0 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

Scary Movie (1991) Review


It’s time to look at a horror film from a while back. This one isn’t very well known and for good reason. It’s pretty terrible from the jump and never gets any better. There are more fake outs than jump scares in this film and the setting is just an excuse to be as violent as possible. There’s barely even a plot for most of the film as it’s just the main character wandering into every possible exhibit as he scares himself more and more with each passing exhibit.

Warren is the main character here and he’s the only one who really matters. So it’s Halloween and everyone in town is getting excited to enter the haunted house. It’s apparently a big attraction every year that is really popular with just about everyone. Effectively you have to go to this place if you think of yourself as a cool guy. Nobody wants to miss out and with peer pressure that means Warren has to go as well. His “friends” are quick to mess with him constantly. He is pretty susceptible to peer pressure in all its forms and the characters have no trouble getting him to do stuff like smoking. Well, he is now in the haunted house but worries that the escaped criminal is in the house with them. (We learn earlier in the film that he has escaped custody. Warren must now find a way out of the house before he is taken out of the picture permanently.

One of the main points of the plot is deciding if Warren is right or if he is blowing things completely out of proportion. In defense of the film, it does a reasonable job of letting you come to your own conclusions. That’s about the only positive I can think of here. As I mentioned, the film has a ton of fake jump scares. They’re all pretty graphic due to the nature of the film though. This is a pretty older aiming haunted house so there’s blood gushing everywhere and a ton of crazy visuals. It’s one of those things were if all of this was real this would be an easy R. It gets a pass I suppose in part because it’s so old and all but also because of it’s all fake.

There are actually haunted houses like this though. I remember one that was on the outskirts of the city or NJ if I remember correctly that was supposed to be incredibly intense. You have to be over 21 and sign some kind of waiver before you go in. Then you get to see a lot of terrible imagery that’s basically satanic and even get in on the action. It’s effectively a way to legally act like a criminal and those kinds of haunted houses have never piqued my interest. Even the tamer ones I take a pass on. I’ve never been to a haunted house and will probably never go to one. It’s not really my thing, nor is Halloween for the dressing up part but I do buy myself a nice chocolate that day.

Back to the film though, it’s just way too gritty and grim the whole time. The imagery throughout the film is pretty terrible. Warren also makes for a terrible main character as he’s too over the top with how nervous he was. He should have just had the courage to say he wouldn’t go into the house. I would have gained a ton of respect if he had done that because then he was at least standing up for himself. You gotta be able to do that and not just let people walk all over you. That’s an easy way to get yourself mixed up in all kinds of trouble. All the characters here were just annoying. The only one who was at least trying to help was a kid and even then Warren would not follow him.

After a while you have to take this out on the film’s writing as well. There’s no way that Warren reasonably couldn’t exit the haunted house. We see at one point that dozens of people were in the house so they all leave except for Warren who trips numerous times and then keeps getting stuck in a trance. The characters did what they could to save him and it just didn’t work out. Warren was really not being helpful at all. There was also one character who was randomly laughing the whole time. I think the director was trying to go for a very surrealistic kind of vibe where you can’t trust anything you’re seeing but I wouldn’t say it did wonders for the film either.

The camera work is pretty terrible as with the rest of the film. It can get pretty violent at times when we do get to the real action as well. The atmosphere is thrown in your face the whole time so it’s not like the film gets tense either. This one just really fails at everything it tries to achieve and ultimately that is part of why it was completely doomed. Some films start off on the wrong foot but get better. This was not one of them as the ending was also pretty terrible.

Overall, I highly recommend avoiding this film. It was just lousy and I didn’t even talk about the fact that it forced in some animal violence near the beginning of the film. It made pretty much every attempt it could to continue sinking to the next level and succeeded in that respect. It’s unfortunate but that’s why it makes sense that nobody’s heard of this film. If you want to see a Scary film that handles things better then check out something like Insidious. As far as this film is concerned, just try to pretend that it doesn’t exist and you’ll be just fine.

Overall 0/10

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

Lethal Weapon 4 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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

Lethal Weapon 3 Review

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

It’s time to follow the pair of cops on another adventure. Lethal Weapon 3 has a little more fun with the premise compared to last time as we see them foil a few quick crimes in addition to the main plot. Due to this I consider it to be an improvement over the second film although I ultimately still wouldn’t put it over the first film. It’s a fun way to end off the trilogy so to speak even if we did get a fourth film after this one. The series has managed to be pretty consistently good so far.

