action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

March 15th, 2018 Movie – Transporter 3

transporter 3

As entertaining as I found these movies, part of me feels bad that I never went to see them in theaters. Still, I had no problem renting them and enjoying them from the comfort of my home. I think part of it is that the trailers honestly never really appealed to me, even though I liked the movies after the fact. That goes with today’s movie, as I honestly didn’t have any burning desire to rush out and see it. So let’s finish this series with a bang as I watch today’s movie, Transporter 3.

The plot: As a freighter heads towards port in Marseilles, France, two of the crew members sneak down to the cargo hold and open a container that is supposed to be carrying booze but instead, has drums of toxic waste. When an alert sounds throughout the ship, the captain investigates and finds the two crew members dead and has their bodies disposed of. Meanwhile, an Audi pulls off of a ferry and makes it’s way through the security checkpoints but when one checkpoint tells the driver to get out of the car, and to wake the girl asleep in the back, the driver speeds through the check point, initiating a police chase. Elsewhere, Frank Martin is fishing with Inspector Tarconi when Tarconi gets a call about the car chase, and tells Frank that they wanted him to question Frank but he will be able to give him an alibi. Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the Environmental Agency Minister, Leonid Tomilenko, receives a phone call from a man named Johnson, telling him to reopen negotiations with Ecocorp, having sent photos of his captured daughter Valentina to force him to comply. That night, Frank is watching TV when the Audi crashes through his living room. When Frank goes to check on the driver, he recognizes him as Malcom, another transporter and one he recommended for a job he refused to take. Frank calls the paramedics and as they load Malcom into the back of the ambulance and start to drive off, Frank notices Valentina in the back seat. He starts to move her but she tells him not to move her from the car, showing a bracelet that is around her wrist. Recalling that Malcom had one on as well, Frank rushes outside to stop the ambulance only for it to explode and as Frank goes back inside to ask the girl what is going on, he is knocked unconscious. When Frank comes too, he is approached by Johnson, who tells him that Malcom was not capable of finishing the job and forces Frank to complete it. Johnson shows that he brought Frank’s car to him, though they removed all of the weapons from it while installing a pre-programmed GPS. He then explains about the bomb in the bracelet on Frank’s wrist, hands him a phone with his number programmed into it, then sends Frank on his way. At Frank’s house, Tarconi is inspecting the scene and has the car moved from the living room to the lab but as the car is towed away, it is stopped by two men from the Ukrainian secret service, who kill the driver and steal the GPS from the car. After leaving France, Frank contacts Johnson, who gives him the code for the GPS and Frank learns he is to head to Budapest. Frank tries to get some information from Valentina but she is reluctant to say anything. Meanwhile, Leonid meets with the people from Ecocorp, who tell him that they have 8 ships containing the toxic chemicals they wish to dispose of that needs his approval to enter the country. Leonid stalls them by saying he needs 24 hours to go over the paperwork but after they leave, he contacts the secret service, who are heading to Budapest and Leonid tells them they have 24 hours. After talking to Valentina for a bit, Frank makes a detour off the programmed course and goes to see Otto, a mechanic friend of his, to see if he can help remove the bracelet. Otto explains what he knows about the bracelet and begins searching for the transceiver in the car when Johnson’s men, who Johnson had sent after Frank, show up at the shop. Frank deals with the men as Otto locates the transceiver but tells Frank he can’t remove it without it exploding. Frank leaves the shop and contacts Johnson, saying he wants to arrange a meeting and Johnson says he will call once Frank arrives in Budapest. When Frank gets there, he receives a call from a pay phone close to the car but Johnson had merely called to get Frank out of the car so that one of his men could steal it. Frank manages to follow after the car and get it back, then contacts Tarconi to get his help in the matter. Frank contacts Johnson again, saying they are even now and should start with a clean slate, and Johnson gives him new coordinates to Bucarest, saying they will conclude their business there. After hanging up with Johnson, Frank speaks with Tarconi, who was patched into the call so they could trace it, and he says he will work on locating Johnson. As they make their way to Bucarest, Frank stops for gas and Valentina begins teasing and flirting with him while she heads into the station to use the restroom and get some food and a bottle of vodka. As he is filling up, Frank notices the car with the secret service pulling over close by, having been warned about them by Tarconi, and as he struggles with Valentina to get back in the car, the secret service spot them and start to give chase. As they are driving, Frank contacts Johnson, thinking it is more of his men, but Johnson assures him he has nothing to do with it and tells Frank to drive faster while he checks into it. Frank manages to evade the men, putting his car on two wheels at one point to squeeze between two tractor trailers, then detours through the woods, where he finally manages to run the car off the side of a mountain pass. Valentina continues flirting with Frank, grabbing the keys and forcing him to do a strip tease in order to get them back and the end up having sex. Afterwards, Valentina explains how she ended up being captured by Johnson’s men and placed in the car with Malcom. Frank begins heading back to Bucarest but Johnson calls him and redirects him to the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Meanwhile, Tarconi arrives in Odessa and speaks with Leonid, explaining what he knows and Frank’s involvement in the matter and they agree to work together to locate Johnson and rescue Valentina and Frank. Johnson directs Frank onto a bridge, where he is ends up being boxed in by Johnson’s men. Johnson tells Frank to send Valentina out and Frank tells her to go, saying the need her alive, and she kisses him goodbye before exiting the car. When she reaches Johnson, he removes the bracelet from her and takes her to his car, ordering his men to kill Frank. Johnson’s men begin shooting at Frank and Franks drives off the bridge into the water below in order to escape. As his car sinks, Frank contacts Tarconi to tell him where he is, then uses the air from his tires to fill up some waterproof bags in order to float the car back to the surface. When Tarconi arrives with the police, he sees Frank being towed back to shore and they work on getting his car running again while Tarconi explains what is going on. Johnson and his men board a train and then Johnson contacts Leonid to have Valentina speak to him but she tells her father not to sign the papers. After getting his car started and learning where Johnson is, Frank head off after the train and manages to jump off a bridge and land his car on top of it. Frank makes his way inside and begins killing Johnson’s men while Johnson chases after Valentina, who had managed to escape. As Frank approaches Johnson, he gets to far from the car and can’t advance further while Johnson begins taunting Frank, then uncouples the car from the rest of the train. Frank heads back up to his car and drives it off the car into the rest of the train, then begins fighting with Johnson. Frank eventually gets the upperhand and unlocks his bracelet, then places it onto Johnson while putting his car into reverse, causing it to fall off the train and Johnson screams out before he explodes. Frank checks to make sure that Valentina is ok and the two kiss while Tarconi contacts Leonid to tell him she is safe. Leonid rips up the papers he was about to sign for Ecocorp and heads to a conference to speak out against them, while police board the freighters that are carrying the toxic waste and arrest the crews. Some time later, Tarconi and Frank are fishing again and Tarconi comments about the changes in Frank’s life, just as Valentina wakes up from her nap and hugs Frank before asking about lunch.

Transporter 3 met with poor results from the critics, holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy.” All of the car stunts were performed in real time with no models and almost no CGI, which ended up providing a different set of difficulties for the stunt team. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $108.9 million off of an estimated $30 million budget, making it the highest grossing film in the series, and the only film in the series that was nominated for an award, though it didn’t win.

This was a good way to end Jason Statham’s run in the series but I will admit it is a little weak compared to the other movies. The acting was ok, with Jason Statham and Francois Berleand doing a good job reprising their roles of Frank and Tarconi respectively. I thought Natalya Rudakova did a good job in her debut role as Valentina while Robert Knepper made a pretty convincing villain in Johnson. The story was a little weak in my opinion as it didn’t feel as compelling as the previous movies. However, I did like the idea about the bomb-laden bracelets and it being linked to the car, as it made it keep the action tied to the car and driving. The action sequences were pretty good while the stunt driving was also good but a definitely a little more unbelievable than in the previous movies. Also, I have to admit that the scene with Frank underwater and lifting his car using the air from his tires was a load of crap. Still, it was some mindless entertainment that is sometimes all you need in a movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

March 14th, 2018 Movie – Transporter 2

transporter 2

Happy Pie day everyone. MMMMMMMM, PIE!!!! I think I might get some on the way home tonight. With the way my work week is going, I could use the pick-me-up as I am most likely in for another slow, boring day at work. Luckily, a movie like this can help get the day started off right as there is nothing like a nice, adrenaline-fueled movie to get the blood pumping. So this was actually the first movie in the series that I watched, mainly because I was bored while wandering through Blockbuster and ended up renting it. So let’s get to driving with today’s movie, Transporter 2.

