REVIEW: THE BAD PACK

 

CAST

Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Ralf Moeller (Conan)
Larry B. Scott (The Karate Kid)
Shawn Huff (Christmas Trade)
Patrick Dollaghan (The Rapture)
Brent Huff (Chasing Beauty)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Daniel Zacapa (The River)
Jeep Swenson (Batman & Robin)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Gladiator)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Cristian Crocker-Reilly (The Other F Word)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)

001136_37Everyone once in a great while, a B-movie comes along that redefines and distinguished the often dismissed sub-genre. The case in point is The Bad Pack, an action movie starring a number of familiar faces for aficionados of this kind of entertainment.  After repeated violations to their people and property, two villagers travel from Mexico to Los Angeles in an effort to hire a former commando and his band of mercenaries to fight back against a local militia. The immigrants in the Texas border town are down to their last hope, when McCue (Robert Davi) and his men (Roddy Piper, Ralph Moeller, Larry B. Scott) bring their technical expertise and strength to combat the volatile situation.hqdefaultDirector Brent Huff stages the film with energy and has the sense to cast under-rated talents in key roles. The cast is headlined by Robert Davi, who normally portrays villains, but makes for an appealing hero. B-Movie mainstay Marshall R. Teague is the dastardly head of the formidable Militia. The Bad Pack is The Expendables a decade before the latter reinvigorated the sagging careers of its participants. Unlike that film, The Bad Pack has been made on a limited budget, but every cent has been squeezed to present the best possible product on-screen.

 

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REVIEW: THE SCORPION KING

CAST

Dwayne Johsnon (Fast & Furious 8)
Steven Brand (Hellraiser 9)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Grant Heslov (True Lies)
Bernard Hill (Lord of The Rings)
Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Ralf Moeller (Pathfinder)
Branscombe Richmond (Commando)
Roger Rees (The New World)
Tyler Mane (Halloween)

“Before the time of the pyramids,” a horde from the East invades the ancient world, led by the ruthless Memnon, who by their law, is king for being their greatest warrior. His many victories come from the help of a sorcerer who predicts the outcomes of battles, leaving only a few free tribes to oppose him.Mathayus, his half-brother Jesup, and friend Rama, the only three true remaining Akkadians, are hired by King Pheron of the last free tribes to kill Memnon’s sorcerer for twenty blood rubies, upsetting Pheron’s son Takmet, as it is the last of their treasury, and Nubian King Balthazar, who dislikes the Akkadians. The Akkadians manage to sneak into Memnon’s camp, but are ambushed by Memnon’s guards, having been tipped off by Takmet who killed his own father and defected to Memnon’s side. Jesup and Rama are hit by arrows, but Mathayus manages to sneak into the sorcerer’s tent, where he sees that the sorcerer is actually a sorceress, Cassandra. Mathayus is ambushed and meets Memnon himself, who brutally executes Jesup in front of him, and is about to kill Mathayus too. Cassandra, however, tells Memnon that the gods wish Mathayus to survive the night, and to defy them will incur their wrath and cost him his victories. Memnon has Mathayus buried to his neck in the desert to be devoured by fire ants at dawn, but he manages to escape with help from a horse thief, Arpid.Deciding to finish his mission and avenge his brother, Mathayus sneaks into Memnon’s stronghold, Gomorrah, and manages to enter Memnon’s palace with help from a street urchin. He briefly meets Memnon’s court magician, Philos, who hides him and then directs him to the courtyard where Memnon is training. Mathayus tries to shoot Memnon from the watchtower, but is forced to save the street urchin from having his hand amputated for theft by shooting the axe out of Takmet’s hand, alerting the guards to his presence. Mathayus only barely manages to escape Gomorrah, abducting Cassandra along the way, knowing that Memnon will come for her.Cassandra tries to escape from Mathayus and even tells him that she has been Memnon’s prisoner since she was a child. Sympathetic, Mathayus allows her the choice of leaving, but warns her of worse dangers and that she is likely safer with him. Meanwhile, Memnon sends his right-hand man Thorak and a group of guards to kill Mathayus and retrieve Cassandra, but Mathayus manages to slay them all under the cover of a sandstorm and in a cave, while dueling and fatally stabbing Thorak in the abdomen. With his dying breaths, Thorak manages to stab Mathayus in the leg with a scorpion blood-laced arrow. Cassandra, however, uses her magic to save Mathayus’ life. As an insult and a warning, Mathayus sends Thorak’s blood-stained pendant to Memnon.Mathayus, Arpid and Cassandra then run into Philos, who had earlier managed to flee from Memnon’s palace and has perfected an explosive powder he was working on. However, they are ambushed by the rebels, now under the rule of Balthazar. Though Mathayus defeats Balthazar in a fight and earns his grudging respect and sanctuary, Cassandra has a vision of Memnon and his army slaughtering the entire rebel camp. She informs Mathayus and then prophesies that when the moonlight reaches Memnon’s palace, the King on High will become the invincible Scorpion King, and Memnon believes himself to be the one destined to become the Scorpion King. Furthermore, she informs Mathayus that if he faces Memnon, he will most likely die from being shot, but Mathayus assures her that he will make his own destiny and they sleep together.The next morning, however, Cassandra returns to Memnon in order to stall him and possibly kill him. Mathayus, with help from Balthazar, Arpid, Philos and the army of rebels, launches an all-out assault on Memnon’s stronghold, facing Memnon personally before he can kill Cassandra, while Balthazar confronts and kills Takmet, avenging Pheron, and takes on the full force of Memnon’s forces alone. The battle rages on until Mathayus is shot by a guard as in Cassandra’s vision. As Memnon takes his place in the House of Scorpio to become the Scorpion King, Cassandra kills the guard while Mathayus retrieves his bow, pulls the arrow out of his shoulder and uses it to shoot the exhausted Memnon, sending him off the edge of the roof just as Philos and Arpid use the explosive powder to destroy the palace’s foundation stone, bringing down the bulk of Memnon’s forces. Memnon is consumed by the flames as he falls to his death. With the battle over, the remnants of Memnon’s army bow before Mathayus, who by their law is their new king, the Scorpion King.

