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

June 11th, 2018 Movie – X-Men: First Class

xmen first class

A new decade, a new set of movies. Somewhat similar to the Star Wars franchise, this new set of movies decided to try and serve as a prequel to the original trilogy of films. Now I was honestly a little skeptical about this because prequels can be a little tricky, as they try to explain how things we already know come to be. The problem is, if people aren’t completely careful and don’t pay attention, then you make things worse by making things more confusing. Still, I was curious how they would handle this and decided to dial down my skepticism as I watched today’s movie, X-Men: First Class.

The plot: In a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 Poland, young Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents and as he tries to get to them, his powers begin to manifest as he starts bending the metal gate until a guard knocks him out. Nazi scientist Klaus Schmidt witnesses the feat and has Erik brought to his office. Speaking to Erik about how genes are the future of mankind, he asks Erik to move a coin on his desk. When Erik can’t, he has Eric’s mother brought into the room, then threatens to shoot her if Erik doesn’t move the coin. Klaus counts to 3 and when Erik is unable to move the coin, he proceeds to shoot her. Enraged at the loss, Erik’s powers go out of control, killing the two guards and trashing the objects in the lab next door, all to Klaus’s delight. Meanwhile, in Westchester County, New York, a young Charles Xavier is woken up by a noise coming from the kitchen in his family’s mansion. When he goes to check it out, he finds his mother there but quickly realizes it is an imposter. Speaking to the intruder telepathically, the intruder reveals herself to be a young shape changing mutant named Raven and Xavier, happy to finally meet another mutant like himself, invites her to stay with him, which Raven accepts. Years later, Xavier is graduating from Oxford University and Raven, now his adopted sister, has accompanied him there but she has started feeling uncomfortable always having to hide who she really is. Meanwhile, Erik is trying to track down Schmidt and after heading to a bank known to secretly deal in Nazi gold, he is able to learn that Schmidt is in Argentina, then warns the banker not to warn anyone he is coming. In Las Vegas, CIA Agent Moria MacTaggert and her partner are staking out the Hellfire Club when they notice U.S. Army Colonel Hendry entering the building. Disguising herself as one of the prostitutes being let inside, Moria finds a hidden entrance to the club’s offices. Inside the office, Hendry is meeting with Schmidt, who now goes by Sebastian Shaw, and his associates Emma Frost and Riptide. Shaw is telling Hendry that he wants the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons to Turkey but Hendry refuses, as it would escalate tensions with Russia and possibly start a nuclear war. When Hendry refuses to do so, Shaw has Riptide produce a small cyclone and use it to attack Hendry, slamming him into a wall. Moria, who had discovered some Russian files in Shaw’s desk, hears the commotion and watches as Emma changes into a diamond form after telepathically threatening Hendry, then Shaw summons Azazel, a red skinned teleporter, to take Hendry out of there. Moria makes her way out of the club and tries to tell her boss what she saw but her boss says that Hendry is in the war room advocating for missiles to be deployed in Turkey and dismisses her. Meanwhile, Erik heads to Argentina and when he arrives at a bar and orders a drink, he notices a picture of Shaw with two men on a boat. The two men happen to be sitting at the bar and when Erik learns that they are former Nazis, he kills them, then heads after Shaw. In D.C., Hendry boards Shaw’s yacht and when Shaw threatens to have him killed, Hendry produces a grenade and threatens to pull the pin. Shaw takes the Grenade from him and pulls the pin, then absorbs the blast from the explosion, revealing that he is also a mutant, then kills Hendry by touching him, transferring the force of the explosion to him. At Oxford, Moria approaches Xavier after his graduation and asks him about his thesis, in which he talks about mutants. Scanning her mind, Xavier sees her memories of Emma and Azazel and he agrees to help her. Moria takes Xavier and Raven with her to CIA headquaters but when the CIA director thinks what Xavier is saying is crazy talk, Xavier and Raven both reveal their gifts, shocking everyone. The CIA director thinks they are spies and wants them taken out of the building and one of the officers says he has an off site facility they can use and as they are leaving, Xavier telepathically contacts Moria and tells her to meet them at the parking garage. Erik travels to D.C. and confronts Shaw, who recognizes Erik, but Emma psychically stops Erik’s attack and knocks him into the water. Suddenly, the Coast Guard show up and Emma senses Xavier on board and uses her powers to block their thoughts from his. Riptide uses his powers to blow away the small boarding craft approaching the ship but when Erik uses his powers to use the anchor to destroy the ship, Shaw, Emma, and Riptide quickly head down to the lower decks, which house a secret submarine. As Shaw and the other’s escape, Erik uses his powers to try and stop them but the sub is too big and he ends up being dragged underwater