action, adventure, comedy, movie, movie review

June 21st, 2017 Movie – The Rundown

the rundown

Folks, have you ever wanted to go out to the movies with your significant other but couldn’t agree on what movie to see? Well, allow me to introduce you to how my ex-wife and I used to solve this problem back when we were married. First, each of you pick  two movies that you want to see. If both of you pick the same movie then obviously, you go see that movie. However, if you both pick two different movies, then you look up the reviews for those movies on Rotten Tomatoes and whoever’s picks have the highest combined rating, then that person wins but the loser picks which of the two movies you go watch. If you are wondering why I am bringing this up, that is because the first time we did this, I wound up winning so we went to go see today’s movie, The Rundown.

The plot: A “retrieval expert” named Beck is in his car listening to a cooking show on the radio until his associate yells for him to come into the club. As his associate points out the man Beck is there to collect from, a professional quarterback named Knappmiller, Beck notices that he has his team’s offensive line with him. Beck goes down and tries talking to Knappmiller, telling him he needs his championship ring as collateral but Knappmiller throws some drinks in Beck’s face and tells him to leave. After heading to the restroom to clean up, Beck calls his boss, Billy Walker, and asks to do it another night as he doesn’t want to hurt the other football players but Billy demands he get the ring so Beck heads back out to the club and proceeds to beat down the other players before grabbing Knappmiller and taking the ring from him. As Billy heads out to his car, he is shot by a man with a bean bag, who then grabs the ring from him. Beck heads to Billy’s house, upset that he sent another retriever to steal from him and demands his money. Beck tells Billy he wants out, as he plans to open a restaurant, and Billy says he will give him one last job and if he complete is, he will walk out a free man and with the money for his restaurant. Billy hands Beck a folder and tells him to bring his son Travis back from a mining town in Brazil and his slate will be wiped clean. Beck heads down to the Amazon and is driven to the mining town by Declan, who explains the dangers in the area. In the town, Declan takes Beck to see Hatcher, the man who runs the town, and Beck asks Hatcher if he has seen Travis and Hatcher says he allowed him to do some excavating around the mine, then gets curious as to why Beck is there. Meanwhile, Travis is at the town’s bar, trying to flatter the bartender Mariana into letting her borrow her uncle’s boat so he can find a priceless artifact called El Gato do Diablo. Leaving Hatcher’s office, Beck borrows Declan’s jeep, telling Declan to head back to the airfield and get the plane ready to fly out. Beck heads to the bar and confronts Travis, who tries to resist when Beck says he is taking him back to his father, but Beck easily overpowers him. As they are about to leave, Hatcher and his men enter the bar and Hatcher tells Beck that Travis is staying, as he wants Travis to lead him to El Gato. Beck manages to beat several of Hatcher’s men and then get into the jeep with Travis and drive off but Travis, refusing to go back to his father, kicks the steering wheel and causes them to crash off a cliff.  After tumbling down the cliff and falling into a lake, Travis tries to get away but Beck captures him again and they start walking through the jungle. When Travis notices a rebel snare, he tricks Beck into triggering it and Beck finds himself dangling from a tree. Travis is able to grab the key that falls from Beck’s pocket and free himself from the handcuffs but as he taunts Beck, he accidentally triggers another snare and ends up hanging next to Beck. The two try to work together to free themselves but as they cling to a tree, a group of monkeys appear and attempt to hump them but are quickly chased off by the rebels. Beck and Travis are taken to the rebel camp and Travis speaks with the rebels and tricks them into thinking Beck is an assassin sent by Hatcher. The rebels release Beck so that they can fight him but Beck is able to mount a comeback and almost gets the upper hand. Suddenly, Mariana appears and stops the fight, revealing herself to be the rebel leader. That night, Mariana explains to Beck why she is leading the rebels to stop Hatcher’s exploitation of the workers and why she needs Travis to find El Gato. Suddenly, Hatcher’s men show up and attack the camp, killing most of the rebels and capturing the others but Beck, Travis, and Mariana manage to escape. As they travel down the river, Beck agrees to help Travis find El Gato so Mariana can sell it as long as she tells him how to get out of the jungle, though Travis isn’t happy about the deal. Travis leads them into the jungle towards a waterfall, which they swim under to find a hidden cave. Inside the cave, they find a series of booby traps but Travis is able to figure them out and grabs the statue before the roof collapses. As they make camp for the night, Mariana feeds Beck and Travis some Konlobos, which temporarily paralyzes them, and she thanks Travis for finding the statue, then tells Beck that he kept his word so she will keep hers and tells him how to get to the airfield. Beck and Travis recover from the paralysis in the morning, just in time to scare away some monkeys that had approached them, and make their way to the airfield. When they reach it, Beck is in a hurry to leave, as he doesn’t want to run into Hatcher or his men, but Declan says that Hatcher doesn’t care about them as he captured Mariana and took the statue from her earlier in the morning. Beck plans on going back to save Mariana but Travis says he will die if he goes in on his own and convinces Beck to let him help. Declan heads into town playing a set of bagpipes, which serves as a distraction as Beck and Travis make their way into town and start taking out Hatcher’s men. When Travis ends up pinned down by gunfire in a bus, Beck, who has avoided using guns before, finds himself forced to use guns to kill Hatcher’s men and save Travis. Hatcher tells his brother to take Mariana and the statue and head to the airfield but Travis crashes a car into them, saving Mariana and grabbing the statue. Beck finally beats the rest of Hatcher’s men, then shoots Hatcher’s gun out of his hand before he can shoot him but Travis uses the opportunity to disappear. As the town folk surround Hatcher, he yells that they would be nothing without him but he ends up being shot by them. Beck releases Mariana and they are surprised to see Travis has returned and hands the statue to Mariana to sell. Beck takes Travis back to L.A., and walks Travis into Billy’s house and asks if they are square. Billy says they are good and Beck tells him they should celebrate by having some Konlobos. After handing the fruit to Billy and his bodyguards, the three men fall victim to the paralysis and Beck frees Travis and they leave the house, with Travis jokingly messing with Beck the entire time.

The Rundown met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Rundown doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s a smart, funny buddy action picture with terrific comic chemistry between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Seann William Scott.” The film’s original title was called “Helldorado”, and then changed to “Welcome To The Jungle” before eventually changing to the final title, and references to the previous titles can be found throughout the film. The Arnold Schwazeneggar cameo had many people feeling like it was a metaphorical passing of the torch to the next generation of action stars. Despite the critical praise, the movie failed at the box office, earning $80.9 million off of a $85 million budget.

