REVIEW: HUNT TO KILL

CAST

Steve Austin (Damages)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Gary Daniels (Deadly Target)
Marie Avgeropoulos (50/50)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Adrian Holmes (Elysium)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)

7116_7_screenshotFour years ago, border patrol agent Jim Rhodes (Steve Austin) was stationed in Texas. Jim and his partner, his longtime friend Lee Davis (Eric Roberts), are staking out what looks like an empty trailer. As a gift, Lee gives Jim a watch that has a band made from climbing rope. The band can be unraveled and used in case of emergency. After Jim calls for backup, Jim and Lee decide to go in. What they find is a meth lab that looks abandoned. But two men come up from a door that was built into the trailer’s floor, and they open fire, shooting Lee. Jim kills the two men, and another man opens fire from under the trailer. Jim makes the man come up through the same door the other two came through, and the man sets the trailer on fire. Lee kills the man, and Lee tells Jim to run, just before Lee dies. Reluctantly, Jim leaves Lee behind, running out of the trailer as it explodes because of the highly volatile chemicals used for producing meth.CrossbowNow, Jim and his rebellious teenage daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos) are living in the mountains in Lowery, Montana. In Reno, Nevada, a man named Lawson (Michael Hogan) and his crew of thieves have just robbed the Hotel Palacio casino. Lawson takes the millions of dollars in bearer bonds they stole, and leaves a bomb behind in a warehouse to kill the rest of the thieves, who include his psychopathic right-hand man Banks (Gil Bellows). Banks defuses the bomb, and with the help of a tracking device, Banks thinks he knows exactly where Lawson is going. Banks and the other thieves—Jensen (Gary Daniels), Geary (Michael Eklund), Crab (Adrian Holmes), and Dominika (Emilie Ullerup)—vow to find Lawson and get the bonds back.grave-encounters-2-2012-ghost-girl-chase-scene-reviewIn Montana the next day, Kim says she’s going to her friend Megan’s house to help Megan pack for a trip. Later, Jim gets a call from Sheriff Westlake (Donnelly Rhodes), who says he has Kim in his office for shoplifting. Jim goes to Westlake’s office, and finds Banks and his crew there, beating Westlake up. Banks believes that Lawson is in Montana, and is planning to cross into Canada by foot. Banks wants to find Lawson and get the bonds, and Banks says that Westlake is not being very accommodating. Banks kills Westlake. Banks wants Jim to guide them through the mountains, to find Lawson. In order to make Jim do it, Banks takes Kim hostage. Banks tells Jim that if Jim screws up in any way, Kim dies.htk2In the mountains, it’s a grueling trek. At one point, Crab tries to rape Kim, and Jim beats Crab up, breaking several of his bones. After that, Jensen fatally shoots Crab. After they find Lawson and the money, and Dominika fatally shoots Lawson, Banks sends Jim plunging off a cliff, and leaves him to die. Jim survives, and while Banks is forcing Kim to guide him and his crew, Jim carves some sharp points into some branches to make spears out of them, and finds a bag with a crossbow in it. Jim starts hunting Banks and his crew, who have left a wounded Geary behind after Banks beat Geary up for arguing with him. Jim shoots Geary three times with the compound bow. Geary tells Jim that Banks has taken over Lawson’s plan to go into Canada. As Geary begs Jim not to shoot again, Jim shoots an arrow into Geary’s chest, killing Geary. Next, Jim tracks the others down and confronts Jensen, who is a martial arts expert. Jim ends the grueling fight by fatally stabbing Jensen with a broken tree branch.maxresdefaultBanks wonders where Jensen is at, and Banks is feeling uneasy. Dominika, who is using a rope to hold on to Kim so she does not get away, tells Banks that they have to keep moving. Jim tracks them down, and throws one of the wooden spears he carved. Banks jumps out of the way, and the spear hits Dominika, killing her. That infuriates Banks. Kim tries to escape, but Banks doesn’t let her. Taking Kim with him, Banks finds an outpost where there are three Canadian cops, and three ATVs. Banks kills the three cops, punches Kim and knocks her down, and then takes off on one of the ATVs. Jim finds Kim, and he tells her to take one of the remaining two ATVs and go for help while Jim goes after Banks with the other one. Jim chases Banks down, and they fight. Jim chases Banks down a hill and into what looks like an abandoned factory. Banks even fires a flare gun at Jim. They try to hit each other with shovels. Banks hits Jim a couple of times, and then Jim beats Banks up and hits Banks in the face with a shovel, knocking Banks down.image.pngJim thinks it’s over, but Banks gets back up and tries to shove Jim through the nearby catwalk’s guard rail. Jim turns the tables, and shoves Banks down onto the pile of wooden skids below. Jim, taking the bonds with him so he can return them, goes outside and sees Kim, who says she couldn’t leave him. Banks stumbles outside, and he says “Did you think you could take my money?” Jim tells Kim to get back, and Jim gets on one of the ATVs. Banks says “You can’t kill me!” Jim says “When I hunt, I hunt to kill.” And then Jim floors it, and rams the ATV right into Banks, pinning Banks up against a wall just inside the building, and gas is leaking from the ATV. Jim starts walking away. Again, Banks says “You can’t kill me!” Kim urges Jim to kill Banks for what he’s done. Jim fires the flare gun at the ATV, causing an explosion that kills Banks. Jim and Kim are glad they’ve survived, but they know they have a long walk home.250947_originale_bgAll in all, bar decent production values and a cracking lead in Austin this one ain’t gonna set your world on fire, It’s a film that you need to shut your brain off to watch, but if you have a slow night it passes the time.

