action, adventure, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: June 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Legacy

the bourne legacy

So when Matt Damon decided to step away from the Bourne franchise, the studio decided to create a new character and a new actor to fill the void. Enter Jeremy Renner, fresh off the massive blockbuster The Avengers, and the studio was hoping to cash in on his new found fame to bring in the audience.  Yes, I know that The Bourne Legacy was filmed before The Avengers hit the screen; doesn’t mean that my previous statement isn’t what the studio was thinking. Anyways, I didn’t get around to seeing this movie in theaters and only picked it up so as to complete the series. The question is, how good of an impulse buy did I make with this movie.

The plot: At a Department of Defense Special Operations Group training site in Alaska, Aaron Cross emerges from a frozen lake with a dead drop container that was left as part of his training mission. Meanwhile, CIA Director Ezra Kramer goes to visit Retired Navy Admiral Mark Turso, telling him about the situation with Simon Ross and his looking into Jason Bourne, Treadstone, and Blackbriar. When Turso chastises Kramer for his handling of Bourne and the Black Ops programs, Kramer says that maybe he should let Colonel Eric Byer know what is going on but Turso tells him that he is in enough trouble and to let him contact Byer. Later that night/early morning, Turso meets up with Byer as he goes for an early morning jog in the rain. Back in Alaska, Cross spends the night fending off a pack of wolves and when day breaks, he begins making his way across the mountains. In Washington DC, Byer heads to the National Research Assay Group, which he oversees and Turso runs, and gets his team to go over everything possible related to Treadstone, Blackbriar, and their own operation; Outcome. Meanwhile, at Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company that does support for Outcome, Dr. Marta Shearing approaches an Outcome operative, called # 6, and tells him they need a full panel work on him since he had been out in the field for so long. Meanwhile, Byer’s team discovers a video of Dr. Albert Hirsch of Treadstone socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcomes Director of Medical Research, and as Byer shows the video to Turso and Terrence Ward, he tells them that their best course of action to ensure that they don’t get linked to the mess that Treadstone is finding themselves in with Bourne, is to go ahead and burn everything surrounding the Outcome program and start up the beta programs. Back in Alaska, Cross opens a pill kit he carries and noticing he only has one blue and one green pill left, he hides them in his boot as he heads to cabin, firing his gun several times to alert anyone there of his approach. He is met by Operative # 3, who is surprised to learn that Cross had gone over the mountain, shaving his time by 2 days, and invites him into the cabin. #3 tells him to go ahead and get his blood work started but Cross tells him that he lost his chems and needs replacements and #3 is reluctant to help him. While all this is going on, Ross is assassinated by Paz, and when Bourne shows up in New York City, CIA Agent Tom Cronin, Pamela Landy’s assistant, calls Byer to let him know. Byer goes through with hsi plan to begin eliminating the Outcome agents, sending their handler’s yellow pills to give the agents, who tell the agents that they are new chems, but when the agents take them, they are shown to be poisoned. In Alaska, Cross and #3 are at the cabin and Cross hears a drone approaching but, believing that something is wrong, he decides to leave the cabin just as the drone fires a missile and blows the cabin up, killing #3. Cross then makes a run for it as the drone’s pilots notice that Cross’s signal is still active and circle the drone around for another pass. Cross uses a pot to mask the signal coming from the tracing beacon implanted in his thigh, then uses his rifle to shoot down the drone as they try locate him. Cross heads back to the wreckage of the cabin and tries to find #3’s stash of chems but finds that they have all been obliterated. Meanwhile, Byer learns that Cross is still alive and he heads to the drone control room to ensure that the kill Cross with their next drone. In Alaska, Cross removes the tracker from his thigh, then lures in one of the wolves that had been following him, snaring it in a trap, then feeds the tracker to the wolf before chasing it off. As the second drone reaches the area, it fires a missile at the wolf, thinking it is Cross, and as they confirm the target is dead, Byer thinks back to one of his first meeting with Cross when he recruited him to Outcome. Later, Byer and Turso are talking with Ward about Pamela Landy’s upcoming Senate hearing and they tell him that they are not concerned about Landy’s testimony as they will make it seem like she is a traitor. In Sterisyn-Morlanta, Dr. Donald Foite makes his way into the research lab for the chems, locking and disabling the doors as he enters the lab, then he begins to kill everyone inside the lab, with Dr. Shearing being the last one alive. As security makes it in there and fires on him, he appears unfazed by the bullets and turns the gun on himself. As Cross makes his way to DC, Shearing is questioned by the police about the shooting incident before heading to her home. The next day, she is interviewed by some federal agents, who want to make sure she is cleared and has not broken her confidentiality agreement. When she says she hasn’t told anyone what she was working on, the two agents questioning her grab her and attempt to force her to shoot herself. Suddenly, Cross shows up and kills them, then asks Shearing if she has any chems there but she tells him know. When a 5th member of the assassin group radios in for a sit-rep, Cross pretends to be one of the team and says that Shearing is dead, then proceeds to pour kerosene inside the house and set it on fire before leaving with Shearing. As they are driving, Cross asks her where he can get some meds and they begin arguing over their situation. When Cross reveals that he is taking green and blue pills, Shearing is shocked that he is still taking greens as he had been virally modified so that the effects of the green pills were permanently in his system, meaning he did not have to take them any more. When he asks if the same could be done for the blue pills, she says yes but they would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it, as that is where the facility is. Meanwhile, Byer, Turso, and Ward are trying to figure out what happened at Shearing’s house as they come up with a cover story to use for Shearing’s death/disappearance. Later that night, Cross and Shearing are talking and Shearing asks why it is so important for him to get more of the blue pills. Cross shows her a file online that is his death certificate, saying he was “killed in a roadside bomb” in order to take part of Outcome and he needs the blue pills, which raise the user’s intelligence, in order to keep them both alive and because his recruitment officer lied about his IQ and wrote it down as high enough to meet the army’s minimal requirement and he doesn’t want to revert back to how he was. Cross makes some fake passports for both of them, and as they wait to board the plane for the Phillipines, Cross sees a news report that Dr. Hirsch had died from a heart attack before his scheduled testimony at the Senate hearing while Shearing sees the news report that Byer’s team cooked up about her printed in the paper. Cross and Shearing manage to make it to Manila and head to Sterisyn-Morlanta’s plant there so that Shearing can give Cross the viral package to permanently alter his brain. Meanwhile, Byre’s team has managed to track Shearing and as they try to figure out who is helping her, they discover it is Cross. Byre clears out all the unnecessary people from the room, leaving himself, Truso, Ward, and two other and they realize that Shearing had gone there to inject Cross with the viral stems so he no longer needs the chems. They contact building security there but Cross is able to take them out, then he and Shearing escape. Realizing they have a limited window to deal with them, Byre orders LARX-03 to be activated, shocking Turso as he didn’t know that the proposed “super soldier” program was up and running. Cross and Shearing are walking the streets of Manila when Cross begins to suffer flu-like symptoms from the viral stems, and starts having flashbacks to when he first joined Outcome. Shearing rents a room to tend to him and he tells her that he has money and spare passports in his jacket, wanting her to run if things get bad. Shearing goes to get Cross some medicine while the police and LARX-03 both head for their last known location. As Shearing is paying for the medicine, she notices the police surrounding the building and she screams out a warning to Cross, telling him to run before running herself with the police in pursuit. Cross manages to escape onto the roof and make his way across the rooftops following after Shearing, eventually rescuing her from one of the cops that manages to catch her. As they continue walking and trying to evade the police, Cross spots LARX-03 following them and he quickly steals a motorcycle to try and escape. The police chase after him, as does LARX-03 in a stolen police car. Cross manages to evade the police but LARX-03, stealing a police motorcycle after his car is totaled, continues chasing after them. Cross and LARX-03 both shoot at and wound each other but they keep going until Shearing is able to cause LARX-03 to crash into a pillar. Cross loses control of his motorcycle due to his blood loss and as he and Shearing slide to a stop by the docks, Shearing begs a boatman to help them. In DC, Byer and his team are getting video of the room Cross and Shearing stayed in, where they see Cross’s pill case hanging from the mirror, with the words “No More” written on the glass. Meanwhile, Noah Vosen is testifying to the Senate Committee, where he lies and says that Blackbriar was created with the sole purpose of tracking down a rogue agent, Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t know why Landy chose to ally herself with him. As Landy is leaving the hearing, she is besieged by reporters asking for her thoughts but she refuses to respond. Meanwhile, Cross and Shearing are on the boatman’s boat, sailing towards some islands where they hope they can disappear together.

