The Tuxedo (2002)

Starring Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs, Debi Mazar, Ritchie Coster, Peter Stormare, Mia Cottet, Romany Malco, Daniel Kash, Jody Racicot, Boyd Banks, Cecile Cristobal, James Brown

Directed by Kevin Donovan

Expectations: Super low. I remember hating this.


When I first saw The Tuxedo sometime around its original release, I thought it was the worst Jackie Chan movie I’d ever seen. I don’t remember my specific gripes, but my general distaste for the film has stuck with me ever since. Despite this years-long grudge against The Tuxedo, I started it this time with an open mind. The deer pissing in the stream during the film’s opening didn’t fill me with a lot of hope, but by the time the end credits rolled, I was shocked at just how entertaining the movie had been. It still exhibits many problems that American Jackie films have, but it also delivers something unique and in terms of tone it’s closer to Hong Kong than a traditional Hollywood movie (which really surprised me).

Jackie Chan plays Jimmy Tong, a taxi driver with a confidence problem. He’s in love with a woman who works at an art gallery, but he’s unable to get it together enough to ask her out. He thrives in his element, though, crisscrossing through the streets of New York in his taxi faster than anyone else could even imagine. His skills bag him a job working as a high-paid chauffeur for millionaire playboy/secret agent Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), and unbeknownst to Jackie this will forever change his life. He is soon roped into an international struggle of catastrophic proportions; you might even say that he is an accidental spy! 🙂

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The Last Stand (2013)

thelaststand_5Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford, Génesis Rodríguez, Daniel Henney, Tait Fletcher, John Patrick Amedori, Harry Dean Stanton

Directed by Kim Jee-Woon

Expectations: Extremely high.

threestar


It’s Sheriff Ray Owens’ day off, and he’s hoping for a quiet one. Y’know the kind, you hit the town diner for a quick bite and then just sorta mosey around doing whatever it is that feels right at the time. What he doesn’t know is that Gabriel Cortez, a reckless drug lord, has just broken free from FBI custody and is now speeding down the highway directly towards Ray’s town. But what Cortez doesn’t know is that Arnold is a bad motherfucker.

Check your logical mind at the door and get ready for an old school throwback featuring the king of ’80s action movies himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Last Stand is not a perfect film, but if you dig real cars exploding and doing stunts (not necessarily at the same time) then this will entertain. The film also features a healthy amount of gun violence and even some interesting hand-to-hand. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “a movie with it all” but as an ’80s action throwback/western/comedy it definitely throws a lot at you. Believability never mattered in the ’80s and it also doesn’t matter in The Last Stand. Whatever it takes to get a bazooka and a mini-gun on-screen, I’m completely fine with in this type of movie.

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Lockout (2012)

lockout_posterStarring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Lennie James, Peter Stormare, Jacky Ido, Tim Plester, Mark Tankersley, Anne-Solenne Hatte, Peter Hudson

Directed by James Mather & Stephen St. Leger

Expectations: Moderate.

twohalfstar


Lockout isn’t a movie I watched because I expected it to be good, I watched it because I expected it to be fun. There was a time when I scoffed at every pseudo-science fiction film Hollywood churned out, angry that my beloved genre was getting such a shaft in the name of dumb action. But times have changed and I’ve softened on these types of films quite a bit, so when I saw the trailer for this film set in a space prison, I was game. It really doesn’t take much these days.

Lockout tells the story of a guy named Snow, who’s NOT supposed to be some sort of Snake Plissken-esque character. He’s tasked with infiltrating MS-1, a maximum security space prison to rescue the president’s daughter. OK, I lied, he is supposed to be Snake Plissken-esque. But where the story and the character are pure retread, its execution is a little more interesting than simple ripoff (or homage, depending on your point of view).

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Fargo (1996)

Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, Kristin Rudrüd, Tony Denman, Larry Brandenburg, Steve Reevis, John Carroll Lynch, Steve Park

Directed by Joel Coen

Expectations: I’ve seen this a bunch of times, I expect to still enjoy it.


Fargo is a twisted tale that begins with a disclaimer that it is based on a true story. The Coens put this on their film because there are certain elements taken from true events, but the actual overall story is theirs. This doesn’t diminish its impact at all, in fact, it’s such a well-written story in its probable improbability that you can easily believe it to be true, which in the world of film is all that really matters.

Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) drives down a snowy road to meet two men at a bar. He has hired these men to kidnap his wife, in an effort to get her wealthy father to pay the ransom which Jerry will use to pay off debts and then give a small share to the kidnappers. It’s all so ludicrous that it has to be true, right? I mean, you can’t make that kind of stuff up.

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