blacksnake2's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Park Is Mine
½

Action film with Tommy Lee Jones breakout role as a Vietnam vet with good intentions that go wrong. Excellent Yaphet Kotto again plays a Police Officer, this time the head of the NYPD "ESU/SWAT" (Trivia point: Yaphet's son is a real Cop with San Jose, CA PD!). This was intended to be a breakout role for Canadian actress Helen Shaver (who shows a gratuitous breast shot here), but apparently failed. Everyone here are smoking cigarettes and cursing to give "edge" to the film, something rarely seen today due to "political correctness". Technical inaccuracies: swapping magazines from blanks to real ammunition in the same weapon(in this case an AK-47) is impossible, and would cause the firearm to explode in your face. This stunt was also used in one of the "Die Hard" films, and the idea may have come from this film. Jones basically does a Rambo#1 to the NYPD, ambushing and outsmarting them at every turn, and the director sets up the elite NYPD ESU as rubes, bullies and boobs, going so far as to dip into racism by having one of the Black cops openly say he used to sell marijuana/reefer in his pre-cop days (we all know better since 911 however) but this is understandable and necessary to push the plot forward, despite being a bit cheezy. There are several great gems in this film, especially for the military/veterans who know the code. Jones gleeful laughing as he sets off mines is a hoot, as is the reverse when he feels betrayed and sends several 40mm grenades at the cops with his M-79 while screaming at them for being "lying motherfuckers". One specifically hilarious scene is the reaction Jones has when he realizes that a renegade NYC politician has sent in a mercenary "hunter-killer team" (armed with Swedish-K 9mm submachineguns, a silent code to Vietnam vets who know who carried that specific gun in Nam:, maroon paratrooper berets and a cheap shot "Soldier Of Fortune" reference are here also) to take him out, screaming about them "sending the Viet-Cong in here to kill me?". Great stuff. As a Vietnam era veteran, I probably enjoyed this more than most, as it caters to that generations revenge fantasies, but this film stands on it's own as a statement, as it is based on a book of the same name that had underground cred with veterans, and was serialized in Playboy magazine. All melodrama and action, "The Park Is Mine" remains a must see film for all who can appreciate the "War is Hell" and revenge genre of action films. Get it and see it, you will not be wasting your time. As far as I know, this film is not out on DVD, so you will have to see it online or by VHS tape, but seeking it out will be worth it. Grab the buttered popcorn and...Just do it! - (BS2)

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

Superior to the original, Director Troy Duffy takes advantage of casting Julie Benz as a 10 times more intense "Clarice Starling"-esque Ball-Busting FBI Agent in Christian Louboutin Spiked Heels & seamed stockings, form fitting dresses, and sub-compact satin finished 1911A1 pattern single action pistol carried in a custom front abdominal holster. Duffy caressingly films her, lovingly showcased in tight close ups, slow-motion glamor shots, and fabulous classy outfits. (It's obvious he has just as big a crush on her as I have had since her "Buffy" days, Benz just gets better looking as she matures, as does her acting skills; the dream sequence of her as a leather cowgirl shootist is worth the price of admission alone). The film serves primarily as an action vehicle update leading to a possible 3rd segment, and the action is filmed in the Peckinpah/John Woo/Matrix stylized vein, pleasing to the eye ballet choreographed violence presented as no less than performance art. Firearms enthusiasts will lean forward noting all the various weapons and carry methods presented (including the SFX longslide Desert Eagle twins prominently displayed). Replacing Willem Dafoe's repellent transvestism with Julie Benz's alluring beauty is the best single improvement over the original film. Clifton Collins overly stereotypical "Mexican" character is more questionable, serving as the "Stephen Fetchit" to the Twins equally stereotypical hard-drinking psychotic Irishmen. Time shifting story elements advance the context of the plot. Action packed with little drag, rampant smoking and drinking, atmospheric alternate reality a'la "The Warriors", and an interesting performance by Peter Fonda reminiscent of Brando in the "Godfather" series, Boondock Saints II, gets the job done for fans of the "Shoot-em-up" genre of macho action films with a noir-ish edge. Grab the popcorn and enjoy. (Note:Firearms fanciers will notice the Springfield Armory satin finish compact 1911A1 carried by Benz, turns up displayed closeup in the recent film "Edge of Darkness" also. Product placement or simple coincidence?)

Batman: Under the Red Hood

Hard-knuckled violent action with Batman done as he should be for a change!. Animated but far from kid stuff, with a (literally) murderous pistol wielding Joker psychologically off the hook (well beyond the PG13 rating given this film). Mark Hamill's Joker is the gold standard, but DiMaggio's Joker in this film is more sinister, which is an accomplishment in comparison to Hamill. Fools who think the 1960's TV Batman series is what the character is all about should be shackled and forced to watch this, if for no other reason so you can laugh at their shocked reactions to the story. Borderline Manga-esque. Not to be missed entry in the hardcore vigilante genre of action films, worth the popcorn time...

Danger Man (TV SHOW)
½

10/2010-I've finally gotten my hands on the box set of the complete series, repackaged by A&E in slim 2 disc cases. I'm working my way through methodically, and so far can report these are even better than I remembered, unlike the exaggerated antics of James Bond, UNCLE, and Flint of the time, these stories are more realistic, compact, and swank. Full report when I'm done. Young McGoohan as Agent John Drake: tight smiles & suits, blue eyes, cigarettes & cool-cat swagger (even the occasional gunplay, Drake uses brain more than his JiuJitsu, but doesn't hesitate to shoot when necessary, and knows his guns too). "Prisoner" stinks, this is the real deal!!. I'm really enjoying this excellent stuff...(previously, months ago, after watching the trailer posted here,I wrote):
Now THIS is the music theme I remember from "Danger Man"!!!...I was going a bit nutso, thinking I might be delusional, since Set#1 of A&E U.S. version of this show on DVD did NOT have this theme...I was beginning to wonder if I had imagined it, same as the great music for another "lost"show of the era with a bold but swingin' theme:"International Detective"...

Batman and Robin

1949 version of good clean fun (for kids) with the required car chases, gun-play and fist fights (including then exotic Judo/Jujitsu shoulder throws used by The Batman), with cliffhangers and vacuum tube era sci-fi effects, this 15 part serial has all the low-budget standards common to all serials of the era, and is similar to the serial version treatment of Marvels Captain America made around the same time. This would be banned by the meddling panty-waists of today for being "too violent" for the kiddie set. Narrow minded or ignorant viewers will carp about issues like Batman's jacked up looking cowl (with Devil-like pointed "ears" and satanic extra long pointed nose) and the "Batmobile" being excused off as Bruce Wayne's borrowed Chevrolet convertible (which was in fact a powerful "muscle car" in it's day), or The Batman pulling out impossible items (like a full sized Blowtorch!) from a rather fey looking "utility belt" that has no pockets (??!!). Unlike most versions, Bats & Bird-Boy get their butts kicked by the bad-guys on more than one occasion. Smoking and drinking is normal behavior throughout. The women (Jane Adams as Vicki Vale) all are feminine, wearing their high-heels no matter the situation, and the musical score, though generic, is exciting counterpoint driving the action. A few familiar character actor faces show up in bit parts here also. This stuff is rather cool in it's own over-the-top way, (because unlike the wretched 1960's TV series, they are not trying hard to be "camp" by making fun of the material, but playing it straight in deference to the material, which is as it should be). Rather than being a lazy snob picking this apart, it's best to take a more open-minded view, get in the mood of the era and enjoy this for what it was intended to be: Fun!!...and it is if you get off your high horse and let it, you Jive Monkey-Heads!!

Avatar
Avatar(2009)

Director Cameron apes Steven Spielberg with heavyhanded audience manipulation in this re-telling of Zulu Vs. British Empire forces in the 1879 Battle of Isandhlwana (Politics and all) set in a Sci-Fi universe and driven by dazzling Computer Graphics. "Unobtanium" takes the place of Diamonds as the motivation for conquest, and soulful mystic "Savage-Innocent/Noble Savages" take the place of the (in real-life) bloodthirsty Zulu "Impi" Battalions. Earth "Mercenary" forces are equipped in Terminator-esque technology and sent into genocidal battle as victim-dupes of the "Evil Corporation", interested only in grabbing the natural resources from the ground the natives happen to be living over top of, just as their historical "Avatars" did in 1800's South Africa. Zigourney Weaver stands as the cigarette-smoking green beautiful/brainy "pure scientist" in opposition to a ruthless military leader (Stephen Lang) and racist "Perfumed Prince" (Giovanni Ribisi), both happily willing to commit war-crimes to satisfy the corporate bottom line. Sam Worthington is the "Warrior of the Jarhead Clan"(Best line in the movie) who predictably "goes native" a'la "Lawrence of Arabia", and is the foil of the action that ensues. (It should be noted that with all this green feelgood plot, the writers unwittingly fall into the most "racist" trap of all, because just like the real life T.E. Lawrence, it takes an outsider to rescue the natives from destruction, and, like Lawrence, the Natives follow him, and he eventually pays the price for it). Michelle Rodriguez manages to annoy (again) as the faux-"tough chick" who aligns with the earthling righteous mutineers against the forces of evil. Avatar gets the job done in terms of crowd-pleasing action and CGI, but is bankrupt in terms of plot, and insulting to real life active-duty & military veterans that will be part of it's audience (They won't forget or forgive). Mind-control theatrics aside, taking this film for anything more than a popcorn roller-coaster ride is a serious mistake...
[Notes: "Zulu Dawn": http://www.flixster.com/movie/zulu-dawn?lsrc=TypeAhead-MovieClick; "Lawrence of Arabia": http://www.flixster.com/movie/lawrence-of-arabia?lsrc=TypeAhead-MovieClick; "Judgment at Nuremberg":http://www.flixster.com/movie/judgment-at-nuremberg]

Inception
Inception(2010)
½

SFX may be the centerpiece of this film, but using it to advance (even define) the plot is the innovative use here. A "thinking man's action film", with beautiful people, Cinematography, and cracking stylized violence within a dream-scape universe that bends reality in all the right ways, make this one worth the time to see on the big screen, don't wait for the DVD. Musical score is appropriate to the materiel. Marion Cotillard, Tom Berenger, and Ellen Page are notable visual treats. Tom Hardy plays action hero while Ken Watanabe does not do his expected Bad-Ass Mofo act. Cillian Murphy is annoying. Kudos to director Nolan for uniqueness and taking risks. Grab the buttered popcorn and roll with it...

Salt
Salt(2010)
½

Because Angie Jolie is in this film (currently out of favor with the scandal press) this well executed action thriller will not get the credit it is due. Well shot and paced, (with a surprisingly high body count and appropriate musical score), this tale of communist sleeper agents (most will not realize this is based on fact) is pushed forward effectively by Director Noyce. Despite annoyingly weak performances by August Diehl and Chiwetal Ejiofor, always reliable Liev Schreiber and a near cameo by stalwart actor Andre Braugher help save the day. Although Jolie's blond persona is unconvincing (could they have at least dyed her eyebrows to match the hair?) Noyce makes the most of her beautiful face with tight closeup shots, as well he should. As a brunette, she is portrayed as a Lara Croft/Xena-ish near superwoman for most of this film and pulls it off despite the extreme action setups that stress credulity, but is expected in this genre. The film gets the job done for what it is supposed to be, and is not a complete waste of time. A thrill ride worth the popcorn time...

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)
½

Smoking, drinking hard liquor, and bad guys dropping dead from automatic weapons fire: 2 out of 3 actions never seen on the classic TV show ain't bad!. The kills are clean (no dwelling on blood splatter), the booze is whiskey & Bud, and the smokes are cigars; all making a politically incorrect statement about what this more violent hardcore update of the "A-Team" is all about (doing what could not be done under the originals television censorship rules, which is a good thing, and re-set from Vietnam to the Middle East). As expected, this film is action oriented, with the required shootouts, vehicle chases and airborne daredevil stuntwork being the engine, rather than the plot. Neeson and Co. play their characters faithful to the originals and the film succeeds on this level. In rock and roll, certain bands like "AC/DC" have one vein they mine repeatedly and the audience knows what to expect and do not want any suprises. This film is like that. You get what you expect and that is more than good enough. Military/Police/Vets will approve of the exotic firearms hardware on display (Including the signature "Mini-14") and the attention to correct detail taken with the military uniforms. Part of the setup is "soldierly virtue" vs. 'mercenary ruthlessness", with the bad guys (one clearly sporting a German flag on his gear, with all that implies) being a thinly disguised version of the notorious "Blackwater" combat security company (ironic, since in reality 95% of these operators are ex military) and rogue CIA agents. The beauty of Jessica Biel is showcased more on her glorious face rather than the magnificent physique she is known for (the original show also cast beautiful women, so this is expected, since Stephen J. Cannell's influence is strong in this film, he appreciates fine women, firearms, and gets twisted humor points for naming one of the bad guys "Tuco", a riff on Eastwood's GB&U). Cameos are reserved for the end. Don't hold this to being anything more than an action film, because that would make you a fool if you do. It does not make excuses for what it is and puts on no airs of being "classic cinema". If you are a fan of the "blood & thunder" genre, "A-Team" gets the job done as a roller-coaster ride with a dash of silly comedy/drama and serviceable visuals heavy on the CGI. Grab the buttered popcorn and have a go...

