REVIEW: MACHETE KILLS

CAST

Danny Trejo (Bullet)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Sofia Vergara (The Smurfs)
Amber Heard (Aquaman)
Demián Bichir (Solo)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Walton Goggins (American Ultra)
Cuba Gooding Jr.(Jerry Maguire)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro)
Jessica Alba (Dark Angel)
Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless)
Alexa Vega (Spy Kids)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Electra and Elise Avellan (Death Proof)
Callie Hernandez (La La Land)
Corey Burton (Transformers)

Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo) and Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) attempt to capture weapon dealers who have been supplying the Mexican drug cartels. The military men are then all killed by the gangsters, who in turn are wiped out by another intervening party. Its leader murders Sartana while Machete is arrested by corrupt Sheriff Doakes (William Sadler) and Deputy Clebourne (Samuel Davis). Doakes unsuccessfully tries to hang Machete but the President of the US, Rathcock (Charlie Sheen), intervenes. Machete is brought to the White House, where the president offers him US citizenship if he eliminates Marcos Mendez (Demián Bichir), a psychopath who is threatening to fire a nuclear missile at Washington, D.C. if the American government does not intervene to stop the rampant drug cartels in Mexico and the corruption of its government.Machete agrees and travels to San Antonio, where he meets his handler Blanca Vasquez (Amber Heard), an undercover beauty pageant competitor. She sends him to Acapulco to meet a young woman, Cereza (Vanessa Hudgens), who can lead him to Mendez. Machete finds her in a brothel run by her mother, Madame Desdemona (Sofía Vergara), who attempts to kill Machete before he escapes with Cereza. She takes him to Mendez’s associate, Zaror (Marko Zaror), who kills Cereza before taking Machete to Mendez’s base of operations.There, Machete learns that Mendez has wired the missile’s launch device to his heart and triggered its launch in 24 hours. If he dies, the missile fires. After killing Zaror he captures Mendez, intending to escort him to US and find a way to disarm the missile. Machete learns that Mendez is an ex-secret agent who tried to expose his corrupt superiors, only to be betrayed and forced to watch his family being tortured. The trauma drove him insane, creating his split personalities and leading him to join forces with the missile’s creator.Shortly thereafter, a hit is put out on them. Machete is targeted by Madame Desdemona and her prostitute assassins, including a shapeshifting hitman called El Camaleón (Lady Gaga), as well as Doakes. Machete and Mendez manage to reach the US and kill Doakes and Clebourne only to be caught by a reborn Zaror and the same mercenaries who killed Sartana. Zaror decapitates Mendez and Machete is riddled with bullets.Machete wakes up to find himself in a healing tank. He is taken to meet Zaror’s benefactor—corrupt businessman, inventor and Star Wars fan Luther Voz (Mel Gibson). He shows Machete Mendez’s beating heart, preserved in a jar, and informs him of his plan to manipulate extremists throughout the world to detonate nuclear weapons while planning to escape in a spaceship to rebuild society in space. Machete then escapes with help from Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), who had heard about the hit on Machete. She informs him that the only one who can disarm Mendez’s heart is Machete’s old enemy, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini). Machete contacts Vasquez, who instructs him to meet her at a rendezvous point.MV5BOWM0MTk3NDYtNTE3ZC00NTkxLWEyOWMtZWYwYzE0ZTU5M2I4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjM2NTIzMTI@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_Arriving there, Machete is betrayed and ambushed by Vasquez, who is in league with Voz. As she is escaping into the desert, Machete gives chase and jumps onto the top of her vehicle but falls off after gunfire comes through the roof. Machete is then given a ride by El Camaleón, who tries to kill him one last time. But he escapes and El Camaleón ends up being shot to death by a group of racist rednecks just inside the US border. Machete then reunites with Luz and her group, the Network. They infiltrate a fundraiser at Voz’s base of operations, where Voz kills Osiris. Machete realizes Voz was the one who killed Sartana and fights him. He severely burns Voz’s face, disfiguring him to the extent that Voz is forced to wear a metallic, silver mask. Meanwhile, Vasquez shoots Luz in her good eye, completely blinding her. Luz kills Vasquez in return but is captured by Voz, frozen in Carbonite and taken aboard his ship.Machete jumps on the missile as it launches and disarms it in mid-air, while Voz boards the ship and departs with the Zaror clones, his supporters, as well as Luz. The disarmed missile then plunges into the Rio Grande and Machete is rescued by President Rathcock, who asks him to follow Voz into space and kill him. Machete agrees and uses a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket to depart to Voz’s Station in Earth’s orbit, where he is given a laser machete to start his mission.If you saw the first one, you pretty much know what to expect and what the basic concept is. Just times that times ten and you have Machete Kills. It is just a movie where you sit and don’t think about it. Let it all happen and enjoy it. That is, of course, you like action movies where the hero chops every bad guy up and Sofia Vergara with her bra machine gun.

