horror, movie, movie review, thriller

March 31st, 2018 Movie – Turistas


Ahh, it is the end of the month and at the same time, the end of a letter. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I particularly care for today’s movie. I remember seeing the previews for this movie and honestly, was not the least but interested in going to see it. You might be asking why I have a copy of it when I didn’t care to see it. Well, the explanation for that is pretty easy; I am a sucker for free movies. So when someone is clearing out their DVD collection and offers some of them to me, of course I am going to say yes. Thus I find myself owning today’s movie, Turistas.

The plot: Alex, his sister Bea, and their friend Amy are riding in a bus in Brazil, with Alex complaining that the should have flown to the Northeastern Beaches instead. When the bus attempts to pass a slow moving scooter, the driver is forced to swerve to avoid hitting some people on the other side of the road and the bus ends up teetering on the edge of the cliff. Alex yells for everyone to climb out of the bus and they safely do so before it topples over the edge and goes crashing down the hillside. As they go picking through the wreckage to find their belongings, they meet Finn and Liam, two British backpackers and Pru, an Australian who speaks Portuguese. Pru tells them that the next bus won’t be by for several hours so they sit by the side of the road to wait for it. As they are waiting, Bea takes a picture of a local boy eating some fruit but this upsets some of the native Brazilians. Pru attempts to calm things down, then explains that kids have been having their organs stolen for sell on the black market and it has the locals nervous when someone takes pictures of children without permission. Seeing two girls walking by with drinks, Pru speaks with them and learns that there is a bar down by the nearby beach and, deciding it best to keep some distance from the still angry locals, they decide to head there. When they get there, they head out onto the beach and swim for a while before they head to the bar and get some drinks. While there, they encounter another couple, Svend and Annika, who had ridden a motorcycle down from Mexico and they all decide to spend the night on the beach and catch the next bus in the morning. Meanwhile, the bartender calls a doctor named Zamora and tells him of the 8 “gringos” on the beach and he hires a couple to take care of them. That night, the group is partying on the beach with Kiko, a local teen who had befriended them, when they all end up passing out. Waking up, Alex discovers that they were all robbed and probably drugged the night before. Meanwhile, Svend and Annika are shown to have been captured by some men and carried off into the jungle. When the men stop to take a break, Annika manages to slip her restraints and tries to run away and Svend attempts to stop the men from chasing after her but he is killed by one of the men with a machete while another man chases after Annika, who ends up losing her footing and falling to her death off the cliff. Alex and the others make their way back to the crash site and continue walking along the road until they come to a nearby village and try to find the police. As they are looking around, Alex notices Svend’s motorcycle and he and Pru attempt to get information about it. Meanwhile, Bea and Amy notice a kid wearing Alex’s hat and they call out to the kid. When the kid runs, Liam and Finn chase after him and Liam throws a rock at the kid, which hits him in the head. As Alex and the others meet up with them, the villagers start crowding around and angrily yelling at Liam. Kiko shows up and attempts to calm the situation down, then tells Alex and the others to follow him. He tells them that he knows of a secluded home that his uncle owns where they can stay until the bus shows up the next day. Meanwhile, Zamora meets with the men he hired, who tell him that Kiko is bringing the group to the cabin and Zamora reminds the men that he wants them alive, as they are no use to him if they are dead like Svend and Annika, killing one of the men in the process. Back in the jungle, Kiko stops at a waterfall and tells the group he knows of some underwater caves and wants to show them, Jumping off the falls and telling the others to follow him. Alex, Pru, Bea, and Finn walk along the rocks and then follow Kiko into the water but Amy and Liam choose to stay behind. Diving underwater, Kiko leads them underneath the falls, stopping at breathing spots along the way, until they come to an underwater cave. As they swim around, Kiko gets a strange look on his face and says that they should head back to the village, saying it will be safer and he can find them a ride out of there but refuses to say why he has changed his mind so the others insist on heading to the house as it is closer. Returning to Amy and Liam, who are caught making out, the group goes for