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Too Young to Die?

Not a feel good movie
Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis both turn in good performances in `Too Young To Die'. Together, the two really make the audience believe the roles are real; unfortunately, the roles are real as the movie is based on a true story. The movie has not one upbeat moment in it, then again, it's not suppose to, as the subject matter-the true story-can be described as nothing other than a depressing tragedy. Can our society condone the killing of children in the name of justice, even for crimes like the one described in this story? Or, should children be held to a different, lesser, standard than an adult? `Too Young To Die' does not answer this question, but it makes one think about it. So, if you want a good, thought provoking movie, this is the one, but if you're looking for a laugh, get a different film, because this one will bring you only tears.

Death Train

When I found `Detonator' at the video store and saw that it had Patrick Stewart and Pierce Brosnan in the staring roles, I got my hopes up. I thought, with Captain Pacard and James Bond in the movie, it should be pretty good. Then I saw that Alexandra Paul and Christopher Lee were also in the movie and thought with a cast like that, how could the film help but be good. Well, I found out.

The premise of the movie is not bad; a fanatical Russian military man (Christopher Lee) builds a nuclear bomb and tries to detonate it, on a train bound for Iran, to trigger a military resurrection of the former Soviet Union. Of course, an elite team of United Nations commandos (Patrick Stewart, Pierce Brosnan and Alexandra Paul) tries to stop the train before ultimate fireworks show takes place. Maybe not the most original storyline for an action/adventure movie, but it had some potential.

Unfortunately, not even this cast could make up for the horrible script `Detonator' offers. This is not the first script David Jackson has written, but it sure seems like it. In fact, the dialog is so dry and uninspired, that the chemistry one would expect between actors of this caliber is absolutely non-existent; which makes this movie boring, and a real disappointment.


How to quickly ID a really cheap movie.
There are two sure ways to identify a movie filmed on a low, low budget.

One is when blaring mistakes are made in the continuity and detail of the movie and not caught by the film maker. For instance, when a character is introduced as a sergeant in one scene, and then in the very next scene, he's a lieutenant. Or, when a boat is rented for a scene and the flashing red lights of the burglar alarm are left on outside the entrance to the cabin while filming the sequence. This in and of itself isn't that bad, but, when the scene starts off with a burglar breaking into the boat right next to said flashing red lights, one can't help but notice and wonder how that got missed. That's right, you guessed it, these are but a couple examples of the myriad of mistakes made in `Rangers'.

The amount of footage stolen from other movies is the other way to quickly ID a cheap movie. Of course, I've seen movies where a few seconds of a scene from a different film is used without it being noticed to much. But `Rangers' goes way to far in this respect. Twenty five minutes of footage is used in `Rangers' from the Chuck Norris flick `Invasion U.S.A'. In fact, during one stolen scene, one can see the main bad guy from `Invasion U.S.A', Richard Lynch, leading his band of terrorists on the assault of a government building; a scene which is suppose to be from `Rangers'. It's almost like the writer of `Rangers' ran out of ideas in the middle of making the movie and decided to stick any old chunk of film in there to fill the hole. A little advice to any aspiring film makers out there, don't steal footage from a really bad movie and add it to your own really bad movie. This only makes for a really, really bad movie. And that's my opinion of `Rangers', a really, really bad movie.


Huge body count in this one
`Dust' is a movie filled with blood, guts, death, doom and despair. In fact, one would be hard pressed to think of a movie with a more depressing story line than this one. The body count is very high, and you can believe it when I say no one dies pretty in this movie. So, you don't want to watch it during dinner.

The basic plot is that of two cowboy brothers during the late 1900s; one of a good heart, and one with not such a good heart. However, there are a multitude of sub stories which finally come together in the end. It's just getting to the ultimate tie in at the end of the movie, without getting somewhat confused, that's hard. The story is told from the point of view of an old woman, living in the present day, in flashback form, as she describes events that took place at the turn of the last century. Every few minutes, the story line shifts from character to character and time to time. These constant jumps make the movie a bit hard to keep up with, and is the main flaw in the film.

