Witness Review

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

Witness is one of those thriller films with the lead on the run as he has to quickly think of what to do next. I would say the main difference here compared to most is that there is actually a large portion of the film where there isn’t any real action. Instead you have John getting used to the Amish life before the big climax. I would still say it works well though and it’s a solid all around movie.

The story starts with Rachel and her son Samuel heading off to the big city. I forget exactly why they were here but they’ll be heading back to the Amish community pretty soon. Their plans are derailed though when her son Samuel witnesses a murder in the bathroom. A cop was murdered by two attackers, one who is another officer. So this was an inside job but why? That’s for John Book to find out but in the meantime Rachel and Samuel have to stick around as material witnesses. This changes when the corruption appears to go higher than John thought possible so they have to take off. Hiding in an Amish community is a good bet but how long will this last?

For once the villains actually have a tough time locating the heroes because of how nobody here uses phones or anything like that. Nobody is really playing ball with helping the villains get in either so they have to take the long approach to this. It’s an interesting dynamic and something that’s not seen very often at all. So I liked the change of pace here and John is a good sport about trying to fit in. He may not be too familiar with their ways but this doesn’t stop him from helping out like with carpentry.

John isn’t willing to go all the way like suddenly being a pacifist when someone is picking a fight. He still insists on doing things his way and can’t say that I blame him there. I understand it’s the Amish way not to fight back when you’re being attacked at least based on this film but to me it definitely can hit a point where it goes too far and so of course you have to defend yourself here. If John didn’t do anything then things were only going to keep on escalating. So I could definitely back him up there.

In general he’s just a very reasonable character and does well the whole time. Even at the end of the film he makes the right call I would say. Choosing to stay would have been messy and he has a lot of responsibilities of his own. In the end you can count on him to make a rational decision no matter what. As for the heroine Rachel, she is at a bit of a crossroads in her life as she starts to see how the system can be a bit restrictive but at the same time it’s all that she’s ever known. I feel like she would have ended up choosing John over everything if he had asked but ultimately neither one wanted to make the first move.

Rachel is initially very antagonistic towards him but gradually softens up as the film goes on. Her son Samuel did well to not get murdered during the opening scene. He was able to think fast which came in handy and then he also had a critical moment near the end of the film. As far as kids go he was okay. Then I liked John’s partner Carter. Ultimately that guy was a real loyal companion. Usually things don’t go well for that character in these things so you can always appreciate their bravery for doing the right thing and standing up to the villains.

Schaeffer is the main villain here and he’s certainly a difficult obstacle to get past for John. I thought he was handled well here as a solid mastermind type character. You know that he’s quite twisted right from the jump even as he’s always joking around. To him murder just isn’t that big of a deal and he’s the kind of villain you really want to avoid. Ultimately they’re lucky that he wasn’t any crazier because the ending could have easily turned out badly for all parties involved. It was still a good plan of course but yeah it came close to backfiring in the end.

Really the weakest part of the film is the romance. It just doesn’t have much of a purpose being here. It’s expected as soon as we find out that Rachel is a single mom and all but it still doesn’t feel natural. It would have been a lot better to have kept them as friends. Additionally you have her childhood friend who seems to expect that he will marry her someday but she’s not really in love with him. He seems like the fallback plan since she feels like she has to marry someone at some point. With how the film goes it seems like this is still on the table but it has to be in the least satisfying way possible for both of them. How could either one of them be happy with the setup being this way? All this is going to do is frustrate both of them.

The action scenes are solid and John has to try and hang in there without his gun for a little while. That helps to make the climax a little more tense the whole time since it would have been a lot easier if he had his gun. The battle in the parking area was also solid. The movie has a very fast beginning and ending. The middle will drag if you’re expecting a lot of action but the non-action scenes were still solid. Rachel’s father Eli could be annoying as he was super rigid in his customs though. You definitely want someone who’s a little more flexible so you can have a real dialogue there. He didn’t do much to try and close the gap between them.

Overall, Witness is a pretty good movie. I thought the writing and plot were sound. Corruption can always be a good vehicle for a lot of scenarios and having John use the Amish location as a way to hide was genius. I did always think it was an interesting lifestyle. It’s not for me since I need my electronics and everything but I’m sure it’s a good way to really build a lot of community and for everyone to get used to leaning on each other when the going gets tough. In the big city life you’re less likely to get close to a lot of people like that.

