REVIEW: ACT OF VALOR

CAST

Jason Cottle (The Wedding Singer)
Rorke Denver (MeatEater)
Alex Veadov (Thirteen Days)
Roselyn Sánchez (Devious Maids)
Nestor Serrano (Runaway Jury)
Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy)

In the Philippines, a terrorist kills the U.S. ambassador, his son, and dozens of children at an elementary school, using a vehicle-borne IED disguised as an ice cream truck. The mastermind, a Chechen terrorist named Abu Shabal (Jason Cottle), escapes to a training camp in Indonesia. Elsewhere in Costa Rica, two CIA operatives, Walter Ross (Nestor Serrano) and Lisa Morales (Roselyn Sánchez) meet to consolidate intelligence about their target, a drug smuggler named Mikhail “Christo” Troykovich. Christo’s men kill Ross and capture Morales, who is imprisoned in a jungle compound and tortured.At Coronado, the members of Bandito Platoon, SEAL Team Seven are at home. Lieutenant Rorke (Rorke Denver) confides to Chief Dave that his wife is pregnant and has the entire team spend time together with their families until their next deployment. A squad from the platoon consisting of Rorke, Dave, Wiemy, Mikey, Ray, Sonny, and Ajay, are then deployed to Costa Rica to exfiltrate Morales. The seven Navy SEALs insert into the jungle via HALO and hold position outside the compound all night. At dawn, they approach the compound, hear Morales being tortured, and decide to enter the compound early. Rorke and Weimy, the team sniper, provide cover for the other five, led by Dave, who conduct room-clearing, engaging several enemy guards. Mikey is shot in the head, blinding him in one eye, and knocking him unconscious, though he survives. The SEALs extract Morales, escaping with her and recovering a cellphone full of the information she had gathered. However, the gunfight alerts the enemy quick reaction force down the road, who drive toward the camp. The SEALs commandeer an enemy truck and exfiltrate. The hot pursuit forces them to revert to a tertiary extraction point where the SOC-R boats extract the team and neutralize the enemy pursuit with miniguns.Christo and Shabal, who are revealed to have been childhood friends, meet in Kiev. Christo knows the CIA is watching him and informs Shabal that subordinates will complete their project, which is to equip suicide bombers with specialized vests. On the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, Rorke is informed that the intelligence recovered confirms Shabal and Christo were working together. Shabal, an old-school Muslim terrorist, seeks to bring jihad to the U.S., while Christo provides the routes for smuggling drugs and people into the U.S.. Ajay and Ray, are sent to Somalia, where an arms transfer involving Shabal is taking place. The remaining SEALs, comprising Rorke, Dave, Sonny and Weimy, stay in the U.S. in case the terrorists make it in. Miller himself has been reassigned to SEAL Team Four, hunting for Christo somewhere on the oceans. Lieutenant Rorke gives Dave a letter to give to his family in case he is killed.Shabal and sixteen terrorists are found to be on an island off Baja California, where the SEALs act to secure the island, killing eight terrorists. Shabal and eight others escape. Elsewhere, in the South Pacific, SEAL Team Four captures Christo and interrogate him. Christo and Shabal are found to be associates and that there is a plan to detonate vest bombs throughout the U.S., in order to cause panic and economic disruption with the goal to surpass that of the September 11 attacks. The SEALs are informed that Shabal is en route to the U.S. via tunnels underneath a milk factory, and are ordered to link up with Mexican Special Forces and neutralize the remaining targets. Arriving at the factory, the SEALs and Mexican forces launch an assault there. During the gunfight, a combatant throws a grenade, and Rorke dives on it to save his team before it detonates, killing him. Dave pursues the terrorists and shoots them as they try to escape through the tunnels. He is then shot several times and gravely wounded by Shabal, who is intercepted and killed by Sonny before he could execute Dave.At home, Rorke is given a military funeral with full honors, where the SEALs pay their respects. It is then revealed that Dave’s narration throughout the movie was a written letter meant for Rorke’s son. The film ends with a dedication to every U.S. Navy SEAL killed in action since 9/11 along with a listing of their names as well as a photo montage of other everyday public servants (soldiers, police, firefighters, etc.).Those looking for a well constructed war film should look else where. The predicable storyline and patriotic American stance will put most viewers off. However, if HD fire fights, good military realism can be taken with a pinch of salt this film does not disappoint.

