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Vanguard (2020)

Vanguard (2020)

Covert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world's deadliest mercenary organization.

Though it's a bit more of a love story between an environmentalist (female) and Vanguard employee (male). Jackie Chan's there on the side throughout, along with various other Vanguard employees (don't know who the girl was but props! Favorite one) and other collaborators and/or adversaries.

But Special effect car chases? Not a fan. Not of special effect animals either. Special effect cyborg bees...? A little more acceptable.

This movie really reminded me of Kung Fu Yoga, which was fun, but unfortunately all the CGI just brings it down so much for me. I love the views, and some of the setups are spectacular - the fortress firefight in particular was awesome - I wish I could rate it higher!!!

I love that Jackie's still making stuff, but he just ain't in his heyday anymore. The budget's there. The young talent is there. I just wish the authenticity was too. The after credit scenes feel like what I wish the movie felt like, like hew knew Jackie really almost drowned when he was pinned under that jet ski?!

Wish they'd spent this budget a bit differently.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

The Marksman (2021)

The Marksman (2021)

A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who've pursued him into the U.S.

First one where Neeson dies at the end?

Reminds me a little of Clint Eastwood's last action movie. Hope this doesn't mean Neeson's hanging up his hat for good now too.

It's a simple but solid action movie. Typical Neeson - though new sceneries. More countryside. Ranches, and motels, and cartels, and one damn good showdown that starts on the road.

Going by the description I was expecting it'd all take place by the border, but it wasn't like that. There was no being holed up in the one cabin and keeping waves of cartel soldiers away - like I thought it'd be. It's a bit more realistic. Though that might have been way cooler.

The Mexican kid looked a bit like an old man btw. His way of walking a,d expressing himself. Corroded by the hardships of life. Good charisma too. Nice work Jacob Perez. But dammmmn all that money...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Stormy Monday (1988)

Stormy Monday (1988)

Tommy Lee Jones, Sting, Sean Bean, Melanie Griffith! Wasn't expecting to see a single name I recognized at the start of this, but it turned out to be a somewhat star-sudden older counterpart to Nightcrawler or... something like that.

The world was alive in the eighties. And the details here. The crash. The funnel of flame behind the policemen. The bridge at the back of the street still under construction - towering like an alien vessel above the brick and concrete. The 'do you take credit cards' intro... times were different then. It's a jazzy, noire-like intimate romance/club type of film, a few eventful nights, a few heavy players, the lovebirds a couple of involuntary participants in their game... that's it.

The girl here really looked like Kristen Stewart btw. In her prime.

And just so you know The Krakow Jazz Ensemble - main soundtrack here - are/were an actual band. A chaotic kind of jazzy. They helped build up the atmosphere too. I loved the tone. I loved the romantic focus. This movie really sucked me in unexpectedly, but ended the same way as these movies usually do. A little inconclusive.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

The Island (1980)

The Island (1980)

A journalist takes his son with him to investigate pirate activity off the coast of Florida. But he gets stranded on a mysterious island - where he might not be alone.

Wonder where that broken down ferry really is. Wonder if islands like this really exist...

The beginning gives you glimpses, but then you move to the city, and when suddenly Blair Maynard and his son Justin are in the grips of a group of pirates living on a remote island in The Bahamas you really aren't prepared for it.

Some bits remind me of The Clockwork Orange. I've been thinking modern thrillers are getting a bit overly fucked up recently, but that's really only on the graphical side. On the psychological one the eighties were waaay ahead of their time. Pitting son and father against each other as reality becomes fiction - as if it's all a dream - and it seems all they can do is abide by the new style of life they're provided...

It's a pretty different movie. Savage. And Michael Caine's great as always, though I'm not used to seeing him not old yet. Seems he's been in a bundle of classics, but I didn't recognize him earlier.

Critic's should've scored this one higher. It stands apart.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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Repo Man (1984)

Repo Man (1984)

Been a while since I watched a movie that really let me escape the real world for a bit! But this one did it.

Reminds me of Smokin' Aces - the crazy hitman movie, and They Live.

It's a sensible kind of crazy. A spontaneous slice of life ride that takes you from the normal to the abnormal, and clues you in along the way.

I wonder if the 'drink' was the first marker. And what a ride it was after that.

Never gets dull. Never goes too fast either. The final few special effects might not have aged perfectly, and the stairway Uzi scene was a little sloppy, but most of it they do manage perfectly.

I love the character. I love the story. I love how personal it gets, and yet how nobody really stands for anyone. And I blame it on society. Or media. But not like this.

If you were expecting the typical love story with Marlene. If you were expecting a buddy tale. If you were expecting the typical action here sequence. Or one with a twist to it - where the unexpected ones win. You were expecting wrong. You were expecting cliche. If it's one thing I love it's a movie that moves as far from the norm as possible all the while remaining relatable and real, but maybe it's also about the elements. The car. The desert. The dust and grime and timeless type of ride it becomes when over...

The newer Repo Men was a whole other thing. A more mainstream thing. Good too but I wish they somehow went back to the classics as well. Made something like this again. But different. It'd be refreshing to see.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

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Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (2021)

Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (2021)

You know who won World War II?

It wasn’t the generals, or the admirals.

It was the economists.

More tanks, planes, ships.

And all that spending lifted this entire nation out of poverty.

Freed the world from tyranny.

A big country needs big enemies.

The best enemy we ever had was the Soviet Union.

Our fear of them unified our people.

Gave us purpose.

The problem today, John, is half this country thinks the other half is its enemy.

Because they have no one else to fight.

...

They got that bit right. I love that bit. That this is essentially anti-US propaganda. Or at least a different kind of patriotism. That it flies no flags, that it doesn't put America before the rest of the world, but that it does still honor the fallen and the ambition to make the world a better place. Whilst still acknowledging the naivete and conflicts thereof.

But though the plot's good - makes you think sometimes, and it all feels refreshingly different from the typical action/war movie norm, it's not all perfect.

Scenes get drawn out occasionally. The talk's heavy and long. The main character (played by Michael B. Jordan) has a way of showcasing intensity and seriousness that just doesn't really cut it for me. Tries too hard, maybe? He moves his eyes around. He breaths out with intensity. He goes through rehab and then he's in prison and is ripped as ever, with not a scar to show for those earlier bullet holes. He's inconsistent. He was great in Black Panther, but this came after... hope that wasn't a one-time thing. Or that he's taken on a constant character somehow, as the vengeful villain.

Overall I could have loved this movie. It's intense when it matters too, but it gives off B-movie vibes in relations and expressions, and unfortunately comes across feeling shallow in other ways, refreshingly philosophical script or no.

Hope it didn't do too bad though in the box office. Would be interesting to see a few more classic Tom Clancy works in movie form, if they don't have a Splinter Cell or Ghost Recon out already...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

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