REVIEW: ENTRAPMENT

CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Oceans Twelve)
Will Patton (The Punisher 2004)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Maury Chaykin (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)
Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Terry O’Neill (Conan The Destroyer)

Virginia “Gin” Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is an investigator for “Waverly Insurance”. Robert “Mac” MacDougal (Sean Connery) is a professional thief who specializes in international art. A priceless Rembrandt painting is stolen from an office building in NY one night, and Gin is sent undercover to investigate Mac as the chief suspect. She tries to entrap him with a proposition, claiming that she is a professional thief herself, and promises that she will help him steal a priceless Chinese mask from the well-guarded Bedford Palace. Before agreeing, Mac tells Gin his ‘Rule Number One’: “Never carry a gun: You carry a gun, you may be tempted to use it.” They travel to Scotland and plan the very complicated theft at Mac’s hideout, an isolated castle. Aaron Thibadeaux (Ving Rhames), apparently the only ally that Mac trusts, arrives with supplies for the heist. While Mac is busy making final preparations, Gin contacts her boss, Hector Cruz (Will Patton), from a payphone, and informs him of Mac’s whereabouts. Little does she know that the whole island is bugged, allowing Mac to eavesdrop on their conversation. Mac also makes sure to keep Gin’s romantic advances at bay, unsure if she is a true partner in crime or an ambitious career woman on a mission.After they have stolen the mask, Mac accuses Gin of planning to sell the mask to a buyer in Kuala Lumpur and then turn him in. Gin convinces him that her insurance agency job is the real cover and that she has planned an even bigger heist in Kuala Lumpur: $8 billion from the “International Clearance Bank” in the North Tower of the Petronas Towers. During their set-up, Cruz and his team (with the guidance of the stealthy Thibadeaux) track down Gin and confirm that she is still on mission to bring Mac in. Despite the presence of Cruz and other security watching the building, the theft takes place in the final seconds of the new 2000 millennium countdown. Gin pulls the plug on her laptop prematurely and sets off alarms. They narrowly escape the computer vault and are forced to cross the lights hung from the bottom of the bridge linking the two towers. Following a death-defying escape when the cable breaks, Gin and Mac make their way to a ventilation shaft, where Mac explains “Plan B.” Using mini-parachutes, they were going to escape down the shaft. Gin has lost her parachute earlier in the escape, so Mac gives her his. He tells her to meet him the next morning at the Pudu train station.Gin arrives at the station waiting for Mac. He shows up late with Aaron Thibadeaux, who reveals himself with fellow FBI agents. He explains that Cruz is here and that the FBI has been looking for her for some time. Two years ago when Agent Thibadeaux caught and arrested him, Mac made a deal to help the FBI arrest Gin, as she was the primary target all along. However, the aging thief has another plan: to help her escape. Mac slips Gin a gun and quietly explains that he returned only seven of the eight billion dollars they had stolen electronically in the heist. Gin then pretends to hold Mac hostage at gunpoint, threatening to shoot him if the agents follow her. She boards a train and the FBI heads to the next station. Gin jumps trains mid-station and arrives back at Pudu. She tells Mac that she needs him for another job and they both board a train.cp5If you are a fan of Sean Connery or Catherine Zeta-Jones’s as actors, then you should definitely see this film. I actually think they make a very good on screen couple, even with the big age gap.

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REVIEW: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN

CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Naseeruddin Shah (Bombay Boys)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Tony Curran (Blade II)
Stuart Townsend (Queen of The Damned)
Shane West (Red Sands)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Richard Roxburgh (Mission: Impossible II)
Max Ryan (Rage)
David Hemmings (Barbarella)

