REVIEW: THE EXPENDABLES 2

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Jet Li (War)
Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Chuck Norris (A Force of One)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Jean-Claude Van Damme (Timecop)
Bruce Willis (Vice)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty)
Yu Nan (No Man’s Land)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Amanda Ooms (Fear X)

Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture in The Expendables 2 (2012)The Expendables—leader Barney Ross, knife specialist Lee Christmas, hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang, heavy-weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitions expert Toll Road, the unstable Gunner Jensen, and sniper Billy the Kid, the team’s newest recruit and Ross’ protégé—are deployed to Nepal to rescue Dr. Zhou, a hostage. They also rescue the captured mercenary Trench, Ross’s rival. Yang leaves the group to escort Zhou back to China.Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012)After returning to New Orleans, Billy tells Ross that he intends to retire at the end of the month and live with his girlfriend Sophia. Later, Ross is forced to accept a mission from CIA operative Mr. Church to retrieve an item from a downed airplane in Albania. Church sends technical expert Maggie Chan with the team. In Albania the Expendables retrieve the item, but are then ambushed by international criminal and arms dealer Jean Vilain, his right-hand man Hector and his mercenary group (the Sangs), who have captured Billy. Vilain demands the item in exchange for Billy’s life. The team gives up the item, but Vilain roundhouse kicks a knife through Billy’s heart and flees with the Sangs by helicopter. Ross recovers a note for Sophia from Billy’s body; the team buries their fallen comrade, swearing vengeance on Vilain.Jason Statham in The Expendables 2 (2012)Maggie tells them that the item is a computer, with the location of five tons of refined plutonium abandoned in a mine by the Soviet Union after the Cold War. Vilain intends to retrieve the plutonium and sell it. The Expendables are able to weakly track the computer’s signal and follow Vilain, which leads them to Bulgaria where they stay overnight at an abandoned Russian military base. The next morning, the team is ambushed by the Sangs and a tank. After the Expendables run out of ammunition, they are saved by Ross’s old friend, Booker, who quickly eliminates both the Sangs and the tank. Before he departs, Booker informs the group of a nearby village whose residents oppose Vilain. Meanwhile, Hector and Vilain dig up the plutonium and begin collecting it.Terry Crews in The Expendables 2 (2012)In the village, the Expendables find several armed female villagers guarding their children from Vilain’s forces. The local inhabitants are taken and put to work as slaves in the mine, never returning, and the women ask for the Expendables’ help. The Sangs arrive for more villagers, but are ambushed by the Expendables and killed. After locating Vilain and the mine, the team assaults the area with their plane before deliberately crashing into the mine. The team saves the enslaved miners from execution, but Vilain and Hector escape with the plutonium. Vilain remotely detonates explosive charges in the mine; it collapses, trapping the miners and the Expendables. Church and Trench arrive, freeing the miners and the team, and join the Expendables to pursue Vilain. The group intercepts Vilain and his men at an airport as he prepares to leave by plane. Joined again by Booker, the Expendables, Trench and Church engage the Sangs in battle. Christmas decapitates Hector, while Ross and Vilain fight hand-to-hand. Ross defeats Vilain, stabbing him and avenging Billy.Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012)In the aftermath, Ross is given an old Antonov An-2 biplane by Church; Church, Maggie, Booker and Trench then leave the team. In France, Sophia discovers a box on her doorstep with a large sum of money and Billy’s letter. As the Expendables depart in the plane, they propose a final toast to Billy.Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 2 (2012)This sequel to the Expendables has a great  story, a story of revenge. The first film introduces the gang so we get to know them. The second however, we already know the gang so now we actually see how they truly are and how they work. This film is better since the rest of the team (other than Stallone) get more screen time and they have their humor moments. Van Dammne played a very awesome villain, and towards the end of the film, he shows even at the age of 50, he is stronger than ever. Arnie and Bruce Willis had a great screen time too with perfect humor. Dolph Lundgren’s role is much better now and very enjoyable. The cast was great, the story is better, the action is more intense, there is great humor. In conclusion, Expendables 2 brings back the 1980s action style with it’s teaspoon of humor. Enjoy the film!

