REVIEW: RED 2

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
John Malkovich (Burn After Reading)
Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold)
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Lee Byung-hun (G.I. Joe)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
David Thewlis (Wonder Woman)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Titus Welliver (Bosch)

Three years after the previous film, while trying to lead a normal life with girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is approached by Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), who claims people are still after them, but Frank dismisses him. After appealing a second time, Marvin drives off, and his car explodes. Although Frank does not believe Marvin is dead, Sarah convinces him to go to Marvin’s funeral where he delivers a teary-eyed eulogy.After the funeral, a group of government agents approach Frank and take him to be interrogated at a Yankee White Facility. During the interrogation, Jack Horton (Neal McDonough) appears with an armed SWAT team, kills most of the facility’s personnel, and tells Frank that he will torture Sarah until he gets information out of Frank. Frank escapes from the room, evades Horton’s assassins, and with the sudden timely help of Marvin, who turns out to be alive, goes on the run with Sarah.In a diner, Marvin explains that he and Frank are being hunted because they were listed as participants in a clandestine operation codenamed Nightshade, conducted during the Cold War to smuggle a nuclear weapon into Russia piece by piece. Horton has convinced world agencies that Frank and his crew are terrorists and must be stopped. Victoria (Helen Mirren) calls, telling Frank she has been contracted by MI6 to kill the three of them. Meanwhile, top contract killer Han Cho-Bai (Lee Byung-hun), whom Horton knows is seeking revenge on Frank, is also hired.Frank, Marvin, and Sarah steal Han’s plane and fly to Paris to find a man nicknamed “The Frog” (David Thewlis), with the Americans and Han in pursuit. As they arrive in Paris, they are stopped by Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a Russian secret agent with whom Frank had a relationship earlier in his career. Katja is also in search of Nightshade, and joins them to find The Frog. When he sees them, The Frog flees. Frank and Katja catch him and bring him back to his house, where Sarah seduces him, both to help them and to prove she is a better girlfriend than Katja.The Frog gives them the key to his security box, which Katja apparently takes from Frank after drugging him; but Marvin, anticipating this, had handed a similar-looking key to Frank before his meeting with her. Marvin, Frank, and Sarah later find documents in The Frog’s security box which point to Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant physicist, as the creator of the Operation Nightshade bomb.They find that Bailey is alive, held thirty-two years in a maximum security asylum for the criminally insane in London. Victoria (alerted by Marvin) unexpectedly confronts the trio, but helps to fake their deaths and then gain access to the asylum, in which Victoria feigns insanity, while Frank and Sarah poses as the facility staff, (having tied up and gagged the real staff with duct tape). Frank and Victoria meet Bailey, who is hyperactive and cannot rationally respond to their questions thanks to mind-fogging drugs the asylum had been giving him, so they take him to one of Marvin’s safehouses. After the drugs begin to wear off, Bailey remembers the bomb is still in Moscow.They travel to Moscow, and Bailey concludes he hid the bomb in the Kremlin. They break into the Kremlin, and Bailey locates the suitcase-sized bomb, which is powered by red mercury, which has no radioactive signature and causes no fallout. As they are about to leave, Katja stops them. Frank persuades her to switch to their side. After they escape and are celebrating, Victoria, who has escaped MI6 imprisonment for failing to kill him, calls Frank from London and tells him that Bailey was locked up because he had wanted to detonate the bomb, not sell it. Bailey quickly holds Frank at gunpoint and confirms Victoria’s message, revealing that he made a deal with Horton and the Americans to give them the red mercury. He shoots Katja, making it look as if Frank killed her, and leaves with the bomb case. Horton reneges on his deal with Bailey, intending to interrogate him until all his secrets have been tortured out of him, but Bailey escapes during air transit using a nerve gas he created, administering the antidote to both himself and Horton. Bailey then moves to the Iranian embassy in London. Before Frank can follow him, Han attacks. Reaching a standoff, Frank urges Han to join sides with him and stop the bomb. Han finally relents, and the five enact a plan to recapture Bailey and the bomb.Sarah first seduces the Iranian ambassador, then takes him hostage. Marvin poses as a person seeking to defect to Iran, causes a diversion with the embassy plumbing, and the disguised team comes to “fix” it. They discover in the ambassador’s safe plans disclosing the location of the bomb, but find that Bailey has already triggered the bomb’s countdown timer and killed Horton (after disclosing he also remembered how his family had been killed by people like Horton). When they are discovered by embassy guards, Bailey seizes Sarah and flees to the airport to escape the imminent explosion.Frank, Marvin, Victoria, and Han, taking the active bomb case with them, give chase, but Marvin, in his attempts to disarm the bomb by cutting wires, causes the timer to speed up and count down thrice as fast. Frank, holding the bomb case, boards the plane and confronts Bailey who releases Sarah and forcefully insists he take the bomb off the plane with her. They rejoin Marvin, Victoria, and Han and wait for death as Han’s plane takes off. As it disappears high in the sky it explodes in an immense fireball. Frank reveals that he had covertly placed the bomb from the case into a compartment near the plane’s exit and confronted Bailey with only a closed empty case. Han angrily tells Frank that Frank owes him “$30 million for the plane and $20 million for not killing you (Frank)”. The closing scene shows Sarah enjoying herself on a mission in Caracas with Frank and Marvin.RED 2 is massively entertaining, surprisingly witty and superb fun. A perfect case-study in pure entertainment and even better, if that’s possible, than the first movie. Simply brillian.

