action, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: June 1st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Supremacy

the bourne supremacy

Well, I just have one month of flashback reviews to go, then the couple of movies I have bought this year and I will be able to take my break. Now for the matter at hand, this was yet another movie whose trailers had piqued my interest but I did not see in theaters. In fact, I didn’t see The Bourne Supremacy until I rented it along with The Bourne Identity several years after they had come out on video. Now obviously I wanted to watch it, and my buying the movie not withstanding, but the question remains as to just how good of a movie this actually was.

The plot: Two years after the events in Paris, Jason Bourne is living in Goa, India with his girlfriend Marie. Bourne still can’t remember everything about his past with Treadstone but sometimes, he has flashbacks of things when he dreams and has taken to writing them down in a notebook. Elsewhere, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy is in Berlin overseeing a $3 million payoff to a Russian source who has with him the “Neski” files, details about a $20 million theft several years ago. As the source arrives at the building and makes contact with Pamela’s buyer, Kirill, a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants some explosives on the power junction box, planting a fingerprint on one of them. Kirill then sets off the explosives, with the one that has the fingerprint planted on it failing to detonate, then heads up to the now darkened room, where he kills the source and everyone there, then takes the money and files. The next morning, Kirill meets with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov, who gives him his payment for the files, then tells Kirill he will get the rest when he finishes his job, passing him the information on his next target. Some time later, Kirill arrives in Goa and asks the manager of the telegraph office if he has seen Bourne, but Bourne spots him and, figuring that Kirill is after him, quickly heads back to his home to get his jeep. Driving into town, he sees Marie at a diner and honks his horn to pick her up, telling her that their blown, and spots Kirill on the nearby beach. Believing Treadstone is after them, Bourne drives off with Marie and after he manages to lose Kirill, he has Marie switch places so she is driving. They head for a nearby bridge, where Bourne plans on jumping out so that he can ambush Kirill when he follows after Marie but Kirill had gone to a nearby hill and fires at the car, hitting Marie and causing the jeep to crash off the bridge and into the river below. Bourne survives the crash and after getting Marie’s body out of the car, he kisses her goodbye before letting her float to the surface while he swims off in another direction. Back in Berlin, the investigation team finds the fingerprint on the explosive and when Landy’s team goes to match it, they find themselves blocked by a demand for clearance due to the print being flagged by Treadstone so she orders her team to head back to Langley. Kirill heads back to Russia and meets with Yuri to tell him Bourne is dead and Yuri gives him the rest of his money, telling him he will contact him in a month. Back in Goa, Bourne watches as Marie’s body is fished out of the river, then heads home, grabbing all of the weapons and supplies he stashed there, burning several of his fake passports and pictures, then leaves India. In Langley, Landy tells the director that she needs level 5 clearance so she can follow up on their lead and he gives it to her, allowing her to match the fingerprint to Jason Bourne. After reading up on the files, Landy meets with Deputy Director Ward Abbott and talks to him about Treadstone, Bourne, and Conklin but he doesn’t say much to her. Landy is attending a meeting with the Director and the other Deputy Directors, where she tells them about the theft of $20 million and how a Russian politician named Neski had contacted them and said it was an inside job but before he could give them the information, he was killed. The case had gone cold until their recent contact but he was apparently killed by Bourne, whom Landy believes was working with Conklin and had stolen the money, then killed anyone that could prove it. Meanwhile, Bourne is picked up and detained in Naples and when Landy hears this, she asks what assets they have there and rushes to contact the local police to let them know who they are holding. In Naples, Bourne is being interrogated by the local CIA agent when Landy’s assistant calls him to tell him about Bourne but when the agent hangs up, Bourne quickly knocks out the agent and the guard watching him. Bourne then takes the agent’s phone and copies the sim card before grabbing his stuff and leaving, blocking the door so they can’t follow him. As Bourne gets in the agent’s car, Landy calls the agent and Bourne is able to listen in, learning about his being blamed for the deaths in Berlin and that Landy is the one looking for him now. Landy is heading back to Berlin, and the Director orders Ward to accompany her so they can finally capture Bourne. Bourne heads to Berlin and as he does, he has another flashback from an assignment Conklin gave him. Meanwhile, Ward heads to the Netherlands to pick up Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s Treadstone handler in Paris, and Landy questions her about Bourne and Treadstone. Elsewhere, Bourne heads to Munich, where Jarda, another former Treadstone operative, lives. Bourne subdues Jarda and questions him about Conklin and Treadstone and learns that Conklin is dead and Treadstone has been shut down. When Jarda apologizes, Bourne realizes that he must have somehow contacted the CIA and goes to leave when Jarda attacks him. Bourne manages to kill Jarda, then rigs the house to explode just as the CIA show up. Bourne then heads to the Berlin Airport and after placing some of his items in a storage locker, he calls several hotels until he finds the one that Landy is staying in, then figures out who she is and follows her to the Berlin office. As Landy, is speaking with her team about Bourne, Bourne heads to a nearby rooftop so he can observe Landy and her team, then calls Landy. As he talks with Landy, Landy’s comments prompt another flashback, causing him to hesitate. As Bourne recovers, he notices Nicky standing next to Landy and tells Landy he wants to come in but wants someone he can trust to bring him in. When Landy asks who, Bourne tells her Nicky and where to meet and when Landy asks what will happen if she can’t find Nicky that quickly, Bourne tells her that she is standing right next to her, revealing to all of them that he was watching them. Landy and her team work to figure out a plan for the meeting but Ward wants to use the opportunity to kill Bourne, prompting an argument between Landy and Ward. Nicky heads to the meeting spot and as the CIA agents keep track of her, a crowd shows up just as Bourne calls and tells Nicky to get onto an approaching tram. As the tram approaches it’s next stop, Bourne grabs Nicky and forces her off the train before Landy can have her men get her out of there, then starts questioning her about Landy.  When Nicky tells him about the matter in Berlin, Bourne tells her that he was in India watching Marie die when that happened. Bourne asks her what Landy was buying and when Nicky says information about Conklin and a Russian politician, Bourne recalls Neski’s name and asks Nicky when was he on assignment in Berlin but she tells him that he was never on a job here or if he was, it wasn’t in his file, and Bourne threatens to shoot her but then leaves, leaving her frightened in a bathroom stall. Landy, who had overheard everything Bourne had said due to Nicky’s wire, begins checking to see if what Bourne said is true, though Ward argues against it. Ward’s assistant, Danny Zorn, then has Ward follow him to where they botched buy occurred and tells him that he believes Bourne was set up to cover for someone else’s crime and Ward ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Bourne looks up the information on Neski’s murder, then heads to the hotel where the death occurred, remembering everything that occurred and how he killed both Neski and his wife. As Bourne is in the room Neski died in, the hotel manager had gotten the report to hold Bourne for questioning and calls the police, which alerts the CIA to where he is. Bourne makes his way to the roof and manages to get away from the hotel but when a patrol officer spots him, he is forced to make a run for it, eventually managing to get away by jumping onto a passing barge, then using a boat hook to grab onto the underside of a bridge as it passes underneath it, then climbing up the bridge and boarding a train. Landy and her team investigate the hotel when they learn about Danny Zorn’s death and Landy tells her assistant to stay on Bourne while she goes to see Ward. Meanwhile, Ward calls Yuri and tells him that the CIA is onto the Neski murder and that he needs to kill Bourne but Yuri says that he doesn’t need him anymore and then hangs up. As Ward hangs up the phone, he senses Bourne behind him as Bourne asks him why he killed Marie. Ward tells him it was an accident as he was supposed to be killed so that when the files went missing and he was blamed, the CIA would be chasing a ghost for years without learning his involvement. Bourne moves to kill him but then stops, saying that Marie wouldn’t want him to kill him, then stops the recording of their conversation and leaves. Later, Landy goes to Ward’s room to confront him about Zorn’s death and Ward tells her he isn’t sorry for what happened, then kills himself. Later, Landy is listening to the recording Bourne had made, as he had left it at the hotel addressed for her, and her assistant tells her that Langley wants to know what the update on Bourne is when her team sees Bourne boarding a train for Moscow and LAndy contacts the Russian Interior. In Moscow, Yuri approaches Kirill outside the club he had been in and tells him Bourne is alive. Bourne takes a taxi to an address just as the police arrive at the train station and start questioning people about Bourne, eventually learning where he went. Bourne arrives at the address he wanted and as he asks where the Neski’s daughter is, he learns that she had moved out of the city. When his taxi suddenly takes off, Bourne realizes the police are close by and he rushes off before they can get there. Kirill is driving to the location when he spots Bourne and he quickly gets out of his car and shoots at him, hitting him in the shoulder, but the police show up and detain Kirill, allowing Bourne to get away. Bourne tries to evade the police but then ends up in a brief altercation before stealing a cab and driving off. As he works on stopping the bleeding in his shoulder, Bourne drives through traffic and manages to elude his pursuers until Kirill catches up to him but Bourne manages to shoot out Kirill’s tire, then force him to crash into a barricade. An injured Bourne gets out of his car and approaches Kirill only to find him near death and he quickly leaves the scene. As Landy arrives in Moscow and helps the FSB arrest Yuri, Bourne heads to where Neski’s daughter lives and breaks into her apartment to wait for her. When she arrives home, Bourne tells her that her mother didn’t kill her father and then kill herself like the papers said, but that he killed them and staged the scene, then apologizes for the pain he caused her as he leaves. Some time later, Landy is in her office in New York City when she receives a call from Bourne, asking her why she is still looking for him. Landy thanks him for the tape that he sent her that closed the case on the Neski files and Bourne goes to leave when Landy stops him. Landy then tells him his real name is David Webb and gives him his birth date and hometown and asks him to come in but Bourne doesn’t respond for a while, then tells Landy to get some rest as she looks tired, revealing he had been watching her when he made the call.

