REVIEW: LES MISERABLES

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Helena Bonham Carter (Dark Shadows)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Amanda Seyfried (Gone)
Samantha Barks (Dracula Untold)
Aaron Tveit (Premium rush)
Colm Wilkinson (The Tudors)
Josef Altin (Game of Thrones)
Charlotte Hope (The Nun)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)

Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)In 1815, French prisoner Jean Valjean is released on parole from the Bagne of Toulon after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and trying to escape multiple times. On the outside, Valjean’s paroled status prevents him from getting work. He is offered shelter by the kindly Bishop of Digne, but Valjean steals his silverware. Captured by police and taken to the Bishop, Valjean is shocked when the Bishop says that he gave him the silver, telling him to use it to do something worthwhile with his life. Valjean breaks his parole to start a new life.Cavin Cornwall and Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Eight years later, Valjean is factory owner and mayor of Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais. He is shocked when a Toulon prison guard Javert arrives as his new chief of police. Javert suspects Valjean’s identity when he rescues an injured worker trapped under a heavy cart. One of Valjean’s workers, Fantine, is dismissed by the factory foreman upon learning she is sending her earnings to her illegitimate daughter Cosette, who lives with the greedy innkeepers, the Thénardiers. To support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute but is arrested by Javert when she attacks an abusive customer. Valjean, learning who she is, rescues her and takes her to the hospital.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean learns a man has been wrongly identified as him, and reveals his true identity to a court before returning to the dying Fantine, promising to care for Cosette. Javert arrives but Valjean escapes, finding Cosette and pays Fantine’s debts to the Thénardiers. Valjean and Cosette flee Javert, hiding in a convent, aided by the worker Valjean rescued before. Nine years later, Valjean has become a philanthropist and helps the poor in Paris. General Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic to the poor, dies, and a group of revolutionists called the Friends of the ABC plot to rebel against the monarchy. Marius Pontmercy, a member of the Friends, encounters Cosette and they fall in love, asking Éponine, the Thénardiers’ daughter to help find her.Helena Bonham Carter in Les Misérables (2012)After Marius and Cosette meet and confess their love, Éponine prevents her father from robbing Valjean’s house. Valjean, believing Javert is near, makes plans to flee to England with Cosette. Cosette writes a letter for Marius, but Éponine hides it, intending on dying with Marius during the rebellion. During Lamarque’s funeral procession, the revolt begins and barricades are built across Paris. Javert pretends to be an ally to spy on the rebels but the street urchin Gavroche exposes him as a policeman. During the first skirmish against the soldiers, Éponine takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms, giving him Cosette’s letter and confesses to him beforehand. Gavroche takes Marius’ reply to Valjean, who joins the revolution to guard Marius.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean offers to execute Javert but actually releases him, faking his death. By dawn, the soldiers are close to ending the revolution, storming the students’ barricade and execute everyone save Marius and Valjean, who escape into the sewers. Thénardier comes across Valjean and the unconscious Marius, stealing the latter’s ring, before pointing a way out. Valjean finds Javert waiting for him, ignoring his nemesis’ threats. Javert, morally confused by the mercy of Valjean, commits suicide by throwing himself in the Seine. Marius recovers but is traumatised by the death of his friends.Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne in Les Misérables (2012)Marius and Cosette plan to marry but Valjean, concerned his presence would threaten their happiness, makes plans to leave and reveals his identity to Marius, who promises to remain silent. Cosette and Marius marry but the Thénardiers crash the wedding to try and blackmail Marius, Thénardier saying he witnessed Valjean carrying a murdered corpse and produces the stolen ring. Marius assaults Thénardier who reveals Valjean is at the convent. The dying Valjean reunites with Cosette and Marius, giving them letters of confession, before peacefully dying, guided away by Fantine and the Bishop’s spirits.Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)This is a movie that both fans of the novel as well as fans of the musical can both fall in love with, since even though there are some deviations from the novel this is still the closest a film version has ever come to being completely faithful to the book. Additionally, this movie is a perfect chance for those who have never read the book or haven’t heard of or had a chance to see the Broadway show. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to everyone.

