Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review

It’s certainly been a while since this film came out but it was finally time to give it a whirl. The first film definitely left quite a bit to be desired. I still believe that the designs for the Turtles were a big mistake and it’s a big part of why the films did not do so well. They just don’t look like the Ninja Turtles and that doesn’t change here. What does though is that we get better characters here. The inclusion of Casey was huge and definitely an excellent move if you ask me.

The movie starts with the Turtles sneaking in to watch a Knicks game. I can only assume that they were watching another team beat the brakes off of them the way every team seems to. It’s hard to remember the last time the Knicks were very good. Well, after blowing their cover they head home. The Turtles find out that Shredder has been busted out of jail and has some kind of big plan involving mutating people into powerful soldiers. You can also reverse the formula to turn the Turtles back into humans which has Donatello’s interest piqued. If such a thing is possible then the team may need to consider it. Meanwhile Casey needs to prove that he isn’t making the story about Shredder being broken out of jail up so he has to catch Bebop and Rocksteady. It won’t be easy though because those two are now a lot more powerful than they once were.

So I would say this film does enough where I would call it a pretty entertaining action film. I wouldn’t say it does anything amazing or stands out in particular but I just have to give it a certain amount of kudos. For example, as I mentioned Casey is an excellent character. The guy keeps everyone on notice all the time which is exactly what I want to see. He’s quite earnest even if he doesn’t realize when other characters are being sarcastic to him. He’s also surprisingly good at fighting. I think one of his standout scenes was when he took down a bunch of Foot Clan members. Not just anyone can do that or at least in theory people can’t just do that. So that was pretty neat. In fact, he was my favorite character in the film.

Falcon shows up as well and he’s quite famous now after the events of the first film. Thing is, I have to say that he earned it. By taking credit for what happened last time he is putting himself as a target for all the villains out there so you can’t say that the task came without risk. That’s pretty big and when the going gets tough he still does do his best and helps out the group despite it putting him at risk. I just don’t see how you can root against this guy. He’s dependable and has a lot of confidence but you absolutely need that confidence if you’re going to succeed in the dangerous world of TMNT.

The Turtles are still not great characters although I would say they’re a little better than in the first film aside from Leonardo. So in this film Leonardo is turning into one of those leaders who doesn’t care much for differing opinions. When he shuts down the idea of turning back into being a human he doesn’t give the other Turtles a chance to weigh in and even lies about it. He acts like he’s above the rest of the Turtles and this definitely isn’t earned. He gets them into a whole lot of trouble and I would say that everything after that scene was his fault in at least some way. If he had just been square with the others then none of this would have happened at all. It was an odd direction for his character to go.

At least he did something though. Splinter did nothing in the film and really had no point being here. I suppose the writer couldn’t think of anything for him to do? It’s just odd that he would only watch as the Turtles went out to fight each time and never tried to help. Maybe he’s just too old at this point or something like that. Not sure if I totally buy into that though. Then we’ve got April who’s the main heroine here. Her first scene definitely seems like it’s here for no reason other than fanservice but other than that she looks good and is a dependable ally. She digs up a lot of the initial information on the villains to keep things rolling and as a human she’s the only person who can handle some of the more direct missions. The Turtles can’t exactly go aboveground and be seen after all.

Rebecca is the Police Chief but she definitely didn’t look great. She’s just not a very reasonable character the whole time and is always getting in the way of the heroes. You’d think that she would at least have listened to the main characters a bit before just dismissing them all. It took Casey 5 seconds after reading the report on Bebop and Rocksteady to figure out where they were but she didn’t think to check it? Definitely a rookie mistake there that’s for sure.

As for the villains, fans of the Shredder will not be happy with his portrayal. He’s ultimately no more than a minion here and he never even gets a real fight scene. He’s just the side show here who follows orders. He also gets overwhelmed pretty quickly. Krang gets the true mastermind position here although he doesn’t appear a whole lot. He can definitely fight though which automatically helps make him seem pretty legit. Bebop and Rocksteady are mainly doing all the real work here. They have some crude humor moments that aren’t very good but also some solid humor scenes that actually can be effective. I think their best joke here was when one of them commented that he thought he was starting to put on weight so the other one started off pretty emotionally by saying it wasn’t true only to turn the tables and say that he was super fat.

The two of them have a really solid bond there which is always nice to see. It can be a bit rare among villains to have a pal after all. Another solid moment was when they said they were done being errand boys only for Shredder to show up and say that he specifically needed those. They were ready to graduate up to a different minion title but they were just too slow at the end which really cost them. I suppose at the end of the day it just wasn’t meant to be. One final villain is Baxter Stockman. He’s not nearly as fun as he was in the 2003 show but he does keep his intelligence here. He can be very excitable the whole time but also easily tricked as a result. The ending definitely doesn’t go the way he thought it would.

The effects are pretty solid aside from the Turtle designs. I still don’t know what they were thinking with those. The action scenes can be good as well although surprisingly there aren’t a whole lot of them. It feels like large chunks of the film go by without any. When we do get the action scenes though then the film does deliver. It’s definitely got that proper comedy/action blend going.

Overall, Out of the Shadows feels like a step up from the first film but it’s not quite at the level where it could be yet. For example there are many other films I would sooner check out over this one. This one definitely will have its time of course but after the initial watch there wouldn’t be much reason to check it out. If you’re a big TMNT fan then you should though. The scenes with Falcon and Casey would be the big reason to watch this film since they carry a lot of the scenes. Any scene with those two in it is bound to be a winner. I can’t exactly say the same for the Turtles though who don’t even come close to matching those two. Maybe they should rename it to Casey and the Turtles for next time. The humor can be hit or miss at times but at the end of the day this is a pretty lighthearted action film with quick pacing. At least you will not be bored while watching and I expect you will be reasonably entertained.