REVIEW: MACHETE

CAST

Danny Trejo (Bullet)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Jessica Alba (Sin City)
Steven Segal (Marked For Death)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Cheech Marin (Cars)
Don Johnson (Born Yesterday)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Daryl Sabara (John Carter)
Ara Celi (All My children)
Electra and Elise Avellan (Death Proof)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
James Parks (Kill Bill)

Mexico: Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federal and his younger partner are on a mission to rescue a kidnapped girl (Mayra J. Leal). During the operation, his partner is killed, the kidnapped girl stabs him before being killed herself, and Machete is betrayed by his corrupt Chief to the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal), who kills Machete’s wife and implies that he will kill his daughter before leaving him for dead.Three years later, a down-and-out Machete roams Texas, scraping by on yard work. Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), a local businessman and spin doctor, explains to Machete that corrupt Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants out of the country. In order to stop this, Booth offers Machete $150,000 to kill McLaughlin. Machete accepts the murder contract after Booth threatens to kill him if he does not.Machete trains a rifle on McLaughlin from a rooftop during a rally, but before he fires he sees one of Booth’s henchmen aiming at him. The henchman shoots Machete in the shoulder, the latter then shoots McLaughlin in the leg. It is revealed that Booth orchestrated the attempted assassination as part of a false flag operation to gain public support for McLaughlin’s secure border campaign. By setting up Machete as the gunman, the conspirators make it appear that an outlaw illegal Mexican immigrant has tried to assassinate the senator, who is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration.An injured Machete escapes capture by Booth and is taken to a hospital to be treated for wounds, escaping once again from Booth’s henchmen at the hospital. Agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba), a persistent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, is sent by her superior to find and capture the injured Machete. Machete, with the help of Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), aka Shé, the leader of an illegal immigrant aid movement known as the Network, recruits Padre (Cheech Marin), his “holy” brother. To take revenge on Booth, Machete kidnaps Booth’s wife and his daughter, April (Lindsay Lohan), after “starring” in an amateur adult film with them. He also collects evidence from Booth’s house linking McLaughlin and the Mexican drug lord in a major drug trafficking deal. After encountering Machete, Sartana begins to develop an interest in him. Elsewhere, Booth, who is revealed to be working for Torrez, hires a hitman, Osiris Amanpour (Tom Savini), to assist in the hunt for Machete.Booth and Osiris kill Padre in his church by nailing him to a cross, but do not find his own wife and daughter. Unbeknownst to Booth, the church has cameras. Through the CCTV recordings, the news of McLaughlin’s corruption and faked assassination is eventually aired on national television. Infuriated, McLaughlin kills Booth and heads back to join Torrez to kill Machete. In order to eliminate the people who double-crossed him, Machete gathers the Mexican Network and leads them to the base of the border vigilantes, led by Von Jackson (Don Johnson). During this confrontation, the Mexican illegals triumph over the border vigilantes. Jackson tries to escape, but Luz shoots him in the back of the head. Machete fights Torrez and stabs him. April shows up wearing a nun’s habit after escaping from the church and shoots McLaughlin after figuring out that he has killed her father.McLaughlin, injured, manages to escape, but he is later killed by the last remnants of his own border vigilante group, who mistake him for a Mexican. Ultimately, Machete meets with Sartana, who gives him a green card. They kiss and ride off into the night. The closing credits announce further adventures for Machete.Machete is a funny action movie and a film that Danny Trejo perfectly fits into. The story follows the style of B- movies, with exploitation and ultra-violence, but has a cast that is a constellation of stars. A must see.

