Category Archives: action

Office Downe

Directed by Shawn Crahan, Officer Downe is based on the graphic novel of the same name. The movie is a blood-soaked tale of resurrection, revenge, and justice as the story follows an immortal, crime-fighting police officer, played by Kim Coates, and his rookie sidekick, played by Tyler Ross, who learns that being stuck between doing what he thinks is right and what he thinks is best is not an easy task.

The best way to described this movie is Sin City meets dark science technology. The L.A. policeman is repeatedly resurrected and returned to active duty through a mysterious technology. When a rookie officer named Gable arrives on the scene as backup, we get to see Downe in a different way because Gable discovers there’s much more to the super-cop than a mindless law enforcement super-cop warring against twisted over-the-top super-villains.

The way the movie is told with over the top acting and action might be enjoyable for those you are looking for mindless entertainment. There is no thinking involved with this movie but, like I said, you will be entertained. You might even laugh because it is so over-the-top and unreal.

Sure, there will be those who felt they wasted their time watching the movie because there really isn’t much to it besides mindless fun.

In Order of Disappearance

Directed by Hans Petter Moland and The New York Times critics’ pick, In Order of Disappearance stars Stellan Skarsgard, Pal Sverre Hagen and Bruno Ganz. The movie is filled with action and is constantly moving as a diehard thriller. The movie follows an honorable citizen, Nils, played by Skarsgard. He uncovers evidence that his son was murdered and a victim in a turf war between the local crime boss and his Serbian rivals. Following his discovery, Nils embarks on a quest for revenge.

The movie is very good because Nil is a fish out of the water. Introverted and hard-working snowplow driver Nils has just been named “Citizen of the Year.” When he receives news that his son has died of a heroin overdose, nothing seems to make sense.

Disbelieving the official report, Nils quickly uncovers evidence of the young man’s murder – a victim in a turf war between the local crime boss, known as “The Count”, and his Serbian rivals.

Armed with heavy machinery and a good amount of beginner’s godsend, Nils embarks upon a quest for revenge that soon escalates into a full-blown underworld gang war, with the body count spiraling ever higher and higher.

The movie is a rocket ride and hilarious in a very dark way. Skarsgard makes the movie great, and I have a fun time watching it.

Mechanic: Resurrection

mechanicresDirected by Dennis Gansel, the action-packed, thrill ride is the best way I can describe Mechanic: Resurrection because the movie takes off right at the get-go. Bullets spray and jaws get smashed with the starring power of Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop, an assassin who makes each of his targets’ deaths look like accidents, whose calm retirement is shattered when a former employer requires his services.

The movie also stars Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, and Michelle Yeoh.

The movie follows Bishop as he returns as the Mechanic in the sequel to the 2011 action-thriller. When the deceitful actions of a cunning but beautiful woman, played by Alba, force him to return to the life he left behind, Bishop’s life is once again in danger as he has to complete an impossible list of assassinations of the most dangerous men in the world.

Mechanic: Resurrection includes five behind-the-scenes featurettes looking at the development of the sequel, scoring the film, a breakdown of the Malaysian prison break sequence, and in-depth interviews with Michelle Yeoh and Jason Statham.

Tommy Lee Jones arrives but for not long. He still adds a lot of fun, which I enjoyed because he is a veteran and makes it look so easy. Jessica Alba looks good like a trophy. I just wish her character had more depth, but that is Hollywood for you. All in all, the movie is fast paced with tons of action and totally no-brainer entertainment. Any Statham fan will want to see this movie because it reeks action fight scenes only Statham knows how to do best.

The Hunger Games 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack

3d_rgb_hungergames4kultraocrd Lionsgate released the epic singularity franchise, The Hunger Games series on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes both Blu-ray and Digital HD. All in all, it is an amazing product for such a gripping story.

As most remember, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, who took the world by storm with a four-film cumulative worldwide box office of 3 billion cash flow.

Fans can see the movies with four times the resolution of Full HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) that delivers the brightest, most vivid and realistic color and greatest contrast from 4K Ultra HD.  However, similar to other 4K movies I have reviewed, the whole movie’s vivid, realistic color and contrast are not consistent. I find in the hand-held camera scenes of these 4K movies, the technical potential is limited, if not a bit shaky.

Don’t get me wrong. Checking out Lionsgate’s catalog 4K titles, I am impressed with the products so far. It makes watching movies at home so much better with the Dolby Atmos track sounds, which are incredible because it utilizes every speaker.

Now the quality of the look is a bit unforgiving because the effect is over the top.  Noticeably, in the first half of The Hunger Games. The colors are saturated and nearly grainy.  Watching the scene when the District 12 team is eating before the games is a good example where the colors, black levels, and overall clarity are below standards for the quality hype.

Disappointingly, just about every scene at The Capital looked saturated. When the movie arrives at the Games, I was impressed and in awe over the rich details of the overall setting in the forest and the way everything looked pristine.  It made watching the 4K version worth it.

