5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review


It’s time to delve into the world of the Wild West once more. While the film is definitely way better than how the first series ended it doesn’t even come close to matching the original. On the whole it’s not a bad movie as most of the scenes are fairly sound but there’s a very questionable scene near the middle and the ending also falls flat with a very sudden backstory. This film tries really hard but just isn’t able to capture what made the original so fun.

The movie starts Bartholomew taking over a town and deciding that he will get rich this way. The townspeople don’t end up fighting even though they all have guns until it is far too late and they have absolutely no chance of victory. It’s always interesting to see this go down when everyone is armed because then there is seriously no excuse not to at least do something. Ah well. Emma then decides to find some gunmen so they can avenge her husband and save the town. She runs into Sam and he agrees to help after rounding up a posse. It ends up being 7 people total and they prepare to deal out some justice.

One thing the film does do right this time around is give time to introduce all of the characters. They all get a few scenes to make us aware of who they are and their personalities. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that they are all very likable. First off, the main character isn’t bad. Sam is a reasonable main character who does his best to keep a level head as they approach the villains. He really only panics at the end when the film decides to get gritty for no reason with his motives for why he took the mission in the first place.

Then you’ve got Joshua who definitely has the most fun out of the characters. He actually enjoys being a gunman and is always messing around with everyone. He also seems to be the most skilled fighter of the group if you ask me. I’d have liked him to have been the main character because he was easily the most enjoyable to have on screen. Then you have Goodnight who is traumatized and can’t fight very well. I wasn’t particularly a big fan of this guy. He isn’t nearly as bad as the character he was based off of in the older films but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

His partner Billy was a lot better. That guy had real skills both with a knife and with a gun. He was one of the most talented fighters in the film and you could always count on him to take down his opponent. Then you have Jack who is the worst member. He seems pretty crazy from the start and the guy doesn’t even use a gun much. I struggle to see why he was included in the film and if anything he just waters the group down by association. There’s nothing exceptional or magnificent about him in the slightest. It almost takes you out of the film when he is taking people down with an axe while they have guns. That doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Vasquez’s initial scene immediately makes him pretty unlikable here. The guy’s motives certainly aren’t the best. He has skills but that doesn’t automatically make him a quality character in the slightest. Finally you have Red Harvest whose opening scene throws him out of the picture immediately. We see him destroy an animal and then eat it which is such a pointless an unnecessary scene to have in the film. I was shaking my head the whole time. We really didn’t need this and in a way it delivered one of the final blows to the film. It was hard to come back from that.

The writing in general can’t keep up with the originals. There is a lot of friction between the characters but rather than it be because they all have big egos and a lot of confidence it’s more because they’re all portrayed as jerks. They tend to make insensitive comments to each other and flat out bully each other in other scenes. The scene of Joshua stealing the guy’s whiskey comes to mind. Then you have the fact that these 7 characters aren’t as great as they act. The main villain does a good job of taking them down for a while and they miss the shots that count. Joshua gets a great ending but most of the gunmen go down pretty easily otherwise.

Emma was a good heroine though and I was glad that she was able to fire off a gun. It’s always good to see people helping out at least a little because it’s your town so you should be defending it. If you just stand around then you’re not helping anyone except the villains for slowing things down. She should have been the one to get the original hero theme but it doesn’t really appear here. There is one scene where I feel like it was meant to be a bit of a homage but the music is very soft and it’s hard to say for sure. Either way I wouldn’t say it’s handled all that well. The main villain is given a reasonable role though. Bartholomew was pretty solid so I have no qualms with him.

The movie has a lot of little tributes to the various past films so that’s nice for fans I suppose. Since I watched them all recently it was a lot easier to pick up on them. Homages are nice to see but they don’t help to hide the flaws of this one. I’ve already talked about those so for a positive I’d say that the gun fights are pretty solid. There’s not a whole lot you can do with a gun fight after a while but they’re still pretty entertaining so the movie did a good job with those.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven remake is not a film that I would particularly recommend. It makes enough mistakes where I just can’t put it in the higher ranks. There’s no reason to watch this one over the original. It could have been worse for sure I guess so it’s not a terrible movie either. If you want to watch a modern wild west then this is probably better than a lot of the alternatives I suppose.

Overall 5/10

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Battle at Big Rock Review


It’s time to look at a very quick live action movie that came out a while back. It’s always nice to see franchises push out a little something like this to expand the universe. It gives you something to look at while waiting another 4-5 years for the next big film after all. The plot is pretty self explanatory. A family is enjoying a nice BBQ when a few dinosaurs show up and start to fight. The main characters have to try and be really quiet but the baby is constantly crying so it won’t be easy. Can the humans escape with their lives intact or are they doomed here?

I do have a question on this though. The heroes clearly know about the dinosaurs from how nonchalantly they talk about seeing one and they reference the radio as well. This takes place after the last film so dinosaurs are everywhere. Why would you possibly have a BBQ outside during such a time? The main guy mentions that bears are around so they get the food in pretty quick but you should be more afraid of the dinosaurs. His wife mentions that the dinosaurs aren’t supposed to be this close yet but I don’t think you should be taking any chances.

There aren’t a lot of safe spots elsewhere either though. The film gives us a lot of meanwhile scenes where we see Dinosaurs around every corner sizing people up and destroying the food chain. The film fortunately handles this as well as possible with no explicit animal deaths. They all die but it doesn’t get gritty or graphic. Even the main dinosaur battle is interrupted before either of them can get seriously hurt which is good. It still does hold this back from being a higher score but it doesn’t make it bad either.

