In the 10 Ring: Gunslinger45's Reviews

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I had a lot of fun reviewing the 50 films for my favorites list, I figured I would start a separate thread where I review movies I have seen as I go. And given my tastes are very broad, this could included a wide range of films. From postwar Kurosawa, a summer blockbuster, to a Lloyd Kaufman shock exploitation film. Hope you enjoy.

And to start this thread how about we start with something obscure.

The Cinema Snob movie

This movie is based off the internet review character The Cinema Snob. A pretentious film snob who loves art films, adores Scorsese, Citizen Kane is his favorite movie, and enjoys the feeling of being smarter then everyone else when it comes to film. And what does this character do for a living? He reviews exploitation movies, horror films, and porn! This comedic review series now has over 200 episodes, and has reviewed the likes of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Maniac, Night Dreams (the arthouse porn), Sleepaway Camp, ET the Porno (I'm serious), Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and even the original I Spit on Your Grave. The Snob character looks down at these movies as pure filth and exploitation for the sake of exploitation, which he despises. Unless it is Salo, then he likes it.

Brad Jones is the creator of the Cinema Snob and is very different from the character. For starters, he loves exploitation films, loves quite a few of the movies he has reviewed, and Caligula is actually his favorite movie. Which he also reviewed in a two part 100th episode crossover event with other internet reviewers. He is also a low budget exploitation film maker with a few movies under his belt, that have gained a degree of popularity due to his internet celebrity.

This movie was made based off the idea of his internet personality. The story is about an exploitation film maker named Craig Golightly (Jones) who wants his blaxploitation movie "Black Angus" made, but he needs the help of the local film board to get for shooting permits. He is denied these permits by the pretentious head of the film board. So he decides to disguise himself as an equally pretentious film critic named Vincent Dawn to get in nice with a local film club; which happens to be run by the head of the film board. Problem is that the members start to be murdered off one by one. And their deaths are particularly gruesome in nature. The club in the killer's cross hairs, Craig finds himself drawn into unraveling the murder plot. He must now avoid being labeled a suspect, secure his film permits, all the while suffering though the film clubs meetings. Especially Being John Malkovich night, where it takes the club eight hours to watch the film as they pause the movie every time something "symbolic" happens. To make things even more complicated he is entangled in a new romance with the wife of the head of the film board (played by Jone's then wife Jillian).

The gore effects are practical (which I like) but since this is a micro budget film, the particularly gruesome details like having a baseball bat shoved up a guy's ass wrapped in barb wire is not shown and left to your imagination. This film is also best appreciated by fans of the web series. If you are curious, check out a few episodes of his internet series at

If you are a fan (like I am), check it out. If not, then you should probably pass.

Well MOFOs, it is that time again. It is the first weekend of May, and that means that it is officially the start of the summer movie season! That time since Star Wars where Hollywood ties to fill the release dates with the movies they believe will be the box office smashes and crowd pleasers. A time of more emphasis on entertainment then art; and just like last year they are starting of the summer season with another release from Marvel Studios. And that movie is Iron Man 3. And like all my reviews, I will do my best to keep it spoiler free.

This is the movie that I was most looking forward to this season, but at the same time it was also a movie I had some concerns about. First off this is the third movie in the Iron Man Franchise, and most comic book movies tend to go to ***** when the third movie comes out. See Spider Man 3 and Blade Trinity as my primary examples. Second, this movie is the first Marvel studios picture since last year's The Avengers. Anyone who has seen my Top 50 Favorite movies list knows that The Avengers is one of my top ten favorite movies. Anytime you follow a very big and very successful movie with another one that is tied to it, there can be some let down. And finally this movie also marks the start of Phase II of the Marvel Studios cinematic universe. And much like Phase one, it needs to open strong. But on the plus side we had the return of Robert Downey Jr., and Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang fame makes his Marvel debut as a screen writer and director. So how was the movie? The short answer; I liked it a lot! Okay it is not The Avengers, but it is still a great movie in this humble reviewer’s opinion. And it was better than Iron Man 2’s sophomore slump (though to be fair I liked that too). So let’s talk about the good and the bad.