one last swim when Kiko, showing Finn how to dive off the rocks, ends up hitting his head on a rock in the water, cutting his head open. Realizing they have to get him some help, Alex and the others make their way to the house and look for something to tend to Kiko’s injuries. Finn finds a medical staple gun and uses it to close up the wound and afterwards, Kiko gets up and walks off. The group decide to spend the night at the house but are woken in the middle of the night by a helicopter arriving nearby and Kiko’s uncle, Zamora arrives with several people. As Kiko rapidly speaks to Zamora in Portuguese, Zamora’s nurse tells Alex that they should run now, as Zamora has plans for them, Zamora dismisses Kiko, who leaves the house despite Alex and the others asking what is going on and when Zamora’s men grab Pru and Amy, Alex tries to stop them and ends up getting slashed in the back with a machete. Alex, Pru, Bea, and Liam are placed in dog cages outside while Amy and Finn are placed on operating tables. Zamora approaches and explains that Americans have exploited his people and land for years and now they exploit them by taking the organs from the poor in order to avoid waiting for lines on the transplant list so he decided to even the odds. Zamora proceeds to operate on Amy, removing her liver and kidneys but she ends up dying on the table. Meanwhile, Alex manages to get his knife out of his back pocket and manages to pass it to Bea, who cuts him free and then he does the same to her and the others. When Zamora sends one of his men to bring in another girl, they attempt to fight back and are helped by Kiko, who kills the guard. Alex tells Pru and Bea to head to the water fall while he and Kiko get Liam free, who says they have to rescue Finn. As they make their way inside, one of Zamora’s men, armed with a crossbow, finds the empty cages and reports it on his walkie talkie, then heads out into the woods, chasing after Pru and Bea. Meanwhile, Zamora is cleaning up after harvesting Amy’s organs and has his nurse prep Finn for surgery but Liam gets inside the house and manages to rescue him. As they attempt to escape, they are chased Zamora’s other man, and they use a hook to incapacitate him so they can escape. The man frees himself, then shoots Finn in the head and when Liam turns and begins shooting back at the man, he is shot as well. Zamora stops the man from killing Alex and Kiko, saying he needs them alive, and they quickly grab Liam’s body and drag him inside in an attempt to salvage what they can. Alex and Kiko run into Bea, who had gotten separated from Pru during the night, and they make their way to the underwater caves, where they find Pru hiding. Alex then starts to fight with Kiko, blaming him for Amy, Finn, and Liam’s deaths as he knew what was going to happen. Zamora and his men appear at the second entrance to the cave and start shooting at the group, injuring Alex and killing Kiko. Alex tells Pru and Bea to head back through the caves and Zamora sends the man with a crossbow into the water after them while he and the other man circle around the other way. Alex leads Pru and Bea through the underwater caverns but Bea gets separated from them as the man continues after them. Making their way to the various breathing holes, Bea and the killer end up at the same breathing hole and as they struggle with each other, Bea grabs a crossbow bolt from the man and stabs him in the neck, killing him. Alex finds Bea and brings him back to where Pru is and they attempts to leave only to find Zamora waiting for them there. Hiding behind some rocks, Alex manages to sneak up and attack Zamora, striking him repeatedly in the head with a rock before Pru and Bea stop him. When Zamora’s man shows up with his rifle, Zamora orders him to kill them but Pru pleads with him not to do what he says as he treats him so poorly. When Zamora calls the man a coward, the man shoots Zamora, then stares at Alex, Pru, and Bea before turning around and leaving. Alex, Pru, and Bea make their way down the river where they come to a village, and the villagers take them in and tend to their wounds. Some time later, the three are standing in line to board a plane and when he hears a couple behind him contemplating taking the bus, Alex turns and tells them to take the plane before boarding and the three fly away from the horrors they experienced.

Turistas was mostly panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Beautiful scenery and cinematography can’t save Turistas from its wooden acting and stale and predictable plot.” In one of the underwater scenes, Olivia Wilde (Bea) is supposed to be panicking because she couldn’t find an air bubble. This actually was real, as Wilde missed her mark and couldn’t find the pocket and the safety divers were too far away to get there but she eventually found the pocket. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $14.7 million off of a $10 million budget.

