Movies + Beer: HELLBOY 2019

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MOVIES + BEERhellboy 2019

James is joined by Brian and Andrea at Sean O’ Casey’s, and discuss the new Hellboy reboot…among other things…

::END TRANSMISSION::

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Movie Review: LASER MISSION

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laser missionTurner home Entertainment
1989
R

“You are fond of birds.

Mercenary Michael Gold is sent from the CIA to seize the laser expert Braun in Cuba before the KGB catches him. A recently stolen giant diamond could be used together with Braun’s knowledge to construct a laser cannon which could bring power over the whole world. Who will succeed: CIA or KGB–or none of them?

Brandon Lee is probably best known as the famed actor son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who died tragically from an on-set accident while filming 1994’s The Crow. That movie was reportedly going to be the start of bigger lead roles for the actor, who, up to then, starred in a bunch of low-budget action movies. Like this one, Laser Mission.

Released direct-to-video in 1989, Laser Mission is only half right with the title, as it does feature a mission–Lee’s mercenary character needing to find and get Ernest Borgnine with a bad accent before the godless Commies do, to stop the building of a weapon of mass destruction–but disappointingly, there are no lasers. Well, there’s a laser-guided motion detector…but, co’mon. Show me someone who wasn’t expecting the *pew-pew* kind of lasers when seeing the movie’s title, and I’ll show you someone who’s lying. Not even the movie’s theme song bothered with either the words “laser” or “mission”. Nope, it’s a song called “Mercenary Man”, played ad-nausium throughout the runtime.

Anyway, what we actually got is a bunch of walking around in a desert while he bickers with Dr. Braun’s daughter, interspersed with action scenes to showcase Lee’s martial arts skills, as well as more bickering with Dr. Braun’s daughter. All that bickering, it’s no surprise that they end up falling for each other near the end of the flick. Because them’s the rules of action movie romances. At least the movie ends with the bad guy getting hit by a truck. So it’s not entirely a loss, really.

What really saves Laser Mission from being completely horrible is Lee’s acting. He seems to know this is going to be a stinker, and he really chews the scenes, having fun with the role. Otherwise, the cheesiness is pretty high with this movie. Make sure you have any cinematic lactose intolerance in check before heading into this Laser-less Mission.

Movie Review: SILENT RAGE

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silent rageColumbia Pictures
1982
R

“I don’t care if he killed one hundred people. We are scientists, not moralists.”

He’s an indestructible man fused with powers beyond comprehension. An unstoppable terror who in one final showdown will push Chuck Norris to his limits, and beyond. A mentally ill man in a small Texas town goes on a killing rampage and is fatally wounded by police. When doctors use an experimental serum to bring him back to life, the killer develops superhuman strength and the town sherriff must pursue him.

Here’s a Fun Fact that will probably have certain people (you know who you are) question everything they thought they knew about their Uncle NecRo: I’m not a fan of Chuck Norris. He’s never piqued my interest as much as Schwarzenegger, or Stallone has, as far as 80s-era classic action movie stars go. If anything, I’m really more interested in Chuck Norris as a meme generator than a movie and television star.

So, you can imagine how bored/doped up I was, back when I was recouping after amputation surgery, when I decided to give Norris’ 1982 flick Silent Rage a watch. You see, the description on the streaming site I watched this on made this movie sound like he was going up against a zombie. Any crappy action movie can be made better with the inclusion of a zombie. They’re like the peanut butter of the B-movie world.

Well, I was a bit off. This wasn’t so much a zombie he goes up against, as it is a kind of Frankenstein’s monster. If even that. You see, the body of the serial killer guy Norris’s Texas lawman is pitted against is on the verge of death when a scientist pumps him full of an experimental chemical and brings him back with SCIENCE! This only turns him into a rage-filled killer, and of course he escapes and the wackiness does ensue.

Silent Rage is mindless drivel. No pun intended, there. The acting is about as wooden as it gets, Chuck Norris has the charisma of a practice dummy, and certain scenes were obviously shoehorned in to both pad out the running time, and to showcase Norris’ martial arts fighting skizzles. This is definitely a movie that could have benefited from a zombie apocalypse subplot. Maybe if you pretend this is a prequel to his Walker: Texas Ranger series, you might get some enjoyment out of this. Even on all of those painkillers, the only “silent rage” that was experienced was what I felt when this movie ended. Hard pass.