Overall 6/10

Madhouse Review

Madhouse is one of those films that makes for a pretty engaging watch as you try to figure out who is responsible for a slew of murders going around. Its main weakness though is in how the plot only really works if one character makes all of the wrong moves. Switch him out and everything very quickly begins to change. Either way it is a pretty solid film though and doesn’t go for a whole lot of shock value here. You’ve just got an interesting adventure the whole time with a pretty surprising ending. You may not see some of the laughs coming.

The movie starts with Paul having yet another big film hit. He’s about to be on easy street and he is even getting married to a lady named Ellen. Everything is going well but then he finds out that she was an actress in rather mature work and allows another guest to bait him into throwing a fit. He takes a nap and goes to apologize later on but Ellen is dead and it looks like Paul is the one who did it. Unfortunately he doesn’t know what happened and thinks it’s possible that he did destroy her. This leads him to get some therapy on it. Years later his best friend Herbert invites Paul to don the mask once more and become Dr. Death for a TV show. When people start dying, Paul wonders if he may be doing this.

You can see how the whole mystery angle wouldn’t work if Paul really knew what he was doing. After all, the others can’t mess with him if he’s sure of himself right? You also feel like Paul should be able to recall at least sometimes what had happened. I feel like he cracked a little too easily which is unfortunate. He comes across as a pretty confident character otherwise. You also have to give him credit for not falling for any of the many temptations that would try to get in his path. Paul did well, he ultimately just couldn’t conquer himself. Still, Paul makes for an interesting main character at least.

He probably just should have gone with his gut and stayed home though. Maybe returning to films and shows would be a good thing but as Dr Death? Seems like a bad idea so thanks Herbert. Herbert gets a fairly big role here as well. He’s always enjoyed being a writer and it was his idea to reintroduce Paul to the world. He even gets Paul all of the old Dr Death films to he can rewatch them again to get into the role. He’s definitely quite enthusiastic about the whole time. You’ve also got a few other supporting characters like a director who helped cause Paul’s insanity in the first place. The two characters still don’t like each other at all but are willing to work with each other for the money. Then you have Julia who is the PR head. She tries to make sure Paul can get through this in one piece and sees to it that the media doesn’t hound him. She’s pretty good at her job and definitely has a more active role compared to most of the characters.

There are a pair of shady characters who have a backup villain role here. They’re not the brightest minds on the planet though. So, they’ve decided to try and blackmail Paul, a guy who may be a serial murderer. They go to his house on their own to keep messing with him and then forget their own bargaining chip in his front yard. What? Seems like a pretty bad idea since once he has this then they have no leverage. They they see him putting on the costume and still make the call to walk into his dark manor while he is not responding to anything they say. You can probably guess how their plot ends. They sort of came out of nowhere but I suppose it was a way to increase the body count without losing any more main characters so suddenly. They may not have been very smart but that still made for a pretty fun plot point. I was definitely up for having them in to keep the suspense.

A character addition that I didn’t think was necessary was Faye. She’s an actress who liked Paul but he would never give her the time of day. She ultimately sunk quite low in her despair and is a shell of her former self. She seems pretty crazy at this point and is super fascinated by spiders. It makes for a lot of disturbing imagery that’s for sure. I can’t say that her character was really a hit for me. As it was we already had quite a big cast all things considered. Still, it added another suspect which is probably what the film was going for. As it stands there were probably around 6-7 suspects here so you have to decide who you think the culprit is and that includes Paul himself. You may be able to guess the right person pretty quickly or you may double think yourself and choose someone else. Either way guessing is the fun part of mysteries.

Overall, Madhouse was actually pretty good. I wouldn’t say it was great or anything but I thought it was pretty interesting. There are quite a few deaths but the film doesn’t go out of its way to make them super bloody or violent. They just happen and each time Paul is left more and more depressed. His first yell was certainly something as the film even gave you a long zoom in. We also get to see the cops show up from Scotland Yard to take care of things so that was fun. It’s always nice to see them trying to put the pieces together. The whole glove angle was a fun little gag as well. The film definitely had some humor during this adventure. It never was enough to break the atmosphere and instead made for a nice ambiance. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out if you like murder mysteries like this.

Overall 6/10

The Black Sleep Review

Cheating death never tends out to work very well in these films. Why would it right? The scientists tend to be quite mad and will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. It isn’t really a recipe for success I would say. The movie has a decent premise but the main character is definitely not very bright in the slightest. I wouldn’t say this works quite as well as a lot of the other retro films I’ve seen but it should keep your attention decently well as you progress through the adventure.

The movie starts with the main character (Gordon) preparing for death’s door. He was said to have murdered someone and so he got the death penalty. His friend Joel shows up and offers him a path to escape his fate. He has to ingest the drug known as the Black Sleep. Gordon has nothing to lose so he does this and then wakes up in the doctor’s office. The drug simulates death so Joel pulled some tricks and got him out of it. Gordon owes his life to the man now though so he agrees to help in the experiments. Basically, Joel is trying to revolutionize brain surgery. He’s trying to prove that each part of the brain operates a different part of the body. Gordon is on board with this but then he finds out just how drastic these operations are. Joel is experimenting on people who are still alive and may scar them for life. Can Gordon really help him with this?