The plot: Frank Martin is sitting in his car in a parking garage in Miami, FL when he is approached by a teenage girl. The girl asks for his help in changing a flat tire but when Frank says he has an appointment and can’t be late, the girl points a gun at his head and tells him to get out. Frank gets out of the car as 4 men come out of hiding and get in the car but when they can’t start it due to the security code, they get out intending to beat Frank for the code. Frank quickly takes down the men, then tells the girl to go home before he climbs back in the car and drives off. Frank arrives at his destination and picks up Jack Billings from school, who excitedly asks if he can play a guessing game with Jack. When they arrive at the Billing’s home, Frank notices Jack’s parents, Jefferson and Audrey, arguing on the front steps and pulls past the steps so Jack doesn’t see it, under the pretense that he is letting Jack finish the game. After their argument finishes, Audrey approaches the helps Jack win the game, then thanks Frank for filling in for their usual chauffeur the past month. Audrey also thanks him for keeping Jack from seeing their argument and asks Frank if he can take Jack to his doctor’s appointment in the morning, which Frank says yes. Meanwhile, some scientists meet with Gianni Chellini, giving him a virus and the antidote, which he places in a safe, then tells his girlfriend, Lola, what to do with the virus, which he hands to Dimitri. That night, Audrey shows up at Frank’s house slightly drunk and attempts to seduce him but Frank talks her out of it and she thanks him for turning her down before heading home. The next day, Lola, Dimitri, and another of Gianni’s men head to the doctor’s office and kill the doctor and nurse, then take their places. When Frank and Jack get there, Lola greets them, explaining that the usual doctor and nurse have the flu, and Dimitri takes Jack into the examination room, telling Frank he can wait in the lobby. As he is waiting, Frank receives a call from Inspector Traconi, who was coming to spend a holiday in Miami with Frank and arrived early, but Frank notices something is wrong and blood coming from the closet where Gianni’s men had stuffed the bodies. Telling Traconi to take a cab to his house, Frank heads into the examination room and stops the men from giving Jack a shot. Dimitri and the other man attack Frank, who has Jack crawl through the air ducts into the other room, and Frank manages to subdue the men but when he is knocked through the doorway, Lola starts shooting at him. Frank manages to duck into the closet where Jack is hiding and use a gas tank to cause an explosion, stunning Lola and allowing them to get away. Lola accidentally shoots the other man, then tells Dimitri to get out before contacting their driver and telling him to place a bomb underneath Frank’s car. Frank and Jack leave and head back to the Billing’s house but as they get there, he is contacted by Gianni, who tells him a sniper rifle is currently trained on Jack. Frank is forced to allow Lola in the car and drive away from the house, evading the police in the process, and Lola directs him towards the harbor, where Gianni is waiting inside a boat house. After his men grab Jack, Gianni calls the Billings’ house and asks for $5 million in ransom to be delivered in 2 hours or else he will kill Jack. After hanging up, Gianni tells Frank to leave but as Frank starts to get in his car, he sees the bomb reflected in a puddle on the ground. Frank drives away, then speeds up and manages to drive up a ramp and flip the car, snagging the explosive on a nearby crane’s hook, just before Lola can detonate it. Frank contacts the Billings, where an irate Jefferson blames Frank for what happened, thinking he was in on it, but Stappleton, the agent in charge of handling the kidnapping, grabs the phone from him. Frank tries to get Stappleton to go after the boats Gianni and his men are in but Stappleton is tracking Frank’s position to arrest him so Frank leaves the phone at the harbor and drives off. Frank grabs a spare phone from his glove compartment and contacts Traconi, telling him to get out of the house but the U.S. Marshals show up and arrest him. Frank then calls Audrey, who says it is someone else when Jefferson and Stappleton look at her. Frank tells her that he isn’t involved and Audrey says she believes him, as she saw Lola’s guns pointed at him and Jack, and Frank says that there is something more than a ransom involved here and intends to find out. Frank makes his way back to the doctor’s office and copies the security footage to get a picture of Dimitri’s face. He then heads into the exam room to get the syringe but he is confronted by some police, and the syringe is broken during the fight. After subduing the men, Frank grabs an empty syringe and some water, then leaves the office. Frank then calls Traconi, who has been befriending the Marshals by cooking for them, and sends him the image of Dimitri, asking him to find out information on him. Traconi gives him Dimitri’s address and Frank heads there, catching up to Dimitri as he is trying to leave. Dimitri shoots at Frank and then runs away, with Frank chasing after him. As Dimitri manages to get away and jump onto the back of a bus, Frank follows him on a jet ski, jumping the jet ski up onto the overpass so he can get onto the bus as well. Frank grabs Dimitri and asks him about the shot, then injects him with the syringe. Dimitri panics and runs from the bus and Frank follows him. Meanwhile, Jefferson makes the ransom drop off and after several hours pass, Stappleton’s men locate Jack and Jefferson and Audrey acompany him to retrieve their son. Meanwhile, Frank follows Dimitri to the secret lab, where he demands that he be given the antidote. After Frank deals with the guards, Frank enters the lab and tells Dimitir he isn’t sick, just before he kills him, then confronts the lead scientist for the antidote, asking what the virus does. The scientist tells him, then throws the two vials of antidote out the window, forcking Frank to jump out to catch them. One of the vials breaks but Frank manages to save the other one and heads back to the Billings house. Sneaking in, he contacts Audrey and tells her about the virus, then injects Jack with the antidote so he will be safe. Frank tells Audrey to warn Jefferson that he is infected and meant to infect everyone at the conference he is speaking at, then makes his way past the Marshals to leave the house. Audrey tries calling Jefferson but the call breaks up due to his being brought in underneath the building and later, both Jefferson and Audrey collapse and are rushed to a hospital. Frank contacts Traconi, who is still at the Marshal’s office, and asks him for information on Gianni and Traconi is able to find the information but after giving it to Frank, he is caught using the computer. Meanwhile, Gianni watches the conference and sees Jefferson speaking at it, realizing his plan has worked. He then has the antidote injected into himself as a means of keeping it safe and making him invaluable to those that might try to kill him. Frank enters Gianni’s house and fights his way through all of his guards before confronting Gianni. Frank says he figured out everything but Gianni’s involvement and Gianni explains that he was hired by the drug cartels to take out Jefferson and the heads of the various anti-drug organizations. Gianni then explains that he has the antidote inside his blood stream just before Lola attacks Frank, allowing Gianni to escape. Frank ends up killing Lola, then jumps into Gianni’s Lamborghini to head to the airport to stop Gianni. Frank arrives at the airport just as Gianni is boarding his private and he races up to the plane and manages to jump onto the front landing gear before it takes off. Making his way inside the plane, Frank kills the copilot, then confronts Gianni, who attempts to shoot Frank but hits the pilot instead. Frank and Gianni end up fighting on the plane as it flies out of control before it crashes into the ocean. As the plane starts to sink, Gianni attempts to strangle Frank but Frank manages to get free then paralyzes Gianni before slipping a life vest on him and making his way to the surface, where they are picked up by a rescue boat. Some time later, Frank is at the hospital and looks into the Billings’ room, where he sees Jack playing the game with Audrey and Jefferson and realizes that they are doing fine and leaves without heading inside. Frank then takes Traconi to the airport and says goodbye to his friend before heading back to his car, where he receives a call from someone looking for a transporter.

Transporter 2 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” A stylish and more focused sequel to The Transporter, the movie is over-the-top fun for fans of the first movie.” The studio was unsure about making a follow up to The Transporter but when it was released on DVD, it showed strong enough DVD sales to warrant green-lighting a sequel. The movie fared better at the box office than it’s predecessor, earning $85.2 million off of a $32 million budget.

