Death Wish (2018)
Why do we like vigilante justice? I think that it is because someone does exactly what we are thinking should be done or we would like to do, ourselves. Also, vigilante justice in the movies is often portrayed as sticking up for ones that cannot stick up for themselves. If you are like me, then you enjoy rooting for the underdog.
Death Wish is about a doctor who decides to take matters into his own hands after an attack on his family. He decides to find the men responsible and serve up his own form of vigilante justice.
The movie was directed by Eli Roth and the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Willlis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Camila Morrone, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise, Len Cariou, Jack Kesy, and Ronnie Gene Blevins.
I am not usually one to be into remakes. It seems like Hollywood remakes or reboots just about everything these days. Often, I say leave well enough alone, but sometimes the right remake idea comes along and the right actor is cast in the lead role.
In this case, Willis was very fitting for the role in Death Wish. It was his best performance since Looper (2012). He has been making a lot of B-rated straight to DVD movies lately, so it is nice to see him return to his former glory. I am glad to see that he has not gone the way of Nicolas Cage (spitting out one piece of trash after the next). Death Wish is a one-man-show and Bruce was clearly up for the task.
This movie is a scary concept because of how realistic it is. What I mean by that is that it shows just how worthless the police department and justice system can be sometimes. Too often, it is the people that deserve to see justice be done, that are the ones stuck without any justice at all. It also goes to show just how vulnerable we all are.
The likable Dean Norris has quickly been typecast as the police or detective type thanks to the success of the television series Breaking Bad. His part in this movie is good, but it does quickly make you think of Breaking Bad.
There are a few noticeable gruesome scenes in this movie that had Roth’s signature all over it. So far, I believe that this film is Roth’s best work as a director. He did a terrific job setting the tone of Death Wish and sticking with it throughout.
It has been a very long time since I have seen the original Death Wish (1974), but watching this version has made me want to go back and watch the original sometime soon. The new film is a quality remake done with today’s technology. The original movie is now 44 years old and it shows its age.
This movie is a murky suspense/thriller with good old fashioned popcorn-popping action. Willis as the protagonist doing bad for good reasons will keep you on the edge of your seat hoping that justice gets done.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Death Wish (1974)
Death Sentence (2007)
The Brave One (2007)
Man on Fire (2004)
The Equalizer (2014)
The Punisher (2004)
Sin City (2005)
Harry Brown (2009)
John Wick (2014)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
Escape Plan (2013)
During the 80s and 90s, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were action movie kings. However, up until recent years, they had never made a movie together.
I watched Stallone being interviewed by David Letterman the other day, and Stallone revealed that he and Schwarzenegger used to absolutely hate each other. They would always have to one-up each other. Now, I’m thinking, wouldn’t it have been great if at some point when the two actors were enemies, they actually played enemies on screen. People definitely would have paid to see that. I know I would have.
Something must have helped Stallone and Schwarzenegger resolve their differences because Escape Plan is the third movie that they have made together in the last three years, and the fourth one is on the way in 2014.
Escape Plan is about a prison escape artist (Sylvester Stallone) who has made a career breaking out of maximum security prisons all over the US. One day, he gets a job offer that he cannot refuse that lands him in a prison that was built using a book that he had written as a guide to building escape-proof prisons.
The film was directed by Mikael Hafstrom and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Matt Gerald, Faran Tahir, Sam Neill, Caitriona Balfe, and 50 Cent.
Earlier this year, Stallone and Schwarzenegger both proved that they can still be action heroes, even in their upper 60s. Stallone did it in Bullet to the Head (2012) and Schwarzenegger did it in The Last Stand (2013). Escape Plan was better than each of those movies. Each actor looked better physically, and they both carried themselves very well. Maybe it was because they were both in the film together and they continued to try to outdo each other again. Whatever it was, it worked.
Escape Plan exceeded my expectations. The movie was a welcome, unpredictable surprise. It had a lot of original ideas mixed with a few classics, for old time sake.
