to have gotten hotter!!!

Incomplete. I wasn’t going to mention this, but I have to. My disc from Netflix decided to start acting all wonky and I wasn’t able to repair it to watch the final scenes. It was doing the same thing upon my initial starting of the disc. I really hate it when I get a disc that works, but doesn’t work. Irritations ratcheted up to a maximum level! UGH!!!!

As a pure romantic comedy, Just Friends is one of the lesser ones that I’ve seen, but nowhere near as ad as some of the ones that I have the “pleasure” of viewing. The fact is, this is not a good film, but it does have moment that will keep it in your memories for a day or two, but on the whole, this is sure to cause some conversations among you and your friends from high school about why your friendship was the way it was. I know there are a few that I need to ask about. I can’t recommend this, but I won’t dissuade you from seeking it out, either.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Road Trip

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Josh (Breckin Meyer) and Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) were long time friends but soon high school sweethearts. But they both had to face a long distance relationship when Josh enrolls to University of Ithaca and Tiffany enrolls to the University of Austin. But they made a promise to be true to each other and call each other every day. But when Tiffany doesn’t call Josh, nor answering Josh’s calls, Josh is worrying that Tiffany is seeing another man (actually, her maternal grandfather died). But to show that he is still in love with her, he makes a daily recorded video blog to her. During Josh’s last blog, his friends Rubin Carver (Paulo Costanzo) and Barry Manilow (Tom Green) barge into the video. Barry then keeps checking on Rubin’s snake, Mitch, urging Rubin to over-feed Mitch. Josh tells Rubin to mail in his blog tape to Tiffany before leaving to class.

During Josh’s class time, Josh is flunking Ancient Philosophy class and needs a B+ on his mid-term to pass the semester. But Josh knows that he will flunk anyway. Still worrying about Tiffany, Josh’s friend E.L. (Seann William Scott) encourages Josh to move on to another woman, such as Josh’s friend Beth (Amy Smart) at his party. But Jacob, (Anthony Rapp) the teacher’s assistant, has a huge crush on Beth and she even knows that Josh likes her. Unbeknownst to Josh, he is being set up by Jacob to fail Ancient Philosophy.

During E.L.’s party, Josh attends and E.L. holds a auction for women, including Beth in the bid. Jacob also attends the party, too. Beth convinces Josh to outbid Jacob. But E.L. helps Josh win the bid at $26 when Jacob had $30. But E.L. acclaimed that since Jacob was a teacher’s assistant, his bid didn’t count. But after Josh and Beth dance, they decide to have sex. When they arrive at Josh’s room, Beth decides to record their sex with the same camcorder that Josh uses for his video blogs to Tiffany and they start having sex.

The next day, Barry sings a song called “Tiny Salmon” as Josh arrives in the room in a very jolly mood. He confesses that he had sex with Beth. His friends object and want proof. Josh attempts to play the tape but then realizes that Rubin accidentally sent the sex tape to Tiffany. Josh thens receives a voice mail from Tiffany saying that she didn’t call him because her grandfather died and will be cleaning his house until Monday. Josh decides to go on a road trip due to the fact that he has not enough money for a plane ticket. So Josh and E.L. get Kyle (DJ Qualls) to come along for his car. Kyle is a compulsive worrier who lives in constant fear of his overly strict father, Earl Edwards. So Josh, E.L., Rubin, and Kyle try to head to Austin, Texas for 1,800 miles in less than three days and leave Barry to take care of Mitch.

While Barry is taking care of Mitch, Beth asks him where Josh is. Barry tells her that Josh went to his Tiffany in Boston, in confusion with Austin. Beth then goes to the girls’ showers where everyone is naked for some advice. They suggest that she should go to Boston to tell Tiffany about the situation, which Beth does. However, the Tiffany she confronts in Boston is the wrong one.

But while on the road, the group talk about loop holes and then come across a ten foot gap that they think will waste 5 hours back tracking. But they soon think that they could jump the gap. Kyle objects but they jump it anyway. They make it but the wheels fall off and the car explodes. They continue on foot and stop at a motel. Rubin tries to score marijuana off the Motel Clerk (Andy Dick) and is informed that Kyle’s credit card is maxed out.

