Shane Black

Iron Man 3

Year: 2013
Directed By: Shane Black
Written By: Drew Pearce and Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have been a little obsessed with the MCU lately. Along with Iron Man 2 I revisited this film too as it is the only other movie within the MCU that we didn’t own a copy of. Having not added the second film to the collection I didn’t add this one either because I can’t stand gaps within trilogies even if one of the films isn’t very good. When this movie came out I didn’t think it was good enough to warrant purchasing both films. I thought it was OK when it was released and I’ll maintain that impression after seeing it again. This movie is just OK and far from the best of the bunch when it comes to the 14 movies now within the MCU.

I remember when this film came out the tagline was something like “does the suit make the man or the man make the suit.” That was a huge theme within this movie as Tony again spends far too much time as Tony and not enough as Iron Man. It’s cool that Tony Stark can still be heroic without his armor but I didn’t go see the Iron Man movie to see Tony in James Bond mode outside the Mandarin’s house. I wanted more Iron Man after feeling like the second movie didn’t offer enough Iron Man action either. While I like the second film more now than I did years ago I still feel like this one had a lot more problems.

The problem with the scope of the MCU now has to be making these individual movies when they aren’t all together. For example where is Captain America when the President’s life is being threatened? Where was Iron Man when S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be heavily infiltrated by Hydra? Yeah it’s all about budget and contracts and you can’t have every character in every film but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t really make sense. We are seeing that change as there is far more crossover with characters these days. I’m totally psyched for the third Thor film as it will feature appearances from both the Hulk and Doctor Strange.

I have always been a fan of Shane Black’s action films from the 90s. While usually credited with writing he has had a hand in many classic action films like Lethal Weapon, Last Action HeroThe Last Boy Scout, and one of my household favorites growing up The Long Kiss Goodnight. He was also the writer for one of my childhood/lifetime favorites The Monster Squad. So I’m a big fan of his work, but I don’t know that this Iron Man film lived up to some of those classics. Getting behind camera this time around Shane Black gave us a cool enough movie but nothing spectacular.

This movie doesn’t have the feel of a real MCU movie barring the presence of MCU characters. For example it doesn’t have a mid credit sequence that alludes to the coming films or future of the MCU. Its setting during the Christmas season for a summer release seemed an odd choice, out of place in the MCU which is usually has no association with holidays.

I think the problems with this movie in general starts with the story. It just isn’t big enough and too isolated to Iron Man specifically. After the second film there should have been more cross over with other characters. For example, Captain America’s third film featured an iconic comic storyline and turned into a huge spectacle. I think they could have put more thought into what to do for Iron Man’s second sequel. Granted you have Don Cheadle on board as War Machine/Iron Patriot but it just doesn’t seem like enough. After introducing Black Widow and featuring Nick Fury in the second movie this one is just too absent of other characters.

I also hate that Ben Kingsley was wasted as a pretend bad guy. He could have been much cooler than what they ultimately got with Guy Pearce. I don’t really care for Guy Pearce and nothing about that changed with this movie. I liked Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, but felt another rival weapons manufacturer for this movie to be redundant. I did like James Dale Badge as the top henchman. I have been a fan of his since he played Jack Bauer’s partner in season 3 of 24. Ben Kingsley isn’t just a top grade actor but he is capable of playing a great villain, if in any doubt check out this. This movie could have used a little Don Logan if you ask me, such a waste.

I consider this one of the weakest installments to the MCU, not a bad movie but simply not up to par with the other films. It just feels too isolated for a third installment. Tony has too many friends at this point to take on this problem on his own. Even if they couldn’t include other characters somebody else should have at least been referenced with the President’s life at stake. I think this movie is worth your time but it’s far from the top of the pack in the 14 movies now within the MCU.