The Bourne Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “It isn’t quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell — and benefits from Jeremy Renner’s magnetic work in the starring role.” When Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) explains the origins of viral engineering, she refers to a 1985 incident at a U.S. Army base named Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is an actual U.S. Army base and, during the early Cold War, was the home of the U.S.’s biological weapons program until then President Nixon closed down the program in 1969.The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $276.1 million off of a $125 million budget.

I have to say, as far as spin-off/sequels go, this one falls a little flat. The The acting was ok but honestly, Jeremy Renner (Cross) and Edward Norton (Byre) both seemed to be pretty boring in their portrayal of their respective characters, while Rachel Weisz (Shearing) just didn’t seem to really to be too into her character. The story was really odd, with the main plot basically focusing on a DOD operation that was running somewhat parallel to Treadstone/Blackbriar, but the whole bits where they tried to fit it in with what was happening during the last movie just made it feel too forced. I think it would have been better to just have it be it’s own movie and not try to force in the tie in with the original Bourne trilogy. The action scenes were pretty good and probably the best part of the movie but they couldn’t really help the lackluster plot and uninspired acting in the movie. Soo much potential but it simply got wasted away with this movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

adventure, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 23rd, 2014 Movie – Blood Tide

blood tide

Ahh, a movie from the Sci-Fi Classics with the surprise bonus of starring James Earl Jones. How’s that for a bit of a shocker. Now I think I might have seen this before on some sort of spoof show but it wasn’t on Elvira’s Movie Macabre or MST3K so apparently that was not the case. I guess I just watched it on TV late one night. Anyways, I remember this to be a rather odd movie that didn’t seem to make much sense when I watched it a few years ago. Let’s see if my opinion stays the same as I rewatch Blood Tide.

