action, comic book, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: April 4th, 2014 Movie – The Dark Knight Rises

the dark knight rises

So how do you top The Dark Knight. I mean, that is almost comic movie perfection there and it will definitely be a hard task. Well, Christopher Nolan gave it his best shot when he made the third movie in his trilogy. Now when I first started hearing about this movie, the main thing people were talking about was that the main villain would be Bane. Last time we saw him int he movies, he was a joke of a character in the tragic Batman & Robin, so it was obvious that any attempt of rebooting the character would be an improvement. Anyways, Bane’s involvement got me interested but I didn’t get around to actually seeing the movie when it first came out, waiting several months before finally getting around to seeing it. Now, let’s see how well this trilogy ended as I watch The Dark Knight Rises.

The plot: 8 years after the death of Harvey Dent, a CIA agent is at a small airfield in Uzbekistan awaiting an oncoming jeep. When the jeep stops, he greets Dr. Pavel and has him get inside but stops when the military men in the jeep bring out three bound and hooded prisoners. The agent says they don’t have orders for them but when the officer says that they work for Bane, he phones it in to his superiors and agrees to bring them with him. As the plane is leaving the country, the agent opens the back door and tries questioning them about Bane only for it to be revealed that Bane is actually one of the prisoners. As the agent questions Bane, Another plane flies over his and Bane’s men jump out and begin attacking the smaller plane. Attaching cables to the smaller plane, the larger plane is able to take control of it and Bane and his men are able to capture Dr. Pavel, substituting a fake body to die in his stead, and make their escape as the smaller plane crashes. In Gotham City, Mayor Anthony Garcia is giving a speech for the annual Harvey Dent Celebration, which is being held at Wayne Manor. He introduces Commissioner Gordon, who has written a speech detailing what really happened with Dent and Batman, as well as his resignation, but he decides the city is not ready to hear it. As some of the guests wonder about whether Bruce Wayne will make an appearance at the event, rumors swirl as to why he has become a recluse the last several years. Alfred instructs Selena Kyle, one of the waitresses for the event, to take a tray of food to the east drawing room, then he goes and tells Miranda Tate, who had been developing a fusion reactor for Wayne Enterprises before Wayne cancelled the project. , that Wayne won’t see her. John Daggett, a business rival of Wayne’s, asks her why she insists on trying to see him when he failed to develop her idea but she says he wouldn’t understand her interest. Meanwhile, Selina is looking around the drawing room when she encounters Bruce, who comments on the pearl necklace she is wearing and how it looks like the one his mother used to have, which is in the safe that now seems to be open. Selina mock apologizes, then kicks the cane out of Bruce’s hand, causing him to fall, and she jumps out the window, catching a ride in Congressman Bryon Gilley’s car. Later that night, Officer John Blake finds Gordon on the roof of the station and tells him that Gilley’s wife called saying he hasn’t come home yet, then asks him about the night Batman supposedly killed Dent. Meanwhile, Bruce examines the safe and notices that it had been dusted for prints and the next day, Alfred finds him in the Batcave looking up information about Selina. Alfred admonishes Bruce for not moving on with his life but Bruce is interested in why Selina wanted to steal his fingerprints. Elsewhere, Blake arrives at the scene of a dead body and realizes that he recognizes the kid as one of the kids from the orphanage he grew up in. Heading over there, he learns that the orphanage doesn’t have the resources it once did since the Wayne Foundation stopped donating money. He then talks to the victim’s brother to find out why he was down there and the boy says that there is talk of work being down there. That night, Selina takes Gilley with her as she meets with Phillip Stryver, Daggett’s assistant/vice president and the man who hired her to get the prints. Selina hands him the sheet with 4 of the prints but threatens to kill her instead of giving her what she wanted in exchange. Selina has him text her partner, who brings the last print, and after she leaves, Stryver motions to have her killed but Selina informs him points out Gilley and says that the phone he had used was his. The police arrive and a shoot out occurs and Selina is able to escape in the confusion. As more police arrive, the men head into the sewers and Gordon leads 3 men down there after them but the men are killed in an explosion while Gordon is captured. Blake wants to go in after Gordon but Peter Foley, Gordon’s second in command, ignores him and instead tries to get things organized so they can come up with a plan, but Blake has a feeling he knows where Gordon might end up and leaves the scene. In the sewers, Gordon is taken to where Bane is hiding, and he kills one of the men that brought him there for panicking. He orders the other man to search Gordon and he finds the speech and hands it to Bane. As Bane reads the speech, Gordon rolls down into the rushing water and is carried away, but is wounded as Bane’s men shoot at him. Bane orders his men to find him, placing a tracker in the other man who brought Gordon there, then shoots him and shoves him into the water so his men can follow him and find Gordon but Gordon is found by Blake, who went to where the kid was found earlier, and manages to get him to the hospital. The next day, Blake goes to see Bruce and tells him about Gordon being shot, as well as the fact that he knows Bruce was Batman and about Wayne Enterprises no longer funding orphanages and Bruce decided to head in the town to find out some information for himself. Getting a doctor’s appointment at the same hospital Gordon is in, Bruce get’s his own injuries checked on, then sneaks down to Gordon’s room, wearing a ski mask to disguise himself. Gordon tells him about Bane and then laments about how the better life the city has without organized crime was built on such a fragile lie. Bruce then goes to see Lucius and asks him about the stopped donations to the orphanages and Lucius tells him that the donations were tied into the companies projects and since he had sunk all of the money into the reactor but then cancelled it, there was no more money for anything else to be researched. He then invites Bruce to look at some of the other items he has consolidated from various warehouses, as he didn’t want them getting into the wrong hands, and Bruce is amazed by the Bat, a flying craft designed for maneuvering among city skyscrapers but Lucius tells him the auto pilot doesn’t work. That night, Bruce follows Selina to a charity ball, where he ends up being confronted by Miranda about the reactor and he apologizes to her but tells her it was too dangerous as it could easily be weaponized. He then heads down to dance with Selina and the two banter about why she stole his prints before he takes the pearls back from her but she kisses him and steals the keys to his Lamborghini. Bruce heads back to the Batcave and, using a motorized knee brace to help him walk, he prepares to go out into the city again but Alfred warns him about Bane, saying that he was a member of the League of Shadows before he was excommunicated form the group and worries Bruce won’t be able to beat him. The next day, Bane and his men attack the Gotham Stock Exchange and use their online services to make a trade, then take some hostages and head out, using a wireless router attached to a tablet to continue having the program work. As the police give chase, Batman suddenly appears on the Batcycle and takes down two of the crooks. Hearing that Batman showed up, Foley orders all of the cops to ignore the robbers and focus on Batman, much to Blake’s dismay. Meanwhile, Bane and the last crook separate and Bane is able to get away, as Batman continues after the other crook as he still has a hostage. After catching him, he checks the bag the man is carrying and finds that whatever program they had running has finished it’s work but before he can examine it further, the police show up and he is forced to flee from them, making his getaway in the Bat. Meanwhile, Daggett had been watching the news and when Bane contacts him to say that the mission was successful despite Batman’s interference, he decides to celebrate. Heading into his private office, he is confronted by Selina, in her cat burglar outfit that has earned her the nickname of Catwoman, and she asks him about the Clean Slate program that she was promised. When Daggett’s men try to stop her, she takes Daggett hostage and jumps out the window onto a window washer platform. Using it to head to the roof, she asks him again about the program but Daggett tells her that the program doesn’t exist. When Bane’s men suddenly appear on the roof, Selina tells them to stay Back but Batman appears and say they don’t care, then helps her fight them off, stopping Selina when she tries to shoot one of them. When some of the men begin firing at them, Batman and Selina escape in the Bat and he drops her off on a roof top away from Daggett’s office. As she goes to leave, he asks her what she did with Bruce Wayne’s prints and she tells him she sold him to Daggett but doesn’t know what he wanted them for, although he was interested in what happened at the stock exchange. When Batman returns to the Batcave, Alfred chastises him for doing what he did, warning him that he is no match for Bane but Bruce ignores him, focusing on the tablet he collected. He is able to determine that they were using his fingerprints to make some sort of trades and asks Alfred to take it to Lucius to find out what they were. Alfred says he will do this but won’t help any further, and as they argue, Alfred tells him about Rachel’s letter stating that she was going to marry Harvey before quitting. The next morning, Lucius goes to see Bruce and tells him that according to the papers, he traded all of his shares on the futures market and lost everything, essentially making him broke and allowing Daggett the chance to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Bruce is worried about Applied Sciences but Lucius assures him it is off the books and untouchable but everything else isn’t and Bruce reluctantly agrees with Lucius to let Miranda know about the reactor. Lucius takes Miranda to the docks, where a secret chamber underneath the water contains the fully functional reactor. Bruce explains that when Pavel first figured out this type of reactor could be weaponized, he had claimed problems in it’s development but secretly hid it there, where it could be flooded if necessary. While Pavel may be dead, someone else could find a way to turn it into a weapon and he didn’t want to take that risk but now, he would rather trust her and let her use her discretion in whether or not to reveal the reactor to the world than let Daggett get his hands on it. After Lucius and Miranda head to the board meeting, Bruce shows up to attend but Daggett says that since he lost his shares he doesn’t belong there and Lucius reluctantly agrees with him and tells Bruce he has to leave. Bruce heads outside to find his car being repossessed and Blake shows up and offers him a ride so he can escape the reporters. Some time later, Daggett returns to his office, upset at discovering that Miranda had been named CEO of Wayne Enterprises instead of him, and when he sees Bane, he blames him for his failure but Bane says everything is going as planned, then proceeds to kill Daggett. Back in Blake’s car, Blake asks Bruce about why he wore a mask, as he had no family that would be in danger, and Bruce tells him that there is always someone you care about that could be hurt. He asks Blake about how the search for Bane is going and he says not too good, as Foley doesn’t seem too interested in fully searching the sewers. Bruce has Blake drop him off at Selina’s place and he talks to her about what Daggett had offered her, telling her his “friend” can get it for in exchange with a meeting. Meanwhile, Blake heads to Gordon’s hospital room and informs him and Foley about Daggett’s death and how he had signed on for numerous sewer construction jobs and Gordon promotes Blake to work for him and has Foley organize a grid search of the sewers. Bruce returns to Wayne Manor and finds Miranda waiting for them and after talking for a while, they end up sleeping together and afterwards, Miranda suggests they just leave but Bruce says he can’t. That night, Batman meets with Catwoman and says he can offer her the Clean Slate program if she takes him to Bane. Catwoman leads him through the sewers to Bane, which is actually a trap and she apologizes for it. As Bane confronts Batman, he reveals he knows his true identity, which shocks Catwoman, and the two proceed to fight but Bane overpowers Batman, saying that he will finish Ra’s al Ghul’s plans of destroying Gotham. He then shows Batman that his lair is directly underneath the Applied Sciences department, allowing him access to all of the weapons Lucius designed, then breaks Batman’s back. Catwoman leaves and attempts to escape the city but she is caught by Blake, who questions her about Bane and whether or not Bruce is alive and she says she doesn’t know. Bane has Bruce taken to the