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS

CAST

RZA (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Rick Yune (The Fast and The Furious)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Jamie Chung (Gotham)
Cung Le (Into The Badlands)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Eli Roth (Clown)
Celina Jade (Arrow)

Jamie Chung in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)In nineteenth century China, Jungle Village is home to several warring clans. The village blacksmith creates deadly weapons for the clans, intending to use his payments to purchase the freedom of his lover Lady Silk, and leave the village. The region’s governor tasks the Lion Clan’s leader, Gold Lion, with protecting a large shipment of gold that must pass through the village. Gold is betrayed by his lieutenants Silver Lion and Bronze Lion, who plan to steal the gold. They use the chaos ensuing from a fight with the Hyena Clan to allow their co-conspirator Poison Dagger—the governor’s aide—to assassinate Gold, after which Silver becomes the Lions’ leader. Gold’s son Zen-Yi learns of his father’s murder and sets off to the village to seek revenge.RZA in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)The Qing Emperor’s undercover emissary Jack Knife arrives in the village to monitor the gold and takes up residence in the Pink Blossom, a brothel run by Madam Blossom, Lady Silk’s madame. Silver sends members of the Rodent clan to kill Zen-Yi before he can reach the village, but Zen-Yi kills them. The mercenary Brass Body arrives in the village and meets with Silver; he is sent to kill Zen-Yi. The blacksmith meets with Silk in the brothel and delivers the final payment needed to free her. After arriving in the village, Zen-Yi and his men are confronted by Brass and find that they cannot physically harm him because his skin turns to metal on impact. Brass beats Zen-Yi and destroys his blade-laden armor. Zen-Yi’s last surviving man sacrifices himself to pull a canopy support beam loose, burying Brass under heavy stone. The blacksmith is watching the fight; he rescues Zen-Yi and helps him recover as penance for crafting the weapon that killed Zen-Yi’s father.Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)Meanwhile, the gold shipment arrives in the village, accompanied by two skilled warriors, the Geminis. The Lions soon confront the Geminis and their men, and in the ensuing fight, Poison Dagger assassinates the Geminis and the Lions capture the gold. Jack later arrives to investigate the incident and learns that the Geminis were poisoned with mercury-tipped weapons, leading him to the blacksmith. The Lions’ theft prompts the governor to send his Jackal troops to recover the shipment or destroy the village. Zen-Yi asks the blacksmith to craft him a new suit of weaponized armor. The Lions suspect that the blacksmith is helping Zen-Yi and have him tortured for information. The blacksmith refuses to talk, and Brass cuts off his forearms. Jack, who had been following the blacksmith, saves him from bleeding to death. While the blacksmith recovers, he tells Jack of his past as an emancipated American slave who accidentally killed a white man who refused to let him go. He fled America by boat and went to China, where monks trained him to use his body’s energy to perform superhuman feats. Jack with the aid of the blacksmith crafts his greatest weapon: a pair of iron forearms that he can animate using this energy.Dave Bautista in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)Zen-Yi recovers and joins Jack and the blacksmith. Meanwhile, Blossom offers to let Silver hide the gold in a secret tomb beneath the brothel in return for payment. The gold is stored in a coffin which is raised up to the rafters. That night, Blossom has her girls serve the Lions, and Silk serves Brass. At Blossom’s signal, the girls use weapons hidden in their mouths to poison many of the Lions, and they join with Blossom as the Black Widows. When Silk tries to poison Brass, his skin protects him, and he beats and almost kills her. Zen-Yi, Jack, and the blacksmith arrive and join with the Black Widows to fight the remaining Lions while Blossom and Bronze fight and kill each other. While fighting Jack, Poison Dagger is crushed between large moving gears. Silver and Zen-Yi fight in the tomb; Zen-Yi cuts the coffin free, and it crushes Silver. The blacksmith finds Silk, who dies in his arms. He confronts Brass, and his iron fists prove capable of inflicting damage on Brass’ seemingly invincible body. While Brass is in metal form, a powerful punch from the blacksmith shatters him to pieces. Jack runs outside in time to stop the soldiers from decimating the building with Gatling guns.Ultimately, Jack leaves the village to accompany the gold, and Zen-Yi tells the blacksmith that he has gained a brother. With the clans destroyed and the village safe, the blacksmith vows to keep it that way and destroys the sign pointing to his weapon shop. During the credits, Zen-Yi’s pregnant fiancee is kidnapped by a bird clan, prompting Zen-Yi to seek the blacksmith’s aid.Lucy Liu in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)All in all, if your looking for a movie with a really good storyline, plot, and script, then you probably shouldn’t watch this movie. If you just want something to put on that’s really cool to look at, with good music, attractive Asian women, and really good fight scenes then you probably won’t be disappointed. It’s a fun movie and deserves a little better rep. I’d watch a sequel

