Rodent's Reviews

→ in

The Lost Boys

Two brothers, Sam and Michael, move to Santa Carla with their Mother to live at the Grandfather’s home after their Mother and Father have divorced.
Stories from their Grandfather about Santa Carla being the Murder Capital Of The World, spark Sam and Michael’s imaginations.
Within a few days in their new surroundings, Sam makes an impression on two comic book storeowners know as the Frog brothers. They tell Sam stories of vampires in Santa Carla and try to push him into reading horror comics, saying that they’re more like survival manuals. Sam of course, laughs it off and accuses them of sniffing too much ink.
In the meantime, through a girl calling herself Star, Michael makes friends with a group of young leather-clad bikers lead by a young man called David, and they introduce him to their hideout. While there, they tease him with what appears to be hallucinations and give him some red wine to drink.
For the following few days after, Sam notices Michael is behaving abnormally and begins suspecting that the Frog brothers were telling the truth. In a brotherly confrontation, Sam brings a sudden realisation to Michael that all may not be right and a meeting between Michael and the group of bikers brings Michael’s worst fears to a horrific reality.

It’s a fantastic story of redemption, soul searching/saving and family ties and is wonderfully written with comedy-horror in mind. The subject matters of the movie are at times quite disturbing too, there are some genuinely scary and gory bits thrown in for good measure. The comedy tends to come from the situations that the young trio (the Frogs and Sam) find themselves in.
There's also a nice, well concieved twist at the end.
The dialogue is also brilliantly placed and played by the cast.

The effects are also a wonder, they’re practical and gritty and have shaped the look of pretty much all vampire movies since. There is only one, partial green screen effect in the entire film and you can’t even see it it’s that well covered.

The acting is another bonus. Most of the cast are young, sexy and very 80s.
Corey Haim as Sam is brilliantly naïve and has a wonderful, concerned kid brother feel about him and he carries the comedy and horror elements with style.
Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander are great as the Frogs. They’re young wannabe-commandos with a strangely competent air about them, and show signs of naivety too in the strange situations.
Jason Patric is another great choice as Michael. In the words of Joel Schumacher, ‘he has a wonderful big brother element about him’, he also plays the role with a great intensity.

By far the best of the cast is a young Kiefer Sutherland as David. He’s barely on screen and yet he makes a massive impression on the story and on the viewer. It’s by far his most memorable role.

The soundtrack is haunting at times and also very 80s in the style.

Maybe one bad thing about the film is the running time. I’ve said this about movies before but you don’t want The Lost Boys to end, it’s that good.

All in all, for me it’s the best vampire movie made to date and wrote the rulebook for most vampire movies since. An 80s classic.
My rating 95%


Set aboard the spaceship Nostromo, the crew are woken from hypersleep due to a starnge Alien signal coming from a nearby planet. Due to Company contracts, they’re obliged to check it out.
On landing on the planet, three of the crew head out into the unknown and discover a crashed ship, filled with hundreds of two-foot tall eggs. When one of the eggs hatches, it releases a strange organism that attaches itself to one of the trio’s face and sends him into a coma.
The other two drag him back to the landing craft, unknowingly placing the rest of the crew in mortal danger.

Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror is an original masterpiece. It combines the two elements absolutely perfectly, adding to the mix genuine dread and fear, wonder, imagination, mystery and claustrophobia too.

It’s also extremely well written in terms of character, universe and dialogue.
Inspired by Lucas’ Star Wars, Scott built a future full of dirty, grimy and well used surroundings and characters that are real and ordinarily original.
He also added a few twists to the overall story telling with original ideas on certain characters and heroes.

The acting is another bonus.
The entire cast is absolutely spot on with their characters. They’re real in their surroundings and various roles throughout the ship and in the series of terrifying situations.

The creature also is an extremely original piece of design by H.R Giger. Though it falters slightly as the man-in-suit costume, it’s still something that captures the imagination and has lived in movie history for the nearly 4 decades.

All in all it’s a brilliantly original movie that has shaped the sci-fi horror movie world since its creation.
My rating 100%


Set years after the first movie, Ripley has woken from hypersleep to find that the world she knew has vanished. Surrounded by company officials and investigations, she’s ridiculed for the stories she tells about what happened on the Nostromo years before.
It’s revealed to her that the planet she described has now become part of a terraforming project and that contact has been lost with the colonists.
With a squad of Interplanetary Marines by her side, she’s sent out to the original planet as an advisor for the squad where she faces the possibility of more horror and has to face her fears that have haunted her for as long as she can remember.

James Cameron’s sequel to Scott’s masterpiece has it’s fair share of shocks and claustrophobia and borders on the horror genre but is much more action orientated than the original sci-fi horror.