prison that he lived in and lives him there, saying he wants to break Bruce’s soul and after Gotham is destroyed, he will then come back and kill him. Back in Gotham, Miranda and Lucius are arguing over whether or not Miranda should tell the board about the reactor but when they enter the board room, they find Bane and his men waiting for them. Bane kidnaps Lucius, Miranda, and another board member and takes them into the sewers, where his men have blasted a tunnel to the reactor, then forces them to turn it on so Pavel can weaponize it. When he is done, Bane has his men remove the core and Pavel says if he does that, the core will decay and it will explode in a matter of months, to which Bane says “5 by my calculations”. Foley goes to see Gordon and tells him about Bane and Gordon tells him to send every available cop they can spare into the sewers to flush them out, labeling it a training exercise so they can avoid a panic, while telling Blake to keep checking on the Daggett angle. As Blake keeps checking various sites, he recognizes a cement truck driver as being the same on that was blocking a street at the stock exchange. and realizes that he is working for Bane but when another worker tries to attack him, he ends up killing both of them. Contacting Gordon and reporting what he has found, he realizes that Daggett’s crews were mixing explosives into the concrete for all the jobs they worked and the police were walking into a trap. As the mayor is attending a football game in the city, Bane detonates the explosives, trapping all of the cops underneath the city, as well as killing the mayor in his suite at the stadium, causing destruction all across the city, and collapsing all but one of the bridges out of the city. Bane then steps out onto the remains of the field and addresses the crowd, and the audience watching, including Bruce in the prison, and shows them the bomb and Pavel, whom he kills after confirming that he is the only person capable of disarming the bomb. Bane then blackmails the government into keeping out of the city but sending the necessary supplies into it, telling the army that if one person escapes, they will detonate the bomb. Bane then heads to Blackgate prison and reads Gordon’s speech, where Gordon admits that Batman took the fall for Harvey’s crimes, when he had been driven mad by the Joker and killed several people and almost killed Gordon’s son. When Blake hears that, he asks Gordon if it is true and Gordon admits it but tries to rationalize the reason for the lie but Blake doesn’t seem to buy it. Bane then uses the tumblers he stole from Lucius and proceeds to free all of the prisoners from Blackgate and initiates a new order, where everyone is free to do as they please and the criminals end up taking control as Bane places the bomb in a truck and has it constantly moved through the city in order to keep the US Government from interfering with what happens in the city. In the prison, Bruce tries to do a push up but collapses in pain and the former prison doctor, who is himself a prisoner now, tells him his back must be fixed first. Bruce’s cellmate, uses some rope to hoist him up and as he does so, he tells him about the one person to escape from the prison. A child who was born inside the prison, whose parents were a mercenary and the regional warlord’s daughter who had secretly wed, and Bruce believes this was Bane. One Bruce is hoisted up, his cellmate realigns the protruding vertebra in his back and leaves him hanging until he is able to stand on his own. While he is hanging there, Bruce has a vision of Ra’s al Ghul and he realizes that Ra’s was the mercenary and Bane is his child. Once his back is healed so he can walk again, Bruce works on rebuilding his strength and eventually tries to climb out of the prison but fails. Meanwhile, as the month’s have passed in the city, Blake has worked on siphoning off gas and gives it to the father that ran the orphanage, telling him it was just in case they had a chance to escape. Meanwhile, a special forces team, under the guise of delivering supplies, makes it into Gotham and meets with Gordon and what few police officers remain on the surface. As they discuss the situation, Blake tells them that he has been in contact with his partner, who is buried in the sewers, and the men down there are ready to fight once the rubble is cleared from the sewers. Gordon then tells them that the bomb is in one of 3 trucks that gets moved around but the truck’s routes themselves don’t vary much. The captain wants to wait but Gordon says that isn’t an option, then has Blake take the captain and the two men with him to see Lucius and Miranda, who are in another building. Lucius explains about the core deteriorating and that it will explode in 23 days. The captain asks if they can disarm it and Lucius tells him that he could reconnect it to the reactor and stabilize it. The special forces team goes to leave but they are attacked by Bane’s men and killed and left hanging on one of the bridges as a warning to anyone else attempting to stop them. Seeing the bodies hanging on the TV, Bruce gets angry and attempts to climb out again but fails. As he continues building his strength, the prison doctor tells him that he needs to use fear to motivate him to succeed in the climb, telling him to make the climb without the rope. Bruce takes his advise and manages to successfully climb out, and after reaching the top, tosses a rope down for the other prisoners before he heads off to find a way back to Gotham. In Gotham, Gordon tries to rally what men he has left on the surface, as there is now only 18 hours left till the bomb explodes, but when he sees that Foley is missing, he goes to his house to confront him. Miranda offers to help him and he and some men go to tag the truck that is carrying the bomb but are captured after they do so. They are brought before Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, who acts as a sentencing judge and sentences them to death by exile, where they will be forced to walk across the frozen ice, though nobody has made it to shore yet but Bane has Miranda pulled from the group. Meanwhile, Selina encounters Bruce Wayne and is shocked to see him still alive. Bruce offers her the Clean Slate, realizing she wanted it to give herself a fresh start, and asks that she help him get to Lucius Fox. Selina does so by having Bruce captured and taken to where Bane is keeping Lucius, Miranda, and some other people. Bruce asks how much time they have and Lucius tells him about 12 hours but before they can say anything else, Catwoman enters and says Bane wants to speak with Bruce and Lucius. As the guards are escorting them out of the main prison area, Catwoman knocks out the guards then frees Lucius and Bruce before leaving. Bruce and Lucius head to Bruce’s former lair at the docks and as Bruce gets some supplies and a new Batsuit from there, Lucius tells him that he figured the trigger for the bomb must be a microwave transmitter and he could block it with an item from the Bat, so Bruce takes him to where he left it and the remove the necessary part. That night, Gordon and his men are forced out onto the ice but as they get close to a bridge post, Gordon sees a flare on the ice, just as the guards are suddenly rendered unconscious. When he hears a voice saying light it, Gordon smiles as he lights the flare and drops it, where it ignites a fuel trail up the post and forms a giant bat symbol on the bridge. Batman approaches him and asks where Miranda is and Gordon tells him that Bane is holding her at City Hall. Batman hands Gordon the device to block the transmitter, telling him to get it on the truck with the bomb so it can’t be detonated, and prepare for the war that is to come. Meanwhile, Blake heads to the sewer where his partner and lifts the manhole, then helps his partner out but his partner is quickly shot as Bane’s men show up, then drop a grenade down the manhole to disperse or kill the cops below. The question Blake about who he is, then prepare to kill him but Batman shows up and saves him. Telling him again about why the mask is for protecting others, not himself, Batman then helps Blake clear the debris from the tunnel, freeing the police. He then tells Blake to lead an exodus out of the city in case he fails in stopping the bomb. Batman then takes Catwoman to where he stored the Batcycle and asks her to blow a hole in the tunnel so people can escape, then help him deal with Bane and his men but she says she will blow the tunnel but then leave and tries to convince him to come with him, saying he doesn’t owe the people anything and has already given them everything he could. In the morning, Foley joins the newly freed cops and the march on city hall and as Bane’s men prepares to open fire on them, the Bat flies down and disables the Tumblers, causing a cheer to erupt from the police as they surge forward. Hearing the sounds of battle, Catwoman blows a hole in the tunnel to let people escape but she pauses as she decides what she should do. Meanwhile, Blake is helping the father get the kids on the bus, while having some of the older kids go knock on the doors and spread the words to people to escape either over the bridge or through the tunnel. Elsewhere, Gordon and some men move to place the jammer on the truck with the bomb but the truck they think has the bomb is a cecoy so they are forced to look for the other trucks, with Gordon eventually leaping onto the right truck. At City Hall, the fighting continues and Bane and Batman end up facing each other, with Batman eventually getting the upper hand when he disables Bane’s mask. As they make their way into City Hall. Bane sees Miranda and after dealing with her guard, tells her to watch the door while he asks Bane where the trigger is. Bane asks how Batman escaped the prison, Batman tells him that he climbed out just like he did but Bane tells him that he never escaped the prison and Miranda comes up behind Batman and says she did, just before stabbing him. As Batman looks on in shock, she explains her name is Talia and she was the one to escape, while Bane was her protector inside the prison. After escaping, she found her father, who freed the prison and saved Bane but he had already been disfigured and Ra’s eventually kicked him out of the League as he was a constant reminder of his dead wife. Miranda goes to use the trigger, finishing her father’s work while getting revenge on Batman for killing him but Gordon was able to get the device on the core, preventing her from detonating it. Miranda then leaves with Bane’s men in the Tumblers to safeguard the core and ensure it detonates, shooting through the cops as they leave, killing Foley in the process. After she leaves, Bane moves to kill Batman but he is saved when Catwoman uses the Batcycle to shoot Bane. Meanwhile, Blake leads an exodus of people across the bridge and tries to convince the police and national guard on the other side to let them out before the bomb explodes but the police blow the bridge, trapping them in the city and Blake yells out at them that they just killed them. Batman and Catwoman work on steering the truck towards the reactor, taking out the Tumbler’s that were guarding it. Miranda had gotten into the tuck and tells the driver to keep going but Batman fires on the truck and it ends up crashing. Gordon emerges from the back and heads towards the cab only to find a dying Miranda, who had activated the reactor’s failsafe and flooded the reactor chamber, nearly killing Lucius in the process. Batman grabs a cable and hooks the core to the Bat and prepares to fly it out of there and Catwoman kisses him when she realizes that there isn’t an autopilot so he is sacrificing himself to save everyone. Gordon approaches him before he leaves and says he never needed to know his name but asks if the city should know who there hero is. Batman responds that a hero can be anyone, even someone who simply puts a coat on a young boy’s shoulders and comforts them and as he flies off, Gordon thinks back and realizes that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Batman flies the bomb out of the city and Blake and the children watch him fly past and cheer only to grow quiet as the bomb goes off out over the bay. A private funeral is held for Bruce, with only Gordon, Lucius, Blake, and Alfred attending and after the three men leave, Alfred goes up to the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne and apologizes for failing them. According to Bruce’s will, all of his belongings are sold to account for any remaining debts and the rest is to go to Alfred. Wayne Manor is given to the city, under the condition that it never be destroyed and that it become the new home for at risk children and orphans. A statue is erected to honor Batman for saving the city and Lucius has recovered the Bat and tries to figure out what he could have done to save Bruce but his technicians tell him that the auto pilot had been fixed 6 months ago by Bruce Wayne. Gordon goes back to the police station but as he is looking at some files on the roof, he notices a new Batsignal on the roof. Blake was left a bag in Bruce’s will, under his legal name of Robin, and inside, he finds a note with some GPS coordinates. When he follows them, he finds himself inside the Batcave and realizes that Batman had left him his legacy. Alfred heads to a cafe in Florence that he visits every year and as he orders his drink and looks around, he sees Bruce sitting at a table with Selina and he nods to Alfred, indicating that Alfred got his wish and that Bruce is finally happy.