In 1899, a terrorist group led by the Fantom cause international tension, breaking into the Bank of England to steal Leonardo da Vinci’s blueprints of Venice’s foundations, and then kidnap German scientists. The British Empire sends Sanderson Reed to Kenya to recruit adventurer and hunter Allan Quartermain. Quartermain, retired following the death of his son, at first refuses until a group of assassins are sent to kill him. In London, Quartermain meets “M”, who is forming the latest generation of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He reveals the Fantom plans to start a world war by bombing a secret meeting of world leaders in Venice. The new League consists of Quartermain, Captain Nemo, vampiric chemist Mina Harker, and invisible thief Rodney Skinner.The League travel to the London docks to recruit Dorian Gray, Mina’s former lover who is kept immortal thanks to a missing portrait. The Fantom’s assassins attack, but the League fend them off, aided by U.S. Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer. Dorian and Sawyer join the League. They then capture Edward Hyde in Paris and he joins the League after being offered amnesty, transforming back into his alter ego Dr. Jekyll. The League travel for Venice in Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus, but it soon becomes clear there may be a mole on board, a camera’s flash powder being found in the wheelhouse, and one of Jekyll’s transformation formulas disappears. Suspicion falls on the missing Skinner.The Nautilus arrives in Venice just as the bombs go off, causing the city to start collapsing in a domino effect. Sawyer uses Nemo’s automobile to stop the destruction, while Quartermain confronts the Fantom, who is unmasked as M. Dorian is also revealed to be the traitor, murdering Nemo’s first mate Ishmael, and steals the Nautilus’ exploration pod. M and Dorian leave a phonograph recording for the League, revealing their true goal is to ignite the world war and Dorian has been collecting physical elements of the League to create superhuman formulas and sell them off to the highest bidder. The Nautilus is damaged by bombs hidden on board, but Hyde saves it by draining the flooded engine rooms. Skinner sends a message to the League, revealing he has snuck aboard the exploration pod and to follow his heading.The League reach northern Mongolia, reuniting with Skinner, where they plot to destroy M’s factory with explosives. Nemo and Hyde rescue the scientists, Skinner sets the explosive charges, while Mina battles Dorian, killing him by exposing him to his portrait. Quartermain and Sawyer confront M, identifying him as Professor James Moriarty, taking on a new alias after his alleged death at Reichenbach Falls. Sawyer is taken hostage by an invisible Reed, Quartermain shooting the latter, only for Moriarty to fatally stab him. Moriarty flees outside but Sawyer successfully shoots him, the formulas sinking into the icy water. Quartermain is buried beside his son in Kenya. The surviving League members recall how a witch doctor had blessed Quartermain for saving his village, promising that Africa would never let him die. The remaining League members depart, and said witch doctor arrives, performing a ritual that summons an unnatural storm, with a bolt of lightning ambiguously striking Quartermain’s grave.Quite unfairly drubbed by the critics upon its release and ignored by film audiences for the likes of X2. Matrix 2 and HULK. It was an entertaining comic book movie that slipped in and out of theaters almost unnoticed in the summer of 2003. What this movie does provide is some great action scenes, an ingenious premise and Sean Connery. It’s not as bad as some would have you believe, but it’s also not as good as it should have been.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Sean Connery (The Hunt for Red October)
Virginia Madsen (Sideways)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Allan Rich (Amistad)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Rusty Schwimmer (Heroes)

In August 1994, news broadcasts announce that the ozone layer is fading, and will be completely gone in a matter of months. In Africa, millions have perished from the effects of unfiltered sunlight. Among the dead is Connor MacLeod’s wife, Brenda Wyatt MacLeod. Before dying, Brenda extracts a promise from Connor that he will solve the problem of the ozone layer. By 1999, Connor MacLeod becomes the supervisor of a scientific team headed by Dr. Allan Neyman, which attempts to create an electromagnetic shield to cover the planet, and protect it from the Sun’s radiation. The team succeeds, in effect giving Earth an artificial ozone layer. MacLeod and Neyman are proud to have saved humanity, and believe they will be remembered for a thousand years.
The shield has the side effect of condemning the planet to a state of constant night, a high average global temperature, and high humidity. By 2024, the years of darkness have caused humanity to lose hope and fall into a decline. The shield has fallen under the control of the Shield Corporation. The corporation’s current chief executive, David Blake, is focused on profit, and is imposing fees for the corporation’s services. A number of terrorist groups have begun trying to take down the Shield, among them Louise Marcus, a former employee of the Shield Corporation.