Even though the movie is confusing, it does all come together in the end. And at the end, one feels a certain satisfaction when that little `aw, now I get it' light comes on; and that little light makes `Dust' almost worth watching.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Some good, some bad
This movie has some very good aspects. And at the same time, there are some real bad points to it as well.

The cast of the movie works well together. Some of the computer generated images are decent. There is certainly plenty of action and adventure. Even the storyline has a number of unexpected twists and turns which make the movie fun to watch in that respect.

One of the unfortunate aspects of the movie is the acting. With some notable exceptions, the cast turns in a bit of a dry performance. As a whole, the cast makes the movie watch able as far as acting goes, but the individual performances leave something to be desired.

The main flaw in the movie is the number of larger than life, main characters. Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, TheVampire Woman, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde, Dorian Gray, and even an American secret agent, all with their own stories to tell. Because some time needs to be devoted to each character's story, the main plot of the movies suffers. There just isn't enough time to develop the plot; therefore, in the end, the movie turns out to be yet another `good triumphs over evil' kind of thing. Though one must admit, the visuals are very good, and the path the movie takes to get to the final outcome has some original thoughts to it.

Let's just put it this way, if there's a LXG II, I'll wait until it comes out on video to see it. And even then, I'll wait for it to drop out of the new release section before I rent it.


Looked like a soap opera to me
`FLiCK' reminds me a lot of a soap opera. Slow, predictable and for the most part boring. The film is the story for two small time drug dealers in Dublin who are attempting to make the big score. Of course, as they do so, they run a foul of the police, and a local gang of `big' time drug dealers. Along with that, the usual relationship problems, drug addiction and violence one expects from a movie like this unfold in all the usual ways. This film lacks even the most rudimentary elements of intrigue or originality. The plot also has several holes in it. Character appears with little explanation as to who are or what relevance they have to the story line. Then, as suddenly as they appear; they're gone.

The movie does have one high point. David Murray plays the lead role as `Jack Flinter', and does a good job. He was able to bring a sense of believability to the role with his tough but sensitive style. It would be interesting to see what he might do with a well written script and a good role in a big mainstream movie. I hope such a role comes his way in the near future, as I'll bet he'll give a great performance.

Eight Legged Freaks

Spiders ingest radioactive waste, grow to enormous proportions, then attack a small town…sounds kind of stupid huh….there's a good reason for that….it is. But, the movie is funny. Funny enough to make it worth watching if all you want is a few good laughs. For the most part, the cast works well together. No one cast member makes a stand out performance, but one wouldn't expect that; they don't have much to work with. The special effects aren't bad, and the storyline even has a couple of sub plots to it (though limited they may be). There are two heroes, a bit of a romance, a genius kid, teenagers with growing pains and even a neo-bad guy (other than the spiders). Not bad for a movie with a title like `Eight Legged Freaks'. So, watch it, take it for what it is, and have a good time.

29 Palms

Who thought this was a good idea?
`29 Palms' is such a bad, wait, it's so bad one can't even call it a movie, so, let me start again...'29 Palms' is such a bad abomination , disguised as a movie, that there are no words negative enough to describe it. Let's put it this way, I'm embarrassed to say I even watched it all the way through. It's so bad that my DVD player never worked right again after running it.

Lawless Heart

A bit slow, but worth it
`Lawless Heart' is certainly a British made film. And, like a lot of British films, the pace is a bit slow. In fact, the pace is very slow, so, for those of us who like an action packed, on the edge of the seat, movie, this is somewhat difficult to get through.

But, the movie is worth the effort. Unlike those adventure movies which take us to imaginary, impossible places, `Lawless Heart' is a film about real people in real situations told in an eloquent way.

The story is that of the inter-personal relationships between a small group of friends and family, in a community, brought together for the funeral of one of their own. As the tales of the three main characters, Dan, the in midlife crisis family man, Tim, the long lost young rebel and Nick, the gay man trying to cope with the loss of his partner, unfold, it's possible for anyone watching to relate to one's own life at least one aspect of the multi-faceted storyline. This along with some respectable performances by the cast makes the film worth a look.

So, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, when you have nothing else to do, this might be a film to watch.

Out for a Kill

There should be a law against a movie this bad
One can usually find some redeeming aspect even in the worst of movies. Not so in the case of Steven Seagal's latest offering, `Out for a Kill'. This movie is bad from start to finish. Horribly acting, terrible dialog, repulsive plot and even worse set design, one couldn't make a film as bad as this on a bet. Even Seagal's fight scenes are poorly choreographed. Of course, one might expect this, as Mr. Seagal is getting older and his fighting skills are eroding; very very quickly.

This movie reminds me of one of those 60's/70's Chinese martial arts movies; the ones where the actor's lips move, and then ten seconds later, you hear his voice. That's how bad it is.

If one's life depended upon finding some positive note to this film, it would be Michelle Goh who plays Tommie Ling, an undercover DEA agent who seems to follow Seagal's character around the world trying to collect enough evidence to put an end to the `evil cartel'. Ms. Goh is a very attractive woman, and that's the only high point in the movie.

Steven Seagal's movies seem to be getting worse and worse as time goes by. But this movie is an all time low even for him. In fact, there should be a law passed against making movies as bad as this. Steven, perhaps it's time to do us all a favor and think about retirement.

If you see this movie in your local video store, don't even think about it, just keep on walking.


Starts off a bit slow, but picks up.
`Timeline' starts off with a `present day' scene between Chris Johnston (Paul Walker) and his archaeologist father Professor Johnston (Billy Connolly). Much to the dismay of the Professor, young Chris tells his father that he has no interest in studying the past and will not be following in his footsteps. The next scene involves Chris attempting to `put the moves' on a student of the Professor's, Kate Ericson (Frances O'Connor). Kate spurns Chris's advances citing `you're the boss's son' as the reason. The acting in both scenes was somewhat dry, and seemed a bit rushed. Not to mention the lack of originality. In fact, most for the `present day' portions of the movie seemed that way, making one wonder if attending it might have been a mistake.

However, the film picks up quite a bit of momentum when Professor Johnston travels back in time, to the 1300's, and becomes trapped there. Several of the professor's student' including Kate and Chris, then attempt a rescue mission. And the adventure begins. The audience is treated to some above average `King Arthur `type scenery and characters. One of the stand outs in the movie is Sir Oliver de Vannes (Michael Sheen), the suave and confident English lord preparing his army to defend against a French invasion. There is even a fairly well done romantic element in the movie when one of the professor's rescuers André Marek (Gerard Butler) falls in love with Lady Clair (Anna Friel) a member of the French royalty sent to spy on the English.

The highlight of the movie is the climatic battle between the English and the French armies. The cinematography in this scene, and in deed with all of the `back in time' portions of the movie, is very good, and makes the movie worth watching. Even the acting improves during these sequences.

Even though there are a couple of holes in the plot, and the chemistry between the actors isn't quite where it should be, the movie as a whole is not bad. I enjoyed it.

Second Nature

The plot makes this movie
Don't expect any great acting performances, from any of the actors or actresses, in `Second Nature'; because there aren't any. Alec Baldwin, who has the starring role, usually gives a far better performance that he offers in this movie. Therefore, one might assume the script itself is simply not a good performance vehicle. Powers Boothe's lackluster performance might also be explained by this.

However, the movie is worth watching for one reason; the plot. For the first half of the movie, one might think the plot is simply full of holes that never get filled. But, this is not the case. As the movie progresses, you might find yourself saying ` oh ya, I should have seen that coming'. So, don't give up on this film in the first half. Just keep watching; you'll see what I mean.


Better than I thought it would be
Ignition is not the best movie I've ever seen. On the other hand, it's not the worst movie I've ever seen either. The film's plot is at least plausible; particularly in today's atmosphere of terrorism and the military's ever growing power to `contain' it. One can imagine a rouge military officer or two taking matters into their own hands so as to `do their duty'.

