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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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

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Annie Review


It’s time to look at a pretty popular musical from back in the day. Musicals can definitely be hit or miss depending on how good the songs are. Ironically the songs are usually way better in films that aren’t musicals and just happen to have a song or two. There are a lot of reasons for this, but a big one is that the songs are usually professionally done in the background as opposed to the characters actually singing on screen. The on screen songs just don’t end up having the same effect and pale in comparison to these big blockbuster songs. Annie’s songs aren’t bad for the most part but they won’t really stack up in the long run.

The movie starts by introducing us to an orphanage run by Agatha. She really doesn’t like kids, but needs money in this tough economy so she made the hard call to run the place. Annie tries to keep the kids moral up but it gets tougher with each passing day. What is there to look forward to when you’re in such a mean place? Well, Annie won’t have to deal with this for much longer because she was selected to spend a week with the rich Mr. Warbucks. Warbucks is so rich that even the President defers to him. Now Annie can learn what it’s like to live in wealth with her dog, but can she learn to enjoy this or will she continue to look back and forget the future?

The premise is one of those plots that can be fun to think about. Who wouldn’t want to spend a weekend being as rich as humanly possible? Money can’t buy happiness but it can help you lease it for a while. Even more so considering that Annie was an orphan at a pretty badly run orphanage so she has a lot of reason to be happy at this new place. That’s why she can seem rather ungrateful at times. Even after Warbucks has given her one of the best weekends ever she is still desperate to meet her parents and hops in the car of the first strangers who claim to be them. You can understand her wanting to meet her folks for closure, but just leaving with them like that? Doesn’t seem like the wisest course of action because you really don’t know if they’re good people or not. Whether they had reasons for leaving Annie or if they did it on a whim, it doesn’t change the fact that they never looked for her until a reward was placed.

Meanwhile Warbucks is definitely a lot of fun. He doesn’t let anything get in the way of his making money prior to Annie showing up. While he has a gruff exterior he ultimately does let Annie stay so the guy is pretty nice deep down. His romance plot with Grace is very cheesy though. For starters she works for him and workplace romances are always a landmine that you don’t want to go to. It would have been perfect if they were just good friends the whole time. So Warbucks’ character got watered down quite a bit by the end of the film, but he was still an engaging character on the whole.

Then we have Agatha who is one of the main antagonists here. She’s definitely a very mean character who is always messing with the orphans and somehow nobody has caught or fired her yet. She makes moves on any guy who shows up and somehow even seems to be succeeding with two of them. Her character is way too exaggerated and most of her scenes are pretty iffy. I think the film could have dialed down the her desperate romance angle a bit. She’s also rather mean to the dog, I never like how they used to lift the dog by the scruff of their neck, same with cats. There’s no way that’s comfortable for the animal. By the end you just aren’t able to buy into her redemption arc.

You’ve got two more villains in Rooster and Lily. They’re a little more sinister than Agatha as they don’t mind hurting the kids if it means they will get rich. They have a long song with the 3 of them where Lily keeps beating up Agatha mid-dance without Rooster realizing it so he’s not the brightest guy in the bunch. Agatha was also losing that match entirely so we know who the tougher character is. It’s almost a bit odd since Agatha seemed to be winning in their initial encounter but I suppose you can’t win them all. The villains weren’t bad. They served their purpose at least and gave us a little danger in the climax.

As for Grace, she’s probably the nicest character in the group. Without her Annie wouldn’t have had a chance at all. Grace got her in even if it meant using some blackmail and then she convinced Warbucks to let Annie stay. Grace really put in a lot of effort to make sure that everything worked out and was the unsung hero of the movie. You’d think that the other orphans would have been helpful but most of them were mean and petty throughout the film. Even when Annie was in trouble one of them didn’t want to hear about it and several of the others were ready to give up. Some friends right? Warbucks had some good assistants but none of them were around when Annie was really in danger.

Annie has a lot of fun little moments with her exploring the mansion and the film is at its best when things are going well there. I’d be up for a full movie of just having fun enjoying the rich life. There is so much you can do when you’ve got that much money and the film could have explored that angle. Throwing in the villains distracted from that part as there was far less time for such things. Sandy was a lot of fun though and I’m always up for a dog companion so long as he gets a happy ending. I’d like to see Hallmark do a modern version of this with a grown up who is selected to live in a castle for a week. It’s a plot that I’d say could be executed better than how this one went about it.

