Posts Tagged ‘action’

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Non-Stop is misleading, just like its characters. Upon looking at the poster and blurb, my first assumption was that it was an action movie in the vein of the Taken movies. I saw a version of the poster where a blurb mentioned something about everything being taken from him (just to make sure everyone would watch it on the basis of it being exactly the same as Taken, I bet), but it’s not a non-stop action movie. It’s a smart, suspenseful thriller. I was kept guessing throughout the entire film, which is something a lot of modern thrillers can’t claim. 

Let’s start with the plot. The movie begins with Liam Neeson mixing a mug of bourbon and draining it entirely after an angry phone call to his supervisor. He whizzes past airport security, and in this scenes, you can see the majority of the main cast in the background. You can even hear Julianne Moore talking about getting a window seat. 

It was a shaky beginning, literally. The camera shook while Liam Neeson walked, and considering the way it uses extreme close ups and how it leaves most of the background out of focus, I was starting to think this was going to be another Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

However, my fears were completely uncalled for. It began to redeem itself during the takeoff of the plane. The camera, of course, shook. But, it shook in a controlled way so you could still keep track of everything. The sound was realistically loud, but you could still hear Liam Neeson talking about his daughter giving him a ribbon for good luck while Julianne Moore sits beside him and attempts to calm this huge action star that gets nervous during takeoffs.

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It was shaping up to be a good film. I was already wondering what’s going to happen, and looking forward to the rest of the film. (I didn’t read a summary before going to the movie, so I was going in blind.)

With the lights turned off so that everyone can sleep, Liam Neeson suddenly gets a text. I realize I keep referring to the actor, but that’s because the actor completely encompasses the movie. He’s playing essentially the same character he’s always played, but it’s all right. Because it’s always interesting.

Anyways, the text is from an unknown number, and after the usual round of questioning, the mysterious figure reveals that he’s going to kill someone every twenty minutes unless 150 million dollars gets wired into his account.

Interesting premise. Liam Neeson notifies the pilots, and they report it to their superiors. I’m afraid I can’t go into anymore detail about the movie from this point because I’d risk giving you enough time to figure out the killer(s). This is as suspenseful as they come. It’s similar to Air Force One in the sense that it’s on a plane, but that’s where the similarities end really. 

It takes a really unexpected path with how it doesn’t rely on Liam Neeson killing a hundred people with only a scratch on his face. He actually has to try to figure out the killer for a change, and you’ll find your stomach in a knot trying to figure the mystery out for yourself. So, let’s talk about the characters. The principal characters include Julianne Moore as a smart woman that has to have the window seat (you’ll see why), and because she was asleep beside Liam Neeson when he got a text, she’s one of the few people he can actually trust. Their dynamic is pretty good, and Julianne Moore delivers a great performance. (As expected.)

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Liam Neeson looking very somber.

Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) plays a stewardess that’s had relations with the co-pilot, and she’s on the very short list of people Liam Neeson can trust. 

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Another point goes to the film for the fact that it acknowledges racial profiling. A Middle Eastern passenger is on the plane, and in his first appearance, everyone looks at him suspiciously. One of the other passengers, Corey Stoll (House of Cards) even makes a remark about it later in the film. Is it groundbreaking? No, but it doesn’t avoid it, either. 

It’s true. It’s been awhile since 9/11, and it seems like movies and shows have been given the green light to talk about it (The Golden Boy, Blue Bloods, Homeland are but a few examples of this), but it’s still a sore subject. So, the fact that the film acknowledges that the system isn’t perfect is really refreshing.

I’ve praised this film. Now it’s time for the flaws. Here’s a slight warning. The following isn’t really a spoiler, but it can be construed as spoiler-ish, so it’s just a heads up. I don’t pick on plot points or anything, so feel free to skip this section. 

POSSIBLE SPOILER ZONE

The fight scenes are really well done, but like most action movies, it suffers from the Invincibility Syndrome. Die Hard 5 is the pinnacle of this example. John and his son kill hundreds of enemies, but oh no, their clothes are a bit blackened from all the explosions and they have a few cuts! Poor guys. Let’s drag ‘em to the emergency room! The Taken movies are also fine examples of this. Oh, yeah, I’ve absolutely decimated the entire population of Bulgaria, but I’m fine. See you in the next movie!

