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Quarantine (2008)
Waste of half a hour
17 November 2012
The only reason it wasn't a waste of more than half an hour is, I hit Eject. I rarely do this - it really says more than anything else how poor this is.

Basically, it's a stock zombie movie. I don't understand the appeal of zombie movies, given that once someone has woken up one morning and said "Hey, I know, lets do a zombie movie!" that's the last new idea they have. After that, it seems you can just crank the handle and turn out a standard-plot zombie movie and the studio will cut you a cheque and kiss your boots.

PS - if you like zombie movies, you'll probably like this one too.
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Hitler's Daughter (1990 TV Movie)
4 February 2008
The proposition is that Hitler had a daughter, who has been smuggled into America, and is now one of a small number of women about to be in a position of power. All of a sudden one bunch of people are trying to prove this and another are trying to kill them. Nazis are coming out of the woodwork. The script writers have clearly read a few Ludlum novels and maybe even a Deighton, and then thought they could do as well. They can't. Not helped by plastic acting and dull direction. There are better ways to spend 2 hours. Obtain and read a copy of Ludlum's "The Holcroft Covanent" and you might see something this film wanted to be when it was conceived, but it never made it even half way there. Watch something good instead, like Verhoven's "Black Book".
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Transporter 2 (2005)
Deeply disappointing.
6 November 2006
I watched "Transporter" without having seen any reviews or clues - and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just right.

But this? Don't bother. It could've worked. It didn't *need* the utterly implausible stunts and effects. They added nothing, they took away any possible hope of credibility. You can't *suspend* disbelief that far, every time you settle down to enjoy, something *else* happens which just makes you go "nope - that's daft".

There's no problem with the underlying plot. (Well, if it has a hole or two, they're no bigger than we're expected to swallow with any thriller.) Acting... Statham is just fine, and I look forward to seeing more of him. Where did it all go horribly wrong? I think the problem is the first film turned out so popular that the budget for the second was so big they just couldn't resist souping up the scenes and cramming in more FX.
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Thunderbirds (2004)
A big miss
29 August 2005
This was very disappointing.

For *forty* years kids of all ages have been watching Thunderbirds on TV. So not surprising that someone decided it was time to big-screen it.

It's a pity that they just though "ah - a big target audience, so lots of moolah" and didn't also take the time out to think "I wonder what makes a show that remains popular for FORTY YEARS." Someone clearly decided to make this a film for *young* kids, and ignore the fact that the TV series was enjoyed by kids of *all* ages (I mean, anyone still breathing!) but I have to wonder, even with that dubious decision, why they had to ignore the obvious.

For example. One thing kids clearly *love* in any TV show is ritual. That's why, whenever it's time to launch the thunderbirds, the TV show shows the *whole* thing, people sliding down chutes, bits of island opening, etc. So why then decide to gratuitously change one of the big ritual elements. The thunderbirds are, any kid over the age of two knows, the *machiens*, not the *people*. The *people* are "members of International Rescue". Kids want to grow up to *be* members of international rescue. Only small ford motorcars want to grow up to be thunderbirds.

I'm not going to pick up on all that is wrong with this - the list is just too long. But three more points I feel I have to make.

1) The *music* was a *major* factor in the original series. It was even used on the trails for the TV release of the film in the UK. Since the new soundtrack is naff, you have to wonder why they didn't just come to an agreement with Barry Grey and use the original music - would've lifted it! 2) You would think that of *all* people Frakes would have known better than to be caught by the Wesley Effect. After playing second fiddle to Will Wheaton for so many years in TNG, you'd think he might have noticed that whilst film and TV execs often seem to think you have to make a film *about* a ten year old kid if you want it to appeal *to* ten year old kids, not only is this clearly NOT the case (see above - for forty years kids have been enjoying Thunderbirds on TV and been happy to want to grow up to fly a thunderbird, or pretend they already have!) but also...