The good is that Robert Downey Jr. is a very charismatic lead and is an excellent Iron Man. And he still gives an excellent performance as the genius billionaire super hero. He is still arrogant, eccentric and full of himself, but now we start to see a bit of vulnerability. He is suffering from post traumatic stress: he is having anxiety attacks, he cannot sleep, and he spends his sleepless nights tinkering away at on his armors. The majority of Tony’s supporting cast returns as well with Don Cheadle reprising his role as War Machine (now renamed Iron Patriot), Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts, as does Iron Man I and II director Jon Favreau as Tony’s bodyguard Happy Hogan. We also get introduced to some new characters such as Guy Pearce as the head of the scientific think tank / terrorist organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) as well as the legendary Ben Kingsley as long time Iron Man villain the Mandarin. The Mandarin is sold as the movies big bad, a terrorist threat who wishes to teach America a so called lesson, and does so in a series of attacks on various sites with bombings. But as the movie progresses on, you start to see that the Mandarin is not carrying out the attacks with conventional bombs, and his connection to AIM becomes even stronger as the movie progresses. And finally Shane Black who is no stranger to action movies with comedic elements, continues this with a very witty and funny script.

And now for the bad… Okay, not really the bad, but I do have some nitpicks. Number one, while the movie was funny, I think they over did it on the jokes. Yes it was funny, but sometimes the humor seemed to be over emphasized. There were several situations where jokes were cracked, but I felt the time and situation were inappropriate. Joss Whedon did an excellent job adding humor into The Avengers, and the comedy to drama to action ratio was perfect. Joss knew when to be serious, where to add humor, and when to add the right amount to break up the tension. In addition sometimes the schtick ran on for too long in Iron Man 3. My second gripe comes in one scene where Iron Man goes to Tennessee to further investigate the Mandarin attacks and he crash lands there right in the middle of a snow storm (as seen in the trailer). He finds refuge in a house and he meets a little kid who is a tinkerer himself. The kid recognizes the armor, but asks if Tony is Iron Man. The guy went on live TV in the first movie declaring himself to be Iron Man, actually parks his suit outside of a restaurant, and even holds press conferences outside of the armor AND THE KID DOES NOT KNOW WHO THE **** HE IS?!?!?!? I call bullsh!t! There are a few other nitpicks here and there, but those are the biggest ones I can think off of the top of my head. Though it does still remain a damn good movie. I also think the plot gets a little overshadowed by the humor as well. And that is not the best of ideas since this movie does have a quite a few elements to it.

The third act as with any comic book and or action movie has to be big. And this was a big one! It involves multiple suits of armor, the final fight between Stark and the terrorist forces, and what may very well be one of the best twists I have seen in movies. It is not Hitchcock good, but it is both really funny and in canon with the movie, makes a whole lot of sense In fact, it is rather brilliant. And the end result is good triumphs and evil is punished. I don’t think I am spoiling anything there. That is kind of a given I think. As for the post credits teaser, if you were expecting it to start to foreshadow a future movie… you will be disappointed. It is a funny post credit scene and I liked it, but I would have liked to have seen something that would lead into a future Marvel Studio’s release. But then again the cameo in the teaser was still cool to see.

So it is a strong kick off to the summer movie season. Iron Man 3 is a good final installment to the Iron Man franchise (for now at least) as there are currently no plans for a fourth solo Iron Man movie. It is interesting how this movie will affect the other Marvel movies to come, but let’s face it, Stark will be back for Avengers 2. The end of the movie even said so. I place this as a very strong end to the franchise. Much stronger than Spider Man 3 and Blade Trinity (which were ****) and The Dark Knight Rises (which I thought was merely okay). If you liked Iron Man, you will like this movie.

Give me all of your candy!

I liked Iron Man quite a bit, but didn't like this one. I will say it was a visual treat, but the *SPOILER* Mandarin joke really took me out of the almost ruined it for me. Luckily the third act, as you said, was a big one, although a few holes were, if all he had to do was have surgery to get the shrapnel out, why not do that sooner? I know it wasn't in his personality, but they could have done that and kept the reactor. I don't know how to feel about this film, honestly, and I plan on giving it another shot when the crowd dies down, but upon initial viewing it's a weak
for me. It was very funny, though. Like....laugh out loud at times funny.

