Saturday, September 25, 2010

Machete (2010)

The important stuff here.

The Plot. The story is about a federale (Machete, Danny Trejo) on a run from Mexico after he is betrayed by his boss. A drug lord (Steven Seagal) kills his family and Machete flees to the United States, where border control is run by vigilantes and a ruthless anti-immigrant senator is trying to be re-elected. Machete is hired by the senator's aide to assassinate the senator, but instead of killing the senator, Machete is framed for the attempt, after which the senator's people go after Machete to dispose of the witness. Machete contacts the local underground immigration network for assistance.

General thoughts. I really enjoyed this movie. It's got fast-paced action with a Robert Rodriguez twist to it, which means that some of the elements in action sequences are so bizarre, unreal and outrageous, that it's funny. Like, when some interesting fact is mentioned about something or some item is shown that would seem irrelevant at the time, you just know that this will be used to do something nasty. The one-liners are another thing that really adds to the weird atmosphere of the action sequences. They are tacky and stupid at times, but that just adds to the funny action. Also, Rodriguez likes blood, guts and dismemberment to somewhat of an alarming extent. I'm not saying it's bad,  after all it adds to the realism. The bloody bits are also made to look as over the top as possible. Even the sound effects are to the extreme, when it comes to all kinds of bloody deaths.
Another great thing about this movie is the cast. It has Danny Trejo as the main character and I really can't think of anybody who would be better for the role of a big mean Mexican with the lust for sharp objects with inhuman length. Also, Michelle Rodriguez was awesome as a sexy, but tough sidekick. She played the role of the head of the immigrant resistance and I think she was spot on.
Jessica Alba played a sweeter sidekick who was also able to take care of herself, when needed, but was more into cuddling and settling things peacefully. She does have some Mexican blood, but I don't think she was the best choice for the role. I'd have gone with Penelope Cruz or even Salma Hayek, but the truth is, they probably wouldn't have been as cute as Jessica Alba.
The one role I didn't like was Steven Seagal as the Mexican drug lord. The man is Irish-American and Jewish, but not Mexican. He was so wrong for the role, that it was painful to watch. Luckily he wasn't shown enough for it to ruin the movie. Come to think of it, Steven Seagal is painful to watch in most roles because he can play whoever he wants to play, but he'll always be Steven Seagal and not the person he's portraying. Although, it was sort of funny to see Seagal in a movie like this.
Danny Trejo's son, Gilbert also had an interesting little role in this movie. He was one of the few non-violent characters. He was the one who was drawing in the middle of the battle.

All in all, I would recommend this movie to anybody who would enjoy an action movie with a comic twist and doesn't mind an above average amount of human-sauce every once in a while. A great movie. Thank you, mr Rodriguez, for once again proving, that Hollywood has more ways to go than just down.
Next hope - Sin City 2.

9/10 Flogs

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Knight and Day (2010)

"We have a long way to go, Roy. To Gay Porn." [Cape Horn]

Important info here.

The Plot. The story is about a woman, June (Cameron Diaz), who meets, by random, a man, Roy (Tom Cruise), who turns out to be a secret agent. He is protecting a new special kind of battery, that's supposed to be an endless energy source, and the creator of said battery. This battery is sought after by a government agency and a Spanish arms dealer. The two get into all sorts of trouble and in the middle of the action, some romance breaks out for a few moments.

General thoughts. I'm not a big fan of Tom Cruise, let's start off with that. I don't like the man, so I was really biased going into the movie. It didn't actually turn out half bad. It had a lot of action and a lot of general entertainment. This was the sort of a mindless action flick you would want to watch when you've been doing a lot of thinking and want to relax and not think about things much.
Like, the concept of the battery, or Zephyr. This is supposed to be a battery that could power a small city and not run out of juice. First of all, it's the size of a matchbox. If it's so new and radical, how can it be so tiny? OK, maybe the guy who made it really was a total genius, since he managed to create and build alone, at a young age, something, that has been impossible for a long long time. In fact, it still is. Energy needs to come from something. You'd have to have supernatural powers to create something from nothing.
So yeah, for someone who knows more than 9th grade worth of physics, this movie is a bit weird.
It was good entertainment, but nothing I'd want to watch again. It didn't get boring, but it wasn't special in any way. It just wasn't anything but another Hollywood action flick.

5/10 Flogs

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Karate Kid (2010)

Important info here.

The Plot. If you have seen the original Karate Kid, this is the same, only the kid is black, 12 years old and the whole thing is set in China.
If you have not seen the 1984 version - The story is of a kid who gets bullied at school by some martial art wielding bullies and is saved by an asian maintenance guy. The guy ends up training the kid for a big marital arts tournament in order to win the respect of the bullies.