The Dark Knight Rises met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan’s franchise in spectacular fashion.” At one point, director Christopher Nolan had considered using a combination of deleted scenes from The Dark Knight and CGI in order to have the Joker appear briefly in the movie but ultimately decided against it, feeling it would be disrespectful to Heath Ledger’s memory, as he died after The Dark Knight was completed but before the movie was released. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $1.085 billion off of a $250 million budget, making it not just the highest grossing installment in the Batman franchise, but the highest grossing movie based off of a DC Comic’s property to date.

While it didn’t quite beat out it’s predecessor, this was still a great movie to watch. The acting was good, with the returning characters doing great jobs with their roles. Tom Hardy made for a very good Bane and did a decent job showcasing Bane’s intelligence, but I admit the voice was somewhat annoying. I thought that Anne Hathaway made a great Selina Kyle, really bringing to light her quick wit as well as her self preservation attitude though she does occasionally act against her nature and help others, though usually when it serves her own purpose. I thought that Marion Cotillard was an interesting take on Talia al Ghul while Joseph Gordon-Levitt was equally interesting as Blake. The story was interesting, reminding me a lot of the “No Man’s Land” story line from the comics, in the fact that Gotham was cut off from the rest of the country, in the comics it was due to an earthquake that devastated the city and in the movie, by Bane and his men cutting off the city and holding a nuclear bomb inside it. Of course, there was also the Knightfall arc, where Bane broke Batman’s back and Batman’s subsequent journey back and recovery. I thought they did a good job with everything except for one aspect of the ending. Now, I didn’t have a problem with Bruce faking his death and I thought that his showing up in Florence when Alfred takes his yearly vacation was actually a nice way of revealing to Alfred that he was right and it was time for him to move on and showing that he had. No, the problem I had was the rather cheap bit with Blake’s character, when he went to get the bag that Bruce had left him and the clerk commented on his real name being Robin. That was honestly completely unnecessary and merely a cheap pop at comic book fans to be like “Look, this guy is going to be Robin”. The special effects and fight scenes were very well done and I have to give props to Hans Zimmer as the music throughout the whole trilogy was incredible and whose score with this was as good, if not better, than what he had in The Dark Knight and excellently helped accent the mood of the scenes. A great movie and a good way to end a trilogy of films.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

June 16th, 2018 Movie – Xtinction: Predator X (a.k.a. Alligator X)

xtinction predator x

Wow, when you get to these last couple of letters in the alphabet, they seem to just fly by. So today’s movie is the only movie I own starting with the letter “X” that does not involve the X-men. Obviously, I need to do something to rectify that, and there are a few movies that I have intended to pick up at some point, but for now, this will have to do. Anyways, I first saw this movie on Netflix a couple of years ago and thought it was pretty interesting. I then saw it again, only with a different title. This lead to a bit of confusion when I tried to pick this movie on DVD. Still, I thought it was worth picking up so I found it and that leads us to today’s movie, Xtinction: Predator X.