There isn’t enough time for the film to really go all that up or down. It just goes by in a flash and reviewing something this short is also pretty tricky for those same reasons. As far as I’m concerned it’s basically middle of the road. It has enough going for it where it’s not bad but there’s not enough here for me to give it a pretty good score or anything. The dinosaurs look great and this could be a scene in a real theatrical film. That’s definitely for sure.

Overall, if you’re a big fan or Jurassic Park or just want to see some dinosaurs in action then you should enjoy this. It’s only about 8-10 minutes so you’ll be done with it very quickly. It doesn’t take much time to watch and it’s solid enough where you should check it out. The humans aren’t too annoying either although I didn’t like the kids or the baby but it’s hard to develop them into likable characters in such a short time span. This special does show why a whole film about surviving in the age of dinosaurs will be pretty interesting. It’s a very dangerous premise so it’ll be hard for a whole film to get out unscathed but it’s worth the attempt.

Overall 5/10

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When Worlds Collide Review


It’s time to look at a sci-fi film from the 1950s. This one’s definitely pretty old but holds up quite well to this day. There are some fun characters here although one definitely goes off the deep end to me by the end. The romance is rather weak but everything pertaining to the actual world about to blow up plot is quite interesting. I’d definitely recommend a look at it if you ever happen to see it airing on TV. It’s a fun adventure.

The movie starts with Randall being given a top secret mission. He is to deliver some secret photographs to a Mr. Hendron and shouldn’t ask any questions. Randall finds this a bit odd but they are paying well for this mission to he heads over. Hendron’s daughter spills the beans by mistake though and admits that the world is going to be destroyed. Once at base Randall finds out the full story. The Earth is going to be hit by a new star/planet and they will all be dead in a year. To that end Hendron is going to build a rocket to get 40 people off the Earth safely. It’s a good plan but Randall feels as though he is not qualified to be a part of the crew and is only being included because Joyce likes him. What is he to do?

The plot of the Earth being doomed is nothing new, but it’s such a great premise that you can make a lot of very good films about it. I’m sure there weren’t quite as many in 1951 either so this may very well have been the template for a lot of them. It’s handled really well with a lot of the film being about the build up to the big day. In general the best disaster films are ones that take place during the end of the world or right before with characters panicking a lot. The ones that have a good chunk of action after the event would typically be weaker. I like to see the build up myself and the film does a good job with it.

From the summit meeting to casual conversations it’s nice to see everyone’s takes. One of the men who ends up funding Hendron’s rocket is a guy named Stanton. He’s definitely the main antagonist in the film but easily the most enjoyable character. He has more of a cynical view on society and believes everyone will ultimately break down and attack once the day approaches. He really isn’t wrong either. It’s one of those times where you may not wish he was right, but it’s definitely the most likely solution. When the chips are down people tend to go into survival mode. Fortunately Stanton was right and even had his gun at the ready. The scene where he turns the tables on someone was very good.

It actually makes the ending pretty emotional. Stanton planned out everything really well except the betrayal at the end. It’s why it is very tragic when you have to rely on someone else for help and can no longer just save yourself. There was no way Stanton could possibly escape once Hendron decided to sabotage him and it’s the most emotional scene in the film. You can feel Stanton’s frustration there especially since he no longer had his gun. Hendron’s a pretty rational guy, but I thought he definitely crossed the line there. Deciding to stay is one thing, but forcing someone else as well is definitely another. That makes him a total murderer there. At least it’ll be a quick death on Earth. Personally I would rather stay there and die than travel in space for who knows how long and most likely die a much slower death. At least on Earth it’ll be quick.

The only weak part of the film is the romance triangle between Joyce, Tony, and Randall. Joyce and Tony were about to be married before Randall broke into the scene. Joyce then moved on from Tony and decided that she liked Randall instead. Look, it’s totally valid to move on from someone if you aren’t wed yet. I would argue it meant that she never liked Tony all that much though. I don’t see how you could be ready to marry someone and then fall for someone else. It seems very shallow to me as in you are just judging by appearances at that point. Tony does his best but it’s obvious from the minute Randall appears that it’s over for him. Ultimately Tony is a good sport about it and handles the situation quite well.

Randall is more obnoxious though. He openly flirts with Joyce even while she is literally dancing with Tony and is always staring at her. They make Tony feel terrible throughout the movie and the guy can just never catch a break. Randall even bursts in to where Joyce is while she’s serving food to mess around a bit while poor Tony is watching on the security cams. Despite all of this, Randall was also planning not to go into space for quite a while. That would have left Tony and Joyce together again but with both of them knowing that this is the backup choice which isn’t ideal. Yeah, I just didn’t like Randall.

The same is true for Joyce. She was just moving around way too much. It’s good that she realized Tony wasn’t the right guy for her but she should have told that to him directly instead of brushing him off to be with Randall the whole time. She led him on until the literal last second and even then she didn’t tell him, Randall had to be the one to basically break things off. Joyce needed to make a decision as not making a decision is the worst thing you can do to the guy. I think the film would have been just fine without having any kind of romance plot. The actual story and writing were strong enough to make do without it.

Overall, When Worlds Collide is a very solid film. It’s nice to see all of the characters rationally discussing their options and trying to save at least some people. The World Summit meeting was also cool and it was nice to see the old school translators. I wonder if they still do that, I imagine they would since having a machine translate wouldn’t be nearly as accurate even with today’s technology. Some things are just better in person and I expect it’ll be many years before a machine can quite keep up. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should change that.