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REVIEW: LAY YOUR FAVOURITE

CAST

Rebecca Hall (The Town)
Bruce Willis (Red)
Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro)
Joshua Jackson (Cruel Intentions)
Corbin Bernsen (Psych)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Frank Grillo (The Purge)
Wayne Pere (Galaxy Quest)

Beth is becoming bored with her life in Florida, doing stripteases and lap dances for private customers. Her dad, Jerry, tells her to follow her dream of moving to Las Vegas, where she seeks honest work as a cocktail waitress.A young woman named Holly, who lives at the same Vegas motel, arranges for Beth to meet Dink Heimowitz, a professional gambler who follows the fast-changing odds on sporting events and employs assistants at Dink, Inc., to lay big-money bets for him. Beth is intrigued and it turns out she has a good mind for numbers, easily grasping Dink’s system and becoming his protege. A young journalist, Jeremy, becomes attracted to Beth, but she’s hooked on the excitement and income that gambling provides and is not ready to settle for any kind of normal life.When she begins expressing a more personal interest in her much-older mentor, Dink’s sharp-tongued wife, Tulip, lets it be known in no uncertain terms that she wants Beth out of her husband’s life. Against his advice, Beth accepts a similar job for a rival gambler, a man called Rosie who runs an illegal operation based in Curaçao. She succeeds there at first, but both Rosie and the job turn out to be extremely dangerous, and several lives depend on the outcome of one last game of basketball.It is not an inside look at the gambling industry per se, but it gives you enough of a glimpse. Not the greatest of films but worth watching on a slow night.

 

REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF ZORRO

CAST

Antonio Banderas (The 13th Warrior)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Adrián Alonso (Cristiada)
Rufus Sewell (A knight’s Tale)
Nick Chinlund (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Julio Oscar Mechoso (Jurassic Park 3)
Michael Emerson (Lost)

In 1851, nine years after the events of the first film, Don Alejandro de la Vega is married to Elena and has a son, Joaquin. California is voting on whether to join the United States of America as a state. Zorro foils a plot to steal ballots. During the fight with a gunman named Jacob McGivens, he briefly loses his mask. A pair of Pinkerton agents sees his face and recognize him. The following day, the Pinkertons confront Elena and force her to divorce Alejandro. Three months later, Alejandro is living in a hotel. The separation from Elena and the feeling that the people no longer need Zorro are taking its toll on him. His childhood guardian, Father Felipe, convinces him to attend a party at French Count Armand’s new vineyard. There, Alejandro discovers that Elena is dating the count. After leaving the party, Alejandro witnesses a huge explosion close to Armand’s mansion and becomes suspicious of him.

