Like a spoof mash-up of Mad Max and Machete, this nutty action movie throws us into a Wild West dystopia with enough wit and energy to overcome its clunky production values. A whiff of serious subtext helps too. Although it's essentially just a riotous B-movie thrill ride without much of a plot.
The story takes place in the near future, after the Corporate Wars destroyed the world. Now the former company executives are under death warrants, chased by superstar bounty killers through the desolate landscape. One of the most notorious killers is Drifter (Marsden), who has a bounty on his head after sniffing too close to a major scandal. As he heads to the Council to clear his name, he and his new gun caddy Jack (Hardley) are chased by the glamourous killer Mary Death (Pitre). And all of them are being pursued by the relentless Van Sterling (Busey), whose shady boss (Loken) is working on some sort of nefarious plan.
The film's luridly colourful design echoes its graphic-novel origins, as do the comic-book animation segments. And the violence is relentlessly blood-spurting, keeping us laughing so we don't notice how cheesy the effects and action really are. Fortunately, everything is underscored with sardonic humour, rude jokes and melodramatic characters, each of whom has a torrid history. This allows for plenty of irrelevant innuendo, especially between the inexpressive Marsden and the striking Pitre.
Continue reading: Bounty Killer Review
The story is a little scattered, but the main narrative strand involves a chiseled chump named Farmer (Jason Statham), who vows vengeance on the evil Krugs for destroying his family. Along with pal Norick (Ron Pearlman) and brother-in-law Bastian (Will Sanderson), they defy King Konreid (Burt Reynolds; yes, you read that right) and head out looking for payback. Along the way, they confront the mud-dog creatures led by wicked wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta; yes, you read that right as well). Our malevolent magic maker has been literally sucking the power out of his rival Merick's (John Rhys-Davis) daughter Muriella (Leelee Sobieski; so here's where she went!), and with the help of the ruler's inelegant nephew Fallow (Matthew Lillard), he plans to overthrow the court and use the Krug as his new army. On the way to a final confrontation between Farmer and Gallian, we get lots of pseudo-spectacle swordplay, some bad CGI vistas, and a visit from Cirque de Soleil in the form of acrobatic tree-dwellers whose leader (Kristanna Loken) hates humans.
Continue reading: In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Review
BloodRayne is the story of a red-headed half-vampire vixen (Kristanna Loken), a dhampir, on a mission to take revenge against her vampire father (inexplicably portrayed here by a wooden and probably somewhat disoriented Ben Kingsley) and the kingdom of night stalkers over which he rules. There are some motivations behind all this, and from time to time Kingsley and Loken utter lines apparently intended to illustrate these motivations, but mostly it doesn't make sense at all and it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that Rayne comes equipped with a pair of awkward-looking sword-type things and she knows how to use them. Well, she doesn't really, but a series of quick edits make that a moot point.
Continue reading: Bloodrayne Review
Already, T3 has a strike against it. Sequels with "Three" in the title tend to reek, from The Godfather: Part III to Jaws 3-D. Strike two comes in the form of high expectations. Twelve years ago, James Cameron raised the bar with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a superior sequel and a long-standing leader in the high-tech special effects field. The shoes director Jonathan Mostow (U-571) was asked to fill look mighty big.
Continue reading: Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines Review
Several significant plot holes prove a frustrating and unnecessary distraction from the exhilarating, ante-upping, unflagging action of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," an otherwise worthy, series-fulfilling successor to the groundbreaking looming-apocalypse flicks that made the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron.
One nuclear-crater-sized chasm of common sense comes at a pivotal moment when the film's three heroes -- future human freedom fighter John Conner (Nick Stahl), his future wife and first lieutenant Kate Brewster (Clare Danes), and yet another time-traveling Terminator (Schwarzenegger relishing again the one role in which he's truly awesome) -- magically turn up deep inside a top-secret military base without any explanation of how they breached security.
They've come to stop Kate's father (David Andrews), an Air Force general in charge of an artificial intelligence project, from throwing the switch that will give the dangerously self-aware SkyNet defense computers access to all military systems, leading to the nuclear annihilation of mankind.
Continue reading: Terminator 3: Rise Of The MacHines Review
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