REVIEW: THE CONDEMNED

Starring

Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Vinnie Jones (Loaded)
Tory Mussett (Boogeyman)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Nathan Jones (The Scorpion King 5)
Masa Yamaguchi (The Railway Man)
Emelia Burns (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad)
Luke Pegler (Hacksaw Ridge)
Lani John Tupu (Farscape)

Steve Austin and Manu Bennett in The Condemned (2007)Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) awaits execution in a corrupt Salvadoran prison. He is “purchased” by a wealthy television producer and transported to a deserted island in the South Pacific along with nine other condemned criminals from prisons around the world. They are “offered” the opportunity to avoid capital punishment and win back their freedom with a pocket full of cash by fighting to the death in an illegal game to be filmed and broadcast live over the Internet.Vinnie Jones and Masa Yamaguchi in The Condemned (2007)A bomb is placed on the ankle of every contestant, each featuring a 30-hour countdown timer, and a pin (similar to a grenade) that will detonate the bomb after a ten-second delay. The winner will have the bomb removed and be given their freedom as well as a pocket full of cash as the prize. Ian Breckel (Robert Mammone), the producer, is aiming for online ratings that equal or beat the latest Super Bowl reception of 40 million television viewers.Steve Austin in The Condemned (2007)As the broadcast progresses, FBI agents discover Conrad’s real identity as Jack Riley after a tip from one of Conrad’s former classmates. Conrad is discovered to be a former Delta Force operative who was captured on a Black ops mission to El Salvador after bombing a building controlled by drug dealers. Conrad’s girlfriend Sarah (Madeleine West) becomes aware of the situation and watches the show at the local bar she works at as it unfolds. Ewan McStarley (Vinnie Jones) and Saiga (Masa Yamaguchi) team up to remove the competition, while Yasantwa (Emelia Burns) uses her wiles to trick others to their death. After seeing the show’s broadcast tower before the show, Conrad infiltrates the tower and calls Sarah, managing to tell her the latitude of the island before he is forced to leave.Steve Austin and Masa Yamaguchi in The Condemned (2007)After the other seven contestants have died, Conrad is left alone against McStarley and Saiga. He stabs Saiga, and McStarley flees. Eventually, a helicopter drops a shotgun down to McStarley, who uses it to hunt down Conrad. After Conrad falls into a stream, McStarley runs into the cameraman and his armed guard dressed in ghillie suits while searching for Conrad, and shoots them, picking up the guard’s MP5 submachine gun. When McStarley and Conrad meet again, Conrad ends up rolling over a cliff and into a stream to avoid being shot by McStarley’s shotgun. Conrad is presumed dead by the fall, and McStarley is declared the winner. As McStarley is being driven to the control tower to collect his prize, Breckel hears that the FBI has sent United States Navy SEALs to take him into custody. After he meets McStarley and de-activates his bomb, he tells him that he will not receive his prize money.Manu Bennett, Andy McPhee, and Dasi Ruz in The Condemned (2007)Breckel and McStarley fixed the game in his favor in exchange for his freedom and profits. McStarley takes an MP5 from one of the guards, and kills the tech team in the building, one by one, even though they truthfully did not know that Breckel was abandoning them all. When he corners Julie, Breckel’s girlfriend, he is confronted by Conrad, who shoots him several times after talking briefly about McStarley’s past. Conrad grabs McStarley’s two machine guns and chases down Breckel, who is fleeing the island in a helicopter. After emptying the two guns firing at the helicopter, he is given McStarley’s re-activated ankle bomb by Julie. Conrad throws it into the helicopter, and Breckel reaches for it, however, the helicopter explodes, and crashes into a cliff, killing Breckel and bringing his vicious game to an end. Conrad is driven back to Sarah’s home in Texas, a free man. Sarah, who presumed him dead after he fell off the cliff in his struggle against McStarley, greets him.Steve Austin in The Condemned (2007)I’m not a huge fan of Steve Austin or WWE wrestling and so at first I was a bit sceptical about a WWE production with the lead role being given to a pro wrestler. But despite this he performs his role well, and the acting is of a pretty good standard throughout. The fight scenes are gritty and believable, and the sub-plot back story doesn’t interfere too much with the action. This is switch-your-brain-off entertainment. Enjoy it for what is is

