Archive for Vivica A. Fox

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Fin Shepard and his ex-wife April Wexler are flying to New York City to promote How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters, a book April has written about the Los Angeles sharknado. As the plane comes in for a landing through a storm, it is battered by airborne sharks, losing an engine. Sharks enter the plane, killing passengers and crew, including both pilots. While Fin successfully lands the plane, April’s hand is bitten off by a shark while she attempts to shoot it with an air marshal’s handgun.

Fin’s sister, Ellen Brody, is sightseeing in New York with her family. Her husband, Martin, a childhood friend of Fin’s, takes their son, Vaughn, to a Mets game at Citi Field along with Martin’s and Fin’s friends Skye (who is also Fin’s ex-girlfriend) and Brian. Ellen takes their daughter, Mora, to the Statue of Liberty where she meets with her friends, Polly and Chrissie, who tell her about Fin’s flight.

At the airport, Fin warns the crowd of the impending storm, but no one takes it seriously. After accompanying April to the hospital where she undergoes surgery, Fin receives a call from Ellen and tells her to get back from Liberty Island as soon as possible. He agrees to retrieve Martin and Vaughn from the ball game, hiring a cabbie, Ben, to take him there. At Citi Field, Fin first encounters Skye. She kisses him, but he explains that he and April are back together. Fin gets them all to leave with him just as the storm arrives at the park. The sharks kill people as Fin and his group use various improvised weapons and make their way to the subway.

Ellen’s group takes the ferry to Manhattan, but a shark jumps onto the deck and kills Chrissie en route. The three remaining women escape into the city but must flee from the Statue of Liberty’s severed, rolling head, which crushes a businessman and two garbage men.

The subway floods, imperiling Fin’s group as their train is chased by sharks. Brian is killed, but the others manage to escape onto a platform. Fin calls Ben to pick them up, and they go in search of weapons and explosives. They arm themselves, but the taxi is then caught in a flood. Fin rigs a rope swing that takes Skye, Vaughn, and Martin to safety, but Ben is killed in his attempt. Fin then jumps across the sharks, using them as stepping stones to reach the others.

Two sharknadoes are converging into a more powerful storm directly above the hotel where Fin and April were planning to stay. Arriving at the hotel, Fin and Skye go to the roof to destroy the sharknadoes with their makeshift bombs. Polly is killed when a whale shark lands on her, but Ellen and Mora successfully reach the hotel, reuniting with Martin and Vaughn. Fin and Skye launch their bombs into the tornadoes, but the storm system is too cold for this to be effective; the bombs only force them to flee downstairs, away from the flaming sharks that are now falling on them. They meet the Brodys, who are fleeing upstairs due to a rising flood of sharks. They break down a door to escape the stairwell and are able to get out of the building.

Meanwhile, April rescues a young girl at the hospital and sets out to find Fin. She arrives at the hotel in a fire truck and takes the group to the Empire State Building where a third tornado is merging with the other two. The mayor is there with a task force, and they welcome Fin’s help. He plans to detonate a tank of Freon at the top of the building by connecting it to the structure’s lightning rod, freezing the storm. Fin tells a crowd of New Yorkers to prepare to fight the sharks that will fall from the sky after he destroys the tornadoes. He and Skye implement the plan, while April, who has affixed a circular saw to her stump, saves Fin from a falling shark. They successfully destroy the storm system, which sends both Fin and Skye in the air, where Skye is ripped in half by 2 sharks while still alive. Fin grabs his chainsaw and uses it to kill any sharks coming to him. He grabs on to a great white shark using chains and gets the shark impaled on the antenna of the Empire State Building. Fin retrieves April’s hand from a shark’s mouth and uses the gun to defend them against the falling sharks. The New Yorkers in the streets below arm themselves and charge into battle against the sharks, killing them all. Fin takes the ring from April’s severed hand and uses it to propose remarriage, and she accepts.

In a post-credits scene, Fin goes to a pizzeria he and the group went to earlier and eats a piece of pizza.

REVIEW:

Look out everyone, the sharks are back!!! Last week was apparently shark week and that totally slipped by me. Sharknado 2: The Second One had been collecting dust on my list specifically to be unleashed during shark week. Oh well, a week late is acceptable, right? No one is going to lower my grade or anything, I hope. Can the same be said for this sequel, though?

What is this about?

A freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a Sharknado on the population and its most cherished, iconic sites – and only Fin and April can save the Big Apple.

