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Officer Down (2013)

Officer Down (2013)

The first thing I wonder after watching this story, before the credits roll, when the fates of the different characters are explained, is... is it based upon a real story? Cause if it is, then obviously it's all the more interesting. It's not really interesting as it is. It's a mess. It's like Memento but without the mystery, just a lot of skipping between scenes, between past and present, between the new and the old and the good and the evil.

But it's good. It has emotion, it has drama, it has action. It's a good movie, it's just not a memorable one. It's the story of a yet another troubled police officer. He has a wife and a kid. He has a not so glorious past. He's trying to sober up. His boss is an asshole. It's a grittily clean criminal thriller. A good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Missing In Action (1984)

Missing In Action (1984)

I watched the sequel before this one, and I'm glad I did, because as it turns out this was one was really a lot better! Small details, like the Kevlar raft, the human skulls (supposedly) added to the undercarriage of the helicopter, viewing the landscape from a mounted minigun angle, the climb from balcony to balcony, the RPGs, etc, they all add to the action.

At the start, Norris is always in the line of fire and doesn't get hit all. It turns out it's just a flashback though, from when he was prisoner at a hidden camp in Vietnam, before he escaped. His name is Braddock, and the movie starts with him looking out the window of his apartment in the US, thinking back to his time in Vietnam, suddenly kicking over his TV set (where they're speaking about him) and... well, just watch the movie and you'll see.

The movie is about MIAs, former soldiers missing in action. Braddock was one who went missing, and was thought dead, but actually lived through seven years of torture and imprisonment before escaping, and now the Vietnamese accuse him of war crimes against their people. Of course there are two sides to the story, and of course this is the American side of it, but there's a lot of action, there's a rescue mission, death, life, love (just a little), stealth, open fire, freedom and... well just watch the movie. Everything may not be high budget, but it's good action. And did I mention Chuck Norris is in it? Yeah.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

When I heard that the RZA was going to make a martial arts movie, I knew I had to watch it. When I read that Tarantino would be directing it, I knew that I really had to watch it. When I watched the movie, I knew I'd watched it.

So... it turned out to be pretty good! The RZA plays a black blacksmith (Hey!) in some Asian country. You might think that's strange, but wait until they start speaking English instead of Mandarin (or whichever Asian language it is they do speak). Sometimes they mix in a little foreign languages (like French and that Asian language) to keep it real, but most of the actors are actually American. Apart from American Asians there are a bunch of Asians who speak English fluently, and a minority who don't. The minority who don't are probably the ones who really are amazing at martial arts. Actually, most of the major actors in this movie don't know martial arts at all, it just looks like they do because the movie is filmed so damn well.

The action is a bit like Kill Bill. It's Tarantino after all! You'll see the same kinds of transitions, a lot of blood and just.. generally good filmography. Tarantino always manages that, somehow. This is all mixed up with RZAs narrative, soundtrack, and a story about a shipment of gold and a lot of different clans going to war and betraying each other. There's really not as much action as I expected the movie to have, so I guess I had my hopes set a little too high for this one, but there definitely is a lot of action. It's good action. It's gritty and brutal and bloody and RZA can't act for shit, but it has a grindhouse feel combined with traditional martial arts and a little exaggerated Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon flying-all-over-the-place kind of fighting. If you like these kind of movies, if you like Tarantino's movies, if you like action and you like martial arts and Asian culture, you're going to love this. Check it out!

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas (2011)

Ice Age - A Mammoth Christmas (2011)

As far as I know, this is the first special episode in this series of movies. It's not really a movie either, it's more like an episode. It's like a spin-off to the third movie, featuring the same characters you've grown to love, as well as Peaches (Manny & Ellie's daughter) all grown up.

It's a fun episode, in which the whole concept of Christmas is really juggled around with. They invent the Christmas tree (and Manny is like "A tree? What's so special about a tree? That'll never get popular!"). They go visit Santa. Sid, as usual, wrecks things by destroying Manny's Christmas Rock... which is the reason he 'invents' the tree anyway, and departs on a journey to fix things. Peach goes on a journey too, and they all end up having one big adventure together! Like I said, it's a fun episode, and it's all in Christmas spirit... so if you're looking for things to watch this Christmas (or any Christmas) this is warmly recommended. A great movie for anyone, single people or whole families. Great watch!

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Missing In Action 2 (1985)

Missing In Action 2 (1985)

Tired of those patriotic American war movies yet? Well I guess I wasn't, because I went back and saw this. It's the typical set up. You've probably seen the same thing earlier in Deerhunter, Bullet in the Head, etc. A chopper crashes, a bunch of Americans are imprisoned (though the nationalities do vary in those other movies), tortured, treated badly, shot up, etc. Then they escape, return and blow the place to bits. In this movie it's mostly Chuck Norris that does all of those things. Though he doesn't play a lead role at the start of the movie, he gains it later on when he really takes control, and through his silence, patience and wit we learn that he's nobody you want to mess with.

Are the explosions made partially of fireworks? Does each punch stay raised in the air for a few seconds and force the punch-taker to either bend over and wince in pain or roll on the floor, wincing in pain? Do you always know what's going to happen when you hear the enemies growl or see that hate burning in Chuck Norris eyes? Does the recorded video sometimes darken unnecessarily due to bad lightning and equipment when filming? The answer to all of those things is yes, but still they don't necessarily mean bad things for the movie. It's not the modern-day Hollywood film; it has an ounce of grindhouse in it, it's like the first Sniper movie before they blew it to hell. It has shooting, brawling, drama, tension, people catching a bullet through their brains in close range, people getting shot up with opium and dying when they thought they were just being cured of their malaria, people being burned alive, etcetc. When I say people it's not really people, it's just one person in each scenario, but it is a pretty brutal movie at times.

The torture may not look brutal, the cages may seem easy to escape from, but there's still something there that makes you tense up or frown or think 'this shit is serious' or... hell, I don't know. It's a tough movie, you get a karate fight right at the end, and I can understand why Chuck Norris has such a rep for being a badass. Need to watch more of the movies he's been in, so far it's been way to few! This one gets a...

 rated 3/5: not bad

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 was shit. When I say that, I'm really only comparing it to the previous movie, the original. Compared to that, this one has nothing new to offer, at all, just the same old same old. Oh sure, there's evil reincarnated and all that, and there are a lot of Iron Men battling each other and stuff, but it just doesn't have the same element of surprise or development as the first one did. Kinda like the sequels to Ice Age. No wait, bad comparison, the Ice Age sequels were better than this. I should mention that it's all filmed very nicely though, and features a set of great actors, and a decent plot. It's not a bad movie, it's just not a good sequel. If you just want action, and some Iron Man, you'll get it.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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