The Bourne Supremacy met with mostly favorable reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.” To give this movie its gritty, documentary-style appearance, director Paul Greengrass used mostly handheld cameras, and a muted color palette. Greengrass also made sure to avoid computer graphics at all costs, and all of the stunts shown in the movie were achieved practically.The movie was a box office success, earning $288.5 million off of a $75 million budget.

I have to say, I honestly liked this movie a little better than the first one. I thought the acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job reprising his role as Jason Bourne. I also thought Brian Cox (Ward) and Julia Stiles (Nicky) were good as well, while Joan Allen made a great new foil for Bourne, though she seemed to also be somewhat of an ally at the end. Though it differed from the book that it was titled after, the plot was actually pretty good. The only problem I had with it is that they seriously had this set up as the middle part of a trilogy, without really announcing that there was going to be a trilogy. Everything in the movie seemed to be set up to give more background into Bourne’s past with Treadstone, while the ending was a total set up for a future movie. The action scenes were incredible and definite some of the best coordinated stuff I had seen in a while, at that point in time. The fact that they didn’t use any CGI in the movie really made them seem that much more impressive. A great movie and definitely an outstanding follow up to the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

Flashback Review: May 31st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Identity

the bourne identity

So when I first hear about this movie, I did the thing I normally do when a movie based on a book comes out, I went to read the book first. Unfortunately, it took me forever to read the book. I don’t know why, but every time I tried to read it it would put me to sleep. Putting my efforts to read the book to the side, I didn’t get a chance to see The Bourne Identity when it was in theaters nor did I immediately rent it when it came out on DVD. My first time watching it was actually watching about a third of it on TV one day. This prompted me to end up renting it and eventually, buy a box set containing the first three movies in the set.