For the whole shrapnel thing, I thought the same thing, but I figured since he was ready to hang up being Iron Man (for now at least), it was a fitting time to remove the the shrapnel that lead to him becoming Iron Man in the first place. He did not do it earlier because he felt it was a part of him. And he did like being Iron Man. So I thought it was a good way to end the film trilogy. And lets face it, he will be back for Avengers 2.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Woody Allen is one of the cinema’s most talented writers and directors. And like Chaplin he does not always make me laugh out loud, but he is a very good story teller. Before I watched this movie I had seen Annie Hall, Manhattan, Bananas, Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex* But were Afraid to Ask, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Hollywood Ending, and Love and Death. Out of all of them I can remember only really laughing out loud was when I saw Annie Hall. That was until I watched this movie.

This movie starts out with Cecilia (Mia Farrow) as a Depression Era house wife from New Jersey. She is a waitress who is in an unhappy marriage to a worthless gambling, womanizing, abusive, drunkard played by Danny Aiello. Unhappy with her life she turns to the cinema as a way to escape reality and bring a little joy into her life. The movie playing currently she really enjoys called The Purple Rose of Cairo. It is a movie that exists only within the setting of the movie, where Jeff Daniels plays Tom Baxter, a wealthy explorer and poet. Tom encounters a group of wealthy New York socialites on vacation while at the Pyramids of Egypt and they all return to New York for a “mad cap” night on the town. Cecilia becomes enamored with the character Tom who is portrayed and wholesome, courageous and kind. She is also more than a little smitten with the actor who plays Tom, Gil Shepard. But she is mostly taken by the character who is literally the perfect man on the silver screen.

After getting fired from her job, she gets depressed and goes to the movies where she watches The Purple Rose of Cairo all day. And then suddenly the unthinkable happens. The character breaks the fourth wall, acknowledges Cecilia saying he has seen her in five different showings, and what happens? He steps off the screen out of the movie and into the real world and runs away with Cecilia out of the theater. The police are called and the rest of the characters on the screen begin to argue amongst themselves and with the patrons of the theater. The Hollywood studios are even called in because now the fear is that other characters from other movies or the same character in other cities may try to escape from the movie. Meanwhile Cecilia and Tom begin their real life romance. They do however experience problems. For one, Tom has no money that is good in the real world. He is also ignorant of how things are outside of the movie he is unaware of the Depression, soup kitchen lines, brothels, and even love making (which in the movies is done in a fade out). But his character is overflowing with a charm and glow to him that Cecilia finds irresistible. But at the same time he is not a real person, and this becomes an issue and apparent after she runs into none other than Gil Shepard himself who wants to try and get Tom to return to the movie.

This conflict represents the main theme of the movie, reality and fantasy. In reality things are very different from the way things work in the film world (as shown when Tom tries to drive a car with no key). In addition it also shows that while movies make a great temporary escape from life, ultimately one must return to reality and deal with the problems here; a message that does stick a cord with someone who has watched many films and has used films as an escape during rough parts of my life. For me they are a great love and passion, but ultimately they are just escape. Fantasy remains fantasy, and reality is reality. Something that is shown in the end of the film, which I thought was rather moving.

The premise of this movie is excellent, and shows that Allen is a big fan of films, and understands the relationship the audience has with the movies. He knows why we go and how we can feel so connected to the movies. The humor is also pretty funny as the way the audience members and the on screen characters sling insults and banter back and forth to each other and how the entire town and all of Hollywood become very invested in what happens in this little New Jersey town, and their reactions to how exactly a character can exit the movie into the real world was hilarious! Jeff Daniels as both Gil and Tom is fantastic! And Tom and Cecilia's night out in the movie world was both very touching, and had more then a few funny bits!

Before I saw this movie if someone had asked me which was my favorite Woody Allen movie I would have said Annie Hall. Now I can say that my favorite Woody Allen movie is The Purple Rose of Cairo. And I thank Skepsis93 for nominating this for the MOFO Hall of Fame. Because I can honestly say I would not have sought out this movie without it. An excellent film worthy of nomination.