It’s also just as well written too. It expands the universe that Scott created too. There’s more scope with the horizon of the storyline and there are new characters and an expansion in the ‘Company’ added in as well.

The acting again is bang on the money.
Sigourney Weaver as Ripley is expanded from the tough officer type to that of a mentally tormented, reluctant heroine. Eventually digging deep to do what’s needed. Weaver was nominated for an Oscar in the role too.
Michael Biehn is spot on as Corporal Hicks. He’s tough and take-charge and has a very approachable human quality about him too.
The Marines are primarily made up of stunt actors too, which adds to the authenticity of their roles.

The effects, especially the creatures are improved as well for the movie. Cameron, having a background in special effects, had the knowledge to use camera angles and wire work for the creatures, which expands their character brilliantly and he has a nice twist with the Alien lifecycle. The action is fantastically choreographed too.

All in all it takes a different approach to the original and is the rare exception where the sequel is as good as the first.
My rating is another 100%

Alien 3

A movie hit with budget cuts, internal arguments between producers, director and writers, storyline changes (before during and even after filming) and studio executives having no leniency or confidence with director David Fincher.

The story, set just after James Cameron's Aliens, involves Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash landing on an almost abandoned planet with an enormous yet run down and barely populated prison after her cryo-tube is ejected from the Sulaco mothership.

The usual happens, an Alien Facehugger follows her in the Emergency Evacuation Unit and eventually spawns an offspring, which disappears into the prison.

At first, as usual, Ripley's magical tale of giant aliens with acidic blood and a mouth for a tongue is ignored by the powers that be (the prison super-intendant and his second in command). The Alien eventually runs amuck, sending the prisoners and the prison staff into fits of panic by picking them off one by one.
Ripley eventually is looked to for help in fighting the creature while they all await a rescue ship from 'The Company'.

Theatrical Version:

The theatrical release of the movie is the version most people are familiar with. The Alien gestates inside of a dog that belongs to one of the prisoners.
This version contains a limited storyline as it was cut and shredded in the editing room against Fincher's wishes. It's also a good 30 minutes shorter.

It also contains limited interaction between the viewer and the actors/characters, many of the prisoners are nameless faces treated like cannon fodder for the Alien.

Only a handful of characters are expanded on for the viewer: Ripley, Dr Clemens (Charles Dance), Dillon (Charles S Dutton), Morse (Danny Webb) and Aaron '85' (Ralph Brown) and that's about it.

The Alien, gladly is kept to the shadows as much as possible and many of the attack scenes are shot relatively close up to put the viewer in the midst of the action. Which works to an extent but can get disorientating.
The prison also is kept almost as secret as the nameless prisoners. The viewer never really feels part of the setting. Giant corridors that all look the same make the audience just as lost as the storyline.

Ok, the theatrical release is a marmite movie for fans, they either love it or hate it.
I'd say that it works as a horror and is a good film in its own right, but it feels unfinished and rushed. I didn't like it at first, but over the years, it grew on me.

Extended Cut:

Now we're talking.
Fincher was put to making two similar beginnings to the movie, the theatrical version being the one the studio wanted, this 'definitive' edition being Fincher's preferred.
The dog in the theatrical version is never seen in this version, instead, an ox (used as a tractor by the prisoners) is the Facehugger's choice of gestation.

The story is expanded between the audience and pretty much all the characters, especially Golic (played by Paul McGann), a psychotic murderer and rapist who actually sympathises with the alien creature.
Most of the nameless prisoners now have speaking lines and the storyline feels much more finished and that more time has actually been taken in making it work.

A huge chunk of the middle of the film contains the same scenes as the theatrical release but with the extra/original scenes added back in, it gives the entire movie a completely different aura.

The bad point of the Definitive Version is also, sadly, the added scenes.

That might seem contradictory but the problem is this; The sound hasn't been looped in an editing room, which gives the added scenes a 'hissy' background sound. Some of the added original scenes are fine, others not so.

It's a shame really, as the Definitive Edition is by far a superior movie.

Though if you can look past the small sound problem, even if you didn't like the theatrical Alien 3, you'll certainly prefer this one.

Give it a go. I did, and even though I like the theatrical version, I'll never be going back to it now.

Overall Theatrical Version rating: 75%.
Overall Definitive Version rating: 90% (would be 95%, just the sound lets it down)

Alien Resurrection

The USM Auriga, a military ship has, after 200 years, managed to clone Ripley and the Alien Queen. Their goal is to use the Alien as an ultimate weapon.
In the cloning process, Ripley’s and the Alien’s DNA have been crossed at a genetic level, giving Ripley a superhuman strength.
After the creatures escape from their cells and the military personnel on board the ship are either killed or escape, it’s up to Ripley and a small group of survivors, mainly space pirates, to get off the ship and destroy the Auriga before it can land on Earth.

Sadly, after a great build up and the marmite question of Alien 3, the fans of the franchise were hit with this abomination.

It’s very stylish and contemporary in the way it looks and in the character design but the writing, particularly the dialogue is mediocre at best.
There are little original twists in the story and some of the characters and creatures but they feel more gimmicky than anything else and there’s a lot of very samey plotlines going on too.

The acting is also extremely hammy and borders on wooden at times, especially Winona Ryder.
Weaver is about as good as she could have been but looks fed up with it all.
The best of the acting comes from Ron Perlman, he encapsulates his thug of a character brilliantly and adds a touch of loud humour too.

The action is very stylish rather than realistic and doesn’t really excite the viewer. Coming from a French director I guess that’s expected but it does make the film stand out from the others. The underwater scene is by far the most memorable scene of the entire film.
The creature effects are relatively good and the CGI is well rendered.

All in all, it has a very stylised feel and look and is mainly a miss affair, but it’s watchable for post-pub entertainment.
My rating 40%

The Lost Word: Jurassic Park

The premise is based on secrets kept by the Ingen company. There is a second island with dinosaurs on and Hammond has decided to send in a team of scientists to research how they have managed to live for so long without the injections needed for survival.
Ian Malcolm has been drafted in unwillingly as his girlfriend Sarah Harding has been sent to the island ahead of schedule, alone.
Cue lots of running and screaming.
It’s another marmite movie from me, the fans of the original film were divided with this one.
As it is, it’s a decent movie, the filmmakers approached the idea with the mindset of "we’ve achieved the impossible with JP, now how far can we push it".
It really shows too, it’s louder, faster, has more dino’s and has far better special effects.

The action is by far the best thing about the movie, it’s very exciting and fantastically choreographed. The cliff top T-Rex scene is certainly a heart stopper.

The downside is that the story has suffered. It feels as though Spielberg felt obliged to make a sequel and, though he resorted to Crichton’s books again, it feels kind of hollow and rushed. Not cashed-in exactly, but certainly empty of story.
There are nice little touches throughout the film, for example with the T-Rex, and some of the action sequences, but again, Crichton’s masterpieces of storytelling have been torn apart again.

The acting is good though. Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Malcolm, he hits the nail right on the head.
Julianne Moore as Harding is another good point, she very likable.
The late great Pete Postlethwaite makes an appearance as a Great White Hunter and though he’s only around for about a half of the movie, he makes a lasting impression.

A marmite point for fans is the second act of the film, some loved it, others not so. Personally I though it was an original touch.

All in all it’s a thrill ride of effects and action but lacks the charm and mystery of the first.
My rating 65%

Jurassic Park 3

The premise, is that thrill seekers are using the second island (from the second film) as an adventure holiday sort of thing. Ben Hildebrand and his stepson Erik Kirby vanish when their parasailing trip goes wrong and they land on the island.
Erik’s mother and father (Tea Leoni and William H Macy) kidnap Alan Grant (a returning Sam Neill) and his assistant Billy (Alessandro Nivola) and take 3 mercenaries with them too, to the island in search of their son.
Again, cue lots of running and screaming and dino’s.

This is certainly the first and final nail in JP’s coffin. It was an anticipated movie by fans but sadly detaches itself from the JP universe almost completely. The only exception being Sam Neill and a 30-second cameo from Laura Dern. It’s also written without any input from Crichton, which really shows in the extremely poor storytelling.

The filmmakers try to add a broken family trying to fix their problems into the mix, but it falls flat, you just don’t care about the characters enough and the ending is so abrupt and unrealistic it smashes any hopes that the film may have had.

There are more Dinosaurs shown throughout the movie and the Raptors in particular have been updated to modern scientific fact, but sadly that’s the only good point, and sadly again, it pushes the movie even farther from the JP universe with continuity errors. The addition of a new super-predator could have been worth while but it comes off as a cheap, badly animated gimmick.

It’s kind of a double barrel; the good points are actually a bad point.
The island and buildings seen on the island also bare absolutely no resemblance to the second movie either.

The effects are another bad point, the creatures seen are extremely animated.
When I say animated, what I actually mean is that they look like cartoons.

Getting Joe Johnson to try to live up to Spielberg's calibre, was certainly a bad choice by the studios, it’s simply an extremely poor film compared to Spielberg's lead up.

Sam Neill looks absolutely tired of it all.
William H Macy and Tea Leoni aren’t too bad, but their comedic ‘divorcee differences’ don’t do much to lift the story.

All in all, it’s a miss so big it wouldn’t get wet if it fell out of a boat.
My rating 10%


A failing inventor called Randall Peltzer is searching through Chinatown in search for a Christmas present for his son, Billy.
While there he’s taken to a small shop by a boy where he finds that the boy’s Grandfather has a small animal in a cage.
Besotted by the little creature, he offers to buy it, the old man refuses saying there is a lot of responsibility with it.
In secret, Randall and the young boy make a deal for the little animal and the boy explains that there are rules that need to be followed with caring for it.
Don’t get him wet. Don’t ever feed him after midnight. Don’t expose him to bright light, especially sunlight, as it will kill him.
On returning home, he gives Billy his present, now named Gizmo and within a few days, Billy breaks the first two rules and unleashes a an army of evil, malignant little creatures on his home town.
It’s up to him and his girlfriend and Gizmo to stop the little monsters before they end up spreading beyond control.

It’s a pretty simplistic story and sets itself up quite easily for the viewer, but the concept as a whole is very original.
Joe Dante’s direction is another bonus, he really creates an atmospheric set of circumstances and keeps the mystery of the creatures going throughout. There are also some jumpy moments mixed in as well.

Though the movie is seen as a big hit with kids by modern standard, at the time of release though, some cinemas actually banned it and warnings had to be aired to TV during trailers, warning people not to take their kids to see it. Gremlins is more of a comedy-horror than anything else, but humour is very dark at times and borders throughout on macabre and sadistic too.
It also contains some quite violent scenes, particularly the attempted killings of innocent people.

The effects are also a bonus. Using mainly hand puppets for the creatures they have a very real organic feel to them and they’re brilliantly modelled.
There is one stop motion scene as well, but it’s really well put together.

The acting is again, a good point. The actors play it relatively serious throughout, which makes some of the comedy work better.
Zach Galligan as Billy is a brilliantly nerdy, normal guy thrown into horrific circumstances.
Phoebe Cates as Kate Beringer is another normal character who has to dig deep during the horror.

A bad point is that some of the story telling is really very simple and set up in an ABC-123 set of scenes. Though, it’s not much of a downer as the film as a whole is really well made.

All in all, it’s a funny, if dark movie that has proved its worth over the past 30 years.
My rating 85%

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

After the death of Gizmo’s owner (the Grandfather from the first film), the large Clamp Corporation takes over the city block and builds a large skyscraper. Gizmo is also snatched by the company’s genetics lab and kept in a cage in the building.
As it happens, Billy and Kate are now working in said building and Billy finds out that Gizmo is there and rescues him from the lab.
Of course, Billy leaves Gizmo alone for a few hours where he ends up getting into trouble and gets wet, spawning the New Batch of the title.
Cue lots of destruction and hijinks in the skyscraper.

It’s another simplistic story from director Dante and sadly, all the dark humour and horror from the first film is dropped completely for a more friendly family film that’s suitable for kids.
The movie is a prime example of Hollywood catering for taste and wider audience, rather than for making decent films.

It’s very comic book in feel too. The filmmakers decided to go mainly for wacky comedy and funny sound effects and the movie is laden with gimmicks, especially when the creatures end up in the genetics lab and start drinking the various potions.
There are a lot of nods and homage to other films as well.

The effects are improved with the creatures though, the puppets are much better modelled but they’re very cutesy for a younger audience appeal.

The acting is a good point though.
Zach and Phoebe hit their roles perfectly again.
This time round the viewer is treated to John Glover as the Squillionaire Daniel Clamp (head of the Clamp Corporation). Glover is absolutely fantastic in the role and has a very subtle, comic book comedy about him. He's lots of fun and very enigmatic.

Another bad point of the film is that some of the soundtrack (music) is existing material from other Dante films.

All in all, it’s a big step back from the first film, but as a whole, as it is, it’s actually quite entertaining and fun to watch.
My rating 65%

Ghostbusters 2

The movie revolves around a haunted painting. The man in the picture, called Vigo, was once a medieval tyrant and sadistic magician who now wants back in the world of the living.
A river of ‘ectoplasmic’ style slime has also started building up underneath New York city
The slime its self is almost a living entity and is able to affect its surroundings by turning usually inanimate objects into living creatures, usually dangerous ones too.
Mixed up in all this is Dana Barrett again, this time though with her 8-month-old son, Oscar. Vigo wants Oscar as the vessel to harbour his soul when he returns to the living world.
It’s up to the Ghostbusters to stop Vigo and found out what exactly is causing the river of slime, and if they can utilise it in their fight to save little Oscar.

This movie is the one that divides the fans.

It’s about as well written as it could have been for a sequel to a low budget adult comedy.
The thing that lets it down is that it’s been dumbed down for a wider audience. The first film was such a big hit with kids, I guess they had to, but it gives the movie a much more held back attitude. There’s no smoking, swearing, very little in the way of spooky atmospheres and, though there are some strange happenings there’s not many scares.
It’s also very comic book, similar in tone to the cartoons that the first movie spawned.
There is one other bad point toward the end with the Statue Of Liberty scenes, it doesn’t feel quite right. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it feels out of place.

However, it’s brilliantly put together in terms of story writing and creation.
The ideas in the film are original and are utilised with style. The comedic elements are much more prominent in this one, the first film was more of an adult comedy but this sequel is much more wacky and zany and certainly more child friendly.

Even though the filmmakers were after a wider audience to capitalise on their success, they actually did a very good job. The movie doesn’t feel like a rushed, cheap, cliché cash in.

The effects are improved to an extent but they still look like the first film. I’d say this is another good point, the first film’s effects looked the way they looked because of low budget, and this film really was a style choice.
There are some changes to how the ghosts are modelled though, they’re more cartoony, kind of like Gizmo in Gremlins 2 being more cutesy than the first Gremlins.

The acting is another good point. Murray, Ramis, Hudson and Ayckroyd are brilliantly comfortable in their roles and Sigourney Weaver is also spot on as single mum Dana.
Peter MacNicol adds a touch of humour as Dr. Janosz Poha, Vigo’s unwitting sidekick.
The late Wilhelm Von Homburg as Vigo is a brilliant villain, he’s very close to stealing the show. He’s voiced by Max Von Sydow. He’s also very threatening and believable as a force to be reckoned with.

All in all, no where near as good as the first film due to the dumbed down tone but is good for keeping the kids quiet for a couple of hours. Adults will enjoy it too but most people over the age of 20 will prefer the first film.
My rating 70%

Independence Day

A huge alien craft takes orbit around Earth and drops hundreds of city sized saucers onto the Earth that take their place hovering above all of our major cities.
Called into action is USAF Pilot Will Smith and scientist Jeff Goldblum to save the day, teaming up with the US President Bill Pullman.
Hence lots of Dogfights between Smith and the alien fighters and a big finale on the alien mothership.

It’s another simplistic alien attack movie and a disaster movie to boot. Emmerich basically made his name with ID4 and he really deserves the credit.

The plot is simple, the dialogue is even more simple and the writing is even more simplistic but, the way the movie is played out on screen, mixed with absolutely top notch effects makes a perfect popcorn no-brainer effects laden disaster epic.

Emmerich’s usual stereotypes of other non-USA cultures is present again and their dialogue also hits unintentionally funny but it’s still lots of fun.
Some of the dialogue reaches cringe-worthy at times, coming close to the olde saucer-film speeches.

The CGI and miniature work is bang on the money though. The good thing with ID4 is that there are practical effects involved, rather than Hollywood’s recent attempts at all out CGI.
The aliens too are a welcome addition. They’re very well designed and really quite spooky at times.

The action is also top notch, the dogfights between alien craft and USAF fighters is really exciting.

Will Smith as USAF Pilot Hiller is at his usual, loud, fun and energetic self. He’s lots of fun and you can tell he had fun during filming.
Jeff Goldblum is another plus point. His ‘cable repairman’ and scientist David Levinson is engaging and funny and he really hits the serious notes when needed.

All in all, another no-brainer CGI laden disaster movie from Emmerich but unlike all of the others of his that I’ve reviewed on here, this one really hits all the right notes. Fun, loud, brash and needs to be watched with sugary drinks and snacks.
My rating 88%

Die Hard

The movie is based around a New York cop called John McClane who is visiting his estranged wife at her workplace in a Los Angeles skyscraper, called the Nakatomi Plaza. It’s Christmas Eve and the top employees of the company are having a Christmas party when McClane arrives.
However, a terrorist group who is after the contents of the building’s Safe has also arrived just after McClane.
Unknown to the terrorist group though, is that during the hostile party crashing, McClane’s police training has urged him to take action. He manages to disappear, unseen into the building’s air conditioning system and various lift-shafts, and has now become the only hope for the group of hostages that the terrorists have taken. Among the hostages though is McClane’s wife, Holly.

It’s an exceptionally original movie. The storyline is relatively simple: A man with a background trying to save the one he loves from a more powerful force.
But the way the movie has been handled and researched with real life police officers as advisors for Willis make for a real feeling turn of events.

The humour of the film comes from the same police advisors too. It’s very situational and makes for a good chuckle throughout.

What makes this particular action movie special is that it’s relatively small scale and only occasionally goes for the larger bangs and explosions. Most action flicks are simply crash bang and wallop all the way through. Director McTiernan manages to balance every element of the movie brilliantly.

The first and original Die Hard movie made a household name of Bruce Willis across the world.
Originally intended as a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando, and sticking closely to the original source material of Roderick Thorp's novel called Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard is an 80s action classic and also manages to be a Christmas favourite too.

The acting is also a bonus. Willis is absolutely brilliant as the cop who’s out of his comfort zone who digs deep into his psyche to save his wife.
Alan Rickman is fantastic too as the terrorist leader. Rickman made it into my top 40 villains list.

All in all it’s one of the best action films ever made and has a delicate balance of over-the-top bangs, small-scale claustrophobia, combined with subtle humour and an actual sense of realism.
My rating 95%

Die Hard 2: Die Harder

McClane is once again thrown into the firing line on Christmas Eve while waiting for his wife Holly to arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Another group of terrorists has hacked the airport’s computer systems and is demanding the release of a Val Verde Dictator, or they will give wrong co-ordinates to the circling aeroplanes, which will cause them to crash. Of course, with Holly being on one of the circling aeroplanes, John has to do anything he can to bring down the terrorists, as the airport police are inadequate at best.

For a sequel, it’s about as good as it could have been. The writing is pretty cliché, it’s more of a rerun of the first movie in terms of plot but the action is certainly louder and more explosive.
Typical of the Hollywood sequel, forget about that delicate balancing act that made the first action movie so special, instead just go for all out guns and explosions.

The main thing missing is McTiernan as director, this time round it’s Renny Harlin at the helm. His repertoire contains films like The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea (the shark film) so that should give you an idea of what brainless action to expect.

The acting is pretty bang on though. Willis is comfortable in the role.
William Saddler is ok as the terrorist leader but he’s very cliché like the script and doesn’t really feel much of a threat.

All in all it’s a good post pub film if nothing else is on, but feels more of a cashed in affair compared to the first film.
My rating 40%

Die Hard With A Vengeance

McClane is once again pulled into action when a terrorist group decides to start setting off bombs around New York.
This time round, the terrorist group is targeting McClane directly. It appears that at some point in McClane’s past, he has upset some pretty powerful and dangerous people who are after a double whammy of revenge against McClane and the theft of something valuable.
A ‘Good Samaritan’ shopkeeper called Zeus Carver unwittingly gets pulled into the explosive action after he saves McClane from a sure-fire beating, which gives an odd-couple-buddy-movie feel to the mix.

Die Hard makes a welcome return to the screen with this attempt. McTiernan is back at the helm thankfully and the story and plot have both been written with a little more thought than the second film had.

Ok, there are certain plots that are a little contrived and are used solely for franchise continuity, but they do work to an extent.

The action this time round is even more explosive than both predecessors combined and is much more furiously paced.
As too is the humour. It’s much louder but not wacky. A lot of the giggles that the audience gets are mixed into the furious pacing of the action.

Willis is on form again. He’s looking even more comfortable in the role and carries the action brilliantly.
Samuel L Jackson as McClane’s reluctant partner adds a brilliant touch of comedy to the mix and really knows how to play it cool and tough when needed.
Jeremy Irons as the terrorist leader is a little dodgy on the accent front, but he’s delightfully camp and theatrical.

All in all a vast improvement on the second movie and almost tops the original on an overall basis. It certainly tops the original in the action stakes though. What lets it down is the slightly cashed-in feel of the franchise continuity plotlines.
My rating 85%

Back To The Future

Marty McFly, a 17 year old all American schoolboy, is thrown into a world of chaos when his best friend Doctor Emmett Brown, an eccentric scientist, creates a time machine out of a De Lorian car.
Through circumstances out of his control, Marty is sent back to 1955 and ends up throwing his own existence into peril when his own mother falls in love with him, rather than falling in love with his father.
Marty must track down the younger version of Doc to aid him in saving his family and help to get him...

... Back To The Future.

It's extremely well written in terms of storytelling. It's original right down to it's core and occassionally steps on uncomfortable ground.
Though, even when elements of incest are brought into the screenplay, it's still one romping adventure that makes the audience cringe, laugh and squirm with excitement.

The 80s time travel classic set the benchmark for coolness and made skateboards famous with the iconic imagery of McFly doing what he does best on a plank and the music is fantastically placed brilliantly executed.

The acting is by far the best of the trilogy.
Michael J Fox as Marty McFly became the guy every boy wants to be. He's cool and 'in' and yet has an incredible naivety when he's thrown into the incomfortable circumstances.
Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown is another plus point. Lloyd really makes the role come to life with his wacky behaviour and you can tell he had a lot of fun as the brilliant but slightly mad scientist.
Thomas F Wilson as the antagonist and school bully Biff Tannen is also magnificently dumb and punchy, and at times is highly unstable toward the end with some of his antics. Wilson also made it into my top 40 villains list.

With supporting cast from Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover as Marty's parents, the cast can't go wrong.

The effects though are what really surprised me when I first saw the movie. They're rarely used but when they're brought onto the screen they really take you with a delightful shock. They're wonderful.

All in all, it's not just an 80s classic, it's an originally original movie that has many never-before-seen ideas and touches, and even has Michael J Fox rocking out with a guitar too.
My rating 98%

Back To The Future 2

McFly is once again thrown into the circuits of time, this time with 'old' Doc by his side. Marty's family in the year 2015 is in peril and they must stop certain things from happening.
However, an old foe gets his hands on the time machine and manages to change the entire history of both his own, and Mcfly's family.
It's up to Doc and Marty to go back to 1955 and put things back to how they should be. This time though, a happy ending may not be on the cards.

For a sequel, it's an interesting one. It's well written, but it feels as though the filmmakers tried to cram too much into one movie. We see the future, the present, the past and even alternate realities. At times it gets a little too much.
It is handled really well though and the story itself is expanded wonderfully between the antagonists and the protagonists.
There's even a nice twist in the story with going back to the past again, with the problem of bumping into the 'other selves' from the first film.

The effects are improved massively in this one. The future scenes had to be of course with flying vehicals etc and the originality of the first movie is really expanded in this one too, some of the iconography is wonderfully playful.

The acting is about the same as the first. The cast this time round play themselves through 3 different points in time and Fox even plays his own daughter.
No show this time round from Crispin Glover though. The circumstances behind his absence was also a cause for a lawsuit too.

All in all it's far more expansive and broader than the first film and has many original ideas, but, sadly lacks the charm and coolness of the original, except of course for the futuristic take on skateboards.
My rating 85%

Back To The Future 3

After the downbeat but exciting cliffhanger ending of the second film, Marty has drawn young Doc into the adventure once again. This time the mission is to save older Doc, who has unfortunately found himself trapped in the wild west of 1885.
So this time it's Marty bringing Doc... Back To The Future.

Sadly, the film feels like a cashed-in 'let's see what else we can do with the time travel thing'.
Though the second movie sets this one up, it still feels rushed and gimmicky.
Even though some of the plot points and iconography are again, quite original, they feels as though the filmmakers were using up their last remaining drops of imagination.
Some of the ideas that were put in toward the end of the movie also feel like they're jumping the shark a little bit too.

Though, all that said, the movie is still very entertaining. The comedy elements and acting are still top drawer and the action is also exciting when it gets going.
The wild west setting does give a different flavour to the movie, kind of the same way the future gave the second movie it's own touch.

The acting is a good point though too.
The cast seem to have had a bit more fun with this one. They're very tongue in cheek and mildly cheesy and even Christopher Lloyd seems to have turned his character more comic like.

There's not a great deal in the film when it comes to special effects due to the 1885 setting, but toward the end there is a big steamtrain sequence that combines 1980s tech, 1880s tech and tech from 2015 too, and by far it's the most exciting action sequence of the trilogy.

The little touch at the end is also a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the audience to imagine.

All in all, a mildly cashed in affair, a step back from the second and definitely a step back from the first, but it's still exciting and has the best action scene toward the end and actually has a pretty good overall ending to the story, even after it looked as though it was going to fail.
My rating 80%

Lethal Weapon

A weathered and grumpy cop called Roger Murtaugh, who has just celebrated his 50th Birthday is reassigned a new partner, Martin Riggs.
Riggs, like Mutaugh, is a Vietnam Veteran but Riggs has suicidal tendencies due to his wife's recent death in a car crash.
Of course, this puts Murtaugh on the edge of dispair and the pair start out hating each other intensely.
When a crime hits close to home for Murtaugh, the disparate duo reconcile their differences, in the process gaining a mutual respect, and they go all out on a mission to save Murtaugh's young daughter.

The first of the franchise is one awesome film. The action is explosive, the choreography is fantastic, the humour is absolutely bang on and the acting is exactly what makes the film as good as it is.

For a start, the writing is simple, it's the typical buddy movie of the 80s. Two people hating each other, then finding common ground.
What makes Lethal Weapon so great is the screenplay and the chemisrty of the actors.
Danny Glover and Mel Gibson are brilliantly chalk and cheese. There's also no 'finding of feet' with the roles either. They're just there, fleshed out and very well written.

The other thing that really makes the movie work is the action.
Lethal Weapon is a borderline-no-brainer-action-up when the action starts, but with the wonderful writing behind the story and the characters, the action is extremely exciting and gets the audience on the edge of their seats.

The humour is also fantastically played. Some of it is laugh out loud, especially when Murtaugh and Riggs are in the thick of the action and Murtaugh is talking to himself.
A lot of the humour revolves around cheeky too. Riggs in particular has the best wind-ups for Murtaugh's grumpy nature.

The acting, as I said is brilliant I've mentioned Glover and Gibson but there's a few others that need a nod.
Gary Busey as Mr Joshua is brilliantly evil and brutal. He's broderline theatrical and is the perfect antagonist for Gibson's hero.
Mitchell Ryan as The General is another brilliant baddy to play off against Glover's Murtaugh. He's a simple baddy, but has a believable edge to him.
Steve Kahan as Riggs and Murtaugh's Police Captain is the typical shouty boss but he's got a likable side to his personality. His reactions to the main duo's antics is also funny.

As for any bad points, I can't really think of a great deal worth mentioning.

All in all it's another 80s classic from me and really set the tone for buddy-cop movies.
My rating 97%

Lethal Weapon 2

Riggs and Murtaugh have settled into their partnership and have stumbled upon a South African criminal organisation that is, sadly, protected by the law.
At the same time, the duo must protect Leo Getz, a witness in a money laundering scam while they're investigating the criminal organisation.
When it turns out that the South Africans are part of the money laundering that Leo was part of and Leo is also kidnapped, Riggs and Murtaugh go all out to save Leo and stop the organisation from escaping back to South Africa.

This sequel is a rare event of being better than the first. It's more explosive, the writing is broader and the characters have been given more of a horizon with their characteristics. Riggs in particular is expanded as a character and there's a twist in the history of his life too.

There's also more main characters for the main duo to play off and get grumpy with as well. Leo Getz is brilliantly comic and annoying for the pair, he too eventually becomes a stalwart friend.
The baddies of the film are a little cliche, though they're brilliantly acted and threatening.

The underlying humour of the first film is a little more prominent in this one, but with the louder action, it works fantastically.

The acting is another plus.
Joe Pesci as Leo Getz is by far at his funniest. He's half the size of Glover and Gibson but his charisma on screen really gives the other actors something to work against. Personally, he's my favourite character.
Joss Ackland is great as the South African leader Arjen Rudd. He's unbending in his mission and brutal when needed.
Derrick O'Connor as Ackland's righthand man Pieter Vorstedt is definitely a naturalistic bad guy. He plays off Gibson fantastically.

All in all, it's bigger and louder than the first and has more of a horizon with the characters' lives. Certainly the best of the entire series.
My rating 98%

Lethal Weapon 3

Three years after the second film, Riggs and Murtaugh stumble across illegal arms dealers during their interception of an attempted hijack of an armoured car.
It turns out that the arms dealers have developed a new type of bullet that can shoot through most substances, including metal and even bullet proof vests. Riggs and Murtaugh dub this new ammo 'cop killers'.
Of course, this also put all the cops in the area on high alert when it appears that the leader of these dealers is actually an ex-cop.
It's up to Riggs and Murtaugh and a new partner to take on these arms dealers, and stop the sale of 'cop killing bullets' across America.

The third film is a little stale compared to the first two. The story is sound and the writing is top notch, but it's the screenplay that lets it down. It feels just on the border of gimmicky.
It's going toward being a parody of itself and feels a little cliche with the plot.

What lifts the movie though is again, the action scenes. They're choreographed brilliantly and the added extras of being up against arms dealers with super weapons gives the audience some butt-clenching moments too.

The acting, again is top drawer.
Joe Pesci returns as Leo, though he was nearly written out of the script. Gladly he's back and annoying the main duo.
Rene Russo makes a welcome appearance as Lorna Cole, a love interest for Gibson. Her chemistry with Gibson is fantastic and she's tough but also approachable at the same time.
Rent-a-baddy Stuart Wilson as the ex cop Jack Travis a little cliche but he does the job well enough.

The comedy this time is a little more comicbook but the subtle undertones of tongue-in-cheek humour between Gibson, Russo and Murtaugh really works well.

All in all nowhere near as good as the lead up but still worthy of the Lethal Weapon title.
My rating 90%