action, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review, science fiction

October 16th, 2018 Movie – Ghostbusters (2016) (a.k.a. Ghostbusters: Answer The Call)

ghostbusters 2016

Oh, the shitstorm that was stirred up on the internet when this movie was announced. Ghostbusters is one of the greatest comedies to come out of the 80’s and while the sequel didn’t quite catch the same magic, it was still a good movie. A third movie had been talked about and rumored for years during the 90’s but nothing ever came of it. Then, over 20 years after the Ghostbuster were seen on the big screen, there was finally some serious talk about a third movie being made. However, when it was announced that it was going to be a reboot instead of a sequel and that it would star a female cast of Ghostbusters, the internet was lit up with people calling out in protest over the move, which led to many calling out the protests over their misogynistic tones. In any case, I wound up not seeing Ghostbusters (2016) in theaters but I did rent it off redbox as soon as it became available. I had considered buying it but that point became moot because it was one of the free gifts in my ultraviolet account so let’s see what I thought about this reboot.

The plot: As a tour group is going through the Aldridge Mansion in New York City, the tour guide is leading a group through the mansion when a candlestick suddenly falls by the basement door where Gertrude Aldridge had been locked away. That night, as the tour guide is closing up, he reveals that the candlestick was a prop used to scare the tourists. Suddenly, the basement door knob starts turning and the tour guide hears the sound of a woman screaming and banging on the door. The tour guide is then telekinetically attacked and as he tries to escape, he ends up running down into the basement, which is now unlocked. Realizing where he is, the tour guide tries to escape as green slime begins bubbling up from some cracks in the ground and a strange smoke heads towards him. The next day, Erin Gilbert is preparing to lecture at Columbia University when she is approached by Ed Mulgrave Jr, the owner of the Aldridge Mansion, who is holding a copy of the book she wrote years ago about the paranormal. Wrin tries to deny it but reluctantly admits it is her and asks what he wants. He tells her his belief that the mansion is haunted and asks that she check it out but she refuses, then asks how he got a copy of the book as she thought she had destroyed the only two copies. When Ed tells her that it was on Amazon, Erin goes to check for herself, keeping the results hidden from Dean Filmore when he enters her office to talk about her upcoming tenure hearing. Erin goes to see Abby Yates, her former partner that she had co-written to book with and Abby is unapologetic about putting the book for sale. Erin is introduced to Jillian Holtzmann, Abby’s new partner, and the two proceed to tease Erin about not believing in her old research. When Erin tells them why she is there, Abby and Holtzmann quickly grab some equipment and leave their lab, with Abby promising to take the book down until Erin gets tenure if she introduces them to Mulgrave. When they arrive at the mansion, they talk to Mulgrave and the tour guide across the street, then Abby and Holtzmann head inside, with Erin following after them. As they explore the mansion, Erin steps in some green goo and thinks that Abby and Holtzmann are pulling a prank on her by opening the basement door but Abby and Holtzmann swear they didn’t open the door. Suddenly, the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge exits the basement and Erin attempts to talk to it before the ghost spits ectoplasm on her, then flies off out of the mansion. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann are excited about what happened but when Abby posts the video of the encounter online, Erin’s superiors see it and Filmore fires her. Erin goes to Abby and Holtzmann’s lab and complain to them about their video getting her fired. Abby says that they can now study ghosts full time, showing her people commenting about on their video of other hauntings, but when they go to ask for more money from the Dean of the college they teach at, he fires both Abby and Holtzmann. Meanwhile, subway ticket booth operator Patty Tolan is working her shift when a man approaches her and speaks with her briefly before wandering onto the tracks. As she goes to search for him, she sees a strange device on a electrical panel, which explodes, just before a ghost appears and frightens Patty away. The man, Rowan North, returns to his job at a hotel, discussing the sites where he has planted devices and says he has more to plant to break down the barrier. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann go looking for a place to work out of and eventually find a place over a Chinese restaurant. As they get set up, Kevin Beckman shows up to apply for their receptionist job and Erin is attracted to him but Kevin seems to be somewhat of an idiot. As they discuss hiring him, Patty shows up at their office to tell them about the ghost she saw. The three head down to the subway station, which Patty explains was underneath the old prison where they electrocuted inmates. As they head down the tracks, they find the debris from the device that Rowan had planted just before the ghost appears again. Erin uses Holtzmann’s device to try and capture it and manages to snare it but when a train is approaching, they are forced to run while the ghost gets stuck on the incoming train. Elsewhere, Rowan has some guests complain about the ectoplasm that is dripping along the walls from the hotel, with one guest having a ghost possessing a rash on her back. Later, Rowan heads out to set the next bomb to destroy to barrier, going to a rock show where Ozzy Osbourne is performing.The girls return to their office to examine the pieces of the device they collected when they notice that Patty had followed them and wants to join them. When she tells them she can get them a car if they let her join, the girls agree but are not excited when she returns with a hearse. After Abby tests out Holtzmann’s portable version of her weapon, they see a news story