Freddy vs. Jason (2003) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

If Freddy vs. Jason had been directed by anyone other than Ronny Yu, and stared any other the incomparable Robert England it would be half the picture it is. While this is not a necessary or intense meeting of iconic slashers from decade’s past, it is at least a semi-smart melding of two franchises and settles the age-old schoolyard arguments of who’d win a fight between the two maniacal powerhouses.
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Recoil (2011) – Review

3 Stars

It’s Death Wish meets A Fistful of Dollars (or Kurasawa’s Yojimbo, more accurately) in this vigilante tale set in the perpetually rainy town of Hope, WA. A small community over run by a biker gang involved with criminal activity. Ryan Varrett (Steve Austin) is on the run from federal agents, laying low in a small motel located on the outskirts of town. A special Federal task force is on Austin’s tail, as the cops are closing in violence erupts causing a war to break out and the townspeople of Hope are caught in the crossfire.
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High Voltage (1997) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

Its bad guys against badder guys in the high-spirited action orgy, High Voltage. Johnny Clay (Antonio Sabato, Jr.) and his band of thieves rob a bank owned by the Vietnamese mafia, thus inadvertently setting in motion a plot in which the robbers are on the run from gangsters. Isaac Florentine is the ace behind the camera, while this is still among his early work the man’s talent shines through in every scene. Working from (what appears to be) a minuscule budget, Florentine and his collaborators have crated a supremely satisfying low-brow feast of kicks, gunplay, and explosions. All highlighted by John Woo-esque camera pans and whips. High Voltage is entertaining enough for the late night crowd and good enough to attract the attention of those not usually accustomed to this fare.
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In the Name of the King II: Two Worlds (2011) – Review

3 Stars

Anyone who claims Uwe Boll is the worst director of all time hasn’t seen enough movies. I would argue that Roland Emmerich is just as critically derived, but alas that debate leads to madness. In the Name of the King II: Two Worlds is actually a much better film than the original. It’s true the first had a larger budget with a big name cast, but that picture moved in ebbs and flows and for the majority of it’s 156 minute running time it was just plain dull. This sequel is an outlandish tale that is far more streamlined and very amusing. Personally I loved the tongue in cheek touches in the witty script by longtime special effects guru turned scribe Michael Nachoff. If you’re wondering if this is a true sequel or a cash grab to pull in fans of the original, I’d say it’s both. There is no real reason this couldn’t have been titled just Two Worlds, however there is a minor revelation that Dolph’s character Granger is the son of Jason Statham’s character from the first film. Turns out old Dolph was born in the ancient days but hidden in an orphanage in present day America. Judging by that last sentence you’ll know if King 2 is your kind of movie.
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The Art of War II: Betrayal (2008) – Review

3 Stars

The Art of War II is directed by Josef Rusnak. A filmmaker that has had a curious career. His big screen films never took, yet he’s much too talented a craftsman to be stuck in the low rent world of straight to DVD action films. He’s like a David o’ Russell with a compelling inclination toward action thrillers. The Art of War II is the follow up to the minor hit from eight years ago. I have no idea why it took them almost a decade to package a sequel to an obviously franchise ready character. War 2 follows retired special agent Shaw, currently working as a technical advisor on an acton film. The star of the movie within a movie is a blockheaded ego maniac with a desire to run for senate (sound familiar Californian’s?). Soon after the actor makes his intentions to campaign public, embarrassing photos begin showing up in an effort to blackmail the star. He hires Shaw and his team to find out who’s behind the attempt to derail his political aspirations. This leads to a double-cross in which it appears that Shaw is responsible for murdering two senators. Forced to clear his name he springs into action and uncovers a web of conspiracy involving illegal arms sales.
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