crime, horror, movie, movie review, thriller

May 10th, 2018 Movie – The Watcher

the watcher

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

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

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

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

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

May 8th, 2018 Movie – The Warriors

the warriors

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5

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crime, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

April 13th, 2018 Movie – The Usual Suspects

the usual suspects

Some times, the best way to hear about a movie is word of mouth. If a movie gets a lot of good word of mouth among people, then their friends will be more likely to go see it. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. Everyone that I knew who had seen it had enjoyed it and I ended up seeing it myself. But that word of mouth extended even further when it came out on video, as even more people were talking about it who missed seeing it in theaters. I liked this movie and would always watch it when it came on TV, then finally decided to go ahead and get it on DVD after a while. So let’s enjoy today’s movie, The Usual Suspects.

The plot: On a freight ship docked in San Pedro, California, a badly wounded man, Dean Keaton, lights a match book and drops it to the ground, setting fire to a trail of gasoline. As the flames head towards the gas tanks, the flame is put out by a man urinating off of an upper deck. The man then approaches Keaton, who calls him “Keyser”, and the two talk briefly before Keyser shoots Keaton, then drops a lit cigarette onto the gasoline, reigniting it and causing the ship to explode as the man leaves. Some time later, Roger “Verbal” Kent, a con artist with cerebral palsey, is being interviewed by the police. Verbal tells them that the whole thing started 6 weeks ago when a shipment of guns was hijacked and while the drivers didn’t see anything, they heard one of the thieves speak. The New York Police Dept. pick up Verbal as well as Keaton, Michael McManus, Fred Fenster, and Todd Hockney, and placed in a police line up and each are made to read the line on a card before beginning to interrogate them. When they are placed in a holding cell, McManus and Hockney discuss the rumors about Keaton going straight since hooking up with a criminal defense attorney. They then all discuss why they are there and realize that they are being set up as the police have no real idea who stole the guns and  McManus wants to get back at the cops. Back in the present day, FBI Agent Jack Baer arrives at the dock and asks one of the officers if there were any survivors and learns that there were two; one who was badly burned and taken to the hospital, and one, Verbal, who was taken into custody by the police. Baer heads to the hospital and learns that the injured man had regained consciousness and as he goes in to try and speak to him, he recognizes him as Arkosh Kovash, a Hungarian Mobster. Baer makes a call to arrange for a security detail and an interpreter but as he is on the phone, Arkosh starts yelling out the name “Keyser Soze”, making Baer pause briefly before telling the person on the other phone to locate Dave Kujan. U.S. Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan has flown down to San Pedro to question Verbal but learns that he is going to be posting bail and released the next day. Kujan manages to get in to talk with Verbal before he is released and asks him what happened after the police line up in New York. Verbal explains that McManus had come up with a plan but they needed 5 men to pull it off and Verbal goes to try and convince Keaton to help them. The men all work together to rob some crooked cops that operate an illegal taxi service, robbing the recent customer of some jewels he was carrying, then torching the police car. Keaton calls in an anonymous tip and the media arrives and they end up bringing down the whole ringing, which extends all the way to the chief. McManus plans on heading to California with Fenster to meet with a fence that he knows but Hockney and the others don’t like the idea of them going alone and decide to go with him. Back in the present, Baer has his superior and the interpreter brought into the room and when he learns that Arkosh has seen Keyser Soze’s face, he has a sketch artist brought forward so they can get a sketch from Arkosh’s description. Back in the San Pedro Police Department, Kujan continues to question Verbal and Verbal tells him that after they arrived in California, they met with the fence, Redfoot, who paid them then offered another job. Keaton didn’t want to do it at first but finally relents and goes through with it. They go to steal a suitcase from a courier but unlike the police heist, this time they end up having to kill the men they were stealing from. When they open it, they find the suitcase contains heroin instead of jewels and McManus gets upset and when they meet with Redfoot, he accuses him of setting them up. Keaton calms him down and then questions Redfoot about who hired them and says he wants to meet him and Redfoot says the man has already said he wants to arrange a meeting. Back in the present, Baer heads to the station and meets with Kujan, telling him that according to Arkosh, the Hungarians were meeting with some Argentinians to buy some cocaine when Keyser Soze showed up and killed everyone. When Kujan returns back to the room and asks Verbal about Keyser Soze, he gets visibly upset. Verbal explains how they met with a lawyer named Kobayashi, who tells them he works for Keyser Soze. Kobayashi explains that Soze wants them to do a job for him, which could kill them but if they survive, they will get $91 million to split between them. When Keaton starts to refuse, Kobayashi explains that all of them have stolen from Soze at one point or another, and the only reason they are alive is because they didn’t know they were stealing from them. Soze feels this is simply making things even between them, and Kobayahsi leaves his suitcase on the table and leaves. When Keaton opens it, he finds envelopes with each of their names on them, with details of their lives contained in each one. Back in the present, Verbal tells Kujan a story he was told about how Soze was simply a low level dealer in Hungary when the mob wanted to expand into his territory. They held his wife and children hostage and killed his son in front of him, demanding he turn over his territory or else the others die. Soze proceeds to kill two of the mobsters, then kill his own family, telling the lone survivor he would rather see his family dead. After letting the man go and burying his family, Soze proceeds to go after the mob, killing their children and wives in retaliation, which led to him becoming a myth among criminals. After meeting with Kobayashi, Fenster decides to try and run but he is killed by Soze and Kobayashi tells the others where to find the body. As they argue over what to do, they bury Fenster, then decide to go after Kobayashi but he warns them against killing him, saying that their loved ones will end up dead, showing that he has brought Keaton’s girlfriend to be part of a trial and telling Keaton that the bodyguard he arranged will kill her if he turns up missing. Realizing they are trapped, Keaton and the others head out to the dock and await the meeting between the Hungarians and Argentinians. When the men show up, Keaton, McManus, and Hockney head out to deal with them, leaving Verbal, due to his disability, to cover them. The three men proceed to kill the guards outside and as Keaton and McManus head onto the boat, Hockney heads to a nearby van and finds it full of cash but ends up getting shot. Keaton and McManus make their way through the ship but find no sign of any cocaine on board. Verbal is tired of waiting and goes trying to help but when he finds Hockney’s body, he closes the van doors and goes to drive off but is unable to find the keys. Meanwhile, McManus is stabbed in the neck and as Keaton checks on him, he is shot in the back, which paralyzes him and brings us to the beginning of the movie. Back in the station, Kujan asks Verbal why he didn’t help his friends and he says he was too scared of Soze. Kujan then tells him that there were no drugs on the ship, but it was a witness who had knowledge of Soze, including who Soze really was. Kujan believes that Keaton was really Soze and tries to convince Verbal of that and turn state’s evidence but Verbal refuses and leaves, as his bail has been posted. After Verbal leaves, Kujan is talking with Sergeant Jeff Rabin about the situation and as he looks at the cork board behind Rabin, he realizes Verbal had lied to him, using names and elements from the cork board for his story. Kujan goes chasing after Verbal, just as a fax comes in from the hospital, with Verbal’s picture being listed as Keyser Soze. Outside, Verbal reveals that his disability was faked and he gets into a car that Kobayashi is driving and they drive off, leaving Kujan standing there frustrated at ebing unable to catch Verbal/Soze.

