Film Reviews: Bloodshot and the Hunt

God, NOTHING puts a smile on one’s face than going to a movie theater and seeing few or NO one in a theater.  Corona virus=empty movie theaters.  There was NO ONE in the theater for the Hunt with me.  And just 2 people besides be for Bloodshot, euphoria.  Since the NFL season is over and baseball is suspended, I might as well gamble on my health.  The early reviews on Bloodshot and the Hunt were good so I said, what the hell.  Time to douse my seat and popcorn in Purell and do a double dip.


Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel (The Pacifier and the Last Witch Hunter) as a Green Beret, gets killed with his wife, resurrected, and gets fitted with nanotechnology.  Guy Pearce (Count of Monte Cristo) plays the scientist in charge of bringing him and other fallen soldiers back with robotics and enhancements.  Vin’s hell bent on revenge for his wife as much as we’re seeking the same revenge for the last 3 Fast and Furious films.  Folks, they’re bad.  Just admit it.  Well guess what, Vin keeps doing a Groundhog Day of seeking his wife’s killer but with different people as the killer.

I’ll save you time for the reveal, GUY PEARCE IS NOT A GOOD GUY.  He keeps one of his henchwomen, (Elza Gonazalez, an absolute smoke show) attached to an electronic asphyxiating governor.  He keeps recreating the scenarios where Vin Diesel’s wife is killed via an internet web base wired into Diesel’s head.

Here are the problems with this film:

  1. The dialogue is beyond atrocious.  Lazy dick jokes that are more flaccid than Kevin Spacey watching Christina Hendricks jump on a trampoline.
  2. We’ve seen this film before: Universal Soldier, Robocop, Inspector Gadget, Short Circuit.  Just seeing if you’re paying attention.  How does this differentiate itself?  Great action sequences?  No.  Memorable characters?  Barely.  Anything unique in this plot than the other films mentioned?  Only Vin Diesel grunting and Grooting his way through this dirty needle landfill.
  3. I almost walked out of this.  Only reason I didn’t is how was I hoped the final battle would’ve been worth it.  Not only it wasn’t, it was a negative effect on me.  As in, I should’ve walked out before the end and I would’ve had a higher opinion of this film.

There are many other problems with this film but I don’t feel like getting into them here as this film deserves as little real estate in our minds or this column.  This film stinks.  The trailer sucked me in with promises of a different cyborg story but left me worse for wear.  The action was pedestrian, the script was horrendous, and the characters were downright awful.  Quarantine is a fate better than this; avoid this like a soccer stadium full of Corona virus sufferers.

Bloodshot gets a 1.5/10 and I don’t know why I still didn’t walk out.

the hunt

The Hunt is not about the WASP-y horse race in Far Hills, NJ but if it was, I would only hope it showed the guy with a baby arm who chased down a guy who swiped a bottle from our bar.  That was high comedy and a definitely, “you had to be there moment.”  The Hunt is about a group of liberal minded people kidnapping those who are conservatives.  That’s right, hunted.  As in released in an open field with a crate of weapons to chose from and then avoid bullets, arrows, land mines, and people trying to hoard toilet paper.  Get ready for a cast of  “Isn’t that the guy from It’s Always Sunny” and “Holy shit, Uncle Buck’s girlfriend really aged poorly or that’s a hell of a makeup job” and, “Wow, Hilary Swank has 2 Oscars but she needs the money THIS badly?”

I went into this with zero expectations and enjoyed it because of such.  This isn’t torture porn like Saw was nor does it have the intricacies that the first Saw film had.  It can be obviously predictable at times and a couple of minor yet fun twists with Crystal, a bad ass woman from Mississippi who may not be who people think she is.

The Hunt was pushed from last September to March because of political ramifications.  Why?  The already politically charged climate we live in may have been sent to a stratospheric level if this came out, loosely proposed by Trump’s camp.  After seeing this film, will it send those to round up people they disagree with to hunt down?  Hopefully this isn’t a copycat issue like Natural Born Killers was.

90 minutes later and you’re out of the theater no muss, no fuss.  It’s an enjoyable romp with some good satire and some decent action.  You don’t need to drop $15 on it but solid netflix for sure.

