Girls, travel, rockets, transport, hotels, films, Martinis, wine, music, food and ranting!

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Week's Films: 4

Another three films watched this week and only one new DVD (Black Emanuelle!) which was a present from B.  The first two films have in common excellent soundtracks by Basil Poledouris.


Starship Troopers (1997)


The story

 

A group of teenagers join up to fight against attacking insect-like aliens who are bombarding the earth from space.

Seen it before...?

Once, but we can't remember if it was at the cinema or on DVD.  The former, we think, (possibly with Agent DVD).


Denise


Any good?

 

Paul Verhoeven's satirical black comedy was perhaps too close to the bone for American audiences as he sent up TV soaps, gung ho WW2 documentaries, the Gulf War, nationalistic news bulletins and, especially, Robert Heinlen's original novel.  Ludicrously gory and thus also works perfectly well as a shoot em'up for the less attuned which is, no doubt, an in-joke all to itself.  Lots of other in-jokes; notably where lines from Zulu are used when the bugs attack the stronghold.  Very good special effects (losing out on the Oscar to Titanic) and a wonderfully over the top score by Basil Poledouris. Guilty fun!

Notable for...

Completely convincing CGI aliens and the fact that the film used up more blank ammunition than any previous film production.


Dina


Any good girlies?

 

We always liked the walking pout with eyebrows that is Denise Richards, so perky here in her German WW2-type uniform, but the film was stolen by the utterly gorgeous Dina Meyer who is the best thing in a helmet since Cindy Morgan in Tron.


The Hunt for Red October (1990)


The story

 

Desk bound CIA analyst Jack Ryan (played by Alec Baldwin -dull) gets pulled into the front line of the end of the Cold War when Russian nuclear missile submarine captain (Sean Connery -playing himself as usual) goes rogue in his technologically advanced sub, Red October

Seen it before...?

Ping! Ping! Twice we think but not at the cinema.

Any good...?

 

Despite some now rather ropey looking special effects in the torpedo sequences the film has stood up well.  Connery steals the film but there are some great supporting performances from the like of James Earl Jones and Scott Glenn.  Manages to compress the essence of the first techno-thriller very well, whilst losing some of Tom Clancy's gung ho nationalism.  Always worth another run.


It's not a model or CGI...

 

Notable for...

Special effects co-ordinator Al DiSarro's full sized Typhoon recreation. DiSarro would go on to work on another sub-picture Crimson Tide (1995).  Sadly, he died earlier this year at the age of 59. The cast playing Russians all do Russian accents except their captain who just sounds like, well, Sean Connery. "We shail into hishtory!"



Any good girlies?

Hardly any women in it at all apart from Gates McFadden (Star Trek: the Next Generation's Beverley Crusher) who plays Ryan's (English) wife.  Most of her scenes were cut in post-production.


The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior (2008)



 The story

Young Mathayus' warrior father is killed by magic wielded by King Sargon. Mathayus vows vengeance and collects a small group of allies to help him find the weapon he needs to defeat his enemy.

Seen it before...?

A straight to DVD release so this was the first time.



Any good...?
As a prequel to The Scorpion King it is famously a prequel to a spin-off of a sequel to a remake.  Frankly, any vaguely sword and sorcery film starts with goodwill on the part of Agent Triple P.  Sunny locations by the sea, an ancient ship, at least one harem scene and a scantily clad heroine are usually enough.  This barely makes it although it has all four prerequisites.  Most of the acting is dodgy, but that is to be expected, although hero Michael Copon lacks charisma.  Chief baddy Randy Couture looks the part but just sounds too like a modern American to be a convincing ancient king.  Special effects, in what is a cheap South African/German production, are variable.   One of the annoying things is that it seems unsure when it is set.  The original Scorpion king from The Mummy 2 seemed to be set in a Bronze Age period along with the Egyptians.  The prequel was more like a Conan fantasy time but this film talks about Herodotus who was 5th Century BC.  It was barely OK and isn't a patch on the original The Scorpion King, which isn't saying much.  OK for a bottle of rose wine and some stuffed vine leaves and olives on a late Sunday night!

Notable for...
Being a sad come down for director Russell Mulcahy, who directed Highlander.

Karen David

 Any good girlies?

Here the film delivers quite well.  We have the requisite (for Triple P anyway) harem scene.  Dinky Indian/British actress/singer Karen David is really too slight (at 5'3") and softly contoured to be a convincing warrior girl.  Her accent wanders all over the place from West London to trans-Atlantic to Valley girl.  Much better is villainess Natalie Becker who not only looks fantastic but is convincingly evil.

Natalie Becker


More films next week!  We may re-watch The Scorpion King to see if it really is better than the prequel!

1 comment:

  1. Hunt for Red October has been on my list of to-see for a while. One of my recent goals is to watch more modern "classics" (or movies that got a whole lot of buzz), and heck, almost anything with Connery is good in my book. That guy is pretty darn cool. Thanks for the heads up about Scorpion King 2, though... I hate it when movies can't figure out when in history they're supposed to be set!

    ReplyDelete