Probably one of the most underrated 'sports' or fun games you can play which I haven't done since I was in school. I have no idea if there are any actual proper dodgeball leagues/competitions like in this film but I think there should be.
As for this film, well the title says it all really, its an underdog story where the underdogs emerge victorious against all odds, the end. This film doesn't try to be anything other than what it clearly is, a complete dumbass of a film with 'in your face' laugh out loud moments. Nothing here is clever or particulary original its just childish toilet humour utilising every trick in the book to get a giggle, no stone left unturned.
The cast is a mixture of some Frat pack members and good character actors who all take the opportunity to let loose and just play it to the extreme. Good old Ben Stiller has to be the main attraction here as the narcissistic gym owner with a Vidal Sassoon hair style. I did also enjoy the satirical take on flashy modern day gyms filled with overly tanned models who merely like to look at themselves whilst 'getting fit'.
Stephen Root rehashes his 'Office Space' character to great effect, Alan Tudyk is a pirate, why? no idea but its amusing and Vince Vaughn simply plays the same regular Joe character he always does but he does it well doesn't he. There are many other funny performances here and quite a lot of cameos, too many to mention but none of them ever undermine the films comedy. Kinda funny seeing Lance Armstrong going on about his Tour De France victories though, ouch!.
The whole idea here is so basic its amazing they got it off the ground really. Chock full of cheap laughs, naughty visual gags, lots of crotch slapstick, cheesy lines, weight jokes and pratfalls, the film does feel very infantile at times but at others it can be very funny indeed. Its not really about the plot for all intense and purposes, you just watch to see Vaughn, Stiller and co act the fool and crack hokey lines. Its all about the hammy acting and rude visual tomfoolery but the bonus is its a good little feel good flick too.
Yeah you know what will happen, you know the slimy slow witted Stiller will get his comeuppance in the end, there aren't any surprises here. You know exactly what you're paying for with this and you get it, like I say the film doesn't pretend to be anything else other than a stupid comedy much like 'Dumb and Dumber' or other frat pack flicks.
Upped to the max deliberately with daft spoof-like moments for optimal belly laughs and finishing off with the all too common parody of the classic coming from behind victory. Its admittedly a bit of a one joke flick for sure but you don't need to look into it that much, its just an easy going fun entertaining hour and a half.
There's a major hostage crisis going down, a small team of Arabian terrorists have taken control of a US airliner packed with innocent civilians. They wanna hurt the US of A, they will stop at nothing...what are you gonna do??. There's only one thing you can do, only one man you can call, Bruce...no not him, Sly...no try again, Arn...no! god damn it! Chuck! Chuck Norris! remember him? the bloke who never swears, the one with the stubble thing going on.
'sleep tight, sucker'
Now you'd think this was a stupid one man army type flick with hordes of bad guys getting mown down by the all American hero...and you'd be right. No seriously its actually a lot deeper than that believe it or not. There are many aspects of this film which have been based around real events which does give the film a serious biopic vibe, even though it is just an action flick.
The start of the film is set at the end of US Operation Eagle Claw as the Americans are evacuating Iran. But the main crux of the films plot is clearly based on the hostage crisis in 1985 of TWA flight 847. In fact the plot here is virtually an exact recreation of what happened, so it could almost be seen as a proper historical account, almost.
As for the actual rescue by Norris and his team, that is of course all make believe and where the film does enter the action man genre. To be honest everything up to that area is pretty intense really, the hijacking by a young tanned and impressive Robert Forster is really good and pretty authentic looking (can Forster really speak Lebanese?). You do actually feel uncomfortable watching the terrorists at work, you feel for the passengers and it does make you think about what you'd do in a similar situation. The scene where the bad guys start to single out all the Jews is admittedly an emotional moment, things get nasty and all you can think is where the hell is Chuck Norris.
Once you get past the airliner sections the film does loose that intensity, all the male/Jewish passengers have been locked away in a Beirut dungeon and its up to Delta Force to kick ass. This is where we get into Rambo territory as I'm sure you can guess. Its been slow coming but eventually you do get what you paid for if you paid for it that is, America's finest going head to head with errr...Robert Forster and his henchmen.
Sounds good right? well...meh. Yeah its OK but its not as awesome as I kinda expected, there are quite a lot of Delta Force soldiers so you don't really feel like you're watching an elite ops team, more like a platoon. The danger aspect is kinda lessened because there are so many of them. They are all driving through the town en route to the evil terrorists lair, no one sees or hears them apparently, despite them being a small armada. Then once the action does kick off we don't really see much of them, it all focuses on Norris running amok and taking everyone out just by growling at them (but not swearing! no swearing ever!!).
