So Russia finally lets the US of A film in their country around… MoreSo Russia finally lets the US of A film in their country around important historical communist landmarks, and what is the first production to gain this honour...Police Academy 7.
The first sequence in the film and straight away I notice a huge blooper! The news reporter on TV is playing with a Gameboy (I think), apparently playing a new popular game. On closer inspection, as we get close ups, you notice there isn't actually a game cart in the back of the GB, utter fail in the first five minutes.
The plot kinda sounds OK when you think about it, the Russian mafia laundering money under the guise of a highly addictive and popular videogame. The bad guys use this game to be able to hack into any computer system it has been played on, hence they are able to commit many crimes. So Lassard and his best men are brought in to bring down this Russian gang led by a well cast Perlman.
The cast for this final outing is sparse, we still have Tackleberry, Jones, Callahan, and Harris, but we are missing many of the regular officers such as Hightower, Hooks, Proctor, Fackler, Nick Lassard and of course old Mahoney. This time without Nick Lassard as the Mahoney replacement, we have another replacement, this time for Nick Lassard! This new recruit looks like a young Matt McCoy (Nick Lassard) but has none of the charm, I'm not even sure why he's in the film really as he pretty much does nothing.
That is the whole problem with this film, nothing actually happens. There aren't really any pranks, not many laughs, no training sequences (thank god) and not much plot excitement. There is one amusing sequence where Harris and Tackleberry join in on a Russian ballet performance in full get up, but that's about it really. There are some silly acrobatics from some Russian cops that seem to be mute, a mediocre car chase and a small hint of humour. Not even Harris or his Russian equivalent can help this film.
Unfortunately its a poor exit for the franchise with this final film, the last film was quite good at times but this is really dull and not at all visually exciting, its all filmed on location in Russia but it looks grim. Cultural differences are of course used but none of it really works, its just not funny. The fact that Cmdt. Lassard spends half the film AWOL with a Russian family merely by accident just seemed like the writers had no idea what to do with him, he's virtually a cameo. Quick mention for Christopher Lee who looks quite good as the Russian Cmdt. but I have to wonder why he agreed to this bottom of the barrel flick. The final curtain falls on this quite historic franchise but not to a standing ovation I'm afraid, bit of a stinker.
Number six and the plots keep getting simpler each time round. This… MoreNumber six and the plots keep getting simpler each time round. This time its a gang that are on a crime spree and its up to our boys n girls in blue to save the day. Naturally someone is behind this whole operation so be prepared for a truly ball bustin' twist...nah not really.
Yet again I am amazed at the continuity of these films and the fact all of the cast are still present and correct...bar Guttenberg who went AWOL after number four. This time round we have all the regular officers plus Fackler makes a welcome return and Nick Lassard is still here replacing Mahoney.
First time ever we actually have a PA film where there aren't any training sequences, this time its all about the main team going up against a trio of super criminals. The criminals are actually quite good too I might add, totally cliched of course but they are meant to be equals for three of the main PA characters. One guy is a huge bald fat biker looking dude, his strength is errr...strength, so he goes up against Hightower. Then we have a slim athletic guy who is good at martial arts and gymnastics, guess who he goes up against. And finally a smooth well dressed ladies man type who is a sharp shooter and dead eye with guns...yep, Tackleberry.
This film relies more on bumbling cops n robbers type of stuff, Harris and Proctor getting set up and constantly missing the chance to make a simple arrest. Not so many pranks, nudity or rudeness, just simple childish [i]Pink Panther[/i] styled buffoonery but more idiotic and predictable if that's possible.
Kenneth Mars tries to liven up the film with his cartoonish Mayor character but it falls flat. You can see they are trying to capture the madness he brought to 'Young Frankenstein' but it just doesn't work, too stupid and not funny. I did like Gerrit Graham as the aptly named Ace (the sharp shooter criminal) and the little showdown between the three criminals and three officers, the best bit in the film really. Bailey does well again as Harris but the few pranks are way too infantile this time.
Over all its not a bad film really, its still better than number four and about on par with number five. I do like the darkly lit, noir-ish visuals they attempt in this one, clearly going for that Bogart-like detective quality in places. The whole thing is actually more akin to a typical pulp comic book adaptation, along the lines of [i]Dick Tracy[/i] or 'The Shadow'...albeit a very dumb simplified version. So kudos for that approach, not great by any means but a fair effort bearing in mind this is the sixth film.
Fifth times a charm? well actually this film does get back on track… MoreFifth times a charm? well actually this film does get back on track somewhat after the terrible fourth. The first Academy film without Guttenberg as the wet ass Mahoney, so we get another Mahoney-esque character in Nick Lassard...cos they need that all round good looking good guy who pesters/stalks the sexy women in these films.