The plot: In the Mediterranean Sea, a n Italian fishing boat is out at sea during a storm when they see an unconscious man floating in the water and rescue him. As they bring him into the cabin, the ship’s captain discovers two bullet wounds in the man and as he tends to the wounds, he finds a strange capsule in the man’s hip and removes that as well, discovering that it contains an account number for a bank in Zurich. Suddenly, the man regains consciousness and attacks the doctor but as the doctor explains that they found him and asks his name, the man can’t remember who he is. Elsewhere, a CIA agent working for a black ops program  known as Operation Treadstone, tells the program’s director, Alexander Conklin, that their mission had failed. Back on the boat, the amnesiac man finds that he can remember how to do some things, like tie knots and speak several languages, but still doesn’t remember who he is. When the boat arrives in Italy, the captain gives the amnesiac some money that will enable him to get to Switzerland and wishes him luck on his journey. When he gets to Switzerland, the amnesiac ends up being harassed by some police when he is found sleeping in a park but when they go to arrest him, he instinctively grabs their batons and knocks them out, then gets freaked out by what he did and quickly runs away. Meanwhile, Nykwana Wombosi, an exiled African dictator, is giving an interview in Paris, France claiming to have survived an assassination attempts. In CIA Headquarters in Langley, the director is telling his deputy directors about Wombosi’s claim and that he wants them to put him back into power or else he will tell the world that they were behind the attempt. After the meeting is dispersed, Deputy Director Ward Abbott meets with Conklin to find out what happened and is upset that he didn’t tell him that their asset has disappeared until now. Back in Switzerland, the amnesiac heads to the bank when it opens and after giving them the account number listed in the chip, he is led to a high security safety deposit box. After the box is taken to a secure viewing room, the man finds a passport with the name Jason Bourne on it, as well as several other items. Noticing a second layer to the box, he pulls out the top part and finds a large quantity of money, several more passports with different names on them, and a gun. Deciding to take the passport saying he is Jason Bourne, Bourne, grabs all the money and everything else in the safety deposit box, leaving the gun inside, then leaves the bank, unaware that the bank manager is making a phone call to Treadstone about Bourne. Bourne makes a phone call to Paris, trying to ensure that he does live at the address listed on the passport but when he notices that the police seem to be taking an interest in him, he hangs up and quickly leaves, with some police officers following him. Bourne uses his passport to head into the American consulate but when he changes his mind about his plan and goes to leave, he is detained by the guards. Bourne quickly subdues the three guards that try to capture him, then attempts to leave the building, grabbing a guards radio so he can keep tabs on their attempts at capturing him. Bourne makes his way up to the roof  and after avoiding being detected, he climbs down the wall and grabs the bag that he dropped. Bourne heads down an alley and notices Marie Kreutz, a German woman that had been at the consulate when Bourne was there, and offers her $10,000 to drive him to Paris and she refuses initially but, needing the money, she agrees to drive him. Meanwhile, Treadstone is busy confirming that Bourne is still alive and when they see the picture from a video camera and hear the report about the consulate, Conklin orders several of their assets, Castel, Manheim, and the Professor, to be activated and sent after Bourne. They eventually spot where Bourne had met up with Marie in the alley and after getting Marie’s information, they send that to Nicky Parsons, a handler in Paris, so she can send their pictures to the authorities so they can be detained. Back in Europe, Bourne tells Marie about his amnesia and the weird things he does know and she doesn’t quite believe him but continues to drive him to Paris. When they arrive at the address on Bourne’s passport, Bourne pays her the rest of the money he promised but Marie, having become interested in Bourne, doesn’t want to leave just yet and Bourne invites her inside. When they ring the doorbell, the housekeeper for the building happily greets Bourne and lets him in and they head upstairs to his unit. Inside, they both look around his place before Marie asks to use the bathroom. As she is gone, Bourne hits the redial on his phone and when he gets the hotel, asks for Jason Bourne and when they have no record of him, he asks for John Michael Kane, one of the names that was on another passport. He is told that Kane had died 2 weeks ago and he starts to get paranoid, searching the house after grabbing a knife from the kitchen. When Marie exits the bathroom, he drops the knife behind a doorway, out of her sight, but as they talk, they are suddenly attacked by Castel. Bourne defends himself and manages to disable Castel and he throws Marie Castel’s bag and has her go through it while he questions Castel. When Marie finds pictures of them from the consulate, she freaks out and starts yelling at Castel about how he got her picture and as Bourne tends to her, Castel jumps out the window, killing himself. Bourne helps Marie outside, as she has gone into shock, and after driving away from the scene, they head to the bus station, where Bourne heads inside to hide the bulk of the money. When he returns to the car, he finds Marie had left but soon sees her returning from the shop she had gone into. As he tries to tell her to go to the police and get away from him, as it would be safer for her to get away from him, he notices the police approaching them and asks her one more time to leave but she buckles her seatbelt, choosing to stay with him. Bourne begins driving and after causing several cops to crash, manages to eventually lose the police, then they quickly leave the car. Meanwhile, Wombosi goes to the Paris morgue to look at the body of Kane, who was the person that had attempted to assassinate him, but when he examines the body, he says it is not the same person as the body was not shot. Later, Nicky contacts Conklin and tells him that Wombosi wasn’t fooled so Conklin orders the Professor to kill Wombosi. Later, Abbott confronts Conklin about Wombosi’s murder but Conklin blames Bourne for the assassination and says that with the mission completed, he should be checking in within 24 hours, Meanwhile, Bourne helps Marie to dye her hair and afterwards, they end up having sex. The next day, Bourne has Marie help him get some information from the hotel that Kane was staying at and after she gets him the phone records, he begins calling people that Kane had called, eventually getting a meeting at one of the companies. When he goes to the meeting, Bourne is shocked to find that they know him as Kane. As Bourne tells Marie what he learned, she tells him that she found Kane in the morgue and they head there to examine the body only to find that it has been taken already, claimed by Kane’s “brother”. Bourne grabs the register and learns that Wombosi had gone to see the body but when they go to Wombosi’s place, theylearn about his assassination. Bourne and Marie head back to their hotel but when Bourne notices the police heading towards them, he has the cab driver pull over and tells Marie that they have to leave. Learning that the police are looking for them, Marie wants to get away from Bourne but he tells her he will take her wherever she wants to go and she won’t have to see him again but for now, they have to stick together. Back in Langley, Abbott confronts Conklin about Bourne’s not coming in yet and Conklin tells him he will take of things. Conklin then decides to have his men search Marie’s past and figure out anyone she might go to for help in the hopes of finding Bourne. Marie tries contacting an old friend of hers but when she gets no answer, she has Bourne drive her there, thinking it would be empty and they could hide there. When they get there, they find evidence that her friend is there and Bourne wants to leave but her friend shows up and they are forced to bluff and stay the night. Meanwhile, Conklin’s men are able to trace Marie’s call and figure out where she is going and give the information to the Professor so he can kill Bourne. The next day, Bourne and Marie are getting ready to leave but when her friend’s kids say their dog is missing, Bourne realizes that an assassin is there for them and tells everyone to hide in the basement. Bourne grabs a shotgun from a shelf and heads out, shooting a fuel supply in order to mask his movements from the Professor. Bourne is able to get the drop on the Professor and starts questioning him, learning about Treadstone before the Professor dies. Marie’s friend is getting ready to leave and Bourne give Marie some money so she can leave with them and start a new life somewhere where she will be safe. After they leave, Bourne goes through the Professor’s things and when he finds a phone, he calls the number programmed in it, eventually getting connected to Conklin. Conklin tells Bourne to come in but Bourne knows he will try to kill him again and instead tells him to meet him in Paris that afternoon and to come alone. Bourne heads to the meeting point early and observes it from a nearby rooftop. He sees Conklin arrive but since he sees Conklin’s team with him, he calls Conklin and tells him that since he didn’t come alone, he was leaving, then places a tracking device on Conklin’s car. Conklin tells Nicky to begin deleting all the files and computers at the office and heads over there. As they finish cleaning out the place, Bourne creates a distraction that allows him to sneak in, disabling their security systems as he does. Conklin grabs a gun and starts looking for Bourne but Bourne gets the drop on him and has him drop his gun. As Bourne tries to get answers from Conklin about what Treadstone is, Conklin tries to find out what happened with the mission involving Wombosi. As Conlin lists what Bourne had told him about his plan, Bourne suddenly remembers his attempt on Wombosi and how he couldn’t bring himself to kill him as his kids where there with him. Bourne tells Conklin that Jason Bourne is dead and if he sees anyone coming after him, he will bring everything about Treadstone to light. Suddenly, Bourne notices that Conklin’s radio was live and he knocks Conklin out, then takes out the guards before walking away. Conklin leaves the building shortly after Bourne and ends up being gunned down by Manheim, who had been ordered to kill Conklin by Abbott, then Abbott orders Treadstone to be shut down. Some time later, Abbott is testifying before a Congressional panel about Treadstone and after successfully telling them that it had been shut down, he then starts telling them about a new project called Black Briar. Elsewhere, Marie has opened up a scooter rental shop on Mykonos and when Bourne shows up at her shop, she smiles before rushing over and hugging him.

The Bourne Identity met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers — and then some.” The movie was a box office success, earning $214 million off of a $60 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels. While it is not the only movie to share plot points with the Bourne series of books, The Bourne Identity is the only movie in the series to remotely resemble the plot of the book of which it was named, as 2016’s Jason Bourne shared some plot points with “The Bourne Supremacy”.

Yes, it differs from the book but this is still a good movie on it’s own merit. The acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job as Jason Bourne. Franka Potente and Chris Cooper did great jobs in their roles as Marie and Conklin respectively and I also liked Brian Cox (Abbott), Julia Stiles (Nicky), and Clive Owen (The Professor), though their roles were limited. The story was pretty good, with the differences in the plot between the movie and the book making for a more straightforward story without dealing with the somewhat complex plot point involving “The Jackal”. The action scenes, such as the fights and the chase scene in Paris, were very well done and definitely added to the excitement without detracting away from the suspense of the story. All in all, this was a great movie and definitely helped introduce a new action hero to the silver screen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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

June 13th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: Days Of Future Past

x-men days of future past

Another pivotal story line gets turned into a movie. Now there was a lot of hype about this movie when it first was announced. I mean, there was a lot of excitement about the Sentinels finally appearing in the movies, as well as tying in the original trilogy of movies to the new series. Personally, I was highly interested in this movie but did have my concerns. I mean, this is another one of the big plot lines in the comics and we all know how bad the last one turned out. Still, I heard the Bryan Singer had returned to direct so I was hoping that he could recapture the magic from the first two movies and makes this one successful as well. Now let’s see how good of a job they did with today’s movie, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

