REVIEW: WAR PIGS

 

CAST

Luke Goss (Blade II)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Chuck Liddell (Cradle 2 The Grave)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Ryan Kelley (Smallville)
K. C. Clyde (Firestarter: Rekindled)
Jake Stormoen (The Outpost)

Disgraced World War 2 Army Captain Jack Wosick is given the opportunity for redemption when asked to lead a rag-tag unit of misfits known as the War Pigs on a secretmission to go behind enemy lines to uncover and capture a Nazi developed Super Weapon the V3, a massive artillery canon that would give the Nazis an insurmountable advantage against the Allies. With the help of Captain Hans Picault, a German Anti-Nazi serving with the French Foreign Legion and Colonel AJ Redding, a battle hardened WW1 veteran, Jack must train, lead and earn the respect of his new squad to become a functioning reconnaissance unit.War Pigs is a fun action adventure movie. It’s Pigs is a fun watch.  Dolph Ludgren and Luke Goss give amazing performances as French Foreign Legionnaire Peter Picault and Captain Jack Wosick. Worth a watch for fans of Dolph.

 

REVIEW: ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO

Starring

Antonio Banderas (Mask of Zorro)
Salma Hayek (Puss In Boots)
Johnny Depp (Ed Wood)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Enrique Iglesias (How I Met Your Mother)
Marco Leonardi (All the Money in the World)
Cheech Marin (Coco)
Rubén Blades (Predator 2)
Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)

Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)El Mariachi is recruited by CIA officer Sheldon Jeffrey Sands to kill General Emiliano Marquez, a corrupt Mexican Army officer who has been hired by Mexican drug lord Armando Barillo to assassinate the President of Mexico and overthrow the government during a period of unrest in Culiacán (the capital of Sinaloa) which is testing the presidency. Many years before, El Mariachi and his wife Carolina confronted Marquez in a shootout and wounded the general; in retaliation, Marquez took the lives of Carolina and their daughter in an ambush. In addition to El Mariachi, Sands persuades former FBI agent Jorge Ramírez to come out of retirement and kill Barillo, who had murdered his partner Archuleta in the past. Furthermore, AFN operative Ajedrez is assigned by Sands to tail Barillo.Enrique Iglesias in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)While monitoring Barillo’s activities, Ramírez meets Billy Chambers, an American fugitive who has been living under the protection of Barillo, but can no longer stomach the horrible tasks he’s been forced to carry out for him. Ramírez convinces Chambers he will provide him protection in exchange for getting closer to Barillo by tagging Chambers’ pet chihuahua with a hidden microphone, and Chambers agrees to complete the deal by surrendering to U.S. authorities once Barillo has been taken down. Sands’ agent, Cucuy, originally hired to keep an eye on El Mariachi, instead turns and tranquilizes El Mariachi and turns him over to Barillo, also offering to reveal the details of Sands’s plan. Cucuy, however, is promptly killed by Chambers while El Mariachi escapes from captivity and calls his friends Lorenzo and Fideo to assist him in his mission.Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)While monitoring Barillo’s activity outside a hospital, Ramírez notices armed men storming the building and follows suit. He discovers that a group of doctors have been gunned down and Barillo has bled to death as a result of a botched facial reconstruction, but realizes that the corpse on the operating table is a body double before he is knocked out and kidnapped by the real Barillo and Ajedrez, who reveals herself to be Barillo’s daughter. Sands realizes that his mission has been compromised, but is too late, as he is captured by Barillo and Ajedrez — who drill out his eyes before sending him out. Despite his blindness, he manages to gun down a hitman tailing him with the aid of a chiclet boy.Antonio Banderas, Enrique Iglesias, and Marco Leonardi in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)As Culiacán celebrates the Day of the Dead during the President’s visit, Marquez and his army storm in and attack the presidential palace. Marquez’s troops, however, are met with resistance from not only the President’s bodyguards, but also the citizens of Culiacán and the Mariachis. Sands had instructed El Mariachi to allow the President to be killed before attacking Marquez, but the Mariachis, concluding that the President is a good man, intervene early and protect him. Marquez enters the presidential palace, only to once again confront El Mariachi, who shoots out his kneecaps before finishing him off with a headshot. Ramírez, who was released from captivity by Chambers, faces Barillo. After Barillo guns down Chambers, Ramírez and El Mariachi kill the drug lord. Sands manages to shoot the sadistic Ajedrez dead outside the presidential palace. Ultimately, Lorenzo and Fideo walk away with the cash that Barillo was using to pay Marquez, and help the president safely escape the attempted coup. Ramírez says goodbye to Sands and walks away, having avenged his partner’s death. El Mariachi then gives his share of the cash to his home village before walking into the sunset.A follow up to the Desperado film was not something I was expecting.So it came as a shock to see this third instalment in the El Mariachi series being made.But a pleasant surprise it is.It is high on sweltering Mexican style,with impressive camera style and angles.There is a complex and engaging story to follow,complimented by some riveting action scenes and classy dialogue.On the performances front,Antonio Banderas continues to personify Mariachi,with Salma Hayek well cast as his love interest and good support from Johnny Depp,Mickey Rourke and William Dafoe,not to mention Eva Mendes.A wholly worthwhile venture