Overall 7/10

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The Mask of Zorro Review


It’s time to look at a modern interpretation of a pretty old hero. I’m pretty sure just about everyone knows who Zorro is even if they haven’t actually watched a film with him. I don’t know the character too well aside from the general premise myself but he’s definitely got quite a history under his belt. The movie does a pretty good job of adapting the character. While not perfect you’ll stay entertained throughout the adventure.

The movie starts off with the best scene in the film as Zorro rescues a few people from being executed and takes on a whole army. It’s vintage Zorro as he mocks his opponents and displays his amazing fencing skills. After injuring the leader Rafael, Zorro heads home and decides to retire. His retirement is short lived as Rafael shows up and murders Zorro’s wife before imprisoning Zorro for 20 years. 20 years later Zorro is ready to get revenge but his daughter Elena has been tricked into thinking she is now Rafael’s daughter. Zorro will need to think carefully about how he get his revenge.

Meanwhile we cut to Alejandro who was one of the kids who saved Zorro’s life back in the day. He has spent the last 20 years roaming with his brother and another guy as they rob people and have a jolly old time. One day Alejandro’s two traveling companions are murdered by Harrison, a general working for Rafael. Alejandro wants revenge but he doesn’t have the skills to do so. Zorro decides to train Alejandro so that guy can become the new Zorro and deal with Harrison while Zorro gets his revenge. The two heroes prepare to attack the villains but they are heavily outnumbered. They are going to need to have a proper plan in order to win.

The film is a full 2 hours which is good because it gives us time to get introduced to the various characters. Alejandro gets a pretty good training arc as he goes from not being able to fight to being the best fighter in town. While it may seem a little fast we do get a few minor time skips so I think it took place over the course of a few months or something like that. His first outing as Zorro actually goes really well all things considered. It’s clear that he is not on the same level as the original but he can still hold his own really well.

The fight scenes are all about proper fencing and footwork which is nice to see. You don’t really see a lot of these kinds of fights anymore. It’s certainly not quite as dynamic or striking as a classic sword fight but the footwork is what makes these battles fun to watch. Fencing certainly seems pretty tricky and you have to be quite athletic to pull the fighting style off. Otherwise you are liable to get stabbed or hit with a sucker punch while fighting. A lot of the time Zorro has to fend off numerous opponents at once which is definitely not easy.

The whole chivalrous aspect of fencing can be a bit much though. There are a bunch of times when the heroes could take the win but they choose to give the villain his weapon back so they can have a proper fight. I understand not murdering the guys since they aim to be heroes, but at least disarm him and break the weapon or throw it away. By leaving the villains with their weapons it always comes back to bite the heroes. This happens quite often and so you feel like Zorro will definitely push his luck too far eventually.

Zorro makes for a good main character during the intro. I’d actually say that he’s a far better lead than Alejandro so it was too bad that we didn’t get to see him in his prime for a longer period of time. He’s a decent mentor type character as well but not quite as exciting. I still hold that the opening fight scene was the best moment in the film. Meanwhile Rafael is a solid main villain. He can actually fight really well which is definitely important and his plan is pretty solid. The guy is cunning and very good at manipulating others. He made for a very solid rival to Zorro.

Elena is a solid heroine as well. She is trying to do her best to shun her royal upbringing and defend the common people. This plot isn’t looked at all too closely so we don’t really get to see her do this but at least she is not corrupt unlike the others. Meanwhile she also knows how to fight quite well. While perhaps not on the level as Zorro she is shown to be very good. I’d like to see her fight a little more in the sequel since she has been training ever since she was a kid. The other villain in the film is Harrison. His skills are mainly with a gun although at the end he is also quite good with a rapier. Alejandro is lucky that this guy didn’t want to actually use his gun in the fight because then that would have certainly been game over for the new Zorro. Harrison was a fun villain to have around. I liked his confidence and he did seem to figure out Zorro’s identity pretty quickly.

Finally we have Alejandro who is really the main character of the film. He wants to avenge his brother but is also calm enough to accept training first. He is a good lead who is eager to learn so I can’t really fault him there. The guy means well and by the end he is instrumental in saving the day while the old Zorro was content to be on the sidelines. Alejandro just seems more heroic by the end which is a little surprising. I doubt fans of the original Zorro will be happy about that part.

The weak part of the film is unsurprisingly the romance. It’s all a bit quick and considering how many times Alejandro is forced to put Elena on the spot you can’t see why she would still want to be with him for at least a while. It’s all an act of course but it’s hard to forget being put on the spot in front of such a huge gathering. The scene of Elena fighting Zorro was also suspect. While the actual fight scene was real good Zorro definitely got a little too familiar all things considered. While she didn’t end up having a problem with it that’s another scene that is really stretching things. The film could probably have jumped up another star if we had just left the romance alone.

Overall, I enjoyed the Mask of Zorro. It’s a pretty good revenge story that doesn’t go out of its way to be too gritty. It has a lot of the classic charm you’d expect from the series while still maintaining a good amount of stakes. It’s a good blend of humor and action with the fight scenes holding up quite nicely. If you want a nice old school action film then this is a good one to check out. It hits the right notes and does a nice job of continuing the legacy of Zorro.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Try and Get Me Review


It’s time for an old noir film that serves as a cautionary tale for why you don’t want to mix with the wrong crowd. Once you start committing crimes it is very hard to get out of them. A lot of people like to think that they can get out as soon as they want to, but it’s easier said than done. It’s a pretty good film that definitely has a bit of a dark ending. It’s all handled pretty well and the film even has more acts than I expected. It manages the pacing and run time very well.

