REVIEW: SIN CITY

CAST

Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Rosario Dawson (Clerks II)
Clive Wwen (Inside Man)
Devon Aoki (D.E.B.S.)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Alexis Bledel (Girl Walks Into a Bar)
Powers Boothe (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins)
Jaime King (Pearl Harbor)
Michael Madsen (Bloodrayne)
Brittany Murphy (Don’t Say A Word)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)

The Customer Is Always Right (Part I)

The Salesman (Josh Hartnett) steps out of the elevator and walks onto a penthouse balcony overlooking Basin City, where The Customer awaits. He comforts her, the two briefly talk, share a kiss and he shoots her. As she dies in his arms, he ponders what she was running from

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That Yellow Bastard (Part I)

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) tries to stop serial child-killer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing his fourth known victim, eleven-year-old Nancy Callahan. Junior is the son of Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has bribed the police to cover up his son’s crimes. Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen) tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, only to get knocked out.  Hartigan, fighting off the pain caused by his bad heart, confronts Roark Junior, shoots off his ear, right hand and genitals. Bob shoots Hartigan in the back, revealing himself to be on Senator Roark’s payroll. As the sirens approach, Bob leaves and Nancy comforts him. Hartigan passes out, reasoning his death is a fair trade for the girl’s life.

The Hard Goodbye

After a one-night stand, Marv (Mickey Rourke) awakens to find that Goldie (Jaime King), the woman he’d been with, was killed while he slept. He flees the frame-up as the police arrive, vowing to avenge her death to repay her kindness. His parole officer Lucille (Carla Gugino) warns him to give up on this mission, believing Marv may have imagined it all due to his “condition”. Marv interrogates several informants, working up to a corrupt priest who reveals that the Roark family was behind the murder. After killing the priest, Marv is attacked by a woman who looks like Goldie, which he dismisses as a hallucination caused by his “condition”.

Marv goes to the Roark family farm and is subdued by the silent stalker, Kevin (Elijah Wood), who is also Goldie’s killer. He awakens to find Lucille has been captured after looking into his story. She tells Marv that the killer is a cannibal and that his victims, including Goldie, are prostitutes. He and Lucille escape their holding cell, but Lucille is shot by the leader of a squad of corrupt cops. Marv kills the squad, interrogates the leader and finds out that Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark (Rutger Hauer) arranged for Goldie’s murder.

Marv goes to Old Town (Sin City’s prostitute-run red-light district) to learn more about Goldie, and is captured by her twin sister, Wendy, who Marv previously dismissed as a hallucination. He eventually convinces her that he is not the killer and she resolves to help him avenge Goldie. The pair return to the farm, where Marv kills Kevin. He brings Kevin’s head to Cardinal Roark, who confesses his part in the murders. Marv kills the cardinal but is then shot and captured by his guards.

After Marv’s wound are treated, he is forced to confess to killing Cardinal Roark, Kevin and all their victims. He is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Wendy visits him on death row and thanks him for avenging her sister.

The Big Fat Kill

Shellie (Brittany Murphy) is harassed by her drunken and abusive ex-boyfriend Jackie Boy (Benecio Del Toro). When Jackie goes to the bathroom to urinate, her new lover Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen), dunks his face into the toilet, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t leave her alone. Angry and embarrassed, Jackie Boy leaves Shellie’s flat, and Dwight follows him to make sure he doesn’t take out his anger on another girl. Jackie Boy and his crew arrive in Old Town, where they harass Becky (Alexis Bledel), a young prostitute. Dwight runs into Gail (Rosario Dawson), Old Town’s leader and Dwight’s on-and-off lover, and the two watch the scene. When Jackie Boy threatens Becky with a gun, Miho (Devon Aoki), Old Town’s enforcer, kills the whole group. As Dwight and the prostitutes check the corpses’ personal effects, they realize Jackie Boy is actually Detective Lieutenant Jack Rafferty of Basin City Police. If the police learned how he died, their truce with the prostitutes would end and the mob would be free to wage war on Old Town

Dwight takes the bodies to a tar pit to hide them from the police. There he is attacked by mercenaries who retrieves Jackie’s head to bring back as proof of his death. Dwight nearly drowns in the tar before Miho saves him. The two kill the remaining mercenaries, retrieve the head and return to Old Town. Meanwhile, Manute (Michael Clarke Duncan), an enforcer for mob boss Wallenquist, kidnaps Gail to force Old Town to surrender without a fight. It is revealed that Becky is the one who tells the mob of Jackie’s death. Dwight offers to trade Jackie Boy’s head for Gail’s life, and meet Manute’s group in a narrow alley. As he detonates the grenade stuffed in the head, all the prostitutes, who have been waiting on top of the buildings on both sides of the alley, gun down the mob gang and kill Manute, leaving no witnesses. Becky escapes the onslaught.