 

REVIEW: THE EXPENDABLES

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Jet Li (War)
Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Steve Austin (Damage)
David Zayas (Gotham)
Giselle Itié (On The Road)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Gary Daniels (Bloodfist IV)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Mickey Rourke (Sin City)
Bruce Willis (Vice)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)

Eric Roberts and Steve Austin in The Expendables (2010)The Expendables, a group of elite mercenaries based in New Orleans, deploy to the Gulf of Aden to save hostages on a vessel from Somali pirates. The team consists of leader Barney Ross, blades specialist Lee Christmas, martial artist Yin Yang, military veteran Gunner Jensen, weapons specialist Hale Caesar, and demolitions expert Toll Road. Jensen instigates a firefight, causing casualties for the pirates. He then tries to hang a pirate, but Yang stops him when Ross and the team discourage it. Ross reluctantly discharges him from the team. Later, Christmas is upset to discover his girlfriend, Lacy, has left him for another man.Sylvester Stallone and Giselle Itié in The Expendables (2010)Ross and rival Trench Mauser visit “Mr. Church” for a mission. Trench passes the contract to Ross, which is to overthrow dictator General Garza in Vilena, an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Ross and Christmas fly to Vilena for undercover reconnaissance and meet their contact, Sandra, but are discovered. It is revealed that ex-CIA officer James Munroe is keeping Garza in power as a figurehead for his own profiteering operations, while Sandra is revealed to be Garza’s daughter. Ross aborts, but Sandra refuses to leave Vilena. Meanwhile, Jensen approaches Munroe to help and Garza is angered further when Sandra is waterboarded for information by Munroe. Meanwhile, Lacy has been physically abused by her new man, so Christmas beats him and his friends, revealing what he does for a living. Jason Statham in The Expendables (2010)Ross and the group discover that Church is a CIA operative and the real target is Munroe, who has gone rogue and joined forces with Garza to keep the drug money that funds the CIA to himself, but the CIA cannot afford a mission to kill one of their own directly because of bad publicity. Ross meets tattoo expert and friend Tool to express his feelings. Tool makes a confession about letting a woman commit suicide instead of saving her. Ross is then motivated to go back for Sandra alone, but Yang accompanies him. Jensen and hired men pursue them on the road, ending in an abandoned warehouse, where Yang and Jensen fight a second time. Ross shoots Jensen when he attempts to impale Yang on a pipe. Jensen makes amends and gives the layout of Garza’s palace. Ross boards the plane with Yang and finds the rest of the team waiting.Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, and Jet Li in The Expendables (2010)They then infiltrate Garza’s compound. Thinking Munroe hired the team to kill him, Garza has his soldiers’ faces painted, preparing them for a fight. The team plants explosives throughout the site but Ross, while saving Sandra, is captured by Munroe’s henchmen. The team saves him and kills the Brit, but is pinned down by Garza’s men as Paine wrestles Ross. Caesar fights back and Paine escapes. Garza finally stands up to Munroe, ordering him out and returning his money. Instead, as Garza rallies his men against the Americans, Munroe kills him and escapes with Paine and Sandra. Garza’s men open fire against the team, who fight their way through, detonating the explosives and destroying the compound. Toll kills Paine by burning him alive while Ross and Caesar manage to destroy the helicopter before Munroe can escape. Ross and Christmas catch up to Munroe, killing him and saving Sandra. Later, Ross gives his mission reward to Sandra to restore Vilena. In the final scene, the team has returned home and are celebrating at Tool’s tattoo parlor with the recovering and now redeemed Jensen. Christmas and Tool play a game of knife throwing, during which Christmas composes a mocking poem about Tool, then throws a bullseye from outside the building.Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Randy Couture in The Expendables (2010)This was a great film that keeps you glued to your seat, constantly makes you gasp and laugh out loud and leaves you pumping with adrenaline. It was ridiculous and wonderful all at the same time, with more bullets and bombs than Rambo and more fighting than Rocky. This is a must see film for any movie buff or action hero wannabe.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DEAD IN TOMBSTONE