The plot is quite straight forward as usual, Cmdt Lassard is up for retirement (after Harris brought it to everyone's attention) and is being given a heroes send off in Miami. So off he goes with his regular band of loyal officers. Everything gets spoilt though when an accidental bag switch with some criminals equals Lassard having some stolen jewels and the criminals getting his pet goldfish.
While this still continues the trend of a PG film there is still a reasonable amount of fun to be had with the highjinx. The plot being set in Miami of course equals lots of obligatory tanned ladies in bikini's and cliched poolside slapstick. While its not dirty or seedy its relatively easy going and watchable which is surprisingly really. I think this film is much closer to a Pink Panther type film with the trio of incompetent criminals trying to nab Lassard's bag, that combined with the standard predictable pranks on Harris.
Once again though we have the repetitive training aspect of these films...yes again. Because the guys are at a convention for Lassard's award there is yet more police procedural demonstrations which once again gives all the characters the chance to demonstrate their quirky skills. Tackleberry and his guns, voice commands with Hooks....do I really need to go through this again? The only new addition to the team this time is Thacker as Conklin from the previous film, as you may have already guessed his huge weight comes into effect for some visual gags.
This time around its actually the bad guys that save the day in my opinion. Usually its Harris and Proctor who are still good fun here but the trio of crooks are admittedly amusing. There is a really nice air of quality slapstick with these guys, especially the boss played by Rene Auberjonois whose obsession with his hair and nasal voice make for a perfect greasy bad guy. His two sidekicks are both kinda dumb and your standard heavy handed mobster types but there is a credible Three Stooges act going on there.
This doesn't excuse a lot of childish crap though, you know they are starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel when they actually use a fart in the elevator joke. Then there's the old drugged unconscious gag with Harris, setting his straw hat on fire, writing 'dork' on his chest with sunblock and a really nasty 'Jaws' send up.
The finale is yet again another chase sequence on water (clearly run out of ideas) with all the predictable stuff that you'd expect to see on water. Again it does look good as a visual spectacle as do most of the PA chase sequences, but its so very hollow and comes across more like a stunt man's show. Everything is tied up in a neat little bow with Lassard being allowed to carry on for another hundred years or so despite the fact he's useless and all is good with the world again.
Its very very bland and very very hokey, most of it is performed and filmed like an instructional video on how to make (attempt) slapstick, but from the third film onwards we know that don't we. Despite all that its a fairly enjoyable romp and is certainly better than the fourth film, at least we get a breath of fresh air with the location. I do like how they do the films titles each time though, quite like this one in particular.
Well here we are again and its back to training...again! Yep this… MoreWell here we are again and its back to training...again! Yep this fourth time around Lassard calls on his most loyal men to train up a group of civvies for his new programme 'citizens on patrol'. Naturally the resident bad guy (this time its back to Harris) doesn't agree with Lassard's plan so he and Proctor are out to foil their plans, so dastardly.
The idea behind this isn't too bad really, its a bit like special volunteer officers which we have here in the UK. So the general concept is sound, the problem is we are back at the academy focusing on training these new civvies and we're seeing all the same stuff all over again!!
To cut a long story short, seeing as I've explained what happens in the academy for the last three film reviews, we see every character doing their unique thing all over again. This means more martial arts from motor-mouth Jones, Callahan is in the pool getting her huge tits wet, Tackleberry is on the shooting range (where else), Sweetchuck gets thrown around the place a lot, Hightower is on voice commands and Mahoney is lurking around the stereotypical blonde bit of fluff and dishing out his good deed speeches left right n centre.
Everything in this film is virtually a replay on everything we've seen in virtually all of the last three films. The last three got away with it because they were more adult and the idea was still reasonably fresh, no longer does this apply. The whole film is very boring and extremely childish, on top of that nothing makes any sense now, its just bits n pieces thrown together.
Mahoney, Tackleberry and Hightower perform a very elaborate prank on the three young guys simply to prove they aren't ready for the real beat. This whole sequence is completely nonsense, as if you would go to all that trouble for nothing, its total filler that isn't even amusing. There is a fight sequence on a docked ship against some ninjas (!), no idea why this happens or how the officers end up at the docks but hey. I honestly feel they stuck this in simply to utilize Nogata who cameos here, also another martial arts sequence for Jones who appears out of nowhere. He just pops up for this fight from literately nowhere.