until Xavier dives in and telepathically convinces him to stop. The CIA officer takes Moria, Xavier, Raven, and Erik to his facility, where he introduces them to Hank McCoy and Xavier unintentionally reveals to the officer that Hank is a mutant, whose gift is a genius IQ and prehensile feet. Later that night, Hank and Raven are talking, having bonded over the fact that their mutations are both physical, and Hank asks Raven for a sample of her blood, thinking he might be able to fashion a cure from it. Meanwhile, Erik steals the CIA files on Shaw and goes to leave but is confronted by Xavier, who tries to convince him to stay but tells Erik he won’t use his powers to do so. The next day, Erik agrees to stay but says that any mutants they discover should be approached by himself and Xavier, not CIA suits, and Xavier agrees, much to the CIA officer’s disapproval. Hank has turned a radar tower into a transmitter and hooked it up to a computer so that using Xavier’s telepathy, he can locate mutants and the computer will print out their location. Calling the device Cerebro, Hank activates it and Xavier begins locating mutants all across the world. Using the device, Eric and Xavier approach Angel Salvadore, Armando Munoz, Alex Summers, and Sean Cassidy, who agree to go with them, but the 5th mutant they approach, Logan, tells them to “Go fuck yourself.” Meanwhile, Shaw tells to head to Russia and when she asks about the other telepath, he tells her that the Russians made him a helmet that can block telepathy and has her try to read his mind when he is wearing it and she says she can’t. Later, Emma tells him that she can feel the other telepath’s range has expanded and he is recruiting other mutants and Shaw tells her to go to Russia and he will deal with the telepath. Back at the CIA Division X facility, Raven and Hank are talking with the new recruits and Raven says they should come up with code names. Raven decides to call herself Mystique, Sean calls himself Banshee, Armando calls himself Darwin, and they decide to call Alex Havoc after witnessing his powers, while Angel simply decides to use her stripper name of Angel. At CIA Headquarters, the director tells Moria that she was right about Shaw going to meet with the Russians and agrees to let her take the mutants with them, though one of his officers, Agent Stryker, protests using them. When Moria meets with Erik and Xavier to tell them, Erik is unsure if the other mutants are ready to take on Shaw and after seeing the mess they made of the room, Xavier reluctantly agrees. Moria, Xavier, and Erik go with a CIA team to Russia, where they see Emma meeting with the Russian general instead of Shaw. Moria wants to fall back, as their mission was to capture Shaw, but Erik says that Emma is Shaw’s right hand woman and she would know where he is and what his plans are. Eric uses his powers to subdue the guards and he heads inside, followed by Xavier, where they find Emma psychically tricking the general into thinking they are fooling around. Xavier uses his powers to render the general unconscious but Emma shifts into her diamond form to prevent him from reading her mind. Erik uses his powers to trap Emma against the bedframe, then coils part of it around her throat and starts constricting it until her throat cracks, then releases it as Emma quickly changes to human. Xavier is then able to read her mind and learns that Shaw plans to start a nuclear war so that more mutants will be born, with himself as their leader. Xavier says they are taking Emma to the CIA, as they will want to question her further, but Emma says that they have bigger problems to worry about. At Division X, Shaw, Azazel, and Riptide attack the facility looking for the mutants. After killing all of the humans, Shaw approaches the mutants and offers the a chance to join him. Angel takes him up on his offer, as she didn’t like being looked at like a freak by the CIA agents. Darwin also appears to join but as he approaches Angel, he grabs her and yells out for Havoc to attack while he uses his powers to defend himself and Angel. Shaw absorbs Havoc’s attack and then uses the energy to kill Darwin, making him explode, while he leaves with Angel, Azazel, and Riptide. Some time later, Shaw appears in Russia and meets with the general and tells him to send missiles to Cuba, knowing it will provoke a response from the United States. Meanwhile, Xavier, Erik, and Moria return to the facility and Xavier wants to send everyone home but they all refuse, as they want to avenge Darwin’s death. After talking with Erik, Xavier agrees to this provided they begin training and learn how to better use their powers and they all agree, and Xavier takes them back to his and Raven’s mansion to use as their new training ground. As the tensions between the two countries continue to rise, Xavier works on helping the others with their abilities. Banshee learns how to use his sonic scream to fly and Havoc, thanks to a suit from Hank, is able to fully control his powers. Xavier tries to help Erik with his powers by having him more a nearby radar dish so it’s pointing at them and helps him realize that anger isn’t the only thing that powers his abilities by reminding him of the memories of his mother that he had long forgotten. When the President makes his remarks about the rising Missile crisis in Cuba, Erik says that Shaw will be in Cuba, as he will want to make sure that the war he has been planning