Well, any reasonable person would walk away right? Not Gordon, he’s definitely willing to play ball. Here’s the problem with this, the film could have played it off like Gordon felt he owed Joel a lot so he would go through with it despite his personal feelings. The film doesn’t really play that angle up. Gordon just seems to think that Joel has a point that this is worth the sacrifice. Even after seeing how shady Joel was, Gordon wouldn’t believe Laurie either. It takes quite a lot to convince him that this is all pretty sinister and then he quickly tries to play the hero. The problem is that Gordon is a very willing accomplice the whole time so his big turnaround at the end doesn’t feel very earned or heroic. The guy is just playing the field the whole time and doing whatever he wants. It’s hard to find him likable.

Joel isn’t likable either of course but he’s your standard mad scientist. I wouldn’t say that he’s a weak villain or anything. He’s just completely standard and you either like the villain type or you don’t. At least he actually has a reason for doing this but it just doesn’t excuse anything. He’s also failed many times as we learn when we see the dungeons later on. You’d think he would have gotten a little better at it. The idea is that he has made a creation by turning off a different part of the brain each time. So one person can’t talk, another can’t hear, etc. Definitely makes for a collection of crazy mistakes from his side.

It also makes the whole place pretty unsafe. In particular you’ve got one monster running around who keeps trying to choke people or attack Laurie. Only one lady in the house is able to calm him down and she rarely appears in time to stop his initial attack. Gordon nearly died early on when he walked into the hallway although I don’t think he could have expected anything else when it was so late at night. He’s not exactly a super sleuth and even when he has his big James Bond moment of using the secret passage he is caught rather quickly.

There isn’t a lot to say about Laurie meanwhile. She’s really hoping Gordon realizes what’s up so he can get her out of there. The problem is that he’s not very quick on the uptake and in the meantime she’s stuck. I have a lot more sympathy for her than Gordon because you do feel like there’s no way she could escape on her own. Then you’ve got Udu who is Joel’s right hand man and supplies the bodies. Typically a mad scientist always needs some kind of brute to do the heavy lifting while he’s doing the research. Udu fills that role for sure.

You can see that some parts of the film are pretty strong as you go through it. For example, I thought the writing was pretty good. The characters may not be super likable but there is some good back and forth dialogue between the characters. We have your classic debates of how much research you should do and to what ends. The film’s pacing is on point as well so I wouldn’t say it drags on. It’ll just depend really on if you can get past the characters not being great. It’s also not the most original plot and while that’s not a bad thing, you feel like other films have executed the themes better than this one. The Black Sleep just isn’t a very memorable film.

Overall, The Black Sleep tries to execute a fairly straightforward plot with a rather small cast. There just isn’t any standout member to be had though and while the creations may make for good shock value it’s not like they can do much to further the plot. You could cut or keep them and it doesn’t effect the film all that much. I’d say it was just here to convince Gordon in the end that he had to get out but he should have realized that a lot sooner. If I was Laurie I would still be rather sore at him taking it all for granted. It’s not a bad movie though, I’d put it a little above the middle. It’s definitely not a bad movie. I can’t picture myself checking it out again but if you want a quick little adventure about the horrors of science then this could be a decent pick.

Overall 6/10

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Review

It’s time to look at a comedy film from a while back that’s definitely pretty well known. It did manage to get two sequels after all. It’s hard to find main characters that are less intelligent than these guys. Bill and Ted consistently look pretty bad throughout the whole film. The writing is pretty solid though. The film can definitely get a bit overboard with how silly it is at times. It’s definitely going for a comedic approach you don’t see quite as much nowadays. Still, it manages to land pretty well for the most part. I don’t see this title as having a lot of replay value but on your first go around it’s fun enough.

The movie starts off with Bill and Ted goofing off as usual. Unfortunately this has finally come back to bite them. Ted is at risk of failing history and if that happens then he will get sent off to military school. He tries to study with Bill but they’re just no good at this and the presentation for the final is tomorrow anyway. Fortunately they have some help. In the future, Bill and Ted are supposed to change the galaxy as we know it through their music. So an envoy is sent to the past to rescue the main characters from their plight. What happens is they send a time machine to the present so Bill and Ted can travel back in time and bring back a bunch of famous figures to answer the historical questions that they needed. This is a bold plan. Can the heroes pull it off? Or…have they already done so since the future already exists for them to do it?

Time travel is always an interesting concept in part because people can never really decide on what the rules should be. Personally, my favorite time travel rules are rather similar to DBZ’s. When you go to the past, you can’t affect your own timeline since the events have already happened. Effectively you are traveling to a parallels timeline where the events will now be different. As such you can’t get stuck in any of the time loops that you see pop up here and there. That’s because the events didn’t already happen, they’re all fresh as soon as they occur. This film is using a different theory though that you actively change time as you go through it. Because of that, the heroes are now in a time loop. The loop doesn’t make perfect sense by the end though such as some scenes we get of the heroes already doing things that they haven’t yet like recording a message of leaving notes. The only way that works is if you did another time travel adventure but the problem is actually starting it as they’d need to use more machines and actually time things perfectly which I don’t trust the leads to do. It does get pretty messy but it’s a very unique way to show time travel which was cool.

After all, there has to be a first encounter in order to set up the loop and I don’t see how that works. Clearly Ted would have been sent to military school without the help so the future wouldn’t be around to come back to the past and save him. If they were, then it would mean that the future doesn’t actually need Bill and Ted after all. Either way that does not bode particularly well for the heroes when you think about it. It’s part comedy so no need to think on it too much but it’s something that does stand out the more you think about it.

