Category Archives: action

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.

American Made – Doug Liman (2017)

Since the “Narcos” series, everything around Pablo Escobar and the drug trafficking between South and North America seems to appeal to the people. The director did find an amusing story in that corner though.

“American Made” is another cooperation between Doug Liman and Tom Cruise. Cruise plays Barry Seal, an airline pilot who is hired by the CIA for some covert activities. Soon these activities become even more covert and then Seal is even hired by the other side. Pretty soon he runs a business in which money is coming in like crazy.

Liman turned Seal into an underground pop-star, who initially tries to get out of all his missions alive, but who later got gripped by the gathering of money. He also shows the weird ways of corrupt government agencies and their relations to foreign politics and its legal and illegal allies.

“American Made” is an amusing film about a strange part of recent history and probably a welcome addition to the ‘Escobar franchise’.

Hero – Yimou Zhang (2002)

An epic, Chinese martial arts spectacle. The film does not really look as if it was adopted for a Western audience. There are many dialogues and some silly aspects in the fighting scenes. I guess that makes the film a little more interesting though.

The film is based on a legend in which some people want a king dead and we follow one such person. After ten years of practice, he became the best fighter and has built an elaborate plan to murder the king. We find him explaining his plan to the king and with flashbacks we get the story, or actually stories, since as the king understands that what is presented are not facts, the story changes.

The viewer is presented with massive fighting scenes and of course a lot of one-on-one sword fights with flying people and strange weapons. The film has some cultural and somewhat spiritual elements as well.

Sucker Punch – Zack Snyder (2011)

Catching up with this older Snyder. The title and the cover make me think this film is not for me, but I have to be able to prove myself wrong every now and then do I now? Well, I was right… What a terrible film!

Droopy face Emily Browning kills her father in the opening scene and is transferred to a mental asylum. This asylum then suddenly is a house for troubled girls that is also a brothel and when the girls dance for their customers, they are suddenly in some sort of violent shout-out game hunting monsters. It all becomes a dull mishmash of teeny drama and silly, hip fighting scenes with something that I suppose has to be psychological thriller elements.

The entire film I had the idea that the target audience has to be 15-minus. The dialogues, the drama, the action, it is all awfully boring. I guess the only reason that I finished the film is that I was doing something else while watching it. Because I finished it, I will not give it only one star, so I come at….:

Looper – Rian Johnson (2012)

In this time-travel film a “looper” is a hired killer for criminals of the future who send back the people they want executed. Not too surprisingly one of those sent back has the plan to prevent being caught by killing the person responsible for his apprehension.

The film is alright. The story is not too original with all the time-travel films that have been released and there are no big surprises except for the obligatory one at the end.

Not a bad film, but it need not to be very high up your watch-list.

Atomic Blonde – David Leitch (2017)

I expected a more over-the-top comic type of action film, but “Atomic Blonde” is more of a ‘normal’ action film. A hip one though, perhaps reminding a bit of the recent “Baby Driver“.

The film is set in 1989 Berlin, the year that the wall fell. Lorraine Broughton (a very pretty Charlize Theron) is sent to recover a killed agent, but in fact what her assignment is, is the recovery of a list of all spies that has been stolen. Lorraine is a very womanly agent, but also a fighting machine, so the film contains a lot of that. The story keeps toying with the who-is-loyal-to-whom theme.

Playing in the 1980’ies the film uses music from that time. It also has nice filming and colours.

Perhaps not an instant classic, but an enjoyable Hollywood action movie.

Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick (1975)

This lengthy film has been on my wishlist for quite some time. For some reason ‘my usual film dealer’ does not have it.

Barry Lyndon is a young Irishman who lives in the 18th century upper class. He does not appear to be too fit for that upper class so, so he is forced to leave. Joining the army and travelling to the continent to fight Napoleon and his troops, Barry soon starts to find ways to get away from his duties tumbling into different adventures. When he finally works himself back into the upper class, Barry does not really prove himself to be a gentleman.

Compared to “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) “Barry Lyndon” is a very normal film, a costume drama. Kubrick appears to like to try different types of film. “Barry Lyndon” is not boring, but not a must-see either.

John Wick – Chad Stahelski (2014)

Keanu Reaves is John Wick, a man who looses his wife and shortly after some punks steal his car and kill his dog. What the punks do not know, is that Wick is the best killer around. What Wick does not know, is that one of the punks is the son of an influential high ranking criminal. Wick goes after the son, killing everybody who gets in his way.

Violence for the sake of violence with little story. There are some amusing findings in that little story though, such as a save hotel for criminals and rules of conduct in feuds.

The music is great and Wick’s anger comes across well. For the rest “John Wick” is but a violent action film.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Patrick Hughes (2017)

Something different from all the scifi I have been watching lately. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is an over-the-top action spectacle with Samuel L. Jackson (born 1948!) who has a lot of fun playing an unkillable killing machine who is chosen to testify against the dictator president of Belarus.

The film starts with a job gone wrong of “Triple A” security man Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds). Of course later on he will be the one to protect Darius Kincaid and the two appear to have a past. Much more than they thought beforehand as we will find out. The two develop a love/hate relationship on their attempt to travel from Manchester to Den Haag (The Hague) where Kincaid is supposed to testify. On their extremely bloody route they are followed by violent Russians who want the two dead. The duo makes a stop in Amsterdam where the foul-mouthed wife of Kincaid (Salma Hayek) is imprisoned.

No surprises here. The film is full of shoot-outs, violence, grim humour, chasings and everything you expect from an action spectacle. My own country is covered pretty much with lengthy scenes in Amsterdam and a few in Den Haag.

Brainless action for a brainless evening. Entertaining.