I believe this was Rainn Wilson's first leading role in his own movie,… MoreI believe this was Rainn Wilson's first leading role in his own movie, the first time a movie revolved around his character. Unfortunately the movie isn't exactly an original concept, some might say it kinda rips-off the 2003 movie 'School of Rock' to a degree, maybe even touching on the Brit flick 'Still Crazy' here and there.
The plot centres around the fictional drummer Robert Fishman (Wilson) of the heavy metal rock band Vesuvius. Back in the 80's this band are on the verge of hitting the big time with their heavy metal/glam rock songs and outrageous onstage antics. Alas the record company that wants to sign them sets an ultimatum, they must drop their drummer Fishman...and replace him with the record companies nephew. Eventually the band agree and Fishman is out. We follow Fishman years down the line, his life has crumbled, he loses his job, his girlfriend and he is forced to move in with his sister. But it is here, with his sisters family, he finds a lifeline in his nephews high school rock band.
So yes, it is very much like 'School of Rock', the main difference of course being this is based around teenagers instead of young kids. Does that make the film any better? well sort of I guess, its not exactly a riveting tale of originality as said. Bottom line the film survives purely because of Wilson and his goofiness along with his non-Hollywood looks. This is Rainn's appeal, the guy is not good looking, he is not fit or ripped in any way and he's not a ladies man type. This guy is just a regular looking bloke, the kind of guy you would actually find serving you in a retail park electronics store. Its this that makes Wilson likable as the everyman up against it, he uses his, dare I say, pug-ugly looks and out of shape physique to great effect. Indeed in this film we see his flabby toneless torso quite often, and its admittedly amusing, it works (I especially liked the brief moment at the start where he hurls his sweat soaked vest into the crowd, and it slaps some poor fan across the face).
The rest of the cast are made up of stereotypical teens that fit the stereotypical mould. You have the good looking male lead singer that has all the girls swooning over him, yet he's somehow not fulfilled. The fat, curly haired, awkward kid who doesn't really fit in, but towards the end totally gets into it and snatches a hot girl way out of his league. And finally you have Emma Stone who obviously plays the cute female band member who secretly has the hots for the good looking male lead singer (guess what happens in the end). The supposedly funny bit is the fact they hire Fishman as their drummer, a man in his forties who thinks he's still a young rocker and likes to live the dream, real life responsibilities aside. Oh and their manager is a creepy untrustworthy cad...so again, not much originality.
Much of the bands tomfoolery is played out through Wilson's Fishman character and it is slightly amusing as said, but it grows old very quickly. The whole aspect of his life going through a downhill spiral of rejection after losing Vesuvius is completely predictable and dull frankly. The sequences where he goes all wild and crazy in true rock n roll fashion are also slightly amusing but again so obvious, you just know at some point he'll trash a hotel room. The romance angle between Stone and the good looking lead singer is hammy as hell as is Josh Gad's fat kid character...hell its all cliched to the max.
This is the films problem, there is nothing here you haven't really seen before, every plot angle, every character development, the predictable face to face reunion with Vesuvius and their ultimate downfall in the concert finale etc...Its not exactly terrible stuff, its just completely average and actually kinda boring. THE only reason to watch this movie is for the sporadic moments of lunacy from Wilson, as in his other movie 'Super', he does show he can actually act and deliver emotion well. Other than that its a total by the numbers comedy. Heck even the films promotion efforts were similar to that Jack Black comedy I mentioned earlier. The main difference being that movie actually felt more like a homage to rock despite being a kids flick, you just don't get that with this movie.
Well its a pretty safe bet that many of you may have missed this Arnie… MoreWell its a pretty safe bet that many of you may have missed this Arnie comeback flick, or maybe you heard of it but it completely fell away and was never seen or heard of again. This is because it had a limited theatrical release, why you might ask? well probably because its not really much of a typical huge Arnie blockbuster that many will clamber to see. Yes its a zombie infestation movie, but its a level-headed, sensible, emotional, drama based zombie infestation movie. At no point will you see anyone flying through the air with two machine guns, nailing hordes of flesh eaters, or using amazing martial arts techniques...errr etc...All you need is your hanky, I suppose.
The plot centres on a small family in rural America, not sure where, they may have said but I missed it...meh. Arnie (Wade), his second wife and his daughter all live together here on a farm near a major city (dunno which city). At the start the daughter (Maggie) is trapped within the city (dunno why she was there) and ends up getting bitten by a zombie (a diseased person), we only see this in flashbacks. She is captured by armed officials and placed into quarantine. Wade is allowed to take Maggie home (God knows why) but is told she will slowly succumb to the virus and at a certain point they will come back for her and take her away for good. Basically put back into quarantine where they pretty much put the infected down like animals. From here on we simply follow Wade and his daughter Maggie during the last few weeks of her life as she slowly becomes a zombie, role credits.
The zombie element in this movie is a virus, so not very original but hey can you think up anything original for a zombie outbreak? The virus is called the Necroambulist virus and it affects the entire globe, but most unaffected people are able to carry on as normal with their lives. The virus basically plays out like a very nasty disease which threatens everyone, but is controlled well by the various governments with quarantine procedures and contamination control. We don't really find out where this virus came from or what it actually does other than just turn people slowly into zombies that eat other people. The victims look as you would expect of course, pale skin, black rotting infected skin, pale colourless eyes, a slow stumbling walking pace and the odd grunt or groan. They appear to be easy to kill like a regular living person and because they don't move very fast. We never find out if there are any variations of the virus or if it affects different people in different ways, does it affect any animals? how many are affected globally? etc...It a pretty self contained story which doesn't venture too far outside of what you see.