The D.I.
The D.I.(1957)

Glorifying the 1950's Era USMC as only the detail-freak genius Jack Webb could, this is a worthy cornerstone to his legacy. With some of the most memorable lines ever written for a military film, and painstaking detail as expected from Webb. You can tell that he is having a ball portraying this character, and he takes advantage of the opportunity to the maximum, even down to fanatical details of uniform fit and finish for himself and the cast. This film is a cult classic that still makes subsequent films on the same subject quail in comparison, good though they may be (i.e. "Boys in Company C", "Full Metal Jacket", "Take The High Ground" - a film not on the Flixter database as of this writing-"Officer & a Gentleman", etc) and Webb's character T/Sgt. Moore does it without uttering a single profanity(!), unlike the others. The cast is 95% actual Marine NCO's. Though the story bows to Studio conventions of the day (i.e. subcurrent love story, of course with mind-bogglingly beautiful women picked for the roles, especially Webb's enamorata and the Southern-Belle club singer. These sexy babes were not scared of wearing tight skirts and spiked-Heels!. Webb favorite, Actress Virginia Gregg turns in a short but effectively soulful performance here as a Marine mother, and of course a few joke setups that were seen as corny even then), with well shot scenes of sharply uniformed Jarheads partying down at the local illegal booze carrying "Slop-Chute"(with an interestingly realistic fight scene), this film would either inspire one to join up or frighten others in terror of such tough training and discipline, as I am certain it has done over generations. The "murder" of a Sand Flea incident is worth the price of admission alone, and the aforementioned lines, superior to anything Tarantino has done, will ring in your head long after the credits roll. The response to being surrounded by a superior enemy force is pure classicism. Taken in proper context, you may well find, as I have, a little spot of respect and affection for this well-crafted military melodrama that I never tire of watching. I cannot recommend this film highly enough, 1st class buttered popcorn time is to be had here. A double feature of this one followed by "Pork Chop Hill" would make an effective "Yin&Yang" of the era. I have yet to see the DVD transfer, and will update when I finally aquire a copy.

Rough Riders
Rough Riders(1997)

Includes the Black Cavalry, Indians & Mexican participants commonly whitewashed out of Spanish-American War history; with John Milius at the helm (Dirty Harry, Dillinger, Red Dawn) you know "blood & thunder" action is going to be done right!. Tom Berenger's portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt, warts and all, is so well done you suspend disbelief after a few minutes. Cast is heavy with skilled experienced character acting stalwarts such as Illeana Douglas, Sam Elliot, R.Lee Ermey, George Hamilton, Chris Noth, Dale Dye, Gary Busey, Brian Keith, Geoffry Lewis, Marshall R. Teague, Brad Johnson, Rafael Castillo and many more are a delight to watch (If you blink you will miss an uncredited Ashton Kutcher also). Historically accurate setups with weapons, equipment, etc and the "muscular patriotism" of the era and dedicated Utopians, yet showing how the manly virtues were cynically used for the gain of egotistic frauds (Hamilton as Hearst being an obvious example), Milius gives a well rounded canvas with no lack of excellently staged combat scenarios. A "thinking man's" entry for aficionados of the "rugged all the way" genre of western flavored action films, this one delivers the goods in spades. Stirring musical score by veteran genius Elmer "Magnificent 7" Bernstein. For the record, I should note that as Teddy went to the top in politics, he downplayed his high praise for the Buffalo Soldiers given at the time of the war, reportedly to appease the southern (racist "dixe-crat") vote. A bit of dishonor from one who constantly claimed honor to be such a high virtue. One should also note a similar trend with "Black Jack" Pershing, also portrayed in the film, who made his career on the shoulders of regular army Black Troops, yet when he rose to become commanding general of the American Expeditionary force in World War 1, treated his Black units less than fairly to say the least.

The Book of Eli
½

A "Thinking Man's" action-adventure with Samurai/Old West Gunfighter influences tipping the hat towards Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone, wrapped in Christain mysticism existing within a "Mad Max" universe. There is a subtle nod towards Samuel L. Jackson's Bible quoting Hitman from "Pulp Fiction" here also. The watchword here is a balance of "Just Enough". The violent action is tastefully stylized, not over the top (such as in "Punisher: War Zone", in fact the actor who portrayed the "Punisher" in that film, Ray Stevenson, also plays a "heavy" in this film!) and no more than necessary to keep the plot moving forward (which may disappoint bloodthirsty viewers motivated to see this from watching the ad campaighn trailers), and there is no gratuitous sex whatsoever, those themes are present only to portray "the evil that men do" rather than titillation. Gruesome sickening taboo elements such as cannibalism are alluded to but not explicitly shown. The two main female characters, a mother-daughter team portrayed by natural beauties Jennifer Beals and Mila Kunis, are sexless cyphers, potrayed as more rebellious slaves heroically trying to survive in a cruel world than mere eye-candy window dressing incidental to the story. The scenes between the main protagonists portrayed by Denzel Washington vs. Gary Oldman were not as electric as one would expect from such skilled actors, but were not as lackluster as them just "phoning their performances in" to pay the bills. The directors "just enough" approach, though artistically sound, will untimately dissapoint action fans, Christian absolutists, Sci-Fi purists, and sex-fiends into "R-rated" thrills; all of whom will complain there was "not enough" of each, not realizing pure exploitation was not the motivation behind the film. However, those that can appreciate a modern "Passion Play" with an edgy yet moralistic storyline, intended to "serving a higher authority," will find "The Book of Eli" an entertaining film worth the time to grab the popcorn and check out.

Edge of Darkness
½

Mining the same vein as "Taken", Fathers going extreme in defense of their daughters; there is less action than "Taken", and more melodrama/conspiracy theory, the pacing likely due to the British Television and "BBC" roots the storyline evolved from. Brit actor Ray Winstone holds interest, visual cues indicating him playing an up from the gutter violent
"Cleaner" who has evolved sophisticate tastes from the travel and money accumulated over the years. No surprises,
Gibson watchers will know, and get, what they expect from "Edge of Darkness", which is not necessarily a bad thing,
predictability is an asset in this case. (Note:Firearms fanciers will notice prominent display of a Springfield Armory satin finish compact 1911A1, the exact same pistol carried by Julie Benz in "Boondock Saints 2",. Product placement or simple coincidence?)

Law Abiding Citizen

High concept starts out great but eventually degenerates into cliche' near the end, but it could have been far worse overall. Butler carries the film with his twisted obsessive character portrayal and gratuitous ripped abs shots. Foxx's lack of true acting skills slips up a few scenes. Stalwart character actors Colm Meaney and Bruce McGill come to the rescue. Leslie Bibb and Regina Hall provide the overly sanitary sexless incidental girl-candy, they are mere props here, while Viola Davis is just downright scary to look at and is in fact the real villain in this film as a fascist politician with no regard for citizens civil-rights, a vile combination of Idi Amin & Oprah in a skirt. Fans of the thriller genre will be able to wring some enjoyment out of this, but will come away with a nagging feeling they have seen it all before. The take-away message of this film? Never answer your front door without your pistol filling your hand behind your back. Special note to classic rockers: Pete Townshend (The Who) and Grand Funk Railroad tunes turn up in the soundtrack...

District 9
District 9(2009)
½

I did not have great expectations for this film based on the ad campaign, expecting a mere low budget morality play about racism, set in Africa and couched in Sci-Fi themes a'la Roddenberry. I have to admit I underestimated this film. All the aforementioned elements are indeed present, (which gives a somewhat predictable feel to the plot), however, I did not expect the high level of direction, acting competence, action, and CGI that "District 9" brought to the table. Despite the flaws any film will have (in this case I was not too fond of the pacing in some parts, but this is a nitpick, the film still moves along at a good pace), and a highly personal nitpick everyone has, which is the music/soundtrack (I thought some of the sound bogged down sections that could have used pushing forward). In the final analysis, "District 9" gets the job done in epic Greek heroic tragedy tradition with the "unlikely hero" sub-theme (In this case, embodied by Actor Sharlto Copley), and a surprising amount of well shot and arranged action, something I did not expect.. One notable aspect is that despite the South African location, there was no heavy-handed "preaching" on the racial issue, the country is presented "as is", which is a refreshing change of pace and as it should be (the Sci-Fi plot aspects stand in for that here; plus a sardonic re-direct, using Nigerians as villains in a style the late James Bond author Ian Fleming would have appreciated). Military types will applaud the "Mercenary" action: tactics and firearms handling is competent and realistic, as can be expected in a country with so many combat-tested "Pro's" available as consultants. The CGI is astonishingly well done, it becomes seamless after a short time. (That said, let me add a minor rant: I can see no reason for someone with a love for the materiel to not bring out a better, more correct version, to cancel out the abysmal abomination the bumbling fool and fraud Tim Burton foisted off on us as "Mars Attacks". With the CGI demonstrated in "District 9", a hardcore & scary version true to the "Mars Attacks" universe is now possible. There are at least 2 Books and graphic novel series available for adaptation. /End rant). Neill Blomkamp has made his Hollywood bones in spectacular fashion with this film and added a notable addition to the Sci-Fi Genre. I say: Grab the buttered popcorn and check it out...

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
½

Changing "The Baroness" from a European terrorist to an American love interest was the first indication of disappointment with this brand name actioner. Director Sommers has solid credentials and again delivers the goods as far as action is concerned, however, the plot is so far from the original Joe Universe, it is merely in name only. What moron was paid off to cast Channing Tatum as "Duke"?. As an Army man, his portrayal offends me. The boy has absolutely horrible diction & pronunciation, talking like a wannabe' thug with a mouthful of rocks. He is far from a soldier, is an embarrassment to behold, and Marlon Wayans is not far behind with his Stepin Fetchit-esque clowning. Tatum is such a wooden talentless excuse for an actor, he makes wrestler/actor John Cena look like a combination of Lawrence Olivier and John Barrymore in comparison. As a matter of fact, Cena would have been a better choice for this role as he looks the part (given little flattop haircut), has the required muscular physique, and has pulled off semi-military roles in the past. One other issue that really fried my eggs was the scene with the actors wearing Army dress blue uniforms. Tatum's "Duke" is referred to as a "Captain" of Infantry, yet we see him wearing the rank of Major with the red color for Artillery/Engineers on his shoulders!?,( not to mention Wayans incorrect wearing of German Army parachute wings!). WTF?? This angered & distracted me to no end, and is one of the worst examples of big-screen military inaccuracy in recent memory, since Will Smith's disgracefully unkempt U.S.Marine Officers uniform in 'Independence Day' (There is no excuse for these type of mistakes, and it shows contempt for the real military out there, like we don't notice?). Sienna Miller's beauty is not wasted, although her character as the Baroness is. Rachel Nichols fares better as the Redhead. Quaid is predictably competent as the General, and Arnold "The Mummy" Vosloo has a small but amusing role in the proceedings. Lee Byung-hun, Ray Park and all the martial arts scenes were flashy, well staged and beautiful to watch. Adewale Agbaje's cockney talking Black dude act was interesting. Considering the drawbacks of what he (Sommers) had to work with, between the direction and the CGI, it is just enough to nudge this one, (if you don't care about the original characters & plot), into the realm of a watchable action popcorn flick, which may have been the underachieving idea in the first place...

The Green Berets
½

I was there...Ranger-Airborne!...Unique among Vietnam war films, since the war was still in progress when this film was made. Haters like TV Guide still to this day insult this film (and Wayne's politics) in their listings, but in fact 90% of the soldiers in the film were real vietnam combat veterans, experts in what the war was all about from the ground level!. The G.I. slang used is the real deal also ("Wouldn't want to get a writer Greased"...Need a larger "Killing Area" on the perimeter, That's the patrol that got "Zapped" by "Charlie" etc). The battle sequence assault on the A-Team Camp, which is based on an actual fight ("Gooks in The Wire"), is notable for what was left out of the film because it was so gruesome, ("Hit the Fougasse!"!) but was recreated in detail to the standards of censorship of the day. George "Ghey" Takei ("Star Trek"'s original "Sulu") is outstanding as the ruthless SVN-SF Officer wanting to kill his way home to Hanoi. Former leading man Aldo Ray is predictably tough as the bull-necked Top Sergeant. Master actor David Janssen shines as the soulful, world-weary hard drinking writer who is reborn to a higher cause after seeing communist viet-cong brutality first hand. Football player Mike Henry is short on acting skills, but adequate to the task of the reliable tough guy. The charming charismatic Jim Hutton provides the tragi-comedic edge only an actor of his skill could muster ("I'm not a Marine, I believe in my comfort"). John Wayne used a stable of familiar faced Hollywood character actors, such as Jack "Barney Miller" Soo, The gorgeous Irene Tsu as the glamorous Double-Agent. The ridiculously handsome Jason Evers ("T.H.E. Cat") as the A-Camp Captain, Luke Askew as the blue-eyed intense professional soldier ("You're a Heavy Weapons Specialist? Not if I can find a light one, Sir") worried about his legacy, and former leading man Bruce Cabot (original "King Kong"). Old School corny in some places, but realistic in others, vets will understand and appreciate what Wayne was trying to do here, and realize that this film was a labor of love & respect ...Notable for showing Black troopers in an era where Black males in heroic roles were rare on screen. Raymond "Cotton Comes To Harlem" St. Jaques plays the Medic, and there are several real Black Paratroopers & Green Berets shown in the film. Wayne was so impressed by the Black SF Troopers, he made it a point to show them in the film. He was so impressed, he actually changed his attitude about what the Black man was capable of, and publicly stated that he felt that qualified Blacks were as good as any man, which was a controversial statement at a time when blatant white racism was still overt and common in much of the USA (For example, look for the scene when Janssen arrives at the A-Team camp, where a Black Beret Sergeant walks away, then turns and asks Janssen if he needs a hand with his gear. This scene was intentionally scripted by Wayne to show that the Black sergeant was NOT Servile, but equal). The film features an avant-garde musical score by Miklos Rosa, with a stirring macho rework of the "Ballad of the Green Berets" theme, and incorporation of oriental instruments (that some found annoying). There is no CGI here, all stunts & SFX are done the old school way, and with the inherent limitations, of 1960's technology. Though it is still, after all this time, fashionable in some quarters to bash this film and the military values of heroism and virile masculinity it embodies. These nattering Nabobs of negativity are too cowardly to admit that it is these "fighting soldiers" that go and do, who provide the freedom that enables such unappreciative pencilnecked punk psuedo-intellectuals, to run their mouths in the first place...(and the same is true even today as American soldiers, as said in the film "Go...to emergency areas of the world... and fight who they are told to fight")...In the 60's/70's, real men wore olive drab, not love beads....

