Archive for Jason Statham

Spy

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster

What people are saying:

“On the scale of dumb comedies, this ranks pretty high. Surprisingly high. Maybe it’s the benefit of low expectations, but it had some really funny parts in all the absurdity.” 4 stars

“Smart, action-packed and filled with tons of humour throughout, the third entry in the Feig-McCarthy “saga” manages to provide tons of entertainment with great performances from its cast and Jason Statham stealing the show in every scene he’s in due to his gleefully profane character.” 5 stars

“The first half was amusing, but then it went downhill quick. The only thing that really made me laugh was Jason Statham’s character which was pretty funny, but mostly because it was a caricature of the characters he usually plays. ” 2 stars

“Pretty funny. In fact the best Melissa McCarthy movie since Bridemaids. Too bad they had to put so much language in it and the gratuitous scene. Kids could find these movies very funny also and the movies could do more money if they would tone it down a bit. Other then that very funny. Jason Statham’s character was a little annoying but worth the rental. ” 3 stars

“Spy is everything this year’s Hot Pursuit wished it was: a giant, female-centric, laugh-out-loud action comedy that’s sprawling in its set-pieces, yet shining in its silliness. Through its physical comedy and unexpectedly cool combat scenes, it still manages to feel like a screwball comedy throwback with stellar verbal sparring between the great actors. So it’s not groundbreaking like Mad Max: Fury Road, or mind-boggling like Ex Machina, but those aren’t the goals. Spy will simply make you happy, nothing more, nothing less; and sometimes that’s really enough. Much of that pure joy comes directly from the cast. From top to bottom, these gals and guys propel Spy to higher levels than movies of its kind often get. Everyone just seems to be having an absolute blast and that fun is contagious. Janney and Byrne stand out as solid and strong comedic presences. Hart and Statham steal every scene they are in, each playing with their own Hollywood identities to great effect. At the center of it all, McCarthy and Feig steer the ship swimmingly, often managing heartbreaking honesty and side-splitting hilarity all at once. This mixture can, at times, make the proceedings feel more “cute” than LOL funny, especially as the movie’s somewhat-long runtime feels its length. However, as you settle into the world, you can’t help but love the ways in which it takes the self-righteousness out of spy thrillers by highlighting the hilariously mundane minutiae. Will it change your world or even really challenge you intellectually? Not in the least, but it will undoubtedly make you laugh…a lot.” 4 stars

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The Expendables 3

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The Expendables led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and formed by Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) extract former member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), a knives specialist and team medic, from a military prison and recruit him to assist them in intercepting a shipment of bombs meant to be delivered to a warlord in Somalia. Arriving there, they reunite with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who directs them to the drop point, where Ross is surprised to find out that the arms trader providing the bombs is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who co-founded the Expendables, but later betrayed the team to profit off of illegal weapons dealing, and was since believed to be dead. In the ensuing firefight, the Expendables are forced to retreat due to Stonebanks’ men’s advanced weaponry, and Caesar is severely injured in the process.

Blaming himself, Ross leaves for Las Vegas, where he enlists retired mercenary Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to help him find younger, mercenaries to join the team. The recruits include ex-Marine John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey), computer expert Thorn (Glen Powell) and weapons expert Mars (Victor Ortiz). Skilled sharpshooter Galgo (Antonio Banderas) advocates to be included in the team, but Ross turns him down. The new team rendezvous with CIA operative Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), the Expendables’ missions manager, and Ross’ rival Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who have traced Stonebanks to Romania, where he is set to make a deal with another arms trader. Ross and the new recruits infiltrate his office building and capture him in order to deliver him to Drummer, but Stonebanks’ men catch up to them and fire a missile at the team’s van. Ross is thrown into a ravine, while Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars are captured by Stonebanks.

Stonebanks sends Ross a video, challenging Ross to come after him. While preparing to leave, Ross is found by Galgo, and agrees to give him a chance. Christmas, Jensen, Road and Doc likewise join his efforts, and they raid the building where Stonebanks is keeping the recruits and rescue them. Stonebanks has rigged the place with explosives, but Thorn is able to use a battery-powered device to delay the countdown. Drummer and Mauser arrive to help them alongside retired member Yin Yang (Jet Li), and the team begrudingly works together to kill Stonebanks’ men and destroy his weapons. Ross and Stonebanks fight hand-to-hand, and Ross finally kills him just as the batteries of Thorn’s device run out and the entire building begins to collapse. The team makes it to Drummer’s helicopter and flies away to safety.

Caesar recovers from his wounds, and Ross officially accepts Galgo, Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars into the team. They all get together at a bar to celebrate.