The main selling point of this movie is the relationship between Arnie and his daughter. Naturally Wade cares about his daughter a great deal and is having a seriously hard time dealing with the situation. His daughter is basically rotting to death before his eyes. He gets support from his second wife but she eventually runs off, afraid of Maggie as her condition advances. The entire movie focuses on this and its incredibly depressing I must say, depressing and really quite dull. The visuals are sharp but they don't help at all, everything is grey, bleak and eerie, a real sense of looming death in every scene. Yes that does create the perfect atmosphere but Holy shit its gloomy!
Things happen, predictable things such as Maggie meeting up with her friends one last time, she falls for another infected boy, they kiss, he eventually gets dragged away by nasty officials. Maggie accidentally injures her finger which shows us how far the infection has spread because she bleeds black goo, she then has a panic attack, understandable I guess. Wade and Maggie bump into a couple zombies in the woods who used to be their neighbours, Wade has to put them down. This is here obviously so we the audience can see what a fully transformed zombie looks like...nothing special. Oh one of the zombies was a young girl so that causes yet more angst and tears. And of course we get the fully obligatory scene where the local police try to take Maggie away...over Arnie's dead body!! No there is no ass-kicking by Arnie, its just a regular messy scrap which ends very quickly.
To be honest for the whole time I just kept wondering why Arnie doesn't just finish the job himself and stop his daughters suffering. I know that would be a very hard thing to do, but come on! she's turning into the living dead right before your eyes mate! If he doesn't then the nasty officials will do it in a nasty efficient way. It also makes no sense why Maggie would have been allowed to go home with Wade in the first place, she's infected, why allow her to roam around until she gets even worse, when she might attack someone. Lastly the ending for Maggie seems odd to me, I just don't think what she does would be an effective way of doing it, you'll see what I mean. Surely you'd need to be higher up? the house isn't that big is it? never noticed it to be.
On the whole the film is damn boring and hardly interesting I have to say. Yes the acting is solid, and more importantly Arnie gives us his best performance...errmm...ever! I think. He looks great with his old man beard and lumberjack-esque attire, his delivery of a father desperately trying to savour the last few days of his daughters life is admirable, reserved, grounded, effective and surprisingly moving. You'd never expect to see Arnie cry real man tears and actually show he can be a normal, everyday, regular Joe type who doesn't rip peoples arms off. The man is stripped of everything he usually relies on, he is essentially naked here, no guns, no muscles, no quips, no taglines, no explosions, no makeup...nothing. We finally see Arnold Schwarzenegger the real actor, the real man, the raw unearthed talent...well lets not go too far, he's carries himself very well considering what we all know. I'd like to see Arnie actually use his German language skills in a movie at some point, I think that would work extremely well.
Anyway I still cannot look away from the fact this film is very boring and very dreary. Yes I realise a zombie would be like that but most zombie films have daft action to lift things, this is a full on talkie drama...with the odd stumbling zombie in it. I have to admit I found myself drifting throughout the run time, this might also explain why I may have missed bits of info which I've already mentioned (if I did miss any). It is a solid movie for performances but everybody has ignored the cast and focused on Arnie for obvious reasons. At the same time, I kinda get the impression that is the only reason why this movie exists, to give Arnie a chance to act properly for the first time. This does pay off for sure, but unfortunately the film is so bloody boring, uneventful, unexplained and completely unoriginal (come on...zombies again! really?), that it does kinda fail. The films title is pretty crap too frankly.
As we reached double figures in the early 2000s decade there seemed to… MoreAs we reached double figures in the early 2000s decade there seemed to be a little influx of off-kilter superhero flicks. In 2009 we saw 'Defendor' and then in 2010 we got both 'Kick-Ass' (by far the biggest and most successful) and this little gem starring Rainn Wilson...apparently named after a weather condition but they added an extra 'N' to make it not look too stupid.
The plot isn't too unfamiliar, in fact its hella predictable really. Frank is a plain and simple, unfit, kinda ugly blue collar guy who works in some dingy diner as the cook. Somehow he is married to a pretty sexy girl Sarah, (Liv Tyler). Unfortunately Sarah becomes a druggie early in their relationship and (somehow) gets involved with the sleazy strip club owner Jacques (Kevin Bacon). This causes Frank to spiral into depression behaving recklessly and stupidly, he challenges Jacques and his goons (he has his own strip club goons), tries to get the police to arrest Jacques for stealing his wife and...almost buys a pet rabbit. Eventually his madness leads to supernatural/spiritual visions where he thinks God tells him to become a superhero, so that's just what he does, become a crazy violent vigilante superhero of the people.
So yeah I think you get the gist of this right, the lonely, kinda chubby loser, thinks he's a superhero, makes his own silly costume and runs around the town trying to foil crime. Of course the twist being the movie is grounded in reality and of course Frank isn't a superhero at all and he doesn't live within a comicbook world. You do get all the usual quirks you'd expect in a real origins comicbook flick, the design and creation of his trademark costume, his superhero name, the help he receives from his future sidekick (another lonely blue collar worker who just happens to be a cute as buttons female), his weapon acquirement and his early missions.
Naturally being based in reality you can guess what happens, yes its an easy guess but it is rewarding none the less. Frank confronts typical street drug pushers and such only to find its not as easy as he thinks. Yeah you could say the baddies he confronts are racial stereotypes but the movie is only being honest here, I'm sure they did their research. Anyway it is funny how he dives into action only to have the shit kicked out of himself, it then dawns on him to get a weapon. The following night he does it all over again with the same guy, but now he has a wrench which he uses to beat the guy half to death. Yes it sounds awful but it is actually quite amusing because of the fact its so horrific, and the way he thinks he's doing a good thing. Yeah sure he's stopping a perp selling drugs on the street, but he pretty much kills the guy with a big metal wrench!