The Usual Suspects met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly shot and edited, The Usual Suspects gives the audience a simple plot and then piles on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath.” The line-up scene was scripted as a serious scene, but after a full day of filming takes where the actors couldn’t keep a straight face, director Bryan Singer decided to use the funniest takes. A making-of documentary shows Singer becoming furious at the actors for the constant cracking-up. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $34.4 million off of a $6 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and while Kevin Spacey would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

This is a great movie but I will admit that the ending was a little predictable. The acting was great, with Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, and Chazz Palminteri doing great jobs in the roles of Verbal/Soze, Keaton, and Kujan respectively. Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benicio Del Toro were also good as McManus, Hockney, and Fenster while Pete Postlethwaite did a great job as Kobayashi. The story was interesting and I liked the concept of the mysterious puppet master pulling the strings for all of the events. However, I did think that it got predictable that Verbal was really Soze before the “big reveal”. I did like that they showed Kujan realizing that he had been played and chasing after him before the sketch of Verbal gets faxed in, as his reaction and the slow motion showing all of the names Verbal had used was revealed was definitely a good way to start the close of the movie. The drama was well choreographed and the special effects in the final fire fight and explosions were well done. This is definitely a solid thriller of a movie and one that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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crime, drama, movie, movie review, thriller

April 11th, 2018 Movie – The Untouchables

the untouchables

You know, I just now realized that I had some of my movies completely out of order. I’m pretty sure it happened last year when I bout all of those box sets and was trying to get everything entered into my list, and just wasn’t paying that much attentions as I got further into the alphabet. Well, I shall try to do a better job of that in the future so let’s move on to today’s movie. Now I have seen portions of this movie for years on television but I think the first time I ever saw this in it’s entirety was when I actually bought the DVD for myself. I mean, this is one of those movies that tends to wind up on those “must watch” lists so I figured I might as well get it so I could watch the whole thing in one go. Was this an good choice of an impulse buy? Only one way to find out so let’s see how much I enjoy today’s movie, The Untouchables.

