Knight and Day Review

It’s time to look at a thriller film that I hadn’t heard of before now. It’s definitely the definition of a cinematic hidden gem as this is a movie that can hold its own with top notch titles like Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher. It’s a blast and a half from start to finish with a good blend of action and humor. The characters are written well and I didn’t really have any problems with the movie. It was firing on all cylinders.

The movie starts with June getting ready to go on a plane as she is heading to her sister’s wedding. She bumps into a mysterious man named Roy twice at the airport and nearly doesn’t get to go onto the flight due to technical difficulties, but ultimately ends up on it. While she uses the rest room this mysterious man beats up everyone on the plane and shoots both of the pilots. He tells her to forget about him and then June wakes up at home. Unfortunately her life will never be the same as now there are a lot of people out to murder her and she may have just gotten in a little over her head.

Knight and Day really doesn’t waste any time. The opening fight scene on the plane is fantastic and the best action scene in the whole movie. Now that’s a good way to get my attention right from the jump. It was really like a Mission Impossible moment and Roy is a secret agent so it all makes a lot of sense. I think at this early stage you can feel the part parody elements kicking in a bit just with how crazy it is that June doesn’t hear any of the commotion right outside the bathroom. It makes for a very entertaining sequence though and that’s really just foreshadowing for how much action we would be getting later on. There’s always some kind of fight scene going on.

One gag that the movie uses several times is how Roy keeps using a drug to knock June out. She’ll then wake up and fall back into slumber as the drug wears off where you see bits and pieces of other crazy adventures like Roy pushing her out of a plane, beating up someone after being tied up while upside down, etc. There’s a good chunk of action scenes that we don’t even get to see because she is knocked out. June can be a bit slow on the uptake for a good portion of the film which is partially why Roy has to always be knocking her out. The gag only goes a little too far with the beach one when June finds out that she has changed attire somehow. Fortunately the movie saves itself a bit here by having June turn the tables on him later on. I think having that final scene was absolutely necessary because she did need some kind of “revenge”on him. It’s also just a good scene establishing her as a partner rather than a liability. Interestingly the film had a similarity to Coma in that respect, but completely reversed.

While June did panic a lot as I mentioned, she’s a decent character. She improves a little too late in the game for me to call her a very good character or anything like that, but contributing a bit is better than not at all. June’s reservations to a good extent are pretty valid though because Roy does seem crazy quite a lot of the time. If not for the other groups seeming even shadier then she would definitely be right to just get away from him the whole time. You really can’t trust a guy who in your first encounter just murdered a whole plane filled with people.

Meanwhile Roy is definitely a terrific character. Yeah he can be a bit dicey with all the drugging at times, but aside from the resort occasion every other time at least made some kind of sense. The villains probably would have murdered June if she was awake in one moment and in the other scenarios she would have gotten them both murdered. Roy enjoys a good fight quite a lot to the point where he does tend to go a little gun happy. The guy always appears to be a bit paranoid, but when you’re in the espionage business that’s just how it is. Roy is always one step ahead of everyone else and his boundless confidence is excellent. He’s one of the best main characters I’ve seen in quite a long time.

Then you have the supporting characters like the genius Simon. He’s definitely the weakest character here because he’s just a little too loopy. Genius characters in film are always portrayed to be rather quirky, but I’d say that this guy is just a little too far gone. He never seems to know what is happening and walks into every trap. I’d have liked him to have had a little more agency. The villains are pretty fun though. The main one is nice and charismatic, always having an answer for everything. He may be a little on the obvious side as far as villains go, but some villains just can’t hide their malice.

Another cool scene in the film is when an assassin shows up and does battle with Roy. It was a nice battle scene as well since the room is so small, making both of them really have to bring their A game. Roy is a top notch agent, but assassins are also at the top of their craft so it makes sense that this one would be able to keep up with Roy pretty well. I could go on and on with the various fights in this film, but basically what you need to know is that every action scene is top notch. There are also quite a lot of action scenes which is quite excellent and you’ll be having a blast here.

As I mentioned there is also a lot of good humor here as well. Pretty much any scene in the first half with Roy and June will have some humor as he does something crazy and she does her best to take it well. He’s pretty nonchalant about taking down guys by the dozens while June just wants to have a normal life. Then you’ve also got the scene at the diner where he makes some small talk with a fireman before having to take the shot. Even then Roy does it in such a way where the guy isn’t really all that injured and will become a hero now.