REVIEW: LAST KNIGHTS

CAST

Clive Owen (Sin City)
Morgan Freeman (Momentum)
Cliff Curtis (Fear The Walking Dead)
Aksel Hennie (Hercules)
Dave Legeno (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand)

Bartok, an ageing nobleman, watches over his estate—a vassal kingdom to a great empire. Protecting the Bartok clan is Commander Raiden and his elite soldiers, who also serve Bartok. Raiden is surprised when Bartok tells him he is to be his heir, and gives him a sword. The empire has become corrupt and the evil minister, Geza Mott, humiliates Bartok by beating him with a stick for failing to provide an adequate bribe, until Bartok retaliates — which is treason against the crown. Bartok is put to trial where he speaks openly of his disdain for what honour has become in the empire. He is sentenced to death and Raiden is ordered to execute his own master. Bartok’s estate is divided and the Bartok clan is disbanded. Geza Mott suspects Raiden will demand vengeance, and has his trusted warrior, Ito, watch Raiden to ensure there is no possibility of revenge.A year passes and Raiden is now a drunk. Geza is still highly fearful of Raiden’s wrath and demands half his father-in-law’s troops to safeguard him while he completes construction of his newly fortified estate, with more soldiers than the emperor’s own security detail. Raiden’s wife, Naomi, couldn’t bear to be with him as he had fallen so low, with Raiden even selling his sword for more drink. When Bartok’s virgin daughter is offered to Raiden in a whorehouse, he shows no concern for her but leaves the premises. Geza finally lets his guard down and stops watching Raiden. It is now revealed that Raiden and the Bartok clan soldiers sacrificed everything for the illusion of a complete defeat, and have been waiting for the right time to group and together regain the clan’s honour by avenging their master’s death.Raiden’s men have been working in secret, building up contacts and connections, and gathering intelligence about Geza’s estate – even secretly altering his estate to help them in their cause. As Raiden’s men infiltrate the estate, Auguste has secretly made a pact with Raiden to help him, in exchange for Raiden’s help to free his daughter from her marriage to Geza Mott. Geza has always mistreated Auguste’s daughter which, along with Bartok’s execution, causes Auguste to see that his vicious son-in-law has no honour. Raiden and his men successfully infiltrate Geza’s estate, are discovered, and need to face a large number of soldiers.Raiden’s men fall one by one as they enter deep into Geza’s estate. Ito takes responsibility for his complacency and duels with Raiden. Ito’s sword fails and Raiden kills him. Raiden breaks into Geza’s bedroom and decapitates him. With Geza dead, Raiden’s surviving group rescues Bartok’s daughter and tells her that Bartok’s honour is restored. When word reaches the Emperor, he discusses with his council on how to deal with Bartok’s soldiers, who caution him against the risk of turning the people against the crown. They realise that the public view Geza’s death as a righteous one, and widely support the Bartok clan. The council advises that any judgement should restore their honour, rather than make them martyrs. Raiden asks that he be the only one executed for Geza’s death.The crown publicly admits the righteousness of the Bartok clan, but also reminds the crowd that killing a high council member is still the same as an attack on the emperor and Raiden will be executed. Before his execution, Raiden charges Lt. Cortez to take control of the surviving Bartok clan. In a flashback, he sees Naomi one last time to apologize for her suffering before making peace with his own life. Raiden lowers his head with his eyes closed, and as the executioner draws his sword back, Raiden’s eyes suddenly open wide and the screen goes to black.If you’re strictly an “action” viewer, you may not enjoy this movie. But if you enjoy a good story that isn’t entirely predictable, you might just enjoy this film

REVIEW: MARKED FOR DEATH

CAST

Steven Seagal (Under Siege)
Joanna Pacula (Tombstone)
Basil Wallace (Blood Diamond)
Tom Wright (Barbershop)
Keith Dsavid (Pitch Black)
Elizabeth Gracen (Highlander: The Raven)
Bette Ford (Sudden Impact)
Danielle Harris (Halloween)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)

