Tag Archives: War

Lone Survivor, American Movie (2013)

Choices. In your life you will make quite a few of them. Most of these will be very small. For instance will I take the salad today, or am I going for the hamburger? But there are also choices that will have a lot more impact. A decision that you will look at from every angle in order to see what impact it might have on your life. If you are like me, hopefully those choices how ever hard they might be, will not involve life or death situations. Unfortunately though, there are also people in this world that come face to face with these kind of things on pretty much a daily basis. The movie Lone Survivor deals with the consequences of just such a life or death choice.

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Some people take Call of Duty just way too seriously.

Lone Survivor is based on a true story. A group of American soldiers is tasked with the capture or kill of the high profile Taliban leader Ahmed Shah. This man is responsible for the killing of a number of American soldiers, as well as local villagers that were aiding the American forces. A four man SEAL team including teamleader Michael Murphy is inserted in the region where Ahmed is supposed to reside. When the group is beginning to near their target, an old man and two children accidentally stumble across the soldiers. From this point on the SEALs are faced with a terrible choice: they either let them go and risk discovery, or kill them and make sure the mission can be accomplished. With the group divided on what to do, time is running out and with every second that passes they are in more danger. The ultimate decision lies with Michael, but whatever he finally chooses to do, it will be a choice that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

The strength of this film is definitely the story. Really, ask yourself the same question, what would you do when faced with a situation like this? Even if you make the choice that might be the morally correct one, it may end up costing you your life, and the lives of your team mates. It is a really terrible dilemma, and one that is presented in terrific way in this film. A movie like this could fall into the trap of becoming a commercial for the American warmachine, but it thankfully avoids doing that. It shows both sides of the conflict, without passing judgement on what is right or wrong. The fact that this movie is based on a true story, makes it only more powerful and realistic.

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Sometimes you just want to take a break from it all.

The cast that was assembled for this movie does an awesome job. We have Mark Wahlberg, who plays the role of Marcus Luttrell, the soldier that feels the strongest about not killing the old man and children. Wahlberg is no stranger to action roles, and this movie certainly has plenty of action sequences, but he can also act. And that he certainly did in this movie, a role I found to be one of his best to date. Actor Ben Foster, who seems to have a different look for every movie he appears in, portrays the role of Matthew Axelson. Now Matthew has the exact opposite opinion of the situation, that Marcus has. This allows for a couple of great verbal exchanges between the two characters, and those serve as some of the best scenes from the movie. The two other team mates are played by Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch, both of whom also do an excellent job. But it is both Wahlberg and Foster that really carry this movie.

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Okay…now you have made me mad: I’m calling Optimus Prime. 

This review would not be complete without the mention of the incredible action sequences that are featured in this movie. There is a gunfight scene that I found to be one of the best that I have ever seen put to film. I kid you not. The stuntwork that is carried out in this movie often had me wondering how on Earth they managed to achieve it without people getting hurt or killed. It is really impressive, and only makes the movie even better than it already is. But it is ultimately the story that makes this film so good. When the endcredits finally roll, it will remain in your mind, and have you thinking about the morality of certain things. Lone Survivor is an excellent movie and one I highly recommend for actionlovers that also enjoy watching a well written storyline.

I give Lone Survivor a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: In the valley of Elah, a collaboration post with Acacia Aurora!

About four weeks ago I was approached by Acacia Aurora, also known as Auri, to do a collaboration post. This is the first time I am doing something like this, so not only am I excited for it, but I am also honored to have been given this chance. Thank you Auri! For those of you that have yet to discover her wonderful blog, you can visit her here . The blog is filled with a lot of great posts about manga and anime, and also her great art. It is well worth the visit, and ofcourse once you are there you should definitely subscribe.

Now her idea for this collaboration was very cool. We have picked a movie, and I have watched the first part of the film, while Auri watches the second part. Based on what we have seen we try to predict what happens, and has happened in the first or second part of the film. And then ofcourse we get to see if we have been right about our predictions! The movie that we have chosen is the drama In the valley of Elah, a 2007 movie starring the fantastic Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. The film is 1 hour and 56 minutes long, so I have watched the first 58 minutes. Please note that what follows will be full of spoilers, so if you have not yet watched this movie, you have been warned!

In the valley of Elah, part 1

This movie is based on a true story. Tommy Lee Jones plays the retired military police officer Hank Deerfield. His son Mike, who is a soldier, is about to return from a tour of duty in Iraq. But then things begin to get weird. Hank gets a call from the military that his son has not returned, or at the very least has gone missing, and they are about to file him as having gone AWOL. That is the military term for Absent Without Official Leave. Hank does not believe Mike would go off just like that, and is determined to find him. He at first travels to the base where his son was stationed, but that really does not help him much. The only thing he did receive was his son’s cellphone which contains a few videos made by his son in Iraq. The videos are very damaged though, and he has to enlist the help of a specialist in order to decrypt them.