Meanwhile, MacLeod, now a frail old man, expects to eventually die of natural causes. As he watches a performance of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, an image of Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez appears, and induces MacLeod to recall a forgotten event of his past. On the planet Zeist, a last meeting is held between the members of a rebellion against the rule of General Katana. The rebellion’s leader, Ramirez, chooses “a man of great destiny” from among them—MacLeod—to carry out a mission against Katana. At this moment, Katana and his troops attack, crushing the rebellion. Katana orders his men to capture Ramirez and MacLeod alive and kill the rest of the rebels. The two captives are put on trial by Zeist’s priests, who sentence them to be exiled and reborn on Earth in pursuit of “The Prize.” Winning the Prize gives the victor the choice to either grow old and die on Earth, or to return to Zeist. Katana is unsatisfied with their decision, but the sentence is executed, leading to the events of the original 1986 film.

Back in 2024, Louise Marcus discovers that the ozone layer has in fact restored itself naturally, which means that the shield is no longer needed. The Shield Corporation is aware of this development, but has chosen to hide it from the general public in order to maintain its main source of profit. Meanwhile, on Zeist, Katana decides that MacLeod cannot be allowed to return, and sends his immortal henchmen, Corda and Reno, to kill him.

Marcus manages to reach MacLeod first, and asks for his help in taking down the Shield. To her disappointment, she finds the passionate person she once admired has grown into a tired old man. MacLeod explains to her that he is dying and expresses his disapproval of terrorism. Before they can finish their conversation, Corda and Reno attack. MacLeod manages to decapitate them both, absorbs their energy during the Quickening, and regains his youthful appearance. In the process, MacLeod summons Ramirez back to life.

In Glencoe, Scotland – the location of his death in the first Highlander film – Ramirez is revived. He finds himself on a theatrical stage during a performance of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Meanwhile, MacLeod has found a new lover in Marcus. He attempts unsuccessfully to explain to her the concepts of his immortality. Elsewhere, General Katana arrives in New York, the scene of The Gathering and begins wreaking havoc.

Both Ramirez and Katana soon adapt to their new environment. Ramirez’s earring is apparently valuable enough to pay both for a new suit he acquires from the finest and oldest tailor’s shop in Scotland, and for an airplane ticket to New York City. Katana finds New York much to his liking. After entertaining himself for a while, Katana encounters MacLeod at a church. Since immortals are forbidden from fighting on holy ground, they do not fight each other, but MacLeod expresses rage at being immortal once again.

Soon thereafter, MacLeod is contacted by Ramirez, who joins them in their plan to take down the Shield. Katana, expecting this, forges an uneasy alliance with David Blake, who mentions that shutting down the planetary shield would require so much energy that the planet would be destroyed. The conflict between the two sets of allies eventually leads to the deaths of Dr. Allan Neyman, Ramirez, Blake and General Katana himself. MacLeod succeeds in taking down the Shield by using the combined energies of his final Quickening from General Katana. Marcus sees the stars for the first time in her life. MacLeod then claims The Prize by returning to Zeist with Marcus.Sure the original theatrical version was bad but that was not due to the makers, it was due to a financial company that backed the production. Here (in the directors cut) is the way that it was supposed to be made. It has great action, great production value plus the return of Sean Connery. It gives some explanation as to how the competition began and it shows how Connor used the “prize” from the first film. If this had been the version that was originally released on the theater’s in 1991, It would of fared better.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER (1986)

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Sean Connery (The Hunt for Red October)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow)
Roxanne Hart (Easy)
Beatie Edney (Lost Empires)
Alan North (Police Squad)
Jon Polito (The Rocketeer)
Sheila Gish (Mansfield Park)
Hugh Quarshie (Star Wars – Episode I)
Celia Imrie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Christopher Malcolm (Labyrinth)
Billy Hartman (Emmerdale)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)