REVIEW:

Admittedly, I never would have expected this niche idea to spawn into an entire franchise, yet here we are with The Expendables 3. While there is something to be said about surviving to a trilogy, one has to wonder if they are getting too big for their britches. Look at how many people are on that poster!

What is this about?

Maintaining their go-for-broke attitude in this installment of the action franchise, the Expendables square off against villainous arms trader Conrad Stonebanks, who’s hell-bent on destroying the team.

What did I like?

Blood Transfusion. After a mission goes wrong and nearly costs one of them their lives, Stallone’s character fires the old guys (big mistake) and goes on a search for the next team of Expendables. Quite honestly, save for Ronda Rousey’s character, these young bucks are generic and forgettable. However, two new old guys that come in steal the show, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas. First off, Snipes has been in prison for tax evasion the past 8 years or so (in real life), so this is his first role back, and you really can’t tell he was away. Although, I wonder if it is possible for him to have gotten darker. Ha! This character of his kicks all sorts of ass and has the personality of Willie “Mays” Hays, Snipes’ character from Major League. Banderas is an acrobatic ball of Spanish fire! When he comes on, he doesn’t shut up, but he gets the job done. If I had to equate his performance with anyone, it would be as if he brought the studio performance of reading his line for Puss in Boots to this film and then had a few cases of Red Bull. I almost forgot to mention Harrison Ford, who replaces Bruce Willis’ role as CIA liaison. Ford is an upgrade, both in terms of credibility and acting ability. Most importantly, though, he appears to want to be there, whereas Willis was just sort of there.

Action and explosions. A bunch of ex-military guys going out on missions armed to the teeth and willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause. What else can we expect but lots of action and explosions? If you’re looking for some mind-blowing drama, this ain’t the place to find it, I hate to break that to you.  Save for a slight slowdown in the second and third acts, this flick is almost nonstop action, starting with a badass train rescue scene that reminds us why these films are so enjoyable.

Mel’s diner. The Expendables 2 dug up Jean-Claude Van Damme and made him a villain. Excuse me, Vilain. This time around we get Mel Gibson, who apparently was one of the original Expendables (with Stallone and Snipes), but a mission went wrong and, after being rumored for dead, he is discovered to be a massive weapons dealer. In Machete Kills, Gibson returned to the big screen, after his strange legal troubles, and gave us an over the top villain performance for the ages. This character seems as if he is just as unhinged, but Gibson is doing his best to keep that under control. That Jekyll & Hyde dynamic, if you will, is what makes it work so well as a foil for the team.

What didn’t I like?

Young vs. old. Tell me if you’ve heard this before. A bunch of old guys, who are (or were) the top of their game…maybe even the best have an encounter with the “next generation” who do the same job but with fancier gadgets and more attitude. If that sounds familiar, it is probably because just about everytime we get old and new school together, they come to blows. Personally, with this group of “newbies”, they could have been left out of the film, save for Rousey and the computer guy. These films were created with the intention of giving the older guys the spotlight, a little tidbit they seem to have forgotten.

Race card. Bare with me as I step on my soapbox for a bit here. So, early on, Terry Crews’ character is mortally wounded, strangely enough, this happens as a new African-American character, played by Wesley Snipes, is brought in. Crews even mentions it, since he was in Somalia, or whatever 3rd world country that was while the rest of the team was breaking Snipes out of that prison train. We should have known then, but it seems as if this film suffers from what has been deemed The Walking Dead syndrome, which is the inability to have two black characters. Go back and watch the show, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Most notably when T-Dog was just coming into his own is when he gets it…coincidentally as Michonne was brought in. If this is some hidden Hollywood racism, it could also point to why we still haven’t got that much-anticipated Black Panther movie. Then again, if we ever do get it and he joins the Avengers, Falcon or War Machine, if not both, would have to go. Back to the point at hand, Crews’ character is one of the most charming and endearing of this franchise and they took him out of this film. It could have just as easily been Randy Couture’s character. No one cares about him, plus we get 2 other UFC stars later in the film! –steps off soapbox–

Snipe hunt. After Snipes’ badass introduction, he disappears into the background. I have two issues with this. First, they go through all the trouble of pointing out that he’s one of the original Expendables and a doctor, yet the only time we see him doing any doctoring is when Crews is hurt. As far being one of the original, that just seemed like it was a convenient plot point to break him out of jail. Second, the clothes they put him in are…well…let’s just say they remind me of what my grandfather wore. Now, I will say that the home base of this film is New Orleans, and that is a style down there, especially among jazz musicians, just go look at Kermit Ruffins. Unfortunately, Snipes is not playing a jazz musician, so I have to wonder if the clothes were to just keep him noticed. If that was the case, then it worked. If not, then someone needs to rethink these choices because the look does not work for Snipes.