REVIEW: BROKEN CITY

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Pain & Gain)
Russell Crowe (The Mummy)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)
Barry Pepper (The Green Mile)
Alona Tal (Veronica Mars)
Natalie Martinez (Under The Dome)
Michael Beach (Third watch)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Griffin Dunne (My Girl)
James Ransone (Sinister)
Justin Chambers (The Zodiac)
Gregory Jbara (Remember Me)
Indigo (weeds)
J.D. Evermore (12 Years a Slave)

Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)NYPD detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is arrested for the murder of Mikey Tavarez, who was believed to have raped and murdered sixteen-year-old Yesenia Barea but “walked” on a technicality. Chief Carl Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright), goes to Mayor of New York City Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) with a witness and evidence. Hostetler buries the evidence, and a judge clears Taggart as having shot Tavarez in self-defense. The mayor calls Taggart to his office for a private meeting and calls him “a hero,” but still forces him to leave the police. Seven years later, Taggart is living with his girlfriend Natalie Barrow (Natalie Martinez), an aspiring actress. Taggart’s private detective business is on the verge of bankruptcy when Mayor Hostetler hires him to investigate his wife, Cathleen Hostetler (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who he thinks is having an affair. Helped by his assistant, Katy Bradshaw (Alona Tal), Taggart learns that Cathleen is seeing Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler), the campaign manager of Hostetler’s rival in the upcoming elections, Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper).Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)At a fundraiser for Hostetler’s campaign, Cathleen reveals to Taggart that she knows he has been following her, and advises him not to trust her husband. Taggart delivers to Mayor Hostetler photos taken of Cathleen meeting with Andrews. At a film debut party, Barrow reveals that her real name is Natalia Barea, and that Yesenia was her sister. At the screening, Taggart is shocked at Natalie’s sex scene, and strongly disapproves. He had thought it would express poetic love, but finds it akin to porn. Combined with guilt over working for Hostetler, Taggart descends into regular drinking bouts. He argues with Natalie over the scene and about the people she is seeing during her work. She breaks off the relationship. Taggart gets drunk, brawling with strangers while walking the city streets. He receives a phone call from Katy telling him Chief Fairbanks wants him at a murder scene. When he arrives, he learns that Andrews, Valliant’s campaign manager, has been found murdered.Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)Taggart tells Fairbanks that he was hired by Mayor Hostetler to investigate his wife. They learn that the candidate Valliant was in Andrews’ apartment, and the two men were lovers. Valliant reveals that Andrews was scheduled to meet Todd Lancaster (James Ransone), son of Hostetler’s wealthy benefactor, contractor Sam Lancaster (Griffin Dunne). A furious Cathleen tells Taggart that Andrews was a close friend of hers, not a lover, and that he had promised her information about Hostetler’s plans for the Bolton Village Housing Project. The deal was expected to enrich both Sam Lancaster and the mayor. Hostetler wanted to find out Cathleen’s source, so he manipulated Taggart into tracking her.Catherine Zeta-Jones in Broken City (2013)Taggart decides to investigate Mayor Hostetler for corruption. He goes to Lancaster’s construction business, and finds workers destroying loads of documents. Stealing some of the documents, he discovers that Bolton Village has been sold in order to build high-rise office buildings, rather than a new housing development. Hundreds of impoverished people will be left homeless while Hostetler and Lancaster make a profit. After leaving Lancaster’s, Taggart is pursued in a car chase by Hostetler’s men, who run him off the road and take back the documents. Taggart visits Sam’s son Todd Lancaster, who says he had intended to give Andrews a copy of the demolition contract as evidence against Hostetler on the night Andrews was murdered. He gives it to Taggart instead. Taggart confronts Mayor Hostetler, who is unfazed because he has kept a video showing that Taggart murdered Tavarez in cold blood. Since there is no statute of limitations on murder, Taggart can still be prosecuted and face prison time. Taggart records their conversation, as the Mayor admits to his own corrupt dealings.Mark Wahlberg in Broken City (2013)Willing to make the recording public, although he would endanger his freedom, Taggart turns the recording over to Commissioner Fairbanks. While Hostetler is at home celebrating a successful debate, Fairbanks arrives to arrest him. Fairbanks tells the mayor he was having an affair with Cathleen. In the film’s final scene, Taggart meets Fairbanks at a bar and they toast Valliant, who has won the election. Katy comes in to say goodbye before the two men leave the bar.Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Broken City (2013)Broken City kept my attention but left me hungry for more. I suppose that is all you can ask for at the movies. I would take this ride again.

