Tag Archives: stunts

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think it’s important to come back with a bang. More accurately, a Gyllenhaal. In one of the best homages to a video game, this film takes the concept of the Prince of Persia series and takes another element everyone loves. Parkour. Combine a gameplay feel and straight ahead roller-coaster plot and you have yourself the next best thing to The Pirates of the Caribbean. Never mind the

We meet again, Sir Ben.

lackluster acting and portrayal of a country/nationality that doesn’t exist, Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is on this one. And if he did POTC, how could this be bad?

You may sense some sarcasm in the way I wrote that last paragraph. But, in actuality, I didn’t mind Prince of Persia. I had watched my girlfriend play a bit of the games (specifically Sands of Time) and I got a precursor to Assassin’s Creed that was a bit too much of a coincidence. Loving that idea and the inspiration that I’m sure AC drew from Prince of Persia, I was more than happy to sit down and watch the film. And what I got was exactly what I thought I was going to get. An adrenaline ride with pretty graphics and average characters. Think… The Mummy meets Indiana Jones, or something.

Get a load of that chest…

I think that’s what people need to realize when it comes to video game movies or action movies in general. What you expect is what you get. If you think this is gonna be an entertaining movie about a great video game, then you will get that. If you’re thinking Oscar worthy action thriller, you will be sorely disappointed. Please, critics out there, stop classifying all movies in the amazingly stellar films category. It ruins it for all of us with your snarky and harsh reviews, thus making everyone feel they should believe what one person’s opinion says in print. That’s B.S.

So, that straight ahead plot I was talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a made up name for the main character of the Prince of Persia series (he is the Prince after all). You wouldn’t be surprised how many times they use the title of the movie in the actual movie. Anyways, Dastan is a street rat (not far off from Aladdin) who is

Jakey’s angry face.

taken into the care of the King (Ronald Pickup) and treated as his son after an act of courage. After years of success and conquest, Dastan and his brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) have come again to another city, the city of Alamut, in order to conquer it on what seem legit reasons. Oh, but the plot thickens.

Yeah, Arterton, you should be off camera for this shot…

After capturing the priestess Tahmina (Gemma Arterton) and promising her to Tus, the King and his subjects celebrate a misinformed victory. The King is poisoned by the framed Dastan while the King’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley) stares on in horror. He flees with Tahmina and a dagger he won, only to find it has the powers to control time. With such a great power, well, you know the rest. It is up to the banished Prince of Persia to save the ones he loves and stop the destruction of the world. The typical main points in any action film.

Of course, there were the obvious faults in the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is putting on a strange English accent and portraying a tanner race that no longer exists. Everyone speaks in either an English accent or some strange Middle Eastern tinged accent. The one actress in this film is annoying and godawful. What is there to say for action movies like this when one

Parkour to the extreme!

that is a decent video game remake has the worst female presence? Either get a better actress, or realize that most action movie females are there for sex appeal. At least there’s Lara Croft (but those shorts/tight fitting tanktop aren’t really helping…).

But I would say I was surprised that this film didn’t go for the cheesy lines as often or the special effects taking over the action. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like Jake Gyllenhaal did all his own stunts. The parkour was entertaining and the sword fights are what you would expect from a Disney film. If you kick or punch someone, they’re down for the rest of the film. I had just as much fun watching the film as I did joking about it. Bruckheimer must be doing something right to keep my attention for more than 2 hours like he did…

Homage to a dastardly hero.

It was nice to see Tony Kebbell again, although his character was just a gruff and always yelling side character to the main plot. And I don’t know how/why Ben Kingsley does it, but he gets roped into these average films when he’s been Ghandi for crying out loud. Bloodrayne, The Love Guru, and The Last Legion? How does he do it? But seriously, get rid of that female actress. She added nothing to the film, and I didn’t mind the ending they had before the last 20 minutes. Get some of that, Arterton.

