action, adventure, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: June 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Legacy

the bourne legacy

So when Matt Damon decided to step away from the Bourne franchise, the studio decided to create a new character and a new actor to fill the void. Enter Jeremy Renner, fresh off the massive blockbuster The Avengers, and the studio was hoping to cash in on his new found fame to bring in the audience.  Yes, I know that The Bourne Legacy was filmed before The Avengers hit the screen; doesn’t mean that my previous statement isn’t what the studio was thinking. Anyways, I didn’t get around to seeing this movie in theaters and only picked it up so as to complete the series. The question is, how good of an impulse buy did I make with this movie.

The plot: At a Department of Defense Special Operations Group training site in Alaska, Aaron Cross emerges from a frozen lake with a dead drop container that was left as part of his training mission. Meanwhile, CIA Director Ezra Kramer goes to visit Retired Navy Admiral Mark Turso, telling him about the situation with Simon Ross and his looking into Jason Bourne, Treadstone, and Blackbriar. When Turso chastises Kramer for his handling of Bourne and the Black Ops programs, Kramer says that maybe he should let Colonel Eric Byer know what is going on but Turso tells him that he is in enough trouble and to let him contact Byer. Later that night/early morning, Turso meets up with Byer as he goes for an early morning jog in the rain. Back in Alaska, Cross spends the night fending off a pack of wolves and when day breaks, he begins making his way across the mountains. In Washington DC, Byer heads to the National Research Assay Group, which he oversees and Turso runs, and gets his team to go over everything possible related to Treadstone, Blackbriar, and their own operation; Outcome. Meanwhile, at Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company that does support for Outcome, Dr. Marta Shearing approaches an Outcome operative, called # 6, and tells him they need a full panel work on him since he had been out in the field for so long. Meanwhile, Byer’s team discovers a video of Dr. Albert Hirsch of Treadstone socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcomes Director of Medical Research, and as Byer shows the video to Turso and Terrence Ward, he tells them that their best course of action to ensure that they don’t get linked to the mess that Treadstone is finding themselves in with Bourne, is to go ahead and burn everything surrounding the Outcome program and start up the beta programs. Back in Alaska, Cross opens a pill kit he carries and noticing he only has one blue and one green pill left, he hides them in his boot as he heads to cabin, firing his gun several times to alert anyone there of his approach. He is met by Operative # 3, who is surprised to learn that Cross had gone over the mountain, shaving his time by 2 days, and invites him into the cabin. #3 tells him to go ahead and get his blood work started but Cross tells him that he lost his chems and needs replacements and #3 is reluctant to help him. While all this is going on, Ross is assassinated by Paz, and when Bourne shows up in New York City, CIA Agent Tom Cronin, Pamela Landy’s assistant, calls Byer to let him know. Byer goes through with hsi plan to begin eliminating the Outcome agents, sending their handler’s yellow pills to give the agents, who tell the agents that they are new chems, but when the agents take them, they are shown to be poisoned. In Alaska, Cross and #3 are at the cabin and Cross hears a drone approaching but, believing that something is wrong, he decides to leave the cabin just as the drone fires a missile and blows the cabin up, killing #3. Cross then makes a run for it as the drone’s pilots notice that Cross’s signal is still active and circle the drone around for another pass. Cross uses a pot to mask the signal coming from the tracing beacon implanted in his thigh, then uses his rifle to shoot down the drone as they try locate him. Cross heads back to the wreckage of the cabin and tries to find #3’s stash of chems but finds that they have all been obliterated. Meanwhile, Byer learns that Cross is still alive and he heads to the drone control room to ensure that the kill Cross with their next drone. In Alaska, Cross removes the tracker from his thigh, then lures in one of the wolves that had been following him, snaring it in a trap, then feeds the tracker to the wolf before chasing it off. As the second drone reaches the area, it fires a missile at the wolf, thinking it is Cross, and as they confirm the target is dead, Byer thinks back to one of his first meeting with Cross when he recruited him to Outcome. Later, Byer and Turso are talking with Ward about Pamela Landy’s upcoming Senate hearing and they tell him that they are not concerned about Landy’s testimony as they will make it seem like she is a traitor. In Sterisyn-Morlanta, Dr. Donald Foite makes his way into the research lab for the chems, locking and disabling the doors as he enters the lab, then he begins to kill everyone inside the lab, with Dr. Shearing being the last one alive. As security makes it in there and fires on him, he appears unfazed by the bullets and turns the gun on himself. As Cross makes his way to DC, Shearing is questioned by the police about the shooting incident before heading to her home. The next day, she is interviewed by some federal agents, who want to make sure she is cleared and has not broken her confidentiality agreement. When she says she hasn’t told anyone what she was working on, the two agents questioning her grab her and attempt to force her to shoot herself. Suddenly, Cross shows up and kills them, then asks Shearing if she has any chems there but she tells him know. When a 5th member of the assassin group radios in for a sit-rep, Cross pretends to be one of the team and says that Shearing is dead, then proceeds to pour kerosene inside the house and set it on fire before leaving with Shearing. As they are driving, Cross asks her where he can get some meds and they begin arguing over their situation. When Cross reveals that he is taking green and blue pills, Shearing is shocked that he is still taking greens as he had been virally modified so that the effects of the green pills were permanently in his system, meaning he did not have to take them any more. When he asks if the same could be done for the blue pills, she says yes but they would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it, as that is where the facility is. Meanwhile, Byer, Turso, and Ward are trying to figure out what happened at Shearing’s house as they come up with a cover story to use for Shearing’s death/disappearance. Later that night, Cross and Shearing are talking and Shearing asks why it is so important for him to get more of the blue pills. Cross shows her a file online that is his death certificate, saying he was “killed in a roadside bomb” in order to take part of Outcome and he needs the blue pills, which raise the user’s intelligence, in order to keep them both alive and because his recruitment officer lied about his IQ and wrote it down as high enough to meet the army’s minimal requirement and he doesn’t want to revert back to how he was. Cross makes some fake passports for both of them, and as they wait to board the plane for the Phillipines, Cross sees a news report that Dr. Hirsch had died from a heart attack before his scheduled testimony at the Senate hearing while Shearing sees the news report that Byer’s team cooked up about her printed in the paper. Cross and Shearing manage to make it to Manila and head to Sterisyn-Morlanta’s plant there so that Shearing can give Cross the viral package to permanently alter his brain. Meanwhile, Byre’s team has managed to track Shearing and as they try to figure out who is helping her, they discover it is Cross. Byre clears out all the unnecessary people from the room, leaving himself, Truso, Ward, and two other and they realize that Shearing had gone there to inject Cross with the viral stems so he no longer needs the chems. They contact building security there but Cross is able to take them out, then he and Shearing escape. Realizing they have a limited window to deal with them, Byre orders LARX-03 to be activated, shocking Turso as he didn’t know that the proposed “super soldier” program was up and running. Cross and Shearing are walking the streets of Manila when Cross begins to suffer flu-like symptoms from the viral stems, and starts having flashbacks to when he first joined Outcome. Shearing rents a room to tend to him and he tells her that he has money and spare passports in his jacket, wanting her to run if things get bad. Shearing goes to get Cross some medicine while the police and LARX-03 both head for their last known location. As Shearing is paying for the medicine, she notices the police surrounding the building and she screams out a warning to Cross, telling him to run before running herself with the police in pursuit. Cross manages to escape onto the roof and make his way across the rooftops following after Shearing, eventually rescuing her from one of the cops that manages to catch her. As they continue walking and trying to evade the police, Cross spots LARX-03 following them and he quickly steals a motorcycle to try and escape. The police chase after him, as does LARX-03 in a stolen police car. Cross manages to evade the police but LARX-03, stealing a police motorcycle after his car is totaled, continues chasing after them. Cross and LARX-03 both shoot at and wound each other but they keep going until Shearing is able to cause LARX-03 to crash into a pillar. Cross loses control of his motorcycle due to his blood loss and as he and Shearing slide to a stop by the docks, Shearing begs a boatman to help them. In DC, Byer and his team are getting video of the room Cross and Shearing stayed in, where they see Cross’s pill case hanging from the mirror, with the words “No More” written on the glass. Meanwhile, Noah Vosen is testifying to the Senate Committee, where he lies and says that Blackbriar was created with the sole purpose of tracking down a rogue agent, Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t know why Landy chose to ally herself with him. As Landy is leaving the hearing, she is besieged by reporters asking for her thoughts but she refuses to respond. Meanwhile, Cross and Shearing are on the boatman’s boat, sailing towards some islands where they hope they can disappear together.