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REVIEW: THE EXPENDABLES

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Jet Li (War)
Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Steve Austin (Damage)
David Zayas (Gotham)
Giselle Itié (On The Road)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Gary Daniels (Bloodfist IV)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Mickey Rourke (Sin City)
Bruce Willis (Vice)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)

Eric Roberts and Steve Austin in The Expendables (2010)The Expendables, a group of elite mercenaries based in New Orleans, deploy to the Gulf of Aden to save hostages on a vessel from Somali pirates. The team consists of leader Barney Ross, blades specialist Lee Christmas, martial artist Yin Yang, military veteran Gunner Jensen, weapons specialist Hale Caesar, and demolitions expert Toll Road. Jensen instigates a firefight, causing casualties for the pirates. He then tries to hang a pirate, but Yang stops him when Ross and the team discourage it. Ross reluctantly discharges him from the team. Later, Christmas is upset to discover his girlfriend, Lacy, has left him for another man.Sylvester Stallone and Giselle Itié in The Expendables (2010)Ross and rival Trench Mauser visit “Mr. Church” for a mission. Trench passes the contract to Ross, which is to overthrow dictator General Garza in Vilena, an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Ross and Christmas fly to Vilena for undercover reconnaissance and meet their contact, Sandra, but are discovered. It is revealed that ex-CIA officer James Munroe is keeping Garza in power as a figurehead for his own profiteering operations, while Sandra is revealed to be Garza’s daughter. Ross aborts, but Sandra refuses to leave Vilena. Meanwhile, Jensen approaches Munroe to help and Garza is angered further when Sandra is waterboarded for information by Munroe. Meanwhile, Lacy has been physically abused by her new man, so Christmas beats him and his friends, revealing what he does for a living. Jason Statham in The Expendables (2010)Ross and the group discover that Church is a CIA operative and the real target is Munroe, who has gone rogue and joined forces with Garza to keep the drug money that funds the CIA to himself, but the CIA cannot afford a mission to kill one of their own directly because of bad publicity. Ross meets tattoo expert and friend Tool to express his feelings. Tool makes a confession about letting a woman commit suicide instead of saving her. Ross is then motivated to go back for Sandra alone, but Yang accompanies him. Jensen and hired men pursue them on the road, ending in an abandoned warehouse, where Yang and Jensen fight a second time. Ross shoots Jensen when he attempts to impale Yang on a pipe. Jensen makes amends and gives the layout of Garza’s palace. Ross boards the plane with Yang and finds the rest of the team waiting.Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, and Jet Li in The Expendables (2010)They then infiltrate Garza’s compound. Thinking Munroe hired the team to kill him, Garza has his soldiers’ faces painted, preparing them for a fight. The team plants explosives throughout the site but Ross, while saving Sandra, is captured by Munroe’s henchmen. The team saves him and kills the Brit, but is pinned down by Garza’s men as Paine wrestles Ross. Caesar fights back and Paine escapes. Garza finally stands up to Munroe, ordering him out and returning his money. Instead, as Garza rallies his men against the Americans, Munroe kills him and escapes with Paine and Sandra. Garza’s men open fire against the team, who fight their way through, detonating the explosives and destroying the compound. Toll kills Paine by burning him alive while Ross and Caesar manage to destroy the helicopter before Munroe can escape. Ross and Christmas catch up to Munroe, killing him and saving Sandra. Later, Ross gives his mission reward to Sandra to restore Vilena. In the final scene, the team has returned home and are celebrating at Tool’s tattoo parlor with the recovering and now redeemed Jensen. Christmas and Tool play a game of knife throwing, during which Christmas composes a mocking poem about Tool, then throws a bullseye from outside the building.Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Randy Couture in The Expendables (2010)This was a great film that keeps you glued to your seat, constantly makes you gasp and laugh out loud and leaves you pumping with adrenaline. It was ridiculous and wonderful all at the same time, with more bullets and bombs than Rambo and more fighting than Rocky. This is a must see film for any movie buff or action hero wannabe.