Overall, I’m sure, this film isn’t the greatest. It is entertaining though. For those of us out there who find Jake Gyllenhaal to be a hunk, traversing over Agrabah’s rooftops and allowing his flowing mane to pierce the skies, this film was no probelm-o. There’s nothing wrong

Give him a lick, he tastes just like sexy.

with mindlessly being entertained, as long as you are aware that it’s all in good fun. That’s what this movie was. Good fun. For Alfred Molina to show up again after the supposed “disgrace” of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (same year), it takes guts. And I’m sure they all had fun doing it regardless. Gotta say, a lot of those costumes looked ballin’. 6.3 out of 10.


Taken: Liam Neeson Will Chop Your Neck

So this great little film appeared to me when it first came out to be a joke. I thought, “How could this movie be serious? Liam Neeson, a late 50’s year old man running around destroying people? No way…” But it was the truth. This movie came out with the full intention of blowing people’s minds. And, coming on the heels of the Bourne series, it kinda did. This movie functioned more as a sleeper film and turned into a classic (at least among my friends). I feel its a film most action fans can get behind, and I’ve heard talk of a Taken 2. Let’s hope it goes just that far.

So the plot of this movie is quite basic. Recently estranged from his wife and daughter, Byran Mills (Liam Neeson) feels separated and alone from the family he loved and lost due to his work habits. After a birthday party and run-in with a would

Where is my daughter?!?!

be star killer, Mills finds himself right back in the thick of his former lifestyle. And to make it worse, his daughter wants to leave the country with her friend, without adult supervision. Knowing the dangers of the outside world, Mills is hesitant at first, but is ever so gently tricked into letting his daughter go. And what happens? Of course, his daughter is kidnapped and she’s give 96 hours to be found.

But, as we all know, Liam Neeson has a special set of skills that make him a nightmare for men like those who kidnapped his daughter. And “good luck” to him. Will Neeson save the day? Watch the movie to find out. I find the abandoned father come back to save his little girl the most endearing part of this movie. (Not a emotional movie to begin with, but still.) The reconnaissance and lucky breaks that Neeson catches with finding his daughter is almost to good to be true, but I suspend my belief. (I mean, he found his daughter’s jacket at a construction site whorehouse by a random conversation? Right…) Other than that, this movie is pure and simple badassery.

Not even the French government will stand in his way.

Not much to say about acting or the stunts, it was all legit. Liam Neeson gave a powerhouse performance as a seasoned actor will naturally do. Maggie Grace gave a good performance as Mills’s daughter Kim, and Olivier Rabourdin gives a great performance as the conflicted cop, Jean-Claude. Trust me, some unexpected shizz is gonna go down. Set with a French landscape to fuel the story, this movie is worth checking out. Some scenes will leave you a bit breathless and its all worth it. 7.7 out of 10.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Decent Tides

So I thought I’d give the last of the Pirates movies a go and I found I wasn’t disappointed. Despite a staggered cast without Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, this movie still finds a way to deliver. (I guess they really weren’t that much of a loss. But really, what have they been doing lately?) Johnny Depp has taken up the sword and three-cornered hat again as Jack Sparrow and he doesn’t disappoint. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides picks up with Sparrow’s last excursion on the high seas in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. And despite the years, this movie is just as good. (Don’t bother with the 3-D.)

So Jack Sparrow has been caught again by the English and it looks like it will be a short drop with a sudden

Cruz and Depp. Match made in Heaven?

stop. But Jack has a plan. He’s back in London for one reason. To discover who’s impersonating him and why. And he does find that out. It’s Angelica, his former love. (Jack Sparrow has many former loves, but I guess that’s beside the point.) He really did love Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and this fact ropes him into her wild adventure. And her wild adventure comes with baggage. Major baggage. Angelica has acquired the help of Blackbeard (Ian McShane), the new Barbosa and ruthless pirate of the sea. Their goal is the Fountain of Youth, and its Blackbeard/Angelica vs the English (plus Barbosa) vs the Spanish Armada vs the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow.

What a wild ride...

And what a thrill ride it is. The chases, the mermaids, the magical island (Florida, I think) and the start of an actual myth that has kept the world searching. It all adds up to an amazing little roller-coaster of action and adventure. I’m sure it’s fine in 3-D, again, it’s just as good in 2-D, and the special effects really shows it. (I expected something with zombies, but I was disappointed.) The mermaid scene is quite cool and all the stunts look top notch. And the acting is what you expect from a Pirates film.