Chicago DEA agent John Hatcher returns from Colombia, where drug dealers killed his partner Chico. As a result of Chico’s death and years of dead end work, John retires and heads to his family’s home in suburban Chicago. He visits the local school to meet his old friend and former U.S. Army buddy Max (Keith David) who works there as a football coach and physical education teacher.As John and Max celebrate their reunion, a gunfight breaks out between local drug dealers and a Jamaican gang at the bar where they celebrate. The gang, known as the Jamaican Posse, is led by a notorious psychotic drug kingpin named Screwface (Basil Wallace) full of West African Vodun and sadism. John arrests one of Screwface’s henchmen as the gunfight ends. News that Posse crimes occurring in Chicago and across the United States spread as the Posse increases their crime and members. The next day, Screwface and his henchmen do a drive-by shooting on the house where John, his sister Melissa, and Melissa’s 12-year-old daughter Tracey live. Tracey is injured and hospitalized in critical condition.John encounters a gangster named Jimmy whom he is forced to kill. A Jamaican gangster named Nesta arrives and is subdued by John, who asks about Screwface. Nesta gives information but tells him to go after Screwface alone and jumps out the window to his death. The next day, John discovers a strange symbol engraved on a carpet, and with the help of Jamaican voodoo and gang expert Leslie, a detective for the Chicago Police Department, he learns that it is an African blood symbol used to mark their crimes. John decides to come out of retirement to join Max in a battle against Screwface. At the same night of their rendezvous, John gets a phone call from Melissa, which is cut short when Screwface and his men invade the Hatcher household, but they leave upon his arrival. The next day, John and Max encounter another batch of Screwface’s henchmen which results in a car chase wherein one of the henchmen is killed. The henchmen’s car crashes into a mall wherein they are subsequently killed by the duo amidst the chaos of shoppers fleeing the scene. During a meeting with Leslie, John realizes that the only way to stop the Jamaican Posse is to bring down Screwface. That evening, Screwface ambushes John under the guise of a construction crew; John escapes and survives after Screwface plants a molotov cocktail in his car.The two team up with Charles, a Jamaican-American detective of the Chicago police, who has been trailing Screwface for five years, and trying to get to the root of the drug problem in the city. They acquire weaponry from a local weapons dealer, and, after testing the arsenal, they head for Kingston, Jamaica to find Screwface. Upon arrival, Max and Charles ask people in the streets information about Screwface’s and his hideout. A Jamaican local presents them a photo of a woman who is acquainted with Screwface. John meets her in a nightclub, and she describes hanging out with Screwface, his drug business, and his hideout. The woman also informs John of a cryptic clue: the secret of Screwface’s power is that he has two heads and four eyes.By nightfall, John, Max, and Charles (disguised as members of the Posse) head for Screwface’s mansion, where there is a party in progress. Secretly infiltrating the premises through a nearby plantation, John assassinates three henchmen on the balcony with a silenced sniper, plants a bomb at a nearby power station and infiltrates the inner grounds by climbing across roofs. While Max and Charles keep a lookout, John detonates the bomb, causing the party to erupt in violence and gunfire. With Max and Charles opening fire on the ambushing Posse gang, John enters the building and disposes of many henchmen. He finds a sacrificial area but is captured by Screwface and his remaining henchmen. John manages to break free and kills every henchman before decapitating Screwface in a sword fight. Upon returning in Chicago, the trio displays Screwface’s severed head to the Jamaican Posse to get them to end their crimes and leave. However, Screwface’s identical twin brother, who runs the Chicago Posse crime business, arrives and kills Charles, causing the gang (as well as the audience) to think that Screwface has returned from the dead. At this point, it is revealed that the twin brother was the real mastermind of all Posse crimes in Chicago and the entire United States while the real Screwface supplies him with drugs and money. The meeting erupts in chaos, and the gang members open fire on the duo.During the gunfight, Max holds off the henchmen despite being shot in the leg while John kills more gang members before he engages Screwface’s twin brother in a sword fight. The fight moves to a nightclub owned by the twin himself wherein Hatcher gives him more fatal injuries by gouging his eyes and breaks his spine before dropping him down an elevator shaft, impaling the twin in the process. As the surviving Posse members look at their dead boss, their fate remains ambiguous although the death of the Screwface brothers implies their arrest by law enforcement. The final scene shows John carrying Charles’ body with Max limping next to him before ending with Jimmy Cliff’s song “John Crow” being played in the credits.Of Stevens Seagal’s movies, this is clearly one of the better. It’s from 1990, and that was around his prime time as a action star. (“Under Siege” came two years later). There are a couple of really cool fights in this movie where Seagal handles lots of bad guys without any effort at all. The last part of the movie, where he’s invading the Jamaica-man bad guy’s base is especially entertaining.Watch the movie to find out what I’m talking about. You won’t regret it if you like easy action.