As things progress and he half kills more bad guys, he gains a reputation as a nasty vigilante...naturally. This is highlighted in one sequence where he, yet again, half kills a man and woman for cutting in line to a nightclub. The quick cut of him walking off to his car to change into his outfit, which is clearly suppose to take at least 10 minutes and shows him struggling in the backseat with his white Y-fronts on, is brilliant. There are other such superhero mockery moments like Frank waiting around all night behind a dumpster for a crime to occur. A very sweet little scene which shows him talking to himself, keeping a little superhero audio diary, kinda reminds me of the comicbook 'The Tick'. Its moments like these that make the film work on so many levels as it mocks the typical superhero format we all know.
Is the film dark? why yes it is, not quite at first, but it sure does get emotional towards the finale. For starters Frank is clearly in his late 30's maybe early 40's, whilst his sidekick Libby, played by Ellen Page, is around 22 I think it was. Now this isn't an issue at first, Frank doesn't really want her to become his sidekick but she talks him into it, but when she kinda rapes him one night...well that's a bit questionable don't ya think. Talk about gender role reversal! I wonder what the feminists thought about that. Other dark and weird moments involve Franks visions which turn out to be a blend of religion, spiritual and alien abduction. I guess it shows how warped and delusional Frank must be to have these visions which come across as something from 'Hellraiser' mixed with a Holy intervention, and he sees it as positive.
Most of the other dark moments obviously revolve around the violence which is pretty darn bloody at times, this isn't a tame comicbook parody. There isn't anything outrageously over the top like 'Kick-Ass' though, its all quite acceptable and believable stuff, but graphic. Yet we do still get funny superhero mockery in the form of Frank turning up to fight bad guys only armed with his wrench and fists, he brings a wrench to a gun fight, and has to run away sharpish. I think the hardest and most gut wrenching moment is the ending for Libby, I won't ruin it but its actually heart-breaking, horrendously graphic and shocking...did I give that away? Its at that moment the movie really does shift up a gear into serious territory and becomes quite the adrenaline rush, its also where Rainn really shows us his talents.
It certainly fits the bill of a dark comicbook, at times highly amusing, at times highly violent and sick, and at times very emotional. The ending is odd because Frank manages to achieve his goal but at what cost?? it doesn't really seem like a happy ending, especially after the slap to the face revelation about Sarah at the very end, huh! Its a very well acted movie and very engaging I must say, didn't think it would be but it certainly is, you feel for Frank and Libby, and you want them to succeed. Alas you kinda forget all about Sarah even though she is the main target and goal for Frank. You really want him to ride off into the sunset with Libby, the film confuses you there, toys with your emotions. Still its a solid makeshift superhero/vigilante movie with a heart of gold? Well shocking depressing nastiness aside I guess it is, but its more like a rollercoaster for your emotions and moral compass...but still fun.
Much like the previous two movies this one opens with yet another red… MoreMuch like the previous two movies this one opens with yet another red Lamborghini Countache, but this time its tearing down a small winding wooded country road, a change from the open desert. Naturally right behind this Italian supercar the cops are in hot pursuit. In the meantime Lee Van Cleef, in a very small cameo, plays an elderly grandfather teaching his grandson how to skip stones across a small lake. Van Cleef tells the young boy how to throw the stone at just the right angle so it can skip across the water.
All of a sudden the red Lambo comes roaring up to the waterline and flies across the obviously shallow lake, skipping just like a flat stone...kinda, it then takes off once it hits dry land. The young boy looks at his grandfather and asks him about the angle he should throw the stone, Van Cleef looks at the car in disbelief and...annoyance I guess. The whole setup is cheesy as hell and doesn't really work to be honest, its not funny at all and Van Cleef is wasted totally, shame. The intro is good, its always good to see an 80's Lambo tearing it up, but it doesn't hold a candle to the first two movie intros.
I think you can guess what the plot is here, its another race, from east (Washington D.C.) to west (Santa Monica) and the winners this time stand to receive 1 million Dollars. Unfortunately the D.C. chief of police (Peter Boyle) manages to arrest all of the drivers prior to game time so a whole bunch of new drivers must be found. One by one each sponsor clambers to find a new driver any way they can, no matter who they are.
In the starting grid this time we have Charlie (John Candy), who has been tricked and bullied into driving for his so called best friend from school Gus (Eugene Levy). Charlie is a parking valet and brilliant driver, hence Gus wanting him for the race. Along for the ride is Tiffany, Gus's love interest, for some reason, mainly because she is eye candy. They use a BMW.
Matt Frewer plays Englishman Alec who is in debt to loan sharks. They send a hitman to whack him (Joe Flaherty), but Alec persuades Vic to ride in the race with him in order to pay back the money he owes. Vic may have other ideas though. They drive a Jag XJS.
The two sexy ladies for this movie aren't quite as sexy as the previous two but hey, you gotta have the sexy ladies in a sexy car, its obligatory. Here they manage to persuade a Ferrari owner to use his Spyder. The duo are MIT grads and electronics/gadgets experts, so they use their brains and electronic gizmos to assist them in gaining the upper hand. This is the easy bit of tame progression for the movie (and 80's), having the sexy females actually going against the norm and being intelligent and skillful characters instead of just skimpily dressed sluts.
Tim Matheson is a TV reporter who gets caught up in the race in his van, so he decides to race. The driver of the red Lambo from the intro sequence (John Schneider of 'The Dukes of Hazzard') gets arrested with all the other original drivers, its left in the hands of an Italian porter. An ice cool dude called Flash steps up outta nowhere and takes control to drive it, he's an ex-cop and wants the money for his own unknown reasons. Flash is a super cool, shades wearing driver, where as the Italian is a trembling nervous wreck.