The movie starts off with Martin and Roger getting themselves involved in stopping yet another criminal plot. They end up being a little out of their depth when trying to defuse the bomb though. Blowing up a building was the last straw though so they have been demoted from their positions. Martin and Roger keep getting involved with a lot of different crimes like people trying to steal money, running around with guns, etc. The cops are going to need the heroes back in the action pretty quick because an ex cop known as Jack has shown up and is abusing his power. He ventured undercover into the prison and even murdered a witness. If Martin and Roger don’t stop him soon, Jack will have finished enacting his plan and made millions of dollars.

Right away you can tell that this film is a lot busier than the last one and that’s a very good thing. There’s always something happening with a lot of ongoing plots at once. That’s always a good thing to do in a thriller kind of film because it helps keep you glued to what’s going on. When you keep changing the location and the case then you have to do your best to keep up. We actually see Martin and Roger doing a lot of patrolling in this film which is good because that is one of their main tasks. I also feel like the film was having a little fun with this. The characters can’t even sit down to have a burger without someone getting murdered or trying to evade arrest.

We get a new character named Lorna who is pretty fun although regrettably the film could not resist going for the romance angle right away. It’s handled pretty terribly like in the last film. Lorna and Martin don’t get along at all in the beginning and then suddenly they hit it off later on. There’s no real reason for this and it all just happens way too quickly. Even if you know it’s coming it doesn’t make the plot any better. Still, as a character Lorna is still good though. She’s always ready to put the main characters back in their place and she can actually fight pretty well which is always a thumbs up in my book. Lorna can hold her own and has apparently cracked a lot of cases back in her day.

Martin is still a solid main character as always. He jumps into action at every turn and never lets a villain get away. He’s much more intense about his job than any of the other characters. Roger may get fed up about how many risks Martin takes but at the end of the day it’s what makes Riggs so effective. He holds his own story pretty well. Meanwhile it’s a fun film for Roger as well. The dynamic of him trying to play it a bit safe now is enjoyable and since he’s so close to retirement it makes sense as well. Nobody wants to be taking huge chances when they’re so close to being out the door right?

Leo also returns here and does his best to help the characters out. He’s even helping Roger sell his house which is pretty nice of him. The guy has come a long way from being a big drug dealer. The rest of the cast is pretty self contained. You’ll recognize some supporting characters like the captain of the police or the psychiatrist that Martin doesn’t take seriously. They all help to make the police base pretty inviting and it’s easy to see how everyone gets along so well with the banter. The place is pretty informal so everyone can just relax and have a good time.

The writing here is solid and the pacing is definitely good. As mentioned, something is always happening here which is part of why the film manages to be so good. I think it was quite a solid way to kick off the first 3 films while leading us up to the final one. The action scenes here are good and the movie manages to balance out the buddy cop dynamic while still being an intense thriller. Jack may not be a particularly memorable villain but he was reasonable enough. I think I would have liked to have actually seen him fight a bit more though. That would have made him more memorable.

Overall, Lethal Weapon 3 gets real close to topping the original film. It didn’t quite do it but operates at the same level. I was glad to see Martin get another dog here. Now he has two and they seem to get along quite well. It also shows that he has pretty solid morals since he wouldn’t attack the first dog even when the villains owned him. If you want to watch an action film that also has a lot of fun then this is definitely the title for you. There’s really not much to say against it as this film hits the right notes and doesn’t drag on. We’ll see if the next film continues the trend and ends things on a high note.

Overall 7/10

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

Lethal Weapon 2 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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

The Man With 9 Lives Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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

Three Days of the Condor Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Hopscotch Review

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

It’s time for a look at a more comedic kind of spy film. It’s a pretty clever premise and one that the film executes pretty well. What you’ve got here is effectively a parody of those big films you tend to see about spies like James Bond or Jason Bourne. The fact that this one predates some of those installments just makes it all the more impressive. I think the whole scenario lends itself pretty well to humor as there’s quite a lot you can do here. It also reminds you why when you are in a pretty tricky position your boss really ought to actually show you to the door on the spot so things don’t get dicey. It wouldn’t have done much in this case though so the film handled itself well there too.

The film starts with the CIA working on a Russian case. That’s when Kendig walks in and busts the operation while also letting Yaskov go. His boss isn’t thrilled about this while Kendig explains that he always lets the boss go so they can read their movements a little better. That is a risky gambit in itself so I can understand Myerson’s reasoning for being upset to an extent but either way he’s not portrayed as a reasonable character here. He just wants to sack Kendig and is willing to do whatever he has to in order to do it. This was the excuse he needed so he demotes Kendig to office work. Kendig decides to leave in retaliation and decides to write a book exposing everything about the CIA to all of the other intelligence agencies.

