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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Harrison Ford dons the famous fedora for the third time in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. This isn’t the best film in the franchise, but it’s the best sequel in the series for sure. Sean Connery joins the cast as Indy’s kidnapped father. Who better to play Indy’s dad than motherfucking James Bond?

This movie opens with River Phoenix portraying a 13-year-old Indiana Jones on a horseback ride in Utah. He comes across some thieves trying to steal a gold cross. He decides that the cross belongs in a museum so he steals it and tries to escape. It’s brief scene that seems like a precursor to the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and you find out how he got his trademark scar, whip, and fedora. It’s a great way to start the film, and it’s way more relevant than an extravagant musical number.

One day, Indiana Jones meets a guy named Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) who tells him that his dad has been kidnapped while looking for the Holy Grail. Indy doesn’t get along with his father, but he’s still his dad so he goes to rescue him, armed with his trusty whip and his father’s diary. Indy goes to Venice to pick up his dad’s trail and meets Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody), the love interest for the film.

Indy and Elsa have a little adventure exploring the catacombs and nearly getting killed by The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society that protects the Holy Grail. The Brotherhood decides that Indy is a swell guy and tells him that the Nazis have his father held hostage in a castle.

Indy goes to the castle and finds his dad, and then he finds out that both Elsa and Walter Donovan are working for the Nazis. Indy and his dad escape and overcome a bunch of obstacles like motorcycles and blimps and tanks, all while attempting to beat the Nazis to tracking down the Grail.

They reach the canyon where the Grail is, but the Nazis are already there. Donovan shoots Sean Connery, forcing Indy to have to navigate through a few crazy booby traps using the information in his dad’s diary. Indy gets to the Grail and is able to use its healing powers to save his dad. But then Elsa takes the Grail past the great seal (that’s like crossing the streams, it’s bad), and the whole canyon/temple thing starts to collapse. Sometimes I wish Indy stayed in that temple… if he died they couldn’t have made Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The father-son dynamic between Henry Jones, Sr. and Henry Jones, Jr. is what makes the film. Indy just wants his dad’s approval, but Henry makes him work for his affection. He loves his son, he just doesn’t know how to convey it. Indy uses his fists and violence to escape situations, and his dad tends to use his wits, best exemplified when he uses his umbrellas to scare the birds and bring down the Nazi plane.

It seems like they figured out who Indiana Jones is and what he represents. This movie is much more like the original than Temple of Doom. There are a lot of great moments in this movie. At one point Indy comes face to face with Adolf Hitler. Indiana Jones was hanging out with world leaders way before Forrest Gump made it cliché. This is a good movie and a great way to end the trilogy. Too bad it’s not a trilogy anymore.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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The Rock (film, not an actual rock)

Michael Bay makes crazy blockbusters like Transformers and Bad Boys. His whole theory about filmmaking is if you have lots of explosions and loud noises, no one will realize that the movie sucks. The Rock is a perfect example of this style of shoddy filmmaking. If you only saw one movie during the summer of 1996, it was probably Independence Day. If you saw two movies, this might have been one of them.

A group of rogue Force Recon Marines lead by Brigadier General Frank Hummel (Ed Harris) take control of a bunch of  chemical weapons, get themselves some hostages, and threaten to attack San Francisco unless the US government pays a ransom to the families of deceased Force Recon Marines that died in action and were buried without honor or recognition. Nicholas Cage plays Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, a chemical weapons specialist with the FBI. He gets called in for his expertise, despite his lack of work in the field.

The FBI must sneak onto Alcatraz in order to free the hostages, stop the rogue Marines, and save San Francisco. The only one who can help them sneak into the Rock is the only one who successfully escaped it, a former spy named John Mason (Sean Connery). Mason is an unofficial prisoner, on paper he doesn’t exist. So naturally he’s not too keen to help the FBI.

There’s a lot of bullshit that happens in the movie. There’s a pretty ridiculous car chase through the SF streets involving a Hummer and a Ferrari. There’s a bunch of revelations, like the villain is not actually bad, he just wants what he deserves. You sympathize for him, he’s a victim of an uncaring government, just like John Mason.

A lot of stuff happens. I could tell you about all the little plot developments, but I’m lazy and don’t want to. Shit happens, shit gets resolved, and things blow up, but San Francisco doesn’t.

Nicholas Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. He followed that amazing performance by starring in The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off. That’s an interesting career choice, you win the highest award for your work and celebrate by becoming a parody of yourself. Nick Cage and Cuba Gooding, Jr. should go bowling together.

Nicholas Cage used to be an actor. Sometimes he still does act. But in most of his movies he’s just a performer. This is the start of his paycheck movies, where he will do whatever project for the money. Sean Connery has a cool voice and can get away with saying all kinds of mediocre shit that sounds awesome because of his crazy accent. Ed Harris a good actor, but this is kind of a waste of his talent.

The Rock is not a bad movie. It’s not a good movie. It’s just a movie with explosions and actors reciting dialog. There’s no reason to see this movie if you haven’t yet.

Critically Rated at 10/17

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