Lastly Nelson and Randolph Sloane are two millionaires who spend their whole time trying to cheat their way to the finish, mainly by catching a plane to the finish line. They drive a Bentley Corniche. Jamie Farr makes a cameo as the Sheik from the first two movies but he doesn't race.
As you can imagine much of the run time is taken up with the predictable scenarios of the various characters getting into all sorts of close calls. There are some nice moments of car porn but nowhere near as much as the previous two movies, this time an emphasis has been put on making the few set pieces bigger. Hence the race from downtown Washington D.C. which is a highlight admittedly, the race into Santa Monica, and the use of a large aircraft. In between all that there are various small cameos of course and the usual tomfoolery and slapstick routines. One such sequence sees Candy pretty much redoing (homaging?) a famous scene from his classic movie 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'. Another sees a learner driver being taught by a racist instructor who bullies the learner into overtaking any foreign car, whilst he verbally abuses the driver as they pass. Definitely another highlight as its actually very amusing to see this guys reaction to a Volvo and Alfa Romeo.
All things considering there aren't many, if any, car wrecks in this movie, it seems they were too scared to possibly damage anything, or maybe the budget wasn't high enough. The movie takes an age to get going and an age to actually finish and once the race is done it carries on with boring fluff. Its not a particularly funny film, or exciting film, alas we've kinda seen it all before now and this feels very much like beating a dead horse. Nonetheless it is fun at times, the cars are great as always (as long as you like cars) and the range of character actors on display is reasonable.
Its hard to think Steven Spielberg was around directing movies as far… MoreIts hard to think Steven Spielberg was around directing movies as far back as 1971, dunno why, just is. Anyway this movie was originally a TV movie (only recently found out), a rather short TV movie naturally. But after this feature found much success on TV Spielberg was given more money to film more scenes for a longer cinematic cut. This alone shows the quality of Spielberg's work because you'd never guess there was extra filmed footage, it all blends so seamlessly.
The plot is based of a short story of the same name by Richard Matheson. It involves a middle aged man (David Mann) who is travelling on a business trip in California, although we never really find out what he does or where he's going (well he's a salesman but that's all we know). Its a strange unexplained situation really, he starts out from a city (unknown which), and drives for what seems like friggin' ages! We follow him through the city and far away, out into the Californian desert and beyond, Christ knows where he's going but he doesn't appear to have any baggage or anything.
At one point he comes across this dirty, rusty almost spooky tanker driven slowly by persons unknown. He passes the tanker legally as anybody would, but for some reason the driver takes some kind of offense to this and roars past Mann again, reverting back to driving slowly. Mann once again overtakes the truck and speeds away, the tanker driver blasts his horn in anger. From this point on Mann is terrorised by the mysterious tanker at every turn of his journey.
This movie used to be on TV a lot when I was a kid, a typical Boxing Day film. Its a thriller but in typically Spielbergian fashion, so not much swearing, if any, and what there is is tame, plus suspense that can be enjoyed by all. I mean lets be frank here, you're not gonna have much scary suspense about a tanker driver chasing a small red car in the middle of the day right. Yet this just shows how good Spielberg was/is, the film isn't scary no, but that shows how good the camera work and direction needed to be in order to convey the danger and atmosphere. The looming shots of the oily hulking tanker as it bears down on Mann's tiny car, creepy distance shots of it just waiting whilst chugging out black exhaust fumes, the way the tanker comes out of nowhere behind Mann's car, plus all the stand-off moments. It all looks so slick and nothing like most made for TV movies, many shots I think look very Hitchcock-esque in style, especially the moment where Mann gets out of his car and stands-off against the tanker from a distance.
The whole thing does seem a tad silly when you think about it logically though. Yes you can relate to it in a degree, I'm sure we've all had moments in car journeys when someone has pissed you off, maybe a touch of road rage, a touch of dangerous bumper riding, some choice language and visual signs etc...we've all been there. But watching this movie you can't help but dissect it just a bit. Lets be honest, Mann could quite easily avoid the tanker, all he had to do was go another route, or maybe stay overnight somewhere, or he could of rung the police much earlier at one of the more populated gas stations. When he does stop at a diner and discovers the tanker is there also, he could of waited by the tanker for the mysterious driver to confront him, maybe even let his tyres down or sabotaged the engine. After all by that point the crazy trucker had already rammed Mann's car so surely anyone would be straight onto the police. Also, later on when the insane tanker driver tries to ram Mann into an oncoming locomotive, he could clearly, quite easily drive off either to the left or the right, there was space. Suspension of disbelief is the order of the day here naturally.
Of course the character of Mann is suppose to be the everyday man, an average Joe, and he is, played brilliantly by Dennis Weaver. This isn't a big man, a man with lots of muscles, a cocky man, a smartass, he's a regular family man with a regular physique...and glasses (but also because in the early 70's big muscle men weren't the thing). Weaver plays this character perfectly, again very relatable for most of us. He's not someone who just jumps to conclusions and lunges in with his fists, he worries, he thinks about the situation, makes himself paranoid, and when he does do something its slow and reserved, he's apologetic and weak. Now I'm not saying that's how everyone is of course but I'm sure most levelheaded people would be more like this, well British people would.
What I find interesting is how similar this movie is to 'Jaws', bare with me here. The image of the huge lumbering yet fast dark tanker and the way it haunts the highway, hunting Mann like small prey, parallels Spielberg's famous fishy tale. There a huge lumbering shadowy (for the most part), yet fast shark haunts the waters of Amity Island, hunting human prey much smaller than itself. Both entities are virtually the same and almost shot the same by Spielberg, just watch how the tanker stalks Mann and springs up outta nowhere on some occasions, the horn akin to battle cry or animalistic roar. I love how on occasion we see the tanker just sitting there, its exhaust pumping out its black fumes almost as if it were a breathing creature, waiting to pounce. The shape of the Peterbilt 281 cab section and long hood with front headlights, also gives the tanker an obvious face.