CAST

Danny Trejo (Machete)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight)
Mickey Rourke (Sin City)
Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers)
Richard Dillane (Argo)

Dina Meyer and Danny Trejo in Dead in Tombstone (2013)In the Frontier of the Wild West, Red Cavanaugh is to be hanged for his crimes. Calm, he says that every man at the gallows will be dead before sunrise. Moments later, the Blackwater Gang – Baptiste, Darko, Ramos, Snake, and Washington – arrive led by his half-brother Guerrero De La Cruz. After slaughtering everyone and freeing Red, they retreat. The next morning, Red tells them about Edendale, Colorado, where gold ore is being stored in a bank until a mineral dispute can be settled. Guerrero agrees to steal it, so long as they avoid unnecessary deaths. After the seven rob the bank, Red betrays Guerrero, as he had acquired the deed to the mine and desires to take over the town. He shoots Guerrero, and despite Guerrero’s orders, Red convinces the rest of the gang to turn on him; they all shoot Guerrero to death.Dina Meyer in Dead in Tombstone (2013)Finding himself in Hell, Guerrero meets Lucifer, whom he had seen recently in his dreams. Guerrero bargains with him, to allow him to return to Earth and to kill his former gang, so that the fires of Hell can grow hotter than he alone can stoke with his flesh. Intrigued by this, Lucifer grants Guerrero 24 hours to slay all six of his betrayers or his soul will remain damned to Hell; Satan tells him that only Guerrero can kill the six, dissuading him from asking for help. Guerrero wakens one year to the day of his death and makes his way back to town now called “Tombstone” in his memory.Richard Dillane, Catalina Grama, and Miriam Rizea in Dead in Tombstone (2013)Ramos, shaken by an omen earlier, returns to his home and witnesses two of his farmhands killed before confronting Guerrero, whom he does not immediately recognize. After Guerrero puts together his guns, a feat only he and Red could accomplish, Ramos recognizes him, and he is shot to death. Taking his clothes, Guerrero has the local pastor set up six pine boxes as coffins and stations Ramos in one of them. The following morning, Baptiste and Darko discover Ramos and invade a nearby slaughterhouse. After a stand-off with Baptiste and his men, Guerrero kills Baptiste but realizes that he still bleeds like a mortal. Darko tells Red about the stranger killing them off, and he sends Washington to the mine to insure that the man protecting them from the law is paid off in full. The gang goes to the saloon where Guerrero is and a firefight ensues. After defeating them, Guerrero sees the former sheriff’s widow, Calathea, about to kill Red and stops her, but he is trampled by Red’s horse as he flees town. Waking sometime later, he explains to her and Father Paul about his situation. Showing him Darko’s dead body, whom he’d killed during the saloon brawl, Calathea agrees to help him, and the two make their way to the mine.MV5BMjE4MzYzMTE4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc2NDc1MDE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_In the mine, it is revealed that Judah Clark, a Marshall, is aiding Red and protecting Red for access to the gold. They leave Washington and Snake to finish off Guerrero, but he turns the tables and kills Washington as he and Calathea escape back to town with his body. After an intense chase, they return to town. In a stand-off, Guerrero kills Snake with a gunshot to the eye, but he is quickly shot down and Calathea is captured. Lucifer, still intrigued by Guerrero’s tenacity returns him to life with one hour remaining on his deadline. After a mob tries to kill Red, he takes Calathea captive and confronts his brother, who convinces him to a fair duel. Lucifer cheats with seconds remaining on the clock, and Red and Guerrero instead battle by hand. Guerrero gains the upper hand and kills Red, but two minutes after his time is up.5_zpsd5899103_jpgoriginalEntering the church, Lucifer informs Guerrero of his failure, but does not want to condemn him to Hell. Instead, he forces Guerrero to kill outlaws to pay off his debt. Now, with Edendale out of danger, Guerrero rides off into the countryside, looking for his next bounty to collect for Hell. dead-in-tombstone-recensione-20857-1280x16I am not a huge fan of westerns, so imagine my surprise when I deeply enjoyed this movie. The last western that i enjoyed was Tombstone and don’t get me wrong, this movie is no Tombstone but the camera work makes this movie visually enjoyable. Anthony Michael Hall played Red extremely convincingly and Mickey Rourke take as Satan was genuinely likable. Camera tricks, editing and sound made this movie enjoyable even though the plot was predictable. I also like that is was a new twist on the old revenge for death plots Westerns show. If you like movies with slick visual effects, then you will enjoy this. If your looking for great dialog and deep character development then you may want to save this one for a day you just want to be entertained.

