Breakdown 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
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It’s time to look at an old 90s thriller. This is the kind of film where the whole premise is built around the characters not being very intelligent which is always worrisome. It’s not that good as the film tends to be more annoying than thrilling. An upside is that the music is surprisingly good though so you have something nice to listen to.

It all starts with Jeff and Amy driving to a new home. They have to drive through a long stretch of empty land to get to their destination though. They nearly bump into another car on the way which causes Jeff to get a little stressed out but at least the collision didn’t actually happen. Unfortunately their car does suddenly go dead though. A truck driver comes up and offers to drive them to the next town. Amy accepts and since Jeff believes that this isn’t a dangerous move he agrees with Amy going alone while he stays with the car. He quickly realizes that the wires were cut which is why the car wasn’t functioning so he heads to town shortly afterwards. Unfortunately everyone claims that Amy never went there. The driver also denies taking her and Jeff quickly realizes that quite a lot of people are in on this. If he’s to stop the villains he is going to have to grab a gun.

This film doesn’t make the conspiracy too huge like some other films. It’s a relatively small operation as the villain group is just comprised of a few different people, but they are all in key places. It is a little iffy how they have been so successful for so long with the police not doing anything to stop them though. They’ve had a pretty easy time of it and the other characters are so oblivious that they don’t notice prisoners right in their very house. Naturally that makes Jeff’s job even harder.

I am glad that the cop who showed up got one shot in before he went down at least. Otherwise his appearance would have been particularly disgraceful. All the cop does is give the villain a temporary fighting chance. The cast for this film is pretty small all things considered. The only real characters here are the squad of villains and the main couple. Naturally none of the villains are meant to be likable characters and Amy is gone for almost the whole movie.

Jeff is a decent lead, but definitely not the smartest one. As I mentioned earlier you can’t just split up and let someone get into a truck with a total stranger. You can definitely be an optimist and hope that things will go well, but to a certain extent you’ve also gotta be cautious. There’s a reason why they tell you not to talk to strangers. Things can always get very tricky at that point. Fortunately Jeff is very strong and able to climb even in a weakened state. Ultimately he did stay persistent throughout the adventure. His only other big mistake was near the end when he let all of the villains stick together as he left to find a car. You have to at least shoot them in the leg to keep them from hatching another plan. It almost cost him everything once more. I’m not sure if him being super optimistic like this was intentional, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t and so he just doesn’t come off as the most believable character.

Films revolving around kidnappings like this one are definitely hard to pull off because they can easily cross the line and just become not fun to watch. The ending is crucial and at least the film didn’t go the dark route which would have really crippled the score. That being said, it still goes out of its way to make sure that it’s rather dark with all the missing posters in the police office and through the discussions of how many times they’ve succeeded before. It makes the whole film rather dark and just not really one that you’ll ever have any interest in re watching. The film is rather short, but ends up feeling really long as well.

As I mentioned earlier, I did enjoy the soundtrack though. We get some really solid tense music and other good tunes that worked well for the action scenes. That’s definitely something that I can really appreciate since most films tend to just skip the soundtrack portion and end up being rather generic. This one put some actual thought into it and it ended up working out quite well. Probably the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a non franchise film in a long time.

Overall, Breakdown is not a film I’d recommend. At most it serves as a decent cautionary tale for common sense when on the road. Taking a car trip through such a place was always a risk and there’s not much you can do about your car breaking down. The rest of the film is rather preventable though and while the villains could have popped up and done things anyway, at least the heroes wouldn’t have made their job even easier. Also, while Jeff’s pen plan did end up working, once you give the money to the villains they really do have no reason to keep you or the hostage alive so you can never just give them the objective without making sure that you have a way to end things yourself. It’s like in all of the films where a villain holds you at gun point and tells you to get in the car. The heroes always obey and I just have to shake my head. If you get in the car then dying is the least of your worries and it’ll probably be more painful. At least if you run or tackle the guy you’ll die right away of succeed. Don’t make the job easier for these villains. If you want to watch a better thriller, check out Jack Reacher which has solid action scenes and good pacing.

Overall 3/10

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The Thing From Another World Review

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It’s time to look at a really old school alien film. These films usually went one of two ways. The first/best way is to introduce the alien relatively early on in the film and then legitimize the threat by having it blow up cities or take out a squad of UFOs to threaten Earth with. The second is to just have one alien show up and of course it isn’t actually bullet proof or anything like that. It’s a great way to destroy the hype and having all of this take place with a bunch of dogs present is just asking for trouble. Yes, this film wasn’t quite ready for the big time.