The plot: During the Prohibition era in Chicago, Al Capone has risen to power as the top gang lord controlling the illegal alcohol in the city. After a bombing at a local shop kills a 10 year old girl, Prohibition Agent Eliot Ness is sent to Chicago to work with the police in bringing Capone down. After giving a brief press conference, Ness speaks to the police officers assigned to the task force and tells them he knows some of them have probably had a drink before, but from now on, they have to stop as the best way to enforce the law is to show that they are following the law themselves. That night, Ness stakes out a suspected liquor storage facility and is forced to chase away a newspaper reporter who was staking out the scene as well. After spotting activity at the warehouse, Ness leads a raid inside, capturing the workers and inviting the photographer to take a picture of him exposing the illegal liquor, only to find the crates filled with umbrellas. Upset at seeing the newspapers talking about the failed bust, Ness encounters beat cop Jimmy Malone, who offers him some advise on handling Chicago. After receiving a visit from the little girl’s mother, Ness goes to see Malone and tries to recruit him to join his team but Malone refuses. Returning to the police station, Ness is greeted by Oscar Wallace, a member of the FBI’s accounting division, who says they might be able to build a case against Capone for tax evasion. Ness is frustrated at that but sees Malone standing outside his office and goes to talk to him. Malone takes him out of the station, saying the walls have ears, and helps Ness realize that the reason his raid failed was because the police tipped off Capone. Malone takes Ness to the police academy, where they recruit George Stone (whose real name is Giuseppe Petri) to join their team. After heading back to the station, Malone grabs some shotguns from the weapons closet and hands them to Ness, Stone, and Wallace, then leads them to one of Capone’s liquor caches. The men successfully pull off the raid on the surprised workers and the press starts giving them some positive publicity, calling them the Untouchables. That night, Capone is hosting a dinner for his men and kills the man in charge of the raided cache as a warning to the others. The next day, Ness is visited by an associate of Capone, who offers Ness a bribe to look the other way regarding Capone’s business, but Ness refuses and throws the man out of his office. As Ness heads home that night, Capone’s hitman, Frank Nitti, speaks to him from his car, making subtle threats to Ness’ family before driving off. Ness rushes into his house and after making sure that his wife and daughter are safe, he contacts Malone. Wallace and a police officer, who happens to be Malone’s cousin, show up and the officer takes Ness’ family to a safe house for safety. After they drive off, Malone and Stone show up and Malone tells Ness that they know when Capone is expecting a delivery of liquor across the Canadian border and they quickly head off to stop it. Meeting up with a division of Canadian Mounties, Ness works out a plan and they wait to ambush the delivery. When the delivery occurs, the Mounties jump the gun and Ness and his team are forced to rush out to carry out their part of the ambush. A shoot out occurs and Stone is wounded but they manage to kill several of Capone’s men and capture George, one of Capone’s bookkeepers. As Wallace looks at the books that George was carrying, he realizes that if they can prove that Capone is receiving payments, that will seal their case against him for tax evasion. George refuses to say anything but when Malone grabs the body of a dead man and threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t talk, not revealing to George that the man is already dead, Malone shoots him and George immediately says he will confess. After hearing that the liquor shipment was seized and that George has been captured, Capone orders his men to kill Ness and his family in retaliation. The next day, the district attorney announces that they are filling charges against Capone for tax evasion and Wallace is preparing to escort George to a safe house so he can testify in court. As they take the elevator down to the street, they are shot by Nitti, who was disguised as a police officer. Hearing the shots, Ness and Malone go to check on Wallace and find the police escorts dead as well as George and Wallace, with the word “Touchable” written in blood on the elevator wall. Ness is enraged and heads out to confront Capone and when Capone taunts him, he starts to pull out a gun to shoot him but Malone stops him and tells him. When the D.A. talks about not pressing the case, Ness starts to give up hope on bringing down Capone but Malone tells him to stall the D.A., saying he might have a way to get the information they need. Malone goes to see Police Chief Mike Dorsett, knowing that he was the one that set up Wallace and George, and Mike tells him he was doing him a favor by letting them be killed instead of all of them like Capone wanted. The two men fight and Malone eventually learns when Walter Payne, Capone’s head bookkeeper is set to be moved out of the city. Malone calls Stone and tells him to let Ness know he found the bookkeeper and to meet at his apartment. As he waits for Ness and Stone, Malone is confronted by one of Capone’s men but as he chases the man out of his apartment, he is shot by Nitti, who was waiting in ambush. When Ness and Stone arrive, they find Malone mortally wounded but he is able to relay the information that Payne will be arriving at Union Station at midnight. Ness and Stone head there and start looking around for any sign of Payne, during which time, NEss decides to help a woman carry her baby carriage up the stairs when he notices several of Capone’s gangsters exiting the train. When Ness realizes he has been made, he starts shooting the gangsters, with Stone joining in, then rushes to keep the carriage from falling down the stairs and killing the baby. Stone manages to stop the carriage as the last gangster threatens to kill Payne but Stone is able to shoot him, saving Payne’s life. The trial commences and as Payne gives his testimony, Capone doesn’t look worried and the D.A. speaks with Ness and Stone about it. When he notices Nitti speaking with Capone then leave the courtroom, Ness follows him and has the guard search him. He finds a gun on him but also a note containing permission from the mayor to carry it and is forced to give it back. Grabbing a pack of matches from Nitti’s jacket to light a cigarette, Ness finds Malone’s address written on it and realizes Nitti killed Malone. Malone shoots the guard and flees up onto the rooftop, with Ness following him and eventually capturing him but when Nitti taunts him about how Malone died, Ness throws him off the roof. As Ness returns inside, Stone approaches him with a list he found inside Nitti’s jacket and reveals that it is a list of the jurors, indicating they have been bribed. Ness and Stone bring the list to the judge’s attention but he refuses to switch jurors but when Ness asks to speak with him alone, Ness tells the judge that his name is in Capone’s ledger. As the trial resumes, the judge orders the jurors to be switched and as confusion sets in at Capone’s table, his lawyer changes his plea to guilty, causing Capone to punch him as pandemonium breaks out in the courtroom. Some time later, Ness is packing up his office and says goodbye to Stone, who tries to give Ness Malone’s St. Jude medallion and callbox key but Ness tells him to keep them. As Ness leaves the station, he is approached by a reporter for a statement and is asked what he will do if Prohibition is repealed and Ness smiles and says he will have a drink, then walks off.