Add to that a vast amount of terribly cartoonish visual gags, pratfalls, blatantly obvious stunt doubles, terrible audio dubbing and pretty much no actual main plot (accept for the civvy training crap). There is a jail break midway through which serves as the big finale, this time its in the air with hot air balloons and old biplanes. Now I admit its all performed well with nice aerial stunts and whatnot but its so completely ludicrous. Why on earth would they chase the bad guys in hot air balloons? surely you'd just call in police choppers?? how the hell does everyone seem to be a dab hand at flying biplanes?? why am I even questioning a Police Academy flick? I might add that Hightower completely disappears for the last half of the film, odd, Bubba must have had better things to do.
This film is quite 'famous' I suppose for a few things, firstly its one of Sharon Stone's early films as she was slowly getting more recognised. Secondly there is a young Tony Hawks in the film showing his skateboarding skills and thirdly there is also a young David Spade as one of the civvy recruits.
This is easily one of the worst PA films in the franchise simply because they reuse every old trick and story sequence idea all over again. Yes I know most of the PA films do this but like I said up to this point in the franchise its been reasonably fresh. This just feels terribly dull, uninspired and has some of the worst comedy I've seen, you can't even call it slapstick, its just shit. Goldthwait as Zed is responsible for some of the worst acting, dialog and sequences in this film, not even Bailey as Harris can save this turd.
Just to really hammer home the final nail in the coffin, right at the end out of nowhere, Mahoney and Sharon Stone's character are seen floating off together in a customised Police Academy hot air balloon. No explanation about how or where this special balloon came from, its just there, one final silly sequence to really take you out of the moment (if you were in the moment in the first place that is).
Third times a charm as we head back to the Police Academy for more… MoreThird times a charm as we head back to the Police Academy for more training with yet more new recruits. Yep once again the best of the boys in blue are called back to campus to help out Lassard. Pretty much all the cast are back again (impressive) as this time Lassard and his favourites must battle Mauser and his own recruits.
Confused? well I don't blame ya, it appears that from out of nowhere there are now two police academies in this fictional city. One we all know of and the other run by Mauser, despite the fact this was never mentioned in the previous two films by anyone including Mauser. So both academies are pitched against each other as the city can't afford to run both and one must go. Not too sure why Mauser's cadets are dressed in military type uniforms though, surely they'd all be the same.
This equals the same spiel as we got in the first film, and when I say the same I mean the same. Almost all the new recruit sequences from the first film are reenacted yet again in this films beginning. Now you may think this sounds like poor writing but its actually quite neat. For example in the first film we saw Fackler's wife trying to stop him from going to the academy, in this film the sequence is reversed and we see Fackler trying to stop his wife. We also get a role reversal for Goldthwait as Zed the gang leader from the second film plus Sweetchuck is back for them to continue their little comedy duo. We even see the return of Tackleberry's girlfriends wacky family, gotta give it to the continuity in these films.
The film does admittedly consist of the same kind of thing we saw in the first film really, the recruits going through the same training that we've seen before like martial arts with Jones, high speed driving, voice commands etc...all on the same location as the first film too! so there's a lot of deja vu. Again like previous films there are pratfalls and gags, this time the main one being Mauser losing his eyebrows and having to wear women's makeup for the rest of the film. Again I can't deny its quite funny and made all the more funny by the brilliant Art Metrano once again.
Metrano is brilliant again and Kinsey plays off him well as Proctor, these two are still one of the best things in the franchise for this film and the second.
These films are extremely formulaic, identikit films really (hey it seemed to work), all the usual buffoonery eventually leads to the big showdown sequence in the finale where the new recruits prove themselves against the odds. This time its a water based chase sequence with jet ski's, motorboats and absolutely loads of people falling into the water. Guess what...they win, save the day and all become fine police officers whilst keeping Lassard's academy alive.
Everything you would expect is here just to keep people interested in their favourite characters. Despite the usual fluff this is probably the last decent PA film before things just get a bit too factory line conveyor belt crapola. The plot isn't too bad, having all the training again is a bit tired but the two academies fighting each other is a nice angle and the finale is hokey as hell but it looks quite good, they know how to make a set piece look good. The first film to get a PG rating but it manages to keep its head above the water.
The first PA film I saw back when I was but a mere sprog and to this… MoreThe first PA film I saw back when I was but a mere sprog and to this day I still think its probably the best of the bunch. Pretty much all the cast return for this assignment, well the main cast, and the story continues on from their graduation of the Police Academy. I do like that this film series manages to keep continuity time after time, gotta give kudos for that with such a big cast.
The plot is again very simple, the new officers are all doing well in their respective roles but are called on to help Cmdt. Eric Lassard's brother. It seems his precinct is the worse in the city (unknown which city) thanks to a ruthless gang of thugs. So its up to the new rookie officers to clean up the neighbourhood, Academy style.