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That coffee must really be good for them to smile this much.

Hank next turns to the local police department. Once there he meets up with detective Emily Sanders, a role played by Charlize Theron. Unfortunately as Mike is in the military at first she does not want to help him, as the official procedure is to file a report with the military police. With Hank getting more desperate by the minute, things take a turn for the worse. A dismembered body has been found, heavily burned and mutilated. Soon the shocking confirmation comes that it is indeed Hank’s son. The body has been found on the terrain of the army, so technically it falls under the jurisdiction of the military. At least that is what is decided at first. The murder of Hank’s son appears to have been caused by a local drug cartel, and it seems that it looks like a drug deal that has gone bad.

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Don’t look at me as if I am an idiot.

Hank does not believe for one second that his son was into drugs, and insists to be taken to the crimescene where his son’s body was found. The military police does not want to offer any kind of help, but then help comes from an unexpected corner. Detective Sanders takes Hank to the crimescene, and once there they find out that the body was moved. This means that it now becomes a police matter again. Emily takes the case to her boss, who pulls some strings to get the jurisdiction back to them. Meanwhile Hank has received a few decrypted videos from his son’s cellphone. Looking through them it seems that Mike was involved in something horrible in Iraq, but exactly what has not yet become clear.

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I wonder what she is thinking about……

With the case now back in Emily’s hands, she tries to talk to to some witnesses, but is pretty much stonewalled by the military, saying that the matter is closed and they already have their statements. Hank and Emily finally begin to work together, and and are also getting some mutual respect for each other. Emily invites him over for dinner with her young son, and also to discuss their next move. After dinner Hank tries to read a bedtime story to Emily’s son…..and it is at this point that I hit the 58 minute mark!

My impressions

So far this movie has been incredibly entertaining. Tommy Lee Jones gives one of the best performances of his entire career as the desperate father who is determined to find out the truth. But Charlize also plays very well as the detective who is also despised by her colleagues. The atmosphere for this movie is very dark and gritty. I also love the way the story so far is having some really nice twists and turns, and really keeps you guessing what will happen next. I absolutely have to contain myself not to watch any further, but ofcourse I am not going to that. And now for the hard part!

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Erm, I really don’t wish to intrude, but I think you might need a bigger flashlight.

My predictions for part 2

The big question is ofcourse: was Mike murdered by a local drug cartel? My guess is no. I think that Mike has seen something in Iraq that he was not supposed to see, and that he was murdered because of that. I also believe that this might have been done by members of his own unit. The stonewalling of the military throughout the movie so far, is making it clear to me, that they want to cover something up. It might be that  an attack in Iraq has gone bad, and they murdered civilians or something like that. I also think that both Hank and Emily will get in over their heads, and their lives will be in danger. In the end though, the truth will be revealed, and his son’s reputation restored. Emily will also finally get the respect she deserves from her colleagues, because of solving the case. Hank, though full of grief, will be able to move on and find peace. Well…at least that is what I think will happen. Let’s see if I am correct, or completely wrong. Auri: over to you! You can find out what happens next by reading Auri’s post, which you can find here.

Anthropoid, Uk/Czech Republic movie (2016)

If there is one thing I like in movies, it is good acting. A movie can at times by mediocre, but still be raised to extraordinary heights by a great performance from an an actor or actress. And when the movie itself is great as well, you might get something really special. The warmovie Anthropoid came and went pretty quietly last year. I had seen the trailer for it, and it immediately caught my attention. Unfortunately I had missed this one in the theatres, but to my big surprise this week it appeared on Netflix. And I am glad it did, because this small movie is pretty amazing.

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Sometimes it’s just best to say nothing. 

Anthropoid is based on a true story. It takes place in the year 1941 where the country of Czechoslovakia is occupied by Nazi Germany. The entire country is held in a reign of terror mostly caused by Hitler’s third in command the murderous Reinhard Heydrich. It is during these troubled times that two agents, Jozef and Jan, are parachuted into their homeland. Quickly they go in search for the local resistance to help them with their mission: the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. However with Germans around every corner, and people within their own ranks they might not be able to trust, their mission might be over without ever having a chance to succeed….

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Yep, he is the guy from that movie. 