Howard is pretty low on money and has a hard time landing a job. There just aren’t many openings right now and he gave his last coin to his kid so he wouldn’t feel left out when everyone else went out to the local game. Howard ends up meeting an eccentric man named Jerry who offers him a job. Howard finds out that it is for an illegal operation so he half heartedly says no but after double thinking it, Howard agrees to help. He is the getaway driver for Jerry’s various crimes. Things heat up one day when Jerry murders someone. Now Howard is really on the hot seat and reporter Gil is determined to nail him.

The film really has two main plots here. First up is Howard’s plot with Jerry as they go around robbing people. Then you’ve got the secondary plot with Gil where he doesn’t take the crimes seriously at first. Eventually he figures out that this is the real deal and decides to run some hard hitting pieces meant to ruin Howard’s life. Gil has no sympathy for murderers and the town is in full agreement on this. The mayor warns Gil that he is riling up the people a little too much but the reporter doesn’t see any harm in this.

Howard is a character that is hard to sympathize with because he had a few easy outs. When he initially says no Jerry starts to get sarcastic and even tosses Howard a 10 dollar bill. Howard should have taken it and left. Instead he decided to stay and get rich in part because he saw what a life Jerry led. That was Howard’s big mistake. Then there’s also the brief affair with one of Jerry’s friends. Jerry had them go on a double date to fool the authorities and while Howard initially just went along with the ruse he ended up getting drunk and making a fool of himself. There’s just no real sympathy to be had for Howard by the end. He was really annoying and talked a good game, but always backed off when the chips were down. He’s not the kind of guy that you want to have in your corner because you won’t have him there for long. He’ll be gone by the next time you turn around.

Then you have Jerry who is the main villain of the film. He’s definitely used to this kind of life and has been a criminal for a long time. You’re not even supposed to feel any sympathy for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has murdered a lot of other people over the years since I doubt his crimes always go well. He’s likely slipped up before and every time he slips up someone ultimately pays the price. He does a better job of handling the prison riot at the end though as he at least tries to put up a brief fight. Realistically you aren’t going to be able to do anything when attacked by a whole mob though. The only outcome there is death.

Finally we have Gil. His sub plot appears a bit at the beginning but doesn’t really appear again until the end when Howard is already captured. I was impressed at how the film maintained the two plots. The moral for his plot was a bit mixed though. Basically the film tried saying that her should have held back in his reportings and then the mob wouldn’t have murdered the two murderers. Sure, he wrote his pieces pretty hard but it’s not like he lied about any of it. Not everyone can handle listening to the news on a daily basis because of how graphic and intense it can be at times. It’s just how it is.

Gil’s doing his job in reporting and I think the characters were rather hard on him for that. If anything based on how unhinged the mob was it may have happened anyway. The guy Jerry murdered to which Howard was an accomplice on was clearly a very liked and respected figure. It’s not a crime that people would have a lot of sympathy on. It’s similar to how based on what kind of crime you land in jail for odds are that you wouldn’t survive back in the day. People would make sure you didn’t return. The law system can also seem a bit iffy at times with how sentences are dealt out. One of Gil’s papers was warning people that Howard may plead temporary insanity and then he’d be let go without a jail sentence. It’s something that people actually do try. Then you have others who are in jail for murder and when released they go right back to it.

The law’s not perfect, but nobody should be skipping due process to play vigilante. That being said, I just didn’t really see a problem with what Gil was saying. He didn’t beat around the bushes with his takes but he wasn’t using hyperbole or being too over the top either. It is what it is I suppose. Once the mob lined up there really wasn’t anything the cops could do. It would definitely be a scary situation to be in though for all parties involved. You’re effectively locked in with a few hundred crazy people and no escape. Even if you aren’t their target you have to be careful that you aren’t attacked in the mix up.

Overall, Try and Get Me is a pretty solid film. It can be rather tense at times and quite a lot of things happen during the film’s length of time. If you’re up for a good suspense film then this is a nice one to check out. We’ll see what you think on the matter with Gil. The ending is definitely intense and ends on a pretty somber note. The writing is solid and I don’t really have any negatives to report here. It’s just a pretty good movie that has mostly flown under the radar over time.

Overall 7/10

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The Magnificent Seven Ride Review


I’ve never seen a movie series hit rock bottom quicker than this one. In general I’ve never seen such a big drop because typically if your first movie is pretty good then the sequels will at least stay in the same realm. The first film in this series was a very solid 8 so I really thought that the whole thing was safe. The second film was a drop to a 5 but the third went back up to a 6. This one literally hits rock bottom…..so lets take a look at why that is.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Chris and his new life situation. He is now married and the sheriff of a little town. Chris runs a pretty tight ship and has been doing pretty well for himself. He locks people up and ships them out to the big jails. The latest one he arrested was a guy who has been robbing stores and wasting all of the money. His wife and the guy’s mother tell Chris that it won’t happen again and so he goes against his better judgment and releases the guy. This crook promptly murders his wife and escapes town. Chris is determined to avenge her but the guy has made friends with a powerful tribe of bandits. Chris is forced to round up 6 allies once again to set things right.