Overall, Annie is a decent musical that can be a bit too extreme at times. . Agatha’s character is a bit odd with how mean she is yet the kids keep messing with her. It’s likely done to keep the film from being too dark which I can appreciate. How much you enjoy the film will likely depend on how much you can tolerate Annie. Warbucks is a really fun character and in a sense you’re hoping he doesn’t crack under the pressure and stays as the suave rich guy that we all know. The film is largely predictable so you’re really just along for the ride as you hope the execution is good. You should be entertained all the way through which is the important thing.

Overall 5/10

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Short Circuit Review


It’s time to look at a film from a while back that I only began hearing about recently. Apparently it was a pretty big film back in the day. It’s a nice enough story and was more enjoyable than E.T. although I wouldn’t call it the most exciting flick out there. You should be reasonably entertained throughout the adventure although you’ll be shaking your head at how the characters keep making the worst decisions they can think of.

The film starts by showing off the robots through an exhibition to the army. These guys can take down opposing armies and seem to have quite a lot of potential. Unfortunately one of them becomes sentient and decides to live his own life. In the next film he’ll be known as Johnny so I may as well call him that here. Johnny meets up with a girl named Stephanie who believes he is an alien. Eventually she learns the truth and must now decide if she will help keep him safe or if she will deliver him to the feds. Can she trust them not to murder the poor guy?

Naturally in a film like this it will likely depend at least on part whether or not you think he is truly sentient. Would turning Johnny off really be the equivalent of murder? It gets pretty philosophical. Right now I don’t believe we are at the point where a robot could get sentient, but hypothetically if it was possible then naturally destroying a robot would still be the wrong thing to do. Here we have Johnny literally begging for his life so Stephanie is right in trying to keep him safe. That being said, she really doesn’t do a good job of it and gets them into a lot of sticky situations.

Johnny isn’t really my kind of character because he just doesn’t know enough about human culture. A good chunk of the film is him making a mess of Stephanie’s life and constantly missing the point. He ends up helping out more towards the end of the film as he kidnaps one of the villains and saves Stephanie’s life, but it takes him a long while to get to that point. He’s better than E.T. because that isn’t all that hard to be honest but I can’t really give him a lot more credit than that. In the end he can barely hold his own in a fight and usually has to rely on gimmicks despite having some pretty good armaments. That tells me that he still needs to work on his battle strategies.

As for Stephanie, she was trying a little too hard to be quirky. She wasn’t one of the more engaging main characters out there. She means well of course, but that’s not enough on its own. She does beat some of the other characters though. Ben is one of the scientists trying to locate Johnny and he’s easily the worst character in the film. The film takes the trope of the scientists not knowing much about human culture way too far. Almost all of his lines are pretty terrible and he’s really just good at ruining genuinely wholesome moments. He is a little better in the sequel but was written really terribly here.

Newton is the character who should be more reasonable. He’s a scientist who built his robot a little too well and Stephanie has to convince him that Johnny’s change is real. This is all well and good except that Newton is way too stubborn about the whole thing. It takes him an eternity to get with the program and his romance subplot with Stephanie is about as rushed as you could possibly imagine. Newton had potential to be a good character and has some decent scenes, but they weren’t nearly good enough.

The standout character here was actually Howard. He easily has the best scene in the film as he surprises everyone by whipping out a gun when the heroes were heading for the getaway car. It showed that he still had his old agent skills at the ready even though he no longer works in the field. That’s the kind of boss you want to have. He commanded respect and I would have liked to have sen more of him. He was also quick to fire another member for disobeying orders later on which is the right step. You can’t properly lead if you have someone undermining your authority.

The action scenes when they occur are pretty good. It was nice to see Johnny take down the other robots. They may be a bit clunky so the fights aren’t super big or anything, but they’re still solid all the same. While the film’s humor is usually missing the mark, it does have some solid scenes. The writing is pretty bad so the movie couldn’t deliver as well as it might have wanted. Short Circuit is an interesting title in that sense as I wouldn’t call it a bad film but it makes enough mistakes where I can’t call it a very good film either. That’s why it is square in the middle. It does enough right to hang in there.

