Barely recovered from a full-on secret mission to Kosovo, the French Special Forces team (including Hounsou, Menochet, Figlarz and Marius) heads to the mountains of Pakistan, where journalist Elsa (Kruger) and her local assistant (Nebbou) have been kidnapped by wild-eyed fanatic Zaief (Degan). The team is joined on the ground by Tic-Tac (Magimel), and while the rescue goes to plan, Zaief's well-armed militia is relentless (Personnaz's sniper calls them "playful"). And getting out is trickier than these six tough guys expected.
Continue reading: Special Forces Review
Jan Kounen, the Dutch cause celebre responsible for the hyperactive cult film Dobermann, tackles the epic story of Blueberry with a careful, almost blissed out style - much to the dismay of fans of his earlier work. Blueberry is a meditative work, a somnambulist's ramble through western history and psychedelica. The film is slowly paced but crescendos in a special effects blowout, a literal celluloid peyote trip, which would make Alejandro Jodorowsky jump with joy. (That isn't a random aside, Blueberry is as close an homage to Jodorowsky's El Topo as a big budget western can get.)
Continue reading: Blueberry Review
Visually and atmospherically, the video game-like vampire-action sequel "Blade II" is slick, dark and cool, yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. The flick's fancy-schmancy martial arts fight scenes even incorporate low-brow wrestling moves like the pile-driver.
But strip away its elusive sense of humor and its expensively hip Hong Kong-spawn sheen, and what's left is a sloppy plot, lifeless characters (no pun intended), and elementary execution masquerading as something more.
Based on one of those now-ubiquitous comic books set in a dusky, dingy alternative reality, the movie is about a vampire hunter who is half vampire himself -- he has all the usual bloodsucker powers but he can go out in the sun. Wesley Snipes, sporting a flamboyant flattop coif, wrap-around shades and a black leather duster, reprises his title role from the 1998 original, which was pretty much nothing but blood-splattered nightwalker-daywalker showdowns set to a rave music beat. Knowledge of that movie isn't a prerequisite for this one, which is a marked improvement while still being saddled with all the same problems.
Continue reading: Blade II Review
If you want more for your $8 than just a video game brought to life bya cast of third-tier actors without a modicum of depth, excitement or reason,"Wing Commander" probably isn't for you. But I will give it creditfor two things:
1) Through 100 minutes devoid of a single spark of creativityor character appeal, somehow I was never bored.
Continue reading: Wing Commander Review
It would be a terrible shame if talented actors like Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo and Alfre Woodard have reached a point where money trumps professional pride. But I can't imagine any other reason they'd sign on to a half-witted, obscenely formulaic, huge-budget save-the-Earth sci-fi embarrassment like "The Core."
Almost exactly the same movie as "Armageddon" -- and almost as insufferable -- it features a handful of good-looking scientists and NASA astronauts who, instead of going into space to set off a nuke and save the world from a asteroid, travel to the center of the Earth to set off a nuke, thus restarting the dying molten core and saving the world from electromagnetic disaster.
The exact same shopworn characters die in the exact same order, some accidentally, some heroically to save the mission. The simplest laws of physics and even plain-as-day physical facts are utterly ignored (the nuke-the-core plan is based on two-dimensional thinking even though the Earth is -- duh! -- a sphere).
Continue reading: The Core Review
For a relentlessly unoriginal, pandering and predictable, two-and-a-half hour Revolutionary War epic that white-washes slavery, chooses exaggerated slow-motion action over any interest in historical accuracy and is helmed by a director who has demonstrated little talent for anything but overblown textbook filmmaking, "The Patriot" isn't a bad movie.
It's a mimeographed knock-off of "Braveheart" in buckskin vests and powdered wigs, but that doesn't seem to bother Mel Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing that film and stars in this one as another tread-upon colonial who takes up arms against England for his nation's freedom.
A hero of the French and Indian War who has since pledged to raise his children as a pacifist plantation farmer in South Carolina, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is an amalgam of real revolutionary war figures, fantasized by screenwriter Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan") as a politically correct hero who is a wonderful widower father, who communes with the natives (he's versed in the deadly use of a Tomahawk hatchet), who employs his plantation workers instead of enslaving them, and who takes up arms again only after a stuffy, sadistic redcoat Colonel named Tavington (Jason Issacs) kills one of his sons in cold blood when he finds Martin's home filled with rebel soldiers receiving first aid after a battle.
Continue reading: The Patriot Review
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