Archive for Michael Biehn

Stiletto

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 3, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Two crime lords, Virgil Vadalos (Berenger), a wealthy Greek mafia boss and an MS-13 leader meet in a bathhouse to discuss business. A woman appears in the room with a knife, a stiletto, and kills the MS-13 leader, before stabbing Virgil, leaving him for dead. Virgil survives, however, and orders his men and a corrupt LAPD detective to find the woman, whom he identifies as his lover, Raina. Virgil is puzzled by Raina’s seemingly random attacks and seeks an explanation for her actions. Making things worse for Virgil is the disappearance of $2 million in cash. Virgil’s two top henchmen—the intense Lee (Biehn) and scheming Alex (Forsythe)—dislike each other and suspect the other of being involved with the disappearance.

Raina, meanwhile, is seeking out men who wronged her in the past. She hunts down, seduces and kills several men from several different gangs, throwing the underworld further into mayhem. As she kills one after another, she is headed straight for her original target: Virgil.

REVIEW:

For those that have no idea where in the world, I dug up this obscure film, Stiletto, the reason I watched this was because I’m a fan of Stana Katic, ever since seeing her in The Spirit and every week on Castle.

Truth be told, this is not that great of a film. There is no wonder most people haven’t heard about it and that it was sent direct-to-DVD. I don’t want to say that it was bad, but it just seemed like it didn’t have anything interesting going on, despite the fact that this sexy Russian assassin was going around killing those wo wronged her, as well as the intrigue and reasoning behind her killing spree.

The plot is actually the best part of this flick. It is very well written, and though it may not be original, it works. The downfall is that this cast or script, or director don’t do it justice, thus causing this film to fall into the realm of ho-hum-ness.

The fact that this film doesn’t live up to its potential is such a shame. Sure, at times it comes off as a second-rate Elektra at times, but it still is should have been a good film, despite that fact. Having said that, I just don’t think that anyone should really waste their time on this. On the other hand, you could do worse.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Tombstone

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), a retired peace officer with a notable reputation, reunites with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) in Tucson, Arizona, where they venture on towards Tombstone, a small mining town, to settle down. There they encounter Wyatt’s long-time friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), a Southern gambler and expert gunslinger, who seeks relief from his worsening tuberculosis. Also newly arrived in Tombstone with a traveling theater troupe are Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany) and Mr. Fabian (Billy Zane). Meanwhile, Wyatt’s wife, Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), is becoming dependent on a potent narcotic. Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to profit from a stake in a gambling emporium and saloon, they have their first encounter with a band of outlaws called the Cowboys. Led by “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), the Cowboys are identifiable by the red sashes worn around their waists.

Wyatt, though no longer a lawman, is pressured to help rid the town of the Cowboys as tensions rise. Shooting aimlessly after a visit to an opium house, Curly Bill is approached by Marshal Fred White (Harry Carey, Jr.) to relinquish his firearms. Curly Bill instead shoots the marshal dead and is forcibly taken into custody by Wyatt. The arrest infuriates Ike Clanton (Stephen Lang) and the other Cowboys. Curly Bill stands trial, but is found not guilty due to a lack of witnesses. Virgil, unable to tolerate lawlessness, becomes the new marshal and imposes a weapons ban within the city limits. This leads to the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which Billy Clanton (Thomas Haden Church) and other Cowboys are killed. Virgil and Morgan are wounded, and the allegiance of county sheriff Johnny Behan (Jon Tenney) with the Cowboys is made clear. As retribution for the Cowboy deaths, Wyatt’s brothers are ambushed; Morgan is killed, while Virgil is left handicapped. A despondent Wyatt and his family leave Tombstone and board a train, with Clanton and Frank Stilwell close behind, preparing to ambush them. Wyatt sees that his family leaves safely, and then surprises the assassins; he kills Stilwell, but lets Clanton return to send a message. Wyatt announces that he is a U.S. marshal, and that he intends to kill any man he sees wearing a red sash. Wyatt, Doc, a reformed Cowboy named Sherman McMasters (Michael Rooker), along with their allies Texas Jack Vermillion (Peter Sherayko) and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson (Buck Taylor), join forces to administer justice.