Can't deny its fun to watch the hairy one do his thing with that mullet whipping in the Middle Eastern wind but it does get hokey. The whole thing with him on the motorbike felt way too much like a kids superhero flick, plus do Delta Force use motorbikes with rocket launchers fixed on them?. The stunts are as you would expect from an 80's action flick...obvious. Obvious in the sense that you can seen the ramps vehicles go over, they explode for no reason, chases are clearly going at a snails pace and frequently hit stalls loaded with fruit and veg. Then there's my favourite, when about three or four bad guys appear and the good guy merely waves his gun randomly in the air at them and they all go down flailing like mad, classic stuff.
I love the films dated stereotypical approach to the Arabian bad guys though. All sweaty dirty looking with thick facial hair, wearing camouflaged army fatigues and head bands. Especially at the start of the film in the airport where one of the terrorists is trying to board, boy he doesn't look too suspicious with his mop of hair, scruffy beard and dripping in sweat!. Oh and the soundtrack is classic too, plays all the time, usually completely out of place and its entirely the wrong tone for film.
Its a bit of a Norris classic no doubt but the films vibe changes dramatically throughout. At first its quite a serious and strong drama based on reality, then things slowly change and we get the obligatory action man stuff but with silly 'A-Team-esque' vehicle jiggery pokery. Overall it did feel a bit like a TV movie at times to me, the lack of blood and hard violence lets it down if you ask me. Not that violence, blood and swearing makes a film better but there are times in films like this when you just need it to get you going, up the anti.
Not the best special ops action flick I've seen mainly because you only get special ops action at the end and even then you only get to know about three of this large squad, and one of them is Norris. I guess it doesn't feel like a special ops film to me, just a rescue film.
The Mike Tyson story this could be, Mr Chambers (Rhames) goes to jail for an accusation of rape and becomes an even bigger media typhoon than he was before. At first I didn't think much of the film to be honest, it was cliched and kinda boring really plus Rhames as 'Chambers' was an annoying character who you wanted to see beaten.
I soon discovered that my feelings towards Chambers actually fuelled my enjoyment as the film continues and Snipes character 'Monroe' comes into play. The tense build up between the two up to the obvious finale does get you going. Lets not get over excited here this is your typical 'Rocky-ish' story with all the usual characters, dialog and scenes, not original but a good beat em up when the fists fly.
The final fight is well done and you do feel the blows as Snipes and Rhames match up and sweat over each other, I'm pretty sure Rhames would win in a real fight though as he looks pretty darn solid.
Much better film title this time around, loving the sound of it, alas if only the film was actually as good. The franchise moves on, the next chapter adapted from the novel of the same name, basically Greek mythology set within our present day and updated.
This time our young hero 'Percy' must find the Golden Fleece to heal a magical tree that protects his home of Camp Half-Blood. The fleece can be found in the lair of the Cyclops 'Polyphemus' which itself lies within the Sea of Monsters (Bermuda Triangle). So off our little intrepid adventurers go to find it and save the world as we know it...kinda. Oh and did I forget to mention there are some bad guys also trying to get the fleece to raise 'Kronos'? well there you go.
In all honesty I can't really recall much about the first film, it got so easily lost in a whirlwind of Potter-mania and some other nondescript replicas, but I did seem to slightly enjoy it according to my review (yep I read em). This of course is still the main problem with this franchise and any other really...they will always be compared to the superior Harry Potter. The kid with specs set the bar high and was the first big budget fantasy of its kind to do really well. After that every else has seemed weak in comparison, merely average imitations.
This film does itself no favours simply because it looks average in the special effects department, a major flaw for a fantasy. Right from the start everything just looks lame, Camp Half-Blood just looks like some kind of summer holiday Cub Scout camp where you'd eat sausage n baked beans for dinner. The big creatures are obviously CGI and boy do they look it, most of them just stand out big time, that large mechanical bull that attacks the camp is laughable. There are various other big creatures throughout that are all CGI and none look any good frankly, accept for the odd closeup perhaps. The finale with Kronos is the same, if these were videogame in-game sequences I'd be impressed, but they aren't.
Some sequences really do look truly awful in fact, I'm amazed they got through into the finished film!. When the young trio ride a big Seahorse thingy across the sea to reach the bad guys yacht, that is a bad one (oh and the yacht? that doesn't feel very fantasy-like does it, kinda out of place). They are riding a wet slippery sea creature at speed, yet they aren't holding on to anything, how do they stay on its back people?! plus they didn't seem all that wet afterwards. Then a bit later on in the same scene we see Percy and Luke ride/surf a big wave...don't ask it looks terrible, all the water effects look terrible.