The plot: In the year 2023, the world has fallen under the control of the Sentinels, robotic mutant hunters who have killed thousands of mutants as well as humans who are shown to carry the mutant gene, preventing more mutants from being born. In Moscow, 3 Sentinels attack the hideout of some of the remaining X-Men; Bishop, Blink, Colossus, Iceman, Kitty Pride, Sunspot, and Warpath. While Colossus, Blink, Iceman, Sunspot, and Warpath attempt to hold off the Sentinels, and are killed in the process, Kitty Pride and Bishop head to a safe room and Kitty starts using her powers to send Bishop’s consciousness back in time a few days to his younger self, thus warning the group and allowing them to move before the Sentinels are able to find them. Professor Xavier, Magneto, Storm, and Wolverine meet up with the group in China and hearing about Kitty’s new ability, Xavier and Magneto believe their plan will work. They explain to the group that the Sentinels were developed by Boliver Trask in the 70’s, who had begun experimenting on mutants back then. Mystique had found out about his experiments and killed Trask in 1973 but she was captured and experimented on herself, leading the scientists to discover the ability in her DNA to adapt, which was used to give the Sentinels the ability to adapt and counter any mutant ability they come across. Xavier wants to send his consciousness back in time to stop the assassination but Kitty says that the best she could do is a month before the mind, even one as powerful as Xavier’s would snap. Wolverine suggests he goes, thinking his healing factor would allow his mind to repair itself as fast as it snaps and Xavier and Magneto reluctantly agree that it is their best choice. As Wolverine prepares for the trip, Xavier tells him to head to his mansion and convince him to help stop Mystique, telling Wolverine that he didn’t have his powers back then. Magneto says he will also need his younger self’s help but says his location is “complicated”. Kitty tells Wolverine that they with them focusing on this attempt, they won’t be able to leave again when the Sentinels find them, then begins the process. In 1973, Trask is talking in front of a D.O.D. panel about his Sentinel program, warning that the mutants could attack them anytime, even in their own homes, but the panel refuses his funding. In Saigon, as the U.S. prepares to close down their base, 4 mutant soldiers, including Alex Summers (Havok) are being prepared to be sent to Trask Industries by Major William Stryker but Mystique, disguised as an army colonel, rescues them. Helping them get on a plane that is leaving, Alex asks if she is coming with them but she tells him that her war isn’t over. Meanwhile, Wolverine wakes up in his younger self and heads to Xavier’s mansion only to find the school has been shut down and the mansion and grounds are in a state of disrepair. When he knocks on the door, a human Hank McCoy answers the door and Wolverine forces his way in to look for Xavier, forcing Hank to transform to try and throw him out. Xavier shows up and Wolverine is shocked to see that Xavier is walking. Wolverine tells him that he is from the future and why he is there and Xavier doesn’t believe him at first but reluctantly agrees to help in order to help bring Raven (Mystique) home. When Wolverine says that they need Magneto’s help, Hank and Xavier laugh and explain that he is being held in a special prison underneath the Pentagon, as he is the one to kill Kennedy. Xavier says that they can’t get him out as it would just be the three of them but Wolverine says he knows a guy that would be a young man back then that would be able to help. Meanwhile, Mystique, disguised as Trask, heads up to Trask’s office and discovers his secret file room, where she discovers the Sentinel’s plans as well as his reports on mutants and their autopsy reports, including autopsy reports on Azazel and Angel. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine arrive at the Maximoff house and ask to speak with Peter, a speedster, and convince him to help them break Magneto out of the Pentagon. Hank, Wolverine, and Xavier go on the Pentagon Tour, then Xavier and Wolverine break away from the group while Hank uses a device to jam the security cameras. Peter disguises himself as a guard and sneaks down to Magneto’s cell and uses his powers to shatter the glass in his cell. He then braces Magneto’s neck so he doesn’t get whiplash, then races him past the guards back to the elevator. Xavier and Wolverine meet them in the kitchen and when the guards show up to stop them, Peter uses his speed to save them all. Thanking Peter for his help, Xavier, Hank, Wolverine, and Magneto head to Paris to locate Mystique and during the flight, Xavier and Magneto argue, accusing each other of abandoning the other, but later they appear to reconcile. The next day, Mystique disguises herself as a Vietnamese general and heads to a secret meeting that Trask has with the Vietnamese and Soviets, attempting to sell his technology to them. When his technology detects a mutant in the group and outs her, Mystique takes out the guards, including Stryker, but before she can kill Trask, Stryker recovers and uses a taser to stop her. Wolverine and the others arrive and rescue Mystique but after looking at the plans for the Sentinels, Magneto decides that their best course to stop the Sentinels is to kill Mystique. As Hank and Xavier try to stop him, Wolverine notices Stryker and suddenly starts having flashbacks to the Weapon X program, causing him to lash out in the future and wound Kitty. Magneto manages to wound Mystique and follows her in an attempt to kill her but Hank transforms into Beast and stops him, allowing Mystique to get away before Magneto is able to restrain Beast and get away himself. In the future, Kitty is able to regain control of Wolverine, causing him to calm down and remember why he is there in the past. After getting her injuries treated, Mystique locates Magneto and threatens to kill him for trying to kill her but he tells her about Wolverine’s message and how she is the downfall of the mutant race. He tells her that they have her blood now so they are still in danger but Mystique feels that she can still stop this if she kills Trask and leaves. In Washington D.C., President Nixon asks his cabinet about the Mystique and Magneto, wondering if they have any sort of defense against them and Trask, who was in attendance, tells him about his Sentinel program. He tells Nixon that he has 8 prototypes ready to launch and Nixon says he wants them at the White House for a demonstration to assure the public that they are safe. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine return to the mansion and Xavier’s powers start returning but Wolverine convinces him to stop using the drug to suppress them, so that they can use Cerebro to find Mystique. Xavier tries but is unable to handle hearing all of the thoughts from everyone around the world, causing a power surge to black out the mansion. Xavier says this is hopeless and tells Wolverine that they sent the wrong man and Wolverine agrees with him, saying they meant to send him (Xavier) but he wouldn’t have been able to survive the trip. Wolverine convinces Xavier to look into his mind to see his future, and Xavier ends up speaking with his future self, helping to boost Xavier’s confidence so he can try again. Xavier manages to locate Mystique and tries to convince her to stop but she refuses to budge from her plan to kill Trask. When he tells Wolverine and Hank that she is heading to D.C., Hank shows them a news report about Nixon unveiling the Sentinels at the White House and how they have samples of Mystique’s blood and Xavier fears that if she kills Trask at that event, the future will be set in stone. Meanwhile, Magneto heads after the train carrying the Sentinels to D.C. and using some rails from the train tracks, infuses the Sentinels with metal so that he can control them. Xavier, Hank, and Wolverine fly to D.C. and during the flight, Wolverine tells Xavier that he saw the good that was in the future and asks him to find the X-Men. They arrive at D.C. and head to the White House, where Xavier is able to locate Mystique, disguised as a Secret Service agent, and stops her from moving, then has Hank and Wolverine go to try and get her. Meanwhile, Magneto appears and lifts the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium from it’s foundation and as he approaches the White House with it, takes control of the Sentinels and makes them start attacking the crowd. The attack causes Xavier to lose his focus and Mystique continues after Trask, making her way to the secret bunker Trask and Nixon have taken shelter in. In the future, the Sentinels have located the X-Men and sent a fleet after them and Storm and Magneto work to try and stem the tide. The appear to destroy them all, but several Sentinels survived and kill Storm while Magneto, injured by some debris from the Blackbird’s destruction, uses the remaining debris to barricade the entrance just as Blink uses a portal to send him inside. Back in the past, Wolverine and Hank, transforming into Beast, go to attack Magneto but he turns one of the Sentinels on them. Beast attacks the Sentinel and Wolverine goes after Magneto but he uses some metal rebar to attack Wolverine, forcing it throughout his body, then tosses him into the Potomac. In the bunker, Trasks alarm reveals a mutant in the area and Mystique is captured before she can kill Trask but the bunker is suddenly ripped from the ground by Magneto and opened up. Turning the TV camera to face them, Magneto addresses the world and tells any mutants that wish to join him against the humans to do so. Hank is overpowered by the Sentinel so he uses the drugs to turn him back to human, causing the Sentinel to attack Magneto but he easily destroys it. Nixon leaves the bunker to face Magneto but as Trask and the others look in confusion, it is revealed that Nixon is still in the bunker. Magneto prepares to kill Nixon when Nixon, who is actually Mystique in disguise, shoots him with a plastic gun and bullet, hitting him in the neck and then using the distraction to knock him out. She then points the gun at Trask but Xavier freezes everyone to try and convince her not to kill Trask, saying that all people have seen right now is her saving the President’s life. Mystique reluctantly lowers the gun and in the future, the Sentinels finish killing the X-Men and are preparing to kill Xavier, Magneto, Kitty, and Wolverine when they all suddenly disappear. Mystique walks away, grabbing Magneto’s helmet as she does and Xavier uses his powers to take control of Magneto and lift the debris that is on him and as Hank helps him up, Xavier and Magneto speak briefly before Magneto flies off. Logan wakes up in a new future and is surprised to see everyone alive, including Jean and Scott, and the school thriving. He goes to speak to Xavier and when he comments on not remembering anything after 1973, as his memory of history is different, Xavier recognizes him as the Logan from the past and welcomes his friend, saying that they have a lot to catch up on while back in the past, Logan is rescued by Mystique, disguised as Stryker, while a newspaper shows the Sentinel project is scrapped and Trask is arrested for attempting to sell military hardware to the Soviets. Meanwhile, in the distant past, a crowd of Egyptians chant out “En Sabah Nur” as a figure telekinetically moves stones to form a pyramid, while 4 horsemen watch from a nearby hilltop.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise’s finest installments.” The filmmakers chose to bast the story on the “Days Of Future Past” story line in order to try and correct some continuity errors that occurred with the prequel movies. The movie was a box office smash, earning $747.9 million off of a $205 million budget, making it the second highest grossing movie in the franchise behind Deadpool, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, making it the first film in the series to receive a nomination.

