Mark Dacascos and Julie Condra - Time For Hope Fundraiser Gala Benefiting This Time Foundation And The Apl.de.ap Foundation International - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Saturday 18th May 2013
As for the end product: Nomad will appeal mainly to two small special-interest groups: those with a fascination for 18th century Central Asian geopolitics, and those with a fascination for costume design. Also, people who like swords and horses.
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Say what you will about using lame source material, Scorcher is laughably bad in its own right. As with Core, our meddling has caused some kind of tectonic trouble, and if the gap between two plates opens wider than 44 centimeters (yeah, whatever), then we will literally have "hell on earth" as earthquakes and volcanoes sprout up all over the planet. Uh huh. And so our hero geologists (including John Rhys-Davies, whoa nelly!), under the direction of President Rutger Hauer(!!!), are tasked with finding a solution. Naturally, that involves setting off a nuclear bomb somewhere. In the case of Scorcher, it means detonating the nuke in central Los Angeles. Sounds like an improvement to me, but whatever, after quietly evacuating the tens of millions of people who live there, a wrench involving our military co-hero (Mark Dacascos) and a kidnapped daughter gets thrown at us, not to mention crossed signals between the military dudes tasked with getting the nukes set just so.
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Poor acting combined with the plausibility level of a G.I. Joe cartoon haunts Cradle 2 the Grave from the start. Bartkowiak (Romeo Must Die) presents the audience with two highly specialized entertainers unable to break out of their typecast niches. For Jet Li, whose English is barely comprehendible, he cannot bond with X unless its through the universal language of fighting, and for X, while he can flex his tattooed body and be intimidating as anyone, his "tough guy" persona is limiting. So we have two Alphas with no sense of humor, facing a noticeable language barrier and an inhibiting script. No doubt the film would have been better if the villain Ling, played by Mark Dacascos (The Brotherhood of the Wolf), were to have switched roles with Li. Then at least he and X could have had at least one much-needed bonding moment. Instead, our heroes are left simply staring at one another in awkward downtime as they wait for the action to arrive.
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"Brotherhood of the Wolf" isn't a bad pre-Revolutionary French action-horror flick, per se. But everything that's wrong with it can be summed up by noting that if it had been made in English, it would have starred Christopher Lambert, that heavy-browed, stiff and oh-so-serious staple of glossy B-fantasy swordplay flicks like the "Highlander" series.
It's lavishly over-produced yet full of cheap cinematic artifice -- like gratuitous, unmotivated, absurdly dramatic slow motion and over-the-top sound effects. It takes itself very seriously for a movie with blinders on to its pronounced plot holes. It features ominous secret-society meetings of evil aristocrats who wear masks and velvet robes. And it has a hunky blond hero (Samuel Le Bihan) with period-inaccurate, rock star mullet hair, who sports war paint and twirls twin swords -- just because it looks cool -- during martial arts duels set in cathedral-like mossy forests.
Everything that's right with "Brotherhood of the Wolf" is harder to explain. Set in a dark French province beset by some stealthy supernatural beast that's goring villagers, the film is thick with atmospheric peril and mystery that seems to have hung in the vaporous air for ages.
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By pairing rappers-turned-actors with martial-arts action stars, director Andrzej Bartkowiak has carved out his own private genre of hip-hop-kung-fu pictures -- and entrenched himself in a flashy but fruitless rut.
After the misfiring with 2000's overproduced "Romeo Must Die" and miscasting the over-the-hill Steven Seagal in 2001's "Exit Wounds," he's assembled many of the same actors (minus Seagal) for "Cradle 2 the Grave." This time it seems Bartkowiak's formula might finally work -- right up to the point where the diamond-heist-and-kidnapping plot is jettisoned in favor of an imbecilic nuclear weapons twist that turns the film into radioactive waste.
Hip-hop star DMX displays a natural toughness and affection as a top-notch vault-buster whose 9-year-old daughter is abducted by smugglers bent on obtaining the rare black diamonds he snatched in the film's opening action set-piece -- a stylish and exciting, if far-fetched, safe-deposit box heist and subway tunnel getaway.
Continue reading: Cradle 2 The Grave Review
DMX is a hip-hop legend. With his growling, almost metallic, voice, hyped beats, and rugged...
"Brotherhood of the Wolf" isn't a bad pre-Revolutionary French action-horror flick, per se. But everything...
By pairing rappers-turned-actors with martial-arts action stars, director Andrzej Bartkowiak has carved out his own...