Overall, Short Circuit is not the best film I’ve seen, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish. Think of it as a good film to watch once, but you won’t need to check it out again. If you like a wholesome story about a robot learning how to make friends then this is the one for you. It can get a little cheesy and the characters are pretty weak, but the core concept isn’t all that bad. It’s almost like Terminator except the robots simply aren’t a true threat at the moment. They hype up Johnny’s laser at the beginning but it never truly becomes all that powerful if you ask me. He still takes a lot of losses as the film goes on.

Overall 5/10

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Come Blow Your Horn Review


It’s time to look at a comedy film from a long time ago. It’s one of those films where you may start to suspect how the second half will play out. It’s a fun enough film, but one that hobbles over the finish line instead of sprinting across. The film tries a little too hard to smash you with the moral of the film whereas keeping it subtle would have still done the trick. There’s a good time to be had here but I wouldn’t put it as my first choice.

The film starts off by introducing us to Buddy and Alan. They are brothers who are 18 years apart and have completely different personalities. Alan moves out to his own place and loves slacking off at work. He tends to work one day a week and spends the rest of the time being a bum as his father would put it. Meanwhile Buddy has been living life on the straight and narrow. He shows up to work day in and day out to make sure that the company is able to do well. Unfortunately this life proves to be too stifling for him and so he moves in with Alan. This causes a lot of family drama. Buddy must now decide if he really wants to live his life like Alan or go back home and be a responsible adult. He’ll have to choose carefully.

There’s definitely a pretty big contrast between the two. It’s easy to see why Buddy would look up to Alan because Alan seems to get away with just about everything. He blows off work constantly yet he manages to live in a 5 star hotel type apartment. The guy is constantly throwing money left and right. Then you’ve got Buddy who does the right thing and comes to work but barely has a dime for himself. That doesn’t exactly sound fair right? I think if Alan had been fired from the start then maybe that could have changed things a bit. The film does explain why Alan has so much money at the end involving a deal he made with someone, but the father could have at least taken his job away earlier.

Alan’s definitely not a heroic character, but he’s a fun lead. He’s a lot more entertaining than Buddy and also does a better job with the lifestyle. It may be fairly crooked but at least he had to take the initial risks himself. Alan used his charisma to succeed. Buddy had to rely on Alan’s goodwill to make it and that’s why I have less sympathy for him. Buddy ended up being one of my least favorite characters. He was okay at the start even if he did whine a lot. The problems started to come up once the power went to his head. Buddy’s one of the most ungrateful characters I’ve ever seen. Just copying Alan is one thing. Alan wouldn’t have a problem with that and it makes sense.

Where Buddy goes wrong is when he starts intentionally taking things from Alan. He steals the guy’s barber, makes a mess of the apartment, sabotages his phone calls, etc. Buddy goes way too far way too quickly. There’s no reason for him to turn into a total villain over this. By the end of the film it’s fairly open ended as you get to choose if you think he’ll succeed in Alan’s place or not. Personally, I don’t think he will be able to do it. He just doesn’t have Alan’s charms and with no more coaching at the ready Buddy will be digging himself a pretty big hole by the end.

The best characters were the parents. Whenever the father would show up you knew that sparks would fly. He would constantly be calling the characters bums and flying into a fit of rage whenever he showed up. A lot of the times it was fairly justified as Alan was costing him thousands of dollars, but then the follow up question would be “Why not fire him?” and there’s no real answer to that. After a point he can only blame himself for this because he lets Alan get away with absolutely everything. That’s no way for a business to succeed. While the father was one of the most entertaining characters, what holds him back here is how he also takes it out on his wife. It makes sense for him to constantly be upset as the two sons, but she really didn’t do anything. That’s why she ends up edging him out.

The Mom can also be super dramatic, but it’s not typically aimed at anyone else. She just throws a lot of pity parties for herself as she tries to solve every problem. She does her best in answering the phones even when there is no pen around. She even recalls all of the messages although she isn’t exactly thrilled about being used as an answering service. Her ability to keep on talking nonstop is definitely a lot of fun and so the film had quite the colorful cast.