This is a great movie to watch. Dwayne Johnson (Beck) used his time in the WWE to create a great blend of action and comedy in the movie. Seann William Scott (Travis) tried to break out of the “Stifler” stereotype somewhat and the dynamic between him and Johnson was a good bit of adversarial camaraderie, while Rosario Dawson (Mariana) and Christopher Walken (Hatcher) both were fantastic as well. The story was a pretty interesting mix of treasure hunting and bounty hunting that worked very well together. The comedy aspects of the film were a little juvenile, or adult depending on how you look at it, but they did work as effective tension breakers to keep the movie from becoming too overly serious. The special effects were ok but the fight scenes were definitely well done, especially the fight between Dwayne Johnson and Ernie Reyes Jr. (of The Last Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame). An entertaining movie that is worth watching any time you get the chance to watch it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, horror, movie, movie review

June 16th, 2017 Movie – Rogue

rogue 2007

Ending the work week with a killer crocodile movie. Aside from Monday, this has been a pretty good week of movie watching for me. Now I had an interesting time with this DVD when I bought it. See, I picked this up at a Blockbuster during it’s out of business sell because I always need another killer crocodile movie to watch. Unfortunately, the disk I had was scratched up to the point that the end of the movie was unwatchable. So I wound up going to MovieStop and purchasing a copy there. However, that movie was also messed up but, unlike Blockbuster, I could return it and get another copy. So after three attempts at purchasing this movie, let’s see if it was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Rogue (2007).

The plot: In Australia’s Northern Territory, American Pete McKell arrives in a small town as part of his job as a travel journalist. After talking to his boss, where Pete complains about the airline losing his bags so he can’t finish his article, Pete boards a crocodile watching tour run by Kate Ryan, a wildlife researcher that works in Kakadu National Park. As they observe the crocodiles, Kate starts telling the group details about the saltwater crocodile but when some of the group get nervous, she assures them that the crocodiles won’t attack anything bigger than them. Suddenly a couple of locals, Neil and Collin, buzz the cruise in their own boat before pulling up next to it, and Neil partially stands on the boat in order to talk to Kate, as they have a history. After Pete and another passenger, Everett, ask Neil to leave, Kate starts to throttle forward, causing Collin so suddenly jerk his boat to the side and dumping Neil into the river and Kate and the tour group laugh as he is forced to swim over to his boat. After a couple more hours on the river, Kate is preparing to head back when Preston notices a flare in the distance. After several other members of the group see a second one, Kate tries to radio her base but is unable to reach them due to their being in a canyon so, despite the protests of some of the group, she tells the group that they have to investigate the flare and off assistance if needed. Kate steers the boat towards the location of the flare and they start looking but don’t see any signs of people. Just before they turn back and head for home, Kate spies a boat that has recently been sunk when suddenly, something large strikes their boat, causing it to start leaking. Kate steers the boat towards a nearby island and everybody disembarks but several of the group begin arguing and complaining about what happened. Kate grabs some of the survival bags from the boat and looks for the radio but she doesn’t get a signal from the hand held or the boat. One of the passengers, Russell, realizes that they are on a tidal island and that it will be underwater soon. He starts getting belligerent and wants to swim to the main land but Kate and Everett stop him. As they get a signal from the radio, they head back to shore but Everett is suddenly grabbed and dragged underwater while nobody is looking. Everyone is in shock at what happened and Kate heads back to the boat to look for some flares but they have floated off into the middle of the river. Neil and Collin show up and buzz the group but when they notice they are in trouble, they turn around and start to head towards them when their boat is knocked into the air and crashes back into the water. Neil surfaces and swims to the island but as he looks around, there is no sign of Collin. Realizing that they are in the territory of a large crocodile and they won’t last long when the tide comes in, Neil ties some ropes together and swims across to the other side, then ties the rope to a tree to serve as a suspension bridge, so they can make their way across. Mary Ellen, Everett’s wife, is the first person to attempt to cross but she ends up panicking and freezes half way. Allen, who is there with his sick wife Gwen and their daughter, Sherry, gets impatient and has Sherry climb onto the rope and he follows her, then starts yelling at Mary Ellen to move. Pete and Kate yell at Neil to try and help Mary Ellen move but when Neil goes to grab the flashlight that he dropped, he is killed by the crocodile. As the tree Neil tied the rope too falls into the water, Mary Ellen, Sherry, and Russell all swim back to the island but as Allen apologizes to Kate for his actions, he is suddenly grabbed by the crocodile and flung into the river and it then grabs him and drags him away. As everyone is in shock at what happened and fearing for the worst, Pete goes on the boat for the first aid kit and notices the anchor. Grabbing the anchor, Pete says that he plans on hooking the crocodile, giving them enough time to swim to shore. Realizing that it is their only chance, the others agree and want to use Kevin, Kate’s dog, as bait but Kate refuses to let them. As Gwen yells at Kate for refusing to sacrifice Kevin for their well being, Simon pulls some dead ducks from the shoreline that they can use as bait. After setting the trap, Pete chooses to stay behind and man the hook and Kate leaves Kevin with him while she leads the others across the river. When the crocodile takes the bait, Pete yells out to the others and Kate has them start swimming across, with Russell helping Gwen across. As Pete prepares to go, the line suddenly goes slack and he warns Kate, who is the last one to swim across. Kate yells at the others to run and after they do, Pete, holding onto Kevin’s leash, starts swimming towards her, just as the crocodile grabs her and drags her away. Pete tries looking for Kate but when he finds no sign of her, he tries to locate the others when Kevin suddenly runs off. When Pete runs after him, he ends up falling down into the crocodile’s lair, where he finds Neil’s body floating in the water. Pete sees Kevin sitting near Kate’s body and when he goes to check on her, he discovers that she is alive, though badly wounded. Suddenly, Kevin runs back up to the entrance to the lair and as Pete grabs Kate’s body, he hears Kevin yelp in pain before a crunching sound is heard. Pete manages to hide with Kate as the crocodile makes it’s way into the lair, swallowing what’s left of Kevin before appearing to fall asleep. Grabbing Kate, Pete quietly tries to make his way out of the lair, checking on the crocodile every now and then. When Pete notices the crocodile has disappeared, he barely has enough time to get out of the way as it lunges out of the water at him. Taking shelter beneath the roots of a large tree, Pete tries to lure the crocodile away from Kate, forcing it to chase after him. He tries to fend it off with a large branch but the crocodile bites it and snaps it in two. Pete hides between some rocks but the crocodile lunges after him and as Pete tries pushing it’s head away from him, it bites off two of his fingers. Pete is able to grab a bone shard and jab it into the crocodile’s eye, driving it away from him but it simply swims over to block the entrance to the lair as it watches him. When Kate suddenly groans in pain, the crocodile turns it’s attention towards her and tries to get her. Pete throws a rock at it to lure it away from Kate, then grabs the branch, which now has a pointed tip, and braces it against the rock as the crocodile approaches him. The crocodile leaps out of the water to attack Pete and ends up spearing itself in the head with the branch, killing it. Pete crawls out from the crocodile’s body and, after grabbing Kate, makes his way out of the lair. After catching his breath, Pete starts carrying through the marsh until he comes across the rescue party that had found the others. After getting his wounds tended too, Pete approaches the stretcher that Kate is on and after a brief bit of small talk, Kate thanks him for saving her life before she is airlifted away to the hospital. As the credits roll, the screen focuses on the wall of the bar Pete entered at the beginning of the movie, where a news article of Pete killing the crocodile is pinned to the wall.

Rogue (2007) met with high praise from the critics, holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all felt that the movie was well shot while praising the location for adding to the tension in the film. The crocodile in the movie was based on a the true story of Sweetheart, a 5.1 meter saltwater crocodile that was responsible for attacks on numerous boats during a 5 year period but never killed anyone. Though it received plenty of critical acclaim, the movie was a failure at the box office, earning $4.6 million off of a $26.9 million budget.