 

Predator

Year: 1987
Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Jim and John Thomas

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here it is, the quintessential action film that my brothers and I must have watched a million times growing up. This movie, as much as Die Hard, is a perfect movie for the genre. Technically it qualifies as sci/fi but this first film is all action aside from the Predator. They took a group of badasses, gave them a nice array of firepower, and dropped them in the jungle to make a movie. That is just a formula for success and it worked so well that the Predator is still a successful franchise nearly thirty years later. They have been hit or miss with sequels and spin offs but the Predator has become an iconic character that people will always show up to see.  No matter how many times I see this movie myself I still get into it every time. It takes me back and I find myself wishing I could break out my G.I. Joes again and mimic the story line with my play.

The cool thing about this movie is that for the first half of the film it’s straight action while the real threat lurks in the background. There is the drop off scene in the beginning with the spaceship but afterwards the actual Predator isn’t seen for almost half of the film. The Predator himself is worth waiting for. A villain so badass the military has literally spent millions of dollars and years of research trying to replicate some of his technology. I remember reading an article in a magazine over ten years ago about how the military was trying to develop a predator style camouflage. I don’t know if that was ever achieved but I’m certain if they were doing that they were also trying to develop their own ideas after the Predator’s mask that allows heat seeking vision and voice synthesizing technology.

The cast of this movie is so interesting because not fifteen years later two of these men would have served in highest office of State Government. Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a man with an interesting history, is notable for being the highest elected third party politician when he was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1999. As a Reform Party candidate he held office from 1999 to 2003. Arnold Schwarzenegger also famously served two terms during his hiatus from being an action star from 2003 to 2011. Now I am much more familiar with Schwarzenegger as a politician than I am “The Body” because in 2003 I was a young politically minded college kid. I was a way left liberal back then but I loved the Governator. He had such an interesting approach to politics. During an election year when everybody was trying to hide all their dirty secrets and deny everything Arnold Schwarzenegger would run head long into his own controversies. With an attitude that was real he admitted to his past discretions and just called it the product of another time. Sure he sexually harrarrassed some women, sure he smoked pot once or twice, sure there was that sound clip of him explaining that he was “cumming all the time” (see below) but none of it could phase the would be Govenator. He had surprising charisma and I loved how casual he was when everyone else was so stiff. I found it incredibly interesting how he left office and immediately went back into acting to reclaim his mantle of greatest action star. He hasn’t really achieved that yet but this new Terminator film looks interesting. Both of these men, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse “The Body” Ventura (long time friends no less), have lived such interesting lives. If you have the opportunity they’re both “worth a Google.”

The rest of the crew in this movie can’t go unmentioned. Carl Weathers and Bill Duke were both great in this movie. I have always been a big fan of Weathers, and Duke has such an intimidating look about him. Their last stand together is legendary and left an impression on me from an early age. I once saw a skit on SNL that featured Carl Weathers in which he kept referring to himself as “the black guy from Predator” over and over again. I don’t even remember what the skit was actually about but I still laugh at it randomly when it pops into my head occasionally. I don’t know much about Sonny Landham but I once watched a feature special on this movie and the way people talked about him was interesting. He was apparently quite the wild man and they had a guy shadow him during filming simply to keep him out of trouble. I love how he wounds himself before taking on the predator in his last stand, such a badass Native American warrior. The famous action writer/director Shane Black played the part of Hawkins, notable only for saying pussy multiple times in the film. Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast to play the part of the predator but couldn’t hack it and was replaced by the much taller 6’9” Kevin Peter Hall. Of course Van Damme couldn’t hack it, he may look cool at first with his fancy splits and strange accent but the more I hear about that guy the more I hear he isn’t for real.