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REVIEW: DAMAGE

CAST

Steve Austin (The Condemned)
Walton Goggins (Django Unchained)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Lynda Boyd (sanctuary)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)

Released on parole after serving four of seven years in prison for second degree manslaughter, John Brickner (Steve Austin) moves to Seattle, where he gets a job as a construction worker during the day and a bouncer at a bar at night. One day, after work, he meets up with Veronica Reynolds (Lynda Boyd), the widow of the man he killed in self-defense. It is revealed that she petitioned to have John released on parole following numerous apology letters he had written to her over the years. She also tells him that her eight-year-old daughter Sarah (Katelyn Mager) is in need of a heart transplant, and he should be the one to cover the US$250,000 operation.With the help of bar waitress Frankie (Laura Vandervoort), John locates fight promoter Reno Paulsaint (Walton Goggins), whom he had initially rejected a job offer. When he realizes that the job is in the world of underground fighting, he once again declines the offer, despite Reno telling him he can score six figure earnings in the business. The next day, he is fired from his construction work, but he saves his boss from a heart attack. Later that night, he decides to enter the fighting tournament, defeating his first opponent. John continues to fight for Reno and Frankie and rise up in the ranks and earning thousands. It turns out, however, that Reno owes a syndicate over US$150,000 and must pay them within a week, or they will hurt Frankie whom he had covered for the debt.After winning a gruelling fight, John rushes Veronica to the hospital after discovering her unconscious in her apartment, having slit her wrists after receiving a notice that an organ donor supplier has denied her request for a donor heart. During a fight, he defeats his opponent, but forfeits the match when he realizes that it is to the death. This results in Reno losing his wager and being roughed up by the syndicate. The next day, John is picked up by a tycoon named Veltz (William B. Davis), who turns out to be the owner of his former job. As a token of gratitude for saving his son-in-law’s life from a heart attack, Veltz offers to cover John’s US$150,000 wager for the main event or to clear Reno’s debt. John chooses to clear Reno’s debt.The next night, John faces and defeats the defending champion Wendell Timmons (Tony Bailey). It is revealed that the Deacon (Donnelly Rhodes), a friend of Reno, covered his stake in the fight. In the end, John covers the payment for Sarah’s heart transplant while Reno offers him another deal. This is a half decent movie let down by fight choreography that lacks realism, and editing which tries to disguise these failings with fast cuts away from the action. The story and script is okay, nothing especially original but sometimes it’s best to stick with what works when it comes to the fight genre; but in fairness it does have a stab at creating a serious plot to give reason to the violence and this does come through as the film progresses. The fights are made interesting by a number of unconventional backdrops including a ring of savage dogs! Steve Austen is quite sincere in his role, creating a character the viewer roots for. This is much better than most direct to dvd action movies.