One character that was too exaggerated was Peggy though. She’s oblivious to everything to the point where she believes all of Alan and Buddy’s lies without even detecting the slightest hint of Deception. It’s played for laughs but the plot goes on way too long and too far for it to be funny. Peggy clearly will do anything to get ahead in the field and so hopefully she does know what’s going on and just uses it as an excuse for her actions, but either way this plot should have been removed and the film would have been better for it.

Romance is the film’s Achilles heel. It’s not terrible or anything, but it doesn’t really add anything to the film. Connie does her best to get Alan to turn away from his constant affairs but you almost feel like she should give up on him. He’s clearly not trust worthy and has been playing the field for a very long time. Of course I’ll take the glass half full approach and assume that he is sincere, but it’s really trusting of her to still be going ahead with this.

Overall, Come Blow Your Horn is a film with strong writing that is held back by some questionable characters. The humor is pretty good and the song we got was solid. One sub plot that was satisfying was when one lady’s husband from Texas shows up and intimidates Alan quite a bit while also knocking him into an elevator. The best part of this film is the opening act as we meet Alan and get introduced to all of the family drama. At times the subplot with the parents can be more entertaining than the main one. A lot of things happen in this film and it does a good job of pacing the story in a way where there is never a dull moment. Not all of the humor has aged well but if you want to see a story about living free with no responsibilities then this is the film for you. It’s a dangerous road that offers a lot of thrills but there’s always a fall at the end.

Overall 5/10

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The Son of Dr. Jekyll Review


It’s time to look at a film with one of the most unsympathetic characters I’ve seen in a while. The whole plot of the film barely feels like it makes sense if you ask me but that’s because the cast is quite suspect. Most of them also aren’t very good at thinking thing through which leads them all into pretty dangerous developments. It’s better than the first film and decent overall I suppose. Just get ready to watch the lead fall into every trap.

So the film starts with a recap of how Jekyll died in a burning building. He had a kid before he passed though and one character is guilt tripped into adopting him. John decides not to tell Edward that he is the son of Mr. Hyde and raised him up as he would any child. Ed quickly becomes a super genius anyway. Eventually it is time for him to inherit the estate so the father is forced to let him in on the secret. He has the local psychiatrist Lanyon tell him instead though and Edward starts obsessing over his father’s notes. He wants to prove that the murderer wasn’t just insane but that he perfected the formula which draws out his evil abilities. Due to this, the town begins frame and terrorize him. Lanyon  tells Edward he will be glad to take control of all of Edward’s money for the next few years to take the pressure off. It’s an insane offer but Edward turns it down for all of the wrong reasons, he just wants to run the experiments. Odd circumstances start to add up though and now people think Edward is insane. Can he prove that he has been framed or is he losing his marbles?

That was a pretty big plot write up but I wasn’t quite sure how to abbreviate it. So I’ve got a lot of problems here but Edward is at the top of the list so we should start with him. As soon as he learns about his father Edward begins concocting a plan to perfect the serum and try it out on himself. Why? If it works then he will be unlocking his evil side and committing murders like the original. If it fails then he will have proven that his father was crazy. Either way it’s a bad ending for him and the stakes are way too high to even attempt this. He has his fiancée/about to be wife to think about as well and she even tells him not to do this. I don’t get why Edward was so obsessive the whole time.

Then you’ve got the fact that he keeps on proving everyone right about inheriting the Hyde genes as he is quick to assault anyone who gets in his way. He tried to choke quite a few characters here and gets physical with the others. He even chokes his nice butler at one point when he had a bad dream. Edward seems quite unhinged throughout the film to the point where it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of the scenes in the film actually didn’t happen.

Edward also isn’t the smartest character in the lot as every trap works on him. It’s quite easy for the reporters to frame him as Edward threatens the local paper boy and goes around swinging a cane. He also meets with the villains who he knows are trying to blackmail him at the time. That’s already a bad idea but then violently grabbing her is even worse. When it’s time to actually fight Edward tends to lose each time. He’s really not a good fighter as he loses to an old guy with a banjo and then to the main villain. All of this could have been avoided if he wasn’t trying to defend a convicted murderer who he didn’t even know until a few days ago.

