Rodent's Reviews

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Just for JayDee... ... and another JCVD movie for the collection.

Just noticed too... this is the 400th post on this thread. There you go JayDee... your own special review, just for you.
Oh I'm so touched! Although you pointing out your post count just made me realise that you may be beating me in reviews but I'm ahead in pages and posts! Though I don't really know what, if anything, that means!

As for the film for your 200th film/140th review how about a legendary classic like The Godfather, Casablanca, Schindler's List etc? Or a bit of Hitchcock? Was actually going to enquire if you liked any of his when I posted my Rear Window review. You could go with the new leader of the Sight and Sound poll, Vertigo. Or the old no.1 Citizen Kane.

Or you could go the completely opposite way. Instead of a big film go for a big flop which is infamous instead of famous. You could make it a re-evaluation of sorts. Go for Heaven's Gate or Waterworld. Or Last Action Hero. Or Pluto Nash!

Or you could just wind up Honeykid and trash Charlie's Angels!

It's a shame I'm only up to 85 reviews (86th to be posted soon). If my 100th and your 140th/200th reviews had coincided we could have done a special joint review.

Well, in regard to reviewing a bad film for the 200th, I actually like Waterworld. It'd end up with a decent rating

Cheers for the ideas though, I'll go through the lists and get an idea of something to use.
A Hitchcock film is an idea though, I thought about using Hitchcock a while back... may need to take a look.
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Well, in regard to reviewing a bad film for the 200th, I actually like Waterworld. It'd end up with a decent rating
Yeah I rather like Waterworld as well which is why I said a re-evaluation of a film that got scathing reviews and flopped at the box office, a film often cited as bad rather than one you personally thought was poor.

EDIT - Just got a better idea. Stop reviewing for a few months and wait for The Hobbit! The fact it may let me catch up is completely coincidental!

My last Jean-Claude Van Plank movie for now... you'll be glad to know...

Review #138: Timecop

Max Walker is a DC cop and one day his home is raided by unknown men. He is shot but survives due to his bullet proof vest, but the house is blown up by what appears to be a suicide bombing and his wife Melissa is killed in the explosion.

Ten years later, he has moved on in his career and is working for the Time Enforcement Commission, which polices the use of time travel. When he uncovers a sinister plot by one of the TEC's biggest sponsors, a sponsor who is also unusually successful, he places his life in danger...

... and as the plot deepens and corrupt politics are brought into the equation, Max must do everything he can to stop the bad guys from changing history for their own gains... and from wiping him out of history forever.

Another top film from Van Damme, this time possibly his best to date, Timecop contains pretty much everything a JCVD fan would want.
It has elements of cheesy acting, elements of genuine acting, humour, high octane action and high kicking stunts from The Plank, great effects and actually has a relatively complex plot.

The time travel thing in Timecop is another plus point. Unlike most time travel films, it contains actual changes in the story and changes to the plot when Max goes in and out of different timelines and is utilised perfectly, even though the full-circle ending is a little gooey and contrived.

The screenplay is written brilliantly though, what could have been made extremely hard to follow is actually very easy to watch and understand.

The action tends to come in dribs and drabs though. It's not an all out guns blazing shoot 'em up, but when the action gets going, it always has an element of peril to it with the fear of failure having a massive impact on the lives of the main protagonist/s.

With the well written plot and characters though, it adds much more to the action than just a 'fight here, fight there, all done' kind of movie.

The acting is also spot on.
JCVD shows his usual cheesy side by he combines elements of geniune acting and a cheeky side too. He's also able to carry the humour brilliantly too.
Ron Silver as the main antagonist is perfectly cast. He plays the same character in two seperate timelines and his differing characteristics are played out brilliantly. He's also the kind of baddie that you love to hate.

Mia Sara, Gloria Rueben and Bruce McGill all make nice appearances too.

McGill and Van Damme in particular have fantastic on screen chemistry.