REVIEW: EXTRACTION (2020)

Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (2020)

Starring

Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
David harbour (Black Widow)
Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson)
Rudhraksh Jaiswal (Noor)

Where would we be without John Wick? If Keanu Reeves hadn’t taken us back to hard-nosed, quick-fire, old-school violence in 2014, the action genre would still be playing catch-up to Marvel. We also wouldn’t have so many stuntmen switching to directing – with former fight choreographers like Chad Stahelski (the John Wick trilogy) and David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw) all helming major blockbusters that look like they could have been made in the ’90s.Randeep Hooda and Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (2020)Sam Hargrave is the latest stuntman to try his hand behind the camera, convincing the directors of Avengers: Endgame to let him film their graphic novel, and convincing Thor himself to star in it. And so we have Extraction, a film written by Joe Russo, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by a guy who once doubled for Zach Braff on an episode of Scrubs. To be fair, it makes a lot of sense to hire a stuntman to direct an action movie. They understand the geography of a set-piece better than most, they know how to make everything look cool and they usually have a strong hatred of CGI that runs to doing as much as possible with real cars, guns and explosions. Sure enough, Extraction has some seriously great fight scenes in it, but it doesn’t have much else. We meet Hemsworth where we meet all action heroes – washed up in a dirty trailer, drinking to forget his past, taking on “one last job” for the gun-lovin’ hell of it. The son of a drug lord has been taken hostage in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and only one man can get him back before an army of goons kills him. That’s about as much story as you’re going to get, and it’s probably all you need if you just want to watch Hemsworth punch people.Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (2020)Gratuitously killing everyone in sight with grenades, knives, motorbikes, car doors, coffee pots and anything else to hand, Hemsworth barrels through the movie like an angry Aussie rhino. Just like every other action movie since John Wick, he even does that thing where he grabs someone’s arm, twists it around, and shoots them in the face about five times. A lot. What he doesn’t do is say very much. We know Hemsworth is great at comedy (see Ghostbusters, Thor: Ragnarok, and Bad Times At The El Royale, for starters), but all we ever get here is grunts. Reader, this protagonist is a stoic lump of meat who doesn’t even wince when he’s patching up his bullet holes with duct tape. At one point he even kills a guy with a rake and doesn’t say a word – despite his character being called “Tyler Rake”…Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (2020)The upshot is that we don’t really care who he is. Young Rudhraksh Jaiswal fares better as Ovi, the kid caught up in all the madness, Bollywood star Randeep Hooda gets to wring his hands a bit as the baddie, and David Harbour (Stranger Things) earns a slightly pointless cameo as Rake’s fixer friend, but all that really matters is the action. As you’d expect from the guy who helped to choreograph Hollywood’s most impressive fights for the last 20 years, Hargrave definitely knows how to blow shit up. Shooting straight-up without flashy gimmicks or fast cuts, the former-professional risk-taker makes Extraction look as hard as nails. It might not have John Wick’s cool aesthetic or ironic sense of humour, but it does almost match it in the action stakes – with one awesome second act set-piece (filmed in a single seamless 11-minute shot, through the windows of speeding cars, into buildings, off roofs, back into cars again) easily ranking amongst the best action scenes of the last few years.Chris Hemsworth in Extraction (2020)It’s dumb, derivative and far too serious for its own good, but Extraction is still a fun ride if you just want a bit of old-fashioned arcade violence on a Friday night. If only they let Hemsworth look like he was enjoying it too…

