Empire of the Wolves Movie Review

The Empire of the Wolves
**1/2 out of ****

Part 2 of my Jean Reno movie kick, this is a darker french thriller with Jean Reno sharing the spotlight with Arly Jover (you’d probably recognize her from Blade) and Jocelyn Quivrin (lately of Syriana). This is a decent movie, but nothing special.

Premise: Jocelyn Quivrin is a French detective with a serial killer on his hands who is murdering young women - illegal Turkish immigrant young women, to be exact. Jean Reno is a “retired” cop who used to police Turkish neighborhoods brought in to consult. Arly Jover is a woman whose reality is coming apart at the seams as she loses more and more of her memory - is it a mental illness, or something more sinister? It all ties together in an organization called “The Gray Wolves”.

This movie started out strong. Your interest was especially piqued by Arly Jover’s situation, more so when she finds evidence that she has had complete face altering plastic surgery that she has no memory of. Jean Reno spices up the Jocelyn Quivrin storyline that would otherwise be totally bland. But as the movie wears on, the storyline starts to get pretty convoluted. And it goes on for too long (a common complaint from me, I’m noticing). I’m actually not sure what could have been cut out to make this movie shorter - it was all pretty necessary to even halfway explain the convoluted story.

Biggest problem with this movie is that it went on too long - plus, the story got convoluted and wasn’t as clear as it should have been. Jean Reno and Jocelyn Quivrin’s characters were fairly bland - Reno finally gets interesting towards the end of the movie, but Quivrin is stuck with the bland cute cop persona through the whole film.

Just as a side note, the actor who plays the assassin killing the Turkish women is unbelievably gorgeous. ^_^ Just felt like I needed to point that out.

Anyway, the movie was decent, but nowhere near as good as it could have been. Acting was fine, but suffered because of the writing. There were some great scenes, one of my favorites being towards the end Arly Jover having it out with the beautiful assassin with a wicked claw thing on her hand. ^_^ Worth seeing if you enjoy dark thrillers and Jean Reno. If not, don’t even bother.


Wasabi Movie Review

**1/2 out of ****

I have been on a bit of a Jean Reno kick - in fact, right after I finish this review I’ll be writing one for “The Empire of the Wolves”, and I have more Reno movies coming from Netflix.

Premise: French cop Hubert (who has been reprimanded again and again for his tendency to throw punches when working) gets a surprise call from an attorney from Tokyo telling him that his long lost love has died and left him the sole legetee of her will - and guardian of she and Hubert’s nineteen year old daughter - the daughter Hubert didn’t know existed. Needless to say, Hubert hops on the next flight to Tokyo and into a mess of trouble - organized crime, $200,000 in stolen money, and shopping trips with his nineteen year old daughter.

This is an action comedy. There was nothing about this movie that was meant to be taken seriously. And it is hilarious! It’s actually kind of hard to review - it wasn’t a good movie, but it was definitely fun. Ridiculous, over the top, and fun. Taken for what it is, it’s wonderful, and if you’re in the mood for a silly action movie definitely pick this up. And actually, now that I think about it, I’m not quite sure why it’s rated ‘R’ - there are some shoot-em-up scenes, but no blood/gore. You’ve seen much worse in many a ‘PG-13′ movie.

The highlight of this movie is without a doubt Jean Reno. There is just something totally appealing about that actor, and his character was highly amusing. ^_^ Susprisingly the girl playing Yumi, his daughter, was entertaining as well. Skirting the edge of annoying, but not quite crossing over to the dark side. ^_^ The guy playing Reno’s sidekick was pretty obnoxious, but it didn’t detract from the film too much.

There was nothing different, innovative, or amazing about this movie. It had all the usual elements of an action-comedy. Tired story, cardboard bad guys, semi-decent writing. And like most action-comedies, it totally relies on the charisma of it’s main characters to pull the movie through. Which of course, in this casem, worked admirably. ^_^

Anyway, that’s it. I’m done. ^_^ Rent this movie for good silly action entertainment.


Disgust with Horror Flicks

Before I begin, let’s a take a moment a watch a preview for “Hostel 2″.

Click for Hostel 2 Trailer.

I have three words to say after we have taken in this trailer for a film that will be released widespread as mainstream entertainment, aimed at America’s young men.

What. The. Hell.

Actually, I have been saying what the hell for a long time now as horror movies continue to be released depicting the most graphic torture and violent death as modern special effects can produce. And even that’s not enough - moviemakers now feel that they have to add on top of the gore just flat out grossness that makes you want to throw up. Liquified rotting pig corpses? Why? And of course the entire feel of the Texas Chainsaw Masscre movies leaves you feeling dirty.