REVIEW: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

CAST

Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Russell Crowe (Robin Hood)
Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Kim Bassinger (Pret-A-Porter)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
David Strathairn (Eight Men Out)
Ron Rifkin (Alias)
Paul Guilfoyle (CSI)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)

In early 1950s Los Angeles, Sergeant Edmund “Ed” Exley, son of the legendary LAPD detective Preston Exley, is determined to live up to his father’s reputation. His intelligence, insistence on following regulations, and cold demeanor contribute to his isolation from other officers. He exacerbates this resentment by volunteering to testify in the Bloody Christmas case in exchange for a promotion to Detective Lieutenant. This goes against the advice of Captain Dudley Smith, who states that a detective should be willing to shoot a guilty man in the back for the greater good. Exley’s ambition is fueled by the murder of his father, killed by an unknown assailant, whom Exley nicknames “Rollo Tomasi”.Officer Wendell “Bud” White, whom Exley considers a “mindless thug”, is a plainclothes officer obsessed with violently punishing woman-beaters. One such incident leads him to confront a former cop named Leland “Buzz” Meeks, a driver for Pierce Patchett. White comes to dislike Exley after White’s partner, Dick Stensland, is fired due to Exley’s testimony in the Bloody Christmas scandal. White is sought out by Smith for a job in which they harass and beat up out-of-town criminals trying to fill the void left in Los Angeles following the imprisonment of gangster Mickey Cohen for tax evasion. The Nite Owl case, a multiple homicide at a coffee shop, becomes personal after Stensland is found to be one of the victims.Sergeant Jack Vincennes is a narcotics detective who moonlights as a technical advisor on Badge of Honor, a popular TV police drama series. He is providing Sid Hudgens, publisher of the Hush-Hush tabloid magazine, with tips about celebrity arrests that will attract more readers to Hudgens’ magazine. When he becomes involved in Hudgens’ scheme to set up actor Matt Reynolds in a homosexual tryst with L.A. district attorney Ellis Loew, and Reynolds is killed as a result, Vincennes becomes determined to find the killer.

Three African Americans are initially charged with the Nite Owl murders, and later killed in a shootout. Although the Nite Owl crime initially looks like a botched robbery, Exley and White individually investigate it to discover indications of corruption all around them. White recognizes Nite Owl victim Susan Lefferts as one of Meeks’ escorts which leads him back to Pierce Patchett, operator of Fleur-de-Lis, a call girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film stars. He begins a relationship with Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute. The body count rises when White searches a storage room under Lefferts’ mother’s house, and finds the decomposed corpse of Meeks.When Vincennes approaches Smith with the evidence he has found with Exley, Smith realizes his scheme to take over Mickey Cohen’s heroin empire is threatened. Smith shoots Vincennes, who utters “Rollo Tomasi” before dying, the origin of which Exley told Vincennes in confidence. Exley’s suspicions are aroused when Smith asks him who Rollo Tomasi is. During an interrogation of Hudgens, Smith arranges for White to see photos of Bracken sleeping with Exley, which sends White into a rage. Confident that White has gone after Exley to kill him, Smith kills Hudgens. Exley investigates and discovers Meeks and Stensland used to work closely with Smith. White drives to the police station and begins to fight Exley, but Exley is able to convince White that Smith is corrupt and has set them both up. The two decide to team together to take down Smith. They are able to obtain evidence against Smith by threatening Loew, and later find Patchett murdered. Exley and White realize that Smith himself has been taking over after Cohen, and the killings have been Smith tying up loose ends.Exley and White are set up with a trap against Smith and his hitmen. After a gunfight that kills all the hitmen, Smith shoots White in the face, but then is forced to surrender to Exley. As police arrive, Exley shoots Smith in the back, killing him. The LAPD cover up Smith’s crimes and say he died a hero in the shootout to protect the department’s image, and in exchange Exley bargains to also be hailed a hero and receives a medal for his bravery. Upon leaving City Hall, Exley sees Bracken, who tells him she is returning home to Arizona with White, revealing White survived the shooting. Exley and White shake hands and Bracken drives off into the sunset.5616cde899678This was easily the best Hollywood movie of 1997, this just may be one the smartest movies you haven’t seen. With great performances from an ensemble all-star cast and a clever script, the dramatic tension of this modern film-noir classic is an absolute must-see! Told through a variation on the theme of “good cop, bad cop” with an overarching corruption angle, this film cleverly deals with issues of racism, social justice and ethics in a non-discriminatory manner. Character development is well-done and the dramatic tension is superb. If you are a fan of crime-drama and detective stories, you won’t be disappointed