What can be said about Michael Bay? He is a man whose entire career is based upon summer blockbusters with huge budgets, an over emphasis on explosions and CGI, female characters whose one dimension is that they are hot, third act shoot outs on massive scales, and sadly huge box office numbers. He is Spielberg without the talent. Instead of classic movies like Jaws, he has Armageddon; instead of an awesome franchise like Indiana Jones, he has those God awful Transformers movies. And while Spielberg can make serious movies like Schiendler’s List, Amistad, and Lincoln; the only time Michael Bay tried that we got Pearl Harbor. Obviously, I cannot call myself a Bay fan. But at the same time, I am not a knee jerk hater. Now do not get me wrong; I hate a lot of his movies, but there are some movies of his I actually enjoy. The Rock is in my opinion his only good movie (helped in large part to Nic Cage and Sean Connery) and I will admit that Bad Boys I & II are guilty pleasures (due entirely to Will Smith). So when I heard Pain and Gain was coming out and it did not feature giant CGI robots, meteors, Megan Fox, Shia LeQueff, was made for well under $100 million dollars and no references to historical attacks from the Japanese, I figured, “What the hell? Worth a shot.” Plus this is supposed to be based on real events from Miami in the early 90’s. So how was it? Short answer: It was okay.

Long answer: the movie focuses around Daniel Lugo (Mark Walberg), a personal trainer and former white collar criminal who is sick and tired of being a nobody, is sick of being in debt, and wants the nicer things in life. He found himself a target, hatches an idea to force him to sign over all that he owns, and gets his two friends to help him, forming the Sun Gym Gang. First to join is his buddy Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie), a fellow gym rat who is using steroids to get bigger, but now has ‘roid induced impotence. And he needs major bucks for the penis treatment he needs. The next to join is Paul Doyle (The Rock) an ex-con turned religious man who decides to help to get away from staying with a gay priest (I so wish I was kidding). Their mark is Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) whose character is shown to be rich, unattractive, unfit, and a complete prick. The trio has a few failed attempts to kidnap him for some laughs. They eventually succeed and they store him in a warehouse full of sex toys. But through vice, poor planning, and stupidity, blow their cash. Hence they need a new target. They find a new mark, but ***** goes wrong and they now find themselves in a very desperate situation, which leads to the final climax of the movie.

The movie is in many ways a typical Michael Bay film. It is shot in Miami just like his Bad Boys movies, the movie can’t hold a shot for more than a few seconds, pointless female characters who are there to be hot (more on that later), has a final chase sequence that involves cars, boats, AND helicopters; and finally it is the genre where he is at his most profitable (but not necessarily his best) a big dumb action movie. But at the same time there was no CGI robots or giant asteroids, there were only a handful of explosions, and the action scenes were much more scaled back compared to his other films. In fact the third act action sequence seemed more akin to an action scene in the first part of one of his other movies. In other words, very small due to the much smaller budget he is used to working with. In addition he throws in some shots that look like they were captured on a hand held camera like a shot from End of Watch (a much better movie).

And like with any movie that claims to be based on true events, Hollywood changed a whole lot of stuff to make this movie. And I thought I was going to be able to point out the bullsh!t. But after reading the original articles detailing the events… a lot if it was in fact real. Very weird and very real. There really was a stripper from eastern Europe who was dumb enough to believe that her criminal boyfriend was with the CIA. There were many failed kidnapping attempts, one of which did involve ninja outfits. The line about running away with the Cuban maid so they could liquefy the assets was also true. The ridiculous fake car crash scenario with its failures and end result was based on real events. The strip club was a frequent hang out and not just a pointless excuse to get naked ladies on the screen, and a dead body was IDed via breast implants.

But they also changed some stuff. Some of it I get, and other changes were because Bay is a juvenile idiot. Most notably was Adrian Doole and his wife. In the movie he marries a large white woman who is a nurse who he met during his doctor's visits for erectile dysfunction. He did marry a nurse and he did have erectile issues, but the fat white chick was purely for fat jokes! There was no gay priest who tried to hit on Doyle, and the warehouse they tortured him in was not full of dildos, those changes are due to Bay's humor. In addition the Sun Gym gang was larger and there was no Paul Doyle, who was an amalgamation of two other guys to slim down the cast. And remember that stripper I was talking about? She actually had a bigger part to play in the real life events then depicted in the movie. So even when given a female character who is a stupid bimbo who is a part of the story, Bay still cuts down her importance so much in the film, she becomes useless in the movie. In addition the main characters were not likable idiots, they were stone killers. Most of them were married with kids and carrying on affairs with strippers on the side! These details were changed to make the main characters likable. And the victim Kershaw was not a one note douche bag like he was portrayed in the movie! That was changed so we did not care that he was brutally tortured. Which was also very real. And in addition to his torture, the gang made threats of assault against his family and even threatened to rape his wife! These were not nice people! In addition there was no final chases or boat getaways, all of that was pulled out of Bay’s ass. There are other changes, but to list all of them would take a long @ss time.