Hostel sits on top of this mountain of filth, king of the new depths of depraved “entertainment”, but it has plenty of underlings, and plenty more being made. To name a few: Texas Chansaw Masscre: The Beginning. The Hills Have Eyes. Saw III. And not to forget, we have the upcoming seuqel to Hostel, and a charming film called “Touristas”.

Anyone remember the good ole days when “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” were the generally accepted model for slasher flicks? How about “Halloween”, “Hellraiser”, and “Nightmare on Elm St”?

As audiences grow more and more desensitized and jaded when it comes to horror movies, it seems filmmakers go further and further to shock. After all, it sells. Did you know that in 2005 “Hostel” made $47,326,473 in box office revenue domestically, and another $32,975,701 in foreign revenue?

That’s $80,302,174 for a movie that should have been spat on when it was released.

I firmly believe that there is something seriously wrong when we live in a society that considers movies like Hostel acceptable entertainment. I’m not kidding. I went to the theater to see Hostel, unfortuntately contributing to that box office revenue and giving the filmmakers more money, there were several people who were laughing throughout the movie. I’ve had aquaintences tell me how great and funny the movie is. My good friend Bob told me that he’s been told the same thing. Just so we’re clear about what we’re talking about, Hostel contained some of the most realistic depictions of torture that I have ever seen, and this is constant almost from beginning to end. There is no comic relief. There are no funny lines. Explain to me how this film could possibly be considered funny. It just made me feel physically sick. I’m still kicking myself for not walking out of that theater in the first half an hour.

So. Here is what our society considers not only acceptable, but amusing. And yet we’re shocked when we find out about American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners.

I believe in holding each individual accountable for the things that they do, and I hesitate to blame media entertainment, whether it be books, music, film, or video games, for crime. After all, I watch violent movies, play violent video games, listen to metal, etc, and I’m not about to go kill or torture someone. But as media entertainment gets worse and worse, more and more graphic, desensitizing people to the point where they can laugh at it…. There’s something very, very, seriously wrong here.

I guess I’ll be done for now - after seeing Saw III last night I guess I just needed to vent. I am now thoroughly disillusioned with the new horror movie. It’s too bad that this is the way horror movies are going. Hell, at least ghost movies aren’t anywhere near as bad. Did Kayako (The Grudge movies) every torture anyone? N0 - she just killed them. Quickly and cleanly, I might add. Yeah, I think I’ll stick with vengeful ghost movies and leave the gore and the torture to people who laugh at it.

Maybe I’ll gather some friends, make signs that say something like ”Don’t Pay to see Filth”, “End Torture In Cinema”, “What The Hell Is Wrong With You Crazy People Who Want To See This Movie”, etc. etc., and sit outside the theater when Hostel 2 comes out. Anyone want to protest with me?


Saw III Movie Review

*1/2 out of ****

I have very much enjoyed the Saw movies, especially the second one, so when the third one came out, obviously I was going to see it. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant. All the new movies that have been coming out featuring brutal torture and realistic, graphic death have made me wary when seeing films like this, especially since I know what the Saw movies are about. The movie ended up being exactly what I expected it to be. Which wasn’t really a good thing.

Premise: The third in the Saw saga finds serial killer “Jigsaw” on his death bed, suffering from a brain tumor. His final “game” focuses on a man consumed with hate for the man who accidentally hit and killed his eight year old son, and teaching him to forgive. Meanwhile, his apprentice is ignoring his credo of “teaching” his victims and offering them a chance to save their own lives. Instead, she is devising traps that are impossible for her victims to get out of. Throw in a doctor kidnapped and brought in to sustain Jigsaw’s life until the end of his final game/test, and you have your story.

First let me just say that the only reason I bothered to give this movie one and a half stars is the twist at the end. It’s clever, and totally in keeping with Jigsaw’s character. Other than that, this movie was just a mire of realistic torture and violent death.

I know what you’re thinking. “DUH!!!”

Now let me explain. The first movie was indeed grim and graphic, but tame compared to the films that are being released now. The second film seemed to play more on people’s “heebie jeebie” feelings than on hardcore graphic violence (not that there wasn’t some of that in the film). Anyone remember that pit of hypodermic needles? I was holding out some hope (stupidly) that the third movie might stay closer oto the second one. No. I was wrong. The third film, following the vein of new movies like this, was gross - full of people being ripped apart, twisted around, and one notable scene where a man was nearly drowned in liquified rotting pig corpses. Even thinking about that makes me want to throw up.

I actually spent some of this movie with my eyes averted. I have never, ever done that. I have just had it up to here with this kind of movie.

To move on to the more technical aspects of the film, the acting was fairly decent, the writing was fine, and the special effects all too good. I don’t really hace much else to say about this film. It’s just another installment in the steady downhill slide of what is considered acceptable entertainment in the media.