Meanwhile, Kyle’s father, Earl (Fred Ward) tries to pay for a meal with the maxed out card, but is denied service. He then begins an all-out search for Kyle when he is informed by the police that Kyle’s car has blown up and Kyle has turned up missing. On their way to Austin, the group goes through a series of hilarious misadventures, such as Rubin successfully bluffing his way into an all-Black fraternity house at the University of Tennessee and a riotous visit with Barry’s grandparents. Since Josh’s books were destroyed in the explosion, he calls his professor and gets an extension on his midterm…..or so he thinks.

The group finally gets to Austin and, once they get to Tiffany’s dorm, Josh intercepts the tape he sent to Tiffany, who has just arrived back at school. Meanwhile, Earl shows up. He is enraged over what happened with the car and the credit card and threatens to take Kyle back home with him. Kyle finally gets the courage to stand up to him and states that he is going back to school with his friends. Josh and Tiffany watch the tape, which turns out to be nothing but Barry mooning for the camera. Beth has found found out where the real Tiffany is and she calls to warn Josh that he has been duped by Jacob. Josh now has 48 hours to get back to school or else he will fail his midterm, fail the course, and, possibly, be kicked out of college. After they talk, Josh and Tiffany agree to break up and remain friends. Josh and his buddies head back to school and Josh arrives just in time to take his midterm – with a little help from Beth. Josh passes the course and he is now free to hook up with Beth and they make more videos together

REVIEW:

Hasn’t there been some pint in time where you just wanted to pack your car, grab some friends and just drive? Well, that is what the idea behind Road Trip was. However, they take us n the weird plot involving a sex tape and a guy who has been with the same girl his whole life…blah, blah, blah.

To confuse matters even more, they heavily advertised Tom Green (who was a big star at the time this was made), but his character was not that big of a deal, when all was said and done. I didn’t really get this, other than they just wanted to capitalize omn his fame, since none of the other actors in this flick were household names at the time.

I was expecting non-stop hilarity with this film, but was disappointed to watch this and find out that it was nothing more than just a string of some bad jokes and sex situations. Granted, they not as bad as they were in the teen comedies of the time, bt still…they were pretty bad.

I can’t say I cared for the casting, except for Breckin Meyer, who is an underrated comedian.

Amy Smart and Rachel Blanchard play the two women who are more or less the object of Josh’s affections. I’d have chosen Rachel, myself.

San William Scott again seems to be channeling his Stifler character, because this guy was close to al his mannerisms and whatnot.

The rest of the cast just seems to be there and cashing in a check. That is so sad, but it is true. One can only imagine what this would have been.

Road Trip is not a good film. Sure, there is an audience for it, and a group of detractors that hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle. Road Trip should have been hilarious from the moment it started until the money had ended, but it was pretty close to being a snooze fest.I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t waste my time (again). There is nothing to see here and, well, it is quite painful to even think about, so I won’t.

2 out of 5 stars

Crank: High Voltage

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with a sequence designed to look like a classic video game, depicting Chev Chelios’s fall from a helicopter during the final moments of the original film. Immediately after his fall, he is scooped off the street via snow shovel by a group of Chinese medics and removed from the scene.

He wakes up in a makeshift hospital and sees doctors removing his heart while Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) watches. The doctors place Chelios’s heart in a red cooler with a padlock, and place a clear plastic artificial heart in his chest. Chelios passes out. He wakes up, and escapes. He notices a yellow battery pack is attached to him. After a gunfight and interrogation of a thug, he learns the location of Johnny Vang – the Cypress Social Club.

Chelios calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who tells him that he has been fitted with an AbioCor Artificial heart. Once the external battery pack runs out, the internal battery will kick in and he will have 60 minutes before it stops working. He crashes his car right after the conversation, destroying his external battery pack. In order to keep going, Chelios has the driver of another car use his jumper cables on Chelios, and runs to the Club.