The plot: In Ancient Greece, an island village would initiate a virgin sacrifice in order to appease the monster that lurked beneath the ocean’s waves, sending the victim out on a raft into a cave where the creature lives. In the present day, Neil Grice and his new wife Sherry have come to a Greece island to look for Neil’s sister Madeline, who has gone missing for the past 4 months. After a brief scare when some children throw a cat at them, they encounter Nereus, the mayor of the island village, who invites them to the local inn. As they talk, Neil shows him a picture of Madeline but Nereus tells them that he hasn’t seen her. As Dionysis, the inn keeper, pours them some wine, Neil asks him if he had seen Madeline and Dionysis spills some wine as he looks up in shock but Nereus chastises him, then offers them a toast before telling them it would be best that they leave in the morning. As they walk to their boat, Neil tells Barbara that he doesn’t believe what they said when they see someone that looks like Madeline. Neil tells Sherry to wait by the boat while he goes looking for the girl and eventually finds Madeline with a man named Frye, who holds a knife to Neil’s throat until Madeline tells Frye that Neil is her brother. As the 4 of them return to the inn, Frye speaks in some rather cryptic sentences until Madeline tells him to cut it out, and he starts talking normal. Neil then asks Madeline what is going on but she tells him she is fine, though Frye says that she has gone somewhat native. The group is joined by a woman named Barbara, who works as Frye’s assistant and he tells them that he is something of an amateur archaeologist. Barbara tells them to be careful if they go diving, as the natives get rather cross if they remove anything from the ocean. When Frye comments about the hillside and tells Madeline that she should tell them about it, as the nuns would love it, but Madeline tells Frye to be quiet, then leaves. That night, Neil and Sherry are in their boat when Neil notices that everything has gotten quiet but Sherry tells him he is worrying too much. Meanwhile, Frye is preparing to go on another dive and Barbara tries to talk him out of it but he tells her that everything he is looking for is down below, then reminds her not to turn on any lights or make a sound before he falls back into the water. Frye surfaces in an underwater cave, where he has already placed a generator and some lights to help him see. As he moves around some old coins he found and places them in a bag, he grabs some plastique and uses it to blow open a sealed doorway right at the waterline. The explosions shakes the island, waking Madeline, who had been watching Frye’s boat from the monastery that she had been staying at, as well as Nereus. Madeline goes back to sleep, where she dreams about virgin sacrifices of old and sees herself being offered up as one. The next day, Neil, Sherry, Frye, Barbara, and Madeline head to a secluded cove to hang out, and as Neil goes out for a swim, Sherry attempts to talk to Madeline and hands her a present that Neil and her got for her but Madeline pours the entire bottle on herself, then heads into the water, acting as if she is in a trance. A little while later, they all head out on Neil’s boat but as they go across the water, they end up hitting something. Frye dives down to check the bottom of the boat and says that the one of the props is cracked but says he doesn’t know what they hit and as Neil heads back to the pilot’s deck, Frye looks at the sludge on his hand that he found on the prop. They make their way back to the dock to find Nereus and some other men there, who tell them a young girl has gone missing in the water and that no boats will sail in their waters until further notice. Madeline returns to the monastery and is told that Sister Anna wants to see her and when she goes to see her, she tells Sister Anna about the missing girl and how the villagers are trying to blame her brother for he disappearance. Madeline and Sister Anna then discuss the paintings that Madeline has been restoring and Sister Anna says she is worried that Madeline has stopped attending mass and begs her to start taking communion again. Meanwhile, Barbara heads back out to her cove to go swimming, startled when she notice a couple of guys watching her as she swims topless, when she is suddenly dragged underwater, as blood billows out in the water. The men head back to the village and tell everyone of her disappearance and as Neil, Sherry, and Frye ask what is going on, Nereus shows them Barbara’s radio and bag and tell them she was killed by a shark attack. Frye doesn’t believe it and when they notice a boat coming back to the dock, they asks if they had Barbara with them but they had the missing girl’s body. Frye stumbles down to the cove calling out for Barbara when he sees some kids staring at something on the shore and when he heads over there, he finds Barbara’s body, in several pieces, covered in the same sludge he pulled from Neil’s boat. The village has a funeral for the girl and Barbara and a drunken Frye yells at them for doing their “voodoo” on her but Nereus simply places a coin in her mouth to pay Charon. Later, Neil and Sherry take their boat out to Frye’s boat but don’t see him on board and they wonder what he is doing down there. Frye has gone back to the cave, and as he moves around the newly opened area, collecting the treasure he found, he hears a roar coming from further in the cave and decides to investigate. Back on Frye’s boat, Neil is contemplating using his tanks to go search for Frye and Sherry is trying to talk him out of it but he goes ahead and heads down anyways. Neil finds the cave and as he surfaces and looks around, he finds Frye pointing a spear gun at him. Frye accuses Neil of sabotaging his gear but Neil says that this is the first time he had dove and been in the cave. Frye is spooked and begins filling bags with the coins he had discovered and as Neil asks what is going on between him and Madeline, Frye tells him that Madeline was the one that brought him here but something happened to change her. He then tells Neil that he and Sherry should leave, just as he is going to be leaving. Neil and Sherry head up to the monastery to confront Madeline and as they look through her room, Sister Anna confronts them and tells them they need to leave as they have brought nothing but death since they showed up. Sherry wants to leave but Neil tells her he won’t leave without his sister and yells out for Madeline that they will be waiting for her, not noticing her hiding behind a wall. Meanwhile, Frye returns to his boat and notices some kids on the cliffs mark the lone girl in the group’s forehead, then begin dancing around in a circle. As the girl’s mother shows up on the rocks below and screams out for her daughter, the boys let go of her hand and the daughter ends up falling off the cliff into the water below. The mother screams out and heads into the water to look for her daughter but is attacked and killed by the creature while Frye gets into a dinghy tethered to his boat and rescues the girl. As he looks for the mother, he dives back underwater to search for her only to see the creature being savaged by the creature. Frye returns to the dock to find Nereus waiting for him and as Nereus stares at the coins without comment, Frye hands over the girl and tells him that the mother is dead and Nereus tells him that he has seen his own death. That night, Neil and Sherry find Frye drunk at the inn and he tries to tell them what he saw but passes out drunk. Meanwhile, Madeline is continuing to restore the paintings and Sister Anna tells her to stop for the night but Madeline tells her that she must finish what she started. Back in the village, Nereus approaches Neil and Sherry and tells them not to interfere, as they do a ceremony where the girl that Frye saved is marked with a symbol on her forehead and a man wearing a monster’s mask jumps down to grab her, symbolizing the virgin sacrifice. Frye wakes up from his stupor as Sherry screams and Nereus then explains the ceremony to Neil and Sherry. Back at the monastery, Madeline finishes the painting and is shocked at what she sees and screams out while the nuns continue praying. Back at the village, Sister Anna shows up at the inn wounded and tells them that Madeline has gone crazy and Neil and Frye rush out to find her. When They arrives at the monastery, Neil is shocked to see the nuns have all been killed and Frye sees the painting and realizes what Madeline is going to do. Madeline heads out into the ocean and makes her way to the underwater cave, where she lays down on the rocks in the cave. Neil and Frye head out to the ocean and then dive down into the cave to rescue Madeline. When they find her, Frye tells Neil to get her out of there and he forces her to use the regulator and they swim away. Meanwhile, Frye dives down to confront the creature and as it moves towards him, he detonates the explosives he was carrying, killing himself and the creature while sealing the cave for good. In the village, Nereus tells Sherry it is over while Neil comforts Madeline, who is shaken by what transpired. The next day, Nereus and the girl watch as Neil, Sherry, and Madeline leave the island and as they sail away, Neil takes the bag of coins that Frye gave him and dumps it into the water, not wanting to take any part of the island with them.

This would be a decent movie if it actually made more sense. Of course, I had a handicap while watching it today as I had my two year old niece vying for my attention. Anyways, the acting was pretty good, with James Earl Jones doing a good job as the somewhat mad Frye, while Martin Kove (Neil), Jose Ferrer (Nereus), and Deborah Shelton (Madeline) also did a good job in their roles. The story was honestly still a little confusing in the details, but the basic gist was easy to follow. Frye accidentally unleashes a monster that had been sealed up in ancient times and it begins killing people in the village. The thing that I still don’t really get is the deal with Madeline and how she kind of goes psychotic while working on the paintings. The monster looked pretty ridiculous the brief times that you see it while some of the camera work underwater when it was featured looked a little cheap. Confusing plot elements aside, it’s a decent movie that is good for some late night mindless vegging.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 20th, 2014 Movie – Blood Monkeyaz

blood monkey

Everything has a beginning and for the Maneater Series of movies, this was it. Now I remember seeing this movie on Syfy years ago and honestly, not being too impressed with it. The only reason I got it on DVD is because it was part of a 3 disk set of movies from the Maneater series back when I first started collecting the movies in the series. Now lets see if time will make me think better of the first movie in the series, Blood Monkey.