That Yellow Bastard (Part II)

As Hartigan recovers in a hospital, he learns that Roark, Jr. is in a coma, the Roark legacy is in serious jeopardy and he will be framed for Junior’s crimes. A grateful Nancy, who was denied the right to testify and vindicate Hartigan, promises to write Hartigan every week while he is in prison. Hartigan goes to jail, though he refuses to confess. He receives weekly letters from Nancy for eight years. One day, the letters stop arriving and he receives a severed finger instead. Worried that the Roarks somehow tracked down Nancy, Hartigan confesses to all charges, leading to his parole. He searches for Nancy and finds her at Kadie’s Bar, where she has become an exotic dancer. As Hartigan realizes everything was a ruse just for him to lead Roark to Nancy, she recognizes him, runs off the stage and leaps onto him.

The two leave the bar in Nancy’s car, pursued by a disfigured yellow man. Hartigan wounds him and the two stay in a small motel outside of town. Nancy confesses her love for Hartigan, who rebuffs her advances citing their significant age difference. The yellow man, who turns out to be Roark Jr., overpowers Hartigan and takes Nancy to the Roark farm. Hartigan gets to the farm, kills Junior and saves Nancy. Knowing that Senator Roark will never stop hunting him, Hartigan commits suicide to ensure Nancy’s safety.

The Customer Is Always Right (Part II)

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. In the elevator she encounters The Salesman, dressed as a doctor. He offers her a cigarette, calling her by name, and she abruptly ends the call with her mother, realizing that The Salesman is preparing to kill her.

This is one of the most striking, memorable, imaginative and violent films to have come out in a long, long time. It is a cliched ridden flick where nothing is taken too seriously – especially life – and where anything goes.

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REVIEW: DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE

 

CAST
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Devon Akoi (Sin City)
Holly Valance (Taken)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Natassia malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Matthew Marsden (Black Hawk Down)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
A group of martial arts and combat masters are invited to a fighting contest, “Dead or Alive”, on an isolated island within an advanced complex, with the ultimate prize of $10 million. Among the competitors are Kasumi, a shinobi ninja-princess looking for her brother Hayate (who was competing in the last tournament), Tina, a professional wrestler setting out to prove she has more potential (complicated by her father Bass being one of the contenders), Christie, a master thief and assassin, her treacherous partner Maximillian ‘Max’ Marsh, and Hayabusa, a friend of Kasumi and Hayate who follows Kasumi to keep her safe, using the invitation to DOA for this. A final competitor is Helena Douglas, daughter of the tournament’s late founder. When they arrive, they are monitored by the island’s supervisor, Dr. Victor Donovan, who, aided by egghead Weatherby, is gathering data (using injected nano-sensors) from the fights for some mysterious project. To add to the situation, an assassin from Kasumi’s colony, named Ayane, has followed Kasumi to kill her and wipe away the disgrace the princess has caused to the clan.
The contest plays out, with multiple contestants fighting and being defeated (including Gen Fu, Bayman, Leon, and Zack), until only Kasumi, Christie, Hayabusa and Tina are left, with Helena being defeated by Christie. During the course of the film, Max and Christie form a plan to steal the fortune stowed away inside a hidden vault. During her fight, Christie sees that the key to finding and unlocking the vault is a tattoo on the back of Helena’s neck. Meanwhile, Kasumi begins to suspect Donovan of lying about her brother being killed in the previous tournament, and Hayabusa, infiltrating the main facility to find the truth, is captured. She is more than once confronted and nearly killed by Ayane, who Kasumi tries to convince that Hayate is alive (since it is eventually clear that Ayane loves Hayate). Also, Weatherby begins to fall for Helena, and in the end tells her about what he knows of the mystery project, and that before Helena’s father could shut the project down, he died (indicating that he was murdered).
On the final day of the tournament, wondering where Hayabusa is, Kasumi, Christie and Tina look for him and discover a secret entrance to the main complex, where they find Hayabusa unconscious. They are then gassed and captured. Meanwhile, Helena resolves to stop the mystery project, and has to fight the armed staff of the island, sent to kill her and Weatherby by Donovan. They are followed inside by Max, who finds his way to the vault, and is then knocked out by Bayman, who is working for Donovan. Inside the main complex, Donovan shows the four semifinalists the project he has been developing; an advanced form of neural interface that allows him and others to use the fighters’ combined skills to become the ultimate fighter. After ‘downloading’ the data into the device (shaped like a pair of sunglasses), he then shows that he kept Hayate alive and in peak condition to test the technology. He challenges Hayate to fight and win, if the others are to survive. Hayate accepts and is defeated, then thrown through a wall to die. Hayate is saved by Ayane, and the two of them apparently accept each other.
With the successful demonstration, Donovan prepares to sell the technology around the world, and begins “downloading” it to the watching buyers. Weatherby stops the broadcast and alerts the CIA, which provokes Donovan to head for them. Helena keeps Donovan back while Weatherby frees the others, but both are defeated and Donovan activates a self-destruct sequence which will obliterate the base. Kasumi, Helena, Christie, Tina, Ayane, and Hayate launch a combined attack on Donovan, while Hayabusa and Weatherby find Max and escape with him, despite Max’s urge to go back for the money. During the battle with the fighters, Donovan’s ‘glasses’ are knocked off and he is easily paralyzed by Hayate and Kasumi. The fighters then all escape as the base explodes and Donovan is consumed by the flames, making their escape by a hijacked pirates’ boat.
In the final scene, Helena, Ayane, Christie, Tina, and Kasumi are shown together again preparing to fight an army of ninja in Kasumi’s palace.
it is a fun and escapist film to pass an hour and a half.

