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Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) Review


Bad
There are times when I get completely fed up with the arrogance of human beings, forever in their hurry to make money and be a-number one. Petty tyrants in offices preside over minute typographic errors then lash out with tirades against their minimum wage employees, cowering in their cubicles under paper-strewn desks. Sardines pile into the subways breathing each other's coffee and dry animal sweat. It's enough to drive someone mad.

Instead of heading to your local gun shop (or, in NYC, the neighborhood park) to pick up a pair of high powered machine guns and mow a path through thy fellow man, I suppose temporary (if mind-numbing) release can be found through the stupid slaughter of Rambo: First Blood Part II. It's ignorant, but certainly conforms to expectations. It's the Bernie Goetz of Vietnam movies.

Continue reading: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) Review

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1987) Review


Bad
There are times when I get completely fed up with the arrogance of human beings, forever in their hurry to make money and be a-number one. Petty tyrants in offices preside over minute typographic errors then lash out with tirades against their minimum wage employees, cowering in their cubicles under paper-strewn desks. Sardines pile into the subways breathing each other's coffee and dry animal sweat. It's enough to drive someone mad.

Instead of heading to your local gun shop (or, in NYC, the neighborhood park) to pick up a pair of high powered machine guns and mow a path through thy fellow man, I suppose temporary (if mind-numbing) release can be found through the stupid slaughter of Rambo: First Blood Part II. It's ignorant, but certainly conforms to expectations. It's the Bernie Goetz of Vietnam movies.

Continue reading: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1987) Review

Red Dawn Review


Weak
I wonder if someone tossed a copy of Red Dawn into Ronald Reagan's casket before they buried the old guy. I can't imagine a movie he would have loved more. A highly absurd Gipper-era relic, it makes the "Evil Empire" days of 1984 seem like a million years ago. Anyone under the age of 35 will watch this propaganda exercise about a terrifyingly successful Soviet invasion of small-town America and say, "Huh???"

Ignoring the outrageous jingoism for a minute, it should be noted that the movie does have plenty of forward momentum, starting from the moment when a bunch of Wyoming high schoolers (all '80s A- and B-list Brat Packers) look out their classroom window and see a huge number of paratroopers dropping into town. The soldiers who don't speak Russian speak Spanish. It seems that the Soviets have made a successful nuclear first strike (hey, that's cheating!) and have joined forces with ominously swarthy Cuban and Nicaraguan troops to storm a suddenly crippled America. The kids don't know all of this yet, though. All they know is that one of the soldiers has murdered their teacher right in front of them. Godless Commies!

Continue reading: Red Dawn Review

Red Dawn Review


Weak
I wonder if someone tossed a copy of Red Dawn into Ronald Reagan's casket before they buried the old guy. I can't imagine a movie he would have loved more. A highly absurd Gipper-era relic, it makes the "Evil Empire" days of 1984 seem like a million years ago. Anyone under the age of 35 will watch this propaganda exercise about a terrifyingly successful Soviet invasion of small-town America and say, "Huh???"

Ignoring the outrageous jingoism for a minute, it should be noted that the movie does have plenty of forward momentum, starting from the moment when a bunch of Wyoming high schoolers (all '80s A- and B-list Brat Packers) look out their classroom window and see a huge number of paratroopers dropping into town. The soldiers who don't speak Russian speak Spanish. It seems that the Soviets have made a successful nuclear first strike (hey, that's cheating!) and have joined forces with ominously swarthy Cuban and Nicaraguan troops to storm a suddenly crippled America. The kids don't know all of this yet, though. All they know is that one of the soldiers has murdered their teacher right in front of them. Godless Commies!

Continue reading: Red Dawn Review

First Blood Review


Excellent
Before single-handedly taking on the Vietnamese army in a handful of dreadful sequels, John Rambo was a tormented Green Beret who only wanted a little something to eat. First Blood, which introduced Rambo to an audience hungry for a "real American hero," reminds me of a time when Sylvester Stallone could be taken seriously as an actor. Remember, he'd taken home an Academy Award for Rocky a few years earlier (not for acting, but it was a feather in his cap nevertheless).

This lean, mean fighting machine strolls down the street, unassuming and weary in his army jacket, having just found out that another of his veteran friends who made it through the 'Nam died shortly after coming home. Guy just wants to brood for a little while. Cut him some slack. A few minutes later, our unlucky hero gets hassled by a mean-spirited small town sheriff (the inimitable Brian Dennehy) who advises him to take a bath and clean himself up. What would you do if a smug local yokel hiding behind a badge told you to get out of town when you didn't even do anything? You'd pull a Rambo and get arrested for... for... for walking back into town. "Okay, now you're resisting arrest!" the sheriff gloats.