The Bourne Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “It isn’t quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell — and benefits from Jeremy Renner’s magnetic work in the starring role.” When Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) explains the origins of viral engineering, she refers to a 1985 incident at a U.S. Army base named Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is an actual U.S. Army base and, during the early Cold War, was the home of the U.S.’s biological weapons program until then President Nixon closed down the program in 1969.The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $276.1 million off of a $125 million budget.

I have to say, as far as spin-off/sequels go, this one falls a little flat. The The acting was ok but honestly, Jeremy Renner (Cross) and Edward Norton (Byre) both seemed to be pretty boring in their portrayal of their respective characters, while Rachel Weisz (Shearing) just didn’t seem to really to be too into her character. The story was really odd, with the main plot basically focusing on a DOD operation that was running somewhat parallel to Treadstone/Blackbriar, but the whole bits where they tried to fit it in with what was happening during the last movie just made it feel too forced. I think it would have been better to just have it be it’s own movie and not try to force in the tie in with the original Bourne trilogy. The action scenes were pretty good and probably the best part of the movie but they couldn’t really help the lackluster plot and uninspired acting in the movie. Soo much potential but it simply got wasted away with this movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 5th, 2014 Movie – Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm

batman mask of the phantasm

In September of 1992, a new cartoon would debut on Fox Kids that would change the face of cartoons for years to come. Yes, a new Batman cartoon would debut to entertain children, and adults alike. However, instead of some of the cheesy story lines and dialogue that was found in earlier superhero cartoons, these cartoons had a more serious tone and garnered a lot of attention for it. I loved watching Batman, and still do to be honest, and thought it was a great cartoon. So when they decided to make a movie I had no problem going to see it in theaters and was not disappointed. Now, let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm.