In the aftermath, Mathayus and Balthazar share a good-natured farewell as the latter returns to his own kingdom. Cassandra tells Mathayus that she sees a period of peace and prosperity coming, but warns him that it will not last forever. Undeterred, Mathayus decides that they will make their own destiny.

The Rock does alright in his first starring role; he’s packing the physicality and presence of a Big Action Star, the action comes at a steady enough paste that the movie never has a chance to drag anywhere throughout its lean hour and a half runtime, it never takes itself too seriously, there are entire battalions of scantily-clad women. .t Chuck Russell and company set out to make a straight-ahead, fun, mindless action/adventure flick, and that’s exactly what they did.

REVIEW: GLADIATOR

CAST

Russell Crowe (Man of STeel)
Joaquin Phoenix (Quills)
Connie Nielsen (Basic)
Oliver Reed (Tommy)
Richard Harris (Unforgiven)
Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Spencer Treat Clark (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hemmings (Deep Red)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)

In AD 180, Hispano-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Roman army to a decisive victory against the Germanic tribes near Vindobona on the northern frontier. Now weary of battle, Maximus only desires to retire to his Spanish farm estate. But Emperor Marcus Aurelius tells him that his own son and heir, Commodus, is unfit to rule and that he will appoint Maximus as regent to help save Rome from corruption. When the Emperor reveals his plan to his son, Commodus murders him in a fit of rage.Commodus announces he is the new Emperor and asks Maximus for his loyalty. When the general refuses, he is arrested by his officers and is sentenced to death at dawn. Maximus kills his captors and rides for his farm. However, he arrives too late, and finds it destroyed and his family murdered, by Commodus’ orders. Maximus buries his wife and son, and then collapses from his wounds and grief. He is found by slavers who take him to Zucchabar, a colonia in the Roman North African province of Mauretania Caesariensis, where he is sold to a lanista (gladiator trainer) named Proximo.Although reluctant at first, Maximus fights in local tournaments and makes friends with two other gladiators: Juba, a Numidian who holds onto Maximus’s figurines of his wife and child, and Hagen, a German. As he wins every match because of his military skills and indifference to death, he gains fame and recognition. But Proximo, who reveals that he himself was once a gladiator who fought well enough to be given his freedom, advises Maximus that being a good killer is not enough; a good gladiator is one who can “win the crowd”. Proximo encourages Maximus to go to Rome and fight in the Colosseum, because Commodus has organized 150 days of games. He could then use the power he commands in the arena as leverage against the Emperor.Maximus’ first gladiatorial combat in the Colosseum is a re-enactment of the Roman victory over Carthage at the Battle of Zama. Although the gladiators (portraying the Carthaginians) are expected to be massacred, Maximus leads them to victory over the legionaries of Scipio Africanus. This prompts a surprised and delighted Commodus to enter the arena to offer his personal congratulations. When the emperor’s young nephew, Lucius, also joins them, Maximus decides not to kill Commodus. Instead he reveals himself and vows to have vengeance. The Praetorian Guard is ordered to attack but this angers the crowd. Under pressure to keep the mob of Rome happy, Commodus angrily relents.Maximus’ next fight is a victory against a large undefeated gladiator. Despite Commodus’s orders to kill the loser, Maximus spares his defeated opponent’s life. This defiance earns him the nickname “Maximus the Merciful” and more cheers of adulation. Angered at this outcome, Commodus enters the arena to taunt Maximus about his family’s death. But the gladiator turns his back and walks away, another defiant act that is making him more popular than the Emperor. Maximus discovers from Cicero, his ex-orderly, that his former legions remain loyal. Lucilla, Commodus’ sister, and Gracchus, from the Senate, meet secretly with Maximus. He obtains their promise to help him escape Rome, rejoin his soldiers, topple Commodus by force, and hand power back to the Roman Senate. However, Commodus learns of the plot from Lucilla by threatening her son Lucius. The Praetorian Guard arrest Gracchus while others are sent to the gladiators’ barracks. Maximus escapes after Proximo and his men (including Hagen) sacrifice themselves. But at the rendezvous point, Maximus is captured and Cicero is killed.To win the crowd back, Commodus challenges Maximus to a duel in the Colosseum. However, he secretly stabs Maximus in the side before the match to gain an advantage. Nevertheless Maximus eventually disarms Commodus during their duel. When his Praetorian Guards refuse to give him another sword, the emperor tricks Maximus into disarming and produces a hidden knife, but Maximus drives the blade back into Commodus’s throat. Maximus, however, succumbs to his wounds shortly thereafter.Maximus’s last words are to ask for political reforms, for his gladiator allies to be freed, and for Senator Gracchus to be reinstated. While the body of Commodus is left unceremoniously on the floor of the arena, Maximus is solemnly carried away by his friends and allies to be given an honorable funeral as a “soldier of Rome”. The crowd stands as a sign of respect as Maximus is carried out. Later, a now-free Juba revisits the Colosseum at night. He buries the figurines of Maximus’ wife and son at the spot where he died. He says he is now going back to his own family and promises to see Maximus again, “but not yet”.It’s true that this movie does pretty much follow the Braveheart formula. However, this movie includes some elements, such as the cinematography and the incredibly graphic battle scenes that are spectacular in itself. Overall, a great movie that I highly recommend.