The plot: In the Louisiana bayou, two deputies pull their boat up to a floating dock and find the severed arm of a man named Lefty. The radio in to Sheriff Tim Richards to tell him what they found and he says that Pappy, along with three other people, have gone missing and they should keep looking. Suddenly, the dock is jostled and as the deputy on the dock tries to see what hit it, he notices his partner is missing. Seeing his hat in the water, he goes to retrieve it only to have something attack him and drag him into the water. Elsewhere, Pappy’s daughter Laura has returned home and is attempting to run Pappy’s swamp tour business only to learn that he is in debt and owes the bank money. When she sees her ex husband Dr. Charles LeBlanc approaching the dock, she grabs a shotgun and tells him to leave, as she feels he is stalking her. Charles tells her that he didn’t even know she was there and had come back to town himself to buy up some of the swamp land for his own research, giving up his teaching career to do so. Charles gets some water samples from near her dock and leaves, running into Tim as he does and they confront each other about Tim’s feelings towards Laura. After Charles leaves, Tim goes to talk to Laura and tells her that there is no sign of Pappy still. They then talk about Charles, and Laura mentions his work in attempting to bring back extinct animals but he was denied the funding for it. Suddenly, Tim gets a call from his brother Henry, who is also a deputy, saying he found something and Tim heads out to see for himself. When he gets there, Henry shows him Lefty’s arm and they wonder what could have ripped his arm off like that. Back on the dock, Froggy, Pappy’s mechanic/employee is working on the tour boat and telling Laura that everything should be ok and Pappy will turn up sooner or later when they are approached by a young man, Tom, asking if he and his girlfriend Mandy can go on a tour. Froggy starts to tell them no but when Tom offers cash, saying he wants to propose to Mandy before he ships out the next day, Laura agrees to take them out, deciding she can look for Pappy at the same time. As they make their way on the tour, Tom asks to go to Pappy’s special spot and Laura tries to head there but she is unfamiliar with the swamp after being gone for several years. Suddenly, the boat is struck by a pliosaurus, which swims off undetected, and they are forced to head to shore so Laura can work on the engine. As she works on the engine, Tom goes ahead and proposes to Mandy and when Laura goes to congratulate them, they notice the shirt that she pulled from the engine is covered in blood. Suddenly, they hear screaming coming from the woods and Laura heads out to investigate. She soon sees Barry and Larry Boudreaux leading a tied up man with a sack covering his face towards the water and after Barry drops a sensor into the water, Larry takes off the sack and pushes the man in. The pliosaurus, attracted by the sensor, kills the man and Laura screams as she recognizes him as Pappy, then runs back to the boat only to find the Boudreaux’s have captured her customers and knock her out. The next day, Henry calls Tim out to the scene of the wrecked police boat and Tim is shocked to see a huge tooth stuck in the wreckage. When Tim gets a call from Froggy saying that Laura never came back last night, he heads over to Pappy’s place but stops when he notices Charles’s car at the local tavern. Heading inside, he questions Charles about where he was last night, and when he last saw Laura, but Charles tells him he hasn’t seen her since she threatened him with a shotgun the day before. Meanwhile, Laura regains consciousness to find herself and Mandy tied up in the Boudreaux’s shack, with Mandy showing signs she was molested. Barry and Larry are testing some water from some containers when they notice Laura is awake and Barry taunts her some before Larry says it is feeding time. The two leave and head out to the swamp with a bound Tom and they use the sensor to summon the pliosaurus but it doesn’t show up so they decide to feed Tom to some nearby alligators instead. Meanwhile, Charles comes across the wrecked boat and speaks with Henry, who shows him the tooth, and Charles tells him it is from a pliosaurus tooth and that the creature appears to be dying based on the condition of the tooth. Elsewhere, Tim and Froggy go out on a boat to try and find Laura, Tom, and Mandy and when they reach “Pappy’s Spot” and find no sign of them, Tim tries contacting Henry only to have his signal cut out. Climbing onto the tree to get a better vantage point of the area, Tim sees a form moving underwater just before it attacks the boat, knocking Froggy into the water, who disappears from view. Back at the Boudreaux’s shack, Laura and Mandy try to come up with a plan to get free when the Boudreaux’s return, saying the police are on their way. Henry shows up, having decided to follow up on something Charles said earlier and Laura shouts out for help and Henry heads inside only to be knocked out by Charles. As Laura questions why he is there and realizes he is working with the Boudreauxs, Charles is upset to learn that they killed Pappy and ends up knocking Laura out when she won’t stop yelling at him. Taking the Boudreauxs outside, Charles talks to them about their killing Pappy but the Boudreauxs tell him that they found that Pappy’s land has the necessary nutrients in the water that the pliosaurus needs, but Pappy wouldn’t sell the land. Charles decides to force Laura to sign, threatening Henry’s life if she doesn’t. Meanwhile, Laura regains consciousness and her and Mandy try to free themselves from their restraints and manage to get Mandy free before Charles and the Boudreauxs return. Charles tells the Boudreauxs to grab Laura and Henry and as the grab her, Laura mouths for Mandy to get help. Laura and Henry are led to the swamp and Charles explains his plan to Laura, then forces her to sign over Pappy’s land. Laura agrees and Charles leaves to go build a nest for the pliosaurus on Pappy’s land, leaving the Boudreauxs to deal with Laura, Henry, and Mandy. Barry goes to grab Laura and throw her into the water when Mandy gets their attention by blowing up the Boudreaux’s cabin. Laura uses the distraction to stab Larry in the eye with the pen and as he stumbles in pain, the pliosaurus lunges forwards and kills him. Laura, Henry, and MAndy run for it but Barry, enraged at his brother’s death, fires a shot from his shotgun and hits Henry in the leg. Laura and Mandy help Henry and they head to Laura’s boat only to see the pliosaurus destroy it so they quickly hide to avoid being spotted by Barry. The next day, Henry dies from blood loss and Laura and Mandy try to find some help but when they spot some fishermen and call out to them, the pliosaurus attacks their boat and kills them. Meanwhile, Charles contacts Barry to find out why the pliosaurus isn’t heading towards the nest he built and learns about Laura and Mandy’s escape. The eventually locate a cabin and go try to see if someone is there to help them only for Mandy to get caught by Barry. Elsewhere, Tim, still stuck in the tree, decides to risk swimming to shore and makes his way towards the Boudreaux’s cabin, only to find Henry’s truck there. Finding no sign of Henry, he gets on the radio to contact the state troopers to get some back up when he hears Laura’s screams and goes looking for her. Laura, hearing Tim call out for her, runs into Froggy only to learn that he was working with Charles and Barry. Froggy contacts Charles, who tells him to bring Laura and Mandy to him and Froggy leads Laura to the cabin, where they get Barry and Mandy but as Laura and Mandy are forced into Froggy’s truck, the Froggy kills Barry under Charles’s orders. As they are driving to meet Charles, Froggy reveals that he is Laura’s half-brother and he is working for Charles due to his resentment at how Papy treated him. Meanwhile, Tim locates Henry’s body then sees Froggy’s truck approaching and moves to shoot him but quickly jumps out of the way, causing Froggy to crash into a nearby shed. Tim helps Laura and Mandy out of the truck and tries to save Froggy but Froggy is impaled by some debris and tells Tim to save himself just before the truck and shack explodes. Realizing they still have to stop Charles, the three head to the marina where they see the nest and Charles’s sensor. Tim goes to shoot the sensor but Charles grabs Mandy and forces him to drop his gun. As the pliosaurus arrives, Charles throws Mandy in the water but Laura and Tim attack him, knocking him in the water, where the pliosaurus kills him while Laura is able to help Mandy to shore. Suddenly, the pliosaurus leaps out of the water and tries to attack them but a bundle of dynamite is tossed into the air, which the pliosaurus swallows, then explodes, killing it. Laura is shocked to see her mother, Lefty, still alive and she explains that after the pliosaurus had bit off her arm, she had gone to get some more dynamite to kill it. As the authorities arrive, Laura approaches Mandy and offers her condolences for what happened and the two hug before she heads off in the ambulance to get checked out. Laura and Tim talk about her staying in town and possibly starting a romance while in the swamp, the pliosaurus’s eggs, which nobody realized it had laid, begin hatching and the baby pliosaurus start swimming around in the water.

This was a pretty decent movie, though I wish some of the CGI was a little better. The acting was decent, with Mark Sheppard (Charles) and Lochlyn Munro (Tim) doing good jobs in their roles but I honestly felt like Elena Lyons was too annoying. I did think Ricky Wayne was great as Barry and wish he had more of a role in the movie than he did. The story was interesting but I think they could have done a better job trying to explain things than do it somewhat piecemeal like they did. I also think the whole Froggy revealing that Pappy was his father was entirely unnecessary and didn’t serve any real purpose. The CGI with the pliosaurus wasn’t as good as I had hoped, even with it being a B movie, as there were several instances where it really just looked out of place in the scenes instead of appearing more naturally. Not something to go out of your way to watch but it is a decent way to kill 90 minutes.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, thriller

May 30th, 2018 Movie – Wild Geese II

wild geese II

Well, my wonderful ability to not keep my list updated strikes again. Granted, with as many movies as I have, it is somewhat to be expected that a few might slip through the cracks but it is still annoying every time I catch my mistake. Anyways, there is a funny story behind today’s movie. See, several years ago, I was hanging out with some friends, like we do, and somehow we got on the subject of Ninja Cheerleaders, and how George Takei reportedly wishes he had never made the movie. Well, that led to my friend Chad mentioning today’s movie, and how Patrick Stewart had gotten involved in it and regretted it. Chad had mentioned trying to find that movie so he could watch it but was unable and I was pretty much like, “Give me 5 minutes” and sure enough, I found a copy for relatively cheap and went ahead and bought it. The question remains, was it worth buying? Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Wild Geese II.

The plot: In 1982 London, Robert McCann is arguing on the phone with Michael Lucas about their plans for Rudolph Hess, a Nazi war criminal being held in Spandau Prison. Lucas feels they are moving too fast but McCann is insisting they move forward, as Hess’s old age is a concern and Hess knows enough secrets to bring down dozens of political figures and he wants that information for his news network. Lucas has asked Alex Faulkner, a former British soldier and mercenary, to come in for a meeting, where he and his sister Kathy explain that they want him to break Hess out of Spandau Prison. Faulkner thinks they are joking but when they insist they are serious, Faulkner refuses but says he knows a man named John Haddad might be crazy enough to give it a try. Kathy meets with Haddad and explains what they want him to do and Haddad agrees to the job but is surprised to hear that Kathy will also be heading to East Berlin to serve as his contact/liaison. Haddad heads to West Berlin, where security is told to let him through as the secret police will keep tabs on him, and starts getting information on the prison by posing as a jogger jogging around it. After meeting with Kathy, Haddad poses as a construction worker and makes his way inside the prison grounds to look around, where he sees Hess walking along a secluded path inside the prison grounds. As Haddad is leaving the prison, he is picked up by Karl Stroebling, and East German spy, and his men, who proceed to question him as to why he is in the city. When Haddad refuses to answer, they place a plastic bag over his head and suffocate him to try and get him to talk. When Haddad continues to refuse to answer, Stroebling says they plan on turning Haddid over to some people they have worked with that would like to kill him, Haddad manages to get free from the men holding him and dive out of the car, avoiding being shot by Stroebling’s men in the process. As he recovers in a hospital, Haddad is visited by British Colonel Reed-Henry, who questions Haddad about what happened to him. Reed-Henry shows him pictures of Stroebling and his crew, asking if they were the ones who attacked him, but Haddad claims he doesn’t remember who it was. After checking out of the hospital, Haddad meets up with Kathy, who is concerned about his safety. Haddad says he wants to bring in a friend to help watch his back but when Kathy learns he intends to contact Faulkner, she tells Haddad that Faulkner was their first choice for the assignment but he turned them down, recommending Haddad in his stead. Haddad decides to try anyways and heads to Bavaria to rest for a few days, with Kathy going along saying that it will be easier for them to leave by posing as a couple. While in Bavaria, Haddad and Kathy start getting closer and eventually end up having sex. When Faulkner finishes an assassination contract he is hired to do, he heads to Bavaria to meet with Haddad, interrupting Haddad and Kathy during their lovemaking. The three return to Berlin and shortly afterwards, Haddad is contacted by Reed-Henry, who offers to help him free Hess. When Haddad asks why, Reed-Henry says that Hess’s being kept there allows the Russians to have some of there troops stationed there, and he doesn’t want that. After observing the military convoy that takes Hess to the military hospital for his monthly check-up, Haddad returns to his hotel only to have Faulkner, who is staying across the street, inform him of two men watching Haddad’s hotel. Haddad recognizes them as Stroebling’s men and he works out a plan with Faulkner to ambush them. Heading out to a courtyard, they kill three of Stroebling’s men, then Haddad approaches the 4th, telling him to deliver a message to Stroebling, scarring his cheek to show he is serious. Haddad meets with Reed-Henry and works out a deal to hand Hess over to them after they break him out of prison. Haddad then meets with Stroebling, telling him that he will hand Hess over to him in exchange for free run of Berlin and he lift the price that the Palestinians have placed on his head and Stroebling agrees. Returning to the hotel, Haddad meets with Sgt. Major James Murphy, a former warden of Spandau, who agrees to help train Haddad’s men to act like British MP’s, as well as help them get in the prison and escape with Hess. Haddad then meets with Pierre, a stunt driver, to arrange a traffic accident that will knock Hess’s ambulance on it’s side while it is on it’s way to the hospital. Suddenly, Faulkner warns them to take cover as he deals with two assassins and later, Haddad contacts Stroebling and tells him that their deal is off. Stroebling kidnaps Kathy and asks for Faulkner’s life in exchange but when Haddad refuses, he forces Haddad to take one of his men, Hourigan, as part of his crew. Haddad brings in two Lebanese mercenaries that he worked with, Joseph and Jamil, and Michael comes in as well and Haddad introduces everyone to each other and begins making the plans. Murphy starts training Hourigan, Joseph, and Jamil to act like British MP’s while Haddad and Faulkner discuss Hourigan’s attempting to drug Faulkner and sneaking out. Michael is getting anxious about everything, wanting to go rescue Kathy but Haddad tells him to trust him but Michael starts getting impatient. Haddad speaks with a friend of Pierre’s, who can help arrange transportation out of the city and a fake body to use as a decoy. When Faulkner suffers from a bout of malaria, Hourigan uses the opportunity to slip Faulkner some LSD and then slip out during the confusion but when he returns, Haddad assaults him and warns him not to do anything else or he will kill him. The next day, Murphy finishes training everyone but when Hourigan taunts Murphy, Murphy ends up killing him. Haddad tells Michael not to worry as he comes up with a new plan to rescue Kathy, by offering Michael as a second hostage and having him help in the plan. Michael sets off an explosive in his coat while Faulkner and Haddad attack the guards but Michael is killed struggling with one of the guards. After getting Kathy and sending her and Faulkner out of there, Haddad goes to rendezvous with Jospeh and Jamil while Pierre and his friend ready their plans. When the convoy reaches the assigned spot, Pierre drives out and slams into it, knocking it on it’s side but he is killed when another car in the convoy slams into him. Haddad, Joseph, and Jamil work quickly to switch Hess’s body with the decoy, then drive off. Haddad heads to a junkyard to meet with Stroebling, quickly ducking out of sight and having Joseph make the exchange. When Stroebling appears, Joseph tells him to drive the jeep and put on the uniforms and tells him where Haddad is keeping Hess and Stroebling gives him the address where Michael and Kathy are being kept, not knowing that they have already been rescued. When Stroebling and his men arrive at the place, they are gunned down by Reed-Henry, who had been tricked by Haddad into killing Stroebling. Meanwhile, Haddad and the others meet with Kathy and Faulkner and they act like drunken tourists that are there for a soccer match and they board a bus of other tourists and are able to make it through the border. Meanwhile, Reed-Henry kills Murphy, then heads to his superiors to inform them that Hess has escaped and his superior then kills him. Meanwhile, Haddad and his group make it onto the plane, having quietly killed a customs agent to ensure their escape, and make it to Vienna. Once there, Kathy contacts her boss to tell him that they have Hess but when she goes to speak with Hess, Hess tells her that they broke him out of prison for their own needs, not out of charity or consideration for him, and begs them to take him back to Spandau, as he doesn’t want to be part of modern society and feels more comfortable in his prison cell. Unable to persuade him to stay, Haddad, Kathy, and Faulkner take Hess to the French Embassy, where he heads him inside to turn himself in. Faulkner then heads off while Haddad and Kathy walk away hand in hand. Some time later, a newspaper article says that Hess is being returned to Spandau after being released from the hospital for an asthmatic condition, saying that the rumors of an escape attempt were unfounded.