The plot: In Gotham, crime boss Chuckie Sol is showing some of his men the newest batch of counterfeit bills that he wants laundered through his casino when Batman crashes through the window and begins fighting with his men. Sol escapes and heads to his car in the adjacent parking garage but when he gets there, he is confronted by the Phantasm, a cloaked figure wearing a mask and a bladed gauntlet on his arm. Sol attempts to shoot the Phantasm but he slices Sol’s gun in half, then moves to kill Sol but is distracted by a car leaving the garage. Sol is able to get into his car and attempts to run the Phantasm down but the Phantasm disappears in a cloud of smoke and Sol ends up crashing through the barricade and landing in the building across the street. Batman arrives at the scene and looks at the wrecked car, where the crowd notices him and believes he is responsible. As Batman leaves, he grabs a piece of windshield with some residue on it when he notices the Phantasm nearby and he goes to pursue him but the Phantasm disappears out the rooftop exit. The next day, City Councilman Arthur Reeves is holding a press conference where he lambastes Batman as a killer vigilante, despite Commissioner Gordon’s protests of Batman being innocent. Later, Arthur is on the phone with an old female friend, who is flying into town after being away for 10 years, and he asks her if she plans on seeing anyone special but she says it’s ancient history, as she is looking at a magazine with Bruce Wayne on the cover. That night, Bruce is hosting a party at his home and as some girls tease him about when he is getting married, one of his exes walks up and throws her glass of wine in his face. As Bruce walks away to clean up, Arthur offers him a handkerchief and then teases Bruce about his love life, mentioning his ex, Andrea Beaumont and asking how he let her get away. Bruce thanks him for the handkerchief and walks off, heading into his study, where he starts remembering Andrea. In flashback, we see Bruce at his parent’s graves when he hears Andrea Beaumont talking to her mother, who is buried close by. The two talk for a bit and as she leaves, Andrea asks him why the man who has everything looks so sad, claiming her mother was curious. A few nights later, Bruce, using a ski mask to hide his identity, stops some men from robbing a warehouse, receiving some injuries in the process. The next day, Bruce is talking to Alfred about how things worked perfectly but the crooks weren’t scared of him but Alfred says they should discuss that later, as Andrea is seen to be approaching. Andrea approaches Bruce, who is practicing jiu-jitsu, and when Andrea uses the self defense moves she had learned to knock him down, Bruce laughs before sweeping her legs out from under her and then kissing her. Back in the present, crime boss Buzz Bronski heads to the cemetery to pay his respects to Sol when he is confronted by the Phantasm. Bronski attempts to defend himself, yelling out for his men to help him, then runs away, falling into an open grave as he runs and the Phantasm knocks the angel grave marker on top of him, killing him. Bronski’s men arrive and see the body and the Phantasm in the distance and mistake him for Batman, blaming him for Bronski’s death. The next day, aging crime boss Salvatore Valestra reads the story about Bronski’s death and has a panic attack, fearing he might be next. At police headquarters, Arthur is arguing with Gordon over his refusal to go after Batman for the crime boss murders and Gordon tells him that Batman doesn’t kill and he will have no part in the witch hunt. Batman, who was listening outside the window, heads to the cemetery to investigate Bronski’s death when he sees Andrea by her mother’s grave. Andrea notices him and as they stare in shock at each other, Batman quickly leaves and Andrea goes to follow but Batman is gone and as she notices the grave she is standing by, she realizes that Batman is Bruce. Later that night, Andrea is having dinner with Arthur, unaware that Batman is watching them from across the street. As he watches them, Batman starts reminiscing his time with Andrea. After they go on a date to the Gotham World Fair, Andrea convinces Bruce to go meet her father and as she sets it up, Bruce questions what he is doing, saying this isn’t part of the plan but Alfred feels like this might be better for him. They head over to meet Andrea’s father Carl, who introduces Bruce to Arthur, who is one of his lawyers. Bruce, Andrea, and Carl are talking for a bit before they are interrupted by Valestra, who is there to speak business with Carl. As they leave, Bruce and Andrea see some thugs trying to steal money from a street vendor and Bruce goes to stop them but he gets distracted when he notices Andrea’s concern for him and one of the thugs is able to strike him with a bat before they grab the money and run. That night, Bruce is arguing with himself over what he should do, as he feels torn between the promise he made his parents and the possible happiness he could have with Andrea. Heading to the cemetery, he talks to his parent’s grave and asks for a sign, only to have Andrea come up behind him and suggest that maybe they had sent her to him and the two embrace. Back in the present, Arthur is walking down the street when Valestra’s car pulls up and Valestra tells him to get in. As they are driving, Valestra asks if it is true about Batman killing the others and when Arthur confirms it, Valestra wonders why before having another coughing fit, and Arthur asks to be let out. Meanwhile, Batman finds a connection between Sol and Bronski, noting that Valestra was the third partner in their dummy corporations, and he makes plans to go see Valestra. Alfred asks if he will