Nobody really matters in this movie like the last man standing though. Schwarzenegger played many memorable and iconic roles over throughout his career but this movie is just such a spotlight for him. When he goes toe to toe with the Predator and it comes down to fisticuffs he set the bar incredibly high for other would be action stars. This guy, Arnold freaking Schwarzenegger, is exactly why I can’t abide by the standards of the 20teens, or whatever you want to call them, and accept Liam Neeson as an action star. I tried to watch the first Taken, all the while thinking “who does this guy think he is?” Action stars gotta have more, they have to measure up to the Terminator, Commando, Harry Tasker, Conan, Jack Slater, and of course Dutch. Dutch doesn’t stress about this big ass scary alien, no, he smears mud all over himself and sets traps for it. Low on ammo? Not a problem for Dutch, he’ll just manufacture himself a bow and arrow and take on the space alien Indian style. In the end it takes an ass whooping and a last minute trick but Dutch wins out, as Schwarzenegger always does. A nuclear explosion can’t even take him out, in true Schwarzenegger style he simply dives behind a sturdy plateau of ground and survives despite everything. A true American hero, lost his whole crew and had to single handedly defend Earth from this alien but he did it and he won. That’s just American, that’s the motherf****** Govenator.

This scenario, a group of soldiers trekking through the jungle as they are picked off one at a time by an unknown enemy was one I re-enacted many times with my toys as a little kid. I used to have the most epic games with my G.I. Joes when I was little and I would have them act out a variety of scenarios from my favorite action films. This one was always one of my favorites. I would go the whole nine yards often coloring red on my Joes with a washable marker to simulate blood. Some even had appendages that had gotten old and could easily be removed and put back into place. That Joe always turned out to be the one to lose a leg. When a Joe’s coolness finally wore out on me or he was simply getting too old he would be the victim of an explosion and the pieces of his body would become the debris scattered across the battlefield. Oh how I loved and miss that youthful age when I could have so much fun just using my imagination.

This is an awesome movie, a stalwart in the collection of any action fan who grew up through the golden years of the genre. This movie gets me every time and I never get bored of it. I love the testosterone driving masculinity behind it all. Some evenings when both of my daughters are asleep and my wife is busy in the kitchen this is the kind of movie that can get my blood pumping. When you live in a world of pink and princesses, Predator is like a lightening bolt that zaps some adrenaline into the world. If you haven’t seen this movie then you have missed out. It is a classic film that is not only worth your time but worth your money as well.

NEXT MOVIE: Predators

Despite this, he got elected Governor of California. Two times. America really is the land of opportunity. This is one of the most interesting men of the last century.

The Monster Squad

Year: 1987
Directed By: Fred Dekker
Written By: Fred Dekker and Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I wrote my first paragraph of this review yesterday and really hated what I had put down. I spent the whole day with it in the back of my mind turning it over and over thinking of ways to revise.  I had begun with the correlation this movie had with The Goonies and the obvious influence that’s there.  However, it occurred to me late last night that I was going about the whole thing in the wrong way.  Why the hell was I wasting my time trying to overanalyze The Monster Squad anyway? It is what it is and all that needs to be said is that it is awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

So, upon reconsideration I would like to go a different way with this.  One of the most memorable quotes from this movie is “Wolfman has gnards.” It’s universally one of the most memorable lines from a movie that has become a cult classic. I think it is a really funny line delivered with perfect timing in the heat of the moment.  My only question would be why this was such a surprise.  Of course Wolfman had gnards, he wasn’t Wolfwoman and the squad had already gone over the fact that Wolfman needed pants to cover his “wolf dork.” So it should have come without question because the gnards and the “wolf dork” should go hand and hand.

Aside from that I think the only thing that garners serious discussion is Rudy.  What a great “Fonzi-esque” character that wrote the definition for cool in this movie. “Fonzi-esque” is right for Rudy right? Leather jacket, check, Motorcycle/bicycle ridden like one, check, ultra cool and respected by his peers for no apparent reason, check.  He’s Fonzi all the way and anybody that doesn’t know the Fonz needs to Google him. Aside from that doesn’t Rudy in himself represent the changing of the times? Brace yourself people, so much of what you see from him in this film garners R ratings these days.  Not only is he smoking but making bullets in his shop class to boot.  Oh the travesty. I love Rudy in this movie, he represents a time of more honest film making. You would never see a film this day in age where anything he did would be permitted. Regardless of whether or not kids still do such things or not.