REVIEW: PATHFINDER (2007)

CAST

Karl Urban (Dredd)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Russell Means (Natural Born Killers)
Nathaniel Arcand (Heartland)
Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Michelle Thrush (Highlander: The Series)
John Mann (The Tall Man)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)

A Viking Age expedition arrives in America, intending to slaughter the native “Skræling” population. The party is itself killed by another native tribe, the only survivor being the leader’s son, who is adopted by a native woman. The boy is named “Ghost” for his paleness.Fifteen years later, Ghost (Karl Urban) still lives among the tribe, but has never been accepted as a full member. His romantic interest is Starfire (Moon Bloodgood), the daughter of the Pathfinder (Russell Means), an elderly chief of a neighboring tribe.

In an attack by a new group of Viking raiders, Ghost’s village is destroyed and all inhabitants killed, except a few tribesmen whom the attackers want to combat individually. Viking leader Gunnar (Clancy Brown) challenges Ghost, who is still in possession of his father’s sword. He defeats Ulfar (Ralf Möller), cutting out his eye before escaping.

Ghost is pursued by the Vikings and receives an arrow wound. He reaches the neighboring tribe and is tended to by Pathfinder and his daughter. Ghost advises the villagers to flee, then he departs to take on the Vikings alone, but is joined by Jester, a mute admirer, who refuses to leave his side, and Starfire, who decides to leave the tribe for him. They defeat a few Vikings and collect their arms and armour. Pathfinder goes after his daughter and also joins the fight. Eventually, both Jester and Pathfinder are executed brutally, and Ghost and Starfire are captured. The Vikings threaten to torture Starfire if Ghost will not betray the location of the other villages. Ghost pretends to lead the Vikings to the tribe, and manages to kill most of them on the way, some drowning in a lake and others caught in an avalanche. Ghost eventually kills Gunnar in a duel on a cliff’s edge.45e1d958ec503b8a3a95ac956a519bf4

Ghost returns to Starfire with Pathfinder’s necklace, thus making Starfire the new Pathfinder after her father. Ghost, now finally respected as the bravest of the tribe and one of their own, assumes his position watching over the coast in case the Vikings ever return.broken-arrow-john-travolta-small-head-2

An enjoyable film and certainly not worthy of some of the slating reviews it has received!

 