REVIEW: THE MUMMY (2017)

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle)
Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Courtney B. Vance (Flashforward)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Marwan Kenzari (Ben-Hur)
Javier Botet (Mama)
Selva Rasalingam (Skyfall)

In 1127 A.D., a group of English crusader knights capture a large ruby from ancient Egypt and bury it within the tomb of one of their number. In present-day London, a Crossrail construction crew discover the knights’ tomb and a mysterious man is authorized to investigate the uncovered findings inside the site. In a flashback, the hieroglyphics on a circular mural in the tomb, which date back to the New Kingdom era, tell the story of the ruthless Princess Ahmanet.She was first in line to succeed her father Pharaoh Menehptre only to be stripped of her birthright when his second wife gave birth to a son. Determined to claim the throne for herself, Ahmanet sold her soul to the Egyptian god Set, who gave her a special dagger to transfer his spirit into a corporeal form. After murdering her family, Ahmanet attempted to sacrifice her lover to give Set physical form, but her father’s priests slew him and mummified Ahmanet, sentencing her to be buried alive for eternity inside a sarcophagus surrounded by mercury so that her monstrous form will not escape the tomb. In present-day Iraq, soldier-of-fortune Nick Morton and his partner Chris Vail accidentally discover the tomb of Ahmanet after staging an airstrike on an insurgent stronghold. Jenny Halsey, an archaeologist who had a one-night stand with Nick, arrives and investigates the tomb, correctly concluding that it is a prison. After extracting Ahmanet’s sarcophagus from a pool of mercury, Nick’s superior, Colonel Greenway, places the sarcophagus on a transport plane, headed to England.During the flight, Vail becomes possessed by Ahmanet’s power after being bitten by a camel spider while inside the tomb. After attempting to open the sarcophagus, he stabs Greenway and attacks the group before Nick is forced to shoot him dead. A huge murder of crows then assault the plane, causing it to crash and kill everyone on board except for Jenny, who is parachuted off the plane by Nick. Nick awakens a day later in a morgue in Oxford, and learns from Vail’s ghost that he has been cursed by Ahmanet, who seeks to use him as a replacement vessel for Set. Ahmanet’s mummy escapes from the sarcophagus and begins feeding on rescue workers to regenerate her decomposed body. Turning the workers into zombie minions, she lures Nick and Jenny into a trap, forcing the two to fight off the minions as they unsuccessfully try to escape. Ahmanet also recovers the blade of the Dagger of Set from a reliquary in a nearby church.At the last second, unknown soldiers appear and subdue Ahmanet. Their leader, Dr. Henry Jekyll, explains that Jenny is an agent of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats whose base is under the Natural History Museum of London and contains such objects as a webbed hand and a human skull with fangs. He confirms that Nick was cursed when he unlocked Ahmanet’s tomb and reveals his intention to complete her ritual and allow Set to possess Nick in order to destroy Set and end his evil forever. Meanwhile, Ahmanet summons another spider to possess a Prodigium technician and frees herself from captivity, wreaking havoc, death, and destruction in the process. Jekyll succumbs to his own dark impulses and transforms into Edward Hyde, his murderous and psychotic alternate personality; when Nick rebuffs Hyde’s offer of an alliance between them, Hyde attacks and nearly kills Nick before Nick manages to stop him with the serum Jekyll uses to suppress his evil side. Nick and Jenny then escape from Prodigium while Ahmanet steals back the dagger, summons an army of deceased English crusaders to serve her, and creates a massive sandstorm that ravages London. The undead knights slaughter the Prodigium soldiers in the tomb, allowing Ahmanet to recover the ruby and set it in the dagger’s pommel, granting her all she needs to free Set.Guided by Vail, Nick and Jenny flee into the London Underground tunnels under London, but are attacked by Ahmanet’s minions. Ahmanet captures Jenny and drowns her, hoping to break her hold over Nick. Nick puts up a fight, but gives up and lets himself embrace Ahmanet, using it as a ruse to steal the dagger and stab himself. His body is possessed by Set, who proceeds to join Ahmanet to uphold his end of the bargain until he sees Jenny’s dead body, at which point Nick regains control and uses Set’s powers to overpower and suck the life out of Ahmanet, turning her back into a shriveled mummy. Nick harnesses Set’s powers to resurrect Jenny, saying goodbye before becoming overwhelmed by Set’s power and disappearing. Soon, Jenny regroups with Dr. Jekyll and they discuss if Nick, now fused with Set, will succumb to Set’s influence. Ahmanet’s corpse is lowered into a locked pool of mercury within the Prodigium base for safekeeping. Later on in the desert, Nick resurrects Vail, and the two set out on an adventure.I was very happy with the Mummy. I didn’t expect a lot, so I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. Not everyone is going to like it, though, The original Mummy movies were classics and some might say a reboot was unnecessary. A movie like this is one that’s best to make your own mind up on.