As I mentioned, the film’s pretty fun. As a comedy it really needs to be in order to succeed. It doesn’t mean that every joke will land, it’s rare for any comedy film to pull that off. Still, more land than the ones that do not which is the critical factor here. Personally I mainly enjoyed when the heroes were in the present compared to being in the past. I thought the film could have had more fun with these figures from the olden days enjoying modern life. We do get some of that near the end though which was nice. We even have a big mall fight where the cops show up to take them all down. It makes for a pretty solid action scene.

As for Bill and Ted as characters, I wouldn’t say that any of them are particularly likable. Both of them don’t study hard so they have nobody to blame but themselves on why they weren’t ready for the exams. I wouldn’t say they’re the most heroic characters either. This is the kind of film that isn’t relying on the leads which is good. The cast wasn’t really anything to write home about in general. The fathers of both kids were pretty unreasonable the whole time. We don’t see Ted’s mother but Bill’s was trying pretty hard at least. The lunch may have been burned but the attempt was on point. I liked the teacher even though he didn’t get to appear a whole lot. He may be a pretty strict guy but he still gave everyone a chance which is the important part. The fact that he let them have an opportunity to succeed shows that he cared at least.

Overall, By the end of the film you’ll have heard the word “excellent” quite a lot. One of the main reasons why this film was able to succeed is also that while Bill and Ted were portrayed as being very unintelligent, they weren’t super annoying about it. I’ll take “excellent” and the electric guitars as running themes over other options they could have had. The film also widely avoids crude humor which I was pleasantly surprised about. This definitely goes a long way as well. In short, this film was actually written pretty well. It succeeds in the approach it’s going for and the film just flies by. Ultimately I was entertained and it’s not like the film is very long either so it definitely doesn’t drag on or anything like that. It’ll be interesting to see if the sequels can quite match up to this one. If you like comedy films then this is a good one to check out. It’s not the best or anything like that but it holds its own and the sci-fi/time travel angle helps make this one fairly unique. I’m always in favor of using time travel to change history if it’s an option and these characters certainly don’t have any qualms against it.

Overall 6/10

Fail Safe Review

It’s time to look at another film about possible nuclear war. It’s certainly a fun topic to take a look at and definitely makes for a pretty intense film. I love seeing governments talk about this stuff in movies like this, especially while it’s happening all around them. A whole film about this is pretty ideal. The only thing that holds this movie back is the ending which….is pretty bad. Oof. Definitely not an ending you want to see but otherwise this one is pretty solid.

The film starts with the Air Force giving a tour to some of the funders. It’s all pretty routine as they explain how we have counter measures set up for if someone starts triggering World War III. They run these drills every month or so. During this test there is a UFO which the army is unable to identify. It turns out to be a false alarm but unfortunately due to a system malfunction the bombers get orders to blow up Moscow and there is no way to call them back. The President will have to think of something quickly in order to stop this from happening. The only option now appears to have the rest of our troops actually shoot them down ourselves. Is it really worth shooting our own soldiers down to prevent the bombs from dropping?

A big part of the film is really about what lengths we are willing to go in order to prevent this tragedy. Blasting our own men is just the tip of the iceberg as we also order our soldiers to effectively commit suicide and then tell the Russians how to completely destroy our planes and missiles. This means that in any future battles we will be at a massive disadvantage. Effectively the more we do to avert this current crisis, the more likely we are to lose the next one. This begins causing some dissent among the officials as they all have different ideas on how to play this. You’ve got the President, The Vice President, A professor, the General at the scene, and then the board room. Everyone’s got an opinion and they’re all willing to share it.

My favorite character was definitely the Professor. The guy is definitely on the extreme side but is certainly quick on his feet and makes for a lot of entertaining banter. He’s been heavily interested in death since day 1 and so getting put into a position like this is quite interesting for him. He believes that since the attack has already begun we should press our advantage and send in an attack squad. This would then force Russia to surrender and we’ll have won the war without firing a shot after the bombs. While there is nothing necessarily underhanded about doing so if we presume that there is no way to stop the bombs, it does turn an accident into a full war offensive.

So while he may be extreme there and we don’t need to follow up the attack, I find the president to be too extreme in the other side. He wants to avert a diplomatic disaster so he agrees to bomb New York to appease the Russians. Wait a minute…that’s a horrible idea. Not only was our sending the bomb a mistake but we find out that it is partially the Russian’s fault as they intentionally jammed our communications and then kept on jamming it as our fighter plane approached their territory which is why we couldn’t call them back. You can’t answer an accident by intentionally destroying 5 million of our own people. It’s an eye for an eye only it’s worse in this case since we’re delivering both blows. I feel like the President wouldn’t live much longer after people find out what he did here.

He tries to justify this as making everything even but it’s just not so. As the leader of your station you have the utmost duty to protect your people. Whatever happens that’s the job. I’d say his first mistake was trying to shoot down our own pilots, the second was giving the enemy the tech to take us down, the last and biggest was in blowing up New York. I wouldn’t say that the film glorifies this and it’s still a well made movie so I consider it a character error as opposed to a film error. The President made his call even if it was the wrong one so this is a solid film to check out. That said, it’s still just pretty bad. put it this way, once our nukes are going to hit Moscow only two things can happen. One is that they will retaliate and then that will force the U.S. to blow up the planet. The other is that they don’t retaliate and while this will be a diplomatic nightmare, things will go on as usual.

