2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Contagion Review


It’s time to look at a flu horror film. I don’t think I’ve seen too many of those. The last one would be Resident Evil I suppose. I guess Maggie would probably count as well. Of course, this film is going for a more realistic angle than those as we get corporate business trying to keep the cure for themselves and a lot of other conspiracies. Contagion is a bad film, but at least there are parts of it that are enjoyable so that’s still better than some of the competition. To put it one way, it’s a better film than Resident Evil, but the latter is more enjoyable.

So, the film starts off with a bunch of people getting sick everywhere. They decide to infect the healthy people by coughing and sneezing everywhere. They’re successful and quickly the Earth starts to be overrun by the flu. The government doesn’t know what to do about it either so they decide to stay quiet. The problem is that an online blogger has figured out the issue and even the cure to it. People quickly turn into mobs to grab it all so now the world is in peril. Can this outbreak be contained or has it already spiraled out of control? Only time will tell.

There are several plots in the film. Most of them are relatively separate, but they interconnect once in a while. The best plot is probably Mitch’s as he tries to keep his daughter safe from the outbreak. His son and wife were hit by it, but the daughter is safe so he aims to keep it that way. Unfortunately they are living next to the worst character in the film, a guy who likes the daughter. He keeps trying to infect her, but fortunately Mitch has his shotgun. He’s the only sensible character in the household so it looks like he is on his own. The daughter isn’t very smart of grateful either and she keeps trying to meet up with the neighbor, but fortunately Mitch is always ready. I don’t think this plot needed the extra tragic bit of his wife cheating on him though. I guess it’s to make the plot a little less sad in a way since now he knows why she died and how she made a fatal mistake, but it’s not like it really changed anything about the story.

Another big plot is with an online blogger who claims to have found the cure. His name is Alan and he doesn’t particularly trust the government or any of the big pharmaceutical companies. He claims that they’re all working together against the everyday man and he’s not wrong. The problem is that when you make enemies out of powerful entities like this you’re always going to be in a world of hurt. He’s kidnapped and taken to their base where they threaten him quite a bit. He’s probably the best character in the film. You have to love the bravery he has and the guy definitely doesn’t back down so easily. He’s someone that you want in your corner.

The final main plot is with the researchers who are trying to make the world a better place. They work on quarantining the place and stopping the virus. One of them ends up getting sick during the film, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise since she contacts everyone without a mask of gloves on. Considering how she explained that touching anything could make you sick, she really wasn’t smart about how she handled the situation. I can’t say that very many of the characters were all that smart though. One guy calls his wife to tell her to get out of the city, but rather than use his cell, he uses the company phone. Naturally this call is monitored and someone even overhears him. The Cell could have probably been tapped as well, but his odds would have most certainly been a lot better.

What really hurts this film though is the senseless animal violence that occurs at various points of the film. We randomly see meat markets with a lot of animal violence and other moments throughout. These scenes come out of nowhere and don’t contribute anything. It’s just hear for the edgy factor and tears the film down. We also see someone get operated on which is fairly violent. Again, this scene comes out of nowhere. There’s quite a few scenes here that are just for shock value. Cut out these scenes and this would be a relatively tame film. I guess, they just didn’t want to go for that angle though. Bad move if you ask me. it’s an unfortunate truth that animals are always the first test subjects, but the film doesn’t need to go out of its way to remind us of that.

One thing that is in the film’s favor is the soundtrack though. There are actually quite a lot of solid musical themes that play throughout the film. They really stand out and are quite memorable. Other thriller/horror films could certainly learn quite a bit from this one in that regard. Having good music always helps make a scene more engaging/interesting since you at least have something nice to listen too throughout.

Now, the film does throw out a statistic that is sure to make you roll your eyes. The stat is that people touch their face thousands of times a day, 3-5 times a minute. We all know that this is hogwash and the test group used for the study must have caught Chickenpox or something beforehand. If you just think about it logically then it makes sense. When you’re watching a movie you aren’t touching your face like that. Likewise when eating or playing video games. Just take a look around outside and you can debunk this. When you’re trying to add drama to a film with a fake statistic you need to make sure it at least sounds realistic.

Overall, Contagion definitely isn’t my kind of film. I don’t usually even care much for the cliche “main character gets sick” episode in most shows. It’s just not really a great plot and while a worldwide virus is certainly something to try out..it’s just not terribly interesting. The most enjoyable aspects of a film like that one are just seeing the government talk about it around a table. This film had some scenes like that and those were always a blast. Going to ground zero and actually seeing everyone get sick though? Yeah, that’s not really something that’s very exciting. I’d recommend skipping this film and just walking outside to see how everyone is always getting sick. Just be sure to keep a mask on or to walk briskly so that you don’t get sick as well. That certainly wouldn’t be worth it.