Overall 7/10

Patriot Games 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.

When you’re getting ready for a movie about a CIA agent forced to go back in for one last ride, you know that things are going to be hype. This movie gives you everything you’d expect. You’ve got explosions, solid dialogue and an overall engaging film. There’s just something that’s hard to place my finger on in why it doesn’t pop out as much as the others. I don’t know, it’s a very good film but at the same time I guess it feels very by the books? No matter, still one I would certainly recommend to any action fan.

The movie starts with Jack just minding his own business now that he is a teacher. He has stopped being in the whole CIA business but then an assassination attempt occurs right in front of him so he is forced to intervene. He takes out one of the terrorists but the others get free. Jack is put on a ludicrous trial but after that it looks like things should be fine right? Well, it might not be all happy as he would hope as the other terrorists want to enact some revenge.

No matter how hard the villains beat the drum about how it’s all Jack’s fault for murdering one of their guys and how they need revenge…they wouldn’t be in this position if they hadn’t just tied to murder someone. I mean, you really reap what you sow in this kind of situation so you’d just think they would have thought more about that. It’s like if you put someone in prison for robbing you…the other robbers don’t have any kind of valid argument for wanting revenge. Of course, they’re all villains so it is what it is there.

As a result I’m not a big fan of any of the villains though. The main villain here is Sean. He is really all in on getting revenge since his brother was the guy that Jack got. He puts this above everything else so even his mission which is really about assassinating the British Minister of Ireland takes a backseat to his ambitions. As you can imagine, this isn’t something that thrills the rest of his group but there’s not much they can do about this anyway.

The other villains just don’t seem super smart. There is one scene in particular that I can’t go into depth with here but needless to say, if you see someone going crazy in front of you while they’re holding a gun, you should really….really think hard about your next step. If that step involves yelling and waving your gun around without a plan then things are probably not going to go well.

Jack is a very solid main character as you’d expect. He may be retired from the CIA but he hasn’t lost his skills or keeping the environment around him in view. He reacted quickly in the opening shooting and really did what he had to in order to win. Jack stays strong throughout the movie and is consistently resourceful. He may not be as quick to go into action as someone like Ethan Hunt, but he holds his own in a fight pretty well. Since his family are also targets, the whole movie is pretty personal for him. Jack doesn’t let it gets in the way of keeping a cool head though and maintains a good balance.

Commander Robby was also a solid character. He surprisingly doesn’t get to really be in the fight scenes here but just having him around in the climax is reassuring. Usually the main hero has to fight everyone off while completely alone but this time he at least has backup which is really good. This way they can at least keep the other villains subdued and also protect key areas.

As mentioned, the writing is solid throughout and the film’s pacing is pretty good. You definitely won’t be bored while watching this one. It’s also always interesting to have a main character who is less of a combat professional and more of a behind the desk guy. It may not always seem like it since he does get into a lot of fighting here but he gets to help out a bit with the planning in the background. That was a pretty interesting dynamic. We even get to see a fight from the TV screens back at base which was definitely a very different kind of experience. It was a unique way to show how the analysts see the fights going down in the military ops as usually we’re following the view of someone on the ground.

One of the more intense scenes would have to be when Jack is being followed by a couple of thugs out in the street. It’s broad daylight and he’s in an area with a lot of marines and soldiers, yet in that moment the place feels very secluded. That’s how it always goes too, when there’s trouble around it’s like everyone tends to vanish. The scene was handled very well and Jack had a good plan of action.

Meanwhile you had the car chase with his family as well. It’s too bad they couldn’t turn out of there because one turn would have probably saved them a lot of trouble. Of course, I’m crashed into that same area in a lot of Need for Speed games as well, it can be hard to dodge at that kind of intersection. It’s fun to think of how different the film would have been otherwise though. Definitely would have played out very differently.

Finally, we also had this Irish group who gets thrown into the mix since that’s where the terrorists are from. There’s some tension with the leader and Jack since the guy refuses to out the villains even though they’re committing acts of terror so Jack has to apply a little pressure. A blackmail subplot like that can always be intense and it’s rare to see the hero on the side of it.