You have to accept those as the two outcomes of this action. Blowing ourselves up just isn’t a factor. It’s far better for us all to die together as one planet than for the country to turn on itself. That’s just not a good idea. It would have made for a good twist if one of the pilots had hijacked the final plane to prevent it from dropping the bomb or for the interpreter to have taken the President out. Certainly would have been very unexpected but it would have been a good move for justice to have prevailed. Of course you never know how you will really react in such a situation but I like to think we wouldn’t do this.

Overall, Fail Safe is definitely a pretty interesting film. I like all of the discussions and plans of how to handle this situation. It’s a film that inherently doesn’t have a lot of replay value since most of the fun is in seeing how things will play out. It’s like a mystery, once you know all of the answers then it won’t be quite as interesting to check out the next time around. At least a mystery allows you to see if any hints were dropped while this movie doesn’t have such an advantage. Still, if you haven’t seen this movie before then I would definitely recommend changing that. It’s one of the better political thrillers to check out even if you’ll shake your head on the ending.

Overall 6/10

Bringing Up Baby Review

It’s time to look at another crazy comedy with Grant at the helm. It’s a bit weaker than his other ones mainly due to how slow on the uptake the main character is and the heroine not being very likable but it does still have that crazy charm which keeps it in the green. If you’re up for a lot of madness and watching a guy wreck his life throughout all of this, you’ll need to check this one out.

The movie starts with David working on a giant dinosaur. His life has been going pretty well lately. He is slated to finally marry his fiancé tomorrow and the final bone for the skeleton arrived after 4 years of excavating. Now the only thing left to do is to convince the rich millionaire’s lawyer to donate another 1 million dollars to the museum and everything will be peachy. There is just one obstacle in his path, a lady named Susan.

Susan shows up while David is golfing with Mr. Peabody (the Lawyer) and steals his ball. David chases her down but then she steals his car as well. She keeps on messing with him to great effect and it’s looking more and more like the guy doesn’t have any real chance left for the grant. Can David make a comeback or should he escape now while he still can? The longer he hangs out with this girl the more likely he is to keep on ruining his life.

I should also mention that we have a tiger running around and a dog who loves to bark at everything. David was already not very good at trying to finish a conversation and now he really has no shot. While he can be a fun lead, it’s hard to sympathize with him all that
Much because he makes a mistake on just about everything he does. A whole lot of his problems would have been solved if he had explained things better or taken charge. Instead he often finds himself wrapped in the craziness and unable to get back out. He should have went back to resume the golf game once he got his ball back and sued for damages on the car afterwards. Even right through the film’s ending you can’t help but feel like things did not go very well for him. The ending also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with him hiding even though right after he acts like he’s happy that this is happening. Maybe he did go crazy by the end. I don’t really think he knows what he is getting into here.

As for Susan, I didn’t care for her either. Here’s the deal, you can be a bit of an oblivious character who gets in people’s way and stay likable. There are a lot of solid characters like that. The issue is that she is a little too over the top with how she misinterprets things. In the second half of the film she is intentionally sabotaging David so that she can pair up with him but in the first half there is no indication of this. She really thinks she is in the right car and that the golf ball is hers. It can be tough to take these scenes at face value because it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Either way her doubling down on all of this doesn’t help matters either. She wouldn’t even let David try to explain what was really going on. Of course this is for humor but it doesn’t land as well as it could have. Had she been an antagonistic character messing with him from the start I dare say it would have worked a little better.

It’s fun to see the little dog and leopard running around. I’m not actually a big fan of having real animals in film since you hear all the stories of them not being treated very well back in the day. The scene with the two of them fighting definitely didn’t seem very pleasant. Since I’ll never know one way or the other I’ll at least try to assume that it was okay on the back-end though. Gotta focus on the on-screen action. For the story plot, it was nice to have the dog troll the main characters in the backyard for a while. Digging’s a pretty fun sport even if my Sonic never does a whole lot of this.

We’ve also got some supporting characters thrown in near the end once David is taken to Susan’s aunt’s place for dinner. We meet a big game hunter who tries his best to make friends with the others. He was a pretty reasonable character. His animal calls were on point even if he ended up getting trolled a lot. The drunk guy was definitely out of his league here though. Having all of these characters around did help for the prison scene later on which is probably the highlight of the film. The cops show up to start dishing out arrests and manage to nab almost the whole main cast. You also can’t blame them here because the heroes were acting awfully suspicious. It gives us some back and forth and these were humor scenes that really landed. All of the scenes during the prison subplot were excellent and I wouldn’t have minded spending more time there to be honest. It was a nice change of scenery and really made the main characters focus.

As for the main plot about getting the funding, if I were the aunt I certainly wouldn’t give David the money after all that. Are you kidding me? He wouldn’t get a dime! While the circumstances did attribute to how crazy David got near the end, you can’t get past the first impression. It’s not one she would be likely to forget and then you have the rock getting thrown at Mr. Peabody and actually landing. David doesn’t even refute the charge since at this point he’s long since given up. Since nobody actually clears up the misunderstanding, most of the characters here must not have a particularly high opinion of David here.

