September 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Warning: plot spoilers.

This sequel picks up a few months after Red [1] finished: Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are settling into a safe, if dull, suburban routine. Then Marvin (John John Malkovich) is blown up in the Costco car park and it is all go.

There is a nice touch with “You can’t always get what you want” playing at the funeral – just like in The Big Chill.

Anthony Hopkins is Dr Bailey – the baddy – and I though it was a nice touch for him to get back into the action/spy genre – an early foray was “When eight Bells Toll“.

A running gag is that everyone keeps giving Frank relationship advice! Sarah is not settling into the relationship – because Frank packs her in cotton wool. She just wants to be a kick-ass like Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Katja is an old flame of Frank’s, and her re-entry into his life causes some extra tension in the relationship. Katja and Frank have the most amazing driver swap sequence – possibly ever.

Mirren tends to steal the film with here restrained performance.

Its a bit violent, but worth a go.


A Good Day to Die Hard

February 24, 2013 at 9:36 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I saw A Good Day to Die Hard – or “Die Hard 5” – today. Warning: plot elements revealed!

Bruce Willis is John McClane – a New York detective – heads to Moscow to ‘save’ his son John McClane (Jai Courtney) from an attempted murder charge. Instead he steps into a mass of trouble – all of it of his own making.

This film is more about the two McClanes and the nature of their relationship to each other, than a film where Willis/McClane(Snr) escapes one death trap after another – and both McClanes escape one death-trap after another.

The film starts off with McClane (Snr) thinking that McClane (Jnr) needs bailing out and ends up mucking up a CIA mission three years in the making. It turns out that Junior is just working for the CIA, and Senior blows the whole mission! The early part of the film all about an American abroad – interfering without understanding and generally causing a huge mess. I lost all sympathy for McClane (Snr) and it took lots of mindless violence for me to recover a sense of suspension-of-dis-belief.

There is an interesting juxtaposition of another father-child relationship – one that works quite effectively: Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and Irina (Yuliya Snigir). The latter are the baddies in this film, and desipte appearance always have a strong bond. The McClanes had a parting of the ways, and through continually escaping death-traps, they re-bond.

Is this a passing of the torch?


October 14, 2012 at 9:17 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Time travel science fiction movie – with a better than usual plot.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play ‘Joe’ a hit-man with a difference: Gordon-Levitt is the young Joe who must kill his older self, played by Willis.

The premise is that in the future forensic science is so good that given a body the killer can be identified – so you send the person back in time and they are killed there.

The film is all about how Joe ends up not killing his older self, and avoid even worse excesses.

Jeff Daniels is an improbable mob king-pin.


November 22, 2010 at 12:35 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I went to see the film RED the other day. RED turns out to stand for: Retired Extremely Dangerous.

The main charaters are played by some very accomplished actors: Bruce Willis, Mary-Lousie Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and Ernest Borgnine. It is a pleasure to see them working hard at producing such polished charaterisations of 2-dimensional characters. The comic book origins have not been directed out and it is great to see the actors gently parody themselves.

It looks like everyone enjoyed themselves. The gratuitous use of automatic weapons seems to have particularly fired up Helen Miriam’s character; or was Miriam fired up?

The plots is a little convoluted and contrived – as fitting a dark comic story revolving around retired CIA assassins. At its core, it is a ‘putting the band back together’ movie. Retirement sits heavily on the old killers and they all welcome a chance to relive their youth (and kill again).

Helen Miriam is perfect wearing a white fur coat and carrying a sniper rifle as comfortably as one’s favourite formidable aunt might carry gardening shears.

Bruce Willis is Frank Moses, the former number one assasin at the CIA, who is so bored with retirement that he strikes up a chance connection with some one in the US government pensions department. Sarah Ross is ably played by Sarah-Louise Parker, a capable women who has been forced by the vagarities of a unrewarding life to travel only through spy thriller-bodice-rippers. Director , Robert Schwentke, shows restraint with the Anne character – in that she does not transform into another violent character (in a movie populated by violent characters).

John Malkovich, plays the nutty character: “11 years of mind control experiments”, “I don’t like to spend too much time in the open – satelites”. He is great.

It all ends well – for the ‘band’. As with movies of this genre, it ends badly for the bad-guys !

Could this be some kind of handing over of the torch moment? Karl Urban plays William Cooper – the CIA’s current number one assassin. Inevitably Moses and Cooper go head-to-head; Cooper is good, but Moses still has it (just). But does this mean that Urban will star in a series of action thrillers that cement his place in movie history?

Good to see Borgnine get an outing – to be honest I though he had passed away. He has a small role playing the part of a CIA records keeper, buried in a secret vault.

The Expendables

September 29, 2010 at 8:11 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I saw the trailer I decided that this was a ‘must see’.

The ‘Expendables’ are a small team of mercenaries played by a dream team of action actors: Slyvester Stalone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger! In the end it was hard to give each ‘star’ enough time in only 113 minutes !!!!

Giselle ItiĆ© provides a hint of romance, plays the good icon. She offers up some good contrast to Eric Roberts – who plays the bad icon, and to David Zayas – who plays the paper-tiger icon.

The film is a series of very well choreographed fight scenes. These are interspersed with some character scenes where the guys show off their tender sides – Lundgren like you have never seen him! The best is the brief by-play between Stalone and Schwarzenegger.

In the end good triumphs over evil, or in this case the CIA – or is it a rogue CIA element.

I expected a little too much – the Seven Samuri are hard act to follow. But it is very watchable, particularly if you like any of the dream team. Warning: Willis and Schwarzenegger don’t have much air face time.

The Expendables

September 6, 2010 at 8:05 am | Posted in Film Trailer Review | 1 Comment
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This is a film that I have to see – in the same way that I ‘have to’ see James Bond films, Star Trek films, and Seven Samuri Films.

It has: Slyvester Stalone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger! Like the dream team !! The contract negotiations must be worthy of an academy award !!! All those stars and only 113 minutes !!!!

It looks like a Seven Samuri / Guns of the Magnificant 7 re-work – there is even a guy who throws knives (Jet Li ?). A bunch of mercenaries who apparently agree to fight for free – for a good cause, and because the head guys asks.

A ‘must see’.

Die Hard 4.0

September 1, 2007 at 10:30 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Sep 1, 2007 by Film_Hanger

This the fourth film in the “Die Hard” series and the ‘4.0’ is an obvious tip towards the Internet – signalling that its is all about the use of the Internet to take over the critical infrastructure of the United States of America; or is it ?

As is usual with these kinds of movies I switched my brain into neutral and unload my disbelief modules. Thus prepared I enjoyed two hours or so of light entertainment.

Towards the end of the movie, it struck me that the plot was just the old ‘evil wizard wishes to take over the kingdom, and must kill any wizard who might be powerful enough to oppose them, and uses magic and swords for hire to do so, enter the old paladin and apprentice wizard who needs a moral centre’ … pant pant … plot.


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