Snow storms just make everything worse.
During a snowy New Year’s Eve, a most-wanted mobster, Nicholas Zambrano (Laurence Fishburne), is temporarily incarcerated at the doomed Precinct 13. As the sun sets and a long night begins, a motley crew of policemen and prisoners, reluctantly headed by Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke), must band together to fight off a rogue gang that wants to extract Zambrano at any cost.
This is a loose remake of a film that was done by John Carpenter and even though they aren’t considered the same thang, I think I’ve seen enough already. Although, I do have to say that John Carpenter is a pretty solid director in his own right.
Director Jean-François Richet doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel of the usual slam-bang, action thrillers we’re so used to seeing but damn does he do a great job with it! Richet brings in a whole bunch of crazy weapons here all ranging from the likes of hand-guns, sniper rifles, lazer sightings, silencers, a samurai sword and basically anything that can be used as a weapon in one way or another. It all shows up here in this flick and used to great effect because the action here is what really kept this story going. Even when it seems like the story is about to fall into its softer/slower side, it picks itself right back up from where it started and gives us plenty more deaths and action to behold. It’s not like Richet tries to go for anything new here, it’s more of like that he knows how to film action and make it work.
Another element to this film that made it all the more enjoyable was that the story does go through some twists and turns here and there that are pretty funny and kept me guessing. Now I’m not saying the whole film is unpredictable but what I will say that there are a lot of times that the film does something out of the ordinary like kill of a main character or throw in a couple of “who is the bad guy?” scenes here and there, which all kept me watching. Once again, nothing that is terribly original or new, just entertaining to watch.
The problems that I had with this film are all pretty obvious. With this type of material, you basically know that it’s all going to play out in the same way that all of these other films have been doing for the past 30 years, actually dating back to Carpenter’s original. The good guy has a dilemma, the bad guy has a connection with him, they both realize who they are through a death-defying situation they get thrown in to, and yadda yadda yadda this and yadda yadda yadda that. It’s basically the same old shit that we have seen done 100,000 times before and it’s no different here, except for maybe a couple of cool little twists and turns along the way. But those cool twists and turns can only go on so long.
Even though the plot was fun and entertaining, there were plenty of plot-h0les that still seemed to bother me. One memorable problem was the realization of the underground tunnel beneath the compound. I mean honestly, you would think that something as life-saving and crucial to this predicament as an underground tunnel would be the first thing 0n somebody’s mind and brought up within the first 10 minutes that this attack was going on. But for some very odd reason, it just so happened to slip this dude’s mind. Then again, it wouldn’t have served the plot if they did do that in the first place so I guess it all makes sense in the end.
A lot of the credit has to go to this cast that is actually pretty good with their roles by adding a lot more humanity to them and making them characters that we care for and want to see live after all of this havoc is over and done with. Ethan Hawke did a nice job as the burned-out cop and plays snarky so well that it’s almost hard to take him in as anything else. Also, it’s pretty fun to think of this character as his character from Training Day but this time, only 4 years down the road and fed with all of this shit. May sound lame but hey, I can have a little bit of fun while watching these movies. Laurence Fishburne also adds a real deep sense of coolness to his evil gangster, Bishop. It’s not like this is a stand-out performance from Fishburne but I definitely think its a lot better than half of the shit we’ve been seeing him do lately. However, I’m not talking about Contagion considering he was probably the best out of that whole cast.
Consensus: There’s no re-inventing of the action wheel here or any new surprises to be seen, but what Assault on Precinct 13 does bring is a lot of blood, action, gun shots, violence, and some fun twists in order to have a good time.
These five criminals, are the shadiest bunch of guys I have ever seen.
When five unacquainted scalawags (Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey) are hauled into a police station to appear in a criminal lineup, they decide to pull off a heist together. The plan gets complicated, however, when they intermix with an underworld kingpin named Keyser Söze.
A few years ago I was recommended to watch this (somehow it hadn’t happened yet) and it kick started the higher level expectations from movies that have led some to call me jaded. This is as good as they come and the fact that others cannot keep up is just a shame for them.
This film can be classified as a mystery/thriller, and when I’m talking about mystery it really is. the story told through flashbacks and narration, is really great to follow. You understand the whole story, and the actions these people use, which have a serious effect.
And must I forget to mention the best thing of this film, and it’s the ending. See I don’t want to give too much away, but it really is magnificent. The whole story that you watched and listened to, would be nothing without this total mind-fuck twist ending. Trust me it’s that good.
The problem I had with this film and it’s ending is that i felt like although things were basically all explained, I still didn’t feel like the whole story was fully answered. Many elements of the story that I paid close attention to, I didn’t feel like were fulfilled at the end of the story, which could have been.
The cast is simply phenomenal, mostly Spacey. This is the role that catapulted Spacey to stardom, as he plays the bad-guy Verbal kint with such sincerity and complexity, that it’s hard to hate him cause he is so likable. The rest of the cast do a great job too, and many of them actually do seem like bad people other than just playing bad guys.
Consensus: Though all the questions aren’t answered at the end, The Usual Suspects delivers from a great story, phenomenal ensemble-cast acting, and an ending that will blow your mind.
The place where it all goes down, in the forest.
Trusted adviser to 1920s Irish crime boss Lee O’Bannon, Tom Reagan’s loyalty is tested when he takes up with O’Bannon’s gal pal, Verna Bernbaum. Meanwhile,rivals Johnny Caspar and Eddie Dane threaten O’Bannon’s racket.
Miller’s Crossing is directed by the highly original Joel Cohen, and it’s pretty easy to tell, as there are many numerous look a likes in this film to countless others of The Coen Brothers.
In this film, there are many very good scenes that are just about being visually and emotionally captivating. Coen makes this film touch you but not with words or actions, but by the look of the film, and how you feel you’re in this torn-down 1920′s era of where gangsters and crime rule the town, and where everything is deceptive.
If you’re looking fora good mafia film then look no farther. Many stereotypes in mobster films don’t quite happen in here. We have always seen these tommy-guns blazing, but not with the kind of style this film gives us. The script is not like many other mafia films, as it is very realistic but also very challenging and complicated.
The reason it’s very complicating is because it starts off on the wrong foot talking about characters we do not know, and have no clue about. Probably about 45 minutes into the actual film is when we finally find out who all the players are. Many events in this film also happen, without us even knowing ourselves. I liked the little John Tuturro scene at first and felt that was good, but then it starts to over-play itself and just turned out to be a little too annoying.
The movie does have some pretty interesting scenes with some great violence and great visuals, but moves at a snail’s pace. There were way too many scenes that just featured these people talking, drinking, smoking, or anything else about gangsters. I felt like this film at points got boring, and does not do very well trying to pull it’s viewers in.
Miller’s Crossing features a lot of big names that are recognizable, but aren’t in this film as much as you would think. Gabriel Byrne does a very good job at playing this lead and doesn’t act tough throughout the whole movie, and actually does show some weaknesses within. Albert Finney, John Tuturro, and Marcia Gay Harden all are in this film and show up but are not used as well, and don?t seem to powerful for a film that bases it all on the power of a look and feel.
Consensus: Though not one of Coen’s best, Miller’s Crossing is a small mobster gem that is visually spectacular and features a real-life look at the world of the Mafia.