Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Tropic Thunder (2008) review

August 21, 2008

I’ll just say this right out front. Tropic Thunder is the movie that’s going to revive Tom Cruise’s career. Seriously, he’s *that* good in this movie that if you see it for no other reason, go see it for Tom Cruise. I’ve never said that about Tom Cruise in my life, I’ve never imagined I’d ever have a reason to say that about Tom Cruise, but… here we are. I’m kind of ashamed to say he was amazing, but he really blew my mind with his most un-self-conscious, yet most winking, performance ever.

This is coming from someone who hates Tom Cruise, but… yeah, he’s absolutely brilliant.

Red Dawn (1984) Film Review 4/5

July 4, 2005

Like most children of the 1980’s, my favorite villains were, and are, the Communists. Maybe it’s just my Americanism showing, but when I was a child playing war games, I machine-gunned an army of commies to death. Hell, I still like games that pit me against the Evil Empire of the USSR. That’s why, when idiot human rights organizations compare Guantanamo Bay to a Siberian gulag, I get a little angry, because that’s fucking retarded. Anyone who doesn’t see a difference has never read an account of a real Siberian gulag, because three hots and a cot weren’t included.

But my sociopolitical agenda, really, is beside the point. We’re here to talk about the greatness that is the John Milius alternative history war flick that is RED DAWN. And maybe it’s the beer and hot dogs talking, but this movie holds up really well despite being from the bowels of the 80’s. I guess camouflage, shooting commies, and Sheen never go out of style.

This movie doesn’t waste any time establishing a plot. They get right to the point and start the shooting immediately. This is good, ‘cause this first and foremost is a war movie, and we as sure as hell want some war. Lousy, no good commie bastards are invading America by sneaking across the Mexican border, parachuting down into Colorado, dropping nukes on our nuke facilities, and bringing in their running buddies from Cuba, South America, and Mexico to help them. This movie probably explains why I’m ready and willing to close off our borders with Mexico, since they’re a leaking sieve dribbling God knows what people/diseases into America.

It’s not an issue of racism; I want to close the border with Canada too, or at least tighten both borders down to keep people from crossing willy-nilly. I’d also like to see America start deporting illegals, but that won’t happen because our political leaders don’t have the balls to stand up to the Hispanic pro-reconquista organizations that are out there, and don’t wish to seem insensitive to the plight of the poor Mexican migrant. Well, fuck the Mexican migrant. If he wants a better life, he ought to reform his own shitty country rather than drag America down into the Third World with him.

Anyway, I got sidetracked.

Jed (Patrick Swayze) and Matt (Charlie Sheen) are two brothers, both of whom are star athletes on the Calumet High football team. Well, Jed was a star athlete who now works at the local gas station (take that athletes!) and Matt is the current star athlete. These kids, along with some friends of theirs from the local high school who are literally thrown into the back of a pickup truck during a Soviet machine-gun festival like Robert (C. Thomas Howell, pre-SOUL MAN), Darryl (Darren Dalton), Danny (Brad Savage) and Aardvark (Doug Toby, and I don’t know how he got that name, either), make up the core of a group of anti-Soviet guerillas (not gorillas) who call themselves The Wolverines, after the local high school sports collective. Somewhere along the line they pick up token 80’s it girls Erica (Lea Thompson, AKA Mrs. Duchovny) and Toni (Jennifer Grey), before finding downed fighter pilot Col. Andy Tanner (Powers Boothe, in a rare non-evil role).

This movie really surprised me with the level of actual acting involved. The interpersonal relationships between the various Wolverines, between Jed, Matt, and their father, and even the relationship between Col. Bella (Ron O’Neal), the South American communist leader and his Soviet overlord General Bratchenko (Vladek Sheybal). If there is a sympathetic Commie, it’s Col. Bella, who really isn’t a Communist, he’s more of a professional insurgent and revolutionary. As such, he can appreciate the Wolverines without really killing them, unlike his Red comrades.

Another thing to praise about this movie is that it almost killed DIRTY DANCING. That’s right, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze learned to hate one another on the set of this film, but unfortunately both were professionals, pushed it aside to dance together, and now we’re stuck with brilliant lines like “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!“ in the universal lexicon. Also, this is the first PG-13 movie, and it earns it, with lots of high school kids getting gunned down, lots of civilian slaughtering, and lots of rocket-propelled grenadery directed at Soviets. Then again, if you can’t shoot at Soviets, who the hell can you shoot at? Exactly my point.

Tons of people die, some you want to die, some you don’t want to die, and some you could care less about. But then again, this is war. War is hell. I’m sure there’s some other social commentary I could comment on, but fuck it, I was too busy watching Reds get blasted and cheering every tank explosion.

The Bunker (2001) Film Review 2/5

March 26, 2005

Picking a random movie off the shelves of the local video store is an exercise in great faith. You have to have faith that the cool-looking box doesn’t contain suckular sucktitude. Odds are, the cooler the box, the shittier the movie; if it is a film you’ve never heard of, it more than likely will suck amazingly fiercely. Nevertheless, I decided to pick something at random from the movie shelves of Cockblocker called THE BUNKER. Oddly enough, the reason I haven’t heard of it is because it is British, not because it sucks. Surprise, surprise. It’s actually a pretty good flick, if you can trust my opinion. I’ll be honest, I was pretty drunk while I was watching it, and I started it one day and finished it the next, so take this admonition for what it’s worth. I never said I was an objective reviewer, just a reviewer, and this box was pretty kickass.

The basic premise is that there are Nazis in a bunker, near the ass-end of WWII, hiding from the oncoming Allied troops who are waiting to FUBAR their shit. Of course, not everything goes as planned, because this is a horror movie, not Saving Ryan’s Privates. I’d tell you something about all the characters or actors, but I’ll be honest. They’re all British, they’re all dirty, and they all have really long German character names, so I really had a lot of trouble telling the Heydrich (Christopher Fairbank) from the Baumann (Jason Flemyng, who I like) from the Kreuzmanns (Eddie Marsan). So fuck it. I’m sure there are other notable actors, but I don’t know who they are, no can I quite remember who did what to whom. They’re all wearing uniforms, anyway, so they all look alike.

It’s a well-acted flick, but the cover is totally misleading, as usual. It was a cartoon corpse in an SS uniform, which made me think it’d be a no-budget gore-fest with lots of leaking organs and blood and cheap makeup. Instead what I got was a movie that was trying to be a smart commentary on groupthink and the psychological effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on soldiers and the dehumanizing nature of war with one zombie thrown in for effect. It’s not poorly acted, the uniforms are historically on, and it’s pretty decent looking, but it’s not what I expected, and the first hour is terribly slow plot explanation designed to set up for a big payoff that never actually came.

It’s not that the film is bad. Had I been expecting what I’d gotten, I might have actually enjoyed it, but that’s not what I wanted, and on second viewing, it still drags ass in the beginning for too long before people start dying and things start getting scary. Oh well. It’s not a total loss. I’ve seen a whole lot worse.

I’ll be kind, I guess, and give it a middle-of-the-road rating, with the caveat that you cannot judge a DVD by its cover.