Tag Archives: action flick

The Rundown

The Rundown has everything that you want in an action flick: a buff leading man, a funny sidekick, a beautiful girl, and Christopher Walken. It even has a priceless artifact and face-humping monkeys. What more could you want?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Beck, a bounty hunter who wants out of the game. His final job is to track down his boss’s son Travis (Seann William Scott). Travis has been hiding in the jungle searching for a priceless artifact known as the Gato. Travis wants the Gato for fame and glory, but he’s not the only one who wants it. A rebel named Mariana (Rosario Dawson) wants it to save her people and Christopher Walken wants it because he’s the bad guy.

Beck just wants to get Travis and go home. But everybody else wants the Gato and that’s what gets the plot going. Beck and Travis tromp around the jungle looking for the Gato, trying to avoid Christopher Walken’s henchmen, angry rebels, and horny monkeys. There are lots of cool fight scenes all leading up to a fierce battle at the end.

This is a really fun movie. The editing is fast and fierce and never boring. There’s a quick cameo by Schwarzenegger passing the action hero torch to The Rock. The Rock does a good job. Most action stars are just big and buff and don’t talk much. The Rock kicks ass and can carry a conversation. This is basically a buddy flick and it wouldn’t work if Beck and Travis didn’t have any chemistry. Seann William Scott is pretty funny as usual if you like his cocky/smug style of humor. Christopher Walken has a delicious rant about the Tooth Fairy: “Do you understand the CONCEPT of the Tooth Fairy?!?” Anything he does is golden. Rosario Dawson is hot but her character doesn’t get naked and that’s a shame.

Despite the lack of nudity, The Rundown is still a great action movie. Director Peter Berg balances humor with action and created a movie that deserves more recognition. It’s easily one of The Rock’s best movies (yes, even better than The Scorpion King or Escape to Witch Mountain). Watch it. You’ll probably like it.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Total Recall

Paul Verhoevan (RoboCop, Showgirls) directs Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. Arnie is Douglas Quaid, a regular guy from the future who dreams about going to Mars. Rather than taking an actual, physical vacation, Quaid opts to visit Rekall, where he can have an artificial memory planted directly into his brain that recreates a visit to Mars. He decides to upgrade his Rekall package for the secret agent package, and than the movie jumps into the main story and you aren’t sure if Quaid is dreaming or awake.

Douglas Quaid is a lowly construction worker who is married to Sharon Stone. Somehow he is not satisfied with his life and longs for more adventure. He is haunted by images of Mars and decides to take a virtual vacation to the Red Planet, despite the reservations of his wife (Sharon Stone) and co-worker/friend. Quaid goes to Rekall anyway and when they try to implant his artificial memories, they discover that he has already had his mind erased once and they decide to get rid of him to avoid any trouble.

Quaid stumbles into a plot that he can’t comprehend. His wife, his friends, people that he thought he could trust all turn on him and try to kill him. Quaid finds himself in the midst of an epic battle to control civilian life on Mars. His main foe is Richter (Michael Ironside) who works for the enigmatic Cohaagen (Ronnie Cox). Quaid makes his way to Mars where he meets an old ally/lover that he can’t quite remember named Melina (Rachel Ticotin).

Quaid meets a few characters on Mars, like the cab driver Benny and the mutant Kuato, and the three-titted lady who might not have a name, but needs no introduction.

I don’t want to spoil the movie, but everything that they say will happen in the movie happens in the movie. The movie spoils itself, they say what will happen, and it happens. You just have to experience how it happens.

They are making a remake of this movie. I have no idea why. Don’t mess with the classics. This movie was based on a short story, but I don’t care how loyal it is to the original concept. Total Recall is a Schwarzenegger movie. He can’t act and it doesn’t matter. There is no escape from that fact.

This movie was Inception before there was an Inception. It’s all about dreaming versus reality with lots of unnecessary action. Leo might be slightly more nuanced in his performance, but there are definite parallels between the two movies. Inception has a better script, a better story, and better actors… other than then that, they are kinda similar.

This is an action movie with some sci-fi elements thrown in to make Arnie seem more diverse. This is right around the cusp between traditional special effects and CG effects. It’s not as seamless as Terminator 2, but it’s a step in the right direction. Only a few effects are so bad that the draw your attention from the story, a rarity in those days.

They way that the movie ends, you aren’t sure is Quaid was experiencing everything or dreaming everything. It really doesn’t matter. You don’t know and you don’t care. There’s enough evidence to point to either outcome and there is no right answer.

There are some great moments in this flick. There are some iconic moments in this flick. It is just a mediocre action movie that is not Verhoeven’s best nor Schwarzenegger’s best. It’s not bad, it just is. And what it is what it is. There’s no reason for a Colin Farrell remake.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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Kill Bill Volume 2

The Bride is back and she only has three more names on her list. We finally get to meet Bill and see his face for the first time. And not to spoil anything, but she kills Bill. Volume 1 was all action, but now we get to the story. We learn more about the Bride and we get more back-story and character development.  We finally find out the Bride’s real name and suddenly all those cryptic references to Trix and being affectionately called Kiddo makes sense.

The first Kill Bill was an action flick. Volume 2 is mostly exposition and story. There is a very savage fight between the Bride and Elle Driver, they beat the crap out of each other and destroy Budd’s trailer in the process. Daryl Hannah’s reaction to losing her eye is classic. She freaks out, loses all control, and starts flailing and trashing about. It is very realistic and very unsettling.

The most memorable and disturbing scene is when the Bride is caught by Budd and buried alive. If you watch the widescreen version, prior to being nailed into the coffin, the screen is cropped and full frame. Not only does it foreshadow what is to come, but it makes you feel trapped and claustrophobic. When the Bride is put in the coffin, the screen goes dark and the sounds get heightened. You hear each nail being pounded into place, you hear the coffin dragging along the ground and being tossed into the shallow grave, and as the shovelfuls of dirt fall on top of the casket and the Bride’s breathing becomes shallower and quicker, you feel like you are right there with her, being buried alive. It was a relief when she delves into her flashback and you can escape the confines of the pine box.

Her flashback to training with Pai Mei is a fun sequence. It is a good training montage. It provides a little humor and action with learning more about where the Bride is coming from. There is a lot more Tarantino dialog in this movie compared to the previous installment. The Bride has a great conversation with one of Bill’s father figures, Esteban, in Mexico. Budd has a nice moment with his brother. Everything Bill says is important and awesome and terrifying. His first conversation with the Bride right before the wedding massacre shows how loving and dangerous he is. His final great monolog is about Superman and Clark Kent, and even though it is brief, it sums up the themes of the Kill Bill saga.

In the first volume, the Bride kills dozens and dozens of people. She does it skillfully and violently, and with a lot of style. In this volume, she only kills Bill, and she does it quickly and simply, without any real fanfare or build up. Budd almost killed her, but failed. Elle Driver kills Budd with a black mamba. The Bride gets the better of Elle, and leaves her blinded and trapped with the black mamba, but she doesn’t kill her. It is almost the exact opposite of the first movie, but they fit together, they are both sides of the same coin. Volume 1 was a great action movie, but Volume 2 is a complete film and makes the first one even better.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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