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.

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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.

 

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)
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