Category Archives: police drama

Extraordinary Mission Brutal and Raw

From Alan Mak and Felix Chong, co-writers of The Departed and director of Infernal Affairs, the movie follows Lin Kai, played by Huang Xuan, in Extraordinary Mission. The movie is razor sharp with intense lighting that heightens the tension in each scene.

The movie takes place in Hong Kong where crime is center staged. Lin Kai is an undercover officer delegated to break through the Twin Eagles drug cartel. The story moves fast and the shots are tight. I never found my thoughts wandering.  The subtitles were tough to follow at times because the movie moved fast with raw intensity.

Yihong Duan plays an impressive cartel boss and a firm conviction in his ruthlessness.  Seeing both Xuan and Duan in scenes together was like watching a full charged emotional push-and-pull. Their scenes were not just a cat and mouse game.  It was brutal and raw.

The movie takes a turn that I was not expecting. Xuan acting talent shines when Kai is coerced into gradual drug addiction while attempting to locate the cartel’s production base.  Being strung out on drugs creates more complications when Kai realizes Eagle has been plotting a violent revenge against his supervisor Li Jianguo, played by Jiadong Xing, for over a decade.

The ending is brutal but fun to watch.  The creative minds of Mak and Chong is a vision you don’t want to miss.

Andy Lau’s Shock Wave High-Action

Written and directed by Herman Yau, Shock Wave is spellbinding with all the action scenes in the movie. The fact that it seized the #1 box office spot in China and Hong Kong when it hit theaters speaks about how much explosive action there is in the movie. Producing the movie on a $23 million budget, Shock Wave is one of Hong Kong’s highest grossing domestic movies for 2017. Take a look at the movie’s trailer, and you will see what I mean.

The movie follows, Cheung Choi-san, played by Andy Lau, as he works as a bomb disposal expert among the busy streets of Hong Kong.  Along comes a terrorist who specializes in explosives, Hung Kai-pang, played by Jiang Wu, takes hold of the busy Cross-Harbor Tunnel. He threatens to kill hostages if his demands are not met.

This is a typical action movie plot, but the director executes these scenes is riveting, so unlike some American action movies. In Shock Wave, they are very realistic, almost scary. The movie is intense and kept my attention throughout even though there are English subtitles.

The movie has a flair for cat and mouse. Cheung effectively broke up Hung’s criminal gang, but in the course of the raid, Hung triumphs and escapes whereas his younger brother and allies are captured.

Seeking retribution for Cheung’s duplicity, Hung returns after seven years and plants a series of bombs in Hong Kong. The result is a public terror and attracts Cheung where he discovers the greatest plan for revenge.

The Blu-ray + DVD Combo is on the streets and includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, including an interview with Andy Lau.  Andy Lau is the most popular actor in China. His interview is worth purchasing the DVD.

Officer 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 describe 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.

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.

Movies Giveaway

Movie Roar is giving away three movies. Each person who comments on this page will be entered in the giveaway. Once we have a good number of comments the winner will be picked from a drawing.

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

WhiteyDirected by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger, we witness the sweeping and revelatory documentary film that follows the trial of the infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multi-faceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems. Some of you are familiar with Johnny Depp’s Black Mass will recognize this story which is dramatized in Depp’s portrayal of Whitey.

 

 

Tangerine

tangerineDirected by Sean Baker, it’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend, played by James Ransone, hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

 

 

White God

whitegodA Hungarian movie and Cannes Film Festival winner, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, White God is an allegory of the human experience. Young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed unfit by The State. After the separation, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called unfit dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet. Hagen has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend.

 

Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 5

perrymasonV5Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 5 continues to satisfy my viewer palate and is the final collection released by CBS Video. For a couple years now, CBS Video has been releasing the entire program of the Perry Mason TV series and movies.  That equals 271 episodes and 30 post series movies for television.

Growing up, Perry Mason was one of my family’s favorite television series to watch every week, and we were never disappointed by the stories because the writing never lets us down. The acting is first-class. There were no handheld camera shots or tight shots of beautiful women.  The series was pure plot-driven.  Perry Mason always found the real killer.

Some of you may have purchased the other Perry Mason Movie Collection Volumes, so you know what I am talking about. I hope you intend to purchase this final volume as well.  They are not cheap, but worth the value of good drama and priceless productions.