Slow, boring, and almost predictable. That’s about the best description I have for this movie. The acting was ok but I think Melissa George (Pru) was the only one to really stand out in my opinion, but a part of me feels like that was due to her being able to speak Portuguese. The story was interesting, albeit not entirely original, and while I did like them playing up the whole people being harvested for their body organs story, I felt like they took too long to actually get there. I mean, Zamora doesn’t show up and capture the kids until about an hour into the movie, making the last half hour feel really rushed. I will say the special effects weren’t too bad regarding the gore from Amy’s surgery and some of the other bloody scenes, and there was a fair amount of drama at the end to make up for the slow start. It’s not as bad as the critics say but it’s still not the best horror movie out there.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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

March 26th, 2018 Movie – TRON: Legacy

tron legacy

Sometimes, patience pays off when it comes to sequels. Take today’s movie for instance. Ever since TRON came out, fans have been clamoring for a sequel but it really took off at the beginning of the century and in 2005, Disney finally decided to get serious with it. Now when I first heard about the sequel, I was really excited. I mean, TRON was so amazing in it’s special effects that I hoped the improvements in technology would make this movie just as amazing. So let’s see if all the patience paid off with today’s movie, TRON: Legacy.

The plot: In 1989, seven years after taking over Encom, Kevin Flynn is telling his son Sam about the Grid and his adventures in there. He also tells him how he worked with Tron and Clu to build a new Grid when something amazing occurred, a miracle Flynn says, though he doesn’t go into detail. Flynn leaves for work but the next day he disappears, throwing his company into chaos and causing the board to seize control of the company from Flynn’s partner, Alan Bradley. In the present day, Sam makes his way to Encom Tower one night and sneaks into the building during a late night board meeting. Inside the board meeting, Chairman Richard Mackey is touting the success of Encom to the board before mentioning their latest operating software’s upcoming release, praising it’s developer Edward Dillinger (son of Ed Dillinger), then says that Encom will be traded on Japan’s Nikkei index, resulting in Encom stocks trading worldwide 24/7. Meanwhile, Sam breaks into the server room, unintentionally tripping an alarm, and as the security searches for him, he uploads the master file for Encom’s newest operating software onto the internet before making his escape. As the board members discover what happened, Sam makes his way to the roof, revealing to the security guard that he is Sam Flynn, who happens to be the majority share holder in the company, and then does a base jump off the building but as he tries to make it to his motorcycle, he is captured by the police. After bailing himself out of jail, Sam returns to his apartment to find Alan waiting for him. After congratulating him on his annual prank, Alan tells Sam that he received a page from Flynn’s office at the arcade, even though the service had been cut off years ago, and suggests Sam go check it out, tossing him the keys to the arcade. Though he thinks it is a waste of time, Sam decides to head to the arcade and after looking around and finding nothing, he starts to leave but finds himself drawn to the old TRON video game. Deciding to play it for old times sake, Sam notices scratches on the floor and discovers a hidden room behind the console. Searching around, he finds a running computer, that had been idle for 20 years, and starts trying to access it only to accidentally activate the laser behind him, which blasts him. Not sure what just happened, Sam leaves the building only to realize that he has been transported to the Grid, just as a Recognizer approaches him and he is captured. When the Recognizer lands, one of the soldiers scans Sam and the other captured programs and Sam is sentenced to “Games”. He is taken to a chamber, where 4 Sirens remove his clothes and give him a uniform and an identity disk. Sam asks what he is supposed to do now and Gem, the head Siren, tells him to survive. Sam exits the chamber to find himself in an arena and forced to compete in disk wars with other programs, as a ship approaches and a masked figure watches from above. Sam kills 2 programs and then attempts to escape but ends up in a different arena, where he is forced to face off with the Games’ champion, Rinzler. As Sam and Rinzler fight, Rinzler gets the upper hand but before he can finish him off, Rinzler notices Sam bleeding from a cut he received and realizes that he is a User. The leader demands that Sam identify himself and when Sam says his name is Sam Flynn, the leader has Sam brought to him. In the leaders chamber, the leader unmasks to reveal the face of Kevin Flynn and Sam is shocked to see his father alive but after talking with him, realizes that it is Clu, not his father. Clu decides to kill Sam in a light cycle duel, facing him in a 5 on 5 team battle, but as Clu prepares to finish off Sam, a strange car enters the arena and rescues Sam. After escaping the arena, the driver unmasks to reveal a woman, who introduces herself as Quorra, who says that Clu’s forces won’t be able to follow as they are not designed to go off grid. Quorra takes Sam to a home in the mountains, where Sam is reunited with his father, who is shocked to see Sam in the Grid. As they eat, Sam and Flynn catch up briefly before Sam asks why Flynn never came home. Flynn tells him that when he first started working in the Grid, he brought over Tron, which Alan had built, and then created a new version of Clu, hoping that between the 3 of them they could build the