REVIEW: CENTURION

 

CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Olga Kurylenko (Hitman)
Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
David Morrissey (Blitz)
JJ Feild (Last Orders)
Noel Clarke (4.3.2.1.)
Riz Ahmed (Venom)
Ulrich Thomsen (The Thing)
Imogen Poots (Need for Speed)
Paul Freeman (MMPR: The Movie)
Rachael Stirling (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Peter Guinness (Sleepy Hollow)

Michael Fassbender in Centurion (2010)Beginning in 117 AD, the narrative opens with a Roman soldier fleeing across a snowy landscape, saying: “My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko in Centurion (2010)The Romans have been unable to fully conquer Britain, meeting the fiercest resistance in the north, reaching a harsh stalemate that’s lasted a gruelling twenty years. The Picts of Alba are engaging in a guerrilla campaign against the Roman forts along the Glenblocker line and the Gask Ridge at the southern border of the Scottish Highlands. At the Roman outpost of Pinnata Castra, Pictish warriors led by Vortix and Aeron force surprise and kill the entire garrison, taking only one survivor for questioning, the second-in-command, Centurion Quintus Dias, because he can speak the Pictish tongue. Dias is brought before the Pictish king Gorlacon, who has united the northern tribes. Dias is brutally interrogated, but two weeks later escapes on foot.However, a messenger dispatched by the fort’s commander has reached Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britannia, who wants to obtain favour with the Roman Senate, hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion, under General Titus Flavius Virilus, to eradicate the Pictish threat and provides him with a female Celtic Brigantian scout called Etain. As the legion marches north it encounters Dias and rescues him from his pursuers, saving his neck just in the nick of time.Dominic West in Centurion (2010)Etain betrays the legion to King Gorlacon by leading them into an ambush where, surprised by a rolling legion of massive flaming pitch-wood ‘boulders’, they are easily annihilated. The wounded general is captured. Dias is one of the few survivors, along with the legionaries Bothos, Thax, Brick, Macros and Leonidas (a Greek), and Tarak (a mere cook). They set out to rescue general Virilus and, after a few days’ travel, they find him at Gorlacon’s village and sneak in at nightfall. However, they are unable to break his chains and he orders them to leave him and get back to Roman territory. During the attack, Thax, taking shelter in Gorlacon’s hut, suffocates the king’s young son, who had spotted them, to prevent him crying out.The next morning, Gorlacon burns his son’s body on a funeral pyre and forces General Virilus to fight Etain in single combat. Etain, who as a child witnessed her parents brutally raped and slaughtered by the Romans; and now on a vendetta, kills him with a spear through the heart. Gorlacon then sends her after the fleeing legionaries at the head of a small group of mounted warriors, including Vortix and Aeron, to seek revenge for his son’s death.Imogen Poots in Centurion (2010)The seven Romans plan to travel north (away from Roman territory) to throw the Picts off their trail, then head west, and then back south. After several days’ pursuit, the Picts being excellent trackers, continually catch up with the fugitives, who jump off a cliff into a river to escape them, (although Tarak, who had broken his foot, is killed before he can jump). Macros and Thax become separated from the others. Dias and his group camp for the night, while their trackers set