Edward’s father also looks pretty bad the whole time in how easily he was believing the psychiatrist’s idea of extending the trusteeship. There isn’t much benefit to letting this guy claim the vast wealth of the Jekyll estate. How would that stop the mob from hounding Edward all over the place? He wouldn’t be rich anymore but he would still be trying the experiments so it wouldn’t make much difference. Also as close a friend as the guy may have been, you never give a friend your vast wealth. The temptation is far too powerful even if the guy wasn’t already evil.

This film isn’t exactly high energy, but at the same time I never got bored so I’ll give it a reasonable amount of credit for that. It’s a decent adventure and it doesn’t make the big mistakes that you see in some other titles. The villain is still murdering a bunch of people but the movie doesn’t go out of its way to make it gritty. A lot of these characters don’t really think things through though. When you make a deal with a villain you know what you’re getting into and yet a lot of them start having doubts and half heartedly giving out information, so they end up silenced. Others are just at the wrong place at the wrong time so there’s not much they could have done.

Overall, The Son of Dr. Jekyll is significantly better than the original even if there isn’t really much to do with the classic at all. It’s more of a legacy story dealing with a character who is being judged by the legend. You can’t go in expecting a lot of action scenes or anything like that or you are going to be disappointed. The story is interesting enough even if you will not like Edward by the end and you can see all of the twists coming a mile away. The ending is good at least and the actual film holds up well enough. If you’re going to see a film about Jekyll or Hyde then this is the one that you ought to check out. It may be purely middle of the road, but at least it’s not bad.

Overall 5/10

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Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with the supernatural. It’s always interesting when the hero becomes a ghost as opposed to the villain for a change. Usually you see the villains messing with everyone like in the Grudge or something and the heroes are all bumped off. On the other hand, when a hero uses the power usually they aren’t quite as strong for some random reason so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Ultimately I was glad Sam got some powers and it’s a reasonable movie, but there are things that hold it back a bit.

The movie starts with things going pretty well for Sam and Molly. Sam’s crunching the numbers at the bank and Molly’s doing pretty well with her pottery and sculpting. Sam’s noticed that some numbers aren’t adding up at his company, but he’ll figure out the issue soon. Time is on his side…or that’s what he thought until one day he is mugged in a dark alley and murdered. It all happened so suddenly that Sam’s soul is unable to move on and now he can only watch without interacting with anybody. That’s when he learns that the whole thing is a conspiracy. His murder wasn’t accidental and if he doesn’t do something quick then his wife Molly will be in trouble. Sam is forced to enlist the aid of a supernatural medium scammer named Oda. Can he convince her to work with him on this?

The concept here is pretty sound and a classic. The main character gets murdered so now he has to solve the case from beyond the grave and see to it that the villain doesn’t get away. It’s certainly frustrating for Sam at first since he can’t interact with anything, but gradually he gets used to his abilities which makes him more of a formidable threat to everyone involved. Sam’s power does go to his head a bit as he has a tendency to play with his food rather than finishing the job and goes for a quick hug even though it puts everyone in danger thanks to the side effects. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a pretty solid main character.

Unfortunately the heroine Molly ends up faltering here. She’s good at first and seems like a supportive character. Where she really ends up failing is when Sam’s friend Carl shows up and she rebounds with him even though Sam only died a few days ago. That’s so incredibly soon that it’s crazy. Even if you ignore the fact that she thought he may still be around as a ghost or that he was grisly murdered…it’s only been a few days since he was gone. No matter how sad she was there’s really no excuse for going with this guy. I thought that whole scene was pretty terrible and I have to say that it did end up hurting the score.

We had gotten quite a few romantic scenes with Sam and Molly earlier so it just made those feel hollow. In general the romance just wasn’t written well as a result and we could have just cut those scenes entirely and replaced with more supernatural hi-jinx. Maybe have Sam troll a bunch of people from beyond the grave by moving things around. It is entertaining to see him messing with Willie and Carl. He also annoys Oda quite a lot until she eventually agrees to help him. When you’ve got ghost abilities you may as well use them right?