The Untouchables met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Slick on the surface but loaded with artful touches, Brian DePalma’s classical gangster thriller is a sharp look at period Chicago crime, featuring excellent performances from a top-notch cast.” Unlike the movie, in real life Al Capone had a non-violence order issued to his men in regards to the Untouchables, as he knew killing a Prohibition Agent would bring more trouble than he wanted to deal with. The movie was a box office success, earning $106.2 million off of a $25 million budget and was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, with Sean Connery winning the award for Best Supporting Actor.

I do think this movie got a little bit over hyped but it is a good movie none the less. The acting was good, with Kevin Costner doing an ok job as Ness but Robert De Niro and Sean Connery doing great jobs in their roles of Capone and Malone respectively. The story was good, with some basis in reality embellished to make it more entertaining to the audience. The special effects with the gun battles were about what you would expect for the time. My biggest problem with this movie is honestly some of the camera work involved. I thought the repeated use of different camera angles to replay the same scene over and over in an attempt to accent the impact or action was a little much. However, the true point of ridiculousness on this matter was when Nitti was thrown from the roof, as the camera changes to a close up of his face screaming as he falls to the ground. That was some of the most ridiculous blue screening I have seen coming from a big budget movie in a long, long time. So, is this a good movie? Yes. Is this a must see movie? That one is a matter of a personal opinion but personally, I wouldn’t call it a must see unless you enjoy movies based on real events.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, crime, drama, movie, movie review

March 29th, 2018 Movie – Truth Or Consequences, NM

truth or consequences nm

You ever go looking at a DVD and wonder why you own it, or how for that matter? That is the first thing that comes to mind regarding today’s movie. I mean, obviously I bought the movie but I don’t remember when or why for that matter. I have never seen this movie before so I can’t really say what would have motivated me to buy a movie I have never seen, with a subject matter that would not necessarily make for a leap of faith purchase like this. Well, no choice but to go ahead and see what I have with today’s movie, Truth Or Consequences, N.M.

