Blindspot 2018: Die Hard (1988)

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Plot: John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

1988 was the year. My eldest sister was born and John McClane became became the hero of the Nakatomi Plaza attack when he took down Hans Gruber and his other German terrorists. So all in all, it was a good moment in history. Let’s also just take a moment to marvel at the fact at how the view of terrorism has changed,  as well as the nationalities of suspected terrorists.

I have been chewing on this a while – did I like it? Did I not? I really can’t tell for sure. I really like action movies, so it was a bit of a weird thing for me to not have seen Die Hard, considered by many to be 1) a Christmas movie and 2) one of the best action movies, like, ever. So, in the spirit of actually finishing up my Blindspot list this year, I sat down and got this done.

I have to confess that while I liked Die Hard just fine, I didn’t really love it. I felt disconnected from Bruce Willis being young and gung ho and ready to fight the bad guys. The dialogue is fantastic though, and John really is a smart mouth. I am sounding old again, but the dialogue in “today’s” movies just aren’t the same anymore.

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I’ve never seen Alan Rickman in a younger role. He has always been Severus Snape to me, (and now Marvin). It seems like a real shame and something I need to sort out – he is simply fantastic as Hans Gruber – controlled, brilliant, devious and a mastermind. If not for one rogue cop, this man would definitely have succeeded. Hans Gruber is a villain that you don’t get too often in action movies – he is not just a bad guy for shits and giggles, he is smart and has a plan and Alan Rickman acts convincingly as this ominous man.

There is also a bit of a buddy cop vibe going between John McClane and Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald Vel Johnson). Al is the first person to take John seriously and alert the cavalry that there is indeed a terrorist attack going down. Al gets a moment too at the very end to prove his bravery, and I can only hope he is in the next million films that were released in this franchise.

I also liked Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), but I have never really been able to sympathize with people who leave their cop-partners because of the workload (sure, infidelity or abuse, but he is busy protecting everyone). Despite her choice to leave John, she is given good dialogue and is not so afraid of the terrorists that she can advocate rights for her fellow hostages.

I’m giving this a 7/10 because it was good, not particularly great, but a decent watch that didn’t require too much brain power and a decent film to have noted as “watched”.

 

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Just what is this Macho Movie doing on my blog?! The Expendables III (2014)

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Plot: Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.

Rating: 5.5/10

So, I made it to the final one. Watching the Expendables has been consistent – consistently bad. The second one was the best because it had so much cheesy in it. I actually really enjoyed Expendables 2. It was hilariously cheesy and I can watch that again.

E3 has a bigger cast and bigger explosions but not a bigger heart. The younger cast wasn’t implemented correctly and it is a really bad day when Kellan Lutz has to be mentioned as the best performance of new cast members. He was actually much better than I expected.

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Harrison Ford replaces Bruce Willis as the intelligence agent. He looks so painfully old. It makes me uncomfortable to face this stark reminder that even the greatest action stars aren’t immune against time.

The biggest thing in this movie was the music score. Why did they suddenly choose rap music? WHAT?

Then there are Sylvester’s outfits when he runs around with Kelsey Grammar playing rent a sniper. He just looked like a pimp. What?

That girl. Really, what was the idea? Her acting was so bad I couldn’t celebrate the existence of a female Expendable.

Antonio Banderas as the village idiot: WHAT? So bad and so annoying.

Just, WHAT?

Movie Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

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Plot: (IMDb) Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

Rating: 6.5/10

Not too long ago I went and made a Top Ten Reasons why I Like Chris Pine list for Zoë’s site. If you don’t remember the amount of fun I had defending a reasonably talented actor, go check it out.

Seeing as this was Pine’s first role after my heroic defence, I knew I had to have a look see with the hopes that my defence hadn’t been in vain. Well, it wasn’t. As previously stated, Pine is a relatively decent actor. He is by no means the greatest in Hollywood and I don’t think he will ever be, but he has enough abilities to convince and entertain and that is enough for the roles he is placed in.

This movie got a lot of things right, and one in particular was making a film dealing with current events – the tension between Russia and the States. The Russians always seem like the perfect mobsters, with their harsh accents and general screw the world attitude. This movie had a crucial point – terrorism can be started not only with big attacks but silently through stock markets, aiming at countries that have the crucial part of carrying the world economy on their shoulders. The main villain was not only a terrorist in his own form, be was maddened with glorious purpose to avenge his ancestors.

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A major miracle happened – I didn’t want to slap Keira Knightley!  She is probably one of the most annoying actresses ever, but in here I LIKED her! Look, I still think that a Mac Donald’s burger will do her the world of good and that she should be first to stop with the duck face trend, but her role as a caring doctor and girlfriend was spot on and for once she wasn’t a selfish brat. Her relief realizing that Ryan wasn’t cheating on her but part of the CIA brought her such relief it was actually really sweet.

My only major concern was the ridiculously slow first half hour. It drags to such an extent that I contemplated turning it off. I found that once everyone’s roles were explained the pace picked up really quick. When the plot finally quickened it was really enjoyable and became a solid (if generic) action movie.

Recommendation: Despite the dragging first bit, I think most people will enjoy this!