This is one of the better killer crocodile movies that I have seen, and I have seen quite a few. The acting was pretty good, with Michael Vartan (Pete) and Radha Mitchell (Kate) doing great jobs in their roles, while all of the supporting cast were equally good portraying the various emotions and stresses that the group was suffering. The story was really good and did a good job in expressing the desperation and panic that the group was in, ratcheting up the tension in the film right up to the very end. The special effects were pretty good and the crocodile itself, aside from the large size, was pretty realistic looking, though the end scene of Pete killing the crocodile was a little weak compared to the rest of the film. A well done movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

June 15th, 2017 Movie – The Lego Batman Movie

the lego batman movie

Who would have thought that one of the biggest movies to come out of 2014 would involve everyone’s favorite building blocks, or landmine for bare feet depending on your point view. Yes, The Lego Movie was a massive family hit so of course, a sequel was bound to come out. Today’s movie is a spin off of The Lego Movie, though the only  real reference is Batman talking about being a Master Builder. Still, the Lego Batman games are tons of fun to play and since this is a movie involving Legos and Batman, it is bound to be entertaining. So lets see how good it is as I watch today’s movie, The Lego Batman Movie.

The plot: As a plane full of explosives flies over Gotham, Joker and his men board the plane and plan on hijacking it as part of his master scheme. When one of the pilots says that Batman will stop him, Joker explains that he has gathered every villain in Gotham to help with his plan and he has taken out the Bat-Signal, so Commissioner Gordon has no way to contact Batman. Joker meets up with the rest of the villains and uses the explosives to fashion a giant bomb, which they attach to the base of Gotham City Power’s generator, and threatens to blow it up unless the mayor surrenders the city in 5 minutes. Faced with the threat of the explosion destroying the plates that Gotham sits on, sending the city plummeting into the dark abyss, the mayor agrees to meet with Joker but when she gets there, she reveals herself to really be Batman in disguise. Batman begins taking out all of the villains until only Joker is left but as Batman attempts to capture him, Joker says Batman can either capture his greatest enemy or save the city but he can’t do both. Batman tells Joker that he isn’t his greatest enemy, then lets him go so he can make it down to the bomb and disarm it. As the citizens all celebrate Batman saving them, Batman swings by the orphanage to make the orphans happy before heading home. Once he reaches Wayne Manor, Batman pretends to be ok with his life but Alfred calls him out and says that he is afraid of being a part of family but Batman dismisses the idea. Elsewhere, Joker is depressed about Batman not thinking he is his greatest enemy and complaining about how he doesn’t have any competent villains to work with. When he sees an interview with Superman, who had just sent General Zod to the Phantom Zone, he gets an idea. Bruce Wayne attends the retirement gala for Commissioner Gordon and while he is there, he is questioned by Dick Grayson, one of the orphans performing at the ceremony, on how to get adopted. When he sees Barbara Gordon, the new Commissioner, Bruce becomes infatuated and absent-mindedly agrees to adopt Dick. During her speech, Barbara begins telling people that they relied on Batman to stop crime but Gotham is still the most crime-ridden city in the world so she has a plan to take some of Batman’s idea’s and use them in the police force to make them more effective at stopping crime so that they won’t need Batman anymore. Bruce is upset at hearing that but suddenly, Joker and the other villains crash the gala. Bruce slips away and changes into Batman, then builds a robot suit to take on the Joker, getting in the way of Barbara as she starts to lead an assault on the villains, but Joker surprises both of them when he surrenders, and captures the other villains as well. The citizens celebrate the end of crime but Batman, not knowing what to do with his life now, spends days keeping watch on Joker in Arkham. Barbara tries talking to Batman, saying she knows he is up to something as well and that they should work together to stop him, but Batman says Joker is to dangerous to allow free and decides to send Joker into the Phantom Zone. When Batman returns to the Batcave, he finds that Alfred has locked him out of the computer and tells him that he needs to spend time raising his adopted son, which Batman had completely forgotten about. Alfred then allows Dick into the Batcave and he is shocked to learn that Batman lives underneath Wayne Manor. Batman regains access to the computer but finds he is too big to reach the Phantom Zone projector but when he realizes that Dick will fit, he decides to take him with him and allows him to wear one of his old costumes. Batman and Dick make their way to the Fortress of Solitude and Batman plans on distracting Superman while Robin sneaks in and grabs the projector. As Robin sneaks inside, Batman rings the door and when Superman answers it, Batman discovers that they were holding the Justice League Anniversary Party without him. As all of the other heroes are busy having fun, Batman sneaks away and guides Robin through the defenses so he can steal the projector. They then head to Arkham but Barbara catches them as they try to sneak the projector into the asylum. Batman and Robin fight off the guards and make their way to Joker’s cell, where Batman uses the projector on Joker to send him to the Phantom Zone. As Batman celebrates, Barbara locks him and Robin in the cells and says Batman probably gave Joker exactly what he wanted. Inside the Phantom Zone, Joker is met by Phyllis, the Phantom Zone’s warden, who tells him where the other villains are. Joker convinces the other villains to help him but they asks how he is going to get them out of there. Back in Gotham, Harley, who was in disguise, gets the projector and releases all of the villains from the Phantom Zone, including Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, the Daleks, and the Gremlins. As the villains attack Gotham, Joker learns that Bruce Wayne is Batman and heads to the Batcave and transforms Wayne Manor into Joker Manor. Barbara releases Batman and Robin, saying they need to work together to save Gotham and, joined by Alfred, they work to build a Bat-plane and head towards the manor. Along the way, they are attacked by Gremlins and Batman tries fending them off on his own but Alfred and Robin proceed to help. When Robin and Alfred find themselves in trouble, Batman manages to save Robin but can’t save Alfred, so Barbara pilots the Bat-plane to save him. Batman comes up with a plan and they work together to take out Sauron but as they celebrate, Batman traps them inside the plane and orders the computer to take them out of the city while he continues on alone. When he reaches the Manor, he is confronted by Joker and the other villains and after Batman refuses to call Joker his greatest enemy, Joker sends him to the Phantom Zone, then grabs all of the bombs in the Batcave so they can blow up Gotham. In the Phantom Zone, Phyllis greets Batman and examines him to determine if he is a bad guy and Batman sees how he treated everyone. When he sees that Barbara, Alfred, and Dick had gone back to help him, Batman begs Phyllis to let him go back and save them and when she wavers, he asks for 24 hours to get all of the bad guys back to the Phantom Zone. Phyllis agrees and Batman is able to save his friends, then apologizes for how he acted. He admits that he was scared and says that he needs their help, and he has released the other Gotham villains, who Joker left in Arkham, to help as well. Batman gives Barbara her own suit so she can become Batgirl, and they work out a plan to defeat the Joker. Working together with Gotham’s villains, they grab the projector and start sending all of the villains to the Phantom Zone but the bombs detonate, splitting the plates underneath the city. Batman tries to get everyone to help pull the plates back together but he is unable to do so at first and Joker mocks him. Batman tells Joker that he is the reason that he puts on the suit and Joker, happy to hear Batman admit he is his greatest enemy, helps Batman save Gotham. As the city rejoices, Batman tells Robin that he has to return to the Phantom Zone and after revealing to Robin that he is really Bruce Wayne, he hugs Robin goodbye before heading towards the Phantom Zone. Batman finds himself rejected and Phyllis explains that he changed in order to save everyone, thus making him a good guy. Joker and the other Gotham villains leave and Barbara asks if they are really going to let them leave but Batman says that they will give them a 30 minute head start as the villains are no match for the 4 of them.