Carl’s a pretty terrible character right away. The instant he starts going after Molly you know there’s no hope for him. It’s also fairly obvious where his character is going even before Sam dies with his line about how the numbers aren’t adding up after he gives away his account numbers. It’s definitely a good lesson on why you shouldn’t trust people too much. There are certain things you should never give someone else like your social security number or password to your office computer. Those are things that just always ring true and nobody ever needs to know those things either. The deadlines were quickly approaching but you’ve still got to not budge on this.

Oda is a pretty fun character. She’s definitely reluctant to help and has to be convinced quite a lot and at different points in the film. Oda also tends to mess up on things like writing out a check and pretending to be someone else, but at the end of the day at least she is an ally who is here to help Sam. Those were in short supply. Also, she’s just a lot of fun. All of her scenes are pretty entertaining and in part it’s because all of her reactions are pretty well justified and realistic. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to part with 4 million, especially when you’ve been taking life or death risks all day. You feel like you should at least get 1% of that which would still be a pretty good sum. Not everyone can get rich though and at least she kept the moral high ground.

One of the best scenes is when Sam goes into a train and is confronted by another ghost. It was cool because we hadn’t seen anyone else until then and it was also the first moment where Sam experienced real danger as a ghost because this guy could actually interact with him as if Sam was still alive. It was a shocking moment for the lead and he did his best to adjust. My issue with Sam here was just that he went down awfully quick without even landing a counter blow. I like to think that he would at least have done something.

Overall, Ghost is a decent movie. It’ll keep you entertained as you watch it even if you’ll question the characters at different points. Sam really should have been able to end things with the villains a lot sooner than he did. If anything the instant that one of them threatened to murder his wife at the end if Sam didn’t meet his demands, Sam should have taken him down. Waving a knife doesn’t do anything to someone who’s intangible and at the time Molly was still upstairs. Sam could have just reached over and ended the guy in many different ways. There are even hundreds of non lethal ways to take him down. My point here is really that Sam didn’t use his abilities nearly as well as he could have and was probably having too much fun with the villains when everyone could have already been safe by then. That was my main issue along with Molly not staying strong at least for a longer period of time, but even then if you go with anyone it should never be the best friend. If you want to see a movie with this interesting concept then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing a whole lot.

Overall 5/10

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Miracle Mile Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

Time to look at a panic movie about the end of the world. It’s always been an interesting question on how you would spend your last hours if you knew you were about to die. A lot of people would prefer not to know if they’re about to die, but honestly I’d be all for it if I actually believed there was a way this could be done. Lets say I only have 10 days to live right? I would spend that time getting all of my favorite foods and playing my favorite games because the end is nigh so I may as well forget about the cholesterol for a few days. Of course in real life there would always be some doubt on if things were actually going to end so I wouldn’t be able to do that. This would only be if destruction was a guarantee. Regardless this is part of the basis for the film’s plot.

It starts out with a few scenes to introduce us to Harry and Julie. After hanging around each other for a while without really getting to talk they finally hit it off. Harry is looking forward to being with Julie forever and ever. Unfortunately thanks to his alarm not working he sleeps past the time they were supposed to meet. By the time he gets to the cafe she is long gone so he leaves her a voice message and prepares to have breakfast alone. That’s when the phone rings and he eagerly picks it up only to find himself talking to someone named Chip. Chip explains that someone launched a bunch of nukes at us so we fired back and now everybody’s going to die in a few hours. Harry quickly believes Chip and makes a scene in the restaurant causing everyone else to believe that it’s finally happening. As the other guys get in a truck to head to Antarctica, Harry decides to find Julie first. Can he make it to her before they are all destroyed?

This is one of those films that’s a little tragic because the setup is excellent. I really couldn’t care much about the opening minutes with the two characters meeting. It really has nothing to do with anything, but I suppose it was the quickest way to show us how Harry and Julie met. Honestly we could have just started the film with them together and nothing would change. The setup I’m talking about is once Harry gets the phone call. He panics a lot as you would expect and then panics in the store, but it’s nice to see how some people start to believe him after a bit.