REVIEW: IRON MAN 2

 

CAST

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Contagion)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Sam Rockwell (Galaxy Quest)
Mickey Rourke (Sin City)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Garry Shandling (Over The Hedge)
Paul Bettany (Legion)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Leslie Bibb (The Skulls)
Jon Favreau (Swingers)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)_
Olivia Munn (Zoolander 2)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Helena Mattsson (Guns, Girls and Gambling)

Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 (2010)After the initial trepidation followed by the overwhelming box office success of the first Iron Man film, a second was a foregone conclusion. However as part of a larger trilogy, not to mention a subsequent Avengers film, the challenge of advancing some of those storylines along with giving people what they liked in the first one would be difficult, to say the least.Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 (2010)Jon Favreau returns to direct the second film, based on Justin Theroux’s (Tropic Thunder) screenplay. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes) and his businesses continue to thrive, in part because as Iron Man, he’s promoted the longest stretch of global peace in quite some time. There is a small cottage industry that tries to capitalize on Stark’s success, with the main one being Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell). Hammer tries to mimic Stark’s technology and gain an advantage over it, but the results seem to wind up being disastrous. It’s as if he’s the Wile E. Coyote of defense contractors who want to make their own Iron Men. However the biggest threat to Stark’s Iron Man may be Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler), a Russian whose father worked with Stark’s, and may be as familiar with the technology of Iron Man as Tony is.Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 2 (2010)Not knowing of Vanko, Tony continues to live the good life. He continues to get along well with his assistant Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow, Se7en), despite the addition of the younger and equally attractive Natalie (Scarlett Johansson, He’s Just Not That Into You) into the fold. Despite these women sparring for Tony’s affections, he has bigger things to be concerned about. The arc reactor device in Tony’s chest is slowly turning his blood toxic and in effect, killing him. He doesn’t tell the women, or his best friend Lt. Col. Rhoades (Don Cheadle, replacing Terrence Howard from the first film). And when Vanko confronts Tony, in Monaco of all places, it leaves Tony with a sense of doubt and a lack of purpose that might have long-lasting ramifications.Iron Man 2 (2010)With Favreau juggling the different storytelling balls, including an increased role from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction), he gives the audience new and different ways to enjoy the action and fighting sequences. And I have to admit, they’re exciting and damned fun to watch, starting from the opening sequence when Tony jumps out of a military plane into his “Stark Expo” highlighting his company’s ware. He twists and turns through the night sky, avoiding fireworks and other air obstacles to make his grand entrance. The confrontation with Vanko is also entertaining and keeps you on the edge of your seat.Don Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2 (2010)It’s ambitious in what it wants to accomplish, and it succeeds on many levels.

 

REVIEW: SHERGAR

CAST

Ian Holm (The Hobbit)
Mickey Rourke (The Immortals)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Stephen Brennan  (Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog)
Andrew Connolly (Heroes)

Shergar is a race horse that has been kidnapped by a sub-group of the IRA. They have hidden it on a farm far away from where they abducted it and now ask for a ransom of five million pounds. The government isn’t willing to pay, afraid that the money will be used to buy new weapons and explosives, and decides not to give in. The kidnappers are furious and decide to shoot the horse, to cut of its head, to bury it on the farm and to send the head to an important news paper as proof of what they have done. But they haven’t thought of one person. An orphan boy who works at the farm and who loves horses, decides to save Shergar by fleeing with him into the countryside where the IRA and the police hopefully will not find him.thumbMany people really seem to hate this movie, but I must say that I quite liked it. Was it an excellent movie then? No, definitely not. It was sometimes a bit too unbelievable and predictable, especially at the end, but overall the quality is ok. Take for instance the story of the movie. Let’s forget about the fact that this was based on true events, but with a large fictional part added to it. If you see it as an entirely new story,  then this is quite believable and original.  It’s not the best movie ever, but I liked it.