Overall 2/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Great Wall Review


It’s time to check out a monster film that didn’t stay in the spotlight for very long. The Great Wall had some potential as the trailer was fairly solid and the locale looked surprisingly good. Unfortunately, it ended up missing many of its objectives and the film fell flat. It has some good ideas, but fails to utilize them well which hurts the whole package in the end.

William and Tovar are shifty business men who steal stuff and make a profit. It’s rather vague what they are actually doing or the film just breezed by that description. Either way, their party is picked off by monsters and they are forced to surrender to the Chinese army as they were being followed by a pack of bandits. It was certainly a rough start for the heroes, but they were able to help fend off another monster invasion which earns them into the army’s good graces. General Lin in particular is impressed with William’s archery after initially wanting to kill him on the spot. William takes this in stride with casual insults and passive aggressive lines being thrown around by both characters. Can William survive the rest of the monster attacks or is he doomed?

As seems to be the case a lot of the time, William and Tovar aren’t heroes. Even though they were saved by bandits, they want to steal the army’s gunpowder so they can sell it off for a high price. William starts to drift away from this plan when he becomes attached to the war cause, but Tovar won’t be dissuaded. He never becomes a good character and does go as far as to betray the army and steal it anyway. He may be a bad apple, but William has influence so no harm ever really comes to Tovar nor does the guy ever learn his lesson. He surprisingly didn’t have any character development. Lin

William is a fine lead. He’s a super tough fighter who can be considered a prodigy and he accomplishes more than scores of other warriors right away. His skills are so legen…dairy that he becomes a hero rather quickly. That still doesn’t prevent him from getting knocked out by sucker hits and not making up his mind at times, but nobody can be perfect. Surprisingly the film didn’t go for a romance between him and the main heroine which was realistic for a change. They’re in the middle of a war so I’d like to think that romance wouldn’t be the first thought in their minds. I would have liked to have seen William do a little more as he never really becomes that notable, but he’s probably the second best character here by default.

After all…the cast is basically just 3 characters. We have an old guy who’s also a traitor and a tactician who isn’t bad, but their roles are very minor. Lin is the final main character and she’s a solid fighter. She’s clearly high ranked in the army and moves up quite a bit by the end. Her armor looks pretty cool and on the whole I liked the blue color scheme as it reminded me of Mega Man. I do have to say that her method of fighting in the army is rather in efficient though. Her duty is to jump from the roof, slash a few monsters and then get pulled back by the rope. The problem is that it only lets you hit 1-3 of the monsters and there is a high chance of dying instantly. Since the monsters are numerous in number, I can see why the humans are losing the war. It’s just such a terrible tactic and it’s too bad she was saddled with this job. She was instrumental in the climax though and at least mastered her duty.

Here’s where the problems start. First of all, I didn’t like it when China appeared at the end or when William admits that the rest of the modern world exists. At the start this feels like a fairly apocalyptic type film where there are just ravagers left and monsters all around. If not that drastic, then the heroes are at least deep in the past so everyone is primitive. No, apparently China just blocked itself from the outside world so they don’t really know what basic things are like magnets and gunpowder. Fortunately, William has been around the block a few times and tells them about the modern world. Personally, I’d say that it wrecks the atmosphere completely and just really changes the film.

Another issue is with the monsters. Don’t get me wrong, the actual monsters are great. They show exceptional teamwork and intelligence. They stay one step ahead of the army throughout the whole film and it’s quite impressive. The fact that they also look after their injured made me root for them instead of the main characters the whole time. By the same token, they felt more like animals than monsters the whole time so seeing the heroes stab at them was pretty gruesome. The fights are intense and the only weak point for the monsters is naturally the eye. This makes the whole thing that much worse. As a result, the action scenes were the weakest part of the film for me and pretty much single handily drop the score all the way down. It’s just not fun to watch as the monsters should have won. It doesn’t help that the humans are just generally unlikable aside from William and Lin, but those two are just yes men so it’s not as if they will stop the others.

The visuals are definitely nice in this film though. I like how all of the groups are color coordinated. The armor designs are really on point and are probably some of the best ones that I’ve seen in a film in quite some time. The monsters also looked acceptable for me. I don’t care for the third eye stuff but a monster is a monster at the end of the day. I would have preferred a large city backdrop like NYC, but the Great Wall works well enough as well. The wall is definitely large though and it’s easy to see how traitors can hide around. Nobody knows what the other is supposed to do after all.