In this movie, Liam Neeson gets into some pretty unbelievable fights that end with him having a tiny little bruise at the corner of his forehead. Meanwhile, his enemies are… well, let’s just say they didn’t get off with a bruise. So, that doesn’t really damage the film as a whole, but I would’ve enjoyed it much more if he was, I don’t know, limping or bleeding a lot more at the end? 

I understand that action movies can’t end with the main character in a coma, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that wishes they looked like they went through the ringer a bit more. 

END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER ZONE

The final verdict is that this is a great movie. I had maybe twenty possible suspects, and I still didn’t expect the ending. That makes it a really well planned film, if you ask me. Are there flaws? Yup. Liam Neeson makes some decisions that really don’t make me think he’s the sharpest tool in the shed, but it’s very entertaining. For me, it’s definitely better than the Taken movies. He doesn’t have as good of a hook as in Taken (“I don’t know who you are…), but my interest was definitely held for a lot longer here. 

If you need any more reasons to watch it… it’s a Liam Neeson movie. There you have it. 

4 out of 6

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The Lego Movie is one of the most ambitious films I’ve seen in awhile, and it delivers on the promise of a lot of laughs. It’s a dystopian sci-fi movie, a Western extravaganza, a good old fashioned romance, and just plain funny. The ‘funny’ part cannot be understated.

The beginning starts off a bit awkward. It was focused on showing how completely all the citizens were being manipulated, and that even among all these blank slates, the main character is even blanker. 

Chris Pratt voices the main character, Emmet Brickowoski. He’s a regular construction worker whose favorite song is Everything Is Awesome, just like everybody else. 

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Chris Pratt manages a fine performance in the portrayal of the blank hero. He does a believable job of an Everyman, but manages to avoid sounding dull or fake throughout the entire film.

The beginning may not be funny, but it’s the setup for a lot of great lines. After five hours of singing his favorite song, Emmet hears a strange noise, and he goes in search for said noise. He finds a hooded individual, and consults a manual telling him that he should report any mysterious people. He’s about to sate his intentions when the hooded individual removes the hood, and exaggerated slow motion ensues as Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) shakes her hand to straighten her head. 

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Elizabeth Banks delivers a great performance in the “insecure” Master Builder with the name of a DJ.

She leaves, and when he tries to follow her, he falls into a ditch. He sees a strange object, and slowly moves to touch it. Below him, we can see the page in the manual specifically advising against such a thing, but completely entranced, he grabs unto it. 

Different images intercut together follow, and he’s woken up by a gruff Liam Neeson playing the Bad Cop who is in the middle of interrogating him, apparently.

Emmet points out that he is a real expert from watching cop shows, and notes the absence of a Good Cop. Bad Cop then swivels his head, and the “Aww-shucks” Good Cop appears. This is an example of the directors (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller – the makers of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) using their subject matter to its utmost advantage. Sure, it’s not the most innovative thing in the movie, but it was a nice touch. It showed self awareness that these characters were all legos, and that unlike with a lot of toys, you can do plenty of different things with them.

The interrogation is interrupted when Wyldstyle rescues Emmet, and tells him about a prophesy naming him as the Greatest, Most Talented, Most Specialest Person Ever. Yeah. At least they aren’t simply using the Chosen One, I guess… There’s a really cool chase with Emmet and Wildstyle on a makeshift motorcycle while cars and helicopters tail them.

The action sequences in this film are really good. There are a few issues here and there, such as the fact that certain characters move too fast. You get used to it, but it’s initially difficult to track them across the wide screen. (Especially if their attire blends into the background.)

They escape through a tunnel, and enter The Wild West. Apparently, there are other realms in the Lego World, and it was a real treat to see images of the actual box sets of the different “realms”. Ah, childhood. They track down Vitruvius, the blind Master Builder as portrayed by Morgan Freeman. 