REVIEW: SWORD OF XANTEN

CAST
Benno Furman (Mutant Chronicles)
Kristanna Loken (Painkiller Jane)
Alicia Witt (Dune)
Julian sands (Gotham)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Max Von Sydow (game of Thrones)
Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
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Part 1
The film is set around the time when many Europeans had changed their religion from paganism to Christianity. The film is split into three parts, and comprises the story of Siegfried from childhood to his death. The film opens with a young Siegfried awakening in the middle of an invasion of his parents’ castle by Saxons. The castle is soon overrun and all are slain except for Siegfried, whose mother has sent him down the river. In the morning he is picked up by a blacksmith, Eyvind, who raises him under the name Erik.
Twelve years later, Brunhild, the Queen of Iceland (still a pagan like Eyvind and Erik) follows her adviser’s runes that lead her to where Erik lives. The runes foretell that a star will fall from the sky and from its smoke a man will appear who will defeat her. Brunhild initially has doubts as no one has ever beaten her in a fight before. That night a meteor, a described announcement to a war between the gods called Ragnarök, hits the earth near the smithy and despite Eyvind’s warning, Erik goes to investigate. In the middle of the crater there are two rocks of a strange kind of metal. Wearing a cloak over her face, Brunhild arrives and Erik, believing she is a Saxon, attacks her. After a short battle he defeats her, and they instantly fall in love with each other, seeing their gathering as the will of the gods. After making love Erik promises to go to Iceland to meet Brunhild and they fall asleep. In the morning Erik wakes up alone after Brunhild has taken one of the rocks and left. Erik convinces Eyvind to let Erik go with him to Burgund (the kingdom of the Burgundians) and on their way down the river they see a town in flames.
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Once in Burgund the hawk Arminius, belonging to King Gunther’s brother Giselher, lands on Erik’s arm and there is a brief fight between Erik and some of the townspeople. Afterwards Eyvind presents his swords to Gunther, who reveals that the dragon Fafnir has awakened and is responsible for the burnt village. King Gunther and his best men, including army chief Hagen, leave to slay the dragon; Giselher befriends Erik and says that his sister Kriemhild is wanted by every man in the kingdom but she doesn’t want any of them. Eyvind leaves Erik to use the rock from the meteor to make a sword.
Gunther returns injured with Hagen; all the other knights have been killed. Erik promises to Kriemhild that Gunther and his men will be avenged. He enters Fafnir’s lair and, after a fierce battle, manages to slay the dragon while receiving only a scratch on his arm. Seeing that Fafnir’s blood has healed his scratch, Erik bathes in the blood, rendering his skin invulnerable (save for a single spot where an errant leaf had fallen upon his upper back, leaving that one spot untouched by the blood).
Part 2
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Erik explores the cave and finds a vast hall filled with treasure. He finds a ring, the Ring of the Nibelung, and is then confronted by ghosts of immortal twilight beings, the Nibelung. They warn him that taking any of the treasure will bring the curse down on him, but he does not listen and takes the ring and promises to come back for the rest. Outside he is attacked by an ex-Nibelung who lost his immortality for trying to take all the treasure, who happens to be Hagen’s father Alberich. Erik soon defeats Alberich and takes his tarn-helm, an item that lets him take the shape of anyone else. The Nibelung tell Siegfried again to return the treasure, and when Siegfried offers to return half to them they say it will not be sufficient. Erik returns to Burgund with Fafnir’s head and shows it to the people and Gunther proclaims he is a hero which makes Hagen jealous. That night, Erik dances and spends the evening with Kriemhild who wears a mask during the party, and tells her he is already in love with another woman (Brunhild). Meanwhile, the entire dragon’s hoard is moved to the Burgund treasury and fills it near to overflowing. The Saxons suddenly decide to invade Burgund to take the gold and Erik rides with the army to confront the twin Saxon kings, the men who slew his father. During a short fight Erik remembers who he is, then he declares the kingdom to be split between himself and King Gunther. He sadly remembers his father’s death, giving the two Saxons the choice to leave, but they attack again and are slain. It is also at this point that Eyvind (who tells Erik that he suspected his origin from the beginning) passes away from old age and Siegfried gives him a proper pagan funeral in his honor.
This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast. A raven lands on his arm that delivers a message to Brunhild that Erik is actually Siegfried of Xanten, that he had found his real place and identity, and that he will visit her soon, planning to make her his wife as soon as possible, but warning it may take a little longer because he desires to take his treasure to Xanten for her. Having overheard Kriemhild and Erik at the party, Hagen’s father makes a potion that Kriemhild gives Erik that causes him to fall in love with her and forget Brunhild. A raven who would deliver this news to Brunhild is then shot down by Hagen.
Part 3
Siegfried, having forgotten about Brunhild, asks to marry Kriemhild but Hagen reminds Gunther that he must marry before any of his siblings. Gunther reveals he is pining for Brunhild, but he is not the best fighter and she challenges all her suitors to single combat and no-one has beaten her yet. Gunther promises Siegfried that he may marry Kriemhild if he uses the tarn-helm to look like Gunther and defeat Brunhild; Siegfried accepts this offer. On the ship to Iceland Giselher has stowed away and after support from Siegfried, Gunther lets him accompany them to Iceland. Once they arrive Brunhild is immensely happy that Siegfried has returned to her but is shocked to see that he doesn’t recognize her or is challenging her. Siegfried simply presents King Gunther to her, and explains he his the one who came here to ask her hand in marriage. Gunther his then challenged to single combat with double bladed axes on the condition that if he loses it will cost him his life. He agrees partially because it will be Siegfried fighting, not him.
The fight starts and unbeknown to everyone else Giselher sees the two Gunthers and becomes suspicious but tells no one. Brunhild loses the fight after the two fall off a waterfall and Siegfried saves her. She reluctantly and sadly returns to Burgund where she is devastated to find that Siegfried had found Kriemhild for lover. She then marries Gunther next to Siegfried and Kriemhild who are also marrying on the same day. Brunhild confronts Siegfried who (due to effects of the potion) claims he never loved her, which Brunhild ardently refuses to believe and tries to find reasons that would explain his actions, but Siegfried once again denies caring for her, and Brunhild declares she will not know joy until she forgets how much she loved him, or until he remembers. She is deeply hurt and upset. She takes her anger out by first challenging Siegfried to combat which he purposely loses to take away any thoughts that it was him who defeated Brunhild, then Brunhild ties Gunther up after revealing the power she possess comes from her pageant belt. And overpowering him, pointing out her doubts in the way Gunther defeated her back in Iceland by nearly accusing him to have cheated his victory, and leaves him tied up for the night greatly convinced she had been deceived. Gunther requests Siegfried use the tarn-helm again to get the belt away from Brunhild which he does after hesitation. He overpowers Brunhilde who is surprised to see that Gunther once again found his strength, she then offers herself to Siegfried as Gunther, who is briefly conflicted perhaps remembering of his old feelings towards Brunhild, but nonetheless retrieves himself from the room to get rid of the belt he has taken from her.
The real Gunther shortly returns to the room at his place and is spotted by Giselher who again sees two Gunthers and tells his girlfriend Lena what he saw in Iceland. Siegfried returns to his bedroom to see Kriemhild waiting for him, she convinces him to explain what has happened and he does, breaking his vow of secrecy towards Gunther. The next day outside the church Kriemhild is stopped because she cannot enter before Brunhild, Brunhild arrives quickly afterwards and Kriemhild reveals to her that it was Siegfried who defeated her both in Iceland and in her bedroom thereby publicly confronting and insulting Brunhild. She proves her says by showing Brunhild her belt around Kriemhild’s waist. This drives Brunhild over the edge. Hagen kills Alberich after not returning the tarn-helm to him and then serves of council to Gunther after the incident at the church. Hagen points out the betrayal of Siegfried on his vow and his threatening power that could well plot the downfall of Gunther knowing Siegfried also had a claim to the throne, being married to the king’s sister Kriemild. He tells Gunther that the people will not forget the way Siegfried had substituted for him both in Iceland and in the privacy of his room, he convinces Gunther that they may go as far has to Believe that any son of Gunther will be considered as the bastard son of Siegfried. Gunther then decides to send Siegfried back to Xanten and out of Burgundy, but is then stopped by Brunhilde who establishes that the punishment is far too light, and describing herself as disgraced and fooled, she asks for Siegfried’s death to Gunther who firstly refuses given his relationship with Siegfried but reluctantly accepts because Brunhild threatens to kill herself if the punishment is not carried out. Gunther is disillusioned but Hagen plans on Siegfried’s death the next day during the hunt as a simple accident. Siegfried confronts Kriemhild who breaks down after thinking about all she has done, Siegfried assures her that everything is all right, and that they are leaving to live in Xanten the next day after the hunt. The men leave for the hunt, where Gunther and Hagen plot to cause Siegfried’s death, but for a long time they are unable to. Kriemhild confronts Brunhild again and returns her belt, Brunhild reveals her troubled state of mind is because of Siegfried forgetting about their love.
Kriemhild realizing that Siegfried’s previous love was in fact Brunhild is devastated with guilt and confesses upon her use of the potion given to her by Hagen. Brunhild realizes that it was not Siegfried’s fault that he forgot her and that she has just sentenced him to death. On the hunt Hagen kills Siegfried by throwing a javelin through his weak spot (which Hagen found out about by eavesdropping on Siegfried and Gunther while going through a blood brother ritual). Siegfried remembers his love for Brunhild and says her name before death seizes him. His body is found by Giselher before they must go back to Burgund and it is wept over by Kriemhild. Gunther claims it was a Saxon ambush but she accuses him of murder by envy and guilt. She throws the Nibelung’s ring onto the ground (Siegfried gave it to her for an engagement ring) and Gunther and Hagen fight over it to Gunther’s death. Giselher then tries to kill Hagen but is easily overpowered. A vengeful Brunhild arrives and furiously kills the men who allied themselves with Hagen using the belt that Kriemhild returned to her earlier. Brunhild defeats and beheads Hagen and disappears.
Epilogue
Kriemhild places the ring on Siegfried’s hand as they give him a pagan funeral. Giselher wishes the Pagan gods would live again on his death but Lena tells him that the Pagan gods die with him. When the boat has burst into flames Brunhild appears from below Siegfried’s altar and kills herself with his sword. She collapses on top of Siegfried’s body, and the boat sinks into the river where the treasure hoard is shown having been thrown into the river.
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This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast.

