REVIEW: CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King)
Kevin Hart (Ride Along)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Megan Park (The Neighbors)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)

In 1996, student and star athlete Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is being honored at his high school’s senior assembly. Halfway through Joyner’s speech, Trevor Olson (Jason Bateman) and his friends throw Robbie Wierdicht (Dwayne Johnson), who was showering, into the hall where the assembly is taking place, embarrassing him as he is still naked. Only Joyner and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson (Danielle Nicolet), are sympathetic towards Wierdicht, who runs away quickly after Joyner has given him his varsity jacket to cover his private parts. Everyone else, including the bullies, laugh.
Twenty years later, Joyner is married to Johnson and works as a forensic accountant but is dissatisfied with his career. Johnson suggests they see a therapist to salvage their deteriorating marriage. At work, Joyner receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone, who reveals that he is Wierdicht and requests that they meet. Joyner is shocked to see that Wierdicht has transformed into a muscular, confident man. Stone asks Joyner to review a few accounting records. Joyner deciphers the records as multi-million dollar transactions from an auction, with the final payment set to be made the following day. Stone avoids Joyner’s questions and spends the night on his couch.

The next morning, a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) arrive at Joyner’s house in search of Stone, who escapes and erases all traces of his presence. Harris tells Joyner that Stone is a dangerous rogue agent who intends to sell satellite codes to the highest bidder. Soon after, Stone abducts Joyner and explains that he is trying to stop a criminal known as the Black Badger from selling the codes but needs Joyner’s skills to find the coordinates of the deal’s location. After an attack by a bounty hunter, Joyner flees and calls Johnson, telling her to meet him at the marriage counselor’s office. Harris intercepts him and tells him that Stone murdered his partner Phil Stanton and is the Black Badger himself. She warns him to refrain from telling Johnson and gives him a device to alert them to Stone’s location. Joyner then arrives for marriage counseling, where he finds Stone posing as the counselor.

Stone convinces Joyner to help him, and Joyner sets up a meeting with Olson, who is able to track the offshore account for the auction, so they can get the deal’s location. Olson at first apologizes for his behavior 20 years ago, but then reveals that he was only kidding them and bullies Stone again who is unable to react despite Joyner encouraging him to punch Olson for this. Harris calls Joyner and threatens to arrest Johnson if he fails to help them detain Stone. Joyner is forced to betray Stone, and the CIA arrests him. As Harris tortures Stone to get him to confess, Joyner decides to help Stone escape. Joyner deduces that the deal is happening in Boston and helps Stone steal a plane. At an underground parking garage, where the deal is assumed to be taking place, Stone enters alone, while Joyner sees Harris entering a short while later. He mistakenly assumes that she is the Black Badger and runs after her, only to find Stone meeting with the buyer and claiming to be the Black Badger. Stone shoots Joyner, grazing his neck, to keep him safe.

Stanton (Aaron Paul) arrives, revealing that he is alive, and claims he is the real Black Badger. The buyer attempts to retrieve codes from both Stone and Stanton, but the CIA arrives and a shootout begins, while Joyner grabs both codes and runs outside. He encounters Stone and Stanton, who engage in combat. Unable to decide who is the criminal, Joyner randomly shoots Stone, but Stanton confesses that he is the Black Badger and that Stone is innocent. Joyner causes a distraction that allows Stone to rip Stanton’s throat out, killing him. The two deliver the codes to Harris, who then drops them off at their high school reunion, where Joyner reconciles with Johnson. Stone is announced as the Homecoming King, with Joyner revealing to Johnson that he hacked the voting system to ensure Stone’s win. Olson attempts to bully Stone a third time, but Stone knocks him out. As Stone delivers his speech, he relives his most embarrassing high-school moment and takes off all his clothes confidently. He walks off stage to unite with his high-school crush Darla McGuckian (Melissa McCarthy). Stone, Joyner, and everyone else dance.

Before the ending credits, some time after the meeting, Maggie is pregnant and Joyner has joined the CIA. As a gift for his first day on the job, Stone gives Joyner back his varsity jacket from high school.
This is great weekend entertainment, not deep and intelligent but easy watching, light-hearted comedy.

REVIEW: GUNS, GIRLS & GAMBLING

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CAST

Christian Slater (Interview With The Vmapire)
Powers Booth (Agents of SHIELD)
Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck)
Jeff Fahey (Lost)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight rises)
Sam Trammell (True Blood)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Megan Park (What If)
Anthony Brandon Wong (The Matrix Reloaded)
Anthony Azizi (Priest)

John Smith (Christian Slater) is down on his luck. His girlfriend left him for a doctor. He headed to an Indian Reservation casino only to have his wallet stolen by a hooker. His money was in a security wallet though, so he enters an Elvis Impersonation contest and loses but then proceeds to plays cards with four other Elvis impersonators: The Winner Elvis (Gary Oldman), Gay Elvis (Chris Kattan), Little Person Elvis (Tony Cox), and Asian Elvis (Anthony Brandon Wong). They beat him at cards enough times to bankrupt him and then he dozes off. He gets woken up by casino security guards who think he stole a priceless ancient Indian mask.