As for the acting in the film, again, not the best, but not the worst. Bill Pullman plays `Conner Gallagher' the rough around the edges body guard, and Lena Olin plays `Faith Mattis' the federal judge Gallagher is assigned to protect. Both Pullman and Olin turn in descent performances. As for the rest of the cast, well, the acting goes steadily down hill form there. As with any B-movie like Ignition, checking your sense of reality at the door helps one enjoy the movie. However with some B-flicks, no amount of imagination can make the movie watchable. Ignition is certainly at least one cut above that kind of movie. And, in fact, it might even be a bit better than that.

Over all, if you don't have anything better to do, watch it. You might like it.

City of Ghosts

Misses the boat just a bit
If you're looking for an action movie….no, this isn't it. If you're looking for good acting… not quite the movie to see. However, if you're looking for mind-bending intrigue….well, maybe this isn't it either.

Matt Dillon's first attempt at directing a movie isn't going to win him any awards; even with James Caan in a starring role. The characters in the film are somewhat stiff with their performances, and the plot is quite predictable. The slow pace of the film is by design to enhance the suspense leading up to the `thrilling' finale. Unfortunately, the pace is so slow that it makes the film difficult to get through, and as for the thrilling finale, well, not quite.

But, the film is not all bad. The acting is passable on a few occasions, and the atmosphere created by the on-location filming, using local actors, gives one a very realistic feel for the culture and people who live in Cambodia. In fact, if you've ever been to that country, the atmosphere of this movie will conjure up memories even of the aromas on the streets there; aromas which are quite distinct.

So, if you're one who wants a taste of Cambodia without having to travel there, this movie is for you. If you're not, you may want to pass on this one.


Mel, what were you thinking???
The very first scene in the movie is that of the incredibly cheesy `white warrior' descending from above into the life of a bad guy to transform him into a hero; like we haven't seen that a thousand times before. If that were not enough to make one grab the remote control and change the channel, the unbelievably bad wig on Billy Zane's head certainly would be (fortunately for those of us who misplaced our remotes, Billy losses the wig in the very next scene).

This movie is one bad imitation after another. `X-men', `Mortal Kombat', `Matrix', and even the WWF, it's all here; just really bad attempts at each. The movie reminds me of a Friday night at the local karaoke bar.

There is one slightly redeeming aspect to the movie which is Billy Zane's role as the hero `Os'..yes, that's really his name. Os is a somewhat humorous, easy going martial arts/ philosophy teacher who not only trains the other four heroes in the movie, but also does his part to save the world during the final apocalyptic battle of the movie (which by the way takes place at a local sports arena or something like that). As one might guess, by the end of the movie (which came none to soon let me tell you) good does triumph over evil, and the world is made safe for mortal men. But the movies as a whole triumphs over absolutely nothing, therefore, if you get a chance to see it, don't. Go out and wash your car instead; you'll have more fun.

Mel, what in the world were you thinking????

Crash and Byrnes

No oscar here
The best action-adventure b-movies are full of chessy clichés. And indeed Crash and Byrnes is certainly no exception; right down to the part where a flight of F-15s suddenly turns into a flight of F16s.

However, the chemistry between the two leads, Wolf Larson and Greg Ellis ( Crash and Byrnes respectively )make the movie somewhat fun to watch. The " Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid" brand of sarcasm used by the two makes for a laugh every now and again.

Of course, as would be expected with a movie of this kind, there will be no oscars awarded in any category. But if you can handle a lot of chesse, you might come away with at least a little smile on your face after watching it.

Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol

This Patrol is lost alright
There are several holes in the plot, or lack there of, of this movie. For instance, though hard to determine, the major objective of the Patrol is to stop a missile with a nuclear warhead from being lanched. As the final moments before the lanch tick away, and the team struggles to "deactivate" the warhead, one can't quite help but notice that the missile is housed in a cave without an opening in the top for the missile to fly through. One also has trouble missing the 100 or so very slow and very deaf men guarding this cave as they are constantly being suprised and hit over the head by the 5 members of the patrol. I know one can't expect a lot of realism from a movie like this, but this is going a bit to far.

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