So the film starts off with the U.S. Air Force guys resting at the arctic. It may not have actually been the arctic but the whole place was in deep freeze so it may as well have been. We get a lot of small talk and everyone just messing around until an alien actually does crash nearby. It’s frozen in ice at least so there is no danger right? Well, one guy thought it might get cold since its frozen and all so he offers the block of ice an electric blanket. The alien wakes up and starts destroying them all. Can the army stop it?

Usually that’s the question that a film is built around and the tension is wondering if the humans will live. That’s not the case here as shooting the creature would put an end to everything. No, the problem is that the humans want him alive even if they have to sacrifice everyone else to do it. One of the most annoying scenes is when a guy goes into the barn for some reason and the alien starts biting him. Nobody wants to step in to help the poor chap since they don’t want to hurt the alien. That’s…..not a very nice stance to take here. The guy survives as eventually they decide to go help, but they couldn’t be slower if they tried.

Additionally, as this takes place in the snow they have a lot of sleigh dogs around. The humans are so cowardly that they send the dogs in first while they hide in the hut. Unfortunately one of the dogs does not make it so that was already game over for the film. It should always be the reverse where you keep the dogs inside and go to fight on your own. That’s the only respectable thing to do in such a situation.

Another problem this film has is just that it’s very boring. The alien isn’t very interesting…maybe I should stop calling him an alien at that as he’s basically just a space cave man. Don’t expect a Xenomorph design. That leaves the humans and those characters are completely forgettable to the point where none of them get any memorable lines. You’ll be waiting a long time for something interesting to happen and most likely that point just won’t come. It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs if we’re being honest.

I don’t want to say that the script is bad. It’s actually fairly decent so I’ll just blame the writing in general for not doing something to make this film stand out. I think the locale was a mistake because there’s only so much you could do in a cold environment in this day and age. The film’s best chance would have been to have taken place in a city or something. Realistically I doubt this would have magically transformed this into an amazing film or anything but it would have helped.

I don’t think I’ve said any positives yet so I should try to think of one since this film isn’t a 0 after all. I guess the pacing isn’t terrible. The scenes don’t really drag on, it’s more like the film itself is so slow that it often feels like the film is moving very slowly. I think that’s the best way to put it. While the characters aren’t interesting, I wouldn’t call them terrible or anything like that either. They get the job done and at the end of the day that’s all you can ask of them. Yeah…..I tried.

Overall, There’s not too much to say about this film beyond that. The characters are annoying and the alien wasn’t a lot of fun. If it ever got a sequel where the aliens starting falling from the skies and attacking the world then maybe that would be better. It would be hard to not be an improvement since that would add a lot of tension and excitement to the film which is sorely lacked. There’s a good reason why it took me so many weeks to get to this review when I usually get the movies up a few days after I’ve seen them. This one was just surprisingly bad and squeezing in animal violence is always a big no no. If you want to watch an alien invasion story, just check out Godzilla Final Wars.

Overall 3/10

The Mole People Review

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It’s time to look at a really old film featuring everyone’s least favorite retro monster…The Mole People. I’ve never really found these guys to be all that interesting to be honest. Their designs aren’t much better than the average human’s and they don’t seem to pose much of a threat. Still, a film around them could prove promising I suppose but they better be cleaning shop and wrecking the humans.

The film starts off with a 9 minute intro of an old man trying to lay down the hard facts about how the Earth is layered. He explains about the heat and volcanoes but does so in an incredibly bored voice. This whole segment is definitely not necessary in the film and only serves to curb your enthusiasm going into it. This preview just had no sense of direction or energy at all and I can imagine people slowly connecting the dots in the theatre at this point that they had just wasted their money.

We then get the actual start to the movie as the three diggers find some ancient ruins thanks to a local kid. There was a 4th digger but he wasn’t watching where he was going as ends up falling to his death. The others hurry after him but then realize that they are stuck as well. The caves seem man made though which makes the main characters a little suspicious. It turns out that an ancient civilization of humans live down here where they have enslaved the Mole Men. They are quickly convinced that the main characters are agents of their god but know this myth cracks the main characters will be in grave danger. They’ve got to get out of here!

As these humans have never seen light before, the flashlight is incredibly useful against them. Just a quick flash will blind them and cause their whole army to retreat. The tough part is that the flashlight will run out of battery soon and the heroes like keeping it on to comfort themselves. It’s a dangerous move but if they are confident about it then so I will be as well.