His team of 7 is tied together in more of a reluctant sense this time. Most of Chris’ allies are guys he locked up personally so they all want to end his life. Chris has to keep coercing them into helping his cause by using every trick in the book. It’s a bit of a stretch at times since they could end him many different times before his plan comes together but it is what it is. It’s lucky for Chris that this is the case because otherwise taking on the villains would be difficult. The villains have no real character though so that is similar to the second film. The main villain only appears at the very end and the guy who murdered Chris’ wife at the beginning dies early on off screen as well so the villains really got the shaft here.

What really hurts the film here is how needlessly dark it is. The movie goes out of its way to be as edgy as possible without adding anything to the film. There’s quite a bit of rape here to the various supporting characters and Chris’ wife. This doesn’t add anything to the story and even if the film were to try and use that as an integral part of the film I can guarantee it would still be getting a sinking score. That’s not an element you ever need to put in a film. It just makes you wait for the ending to come that much sooner.

A huge part of the film’s focus is Chris on his mission of revenge. This is a cheap tool to get you to root for Chris to murder everyone and continue on the cycle of violence. The movie seems to forget this though because when Chris gets to the village he quickly gets a romantic subplot with one of the women there. For context, his wife just died in a very brutal way. There’s no way he should be moving on to a new girl so quickly. The plot is in terrible taste and makes no sense. It further illustrates how bad the writing was in this movie. Chris is also really quick to give up on the village before being guilt tripped into helping out. It’s even hinted he would have totally left them if not for the fact that his target got murdered anyway.

There’s not much to say about Chris’ band of followers because they’re all basically the same one note characters who all want vengeance and dislike Chris. None of them can really think of anything other than trying to murder the guy. The best one is probably the ex commander who is used to being the boss. At least he got a little character and seems to have some dignity. The others I can’t really say the same for. For added edge all of these guys were tortured a bunch in prison so their mental states aren’t as sound as they usually would be.

The movie is just filled with cringe scenes that have no awareness. One such moment is when Chris tells his members to each pick various ladies as partners for the upcoming fight. It should obviously be the other way around given what just happened in the village and all the mental scars that are still in place. You just don’t know what the film is thinking half the time. All of these choices just make you scratch your head and it’s why the film is no fun to watch. There’s never a sense of joy or adventure like you had in the previous films.

That’s why the soundtrack is so odd. As always the movie chooses to keep on re-using the same happy hero theme constantly. In the older films it at least made sense sometimes because the films were generally upbeat. This one is never upbeat yet you have the happy theme showing up constantly. After Chris shoots two of the accomplices and heads back out on the trail the theme plays but we just got through some of the darkest scenes in the film so there is nothing to cheer about. It’s like the sound director just made sure to put the music on every time the heroes are travelling on horseback without looking at the context for why they are travelling. The whole movie feels like it was just slapped together.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven Ride is a terrible film and one that tries to destroy the series’ reputation with how bad this one is. There’s no redeemable qualities about the movie. The characters are all pretty unlikable and the movie is just very mean spirited throughout. There should always be a fine line between trying to make a dark film and one that is simply edgy. You can be serious without crossing the line and this film was not able to handle that nuance. It jumps straight from 0-10 and so it sunk all the way to the bottom. I highly recommend staying far away from this film and if anything maybe you should just stick to the original film. It was easily the best one in the series.

Overall 0/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Guns of the Magnificent Seven Review


It’s time for Chris to round up some more gunmen in this third installment in the series. The series actually seems to take the premise of Suicide Squad more seriously than that film did with how high the body count is in these titles. Chris’ friends almost always die in these so you can see why they are always so hesitant to join him. Sure, Chris will live but the rest of them are usually all out of luck before the day is gone. It doesn’t feel like a great balance to them when you put it like that. This one is definitely better than the second film but still a far cry under the first. At least the series is back on an upward trend.

The film starts off with the rebellion leader getting kidnapped by the villain forces. This time the enemies are actually the government as Mexican forces are trying to get these rebels to submit. They aim to break the captured leader and end this once and for all. Max is able to escape and finds Chris over in town who has just helped a thief get away from being hanged. He convinces Chris to help him in exchange for some money and Chris must now round up a few guys once again. He really never has a chance to relax in these days. With the 7 of them rounded up he heads over to the prison to free the rebel leader. Will he really be able to break into the base and take out a huge number of adversaries though?

Let’s look at the supporting cast here. First we’ve got Keno, who was actually guilty of stealing a horse as revenge. The guy is a pretty good shot and pretty reasonable. He seems like the new version of Vin although he’s not quite as solid as the man from the first film. I’d still put him as the best ally in this movie though and is fun enough. Then you’ve got Cassie who is definitely happy to come along since at his old job the boss was quite unpleasant and treated him like a slave. Cassie doesn’t put up with any nonsense so he’s a pretty solid character to have on the team. He also seems to be the strongest physically.

Then you have Slater who is pretty annoying. The guy only has one good arm now so he’s always upset. Having only one arm is very difficult when you’re a shooter but he insists on taking it out on everyone else which definitely isn’t a good idea. He gets Cassie upset a few times and it was really all Slater’s fault with the remark he made. Then he goes on a drunken rampage shooting left and right. Even the way he goes out is pretty terrible. This guy really never managed to become a quality character. P.J. is another character who wasn’t very good. In his case the issue is that he is so sickly. He really wasn’t ready for a gunfight like this. It’s great that he came along to help I suppose but he looks very unimpressive next to the other characters.