Some over the top action can be all you need to make an entertaining movie, and that is just what this movie delivers. The acting was good, with Jason Statham and Francois Berleand doing a good job reprising their respective roles of Frank and Traconi. Hunter Clary (Jack) and Amber Valletta (Audrey) were pretty good but I thought Matthew Modine (Jefferson) was kind of an ass, which admittedly is what he was supposed to come across as. Alessandro Gassman (Gianni), Kate Nauta (Lola), and Jason Flemyng (Dimitri) were all effective playing the bad guys and I liked Keith David as Marshal Stappleton, as he fit the profile great. The story was an improvement over the original, as it was definitely more streamlined and too the point instead of taking forever to get to the heart of the matter. The action scenes were just as good as the original while some of the fights were an improvement. The fight scene with Frank using the fire hose was pretty impressive, and funny, while I enjoyed his fight with the big bodyguard in the lab, as it showed him actually getting his butt handed to him for a good portion of the fight before he was able to actually win, and the aspect of him able to get the upper hand by taking the fight into a docked boat, where the bodyguard’s size wouldn’t be a factor. A fun movie that is a great follow up and worth watching for that mindless action fix.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

March 13th, 2018 Movie – The Transporter

the transporter

It’s always fun to watch the movie where a big name star first breaks into the role he becomes known for. Case in point, today’s movie’s role in Jason Statham’s career. Now this is not Statham’s first movie, as he was known for his roles in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch before this. However, today’s movie was the movie that really set him up as one of the new action movie stars of the new millennium. So let’s strap in for today’s movie, The Transporter.

The plot: Frank Martin is sitting in his customized BMW in a parking garage when an alarm sounds on his watch and he starts driving, arriving outside a bank in Nice, France. 4 robbers exit the bank with their stolen money but when they get in the car, Frank refuses to drive. He explains that the deal was for him to drive 3 people, weighing approximately 254 kilos, and the additional weight means they won’t be able to make it to their destination without increasing their chances of getting caught. In frustration, the leader shoots one of his men and the other two robbers quickly dump the body out of the car. With the police arriving, Frank starts driving and a chase ensues throughout the streets. Frank eventually evades the police and arrives at their destination, where a second car is parked. The leader offers Frank more money to drive them to their final destination but Frank refuses, referring again to his rules about altering the deal. The men get into the second car and drive off while Frank heads back to his home and cleans up his car, changing the license plates as he does. The next day, Frank is visited by Inspector Tarconi, who suspects Frank of being the driver in the heist and asks Frank if he has been in the city but without any proof, Tarconi leaves. As Tarconi drives off, Frank receives a call and heads off to meet with a new client. The men ask him to deliver a package and after getting the dimensions and weight of the package, Frank tells them his price and when they agree to the terms, he burns the information he wrote down and leaves. The next day, Frank picks up the package and starts driving but when he gets a flat, he goes to get the spare out of the trunk and notices the package moving. Changing the tire, he puts the flat back in the trunk and drives off but when he stops for some food, he buys a bottle of orange juice as he leaves. Pulling over on a hillside, he opens the bag to reveal a young Chinese woman, Lai, tied up inside and gagged with a piece of tape over her mouth. Frank makes a hole in the tape and uses a straw to give her some juice, then zips the bag back up but after driving for a few minutes, he hears her screaming in the back and stops again. Lai tells him she has to pee so he cuts her free, then ties the rope around her so he can keep tabs on her but she tries to run off. Frank chases her down and brings her back to the car only to find two police officers there investigating the seemingly abandoned vehicle. Frank subdues the two officers, then places both the officers and Lai into the trunk, chastising himself for breaking his own rule of never opening the package. Frank finally arrives at the destination and delivers the package to Darren “Wall Street” Bettencourt. Bettencourt asks if he opened the package and Frank tells him no then receives the rest of his payment for the delivery. Frank goes to leave but Bettencourt asks if he would deliver a briefcase to an address and Frank takes the briefcase and the money and leaves. Stopping for some food, Frank remembers the two police men in his trunk and goes to get them some sodas but as he walks back to his car, it suddenly explodes. Realizing he had been set up to die, Frank returns to Bettencourt’s house and after kicking in the door, begins fighting with several of his men. After killing some and knocking out the others, Frank steals one of Bettencourt’s cars and drives off. As he is making his way back home, Frank notices Lai, who had used the confusion of Frank’s attack to escape and hide in the car, and he quickly stops and removes Lai from the car but before he goes too far, he goes back and picks her up. Frank takes Lai to his home and asks her a couple of questions then gives Lai some food before heading off to bed. After eating, Lai decides to look around Frank’s house and finds a box with some old pictures of him before lying down on the couch and getting some sleep herself. Meanwhile, Bettencourt goes to the hospital to check on his men and learns that Frank is still alive, then kills the man so he can’t tell the police what he knows. The next morning, Frank finds that Lai has cooked him some breakfast and as she goes to get some milk that was the delivered, she finds Traconi outside. Traconi comes in and shows Frank the remains of his license plate and Frank asks about the rest of his car, saying it was stolen when he went out earlier. Frank talks to him a little longer and then leaves and Frank complains to Lai about her interrupting his quiet life when a missile suddenly strikes his home. As Bettencourt’s men begin shooting up the house and firing more missiles at it, Frank grabs LAi and they head down the the cellar, where he has a secret opening to the sea below. Jumping into the water, Frank dives down to get some scuba gear he has stashed down for emergencies and after giving a set to Lai, they swim to safety. Emerging in a safe house, Frank starts complaining again about everything that has happened to him when Lai silences him by having sex with him, saying it is her way of apologizing. Later, they talk to Traconi about what happened to Frank’s house, saying they have no idea why someone would blow it up, but as Frank leaves his office, Lai gets on his computer and looks up information on Bettencourt. After leaving the station, Frank wants to go his own way but Lai tells him that her family and other Chinese people are being shipped here on a container. Frank thinks she is playing him but she tells him it is true, as were her feelings for him, and Frank agrees to go with her. They sneak into Bettencourt’s office and confront him but Lai’s father arrives and after a standoff, Lai is captured and Frank is subdued and then knocked unconscious. Traconi and some officers arrive and Bettencourt explains that Frank kidnapped Lai and tried to blackmail him so Traconi arrests Frank. When Frank regains consciousness, Traconi talks to him in his cell and Frank tells him about Bettencourt and Lai’s father being human traffickers. Traconi says he will start an investigation into the matter and jokes that Frank could probably resolve the matter quicker, then leaves the cell open, allowing Frank to escape. Frank takes Traconi “hostage” and makes his way to the docks, where Frank gets on a boat and Traconi helps him cast off. Arriving on the docks, Frank goes looking for the containers with people but Bettencourt already has them loaded onto trucks and preparing to move out. When Frank is spotted, Bettencourt has the trucks leave, then fights with Frank briefly before letting his men deal with him. Frank begins fighting with Bettencourt’s men, eventually making it into a bus depot, where he spills oil onto the floor and and covers himself with oil to make it harder for the men to grab onto him. When some of Bettencourt’s men begin shooting at him, Frank uses one of the men as a shield and dives into the water, making his escape. Stealing a car, Frank goes after the trucks but when the car breaks down, he spots a plane spraying crops nearby and convinces the pilot to help him. Flying to where the trucks are, Frank tells the pilot to contact Traconi, then parachutes out of the plane and onto the truck. Frank knocks the driver out of the truck and takes the wheel but is shot at by Bettencourt and Lai’s father. Bettencourt manages to get onto the truck and after fighting with Frank in the cab, knocks him out of the truck but Frank manages to hold onto the undercarriage. Lai’s father starts shooting at him but Lai grabs him, throwing off his name, while Frank throws a tire iron at the driver, knocking him out and causing the car to swerve off the road. Frank manages to get back into the cab and kills Bettencourt, then pulls the truck over but he is confronted by Lai. Lai has Frank move to the edge of a cliff, preparing to kill him but Lai shoots her father, killing him, just as Traconi and the police arrive and they head to the truck and open the container, releasing the people trapped inside.

The Transporter met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 56% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Transporter delivers the action at the expense of coherent storytelling.” Jason Statham did most of his own stunts as well as most of the driving during the car chase scenes. He even learned how to hot-wire a car for one scene, which he jokingly says he could have used the knowledge when he was 15. The movie was a modest success, earning $43.9 million off of a $24 million budget and would spawn 2 sequels as well as a TV series and a reboot.