talking about them, where famed paranormal debunker Martin Heiss calls the video of the ghost they encountered a fake. Erin says that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks because what they are doing matters, just as Kevin takes a call about a ghost at the theater. As they go to leave, Erin sees her boyfriend Phil outside and goes to speak with him but ends up leaving with the others when Holtzmann pulls up in the now customized hearse. When they get to the theater, the owner explains what happened and takes them to the lower level to try and find the ghost. The girls separate and Abby discovers the device Rowan left while Patty encounters the ghost, which has possessed a mannequin. Patty leads the possessed mannequin back to the others, where they use their proton packs to destory the mannequin but the ghost escapes and heads upstairs towards the concert. The girls chase after him and continue trying to catch the ghost, with the crowd thinking it is part of the show, but they eventually catch it. As they leave the theater to a crowd chanting Ghostbusters, Rowan is watching the news report on them and tells them to enjoy their victory while they can. Back at their lab, the girls are celebrating their successful capture of a ghost when Martin Heiss shows up and questions whether they really caught a ghost or not. Despite Abby trying to stop her, Erin gets fed up with his skepticism and releases the ghost, which grabs Martin and throws him out the window while it flies off. As the police question the Ghostbusters, Agents Hawkins and Rourke from Homeland Security show up to escort the Ghostbusters to the Mayor’s office. Once there, Mayor Bradley and his secretary explain that they know the Ghostbusters aren’t frauds and are aware of the ghosts in the city but want the Ghostbusters to stay out of it while Homeland does their job. As the news labels them frauds, Abby tells them they can’t let what others think stop them, listing other locations where ghosts have been spotted. Erin gets an idea and plots the locations on a map, discovering that the events are occurring on ley lines. As Abby goes to call Homeland about their theory, Erin discovers the lines intersect at the Mercado hotel and Patty tells them the history of that area, and the deaths that have occurred there. When she looks at the hotels website, she recognizes Rowan as the man that spoke to her at the subway and the Ghostbusters head out to investigate. When they get to the hotel, they head to the basement and find Rowan preparing to activate a giant device to destroy the barrier. Abby tries to talk Rowan out of his plan but he goes to activate the device, killing himself in the process. Holtzmann manages to shut off the device and discovers that Rowan had been reading Abby and Erin’s book but as Jennifer thanks them for saving the city, she tells them that Homeland will “fake arrest” them while she speaks with the press and says it was just a sad stunt by the Ghostbusters. Erin gets fed up with everyone calling them frauds and after attacking a man calling them fakes, she tells the others that she needs a break. Heading home, she starts looking through Rowan’s copy of their book when she sees the notes he wrote in it and his plan to kill himself in order to become a ghost and lead the army of ghost to purge the world of humanity. Erin tries to call the others and warn them about Rowan but when she sees a news report that Mayor Bradley is having a meeting with world leaders, she heads there to warn him but is thrown out of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Rowan possesses Abby, who begins destroying the Ghostbuster’s equipment. When Patty and Holtzmann try to stop her, they manage to free Abby from Rowan but he possesses Kevin, who heads back to the hotel and activates the portal. As ghosts swarm the city, Abby, Holtzmann, and Patty head out to the hotel to shut down the portal but the Ecto-1 ends up being stolen by Slimer. The three continue on foot but are attacked by a series of ghost balloons, ending up being trapped underneath a balloon of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man but Erin saves them. At the hotel, the possessed Kevin takes control of Agent Hawkins, Rourke, and police and national guard attempting to stop him, forcing them to dance for his amusement before freezing them in place. When the Ghostbusters show up, he summons some ghosts to fight them but they are able to defeat the ghosts and make their way into the hotel. Rowan taunts them for a bit, eventually leaving Kevin, and transforms into the ghost from their logo, then growing super-sized and begins attacking the city. Realizing he is too strong to attack, the Ghostbusters decide to try and fire into the portal and cross the streams in an attempt to close it but the proton packs aren’t powerful enough. Seeing Slimer driving the Ecto-1 towards them, Patty suggest using the equipment on top of the car, which is essentially a nuclear reactor, and they fire their proton packs at the car, steering it into the portal while shooting the equipment and causing it to explode. The explosion causes the portal’s energy to reverse and the ghosts are sucked back into it. Rowan is able to hold on but the Ghostbusters shoot him and he falls into the portal but grabs Abby and drags her in as he falls. With the portal closing, Erin ties herself off with the cable from a winch and jumps in to rescue Abby, while Patty and Holtzmann pull them both back before the portal closes. As people try to explain what happened and if the Ghostbusters had anything to save them, Jennifer approaches the Ghostbusters and says that while they will continue to disavow that what they do is real, Mayor Bradley wants to fully fund the Ghostbusters so they can be better prepared if something like this happens again. Erin has the Mayor help them buy an old firehouse to use for their new base and as they get themselves set up, Leslie tells them to come out to the roof, where they see various skyscrapers in the city lit up to say that they love the Ghostbusters. Later, as they are relaxing in Holtzmann’s lab, Patty is listening to an audio tape of what was recorded during the event and asks them who Zuul is.