The plot: Raymond Lembecke is getting released from prison and is met outside by his girlfriend Addy Monroe. 8 months later, Raymond and Addy meet with Marcus Weans and Curtis Freley at a diner, then head across the street to a photo shop. Sneaking around to the back, Raymond picks the lock to reveal it is the hideout for a drug dealer named Eddie Grillo. Raymond and his group are shocked to find Eddie and another man there, as the place was supposed to be empty at that time of day, while Eddie is pissed at seeing Raymond there. Eddie accuses Raymond of betraying him but Raymond tells him that he had gone to prison for Eddie and Eddie’s way of repaying him was to give him a lousy job. As tempers start to flare, Curtis shoots Eddie, then the other man and as he searches him, discovers that the man was an undercover cop and wearing a wire. Grabbing the cases of drugs, the group make a run out of the shop, getting in a shoot out with three police officers that show up and killing them as they make their escape. As they travel down the highway, they all begin arguing over what they should do, with Marcus blaming Curtis for putting them in the situation by shooting Eddie and the cop. Realizing that they need to switch vehicles, though Curtis doesn’t want to get rid of his car, they come across a couple, Gordon Jacobson and Donna Moreland, having a picnic and decide to steal their car but when they realize that they have an RV, they decide to take the couple with them. Meanwhile, the police are going over what they know of the incident and the people involved and it is revealed that Marcus is a deep cover fed working for the DEA. As Raymond and his group make their way towards Vegas, intending to sell the drugs and get away, Marcus attempts to leave notes for the police whenever he gets the chance. As the days pass, with a couple of close calls from the police, Gordon starts to develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome towards the group, which worries Marcus. When they stop at a rest stop, Marcus attempts to lead Gordon and Donna away from the RV so they can get away but Gordon yells out for Curtis when he goes looking for them. When a suburban pulls up at the rest stop, Curtis wants to kill the man and steal his car but Raymond and Marcus both tell him not to kill the guy so Curtis knocks him out and they place him in the RV while they all get in the suburban and leave. The police locate the RV and put an APB out on the suburban, resulting in Raymond driving the suburban off road to escape the cops. Pulling into a motel, they quickly switch cars and drive away, with the police driving right past them. They reach Vegas and Raymond, Marcus, and Curtis go to see Tony Vago to make a deal for the drugs, only to learn that Eddie was working for Vago, meaning the drugs were his. Curtis starts to apologize and says they will give back to drugs, then suddenly kills both of Vago’s bodyguards. As Curtis holds Vago at gunpoint, Raymond and Marcus loot his safe and they leave, with Curtis shooting Vago on the way out. Later, as Vago’s men try to figure out what they should do, a man named “Sir” shows up and says he has been sent by Vago’s boss to deal with the situation. The group head over to Raymond’s friend Wayne’s house and hide out there for a while, and Donna gets upset with Gordon over his wanting to imitate and befriend Curtis and the others. When Raymond, Curtis, Marcus, and Gordon go out to get some food, Gordon gets into an argument with a guy that bumps into him. The man starts to beat Gordon up when Gordon grabs a broken bottle and cuts the guy’s throat, shocking Raymond and the others. Curtis quickly grabs Gordon and shoves him towards Raymond, then finishes him off, then they head back to Wayne’s house to grab Addy and Donna and leave, with Raymond telling them they are heading to his brother’s place in New Mexico. Meanwhile, Wayne returns to his home to find Sir and some men waiting for him and they proceed to torture Wayne to learn where Raymond and the others are going, then kill him. Raymond and the others arrive at Raymond’s brother’s house and head inside, unaware that Sir’s men have the place under surveillance. That night, Marcus attempts to call his boss to let him know where they are but is forced to hang up when Raymond walks out of the bedroom. Getting suspicious and paranoid, Raymond has Marcus call the number back to verify what he said but Marcus’ boss, understanding the prearranged signal Marcus had used when he hung up, is able to convince Raymond Marcus was telling the truth. The next day, Raymond gets spooked and wants to go ahead and leave, especially after Addy tells him that she is pregnant. Curtis finds Sir’s lookout on the hill and captures him, just as the men show up to make the deal for the drugs. As the deal commences, Sir and his men arrive and begin shooting up the place, killing Curtis, the dealer, and his bodyguard. Marcus, who told Gordon and Donna the truth about him, tells them to follow his lead and get out of there. Raymond and Addy try to escape and get pinned down and as they exchange fire, Addy is killed while Sir goes to kill Donna but ends up being killed by Gordon. The DEA arrives and finish off the rest of Sir’s men, and Marcus goes to arrest Raymond, who is carrying Addy’s body. Seeing one of Sir’s men attempting to shoot Marcus, Raymond shoots him, prompting Marcus to fire and shoot Raymond but after realizing what happened, feels bad about it and walks away.

Truth Or Consequences, N.M. met with mostly negative results from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was a decent thriller, though somewhat unoriginal in it’s scope. Despite the title of the movie, no filming took place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, as all the filming took place in Utah and Nevada. The movie received a limited theatrical release, which some feel is why it didn’t get more critical reviews, and only earned $122,046 during it’s run.

Going in unawares, I have to admit that this is not that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, with Vincent Gallo (Raymond), Mykelti Williamson (Marcus), Kim Dickens (Addy), and Kiefer Sutherland (Curtis) all doing good jobs in their roles. I have to admit that Kiefer pretty much stole the show with his performance while Mykelti showed a much wider range of acting, which probably will surprise most people that only know him as Bubba from Forest Gump. I will admit that the story was a little unoriginal and honestly felt like it was kind of a poor man’s Tarantino movie stylistically. That being said, this was a pretty solid, albeit slow-paced, thriller. The drama was pretty good while the action scenes added some intensity to suck you in even further into the story. It might not be something that knocks your socks off but this is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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crime, dark comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

March 28th, 2018 Movie – True Romance

true romance

Man, there were a lot of notable movies to come out in the 90’s and today’s movie is no exception. This is honestly my first experience with Quentin Tarantino’s work, even though he wasn’t the one directing the movie. Now I remember seeing this in theaters and being thoroughly entertained by it. When I watched it again years later, I was honestly amazed at how many people were in it that I didn’t realize when I first saw it. I know several of my friends that saw this movie also enjoyed it so let’s see if True Romance is still as much fun now as it was back then.