If I could only name one reason for you to get you to see this film, it would be actor Cillian Murphy. He plays the role of Jozef, and for me it has been one of the best roles of his eentire career. The true desperation, but also the belief he has in his mission, are portrayed perfectly by him. At times it almost felt as if he wasn’t even acting any more. His co-star Jamie Dornan, who plays Jan should also not be dismissed though. Jan is somewhat weaker and more nervous than Jozef, and Jamie carried out this role perfectly. The film mainly focusses on these two men, and as such the rest of the supporting characters don’t have as much layers to them as Jozef and Jan.

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That guy on the right looks pretty bored.

The film starts as a bit of a slowburner, but even so, you can feel an underlying tension that keeps building up. The second half of the movie has some incredibly trilling scenes, that are at times truly nailbiting. Another thing that is worth mentioning is the cinematography. The film really looks amazing, and together with the amazing sets and costumes really convince you that you are right there in 1941. This is definitely not an easy movie to watch, especially near the end, where a couple of very gruesome scenes are shown. Honestly these scenes almost seem like they are from a different film, as they did not really fit the tone of the rest of the movie. That said though, this is a very good film, with incredible performances and a really compelling and thrilling story. If you like warmovies that are a little bit different, than I highly recommend this one.

I give Anthropoid a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Macross

When I was a young boy (and wow this makes me sound really old), my favorite cartoon and toy was Transformers. I just loved it. Robots that could transform into cars, planes, weapons: it was just a seriously awesome concept. But then I was introduced to a series called Robotech. And that series took the concept of transformable robots to a whole new level. I did not know at the time that Robotech was made up of three totally unrelated animeseries. These three shows were completely rewritten into a new storyline that tied it all together. Robotech will always be holding a special place in my heart, as it introduced me to the wonderful world of anime.

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Yes this ship is seriously awesome.

One of the most popular segments of Robotech was the Macross saga. Macross has always been regarded as one of the anime series that laid the groundwork for the Mecha anime genre. In this special features post I intend to give a bit of an overview of the entire saga so far, although I will only be focussing on the tv series and OVA’s. There have also been a few movies, but as this post will already be pretty long, I decided not to include those. Before I start I will begin by talking about a few things that have always been common to pretty much every new series of the franchise.

Macross: common themes

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A love triangle can be very hard indeed.

One of the coolest things in Macross are the transformable fighter planes known as the Valkyries. All of these planes can transform into a robot, but also a hybrid version of the robot/fighter, known as the Gerwalk. With every series released there were new versions of these planes that were introduced. Another common theme in every show was the love triangle. Yes, romance is definitely a factor in Macross, but luckily it is usually not romance of the sappy kind. Lastly music is also very important to the Macross franchise, and in every series to date there has been some kind of singer or band, that takes the fight to the enemy. So now that I have adressed the common themes let’s start for real with the overview.

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982)

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Just in case you are wondering, that is planet Earth these ships are firing at.

The show that started it all, tells the story of a gigantic spaceship crashlanding on Earth. Ten years after the crash, humanity has rebuild the enormous ship, now known as the SDF-1. But then the original owners of the ship return, the gigantic beings known as the Zentradi. Their mission is to retrieve the ship at all cost, and thus begins the first intergalactic war. With a cast of great characters, truly amazing fight sequences, a terrific story, and some heroic deaths, this series is still very much worth the watch. This 36 episode series is definitely your starting point. Even though it is a very old anime, don’t let yourself be held off by that, as it is has withstood the test of time very well.

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers again (1992)

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Sometimes you just get bored by it all and fall asleep.

Ten years after the original series, this six episode show takes place 80 years after the events of the original anime. We are introduced to a new enemy called the Mardook, who seem to be invulnerable to mankinds most powerful attacks. A young reporter is thrust right in the middle of the new war that is about to begin, and may eventually hold the key to stopping the conflict. This series was highly anticipated, but eventually was not well received by the original Macross saga fans. I quite liked it myself, but it definitely is not as good as the show that started it all. In the end this series is now not considered to be part of the Macross timeline anymore.

Macross Plus (1994)

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Who put that helmet on my back….seriously…..

With Macross II being dismissed as a sequel, Macross Plus was henceforth recognised as the first official sequel to the original series. This 4 part anime tells the story of two testpilots that have a deep rivalry between them, and also happen to like the same girl. Meanwhile a powerful A.I. has some very bad intentions when it plans to take over the battlefortress Macross itself. This series was pretty cool. It featured some truly terrific fightsequences, and great animation. The opening tune composed by legend Yoko Kanno, I still consider to be one of the most beautiful scores for an anime series.

Macross 7 (1994)

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I get annoyed just by looking at that guy….

