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

Standard
action, adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

November 24th, 2017 Movie – Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation

starship troopers 2

I got to hand it to my friends, they really know what I like. See, a couple of years ago, my friend Chad called me up and asked if I had today’s movie. Now, as you know, the original Starship Troopers is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies but I did not have any of the direct to video sequels. Chad then explained that his grandfather was getting rid of some movies that he owned, and while Chad kept the ones he wanted, he did not have any desire to keep this one. Knowing me and my love for sci-fi, and bad movies, he figured he would see if I wanted it, to which my response was “Duh”. So that is how I came to own today’s movie, Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation.

The plot: After the capture of the brain big on P, the emboldened Federation forces have pushed forward into the Arachnid Quarantine Zone to try and eradicate the bugs from the remaining planets. On one of the planets, General Jack Shepherd and his forces find themselves being overwhelmed by the bugs and call for an evac but their request is denied. Lt. Dill, their psychic soldier, has a vision of them being overrun and killed by the bugs and Shepherd orders Sgt. Rake to protect Dill and lead the evac to Hotel Delta 1-8-5 while he stays behind with 4 soldiers to cover their retreat. As the soldiers make their way across the barren planet, a sand storm picks up, blowing several of them away while Corporal Kobe, who was the only team member with a radio, is mortally wounded by a bug. As the get inside, Rake tells Pvt. Sahara to check on getting the door closed while some other men establish a defensive perimeter. As some of the men work on tending to Kobe’s wound, Dill has another vision of a swarm of bugs approaching them. Spotting a radio room, Dill orders Rake to have one of her men use it to call for an evac but she ignores him and continues to focus on Kobe. When Dill pulls rank on her, she tells him that it won’t work without power to the place and Dill orders her to get someone to fix the power. After Kobe finally passes, they check the radio room only to find that it was destroyed and begin searching the building. Hearing a banging sound coming from somewhere further in, they head down to the basement and find Captain V.J. Dax locked inside the incenerator. Sahara finds Dax’s records and starts reading out his commendations but Dill grabs the file and learns that Dax had killed his superior officer and he and Rake both decide to keep him locked inside the furnace. Rake’s men get the power restored just as the men outside detect an army of bugs heading right for them. The soldiers head outside and Dill starts spreading the men out in defensive positions but Sahara and Rake both feel like he is spreading them out too thin. As the bugs start attacking and killing off some of the men, Sahara heads back inside to the furnace and asks Dax to give her his hand. After he agrees, Sahara closes her eyes for a few minutes while she holds his hand, then lets him out of the furnace. Dax activates the perimeter defenses then heads outside and takes command of the remaining soldiers, much to Dill’s annoyance, telling them to keep firing until the defenses activate, launching several explosive barrels around the perimeter which annihilate the bugs. As the dust clears, Dax has Sahara and Private Billie Otter go with him to restore the perimeter fences, with Dax giving Billie his knife when Billie admits he lost his. While Billie works on splicing the cables, Sahara sees Sanders and 3 men coming towards them, being chased by 2 bugs, and she and Dax begin laying down cover fire until they get safely past the fence, which electrocutes the bugs. Sanders thanks them and then helps the men carry their injured companion back to the hotel, but Sahara doesn’t recognize any of the people with Sanders. Inside the hotel, Sanders tells the others how their teammates were killed and he was saved by the two soldiers and their comatose companion. Sanders introduces the new soldiers; Medical Officer Corporal Joe Griff, Technical Sergeant Ari Peck, and Private Charlie Soda, who is in an unexplained coma. When Sanders asks Dill about the evac, Dill shows him the busted radio and Sanders asks Peck if he can get it working. Peck says he will get to work on it, refusing to rest first, and Sanders then turns to Dill and questions him about his actions resulting in the deaths of several of his men. As they prepare to get some rest, Dill chastises Sahara, telling her that her actions in releasing Dax could see her court-martialed. When Sahara reveals that she tested highly as a psychic but her gift became unstable, Dill mocks her some more until Dax shows up and the two argue begin arguing over Dill’s blind loyalty to the Federation. As Rake and Griff check the mess hall for some food, Rake comments on Griff’s eating a sugar cube, not noticing him pocketing some more cubes, while Privates Jill Sandee and Duff Horton sneak off to fool around. Some time later, Soda comes out of her coma to find Sanders and some of the others checking on her and after they leave, she shares a look with Griff. When an accident in closing the doors causes the power to go out again, Dax orders everybody out on the perimeter in case of an attack but Peck manages to jury rig the power back on but says it is wonky and may cut out again. As the soldiers start to relax, Shepherd approaches Dax and offers to temporarily restore his rank if he agrees to help them get off the planet and Dax agrees, which further angers Dill. As a watch is set up on the perimeter, Soda approaches Dax and attempts to seduce him but he refuses her advances, having her do push-ups to burn off her excess energy. Later, a naked Soda wakes up Sahara and is leaning over her as she is lying in her bunk but moves away when Billie and Horton enter the room. Sahara gets up and goes to leave, questioning Horton on if he knows what he is doing, before leaving with Billie. Horton shuts the door to the room as Soda approaches him and the two embrace before Soda kisses him, but Horton has a surprised look on his face as she does. Outside the room, Sahara