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Vitruvius feels like Morgan Freeman’s way of poking fun at his “wise, practically omnipotent” characters in the past. Shows that even someone with the perfect voice for narration can have a sense of humor.

They perform something similar to a Vulcan Mind Meld, and enter Emmet’s mind. Which is… completely blank. When asked to envision something he always thought was good, he conjures up an image of a Bunkbed Couch. Wyldstyle promptly tells him that it’s a bad idea, but Vitruvius interrupts her. 

Instead of saying that it’s just an abstract idea, he actually says much harsher words than her, calling it the worst idea ever. I’ll stop describing everything in detail here. I just felt it was necessary to describe the beginning because the potential for so much more is apparent from just these scenes. Don’t even get me started on the rest of the movie. (Unless you REALLY want to, because I’ll be happy to oblige.)

The villain is portrayed by Will Ferrel. I don’t how he does it, but he can mispronounce the most simple words, and make it seem completely unintentional and natural. He does it in such a convincing way that when he calls a Nail Polish a “Na-eel”, it seems completely normal. You begin to start asking yourself the question, “Why would I think he’d pronounce it that way?”

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As he’s shown in Megamind, Will Ferrel can play a really funny, great sympathetic villain.

He is President Business, and he wants to use the Kragle (a tube of Krazy Glue with the Z, Y, and U scratched off) to permanently keep everything in place. He wants to bring order into chaos. Honestly, it’s a rather good evil plot. To demonstrate this to Bad Cop, he uses the Kragle to glue the feet of Bad Cop’s parents. When prompted to glue them completely, the Good Cop refuses to do so, and that’s when his face is brutally erased. 

The Lego Movie, on the story and characters alone, would be considered imaginative and creative. However, it took it to a different level with their use of stop motion animation (probably thanks to their recruitment of Robot Chicken veteran, Chris McKay), and other cool stuff that I won’t spoil. 

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Considering the reception Ben Affleck received, Warner Bros. might want to consider Will Arnett as a replacement.

At the end of the day, this movie is funny, charming, and something that the whole family will enjoy. Sure, the parents will have to deal with being pestered to buy more legos, but that’s a risk they’ll have to take for some really good entertainment. Frozen deservedly received a lot of fans and critical acclaim, and the Lego Movie feels like a fitting followup to that great animated movie. 

I think that children should have more movies like the Lego Movie and Frozen, and that’ll only happen if we make the effort to tell people to watch them. (Although, at this point, Lego Movie and Frozen are huge successes. And Lego Movie isn’t even out of the theatres yet…)

Watch this for the quirky characters (Unikitty. All I’m saying), the hilarious superheroes (the love/hate relationship between Superman and Green Lantern, the brooding artist that is Batman), and legos. Watch it for those reasons, and you won’t regret it.

4.5 out of 6

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jack-ryan-shadow-recruit-2013_82761381896636

 

I had high hopes for this movie. I’ve always liked Chris Pine’s movies (even his role in Princess Diaries 2), and Keira Knightley was brilliant in Pride and Prejudice. Not to mention I have read a few pages from a Jack Ryan book, and the story and action seemed competent enough. Even the trailer for the movie was good. But, every expectation I had was dashed, and I regret watching it instead of any other movie. 

Okay, let me start by pasting the summary of the movie.

Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

 

 I don’t recall the plot well enough, but I can tell you about the beginning. 

 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit starts off with Chris Pine at the London School of Economics. He notices a lot of his classmates are rushing off somewhere, and he follows them to see that they’re all transfixed on a television. Scenes of 9/11 play on the screen. I think it was when Homeland was released around 2010-2011 that a signal was released to everyone that it’s okay to talk about 9/11 in movies. I think that’s fine enough, but I don’t particularly like it when movies actually show real footage. Or evoke imagery from the tragic incident. Chris Pine’s previous movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, evoked some of those same images, and another example would be Ender’s Game. (Starting to see a pattern with science fiction movies…)

It cuts to 18 months later, and Jack Ryan is now a lieutenant in the marines. He’s on a helicopter, and it’s at this time that I began to worry. The camera shakes all over, it’s unfocused for several seconds, and it’s put in such close proximity of the characters’ faces that I could actually count the number of pores they had on their face. (If I had a notepad, I would’ve listed the number, but I’ve since forgotten the exact amount.)