Public Enemies

Sorry, the 1973 Milius/Warren Oates version is superior overall and more accurate without lacking any action. As much as I respect Michael Mann as a stickler for detail (See his version of "Last Of the Mohicans"), his tossing aside facts on a whim with this true story is disturbing. A glaring example is Agent Purvis (Bale) gunning down George "Baby-Face" Nelson, something that never happened. There is a monument dedicated to the 2 FBI Agents (Hollis & Cowley) who died in the actuall 1934 gunfight, killing Nelson, near Fox Grove Illinois, even today. Changing a fact like that is an insult to the memory of these deceased Agents IMHO, something the 1973 version did not do. Mann has stated he is not wedded to the facts in this film: "Michael Mann has revealed that he is not a stickler for historical accuracy when making his movies. The filmmaker returns to the big screen this week with the release of Public Enemies which stars Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. Despite being praised by Bryan Burrough, the author of the book, Mann said in a press conference in London that he was happy (to) change events if it suited the film: "I don't feel a slavish adherence to actuality. It's only when it's magical, or when it means something do you go there...But director Mann also admitted that to make everything fit in the film he was not afraid to change around the timings of events as well as alter characters"...So I guess the memory of the Agents are not "magical" or "means something" in his view, and this is only one example I could provide. This film only covers the last part of Dillinger's crime spree, and plays out as more melodrama/love story, with unnecessarily leaden pacing, than tough Cops & Robbers film. Old episodes of the "Untouchables" TV show play out more briskly than this. After all, we know what is going to happen, it's a matter of how the story is told that is what makes the art in this genre. Crudups portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover is an unexpected treat, however. He's done his homework, showing Hoover as the headline-grabbing, vindictive, uptight, paranoid, panty-waisted little white collar punk he was. Despite the few action gunbattles, that at least show historically accurate weaponry (notably including the Browning Automatic Rifle), and including Reed Youngblood, the Black convict who assisted Dillinger breaking out of Crown Point jail, (but is only seen in that sequence, not as a member of the gang later, another historical inaccuracy). I won't say outright that this film sucks, it is what it is and has it's moments without a doubt, but Mann is capable of much better work than what is on display here. Watch the DVD of the 1973 Milius/Oates Dillinger (See http://www.flixster.com/movie/dillinger ) before going to see this version, and you will clearly see which is the superior example of filmaking art...
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(Update: I saw the latest trailer (6/20/09) and it shows the Black "Reed Youngblood" character for a few seconds. It remains to be seen if there is accurate follow-through at this point). If this film cannot surpass John Milius's "Dilliger"(and with Michael Mann involved, it gives me some modicum of hope, although he let us down with the horrible remake to Miami vice) including showing the Black member of the gang, only shown in that film and in Bogart's "Petrified Forest")...Same with the Thompson SMG's, not that commonly used in real life, unlike in fictional Hollywood gangster films and TV shows like "Untouchables"...If you have not seen the original Milius/Oates Dillinger, go here...
http://www.flixster.com/movie/dillinger
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...I saw the trailer for this yesterday at "Watchmen" showing, and was not impressed as far as historical accuracy is concerned, and this is not a feature of anything Michael Mann is involved with, which does not give me confidence this film will deliver the goods (at this point at least)...

Patton
Patton(1970)
½

The Black soldiers of the 761st Tank Battalion were outraged when this film was released, as their contribution was completely ignored, and their veteran's association lodged public protests. To add insult to injury, the one lone Black soldier in the film is Patton's Valet, a position some viewed as servile. Coppola and the production company had a chance to rectify this, since they ignored it during the time of the original release, with the 2006 Patton Special Edition DVD release but did not consider it important enough to make an effort (how hard would it have been to add a few minutes of film & commentary on the Special Features disc?). Even Patton himself displayed more class than Coppolla & Co.. "Patton, not originally fond of the idea of black armored units, welcomed the 761st with these remarks: 'Men, you're the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren't good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don't care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all, your race is looking forward to you. Don't let them down and damn you, don't let me down!'".This is fact! This is just another example of Hollywood revisionist history and a slap at America's Black Warriors. Coppolla & Co. had the chance to do the right thing, but chose not to do so. They will have my everlasting contempt and hostility for this gratuitous insult to the honor of Black soldiers & all veterans of the U.S. Military!. (For links & info on the 761st, go to: http://www.talkingproud.us/HistoryBlackPanthers.html)

Terminator Salvation

If you are not familiar with the Terminator universe, this film will make no sense to you. Rent the DVD's and catch up before seeing this, then you will fully enjoy this entry to the series. I heard many gripes from the audience I saw this with about Bale as Connor, so it goes. If you want action, this will not disappoint. CGI cameo by Arnold is most cool, would have liked to see it extended, it is just a teezer', but a good one. Grab the buttered popcorn and enjoy..

Red Sonja
Red Sonja(1985)

Don't get me wrong, I love Gitte', but Xena would kick Red's butt...(6ft tall Dane Viking Vs. 6ft tall Kiwi?. So go watch & enjoy the Xena DVD's now./;-D) Arnold and the disappearing Sandahl Bergman can't save this one from being a niche cult exercise...Late night diet breaking buttered popcorn time here, unfortunately...

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)
½

They got it right here, near perfect blend of the traditional and contemporary post- 1st series trek universe riffs (for example, the makeover of the Romulans is similar to that done with the Klingons, the Romulans here are not nearly exact copies of the Vulcans but come off more like tattooed leather trenchcoat clad biker thugs, and it works). A few surprise elements (such as an unexpected love connection not in the original), the nods to the original are not overdone. One of my favorite actors, Karl Urban, really gets to show his chops as "Bones", but all the actors do journeyman work (including Nimoy). Director Abrams had good materiel to work with and actors skilled enough to pull it off, not a wooden performance among them. Non-Trek heads will enjoy this "Space Opera", but familiars to the Trek universe will be ecstatic...Worth the time (Review based on first run in theaters-5/10/09)

Red Dawn
Red Dawn(1984)

This was no "Propaganda movie of the 80's" as all too many shallow thinkers purport. Director Milius had an agenda no doubt, however it is the same agenda as for his other film "Dillinger": To make a blood & thunder action film with historical riffs. I love the beats he slips in throughout. The visual nod to Teddy "Strenuous life" Roosevelt's "Rough Riders" (who were saved in battle by Black Cavalrymen). The allegory with American Revolutionary War martyr Crispus Attucks, when the history professor (Frank McRae) is the first to buy the farm...The radio messages being the same as used by French Maquis partisans in WW2 (as portrayed, and lifted from, the film "The Longest Day"), and the knowing smites at American firearms infingements, when we see the enemy commander (A dashing beret & mustachioed Ron "Superfly" O'Neal) order his troops to grab the BATF "Form 4473"s from the sporting goods store so they know the names and addresses of everyone who owns guns in the area so they can be "dealt with" (paperwork forced on citizens with threat of prison by the Fed Gov to legally buy a firearm, a wink by Milius who knows there are many in our own government that would love to do the same with this paperwork as the communist tyrants portrayed in this film)....and of course the scene where we literally see a Soviet paratrooper wrest a 1911A1 Government Model .45 from the "cold dead fingers" of a fallen citizen militiaman. "Red Dawn" is simply a cracking good "shoot-em'-up" with melodramatic interludes and nothing more, as was "Dillinger". Milius wanted to make a combat movie, earned the right, and this is it. (It is also the reason he is blackballed in hollywood to this day). So drop your snobbish pretensions, take it for what it is, grab the salted & buttered and have fun with it...

100 Rifles
100 Rifles(1969)
½

Interracial Sex? First H.Wood movie to exploit it w/Gorgeous Raquel "Tejada" Welch & Big Jim "Dirty Dozen" Brown doing the deed as star-crossed lovers during the hellish times of the Mexican Revolution era, this movie has it all: Outstanding Music by genius Gerry Goldsmith so awesome it was nicked and used in another above-average western ("The Last Hard Men" w/Coburn, Heston, Rivero). Hans "Eric Braeden" Gudast and Fernando "Father of Lorenzo" Lamas turn in excellent villainous performances here, but the real heroes other than Goldsmith are the 2nd Unit, cinematographers and editors, who take max use of the beautiful panoramic vistas handed them and director Gries always shows interesting camera angles to tell the story. Tons of well-staged action ensues which shows the cruelty of the Mexican Revolutionary era without the Peckinpahish' realism. You will love the scenes regarding the Priestly dilemma with death. One of the few films of its genre that deals with the now exterminated Mexican Yaqui Indians, which are integral to the plotline. This historically accurate fiction yarn is pleasing on so many levels, yet deals with a heavy subject "lightly"...Enough good points to merit watching, and after all, it's got Rocky Welch in her prime (Hell, she still is lookin' pretty damn good these days, she ages quite well and stays in shape, probably on HGH...Just kidding!(Not! /;-)...Rugged all the way, between Burt Reynolds clowning and Brown's serious ex-10th Cavalry Pony-Soldier/Lawman persona, plus the incomparable face & awesome physique of warrior princess Rocky to drool over, you can't miss here: a definite testosterone man's type of flick, (unless you are offended by Interracial sex scenes, and this is very tame and sanitized, after all it was the first one shown in a big Hollywood production)...100 Rifles stands proudly in the "Badass MoFo" genre of hard ridin' western films, with memorable scenes, lines, visuals, and violent action. Grab a big tub of the 30 weight & salted popcorn and enjoy the ride!...

Lost Command
Lost Command(1966)

This story is based on real people and events, from the first Vietnam/Indochina war to the Algerian quagmire, the multicultural French Colonial Paratrooper "Maroon Beret" units & Foreign Legionnaires (many of them ex-WW2 German SS Nazi "anti-Partisan" fighters unable to go home for fear of war crimes trials. Entire units enlisted en mass in the Legion...) fought and died bravely "Mort De La France". Although a "Hollywood version" of events, this film is unique, and has been used in military training classes to show examples of combat tactics, the accuracy is that good, with actual army troops as extras adding to the excellently directed action. The story stays close to the book ("The Centurions" By Jean Larteguy) and is about the all too real pride & prejudice lurking in the backstabbing politics of the French military. Dashing Colonel Raspeguy (Quinn) is not a "real" Frenchmen, but a looked-down-upon minority Basque of peasant stock, who has only advanced to such a high rank by being a hardened (as his lover calls him), "Beautiful Beast of War". His men love him because they know he is looking out for them at all times and that he is "of" them, no pretentious political officer type A-hole. Raspeguy loses his command in the wake of the withdrawal from Indochina/Vietnam (Burt Kwouk, known as "Kato" from the "Pink Panther" series, turns up as an arrogant but hapless Viet Officer here), but with behind the scenes politics, get a last chance for glory (and a General's star) by being given command of the newly formed group of hard cases, criminals, & miscreants of the "10th Parachute Regiment"(known as "The Lizards" due to their special camouflage pattern uniforms and billed caps), being sent in to the "dirty war" breaking out in French colonial Algeria. The film details both the heroic and shameful actions that ensue. Raspeguy recruits many of his former Vietnam comrades to stiffen up his new unit, all bored with the calm life in metro France & still looking for adventure. Captain Esclavier (Delon) is the soulful but naive intellectual & conscience of the group, while Cpt. Boisfeuras (Ronet) is his evil avatar, a sadistic vietnam raised french war-lover with psychopathic killer tendencies and a love of the knife. Unusual for the day, there is featured a strong & silent Black Officer as the unit Doctor. Lt. Mahidi (Segal in dark makeup) is their comrade gone wrong who snaps and joins the terrorists after returning home from Nam' and sees what has become of his family. Actress Claudia Cardinale stands out as the college girl sister of Mahidi who dons high-heels and tight skirts as a faux-hooker to help the terrorists by manipulating the gullible Esclavier. Cardinale makes the most of her role as the innocent but sexy "It" girl here, while Michele Morgan as Countess De Clairefons, is the war-widow who beds and helps Rapseguy get his new command. Her ice-queen aristocratic beauty and style intrigue here. Despite these diversions of sex & politics, this is at heart an action film, and succeeds on that level. The film has an excellent and stirring soundtrack arranged by Franz Waxman. There is an "evil twin" of this film, Pontecorvo's "Battle of Algiers", that unlike "Command", blatantly takes the side of the terrorists, showing them as the heroes of the piece, and significantly was used as a "training film" for 1960's Red radicals such as the Black Panthers, Puerto Rican separatists & murderous Weather Underground radicals, all who killed people in real life terror attacks in the USA. (The serious filmhead should see both of these and decide for themselves). All this is particularly interesting considering current events in the Middle East (and the descendants of these 1950's Algerians transplanted to France that are now fighting the Police and rioting in the streets of Paris as criminals & Terrorist sympathizers). The now independent Algerians are still fighting and dying in the continuing war against their own anti-government fanatical fundamentalist Muslim terrorists even today. Things did not turn out as expected from the hopes for "peace" after the French, who lost so many brave warriors in the fight, de-colonized and left Algeria...With this in mind, One can only reiterate the french canard "Ce'st La Vie, Ce'st La Guerre"...Grab the buttered popcorn and check it out!...