McGivens leads an attack on the family of Guillermo Cortez, Alejandro’s friend, to seize their land deed. Donning his mask again, Zorro rescues Guillermo’s wife and son, but fails to save Guillermo and the deed. Zorro follows McGivens to at Armand’s mansion and discovers that Armand plans to build a railroad on Cortez’s land. Zorro encounters Elena, and learns of an upcoming shipment. He tracks McGivens to a cove where the cargo is delivered. Unbeknownst to him, Joaquin also hitched a ride on McGiven’s cart, having sneaked out of a class trip. Zorro saves his son from the bandits. Examing the shipment, he sees a piece of the cargo, a bar of soap, and the name Orbis Unum from a crate lid.

Felipe and Alejandro then learn that Armand is the head of a secret society, the Knights of Aragon, which has been secretly ruling Europe. The United States is deemed a threat to the Knights. Thus, they plans to throw the country into chaos before it can gain too much power. Alejandro is then captured by the Pinkertons. They reveal to him that they forced Elena to divorce Alejandro and get close to Armand and learn of his plans. Joaquin frees Alejandro from captivity. Zorro goes to Armand’s mansion, meets Elena, and eavesdrops on Armand’s meeting. He learns that the soap bars contain glycerin – a precursor to nitroglycerin. Armand plans to distribute the substance throughout the Confederate Army, with the help of Confederate Colonel Beauregard, to destroy the Union. Zorro and Elena reconcile, and Zorro prepares to destroy the train carrying the explosives. McGivens arrives at Felipe’s church to look for Zorro. Unable to find him, McGivens shoots the priest and kidnaps Joaquin.

At the mansion, Armand is informed by his butler, Ferroq, about Elena’s deception. He confronts her and showing her the bodies of the Pinkerton agents. He takes her and Joaquin hostage on the train carrying the explosives, making Zorro unable to destroy it. Zorro is captured and unmasked in front of his son, to Joaquin’s shock. Armand takes Joaquin and Elena away and orders McGivens to kill Alejandro. Felipe, having been saved from McGivens’s bullet by a cross he wears, arrives. He and Alejandro overpower and kill McGivens. Zorro catches up with Armand and they engage in a sword fight. Meanwhile, Elena has Joaquin escape into the back cars of the train, which she disconnects. Elena then fights Ferroq in the nitro storage car. He and Colonel Beauregard are then killed in an explosion.

Further along the tracks, witnessed by a huge crowd, the governor prepares to sign the bill to make California a state. Joaquin collects Tornado, Zorro’s horse, jumps off the train, and follows it. He hits a track switch, causing the train to harmlessly pass around the ceremony. Zorro and Armand’s duel takes them to the very front of the locomotive. Seeing the track is a dead end, Zorro hooks Armand to the train and escapes with Elena. The train crashes into the pile of rails at the end of the track, setting off the nitroglycerin, killing Armand. With Zorro as an official witness, the governor signs the bill, and California becomes the 31st state of the United States of America. Felipe remarries Alejandro and Elena with Joaquin as the only witness. Alejandro apologizes to his son for hiding his identity, and admits that Zorro’s identity is a family secret rather than just his own. With Elena’s support, Zorro rides off on Tornado to his next mission.

The Legend of Zorro has great action, if you like this kind of film don’t miss it and don’t pay attention to the critics.