What did I like?

Fox-y mama. There are certain actors and actresses that have done so many roles that I can’t stand them in that I just have become completely turned off by them. Vivica A. Fox is one of these people mainly because of her sassy, borderline ghetto attitude in every…single…role. If it calls for this, fine, but she’s been in some stuff that didn’t and it just made no sense. Having said this, I must say that I was impressed with her ability to not be sassy and be an actual intelligent human being for once in this role as Fin (Ian Ziering)’s old flame from high school. If she could do roles like this more often, maybe I’d actually like her.

Today. When I was growing up, my parents would always have the Today show on. Back then it was only 2 hours, maybe 3, and was hosted by Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley, with Matt Lauer at the news desk and Al Roker occasionally filling in for Willard Scott. Now, Lauer is the host and Roker is the weatherman. What does this have to do with anything? As with any kind of weather event, you want to constantly check the news, so the film switches to them delivering weather. What I like is how the film used the actual Today show and brought in Lauer and Roker to do this, rather than come up with a poor imitation such as Hal Poker and Pat Bauer or something similar.

Opening action. Action movies are notorious for starting off so slow that the audience is literally awakened by the loud action that comes later on. Not so much with this picture, as it begins with a plane crash caused by a sharknado. I, for one, can appreciate how they started off with a bang, rather than a whimper, then brought it down to develop the “story” a bit, and then kicked into high gear for the rest of the film. It is a formula that works for this kind of picture. One where you can just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

What didn’t I like?

Sharks. Taking into account that this is a Syfy channel movie and they don’t have the biggest of budgets, I have to mention the horrible job done on the CG sharks. They look about as fake as fake can be. One person on a message board mentioned that it might have been better to just use rubber sharks. I actually think that might have been the better option. Most sequels get more money and better special effects but, judging by these sharks, this one seems to have gotten worse. I will say that no matter how bad the effects are, seeing a flying shark devour a man never gets old!

Tara, is that you? I’ve been watching episodes of Scrubs lately and I just happened to have reached the few episodes Tara Reid guest starred in, you know, back when she was super hot. Go from that to seeing her in this and it is a true testament to not getting plastic surgery. Her face appears to still be young, but you can also see the stretch marks as it tries to be natural. She also has some weird thing with her eyes. It is like they’re watery the whole time, it may have just been the light, though.

Cameos. I’m really starting to think this franchise exists just to give people a quick acting job. There are so many cameos in this film that I’m not going to even count. I will say that some of them are clever, such as Jared eating a Subway sandwich under a Subway ad and telling a guy he should have ordered the meal, but he’s playing a character, not Jared. Going one further, the pilot of the plane is none other than Robert Hays from Airplane! While those cameos work, there are many others that don’t. For instance, TNA wrestler Kurt Angle is the fire chief. If he wasn’t so huge, I think I would believe him. Basically, I’m saying this film needs to cut down on the cameos or find a way to make them clever, rather than just throw someone in a costume.

When Sharknado aired, no one was thinking it would become the mega-hit that it did. Sharknado 2: The Second One tries to recreate that magical formula but doesn’t quite get there. I believe that this has the better story of the two, but the film is too busy being nonsensical and throwing out cameos for anyone to notice. As I said, the effects are horrible and may be worse than the first one. Ziering is believable enough as an action hero, but the bad one-liners he throws out as he goes off to do something heroic, if you will, need to stop. All that said, I can’t say that I hated this picture. As a matter of fact, I somewhat enjoyed it. Do I recommend it? Not highly, but a viewing or two won’t hurt. Be warned, though…there is a third film set to air next week! –screams in terror–

3 out of 5 stars

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Ella Enchanted

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the kingdom of Frell, baby Ella (Anne Hathaway) is given the “gift of obedience” by her fairy godmother, Lucinda (Vivica A. Fox). This turns out to be more of a curse, making Ella do anything she is told to do, no matter how terrible or physically impossible. Some years later, Ella’s mother dies after instructing Ella to tell no one of the curse, not even her father. Eventually Ella’s father (Patrick Bergin), in need of money, remarries a wealthy socialite. His greedy new wife, Dame Olga (Joanna Lumley), and her two spoiled daughters Hattie and Olive (Jennifer Higham) treat Ella poorly. They eventually realize Ella’s obedience to commands, and begin making her life miserable.