This is just what you need to start your day; a dose of adrenaline-fueled, mindless action that doesn’t need to focus on the plot. The acting was pretty good, with Jason Statham doing a great job in his role as Frank, the no nonsense transporter. I also liked Matt Schulze (Bettencourt) and Qi Shu (Lai), while Francois Berleand made for a subtle bit of comic humor as Traconi. The story was fairly straight forward but did have a couple of plot holes in it. One of the biggest ones that I would love to hear the explanation for is how Lai got into the car, as she was still tied to a chair. The car chase at the beginning of the movie was a nice way to kick off the movie, though I will admit that some of the stunts do seem a little unbelievable, while the fight scenes were well coordinated, though they did tend to make Frank into an unbeatable machine way more than they should have. I mean, it’s fine to have Frank win the fight but you should at least have him get his ass kicked for part of the fight so that it is a little more believable. Still, this is some mindless entertainment that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 12th, 2018 Movie – Transmorphers: Fall Of Man

transmorphers-fall of man

So here is an interesting premise. A sequel to a major blockbuster translates to a prequel to the corresponding mockbuster. What, you don’t think that makes sense? Well that is exactly what happened regarding today’s movie. With Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen coming out in theaters, The Asylum decided to make another mockbuster of the series. However, they decided to make it a prequel to show the initial invasion, as the first movie pretty much had an ending that didn’t leave room for a sequel. So let’s see what kind of a movie I have on my hands with today’s movie, Transmorphers: Fall Of Man.

The plot: A diplomat’s daughter is driving her car erratically and arguing on the phone with her now ex-boyfriend when she is pulled over in a small town by Officer Hadley Ryan, who gives her a warning about driving while on the phone. As the woman drives away, she finishes arguing with her ex and puts the phone down on the passenger seat but the phone suddenly changes into a robot and attacks and kills her. At Edwards Air Force Base, two NSA agents are discussing a report and when told it is verified, one of them asks the other to get Dr. Jo Summers; who at that time is getting coffee but when she sees the newspaper story of a the diplomat’s daughter’s death, quickly leaves the shop. Back in the small town, Mayor Ethan Holt arrives at the autopsy and speaks with Hadley about the girl, who tells him that she wasn’t shot but neither he nor the medical examiner can explain the wound in her head. The next morning, Madison Ryan returns home from work and finds her TV is on the fritz so she calls the satellite company to send someone to fix their dish and is surprised to find it is her ex-boyfriend Jake Van Ryberg, a military vet that had recently returned from active duty. Jake goes to check the satellite dish when he hears a strange sound and sees it moving on it’s own before it changes into a robot. Jake quickly grabs a gun and when Madison asks what is going on, he runs back to the house, inadvertently knocking her down, and tells her to get get “Nanna” out of there and call the police, then goes back outside to look for the robot. Meanwhile, Jo approaches Hadley, saying she is from Homeland Security, and asks him some questions about the girl’s death when they are approached by the two NSA agents, who tell Jo that she has to come with them while Hadley gets a call about his niece, Madison. In their car, the two NSA agents start questioning Jo, who tells them she noticed a strange signal and something from Earth communicating back with it. Meanwhile, Hadley pulls up to where Madison and Jake are and, after asking Jake to hand him his gun, asks them what is going on. When Jake tells him about the satellite dish changing into a robot and Madison confirms that the dish is missing, Hadley tells them to get in the car and drives off but is forced to take a detour to investigate a murder. Arriving at the scene, he sees the victim has the same wound as the girl and a witness tells him that the car pushed the body out of the car and then drove away on it’s own. Hadley heads back to the coroner’s office to get the cell phone from the girl’s accident and the medical examiner tells him that the Feds were there looking for it but it is missing. Deciding to search the office, Hadley finds the phone and goes to leave when they are attacked by the SUV. Hadley gives chase and tries to arrest the driver, not realizing there isn’t one, but when the satellite dish robot shows up, he quickly gets back in the car and leaves, with the SUV giving chase again. They attempt to lose the SUV but when they find themselves boxed in, the SUV changes into a robot and attacks them but they are saved when a military helicopter attacks the robot while the female NSA agent pulls up and tells them to get in the car. The agent takes them to Edwards Air Force Base, where the senior agent introduces them to Jo, then explains what they know and that Jake was brought there because of his experience with UAV’s. The agents learn that more robots are appearing all over the world, primarily in cities with military bases, when suddenly, the SUV robot arrives and begins attacking the base, killing everyone in sight. Jake theorizes that the robots are probing their defenses and comes up with a plan to shut down the robot by jamming the signal controlling it. With Madison providing a distraction, Jake and Jo head towards the control tower and grab the equipment to jam the signal while Hadley gets into a helicopter so he can destroy the robot. Madison manages to distract the robot, almost getting killed by an explosion in the process, but she bought enough time for Jo and Jake to jam the signal but Hadley’s helicopter was damaged while fighting the robot so he radios Jake to take care of Madison, then sacrifices himself by crashing into the robot, destroying both it and himself. With the threat seemingly over, everyone moves on with their lives and Jake and Madison end up getting together, unaware that thousands of cubes are floating through space heading right towards Earth. The next day, Jake and Madison are woken by the sounds of explosions and head outside to see dozens of objects falling from the sky. Jake heads back inside his home to grab a gun, then heads back outside to Madison and they leave, just as a robot lands nearby. Jo pulls up and they get in her SUV and drive off, with a flying robot chasing after them. Jake is able to destroy the robot, getting wounded in the process, but they end up getting into a wreck and Jo’s leg is injured. They are picked up by Mayor Holt, who takes them to a refugee camp he established out in the desert after the robots took over the city. When they get word of the robots doing something to the water, Jake decides to lead a team to the aqueducts to stop them. Jake, Madison, Jo, Holt, and two others grab all the dynamite available and head out but two of their group are killed along the way. The meet up with a surviving member of a special forces team, who explains that he was on the way with his team to destroy the terraforming machine nearby, explaining that the robots are changing the entire planet to suit their needs. Deciding to change their mission, Jake and the others follow the soldier to the terraforming plant, with the soldier dying to provide a distraction to get them inside, while Holt is killed as well. Jack sets the explosives and tells Madison and Jo to run, then follows them outside only to come across several robots approaching him. When the explosion occurs, Madison cries thinking Jake died but he appears through the smoke and the two embrace and kiss. Afterwards, Jake, the new leader of the human resistance in the area, sends out a message to any other survivors telling them they lost the battle but the war isn’t over and they should join him.

Weak story aside, this is a much better movie than the first one. The acting was ok, with Bruce Boxleitner (Hadley), Shane Van Dyke (Jake) and Alana DiMaria (Madison) all doing good jobs in their roles. The story was admittedly a little weak but they did a good job if incorporating some of the story from the first movie into this one. I did like the set up that Jake’s last name was Van Ryberg, the same last name as Eliza Swenson’s character from the original movie, indicating that she is a descendant of Jake. The special effects were still not the best but definitely better than the original movie, though there were a few times that they reused the same scenes that could have been done better. It’s not the greatest cinematic movie of all time but it did show the improvements that The Asylum has made over the years and indicates how they will only get better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum, thriller

March 11th, 2018 Movie – Transmorphers


Now it only made sense that when a live action Transformers movie was announced, The Asylum would be quick to make a mockbuster of that movie. I actually remember going into Blockbuster and seeing this movie on the shelf, with a sticker on the case saying that “This not the Transformers movie currently in theaters”. Honestly, I found it incredibly funny that someone would mistake the two movies, but stranger things have occurred, like finding a legitimate porn movie on the shelves at Blockbuster. Anyways, I never got around to renting this movie when it was in Blockbuster but a few years ago, when The Asylum was having a warehouse sale on some of their movies, I decided to buy a lot of their movies that I did not own at the time, including this movie and it’s sequel. So let’s see how good/bad this movie is as I watch Transmorphers.