The plot: Clarence Worley is attending a Sonny Chiba triple feature at a Detroit theater when a girl, Alabama Whitman, accidentally dumps her popcorn on him. As Alabama apologizes, she asks Clarence to fill her in on what she missed in the movie and the two start talking, continuing their conversation over pie after the movies. Clarence takes her back to the comic shop that he works at and shows her around and they end up having sex in Clarence’s apartment above the shop. Later that night, Alabama admits to Clarence that she is a call girl that Clarence’s boss hired for his birthday but that she has fallen in love with him. Clarence says he is in love with her and the two end up getting married the next day. Later that day, Clarence keeps thinking of Alabama’s pimp, Drexil, and has a vision of Elvis telling him he should kill Drexil and Clarence decides to go through with it. Clarence asks Alabama for Drexil’s address, saying he is going to go there to pick up her things, and she begs him not to go but he insists that he has too so she relents. Clarence goes to Drexil’s house and tells him he is Alabama’s husband and he wants her things and ends up getting into a fight with Drexil and his bodyguard, Marty. Clarence kills Drexil and Marty and tells one of the other call girls to put Alabama’s things in a suitcase but when he gets back to his place, they find the suitcase is filled with bags of cocaine. Clarence and Alabama go see Clarence’s father Clifford, a former cop, and Clarence asks him to asks his friends on the force to see if they are looking into Drexil’s murder. Clifford does so and says that the police think it was drug related, as Drexil was associated with a drug dealer Blue Lou Boyle. Clarence thanks Clifford for his help and gives him the address for his friend Dick in Los Angeles, where they are heading too. As Clarence and Alabama head to L.A., they call Dick, saying they will be there tomorrow, and ask him of they got the letters Clarence sent, as it would explain what they are coming there for. Meanwhile, Clifford is visited by Vincenzo Coccotti, Boyle’s consigliere, and his men, who proceed to interrogate Clifford for Clarence and Alabama’s location. Clifford tells them that they left on their honeymoon and didn’t tell him where and Vincenzo kills him. As he cleans up, Vincenzo tells his men to go to Clarence’s apartment and find out where he might have gone when one of his men finds the note Alabama left with Dick’s address and points it out to Vincenzo. In L.A., Clarence and Alabama arrive at Dick’s apartment and he is shocked that they really have a suitcase full of cocaine. When Clarence asks if he arranged a sell, Dick says he can’t do it but his friend Elliot works for someone that could handle that much cocaine. Clarence, Alabama, and Dick meet with Elliot at an amusement park and explain what they have and Elliot calls Lee Donowitz, a film producer, who agrees to meet with them to sample the merchandise. Meanwhile, one of Vincenzo’s men, Virgil, shows up at Dick’s apartment and speaks with his roommate Floyd, asking where Clarence and Alabama are and Floyd tells him the motel they are staying at. Clarence drops Alabama off at the hotel while he goes to get them some lunch but when Alabama walks into the room, she finds Virgil waiting inside with a shotgun. Virgil asks her about Clarence and the cocaine and she tries to lie but he proceeds to beat her to get the information. Virgil finally finds the cocaine and plans to kill Alabama but she fights back and manages to kill him just as Clarence returns, and he quickly grabs her and the cocaine and quickly leaves. Meanwhile, Elliot gets pulled over for speeding and tries to get the girl he is with to hide the cocaine he is carrying but she refuses and ends up smacking him with the bag, covering him in the powder. He is arrested and offers to cut a deal, telling them about the upcoming sale, and the two detectives, Nicky Dimes and Cody Nicholson, tell their captain about it and plan to wire Elliot to make a sting. As the day of the deal comes up, Clarence, Alabama, and Dick show up at the hotel and meet with Elliot but Clarence, feeling cautious after recent events, points a gun at Elliot and threatens him, causing the police listening in on the wire to worry that the op is blown but Elliot manages to convince Clarence that everything is fine. Meanwhile, Vincenzo’s men show up at Dick’s apartment and learn from Floyd where Clarence and Alabama went. Back at the hotel, Clarence and the others arrive at Lee’s penthouse and they make the deal for the cocaine. As Clarence goes to use the restroom, he is visited by Elvis again, who tells him everything is going fine. Meanwhile, the police got the information they need and show up to make the bust, just as Vincenzo’s men show up. Finding out that Elliot had set him up, Lee throws coffee in his face, causing a shoot out to occur. Clarence is wounded as he exits the bathroom and Alabama crawls over to him while Dick throws the cocaine in the air to cover his escape. Everyone ends up getting shot to death, while Clarence is shown to still be alive and Alabama grabs him and the suitcase with their money and they leave, using a standoff with the last mafia member to cover their escape. Clarence and Alabama head to Mexico to live, with Alabama giving birth to their son, which they decide to name Elvis.