One thing that definitely doesn’t help the movie’s case from the start is the fact that the Mole Men have actually been enslaved and must do the bidding of the humans. That takes away from them being the main villains completely. Thanks to the climax we also learn that they have super strength and can easily destroy the humans with a single blow. We also see them easily drag some humans into the ground throughout the film. It’s just hard to believe that they would be turned into slaves like this and it’s a poor direction for the film to go into.

This is where the film is just mean spirited as we see them beaten repeatedly. The main characters show up to help them once in a while but naturally when they are not there you can imagine that the beatings continue. Even the ending is rather mean spirited as one of the main characters gets crushed by a rock. Keep in mind that this is at the very end of the film once they were past the danger. What’s the point of letting this character die and effectively giving the villains a win? I certainly don’t think that was a good idea and just makes the ending a downer.

From the 3 main characters at the beginning, the old man was definitely very annoying. He was constantly panicking and running around. The guy was a liability the whole time and how did he not realize that one of the Mole Men has scratched 3 large gashes through his chest? It was hard to feel bad for him when the villains inevitably found him because he nearly destroyed the whole party. While the other 2 characters were better, they weren’t all that smarter. They were quick to eat the mushrooms which they should have suspected were probably drugged since the villagers really didn’t like them. They didn’t have a whole lot of eating options of course, but another such moment is when they put down the flashlight all by itself instead of holding on to it. Rookie move. At least they could fight though.

Naturally the cave also makes for a very boring backdrop. There’s just not much to actually look at since the film is so dark and it’s just an excuse for the film to get away with a minimal amount of sets. Well, there are definitely worse backdrops than a cave so this isn’t a serious complaint or anything. As far as negatives go it is certainly all the way at the bottom of the list.

Overall, This is definitely a very weak movie and not one that you are very likely going to remember. The Mole Men are incredibly weak and the human villains are not particularly distinct in any way. The human characters are generic but not in a good way and the really boring intro doesn’t do the film any favors. I don’t think anyone is watching this film for a chance to see the humans enslaving more populations so this movie just doesn’t give us the story that we want. It is also worth mentioning that the romance is very tacked on for this film. I would advise skipping this movie and checking out one of the many better monster films out there like Gamera.

Overall 3/10

The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

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It’s time for another romance film, but I’m afraid that this one is pretty bad. It probably has the worst use of time travel that I’ve seen yet and the characters are no good. There are a lot of betrayals on both sides and we even have the classic “I can go through time but I can’t alter it except for when I do” kind of time travel logic. That’s still the worst kind to be honest. There isn’t much that’s nice to say about this movie so you’ve been warned.

The plot follows a guy named Henry who is a time traveler. The problem is that it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Henry can’t bring his clothes with him nor can he control where he teleports or when it happens. He could be stuck somewhere for minutes or months. Then there are different versions of him teleporting all around as well which complicates things further. There is no rhyme or reason to his teleportations although it also seems like he can control them to an extent as well so that may be up for debate. He just wants to have a normal life so he finds Clare when she is a kid and hangs out with her all through the years so she grows to like him once she is an adult. Henry now feels like he has won at last, but his constant teleporting threatens to end their relationship once and for all.

There’s a lot of dubious actions here by all parties involved. Fortunately there are only 2 real characters who have a big role here, Henry and Clare. Bad news is that both of them are pretty iffy. Lets start with Henry as his issues are pretty self explanatory. He used time travel to really improve his odds with Clare which is definitely not a legitimate tactic. In the present when Clare tracks him down he doesn’t even know who she is, but is very quick to ignore that so they can have a moment. This guy is definitely very easy so is Clare sure that she wants him? Well, yeah since through time travel she knows what will happen and who is she to defy destiny? Henry continues bouncing around time and also doesn’t know any boundaries so he decides to read her diary without permission so he knows exactly where to teleport and what to say. The guy is bad news and the characters did warn Clare about this. He also has an operation so he can’t have any kids without telling Clare first since he didn’t want to talk about it. Great.

Then we have Clare. She knew all about the teleporting and the various risks before getting together with Henry so she certainly can’t pull the “I didn’t know” card. The problem is that she basically still pulls it towards the end as she states that she just can’t handle this anymore. It’s a little late to be saying stuff like that now. Then she decides to get around Henry’s operation by cheating on him with his past self. That’s definitely a very iffy thing to do. The morality of that is certainly pretty negative and both characters just keep dragging each other down.