I give the Hunt a 6/10




Film Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom


There are some franchises that motor on because of the success and quality of those films.  See: 90% of Star Wars films, Rocky 1-4 as well as Balboa and Creed, Indiana Jones Trilogy,  (I don’t acknowledge the 4th like no one recognizes the third Godfather), 75% of the James Bond films, and most of the Star Trek films/reboots.  And there are some franchises that people feel obligated to stay with no matter how mediocre or films have become and they still make boku bucks, hence another sequel every 3 years.  See: Fast and the Furious, Saw, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean.   What do some of these franchises have in common?  The first one is fantastic.  The second and third ones, meh.  By 4, you barely keep up with them and skip over them when they pop up on cable (I know, I just made myself look old by still having cable).  Sometimes, they manage to surprise the hell out of you by hiring new writers/director for the 4th or 5th and reinvigorate the franchise.  Fast and the Furious 5 is a perfect example, it brought me back in because it was excellent.  And then I sat through the next 2 oversized turds.  Guess what?  Now you’re hooked for at least 2 or 3 more films. And bang, you’re just like a vegan who came to their senses and started eating meat again.  

Let’s review Jurassic Park.  The first one, very solid but the book ending was MUCH better than the film ending but 8-9 times out of 10, that’s the case.  JP2, not great except the scene where the dino hunters ran through the field of velociraptors and most of them ended up looking like Jenna Jamison’s b-hole when she retired from porn.  JP3 was even worse, not even the pterodactyl scene saved this monstrosity.  And next thing you know, the franchise was shelved.  

But as Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character in 2 and 1/10 films) says, “Life, ahhh finds a way.”  As does Steven Spielberg to jump start a dead franchise.  3 years ago, Jurassic World came out and ran roughshod through the box office like a T-Rex that just ate a Mexican village and is now looking for a bathroom.  What does that mean?  Fire up the sequel machine!!  JW recaptured the elements from JP and did it well with a bunch of cool nods to the first one.  It worked, even though it was just a blatant reboot of the first one.  But I dug it.  

Of all the previews I saw of FK, not one of them made me go, “Hmm, I’m looking forward to playing hooky from work to see this.”  But since I’m an (unpaid) film reviewer, I felt it was my civic responsibility to see this and comment.  FK starts off with the dino island in deep stegosaurus poop; a volcano is exploding and the dinos face extinction, sigh, again.  And of course, screenwriters Colin Trevorow and Derek Conolly, decide to make this one of the few social issues of the film.  Do dino lives matter?  According to Claire (one of the few attractive gingers, Bryce Dallas Howard), they certainly do.  She gets little resistance from persuading Owen (newly single Chris Pratt and who will be bedding GOTG nerds and film extras galore) to come with her to help save the dinos.  Financing the journey is Benjamin Lockwood (Jamie Cromwell) who apparently used to be partners with JP creator, John Hammond, until Hammond had the idea to make an amusement park with dinosaurs.  Standing in the way is Lockwood’s assistant, Mills, who has plans of his own for the Cretaceous creatures.

Here are several problems with this film:  

  1. What do people want to see?  Dinosaurs killing humans in cool ways with a little bit of gore. Yes, I know that a ton of little kids go see this but it’s rated PG-13 which allows them to get away with more.  When people get killed, it’s almost sanitary and really doesn’t scare you nor feel “real.”  
  2. This film DRAAAAGS.  The last 20-30 minutes should’ve been trimmed down, especially the scene you see in commercials where the dinosaur gets into the little girl’s bedroom.  The running time is just over 2 hours but it felt as long as the math section did of the SATs.  
  3. The plot fell into the same formulaic trap as some of the sequels did.  You know who’s dying within 10 seconds of the introduction of characters.  Asshole money- hungry assistant?  Surprise, he dies.  Overly aggressive and mean head of security?  Auf Weiderzehen.  Soldier who hits a woman?  Appetizer for T-Rex.  Just once, let’s see one or 2 of the good guys get picked off and not everyone making it home in time for dinner.  Let’s have the computer nerd get picked off.  Or the cute little girl.  
  4. Do we need a bunch of social issues in a popcorn blockbuster film?  I don’t think so. Do dino lives matter?  Should we let them acclimate into our world?  Is cloning humans acceptable?  And the last reveal was just plain lazy which ties into the ending.  
  5. You see 75% of Jeff Goldblum in the previews which obviously means he’s critically underutilized.  That character was great in the first and second films.  Maybe he didn’t want to do a full role but man, spread his scenes throughout the film.  
  6. JW hatched (I’m a cutup, I know) a hybrid dinosaur to mix things up.  So if it ain’t broke, Universal ain’t fixing it.  Yes, there’s another hybrid dinosaur and I immediately thought, “Ok, back to the well with this idea.”  20 bucks said the next sequel has TWO hybrids and one of them will involve a pterodactyl that looks like Kathy Griffin.  

