Posts Tagged ‘NCFCA’

Title: The Last Stand

Release Date: January 18, 2013

MPAA Rating: R (Strong Violence and Language)

Starring:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Johnny Knoxville
Forest Whitaker

Director:
Kim Jee-Woon

Writer:
Andrew Knauer

Plot:
A small town sheriff must prepare his town to fend off the efforts of a cartel kingpin who wants to use it as his escape route to Mexico. He must rely on a team of inexperienced deputies, misfits, and the town outcast to mount the defense.

My Initial Thoughts:
This is the type of movie you would expect to see from Arnie at this stage in his acting career. At his age, he is no longer even close to believable as the unbeatable action star that he was in The Terminator series. What we get now is him playing a cranky old sheriff that has to rely on the town nut-job for help when trouble arises.

What I liked:
Johnny Knoxville makes you laugh, or at least chuckle, in his role as the town lunatic / gun nut. Any time Knoxville was on screen was a highlight because he made you think you were watching an old episode of the A-Team. He would have been a good “Murdoch” now that I think about it.

What Looked Cool:
The car! The centerpiece of the first half of the movie is the Corvette C6 ZR-1 that the villain is using to make his way across the border.

CorvetteZR1my2009

Funny scene about the car: As the bad guy burns up the asphalt on his midnight run to Mexico, without headlights mind you, he blows past a deputy sitting on the side of the road. The deputy clocks the car going well over 250mph but was unable to actually see the car because of it’s speed.

Deputy: Dispatch…

Dispatcher: Go ahead…

Deputy: Contact the FAA and tell them some smart ass is flying a plane around out here without any lights.

What I didn’t like:
The movie left a lot to be desired; the dialogue was terrible, the story was very predictable, and the characters were not even close to believable.

What looked Dumb:
Seeing Arnie try to make a fight scene look believable. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in “old man strong,” but this movie really pushes that to the limit. The final fight scene between old-man Sheriff Arnie and the semi-professional kick-boxer drug kingpin is a complete joke.

AND…The car chase scene pitting a bone-stock Camaro against that monster of a Vette…Really?

Final Thoughts:
While I do have to admit that I found several parts of the movie to be fun and/or entertaining, The Last Stand was clearly just a paycheck for Arnie now that he is done playing governor. If you are determined to see this movie anyway, my advice would be to wait for it to show up on USA or TNT before you watch try and watch it. At least the commercials will break it up into pieces.

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Title: Gangster Squad

Release Date: January 11, 2013

MPAA Rating: R (Strong Violence and Language)

Starring:
Josh Brolin
Ryan Gosling
Nick Nolte
Sean Penn
Emma Stone

Director:
Ruben Fleischer

Writer:
Will Beall

Plot:
in 1949, Los Angeles was in the firm grip of gangster Mickey Cohen. He ruled the city’s criminal underworld with an iron fist. To combat the expansion of Cohen’s empire, the Chief of the LAPD formed a secret special task force of law enforcement misfits to take on the gangster using unconventional tactics that weren’t always legal.

My Initial Thoughts:
Gangster Squad was a bit of a pleasant surprise when I got the opportunity to check it out. I went into it expecting it to be a re-hash of every other gangster movie that has ever been made. What I saw was a decent story, pretty good characters, and some great action scenes. Now don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying this movie is great or anything. I was just happy to see that it wasn’t a total waste of 2 hours of my life.

What I liked:
With each character, there was a two-sided approach to their stories. Each was shown in all their badass glory during the cops-and-robbers scenes as you would expect. What was different was the softer side they were all given too. I was expecting that Brolin’s character, Sgt. John O’Mara, would get that treatment since he was the centerpiece, but was happy when it made its way through the rest of the cast.

What Looked Cool:
The action scenes were all well done, especially the “final battle” between O’Mara and Cohen.
You had all of the normal stuff you see in shoot em’ up scenes, but there was also an effort to add some legitimacy too. Anyone shooting a Thompson .45 machine gun from the hip couldn’t hit an elephant in a hallway, as would really be the case. Even the expert marksman played by Robert Patrick was shown having to (*gasp*) try to hit something from time to time.

What I didn’t like:
The old gangster movie formula was in full display. You had the tough chief, the veteran, the rookie, the dame, the main henchmen, and the over-the-top mob boss making up the cast of characters. Once the characters were in place, the story was interesting and never became slow but it did get somewhat predictable. The climax and ending were easy to figure out with about 20 minutes left to go.

What looked Dumb:
Sean Penn’s make-up. He looked like he should be in a Dick Tracy comic strip.

Final Thoughts:
If you want to see a movie to remind you of all the things that made gangster movies cool, the Gangster Squad is a good choice. If you are looking for anything with real depth or an original story, you will be disappointed.