Overall, Patriot Games was a pretty solid film. It’s a good action title that feels high quality. It may not really stand out among the more powerful titles out there, but it really doesn’t make any mistakes. It’s an intense story about a man having to protect his family from the revenge of a group of terrorists. Definitely a timeless kind of story that you could check out at any point.

Overall 7/10

K-19: The Widowmaker

It’s time to look at a historical film that adapts an event from a while back. Naturally with any adaption you look at it and absorb the story while picking and choosing which specifics make sense as some of it will naturally be dramatized for added effect. By and large this film seemed to play it straight though at least in the sense that nothing too fantastic happened.

So, the Widowmaker is a large submarine that the Russians want to bring to the Americas in case a cold war starts. They’re treated like the villains from start to finish which is interesting, but at the same time one of the big themes in the film is that the actual men on the ship are just your average 9-5 guys. They didn’t ask for this, but it’s their task so they’ll see it through to the end. Unfortunately, the ship isn’t ready for the sea yet as the captain Misha tries to tell the higher ups. They don’t listen and send in Alexei to spearhead the operation. Can the crew survive?

One of the interesting parts here is that the ship was seemingly very capable. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s something that the film altered a bit since based on the reputation you’d expect it to be less impressive. It would have easily made it all the way to the destination, but Alexei wanted to show off and kept making the mission more and more dangerous. Going lower than they were supposed to go, running drills nonstop, etc. Even then the ship did well enough, but it’s fair to say that at least in the film’s portrayal, Alexei is largely responsible for how the ship began to melt down and almost started the war on his own.

I liked how America was portrayed here. They were ready to forego country politics and save the crew from their sub. Sure, we would take control of the sub of course, but it is in our waters anyway and that’s a fair price for saving lives. If they had only listened to us, then maybe things would have been very different. At least their reasons for refusing aid were fairly decent as we wouldn’t take kindly to seeing a nuke on their sub. Especially since it was primed to detonate and nothing would have stopped it at that point. I’m sure we would have had some decent radioactive suits to try something, but there wasn’t much time either.

The film can be a little grotesque though like when the characters walk into the radiation chamber and try to turn the valve. We get that the radiation is super serious so we don’t need to see them puking all over the sub that I’m sure had just been polished. It adds that extra dimension of realism that nobody wants to see and that’s how you differentiate a movie from a great one. The greats know how to be realistic without going too far while the others go all the way. Other scenarios of lesser gravity in a film would be simple things like brushing your teeth or going to the bathroom. We know that the characters have to do that anyway so there’s no need to show it right? It’s just understood.

The characters suffer the same fate of being very realistic at times with painful dialogue and chatter amongst themselves. You just want them to stop talking and start working already. Of course, considering one of them is a drunk, another one is too nervous to tell his boss when the ship is sinking, and the rest of are being fed red wine every day, I suppose there isn’t much they can really do about that now is there? I would have liked to have had a comparison shot where we see a US sub where everyone is playing cards and the place looks nice and shiny.

There is one unfortunate scene that didn’t help this film’s plight and it also came out of left field. An animal dies. The instant it appears and got on the ship I knew this movie was going to go the dark route. Not taking shots at the film…but you could just tell. It simply is that kind of film and the fact that I was right just makes it all the sadder. If that really was in the true event then it should have been cut out and if it was made up for the movie for extra emotion then that’s even worse.

Overall, I’m sure this film will be a lot more powerful for people who are in the army or grew up during the tense cold war period. I find those topics decently interesting myself, but typically as a purely fictional movie or one that stays in the court room. I don’t need the gritty details, just the story. I also wonder how the Russian viewers would take this interpretation since I personally thought they were depicted as being quite cruel and unreasonable. Of course, that may be the facts, but the upper crust seems to just want a scapegoat whenever they are on screen. The jury didn’t seem very passionate and in general the air was always very dead. I know in general their culture isn’t quite as loud or in your face as America’s, but I still expected a little more than that. Even their style of humor like flashing the American choppers who were just doing their job was a little murky. Of course, I can easily see something like that happening with America too depending on the circumstances so I can’t speak for that much. So, if you’re interested in a sort of documentary film like this one then check it out, but I can’t say it was my cup of tea. Films based on a true story rarely work out for me.

