Browse Author: andy

RECAP: Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005): Jean-Francois Richet

Remaking any movie is a troublesome prospect. Assault on Precinct 13 is a good choice, if you’re going to remake a classic. The original is well liked, at least a generation old, and made on a tiny budget.

The 2005 remake upgrades everything. Cast, production budget, cameras, even the besieged precinct station gets a second floor. The movie landed with a thud at the box office, but its cast put in a solid effort.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: It’s New Year’s Eve, and some very bad, very well armed dudes, mad at Detroit cops, surround a decommissioned police station and try to kill the eight cops, criminals, and civilians stuck inside. Continue Reading

RECAP: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor (2013): Peter Berg

A mission in Afghanistan in 2005 goes terribly wrong, and only one man survives. He writes a book. Peter Berg reads that books. It becomes an early 2014 hit.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: One Navy SEAL survives a mission gone wrong in Afghanistan in 2005.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Domino

Domino (2005): Tony Scott

A scene late in Domino shows the main characters imbibe spoonfuls of mescalin. For hours they endure insane hallucinations, emotions, and passions, and survive a horrific RV crash that should have torn their bodies in half.

I bring this up now because I believe the entire movie was made by people on mescaline. An intense, jittery experience for two hours, Domino tells a true story, sort of, about a model-turned-bounty hunter.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A lithe bounty hunter is caught up in an armored car heist that involves a casino owner, the mob, Jerry Springer, and Beverly Hills 90210. Continue Reading

RECAP: Man on Fire (2004)

Man on Fire (2004): Tony Scott

One of our more underrated action directors, Tony Scott remade a 1987 Mexican movie called Man on Fire.

Denzel Washington, still basking in his Oscar win for Best Actor in Training Day, embarked on a still-ongoing lone-man action bender.

Man on Fire was as good a movie as any for these two under-the-radar giants to meet and make a movie.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A down-on-himself ex-CIA agent takes a job as a bodyguard and avenges a young girl after he fails to prevent her kidnapping, setting some people on fire in the process.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde (2017): Joe Leitch

The success of 2014’s taut action hit John Wick likely got Atomic Blonde green lit. Joe Leitch was one uncredited half of the directing team behind Wick, and Charlize Theron wanted to work with him.

Armed with punishing martial arts and a relentless soundtrack of ’80s pop hits, Atomic Blonde borrows a few elements from John Wick.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In 1989, MI-6’s top agent Lorraine Broughton lands in Berlin to recover a list of Soviet agents before it lands in the wrong hands.  Continue Reading

RECAP: xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017): D.J. Caruso

Sing it with me: What the world needs now/is love, sweet–XANDER CAGE MOTORCYCLE SKI SURFING.

What happens when an actor gets a little bored of his multi-billion-dollar action franchise? He works in his multi-million-dollar action franchise.

Look out, Earth, Xander Cage is back, and he’s EXTREMELY EXTREMER THAN EVER.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: XANDER CAGE SKIS JUNGLES; XANDER CAGE SLEEPS WITH HOT WOMEN; XANDER CAGE PLAYS GRENADE ROULETTE; XANDER CAGE SAVES EARTH. Continue Reading

RECAP: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): James Gunn

2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit for Marvel. Released in August, the film finished third in that year’s box office.

A team partly comprised of a raccoon and a tree, the Guardians could have flopped out of theaters in a week and been forgotten.

Marvel never let them have that chance. A sequel was already in the works before the first movie came out. Arriving a year before all the Marvel characters assemble to battle Thanos, the Guardians have two important pieces: two of Thanos’s daughters.

These daughters take their relationship to another level. Peter Quill, the leader of the Guardians, sorts out his own daddy issues, and Rocket Raccoon raises a young, reconstituted Groot.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The Guardians sort out some family drama while a god tries to kill all life in the galaxy. Continue Reading

RECAP: Predator

Predator (1987): John McTiernan

Arnold, the jungle, muscles, aliens, grenade launchers: it gets no better than Predator.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An alien hunter haunts the jungle tracking America’s finest soldiers. Continue Reading

RECAP: Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd (1995): Danny Cannon

Judge Dredd was a comic book first. It never reached the cultural cache of Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, or the X-Men, much less the cultural icons Batman and Superman. However, the helmeted judge patrolling the streets of Mega City One still made it to the big screen before those first three characters I mentioned.

The character calls for a subdued but principled man to play the by-the-book character. Instead, he got Sylvester Stallone at his hammiest and steroid-est. The movie suffers for it.

In this future megalopolis, 65 million people are policed by judges. Men and women are trained to be cop, judge, jury, and, sometimes, executioner.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: I AM THE LAW. Continue Reading

RECAP: Baby Driver

Baby Driver (2017): Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright made his career directing Simon Pegg movies. He almost got Ant-Man and he almost got the fourth Mission: Impossible film. He helped write The Adventures of Tin Tin, a movie with so much Oscar weight behind it that the film barely made it to out.

All these experiences helped create the wholly Wright project of Baby Driver. A “kind of musical,” Baby Driver surprised box office prognosticators for succeeding, because it’s an original idea and who has the energy to see original movies these days?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A hearing-challenged young man drives getaway cars for Atlanta bank robbers to a fantastic score.  Continue Reading