adventure, comedy, movie, movie review

October 5th, 2018 Movie -Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery

austin powers

Ok folks. I am done playing catch up so it is back to reviewing all of the movies I bought or was gifted over the year. So let’s start with today’s movie, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not buy this movie, nor did any of my friends give it to me. So how is it that I own this movie and doing a review for it, you might ask? Well, the answer to that lies in the modern era of movies and digital/ultraviolet copies. See, several of the movies I have bought over the years have codes for ultraviolet or digital copies included with them. So I had signed up for a Vudu account, and a Movies Anywhere account, and inputted the codes onto the site to get the digital copies of the movies. However, what I honestly didn’t notice at the time is that I was given several movies for free when I opened these accounts. The only reason I noticed was when I listed my movies in alphabetical order and this movie came up towards the front. So there are going to be some movie reviews over the next few weeks for movies that I honestly would never have considered buying, but I will be fair with my reviews. Now, onto to today’s movie. I will admit that I did not see this movie in theaters but I saw it numerous times when it came out on video, as it seemed like everyone wanted to rent it or would buy their own copy. I have to admit that it has been a while since I watched it so let’s see if it still holds up.

The plot: In a secret lair outside of Las Vegas in 1967, Dr. Evil is holding a meeting with some of the world’s deadliest assassins, where he chastises them for failing to kill Austin Powers; promptly killing 4 of them and leaving Frau Farbissina and Mustafa still alive to deal with Austin. In London, Austin Powers and his partner, Mrs. Kensington, are contacted by Basil Exposition, head of British Intelligence, who warns them about a plot to kill Austin at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Austin and Mrs. Kensington head to the club and uncover one of the assassins posing as a woman but before the can question him, he is shot in the back with a harpoon by Dr. Evil. Austin and Mrs. Kensington give chase only to see Dr. Evil, and his cat Mrs. Bigglesworth get into a cryo-preservation pod and launch into space inside a rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue. 30 years later, a NORAD radar operator contacts Commander Gilmour to alert him about an object shaped like Big Boy entering Earth’s orbit before it disappears somewhere over Nevada. Realizing what this means, Gilmour heads to London and meets with Basil at the British Department of Defense. Basil explains that Austin had volunteered to be frozen in case Dr. Evil returns and they proceed to thaw him out. Once Austin is thawed out, he is introduced to his new partner, Mrs. Kensington’s daughter Vanessa, who tells him that she will be working on getting him acclimated to the 90’s, and after collecting his possessions, they head out to his private jet and take off for Nevada. Meanwhile, in Dr. Evil’s lair, Dr. Evil meets with his henchmen, having Mustafa killed for his failure with the cryo unit that resulted in Mrs. Bigglesworth’s hair falling out. Dr. Evil then introduces Frau Farbissina to Patty O’Brien, Random Task, and Numer 2, who runs the legitimate arm of Dr. Evil’s empire, Virtucon. Dr, Evil tells his henchmen that he has some ideas on holding the world for ransom but when he is told that his plans have already occurred, he decides that they should just steal a nuke and blackmail for $100 billion (after learning that $1 million is no longer as high a sum as it was in ’67). Later, Frau tells him that the used some of the semen he had frozen to create a son, and introduces him to Scott but Scott is resentful that Dr. Evil is just now showing up and tells him that he hates him. On Austin’s plane, Vanessa is trying to be serious about the mission but Austin keeps attempting to seduce her, only to be shot down. When they arrive in Las Vegas, Vanessa explains that they are undercover as a married couple and that Virtucon executives gamble at the casino they are staying in, then points out Number 2. Austin joins Number 2 at the black jack table and after losing his hand, tells Vanessa to keep an eye on his assistant, Alotta Fagina, while he follows Number 2. Austin follows Number 2 into the men’s room only to lose him but as he sits on one of the toilets, Patty O’Brien appears from a secret panel and attempts to strangle him but Austin is able to kill him by drowning him in the toilet. Back at his lair, Dr. Evil shows his cohorts that they have successfully grabbed the nuke before placing a call to the United Nations. Once he has them on the view screen, Dr. Evil tells them that they must pay him $100 billion if they want the nuke back, then ends the call when they tell him they don’t negotiate with terrorists. Back in Las Vegas, Austin and Vanessa are staking out Virtucon when Austin sees Random Task carrying Mrs. Bigglesworth out of the building and recognizes her. With nothing to do for the time