Caviezel and Jones had very fun supporting roles. 50 Cent somehow manages to keep weaseling his way into films, and I swear that he is always trying to ruin them. He was terrible, as usual.
It was delightful to see Sly and Ahnuld cracking skulls in the same movie. If you were ever a fan of their movies in the past, you won’t be able to help but like this movie.
I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Charlie Countryman (2013)
The movie is about Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf), a man who falls in love with a woman who seems to already be taken by an aggressive criminal.
The movie appears like it will be pretty violent and twisted. The trailer doesn’t give away too much, but It looks like it will be pretty intense throughout. With a cast like this one, I think that it should be good enough to see in theatres.
The film is set to release on 11/15/13.
Pawn Shop Chronicles (2013)
Back in 2006 I was blown away when I watched the film Running Scared (2006). I saw that movie in theatres three different times. It was that good. Paul Walker was the main star and Wayne Kramer directed. Yesterday I watched a preview for Pawn Shop Chronicles and thought it looked like it could be pretty awesome and it has a solid cast. Paul Walker is one of the main stars, but when I found out Kramer directed, that made me want to see it.
Pawn Shop Chronicles follows multiple stories involving drugged-out hillbillies, newlyweds, and an Elvis impersonator as their lives all intertwine because of their transactions made at a pawn shop.
The noteworthy cast includes Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Rankin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elijah Wood, Chi McBride, Thomas Jane, Norman Reedus, Lukas Haas, DJ Qualls, Michael Cudlitz, Ashlee Simpson, and Matt O’Leary.
The movie is a disturbingly dark comedy and weird, white trash, hillbilly adventure.
Kramer continues the trend of super intense filmmaking with unique, quirky, fun characters in a brutally twisted storyline.
Just like Running Scared, the camera work and editing is very unique and fast-paced which helps to make the movie more thrilling.
The movie is very graphic. It was pretty shocking at times. F-bombs, nudity, and disturbing images were all overused.
Within the first ten minutes of the film, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. But, then the movie hit its stride and got much better.
Walker plays a way different type of character than he has ever played. It was actually pretty refreshing to see him try something new for a change. It was a stretch for him, but he pulled it off nicely.
For you Reedus fans out there; his role will disappoint you because it is hardly noticeable. I felt like he was way underused.
This is Fraser’s best movie in over a decade. I was happy to see him in a likable role again.
Dillon stole the show, in my opinion. It never seems like he misses a stride. Every once in a while when he finds the right character, he gives a breakout performance that reminds us all that he still has the ability to take over a movie.
For the type of film that this is, it is an exercise in quality filmmaking. It will keep you guessing. It is a funny, messed up, shocking adventure like no other.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Escape Plan (2013) (click on the title for my full review.)
Grandpa Stallone and Grandpa Schwarzenegger are both at it again. This time Sylvester plays a prison escape artist. After finding a way to break out of a number of prisons, he designed a new prison where escaping is near impossible. Of course, eventually he finds himself framed and locked up in the very prison that he created. Arnold is on the inside with him. Now Stallone must breakout in order to track down the party responsible for getting him locked up.
The movie reminds me a bit of Face/Off (1997) simply because in that film John Travolta‘s character (with Nicolas Cage‘s face) agrees to go under cover and be locked up in a high-tech prison. Eventually the only people that know he is undercover find themselves dead and he is forced to try to escape if he wants to get back to his real life.
How does 50 Cent keep getting parts in movies?
Although Stallone and Schwarzenegger are both maybe a little too ancient to be making this type of movie, I think that somehow they will pull it off. Either way, I will be there to give you my take on it.
The film is set to release on 10/18/13.
Sinister is a very dark film. It is unique because the tension in the movie never really dissipates. Most horror movies have an attention grabber in the beginning, and then they have a few scenes that lighten the mood throughout the film. Sinister takes a firm grip on your mind and then twists. At best lightening the mood in the movie is slightly loosening the grasp that it holds on you.
Ethan Hawke plays a true crime author who moves his family to a property where an unspeakable murder has taken place. His goal is to write a book about what happened and hopefully find evidence in order to solve the crime in the process.