up camp across the river. Dias and Brick launch a night raid on the enemy camp, killing two men and severely wounding a third, from whom they discover that they are being pursued because of the death of Gorlacon’s son, which scoundrel Thax had kept secret. However, Etain has launched her own attack on the Romans’ campsite. Dias and Brick return to their camp to discover Leonidas dead and Bothos severely wounded.Michael Fassbender in Centurion (2010)Macros and Thax are now running from a wolf pack. Thax pretends to fall, with the wolves in close pursuit, and cries out to his comrade for help. Macros returns to help him and a traitorous Thax hamstrings him to prevent him from standing, allowing Thax to escape while the wolves attack and devour Macros. Dias, Bothos and Brick find a hut in the forest belonging to Arianne, a Pictish exile accused of witchcraft who has learned Latin from the soldiers at a nearby Roman frontier outpost. She shelters them, providing food, and medical attention for Bothos. When Etain and her warriors arrive the following day, Arianne confronts her while the Romans hide in her grain store under the floorboards. The next morning they leave Arianne, who provides them with enough food to travel to the outpost. Arianne, having become fond of Dias, is saddened to see him go; left again to her solitude.Olga Kurylenko in Centurion (2010)They find the outpost abandoned, with an order pinned to a post saying that the Roman troops have retreated south, by the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. Seeing Etain and her warriors approaching and fed up with running, they set up a defensive position inside the fort. Brick is killed, but the three Romans kill Vortix, Aeron, and the rest of the Picts, with Dias ending the fight by killing Etain.Centurion (2010)Taking the Picts’ horses, Dias and Bothos continue southwards and en route are reunited with Thax. Upon reaching Hadrian’s Wall, which is now under construction, Thax, afraid that he will report his dishonourable actions, threatens Dias and they fight, with Dias overpowering and choking Thax to death. Bothos, joyfully riding towards the Romans, is mistaken for a charging Pict (because of his pelted tunic instead of armour) and is shot by an archer. Dias is outraged and crestfallen at the worthlessness of it all. He reports to Agricola, who is concerned that news of the legion’s annihilation might cause other tribes to rise up against them. He is also fearful of his record and status being tainted by a military failure, and decides that the Ninth Legion’s fate should remain a mystery and that Dias must be silenced/killed. Centurion (2010)Dias, however, manages to foil the attempt on his life by Agricola’s daughter Druzilla, although he is badly wounded in the thigh during the fracas. Disgusted at their treatment of their own ‘heroes’ and disillusioned by their ‘true colours’, he knocks Druzilla unconscious with a punch then escapes from the camp and returns to where he realises “he belongs”, back to Arianne in the forest. As the weakened Dias lies in her arms by the stream, his life in her hands once again, he and Arianne kiss. The film ends with Quintus Dias adjusting the narrative of the film’s opening line: My name is Quintus Dias. I am a fugitive of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”UntitledNeither side is portrayed as the “good guys” or the “bad guys”, and to me, that brought a sense of realism with it. This is a bloody film, with heads rolling and a plethora of fighting, so don’t bring the kiddies. I watched it On Demand, but I might go see it again in the theater.