starts. That night, Hank goes to Raven’s room and shows her the cure he made from her blood cells, saying that they can finally be normal, but Raven tells him that they are normal as they are and shouldn’t have to hide who they are but Hank sadly walks away. Raven goes to Eric’s room and attempts to seduce him and when he tells her he wants to see the real Raven, she changes and he kisses her. Meanwhile, Hank injects himself with his cure but instead of making him human, it increases his stalled mutation, causing him to begin growing fur. The next day, Xavier and the others enter Hank’s lab to find it trashed but no sign of him anywhere. They don the uniforms he fashioned for them and head to the hangar where his supersonic jet, the Blackbird, is kept and Hank meets them there, revealing himself to have mutated into a more leonine, beast form with blue fur. Hank, dubbed Beast by Havoc, pilots the jet to Cuba, where the opposing fleets are watching as the Russian ship carrying the missiles continues towards Cuba. As the ship nears the embargo line, Xavier uses his powers to learn that Azazel has killed the crew and set the ship towards the line. He then takes control of a soviet sailor and has him fire on the ship, destroying it and preventing a war from starting. Shaw realizes what has happened and, donning his helmet, makes plans to absorb the energy from the sub’s reactor to turn himself into a weapon. Realizing that Shaw must be in his sub, Banshee uses his powers to dive into the water and act as a sonar system, allowing Xavier to locate the sub. Magneto then uses his powers to lift the sub out of the water and move it towards a nearby island. Riptide emerges on deck and uses his powers to attack the plane, causing Erik to lose control and crash the sub, just as the plane is damaged and crashes as well. As Xavier checks on everyone, he and Moira realize that Shaw is draining power from his reactor and they have to stop him. Erik, Beast, and Havoc see Angel, Azazel, and Riptide waiting to stop them and Havoc attacks first, slamming Riptide into the sub. Azazel teleports behind them and attacks Havoc but Beast grabs Azazel and they teleport away, eventually landing on a U.S. ship. Magneto rips open the sub, knocking Riptide unconscious with the falling debris, and Xavier uses his powers to guide him towards where a void exists that Shaw must be in. Meanwhile, Hank and Azazel continue fighting, teleporting off the ship, while Havoc is about to be arrested by the sailors when Angel attacks them all, damaging Havoc’s suit in the process. Suddenly, Banshee reappears from underwater and attacks Angel, then rescues Havoc from the sailors. Angel attacks them, damaging Banshee’s suit and causing them to crash onto the beach but as she goes to finish them off, Angel fires at her and damages her wings, bringing her down as well. Meanwhile, Beast and Azazel continues to fight each other, eventually moving back to the beach and when Azazel is about to kill Beast, Mystique, disguised as Shaw, distracts him long enough for Beast to knock him out. On the sub, Erik powers down the reactor and Shaw opens the chamber and begins talking with Erik. When Erik attempts to attack him, Shaw easily rebuffs the attack, then slams Erik into the wall, cracking it open and allowing Xavier to uses his powers to see inside. As Erik and Shaw continue to fight, Erik tricks Shaw and manages to remove his helmet, allowing Xavier to take control of Shaw’s body and stop him. Erik then dons Shaw’s helmet and approaches Shaw, telling him he agrees with what he said about mutants being the future but he is still going to kill him for killing his mother. Erik then takes the coin that Shaw asked him to move, which he kept all these years, and uses his powers to push it through Shaw’s head. Erik then leaves the sub, moving Shaw’s body before him, and tells everyone to stop fighting, as the real enemy is out there, pointing to the U.S. and Russian fleets, which have both received orders to fire on the beach. As the missiles and rockets head towards them, Erik takes control of them and uses his powers to send them back. Xavier tries to stop him but Erik is able to fight him off and pin him to the ground. When Moria tries to shoot Erik, he deflects the bullets but one of them hits a rising Xavier in the back. Concerned for his friend, Erik lets the missiles and rockets crash to the sea or explode harmlessly as he quickly removes the bullet from Xavier. He then attacks Moria, saying she did this but Xavier tells him that he did it, causing Erik to release her. Erik then speaks to the other mutants and asks them to join him and Mystique does, stopping to say goodbye to Xavier and asking Moria to take care of him. Angel, Azazel, and Riptide join as well and when the others refuse, Azazel teleports them out of there. Beast, Banshee, and Havoc rush to Xavier’s side and Xavier tells them that he can’t feel his legs. Some time later, Moria is pushing Xavier in his wheelchair as he is talking about turning his mansion into a school for mutants to learn how to control their abilities but when they share a kiss, he uses his powers to wipe her memory, as he doesn’t want to have her report this to her superiors. As Moria is giving her report and explaining the memory gaps, an explosion is heard at CIA headquarters. Inside their secret prison, Erik, now going by Magneto, frees Emma and invites her to join his new Brotherhood, which she accepts.

