RANSOM [1996] movie review

September 28, 2012

Now that I have finished the LETHAL WEAPON series, I made it five consecutive nights with Mel Gibson by watching RANSOM [1996]. I did not know until the opening credits that it was a Ron Howard film as well, which I thought was a bit of a different kind of movie for him to make. I can only guess that Rene Russo and Mel Gibson really liked each other too as they were in at least three movies together in the 90s. RANSOM itself was a well paced kidnapping thriller with a great twist. [Read more]

LETHAL WEAPON 4 [1998] movie review

September 21, 2012

It has been a fun romp these past four consecutive Friday nights watching the Lethal Weapon quadrilogy. It is pretty amazing how consistent director Richard Donner made all the movies, and that they remained watchable despite hitting all the same notes each and every installment. LETHAL WEAPON 4 adds a great bad guy in Jet Li, and an extraneous new good guy in Chris Rock. These two were not very seamlessly integrated, but it is much more entertaining to watch Li be a badass for a few minutes here and there than for Rock to spontaneously perform a minute of standup here and there.

Still, when next Friday comes around and there is no Lethal Weapon 5 to watch, I will miss the whole gang of Riggs, Murtaugh, Leo and the cameo characters like the police captain, police psychiatrist and the others.

I would almost say the plot is a bit more clearly spelled out in LW4 and unfolds in a fairly linear way. The plot threads are filled with one set action piece after another. The opening one is especially outrageously dangerous, but never are Riggs and Murtaugh more irreverent as they dodge automatic weapon fire while waxing philosophic about becoming a father and grandfather, respectively. This after all, is what the LW movies do best, and we get a number of scenes in this final ride to enjoy Riggs making Murtaugh exasperated like only he can. Glover is so great at playing that for maximum effect without ever being cartoonish.

The final fight between Li, Riggs and Murtaugh is a very fitting conclusion to a violent movie series. The largely hand-to-hand three-way fight is very visceral as they both know they are fighting an extremely lethal foe in Li. How can they possibly defeat him them? By being an unconventional team as they always have been, and saving each other’s butt when it is needed the most.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN [2012] movie review

September 15, 2012

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is a lot like a kit car. The externals look great, just like an amazing sports car. However, all the insides took shortcuts, are not quite right, and are basically not in the least handcrafted originals. Someone did a pretty good job on set design, costumes, makeup and cinematography, but the screenwriter, director and actors are shoddy. [Read more]

KING KONG VS. GODZILLA [1962] movie review

September 15, 2012

I thought I was about to see a wrong be righted that has been scarring me for 30 years.  It turns out it was all a myth.  As a kid watching KING KONG VS. GODZILLA [1962] I saw my hero, Godzilla, inconceivably lose to King Kong at the end of the movie.  I just could not fathom it.  Godzilla was way bigger and has thermonuclear breath.  How could it be?  Later I would hear that in the Japanese version, Godzilla, in fact, wins.  Thus, this afternoon I queued up the Japanese version with 30 years of vindication ready to be felt, only to see my hero Godzilla lose again!  Had I still not seen the proper version?  A quick trip to Wikipedia told me yes, I had seen the real Japanese version, but it was only a myth that persisted for decades that there were two different endings to the movie.  There was only one, and in it, King Kong emerges victorious, though Godzilla is likely to have lived.

[Read more]

LETHAL WEAPON 3 [1992] movie review

September 14, 2012

I made it three consecutive Lethal Weapon Friday nights with naturally LETHAL WEAPON 3 tonight.  Even though each movie is essentially the same, I do not find the movies repetitive.  Either you like the exasperated reactions of Danny Glover’s character to Mel Gibson’s character’s wild antics, or you do not.  Mix in a few doses of insanity from the returning Joe Pesci, add a new love interest in Rene Russo for Gibson, add in the cameo scenes we all like (like Glover embarrassing himself in the police precinct) and the tried and true Lethal Weapon formula still works.

[Read more]

LETHAL WEAPON 2 [1989] movie review

September 7, 2012

In the history of sequels LETHAL WEAPON 2 is among the top, not that it is a super great movie, just that it is nearly as good as the original LETHAL WEAPON. It might sound hard to imagine that basically four hours of watching two guys drive each other crazy and react exasperated to each other as they bounce from one scene to the next piling up a body count can be thought of as a decent pair of movies, but some how they are. [Read more]