Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

Posts Tagged ‘action’

#29 Taken

Posted by Dan on July 4, 2009

TakenOkay, okay, so it’s taken me a while to post again. I’ve been on holidays since the start of June, and I only just got back from Scotland after spending time visiting my beautiful and amazing girlfriend (she’s spending 6 months over there and I went to visit at the half-way mark of her trip – don’t worry, this is not some crazy internet-dating thing where I fly around the world for a woman I’ve never met. I’ve totally met this woman before. I’ve even see her naked! SCORE!) But anyway, even on the plane I managed to catch a few movies. One or two of them I’m not really proud of, but hey, sometimes you gotta play the cards you’re dealt, right? Right!

So, let’s at least start off with a good flick, shall we? Taken is, in a nutshell, a story about a retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, who’s daughter is travelling overseas with a friend, until they get kidnapped by the Albanian mob. It’s nothing personal, his daughter just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. See, the Albanian’s kidnap young girls, then turn them into heroin addicts and make them do prostitution. This is something that obviously doesn’t sit well with Bryan (go figure). He then decides to go and get her himself, because he’s some amazingly terrific CIA agent will loads of skills. But not like in that lame Napoleon Dynamite kinda way, but more in a “I know 4 places on your body that I can kill you with one strike of my fist” kinda way.

Now, I’d say that the majority of people would probably know Liam Neeson for being a loveable kind of guy. I asked a few female friends recently, while talking about this movie, what the last movie was that they saw him in, and every single one of them said ‘Love, Actually‘. But for those of you that have seen Batman Begins, you’ll be well aware that Liam Neeson is one bad-ass motherfucker and Taken is just another example of this. Forget about The Wu-Tang Clan, Liam Neeson aint nothin’ to fuck with.

This is pretty much a solo effort by Liam. There’s a nice little ensemble cast, but they’re easily forgettable when in contrast to Neeson. The action is swift and efficient, and for a retired agent, Neeson is certainly in good shape. There’s a few fairly unconvincing moments, as well as a fair bit of “assumed prior-knowledge” with the movie, which sometimes makes it harder to judge who’s a good guy, who’s a bad guy, and what does one consider good or bad to be? Sometimes this can be negative (like the dinner scene at Jean-Claude’s house), but for the majority, it’s just a good little pop-corn flick that I’ll let things like that slide in favour of it’s great fight scenes.

When I watched this, it was a few days before my girlfriend and another female friend of hers take off to Brussels for about a week, so I must say that I’m feeling slightly nervous at this stage after watching that movie. But on the upside, if those two do get captured, I know immediately who I’m gonna call.

Taken is a thoroughly enjoying action flick with enough suspension and action to satisfy just about everyone. It’s all-over a fairly well balanced film with a fast yet stable pace. Highly recommended.

I given Taken 3 and a half unconvincing French accents out of 5

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money… but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it – I will not look for you, I will not pursue you… but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
-Bryan, talking to some Albanian mobster on the phone

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#21 300

Posted by Dan on January 4, 2009

300posterboxI remember when I was a kid, watching movies like the Predator, Alien 3 and Terminator 2 and thinking “holy crap, the special effects in this movie are amazing, how are they going to out-do this?” and from there, movies like that were the pinnacle of realism. Then along came 300.

I was actually talking about this movie last night with a bunch of friends who had all seen the movie and interestingly enough, none of them really were able to give an answer on whether or not they liked it without some kind of justification at the end, it was all “I liked it, but…” or “I wasn’t really into it, although…” Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think in this case, it’s the perfect example.

If you like your big epic war movies that are full of espoinage, plot twists and factually correct in-depth politics, then dear reader, this movie is not for you.

If you like your big epic war movies that are full of violent battles, amazing special effects, cliché yet inspiring dialogue and beautifully choreographed sequences, then dear reader, this movie is made just for you.

… actually, let’s go for a third one …

If you like your porn movies with an all-male cast, then dear reader, this movie is made just for you.

One of the things that stood out, and I’ve checked with a few other people just in case I was projecting (that’s a whole other blog), but there’s quite a large amount of homo-eroticism in the movie. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t that phased by it, but there’s just something about a large group of incredibly fit men full of testosterone walking around the country-side in their underpants that seems slightly odd to me.

But, gay connotations aside, this is, for what it is, quite a great movie. I know a lot of people bitched about it because apparently it’s not historically correct. Honestly? That’s your biggest bug-bear with the movie? When you got the movie out, did you pick up the dvd from the ‘Documentary’ section? No, you didn’t, so shut up. Your point is no longer valid.

Enjoy it for what it is – it’s a visually beautiful movie with some amazing choreographed action sequences and some of the greatest and well used special effects that we have ever seen.

I can’t wait for The Watchmen.

I give this movie three and a half out of five kicks to the chest.

Stelios: It’s an honor to die at your side.
King Leonidas: It’s an honor to have lived at yours.

Not-Very-Interesting Fact:
There’s a small lane-way not far from my house called simply “SPARTA”. It’s not Sparta Lane, or Sparta Street, simply Sparta. Barely a weekend goes by without seeing someone take a photo of it. I might have to be one of those people. I’ll keep you posted … but I promise the photo won’t be of me in my underpants …

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#17 I, Robot

Posted by Dan on January 1, 2009

movie_poster_i_robotNormally I try and stay away from blockbuster movies. It’s not a “cool to hate” type thing, it’s just that when a big budget movie comes out, it’s  hard not to pay attention to the publicity, so invariably I end up being disappointed because I’ve not been able to watch the movie for it’s own merits. So I’m kinda glad that I left this one alone for a while.