The plot: Deep in the jungles of Thailand, a group of men manage to capture a new species of primate. As the leader tries contacting Professor Conrad Hamilton, the leader of the expedition, the primate escapes from the cage and proceeds to kill the men, leaving Hamilton and his assistant/bodyguard Chenne to head out to see what happened but all they find is the broken cage and bodies of the team. Meanwhile, a group of anthropology students (Seth, Amy, Greg, Josh, Sydney, and Dani) arrive in Thailand for their own research expedition into the jungle, with Dani documenting everything on her video camera. After being flown to the outskirts, a guide shows up to take them deeper into the jungle but when they reach a certain point, the guide stops the truck, telling them that he will go no further as bad things are in there. When the students ask him what they are supposed to do, he tells them to follow the trail, then quickly turns around and drives away. Seth leads the others down the trail, with all of them feeling a little nervous about the situation they are in. When they reach the end of the trail, Seth says they should just wait for whoever is supposed to meet them and as it gets dark, Josh tries making a fire. When a strange creature is seen in the brush, the kids get scared but Chenne suddenly appears and frightens the creature away with a flare, then leads the students to the base camp. The next day, Hamilton introduces himself to the students and tells them that they will be doing something different than what they signed up for. As they prepare to leave, they Sydney and some of the others notice that their cell phones are missing and realize Chenne must have taken them when she tries to take Dani’s camera. Hamilton explains that she had done it on his orders, saying that he doesn’t want anything they discover leaking out, but promises to explain his reasons why. After giving them all ID bracelets that he says contains all their necessary information for being out there, such as blood type, Hamilton leads them out into the jungle and they soon reach a cliff overlooking a hidden valley, which Hamilton says is completely uncharted and theirs to explore for the first time. When Chenne appears with rappelling gear for them to descend into the valley, Sydney and some of the other students don’t wish to continue but Hamilton motivates them to head down, choosing to go first so Dani can document it. The others head down but when Josh and Chenne make their descent, Josh panics and freezes up on the rope, prompting Chenne to kick him to try and get him to keep moving before continuing down herself in disgust. Josh eventually makes it down, falling the last couple of feet, and Hamilton tells them to pick him up and keep moving, much to Seth and the other’s shock. They soon arrive at a camp site and Seth and the others question what is going on, as Hamilton had said that they were the first people down there. Hamilton tries to pass it off the claim that he and Chenne had gone down previously to make the base camp but refuses to explain the additional backpacks. That night, Hamilton pulls out a large skull and asks if any of them can identify it. Sydney studies it and says it is not quite a primate skull but also not quite human. As the students pass around the skull, they are shocked when the badly wounded leader of the first expedition appears in camp. Hamilton and Chenne rush over to him and lead him to the main tent, telling the students to stay by the fire and not leave. Later that night, Seth and Amy see Hamilton and Chenne digging a grave for the now dead man, and they discuss how Sydney and Josh both want to head back and they discuss their options on staying or going. As they head back to their tents, they don’t hear Hamilton telling Chenne that the primates let the man go on purpose to serve as a warning. Later that night, Sydney goes to use the restroom when she hears someone moving around the latrine tent and as she finishes, something grabs her from under the tent and drags her away. The next morning, Amy tells Seth that Sydney is missing and he goes to talk to Hamilton about it, only for Hamilton to tell him that he had Chenne take her back to the plateau. As Hamilton tells them to get ready to leave, Amy asks Seth what they should do and he tells her he will think of something but for now they should just keep following Hamilton. Meanwhile, Chenne is shown to be dragging Sydney through the jungle before kicking her into the river, throwing her pack after her. As Chenne heads back to rejoin the others, Sydney manages to make it to the other side, where she ends up being killed by something in the remains of the broken cage. Elsewhere, Hamilton leads the others further into the valley but Seth is using scraps of a shirt to tie around trees, intending to use them as markers to find their way back if needed. When Chenne returns, Seth and the others question how she was able to get back so quick but Hamilton dismisses their concerns and wants them to keep moving. Hamilton and Chenne then check a tracking device they have and seeing a signal moving, they tell the students to start moving. When they finally stop, Josh goes to sit next to a tree where they see a chunk of meat and ribs stuck onto the tree and when Hamilton knocks it down and Chenne removes it, a necklace falls from the carcass. Seth and Amy help Josh move and Seth tells them it is a warning meant for them but doesn’t say anything about the necklace, which he had picked up. Seth then confronts Hamilton about why they are there and Hamilton reveals that there is a creature in the valley that is the bridge between the two species and it is still alive in the valley. He tells them that he wanted to get indisputable proof that the creatures not only had lived, but were still living and thriving in the valley but couldn’t risk having any academic help him as they would want to share the glory, which is why he chose to have students help him. Huddling together, Seth and the others discuss what to do and Seth says that he is going to try and grab Chenne’s gun that night when she goes to sleep, then they can get out of there without Hamilton stopping them. Greg wants to help him but Seth tells him to let him go alone, as he won’t be able to carry Josh by himself if something goes wrong. That night, Amy asks Seth if she can stay in his tent for the night while Josh, Greg, and Dani stay together in another tent. During the night, everyone is startled by the sound of water hitting the tents and they think it is a sudden freak rain storm but when the smell hits them, Greg says it is urine, telling Dani that some animals urinate on their prey. Suddenly, Josh, who had stuck his injured foot out of the tent, is grabbed by one of the primates and dragged up into the trees. As Greg goes chasing after him, Dani goes to tell Seth and Amy while Hamilton and Chenne head out to try and capture on of the apes. As Hamilton and Chenne separate, Chenne hears something moving in the brush and fires at it, inadvertently hitting Greg, who had seen Josh getting killed and was searching for the others. Chenne then ties the wounded Greg up and uses him as bait to try and kill one of the primates. Seth, Amy, and Dani see what is happening and Seth tells them to hide while he goes to help Greg but Hamilton stops him, refusing to let him interfere. As she waits for a primate to show up in her trap, Chenne ends up getting killed instead, followed by Greg. Hearing Chenne cry out, Hamilton goes to look for her and finds her body lying on the ground. Seth confronts Hamilton about his using them as bait and his obsession with proving his discovery and Hamilton knocks him down into a cave, then heads out after the girls. Hamilton locates them and after forcing Dani to film him explaining the attack and deaths that occurred, he leads them away. Hamilton tells them that they are trying to locate Sydney and AMy realizes the bracelets were tracking chips so he could use them as bait. They soon find Sydney’s arm dangling forma  vine and as Hamilton goes to pull it down, he is impaled by a trap that the primates set, telling Dani to film his final words. Seth joins them and they head off back to the camp site only to find it has disappeared. When they discover that Seth’s markers have also been removed, they try making their way in the direction they think they came from but Dani is suddenly grabbed as they make their way through the jungle. Noticing that she is missing, Seth and AMy go back to look for her and find her camera on the ground, and when blood drips down onto the camera, they see Dani’s body up in a tree. They start running through the jungle, with Seth lighting some flares and throwing them behind them to keep the primates at bay. They eventually discover a cave and find all of Seth’s cloth markers adorning the stalactites at the entrance. Heading inside, they see Josh’s light further inside and go looking for him, with Amy using the night vision mode on the camera to help see. As they reach an open chamber, AMy notices something moving along the walls and tells Seth, who takes the camera from her to get a look for himself. Seth tells Amy there is nothing there but he is suddenly attacked from behind and killed, dropping the camera in the process, and the primate then approached Amy and kills her.