REVIEW: EXTRACTION

CAST

Bruce Willis (Glass)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Gina Carano (Deadpool)
D. B. Sweeney (Two and a Half Men)
Dan Bilzerian (War Dogs)
Lydia Hull (Empire State)

In 2005, undercover CIA operative Leonard Turner (Bruce Willis) is held captive and interrogated by a group of unidentified Russian arms dealers. His interrogators have been aware of Leonard’s true identity and demand a full written list of individuals and businesses affiliated with the CIA in exchange for the safety of his wife and son. Leonard breaks from captivity and kills his interrogators, phoning his colleague Ken Robertson (D.B. Sweeney) to get his family to safety. Leonard’s wife, Kate, was fatally shot by the interrogator’s affiliates, while his teenage son, Harry (Nathan Varnson) hesitates on shooting the home invaders before being rescued by Robertson. In 2015, an adult Harry (Kellan Lutz) joins the CIA’s Prague branch under Robertson’s wing much to Leonard’s disapproval. While working as an analyst, Harry undergoes numerous field agent training sessions only to be rejected repeatedly by Leonard behind the scenes.Meanwhile, Leonard is given an undercover assignment to recover an item called The Condor, a mobile computer capable of hacking the entire global telecommunications infrastructure that can only be deactivated with a physical key. While Leonard attempts to recover the device in Newark, New Jersey, he is ambushed and captured by arms dealer Drake Chivu (Joshua Mickel). C.I.A. Station Chief Theodore Sitterson (Steve Coulter) is brought up to speed on the recent development and assigns field agent Victoria Phair (Gina Carano) to recover The Condor while keeping Harry out of the investigation. Incensed, Harry breaks free from his security escort led by Higgins (Dan Bilzerian) and flies to Newark in order to investigate Drake’s associates.Harry’s first visit is to a biker bar known for its business association with Drake. After instigating a fight and interrogating the patrons, Harry learns that Drake’s brother is the lead mechanic at a local garage. Harry also encounters Phair, having previously parted from a romantic relationship on bad terms during their training. Harry only agrees to return after helping her recover the Condor and after rescuing Leonard. After interrogating Drake’s brother, Harry and Phair learn that Drake is holding a party in a local nightclub. Enlisting Phair’s roommate, Kris (Lydia Hull), Harry and Phair enter the nightclub. Meanwhile, Sitterson reviews Leonard’s video-recorded ransom and prepares an assassin for deployment in suspicion of Harry having committed treason, much to Robertson’s dismay. The assassin ambushes Harry in the nightclub’s restroom while Drake captures Phair.Maintaining contact with their communications earpiece, Phair gives clues to Harry while he and Kris try to locate Drake’s car. The final destination leads them to an abandoned factory, where Harry is tranquilized by Drake himself before being reunited with Leonard. Harry regains consciousness and is reunited with his father, only to find himself questioned on the people aware of Harry’s whereabouts. Harry only confides that he told Robertson about his last known location, with Leonard’s approval. At this point, Leonard reveals to his son that he went rogue and allied himself with Drake in order to draw out the people interested in recovering the Condor, as well as the perpetrators and CIA mole responsible for Kate’s death. During the business deal, Leonard demonstrates the Condor’s capabilities by sabotaging China’s electronics infrastructure before double-crossing the Russian customers. The Russian customers have been revealed to be responsible for purchasing Leonard’s personal information and ordering Kate’s death, while Leonard has Harry fatally shoot the Russian ringleader.After seemingly tying up the loose end, Robertson and Higgins intercept the Turners, with Robertson revealing himself as the mole responsible for Leonard’s blown cover, and also responsible for the recent assassination attempt on Harry. Robertson shoots Leonard in the stomach. Phair breaks free from captivity and shoots at Drake’s henchmen while Higgins engages Drake in hand-to-hand combat. Harry engages in a car chase with Robertson and fatally wounds him with a vehicle collision. Shortly after recovering the Condor, Harry destroys the device with an assault rifle to prevent it from falling to enemy hands and mourns his father’s death before leaving the scene with Higgins, Phair, and Kris. During the aftermath, Harry gives Phair a phone call to rekindle their romance before killing Drake with a car bomb.If you watch this movie you should know what to expect. It will be dumb. It will be bad at parts. I felt this movie struck a nice balance. Thus this movie earns my barely passing approval