To date this is the only Macross series that I have not completely finished. With 49 episodes it is also the longest. It takes place on the colonyship Macross 7, that is exploring the galaxy, when it encounters the hostile alien force called Protodeviln. I have seen the first few episodes of this series many years ago when I was attending an Animecon. All I remember from it, is that I got seriously annoyed by the rockband Firebomber, that played a major role in this series. I can’t really say much about this series, but from what I have read about it, it is regarded by most fans of Macross as not one of the best installments.

Macross Zero (2002)

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If you only knew what this guy was looking at….

This series is a prequel to the original Macross saga. As I have recently done a review for this anime, I won’t say too much about this one, but instead I will provide a link to my review, which you can find here.

Macross Frontier (2008)

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This picture was just to cool not to include. 

This new 25 part anime series was made for the 25th anniversary of Macross, and it is truly awesome. The best way to describe this one is as a kind of reboot for the entire series, and you can pretty much watch it, without ever having seen any of the previous shows. A Frontier fleet comes under attack by a strange new enemy, and a group of young fighter pilots get caught up in the middle. It featured some of the best characters and music from the franchise, and it has truly become one my favorite Macross anime series to date.

Macross Delta (2015)

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Spice girls: the reboot. 

This is the final series that has been made so far. It was unfortunately not as good as Frontier, and this was mainly because the plot was at times hard to follow and it featured way too many characters. I have also done a review for this series, which you can find here.

Final thoughts.

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Can’t we all be friends? 

Macross is still one of my favorite anime franchises to date. While not every installment is good, there is always something included that makes it worth watching. One of the best things about it will always be the music, and the incredible fightsequences. Those are pretty much the trademarks of the entire franchise. If you like science fiction space opera, than I highly recommend these shows. I hope this post will serve as a handy reference for you, whenever you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormous amount of shows that are out there. Currently work has begun on a new series to coincide with the 35th anniversary of Macross. There has so far been very little news about it, except for the fact that it will be released in 2018.

So over to you! Have you ever watched Macross? If so did you enjoy it? Do you have any favorite series or characters? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

Spectral, American Movie (2016)

Throughout history there has sadly been one constant factor that has kept mankind occupied: war. No matter what century you would choose to look at, there has always been some kind of war that was being waged at some place on the planet. There is a quote from Albert Einstein that also appears in the movie I am about to review : ” I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. A truly chilling prospect if you ask me. Warfare has also changed a lot over the past decades. These days people can be killed by the push of a button from a million miles away. There has yet to develop a situation that our modern weapons can’t deal with. But what if something like that were to happen? What if you were to fight an enemy that could not be killed by normal weapons…..?

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What are you looking at? They are invisible remember? 

Spectral takes place in the not too distant future. When a soldier gets killed by an unseen force on a battlefield in Moldavia, help is requested by the military. That help comes in the form of dr. Clyne, who is the designer of the so called hyperspectral imaging goggles, that allow soldiers to see things on the battlefield that they would normally not be able to. Together with a bunch of Special Ops soldiers, he gets sent into the city , in order to investigate this unknown enemy. It soon becomes clear though that they are not dealing with a conventional force. Weapons are useless against them, they move through walls like they are not even there, are invisible to the naked eye and are able to kill with a single touch. Soon the squad comes under siege, and when people are beginning to die, their only hope might rest with a bunch of children who seem to have found a way to stop them. However with so little people left, their task seems almost impossible…

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The annual Call of Duty conventions are getting more realistic each year. 

The first thing that springs to mind when you see this movie are videogames. Some of the scenery for this film, seems to have come straight from the highly succesful Gears of War games. And that’s not all. At times the way the action is shot, and the situations that arise, you really get the feeling that you are watching someone that is playing a videogame. Luckily though, it is a very good videogame. The special effects for this film, as well as the action are definitely the reason to watch this one. The spectral enemies the soldiers are facing, look really cool, as well as all the hightech weapons and gadgets the soldiers are using.

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Yep, this gun is big alright.

The group of soldiers are being played by couple of familiar faces, as well as a few unknowns. Max Martini plays the commander of the special forces unit, and one wonders at times if the guy really is from the military, seeing how many soldiers he has played throughout his career. Still, he always plays the role well, and in this movie that is no exception. James Badge Dale who portrays dr. Clyne, also does very little wrong. Most of the other characters though are pretty underdeveloped, and the same can be said for the story. It is all pretty straightforward, with little surprises, although the true nature of the enemy was pretty original.

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You are seeing this right? 

That said I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has plenty of action, some seriously cool setpieces, and if you like military science fiction movies I highly recommend this film. Ofcourse it won’t win the price for most original movie of the year, but if you can look past that, this movie has entertainment written all over it. This being a Netflix Original movie, I can honestly say that they are definitely on a roll with producing some very well made movies.

I give Spectral a 8 out of 10 score.