One of the more impressive scenes for Roy is at the end where it turns out that he planned out quite a few things. Almost the entire movie played into his plans in one way or another which is crazy. It’s something you’d expect from the mastermind villain of a trilogy, not the main character of a quick action film. I suppose if the film has any weak points it is that the romance is rather weak. June falls for Roy a little too quickly and appears to be a bit desperate. In her defense, I suppose Roy seems like the perfect guy, but even then 15 minutes or so is wayyyyyy too quick to be making a move.

Overall, Knight and Day is definitely a great film. I’d even call it elite. There is a lot of replay value to be found here so you can easily watch this movie at any time. Even the smaller subplots end up being quite great. There’s one involving an elderly couple that is a lot of fun as they keep winning things that they didn’t even enter. It’s just a nice plot that serves to give more development to a certain character while also letting two innocent characters get a happy ending. You rarely see a film look out for the minor characters like this so it was definitely good. The ending is great and I’d be up for a sequel someday.

Overall 9/10

Charlie’s Angels Review

Well, it’s been a little over 2 years since I last saw this film, which brings it up to 2-3 times that I’ve seen it so far. It’s a pretty neat concept and I’ve heard that the show was pretty good, but the film has a lot of flaws that are barely hidden beneath the surface. It had a lot of potential thanks to some of the techniques that they used, which will remind you of the good ole films, but it’s simply not enough.

Charlie’s Angels is actually one of those films that can make you really worried for a Wonder Woman or Ms. Marvel film. Let’s just say that if one of those films was like this one, it would make audiences around the world shudder. A 30% on Rotten Tomatoes would likely shock me as it could be even lower. This one is spared that because of when it came out. I can guarantee that if this film came out now it would make waves…and not the good kind!

The plot involved a multi billionare (Probably) named Charlie. He hires three women to work for him as they stop crimes that no ordinary police force ever could. Their missions are dangerous, but these women are even deadlier! Natalie, Dylan, and Alex are the three main characters and they’re all pretty different, but are about equal in overall fighting technique. (Very, Very arguable) Well, they finish another mission when they find out that a computer whiz has been kidnapped. He has created a tech that can figure out a person’s voice print pretty quickly. It’s like tapping a phone, but it works on the actual voice. The Angels must find him and stop this from getting into the wrong hands.

Now, I just have to point something out about the premise that is pretty interesting. The climax involves Charlie making a phone call and the villain stalling him to try and figure out his location through the voice prints. It’s like a GPS and using some satellites he can track him down. That’s cool….until you remember that we can actually tap phones nowadays and you can track a person’s real location without inventing some made up technology about the voice prints. So, why is the voice print even necessary? Your guess is as good as mine…….the only way out of this logic hole would be if phone tracers had not been invented yet, but I’m pretty sure that they have been.

Okay, let’s quickly digress into some of the positives for the film. It has a very Dragon Ball Evoloution feel to it, which works pretty well. We get a lot of slow motion, interesting action shots, and facial expressions that would make film creators proud. It’s hard to describe how it feels like “That” kind of film, but watch any classic video game or manga inspired film like the one I just mentioned or the original Street Fighter and you’ll get my jist.

The soundtrack is also very intense. I can’t confirm that the lyrics for all of the songs are okay since some of the songs can be sketchy, but others were great. We got some really fast paced rock/battle themes that were all over the place and it made the scenes a whole lot more fun. It’s the kind of soundtrack that would never win you an Oscar, but that’s actually a good thing in this case. Oscar films can actually have some good tunes as well, but never anything quite like this. For every good song, there is still a bad song as well to highlight the fact that this film still uses a lot of not very subtle fanservice in between (and during) fight scenes. Ah well, I’ll take what I can get I suppose!

Dylan is my least favorite member of the Angels so I’ll start with her. She’s a decent fighter like the others, but she comes off as more of a tom boy. That doesn’t stop her from using her charm to seduce the characters that she can, but it ultimately results in a pretty embarrassing moment for her. Let’s just say that you should never start hanging out with a suspect so casually unless you want to get burned. Even without that scene she was likely my least favorite, but it certainly didn’t help her case.