Overall, I can’t help but feel that the film and it’s entire premise are ripped off from Attack on Titans. It is a fun plot to play around with though so I can see why films would borrow from it a bit. This film isn’t bad for the most part. The writing isn’t anything special, but it’s all right. The main leads are good and help to make up for the rest of the cast. The fights are just a downer since you’ll be rooting for the monsters the entire time and once the main part of China gets involved, things get a little sour as well. I gotta give props to the monster queen’s body guards. Those guys did a pretty good job throughout. You can certainly do better with monster films and I’d recommend one of the new Godzilla’s. It has the right blend of humor and action.

Overall 3/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Green Zone Review

Note that this review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be understood as belonging to this version of the film as a review of the uncut version would likely be more negative.
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Green Zone is a war film and that makes it a pretty unique one for me at the moment because I have not seen many of those. I probably haven’t even seen 5 at present. That being said, it is not a genre that I would expect to enjoy typically because of the very concept. War isn’t fun and it typically translates to some pretty gruesome stories. On the whole, this film handled the situation as well as it could.

Things are heating up in Iraq and it seems like they are harboring weapons of mass destruction. Roy and his team are tasked with retrieving them, but every site that they arrive at is empty. Something clearly isn’t adding up and Roy begins to realize that a darker plot is happening in the background. One way or the other, he plans to get to the bottom of it.

One of the main things that I didn’t like was how America did not look good. There is usually a corrupt politician in the films, but the film makes us look bad on many fronts. Our army is quick to believe the intel that it acquires even though it is proven to be false again and again. Surely, we have people who prevent this from happening. More than one person should be required for this in case we have a turncoat in our midsts. It is rather sad to see the U.S so confused.

One of the soldiers doesn’t even care why they are fighting and he just wants to get out of the war alive. Certainly not a noble sentiment. Really, the picture that is painted shows that the US is simply too big and there is corruption everywhere. We are not fighting the good fight and are using our power to bully those who are weaker than us. That’s just not the US that I remember and I prefer to see us look very heroic and composed.

As a side note, America also looks like it is lacking in intelligence aside from the falling for fake intel part. Why would we publish everything that we are doing to the Wall Street Journal? Seriously, we shouldn’t be publishing anything like that. At the most, we should just be posting false data. Transparency is all well and good, but not if it costs us the war. Sometimes you just need to trust the government. As long as all of the senators and governors are in the loop, we should be okay. We can still know basic data, but certainly not any specifics.

As I mentioned earlier, the film did well in how it handled the violence. The only real violent scene was likely the interrogation one. That was certainly hard to watch as we never like to see an officer abuse his power. The man in charge seemed to realize that the officer was dangerous, but did nothing about it. You end up feeling bad for the man since he was caught between two factions of what he thought was the same army.

Roy is a good main character. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot that one man can do in a corrupt organization, but he performs to the best of his abilities. He does a good job of getting the last laugh with the ending even if it is a little bitter sweet. He exposed a lot of the wrong doings, but if won’t bring the people back and now the world knows that the US is very disjointed. Still, it is safe to say that he made the right call. At least there will be consequences for the villain now.

Freddy was the main supporting character and he was definitely not very good. His ending is meant to be hardcore as he shows us that we are sticking our noses where they don’t belong, but he just looks s little delusional instead. His country is going to have even more violence now and he panics a whole lot. There was also a reporter to be found here, but she didn’t really add anything to the film. She helps us piece some parts of the puzzle together, but it’s hard to trust her since she will be quick to release any news and I still think that it is a tactical error on our part.

This is the edited version of course, which helps the film out in a big way when it comes to the language part. There were several words that were aired out, which hints at a bad script. It is not much of an issue, but something to be ready for depending on how you see the film.

As for action scenes, we get a few of those, but only one fight scene. Roy looks decent in his fight scene at first, but then he gets trounced. He likely threw the fight, but it still didn’t do him any favors. It reminded me of a fight in the Karate Kid as the main character was beaten up on the beach. Perhaps Roy could have won if he tried, but now we shall never know.

Green Zone’s locale isn’t very interesting as it is very bare and there are no real buildings to be found. Naturally, this is unavoidable based on the plot, but it can still make you wish for something more glamorous. The film is interesting though and you will want to see how it all plays out. That’s always a good sign. The film was certainly a little better than I had expected it to be, but it was still not enough to get in the clear.

Overall, Green Zone had some of the typical negatives that are usually present in the war genre, but it also avoided some. The violence wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the war themes didn’t get too radical. I didn’t like how America was portrayed though and there is certainly not a happy ending to be found. If you like war films, then this is a very good bet for you. If you don’t want any grim reminders of war, then I recommend checking out LBX, the show instead. You will still have high stakes battles, but they will typically end on an epic note.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ocean’s Thirteen Review

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Ocean’s 11 is a classic film that has been remade and even gotten sequels over the years. Ocean’s 13 is the second sequel in this continuity and it is a fun adventure. I was used to the characters a little more than I had been for the first two installments, which could be why I ended up enjoying it more than I thought that I would. It is hard to say whether it beats the original or not. I am inclined to say that it is not as good, but it is very close. Take away one unfortunate subplot and this one has a real chance at 1st.