REVIEW: SHADES

CAST

Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)
Jan Decleir (Character)
Gene Bervoets (Ella)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Mireille Leveque (Spoed)

hqdefaultShades is a film about (imaginary) Belgian serial killer Freddy Lebecq which producer Max Vogel, a former lawyer, is determined to make into an internationally co-produced, relatively big budget-production Hollywood style, with a director from the States. To that end he cuts deals with and often behind the backs of just about everybody, including Lebeq -who has the book rights-, his lawyer who hopes to use proceeds donated to the relatives to facilitate early release, even the victims, always trying to get the media circus to yield priceless publicity. However not only the lead actor proves a loose canon, even Lebecq ends up killing his lawyer and escaping, when he believes the movie is hurting his case175473-6223-clp-950Shades has many dignities such as good play of actors, realistic plot, honesty, noir humour and many others. If you didn’t appreciate this film you understood nothing

REVIEW: MAN ON FIRE

 

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black)
Marc Anthony (Hackers)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Giancarlo Giannini (Hannibal)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Jesús Ochoa (Only God Knows)
Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2)

In 2003, burnt-out ex-CIA (SAD/SOG) Paramilitary operations officer and former U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance officer John Creasy (Denzel Washington) visits his old comrade Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken), who runs a security firm in Mexico. Because of the extremely high rate of kidnappings in Mexico City for ransoms, wealthy businessman Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) hires Creasy through Rayburn to guard his nine-year-old daughter “Pita” (Dakota Fanning). However, Samuel is having money problems and intends to keep Creasy on only long enough to satisfy the requirements to renew his kidnap and ransom insurance on Pita. Creasy suffers from alcoholism, depression and severe guilt as a result of his former black ops work. Drinking heavily, Creasy attempts suicide with his pistol, but the cartridge fails to fire when he pulls the trigger. He calls Rayburn, who says that “a bullet always tells the truth.” At first, Creasy distances himself from Pita, but soon he becomes a surrogate father to the girl, allowing him to stop drinking and find a purpose in his life.One day, while Creasy is escorting Pita from her piano lesson, a group of gunmen try to kidnap her. Creasy kills four of the kidnappers, including two corrupt policemen, in a shoot out, but he is shot multiple times and collapses from his wounds, and the abductors escape with Pita, who Creasy had commanded to flee, but returned to the collapsed Creasy. Creasy is hospitalized, but is moved to a veterinary hospital by Miguel Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini), a senior agent of the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI), who suspects Creasy will be killed by rogue police. Meanwhile, the Ramoses agree to deliver a dead drop ransom of US$10 million per the instructions of “La Voz” (“The Voice”) (Roberto Sosa), the mastermind behind the kidnapping ring. Samuel’s attorney, Jordan Kalfus (Mickey Rourke), and police detective Victor Fuentes (Jesús Ochoa) arrange for the ransom money to be collected from Samuel’s kidnapping insurance policy, then delivered to the kidnappers. The drop, however, is ambushed by members of “La Hermandad”, a powerful crime syndicate composed of corrupt police officers, who steal the money and kill The Voice’s nephew in the process. The Voice notifies the Ramoses that Pita will be killed in retribution.Creasy leaves the hospital before fully recovering, swearing to Pita’s mother Lisa (Radha Mitchell) that he will kill everyone involved in her daughter’s abduction. Rayburn helps Creasy purchase black market firearms, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and explosives. Mariana Guerrero (Rachel Ticotin), a journalist investigating kidnappings, and Manzano also offer their support. Creasy tracks down low-level operatives involved in various stages of the kidnapping, torturing each for information about other operatives, then killing them in brutal ways, eventually learning from Fuentes, who is revealed to be the “president” of “La Hermandad”, that the bags they stole at the ransom drop contained only $2.5 million of actual currency while the rest was blank paper.Creasy finds Kalfus murdered and then finds evidence of his questionable financial dealings with Samuel. He confronts Samuel and Lisa for the truth behind the kidnapping. Samuel confesses to Creasy and Lisa that he agreed to Kalfus’ plan to stage Pita’s kidnapping, so he could pay off business debts by fraudulently collecting the insurance money. He planned to keep $5 million for himself and split the rest between Kalfus and the kidnappers. He was told that Pita would watch cartoons for a couple days and be returned after the ransom was paid, but Fuentes, who had been promised a cut of the money by Kalfus, became greedy and betrayed him and Samuel to try and take the entire ransom for himself. Samuel held Kalfus responsible for the botched drop and confesses to killing him after learning that Kalfus knew about Fuentes’ corruption. Creasy then leaves Samuel with a pistol and the misfired round, which works for Samuel when he commits suicide.Using the information provided by Creasy, The Voice’s identity is revealed by Manzano to be Daniel Sánchez, who Mariana exposes on the front page of her newspaper. Creasy sneaks into the home of Sánchez’s ex-wife and children, and is shot by his brother Aurelio (Gero Camilo), whom Creasy then captures. Creasy calls Daniel Sánchez and threatens to kill all of his family unless he gives himself up, but Sánchez reveals that Pita is still alive, and offers her in exchange for Aurelio and Creasy. Creasy and Pita share a tearful goodbye before he surrenders himself to Sánchez’ men, as Pita is released into her mother’s arms. Creasy dies peacefully from his gunshot injuries. Daniel Sánchez is later killed by Manzano during an AFI arrest raid.Style trumps substance in Man on Fire, a slick, brooding reunion of Crimson Tide star Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott. Prolific screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) sets a solid emotional foundation for Washington’s tormented character, and Scott’s stylistic excess compensates for a distended plot that’s both repellently violent and viscerally absorbing. Man on Fire is roughly on par with Scott’s similar 1990 film Revenge, efficiently satisfying Washington’s incendiary bloodlust under a heavy blanket of humid, doom-laden atmosphere