Just to torment the CIA, Kendig decides to send in the novel one chapter at a time to the newspapers. Now the CIA wants to silence him and Russian intelligence definitely wants their hands on Kendig. He’ll have to try to outwit everyone as he keeps on travelling around the globe. He’ll need some help though so he visits his old friend Isobel and convinces her to get on board with this plan as well. She’s reluctant at first but finds the whole thing rather amusing and ultimately agrees to assist. They’ll have to tread carefully. They’re mainly dealing with the CIA so it’s not like they’re fighting some random villains but if they’re caught it’s definitely game over.

Isobel is definitely the standout character here. She’s a really great partner to have and does a good job of supporting Kendig the whole time. She’s also got a whole lot more to lose than Kendig at this point as she has built quite a nice life for herself. Everything was on the upwards trend but with the CIA she could end up losing out on everything. Still, she stays strong throughout and even helps out on the missions even if it means losing out on sleep. The movie wouldn’t have been quite the same without her.

Kendig is also a solid main character. It’s fun to see how sarcastic he is the whole time and always has a witty comeback at the ready. I think it goes a long way into also showing just how solid the writing is in the film. It’s consistently good all the way through and this film could not succeed if the writing was not on point. The humor plays a big part into the execution and the movie manages to nail that. The characters are just a lot of fun.

Myerson makes for a solid antagonist. He just wants to take Kendig down no matter what he has to do. Even at the end he shows no real remorse for possibly shooting Kendig down. That really solidifies the fact that he was completely on the other side of the fence by then. He would do whatever he needed to do in order to stay on top. The man he had in charge of the Kendig case was also pretty good. His name was Cutter and he looks up to Kendig so this was pretty tough for him. There’s also not a whole lot he can do here since Kendig always seems to be one step ahead of him. Cutter’s still learning after all and it’ll take him a while to make it all the way to Kendig’s level.

If I had a complaint, it’s that I would have liked to have seen the international reactions a bit more. I think they could have really played that up quite a bit. The closest we got was the European response as their Prime Minister couldn’t stop laughing at the whole thing. I wanted to see more of that because it would make for a lot of great interactions. One scene that was also handled really well was when the CIA arrived to try and blackmail the paper into not publishing the novel. This publisher was pretty intelligent and wasn’t about to fold. He already had a lot of plans underway and that’s exactly how you have to handle such a situation. He was determined to let the freedom of the press do its thing.

Overall, Hopscotch definitely surpassed my expectations and ended up being a great film. It’s really got everything you could want in such a title. The humor is on point and the writing is solid. The pacing is on point and quite a lot happens without the film ever dragging out. Kendig always finds a new way to keep on humiliating and embarrassing the other characters. You have to admire the guy’s creativity here. He’s able to think quickly even when he actually does get stopped by one of the police groups at one point. It’s clear to see that he was quite the field agent which shows how he would know all of these techniques in the first place. Yes, if you want a good spy thriller taken from a different angle than the usual fare then this is definitely one you should check out.

Overall 8/10

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

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Review


It’s time to look at the final chapter in the Resident Evil saga. Unfortunately it is not all that good and throws away the entire premise that the last film set up. It’s a shame because the films always tend to have pretty amazing cliffhangers and more often than not the sequels manage to capitalize on them. Unfortunately this one turned out to be an exception to that. It feels a lot like the desert film previously and not a whole lot happens. The whole first half is basically filler so once the main plot occurs we have to go at turbo speed. I feel like they just wanted to end everything so there wasn’t a whole lot of effort behind this one.

Last time Alice regained her powers and prepared to fight off the invasion of the Red Queen along with Wesker, Jill, and the U.S. Military. The final shot there was great with an epic background and guaranteed action for the next film. Unfortunately this film borderline retcons that similar to how Blade 2 retconned 1 a bit. It’s not an official retcon here of course as there are small references to how that was all a trick but it still makes no sense. So according to this film, Wesker basically brought Alice and the others over to murder them so he gave Alice a fake serum. We can assume Wesker murdered all of her friends but how did he not destroy her? Wesker has super speed and super strength enough to effortlessly dodge bullets and crush people with a single blow. The film never bothers to address this in any kind of way. I like a good mystery myself but it just made no sense and this film may as well be a reboot to be honest.