The only other thing I want to discuss about this film is the interesting thing I noticed in the credits this time around.  I had never realized it before but when I saw that Shane Black was credited with the screenplay so much more made sense.  Black you might remember has penned some great classic action movie that I own all of incidentally. He wrote really witty dialogue for all of them and that writing went a long way for what made those films memorable to me.  He was credited with the screenplay for both Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2 (the good half of that franchise), as well as Last Action HeroThe Long Kiss Goodnightand The Last Boy ScoutGiven they all start with “L’s” we reviewed all of them close together.  Clever writer who also directed the most recent Iron Man film and has two more directing ventures lined up for the next year or so.

This was an awesome movie and a fixture in my childhood movie repertoire. For years I looked for it to add it into our collection and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Turns out somewhere along the way it fell from grace and was forgotten by everybody that wasn’t of the right age when it came out.  It never even made it to DVD until 2007 when it was released as a 20th Anniversary Edition once it was already well established as a cult classic.  It was largely unsung and a bit of a shock to some when support for it came from all over the place.  It was my generation that made it a cult classic I think, those of us that grew up with it and loved it.  If you missed the boat on this one you may never be able to appreciate how great it is and what it meant to us.  It’s never too late to appreciate something awesome though so if you get a chance you should check this one out; it’s worth every minute of your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is such a cute movie. Every time we watch a movie about a boy who likes to read and has a big imagination and vocabulary, I automatically think about Ryan and picture him as that little kid. I love the idea that the little girl is the least scared of anyone in the movie, and that reminds me of our oldest daughter. There is a lot to relate to in this movie and I am really happy that it is in our collection.

monstersquad

I feel like this poster is appropriate for the movie. The typography is bright and in bubble letters. The N is jagged and cutting the plane a little, which I am guessing alludes to the “scary” attributes of the movie. The coloring is cute. I think they did a good job at fitting everyone they wanted to in the poster without feathering out the heads and having them all float there in space. Overall, I think this poster is a good fit for the film. Both are light-hearted versions of a scary movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Year: 1996
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

Such an interesting time it was when the pairing of Renny Harlin and Shane Black was a formula for success.  This movie came out at the end of an era when mindless action movies could have an R-rating and still have the potential to turn a significant profit.  I miss those days because even though most of these movies were really stupid I still enjoyed most of them.  I was 12 when this movie came out, and at that age the bigger the explosions and the bigger the lead female’s breast the better. This movie has all that but gets a boost from the fact that Samuel L Motherfucking Jackson is in it. Any movie, no matter the premise or context, is better when Samuel L Jackson is in it, period.  The film has a lot of over the top action and unlikely scenarios but those are to be expected from movies by both Harlin and Black. This film, being a collaboration between the two, may exaggerate that quality a bit. While everything might all be a bit too much in this film there is still plenty to like about it.  In fact, Harlin and Jackson both are on record mentioning it as one of their favorite movies that they worked on.

I watched this movie recently when I was on vacation with my brother.  It was interesting because we both grew up with it being a household favorite.  The two of us watching it together found little else in the film but things to make fun of. There is plenty to laugh off as ridiculous in this movie. For example, the scene in which Samantha starts cutting vegetables. The music alone makes it goofy as hell when the tone goes from suspenseful to lighthearted back to suspenseful in a matter of minutes. As a viewer it’s hard to tell if the scene is supposed to be horrifying or humorous. In good company there can be different perspectives on the table though and now that I am watching the movie on my own I’m seeing it differently.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a film to be taken seriously, but still there can be plenty to like here if you are in the right mood for it.