The plot: When life is detected on another planet millions of light years away, the Earth sends a message of peace to them. Unknown to the Earth, the planet launches thousands of cubes towards Earth, reaching it in 5 days. The cubes turn into giant robots, which begin decimating the humans, wiping out 90% of the population and driving the survivors underground. The alien robots then alter the Earth’s atmosphere, covering the planet in almost eternal darkness and rainfall to make the planet more like their own. Hundreds of years later, the robots are spotted advancing beyond their normal boundaries. The matter is brought up to the council, who choose not to do anything but General Van Ryberg decides not to wait until it is too late. Van Ryberg has a patrol team lead by Lt. Blackthorn to capture a robot so they can study it as part of a long term plan to retake the planet. The team head up to the surface but after placing the EM mine, a sudden high pitched whining sound is heard. Suddenly, one of the team begins convulsing and bleeding from his ears and nose. Back in the base, Van Ryberg realizes that the brain scans they heard about are real, she orders the patrol to evacuate but when they are surrounded by more robots, that were disguised as parts of the surrounding area, she has them written off and orders a briefing in her office. During the briefing, some people argue that the best person to lead the mission is Warren Mitchell, but Van Ryberg and some others argue against it, as Mitchell was judged a traitor and sentenced to 100 years in cryo-stasis. After all of the arguments are heard, Van Ryberg decides to have Mitchell thawed out, as well as one of his men, Itchy. Van Ryberg tells the two men that their release is conditional and as they start to leave, she warns Mitchell to stay away from Karina Nadir, as her and Van Ryberg are now married. Mitchell and Itchy meet the team that Van Ryberg assigned to them but after Mitchell tests them, he chooses only one member of the team to join him, then asks Itchy to find him some more volunteers. Itchy reaches out to Blair, a former friend/lover, to get some volunteers and as Mitchell speaks with the new volunteers, he is happy to see Xandria Lux (who had voiced support for Mitchell’s release) and some of her squad showing up to volunteer as well. Mitchell turns the briefing over to Doctor Voloslov Alextzavich, who tells them that they need to capture a Z-bot intact so they can study their fuel cells, as he believes if they can corrupt a fuel cell and place it into one of their radio towers, they can send out a signal to power down all of the robots. He warns them that the robot has to be kept in tact, as the fuel cells self destruct if the robot is destroyed. When someone asks about bringing the robot back to the city for study, he warns that the fuel cells also act as a tracking device so that would lead the robots right to them. Mitchell dismisses the team, saying to meet back in the morning, and as he talks with Xandria, they see Karina show up. Xandria has a few harsh words with Karina before leaving and when Mitchell asks what she is doing there, Karina says she is there to volunteer. Mitchell says Van Ryberg won’t like it but when Karina says she doesn’t control her, Mitchell relents and tells her when to meet. Later, Xandria and her volunteers get in a fight with the rest of her squad, who call them traitors, while Itchy and the others go for drinks and learn that Voloslov’s companion is actually an android that he built. Elsewhere, Van Ryberg is upset that Karina is going with Mitchell’s team and worries that she won’t make it back but Karina tells her to have some faith in them. The next morning, Mitchell and his team head to the surface and locate a nearby group of robots to attack. Their ambush is a success and the manage to short circuit one and destroy the others but one of their team had been scanned before the attack and Itchy warns that reinforcements will be on the way. As more robots start coming after them, they make their way to the drop off point, where a tent is set up for the scientists to examine the fuel cell but Blair ends up being captured by one of the robots. Karina uses a robot jet pack to fly off after her as Mitchell continues taking the robot back to the drop off point, then has Itchy and Xandria establish a perimeter. Karina manages to rescue Blair but instead of trying to make their way back, Karina notices that they are close to the radio tower and says they should stay there to take part in the second stage of the plan. Inside the tent, the scientists discover that the robots are not vessels for the aliens to use, but the aliens themselves, but before they can examine it further, they are forced to evacuate. Mitchell tells them to leave the robot and make their way back to the city as he and the other soldiers cover their escape. When they return to the city, Van Ryberg berates Mitchell for leaving Karina on the surface and plans to go find her herself but Mitchell argues with her that her job is to protect the city and she has to put them first and he will find Karina. Voloslov asks them to come into the lab and when they enter, both Van Ryberg and Mitchell are furious to see the robot had been brought into the city but the scientists say they had no choice. Van Ryberg goes to deal with the council and tells Mitchell to finish the mission, leaving unsaid for him to find Karina, but after she leaves, the robot expires, ruining the fuel cell. Mitchell asks if there is anything they can do and one scientist says they can transfer the fuel cell into another robot. Mitchell suggests using Voloslov’s companion but Voloslov says she won’t work, then reveals that Mitchell is a robot, the first one he built. Mitchell is taken aback by the news but agrees to put the fuel cells into him so he can finish the mission just as a massive robot army is spotted heading in their direction. Mitchell, Itchy, Voloslov, his assistant, and another soldier make their way to the tower while Van Ryberg leads a defense of the city, but they find themselves close to being overrun. Mitchell reaches the tower, saving Blair and Karina in the process, and they make their way inside only to encounter security measures. Suddenly, the tower begins to morph, revealing that it is a robot as well, while it’s internal security measures only increase, keeping Mitchell and his team at bay. When Voloslov realizes the security measures are on biosensors, Mitchell has Karina and the others all leave, while he goes on ahead, able to move untouched past the turrents. Mitchell enters the fuel chamber and releases the fuel cell, shutting down all of the robots before the overrun the city, then steps out of the chamber but collapses himself. Outside, Karina and Van Ryberg are reunited and embrace while everyone else sees the sun coming out from the behind the clouds for the first time in centuries and stare in wonder at their newly reclaimed world.

This was kind of a let down of a mockbuster, but I think it is because I am used to the more recent movies. The acting felt really stiff, which was funny when it concerns Matthew Wolf as he was supposed to be a robot. However, it really felt stiff with Amy Weber and Eliza Swenson, who portrayed Karina and Van Ryberg respectively, as they just didn’t make a convincing couple. The story wasn’t very original, as it seemed to borrow heavily from The Terminator, just making the robots from outer space and able to transform. The special effects were absolute garbage, which made this somewhat laughable to watch at times, and painful at others. It is an early work and I know they have gotten better, but I wish they had improved before they made this movie.

Rating: 2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 10th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: The Last Knight

transformers-the last knight

Another Transformer movie and I still had no desire to see it in theaters. In fact, I honestly wasn’t even going to buy it on Blu-Ray but that stupid completionist aspect of my personality made me go ahead and buy it so I could review it with the rest of them. Anyways, when the trailers for this movie came out, the only thing that piqued my interest was the fact that they said Unicron was going to be a part of the story line. However, I have been disappointed in movie portrayals of giant, cosmic beings (like Galactus in Rise Of The Silver Surfer) so I didn’t have much hopes for this. Then I started hearing the early reviews from critics, and from some sites whose opinions I actually listen too, and decided that this wasn’t worth going to see. So this is ny first time watching today’s movie, Transformers: The Last Knight, so let’s see what I am in for.