The only bit of originality to rear its head appeared to be the concept of making the three Stygian witches cab drivers in a yellow New York cab. A unique approach for sure and one that sort of works I guess...but then I realised I'd seen a similar idea before in 'Scrooged'.
A common problem is the fact everything also seems so bland and derivative. All the characters are your bog standard types and offer nothing new, the hero, his sidekick, the female sidekick and the best friend who you know will get killed (and you also know will come back at the last minute). Next to that are the bog standard baddies led by the good looking charmer with blonde hair. I mean come on...at least lets try and make the characters look different from the Potter clan jesus!. You don't care about any of them because they are all so cliched, we've seen this all before and you know none of them will come to harm anyway so what's the point?.
I guess what bothered me the most was the film was clearly trying to be epic, every scene is accompanied by a strong musical score as if that will make it so. Its not meant to be a dark emotional journey with teen angst that's for sure, its a light-hearted fantasy that doesn't show much or any death, but everything is built up to enormous proportions only to let you down. You simply can't connect with any of the characters or what's going on because the whole thing is such a basic videogame with step by step action sequences. Complete one task against a CGI foe, move on to the next, complete that task against a CGI puzzle, move on to the next...and so forth.
You can tell the whole franchise isn't really going as planned seeing as this is only the second film and already the cast continuity has been compromised, two major characters recast. Still I gotta give some kudos for the attempt at bringing Greek mythology into the present day even though it doesn't really work, or should that be kudos for the novel?.
Plenty of good morals throughout the adventure, lots of heroic actions and bouts of friendship that will make you gag, but the entire production is predictable, anti climatic and dull. A shoddy looking sequel which fails to better the first entry.
Coming along some five years after the similar themed 'Toy Soldiers', two films about schools under fire from criminals. I guess that's about as far as the similarities go though as this is an undercover mission for some mercs/Nam vets where as the other film was terrorists taking over the school.
So a nasty messed up city high school is plagued by drugs, weapons and bad eggs, what is the Principle to do??. Hire a badass killer merc of course, but the thing is he doesn't know the sub is a badass killer merc. So both the yobbish kids and the staff have no clue this guy is an ex-Nam hardass. As things progress for the Berenger the merc he finds out all is not what it seems.
A perfect role for the stoic butch looking Berenger who can play military types till the cows come home. Not much is required of him really, beating the kids down, killing drug dealers, being a smartass...all in a days work. His little tight nit group of mercs are a cool bunch, a young Luis Guzman, the insane William Forsythe, military action flick regular Ray Cruz and Richard Brooks. A really good team of character actors that are great fun to watch, its just a shame we don't more of them in action together.
Most of the film is a huge stereotypical montage of standard scenarios you can see coming a mile away. Its all very predictable and you know Berenger will never get hurt. Its undeniably fun to watch these sequences where the youths are acting up with their gangland dialect, waving their hands around making gang signs, virtually behaving like cartoon characters whilst being dressed like bums. At the same time all the girls looks greasy, sweaty and thoroughly unwashed haha need I say almost all the youths are black, Latino or Hispanic. Yep this film doesn't beat around the bush with racial attitudes towards suburban inner city schools in the US.
So yes you could say its racist and a bad image on certain groups of young people but dare I say could it also be the truth?. That aside its still a rush to see Berenger humiliate the posers and stamp his authority on the class. I must also say Marc Anthony is really well cast as the slimy skinny gangland leader within the class, a simmering undertone ready to pop. You really do dislike this guy as the plot builds, you know Berenger could kick his ass but he still has that ominous presence, plus the fact he's only suppose to be a teen makes him even more annoying when he gets all mouthy.
The whole thing is pretty hokey and like I said before it is very predictable. The finale shoot out within the school is cool though no doubt about that, although I would have preferred if the bad guys had brought lots of gang thugs to the battle instead of their special ops guys. That kinda dismisses the fact the good guys are a special ops team, its suppose to be mercs vs drug dealing thugs.
Still its very cool to see all of Berenger's mercs kick ass in their own unique way. A final kudos to Ernie Hudson as the shifty principle of the school, his performance isn't much better than his hammy role in 'Congo' but that's why its so good. Definitely a bit of an adrenaline rush at times with this one, I think everyone has had fantasies about kicking the crap out of their old school bullies at some point. This would probably be a step too far but I'm sure being a badass merc teaching out of control youths a lesson would still be right up there.