REVIEW: DOMINO

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CAST

Keira Knightley (The Duchess)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Edgar Ramirez (Joy)
Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty)
Mo’Nique (Precious)
Dabney Coleman (Downhill Racer)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Macy Gray (Shadowboxer)
Jacqueline Bisset (Wild Orchid)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator): TSCC)
Ian Ziering (Sharknado)
Tom Waits (Mystery Men)
Jerry Springer (Ringmaster)
Stanley Kamel (Ravager)
Dale Dickey (My Name Is Earl)
Frederick Koehler (Death Race)
T.K. Carter (The Thing)
Liza Lapira (Fast & Furious)
Andy Milder (Armageddon)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Melissa Lee (True Calling)

Domino Harvey, a bounty hunter, has been arrested by the FBI, investigating the theft of $10 million from an armored truck. Domino is interviewed by criminal psychologist Taryn Mills and tells her everything she knows about the case. Domino explains about her profession and the events leading up to the theft with Mills occasionally prompting her to give more detail.Domino, a former model living in Los Angeles becomes a bounty hunter when, after being kicked out of college, she notices a newspaper advertisement for a bounty hunter training seminar. Her colleagues are Ed Moseby, Choco and Afghan driver Alf. They are employed by Claremont Williams III, a bail bondsman who also runs an armored car business. Claremont’s mistress, Lateesha Rodriguez, works for the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Her granddaughter Mica is suffering from a blood disease and needs an operation that costs $300,000. Claremont sets up the robbery of $10 million from Drake Bishop, the owner of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and a client of Claremont. His bounty hunters would return the stolen money and collect a $300,000 finder’s fee from Bishop.Lateesha has been running a counterfeit driver’s license racket at the DMV. A teenager named Frances arrives at the DMV and asks Lateesha for fake driver’s licenses for himself, his brother, and two of their friends. The FBI are tipped about Lateesha’s counterfeit driver’s license racket. They threaten to send her to jail unless she gives them information about Frances, whom they have been surveilling. Lateesha throws them off the trail by stating that Frances, his brother and his two friends are going to commit the robbery, when in reality she and Claremont are doing it themselves.Domino-film-images-52346cf0-1f5f-47f5-8362-9cf6a68f722Lateesha carries out the robbery with the help of three co-workers. Claremont finds that Frances and his brother are the sons of mafia boss Anthony Cigliutti. He phones Lateesha and tells her to abort the plan, leaving the money with getaway driver Locus Fender who takes the money to his mother’s trailer home. Claremont has the bounty hunters apprehend Frances, his brother and his two friends and then tells them to deliver them to men working for Drake Bishop. Claremont tells them to retrieve the money from Locus Fender and to deliver it to Bishop at the Stratosphere Casino. Following a shootout with Locus’s mother, the money is retrieved. Cigliutti is told about his sons’ arrest and is led to believe that Bishop had his sons killed. In reality Bishop’s men released them on finding that they did not know anything about the robbery. Believing his sons dead, Cigliutti is out for revenge and heads for the Stratosphere. In Las Vegas, Domino takes $300,000 of Bishop’s money and gives it to Lateesha for Mica’s operation. At the Stratosphere, the bounty hunters meet with Bishop, who has an armed crew with him. Domino and Bishop discuss the money and what should happen next. Alf has stolen the money and filled the sacks with plastic explosives. He then reveals that he has the remote detonator taped to his hand, and has shipped the money to aid freedom fighters in Afghanistan. Shortly after this revelation Anthony Cigliutti turns up with his crew. Though Bishop denies he has had Cigliutti’s sons killed, Cigliutti shoots Bishop. In the ensuing gunfight Choco and Ed are severely wounded, but make it into the elevator with Domino. Alf blows up the top of the Stratosphere and Domino is the only survivor.df331be82a4c87e8c5240ddfa05071e4After having told Taryn Mills everything, Domino is released by the FBI. Mills advises Domino to retire from bounty hunting. The money in boxes is delivered to Afghanistan and opened by celebrating children in the streets, Mica gets her operation, and Domino shares a moment with her mother.36Don’t watch “Domino” expecting a true-to-life biopic of Domino Harvey, model turned bounty hunter. Watch “Domino” for some excellent action sequences, big shoot-ups and the not often celebrated talents of Edgar Ramirez. Keira Knighley was shredded for her role in this production, but on the contrary, I find the extreme differences between this role and her other at the time, “Pride & Prejudice”, an indication of just how versatile she can be. “Domino” is pure escapism, with a touch of Tarantino-esque grit in many of the scenes. Thoroughly enjoyable, providing you leave your film critic/realist hat at the door.

