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

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

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

Black Friday Review

It’s time for a retro film. It feels like it’s been a while since I reviewed an oldie, but I suppose it hasn’t been all that long. This film’s a fun take on the whole mind switch concept and you can think of it as being similar to Frankenstein. It’s done a whole lot better than Frankenstein ever was though and the characters are actually pretty likable and endearing except for one guy who goes off the deep end.

The plot involves Ernest, a scientist. He is a genius whose only real friend dies in a car crash one day. To save his life, Ernest decides to do an experimental brain transplant. It’s a success, but the problem is that George (The friend) now has a split personality. He’ll be George one minute and then he’ll be Red Cannon, the gangster. Ernest could help George’s personality pull through, but he really wants to be rich and everyone knows that Red Cannon buried 500 million dollars somewhere in the city. Ernest will have that money and then he’ll save George. Can he really have his cake and eat it too or is something sinister about to happen?

As you can expect, Ernest is the character that I don’t care for. At first, his motives were good. He went pretty far to save his friend and his gamble paid off. Unfortunately, his desire for fame and glory corroded him. It was even a bit cheesy at one point as Red Cannon was afraid of Ernest. I find that hard to believe since he was such a hardened gangster. Ernest doesn’t get away with it which is good, but he put everyone in a sticky situation. He’s certainly not a team player.

On the other hand, George is a solid character. He constantly reminds everyone that he is a Professor of English Literature and that’s why he has a hard time dealing with all of the gangster drama. He’s a very polite guy who simply made the mistake of trusting his old friend. Even when a side effect of the serum caused George to be a little cranky, he was always ready to apologize for it. George is a real stand up guy and that’s why I’m glad that he got a good ending. He didn’t ask for any of this and did the best that he could to see to it that everything went all right. He even gave the Cab driver a huge tip, which was pretty neat.

Red Cannon was an okay gangster, but as I mentioned earlier, he did get scared by Ernest. I’m not really sure how I can take him seriously after that. He did a good job of beating up most of the guys who had betrayed him though. Messing with the boss is definitely not a good move. I mean, he was dead so they won…….lets ignore that for now. The gangsters were fairly confident and since they had Red Cannon’s girlfriend on their side, how could they lose? She actually did trick Red Cannon a few times though so he’s got a ways to go when it comes to running a gang biz. That’s why you’re not supposed to mix work and romance, it makes things risky. I did have to chuckle at the fact that the gangsters were forced to hide in a closet as a last resort. That normally shouldn’t buy you a whole lot of time. Leaving the secret beer cabinet open as well is another critical mistake.

The unsung hero here has to be the cab driver. He’s the kind of guy who wasn’t going to let Red Cannon walk all over him. I like how he calmly walked up to the cops and saw to it that justice was served. Red Cannon was gone by then of course, but it’s the thought that counts. The students were also pretty nice as they helped George out and even when he randomly shape shifted, they took it in stride. They were certainly pretty accepting of the whole thing, despite how strange it all was.

Aside from that, the rest of the film was also pretty realistic. Even the energy drain since George should definitely be tired from living two lives. That’s a lot of exercise for a rather old fellow. The writing was very good from start to finish as well. It had that dignified feel that you really can’t find in a more modern adventure. Not to mention that it’s what helped make George a good character. Bad writing would have made him cheesy or just fake while he felt like a real likable fellow this time.

The fight scenes were also solid. They did a good job of showing why Red Cannon was so feared throughout the land while not going overboard and making the minions look weak. After all, they did keep the gang running well after his death so they had to be at least a little competent right? The film is rather short so the pacing stays quick throughout the adventure. The only slow parts is when Ernest is trying to turn George back into Red Cannon by taking him around town, but it’s more screen time for George so that is always a good thing.

Overall, Black Friday is a film that I can recommend wholeheartedly. All of the characters are either likable or written well as villains. The fight scenes are good and the plot is engaging. Even the secondary characters like the Bellhop are fun to have around. It shows why you should always be skeptical when you’re given a life saving medicine or start to feel tired for no reason. On the other hand, it reminds you that you can always suppress any foreign minds that try to inhabit your body. You may not become a shape shifter, but that’s fine. The film blends together a nice mix of humor and seriousness. There’s really nothing negative to say about the film and the only thing keeping it from being an 8 is just not having enough content to quite get up that high. It’s a solid all around film otherwise.

Overall 7/10