Blade Runner Review

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

It’s time for a sci-fi film that had potential but chose to go for oscar bait moments instead of quality. What should have been an action thriller with lots of epic fight scenes turns into a very melodramatic film with the pacing of a snail. Good luck trying to keep up with the film as you’ll just start to lose interest once the main character doesn’t appear for about 30 minutes. Even when he does appear it’s not as if he’s a good character anyway so then you just want him to go away.

The film starts with Rick humble bragging as he tries to eat some ramen. The cops catch him though and bring him back to the Blade Runner program. He is ordered to murder 3 remnants (androids) who have managed to make it to Earth. He tries to talk a good game about not doing it, but they threaten him so he quickly folds. He retired from this business because it was starting to be too much for him, but he doesn’t have a choice now. He finds one of the remnants pretty easily through his lie detector test and gradually goes looking for the others. The problem is that these remnants have plans of their own and they’re all a lot stronger than Rick. Can he handle them?

Honestly, the long paragraphs of plot details in the intro sounded like they would have made for a better film. I’d love to have actually seen an army of androids revolt and attack the humans. Many good films have been made about that kind of plot. Why do we need to see the aftermath where humans seem to have already won the war. Furthermore, why is our tech so bad when this is the future? It feels like we should be able to damage the androids a lot easier by this point to be honest. Part of the fault lies with Rick though since he has no reaction times and walks into every trap imaginable. If not for the villains taking pity on him or other characters saving him, he’d be dead by now.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems with the film is how slowly the film moves. We get extremely long sequences with the villains where they just threaten people and you wonder what the main character is doing. Instead he has a very sketchy romance with Rachael that was pretty disgraceful. It definitely wouldn’t fly nowadays and it was definitely not going to make him a likable character. His only good trait is the internal monologue he is always having. That part was enjoyable at least since most films don’t do that anymore.

The writing is also pretty bad to be honest. The characters talk about random things that have no point. Rick uses very odd questions for the lie detector test which probably serve some kind of point in his mind, but the film should have made the questions better. Even the opening scene just makes you wonder how the humans have lived for so long as a remnant is interrogated in a small room where they let him keep his gun and the interrogator has no weapon. I mean, I could have told those guys that was probably a bad idea. They may not have known for sure that the guy was a remnant yet, but since the point of the interview is that they suspect him, they should have had some defenses ready.

The effects don’t look so good since the film is trying to look bad on purpose. It’s a film set in the future that wants to look like it’s in the past which is a pretty bad mix. Ghost in the Shell did a much better job with the overall design of the city while Terminator did a better job with the actual android designs. As a result, there’s nothing really going well for this film. Even the soundtrack is basically nonexistent.

Watch out as this film can be rather violent as well. It wasn’t too crazy although I did see the edited version, but enough to be worth noting. If you’re not a main character you better watch out as well since the villains effectively have free reign on the whole city. Rick isn’t protecting anything aside from himself so everyone else is on their own. It can be a little frustrating, but since I didn’t like any of the characters it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It would be worse if his lack of skills caused good characters to die.

Roy is the main villain but his name is the only cool thing about him. He’s just another random villain who tries to have some justifications and moral dilemmas to show that he’s not all bad, but he’s just another villain at the end of the day. He can’t even fully commit to this as he saved Rick towards the end which didn’t make much sense if you ask me. He has his reasons, but it was only a good way for destroying whatever hype Rick might have had left. It was virtually at 0 already though. There’s not much to say about Rachael except that she has no will power and just lets everyone walk over her. So much for a tough personality.

Overall, The biggest problem this film has is that it feels pointless. The plot takes forever to progress. You could watch the opening 20 minutes as they explain Rick’s mission and then skip to the end. You’d basically have a coherent plot, minus one Remnant who was taken down near the middle. The bulk of the film has nothing to do with his mission as the film just lost sight of what was happening. It’s hardly the only problem of course as Rick was definitely terrible and the Rachael was bad as well for letting him have his way. I feel like the sequel should definitely be better, but I can’t say that I have a lot of hope in its chances. This is probably just one series that is beyond saving without some kind of remake.