REVIEW: SNITCH

Starring

Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: The Next Level)
Barry Pepper (The Lone Ranger)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Ghostbusters)
Melina Kanakaredes (Rounders)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl)
Rafi Gavron (Tracers)
David Harbour (Hellboy)
Jason Douglas (Sin City)

Dwayne Johnson and JD Pardo in Snitch (2013)College student Jason Collins is video-chatting with his childhood best friend Craig Johnson. Craig discusses a box of drugs that he is attempting to move and attempts to persuade Jason to let Craig ship the drugs to his house, offering him a share of the profit. Despite Jason’s reluctance, Craig texts him the tracking number for the package. A courier delivers Craig’s package to Collins’ house. Jason signs for the package and brings it to his room, discovering that it contains a large amount of pills in a bag, as well as a tracking device. DEA officers arrive and break into the house; Jason flees but is chased down by Agent Cooper.Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)While at a barbecue, John Matthews, Jason’s estranged father and owner of a construction company, is called by his ex-wife Sylvie about Jason being arrested. John and Sylvie meet and have a tense discussion while waiting to speak to Jason. An investigator speaks with them, saying that Craig set Jason up in a sting operation to reduce his own sentence after being caught. Jason’s charges carry a minimum of 10 years in prison and Jason is denied bail. He is put in an interview room with John, Sylvie, and the investigator, who pressures Jason to inform on one of his own friends for trafficking in order to reduce his own sentence, as Craig had done.Dwayne Johnson, Michael Kenneth Williams, and JD Pardo in Snitch (2013)Using his connections, John arranges to meet with local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan, who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign. Keeghan agrees to reduce Jason’s sentence if John will inform on a drug dealer, but states that he’ll receive little help from her and that the risk will be all his. John visits Jason in prison, observing from facial wounds that Jason has been abused by other prisoners.Dwayne Johnson and Michael Kenneth Williams in Snitch (2013)Agent Cooper leads a task force which will monitor any dealings John arranges to use as evidence for an arrest. John searches through his employee records and finds that Daniel James, a new employee, has two prior distribution convictions. Daniel is currently leading a clean life to avoid a third strike. John offers twenty thousand dollars if Daniel will simply introduce him to a dealer; Daniel agrees, though he is unaware that John is acting as an informant. Daniel introduces John to Malik, an extremely dangerous, high-ranking local drug dealer, who also has two strikes. Explaining that his construction business cannot stay afloat in the current economy without a supplement to its revenues, John offers to run nearly limitless amounts of drugs at almost zero risk in his freight trucks. Malik agrees under the condition that John and Daniel drive the initial run themselves.Barry Pepper and Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)John and Agent Cooper arrange for several wire taps. John drives to the pick-up point near the Mexican border when a rival gang ambushes the pick-up, but John manages a daring escape, impressing cartel kingpin Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera, whose men fight off the hijackers. John then makes the deal, delivering the drugs to Malik while under surveillance by Agent Cooper. Malik mentions a meeting with cartel members higher than himself; Cooper, hoping to catch the higher priority targets, does not move to arrest Malik as agreed. Keeghan claims Cooper did the right thing and reneges on her promise to reduce Jason’s sentence, unless John cooperates in the second meeting. John, outraged, demands in turn that Jason be released when the job is completed. Daniel learns of John’s arrangement with the DEA and is furious, saying that the cartel will kill John, Daniel, and their families if the truth comes out. John and Daniel send their families into hiding.Melina Kanakaredes and Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)John meets with Pintera, who wants him to run nearly $100 million in drug profits into Mexico and offers to make John a member of the cartel’s inner circle if he succeeds. Keeghan relishes the prospect of arresting such a high-profile dealer, but Cooper has a change of heart and tries to talk John out of doing the run, suspecting the cartel will kill him afterward. John devises a plan to free himself and Daniel from both the government and the cartel. During the run, John is able to escape Cooper’s surveillance. At the same time, Daniel raids Malik’s house, killing his guards and mortally wounding him. Before dying, Malik reveals Pintera’s cell phone number to Daniel. John calls Cooper and has him track both his new cell phone and Pintera’s phone, effectively giving Cooper both the money and the kingpin at once. The cartel realize John is an informant and he leads them on a highway chase and shoot-out before escaping. Cartel members and the money are seized by Cooper’s men. Pintera is surrounded by federal agents and surrenders without engaging in a gun battle because his young son is with him. Jason is released the next day. John and his family go into the witness protection program and he leaves Daniel the large Federal reward check that John received for the capture of Pintera.Dwayne Johnson and Jon Bernthal in Snitch (2013)Looking around the Internet, I see Snitch receiving mixed reviews. Personally, I think this movie is well above average.  Overall, Snitch makes for an evening well spent.