Also, a recurring theme in the film is that Henry keeps seeing a vision where he ultimately ends up dying. Then he should at least know to brace himself for the teleport right?He even knows what day it will happen at the very end but still looks around like a deer in the headlights at the end. At least duck or something, anything could have potentially saved his life there. Instead he just made everything go according to plan. The film would argue that it was simply unavoidable, but I never bought into that.

Overall, The Time Traveler’s Wife is just not a good film. The characters are super annoying and this is one of the worst versions of time travel that I have seen in a long time. They really made the power be as bad as it possibly could and it doesn’t help that he is using the ability in the wrong way. With nobody to root for and a plot that isn’t interesting, the film just doesn’t have anything going for it. You’ll want to give this one a hard pass and it serves as another reminder that romance-dramas typically aren’t very good.

Overall 2/10

Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review

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Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Dressed To Kill Review

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We have now come to the end of this Sherlock Holmes series. It’s definitely been quite the ride with a whole lot of excellent films. Interestingly enough this one is more of a thriller than a mystery since we all know who the villain is, but that’s where the game of cat and mouse comes into play. We even get to see the villains trick Watson one last time.

Legends say that there are 3 music boxes which hold immense power. If you gather all 3 and listen to the music, it will tell you a secret code that will lead to a treasure worth a large fortune. Naturally the villains want to grab these 3. They manage to snag 2 of them, but an innocent small business owner bought the third and then Holmes bought it from her to keep the lady out of danger. Hilda and her posse are prepared to fight to the death with Holmes. Can the detective really hope to come out of this unscathed?

In a way this film also felt a bit like a homage to the others so I wonder if the series knew that it was coming to an end. For example, it has been quite a while since Holmes was knocked out by the enemy and captured but that happens here. It wasn’t part of the plan or anything like that either so it certainly wasn’t his best moment. Still he did a good job of thinking up a plan on the spot and finding the escape route with the largest % chance of escape is just what you would expect from him. He’s still the best character in this film and definitely appears to be a little more merciless at the end as well as he talks gleefully about how the villains will be hanged.

Then we have Watson who is tricked by the villains one last time. It is child’s play for Hilda to use a smoke bomb to distract the assistant while she got away from the loot. It wasn’t a very promising start for Watson and he looked pretty bad but at least he took it in stride. Surprisingly he didn’t really help at the end to make up for this moment. I guess he can’t come out on top every time.

Next up is Hilda who makes for an interesting antagonist. She is definitely intelligent as she outwits Holmes in their first outing and comes close to achieving her objective. She isn’t quite as ruthless as some of the other villains as she prefers not to destroy her opponents but that can also be her undoing. Had the bald man been spared he could have easily identified her to the police which would be risky.

As always the writing is on point here. All of the characters are very polite even when threatening each other with death. They are chivalrous all the way through and one villain even allows Holmes one last smoke before he is to die. It’s definitely something that will be missed in the newer films. It’s also impressive just how much content the film is able to squeeze into each case since the movies are always so short. It always does a good job of making each scene count.

That being said, this film may have had one of the weakest intros. Maybe it wasn’t actually that long but it felt like a little while before Holmes and Watson actually appeared. At first the film was showing off the boxes and explaining that origin but the whole time you are just waiting for the crime to start. The auction was pretty interesting though.

Overall, Dressed To Kill is a reasonably good send off. It would have been perfect if it had ended with the second to last film instead, but we’ll take what we can get. Imagine ending on the first World War II adaptions…now that would have been something. Sherlock Holmes never overstayed his welcome in the cinema and managed to end without missing a beat. I highly recommend checking this film out to see just how much fun these old school murder mysteries are. I don’t know what mystery film I shall be checking out next but it certainly has a high bar to match.

Overall 8/10

Tomb Raider (2018) Review

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It’s time to look at the new Tomb Raider film. It had a lot to live up to since the first two movies in the series were quite solid. It would also be starting at a disadvantage since the first two took place when she was a pro while this was a prequel where she was just starting out. Origin stories are never quite as good as the hero’s later adventures but maybe this one would be an exception. The first trailer was pretty solid after all. While the movie isn’t quite as good as it looked, it’s still a decently good movie. It just needed more scenes of Lara actually taking down the villains as opposed to letting her friend do most of the work.

The movie starts off with Lara losing a boxing match against who I assume must be the regional champ. She tries to pull herself together in time to win a race of catch the fox but loses there as well and is brought to the cops. Fortunately her family is rich so she gets to walk out with no repercussions. Her aunt tells her that she needs to sign the power of attorney to give the aunt all of the power within the company. Lara thinks that this is ludicrous. Not because the aunt will effectively be stealing the company away but because she resents the fact that her father died so early and wants to make it on her own. Still, money troubles don’t just go away so she made the tough call to accept the money. Her father left one last message in a puzzle with the will and it shows an island on it. Lara quickly jumps on this and dashes over with the help of a local guide. They have to stop an evil company from destroying the world by bringing back a plague with them. The issue is that Lara is just one person against a private army and her father certainly isn’t going to help. He’s not dead anymore, but his spirit is broken and that’s effectively the same thing.