Overall, Bringing Up Baby is a fun film that maybe overstays its welcome a bit. It probably could have been a been shorter and they would have kept the film more focused with solid jokes layered into it. The main two characters aren’t nearly as solid as some other other duos in films like this. Still, there are enough fun scenes here to keep your attention and throwing in the dinosaur bone was a good plot device. It’s the kind of film that has some solid replay value built into it with how quickly things happen. You more or less know how things are going to go down so it’s about the experience along the way. Although, I was expecting a twist where Susan was the lady giving the money away so the film threw me a curveball there. I’d recommend checking it out if this sounds like it’s up your alley.

Overall 6/10

Lethal Weapon 4 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.

It’s time to finally end the Lethal Weapon series. It had a pretty good run to be sure but all shows must end at some point right? It was a pretty solid series and now that I’ve seen them all I would rank the entries as 1>3>4>2 although they’re all pretty close. 1 and 3 are neck and neck just like 4 and 2. This one ends the series pretty well and gives all of the characters some closure. The ending is a bit on the weak side as it gets drawn out but otherwise this film is sure to bring you a lot of fun thrills and action as it goes on.

The movie starts with Martin and Roger trying to take down a guy who is using a flamethrower. The problem is that this guy is armed to the teeth with armor and guns. The scene is surprisingly long as the two characters keep trying to take him down but nothing works. His armor is simply too sturdy so eventually they’re forced to come up with a plan. They actually get promoted to Captain now. The main case of the film is they catch a guy who was smuggling people into the country. They didn’t get the leader though and he is looking for one family that escaped and is currently getting refuge at Roger’s place. This is technically illegal but Roger wants to do his part to help them out. Will he be able to protect them from the villains who are coming his way?

A positive for this movie is naturally the banter between Martin and Roger as always. They make for a solid duo and are always at the ready for whatever will come their way. The opening fight drags a bit but we get all of the classic explosions you would expect. The whole thing is a bit sad for Roger though as Martin keeps a pretty big secret involving Roger’s daughter away from the guy. You’d think as partners they would tell each other everything like that. It’s not really Martin’s business but he did pry until he got the details. It’s just sad for Roger since everybody knows except him which is definitely not a good thing.

I also liked the fight scenes here. The hand to hand choreography was naturally pretty good and the villain definitely left more of an impression this time around. Wah Sing Ku was an excellent fighter and could even take on more than one opponent at once. That’s the kind of villain I want to see challenge the heroes and really test their limits. Even by the end of the film he really had the upper hand and definitely would have won if it was 1 on 1. He definitely gave them a better fight than anyone else had in the previous films. I also liked his fight on the rooftop against another villain. We really hadn’t seen a big villain vs villain fight in the previous films.

Where the film falters aside from the beginning is also the long ending scene at the hospital. It was a bit over dramatic and just kept going on and on and on. I think most of that could have been shortened right away. Leo’s antics also got a bit more painful than usual like with the dentist scene. I think that could have been cut and everyone laughing over there was a bit much. Still, in the grand scheme of things these are pretty small scenes so it’s not like they will hurt the film much at all. It’s still a very fast paced adventure with quality characters.

There’s not much new to say about the characters. Martin is just as good a lead as always even if he is slowing down in his old age. He takes quite a few losses in this movie which I guess it natural since he just can’t keep up with the younger guys in their prime anymore. He still has a lot of fun at Roger’s expense though. Meanwhile Roger is also fun. He definitely isn’t thrilled about his daughter falling for a cop. What are the odds right? At least the guy is portrayed as being very decent. He also makes for a good supporting character here and adds to the dynamic. Whenever you have a new character in a series that character needs to contribute something so it’s not all just fluff. Fortunately the film definitely gets that right here which was important. Lorna also helps out in the fights which I was glad about since she was such a fighter in the last film. She’s very pregnant so there’s not as much that she can do but she comes in clutch when it counted. It seems like she would suddenly not be pregnant during the fight scenes a bit but you can suspend some disbelief for a quality action scene.

It’s one of the better scenes in the film because you never really see the 3 characters teaming up like this. Made for a bit of an ensemble fight scene which was really nice. I dare say the film could have included more guys in the final fight since the heroes were so outgunned but there is something to having the main two team up for one last fight. They basically knew they were doomed and went in anyway which is pretty much the whole point of the scene. Throw in the quality writing of the two characters debating if they should even enter this fight and you’ve certainly got a winner. They probably should have retreated to where the other cops were to be honest, but I can never fault a character for going in and trying to take down a villain. You gotta to what you gotta do.

Overall, Lethal Weapon 4 is a pretty good film. Ironically it drags in both the beginning and ending but the middle is solid as always. It really ticks the same boxes as the previous films so as long as you enjoyed the first 3 films you should like this one. It’s just a solid action film at its core. I’d be up for more sequels but if it has to end then this was a good way to do it. Pretty much every character got their happy ending and that’s the right way to end the series. The main characters were also starting to get quite old so I don’t think they would have been able to last much longer anyway. You can definitely do a film about old guys running around but it’ll be tougher on the chase scenes and hand to hand action.

Overall 6/10

Lethal Weapon 2 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.

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Lethal Weapon. Martin and Roger are back once again to mess with the villains and push themselves to their limits. It’s a pretty fun sequel although I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the first one. We get a solid amount of action and banter of course but it’s always tough to beat the initial team up between the characters. I’d definitely recommend giving this one a look. On the whole the only things holding it back are a rushed romance and a death that felt a bit gratuitous near the end. Having the character bumped off seemed unnecessary.

