Category Archives: Action

Casino Royale (2006)


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Casino Royale

Casino Royale

In his first mission as 007, James Bond must win a poker game at The Casino Royale, in Montenegro, to stop a criminal who works as a banker to the terrorist organizations of the world, from financing crime and terrorism across the globe.

I must review this only as an action movie – not a Bond film. Though I enjoy Daniel Craig as an actor, he is no Bond. He is too “common” and rough, not a smooth bone in his well-toned body (at least not in this first outing) There are, of course, the usual Bondian staples; breath-taking chases, women falling into bed with Bond, then falling dead… But they don’t quite hold up in Craig’s hand.

The rest of the casting is strong enough, particularly Mads Mikkelsen (as the villainous Le Chiffre), Giancarlo Giannini (Rene Mathis), and Judi Dench (M).

I believe many in my circle will enjoy this one, despite the faults I find with it, so it tilts higher on the Word of Mouth Scale One can only hope that Craig can learn to be a bit more refinied in future installments.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 95%; Audience 87%

The Professional (1994)


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The Professional

The Professional

As visually stylish as it is graphically violent, this thriller directed by Luc Besson concerns Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old girl living in New York City who has been exposed to the sordid side of life from an early age: her family lives in a slum and her abusive father works for drug dealers, cutting and storing dope. Mathilda doesn’t much care for her parents, but she has a close bond with her four-year-old brother. One day, she returns from running an errand to discover that most of her family, including her brother, have been killed in a raid by corrupt DEA agents, led by the psychotic Stansfield (Gary Oldman). Mathilda takes refuge in the apartment of her secretive neighbor, Leon (Jean Reno), who takes her in with a certain reluctance. She discovers that Leon is a professional assassin, working for Tony (Danny Aiello), a mob kingpin based in Little Italy.

Not for everyone. As the synopsis says, it is quite graphically violent. It is also…oddly sweet. Damaged souls who find each other and form a new family, a plot device that has been used often – though not often so well.

The story is engaging, the direction is beautiful, the performances are absolutely top notch. You may find Gary Oldman’s turn a bit much, it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it bit of overacting. I found it deliciously psychotic.

And there is simply no way you could watch this movie and not see the future stardom in store for a young Natalie Portman.

It loses a bit on the Word of Mouth Scale because of the violence & language. But, if you can handle a fair amount of blood and cussing, this movie should be on your list.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 79%; Audience 94%

Transformers (2007)


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I went into this movie expecting the worst; after all, I figured it was just another comic book action flick. Which it was – but it was a well-done, comic book action flick.

And the action starts right off the bat, rarely letting up. The movie clocks in at 2 hours and 24 minutes, but you hardly notice. The transformations were quite impressive – and often. I have read critics claim that this aspect was over done, something I disagree with. After all, that is what the whole movie was about and skimping on the effects would have killed the spirit of the thing.

The casting is good, the story is good enough to carry (I have no idea if it is true to the original series) – the effects are fun & fantastic (did I mention that already?) My only complaint is that after the big finish, we get another finish with voice over narration that is a bit cheesy. Five minutes out of 144 – I can live with that.

I can give this 4.5 stars because, despite the explosive action, there is little to no blood. One or two slightly off color jokes. I think Mom could even watch this and get a chuckle. I am not a big Michael Bay fan, but this one works.

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing critics 59%; users 84%
(I think the critics missed the point of a movie like this)

Case in point, the New York Times – I don’t think he saw the same movie I did. For instance:

The result is part car commercial, part military recruitment ad, a bumper-to-bumper pileup of big cars, big guns and, as befits its recently weaned target demographic, big breasts. [I don’t usually miss big breasts but, though the girls were hot, I don’t remember big breasts]

There, under the desert sun, muscly, sweaty military types clash with an ominous helicopter that converts into a mysteriously angry critter with an articulated tail like that of a scorpion. [As I remember it, two different robots in two different battles]

And on it goes – I wholeheartedly disagree and wonder what trailer he based his review on.

Shooter (2007)


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A marksman (Wahlberg) living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.

Another movie with a high body count. And, speaking of bodies, Mark Wahlberg. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. Relax boys, there’s something for you, too.

Not highbrow entertainment by a long shot, but it delivers exactly what you expect it to. Lots of shooting, a few explosions, some bad guys and some good looking actors.

The movie’s politics may miss their mark, but its thrills are dead-on.
~ Peter Debruge, Miami Herald

(Another movie where the hero doesn’t hurt any good guys. I thought he was, but D pointed out the section I missed, they had made a point of the fact that a plane load of mercenaries was coming in)

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: critics 49%; users 75%

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)


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Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard

In a movie season filled with CGI fantasy, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD gets real; with real action, real humor, and the reprise of a beloved and iconic character: John McClane.

If you don’t like action movies, skip this one. If you are an action junkie, this one is for you.

If you liked the original Die Hard, even if you were disappointed by the sequels, you should be quite happy with this one. They’ve brought back the humor of the original, and given us more of the action. Bruce Willis‘ John McClane may have a little less hair, but he is still a serious bad@$$.

The casting was done really well in this film.
Justin Long rings true (and humorous) as his computer hacker charge/side-kick.
Timothy Olyphant is a great bad guy.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a great choice as daughter Lucy. She is believable as the offspring of Bonnie Bedelia/ Holly Gennero, and she carries off the attitude of McClane.
And, of course, I always enjoy a Kevin Smith siting.

I would probably give this another star if I had more friends who like action flicks. Mom doesn’t really get into a high body count. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(I noticed in this flick that they made very sure to let us know that the only good guy who engages McClane in a clash, lives to fight another day.)

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: Critics 77%; Users 95%

Snakes On A Plane (2006)


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Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a Plane

This movie is hilarious.

This movie is exactly what it says it is.

Samuel L Jackson is the MAN!

However, I can’t expect my more reserved friends and family to watch a movie with so much violence, bad language and sex – no matter how fun it turns out to be. Therefore, 1.5 from me. Gonzo’s friends are a bit hipper than mine, so he was able to give it a 5.

There is much screaming and hissing and biting and … oh, it’s marvelously stupid. And exciting. And just plain fun

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 68%; Audience 55%

Thriller: They Call Her One Eye (1973)


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Thriller: They Call Her One Eye

This is decidedly not a movie for everyone, not even a movie for most. It is sexually explicit, graphically violent, and in all ways over the top.

And it is great – if you are into that sort of thing.

This is the movie that is said to have inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies. There certainly is enough in this film to support that contention. Because of that connection, I would most certainly recommend this flick to Gonzo – but, because of that connection, I imagine he has already seen it. Other than Gonzo, I have few friends to whom I would/could recommend it.

However, if you are into sex, drugs and bloodshed, check this one out.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 40%; Audience 66%

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