Despite the initial backlash before the movie came out, Ghostbusters (2016) met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy — even if it can’t help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $229.1 million off of a $144 million budget (but is considered a bomb due to the high marketing and production costs) and while there was some initial talk of a sequel, the disappointing box office has put the idea on hold. However, IDW Publishing announced a 6 part mini-series that would team up the original Ghostbusters with the 2016 crew, with a second series continuing the adventures of the 2016 Ghostbusters.

Ok, the original movie is one that will never be topped, but this wasn’t as bad as many people thought it was going to be. The acting was good, with the 4 main women doing great jobs in their roles but Leslie Jones (Patty) and Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann) really stole the show with their performances. The writing was ok but I feel like this movie focused too much on the comedy aspects and not enough on the story itself. I think a part of that is due to the writing, as Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the original movie with Dan Aykroyd, was a genius when it came to writing comedy movies and his writing style made his movies memorable, if not outright iconic. One thing I did like was all the nods to the original movies, with 5 of the original actors making cameos in the movie, as well as showing the firehouse and several references to lines or scenes from the original movie. The special effects in the movie were pretty good and I liked how they decided to get creative in the uses of the proton pack, with them using them almost like whips and flinging the ghosts into other ghosts was pretty neat. So it is not as good as the original movie, and I honestly don’t think they were trying to out do it, but it is a fun movie to watch and a pretty decent entry into the franchise.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

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

October 22nd, 2017 Movie – Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone

spacehunter - adventures in the forbidden zone

If you would like to know about how I came to own today’s movie, there is a simple explanation for that. My friends are enablers, plain and simple. See, a few months ago I was at a friends house and happened to be checking on the status of a delivery from Amazon when I noticed some of the recommended titles that they had listed. I saw this title as something soon to be released and mentioned it to them and they said that it was a movie that should definitely be in my collection. So, knowing how easily influenced I am on such matters, I went ahead and pre-ordered it. Now let’s see if this impulse buy was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone.