Overall 1/10

What Lies Beneath Review

It’s time to look at a horror/thriller film. This one’s about what you would expect. It’s not very good with a bunch of plot twists that don’t help its case. I’ll give the trailer some props for being incredibly misleading with a plot twist. It’s a clever misdirect. Of course, if you were excited for that plot line, it also means that you could be in for a disappointment when you watch the film. Needless to say, I didn’t mind that plot line being cut, but the actual plot in the film wasn’t any better.

Claire and Norman have been married for a long time. Norman can be a little too attached to his job at times, but he’s been a good person. Unfortunately, mysterious things begin to happen. Claire hears voices, she sees things move, her computer even starts typing MEF as much as possible. Norman thinks that she’s just being silly and tells her to cut it out. He’s never very understanding of the whole thing. Then Claire sees her neighbors acting suspiciously. They always seem to fight and the wife was crying about being terrified of something. Claire then becomes confident that she is murdered by the other neighbor and seeks to prove it. A lot of things are happening, but is Claire just making hasty conclusions?

Well, lets talk about some of the twists. We’re entering heavy spoiler land with this review so prepare for that. It’s an old movie so it’s all fair game, but I figure that I’d warn you in advance. One plot twist is that the neighbor’s wife just gets terrified and emotional whenever her husband is away. She has panic attacks, yells, and cries every time he leaves and she just doesn’t want anyone to know which is why she cries in the backyard and then runs if anyone notices her. It’s a very strange explanation and not one that you are very likely to believe. It was a red herring of course, but it’s like the writers couldn’t figure out how to add one in so they just made a very fake one. Not a great move.

You’ll be glad to know that the supernatural part of the film is real and isn’t just a hoax. That being said, it’s one of the weakest spirits in horror movie history. It figures that the one time the ghost is basically a good guy it happens to be weak. I can’t imagine the Grudge or the Ring looking like this. It can’t destroy a single person which is kind of sad. The invisible Ghost want to take him down for the count, but it seems like she needs a lot of help. It also forgets who the main target is at times and just goes wild on everyone. I can appreciate the determination on that, but it just feels very random for the sake of being a red herring once again.

So, one of the big twists revolves around Norman. Apparently he cheated on Claire and then murdered the person to save his own career. This naturally led to her turning into a ghost and vowing to destroy him. Norman also turns on Claire and tries to take her down for the count as well. It’s a very cliche’d route and one that has never worked. Norman also isn’t very thorough as picking another method would have allowed him to have destroyed her a lot quicker. Good thing he likes theatrics.

Claire is an okay character at best. Even as she puts the pieces together, she doesn’t give herself any kind of insurance in case the villain is near. To her defense, it would be hard to guess that Norman is actually evil, but she had cracked a decent amount of the puzzle so she should have thought about it more. Beyond that, Claire also gets possessed rather easily by the ghost or just suffered a nervous breakdown as she helps him relive the moment. It’s another scene that has no purpose in the film.

Lets face it, the romance in the film was poorly handled. The scenes drag on and are mostly just Norman saying “That’s too rough” over and over again during the scene. We get it, Claire’s not acting like herself, no need to keep repeating it. That possession scene was just so random. The film also has an obsession with the bathtub as we get really long scenes of the characters in there. Since Claire is nearly drowned in the bathtub while she is paralyzed, the film uses that as an excuse to keep the scene going. I don’t care for bathtub scenes in any context so that didn’t work for me. Especially not as a climax. We do have some driving at the end as well though and the ghost finally gets to make a move. Better late than never.

The film only works in the first place because of a ton of convenient elements. Claire suffers from intense memory loss because she was so traumatized that she blocked the memories out of something. If not for this, she would have known most of what happened right from the start, but then we’d have no movie. Naturally the cops never figured out the connection between Norman and the girl who went missing either. I like to think that someone would have known what was going on. The ghost was also really weak and couldn’t even help that much before the climax. She could have finished off Norman so easily in many different scenes.

Overall, What Lies Beneath is a thriller that cheats. It doesn’t have much foreshadowing for the events and makes characters act out of character when it suits its purpose. The film should have just played it straight with a vengeful spirit trying to destroy them all. We didn’t need Norman to crack and for the bathtub to be used multiple times as the weapon to destroy them all. There’s nothing really nice to say about the film. The romance is terrible and the film ends on a whimper. None of the characters are likable or even realistic. There’s not much of a soundtrack although I won’t call it bad either. The tunes that were there were likely okay. I can’t recall something sounding out of place at any rate. The film avoided all animal violence and wasn’t that violent in general so that’s a consolation. Still, if you want a good horror film, watch something like The original Mummy film instead. At least it had that retro feel and good writing to back it up.