One thing that didn’t help the 4K, as mentioned earlier, was the shaky-cam style.  In the first mad dash for supplies in the games, the camera was all over the place and the 4K clearness was like a second thought to the scene.  Even though about half the movies technical quality didn’t appear any better, if slightly worse, the other half of the movie is a pristine, vibrant upgrade and fun to watch.

The 4K version special features offer extras, which includes a commentary with Stephen Mirrione, Sheena Duggal, and Lon Bender. Even though they are not the stars or director, their passion for the movie come through, creating a worthwhile commentary.

3d_rgb_hgcatchingfire4kultraocrdDirected by Francis Lawrence, Catching Fire 4K

Ultra HD had the same technical issues I mentioned in The Hunger Games 4K Ultra HD.  The scenes in the training room and outside are clear and pristine like a gemstone. The crystal clear and the 4K upgrade really stands out.  Yet, the scenes in The Capitol, mostly most CGI, are saturated and almost blurry at times.  I noticed there is a bit more of an upgrade compared to The Hunger Games. I am curious as to why that is so.

The audio sounds perfect like the first film. The Dolby Atmos track is a wonderful upgrade and sounds faultless.

The 4K Ultra comes without exclusive features, but the package includes a copy of the Blu-ray.

hungergame_hdr_split_screen2

The Last King

the-last-king_rgb-3d-blurayThe Last King, directed by Oscar-nominated director Nils Gaup, follows an arduous and awe-inspiring journey through the snow-covered Norwegian mountains. Starring Jakob Oftebro and Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones), surprisingly, the movie turned out to be a great adventure story. With some awesome downhill, to die for, skiing stunts, so exhilarating. I totally enjoyed it.  The story has everything from action and drama to love and revenge.

The fact that this movie is based on true events intrigued me even more. It takes place in 1204 when the Norway had been in the middle of a civil war for decades because of a battle for the throne between the Norwegian King Håkon, son of legendary King Sverre of Norway, and the Church’s Bishop henchmen.

The King, on his deathbed after falling ill from a failed coup, soon welcomes a son, born in secrecy, with a woman named Inga of Varteig and that he is the heir to the throne. Yet, half the Kingdom wants the baby dead.

To shield their newborn King from those looking to end the family bloodline, two Birch Leg warriors, Torstein, played by Hivju, and Skjervald, played by Oftebro, make the arduous journey across the snow-covered terrain to return him and his mother safely to the kingdom.

For the life of me, I didn’t know what a “Birch Leg” was until I saw this movie. The birkebeinerne or “Birch Legs” (basically are the King’s men) who fought to protect him from the Baglers, an opposing party, supporting the Bishop of course, that wanted him dead and his bloodline ended.

The movie is not English and has subtitles, but after ten minutes into the movie. I didn’t notice the subtitles. The story captured my attention with the time period and the culture. The realistic battles and beautiful scenery of snow-covered trees and mountains and the Northern Lights filmed by Peter Mokrosinski stimulated my interest in finding out if the baby King will make it back and save the country.

With that, the history of this story is amazing because of what this baby represented for Norway. The movie is about the fierce fight that saved the life of the young child who was heir to the throne. He eventually ascended at the age of 13 and reigned for 46 years. It was a peaceful reign that united the country.

Games of Thrones fans will be happy to view this movie because both Oftebro and Hivju are believable warriors. They have a strong bond and also hold a strong sense of honor in protecting the baby. The rest of the cast complemented the story and made it richer in content. It’s a gem of a movie and worth watching.

Gridlocked

3D_CMYK_Gridlocked_DVDWrpDirected by Canadian Allan Ungar, Gridlocked is a typical action thriller resembling a combination of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

The story follows former SWAT leader David Hendrix, played by Australian-born Dominic Purcell, is down on his luck and has failed to receive medical clearance after taking a bullet on the job. Despite being highly trained and competent, his efforts have been reduced to routine tasks for the NYPD. As if things couldn’t get any worse, he’s been forced to babysit movie star Brody Walker, played by Canadian and 5x World Karate Champion Cody Hackman, a hard-partying celebrity that’s been sent on a mandatory ride along as part of his probation.  Pampered and irritating, Walker is the last thing Hendrix needs. But all of that changes when a police training facility comes under attack by a team of ruthless mercenaries led by the mysterious Korver, played by Tony-nominated Stephan Lang.  Now, Hendrix and Walker must band together with the remaining survivors to fight back and keep the mercenaries from overtaking the compound. The only problem is Hendrix and Walker do not get along, and they just might kill each other before the mercenaries do.

Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover plays fatherly-type Sully, and it great to see how him in this role and makes the movie more gratifying.  Other supporting actors such as Vinnie Jones and Trish Stratus do a pretty decent job of moving the story along, and the main mystery to the storyline is revealed about half way through the movie. With Purcell as a good guy and Vinnie as a bad guy, we all know where this goes with some manageable humor in their remarks in a teasing way

I am not going so far as to recommend the movie. But if you are looking for an action thriller that you haven’t seen yet, then stream or rent this one. It’s worth it.