We get quite a few action scenes here where Lara challenges the main villains in hand to hand combat. As a boxer she certainly does have some moves. While she can’t go up against groups of fighters anymore she can still manage some 1 on 1 fights well enough. The fights are close and there’s nothing fancy about them as it’s simply a fight to the death. The fights can be a little dark so it’s hard to see what’s going on, but they’re all right. A little below average compared to the average action film, but they serve their purpose. Seeing Lara use the bow and arrow briefly will definitely remind you of the Hunger Games.

As for Lara herself, she’s a good lead. At times the accents for some of the main characters including her can make it a little tough to understand them, but it seemed to be a realistic accent I suppose. It’s good that she’s always ready for a fight and is rather headstrong. I don’t really have any complaints about her. Hopefully for the sequel if we get one there will be a time skip just so she can be more powerful to keep up with her confidence. Her father is definitely irredeemable at this point though. Richard is annoying through every scene that he’s in. He leaves behind a tape with a ton of confidential blueprints that will help out the villains immensely and then blames Lara for bringing it along. What else did he actually think she would do? He references that she never likes doing what she is told so that wouldn’t change here. The worst part is that the villain organization already had an inside agent and there was a huge chance that they would have gotten the tape instead of Lara. Richard’s plan was just heavily short sighted from start to finish.

The main villain Mathias was very generic. He’s just another guy who works as a lackey for a richer guy in order to get an early retirement. He tries to have a mild sob story about how he can’t see his kids until the mission is done, but the film doesn’t even try to make him sympathetic. That’s a good thing since it never would have worked. He can’t really fight but has a lot of raw strength so he gives Lara a good match. There just isn’t too much to this guy and you just won’t remember him a few years down the line. He probably should have finished off Lara from the start since she was clearly a threat to his plans.

Finally we have Lu. He has a shaky start as he gave in to his drunk tendencies and doesn’t come across as very brave but mans up when the going gets tough. In the climax he actually does most of the work as he shoots down a bunch of guards and even takes down more fighters once he is out of ammo. The guy definitely seems like the low key MVP here and hopefully he got paid pretty well by Lara afterwards.

There is a cliffhanger at the end to set up the sequel. It’s fairly open ended though so while we know who the villains will be the plot can still revolve around anything. I think a sequel would be pretty solid so I’m game for that to show up soon. In theory we need a good rival for Lara soon though so maybe the corporate villains will hire an adventurer of their own in order to keep up. The film can really do anything at this point although Lara is certainly to blame for the villains getting a better foothold since her decision at the end didn’t really make any logical sense.

Overall, Tomb Raider is a film that’s very by the numbers. The action scenes aren’t all that good and while the main character is fun, she really doesn’t feel like Lara Croft for most of it. Ironically her first scene would have felt the most like her except for the fact that she was getting her boxing gloves handed to her in the fight. It’s based on the newer Tomb Raider game which is the weakest one in the series so it’s most likely due to the game’s influence but since the next movie might go its separate path things might be different. I’d still recommend this movie if you’re looking for a good action title though. You won’t be bored as the pacing is fairly good.

Overall 6/10

Sherlock Holmes: Pursuit To Algiers Review

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Back to back Sherlock Holmes reviews? Yes, it’s time to jump right back into the land of mystery. This one throws the cast on a ship which means that there isn’t a lot of room to run for both the heroes and the villains. They will have to execute their missions with a lot of strategic planning in order to come out on top. It’s a pretty fun film and probably has the most direct confrontations between Holmes and the villains that we have seen in quite a while.

The film starts with a mysterious group luring Holmes and Watson to an abandoned house. They want Holmes to guard Prince Nikolas by getting on a plane with him and acting on an escort. Holmes accepts but there is no room for Watson so the sidekick heads on a boat to meet up with Holmes again later on. Holmes pops up anyway though and tells Watson it was all a trick. The problem is that 3 Russian spies come aboard and want to destroy Nikolas. There is also a mysterious lady named Sheila who always panics at the sight of Holmes. What secret is she hiding and why should she be terrified of Holmes? Time to find out!