So yes the story continues on from where the last left off which is good, the cast are all present and correct which is good and there are some new officers to enjoy in this new precinct. Again this film is still aimed towards an adult audience which assists it in being a much better comedy vehicle in my opinion. The old characters are on form and all doing their thing as expected, Mahoney still being a wet little goodie goodie, Tackleberry with his array of weapons etc...but they are now up against a new superior in the form of the excellent Art Metrano as Lt/Capt. Mauser.
Now I really must give much kudos to Metrano here, this guy is even better than Bailey as Harris, in a different way. I really really liked this ass kissing slimebucket so much, the way he ridicules the new rookies, the way he bullies his sidekick Proctor and of course the way he kisses ass. The tomfoolery on show is even more outrageous and rude than the previous film with nudity, especially from Metrano, but this guy just makes it work. The way he screams out 'Proctor!!' and the way he verbally duels with Mahoney can be at times really funny.
Lt. Mauser: 'Mahoney, what kind of clown do you think I am?'
Mahoney: 'A juggling clown?'
Kudos also to Lance Kinsey as Sgt. Proctor who is another fine example of a dimwitted sidekick. He doesn't do much apart from suck up to Mauser but its just the way he does it. Love the way he switches from a grovelling butt licker with Mauser, to trying to be a strong authority figure around the other officers. This duo are the best thing about this film and the franchise really.
Chief Hurst: 'Mauser, you're the most incredible ass kisser I have ever seen.'
Lt. Mauser: 'Thank you very much, sir. I do my best.'
There are some other good new characters here too. Howard Hesseman as Capt. Peter 'Pete' Lassard actually puts in a good heart warming performance as the all round good guy Captain, one of the few actors giving the film some proper credibility. This film also has the great honour of introducing the insane Bobcat Goldthwait to the world as the infantile gang leader. Can't deny his performance is unique but I still do wonder about this guys mental makeup, and I still don't know if he actually talks like that in real life?. Small mention for the other odd looking character in Tim Kazurinsky as Sweetchuck who certainly gives a good show as an elderly little man, was he suppose to be elderly? Again the comedy duo of Sweetchuck and Zed is actually pretty good, cool that it continues into the third film too.
Of course the humour is totally childish and puerile but I think by now we all know the game here don't we. Most of this film actually consists of the boys in blue doing something, Mauser sticking a spanner in the works and then Mahoney getting revenge with some silly prank. The best of which is easily the glue in the shower sequence which leads to Mauser wearing a wig for the rest of the film. So utterly immature yet quite a nasty thing to do lets be honest, but admittedly hilarious. Never let under age kids see this film because it is most definitely a bad influence, making dogs run out into heavy traffic?? errrr...keep the kids away!
I think the start of the film is much better than the finale, the rookies getting to know Mauser and being shown the ropes etc...The ending does become a bit cartoonish with some nasty pratfalls and hokey ass gang member action, but when that musical score begins to swell you can't help but kinda enjoy it. Still not too sure why they have that 90 year old looking officer in the police station just sitting around, why would he be there??
Despite the fact these films are known to be trash this franchise is… MoreDespite the fact these films are known to be trash this franchise is probably one of the most well known (and in some cases loved) franchises around the world with some of the most well known characters. This film kick started a phenomenon that has influenced many other films in the spoof genre, made stars out of most of its cast and has actually lasted virtually to the present day, gotta give kudos.
So the plot is horrifically simple, a group of bums, criminals and nut jobs all join the Police Academy in the hopes of becoming police officers. This has recently become possible because the mayor has abolished the old school rules about height, weight, colour (yes colour folks!!), fitness levels etc...so anyone can join. This infuriates the police Chief so he orders the Police Academy Cmndt. to try and get the new unsavory recruits to quit voluntarily by any means possible.
Now bare in mind this film came out in 1984 because a lot of what you see is now incredibly dated and not really funny. There are still moments which raise a giggle for sure but on the whole this is childish adult toilet humour by the bucket load. Its no real surprise considering the era, this type of stuff was the height of popularity at the time with films like 'Meatballs', 'Airplane', 'Caddyshack' and 'Stripes' doing the rounds.
The film is a character orientated piece naturally, the toilet humour is a strong ingredient but the characters are the key. Looking back its all so very cliched and dated but the characters do still work at times. I personally never liked Guttenberg's character of Mahoney as he was such a damn goodie goodie, for me it was Tackleberry, Jones, Fackler and Harris, all these guys were the funniest in this film in my opinion.