REVIEW: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 1-4

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Ally Walker (Longmire)
Ed O’Ross (Red Heat)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Tommy “Tiny” Lister (Jackie Brown)
Jerry Orbach (LAw & Order)
Tico Wells (The Relic)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Ralf Möller (The Bad Pack)

In 1969, a U.S. Army Special Forces team receives orders to secure a village against North Vietnamese forces. Private Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) discovers members of his squad and various villagers dead, all with their ears removed. Deveraux finds Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), who has gone insane, with a string of severed ears and holding a young boy and girl hostage. Devereaux, who is near the end of his tour of duty, tries to reason with Scott, who shoots the boy and orders Devereaux to shoot the girl to prove his loyalty. Deveraux refuses and tries to save the girl, but Scott kills her with a grenade. The two soldiers shoot each other to death. Deveraux and Scott’s corpses are recovered by a second U.S. Special Forces squad and cryogenically frozen, their deaths covered up as “missing in action”.

Deveraux and Scott are revived without memories of their previous lives and are selected for the “Universal Soldier” program, an elite counter terrorism unit, and are deployed via an Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy to the Hoover Dam to resolve a hostage situation. Devereaux used efficient means to dispatch terrorists, but Scott used excessive force, which causes concern among the project technicians. The team demonstrates their superior training and physical abilities against the terrorists, such as when GR76 (Ralf Möller) withstands close-range rifle fire. After the area is secured, Devereaux begins to regain patches of memory from his former life upon seeing two hostages who strongly resemble the villagers he tried to save in Vietnam, causing him to ignore commands from the control team and become unresponsive.