True Romance met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Fueled by Quentin Tarantino’s savvy screenplay and a gallery of oddball performances, Tony Scott’s True Romance is a funny and violent action jaunt in the best sense.” It was Brad Pitt’s idea to make his character a stoner that never left the couch and the hat he is wearing in the movie was one that he found on the boardwalk and decided to keep it, wash it, and use it for the movie. Despite the good reviews, the movie did not fare well at the box office, earning $12.3 million off of a $12.5 million budget.

This is such a good movie an so many levels. The acting was really good, with Christian Slater (Clarence) and Patricia Arquette (Alabama) doing great jobs in the lead roles. I also liked all of the other characters that were in the movie, though I wish that Christopher Walken (Vincenzo) had a bigger role in the movie than just the one scene. The story was incredible and very well written, indicative of Tarantino’s style for story telling. I will admit that the scene with Virgil beating up Alabama to get the information is a bit rough to watch but her fighting back and killing him made it memorable and if possible, more powerful. The drama involved was great in moving the story forward and the fire fight scene, while a bit over the top, had a bit of a poetic feel to it. A great movie and one that earns it’s own place in Tarantino’s hand crafted cinematic universe.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

March 15th, 2018 Movie – Transporter 3

transporter 3

As entertaining as I found these movies, part of me feels bad that I never went to see them in theaters. Still, I had no problem renting them and enjoying them from the comfort of my home. I think part of it is that the trailers honestly never really appealed to me, even though I liked the movies after the fact. That goes with today’s movie, as I honestly didn’t have any burning desire to rush out and see it. So let’s finish this series with a bang as I watch today’s movie, Transporter 3.