The Lego Batman Movie met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise’s winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny — and beautifully animated — family-friendly mayhem.” The movie referenced previous appearances of Batman in both live action and animated films and TV, which was honestly pretty funny, as well as several other film and TV franchises (mostly through their villains). The movie was a box office success, earning $310.9 million off of a $80 million budget.

This wasn’t quite what I expected but this was still a really funny movie to watch. The voice acting was really good, with Will Arnett doing a great job reprising his role as Batman, while Zach Galifianakis (Joker), Michael Cera (Robin), and Rosario Dawson (Barbara) were equally good. The story was a lot better than I thought it would be, as I honestly thought they might just do a full length version of one of the games, and did something that pretty much no other Batman movie has done before; actually give him some character development. The animation was really good and really liked how they mixture of real life and animation, mainly when Batman is watching relationship movies or when they are referencing “that weird phase in the 1966” and I personally found it hilarious that they used the Condiment King in the movie, as that was one of my favorite nonsense villains from the Animated Series. A fun, silly movie to watch no matter how old you are.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

 

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adventure, horror, kaiju movie, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 13th, 2017 Movie – Rodan

rodanFor me, there is no better way to start the day than by watching a Toho kaiju movie. Now today’s movie was always one of my favorite Toho monster movies as a kid. Like many kids, I was a bit of a dinosaur nut and here was this movie about a giant Pteranodon attacking a city. Of course, being a Toho monster meant that Rodan would find it’s way into the Godzilla series, which gave me even more chances to see him. So let’s go ahead and watch Toho’s resident high flyer in action as I watch today’s movie, Rodan.

The plot: In the mining town of Kitamatsu, the miners are preparing for the morning shift in the mine when a fight breaks out between two workers, Goro and Yoshizo, but it is quickly broken up and the men head down into the shaft. A short time later, a call comes in to the headquarters that part of the mine has flooded and Shigeru Kawamura, one of the mine’s safety engineers, quickly heads to the mine to investigate. When Shigeru gets down to where the workers are, he learns that Goro and Yoshizo are missing so he leads a group down to try and find them as well as figure out where the water came from. The group eventually come across the body of Yoshizo and quickly take him back to the surface and take him to the doctor’s office, where the doctor says he was killed by a sharp object. Some of the men believe Goro killed Yoshizo, as he has not been seen since the flood, but Shigeru tells them not to jump to conclusions until the police have finished investigating. As they leave the doctor’s office, Shigeru sees his fiance Kiyo waiting for him and she asks if the rumors about Goro, her brother, are true but he tells her to have faith in Goro. Later, two workers and a police officer are standing at the water’s edge of the tunnel to see if Goro comes out when they hear a splash in the water. Heading into the water to investigate, they hear a strange noise followed by more splashing when suddenly, the worker in front starts screaming as he is dragged underwater. The police officer fires his pistol at their attacker but he too is dragged under and killed, while the second worker is killed while trying to to radio for help. After the bodies have been recovered, the doctors say that the men were killed by the same weapon that killed Yoshizo but they have no idea what could have done it. That night, Shigeru is trying to comfort Kiyo after Yoshizo’s wife yells at her for Yoshizo’s death when they are attacked by a giant insect. They quickly run and Shigeru calls for help and when the police get there, they see the creature and start firing at it but their bullets seem to have no effect as the insect charges at them. With more officers and people coming to help, they soon track the insect to the top of a hill but it manages to kill two police officers before making it’s way back to the mine. Heading into the mine, the police bring some machine guns to use on the insect but even the machine guns have no effect so they are forced to retreat back towards the surface. Shigeru releases the mine cart and crashes it into the insect, killing it, but as they are moving the debris from the crash, a second insect appears. The police begin firing at it but it has no effect when a cave in suddenly occurs, killing the insect and trapping Shigeru inside the mine. Dr. Kashiwagi examine the body of the insect and say it looks like a giant prehistoric dragonfly larvae called Meganulon. Suddenly, a tremor occurs and they learn an earthquake occurred somewhere between the mine and the nearby volcano, Mt. Aso. As the scientist go to examine the site of the earthquake, they see Shigeru stumbling around in the newly formed crater. Taking Shigeru back to the village, they find that he is in a state of shock, causing him to become mute and giving him temporary amnesia. As Kiyo cares for Shigeru, Kashiwagi and the other doctors try to work with him in regaining his memory but to no avail. Meanwhile, a JSDF plane reports to it’s base about an unknown object traveling through the air at supersonic speeds. The pilot is ordered to investigate but as he gets close, the object suddenly reverses course and destroys the plane with a supersonic attack. As the JSDF examines the wreckage and pilot’s remains, they learn of another plane being attacked by the object. As reports come in of the object flying over the area, from Beijing to Manila, the news reports feel like it is impossible for the object to be in different places so close apart and theorize that there are two of them. A Honeymooning couple heads to Mt. Aso to take some pictures when they are attacked by the flying object. As the police examine the items left behind, they develop the pictures from their camera and see a strange wing in one of the frames. Izeki, a newspaper reporter, takes the picture to Kashiwagi to look at, and he and his assistants say it resembles the wing of a Pteranodon. Meanwhile, Kiyo shows Shigeru some bird eggs that are starting to hatch and he regains his memory of what happened inside the cave. Speaking with Kashiwagi, Shigeru tells them that he saw a giant egg hatch and a giant baby Pteranodon was eating the Meganulon that were inside the chamber before flying off. Shigeru leads Kashigawi and some other men to the chamber where the egg was and they find a piece of the egg shell but are forced to run when another cave in occurs. After examining the shell fragment, Kashiwagi is able to estimate how large the egg was theorizes that nuclear testing possibly lead to the giant size and wakening of the creature, which they are calling Rodan. Heading towards Mt. Aso, the group see Rodan appear at the base of the volcano and the police chief sends one of his men to report what is going on but Rodan takes off and uses it’s sonic boom to destroy the jeep. the JSDF mobilizes some planes to attack Rodan but their weapons have no effect and it heads towards Fukuoka. Landing in the city, Rodan begins destroying the city and the JSDF mobilizes tanks and rocket launchers to combat the giant monster but to no avail. As Rodan uses it’s wings to generate powerful gusts of wind that destroy buildings and push the JSDF vehicles away, a second Rodan appears and begins flying over the city before both Rodans leave the city and head back to Mt. Aso. Using a helicopter to examine Mt. Aso and finding the Rodans’ nest, the JSDF plan on bombing the mountain and causing a cave-in that will trap the monsters inside the mountain. One of the geologists says that their plan will cause Mt. Aso to erupt and the commander says that will work to their advantage, believing the lava will kill the monsters. The JSDF evacuate the area, then begin firing at the volcano in an attempt to bury the monsters. The Rodan’s are able to escape but when the Mt. Aso proceeds to erupt, one of the Rodans is overcome by the fumes and ends up falling to the ground, where it is set on fire by the lava. As Shigeru, Kiyo, Kashiwagi, and the others watch, the second Rodan descends to the ground and lands near it’s dying mate, then catches on fire as well and the assembled people watch as both monsters are consumed by fire and die.