Standoff

STANDOFF_bdskewWritten and directed by Adam Alleca, Standoff is a pretty good movie and stars Laurence Fishburne and Thomas Jane along with newcomer Ella Ballentine. The movie is an intense action-thriller that grabbed my attention because it bursts with energy and action while it pulses under my skin with twists and turns.

Alleca is the writer of Cell and Delirium, which are pretty good movies, too.  As a director, he delivers the punches about a story of redemption and the need to bond with someone.

Carter, played by Jane, is a troubled veteran, and he achieves his chance at redemption by protecting a 12-year-old girl named Bird from a deadly assassin, played by Fishburne after she witnesses a murder. Holding a shotgun with only a single shell, Jane engages in physical and psychological warfare in a desperate fight for the girl’s life.

Carter and Bird bond really nice as the story arcs, and the ending is worth watching because you might have to watch it three times to really see what happens because it is so strong.

Sniper: Special Ops

sniperDirected by Fred Olen Ray, who is known for directing awful T and A movies, takes on Sniper: Special Ops with Steven Seagal.  The combination speaks cheesy to the third degree unless you are a devote Seagal fan.

The story is about a Special Ops Military Force, led by Sergeant Vic Mosby, played by Tim Abell, with a proficient sniper Sergeant Jake Chandler, played by Seagal, who watches over as the sniper. They go on a special mission to an isolated Afghan village. Once at the village, they extract an American Congressman being held by the Taliban. The rescue mission is a success, but Jake gets caught up in a firefight with the enemy and is separated from the mission and decides to stay back in order to help an injured soldier.

Sergeant Mosby distraughtly fails to convince Lieutenant Colonel Jackson, played by Dale Dye, to allow him and his team to go back and save the soldiers. Instead, he is commanded to take on a new mission that will retrieve a truckload of munitions. The munitions are vital for the military base, but Mosby doesn’t follow orders. He and his Special Ops Team head back to the village and rescue the abandoned soldiers. Outnumbered and outgunned, Vic and his men engage in a massive shootout against the enemy while Jake uses his proficient skills to help save them all from undeniable death.

Clearly, Abell has the bigger role compared to Seagal. With that, the movie authenticity is nowhere to be found with an army not wearing helmets in a war zone, including utter disrespect for military dress code. The story is predictable with cliché after cliché, and Pro Wrestler Rob Van Dam has a minor role.

The other problem with the movie is the director or lack of directing, depending on how you want to view it.  But, like I said if you are a devote Seagal fan you will want to see this movie because he is in it. That is about as good as it gets.

Pay Back

paybackThe title makes it easy to figure out Pay Back is a revenge movie. Directed by Fu Xi, the movie is totally Hong Kong style and enjoyable if you like these types of movies. The style is choppy and unclear at times, which is, most likely, Fu Xi’s style.

The real reason this type of movie attracts people is the fight scenes.  Pay Back scores big time with the fight scenes, but there are a couple of mediocre ones. The tongue and cheek aren’t too bad either with a jab at being good citizens. As good citizens, we are supposed to tolerate life as it comes. Not so true oh wise one, karate chop, and jab.

The story is about a decent man, who has a wife and child, but trouble comes along. His family is taken away from him by vicious gang members. Now, it is payback time, so the gang is hunted down and fight scenes ensue.  The movie has potential, but a bit convoluted with scenes not relating to other scenes.

I am sure it is worth watching if you like martial arts.

Extraction

extractionDirected by Chris C. Miller, Extraction opens with CIA field operative Leonard Turner played by Bruce Willis. The scene is an important part of the story because his wife is killed by the bad guys, and he prevents his son from being killed as well.

Next, we see his son Harry, played by Kellan Lutz, and it is ten years later. He followed his father’s footsteps and is a CIA agent.  He is training under the keen guidance of Leonard’s best friend Ken played by D.B. Sweeney. Harry wants to be a field agent like his father but keeps getting turned down. He is assigned to a project involving a top secret piece of electronic equipment called CONDOR. It is pretty powerful and can control anything electric.

Leonard is sent on a mission to purchase CONDOR and gets captured. Harry finds out and wants to save his father, but is told to stand down. Harry figures out who captured his father, but the CIA says he isn’t strong enough to help save his father and send him home with an armed escort. Harry breaks away and sets his sights on saving his father.

Victoria Phipps, played by Gina Carano, is assigned to the case. She is one of the best field agents, and to make the story more interesting, a former lover of Harry. She lets him join her and help track down CONDOR, find his father, and take down the bad guys. Time is the key to pulling this all off, and they have to work fasts. The story has some twists and turns and confusion occurs on trying to figure out who are the bad guys and who are the good guys.

Seems like a pretty good action movie, but in all honest it isn’t that great. Technical glitches with the overall sound and vocals are disconcerting. The odd edit cuts and jumps prevent the flow of the story. On top of that, I enjoy watching Carano do her action stuff, which I have seen in her other movies. She’s great, but in this movie, she doesn’t do all that much. I mean, she is a former MMA fighter. Let her show her stuff.

All in all, I really wanted to like this movie, but it started off great and went downhill from there.