In 1985, Connor MacLeod, also known as the Highlander, is in New York City. In an arena parking garage, Connor is confronted by fellow immortal Iman Fasil, and decapitates him, upon which an energy surge destroys several cars around him. He hides his sword just as police swarm the exit to the garage, and arrest Connor.The story then goes back in time to the 16th century Scottish Highlands, in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. Connor and his clan, the Clan MacLeod, prepare for battle. Back in 1985, the police release Connor, as they have failed to get any information from him. One of the detectives involved, Brenda Wyatt, is an expert in metallurgy and recognises Fasil’s sword as an extremely rare Toledo Salamanca broadsword. Later, Connor returns to the garage to retrieve his own sword but sees Brenda is looking at the crime scene. She finds metal shards embedded in a concrete column and saves them for analysis.The scene returns to the Highlands, where the Kurgan assists the clan Fraser against the Clan MacLeod in exchange for the sole right to slaying Connor. In the resulting confrontation the Kurgan stabs Connor but is then driven off by the MacLeod clansmen. The wounded Connor is taken back to the village, and everyone assumes he will die. When he makes a remarkable overnight recovery, the village is convinced that it is the work of the devil. The villagers attempt to have Connor executed, but he is instead exiled by the clan leader out of mercy.In 1985, Connor lives under the alias Russell Nash and is a wealthy antiquities dealer. Meanwhile, the Kurgan takes up residence at a seedy motel. Connor tails Brenda to a bar, but she leaves quickly. She then tails Connor, but the Kurgan attacks them both. The fight is interrupted by a police helicopter, and everybody flees. Brenda analyzes the metal fragments and discovers them to be from a Japanese katana, dated about 600 B.C. but made with advanced technology for the era. She makes a date with Connor in an attempt to entrap him. Connor recognises the ruse, tells her to stop digging, and leaves.In the past, Connor lives an idyllic life with his wife Heather. One day, the mysterious Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez appears and begins training Connor in sword fighting. He explains that they both belong to a group of immortals, who constantly fight one another but can only be killed by complete decapitation. When one immortal decapitates another, the winner receives a transfer of power called “the quickening”. Eventually, all the immortals must do battle until there is only one left alive; the last survivor will receive “the Prize”. Ramirez tells Connor that the Kurgan, by that time the strongest of the immortals, must not win the Prize, or mankind will enter a dark age. One night, while Connor is away, the Kurgan attacks, decapitating Ramirez and raping Heather.In Central Park, Connor meets a long-time friend, fellow immortal Sunda Kastagir. They talk about the impending gathering of immortals which precedes the final battle, and they joke about old times. Brenda has by now discovered that Connor has been alive for centuries, living under false identities, faking his death every few decades, signing his assets over to children who had died at birth, and assuming their identities. She confronts Connor, who demonstrates his immortality. After this revelation, Brenda and Connor become lovers, although Connor is reluctant, following a flashback in which Connor’s wife, Heather, dies of old age in his arms. Ramirez has earlier explained that immortals cannot have children and should not get romantically involved. Ramirez reveals his Japanese katana was made specifically for him by the father of his third wife.The Kurgan finds Kastagir, killing him and wounding a man who witnessed his beheading. When the Kurgan finds out about Connor’s relationship with Brenda, he kidnaps her to draw Connor out. After a climactic battle at the Silvercup Studios in Queens, Connor defeats and beheads the Kurgan. He receives the Prize, which manifests itself as a massive quickening. Now mortal and capable of having children, Connor returns to Scotland with Brenda. Connor now has awareness of people’s thoughts around the world, and promises to use his gift to encourage cooperation and peace in mankind.

What a fine 1980s film and a chance to see the sadly missed Sean Connery at his immaculate best. Furthermore Christopher Lambert is brilliant in the lead. This is the film that started the beloved franchise.

 