This movie is “based on true events” in the same way Tony Scott’s Domino was based on true events. Either way you look at it, it is a Michael Bay film through and through. It has style written all over the movie. If you like his movies, see it, though you could wait until it comes out on Red Box if you ask me. If you do not like his movies, skip it and read the articles instead. A very interesting read.

In the end, I had some fun with it, but I will not be rushing out to buy it on DVD when it is released. A one and done for me.

The only one of these I've seen is Iron Man 3, and like you I enjoyed it a lot. I even liked the second one myself. My only gripe is with the Mandarin, where *SPOILER* they set him up to be this great, ruthless villain and it turns out he's just some silly junkie actor. When Guy Pearce says that he's the real Mandarin, it feels more like a metaphor than an actual fact. That type of story arc was handled better with Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, because when you looked at Liam Neeson's character it was easier to believe that he was the real deal.

Anyone who has seen my Top 50 Favorite Movies list knows I love the 1984 film Red Dawn. Not only is it on my list, it is my second favorite film of all time; ranking above movies made by greats such as Kurosawa and Kubrick. I love it that much. It is a movie about a group of teenagers who fight off Soviet forces who invade America and they have to fight them off in a guerrilla war that is like The Battle of the Algiers meets the violence of the final scene of The Wild Bunch. As such a fan of the original, when I heard of that a remake was in the making, I was VERY worried.

Remakes can be great movies when put in good hands and done right. In fact Cape Fear by Martin Scorsese with De Niro, Juliette Lewis, and Nick Nolte is one of my favorite movies and in my opinion is better than the original. A good remake needs to be put in the hands of a legitimate and proven film maker, have a good cast of very good actors, should reflect the original movies message and or themes, have a few call backs to the original, and the source material should not be considered a classic. Fail to do this and you end up with the Planet of the Apes remake by Tim Burton, which is a movie I really hate.

With these thoughts in mind, I followed the film’s details closely online. What first caught my attention was that Chris Hemsworth was going to play Jed Eckert. This was really good news for me since I thought he was great in Thor and The Avengers and was the only good thing about the sh!tty snow white movie he was in. However the rest of the news I read was far from good. Chris was the only name on the credits who stood out as being in good films. The rest of the cast were either people I did not know, where in films and TV shows I had not and would not check out, or were in films I had seen but were pretty bad. The most notable of this was Isabel Lucas who was the transformer who could imitate humans in that god awful Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen movie, and Adrianne Palicki who was in the infamous NBC Wonder Woman pilot which tried to make Wonder Woman a ruthless and violent vigilante anti hero. Not even kidding. So much for a great cast. In addition this was director Dan Bradley’s first feature film, which did not help increase my enthusiasm. And while the original Red Dawn is not going to be counted among film classics like The Wizard of Oz or The Godfather, it is a movie that is very much a product of its time. The movie is a film firmly set in the later years of the Cold War, and is set during among the more tense years. See my original Red Dawn review in my Top 50 list for more details. So doing a remake of a movie set in the Cold War, and setting it in modern times is not a good idea. Imagine trying to do a remake of Dr Strangelove set in the modern day without the Russkies. Sounds like a terrible idea right? The original concept of the movie had potential to give us an almost equally imposing enemy for the modern movie. It was to be an invasion by the Chinese coming to collect on defaulted US loans. A very large and imposing military force and the second most notable and brutal Communist country had great potential to be the big bad and powerful enemy this movie needed. However that was cut after the film wrapped. In June of 2010 the movie changes China as the films enemy and replaced it with North Korea. This was done because MGM was in financial difficulty and they wanted to continue to have access to the very lucrative Chinese markets, so the Chinese were replaced with the North Koreans and called for lots of CGI to replace North Korean flags over the Chinese ones, and some additional edits. And to top it off, the involvement of John Milius the original co-writer and directer of the first film seemed nonexistent.

