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.

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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)
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: 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)

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: 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: THE WRESTLER

CAST

Mickey Rourke (Immortals)
Marisa Tomei(Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Mark Margolis (Noah)
Todd Barry (Road Trip)
Judah Friedlander (Cabin Fever 2)
Ajay Naidu (Bad Santa)

Robin Ramzinski, better known by his ring name Randy “The Ram” Robinson, is a professional wrestler who became a celebrity in the 1980s. Now past his prime, Randy wrestles on weekends for independent promotions in New Jersey while working part-time at a supermarket under Wayne, a demeaning manager who mocks Randy’s wrestling background. A regular at a strip club, Randy befriends a stripper, Cassidy, who, like Randy, is too old for her job. After winning a local match, Randy agrees to a proposed 20th anniversary rematch with his most notable opponent, “The Ayatollah”, which could bring him back to stardom.Randy intensifies his training, which includes steroid injections. After wrestling in a hardcore match, Randy suffers a heart attack backstage and undergoes coronary artery bypass surgery. His doctor tells him that his heart can no longer handle the stress of wrestling. As a result, Randy decides to retire and begins working a full-time shift at the supermarket’s deli counter.

At Cassidy’s suggestion, Randy visits his estranged daughter Stephanie, whom he had abandoned when she was a child, but she rebuffs him and is living her own life. While helping Randy buy a gift for Stephanie, Cassidy reveals that she has a son. Randy makes romantic advances toward her, which she rejects on the grounds of her job. Later, Randy gives the gift to his daughter and apologizes for abandoning her. The two bond over a visit to a beachfront boardwalk, where he took her as a child, and agree to meet for dinner on the coming Saturday. Randy goes to Cassidy’s strip club to thank her, but she once more rejects him, resulting in a heated exchange. Upset, Randy goes to see a wrestling match and finds solace in his wrestling friends. While at a bar with them, he gets drunk, snorts cocaine and has sex with a woman in the women’s restroom. He sleeps the entire next day and misses his dinner with Stephanie. He goes to her house to apologize, but she angrily tells him she never wants to see him again.At the deli counter, a patron recognizes Randy as the wrestler, though he denies it. The customer persists, which agitates Randy, who then cuts his hand on the deli’s slicer and goes into a rampage in the store, hurling abuse at Wayne and the customers. Spurred by the fan’s recognition of him and with nothing left, Randy decides to return to wrestling and reschedules the rematch with The Ayatollah. He reconciles with Cassidy, though she begs him not to wrestle because of his heart condition. However, Randy explains to her that he belongs in the ring with the fans who, unlike the rest of society, love him.As he wrestles, Randy begins to feel chest pain and becomes unsteady. The Ayatollah notices this and urges him to initiate the pin. Randy refuses, however, and climbs the top rope for his signature finishing move, a diving headbutt called the Ram Jam. He looks over and sees Cassidy has left. In tears, he salutes the crowd and leaps from the ropes.The Wrestler is great. It’s a rich rounded film that smoothly weaves together pathos and comedy and soul. It’s funny and dramatic, tear-jerking and tough. Definitely a must-see film.

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)

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.