being, Austin takes Vanessa for a night on the town and when they return to the hotel, a drunken Vanessa asks Austin to kiss her but he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her. Vanessa then asks him to tell her about her mother when he knew her and Austin tells her that she loved her husband and if she wasn’t married, he might have tried being serious with her, as he loved her as well, but that ship sailed. Vanessa falls asleep and Austin receives a video call from Basil, telling him to sneak into Alotta Fagina’s penthouse and discover what she knows about something called Project Vulcan. Austin breaks into the penthouse and takes pictures of her files when Alotta Fagina returns to her penthouse, only to find Austin sitting there waiting for her. Austin speaks with her briefly before she changes into a kimono and invites Austin into the hot tub with her and they eventually end up having sex, but not before Alotta learns Austin’s real identity. The next day, Vanessa takes Austin to get some new equipment and Austin shows Basil the files he photographed from Alotta’s penthouse while Vanessa tells Basil that they plan on going as tourists on the tour of Virtucon and see if they can discover where Project Vulcan is and shut it down. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil is upset that Austin is getting close to their scheme but Frau shows him her new weapon to kill Austin; android women called Fembots, with guns hidden inside their breasts. Dr. Evil is pleased with the Fembots but is less than thrilled having to attend a father/son counseling session with Scott. Back in Las Vegas, Vanessa talks to Austin and voices her concerns and jealousy about Alotta Fagina and when Austin tells her she was right to be concerned, as he did sleep with her, Vanessa gets upset with him, telling him that this isn’t the 60’s anymore. Austin goes out and has a hard look at himself, realizing almost everyone he knew is dead and how much really happened while he was frozen. The next day, Austin and Vanessa head to Virtucon and sneak inside but after they make it past the guards, they are knocked unconscious by Random Task and transported to Dr. Evil’s lair. Inside his lair, Dr. Evil contacts the U.N. and tells them what Project Vulcan entails and the U.N. agrees to pay the ransom. Dr. Evil then has Austin and Vanessa join him for dinner, which confuses Scott as he feels they should just shoot them and be done with it. Dr. Evil tells Scott that he doesn’t get how things work, then orders Austin and Vanessa lowered into a pit containing sharks with lasers on their head but Number 2 says they couldn’t get the sharks and instead have mutated sea bass. Leaving Austin and Vanessa to their fate, Dr. Evil heads off to start the drill for Project Vulcan. Austin and Vanessa manage to escape the trap and Austin sends Vanessa to get some back up while he keeps an eye on Dr. Evil but he ends up being captured by the fembots. Trying to get away from the fembots, Austin decides to counter their charms with his own and ends up shorting them out and making their heads explode. Vanessa shows up at the aftermath and wonders why Austin is in his briefs and when he explains what happened, she tells him she believes him and to get dressed. Austin and Vanessa lead an attack on the drilling platform and Austin manages to abort the drill before it reaches the Earth’s core but Dr. Evil gets away. Austin chases after him and goes to capture him but Alotta Fagina appears, holding a gun to Vanessa’s head. Austin grabs Scott to hold hostage but when Dr. Evil tells Austin to go ahead and kill him, Scott runs out of the room. Number 2 shows up but instead of helping Dr. Evil, he tells Austin he wants to give him the evidence he needs to put Dr. Evil away, as Number 2 would prefer continuing to run Virtucon as a legit company. Dr. Evil kills Number 2 and Vanessa uses the distraction to knock out Alotta Fagina but Dr. Evil gets back into his cryo chamber and blasts off in the Big Boy Rocket, activating the self destruct before he leaves. Austin, Vanessa, and their team get away and three months later, Austin and Vanessa are shown to be married. As they are enjoying their honeymoon, Basil calls them to tell them that Dr. Evil has disappeared from their scopes. After hanging up on Basil, they hear a knock on the door and Austin thinks it is the room service he ordered but it turns out to be Random Task, who attempts to kill Austin. Austin and Vanessa manage to beat him and after getting rid of him, they go out on to their balcony to look at the stars and see the Big Boy rocket flying in space, where Dr. Evil vows revenge on Austin Powers.

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.” The America Online on Austin’s computer is version 3.0. In the commentary on the DVD, Director Jay Roach states that he did the AOL product placement to get a free year of service from them. The movie was a box office hit, earning $67.7 million off of a $16.5 million budget and would become a cultural  icon of the late 90’s/early ’00’s, and would spawn 2 sequels, with a 3rd sequel supposedly in development since 2005 but has yet to progress any further.

Maybe my taste in comedy have changed some in the last 20 years but while I still find this movie to be funny, it is not to the same degree that I once thought it was. The acting was good, with Mike Meyers doing a good job in the dual roles of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. I also liked Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington and thought that Robert Wagner (Number 2), Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina), and Seth Green (Scott) made for some funny scenes. The story was pretty funny, mainly spoofing James Bond but also spoofing the 60’s spy genre in general. I also liked the idea of a man being thrown out of time and forced to adapt, as it brings the story of Rip Van Winkle to new life in a way. The comedy was pretty much one sexual innuendo joke after another for the most part, with a couple of slap stick elements and some bantering to kind of even things out. It might not be as funny to everyone now but it is still one of those movies that is good for a laugh.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 26th, 2017 Movie – Steel (1997)

steel 1997

Sometimes, you have to ask yourself exactly how a movie gets made. Of course, that also begs the question on how I find myself owning those same movies. Now I would actually say that this is the how I wound up owning today’s movie but that would be a lie, as I had actually sought this out and bought it on purpose. The reason for that is simple, my friends and I were discussing bad movies and this one came up and I, being in a bit of a superhero mood, I decided to buy it. So lets have some fun with today’s movie, Steel (1997).

The plot: John Henry Irons, along with his partner Susan “Sparky” Sparks, designs and tests weapons for the U.S. Military. After conducting a test on a new laser rifle, which easily disables a tank, Irons and Sparky are checking over the results on the rifle’s performance. Meanwhile, Lt. Nathaniel Burke is secretly talking with Senator Nolan, who is observing the tests, and tells her he has been making some of his own modifications to the weapons to make them even more powerful. The team heads to the next testing site, consisting of an abandoned village, where the plan on using a sonic cannon to take down a wall. Burke asks to fire the cannon and pushes the power setting to it’s maximum. Irons notices this and tries to stop him but Burke fires the weapon, taking out the building he was aiming for but the sonic blast bounces back and strikes the building they are in, causing part of the roof to collapse. At a military tribunal, Irons testifies that Burke caused the accident which killed Nolan and paralyzed Sparky. Burke is dismissed from the military and blames Irons for ruining his career. Afterwards, Colonel David wants to get back to work designing weapons but Irons resigns his commission, upset that his weapons injured Sparky. After going to the hospital to check on Sparky and giving her his address, Irons heads back home to Los Angeles to live with his younger brother Martin and his Grandma Odessa, unaware that Burke heads there as well. Burke goes to an arcade manager named Big Willy Daniels, who is known to sell weapons to gangs on the side, and offers a proposition for Daniels to loan him the seed money to start producing weapons and he will get half the profits from the sales. Burke builds his first prototype and has a worker demonstrate it for Daniels and the gun shorts out, causing a horrible burn to the kid’s face but Daniels is impressed by the damage the weapon had caused and tells Burke to keep working on them. Burke kills off Daniels’ assistant Duvray, who was critical of Burke, but spares Daniels’ bodyguard Singer and convinces him to work with him. Singer organizes a test of his weapons by helping a gang rob a bank, using the new weapons to easily break into the building and the vault. Irons and Martin are riding to a town meeting with Irons’ friend Norma, who is a police officer, when she is alerted to the bank robbery and heads off to go handle the call. When they arrive there, Irons is shocked to find his weapons are being used to commit the crime and he is forced to rescue Norma when her car is flipped over and catches fire while she tries to stop the robbers. When Irons sees a straggler, Cutter, trying to escape, he chases after him and eventually catches up to the kid and asks him where he got the weapons but he is shot by Slats, the leader of the gang, and the two crooks escape. The next day, Irons contacts David to find out how his weapons got into the hands of a street gang but David tells him that all of his weapons are accounted for. Irons then asks Martin about the gang and heads to their hangout to question them about where they got the weapons but Slats refuses to answer his questions. After Irons leaves, Slats calls Burke to tell him about Irons visit and Burke tells him to keep Cutter out of site but after he hangs up, Burke tells Singer to kill Cutter as an example to the others. Irons tries contacting Sparky and finds out that she has transferred to another V.A. hospital. After going to visit her, and finding her wallowing in self pity over being paralyzed, Irons takes her out of the V.A. to help him. Heading back to L.A., Irons takes Sparky to his Uncle Joe’s junk yard, where he has a workstation set up, and he convinces her to help him build weapons to take out the weapons being used by the gangs. Meanwhile, Martin gets a job at the arcade, where Burke takes over his training. With Sparky and Joe’s help, Irons fashions himself a suit of armor, while Sparks and Jo make him a weapon, shaped like a sledgehammer. Irons goes for a test run on his new weapon and armor, stopping a mugging and a gang shootout without any problems. The gang members all run away but when the cops show