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Godzilla – Roland Emmerich (1998)

There have been Japanese Godzilla films since 1954. In 1998 followed the first American attempt to exploit the concept. The film was no success and especially the Japanese made fun of the American version. 25 Years later the film looks like a Hollywood disaster spectacle that is at best amusing.

Of course this American version is not set in Japan, but in New York. Godzilla was born as the cause of nuclear tests, but he does not have his famous nuclear beam. Godzilla does have the ability to lay 200 eggs and hatch them in no-time, so the Americans not only have to fight a giant lizard, but also its offspring.

In style this 1998 movie fits well into the time-frame.

Iron Man 3 – Shane Black (2013)

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This time no Romanov or Fury, “Iron Man 3” is a ‘stand-alone’ Marvel. Stark has anxiety attacks but still has to fight a bad guy.

The story is not too interesting, but there are great parts of Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce. The latter looks quite the same as he does in “Memento“.

The film does not really have surprises. The story taps into the terrorist scare and of course the opponents have something that even Iron Man cannot simply brush aside. Towards the weak end, the story is wrapped up in the last five minutes.

The Expendables 2 – Simon West (2012)

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I thought I had seen one or two “Expendables”. Now that #4 is available, I was watching trailers to see if there was an old one that I skipped so far, but the trailers of neither 2 nor 3 looked familiar (1 is not available at Prime Video), so I went for 2.

You know the concept. Old school action heroes get together for a patriotic action event. So we have Silvester Stalone, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzegger, Chuck Norris, Jason Stratham, Jean-Claude van Damme. Not all in the same team though.

Since these old-timers are expendable, they are hired to do the dirty jobs. When during such a job a team member gets killed, the Expendables set out for revenge.

Over-the-top action, references to other films and series, the result is an amusing killing spree.

Iron Man 2 – Jon Favreau (2010)

Iron Man / Tony Stark is not exactly my favourite Marvel character, so I skipped the “Iron Man” movies so far. Actually. In “Iron Man 2” he is not so bad. Perhaps because he is a bit of the tragic character.

In “Iron Man 2” we have both Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper of course) and Scarlett Johansson (as Natalie Rushman / Natasha Romanoff, apparently not yet “Black Widow“) which is a plus. And Mickey Rourke is an amusing bad guy. We also see the dawn of the Avengers, as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) yet has to recruit Iron Man for his team.

For the rest, Iron Man is hunted by Ivan Vanko, plus the competition tries to outsmart him. Together these opponents wreck havoc which Iron Man sets right, without the help of the other Avengers, as that team appears to be non-existent yet.

So perhaps “Iron Man 2” fits in the larger Marvel story and was it a good idea to watch it after all. I suppose I might now also watch “Iron Man 3” (2013).

The Beekeeper – David Ayer (2024)

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And another one man army action film with Jason Stratham.

The story this time is that Stratham is a beekeeper, living at the farm of an old lady. Actually he is a retired beekeeper in the meaning of: member of an elite group. The old lady dies, “Adam Clay” kills his way to the top of those responsible and along the way is hunted by his former colleagues.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Edward Zwick (2016)

Another Reacher produced by Tom Cruise and with Cruise in the main part. This time Reacher is not hunted by his former colleagues, at least, not from the start. He is in contact with his follower who is sucked into a scandal around two dead soldiers. Reacher sets out to help her.

There is some drama added with a girl that is either or not Reacher’s daughter. For the rest, a Cruise-type action film with a one man army, chasing scenes, shootouts and the whole shebang.

The Fall Guy – David Leitch (2024)

When I saw the trailer, I thought (hoped) “The Fall Guy” would be a bit of a “Bullet Train“. Now I see both are from the same director.

“The Fall Guy” is more of an action romcom though, too romcom for my liking. The movie is an ode to the stunt people of Hollywood too. Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is the stunt double for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), rapidly rising Hollywood star.

Seavers has a crush on Jody (Emily Blunt), formerly camera woman, nowadays director. This makes a large and not too interesting part of the story.

Ryder goes missing from the set and Seavers is sent out to find him, but Ryder does not want to be found and so you get a lot of action scenes and a descent ‘whodunnit’ story.

Not boring, but it seems to me that Leitch aimed for a larger and more general audience with his latest film.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – George Miller (2024)

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At least this second Mad Max revamp is again from the original director. As the title suggests, this time there is no character called “Mad Max” as there was in “Fury Road“.

As it should be in a Mad Max film, we are looking at a dystopian future in which violent gangs with monstrous vehicles fight over water and gazoline. Early in the film, a girl is kidnapped from an oasis and held captive by the frivolous gang leader Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). By the time she grows up, “Furiosa” is played by Anya Taylor Joy who -needless to say- has the role a revenging one girl army. Well, perhaps not entirely one girl.

Miller again presents enormous monster trucks, hundreds of motor bikes, weird gang members and brutal villains driving through vast deserts with here and there an industrial stronghold. Again there is not too much of a story and again the movie is fairly enjoyable, but not as great as the originals.

Ninja Assassin – James McTeigue (2009)

I was reading a book about Chinese and Japanese traditional religion and this film was mentioned as having authentic elements, so I gave it a go.

In a fairly typical story we follow Raizo who has been trained brutally in a Ninja school since he was a kid. We follow him in these early days of harsh training and in the present time as an unconquerable fighter gone rogue. I do not think I need to say that he is out for revenge on his former master and that he former fellow students are after him to get rid of the problem.

The film is not too bad.

The One – James Wong (2001)

Sci-fi kong-fu action. Not too bad even.

There are many parallel universes and there is a possibility to travel between them. One guy finds out that when he kills another version of himself in another multiverse, he gets stronger. Needless to say that he sets out to kill all his other selves in order to become “the one”.