All in all, by far the best from Van Damme. It has story, plot, acting, humour, cheese, action and has substance and style in bucketloads.
My rating 92%

Yeah I rather like Waterworld as well which is why I said a re-evaluation of a film that got scathing reviews and flopped at the box office, a film often cited as bad rather than one you personally thought was poor.
I believe that Waterworld turned a profit from Box Office alone. Not sure about whether it covered its advertising costs, though considering we're talking 1995, it probably managed that, too.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Waterworld was made on a budget of $235m (including marketing etc) and back in 1995 made it the most expensive movie ever made... inflation terms, it would come to about $365m in today's money, which puts it higher than any movie made even in today's prices.
The most expensive movies in today's money have barely cost $300m.

And it made under $90m total at the box office in America... and over seas, Britain etc, it made about $175m.

$265m made in cinema tickets overall = grand profit of $30m...

... apparently these 'official figures' don't take into account the rate of inflation over the months it was about and a few other expenditures on the Studio's behalf, so really, they may have just about broken even, or even ended up out of pocket slightly rather than made a profit of $30m...

... in terms of overall expenditure and money made in ticket sales, I'd say it was pretty much a Box Office flop seeing as they may only have just broken even.

They've made a definite profit since then though... the VHS release made a load of cash apparently, but in terms of Box Office tickets, it was a complete failure.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Nice reviews of my four favourite Van Damme flicks. I'd also recommend checking outDeath Warrant and JCVD, those are also watchable.
"George, this is a little too much for me. Escaped convicts, fugitive sex... I've got a cockfight to focus on."

I've heard about those two a few times, they're two of his I havent' seen yet. I'm not a massive fan of Van Damme though, I just enjoy one or two but the rest I've pretty much ignored.
I'll have to catch them at some point.

Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
I like him, but his "underground martial arts tournament" films are crap to me. I prefer his straight up action stuff, like Sudden Death and the like.

Waterworld was made on a budget of $235m (including marketing etc) and back in 1995 made it the most expensive movie ever made...
So, as I said, it probably covered its costs. Y'know, while it's not cool, you could've just agreed with me.

In keeping with the past few action movies, I've decided to review an infamous movie and a favourite of mine... sadly, I'm relying on memory and synopsis' from movie websites for this one... been a while since I saw it and my DVD was pinched by a so called mate...

Review #139: The Crow

Eric Draven, a rock musician is hopelessly in love with his wife to be, Shelly. Their life is pretty good considering the scummy city they live in.
During the Devil's Night celebrations, a group of men break into their apartmenty while Eric is out and they brutally rape and beat Shelly within an inch of her life... when Eric returns home and stumbles on the scene, he is brutally murdered... and Shelly is left for dead. She later dies in Hospital from her injuries.

A friend of Shelly's, a young girl called Sarah, witnesses the aftermath of the attack.
One year later, Sarah is visiting the graves of Eric and Shelly and a large Crow appears and lands on Eric's headstone. Sarah overlooks this and carries on with her day...

... afterward though, Eric's body emerges from the grave, not knowing who he is or what has happened. But as Eric's memories begin to return he finds an inner super strength that's connected to The Crow, and he vows to use his powers to send the scum of the city to hell and gain closure on a situation that the Cops are powerless to fix.

Awesome awesome film based on James O'Barr's comic of the same name.
The Crow holds no boundaries when showing the ugly side of the story. It's hard hitting, violent, dark, brooding and hits the nail right on the head when it comes to the softer and more emotional side of the story, particularly Eric's relationship with Sarah and with his love for his murdered fiance Shelly.

The screenplay is also great, the viewer gets a look at a story that has a few subtle levels of playfulness and is relatively simple in plot too, but the overall finished product (though at times uncomfortable to watch with the subject matter) manages to encapsulate the viewer's imagination wonderfully.