REVIEW: THE MASK OF ZORRO

CAST

Antonio Banderas (The 13th Warrior)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Stuart Wilson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Maury Chaykin (Iron Eagle II)

In 1821, Don Diego De La Vega (Anthony Hopkins), a Californio nobleman fights against the Spanish in the Mexican War of Independence as Zorro, a mysterious swordsman who defends the Mexican peasants and commoners of Las Californias. Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), the corrupt governor of the region, learns of De La Vega’s alter ego, and attempts to arrest him. De La Vega’s wife is killed during the scuffle. Montero imprisons De La Vega and takes his infant daughter, Elena, as his own. Twenty years later Montero returns to California as a civilian, alongside Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones), who has grown into a beautiful woman. Montero’s reappearance motivates De La Vega to escape from prison. He encounters a thief, Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), who, as a child, once did Zorro a favor. De La Vega decides that fate has brought them together, and agrees to make Alejandro his protégé, grooming him to be the new Zorro. Alejandro agrees to undergo De La Vega’s training regimen in Zorro’s lair underneath the ruins of his family estate in order to be able to take revenge on Captain Harrison Love (Matt Letscher), Montero’s right-hand man, who was responsible for killing Alejandro’s brother, Joaquin.While still being trained, Alejandro steals a black stallion resembling Tornado from the local garrison. De La Vega scolds Alejandro, claiming that Zorro was a servant of the people, not a thief and adventurer. He challenges Alejandro to gain Montero’s trust instead. Alejandro poses as a visiting nobleman named Don Alejandro del Castillo y García, with De La Vega as his servant, and attends a party at Montero’s hacienda. At the party he gains Elena’s admiration and enough of Montero’s trust to be invited to a secret meeting where several other noblemen are present. Montero hints at a plan to retake California for the Dons by buying it from General Santa Anna, who needs money to fund his upcoming war with the United States.Montero takes Alejandro and the noblemen to a secret gold mine known as “El Dorado”, where peasants and prisoners are used for slave labor. Montero plans to buy California from Santa Anna using gold mined from Santa Anna’s own land. De La Vega uses this opportunity to become closer to Elena, though he identifies himself as “Bernardo” the servant, learning that Montero told Elena that her mother died in childbirth. While walking in a market, Elena meets the woman who was her nanny who tells Elena her parents’ real identity. De La Vega sends Alejandro, dressed as Zorro, to steal Montero’s map leading to the gold mine. Zorro duels Montero, Love, and their guards at the hacienda. When Zorro escapes, Elena attempts to retrieve Montero’s map from the swordsman, but he seduces her, leading to a passionate kiss before he flees.Terrified of Santa Anna’s retribution if he discovers that he is being paid with his own gold, Montero, at Love’s urging, decides to destroy the mine and kill the workers. De La Vega tells Alejandro to release the workers on his own so that De La Vega can reclaim Elena. Alejandro sets off, feeling betrayed by Diego’s vendetta. De La Vega corners Montero at the hacienda and reveals his identity, but Montero captures him by threatening Elena. As he is taken away, De La Vega tells Elena the name of the flowers she recognized upon her arrival in California, convincing her that he is her father. She releases De La Vega from his cell and they proceed to the mine, where Alejandro and De La Vega respectively defeat and slay Love and Montero. Elena and Alejandro free the workers before the explosives go off, and then find the mortally wounded De La Vega. He makes peace with Alejandro before dying, passing the mantle of Zorro to him, and gives his blessings for his marriage to Elena. In a closing sequence they are shown to be living together after rebuilding the De La Vega family manor with a son named Joaquín, in honor of Alejandro’s brother.Wonderful movie, visually rich and a nice blend of comedy, action and romance, well-written. Hopkins is great; so is Banderas as Zorro-in-training, and Zeta-Jones sparkles in her scenes with him.

REVIEW: TITANIC: THE MINI SERIES

CAST

Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask of Zorro)
George C. Scott (Patton)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Eve Marie Saint (Superman Returns)
Tin Curry (IT)
Roger Rees (The Scorpion King)
Marilu Henner (L.A. Story)
Mike Doyle (Green Lantern)
Harley Jane Kozak (Arachnophobia)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Barry Pepper (The Green Mile)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Molly Parker (The Wicker Man)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)
Ron Halder (Stargate SG.1)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
John Tench (Watchmen)

titanic_1996_facebook_cover_by_thetitaniac-d6kjbf1Titanic follows three main story threads. Isabella Paradine is traveling on the Titanic to join her husband after attending her aunt’s funeral in England. On the Titanic, she meets Wynn Park, her former lover. She falls in love with him again, and after a brief affair, she sends her husband a wireless saying they cannot be together anymore (despite their daughter). When the ship starts sinking, Isabella reluctantly leaves Wynn when he forces her to board a lifeboat. As the boat is lowered, Isabella confesses a long kept secret that her daughter Claire is actually Wynn’s. Later on board the RMS Carpathia she is grief-stricken when she finds Wynn’s lifeless body on deck, having died of hypothermia, but luckily, when the Carpathia reaches New York she is reunited with her family who are blissfully unaware of Isabella’s tryst because the telegram was never sent out due to the sinking.
image-w1280Also in first class is the Allison family, a family travelling on the Titanic, returning home to Montreal with their two small children and new nurse, Alice Cleaver. They gradually become wary and suspicious of her hysterical and neurotic behavior. Later on, a fellow maid asks her if she’d seen her in Cairo the previous month, but soon realizes that she remembers her from the highly publicized trial where Alice was accused of throwing her baby off a train. When the Titanic starts sinking, Alice Cleaver panics and quickly boards a lifeboat with Trevor, the Allisons’ infant son. The parents with their small daughter are unaware that the baby is safe and refuse to leave the ship without him, which in the end costs them their lives.
maxresdefaultIn third class, a young vagrant named Jamie Perse steals a ticket to get on board. He manages to become friends with one of the crewmen, Simon Doonan, who is also a robber, but later is revealed to be a much more violent and callous criminal than Jamie. The young man falls in love with Aase (pronounced “Osa”) Ludvigsen, a recent Christian convert and missionary. On the night of the sinking, Aase is brutally raped and beaten by Doonan, causing her to lose her faith and will to live, but Jamie manages to get her into Isabella’s boat. Unbeknownst to them, Doonan also sneaks aboard that same boat, disguised as an old woman. After the ship sinks, Aase is knocked off the lifeboat by Doonan after she recognizes him, and he attempts to hold the passengers in the boat hostage at gunpoint, but Officer Lowe, who is in charge of the boat, hits Doonan in the head with a paddle, snapping his neck and killing him. Jamie himself manages to survive when he accidentally falls into one of the last lifeboats before the Titanic sinks. He subsequently atones for his past life after he finds Aase in the makeshift hospital aboard the Carpathia. In the end, upon arriving in New York, the two plan to start a new life together.6c6ff95454755dff4381e1617acca662This made-for-TV version of the famous disaster actually stands up fairly well against its $200 million James Cameron counterpart. The effects are good – and in a few cases even on par with Cameron’s version. Indeed, watching the two films back to back, you might be surprised at the similarities between the two versions, at least during some key moments. Both have steerage party scenes, for instance. The cast is generally strong too, particularly Catherine Zeta Jones in one of her first lead performances, and George C. Scott as Capt. Smith. But where Titanic (1996) hits all the wrong notes is in a poorly conceived subplot involving a crooked crewmember (Tim Curry). His character doesn’t really belong here, and his villainous actions get to be quite shocking near the end … it takes away from the human drama of the doomed people on the ship and actually comes close to ruining the movie (though no fault of actor Tim Curry, who turns in a great performance). If you only have time to see one super-long movie based on the disaster, see the Cameron film – if you’ve got time to see two, this one is worth a look.

REVIEW: SIDE EFFECTS

 

CAST

Jude Law (Spy)
Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)

After her husband Martin completes a four-year prison sentence for insider trading, Emily Taylor drives into a wall in an apparent suicide attempt. Jonathan Banks, assigned her psychiatrist, prescribes a series of antidepressants, but none work. Jonathan contacts Emily’s previous psychiatrist, Victoria Siebert, who suggests an experimental new drug, Ablixa. The drug seems to help Emily, but gives her sleepwalking episodes as a side effect.
One night, Emily stabs Martin to death while sleepwalking. Jonathan fights for Emily’s acquittal in court. She pleads insanity and is declared not guilty on the condition that she stays in a psychiatric hospital until cleared by Jonathan. The publicity destroys Jonathan’s reputation, and his colleagues assume negligence on his part.
Jonathan discovers evidence that Emily is lying; she was not depressed and faked her suicide attempts. He also discovers someone may have profited from Ablixa’s fall in stock value. He interviews Emily after administering what he claims is a truth serum that will make her drowsy. Though the serum is actually a placebo, she feigns drowsiness, confirming Jonathan’s suspicion that she is deceiving him. When he confronts Victoria with his findings, she mails photographs to his wife Deirdre implying he had an affair with Emily. Deirdre leaves him, taking her son with him.
Jonathan calls Victoria’s bluff by telling her Emily told him about their plot. He threatens Emily with electric shock treatment and tells her Victoria is paying him to keep her incarcerated so she can keep a bigger cut. Emily explains that she hated Martin for losing their opulent lifestyle, and began plotting to kill him, get away with it and profit by his death. She began seeing Victoria for counseling, and the two women became lovers. Emily taught Victoria about the financial world, while Victoria taught Emily how to fake psychiatric disorders. They plotted to kill Martin and use the negative Ablixa publicity to manipulate stock prices. Jonathan accepts Emily’s offer to give him a cut of her money if he releases her from the ward.
Emily meets Victoria wearing a wire. After Victoria mentions details of the plot, she is arrested for conspiracy to commit murder and securities fraud. Emily, due to double jeopardy, cannot be charged as criminally responsible for her part in Martin’s murder. As retaliation for Emily’s part in the plot, Jonathan, who still oversees her case, prescribes her Thorazine and Depakote and describes their unpleasant side effects. She is sent back to the mental ward for refusing treatment, and Jonathan regains his family and reputation.It’s an edge-of-your-mind thriller rather than an edge-of-your- seat thriller. Never really scared, always questioning the moral and psychological behaviour of these characters. The ending takes some strange, sexually-charged turns, and perhaps a bit more conclusive than I was originally expecting, but don’t worry, you can still question where the line is between right and wrong and when each character crossed it.

REVIEW: THE PHANTOM

CAST

Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
Treat Williams (Hair)
Kristy Swanson (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
James Remar (Gotham)
Patrick McGoohan (Braveheart)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat)
Bill Smitrovich (Air Force One)
Jon Tenney (Legion)

worstcomics-the-phantom-590x350

In the early 16th century, a young boy helplessly witnesses his father’s death at the hands of Kabai Sengh, the ruthless leader of the Sengh brotherhood who attacked their ship. The boy jumps overboard and is washed ashore on an island called Bengalla where he is found by tribesmen who take him to their village. There he is given the Skull Ring and swears to devote his life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice. In adulthood, he adopts the identity of “The Phantom”, a masked avenger. The role of The Phantom is passed on from father to son through centuries, leading people to believe in a single, immortal figure and accordingly nickname him “The Ghost Who Walks” and “The Man Who Never Dies”.the-phantom13

In 1938, Kit Walker (Billy Zane), the 21st Phantom, finds a man named Quill (James Remar) leading a mercenary group in the jungle. The group is searching for one of the Skulls of Touganda, which grants its owner a tremendous destructive power. The Phantom saves the native boy they had kidnapped to be their guide and captures Quill’s men, leaving them to be picked up by the jungle patrol while their leader escapes. Quill—revealed as a member of the Sengh Brotherhood, and the man who killed Kit’s father (Patrick McGoohan)— flees with the Skull and returns to the United States.the_phantom_sala-catehrine-zeta-jones

In New York City, Kit’s ex-girlfriend from college, Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson), is a frequent traveler whose uncle, Dave Palmer (Bill Smitrovich), is the famous owner of the “World Tribune” newspaper. The paper has been investigating power-hungry business man Xander Drax (Treat Williams), a shady character with a reputation for having dealings with criminals. Mr. Palmer has managed to uncover that Drax is connected to a mysterious spider web symbol, which he traces back to the Bengalla Jungle. He sends Diana to investigate, and en route, her airplane is hijacked by female air pirates employed by Drax and led by the femme fatale Sala (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Diana is kidnapped and taken to their base on the waterfront in Bengalla. Having been informed of Diana’s kidnapping by the Jungle Patrol’s captain Phillip Horton (Robert Coleby), the Phantom rescues Diana and escapes from Quill and his men to his headquarters, the Skull Cave (with the help of his white horse Hero, his pet wolf Devil, and his jungle friends the Rope People). There, Diana meets with Horton, where she is informed by the Phantom and Horton that she is involved with the Sengh Brotherhood. The Phantom tells Horton to use the Jungle Patrol to take care of Diana and return her to New York while he goes after the Brotherhood.thephantom199618_zpsd14f3d36

Back in New York, Kit, now dressed as his civilian self, meets with Mr. Palmer at the Tribune building and once again meets with Diana, who has mixed feelings about him since his sudden disappearance several years before. Diana’s would-be suitor Jimmy Wells (Jon Tenney) mentions he had seen one of the skulls in the Museum of Natural History. Kit and Diana hurry there and are captured by Drax and his men, who steal the second Skull from Kit and unite it with the first, revealing the location of the third Skull on an uncharted island known as the Devil’s Vortex on the Yellow Sea. Kit sees his father’s old skull belt buckled around Quill’s waist and realizes that he is his father’s killer. He manages to escape from him and his henchmen and, as the Phantom, evades the police outside the museum (Drax is allied with New York’s corrupt police commissioner, who Mr. Palmer had informed of Diana’s trip). Meanwhile, Sala flies Drax, Quill and Diana (Drax’s “Phantom insurance” after Sala reveals that Diane is his girlfriend) to the Devil’s Vortex, not knowing that the Phantom has managed to hitch a ride on one of the plane’s landing pontoons.thephantomOn the island, Drax meets with the pirate Kabai Sengh (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), a descendant of the Brotherhood’s original leader, who possesses the third Skull. Sengh warns Drax of the existence of a “Fourth Skull”, which controls the power of the other three. The Phantom appears and battles both men, with Kabai Sengh killed by his own pool of sharks, as Diana and Sala cooperate to defeat the other villains. Drax unites the three Skulls and turns them against the Phantom, inadvertently killing Quill in the process. The Phantom uses the Fourth Skull—his own ring—to overcome the others and destroy both them and Drax in a powerful explosion. As the island is destroyed, the Phantom narrowly escapes with Diana and Sala. In Bengalla once again, Diana reveals to the Phantom she has figured out his secret and his double-identity. Kit removes his mask, telling her that he is only allowed to reveal all of his secrets to one person, the woman he intends to marry, but she leaves again for New York. Kit’s father laments his son’s failure to pursue Diana, but states that she will return to the Phantom’s jungle, and to Kit, one day.thephantom199622_zps86cd1744

This movie captures the true spirit of the original Phantom comics. Everything is done right. The time period, the fighting styles, the characterisations, and the whole look of the film are perfect. If you have ever read a Phantom comic and enjoyed it, then see this movie and you’ll not be disappointed.