The shop owner certainly seemed like he was expecting the news at some point because he takes out a big shotgun and immediately heads for his evacuation plan. It’s cool to see so much unity with all of the characters as they get ready to leave. It’s such an emergency that nobody even stays back to try and get their things or anything. They just hop in and get out of there. There’s a lot of tension here with a pretty interesting cast of quirky characters. It was the start of a great thriller in the makings with all of the characters having to deal with the fate of the world on their shoulders. Who should they bring and who has to get left behind? Time is not on their side either so they have to move very quickly. Then you’ve got Harry who is the only one who heard the call so in the back of everyone’s minds they have to wonder if he was right or not. Yes, this film was going to be an amazing look at the end of the world…..and then Harry got out of the truck.

That was the biggest mistake the film could have made. It’s an interesting subversion here as the characters were all developed enough where you figure they are going to be important. At this point they never appear again and the film loses some balance. Harry heads over to find Julie and in the process he has to get a cab driver to help him out at gun point. This leads to them accidentally murdering some cops and the body count continues to rise from this point. Everyone begins acting in their self interests which seems to be one of the film’s themes. At the end of the day the film is trying to say that people will act in a way that suits them so everyone begins stealing and attacking people left and right.

The climax particularly puts some emphasis on this as a lot and I mean a lot of crimes are happening in the background. Fortunately the film doesn’t linger for long as if things got any iffier that would have hurt the film’s overall score. Even so, the film just goes into more random territory at this point like when we get the drunk guy on the roof. Harry and Julie also split up too often. After finally finding each other after a good chunk of the film you’d think they would have stayed together right? Nah, Harry wants to find a pilot so they split again and then Julie splits to find one too. The scenes make no sense and Harry should be a little upset at Julie here because it really messes up all of the plans.

Getting to the helicopter was their best chance so making everyone wait the whole time was pretty bad. It was interesting to see everyone else get ready for the apocalypse, but ironically Harry was the one holding everyone back. He also should have just told Julie what was going on right away so she didn’t have to hear it from a total stranger. It’s always better to hear things from someone you know at the very least. Think about it, it just makes so much more sense.

So in the end I didn’t like Harry or Julie. Julie was really slow on the uptake and went along with all of Harry’s bad ideas. I would have liked to have seen her just tell Harry that they should do something else at times. Harry didn’t seem to think things through a lot which would get him into more trouble. There was a fun few scenes where a random driver with a gun chased him in the sewers though. You’d think with the world about to end the guy would have better things to do, but danger does tend to make people act rather crazy. It’s probably why quite a few characters in the film continue to talk tough even after being held at gunpoint.

Then one plot that had a random ending was the cab driver. He went to get his sister which makes sense, but then somehow he messed up and they crashed? I suppose there are thousands of ways that could have happened, but it felt like this was just put in to add some shock value for the main character. It’s not like it furthered the plot at all and the odds of running into each other again in these packed streets with everyone running around was pretty slim. Fortunately for Harry the police had to try and escape the city so he didn’t have to explain much. The ending of the film is pretty decent though. The drunk guy took away from it a bit, but it plays out like you would expect.

Overall, Miracle Mile got off to a really good start, but I feel like it took the wrong route to the ending. It would have been a very interesting movie if it stayed with the original cast in the truck. That plot had a ton of potential and along the way we would have learned a bit about the incoming threat and possibly faced some opposition. A lot of the film would be based around the dialogue on the truck so it still wouldn’t need a whole lot of budget. I’m cool with all the mystery surrounding the characters as we don’t really know anything going on, but it’s not important anyway. The world’s about to end and that’s what counts. It’s just that having a bigger cast to bounce ideas off of is better than just having Harry run around. Still, if you want to look at a pretty unique look at the end of the world then this is a good one to check out for sure.

Overall 5/10

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Gator Review


It’s time to look at the film known as Gator. You may be thinking of a monster film or something based on the title, but this one’s actually a pretty down to earth story about the government blackmailing someone growing drugs into helping them nab some others. It’s a reasonable movie, but one that doesn’t really have much to it. It goes through the thriller motions, but doesn’t really go out of its way to do anything else. It’s also hard to get behind the main character. How could he possibly get caught up in this drug stuff again after his first adventure??