REVIEW: THE SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE

CAST

Jamie Dornan (Marie Antoinette)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit 2 & 3)
Danny Sapani (Hotel)
Jason O’Mara (Ahents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones)
Emmanuelle Seigner (The Ninth Gate)

The film opens with the assassination of left-wing Congolese Prime Minister Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the outbreak of civil war. As the mineral rich State of Katanga secedes under the leadership of Moise Tshombe, United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammerskjöld assigns Conor Cruise O’Brien to head up a UN peacekeeping mission. Privately, Hammerskjöld tells O’Brien that the Katanga crisis could trigger World War III and orders the Irish diplomat to take offensive action.Meanwhile, Irish Army Commandant Pat Quinlan commands an infantry company of Irish peacekeepers who arrive at the UN compound near Jadotville. After examining the compound, Quinlan decides that it is wide open to attack and orders his men to dig trenches. hile buying food in the nearest town, Quinlan meets French mercenary Rene Faulques, who has been hired by the mining companies allied to Tshombe’s Government. Afterwards, he visits the estate of a Belgian colonist, Madam LaFongagne, who tells him that Jadotville contains the world’s richest uranium deposits. eanwhile, O’Brien orders UN forces to launch an attack against Government buildings held by the Katangese in Elizabethville. While Indian peacekeepers are attempting to seize the city’s radio station, thirty unarmed Katangese are killed by gunfire and grenades. O’Brien orders the incident to be swept under the rug.In retaliation, Faulques receives orders to attack Jadotville. Katangese forces and mercenaries under Faulques, attack and besiege the Irish. During a brief ceasefire, Faulques vainly demands Quinlan’s surrender. uinlan refuses, and his company is attacked repeatedly in separate waves by the Katangese/mercenary forces. They kill a total of 300 enemy soldiers, and wound 1,000 enemy soldiers, with zero Irish deaths and only 16 Irish wounded. After many extended waves of battle, the Irish company is forced to surrender to Faulques’s troops after running out of ammunition. They are held in a Katangese prison for about a month, then are freed in a prisoner exchange deal and are allowed to go home.Based on true events, this film is a shock to the system because what it reveals had been meticulously covered up for over 40 years. The film highlights one of the most important roles ever played by the Irish Defence Forces as United Nations peace keepers. This massively impacting film would be well worth seeing again , if only to focus next time on the drama itself without the distraction or initial shock of the unfolding historical events portrayed

REVIEW: OKJA

 

CAST

Ahn Seo-hyun (the Divine Move)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Paul Dano (Swiss Army Man)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Byun Hee-bong (The Devi’s Game)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments)
Yoon Je-moon (Private Eye)
Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley)
Daniel Henshall (The Babadook)
Devon Bostick (Saw VI)
Choi Woo-shik (Big Match)
Giancarlo Esposito (Malcolm X)