Overall 3/10

The Age of Adaline Review

It’s time to look at a romance/drama film that came out a while ago. The film actually got a lot of promotion and you would see the posters everywhere. I never got to see a trailer for the movie, but I can’t say that the posters really intrigued me. Upon viewing the film, I can confirm that my suspicions were basically right on the mark. This film could have been a whole lot better, but fell into some rather large mistakes along the way. This is why romance and drama are two genres that need to stay far away from each other unless they are handled very delicately. Don’t forget though, this is apparently an epic as well!

Adaline used to live a normal life. It may not have been perfect, but she had a family and a nice car. Well, her husband couldn’t quite make it as he died early and Adaline took an unwise drive through the forest when she fell in a ditch and drowned, also being zapped by lightning afterward. If you’ve watched shows like Dragon Ball Z or Prince of Tennis, then you know that this kind of thing isn’t fatal. The lightning actually helps revive Adaline and stops the time within her body so that she is now immortal. The film tries to play this off as actually being possible, but the reasoning is so fake that you just feel like laughing at the super serious/almost condescending narrator. Now that she is immortal…what will Adaline do with her life?

She originally decides to just live alone with her dog while avoiding the government. Her daughter is around 60 by now so they visit each other discreetly at times, but Adaline forgot to take up a hobby. That probably would have made being immortal a little more bearable. She could have started a website or something and fans could wonder how she had it for 160 years. She would never tell anyone that she owned it of course. Her life changes forever when a rich book reader shows up and decides that he wants to be with her. He flirts and flirts until Adaline decides to give him a date and the full hollywood treatment.

Again, this is why many romances in films are just so bad. First of all, it sends the wrong message. Adaline flat out denies Ellis (the guy) multiple times, but he doesn’t take no for an answer. He follows her to her job, blackmails her as he would take back his donation from her library if she didn’t go out with him, and also finds out her home address from her co-workers (Who should really know better than to be handing these things out) Finally, she does go out with him and a day or two later, they’re already in bed. That’s basically the definition of a poor romance. You know what’s a much better one? Cinderella. It may not have a whole lot of personality at times and it may be a pairing that we’ve seen over and over again, but she was modest and the romance develops at a much better pace over there. In Adaline, it’s the modern version that just doesn’t work.

Ellis is a terrible character, I definitely did not like him at all. Adaline was decent for the most part, but the Ellis plot dragged her down and she breaks down a few times, which really weakens her character. She takes the being immortal condition as a cup being half empty when she should have just taken it in stride. Who wouldn’t want to be immortal? (Actually, I wouldn’t want that ability on Earth, but that’s besides the point) There aren’t a whole lot of supporting characters although Ellis’ dad gets a fairly big role as we find out that he used to be close to Adaline. Adaline should have taken more precautions to make sure that she wasn’t recognized, but I suppose that it was tricky. Either way, it also makes Adaline look dicey once again as she flirted with another person for so long. It may have been like 50-60 years ago, but that’s still a bit much.

One thing that really hurt the film was the animal violence that occurred at one point. It was just senseless violence that shouldn’t have been included in the film, but was kept in for shock value and that emotional roller coaster. The dog’s liver or his ribs was failing so Adaline put him down. That’s the kind of plot that was simply unnecessary and I would have preferred for the dog to not even appear if it was all going to end like that. Poor move by the film.

Age of Adaline really should have focused more on the immortal plot. The government who was trying to catch Adaline was a fairly interesting storyline although I wouldn’t want to see any actual experimentation. Just the chase and seeing Adaline evade them for a while would have been neat. All of the fake science talk was interesting in a parody sort of way and I wouldn’t have minded more of that. This film could have easily been a mystery thriller instead of a romance drama. It’s all in how the film chooses the handle the plot.

The problem with the romance has already been explained and the drama doesn’t work as the characters take everything too seriously. Get ready for a lot of crying over just about everything and it gets to be a bit much. You’ll probably also see the ending coming a mile away for the picture perfect ending for Adaline. Without the twist, it may have been more of an epic way to end things. I certainly would have liked that and then we could have had an action sequel.

