Browse Category: Crime

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

RECAP: The Kingdom

The Kingdom (2007): Peter Berg

Saudi Arabia is the kingdom. Let’s get that out of the way. In case you were wondering.

What happens when local terrorists kill dozens of Americans in Saudi Arabia? You get…Jamie Foxx Investigates.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Homegrown Saudi terrorists attack a compound of American oil workers and their families, and the FBI flies in to investigate against the will of many in the Saudi government.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The A-Team

The A-Team (2010): Joe Carnahan

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Framed for a crime they didn’t commit, a quartet of Army Rangers seeks to clear their names by blowing up a lot of stuff and making a lot of folks mad.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Frank Miller’s Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For

Frank Miller’s Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For (2014): Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

A rant: Let’s stop the trend(?) of enshrining a director’s name to a movie’s title. Frank Miller did it here. Lee Daniels tried the same trick with The Butler. We’ve already succummed to auteur theory; why hammer the nail further?

A Dame to Kill For uses the same storytelling technique as its predecessor: interconnected stories of down-and-out folks in Sin City. This time around, some of the characters we know, and some we don’t.

There’s also a time-skip. For some characters this film is a sequel, for others a prequel. Sounds confusing, but the aspect actually works.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Sin City is full of a lot of bad people, and they do bad things to each other, and it’s mostly black and white, and there’s nudity and murders and stuff, and some of the colors pop out, and there’s a lot of scenes.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Sin City

Sin City (2005): Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

An homage to crime noir, the Sin City comic series earned numerous awards throughout its early 1990s run. Frank Miller lived through a dark time in New York’s history, and he poured that pathos into his black-and-white-and occasional-color comic series.

The film adhered to Miller’s aesthetic in tone and visuals. Perhaps no film has come as close to its source material as Sin City.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Three flawed but mostly good guys fight corruption, kidnapping, and murder in the you-don’t-want-to-visit-there town of Basin City, better known as Sin City.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Hardcore Henry

Hardcore Henry (2015): Ilya Naishuller

The video game industry has spent the last decade making its games more cinematic. It follows that the film industry would return the favor.

Hardcore Henry is a film shot entirely in first person, using GoPro cameras attached to stunt actors’ heads, with limited editing, to show us the violent route of a cyborg lover to rescue his wife.

The film was released in 2015 in Russia and 2016 in the US.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Henry, newly raised from the dead and part robot, fights through Moscow to reach Akan, the man who kidnapped his wife, Estelle. Continue Reading

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