The plot: In the Dark Ages of England, a massive battle is being fought between the Saxons and King Arthur’s forces. As Arthur’s knights chastise Arthur for his faith in Merlin coming to save them, Merlin heads to a remote hillside and speaks with the Knights of Iacon, a group of Transformers that are hiding on the planet. Merlin begs them for their help and the Knights hand him a staff, saying to guard it as a great evil will one day come for it, then transform into a 3-headed dragon (Dragonstrom) and take off, joining the battle and turning the tide in Arthur’s favor.In the present day, 5 years after the events in China, all Transformers have been declared illegal and a new military force, called the TRF, has orders to hunt them down but more and more Transformers continue coming to Earth and some wonder why they are drawn there. In Chicago, a group of kids sneak into the quarantined area of the city and discover a Transformer still alive in a downed flying craft but are spotted by a pair of TRF drones. The kids are saved by Izabella, an orphan who has been living in the area, and Sqweeks, a Transformer who is unable to transform. Izabella leads the kids to her hideout, which is a dome covering provided by another Transformer, Canopy. As the drones leave, Canopy stands up and starts moving to a new location but the TRF spot him and fire a missile into him, killing him. As the security drones move to capture the kids, they are saved by Cade Yeager and Bumblebee. After getting Izabella and the kids out of the area, Cade heads back to the ship and tries to save the Transformer inside but he is too badly wounded. The Transformer tries to give Cade a talisman, saying it will protect him but Cade refuses it. As Cade leaves, he is confronted by the TRF and captured, with their field leader, Santos, asking him where he is hiding the other Transformers. Bumblebee drives up to rescue Cade and is seemingly blown up but all of the pieces put themselves back together, taking out several TRF soldiers in the process. A standoff occurs but is broken up by Colonel Lennox, former NEST commander and Autobot ally, who tells both sides to stand down. Unnoticed by Cade or the TRF, the dying Transformer sends the talisman to Cade but Barricade, a Decepticon who survived the Mission City battle years ago, sees this and drives off, as he does not want to face the TRF. With Hound showing up to cover them, Cade and Bumblebee leave but the TRF manage to get a tracking device onto Bumblebee’s fender. Later, Lennox meets with General Morshower and it is revealed that he is undercover in the TRF to try and keep them from killing off all of the Autobots. They learn that Barricade was seen in the Chicago area and is with Megatron, who was seeking the talisman as it would show the location of the Staff of Merlin, and Morshower says that they need to find the Staff and have it locked up so it can’t be used. Meanwhile, Megatron chastises Barricade for letting the Talisman get away but Barricade says that they can use the TRF to locate Cade. Out in space, Optimus Prime finally reaches Cybertron and cries out at seeing the state his home planet is in. Optimus is approached by Quintessa, who says she is his creator, and he attempts to attack her but she strikes him down and after placing him in chains, says that he will help her restore Cybertron. In England, a Transformer named Cogman approaches his employer, Sir Edmund Burton, and tells him that the talisman has been bestowed upon the new knight. Burton heads off to Oxford University, where he observes a young professor named Vivian Wembley give a walking lecture to some students about King Arthur, then he gets back in his car and speaks to it, revealing it to be a Transformer. Back on Cybertron, Quintessa tells Optimus that there is a way to rebuild Cybertron but he must locate her staff, which the 12 Knights of Iacon stole from her and gave to the humans and Optimus says he will go and retrieve it for her. In South Dakota, Cade, Bumblebee, and Hound return to Cade’s junkyard, which serves as a sanctuary for the Autobots (including Drift, Crosshairs, and Wheelie), and the Dinobots Grimlock and Slug (as well as mini versions of Grimlock, Slug, and Strafe). Cade chastises his assistant Jimmy for letting Grimlock get out of the junk yard and eat the tribal chief’s police car, as they are trying to keep a low profile so they don’t get arrested. An Autobot scavenger called Daytrader shows up and tries passing off some of the parts he found, such as Starscream’s head, when he notices the talisman and asks if it is real, saying that it is a sign of an upcoming apocalypse. Izabella and Sqweeks reveal that they had stowed away on Hound and Izabella tries to convince Cade to let her stay but he wants her to leave, as it isn’t safe for her there. Meanwhile, 6 horns have begun growing out of the Earth, with former Agent Simmons doing his own research in Cuba while Burton investigates another site and says that the horns mean that Cybertron is coming to Earth, a theory that a NASA scientist is trying to explain to his superiors. Meanwhile, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron approached the TRF to negotiate a truce and ask that several of his associates be released from custody so they can find the talisman, which both sides are after. Lennox is made point on the exchange, knowing that both the TRF and Decepticons will turn on the other at the first opportunity, and arranges for 4 of Megatron’s Decepticons to be released. The next day, Izabella replaces Sqweeks missing arm with a Decepticon arm from the junkyard and then helps Cade replace Bumblebee’s voice box with one that Daytrader brought them, only to find that it is faulty. As the Decepticons and TRF approach the junkyard, Cade is given a warning by Chief Sherman and he has the Autobots move out to an arranged battle site while Hound stays behind to slow the Decepticons down. As the Autobots make their way to an abandoned city, the TRF gives chase but they are waylaid by Grimlock and Slug, who destroy most of their vehicles. Upset by the loss of his men, Santos ignores Lennox’s orders and sends a drone fleet out to kill Cade. In the town, Cade has Jimmy and Izabella hide while he rigs some explosives to use on the Decepticons. When the Decpticons arrive, they spot Sqweeks and Megatron grabs him, causing Izabella to rush out to save her friend. As Cade goes to rescue her, the talisman suddenly attaches itself to his arm as Cade grabs Izabella and activates the explosives. The Autobots and Dinobots attack the Decepticons, killing several of them and forcing Megatron to call for a retreat but the drones appear and start attacking Cade, Jimmy, and Izabella. As they try to escape from the drones in a hotel, they encounter Cogman, who tells Cade that his employer wishes to see him. Before they can talk any further, Cade is knocked out of the elevator by a drone and he manages to survive long enough to bring down the lead drone. Cogman approaches him and explains that Cade has been chosen to by the Knights of Iacon and he must come to England, telling him his friends will be safe as everyone is after him and the talisman. Cade approaches Izabella and tells her that she will be ok, as she is family now, and leaves her with the Jimmy and the other Autobots, then he and Bumblebee head to Cogman’s plane and head to England. In their headquarters, Morshower tells Lennox that Megatron is also on his way to England so he has Lennox and his team head there. Meanwhile, Simmons gets in touch with Burton and tells him he located a book and that he needs to meet him, as it explains what is going to happen. At the same time, NASA is continuing to track Cybertron, which is on a collision course with Earth. On Cybertron, Quintessa continues her brainwashing of Optimus, explaining that Earth is Unicron, the ancient enemy of Cybertron, and he must be destroyed so that Cybertron may live. With her brainwashing complete, Quintessa dubs Optimus Nemesis Prime and tasks him with fulfilling his mission. In England, Vivian is at her late father’s house deciding on if she wants anything but she is overcome with memories and leaves. As she gets into her car, an invitation pops out of the glove compartment and the car suddenly drives off, revealing itself to be a Transformer, Hot Rod. Vivian tries to escape but Hot Rod changes forms into a Lamborghini and speeding off to his destination. Cade, Bumblebee, and Cogman arrive at Burton’s castle and are soon joined by Vivian and Burton starts to explain why he brought them there. Burton is part of an order called the Witwiccans, who is tasked with keeping secret the fact that Transformers have been on Earth for centuries, helping mankind fight some of it’s worst battles. He then leads them to the Round Table, explaining that it was symbolic as the twelve human knights were joined by the twelve Knights of Iacon to forge the pact between the species. Burton explains that Cade was the final knight, chosen for by the talisman due to having the traits the legendary knights had, and that Vivian is the last descendant of Merlin and the only one who could use it’s power. The TRF and MI6 arrive at the fortress and Cade and the others are forced to flee, with Cade and Vivian going back to her father’s study to figure out where the staff might be hidden while Burton heads to the library, contacting Simmons and swearing him in as a member of the Order of Witwiccans. Simmons guides Burton to where the book is, and as Burton reads it, he learns about Earth being Unicron and that Stonehenge is the convergence where Cybertron and Earth would connect. Back at Vivian’s house, Cade finds a picture of her and her father, which leads Vivian to discovering a childhood book that has the location of where Merlin’s tomb is located. Avoiding the TRF and Barricade, they head to the naval museum, meeting up with Burton and Cogman there, and sends them out on an old WWII sub, which happens to be a Transformer. Burton then heads to see the Prime Minister and convinces him to prepare for war as Cybertron arrive in the moon’s orbit, destroying the Ark and it gets closer to Earth. On board the sub, Cade and Vivian reach Merlin’s tomb, which is inside the ship that brought the Knights Of Iacon to Earth but they are followed by Lennox and his team. Cade and Vivian discover Merlin’s tomb and open it only to find MErlin’s body clutching a wooden staff. Thinking the staff must be somewhere in the room, Cade starts searching for it only to awaken one of the Knights of Iacon, who attacks Cade to defend the staff. Lennox and the TRF show up and begin shooting at the Knight, knocking it down a hole into a lower chamber of the ship as Vivian grabs the wooden staff and it transforms into the Staff of Merlin. When Lennox orders her to drop it, she threatens to drop it down the chamber unless he lets them go. Two more knights come alive to protect the staff but they are taken out by Optimus Prime, who demands that Vivian hand him the staff. Cade tries to talk to Optimus but when Optimus shows no sign of recognizing him, Cade tells Vivian to give Optimus the staff. As Optimus leaves, the ship suddenly starts rising to the surface and Cade tells Bumblebee they have to stop Optimus. As the ship surfaces, Optimus and Bumblebee start fighting, with Cade trying to get through to Optimus but to no avail. When Optimus is about to kill Bumblebee, Bumblebee calls out to Optimus in his own voice, which manages to reach Optimus and free him from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron and Onslaught attack Optimus and rip the staff from his chest and fly off to Stonehenge. The Knights of Iacon then appear and attack Optimus, preparing to kill him for betraying his species but Cade is able to stop them when the talisman on his arm transforms into Excalibur. At Stonehenge, Megatron is preparing to activate the device when Burton leads an attack on them but Megatron mortally wounds Burton and flies off to Cybertron.  Megatron gives the staff to Quintessa, who activates the ignition chamber and tells Megatron to guard the chamber and make sure Vivian doesn’t enter it. Hound and the other Autobots arrive, along with Izabella and Jimmy and they come up with a plane to remove the staff and stop Quintessa. Using the Autobot’s ship to carry the TRF Ospreys into the upper atmosphere, the make their way to Cybertron’s surface, with the Autobots and Dragonstorm providing cover fire. When they get pinned down and can’t advance, NASA scientists come up with a plan to shoot down one of the anchors and have it knock the ignition chamber loose, hoping it will stop the reaction. Receiving the orders, Lennox and his team head off to light up the target for the air strike, just as Sqweeks, who had stowed away with Izabella, manages to take out the cannon, while Optimus and Dragonstrom kill Quintessa’s guards. The Autobots keep going for the ignition chamber and Vivian and Cade choose to go with them, leaving Izabella to evacuate with Lennox and his team. They reach the chamber and Megatron attempts to stop them but Optimus kicks him out of the chamber and into space. Optimus and Bumblebee then kill Quintessa and Vivian manages to remove the staff, stopping the reaction from destroying Earth. With the reaction stopped, Cybertron is now anchored permanently to Earth and Optimus contacts the Autobots and says they should head back to Cybertron to begin rebuilding it while Cade and Vivian, drawn together by the past events, decide to forge a relationship. Meanwhile, Quintessa is shown to have survived the attack and, disguised as a human, approaches a team studying one of Unicron’s horns and tells them she knows how to destroy it.