Ella stumbles upon Prince Charmont (Hugh Dancy), the handsome heir to the throne, as he’s being pursued by his “fan club” of young women. He finds her lack of deference to him refreshing and after their encounter, sends an invitation to the Coronation Ball to her home, where it is intercepted by her stepmother and stepsisters. Hattie and Olive, who are part of Prince Charmont’s fan club, are overcome with jealousy. Along with their mother, they force Ella to insult and cut ties with her best friend Areida (Parminder Nagra). Ella cannot bear to live under the obedience spell and Hattie’s jealousy a moment longer, so she resolves to find Lucinda, the only one who can remove the spell. Mandy (Minnie Driver), the household fairy and the only other person who knows of the curse, tries to help by lending Ella a magical book that can show people in their current surroundings. The book holds Mandy’s boyfriend Benny (Jimi Mistry), who she had accidentally transformed in an errant spell. During her journey, Ella encounters an elf named Slannen (Aidan McArdle), who wants to be a lawyer instead of an entertainer as the kingdom’s laws now require. Slannen joins Ella on her quest, but they are captured by a group of ogres, who prepare to cook and eat them. They are rescued by Prince Charmont. He then accompanies her to a wedding in the land of giants, where Ella hopes to find Lucinda. Throughout the journey, Ella opens Charmont’s eyes to the cruelty of his uncle’s new laws oppressing elves and giants. Char suggests that Ella should come with him to his palace to visit the Hall of Records and track down Lucinda faster.

At the palace, Charmont’s uncle, Sir Edgar (Cary Elwes), has Ella’s “gift” called to his attention by his talking snake, Heston, voiced by (Steve Coogan), who has been spying on the prince. When Edgar offers Hattie Char’s hand in marriage, Ella’s stepsisters explain that she does everything she is told. Edgar knows that Prince Charmont intends to propose marriage to Ella, and he orders her to stab him to death and not to tell anyone of the plan. Sir Edgar also reveals that he murdered Prince Charmont’s father. To prevent the murder of Char, Ella asks Slannen to tie her to a tree outside the city and to find the giants so they can help. Lucinda now appears before Ella, who asks her to undo the “gift” of obedience. Offended by the request, Lucinda refuses, saying that if Ella no longer wants the spell, she must remove it herself. She unties Ella from the tree and gives her a fancy dress and tells her to attend the ball. When Ella gets to the ball, Charmont almost immediately takes her to the Hall of Mirrors and asks her to marry him. Ella is about to stab him with the dagger Edgar provided, when she realizes how to free herself from the curse: looking into a mirror, she orders herself to no longer be obedient. Charmont sees the dagger drop from her hand and realizes she tried to kill him. Edgar is watching the entire scene behind a two-way mirror, and before Ella can explain, Edgar orders the guards to lock her up and have her executed in a few days.

Meanwhile, Slannen gets the giants, and the ogres come to sneak into the castle to rescue Ella and find out that Sir Edgar is poisoning the crown that Char will receive during the ceremony. Just before Charmont puts it on, Ella and her allies interrupt. Edgar and Heston call for the knights and Red Guards, and a battle ensues. Ella explains everything to Charmont while fighting alongside him. When Sir Edgar’s forces lose the battle, Heston tries to bite Char, but is stopped by Ella. Caught trying to killing the prince, Edgar admits to killing the King to the assembled crowd. Then, carried away by his own rhetoric, he puts it dramatically on his own head, and promptly collapses from the poison, although he survives.

Char and Ella kiss; her stepsisters arrive and order her to stop kissing, and she is delighted to refuse. Ella then walks up to Hattie and takes her mother’s necklace back from her (Hattie had forced Ella to give it to her near the beginning of the movie). Char once again asks Ella to marry him, and she agrees. The movie ends with their wedding and a musical number (Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart).

REVIEW:

There are so many twists, turns, and mutations on the tale of Cinderella out there today that it is hard to remember some of the better ones. Ella Enchanted is one of these versions that has fallen by the wayside, partly because Anne Hathaway’s career skyrocketed shortly after this, if I’m not mistaken.

What is this about?

Burdened at birth with the “gift” of obedience by a flighty fairy godmother, Ella searches for a way to lift the curse that prevents her from pursuing her dreams — and her true love, Prince Charmont.

What did I like?