Given that I’m probably the last person on the planet to have seen this movie, I won’t bore you with the details. Long story short, robots are getting smarter, and eventually evolve to try and take over humanity. Enter Wil Smith, que action sequences, insert the standard “I learnt something today..” type values, and BAM, you have I, Robot.

I actually quite enjoyed this movie, a lot more than what I thought I would. Like I said, when a movie first comes out, if it doesn’t live up to expectation, it’s usually all too easy to just pass it off as a product built on hype. But when you look past all of that, it’s actually quite a great movie. The concept of the film is based on Isaac Asimov‘s series of short stories about robotics, and while I haven’t read them myself, are apparently fairly faithful to old ideals. So, when you get a concept like Asimov’s, and put these into the faithful hands of director Alex Proyas (who’s done , amongst many others, The Crow and Dark City), you’re generally going to get a fairly good outcome.

The CGI in this movie are great, and the action sequences are highly enjoyable. There’s almost the cliche love interest plot thrown in, but thankfully they binned the idea of exploring that further and the one scene where you think an attraction is being formed, it appears to be just a brief case of lust.

I’m that for those of you who want to see it, probably already have, and those that haven’t probably have no interest in watching it. If you’re like me from a few days ago, and you haven’t seen it, but are kind of interested, I’d definitely recommend watching it.

Oh, and for the Joss Whedon geeks, keep an ear out for who voices the main robot of the movie, Sunny.

I give I, Robot 3 and a half out of 5.

“Thank you … you said someone, not something.”

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#10 Layer Cake

Posted by Dan on December 19, 2008

Well, I’m 10% of the way through, so, uhh, hooray?

I love Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, as well as Snatch. In fact, I’ve watched the two of them so many times, I can recite almost the whole thing without actually needing to play the movie at all (this annoys my fiance to no end – it’s great!). So naturally, I was dead keen to watch this – which is probably why it’s taken me this long to watch it. I knew I’d like it, so it’s kinda like I’ve already seen it and approved of it, if that makes sense?

I should’ve watched this long ago. Not because I enjoyed it, but so I could’ve spread the word about how awful this movie is. It’s pretty much looks and feels like someone like me who’s obsessed with the two movies decided to cash in on it too. It’s a lot more serious and gritty than the LS&TSB and Snatch, but the artistic style is there. Just don’t let that “from the producer of…” bit act as some kind of recommendation.

In fact, now that I think about it, this rule applies for any movie – if they have to justify the reason for seeing a movie based soley on the fact that someone that has something to do with this movie did something else that was really good, then the movie’s a stinker. Take my word for it.

Daniel Craig plays the main character, and he does a fairly solid job at it too. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of really great parts of the movie, and there’s some great acting performances, but with everything tied together, plus an overly complicated storyline, it just seems to trip over itself more times than it successfully sprints.

I give it 2 out of 5 Duke of Windsors.

Interesting fact about the movie: The country club where XXXX and Morty meet Jimmy in the beginning of the film is the same location as the golf club where James Bond plays a match with Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger

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#8 Street Kings

Posted by Dan on December 13, 2008

I’ve kinda been avoiding this movie a little. I’ve read some fairly unfavourable reviews, and the few people I know who have seen it seemed a bit iffy. Plus the cover is practically the exact same cover as the one for a shitty video game called The Club, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Given that it’s been nothing but wet and cold here in Melbourne for the past couple of days, I figure why not spend the night in tonight watching a couple of movies. So thanks to Video Ezy, I’m pretty much set until Monday morning.

Street Kings is a story about Tom Ludlow, who’s being somewhat wrongly implicated in the murder of his ex cop partner who’s gunned down by two thugs. There appears to be a cover-up, and Ludlow isn’t happy and goes searching for answers, which uncovers a web of corrupt cops, which only results in him questioning the allegiance of co-workers he’s spent his entire life with.

Look, to be honest, it’s really hard to talk about this movie without giving everything away. It has a really great plot that’s interesting enough to keep you entertained, but not so confusing that it’s impossible to follow. The cast is terrific – my only real complaint is how under-utilised some of them are. It’s kinda creepy seeing Jay Mohr with a bad comb-over and a big thick moustache

Despite my general dislike for Keanu Reeves (I had no idea he was the main character when I picked it up), he’s actually really good in this and actually manages to out-act Forrest Whitaker (which, to be honest, I never really liked him much as an actor – although The Last King Of Scotland is a movie that you’ll see here soon). You’ll spend the entire movie going “ooh look, it’s that guy who’s in that movie/tv show!” to almost distracting levels. There’s a couple of great action scenes. I often wonder whether Reeve’s character has some odd fetish for breaking limbs.

If you’re after a good action flick that has a good storyline with enough of a plot to keep it interesting, as well as some great action scenes (the chase scene with that Mexican guy in the ‘hood was cool as fuck), and a great ensemble cast, you can’t go too far wrong with Street Kings.

I give this one 3 and a half dead cops out of 5

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