These cons aside there was still hope and it came in the strangest form. When reviews started to come out, they were overwhelmingly negative. That actually gave me hope. The original Red Dawn is not a critical darling, and received mixed reviews at the time of release. So the fact that it was not liked by critics was actually a good sign. One of the negative reviews was by Drew Hunt of the Chicago Reader who could not even get through the first sentence of his review without a Tea Party reference. But my favorite review was by Joe Niccum of the Kansas City Star who said flat out that the only people who would like this movie were secessionists and militia members. Let’s face it, if this movie is getting these kinds of reviews from film critics, then it had a very good chance of capturing the original feel of the first film, and was the best show of promise I had seen since Hemsworth's casting. But even then I was still very worried and I did not get my hopes up.

Right before I went to see the movie I stopped off at my local comic book store to pick up a few issues, I chatted a bit with the guy who works there. The last words I spoke before I left was “Let’s see how bad they can f**k up one of my favorite movies.” I got my ticket and sat in the theater with the mindset that I was going to HATE this movie. So how was the movie? I thought it was actually pretty good. Nowhere near as good as the original, but as far as remakes go I thought it was one of the good ones.

The movie captured my attention in the opening scene, where the filmmaker takes a page from the Dawn of the Dead remake and sets up the film in a series of media clips and news stories that show the film is set in a world where a new ultra-nationalist regime has taken over Russia and has become the new sugar daddy to North Korea in the way of arms and military equipment. It also shows a massive cyber war to feel out weaknesses in US defenses. The movie then cuts to Washington state where we meet the Eckerts at a high school football game where Matt Eckert is the quarterback. We set up the characters, who they are and their relationships. And at about the ten minute mark we see North Korean paratroopers dropping into the suburbs, hence starting the action. The movie captured the same feel and was faithful to the same themes of patriotism, loyalty to friends and family, and comradeship the original had. It also captured the same feel as the first movie with a few call backs to the original. Most notably was when one of the teenagers raised his SAW to the sky and cried “WOLVERINES.” This moment was able to get me to the same emotional high I had during the original scene from the first movie. It was at this point where I thought to myself “they are actually doing a pretty good job.” They did add a few twists to certain call backs like with the deer blood scene. This kept the film feeling fresh and not recycled. In addition Matt Eckert gets a much bigger character arc in this move then in the original. And despite the rather weak casting, they actually do pretty good jobs.

But this movie does have its flaws. Very glaring flaws. Most notable is that an invasion by North Korea is not very feasible. If North Korea is going to invade anywhere, they are going to invade South Korea, if they are going to do anything to the US, it will be nuclear. In the original movie the vehicles for the Russians were painstakingly recreated for the film with a Kubrick level of attention to detail. In this movie the North Koreans are running around in US humvees, which is incredibly lazy. The action is shot in the shacky cam, and that can get a tad distracting, and not as good as the action scenes shot by Milius. In addition there is no character equivalent to Colonel Bella from the first movie, leaving the enemy force without a human face to it. And finally the movie is WAY to Marine Corp for me. As an infantryman in the US Army we have a healthy relationship with Marines in much the same way two brothers do. We will talk massive amounts of ***** to each other and deride one another like it is no tomorrow in order to claim superiority. But we are ultimately on the same team. But that being said the USMC stuff in this movie is so over done that it made me sick. In addition the fact that a Command Sergeant Major was actually leading a team into enemy territory made me laugh! When you reach that rank you are an office guy and an overseer, not a field leader. Also one critical scene was changed from the original where Daryl betrays the Wolverines. In the original he was a traitor, in this movie he is basically low jacked which robs the movie of a lot of tragedy. Another scene left out of the movie was when the Eckert boys visit their father in a reeducation camp. taking out an equally powerful scene from the movie and replaced it with a half assed execution. And finally while I said the acting on the part of the cast was fine, the look they had screamed “pretty teenagers playing soldier.” The cast of the original movie outside of Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey looked like normal teenagers, and did not look like a bunch of models or actors ripped from the Disney channel.