perfect system. Then, one day, he discovered ISOs, isomorphic algorithms, which Flynn did not create but somehow appeared on their own. Flynn felt that they could help unlock some of life’s greatest mysteries but Clu saw them as an imperfection that needed to be destroyed and led a coupe against Flynn. Tron was killed trying to help Flynn escape and Flynn ended up trapped in the Grid when the portal closed, as it would only stay open for 8 hours and could only be opened from the outside world. Sam says that they should just leave now while the portal is still open but Flynn tells him that Clu wanted someone to open the portal, as he was planning something and needed a new player on the board in order to draw him out of hiding, saying that Clu needed his identity disk in order to try and leave the Grid and go to the real world. Flynn heads to bed and Sam feels frustrated that he doesn’t seem to want to try and leave and Quorra tells Sam to go find Zuse, as he helped her out during the fights and she felt he could be trusted. Sam heads to the city and is met by Gem, who takes him to the End of Line club. Back at the house, Flynn discovers that Sam is gone and decides to take Quorra and go after him. Meanwhile, Clu’s major-domo, Jarvis, tells him they found Flynn’s light cycle and traced it back to it’s origin so Clu, Jarvis, Rinzler, and 2 soldiers head to Flynn’s house only to find it empty. At the End of Line club, Gem introduces Sam to Castor, the club’s owner, who reveals that he is Zuse and seems surprised to learn that Quorra is still alive. Zuse tells Sam that he is someone that likes to play the angles, just as 4 of Clu’s soldiers drop in through the ceiling. Sam decides to join in the fight against the soldiers and Quorra appears to help him but she is injured in the fight. Suddenly, Flynn shuts the room down, allowing the resistance to defeat the soldiers and he tells Sam to grab Quorra and they go to leave but one of the soldiers manages to grab Flynn’s disk before they leave, only to be killed by Zuse, who grabs the disk for himself. Flynn chastises Sam for his actions but decides that the only thing they can do is go with Sam’s idea to make a dash for the portal so they board a solar sailer heading to the wastelands. While they are travelling, Flynn works on trying to help repair Quorra, revealing that she is the last ISO, and afterwards, he talks with Sam for a bit before heading off to meditate. Meanwhile, Clu shows up at the club and speaks with Zuse, who offers a deal to give Clu the disk in exchange for control of the city but Clu simply takes the disk and then blows up the club, killing Zuse and Gem. Back on the sailer, Quorra recovers and as they continue riding, Sam and Quorra end up bonding. Flynn sees them and smiles but his smile fades when he sees a Recognizer close by and sees the sailer pulling into a waystation that shouldn’t be there. Telling Sam and Quorra to hide, they see that Clu is using the station as a launching base for an army and realize they have to get to the portal to stop Clu. Seeing Rinzler close by, Quorra hands her disk to Flynn and then runs out to act as a distraction so Flynn and Sam can escape. When Rinzler captures Quorra, Flynn recognizes his moves and mannerism and realizes that Rinzler is Tron, who wasn’t killed but repurposed by Clu. Clu has Quorra taken to his chamber, along with Flynn’s disk, and he then speaks to his army, and Sam and Flynn realize Clu figured out how to bring programs over to the real world. Sam tells Flynn that they have to get Flynn’s disk and Quorra back and tells Flynn to get them some transport to the portal. Sam makes his way to Clu’s chamber, dealing with the guards along the way, and then grabs Flynn’s disk from where Clu had it kept. Grabbing Jarvis, Sam asks where Quorra is just as Rinzler arrives with her and Sam faces off against Rinzler, allowing Quorra to knock him off the platform. Freeing Quorra, Sam grabs a set of glider wings and jumps out of the tower with her, then races to the light jet that Flynn grabbed. As they leave, Clu enters his chamber and kills Jarvis for allowing them to take the disk, then he, Rinzler, and some of Clu’s soldiers activate their own light jets and give chase. With Quorra piloting and Sam manning the rear guns, they begin battling Clu’s soldiers and manage to kill them. When Rinzler attacks them, Flynn calls out to his old friend, causing Rinzler to fall back as his memories of Flynn reemerge, then crash into Clu in order to save Flynn. As Clu and Rinzler fall, Rinzler goes to grab his spare control stick but Clu grabs it from him and uses it while Rinzler plunges into the waters below, with his uniform reverting back to it’s original coloring. Flynn, Sam, and Quorra arrive at the portal only to find Clu waiting for them and Flynn goes to face him, apologizing for his part in their fallout. Clu attacks Flynn and when Sam goes to defend him, Flynn grabs Quorra and tells her she knows what to do. Quorra moves in front of Sam, pushing him back towards the portal while Flynn tells Clu to ignore them as he is after Flynn’s disk. Clu grabs Flynn’s disk only to discover that Flynn had switched disks with Quorra. As Clu’s ship appears, Flynn yells at Sam to take Quorra out of there and then merges with Clu, causing an explosion that destroys Clu’s ship and the portal area. Back in the real world, Sam downloads the details of the Grid onto a memory chip, which he wears around his neck, then heads out of the secret office. In the arcade, Sam sees Alan looking around and explains that he paged him there to tell him they are taking back Encom, with Sam making Alan the new chairman of the board. Outside, Sam sees Quorra by his motorcycle, who asks what they will do now, and Sam says that they will do what his father asked and change the world, then he has her get on the bike and they ride off, with Sam letting Quorra experience her first sunrise.