As for the writing, I’m afraid that it’s not so good. It’s not terrible, there will just be a line once in a while that will make you wince, like Ellis’ sister, who comes out of nowhere with her bad one liners. Ellis’ dad also wasn’t that great as he just created a lot of tension for the lolz and the film should have shown that he had totally moved past his old flame. The memories should have been ancient history for him.

Overall, this sounds like a pretty negative review right? Well, it is to an extent. The film just makes too many mistakes for me like the rushed romance or the animal violence. I can’t say that any of the characters are really likable although the blind lady from near the beginning wasn’t bad. I would have liked to have seen Adaline just living through the decades with a few people finding out about her here and there. That would have been soooo much more interesting. If the film played up the drama and emotional moments a little less, it would have been a much better film. If you’re looking for a good romance/drama, check out Tsubasa Spring Thunder. It gets very emotional while also being epic.

Overall 3/10

Air Force One Review

Disclaimer, Note that this is the TV version of the film so that it has been appropriately edited down to a TV 14 rating. The original version would likely score lower and every part of the review should be correctly associated with the TV version.

I’ve seen a few airplane films recently. By “airplane film” I mean a film where nearly all of it takes place inside of the plane. It’s an interesting genre and it tends to be pretty successful. I dare say that I liked this one even more than the blackmail film and the lost kid story. This isn’t just any ole plane story either…it’s an action film! There’s a lot more fighting involved than the others and the story is solid as well. There’s a lot of tension and excitement so this film earns the thriller genre. It managed to jump into all of the right spots and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting Air Force One anytime soon!

The plot involves the strongest country in the world as they helped to liberate another area. America is doing pretty well and the President promises that they will act a lot quicker in any future situation. He stresses that America will never negotiate with terrorists and he heads for the Air Force One jet to take him back home. He’s prepared to watch the game and everything is going well…until terrorists take over the plane. The President manages to fake his escape as he hides in the back of the plane. Alone and outnumbered over 5-1, President James Marshall must fight his way to the cockpit and find a way to save the many hostages. Among them are his wife and daughter…so this just got personal.

Unlike the last few films I’ve seen, Air Force One opens up with a pretty solid start. The men in black quickly dispatch the guards and take someone away. After that, the film really starts and we get some character development for the President and his men before they enter the plane. Of course, things really begin after the plane is hijacked. President Marshall makes for a great protagonist and I’ll be sure to talk about him in a bit. It’s safe to say that the film wouldn’t be nearly as good without him.

It’s interesting to see Marshall’s plan as he goes through the plane. He definitely can’t just run at the villains so he has to be methodical about his approach. There are many action scenes, but Marshall has to try and keep them quiet so he doesn’t alert the others to his position. The hostages have basically given up. It would have been nice to see them try something, but it would likely require at least one human shield and nobody was volunteering. Ah well, we’re mostly here to see the President defeat the terrorists anyway!

I don’t really have much to say about the soundtrack. I can’t say that any of the themes were that memorable, but I’m sure that everyone will recognize the victory music when the President first gets up in the jet. I actually agree with his plan to grab the phone since making plans with the outside world could really help. Too bad it was such a complicated type of phone though.

I do think that the other countries looked pretty bad or one in particular anyway. The pilots nearly land the aircraft and everyone is ready for the quickest end to a film in ages. Unfortunately, the police officers forget that terrorists are in the plane and they don’t try to land it. Maybe they had orders not to injure Air Force One, but those would be terrible orders. As such, the plane gets away and the terrorists get a free second shot.

James Marshall is the main character and he does a great job as the American President. This guy definitely isn’t messing around and he really believes in the ideals that he sets for America. We find out that he was actually a pretty great soldier back in the day and he even won a medal. That’s good because he wouldn’t have lasted long if he didn’t have that level of experience and expertise. He takes everything in stride and Marshall never cracks. He does have a moment where he has to question his ideals to save lives, but I don’t blame him for his decision. He arguably made the right call at that point and it’s easy to see anyone making that move. It’s also easy to sympathize with James since he just wanted to watch the local Football game before all of this happened. Now he’ll never get to watch the big battle!