The film starts off with the heroes working small jobs while one of their members makes a legitimate deal with a new character on a new gambling casino. The heroes warned him that the casino owner tend to double cross everyone, but the warnings do not stop the inevitable from happening. Now that he is in a coma, the heroes decide to band together one last time to avenge their comrade by bankrupting the casino. It will be tough, but they do have some money to burn!

The premise is very good and watching the heroes band together once more should be nostalgic. It should definitely be noted that these guys still aren’t very heroic. One of them is robbing a vault as the film starts and judging by how rich all of the members are, they can’t be on the up and up. It’s intense to see them constantly throwing millions around. It’s actually a good thing in the sense that it makes the film more realistic even if it means that they can’t be completely heroic. There would be no way for them to use their plan if they didn’t have such a large amount of money on their end. By the end, they’re all essentially broke, but the ending probably means that they will have a lot of spending money once more. So, you could say that they’ve practically been reset to the beginning of the film.

Let’s get the unfortunate subplot out of the way first. One of the components of the plan revolves around tricking the villain’s right hand woman into taking one of the heroes into the vault room so that he could steal the diamonds. They use a strong cologne that messes with her mind and acts as a cupid type of weapon. Ignoring that the plot hax was downright unbelievable in those scenes and that they had no trouble getting into the vault room (Guards must have been panicking or something) there were better ways that they could have handled this. Just rushing into the room would have been my personal favorite. It may have been a little less believable, but it would have taken out the romance aspect that hurt this film so it would definitely be worth it. The heroes are basically just taking advantage of the lady and that’s definitely not cool.

The heroes mention from the start that their plan will have collateral damage and they weren’t kidding. By causing the company to lose billions of dollars (Not quite bankrupt, but it’s hard to see the casino ultimately staying alive) they probably costs dozens of workers their jobs. One reviewer had a pretty awful day and people almost got hurt from the tremors. I do give the heroes props for making things all right between them and the reviewer. The review guy was pretty sympathetic during the film and his plight was rather depressing and painful. The ending definitely makes things better and I was glad that the film did that since the ending would have been pretty sad otherwise. It was the ending that we needed.

We get some guest stars in this film, which was pretty neat as well. The main villain of the second film randomly shows up to try and steal the diamonds from the heroes, but they dismiss him rather quickly. One of their big rivals/antagonists also gets a decently large role as the heroes are forced to ask for his help when they are running out of money. He warns them that their lives will be over if they double cross him and he also forces them to steal the jewels from the casino in addition to their normal plans. The main characters manage to get back at him during the ending. It made for a pretty fun dynamic.

The main thing to consider here is if you enjoy dialogue a lot. The film is really centered around that as there are no actual fights in this film. It’s all about outsmarting the opponents and winning in a peaceful way. The dialogue is engaging though so that shouldn’t be a problem. Watching them make the plans is cool and the heroes already have a good idea of how to start at the beginning of the film. They’ve just run into 2 problems that they spend most of the film trying to correct. Again, it’s an extremely detailed plan that runs on so much luck that it would never work in real life, but it’s still cool to see them give it a whirl. I appreciate the fact that the writers still made the effort of creating such a thorough plan.

As for the actual cast, most of the main characters are likable, but certainly not all of them. Ocean makes for a good commander and Rusty is pretty dependable. I don’t care for the guy in the Mexico plot (That one had a happy ending as well, which is good since it would have been pretty annoying otherwise) or the one who never bothers to speak in English even though he understands it rather well. Lenny is easily one of my least favorite members. I liked the guy who managed to get a table in the casino. Now he could act (in film) as he tricked the owner into realizing his greatness. He’s the kind of guy who’s just so charismatic that it’s hard to stop him. Unfortunately, he has his less impressive moments, which ends up hurting his overall rating. Most of the other members are just there so they don’t really impact the plot all that much.

Overall, Ocean’s Thirteen is a pretty good film, but it does suffer from the unnecessary romance plot. The writing is still pretty good on the whole and the film is enjoyable so I would still recommend it. It may not beat the original, but as far as sequels go, it is definitely not bad. It holds true to what the series is all about and watching the heroes try to perform such a tricky heist is always amusing. Perhaps not all that realistic, but amusing nonetheless. It’s one of those films where a reboot/remake would probably be a lot of fun, but it’s hard to see it being quite as good. The twists in this film were all done really well and that’s where the new film would have a tough time topping it without going overboard.

Overall 6/10