Samuel L Jackson is a gem who has made many roles his own.  I am generally under the theory that by and large he is and always will be Jules from Inglewood.  That’s OK though, because Jules was one of the greatest characters of all time.  He has played the character time and time again with different names and situations but he will always be Jules. There is a little bit of Jules in Mitch from this movie, and if nothing else it is Mitch who makes this movie worth wild.  He has so many great scenes in this film.  Here is a good example of what he brought to the film:

That’s just a taste of the comedic quality Jackson brought to the movie.  He is hands down one of my favorite actors of all time and while I don’t watch everything he does I do love him in everything I see him in.  I’ll be honest; this film collection may have Snakes on a Plane lurking in the “S” section specifically because Samuel L Jackson is awesome. I think the fact that he has mentioned this movie as one of his favorites when he has made almost 150 movies says something important and if nothing else it makes this movie worth your time to see it.

I have always liked Geena Davis, but in truth that is probably only because she was in her prime while I was going through puberty. Still, despite movies like this, she turned in a few impressive performances in her time. I think it was a bit of a stretch for Renny Harlin to try to make an action star out of his wife but she made a better effort than Angelina Jolie ever did. Despite how much of an apocalyptic failure Cutthroat Island was I always liked it but I think this collaboration between Harlin and Davis was much better. She looked pretty good in the pirate get-up but she had the right attitude for Samantha Caine and Charlie Baltimore both despite being such an exaggerated character.  

Some films have a timeless quality that enables them to live on forever and relate to every generation that comes along.  This is not one of those movies.  The Long Kiss Goodnight is the kind of movie that you just had to be there to really enjoy.  It’s hard to look back now and appreciate this movie but if you were there, living life in the mid 90s and loving these kinds of actions movies, then you get it.  This movie was a product of its time, just as I am, and having that in common I like this movie even though it may be pretty silly when that wasn’t at all what it was going for.  If you remember the good old days when bad guys and good guys alike both used the fuck word with an aggressive frequency and enjoyed them as I did then this one is worth your time.  If nothing else it is worth seeing just because Samuel L Jackson was awesome in it.

NEXT MOVIE: Look Who’s Talking (1989) This is an embarrassment I know, read our next review to see easy it is to get caught up in the moment and make stupid decisions. 

Lethal Weapon

Year: 1987
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think this is an action movie equally as significant as Die Hard was for the genre; the buddy cop action comedy film that would influence so many that followed. It was a very successful film that would lead to three sequels and countless knockoffs.  Were Mel Gibson still even vaguely marketable today we might still be seeing Lethal Weapon movies just as we are still seeing Die Hard movies being made.  I’m not really a fan of these franchises continuing past their time but studios will do anything these days to cash in on name recognition.  There has actually been talk of rebooting this franchise all together with new cast members and a new story.  I think it’s a shameful and pathetic idea.  Luckily this was an idea announced back in 2011 and nothing has ever come of it.  It would be a waste to do it now; not only would it probably come with  PG-13 rating today but there is no reason to think it would be successful at all.  It’s one thing to reboot superhero films but quite another to reboot an action franchise that’s formula has been copied time and time again.  There is no value other than name recognition and the market out there today isn’t going to turn out for a name that hasn’t really been popular in over twenty years.

I don’t think this was a franchise that had a lot of staying power in the industry but I do think it had its day in the sun.  The first two films are great.  They are action packed with witty dialogue and a cast that was spectacular at the time.  I’ll admit I had a difficult time trying to get into this movie watching it again last night because it is so hard to look at Mel Gibson and take him seriously again.  What a far fall from grace that man has had, to the point that I can’t even watch his older movies and enjoy them like I used to.  I used to think he was great in this movie and in truth he was but watching it now I’m thinking he didn’t do a whole lot of acting in it.  He plays a cop that might be a little crazy and this no longer seems like a convincing performance from an actor who might be seriously crazy.  Still, I can remember a time when I really liked the Riggs character. I liked that he was this cop who was sort of crazy and just really skilled when came to killing people.  The franchise lost me when they got away from that though.  Not only was it a bad decision to make the third movie PG-13 but in the fourth movie they went way out there.  Making the third film PG-13 was crazy and really limited the effectiveness of Joe Pesci.  Let’s face it, the guy just isn’t himself when he isn’t saying the “fuck” word over and over again.  In the fourth film Riggs was just any other cop.  What happened to the killing machine that knew Ju-Jit-Su and could snap necks with his ankles?  Every time he crosses paths with Jet Li he gets his ass handed to him in that movie.  I thought it really strayed from the character that chooses to close out this first film by fist fighting with the bad guy just because he can. Riggs was cool because he was a crazy killer, when they tried to make him family friendly they destroyed the character. Incidentally, Bruce Willis was first considered for the role of Riggs, oh how different the movie and action genre might have been had that happened.