Johnny Depp is classic Jack Sparrow. Penelope Cruz is kind of annoying (I don’t picture a hispanic female pirate would have anything to do with the Pirates movies) but I guess she fulfills her purpose. Geoffrey Rush was amazing as Barbosa, the whole reason I love Pirates of the Caribbean. His witty,

Geoffrey Rush. You show that Jack Sparrow.

devil-may-care attitude and ¬†amazing personality really brings a whole other level to the rapport of the films. Ian McShane (a respectable actor) really leaves something to be desired. I felt as if he was doing his own imitation of Barbosa, and it just wasn’t as good. Sam Claflin plays a small part as some sort of pastor who falls in love with a mermaid. A comment on religion vs magical realism? You tell me. And Richard Griffiths, good old Uncle Vernon of HP, plays a small part as King George.

Rob Marshall (Director of Nine and Chicago… what?) Delivers a good addition to the Pirates franchise. The story is sound and gives another reason for everyone to go to Disney World and have a go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. And it sure is worth it. If the movies are any attest to the ride and the entity that is Pirates of the Caribbean, you should check this movie out (DVD or in theaters, doesn’t matter.), it’s worth viewing. 7.6 out of 10.


The Protector: Tony Jaa Destroys All

What more is there to say than The Protector is the best of all of Tony Jaa’s films? I’ve watched them all. I’ve seen them all. Time and time again, this is the best of the best. Tony Jaa performs at his finest in this film, in every scene. This is one nonstop action/display of skills that you cannot miss.

The Protector is the story of the ancient Muay-Thai fighters who raised and protected the elephants that would one day serve as the steeds of the nobles. The protectors raised the elephants to have strong legs and never fall, and in this way strengthened themselves. This practice extends even into modern day as a discipline among the protectors and elephants alike. And this premise makes for one amazing film.

Kham (Tony Jaa) is the son of a elephant protector who is raising a family of elephants to be viewed by the king for his own personal use. As Kham grows,

That's some ridiculous training.

the elephants have a child, Kohrn, and that elephant grows with Kham. It is then that one day the “king” wishes to see the elephants that Kham’s father has raised. The king’s inspectors turn out to be working for an Asian crime syndicate located in Australia, and they kill and kidnap Korhn and his father. Thus begins Tony Jaa’s journey of revenge on every single member of the Australian/Asian gang. And not a single member is left without at least a broken arm.

This movie, for lack of a better word, is epic. In its scope, in its stylistic vision, in its stunts and fluidity, everything. Tony Jaa pushes himself to the limit in all of his moves and stunts. Which needs to be reiterated. Tony Jaa

That's Jaa right there.

does all of his own stunts. No wires, no CGI, no stuntmen. Nothing. This film is pure Tony Jaa. At no point in this film do I ever think, “That wasn’t really that impressive.” Everything that Tony Jaa does makes my heart stop. It is literally insane the amount of things that Tony Jaa can perform in the way of stunts and acrobatics with his body that could lethally kill someone or otherwise. Suffice it to say that Muay-Thai boxing and the style of Muay-Thai fighting in general is severely brutal. This is what drew me to Tony Jaa’s films in the first place. Unlike most martial arts films, Tony Jaa’s are more brutal, less about the finesse (although it’s there) and more about the fluid, detrimental way and in which to take out your opponent. Let’s put it this way. A full force knee into your chest from an expert in Muay-Thai is like getting in a 30 mile an hour car crash with no seatbelt. Yeah. He screams devastation.

And people might say, hey, you just have some absurd love for Tony Jaa. You are obsessed with him. That may be true. In comparison to most other martial artists in the film industry, Tony Jaa brings something new.

Brutal.

Something brutal. Something eye opening. And he literally hasn’t stopped. Ever since the first Ong Bak back in 2003, Tony Jaa has given the world 8 years of solid, amazing films in the martial arts genre. And for an actor who is only really meant to do stunts, he’s not that bad of an actor in general. He’s pretty damn good at crying.