REVIEW: INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

CAST
Harrison Ford (Star Wars)
Sean Connery (Highlander)
Alison Doody (A View To A Kill)
Denholm Elliott (Trading Places)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
River Phoenix (Stand By Me)
Michael Byrne (Bravehart)
Alex Hyde-White (Pretty Woman)
In 1912, 13-year-old Indiana Jones is horseback riding with his Boy Scout troop in Moab, Utah. While scouting caves, Indy discovers a group of grave robbers who have found a golden crucifix belonging to Coronado and steals it from them, hoping to donate it to a museum. The men give chase through a passing circus train, leaving Indy with a bloody cut across his chin from a bullwhip and a new phobia of snakes. Indy escapes, but the local sheriff makes him return the crucifix. Impressed with Indy’s bravery, the leader of the robbers gives Indy his fedora.
In 1938, two years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy recovers the crucifix off the coast of Portugal and donates it to Marcus Brody’s museum. Later, Indy is introduced to Walter Donovan, who informs him that Indy’s father, Henry Jones, Sr., has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail, using an incomplete inscription as his guide. Indy then receives Henry’s Grail diary via mail from Venice. Realizing that he would not have sent the diary unless he was in trouble, Indy and Marcus travel to Venice, where they meet Henry’s Austrian colleague, Dr. Elsa Schneider. Beneath the library where Henry was last seen, Indy and Elsa discover the tomb of a First Crusade knight, which also contains a complete version of the inscription that Henry had used, this one revealing the location of the Grail. They flee, however, when the catacombs are set aflame by the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society that protects the Grail from evildoers. After a speedboat chase, Indy and Elsa capture one of the Brotherhood, Kazim, and Indy tells him that his goal is only to find his father and that he has no interest in finding the Grail. Kazim tells him that Henry is being held in Castle Brunwald on the Austrian-German border. Marcus later reveals a map drawn by Henry of the route to the Grail, which begins in Alexandretta.
At Castle Brunwald, Indy rescues Henry, but learns that Elsa and Donovan are actually working with the Nazis, and are using him to find the Grail for them. Meanwhile, Marcus is captured in Hatay, Turkey, while waiting with Sallah for the Joneses. The Joneses escape from Castle Brunwald and recover the diary from Elsa at a Nazi rally in Berlin, barely escaping from an accidental face to face encounter with Adolf Hitler, who casually autographs Henry’s diary. They board a Zeppelin to leave Germany, but the Zeppelin soon turns around and the Joneses escape in a parasite biplane. They crash while engaging in a dogfight with the Luftwaffe due to Henry’s accidentally shooting the plane’s tail off, but Henry redeems himself on the ground by alarming a flock of birds to take flight in front of the Luftwaffe fighter causing the pilot to crash.
The two meet up with Sallah in Hatay, where they learn of Marcus’s abduction. The Nazis are already moving toward the Grail’s location, using the map possessed by Marcus. In exchange for a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the Sultan of Hatay has given the Nazis full access to his equipment for the expedition, including a large tank. Indy, Henry, and Sallah find the Nazi expedition, which is ambushed by the Brotherhood. During the battle, Henry is captured by SS Colonel Ernst Vogel while attempting to rescue Marcus from the tank; Kazim and his comrades are killed. The younger Jones pursues the tank on horseback and, with the aid of Sallah, saves Henry and Marcus. He is then caught up in a fight with Vogel, and barely escapes before the tank goes over a cliff, crushing Vogel to death.
 
Indy, Henry, Marcus, and Sallah catch up with the surviving Nazis, led by Donovan and Elsa, who have found the temple where the Grail is kept but are unable to pass through the three protective booby traps. Donovan shoots Henry, mortally wounding him, in order to force Indy to risk his life in the traps to find the Grail and use its healing power to save Henry. Using the information in the diary and followed by Donovan and Elsa, Indy safely overcomes the traps (circular blades, a word puzzle, and an invisible bridge across a bottomless pit), and reaches the Grail’s chamber, which is guarded by a knight. He has been kept alive for seven hundred years by the power of the Grail, which is hidden among dozens of fake Grails. The knight explains that they must choose which Grail they think is the real one but warns them to choose wisely because even though the real Grail brings life, all of the fake Grails take life away.
Elsa betrays Donovan by deliberately giving him a golden chalice, which causes him to decay into dust upon drinking from it. Indy then uses his expert knowledge to find the true Grail, a plain cup of a carpenter, which the knight warns cannot be taken beyond the great seal at the temple’s entrance. Indy fills the Grail with holy water and takes it to Henry, which they give to him to drink along with pouring the rest on his gunshot wound, instantly healing him. Elsa then takes the Grail past the great seal, ignoring and forgetting the knight’s warning. The temple begins to rapidly collapse and, even as Indy attempts to save her, Elsa falls to her death into an abyss because she is unable to let go of her obsession with the Grail. Indy nearly suffers the same fate, but is saved by Henry, who convinces him to let it go. While the knight watches them, the Joneses, Marcus, and Sallah then narrowly escape the collapsing temple. Afterwards, Henry reveals the origins of Indy’s nickname to the group as the name of the family’s former dog before they all ride off into the sunset.
 