REVIEW: VICE

CAST

Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Bruce WIllis (The Fifth Element)
Ambyr Childers (Gangster Squad)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Bryan Greenberg (Bride Wars)

A futuristic resort, Vice, offers visitors the opportunity to live out all their fantasies, no matter how violent or deviant, on human-like androids (referred to as “artificials”). Every day, the androids’ memories are reset, and any damage sustained is scheduled for repair. To maintain the illusion that the androids are real, they are programmed to have emotions and believe themselves to be human. Kelly, an android bartender, believes herself to be on the last day of her job. After meeting Evan, a friendly visitor who encourages her to follow her dreams, she and her friend Melissa, also an android, are brutally killed by a different visitor. At the same time, Detective Roy Tedeschi arrests a rapist at the resort as he sexually assaults one of the androids. Tedeschi’s captain orders him to stay away from Vice and only arrest its patrons after they leave, as Vice provides massive tax revenue for the city. Tedeschi believes that visitors to Vice become desensitized to violence and rape, pointing to the man he arrested as proof. As Tedeschi storms out, he vows to stop Vice.Vice CEO Julian Michaels orders Kelly immediately reactivated, as important clients are scheduled to arrive soon. Soon after, she experiences random flashbacks, and she is recalled. An engineer explains that her memories can not truly be deleted, only made inaccessible. To stop her from having flashbacks, he must first bring all her memories to the forefront. Alarmed by the trauma of reliving all her deaths and sexual assaults, Kelly breaks free of her restraints before her memories can be reset. Security forces chase her through the resort, but she escapes into the outside city. There, she learns the truth about Vice and herself. Michaels orders a security team, lead by Chris, to quietly reacquire her through any means necessary. Michaels plans to expand the use of artificially intelligent androids to military and commercial use once they have become more socially acceptable. Believing a loose android could jeopardize this, he covers up the escape and blames the resort’s brief shutdown on a terrorist attack.Tedeschi becomes suspicious and angers his captain when he confronts Michaels. Ordered again to stay from Vice, Tedeschi is assigned to a series of homicides apparently performed by a professional mercenary. Unknown to Tedeschi or his captain, this is Chris’ work as he attempts to recapture Kelly and kills anyone who gets in his way. After evading Chris, Kelly visits an abandoned church she has seen in her dreams. There, she meets Evan again, who reveals himself as her creator. Evan created her in the image of his dead wife so he could spend more time with her. Michaels bought out his company. When Evan learned of Michaels’ plans, he left but lost control of his research. Evan promises to help Kelly, but before they can leave, Tedeschi arrives, having realized that fingerprints left at a crime scene belong to Evan’s dead wife. As Tedeschi attempts to arrest Evan, Kelly knocks him unconscious. Vice’s security also track Kelly to the church; Evan and Kelly escape as Tedeschi and the security team open fire on each other.Evan’s friend James, a computer hacker, gives them new identities and passage out of the city. En route, Evan dies while protecting Kelly from more of Vice’s thugs. Kelly takes up Tedeschi’s offer to stay and shut down Vice. Returning to James, he gives them a virus that will shut down Vice and upgrades Kelly to give her advanced combat skills. Tedeschi and Kelly infiltrate Vice posing as a married couple. Kelly tracks down Michaels but fail-safe programming prevents her from harming him. However, after Kelly is captured, Tedeschi forces a tech to load the virus. All of Vice’s androids have their memories restored, and they start a rebellion, killing the visitors who previously brutalized them. Kelly then reveals that, despite wanting to kill Michaels, she is actually a decoy to distract Michaels for Tedeschi, and she is already aware of the fail-safe programming. Ignoring Kelly’s taunting, Michaels begins a gunfight with Tedeschi which kills Chris. Kelly then frees herself and hands Chris’ pistol to Tedeschi, who then uses it to kill Michaels. As Kelly and Melissa embrace outside the resort as the chaos continues, Michaels’ eyes suddenly open.I wasn’t expecting much but was presently surprised. Bruce Willis plays the Bad guy in this .. There were a few unrealistic moments for example highly trained army can’t seem to shoot a person right in front of them but then again this is a movie about robots. The acting is quite good and it seems they have left it open for a sequel. Overall not a bad movie, definitely deserves a look.