 

REVIEW: SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL FOR

CAST

Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Mickey Rourke (Immortals)
Jessica Alba (Machete)
Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Eva Green (Dark Shadows)
Powers Booth (Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Julia Garner (The Assistant)
Christopher Lloyd (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Jaime King (Bulletproof Monk)
Juno Temple (Horns)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Lady Gaga (Machete Kills Again)
Alexa Penavega (Spy Kids)

Just Another Saturday Night

Marv (Mickey Rourke) regains consciousness on a highway overlooking the Projects, surrounded by several dead young men and a crashed police car, and with no memory of how he got there. He retraces his steps, recalling that since it’s Saturday, he watched Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) dance at Kadie’s Saloon. Stepping outside, he encounters four rich frat boys burning a homeless man alive. When Marv intervenes, the leader of the frat boys shoots him in the arm, calling him “Bernini Boy,” which Marv mishears as “Bernie.” They flee; Marv follows, stealing a Police car on the way, which he crashes into their car, leading to his blackout and memory loss. He follows the two surviving frat boys into The Projects, the neighborhood where he grew up. With the assistance of the deadly residents lurking in the shadows, he dispatches the frat boys. He questions the leader about being called “Bernini Boy” and learns that it is the brand of coat he is wearing. After slitting the boy’s throat, he considers his coat and realizes he can’t remember how he acquired it.

The Long Bad Night (Part I)

Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a cocky young gambler, arrives in Sin City and heads to Kadie’s place, where he immediately hits the jackpot on multiple slot machines. Taking a young waitress, Marcie (Julia Garner), with him as a good luck charm, he buys into the backroom poker game led by the all-powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny repeatedly wins in the high-stakes game, and cleans the senator out. One other player, the corrupt police lieutenant Liebowitz (Jude Ciccolella), warns him to flee the city, but instead Johnny takes Marcie out for a night on the town. He walks her home when Roark’s goons suddenly attack him. He fights them off and tells Marcie to meet him at a hotel before he is escorted into the Senator’s waiting limousine. In payment for the humiliation he suffered at the card game, Roark takes back his money and uses a pair of pliers to break the fingers of Johnny’s playing hand. They toss him from the car and the Senator shoots Johnny in the leg. Roark then reveals that he recognized Johnny as his illegitimate son. However, he remarks that he only considered his dead son Roark Jr. his flesh and blood. He leaves Johnny alive, preferring to let him suffer, and Johnny swears revenge.

A Dame to Kill For

Years before “The Big Fat Kill”, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) attempts to put his violent past behind him, working as a private detective and leading a life of complete sobriety, struggling daily to refuse his inner demons. After saving the life of Sally (Juno Temple), young hooker, who is nearly murdered by her businessman lover (Ray Liotta), he receives an unexpected phone call from his former lover, Ava Lord (Eva Green), who left Dwight four years prior for a wealthy tycoon, Damien Lord (Marton Csokas). She begs him to meet her at Kadie’s saloon, and despite his embittered feelings, he agrees. When Ava arrives, she begs forgiveness for leaving him and implies she is afraid for her life before her massive chauffeur, Manute (Dennis Haysbert), arrives to escort her home. Unable to get her out of his mind, Dwight sneaks into Damien Lord’s estate, where he observes Ava swimming, but is caught and beaten. Dwight is returned home, where a nude Ava waits for him. He tries to throw her out, but can’t resist her and they make love. She tells him that Damien and Manute torture her physically and mentally, and she knows Damien will kill her soon. Manute arrives and viciously beats a naked Dwight, sending him out the window with a single punch.