Rodan met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics seemed to enjoy the movie but did feel the plot was a bit tedious. This was the first Toho kaiju movie to be filmed in color, though Toho’s first color film was released earlier in the year. Like many other of Toho’s kaiju movies, Rodan found a large audience outside of Japan, especially in the US, though there were changes made just like the other kaiju movies that were shown in the US.

This was always my favorite non-Godzilla Showa era kaiju movie. The acting was pretty good, with a good mix of drama in the early going followed by the usual panic/antics that occur during a kaiju movie. The plot was decent, though it was a bit disappointing because Rodan didn’t really show up until almost 2/3 of the way through the movie, while the first 30 minutes was focused on the Meganulon. The Rodan suit was actually pretty incredible and it is a shame that this suit wasn’t used in the Godzilla series, where we wound up with a googly eyed monster in the later films. A fun movie to watch and enjoy, even if you are not a kaiju fan.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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June 12th, 2017 Movie – Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace From Outer Space

rocky jones menace from outer space

I hope this is the last one of these Rocky Jones movies in these box sets I own. I honestly don’t know If i can stand to see another movie made up from old TV episodes. Anyways, I got lucky in regards to this movie because it is on the same disk as yesterday’s movie, so I didn’t have to waste time hunting down which disk it is on. Now some of you may be wondering why these last two movies are titled “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” while the previous movies from the series were not. Well, that is how they were listed on the box set so that is how they were listed in my list. But enough rambling, time to get on with today’s movie, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Menace From Outer Space.

The plot: On Earth, Professor Newton is observing a meteor that is approaching Earth when Vena Ray and Bobby show up at the observatory. When they view it on the video screen, Newton grows suspicious as he hears a humming noise coming from the meteor and after taking a closer look with the telescope, he realizes it is a rocket. Newton contacts Secretary Drake and informs him of the rocket’s approach and when it crashes close to the observatory, Newton heads out to see if he can find any clues to the rocket’s origins and says he will report back. Drake contacts Rocky Jones, who is out on patrol, and has him return to Earth but as Rocky and Winky head back, they see another Rocket flying by. Meeting at Space Rangers Headquarters, Newton explains to everyone that the rocket was comprised of crystal and Vena says that tracking the rocket’s path indicated that it came from Fornax, one of Jupiter’s moons. Rocky and Winky plan to fly to Fornax to investigate. Secretary Drake gets a hold of the Tibet Observatory and tells them not to say anything about a rocket, only that a meteor had hit, but one of the Rangers, Griff, plans to find a way to make a profit off of what is on Fornax and knocks out his companion before leaving to deal with Rocky. Back At Headquarters, Rocky has his rocket prepared to make the trip to Fornax but as they blast off, the thrust causes them to black out and they almost crash but Rocky is able to regain consciousness and right the rocket. Continuing on their journey, Vena notices another rocket nearby but when they try to contact them, the other rocket doesn’t answer. Realizing that it is probably Griff, Rocky manages to maneuver behind him and fires a rocket into Griff’s rocket’s exhaust, crippling the rocket and allowing Rocky and his crew to continue on their journey but the move has cost them a lot of fuel. Explaining the fuel situation to everyone, Rocky lists their choices and everyone chooses to press on so they continue towards Fornax but as they attempt to land, the moon’s heavier gravitational pull causes them to use up the last of their fuel to prevent their crashing onto the surface. After making sure the atmosphere is ok to breathe, they head to a nearby pyramid, where they are greeted by Zoravak, the ruler of Fornax. As Rocky and the others greet him, they are surprised to find Professor Cardos there and he explains that he crashed there 8 years ago. As they all speak with Zoravak and Cardos, Rocky pulls Newton aside and questions him about Cardos and Newton admits that there were rumors of a murder before he disappeared. Newton, Vena, and Bobby head inside the pyramid while Rocky and Winky stay behind to check out the ship but secretly, they use their view screen to observe them all. Everything seems ok but when Zoravak and Cardos leave the group, Rocky and Winky overhear them arguing about another plan. Cardos has apparently been lying to Zoravak about the Earth and wants to attack and conquer it but Zoravak, having met with Rocky and the others, is doubting the truth of Cardos’ claims. When the two men enter a room that the viewscreen can’t penetrate properly, Rocky and Winky sneak in and learn what Cardos’ plans are. They try to sneak away and tell Zoravak the truth but they are captured. Bobby pleads with Zoravak that they are not enemies and Zoravak decides the only way to learn the truth is to travel to Earth with Rocky and Winky, while Newton, Vena, and Bobby will remain behind as hostages. Rocky agrees and working with the Fornax engineers, they are able to convert their fuel source to work with the rockets. Rocky takes the rocket for a test drive and the rocket takes off perfectly but due to equipment failure, he is unable to communicate with them until he lands. After the ship is repaired, Rocky, Winky, and Zoravak head to Earth but before they leave, Rocky warns Newton to keep an eye on Cardos. Meanwhile, Griff ends up close to Ophecius and contacts Darganto, who brings his ship down and allows Griff to meet with Cleolanta. After Griff explains the situation, Darganto believes they can lay a claim on Fornax before the United Worlds, then use their missiles to attack Earth and force their surrender. Back on Fornax, Cardos makes plans to overthrow Zoravak’s wife, Vonsoon, and continue attacking the Earth but he is overheard by Bobby and Zoroavak’s daughter Volaca, and they tell Vonsoon and the others. Vonsoon heads to the lab and has Cardos arrested but as they leave the lab, they see the Orphecian rocket land and demands that they surrender. When they arrive on the planet, Darganto and Griff work with Cardos and prepare to fire more missiles at the Earth, this time armed with warheads, and take the crystals to be used to improve the Orphecian rockets. On Earth, Rocky and the others get word of a rocket heading towards them and Rocky, Winky, and Zoravak head out and destroy the rocket, then head back to Fornax. Meanwhile, Bobby and Volaca manage to sneak out and make contact with Rocky and tell him what is going on. Rocky has Bobby try to learn what he can and report back to him but Bobby is captured so Volaca ends up telling him instead. Using what Volaca told him, Rocky is able to surprise Darganto, Griff, and Cardos and take them prisoner, where they will be subjected to the respective authorities for their crimes. As Rocky and the others prepare to leave Fornax, Bobby says goodbye to Volaca and Zoravak tells Bobby to let Rocky know that if they ever need help, he will be happy to help them.

Ok, this was probably the best “movie” out of the bunch regarding this series. The acting was ok for the most part and even though I thought he was annoying in every other movie, Bobby (played by Robert Lyden) was actually not that bad in this one and wound up being a rather integral part to the climax. The story was pretty good, adding a lot of drama into the mixture of the struggle over Fornax and it’s fate in the galaxy. The special effects were the same as all the others, which look pretty cheap and laughable now. I am still not a real fan of the series but at least this one was worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, tv episodes

June 11th, 2017 Movie – Rocky Jones Space Ranger: Crash Of The Moons

rocky jones crash of the moons

Once again, we have a couple of episodes from an old TV show that have been turned into a movie. I’m sorry, but there are times where I fell like Hollywood studios just try to do anything in order to make some money without having to do anything original. Now I have a couple of movies that were taken from episodes of the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger TV show from another box set and they have been laughable bad, but not necessarily in a good way. Let’s see how this one goes as I watch today’s movie, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash Of The Moons.