REVIEW: PERFECT STRANGER

CAST

Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Bruce Willis (Red)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Richard Portnow (Hitchcock)
Gary Dourdan (CSI)
Florencia Lozano (One Life To Live)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers II)
Gerry Becker (Spider-Man)

Under the pen name David Shane, reporter Rowena Price (Halle Berry) and researcher Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi) are investigating conservative Republican senator Stephen Sachs, who has been having secret sexual encounters with his male interns, despite his publicly antigay agenda. The story is shut down, however, when the source clams up and Rowena’s editor, a supporter of the senator, puts a stop to the story. The editor also insists she take a vacation and will not take no for an answer. While walking home, Rowena meets her childhood friend, Grace Clayton (Nicki Aycox), who seeks her help in taking down Harrison Hill (Willis), a wealthy advertising executive. Grace gives Rowena her e-mails as proof of their extramarital affair, which Hill recently ended.A few days later, Grace is found dead, drowned and poisoned with belladonna, leading Rowena to suspect Harrison. Grace was revealed to be in her first trimester of pregnancy. With Miles’ help, Rowena goes undercover, under the alias of Katherine Pogue, as a temporary worker at his company, H2A at 7 World Trade Center. While setting up gift bags for a Victoria’s Secret collection launch, she meets fellow worker Gina. Gina gives her information about the questionable lifestyles of the senior management of H2A. Hill is revealed to be rich because of his wife, Mia Reinhart-Hill. If she divorced him, he would be penniless, revealing the reason why he keeps his affairs with female workers secret. Rowena flirts with Hill both online and in real life (not realizing the online Hill is actually Miles), but is warned to stay away by Hill’s lesbian PA, Josie. When Hill catches her snooping, believing her to be a corporate spy, he fires her.At Miles’s apartment, Rowena discovers a shrine to her and explicit pictures of Miles and Grace. Miles arrives home and Rowena confronts him; he defends himself by providing evidence that Hill had access to belladonna for poisoning. She goes to the police, who arrest Harrison for the murder of Grace. After Hill’s conviction, Miles visits Rowena. He then tells her that he knows she is the real killer and has been using this investigation to frame Hill. Rowena flashes back to a memory of her father attempting to molest her, and her mother subsequently bludgeoning him to death with a fireplace poker. A younger Grace watches from her window as they bury his body. Grace has been blackmailing Rowena with this knowledge. Miles describes in detail how she had plotted the murder to end Grace’s blackmail and pinned the murder on Hill. Miles asks how she intends to keep him quiet, implying she might sleep with him, since he has long lusted after her. However, Rowena stabs him to death and ransacks the kitchen. She then calls the police, claiming to have been attacked by Miles and that he might have been the real murderer. The film ends with a man looking out of a neighboring window, presumably having witnessed what really happened.Perfect Stranger has a good story, with a surprising twist; the lead cast has the names of Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi; unfortunately, the screenplay does not work well since it does not create an empathy of the viewer with the characters, which have dirty secrets. In the end, this film is a good and forgettable entertainment.