REVIEW: WAR

CAST
Jet Li (The Mummy 3)
Jason Statham (Spy)
John Lone (The Shadow)
Devon Aoki (Sin City)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Ryo Ishibashi (The Grduge)
Sung Kang (Fast & Furious)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
During a shootout against Chinese Triads at a San Francisco dock warehouse, FBI agents John Crawford (Jason Statham) and Tom Lone (Terry Chen) stumble across the notorious assassin Rogue (Jet Li), a former CIA assassin who now works for the Japanese Yakuza. Rogue ambushes Crawford and is about to execute him when Lone appears and shoots Rogue in the face, causing him to fall into the water. Rogue’s body was never found and he is presumed dead. However, Rogue survives and retaliates against Lone, his wife and his daughter. He kills them, burns down the house, and leaves their three corpses in the ashes of their home.
Three years later, Rogue re-appears, working under Chinese Triad boss Li Chang (John Lone). Rogue is assisting Chang against Chang’s arch-enemy and Rogue’s former employer, the leader of the Japanese Yakuza, Shiro Yanagawa (Ryo Ishibashi). Rogue first attacks a club run by the Yakuza by killing the gangsters and later on the runners in order to recover a pair of antique gold horses, family heirlooms of Chang. However, Rogue is secretly setting the Yakuza and the Triads against each other, in order to push the two factions toward all-out war.
Now the head agent of the FBI’s Asian Crime Task Force, Crawford is determined to hunt Rogue down and exact revenge for Lone’s death. Crawford’s obsessive pursuit of Rogue has taken a toll on his personal life causing him to be estranged from his family. Crawford comes close to catching Rogue in the wake of Rogue’s various killing sprees against the Triads and Yakuza, but Rogue always manages to stay one step ahead.
Ultimately, Rogue’s actions have gained the trust of both Chang and Yanagawa. Rogue succeeds in betraying Chang, but spares Chang’s wife and child, turning on the Yakuza. With Chang dead, Yanagawa is finally ready to come to America, where he intends to take over and expand Yakuza business operations. However, he is confronted by Crawford and the FBI; Crawford presents Yanagawa with proof that Rogue has betrayed him and spared Chang’s family, but Yanagawa refuses to assist Crawford in locating Rogue.
Later, Rogue delivers the horses to Yanagawa personally. Knowing of Rogue’s betrayal, Yanagawa captures Rogue and demands the location of Chang’s family. Rogue turns the tables on Yanagawa’s men and kills them all, and engages in a sword fight against Yanagawa himself. Yanagawa discovers that Rogue is actually FBI agent Tom Lone (who, after undergoing plastic surgery, changed his voice to obtain a Japanese accent); and killed the real Rogue, assuming the assassin’s identity. Rogue/Lone reveals that his actions have all been designed to bring him face-to-face with Yanagawa, so he could kill the man who ordered the death of his family. Yanagawa reveals that Crawford was in his pocket that whole time and responsible for leaking Tom Lone’s identity and home address to the real Rogue. Angered, Rogue/Lone disarms and decapitates Yanagawa.
Meanwhile, Chang’s wife receives a package from Rogue/Lone, containing one of the two golden horses that belongs to Chang’s family and a message reading, “Make a new life”. Yanagawa’s daughter also receives a package with the same message and inside the box is her father’s head. Rogue/Lone then calls Crawford as he is packing up his office, asking him to meet him at the dock warehouse where they last made their investigation. Before going to the warehouse, Crawford enlists the help of Goi (Sung Kang), an FBI sniper that aided Crawford throughout the investigation. At the warehouse, Crawford and Rogue/Lone battle each other in an intense hand-to-hand fight in which Rogue/Lone reveals who he really is to Crawford. When Rogue/Lone reveals his true identity, a devastated Crawford reveals that it was true that he was working for Yanagawa at the time but had no idea that Rogue was still alive. He was then blackmailed and gave Yanagawa Lone’s address thinking that Yanagawa’s men were only going there to “rough him up a bit”. Ever since, Crawford was angry at himself and wanted revenge against Rogue and everyone else involved in what he thought was his partner’s death.
However, Crawford begs Lone for forgiveness, but Lone denies him, coldly replying “Tom Lone is dead, my name is Rogue”. As Rogue takes out a gun to shoot Crawford, Goi takes aim at him. Crawford jumps in Goi’s line of fire, and allowing Rogue the opportunity to shoot him in the back, killing him. The next day, Rogue/Lone later drives out of town to start a new life.
Very good movie overall and I would definitely recommend it for those who are and aren’t familiar with past roles of Statham and Li.