However, I cut it some slack. After all, they were on a helicopter. It was realistic, I guess, and I had some experience with that type of style being done well. (Hurt Locker. I don’t love the movie, but even I have to admit that the director used that style perfectly.)

Jack Ryan unbuckles his seatbelt to help a newbie with his, and it’s at that moment that an RPG hits the helicopter. It’s here that my hopes started to dim. The helicopter is crashing, and the camera starts to move all over the place. It was dizzying, but once again, I cut it some slack. I just told myself that the director really wanted this scene to be authentic.

Chris Pine is rushed to a field hospital, and we find out that he’s lost feeling in his legs. He screams in pain, and in the next scene, he’s attempting to walk with crutches. It’s here that we’re introduced to Keira Knightley who plays Cathy Muller. She’s a third year med student tasked with helping him recover. The camera isn’t as jerky in these scenes as it was on the helicopter, but it’s still put within inches of each actor’s face. Keira Knightley and Chris Pine are attractive people, but I don’t think anyone can look good that way. (Especially when you’re watching them on a thirty foot screen. If I didn’t already know the plot, I’d think it was a horror movie.)

That's the farthest you can expect to see their faces. The director probably regrets filming them from so far away.

That’s the farthest you can expect to see their faces. The director probably regrets filming them from so far away.

 

Let’s fast forward, shall we? Jack Ryan is recruited by an enigmatic C.I.A. Operative portrayed by Kevin Costner to become an analyst for them. He goes undercover in Wall Street, and they meet in movie theaters that show old movies. Kind of like how in the Departed, Damon and Nicholson meet at a porn theater. It’s here that the movie shows its cheekiness. The director seems to like the contrast of the old, classical style of movies with his own style. Aside from this scene, Keira Knightley is seen watching an old movie on the television. (A shot which is mimicked later on in the movie.) I thought this was a nice touch, and my hopes began to swell again. They were once again dashed when the writer portrayed Cathy Muller so terribly. In the movie, Cathy Muller confronts Jack Ryan about hiding things from her, and she demands to know if he’s having an affair. She stomps away, and Jack Ryan says: “Let’s go to Paris.”

Then all is well. 

I mean, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t really paint her in the best light. She knows he’s lying, and she forgives him just like that for a trip to Paris? Admittedly, it’s understandable, but she could’ve looked a little conflicted about it, at least. Oh, and let’s talk about Keira Knightley’s performance. Cathy Muller is American, and Keira Knightley is British. So, her accent for this movie was crucial. And… It’s all right. It does waver here and there when she raises her voice, but it’s passable. The accent is believable enough, but it does have an unfortunate side effect of lowering her acting ability. She was great in Pride and Prejudice, and even though I didn’t like her character in the Pirates and the Caribbean movies, she was good there as well. Forced to do a foreign accent, however, it’s obvious that she’s struggling. 

It’s perfectly reasonable why she can’t act to the full extent of her ability. It’s a lot of hard work! I couldn’t help but think that her average acting in this movie is the fault of the movie. I feel like she noticed, halfway into the movie, that it wasn’t good. And she just didn’t feel like working that hard for a below average movie. I can understand Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell, I guess, working on their accents for months for Saving Mr. Banks, but I probably wouldn’t have tried so hard for a movie like Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Let’s talk about the fight scenes. I hate shaky cam. Yes, it’s realistic. Real life fights are shaky, unfocused, and messy. But movies aren’t about being realistic. Sure, I like the plots and characters to be realistic. But movies are about elevating reality. Here’s a good example. In Oldboy, there’s a scene where the main character goes down a corridor, and fights over a dozen assailants. The camera only shows it from one angle, and it moves slowly down the corridor while he disposes of the nuisances. It’s calm and precise and rather elegant. It made the fight all the more brutal because you could see everything clearly. It was horrific and brilliant. 

In the fight scenes in this movie, the camera actually isn’t pointed at the characters for certain seconds! I’m not kidding. In the last fight scene of the movie, the camera is focused on the background, leaving the characters in the foreground unfocused. And when they moved, it took a few seconds for the camera to follow them.