Movie Review: The DARKEST MINDS

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darkest minds20th Century Fox
2018
PG-13

When teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are declared a threat by the government and detained. Sixteen-year-old Ruby, one of the most powerful young people anyone has encountered, escapes her camp and joins a group of runaway teens seeking a safe haven. Soon this newfound family realizes that, in a world in which the adults in power have betrayed them, running is not enough and thy must wage a resistance, using their collective power to take back control of their future.

So, back in April of 2018, we were supposed to have an X-Men spinoff movie, one that wasn’t necessarily tied into th franchise proper, but promised to be more of a horror movie with its story of mutant children being terrorized by the normies. I couldn’t wait to see this movie. But then, news came that the studio decided to pull that movie and push it for over a year later, because…reasons. Whatever, no X-Men horror movie. So, instead of that movie, that same year we got a movie that has nothing to do with the X-Men franchise, but is totally an X-Men story: The Darkest Minds.

Or, more to the point, X-Men Lite. If you want to be kind of jaded about it. For a more, shall we say, optimistic spin, this would be X-Men for th modern YA crowd. Meaning, we have a story here that requires very little investment in thinking about, stock characters we’ve seen before in other YA sci-fi action movies like this, plot beats you could see coming from low space orbit…but, despite all that, I did find myself enjoying this on a certain level.

Keeping in mind that I probably wasn’t the target demographic The Darkest Minds was aiming for, I realize that this could have been far more worse than what we ended up with. The Darkest Minds is a decent movie; it did keep my attention, the effects were pretty good, and the way it was shot was gorgeous.

Overall, The Darkest Minds is what it is: A movie about teenagers with powers going up against adults who misunderstand and fear them. There might be a hamfisted metaphor there, I think. Anyway, not a bad way to kill some time on a rainy afternoon. One and done viewing, for me.

Movie Review: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

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clash of the titansWarner Bros.
2010
PG-13

“My father was killed by a god. My mother, sister, everyone I loved was killed by a god. I mend nets. Not wield a sword.”

The original Clash Of The Titans will always live in my memory as one of my favorite childhood movies. I remember watching it on HBO after its initial theatrical run in 1982, mesmerized by the stop-motion monsters that some guy with a manly perm fought, from giant scorpions to Medusa to the giant Kraken at the end. That movie was the reason why I so desperately wanted a mechanical owl for Christmas. Ah, memories. Sure, it hasn’t really aged well, but it’s a fun escape every time I come across it.

So, obviously, Clash Of The Titans became one of the classic movies to be remade. I wasn’t surprised. As a matter of fact, I was even all that perturbed about it. Let’s face it, Clash Of The Titans was due for a shiny upgrade. However, I held off for a number of years to actually watch this remake, more or less because of a combination of lack of funds, and quite frankly, disinterest at the time. And while I had friends and associates telling me that the 3D made this one of the bestest movies they’ve seen evah!, I still held off until about six years after its release to give it a watch.

Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus is helpless to save his family from Hades, vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus and unleash hell on earth. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, Perseus and his warriors will only survive if Perseus accepts his power as a god, defies fate and creates his own destiny.

When all is said and done, this shiny updated redux of Clash Of The Titans was…interesting. I’m not exactly up on my Greek mythology stories, but the action adventure story was rather compelling, I do admit. The story itself was fairly standard, and the CGI effects were decent enough. I watched this as a video in standard, not the 3D, mind you, but at no time did I think that there were problems between the rendering. There were some nods to the original movie (the mechanical owl has a cameo…kind of), and overall…yeah, I was entertained. Not blown away, mind you. Maybe if I had seen it in the theater in full 3D? I don’t know. I don’t really see myself watching this one again, so I would give it a Good For A Rental recommendation.

Movie Review: The INCREDIBLE HULK

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incredible hulkUniversal Pictures
2008
PG-13

“I’ve had missions go wrong, and seen good people go down all because someone didn’t tell them what they were walking into. I moved on because that’s the job, and that’s what we do. But this…this is a whole new level of weird, and I don’t think I want to step away from it.”