REVIEW: D.E.B.S.

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CAST

Sara Foster (90210)
Jordana Brewster (The Fast and The Furious)
Meagan Good (Minority Report TV)
Devon Aoki (Sin City)
Jill Ritchie (Herbie Fully Loaded)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)
Jimmi Simpson (Date Nught)
Jessica Cauffiel (White Chicks)
Christina Kirk (Along Came Polly)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Jennifer Carpenter (Limitless TV)

D.E.B.S. injects the spy genre with some new energy by changing just who can be a spy. Instead of a British guy in a tux or…a British guy in a leisure suit, these spies wear traditional schoolgirl outfits, complete with the kinds of tiny skirts that can be added to Paris Hilton’s list of wondrous accomplishments. Instead of experienced, skilled and cold-blooded spies, these young ladies are just learning the ropes, chosen to be a part of D.E.B.S. Academy thanks to a hidden test inside the SATs. D.E.B.S. is already three steps ahead of the pack in originality.

The main group, led by Mr. Phipps (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Mrs. Petrie (Holland Taylor), is made up of a rainbow coalition of women, including tough-as-nails leader Max (Meagan Good), scholarly Amy (Sara Foster), innocent Janet (Jill Ritchie) and cigarette-smoking, man-seducing French Asian girl Dominique (Devon Aoki). Though they are training to defend the world, they are just like your average college-aged American woman. It’s the clash between their everyday lives, including guys, and their superspy lives that leads to comedy. For example, when the girls are on a stakeout, they bicker and joke like it’s a slumber party.

Now, this could have become just a junior-varsity Charlie’s Angels, but a twist involving the Academy’s most dangerous foe, Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster) makes this film stand out from the pack. Diamond is something of a JV version of Demi Moore’s character from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. When her blind date is interrupted by the D.E.B.S., she finds herself attracted to Amy, which creates problems for both her criminal organization and for the D.E.B.S., as Amy is similarly attracted, and has to decide whether to follow her heart or live up to people’s expectations for her.

Written and directed by Angela Robinson, the director of the upcoming Herbie remake, as an adaptation of her short film of the same name, the film is quite appealing visually, an impressive piece of work considering the film’s budget. Despite similar uniforms, The D.E.B.S.’s individuality is established visually and is played well for laughs, especially Aoki’s Dominique, who has an omnipresent cigarette hanging from her lip, and Janet, the innocent rookie whose wide-eyed reactions are always good for a laugh.

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