 

REVIEW: PROOF OF LIFE

CAST

Meg Ryan (The Women)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
David Morse (12 Monkeys)
Pamela Reed (Kindergarten Cop)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami)
Anthony Heald (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael Byrne (Buster)
Stanley Anderson (Red Dragon)
Margo Martindale (The Firm)

Alice Bowman (Meg Ryan) moves to the (fictional) South American country of Tecala because her engineer husband, Peter Bowman (David Morse), has been hired to help build a new dam for oil company Quad Carbon. Though Alice is unhappy at this most recent move, she agrees to stay. While driving one morning through the city, Peter is caught in traffic and then ambushed and abducted by guerrilla rebels of the Liberation Army of Tecala (ELT). Believing that Peter is working on Quad Carbon’s oil pipeline, ELT soldiers lead him through the jungle.Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe), a former member of the British Special Air Service, arrives in Tecala fresh from a successful hostage rescue in Chechnya. As an expert negotiator in kidnapping-and-ransom cases, he is assigned by his company, Luthan Risk, to bargain for Peter’s safe return. Unfortunately, it is learned that Quad Carbon is on the verge of bankruptcy and takeover, and therefore has no insurance coverage for kidnapping, so they cannot afford Thorne’s services. Despite Alice’s pleas to stay, Thorne leaves the country. Alice is then assigned a corrupt local hostage negotiator, who immediately urges her to pay the ELT’s first ransom demand: a $50,000 “good faith” payment. Not knowing what to do, Alice agrees, but the transaction is stopped by Thorne who (due to his conscience) has returned to help. He is aided by Dino (David Caruso), a competing negotiator and ex–Green Beret. Over the next few months, Thorne uses a radio to speak with an ELT contact, and the two argue over terms for Peter’s release—including a ransom payment that Alice can afford. Thorne and Alice bond through the ordeal, forming an implicit attraction. They eventually negotiate a sum of $650,000.Meanwhile, Peter has become a prisoner at the ELT’s jungle base camp. There, he befriends another hostage named Kessler (Gottfried John)—a missionary and former member of the French Foreign Legion—who has lived in the camp for nineteen months. The two concoct an escape plan, but during their attempt they are quickly tracked by the ELT. Kessler falls into a river after being shot in the shoulder and manages to escape, but Peter steps on a trap and is recaptured. Kessler is found and hospitalized. In the hospital he claims he heard a gunshot at the time Peter was recaptured, and thus believes he is dead. Thorne can not believe this, but his ELT contact refuses to respond to his calls. Luckily, one of Alice’s young maids recognized his voice over the radio and reveals he is a government official. Thorne goes to a parade ceremony and confronts the contact; he confirms that Peter is indeed alive, but because of the ELT’s escalating war with the government and Peter’s knowledge of the terrain, the ELT will no longer negotiate.At Thorne’s urging Alice convinces the Tecala government that the ELT is mounting an attack on the pipeline being built through their territory. This forces the government army to mobilize, thus forcing a bulk of the camp’s ELT troops to mobilize for a counter-attack. Thorne, Dino, and several associates are then inserted by helicopter and raid the weakened ELT base. They overcome the camp’s soldiers, free Peter and another hostage, and then fly back to the city, where Alice happily reunites with her husband. Thorne and Alice share a final intimate moment before the latter departs with Peter on an immediate flight to the U.S.Intense, realistic, and a great work all-in-all.