Finally you have Levi who is a nice guy. He’s pretty old so he can’t move around quite as well as the younger guys but his gun skills are the real deal so he does help out a fair bit. He also takes one of the kids under his wing. Levi was a fun addition to the cast. So on the whole most of the characters were good. Meanwhile Chris is solid as always. I do feel like his skills seem less and less impressive with each movie, but he still ultimately gets the job done which is what counts. He manages to take down the enemy captain which was crucial. That guy managed to take down quite a number on his own which made him a pretty imposing villain.

This movie went back to its roots in some respects which was good such as developing the characters before uniting the group. Each one actually got a full scene to himself this time as opposed to everyone just teaming up right from the jump. It’s important to set up all of the characters individually before they team up. It gives you more of an actual reason to root for them. The villain also gets more development this time around. He has some good back and forth discussions with Chris. The guy is definitely as ruthless as they come and makes for a pretty intense villain. He certainly isn’t messing around.

The oddest part about the film is probably the music selection though. While the next installment would take this to a whole new level, the music here just didn’t feel appropriate at times. You’d have the very happy hero theme playing even during a sad scene or a moment where nothing is going right for the heroes. It felt like the soundtrack was so limited that they had to keep on playing the theme. It’s played even more than the main Star Wars theme and you know how much the films like to use that one. I don’t think the music director did a good job here. It’s not enough to have a solid theme, you need to know when to play it.

As always the villagers look pretty bad for the most part. The leader of the main group of rebels was a drunk who wasn’t taking anything seriously. It’s easy to see why the group had absolutely no luck over the last few years with a guy like that in charge. You can’t hope to succeed if your leader isn’t taking things seriously and that was definitely the case here. By the end the rebels move on without him, but if they had showed up earlier then way less people had to die. It seems like the cavalry always comes way too late.

The action scenes are solid as always though. The gunfights are good and the heroes make good plans the whole time. The Magnificent Seven feel a little less invincible this time though. The main villain took out 2-3 of them by himself which would have been pretty much impossible in the first film. I suppose eventually Chris was bound to run out of the top brass sooner or later though. These guys would just have to do in the meantime.

Overall, Guns of the Magnificent Seven is a solid film. It’s not quite as good as the first one but it’s good enough to check out if you like the genre. The music is not always placed well as it seems like the guy in charge would just slap the main theme on whenever he felt like it, but it is a catchy theme. Some parts of the film can definitely get a little dark with the main characters not doing anything to save them. Naturally in such a position they would likely lose and then there would be even more casualties but I never like to see the heroes do nothing as people are getting murdered. This one is more of a standard wild west film, you won’t be disappointed if you go and give this one a look.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Return of the Seven Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the Magnificent Seven. After seeing how solid the first one was I was hoping that this one would at least be in the same league as the original. Unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be. I guess the first one just set the bar a little too high because the sequel ultimately couldn’t even come close to the first. It ended up trying to copy all of the ideas but executed them all in a less effective fashion. Sometimes it’s just not enough to try and copy success.

The film starts out with the village from the first film getting attacked yet again. While Chico tries to fight them off he goes down after beating only 3. All of the men are kidnapped except for one who manages to get over to the main characters and asks for help. Chris and Vin got reunited when Vin reveals that there is now a bounty on Chris’ head. Vin has arrived to help him stay alive during this time. Now with news of the village being attacked Chris is forced to become a hero once again. Since most of the gunmen from the last film were murdered Chris needs to assemble a new squad. With all of the best fighters already out of commission he will now have to grab some of the B listers and man does the film try to make them as unlikable as possible. Can this group of 7 manage to stop the villains?

Here’s the problem with the film. It’s exactly the same as the last one. Usually a sequel will try to at least disguise itself as being a little different by switching up the characters a bit or making the circumstances new and unique. This film doesn’t bother with any of that to even the slightest degree. The villains are almost the same number as the last group only they have significantly less character. Chris assembles a group of hot shots once again only these guys don’t get any big intros and they are all pretty terrible from the jump. The group is assembled within the first 15 minutes. This sequel feels like it’s going on turbo speed right from the start. It cuts out all of the development time we had in the first so we can skip straight to the fights in this one.

I think the film is shorter so they didn’t have as much time as in the first film but it still could have done a better job. In the first movie at least everyone was actually here to help out the village for positive reasons. That’s not the case in this film with one guy in particular who may as well be a villain himself. He causes crimes constantly and was in jail for good reason. It’s a lot harder to root for the heroes this time around. The movie also did Chico dirty by having him lose almost instantly. Remember how he got a huge character development arc in the first film? Well, neither does do the writers of this film so you’re okay on that front.

Chris is still a good character, but he’s a lot less mysterious than he was in the first. His skills also seem less extraordinary here. He may just be acting modest but he does seem a little more nervous of the new characters here in general which is never a good look. Vin also gets less to do here. He’s still a fun sidekick and there’s nothing particularly wrong with him. I don’t get why he was so bored that he had to look for Chris though. He seemed to have had a pretty good set of goals in the last film as a drifter. No sense in giving that up now.

From the new guys first off we have Colbee. He’s the worst character in the film. All he cares about is women and he always makes it a point to go after married ones which just makes him a deplorable character from the start. It’s hard to tolerate the guy and since he’s a main character that’s a problem. Then we have Manuel who participates in cockfights. I can’t just overlook that either. It’s a terribly inhumane sport which has no business being here and the scenes in general don’t do the film any favors. We’re already down two gunmen so that isn’t a good sign at all. He’s meant to be the new Chico but the guy was getting washed in his first fight without throwing a single counter. I don’t see how this guy could possibly help the group out at all.