In 2007, Lucy Mirando becomes CEO of the Mirando Corporation, succeeding her controversial grandfather, her father and her cruel twin sister Nancy. She announces that they have been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs will be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.In 2017, a young girl named Mija lives happily in the countryside of South Korea with her grandfather and her super pig, Okja. They are visited by Mirando spokesperson and zoologist Dr. Johnny Wilcox, who declares Okja the best super pig and announces they will take her to New York City. Mija’s grandfather takes her to visit the graves of her parents where he presents her with a gold pig and explains to her that rather than buy Okja, which was not allowed, he saved up the money for Okja and bought the solid gold item. Devastated, Mija runs away to Seoul to find Okja, where she sees her as she is being loaded onto a truck. Mija manages to chase down the truck which is eventually intercepted by another truck, run by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). In the resulting chaos Mija and Okja run away causing havoc though they are eventually saved by the ALF. Recognizing that Mija is Okja’s owner, they tell her that their plan is to put a recording device in Okja’s ear and let her be re-captured by the Mirando corporation to show how brutally they treat their animals. Mija tells them to return her to the mountains but their translator, K, deliberately lies, causing the group to believe Mija went along with their plan. They abandon her, and Okja is recaptured.Meanwhile, footage of Okja and Mija running through the streets of Seoul has gone viral. In order to do damage control, Lucy pays for Mija to come to New York to be reunited onstage with her pig. Okja is taken to the laboratory where she is forcibly bred with another super pig and bits of meat are extracted from her flesh for a taste test by a drunk Wilcox. Members of the ALF overhear the recording through the device they placed in Okja’s ear. Jay vows to help Okja and Mija and use the recording to expose the Mirando corporation’s animal abuse.In New York City, Mija spends her time learning bits of English and being forced to agree to the wishes of the Mirando corporation. Jay, the leader of ALF, slips into her room and tells her that they still plan to rescue Okja while on stage. A huge parade is put on by the Mirando Corporation who give out free meat in the street. Mija is reunited with Okja who, blinded and battered does not recognize her and attacks her. In the resulting chaos, Jay tries to hurt Okja, but Mija prevents him from doing so, calming Okja down so that she recognizes Mija. A video of Wilcox’s treatment of Okja is screened by the ALF to the public, who quickly turn on him and Lucy. Mija and the ALF attempt to escape with Okja, but Nancy arrives back and quickly takes over the Mirando Corporation, recapturing Okja and having the ALF members beaten and arrested.Escaping, Jay and K take Mija to find Okja in a mass killing plant. The group search for Okja but are unable to find her until Mija sees her going up the ramp to the slaughterhouse. In order to save Okja she runs through the killing plant and sees many dead super pigs. Mija sees Okja as she is about to be slaughtered and shows the Mirando employee a photograph of herself with a baby Okja. The man seems moved, but Nancy arrives and tells Mija and the man that Okja must be slaughtered. Mija offers the golden pig to Nancy in exchange for Okja’s life. Nancy agrees to the deal whilst subsequently arresting Jay and K. As Mija and Okja are leaving, they see many more pigs being led to slaughter. A pair of superpigs manages to push their newborn through the fence, and Okja hides it within her mouth to take it away. Back in the countryside, Mija resumes her life with her grandfather, Okja, and the new piglet. In a post-credits scene, Jay is released from prison and gets on board a bus with K and the other members of the organization, who reveals that ALF will be attending a major meeting involving all of the Mirando shareholders.If you’re a fan of the director’s previous work, especially “The Host,” then you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed. If you can get past the slight weirdness of this movie (which might not fit everyone’s taste), I can promise you that you won’t regret watching this

REVIEW: BRIDGE OF DRAGONS

 

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat)
Valerie Chow (Futuresport)
Gary Hudson  (Mutant X)
John Bennett (Eye of The Needle)
Scott L. Schwartz (Fire Down Below)

The tough and cold mercenary Warchild, is working for the man who took care of his war training and upbringing, the greedy General Ruechang. Ruechang is planning to take over the country by marrying Princess Halo. But Halo discovers that Ruechang killed her father to gain more power than he had working for the King, so she decides to run away. Warchild is the one who has to bring her back to Ruechang, but the one thing no one counted on happens…Warchild and Halo fall in love, and together they take on the forces of Ruechang.Tagawa returns as yet another baddie, facing off against Lundgren once again (he was also the antagonist of Showdown in Little Tokyo, 1991). You gotta love his “666” logo on his buildings and vehicles. But this time he, and all the other characters, are in a more tongue-in-cheek world, with really wacky sound effects and some silly humor. Bridge of Dragons is classic late-90’s Lundgren with a few unorthodox twists.

REVIEW: COVER UP

 

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (War Pigs)
Louis Gossett Jr. (The Punisher)
John Finn (Cold Case)

Mike Anderson (Dolph Lundgren), a tough American reporter on a dangerous foreign assignment, finds his own life in jeopardy when he uncovers a deadly labyrinth of political intrigue that threatens the lives of thousands. Despatched to investigate a mysterious and fatal attack on an overseas US naval base, Anderson, a leading investigative journalist and ex-US marine, finds himself back on familiar ground. Instinct makes him question the official CIA explanation that cites an unknown terrorist group called Black October. Alone, and armed only with his combat training and determination to uncover the truth, he sets out to expose a complex and dangerous political web. Anderson quickly discovers he can trust no one. Renewing a fiery affair with his ex-Iover Susan Clifford, now the US Embassy press attaché, he soon finds himself confronting an old adversary, CIA boss Lou Jackson. And when his former marine colleague Colonel John Cooper is murdered moments after a secret rendezvous with him, Mike realises he holds the pieces to a deadly plot. In a race against time, Anderson battles to save the lives of thousands of innocent people, in a desperate attempt to prevent a deadly plan to create an international disaster of catastrophic proportions.Director Manny coto does a fine job keeping the story alive but there is a lit of bit lacking in the action department but for Dolph Lundgren fans this is worth seeing.