Archive for bruce willis

‘Once Upon a Time In Venice’: No More Naked Skateboarding, please

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2017 by aliciamovie

onceuponatimevenice

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Mark Cullen

Studio: Voltage Pictures

Review Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Through a series of bizarre circumstances and roundabout confrontations, down but never out former detective turned private investigator Steve Ford gets his beloved dog stolen by Venice’s toughest gang!

It’s like the movie tried to capture the magic of ‘Go’ or ‘Snatch’ or even ‘The Big Hit’ (don’t judge, I enjoyed that last one), with the convoluted circular storylines, but in the rather relaxed setting of Venice Beach, California.

The character of Steve Ford, played by Bruce Willis as he is, seems rather unlikely to me. The man is past 60, and yet playing a character who has playful sex with women considerably younger than him (who also happen to have severely protective Samoan brothers), skateboards down deserted roads in all his naked glory (you can assume that was a stunt double), and can still badass throw down with the worst of them if need be, which he does when confronting Jason Momoa’s gang leader character Spider to get his niece’s dog back. John (Thomas Middleditch) is Steve’s assistant and the film is mostly narrated by him as we get introduced to the various sundry characters Steve’s about to have to deal with. And don’t forget Dave (John Goodman), Steve’s recently divorced and rather suicidal best friend, who needs something to get his mind off his pathetic excuse for a life and of course offers to help Steve with his own troubles. Steve loves his niece and she loves her dog Buddy, which means when the dog gets stolen to get back at Steve, the hang-loose godfather of the Venice neighborhood needs to get the poochie back by any means necessary!

Steve understands that making deals with drug lords, loan sharks, pissed-off Samoan brothers and other unsavory characters isn’t a good idea, but hey, Buddy’s in trouble and time’s running out. There has to be a way to settle his debts with every single last one of these shady nutjobs and get Buddy back safe and sound, preferably without another naked nighttime jaunt on a skateboard. (I guess it wouldn’t be quite the Venice Beach style to have Uncle Steve riding his naked glory getaway on a Harley.) Unlike many of Willis’ other characters, Steve tries hard to leave the violence as a last resort, though he can certainly kick your weak ass, if need be.

So without giving anything away, Uncle Steve does manage to wrap things up more or less nicely near the end, with a minimal amount of fuss and muss. There are even a few clever boots moments, though for the most part they are entirely predictable and therefore one-shot-ed at best. The movie is a perfectly fine way to waste an afternoon, but it will never live up to action standards like the Die Hard series.

A Good Day to Die Hard

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: 20th Century Fox Film

MPAA Rating: R

Director: John Moore

Review Rating: 7

The unkillable Detective John McClane is back, traveling to Russia to rescue his estranged son who’s been arrested for murder!

It’s…okay? There seems to be this ongoing trend, since they insist on making yet more Die Hard movies, to include the young element in there to make sure younger generation fans are targeted and hopefully can enjoy the carnage. This seems unfair to those of us who’ve been fans of Die Hard since the beginning, even though yes the first film came out before a lot of us (Moxie’s readers and such) were double-digit aged. McClane always gets his man, always blows up everything in sight, and yes, always gets at least a few grand one-liners. With #2 being the obvious exception, the DH films have also become known for a seriously classy string of villains. This latest opus is unfortunately lacking a lot of these things.

We begin with McClane’s estranged son Jack. Off in Moscow, Jack is involved in some seriously shady doings involving the Russian mafia, apparently, and when he gets landed in jail for an attempted murder of course McClane Sr. gets wind of it and goes to save his son. He keeps protesting he’s on vacation, which to my mind rings of The Fifth Element (a more fun film by far), but that’s really neither here nor there. John makes it to the courthouse where Jr. is being arraigned just in time to see it blowed up, and Jack escapes with Russian witness Komarov to try and get a lift out of the country by, you guessed it, the CIA. Of course McClane’s estranged son works for the CIA, do we expect any less? The file that everyone’s chasing that only Komarov knows where it is, purportedly has to do with Chernoble of all things, so amidst explosions and betrayals and hails of bullets, that where the McClane boys head. The final showdown is very Die Hard, which is to say highly unlikely logistics-wise, but that’s what makes it so fun and action packed and explosive. Sadly there is no one major villain with awesome lines, most of the time the villains speak in Russian and of course it’s subtitled, but lacks the flair of the previous DH films. The McClane boys do get a few good scenes in together, where they studiously avoid speaking of the past and lovingly take verbal pot-shots at eachother as only the McClanes can, but that is about it.

At the very least, the main cast is held the same, and for that we can mostly be grateful. John McClane, still a badass despite being rather old for this sh*t at this point, is still Bruce Willis, yay. Jai Courtney is Jack McClane, he does a perfectly serviceable job for the sadly semi-generic role he was given. Sebastian Koch is Komarov, he does do a remarkable job at the separate personalities gig. And Lucy McClane is still Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whom you might recall from Live Free or Die Hard. In all, a rather uneeded new Die Hard film, lacking the snark of the previous films, but hey still fun to watch things blow sky high!

The Expendables 2

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Lionsgate

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Simon West

Review Rating: 7

Old enemies and new allies approach The Expendables gang to go after a brand new villain and the tech he stole!