At first the film plays out like your typical mystery as we are introduced to a bunch of suspicious characters and naturally they are all very sketchy throughout, but then we see the actual villains come aboard the ship. This means that either one of the suspects is an accomplice or they were all red herrings. Either way it makes for a fairly tense atmosphere. Also, the boat has a lot of people on it so in theory that makes it hard for the villains to try anything, but it can also be hard for Holmes to protect Nikolas without making it too obvious either. A lot of mind games are had here.

One such moment that worked really well was when the villains challenges Holmes and Watson to a game of curls. Throughout the match they use game lingo to attack the other person’s strategy about how to deal with the Prince. Holmes ends up doing pretty well in both arenas while acting innocent as he always does. Holmes likes to put up a humble facade even while he is smirking on the inside. He is fairly aggressive here as he breaks someone’s wrist and certainly doesn’t back down from the opposition. He even steps in to save the prince from an untimely swim when Watson proved unequal to the task.

This was definitely one of Sherlock’s better appearances. I’m also glad he was pretty careful about not actually getting on the plane that was pretty obviously a trap. He was maybe a little too trusting in even getting into such a situation, but I have to assume that he recognized the people he was dealing with right from the start. I’m also confident that he wouldn’t have fallen for a certain voice trick that was near the end of the film.

Unfortunately this was not one of Watson’s better appearances. He has a little too much fun with Sheila and forgets the situation too quickly. He’s a man on a mission right now so you think he would show a little more urgency. He also doesn’t guard Nikolas too well and tendsto let the guy out of his sight a lot. An old lady is also able to deter him from arriving as soon as he would have liked by putting him in the opposite direction. He was just really careless here and of course that tends to happen when you are the comic relief character of the series, but most of the other films put him in a bit of a better light than this one.

Of course, Nikolas still deserves most of the blame. He knows that everyone is after him but still makes alot of rookie mistakes. When Sheila asks him to go onto the deck with her to hang out he should have realized that this could be dangerous. Despite that, he seems rather oblivious the whole time and doesn’t even look for traps. He goes awful close to the water and just doesn’t show any common sense the whole time. His final scene is just as bad as all of the others and I was almost expecting his end to be a rather tragic one as a result. The guy just clearly doesn’t put too much stock in his own life.

Sheila’s subplot is probably the only one that just isn’t very good here. It’s just unnecessary and taking her out of the film would have put more focus on the actual case. She makes for a good red herring most of the time, but even then her motivations don’t seem all that consistent. From the three villains, Gregor was probably the best one. He is essentially the Moriarty of the group who likes to attack the heroes with carefully thought out plans when they least expect it. He isn’t as quick to act as the other two. Of course, waiting so long has its weaknesses as well, but I can’t say that there was any real fault with Gregor’s plan. It was actually really sound.

Mirko is the most aggressive one in the group and his knife throwing skills were on point. This guy is definitely a fighter. Naturally that’s not enough to take on someone like Holmes though. The detective is always ready for him. Then we have Gubec who gets the smallest role of the 3. That’s likely because he can’t talk so without any lines it was hard for him to be quite as memorable as the other 2. He still does his best though and isn’t bad I guess, but there’s just nothing all that likable about him.

Overall, This was a pretty solid Holmes film. The boat actually made for a great backdrop to the story. It was nice seeing the heroes and villains all stuck on such a small object like the boat. The film maybe spends too much time on red herrings, but at least the suspects are believable enough where you might suspect them for a while. Of course, the more Watson is sure that one of them is the culprit, the more confidence you will get in that just not being the case. It’s almost a little sad when you think about it.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Sherlock Holmes film series. This one is pretty solid as are just about all of the Holmes titles to be honest. We even get to see the return of Professor Moriarty once more as he proves to be the real mastermind. This means that the woman in green doesn’t get to be quite as important as she might have been, but still makes for a pretty good antagonist. The detectives have their work cur out for them this time!

The film starts off with a lot of gruesome murders occurring in London. Holmes is struggling to find a motive or something that connect the victims while Watson believes that it is probably just an insane villain. Coincidentally enough, hypnotism is starting to become popular and a lady named Lydia has been performing it on people. Watson claims that hypnosis is completely fake and wouldn’t work on anyone with an ounce of character, but is that entirely accurate? Only one way to find out!

As always Holmes is a solid main character who is good at staying one step ahead of the villains. While Moriarty has bested him in the past, I’d say that it was effectively a draw this time. That being said, Holmes’ final plan was rather risky as he left himself with no real out until Watson came. He would have had to try fighting 3 against 1 and even with his skills that may have been tough. I’m glad that hypnosis didn’t work on him though.