Kishin Corps, Anime tv series (1993)

Ah, classic anime. Sometimes it can just be nice to rewatch something that you vaguely remember that you enjoyed at the time, but most of the details for it have become a distant memory. Kishin Corps was a series that I owned on videotape (you know, those black boxes that contained tape and that you put into a machine called a VCR to show videos). A couple of weeks ago I visited the Dutch Comic Con, where my eyes fell on the dvd boxed set for this 24 year old animeseries. I could not believe my eyes to be honest, and I decided to buy it. I just simply could not resist. But is this series still as great as when I first saw it, or has age caught up with this one?

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Kishin Corps takes place during the Second World War, albeit a very different one from the one we read about in the history books. We first meet up with a young boy called Taishi who is entrusted with a mysterious black box by his father. The train on which they are travelling together suddenly gets attacked by the Kanto army. While fleeing for his life, a second party appears, but this one of extraterrestrial origin. A furious battle ensues, in which Taishi only just manages to escape, but then gets cornered. Just when things become extremely desperate, the heroes of the series appear: the Kishin Corps. Taishi then gets caught up in the middle of an adventure the likes of which he has never experienced before in his life. The black box that he has in his possession, contains alien technology, that becomes the focal point for a power struggle. With both the Aliens and the Nazis trying to achieve world domination, the only hope lies with the members of the Kishin Corps and their powerful robots. Will they be able to stop the tides of war?

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Kishin Corps is a very unique series. While this anime is set during the WWII era, we get a very different take on it. This is a Mecha series, but we don’t get the fast robots that you might be used to. No, instead we get towering robots that move slowly, and let the ground shake with every step they take. The robots are seriously cool and gorgeously designed, and those alone make this anime well worth watching. Most of the characters are very colourful, and one of the highlights of this series. It is really fun to see how Taishi grows from a very innocent young boy, into a more mature man by the end of the show. The members of the Kishin Corps themselves also each have their own unique traits. I do have to say, that I would have liked to have seen some more background for them. There are real life figures that also make an appearance, like Albert Einstein and even Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress. Although most of them are completely different in the way that history remembers them.

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This being a 24 year old series, the animation style is pretty dated. This is old school anime and it shows. It did not detract me in any way from the series itself though. The soundtrack for this anime is very cool, and often reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones if I were to make a comparison. As far as the storyline goes, it starts off pretty well, but towards the end, things were rushed a bit. As such I felt the ending was poor, and honestly was not as good as I remembered it. It is funny how your mind can play tricks on you, with things such as this. Still, if you like classic anime, and also enjoy alternative history storylines, this series most certainly is a treat. With a cast of cool characters, high speed action, and big robots that smash the life out of each other this classic is still worth the watch. If you prepare yourself for an ending that could have been handled better, you might get a kick out of this 7 episode series.

I give Kishin Corps a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Action Movies of the 80’s

The other day I was sharing comments with fellow blogger Hermione Flavia from Wildfiremovies . Now before I get into that, I first want to give a big shout out to her blog. If you love movies as much as I do, then one thing you should do is check out her blog and subscribe. She is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and her movie reviews are seriously topnotch. From classics movies, to action films and horrormovies, there is almost no end to the movies featured on her blog. Not only that, she is also one of the kindest persons you will ever talk to, so really what are you waiting for: press on the link provided above and subscribe.

Now we were talking about how lately we spent a lot of time in the past and feeling nostalgic, and how so many great action movies were made in the 80’s. This is pretty much how the idea for this post came about. Now I have focussed myself only on the non-science fiction action movies of that era. I might at sometime in the future do a follow up for those kind of films, but right now I am simply going to stick to the good old fashioned normal 80’s action flicks. So grab a seat, take a drink and some popcorn, and let us travel back in time to the wonderful 80’s.

Rambo: First Blood (1982)

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I have seriously lost count on how many times I have seen this briljant action film. Starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, this movie is simple in it’s story telling, but incredibly effective. When John returns home to visit an old friend, the local sheriff thinks off him as a drifter, and tries to force him to leave town. It is not long before things escalate into violence, and the small town becomes a warzone. Stallone is absolutely amazing in his role, and the movie eventually spawned three sequels. The original movie is still the best though, featuring terrific action sequences, a dark atmosphere and the brilliant score of Jerry Goldsmith.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

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Beverly Hills Cop is one of the greatest action comedies ever made. Starring Eddie Murphy as the loudmouth cop Axel Foley, the numerous comedy scenes featured in this film, are even now still every bit as funny as back then. Axel is a cop in Detroit, but pursuing a murder case eventually ends up in Beverly Hills. Meeting two local cops, the three of them set out to find out the truth about the murder. Murphy steals the show in the leadrole, and could not have been cast any better. Featuring great action pieces mixed with perfectly timed comedy, this is also one of those movies that will never get old.