The plot: On the planet Ophecius, Secretary Drake from the Office of Space Affairs, Rocky Jones, and his co-pilot Winky are meeting with Queen Cleolanta to try and convince her to join the United Worlds but Cleolanta refuses to join and threatens to destroy their ships if they don’t leave her planet. As they head back to Space Station OW9, they receive a surprise call from their navigator Vena Ray, as well as their friends Professor Newton and Bobby, who are on the space station. Newton explains that the gypsy moons Negato and Posita,  a pair of free roaming satellites connected by an atmosphere chain, will be passing by the area, and since the space station will fall between the two moons as they pass, they plan to use the event to communicate with their friends on one of the moons. Rocky quickly signs off and heads into the navigation room with Secretary Drake, where he tells Drake that the space station will be destroyed when it passes through the atmosphere, as it was never designed to operate inside an atmosphere. Rocky contacts the space station and tells them to recall the transport rocket that had just left so they can evacuate but they have no luck. Meanwhile, on Posita, the leader Bavarro and his wife Potonda are concerned about their newborn son, as he seems to be frightened for some reason but they can’t figure out why. Meanwhile, Rocky and Winky pilot their ship towards the station, hoping to make it there in time to evacuate everyone. As the moons pass by, the space station is buffeted by the atmosphere, but Rocky arrives and, after having them drop the magnetic shields, docks his ship in one of the landing berths and then has Winky fire the rockets, pushing the station out of the atmosphere. Rejoining their friends on the station, Rocky and Winky meet with Professor Newton, who is working on trying to plot a course the gypsy moons will take, worrying that they might end up crashing into a planet or something and causing mass damage. As they head to the gypsy moons, Newton discovers that the moons course will cause Posita to collide with Ophecius. When they reach Posita, Rocky contacts their friends Bavarro and informs them of the bad news. Bavarro is upset over the news and declares that his moon will not be destroyed but Rocky says there is nothing to be done. They then make plans for Bavarro and Secretary Drake to head to Negato and arrange for the people of Posita to be evacuated to Negato, while Newton, Vena, and Bobby stay on Posita to try and help out. Rocky and Winky head off towards Ophecius in the hopes that Cleolanta will listen to their warnings and evacuate their people. Failing that, the hope to reach the Ophecian underground, who want to join the United Worlds. Trinka, the wife of Atlasan, one of Cleolanta’s soldiers, has a secret space phone and hears Rocky’s warning and tries to tell Atlasan to listen to Rocky but he refuses and arrests her as a traitor. Atlasan takes Trinka to Cleolanta, who questions her about the underground but Trinka says she is not a traitor and she must listen to Rocky Jones. When Cleolanta orders Atlasan to fire on Rocky’s ship as he attempts to land, Trinka grabs his gun and threatens to kill Cleolanta unless they allow Rocky to land. Rocky and Winky land safely and manage to surprise Cleolanta’s guards, then force them to lead them to Cleolanta. Rocky tries to explain to Cleolanta the danger her world faces and tells her the United Worlds will help her find a new world to evacuate to but instead, Cleolanta tricks Rocky and Winky and uses sleeping gas to render them unconscious. After Cleolanta’s lieutenants confirm what Rocky was saying, Atlasan says that they can fire missiles at Posita that, even if they don’t destroy the moon, should be able to knock it off course and spare Ophecius. Cleolanta agrees to the plan but instead of allowing Posita time to evacuate, she orders Atlasan to destroy the moon further away from Ophecius, citing self preservation as a reason. Atlasan heads to the prison room that Trinka is being kept and tells her what he is doing but after he leaves, she goes and frees Rocky and Winky. After dealing with the guards, Rocky and Winky take Trinka with them to intercept Atlasan and Cleolanta. As they head towards Posita, Rocky tries contacting the moon and warning them but as he speaks with Bobby, they are cut off as Atlasan begins firing missiles at the planet. Rocky fires a missile to cripple Atlasan’s ship then contact him and threaten to destroy the ship if he doesn’t stop. Trinka pleads with Atlasan to stop firing and Atlasan succeeds in subduing Cleolanta and radios Rocky and Trinka that no more missiles will be fired. Rocky and the others land on Posita and after making sure everyone is ok, they tow Atlasan’s ship to the surface. On Posita, Cleolanta argues with Secretary Drake about the fate of Ophecius and Rocky says that he will travel with Atlasan and Cleolanta and fire the missiles at Posita once it is fully evacuated to see if they can save Ophecius but ships should be on standby to evacuate Ophecius if it fails. Cleolanta agrees but when the missiles fail to deviate Posita’s course and they have to evacuate Ophecius, Cleolanta feels like this is a trick to get rid of the Ophecian people. Rocky and Atlasan pilot the ship to Ophecius and Cleolanta demands to exit the ship first in order to speak with her people. When she leaves the ship, a group of soldiers rush the ladder and try to commandeer the ship but Trinka is able to calm the group down. After they receive word from Vena and Secretary Drake, the evacuation proceeds but Cleolanta refuses to leave Ophecius, choosing to die with her planet, but Atlasan picks her up and carries her onto Rocky’s ship. As they watch Posita and Ophecius, Cleolanta is upset at the loss of her planet but after hearing Bavarro talk about the people being what makes a country, she apologizes to Rocky for her actions.

Nope, this movie has not changed my opinion of the TV show because this movie is so predictable and boring just like the others. The acting was ok, though incredible stiff and wooden most of the time. The only good thing is that there were not a lot of scenes involving Bobby, so I didn’t have to deal with his annoying little self. The story was actually decent and I feel like it is something that has been used in other sci-fi media, in some form or another. The special effects were a lot of the usual stock footage and cheap blue screen effort that you would expect to see. If you were a fan of the TV show, I could see wanting to watch this but otherwise, I would avoid it.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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June 3rd, 2017 Movie – Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

robin hood prince of thieves

Out of curiosity, did anyone else get a little sick of hearing Bryan Adams back when this movie came out. Nothing against Bryan Adams but that song was all over the freakin radio back then. So this was one of the biggest action movies to come out of 1991 and the first time I saw it, I fell asleep during it. This doesn’t mean that I thought the movie was boring, I was just super tired and has been up for several days at a time (which I had a bad habit of doing back then). Anyways, I received a VHS copy for Christmas the year it came out and then I eventually decided to get it on DVD a couple of years ago. However, the DVD I got was the extended edition, with some extra footage that focused on the Sheriff and Mortianna’s relationship. So let’s see if the new scenes damage the movie any as I watch Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