Natalie is more laid back, but she still needs romance in her life so she quickly brings in a bar tender that she met and they instantly made it past the bounds of friendship. That was quick and then she went off to continue fighting and saving the world. Again, I find it hard to like her at all since she needs to have more hobbies aside from romance. She danced for a while, but it was pretty bad and didn’t help her case.

Alex is the final member and she already has a stable romance going so she’s already set from the get go. Again, it’s hard to like the Angels because they don’t seem to have much of a personality beyond the romance. It’s quite sad. They are also willing to do just about anything to complete their mission so you almost start to feel bad for their boyfriends. (Almost! They’re not exactly innocent either) She can fight as well, which is good since you would be doomed otherwise against the villains.

Bosley is another one of the main characters and he looks pretty bad. One of his first scenes has him give the girls a long speech about love and how they can make it stronger while they’re basically mocking him and then he proceeds to get tricked by one of the main villains. (Naturally, the villain was female) He has enough strength of mind to tell her that he was going to keep it professional, but he still looked really terrible by letting her in the house from the start. You don’t do that when you have a billion dollar program inside and the person outside the door is a suspect.

There’s not much to say about Charlie. He’s rich and he’s old, but he barely gets to appear. At least he reminds the Angels that he’s watching over them before sending them on extremely dangerous missions. One of the main villains is known as the Thin Man and he’s pretty awesome…at first. We find out that he has something for hair and he gets a little too emotionally involved in that aspect. You just knew that the film would find some way to wreck his character. He started out as a really serious villain as he took on the three main characters. By the end, he was reduced to getting clobbered in a one on one fight and basically running for the hills. No worries…he’ll be back!

It may not sound that bad from all of that, but there is one ultimate reason why it was doomed right from the get go. The fanservice! This could probably hold its own against just about anything else in this area. You’ll get a scene that fits this description in almost every scene in the film. Whether the heroes are seducing someone to distract him or just striking unnecessary poses, it’s just sad. Every male character is presented to be someone who’s heads over heels for them. The guys just care about their outer appearance and none of them are morally ethical. It’s pretty sad to see guys depicted like this. It’s actually common place to an extent, but certainly not to this level. Even in James Bon….well, it’s basically at the same level. It’s just more fanservice than actually going further while it’s the opposite in James Bond.

An example of this is the traditional planning scene where the heroes explain what the security is like. The camera quickly zooms in on their mouth so we can have some really awkward visuals to distract us from what they’re actually saying. It’s pretty cringe worthy. It’s what drives this film down to Sucker Punch levels. Of course, Sucker Punch didn’t suffer from fanservice, but that’s another story. It’s a sad coincidence that those two films are down at the 1’s because they both could have been very good. What happened? The film just needed a different director and writer and then maybe it could have stood a chance.

After all, the fight scenes are pretty good when they happen. At one point, the three Angels team up to fight someone and he actually holds his own against the three of them for a while. It’s fun to watch, but it definitely doesn’t make the main characters look impressive. How can the three of them be having such a tough time when it’s so early in the film? Obviously, the writers forgot that you’re supposed to make the characters very likable and strong before you give them a villain that they can’t defeat.

The two main villains are pretty bad as well. One of them has a gun, but she’s still strong enough to give one of the Angels a tough time in hand to hand combat. If someone who seems like she doesn’t have that much time to train can give them a good fight….just how tough are the Angels? It definitely makes you wonder. The guy is very weak, but he knows that the main characters are always using their charms so he just uses that to his advantage. A surprisingly cunning strategy, but it never would have worked on a halfway decent character. Never!

Overall, Charlie’s Angels isn’t any better than I remember it. The film still puts too much emphasis on the heroes’ bodies and not enough on their character. Every other scene will have you looking away or wincing because you know that the film is just getting started. The soundtrack is pretty good and the actual plot is so retro that it still works despite the logical errors. It’s simply not enough to overlook this and it won’t help the feminist position. Let’s face it, we’d never have a film where three guys are constantly being used for fanservice throughout the film. It wouldn’t happen. Instead of checking out this film, watch the original Mortal Kombat to see how the film could have/should have/would have gone if the writers had realized sooner what they had done. There was simply tooooooo much fanservice here and I can’t stress enough just how sad it was. I highly recommend skipping it, no matter what type of film you’re looking for.