see Andrea afterwards but Batman doesn’t answer him. Batman breaks into Carl Beaumont’s old office and as he stares at some of the pictures on the wall, he has another flashback. He recalls the day that he proposed to Andrea as they are walking along the grounds of Wayne Manor and she says yes but as they embrace, they are startled by a swarm of bats the fly out of an opening in the ground. As Bruce takes Andrea home, she sees that her father is apparently having a business meeting though thinks it is odd to have one this late. She tells Bruce that maybe they should wait until the morning to tell her father about the engagement and kisses him goodbye. The next day, Bruce explores the cave but when he comes back out, he finds Alfred holding the ring box with a note from Andrea, telling him she can’t marry him and she is leaving with her father and doesn’t know when she will return. Andrea’s departure is the catalyst that Bruce needs to focus full time on avenging his parent’s murder and leads him to becoming Batman. Back in the present, Valestra goes to see Joker, believing he is the only one that can stop Batman from killing him, saying his hands are even dirtier than theirs are, and Joker says he will do it. Meanwhile, Andrea returns to her hotel room and, noticing the balcony door is open, makes a show out of kissing Arthur goodbye. After closing the door and turning on the light, she sees Batman, who questions her about a photograph of Carl with the three crime bosses. The two argue over Carl before Batman leaves and Andrea ends up breaking down into tears when  he is gone. Later that night, the Phantasm heads to Valestra’s house to kill him only to find that Valestra has been killed by the Joker and left there as a trap. The house explodes but the Phantasm is able to get away only to be confronted by Batman. The two briefly fight on the roofs when the police show up and the Phantasm escapes while the police chase after Batman. He is able to escape to a construction site but one of the cops starts shooting at him and hits some fuel tanks, causing an explosion. Batman is injured in the blast and attaches his cape to a sawhorse and sends it flying towards the helicopter in order to distract the cops so he can escape. The cops give chase but Bruce is able to evade them when Andrea pulls up and helps him escape. Andrea takes Bruce back to Wayne Manor, where Alfred tends to his injuries. When he is done, Andrea tells Bruce about what happened the night they got engaged, and how Valestra, Sol, and Bronski were demanding money that he had embezzled and he convinces them that he will get them their money in the morning but after they leave, Carl tells Andrea they have to leave and forces her to come with him as he says they will kill her to get to him. She tells Bruce that they made their way through Europe and eventually settled off the Mediterranean coast, where Carl was able to use the money he embezzled to make a fortune and pay the men back but they wanted interest. Andrea apologizes and Bruce embraces her and kisses her. The next morning, Bruce hugs Andrea and tells her that he is going to have to confront her father but Andrea says he doesn’t matter, choosing Bruce over her father this time. After she leaves, Bruce takes another look at the picture when he notices Valestra’s body guard and realizes that the body guard is the Joker. Meanwhile, Joker pays a visit to Arthur, telling him that Batman wasn’t the one killing their old associates. Just then, Andrea calls Arthur telling him she can’t meet for lunch but will talk to him at dinner that night and Joker smiles before attacking Arthur, dosing him with Joker venom. Arthur is taken to the hospital and Batman confronts him there to find out what the Joker wanted with him. Arthur tells him that he helped Carl and Andrea escape the city but when he first ran for city councilman, he approached Arthur for some money and was refused so he sold him out to Valestra in order to get the money. Elsewhere, outside the abandoned World Fair, Andrea stares at the park and thinks back to when she had returned home one day to find Valestra’s body guard exiting her house and she rushes in to find her father dead. The Phantasm confronts the Joker, who knows that it is Andrea so she takes off her mask. The two begin fighting and Andrea appears to get the upper hand but Joker is able to escape. When Andrea chases after him, she gets caught in a trap when Joker activates the wind tunnel by Batman is able to rescue him. Batman confronts Andrea over her actions and she says she knows it isn’t right but they took everything from both of them and they deserved to pay. Batman tells her to leave, then goes after the Joker himself, but Joker activates some explosives he had set up all over the fair and then attempts to escape on a jet pack. Batman manages to grab onto him as he tries to fly out of there and they end up crashing to the ground, where Andrea appears before them. Batman tells her to leave before the place explodes but Andrea says that this ends tonight. As the place starts to explode, Andrea says “Goodbye, my love”, then disappears with Joker inside the explosions while Batman is blown clear. Later, in the Batcave, Alfred tries to comfort Bruce, saying there was nothing that he could have done to save Andrea, as her need for vengeance consumed her. As Alfred walks away, Bruce notices something glint in the light and he heads over to find Andrea had left her locket, with the picture of the two of them, in the Batcave for him to remember her by. Elsewhere, a cruise ship is sailing out of Gotham and Andrea is seen on the deck, crying over what she has lost while Batman returns to patrolling Gotham and keeping it’s citizens safe.

Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm met with mostly praise form the critics, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Stylish and admirably respectful of the source material, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm succeeds where many of the live-action Batman adaptations have failed.” The majority of this movie’s plot is based off of the comic story line “Batman: Year Two”; with the Phantasm (who is never referred to by name) being patterned after the Reaper, who was the main villain in the comic. The movie unfortunately did not fare well at the box office, only earning $5.6 million off of a $6 million budget but did get a cult following and had more success when it hit home video. As a result, every subsequent release of a Batman, or any D.C. animated movie, was released direct to video (not counting the limited theatrical release of Batman: The Killing Joke).

This movie is still so much fun to watch, even 25 years after it came out. The voice acting was great, getting the same characters from the TV cartoon to reprise their roles and they all delivered great performances. The story was great, and I didn’t even know until years later that it was based off of an actual comic, which makes me want to go out and get a copy of the trade that they released of it. From what I gather, it is relatively close to the original story, though the toned down Batman’s going further down the dark side of vengeance and pushing the limit on his no killing policy that was in the comic. I did like the character of the Phantasm but the big twist that Andrea was the killer was honestly pretty easy to figure out early on into the movie so I feel like they could have done a better job of leading up to that reveal and making it more of a surprise. The animation was incredible and was a step up from the TV show in some aspect, but still kept the same feel from the show. A great movie and one well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

January 9th, 2018 Movie – Man With The Screaming Brain

man with the screaming brain

Time to say goodbye to the horror genre and get back to the good old fun campy B-movies that I love. Today’s movie is the second of two original movies made for Sci-Fi Channel (yes, back before they changed their name to Syfy for marketing purposes) that starred Bruce Campbell. I remember seeing the commercials for this movie before it’s debut and thinking it looked incredibly silly, but a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it when it debuted because of other things happening at the time but I would catch it when it was replayed and enjoyed it immensely. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Man With The Screaming Brain.

The plot: In Bulgaria, a gypsy named Tatoya is trying to find a husband but when the men she selects rejects her, she proceeds to kill them. Meanwhile, William Cole, a wealthy CEO, has arrived in Bulgaria with his wife Jackie for business but is unhappy at how “unAmerican” the country is. Tired of waiting for his ride to pick them up, he hires a Russian cab driver named Yegor to take them to their hotel. Elsewhere, Pavel is having fun with a robot creation when his boss, Dr. Ivanov, calls him over to show him he has succeeded in creating a drug that will allow two brain cells to be successfully and safely merged. With his trials looking successful, he tells Pavel that William Cole is going to be coming to their company and hopefully invest in it but as he celebrates with Pavel, he doesn’t notice the calls on his slide disintegrating. Back in the cab, William continues to complain about how things are in Bulgaria, insulting Yegor for not being more American. When they get stuck in traffic, William asks Yegor to find another way to the hotel and they end up driving through Gypsy Town. As they drive through the neighborhood, they almost hit Tatoya, who stares them all down before moving aside so they can keep driving. After an encounter with some would-be car thieves, Yegor arrives at the hotel and William offers him some more money to be his driver for the duration of his trip and asks that he take Jackie shopping after dropping him off at his meeting. After getting settled into the hotel, William leaves for his meeting and bumps into the maid, who happens to be Tatoya, and recognizes her but can’t remember from where. Learning that William is in town, Dr. Ivanov her Pavel type up a letter to send to him but after Ivanov leaves the room, Pavel decides to write a different letter instead. As William attends a meeting to complete an unfinished mass transportation system through the country, Yegor takes Jackie shopping but the two end up flirting and eventually having sex in Yegor’s cab. After his meeting, William tries to get a hold of Yegor but fails so he is given a ride back to his hotel. When he gets there, Pavel meets him outside and delivers his letter to him but William refuses to go with him. When William enters his room, he finds Tatoya in there and after talking for a few minutes, they end up kissing, but Tatoya uses the opportunity to pick William’s pockets. William pushes her away when she says they belong together just as Jackie shows up. Tatoya quickly leaves and as William and Jackie argue, William discovers he was robbed while Jackie decides to leave him. William heads down to the employee’s area of the hotel and confronts Tatoya, who runs away from him. When he follows her outside, Tatoya hits him in the head with a pipe, splitting open his head. Yegor, who had seen Jackie running from the hotel, goes to see what happened and finds Tatoya standing over William’s body. Yegor asks her what she has done and it is revealed that they were engaged and that the ring Yegor gave William was actually their wedding ring and Tatoya ends up killing Yegor as well. When the bodies are discovered, Jackie is told that they can keep his body alive with machines but the brain damage he suffered makes William essentially brain dead and so she tells them to pull the plug. Jackie then heads to Gypsy Town to confront Tatoya but as the two fight, Tatoya grabs Jackie and throws her down the stairs, killing her. Dr. Ivanov and Pavel grab the bodies of William and Yegor and use parts of Yegor’s brain to repair the damaged portions of William’s brain. After the surgery, Ivanov revives William and tries to explain what happened but William begins having flashbacks to his death, but seen through someone else’s eyes. A panicked William races out of the lab and as he wanders through the city, he starts hearing Yegor’s voice, and it is shown that Yegor is able to control the left half of his body. Deciding to try and work together to survive, Yegor instructs William into stealing a car, getting some clothes, and getting some food. As they are in a restaurant, they read a newspaper and see an article about William and Jackie’s deaths, causing William to remember who he is and who he is sharing the brain with. Suddenly, William screams out that his brain is on fire and works on trying to cool down, then comes to an agreement with Yegor to go get revenge on Tatoya for killing them both. Meanwhile, Ivanov and Pavel grab Jackie’s body and place her brain into a robot doll that Pavel had built. When they turn it on, Jackie gains control of the robot and heads off to get revenge on Tatoya and Ivanov sends Pavel off to recapture her. After mistakenly grabbing a woman who looks like the robot, Pavel sees Jackie get on a bus and tells Ivanov the bad news. Jackie eventually finds Tatoya trying on wedding dresses and attacks her but Tatoya manages to shoot Jackie and escape. As she is leaving, William sees her and chases after her, eventually jumping onto the hood of her car to try and stop her. Tatoya ends up wrecking her car to avoid running into Pavel’s van, who is knocked unconscious when he wrecks. William finds his leg pinned under the car, which is leaking fuel, and Tatoya lights it on fire in order to kill him. As the flames head towards the car, Jackie lifts the car off of William and tells him to run and he does before it explodes, seemingly killing Jackie. William follows Tatoya into a bar, where she tells the patrons that he raped her on her wedding day. The bar patrons proceed to beat up William but he manages to fight back and beat them but when he gets outside, he collapses as the serum starts to break down. Tatoya tries running but the damaged Jackie grabs her and attempts to throw her off the bridge but Tatoya stabs her in the head and then throws her off the bridge. Seeing this happen, William chases after Tatoya, who makes her way down into the sewers, and the two end up fighting. When Tatoya tries to stab William, she ends up falling over the railing and grabs on to keep from falling into the water below. William grabs her and lifts her back onto the edge but does so only to take the ring off of her finger before letting her fall to her death. As William exits the sewer, he sees Jackie’s body and goes to see her, finding her almost out of power. Pavel shows up and William begs him to help her so he tries to jump start her battery to preserve her life. Pavel is successful and Jackie has enough power to say goodbye to William before her power shuts down, with William collapsing shortly afterwards. Ivanov calls Pavel, saying he solved the problem with the serum breaking down and Pavel explains what happened. Ivanov tells Pavel to bring the bodies back to his lab and after Pavel hangs up, he sees Tatoya’s body floating down the water and quickly grabs her out to use as well. Some time later, it is shown that Ivanov’s procedure has worked, as William is returned to life, with Yegor’s voice still in his head, and that Jackie’s brain was placed in Tatoya’s body, with the two having renewed their love for each other.

