Commando (1985)

commando_3Commando (1985)
AKA Phantom Kommando

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, James Olson, David Patrick Kelly, Alyssa Milano, Bill Duke, Drew Snyder

Directed by Mark L. Lester

Expectations: This is one of my favorites movies ever.

fourstar


Before this recent re-watch of Commando, I wondered to myself how I would rate the film. Without question I knew that I would want to give it four stars because this has been one of my most favorite films ever since childhood. If I had to choose, I’d say that it’s between this and Predator for my favorite Arnold film. So clearly I have a great affection for this movie, and only four stars can accurately sum up my feelings for it. At the same time, I’m now 32 years old and while I still watch this movie with a gleeful smile and an unburdened mind, I am able to recognize how some people — especially those who did not live through the ’80s or grow up on Arnold films — could find themselves unable to stomach either the graphic, wanton violence or the highly questionable, completely unbelievable logic of Commando.

Thankfully, I’m not one to let the snark and the bad vibes of those who don’t see the magic of Commando ruin my experience. Without even a moment’s consideration, Commando still ranks as one of my favorite films. It is relentlessly exciting, funny, and even shockingly gruesome at times. Commando is one of the greatest action films of the ’80s. Like its heavily armed, well-oiled lead, Commando is lean, mean and always ready to kick some motherfuckin’ ass!

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Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)
AKA Alien 4

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser, Carolyn Campbell

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Expectations: Ugh.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


OK, hear me out. I know that Alien: Resurrection is a total piece of shit, and you know it too. What I didn’t know was that watching this 15 years and a shitload of B-Movies later, I would actually get a kick out of Alien: Resurrection. It’s still shitty, but there’s a lot to like about the film if you’re able to completely divorce yourself from the idea that this is a part of a franchise that you love. That’s simply the only way to enjoy this one, and really, they’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. Ripley died at the end of Alien³, and the somber, horrific tone of the series died along with her. Alien: Resurrection is a cash-in movie grasping at straws to create another moneymaker in a successful series, but damn if it isn’t a fun B-movie too.

Alien: Resurrection opens with some evil scientists cloning Ripley, and while they were at it, they whipped up a big batch of cheese balls… and the alien queen growing inside her. Due to some flawed logic cloning practices, Ripley is now something of a hybrid, gaining some of the alien’s curious traits such as acidic blood and superhuman strength. The real goal was to get the queen and start doing the bio-research the entire series has hinted at, but the scientist’s master plan hinges on some cargo being delivered by a bunch of space pirates led by Ron Perlman, and when they arrive shit starts to go down.

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Mini-Review: To Die For (1995)

Starring Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Alison Folland, Matt Dillon, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, Dan Hedaya

Directed by Gus Van Sant

Expectations: None.


This is a mildly entertaining movie about a pretty girl who has high aspirations to be on television. She’ll do anything. Simple enough. Usually with this type of film, there’s some level of intrigue, but this is not the case with To Die For. The film is told through a pseudo-documentary style and you know pretty much what happens in the first couple of minutes. I’m okay with that, as long as the characters are interesting, but I’m sorry to say that they aren’t. Nicole Kidman’s character is the only one even remotely absorbing and she does well in her role, with some exceptional moments. Most of the other players are overacted caricatures of American stereotypes with Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix battling for the main offender trophy. Illeana Douglas is the best of the supporting cast, but then I always enjoy her in anything, so I could be biased.

This is all coupled with Gus Van Sant’s ugly, boring camera work and editing, making it readily apparent that this one just wasn’t made for me. I can say one thing about Van Sant’s work, he’s consistent. His shot selection never ceases to frustrate and annoy me. I had seen this before when it came out and I didn’t like it then. I like it less now. Avoid it, unless you generally like Van Sant’s work or you want to see Joaquin Phoenix or Casey Affleck in early roles.

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