Watson is a blast in this film and I dare say that he might have even been better than Holmes for once. I definitely liked the scene where he starts to insult the hypnotists quite a bit. While he ultimately loses in that scene I do tend to agree with him. Hypnosis is not something that should work on anyone so easily. If you’re strapped to a chair and forced to watch a bunch of lights for days or something then that’s one thing. Looking at lights for a few minutes? Nah, I’m definitely not going to buy that one. A bunch of films portray it as some kind of super power that works almost instantly, but I just can’t buy into that. Watson was right even if the film made him appear to be wrong.

Lydia was a decent villain but not as good as the lady from a few films ago. Lydia is more of a minion than a commander even if the whole plan does revolve around her abilities. She does a good job in the role. Moriarty seemed to have a different actor in this film as he looked very different, but the personality was still the same as always. He really does have a flair for theatrics even though it ends up costing him pretty much every time.

As always the writing was quite strong in this film. The banter between the characters was on point and the mystery was fairly sound. It’ll keep you guessing for a little while until the film basically tells you who the villain is. Admittedly this is rather early on, but seeing the heroes try to solve the puzzle is fun as well. The pacing for the film is great and the movie never drags on. That is definitely how a good mystery film should be when you think about it. It’s gotta keep the action and tempo up at all times.

Based on how many times Moriarty has died you will probably be wondering if he is really dead by the end of this film. In truth he should have been dead quite a long time ago and it’s clear that the writers just like bringing him back. It’s definitely possible that he could return, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him out. He is a great rival for the legendary Mr. Holmes, but we’ve had quite a few other villains who were able to hold their own as well. After all, at the end of the day Moriarty is basically just a real smart villain who likes to banter. We can certainly find a few other villains to fit that role.

Overall, I would definitely recommend checking out this film. It may not have a whole lot of unique things going for it, but at the end of the day what else do you need aside from the classic Sherlock Holmes formula? No two mysteries are the same after all so by shuffling the suspects and locations you have created a brand new story. With the film series coming to a close I am glad that it has continued to perform at a top level. The film makes no real mistakes so it’s just a blast from start to finish. It’s easy to see why Holmes is still regarded as the best mystery franchise.

Overall 8/10

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review

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It’s time to look at the new Jurassic World film. The franchise has typically received low scores from me as it ranges in the 3-4 star category, but maybe this one would be different. I can’t say that I had high hopes for it to be honest since the trailers were rather worrisome with the dinosaurs getting trapped and everything. Unfortunately the movie is as bad as I feared with this part being played up a lot. As always the humans seem to have the edge on the dinosaurs which defeats the entire point of the franchise. Definitely a film that you are going to want to give a pass this time around.

The film starts off with the world wondering what to do about the dinosaurs over on the island. It’s about to explode so all of the dinosaurs will die unless the government makes a move. The lobbiests don’t care much since they can’t make a quick buck so the government decides not to intervene. This is when Mills decides to save all of the dinosaurs and calls up Claire. Claire is certainly eager to help, but what she isn’t quite as enthusiastic about is having to call up her old friend, Owen. Owen doesn’t want to help and prefers to drink a quick beer, but ultimately he decides to go along since the movie would have been over otherwise. The heroes are double crossed and all of the dinosaurs are captured. The heroes decide to plan a rescue op, but are they really ready for this?

This movie makes quite a lot of mistakes and the first one is one that I already referenced. The dinosaurs spend the whole movie being captured and humbled by the humans. They are caged up and easily defeated by sedatives. Naturally this makes sense as humans will always win thanks to their tech, but it doesn’t make for an interesting movie. After all, how can you be scared of these creatures if they are always losing? That’s one thing that the original film did better than the sequels since there wasn’t much tech at the place so the dinosaurs had control from start to finish. By putting them at the bottom of the food chain, it just doesn’t feel like a true Jurassic film.

Any scene with the humans and dinosaurs is typically brutal for this reason. There’s just way too much animal violence here for the film to have ever stood a chance. Then the film tried to play up the tragic angle by having a ton of Dinosaurs die a slow death as they realize that there is no way to escape the island. We understand their fate from the start so why do we have to watch it? Even after the main characters have gone through their tough experiences they end up making the wrong call and don’t want to help the dinosaurs. It makes you wonder why we didn’t get a better main cast.