He loses Vang at the club but picks up a hooker named Ria (Bai Ling) who sends him to a strip club where Vang is hiding out. In the club, Chev finds Eve, now a stripper.

Back outside of the strip club, Chev is met by a group of police, who begin beating him down. He is weakened, but one of them inadvertently charges Chelios by using a taser on him. Another stripper tells Chelios that he should look at the Hollywood horse racetrack for Johnny Vang. They encounter a group of porn stars protesting low wages, and Chelios is forced to escape, leaving Eve in the back of the cop car. Chelios is picked up by Venus(Efren Ramirez), who reveals himself to be Kaylo’s brother. It is revealed he also has Tourette’s Syndrome. At first, Chelios tells Venus that he killed everyone responsible for his brother’s death, but this prompts Venus to leave. Wanting his help, Chelios tells Venus that El Huron was involved but escaped.

At the horse tracks, Chelios is losing energy. He learns that the heart can be charged through the skin by means of friction. Eve shows up and they have sex on the racetrack while the crowd cheers, and Chelios is restored to full energy. Chelios spots Vang and once again leaves Eve behind. Vang escapes, and Chev is about to be subdued by security when Don Kim picks Chev up in his limo. He informs Chev that there is a leader in the Triads named Poon Dong (David Carradin), who was in need of a heart transplant. When he heard of Chelios’s ability to withstand the Chinese adrenaline poison, he put out an order for Chelios’s heart. Don Kim then tells Chev Chelios that he wishes to return him to Poon Dong for a reward. Upon hearing this, Chev kills all of Don Kim’s henchmen, including the limo driver, and shoots Don Kim several times. Meanwhile, Eve is arrested, and Venus calls in Orlando (Reno Wilson) to assist in tracking down El Huron.

While driving, Chev is cut off by an ambulance. He boards the ambulance and is surprised to see the EMTs are working on one of Don Kim’s henchmen. He demands a new battery pack for his artificial heart, and the EMT is forced to stop working while he hooks it up. Don Kim’s henchman dies, and Chelios exits the ambulance upon seeing Johnny Vang on the street outside. Vang tries to escape in a car, but the car drives off without him, and Chev chases Vang to an electric plant, where there is a Godzilla-inspired fight between Chelios and Vang. Upon winning, Chev discovers that Vang’s red cooler holds something other than his heart (the contents of which are unknown, but make Chelios recoil in disgust). Chelios learns from Doc Miles that his heart is already transplanted into Poon Dong, but promises to find him for Chev. Chelios goes to ask Johnny Vang, but Johnny Vang is shot and killed by Chico, and they knock Chelios unconscious.

There is a dream sequence showing Chelios as a youngster, with his mother (Geri Halliwell) on the Luke Canard show talking about his violent tendencies as a boy. Eve is interrogated by police, but refuses to rat Chev out. Doc Miles uses his assistant Chocolate to lure Poon Dong in, and knocks him out.

Chelios is awakened by electric shocks to his testicles, and is dragged by speedboat to an island where El Huron awaits. El Huron explains to Chev that he is the third Verona brother, and is very upset that Chelios killed Ricky (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Alex Verona (Jay Xcala). He reveals Ricky Verona’s head being kept alive in a tank by a group of scientists, speaking in an electronic voice. Chelios is whipped for Verona’s pleasure, and is about to die when Orlando, Venus, and Ria show up, each with their own group of gunfighters, and chaos breaks out.

Chev smashes open Verona’s tank and kicks his head into the swimming pool, but starts to slow down. He climbs an electric pylon nearby and grabs the insulators to recharge, but is flung off of it upon contact. Venus is fighting El Huron and is about to lose when Chev reappears, still partially on fire from the electricity. He beats El Huron to death (while still burning), and throws his body in the pool next to Ricky’s head. In a hallucinogenic state, Chelios then tries to hug Ria (thinking she is Eve) but accidentally sets her on fire as well, and she runs off screaming. His flesh burning and his face melting, Chelios walks towards the camera, giving the middle finger to the audience in the final moment of the film.

