“Action pack” (2009)

I watched several action movies from last year crop. I enjoyed every one of them to a varying degree, because I got enough bangs for my buck, but I don’t have enough to say about them to justify a full post each. So here is a batch of the ones I remember.

Land of the Lost
My 2 cent: Another typical Will Ferrell comedy, where he plays the same character, with the same mannerisms as usual. It has some funny visual (beyond the spectacular backdrops) and hilarious linguistic gags, but overall playing too low. I enjoyed seeing Anna Friel’s (“Chuck” from “Pushing daises”) pretty face and charming acting.
IMDB summary: On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist. In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka, their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures
DVD @ Amazon.com

The Last Templar
My 2 cent: Slightly better than expected, because of the work of the actors with familiar faces. But it was still a made for TV movie, with predictable dialogues and plot. It’s too close to the original of the genre that the Da Vinci code meme started. The historical reenactment with their faded sepia tone stock were ridiculous. On the plus side Omar Sharif has a few, calm scenes which were worth watching. The movie was a simplified combination of The Librarian and Indiana Jones. At 170 minutes a bit long.
IMDB summary: During a gala museum event featuring precious Vatican artifacts, a group of men posing as Templar knights stage a daring robbery. Their primary interest is in obtaining a mechanical decoding device that can supposedly decipher the location of the Templar treasure. Archaeologist Tess Chaykin reluctantly works with FBI Agent Sean Daley to uncover the mastermind behind the plot and possibly locate the treasure.
DVD @ Amazon.com

The Perfect Sleep
My 2 cent: Worst example of the neo-noir genre. Boring, pointless, not worth watching to the end just to make sense of it: bad acting, unrealistic fighting scenes, uninspired directing, confusing story
IMDB summary: Against the backdrop of a noirish dreamscape, a tortured man returns to the city he swore he would never return to, in order to save the woman he has always loved yet can never have.
DVD @ Amazon.com

The Spirit
My 2 cent: Frank Miller recycled his visual ideas from Sin City for an inferior comic book. Would have looked nice as a music video, but the black and white turned monotone, as I boring. The action and the dialogs were based on the panels of cartoon strips with their cheesy one liners. They might have worked o paper, didn’t work on screen.
IMDB summary: Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered, and born again. When a Rookie cop named Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face who has other plans. He’s going to wipe out the entire city. The Spirit tracks this cold hearted killer from the city’s rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill the masked crusader.
DVD @ Amazon.com

Terminator Salvation
My 2 cent: Nothing memorable. After two months I don’t recall single scene. For a movie that was focusing on visuals more than story line it’s not a god sign. I remember that the per minute explosions and fights had a higher count than the per minute body count and that the most of the movie could have been black and white as the post-apocalyptic scenery was equated with being gray and industrial. Beyond that nothing. This installment of the Terminator franchise was the worst.
IMDB summary: It’s the early stages of the war between man and machines. And the savior John Conner is doing everything he can to make sure man survives. He thinks he’s found a way to ensure that, and he also learns that the machines have targeted the man who’s suppose to father him, Kyle Reese, so he tries to find him. One of Conner’s soldiers meets a man named Marcus Wright who has no knowledge of Judgment Day. When they reach the base they discover Wright is part machine and suspect that he was sent by Skynet but Wright claims that’s not true.
DVD @ Amazon.com

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
My 2 cent: Better than the first one. Less rumbling metal, more jokes. Good enough blockbuster, with nice villain, focusing on visuals that help to escape not-so-spectacular common life.
IMDB summary: A youth chooses manhood. The week Sam Witwicky starts college, the Decepticons make trouble in Shanghai. A presidential envoy believes it’s because the Autobots are around; he wants them gone. He’s wrong: the Decepticons need access to Sam’s mind to see some glyphs imprinted there that will lead them to a fragile object that, when inserted in an alien machine hidden in Egypt for centuries, will give them the power to blow out the sun. Sam, his girlfriend Mikaela, and Sam’s parents are in danger. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are Sam’s principal protectors. If one of them goes down, what becomes of Sam?
DVD @ Amazon.com

Watchmen
My 2 cent: Yet another comic book I never read that was made into a movie. First viewing: focusing on the action and understanding the plot. Second viewing: enjoying the visuals. Third, future, viewing untangling the intriguing concepts, political subtexts and complex characters. That’s needed to get the most out of this one. Definitely worth three viewing and I rarely say that about sci-fi.
IMDB summary: “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity… but who is watching the Watchmen?”
DVD @ Amazon.com

Wyvern
My 2 cent: This made-for-TV flick didn’t pretend to be more and I liked that. I knew most of the actors from TV series, several of them from Northern Exposure. As the setting was similar it felt like a mini-reunion of that show. The acting, the directing and the location pulled the movie up, only the script lagged slightly behind. But altogether it was a surprisingly good little movie; beyond the silliness of having a dragon in today’s Alaska of course..
IMDB summary: The resident of a small Alaska town that finds itself under attack by a flying dragon, known in medieval mythology as a wyvern. It has thawed from its ancient slumber by melting icecaps caused by global warming.
DVD @ Amazon.com

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
My 2 cent: Tragic romance, family, idyllic countryside, burning injustice, evil adversary and brother and plenty of action. That’s about it. Don’t expect more or too much logic. Expect grandiose fighting and the good to win. Inside and outside.
IMDB summary: Two mutant brothers, Logan and Victor, born 200 years ago, suffer childhood trauma and have only each other to depend on. Basically, they’re fighters and killers, living from war to war through U.S. history. In modern times, a U.S. colonel, Stryker, recruits them and other mutants as commandos. Logan quits and becomes a logger, falling in love with a local teacher. When Logan refuses to rejoin Stryker’s crew, the colonel sends the murderous Victor. Logan now wants revenge.
DVD @ Amazon.com

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