Aside from a few personal issues I have, this was a great movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs reprising their roles. I thought that Peter Dinklage did a great job as Trask and I also liked the surprise returns of Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, and Kelsey Grammer as Jean, Cyclops, Rogue, and Beast respectively. The story was good, capturing the basic premise of the original comic story but making some necessary changes due to characters not being introduced or already killed off. See, in the comics, Kitty is the one to go back in time to stop the assassination of Senator Kelly by Mystique, being sent there by the future daughter of Cyclops and Jean, Rachel Summers. This is one of the rare times where I was actually able to shut down fan boy me and enjoy the movie for the most part and not constantly think in my head “that’s not how it happened.” One of the issues I did have with the movie though was them using Kitty to send people back in time.  See, Kitty’s power was the ability to phase herself, and anyone she is touching, in order to make them intangible. She doesn’t have the power to send people’s minds to the past and they never really explained how she was able to do it. I would have liked it better if it was Emma or Xavier that was constantly doing it. I did like how they tried to tie in the old movies with the new one and essentially set it up as that they occurred in a “now” alternate timeline. The other thing I didn’t like was the end, as I thought the set up for the next movie was honestly a little too blunt. The special effects were pretty good and did a great job in accenting a lot of the action during the movie. All things considered, this is still a great movie and a lot of fun to watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comic book, fantasy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 8th, 2018 Movie – X2: X-Men United

x2-xmen united

When you have a smash hit on your hands, it is usually a good idea to go ahead and strike while the iron is hot with regards to movie sequels. That was definitely the case for today’s movie. When I first heard that the plot was being based in part on the graphic novel “God Loves, Man Kills”, I was immediately on board because that was one of the more powerful one-shot stories that I read as a kid. Then I started to worry and wondered if they would be able to do the story justice, or if it would be completely butchered. In the end, there was only one way to figure it out and that was to go see it. Now to find out whether my fears were justified with today’s movie, X2: X-Men United.

