Tag Archives: The Rock

Dredd-ful

Does anyone else remember how poorly comic book properties used to be executed on the big screen?  Look no further than 1995’s Judge DreddStalone in Judge Dredd 1995 to gain a complete understanding of our past. Judge Dredd was a book adored by many; though it hardly achieving Superman or X-Men level readership, it did just fine numbers wise. The story was fantastic:  a dystopian future in which people were forced to live in crowded “mega-cities.” The Mega cities were so crime-laden that our justice system collapsed. The roles of judge, jury, and executioner were combined; the resulting “Judges” are meant to bring order by any means they deem necessary, usually by shooting someone in the face. Sounds like a great basis for a movie.

However, in 1995 the comic book movie was often a losing prospect. The popular solution involved the following 3 steps:JUDGE DREDD, Rob Schneider, Sylvester Stallone, 1995

1. Cast a tried and true action star

2. Tool the movie to reflect whatever is selling at the time

3. Dump all of the remaining cash into special effects

So Judge Dredd became a futuristic buddy action comedy starring Sylvester Stallone and future box office cancer Rob Schneider. Stallone played Dredd pretty much the same way he played every other role in the ’90s. Lots of bravado, light on humility, but with no small amount of heart. The movie was simply awful.

Judges have wonderful and fabulous tech that allows them to police the mega cities safely. The have fantastic guns called “lawgivers” that are voice activated and fire different projectiles. They have bulletproof body armor and computerized, virtually indestructible helmets. In Judge Dredd all of these elements are misused. The body armor comes off more like football safety equipment worn over the clothes. The lawgiver spends too much time firing flares into direct sunlight, and Stallone can’t seem to ditch the helmet quickly enough(an act in direct conflict with the character he is meant to portray)

Most of Mega City is right out of Blade Runner, while the police sets are essentially cribbed together from The Rock, Alien 3, and the Fifth Element.  I consider Alien 3 to be a better film.  At least in that movie you can understand what people are saying.  Despite  Jurgen Prochnow, Armand Assante, and Sly Stallone in the same film, the drama falls flat.

Carl Urban in DreddFlash forward to 2012’s Dredd, and in many ways, the timing was perfect. The reboot skipped the 2005ish era where popular casting would have almost certainly placed The Rock or Vin Diesel  in the title role. Instead of a 40ish pound overweight aging Stallone, a trim Karl Urban is cast and looks as though he stepped directly from the pages of the comic. Doing  the best Clint Eastwood impression I have ever seen, Urban is fantastic.

While training a new recruit, Dredd is chasing the prostitute-turned-drug-kingpin Ma-Ma. Ma-Ma peddles the drug “Slo-mo” which slows the senses to 1/2 speed. Seeing Dredd on her trail, she offers a bounty on his head and turns the entire ghetto into a shooting gallery. This also turns every resident into an enemy. The mega city is depicted on a considerably smaller scale, as most of the film is spent inside the enclosure of a ghetto.

Despite better acting, a more relatable plot, and better, if scaled down, effects, Dredd actually took in about half the receipts of its predecessor. The sequel, which had been almost a given, is now on hold. Dredd falls flat on a couple of simple points. Urban behind the opague visor can’t seem to be bothered to drop the one-liners so important to the character. Without these little breaks Judge Dredd is simply a libertarian’s worst nightmare, a fascist empowered to act unilaterally in a pursuit of order. After all, he is the law, remember.

Maybe 17 years was not long enough for Dredd. Perhaps this one just wasn’t made for the big screen.

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Can The Rock and Bruce Willis Make It Better?

Seriously, how many movies are The Rock and Bruce Willis in this year? Every time I turn around there’s a new trailer out with one of them is in it. It appears that studios have it in their heads that these two will “spruce up” any movie. And while that might work in some cases (The Rock in Fast Five), it’s not for others (Bruce Willis in Alpha Dog, The Rock in The Tooth Fairy). So is it possible that bringing both actors in on G.I. Joe: Retaliation will  repair the damage done to our fanboy/fangirl hearts by Rise of the Cobra?

Cobra Commander, the way he should look. (image source: MGM)

Cobra Commander, the way he should look. (image source: MGM)

If we’re making a decision based on what we’ve seen in trailers, then the answer is a strong maybe. The trailers make that film look like it’s going to be an action-packed blockbuster but that’s what trailers are supposed to do. They’re supposed to get you hyped up. Trailers can be deceiving though (remember Funny People? Wasn’t funny at all!). I did notice some improvements from the first one. Snake Eyes doesn’t have a mouth anymore, they fixed Cobra Commander’s helmet, and they added Ray Stevenson to the cast (he really does make a movie better, i.e. Punisher: War Zone). However, Channing Tatum is still in the film (although I think he might get killed off). Two out of three ain’t bad, I guess.

I can’t help but feel that this film won’t be as great as I’m wanting it to be. The first film let me down greatly, as I’m sure it did many others, so it’s going to take something major to renew my faith in this series. Bringing back Storm Shadow helps, as long as his return from death isn’t because he’s a clone or something stupid like that. Clones, like zombies, are overrated. They’re staying true to the original series by bringing in characters like Flint, Lady Jaye, Roadblock, and Jinx, instead of making up new characters that no one is going to care about. And the side-of-a-mountain ninja battle looks like it’s going to be pretty epic. Not to mention, RZA is part of the cast as well, playing Blind Master. Being a fan of Wu-Tang, I find this to be awesome.

Is Storm Shadow a clone? Let's hope not. (image source: MGM)

Is Storm Shadow a clone? Let’s hope not. (image source: MGM)

With this film, I’m going to wait and see  before making my complete judgement. The trailer urges me to believe it will be better, but the trailers for the first film made me think it was going to be good, and I was let down. I don’t want to think that MGM is relying on The Rock and Bruce Willis to be the driving forces of this fill but there’s a good chance that is what they’re going for. Hopefully they’ve put a little more into this film than two blockbuster action stars and crossed fingers for good luck. A stronger script with a solid plot, talented actors that aren’t in need of an acting coach (I’m talking to you,Tatum), and some wicked action sequences are going to make Retaliation the better G.I. Joe film.

 

G.I.

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Reel Physics vs. Real Physics

the-rockI’m not much of a scientist, but I do really enjoy science. And there have been plenty of times when I’ve seen something in a film that made me say, “Uh-uh. That would never and could never happen.”

Enter Reel Physics, a web show that takes crazy scenes from movies and runs them through all the equations to see if what you see is possible. So far, I’ve been pretty surprised that a lot of what I’ve seen is absolutely possible.

So, if you like movies and math, check it out.

And yes, Michael Bay is completely content to break the laws of the universe to make Nic Cage look awesome (but, when does Nic Cage not look awesome?).

 

 

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What 2013 Has to Offer on the Big Screen

I thought I’d take a moment this week to briefly look at what’s hitting the box office this year and give a quick prediction on the outcome of each.

  1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – January 25th. Premise: Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) play the fairy tale brother and sister who are all grown up and have become professional witch hunters. Prediction: Van Helsing meets Brothers Grimm, which means a lot of action with an intriguing story but hopefully with more Grimm and less Helsing.
  2. John Dies at the End – January 25th. Premise: You take a drug, it sends you through time and space, you might come back normal, or you might come back as something else. Something otherworldly. Now the world is in danger of a sinister invasion and it’s up to two college dropouts to save it. Prediction: Dude, Where’s My Car? meets Buckaroo Banzai but with Paul Giamatti for added effect. Definitely worth a viewing, high or not.
  3. A Good Day to Die Hard – February 15th. Premise: John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his son travel to Russia to fight Russians and stop a nuclear weapons heist. Prediction: I think it might be getting to the point where it might be a good idea for John to die. Hard.
  4. Warm Bodies – February 1st. Premise: A zombie becomes human again through the power of love, other zombies follow suit. Possible hilarity, horror, and action ensues. Prediction: I think someone might be trying to “Twilight-ize” zombies. Let’s hope not.
  5. Oz: The Great and Powerful – March 8th. Premise: A prequel to The Wizard of Oz telling the story of how Oz (James Franco) becomes the Wizard. And it’s directed by Sam Raimi. Win win. Predictions: I think this film will be fantastic and be the magical wonder that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland failed to be.
  6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – March 29th. Premise: All but a few Joes are killed off by Cobra. Now it’s up to the remaining Joes (The Rock, Channing Tatum, some other people), including the original Joe (Bruce Willis) to, for lack of a better word, retaliate. Prediction: Hopefully this film will offer some retribution for the let down that was G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.
  7. Evil Dead – April 12th. Premise: A remake of the original with a female lead (Jane Levy) in place of Bruce Campbell’s Ash. It’s also promising less humor and schtick and more blood and gore. Sounds promising. Predictions: Hardcore fans will be difficult to convince, but from what I’ve seen so far of this flick, they’ll be won over. It looks wicked.
  8. Iron Man 3 – May 3rd. Premise: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns to take on his greatest foe yet, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). From the looks of things, this might be the Dark Knight Rises of the Iron Man series. Ya know, a very powerful foe shows up, strips him of everything, and then Tony must find the hero in himself to defeat his enemy. This also begins Marvel’s Phase II. Prediction: Probably won’t be the best of the three films but I’m sure it’ll outdo Iron Man 2. And make Marvel a lot of money.
  9. Star Trek Into Darkness – May 17th. Premise: Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the rest of the Enterprise crew return to take on a most deadly foe, possibly Kahn, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Prediction: This film will be epic, just like the first, and seeing Benedict as a bad guy is going to be sweet. This is a can’t miss flick.
  10. Now You See Me – June 7th. Premise: A film about bank-robbing illusionists, directed by Louis Leterrier and scored by The Chemical Brothers. Enough said. Prediction: I have a feeling this is going to be one of those twist-and-turns, mind-f*ck types of film. But with bank-robbing illusionists.
  11. Much Ado About Nothing – June 7th. Premise: Joss Whedon adapted this classic Shakespearean tale while making The Avengers. He cast it with people from Firefly, Buffy, Angel, and The Avengers. He made it because of his insecurities with taking on a huge project like The Avengers. It’s Joss Whedon’s take on Shakespeare….do I really need to say anything else? Prediction: I love Joss Whedon. I love Shakespeare. Without even seeing it, I love this film.
  12. Man of Steel – June 14th. Premise: Zack Snyder directs, Christopher Nolan produces, and a bunch of great actors star in what is sure to be the best Superman film ever. And a film that will hopefully restart the series and lead into a Justice League film. Prediction: The more I see of this, the more I believe that this film will be one of the greatest comic book films of all time. But I’ve been wrong before.
  13. World War Z – June 21st. Premise: Brad Pitt stars in this adaptation of Max Brooks’ bestselling novel about a U.N. employee trying to stop a worldwide zombie outbreak. Prediction: I’m pretty much done with the whole zombie genre, and I haven’t read the book, so I’ll probably wait until this comes out on Blu-ray.
  14. Pacific Rim – July 12th. Premise: Guillermo del Toro writes and directs this film about giant robots fighting to save the world from giant alien monsters. Prediction: I was sold at Guillermo del Toro. The rest is just icing on the cake.
  15. wolverine_jackman_660The Wolverine – July 26th. Premise: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to train with samurais and take on a powerful new foe, The Silver Samurai. Prediction: This has to be better than Wolverine Origins. If not, I give up on Hugh Jackman. And Wolverine.
  16. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – August 16th. Premise: Part 2 of the series finds Percy (Logan Lerman) and his friends searching for the mythical Golden Fleece. Prediction: I enjoyed the first film, so I may go see this one. I’m hoping this film will fill some of the void that Harry Potter left, but I doubt it.
  17. Riddick – September 6th. Premise: Vin Diesel returns to his most badass character to take on new alien predators, new mercs, and an old foe. Prediction: I will watch this film because I love the others. I will hope this film is the last in the series because I don’t want this series to be run into the ground like Diesel’s other popular series, Fast and Furious.
  18. Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers – September 27th. Premise: Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) discovers that the machine he’s created is still creating food-animal hybrids and wreaking havoc. Now it’s up to him to stop it once and for all. Prediction: If you don’t like the first film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, you have no soul. No but seriously, the first film was hilarious and great for the whole family. This one will be too. I can’t wait.
  19. Oldboy – October 11th. Premise: Spike Lee’s remake of the ultraviolent Korean cult classic about a man (Josh Brolin) who has five days to figure out why he was imprisoned for 15 years without explanation. Prediction: Of all the films on the list, this is one I’m looking forward to the most. I love the original, and I cannot wait for this remake.
  20. The World’s End – October 25th. Premise: Edgar Wright directs a film about five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival. Prediction: This is the final film in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s “blood and ice cream” trilogy, so I hope it’ll be pretty damn good. I have a feeling it will be.
  21. Ender’s Game – November 1st. Premise: Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, 70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion. Prediction: Die-hard scifi fans will go ape over this film and then probably rip it apart. That’s how it works. I want to read the book before I watch it.
  22. Thor: The Dark World – November 8th. Premise: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battles an ancient race of Dark Elves led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness. Prediction: Part two of Marvel’s Phase II looks to be another epic win with the addition of Doctor Who number nine as a baddie. Get ready to nerd out, kids.
  23. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December 13th. Premise: The journey continues for the Dwarves, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) as they seek to retrieve their gold from the dragon, Smaug (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch). Prediction: Do I really need to predict anything for this? People will flock and empty their wallets for this film. We all know what’s going to happen.
  24. Anchorman: The Legend Continues – December 20th. Premise: The Channel 4 News Team returns for more crazy on-set adventures. Predictions: Probably won’t be a hilarious as the first but I’m sure it will be freakin’ hilarious! And filled with many great one-liners that will be quoted for years to come.

I know I’ve missed a few films here and there, but I don’t really care. I think the list is long enough as it is now. It doesn’t need any more.

What films are you looking forward to this year?

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