Transformers: The Last Knight met with poor results from the critics, holding a 16% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.” Steve Buscemi, who voiced Daytrader, was Michael Bay’s choice to play Agent Simmons in Transformers, but Buscemi was unavailable so the role went to John Turturro. The movie had the worst performance in the series, earning $605.4 million off of a $217 million budget, and while no new films in the series have been announced, a spin-off movie starring Bumblebee is in the works to be released in late 2018.

Let down, after let down, and once again I am let down. This movie was disappointing on so many levels. The acting was ok, with the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles, though I will admit that I would have loved to have more of John Goodman’s Hound on screen. The story was 1/4 interesting, 1/4 recycled, and 1/2 crap. The interesting part was the TRF and their attacking any Transformer indiscriminately, much like Cemetery Wind did in the last movie. The recycled part was the whole Transformers being in the dark ages, as that was actually a short comic book story line from the 80’s. The crap part was everything else. The whole Unicron being Earth was honestly stolen from the Transformers: Prime cartoon but even then they did a piss poor job of portraying what is essentially the ultimate bad-ass villian for Transformers. Meanwhile, Quintessa was supposed to be the Quintessons from the cartoon but she was just a pale mockery. However, my biggest complaint story-wise is that we have Megatron, essentially back in his original form, but no explanation as to what happened or how he changed from Galvatron back into Megatron. That alone is driving me nuts about this movie. As for the final battle, I know that most of these movies you have to go into with a sever suspension of disbelief but even still, I had a hard time not thinking that everyone would already be dead due to the Earth ripping apart when Cybetron got that close to it. As usual, the special effects were really good and I did like the mini-dinos and Dragonstorm, but special effects can’t help a movie that much when the story is crap. I know that Michael Bay said this would be the last movie he does for the series for the time being and I honestly hope it stops with this one because I don’t know if I can handle another one.

Rating: 2 out of 5


action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 9th, 2018 Movie – Transformers: Age Of Extinction

transformers-age of extinction

When the news first broke about a live action Transformers movie, I think there was one question that most fans had on their minds; would the Dinobots be in it. When the sequels came out, that question kept popping up, especially after Devastator was seen in Revenge Of The Fallen. Finally, seven years after the series started, the trailer came out for the 4th movie and the fans were finally getting the Dinobots on the big screen; and I honestly had no desire to go see this in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong, I did want to see it, but I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the movies and just figured I would wait to see it when it came out on DVD. That is honestly a sad state of affairs when robotic dinosaurs aren’t enough to get me to see a movie in theaters. Oh well, Michael Bay got my money since I bought it on Blu-Ray so let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