I was expecting The Expendables 3 to do better at the box office. Maybe if they stopped trying to make these PG-13, it would have. The audience for these films is mostly those of us that were around when these guys were in their prime, making R rated action flicks, complete with boobs, muscles, sweat, action, and guns. If and when they make the 4th film of this franchise, I hope they realize that. Also, they touched on the origin of the group, I would like to see more of that and/or since there are so many now, perhaps Expendables A and Expendables B? Just a couple of thoughts. All that said, this is not the kind of film that will be bringing home any awards in the spring, I think we all know that little fact. However, it is a fun summer flick. Out of the 3 films, it may be the best written and most exciting. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! Check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Homefront

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

DEA agent, and ex soldier, Phil Broker (Jason Statham) sees his quiet family life turned upside down when his path crosses with a band of drug traffickers, led by Gator (James Franco), a meth kingpin

REVIEW:

I’m in a bit of a rush today, so I need to be sure to finish Homefront before I need to be heading out the door. As a big Jason Statham fan, I am always looking forward to his films, but lately they haven’t been as impressive as they could/should be. Hopefully, this outing will return him to form.

What is this about?

When ex-DEA agent Phil Broker is widowed, he moves with his 10-year-old daughter to a small town in pursuit of a quiet life, but he finds his dream destroyed by a murderous drug trafficker, Gator, and his gang of meth-making thugs.

What did I like?

Action. One of the reasons we all love Jason Statham is because he kicks ass and takes names. We get a plenty of that in this film, even though he does try to not fight everyone in the small redneck town (not too far from where I’m from, as a matter of fact). Seeing Statham back in action, breaking bones, leaving guys bruised and bloodied, and doing so without really getting riled up about it reminded me of The Transporter franchise, which some would say are his best films…at least the first two.

Franco. James Franco has had an interesting career playing a variety of characters, but he really hasn’t played a sadistic, meth dealing, evil mastermind like he does in this film to my knowledge. I appreciate the guy is stretching his wings and doing something different. True, he shines in the stoner roles he normally is cast in, but he is more than capable of playing bigger and better roles, such as this one, the reluctant antagonist.

Writing. Believe it or not, this is a film that was written by Sylvester Stallone. Statham takes the material and really makes it pop. While this has all the makings of Stallone’s film, just with Statham in the lead, he does manage to make it his own and with a pretty solid cast to bring this story to life on the screen. The script leaves you wondering what is going to happen in the end, especially when an alternate element, not spoiling anything, comes in and tries to get revenge. The way all this is accomplished is quite impressive, especially for someone who I really didn’t know was a screenwriter.

What didn’t I like?

Surfs up. Remember in the early 2000s when everyone was so in love with Kate Bosworth? Ever wondered where she disappeared to? Well, she turns up in this film as a strung out, meth head, redneck who is the mother of the boy whom Statham’s daughter beats up in the playground. Apparently, this chick is a bit unstable. So much so, that the sheriff has to come to the school when she does to make sure she doesn’t do anything rash. In a previous meeting, she apparently threatened the principal. Nothing against Bosworth, but it just seemed as if this wasn’t the role for her. The way they were describing her, I expected someone a bit more detached from reality, not to mention the effect meth would have had on her looks. Bosworth didn’t portray these things to me, personally.

Can I get a laugh? As I was sitting here watching the events of this film play out, I was hoping for some comic relief, but didn’t really get it. On first appearance, one would think that Omar Benson would have played it, but that was not the case. As a matter of fact, the only real funny moment in this flick is the wig Statham is wearing at the beginning of the film. For me, I need comic relief to break up the seriousness. I’m not saying this needed to turn into a comedy, but a couple of light jokes would have been nice.

He started it. The bodies pile up, a mother is shot by her brother, a kitten is stolen from a little girl, a marriage is strained even more than it already was, Wynona Ryder pulls a swerve on James Franco that just makes things worse, etc. All of these things happen because one little boy was bullying Statham’s daughter on the playground. Yes, she did kick his ass, but had they just let this go, there wouldn’t have been any of these problems. If ever there was a case for not bullying, this is it, as you can see it snowball from those actions.