Role model. I was talking to someone about this film the other day and the topic of role models came up. In this day and age when the females that little girls see the most are anything but good role models (contrary to their belief), it is a nice break from the norm to get a strong Cinderella-type character. Personally, I prefer the original, but I’m a purist. That being said, Ella of Frel is a good example for young girls.

Cast. In my opinion, this is one of the more attractive casts that I’ve seen in quite some time. With the exception of the step sisters, who are complete dogs no matter what incarnation they’re in and the ogres, there isn’t one person that isn’t at least marginally attractive, in my opinion. For goodness sakes, Heidi Klum appears as one of the giants! Now, what does this mean for the film, since we can almost all be sure that people in this era didn’t look like they just walked out of a Hollywood salon? Well, the film does seem to be a bit of a satire on the fairy tale, so I’m sure the cast’s looks have something to do with that, as well.

Pop culture. Many people seem to be torn on the modern touches here and there, such as the songs, a wooden escalator, a university, complete with protests, fan clubs, etc. Hey, it worked in A Knight’s Tale, and before that, on The Flintstones, so why can’t it work here in a film that isn’t trying to take itself too seriously? I don’t see what the big deal is. Personally, I think we could have done with a touch more here and there, but not too much, lest we meander into territory defecated upon by the last couple of Shrek films.

What didn’t I like?

Smart. Ella is a smart, independent young woman, so it seems to be that by time she’s this age, she would have figured out a way around the curse or maybe even learned a few spells from Mandy, who I’m not really sure why she’s still there at this time. I just don’t get why she had to go on a trek across the countryside to find Lucinda, other than to fill out the film.

Spotlight. You might not realize it, but there are other characters in this film besides Ella, the Prince, Sir Edgar, and Slannen. Two of the biggest injustices are Mandy, played by Minnie Driver who really could be a throwaway character, if you think about it and Ella’s best friend, Areida. I would have loved to have seen more of these two, especially Areida, but instead, we get to see Vivica A. Fox in all her stereotypical, sassy black female glory. I am not a fan of her, let me tell you! Don’t even get me started on how the focus was only on one of the step sisters. Yes, that’s how it is in every incarnation, but this poor girl may as well have not even been there!

Deviation. I just learned that this is based on a book. One of these days, I may have to go check that out. In the meantime, I can’t really comment on how far from the source material but I do know that it doesn’t really resemble the book. As a I said earlier, I’m a purist, but I understand that certain allowances must be made. However, changing the whole story is something that I just can’t deal with.

Ella Enchanted is the first film where I believe we actually were able to see that Anne Hathaway had some real acting chops to go with those model looks of hers. If you’re in the mood for a nice family film that will keep you and your kids entertained, then I highly recommend this one. No, it isn’t perfect, but it sure is fun to watch!

4 out of 5 stars

Independence Day

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

On July 2, an alien mothership with a mass one-quarter of that of the Moon enters orbit around Earth and deploys several dozen saucer-shaped “destroyer” spacecraft, each 15 miles (24 km) in width, which position themselves over some of Earth’s major cities. In New York City, David Levinson discovers hidden satellite transmissions which he believes the aliens are using as a timer to coordinate a synchronized attack.

David and his father Julius manage to gain entrance into the Oval Office to warn U.S President Thomas J. Whitmore of the impending attack by playing on David’s relationship with his ex-wife Constance who is on the President’s staff. Although there is long time animosity between David and the President, nonetheless, The President is convinced to listen to David’s theory on an immiment attack. He immediately orders large-scale evacuations of the targeted cities, but the aliens attack with advanced directed-energy weapons before these could occur. The President, his daughter, portions of his staff, and the Levinsons narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the destroyers simultaneously lay waste to Washington, D.C, New York City, Los Angeles, and several other major cities around the world. Meanwhile, the President’s wife is at a speaking engagement in Los Angeles and is evacuated, however the helicopter sustains major damage and she is severely injured.

Captain Steven Hiller is at his girlfriend Jasmine’s home for the holiday weekend when he is recalled to his squadron due to the emergency. Leaving Jasmine and her son behind, he prepares to join the attack against the aliens and asks her to meet him later at his base. Russell Casse is a former pilot believed to be suffering from PTSD or some similar disorder after claiming to have been abducted some years earlier by aliens. Russell and his 3 children drive through the desert with a caravan of like-minded people, in an effort to escape the populated city centers.