Cadence
Cadence(1989)
½

Stereotype packed, the Black actors at least get a showcase for their skills, and many have gone on to bigger things, but this film has it's niche appeal as a time capsule of an era where the US Army was not at it's best, and intentionally sought to rid itself of the Black street hoodlums it needed desperately to fight in combat in Vietnam. Welcomed into the ranks to fight, and discarded pitilessly when that war war declared a no-go...(I know about this from personal experience, as I was a Military Policeman during this era working the jail/stockade detail..and it not only sucked, it blew!)...I can say that, despite it's myriad flaws, it was better to have this film made than not, if only to let the viewer get a small glimpse into the mindset of the era, as sanitized as it is in this film. I have a problem with such anti-military individuals as the Sheen/Estevez Axis creating such stuff, revisionist history mind-control and all that rot, but viewing this with your BS detectors on full can still make an interesting film experience, at the performance level (the cast all do their best), so grab the salty buttered oiled popcorn and check it out...

Pork Chop Hill

US Infantry vs. Fanatical oriental Communist forces in blood-soaked battle: 1953 Korea! ("They're not just Orientals, They're Communists!!"). Ranks with "Lost Command" for showing accurate military tactics. The actual person Pecks persona is based on was the technical adviser. This film recreates actual events, and with hardcore but antiwar Ukrainian Director Lou Milestone at the helm, we know we are getting the real deal here. Awesome musical score and solid cast of future greats & solid character actors makes this a must-see that veterans will appreciate as being damn near as close as it gets without real bullets and artillery flying at you...Notable for including Japanese-American & Black actors in the cast, a big deal at the time of it's making, portraying them as Men rather than stereotypes: showing the improved Army after they had proved themselves in WW2 & the then new abolishment of racist segregation in the military, which only added to the realism the film effectively projects. A Great time-capsule (before Peck, a'la Eastwood, caved in to the Hollywood SAG "politically-correct" crowd who never grasped what this essentially anti-war film, was all about, preferring the overly-simplistic "America is Evil" line personified by "Racist with credentials" Oliver Stone and similar ilk). Pork Chop Hill and director Milestone's vision stands firmly in the face of such faddishness and still gets to the point as directly as a kick in the genitals-even today!. Grab a tub of buttered popcorn and get into it...You will be a better person for the effort...Don't miss it!

Taken
Taken(2009)

(No Spoilers) With a Luc Besson credit, you know that stylish & violent action will ensue (similar to his other film "Ronin"), which is a good thing in this genre. However, this film is generic: We all know what is going to happen, it is just a matter of how the action unfolds and ends: this is where the fun is, and in this case it works on all levels as long as the viewer is not expecting Shakespeare or muscular Stallone/Van Damme/Segal/Lundgren/Swartzeneggerish' posturing: any Dad will relate to this tale, and this film blatantly exploits such in the same manner as Arnold did in "Commando".
Personally, I snickered at noticing a few items that a professional would never do, but only other Pro's will catch these little mistakes, so I assume it is not a major issue in the overall production, but the technical adviser needs a swift kick in the ass. The knife fight scene near the end worked well and was close to realistic. Great popcorn diversion flick, but barely nudges itself into the "badass mofo" genre of action flicks, singularly owing to the Irish roots of the hero of the film, based on the reputation of the "fighting irish" stereotype, although Neeson remains unconvincing as a true badass in any of the roles he is cast as such, but he is a damn good journeyman actor nonetheless. Gorgeous Dutch-treat Famke Janssen keeps interest to fanciers of beautiful women (no racy scenes here, just straight acting, sorry horndogs), although she plays the "B-yotch" here, she remains easy on the eyes for the testosterone crowd. Maggie, Holly, & Katie remain cute eye candy skill-less actresses here, if anyone really cares, they get the job done and that is good enough. Xander Berkely is dispicable in his few scenes, so he did his job, Nuff' said'. I personally despise Leland Oscar, likely due to his work in "X-files" and Star Trek, but he gets the job done here, finally playing a semi-good guy for a change. Take it for what it is, crunch down on the salted buttered popcorn, ride it for the roller coaster that it is, and you won't leave too disappointed...

Doc Savage---The Man of Bronze
½

Not living up to the original pulp fiction stories and marred by the camp influence of the TV "Batman" series, this film can only be judged as what it could have been vs. what it was: A high-concept betrayed by the producers of it. Personally, influenced by my WW2 veteran school shop teacher who had read the original books in his youth, I became a huge fan of the reprinted paperback series of novels, and by comparison this film was a major disappointment. Although the basic elements are similar to the original story ("The Man of Bronze"), it becomes evident after the first 30 minutes that the production fails, falling into a way to make a quick buck rather than maintain the integrity of the materiel. What could have been a "blood & thunder ripping yarn" adventure (similar to the "Mummy" & "Indiana Jones" ripoffs) degenerates into undeserved mediocrity. Tall, handsome, built but still under-muscled Ex-"Tarzan" Ron Ely cannot save this, and the CGI of the time does not help either. Hopefully one day we will see Doc & his crew done proper justice, but I have no illusions this will happen unless someone who really loves the characters is willing to mount an effort. We will need someone of Spielberg's level to get it done right. I guess we can all hope...Doc deserves better than this. See it for the adventure at the least. This is not on DVD, but is regularly shown on Spanish language channels as a feature film, but even non-Spanish speakers can watch and enjoy what little fun can be pulled out of this film, so just do it....

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)
½

(No Spoilers!) Grecian style Heroic tragi-comedy with a retired gunfighter theme spiced with coming of age classicism, this film satisfies on all levels, though many viewers wont pick up on some subtleties at first viewing, and some will never get it. Eastwood's love of hard bop jazz translates to this film which improvises with riffs from his previous work, especially the "Dirty Harry" series, "Outlaw Josie" & "Heartbreak Ridge"s hardened Korean War veteran Sergeant. Snappy & profane, yet subdued language, both modern and vintage, make Tarantino's riffs look pompously artificial in comparison to Clint's jazzy chops. Eastwood gets away with murder on the dialogue, simply because everyone with a brain knows in real life he is the most non/anti-racist professional artist out there, with a consistent track record in all the films under his control (and effectively put foot to ass on Spike Lee's fatmouthing, when Clint pointed out that he filmed "Byrd" when no Black director would, "Spike" had to shut the "F" up and back off like the little New York ego inflated Black Woody Allen chump he is). I was startled by the "ways guys talk" riff, when I realized that this was something my crowd did at high school age, unwittingly learned from the male role models around us (most of whom were WW2 & Korean War Vets), a bittersweet mind-blower that brought a nostalgic crooked smile to my face, and makes for good fun here for those who understand. Another scene where the young Hmong girl is accosted by a pack of Black street Homies, and her verbal responses, were reminiscent of 1940's actresses Myrna Loy, Lauren Bacall & Carol Lombard, in sarcastic tough-broad-beyond-her-years bite, Clint & her playing off each other to best effect, riffing on a Callahan-ish improv jam. The only criticism I might consider is the weakness in acting chops in the mostly young unskilled cast, but Clint manages to force adequate performances out of them (combined with skillful editing) that makes this not too glaringly obvious for the most part. Although the packed crowd I saw this with were visibly and vocally disappointed with the ending, they did not seem angered about the irony, seeming to understand Clint had an agenda here and was trying to make a point. This film will do good on DVD, it begs seeing more than once. Add this to your deck of post-summer movies to see, I doubt you will regret it...

Valkyrie
Valkyrie(2008)

This is at least the 4th movie version of this story, predictable but well done "military fashion show thriller" (C'mon, admit it Tom, you just wanted an excuse to wear that sharp looking uniform & tall riding boots/;-), commendable for rehabilitating the reputations of the Officers who attempted the Tyrannicide of Schickelgruber (who is portrayed here as a small. sinister presence, rather than the usual ranting psycho, a much more effective move IMHO). Director Singer keeps the story moving and things basic enough that the mostly historically illiterate crowd I saw this with were able to keep at least a rudimentary grasp on what was going on (proven at the end when the titles indicated that the General portrayed by Tom Wilkinson, who thought he was safe, was later shot on orders from Der Fuhrer, there was a ripple of ironic laughter from the crowd). This story, after all, was told in less than 30 minutes back in the 60's on Walter Cronkite's "20th Century", so in the overall view, Valkyrie gets credit for getting the job done in a serviceable manner...

Eagle Eye
Eagle Eye(2008)
½

"Hitchcock on Amphetamines", -Spielberg's influence is seen through Director Caruso. Excellent editing & cinematography. Music score is appropriately tension-filled big orchestra work. Acting is serviceable all around, The camera is fond of Michelle Monaghan (not so much with LaBeouf & Thornton, although Dawson cleans up well here, Michael "The Thing" Chiklis is interesting as a Chenyesque Sec-Def). Relentless pacing/editing, despite a (very) few flat spots, keeps the action moving forward. The military and Federal Police are shown in a positive light (as it should be). Eagle Eye is everything the similarly themed "Traitor" failed at. Eagle Eye succeeds as one of the better recent examples of the "Paranoid political thriller" genre...(out on DVD since this was originally written)

Wanted
Wanted(2008)
½

Flashy action sequences dominate, with the Director lovingly shooting Jolie's signature gorgeousness to it's best effect(and firearms as well). The weaknesses of the plot stem from it's "graphic novel" roots, and will leave the "thinking" viewer unsatisfied at the end (In fact I found the end dammed annoying). See this one at the roller coaster ride level only, and to watch the beautiful Jolie, and stalwarts Freeman, & Stamp at work...(Out on DVD since this was written)

To Have and Have Not

Lauren "Baby" Bacall at her slinky hot green-eyed barely legal best ("You know how to whistle?"-A line often mistakenly attributed to Mae West)...Bogie was asked during a roast about him bangin' Baby. His response? "Just lucky, I guess"...Whotta' Man!...See this for the interactions and WW2 era atmosphere. Walter Brennan is amusing here, you can see why he was to be cast as the irascible "Grandpappy Amos" in later years, he is a character actors role model. This is required viewing for students of romance noir and those curious about the older man/younger woman scandalous relationship between these two. It will answer most of your curiosity about their chemistry, we should all be so lucky...Bacall is basically irresistible, with her fine-as-froghairs, bad-self. Point of interest for James Bond 007 fans: Musician Hoagy Carmichael has several scenes here. Ian Fleming described 007 as looking similar to Carmichael, but with more cruel facial features and attitude (yet another reason why Daniel Craig is one of the worst Bonds). Some of my favorite lines to watch for: "It's even better when you help", "Get a shave" & "Well who is she?"...When you see this, you will understand why. Worth the time...

Quantum of Solace

Did not suck as bad as anticipated, with a serviceable progression of action scenes being presented (but this is to be expected, therefore not an aspect to give undue credit), I will critique based on having read all the Bond novels, seen all the films, and will show no mercy. Direction & editing are journeyman level as is the plot. Despite my personal dislike of Craig as 007 (thank God the sex scene with beautiful Arterton was mercifully short, unlike with Connery, men will not lean forward with interest or envy). Though I give Craig major props for working out & carrying a decent physique, I always have the urge to punch this guy in that prominent lip of his. The crowded house I saw this with were noncommittal, unlike the lively responses I observed with "Iron Man", for example). I will give Craig minimal kudos for at least trying to emulate a tough British Commando in a well tailored suit (unlike Roger Moore, who like Craig is a spineless fag about firearms in real life. It seems that use of arms to protect your country are not "politically correct" with these two, and in general, a revolting development, as this was the reason Fleming created the character to begin with, to show these as virtues, "License to Kill", and all that). The main villian here (Amalric)is no Goldfinger or Blofeld, physically and mentally more simpering effeminate weakling than a true challenge to an Agent of "00" status, while Giannini's acting skills are wasted here. I give credit to the "retro" orientation of the early Bond, all fists, guns, guts and cunning; but the execution here may make the grade for a no-name actioner, but falls short for a 007 package. The producers seem to want to stamp out any connection to previous Bond films, with only bare bones minimal grudging nods given, (for example, the sparse musical cues, and the signature "gun walk" reserved for the end-titles. In fact the publicity photo of Craig in a suit & tie, brandishing a supressed Orbendorfer machine-pistol is not even in the film. At least the tradition of keeping CIA Agent Felix Leiter as a Black man, started in "Never Say Never Again", is retained). See this one for the beautiful women (Kurylenko & Arterton) and action scenes (but of course you could see other films for that), ignore the unrealized potential and do it as popcorn time in the trenches for Queen & country, if you think that it's worth it...

Righteous Kill
½

"Most people respect the Badge, everyone respects the Gun" will go down as another great movie line. Despite a high powered cast headed by DiNiro & Pacino, Director Avnet "just doesn't pack the gear" to deliver satisfaction, knowing this film would inevitably be compared to "Heat", unfortunately left to pale in the comparison (but on the other hand, "Heat" was left wanting in comparison to the TV movie it was based on, the superb "L.A. Takedown" by Michael "Miami Vice/Last of the Mohicans" Mann). The film is nonetheless watchable for fans of fictional NYPD genre faux police procedurals. Due to the work by Pacino & DiNiro, it barely nudges into the "Badass-MoFo" category. Take it for what it is, not for the potential it fails to live up to...(Note:Added video Remix to this film @ my Flixter page-"Guns&Badges")...