3) it doesn't work. My nephews are 8 and 10. They have been watching Thunderbirds tapes since they could prop themselves up in front of the telly and are major fans. They hate the film.
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A hoot!
1 January 2005
This film got bad reviews; I have to wonder what sort of a film the reviewers were expecting. It's not a "heavy" or "serious" action film, it's a comedy "action flic", viewing it as anything else is daft. And viewing it as a comedy action flic, it's a total hoot. The girls are cute, the music's cool, the gags are a giggle, the plot is more plausible than that of many "serious" action films... OK - except the bit with the helicopter. But hey, whoever said the laws of physics applied in Hollywood?

And if that's not enough, you can always play "spot the movie reference" - I don't believe anyone got them all even with the help of the IMDb "Movie Connections" link. And it has John Cleese in it. What more could you ask for?
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Hit Man (1972)
Don't Hit this, Get Carter instead.
12 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure "remake" is the word - I've seen remakes of films which are *radically* different (e.g. McTiernan's ghastly attempt to improve on Jewison's Rollerball) and remakes which take the same basic concept but explore it in different ways (e.g. McTiernan's excellent reinterpretation of Jewison's The Thomas Crowne Affair) but this looks like the original script just fell through a computer program which replaced the dialogue with "hip blaxploitation" type dialogue, simplified a couple of the finer points of the plot for the hard of thinking, and then ran it out with little attempt at finesse. This is scene for scene, plot for plot, location for location, the same as Get Carter, right down to the final chase on big mining equipment near the beach, with a single exception - the last ten seconds of the film - and the change here makes no sense

(here's where the spoiler hits, folks, stop reading now if you don't want to know)

In the original, the hit-man shoots Carter on the beach. Here, the shooter unaccountably decides to leave our hero alive on hearing that the gang boss is dead. This leaves the watcher thinking "hey, our hero got away with it". But he didn't, how can he? He, like Carter, has left a trail of bodies across the county with no attempt to hide evidence or conceal his involvement. However much the plot justifies him doing this, he's still going down for murder. The hit-man's bullet is the cleanest exit.

On a lesser note, the sound track I found strange, music typical to the age and style of the film, but uncannily reminiscent of Steve Austin's "running faster than the bad guy's car" theme from Six Million Dollar Man. Esp in the scene where our hero is running away from the bad guys' car.

I'm also baffled by the shooting scenes - the "stage blood" is the worst I've ever seen, so bad I have to wonder if it's intended to be some sort of "stylised" representation. Marvelous stuff though - doesn't turn the water in the jacuzzi cloudy-pink even after the gunman turns the pumps on.

Basically, I just can't see the point. If you want to watch a crisp, tight thriller with this plot, watch Get Carter (i mean the 1971 version with Michael Caine) and be happy.
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Unutterably dire
6 December 2004
This film entirely fails. It fails to engage, it fails to entertain, it even fails to amuse.

Based on a video game, with some attempt to create a "comic book" style, but there's no meat on the bones, and the bones are rickety. VanDamme is VanDamme. When it comes time to kick someone, he's your man. Up until then, he looks pretty. Why has someone tattooed a US flag on his shoulder? Minogue is very easy on the eye, especially in the blue vest. And she isn't singing. But there's any number of ways of admiring pictures of Minogue and most of them can be effected without having to hear her singing if it's not to your taste! Ming-Na is also easy on the eye especially in the very silly dress or the black catsuit, and she's not quite so ubiquitous, so that could be this is the film's saving grace. She also has the only role that comes close to having anything in it to work with.

Raol Julia tried hard, but even here the character just doesn't work. I suggest you watch The Addams Family, which is brilliantly written and really gives Julia a chance to show his not inconsiderable talents.

At the end of the day, this is a waste of good celluloid. Watch something else. Anything.
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The Core (2003)
Bad science makes bad SciFi.
20 November 2004
Well, as an "action movie" it's not bad. Turn your brain off for a couple of hours and enjoy the special effects and the... well that's about it.

As SciFi it fails big time - because the "science" is just crap. Why some writers thinks that if they're writing science fiction they can forget the science and concentrate on the fiction, I don't know - because the end result is a cinema full of people thinking "don't be daft" and "it would never..." and "but it doesn't..." and so forth - which is a major impediment to enjoyment of the film.