Back to the plot though, Alice is now travelling aimlessly through the desert as she fights off giant monsters. The Red Queen shows up and says that she has actually betrayed the Umbrella corporation. The villains have invented a cure to take down the zombies and it is airborne so it can cure the entire planet. It’s a lethal cure though so it’ll murder anyone who is infected and only the humans who are not tainted will survive. They mention at the beginning of the film that only 4000 or 40000 (Can’t remember which) humans are still alive so it’s not a great amount. Still, they can eventually start to regroup but Alice needs to find the cure within 48 hours or everyone will be dead. Remember this because it will be important later on. Alice will have to head back to Raccoon City to find the cure which certainly won’t be easy. Fortunately she runs into yet another resistance group who is here to help.

There sure are a ton of resistance groups since Alice finds one in every film and promptly gets just about all of them murdered. The plot is very thin here and riddled with holes. I’ll get into that in a minute so lets get the standard stuff out of the way first. First off, the film is definitely super violent as always which holds it back quite a bit. Zombie films really aren’t my thing since they’re just an excuse for the film to get as gruesome as possible since they are no longer human. There’s a lot of nonstop violence here that’s for sure. The film skips its obligatory fanservice moment this time though which I was glad about. That’s something that the films definitely did not need in the slightest.

Unfortunately with the story being the way it is it’s hard to get invested in the film as well. It’s easily the least interesting film in the series aside from the desert one. Most of the film is just Alice wandering around another desert until she makes it to the facility. Then we get some solid fights but that’s about it. The film ends and you’re wondering what the point was. It even starts to drag a bit and that’s unfortunate since the film isn’t even very long. The worst part is that it got rid of a lot of the amazing music themes that played during the previous films. Why would they get rid of the umbrella elevator theme when they actually brought the elevator back into play here? That was a huge missed opportunity.

Alice is still a great main character though. She’s very no nonsense and takes down quite a lot of zombies. Alice may have lost her powers but not her fighting abilities. The scene of her taking down a whole group while tied up upside down was really something else. It’s really not an exaggeration to say that she may be the best film heroine out there. I may even do an editorial for that at some point on top 10 female leads or something. What really helps here is her consistency. She hasn’t had a bad film and is always right up there in the thick of the action without backing down.

The rest of the cast is quite weak and to be honest they don’t get much of a role. I doubt anyone will remember the members of her squad aside from Claire who gets to return here. Claire looks decent at least but seems to vanish for almost all of the fight scenes. As for the villains, it’s hard to take Isaacs seriously. Good for him that he got super powers though but it makes his fights look even worse. You’re telling me that with bullet timing speed and super strength he seriously couldn’t beat Alice? I’m glad for the Alice hype of course but when you stop to think about it for more than a second then it really makes no sense at all. Don’t even get me started on Wesker. That guy was portrayed as being absolutely unstoppable. A pure beast of combat through and through, yet he wasn’t able to do anything in this film. The movie had absolutely no idea what to do with him considering that he only appeared for a few minutes in the entire film. Wesker also isn’t as confident as usual and is portrayed as a lackey for some reason.

Okay, so let’s talk about the plot now. At the beginning Alice mentions that there aren’t many humans left and the Red Queen confirms that within 48 hours they will all be dead. So that’s why Alice needs to grab the serum right away. Well, she does and in typical cinematic timing she does it with a few seconds left. There should only be a small handful of humans left then right? The 48 hours were basically up before the Red Queen was able to stop the zombie attack. I guess we could say that she underestimated the humans which is reasonable so there could be more left, but Alice says the cure will take years to travel the globe. Even if the Red Queen can somehow stop the zombies from attacking…which is a bit sketchy in itself, years is a long time. Realistically the human race is pretty much wiped out and that’s how the film should have ended. The Red Queen telling Alice that she is now the last survivor of the human race aside from the people present (Really just Claire) would have been a pretty powerful moment.

Then we have the fact that the villains seem desperate to destroy Alice. Again, they could have finished her at any time so why continue to let her live? Why even let her get near the facility instead of blowing it up? Since there were only minutes left and they had cameras on the heroes the whole time they could have escaped through the back as well. Having Wesker at the ready would have been good too. There are just too many reasons why Alice’s desperate assault on the base should not have worked. The writers stacked things a little too heavily against the heroes which made for a completely unbelievable scenario all the way through. I really couldn’t buy into it personally.