Max Payne
Max Payne(2008)

The videogame may be action packed, but despite fetching females such as Mila Kunis and serviceable CGI, the weak direction and lack of acting chops by Wahlberg and Bridges, not to mention the high-school-play level of the rest of the cast (in particular the ham-handed work of aptly named rapper Ludacris) is glaringly obvious even to the least analytical minds who would pay to put asses-in-seats for this thrill-less action er. The Police procedure is non-existent flash that would get an officer fired in short order from NYPD for randomly going AWOL whenever it suits the hero, not to mention the replay of the fight Arnold (of all people) did better in "Commando", when the hero finally meets the main villain in hand to hand combat (and this a red herring to boot). Just having sexy firearms and two beautiful brunettes does not an action film make, and the visuals don't justify seeing this on the big screen. Viewers would not be missing out by waiting for the inevitable DVD release in this case. Popcorn time for the mindless with low expectations IMHO...

Hell Is for Heroes
½

Ruthless battle action glorifying the US Infantry against Nazi forces in WW2. Based on actual battle reports from the infamous "Murder Ridge" on the notorious "Sigfried Line". Director Siegel does his best with a strong cast of current and future greats even though he has to bow to studio pressures and slip in some comic relief via Superstar crooner Bobby Darin and urbane Bob Newhart. James Coburn is a standout here, showing his toothy handsomeness against "Flint" type as a low key mechanic who goes ape-nutso in the infamous flamethrower scene, and Big Fess Parker is convincing as the Top Sergeant, plus egotist actor Nick"The Rebel" Adams typically tries to steal as many scenes as he can. Mike Kellin makes the most of his doomed character, and Siegel uses the Hitchcockian "God" camera angle to it's most terrifying effect in his death scene, shockingly realistic. The final panoramic battle scene was incorporated from an actual Army training exercise, so there is the proverbial "cast of thousands" being put to use here, no phony CGI. McQueen's characterization of the stripped-of-his- stripes-Butcher-knife carrying "Reese" is compelling, as a war-lover who, as the irascible Captain haplessly describes as not being able to understand a soldier "Who cracks up when the pressure is off". Reese lives for the adrenaline rush of combat. He drinks and whores enough to be a screw up when not "on the line" killing the enemy. I saw this film as a kid with my Korean War Veteran uncle who gave it a thumbs up and I'm sure it helped shape my persona somewhat, so it remains a nostalgic favorite of mine and an overlooked McQueen performance arguably as strong or even better than in "Bullitt", 'The Great Escape" or "The Sand Pebbles", because unlike those other roles, "Reese" is 110% hardcore. His only weakness is booze & cheap broads. It's obvious Reese was a killer long before he volunteered for the Army, (probably to stay out of prison), which is why he can't keep his stripes. Although this film has it's flaws (Even "Citizen Kane" is not 100% perfect) this is still seriously worth some buttered popcorn time for movie buffs with an open mind, who can appreciate one of the better examples of the "War Is Hell" (& "Badass MoFo') genre...

Appaloosa
Appaloosa(2008)

It is clear why Ed Harris wanted to adapt this from the novel: it is great ground for actors to show their chops, and the excellent cast rises to the occasion, big names and small (Character actor Rex Linn is perfect as a Sheriff here, and stalwart Lance Henriksen channels the late Warren Oates as a cynical bounty-killer. The camera loves Viggo's Wild Bill Hickok look and Ed's blue eyes, but is unkind to Zellweiger, who's lookin' a tad rugged here, but this may have been intentional, to match her hapless faux sophisticate mercenary weaselly character). Despite the trailers for this movie, it is no "shoot em' up". In fact, there is no violence here that does not advance the plot. Pacing is more 1950's style than current audiences are used to. Period clothes, weapons and grooming are historically accurate. Watch this for the performances and beautifully sparse cinematography. if you just want action, you will be left unsatisfied, sorry to say...

The Fifth Element
½

Futuristic action with the Francophone flair director Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita) is renown for. Willis essentially plays his John McClain character from Die Hard, but that is not a bad thing. Jovovich laid the foundation that would carry her from beautiful covergirl into the "Resident Evil" action heroine, while Oldman plays his signature psycho character with the expected intensity. Experienced actor Ian Holm satisfies as the befuddled priest. A now muscular but then skinny ChrisTucker shines as the manic & flamboyant host. Music lovers will be facinated by the performance of "The Diva"(Maiwenn Le Besco), and stalwart Brion James plays his patented heavy with less violence than he is usually known for. The story moves forward with relentless pacing and rich visuals, a more action packed "Blade Runner" on the upbeat, it's worth the popcorn time for Sci-Fi action fans...

Hard Times
Hard Times(1975)

Hard muscled mean old bastard Bronson, showing ripped abs & a lean vein etched physique at over 50 years old (that puts to shame most half his age), takes his shirt off and lays the smackdown over several opponents who underestimate him because of his age. A street fighting counterpoint to the flood of flashy asian martial arts films released at the time, the message was that a western knuckled knockout punch to the head may not be pretty and artful, but gets the job done by knocking the M.F. the F' out!. Director Hill ("The Warriors") gets effective low-key work out of master actor James Coburn, the reliable Strother Martin, and the camera loves the English rose beauty of Jill Ireland. Noir atmosphere, two-fisted violence with a testosterone edge and a realistic nod to the desperate lives lived during this hardscrabble era of people doing what they may not like but have to do to survive (prostitution and cage fighting being 2 edges of the same sword) makes this one a "thinking man's" version of the "Bad-ass-mofo" genre....

Traitor
Traitor(2008)
½

This film wants to have it both ways and fails both sides in the process. "Ripped from the headlines" story with attempts at "moral equivalence" between the USA & Islamic terrorists comes off as spineless, and the conflicted hero doing the right thing in the end falls flat. Location shooting and cinematography keeps things visually interesting, and the acting is competent overall, but the direction never quite lives up to the "thriller" status it seeks to achieve. Hitchcock would have looked down his nose at this. It could have been worse...

Chato's Land
Chato's Land(1971)

A muscular, lean, & ripped older Chas. Bronson goes on the warpath against a lynching Posse of rapist/racists seeking him for killing a "lawman" in self-defense. The reliable Palance and a cast of stalwart hollywood character acting experts are in in this period revenge tale. Director Winner ("Death Wish") outdoes Stallone by making the most of Bronsons athletic, hard, vein etched cut muscles & shredded rippled abs, shown as a metaphor for his pure warrior character vs. the degenerate mix of true criminals and disillusioned innocents drawn into the hunt, but turn out being the hunted to pay for their atrocities. Predictable? Yes, but still worth watching how the events unfold, thanks to the talents of the cast. Good stuff for fans of the "Bad-ass-mofo" genre of action films...(Note: Created Flixter skin dedicated to this film)

Robot Jox
Robot Jox(1989)
½

Notorious for the nude buttocks scene of usually demure & beautiful lightskinned Black actress Anne-Marie Johnson, this one was short on Robot fighting action & plot, but veteran heavy Paul Koslo turns in the expected good work as the bad guy...A fun diversion, now that it's out on DVD, nonetheless for sci-fi fanciers...

Rambo (Rambo IV)

Brutal combat action (via upgraded horror film style SFX)brought against some of the most deservingly vile villians, in both real life and film, are effectively depicted in this entry to the Rambo franchise. Roots driven by Stallones hand, stylized "action hero" shtick is dropped in favor of political advocacy for the opressed Burmese, and slap in the face reality for the do-gooding meddlers that think bandages and hugs will solve problems only bullets are capable of resolving, the battle scenes are as close to real combat as one can get without the dangers of risking injury for the viewer. Despite the lamestream medias bad publicity offensive against Stallone's advocacy for the use of performance enhancers (by adults), there are no scenes of a barechested Rambo for them to critisize, a smart move on Stallone's part that would have detracted from the thrust of the film. The ending leaves open the possibility for another Rambo film, and that would be a good thing if it continues to meet the high standards this one has set...

The Spook Who Sat by the Door
½

A testament to the legacy of Director Ivan ("Hogans Heroes") Dixon(RIP), the tough excellent & subversive novel on which it was based was vastly superior to this film version, largely due to budget constraints. In fact it is amazing this film was made at all. It was rumored for years that the FBI/CIA obtained all the original prints of this film to keep it out of circulation, but there was one copy that made underground showings, usually at night in local churches nationwide. This film is still capable of shocking the viewer, once they realize where the plot is going and what could have happened if circumstances had aligned as shown. There were 2 other novels released at around the same time ("The Seige" & "Civil War II", one written by the later to be famous "The Executioner/Mack Bolan" author Don Pendelton) both depicting a future where the US Forces are "all-volunteer" and largely Black, where a military coup ensues, basically a patriotic flip-side to the "Spook" storyline (there was also "Barber Shop" speculation these were backed by secret government money to defuse the fallout from "Spook"). This film is non-racist (in comparison to extremely racist fiction like "Turner", that were favorites of terrorists McVey, Franklin, and the murderous thugs of "The Order"), the theme being more "disillusioned patriot" than Marxist, despite the hopes of the leftists. A must-see film (now that it is on DVD) both from historical & artistic standpoints, as well as a warning of how close we came to anarchy at a time of rampant political fratricide, the ripples of which we are still suffering from even today (think Clinton/Pelosi/Obama/Carter/etc)....

Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

Regarding filmmaker Christopher Bell: If you are anti, you'll say he is pro; and if you are pro, you will say he did not go far enough. Bell's alleged "moral dilemma", (that his/our so-called "heroes" were flawed for using PED's/Performance Enhancing Drugs) often comes off as childishly simplistic and overwrought, merely an affectation to advance the plot. It comes off as more sly wink, with his own smarmy brand of humor, than true righteous indignation. I have extremely serious issues with his portrayals of how "easy" it is to obtain steroids and how to manufacture bogus "legal" supplements. These segments were both misleading and downright irresponsible, particularly in light of the crackdown on those attempting to obtain steroids. There are now a vast number of people doing hard time and some have even lost their lives (the ultimate "unintended consequence") in this new "war on testosterone", yet Bell does not once mention this and treats the issue as a lighthearted joke. I consider this a major fault in this film, an omission that undermines the rest of the content by effectively leaving the viewer ignorant of the serious consequences facing the "little guy" (rather than rich sports/Hollywood figures who can afford expensive legal resources), and avoids taking to task the law enforcement arms who would rather make a "safe" steroid arrest than take the personal risk of going gun to gun against violent armed drug gangsters pushing serious drugs that actually are a menace to society, unlike steroids. Greg Valentino is brought in for shock value, and again, it is left for the viewer to assume his distorted arms are the result of steroid use, despite the fact there is no other person shown with a similar look (synthol oil), yet the segments with Jay Cutler and Will Harris were cut from the film(?). The segments with John Romano and Dr. Yesalis, who have something constructive to say, should have been expanded over the Valentino footage. Bell also dropped the ball regarding the Sylvester Stallone incident in Australia, reinforcing the impression that Stallone was physically arrested for "Steroids", when in fact the compound was HGH, was legally held by Stallone under a prescription, and that Stallone never spent any time in handcuffs or in jail. The beef was strictly an importation issue, nothing more (until the biased media got hold of the story, that is). Stallone's comments about HGH ("It's nothing") and pro-testosterone comments ("Improves the quality of life"..."May be sold over the counter in 10 years") regarding mature men and HRT are not mentioned. Let me point out the hypocrisy of actress Suzanne Somers freely championing hormone therapy for women without a peep heard from the media, while Stallone is loudly reviled for doing the exact same thing for men, an outrageous display of the double standard gone wild. Bell's love-hate relationship with bodybuilding and powersports provide him with a dragon to both ride and slay at the same time in his quest for fame, but it is a shame he feels it necessary to step on both the "innocent and the guilty" in his juvenile tantrum against Catholic style disillusionment (Was it really necessary, for example, to dog Arnold by pointing out the winner of the Arnold Classic had a steroid related arrest history?). I could go on, but the intelligent reading this will "get my drift", while the close-minded fanatics cannot be helped anyway. At least he did cover the positive use of steroids in medicine, and included the HIV+ subjects comments, and makes the point that steroid use is no "shortcut", and users in fact train as hard or harder than alleged "naturals". The film does more good than harm in the total scheme of it's subject matter, but is very far from definitive for the general public. The film is vastly superior to the Documentary "The Man Whose Arms Exploded", which was rife with misinformation and was designed to be an anti-Steroid/PED propaganda piece (Curiously, both films feature many of the same people). It may be better to simply man-up and produce a blatantly pro-PED piece rather than claim to be evenhanded and fail both sides in the process. Nonetheless, I still highly recommend seeing the film and let the chips fall where they may, although it still leaves the burden on anyone sporting an above-average physique to defend themselves against those who have seen the film and now fancy themselves "experts", but remain hostile on the subject. Two steps forward, and one step back for "Bigger, Stronger and Faster".

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
½

Entertaining addition to the Indy timeline, I enjoyed Blanchette's russian spy character, right out of Natasha of duo "Boris & Natasha" from the Rocky & Bullwinkle" anime, that little Aussie chick has acting skills(as if...). I had to laugh when the Russian Communist party made a formal protest against this film, that was enough to make me go see it, just to give em' the finger, for crissake', it's set in 1957, what did they expect? The russians are actually portrayed as tough and competent adversaries, not merely evil like the hated Nazis. Servicable work all around with no suprises, this was like going to see band AC/DC: You know what you are going to get before the first note sounds, but still enjoy it anyway despite being predictable...