The plot: As a freighter heads towards port in Marseilles, France, two of the crew members sneak down to the cargo hold and open a container that is supposed to be carrying booze but instead, has drums of toxic waste. When an alert sounds throughout the ship, the captain investigates and finds the two crew members dead and has their bodies disposed of. Meanwhile, an Audi pulls off of a ferry and makes it’s way through the security checkpoints but when one checkpoint tells the driver to get out of the car, and to wake the girl asleep in the back, the driver speeds through the check point, initiating a police chase. Elsewhere, Frank Martin is fishing with Inspector Tarconi when Tarconi gets a call about the car chase, and tells Frank that they wanted him to question Frank but he will be able to give him an alibi. Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the Environmental Agency Minister, Leonid Tomilenko, receives a phone call from a man named Johnson, telling him to reopen negotiations with Ecocorp, having sent photos of his captured daughter Valentina to force him to comply. That night, Frank is watching TV when the Audi crashes through his living room. When Frank goes to check on the driver, he recognizes him as Malcom, another transporter and one he recommended for a job he refused to take. Frank calls the paramedics and as they load Malcom into the back of the ambulance and start to drive off, Frank notices Valentina in the back seat. He starts to move her but she tells him not to move her from the car, showing a bracelet that is around her wrist. Recalling that Malcom had one on as well, Frank rushes outside to stop the ambulance only for it to explode and as Frank goes back inside to ask the girl what is going on, he is knocked unconscious. When Frank comes too, he is approached by Johnson, who tells him that Malcom was not capable of finishing the job and forces Frank to complete it. Johnson shows that he brought Frank’s car to him, though they removed all of the weapons from it while installing a pre-programmed GPS. He then explains about the bomb in the bracelet on Frank’s wrist, hands him a phone with his number programmed into it, then sends Frank on his way. At Frank’s house, Tarconi is inspecting the scene and has the car moved from the living room to the lab but as the car is towed away, it is stopped by two men from the Ukrainian secret service, who kill the driver and steal the GPS from the car. After leaving France, Frank contacts Johnson, who gives him the code for the GPS and Frank learns he is to head to Budapest. Frank tries to get some information from Valentina but she is reluctant to say anything. Meanwhile, Leonid meets with the people from Ecocorp, who tell him that they have 8 ships containing the toxic chemicals they wish to dispose of that needs his approval to enter the country. Leonid stalls them by saying he needs 24 hours to go over the paperwork but after they leave, he contacts the secret service, who are heading to Budapest and Leonid tells them they have 24 hours. After talking to Valentina for a bit, Frank makes a detour off the programmed course and goes to see Otto, a mechanic friend of his, to see if he can help remove the bracelet. Otto explains what he knows about the bracelet and begins searching for the transceiver in the car when Johnson’s men, who Johnson had sent after Frank, show up at the shop. Frank deals with the men as Otto locates the transceiver but tells Frank he can’t remove it without it exploding. Frank leaves the shop and contacts Johnson, saying he wants to arrange a meeting and Johnson says he will call once Frank arrives in Budapest. When Frank gets there, he receives a call from a pay phone close to the car but Johnson had merely called to get Frank out of the car so that one of his men could steal it. Frank manages to follow after the car and get it back, then contacts Tarconi to get his help in the matter. Frank contacts Johnson again, saying they are even now and should start with a clean slate, and Johnson gives him new coordinates to Bucarest, saying they will conclude their business there. After hanging up with Johnson, Frank speaks with Tarconi, who was patched into the call so they could trace it, and he says he will work on locating Johnson. As they make their way to Bucarest, Frank stops for gas and Valentina begins teasing and flirting with him while she heads into the station to use the restroom and get some food and a bottle of vodka. As he is filling up, Frank notices the car with the secret service pulling over close by, having been warned about them by Tarconi, and as he struggles with Valentina to get back in the car, the secret service spot them and start to give chase. As they are driving, Frank contacts Johnson, thinking it is more of his men, but Johnson assures him he has nothing to do with it and tells Frank to drive faster while he checks into it. Frank manages to evade the men, putting his car on two wheels at one point to squeeze between two tractor trailers, then detours through the woods, where he finally manages to run the car off the side of a mountain pass. Valentina continues flirting with Frank, grabbing the keys and forcing him to do a strip tease in order to get them back and the end up having sex. Afterwards, Valentina explains how she ended up being captured by Johnson’s men and placed in the car with Malcom. Frank begins heading back to Bucarest but Johnson calls him and redirects him to the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Meanwhile, Tarconi arrives in Odessa and speaks with Leonid, explaining what he knows and Frank’s involvement in the matter and they agree to work together to locate Johnson and rescue Valentina and Frank. Johnson directs Frank onto a bridge, where he is ends up being boxed in by Johnson’s men. Johnson tells Frank to send Valentina out and Frank tells her to go, saying the need her alive, and she kisses him goodbye before exiting the car. When she reaches Johnson, he removes the bracelet from her and takes her to his car, ordering his men to kill Frank. Johnson’s men begin shooting at Frank and Franks drives off the bridge into the water below in order to escape. As his car sinks, Frank contacts Tarconi to tell him where he is, then uses the air from his tires to fill up some waterproof bags in order to float the car back to the surface. When Tarconi arrives with the police, he sees Frank being towed back to shore and they work on getting his car running again while Tarconi explains what is going on. Johnson and his men board a train and then Johnson contacts Leonid to have Valentina speak to him but she tells her father not to sign the papers. After getting his car started and learning where Johnson is, Frank head off after the train and manages to jump off a bridge and land his car on top of it. Frank makes his way inside and begins killing Johnson’s men while Johnson chases after Valentina, who had managed to escape. As Frank approaches Johnson, he gets to far from the car and can’t advance further while Johnson begins taunting Frank, then uncouples the car from the rest of the train. Frank heads back up to his car and drives it off the car into the rest of the train, then begins fighting with Johnson. Frank eventually gets the upperhand and unlocks his bracelet, then places it onto Johnson while putting his car into reverse, causing it to fall off the train and Johnson screams out before he explodes. Frank checks to make sure that Valentina is ok and the two kiss while Tarconi contacts Leonid to tell him she is safe. Leonid rips up the papers he was about to sign for Ecocorp and heads to a conference to speak out against them, while police board the freighters that are carrying the toxic waste and arrest the crews. Some time later, Tarconi and Frank are fishing again and Tarconi comments about the changes in Frank’s life, just as Valentina wakes up from her nap and hugs Frank before asking about lunch.

Transporter 3 met with poor results from the critics, holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy.” All of the car stunts were performed in real time with no models and almost no CGI, which ended up providing a different set of difficulties for the stunt team. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $108.9 million off of an estimated $30 million budget, making it the highest grossing film in the series, and the only film in the series that was nominated for an award, though it didn’t win.

This was a good way to end Jason Statham’s run in the series but I will admit it is a little weak compared to the other movies. The acting was ok, with Jason Statham and Francois Berleand doing a good job reprising their roles of Frank and Tarconi respectively. I thought Natalya Rudakova did a good job in her debut role as Valentina while Robert Knepper made a pretty convincing villain in Johnson. The story was a little weak in my opinion as it didn’t feel as compelling as the previous movies. However, I did like the idea about the bomb-laden bracelets and it being linked to the car, as it made it keep the action tied to the car and driving. The action sequences were pretty good while the stunt driving was also good but a definitely a little more unbelievable than in the previous movies. Also, I have to admit that the scene with Frank underwater and lifting his car using the air from his tires was a load of crap. Still, it was some mindless entertainment that is sometimes all you need in a movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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