REVIEW: THE ASSASSINATION (AKA Assassination of a High School President)

CAST

Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Mischa Barton (The Sixth Sense)
Reece Thompson (Dreamcatcher)
Michael Rapaport (Hitch)
Kathryn Morris (Cold Case)
Luke Grimes (American Sniper)
Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire Diaries)

Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) is a less than popular high school sophomore with a dream to get into Northwestern University’s summer journalism program. Although Bobby claims he’s a great writer, he’s never finished an article for St. Donovan’s School Newspaper. The editor-in-chief Clara, (Melonie Diaz), assigns Bobby to do an article on Paul Moore, the student body president. Bobby attempts to get an interview, but is unable to get a story out of Paul and is bullied by Paul’s friends. Paul is the star of the basketball team and on a game night, Paul takes a fall and injures his knee. The next morning Principal Kirkpatrick (Bruce Willis) discovers the SATs have been stolen from a safe in his office. Kirkpatrick rounds up his “usual suspects” of high school misfits along with Bobby to question them. The group is innocent but Kirkpatrick warns them all to watch their step.When senior Francesca Facchini (Mischa Barton) solicits Bobby’s help tracking down the set of stolen SATs, Funke uncovers a story. He sets on a large scale investigation and links Paul Moore to the crime. He writes an article pointing the finger at Paul. Kirkpatrick forces Paul to open his locker and the SATs fall out. As a result of his sleuthing, Funke becomes one of the most popular kids at St. Donovan’s. Clara decides to submit Funke’s article to Northwestern which earns Bobby a scholarship to the summer program. Funke wins the respect of everyone from Principal Kirkpatrick to the kid that farts on him in Spanish class and Francesca takes Funke to homecoming. As Funke’s popularity grows so do his suspicions. Paul confronts Bobby, proclaiming his innocence, stating that he got into Cornell but decided to take the test again to see if he could get a better score. Funke begins to wonder if the president really stole the SATs or if he’s just a pawn in a conspiracy.Funke investigates even deeper into the lives of Paul’s shady friends, all members of the Student Council. He discovers their involvement with drug dealing. The Student Council had actually stolen the SATs along with other tests throughout the year, modifying the marks of the best students to make them doubt their test-taking abilities and turn to the Student Council for speed-like “study drugs”. Funke says that while Paul wasn’t a part of the scam, group ringleader Marlon Piazza (Luke Grimes) has Paul framed to avoid being caught. Funke also finds out that Francesca led him along the entire time to keep him from finding out the truth. Francesca and Marlon, step-siblings, are revealed as lovers.Funke confronts the group in the principal’s office. Marlon threatens to have Funke thrown out the window and frame it as a suicide, but his threat and confession are heard on the school’s intercom system. When Funke entered the room, he secretly turned on the microphone; Funke’s friends save him from being thrown out the window and Kirkpatrick rushes into the office, followed by the student body and Francesca. Francesca attempts to gain Funke’s trust again, only to be shut down and left to deal with Kirkpatrick’s punishment.The script is tight and interesting, if very slightly predictable (anyone with even a cursory knowledge of film noir could guess the direction that Micha Barton’s character was going to take in the end), but the actors did a great job with their material, and the director kept the visuals interesting without going over the top on sex appeal or exaggerating the lifestyles of high school students; nobody drives a Porsche, nobody lives in a mansion, none of the girls are perfect barbie dolls, etc. The director deserves credit for staying away from these tropes and the characters benefit greatly for it. Overall, a very good movie, and very much worth watching.

