Archive for action

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) Review

Posted in Good Day to Die Hard with tags , , , on June 11, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Yippee Ki-Yah Mother Russia

Release Date- February 14th, 2013

Running Time-98-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Skip Woods

Director- John Moore

Starring- Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigi, Sergey Kolesnikov

The modern day action film started to take shape with the release of Sam Peckinpah’s the Wild Bunch and while viewers of a certain age may not realize it, but it was one of the pioneers in the action genre. The 70s with the Dirty Harry films and Peckinpah again with the Getaway really put down the ground work of what we would see in the 80s and beyond; First Blood (more so First Blood: Rambo Part II) and Lethal Weapon shaped the 80s action film along with the first Die Hard and I don’t think any other action films made that much of an impact (not counting the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard sequels all, which helped elevate the genre). But since the Michael Bay era started the action film has gone straight to hell for the most part. While there were some decent films to come out I can honestly say I’ve disliked the bulk of action films with a few exceptions such as films like Lethal Weapon 4, Rambo and Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies to name a few. After Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995 the series would be over until 2007 with the release of Live Free or Die Hard, which unlike the past 3 was rated PG-13 and started a change in the series and in some ways Die Hard with a Vengeance started that change as originally it was written as an original film and rumors were also it was considered as a Lethal Weapon sequel, which from what I can gather is totally false, but the script went through a rewrite and made into a Die Hard sequel and while a bit different it still feels like Die Hard, but with A Good Day to Die Hard it really doesn’t even feel like a Die Hard film and unlike part 3 this feels like a film rewritten to be part of the franchise.

Sadly with the return of the series quality has gone down the drain as its the typical Hollywood productions, but at the very least Live Free or Die Hard was watchable, but A Good Day to Die Hard was a rather terrible film and it might be A Good Day for the Series to Die Hard. A Good Day to Die Hard is the kind of film that you watch and with each passing scene you forget what just happened. Once the movie is over it’s the type you’ll be hard pressed to remember any details of what just happened since the whole production is so completely forgettable from the boring opening to poorly paced final act nothing here is memorable. As a series goes on its fairly common for sequels to drop the the number after it and starting with the 3rd film they dropped the number and starting with the 4th Live Free or Die Hard or the absurd title of A Good Day to Die Hard it seems more thought is put into trying to come up with a witty title than a good movie.

John McClane (Willis) heads out to Russia in order to help his son Jack (Courtney) who seems to be in a lot of trouble, but not long after getting there John learns his son is actually a spy for the CIA.

The script by Skip Woods is horribly plotted and it seems the script was just patched together. It takes far too long until anything is reveled and it makes for a boring mess of a script. The script is also light on dialogue at times and that isn’t a bad thing since its so poorly written. John is mostly just a sidekick here, which was the first of many mistakes. The characters are boring and lifeless and the backstory between John and his son is far too cliched and poorly written for the viewer to really give a damn. While John is an established character you still need to develop him and that’s why previous parts worked well because they continued to develop John, but Woods doesn’t bother with any character development for John or any other character. The villains are by far the worst in the series as they’re bland, boring and totally forgettable. Skip Woods writes a script that’s poor in every aspect from plot to character and its your standard modern day action film and its films like these is why I avoid modern Hollywood.

As poor as the script was, director John Moore makes even more of a mess out of things as the film is horribly paced and often a bit boring. Action scenes fail at bringing any excitement and are taken from every other Hollywood action film basically this is modern action 101 with no creativity at all. While the action sequences in the first 3 may be over the top, but yet I could still accept them and never question it whereas starting with Live Free or Die Hard and continuing here I can’t even count how many times I rolled my eyes at the idiocy. Were the action scenes that much more over the top than those of the first 3? Perhaps not, but yet something about them worked and that’s actually the problem I have in every modern action film. I think part of the problem action wise has to do with the writing as well and not just the direction. I think when the film is well written with great characters its easier to accept the over the top action scenes and not question them, but when the film is poorly written with bland characters that’s when I can’t suspend my disbelief. Though make no mistake even with the poor writing, Moore delivers a terribly paced film and by the final act I wasn’t even paying attention anymore and the action sequences are hands the worst of the series and some of the worst in recent memory. Like I said there is no excitement behind them, no suspense it’s just a poorly made film by a poor director.

The only positive aspect of the film is Bruce Willis who is still giving it his all and while it would be easy to phone it in due to the poor product, but Willis is a trooper and at the very least helps at least keep the film semi-watchable.

Most reviews for A Good Day to Die Hard are poor and I can honestly say they are legit. It isn’t an angry fan boy rant the poor reviews are spot on a this film is rather poor and while I like the franchise there are many action films I like more, but I can say Skip Woods and John Moore made me not care about this series anymore and I have no desire to see a follow up and I’ll just stick with the classic first 3. A Good Day to Die Hard is a mess of a film and even the biggest fans of the series are bound to dislike this. For me it’s not a shocker as I stated before I greatly dislike the vast majority of modern action since the Michael Bay era.

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Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) Review

Posted in Lethal Weapon 3 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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LETHAL WEAPON 3

**** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Magic Is Back Again

Release Date- May 15, 1992

Running Time- 118-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen

Director- Richard Donner

Starring- Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Stuart Wilson

Some people consider Lethal Weapon 3 to be the weakest of the series and in some ways that might be true, but even a weaker Lethal Weapon is still a great movie and this is one hell of an action/comedy. I personally though love this film and rate it up there with the original, but I can see why some would see this as the weakest. The plot might be a little light and odds are by the end you may even forget what the main bad guy has done, but this film is all about the interaction between Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) as well as all the other great characters. I hate to say this because its such a cliche thing to say, but Hollywood doesn’t make them like this anymore. All we get is mindless action, zero plot and subpar characters. Now true Lethal Weapon 3 may not be remembered for its plot, but we get exciting action scenes and some of the best characters in any action film and even Riggs & Murtaugh continue to be developed.