The plot: Out in space, a cruise liner is passing through a nebula cloud when it is struck by a bolt of lightning. damaging the ship and causing it to be destroyed. Everyone is killed except for three women (Meagan, Nova, and Reena), who manage to make it to an escape pod and head for the nearest habitable world, Terra XI. When the land, they are attacked by the scavenging natives before a group of people called Scavs drive them off and the women are taken on board a train, powered  by giant sails. Elsewhere, a salvage pilot named Wolff hears part of a mayday and has his engineer Chalmers fix the communicator so they can listen to the whole thing, where they learn about the missing women and the 3000 mega-credits reward. Wolff recalls hearing about Terra XI and how a colony was attempted but there was a plague and that one of the survivors had initiated some sort of martial law on the planet. Wolff and Chalmers land on the planet and head out in the Scrambler, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and set off for the shuttle’s coordinates. When Chalmers notices that the shuttle is moving, they see the train and watch as it comes under attack by another group of people, called Zoners. Wolff has Chalmers stay with the Scrambler while he boards the trains and tries to rescue the women but he is too late as the women are captured by the Zoners and taken away via hang gliders. As he heads back to the Scrambler, the leader of the Scavs accuses Wolff of causing this but one of his people tells him he is mistaken, then speaks to Wolff for a bit but refuses to help him. Wolff returns to the Scrambler to find Chalmers, who was actually an android, has been killed so he initiates her self destruct, which begins melting her skin and circuitry, then drives off. Wolff comes to an old settlement and heads inside to find it abandoned, with nothing but the skeletons of people who died in the plague, when he suddenly hears someone trying to steal the Scrambler. He manages to stop the thief, a Scav girl named Niki, and he kicks her out of the Scrambler but she convinces him that she can help him find the gliders and he allows her to get back him and lead him towards the Zone. Meanwhile, the gliders land in the Zone and the three women are taken to see the Chemist, who uses drugs to pacify them and make them want to serve Overdog. Back in the canyons, Wolff and Niki make camp for the night but when Wolf discovers her in his sleeping bag in the morning, he grabs her and carries her to a nearby pond and forces her to get cleaned up. Suddenly, another vehicle with a large plow on the front shows up and when it tries to run over Wolff, he causes it to wreck and confronts the driver. The driver turns out to be Washington, a former soldier turned sector chief and an old associate of Wolff’s who says he is there for the same reason Wolff is but he crashed his ship. Washington asks about teaming up with Wolff but Niki says he already has a partner and Wolff tosses Washington’s gun into the pond and leaves him there. Wolff and Niki continue travelling and eventually reach the outskirts of the Zone, where they take shelter in an abandoned building but as they go to get some sleep, they find themselves attacked by some large, pig-like humans and are forced to get back in the Scrambler and leave. Meanwhile, the three women are taken to see Overdog, who has become a cyborg, and he demands the Chemist leave them so they can fill his basic needs. Wolff and Niki are traveling through a swamp, with Niki walking ahead to guide the Scrambler through the shallow areas, when Niki is grabbed by a member of an Amazon tribe. Wolff jumps into the water to save her and ends up captured as well but the Amazons run when a strange dragon-like eel appears out of the water. Wolff manages to kill it and free himself and Niki but when the Amazons start to head towards them again, they are forced to abandon the Scrambler and climb out of there. Making their way through the desert, they are about to die of dehydration when Washington appears, having followed their tracks and towed the Scrambler out of the swamp. Washington strikes a bargain with Wolff, giving him and Niki some water and they work together to rescue the women, then Wolff flies them out of there, with them splitting the reward money. When Wolff and Washington start discussing what they might do with their portion of the reward, Niki realizes they aren’t planning on giving her any of it and gets upset with Wolff, who says there was never an agreement that she would be leaving with them after they rescued the women. Washington tries to explain to Niki that Wolff is too much of a loner and offers to be her partner but she brushes him off, and is still angry when Wolff offers to take her to another planet if they succeed in their mission. Two Scavs from the train show up at their camp, intending to head too the Graveyard to kill Overdog when they come under attack by some children who have been mutated by the Chemist. They manage to escape but Washington’s vehicle is damaged and the two Scavs go on ahead to complete their mission. After repairing Washington’s vehicle, they head to the Graveyard and sneak inside to find that Overdog is entertaining his subject by forcing his prisoners to make their way through a deadly maze. They find one of the Scavs being chased by guards and learn that he and his brother had attempted to free the prisoners and use the distraction to kill Overdog but his brother was captured. Seeing the women in a cage behind Overdog, Wolff and Washington decide to use the Scav’s plan and Washington goes with the Scav to free the prisoners while Wolff waits so he can rescue the women. Wolff tells Niki to wait in the Scrambler but she gets bored and sneaks back inside only to be captured by Overdog’s soldiers. Washington frees the prisoners and blows up the slave pens while Wolff manages to rescue the women but Niki is sent into the maze. Wolff sees Niki trapped in the maze and despite Washington’s telling him to just leave her, Wolff tells him he is going down to save her. Wolff manages to help Niki make it through the maze but Overdog grabs her and has the Chemist prepare to transfer her life force into him. Wolff kills the Chemist and makes it inside the chamber, where he fights with Overdog and manages to kill him by electrocuting him with a fallen cable, causing explosions to occur throughout the Graveyard. Washington rescues them and they head back to Wolff’s ship, where they bandage up the two Scavs and the women thank them for their part in rescuing them. Niki gets upset and starts to leave, yelling at Wolff that he didn’t ask if she wanted to go with him and Wolff tells her that he does want her to come with him and the two hug and then leave with Washington and the women.

Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone met with mostly negative results from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many felt that it could have been a better movie if it was more original. The movie was deliberately released a week before Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi, in order to cash in on everyone’s anticipation for that movie. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work as the movie only mad $16.5 million off of a $14.4 million budget.

There were so many similarities to Star Wars in this, it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t some sort of early Asylum mockbuster. That being said, this wasn’t a terrible movie to watch. The acting was ok, with Peter Strauss (Wolff) and Ernie Hudson (Washington) doing a good job in their roles. I was a little surprised with Molly Ringwald’s playing of Niki but this was before she became John Hughes’ go to girl for his movies and she was just getting started in Hollywood. The story was pretty unoriginal and like I said, had a lot, and I mean A LOT, of similarities to Star Wars in this movie. In fact, Ernie Hudson was cast due to them wanting a resemblance to Lando Calrissian. The special effects were pretty weak looking, while Michael Ironside just looked weird as the cyborg Overdog. Good for a few laughs, but there are better sci-fi movies out there.

Rating: 2 out of 5

action, horror, movie, movie review

August 1st, 2017 Movie – Shark Attack

shark attack

It’s August, Sharknado Week is going on on Syfy, and I have almost a full month of shark themed movies to dive right into. I honestly don’t know if this day can start off any better. Ok, so today’s movie is the first movie in a series but it is actually the last one in the series that I saw, while the last movie in the series was the first one I saw. To be honest, that was a bit of a mistake, as I went from the total campiness of the third movie to the somewhat serious tone of this movie. Oh well, nothing to be done about that now. So let’s get this month of shark movies started with a bang as I watch today’s movie, Shark Attack.