I was fortunate to be given a copy of Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 5.  The DVDs are in top quality condition with six wonderful and brilliant movies. Burr’s other co-star, Barbara Hale, had such wonderful rapport with him that can’t be reproduced in any other television show I have ever seen.

It can’t go without mentioning that Raymond Burr played a prosecutor in A Place in the Sun with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.  I guess, he was meant to be in the courtroom, though in Perry Mason he is on the other side of the court.

Below is the list of the final Perry Mason movies. The last four are without Raymond Burr and do not give the legendary series justice, but if you are going to collect these, you might as well have them all.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (starring Raymond Burr)

Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss (starring Raymond Burr)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives (starring Paul Sorvino)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle (starring Hal Holbrook)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (starring Hal Holbrook)

A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Jealous Jokester (starring Hal Holbrook)

Exposed

ExposedDirected by Declan Dale, Exposed is not an easy film to watch because nothing is explained in the movie until the very end.  We meet Isabel, played pleasantly by Ana de Armas. She is a young Dominican woman, whose husband is in Iraq, and she lives with his engaging and happy family.

Her brother-in-law is connected to the mob in some way, but they are very close since his brother is deployed.  For some reason, late at night, he lets her go home by herself on the subway, which is the first mistake in the movie.  No one in their right might would let that happen. While Isabel is on the subway platform, she has strange visions, and they are not explained.

The visions consist of male albino in a black suit and a completely white-styled woman to look like she is a Capital from The Hunger Games. I want to stop here for a moment to point out Isabel continues to have visions of the Capital woman through the movie. She reappears as all black and finally as all red. I am not sure of the purpose behind these visions, and a 2-minute scene with Isabel and her brother-in-law or another family member about the visions would have been great.

After we see Isabel in the subway, the story cuts to a detective Scott Galban, underplayed by Keanu Reeves, who is investigating his morally suspicious partner’s murder. The movie continues to cut from Isabel and the detective throughout the movie, indicating a relationship between his dead partner and her.  Much later in the movie we find out the connection.

Isabel’s life seems strange and inconsistent. One scene she is working at a child-care center, and then she is waiting on tables at a local restaurant.  She befriends a little girl at the child-care center. The girl is quite like Isabel and shows signs of having problems at home with her father. Again, the movie doesn’t explain why this relationship is in the movie until the end.

Galban is widowed, grieving for his partner, and has a young son staying with his sister because he can’t cope with his life. His partner’s wife, played by Mira Sorvino, flirts with Galban while making demands her husband’s murderer is brought to justice as long as they don’t expose any of her husband’s transgressions.

The story continues with more stuff being added to the plot without explanations, making the movie even more confusing. Eventually, the end arrives and everything comes together, but it wasn’t worth the time to find out.

It is rumored there is a director’s version of the movie, but the studio intervention made the movie worse, hacking it to confusion. The director’s version is much better and casts more light on the characters, central themes titled Daughter of God.   Let’s hope the director’s version is release in the near future.

Gangland Undercover Season 1

ganglandHistory Channel produced an excellent series when they decided to capture the life of an undercover informant who was brave enough to sneak into three outlaw biker gangs. The fact that he lived to relate his story to the world is awe-inspiring as well. Charles Falco, the author of Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws, goes from convict to infiltrator as he secretly documents the Vagos’ illegal activities and ultimately brings them to justice.

History Channel transports Falco’s story to real life in this fact-based series that sees him work as an informant for the Feds on a covert mission inside the dangerous Vagos world of violence, murder, and drug trafficking. Having climbed the gang’s ranks while facilitating 62 arrests, Charles Falco exposes how he crippled the criminal enterprise from the core of the biker underworld in this mind-blowing true story.

The series is by no means the same old thing about biker gangs but rises above the other motorcycle gang TV shows and movies.  Gangland is nothing like Son’s of Anarchy, so I will not bother to compare them.

Gangland will ring true for those who are familiar with bikers in the 70s. History Channel avoids soap opera characters and sensationalism. Instead, the show hits on the truth and scores a strong fan base.

Ari Cohen’s acting is good, and the writing is even good. What is interesting about this true story is that Falco was a meth cook, and he had a choice of jail or being an informant, which makes him and anti-hero in real life, but History Channel doesn’t depict him that way. That is Hollywood. The trailer below doesn’t do the television series justice.

Sicario & Ender’s Game in 4K UHD Blu-Ray

Sicario 4K Ultra-Blu-raySomething new has arrived for home theater connoisseurs. The newest format in watching movies called 4K UHD Blu-rays. The public introduction is calling it “ultra-high definition”.

Because I am interested in this new phase of viewing movies at home, I was sent both Sicario and Ender’s Game in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  Before I commence with my opinion of the new format, the two different genres are the best way to review this system.  Movies like Ender’s Game prove more enjoyable with the screening quality while Sicario special effects were minimal.

The new format is totally about the technical enhancements that make the viewing of the movies far better. Is it important enough to purchase the 4K TV screen, player, and movie?

For some, I am sure it is a status thing while others thrive on a better viewing pleasure.  “Hey, come on over to my house. I have the new 4K player and TV Screen. Ender’s Game looks awesome on the new format!”

With that, here is my take on the new format. Sicario‘s HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer in 2.40:1 clearly shows upgrades in detail, contrast and particularly when it comes to color gradation levels.  Like I said earlier, Sicario does not have eye-popping grandeur like Ender’s Game, there are some really vivid differences, though, in the 4K version.

I noticed at the beginning of the movie where facial features in the first SWAT scene are far better in texture. Surprisingly so, after Kate, played by Emily Blunt, is almost shot. Her face is bathed in red, but the fine detail comes through. I could almost feel the textures on each element such as curtains in Kate’s apartment. Before, I wouldn’t even have thought of noticing her curtains, but is that an important part of the movie?

The difference really shines with the dark scenes. The long scene with Kate in the bar where the contrast and tones are so much more improved. Everything looks so much more vibrant and alive.  However, I had to mention this but it has come up with other sources. The 4K has recurring rapid shaking in some of the scenes. I noticed it particularly with the pan shots. It is quite noticeable in the tracking across the landscape as the SWAT team drops in on the cartel house.

ender's game 4KFor Ender’s Game, the new format shows more splendor and richness of the colors. Literally, each color stands out. Particularly, the different shades of blues of spaceship and uniforms. They pop out at you from the screen.  The spherical zero-gravity battle room scenes are more fun to watch now with the ultra-high-definition.

I sound like I am repeating myself, but it is true. The new format is all about the colors. Looking at the plants in the background is extraordinary with deep light blues, greens, and browns. Every element is so detailed with textures that I didn’t even notice in the other formats. I have to mention the tattoos on Ben Kingsley’s face. They are so rich and alive, like 3D.

I didn’t notice any shaking on the pan shots compared to Sicario, which is interesting. The panning shots of the rocky terrain are gorgeous.  I could go on and on, but you need to see and experience 4K for yourself.  All in all, the 4K UHD Blu-ray is an exciting presentation.  You just have to spend more money in order to experience.

Mi-5

MI5Kit Harington plays a former MI5 agent, Will Crombie, who investigates the disappearance of Harry Pearce played by Peter Firth when he is blamed for the escape of a ruthless terrorist. Harington is known for starring in Pompeii, and I happy to see him in a different role.

Directed by Bharat Nalluri, Mi-5 is a very compelling spy-thriller and conspiracy movie. I am amazed by all twists and turns the storyline follows. Even the end has a twist I wasn’t expecting at all. The movie kept me on my toes trying to figure out who is who and who is now who. Just one betrayer after another carries the story. The characters in the movie are very real in the sense they conflict with the spy work they do. Is it morally justified or for the great good? Nice touch on ethical choices, which is refreshing. “You are responsible for your actions.”

I did notice the budget constraints of producing this movie, but still the action scenes were skillfully done but not over the top. Just enough to hold my attention and believe the scenes were real. Some movies go way overboard on the action sequences, then I no longer believe in what is happing because it is just to unreal.

I heard that this movie is based on a British TV show called Spooks, and when the show was distributed to the States, the title was changed to MI-5.  With that, if you are familiar with the TV show, you will notice the same characters in the movie and be able to follow the storyline much better than someone who hasn’t seen the television show.