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2019)

Starring

Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Naomi Scott (Aladdin)
Ella Balinska (Run Sweetheart Run)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard)
Djimon Hounsou (Shazam)
Sam Claflin (Me Before You)
Jonathan Tucker (The Next Three Days)
Nat Faxon (Disenchantment)
Chris Pang (Crazy Rich Asians)
Luis Gerardo Méndez (Murder Mystery)
Noah Centineo (The Perfect Date)
Robert Clotworthy (American Sniper)
Hailee Steinfeld (Dickinson)
Lili Reinhart (Riverdale)
Ronda Rousey (Fast & Furtious 7)
Laverne Cox (Can You Keep a Secret?)
Jaclyn Smith (The Bourne Identity TV)

Kristen Stewart in Charlie's Angels (2019)A team of Angels, led by senior operative John Bosley, capture international embezzler Jonny Smith in Rio de Janeiro and turn him over to American authorities. A year later, the European division of the Townsend Agency is informed that Elena Houghlin, an engineer and programmer employed by entrepreneur Alexander Brok, wants to expose her superiors, namely Brok’s head of development, Peter Fleming, for covering up a discovery about how an energy conservation device that she helped invent, named Calisto, has the potential to trigger fatal seizures when used.Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)She meets with operative Edgar “Bosley” in Hamburg to turn over her findings, but an assassin named Hodak ambushes the meeting and subsequently kills Edgar and leaves Elena to drown. Edgar’s protégé, Jane Kano, rescues her and brings her to operative Rebekah “Bosley” with the help of her partner, Sabina Wilson. Meanwhile, John, who has since retired from the agency, discovers that Rebekah has tagged him with the agency’s specialized subdermal implant without his knowledge.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)Rebekah tasks Sabina and Jane, joined by Elena, with breaking into Brok’s corporate headquarters to steal the remaining Calisto prototypes before they can be duplicated. Elena finds one of the devices but is forced to use it to escape, killing a security guard in the process, while the other prototypes are already gone, and Fleming is identified as the thief. Rebekah tracks him to Istanbul, where Jane utilizes one of her old intelligence contacts, Fatima, to locate Fleming. They track him to a remote rock quarry, where the supposedly-imprisoned Smith is revealed to be Fleming’s intermediary for selling Calisto. Hodak is also present and kills Fleming before the Angels break up the sale. Rebekah suddenly disappears, allowing Smith and Hodak to escape with the prototypes.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)Returning to their safehouse, Sabina shares her growing belief that Rebekah is secretly working against the agency and has been manipulating them to steal Calisto for her own benefit. While the three ponder Sabina’s suspicion, the safehouse is bombed. Rebekah shows up only to be shot by John, who has come to rescue Elena. Sabina and Jane manage to survive and seek medical help from Fatima. Rebekah reappears and explains that John is the real traitor and that he has spent the last few decades secretly building his own network within the agency after he was passed over to succeed the late Charlie Townsend.Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)John takes Elena to a party hosted by Brok in Chamonix, who reveals himself as the mastermind behind the attempt to assassinate Elena and, unbeknownst to him, John’s plan to weaponize Calisto. Using Elena’s colleague Langston as a hostage, John forces her to program a Calisto device to kill both Langston and herself before leaving. The Angels, having deduced his plan due to the information provided by Smith, who is later revealed to have defected to their side, show up and rescue Elena and Langston, Elena having already disabled the Calisto device. Jane exacts revenge by impaling Hodak on a spike, while Rebekah catches up with John and his men. Outnumbered, she has other Angels posing as guests subdue the men, after which Sabina knocks out John with a punch. Brok is arrested for conspiracy, and Jane and Langston start a relationship. Elena is recruited as an Angel by the Townsend Agency after passing a series of rigorous training exercises In a mid-credits scene, Elena receives an official Angels tattoo and congratulations from Charlie.Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels (2019)I seem to be in a minority here but I quite enjoyed the movie. Reading some of the reviews I was quite curious as to what’s so bad about it. So went in with very low expectations. In fact to be honest I preferred this to the earlier one starring Diaz & Barrymore. I thought the cast was fresh and did a pretty good job. I’m not a big Kristen Stewart fan but I liked her in this one. The overall pace wasn’t boring, the action was pretty good and not over the top as compared to the earlier movies. Banks did a decent job as a director as would be expected of any movie of this kind. Frankly I’m surprised that it was such a big flop.