Blindspot 2018: Die Hard (1988)

DieHard

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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Blindspot 2018: Choices

popcorn

Well, I’m still need to watch two movies on my 2017 Blindspot list, but here are my next pickings. They are as eclectic and all over the place as last year’s list, which I actually enjoyed so much because it had a bit of everything.

Ghost Busters (1984) 
Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson 
Credit: Columbia Pictures/Courtesy The Neal Peters Collection

Ghostbusters – Time to see exactly how great this is and to get why all the men got so huffy about the all-female cast of the 2017 version, which I also haven’t seen yet.

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The Matrix – I am assured I only need to watch the one

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Erin Brockovich– I am a huge Julia Roberts fan and I really need to finally see the film she won her Oscar for.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s – For the joy of seeing Audrey Hepburn in her most iconic role

Shutter-Island

Shutter Island – need I say more? A psychological thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio

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Blade Runner – I was really interested to see the 2017 version (hello, Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford), but felt it would not be the best idea to start at the second film.

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Revolutionary Road – It is another film with DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, so I am definitely okay with that. #JackAndRose

Jaws

Jaws – chomp chomp chomp

Hitchhiker

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I’ve been threatened with my life if I don’t rectify this apparently appalling crime.

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Silence of The Lambs – I’m probably going to tuck my feet safely under blankets with the lights on for this, but I’m game.

Die hard

Die Hard – I really do enjoy action films and this film seems like one consistently considered a favorite among them

the curious

The Curious Life of Benjamin Button – This film was the most frequently almost-replaced-on-here-film, but I am still ready to watch and enjoy and watch a young Brad Pitt.

There are a few I’d almost chosen, listed below, which I would still like to get to. Although since I’m not done with 2017’s list yet, just focusing on finishing the chosen ones seem like a pretty sound decision.

  • Ant Man – literally the only Marvel movie I haven’t seen yet in later years
  • Good Fellas – because, Pacino.
  • The Sixth Sense – this was a close call but the internet has long since spoiled every single scene in this so I’ll just watch it when I can
  • The Hateful Eight, because Tarantino. Did not make the list because I’ve heard while it is Tarantino, it isn’t the Tarantino
  • American Pie – A bit of lightheartedness to these proceedings, if you will

If you are taking part this year, let me know!

Just What is this Macho Movie doing on my Blog?! The Expendables II (2012)

Expendables2

Plot: Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.

Rating: 6.5/10

The Expendables 2 is this little gift of hilarity that fell straight down from heaven. It is ten times better than the first one.

I really do like Sylvester Stallone. He seems to be a really hardworking and mostly nice guy, he’s been married for a very long time to one lady and he is a living legend who likes to do his stunts on his own (that explains the painful running scenes). I think it’s quite cool that he did a project like this – these old action figures are legends that deserve the same amount of respect and admiration as old rockstars do. It’s a bit creepy, but I really enjoy looking at Sly, especially with that hat on. I think I should go see a psychologist about it though – he’s OLD.

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The Expendables 2 gifts us with seeing Stallone, Willis, Arnie, Van Damme AND Chuck Norris all in one film. I mean, these are the gods of Action. It is also the movie where artificial faces make its case study to be accepted into society – Stallone loses the competition where Arnie and Van Damme were his opponents for extremely odd looks. Van Damme has the weirdest eyes possibly ever and is truly quite terrifying. He seems as hard as nails and that he won’t even feel bad after kicking your ass.

Barney Ross: I've heard another rumor, that you were bitten by a king cobra? Booker: Yeah, I was. But after five days of agonizing pain, the cobra died.
Barney Ross: I’ve heard another rumor, that you were bitten by a king cobra?
Booker: Yeah, I was. But after five days of agonizing pain, the cobra died.

We get us some Chuck Norris, complete with sound track and all. I could eventually not stop giggling when he came on screen, he is too much for me to handle. He enters in his signature way, always saving the day and being totally cool about it.

Where the first Expendables failed, the second film improved. The humour in E2 lets you know they are aware they are being cheesy but they are enjoying themselves while doing it. The humour is once again on an astronomical level and the dialogue makes you once again wonder how many retakes there were because the cast could not stop laughing, but this time around the actors are in on your joke and they are playing along. I heard referencing to the Terminator way too many times, and Chuck’s jokes wereso.friggin.lame.

The action sequences are still as unbelievable as it gets but they are slightly shorter and better executed and that makes it all a better use of your time. I am amused rather than sickened by the killing spree – I don’t think most deaths are quite so theatrical as they would like you to believe.

The memo the feminism squad sent out regarding the blatant sexism in E1 reached the right ears: not only are the women less stereotypical in E2 they also get decent parts with actual dialogue and a purpose. I enjoyed Maggie’s presence and how she actually contributed towards the team’s success, although they might want to look into not immediately having the only female ogled by the entire squad. I also enjoyed the females protecting their town, although I did not appreciate the joking that women can’t shoot.

I don’t know what happened to Mickey Rourke this time around (he was basically the only good thing about the first movie), but they offset the loss by adding someone who is also trained in the art of acting – Liam Hemsworth. I think he has enormous potential that hasn’t been brought to light yet by Hollywood. He and Statham are by far the youngest of the team and Hemsworth has the best acting on the screen – the only actor who gets close enough is Bruce Willis, who really is the coolest guy on the earth. I liked Hemsworth’s role – he is from the recent generation of soldiers who have very fresh scars, and he realises that he needs a healthier lifestyle. He seems respectful and sad – really like I imagine the majority of soldiers. His death is an actual blow and the only real emotional thing in the film, and old Sly’s speech was quite nice at the gravesite.

The Expendables 2 is by far the best of the franchise so far, and while I can’t begin to claim that it was actually good, I giggled so much I need to give it points for the feel good factor it was responsible for.

Just what is this Macho Movie doing on my blog?! The Expendables (2010)

Expendables poster

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.

Rating: 5/10

Hmm, I love me a good action movie. Strong fearless men overcoming impossible odds? Bring the popcorn. I’ve wanted to get around to The Expendables for ages now I know quite a number of people (guys) who are embarrassingly in love with the franchise, and since I enjoy a good action movie, I thought: hey, why not?

I think I would have enjoyed The Expendables more if it HAD been a good action movie. The dialogue is cringe worthy and I have no idea how the cast managed to act their roles out without bursting into laughter. Lead characters Jason Statham (I don’t get the fuss about him being good-looking… NO) and Stallone (Whose symmetrical features I found way too attractive #yuck #old #itsStallone) attempt to portray a strong bromance relationship that falls flat because the dialogue is so bad. It appears that they wanted Statham to appear like he was more in touch with his feelings than the rest of the cast but that too didn’t even get a few seconds of proper directing or time.

Stallone… sheesh. I was a bit disgusted that I thought for a few seconds he’s attractive – the guy was about four hundred years old at the time this film was shot and that is very deep into the grandpa territory for me. It was really painful to see him run. It looks excruciating and as if he couldn’t get quite into his whole sprinting sequence.

The story itself is so out of control silly. The mercenaries infiltrate small country Vilena to save them from the brutal rule of ex-CIA officer James Munroe (Eric Roberts), a one dimensional villain with no real development or cause. The main attraction on Vilena seems to be the money involved and the pretty lady Sandra (Giselle Itlie), which is probably a fine reason to head over to a terrorist infested country if you are a mercenary. The plan and reason for the attack is never really made clear except for the five seconds Bruce Willis appears on screen pretending to be scary and who is quickly joined and departed by Arnie who then also backs out because he is too busy being cool or being governor to spend more time on this crap.

The CGI… the most I can really say is that the tomato sauce bursting from people looked WAY authentic. Seriously, what was up with that and the ridiculous fight sequences? I think if I went and brought a CGI for Dummies book and sat and studied it for an hour I would have done a better job than this.

Expendables 1

The only interesting about this film was Mickey Rourke. The man has a commanding presence on screen and focusing on him is quite easy because his acting is good, what he says seems interesting and he looks so intense and badass.

 Expendables 1 Stratham

Then there are the three ladies that appear on screen that had me off my rocker with irritation: The first one is the typical cheating female, who then later appears with a black eye and Jason Statham gallantly loses his shit and beats up abusive co-cheater and his merry band of friends. Sheesh, Jason, SUCH a gentleman hey?! Then, Mickey Rourke brings in his typical hooker lady, all enthusiastic about being on Mickey’s lap. Hey, Mickey is allowed to have a hooker on his lap if he wants one, but all the same, distasteful and unoriginal. The last lady to appear on screen is Sandra, who manages to be hot while looking pure and intense and everything men of Stallone’s caliber could ever want. Nice going there, Expendables: feeding your largely testosterone driven crowd more stereotypes for consumption about females.

The Expendables is truly what it advertises: a testosterone fest without a plot or a second of originality. It is rushed and underdeveloped and I even though I’m happy that it ended under two hours it needed either more time for the plot to actually appear on screen or less ass kicking and more explanation why asses were being kicked. Not my thing at all, although perhaps I simply do not have the sufficient level of testosterone to handle this!