Black Sheep (1996) – Review

2 Stars

Black Sheep is remembered by most film buffs as the infamous film that esteemed film critic Gene Siskel walked out on. During their television program, Siskel & Ebert, Mr. Siskel stated that the film was clearly unwatchable and so lazy in its writing,direction, and acting that he couldn’t tolerate another minute. While I agree with the argument, I’ve seen much worse, lets not forget that Bio-Dome was released just a few months prior, and Chris Farley’s hard work to please produces, at least, a few chuckles.
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Rumble in the Bronx (1996) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

The first shot in Rumble in the Bronx is of an airplane traveling West into the setting sun. The plane flies past the Statue of Liberty before landing at the world-famous La Guardia International hub. This is no doubt supposed to be a visual message that Eastern star Jackie Chan is coming to America in an effort to break into the ranks of box-office heavyweights. Producer Raymond Chow and his Golden Harvest production company have been behind an astonishing number of Chan’s films dating back to the early 1980’s, they also are responsible for casting Bruce Lee in his first pictures. Their intent here is to “introduce” Jackie Chan to American audiences.
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Executive Decision (1996) – Review

3 Stars

Executive Decision is most likely remembered as the movie that killed Steven Seagal. The action-icon is iced in the film’s first act and audience never seemed to recover from the marketing bait & switch that promised a Delta Force like vehicle for Seagal, but was actually a taunt thriller starring Kurt Russell, Oliver Platt, John Leguizamo, and B.D. Wong. Names that don’t immediately spring to mind when pitching Die Hard on a plane.
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Ride Along 2 (2016) – Review

1 Star

Ride Along 2 is a coarser, more hectic, more cheaply written sequel to the smash hit from a few years back. This is a dull, and redundant exercise in marching through mismatched buddy-movie troupes. The biggest loser in all of this is star Kevin Hart, who still hasn’t found the right comedy vehicle for his talents. Ice Cube’s legacy as a hip-hop pioneer hopefully won’t be tarnished by the string of sub-par movies he’s appeared in over the last 20+ years. Here, the comedy is tepid, the action is dopey and even the violence is boring.
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Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996) – Review

1 Star

In the annals of unnecessary sequels Lawnmower Man 2 ranks amongst the worst. Rightfully taking its place along side undistinguished company like Blair Witch Project 2, Species II, and Pet Cemetery 2, just to name a few. The only returning member from 1992’s Lawnmower Man is Austin O’ Brien, no longer a silly looking adolescent, but a goofy looking teenager. This is one of the most preposterous movies I’ve ever seen, and I have sat through all the Highlander movies, and Super Mario Bros.
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Big Game (2014) – Review

3 Stars

If Steven Spielberg ever produced a Renny Harlin film the result would, presumably, resemble the 2014 finnish film Big Game. Had this movie come out when I was a 12-year-old boy it would have possibly been my favorite film of all-time, as an adult I can still indulge my inner child with genre throwbacks like this. There will never be any debate about Big Game being passed over during awards season, but this nimble adventure film is a joyous exercise in formula that has been injected with humor, deft action sequences, a touch of E.T., and moments of poignancy.
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Cannonball Run II (1984) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

The wheels have finally fallen off of the car-themed pictures of one-time box office king Burt Reynolds. The Cannonball Run II is the fifth collaboration between Reynolds and director Hal Needham, while this sequel is a better product that the original Cannonball Run, the absence of any artistic intent, or comedic by-play ranks this as one of the worst in Reynolds’ vast trove of cinematic turkeys.
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The Last Witch Hunter (2015) – Review

3 Stars

The Last Witch Hunter is the type of movie I refer to as ‘gloriously goofy.’ This the kind of over-plotted, backstory-heavy, horror/fantasy/sci-fi mash-up that I typically disdain, but this time all the B-movie elements aline and make for a solid guilty pleasure. It seems that every-time star Vin Diesel steps away from his Furious franchise, it’s to appear in a shabby fantasy film. He obviously has an appreciation for the genre, but his contributions like Babylon A.D. and Riddick (2013) have been forgettable trash, The Last Witch Hunter provides Diesel with an appealing character in a film that is slickly directed, and written with more wit and imagination than was probably necessary, especially for the foreign markets that will no-doubt eat this stuff up, with a cast of familiar actors in supporting roles that don’t call for heavy dramatic lifting.
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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

From Dusk Til Dawn is a tale of two movies, each battling for screen time. Like Grindhouse, this vampire story could have played out in a double feature. Instead the narrative is split into halves, the first is a hostage picture with strong dialogue, the second a horror movie with little talking and lots of visual mayhem. The former section works better than the latter half. The screenplay from scribe Quentin Tarantino is literate and overly violent, not surprising given the writer’s other works. The film’s main problem is in not providing a main character that is sympathetic or likable, the Gecko brothers are raging psychopaths.
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The Perfect Storm (2000) – Review

3 Stars

The Perfect Storm is a perfectly fine example of Hollywood craftsmanship. This is a solid tale told with narrative clarity, visual sharpness, and good casting in every role. Wolfgang Peterson, known for his submarine deep-sea thriller Das Boat, rolls his story out slowly over the first forty minutes, before sustained nautical action ratchets up the tension.
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Fight to the Finish (2016) – Review

2 Stars

Good son, Sean McGill (Shane Warren Jones) is a highly touted amateur fighter in MMA. Having recently won a local tournament and donated the winnings to his financially struggling parents, Sean is eyeing a professional career in the sport. His father was a former champion (although cage fighting didn’t exist before 1993) that won a hellacious battle in 1985. That sequence opens the film and immediately the budgetary limitations and lack of quality fight choreography are evident. If those things are bothersome for fans of the genre then it’s better to move on, neither improve as the film plays out. However, more forgiving audience members who give this b-movie a shot will be rewarded with the likable screen presence of Shane Warren Jones and an easy flowing story that doesn’t stumble on the way to its fight climax.
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Jarhead 3: The Siege (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Of all the franchise to have sprung from seemingly one-off movies the Jarhead series has to be the most unlikely. Universal has plumaged the depths of their catalogues to produce sequels to Scorpion King, Death Race, and Dragonheart. Now, comes Jarhead 3: The Siege, an extremely entertaining stand-alone film that uses the moniker strictly for monetary value. I was a bit surprised just how humorous and deft this small B-movie proved to be. A major improvement over the last sequel, Jarhead 3 sets it’s self up as very worthy of another follow-up.
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Aeon Flux (2005) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Aeon Flux is one of the most absurd movies to come down the pike in a long time. This beautifully designed sci-fi thriller, is a head-scratching adaptation of the nearly incomprehensible animated shorts that ran on MTV. Ranking with Battlefield Earth and Doom as contenders for worst science fiction movie of the aughts, Aeon Flux strips lead actress Charlize Theron of charisma and saddles her with awkward dialogue.
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Elektra (2005) – Review

2 Stars

Before Marvel reinvented itself with Ironman in 2008, the high-water mark was X2, Elektra has long been thought of as the low-point for the company. I would argue that Ghost Rider or Blade:Trinity holds this unremarkable title, but there is no mistaking that this spin-off of the so-so Daredevil big-screen adventure is a silly romp with little on the agenda outside of the most basic plot elements.
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