The movie is nothing but intriguing from start to finish for sure. The mystery never really gets unraveled, we never see the tanker driver, we never get a reason for his madness, the tanker truck grill/bumper has a few license plates from various States on it which hints at other possible highway kills? or maybe the driver just made other lonesome car drivers crash or abandon their cars (not killing them), and he took the plates? Presumably the tanker driver has always done this on desolate stretches of highway and in barren areas otherwise he'd have the police on his tail.
Plus at the very end what exactly did Mann intend to do?? he drives his car at the tanker for what reason?? What does happen is only down to pure luck for Mann, he had no idea it was gonna go down the way it did. And then what?? he's in the middle of the wilderness, with no car, and he's injured...sooo does he die? Unfortunately its left open ended for you the viewer to make your own minds up, alluring but annoying too. Still its a riveting little story that is well acted, beautifully shot and thoroughly well crafted, typical Spielberg.
Why is this sequel called 'Part 3'? beats me, sounds strange really,… MoreWhy is this sequel called 'Part 3'? beats me, sounds strange really, like an old fashioned tale. Other than that its business as usual for a third time accept for the fact that the Bandit is no longer with us on this road trip. Yep for this third movie Reynolds has flown the coop leaving Gleason to hold the fort on his lonesome. The only other returning cast member is Reed as the old Snowman.
The plot once again sees the ultra rich Enos duo offering a wager to (this time) Sheriff Buford T. Justice. The rather pointless aim this time is to transport a large stuffed fish on their car, from Florida to Texas, within the time limit. Why a stuffed fish? well it makes no difference really, its just a stupid visual gag. So Justice accepts the wager and drives off with his dim witted son played again by Mike Henry. The little twist or gimmick in this story is after the Enos duo fail to slow down Buford on his new quest, they attempt to hire the Bandit to help them. But as we know Reynolds isn't in this movie so instead they have to opt for the Snowman for assistance.
This entire idea is somewhat tired really it must be said. The original movie was a great slice of hokey, Dixie bound tomfoolery with a cool car. The second was an utter shameless rehash of the first which literately didn't even bother to try and be remotely different, accept for the cargo it was virtually identical. Now with this they have turned the tables and tried a new angle by making Buford the mule, which I must give small kudos too. Alas they still can't escape the lure of the original flicks plot and simply have to make the movie into another big chase sequence.
Unfortunately that small element of originality with Buford goes out the window, the reason being the Snowman manages to slow Buford down by stealing the large stuffed fish on his car. Buford needs this stuffed fish to win the wager. Thusly this once again sees Buford on the chase, after the Snowman and the large stuffed fish. The twist concept of Buford being chased doesn't last long I'm afraid. Heck even Cledus the Snowman manages to pick up a female sidekick in virtually the same fashion as the Bandit did way back in the first movie. It appears that these movie characters have requirements, Buford always chases and the protagonist always has a female sidekick...and drives a Trans Am.
I don't actually know what Buford is in his police attire for this really, he is on the brink of retirement and once again is completely out of his jurisdiction the whole time. I understand being a police officer in a police car would have its advantages in high speed chases but he's out of his jurisdiction! In America you can tell that easily from the car model, colour, body wrap layout and of course the badge on the side. It doesn't matter of course because we all know its just for the movie, Buford has to be in his police garb, with his son, driving a wrecked police car, otherwise its not Buford T. justice.
I think we all know what to expect with this movie by now. There isn't much time to blink without possibly missing something as the entire movie is literately one big chase and crash sequence after another. There is very little actual plot or character building going in between the chaos. We see one chase and crash, Buford suffering some kind of humiliation and his car getting more beat up as it goes, then move on the next chase and crash. The slapstick and pratfalls are on a grand scale with this one, perhaps even more so than before, where as the stunts are pretty predictable really, you can see what's gonna happen the second the scene starts. They even throw in some motorboat chases this time, just to mix it up a bit...a tiny bit.
On the whole its more like watching banger/stock car racing on the streets, the mayhem is through the roof with gravity defying, unrealistic nonsense that is impressive in an odd way (gotta admire the stunt work). Its not really funny though, more childish and insane than anything, kids might like it but geez...even 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and 'Knight Rider' are more realistic. Put simply, it kinda works better than the second movie because they try something different, but it still doesn't work entirely because there is no Reynolds as the Bandit and Reed is no leading man. The Snowman on his own just doesn't hit the mark even if he is driving the famous black Trans Am Firebird.
Definitely only for people who like these specific late 70's/80's madcap car chase genre movies. If you like to spot all the old cars, pickup trucks and big rigs, whilst seeing a good old crunch up with solid stunts etc...well you know already this is the movie for you.
This movie kicks off much in the same way as the first movie. A white… MoreThis movie kicks off much in the same way as the first movie. A white Lamborghini Countach is roaring down a desert highway, the engine throbbing as it tears up the tarmac yet again. It pulls up behind a cop car, teasing it, then blows past it. Next up we see another familiar SPEED LIMIT 55 sign, the Lambo breaks next to it and out jumps Catherine Bach, she obstructs the sign with another so it now reads SPEED LIMIT 155. She jumps back into the Lambo and it screeches off into the distance, cop car in tow. The chase continues until the Lambo pulls into a construction site and gets its white body colour jet washed off to reveal its original red body colour.
This intro sequence is nowhere near as ultra cool and thrilling as the original movies intro, how could it be when we've seen that idea already. Nonetheless its still a solid intro that still puts many action flicks to shame. Even the stark bold red credits that once again appear, this time with a typical 80's go-faster stripe underneath, look much better than most modern movies CGI credits.