It’s ridiculous. It’s hard to take a movie seriously that looks like a home movie I made when I was thirteen and was too lazy to stop recording when walking. (At least with that, the ground and footage of my feet walking was in focus.) 

The villain… Oh, I need to talk about the villain. Kenneth Branagh portrays Viktor Cherevin. I could tell you his occupation, but to be honest, his occupation is to be a villain. That’s what the movie shows you, and don’t expect anything more from him than that.

Ooh, he's looking very villainous here.

Ooh, he’s looking very villainous here.

 

In the first scene we see him, the camera is looking at him from behind. We see an elegant European room while classical music plays loudly in the background. A large bodyguard stands at the other end of the room, and a man is poking a syringe into the arm of the villain. He obviously misses the vein or something like that, and the villain beats him for it. The sounds they used for his punches and kicks sound like something you’d expect if you kicked a pillowcase with a basketball in it. It’s completely fake, and boring. 

In another scene, he’s at a Church lighting a candle while a choir sings, and it is so cheesy that I actually laughed. At the end of the day, the plot isn’t important. In my previous reviews, I told you a little bit about the plot, but to be honest, I can’t even remember the plot of this movie. It’s about Russia being the bad guys. Again. It’s about Chris Pine saving the day, and about the director trying to give you a headache. (He succeeded!)

The one thing I thought was interesting is that they managed to sneak in an F-word. It’s PG-13, I believe, and I think it’s because when the guys in charge of censorship looked at the movie, they realized that you can’t see any of the violence. “Okay, since you can’t see any of the fight scenes, you can have one F-word. Use it well.”

I wish so badly that I just watched Wolf of Wall Street. But unfortunately the showing wasn’t till the day after, and like I said, I did think that this was going to be a good movie. If this movie gets a sequel, which I hope it doesn’t, I will not watch it.

On the bright side, I was on a Lazy Boy at the theater where I watched the movie. That’s the high note of the entire film for me.

 

2 out of 6.

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~Jian

Well, don’t worry if you don’t get what I mean in the title. I’m pretty sure that this is a dilemma that only happens to rebellious writers that don’t plot. Now, I’ve talked on and on about how I don’t really plot things out. I mostly wing it. I have a vague idea of everything that will happen in the next three chapters, and most likely the ending, but I don’t really attempt to organize it.

It has caused some problems ( like now ), but I find that it makes writing a lot more interesting for me, and I’ve improved a great deal in writing. (Well, if you call being able to type really fast and being able to press the Delete button very fast an improvement.)

(Lots of parentheses in this post…)

Back to the point. I was writing the newest chapter in Radio Silence yesterday. I managed 438 words before I got stumped. The problem I had was that the main character, Gordon, finds people that aren’t actually… possessed. They’re all stuck in a room. However, there’s a very big chance that at least one of them is possessed. Now, I need a reason (a Why) for all of them being locked in a room.

Sounds simple, right? “Jian, just write that they’re in that room because a possessed person started killing people!”

That’s what I thought. However, I wanted a change of pace. See, if there’s a possessed person somewhere in the vicinity, the characters would just go: “Sheriff, go and find this possessed person!”

Conversation over. But I wanted there to be a conversation. For the past three chapters, I’ve had a lot of action. In Radio Silence, that is. I love action, but I also like conversations. Especially conversations that crack me up. My family says I’m corny, but I’m more of an orange… Yeah, even I think that’s a bad one.

Anyways, I need to find a good reason for them being in that room without them explicitly saying that there’s a crazed serial killer out there. At times like these, I kind of regret not plotting things out, like a cool writer. But, I’m not one for coolness, I guess. Whenever I consider plotting things out more accordingly, I remember that this was how I came up with the plot for Line of Corruption. I winged it.

I changed a few things, of course, in the editing room. But, I could not have come up with a better plot beforehand. That isn’t to say that I made the greatest plot ever, but for me, it was the plot best suited for my book. For Radio Silence, I have things planned out a bit more, actually. I know the ending, for one, and I know the fate of most of the characters.