All their quirky individual qualities are fun to watch and do allow you to care about them, slightly. Loved how Tackleberry was basically a gun nut and completely dangerous, in this day n age that kind of character could almost be controversial. As a kid everybody used to try and copy Winslow's motormouth antics although watching now it doesn't quite have that wow factor anymore, more annoying actually. Love how Fackler basically doesn't belong in the police force, totally inept yet very likeable. Lassard comes across as a kind old bumbling grandfather type character, also very likeable, and of course Harris as the arse kissing jobsworth who is always sucking up to his superiors but really deep down you know he's actually a good cop.
As with other slobby frat house type films this doesn't disappoint on the female front. The main eye candy is supplied by Easterbrook and her chest as Callahan and the stunning Cattrall who really looks so amazingly cute my God! As you would expect there is much boob cleavage throughout, naughty talk and a rather dirty sex act hinted at. This is one of the things that separates the first two Academy films from the rest, the first two are more directed at an adult audience which equals the odd moment of titty action, nudity, swearing, homosexuality, close to the line violence/action and even a bit of racism believe it or not.
Also with all the other films there are individual characters that pop up for that film but we don't see again. The quality of these characters varied a lot but in this film we get the most amusing Donovan Scott as Cadet Leslie Barbara who looks like a young Dom Deluise, Brant Von Hoffman as Cadet Kyle Blankes and Scott Thomson as Cadet Chad Copeland who are both really good as the dumb sidekicks or henchmen for Harris. The sequence/s in the Blue Oyster Bar are an undeniably good laugh and continual joke yet probably rather un-PC these days.
What really makes me laugh is recalling when I used to watch this as a kid and not really understanding half of it and not caring. After this rewatch its amazing to see how much makes no sense at all, like why does Jones have this microphone on him all the time? so he can play jokes on people with his voice obviously, but is it battery operated? how does he always have it?? must be a big bit of kit this is 84 after all. How come all the recruits do end up passing through even though they are all crap and most don't actually do anything in the finale showdown. And how about all the hideously obvious over acting, exaggerated prat falls to cause incidents and accidents etc...
Plus that blowjob sequence is actually pretty racy and sick if you think about it, this hooker will pretty much suck anyone off, as demonstrated at the very end (guess that's why she's a hooker). I never understood what was happening in that scene as a kid haha and you'd never see something like that in the later films.
These films have become a bit of an institution really, love em or hate em you can't deny how iconic they actually are. Look at the main score for the film, that alone is a pretty classic bit of movie history right there, everyone knows what it is and can recognise it, its up there with such scores as 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws'.
It was never meant to be anything remotely serious, more along the lines of the [i]National Lampoon's[/i] franchise if anything, only thing missing was John Belushi. Its utterly childish and puerile now and it was the same back in the day too, but no one ever tried to cover that up, that's exactly what the film offered take it or leave it. Personally I like this film because of the adult edge to it, gives it some credibility unlike the later films which just become like cartoons. Its not an all out spoof so don't think of the excellent Leslie Nielsen type tomfoolery, but it is fun in places and does offer up quite a neat original little plot (for the time).
Holy schnitzel! yet another reboot!! I guess the main difference here… MoreHoly schnitzel! yet another reboot!! I guess the main difference here is the fact they have actually tried to reboot a poor movie instead of a decent one. The quite unsurprising, yet still, truly gobsmacking and painful fact is Hollywood just doesn't get it, they just don't ever ever learn! I mean seriously, a child picks up things quicker than Hollywood. They are creating an adaptation of a popular videogame franchise, they know what has happened before, they know what people want, they know about the pitfalls, but somehow...some bloody how...they make all the same mistakes again. I here by present to you my review of 'Resident Evil 6: Agent 47'.
So, there's this single agent bloke, he's a super soldier, assassin, clone, type bloke with all the trimmings you would expect. Speed, strength, agility, intelligence, super reflexes, bigger than average cock...the list goes on. The old bloke who created this project grew a conscience and ran off trying to hide the secret to creating these super soldiers. But guess what, some really evil nasty corporation wants the secret so they can make lots of these guys and conquer the world...or something like that. So the evil corporation goes after the daughter of the old bloke who started all this. At the same time, another mysterious corporation wants both the old bloke and his daughter whacked presumably to stop the secret falling into the wrong hands? They send in agent 47 in to do this, so they obviously control the only super soldier clone going and they wanna keep it that way.