Now I can't sugarcoat the plot here, lets be brutally honest, its exactly the same as the first movie, a shameless rehash. But that rehash does work to a degree because its a new race with new competitors, like a new season of 'Wacky Racers'. This time the Cannonball has been organised by the Sheik (Jamie Farr) from the first movie, who has been ordered by his father to simply win the race, to restore honour to the family name. The main subplot surrounding the main event sees Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. back again but this time they owe a large sum of money to Don Don Canneloni (Charles Nelson Reilly), who is in turn in financial trouble with the mobster Kaplan (Telly Savalas). Together Canneloni's goons (Henry Silva, Alex Rocco, Michael Gazzo and Abe Vigoda) and Kaplan, spent most of the run time trying to stop the Sheik in order to kidnap him for his vast wealth.
This is where the movie pretty much turns into a Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoon for the most part. There are sequences that have literately lifted straight out of the WB cartoon as the goonish thugs attempt to snatch the Sheik from the race in various harebrained schemes. They fly a chopper with a large magnet underneath to try and pick up the car whilst in motion, they set up a large tripwire-esque trap across the road to stop the car, they use a big claw-like clamp on the front of a car to try and grab the Sheiks car etc...its all pretty childish and cringeworthy to be honest.
As for the race, well back under starters orders this time are of course Reynolds and DeLuise, this time dressed in military garb and driving a limo also decked out in military colours. This time they pick up a pair of dancers dressed as nuns (Shirley MacLaine and Marilu Henner). This sexy duo think the dynamic duo of the Bandit and Captain Chaos could provide them with lots of money (the race winnings).
The sheik is of course back in the race driving another Rolls. Along for the ride with him are his servant played by Doug McClure and Doctor Van Helsing from the first movie again played by Jack Elam. As we know his aim is to win the race hands down, Van Helsing is there to look after him as he has an ulcer.
Making up Needham's automobile Ocean's 11-esque roster again, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin are this time dressed up as cops driving a Chevrolet Corvette. The rat pack is completed later on in the movie as Frank Sinatra joins the race in his Dodge Daytona Turbo because...well to complete the rat pack clearly.
Jackie Chan is also back in what feels like a rehashed role, his character wears virtually the same attire and he's driving another very similar Japanese car, a Mitsubishi Starion. Difference is for comedic purposes his partner is the giant Richard Kiel whose presence also seems to influence more Bond homages. Their car is able to turn into a mini submarine when under the water, plus other predictable gadgets seen before.
This being a Needham/Reynolds race flick (or personal inside joke flick), you can't not have some sexy ladies in skimpy attire driving a smokin' hot supercar. As already mentioned this time its Catherine Bach (minus her Daisy Dukes) and Susan Anton. However, not content with having a white/red Lambo at the start (which they abandon in the desert with its doors open!), they also get through a Merc 300 SL Coupe and a yellow Nova Sterling! Expect many tight ass shots...but do enjoy.
The worst idea in this flick has to be the use of a hideous orangutan that pretends to drive a Cadillac Fleetwood 75, whilst in the back is Mel Tillis and Tony Danza. Dunno if this is the same orangutan that partnered up with Clint Eastwood, don't think so, but the idea I think has been pinched from that Eastwood franchise.
Much like his other Burt Reynolds driven franchise this movie goes exactly the same route, a rehashed sequel. Like the first movie, this was never meant to be a sensible, its a complete parody/spoof/farce of a comedy that serves up yet more larger than life cameos, inside jokes, stereotypes and nods and winks galore. The movie ends with such an outlandish and hokey fight sequence, seriously, every trick in the book and every character is crowbarred into it for no real reason at all. Its like a beat 'em up videogame franchise with every character forced into one game title. Everything is upped to crazy cartoonish levels of mayhem with more in your face stunts and tyre screeching antics, yet there is actually less focus on the vehicle aspect this time I think.
Its not as bad as 'Smokey and the Bandit II', its not a complete and utter virtual remake of its predecessor, there is some fun to be had here admittedly. Of course car porn is evident and appreciated by those inclined, the action is hectic and enjoyable at times and I can't deny that the casting is epic. I loved seeing the 'Godfather' mobsters all together, its cool seeing the rat pack together for the last time, and basically the sheer number of all-star cameos and odd matchups is just intriguing to see. Its lazy for sure, but still manages to keep its head above the waves with pure quirkiness.
This movie opens with a black Lamborghini Countach tearing down an… MoreThis movie opens with a black Lamborghini Countach tearing down an empty highway, a sun-kissed highway at dawn, the sound of the engine thundering. Instantly the movies main soundtrack kicks in with its toe tapping beat, the bold stark red credits role, instantly you know this song is cool and you're gonna like it. The jet black Lambo sweeps over the horizon (now set against a clear blue sky), behind it, following closely is a blue Pontiac Firebird/Firebird Trans Am police car, both cars are ripping up the tarmac. By this point if you're attention has not been snagged, or you're not impressed by the sheer sex on wheels, then you're clearly not a petrolhead.
Based entirely on an actual unofficial, unsanctioned street race during the 70's, this movie is just that, a long street race from one side of the country to the other. There really is nothing more to this movie than that, a long running chase sequence filled with stunts, crashes and lots of inside jokes. The various characters are always trying to screw each other over, desperately trying to gain the advantage both time and distance wise, whilst avoiding smokey (highway patrols).
The collection of racers are basically a bunch of misfits and eccentrics all driving the vehicle of their choice. The characters and the cast that play them are the carrot on the stick for the movie, its a big ensemble of cult and classic stars of the time. Next to that its all about the vehicles, the plot...what plot? Of course this being a Hal Needham car flick he utilises his two main stars from his previous fast car flick (amongst others).