So, I’m gonna go and find the Why in this chapter. Hopefully, it’ll be good. But that’s part of the adventure, I guess. I like writing about my problems in writing, because it normally reveals to me a good way to circumvent that problem. Oh, and I also like an awesome excuse to procrastinate. (And I just became even more rebellious…)

Hmm, I just got an idea for this newest chapter.. Off I go!

iron-man-3

 

 

At this point, a lot of you have already seen the movie, but I wanted to talk about it a little bit. In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark is essentially brought down to the basics. This is a tactic we’ve all seen utilized in long-running franchises. Most notably there’s Rocky Balboa (2005) where Sylvester Stalone essentially becomes an underdog again. Here, however, I feel that this is Tony Stark’s first time truly becoming ill-equipped. Sure, in the first Iron Man, he has to build his first suit of armor under duress.

But the difference here is that he spends a very long time in this movie without any of his usual gadgets, fighting against people that are essentially invincible. The movie starts out with Robert Downey Jr. narrating, and we go back to his past as an uncaring playboy. He’s in Switzerland, on New Years Eve 1999, and he’s hooking up with yet another girl. A botanist. A scientist, with a really bad limp, tries to convince him to fund his research, and he blows him off by telling him he’ll meet the guy on the roof in ten minutes.

Now, I could tell you the entire plot, but where would be the fun in that? Odds are, you all could easily find out the plot of the first half of the movie, so I’m just going to tell you what I liked and what I did not like. As always, the acting is very good in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. was born for this role. I’ve read a lot of reviews saying that the actor playing the villain was born for the role, too, but I disagree. I think it could’ve been done a lot better by another actor. That isn’t to say that the actor playing the villain does a bad job, but it could definitely be better.

What I truly loved about this movie is that Tony Stark has no armor for a third of the movie. He has to rely on gadgets he makes up from a Home Depot, and he’s forced to fight some nasty individuals. Why is he without his usual suit of armor? Well, his former bodyguard, Happy, is injured severely in a suicide bombing by this terrorist, the Mandarin. In a fit of rage, Tony Stark challenges the Mandarin and tells him his home address. Yeah, I think we can figure out what happens next.

Long story short, his mansion is destroyed, and Tony Stark is stranded in Rose Hill, Tennessee with his armor no longer functioning properly. Tony Stark is suffering from anxiety attacks since the alien invasion in the Avengers. What I liked about this is that they don’t make watching the Avengers a necessity in order to watch Iron Man 3. I will say this, though. I enjoyed Iron Man 3 more than the Avengers.

The Avengers had a good enough story, a great cast, and amazing special effects. Iron Man 3 has a great story, a great cast, and amazing special effects. The Avengers and Iron Man 3 are about the same length, but I was more aware of time passing when I was watching the Avengers than when I was watching Iron Man 3. And I am pretty sure that The Avengers is a lot more action packed than Iron Man 3.

Another thing I liked was the use of side characters that really appear onscreen for about three minutes, but are utilized for their full comedic value. This movie made me laugh in a good way, and I like laughing. So, I give this movie a lot of props for consistently making its audience laugh in the theatre.

Something that a lot of reviewers have had a problem with is the excuse for the Avengers not being utilized to fight the Mandarin. Apparently, it’s not a superhero problem, it’s an American problem…

Yeah. Don’t buy it. The villain basically says that he’s been forced to do things a lot smarter because “that god fell from the sky”. He’s referring to Thor. Then, in the end, he basically says: “Once I take down Iron Man, the world will be mine!”

Looks like you forgot about the rest of the Avengers. It’s these little things that tick me off, but the rest of the movie is good enough to make me forget about it until after I finish watching it. To be completely honest, I find it odd that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t get involved.

If we’re going by the comic books, they’re pretty nosy and pry into EVERYONE’S affairs. If we’re going by the movies… yeah, they’re pretty nosy and pry into everyone’s affairs. What makes the Mandarin so different?