Slow paced and honestly, a little boring. That is my best description for this movie. The acting was ok I guess but a lot of the characters felt a little too stiff and forced in some of their delivery. The story was actually interesting and did have a decent amount of suspense and intrigue going with it. The only problem is that the slow pace they set didn’t allow for any more excitement, it just felt kind of flat. Even the climax just didn’t really have me feeling any real concern for what was going to happen, which is a bad thing going into the climax. The action scenes, mainly during Kathy’s rescue and the escape attempt, were pretty good but didn’t really help with the rather bland feel for this movie. Not the worst movie I’ve ever seen but definitely one of the most boring.

Rating: 2 out of 5

action, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller, western

May 24th, 2018 Movie – Westworld


Now this is going to be a fun movie to watch, especially since it probably has a lot more name recognition with most people thanks to the show on HBO. Now way back in the video store days, I remember seeing the video case for this movie as a kid and it always seemed to draw me in. I mean, you have a robot cowboy that goes around killing people. What about that wouldn’t be interesting to a kid. I did eventually rent it and thought it was a great movie, made even better years later when I learned that Michael Crichton didn’t just write this but also directed it. So let’s introduce some people who have only watched the recent show, today’s movie, Westworld.

The plot: In the year 1983, a company called Delos offers a brand new theme park, where guests can enter three themed areas (Westworld, Medievalworld, and Romanworld) and interact with life-like robots. Peter Martin and his friend John Blaine are heading to Westworld, and Peter is asking John all sorts of questions about it, as it is his first time there and John has been there before. When the arrival at the main terminal, the board a cart to take them to their assigned world, stopping at the outfitters to get dressed in clothing from the time period. When they arrive in Westworld, Peter starts feeling silly over the whole idea but John convinces him to try and have some fun. The two head to the saloon and as they are having a drink, one of the robots starts insulting Peter, as it is programmed to instigate a fight. John convinces Peter to engage it and when Peter does, the robot challenges him to a duel and Peter manages to draw his gun first and kill it. Later, Peter wonders if  he might accidentally shoot another guest with the gun and John has him try to shoot him, then explains that there is a sensor in the gun that prevents them from firing on anything warm blooded. After having dinner at the hotel they are staying in, the pair head to the local brothel and pick up two women. As they are about to head upstairs with them, they hear a commotion outside and are told some men are robbing the bank. Peter wants to go help fend off the robbers but John tells him that it’s some other tourists that are robbing the bank. As night falls, the Delos clean up crew arrives and carries off all of the dead robots from the day’s adventures and takes them to the repair bay. In the repair shop, the chief supervisor notices an increase in malfunctions among the robots, starting in Medieval and Romanworld and has since spread to Westworld. when he mentions it is like an infectious disease, one of the scientists scoffs at the suggestion but the supervisor tells him that these are complex machines, some of which were built by computers, they don’t know exactly how they work. The next morning, the repaired gunslinger shows up at the hotel, holding John at gunpoint, but Peter manages to kill him again. Peter ends up being arrested but John helps him break out of the prison, shooting the sheriff in the process, and they ride out of town. As they lounge about in the desert outside of town, a rattlesnake approaches them and they try to shoot it and eventually kill it but not before it bites John. Peter asks if it is real but John says no, then gets upset as it shouldn’t have happened. In the control room, the chief supervisor learns of what happened and has his team go pick up the snake immediately so they can examine it. Meanwhile, in Medievalworld, one of the guests, who is acting as a king, attempts to seduce a chambermaid but is rebuffed. The supervisor has the robot brought to the repair bay and so they can examine her. The next morning, the king goes to get some breakfast but ends up being challenged by the Black Knight in the dining hall. As the two men fight, the Black Knight deviates from it’s programming and starts winning the fight, then wounds the king. In the control room, the chief supervisor yells for them to cut the knight’s power but are unable to stop it from killing the king. Meanwhile, in Westworld, Peter and John wake up, having taken part in a drunken barroom brawl the night before, and encounter the gunslinger again. Peter jokingly tells John it is his turn to deal with him and as John turns to face him, the Gunslinger shoots him. John reacts in shock to being shot just as the Gunslinger shoots again, killing him. The Gunslinger then challenges Peter, who quickly runs and grabs a horse to leave town but the Gunslinger chases after him. In the control room, the chief supervisor orders the power to be cut for the whole park, hoping to shut the robots down but the robots continue attacking guests all over the park. When they can’t restore back-up power to the room, the chief supervisor tells them to get the doors open or else they will suffocate in there, as the ventilation system isn’t operating. Back in the desert, Peter encounters a worker out in the field, who is frightened by Peter at first until he has Peter show him his hands to prove he is a guest. The worker tells him the robots are malfunctioning and Peter asks him what he can do. The worker tells him some options to destroy the robots, like acid, or wait till it runs out of power but says he doesn’t have a chance and Peter rides off, just as the Gunslinger kills the worker. Peter keeps running and eventually reaches Romanworld, where he finds a courtyard full of dead guests and robots. Making his way through the courtyard, he finds a manhole cover and moves the manhole to enter the sewer system, which is actually the service tunnels for the workers. Making his way through the tunnels, he comes across the control room but finds all of the people inside dead, as they were unable to get the doors opened before they suffocated. Meanwhile, the Gunslinger has followed Peter’s trail to Romanworld and made it’s way into the tunnels. Peter reaches the repair bay and, hearing the Gunslinger coming down the tunnel, lays on one of the tables to pretend like he is a robot needing repairs. The Gunslinger enters the room and looks around but doesn’t see Peter at first, allowing Peter to throw some acid in it’s face. Peter leaves the room, with the damaged Gunslinger following him but after firing and missing him, it is unable to shoot anymore as it’s gun has run out of power. Peter makes his way to the Medievalworld’s dining room, and attempts to avoid the Gunslinger when it follows him. As Peter ducks underneath some of the torches, he realizes that the gunslinger can’t see him, as the torches confuse it’s infrared sensors. The Gunslinger can still hear him and as he makes a slight noise, Peter grabs one of the torches and sets it on fire. Peter leaves the dining room and ,finding a woman chained to a dungeon wall, frees her and attempts to help her only to discover she is a robot as well when he accidentally shorts circuits her. As Peter backs away from her, he encounters the Gunslinger, whose body is completely charred, and it attempts to grab him one last time but ends up falling and finally short circuits due to all the damage it sustained. An exhausted Peter then sits on the dungeon steps to rest as the Delos slogan “Boy, have we got a vacation for you.” goes through his head.