In the mobile command center, it is revealed that the UniSols are genetically augmented soldiers with enhanced healing abilities and superior strength, but also have a tendency to overheat and shut down. They are given a neural serum to keep their minds susceptible and their previous memories suppressed. As a result of the glitch, Woodward (Leon Rippy), one of the technicians on the project, feels it may be better to remove Devereaux from the team until he can be further analyzed, but UniSol commander Colonel Perry (Ed O’Ross) refuses. TV journalist Veronica Roberts (Ally Walker), who was fired while covering the Hoover Dam incident, tries to get a story on the UniSol project in order to get her job back. Roberts sneaks onto the base with a cameraman, discovering GR76 immersed in ice, still alive despite normally-fatal injuries.

When her presence is noticed, Devereaux and Scott are ordered to capture her. She flees to her cameraman’s car, but they crash. Scott coldly executes the cameraman against orders, before Devereaux stops him from shooting Roberts. Together, Devereaux and Roberts escape in a UniSol vehicle. Colonel Perry insists on preventing knowledge of the UniSols getting out, not only to the public, but to the Pentagon, which does not know the true nature of the project. Devereaux and Roberts flee to a motel, where Roberts discovers she has been framed for the murder of her cameraman. Scott’s previously insane personality begins to emerge, causing him to kill Perry and the technicians. Scott then takes command of the UniSol team, ordering them to find and kill Devereaux and Roberts.

Devereaux continues to rebuild his memory while Roberts tries to find more information about the UniSol program. They meet Dr. Christopher Gregor (Jerry Orbach), the creator of the program, who informs them that the UniSol project was started in the 1960s in order to develop the perfect soldier. Although they were able to reanimate dead humans, they were never able to overcome the body’s need for constant cooling. The other major problem is that memories of the last moments of life are greatly amplified. In Devereaux’s case, he still believes he is a soldier who wants to go home, while Scott believes he is still in Vietnam fighting insurgents. When Devereaux and Roberts leave the doctor’s office, they are caught and arrested by the police. En route to jail, the police convoy is ambushed by Scott and GR76. A chase ensues, ending when the police bus and the UniSol truck both drive off a cliff and explode, killing GR76. Devereaux and Roberts head to Devereaux’s family’s farm in Louisiana. After Devereaux reunites with his family, Scott appears and takes the family and Roberts hostage. A brutal fight ensues, and Scott’s use of muscle enhancers enables him to mercilessly beat Devereaux. Roberts manages to escape, only to be seemingly killed by a grenade thrown by Scott. Devereaux grabs the muscle enhancers Scott used and injects himself. Now evenly matched, Devereaux fights back and is able to impale Scott on the spikes of a hay harvester. Devereaux then starts the machine up, grinding Scott into pieces. Roberts survived the explosion and she and Devereaux embrace.This is going to be a lot of people’s guilty pleasure. If you like your action fast and violent then this movie is definitely for you

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Heidi Schanz (The Truman Show)
Xander Berkeley (Taken)
Justin Lazard (Species II)
Daniel Von Bargen (The Postman)
James Black (Anger Management)
Seven years after the events in the first film, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme), now an ordinary human, is a technical expert who is working with the government with his partner Maggie (Kiana Tom), who has been through countless hours of combat training with him, in order to refine and perfect the UniSol program in an effort to make a new, stronger breed of soldier that is more sophisticated and intelligent to reduce the use of normal, human soldiers in the battlefield. All of the new UniSols, which are faster and stronger than the original UniSols, are connected through an artificially intelligent computer system called S.E.T.H. (voice of Michael Jai White), a Self-Evolving Thought Helix. When S.E.T.H. discovers that the Universal Soldier program is scheduled to be shut down because of budget cuts, it takes action to protect itself.

Killing those who try to shut off its power, and unleashing a platoon of super soldiers, led by the musclebound Romeo (Bill Goldberg), S.E.T.H. spares Devereaux, only because Devereaux has the secret code that is needed to deactivate a built-in program that will shut S.E.T.H. down in a matter of hours. With the help of Squid (Brent Hinkley), a rogue cyberpunk, S.E.T.H. is able to put its program in a UniSol which Squid made superior to any of the newer models (White). Not only must Luc contend with ambitious reporter Erin Young (Schanz), who will not leave his side, but he must also contend with General Radford (Daniel von Bargen) who wants to take extreme measures to stop S.E.T.H.. S.E.T.H. has arranged Romeo to kidnap Luc’s injured 13-year-old daughter Hillary (Karis Paige Bryant), killing Maggie in the process.

Luc is the only person who can rescue Hillary, because Luc knows firsthand how a UniSol thinks, feels, and fights. Luc infiltrates the UniSol building, but finds Maggie, now revived as one of the UniSols. S.E.T.H is able to figure out the code itself, decides to kill Luc and raise Hillary as a daughter, who it has healed using UniSol technology. During the fight Luc covers S.E.T.H. in liquid nitrogen then shatters S.E.T.H.’s frozen body. Luc then engages into a final fight with Romeo, which ends when Maggie finally rebels against the UniSols by shooting Romeo, and allows Luc and Hillary to get out of the building on time. However, the bomb that General Radford had placed was deactivated by S.E.T.H.. As Romeo and the platoon of Universal Soldiers start to march out for battle, Luc fires at the explosive charge blowing up the building, killing all the Universal Soldiers.