Frank is reasonable. He talks tough throughout the film at least so there’s that. From the new characters he is probably the best by default. At least he seemed like a decent character. Then you have Luis who is okay I guess. He doesn’t have a ton of character but he is skilled which is the important thing. The group manages to hold their own against the villains pretty well all things considered. Without the dynamite they would have been doomed in the end though. Dynamite is always a game changer so it’s important to have that on your side. With it you know that you always have a chance in battle.

The gunfights are solid as always. The opening fight when the gunmen first make it to the village is pretty good as we see them all firing at once in a pose similar to the first Avengers film. They all just start blasting and manage to take out most of the villains in an instant. Of course it was just the advance scouts and more fights would come, but it was a good start. I definitely had no issue with the action.

The pacing isn’t bad. It’s extremely fast for sure and I do think more time to develop the characters would have been nice, but in principle it’s not a bad idea to have things happen very quickly. The issue is that the characters just weren’t very good. The writing is also not nearly as strong as in the first film. Nobody acts quite as cool and professional as they did in the first film. We also had fairly pointless scenes included like the bull chasing and the cockfighting. Both scenes really should have been cut and the film would have been better off for it.

Overall, While the first film was one of the best wild west films I’ve ever seen, this would be one of the weaker ones. The whole movie feels redundant as it’s just a carbon copy of the first movie with weaker characters. The villains don’t really get to do much and even their overall plan isn’t quite as intense as in the first one. At least there the guy was trying to feed his starving men. Here these villains are basically lackeys. If the first film didn’t exist this one may have fared a little better but at it stands I couldn’t really give it a thumbs up. If you really loved the first film and want to see the characters again then by all means you should check this one out. Otherwise I’d recommend giving it a pass and just watch the original again.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Magnificent Seven Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic western from a while back. The Magnificent Seven is known as one of the all time great westerns and I can see why. It may even rank up there as my favorite one in the genre as at the moment it beats all of the others that I can think of. The fights are very good and I liked seeing the team get former Avengers style. This is a movie that has held up quite well.

The film starts with a village getting harassed and robbed by a group of bandits. They show up every year to steal all of the crops, livestock, and possessions that the village has. The village is fed up with this but they don’t know what they can do against such foes. 3 farmers head off into town to find some good guns to buy and see two impressive gunmen. The farmers ask one of them for help and the guy agrees to do so. Furthermore he will look for 6 more so the 7 of them can team up against the bandits. They will wait at the village until the villains arrive. The odds aren’t great at 40-7 but each of these 7 is worth a full squad.

One of the best aspects of this film is how it takes time during each aspect of the plot so you really get to know all of the characters. Each member gets a full introduction scene where you immediately get a feel for what kind of person the character is. The first two to be introduced are the two most important characters, Chris and Vin. They manage to survive an onslaught of villagers so that someone who died can be buried. The village hadn’t let him be buried earlier because the town was quite racist back in these days so the heroes showed them what was up. Another gunman is introduced as the quickest shot in the west who just wants to better himself. Another one is hard on money, one’s a fugitive, etc. Each of these shooters is given quite a lot of hype in their debut appearance.

Then you’ve got Chico who isn’t a pro like the others, but he really wants to be acknowledged as one of the more powerful fighters. He gets humiliated by Chris early on but doesn’t let that get to him. As the film goes on he shows more and more why he can be relied upon as well. By the end of the film I’d say he probably isn’t even the weakest member. He’s probably be around 5th place out of the 7. Not amazing or anything, but considering how young he is that’s pretty good.

The writing in the film is definitely on point. We get a lot of snappy dialogue and all of the characters are written well to be realistic and professional at all times. They’re just fun/charismatic characters to have around. The pacing of the film is great as I mentioned as well. I also enjoyed the gun fights. They last for a while but there is always something happening so I wouldn’t say that they dragged on at any point. If I have one complaint, it’s that the 7 should have done a little better based on how good they all were individually. It felt like they were mowing the villains down but by the end they were still heavily outnumbered.

The film also did stretch your disbelief a bit towards the end. The main villain captures all of the heroes and instead of shooting them all he spares them all…and gives them back their guns. Naturally the heroes return and slaughter all of the villains so it makes you wonder…why would the villain do this? It made no sense. The villain tries to justify this by saying that if he murdered them it’d be more work but I can’t buy that. He was prepared to murder them just a few minutes earlier. It was not a smart play and it felt like the writers had written themselves into a hole and took this as their quick out. If you ask me it’s not a situation you should put the heroes in. The villain deciding to spare everyone is usually pretty cheesy as it is. Giving them back their weapons is a whole other level of this.

The ending is definitely pretty emotional though as the body count gets quite high. It’s a pretty ambitious ending as you can’t always have everyone make it out in one piece. This is the realistic outcome of a big war type event. You can tell that this kind of film really doesn’t need a sequel. It got a few anyway but this film works quite well as a stand alone. It’s long and so there is a lot of content here. Everyone has a satisfying character arc to go through as well.

Chris was my favorite character. He’s just a solid leader in general. He’s all business and a great shot. While the film hints that he may not be the best shot out of the 7, he’s certainly one of the best. His partner Vin was also very likable. He was the first person to aid Chris in his quest and was also pretty fearless. While Chico had a rough start with getting drunk and all, he did prove himself by the end of the film. With him to protect the village you figure they would be safe from now on….in theory.