Giving it some time and another viewing, this movie actually isn’t as bad as I first thought it was. The acting was ok, with F. Murray Abraham doing a great job as the almost Ahab like obsessed Hamilton while Matt Ryan (honestly didn’t realize this was my first time seeing him on screen) doing a good job as Seth. Unfortunately, the other actors and actresses honestly weren’t that good. The story was interesting but the whole idea of the evolved primates attacking the group like that honestly felt like it was ripped off from Congo. One thing that I did think was a good idea is that they didn’t really show what the primates looked like for almost the entire movie, which added a pretty good amount of suspense to the movie. However, they absolutly ruined one of the best things they had going for it at the very end of the movie, as right when Amy was about to be killed, they cut away to show the primate, which was honestly just a decent looking gorilla at best. The special effects were pretty decent and I liked the kind of tunnel-vision they used when they were looking through the primates eyes. So yes, a second viewing sometimes can change my opinion on a movie and while this still isn’t one of my favorite entries in the series, it is a pretty decent movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

adventure, drama, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 8th, 2014 Movie – Black Water Gold

black water gold

Years ago, while on a family vacation, I remember seeing some sort of movie about a people searching for treasure and being chased by pirates or something. Unfortunately, I never found out the name of the movie so I could watch it again later. So any time I see a movie about people diving for treasure and bad guys trying to get it for themselves, I always watch it to see if it is the movie I saw but so far, no luck. Now I had bought the Creature Features collection for some other movies but when I read the description for Black Water Gold, I thought that maybe I had lucked out and finally found the movie. Alas, that was not the case so the search must continue.

The plot: Ray Sandage is scuba diving and attempting to poach some fish at a reserve to sell to a customer when he hears a commotion coming from the water’s surface. Looking up, he sees a large boat chasing down a smaller boat, with the men in the smaller boat jumping to safety before the larger boat runs into and destroys the smaller one. As the men begin trying to swim the safety, the larger boat circles around and the people on board begin shooting at the swimmers, killing them both, before leaving the area. Ray swims over to the wreckage of the smaller boat and after checking the name, pokes around and takes a dive bag from it before leaving the area himself. Swimming to shore, he makes his way to his dune buggy to get out of his gear but when he sees a police boat in the area, he quickly grabs his tanks from the beach, gets in the car, and leaves, as he is on a restricted beach. After managing to evade a cop that has harassed him before, Ray returns to his boat and examines what he had found on the wreckage, only to discover it is artifacts from a sunken ship called the Hidalgo. Knowing the significance of the discovery, and the riches it contains, Ray contacts his friend Christofer Perdeger to talk to him about helping in figuring out exactly where the wreckage is. Christofer says they will need to bring in Alejandro Zayas, a historian and diver who has been researching the Hidalgo in hopes of finding it himself and says that he will take the credit and 80% of the reward, leaving Ray with the remaining 20% and Ray reluctantly agrees. Elsewhere, Roger, the man that killed the others, heads to the boat owned by Lyle Fawcett and tells him and his female associate Thais about what happened and Lyle gets upset, as the men they killed were the only ones that knew where the Hidalgo was. Christofer goes to see Zayas, who is diving in a cave and shows him the gold piece that Ray gave him and Zayas excitedly agrees to help them. The three men, along with Christofer’s assistant Eagan Ryan, head to Nassau and while Christofer and Zayas begin trying to figure out where the Hidalgo might have sunk, Ray, using a fake name as the police are looking for him, attempts to rent a boat and supplies. As he speaks with Mr. Kefalos, who had rented the boat that had been destroyed, Ray tries to subtly find out where the men had been diving but Kefalos is suspicious of Ray and doesn’t reveal anything. Later, Kefalos goes to see Lyle and tells him that the man that killed his men is there, as he had received word from the police and was told to keep a look out for him. Lyle and Roger go to the cabin, under the guise of calling the police, and Lyle chastises Roger but says that this could work in their favor. Meanwhile, Christofer and Zayas are going over the letters from the survivors of the Hidalgo and have determined where it must have sunk. Getting their gear loaded onto the boat, they prepare to sail that night but, after a run in Ray had with the police and his getting Eagan involved, Christofer wants to delay sailing out and clear up the issue with the police. Zayas argues against it and when he refuses to budge, Ray knocks him out and then tells Zayas to head out. After Zayas and Ray put Christofer in the cabin, Eagan cares for him and explains how he had ruined his own diving career saving her when she had too much nitrogen in her system and had started going down too deep. In the morning, Lyle, Thais, and Roger are having breakfast while discussing Ray and the others with Kefalos, and Lyle is upset about the fact that the original information about the Hidalgo he had gotten from Kefalos appears to have been wrong. Ray and the others reach Black Key and as Ray and Zayas begin suiting up to go diving, Ray and Christofer end up arguing about their methods, with Christofer getting angry that he can’t go himself. Ray and Zayas don’t have much luck and Zayas says that he wants to check out an underwater cave that is close by. Ray and Zayas argue about his going to the cave, and later Christofer argues about his reasoning as well. When Zayas says that Christofer shouldn’t hate him because he can no longer dive and suggests sending Eagan down there with him, Christofer admits his mistake to Eagan and agrees to send her down. As Zayas and Eagan explore the cave, Ray dives down to search the surrounding sand for artifacts. On the surface, Lyle’s boat arrives and Roger and the crew begin firing at Christofer, the captain, and the young deck hand Jason, forcing them into the water. Hearing the shots, Ray, Zayas, and Eagan swim up to their friends and drag them underwater, sharing their own air supply from the scuba tanks, and take them into the cave for safety, which has an air bubble inside. On the surface, Lyle has Roger place some dynamite on the boat and they blow it up, planning to radio in a false claim about an accident, but Kefalos, who had accompanied them, is uncomfortable about the ordeal. After waiting for the boat to leave, Ray and the others swim to shore and Jason goes to look for some fresh water and supplies. Meanwhile, Christofer’s hearing has been severely damaged after being forced to dive down but he is able to tell them that he knows where the Hidalgo is and that the cave was the secret. Jason returns and says that there is a village nearby with boats that will help them so they ehad there. The next day, Ray asks the village chief to send one of his boats to Nassau to alert the authorities about what is going on when they get word of Lyle’s boat returning. Ray then has some of the fishermen head out and start chumming the water to fish for sharks, preventing any of Lyle’s men from being able to dive safely. Meanwhile, Ray, Eagan, and Zayas prepare to head out themselves to search for the compressor from their ship so they can recharge their scuba tanks. The three go in at night so there would be less chance of being spotted but unfortunately, Roger sees the torches they are using and alerts Lyle, who decides to head out there to deal with them. Ray, Eagan, and Zayas find the compressor and start using some of the remaining air from their tanks to fill up a balloon so they can float it to the surface. Meanwhile, Christofer, the captain, and Jason notice that Lyle’s boat had spotted the others and, grabbing a rifle, they start making their way out into the water to help their friends. When Lyle and Roger have spotlights directed down into the water, Ray and the others quickly put out their torches and split up to avoid Roger and Lyle, who go after them with spear guns. Ray manages to swim through a tunnel and uses the compressor to block the other entrance but as he swims back to the surface, he finds the Hidalgo. On the surface, he finds that Christofer and the others have taken over the ship and he tells him about the discovery. The next day, the police are arresting Lyle and Roger for the deaths and Thais tells Ray that she will testify on his behalf to clear up the matter. Christofer and Zayas agree to work as partners on researching the Hidalgo and the artifacts within while Ray decides to take his share of the money and leave the area.