On July 3, the United States conducts a coordinated counterattack; the Black Knights, a squadron of Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets, participate in an assault on a destroyer near the remains of Los Angeles. Their weapons fail to penetrate the craft’s force field, and it responds by releasing scores of smaller “attacker” ships which are armed with similar shields and weaponry, and a one-sided dogfight ensues. Captain Steven Hiller survives by luring a single attacker to the Grand Canyon,[4] where he causes it to crash and then subdues the injured alien pilot. The aliens launch a fighter-based counter-attack on NORAD, destroying the base as well as killing the VIP’s who had retreated there, including Joint Chiefs of Staff and Vice President. Hiller is subsequently picked up by Russell Casse in the desert with a group of refugees. They take the captured alien to nearby Area 51, where the President and his remaining staff have also landed. Here, it is shown Area 51 conceals a top secret facility housing a repaired attacker and three alien bodies recovered from Roswell in 1947.

Jasmine and her son make their way to the base only to find it completely destroyed. They stumble upon the First Lady who is severely wounded from the helicopter crash and care for her along with other refugees. Captain Hiller steals a helicopter in order to make a desperate search of his base for traces of his girlfriend and her son. Finding them with the First Lady, he returns with them to Area 51.

The specimen regains consciousness while quarantined in the Area 51 lab, and reveals through a telepathic connection to President Whitmore that its species travels from planet to planet, destroying all life and harvesting a planet’s natural resources before moving on to the next planet. The alien attempts a psychic attack against Whitmore, but is killed by secret service agents. Whitmore orders a nuclear attack on a destroyer. The first nuclear attack against the alien ships is above an abandoned Houston, Texas, but the mission is aborted when the first nuclear missile also fails to penetrate the shield. It is soon found out that Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia were destroyed. The injuries to the First Lady prove to be fatal, however the President and his young daughter have time to say their goodbyes.

On July 4, David devises a plan to use the repaired attacker to gain access to the interior of the mothership in order to introduce a computer virus and plant a nuclear bomb on board. This, it is hoped, will cause the shields of the Earth-based alien craft to fail long enough for a coordinated worldwide attack to eliminate them. Hiller volunteers to be the mission’s pilot, with David accompanying him to upload the virus. Before leaving on the mission, Captain Hiller and Jasmine are married with David and Constance as witnesses. With few military pilots to man all available aircraft, the battle requires several volunteers, including President Whitmore and Russell, who have previous combat flight experience. Morse code is used to contact armies around the world in order to coordinate the attack without raising suspicions of the aliens.

After the successful implantation of the virus, President Whitmore leads jet fighters against an alien destroyer on approach to Area 51. Although the aliens now lack shields, the fighters’ supply of missiles are quickly exhausted against the colossal craft and its large complement of attackers, and the destroyer prepares to fire its main weapon at the base. Russell possesses the last remaining missile, but his firing mechanism jams. He pilots his aircraft into the center of the alien weapon in a suicide attack, and the ensuing explosion causes a chain reaction which annihilates the ship. Using this same method, human resistance forces around the world destroy the remainder of the alien ships. Captain Hiller and David are unable to make their planned escape from the mothership and therefore decide to launch their last ditch effort, releasing a nuclear weapon into the center of the mothership. After releasing the nuclear weapon, they suddenly find themselves released from the docking mechanism and have mere moments to escape before the device detonates. Hiller and David return unharmed, crash-landing their captured attacker close to Area 51. The world celebrates, and the main characters watch debris from the mothership enter the atmosphere like fireworks.

REVIEW:

Seeing as how today is the 4th of July, we here in America are celebrating a little holiday called Independence Day, so I figured what better film to watch than the one that shares its name with this day, Independence Day.

This film is already in history as the picture that truly launched Will Smith into superstardom and was the start of “Big Willie Weekend”.   It also was one of the highest grossing films for all time. I think it is still on that list, but has fallen a few notches thanks to the advent of higher ticket prices and 3D hoopla.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the iconic scene from this flick where the alien ship is hovering above the White House and blows it up in one shot. The action in this film is pretty much the same. Building gets blown up and people run. However, when it comes to fighting the aliens, I was reminded of the original Star Wars. I wonder if that was intentional by the filmmakers, because the way some of the contours of the alien ships looked, it was like it was straight out of the Empire. It makes one wonder.

The story is typical of any alien invasion film. Aliens are coming to take over the world and the military with their shoot first attitude is going to end up causing a war. The difference here is that the aliens never had any intention of peace, but rather wish to wipe out all human life and take over the planet. Oh, and there are some subplots with the humans, but that’s mostly useless drama.