This is a really funny movie to watch and a great parody to some of the classic sci-fi movies from the 50’s, Bruce Campbell (William) was great, with equal parts physical comedy and tongue in cheek dialogue making for a lot of funny moments, especially when he would be arguing with Yegor about what they should do. Stacy Keach (Ivanov) and Ted Raimi (Pavel) were both great in their roles as well, doing good jobs as the mad scientist and bumbling assistant respectively. The story was pretty good and really seemed to have fun parodying some classic movies, such as The Thing With Two Heads and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. There wasn’t a lot of special effects involved but the few times they were involved looked really good. On the flip side, I thought the pure fakeness of the robot Jackie made for a lot of laughs and really added to the charm of the movie. A great movie worth watching if you need some laughs and are just in the mood for some mindless entertainment.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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crime, movie, movie review, thriller

September 11th, 2017 Movie – Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

sin city 2

Whenever I think of this movie, the phrase “Strike while the iron is hot” always comes to mind. Now I know the literal meaning of the phrase has to do with smithing and metal working but it also has come to mean take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. In Hollywood, this means that if you have a successful movie, you should try and do a sequel fairly quickly in order to take advantage of people’s liking the first movie enough that they would want to see the sequel. In regards to today’s movie, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, several reasons kept this movie from being filmed immediately after, which probably contributed to it’s failure at the box office.