The plot: During a tour of the White House, the mutant Nightcrawler teleports away from the group and makes his way towards the Oval Office, taking out secret service guards along the way. He eventually manages to reach the President and prepares to stab him when one of the agents manages to fire a shot and wound his arm, causing him to drop the knife and teleport away. Meanwhile, Wolverine makes his way to an abandoned military base at Alkali Lake in Alberta, Canada, hoping to find something there that will help him remember the missing pieces of his past but he has no luck. Elsewhere, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm are taking some of the students from the school to a field trip at the New York Science Museum. During the trip, Jean starts having trouble with her telepathy, hearing thoughts from everyone in the building, as well as thoughts from the Secret Service in the White House. Cyclops questions her about and she admits that she has been losing control of both her telepathy and telekinesis and doesn’t know what’s going on. Meanwhile, Rogue, Bobby Drake, and John Allerdyce (Pyro) are hanging out in the food court when two guys ask Pyro for a light, as he is messing around with his lighter. Pyro refuses but the guy grabs the lighter and lights a cigarette and when he asks Pyro what he is going to do about it, Pyro causes the cigarette to flare up, catching the guy’s arm on fire. As the guy flails around, Pyro simply laughs and Bobby is forced to use his power to put out the fire. Suddenly, everyone in the museum freezes as Professor Xavier uses his powers to stop them so he can chastise Pyro but when they notice the report about the attack on the White House, they all quickly leave. At the White House, Colonel William Stryker meets with the President and they are joined by Senator Robert Kelly, who is actually Mystique in disguise. Stryker wants the President to authorize a special op to take out Xavier’s school, claiming that it is a mutant training center due to information he obtained from interrogating Magneto. Kelly argues that it is a school but when Stryker shows a picture of a plane seen leaving the school, the President agrees, but warns Stryker only to detain and question but do not kill any kids, as he doesn’t want a picture of that to appear on the news. As Stryker leaves the Oval Office, Kelly chases after him and asks to arrange a visit to question Magneto but Stryker refuses, causing Kelly to question Stryker’s zeal for waging a war against mutants. Some time later, Stryker pays another visit to Magneto, using a special serum applied to a wound on his neck to render him passive and unable to refuse to answer any questions he is asked. At the mansion, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Xavier are discussing the ramifications of the attack on the President and Xavier asks Jean and Storm to capture the mutant and bring him back to the mansion. At the same time, Logan returns to the mansion, where Rogue greets him and introduces him to Bobby, her boyfriend. Storm and Jean then talk with Logan, asking him to keep a watch on the mansion while they go to find the mutant. Logan heads down to see Xavier, who is using Cerebro to try and locate the mutant that attacked the President. When he is finished, Logan asks Xavier to read his mind again but Xavier says it won’t help and that sometimes, the mind simply must remember things on it’s own, but promises to talk with him more about the matter when he and Cyclops return. Back in D.C., Mystique changes into Stryker’s aide, Yuriko, and makes his way into Stryker’s office, where she locates the information on Magneto’s prison and guard detail. While she prints up the information, she notices a folder marked Cerebro and when she opens it, she finds Stryker has details on the device, as well as plans for alterations. Before she can do anything further, the real Yuriko enters the room and Mystique quickly changes into a janitor and leaves. Jean and Storm locate Nightcrawler in a church in Boston, where they learn that he is teleporter, explaining Xavier’s difficulty tracking him. After subduing talking with him, they learn that he has no recollection of attacking the President and when Jean wants to take him back to the mansion to further treat his injury, they notice the circular mark on his neck. Meanwhile, Xavier and Cyclops head to Magneto’s prison and while Cyclops stays back with the guards, Xavier goes on alone into the cell, where he notices the bruising on Magneto’s face. When he questions him about it, Magneto tells him that he has had frequent visits by Stryker. Xavier remembers him, as his son Jason was a former student at the school, but he couldn’t help Jason the way that Stryker wanted him too. When Magneto questions Xavier about Logan, mocking Xavier’s reluctance to pry into his mind for fear of losing another of his precious X-Men, Xavier asks Magneto what he told Stryker and Magneto says everything. As gas begins to fill the chamber, Magneto tells Xavier that he should have killed him when he had the chance and Xavier turns and yells out for Cyclops. In the guard’s area, Yuriko appears and attempts to tranquilize Cyclops but he blasts her with his eye beam, then fights off the guards. He heads to the door to free Xavier but Yuriko recovers and quickly knocks him out as Xavier slumps to the ground. Back at the mansion, Wolverine wakes up from a nightmare regarding his past and finds Bobby in the kitchen eating some ice cream. As the two talk, Stryker’s team begins infiltrating the mansion and starts tranquilizing the students. Wolverine hears something and goes to check it out, returning in time to save Bobby from being attacked by one of Stryker’s men. One of the students, Shadowcat, sees the men and is able to phase through her bed and escape from them. Another student, Siryn, wakes up and begins screaming when she sees the men, alerting the rest of the students to the danger before she is knocked out. Colossus heads to her room, changing to his steel form, and knocks out the men attempting to capture Siryn, then leads some of the other students to safety. Wolverine kills the man he is fighting with, then starts killing some of the other soldiers, rescuing another student and giving him to Colossus to take out of there with the other students. Bobby goes looking for Rogue, getting Pyro to help him and when they find her, they attempt to escape from the soldiers, eventually being rescued by Wolverine. Wolverine leads them to another escape passage and closes it behind them, then goes to face the soldiers only to be confronted by Stryker, who remarks that it has been 15 years since he last saw Wolverine. As Stryker continues to talk to Wolverine, an ice wall suddenly separates them and Wolverine turns to see Rogue and Bobby had returned. Rogue pleads with him to come with them and Wolverine reluctantly does so, taking Cyclops’s car to make their escape. As they drive off, Rogue asks where they are going and when Wolverine says they are heading to Boston, as that is where Jean and Storm are, Bobby says his parents live there and Wolverine decides to head there to hide. Back in the mansion, Stryker is told that most of the mutants escaped but they managed to capture 6 of them, as his men work on breaking into Cerebro’s chamber. Elsewhere, Mystique, disguised as a hooker, picks up one of the guards in Magneto’s prison and after giving him a laced drink, injects some iron directly into his bloodstream. At Stryker’s facility, Xavier regains consciousness to find Styker watching him. When Stryker tries talking to him about his son, Stryker tells Xavier that after he returned from Xavier’s school, he started placing images into the heads of him and his wife and his wife eventually took a power drill and committed suicide by trying to drill the images out. Xavier realizes that Styker arranged the attack on the President and Stryker says that he has plans for Xavier to help him in dealing with the mutant problem, leaving Xavier there with his son, Jason, who begins using his powers to weaken Xavier’s willpower. In Boston, Bobby lets everyone into his parent’s house and he heads to his parent’s room to get some clothes for Rogue. After she changes, they kiss briefly and when it doesn’t have a bad effect on Bobby, they kiss even more but Rogue starts absorbing too much of Bobby’s energy and she quickly apologizes. Meanwhile, Wolverine tries using the communicator he found in Cyclops’s car to get in touch with Jean when Bobby’s family returns home and Bobby quickly comes downstairs to talk with them. In Magneto’s prison, the guard Mystique drugged goes to bring Magneto his food but Magneto, sensing the additional iron in the guard, rips it from his body, killing the guard. Fashioning the iron into ball bearings, Magneto uses them to destroy his cell and kill the other guards while making his escape. In Boston, Bobby’s parents are having a hard time coming to grips with Bobby telling them he is a mutant and his brother Ronny runs off and secretly calls the police. In the Blackbird, Storm and Jean can’t make contact with anyone at the mansion and eventually manage to contact Wolverine, who tells them where they are and tells them to hurry as the police show up. Wolverine heads outside to speak with the cops and ends up getting shot in the head. As the police tell Rogue, Bobby, and Pyro to get on  the ground, Rogue and Bobby comply but Pyro decides to attack the cops. When he sets one of the police cars on fire and refuses to stop, Rogue uses her powers to absorb his and put the fires out, just as Jean and Storm arrive. Wolverine recovers from the bullet and leads the kids onto the jet, with Bobby taking one last look at his family before boarding, and they quickly leave. Back in Stryker’s base, Jason continues using his powers and eventually manages to overcome Xavier’s will, tricking him into thinking he is a little girl and Xavier leads her away towards Cerebro. Back on the jet, Storm alerts everyone that two fighter jets are approaching them, just as the jets order them to follow them to a nearby air force base. When they don’t respond, the two jets fall back and move to fire on them so Storm uses her powers to summon some funnel clouds. The twisters manage to destroy the planes but not before one of the pilots is able to fire two missiles at them. Jean is able to stop one of them but the second one hits them, opening a hole in the tail section and causing them to plummet to the ground. Rogue, whose harness wasn’t fastened properly, gets sucked out of the hole but she is rescued by Nightcrawler. As