Harry’s the worst member of the 7. Not only are his skills not all that impressive but he’s only here for the money and doesn’t seem to care about anything else. I wouldn’t trust him at all. Bernardo probably gets one of the smaller roles in the film but he was a likable guy. He was sure to protect the kids to the end and seemed to quietly be quite a good shot as well. Britt was the most impressive marksman to me thanks to his quick draw skills. The guy could hit someone from a very long distance and was also good with a knife. Finally you have Lee who was more in line with Harry. Based on his intro I was expecting a whole lot out of Lee and he really didn’t live up to any of his potential. Even by the end I wasn’t really sold on his character. So I really liked 5/7 of the gunmen with the other 2 being fairly weak in comparison.

As always though the villagers were the most annoying characters. It seems like in every wild west film it’s a given that they will betray the leads at some point. They want to give up halfway which is the worst time to give up. Don’t they realize that this will just make the enemies go at them even harder? They try to say that the villains won’t hurt them if they give up quietly but we know this isn’t the case. They’ve already been harming the village from the start and it would only get worse. These guys lack any real intelligence at times like this. The only good ones were the village elder and the main 3 guys. The girl at the end of the film was also good. The rest of the men would just hide when the villains showed up and cracked pretty quickly so I can’t say that they ranked.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven was quite impressive. The horses managed to live through the fights which is usually my worry with the genre and in general the film avoided making any key mistakes. It wasn’t gritty and the characters were actually quite solid. This is definitely the gold standard for westerns and if you haven’t watched this film yet then you should definitely change that. It’s going to be very difficult for the sequels to quite match up to this one.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back. This one’s definitely pretty well known. I didn’t know anything about the plot itself, but the title is certainly iconic. After all, why would you ever need to use all 3 methods of transportation in one day? Well, things get pretty tough for the lead. The humor is usually pretty funny with only sometimes going over the edge. That’s normal for a comedy film as no matter how hard you try it’s hard for every single joke to be funny. The goal is to at least make sure most of them land successfully.

The movie starts with Neal wrapping up a long meeting. Unfortunately the boss took forever to decide on what design he wanted to now Neal has to dash in order to catch his flight so he can spend Thanksgiving with his family. It’s not in the cards though as all planes have been delayed. He meets up with a guy named Del who says that they should team up. Neal gives that option a hard no for a while but nothing he tries is working and now it’s late. He follows Del to a hotel room the guy picked up and this would be just the start of their partnership through this crisis.

Your enjoyment of the film may depend on how much you like Del because the film could seem unfair depending on your answer to that. Without a doubt Neal is put through the wringer in this film. Del tricks Neal into spending money constantly as Neal is saddled with virtually every bill. Neal clearly makes a lot of money but that’s not the issue here. Nobody wants to have to be with a free loader the whole time and that’s exactly what Del is. He always manages to be quite slick in getting Neal to make payments so it’s hard to just overlook that. He’s costing Neal quite a lot. By the end this is all brushed to the side as we find out that Del’s a nice guy, but it just doesn’t feel even or balanced. Neal came out of this in a worse position than when he started.

Neal was also quite patient with Del before blowing up near the end. He may have gotten a bit extra at that point, but Del had really done nothing to help him prior to this. Neal also had the worst luck in the world up to this point. Even at the beginning of the film he ended up losing the cab and then Del stole the next one. It was certainly a great way to start the film though. The whole taxi chase was pretty great and Neal really put up a good fight there. He’s a consistently good character throughout the film and the only scenes where he faltered was during the car rentals. He was really picking a fight with everyone at that point so naturally he got beat up. Talk smack and get whacked after all.

As for Del, it’s hard to sympathize with him. He may be a nice guy or so he thinks but he ends up being a lot of trouble for everyone. Del has to at least be a little self aware of how much trouble he is causing everyone. There are some things he does where you just know that it can’t have been an accident. He absolutely knows what he is doing at times despite denying it. The fact of the matter is that he gets in Neal’s way throughout the movie. Neal ends up being the bigger man and is still nice to Del, but it would have been nice if Del could have contributed at least a little. By the end of the film it’ll be hard to see why they are even still friends. Del burned Neal one too many times as the movie went on.

Most of the humor in the film revolves around how crude Del is. He doesn’t have a great sense of personal hygiene and so we do get quite a bit of crude humor. Those scenes don’t tend to land quite as well as the smooth dialogue based humor. The more outrageous moments can work well too like Neal showing up for his car except that it is no longer there. Now that’s an emotional moment where you can get behind the character because he was really counting on it being in that spot so it was certainly a let down when it wasn’t there. I’m sure no matter what humor style is your favorite you will have some laughs here because there are enough laughs for everyone. The humor has a lot of variety.

When you think about it the movie’s cast was actually pretty small. Del and Neal are really the only two characters. You’ve got minor characters here and there that try to mess with the leads but that’s about it. The two are able to hold the film quite effectively though. Neal as the protagonist and Del as the antagonist. Good banter goes a long way in films and this one is an example of a successful pairing. They help the film just fly by and you can’t be an effective comedy without strong characters. Between the characters and the film’s strong writing you’ve got a successful formula.

Overall, This is a fun film. A lot of the humor is effective and Neal makes for a fun character. The movie’s plot is engaging and it is definitely an “everyone’s worst nightmare” kind of scenario as you miss the plane and get stranded with all of the hotels being booked. Honestly I would have just stayed at the hotel all night instead of going to a dicey motel. I’d take my chances with the food court and while it is hard to stay awake for so long, you can definitely pull it off for one night when the stakes are this high. If Neal had been a little more patient with this whole thing then maybe he could have spared himself a long voyage. If you haven’t watched this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 6/10