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Give 'Em Hell Malone (2009)

Give Em Hell Malone (2009)

I found out about this movie because Chris Yen was in it. You know, that girl that was in Adventures of Johnny Tao. It's one of the few movies she's been in (and one of the best I've ever seen).

I really wasn't expecting anything special, but from the first second of the movie I was hooked. The action choreography was brutal. Granted, the entire movie had maybe as much additional action time as the intro sequence itself, but it was a sublime hybrid of noire and regular action a la Max Payne (but the real kind of Payne - not the game-turned-movie bullshit), with beautiful women, and blood, and a flare for theatrics and myth. It's fire. It sparked something. It inspired. It introduced the violence in an almost poetic way, with class, like Sin City or the games we play.

Granted, some of the villains may have been a bit too long-winded in their speeches, but I love everything else about it. All except the ending... though it's suitable, in a way. There's bits of comedy mixed in with the drama, and once you've mixed everything together: you've got a pretty good blend! Styleful violence, and a messy plot that goes from one crook to the next and sometimes seems to confuse just to confuse, just like the witty moments, or the villainous character impressions, or the intrigue, or Evelyn does just that. Thomas Jane, Elsa Pataky, French Stewart, Ving Rhames and Gregory Harrison make up the main cast, and they're all great. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017)

It's time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare.

Now this was... a pretty scary movie! The 'cursed' part doesn't really fit in, but 'creepy' would be perfect. Or psychotic. Or twisted. Or crazy. But maybe that's going a few steps too far ahead...

The really nice thing about this movie is how it builds up. It all starts so normal. You figure things out slowly, as the main character does, and the atmosphere keeps building till the end when: it spooks you out! Really. Crazy. But maybe I've just been watching a lot of crappy scary movies lately, so don't get too hyped up. But it was good.

Blumhouse Productions is a new favorite in my book of horror movie production companies, and I feel like I've seen that name before...

The black and white thing's a brave move too, even though the movie is all but black and white. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Kill’em All (2017)

Kill’em All (2017)

It's a new Van Damme movie! Though unfortunately: not his best.

For starters there's too much slow-motion blur. You know the kind of slow-motion with low frame rate, filmed as to make it seem like something happened too fast to capture? That and a distracting third-person-narrative starring Suzanne (Autumn Reeser) in questioning.

They drag out a short moment, a killing spree at a hospital, and make it seem like it took an entire day. The fights get better and better, but they keep jumping back to the interrogation room, and though I was positively surprised to see Peter Stormare as one of the interrogators (has he ever been in a JCVD movie before?) I wasn't as positive about his and Suzanne's exchange of witty remarks, and flashbacks into what should've been the big story.

There are flashbacks further back, too. Inconsistent and irrelevant glimpses of times of war, and training, and a tragic past that never seems all that tragic because you're never there long enough to live into it. The bumpy movement between past, and closer past, and present, are just too big a distraction. It'd be, like, reading, a sentence, like, this, you know? What I'm? Saying?

There's also plenty of cliche, and not the best actors. JCVD looks tired too, as if it's an excuse to be weaker. Good acting if he wasn't, but slow fighting. At least with the earlier fights. Maybe he's just tired of the movie.

There's one redeeming twist at the end, and unfortunately it's a twist that relies largely on earlier flashbacks. It's a shame, because this movie might have been a lot better in first-person. One redeeming twist and awesome outro music, courtesy of Martin Melota. Not a bad movie, but could've been better.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Hunted (1995)

The Hunted (1995)

Christopher Lambert is a name you don't see all that much nowadays, but in his heyday he was all over the place! And he looks a bit like Chris Cornell too, come to think of it...

This movie's like a homage to all things Japanese. Old and new. The art of the sword, love, and bullet trains. Honor. Loyalty. Courage. It's the one American take on the whole phenomena of Asian culture in this era that I've seen that doesn't manage to mess it up, but actually brings in the American element to the Asian scene with humility. There's really no other way to do it properly.

That humble element in this case is Paul (Christopher Lambert), who on a business trip in Japan runs into Kirina (Joan Chen), who is killed, and he just so happens to see the face of her killer: a face belonging to the leader of a secret cult of Ninja: the Makoto.

He soon gets dragged into a century old blood feud between the Makoto and Takeda clans, and learns a bit about the sword on the way.

It might sound generic, but it introduces each element in the best way, and with actors such as John Lone and Yoshio Harada on the Japanese side there's no lack of great talent, neither in English nor in sword. They don't force the English though. Yoshio Harada gets plenty of speak-time in his native tongue, which makes for an unusually proper introduction.

It's bloody, it's stubborn and it's beautiful. It's a successful Japanese/American hybrid of the nineties, a real rarity, a bit like The Last Samurai... but not really. This was better. Japanese scenery. History. Violence. Love. Loyalty. Honor. Arrogance. It has every element it needs to properly bring a Westerner into the Eastern world, and I'm surprised I hadn't even heard of it before. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Blown Away (1994)

Blown Away (1994)

Could this have been the movie that inspired Speed? When the car chase came up at the end that thought came along with it, and apart from the explosive theme there are definitely some similarities.

In some ways it's almost better. They make the bombs look real, and with such characters as Jeff Bridges, Forest Whitaker and Tommy Lee Jones in the main cast you know it's going to be a big bang. Greatness in the making.

The story's this: An Irish bomber escapes from prison and targets a member of the Boston bomb squad. It's as simple a premise for an action movie you can get, but it's done well! With fiery explosions, tricks, traps, tension and turmoil amidst the intrigue. The characters carry the story, and you never get a chance to really relax, even if the pace isn't always noticeably hectic. It's a story that keeps you involved, and on edge, just waiting for the next thing. Plenty of emotion too. Thriller action.

I've never really understood why Tommy Lee Jones is such a renowned actor when he always seems the same to me no matter which movie he plays - he doesn't have the most convincing Irish accent either, but on the other hand I do like that particular personality of his, and most of the best actors seem to in some ways always be themselves... right? Well maybe not all, but he's one of those that do. One of the ones that live off their charisma and enthusiasm rather than their anonymity and versatility for different roles.

Conclusively? A solid action movie, without considerable depth, but otherwise all ingredients you'll need to have a real ball. A blast. It's the bomb. High-octane action. Fire in the whole movie.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Larceny (2017)

Larceny (2017)

Ain't that a fancy word for thievery?

It could've been a better movie though. Acceptance. Dignity. It had the right ingredients, and a good enough script, and Dolph Lundgren, but the fighting choreography was terrible, and the acting, and dialog... well it could've been better. They hyped up the assassins so much too, and then kill the vibe entirely, but in the end it was just... half bad.

It's a story about stealing a bunch of money from a Mexican drug lord, with a few surprises, but also quite a few disappointments. Sometimes the filming's great but sometimes not. The gunfire looked good, the dodging looked bad. Some characters seemed strong, others weren't all in it. It started alright, it ended better, and though it had it's moments it's all in all a definite B-movie.

The plot's cliche, but the script's OK, it's the acting and action that disappoints. Though they have all the potential to really build the atmosphere they never really manage.

It's not Lundgren at his best, but worth a watch if you're a fan.

 rated 2/5: decent
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