Missing in Action (1984)

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Now for every good movie, there usually also is a bad one. Missing in action is an action movie that is so bad, that it is actually good and fun to watch. Ofcourse cashing in on the succes of Rambo, this movie starred Chuck Norris in the role of James Braddock. Believing that there are still POW’s being held in a prisoner camp in Vietnam, Braddock returns to the jungle to try and free them. The movie is filled with cliches, bad acting and cheesy oneliners. But honestly that is what makes this B-movie so much fun to watch. Chuck would reprise his role two more times in the sequels that followed this one, and those are every bit as bad. Seriously, what is not to love about that?

Commando (1985)

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Now, not featuring any Schwarzenegger movies in this post would ofcourse be a big mistake. After the enormous succes of Conan and the Terminator, Arnold was definitely on a roll. In Commando he plays the role of John Matrix, a Black Ops Commando who is happily retired and now lives with his daughter (a very young Alyssa Milano). But when his daughter is kidnapped by criminals, John begins his personal war to bring his girl back safely. With an over the top bodycount, and such classic oneliners as ” Don’t disturb my friend, he is DEAD-tired” this is one of Arnold’s best. Yes, the action is completely crazy, and at times completely unrealistic, but man is this movie a lot of fun to watch.

Cobra (1986)

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Back in the 80’s Schwarzenegger and Stallone were not exactly the best of friends, and both tried to outdo each other with bringing out numerous films. Cobra is a brutal Stallone movie, where he plays the role of the tough as nails cop Marion Cobretti. In this film he has become the protector of a witness, who is being chased by a murderous cult in order to prevent her from testifying. Crime is a disease, and he is the cure was this movie’s tagline, so you pretty much know what to expect. Lots of shooting, chases and fight scenes, make this film a wonderful addition to Stallone’s already impressive action resumé.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

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This movie is one of my own personal favorites. This fantastic buddy cop movie, eventually resulted in three sequels which were every bit as fun as the original. Mel Gibson plays the role of the completely crazy cop Martin Riggs, who has to partner up with the close to retirement Roger Murtaugh played by Danny Glover. At first they hate each other’s guts, but eventually a close friendship develops, while they are on the hunt for a brutal gang of drug smugglers. With seriously fantastic action sequences combined with great humor, this movie is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. An absolute must see for every action junkie out there.

Bloodsport (1988)

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This movie pretty much introduced the world to the “Muscles from Brussels”, mister Jean Claude van Damme. This movie has a very simple storyline, where van Damme plays Frank Dux, a martial artist who has set off to compete in a lethal tournament in Hong Kong. The acting is terrible, but you take that for granted as the action choreagraphy for this film’s incredible fight sequences, is the reason why you need to watch this movie. Brutal martial arts fights, with deadly consequences result in a movie that is not for the faint of heart. One of Van Damme’s oldest, but also one of his best movies.

Above the Law (1988)

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In Above the Law another martial artist is introduced to the world, the man called Steven Seagal. Above the Law (also known as Nico), sees Seagal playing the role of a Vietnam veteran turned cop, that uncovers a sinister CIA conspiracy. Seagal is not known for his acting skills (I at times seriously wondered if this man had any facial expressions, no offense), but his martial arts skills were formidable. Sadly, these days Seagal is but a shadow of his former self, and plays mainly in (very bad) B-movies. Luckily we will always have his classic movies to look back on, and for an introductory film, this one was highly enjoyable.

Die Hard (1988)

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To not include this movie, would seriously be a sin. One of the best action movies ever made, it made Bruce Willis an action star overnight. In Die Hard he plays police officer John McClane, who accidentally is caught up in a hostage situation during a Christmas party in a huge skyscraper building called Nakatomi Plaza. His wife is amongst the hostages, and McClane take the fight single handedly to the terrorists. Not a good way to spend the holidays. This movie is simply put: brilliant. Great acting, wonderful oneliners, and very imaginative action sequences make this movie a must watch for any movie lover. The sequels that followed were also very enjoyable, except for part 5 which was absolute garbage.

Black Rain (1989)

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Black Rain is a movie that might not be known by everyone, but is definitely worth checking out. Directed by Ridley Scott (yes, that guy), it stars Michael Douglas in the role of New York City cop Nick Conlin. When he and his partner arrest a Yakuza member, they eventually end up in Japan. It is not long before they get caught up in the dark and criminal underworld of this unfamiliair country. Black Rain is a very dark but fantastic movie, and features a great storyline and incredible tension that is combined with spectacular action sequences. Michael Douglas pretty much never disappoints and also does a more than decent job in this movie.