If you thought the first Expendables was ridiculous, hoo-boy are you in for a bad tasting lolli after the dentist. This here sequel is so much worse, so campy, so everything the first was and a whole lot more, it’s so bad, one can’t help but smile at it. It even has Chuck Norris as the new hidden ally, wasn’t there enough action beefcake in here?! The bad guy is actually called Vilain, and of course he’s acted (if you can call it that) by JCVD, mister splits on the countertop, himself. The name is so close to villain, it might as well have been that, and I thought all the flexing muscles and funny accents were just pronouncing the word “villain” wrong. Sly and Statham and my personal favorite, Jet Li, are all back but Li gets all of maybe 20 minutes screen time, toward the beginning where’s he contemplating getting out of this kind of life, and doesn’t show back up in the film like at all after that. Dolph Lundgren’s character has been brought back to the group, mostly for comedic relief apparently, which is kind of an oxy moron. Dear Ah-nold and Bruce are back in their formerly bad guy roles, now practically begging for the gangs help and being goofy in a tiny car shootout. Terry Crews and Randy Coutoure are back too, all muscly and gruff and scary. There is even a Hemsworth in there, no not the one you’re thinking of though, as the new guy. Nan Yu is Maggie, the female lead that Church wants to insist goes with the gang when he sends them off on their latest mission!

Every iconic man gets a tagline, their chosen weapon that they’re known for from previous movies, and at least one climactic scene where they alone are pictures plugging away at bad guys like they were posing for their own badass movie poster! There is still a plot, you say? Fie, I say! We don’t need no stinkin plot, not when there’s more aging action stars than you can shake a broken black belt at!

RED

Posted in Action, comedy, Movies, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by aliciamovie

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Summit Entertainment

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Robert Schwentke

Review Rating: 8 Stuffed Pigs

When retired black-ops Agent Frank Moses’ life is threatened by the ghosts of his past, he and a phone operator hostage go to reassemble Moses’ old team to void off execution.

A great deal of the movie just pokes plain at itself, and I think that’s adorable. It’s often lauded as the retiree action movie of the year, and while that is certainly true, it’s still just so hard to be badass in your bathrobe! As Willis demonstrates in the opening scenes. Still, somewhere in the movie they explain that RED actually stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous”, so of course these old buckos still got it.

So Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, in the roles always destined to him, the extreme tough guy who kicks so much butt, but talks very softly and has a huge heart of gold. And this role is no exception – Frank Moses has a strange romance going with some telephone operator, played by Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds fame, and on the same day he finally gets to meet her in person, he’s the target of an execution squad. And it just goes further nuts from there, as Moses begins to gather his old squad to aid him. Morgan Freeman as Joe Matheson is a really tragic figure, despite still being a retired badass, the man is dying of cancer. Helen Mirren as gun-toting granmotherly type Victoria is a hoot and a half. And my personal favorite, John Malkovich as the readily nuts Marvin Boggs, has a truly astounding and versatile actor running around with a stuffed pig that conceals a big gun. They even have Karl Urban, oh drool, as William Cooper, young, razor sharp and ambitious, as the leader of the enemy execution squad hunting Moses.

Less explosions and fight scenes than The Expendables, sure, but RED seems to have a lot more plain old fun with its movie. A fine cast that works well together, an adorable story, and a romp through what happens to those secret agents after they retire (Wait, there isn’t any retirement plan?!), gets RED a rating of 8 stuffed pigs.


Surrogates

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , on December 14, 2009 by aliciamovie

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Warning! Spoiler Review!

Studio: Touchstone Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Jonathon Moslow

Review Rating: 7

In the not-too-distant future, humanity lives their lives through surrogate robots that protect them from harm, and one cop has to leave his surrogate to investigate a string of murders involving surrogates and their operators.

 It’s a shame really, this movie had a lot more potential when it was being advertised in trailers. Seeing Bruce Willis run around as the lead who is of course his stock in trade type of character, a cop, would have been just fine and dandy, if he and his surrogate weren’t so different. (His surrogate is signifigantly younger looking and wears a strawberry blonde wig – I kid you not.) His wife is a much older woman, at least physically, than her surrogate, and sees nothing wrong with running her surrogate around in place of real life for the rest of her life. And then surrogates, the supposedly safest way to live ones life ever-ever, start getting fried right along with their operators, and of course Tom Greer (Willis) has to go investigate it – without his surrogate.

 There’s a Prophet kind of guy, played by Ving Rhames with really odd-looking dreadlocks, and it turns out he’s actually another surrogate body for the guy who’s been running the resistance trying to awaken people all along. The same guy who originally built the whole surrogate system in the first place, I’m terribly sorry, but that wasn’t a surprise at all. James Cromwell stars as Canter, the inventor of the Surrogate system, and he actually does a pretty good job at it, although it’s more or less exactly the same as his performance in I, Robot.

 It’s not a bad try, all things considered. The original plot was pretty good, but the movie makes it more and more unlikely the further things go along. It’s like watching a train wreck, and Willis’ character decides hey, let’s hit the gas and see what happens! Oi.

Worth a look or two, but sadly not a placer in the ever-expanding category of new and awesome Sci-Fi dramas.

 

Check out a trailer