I found myself over halfway through the film not really caring what happens next.  I honestly got bored through the final encounter.  I’m surprised I’m seeing more positive reviews than negative reviews for this one.  The poster should’ve had Spielberg, BDH, and Pratt holding bags with the $ sign while riding on the back of a Brontosaurus.  Because that’s exactly what this was, a vicious cash grab.  This film opened 60 million less than JW did.  But of course, it will be profitable and they’ll make another one.  Good luck getting me to invest me any more time in this franchise, I’m out.

I give it a 4/10.

Film review: Fate of the Furious (Fast and the Furious 8)


I always say, give credit where credit is due.  So give it up to Vin Diesel.  He single-handedly resurrected a nearly dead franchise and made it into one of the top franchises of all time.  He has milked the shit out of this and almost made us forget “The Last Witch Hunter” or “The Pacifier”…almost.  

A quick timeline: 

2001: Fast and the Furious.  Budget 38 million, domestic 144 million.  Interesting take on street racers and an undercover cop’s attempt to stop highway robberies.

2003: 2 Fast 2 Furious: Budget 76 mil, domestic 127 mil.  This is where Tyrese Gibson busted out those kneepads and took care of a few people to begin his Cinderella Story career.  Vin Diesel not present in this film, therefore the main characters’ dialogue not grumbled for 2 hours, critics rejoice.  

2006: Tokyo Drift: Budget 85 mil, domestic 62.  By far, the worst installment of the series. It starred the kid from Home Improvement and I don’t even care enough to google his name. Vin Diesel makes a late cameo.  Not many lines to growl out when you appear right before credits.  

2009: Fast and Furious: Budget 85, domestic 155.  I didn’t give a shit to see the last 2 in the theaters and I kept the streak alive for this one.  Michelle Rodriguez dies in this one, immediately digs up as much blackmail material as she can on Vin Diesel to ensure a return to the series.

2011: Fast 5: Budget 125, domestic 209.  The crew ends up in Brazil, robbing the guy who screwed them in part 4.  Also didn’t see this one in the theater but was pleasantly surprised when I watched on Netflix.  Plot lines starting to get a liiiiiitle hard to conceive but still more palatable than Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing around Hollywood.  The Rock first appears as a, “take no prisoners” government agent tracking down the crew.  Casting agent who made that decision hailed as a genius and innovator.  Backslaps and high fives run amuck.  

2013: Fast and Furious 6: Budget 160, domestic 238.  Broke the streak and saw this in the theater because of the good will that part 5 brought.  Michelle Rodriguez finally compiles enough blackmail material or sets up a vicious kiddie porn sting and Vin Diesel falls right into it (completely not true) as her character, Leti, is brought back into the foray.  Jason Statham brings English cockney dialogue to the table as the bad guy.  Spoiler note: cars take down a military plane. Slackjawed fans of the show, “Ridiculousness” fantasize about emulating this in backyards across flyover states in this great nation.

2015: Furious 7.  Budget 190, domestic 351.  Also saw this in the theater.  Note: My doppleganger (said by several drunken women at bars), Paul Walker, died while filming.  They used his brother and CGI to finish up his scenes.  Nothing puts asses in the seats like an actor dying in the line of fire (pun intended).  See: Brandon Lee in the Crow.  See not: John Candy in Wagons East.  Plot lines continue to soar past ridiculousness and straight into when 2 cars drive consecutively through 3 skyscrapers.  Audiences wonder aloud,  “a 5th grader come up with these stunts, right?”  Dialogue is as monosyllabic as humanly possible.  

2017: Fate of the Furious.  Budget 250 million, domestic opening weekend 136 and worldwide 674.  Biggest worldwide opening ever.  