Westworld met with high praise from the critics, holding an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Yul Brynner gives a memorable performance as a robotic cowboy in this amusing sci-fi/western hybrid.” While Yul Brynner’s character of the Gunslinger was iconic in it’s own right, but served as the inspiration for John Carpenter’s Michael Myers character as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of the Terminator. The movie was a box office success, earning $10 million off of a $1.25 million budget and spawned one sequel and two TV series, one in 1980 and the more recent one now airing on HBO.

This is such a great movie to watch and definitely indicative of Crichton’s theme in his writings. The acting was great, with Yul Brynner doing an amazing job as the Gunslinger and you could definitely tell how other movie characters would come to be patterned after his consistent and dogged pursuit of Peter. James Brolin (Josh) and Richard Benjamin (Peter) were also good in their roles as well, but I honestly liked Alan Oppenheimer’s performance as the chief supervisor a little better and wished that he had a bigger role. The story was great, which is not really surprising considering the writer, and I liked the theme of technology eventually turning on it’s owners, which admittedly is a common sci-fi theme but it was well written in this movie. The idea of the robots all malfunctioning and the malfunctions spreading like a virus through the park was actually a great plot line and I wish they could have gone a little deeper into that aspect but there wasn’t enough time for it. The special effects were pretty good for the most part, especially since this was the first time computer digitized images was used in a feature film (not counting computer monitor graphics), but I did think they could have done a better job with the blood, as it really just looked like red paint. The blood is honestly my only real complaint about the movie as I think that this is definitely a great movie and one that I highly recommend people watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

crime, horror, movie, movie review, thriller

May 10th, 2018 Movie – The Watcher

the watcher

You ever have those movies that really seem to come and go out of theaters in the blink of an eye. I mean, you see a trailer for it and it piques your interest but you completely miss it when it is in theaters because it disappears almost the moment it shows up. That is kind of how I feel about today’s movie. I recall seeing a trailer for it and thinking it might be worth going to see but I honestly don’t remember it being in theaters. Unfortunately, interest can be fleeting as when it ended up on video, I never got around to renting it but years later, I finally decided to pick up a copy during the dying days of Blockbuster. So let’s see whether this was worth it as I watch today’s movie, The Watcher.

The plot: In Chicago, former FBI Special Agent Joel Campbell is speaking with therapist Dr. Polly Bellman about the serial killer he failed to catch in Los Angeles, resulting in him having guilt induced migraines. After his session, Campbell returns home and lays down on his couch but wakes up some time later after having another nightmare and, after injecting himself with some medicine to deal with the migraine, heads out to get some dinner, unaware that he is being watched. When he returns home, he finds the police have one of the apartments in his building taped off and Detective Hollis Mackie briefly questions Campbell, as a girl had been murdered. The next day, Campbell is going through his mail when he finds a FedEx envelope with a picture of the murdered girl inside. After finding another FedEx envelope he had discarded that contains another picture of a different girl, he contacts Mackie, who is in the midst of a car chase, and tells him about the pictures. Campbell meets Mackie at the station, showing him the pictures of the two girls and Mackie said he wondered if the two cases were connected. Campbell tells Mackie that he spent 3 1/2 years tracking the killer, who went by the alias of David Allen Griffin in Los Angeles, where he was connected to 11 homicides, and Mackie asks what makes him think it is the same killer here in Chicago. Campbell goes to see FBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Ibby and talks to him about the matter and Ibby says that they are putting together a joint task force with the Chicago P.D. to catch the guy and offers Campbell the chance to lead it but Campbell turns it down. Meanwhile, Griffin is at a mall photo shop asking the girl working there, Ellie, about some film. He then takes a couple of pictures of Ellie, saying he wants to test the film, and asks her to develop them. That night, Griffin calls Campbell and asks him why he moved to Chicago. He then says he tried to make things work with his replacement but they didn’t have the same connection so he wants to rekindle the bond he had with Campbell. He tells him that he will send him a picture of a girl and he has until 9 the next night to find her or else she will die. When Campbell receives a card with Ellie’s picture in it, he goes to Ibby and tells him he wants in on the case and Ibby agrees. Campbell is given the lead and he starts telling the team what to do and has Mackie go talk to the press to try and get some help in identifying Ellie. As the deadline gets closer, they get a tip that she was spotted at the mall and head there to try and see if she is there, just missing her as Ellie leaves right as they get there. As they search the mall for Ellie, Campbell recognizes the nearby photoshop as being where the picture was taken and when they ask the clerk if she recognizes Ellie, she admits that she works there. Getting her phone number and address, Campbell tries calling Ellie to warn her but Griffin answers the phone, telling him it is too late. Heading to Ellie’s home, they examine the crime scene and afterwards, Campbell and Mackie are discussing the case while they eat. When Mackie complains about the restaurant, Campbell says that he eats here all the time, then whispers that Griffin might be watching them right now. Campbell sneaks out the back of the restaurant and goes around the block, then starts checking some of the cars across the street. When one of them suddenly starts up and rushes out of there, Campbell and Mackie give chase but the car manages to drive away. Some time later, Griffin is walking along the street and comes across a young girl, Jessica, begging for change and he offers to give her some money if she dances with him. The next day, Campbell goes to see Polly and as he gets in the elevator, he is joined by Griffin, though he doesn’t realize he is the killer. Griffin gets off on the same floor as Campbell and, pretending he is unsure of where he needs to go, he follows him and to learn where Campbell was going. Returning to the FBI building, Campbell and the others go over the picture of the Jessica that Griffin sent them and they begin searching for her. Meanwhile, Griffin makes an appointment with Polly and tries to learn why Campbell is seeing her. When the photo of Jessica is broadcast over the news, Jessica’s mother sees it and calls in the hotline. Based on what the mother tells him and some of the back ground imagery, Campbell deduces that the photo was taken near a coffee shop and they find a clerk that recognizes Jessica but learn that she is homeless. They start canvassing the neighborhood asking people if they have seen her and when Campbell unknowingly speaks to Jessica’s boyfriend, he runs from him and Campbell gives chase. Meanwhile, Jessica is getting ready to sleep in the abandoned building she is squatting in when Griffin shows up and she hits him with her radio and runs for it but Griffin eventually catches her and kills her. Campbell eventually catches up to the boyfriend and convinces him that they are trying to save the girl so they head to the building, getting there just as Griffin is attempting to leave. Campbell spots him and gives chase, running across the roof tops before they end up in a high speed car chase but Griffin is able to escape when he plows through a gas station and fires prevent Campbell from following. The events take their toll on Campbell as he ends up collapsing in his apartment and is hospitalized. Polly goes to visit him in the hospital but while she is there, Griffin breaks into Polly’s office and steals her file on Campbell. Later, an envelope is sent to the FBI building for Campbell and Special Agent Mitch Casper takes it and Mackie talks to the press about the latest picture. Campbell is watching the news conference and recognizes the picture as the woman he was sleeping with in L.A. that Griffin killed. Checking himself out of the hospital, Campbell heads to her grave to find Griffin sitting there, saying that he wants to talk. When Campbell threatens to shoot him, Griffin tells him if he does, then Polly will end up being killed and Campbell tells Griffin to take him to her. As they are driving, Campbell talks with Griffin and secretly calls Mackie on his cell phone, which Mackie begins to trace the call. Campbell and Griffin arrive at where he is keeping Polly and Griffin leads him inside, disarming the booby trap he had placed, and when he shows Campbell that Polly is still alive, he knocks him out. As the SWAT teams and FBi approach the building, Griffin revives Campbell and then talks with her and Polly. Griffin wants Campbell to thank him for giving his life meaning and when Campbell refuses he begins to strangle Polly. Campbell says thank you, causing Griffin to stop and approach Campbell and when he asks him to say it again, Campbell says thank you again, then stabs Griffin in the neck with his pen. As Griffin stumbles in pain, he knocks over a candle, igniting the pools of gasoline that are all around the room. Campbell grabs the shotgun from Griffin’s booby-trap and shoots Griffin in the shoulder when Griffin tries to shoot him. Campbell then frees Polly and as the flames reach the containers of fuel and the gas pump, they jump out the window to avoid the explosion, followed by Griffin, who is engulfed in flames. As the authorities pull Polly out of the water, Campbell swims over to Griffin’s body, then heads back to the dock so he can be pulled from the water and he goes to check on Polly as the two walk off to get their injuries checked out.

The Watcher was panned by the critics, holding a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Watcher has Keanu Reeves cast against type, but the movie is short on thrills, suspense, and believability.” According to Keanu Reeves, he had no interest in doing the film but his assistant had forged his signature and he ended up taking on the role rather than get involved in a lengthy legal battle and couldn’t say anything for 12 months due to his contract preventing him from speaking negatively about the movie for a year after the movie’s US release. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $47.3 million off of a $33 million budget.

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting way back when I first saw the trailers for this movie, but today, I find myself a little disappointed. The acting was ok, with James Spader (Campbell) and Marisa Tomei (Polly) did good jobs in their roles. Keanu Reeves was interesting as the villainous Griffin, as it was definitely something a little different for him, but he really didn’t seem to be that enthused with the character as he just played him rather bland. The story was honestly a little weak, with the whole idea of a serial killer messing with the agent assigned to catch him not feeling very original. It also felt like they had too many characters that they tried to get you interested in but aside from Campbell, Polly, and Griffin, the only character they gave half-assed attempt at some development too is Mackie, played by Chris Ellis. The couple of chase scenes were coordinated pretty well but the real driving force in the movie was the tension, which honestly felt tame compared to some other thrillers. It’s a decent movie but not something that I would call a must see.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

May 8th, 2018 Movie – The Warriors

the warriors

There are some movies that you might see as a kid that just stick with you over the years. Today’s movie is definitely one such movie for me. I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid but honestly could only recall a couple of scenes. I would occasionally think about watching it when I would see the video on the shelf at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video but never did rent it. Then, in 2005, I saw a commercial for The Warriors video game and my first thought was that this should be fun. I decided that if I was going to get the game, I should go ahead and get the movie as well and rewatch it so I went ahead and bought the directors cut, which had come out that year as well. So let’s get ready to rumble with today’s movie, The Warriors.

