Tag Archives: Bruce Willis

Brian’s Review – A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

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A Good Day to Die Hard

Directed by John Moore

2 out of 10

John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.

Bruce Willis ought to be ashamed of himself for having the audacity of inflicting this piece of shit on the public and then having the nerve to call it a Die Hard film. This is as bad a cash grab I’ve seen from an actor in recent memory. All of the charm and fun from the earlier entries in the series feesl like a distant memory and they’re replaced with an experience here that feels cold, boring, distant, incomprehensible, and ugly. Why in the hell did Bruce Willis make this? He’s certainly not hard up for cash after being one of the top paid actors for the last quarter century.

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So, why do a sequel to a beloved series that isn’t of very high quality? I’m not here to try to convince anyone that Die Hard is high art or anything but they were slam band action films that were fun and contained a realistic hero in unrealistic situations. The John McClane character is among the most loved off all time in the action genre and easily Bruce Willis’s most iconic screen role. This film shows a complete disrespect for the earlier work and Willis himself is largely to blame. My criticism are as follows:

  1. There’s no discernable story here. If there’s no story then the audience has zero reason to care.
  2. As with #1, there’s no characters that are remotely interesting…including John McClane!!! If you don’t care about the characters, you don’t care when they’re in danger and therefore there’s no suspense.
  3. This film is photographed horribly. The entire thing is way too dark and smothered in dark blues and smeary reds. It creates problems as a viewer because when you mix that with the shaky cam effect, it makes an already impossible film to follow even murkier.
  4. Bruce Willis acts old and tired. He puts no effort in to create any dramatic weight and looks utterly bored.
  5. John Moore is a schlock director. Did anyone see Max Payne? I rest my case.
  6. You won’t have any clue what’s going on from one scene to the next. There’s no flow. I was confused and yet too bored to put in any effort to figure it out.
  7. The villian sucks. He has no backstory and very few lines.
  8. There’s double crosses by characters who have almost no screen time. If I don’t even know who these people are, why would I care if someone betrayed someone else?

I could go on and on but I’ll end with this. This isn’t just the worst Die Hard film but my pick as the worst film so far of 2013.

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Looper

Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Bruce WillisIn the year 2042, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, a hired assassin for the mob who kills people sent from the future. But what will he do when the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination?

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

I expected more from this movie. The concept rocked.

Bad people from the future send people back in the past they need killed through a time machine There is a person waiting for them, called a looper, who shoots them and collects some gold strapped to them. OK, I’m game.

But what happens during this film is a lot of nothing. It’s boring, with unneeded characters who flush out what should have been a short, more action oriented movie. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but yes, it’s true. Looper drags. I expected more from this film, because it got rave reviews. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis a lot. And while they both are good in the film, it suffers from a slow-movie script and a director that was over thinking it a bit. It’s also way darker than I anticipated — maybe I shouldn’t have, based on the premise — but it was.

Not a terrible film, but it drags at parts and left me wanting something different.

Red

After trading in his professional past as a black-ops CIA operative for a new identity, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is basking in normality. But he’s forced to return to old habits when an assassin puts a target on his back and goes after the woman (Mary-Louise Parker) he loves. Helen Mirren and John Malkovich co-star as former members of Frank’s team who reluctantly reassemble to save his life in this Golden Globe-nominated action-comedy.

Brian
Rating: 3 out of 10

Red is a bad movie. There’s no way around it. I tried to focus on the positive elements of this film. The cast is fantastic all around, particularly Hellen Mirren and John Malkovich. They chew up every scene they’re in and deliver the dialogue in a fun and engaging way. Bruce Willis is also good, as he always is, playing the action hero (a role he was born to play going all the way back to 1988’s Die Hard).

But, I have to point out that the story just plain sucks. It centers on the idea that the Vice President wants to kill a group of ex-CIA soldiers that witnessed his war crimes years and years ago in South America. That’s it…..boooorrriiinngg! It also brings up several questions: Why the hell would he wait 20+ years to take them out? Also, who was talking about his war crimes or threatening to go public? Not a soul! It’s such a huge gaping hole in the plot that is never explained and can’t be excused away as: “Well, it’s just an action movie.” All movies, regardless of genre, have to give me a reason to give a shit about what I’m experiencing. Red gives me zero reasons to stay attentive except for the great cast that is given nothing to do that’s remotely interesting. In fact, I can’t remember a film that had this much action that was so boring. There’s very little danger, no one dies, and the situations are just flat out ridiculous. For example, Bruce Willis has a shootout with a character on a city street. Well, you could call it a city street except for the fact that THERE’S NO PEOPLE ON IT!!! Then, there’s another scene where Bruce Willis breaks into the CIA headquarters, which can apparently be done if you dress in a general’s uniform and have a special contact lens. Once he’s inside the headquarters, he goes to the file room where he meets an old CIA rep. who is old friends with him and hands him the whole file he needs. Why didn’t he just give him a call and meet up with him outside? The mere fact that I’m figuring out all this shit after one viewing and the makers of this turd lived with it for years is just shocking.

Cop Out

Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and off-kilter Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are two suspended cops trying to track down a stolen and very valuable 1950s baseball card. Along the way, they encounter a Mexican beauty and countless other characters and get entangled with the mob. Kevin Smith (Clerks) directs this comedic action flick co-starring Adam Brody, Jason Lee, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kevin Pollak and Seann William Scott.

Matt
Rating: 4 out of 10

I love Kevin Smith, but I’m not in love with him. We put Kevin Smith on our most overrated directors list for good reason.

When he makes a great movie, like “Clerks,” “Dogma” or “Chasing Amy,” he really nails it. But he makes a lot of turds, like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” “Jersey Girl” or “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”

“Cop Out” is somewhere in between. It’s not as awful as “Jersey Girl” but it’s nowhere near “Mallrats” or “Clerks 2.” There are a couple funny parts — Morgan’s character uses dialogue from action movies when playing the “bad cop” to intimidate witnesses. Morgan and Willis have good chemistry on camera and there’s a handful of funny parts. But all in all, most of the humor is so moronic it hurts your head to watch. If you want a really funny cop comedy, check out “The Other Guys.”

The Expendables

Barney (Sylvester Stallone) leads a ragtag band of hired guns charged with overthrowing a South American despot, a job no official military unit is willing to touch. But once on the ground, the team learns there’s more to the mission than they were told. Their next move determines whether they survive — or are, indeed, expendable. Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li round out a stellar cast.

Matt
Rating: 3 out of 10

I wrote this movie in the first grade.

It was called “The Best Team.” My epic tale was about a group made up of myself, my brother, cousin, and a couple friends who were part of a secret group of commandos for hire. Each of us had a specialty — I carried a samurai sword, my brother had a big machine gun, my cousin could do all these crazy flips and stuff, and my other friends were experts with uzis and martial arts. We had to go save a princess who was being held in a castle by an evil bad guy named Mr. Time.

In “The Expendables,” you have a group of for-hire commandos, each with their own special skills who are after a girl held up in a castle. This movie couldn’t be more predictable, trite, boring, and less creative. There are some decent special effects and the absurd action sequences you’d expect. I actually had a little hope for this, since it was written and directed by Sylvester Stalone, who also co-starred as the leader of The Expendables. Stalone is a good writer when he cares about a project, like “Rocky” or “Balboa.”

There was some potential. It could have been a nostalgic look back at some of the action stars of the 80s. But this one flopped big time.

Sin City

Four tales of crime adapted from Frank Miller’s popular comics of the same name, this film, directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez (Grindhouse, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction), that focuses around a muscular brute looking for the person responsible for the death of his beloved Goldie, a man fed up with Sin City’s corrupt police department who takes the law into his own hands, a cop who risks his life to protect a girl from a deformed pedophile, and a hit man looking to make a little cash.

Brian
Rating: 10 out of 10

Anyone who has ever loved comic books has always waited for a film that conveyed the feeling you get while reading one.  Well, comic book lovers, your movie has come!

Sin City is a film that is so unbelievable visual, so unrelentingly interesting, and so fleshed out with interesting characters and multiple plot lines that, yes, I would call it a living and breathing comic book.  Rodriguez has hit one out of the park and created by far his best film to date and the performances he’s given by Mickey Rourke, Nick Stahl, Clive Owen, and Bruce Willis are stellar all around.

The thing I noticed while watching this movie was that once one story ended and another began, I kept thinking the last part couldn’t be topped and I was wrong.  Each part of the plot perfectly complements the other to create one large story in the vein of Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” or “Reservoir Dogs.”  I will give a word of warning to the squeamish:  This film contains ultra explicit violence that is almost unrelenting from start to finish.  If you can handle that and love comic books, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to miss out on this gem.

Top 5 action movies of all time

The action genre, perhaps more than any other, is full of throw-away, direct-to-DVD titles, like “Universal Solider”‘ and “Need For Speed 25” — or whatever iteration they’re on now. This is a segment where once in a while you get an action movie that stands above the rest. Defining an “action movie” was tough. Our definition is an “action movie” is one where the action is the focus and featured element of the film.

Brian

5.  Die Hard: This adrenaline pumping movie came out of nowhere and established Bruce Willis as a household name and box office draw.  It’s by far the best film of its kind because we believe in John McClain.  Unlike Dirty Harry or Rambo, he’s a normal guy who has the odds stacked against him.

4.  Dirty Harry: Before Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood was known primarily as the man with no name in Sergio Leone’s terrific spaghetti westerns.  The story is simple but because his character is so engaging, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  Also, Andy Robinson is perhaps the best action villain of all time.

3.  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I’m throwing this into the action genre because it contains some of my favorite gunfights in screen history.  3 men on the trail of $200,000 worth of gold.  Who will get it?  Well, get ready to have a blast finding out.

2.  The French Connection: The winner of 1971’s Best Picture has the greatest car chase in screen history.  William Friedkin attached cameras to the hoods of the cars and the effect it created felt like you were in the car.  Ever since, countless films by every major director copied and re-copied it to great effect.  Oh, and Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider are fantastic too.

1.  Raiders of the Lost Ark: George Lucas took a character inspired from the 1930’s serials that he loved and handed the directing reigns to Steven Spielberg to create the greatest action film ever made.  With barely a moment to catch your breath, from snakes to plane crashes, to chases through the desert, tarantulas, rolling boulders, and historic artifacts, this movie gives you your money’s worth and then some.

Matt

5. The Seven Samurai: Akira Kurosawa is a master filmmaker and storyteller. This is an epic focused around the simple story of a poor farming village terrorized by bandits. They hire samurai to protect them and train them to fight. The imagery is wonderful, the landscapes exquisite, and there’s action aplenty.

4. Enter the Dragon: Wrap a spy movie and a martial arts movie together and add Bruce Lee, and you have a kick ass action film with lots and lots of action. This was the first Hollywood-produced Kung-Fu movie.

3. French Connection: William Friedkin did everything right with this film, from the excellent cast with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider to the groundbreaking car chases. It may feel dated, but there was no CGI back then. Everything was real.

2. The Matrix: In the words of Keanu Reeves, “Whoa.” I remember disregarding this movie because it had Reeves in it. That was a huge mistake. This movie was both intellectually challenging and visually stunning, with fight scenes that have to be watched several times to digest. All in all, an awesome, classic action movie that will stand the test of time.

1. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: This was the most ambitious martial arts film ever. There is no CGI. Period. It’s seems almost impossible when you watch it, but this film broke ground in a major way. Academy Award winning director Ang Lee is a master. His epic may never be surpassed. It drips with history, honor, tradition and wraps beautiful love stories and action around a tremendous cast. This is one of my favorite films of all time.