The plot: [Just Another Saturday Night] Marv crawls out from a car wreck and has no memory of how he got there. After taking his medicine, he examines himself and finds a bullet wound in his arm that he figures is an hour old and the body of a frat boy nearby but he still can’t remember anything. Trying to recall his steps, Marv realizes that since it was Saturday night, he had probably started the night at Kadie’s, watching Nancy dance. After leaving there, he was drinking in an alley when he caught four frat boys setting winos on fire. When he confronts them, one of the boys tells him to mind his own business, calling him “Bernini Boy” but Marv mishears it as Bernie, then shoots him in the shoulder. When Marv continues to move towards them, the boys run to their car and Marv jumps onto the side as they drive off but ends up being slammed into a police car. Marv smashes through the windshield and throws the cops out of the car, then proceeds to keep the frat boys from returning to the university, forcing them up the hill towards the projects, where he finally crashes his car into them. Marv sees another frat boy close to death nearby and stomps on his throat to kill him, then heads after the remaining two boys. As Marv enters The Projects, the two remaining boys are on a rooftop watching him and the one with the gun takes aim at Marv. Before he can shoot, several arrows whip by them and land at Marv’s feet. Marv signals “his old neighbors” to remind them who he is, then has them shoot the two boys. instead. Making his way to the roof, Marv has his old neighbors kill one of the boys, then asks the boy who shot him why he called him Bernie. The boy explains that Bernini is the brand of coat he has on and Marv thanks him, then yells out for a knife, which he uses to slit the boy’s throat. As Marv comments on how nice the coat is, he wonders where he got it, as well as the gloves he is wearing, but he can’t remember.
[The Long Bad Night: Part 1] A young gambler named Johnny arrives at Kadie’s and after flirting with a waitress named Marcie, has her accompany him to the slot machines. After he hits a jackpot, he asks another waitress where the “real action” is and is directed to the back of the bar, where Senator Roark runs a poker game. Hitting the jackpot on another slot machine, he takes Marcie with him as a good luck charm and heads to the back to buy into the poker game. Roark allows him to play and as they are playing, none of them are aware of Nancy watching them from a hole in the wall, her attention focused solely on Roark as she aims the gun from her act at him. Johnny ends up winning everyone’s money and after collecting his winnings, he goes to leave. One of the players, who is a cop, warns him to get out of town but Johnny says that he can’t miss tomorrow’s game then gets in his car with Marcie and heads out on the town. Inside the club, Nancy is starting her act on stage but she has become a drunk after Hartigan’s death. Hartigan’s ghost enters the bar and watches as Nancy points her gun at Roark as he is leaving, then at herself, and comments that one day she will pull the trigger and begs her not to take revenge for him but to live her life. Meanwhile, Johnny and MArcie are enjoying themselves when all of his credit cards are suddenly declined. As Johnny walks Marcie back home, he notices two men following them and he quickly beats them down before they can jump him. Seeing a limo pulling up, he tells Marcie to meet him at his hotel, then gets in the limo, where Roark is waiting for him. Roark says that Johnny embarrassed him and so in retaliation, he has his men use a pair of pliers to break the fingers in Johnny’s playing hand and then throws him from the limo. He then gets out and shoots him in the leg. Roark then tells him that he recognizes Johnny as one of his illegitimate sons but tells him that he only had one son, Roark Junior, and he would never claim Johnny. Roark leaves Johnny lying there and Johnny swears revenge on Roark.
{A Dame To Kill For] (This story takes place before the events of The Big Fat Kill) Dwight McCarthy is trying to put his violent past behind him and make a living as a private detective and taking pictures of a businessman named Joey having sex with a hooker named Sally. After they finish, Dwight goes to leave but when he sees Joey is about to kill Sally, Dwight saves her and takes her back to Old Town, then heads back to his office to develop the pictures. After taking them to his client, he returns home only to get a call from Ava, his former lover, who asks him to meet her. Dwight knows he shouldn’t, but he goes to the saloon to meet with Ava, who begs for his forgiveness. When Manute appears to take Ava home, Dwight starts to stand up to him, prompting Marv to offer his aid if needed, but Ava tells Dwight it is too late for her and she leaves with Manute. Dwight gets worried so he heads to the mansion Ava lives in and sneaks onto the grounds. He sees Ava skinny dipping in her pool and comments on how she doesn’t looked abused when the mansion’s security catch him. Ava apologizes to Dwight and heads inside while Manute proceeds to beat Dwight into unconsciousness. Dwight is thrown out of a car in front of his place and he is surprised to find his car there. When he heads inside, he finds a naked Ava waiting for him and tries to get her to leave but she refuses and ends up seducing him into bed. After they have sex, Dwight asks her to tell him what is going on and she tells him about her husband Damien and how he and Manute torture her and she knows one day they will kill her. When Manute shows up to take her back, Dwight tries punching him but he has no effect and Manute punches him out of his window, then escorts Manute back to the mansion. Dwight heads to Kadie’s and recruits Marv to help him and they head for the mansion. When they get there, they split up, with Marv taking out the guards and then battling Manute, beating him and taking out one of his eyes. Meanwhile, Dwight makes his way inside and confronts Damien, who tells Dwight that he is being lied to by Ava. When Damien pulls out a gun, Dwight punches him and accidentally kills him. Ava then reveals that she tricked Dwight into killing Damien so she could have all of his money, then shoots him several times, eventually knocking him out a window. Marv grabs Dwight’s body and makes their escape, with Dwight telling him to head to Old Town. When they get there, Gail is upset that they had cops following them into Old Town but when Dwight calls out her name, Gail rushes to his side and has Miho get some help. Back at the mansion, Ava is talking to two