Final thoughts on Homefront? I think this is a film that is underrated. It dug Wynona Ryder and Kate Bosworth out of whatever hole in the wall they had been hold up in. The action is bad ass, the story is decent, and the subplot involving the biker gang (which seems to be forgotten until the second half of the film) isn’t horrible. Do I recommend this flick? Yes, while the film has its problems, it is enjoyable. Give it a shot sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Long-time friends Bacon, Eddy, Tom, and Soap put together £100,000 so that Eddy, a genius card sharp, can buy into one of Harry “The Hatchet” Lonsdale’s weekly high-stakes three card brag games. Harry learns about Eddy from his trusted bodyguard Barry “the Baptist”, and rigs the game so that Eddy loses not only his £100,000 buy-in, but an additional £400,000 that Harry bullied him into borrowing to play out the biggest pot of the night. Harry demands repayment within a week, and pulls Eddy’s father’s bar into the deal as an alternative.

After several days with no luck acquiring the funds, Eddy returns home and overhears his neighbours, a gang of thieves led by a man named Dog, planning a heist on some marijuana growers supposedly loaded with cash and drugs. Eddy relays this information to the group, intending for them to rob the neighbours as they come back from their heist. They install taping equipment to monitor the neighbours, and Tom acquires a pair of antique shotguns from a black market dealer, known as Nick “the Greek”, who also strikes a deal with Rory Breaker, a sociopathic gangster, to buy the stolen drugs. Nick had purchased the guns from a pair of bungling small-time criminals, Gary and Dean, who had stolen them from a bankrupt lord as part of a job for Harry, not realizing that of the entire stolen firearms collection, his only desire was the two antique shotguns. After learning the guns had been sold, an enraged Barry threatens the two into getting them back.

The neighbours’ heist gets under way; despite a gang member being killed by his own Bren Gun, and an incriminating encounter with a traffic warden, the job is a success. On returning to their flat, the gang is ambushed by the four friends, who take the loot and return later that night to stash the goods next door, before celebrating with a wild night of drinking. Rory discovers that the drugs he was going to purchase were stolen from him, as the marijuana growers were in his employ. Rory interrogates Nick into revealing where the four friends live, and enlists one of the chemists, Winston, to identify the robbers. Meanwhile, furious about their loss, Dog throws one of his men through the wall of their flat and discovers the taping equipment and eventually the stolen goods. While he counts the money, his men prepare an ambush. Gary and Dean, trying to recover the antique shotguns, call Nick, who directs them to the same address, while Big Chris, Harry’s debt collector, departs with his son to the same destination as the four friends drive home from the bar.

Rory and his gang assault the flat and have a shootout with the neighbours, resulting in the deaths of all but Dog and Winston, the latter taking off with the marijuana. Dog is mugged by Big Chris of the shotguns and money during his escape; Gary and Dean spot Big Chris with the guns and hastily follow him, while the four friends return to find their loot missing. Big Chris gives the guns and cash to Harry, but on his return to the car he finds Dog threatening to kill his son if he doesn’t retrieve the loot. Desperate to get the guns, Gary and Dean attack Harry and Barry at their office, not knowing what Harry looks like and not noticing Barry until after he retaliates. Within seconds all four men are dead. The four friends arrive, find everyone dead, and take the cash back. Big Chris suddenly crashes into their car to disable Dog, then brutally bludgeons him to death with his car door. He takes the debt money back from the unconscious friends but allows Tom to leave with the antique shotguns.

The friends are arrested, but declared innocent after the traffic warden identified Dog’s dead gang as the prime suspects. The four reunite at Eddy’s father’s bar and decide that Tom should dispose of the shotguns, which are the only remaining evidence linking them to the crimes. After Tom leaves, Big Chris arrives and tells them he is keeping the debt money for himself and his son, but gives them an antique guns catalogue which reveals that the shotguns are each worth a fortune. They quickly call Tom, and the film ends with Tom’s mobile phone ringing as he hangs over the side of a bridge, preparing to drop the shotguns into the River Thames.

REVIEW:

Since I am such a huge Jason Statham fan, everyone assumes that I’ve seen Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, which is the film that brought him to everyone’s attention, but until today, I hadn’t. I’ve been wondering what the big deal about this film is and, to be honest with you, I’m still wondering.

What is this about?

Hoping to make a bundle in a high-stakes poker game, four shiftless lads from London’s East End instead find themselves swimming in debt to underworld porn king “Hatchet” Harry — and with only a week to repay him.

What did I like?

Get real. Have you ever watched a film about a group of friends and felt that they barely know each other? Well, this is the opposite of that. The guys are almost as close-knit a group as the group we see in every ViewAskew flick or Simon Pegg and his boys. I really bought the friendship between these guys and felt that they would do anything for each other. The only way this film works is if they are believable, and that they are.

Interweave. Lately is seems as if films have been using multiple story arcs for the sole purpose of using them. They need to go back and watch pictures like this, Pulp Fiction, and the like. Each arc is given the time to develop and relates to the big picture, which is something that should be applauded, especially since they all come together at the end.