Well, those are little nitpicks, really. That’s the thing about reviewing movies – I always feel obligated to nit pick about the little meh-ish things about it, and I really make it sound bad. But it’s not bad at all. Those little scenes that don’t really make sense? In all, they probably last for three minutes. Three minutes out of a two hour movie.

Think about it like that, and I guess you can say I’m drawing at straws here. Now, I know what you’re all dying to ask.

What about the final battle?

I mean. We all know there’s a final battle. This isn’t even a spoiler. Every superhero movie, or action movie, has a final battle. Unless it’s one of those movies that aim to literally set itself apart from the rest by defying convention. But yes, this movie has a final battle, and it is amazing. I cannot begin to describe it because the effects and the action are too great to spoil for you all.

Let’s just say that I found the final battle a bit more riveting than the Avengers. Now, I liked the Avengers. It’s not like I have something against Chris Evans or anything. However, it’s just in my opinion that Iron Man 3 is the better movie. Apparently, a lot of people agree. Iron Man 3 grossed more internationally than the Avengers. The overall box office receipts, however, lean more to the Avengers, but a lot more people internationally watched Iron Man 3.

It’s also been said that it is the best of the solo Avenger movies. Now, you could say that I’m just that much of a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. or Iron Man… and you would be correct. I am a big RDJ fan, and while Iron Man isn’t my favorite Marvel character, he certainly is part of the Top 20.

The thing is, though, I really think that if you like superhero movies, you will like Iron Man 3. If you don’t like superhero movies, then you’ll probably still like it if you like action movies.

The story is fast paced, the action is tense and riveting, the acting is superb, and the special effects are awesome. I suggest you watch it in 2D, though. The 3D visuals weren’t utilized for their maximum potential like in Avatar.

But like I said, I am nitpicking here. So, watch it. I suggest you watch it with a friend or a family member. It’s a lot more fun to discuss it with ’em afterwards.

This movie gets an 8/10 rating for me. This is an awesome movie. 

That’s all I have to say. Hope you enjoyed this review, I sure loved writing about this movie. If you liked it, remember to click the Like and Follow button. If you agree or disagree, please comment. I love to hear about other people’s opinion. And yeah. Thanks a lot.

~J.A. Romano

Yes. That is actually the title. 

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Yes, judgement is coming, as well. First of all, a little synopsis is due. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343727/

Dredd and the rookie are the main characters. The rookie is named Anderson, but is referred simply as the Rookie throughout most of the movie. She is a mutant psychic. She can read minds, and is the strongest telepath they ever encountered. However, she failed the qualification test by three points, and Dredd is forced by his commanding officer to throw her in the deep end and to see if she’s got what it takes.

In Dredd’s words: “Every place is a deep end.”

He says it in true brooding hero/killer fashion. This is a dystopian future. America is very different, and Judges are literally the LAW. 

They have no need of jumping through legal hoops if they think they’ve got the right perp, technically. The concept is quite awesome. 

What? You want more? Fine. I’m going to tell you a little bit about the current state of this movie. As you can see, the movie is #11 on IMDB. That is, if you are reading this around the same time I am writing it. That’s a great feat. And for awhile, Karl Urban (who plays Dredd) was #6 on IMDB. That’s really something. However, because it was showed exclusively in 3D and is +18, the sales are a real downer. Opening weekend and worldwide tally amounts to 36.6 million. That’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?

Not when the amount of money you spent was 45 million dollars. They didn’t manage to recoup their budget. Yeah. Sad. Unto my thoughts about the movie.

Let’s start with the good. The action is as advertised (if you have seen the trailer or the poster or the summary). It’s riveting, and the pacing of the movie is quite good. The slow motion effect was quite beautiful, and it was handled perfectly by the director. Also, props to the writers for sticking to the comic mythos by making sure Dredd does not remove his helmet. No! Do not do it, man. DON’T. 

The effects are quite astounding. The story is okay. I mean, the concept of the drug is certainly cool, and the idea of keeping the protagonists trapped in a building full of gun toting criminals is rather cool. But, the main villain is… Slightly lacking. The main villain is Momma (played by the talented Lena Headey), and she’s the leader of the Momma Gang. She finds out that Judge Dredd and a rookie went into her building and arrested one of her main men. A guy that could testify against her. So, she puts the building under lockdown, and tells everyone (all 8 million of them. You see, there are Megabuildings that can hold over 8 million people. Yeah. That many.) that they cannot get out ’till the Judges are dead.

