John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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While We saw this movie as children, it has maintained our affection over the years. So many movies that we remember fondly have degraded with adulthood. This is not one of those movies, this film has maintained its integrity, and unique plot. A coup brought on by heavily armed children powered by an unwillingness to accept change.
Entertaining movie about a military academy that the cadets decide to overthrow after it becomes learned its going to be bulldozed and changed into condos. It gets a bit silly in some parts. But most of it is exciting. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Penn and Hutton. They carry the movie.
A classic. One of my all time favorite movies. Some of the situations and themes seem foreign today, but for those who remember the 80s it's easy to recall.
I recently saw Taps (1981) after a great many years. The movie is notable as a launching pad for Sean Penn and Tom Cruise, and a commendable follow up vehicle for Timothy Hutton coming off his Academy Award winning supporting performance in Ordinary People (1980). Each acquits himself brilliantly, though Penn and Cruise evidence what would later seem a strange reversal of role types. Penn is the levelheaded, reflective, ambivalent and brooding cadet who nevertheless falls back on his guiding principle: "My friend, right or wrong!" ("I might be a little ragged around the edges, but I don't walk out on a friend."), while Cruise is the gung-ho, borderline psychopathic militarist whom one senses is less concerned with the cause than he is with a chance to prematurely taste the glory of battle. Hutton as the incoming cadet major of the military academy likewise comes off as conflicted. He is the scion of a military family and seemingly embraces all things military, its traditions, pomp and, most of all, honor, as he sees it as his sacred duty despite his apparent disdain on a personal basis for his master sergeant father currently serving in the U.S. Army. Hutton's character worships (not too far from literally) the academy's venerable commandant, a retired army general whose checkered career is later hinted at by Hutton's character's father, much to his son's utter contempt.
What impresses me most about the film is its script's treatment, its evenhandedness in shaping the social issues of the times, a rare such example from a Hollywood largely wedded to leftist ideology. It characterizes both the left and the right negatively without becoming overly preachy on either score. To many, military academies like Bunker Hill seem anachronistic, but to most of its students steeped in its traditions it represents all that is virtuous of an America in dramatic post-Vietnam War societal transition. Youths from the town are essentially characterized as loudmouthed punks and provocateurs whose actions unwittingly prompt the rebellion and tragedy in the making in the academy that is shortly to befall it; a tragedy that causes Hutton's character to finally embrace reality all too late with a disillusionment so poignant that it becomes palpable. "Honor doesn't count for **** when you're looking at a dead little boy.... All you think about is what a neat little kid he was." A sense of sadness pervades this dark but intriguing movie and rises above it to life in general. Nothing lasts.
George C. Scott, as the commandant, and Ronny Cox as the conflicted National Guard commander who so sympathizes with the cadets he must shortly and reluctantly move against, contribute stellar performances amongst the adult supporting cast. The movie is based on Father Sky, a novel by screenwriter Devery Freeman who apparently was not asked to write the script, perhaps because of major changes made. I'd recommend this film wholeheartedly as it stands up admirably against the test of time and can serve as an allegory for many a life situation as the late Roger Ebert suggested in his favorable review written at a time when Penn and Cruise were largely unknown to movie audiences.
In conclusion, one is reminded of Robert E. Lee's remarks in the aftermath of "Pickett's Charge": "It's all such a waste. Too, too sad."
Good overall movie and great cast, but, I wish the story-line pursued his request to save the school more.
I like when a movie is different. This movie is, as I don't remember other movies with a similar theme. It shows young soldiers who already understand what honor is and are ready to withstand their principles. Being a soldier is not easy, as you have to hide your emotions and stay strong no matter what. This movie does show young soldier's lives pretty good.
*** Spoilers - don't read if you want to rewatch: The movie does have plotholes, or strange decisions (why they never asked for media attention or didn't ask more actively to complete their demands). Unfortunately, because of this most people outside probably thought they are just crazy terrorists, because the media didn't show their motives really and showed just one side of the story. Or for example why did the general at the beginning never said that it was the kid who took his pistol and shot?***
This is basically the first Tom Cruise' movie (Endless Love had only 20 seconds of him) and I must say, I was surprised how good his acting in this movie already is. His character is different and I really liked him. Great job Tom!
On overall, the movie is good and it is worth watching. Even rewatching again if you have a company.
Taps enters a long line of movies Ive watched recently that dont live up to the opening act of the film. I adored the idea of this military cadet school that is being closed unexpectedly, and a new Cadet Major who has only one year to prove the school is worth saving. It falls apart quickly from there. The movie lost all sense of honor and decorum that I thought was established, and had a bunch of young men behaving in a way that seemed like a ridiculous overreaction. I struggled to find any justification for why these people would behave in this fashion. The movie spins its wheels for a very long time once the plot is established, and turns extremely dark and depressing. The story simply doesnt flow the way it should, because the stakes get raised almost immediately and never vary all that much. Theres some serious problems with the script for Taps, but the cast almost makes up for it. Timothy Hutton might be a bit too mild-mannered, but he still was sympathetic in the lead role. Sean Penn and Tom Cruise were superb as the figurative angel and devil sitting on Huttons shoulders. And even though George C. Scott had a limited role, he made a huge impact on Taps. There were some highlights in the movie, but unfortunately it all falls apart and makes for a lackluster finished product.
Lord of the Flies is what Roger Ebert compares this story to. I can see that. It's an interesting story was some well developed characters but it was a little too slow. Still, Hutton is great and Sean Penn turns in one of his best early performances. Tom Cruise and Giancarlo Esposito have small but effective parts. The young cast carry this flick as if they were seasoned veterans.
This was one of my favorite George C. Scott films... plus this was first time I had ever seen Hutton, Penn & Cruise... & they all went on to have stellar careers.
What a powerful movie, at the end of it was a little sad because Alex Dwyer roommate, Major General Brian Moreland died because he was trying to stop Cadet Captain David Shawn from firing the 50 cal