detectives, Mort and Bob, about what happened and starts seducing Mort, who calls her later that night and she continues to seduce him, convincing him to come to the mansion. Back in Old Town, Dwight regains consciousness and Gail tells him that the cops are looking for him but they will take care of that. When Goldie and Wendy show up and want to kick Dwight out of Old Town, threatening to have Miho kill him, Gail tells them that Dwight stays and tells Miho that she owes her life to Dwight, causing her to sheath her sword. Meanwhile, Mort is falling in love with Ava, though his partner tries to convince him she is up to no good. Dwight undergoes facial reconstruction and while he is still bandaged up, he pays a visit to Manute’s hospital room and warns him to stay out of his way. Meanwhile, Mort is heading to Old Town to get Dwight and when Bob tells him to turn the car around, Mort kills him, then comes to his senses and kills himself as well. Ava has a dinner party and speaks with mob boss Wallenquist to try and make a deal to control Old Town and Wallenquist says he has a specialist from Texas that he can bring in. Manute meets the specialist at the train station but the specialist, who is really Dwight with a new face, says he has his own ride as a disguised Gail pulls up and they follow Manute to Ava’s mansion. When they get there, Manute leads Dwight away from Gail and has him searched, then says he recognized Dwight and takes him to see Ava. Outside, Gail lets Miho out of the trunk of the car and they begin killing all of the guards. Meanwhile, Dwight pulls out a hidden revolver and shoots Manute with it but when he doesn’t kill him, starts fighting with him until Ava grabs one of Manute’s guns and proceeds to shoot him with it. Ava then approaches Dwight and tries to seduce him again but as she kisses him, Dwight shoots her, then holds her as she dies.
[The Long Bad Night: Part 2] Johnny goes to see Kroenig, an unlicensed doctor, and has him do what he can to tend to his injuries. As he heads back to his hotel, he worries about Marcie and Roark possibly going after her. Sneaking in through the window, he finds Roark waiting for him and his men show him the dismembered corpse of Marcie. Roark threatens to shoot Johnny, causing Johnny to jump back out the window, but Roark tells him he likes seeing Johnny in this condition. Trying to figure out his next move, Johnny heads to a diner and a waitress takes pity on him and give him a dollar, which he then uses back at Kadie’s to play the slot machines and win some more money. Taking his winnings, Johnny buys back into the poker game but he ends up folding his first couple of hands, prompting Roark to taunt him. When Johnny goes all in on a hand, Roark calls him and Johnny ends up winning, then tells Roark that he beat him twice, and people will always remember that, prompting Roark to shoot him and then tell his men to get rid of the body so they can keep playing.
[Nancy’s Last Dance] Nancy goes to visit Hartigan’s grave and lay some flowers on it, unaware that she is being followed. The police lieutenant that was following her reports his findings to Roark and tells him about Nancy’s actions but Roark is dismissive of it and says that she can drown in her own sorrows. Meanwhile, Nancy continues her downward spiral since Hartigan died and Hartigan’s ghost continues to watch as she blames him for leaving her alone. Nancy cuts her hair and heads to Kadie’s to do her act, making it more sexual than normal, which causes Marv to worry about her and leave. After her act, Nancy smashes the mirror, then uses a shard to start cutting up her face. The next day, Marv enters the club and when he sees Nancy’s face, asks her who did it and she tells him Roark. The two leave, taking out some bikers in order to her their weapons, and then head for Roark’s mansion. Nancy works on taking out the perimeter guards while Marv heads onto the grounds and deals with the guards inside. When Nancy enters the mansion, she finds a wounded Marv kneeling at the top of the stairs and quickly kills the last guard, then gives Marv a cigarette and tells him to rest. She heads to Roark’s office and shoots at him but only hits a mirror casting his reflection, while the real Roark shoots her. Roark then taunts her by shooting the gun out of her reach and shooting her in the leg before going to finish her off. Suddenly, Roark sees Hartigan in the mirror and turns to look for him and when he turns back around, Nancy had managed to grab her gun and shoots him in the shoulder, then approaches him and finishes him off.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For met with mixed to negative reaction from the critics, holding a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A Dame to Kill For boasts the same stylish violence and striking visual palette as the original Sin City, but lacks its predecessor’s brutal impact.” The movie was a mixture of original “Sin City” stories (“A Dame To Kill For” & “Just Another Saturday Night”) as well as two new stories (“The Long Bad Night” & “Nancy’s Last Dance”), which were written exclusively for the film. Although the character of Shellie played a part in the story “A Dame To Kill For”, Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez decided to retire her in the film version in respects to the late Brittany Murphy, who played her in the original movie, but they could not do the same for Manute’s character, as he played too big a role in the story. The movie was a box office bomb, only pulling in $39.4 million off of a  $65 million budget.

The sequel curse definitely hit this movie but this is still a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Mickey Rourke (Marv), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Johnny), Josh Brolin (Dwight), and Powers Boothe (Roark) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Dennis Haysbert, who did a good job in taking up the role of Manute following Michael Clarke Duncan’s death. The two stories that were already written were great and I did like the new story “The Long Bad Night” and while I did think it was interesting to see the effect Hartigan’s death had on Nancy, I thought the “Nancy’s Last Dance” story felt too much like a fan service fluff piece in order to appease fans who wanted to see more of Jessica Alba. The film technique and special effects were just as good as the original movie and the occasional bits of color really added to the visual aspect of the movie. Not as good as the original but definitely a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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