Browse Category: Crime

RECAP: Hitman

Hitman (2007): Xavier Gens

Video game movies were a hot item in the Aughts. Hitman sought to turn a fun, stylish action game into a movie with those same modifiers. Did it succeed? Read on.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An unnamed hitman with a barcode tattooed on his scalp navigates a murky Russian political scandal that threatens to end his life and that of a woman caught in it.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Free Fire

Free Fire (2017): Ben Wheatley

Would you survive a movie shootout? That’s the idea behind Free Fire. Get ready for characters who dislike each other and will sort their problems through firearms.

Trigger warning: the verb “to crawl” will appear many, many times in the following recap. Most of the characters crawl, shuffle, and slide to avoid being shot.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In Boston in 1978, a weapons deal goes wrong and a bunch of criminals try to kill each other with handguns in an abandoned warehouse. Continue Reading

RECAP: The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious (2017): F. Gary Gray

After directing the smash success N.W.A. origin story Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray earned the helm of the biggest franchise of the 21st century: a story about people who drive quickly.

The Fast franchise has always been about family. And cars. But mostly family. Dominic Toretto, hero of the street-class,  turns bad guy in this eighth installment, an inspired choice that gave the series an edge it needed.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Dominic Toretto’s crew faces its toughest enemy yet–Dominic Toretto. Continue Reading

RECAP: Fast Five

Fast Five (2011): Justin Lin

Bringing a new edge to the Fast franchise, Dwayne Johnson joins Vin Diesel and his family to steal some cars and avoid the law in Rio de Janeiro.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Fast cars and bad men, Dominic Toretto ducks the police in Rio while planning to steal $100 million of a crime lord’s funds.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Miami Vice

Miami Vice (2006): Michael Mann

Crockett and Tubbs, Tubbs and Crockett. Try finding a cooler, more decade-defining duo than those two Miami Vice detectives in the 1980s. They made Miami cool (cooler), pastels cool, and they made it possible to wear t-shirts with sport jackets.

What better way to adapt this hyper-cool TV series than a gritty filmmaker like Michael Mann? OK, a lot better. Mann makes a different movie, a Mann movie, but a good one. And yes, this Crockett and Tubbs are cooler.

Don’t shoot me!

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: When a federal drug sting goes awry, the FBI calls Miami’s top undercover detectives to bust a worldwide cartel operating in Miami.  Continue Reading

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: 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: 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

RECAP: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): John Carpenter

John Carpenter’s second feature film, Assault on Precinct 13 set the bar for future films. Carpenter speaks openly about the influence of Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead, and the nods to those classics are easy to find.

Don’t let that take away from this movie. Filmed on a $100,000 budget, Assault doesn’t have the time or money to shoot the hell out of its sets and characters. Instead, the movie focuses on its characters, finding the breaking point for each of them. Oh, and it does shoot the hell out of the set.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: After Los Angeles police kill members of the notorious Street Thunder gang , an about-to-close precinct station finds itself under retaliatory siege.  Continue Reading

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