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with its crisp script, thrilling music by John Williams, fine directing by Spielberg and a convincing chemistry between Ford and Connery, is one of the best action films made in the 1980s, and its release on DVD proves that it, like the other films in the series, has aged well.

REVIEW: THE ROCK

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CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Nicolas Cage (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Ed Harris (The Abyss)
John Spencer (The Negotiator)
David Morse (Disturbia)
William Forsythe (Raising Arizona)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Vanessa Marcil (Las Vegas)
John C. McGinley (Highlander II)
Tony Todd (The LFash)
Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall)
Steve Harris (Minority Report)
Claire Forlani (Mallrats)

A group of rogue U.S. Force Recon Marines, led by disenchanted Brigadier General Frank Hummel and his adjutant Major Tom Baxter, seize a stockpile of deadly VX gas–armed M55 rockets. The next day, Hummel and his men seize control of Alcatraz Island and take eighty three tourists hostage. Hummel threatens to launch the rockets against San Francisco unless the government pays $100 million from a military slush fund, which he will distribute to his men and the families of Recon Marines who died on clandestine missions under his command and whose deaths were not compensated.

The Pentagon and FBI develop a plan to retake the island with a U.S. Navy SEAL team led by Commander Anderson, enlisting the FBI’s top chemical weapons specialist, Doctor Stanley Goodspeed. Goodspeed’s confidence, already shaky as he is a “lab rat” with minimal combat training and experience, is further tested when his fiancée Carla reveals she is pregnant. FBI director James Womack is forced to turn to federal prisoner John Mason, a 60-year-old British national who has been imprisoned without charges for three decades. Mason is the only Alcatraz inmate ever to escape the island, doing so in 1963 through uncharted underground tunnels. While in custody at the Fairmont Hotel, Mason flees. He steals a Hummer H1 and Goodspeed pursues in a commandeered Ferrari F355, resulting in a chase through the streets. Mason seeks out his estranged daughter Jade; Goodspeed arrives with a team to re-arrest Mason, revealing to Jade that he is aiding the FBI.

Goodspeed, Mason, and the SEALs infiltrate Alcatraz. However, Hummel’s Marines are alerted to their presence and ambush them in a shower room. All the SEALs, including Anderson, are killed, leaving only Mason and Goodspeed alive. Mason sees his chance to escape custody and disarms Goodspeed, but Goodspeed convinces him to help defuse the rockets, since Mason’s daughter is also at risk. Mason and Goodspeed eliminate several teams of Marines and disable 12 of the 15 rockets by removing their guidance chips. Hummel threatens to execute a hostage if they do not surrender and return the guidance chips. Mason destroys the chips, then surrenders to Hummel, trying to reason with him as well as buy Goodspeed some time. Though Goodspeed disables another rocket, the Marines capture him. With the incursion team lost, the military initiates their backup plan: an air strike by F/A-18s with thermite plasma, which will neutralize the poison gas but kill everyone on the island.

Mason and Goodspeed escape, and Mason explains why he was held prisoner: he was a British SAS Captain who stole a microfilm containing details of the United States’s most closely guarded secrets, refusing to give it up when captured because he knew he would be killed if he did. When the deadline for the transfer of the ransom arrives, Hummel and his men fire one of the operational rockets. During the launch of the rocket Hummel changes the coordinates and diverts the rocket away from its original target and instead detonates at sea. Hummel then reveals that the mission is over and it was all a very elaborate bluff, as he never had any intention of taking innocent lives. When confronted by two of his men, Captain Frye and Darrow, Hummel orders them to exit Alcatraz with a few hostages and the remaining rocket to cover their retreat, while he will assume blame. Realizing they will not be paid their $1 million apiece, Frye and Darrow mutiny against Hummel and Baxter, killing the latter and mortally wounding the former.