The action is absolutely top notch too when it gets going. With the extremely well concieved characters throughout that have a great connection to the audience, the action really comes into it's own.
Even the scenes of Eric torturing and killing his enemies slowly is strangely satisfying.
It's a shame that there's not more of it though, it feels a bit lacking in actual quantity.

Michael Wincott as main antagonist Top Dollar is brilliantly cast. He's cool, calm, calculating and has a genuine menace about him. His costume is also great.
Rochelle Davis as Sarah is a bit hit and miss but she does an apt job.
Ernie Hudson also makes a nice appearance as a Cop who was investigating Eric and Shelly's murder. Eventually becoming a stalwart pal of Eric after Eric returns from the grave.
David Patrick Kelley makes a fantastic appearance as T-Bird, a vicious killer and gang leader.

Now... Brandon Lee as Eric Draven, what the big thing is, is that Brandon was tragically killed performing a stunt for the movie.
One of the blank firing guns used in a particular scene had been used in a test fire, or a practice shot if you will... and a chunk of the Dummy Round had lodged into the barrel. With the crew under time and money constraints, they forgot to check the weapon before reloading it.
Then, during another firing of the gun, the chunk of Blank Bullet dislodged and hit Brandon... he later died in Hospital from the injury.

But looking at Lee in the movie... Lee wasn't known for his acting prowess before The Crow, but his role in the movie made him a superstar in the minds of the populous. His take on the character is fantastic, he's dark, brooding, athletic and certainly believeable as Eric Draven... the scenes of heartbreak and sorrow are also wonderful, Lee's emotions really work well with the story.
It's definitley Lee's best performance, it's just a shame it was his last.

All in all, not a perfect movie and it won't appeal to everyone, especially with the subject matter and the way the movie has been shot style wise...

... but definitely worthy of a watch by anyone who's into their revenge and action movies. The comicbook feel has translated from book to film wonderfully and Brandon Lee, sadly or gladly depending on how you look at it, made his name with this film.
My rating 88%

Well, it's here...

Review #140, My 200th Movie

American History X

Brothers Derek and Daniel have their lives thrown into chaos when their father, a firefighter, is killed by an African American drug dealer while he was doing his job.
Derek takes things to the extreme however when he joins up with and eventually becomes a leading figure in a Neo-Nazi Race-Hate group.
One night, while resting at home, Derek and Danny here a noise outside and realise that a group of black guys are trying to steal their truck, a truck that once belonged to their deceased father... and Derek goes completely nuts, killing two of the gang member.

Sentenced to prison, Derek is brutally treated by everyone he comes into contact with, at one point he's even raped, but eventually gathers a humane side and his feelings of Race Hate are quashed as he becomes good friends with a fellow inmate, an African American.
But once out of prison, he learns his younger brother is going down the same route as he went...

... he must work alongside one of Danny's teachers who has assigned Danny a new lesson known as American History X... and they must try their best to stop Danny from destroying his life through crime and racist behaviour with the Neo-Nazi group...

.. but with Derek's old 'friends' just down the road, it may be harder and much more dangerous than he wants.

One of the most important movies of the past 25 years, the movie chronicles a number of issues within society, with Racial Tension being at the foreground.
X gives the viewer an incredibly well written drama and is laced brilliantly with tension and some wonderful screenplay and plot elements too.

It's also very hard hitting when the more violent scenes are playing out, it doesn't shy away from the realism and the attitudes of realism when the blood and gore start flying.
The other thing is the overall attitude toward the racial and discrimination side of the story is that the movie doesn't shy away from this either. There are a number of scenes with uncomfortable situations throughout... but it's handled with more and more realism, which gives it a real edge over many other films of this type.

One thing that lets the film down, if you can call it a fault, is that it really shows the ugly side of society as a whole... some viewers will find this extremely uncomfortable and may even find certain elements quite upsetting.
It's not a fault in my eyes, but I've known some people who were offended by some of the characters and character developements.