the plane drops to the ground, it suddenly repairs itself before coming to a stop, and the surprised X-Men see Magneto and Mystique below them. That night, Jean, Storm, and Wolverine speak with Magneto and Mystique, who tells them about Styker and his plans. Informing them that with Cerebro and Xavier, Stryker could manage to get Xavier to kill every mutant on Earth, then comments about how Stryker was the one that bonded the adamantium to Wolverine. When they ask why he helped them, Magneto tells them that Mystique downloaded the plans for the base but not it’s location and he believes one of them does, looking up to indicate Nightcrawler, who had been snooping on their conversation. Jean uses her telepathy to learn that Stryker’s base is at Alkali Lake and when Logan says he didn’t see anything there, she says it is underneath the lake. With final repairs still taking several hours to complete, the group prepare to make camp for the night and Wolverine talks with Jean for a bit, bringing up the tension between them. Jean tells him that girls want someone that is willing to stick around, not just leave whenever they feel like it and Wolverine says he could find a reason to stay before kissing her but Jean asks him to stop and not to make her choose between Cyclops and him. Later that night, Jean goes to Wolverine’s tent and starts kissing him but as he moves his hands up her shirt, he feels three scars on her chest and realizes it is Mystique, who taunts him by changing into Storm, Rogue, and back into Jean before turning into Stryker and asking him what he really wants. The next day, they fly to Alkali Lake and Magneto and Mystique tease Rogue about her hair, prompting Bobby to lead Rogue away from them before she tries anything. Magneto then speaks with Pyro some and begins to bond with him, as Pyro has been feeling stifled with having to keep his powers hidden all the time. Back in their base, Stryker is told that the machine is finished and one of his soldiers asks why he is keeping the children there and Stryker tells him it is to see if his machine works. Outside the base, Storm and the others are discussing the best way to enter the base and stop Styker. Wolverine says he should go, as he feels Stryker would want to keep him alive, but Magneto says Wolverine won’t be able to manage the controls for the spillway. Mystique, disguised as Wolverine, goes instead and is let inside but when Stryker gets a closer look at him, he realizes this Wolverine is a fake and orders his men to shoot him. Mystique manages to get away and lock herself into the control room, opening the spillway so that Magneto and the others can enter. Realizing that time is running out, Stryker and Yuriko head to the Cerebro room, where he orders Jason to tell the mesmerized Xavier to start searching for all of the mutants all over the world, knowing that if Xavier focuses hard enough on them, he will inadvertently kill them all. When Magneto and the X-Men join Mystique in the control room, they start discussing plans and Wolveirne notices a monitor showing Styker and Yuriko trying to escape and he secretly goes off after him. Meanwhile, Storm notices the monitor showing the children and asks Nightcrawler to help her rescue them but is worried about leaving Jean and Wolverine with Magneto. When she asks where Wolverine is, Jean looks and sees his communicator lying on the table and says disappointedly that he is gone. Storm and Nightcrawler reach the children and Nightcrawler begins teleporting down to their cell to rescue them. Meanwhile, Jean, Magneto, and Mystique head towards the Cerebro chamber but when Jean senses the mesmerized Cyclops about to attack them, she telekineticaly shoves Magneto and Mystique to safety, then yells at them to keep going while she deals with Cyclops. After knocking him down to a lower level, Jean goes looking for him only for Cyclops to try and blast her again. Jean uses her powers to block his blast and, with a sudden surge of power (and a flash of fire in her eyes) she causes a massive feedback wave, knocking both of them back but also damaging the dam. As Jean lays dazed on the floor, Cyclops approaches her but as she readies to defend herself again, he says he is ok and apologizes for attacking her. The two embrace and Cyclops helps her to his feet but Jean suddenly says that something is wrong. Meanwhile, Stryker and Yuriko are making their way out of the base when Stryker feels water dripping from the ceiling and looking up, he notices cracks in the foundation. Heading to a bank of panels, he checks the readings and yells out as he realizes his plans might come to naught. Wolverine reaches the chamber where the adamantium was bonded to him and he starts having flashback of the experience. As shakes off the memories, Stryker appears and starts talking to him before exiting the room, leaving Yuriko there to handle Wolverine. Wolverine tries to go past her but she attacks him, revealing that she also had adamantium bonded to her and a healing factor. As the two keep fighting, Yuriko appears to get the upper hand and is about to kill him but Wolverine grabs an injection gun for the liquid adamantium and stabs her with it, injecting her body full of the liquid metal and sending her sinking to the bottom of the tank. Back on the jet, Pyro gets tired of waiting around and decides to head into the base to see what is happening, taunting Rogue and Bobby for always doing what they are told. Outside the Cerebro chamber, Magneto pulls the pins for the grenades that all of the soldiers are carrying, killing all of them, then approaches the door. Inside, Jason has Xavier concentrate on finding all of the mutants causing all of the mutants on Earth to start writhing in pain. Magneto, protected from the psychic attack by his helmet, uses his powers to open the door, disrupting power to Cerebro. He then heads inside and decides to change the pattern of the Cerebro plating, so that it will kill all of the humans, instead of the mutants. Mystique, who has recovered from the attack, changes into Stryker and tells Jason to kill all of the human instead. Outside, Stryker attempts to get away on his helicopter but he is stopped by Logan, who stabs him and asks about his past. Stryker tells him he volunteered for the project and if he remembered all of the things they had done, he would consider not knowing them a blessing. Suddenly, they hear a siren going off and Stryker tells him the dam is about to burst and the whole base will be flooded. He offers to tell Wolverine everything if he helps him get out of here but Wolverine chains Stryker to the landing gear then heads back to save his friends. As Stryker works on getting free of his bonds, he is suddenly struck by Xavier’s psychic attack and he starts writhing in pain. Outside the Cerebro chamber, Storm, Nightcrawler, and the students are joined by Jean and Cyclops, and Jean explains what is going on. Realizing they can’t open the door without killing Xavier, Storm asks Nightcrawler to teleport her inside the chamber. Nightcrawler does so and they are confronted by Jason, sending them the same illusion of the little girl he is using on Xavier, but Storm doesn’t fall for his deceptions and when she can’t make contact with Xavier, she uses her powers to lower the temperature in the room. Outside, Magneto and Mystique reach Stryker’s helicopter, with Magneto forcefully removing Stryker from the landing gear, and as they go to leave, they see Pyro outside watching them and they take him with them. Back in the Cerebro chamber, Storm’s efforts are rewarded as Jason looses his hold on Xavier, who is able to stop Cerebro, just as the dam starts to break and the base floods. Nightcrawler teleports Storm and Xavier to safety before the debris crushes them and they all head towards the exit to leave the spillway but they are stopped when Logan seals the doors just as the spillway floods and he leads them outside. Logan leads them outside to where the helicopter was only to find it missing but suddenly, the Blackbird appears, as Bobby and Rogue attempted to fly it to them. Everyone heads for the Blackbird but before he goes there, Wolverine discovers Striker trapped against some rocks where Magneto left him. Stryker asks Wolverine if he will find the answers he seeks with them and Wolverine says he will take his chances with them and walks away, as Stryker yells out that one day, someone will finish what he started. On board the plane, Xavier tells Cyclops that they have to head to Washington, as he fears this isn’t over yet. As they attempt to leave, Storm asks where Pyro is and Jean is able to tell that he is with Magneto. As the plane isn’t able to start, Jean senses that the dam has broke and she quietly walks off the plane. Wishing to keep her loved ones safe, she closes the loading ramp and and prevents Nightcrawler from teleporting to save her. She then telekineticaly lifts the plane into air while holding back the wave of water from crushing them. Speaking telepathically through Xavier, she tells them that this is the only way and wishes them goodbye. With her body surrounded by a glowing flame, she easily lifts the plane to safety and sends them flying, then allows the wave to crash down around her, as Cyclops cries out in grief over her death. In D.C., the President is preparing to give a live broadcast to discuss the phenomenon that affected the world when the power fluctuates and he notices everyone but him is frozen. As a storm suddenly occurs outside, darkening the room, a bolt of lightning reveals Xavier and the X-Men in the room. Xavier addresses the President and has Rogue hand him files that Shadowcat retrieved from Stryker’s office, revealing he was behind the attack on the President. Xavier explains that there are people, both human and mutant, that want feel that a war is coming between the two species but the President has been presented an opportunity to try and work towards peace instead, which is what they want as well. Another bolt of lightning occurs and Xavier and everyone is gone, and the President is left with the folder to prove that he didn’t imagine what happened. Back at the mansion, Xavier, Cyclops, and Wolverine are discussing Jean and as Cyclops and Wolverine leave so Xavier can teach his class, Wolverine tells Cyclops that Jean made a choice and choose him (Cyclops). In the class room, Xavier is about to address the children when he suddenly looks away for a minute before getting a smile on his face and turning back to the children, while in Alkali Lake, the flaming outline of a phoenix can be seen moving underneath the water.