I have always been a fan of Danny Glover and I like him as the “old school” cop in these movies.  Yeah his chronic complaining about how he has gotten too old for this shit got annoying from time to time but I still liked him.  Glover is 66 years old now and still very active as an actor but he hasn’t had any really significant parts in a long time.  In truth he never really had many significant parts outside of this franchise and The Color Purple but I still liked him all the same. Gary Busey got top billing as the villain and I thought he showed quite a knack for the role as Mr. Joshua.  Like Gibson, Busey is a bit of a crazy guy but the difference is that people never fell in love with Busey like they did Gibson.  I don’t know that Busey is really as crazy as he comes off either or if it’s all just a front to maintain some relevance in today’s media world.  Nevertheless he was great in this movie; cold and capable of killing anybody whenever he was on screen.  His career was on a downward spiral before he landed this part and credits it with reviving his career. Busey has developed into a more popular reality TV character than he ever was as an actor but I have liked many of his roles in cheesy action movies.  My favorite probably being his role as Commander Krill in “Die Hard on a Boat.”

This movie is as cool now as it was when it first came out.  It has everything you want out of a mindless action movie and actually set the tone for all action movies to come. It is a significant film that is worth your time and if you like action movies then this is a must see.

NEXT MOVIE: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

The Last Boy Scout

Year: 1991
Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: Shane Black and Greg Hicks

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this one for days. I just can’t really think of anything to say about it. I think it’s a clever and fun action movie that goes over the top now and again but not to the point that it’s too annoying. I bought the movie because I liked it and it was one that sat in our family collection when I was growing up but I just don’t really think it warrants that much effort in a review.

So I am going to be really brief with this one because in truth it deserves no more. I have always liked Damon Wayans, the first one, and liked him in this movie. Let’s face it, Bruce Willis always brings it, and although this movie ends in a very Die hard -esque way that I find redundant I can be forgiving because the movie was so much fun. There is also a young Halle Berry in this movie who wasn’t famous enough to demand a multi-million price tag for a shot at her boobs. Her role in this film isn’t that great but it wasn’t bad and she has always been easy on the eyes. It was written by Shane Black who is great at creating witty scripts for action movies. Tony Scott was director and I have liked a few of his films but I have never been a big fan. I think his older brother Ridley is much more talented, but Tony Scott’s unfortunate and untimely death recently was still very disappointing.

There is plenty more to be said about this movie I’m sure and I feel the need to apologize for such a lazy effort here. We are on vacation right now and I’m just not feeling this one. If we revisit it later on down the road I might give it another go. I think this is a fun movie but I wouldn’t go out of your way to see it. It’s a pretty typical action movie from its era. If you have seen one then in truth you have kind of seen them all. The main differences are the star in the hero role and how many people they manage to kill in the film. This movie is worth your time but if you have a toss-up decision between two films I might go with the other one if it’s got potential.

NEXT MOVIE: The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Last Action Hero

Year: 1993
Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Zak Penn and Adam Leff (story), Shane Black and David Arnott

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was nine years old when this movie came out and I was this kid Danny Madigan.  I spent a lot of time in theaters watching movies alone, I lived for action movies, and I would have given anything for them to suddenly become my reality like they did for Danny in this movie. Naturally I loved the movie and still do despite how it was received when released.  It was a big budget movie that Schwarzenegger had invested a lot in but it was a critical and financial flop being released in the wake of Jurassic Park hitting the big screen.  The epic movie about dinosaurs immediately made box office history and largely overshadowed everything else that came out in the summer of 1993. Despite all that this movie was right up my alley and I still enjoy watching it today.