During the credits, Doc Miles places Chev Chelios’s heart back in. At first, it looks like a failure, but after everyone leaves, Chelios’s eyes open, and his heart is heard beating.

REVIEW:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sequels are hit and miss. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. The jury is still out on Crank: High Voltage, though.

Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios. As I was watching everything Chelios was going through, I was like, can this guy ever catch a break and is he really human? The man somehow survived that poison from the first film, and now he’ had his heart removed and repalced with a temporary one that he has to keep juicing up. He even ends the film climbing up power lines to get some electrical current which is so much that it sets him on fire!

Amy Smart reprises her role as Eve, Chev’s ditzy blonde girlfriend. Now a stripper, she thought that Chelios was dead and shacked up with the sleazy club owner (played by Corey Haim, of all people). In a film like this, you’d think there’s be more scenes with the resident eye candy, but not so much. A bit of a disappointment to me, but then again, there are plenty of other naked women to be seen, plus she and Statham have the memorable sex romp at the horse races.

Dwight Yoakam, who I still can’t get over being an actor now, has a bigger role as Doc Miles this go around. It is good to know that Doc is actually skilled at some thing, although he confused the bejesus out of me when he was explaining what Chelios had to do to stay alive with that AbioCor heart.

Efren Ramirez returns, not as the murdered Kaylo, but rather his brother Venus, who suffers from some form of Tourette’s. I think it was called FBT, Full Body Tourette’s. Venus isn’t as flaming as Kaylo. As a matter of fact, he almost seems straight. It is implied that he isn’t, but it is also implied he is? Perhaps he swings both ways?

Bai Ling annoys me to no end when she’s not acting, so of course I’m no fan of her character who is just about as annoying as one can get. I’m of the belief that had she been in the first one, she’d have been part of the body count. Here, Chelios isn’t on as much a rampage. This chick does get everything done to her except get shot, so I guess that’s a consolation.

One of the best scenes in the film involves a cameo from Lauren Holly as a psychiatrist talking to the cart guy from the first film that Chelios pulled a gun on so that he could get his ephedrine. On top of this being a hot scene, the irony comes when a bullet (fired from Chelios’ gun) ricocheted and goes through his head. Another cameo is Geri Haliwell (Ginger Spice) as Chev’s mom in a flashback. Nothing really special there, just wanted to mention it. There is also a scene with striking porn stars and we get cameo appearances from Lex Steele, Jenna Haze, and Ron Jeremy.

Following up where Crank ended, this film doesn’t lose any of the excitement of its predecessor. There are still tons of bodies, senseless violence, over the top action, gratuitous sex (in front of a crowd at the racetrack, this time), and everything that made the first film one of my favorites…except it doesn’t have that fun factor. To me, it seems like this one tried to become a serious movie, whereas the first film was insane and didn’t care. For this reason, I can’t give this an enthusiastically high rating, but it is still awesome, mindless fun that any action junkie will love.

4 out 5 stars

Crank

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Carlito (Carlos Sanz) leads a wealthy and influential Mexican-American and Latino/Hispanic crime syndicate in Los Angeles, simply referred to in the film as the “West Coast Crime Syndicate”. Worried about the encroachment of a group into LA of heavily-armed members of the Korean mobsters, and the effects that may have upon his operations, Carlito orders the contract killing of their leader, Don Kim (Keone Young). Carlito’s best hitman, an English man called Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), is ordered to do the job. However Carlito has underestimated the Korean and after the hit, the heat from Hong Kong is much greater than Carlito expected. Carlito immediately regrets that the hit may have been “ill-advised” and to ease the pressure Carlito offers the Koreans both an explanation and a solution: the hit was nothing to do with him, and Carlito will himself remove certain elements within his own organization who were responsible and operating on their own.

Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo), a small time punk and long-time rival of Chev Chelios, uses the opportunity to conspire with Carlito against Chelios, unbeknown to Chelios who believes Carlito is still loyal to him. Whilst Chelios sleeps in his apartment one night, Verona silently breaks in and injects Chelios with the “Beijing Cocktail”. This is a synthetic drug which stops the flow of adrenaline in the body, slowing the heart, and eventually killing the victim. Chelios wakes to find a recorded video made by Verona mocking Chelios and explaining the situation, and that Chelios should only have about an hour left before the poison stops his heart.