Magnum Force
Magnum Force(1973)
½

The Big Bore Revolver shooters fave flick, Rogue Army Vet Cops wearing the traditional (pre- facistic) uniform of the SFPD Motorcycle Squad, kill-off several criminal scum, until things get out of hand and innocent bystanders and fellow cops begin to start dropping like flies. Tons of (stylized) Police firearms handling for aficianadoes with sexy camera angles and framing used for effect. Notable for the naked breast shots of cute future Blonde Bombshell Suzanne Sommers (no implant artificial fillers in the 70's, Sonny!), also star beginnings of the late Robert Urich (got him the job on TV's SWAT), and David Soul (got him the job on TV's Starsky & Hutch). With great San Francisco exteriors, the Cops lament has not changed since this movie was made, as the Courts, DA's & Politicians still let criminals get away with murder (witness the recent murder of SFPD Officer Espinoza, where the DA outright refused to seek the death penalty for the killer before he was even arraigned!...And they wonder why violent crime is out of control in S.F. even today?) Since John Milius wrote the story (and received a presentation S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum as tribute) all the firearms details are accurate, including "Dirty Harry" clearing up the myth that he uses .44 magnum loads for carry, he in fact uses the classic, .44 Special load for manhunting, something few real-life departments would ever approve, but great & fits the mood for this Police action drama. "Dirty" Harry is a different breed from (McQueen's) Lt. Frank Bullitt, but I can imagine the two fictional SFPD Detectives swapping shop-talk and beers at the no-longer-politically-correct Cop bar...(they really don't make em' like they used to, and for the record, such young cops cannot join the motorcycle squad, that is for senior officers only)....Also: Sounds by musical genius Lalo "Mission Impossible" Schifrin, cool jazzy beats here, a fave of "Clint the Squint", Get the soundtrack album...

Sergeant York
½

Rousing true action adventure, but with technical inaccuracies. York/Cooper is shown using the "All American" Springfield rifle, when in fact his unit carried the British pattern Enfield rifle. He is also shown using a captured German 9mm Luger pistol, when in fact he used the U.S. 1911 .45 ACP "Government Model" (Hollywood "artistic license" of the day likely called for him to use the American rifle & the "sexy" looking Luger chosen over over the huge "Old Slabsides" .45 Auto) plus the standard melodramatics expected then for a hollywood product...Oscar winner...Walter Brennan is outstanding here. Need to see it again for a fair evaluation, this used to be shown regularly on TV when I was a kid, when it was still cool to be a patriotic war hero, prior to the negative anti-military communist inspired propaganda of the Vietnam era, a self-destructive mindset we still see to a large degree even today initiated by generational malcontent leftovers, where our current war heroes are ignored by the biased leftist media and similarly oriented pukes in Hollywood...

The Dawn Patrol

From the era when being an aviator was cool. Anti-War film in the sense that the strain of combat and the haunting pain of loosing friends in battle is not hidden from the audience, but still seen as heroic and worth the risk. Young Niven and Flynn stand out here. Seen it years ago, need to see it again to make a better/fair evaluation

Modesty Blaise

Not worthy of the original graphic-novels, a 1960's oriented take in the same vein as the Peter Sellers/David Niven abomination Hipster-swinging 60's culture-I sold out -the-rights-to-my-book-Ian-Fleming-Version-of "Casino Royale". Watching Cute fashion model Italian cigarette-smoking babester and Bond-Type Girl Monica Vitti only makes this tolerable, but in an era when movie depictions of powerful women were scarce, and Judo trained Avengers girls like Honor Blackman in leather fetish gear were all the Carnaby Street rage in England, Vitti's version of Modesty did not quite measure up, but at least gave us a fiesty female heroine who could semi-kick butt yet remain "girly" enough by mainstream social standards....On the positive side, one of the main things I remember is the music associated with the film, done by Jazz genius Johnny Dankworth, who also did the original music for the Honor Blackman era (connections?) series of "The Avengers" which remains a great example of the cool/crime jazz style of music....In 2004, another version "My name is Modesty" was produced, a little closer to the original O'Donnell version with a Tarantino production credit, (which was 180 degrees opposite from the Vitti version), but without the tricks in the original, such as Modesty dropping her top to distract the bad guys...Interested should watch both and decide for themselves...

Major Dundee
Major Dundee(1965)
½

Staring down Racism in it's ugly face, Peckinpah's historical fiction adventure has it all: Indians, Confederates, Yankees (including Black "Smoked Yankees"), Mexicans, Cowboys, German Fraus, French Lancers and Moroccan Infantry; every ethnic group in the area during the time is represented, and how many Directors had the stones to deal with this subject matter, especially then during the hotbed of the Civil-rights era & a hot war in Vietnam? Peckinpah!!. Both cuts have their merits, simply choose to appreciate the good scenes and ignore the claptrap! This film is brimming with great memorable scenes and performances by it's talented cast. Heston's rote "Principles of Combat" speech...At the scene of the massacre: (Major: "I hope he was dead when they did that to him", Sergeant:"If he was dead they wouldnt have bothered"), Coburns pithy comment about the price of being in the Cavalry; Harris chewing out his weaselly "Red-Necked-Peckerwood"; The toothy cameraderie of Warren Oates & Brock Peters evaluating the fighting merits of the French Troops; Tim Hutton's fetish for Artillery and the beautiful brass "Baby howitzer" itself; The mounted singing duel; The look on Peters face when called out by the Peckerwood and the deadly confrontation when Confederate Sergeant Ben Johnson takes offense, and of course all the battle scenes are excellent, particularly the concluding fight against the Lancers; this film is packed with these and more if you can get around all the hype and just grab the popcorn and enjoy them!. Heston, Harris & Coburn are obviously enjoying themselves here, & you should do the same. I count this as one of Heston's best roles. A personal favorite of mine & tough guys worldwide. A "flawed materpiece"? Yes, but still a masterpiece of the genre nonetheless...

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)
½

IRON MAN RULES!-(No Spoilers):They got it about as correct as possible for a Hollywood film, Marvel being in full control for the first time really shows & shines here...Marvel Universe aficianadoes will appreciate some of the little touches dropped in here. Ancients who remember the 1960's TV (badly) animated Iron Man, will recognize the reworked music theme slipped early in to the film, a very cool nod. Stan Lee has a hilarious cameo, and the advent of "War Machine" is alluded to, as is the budding international law-enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D.(!). Paltrow does no scene without her strappy spiked-heels on (Yum!). Bridges plays against his usual type here, you may not even recognize him at first (Though I may have problems with Bridges & Paltrows politics, they do first class work here). I have only 2 highly personal nitpicks:A tad more battlesuit action would have been nice, & R.D.jr. could have gotten in the weight-room and buffed up a bit for the role (He has no excuse, he already has a personal chef and reportedly eats right and supplements - Being over 40 just doesnt cut it as an excuse these days either, just means it's a little tougher getting in shape. He should look up Supertrainer Chas. Glass at Gold's Gym SoCal). Other than his lackluster physique, he is perfect cast as Tony Stark (after all, he has real world experience with substance abuse, as does the fictional Stark, except fictional Stark is driven to maintain a muscular physique to support his heart implant. I cannot help liking Stark, he reminds me in some ways of myself, Hah!). Otherwise, 1st Class popcorn time is to be had here. The crowded house I saw this with were very enthralled and appreciative of the film, laughing & cooing in all the right places, despite not being aware of the backstory. I'm glad I saw this on the big screen, it works well. One last thing, do not leave before the end credits if you are a Marvel Universe familiar, there is a great little teaser treat for you there that will leave you with a smile...

Looker
Looker(1981)

Strong cast (Late great James Coburn & Finney) makes up for some deficiencies in plotline. Underrated Dorian Harewood (Voice of "War Machine"/Col. Rhodes in the Iron Man animated series), and drop dead sexy Randi Brooks put in an appearance. Legions of beauties of course populate this film. I have only seen the edited version, and will review when I find the unedited version for my collection...

The Laughing Policeman

Police procedural based on the Swedish novel reset to San Francisco. I have read the original book, from a series of Detective fiction by Maj Sjowali & Per Whaloo, and some details work others dont (in the book, it is explained easily how the bad guy obtained a machinegun: a leftover WW2 Suomi gun used by anti-Nazi resistance fighters, in the movie, the villian just happens to have one. There is some mumbling about a Korean War era .45 Cal. "Grease Gun" but the one used is a 9mm Smith & Wesson copy of the Danish Madsen 9mm SMG). Some scenes are filmed in the actual real SFPD locations (In fact, the real SFPD SWAT team is used in one scene), such as the Homicide Bureau at the main Police HQ at 850 Bryaant St.; In the film, it accurately, and creepily, refers to the shady still-then-shocking pre-AIDS underground Gay culture, including Male "Go-Go-Dancers" and Beautiful "Lipstick Lesbians', in San Francisco as part of the story, again, something not in the original novel. Great second unit stuff showing location shots of 70's San Francisco (the no longer existing Embarko Freeway, Enrico's on Broadway which was also used in "Bullitt" for the scene with McQueen & "Rat Patrol" actor Justin Tarr; the Mission & 3rd St East Bay Terminal station with the cheap plastic pay mini-televisions and the old Green & white Muni Bus colors are memorable), and the story is interesting enough to make it worth some time with a jug of popcorn for fans of gritty Police Procedurals, just don't expect the action found in "Bullitt" or a "Dirty Harry" yarn, but this one ranks high up there with them as an SFPD set piece whodunnit'. Solid cast, with vets like Anthony Zerbe, and then newcomer and future Oscar winner Louis Gossett. I have never understood the appeal of the nasal-talking Bruce Dern, but he dons the big moustached 70's sexist Cop persona and lets his acting skills take up the slack. Matthau is as expected, excellent. The Babe Quotient is extremely high here, with drop dead-gorgeous bow to the Goddess auburn haired Joanna Cassidy flashing those high cheekbones & big baby blues and is still as fine as frog hairs, unlike the then Blonde beautiful & not well kept now skanishk Cathy Lee Crosby in the mix...The music holds up well also, not coming off as too dated...

The Warriors
The Warriors(1979)

Cult classic, stylish action, good acting, atmospheric musical score, & classically inspired story. Much has been said about this film, so I'll keep it short and to the point. Grab a copy of the director's cut for the full monty, the behind the scenes stuff, interviews, and recut is worth it...Debbie Van Valkenburg and James Remar stand out, as does David P.Kelly as the noxious bad guy. The skilled Remar (and the delectable Mercedes Ruehl) appear to be the only actors currently working in film...

Bullitt
Bullitt(1968)
½

I was there..Best US Police procedural ever made even to this day...Famous for the extreme car chase through San Francisco's hills, McQueen did his own stunt driving. A solid cast, gorgeous Jacqueline Bisset is the hesitant girlfriend and Robert Vaughn plays against type as an evil politician and carries the part off flawlessly. The director was such a stickler for realism, actual SFPD crime scene murder photos were used as references for camera setups and FX work. Combining 1968 "modern" style with "Dragnet" pacing. Although this film has action, it is not an "action" film but a police procedural in the same vein as the similar San Francisco film "The Laughing Policeman", which also used real SFPD Officers and locations. Awesome music here by Lalo "Mission Impossible" Scifrin. Notable for including Black Actor Georg Stanford Brown (TV Show "The Rookies" w/Kate Jackson, Ex-Husband of Tyne Daly) when Black Actors in serious roles were uncommon on screen. Still worth the time for those interested in a hardboiled cops vs. hitmen story with great location exteriors and an actual story (based on the book "Mute Witness") where you actually have to use your brain, rather than mere mindless action (i.e. the dimwitted short attention span crowd need not apply)...

52 Pick-Up
52 Pick-Up(1986)

Authentic Porn Stars in a big budget mainstream film for the first time, all Cameo shots. Stalwarts such as Ron Jeremy and Jamie Gillis hold up the male side, and gorgeous babes of the era abound, some only long enough to be recognized by aficianadoes (i.e. Miss Sharon Mitchell), others getting more face-time (i.e. the super-cute heartthrob Miss Amber Lynn). Director Frankenheimer chose to utilize these pros for authenticity (and probably for a little action on the side from such a plethora of hot-to-trot beauties in the area!/;-) Drop dead gorgeous pre-Jesus Freak "Vanity" gets nekkid' with class opposite the late master actor Scheider, and similarly gorgeous Ann Margaret appears. Clarence Williams III is sinister in the best sort of way. Servicable work by the actors under Frankenheimer's whip hand keeps the film from being too pedestrian and the musical score is approprtiate. This one has enough going for it to merit some popcorn time for fans of the blackmail/suspense genre, and reveals by comparison what crappy hack work we are bombarded with on these (canadian) cable late night TV shows that limply attempt to purvey this type of fare. Ultimately, this is a must-have archive for those who appreciate the guild member "A-List" porn stars of the era, who prove they did not have to do hardcore sex scenes to turn in a good performance in front of the camera lens...