Now to look at this movie you'll see right away its slick, but slick in a predictable way. What I mean by that is...the Resident Evil movie franchise. Everything looks very glossy, very clean, very polished, with lots and lots of hi-tec computer screen readouts, security jiggery-pokery and top secret undercover assassin type net imagery, that all flashes about in front of you trying to impress you (but no monsters...even though, I'm sure they would have loved to). This world put simply, looks fake, plastic, sterile and way too obviously CGI. You can't immerse yourself within this world because it all looks so flippin' fake, I hate to say it but yes at times this movie does look like a videogame cutscene. There are some solid action sequences I won't deny, there are plenty of little snippets that naturally do service the fanboys of the videogame and rightly so. At times I liked what I saw because clearly there was some thought involved and decent choreography is evident, some nice gun fights and some nice fisticuffs, plus the main character (Rupert friend) is actually well performed and looks the part.
The big problem is everything is completely let down by outrageously obvious CGI usage and ridiculously stupid action sequences which are in no way remotely believable. Yes I know this is a videogame adaptation hence you should suspend your disbelief, but that doesn't mean the movie has to be some kind of inane, gravity defying, realism defying CGI mess. Secondly, isn't the original game supposed to be based around stealth, lurking in shadows, taking people out silently...you know, discretion, acting like an actual assassin would. So why in blazes does agent 47 run around raining down carnage on everyone and everything without even pausing to take a piss, or maybe, just maybe, worry about the law, which apparently doesn't exist in this world. I mean, lets look at one very small sequence near the start where agent 47 escapes from the police (the one time we see them). He's in this locked room with guards and some gruff detective, or whatever, asking him questions. The detective puts 47's bigass sniper rifle on the table in front of him and questions him hard, eventually getting pissed off he loads it with one bullet and threatens to maybe shoot. 47 basically thanks him for bringing him his gun and loading it, he then kicks the underneath of the table which somehow causes it to fire whilst lifting it in the air. At the same time 47 raises his cuffed arm to allow the freshly fired bullet to break the chain and voila! he's free. The question is, what if that detective had never loaded the gun? or put the gun on the table? or even brought it in the room? then what?? huh???
Apart from the nonsensical CGI shenanigans there are also many other obvious problems here. For a start the beginning of the pot is basically ripped off from 'The Terminator', its so bloody obvious! That's before it descents into boring, familiar, shiny white, sterile, baddie environments set within futuristic buildings (cough! Resi evil cough!). I also have to mention how none of it makes much sense (come on, you saw this coming surely). 47 changes his clothes a lot, a bloody lot! how does he have the time to do this?? how come everything he changes into looks custom made to fit him?? and most of the time it doesn't even feel relevant, its like they do it just to reference the game. I'm not too up on the videogame I'll be honest, I did play one of them way back, can't recall which, but I don't recall 47 ever speaking much. I realise you might require him to speak a bit but why not take the [i]Mad Max[/i] route here, or the Clint Eastwood 'man with no name' route, and not have him speaking much at all. Here he starts like that but eventually becomes like...this regular dude. At first he's this slow moving stalker type (walks everywhere yet always manages to catch up with his prey...eh?) who only mutters, by the end he's this smartass with a sidekick.
Oh and what is the deal with the sidekick? Spolier alert she's an advanced agent too, because of course, and because you have to have a strong female role in everything these days or people lose their minds apparently. So she is better than 47, she is 90, see that means she's better because its a higher number. This lady agent has really heightened senses, which sounds plausible enough...but is it here? In this film she's apparently able to virtually see into the future from what I could make out, she can see exactly what's gonna happen plus she can regain shittonnes of backdated memory just by touching another persons hand like some kind of supernatural power.
Lets not even begin to talk about how utterly useless and inept the baddies are in this, hordes of them armed to the teeth, yet no one can manage a single hit on the good guys, ugh! This genuinely looked quite good from outset, it really looked like they might have nailed it. In some aspects they have, generally visuals are crisp and exciting with nice videogame touches, but its just let down with so much tacky shit and some terrible acting (accept for Friend who wasn't too bad). This should of been a slow moving adult thriller with darkness and gritty realism, instead its just childish CGI packed nonsense, I really thought we had seen the last of movies like this.
The National Lampoon's franchise is a strange beast that includes a… MoreThe National Lampoon's franchise is a strange beast that includes a wide variety of movies that range from downright cult classics, to utter bottom of the barrel dross. Aside from the odd one or two, the main movies within the franchise have to be the Vacation flicks which have become the epitome of pure 80's Americana and beyond. The original trilogy consisting of a road trip movie, a holiday abroad and being at home for Christmas, literately resonates with everyone (of a certain age perhaps) and never fails to please. They fit right in at the right times, you can't go wrong at Christmas with 'Christmas Vacation'.