The acting though is by far some of the best I've seen from a bunch of actors I regard as mediocre at best.
Edward Norton as older brother Derek is absolutely fantastic. His changes in character are awesome. He goes from normal applepie American kid to an incredibly powerful and dangerous criminal to a reformed and obviously damaged individual through the movie. He's very good.
Edward Furlong is also on top form as Danny... Furlong is wooden at best in all his other movies but he just feels right here... it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, Furlong really is the naive, typical and impressionable school kid with an attitude.

Back up comes on the form of Beverly D'Angelo, Ethan Suplee, Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliot Gould and Avery Brooks.
All give 110%.


All in all, an important and incredibly hard hitting movie, from the rather downbeat beginning to the very downbeat but philosophical ending...
... it's also brilliantly and emotionally charged, very real in attitude and character and is completely shameless in showing you what you don't think you want to see.
It's also exceptionally well shot and written and full of some of the finest acting in any movie of it's type.
Definitely worthy of its spot in my Review Thread.
My rating 100%

Cheers mate!

Made an adjustment to the Review since you posted, added some pics.

Think I'll take a rest from reviews for a while... JayDee will be pleased
Saying that though, I'll prob start up again by monday

Nice review for American History X. Though I think a 100% is a bit too high (it was a good movie but it never went that extra mile to be a great movie). Edward Norton's performance was of course phenomenal.
Going 18600 miles per second.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Congrats on another milestone Rodent! Although that was not one of my suggestions!!!

Seen American History X a couple of times and thought it was excellent but not watched it for years and years.

Cheers mate! I got your suggestions on the to do list, just felt like X needed the review.

Now I'm in the 200s, I'm having a small shufty with the layout.
First up then...

Review #141: Gone Baby Gone

When 4 year old Amanda is abducted while her mother is out getting high on coke, two private investigators are hired by her uncle to work alongside the police.
The investigators, Patrick and Angie, are at first seen as a hinderance by the cops, but eventually show their worth...

... and eventually uncover a disturbing tale of twisted rules and morals in society that had lead to Amanda's abduction.

Ben Affleck's mystery, based on Aaron Stockard's novel, sadly falls flat at the first hurdle. The major problem is that there is no mystery. I figured out the ending within the first 10 minutes.
The other major problem is the plotholes... they're massive, though no direct plot spoilers in my reviews

What the movie does have is tons of fantastic acting and well written characters and is filled with a great screenplay.
There's also lashings of dark and twisted twists throughout that keep the viewer fixed to the screen. The well written characters that have a great connection to the audience lift the screenplay even higher.

Anyone who's after action will be disappointed, there's only two scenes of more highly charged cinema and they're very short lived, but the movie as a whole is incredibly well charged with emotion and darker subject matters rather than just the typical Hollywood nonsense.

The acting as I said though, is great.
Casey Affleck (brother of director Ben) as Patrick is brilliantly torn between his feelings of guilt and remorse and really shows the story for what it is. His brooding and disturbed take on what's going on around him is fantastic.

Michelle Monaghan as Angie is also a standout role. Sadly though, she's kept off the screen too much, I couldn't help but want to see more of her. Her character isn't built on much either, you get the impression there's a backstory there that wasn't utilised.

Amy Ryan is about the best on show as Amanda's mother. Her take on the cocaine riddled drug runner is almost spot on. Her changes in character throughout the movie are incredibly subtle but still noticeable, she's very good.

Backup comes on the form of Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and John Ashton as three cops who are also on the case.


All in all, nowhere near as good as many reviews have said, but the brooding look and the twists and turns in the story are well put together, the acting and characters are also great.
Sadly though, the gaping plotholes and lack of actual mystery let it down. I'd still recommend it though.

My rating: 83%

Gone Baby Gone was a great movie. As first time directors go, Ben Affleck did a tops job. Casey Affleck's performance was great too. He goes from this badass to someone who just wants to do the right thing. I would give a slightly higher rating (I guess with your percentage thing 90%).