TRON: Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Tron: Legacy boasts dazzling visuals, but its human characters and story get lost amidst its state-of-the-art production design.” While Jeff Bridges was always slated to return, none of the other characters from the original movie were written into the movie. However, public outcry from Bruce Boxleitner and fans of the original movie caused the writers to add him in and his performance was so popular, he returned to play Tron in the animated series TRON: Uprising. The movie was a box office success, earning $400 million off of a $170 million budget and a sequel was planned but has since been placed on indefinite hiatus while Disney considers rebooting the series.

After years of wait, I have to say that I enjoyed this movie but felt like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Jeff Bridges doing a great job returning as Kevin Flynn/Clu, though it felt like a little bit of The Dude had made it’s way into his portrayal of Kevin Flynn. Bruce Boxleitner was also good returning as Alan/Tron, while Gerrett Hedlund (Sam) and Olivia Wilde (Quorra) were equally good but my favorite character was Michael Sheen (Zuse), who was the most entertaining character next to Flynn himself. The story was pretty interesting and I liked how they acknowledged the time difference from the original movie to this one, such as the computer in the secret office showing the 20 year idle screen. I will agree with the critics that the movie did kind of lack some character developement, but mainly regarding Sam and Quorra, who came across as kind of bland despite their being two of the main characters. The special effects were incredible and definitely showcased the advancement in technology since the original movie. I also liked that they tried to incorporate a lot of aspects from the original movie into this, from the Recognizers, tanks, and light cycles, to aspects of Encom tower and the laser that zapped Sam. A good follow up to a cult classic and one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5