The plot: Cyrus, the charismatic leader of the Gramercy Riffs, the largest gang in New York, calls a midnight meeting and invites every gang in New York to send 9 unarmed representatives to attend the meeting in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Cleon, leader of the Warriors from Coney Island, says they will attend and he heads out on the subway with Swan, Ajax, Snow, Cochise, Cowboy, Vermin, Rembrandt, and Fox. At the meeting, Cyrus speaks out to the assembled gang members and tells them that if they consolidate their forces, instead of fighting each other over their respective turfs, they could run New York City, as the total number of gang members outnumber the cops. As Cyrus continues to lay out his plan to the cheering crowd, Luther, the leader of the Rogues, is handed a pistol and he shoots Cyrus. Fox, who had moved closer to where Cyrus was speaking, saw Luther shoot Cyrus and when Luther spots him, he points the gun at Fox. Suddenly spotlights turn on, as the police had quietly been surrounding the park to break up the gang meeting, and Luther is blinded by the spotlights and Fox uses the chance to get away. Cleon tells the rest of the warriors to get out of there while he goes to check on Cyrus. As Cleon stares at Cyrus’ body, Luther screams out to the Riffs that the Warriors were the ones to shoot Cyrus and he attacks Cleon, who easily knocks Luther but then gets beat down by the Riffs. As the police start arresting any gang members they catch, the Warriors manage to break through a section of fence and hide out in a cemetery. After the heat dies down some, Swan, Cleon’s second-in-commnad, assesses the situation and decides they are heading back to Coney Island. Vermin is worried about the fact that the cops will be out in force looking for any gang members but Swan says they have a bigger problem; whether or not the temporary truce between all of the gangs is still on. Swan tells the group that if they get separated, they should meet up at Union Square, as that is the station where they switch trains to get to Coney. Meanwhile, with Cyrus dead, Masai is now the leader of the Riffs and he tells them that he wants the Warriors, alive or wasted, and tells them to send the word out. As a radio D.J. relays Masai’s message out over the air, all of the various gangs in the city hear the message and go looking for the Warriors in their respective turfs. As the Warriors wait for a subway train, they spot the Turnbull AC’s, a gang of skin heads, cruising around in a bus and they take cover as the bus passes them. When the train shows up, the Warriors make a run for the platform just as the Turnbull AC’s turn around and give chase but the Warriors manage to get on the train before the Turnbulls get to them and it leaves the station. Meanwhile, the Rogues stop off at a corner shop and Luther makes a quick phone call, explaining what happened to the person on the other end. Afterwards, one of Luther’s men is worried about the Riffs finding out that they were the ones to shoot Cyrus but Luther tells him not to worry, as every gang in the city is looking for the Warriors and they can look as well, just to make sure they are dead. Back on the subway, a fire on the tracks forces the Warriors off the train and the end up in a neighborhood run by the Orphans, a low level gang that wasn’t invited to Cyrus’ summit. Swan and Fox go to talk with Sully, the Orphans’ leader, and convince him they aren’t there to cause trouble and just passing through to the next station. Sully is content to let them through but Mercy, a girl that hangs out with the Orphans, causes trouble when she asks for one of the Warriors’ vests and when they refuse, she asks Sully if he is going to let just any gang march through his territory. Sully tells them to take off their vests and “go as civilians” or else he will have to waste them but Swan refuses, then leads the Warriors down the street. Mercy follows after them and is grabbed by Ajax but Swan tells him to let her go and asks why she is following them. As they talk, Sully and the rest of the Orphans show up looking for a fight but Snow hands Cowboy a bottle he was carrying around his neck and Swan rips part of Mercy’s dress to use as a wick, fashioning a moltov cocktail. Swan throws it at a car next to the Orphans and as the car catches on fire, he leads the Warriors and Mercy to the station as the car explodes, killing one Orphan and chasing off the others. The gang is stuck on the 96th Street Platform waiting for the next train to show up when the cops show up, forcing them to run. The gang gets separated, with Swan, Snow, Ajax, and Cowboy making it out onto the street, while Vermin, Cochise, and Rembrandt manage to avoid the police and jump onto another train. Fox has Mercy with him but when he gets attacked by a cop, he yells at her to run as he struggles with the cop, only to be thrown off the platform into the path of an oncoming train. Out on the street, Swan, Snow, Ajax, and Cowboy are confronted by the Baseball Furies and make a run for it, heading into the nearby park. As the Furies chase after them, Swan and Snow split off, then double back and take on one of the slower members of the Furies as the others continue chasing after Ajax and Cowboy. When Cowboy can’t run anymore, they stop to fight and Cowboy gets knocked down by the leader. Ajax confronts him and manages to beat him while Swan and Snow show up to help fight off the Furies. After beating them, the Warriors grab some of their bats and head off but as they pass by a woman sitting on a bench, Ajax decides to stop and try to hook up with her. The others try to convince him not to leave but Ajax dismisses their concerns and heads back to the woman while Swan and the others continue back to the station but after a while, Cowboy and Snow decide to head back to keep an eye on him. As Ajax starts talking with the woman, he starts trying to grab and kiss her but as she struggles with him, she manages to handcuff him to the bench and reveals that she is a cop. She then whistles for back up and when more officers arrive, Ajax manages to knock one down but the other hits him with his night stick and Cowboy and Snow get there just in time to see him placed in the back of the squad car and taken away. Swan heads back to the station and encounters Mercy, who warns him that cops are still all over the place and tells him what happened to Fox. As they go to try and get the train to Union Station, they encounter the police and Swan grabs Mercy and they run down the tracks to avoid being arrested. Meanwhile, Vermin, Cochise, and Rembrandt arrive at Union Station and see no sign of the others but do see a group of women hanging near the stairs. They approach them and the women, a female gang called the Lizzies, invite them back to their place to party and Vermin and Cochise eagerly accept, with Rembrandt reluctantly going with them. At the Lizzies’ clubhouse, Vermin and Cochise both find a girl and start making out with them while Rembrandt nervously wanders around. When one of the Lizzies suddenly locks the door, another confronts Rembrandt about the Warriors shooting Cyrus and Rembrandt shouts out a warning to the others. The Lizzies start attacking the Warriors and Rembrandt’s arm is cut but they manage to get away from the Lizzies and make it back onto the street. As they catch their breaths, Rembrandt tells Vermin and Cochise that the Lizzies think they killed Cyrus and every gang in the city probably thinks the same thing so they head back to Union Station to meet the others. Meanwhile, Swan and Mercy are walking down the tunnel and Mercy asks why he keeps picking on her. Swan says he doesn’t like her lifestyle and Mercy says she does what she needs to to survive. The two end up kissing but before it goes any farther, Swan stops and says that they should keep going to Union Station, then gets upset with Mercy when she wants to keep going and have sex. At Union Station, Vermin, Cochise, and Rembrandt see Snow and Cowboy approaching and ask about the others. They tell them about Ajax being busted by the cops and they decide to go looking for Swan. Meanwhile, Swan reaches the station and Mercy soon joins him on the platform, warning him about a gang, the Punks, that is watching him. Swan tells her he knows they are there and when the other Warriors arrive at the platform, Swan motions to let them know about the Punks, then nods in the direction of the restroom. The Warriors head inside and Swan takes Mercy in there with them so they can get ready for the Punks. The Punks enter the restroom and a fight breaks out between the two gangs but the Warriors come out on top. After the fight, the Warriors and Mercy get on the train to Coney Island, with Vermin, Snow, and Cochise talking about Cyrus’ big plan. When two prom couples get on the train, they end up sitting across from Swan and Mercy and as they stare at them, Mercy feels embarrassed by her appearance and start to fidget with her hair but Swan grabs her hand and stops her, then stares at the 2 couples and makes them uncomfortable enough to get off the train at the next stop. When the Warriors finally reach Coney Island, Swan comments about how they were fighting to get back here and wonders if it was worth it. As they head back to their clubhouse, Luther and the Rogues follow them in their car so the Warriors stop to arm themselves as Luther begins linking some bottles together and taunting them by yelling out, “Warriors, come out to play!”. Swan leads them out onto the beach and when the Rogues follow, he confronts Luther and asks why he shot Cyrus. Luther says he just felt like it and Swan challenges him to a fight, then throws a switchblade into Luther’s arm before he can shoot him. As Luther cries out in pain, Swan grabs the knife out of his arm and uses Luther’s hair to wipe the blood off of it. Suddenly, Masai and the Riffs appear and approach the group and Swan asks if they are still looking for them. Masai tells him that they found what they are after, as they were told who really shot Cyrus, and as Luther tries to say it was the Warriors, Masai tells Swan that they will deal with them and Swan nods his head and leaves with Mercy and the others, while Luther screams out as the Riffs surround the Rogues. As the Warriors make their way down the beach to their home, Swan and Mercy end up staring at each other for a while before walking off together, having bonded over their night together.