Darrow and Frye proceed with the plan to fire on San Francisco. While Mason deals with the remaining Marines, Goodspeed seeks out the last rocket, which Hummel reveals the location of with his dying breath. As the jets approach, Goodspeed kills both Darrow and Frye, disarming the rocket. He signals the jets that the threat is over but not before one jet releases a bomb on the island. Though no hostages are injured, Goodspeed is thrown into the sea by the blast before Mason rescues him. Goodspeed tells Mason that Womack tore up his pardon, then informs his superiors that Mason was killed in the bomb explosion. Mason gives Goodspeed a note that holds the location of the microfilm and the two part ways. Some time later, Goodspeed and Carla recover the microfilm containing a half-century of state secrets, including who actually killed John F. Kennedy.

Directed with vigour by Michael Bay, and featuring a talented cast who get right into the spirit of things, this is an enjoyable romp. With plenty of big stunts, gun fights, explosions, thrills and spills along the way it’s big and loud and a lot of fun.

REVIEW: THE AVENGERS (1998)

CAST

Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Sean Connery (Highlander)
Jim Broadbent (The Legend of Tarzan)
Fiona Shaw (Gormenghast)
Eddie Izzard (Powers)
Eileen Atkins Gosford Park)
Patrick Macnee (The Howling)

The film opens with John Steed (Ralph Fiennes), agent of The Ministry, in a training course which he finishes successfully. Next, we see Dr. Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) at home where she receives a phone call telling her to go to a gentlemen’s club – no women allowed – where she meets Steed for the first time. The two head off to the Ministry to meet Mother (Jim Broadbent), who informs them the Prospero project – an attempt to influence the weather – was sabotaged apparently by Emma Peel. Dr. Peel claims she is innocent, but she is sent to work alongside Steed to find the real culprit. Mother’s off-sider, Father (Fiona Shaw), claims Peel suffers from a mental disease. They go off to visit Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery), an old ally of The Ministry. He takes an instant liking to Peel, as they both share a love of weather.Steed and Emma follow a lead to Wonderland Weather – a business that artificially creates heat or rain with a special machine – where they discover two dead men in teddy bear suits. The members of a secret organisation — led by De Wynter — all wear teddy bear suits to disguise their identities. One of them, however, is a clone of Emma Peel. Steed arrives in time to save Peel, as the double jumps off a roof and disappears. Steed and Emma go off to visit De Wynter at his mansion but are attacked by mechanical bees. Alice (Eileen Atkins), a Ministry agent, helps them to flee; nevertheless, De Wynter captures Emma who then tries to escape but finds herself trapped due to the mansion’s ever-changing floor plan. She smashes her way through a window, and Steed rescues her. Back at Steed’s apartment, however, Peel is arrested by Father, as Steed visits Invisible Jones (Patrick MacNee), a man inside The Ministry, to investigate the meaning of a map Steed found at Wonderland Weather. After viewing some photos of failed genetic experiments, Steed determines Father is working with De Wynter. Father and Peel’s clone capture Peel but are confronted by Mother, who is then incapacitated. De Wynter, controlling Prospero and the weather, confronts the world’s leaders. He boasts that he controls the weather, and they will buy the weather from him, will pay a lot for it, and will have until midnight to pay.Father and Peel’s clone take Emma to a hot air balloon, where Emma escapes during a snowstorm. Father and the clone perish when the balloon crashes and explodes. Invisible Jones determines De Wynter is using the Prospero instruments on a secret island, and Peel and Steed arrive at the island to stop him. Emma defuses the Prospero device just as a hurricane forms over London. Steed duels De Wynter and eventually gains the upper hand by impaling him with his own cane, causing De Wynter to be struck by a bolt of lightning. Emma and Steed escape just as the base self-destructs, and share champagne on the roof of a building with Mother.

On reflection there’s a lot to like in The Avengers: Uma Thurman in leather: always a plus, Sean Connery hamming it up more than Porky Pig at a bacon factory, and henchmen dressed as multi-coloured teddy bears. Bonkers. Utter bonkers. It has to be seen to be believed.