X2: X-Men United met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor — and a benchmark for comic sequels in general.” The Sentinels, the mutant hunter/killer robots from the comics, were initially supposed to be used in this movie but due to budgeting and rewrites, they ended up being scrapped. They would make a somewhat brief appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand, though they weren’t referenced by name, and would be a central plot line for X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $407.7 million off of a $125 million budget and set up way for a sequel.

This was a really good movie and definitely showed some improvement from the first one. The acting was pretty good, with all of the returning character doing good jobs in their roles. I thought that Brian Cox was great as Stryker and Kelly Hu was decent as Yuriko (Lady Deathstrike) but I really wish they could have given her at least a little bit of character instead of making her nothing more than a robotic slave. The story was great, sticking fairly close to the graphic novel, but with some changes necessitated by the previous movie, as well as a little creative licensing. The minor change of making Stryker a black ops colonel, as opposed to a religious figurehead like he was in the comic, actually played out better in the movie and I liked how they made Magneto even more ruthless in this, as instead of simply leaving with Xavier and the X-Men like in the comic, he chose to alter Stryker’s plans in an attempt to kill all of the humans on Earth, which is a rather twisted sense of irony in that Magneto, a survivor of the Holocaust, would actively attempt to cause widespread genocide. I also liked how they dealt with Jean and her powers, slowly giving hints to the phoenix persona beginning to emerge by showing glimpses of fire in her eyes as she uses her powers. The special effects were really good throughout the whole move, especially during the jet chase scene amidst all of the funnel clouds as that was an incredible bit of artistic work. All in all, this is a great comic book movie and definitely something worth watching whenever it comes on.

Rating 4 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, crime, movie, movie review, mystery

December 8th, 2017 Movie – Super Troopers

super troopers

Ahh, a fun movie to start the day with. In 2001, a movie came out that would soon become an instant classic in the comedy world. Now I honestly didn’t get a chance to see it when it came out in theaters but after hearing several friends talking about it, I decided I had to rent it. When I first watched it, I will admit that I didn’t get all of the appeal and thought it was just another in a line of stupid comedies. However, after watching it a couple of more times, as well as some of the other Broken Lizard movies, It started to grow on me so I ended up buying a copy. So let’s have a few laughs with today’s movie, Super Troopers.

The plot: Near the Canadian border of Vermont, 3 kids are smoking pot while driving down the highway when they notice a State Patrol car next to them. They quickly have one of the guys eat the pot, as well as some shrooms one guy had on him, then throw a second bag of pot out the window as they start to pull over. When the patrol car speeds by with it’s sirens flashing, the guys start laughing at their good fortune only to be shocked when the patrol car appears behind them. Trooper Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn and rookie Trooper Robert “Rabbit” Roto exit their car and question the kids then quickly leave in their car, only to go in reverse and go back behind them. As they start to bust the three kids for possession, a car speeds by yelling at them so the two troopers throw the kids in the back of their car and take off after the man. The speeder passes by another patrol car, taking out the head of the dummy that Trooper Jeff Foster had in his car, then gets off the highway and heads into a bar. The three troopers follow after him only to realize that it was Trooper MacIntyre “Mac” Womac pulling a prank on them. Mac teases the guys for falling for his prank, then puts his disguise back on and leaves the bar, shooting his gun in the air before getting in the patrol car the three guys are in and taking off. Later that day, the troopers are informed by their C.O., Captain John O’Hagen, that their station is being under consideration to be shut down so they need to cut back on the pranks and try to get along with the local police department. Meanwhile, Trooper Rodney “Rod” Farva, is constantly trying to prank Rabbit, as he is upset that he is under suspension for getting in a fight with some school kids during a traffic stop. When a murder occurs in a winnebago on a deserted highway, the Highway Patrol and local PD get in a fist fight over who is taking the case, which causes the Highway Patrol to look even worse. As the two law enforcement agencies continue to mess with each other at a kids little league game, Foster attempts to hit on Officer Ursula Hanson, the local PD radio operator who wants to get out in the field. The next day, Mac and Foster pull over a semi when it fails to pull into the weigh station but as they head into the trailer to inspect the cargo, the driver locks them inside. They are eventually let out by Thorny and Rabbit, who discover that the truck was carrying 150 kilos of marijuana. At the station, O’Hagen asks about the driver and they tell him that he was using a fake name and that the company is also fake. Rabbit comments on how the John Chimpo sticker on the bales of marijuana is the same as a tattoo the dead woman in the winnebago had and suggest they might be related so O’Hagen says he will talk to Chief Grady about taking over the investigation but Grady mocks his theory and refuses to turn it over. The mayor shows up as the newspaper is taking photos and tells them that the governor will be stopping by the town on her way to Burlington later in the week. Thorny and Rabbit pull over a German couple driving a Porsche only to learn that it is stolen so the arrest the couple. Later that night, Rabbit decides to go for a joyride in the stolen car only to get pulled over and arrested by Mac and an off duty Farva. As a result, Farva’s suspension is lifted and he is partnered with Thorny while Rabbit is stuck on radio dispatch. Meanwhile, Foster continues hitting on Ursula and they eventually decide to have sex in the winnebago but while they do, the bed breaks and they discover some more bricks of marijuana with the John Chimpo sticker on them. Foster takes the bricks to his station and while O’Hagen doesn’t believe his story on how he found them, agrees to talk to Grady again about taking over the investigation. O’Hagen tells Mac and Foster to go check the truck stops for information but they are unable to get any info on the mystery driver. Meanwhile, Farva gets into an altercation with some fast food workers and is arrested. As the local PD haze him, Grady speaks with Farva about coming to work with him after the Highway Patrol is shut down, asking him about how their drug bust is going but Farva refuses. Later, O’Hagen gets upset at the position Farva’s incident placed them in and says they are most likely going to be shut down unless some miracle occurs. Meanwhile, Foster and Ursula are continuing to see each other in secret and Ursula comes up with a way to help Foster save the station by getting the marijuana hidden in the winnebago and bringing it to the function that the Governor will be at. Foster and Thorny go get the winnebago while Rabbit distracts the cops but when they get there, they find that Grady has shown up with the drugs while they have bags full of cardboard. Foster confronts Ursula about what happened and she denies having anything to do with the trick, then tazes him when he suggests she was sleeping with Grady. That night, O’Hagen and the other troopers all get drunk and discover that Farva was the one who ratted them out and taken a job as a local cop. The 5 troopers gang up on Farva and strip him of his uniform, then steal his patrol car and proceed to have some fun. Foster contacts Ursula over the radio to apologize and she tells him a way to get back at the guys. When they go to where Ursula said to meet them, they see the truck driver pass by them and they start to follow only to be stopped by Farva. Farva plans to arrest them all but they convince him to go with them and see what is going on. When they get there, they find the truck driver meeting with the pilot of a small plane that flew in from Canada. When they see Grady and the other officers arrive at the scene, Farva gets upset at them and heads off to meet with Grady, but after he leaves, Thorny and the others see that Grady and the officers are in on the drug smuggling. Ursula arrives and tells them she knew about the drug smuggling but couldn’t do anything about it. Using some flares and a blow-up doll from Farva’s car, the troopers cause a distraction that saves Farva life, then take down the drug dealers and crooked cops. After the dust settles, the Highway Patrol is commended for bringing down the smuggling ring but their station is still shut down. A few months later, Thorny and Rabbit deliver a keg to a house party being thrown by the three kids they harassed. As the kids mess with them, thinking they are no longer cops, they take off their delivery uniforms to reveal that they, and the others are now serving as the local Spurbury police department.

Super Troopers didn’t fare well with the critics, only scoring a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.” The “bullet-proof cup” scene was filmed outside an actual prison, with the prisoners pressed against the fence yelling at Steve Lemme as he was standing there in just a cup. The movie was a big hit at the box office, earning $23.1 million off of a $1.2 million budget, and after a crowdfunding effort, a sequel has been produced to be released in 2018.

This isn’t the best comedy work but it is a really funny movie. The acting was good, with all of the Broken Lizard troupe turning in a great performance, while Brian Cox (O’Hagen) was surprisingly funny with his character. The basic premise of the movie was honestly a little unoriginal, as it was the basic goofball group clashing with the “authority” regime. Wow the basic premise was unoriginal, the story was pretty good as they added their own unique twist to it. The comedy was a mixture of slapstick, play-on-words, and some general adult humor but it all blended together pretty well. I did think it was funny that the couple that Farva said “chicken fucker” too was actually Kevin Hefferman’s parents. A funny movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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