Overall 1/10

The Box Review

All right folks, it’s true that Avengers:Age of Ultron’s trailer finally debuted, but we need to quickly refocus our attention to an older film. The Box arrived onto the world in 2009 and it was a very ambitious film that didn’t really know its own limits. Needless to say, it’s not exactly at Avengers level and I can’t guarantee an epic viewing experience. What I can guarantee…is a story with more riddles than characters.

We start off this adventure with Norma and Arthur Lewis as they try to make ends meet. Arthur wants to go to Mars and Norma just wants to get through another semester at her school. Unfortunately, both of their dreams are shattered when Norma is basically fired and Arthur fails the psych exam. (Red Herring number 1) Luckily, a sketchy man by the name of Mr. Stewart gives them a box and tells them that they can push the button and receive 1 million dollars…at the cost of someone’s life. Will the heroes quickly realize what the morally correct decision is or will they run for the money? This is Hollywood, but more importantly…this is the planet Earth. Who wouldn’t push the button? (Average main characters only so we’re not counting naturally epic characters like Superman and Batman)

Well, that’s not a bad start right? Well, things get pretty crazy from there. You remember that red herring from earlier? Well, the film is full of them and many plots are introduced without any resolutions. Is Arthur a little crazy or is Mr. Stewart just messing with him? (My money’s on the latter) Mr. Stewart warns the heroes not to contact the police and he takes it pretty personally when they do, but why should he care? By the end of the film, we find out that the police can’t really do anything about it either. Why is the government so corrupt? Okay, let’s address these issues a little more coherently after we check out the main characters.

Norma is the first character to meet up with Mr. Stewart and she tries to make the most of it. She’s had a pretty tough time recently and she also suffered from an accident that left her without most of her foot. The idea of getting 1 million dollars is just too great for her and she crumbles. It’s pretty sad for her even if it was expected. The reason why I can’t really root for her is that Norma isn’t very realistic. I don’t mind unrealistic characters, but this was not a good thing here. I’m addressing her attitude towards Mr. Stewart. It was like the guy could do no wrong at some points. Even after he messed with their son and threatened the heroes multiple times, Norma treated him as if he was just a friend of theirs. She never really treated him as an enemy and that could definitely be pretty annoying.

Arthur isn’t much better although I dare say that I liked him a little more than Norma. His lack of realism comes from the Library chase scene and basically every scene in the second half of the film. A lot of supernatural things are happening and he takes it way too calmly. He doesn’t even seem to care half of the time as he just asks where the exit is…instead of wondering why the whole town is out to get him. He gets a classic rage mode scene where he threatens someone, but he doesn’t end up doing anything. Likewise, he grabs a gun during one scene, but he lacks the drive to pull through. It’s the hero’s move of course, but he still shouldn’t have let Mr. Stewart just walk out like that.

Mr. Stewart is the main villain and he’s not completely human. He doesn’t appear to possess any supernatural powers although he may have telepathy. He has alien technology that his employers gave him that allows him to subjugate anyone who is caught in the blue liquid. This gives him an army and then he’s ready to blackmail everyone. He throws a lot of threats around and he tries to be sympathetic as well, but I can’t say that it really worked. He betrayed the human race after the accident and he allowed himself to be corrupted. I don’t know why Arthur didn’t try to tackle him in the end. (You should have seen how Mr. Stewart ran!) At least Mr. Stewart can talk tough to the government and get away with it.

I don’t really like the main kid in this film so I’ll mainly bypass his section. He’s a little too much of a know it all and he’s not very smart when it comes to practical situations. He didn’t help matters for the heroes and he just ended up being a liability. Why couldn’t he have stayed home reading comics?

Okay, where to start! Things really blew up for the film when the nosebleeds start to happen. All of the townsfolk seem to be possessed at certain points before they “regain themselves” and try to help the heroes by giving signs. Pretty weak mind control eh? The expendables keep flip flopping in and out of their trance. We learn that they were all forced to go into the blue vat, which is how they lost their free will. So, are we to believe that all of these people were put into the pool? It seems like dozens upon dozens of people were thrown in…even a clown got in on the action! This is also fairly convenient for the bully from the beginning since we find out that he may have been possessed.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t add up. Mr. Stewart has no motive to make the kid insult Norma so we have to believe that he’s just normally a cheap character. Still, we do know that he was also possessed along with the bell boy so things start to get a little dicey. Mr. Stewart’s wife/right hand woman also jumps into the fray since she owns the library. It seems like she still has her free will, which is interesting, but I’m going to assume that she was meant to be possessed since it was out of place and Mr. Stewart is more alien than human now.