It’s hard to nail down exactly why the film failed on all fronts aside from what I’ve listed, but I think the final part is that it no longer felt like a Sci-Fi. The film scrubbed all sci-fi elements away from the series for some reason. We lost all of the cool themes, the great designs, and the whole atmosphere that made the series resonate as a Resident Evil title. You could have taken the name away and this had almost nothing to do with anything. Just take a look at the first scene of the last film with the excellent fight aboard the helicarrier or the climax against the cybernetically enhanced metahuman. This film had none of that and wound up being quite underwhelming.

Overall, It may feel like this was just more of the same based on the score. Admittedly it’s not like the series would drop a whole lot more because it’s already pretty low. That being said, the other films were at least very interesting and compelling. A lot of times the silver lining for me is even if a film ends up being pretty terrible I can at least be engaged the whole time. Particularly with the more intense zombie or vampire type films. This one just didn’t do it for me. The plot is about as strong as a couple of straws and the fact that the film retconned so much just felt like a really bad move for me. I just couldn’t see the film recovering from that and unsurprisingly it did not. Still, in the end if I look at the franchise as a whole I think it did a good job of adapting Resident Evil to the films. It took a lot of liberties but did construct a solid narrative. I doubt there are very many films that could come close to matching the epic cliffhangers that this series had film after film. I’m hoping the reboot will be able to match this one but as lightning only strikes once I have a hard time seeing it match this series. It’d be cool if they brought Alice back though.

Overall 2/10

Live Action Movies

Snitch


It’s time for a film based on real events. I am not really familiar with the actual event in question so at least this way I was in for a fresh adventure right from the start. Snitch is a pretty solid film. There’s a solid story going on and some pretty good characters. In the end everyone is pretty hard to deal with here as the “heroes” are pretty manipulative and the drug dealers….are drug dealers. Ultimately John can really only trust himself on this mission.

The movie starts off with Jason’s friend asking if Jason can help him deliver some drugs. Jason half heartedly says no but isn’t able to properly end the conversation as his Mom comes in. The friend sends the drugs anyway and after he is caught claims that Jason asked for them. The cops snag Jason and now say that he will serve at least 10 years in prison without bail unless he can also trick a friend into getting caught or exposing another drug dealer. Jason doesn’t know anyone else since he really isn’t into drugs so his hands are tied. His father John decides that he’ll have to do something himself. He owns a truck company and decides to use this as leverage. The cops agree that this is a good idea so they’ll let Jason go if John is able to bring in one of the big drug leaders. John has his mission, now he just has to pull this off!

Fortunately John has the help of Daniel, one of his staff who used to be in the whole drug business. It’s really fortunate that he has Daniel around because I can safely say that John would have been doomed without him. The whole thing’s pretty tragic for Daniel because he was really trying to go straight. He was keeping away from doing any kind of crime and really wanted to do good by his family. Unfortunately his circumstances weren’t great at the moment and so he took John’s offer. Daniel’s a likable guy and definitely the brains of the operation. He does have quite a few connections and I guess he did a good job of not burning any bridges when he got caught the first time.

Meanwhile John’s definitely a great main character as well. He definitely does all that he can to save Jason and never gives up. The plan is especially dangerous for him since there’s a whole lot that can go wrong here. He puts himself in danger with each mission but continues to go through since he knows it will save Jason. The prison itself isn’t exactly safe for the kid as he gets beaten up quite a bit over there. If John didn’t go to pull this mission off there’s a very good chance that Jason wouldn’t have survived the whole ordeal either way. So much for security in there.

Snitch manages to keep this plot pretty engaging thanks to its quality writing and pacing. Something is always happening during the film which is important and the characters are all pretty reasonable. John’s ex is definitely portrayed as not being very reasonable for sure but there’s a lot of tensions between them that the film wasn’t going to get into. Otherwise John’s family as well as Daniel’s were also doing their best to get through this. I’m glad that John came clean about what he was doing early on or at least relatively soon. At the end of the day it’s still better that the family knows in case things do end up going badly.

The film is also a good reminder to watch out who your friends are. You never know what’s going to happen but if a friend starts to talk about drugs or committing crimes then it’s time to quickly establish some distance. It also goes without saying that if you receive a package for something you’re not expecting then you should not sign. I think that’s something that you may easily do by mistake. If it has your name and address on it then it might be for you right? Wrong! If you’re not expecting it then don’t sign it. Worst case you’ll get a call or an email asking why you never got something but they should have told you in advance. You want to make sure you minimize the amount of ways someone can sabotage you. You can’t prevent everything but some scenarios you can at least prep a bit for.