The special effects here are what you would expect from a sci-fi film of the mid-90s. Not on par with today, but still impressive. Nothing looks fake, and they don’t overtake the film, which is a good thing.

As far as pacing goes, I sort of feel this film was bit on the long side, but as I’ve said in previous reviews, long films are not my cup of tea, so that’s more of a personal bias rather than a complaint.

While this may have been a vehicle for Will Smith, he isn’t in it as much as you would think. Everything that Smith has shown in his roles is present here, and it is quite obvious that he destined for bigger things on the horizon, but wha ta way to truly be introduced to movie audiences (not counting his role in Six Degrees of Separation),

Jeff Goldblum is perfectly cast as a neurotic scientist. This seems to be his best character, but you throw in the whole saving the world part here and he shines. The chemistry he has with Smith as they are headed up for the climactic battle aboard the mother ship is priceless.

The rest of the cast is outstanding. Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Robert Loggia, etc. all shine in their respective roles.

I would have liked for Harry Connick, Jr. and Kiersten Warren to not have come to such tragic ends early on in the film, but what can you do, right?

These aliens don’t have vocal chords and only communicate with the humans once and that is through a dead scientist. It was a bit random, if you ask me, as they made this whole big deal of letting the audience know they have no vocal chords then all of a sudden they’re somehow talking through a dead scientist, but it is never explained how that happened.

As far as sci-fi flicks go, Independence Day is one of the better ones. No, it isn’t on the level with the “holy trilogy” of the Star Wars franchise, but then again, what is? This is, however, a great, action packed film that is sure to leave you entertained, and in the end, isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Kill Bill vol. 1

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The Bride (Thurman) is introduced to the audience in a blood-spattered wedding gown immediately after a violent massacre at an El Paso wedding chapel. She attempts to tell her would-be killer, Bill (Carradine), that she is pregnant with his baby, but he shoots her in the side of her head. The Bride is left for dead.

Four years and six months later, The Bride arrives at the house of Jeannie Bell, aka Vernita Green (Fox), code-namedCopperhead” of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Green opens the door with a smile, only to have The Bride engage her in a vicious fight, destroying her living room. Vernita’s four-year-old daughter, Nikki, arrives home from school, abruptly pausing the fight until she is sent to her room. In the kitchen over coffee, Vernita appeals to The Bride, apologizing for betraying her and asking for mercy on behalf of her family. The Bride coldly refuses, and the two agree to a knife fight later that evening. Green suddenly attempts to shoot The Bride with a gun concealed in a box of Kaboom cereal; she misses, and The Bride kills her by throwing a knife into her chest. Nikki witnesses the fight, and The Bride tells her that she is sorry for killing her mother in front of her, that her mother “had it coming” and that if the young girl wishes to avenge her death when she grows up, The Bride will be waiting. The Bride then leaves in a customized yellow pick-up truck, emblazoned with the words “Pussy Wagon”.

A flashback to the events after the wedding reveals that the comatose Bride is the only survivor of the wedding chapel massacre. Deadly Viper Elle Driver (Hannah), code-named “California Mountain Snake”, the one-eyed assassin who has replaced The Bride as Bill’s lover, slips into the hospital ward intending to inject poison into The Bride’s intravenous line. She is stopped at the last second by a phone call from Bill, who believes The Bride deserves a more honorable death.

The Bride wakes up from her coma four years later and is horrified to discover she is no longer pregnant. She escapes from the hospital after killing a sleazy orderly named Buck who has been selling sexual access to her body as she lay comatose, and one of Buck’s customers. She steals Buck’s customized truck, (the aforementioned “Pussy Wagon”), and hides in the back seat as she slowly works her legs out of atrophy.

The Bride narrates an anime short depicting the back story to another Deadly Viper, O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), code-named Cottonmouth. After witnessing her parents’ sadistic murder at the hands of a paedophiliac Japanese crime lord, O-Ren earns her revenge, becomes an assassin and eventually rises to the top of the Yakuza. The segment introduces her personal bodyguard Gogo Yubari (Kuriyama), her friend and lawyer Sofie Fatale (another protege of Bill, played by Julie Dreyfus), and Johnny Mo (Gordon Liu), leader of O-Ren’s personal army, the Crazy 88.