REVIEW: GROWN UPS 2

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Chris Rock (Rush Hour)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Maria Bello (Secret Window)
Nick Swardson (Just Go With It)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn)
Colin Quinn (Trainwreck)
Jon Lovitz (The Simpsons)
Shaquile O’Neal (Steel)
Oliver Hudson (Scream Queens)
Steve Austin (The Condemned)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Cheri Oteri (Scary Movie)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Taran Kilam (The Heat)
Patrick Schwarzenegger (The Benchwarmers)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Will Fortre (MacGruber)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)

Three years after the events of the first film, Lenny Feder has relocated his family back to his Connecticut hometown of Stanton where he and his friends grew up. In the film’s opening in the Feder household, Lenny wakes up to find a wild deer standing next to his bed. Lenny tries to get his wife Roxanne to open the window. She wakes up in anger and startles the deer, causing it to urinate all over the bed and on Lenny. The deer runs down the hall and crashes into the bathroom where it runs into Lenny’s eldest son Greg showering scaring him and making the deer urinate on him. It turns out that Lenny’s younger daughter, Becky, left the door open overnight for any animals that wanted to come in. Lenny is able to get the deer out of the house by using Becky’s monkey doll, which rips it apart, devastating her. Greg, Keith, and Becky then go to their last day of school. Roxanne brings up the idea of their family having another baby, but Lenny says their family is perfect as is, upsetting Roxanne.At the Lamonsoff household, Eric Lamonsoff and his wife Sally are at odds with each other over how to raise their children- Sally believes in unwavering support while Eric prefers to be more practical with them, as proven for their son’s bad math skills and daughter’s rambuncious sense in fashion. At the McKenzie household, Kurt surprises his wife Deanne with a thoughtful anniversary present, only to find that she has completely forgotten. Meanwhile, Marcus Higgins is waiting at a train station after receiving a letter from an old girlfriend, who tells him that he has a seventeen-year-old son Braden. Marcus is stunned to see a tattooed, six-foot-tall boy, who turns out to be Braden. Marcus tries to be nice and takes him to school, but Braden shows an immediate dislike toward him, believing that he abandoned him and his mother.After dropping off their kids, Lenny, Eric, Kurt, and Marcus spend the day roaming around town, reminiscing about the amazing summers they used to have when they were kids and Lenny’s childhood bully, Tommy Cavanaugh. Lenny argues that he could take Tommy as a kid and he can still take him. Eventually, the friends go to see Becky’s ballet recital, where Lenny runs into Tommy, whom Lenny is visibly terrified of. Tommy threatens that if Lenny ever lies again about being able to beat him up, he’ll publicly beat Lenny up.Once the kids are out of school, Lenny, Eric, Kurt, and Marcus decide to visit the old quarry, where they used to swim as kids. However, they run into a gang of partying frat boys who force them to jump into the quarry lake naked. Braden, who was partying with the frat boys, witnesses this and goes off to vandalize their frat house. When the frat boys return, they swear to take revenge. Lenny arrives home to help Roxanne set up for a 1980s-themed party for their friends. Meanwhile, Marcus begins to bond with Braden. As all of their friends begin to arrive, Roxanne urges Lenny to consider having another baby. Lenny continues to protest the idea and is left dumbfounded when Roxanne reveals that she is pregnant. Lenny, feeling overwhelmed by this discovery, goes off to drink with his friends. The Feder’s party goes well most of the night until Tommy Cavanaugh shows up and disrespects Lenny in front of everyone, so Lenny challenges Tommy to a fight.In a surprising turn, Tommy decides to take a dive so that Lenny can look tough for his own bullied son, and the two develop a mutual respect. Soon after, the angry frat boys arrive at the house looking for retribution for the damage to their frat house. When they go on to insult the local town residents, Dickie Bailey, Lenny’s old nemesis, points out that Lenny accomplished more in his life than the entire frat put together, inciting a fight. The locals hold their own against the frat boys and eventually send them running away defeated.After all the commotion dies down, the four friends, plus Bailey, have pancakes at Eric’s mom’s house. After sharing an embarrassing photo of him and Bailey in kindergarten (they had been childhood friends before their personal lives drove them apart), Mrs. Lamonsoff reassures Lenny that a new baby is a wonderful thing and eventually he will never be able to imagine life with just three kids (and also mentions that Eric was an accidental baby because she and her husband had sex in the bathroom at a New England Patriots game). Lenny has a change of heart and returns home, telling Roxanne he is sorry and excited about the new baby, and they reconcile.Not as good as the first film but still with some funny moments. Those that enjoyed the first will enjoy this.

 

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 4

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Isaiah Mustafa (The Island)
Stacy Keibler (How I Met Your Mother)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Robin Givens (God’s Not Dead 2)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Mini Anden (Tropic Thunder)
Larry Cedar (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
Katie Cleary (Tomorrow’s End)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Bronson Pinchot (Lois & Clark)
Karolina Kurkova (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
James Lew (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Larroquette (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
Francois Chau (Lost)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Gary Cole (Crusade)

Season three of Chuck found the show getting more serious as it found the main character fully embracing his new life as a spy. Season four continued that streak. When we last left our characters, we were watching the Buy More  going up in flames. Meanwhile, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was promising his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) that he would give up the dangerous world of spying.