Pumping Iron II: The Women
½

The beauty of feminine muscle! This depicts the origin of female bodybuilding and the sleek physiques on display are a far cry from what female bodybuilders look like today. People seem to forget that female pro-bodybuilding is a relatively recent phenomena, and this film shows it's early proponents, plus many of the confusions and emotionalistic reactions that still crop up even today. Female bodybuilding has split into 3 General camps: Bodybuilding, Figure, & Fitness. This is a result of the controversy exploited in this (biased) psuedo-documentary, namely the "How much is too much muscle" debate. Todays Figure & Fitness women look very similar to the original female bodybuilders portrayed here: sleek & toned with basic definition of the muscles. These women are in no way "monsters", as some ignorantly accused back then. On the other hand, today's female pro-bodybuilders, even compared to the largest most muscular one depicted in the film (Bev Francis) make her look small by comparison. Because of the fracture, the gloves came off. Today's Pro-Women are relatively huge, hard, dense and defined, holding no water or fat under the skin, just as their male counterparts seek to do, and they train hard & heavy. This does not make them "look like men" as those with untrained eyes reflexively spew venomously, they look just like what they are: muscular, athletic, strong, females. The same "Greek God" ideal applies to the women as does the men (The question remains, however, to look like the statue of "David", or the statue of "Hercules"). Strict dieting and cardio burns off most of the bodyfat, which tends to harden the facial lines and eliminate most breast tissue (unless the woman is genetically pre-dispositioned to have larger breasts) and this illusion is the reason for the comparison to males, but it is an illusion, nothing more. This also accounts for the high number of breast implants used today. This film, like it's big brother, the original Pumping Iron with Arnold, indulges in the same setups (good vs. bad, behind the scenes trickery, hero vs. villian, etc) to create tension and conflict, but it is up to the viewer to figure out how much is real and how much is setup here, and that requires an open mind and some intellect, and without these qualities, the viewer likely will not quite understand just what is going on here and miss the full benefit of the film. You have to get past any predjudices to actually see how beautiful these women really are. (Particularly the stunning future ex-wife of Jean Claude VanDamme, Gladys Portugese). This film remains highly recommended as a companion to the Gaines/Arnold Pumping Iron (I) and, despite the hype, has a place in history for showing the origins of the "Golden Era" of female bodybuilding, a world that no longer exists in this form. One quote from the film (By Rachel McLish, on being teased by the men) seems to sum it up for me when she retorts (paraphrase) "I never denied being a Powderpuff, but I'm a really STRONG Powderpuff!"...

Hell to Eternity

More of a "Thinking Man's" War flick, the Hispanic heritige of the hero is never mentioned in the film, and the real Guy Gabaldon was not the tall, blue-eyed, painfully handsome specimen as portrayed here by the great Jeffery Hunter (there's the hollywood studio system of the time for you! Note:The real Guy Gabaldon was the technical advisor for this film). It's been several years since I've seen this one, but impressions remain. How Gabaldon esentially "went psycho" after seeing his buddy's skull split wide open by a Japanese Officers Katana sword, how he used his mastery of Japanese language to first hunt down and exterminate the enemy, then later using the same skills to save lives when he realizes with horror that the enemy are telling civilians that the Marines are going to rape/kill/slaughter their children and these hapless people begin throwing the babies off the cliffs and then comitting suicide. This is real stuff that actually happened, in fact there is documentary footage filmed on Saipan of civilians killing themselves. An interesting take on how mixing cultures can have unexpected results, and a servicible combat film based on actual events, I say grab the popcorn & check it out, I'm going to have to get the DVD for my collection and watch this one again. I might change this review after that however! we will see...(for more info see-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Gabaldon

Don't Make Waves

Extremely high-quality Babe quotient here with spicy Claudia Cardinale and the supreme blonde goddess real-life Malibu Barbie, Sharon Tate, and also the delectable Joanna Barnes. Notable for having Mr. America Dave "The Blonde Bomber" Draper in the cast as the sterotypical California Surfer "Musclehead" (as they derisively called Bodybuilders back in these pre-Arnold days), this one is pure fluff, so don't expect Shakespeare, but it has it's place as a facinating time capsule of that era showcasing Tony Curtis's acting skills, a great musical soundtrack, and some of hollywoods most beautiful women (and for the morbidly curious who want to see what a loss the gorgeous Sharon Tate was to the psycho-murdering Charles Manson gang)...

One Spy Too Many

Cult classic, excellent musical score by Gerald Fried is a standout here. Seen the original episodes but not this cut, so it would be unfair to attempt to rate it until then, but I am familiar with the musical score as mentioned above, which was part of a 2 CD set put out by Turner Classic Movies Silver Age Classics (FSM Vol5N0.18). Full review when I get to see this recut...

Shout at the Devil
½

Notable for covering the clash of colonial powers in Africa during WW1 and the high powered cast. The title is known more for the song by Motley Crue by most than this film they copped it from (during a drug induced haze while broadcast on late night TV). Excellent receation of the era with great panoramic on location filming with a huge cast of extras, including Askaris and massive props. But the project suffers from the direction since the film cannot seem to decide if it wants to be a serious actioner or a light comedy. Semi-entertaining enough to be worth a look however, particularly for fans of Moore, Marvin & the delectable Parkins...

Jason and the Argonauts
½

Skeletal Gladiators?, Titanic Bronze warriors?, Canibalistic Cyclops?. These and other horrors await in this SFX version of the classic Greek tale of adventure, and a nostalgic favorite of mine. Though posers may sniff at the FX, one has to understand they were state of the art when this film was made, and with that in mind, hold up very well even today, built by the detail obsessed artist Ray Harryhausen and his tedious "stop motion" technique, such hard work should be appreciated rather than smack-talked by those who wouldnt know a real hard day of work in their lives to begin with. This is a major fun popcorn movie, and if you have kids around, this will give em' a few thrills (and maybe a nightmare or two), but overall not to be missed by those who appreciate the classics in more ways than one....

Pumping Iron
Pumping Iron(1976)
½

I lift...Arnold, Nubret and Franco at their best...Notice the great shapes and tight midsections they had back then (The "V" shape), unlike most of todays pro-bodybuilders (The "X" shape). The 25th SE has some great outtakes and a reunion scene not to be missed, especially when Arnold sees how big Lou still is!. Anyone who watches how hard these guys hit the weights puts the lie to the haters out there that try to claim it's all about AAS(steroids), which were legal back then anyway, and only taken in small amounts to hold on to hard-earned muscle while dieting off stubborn bodyfat. The fact is that most people are woefully ignorant at what professional bodybuilders do and how hard the diet and exercise is. Most are too cowardly to deal with the pain and too soft to deal with such strict eating patterns, and therefore reflexively talk smack and put-down those who forge themselves by the iron discipline they realize they do not have. Seeing these guys in action = Inspiring! I've got my protein shake ready and am on the way to the weight room now!...

Putney Swope
Putney Swope(1969)
½

From the twisted, drug addled mind of Robert Downy Senior, watching this will explain why his son is such a masterful actor and such an emotional drug-dependant wreck. Notable for enabling the resume of Antonio Fargas, the majority of the actors never devloped much beyond this project. While an anti-racism screed, the ultimate message is Blacks are their worst enemies and given a chance will screw things up (the first I agree with, the latter has been proven not to be the case). Bizarre in content, there are some uncomfortably hilarious scenes here that the open-minded will enjoy very much, which makes it a must see for the serious filmhead...

Nemesis
Nemesis(1993)

Heavy Firearms action lovingly crafted as only someone not allowed to own them could do, this one is notable for the female cast that drive the story (many look like fashion models) with particular kudos to a brunette version Marjorie Monaghan, and the drop-dead gorgeous perfect bodied green-eyed Debbie Shelton, who Director Pyun apparently convinced to show off her weight-trained abs, vascularity and lucious breastworks. Her mouth-watering scenes alone make this worth watching. Cute Merle Kennedy, in her boots and shorts is like a pint-sized Lara Croft. Gruner, Thomerson, Brion James & Tagawa turn in servicable work, and despite a few glitches and continuity errors, this is still worth popcorn time for fans of sci-fi ultraviolence...

Why We Fight World War II - Prelude to War & The Nazis Strike

Oscar winning, I first saw these in college film class, used as examples of how to edit a film the right way. Genius Capra used captured enemy film against the Axis in a masterful way. In one (of many) examples, he superimposed Nazi tanks in a scene with massacred French civilians in a way so subtle you might not notice it if you are not looking really close, straight into the subconcious mind. Then there is the notorious "shooting gallery" scene, where he shows Hitler, Mussolini & Tojo, over a track of carnival music while throwing in the line "If you ever meet them, don't hesitate"!. Just brilliant stuff all the way. (Don't forget, these were made for U.S. troops before being released to the general public) This is blatant propaganda for sure, but you will enjoy being manipulated and shake your head with amazement at just how good (and effectively) this stuff is put together, and on top of all that, all of it is true!. I never get tired of watching these, I'm always catching some cool bit I did not notice before. A must see series for the serious filmhead...

The War Lover

Basically a remake of "Hell Is For Heroes" , this time in the air with the mighty U.S. 8th Air Force, McQueen playing a less admirable, morals lacking psychopath version of HIFH's "Reese" against clean and handsome Robert Wagner as they clash over the girl who can't decide between the Bad Boy and the Good Boy (Sounds like NYC or L.A. on a Saturday night, Eh?). Dumb requisite love story detracts from the action, but this is more psychological thriller than "War Is Hell" genre like "Hell Is For Heroes" or "Pork Chop/Hamburger Hill". A movie you can share popcorn with your Babe of choice, she gets the love story and you get to enjoy the heroic danger of the air action, not to mention the charisma of the great McQueen & Wagner...

The Desert Fox
½

Action Commando Raid opening sequence is top notch (Notable for having a clean shaven Richard "Paladin" Boone as a Nazi Afrika Korpsman with an arrogant attitude) but the film devolves into a biopic from the British point of view, basically giving respect to the guy that gave them several good kicks in the slats and was never a hardcore Nazi. Rommel was more the pure warrior, and his WW1 history is not covered here, which skews the story somewhat. Rommel had a series of books about his exploits in WW1 as a (true and actual) "Stormtrooper" Commando and was famous long before the "Ratzis" took over, which is why A.H. sought to exploit his reputation for their own twisted purposes (and also explains why they had to ice him later). Still, a wwell made movie worth some 2AM popcorn time...

Zulu Dawn
Zulu Dawn(1979)

The "Pre-quel" to "Zulu", watch this one first..A must see film IMVVHO especially for MilHistory buffs. "pete36" from Belgium at IMDB had these comments about the film which I agree with..."In fact, a prequel to 'Zulu' (1964) directed by Cy Endfield who was also a major collaborator on ZD. As 'Zulu' is about the battle of O'rourke's drift, one of the most celebrated victories in British military history, ZD deals with one of the biggest defeats of the British army by an indigenous force. It happened just a few days before the events in 'Zulu'.

ZD is sheer heaven for history buffs : everything is recreated into the tiniest detail : the uniforms, entirely filmed on location in South-Africa Natal province , the famous Martini Henry rifles, even including some kind of prehistoric rocket launchers, so no cost or effort were spared to recreate the conditions of the battle.

The Brits are represented by the cream of English actorsgild : Peter O'Toole as the too self-confident general, Simon Ward as the green lieutenant, Bob Hoskins (just before his breakthrough role in "the Long Good Friday") as a hardasnails sergeant and Denholm Elliot as one of the ignorant troop commanders.

Also a large Boer party ( settlers mostly from Holland as 'Boer' is the Dutch word for farmer) took part in the battle, lead here by none other then Burt Lancaster ! In 1879 the Boers still sided with The British against the Zulus. Twenty years later, after having defeated the Zulus, the Brits and Boers turned against each other and became involved in a struggle for the diamond-rich Natal province. A very bloody three-year war followed, simply known as 'the Boer war', where the British army was nearly defeated by the much smaller number of unprofessional Boers soldiers.

Director Douglas Hickox ( Entertaining Mr Sloane, Sitting Target, Sky Devils,etc..)does an excellent job and turns in a classic-style, immaculate and spectacular epic. Sadly ZD was a big flop at the box-office and marked the end of the old-style colonial epics, up until the recent remake of 'The Four Feathers'.

It also marked the end of the career of director Hickox in feature-length movies and he was forced to work for TV, condemned to churning out superior 'schmalzy' series as 'Mistral's Daughter', 'Sins', etc...

But as historical epics go, they do not come any better than this. I rate it 8/10.

If you like this try also 'Khartoum' (1966)". So there you have it. Break out the popcorn and get into it, Kids!!!

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Heavy action packed with a solid cast of top talent, and outstanding musical score, this was originally written for Connery and Lazenby does good journeyman work as a tough and muscularBond, but his credibility suffered in the UK because he had done TV adverts for Heinz baked beans and the press wouldnt give him a break on this. In comparison to the Roger Moore version of Bond, one can look back an appreciate this film as better than any of Moore's, tougher and closer to the spirit of Ian Flemings books. Notable for having 2 beautiful women from the TV hit "The Avengers" in the cast, Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley, not to mention the great Savalas as master criminal Blofeld...

Our Man Flint
½

Derek Flint:The CIA's answer to Bond, kicks ass and takes names...Coburn at his dashing best. I hate the fact that they did not get an interview with him for the DVD before he passed on, and hate the stupid cover art tie-in to the Austin Powers "comedies", it's degrading IMVHO...

Glory
Glory(1989)
½

Making of a Black Regiments true story handled well in terms of our Civil War History, including showing the difference between the 54th vs. locally raised black troops, and the quality of the white officers commanding them. (An Oscar winning performance by Denzel Washington)....

Return of the Dragon (The Way of the Dragon)

Flying fist action & ego driven camera angles, this movie has at least 3 different versions out there (for example, the china version has scenes cut from the US release, and the Euro version is different still). In short, watch this to see the master in deadly balletic action fight setups., period...Notable for giving a clumsy point-karate champ a career in film (Carlos Rey Norris). and the famous lat-ab flex balcony scene. Remember and take note: A short, skinny, nearsighted little shrimp might just kick your ass so be careful who you mess with when you are drunk leaving the bar at 2AM looking for a fight because you didnt get any action from the Chix', Foos'!....