So the film starts with Martin getting into another high speed chase scene to stop some crooks. The case ends up spiraling out of control a bit and it turns out that these villains are part of a pretty big gang. Martin doesn’t leave it at that though and manages to track these guys down to an embassy. It turns out that these guys have diplomatic immunity. Their leader Rudd is quite smug about this since he can basically do whatever he wants with that card. While I think the film plays off the immunity a little too strongly (Openly being caught for a big crime would suspend it) the heroes are forced to back off and are officially told to drop the case. Martin is determined not to do so though and continues to hound Roger.

Most of the film is Martin basically tailing Rudd and making his life as miserable as possible. He breaks into the guy’s house multiple times, stalks him outside, etc. Some of these occurrences I think actually weren’t planned like passing him on the street since Martin seems surprised, but maybe he actually knew the guy would be driving that way. Either way Martin is definitely quite persistent and it’s what makes him a solid cop. He never backs down and intends to do whatever he has to in order to stop these guys. As with the first film he’s definitely a pretty enjoyable character.

Then you’ve got his partner Roger who’s always solid. He gives us a lot of good banter with Martin. The villains try to intimidate him several times as well but Roger never quits the case. He’s definitely made of sterner stuff and will take any risks needed. Now, he’s not quite as aggressive as Martin in this respect as he doesn’t mind hanging back. Roger goes more on the side of caution while Martin uses the YOLO method and does whatever he wants. It’s what makes them an effective team even if Martin does seem like he’s the one who does all of the work more of the time. Without Martin they would definitely be pretty doomed.

The heroes have a new partner in the form of Leo this time around. They’re supposed to be protecting him but he knows so much about the villains that Martin decides to use him instead. The film’s pretty tragic for Leo since he is trying his best to help the whole time but things don’t always go so well for him. The heroes letting him get kidnapped was just pretty iffy and Leo never really gets his proper respect. If you think about it, he gives them more leads than any other character. Without Leo they wouldn’t have made a whole lot of headway here.

Rudd is the main villain. He’s not really much of a fighter but he’s a strategist and you do need your leader to be intelligent so you can take the wins when needed. He’s fairly generic and I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan or anything but he’s not bad. He serves his purpose well enough and makes sure that the villains are a thread. His secretary Rika also gets a pretty big role. She definitely seems a lot nicer than the rest of his employees and really just needs the job. It’s more of a sympathetic background because it doesn’t sound like it would be easy for her to just find another job. She also doesn’t know all of the details of how corrupt they are.

As mentioned earlier, the romance in this film is pretty weak though. It basically comes out of nowhere and is extremely rushed. There’s no development or anything and they basically talk/meet for a few minutes before things heat up. It’s one of those classic Hollywood romances that just doesn’t work and really doesn’t contribute to the story. At most you can say it’s giving Martin some more motivation but with some other twists that come in later on he already had more than enough of this. These villains have definitely done quite a lot of stuff already as it is.

The film goes in a slightly darker corner by the end even if the overall tone of the film is fairly light. It shifts as needed for the scenes and these films definitely aren’t taking prisoners. It doesn’t move quite as quickly as the first film nor is the banter quite as prevalent. Still, this is a sequel that still does the franchise justice. It’s close enough to the first film where you can tell it’s a quality watch and I’ll definitely be ready with the review for the third film soon.

Overall, Lethal Weapon 2 brings in a lot of the fun dynamics and reasons which made the first film pretty good. Leo was a fun addition to the case as well. I’m not sure I bought the diplomatic immunity part for most of the film since they caught the villains red handed. I don’t think any kind of immunity would save you from that. The plot was definitely quite long and elaborate but that did keep the movie from having fun with mini cases and such. If you like a good action/thriller film then I recommend checking this one out. It’ll definitely keep you engaged as the film goes on.

Overall 6/10

The Man With 9 Lives Review

It’s time to look at a retro thriller film of sorts or you could call it a bit of a sci-fi. Either way it’s pretty interesting to see scientists use ice cubes to preserve people here. It just goes to show how far we have come from the old days of theory and such. The actual premise is decent although the execution means that the characters all have to look pretty bad for it to succeed. Leon should have been pretty much doomed from the start and got awfully lucky here. Things had to go just right for him in order for this to work out.

The movie starts with Tim showing off his new treatment on preserving people by freezing them. He learned it from the great Dr. Leon who vanished 10 years ago. Unfortunately the hospital doesn’t like that he was showing this treatment off without running it by them first and so Tim is told to take a vacation. He takes his partner Judith along and they decide to go to Leon’s old house. They manage to find him and a group of scientists in the basement so the heroes unfreeze them. Now that Leon has a new lease on life he is determined to prove that he can make the frozen treatment work perfectly. The problem is that the others want to leave and Leon won’t let them. He intends to experiment on all of them until he perfects this formula and so in the meantime some of these guys may end up dying. Can Tim stop Leon or will he actually agree with the doctor?

It’s always a bit iffy when the main character starts acting like the villain has a point. Hey, maybe they do once in a while but this isn’t one of those cases. Leon is being pretty dicey from the start with how obsessive he is. He also did a poor job of explaining himself to the committee in the opening act of the film so it’s easy to see why they didn’t believe him. The committee wasn’t planning on being reasonable either though so the whole scenario had a lot of different people to blame. I thought Leon did a good job of locking everyone inside and ensuring his continued existence. In the present they should have definitely taken him down sooner. He’s got a gun but there are around 6-7 of them. If they rushed him they would have been able to claim victory easily.