The second film in the big Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it wasn’t exactly the big blockbuster that Iron Man turned out to be. Mind you, this was the second attempt to bring the Jade Giant to the big screen, five years after Ang Lee’s version with Eric Bana, Nick Nolte and giant mutated poodles. Among other things. And while this kind-of sequel to that Hulk movie got much more right with the characters and the story on this go-round, it still wasn’t the SMASH! we were expecting. See what I did, there?

Pointless bit of personal backstory: The night I went to watch The Incredible Hulk, it was part of the bachelor party I threw as Best Man for my friends. We had just spent a couple of hours at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, so almost all of us were nicely buzzed going into the movie. Except for me, I was the designated driver. So, maybe we enjoyed the movie more than we would normally. That doesn’t factor in my enjoyment due to complete sobriety. But, anyway, enough stalling.

Scientist Bruce Banner scours the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilization, he finds himself coming face to face with a new, deadly foe.

I can see why a lot of people didn’t enjoy The Incredible Hulk. Technically, this was a reboot that worked also as a sequel, but was its own movie…stay with me, here. I liked the way they did a bit of a retro-summary of 2003’s The Hulk with the opening montage segment. The story itself was compelling, and for the most part kept my attention. It was maybe a bit early to wheel in The Abomination at this point in the game, and that’s probably what dragged the last third of the movie down. Liv Tyler seemed to play Banner’s love interest Betty Ross sans any kind of emotion. And while I kind of prefered Sam Eliott in the role of General Thunderbolt Ross from The Hulk, William Hurt does a rather good job in the role himself. Three times, so far.

Overall, yeah, I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk for what it is: a fun comic book action movies. Norton did a doable job as Bruce Banner, but I really am a Mark Ruffalo fan when it comes to live action portrayal of Dr. Bruce Banner. The Incredible Hulk isn’t a bad movie, and I would give it some repeat watchings if the opportunity arises, I’m just in no hurry to put it in my collection just yet.

Movie Review: POINT BREAK

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point break20th Century Fox
1991
R

“Do you think that taxpayers would like it, Utah, if they knew that they were paying a federal agent to surf and pick up girls?”
“Babes.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The correct term is ‘babes’, sir.”

It was the summer of 1991. I was on the cusp of my Senior Year in high school, and that particular summer vacation was turning out to be the best ones of my teenage years. One of the factors were the movies from that summer, one of which happened to be the action classic Point Break.

Let me go ahead and get this out of the way: I haven’t seen the 2015 remake. Neither do I have any intention to do so, ever. An unneccisary abomination, it is.

Yeah, you can probably guess which way this review article is going to go. Ah, nostalgia glasses.

Hang ten and hang tough, Johhny. Rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah is learning to ride the waves. His mission: infiltrated a group of extreme surfers who may be the Ex-Presidents, bank robbers whose MO includes wearing masks of former White House denizens. Keanu Reeves portrays Johnny, Patrick Swaze is charismatic thrill seeker Bodhi and Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow delivers an adrenaline rush of gnarly rides, sky dives and danger in Point Break.

The original Point Break is a bodaciously awesome action flick from the early 1990s that will always be a constant presence in my movie collection. I can understand why some would consider this a “bad movie”. I’m not denying that it’s not. Then again, my tastes don’t exactly run with those Oscar-nominated type movies that everyone who wants to look like a cultured elitist always say they like. I don’t really get those type of people, and I have several in my circle of friends who are like that, so it’s not like I’m a snob about it or anything. Although my superior tastes are quite evident, I don’t have to point that out.

Anyway, Point Break ranks up there with the likes of Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon, with a veritable bromance between Patrick Swaze and Keanu Reeves, and a performance by Gary Busey that can only be considered “subdued” by Busey standards. There’s Souix City’s own Lori Petty as the persnickety surfer love interest, and we even get a bit appearance by a Red Hot Chili Pepper. Not Flea, though. That singer guy. Also, the movie ends on a Ratt song. That’s how awesome this movie is.

So, yeah. I love Point Break. I watch it all the time since that day back in the summer of 1991. I’m probably going to watch it tonight after posting this, as a matter of fact. You should watch it too. That’s all.

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