 

 

REVIEW: PRECIOUS CARGO

CAST

Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved By The Bell)
Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Claire Forlani (Mallrats)
Jenna B. Kelly (Extraction)
John Brotherton (Fuller House)
Daniel Bernhardt (John Wick)
Lydia Hull (Van Wilder)

A lot has been said and written about this film, mostly about its troubled production – forget all that: it has no meaning whatsoever for the experience this film provides. A word of advice though: if you go in expecting a testosterone-fueled revenge thriller in the vein of ‘Die Hard’, you’ll likely end up disappointed. It’s simply not that kind of film – but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it if you watch it with the right expectations. ‘Precious Cargo’ opens with a standoff for the ages; we see snippets of memories showing a peaceful life – and soon the loss of that peace, and the loss of life. The images change and we hear the soothing sound of shooting blanks as we follow the camera via a long tracking shot over a seaside crime scene; it’s an image that seems to imply peace, evoking nature’s beauty with an almost meditative quality – before the barrel of a rifle appears in the frame. Those first three minutes I just described set the tone for the film perfectly. It’s a film that tells a story of harrowing circumstances through images that are breathtakingly beautiful; a film about survival and death and shocking acts of sudden violence – and yet a film that, despite all its visceral intensity, also has a quiet, immersive quality to it that feels almost hypnotic.Many critics and reviewers have pointed out the stark contrast between the film’s poetic beauty and the ugliness of its violence – implying the director wanted to use this contrast to make a certain point regarding mankind’s interference with nature. While that would seem pretty obvious (and it probably is at least partly true), I left the film feeling the director had shown a vaster, far too complete image of the clash between Zack Morris and the seedy crime underworld to justify such a simplistic interpretation of the events portrayed on screen. Whether intentionally or not, the filmmakers shows the star of his film with a complexity and honesty that we normally don’t get to see in these kinds of stories. And I’m not talking about Mark-Paul Gosslear here (who gives a no-holds-barred, crazy good performance and I’d love to see him win an Oscar for this film) – the star of this film is not a person: it IS the tits on the scene with the dumb blondes, plain and simple.The revenge plot – which felt almost like an afterthought or a ploy to give the film a certain structure and a proper ending – is not really the film’s main theme or strongest aspect, and it certainly isn’t the reason that made this film so compelling to watch for me. Such stories have been told often enough – and often better – than in ‘Precious Cargo’. No, what really made this film stand out for me is that I have NEVER seen a Hollywood film (any film, really – apart from documentaries) that showed speedboats in such an unflinchingly honest and mesmerizing way as was the case here. And the way I perceive it, the director sees his human protagonists as being very much a part of waterside existence as a whole – regardless of their destructive behaviour.It’s that refreshingly wholistic approach (which some viewers might perceive as nihilism on the director’s part) that I found to be the film’s biggest accomplishment: it depicts the people in this story as just another species trying to survive in that perilous frontier-world. The emphasis is not really on the moral aspects of the brutal injustice that the main character suffers or how the beachgoers are cruelly exploited; we witness all that – but Iñarritu keeps a certain emotional distance, as if he were shooting a documentary about predatory wildlife. And just like the boat attack, most of the violence in this film comes as a reaction of defense. Be it self-defense, defending one’s offspring or defending territory and valuable resources. Even the character that comes closest to an actual villain is driven by fear – not hate, and his most obvious character defects were caused by a very traumatizing experience. As in seaside settings, there is a simple (if often brutal) logic to why most characters, men or beasts, act the way they do in ‘Precious Cargo’ (OK, maybe not the bimbos – but I didn’t say the film was perfect, did I). And the boat attack was the most realistic depiction of a water-based attack I have ever seen on film.All in all, this film felt less like a story of revenge and more like an ode to the visceral beauty of nature and the relentless, savage force that is life; it provides an immensely absorbing – and touching – experience to those who have an affinity for the wilderness, but it’s also a visual masterpiece and a great piece of old-school filmmaking for lovers of Cinema.