Flyboys
Flyboys(2006)
½

Black Pilots in WW1?. Notable for including an avatar of the real life Black Aviator Eugene Bullard, who flew for France when the US Military would not permit it! In fact when all US Pilots were transferred to the US Army Air Force, Bullard was grounded, told that Blacks were incapable of flying planes even though he had been doing it! Racism SUX!!. Though a Hollywood version of events, the FX are very cool and tell the story well of an era hard to grasp by people today, which is why I forgive the filmakers, who were forced to give it a pass to present stupidity and go for the action/glory aspect just to get an audience. Superfluous love scenes are expected, so this one is a great 30 weight oiled popcorn fest, do it as a double feature with the Borgnine version of "All Quiet On The Western Front" with your babe of choice and after all this horror and stimulation, getting laid will be in the cards!/;-)

The Victors
The Victors(1963)

An anti-war film for war film buffs who know better, it rode the wave of it's time, basically explaining how the Allied cooperation in WW2 devolved into the decades long "Cold War" era, if you cant grasp this concept you will be frustrated watching this film. Notable for actually showing racist assault on Black troopers trying to have fun in Europe which is realistic for the era. Great cast, with memorable work by young George "Hannibal" Peppard and handsome G. Hamilton. Memorable scene not to be missed of Maurice Ronet as ruthless French Commando leader who schools American troopers on how to take a Nazi machine-gun nest. Not for the easily bored/short attention span crowd, this is "thinking man's" war exploitation cinema....

Von Ryan's Express

WW2 Uniform fashion show as action vehicle for Sinatra to show his acting chops and do a little revisionist history for the Italians. Edward Mulhare and Trevor Howard stand out here. This is more roller-coaster ride than serious documentary, so action fans will love it, purists will turn up their noses with distain.
Solid action directing by Marc Robson, who also helmed the superb "Lost Command". Get the butter out for your popcorn and get to crunchin'...

Enter the Dragon

Martial arts fights at it's best in a well shot epic. John Saxon, who was slated to be the star of this film and the only actual schooled American actor here (the majority in this film are real martial arts practitioners, look for a young Sammo Hung and Yang Tse) pulls off his part with ease (and was an actual karate brown belt to boot). Kelly cant act his way out of a paper bag, but his flashy OkinawaTe is great to watch. But we all know it's Lee's scenes we want to watch and he of course pulls off his ballet of combat skills that launched millions of martial artists in his wake, ultimately giving us the most ugly, mindless and brutal form of fighting, so-called "Mixed Martial Arts", which is certainly mixed but without any "art" whatsoever. Bruce is doing at least 1000 rpm in his grave about now. Watch it to his memory instead of UFC then wonder where it all went so wrong....

Hamburger Hill
½

Sky Soldiers in realistic action, Vietnam's version of "Pork Chop Hill" (although all the soldiers look like underwear models)..The story of the fight is shown warts and all with not so "Friendly Fire " incidents and Bone-headed Commanders trying to direct the battle from helecopters. One of the legendary 101st Airborne's bitterest battles since the night drop on Normany in WW2 (See "The Longest Day) and start for "Law & Order actor Courtney Vance as the compassionate Medic, and the excellent Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Boatman & Weber are standouts here. I actually ducked at the beginning of the film when I saw this on the big screen due to the dolby surround sound's repoduction of the sounds of flying bullets...(Did the same at "Glory", a little too realistic there!)...Like "Green Berets" the G.I. slang language used is accurate to those days....

Enemy at the Gates
½

Hollywood version of WW2 USSR Sniper Ace Zeithev, would have been better without the skin-crawlingly creepy sex scenes (and I love Rachel Weisz, not in this though)...Shows true tactics of the time for Russians such as human wave attacks prodded on at the muzzles of NKVD police machineguns. Good acting work here from Harris as the Nazi Sniper Ace sent out to get him. Worth some popcorn time....

The Four Feathers
½

Worth the time for this updated remake, all the more remarkable due to the recent overdose death of it's main Star....

The 10th Victim (La Decima vittima) (The Tenth Victim)
½

The one where a pistol equipped bra on a Go-Go Dancer is used for an assasination. Great story variation on "The Most Dangerous Game", but lacking in "execution" (sorry couldnt resist the pun) Italian 60's filmaking excess are on display here and the "modern" look appears dated (Doesnt hold up like art deco has), but Beautiful Bond Girl and Ex-wife of John Derek Ursula Andress is at least pleasing to the eye...but as a cult classic for art students, what da' heck, go microwave some popcorn and throw it in your PC's DVD player...

The Thin Red Line
½

The process of how war damages the emotional state of man is the theme here, based on the book by James Jones, this version is much closer to it than the useless later version which was in name only. Jack Warden epitomizes the brutally hard Sarge, and Dullea works as the enigmatic, Fruedian-named "Doll". Shockingly, for 1964, some subcurrent regarding homosexuality is touched upon. Despite some innacuracies regading firearms, the battle scenes are claustrophobic and straightforward. Read the short story "The Pistol" by James Jones, where he uses the same characters as TRL. This is "thinking mans" war exploitation genre'...

Platoon
Platoon(1986)

I absolutely despise this take on Nam, because Stone, who was there, time capsules the way things were by the 1970's (i.e. real bad, with low morale, communist propaganda effective in the USA and politics making this war lost in the boardrooms rather than in the field). I particularly resent the portrayals of all the Black troopers as bestial slackers, obviously Stone did not get along well with these guys, and like the coward he is, stabs them in the back with the power of his camera to shame them, inaccurately, for posterity. The film is effective for showing the tenor of the war at that time, but the reality is the war went on for several years and the experience differs for veterans depending upon when they were there. The only thing that made this movie bearable was the work of the actors in it. The real soldiers playing "cowboys and Indians" in 1965 had a whole different mindset and experience than what is shown here, after President Johnson decided to send in large amounts of troops, a vision President Kennedy sought to avoid at all costs (He preferred to keep it an "Advisors War", and he was right, as we can all see now in hindsight!)...Watch "Go Tell The Spartans" with Burt Lancaster, for an alternate take on the so-called Vietnam Experience (Might as well throw in "Lost Command" and "Pork Chop & Hamburger Hill" too) before you go too far in kissing this racist fraud Stone's overrated buttocks....

The Duellists

Bloody personal combat with cold steel is the theme, adapted from a Joseph Conrad story ("Heart of Darkness" aka "Apocalypse Now") and masterfully arranged by Ridley Scott, you can't call yourself a fan of his work and have not seen this. Indoor and outdoor scenes are like the paintings of the Old Masters, and the swaggering Military Fashion of the era is painstakingly reproduced to the most minute detail. This goes for the ladies in the story also, who all are natural beauties. Scott balances visual beauty and violence with nary a slip. (In fact you can watch this one with your babe of choice and not get flak for it). Actor Morgan Sheppard puts in a memorable cameo as a fight instructor. A must see for the serious flimhead...

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: The Trenches of Hell
½

Good use of SFX in support of this WW1 story that happens to have "Indiana Jones" in the mix. Well done...

Zulu
Zulu(1964)
½

And watch this one second, for a micro view of the "sideshow" battle (the small victory out of the larger defeat shown in Zulu Dawn). A Must See...(Also, outstanding music by John "James Bond" Barry, get the soundtrack CD!)...

The Wild One
The Wild One(1954)

Lee Marvin & Brando do Biker exploitation right. A must see, if just to find out where it all started and why bikers developed into the death cults we have today...Marvin is particularly good here, as a swaggering, drunk as-a-lord, piratical Biker Boss (Well, Marvin was actually a Marine wounded in WW2 combat, he was a real life tough mutha'!)..It all started out so innocently...

The Petrified Forest

Notable for including a Black actor as one of the Gangsters, as John Dillinger(who Bogart as Duke Mantee is clearly modeled on) broke out of jail with the help of a Black criminal in for murder, and this has been regularly overlooked in movie versiions of the story, in fact, the only other film where this is shown is the John Milius directed "Dillinger" with Warren Oates, also an excellent gangster film mostly accurate to events. Curiously, this same actor turns up as the Professor in his other film "Red Dawn"....

Zardoz
Zardoz(1974)
½

A flying stone head that barfs out firearms to a near naked Sean Connery wearing a long que ponytail and moustache? Something for the boys and the girls, so make it a cult classic date movie, dont forget the popcorn...

The Quick and the Dead
½

Hollywood western cliche's wrapped in Madonna style feminism, a good cast barely saves the day here. Note:Colt Single Action Army revolvers were very expensive back then, yet in these type of westerns, everybody seems to have one...If you buy Sharon Stone as a lethal Butch and dont mind some incorrect details, then grab the popcorn...

The Hidden
The Hidden(1987)

Claudia Christian stands out as a possesed Stripper in high heels (Oh My...). Worth a look for the action...

Original Gangstas
½

Blaxploitation reuinion of some BadassMofo's...Sentimentality out of a gunbarrell...

Flesh
Flesh(1968)
½

Watch Joe "Abs" Dellasandro move through a world out of the mind of Warhol. Preferably watch while on LSD or Heroin (Just being sarcastic/;-)

Cotton Comes to Harlem

"Grave Digger" Jones & "Coffin Ed" Johnson and their nickel plated .357 Magnums jump out of the Novels and return in the second (and last) adaptation of the Harlem headbusters. 70's atmosphere, twisted humor, and the lead actors make it a cult classic worth a look if you are into it...

Fort Apache, the Bronx
½

Nasty on Location, NYPD 1970's yarn, The ghetto looks like Dresden after the firebombing in WW2. Pam Grear as a crazed, doped up,homicidal Hooker adds to the "fun". This is NOT a Police procedural...

Cadet Kelly
Cadet Kelly(2002)

Excellent Military ROTC drill team action makes this worth watching, ignore the silly dramatics and resume building by cute Duff and Carlson "Kim Possible" Romano. (Did you figure out I used to be on a rifle drill team in High School yet?/;-)

Dragon Wars
Dragon Wars(2007)
½

Good CGI, hard to follow the Korean oriented story though...Fun...

Troy
Troy(2004)
½

Blonde Greeks? Achilles and Helen don't look very med to me. Other than these casting faux-pas, the classic story holds up well here, the CGI is serviceable as is the combat action. Worth a look....

All Quiet on the Western Front
½

Oscar Winning Performance by Borgnine cheated because of the "rules", as this film was shown as a TV Movie in the US and a Movie in the rest of the world, the classic "Cliff-Notes" version for those who were not forced to read the book in school is compelling and closer to the book than the earlier version. Sir Lew Grade, of that generation, spared no expense to "get it right", and so many years & wars on, tells the specifically timeless tale of the horrors of WW1 (gas attacks, trench warfare, mindless Prussian militarisim which was to return under Hitler, etc)...Veterans will appreciate the gritty realisim...This may be the only war-oriented "date movie" you can watch with your babe of choice, assuming she has enough brains to deal with the materiel....Not to be missed...(PS: I created a skin dedicated to this film)...

The Shadow
The Shadow(1994)
½

Points for existing at all, Baldwin Sux though...

Point of No Return (The Assassin)

US version of LaFemmeNikita, some changes were made, and harvy Keitel added in...Could have been worse...

A Bridge Too Far

Close to the book..Note how well the disaster is handled as opposed to how Blackhawk Down was done...

The Dirty Dozen
½

Cult Classic...Marvin, Borgnine, Bronson, Brown, Cassavetes, Walker and strong cast in this cynical look at war and why criminals will never make effective soldiers

Hart's War
Hart's War(2002)

Notable for showing WW2 Black Airmen in the mix...

The Avengers
The Avengers(1998)

Not worthy of the original series...

Barb Wire
Barb Wire(1996)
½

When Pam was still hot...Real women can do anything in spiked heels!...

The Maltese Falcon

Bogie/Sam Spade vs evil women and weird criminals...Excellent

Masters of the Universe

Underrated fun, Langella is outstanding, playing Skeletor with Shakespearian style worthy of Larry Olivier! Meg Foster as EvilLynn, pre Star Treck Robt.Macneill and Pre Friends Cox...

Last Man Standing

Another remake of Japanes Kurosawa film, a'la Eastwood..

Cool World
Cool World(1992)

when Basinger was hot and Pitt was unknown...

La Femme Nikita (Nikita)
½

The original version...Stylish action French-Fried...

Passenger 57
Passenger 57(1992)
½

Best p[re-Blade Snipes...

Thunderball
Thunderball(1965)

One of the best 007 flix on all levels...Vargas and underwater fight with the AquaParatroopers stand out...

48 HRS
48 HRS(1982)
½

Best villians (See Predator), San Francisco exteriors make it worth a look...

The Running Man

All action, all Arnold!...

The Great Escape

Steve McQueen..Nuff said!

Commando
Commando(1985)
½

Arnold out Rambos Stallone with a higher body count...fun stuff not to be taken seriously...

Army of Darkness
½

Bruce Cambell..Nuff' said...

Last Action Hero
½

Underrated Arnold film...Fun, good muisic also (Tesla, AC/DC, etc)

Goldfinger
Goldfinger(1964)
½

One of the best 007 flix period! Honor Blackman is excellent as is Gert...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

If you must watch a "spagetti western", this one ranks high...

The Punisher
The Punisher(2004)

Not accurate to the novels, it could have been worse...

Swordfish
Swordfish(2001)

Halle Berry's pre pregnancy boobs, Nuff said!

Doom
Doom(2005)

The video game is more fun...

True Lies
True Lies(1994)

Arnold does Jammes Bond, Jamie Lee shows off the bod, all action...

Predator
Predator(1987)
½

Hey, It's Arnold and his posse of muscular soldiers vs Predator, whats not to like?

Hollow Man
Hollow Man(2000)

Notable for accurately showing Federal uniformed Cops...

The Patriot
The Patriot(2000)
½

Excellent...Shows the roots of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution in action...

Bad Boys II
Bad Boys II(2003)
½

This movie did "Miami Vice" better than the remake movie of Miami Vice by Michael Mann! All action!

Bad Boys
Bad Boys(1995)
½

Tea Leoni=Yum...