X-Men: First Class met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.” While they were adversaries in the movie (though they later joined Magneto at the movie’s end), in the comics, Azazel and Mystique were lovers, with the result of their union being the X-Man Nightcrawler. The movie was a box office success, earning $353.6 million off of a $160 million budget and would go on to spawn two more prequels, with a third movie coming out next year.

So I will say that this is a pretty good movie all around, though fanboy me did have some problems with some of the things in it. I thought that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both did great jobs as Xavier and Magneto respectively. I also liked Nicholas Hoult as a young beast but was kind of “meh” on Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw. The story was pretty interesting and I liked the initial set up for them such as how the X-Men initially worked with the government but after the government turned on them in fear, Xavier felt it best to sever the ties and keep them a secret. I also liked how they try to set up some things for the future, such as having Stryker’s father being one of the CIA special agents that didn’t trust Xavier and the others from the start and wanted them destroyed, setting up how that would carry over to his son’s work. One slight problem with continuity that they had was in regards to Shaw’s helmet, which Magneto would later come to possess. In the first movie, Xavier didn’t know what was allowing Magneto to hide his thoughts from him, with the helmet was somewhat pivotal in the second movie as well. But in this movie, he did learn of the helmet and would have known later on why he was unable to read Magneto’s mind. It’s minor, true, but an annoying bit of a continuity error. The other thing I didn’t like was their dealing with the powers of Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. With Emma, they made her powers more like the current comics version, where she had a secondary mutation giving her the diamond skin, which was annoying to me but not really necessary as they could have simply left her as just a telepath and made her more of a foil for Xavier in trying to keep the X-Men from stopping Shaw’s plans. With Shaw, they seemed to have more fun in changing his powers. In the comics, he did absorb the kinetic energy of anything that strikes him, which does allow him to survive explosions and what not, but that trick he did with Darwin was honestly some Hollywood BS in my opinion and simply a way to kill off Darwin. On that note, the special effects were pretty good and I loved the setting of everything being during the cold war in 1962, as this was right at the time the silver age of comics was getting started, though a full year before the X-Men first appeared. Still, my annoyances aside, this was an entertaining movie and a good way to bring some new life to the franchise after The Last Stand.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

March 14th, 2018 Movie – Transporter 2

transporter 2

Happy Pie day everyone. MMMMMMMM, PIE!!!! I think I might get some on the way home tonight. With the way my work week is going, I could use the pick-me-up as I am most likely in for another slow, boring day at work. Luckily, a movie like this can help get the day started off right as there is nothing like a nice, adrenaline-fueled movie to get the blood pumping. So this was actually the first movie in the series that I watched, mainly because I was bored while wandering through Blockbuster and ended up renting it. So let’s get to driving with today’s movie, Transporter 2.