Determined to rescue Ava, Dwight recruits Marv to help him, and they mount an assault on Lord’s compound. Marv attacks Manute, putting him in traction and tearing out his eye. Dwight confronts Damien Lord, who denies Ava’s accusations, and an enraged Dwight beats him to death. As he reacts in horror, Ava appears and shoots Dwight several times, taunting him and thanking him for helping her murder her husband and take over his fortune. She shoots him in the face and forces him to fall out of a window, where Marv rescues him and takes him to Old Town. Dwight’s old flame, Gail (Rosario Dawson), recognizes him and saves his life. With the help of Gail and the deadly assassin Miho (Jamie Chung), Dwight undergoes reconstructive surgery on his face and plots his revenge.

Meanwhile, two detectives, Mort (Christopher Meloni) and Bob (Jeremy Piven), investigate Damien’s death. Ava claims Dwight was an obsessive ex-lover, and he killed her husband in a jealous rage. Bob is skeptical but Ava seduces Mort, who believes her every word. They begin an affair and Ava pressures him to find and kill Dwight. When Mort, obsessed with Ava, attempts to track Dwight down in Old Town (an action that would break the truce between the police and the prostitutes), Bob attempts to stop him. An enraged Mort shoots Bob in the face, then commits suicide afterward. Out of options, Ava reluctantly partners with the mob boss Wallenquist (Stacy Keach).

Dwight (with his reconstructed new face), accompanied by Gail and Miho, poses as Wallenquist’s man from Texas. Inside Ava’s estate, however, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight’s car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .45 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims shakily at Dwight as Ava unexpectedly grabs one of Manute’s guns, shooting Manute several times. She attempts to convince Dwight to pair with her, and that the pain he suffered revealed his true intentions, but Dwight shoots her mid-kiss, and she dies in his arms.

 The Long Bad Night (Part II)

Johnny visits an unlicensed doctor, Kroenig (Christopher Lloyd), who shoots up heroin before trading his services for Johnny’s last $40 and his shoes. Realizing he left Marcie unprotected, Johnny rushes to his hotel but finds the Senator waiting for him, along with Marcie’s dismembered head and hands. Again, the senator lets him go. Intent on taking down Roark, Johnny scrounges a dollar from a sympathetic waitress (Lady Gaga) which he uses to regain enough money playing slots to buy his way into Roark’s game the following night. Playing a card shark’s con, Johnny folds his first few hands, allowing Roark to taunt him about his dead mother. He once again cons Roark into going all in, then reveals his winning hand. Johnny taunts his father, reminding him that tonight’s story of how the same man beat him twice will follow him for the rest of his life. His vengeance completed, Johnny smiles resignedly, a single tear running down his face as Roark shoots him in the head, commanding his men to get rid of the body.

Nancy’s Last Dance

Four years after “That Yellow Bastard”,” Nancy Callahan is in a deep depression over John Hartigan’s death. She is obsessed with getting revenge on Senator Roark for having driven Hartigan to kill himself. As she wallows in despair, the ghost of Hartigan (Bruce Willis) watches over her, unable to reach her but still attempting to help. On the same night that Johnny joins the backroom poker game, Nancy attempts to shoot Roark from the stage of Kadie’s, but she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger.
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Nancy hallucinates a visit from Roark, and shortly thereafter cuts her hair and smashes a mirror…using its shards to cut her face. She decides to get Marv to help her kill Roark by showing him the scars and making him believe that Roark was responsible. As they step out of the club, they meet a motorcycle gang there to shoot up the place. Marv kills two but leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark’s compound: Marv slaughters Roark’s bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, but Nancy continues on alone to confront Roark. Roark shoots her first in the side then the leg and is about to finish her off. Suddenly, Hartigan’s ghost appears in the mirror –startling Roark long enough for Nancy to recover and kill him.
sin-city-2-dame-to-fill-for-jessica-alba-bruce-willisThis is as visually stunning and as jaw dropping as the first film. I was thoroughly engrossed for 90 odd minutes, with the comic books faithfully reproduced. Something over and above many comic book adaptations is happening here, with plots stuck to with few liberties taken