I have always been a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger and admire the life he has lived. As an immigrant to this country he rose to become one of the biggest celebrities in the movie business and then went on to govern the largest state in the union. I grew up during his power years in the movie industry and came of age during his sabbatical into politics.  I call it simply a sabbatical because he has immediately tried to reassert himself into the movie industry after leaving office. He has had an interesting life and I have always loved his films, especially the ones in which he takes a comedic approach.  This movie gave him a chance to take a lot of shots at himself and make fun of what had come to be expected from him as an actor. I love how over the top his performance as Jack Slater is because that in itself was taking shots at his career and he seemed to have a lot of fun with it.  I really like how he can’t pronounce his own name correctly when he gets into the real world. In his efforts to say the name he is actually using an Austrian word that means something I can’t remember.

This movie was made by a great action movie director in John McTiernan who is probably known most for directing one of the greatest action movies of all time, Die HardWhat I have learned now is that not only was a great director behind camera but two of the writers involved have made significant splashes the last couple of years. This was the first story written by Zak Penn who just recently wrote the script for one of the most successful movies of all time, The Avengers.  Serving as screenwriter for this movie was Shane Black, who is living large right now after directing the third Iron Man movie that I am hearing good things about. We will probably wait for it to hit DVD before seeing it, it’s so hard to get out to the theater these days with two kids and our jobs.

Charles Dance was cast as the lead villain when Alan Rickman was unavailable.  I am a big fan of Alan Rickman but I’m glad he wasn’t able to do this one.  I think Charles Dance is a complete badass both in this movie and in his current role on Game of Thrones as Tywin Lannister. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Danny threatens him not to hurt one hair on Brdigette Wilson’s head.  Dance tells his henchmen to stop and then pulls a hair from her head and breaks it in two right before his eyes.  “You were saying?” he asks, such a great villain.  I love a bad guy who is ruthless yet still has a sense of humor. With a cool selection of awesome glass eyes that also double as bombs to go along with his wit I think he fits the bill for great bad guy. I think it’s awesome how quickly he realized what happened when he crossed over realities, and how he was able to exploit the situation. On Game of Thrones he was perfect casting for the part of Tywin Lannister.  I particularly like how the show introduces his character in season one when he talks down to his son as he is graphically skinning a dear.

I’m sure there are plenty of things a strong critic could say about this movie but I don’t care.  This is a fun movie and sometimes having fun is the most important thing about viewing a film.  This movie had a big influence on my imagination as a kid and for my growing love of films.  While it is without doubt not Schwarzenegger’s best film it has always been one of my favorites from him.  It’s fast paced, funny, and it brings back old memories for me so naturally I would recommend it to anyone.  I have a biased opinion obviously but maintain confidence in the recommendation.  I think if you give this movie your time you will find that it was worth it.  Leave us a comment if you are so inclined and let us know how you feel about the film.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I remember the first time that I watched this movie. I wasn’t really sure what the hell I was actually watching at first, but then it sucked me in and I realized I actually liked it. Watching it today, I can’t help but imagine that little boy as Ryan. It is totally how I see him having growing up in the movie theater. The movies raised him and he lived to see movies. Shit he still lives to watch movies. This one is really fun and entertaining, and even makes fun of the action movie genre in itself.

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I had to take a double take to make sure that I wasn’t posting the Back to the Future review. This is just another one of those posters from this time. The awesome gradient in the typography, and the caricature-like images of the actors. This poster is cheezy, the movie is cheezy, so grab yourselves some cheetos and watch this cheezy ass movie. It’s worth a fun time.

NEXT MOVIE: The Last Boy Scout (1991)