The plot: Frank Martin is sitting in his car in a parking garage in Miami, FL when he is approached by a teenage girl. The girl asks for his help in changing a flat tire but when Frank says he has an appointment and can’t be late, the girl points a gun at his head and tells him to get out. Frank gets out of the car as 4 men come out of hiding and get in the car but when they can’t start it due to the security code, they get out intending to beat Frank for the code. Frank quickly takes down the men, then tells the girl to go home before he climbs back in the car and drives off. Frank arrives at his destination and picks up Jack Billings from school, who excitedly asks if he can play a guessing game with Jack. When they arrive at the Billing’s home, Frank notices Jack’s parents, Jefferson and Audrey, arguing on the front steps and pulls past the steps so Jack doesn’t see it, under the pretense that he is letting Jack finish the game. After their argument finishes, Audrey approaches the helps Jack win the game, then thanks Frank for filling in for their usual chauffeur the past month. Audrey also thanks him for keeping Jack from seeing their argument and asks Frank if he can take Jack to his doctor’s appointment in the morning, which Frank says yes. Meanwhile, some scientists meet with Gianni Chellini, giving him a virus and the antidote, which he places in a safe, then tells his girlfriend, Lola, what to do with the virus, which he hands to Dimitri. That night, Audrey shows up at Frank’s house slightly drunk and attempts to seduce him but Frank talks her out of it and she thanks him for turning her down before heading home. The next day, Lola, Dimitri, and another of Gianni’s men head to the doctor’s office and kill the doctor and nurse, then take their places. When Frank and Jack get there, Lola greets them, explaining that the usual doctor and nurse have the flu, and Dimitri takes Jack into the examination room, telling Frank he can wait in the lobby. As he is waiting, Frank receives a call from Inspector Traconi, who was coming to spend a holiday in Miami with Frank and arrived early, but Frank notices something is wrong and blood coming from the closet where Gianni’s men had stuffed the bodies. Telling Traconi to take a cab to his house, Frank heads into the examination room and stops the men from giving Jack a shot. Dimitri and the other man attack Frank, who has Jack crawl through the air ducts into the other room, and Frank manages to subdue the men but when he is knocked through the doorway, Lola starts shooting at him. Frank manages to duck into the closet where Jack is hiding and use a gas tank to cause an explosion, stunning Lola and allowing them to get away. Lola accidentally shoots the other man, then tells Dimitri to get out before contacting their driver and telling him to place a bomb underneath Frank’s car. Frank and Jack leave and head back to the Billing’s house but as they get there, he is contacted by Gianni, who tells him a sniper rifle is currently trained on Jack. Frank is forced to allow Lola in the car and drive away from the house, evading the police in the process, and Lola directs him towards the harbor, where Gianni is waiting inside a boat house. After his men grab Jack, Gianni calls the Billings’ house and asks for $5 million in ransom to be delivered in 2 hours or else he will kill Jack. After hanging up, Gianni tells Frank to leave but as Frank starts to get in his car, he sees the bomb reflected in a puddle on the ground. Frank drives away, then speeds up and manages to drive up a ramp and flip the car, snagging the explosive on a nearby crane’s hook, just before Lola can detonate it. Frank contacts the Billings, where an irate Jefferson blames Frank for what happened, thinking he was in on it, but Stappleton, the agent in charge of handling the kidnapping, grabs the phone from him. Frank tries to get Stappleton to go after the boats Gianni and his men are in but Stappleton is tracking Frank’s position to arrest him so Frank leaves the phone at the harbor and drives off. Frank grabs a spare phone from his glove compartment and contacts Traconi, telling him to get out of the house but the U.S. Marshals show up and arrest him. Frank then calls Audrey, who says it is someone else when Jefferson and Stappleton look at her. Frank tells her that he isn’t involved and Audrey says she believes him, as she saw Lola’s guns pointed at him and Jack, and Frank says that there is something more than a ransom involved here and intends to find out. Frank makes his way back to the doctor’s office and copies the security footage to get a picture of Dimitri’s face. He then heads into the exam room to get the syringe but he is confronted by some police, and the syringe is broken during the fight. After subduing the men, Frank grabs an empty syringe and some water, then leaves the office. Frank then calls Traconi, who has been befriending the Marshals by cooking for them, and sends him the image of Dimitri, asking him to find out information on him. Traconi gives him Dimitri’s address and Frank heads there, catching up to Dimitri as he is trying to leave. Dimitri shoots at Frank and then runs away, with Frank chasing after him. As Dimitri manages to get away and jump onto the back of a bus, Frank follows him on a jet ski, jumping the jet ski up onto the overpass so he can get onto the bus as well. Frank grabs Dimitri and asks him about the shot, then injects him with the syringe. Dimitri panics and runs from the bus and Frank follows him. Meanwhile, Jefferson makes the ransom drop off and after several hours pass, Stappleton’s men locate Jack and Jefferson and Audrey acompany him to retrieve their son. Meanwhile, Frank follows Dimitri to the secret lab, where he demands that he be given the antidote. After Frank deals with the guards, Frank enters the lab and tells Dimitir he isn’t sick, just before he kills him, then confronts the lead scientist for the antidote, asking what the virus does. The scientist tells him, then throws the two vials of antidote out the window, forcking Frank to jump out to catch them. One of the vials breaks but Frank manages to save the other one and heads back to the Billings house. Sneaking in, he contacts Audrey and tells her about the virus, then injects Jack with the antidote so he will be safe. Frank tells Audrey to warn Jefferson that he is infected and meant to infect everyone at the conference he is speaking at, then makes his way past the Marshals to leave the house. Audrey tries calling Jefferson but the call breaks up due to his being brought in underneath the building and later, both Jefferson and Audrey collapse and are rushed to a hospital. Frank contacts Traconi, who is still at the Marshal’s office, and asks him for information on Gianni and Traconi is able to find the information but after giving it to Frank, he is caught using the computer. Meanwhile, Gianni watches the conference and sees Jefferson speaking at it, realizing his plan has worked. He then has the antidote injected into himself as a means of keeping it safe and making him invaluable to those that might try to kill him. Frank enters Gianni’s house and fights his way through all of his guards before confronting Gianni. Frank says he figured out everything but Gianni’s involvement and Gianni explains that he was hired by the drug cartels to take out Jefferson and the heads of the various anti-drug organizations. Gianni then explains that he has the antidote inside his blood stream just before Lola attacks Frank, allowing Gianni to escape. Frank ends up killing Lola, then jumps into Gianni’s Lamborghini to head to the airport to stop Gianni. Frank arrives at the airport just as Gianni is boarding his private and he races up to the plane and manages to jump onto the front landing gear before it takes off. Making his way inside the plane, Frank kills the copilot, then confronts Gianni, who attempts to shoot Frank but hits the pilot instead. Frank and Gianni end up fighting on the plane as it flies out of control before it crashes into the ocean. As the plane starts to sink, Gianni attempts to strangle Frank but Frank manages to get free then paralyzes Gianni before slipping a life vest on him and making his way to the surface, where they are picked up by a rescue boat. Some time later, Frank is at the hospital and looks into the Billings’ room, where he sees Jack playing the game with Audrey and Jefferson and realizes that they are doing fine and leaves without heading inside. Frank then takes Traconi to the airport and says goodbye to his friend before heading back to his car, where he receives a call from someone looking for a transporter.