So I didn’t really care for Tim. As far as leads go he is definitely not one of the better ones. He’s not particularly skilled and falls for traps rather easily. Judith isn’t the best heroine either as she falls for Leon’s tricks just as quickly as Tim. She is easily manipulated by Leon and that doesn’t bode well for her. Through it all, the best characters probably were the committee. I at least liked how tough they were talking the whole time. They were very quick to reassure themselves that they couldn’t be tried as guilty for the murder they helped contribute to.

I think one thing that would have made the film more engaging would have been to have actually had all of the characters locked together in the ice room for the majority of the film. Leon would be the only one who could let them out and they have to gradually try to convince him on why they need to get out. Since Leon has the gun it’s not like the others could force him to let them go and that’s where the tension would be. The movie still had some tension but without this setup the film wasn’t able to capitalize on much. You also have a hard time buying into the fact that Leon is holding them all at bay so easily. When the lights turned off I felt like chuckling at how Tim handled the scene. He went down like a log.

Overall, The Man With 9 Lives is a decent movie. It’s not particularly thrilling or anything but the writing is solid and the pacing is good. There’s not a whole lot to say about it in terms of plot or characters because they’re all quite standard. At the end of the day that’s the best way to describe this film. It’s certainly not bad but it’s not as if it’s very good either. One watch is really all you would need as this has very low replay value. It takes you through the motions with a very clear beginning, middle, and end. It just has no real impact so it survives purely on fundamentals. If you like a classic science story about a scientist taking things too far then this is a solid one to check out. The interesting visual of the main character dropping ice cubes on someone to preserve them for years is enough to at least make you think this film is trying to go for something unique. Otherwise I’m sure you can find better options to check out.

Overall 6/10

Three Days of the Condor 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.

It’s time to look at a conspiracy film involving the CIA. Unlike Hopscotch though this one is played pretty seriously. There are a lot of twists and turns to be found here so you definitely can’t trust anyone. At the end of the day the characters all have to watch their backs. Knowing too much information can definitely be dangerous in this kind of scenario. Although in these movies even if you don’t find something out you can be in danger too. The CIA is just pretty dangerous although in theory the main characters knew that when they signed up.

The film starts off with Turner heading into the office for a normal day at his CIA job. He shows up late and uses the back door to help undermine the security efforts of the team. Everything’s a bit of a joke to him, but why not? He works in the mail division of the CIA and believes that things will be pretty safe here. Well, one day when he goes out to lunch the rest of his team is murdered. Turner calls in for help but the attacks keep on coming. It appears that the enemy has someone on the inside. Turner no longer knows who he can trust in the CIA and they believe he has turned rogue. His only option is to try and prove his loyalty but when you don’t know the extent of the villains’ influence then this is definitely a pretty tricky situation.

Ironically Turner taking the back entrance for lunch is what saved his life. The rest of the group was definitely not ready for this attack. I would have liked to have seen them take down at least one of the villains but it’s pretty realistic. The security protocols here are sound but the group grew lazy and complacent in the security. The instant people walked through the front door unannounced the CIA should have had their guns out. The problem is that this is a regular occurrence between deliveries and such so they were caught unprepared. In truth they should have had even tighter protocols. Nobody should be allowed through that door without ID which means that nobody in the building should even be allowed to order lunch. Of course, even in real life a lot of these places take many security chances.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Turner though. I don’t mind his antics early on but I don’t feel like he handled being on the run so well. Mainly what holds him back is the whole plot with Kathy. He certainly needed a place to hide out but he was pretty iffy with how he handled the whole thing. Once he went to complete kidnapping that basically made him a villain as well. The romance that ensued was also fishy because it felt extremely rushed and almost like stockholm syndrome there. How do you fall for the guy who just kidnapped you and Kathy apparently had a boyfriend already. I think that whole plot should have been written out and those scenes are what keeps this film’s score down 1 point.

Kathy’s just not a realistic character in that sense and suffers from the same issues as Turner. It does seem like she’s a nice person at least and does her best to help Turner. It makes for the team up that he needed since he would be doomed on his own, but either way you know he’s only prolonging the inevitable. Conspiracy films like this are pretty fun because of how stacked the deck is against the lead. Turner is constantly outnumbered and has to try and survive on his own wits and wile.

I liked how the ending plays out. Naturally there’s basically nothing I can say about that but it was a fun dynamic. Turner has to make a tough call and live with the consequences. There’s a good amount of suspense and tension as the film ends and it’s all pretty satisfying. The film may not be as explosive as a modern spy type film but at the same time there was still more action than what I was expecting. We got some fun gun fights and the villains even used a classic video game tactic where you throw some objects in front of you. I’m not sure how useful that is in practice and it didn’t do much in this film but it was fun to see.

There are quite a few CIA members who show up during the film. You have to decide who’s in on it and who isn’t. One of the best scenes in the film because of this was the round table meeting at the CIA base. That’s because you have the top 12 or so members talking things out. You suspect that some of them are actually moles but not everyone. Some of them want to legitimately find Turner to help him out while others want to backstab him. It adds an extra level of tension especially when some members might suspect something. This isn’t the kind of film that will really delve into that as it’s a subplot at best but definitely a compelling one.

Overall, Three Days of the Condor is definitely pretty fun. It’s at its best when the film is really playing up the tension and danger elements. I thought the story was well constructed and the plot is pretty interesting. Throw away that random romance and it would be even better. The film is pretty intense and the villains make their presence known right away. If you like a good film about trying to survive with everyone out to destroy you then this is a fun one to watch. It’ll keep you engaged from start to finish which is what every good thriller should do.

Overall 6/10