Notably absent: Paul Walker (death) and Jordana Brewster (recruited into MENSA and becoming a top 5 Pinterest contributor…just kidding) Vin Diesel turns against his crew as newcomer villain Charlize Theron makes him do things he doesn’t want to do; like take an acting class or properly enunciate.  All kidding aside, Toretto goes rogue after a job after Cypher (Theron) shows his something that shakes him to the core.  Out goes loyalty and Toretto’s favorite word, “family.”  This film takes the cake when it comes to absurdity. First of all, the crew races through Times Square at least 50 miles an hour.  Not even cop cars on a high speed chase through that area reach that speed.  There’s a chase scene with zombie cars (hacked by Cypher) blocking for Toretto and creating havoc down Manhattan streets.  Cars are literally falling from the sky from parking garages.  And the scene we’ve all scene in the previews; a nuclear sub chasing down cars on a sheet of ice.  There’s “suspending disbelief” for the sake of the art and then there’s the, “Enough is fucking enough.”  And that’s where I am.  I yearn again for the days of simple street racers trying to rob truckers of their goods with an attempt of a twist.  

And the dialogue, wow.  It’s like some poor intern was tasked with going through the annals of action film dialogue and had to pick out every cliche ever uttered.  Then, the cliches were placed into a “Mad-Libs” format into the dialogue.  Jesus Christ, I could barely find 25 lines which were original thoughts.  If you really want to partake in a drinking game, do a shot every time some utters something from an action film in the last 30 years.  If there was an acting coach for this film, I dub that the EASIEST job ever.  “You!  Just be give me an eye roll when a snarky comment is made.  And you! Give me a semi-surpised look when a nuclear sub shoots onto a frozen lake!”  I get it, none of these characters are in danger of being recruited to sit in on ways to combat global warming.  But goddamn, these lines are so recycled, you would’ve smelled compost heaps throughout the film while sitting in the theater.

I’m done paying to see this franchise, again.  They screwed it up again after part 5 levitated it from the ashes and just made it dumber than any Michael Bay sequel.  Action is great and I’ll never stop seeing action films.  But when it’s dragged down by awful dialogue and beyond unreasonable stunts to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, this is where I unbuckle my seatbelt and jump out of a moving car on the Autobahn.



Star Trek: Beyond


It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the theater because this summer has consistently dropped stinkers upon the masses and I’m glad to say that the public isn’t buying into the garbage.  The latest Star Trek film was just released yesterday and this was one I circled as a “must see” but I admit, when I saw the previews, I wasn’t impressed.  First off, I’m not a Trekkie so let’s not get up in arms if I miss a minor detail here.  No JJ Abrams, he was too busy doing a fantastic job with “Star Wars The Force Unleashed.”  In the director’s chair for this installment is Justin Lin who is most noted for the “Fast and the Furious” films.  Also, Simon Pegg (plays Scotty in the recent films) wrote this film.  Gone are Kurtzman and Orci who penned the first 2.  And believe me, you notice.

The film starts out with Kirk pondering his place in Starfleet and in life, same with Spock.  Then, we get right into it as the Enterprise follows up on a distress call and away we go.  Idris Elba plays the villain but you would never know as he’s layered in makeup.  The film cruises till about the 2/3 point when we learn why Krall (Elba) has a bug up his ass with the Federation.  At this point, I was holding in copious amounts of urine and I wasn’t completely focused but I’m a little fuzzy why Krall did what he was doing.  It kind of felt like they forgot late in the film, “oh yeah, we need to hurry up and get a few more plot points in between the final action scenes.”

Speaking of action scenes, that’s what Justin Lin is known for in the FnF franchise.  In this film, we don’t see anything close to Vin Diesel growl out monosyllabic phrases while his car does a 720 in between 2 high rise buildings.  However, there’s a scene where Kirk is on a motorcycle that reminded me, “Yep, this makes sense because Lin is directing.”  And if we can get away from playing, “Sabotage” in future films, I’d be happy with that.  It worked in the first one just fine, no need to keep flogging that horse.
And there was a little buzz about Sulu coming out as gay in this installment.  Calm down homophobes, it isn’t that bad.  Just only when Kirk bends him over the captain’s chair and has his way with him while yelling out in Klingon.  Just kidding.

I thought this film was fine.  Definitely the weakest of the bunch but not bad.  Would I drop 15 bucks on it?  Maybe but don’t think you’re getting as good of a film as the first 2.  I felt there were moments like it was a mad libs where they had “insert character trait/emotion here”to check the boxes.  I didn’t get much of an apathy or any other emotion for Elba’s villain.  The final action sequence felt too much like the ending of the other 2 films.

I give it a 6 out of 10.