The movie starts off with Gator and his family enjoying a peaceful morning at the cabin. Their day is thrown for a loop though when a bunch of helicopters show up to try and arrest them. We get a chase scene with Gator beating them up while on a boat before eventually succumbing to their blackmail. Since he has started growing Moonshine again they want Gator to head to a shady town where a lot of drug dealing is going on. The government had their eyes on Gator from the start though given how they were also going to blackmail him through his father. It was a lose-lose situation for the hero. So Gator heads to town and sees that the leader is an old friend of his. Maybe he can talk some sense into the guy…

I think we can’t really talk about this film without talking about why Gator isn’t ready for this line of work. He slips up constantly with one instance of this being particularly bad. He already knows that Bama is a bad guy, but is holding out some hope that he’s not so bad. Maybe he’s one of those nice gangsters who only murders people sometimes right? Well, he quickly finds out that this isn’t the case so he walks up to Bama and says that he’s leaving. Not a smart play, but if he’s got a plan then maybe it’ll work out right? Well, that’s not really the case. Bama agrees to this but offers Gator one last drink first. He makes an obvious motion to his henchman who spikes the drink and then Gator downs the whole thing. At first you figure he has a plan, but this isn’t the case.

Gator slowly succumbs to the drink while insulting the villains the whole time. Even that could have been a plan like he was hoping he’d get punched to block the effects of the drink but that didn’t happen either. So ultimately all this leaves Gator looking absolutely terrible. By the time he is able to make a comeback at the very end of the film as he runs over some people you are still left doubting his abilities. Even leaving Irving by himself so he can mess around with Aggie wasn’t a good idea.

The romance with Gator and Aggie definitely wasn’t good. It’s one of those really rushed affairs where they just get together to check off a few boxes, but ultimately it doesn’t really add to the film and comes across as pretty pointless. I preferred Aggie’s character to Gator’s though. At least she was actively looking into the criminal situation and trying to do something about it. Gator only ended up doing something after he was blackmailed into it. Aggie’s profession is also super dangerous since she is a reporter in a city that has been completely conquered by crime. That’s never an easy task.

Meanwhile we do have one more rookie in the film. His name is Irving and he is the main American agent. Here’s my problem with the guy. He talks a good game about being from NY and all, but then he walks into a bar and gets drunk. Naturally he gets beat up by the villains pretty badly, but why would he go in there like that? He also let the villains steal his gun which was terrible. Pretty much any scene with the guy was one where you knew he would mess up. Then there is Emmeline who is here as the quirky character with her cats and all. She thinks of this as a game and does her best to slow everyone down. It’s fair to say that things would have gone smoother if she had just given them the keys or been willing to leave her cats, but naturally that wasn’t going to happen. Bringing the cats is just putting them in harm’s way.

Also, this is another scene where the government looks suspect. If the proof that Bama is a villain is in the courthouse, why can’t they just grab it? That seems like something that would be really easy to do. Also, why didn’t Bama realize that they had the records? There’s a lot of parts in this film where you wonder why the government can’t do anything. Sure the town is bought out, but apparently not the rest of the country since they’re gunning for Bama. It should have been so much easier to take the guy down.

As for Bama, he’s a pretty generic villain. The guy likes selling drugs and going on power trips all the time. He’s got a shotgun and can fight a bit, but there’s nothing more to him. He’s certainly not my kind of villain. His minions have more character if anything. The big one is like the Jaws villain from James Bond. He’s pretty big and has a lot of strength, but ultimately that doesn’t mean much in a gun fight. Then you’ve got the other guy who is surprisingly durable since he survives a ton of things in this film. As a trio they were hard to stop.

Overall, While I do consider this film to be an upgrade over the first one, it really doesn’t hold up on close inspection. You’ve got a weak character cast in a rather bland backdrop. Everyone makes the wrong choices at all times and the film has to rely on quirky characters and a rushed romance to pad out the time. There just isn’t much here so the film has to drag it all out. It can be fun at times, but not really fun enough to get the film above the break even point.

Overall 5/10