Transporter 2 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” A stylish and more focused sequel to The Transporter, the movie is over-the-top fun for fans of the first movie.” The studio was unsure about making a follow up to The Transporter but when it was released on DVD, it showed strong enough DVD sales to warrant green-lighting a sequel. The movie fared better at the box office than it’s predecessor, earning $85.2 million off of a $32 million budget.

Some over the top action can be all you need to make an entertaining movie, and that is just what this movie delivers. The acting was good, with Jason Statham and Francois Berleand doing a good job reprising their respective roles of Frank and Traconi. Hunter Clary (Jack) and Amber Valletta (Audrey) were pretty good but I thought Matthew Modine (Jefferson) was kind of an ass, which admittedly is what he was supposed to come across as. Alessandro Gassman (Gianni), Kate Nauta (Lola), and Jason Flemyng (Dimitri) were all effective playing the bad guys and I liked Keith David as Marshal Stappleton, as he fit the profile great. The story was an improvement over the original, as it was definitely more streamlined and too the point instead of taking forever to get to the heart of the matter. The action scenes were just as good as the original while some of the fights were an improvement. The fight scene with Frank using the fire hose was pretty impressive, and funny, while I enjoyed his fight with the big bodyguard in the lab, as it showed him actually getting his butt handed to him for a good portion of the fight before he was able to actually win, and the aspect of him able to get the upper hand by taking the fight into a docked boat, where the bodyguard’s size wouldn’t be a factor. A fun movie that is a great follow up and worth watching for that mindless action fix.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, crime, movie, movie review