This was a pretty disappointing movie to be honest. The acting was good, with Aron Kincaid (Ray), Ricardo Montalban (Zayas), Bradford Dillman (Lyle), and Keir Dullea (Christofer) all did good jobs in their roles. Lana Wood (Eagan) was ok but I thought that France Nuyen’s character of Thais was the most interesting one. The basic plot of the story was just that, basic. People find evidence of a sunken treasure and go to look for it while some other, more ruthless, people are after it as well. However, the story just kind of felt lazy and boring, without any real drama being felt throughout the movie. The special effects with the diving was ok but over all this was just boring as hell. So it wasn’t the movie I was looking for and wasn’t even that good of a movie as compensation.

Rating: 2 out of 5

adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum

Flashback Review: April 26th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (2012)

bigfoot 2012

Ahh, an Asylum movie that involves Bigfoot. This sounds like it should be a lot of fun, so let’s see what exactly we have here. Two rival musicians as the main characters, who are at odds with each other in the film. A giant monster that terrorizes the region. A third musician that gets killed by the title monster. You know something, this honestly sounds pretty familiar to me. Wait a minute….I got it. This is just a reboot of Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Ok, I know it really isn’t but you have to admit that on some levels, Bigfoot (2012) does kind of seem that way. Well, let’s see how similar, or different, they are.