Anyway, didn't someone save the world by burrowing into it and letting off nukes only last year? You think they'd have learned by now.
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American Gun (2002)
Nicely put together - but...
5 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
POSSIBLE SPOILER - if you havn't seen the film yet I suggest you return to this review later.

I like Coburn so this had to be worth a look. And I have to say, the film was nicely put together, the pace is good, and I liked the gradually emerging situation until you eventually realise what's really been going on. Coburn is as good as you would expect, and Barbara Bain isn't too annoying for a change.

However, once the situation *has* become clear, I'm left with one big question about the whole thing. How can Martin Tillman be chasing down the source and tracking the ownership of the gun? How come he gets the gun back? And, more important still, why isn't he in jail?
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Dear oh dear oh dear
5 July 2004
Good grief. Someone *paid* actual *money* to make this?

If you want to watch people having sex, buy a porn movie, and be prepared to put up with lousy acting, ghastly dialog, and a plot (if any) that a two year old wrote.

This is utterly bizarre. Lousy acting, ghastly dialog, a plot a two year old would have eschewed... and lousy sex. OK, someone wanted to make it, someone put up a budget, all this I understand. What I don't understand is - why is it on my TV screen?

(Except it isn't - I can surely find a channel with something better on. Even if it's white noise.)

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Rat Race (2001)
Bad. Bad bad bad. Soooo bad.
26 July 2003
Well, it has John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson and Whoopi Goldberg, and Seth Green and so it had to be worth a look despite the ill omen of the trailer. I'm just glad I didn't pay to go see it - I hate leaving the cinema half way.... Well the aforementioned did their best to salvage it, Seth Green in particular tried to find something in the lines to turn into a character but there's nothing there. The gags are telegraphed so far in advance you can tell what they are before the opening credits. And the production is poor, equipment in shot, poor sound effects... This was clearly a film with a limited budget, and most of that was spent on getting some famous names on the poster. And presumably they hung on to the rest of the budget to spend on advertising...

I'm off to watch some paint dry now. I'll be way more entertaining.
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Insektors (1994– )
Kids stuff - for kids of all ages.
21 August 2002
This is a superb series, shows how well it can be done. Animation is excellent, esp for it's era, and the English voices nicely casted and well "acted". (I presume it's also available with french actors speaking in french - wonder if that's as good...) I've only had one opportunity to see it - and would set the alarm to wake up early enough to watch it on TV on Sunday mornings! If it ever comes out on video or DVD (so far as I know it hasn't yet) grab a copy for your kids - and watch it when they're asleep. If you don't have kids, get it anyway. Start making kids if necessary. :)
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Nicely put together thriller.
12 July 2002
The TV guide said this was a "TV movie" and that normally makes me at least look to see what else is on. But then I noticed it was directed by John Badham. (Who's he? Click the link - bet you recognise a LOT of those films!) I decided it had to be worth a look and I'm glad I watched it. It's nicely put together, a thriller that doesn't rely on magic computers, or fancy special effects. Nor is it filled with unlikely occurrences and other evidence that the "artistic licence" has been out of its cupboard. It poses some intriguing questions - I like a film that leaves you thinking "what would I do if...". Nice performances from Tripplehorn and Parke.
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Hitman's Run (1999)
Poor. Amazingly poor. This is *bad*.
21 March 2002
Bad acting, poor plot, naff effects very badly created. It's just bad - even for a "TV Movie" which I presume it was... You can see the blood packs through the shirts so you know where the bullets are going to hit, for example. This one should be shown in movie-making school, it's a brilliant example of doing everything wrong.
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Othello (2001 TV Movie)
First impressions last!
23 December 2001
If you thought this superb adaptation of the classic, and in particular Christopher Eccleston's "Jago", had about it a certain something reminiscent of Ian Richardson's "Francis Urquhart" in "House of Cards", then it might be because this comes from the pen of Andrew Davies, and he's really on form here.

When John Othello is promoted to Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over the head of his friend and mentor Ben Jago, Ben is not amused, and with the unwitting help of Superintendant Cass, Jago sets about installing the skids...

This is like a bottle of good vintage port - take time to savour every drop.
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