REVIEW: ROMPER STOMPER

 

CAST

Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Daniel Pollock (Proof)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Deep Blue Sea)
Tony Le-Nguyen (Sword of Honour)
Alex Scott  (Sky Pirates)
Daniel Wyllie (Chopper)
John Brumpton (Red Hill)

A gang of violent neo-Nazis from Footscray, Victoria, Australia, attack three Vietnamese Australian teenagers, in a tunnel at Footscray Station. The gang is led by Hando with his friend and second-in-command, Davey. They meet Gabrielle the day after her sexually abusive, highly affluent father Martin, has her junkie boyfriend arrested, before Gabrielle starts a romantic association with Hando.Friends visit from Canberra; one of whom has joined the Royal Australian Navy. A party at the warehouse follows, the next day two boys go to their local pub. Unbeknownst to them, the owner has sold it to a Vietnamese businessman. Upon seeing the new owner and his sons, they inform Hando and he and his gang arrive and savagely beat the new owner’s sons. A third Vietnamese youth phones for help, before Tiger and several armed Vietnamese men descend upon the skinheads. The Vietnamese outnumber the skinheads and force them to retreat to their rented warehouse, where the Vietnamese ransack the building before setting it on fire.The skinheads find a new base at a nearby warehouse, after evicting a pair of squatters, and plan their revenge against the Vietnamese. Learning that gang members plan to buy a gun, two female friends of the gang depart. Gabrielle suggests the gang burgle her father’s mansion. They ransack the house, beat up Martin, smash one of his cars, and raid his wine collection. Gabrielle tells Martin the burglary is revenge for his years of abuse. Gabrielle reveals to Davey her plan to take Hando away from his violent life. Martin frees himself and uses a handgun to scare away the gang before they can take any of his property. However, Davey begins to have doubts about his violent lifestyle.Gabrielle criticizes Hando’s handling of the robbery, and he abruptly dumps her. Davey announces his intention to leave at the same time and gives Gabrielle his German grandmother’s address, where he will be staying. Gabrielle informs the police of the gang’s location and spends the night with Davey. However, Davey reveals his doubts about his violent lifestyle, having removed the racist patches from his flight jacket out of concern for his grandmother. While Hando is out, the police raid the warehouse and the youngest skinhead is shot in the head after pointing a deactivated gun at the police. The police arrest the rest of the gang. However, Hando watches from a distance and flees.Arriving at Davey’s flat, Hando finds his friend in bed with Gabrielle. Hando accuses her of informing the police, but Davey says they were together the whole time since leaving the squat. Hando convinces Davey to stick by him, and the trio go on the run. They rob a service station, before Hando strangles the Asian attendant to death; and, driving all night, they stop at a beach. The next morning on the beach, Gabrielle overhears a conversation wherein Hando tries to convince Davey to leave her behind. Gabrielle sets their car on fire and admits to phoning the police. Hando attacks her, attempting to drown her in the surf. However, Davey stabs Hando in the neck with his Hitler Youth knife. After the fight, Davey cradles a horrified Gabrielle, watched by a busload of Japanese tourists; and Hando gazes at the ocean as he bleeds to death.The film achieves what it sets out to do. Give the viewer a no-holds barred trip into the destructive lives of social outsiders, and the violence and hatred that follows. Not easy viewing, but I recommend this film to anyone who likes their movies gritty and upfront.