REVIEW: THE MACHINIST

 

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jennfier Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (I’m Not Scared)
John Sharian (Chicken Run)
Michael Ironside (Starship troopers)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)

Trevor Reznik is a machinist whose insomnia has led to his becoming emaciated. His appearance and behavior keeps his coworkers away, and they eventually turn against him when he is involved in an accident that causes his coworker, Miller, to lose his left arm. Trevor, who was distracted by an unfamiliar co-worker named Ivan, is blamed for the accident. No one at the factory knows of Ivan and there are no records of him. Trevor seems to find peace only with Stevie, a prostitute with genuine affection for him, and with Marie, a waitress at an airport diner he frequents. He is haunted by brief flashes of recurring imagery, and things such as his car cigarette lighter take on a menacing air. A mysterious series of post-it notes appear on his refrigerator, depicting a game of hangman.

These vague incidents send him further into paranoia, but he nonetheless attempts to establish a relationship with Marie. Meeting her at an amusement park, Trevor goes with her son Nicholas on a fun house ride called “Route 666,” whose flashing lights cause Nicholas to suffer an epileptic seizure. No longer able to think clearly, Trevor suspects that the bizarre events are a concerted effort to drive him insane. These ideas are fed to him in small random clues. One of them is a picture of Ivan fishing with Trevor’s coworker Reynolds, which he discovers in Ivan’s wallet when Ivan leaves it unattended in a pub. Another near-accident at work causes Trevor to lash out in rage at his co-workers; as a result, he is immediately fired. Increasingly distracted and alienated, Trevor forgets to pay his utility bills and his electricity is disconnected. A dark, viscous liquid begins trickling out of the freezer, coating the fridge door with streaks of what appears to be blood.After several attempts to confront Ivan, Trevor tries to trace his license plate. He follows Ivan’s car to read its license plate, but runs out of gas during the pursuit. When a DMV clerk insists that personal information cannot be released unless a crime has been committed, Trevor throws himself in front of a car in order to accuse Ivan of committing a hit and run. He files a police report with Ivan’s plate number on it, only to be baffled when he is told that the car in question is his own; he had reported the vehicle totaled one year ago. He flees from the suspicious policemen and goes to Stevie, who clothes and washes him, but he finds the photo of Ivan and Reynolds framed in her home and accuses her of conspiring against him. Confused, Stevie says the picture is of Reynolds and Trevor, but he refuses to look at it and is thrown out after a verbal conflict. He goes to the airport diner, but is told by an unfamiliar waitress that they’ve never had an employee named Maria. The waitress has served Trevor every day for a year, Trevor saying so little the waitress began to think he was a mute.In the film’s climax, Trevor sees Ivan take Nicholas into Trevor’s apartment and, fearing the worst, sneaks inside. Nicholas is nowhere to be seen and doesn’t respond to Trevor’s calls. He confronts Ivan in the bathroom and kills him after a struggle. He pulls back the shower curtain, only to find the bathtub empty. He goes to the refrigerator and opens it to find rotting fish and other spoiled food tumble out. His mind then flashes back to the fishing photo, which actually shows a healthy Trevor with Reynolds, just as Stevie claimed. Ivan being in the photo was part of Trevor’s delusion. The scene returns to one that occurred during the opening credits, in which he tries to dispose of someone’s corpse – presumably Ivan’s – by rolling it in a rug and casting it into the ocean. When the rug unravels, there is nothing inside. Ivan, alive as ever, appears holding a flashlight and laughs.The scene then cuts to Trevor staring into a mirror at home, repeating the words “I know who you are.” It is revealed that one year ago, Trevor ran over and killed a boy identical to Nicholas after taking his eyes off the road to use the car’s cigarette lighter, which was witnessed by the boy’s mother, identical to Maria. He decided to drive away, and the resulting guilt became the deep-seated cause of his insomnia, emaciation and repressed memory. Ivan was a figment of Trevor’s imagination and a manifestation of himself before the accident. He fills the missing letters of the hangman note to spell “killer.” He briefly considers going to the airport and escaping, but instead drives to police headquarters, signifying his “road to salvation,” a recurring theme in the film. He is accompanied by a silent but encouraging Ivan, who bids him an approving farewell outside the station. At the police station’s front desk, he confesses to the hit and run. Two police officers escort Trevor to a cell, where he states his intention to sleep and does so for the first time in a year.Overall, I would recommend this film, but not to casual movie-goers. This is very much a movie-phile experience for those who appreciate character development and cinematography as much as plot points and a storyline that can be defined and followed from one action to the next. In that way it is closer to films like Magnolia or the Others, where the apex is the characters. If you are looking for a typical popcorn Hollywood thriller, this is not what you are looking for.

Advertisements

REVIEW: AMERICAN PSYCHO

CAST

Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Reese Witherspoon (Devil’s Knot)
Chloe Sevigny (Big Love)
Justin Theroux (The Girl On The Train)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Bill Sage (Precious)
Matt Ross (The Aviator)
Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Samantha Mathis (The Punisher)
Willem Dafoe (The Last Temptation of Christ)
Cara Seymour (You’ve Got Mail)
Guinevere Turner (Go Fish)
Krista Sutton (6teen)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Anthony Lemke (Dark Matter)

In 1987, wealthy New York investment banker Patrick Bateman’s life revolves around dining at trendy restaurants while keeping up appearances for his fiancée Evelyn and for his circle of wealthy and shallow associates, most of whom he dislikes. Bateman describes the material accoutrements of his lifestyle, including his daily morning exercise and beautification routine. He also discusses his music collection, with performers such as Huey Lewis and the News, Phil Collins, and Whitney Houston. His focus on a lavish lifestyle is also evident by his taste in expensive designer clothing and his luxurious apartment.Bateman and his associates flaunt their business cards in a display of vanity. Enraged by the superiority of co-worker Paul Allen’s card, Bateman murders a homeless man and kills the man’s dog. At a Christmas party, Bateman makes plans to have dinner with Paul, with Paul mistaking Bateman for another coworker, Marcus Halberstram. Bateman gets Paul drunk and lures him back to his apartment. While playing “Hip to Be Square” on the stereo, explaining to Paul his opinion and interpretation of the song, Bateman murders Paul with an axe, donning a rain coat moments before, to keep blood off of his clothes. He disposes of Paul’s body, then goes to Paul’s apartment to stage the situation so that others believe Paul has run off to London.Bateman is later interviewed about Paul’s disappearance in his office by private detective Donald Kimball, hired by Paul’s family. During the night, Bateman takes two prostitutes, whom he names Christie and Sabrina, to his apartment and explains to them the improvement he saw in the band Genesis after they moved away from progressive rock toward a more pop rock sound beginning with the album Duke. After they have sex, Bateman tells them to stay, while taking out instruments he uses for torture. In the next scene, the prostitutes leave his apartment bruised and bloodied.The next day, Bateman’s colleague Luis Carruthers reveals his new business card. Bateman tries to kill Luis in the restroom of an expensive restaurant, but cannot bring himself to strangle him. Luis mistakes the attempted murder for a sexual advance and declares his love for Bateman, who flees in disgust. After murdering a model, Bateman invites his secretary, Jean, to dinner, suggesting she meet him at his apartment for drinks beforehand. When Jean arrives, Bateman, unbeknownst to her, holds a nailgun to the back of her head while the two converse. When he receives an answering machine message from his fiancée, he asks Jean to leave. Kimball meets Bateman for lunch and tells him he is not under suspicion.Bateman has a threesome with his friend Elizabeth and Christie at Paul’s apartment. Bateman kills Elizabeth during sex, and Christie runs, discovering multiple female corpses as she searches for an exit. She is chased by a naked Bateman wielding a chainsaw, and as she is running down the stairs of Paul’s apartment building, is killed by the chainsaw which Bateman drops from several levels above herBateman breaks off his engagement with Evelyn. That night, as he uses an ATM, he finds a stray kitten; the ATM displays the text “feed me a stray cat”. As he prepares to shoot the cat, a woman sees him and tries to stop him; he shoots her and lets the cat go free. A police chase ensues, but Bateman destroys the police cars by shooting their gas tanks. Fleeing to his office, Bateman enters the wrong office building, where he murders a security guard and a janitor. In an office he believes to be his, Bateman calls his lawyer Harold and frantically leaves a lengthy confession on Harold’s answering machine.The following morning, Bateman visits Paul’s apartment, expecting it to be full of decomposing bodies and in the middle of a police investigation, but it is vacant and for sale. The real estate broker tells him to leave. As Bateman goes to meet with his colleagues and lawyer for lunch, a horrified Jean finds detailed drawings of murder, mutilation, and rape in Bateman’s office journal. Bateman sees Harold at a restaurant and tries to convince him that he is a serial killer relating to the phone message he left the other night. Harold mistakes Bateman for another colleague and laughs off the phone message confession as a joke, saying he had dinner with Paul in London days earlier. A confused Bateman returns to his friends and in a final voice-over narration, he realizes he will continue to escape the punishment he deserves, that there has been no catharsis: “This confession has meant nothing”.American Psycho is wickedly funny, surreal and gruesome film, a stroke of masterpiece.

REVIEW: TERMINATOR SALVATION

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Moon Bloodgood (Faster)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Common (Wanted)
Helena Bonham Carter (Darkk Shadows)
Terry Crews (Training Day)
Linda Hamilton (ChucK)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Chris Browning (Cowboys & Aliens)

In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Worthington) to sign over his body for medical research following his execution. Sometime later, the automated Skynet system is activated, becomes self-aware; perceiving humans as a threat to its existence, it starts a nuclear holocaust to eradicate them in the event known as “Judgment Day”. In 2018, John Connor (Bale) leads an attack on a Skynet base, where he discovers human prisoners and schematics for a new type of Terminator, incorporating living tissue, the T-800. Connor survives a violent assault on the base, which is destroyed. Following Connor’s departure, Wright emerges from the base’s wreckage and begins walking towards Los Angeles.Connor returns to the Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and is briefed by General Ashdown (Ironside) that the Resistance has discovered a hidden signal containing a code protocol which they believe can initiate a permanent shutdown of Skynet’s machines. Working on this intelligence, the human militia plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco. It is decided among the Resistance that the offensive will commence in four days, due to an intercepted kill-list created by Skynet, which plans to terminate the Resistance’s command staff within the same time frame. Connor learns he is second on this list, following Kyle Reese (Yelchin). The Resistance leaders are unaware of Reese’s importance, but Connor knows Reese will eventually travel back in time and become his father, and realizes that Skynet has learned of this fact.Arriving at the ruins of Los Angeles, Wright encounters Reese and a mute child named Star (Berry) during a violent skirmish with Terminators. Reese and Star are subsequently abducted and taken prisoner by Skynet. Later, two Resistance A-10 airplanes are shot down while trying to intercept a machine transport. Wright locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Bloodgood), as they make their way to Connor’s base, where thereafter, Wright is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that Wright is indeed a cyborg, with a mechanical endoskeleton and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Although Wright believes himself to be human, Connor and his wife think that Wright has been sent to execute him and orders him to be killed. Williams helps Wright escape. During the pursuit, Wright saves Connor’s life from Skynet’s hydrobots and the two make a bargain; Wright will enter Skynet’s headquarters in San Francisco, to help Connor rescue Reese and the other prisoners, if he lets him live.Connor pleads with General Ashdown to delay the offensive so he can formulate a plan to extract the human captives, but Ashdown refuses and relieves Connor of his command. However, the Resistance disobey Ashdown’s orders and instead, await Connor’s signal. Wright enters the base, interfaces with the computer, and disables perimeter defenses so that Connor can infiltrate the cellblock and release human prisoners. Wright learns from Skynet (which assumes the form of Dr. Kogan on a screen), that he was created and built from the original Wright’s corpse to lure Connor to the base; when the Resistance launches its attack, Connor will be killed, achieving the goal that Skynet had failed to accomplish in the past. The hidden signal that the Resistance received earlier is revealed to have been a ruse, and Skynet uses it to track down and destroy the command submarine with the Resistance’s leaders aboard.

Wright tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists Connor in battling the new T-800 (Model 101) Terminator (Kickinger). Wright is soon outclassed in strength and temporarily disabled until Connor comes to his aid. Wright eventually defeats the T-800 while Connor destroys the Skynet base by rigging together explosives. Connor, Wright, Reese, and Star are airlifted out. Connor though was seriously wounded during the assault with a life-threatening injury to his heart. Wright offers his own heart for transplantation, sacrificing himself to save Connor. As he recovers, Connor radios to other Resistance fighters that, although this battle has been won, the war is still not over.

Basically there are a few of loopholes and inconsistencies which could bring you down if you linger too long on them, but if you are able to get past that it is definitely worth watching. Not the best Terminator film, but not as bad the haters say.

 

REVIEW: LITTLE WOMEN

CAST

Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Gabriel Byrne (Stigmata)
Trini Alvarado (The Frighteners)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Claire Danes (Romeo + Juliet)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Mary Wickes (Sister Act)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Seires)
Donal Logue (Gotham)

The film focuses on the March sisters: beautiful Meg (Trini Alvarado), tempestuous Jo (Winona Ryder), tender Beth (Claire Danes), and romantic Amy (Kirsten Dunst), who are growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during and after the American Civil War. With their father away fighting in the war, the girls struggle with major and minor problems under the guidance of their strong-willed mother, affectionately called Marmee (Susan Sarandon). As a means of escaping some of their problems, the sisters revel in performing in romantic plays written by Jo in their attic theater.Living next door to the family is wealthy Mr. Laurence (John Neville), whose grandson Theodore, nicknamed “Laurie” (Christian Bale), moves in with him and becomes a close friend of the March family, particularly Jo. Mr. Laurence becomes a mentor for Beth, whose exquisite piano-playing reminds him of his deceased daughter, and Meg falls in love with Laurie’s tutor John Brooke (Eric Stoltz). Mr. March is wounded in the war and Marmee is called away to nurse him. While Marmee is away, Beth contracts scarlet fever from a neighbor’s infant. Awaiting Marmee’s return, Meg and Jo send Amy away to live in safety with their Aunt March. Prior to Beth’s illness, Jo had been Aunt March’s companion for several years, and while she was unhappy with her position she tolerated it in the hope her aunt one day would take her to Europe. When Beth’s condition worsens, Marmee is summoned home and nurses her to recovery just in time for Christmas. Mr. Laurence gives his daughter’s piano to Beth, Meg accepts John Brooke’s proposal and Mr. March surprises his family by returning home from the war.Four years pass; Meg and John marry, and Beth’s health is deteriorating steadily. Laurie graduates from college, proposes to Jo and asks her to go to London with him, but realizing she thinks of him more as a big brother than a romantic prospect, she refuses his offer. Jo later deals with the added disappointment that Aunt March has decided to take Amy, who is now sixteen (and now played by Samantha Mathis), with her to Europe instead of her. Crushed, Jo departs for New York City to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. There she meets Friedrich Bhaer (Gabriel Byrne), a German professor who challenges and stimulates her intellectually, introduces her to opera and philosophy, and encourages her to write better stories than the lurid Victorian melodramas she has penned so far.In Europe, Amy is reunited with Laurie. She is disappointed to find he has become dissolute and irresponsible and scolds him for pursuing her merely to become part of the March family. In return, he bitterly rebukes her for courting one of his wealthy college friends in order to marry into money. He leaves Amy a letter asking her to wait for him while he works in London for his grandfather and makes himself worthy of her. Jo is summoned home to see Beth, who finally dies of the lingering effects of scarlet fever that have plagued her for the past four years. Grieving for her sister, Jo retreats to the comfort of the attic and begins to write her life story. Upon its completion, she sends it to Professor Bhaer. Meanwhile, Meg gives birth to twins Demi and Daisy. A letter from Amy informs the family Aunt March is too ill to travel, so Amy must remain in Europe with her. In London, Laurie receives a letter from Jo in which she informs him of Beth’s death and mentions Amy is in Vevey, unable to come home. Laurie immediately travels to be at Amy’s side. They finally return to the March home as husband and wife, much to Jo’s surprise and eventual delight.Aunt March dies and she leaves Jo her house, which she decides to convert into a school. Professor Bhaer arrives with the printed galley proofs of her manuscript but when he mistakenly believes Jo has married Laurie he departs to catch a train to the West, where he is to become a teacher. Jo runs after him and explains the misunderstanding. When she begs him not to leave, he proposes marriage and she happily accepts.It’s a small scale masterpiece that will leave you in tears. The film is honest and true in it’s portrayal of human emotion. It went from being an adaptation of the book to it’s own story and portrayal of people and their lives. It’s beautiful aesthetically and dramatically, and a real gem of a film.

 

REVIEW: REIGN OF FIRE

51zLrfJuG3L

CAST

Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Mattehw McConaughey (Interstellar)
Izabella Scorupco (Exorcist: The Beginning)
Gerard Butler (300)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Laura Pyper (Hex)

The film opens at an unspecified date in the early 21st century. During construction on the London Underground, workers penetrate an underground cave. A huge dragon emerges from hibernation, incinerating the workers with its breath. The only survivor is a boy, Quinn Abercromby (Ben Thornton), whose mother, Karen (Alice Krige)—the construction crew chief—is crushed to death protecting him. The dragon flies out of the Underground, and soon more dragons appear. It is revealed through newspaper clippings and the narration that dragons are the species responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. They are speculated to hibernate after destroying most living creatures until the planet repopulates. After the dragons reawaken, humanity resists with military force, including with nuclear weapons in 2010. This, however, only hastens the destruction, and within a few years, humans are nearly extinct.In 2020, Quinn (Christian Bale) leads a community of survivors in a Northumberland castle. They are starving while awaiting harvest. Although most trust Quinn, some are restless and defiant. Eddie (David Kennedy) and his group steal a truck to pick tomatoes, though it is too soon for harvest. They are attacked by a dragon; one man is killed, and the rest are surrounded by fire. Quinn, Creedy (Gerard Butler), and Jared (Scott Moutter) rescue them with old fire engines, but the dragon kills Eddie’s son before escaping. The Kentucky Irregulars, a group of Americans led by Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey), arrive with a Chieftain tank and AgustaWestland AW109 utility helicopter, the latter of which is piloted by Alex Jensen (Izabella Scorupco). Van Zan has a system for hunting dragons and knows their weakness: poor vision before sunset. He and Quinn kill the dragon who destroyed the crops.

Van Zan tells Quinn all the dragons they have found have been female. The Americans believe there is only one male—if they kill it, the dragons can no longer reproduce. Although Quinn knows about the male dragon, which killed his mother, he refuses to help. Van Zan orders his soldiers to enlist the castle’s best men. Quinn argues that if they find the male, it will kill them and find the castle. Van Zan’s group is attacked by the dragon in the ruins of a town 66 miles (106 km) from London. The dragon then finds the castle and kills most of its inhabitants. Quinn tries to get the survivors to a bunker; Creedy saves him and is killed by the dragon in his place. Van Zan and Jensen return and free those in the bunker. Quinn tells Van Zan he will help them hunt the male dragon. They fly to London and find hundreds of dragons, with smaller ones cannibalized by the larger male. Van Zan tells Quinn about a plan to shoot explosives down the dragon’s throat with a crossbow. Van Zan fires, but the dragon destroys the arrow and eats Van Zan. Quinn and Alex lure the dragon to ground level, where Quinn fires into the dragon’s mouth, killing it.

Later, Quinn and Alex erect a radio tower on a hill overlooking the North Sea. There has been no dragon sighting for over three months. Jared arrives to say they have contacted a group of French survivors who want to speak to their leader. Quinn tells Jared he is now their leader and dedicates himself to rebuilding.

Overall it took time to get going and it never lives up to the marketing hype but it’s still enjoyable. Once you get past the first part then you’re free to enjoy the second half of the film and a really enjoyable climax.

REVIEW: HARSH TIMES

 

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
Freddy Rodriguez (Sin City)
Eva Longoria (Over Her Dead Body)
Tammy Trull (Havoc)
Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Jim Davis (Christian Bale) is a former U.S. Army Ranger who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jim has a Mexican girlfriend, Marta (Tammy Trull), whom he is determined to marry, and bring into the United States to start a life together. With this in mind, Jim returns to Los Angeles, California. In Los Angeles, Jim meets up with his best friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez). Mike’s longtime girlfriend, Sylvia (Eva Longoria), a young attorney, is “on the warpath” over his failure to get a job (his previous job was outsourced) and she encourages Jim to help Mike hand out resumes. After being denied a position in the Los Angeles Police Department for failing the psychological profile, Jim gets drunk with Mike, forgetting all about the resumes.

The two go to visit Jim’s ex-girlfriend, but when her current boyfriend shows up, a fight ensues in which the boyfriend is backed up by a group of friends. Jim is able to get the upper hand and when Mike produces a gun, they subdue the men and rob them of their possessions, including marijuana and a handgun which they later decide to sell. Jim later leaves messages on Mike’s answering machine with several different voices, pretending to be companies responding to his resume.

The next day, when Jim goes to visit Mike, he finds Sylvia in a surprisingly good mood due to the callbacks. Jim and Mike end up wasting the day again, getting a friend of theirs to leave another message on Mike’s answering machine. They then go to a “paisa” bar to try to sell the gun, but leave after their potential buyer is stabbed in the neck and killed. Mike is horrified, but Jim is strangely excited by witnessing death again. When Mike arrives back home drunk, Sylvia is upset, so Mike plays back the answering machine, unaware that his friend didn’t hang up early enough and his voice is heard on the tape. Sylvia is enraged and throws Mike out of the house. He goes and stays at Jim’s place. Jim gets shortlisted for a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and after cheating on a urine test, it appears that he is going to be given a position.

Jim manages to pass the urinalysis test, but subsequently fails a polygraph test due to a question about his drug use. The only hope left for him is a government agent working out of Colombia, who appreciates Jim’s ability to “get things done”; Jim eventually accepts the position but is warned that he must not get married to a foreigner; his security clearance might be revoked. Jim is told to report to FLETC in a few days. Meanwhile, Mike gets a job when a company he applies at is now managed by an old friend. Jim goes to visit Marta along with Mike and another one of their friends, but before they leave, Mike goes to visit Sylvia and tells her that he has a job for real. She calms down and the two make love. Impatient, Jim goes inside and tells Sylvia that Mike is coming to Mexico with him for the weekend, as it is their last chance to hang out. Sylvia is angry and very much against the idea, and so Jim yells at both her and Mike. Mike decides to go with Jim to Mexico.

The trio arrive in Mexico, where they spend a relaxing night and morning the next day, preparing for a big party that night. At the party, Marta reveals that she is pregnant, and Jim responds violently, threatening to punch her in the stomach and shoot her in the head; in the end, this is a result of Jim’s severe PTSD. On the way back, Jim reveals that he is transporting 20 kilos of marijuana, much to Mike’s dismay. When Mike protests, Jim pulls a gun on him, flashing back, before breaking down in tears, horrified at what he is becoming. Mike, filled with pity for his friend, agrees to accompany Jim to the deal after all. When they arrive to sell the drugs, they realize one of the buyers was the same man they had earlier robbed and beaten, the boyfriend of Jim’s old flame.

Hostility ensues with both Jim and the other gang members pulling out guns, resulting in the other man’s death. The other members of the buying party present plead for their lives, but Jim kills them while suffering flashbacks due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While Jim and Mike are escaping in the car, a man from inside the house steps out and shoots at the car with an Armsel Striker; Jim is hit in the back and the side of his face, and subsequently paralyzed. He urges Mike to “step up” and shoot him, thus ending his suffering. After some hesitation, Mike and Jim say their goodbyes and Mike ends up killing Jim. The film ends with Mike returning to Sylvia, who was in the process of packing her belongings to leave for good. They embrace together as Mike breaks down crying.

The movie is an indictment of our culture and how messed up our priorities are, the choices we make, the choices we are given. It was written by David Ayer, who wrote Training Day and he directed it as well. This is in some ways a similar movie. it tackles similar themes from a slightly more askew angle. It’ a great movie, it has its slight faults but theres plenty to appreciate. If you like intelligent, adult fim making this is worth checking out.

REVIEW: SHAFT (2000)

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Busta Rhymes (Halloween 8)
Dan Hedaya (Commando)
Toni Collette (Japanese Story)
Richard Roundtree (Heroes)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)

NYPD Detective John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson) is called in to investigate the racially motivated murder of Trey Howard (Mekhi Phifer), committed by Walter Wade, Jr. (Christian Bale), the son of a wealthy real estate tycoon. Shaft briefly meets a potential eyewitness to the murder, Diane Palmieri (Toni Collette), but she disappears soon after and cannot be found for the trial. Wade is released on bail and flees to Switzerland.

Two years later, Wade returns and Shaft rearrests him for leaving the country. During his temporary incarceration at police headquarters, Wade meets Peoples Hernandez (Jeffrey Wright), a Dominican drug lord. Wade relinquishes his passport and is released on bail again; in frustration Shaft resigns from the police force, promising to bring Wade to justice on his own terms. Worried that Shaft might find the missing eyewitness, Wade hires Peoples to find and kill her first.

Shaft continues his search for Diane, enlisting the help of his friends Detective Carmen Vasquez (Vanessa L. Williams) and taxi driver Rasaan (Busta Rhymes). While visiting Diane’s uncooperative mother, Shaft and Carmen realise they are being followed by officers Jack Roselli (Dan Hedaya) and Jimmy Groves (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), who have been paid by Peoples to follow Shaft and get to Diane. Shaft finally finds her, but before they can talk, they are attacked by Peoples’s men. In the shootout, Shaft kills Peoples’s younger brother. Shaft, Diane, Rasaan, and Diane’s brother manage to escape to Rasaan’s apartment, but they are followed by Roselli and Groves. While at the apartment, Diane confesses that she saw the entire murder, and kept silent in return for a payoff from Wade’s father.

When Peoples arrives at the location, another shootout takes place. Roselli and Groves, outed as corrupt, are killed by Carmen. In a face-off between Shaft and Peoples, Peoples insinuates that he’s been working for Wade, and Shaft kills him. Wade’s trial finally arrives. Before it can begin, however, he is gunned down by Trey’s mother, Carla Howard (Lynne Thigpen). In the police station, Shaft reiterates to Carmen that he prefers to be a private detective. A woman arrives, asking for Shaft to help her, claiming to have an abusive boyfriend. Shaft is initially reluctant, but when he sees her injury, he decides to help her anyway. Shaft, along with his uncle, John Shaft I (Richard Roundtree), go together to confront the abusive boyfriend.

This Shaft is a great movie for anyone who’s a fan of the original, Sam Jackson, or great action movies in general.