There isn't any particular protagonist in this movie but the duo of Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise tend to be the pack leaders obviously. They both drive a souped-up ambulance with Jack Elam on-board as the good doctor Nikolas Van Helsing (could of used a bit more imagination with that name). The sporadic moments of DeLuise as Captain Chaos are easily a guilty pleasure, even though you know its infantile nonsense.
The legendary pairing of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. as a dunken, gambling obsessed duo dressed up as Catholic priests in a red Ferrari, was (and is) pretty fresh. These two serve up much of the comedy as they bumble their way across the country, a surprisingly solid little Laurel and Hardy act.
Tara Buckman and John Carpenter movie regular Adrienne Barbeau are the sexy catsuit wearing Lambo drivers. The stereotypical bimbos in a fast car that use their assets to get out of trouble.
This was Jackie Chan's second western movie, playing a sort of nerdy high-tec wizard who could of course kick ass. Chan and his partner Michael Hui race in a Subaru GL 4WD that has been kitted out with all sorts of computer gadgetry including radar, a rocket boosted engine, infrared sensors etc...Clearly playing on the old stereotype that people from Orient (China and Japan) are geeky techno geniuses with in depth martial arts knowledge...kinda true though.
Did I mention Hal Needham is the director here? Well if the 'Smokey and the Bandit' in-jokes , the casting of Reynolds and DeLuise and the fact this movie is kinda the same as said movie, didn't tip you off, then surely the inclusion of some good ol' redneck boys will. Can't not have some Confederate flag waving southern boys racing, a staple ingredient of Needham car flicks...along with Reynolds.
In one of the more amusing and intriguing character roles is Roger Moore...playing himself...kinda. Moore actually plays a character called Seymour Goldfarb Jr. yet this character goes by the name Roger Moore in the film. So...this character, played by Roger Moore, thinks he is the real Roger Moore, when he isn't. Not only that but this confused character drives a silver Aston Martin DB5 which is laden with all the expected gadgets and tricks. Whenever he is on screen a familiar little soundtrack plays, he does refer to his past playing a certain famous character, and he's always got a different beautiful woman in his car in every scene.
Lastly we have the Sheikh (Jamie Farr) in his white Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, accompanied by his sister (Bianca Jagger), who can buy his way out of anything. The only character to pop up in all three movies of this franchise and another ropy stereotype.
The whole point to this movie (like most of Needham's movies) is to focus solely on the cars and occasionally the characters that drive them. You know exactly what to expect from the get-go as we've seen it all before in his other Burt Reynolds fast car franchise. Lots of smoking tyre spinning, off-road tomfoolery, skids, doughnuts, helpless/useless police units and massive amounts of automobile carnage. At times these sequences get interspersed with some character and plot development, but not much of it ever builds up to anything important and half the time it gets interrupted by some hideous incident involving a big stunt.
In all honesty the movie can't live up to those first five electric minutes with the Lambo chase. That sequence is so unbelievably slick n sexy. The black Lambo screeches up to that 'SPEED LIMIT 55' sign, out jumps a slim sexy 80's blonde, graffitis it, jumps back in and zooms away. This short intro is epic in every sense, it gets your pulse racing, its exciting, thrilling and makes you wanna drive dangerously immediately, eat your heart out 'The Fast and Furious'. Not only that but the movies trailer is kickass too! the movie looks and sounds awesome, its just a shame this isn't an accurate representation of the whole flick.
Alas it all feels like a big fun vacation for the Hollywood elite. Its like they made a movie for themselves stuffed with inside jokes, nods, winks and cameos galore! getting all their buddies on-board. Its overloaded with dated stereotypes, visuals and even the odd controversial comment. Still there is some cracking car porn here for fans and some stunts are impressive no doubt. A cult movie in a cult genre, unless you're into it you may not like it.
As the title might suggest, this is an adaptation of the Mark Twain… MoreAs the title might suggest, this is an adaptation of the Mark Twain novel 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court'. To make things more interesting Disney flipped the idea on its head and made it a spaceman going back in time, thusly adding much more scope for visual fun and games.
NASA are trying to send a manned crew to out nearest star Alpha Centauri with the use of a new flashy super fast shuttle. This shuttle will fly faster than the speed of light by collecting atoms and ionising them, all through magnetic fields fitted to the wings. No idea how this is suppose to work but its heavy foreshadowing that's for sure. By mistake Trimble and his android replica get blasted into space and on this perilous journey, but they don't get too far before ending up crashing back on Earth in the Middle Ages. Once discovered Trimble must convince the locals he's not an alien or monster, get to grips with medieval life and eventually try to stop Merlin and Mordred from overthrowing Arthur.
Right so this is a Disney movie, an old Disney movie, so you know to expect slushy crapola just like all old live action Disney movies. I mean straight away, this professor dude at NASA rings up the main character Trimble and tells him to make a humanoid android for the shuttle project...and he does! He just says 'yes sir' and gets right to it, creating the perfect human looking android with perfect senses, reactions and even emotions, just like that. If people in this universe have those kinda of skills why are humans still stuck on Earth? Anyway this isn't about scientific authenticity, its a pure fantasy aimed at kids to enjoy, and back in the day I did enjoy this thoroughly.
The lead character played by Dennis Dugan is terribly wet and preppy that's for damn sure, but I'd imagine he is appealing to the younger generations with his quirky, jaunty self. Other cast members are a who's who of classic British talents. Jim Dale of the famous British [i]Carry On[/i] movie franchise plays the baddie knight Mordred and gives quite a surprisingly solid performance to be honest. Ron Moody is Merlin and looks like your typical evil wizard mixed with Fu Manchu, couldn't help but think it was Fagin in the Middle Ages though. John Le Mesurier plays Sir Gawain adding some nice light-hearted humour to the role, whilst Kenneth More completes a little double act with Mesurier as King Arthur. This duo really played off each other well, like a little bickering old couple, its quite cute and charming, very childish, but adorable. Good old Pat Roach is in here too as Merlin's main henchman and muscle, what else would he be.