Once there, Arthur is given a choice between 3 portals. 2 will lead to Eternal Damnation and one will lead to Eternal Peace. Arthur obviously picks the Eternal Peace portal. (He found out after breaking through the mind control and getting the slaves to tell him, which the good portal was. Although, it was fairly obvious since two of the portals were dark blue and one was light blue) Unfortunately, he finds out that it was a sham since it just leads him back to his living room after a dimensional journey.

Spoiler Alert. I’ll just give you more time to get out of this paragraph with this line so that you can be sure to dodge the spoiler. The ending shows us that the two main characters are actually stuck in Purgatory and their choices here will result in whether they go to Heaven or Hell. (Or the film equivalents anyway) So, it is just the main characters in this place and everyone else is fake? Is everyone real and the whole town was thrown into Purgatory or is Earth itself already in Purgatory and it may have happened before they were born? The film will never bother to explain so you can make your own theories about it.

Of course, this brings us to the point of this whole charade. I guess it’s a morality test that Mr. Stewart has set up, but what about the town inhabitants that he has enslaved? Do they not deserve to get their own test to see if they are good people or have they already failed the test? One guy’s son is dragged off since I guess he completed his test, but now he’ll have to complete another one. The government warns him that his decision will have grave consequences, but he doesn’t seem to care since he’s basically drugged and out of it by that point.

Ah yes….the Government. Skeptics of the NSA will have a blast with this since they decide to work with a mad alien. Why did they just bow before Mr. Stewart so willingly? We actually see many armed guards just stand by the main villain with the NSA director just watching and (almost) crying. The NSA seems to be petrified of this guy, but it’s confirmed that a bullet is enough to destroy Mr. Stewart so they should be a little braver. He has some hi tech equipment, but he’s still just a guy. Let his “Employers” come…the NSA will just take them out too!

You could go on and on about this film for quite a long time, but you start to lose track of what’s going on with the film’s many plots. Mr. Stewart’s technology allows you to rid someone of their senses (2 out of 5 in this case) but then he can also give the person back their senses somehow. I suppose that he actually does have some powers to pull that off since it wasn’t a matter of tech that time. It’s sad for the humans since they’re basically powerless to stop these “high above” beings and they will just be toyed with. Even if they win their tests, these guys will just make new ones up so it’s ultimately pointless. The villains also seem confused since they go to the trouble of getting the wife and the son, but they allow Arthur to drive back home with Norma. (They still get the kid though) With their powers, they could have forced Arthur to stay back, but I guess it was all part of the plan.

The ending is pretty underwhelming as you may expect. It’s similar to a certain Ronin film and it’s not the kind of ending that you wouldn’t even wish upon your least favorite film! The heroes basically just accepted their insignificance in the grand scheme of things and allowed themselves to be puppets in the end. That’s not very satisfying if you ask me and they should have done something to escape their fate. Maybe next year…

I would talk about the soundtrack, but it’s basically nonexistent here. There’s not really a lot of romance so that’s always a plus. A little here and there, but it could be a lot worse. The bully at school is pretty wince worthy and the deformations can be a little hard to look at, but I suppose that it’s part of the point. I still wish that Arthur and Norma could have been a little more assertive in those scenes. The babysitter’s lies may have made for an intriguing moment and especially as she went through the motel with the brain controlled zombies, but we all had a feeling that the plot would vanish given the film’s track record. Everything goes back to nothing. (I don’t believe that all of the town’s folk could be kidnapped by the NSA and nobody would notice…it’s a bit of a stretch)

Overall, The Box is the kind of film that you would only want to watch if you like to watch films that are very vague so that you can make up your own version of what happened. There are some scenes that are fairly interesting and they had potential, but the film couldn’t live up to it. It just blew itself up along the way and ended up going out with a whimper. I do applaud the fact that is tried to be contain so much in a single film, but it couldn’t pull it off. Don’t bite off more than you can chew after all. (Meta + Unexplained, Convoluted Plotlines + Arthur = Loss) If you want a complex film filled with mystery and adventure…check out The Big Sleep. It’s a classic and I dare say that it’s a little more suspenseful.

Overall 3/10