Archive for the Movies Category

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Posted in Action/adventure, Crime, Movies with tags on June 1, 2014 by Cara Marie

Dolph Lundgren stars as a baby white guy who was raised in Japan and takes the culture very seriously. Brandon Lee stars as a part Japanese-American dudebro who gets to quip a lot. Together, they are the worst cops I have ever seen on film!

No, really, they are dreadful. Entering buildings without warrants, setting fire to people who have fallen in vats of flammable liquid … there’s not much in the way of due process going on.

Because they are such shitty cops, they have both had trouble keeping partners in the past. When they meet, Lundgren has been beating up the gangsters harassing the owner of his favourite restaurant – Lee walks in, and, not knowing this, immediately starts trying to beat Lundgren up as well. Cue super awkwardness when they realise they are both cops! And what’s more, each other’s new partner.

Screenshot of Lee in a superfly suit, arms open wide, and Lundgren in a leather jacket, looking dubious.

Dolph Lundgren is not impressed.

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The Tournament

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies with tags on May 14, 2014 by Cara Marie

A movie about fight-to-the-death competition for assassins. No, I don’t know why you’d participate either.

So there are three main characters:

  • the assassin who won the last competition three years ago; since then, his wife was murdered in what apparently was an attempt to knock him off – he’s convinced that one of the other assassins did it, and is determined to get his revenge
  • an assassin who actually seems like a nice person (Kelly Hu) – we know this because when confronted with a poor schmuck of a priest, who’s had someone else’s assassin-tracker slipped in his drink, she tries to protect him
  • aforesaid schmuck of a priest, who is introduced getting kicked out of the pub at opening time. Big ups to whoever decided that what this film needed was an alcoholic priest. He is played by Robert Carlyle, who is putting in more effort than he really needs to for this film.

I found this quite enjoyable, but it more as an unintentional comedy than as a serious action movie. There are some particularly incongruous music choices that make it – like the old-timey music played over a montage of death. Read more »

Judge Dredd: Versace edition

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies, Science fiction with tags on April 13, 2014 by Cara Marie

Here are some things Judge Dredd (the 1995 movie) does well: it really truly looks like a 2000AD dystopia. The special effects are excellent, with a few exceptions (the mid-air chase scenes don’t stack up so well). There is a good robot (not in the moral sense). And I do believe there are some modern movies could learn from the number of women in the background of scenes.

On the other hand, who decided Rob Schneider needed to be in this movie? Who decided that Dredd needed a love interest? Why do studios think that erasing a property’s defining characteristics is the way to success?

(Maybe that’s unfair – I have seen a lot of really good adaptations, that took liberties without betraying the source material. On the other hand, I’ve also seen Stark Trek Into Darkness and The Dark Knight Rises, so.)

Also – the giant gold shoulder armor, why?! Read more »

I’m never going to be a judge (like you)

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies, Science fiction with tags on April 12, 2014 by Cara Marie

This post is about the Dredd’s ending: so big spoilers. Read more »

‘Who the hell finds robots?’

Posted in Action/adventure, Horror, Movies, Science fiction with tags on April 12, 2014 by Cara Marie

The premise of Battle of the Damned is that there has been a zombie virus outbreak in what is supposedly a city somewhere in South-East Asia. Dolph Lundgren has been sent in by a mysterious businessman, to track down said businessman’s daughter and bring her out.

Dolph Lundgren’s character is named Major Max Gatling (of course). I am now thinking of changing my name to Cara Gatling. Read more »

Dredd+ movie night

Posted in Movies on April 12, 2014 by Cara Marie

Last night we had a ‘people-with-limited-emotional-range-killing-lots-of-people-in-the-dystopian-near-future marathon’, impelled by L’s idea that we should watch both Judge Dredd movies together. The other movie we watched was Battle of the Damned, a movie staring Dolph Lundgren, zombies and robots.