October 9th, 2017 Movie – Snatch

snatch

When it comes to today’s movie, the one thing that really stands out in my mind was Madonna’s way to advertise for it. Back when this movie had come out, Madonna had recently married the director, Guy Ritchie. I don’t know remember when it happened exactly (and I am honestly too lazy to try and look it up) but at some point Madonna was photographed wearing a t-shirt that just said “Snatch” on it. Now, with this being Madonna, a lot of people, myself included, thought this meant something dirtier than what it really was but that was not the case. She was simply helping to promote her husband’s latest movie, which happened to be titled Snatch.

The plot: 4 men, led by Franky Four Fingers, rob a diamond exchange in Antwerp, stealing an 86 karat diamond from the vault. Franky heads to London to fence the diamond and before he leaves, one of his men tells him to look up an ex KGB agent named Boris the Blade in order to get a weapon. Meanwhile, Turkish, an amateur boxing promoter, is trying to organize a fight for his boxer, Gorgeous George, and is forced to work with Brick Top, a known gangster, who agrees to the fight so long as George throws the fight. Franky lands in London and calls Cousin Avi, an American gangster that he works for, who tells Franky to go see Doug the Head to get a price on the diamond and warns him to stay out of the casinos. At the same time, one of Franky’s men calls Boris and tells him that he is sending Franky to him to get a gun and he should steal the diamond, but not to do it himself so it doesn’t get traced back to him and Boris says he knows some people that he can use. When Franky goes to see Boris, Boris gives him a gun in exchange for placing a bet at a particular bookie’s place. Meanwhile, Turkish sends his partner Tommy and George to go get a new Caravan trailer from a group of Pikeys (gypsies). When the Pikeys trick Tommy into buying a worthless Caravan, George gets upset and ends up getting into a fight with the Pikey’s leader, Mickey O’Neil, who is a bare knuckles boxing champion and knocks out George with one punch. Boris goes to see Sol, a local pawnshop owner/fence and hires him to rob Franky and Sol has his friends Vinny and Tyrone help him. Meanwhile, Turkish is upset about George being hurt and decides to hire Mickey to take his place in the fight. When he tells Brick Top about the change, Brick Top is upset and tells Turkish to make sure Mickey throws the fight in the 4th round. Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone head over to stake out the site of the match and wait for Franky but Tyrone accidentally backs their car into the van that Franky is changing in, knocking him unconscious. Avi learns from Doug that Franky is going to an illegal boxing match so he flies to London and heads to the fight with Doug to stop Franky and get his diamond. Sol and Vinny go try to rob the bookie only to find that all the bets were called off and they end up trapped when the clerk activates the security room features but Tyrone simply opens the door from the outside and they all leave. As they go to leave, Tyrone pulls away from the van but when he sees Franky emerge from it, he knocks him out and throws him in the car. Inside the arena, Turkish explains to Mickey that he needs to throw the fight but Mickey ends up knocking out the fighter as soon as the fight starts. Later that night, Boris goes to see Sol and the others to get the case but they tell him they want half of the diamond’s worth, refusing the money he offered them. Boris ends up shooting Franky and when he learns they put the diamond back in the briefcase, he chops of Franky’s hand and walks away with the briefcase. Brick Top confronts Turkish about the money he lost and tells him he wants to use Mickey in another fight but this time, Mickey has to throw the fight. Turkish and Tommy go to see Mickey and try to convince him to take the fight and Mickey agrees to fight in exchange for a new Caravan for his mother, which Turkish and Tommy are forced to buy after they lose a bet with Mickey. Meanwhile, Brick Top asks his men if they recognize the men that tried to rob his bookie office and when they recognize Tyrone, they capture him and force him to tell him about the others. Brick Top and his men head to Sol’s shop and plan on killing them but Sol says he can get him a giant diamond so Brick Top says they have 48 hours to deliver it. At Doug’s suggestion, Avi hires Bullet-Tooth Tony to help him find Franky and they manage to track the diamond to Boris. Meanwhile, Turkish tells Bricktop Mickey’s demands and how he can’t meet them since Brick Top took all of Turkish’s money and Brick Top proceeds to smash up Turkish and Tommy’s arcade and burns Mickey’s mother’s trailer with her inside. When they hear what happened, Turkish and Tommy head over to the campsite to pay their respects and Mickey says he will do the fight. Avi, Tony, and Avi’s bodyguard Rosebud confront Boris and capture him, though Rosebud is injured in the process, and as they leave Boris’ house, they are followed by Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone. At the same time, Turkish and Tommy are returning from the campsite when Tommy throws Turkish’s drink out the window, which splashes onto Tony’s car and causes them to wreck, killing Rosebud. Boris manages to get out of the trunk but he is struck by Sol, Vinny and Tyrone, who end up wrecking. Avi and Tony head to a nearby bar to get cleaned up and Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone follow them and confront Tony but he notices they are using replica guns and he chases them off when he pulls out his Desert Eagle. As Sol and the others leave, they run into Avi and try to grab the case from him when Boris, who had survived being hit by their car, shows up with an assault rifle and demands the case. Tony hears the commotion and begins firing his gun through the wall, hitting Boris and Tyrone but Sol and Vinny escape with the case. Sol and Vinny plan on selling the diamond but Avi and Tony track them down and force them to give it back but Vinny’s dog swallows the diamond and as Avi starts shooting wildly at the dog, the dog jumps out a window and Avi accidentally kills Tony so Avi decides to call the job a loss and flies back to New York. Meanwhile, Mickey enters the fight and knocks out Brick Top’s fighter so Brick Top orders his men to kill the rest of the Pikeys but finds out that the Pikeys killed all of his men. As he goes to kill Mickey, Turkish, and Tommy himself, Brick Top ends up being killed and Mickey leaves with the rest of the Pikeys. When they go to the camp site the next day, Turkish and Tommy find it deserted. The police show up and question why they are there and Turkish spots Vinny’s dog, which had been bought from the Pikeys and had returned to the camp site, and says they were walking the dog, then the two leave with the dog, passing Sol and Vinny who are being arrested for having Franky’s body in their trunk. Tommy convinces Turkish to let him keep the dog and they take it to the vet, where they find the diamond in it’s stomach, so they take the diamond to Doug, who calls Avi, who flies back out to London to retrieve the diamond.