up, due to the gunfire, they attempt to arrest Irons. Irons manages to get away, though part of his armor falls off and his grappling cable breaks in the process, and safely makes it back to their hideout in the junkyard. The next day, Martin is talking about Steel, what the media is dubbing the costumed Irons, when Burke talks to him about it, then meets up with Slats and tells him to keep an eye out for the man of steel. As Steel and Joe head out on patrol, Singer, Slats, and some more of Slats’ gang head out and attempt to rob the Federal Reserve, while Burke films what they do so he can use it to sell the weapons on the internet. Steel shows up to try and stop the robbery and Burke, watching the film, notices him talking to someone and wonders who it is. Steel’s weapons have no effect on the crooks armored vehicle, as the armor is the same as his, and he is knocked back by a blast from the sonic cannon. When the police arrive and attempt to arrest Steel, Slats takes out the police helicopter and Steel is forced to save the police officer before the debris falls on him while Singer and the gang make their escape. Steel is forced to run as well as the cops chase him but he is able to get away and drive his motorcycle into Joe’s modified truck. Later, Sparky is tending to Irons’ injuries and chastising Joe for pushing him too hard. Meanwhile, Burke has the footage of the robbery sent out to the TV stations, prompting various criminal organizations to find out how to get the weapons, and then calls the police with an anonymous tip on where to find Steel. Irons returns home and is questioned by his Odessa on whether or not he is Steel when the SWAT team burst into the home and arrest Irons, finding one of Burke’s prototype weapons in his basement. Irons is placed in a line up and the detective in charge asks the people that Steel had helped after the mugging if they recognize him but, feeling like Steel was doing good work, say they don’t recognize him, nor does the police officer that he rescued. Irons is kept in holding for questioning but Sparky and Joe get the D.A’s signature and voice pattern so that Sparky can call and get Irons released. That night, Steel and Joe go looking for the site of where the auction is taking place and Sparky is standing by to call David to arrest them all but Burke’s men show up and capture her. Losing contact with Sparky, Steel and Joe continue to head out and locate the site of the auction and Steel makes his way inside, telling Joe to try getting a hold of Sparky but if that fails, contact David and tell him where to go. Steel heads inside but is soon captured by Burke’s men, who threaten to kill Sparky if he doesn’t surrender. Burke then makes his sales pitch, killing Daniels and turning on Slat in the process but Steel taunts him about having more firepower in his hammer than Burke has in his weapons. Burke falls for the taunts and activates the hammers electro-magnet, sending the hammer back to Steel, while Sparky reveals that she added some weapons to her wheelchair and begins attacking Burke’s men. Steel tells Sparky to get out of there and he goes after Burke, who shows that he has Martin as another hostage and as Steel saves Martin, they find themselves locked in a tool shed, with Singer throwing a grenade inside. With no way out, Martin points to a hole in the roof and tells steel to throw it, to which Steel says he never makes those shots, but manages to get the grenade through the hole, then protects Martin from debris while Singer is killed in the explosion. Burke unveils his latest weapon and attempts to use it on Steel but the blast ricochets off of Steels armor and strikes Burke, launching him back into the warehouse where falling debris falls on him and kills him while steel drives the armored vehicle out of the warehouse so they can get away. David and his soldiers arrest all of the criminal organizations and the next day attempts to contact Irons and convince him to come back to work for him but Irons refuses. Later, Irons, Joe, Sparky, and Martin go to Odessa’s home, which she has converted to a restaurant, and Sparky reveals one last modification to her wheelchair; one that allows her to stand upright, as Irons hugs her.

Steel (1997) was heavily panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Steel is a badly-acted movie that indulges not only in superhero cliches, but also the sappy TV-movie-of-the-week ones.” Shaquille O’Neal had to do his own stunts for the movie, as the director was unable to find a stunt double tall enough to fill in for O’Neal. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $1.7 million off of a $16 million budget.

This is an absolutely horrible movie for a lot of reasons. Shaquille O’Neal was ok playing Irons, while Judd Nelson made a great bad guy in Burke. I also thought it was funny to have Richard Roundtree as Uncle Joe, with that comment about him liking the hammer’s shaft being really funny. The story was interesting in the fact that the character Steel was a member of the Superman family but they decided to make no reference or mention of Superman at all for this movie (although Shaq’s Superman tattoo was visible in several scenes). Aside from that, the character’s origin was very close to the origin of the character in the comics, with some slight differences obviously. I also liked that they worked in the whole Shaq being bad at free throws bit into the movie, but their making it a pivotal moment was a little much. The special effects were average to be honest and could have been a lot better but I have seen worse. This is not a good movie but can be funny in the “so bad, it’s good” style, or just torture if you want to show it to someone you hate.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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