The plot: In 1194 A.D., during the Third Crusade led by King Richard, Robin of Locksley and his friend Peter Dubois are both held prisoner in Jerusalem. When Peter is accused of stealing bread, the guards plan on cutting off his hand but Robin insists on taking the punishment himself due to Peter being too weak to handle the trauma. As the guards tie a strap to Robin’s wrist and prepare to cut off his hand, Robin yanks on the strap so that the guard holding him has his hand cut off instead. Robin and Peter kill their executioners and try to free the other prisoners but the only one they are able to free is a Moor named Azeem, who promises to show them a way out. Azeem leads them out through the sewers but a sentry sees them as they exit onto the street and fires an arrow at them, mortally wounding Peter. Peter gives Robin his ring and says to give it to his sister Marian, then makes Robin swear to protect her in his absence, then grabs the scimitar from Azeem and takes on the approaching guards, allowing Robin and Azeem to hide. As the two men quickly eat some food from a nearby shop, Robin offers his thanks and prepares to head back to England and Azeem says that he must travel with Robin, as he now owes a life debt to him. In England, Robin’s father, Lord Locksely, is writing a letter to a friend to see if he has any word of Robin when a man enters the castle and says that his daughter was taken by men on horses. Though his servant, Duncan, tries to stop him, Lord Locksley rides out to rescue the girl, only to find that the man betrayed him as he is surrounded by men in white robes and masks. The leader removes his mask to reveal the face of the Sheriff of Nottingham, who asks Lord Locksley to join him but when he refuses, he has Locksley killed. Some time later, Robin and Azeem arrive on the shores of England and Robin has one of the men on the boat try to attack Azeem in order to cancel the debt but Azeem easily dispatches the man and continues traveling with Robin. As they head towards Robin’s home, Robin notices some men chasing a small boy into the tree and ends up fighting the men and defeating them and their leader, the Guy of Gisborne. After the fight, Robin yells at Azeem, who had not helped Robin as he was in the midst of doing his afternoon prayers, before he questions the boy on the truth of Gisborne’s accusations. Gisborne heads to Nottingham Castle and informs the Sheriff of Robin’s return but the Sheriff does not seem too concerned. When a bell starts ringing in his chamber, the Sheriff leaves and heads down to the lower levels of the castle, where the witch Mortianna lives. Mortianna proceeds to read the runes to predict the Sheriff’s future and tells him that Robin’s arrival proceeds the arrival of King Richard, which would ruin the Sheriff’s plans. Suddenly, Mortianna cries out and says she has seen their deaths, telling the Sheriff that he must kill Robin and Azeem before they kill them. Robin returns to Locksley Castle to find it in ruins and his father left to hang in a cage. When he sees Duncan, he is shocked to find that Duncan’s eyes were put out and that Robin’s father was accused of devil worshiping and allegedly signed a letter of confession in front of the bishop. After burying his father, Robin swears to avenge his death and clear his name, then heads to Peter’s home. When they arrive there, Robin asks to speak to Marian and is allowed inside but unarmed and alone. When he gets to the dining hall, Marian greets him but scoffs at his offer of protection, saying Robin was nothing more than a bully as a child, and has a masked guard draw a sword on him in order to escort him out. Robin and the guard start to fight and as Azeem breaks down the door to help Robin, Robin discovers that the guard is the real Marian. Later, Robin gives Marian Peter’s ring and tells her of his oath but she believes it is merely him making boyish promises in order to alleviate his guilt. When Azeem calls out for him, Robin climbs onto the wall he is sitting on and Azeem hands Robin the spyglass he just made. When Robin looks through it, he sees Gisborne and some soldiers approaching and he and Azeem are forced to steal some of Marian’s horses in order to escape, with Marian yelling at them for doing so in order to appear unfriendly towards them. Robin, Azeem, and Duncan hide in Sherwood Forest, using the stories about the woods being cursed and haunted in order to keep Gisborne and his men from following them. As they make their way through the woods, they are ambushed by a band of outlaws led by a man named John Little. John tells Robin that he can cross in exchange for the medallion Robin is wearing and when Robin refuses, the two fight with staffs for it. John is able to get the best of Robin at first but Robin sneaks up behind him and manages to knock John into the water, where he can’t swim, and John is forced to yield, then offers Robin and his companions to stay the night at their camp. At their camp, Robin makes friends with John and the others but one of the outlaws, Will Scarlett, expresses a fierce hostility towards Robin. The next day, Robin disguises himself and sneaks into Nottingham Castle to attend mass and after the service, speaks with Marian. She tells him that the Sheriff has put a bounty on his head and warns that the Sheriff is making an army but doesn’t know for what purpose. Robin then sneaks into the Bishop of Hereford’s chambers to speak with the Bishop about his father. Meanwhile, the Sheriff is speaking to Marian about Robin stealing her horses and says she should move within the castle walls for her own protection. Marian refuses so the Sheriff hands her a dagger to use as protection and Marian thanks him and says her cousin, King Richard, will reward him for keeping her safe. In the Bishop’s chambers, Robin doesn’t believe the Bishop’s story about his father and goes to leave, only to open the door and see the Sheriff and Gisborne about to enter. Robin quickly slashes the Sheriff’s cheek and shuts the door, then cuts the rope on a chandelier in order to escape out an upper window, with the Sheriff yelling threats at him below. Robin then proceeds to steal the Sheriff’s horse and a bag of bread and rides back to Sherwood Forest, where Will Scarlett and John chastise him for stirring up trouble. Back at Nottingham, the Sheriff orders Gisborne to attack the outlying farms and force the people to turn on Robin and bring him in for the reward. When the angry villagers approach the camp, Will threatens to turn him in for the reward and a pardon but Robin says that the Sheriff will never honor it and hang them as well. As Robin walks away, Will pulls out a knife to throw at him but Wulf, John’s son, shouts out a warning and Robin manages to shoot Will in the hand with an arrow. As Will runs off, Robin speaks with the villagers and tells them that they can learn to fight back against the Sheriff and his men, using the forest to provide food and shelter for them. The villagers begin making weapons and lodgings and Robin and Azeem both work on training them all in how to fight. They then begin robbing the rich barons who ride from London to Nottingham, as Sherwood forest is the only route for them to take. They also stop the Sheriff’s men from harming or stealing from the villagers, giving them the money that they steal from the Sheriff. The Sheriff tries raising the bounty on Robin but his scribe tells him it will do no good as the poor love him, which drives the Sheriff into a rage. During one of the raids, Gisborne is leading a convoy through the woods when he spots two of the outlaws nearby. As Gisborne and some of his men ride off after them, the two outlaws are able to escape by using concealed hiding places. Meanwhile, Robin and the others ambush the remaining guards and hijack the carriage with the treasure, as well as a cart driven by Friar Tuck, then hide all of the bodies, so that when Gisborne returns, there is no sign the convoy was ever there. As Robin opens the chest, he remarks that it is blood money and they should find out what it is for, just as Tuck regains consciousness. When Robin asks him to share some of the beer he is carrying, Tuck attacks him and tries to ride off but is knocked off the cart. Robin forces Tuck to help pull the cart to their camp, then speaks again to Tuck and asks him to join them and Tuck, feeling humbled by what happened, accepts his offer. Some time later, Marian and her servant, Sarah, are riding through the forest when they are set upon by two of Robin’s men and after easily defeating the two men, Marian demands they be taken to Robin. The two men lead her to where Robin was bathing, and then Robin escorts Marian to the camp, showing her how they are managing to survive. As he shows her the gold they stole, Marian thinks he is trying to brag but