General thoughts. As I said, the movie is set in China. Beijing mostly, but for some reason they did some training in the Great Wall of China. I don't know why, the thing is quite far from Beijing. I guess one point of the movie was to show the world that China is not that bad of a place. They showed the Forbidden City, some kind of a fancy temple on top of a mountain and some other stuff.
I don't know why they named the movie Karate kid. They don't do much of Karate in China. The whole movie is build around Kung Fu instead. Pretty much the same thing, but the name sort of makes a difference. Why call it the Karate Kid, if it didn't have Karate in it?
I think one of the reasons for this to be set in China, not in Japan, is because they just had to get Jackie Chan to do this, but he's Chinese. Come to think of it, how many car factory workers moved to China once the production was moved there? Was it really cheaper to move to China then find another job? I guess it is. That's how little Dre got there.
I wish they at least would've come up with a separate story for this movie. The final tournament is exactly the same, with the leg injury by the half finalist, who Happens to be in the same team as the main bad guy, who is supposed to meet the hero in the final round. The tournament was the same, but luckily the moves were a bit different. I swear, if I would've seen him do the Crow technique, I'd have stopped watching it.
I also noticed some cut-backs. The master taught the student using only one 'weird exercise' instead of the three different ones used in the original. There was the car connection with the master, but instead of having 4 antique cars laying around in the back yard, he had only one, in the middle of his living room and not even an antique. And of course, the movie was shot in China, which must be a lot cheaper than doing it in, let's say, Japan or the US.
On the bright side, the first big role for Jaden Smith was a real good one. I think the lad did a really great job. Maybe a little too much showing off, but the parts that matter were good. Also, he is really his father's child when it comes to his facial characteristics. And attitude. Let's just hope that his career won't end where it started, like for Ralph Macchio, with Karate Kid.
All in all, this movie would be great for someone who has not seen or heard about the first movie. For anybody else, this just feels like a complete and utter rip-off. It's great entertainment and a nice family movie with a happy ending. Just what you'd expect from this type of movie.

5/10 Flogs

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010)

Any necessary info on the movie is here.

This one is of a particular interest to me simply because I've had the chance to have a go at both the original Prince of Persia game (yes, the 1989 version) and the first of the modernized series, The Sands of Time (2003). The latter conveniently bares the same name as the movie in question.
I didn't plan on seeing this right away, but figured it was worth a look, since I really liked the concept of the 2003 version of the game.

The Plot. The main character Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) isn't born a prince, but is found by a Persian king, who takes Dastan in and raises him as his son along with his own two sons. Dastan grows up to be respectable and wise and both of his brothers trust his opinions as does their father.
When the Persians conquer the city of Alamut on the suspicion of them selling weapons to the enemies of Persia, Dastan comes across a weird dagger. Soon after, the king is murdered and Dastan is framed for it. He escapes with the princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) and goes on a quest to restore his name.

General thoughts. There aren't many game-to-movie ports that actually work and I am happy to say this is one of them. I really liked that they incorporated the whole running, climbing and jumping around into the movie. The movement dynamics were possibly the greatest part of the 2003 game and at that time were also quite innovative. In the movie, this got a little bit unreal at times, but it didn't get too bad. They did change the story a whole lot on this one. In fact, the only things left from the original Sands of Time plot were the dagger (even the general shape and the functionality of it), the idea of a great sandstorm, the big hourglass (which looked very different) and the fact that there's a princess involved. They did make the movie a little bit more realistic. The game was all about hacking through loads of sand monsters, while the movie was about betrayal, parental and brotherly love and a whole lot of light wisdom. Just like any average Hollywood flick, the ending is predictable with the better part of the whole plot and the whole movie is built around eye-candy, likable characters and the chemistry between the main hero and his sidekick (typically female). As an average Hollywood flick, this was great. It was entertaining, pretty and interesting.
Jake Gyllenhaal did a great job as Dastan. He was really believable. The one that seemed sort of weird was Ben Kingsley as Nizam, the brother of the king. He did a great job, but I don't think he was a very good choice for the role.
All in all, a really entertaining movie, but nothing more than that. I probably wouldn't watch it again, but it was good entertainment. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes eye-candy, fast-paced action, beautiful women and.. well.. sand.

6/10 Flogs

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monster (2003)

I won't go into specific details on who made the movie.
Everything about it is available here.

I wanted to watch this movie for a couple of reasons. First of all, a song by Black Sun Empire called "Dark Girl" had a really cool vocal part which had a woman talking to somebody. A really gruesome sounding monologue. I got interested and someone suggested it could be from a movie called "Monster". I researched a bit, but couldn't find the quote anywhere. Anyway, this is how I found the movie. I started reading up on it and apparently it has Christina Ricci in it, who has been my favorite actress for a long time. This got me a bit interested. Later on I found it in a package titled 'Christina Ricci Nude Scenes' and I was sold. Not because of the Nude part, but because it was a good source and that saved me the trouble of looking for it myself.

The Plot. The story is about a hooker, called Aileen (Theron), who has been one since 13 years old and just doesn't know any other way to go about life and decides to end it. Since she has some money left, she decides to spend it, so she walks into this small gay bar. She is wet from the rain outside and isn't much of a looker. She sits at the bar and orders a beer. She is noticed by a young shy lesbian girl named Selby (Ricci). The two strike up a conversation, one thing leads to another and Aileen decides to quit being a hooker, but the need for money is so dire, she decides to do it for one more night. Things go bad with the last customer and she ends up killing him. Some time goes by and she notices that nobody cares about the bastard she killed, so she decides it'd be a great idea to make money killing customers. 

General Thoughts. All in all, a great movie, but also really depressive. Theron did an awesome job for a beautiful and graceful woman to be impersonating a foul-mouthed downright ugly hooker. She also received an Oscar for that role and she really does deserve it.
This movie really demonstrates how a person could end up in the gutter at the very beginning of her life and never get out. She tried, she honestly did. There just wasn't anything else she was good at besides hooking.
It's also interesting how Selby grew from being a shy lesbian to a bold young woman. I think Aileen was really beneficial for Selby in a way. Christina Ricci, as always, really beautiful and sweet.
A good movie. I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a sad story. And lesbian love.

Oh, and it's based on a true story about a hooker serial killer who was executed in 2003 after 12 years on death row.

7/10 Flogs

The Beginning

What is this? a blog.
Why? Because I felt like it.
What's it about? Everything I like to share with people.

So let's just start, all right?