Chelios speaks with an underground doctor who often works as a personal physician to the Mafia, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who informs Chelios that in order to survive and keep his heart beating he must keep his adrenaline pumping through constant excitement and danger, or get some artificial adrenaline, epinephrine. With his own adrenaline keeping the poison at bay at first, Chelios breaks into a hospital and steals numerous drugs, much more than Doc Miles advises him to take and also being “juiced” by hits from a defibrilator. Even still he must keep his adrenaline up through reckless and dangerous acts such as picking fights with other gangsters, stealing things, committing robberies, fighting with police and driving cars through shopping malls.

The entire film takes place over a single day, starting in the morning and going through to late afternoon/early evening. Over the course of the day Chelios sets out to get his revenge on Verona, knowing that he probably will not make it to the end of the day, and attempting to find Verona and his street gang through Chelios’ street contact Kaylo (Efren Ramirez), a flamboyant Chelios also goes to pick up his unassuming girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) before Verona’s thugs get to her. In one notable scene Chelios has sex with Eve in the middle of a busy street in Chinatown while hundreds of people look on, in order to keep his adrenaline up.

In the end it is revealed that Chelios never actually killed Don Kim, in fact sparing his life and telling him to leave LA instead. Towards the end of the movie, Chelios arranges a rooftop meeting with Carlito, Verona and their henchman, who promise him the (fake) antidote to the Beijing Cocktail. Don Kim arrives along with his Triads to assist Chelios, and in a vicious shootout many of Carlito’s men are killed. Carlito is killed by none other than an ambitious and treacherous Verona, who then attempts to leave in Carlito’s escape helicopter. The movie concludes with Chelios confronting Verona in the helicopter and as they fight the pair fall from the chopper thousands of feet above LA, and mid-flight Chelios breaks Verona’s windpipe, quipping “I told you I’d kill you, you little bitch!” He then calls Eve on his cell phone, apologizing that he will not be coming back to her. Chelios hits a car, bounces off it and lands right in front of the camera. In the last shot it is implied that his adrenaline is indeed still flowing fast; his nostrils flare, he blinks, and two heartbeats are heard.

REVIEW:

I have to say that I love films like this that are more action than plot. Yeah, that kind of sounds mindless, but on occasion they are a nice escape. This might very well be why I like Shoot ‘Em Up as well.

Jason Statham, in every role I’ve seen him play, has really carved a niche for himself as a bonafide action star. I never noticed it before, but he does vaguely resemble Bruce Willis. Of course, that may be because of the hair…or lack thereof. As Chev Chelios, he provides with a mysterious, grumpy hitman (who has a British accent) who is dealing with the fact that he doesn’t have long to live and wants to not only find an antidote for his condition, but also get revenge on the people that did this to him.

Dwight Yoakam leaves his country music realm to appear as the doctor who is advising Chelios on how to stay alive. Yeah, I had no idea it was Yoakem, either, but then again, I’m not a country music fan. He actually isn’t a bad actor, if I do say so myself, but he doesn’t have to do much here.

Amy Smart plays the only female in the film, except for the doctors masseuses and assistant. She doesn’t appear to be anything more than a ditzy blonde and you wonder why Chev is staying with her other than the fact that she’s smokin’ hot…then the public sex scene in Chinatown happens and well…do i really need to say more?

Adrenaline fuels this film, especially since that’s what keeps Chelios alive, but there are quite a few funny scenes here and there, such as Chelios landing his car on an escalator. Look for Efren Ramirez as a drag queen/homosexual character who helps out Chev as well. He lightens the mood in the scenes he’s in. 

Talk about a non-stop ride from start to finish, this film has it all, including a couple of gore scenes, for those of you out there that are into it. Personally, I can’t wait to see the sequel. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll be headed out to get the DVD so I can watch this over and over again.

5 out of 5 stars