Wyatt and his posse are ambushed in a riverside forest by the Cowboys. Hopelessly surrounded, Wyatt seeks out Curly Bill and kills him in a fast draw gunfight. Curly Bill’s second-in-command, Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), becomes the new head of the Cowboys. When Doc’s health worsens, the group are accommodated by Henry Hooker (Charlton Heston) at his ranch. Ringo sends a messenger (dragging McMasters’ corpse) to Hooker’s property telling Wyatt that he wants a showdown to end the hostilities; Wyatt agrees. Wyatt sets off for the showdown, not knowing that Doc had already arrived at the scene. Doc confronts a surprised Ringo and kills him in a duel. Wyatt runs when he hears the gunshot only to encounter Doc. They then press on to complete their task of eliminating the Cowboys, although Clanton escapes their vengeance. Doc is sent to a sanatorium in Colorado where he later dies of his illness. At Doc’s urging, Wyatt pursues Josephine to begin a new life. The film ends with a narration of an account of their long marriage, ending with Wyatt’s death in Los Angeles in 1929.

REVIEW:

 I’ve seen quite a few westerns in my time…some good and some not so much. By the time Tombstone was released in 1993, the western genre had been long forgotten. Watching this film this afternoon, I applaud them for the attempt, but there is something about this film that just doesn’t stack up the those westerns of the genres heyday.

The film’s plot revolves around the later life of Wyatt Earp, after his retirement from being a peace officer. Along with Earp, notable western characters such as Doc Holliday and Earp’s 2 brothers, are present, as is the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Also present is the Earp vendetta and the sad death of Doc Holliday.

I love westerns that have lots of shootouts. The thing about this film is that you have to sit through a good hour or so of talking, character development, and other boring things before we finally get the big payoff. I realize this had to be done in order to get he audience behind or against all the characters and all, but good grief did it seem to drag on…and on…and on…and on….and on.

The infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral lasted all of maybe 2 minutes. Granted, this is Tombstone and not Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but it just seemed that they rushed through something that should have been a major focal point of the film. 

They did spend some time on the Earp vendetta ride, which I thought was a bit of a trade-off, especially since it wasn’t as popular as said gunfight.

Kurt Russell does an ok job with his role as Wyatt Earp, but for some reason he just seemed cold and aloof to me.

Sam Elliott fit perfectly in this role, even if it was a small one. We’ve all seen this guy in films before. He is just built to be a wild west gunman, and this is proof.

Val Kilmer is the highlight of the cast, of that there is no question. However, I have issue with how he portrayed Doc Holliday. I don’t ever recall reading anywhere that Doc was this flamboyant or that he resembled Guy Fawkes (the guy who face V wears in V for Vendetta). At times, I thought Holliday was homosexual. Kilmer may have done some of his best acting here, but at what cost to the legacy of Doc Holliday?

Bill Paxton and Dana Delaney are also good in their supporting roles, yet nothing memorable.

See if you can spot Jason Priestly and Billy Bob Thornton in the cast. Here’s a hint, Billy Bob is not the near skeleton he is today.

I’m not really into drama, for the most part, and that was a good chunk of this film, so I really couldn’t get too involved in Tombstone as much as I would have liked. Not to mention the fact that these filmmakers just don’t possess the skills to make a great western the way people were once able to pull off. Would I recommend this to anyone? Sure, while this film isn’t the most exciting western in the world, it is far from the worst. Still, if you’ve never seen a western, don’t judge the genre by this subpar entry into the genre.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Terminator

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a post-apocalyptic 2029, artificially intelligent machines seek to exterminate what is left of the human race. Two beings from this era travel back in time to 1984 Los Angeles: one is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg assassin programmed to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). The other is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a human resistance fighter sent to protect her. After killing two other Sarah Connors listed in the telephone directory, the Terminator tracks its target to a nightclub. Kyle saves Sarah from the Terminator’s attack and the two make an escape.