This is the order we watched them in:

  1. Battle of the Damned
  2. Judge Dredd
  3. Dredd.

That is also the order of improving quality, over a very steep scale.

I was going to write about all these in one post, but then I wrote a giant plot summary of Battle of the Damned, and now I am exhausted so I will separate them out and link them instead.

Movie night: Creatures from the Abyss vs Ace Attorney

Posted in Crime, Horror, Movies with tags , on March 16, 2014 by Cara Marie

Our last movie night featured what is possibly the worst movie I have ever sat all the way through. Creatures from the Abyss is a really awful Italian exploitation film, brought along by H of course.  He has promised to vet the films more thoroughly in the future.

Creatures from the Abyss is kind of like Alien if Alien were set on a scientific research yacht with mutant fish instead of aliens, and with the sex scene from Prometheus, if halfway through the sex scene the guy had turned into an alien mutant fish instead of only impregnating the woman with alien mutant fish babies. Except worse than that description makes it sound.

Also none of the characters are likable, the editing is near-incoherent, there is no budget, and really I don’t know why anyone would inflict this monstrosity on the universe.

Thankfully one of the other films H brought along was Ace Attorney, which restored my faith in film-making/humanity. Such a good movie! I enjoyed it, without ever having played the games (we were a Playstation family, okay!), and H enjoyed it, having played the games; and I think L enjoyed it too although he got quite worked up about how ridiculous the court system was.

I think the best comparison I have in terms of adaptations is to Scott Pilgrim vs the World – it takes some of the very stylised elements of the source medium and replicates them entertainingly. I mean, you have to respect this level of dedication to replicating cartoon hairstyles:

Phoenix Wright has his trademark pointy hair, despite not being a cartoon.

Unlike Scott Pilgrim vs the World, though, Ace Attorney is actually a successful movie. (Apologies to anyone who likes the Scott Pilgrim movie.) It’s not a serious movie. But it also doesn’t make fun of its source material. It takes the characters’ emotional arcs seriously.

Movie night review

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies, Science fiction with tags , on January 26, 2014 by Cara Marie

I Love Maria

‘The most transhumanist film I’ve ever seen.’ – L

If you’re a gang leader wanting to take over the city, what do you do?

  1. Build a moderately sized war robot – let’s see the cops fight that off!
  2. Build a humanoid robot – more subtle, also you can impress your girlfriend by creating it in her image
  3. Build a really fucking big robot, like big enough to squash people
  4. All of the above; also, turn yourself into a cyborg – the human body is fragile

The cops are incapable, so it’s up to a group of misfits to become heroes and save the day.

I’m struggling to think how I can describe this movie without going into overwhelming detail. So instead, I’m just going to put this trailer here.

Mandrill

The main thing I learnt during this film was that L and H are such HUGE GEEKS. I mean I knew this already, but WOW how much time can you spend discussing colour timing? In turns out that when you’re not especially engaged in a film, you can discuss colour timing a lot.

The main thing I learnt from this film is that the way to a woman’s heart (read, her pants) is to compliment her five weaknesses: her eyes, her hair, her mouth, her skin and her scent. ‘At least it’s not negging?’ we decided.

So, this movie is basically Batman if instead of becoming a caped crusader, Bruce Wayne became a bounty-hunter who modelled himself off James Bond (the movie has an in-universe equivalent).

Ok, actually, I’m doing Bruce Wayne a disservice – Bruce is motivated by a sense of injustice. Mandrill is all about the revenge. Which means that when he has the opportunity to kill the man who murdered his parents, he takes it. Even if it means breaking the heart of the woman he’s just fallen for.

I actually quite liked the love-interest-come-villain in this movie. Mandrill has been trying to seduce her (so he can get to her father, the parent-killer), but she’s not buying it. At least, not until he wins her over with SILLY DANCING. I think he’s meant to be harking back to a scene in the James-Bond-equivalent movies, which they are both giant geeks for.