Robin tells her it is blood money intended to pay off King Richard’s enemies. Later that night, as Robin and Marian continue to talk, they see Wulf running towards John and tell him that Fanny, John’s wife, is dying. Robin and Marian rush to the tent, where Azeem and Tuck are already there, and Azeem, after examining the pregnant Fanny, tells her the baby has turned and can’t be born without help. Tuck tries telling them not to listen to Azeem, as he has been hostile to him due to his being a Moor, but Robin says that they should let Azeem try to help her and John agrees. Azeem has Marian gather some supplies for him and as she runs off and with Robin and Marian assisting him, Azeem is able to safely deliver the baby. As John shows his new son to the crowd, Tuck apologizes to Azeem for his disrespect and offers his friendship to the man. As people begin dancing in celebration, Will approaches Marian and asks her to dance but Robin says she is spoken for and grabs her into the approaching dancing line. The next morning, Robin leads Marian and Sarah to a different way out of the camp and asks Marian for two favors; to take Duncan with her as he worries about his safety, though he tells Duncan that he wants him to go with Marian for her safety. For his second favor, Robin asks Marian to try and get word to King Richard and let him know of the Sheriff’s plans and she says she won’t do this for Richard, but she will for him, then kisses him quickly before boarding a boat and heading back to her home. Meanwhile, the Sheriff is speaking with Mortianna about losing the money he was going to pay the barons and asks her adivse. Mortianna says that he should hire the Celts to defeat Robin and the Sheriff seems pleased at the idea of using them as mercenaries, then Mortianna suddenly suggests marrying Marian in order to produce an heir to Richard’s throne. Meanwhile, Marian writes a letter to King Richard and then gives it to the Bishop to deliver to Richard in Paris. Though the Bishop tries to dissuade her, Marian insists on having Sarah accompany the messenger but as they are riding through the forest, the messenger knocks Sarah unconscious. Later that night, the Sheriff’s men attack Marian’s home and take her away and Duncan manages to get away and ride off to get tell Robin, unaware that he is being followed. When Duncan reaches the camp, he manages to tell Robin what happened just before he dies but before Robin can grieve, a warning cry is sounded as they see a Celt army on the hill. The Sheriff tells the Celt’s leader that he needs prisoners and the Celts attack but Robin and the outlaws are able to drive them off. As they start to cheer, they see the Sheriff’s men armed with flaming arrows and catapults, and the second wave suddenly attacks. Many of the outlaws are killed while others are captured, including Will and Wulf. Robin manages to rescue Fanny and her baby when they are trapped in their tree house but as he tries to escape himself, the rope he is on catches fire and snaps, dropping him into the fires below. That night, the Sheriff approaches the captive Marian and reveals that the Bishop is working for him and that Robin is dead, handing her his family medallion as proof before blackmailing her into agreeing to marry him by threatening to kill the captured children. The Sheriff then heads to the dungeon and asks the captured outlaws of any news concerning Robin and Will says he will kill Robin for him and the Sheriff agrees to let him go, though has him lashed to keep up appearances. Robin, Azeem, Tuck, John, Bull, and Fanny are burying the dead when Will suddenly appears in the woods. John assaults him, accusing him of being a traitor but stops as he sees the lash marks on his stomach. Will tells them that the Sheriff plans to hang their men in the square as entertainment for his wedding to Marian. Robin suspects Will was to use this information to try and kill him and asks Will what he plans to do and Will says it depends on Robin. Will then admits that he is Robin’s half brother and blames Robin for ruining his life but found himself believing in Robin’s crusade against the Sheriff. Shocked into silence, Robin embraces Will and says he will stand by his side and the others agree with him. Meanwhile, the Sheriff is celebrating his upcoming wedding when he discovers Mortianna’s spy holes and confronts her about being a fraud but Mortianna says that she is actually his mother and had killed a baby and substituted him for the dead baby so that he would grow up and be able to fulfill her desire to have her bloodline on the throne. Robin and the others manage to sneak into the castle and take their positions but as the prisoners are being led out, Wulf sees Will in the crowd and attacks him and as the Sheriff asks what is going on, he sees Will and orders him strung up as well. Robin plans on going ahead with their plan but the barrel of black powder that was placed by the hangman’s galley is moved and Will is tied to it in order to be beheaded. As the executions start, Wulf is the first one to be hung but Robin manages to fire an arrow and sever the rope. The Sheriff orders the hangman to continue the executions but Azeem, Robin, and John manage to save the men. As everyone starts to leave, Robin sees Marian being taken away by the Sheriff and he goes after her. Seeing this, Azeem yells out to the crowd and inspires them to rise up with Robin against the Sheriff. Finding their way barred by the gate, Robin and Azeem use a catapult to launch themselves over the wall so they can chase after the Sheriff. Meanwhile, the Sheriff enters the chapel and orders the Bishop to marry him and Marian, with Mortianna doing her best to ensure it proceeds. Robin and Azeem try to break through the door but when they don’t have any luck, Robin tells Azeem to keep trying and he heads up to the roof, then swings down through a window into the room just as the ceremony finishes. The Bishop hastily retreats as Robin and the Sheriff begin fighting while outside, Mortianna attacks Azeem and injures him but he manages to stab her with a spear and she runs off. Tuck catches the Bishop in his chamber and accuses him of selling his soul and when the Bishop asks if he will strike a fellow man of the cloth, Tuck says he won’t, then proceeds to load the Bishop with several containers of gold before pushing him out the window. Robin and the Sheriff continue fighting and the Sheriff gets the upper hand but when he taunts Marian about killing Robin, Robin stabs the Sheriff with the dagger he had given Marian. As the Sheriff falls dead, Robin starts to approach Marian when Mortianna suddenly appears and rushes at Robin with the spear but Azeem finally breaks through the door and throws his scimitar at Mortianna, killing her and telling Robin that he has fulfilled his vow. Later, Tuck is presiding over the marriage of Robin and Marian when King Richard interrupts them, saying he cannot let the wedding commence unless he can give away the bride. Richard thanks Robin for saving his throne then tells Tuck to commence and Robin and Marian kiss after they are wed.

Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, several critics praised the fight scenes and visual appeal of locations, while others criticized the story and acting, primarily Kevin Costner and his lack of an English accent during the film. Cary Elwes was offers the role of Robin Hood but he turned it down because he thought the plot was too contrived, which makes his playing Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men In Tights that much funnier. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves was a box office hit, earning $390.5 million off of a $48 million budget, making it the 2nd highest grossing movie of 1991 behind T2: Judgement Day.

This is pretty much exactly what you expect to see out of a big budget blockbuster; a lot of action and excitement but a little weak on the plot. The acting was ok, with Morgan Freeman (Azeem) and Alan Rickman (Sheriff) doing fantastic jobs. Several of the other actors also did good jobs, such as Michael Wincott (Gisborne) and Michael McShane (Tuck), and while they did good jobs themselves, I did think it was a little sad that Kevin Costner (Robin) and Christian Slater (Will) didn’t really try to do a British accent. The plot of the movie covered the basic story of Robin Hood but I honestly thought that they could have done a bit better and gone in depth with some of the character development in the story. The action scenes were definitely great and very well coordinated, with the battle against the Celts being very well done. A little lacking as far as plot, but definitely one of the great action movies to come out of the 90’s.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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