But overall I still say I enjoyed the movie. Given the cards it was dealt, this movie could have been WAY worse then it turned out. It has its flaws yes, but there were positive aspects to the film I enjoyed. Is it the worst movie of the year as some say? No. Let us not forget that the same year released another Twilight movie, Battleship, Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Lorax. Was it one of the best movies? Hell no. It was an average action flick. It was okay overall, I am not going to buy it on DVD anytime soon, but I had fun. And it was a major relief for someone who thought he was going to see a movie that would ruined the original for him. It is a movie where instead of hoping for a good movie, it was more of “I will take best of what I can get.” Which is what I got from this movie.

Ever since Jaws hit the screens in 1975, the summer movie season became a time for high concept features. Some of the more recent high concept films of the summer range from Spielberg’s other summer smash hit Jurassic Park to Snakes on a Plane. And the most recent high concept film to hit the screens is The Purge. The Purge is a film where America is reborn under the rule of the New Founding Fathers. They have decreed that once a year for twelve hours over night all crime is legal and emergency services are suspended. This time of rampant killing is known as the purge, where people vent their angers and hatreds; a catharsis way of dealing with crime if you will. The result of this new law is that crime, poverty, and unemployment are at an all time low. The movie follows one family named the Sandins, who live in a nice house in a very well to do neighborhood, and have the latest and best security system for their home. They are locking down for the night as the purge begins. Only problem is James Sandin’s son lets in an injured homeless person who is being pursued, and now they are standing between a group of sociopath yuppies and their prey. That is the concept and the plot of this movie, and it is SO F**KING STUPID! I could go on about this movie, but I will try to keep this as short as I need it to be.

I majored in criminology and criminal justice in college, earning my degree from a very prestigious school in this field. And I can tell you CRIME DOES NOT WORK THIS WAY! Crime involves many different factors. Most theories focus on the social and the economic. The weakest of these theories are “general theories” of crime that try to find a blanket answer to all crime. Theories like the 4 Social Bonds theory and Self Control Theory are particularly weak. New theories that show great promise such as biosocial criminology; look at influences that blend the social and economic issues with psychological, biochemical and even genetic influences and how they influence a person to commit crime. A person not just people in general. Both nature AND nurture being important factors to be examined when determining what causes crime and how to deal with it, and examining crime as a phenomena as varying, individual, and complex as human nature itself. In layman’s terms: crime is very complicated, and motivations for offending vary greatly, and it is not going to be solved by something so simple, broad, and stupid. Now the one thing this film got right is that politicians wrote this law. Politicians have been writing stupid laws and bills for years that focus on one factor of crime, claiming that the crime problem will be solved if we pass this one bill. That part the movie got correct; where they failed is that in this fantasy world, the oversimplified law actually works. This differs greatly from reality where cheap political slogans like “less guns less crime,” prohibition, and the like in fact do very little to reduce crime, and in many cases do more harm than good. The premise that legalizing murder for a few hours will not only reduce crime by catharsis, but also strengthen the economy is ridiculous! This implies that all crime is committed out of frustration, and that if we just make it legal for a little while it will disappear. Problem there is that the majority of street crime is committed by “lifetime persistent offenders,” these are people who make crime their career; that is their job and they choose to do this instead of a nine to five job. They will not wait for the purge to commit their crimes. Then there is the issue of where are your organized crime syndicates in this movie? What happened to the Mafia? The Yakuza and Triads? La Eme and the Hells Angels? Did they just stop operating? What about substance abusers who constantly need their fix? They sure as hell are not going to be able to wait to do drugs once a year! And then there are those who supply the drugs and fight over drug turf in gangland style wars. And this is just street crime, I haven’t even gone into white collar crimes! So the premise of the movie is complete *****; anyone who has seen the trailer knows this.