It turns out that the owner of the casino “The Chief” had the ancient Indian Mask in a saferoom and now it’s gone and witnesses saw an Elvis impersonator steal it, so John becomes the prime suspect. The two Indian security guards figure John didn’t take it but they still decide to kill him while they hunt for the real culprit, presumably Winner Elvis. The Chief says he will pay 1 million dollars for its return. The last thing John sees is them opening the trunk of his car, then writing down Elvis’s address, then they knock him out.
Meanwhile, we get introduced to a hitwoman known as “The Blonde” who quotes Edgar Allan Poe before killing her victims. She confronts Gay Elvis and asks where the mask is. He tells her he doesn’t have it. She kills him and leaves one of John Smith’s credit cards on his corpse (apparently she is allied with John’s wallet thief).
John regains consciousness and is still in the trunk of the car. He busts out and finds the Indian security guards shot dead. He gets Winner Elvis’s address and goes to his house. When he gets home, he meets Elvis’s neighbor Cindy (Megan Park). They realize the mask isn’t there, but they find Asian Elvis’s address and go to his house. On the way there, they are almost shot to death by another hitman “The Cowboy” (Jeff Fahey) and his sidekick Mo. They also encounter “The Rancher” (Powers Boothe). He explains that he hired the Elvises to steal the mask because he used to have it. It is revealed through a flashback that back in the 1960s, a family consisting of a father, mother, and son were working for the rancher and transporting the mask. They reached a train station only to get ambushed by Indians who killed the family and took back the mask. Now he wants it back and will pay 1 million dollars to whoever gets it.
Jeff Fahey in Guns, Girls and Gambling (2012)
They leave and go to Asian Elvis’s house. He tries to kill them before getting tomahawked to death by another hitman “The Indian”. They escape and head back to Elvis’s house only to have Little Man Elvis show up with a gun asking them where the mask is. Before he can shoot them, The Blonde shows up and kills Little Man Elvis. John suggests calling the sheriff only to have Cindy explain that there are two sheriffs and both are corrupt. One is on The Chief’s payroll and the other is on The Rancher’s payroll. As they are leaving, they run into The Sheriffs who arrest John for Little Man Elvis’s murder. However, Cindy posts bail and they are released. But the Sheriffs know that John knows more than he’s letting on so they follow him.
Meanwhile, Winner Elvis is on the way to delivering the mask only to have his car break down. He hikes a long way and gets to a bus stop. As he boards the bus, The Blonde enters and shoots him. As he is dying he whispers something to The Blonde and she smiles real big. The bus driver is on the phone with someone and The Blonde deduces that he is in cahoots with The Rancher and The Chief playing both sides. She kills him as well.
Guns Girls and Gambling - Helena Mattsson
Later, John, Cindy, and The Sheriffs make it to the bus. They see Elvis and the bus driver’s bodies inside the bus and written on them is “Bring the mask and John Smith to Station 12”. Station 12 is the same station where the family was killed in the 60s. As they’re leaving, The Cowboy and Mo show up and reveal that The Cowboy is a fast sharpshooter who killed the two Indian security guards earlier in the film. As The Sheriffs are drawing their guns, The Cowboy kills them both. Then The Indian shows up and tomahawks The Cowboy and Mo before they can get a shot off. The Indian accompanies them to Station 12.
Gary Oldman in Guns, Girls and Gambling (2012)
As they show up, The Rancher and The Chief also show up each holding a briefcase with 1 million dollars. At this point, Cindy reveals that she is The Rancher’s daughter and was following John to make sure he would find the mask for her father. The Blonde comes out and instructs them to hand their briefcases to John and he enters the station alone. The Indian has a better idea and runs in with his tomahawk to kill The Blonde. The Indian then tries to attack The Blonde, but she blocks all of his attacks. She then kicks him several times, knocking him out. Then The Blonde shoots The Indian and kills him. She re-emerges and repeats her instructions promising more deaths if they don’t comply. John takes the briefcases and enters the station. As he enters, he and The Blonde embrace. They are scamming everybody. It turns out that the family that was killed in the 60s was John Smith’s parents. They had an Indian servant who hid John in the floorboard of the station and told them Indians that he was dead too. The servant was part of a rival Indian tribe “The Hobi”. The mask really belonged to her tribe and The Chief stole it from her. The Blonde is the girlfriend who left John Smith at the beginning of the movie because she realized she liked women. However, she knew what happened to John’s family so she stuck around long enough to assist him. Also, when John told her she would get one of the briefcases, that enticed her further. John and The Blonde emerge from the station and tell The Rancher and The Chief why they are doing this. Also, she tells them that Elvis destroyed the mask when he realized he wouldn’t be able to sell it. That was what he said to her before dying.
Helena Mattsson in Guns, Girls and Gambling (2012)
John tells The Rancher and The Chief that he’s keeping one briefcase because of what they did to his family. The Blonde tells them she will return and kill them if they try to retaliate. Then she leaves with the other briefcase on a motorcycle driven by the woman who stole John’s wallet. She is actually the doctor that The Blonde left him for posing as a hooker. At this point, he finds Elvis’s car and repairs it and drives it. It only broke down before because he sabotaged it in a way that could be repaired. Also, he actually tried to steal the mask earlier in the film, but Elvis caught him doing it and knocked him out and took it for himself. It turns out the Indian servant was in on the scam too. The mask wasn’t really destroyed. John returns it to her since her tribe rightfully owns it. Elvis actually told The Blonde “Elvis has left the building” before dying. She just lied about his last words.And finally, it is revealed that his name isn’t even John Smith. Someone he bumped into at the beginning of the movie is really John Smith and he pickpocketed him.

Similar to Smokin Aces but with more humour enjoyable movie I wasn’t expecting too much but was surprised plenty of twists and turns, recommended as a good watch