The plot: Outside of Deadwood, SD, a hunter lines up his shot and shoots a bear but before he can approach his trophy, he is attacked and killed by a large Bigfoot. Meanwhile, radio DJ Harley Anderson is using his show to complain about the freak snow storm the area is getting in April, as well as promote his 80’s flashback festival next week. When his show is finished, Harley heads out to the site of the festival and tells the foreman setting up the stages to clear out some trees. Harley’s former band mate, Simon Quint, has become an environmentalist and, along with some teenage followers, attempt to stop them by chaining themselves to the bulldozers but one of the drivers proceeds to start moving anyways, dragging the kids behind him. Sheriffs Becky Alvarez and Walt Henderson show up and stop the bulldozer and after listening to Harley and Simon arguing over who should be arrested, they end up taking Simon into custody. Harley’s crews get back to work but as one man heads into the woods to start cutting down some trees, he is attacked by Bigfoot. Bigfoot then heads after the rest of Harley’s crew, killing several of them and destroying the vehicles, causing a fire to break out. The fire is eventually put out and the fire chief shows him the footprints left in the snow but Harley says the festival is still on. As the festival draws closer, a couple in an RV are driving towards town when they accidentally hit Bigfoot, who throws the RV off the road. With the festival one day away, Mayor Tommy Gillis wants to pull the plug on the festival, but Harley tells him he can work out a deal with Simon to get him to stop trying to ruin the festival. Harley meets with Simon and offers to let him perform at the festival as a way to get his message out and Simon agrees to the deal. On the day of the festival, the snow has finally stopped but many of the acts, as well as the fans, have not shown up. Simon heads out to perform to a lackluster crowd while back stage, Alice Cooper, Harley’s special guest, complains about the event and threatens to quit. Harley sabotages Simon’s performance, causing feedback that wakes up Bigfoot from his cave and sends him heading towards the festival. When Alice Cooper starts performing, Bigfoot attacks the festival, killing several of the attendees and kicking Alice Cooper off the stage, killing him. As the news reports on the catastrophe, the National Guard is brought in to try and locate and kill Bigfoot but Simon tries to organize a movement to save him. Harley calls Al Hunter, a hunter friend of his, and hires him to come down and kill Bigfoot for him. As Bigfoot continues to terrorize the town, killing anyone that ventures into the forest, Simon tries to come up with a way to tranquilize it instead of killing it so it can be taken to a preserve. Harley joins Al and his team and they head out to try and kill Bigfoot but are unable to do so and Al loses two of his team members. Harley then talks with Mayor Gillis and convinces him to let him try and capture or kill Bigfoot and turn it into a tourist attraction. He then sends someone in to steal Simon’s tranquilizers so that he can use them for his plan. Simon and some of his group head out to try and track Bigfoot and run into Becky, who is searching for it as well. They find some tracks and Becky notices a cave nearby and goes to investigate it, with Simon and one of his group following her. The two team members left outside are attacked and killed by Bigfoot and when Becky, Simon, and the others go try to help, Simon realizes that his tranquilizer darts are missing. Harley and Al show up in a helicopter and try luring Bigfoot out to the open so Harley can get a clear shot at it. As Simon and Beth try to get away from Bigfoot, it continues to chase them as a National Guard tank fires at Bigfoot, burning it with it’s explosive shells and finally chasing it away. As new plans are made to deal with Bigfoot, Becky and Walt realize it is using the cave systems to travel around and try to figure out where it will show up next. Bigfoot ends up in Rapid City and begins a rampage there. Harley and Al hire some local hunters to help them try to stop Bigfoot but several of the men end up heading off early and get killed. As the rest of the hunters try to trap and kill it, Harley notices Simon flying by on his glider and shoots him down, refusing to let him stop his plans but Bigfoot still gets away. Simon and Priya, the only member of his team still there, head out to the caves to try and tranquilize Bigfoot. Meanwhile, Becky and Walt try their own way to stop him but Walt ends up getting killed in the process. Harley and Al make their way past a National Guard blockade and enter the caves looking for Bigfoot, with Al accidentally shooting Priya and wounding her when Simon and Priya surprise them. Hearing Bigfoot approaching, Al panics and runs out of the cave, followed by Harley, Simon, and Priya and Al ends up being killed by the National Guard by accident while Priya is killed by Bigfoot. Bigfoot makes it’s way to Mount Rushmore and Becky leads the National Guard to try and kill it. When the helicopter she is in is brought down, she sees Bigfoot climbing to the top of Mount Rushmore and calls in an airstrike. Simon and Harley both head to Mount Rushmore, with Simon still intending to try and tranquilize Bigfoot while Harley wants to kill it. The two end up fighting on the top of Lincoln’s head and Harley falls off the edge, Simon reaches down to try and save Harley as Bigfoot approaches them, and Simon reaches out to him for help. Seeing them on the monument, Becky tries to call off the air strike but is too late and as the missiles hit the monument, Harley, Simon, and Bigfoot are knocked off the monument and fall to the ground, where they are buried underneath the rubble. One year later, Mayor Gillis is on hand to dedicate a statue to the memory of Harley and Clint, celebrating them as heroes, while Mount Rushmore is also being rebuilt.

Yeh, it’s hard not to think that they took the plot of Mega Python vs Gatoroid and tweaked it a little because there really are a lot of similarities to it. That being said, this was a pretty decent movie, although it was a little slow to start. The acting was ok, with Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce doing decent jobs as Simon and Harley respectively. I honestly thought that Bruce Davison (Walt), Sherilyn Fenn (Becky), and Howard Hesseman (Mayor Gillis) gave better performances while Alice Cooper’s brief appearance was just hilarious. The story honestly felt a little disjointed, as the starting point of Simon trying to save the forest from Harley was then transferred to trying to save Bigfoot, but it just felt odd with everything else going on in the movie. I liked the design of Bigfoot and how they showed it’s face taking the damage from when it was burned throughout the movie. That being said, the CGI looked a little weak and there were times where the scale felt off with the Bigfoot, as it’s size kept seeming to change somewhat in scale with the people when it was attacking them. I mean, it would always be bigger/taller than them but sometimes the size difference was a lot bigger than others. Still, it is another enjoyable movie, at least for me, from The Asylum and if you like their movies, it is worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

adventure, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 19th, 2014 Movie – Beneath The 12-Mile Reef

beneath the 12 mile reef

You know, some times I am amazed by the number of famous actors who can be found in a movie that was made early in their career. Of course, when I first watch some of these older movies, I never really appreciated that aspect and most likely had no idea who many of these people were. Take this movie for instance. Now I had honestly never heard of this movie before I bought the collection that it was part of. Still, I was amazed because it had Robert Wagner and Peter Graves, both of whom were names I recognized. Unfortunately, I can’t say much about this movie from the first time I watched it so let’s see if Beneath The 12-Mile Reef is really unforgettable