The Bride travels to Okinawa to obtain a katana from Hattori Hanzō (Sonny Chiba), a renowned swordsmith, who has retired to the life of a sushi chef. Though Hanzō has taken a blood oath to never make another sword, The Bride is able to convince him of the merit of her mission after she alludes to Bill, and he forges for her the best sword he has ever created.

The Bride tracks O-Ren to a hangout called the “House of Blue Leaves”, where a band (The 5,6,7,8’s) is performing. The Bride arrives wearing a yellow motorcycle jump suit (a homage to Bruce Lee movies), taking Fatale hostage and cutting off Fatale’s arm in public to lure O-Ren from her dinner. O-Ren sends Yubari, Mo, and dozens of the Crazy 88 to deal with The Bride. She dispatches them all in a bloody sword fight, then turns her attention to O-Ren, climaxing in a dramatic duel in a snowy garden (which borrows from the Japanese sexploitation film Sex & Fury). After crossing swords several times, O-Ren is scalped by The Bride with her Hanzō sword, a wound that kills her.

The Bride then tortures Fatale, via dismemberment, for the locations of the remaining Deadly Vipers. She then tells Fatale to tell Bill that she is looking for him before dumping her at a hospital. The film ends with Bill talking with Fatale at the hospital, revealing that The Bride’s daughter is, unbeknownst to her, still alive.

REVIEW:

I’ve long been a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work, so as you can guess, I was not disappointed with this entry into his repertoire.

The story is simple, yet complex. Bride gets shot, goes into a come for 4 yrs, wakes up and wants revenge. Yet, I’ve read quite a few reviews saying that if she was in a come for 4 yrs, she wouldn’t be able to get up and start kicking ass. Good grief, some people need to remember that this is just a movie, not real life.

Uma Thurman proves she can handle a leading role with her portrayal of the Bride. That was inspired casting.

Daryll Hannah appears here in  the same way John Travolta did in Pulp Fiction.Tarantino seems to like finding forgotten stars and giving them another shot at stardom. Hannah can hold her own as the Bride’s arch- nemesis.

The always gorgeous Lucy Liu returns to her evil Ally McBealways in her role as O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth). The climactic fight scene she has with Uma is poetry in motion.

Speaking of fight scenes, the big one with the Crazy 88s is reminiscent of a final stage in a video game where enemies come at you almost non-stop until you finally reach the final boss. I loved it!

I have to say that the anime sequences were a stroke of genius and a change of pace. Not to mention they were enjoyable to watch.

All the issues I had wth this film were minor and resolved in vol 2, so let me just say that this is an enjoyable, over the top, film that never takes itself too seriously (even if some people that watched it have). I highly recommend it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Why Do Fools Fall in Love

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

3 women want royalties for 1 man’s song. Problem is, no one knows who was married to him (and entitled to the royalties) at the time of his death.

PLOT:

Lymon was thirteen years old when the teenage group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers erupted from radios and jukeboxes with their 1956 hit, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” and appeared in the movie Rock, Rock, Rock (1956).

After Mr. Rock and Roll(1957), Lymon started a solo singing career, but it all fell apart. Lymon’s career was over by the time he was eighteen years old, and he died of a heroin overdose eight years later.

Jumping from the 1950s to the 1980s, the film traces the rise and fall of Lymon (Larenz Tate) in a series of flashbacks as courtroom claims on Lymon’s royalties are outlined by three women: Zola Taylor (Halle Berry) of the Platters R&B group; Elizabeth Waters (Vivica A. Fox), who became a prostitute to cover the costs of Lymon’s recovery from addiction; and schoolteacher Emira Eagle (Lela Rochon).

Little Richard also makes a courtroom appearance, while Miguel A. Nunez Jr. portrays Little Richard in scenes set in the 1940s.

The film ends with Elizabeth winning Frankie’s estate, however later the ruling is overturned by the Court and Emira gets Frankie’s estate.

REVIEW:

I really liked the direction of this film. It’s such a tragic story when all is said and done and this could have been some dark, depressing film, but instead it celebrates the life of Frankie Lymon and brushes on the negative parts. I love the use of humor as well.

This is another of those movies that would be nothing without the music. I love it all, except for the last song that is play during the end credits. There was absolutely no need to remake why Do Fools Fall in Love, especially for this movie. It’s not even a good remake.

I love the fact that they showed some original footage of Frankie at the end. It was a fitting tribute.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars