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Crank 2 - High Voltage (2009)

Crank 2 - High Voltage (2009)

I remember being a little disappointed with this one the last time I saw it, but now... it started out great. Was thinking maybe I'd misjudged it.

As it goes on though it's clear once again that they did. Go too far. With a little too much violence, maybe? At least with the final fire scene. But most of all there's just too much comedy. And too many pauses. Too little desperation and rage - which the last one had so much of.

The race track scene felt a little fake too, as did a lot of others.

You see some things from one angle and then some things from another. They're there. The audience is over there. There's a lot of that.

It was great to see Chester again though, and the full-on nudity towards the end was unexpected - wish more movies went full on R rating to just go free reign everything, and with the firecracker behind-the-scenes at the end you get the impression that Stratham went above and beyond with the stunts - how many of those shocks were real?!

But in the end... it's just a bit too overboard.

I wish they'd toned things down enough to allow for a sequel.

Feels like it had potential for one. They had some great personalities. Creative direction. Stratham's a beast, as always. It's just not enough.

Or it's too much. It's just not like the first one, even though it maybe also tries too much to be.

And compared to the last it feels like they leave some loose ends that almost have you expecting a sequel. First one not so much. It stood on its own there. The end was savage, and tragic, and that was that.

This one? Way off the bat. Crank that ____.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Crank (2006)

Crank (2006)

What a masterpiece this is. Of calculated madness. Of creative chaos. Of keeping a frantic pace all throughout the movie yet still managing the calm spots, and having Statham portrayed as maybe the baddest action hero ever. Amy Smart's great too. What a lady. She speaks more through expression than actual speech too. A lot of characters do here.

The main bad guy Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) is one badass villain as well, comical more so in his dialog and expression than in his actual character. Is he a bitch, or is he not a bitch?

The fear on his face as he gets dragged out the helicopter looks pretty real, but other than that he's savage. Great persona, Verona.

And Carlito (Carlos Sanz) is the right kind of boss. Feels like a real one.

And you know who plays the doctor? Dwight Yoakam! I knew the name. Didn't know the face - or that he acted. He's perfect too.

Getting a glimpse of Chester Bennington post death evokes some strange emotions now also... he's in this too. Small cameo.

Looking back at this now I feel like the pace sometimes feels off, like Chev sometimes manages to stay focused for an unreasonable amount of time considering how quickly his endorphins then fade away, and the colors are a little too strong, or saturated; a little artificial...

But the movie overall? What a trip! What attention to detail. Great transitions. Strong characters, and a fast pace right from the get-go.

It strikes me now that maybe Hardcore Henry was inspired by this one too.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Adventures Of Captain Fabian (1951)

Adventures Of Captain Fabian (1951)

New Orleans. 1860. A captain of the sea and a Creole girl meet, in a violent time where pride and vanity rule over all...

This is presented in the form of an excerpt as the movie begins.

It reminds me a bit of 12 Angry Men, for a while, though the court case is but a small part here.

Towards the end it went more like Casablanca. A love story tragedy, with a Frankenstein-like siege of the castle. It really goes downhill fast, doesn't it...

Compared to other counterparts of the time the filming seems almost crisper than usual, and for the final scene it seems they actually blow up an entire boat. A real galleon? It's a fiery finish. I doubt you'd sacrifice a hand-crafted ship like that today!

It still is overly theatrical and a little slow compared to modern day but... you can enjoy it. The drama builds. The emotions are definitely there. It's albeit a little out of time an impressive epique. Classy locales too.

Also, the end.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Hannie Caulder (1971)

Hannie Caulder (1971)

After she is raped and her husband murdered, a woman hires a bounty hunter to instruct her in the use of a gun so she can get her revenge on the three outlaws responsible.

The sound design could have used a little better mixing, but the rest of this is beautiful.

The sights, the locales, the wild, the Raquel Welch... who knew she played in a Western? You get some skin, some paint-bucket-red blood and some glares, guns and coldness. When times were real...

Makes you wish the world was a little more like this. I mean not entirely like this, but if you knew life might be short then it might be worth it too. Maybe you'd live for real every minute you did.

I suppose that's the notion that appeals to me most with these Westerns, as unwanted as that might be if it really was that way in the times we live in now. It's an ideal on screen. Simpler times. Hard though they may be, there's purpose in each dream, there's feeling when there's grief, the gleam it never leaves...

Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Starship Troopers: Traitor Of Mars (2017)

Starship Troopers: Traitor Of Mars (2017)

Solid Snake is that you?!

He looked that way in the last animated movie too though, Invasion (2012). I just watched this one first. Once you've seen one of the movies it's not as big a surprise anymore, but he still really doesn't look like the Rico you'd remember from the live action original.

The initial trooper comedy moment didn't really have me convinced in this one. The group felt like a buncha noobs - and later scenes don't convince me either. They should be better. They're troopers.

I do however like that Rico's back in center of the action, and it seems they tried to get us to feel a bit more sympathy for Carl the way they switched his role around this time around, and Carmen definitely looks more like Carmen!

It's nice Rico and Diz get their chat and all too, even if it's through Carl. I like THAT scene.

The graphics are much better here than they were in the 2012 movie too.

It's clean. The infomercials are back. It's less about isolation and desolation and action entirely separated from the all-out war and all, and sceneries feel both familiar and new, with the deserts and the bombastic bad-ass end-battle base, but I'm still not all into it.

Where the first one shone in scripting and character relation but not so much in staying true to the elements of the original franchise, this one goes the other way, and looks true but doesn't feel true.

Though that's not entirely true maybe. I think back to the Diz talks... but those are a highlight in what otherwise comes across more so an unfortunate farce.

Is it just about the polls after all? And how rapidly can those numbers really run down as soon as you make a wrong movie...

I wish politics were always that easy.

Good movie, visually a GREAT movie compared to the last, but still not quite the full package.

Sometimes it looks a bit like Half-Life 2 but more run-down.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)

Casper Van Dien is back! And with him a semblance of the quality production and realness of the original.

I'm glad.

I'm glad they went full circle regarding the brains too, but I'm not sure about 'the religion', or the inconsistent bureaucracy that has the Captain first sending Rico to the gallows and then saving him for a secret mission after he himself has found the right way.

The growth isn't as perceptible as it was with the first. The relations aren't the same - though Tanya's great (or Jolene Blalock? Who was I thinking of here? I thought she was Famke Janssen... they're all great though).

And would they really have had a small penis joke in the first one? I'm glad they brought back the nudity too but where's the class now?

Or more so where's the discipline? Even with re-occurring characters it feels like they don't believe it like they used to. Something's missing.

The nudity felt natural in the original, relevant to the futuristic army life; to the discipline and training and maybe comradery to some extent, but here it feels more so directly sexual. Included only for the visual element, not for context progression or premise.

I've been wondering why the sequels just don't seem to have the same spark as the original, and I wonder if they were either overconfident in the strength of the franchise after the first, or lacked confidence, or lacked passion and reason for actually making the sequels - just throwing them out by popular demand, or if they had all the passion they needed but just lacked the budget to re-create what they had with the first one.

Maybe they were discouraged by that, and thus didn't pour their all into it either.

There definitely aren't as many people involved here, nor as many notable names. The sequels feel like B-movies compared to a blockbuster when you compare them to the first, even when they do manage certain things right; have a similar structure on some fundamental level.

It's just not enough. It's a corroded foundation, waiting to break apart.

The special effects too aren't at all as good here either, though much better than with the last one. It feels like they're trying, but like the war's derived them of some of that initial spark and spunk at this point.

It all falls short again, though I still enjoyed it, in part. It feels good but lacks... heart? Maybe just a bit more budget and effort?

Or the balance between satire and seriousness, of rage and relation, that the first one did. It weighed it all so perfectly.

I'm a little annoyed that I can't put my finger on exactly on what it is these ones don't have that the first one did.

It's not just the cast. It's not just the mass of soldiers. It's not JUST that the first had impeccable props and angles and everything. It's the way it all went together. The continuity and breadth. The vast expanse of all the motions and emotions and trials and truths of life they somehow managed to fit into the first, yet at the same time play it as a parody of itself.

They did add in a killer musical though with this one. Props on that.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

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