After dancing, they gallavant about the city, laughing, and stealing alcohol even though she’s a casino-heiress who really ought to just pay for it, and finally making out. Then they go back to her room and have sex.

OH! I forgot that the previous night he killed/incapacitated a bunch of security guys so he could sneak into her room. I’m not sure why he was sneaking into her room, but he discovered that she had his mother’s locket, so he stood in the corner of her room and had a little cry, and then presumably left.

So, the day after they have sex, he kills her father in front of her. BANG! How rude. He feels really bad, because that’s the moment he decides he’s in love with her. But it’s too late; she puts on a slinky black dress and becomes evil.

She then:

  • sleeps with his uncle
  • manipulates him into killing said uncle
  • SHOOTS MANDRILL DEAD instead of letting herself be properly overcome by romantic feelings
  • collects the bounty on his head and drives off into the sunset.

It probably says something about unsympathetic a protagonist Mandrill was, that we found this a satisfying ending. And then they spoiled it. Because instead of our heroine checking  he was properly dead and putting him in the body bag herself, she let her lackey do it. So of course, when the bounty collector checks the bag (after she’s left), it turns out it’s the lackey in there, and not Mandrill at all. COP OUT.

I guess we were meant to want Mandrill survive. But he was an awful person, and so we didn’t.

Recent movie nights

Posted in Action/adventure, Crime, Horror, Movies with tags , on December 8, 2013 by Cara Marie

Kung-Fu Chefs

Two brothers, both excellent chefs, have a falling out that ends up with one never being able to cook again, and the other, played by Sammo Hung, getting kicked out of the family for serving a dish that made everyone sick.

Years later Hung starts cooking again, which causes his nephew to try and avenge his father’s honour by ruining Hung’s restaurant, beating everyone up, and also by hiring chefs that can defeat Hung’s protege in a reality TV show cooking contest.

Kung-Fu Chefs was hard to follow at times – not because the plot was especially convoluted, but because a bunch of connecting scenes seem to have been cut out, leaving you to wonder how people got from here to there, and why aren’t they in the refrigerator any more?

Despite that, it was a really fun film. The action scenes were enjoyable, and we all got really hungry while watching it. Which is really what you want out of a movie called Kung-Fu Chefs.

Also watched that night: Tai Chi Zero. Will leave talking about that until we’ve seen Tai Chi Hero as well.

Hard Boiled

It took a while to really get into this movie. I think it suffers from the two leads not actually meeting till quite a way into the movie. (It also suffers because after a certain point, you can’t help but compare it to another movie, which anything would suffer in comparison to.)

So: Chow Yun Fat plays Tequila, a cop driven to revenge after his partner dies in a horrific shoot-out in a bird cafe. (I mean, everyone seemed to have birds with them. I’m not sure what that was about.) Tequila is in trouble with his boss for killing the gangster they were after during the shoot-out; he’s going to be taken off the case altogether and that is not okay with Tequila.

Our other lead is played by Tony Leung (the character’s name is also Tony), and he’s a hitman being seduced into a rival gang. (I say seduced, because the rival gang boss expresses some rather romantic sentiments when he’s trying to convince Tony to join him. Maybe it was the translation, but S and I were both like, um.)

Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung have great chemistry, and the film really picks up once the two of them are on screen together. (They’re both so young in this!) Sadly, it’s not for a while.

The action scenes are shocking and brutal, and some of the choreography is very impressive … but they go on too long. There’s a point where there’s been so much shooting you can’t tell why they’re just not all dead yet, and you’ve lost what the point of the scene was.

The final action sequence spices things up by forcing Chow Yun Fat to fight while carrying a baby, though, so I suppose I can forgive it for that ;)

Also watched that night: Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Experimental stop-motion metal-fetishist bizarrity. S told us there was no weird sex stuff. There turned out to be a lot of weird sex stuff. It was an experience.

Thoughts on Thor: The Dark World

Posted in Movies, Superhero with tags , on November 2, 2013 by Cara Marie

Spoilers below! Read more »