Continue reading: First Blood Review

Foxy Brown Review


Good
Pam Grier's most notorious role as the title character in Foxy Brown is a cult classic that's best enjoyed with your tongue firmly in cheek and your political correctness gene locked out in the backyard. Stilted acting, absurd sexual shenanigans, and enough hair and wardrobe changes to keep a dozen costumers busy all combine to create a memorable and quite silly moviegoing experience. Plot is minimal: Foxy is looking for revenge when her boyfriend gets shot. And what Foxy wants, she gets. Meanwhile, we get a "whole lotta woman," and not much else.

Total Recall Review


Good
Arnold Schwarzenegger made a smart bet with Paul Verhoeven's futuristic splatter-pic Total Recall. Unlike most of the hulking killers from his body of work (The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian), befuddled construction worker Douglas Quaid is at a loss over how to proceed with his memory-bending dilemma. No amount of physical brawn will crack the central question: Who am I? Am I who I think I am, and if I'm someone different, does that mean I can move beyond my former crimes? The sleek band of assassins are chasing him through the Orwellian streets, and poor Quaid may be kicking the hell out of them, but Arnie is as terrified as he's ever been. Inside of this mountain is a mousy everyman -- he never asked to become a superspy.

Quaid should be A-OK. He seems satisfied with his job as a construction worker and is married to a seemingly docile wife (Sharon Stone). He gets on well with his fellow employees, though his head is often in the clouds as he dreams of Mars. How to solve the problem? A handy-dandy trip to the false memory transplant center will make all his dreams come true, asking the technogeeks to make him believe he's a top secret agent en route to Mars on a mission (with the woman of his fantasies being a sassy brunette, as opposed to his demure blonde wife). No sooner has he received the implanted memory than he starts to freak out, beating people up, claiming that he is not Quaid. When he wakes up, he's himself again but unexplained killers are out to destroy him, his wife cheerfully tries to knife him in the kitchen, and videotapes of "Quaid" appear, telling him he's an indispensable part of the underground resistance fighting corrupt political figure Copenhagen (Ronny Cox, perfectly smarmy).

Continue reading: Total Recall Review

Rambo: First Blood Part II Review


Bad
There are times when I get completely fed up with the arrogance of human beings, forever in their hurry to make money and be a-number one. Petty tyrants in offices preside over minute typographic errors then lash out with tirades against their minimum wage employees, cowering in their cubicles under paper-strewn desks. Sardines pile into the subways breathing each other's coffee and dry animal sweat. It's enough to drive someone mad.

Instead of heading to your local gun shop (or, in NYC, the neighborhood park) to pick up a pair of high powered machine guns and mow a path through thy fellow man, I suppose temporary (if mind-numbing) release can be found through the stupid slaughter of Rambo: First Blood Part II. It's ignorant, but certainly conforms to expectations. It's the Bernie Goetz of Vietnam movies.

Continue reading: Rambo: First Blood Part II Review

Conan The Barbarian Review


Very Good
"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!" When it comes to the great lines (and mottos) of cinema, it doesn't get much better than this. Arnold Schwarzenegger's second most well-known role is a giddy and absurd adventure in a fantasy kingdom that mixes about a dozen different mythos, and it's nothing if not one hell of a party. Crush your DVD player!

Rambo III Review


Weak
Regardless of how you feel about the First Blood series, you have to hand it to Rambo III for pulling off one of the most inventive title switcheroos in Hollywood history. How's that? The movies go from First Blood to Rambo: First Blood Part II, to Rambo III. Shouldn't this be Rambo II? It's enough to make a Vietnam vet's head spin!

In this final entry into the incredibly profitable, gory, and mumbletastic Rambo series, Sylvester Stallone has traded writing partner James Cameron for Sheldon Lettich (of such films as Bloodsport), and his hair is so long he can barely see through his bangs. Good thing he's got that headband to keep it out of his face.

Continue reading: Rambo III Review

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Red Dawn Movie Review

Red Dawn Movie Review

I wonder if someone tossed a copy of Red Dawn into Ronald Reagan's casket before...

Red Dawn Movie Review

Red Dawn Movie Review

I wonder if someone tossed a copy of Red Dawn into Ronald Reagan's casket before...

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Total Recall Movie Review

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