The film has all of the necessary elements that a great scary movie possesses. It has a solid main character portrayed by a very capable actor. There are disturbing images, and spine chilling spookiness. A number of surprises are thrown into the mix to keep you on the edge of your seat and sometimes catapult you somewhat above that edge. The villain is totally wicked, and the movie will stay with you long after it actually ends.
Sinister is Ethan Hawke’s best movie since Lord of War (2005).
One thing that I did notice is that the film was a bit scarier on the big screen and obviously that will probably always be the case. When I watched it at home, it was not as horrifying as I remembered. I did not jump as much during the jumpy scenes. This was not because I knew that they were coming, I just think that it was because the film was tailor-made for a larger screen. If you are going to watch it, then watch it on the biggest screen in your house, preferably at night and with the lights off to get the full effect.
Sinister means suggesting or threatening evil. The title fits the film like a glove. Although the movie was very well-made, it was hard to like it more than I did because of the subject matter. It is the best scary movie that I have seen in a long time.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Sinister (2012), then you will probably like The Purge (2013).
Fire with Fire (2012)
The whole movie was a little too convenient and pretty predictable. Watching this movie is almost like doing a puzzle where the pieces are numbered and you know exactly where each piece goes. The filmmakers took the guess work out of the film and therefore they took the fun with it.
It was all too formulaic. When you know what is going to happen next because it is so obvious, what is the point of watching anymore? You already know the story. There is no point. I felt like basically everything in the entire movie had already been done before in so many other movies.
I had low expectations about the movie before I watched it, but I was hoping that it would surprise me. It didn’t. Not one bit.
Josh Duhamel plays the main character in the movie. The guy is not capable of carrying a film on his own. He is not believable enough and just not a talented enough to lead a movie by himself.
Bruce Willis would have done a better job as the main character. At least he would have been able to make the obvious outcome of every scene a little more interesting with his trademark Bruce Willis tough guy charm. Unfortunately he chose instead to take on a supporting role. It felt like the guy just showed up to collect a paycheck. They gave him one good scene in the whole movie and the rest of the time he was just there.
I found it funny that 50 Cent was on the cover of the movie because he was only on screen for about a minute.
Vincent D’Onofrio hardly entertained as a bad guy. Vinnie Jones was a far superior and more believable tough guy (as he always is), but he gets disposed of way to early in the film and much too easily. Would you believe that Josh Duhamel would not have much trouble taking out Vinnie Jones, but would struggle against Vincent D’Onofrio? I don’t think so.
Rosario Dawson was Rosario Dawson. Good enough to be an actress, but just barely. Not a memorable performance. I forgot about it already.
Do not waste your time watching this movie. Definitely do not waste your money.
I rate this movie a 3 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
Here is a list of 13 other Bruce Willis movies that are better than this one:
- Die Hard 1 (1988), 2 (1990), 3 (1995), and 4 (2007) (we will count those as 1)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Twelve Monkeys (1995)
- The Sixth Sense (1999)
- The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
- Unbreakable (2000)
- Bandits (2001)
- Hart’s War (2002)
- Tears of the Sun (2003)
- SinCity (2005)
- Surrogates (2009)
- Red (2010)
- Looper (2012)
Let’s face it, Vincent D’Onofrio has not been in 13 movies that were better than this one, but here are a few:
- Sinister (2012)
- The Newton Boys (1998)
- Men in Black (1997)
- Ed Wood (1994)
- JFK (1991)
- Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The same goes for Rosario Dawson, but here is her list:
- Kids (1995)
- He Got Game (1998)
- Men in Black II (2002)
- 25th Hour (2002)
- Sin City (2005)
- Clerks II (2006)
- Death Proof (2007)
- Eagle Eye (2008)
- Seven Pounds (2008)
Josh Duhamel has not made any good movies. He is probably most known for the Transformer movies.
This list belongs to Vinnie Jones:
- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
- Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
- Snatch (2000)
- Swordfish (2001)
50 Cent. Really? Okay he was alright in Righteous Kill (2008).