Category Archives: action

xXx – Rob Cohen (2002)

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What exactly made me opt for this film? Samuel L. Jackson perhaps? It probably will not have been Vin Diesel, because in my mind he only makes standard action movies. This is one of those…

Xander Cage (Diesel) is a stuntman who is popular on the internet. Agent Gibbons (Jackson) wants to recruit him to infiltrate in a criminal organisation. This leads to some quite ‘action for the sake of action’ scenes in which Cage is ‘tested’. Explosions, motorcycle stunts, yadiya.

The film does have a nice opener with a Rammstein show, then follows Cage’s internet stunt, his recruitment and then a Bond-like story with a ‘Bond girl’ follows, a bad guy with plans to blow up the world and our hero to stop that. Nothing really worth watching, but then again, not really boring either.

Crying Freeman – Christope Gans (1995)

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I thought that I bought some hip action film as a ‘spare film’, but only when I put it on, I noticed that it was directed by Gans who made some more descent films.

The freeman from the title is a killer for the Chinese maffia. When a woman sees him working, she is supposed to be killed too, but the freeman has second thoughts.

Then we jump forward to a feud between Japanese and Chinese maffia and the freeman’s mythical reputation. The film being based on a comic gives it a somewhat ‘poetical vibe’.

What really adds to the atmosphere are the slow, stretched scenes with 1990’ies synth music, very moody. The scenes are often dark. There are some weaker scenes, but overall I found “Crying Freeman” unexpectedly moody with here and there a violent shootout.

Cobra – George P. Cosmatos (1986)

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I do not really remember how this old Stalone ended up on my wishlist. This has never been my genre. Apparently I added two films of the director to the list, since I received another one (“Shadow Conspiracy” 1999). I do not immediately see the reason. Perhaps I mixed up his name with another one?

In a violent and dystopian society a violent gang kills people to prepare society for the future. Stalone is a cop of a violent division and of course he is sent out to fight the gang. In the proces he hooks up with the only witness alive, played by Brigit Nielsen. Yes, 1980’ies abound! There are more familiar faces, David “Sledgehammer” Rasche and Brian Thompson who plays the eerie shape-shifting hunter in the X-Files.
Incidentally Thompson is also a “hunter” in “Cobra”, the hunter in fact from the sample that Karjalan Sissit uses in “Pig Society”.

Anyway, of course you will get a load of violent action, some amusingly over-the-top. Stalone is the pretty bad boy with a small heart and society is almost as dark as in “Mad Max”.

Not bad, but still not really my genre.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword – Guy Ritchie (2017)

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This way-too-Hollywood spectacle is very loosely based on the legends of King Arthur. The creators made a story in which the “mages” are in war with humans resulting in a CGI-explosion in the opening scenes. This makes a thin bridge towards Arthur who is a commoner raised in a brothel.

The bad guy in the story is Vortigern (a very nice part of Jude Law) who tries to dominate the world. There is an alternative take on how the sword got stuck in the stone and of course Arthur is the one to get it out in order to thwart Vortigern’s plans.

Like I said, way-too-Hollywood with obligatory and unsuccessful drama, tons of over-the-top action, made-up elements and a fairly thin story.

The film may not be boring, but it has little to do with the Arthurian legends and all the extra elements did not really make an interesting story either.

The 6th Day – Roger Spottiswoode (2000)

In the near future pets are cloned commercially. When you pet dies, you can get your “repet”. Even though it is forbidden, the company behind “repet” also clones humans and thus one day Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) comes home finding that he already is home.

For a large part of the film Schwarzenegger has to play the family man and he is not a good enough actor for such a part. When the cloning company sets out to kill either the clone or the original, the film evolves towards a genre that Schwarzenegger is more familiar with: action.

“The 6th Day” gives a few things to think about, but it is nothing more than a standard Hollywood action film.

Chappie – Neill Blomkamp (2015)

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The description for “rebel robot” is more interesting than the film. In a crime-filled future Johannesburg the police uses police robots to fight the gangs that try to control the city. One of the creators of these robots uses one of them to experiment with artificial intelligence and hence “Chappie” is ‘born’.

What I thought would be an amusing action film is a bit of a childish film with cheap drama and a bit of action. The film raises a few questions about AI, but it is all too thin for my liking.

Mortal Engines – Christian Rivers (2018)

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The film has a nicely weird story. On a scorched future earth cities have been made mobile. The travelling city of London drives around the globe to literally eat up smaller cities in order to use their resources. In this film London symbolises the West with its greed and destruction. The face of this is Thaddeus Valentine, well played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in The Matrix).

There are also people who do not live in these mobile cities, but they are hunted by all kinds of rogue towns. One such person is Hester Shaw who  has plans for Valentine. Together with Tom she drops off London and falls into the hands of a rebel group who the two are going to help to prevent London (the West) to break through the wall guarding the East.

The weird cities themselves, but especially the weird machines bring memories of films such “Mad Max“. “Mad Max” is much rawer though. Especially the obligatory romance and jokes of “Mortal Engines” make it a too typical Hollywood film.

The only thing that is somewhat uncommon is that the West is bad and the East actually wins. Oops, I gave away the end.

“Mortal Engines” is an amusing dystopian sci-fi spectacle, but not a terribly good one.

What Happened To Monday – Tommy Wirkola (2017)

I got this film with the title “Seven Sisters”. I do not really understand the need for different titles in the same language.

Anyway, in an overcrowded future there is a one-child policy. One man has a ‘seven-twins’ and names them after the days of the week, so there you have both titles explained.

The man hides his daughters in his massive apartment and thinks of an elaborate plan to give his daughters a wee bit of freedom: they get to get out on the weekday they are named after. Of course this cannot go well for eternity.

The sisters are played by Noomi “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Rapace. Inside their apartment the girls have their own style and personality, outside they are all the same person. Once the authorities find out about them, the film turns into an alright sci-fi action thriller. Too bad that the film ends with rather boring drama and what is even weirder: the governments policies have a logic, but the overcoming of them is presented as a victory.

“What Happened To Monday” is descent thriller with a bad end.

Leather And Iron – James Archer (2002)

I had some hope that “Screaming Metal”, as the film is called on my box, would be ‘so bad it’s good’. Actually it is just corny. According to the box the film is for people who like motorcycles and beautiful women. A little better acting would have done some good…

Some motorcycle gangs run the local drug distribution and a strip club. When one of them steals something from a wholly other type of criminal group and two people get caught in the middle, a cat-and-mouse game unfolds in which everybody is after “the package”.

Like I said, the acting is unconvincing, especially fighting scenes. The story is not too bad after all, but mostly seems like an umbrella for lengthy motorcycle parades and strip club scenes. In the first part mostly, because after a while the story needs to be told.

Nope, a not too good film and not fun enough to be ‘so bad it’s good’.

Spartan – David Mamet (2004)

Here we have a fairly standard, but descent, action thriller. The opening is a bit confusing. Is Scott (Val Kilmer) some elite soldier, does he work for a secret service or both? We find him (helping) recruiting people and immediately after he is recruited himself for a job in which the daughter of a candidate for presidency is kidnapped.

From then on, “Spartan” is more straightforward. Scott and his team set out to investigate the kidnapping. It soon appears that some women’s trafficking group took a blonde not knowing who she is and the circle for investigation becomes wider and wider and people’s purposes become vaguer (or not).

The film has nicely built up tension, descent action, a good parts of Ed O’Neill and William H. Macy (both I know for very different roles).

Not a must-see, but not a waste of time either.