The season four premier picks up several months later. Chuck and his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) are conducting a secret mission of their own. They are attempting to use clues left behind by Chuck’s dad to find Chuck’s mom, a woman who disappeared 20 years ago. When it turns out that Chuck’s former government handers Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are on the same hunt, Chuck goes back to work for the CIA. Meanwhile, the CIA rebuilds the Buy More as a continued cover for their Southern California base and giving the old Buy More gang their old jobs back in the process. Morgan begins dating Casey’s daughter. Ellie starts investigating her family history, and she and husband Devon (Ryan McPartlin) announce they are expecting. Plus Chuck and Sarah’s relationship continues to build as they work through various issues.

But that’s nothing compared to what happens when Chuck actually tracks down his mother Mary (recurring guest star Linda Hamilton) who is working for the Russian Alexei Volkoff (recurring guest star Timothy Dalton). Can she be trusted? Or is Chuck about to be hurt worse for having tracked her down? As the season unfolded the twists to the story were interesting, and I spent much of the season wondering exactly which side Mary was really on.

And there are some fun sub-plots to the season. Probably my favorite involves Morgan and Casey. The no-nonsense NSA agent has little patience for Chuck’s bumbling best friend, and the fact that they have to work together on missions is nothing compared to when he realizes that Morgan is dating his daughter. Those moments are priceless. The writers and producers did a good job of developing Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. They have managed to avoid the curse of killing a show when you get the main couple together by developing their relationship and giving them realistic things they need to work on. It’s interesting watching it develop, and I like that.

As always with this show, the acting is top notch. As with last season, the show was originally renewed for 13 episodes and then picked up for a back 11. That means that the first 13 episodes tell their own story with a second story springing off that one in the second half. Even the second half of the season reveals some secrets about the Bartowski family legacy. It also means that this season set includes 24 episodes of the show in original wide screen and full surround. In addition to the gag reel and deleted scenes, there’s a featurette about Zachary Levi stepping behind the camera to direct the Thanksgiving episode as well as a collection of Webisodes featuring Jeff and Lester’s quest for a video game.  The characters are still endearing and the storylines worth watching. If you haven’t caught all of season four, fix that today and prepare for season five.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 3

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Scott Holroyd (That 70s Show)
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Mark Sheppard (Supernatural)
Mini Andén (The Proposal)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
Tony Hale (Yoga Hosers)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Armand Assante (NCIS)
Andrew Connolly (Heroes)
Angie Harmon (Law & Order)
Josie Davis (Dirty Teacher)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Leslie-Anne Duff (The Vampire Diaries)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Jim Piddock (The Prestige)
Johnny Messner (Running Scared)
Louis Lombardi (The Usual Suspects)
Diedrich Bader (Bones)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Roger R. Cross (First Wave)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Udo Kier (Blade)
The third season actually picks up a few months after the conclusion of season two. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) has just returned to Burbank after some training that will help him use the enhanced features he got by downloading the intersect 2.0 into his brain. Now, instead of just flashing on information, he can also flash on skills needed like hand to hand fighting or laser avoiding. However, his emotions make these new upgrades glitchy, so his skills can come and go at the most inopportune times.

Meanwhile, his CIA handler Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) is back in town to rejoin the team despite the fact that Chuck broke her heart. NSA handler John Casey (Adam Baldwin) is thrilled that with each new mission, Chuck seems to be becoming a better spy. Sarah, on the other hand, is watching the man she fell in love with slip away behind the new spy Chuck.

And on the home front? Chuck’s best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Chuck become roommates. Chuck’s sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) gets a fellowship she wants while Ellie’s husband Devon, aka Captain Awesome, (Ryan McPartlin) tries to figure out a way to get Ellie out of the dangerous world that Chuck inhabits. The gang at the Buy More is still there to provide some comedy. And we finally learn something that Captain Awesome isn’t awesome at.

Underneath all this is a new group out to get the Intersect and steal all the secrets locked away in Chuck’s mind. Can the group bring them down while keeping Chuck’s true identity a secret?

This show finds the right balance between comedy and drama. The show takes itself seriously enough that we care for the characters and are concerned when they are in danger. But the characters are just as likely to get out of danger by some crazy coincidence as they are by some great bit of action. It’s that unpredictability and humor that keep me loving every minute.
This is such an amazing season well worth watching, if you haven’t seen the first two seasons then I strongly recommend watching them first.