Tag Archives: action

Kung Fury

Kung Fury is a 2015 Swedish martial arts/comedy film written, directed, and starring David Sandberg. It was crowdfunded via Kickstarter, so it’s by the people and for the people. It has a ridiculous plot about a time travelling kung fu cop who’s fighting an alternate version of Adolf Hitler known as the Kung Führer. Throw in a half-man, half-Triceratops cop called Triceracop, Thor (the actual Norse god of thunder and not the Marvel superhero), a couple of Viking vixens, and David Hasselhoff as a talking car, and you have the recipe for one of the most explosive thirty minutes of action comedy that you will ever experience.

If you like absurd action sequences that were obviously filmed in front of green screens, you’ll love Kung Fury. It looks and feels like a video game come to life, particularly when Kung Fury is cutting through hordes of Nazis one after the other. The special effects aren’t realistic, but they don’t pretend to be. It’s a B movie that knows it’s a B movie and celebrates being a B movie. It doesn’t take itself seriously. If you hate it, it’s because you want to hate it.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element is a cult sci-fi classic starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, and Chris Tucker. French director Luc Besson started writing the script when he was still in high school, so the film is a bit of a passion project and you can see the love and attention to detail despite all the plot holes and action flick clichés. Seriously, how many times does Bruce Willis have to save the day?

Every 5000 years, the Great Evil comes to destroy life, because that’s what you do when you are evil. There’s only one way to destroy the Great Evil, and that a collection of four magic stones that represent the four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. When you combine the four elements with the Fifth Element you unleash the Divine Light that defeats the Great Evil. Obviously.

Bruce Willis plays Korben Dallas, a down-on-his-luck cab driver and former soldier who lives in New York City in the year 2263. One day a half naked chick falls into his cab and he decides to help her out for some reason. The half naked chick calls herself Leeloo (played by Milla Jovovich). Not only is she described as a perfect being, she also happens to be the Fifth Element and the only thing that can save our planet. Dallas takes Leeloo to Priest Cornelius (Ian Holm), a guardian of sorts who knows all about the Fifth Element and how to save the world.

A group of evil shape shifting aliens known as the Mangalores are working with a wealthy industrialist named Zorg (Gary Oldman). Zorg is working for the Great Evil and they are after the four stones. Zorg and the Mangalores have a minor disagreement that results in the Mangalores also trying to get the stones for themselves. The stones have been left under the care of a famous blue alien singer named Diva Plavalaguna.

Dallas gets recruited by the military to try to save the world. He and Leeloo win a rigged contest to go to a Diva concert. They get to hang out with Chris Tucker, and they also get attacked by the Mangalores, I can’t decide which is worse. But Dallas ends up with the stones.

The Great Evil unleashes a giant fireball towards Earth and Dallas and the Priest and Leeloo must find out how to use the stones and unleash the power of the Fifth Element. Of course they save the day and disaster is averted. And then Leeloo and Dallas have sex in tube in front of the President and a bunch of scientists. It might be one of the best endings of all time.

Luc Besson created a unique world that is instantly recognizable. Yeah, there are aliens and spaceships and flying cars and unrecognizable technology, but they also showcase how Korben Dallas lives. He lives in a tiny cramped apartment, but the space is utilized brilliantly. His bed slides into the wall. His shower and closet come down from the ceiling. He smokes cigarettes with super long filters. The technology doesn’t seem that far out of reach, it seems obtainable and practical.

The world seems realistic, but some characters are absurdly outlandish. Gary Oldman is a great character actor, but his performance as Zorg is off-putting. He uses a ridiculous accent and you can’t take him seriously. Chris Tucker plays the annoying D.J.  Ruby Rhod. His character is a cartoon. An annoying cartoon that has no place in an action/sci-fi flick. He has little to no effect on the plot; he just serves as comic relief. But you don’t need comic relief in an action/sci-fi flick. There’s also that reoccurring and unfunny bit with Korben’s mom constantly calling and complaining to him. The less said about that the better.

The special effects are decent for the time, but they use body suits for the Mangalores and other alien species and it looks cheesy. Mangalores should be intimidating; instead they look like cheap Halloween costumes.

This isn’t the best sci-fi movie, but you should see it. It’s a little bit different than most blockbusters. It’s not a Hollywood movie. It was made in France with a French crew and French director… so when you see it you can pretend like you’re cultured and are watching a foreign film. They made a sequel to this movie called The Sixth Sense, and that film moved the franchise into the supernatural realm. It’s a very different movie in a lot of ways; it’s hard to say which one is better. But both are required viewing to be a film buff.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is a stoner action film staring Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride. David Gordon Green directs and Judd Apatow produces. It’s about a stoner who witnesses a murder and gets wrapped up in the middle of a drug war. I hate when that happens.

Seth Rogen is Dale Denton, a 25-year-old process server who dreams of being on the radio someday. He smokes weed and buys from a smalltime dealer named Saul (James Franco). Saul sells Dale some rare weed called Pineapple Express, and Dale goes back to work. He’s waiting to serve a guy named Ted Jones (Gary Cole) ,and he witnesses Ted and a cop (Rosie Perez) kill an Asian guy. Dale freaks out, tosses his roach and goes to Saul for help.

Saul buys his weed from a guy named Red (Danny McBride), and Red buys from Ted. Pineapple Express is really rare and Ted is the supplier, so he is able to trace it back to Saul and Dale.

They go on the run. They spend the night in the woods and have a little bonding time. The next day they go to visit Red and find out if he’s told Ted anything. And he did, because he was threatened by two henchmen (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). Dale and Saul get in a clumsy stoner fight with Red, and they escape before Ted’s henchmen come back.

They go to warn Dale’s high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) and her family that they might be in danger. And even though her dad tries to kill Dale and Saul, he’s able to convince them to hide out a hotel.

Dale and Saul have a fight, and Dale says that they were never friends. Saul gets caught by Ted’s men and Dale decides he has to save him. He gets Red to help, but Red bails at the last minute and Dale confronts Ted’s gang alone. He gets captured pretty quickly and is reunited with Saul in a cell.

They chose a pretty good night to get captured, because Ted’s rivals, the Asians, stage a raid of Ted’s base. Saul and Dale manage to escape and they are killing their way out, while the Asians are killing their way in, and Ted’s guys are killing everyone. Even Red comes back to kill some people.

Dale, Saul, and Red all manage to survive. And they celebrate by getting breakfast and deciding to be best friends.

If you are a fan of quality entertainment, you might recall a show called Freaks and Geeks. Judd Apatow developed that show and Seth Rogen and James Franco starred in it. It’s good to see them working together again. Even Kevin Corrigan guest starred in an episode.

This movie has a few cool action scenes, but it never forgets that it’s a comedy. So the fights have gags in them. Saul and Dale don’t know how to fight and it shows. The car chase scene was completely absurd and it was really fun to watch,

As with a lot of Apatow movies, the dialog seems to flow. Everything seems improvised. James Franco and Seth Rogen are perfect for this movie, but Danny McBride steals the movie as Red. He has so many great lines. And he can’t die.

Pineapple Express is a solid comedy. People will still be quoting it in twenty years. It doesn’t take itself too seriously… that whole subplot with the Asians feels pretty tacked on and I’m sure that it’s intentional. All things considered, it’s a fun film and comedies should be fun.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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