Kyle explains that in the near future an artificial intelligence network called Skynet will become self-aware and initiate a nuclear holocaust of mankind. Sarah’s yet-unborn son John will rally the survivors and lead a resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines. With the Resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet has sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John can be born, as a last-ditch effort to avert the formation of the Resistance. The Terminator is an emotionless and efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton, but with an external layer of living tissue so that it resembles a human being.

Kyle and Sarah are again attacked by the Terminator, leading to a car chase and their arrest. Lieutenant Ed Traxler (Paul Winfield) and Detective Hal Vukovich (Lance Henriksen) tell Sarah that Kyle is insane. Kyle is questioned by psychologist Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen), who concludes that he is paranoid and delusional. The Terminator attacks the police station and kills many police officers in its attempt to locate Sarah, but she and Kyle escape and seek refuge in a motel. Kyle confesses that he has long been in love with Sarah, having been given a photograph of her by her son John. Sarah reciprocates Kyle’s feelings and they have sex.

The Terminator tracks them to the motel and wounds Kyle. In the ensuing chase the Terminator is caught in the blast of an exploding gasoline tank truck. With its external flesh burned away, it pursues Sarah and Kyle into a factory. Kyle jams a pipe bomb into its abdomen, blowing off its legs and one of its arms, but Kyle himself is killed. Still partially functional, the Terminator drags itself toward Sarah by its remaining arm. She leads it into a hydraulic press, which she uses to crush it, causing it to deactivate.

Later, a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico. Along the way she records audio tapes which she intends to pass on to her unborn son John. She debates whether to tell him that Kyle is his father. A young Mexican boy takes a photograph of her which she purchases — it is the photograph that John will later give to Kyle. She drives on towards approaching storm clouds

REVIEW:

You know, when The Terminator was released, I wasn’t anywhere near old enough to go see it in theaters. Thing about it, though, is that I don’t even remember hearing anything about this film until T2: Judgement Day was released. Of course, this was back in the early 80s, and folks weren’t over saturated with advertisements for everything everywhere you turn.

Chances are, you already know the plot. A killing machine from the future goes back in time to kill the mother of the man who would lead the remaining humans against them. Yeah, that is the plot, not much else to it…at least worth mentioning.

First thing I have to question about this flick is why is it they travel naked? Was this just so female viewers could get all hot and bothered by the sight of Schwarzenegger naked? Now, the chick in Terminator 3…she needs to wear as little clothing as possible! Hey, I’m a guy, leave me be!

So, if your name is Sarah Connor and all of a sudden you hear about someone going around killing Sarah Connors, why would you even think of going back to your house? Well, this chick did and nearly got herself killed.

On top of that, is two strangers are trying to kill each other over you and one says “Come with me, if you want to live”, I’d go with him. Sure, it isn’t safe, but would you rather take your chance with the giant guy with all the guns who wants to kill you?

Seems to be this just common sense, y’know?

Enough about that. I bet you’re wondering how is the action? Well, back in the 80s, action flicks concentrated on the action, and it shows! There are some truly bad ass scenes in here, especially or the time this was released.

Amongst all the gn shots and the scenes where we John Connor conceived, there is actual acting. Not very good acting, but it is there…barely.

The special effects are ok for their time. You can say they are dated, but I won’t go that far. These are actually cutting edge for 1984, and still hold up pretty well today.

The Terminator is one of the iconic characters of cinema from the 80s, yet some have said that this film is not as good as the hype/legend. I can see where that is coming from, but I don’t agree. Sure, there is a bit of illusion in one’s mind, but that is more because of the sequel. Fact is, most people, myself included, saw T2 before watching this, which cases this to be a bit of a letdown.

So, what do I actually think of this picture? Well, it has tons of action and big guns. I cold do with some more eye candy, but that’s not a slight against this flick, as much as it is a personal complaint. This is one of those films that everyone should see before dying. Having said that, don’t go thinking it is in the same class as say, Gone With the Wind, but it is worth the watch. I highly recommend it, especially to 80s action fans.

4 out of 5 stars