Walls. Living in an apartment that has rather thin walls (the lady next door has is watching the game right now, if I’m hearing right), I can relate to the living situation that these guys were in, although mine is nowhere near that bad. At any rate, everytime it was brought up how thin the walls were I got a chuckle and thought back to my college dorm days where the walls were nearly see through, they were so thin. This is another aspect of real life that isn’t really shown on film, except for in exaggerations, and I was really loving the decision to portray it in a non-negative light.

What didn’t I like?

No cops. How is it possible that the police have little to no knowledge of these capers that are going on. I didn’t quite understand that, or perhaps I was just expecting them to actually show up and ruin everything, but there wasn’t a cop in sight throughout most, if not all, of the picture.

Woman’s touch. There is one woman in this film, she is a minor character who spends most of her time stoned out of her mind. Am I saying this film needed more females, no. However, the fact that they used her to pick up a dropped gun and wipe out a bunch of lowlifes and then is killed herself, just made her seem even less of a factor than she was and that they brought her in for the sake of having a female on the cast list.

Accents. In most of the reviews I’ve read, a common complaint is how thick the accents are, which they really are quite intense. They are so thick, that in one scene subtitles have to be used. I think the subtitles were done for comedic effect, but the accents were probably exaggerated, much like southern accents are in cartoons and comedies. If it was for comedic effect, then I commend their handle on comedy, but if it wasn’t, they should’ve backed off a little for us non-Cockney speakers.

Here’s a random fact about Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Sting, who appears as one of the guys’ father, is or was married to one of the producers. Seeing him is actually something of a highlight of the film, but without him, I believe this film stands on its own. Unfortunately, I think that by this time next week I will have forgotten about this film, save for the fact it is part of Jason Statham, and to a lesser extent, Vinnie Jones’ resume. Do I recommend it? Yes, especially if you’re into gritty, realistic action comedies. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then give it a shot!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Parker

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, who doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a five-man job with a crew he doesn’t know, which consists of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Hardwicke (Michah Hauptman). The job is successful, but Parker refuses to go further with another plan that will earn them millions. They shoot him and leave him to die in a lake. Having barely survived, he is found by a family who take him to the hospital, where he chokes out a male nurse, steals his uniform, and escapes. He robs a check cashing store to get funds, shooting one proprietor in the leg, and stealing a woman’s car parked outside. Parker tells Hurley that he wants to go after Melander for double-crossing him, who he later discovers is in Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. The crew learn that he is alive, and uses their mob connections to get a hit-man named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt) to go after Parker. He tries to kidnap Hurley’s daughter and Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding at a Fish Camp. Hurley is worried and suggests Parker run away with Claire, but he refuses, completely intent on revenge against Melander.

Parker travels to Palm Beach and poses as a Texan named Daniel Parmitt. Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), and struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmitt) appears to become interested in her properties, because she is desperate for a commission. Leslie soon becomes suspicious when Parker only takes interest in a house that a man named Rodrigo is renting. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, and is staying in this house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million dollar jewelry auction from which they plan to steal jewels. Leslie becomes suspicious and eventually finds out that Daniel Parmitt is a fake identity. She offers her knowledge of the area as help to Parker, if he will give her a commission. He considers it after making her strip to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie kisses Parker, but he stops it from going any further.

Before the auction, Melander’s crew disguise themselves as movers to plan their heist. They soon learn that Parker is in Palm Beach, and send Kroll to kill him. After a bloody fight, Kroll stabs Parker through the hand, but ends up falling from a balcony and dying. The next morning, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Fernandez (Bobby Cannavale) arrives with questions for Leslie about Daniel after learning that she was in business with him. She is shocked when she discovers a bloody Parker hiding in her house, and tells Jake that Daniel was a waste of her time. At her workplace, Leslie is horrified when she watches a video of Kroll’s death online, which was filmed by local onlookers. When she gets back to her condo, Claire is there stitching up Parker’s wounds. Leslie is hurt, believing she had a chance to be with Parker romantically. Claire goes back into hiding at the Fish Camp.

The crew successfully steal the jewels at the auction, and swim back to the house, where a weak and injured Parker has already arrived. Worried that Parker might get hurt, Leslie makes her way to the house and begins snooping around the garden. She is found and taken inside, where the crew abuse and grill her with questions, assuming she is working with Parker. Melander finds Parker and a fight ensues. Carlson starts to molest Leslie, and she shoots him multiple times with a gun she noticed under the table. Melander is eventually killed after Parker stabs and shoots him. All members of the crew end up dead. Parker and Leslie arrange for the jewels to be hidden and for her to receive her cut. She tells him that she never did have a chance to be with him, and they part ways. Six months later, Parker goes to Chicago and kills the mafia boss who hired Kroll to kill him. A year later, Leslie receives a hefty box in the mail containing bundles of hundred dollar bills. In the final scene before the credits, the tomato farmers who saved Parker’s life are talking to somebody about how they got all this money that changed their lives, and they credit the stranger they rescued, who they think was an angel sent to test them.