Watching this film I tried to make some sense of this horrible movie by thinking, maybe the movie is supposed to be ridiculous. Maybe this ridiculous concept is supposed to be a satire of some kind? If so, what is this movie trying to satire? Are they trying to satirize the home security industry? In the film the big security systems are more for show and do not do much to deter a truly determined intruder, since the heavy shutters are shown getting ripped off by a very heavy truck and chains. This could be a swipe at home security systems, but this is not explored enough in detail to be satire. Is this a political jab against a current political movement in the US? Is it from the perspective of a left winger trying to condemn the Tea Party and other patriot groups? There were references to the New Founding Fathers and the Purge is draped in patriotism. But that idea holds no water, since the patriot groups want a return to the Constitution and the OLD Founding Fathers; and I am pretty sure the enlightened and educated minds of Jefferson and Washington would be disgusted by this barbarism. Is this a subtle condemnation of Obama and progressives based on the idea that they are trying to rebuild America in their image and they will be the New Founding Fathers of a new world order and that involves purging the unwanted in their first step toward socialism and then a new communist state? NO! DON’T BE A MORON! Now yes the leader of the antagonists has all the political fervor of someone who would fit right in with Chairman Mao’s Red Guards, but let’s face it, if anyone would be purged in a movie like that, the rich would be the primary target. Is it about class and race? That is not it; since there are mostly rich white people in the movie. It is hard to do a decent satire on race and class with just one homeless black guy, especially when race is never mentioned. Is it about violence and society? Any attempt at satire is lost in the fact that violence is used to solve their problems in the end. So no, this film is not a satire, it is just a very poorly thought out concept with a lousy script. Dr Strangelove, this movie is not.

What makes this film worse is that there are no characters that are likable in this film. The wife is an idiot who gets so caught up in her anti-purge feelings, that on multiple occasions she refuses to kill active and legitimate threats to her family’s safety. The daughter is bland and boring and the kid brother is the dumbass who got them is this mess to begin with! And the homeless guy, the initial victim, is unlikable since once he is inside the he tries to hold the daughter hostage. But the worst offender is James Sandin (Ethan Hawke). He sells these big and expensive security systems we know are more for looking good. He knows the flaws of the security design, and yet he installs one anyway. Worst of all he does little else to supplement his security plan even with the knowledge of the security systems weaknesses. He does not have a security plan should the walls be breached, no one in the house knows how to enter and clear a damn room, and the choice of weapons is laughable! The weapons that Jim has are four handguns and a pistol grip shotgun. And the shotgun is the STUPID “chainsaw” Mossberg 500 shotgun model that requires you to shot from the hip instead of aiming it.

Mossberg Chainsaw 500

This weapon looks so damn stupid I started laughing in the middle of a scene that is supposed to be intense! To top it off, if you are going to have all those guns in the house it is a good idea to have your family know how to use them, since only Jim really seemed to have any idea of how to handle a damn weapon.

So we have a movie with no likable characters, a stupid concept based on ludicrous thinking, and no satirical value. But is it fun or at the very least scary? To both questions, the answer is no. The lack of investment in the main characters well being combined with the fact that the “twists” of the movie are obviously foreshadowed, and that their asses get saved at the last second way too often makes this a very boring and predictable film. Even the antagonists are not scary; they are just some spoiled rich college kids who drank the Kool-Aid. They were more annoying than anything else. The production values were good enough, but all in all this is a piece of crap. And since this is from the same producers who brought us Paranormal Activity, you can tell this was made on the cheap. Basically it is a movie that tries to hook you with the trailer only to disappoint in the theaters. My final verdict? To quote Jay Sherman:


I was wondering about mafia and drug crimes myself...

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
rep points for great reviews. especially for when you hated one and when you were worried about how badly one would f*ck with your favorite original. Glad to see it wasn't has painful as it could have been.
Excellent reviews with a lot of research, knowledge and none of the arrogance that is the normal for the people in the media who are paid to wave their psuedo intellect about (yeah, i don't care all that much about them).

Haven't seen any of these, I've tried, way in the past, to watch Cairo and never got very far before switching off, I am looking forward to IM3, and i did like #2, had NO intention whatsoever in seeing Purge, it looked like the title states, a full release of every toxin in your bowels; utter and foul sh*t. Thanks for taking one for the team to re-affirm this.

Looking forward to more reviews and thanks gunslinger!

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
i've seen others speaking the same for Man of Steel, which is a shame, i was hoping for something worthwhile in that one.

and you are VERY welcome!