The Warriors initially had a negative reception from the critics but over the years, has gained a more favorable response in recent years, holding an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics liked the gritty portrayal of the gang’s and the styling of the movie. The movie was expected to be a big hit after coming in at #1 on it’s opening weekend but unfortunately, in a case of reality mimicking fiction, some gangs had gone to see the movie and encountered rival gangs at the theaters, resulting in several fights and violent incidents to occur. As a result, Paramount Pictures decided to pull the movie from theaters. Despite all this, the movie still was a hit, earning $22.5 million off of a $4 million budget, and would become a cult hit, spawning several spin-offs including a video game and a comic book series.

This is such a fun movie to watch. The acting was good, with Michael Beck (Swan), James Remar (Ajax), and DeborahVan Valkenburgh (Mercy) doing good jobs in their roles. However, David Patrick Kelly definitely stole the show, as his portrayal of Luther really shot him up to stardom, while his “Warriors” taunt has been parodied and mimicked in movies for years afterwards. The story was interesting, loosely based on the novel by Sol Yurick by the same name. The dark lighting used in the movie kind of helped show off the “gritty” aspect of the gangs during that time. The fight scenes were pretty well choreographed but there were times where they would reshow the same strike, which actually stunted the momentum a little. A definite cult classic and worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

May 5th, 2018 Movie – The War Of The Worlds

war of the worlds

When it comes to classic sci-fi movies, you are always going to have people argue on the impact that certain movies had on the culture. However, today’s movie is one that is widely considered as one of the best movies to come out of the 50’s and one of the most influential sci-fi movies of all time. Let’s face it, part of this is due to the subject matter, as H.G. Wells was a great science fiction novelist and many of his works would be turned into movies, with some doing much better than others. I know that everyone has heard the story of Orson Welles radio broadcast, and that was done in the 30’s so you can only imagine what people must have thought about a movie version being released. Now my own first experience with this movie was years ago, when it was broadcast before the series premier of the War Of The Worlds TV show back in 1988. Being a fan of classic sci-fi, I was a huge fan of this movie but never saw it again for years until I finally picked up a copy of it on DVD. So let’s see if this movie can still hold up to the test of time as I watch The War Of The Worlds.

The plot: In 1953, residents of the small town of Linda Rosa, CA see a large object come crashing to the Earth, causing a brush fire to occur along it’s path. As the residents work on putting out the fires, the deputy on site reports in to the sheriff and describes the meteor to him and the sheriff decides to head over to the lake, where some scientists were fishing, and ask their opinion about it. When the sheriff reaches the lake, he finds the scientists all having dinner and after talking with them, Dr. Clayton Forrester agrees to head to the site to investigate the meteor. Back at the meteor site, several of the townspeople are talking about turning the meteor into an attraction site, saying it could generate a lot of money for the small town and one man decides to head down into the crater to try and break a piece of the meteor off for himself. When Clayton arrives, he meets Sylvia Van Buren, a young women who is a fan of his work but doesn’t recognize him at first. Sylvia introduces Clayton to her uncle, Pastor Mathew Collins just as the man in the crater hits the meteor with his shovel, causing a large burst of heat to erupt from it. As Clayton theorizes that the meteor won’t be cool for another 24 hours, the sheriff notices Clayton’s geiger counter getting a reading and when Clayton checks it, he says it is coming from the meteor. The sheriff decides to post some men to keep watch on the meteor and Pastor Collins offers to let Clayton stay at his house. As the men keep a watch on the crater, one of them notices part of the meteor moving and alerts the others. As they continue watching, a hatch unscrews and drops to the ground and a strange eye stalk emerges and begins looking around. Realizing that there are alien beings inside the meteor, the men decide to approach it while waving a white flag to indicate they come in peace but the eye stalk emits a heat beam that vaporizes them. In town, Clayton is attending a town dance with Sylvia when the power suddenly goes out. When the people notice that the phones are also out and all their watches stopped, Clayton realizes that an electromagnetic pulse occurred, and a compass indicates that it came from the meteor. As a patrol car pulls up, they notice a fire in the distance and Clayton, the sheriff, and the officer head off to investigate. When they get there, they find a power line down, which had started the fire, and the burnt wreckage of the cars. When they look for the men, they find the ashed remains of them just as the eye stalk reemerges from the meteor. The officer gets in his car and flees and Clayton and the sheriff take cover as the eye stalk fires at the fleeing car. Clayton says that what ever it is comes from another planet and, seeing another object falling from the sky, Clayton tells the sheriff that they should get the military there. The military arrive and after setting up a defensive perimeter, decide to have a plane fly overhead and drop a flare over the sight so it can take some pictures of the crater and what the aliens are doing. As the plane flies overhead, the eye stalk blasts it out of the sky, then blasts the nearby vehicles, including the news truck that was outside. As reports are coming in of more meteors falling all across the world, Major General Mann decides to wait until dawn to attack the aliens. As dawn breaks, a triangular shaped flying craft emerges from the crater and the military prepares to fire. Pastor Collins wants to try and communicate with the aliens and, telling Sylvia to go stay with Clayton, he proceeds to walk out to the alien ships as a second and third ship emerges. The alien ships kill Pastor Collins and as the military begins firing on them, the ships are revealed to have a protective barrier, strong enough to deflect their weapons. As the alien ships begin decimating the ground forces, Clayton takes a distraught Sylvia to his plane to escape just as the Air Force arrive to join the fight. Clayton’s plane crashes and he and Sylvia get out and quickly take cover as the battle continues. Some time later, Mann makes it to Los Angeles and works on discussing their next recourse in dealing with the alien invaders and is saddened to learn that Clayton had not made it to the city. Meanwhile, Clayton and Sylvia have taken refuge in an abandoned farm house and as they fix themselves some food, they start bonding and getting closer. Suddenly, they hear some loud noises and take cover as more objects begin falling around them, crashing into the farm house. As they recover from the crash, they see alien ships approaching the farm house and they hide as an eye stalk lowers down into the house to look for survivors. As the eye stalk retracts, Clayton looks out the window to see what is happening while Sylvia glances out the door at the other end of the house and sees an alien creature quickly moving past the doorway. She tells Clayton what she saw and he tries to find a way out of the house so he can get a better look. As he works on clearing out the way to the attic, Sylvia screams out as another eye stalk appears and spots them and Clayton quickly grabs an axe and chops the eye part off of it. As Clayton continues to clear out the wreckage, the alien creature Sylvia saw makes it’s way inside and grabs Sylvia by the shoulder. Clayton quickly yanks her back and throws the axe at the creature, wounding it and sending it scurrying away, and Clayton grabs the eye and leads Sylvia up to the attic and outside the farm house, where they run to safety as the alien ships destroy the house. In Los Angeles, the military gets reports of the various countries of the world having no success against the alien ships and decide to use the atomic bomb, choosing to target the original landing spot as more objects have landed there. Clayton and Sylvia make it to his lab at Pacific Tech, and they show the rest of his team the electronic eye and alien blood sample they brought with them. Clayton and his team try to figure out a way to defeat the aliens just as word reaches them that the atomic bomb had no effect and Los Angeles is ordered to evacuate. As the alien ships head towards the city and begin attacking it, Clayton and his team attempt to leave with their equipment, hoping to continue searching for a way to defeat the aliens, but they are attacked by a mob of people hoping to use their trucks to flee the city and they all end up getting separated. As the alien attack continues, Clayton starts looking for Sylvia, searching various churches as he figures she would head their when times were tough. Clayton eventually finds her and as the aliens begin to blast the church, the two embrace, fearing they will soon be dead. Suddenly, the alien ships begin crashing to the ground and as Clayton and the others head outside to see what is going on, Clayton sees a panel opening up on the bottopm of the ship and an alien’s arm is shown to be moving out the opening before suddenly stopping. Clayton approaches the amr and after checking it, says the alien is dead, then comments about all the people in the church praying for a miracle, as church bells across the city begin ringing out in celebration of the alien’s defeat. As the destruction of the city is shown, the narrator says that bacteria, which mankind has long since become immune to, was the cause of the aliens defeat, as the second they first breathed Earth’s atmosphere, they initiated their own downfall.

The War Of The Worlds met with high praise from the critics, holding an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though it’s dated in spots, The War Of The Worlds retains an unnerving power, updating H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi tale to the Cold War era and featuring some of the best special effects of any 1950s film.” Producer George Pal originally wanted to portray the Martian fighting machines as tripods, much like they were in the original novel, but was informed by the U.S. Army technical adviser that a tripod would not be a threat to modern military, so he opted for the flying craft instead. George Pal envisioned making a TV series to act as a sequel to the movie back in the 70’s but his vision wouldn’t be realized until 1988, with Ann Robinson being the only character to reprise her role from the movie. The movie was a financial success, earning $4.36 million in the U.S. alone off of a $2 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and would be entered into the National Film Registry for preservation in 2011.

Yes, some aspects of the movie are a bit dated but this movie still holds up and is a great movie to watch. The acting was good, with Gene Berry and Ann Robinson doing good jobs in their roles as Clayton and Slyvia. On a side note, I love that MST3K payed homage to this movie by naming their original main Mad, Dr. Clayton Forrester, after the lead character from this movie. I also liked Les Tremayne (General Mann) and Lewis Martin (Pastor Collins), as they both did good jobs in presenting different approaches to how to deal with the aliens after the initial attack. The story was really good, doing a good job if modernizing the original novel and working in some of the rising Cold War and Atomic War paranoia to ramp up dark tone of the movie. The special effects really were incredible for the time and better than some more recent movies that have a similar budget. I was always amazed at how subdued a lot of the background settings were at times, which helped to make the brightness of the alien’s weapons (as well as the tri-lensed eyes of the aliens and their electronic eye) really stand out and make them seem even more sinister. This is a great movie and definitely one that everyone should watch at least once in their life.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5