Snatch met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though perhaps a case of style over substance, Guy Ritchie’s second crime caper is full of snappy dialogue, dark comedy, and interesting characters.” Brad Pitt’s role and character were written specifically for him, as Pitt had called Guy Ritchie and wanted to be a part of his movie but after Ritchie agreed, he realized he didn’t have a part for him so he rewrote the script to include Mickey. The indecipherable speech of Mickey was brought about by Pitt’s having a hard time mastering a London accent, but also as a counter to some critics’ complaints about the accents in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The movie was a box office hit, earning $83.6 million off of a $10 million budget.

This is such a funny movie and definitely one that should be watched, even if you don’t like British movies. The acting was really good all around, with Jason Statham (Turkish) and Brad Pitt (Mickey) were great in their roles, while Vinnie Jones (Tony), Dennis Farina (Avi), Rade Serbedzija (Boris), Benicio Del Toro (Franky), Alan Ford (Brick Top), and Lennie James (Sol) were also good in the smaller roles they had. The story was very well written, having two fairly intricate plot lines going on at the same time, and occasionally mixing together, without really losing any focus on either one. It’s honestly hard for me to decide on which aspect of the comedy I liked better, the verbal comedy or the physical. The dialogue made for some really funny moments, especially when people were trying to figure out what Mickey was saying. As for the physical aspect, I think Lock, Stock had more physical comedy but there was plenty of physical comedy, such as when the bookie’s office was being robbed or when Tony shoots at Sol, Vinny, Tyrone, and Boris through the wall, then keeps warning Boris to stay down and shooting him before heading over and physically killing him. A lot of fun and well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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