tries to stop Sandee but she sees Soda kissing Horton and storms off, bumping into Griff on her way out. As she stands outside, Griff approaches her and the two start talking before Griff starts kissing her. Some time later, Rake comments on the new couples to Sahara before she heads off, while Sahara heads outside to give Dax some breakfast and talks with him. Some time later, Griff relieves Private Tor from watch and as Tor heads inside, Peck asks him to give him a hand. When Tor gets on the floor under the console, Peck attacks him, revealing that his eyes are glowing red and his skin turning black. Tor fights back and bites off Peck’s fingers when he attempts to cover his mouth and rips Peck’s arm off but Griff holds him down while Peck vomits out a bug, which forces open Tor’s mouth and crawls inside. As Tor begins convulsing, Peck picks up his severed fingers and throws them away, as well as the arm that Griff hands him. Griff then gets on the intercom to inform everyone that they have comms, and Shepherd has Billie contact fleet to arrange a pick-up, then gets on the comm himself as the fleet officer refuse the request at first. In the morning, Sahara is woken up by a nightmare and proceeds to vomit before heading down to the mess hall and seeing several soldiers acting strange. When Griff goes to grab some sugar cubes, Sahara accidentally brushes his hand and has a vision of a swarm of bugs, causing her to spill some liquid. As she goes to clean it up, Rake hands her a towel and Sahara asks her advice but Rake shoots it down as her hormones being out of whack due to being pregnant, which shocks Sahara. Meanwhile, Griff and Soda stare at Shepherd before Griff leaves and heads to a locker, where Peck’s deteriorating body was being kept, and grabs Peck. Taking Peck to the men’s barracks, where Billie and Private Brick are getting dressed. Griff rips open Peck’s head and pulls out the bug inside before throwing it on the floor of the room, then locks the door as Brick kills the bug but the larvae hatch and infect the two men. Sahara goes to tell Dax about her vision and they go to tell Dill, with Sahara revealing that she is pregnant. Dill tells her that pregnancy tends to heighten psychic abilities and says he had the same vision, which affected his ability to lead the men. Dax and Dill come to an agreement and Dill goes to speak with Shepherd while Dax and Sahara return to watch. When he gets to Shepherd’s quarters, he finds a nude Soda covered in blood in Shepherd’s room. Finding Shepherd unresponsive, Dill holds his gun on Soda, as well as Sandee and Horton when they enter the room but he doesn’t see Billie coming up behind him and slitting his throat. Later, Rake arrest Dax, as he is accused of Dill’s murder, and locked back in the furnace, where Soda drops a bug inside to infect him. Meanwhile, Billie goes to infect Sahara, who is able to fend him off briefly until they are interrupted by Rake. Griff, Horton, Sandee, and Billie then gang up and infect Rake before Billie turns his attention back to Sahara, locking himself in the room with her but she fights him off and is able to kill him and the bug inside him. Meanwhile, Rake uses some drugs to keep the bug from taking over her mind, knocking out Sandee and killing Horton and his bug before heading down to save Dax. After killing the bug attempting to infect Dax, Rake shoots herself in the head so she doesn’t turn on them, as Sahara shows up and unlocks Dax’s restraints. Seeing the grub coming out of Rake’s skull, Sahara grabs it and is able to learn the bugs’ plan; to have the infected Shepherd infect the Federation’s top military commanders in order to ensure the bugs’ victory. Realizing they have to kill Shepherd, they head out, running into Soda and setting her on fire along the way. The power suddenly goes out and they encounter Sandee, who attempts to blow them up, before eventually finding Shepherd, Griff, Tor, and Brick, with Shepherd taunting them about why they will die before he heads to the roof as the others attempt to kill Dax and Shepherd. Dax tells Sahara to follow after Shepherd and he manages to kill Brick and Tor but Griff opens the door, allowing a bug to come in. Dax shoots the bug, and begins struggling with Griff before the bug impales Griff through the head and approaches Dax, who starts shooting at it. Sahara chases Shepherd to the roof, where she sees the bugs swarming to the top of the hotel. As Shepherd attacks her and starts to strangle her, the evac shuttle arrives and calls out to Shepherd. Before Shepherd can get on, Dax arrives on the roof and shoots Shepherd, knocking him off the roof. Dax then carries Sahara to the shuttle, telling the men that she has vital information and must be protected. As Dax turns to face the approaching bugs, Sahara tells him that there are too many for him to handle but Dax says murderers don’t get to go home and that she has to tell command what she saw and about the new bug. Sahara cries out as the shuttle takes off and she sees Dax fending off the bugs as long as he can before he is overrun. Some time later, Sahara is holding her baby boy and watches as Dax’s sacrifice has been turned to a recruitment video for the Mobile Infantry. As the recruiting sergeant looks at her baby, he tells him to hurry up and grow as they need more meat for the grinder, causing Sahara to stare at him in horror before running off.

This is such a letdown of a movie compared to the original. The acting was ok, with Richard Burgi (Dax) and Colleen Porch (Sahara) doing a great job in their roles. The story was honestly a little weak and look like it borrowed more from the Heinlein novel, “The Puppet Masters” than Starship Troopers; what with the whole alien bugs taking over human minds to advance their own agenda. I also think they did this movie a disservice by offering up the fan service of having Kelly Carlson walk around naked in the majority of her scenes; not that she isn’t attractive, but that it was really unnecessary for the most part. Stuff like that is what helps gives direct to video movies the bad rep they currently have. The special effects were good but definitely not to the scale that the original had, as they obviously didn’t have the budget for it. It’s a definite time suck movie but it’s one that you really should avoid.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard