REVIEW: THE SIEGE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (Training Day)

Annette Bening (American Beauty)

Bruce Willis (Red)

Tony Shalhoub (Men In Black)

Mark Valley (Human Target)

Lance Reddick (Fringe)

Chris Messina (Sharp Objects)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
David Costabile (Breaking Bad)
Ali Afshar (Power Rangers Turbo)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Dave Mallow (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

Following the bombing of an American military installation in the Middle East (the film shows footage from the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing), the U.S. government orchestrates the capture of the mastermind believed to be behind the attack, Sheikh Ahmed bin Talal. In New York City FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard (Washington) and his Lebanese-American partner Frank Haddad (Shalhoub) are told of a hijacked bus, fully loaded with passengers and containing an explosive device. The bomb turns out to be a paint bomb and the terrorists manage to escape. The FBI receives demands to release the sheikh.
Hubbard eventually comes into conflict with CIA agent Elise Kraft (Bening). Hubbard takes a terrorist suspect into custody and arrests Kraft. Afterwards another terrorist threat is made and an MTA bus is bombed, though the children on-board are permitted to leave before the bus is destroyed. When the FBI captures a person of interest named Samir Nazhde he admits to signing the visa application of one of the suicide bombers in the course of signing many applications for student visas in his job as a lecturer. However, Kraft insists that Samir is not a terrorist and that his continued freedom is vital to the investigation.
The FBI eventually identifies and storms a safehouse belonging to terrorists who are associated with the bombings. However, days later, new terror cells launch more devastating attacks, starting with the bombing of the New Victory Theater in Times Square during an evening performance. This is followed days later by a hostage situation at an elementary school (which is resolved when Hubbard shoots the hostage taker). Shortly after this, a suicide bomber drives a van full of explosives into the lobby of One Federal Plaza, the location of the FBI’s New York City field office, resulting in over 600 fatalities.
In spite of objections, the President of the United States declares martial law and armored vehicles and elements of the U.S. Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, under Major General William Devereaux (Willis), occupies and seals off Brooklyn in an effort to find the remaining terrorist cells. Subsequently all young males of Arab descent, including Haddad’s son Frank, Jr., are rounded up and detained in Yankee Stadium. Haddad resigns in protest. New Yorkers stage violent demonstrations against the army and the racial profiling of the Arabs and the Army fights to maintain control. There are reports of Army killings. When pressed by the White House Chief of Staff (Chip Zien) if the United States is holding the Sheikh, General Devereaux denies it.
Hubbard and Kraft, now revealed to be an agent named Sharon Bridger, continue their investigation and capture a suspect, Tariq Husseini. Using torture, Devereaux shoots and kills Husseini (off screen) in the course of the interrogation. Afterward, Bridger tells Hubbard that Husseini knew nothing of value because of the principle of compartmentalized information and, sickened, she finally tells Hubbard what she knows. It is revealed that she herself provided training and support to rebels opposed to Saddam Hussein’s regime, working with Samir to recruit and train the followers of the Sheikh. After the United States cut their funding and left them exposed, she took pity on the few of them who had not yet been slaughtered by Hussein’s forces, and arranged for them to escape to the United States, ultimately leading to the present situation as they turn their covert and bomb making skills on the country that now holds their Sheikh. She and Hubbard compel Samir to arrange a meeting with the final terrorist cell. In a discrete meeting with the White House Chief of Staff Hubbard is finally informed of the Sheikh’s apprehension, which was carried out at General Devereaux’s personal initiative. Hubbard convinces Haddad that he needs his help, and Haddad returns to the FBI.
A multi-ethnic peace march demonstrates against the occupation of Brooklyn. As the march is getting under way Hubbard and Haddad arrive at the meeting place, but Bridger and Samir have already left. Samir reveals to Bridger that he constitutes the final cell while in another sense he says, “there will never be a last cell.” He straps a bomb to his body which he intends to detonate among the marchers. Hubbard and Haddad arrive in time to stop him from leaving, but Samir shoots Bridger in the stomach as she struggles to stop him. Hubbard kills Samir, but despite their best efforts he and Haddad can only watch as Bridger succumbs to her wounds after managing to recite certain lines of the second half of The Lord’s Prayer and concluding with “Insha’Allah” – the Arabic phrase “God Willing.” Hubbard, Haddad, and other FBI agents raid Devereaux’s headquarters to arrest him for the torture and murder of Husseini, as well as his role in kidnapping the Sheikh in violation of the Logan Act. Devereaux insists that under the War Powers Resolution the authority vested in him by the president supersedes that of the court which issued the arrest warrant. He then commands his soldiers to aim their guns at the agents, resulting in a tense standoff. Hubbard reminds Devereaux that the civil liberties and human rights which he took from Husseini are what all his predecessors have fought and died for. Devereaux finally submits and is arrested. Martial law ends, and the detainees, including Haddad’s son, are freed.MV5BZGE4NDIzYzEtZjIwZi00ZDk5LWFiMDQtOGU1YjhkODNhYmExXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_
Highly recommended, at least if you want more than just action and drama and enjoy thought-provoking stories.

REVIEW: THE BONE COLLECTOR

CAST
Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Michael Rooker (Mallrats)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Leland Orser (Confidence)
John Benjamin Hickey (Alias)
Bobby Cannavle (Paul Blart Mall Cop)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
The film begins in late 1999. Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) and a patrol cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), team up to solve a string of murders all connected to a serial killer by his signature: a single shard of bone is removed from each of the victims. Rhyme was paralyzed from the neck down in an earlier accident and is bed-bound and completely reliant on machines and his nurse Thelma (Queen Latifah) to function. He communicates with Amelia via headset as she examines the various crime scenes and collects evidence and reports back to him.
MV5BMTI4ODA0MDMxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjkxNjE3._V1_The killer poses as a New York taxi driver, and abducts and kills those who get in his taxi. The first two victims are a married couple named Alan and Lindsay Rubin, who take a taxi home but then find themselves kidnapped by the killer. Amelia finds Alan’s body buried in a Civil War-era railroad bed. She also finds a collection of clues including a pile of piece-ground oyster shells, which eventually leads Amelia – now working with Rhyme – to Alan’s wife, and a scrap of paper. The detectives find Mrs. Rubin, too late, at a steam junction in a below-ground services area of a building in the financial district, secured using old antique handcuffs or shackles at the mouth of a pipe which emits steam. She has been scalded to death from the steam. The killer has also removed a bit of flesh and bone from her arm. Amelia finds another scrap of paper at the scene.
The killer then abducts an NYU student. He is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse where he is tied to a pole and part of his thigh bone is surgically removed, and left for rats to feed on. Amelia and Rhyme, using the clues left by the killer at the scene of Lindsay Rubin’s death (rat hairs embedded in a bone from a cow’s body), find the victim, but again too late to save him. Again, the killer has removed a piece of the victim’s bone. Amelia is able to collect the evidence, including another scrap of paper. The pressure of the tense investigation and bureaucratic challenges to both Amelia’s and Rhyme’s involvement with the case are having serious impacts on Rhyme’s health and stability.
After piecing together the message the killer was sending using the scraps of paper, Amelia and Rhyme are led to an old crime novel, whose crimes the killer was replicating. This leads them to his next victims, a grandfather and granddaughter tied to a pier as the tide rises. The girl is the first victim they manage to save, but her grandfather dies. At the scene, Amelia finds another bone, part of an old police badge, and an old subway map. These clues, and an earlier clue left by the killer at the scene of Mrs. Rubin’s death (asbestos) lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, in which Amelia sees some numbers which have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme’s police badge number. Amelia then figures out that the killer is after Rhyme.
The killer arrives at Rhyme’s house, and after killing Rhyme’s nurse, Thelma, and Captain Howard Cheney (Michael Rooker), it is revealed that he is the medical technician who cares for Rhyme’s medical equipment, Richard Thompson (Leland Orser). Richard’s real name is Marcus Andrews. An ex-forensic cop whom Rhyme’s testimony helped convict of planting false evidence at crime scenes, Marcus intends to exact his revenge. Rhyme manages to crush Marcus’s right hand by suddenly dropping his bed horizontal, and in the struggle to free himself, Marcus pulls Rhyme with him and they both collapse to the floor. Rhyme then manages to bite Marcus in the neck, causing massive bleeding. Marcus once again manages to free himself, grabbing his knife. As Marcus raises the knife for a killing blow, Amelia suddenly arrives at the apartment and shoots Marcus who falls down dead.
The film ends at a Christmas celebration at Rhyme’s apartment. Rhyme, having given up his plans to commit suicide, faces his sister and niece coming to visit him along with Amelia and his other colleagues on Christmas Eve. It is implied that Rhyme and Amelia have a relationship.
A great film with a wonderfully dastardly bad guy who is on the same level of Hanibal Lector of Twisted genius. A well crafted story and movie.