Overall, Snitch is a pretty solid film. It shows how big the drug dealing game is and how the law treats it very seriously. It’s true that with many drug related crimes it is hard to avoid jail time. It’s also still a pretty big business to this day. It’s just hard to completely shut down such a big network even if you don’t really come across it during the day. Being a mole has got to be one of the riskiest jobs that you can do. There are tons of things that can go wrong and you have to play everything perfectly if you want to come out on top. It’s definitely not something that just anyone can do and you need a fair amount of luck to pull it off as well. I thought the situations were handled pretty realistic. So if you’re looking to check out a film based on real events with some quality action then this is one to check out. I assume there are probably some creative liberties taken with the climax as it all got pretty explosive but it definitely worked pretty well to end the film on a high note. It’s a very satisfying conclusion all the way through the ending.

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

Keeper of the Flame Review


It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. It’s a cautionary tale about how anyone can quickly be corrupted or coerced under the right circumstances. Always be careful of meeting your heroes because nobody is perfect so you’re likely going to be disappointed. The movie’s very well made. The cast is pretty small and the plot is rather direct so to an extent it can feel like not much is happening. That’s where the writing comes into play since the film needs to keep you interested until the final twist near the end of the movie. I thought it succeeded in this regard.

The movie starts with a legendary American hero dying in a car accident. The country is in mourning because this guy was a very prominent figure. His wife Christine is taking this especially hard and has been unwilling to see anyone. Famous reporter Stephen has arrived in town to get the scoop although his two reporter friends tell him he should give up. That’s not how Stephen operates though and he keeps on going until he finally meets Christine. Why is she so nervous and eager for him to go away? Stephen’s reporter instincts have kicked in and he senses a story!

The funny thing is that this is one of those movies where the villains really overthink things. The film would have been over in an instant if they hadn’t gone back after Stephen. Clive thinks that Christine’s decision not to meet with Stephen initially was pretty suspicious. He’s not wrong in this but suddenly appearing later on has the opposite effect. If they had left things alone Stephen may have had a feeling that something wasn’t right but he would have stopped there. It’s always interesting when the villains think too highly of the heroes because that’s pretty rare.

Nevertheless, Stephen’s definitely a solid character for the most part. He’s determined and doesn’t get intimidated when people threaten to beat him up or worse. You have to have nerves of steel to be a reporter and he’s definitely got that. In comparison the other two reporters look pretty bad as they give up with ease and don’t really do much of anything. They’re really just here for the banter although I can appreciate that since I’m always up for good banter. The main thing that holds Stephen back is the romance plot with Christine since her husband literally just died. Now, they weren’t actually all that close and there’s a lot going on with that relationship but you still can’t see this as anything but a rebound. I also thought that it didn’t really enhance the plot in any way.

The film has a solid ending that wraps things up as well so this is a really complete journey. The best part here is that the film had strong writing and was interesting from cover to cover. I liked the final twist and it’s not even unrealistic. It’s very easy to see something like this happening and the idea of playing groups against each other is something that is happening as we speak through every kind of media, social media, writing, and even in person. Division is a constant in life and one that always has the appearance of getting worse and worse with each passing year. The movie is just as timely now as when it came out with the relevant plotlines. In light of all of this, Christine did pretty good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t have gotten a little further from the situation but I don’t really see how she could have had a chance for any of that.

For the debate at the end where Christine and Stephen have differing views on how people handle these kinds of twists in real life, I’d say Stephen was right. At the end of the day, no matter how big a revelation or a twist there is, people will adapt and get used to it. Some will take it harder than others no doubt but it’s just not personal enough for most to be crushed by it. If it were that personal then it wouldn’t effect most of the others. Since you can never really know someone else, you can only get to hurt by learning something you didn’t already know. There are just limits to how you will feel and that’s why Stephen is right that the truth always has to come out. It may not be what everyone wanted to hear, but ultimately it’s what they needed to know. There’s one death that’s a little gratuitous at the ending as I don’t think it was really needed but you can see why the film went that route.

Overall, Keeper of the Flame is a pretty nice title. It is definitely a very relevant title as it has to do a whole lot with the movie. If you’re up for a mystery with quite a few twists and turns then this is up your alley. As mentioned, the only thing I could see holding this one back a little for some would just be the fact that the movie can feel a little slow at times. Not so much in a dragged out sense as it isn’t specific scenes, but the film has a very slow pace to it as it takes you through the story. The characters chat about life and hypotheticals as well. Everyone’s always got a speech. I’m always up for that though as the dialogue is pretty interesting to me. As long as you agree then you’ll enjoy the film.

Overall 7/10