Owen is basically the same character from the last film. He’s always ready with sarcastic comebacks, but at the end of the day he is just looking out for himself. He takes a lot of convincing to go to the island to help out Claire and even then he only seems to do it for her and not because he actually cares about the dinosaurs. He makes it abundantly clear that humans win out in the end. He has a good action scene though and makes for an amusing character. He’s not a heroic character, but I suppose he has his moments.

Then we have Claire who has done her best to help the dinosaurs. She is certainly a lot more noble than Owen. It’s just a shame that she didn’t use the last few years to workout more to prepare for another skirmish with the dinosaurs. Her romance plot with Owen is still pretty iffy as well and could have been cut out entirely. She’s not a bad character and doesn’t panic all that much anymore, but it would be nice if she could have done a little more.

Mills is the main villain and he isn’t quite as fun as the last one. He’s your classic rich villain who just likes to see the profits at the end of a long business deal. He isn’t very smart and doesn’t do a great job of covering his tracks, but since none of the other characters are that smart is tends to work out. There’s just nothing to differentiate him from the rest of the corporate villains so he will be forgotten very quickly.

Franklin is the comic relief character in the film. You do always have to question if a comic relief character is needed when the film is already part comedy, but I suppose the writers wanted to cover all of the bases. None of his jokes land and they are all ones that we have already heard. Franklin is just out of his depth here and it’s hard to see how he has lasted so long anyway. He naturally has his big moment at the end, but you won’t be able to take it seriously.

Zia is the touch character of the group and is made to be a complete contrast to Franklin. She talks back to all of the villains and constantly gives everyone attitude. She is ready to help the dinosaurs and never gets scared. The character can be a bit obnoxious like throwing out random insults for no reason, but I’ll definitely take a fearless character like that over someone like Franklin.

Then we have Maisie who comes equipped with her own subplot and a plot twist that the sequel will probably delve into. She’s a decent enough kid who is smart during some moments and less so in others. Once she found out that the villain was doing something behind her grand father’s back she should have called the cops. Of course, he should have done the same thing but made the worst move in the film as he asked the main villain to call the cops. That’s certainly never going to happen when you’re dealing with a legitimate villain. Maisie wins back some points for making the right call at the end of the film though so I’ve definitely got to give her credit there.

As far as the new dinosaur goes, the design was fairly lazy. It just doesn’t have as much personality as the big dino from the last film as it just looks like a big raptor. There’s not much to say about it and while the dinosaur is very strong, I think the T Rex probably could have beaten it. Intelligence was its most potent weapon and that won’t help much when you’re being overwhelmed in a fight. Blue was a loyal dinosaur as always and looked pretty good. It’s just a shame that everyone is always after it and Owen isn’t strong enough to protect her. This is why Blue certainly made the right choice in the end.

The ending of the film is decent as we finally may get to spread things out a bit. Hopefully it doesn’t just lead to the cops shooting dinosaurs all around though as we get to a Transformers situation where the humans have once again gained the upper hand. Hopefully we get to see the water dinosaur again as it keeps on getting quick cameos but then the film is afraid to show it any longer. I get that the dinosaur is OP, but I would still like to see him be featured more. Due to the nature of Dinosaur films though, it’s unlikely that we will ever see a Jurassic World film that is actually good. At most we get glimpses of what it could be like with these two films when the dinosaurs aren’t around. It turns into a bit of a cheesy comedy with less than amazing characters, but at least it’s an enjoyable film. As soon as the dinosaurs come in they bring with them a whole slew of negatives that outweigh the positives.

The writing certainly isn’t good which goes without saying. Nobody knows how to act around dinosaurs and the characters are so busy trying to be funny that they don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. The film even throws in some crude humor in an attempt to be funny, but like everything else this film failed at that as well. Also, you may not want to bother sticking around for the after credits scene as it’s a little pointless since we already get the general idea of it from the normal ending. I was hoping for something with a little more impact like another super dinosaur running around. That would have been a little more exciting. At the very least, I would have liked to have seen NYC get involved.

Overall, Fallen Kingdom is possibly the weakest Jurassic Park film. Currently I believe I have the weakest one as either being the first or the 2nd. It’s a tough call though as those 2 and Jurassic World all got 3s if I recall correctly. This one just combines the weakest elements from the various films and pulls them all together. It brings back the annoying human characters from the last one, throws in the goat scene from the first film, and also brings in the government involvement from one of the other films, but adds it on quite a bit more than any of the others. It’s just a very mean film and one with no replay value. If you like Dinosaurs then this is a film that you will want to skip. I’d sooner recommend checking out an iconic Godzilla film like Final Wars. That movie will still give you big creature fights without any of the extra stuff.

Overall 2/10