Now the big question is, could this new movie (sequel/reboot) manage to hold its own, or would it fall into a pit of pathetic fan service and rehashed gags from the originals? Well everything starts off perfectly, how can it fail not too with that classic rock tune 'Holiday Road'. Yes that sounds like they are just rehashing but lets be honest here, how can you not have that song, its a must, 15 love to the movie. So a nostalgic, rose tinted ripple thundered its way through my body as the credits fired up and you get that familiar montage of family photos/images through the years. So far everything looked good, they seemed to have the right vibe going, that is until we see Ed Helms as a grown-up Rusty and the first visual gag. Basically Rusty is an airline pilot and has stepped out of the cab for a moment, he greets a young boy and his parents. Suddenly the plane hits some turbulence and Rusty's hands are thrown onto the mothers boobies, turbulence hits again and his face hits the child's crotch. This really did feel kinda creepy and childish, not that I am expecting intelligent humour here but still...it also gave us the first of a tonne of profanity. Did the original movies use so much profanity? no, the odd word, one or two, but no, it they didn't need to, so why is this full of it?
Alas everything goes down hill pretty fast from this point (in my view). For starters, its not too long after that we discover the plot is just another road trip to Wally World (ugh!). Admittedly there is a reasonably funny scene where the characters address this rehash by making fun of the reboot notion, claiming it won't be the same shit as before but something entirely new etc...Clever, but unfortunately they lied, because the film is pretty much the same as the original (ugh!!). Alongside the miscast Helms as Rusty there is Christina Applegate as his wife, never a great sign as Applegate is pretty much a B-list/B-movie actress, and two young lads as their sons (amazed there were no young daughters). One of the boys is small, very rude and obnoxious, he swears a lot which is not a funny as it sounds. The other is the older of the two, bigger, but very effeminate, this guy wasn't too bad and had some decent laughs with his wimpiness. There are also some big cameos in the form of Chris Hemsworth as Audrey's husband who is just some stereotypical jock cowboy type, and of course we see Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their roles but not really doing or offering much at the same time. Supposedly a passing of the torch setup, but I'm not overly sure if we're getting anymore of these soooo...
Most everything else we see is merely rehashed from the older better movies I'm afraid, its amazing how Hollywood just never learns. We get another sexy girl in a red Ferrari, sure there's a twist for her, but who cares, still the same bloody joke. Even one of the young boys gets a sexy girl of his age in another car setup, just like the Ferrari girl, I mean come on! The plot does resemble the plot layout of the original movie, with the same type of stop overs and the same type of basic story arc, but of course being 2015 the subplots are more relevant. But again its all predictable stuff such as a really dirty, unhygienic motel, some sort of frat house party scenario, the weird foreign car, a crazy trucker (ala 'Duel'), running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and trying to have sex unsuccessfully. Things become really forced and desperate when at one point, Clark and Ellen give Rusty their old Wagon Queen Family Truckster to continue the road trip. Apparently the same Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the original movie, or so it appears. Just in case you forgot this was a National Lampoon's sequel/reboot and they managed to squeeze every last drop of nostalgia into this project. Why would they still even have that car??
This movie has moments of decent entertainment that hark back to the good old days but overall its just a very very average film. I really didn't like the excessive profanity which is peppered throughout, including the soundtrack, I really thought it was unnecessary. There is also quite a bit of gore and hints at gore which again kinda felt unnecessary for this type of flick, they really seemed to go far too adult orientated here. It just felt like they ditched the original charm and made everything more...vile, if I can use that word without sounding too extreme. Pretty big swing and miss for me, you can't just rely on the epic main title tune and two cameos.
When I first saw the pics for this movie I thought it was about little… MoreWhen I first saw the pics for this movie I thought it was about little living emojis/emoticons, it does look like that doesn't it? Nope, instead its actually about little living creatures inside your head that represent emotions. When I say living creatures I'm not so sure that's even correct, they are more like representations of the mind or emotions, each one a little physical embodiment of each emotion. Its not an overly original concept lets be totally honest, I know I've seen this type of thing before in cartoons many times, and in pretty similar fashion, but again lets be honest, there's only a few ways you can do this.
So the plot revolves around a little girl as she is born, and at the same time her little emotions are born within her head (I assume). We follow little Riley as she grows up with her parents and experiences all of life's wonder and beauty, but of course, all of the little negative bits too. At the same time we see everything from inside little Riley's head from the perspective of her emotions and how they each deal with individual situations. Naturally each emotion deals with different things such as sadness, anger, joy etc...they each specialise in their emotion of course. Alas, many years later aged 11, one day goes tits up when Riley attends her first day at school and loses control, she begins to cry because she is home sick, this causes a permanent negative memory which Joy (the happy emotion) tries to get rid of. In a series of bizarre accidents Joy and Sadness get ejected from the control room (the brain) and end up lose within Riley's head. Without Joy in Riley's mind (and life) keeping control, the duo now have to get back into Riley's brain/mind before she becomes depressed forever, seemingly.