The plot: Tony Petrakis and his father Mike are sponge fishermen but they are having a rough time as the sponges in the area they dive in seem to have dried up. When they see another fisherman with a massive strands of sponges on his boat, they ask him where he found them and the diver tells them he went to the 12 mile reed, which shocks Tony as nobody has been there since his brother had died diving there. Mike is only able to sell the sponges they caught for $600 but has to give it half of it to a banker that he owes money to. Later that day, Tony is in a competition to find a gold cross that is dropped into the bay and he manages to win it and everyone cheers his good luck. The next day, Mike decides to go to the Glades to dive for sponges and Tony gets upset when Mike refuses to let him dive with him. As Mike is catching sponges, Tony and Soc, the first mate, notice two men in a dingy approaching and Soc gets nervous and signals for Mike to come up but he refuses. As the dingy gets closer, one of the men, Arnold Dix, snags Mike’s air hose and threatens to cut it with an axe if they don’t hand over the sponges, then fires a shot into the air to signal two other boats. As the boats show up and Tony and the others reluctantly hand over the sponges, Thomas Rhys, the owner of the boats, warns them that this is what will happen if they ever come into the Glades again. Rhys, Dix, and their crew head back to Key West and store the sponges, then go out to celebrate, with Dix telling Rhy’s daughter Gwyneth that he will use his share to buy a house so they can get married. Mike’s boat arrives in the port and when they see the empty boats, Mike, Tony, and Soc go looking for Rhys and the others. They find them at a bar and tensions flare up, as Rhys and his men don’t like Greeks like Mike, Tony, and Soc, but Mike convinces everyone that they don’t want to fight, just talk. As Mike is talking with Rhys, Tony asks Gwyneth to dance and she accepts, which makes Dix jealous. As Tony and Gwyneth leave the bar and run off, they talk some about the situation, arguing about Rhys’s claim of ownership over the Glades, but end up kissing. Dix catches up to them and punches Tony but when Tony goes to punch him back, Mike stops him, choosing to fight Dix over his actions earlier with the axe. The two men fight and Mike ends up winning, then they leave and head back to their ship but instead of heading home, Mike wants to head out to the 12-mile reef so they head out, not noticing Gwyneth standing on the pier watching them leave. When they get to the reef, Mike considers letting Tony dive down but changes his mind, saying it is too dangerous for the initial dive and that he can dive the next time. Mike heads down and begins gathering some sponges but when they see a shark in the water, they try to signal Mike to come up but he ends up getting tangled in his air hose on the reef. When they try to pull him up, the life line breaks so they turn off the compressor, causing the air to build up in Mike’s suit and float him to the surface. When Mike reaches the surface, Tony and Soc jump into the water to bring him on board but find that Mike had surfaced too fast and has gotten the bends. They head to a nearby port to get some ice to help him, then head to Key West, as it has the closest hospital, radioing ahead to the Coast Guard for an ambulance. When they arrive in Key West, Mike is taken off in a stretcher and when word makes it’s way to Rhys and Gwyneth, she rushes down to see who was hurt. She gets there just as the doctors pronounce Mike dead and Soc and some crew members go with the Coast Guard to tell them what happened, while another man heads back to keep an eye on the boat. Tony stays with his father for a minute before walking out in a daze and Rhys, who had just shown up, stops him and offers him his condolences. Tony continues walking around in a daze and comes to the grove where he was with Gwyneth earlier and sees Mike’s hat still hanging from the tree where he left it before fighting Dix. Grabbing the hat, Tony breaks down and sits on a bench and Gwyneth, who had followed him, goes to comfort him. That evening, Dix and some of Rhys’s men return to the port and, seeing Mike’s boat with the sponges on it, believe he had been in the Glades again and decide to steal them. Pulling up close, Dix jumps on board and starts grabbing the sponges, knocking the guard down in the process, but some other men show up and begin taking the sponges as well. The guard recovers and tries to stop them but he is knocked down again and in the process, knocks over a lantern, causing the boat to catch fire. The Coast Guard puts out the fire and they ask the guard if he knows who started it but the old man is in shock and just babbles about what happened. Soc wants to head back home with Mike’s body but Tony refuses to leave, wanting to find out who stole the sponges and burned their boat. After Soc and the others leave, Tony heads off and when Gwyneth tries to convince him he should leave, he asks her to take him to her father, figuring that he has enough influence to know who had stolen the sponges. When they get to her house, they find Rhys having dinner with Dix and some other of his crew and after Tony explains the situation, one of Rhys’s crew admits that they took some of the sponges but most were taken by the other fishermen. Gwyneth convinces Rhys that they should give him the money from the strands they took from the Glades to make up for his boat burning and Rhys agrees but Dix refuses and leaves in anger. Tony thanks Rhys for his fairness and goes to leave, declining Gwyneth’s offer to stay the night there. As he is making his way back to the docks, Dix jumps him in the grove and beats him up. Dix returns to Rhys’s house and comments about Tony not coming back in the morning and when she hears him, Gwyneth rushes out of the house to find Tony. Tony has recovered and heads to the docks, eventually falling onto a ship and Gwyneth finds him and tends to him briefly but when she hears Dix calling out to her, she quickly unties the boat and sets off, with Dix getting in another boat and chasing after him. Gwyneth manages to elude Dix in the glades and as Tony recovers, they go swimming and end up getting closer and admitting their love for one another and Tony convinces Gwyneth to come to his home. When they get there, he introduces Gwyneth to his sister and mother, who begs Gwyneth to talk Tony out of diving as she is worried about his safety but Tony convinces his mother that he will be ok. The next day, Tony convinces the banker to loan him a diving suit so they can go diving again and Gwyneth convinces him to let her go with him, as she is able to run the boat better than Soc and the others. Meanwhile, back on Key West, Dix convinces Rhys that Tony took advantage of his good nature and they head out to go find him and bring Gwyneth back. Out on the 12 mile reef, Tony heads down and begins sending sponges up in the bags and after Soc says they have plenty, he tells them to signal Tony to come back up but Tony continues to stay down there. Tony continues moving around and eventually finds a cave with more sponges and heads inside but ends up being attacked by an octopus. Tony manages to kill it and heads back to the surface, playing off the incident as nothing serious at first but later admits to Gwyneth that he was scared. As they start to head back to town to sell the sponges, Rhys’s boat approaches them and as they get close, Dix jumps on board and starts fighting with Tony. The two end up falling overboard and as they continue to fight, Dix gets caught up in some seaweed. Tony surfaces and starts swimming to the boat but when Gwyneth tells him Dix hasn’t surfaced, he dives down to help save him. As everyone is back on the boat, Rhys goes to leave and asks Gwyneth if she is coming but she refuses, saying she is Tony’s wife. Rhys gets upset but Tony convinces him that things are ok and when Dix admits that he could have left him to drown, Rhys reluctantly accepts their love and everyone laughs and cheers. Tony and Gwyneth return to his home, and as they pull up to the port, the banker is happy to see all of the sponges, knowing he will get his money back while Tony’s mother and sister are happy to see Tony alive and how happy he is with Gwyneth.

This is a decent movie as far as a time suck movie but I can’t say it is very entertaining. The acting was good, with Robert Wagner (Tony), Terry Moore (Gwyneth), and Peter Graves (Dix) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was ok, basically being a variation of Romeo and Juliet in the sense that you had two competing families fighting each other, while the children from opposite families fall in love with each other. While that aspect was ok, and did make for some interesting story telling, the rest of the movie was kind of boring. The camera work with the diving scenes was pretty great and really all of the underwater scenes honestly looked better shot than the scenes on land, with the colors standing out brilliantly in the water against some of the bland background. Like i said, it’s a decent time suck but it is a pretty generic and boring movie for the most part.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5