Former cop Jack Travis (Wilson) is an arms dealer and is putting various high power guns on the streets with bullets dubbed cop killers as they can rip through a bullet proof vest. This gets Riggs and Murtaugh on the case joined by Lorna Cole (Russo) who works for Internal Affairs and is also sort of a female version of Riggs and obviously a potential love interest.

The screenplay by Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen is excellent and while yes the plot is weak and like I said before you might even forget why Riggs and Murtaugh are after Jack Travis, but this film is all about the main characters. Here we are in part 3 of the series and Riggs and Murtaugh are still being developed and changing with each film. The script has some extremely funny moments as well as some great dramatic moments. Boam & Kamen write a truly amazing script that works on every level. The script is pretty much about what happens on and off the job, which makes the lack of depth with the main plot not an issue at all. Great character moments and really funny moments make this script a winner.

Director Richard Donner delivers a fun, well paced and action packed film. The film gets off to an explosive start (pun intended) and it never slows down. The action scenes are fun and exciting and while sure its over the top at times, but Donner makes it believable and crafts one of my all time favorite action/comedies.

The cast for all the Lethal Weapon movies are great and Lethal Weapon 3 is no different; the chemistry between the cast is amazing and that’s what elevates not only this, but all the others. While Mel Gibson off camera has had his problems he is a terrific actor and he’s iconic as Riggs and Danny Glover gets his respect, but I also find him underrated as well and he and Gibson have some of the best chemistry between two actors I have ever seen on screen. Rene Russo was a great addition to the cast and like Danny Glover, I also find her to be an underrated actress; she’s just great here as the risk taker Lorna Cole. And of course there is Joe Pesci; he pretty much stole the film in Lethal Weapon 2 and does it again here with some truly laugh out loud moments.

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The Inglorious Bastards (1978) Review

Posted in Inglorious Bastards, The (1978) with tags , , , , on August 8, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS

**** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Whatever the Dirty Dozen Did They Do It Dirtier!

Release Date- February 8th, 1978

Running Time- 99-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay-Sandro Continenza, Sergio Grieco, Romano Migliorini, Laura Toscano, Franco Marotta

Director-Enzo G. Castellari

Starring- Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, Michael Pergolani, Jackie Basehart, Debra Berger, Raimund Harmstorf and Ian Bannen as Col. Buckner

Released in 1978 this cult classic has gotten a new lease on life with the release of Quentin Tarantino’s movie under the same name just Bastards is spelled Basterds. Outside of the WWII setting the movies are quite different and Tarantino’s movie really isn’t a remake, but more inspired by if anything. I’ve only seen a couple of films by Enzo G. Castellari those being 1990 Bronx Warriors and The New Barbarians and while I didn’t hate either I wasn’t a huge fan, but one day I’ll revist them and see if I can get more into them, but due to that I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of The Inglorious Bastards, but in the end I have to say this was a great film that truly deserves a wider audience.

The plot focuses on a group of US soldiers being transported to military prison for various reasons and on their way the convoy is attacked by Nazis, which leads to the soldiers escaping and the plan it to head to Switzerland, which is neutral so therefore they can avoid going to prison. As they try and make their way the Bastards end up signing up for a suicide mission.

The screenplay by Sandro Continenza, Sergio Grieco, Romano Migliorini, Laura Toscano, and Franco Marotta is light on plot and for the most part it’s never really made clear why some of the Bastards are being taken into custody and I’m kinda surprised it took so many writers since there again really wasn’t much in the way of plot. However with that said while the characters lack depth they are all entertaining and really fun and the script also features some really funny moments as well. I can forgive the light plot since I really liked all the main characters; as I stated before sure they might lack depth, but they do have their own identities and I really got attached to them and it kinda sucks when any of them get killed. Despite the flaws of the script it still works well with great characters, which is at times rare for Italian cinema and again the script is also really funny at times.

As director Enzo G. Castellari crafts a great and action packed movie that is well-paced and the movie is always fun and never once does anything lag. Inglorious Bastards has constant action throughout and any lulls in the action don’t last long. Unlike most Italian flicks of this nature it’s actually not very graphic. It’s violent, but not very gory; Castellari does a great job with the action sequences as they are fun and exciting and while they’re over the top at times, but yet it feels like it could all really happen. When there isn’t any action, Castellari handles the characters well and always keeps the movie running at a really great and exciting pace. Like I said I really didn’t know what to expect since I can’t say I loved the other 2 movie I have seen by Castellari, but Inglorious Bastards is truly a great movie and reminds me again why I love 70s cinema and personally see it as the best era.

The casting of the movie is excellent, which helps elevate the movie and sure the characters might lack depth, but the actors make far more out of them and that’s why I stated before you begin to get attached to them even if you don’t know a lot about them. Bo Svenson as Lt. Robert Yeager is great in the role of the leader of the group and like always Fred “the Hammer” Williamson as Canfield is a standout. Even though I singled out Svenson and Williamson all the actors were great and really make you root for the characters.

Overall The Inglorious Bastards is a truly great film with amazing action scenes and some really great comedic moments and my only regret is it took me so long to finally see this film. Like I said it’s quite different than the Tarantino movie, but it’s just as good and dare I say even better. The Inglorious Bastards comes highly recommended and if you haven’t seen it what are you waiting for go now and pick it up if you love 70s cult cinema you won’t be disappointed.

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A Tribute to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York Posters and Lobby Cards

Posted in Escape from New York Poster Gallery with tags , , , on July 25, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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