The cast was pretty epic looking back, like many of old movies, but for kids at the time it was all about the adventure really, and this had all the right ingredients. Medieval knights, jousting, large scale battles and space technology. The movie was shot in and around a real castle in Northumberland, UK which really added to the realism and excitement when you were a kid. Everything looked like a giant adventure playground with lots of wondrous (yet dangerous) toys, the weaving dimly lit castle corridors, secret passages, the space shuttle in the courtyard, swords, crossbows, various futuristic gadgets, a moon buggy etc...Everything in the film does look pretty good too, considering the films age it still holds up well today. All the sets and costumes look terrific too, very accurate for a Disney kids flick, it does appear that this movie had a reasonable budget and plenty of tender loving care lavished upon it.
Yet despite the fact this was indeed a kids flick, it didn't shy away from tiny moments of edgy material. For starters they actually have a full scale, full view burning of Trimble at one point. Even though everyone knows its not real they don't actually cut away from it! you actually see the stunt guy in there burning! or at least close to the flames with clever use of forced perspective...I think! Put it this way it looks pretty realistic for a Disney movie sheesh! Then you have the jousting contest where we see Trimble's android getting taken apart piece by piece until his head is speared off, and yes there are no cuts, you see it fly off. Lastly there are actually references to [i]Playboy[/i] magazine here, its actually shown, front cover en all! Of course you don't see anything but the fact its in there, presumably as product placement, is quite bizarre frankly.
Yes this fantasy adaptation has something in it for everyone, lots for the boys of course, romance with a maiden for the girls, and the legendary actors hamming it up something rotten for the adults. There is plenty of silly hokey stuff naturally, yet some quite clever stuff also, and what's more the special effects and props all add to the atmosphere perfectly. The big battle finale set in and around the castle at the end is the coup de grace, chock full of fun little moments. To be honest this whole thing feels a bit like a pantomime for kids, you half expect to hear hissing when the villains walk in shot. Its all so horrendously good-natured and delightful, its sickening...but in an acceptable way, nice score too.
Adapted from a novel of the same name, yet after a bit of reading the… MoreAdapted from a novel of the same name, yet after a bit of reading the movie is quite different from the book. With a title like this you'd think this film was about werewolves, but you'd be wrong. In fact it kinda depends on what source you go by, the book is sort of about werewolves, a species of creature that are descended from wolves, intelligent and probably more like werewolves than in this film. In the movie there are no werewolves and no creatures descended from the wolf line.
And there lies the problem with this movie, no werewolves. The plot is all about these mysterious murders in New York, bodies are turning up badly mutilated or half eaten and everyone knows there aren't any alligators in the sewers doing this so...what gives?! Fear not, along comes the most unlikely monster hunter in the form of Albert Finney to try and crack the case, with the help of his female partner and the plucky coroner played by Gregory Hines. Now this isn't a jokey action packed supernatural thriller, oh no, its actually a reasonably slow paced detective story as we follow Finney and co snooping around in the Bronx.
For the most part its quite intriguing I can't deny, I had no clue who or what was actually killing these people. You're not so sure if its actually a supernatural beastie or just some looney tune, someone close to Finney perhaps. Without trying to give the game away it is disappointing how they go about this movie, the alterations they make. Like I said in the book there are actually genuine creatures on the prowl, here in the movie they substitute monsters for wolf spirits, or more accurately, Native American wolf spirits. I'm still not sure if these wolves were actually the Native American descendants Finney's character follows up on, these guys claim they are shapeshifters in the movie. Seeing as in the book the creatures are descendants of wolves, it makes sense in this movie that the wolf spirits on the loose are Native American descendants. It never really confirms this concept (I don't think) but I'm guessing the local Natives were the wolves, or they were able to summon them maybe.
What really disappointed me was the fact the wolves actually did look like proper wolves, they actually used real wolves in the movie. This of course ties in with the new Native American angle they use, but I found it an anti-climax because I wanted to see something more terrifying, more of a monster, pack of monsters. The whole movie has this pretty decent eerie atmosphere going on showing us wolf POV, how they stalk their prey, their vision, how they attract prey by making ghostly baby noises etc...Then they merely turn out to be actual wolves that you can see in the zoo or where ever. I didn't find that scary, after all the great buildup, dark moody moments and horrific deaths...they just turn out to be actual wolves.
Speaking of the wolf POV shots, well blow me down if John McTiernan didn't swipe ideas from this movie for 'Predator'. I kid you not! I have read this movie is notable for its early use of thermography/thermal imaging with the wolf vision sequences. You see these sequences and right away you know McTiernan probably pinched the idea for his Arnie vehicle, but jazzed it up a bit with bolder colours. Its these sequences that really add some spice to the wolf antics in the movie, mainly because for the most part you believe its a monster or werewolf and these sequences are darn effective conveying that.
What's more I do firmly believe Alan Silvestri also pinched the musical score from this film for that particular Arnie vehicle! You listen to it throughout this film and its pretty obvious if you ask me, its nearly identical! All this time I thought McTiernan and co had spearheaded such an original franchise and material.
Its certainly dated these days but the gore effects hold up well, very well actually. There's something a bit off about it all though, I guess the sight of these Native American fellas and their own little bar in downtown NY doesn't quite seem to fit in with the surroundings. I can't help but think the whole thing would have worked better in the wilderness or a smallish town out west, the sight of these wolves running around the city looks more out of place than scary really. Again the choice of Finney in the lead was an odd one if you ask me, he also doesn't quite fit into the NY surroundings. Its definitely an off-kilter movie and slightly misleading at the same time, the book does sound much better and more of what you'd expect.