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

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: Ready Player 1

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There are between 1-3 films I have circled every year that I absolutely cannot wait to see.  This year, it’s Avengers: Infinity War, Sicario 2 and Ready Player 1.  One is an obvious superhero sequel, the other is a sequel to what should have been nominated for best picture.  And that leaves Ready Player 1, which  is one of my favorite books of all time.  If you’re not familiar, you need to do so reallllly quickly.  It’s the story of a Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a young man who along with millions of other of citizens, take on a challenge to find a digital “Easter Egg” in the OASIS.  The OASIS is a VR world which is as real as you want to make it.  The winner of the challenge presented by recently deceased creator of the OASIS, James Halladay (Mark Rylance), wins his fortune and control of the OASIS. And of course, there is an evil CEO, Nolan Sorrento, (Ben Mendelsohn) who will stop at nothing to control OASIS. Halladay is a Bill Gates type who grew up in the 80’s, addicted to video games and films from the time.  All of his challenges have to do with both video games and films so turn the nostalgia factor on full blast.  Steven Spielberg directs this film and who better to take us down that road.

Parzival was initially against “clanning”; which is nerd speak for others joining is eventually joined by lady crush, Artemis,  ninjas Sho and Daito, and his best friend, Aech.  They call themselves, “The Top 5,” and they all mesh together quite well and especially when their real identities are given.

There are an absolute shit load of references, characters, and nods to films/video game characters throughout.  You’ll go crazy trying to keep track of whom and what you saw but I’ll give you a few: Goro from Mortal Kombat, Chun Li from Street Fighter, Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Robocop, the baby Alien, and even caught a Jack Slater from Last Action Hero reference.  Wade Watts’s OASIS character, Parzival, even drives the DeLorean from Back to the Future with the KITT from Knight Rider lights in the front.  Movie nerds and video game nerds, rejoice.  Scoring the film are 2 juggernauts from the 80’s, John Williams (if I need you to tell you what films he’s worked on, deport yourself) and Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future trilogy).  And you’re going to hear a TON of nods from their previous films in the score.  And you will smile.

So let’s do the eventual annoying “book to film” comparison.  The book was amazing because Wade had to play Joust with one of the guardians for the keys.  Wade also had to do “film syncs”  scenes from War Games and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  In the film, they don’t do either.  The first challenge is a race, the second is a scene within, “The Shining.” And the third is playing, “Adventure” on Atari.  I wish that Spielberg would’ve chosen different challenges, including doing the film syncs.  I know that would’ve brought the same charm and allure that the book brought.  My other biggest complaint is that one of the “Top 5” die in the book but Spielberg pulls the typical “everything ending is a happy one.”  Spielberg kept a ton of the book’s integrity (also noted that RP1 writer Ernest Cline did co-write the screenplay) by tweaking a few things, like the Zemeckis cube.

This film is good and you will get sucked into it without question.  The ongoing references and nods within the score will always keep an ear to ear grin.  But those 2 omissions are glaring ones and major points are deducted for such.  Otherwise, it keeps close to the book and Spielberg does his best work in over a decade.  It will also be the perfect excuse to get your kids researching the great films and games I/we grew up on.

The book is a 10, the film is a 7.