Final Thoughts

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And that brings us to the end of this post, which I now realise has become my longest one to date. I know that this list is by no means complete. A lot of other great action movies were made back in the 80’s and maybe one day I will do a follow up to this post. I had a lot of fun writing this, and it was great to revisit a few of these classic films.

And now it is over to you guys and girls. Did any of your favorites make the list? Were any of them missing? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you on the next post!

Rogue one: a Star Wars story, American movie (2016)

Before I am going to start for real with this post, let me just point out to you that I am huge Star Wars fan. I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen the original movies, and own a lot of novels and other merchandise. When the news first arrived about Disney taking over the franchise from Lucas I was filled with fear. And yes I do know that may lead to the Dark Side. My fears pretty much disappeared last year with the release of Episode 7. I loved it from start to finish, and felt it really did justice to the galaxy from far, far away. One thing I did remain skeptical about were the plans for the stand alone movies. The first one has now been unleashed upon us with Force. Today I saw the film for the first time, and the question is, was I worried about nothing?

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Rogue One might best be described as Star Wars episode three point five, just to give you a point of reference. The Empire is planning to build a terror weapon to rule the galaxy, and for that they turn to a scientist called Galen Erso. Galen has no love for the Empire, but has no choice but to assist in building the weapon, as his wife and young daughter Jyn are both threatened to be killed. Years later, Jyn has grown up, and has now become a bit of a rebel but is also pretty much a loner. By pure chance however she meets up with a member of the real Rebel Alliance who has been searching for her. Things have become very dire indeed, as the Empire has almost finished building their planet killer. When Jyn finds out that her father might be the one who has pretty much designed the weapon, she is determined to find her father at all cost. With a group of like minded individuals she sets out on a path that will take her to her father, and which might bring a new hope to the galaxy…

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So there we have it, the first ever standalone movie of Star Wars. Was it a worthy addition to the Star Wars legacy? I would have to say yes. There are many things in this movie that worked, but it also has it’s flaws. One thing is for sure: this movie is very dark. It is basically a warmovie set in the Star Wars universe. As such, there is some light comedy in the film, but it mostly has a very serious tone to it. The fun things that were truly enjoyable in this film, were the many easter eggs that the movie contained. Any Star Wars fan, will really get a kick out of discovering those. And I am pretty sure that I even might have missed a few.

We get introduced to a whole new cast of characters, and most of these were very enjoyable. Felicity Jones did a fine job in her portrayal of Jyn Erso, and it was also very nice to see Hong Kong legend Donnie Yen having so much fun in his role of the blind Chirrut Imwe. Ben Mendelsohn was also superb as the villain, the evil Director Krennic, a character you are definitely going to hate. The best character however was the robot K-2SO, who produced some much needed comic relief.

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The pacing of the film however, was the thing that I felt was not handled very well. The first part of the film felt slow. At those times it also felt that for a reason I could not quite put my finger on, that I wasn’t watching a Star Wars movie. The last 45 minutes of the film though, were absolutely fantastic, and contained one of the best battlescenes of the entire Star Wars franchise. It also shows how desperate things really were for the Rebellion.

At the end of the film there was a question that popped up in my mind though: do we really need these stand alone movies? Even though I liked the movie, it just is not as good as the original trilogy films. As I said this one is a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise, but with these movies now being released every other year, one has to wonder if this won’t simply become a question of quick cash in films. We will have to wait and see I guess. I do have to admit that the film was truly better than I had expected, and I did enjoy it for the most part. If you are a fan of the Star Wars universe I definitely recommend seeing it. And now all that’s left to do is wait for episode VIII and ofcourse see Rogue One for a second time. May the force be with you…..

I give Rogue One a Star Wars story a 8 out of 10 score.

Alderamin on the Sky, Anime tv series (2016)

Alexander the Great. Genghis Khan. Hannibal. Napoleon Bonaparte. All of these were great military strategists, that have fought wars with their armies and have won many of them through employing some briljant strategies. Wars in the past were always determined in the end, by the men that waged them, and through the commanders that gave the orders. Times have changed, and even though strategies are still important, these days wars at times feel like computergames. With the power to drop bombs on remote locations through the action of just flicking a switch, one has to wonder at the insanity of it all. Not that war has ever been sane anyway. The Animeseries Alderamin on the Sky can at times be compared to a game of chess. And unlike modern days, in this series we focus again on military strategies, and a man named Ikta Solork, who is destined to become a very important general.