Its a terrific film if not taken too seriously and it really is good to see two martial arts experts go head to head and a ex superstar wrestler steal the show with a very over the top and funny character and though sometimes it doesn’t make sense this is always entertaining.

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Mike Pyle (Men In Black 3)
Anfrei Arloviski (Limitless TV)
Corey Johnson (Ex Machina)
Gary Cooper (New Tricks)
Emily Joyce (Jane Eyre)

Image result for universal soldier regenerationA group of terrorists led by Commander Topov (Zahary Baharov) kidnap the Ukrainian prime minister’s son and daughter and hold them hostage, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades within 72 hours. In addition, they have taken over the crippled Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and threaten to detonate it if their demands are not met. It is revealed that among the ranks of the terrorists is an experimental Next-Generation UniSol (NGU) (Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski), who was smuggled in by rogue scientist Dr. Colin (Kerry Shale). U.S. forces join up with the Ukrainian army at the plant, but quickly retreat when the NGU slaughters most of them effortlessly. Dr. Porter (Garry Cooper), Dr. Colin’s former colleague on the Universal Soldier program, revives four UniSols to take down the NGU, but they are systematically eliminated.
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Former UniSol Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who is undergoing rehabilitation therapy in Switzerland with Dr. Sandra Fleming (Emily Joyce) with the goal of rejoining society, is taken back by the military to participate in the mission. As the deadline nears its expiration, the prime minister announces the release of the prisoners. The terrorists, having gotten what they wanted, rejoice and shut off the bomb. Dr. Colin, however, is not pleased with the outcome, as he feels his side of the business is not done. As the NGU is programmed not to harm the terrorists, Dr. Colin unleashes his second UniSol: a cloned and upgraded version of Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) – Deveraux’s nemesis – who quickly kills Commander Topov. However, Dr. Colin never considered Scott’s mental instability, and he is killed by his own creation. Scott then reactivates the bomb before heading out to hunt the children.
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In the midst of the chaos, Capt. Kevin Burke (Mike Pyle) is sent in to infiltrate the plant and rescue the prime minister’s children. He is successful in locating them and leads them toward safety. On their way out, they encounter the NGU. The children flee as Burke tries in vain to hold off the NGU, who stabs him to death after a brutal fight.
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With 30 minutes remaining on the bomb’s timer, a re-conditioned Deveraux is geared up and sent to the plant, where he kills every terrorist he encounters. He searches the buildings and finds the children cornered by Scott. Scott, who has distorted memories of Deveraux, is about to kill the children when Deveraux attacks and a grueling fight ensues. In the end, Deveraux impales Scott on the forehead with a lead pipe and fires a shotgun through it, blowing his brains out. As Deveraux escorts the children to safety, they are attacked by the NGU. Deveraux and the NGU take the fight to the site of the bomb, with less than two minutes remaining. During the melee, Deveraux removes the detonator and jams it in the back of the NGU’s uniform as they both jump out of the reactor chamber. NGU pulls the detonator off his back as it explodes, taking him with it. U.S. soldiers quickly arrive on the scene and tend to the children as Deveraux leaves. Burke’s body is placed in a black bag and taken away, as well as recovered pieces of the NGU. In Langley, Virginia, Burke’s body is shown stored in a cryogenic chamber as a new UniSol, along with multiple clones made of him.Image result for universal soldier regenerationIt had great atmosphere throughout – one of it’s best features, it was riviting. To dismiss this film as another crappy sequel would be a big mistake. A certain must-buy for JCVD fans or films of the original – there are some quite clever references to the first movie in it, without being cheesy.

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Scott Adkins (The Legend of Hercules)
Anfrei Arloviski (Limitless TV)
Mariah Bonner (The Social Network)

John (Scott Adkins) awakens from a coma to find that his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in a home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible: Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), one of the original Universal Soldiers (UniSol). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things are complicated by a relentless UniSol named Magnus (Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski), who is determined to kill John. Meanwhile, Deveraux and surviving UniSol Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are preparing to unleash anarchy and build a new order ruled by Unisols. They are weeding out the weak and constantly testing their strongest warriors in brutal, life and death combat. Luc has emerged operating the UniSol Church of Eventualism, taking in wayward Unisols whom the government has been secretly operating as remote controlled sleeper agents. His mission is to liberate these UniSols from the implanted memories and the lies the government has inserted in them. As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rogue army of genetically enhanced warriors, he discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true.Eventually, John reaches the underground bunker where the Unisol Church has its headquarters. There, he is greeted by Dr. Su, who reveals to be the designer of the fake memories of John’s family that were implanted into him, as part of the government program that created him merely a few weeks earlier. John accepts Dr. Su’s offer to surgically remove the implant, but is driven insane by the pain and the attachment to his memories, causing him to rebel. He kills every UniSol in his path, culminating with Scott in a one-on-one confrontation. John then reaches Deveraux himself and a fight ensues, with Deveraux eventually gaining the upper hand. Realizing that the cycle of sending clones of John against rogue UniSols is destined to repeat, and seeing John as a worthy successor who could turn the tide of the rebellion, Deveraux gives in to John, who kills him.Some time later, John meets with FBI Agent Gorman in the woods. Gorman admits to his involvement with the UniSol program, and to having purposefully put an unaware John on Deveraux’s trail. Gorman ascribes John’s success to the attachment to family he was designed with, as opposed to the patriotism implanted in his predecessors. John kills Gorman, then two UniSols and a clone of Gorman emerge from John’s van. The clone leaves in the car of original Gorman, hinting that John has taken over the UniSol Church and intends to infiltrate the government.Day of reckoning is crass, extremely violent, uneven, and low budget, but it should also be commended for being ambitious, and shot through with passion and creative vision. It is absolutely not a movie for everyone — if you want a safer trip up action-memory-lane stick with The Expendables 2 — but if you fancy a detour of the beaten path, and are willing to forgive the flaws the flaws that are a consequence of the directorial ambition, then by all means give this a shot.