Right so the emotions, a generic bunch truth be told, Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust and Fear. Anger is a little red fellow that isn't a million miles away from a satanic looking creation, he also emits fire when in a rage. He is probably the second best emotion going for obvious reason really, one of the funniest emotions. Joy is the main protagonist and is a happy-go-lucky shiny female character that is rather vomit inducing. Sadness is probably the best emotion if you ask me, he looks kinda plain yet random in design, but his permanent, nervous, hyper paranoid persona is clearly the main laugh out loud machine. Disgust is easily the weakest of the bunch with not much to do or say frankly. She is modelled on young teenage valley girls which is a good notion, but highly annoying (check her glittery appearance). Lastly we have Sadness who is a stereotypically short, plump, glasses wearing female character that kinda reminds you of the nerdy high school girl, the librarians assistant type. She mopes around being all glum and useless, again, kinda annoying and makes you wonder why no one ever kills her.
Overall the emotions are a reasonably fun little group but nothing overly hilarious, personally I found the other background characters much more interesting. The best of these has to be Bing Bong who was Riley's old childhood imaginary friend, but long forgotten. This guy is a combination of Riley's favourite things from that young age, his body is made of candy floss and various animal parts...plus he cries candy. His sidekick is an old child's tow wagon with rocket boosters that fire a rainbow coloured discharge, this was Riley's old toy back in the day which she would play and imagine could fly like a space rocket. This guy gives us some of the best laughs throughout the main adventure through Riley's mind, but he also gives us some of the most emotional. I don't think I can deny that I almost cried when he meets his end. Hands up who's with me here...yeah, I thought so. The various other colourful, bizarre, weird and wonderful little mind creatures we meet along the way are all really well designed and voiced acted, like I said, overall I think the majority were actually more engaging than the main characters. I really didn't like the designs for the main emotions, they just seemed way too simplistic and generic.
I also have to say I didn't like or understand the other emotional representatives in other peoples minds, they didn't really make sense. Hear me out, Riley's mind emotions don't look anything like her, they are just visual representations of the emotion. Now when we go to Riley's dad (who has a tash), his mind emotions also have little moustaches, Riley's mum has emotions that look like her with the glasses and hair. Then in the end credits we see more mind emotions for other people, all of them look like the people they inhabit. One guy who works as a clown even has mind emotions that look like clowns, eh?? why would his mind emotions look like clowns when that's just his day job? So I guess the question is, why does Riley have random looking emotions when everyone else has emotions that look like them? Yeah I know this is a kids flick and I'm [b]really[/b] looking too far into this, but things like that kinda bug me cause it doesn't really add up. The animal ones really seemed far fetched as the emotions just run wild inside the animals head, so I guess that would work? who knows.
The visuals are of course stunning, really slick, but did you expect anything less? really? I'm not trying to take anything away from the visuals but these days its really no big deal anymore is it, if a movie looks less than stunning then its something to talk about. I did like the imagination on display though, some really great ideas fleshed out, not all great, I would have done some things differently, but still good. I really liked the abyss of lost memories or memory dump, nice touch. The individual floating personality islands were neat, like family island or friendship island, that house memories of those certain aspects in Riley's life. I liked how they fell apart when affected by Riley's emotional state being rocked badly. I also liked the train of thought which was of course...a train. Overall the ideas and some visuals reminded me of an old animated movie called 'The Phantom Tollbooth', which also delved into such things as individual human traits being fleshed out, alongside things like words and numbers.
Its a strong emotional ride that's for sure, no puns intended. The kids will love the visuals and the wacky characters, whilst the adults will enjoy the trip down memory lane for the...errmm, the childhood memory aspect of it all. I'm sure many people will be able to relate to what's going on, first day of school and crying, snow days, moving etc...its all there, the full gamut of human anguish and joy. The way they have thought out how things like memories, long term memories, forgotten memories, special memories etc...all work is very clever, typically adults make everything into a bureaucratic headache, but it works well. But like I said already I didn't really feel the main emotions, which was a problem, they weren't overly funny but slightly annoying. I mean come on, Sadness creates all the problems, everything is her fault! and she kept on touching everything and fucking it up!! arrgghhh!! Still I can't deny this was an excellent little rollercoaster that had me on the edge of my seat wondering how they would ever save the day.