The plot: Millions of years ago, an alien race arrives on Earth and begins using their machines to terraform portions of the planet, killing off the dinosaurs as the planet is covered in molten metal. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel arrives at a dig site in the Arctic Circle, where her workers have discovered the remains of a dinosaur that had been encased in metal frozen in the ice, prompting her to shut the site down so they can examine it further. Meanwhile, after the events of Chicago, Congress has formally abolished the partnership with the Autobots and a C.I.A. team known as Cemetery Wind has begun hunting both Autobots and Decepticons down, wanting to keep their technology in U.S. hands but their director, Harold Attinger, says that Japan and some other countries have some as well. In Texas, Cade Yaeger and his assistant Lucas Flannery arrive at a rundown theater and look around to see if there is anything worth salvaging when they come across an old semi cab in the main hall that piques his curiosity and he buys it from the theater landlord. At Cade’s house, his daughter is having a video chat with her boyfriend Shane when she sees her father pull up with the semi in tow. As Cade has the semi brought into his garage/workshop, she argues with him over his spending money on junk to try and fix up when they have bills that aren’t getting paid. When a realtor shows up with a couple to look at the property, claiming that he is 6 months behind on his rent, Cade chases them off but Tessa asks what will happen when she leaves for college. Elsewhere, a Cemetery Wind team tracks down and begins attacking Ratchet and bring him down, then he is approached by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter that is working with Cemetery Wind to hunt down the Autobots. Lockdown asks Ratchet where Optimus is and when Ratchet refuses to answer, Lockdown stabs Ratchet through the chest and removes his spark. Back in Texas, Cade is examining the semi and tells Lucas and Tessa that he thinks it’s a transformer. Lucas and Tessa want to call the government, as there is a reward for information on any transformers, and Cade says he will but wants to examine it first so it can help him with his own inventions. When Cade removes a missile from the semi’s engine, it transforms into a badly damaged Optimus Prime, who draws his gun on the three humans. Cade convinces Optimus that they won’t hurt him and Optimus says that he was caught in an ambush by humans and something else and has to warn the rest of the Autobots. Cade offers to help repair him, sending Lucas into town to get some parts needed but Lucas secretly calls the government hotline when he is out. After meeting with Lockdown, Attinger returns to Langley and receives the intel about Optimus’ location and sends out a Cemetery Wind team, led by James Savoy, to capture/kill him. When Cemetery Wind arrives at Cade’s home, the search the premises but find no sign of Optimus and begin questioning Cade, threatening to shoot Tessa if he doesn’t answer. Not wanting innocent people to be hurt because of him, Optimus reveals himself from where he was hiding and begins attacking Cemetery Wind, yelling for Cade to run for it. Lockdown attacks Optimus, blowing up Cade’s home in the process and gives chase while cade and the others run and are picked up by Shane. Shane drives off, with Cemetery Wind in pursuit, and manages to avoid them but damages his car in the process. Optimus manages to get away from Lockdown and pulls up to help Cade and the others but Lockdown throws a grenade that transforms the ground into molten metal and Lucas is caught in the blast and turned into a statue. Cade, Tessa, and Shane get into Optimus and drive off and Optimus leaves them at a gas station while he makes sure they aren’t followed. After questioning Tessa and Shane about their relationship, Cade begins to hack the Cemetery Wind surveillance drone he grabbed when he was captured and sees video of Cemetery Wind killing some of the other Autobots. Realizing they are on their own, Optimus changes forms and meets up with Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs; the only surviving Autobots left. As Optimus tries to figure out why they are being hunted, Cade shows the Autobots the footage from the drone and says that after the Autobots are killed, trucks from a robotics company called K.S.I. Industries arrive to pick up the remains. Since K.S.I. is located in Chicago, the Autobots head to the outskirts of the city while Cade, Tessa, and Shane get some supplies and try to find a way inside the building. Inside K.S.I., Darcy is talking with K.S.I. CEO Joshua Joyce about the find in the Arctic and Joyce explains that the metal she found is Transformium, the same metal that the Cybertronians are made from. He shows her how the metal can be made into anything then takes her to their military design room, where they are creating their own Transformers. Joyce shows her that they have Brains held captive so he can help translate the information from the head of Megatron but is upset when he finds that every time they try to create their own Transformer, Galvatron, in the shape of Optimus, it keeps turning out like Megatron. Cade manages to clone an employee badge and he, Shane, and Bumblebee sneak inside the company, where they find that K.S.I. has built another transformer, called Stinger, which is patterned after Bumblebee. As Cade goes looking for infomation, Joyce has a secret meeting with Attinger, revealing that they have a deal with Lockdown where when Lockdown gets Optimus, they will get something called “a Seed”. Cade activates a camera in his glasses to relay what he sees to the other Autobots and Optimus is upset to find that Ratchet’s head is being melted down for the Transformium and heads towards the building. Meanwhile, Cade starts talking with Darcy when Attinger sees him and orders security to detain him. Attinger starts to question Cade about Optimus’ location when the Autobots attack the building, rescuing Cade and Brains but Joyce confronts Optimus, saying that they can build their own Transformers now so they don’t need him anymore. The Autobots leave but Attinger has Joyce send out Galvatron and Stinger to capture them but Galvatron begins resisting his programming, attacking innocent cars and firing at random. During the course of the battle, Tessa ends up trapped by a car near where Optimus and Galvatron are fighting and is forced to take shelter inside to avoid being crushed. Suddenly, Lockdown appears and begins firing on Optimus and Attinger orders Galvatron and Stinger recalled. Lockdown captures Optimus, and inadvertently grabs the car with Tessa as well and Cade tries to help her get free but is unable to hold onto the net. As Optimus is taken to his cell, Lockdown brags about his ship belonging to the Knights, of which Optimus was a part of, but he commandeered it. Tessa is taken to the trash room and manages to escape the car before it is torn apart and goes looking for Optimus. Lockdown’s ship heads to Chicago, where he hands over a seed to Savoy but while his ship is stationary, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots manage to sneak onboard and start looking for Optimus and Tessa. As the engines prepare for takeoff, Crosshairs activates the anchors to give them some more time but Lockdown sends his hounds and minions to look for them. Cade and Shane find the Knight’s armory and grab some weapons and use them to fend off some of Lockdown’s minions, then finally find Tessa. Meanwhile, the Autobots locate Optimus, who tells them that the section they are in can separate from the main ship so Hound heads to the flight deck while Drift works on freeing Optimus. Cade, Tessa, and Shane attempt to climb down the anchors back to the city but come under attack from Lockdown’s hounds and are rescued by Bumblebee. Crosshairs grabs a flier to get them and bring them back to the ship but they come under fire and are forced to fight their way free, damaging the flier in the process. Meanwhile, Lockdown prepares to warp into space but Hound manages to separate their section before he leaves and flies off. In Chicago, Joyce orders all of the Transformium, as well as Galvatron and Stinger and any remaining Transformer bodies, to be transferred to K.S.I.’s China facility, telling Attinger to bring the Seed there. Bumblebee takes Cade and Shane to meet up with the rest of the Autobots and Optimus tells Cade that he sensed Megatron’s presence when he fought Galvatron. Brains then explains that While K.S.I. had him deciphering Megatron’s brain for their programming, Megatron was still active and hijacking their programming to make him a new body and once they got the Seed, he would use it to build a new army to conquer the world and Cade says they have to get the Seed before Galvatron does. Learning that Joyce had gone to China, Cade contacts him and warns him about Galvatron no longer being under his control and though he is skeptical of Cade’s credibility, Joyce orders Galvatron’s container not to be opened or activated. Back in the states, the authorities start to converge on the ship and Cade, Tessa, Shane, and the Autobots board it to get the Seed, but Optimus says that afterwards, they will be leaving the planet for good. In China, Joyce meets with Attinger and Savoy, who deliver the Seed and Attinger asks when his products will be available but Joyce tells him he wants to hold off on making more robots until he figures out why Galvatron malfunctioned. In the hangar, Galvatron suddenly activates and hacks into the other robots, taking control of Stinger and every other robot that K.S.I. has built and sends them to locate the Seed. When Joyce gets word of what happened, he as Darcy meet him and Li Bingbing (the owner of the Hong Kong facility) outside and they take off, leaving Attinger and Savoy, and the rest of the workers, to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, as the Autobots head towards Hong Kong, Cade talks with Optimus, trying to convince him to give humans another chance. Knowing that Attinger will be following them, Joyce and Li get out of the car and grab a motorcycle to try and escape out of the city with the Seed, while Darcy acts as a diversion, but the C.I.A. still manage to track them. Li sends Joyce up to the roof of a building to await extraction as Attinger, Savoy, Galvatron, and his army all converge on his location. The Autobots arrive and Cade calls out for Cade to get aboard the ship so they can get the Seed to safety but Stinger fires at the ship, knocking Cade, Tessa, Shane, Bumblebee, and Hound off the loading ramp and onto the roof, while the ship ends up crashing into the forest outside the city. Bumblebee and Hound begin fighting the Decepticons while Cade, Tessa, Shane, and Joyce get the Seed to safety. When Savoy starts shooting at them, Cade leads him away so the others can get to safety and after a chase along the rooftops and a fight in an apartment, Cade manages to throw Savoy out the window, where he falls to his death. Attinger sees Savoy die just as Lockdown contacts him, having made his way back to Earth after realizing that Optimus escaped, and Attinger tells him where they are so he can kill Optimus. Meanwhile, Optimus, Drift, and Crosshairs survived their crash and when they hear Hound calling for help, Optimus heads back inside the ship. Heading to the armory, he grabs one of the Knights of Iacon’s swords, then uses it to free the Dinobots, who were prisoners of Lockdown. After Prime leads them out of the ship, he says that they can either join them and fight together or resist and fight him. Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots, begins attacking Optimus but Optimus manages to defeat him and forces them to help stop Galvatron, then climbs aboard Grimlock, as the other Dinobots (Slug, Strafe, and Scorn) transform and Corsshairs and Drift climb onto Slug and Scorn and the head to the city. Optimus and the others arrive just in time to prevent Hound, Bumblebee, Cade, and the others from being overrun and tell Cade and Joyce to get the Seed out of the city. Commandeering a car, they head out, with Optimus, the Autobots, and Dinobots providing an escort but as they are driving, the Seed suddenly begins beeping and Joyce realizes it is serving as a locator. Lockdown arrives in the city and uses a giant magnet in his ship to pick up dozens of boats and train cars, then drops them in the their path. As the magnet continues to attack them, Optimus manages to disable the magnet, then rushes off to face Lockdown, telling the others to get the Seed out of the city. Cade chooses to stay behind to help Optimus but as he approaches the fight, he is attacked by Attinger, who moves to kill him. Seeing Cade in trouble, Optimus kills Attinger but Lockdown uses his distraction to stab Optimus in the chest with his sword. As he moves to finish him off, Cade starts shooting at him while Bumblebee returns and, after dropping off Tessa and Shane, joins the fight. As Cade and Bumblebee battle Lockdown, Shane and Tessa use a tow truck to pull the sword out of Optimus’ chest, which he grabs and uses to kill Lockdown, then uses one of Lockdown’s grenades to finish off the rest of the drone army. As Optimus rejoins the other Autobots, Galvatron is seen in the hills outside the city, vowing to see Optimus again. Optimus tells the Dinobots that they are free now and the giant robots transform back to their Dinosaur forms and head off into the hills. Optimus then tells everyone that the Seed is still a danger and since he has a price on his head, he says he will take the Seed into space where it won’t be a danger, telling the other Autobots to watch over Cade and his family as they did the same for them. As Optimus blasts off into space, Cade hugs Tessa and Shane, approving their relationship, and Joyce approaches him and says he can help them with the rebuilding of their home, while out in space, Optimus sends a message out into space, warning his creators to leave the Earth alone, as he is coming to them.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction met with poor reviews from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.” While not being known for having great plots, the previous movies all were nominated for Academy Awards, mainly in the technical categories, but this movie did not earn any nominations. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $1.104 billion off of a $210 million, making it the highest grossing movie of 2014.

Good lord this was a long ass movie but at least it was entertaining. The acting was ok, with Mark Wahlberg (Cade) doing a good job as the lead, with a lot more character development shown than Shia LaBeouf ever did. I also liked Stanley Tucci (Joyce), Kelsey Grammer (Attinger), and Titus Welliver (Savoy) but thought that T.J. Miller (Lucas) was just annoying. The story was pretty good, taking some aspects from an old comic book storyline and tweaking it to add a little bit of uniqueness to it. I also liked how they worked in Megatron/Galvatron, really paying homage to the original animated movie in how Galvatron was essentially Megatron reborn. One thing that I found kind of funny, which I am sure that several other Transformers fans might have noticed, is how similar the 5 surviving Autobots were to the characters in Transformers: Beast Wars, especially in their mannerisms. The special effects were really good and I liked the designs of the new Autobots and especially the Dinobots, with the spiked exteriors making them seem more like real dinosaurs as opposed to the smoother designs from the original cartoon. It’s really too long and could have been condensed a little without losing any necessary story points but this is still a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5