Cue action music. What’s lacking about her character, you ask? A cooler backstory. They give you a little backstory on how she’s a real killer and how she’s ruthless, but the thing with backstories given by a criminal informant… They are literally meant to be broken. You see, it’s an old tradition for movie villains to be this feared monster. And the entire time, the hero or heroes keep hearing about their past. But, when the final battle comes around, they find out a lot more that just BLOWS the rumors out of the water and makes it all the more epic. 

It can be construed that the writers meant to stay away from that tradition, but it’s made her rather lackluster. Most of all, it’s mysterious why anyone would follow her. You see. In the olden days, there were female pirates leading entire crews. Yes. Leading vile rapists. 

But, the thing is, the female pirate commands respect, but also gives them leeway to do what they want. Even a strong, burly MALE captain would no doubt be betrayed by his crew if he told them to NEVER EVER loot and to KEEP EVERYONE ALIVE. And this woman does just that. She tells them (when they capture a hostage) not to rape her. Why? Because.. she.. OH! When the other judges find their bodies, they need to be in tact. And this was after she massacred hundreds of the building’s citizens with two freaking machine guns.

When the judges came calling (from outside) they were told it’s a fire. Well. What kind of fire would have bullet ridden citizens and lots of spent shell casings lying all over the place? It’s rather iffy, like I said. Most of all, Momma just does not command respect. It’s bull, you know, that you need to be feared. Being feared is the fastest way you get lynched. 

She treats her soldiers with such disrespect and has no regard for their safety that it’s really unlikely that she’d survived so long. Oh, it can be said that they know they wouldn’t be able to live comfortably had it not been for her. Well, I don’t think they were thinking about that. These guys are drug dealers, and not the smartest folks. Why would they even think about that? No. It’s just wrong. 

This is a slight spoiler, I know, but this was already hinted by many reviewers. So, anyways, when Dredd and the rookie take out a lot of her men and she still can’t capture them, she calls in “911”. Four corrupt judges come in, and in the words of another reviewer,” you get to see why Dredd is so feared.”

And I really don’t get why he was so feared, honestly. The Rookie was much more help. Smarter, too. Okay. Here, get this. Dredd meets one of the other judges. They walk up to each other and start talking. The other Judge says something wrong. I don’t recall what, but Dredd goes:

“But that isn’t right.. WAIT. HOLD ON. Are you perhaps corrupt? It’s cool if you are. Totally. I’m not one of those squares. Yeah, wanna share a bong? No, I don’t HAVE a wire… Per se…”

The conversation didn’t go exactly like that, but he gets his ass thrown around because he was stupid enough to actually go, “You’re a bad guy,” in close quarters. And I just don’t see his supposed “reputation”. He’s a quiet guy, and he treats everyone with a bad attitude… Some reputation, huh? 

I’ll let you watch the other scenes for yourself.

The ending did not make sense, for me. Dredd does something so irresponsible and something that would have literally destroyed everything without a second thought. That did not make sense for me. If you get a “fearsome” reputation for pulling stunts like that, then… I don’t know. I just know that it’s not sensible. At all.

Mistakes aside, the action was truly riveting, and it saddens me that this isn’t doing so well at the Box Office. Flaws aside, I think it should earn slightly more than its budget for all its trouble. This took a lot of work, and it’s not total garbage. If it was, I’d be happy if everyone in the production crew got canned. But no, it was an average movie, yet everyone in the production crew still might get canned.

I give this movie a 5.5/10. It is an average movie. If you’re in the mood for something with killer action, watch it. Just don’t go in expecting it to be the greatest action flick ever. I was told something along those lines, and the 5.5 out of 10 may be because my expectations were rather high. We’ll see.

I hope you give this movie a try. You may end up loving it. I didn’t love it, but hate it? No way. I may still watch it again if I ever want some cool gunfights. Or I may watch Die Hard… Die Hard it is…