Grace Marshall doesn’t really get to do a whole lot in this film since she’s one of the hostages. She takes the situation pretty well and she makes sure to try and protect her daughter as much as possible. She’s a pretty good character, but she really doesn’t get any notable scenes so there isn’t a whole lot to say about her. At least she doesn’t panic like half of the guys at the White House.

I have to admit that I didn’t really care for Alice Marshall’s portrayal. She’s the President’s daughter and there isn’t anything wrong with her personality. I would actually blame it on the writer. Her lines just don’t sound natural and I can’t imagine a 12 year old girl saying them with such confidence and poise. She lets the villain know that he’s nothing like the President and how he is a bad man while the President is a hero. Noble sentiments and I can certainly see someone saying a variation of that, but she’s really calm under pressure and her voice gets pretty deep as she says this. I think the lines would have been written to make them flow more naturally and perhaps she could have delivered them a little better. It’s a mix of the acting and the script in this case. One can also get a little irritated when she interrupts the President’s talk with the air force commando (To try and get home safely) to tell him that everything’s going to be okay. Wise words to be sure…but unnecessary ones at that point in time.

The Vice President is one of the major players in this film. She definitely does not look as impressive as the President and she does her best to make sure that he is safe. On that, she disagrees with some of the other members as they just want her to blow up the plane. “Save the lives of the many while sacrificing the few.” It’s definitely something that we see a lot so there is a lot of pressure on her no matter what choice is made. I have no qualms with her character and it’s just too bad that she never really got to fight.

Egor is the main villain and he’s as unlikable as you would suspect. He’s a crazed terrorist who wants to plunge Russia back into chaos like in the days of old. I don’t think any of us figured that they’d try to make the terrorist likable and that’s a good thing. At least they didn’t go overboard in making us dislike him either. He murders everyone, but at least he’s direct. I’m sure that everyone was waiting for him to meet his end and we even get an iconic line out of it. Egor is essentially the plot device that helps the film to move forward, but he’s not meant to be much of a character.

Gibbs is one of the big players of the film since he is the one who betrays America and aids the terrorists. The film tries an interesting method in his case since the viewers know that he is the traitor from the very beginning and yet he keeps up the act for a while. It’s pretty suspenseful since you don’t know when he’s going to try to backstab one of the heroes and you always have a sense of dread. As far as the villains go, he was much more interesting than the terrorists. His final lines are intriguing as well since he plans to trick the next President as well. I don’t think that would ever work since it should be obvious to everyone that he shouldn’t be trusted. This character definitely got a lot of screen time and we shall not forget Gibbs.

The guys on the ground team at the White House were all right, but they didn’t always take the events very well. At a tough time, the official forgot which wires to cut and he had to look at a schematic. As you can probably guess, he figured out which wire to cut a little too late. Another guy is just interested in asserting his authority over the Vice President. I’ll admit that he was definitely pretty bold and he would make for a good leader, but he definitely didn’t have his priorities straight. The secretary of defense was pretty bold as well, but I don’t think that anyone believed that his plan would work for a second. The co pilot at the end with the President is pretty good, but unfortunately…we know what to expect for him. He was in a pretty bad situation at the time and there wasn’t a really clear way out.

Overall, This was a pretty solid film. It has everything that you can really want from this plot. There are some scenes where you may feel like it’s a bit of a stretch with how easily the terrorists took over, but they had to get control of the plane somehow and it could have been a lot worse. A film like this is guaranteed to have some scenes where the viewer will be skeptical and it did a good job of minimizing this. The President is pretty likable and he has to use a lot of stealth to retake the plane. We get action scenes against other jets and the villains fight on til the end. The hostages can be a little annoying since they never try to do anything, but I guess they had already accepted their eventual demise. Naturally, this is a terrorist attack film so expect some people to be shot at point blank range and there are certainly a lot of casualties. If you don’t want to watch something that is fairly realistic in that regard, then this isn’t the film for you. It never really gets graphic though as the situation is worse than the actual shots. Otherwise, this is a film that I recommend wholeheartedly and it’ll join the other classics as a solid 90s film. It’ll be tough to top this film for a while! Also, don’t worry, it’s highly unlikely that terorists could take over Air Force One so easily in real life. Our government is prepared and ready to win!

Overall 7/10