Alderamin on the Sky takes place in a fantasy world, and focusses on two nations, the Kiorka Republic, and the Katjvarna Empire. Both of those nations have been embroiled in a war for a very long time, with apparently no end in sight. Ikta Solork is a man that pretty much despises the war. He has no taste for it, is lazy, and has far better uses for his time namely chasing women. One day while aboard a ship together with one of his long time friends, the fiery swordswoman Yatori, they both get caught up in the war in a very unpredicatable way. It is not before long that Ikta is in training for the Empire, and it is here that his true genius is beginning to take form. With the war closing in all around him, Ikta might become his countries greatest hero. And in the desperate times ahead, his military mind will be needed more than ever….

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I have had a love/hate relationship with this series. The first few episodes were great. We got to learn the main characters, and I especially liked the two leads Ikta and Yatori. Ikta is just a very unlikely hero. In the beginning he is a skirtchasing man, who just doesn’t fit the bill to become this all important hero. Yatori is a very skilled swordswoman, with great fighting techniques, and a strength to her that is instantly likeable. We are teased with a storyline that supposedly will lead up to a future where great battles and things that will change the world are supposed to happen. As the series progressed however, more and more characters were being added. That in itself would not be a bad thing, were it not for the fact that these characters had so little screentime that you almost had no time to get an attachment to them.

The storyline also dragged on and on, especially in the middle segment of the series, where not much of anything happened. With so many characters that were pretty flat, and a storyline that made little progress, I found my initial interest in the series start to fade. The last few episodes were a bit better, but with a pretty open ending to the series, it also did not bring about a proper closure. This series feels very much as a prelude to great things that may yet come (perhaps if this series might get a second season). The animation and music are very good, and a few battles were really cool to watch, especially with Ikta’s strategies coming into the light. I really wanted to like this show, and honestly it isn’t all bad. In the end though there were just to many things in the show that I did not like, to fully recommend this one.

I give Alderamin on the Sky a 6 out 10 score.

 

Hacksaw Ridge, American/Australian movie (2016)

Belief and conviction. Basically those two things go hand in hand and pretty much define what makes up our personality. When going though life you will find many situations which might make you change your beliefs. Be it friends, family or other things that can make it hard for you to live by the convictions you might hold close to your heart. But how far would you go to stand by your beliefs. What if it might cost you your life in the end? It would take a very strong person to keep the faith in what you deem to be right. And if you want to talk about irony, how about a person who must have lost his beliefs and convictions through his own actions. I’m talking about the fallen Hollywood star Mel Gibson. But even though he might have fallen, he is on his way back, not as an actor, but something he is even better at, directing. With Hacksaw Ridge he has managed to deliver this year’s best movie.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss, an American WWII combat medic. It is right after the attack on Pearl Harbour that Desmond decides to enlist in the army, against the wishes of his soon to be wife, Dorothy. Doss still goes ahead anyway, and soon finds himself in bootcamp. Everything is going right, until weapons training begins. When offered a rifle for practice, Desmond refuses to take the gun. At first his commanding officer thinks he is making a joke, but Doss is deadly serious. From that point on, his squadmates think of him as a coward, and the army brass is trying their best to get him to drop out of the army. However Desmond keeps standing by his convictions to never fire a single bullet, and to finish his training to become a medic in order to save people. When the war eventually takes him and his squad to Japan, the horrors of war will soon become a reality. But Desmond is determined to prove that you don’t need a bullet to become a hero…

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When the end credits rolled for this movie earlier today I was completely stunned and in awe. What an utterly fantastic movie this is. However you feel about mr. Gibson, I think no one would ever deny that he is a great director. And if you might have had doubts, they would pretty much wash away after seeing this movie. Where to begin? The acting is just simply amazing. Andrew Garfield, who plays the role of Desmond is absolutely stunning. He gives his role a touch of humanity that few actors would be able to manage. He is the true star of this movie, but his fellow actors definitely do a great job as well (especially Hugo Weaving in the role of Desmond’s father and Luke Bracey as one of his comrades in arms Smitty).

With this being a warmovie, the film doesn’t shy away from violence. In fact if you thought you had seen it all with the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan, think again. This movie truly makes you feel as if you are right in the middle of hell, and convinces you at the same time how horrible war really is. But the heart of this movie is the story. With all the films already made about the second World War, I find it amazing there are still stories out there, that you have never heard before. By the end of this movie you will come to realise what a hero this man has been, and how a first opinion of someone can sometimes be truly wrong. It also teaches you to always stand by what you believe in, no matter what happens. I hope this movie will do very well at the Oscars, in fact I would be pretty surprised if it did not. It would also be a true Hollywood story if it did, as it would pretty much redeem Mel Gibson. And if that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is.

I give Hacksaw Ridge a 10 out of 10 score.