The plot: In Port Amanzi, Africa, Marc Desantis has just finished diving and returns to his boat. He is in the middle of emailing some research he has been gathering to his friend Steven McKray when he is suddenly attacked by two men, who turn out to be crooked cops. The cops take him out on their boat and cut his arm before dumping him in the water, where he is eaten by a shark. At the Biscayne Marine Institute in Florida, Steven gets a phone message from Marc asking for help and checks his email but the file Marc sent was incomplete. Steven tries calling Marc but when he doesn’t get an answer, he looks up shark attacks in the area and convinces his boss that it is worth sending him there to investigate. When Steven arrives in Port Amanzi, he is greeted by Lawrence Rhodes, a hotel owner and businessman, who informs Steven that the shark problem has decimated the fishing recently, which has played havoc on the town’s economy and caused several businesses to close. Steven heads to the local marine institute and speaks with Miles Kraven, another colleague who runs the institute, and Miles Steven about Marc having been killed in a diving accident. Hearing that Marc’s sister, Corine, was in town to handle Marc’s affairs, Steven goes to speak with her but she gets upset and blames him for Marc’s death. After Steven gets in a fight with a local fisherman, who blames Americans for the lousy fishing, Jenny apologizes and they head to Marc’s boat to try and find the data Marc was trying to send Steven. When they get there, Jenny notices Marc’s dive watch on the floor and notes that it is strange, because he was wearing his normal watch when his body was found. Leaving the boat, they encounter the angry fisherman again but before another fight breaks out, they see a boy being attacked by a shark and Steven and the fisherman both jump in the water to save him and the fisherman begrudgingly gives Steven some respect. The next day, Steven heads out to where Marc had been diving recently only to find Corine already there and ready to dive. The two explore the water and find a thumper, a device used to attract sharks, located in an old wreck. After encountering a great white, the two head up to the surface when they suddenly find themselves ensnared in a net and Steven is forced to cut Corine’s scuba tanks off her so she can get free. When they reach the surface, they find the local villagers, the Coisan, yelling at Mani, their boat’s captain, as they claim all of the land and water in the area and they are the only ones who can hunt sharks. Steven and Corine return to the institute to talk to Miles and tell him they think Marc was murdered but Miles tells them he has an arrangement with the Coisan and they wouldn’t have hurt Marc. Steven and Corine head back to the cove in order to catch a shark and dissect it, where they discover the shark’s liver is deformed and the brain appears to have encephalitis, but the Coisan appear and demand the shark’s body or they will tell the police. The next day, Steven and Corine study blood samples from the shark and find a strange hormone in it’s blood. During dinner with Miles, Rhodes, and his wife, they tell them what they have found but Miles doesn’t seem to think it is a problem, then has them follow him to the local hospital, where he has been using an experimental drug made from the shark’s liver to try and treat cancer patients. The next day, Steven, Corine, and Mani head out to examine the thumper but stop to help a woman who is being attacked by a shark, and Steven notices another thumper nearby. Using a shark cage, Steven and Corine dive down to turn off the thumpers but Mani get’s knocked unconscious and someone unhooks their cage from the boat, causing it to sink to the bottom, but they manage to survive. When Steven and Corine return to their hotel room, they are abducted by the crooked cops and taken back out to the cove and dumped into the water. Steven has Corine swim to the bottom with him, where they find Corine’s scuba tank they abandoned earlier, and use it to swim to shore. When they return to the hotel, they tell Rhodes about their abduction and Rhodes tells them he will call the police but when they realize the police were the ones to abduct them, they quickly run from the hotel and hop into Mani’s cab and escape. After they manage to avoid the police, Steven and Corine sneak back into the hospital to study the files and find that Miles’ drug is not working and instead makes things worse. Sneaking into the institute, Steven copies Miles’ data but he is caught by Miles and Mr. Hatcher, his head of security. Corine causes a distraction and they try to escape but through the shark pool but Hatcher closes the gate, capturing Corine. After avoiding the police, Steven makes and arrangement to meet with Miles and give him back the disk in exchange for Corine but when they see Rhodes heading for the institute, Steven and Mani realize he is involved and break into his office to find proof. Mani then takes Steven to the bar to recruit the other fishermen to help them, showing them the proof that Rhodes was deliberately destroying their livelihoods for his own gain. Steven then heads to the institute to confront Miles and Rhodes and it is revealed that Miles knew nothing of Rhodes plan and it was Hatcher who placed the thumpers near the beach to get the sharks to attack the tourists so Rhodes can buy up the town and sell it to an oil firm. Rhodes orders Hatcher and the police to kill Steven and Corine but Mani and the other fishermen arrive to rescue them. During the fight, Mani is injured and Miles is killed and Steven tries to stop Rhodes from escaping in his helicopter, causing the helicopter to crash. Steven and Rhodes had managed to jump into the water and swim for a buoy but the thumper underneath it attracts a great white, which kills Rhodes. The next day, the fishermen are happy at being able to return to fishing, with Steven promising to send in some scientists to help finish dealing with the sharks that Miles had altered and as Steven and Corine figure out where they are going next, they share a kiss.

There was actually a lot of good things about this movie, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The acting was pretty good, with Casper Van Dien (Steven), Ernie Hudson (Rhodes), Bentley Mitchum (Miles), and Tony Caprari (Mani) doing a good job in their roles, though Jenny McShane (Corine) was pretty annoying. The story was interesting pretty interesting but I honestly felt like it was more about the human drama and didn’t really have as many shark attacks as I was expecting. While a number of the special effects were not that good, the scenes with the sharks actually looked really good, though that was probably because they were footage of actual sharks that were just inserted into the movie. A decent movie but they should have had more sharks involved it.

Rating: 3 out of 5