REVIEW:

Earlier this week, I was talking to a friend about how much I love Jason Statham movies. There is just something about the way he kicks ass and takes names that really appeals to me. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Netflix to deliver Parker so that I can get my next dose of Statham, and guess what came in today!

What is this about?

Parker is a thief who lives by a personal code of ethics: Don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, and don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it. But when his crew double-crosses him, Parker teams up with an unlikely partner to even the score.

What did I like?

Parker. No one plays the antihero better than Jason Statham. I don’t know much about Parker, but is does seem that Statham was born to play him. Bringing in a charisma and confidence that all of his roles exhibit, he also shows that he’s a real man’s man, kicking ass and getting the girl (2 of them to be precise).

Heist. The initial heist for some reason, reminded me of The Transporter, even though he did more than drive. Come to think of it, he wasn’t driving it all, but my mind still went there. The heist is really the major plot point for this film, because without it going awry, then this would not have gone on to become a revenge thriller instead of just a crime flick.

Scenery. I will never complain about seeing south Florida as a setting in film. The neighborhoods that are often used are just gorgeous. In this case, we get to see the rich neighborhoods, which often are the most appealing. Too bad there weren’t any pool/ocean scenes with lots of bikini clad girls walking about.

What didn’t I like?

Action. It seems that lately I am constantly being derided for my love of action in movies. Don’t get me wrong, I was content with the story here, but it seemed to drag on a bit. I may just be spoiled by other Statham films like the Crank movies, because this tends to be a common complaint when I watch his films of late.

Comic relief. I love Jennifer Lopez to a certain extent. She was some much needed eye candy and comic relief for this film, but I felt as if she was trying a bit too hard either to be funny or step out of her comfort zone, because at times she was grating on my nerves. Also, I couldn’t help but feel awkward watching her scenes with Statham. The two of them just don’t have chemistry, but she does seem to have a nice rapport with Bobby Cannavale, if that counts for anything.

Accent. As a native Texan, the Texas accent Statham put on while he was masquerading as a rich oil tycoon from San Antonio was far from accurate. It was offensive the way some southern accents tend to be, but it was quite obvious no one worked with him on getting it right. Maybe Statham is like Simon Pegg, and just doesn’t do well speaking anything but his native British dialect.

In conclusion, Parker is not a bad film, but it isn’t necessarily a good one, either. There are moments of violence, some comic relief, an attempt at a good story, and all the pieces for this to be a really great and enjoyable flick, but they just don’t come together the way they should. The result is a nearly joyless almost bore, which is really a shame since there was such high hopes coming from me about this film. That being said, I would still gladly watch it again. Do I recommend it, though? Yes and no. If you’re the kind that’s into a quick action thriller, then you might enjoy this, but if you’re more looking for that flick that will change the world, this is not for you!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Safe

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , on September 16, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A former cage fighter comes to the aid of a 12-year-old girl kidnapped by ruthless Triad gangsters. Before the rescue is over, the pair will go up against not only her abductors, but also the Russian Mafia and a bunch of corrupt New York cops.

REVIEW:

Say what you will about Jason Statham, I happen to believe he is the current go to guy for action films. I challenge you to name someone else who is as bankable without being a superhero (although Statham has stated he wants to e Daredevil). Safe is another entry into Staham’s action repertoire, but a bit of a departure from his usual formulaic films.

What is this about?

Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei’s trail. Will he be able to keep her safe and return to his normal life?

What did I like?

Mob wars. Russian and Chinese mafias going at each other throats and trying to get this little girl and kill Statham. What more can one ask for? Seems like he’s always stuck between two mobs (one of which is always Chinese) in his films, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing to me.

Hong. The other day, I saw this guy as a villain in an episode of The A-Team and now here he is again as a villainous mob boss. The special thing about that, though, is that most of his roles lately have been more of a good guy, typical mentor kind of guy. The last thing that I remember him in was the Kung Fu Panda films, and he’s Po’s dad, which makes him as good of a guy as you can get.

Mei. The little girl is hopefully on her way to a huge career. She shows some signs of true acting talent, not to mention being able to hang with Statham in the action realm, something that isn’t very easy to do.

What didn’t I like?

Lack of clarity. Throughout the whole film, I couldn’t help but find myself wondering what was really going on. It is never really a clear picture what the motives for everything are, why this little girl manages to bring Statham’s character back to “life”, etc.

Not a comedy. Some jokes were cracked here and there, but this isn’t anywhere near being a comedy, contrary to what people seem to believe. I give the film all the props in the world for inserting some jokes here and there, though.

Corrupt cops. There really isn’t anything special about the corrupt cops and city officials. In the same way that I hate how films use the military anytime something “different” appears on Earth, I’m just not a fan of these corrupt cop capers. I’ve just seen enough of these type of things.

Safe is a safe bet for those that are into these kind of action flicks. Staham is a bankable action star and earns his money in this one. Once this film gets going, hang on because you’re in for a fun ride. I don’t highly recommend this, but it is worth watching, so check it out!

3 out of 5 stars

The Expendables 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The Expendables are deployed to Nepal in order to rescue a Chinese businessman. The team consists of leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), former SAS soldier and blades specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li), weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), and snipers Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), the group’s youngest and newest member. The mercenaries rescue the businessmen, as well as Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Ross’ rival. Yang accompanies the businessman in his return to China, and temporarily departs from the group.

Ross accepts a mission from Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) to retrieve an item from a safe from an airplane that was shot down in Albania. The team, accompanied by tech genius Maggie (Yu Nan), retrieve the item from the airplane; their victory is short-lived, after discovering that Billy has been captured by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who intends to retrieve the item. The Expendables surrender the item, however Vilain executes Billy and leaves. The group bury Billy and swears revenge on Vilain; Maggie reveals the item on the plane was a blueprint to a mine which stores plutonium. Vilain, along with his right-hand man Hector (Scott Adkins), intends to retrieve a large amount of plutonium and sell them.

The team decides to travel to the mines, although the group stops by an abandoned military base where they spend the night. The next morning, the team are ambushed by Vilain’s army, but the army is quickly eliminated by Booker (Chuck Norris) single-handed, who departs the group shortly afterwards. Before departing, Booker informs the group about a nearby village with residents who are against Vilain. As they enter the village, the group discovers a number of armed female villagers who are guarding their children. The women tell the mercenaries that the men of the village have been taken to work at the mine; the miners never return to their families. Eventually, the Sang arrives to take more villagers to work, but the team successfully kills all the Sang, saving the village. The group stages an attack on Vilain through infiltrating the mine by shooting their plane through the caves; the plane is destroyed in the process. Vilain causes a set of explosions that buries the team and the miners underground. After Jensen makes an unsuccessful attempt to detonate a portion of the mine, Trench and Church rescue the mercenaries and the miners trapped in the mine; the miners are reunited with their loved ones from the village.

The Expendables, Trench and Church pursue Vilain to the airport, where Vilain and his men would depart on a private plane with the plutonium. The team, rejoined by Booker, fight their way through the airport. Christmas encounters and eventually decapitates Hector. Ross and Maggie follow Vilain to the hangar, where Ross and Vilain battle. Vilain is eventually strangled and stabbed by Ross, avenging Billy’s death. Church, Maggie, Booker and Trench say their goodbyes to Ross, with Church giving a worn-out airplane to Ross (as a replacement of the team’s destroyed airplane). As the team departs in the plane, the Expendables give a final toast in honor of Billy. The group leaves a large sum of money to Sophia (Nikolette Noel), Billy’s French girlfriend, as well as a picture of Billy and Billy’s final letter to Sophia

REVIEW:

A couple of years ago, everyone scoffed at the idea of a bunch of aging action starts getting together and making a movie. Many thought it was just a way for them to get a paycheck, since Hollywood had apparently passed them by. Well, they went on and laughed all the way to the bank, because The Expendables was a big financial success, proving that not everything needs to be CGI and big budget special effects. Now, we have The Expendables 2…same idea, but with a few of the stars that didn’t or couldn’t be in the first one.

What is it about?

Contrary to popular belief, there is a plot to this film, and it isn’t just a bunch of old guys shooting and blowing up stuff…although, that stuff is very prevalent throughout the picture. The actual storyline, though, is that the guys get hired by Mr. Church to go in and bring back something valuable, we initially don’t know what it is, from a safe in a plane that was shot down in the Chinese mountains. Once they retrieved the package are ready to head home, they are ambushed by a group of vigilante villains. After a tense game of chicken, a team member dies, which leads to the driving force behind the rest of the film, revenge. Along the way to the final showdown, the group helps the town that is being forced to mine plutonium so that the other vigilantes can sell it.

What did I like?

Action. If you’ve ever seen an 80s action flick, then you know that they are all about over the top explosions and bloody gore. Welcome to the 2000s, where the explosions are created by computers more often than not and gore is relegated to horror movies. Thanks goodness someone remembered that the audience wants to see this kind of stuff. Now, if only we can get more of it!

Tone. I’ve heard some people weren’t too happy with the change in tone from the first film, but I actually didn’t mind it. A few jokes among friends don’t hurt. If anything, they make these characters seem more human. Don’t you agree? There is a line that Barney has which really sums it up. It goes something like, “…we keep it light, but when the time comes we go full on dark”[sic].

Start and end with a bang. The best scenes in this film are the opening and closing scenes. Both are just the over-the-top action we expect from this fledgling franchise. These are this kind of scenes with lots of people getting killed, lots of stuff being blown up, and dizzying camera angles.

New blood. Bringing in Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme wasn’t a bad idea, even if Norris made them tone down the language to get a PG-13 rating (the violence knocked it back up to an R). I didn’t miss Mickey Rourke at all. Then again, after watching the first film again yesterday afternoon, he wasn’t really that important.

Know your audience. The audience for this film is mostly guys like me who are fed up with these so-called “action” (read=drama) films of today and they make sure they do everything the right way. I don’t believe this was a 3D film, but I can imagine some studio execs pleaded and begged for it to have been. I can’t say how glad I am to not have to have been forced to shell out the case for some rental sunglasses just to see some half-ass 3D effects that really don’t look any different from 2D.

Friendship. There is a scene where the guys are sitting around trying to relax from the day and it is just like some old friends reminiscing. They even have some fun with the “new guy”. This is not only the funniest scene of the movie, but it serves to develop the bond between the characters that we didn’t get in the first film, save for Barney and Christmas, who is actually not involved it.

Villain. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to his starring form with his role as the villainous Villain (pronounced vil-lain). This guy seems to be cold, calculating, and everything you would expect from a villain of today. He demands and commands respect and murders without a second thought. Then there is the fact that he can go toe to toe with Stallone. Just wait until you see that!

What didn’t I like.

Girl, please. When this film started, I was thinking to myself, we have this group of 80s action guy stars, but what about a group of women? No sooner than I finished that thought, do we get introduced to the character of Maggie. Throughout the film, you can tell there is tension between her and Stallone, and I’m not just talking about the sexual tension. As a character, she isn’t bad, but a woman doesn’t belong in this group. It just doesn’t work.

Asian connection. Jet Li kicks more ass in the 10 minutes or so he’s on the screen this time around than he did in all of the last picture. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a an exaggeration, but he does seemingly disappear and never comes back or is mentioned for the rest of the picture. Coincidentally, the “help” that Church brings in is Asian. I can’t help but think there was a reason behind this ethnic casting.

Jason. I’m a huge Jason Statham fan and, personal bias aside, I have to say that it sort of felt like he was relegated to the role of the sidekick this time around. He even bitches about it when he has to go back and get the truck. If not for the scene in the church and his fight with Van Damme’s right hand man, you’d really wonder why he wasn’t utilised more.

Young blood and nearly silent. Aside from Li, there were two other things about the cast that bothered me. First, there is the early death of Liam Hemsworth’s character. I was initially questioning his casting instead of his brother, Chris, but since they killed him off so fast, I guess it makes sense. I have to wonder, especially if they’re talking of making this a real franchise, why they would kill the newest and youngest member, especially since he’s such a crack shot. Granted, his death serves as motivation for the rest of the film, it just seemed like they could have used someone else, like say, Toll Road. Randy Couture’s character is there, but he has little, if anything, to say. I believe he may have 5 or 10 lines throughout the entire film. They could have given him something else to do!

Arnold. After his years as governor of California, it is good to see Arnold getting back into the acting thing. There was even a trailer with hims starring in his own film, so he’s at least picking back up where he left off. The problem here, though, is that his one-liners are as bad they were in Batman & Robin. I can’t give him a pass for being rusty on this one. He needs to do better, and the writers should be ashamed for having him constantly recite such drivel!

The Expendables 2 is a damn fun, good time to be had. A true nostalgic picture than makes you wonder why they don’t make films that are truly fun anymore. I want you, though, if you’re looking for something cerebral and artsy-fartsy, this is not the film for you. This is a film for those of us that actually want to be entertained when we go to the movies! With the summer movie season coming to a close, this is the perfect film to wrap it up and may end up being a sleeper hit, at least on this blog, come the end of the year awards. I highly recommend that you stop reading this and head to your nearest theater and go see this right now!

5 out of 5 stars