REVIEW: BATMAN & ROBIN (1997)

CAST
George Clooney (The Perfect Storm)
Chris O’ Donnell (Hawaii Five-O)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Michael Gough (Corpse bride)
Pat Hingle (Shaft)
John Glover (Smallville)
Elle Macpherson (The Edge)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Jeep Swenson (The Bad Pack)
Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Coolio (Daredevil Directors Cut)
Batman and Robin fail to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a cache of diamonds. They learn that Freeze was once a scientist named Victor Fries, who became dependent on a diamond-powered subzero suit following an accident in a cryogenics lab while working to save his wife, Nora, from a terminal illness called MacGregor’s Syndrome.
Meanwhile, botanist Dr. Pamela Isley is experimenting with the strength serum “Venom” to create mutant plants capable of fighting back against mankind. She is angry that her senior colleague Dr. Jason Woodrue used her Venom to transform a diminutive prisoner into the “super soldier” Bane. She refuses to partner with Woodrue so he tries to kill her with animal-plant toxins and chemicals, causing her to transform into the beautiful Poison Ivy. She kills Woodrue with a venomous kiss and vows to establish botanical supremacy over the world.
Alfred Pennyworth’s niece Barbara Wilson makes a surprise visit from England and is invited to stay at Wayne Manor. Later, Barbara finds the Batcave and creates her own crime-fighting persona with the help of a computer simulation of Alfred. The real Alfred is suffering from MacGregor’s Syndrome. He is, however, in stage 1, for which Mr. Freeze has developed a cure despite being unable to cure his wife’s condition because it is too advanced.
Ivy arrives in Gotham City with Bane as her henchman. She interrupts a Wayne Enterprises press conference at the Gotham Observatory where a giant telescope is being unveiled. Ivy demands Bruce Wayne use his fortune to safeguard the natural environment at the expense of millions of human lives, and Bruce refuses.
Ivy appears at the Gotham Botanical Gardens fundraiser, seducing everyone present with her pheromone dust, including the Dynamic Duo, who are there to protect a diamond from Mr. Freeze. When Freeze crashes the event Ivy is instantly captivated by his “ruthless charm”. Freeze is captured by Batman and detained at the Arkham Asylum but is released by Ivy.
Ivy turns off Nora Fries’ life support and makes Freeze believe Batman did it, persuading him that they should destroy Batman along with the society that created him. They plan to turn the observatory’s new telescope into a giant freeze ray to kill all humanity to allow Ivy’s mutant plants to take over the world.
Meanwhile, Robin is under Ivy’s seductive spell and is rebelling against Batman. Robin goes to meet Ivy at her garden hideout, where her venomous kiss fails to kill Robin because Batman had prevailed on him to coat his lips with rubber. Ivy tries to drown Robin in her lily pond and entangles Batman in her crushing vines, but they are able to free themselves when Batgirl arrives and traps Ivy in her own floral throne.
Batgirl reveals herself as Barbara. The three crime-fighters arrive at the Observatory to stop Freeze who has already frozen all of Gotham. Bane attacks Robin and Batgirl, but they incapacitate him and restore him to his original human state. Robin and Batgirl save Gotham by using the observatory’s satellites to reflect sunlight from outer space to thaw the city.
Batman shows Freeze video proof that Ivy pulled the plug on Nora and reveals that Batman was the one who saved her. He vows that Freeze will be allowed to continue his research at Arkham Asylum to cure Nora. Batman asks Freeze for his cure for the first stage of MacGregor’s Syndrome for Alfred and Freeze atones for his misdeeds by giving him two vials of the medicine.
At Arkham, Ivy is joined in her cell by Freeze, who vows to exact revenge on her. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is cured and Bruce invites Barbara to live with them, joining Batman and Robin to fight crime as Batgirl.
despite the bad reviews and criticism this film has received it is not all doom and gloom. Clooney is an interesting Batman, there are some finely choreographed fights, (a few not all) and there is a fine bike racing montage that is to watch out for. The Alfred sub story is also quite touching.But these are almost forgettable once the ending roles around and you are left with memories of a film that justifies the family viewing tag with some action figures who explain everything for you, some ridiculous costumes and a plot that is simply paper thin