But yeah, this movie in general is a display of just how mind-blowing Tony Jaa truly is. There are about, I’d say, 4 amazing scenes throughout the film spread out by about 15 minutes each. You have the initial interrogation with boat chase, the warehouse X-games beat down, the restaurant shuffle, and the bone shattering ending. And with each one, they just get better. So it is to you Prachya Pinkaew that I tip my hat, for bringing us Tony Jaa in The Protector and Ong Bak. The world would truly be missing something if it weren’t for you. And yes, Tony Jaa, you can destroy me anytime. 10 out of 10.


Rush Hour 3: And Chris Tucker Rides Out on the Horse He Rode in On

And sadly, the Rush Hour series draws to a close. In Detectives Carter and Lee’s last hurrah, the duo meets up after the untimely assassination attempt of the ambassador from Rush Hour that Detective Lee was assigned to protect. Lee (Jackie Chan) is determined with the help of Carter (the infamous Chris Tucker) to find the people responsible behind this attempt. As usual, another old man is behind it, (Max von Sydow) and there’s another attractive girl for Chris Tucker (Noemie Lenoir). Although not the best of the trilogy (Rush Hour 2 fo life.), this one holds its own as another great Brett Ratner piece.

What has always surprised me about the Rush Hour series is just how great and accurate the locations are that Lee and Carter travel to. We have L.A. in the orig, Hong Kong and Las Vegas in the second, and now L.A. and Paris in

Paris, Biatch!

the third. Just like the Bourne Series, these movies span the world and keep the action coming. (But Matt Damon cannot perform the functions of both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and in that way, lack somewhat.) The B-roll footage all around picturesque Paris is quite cool, including shots of a recreated Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumphe (I hope that’ s how it’s spelled…). The stunts are really notable in this film, and I love how they end the movies with bloopers of Jackie Chan hurting himself doing his own stunts.

Notable actors? There are a few. We have as I mentioned Max von Sydow as the evil old man (quite cantankerous). Most notably I remember him from Minority Report, but he’s been in the biz for a while now.

Not actually brothers.

There’s Hiroyuki Sanada as Kenji, the badass orphan brother of Detective Lee. (They’re not actually brothers at all, they just grew up on the streets together. Which is weird, because Jackie Chan is Chinese and Hiroyuki is Japanese. It’s quite noticeable.) There’s also Yvan Attal, a traditionally French actor who made an appearance in this movie as George, the taxi cab driver. I do like it when they use actual actors from their places of origin in travel movies like these.

Other than that, this movie functions purely as a nice little closing to the Rush Hour series. The Triads are defeated when the list is found, Lee and Carter went through their rough patches and became even closer, it’s all good. It’s just truly a feel good movie. Besides a couple of parts. I would put this on Ross LaManna and Jeff Nathanson, but it might partly be the fault of Chris Tucker’s delivery. There a quite a few racist remarks that are made towards Iranians, French, and even a feel of American supremacy while Lee and Carter parade around France. It’s almost unbearably awkward. I would watch out for it, but at this point, Chris Tucker is untouchable.

 

Chris Tucker. Untouchable

The stunts are good, maybe better than the other two. Brett Ratner again directs the movie to the best of his ability, that’s fine. Chris Tucker is hilarious (to an extent) and there are some hot and steamy scenes in this you won’t wanna miss. I’d give this one an average rating in comparison to the entire series. 6.6 out of 10.


Rush Hour 2: Chris Tucker Returns

So right after watching the first Rush Hour, I was like, “Let’s spark up the next one.” These movies are great and I need to watch them all in pretty rapid order. I mean, come on, it’s Chris Tucker. And you may be postulating, “What if the movie was called Traffic Jam and it starred Jet Li and Chris Rock?” Well I hear what you’re saying friend, but then we’re talking about a movie that’s not funny in which people die quite quickly. Call it Traffic Jam if you’d like, I’ll still go for Rush Hour 1-3.

So, basic plot. Detectives Carter (Chris Tucker) and Lee (Jackie Chan) have teamed up again, except this time, it’s different. (Straight out of the trailer, right?) This time, Detective Carter is on vacation, right where the last one dropped off, in China. Good old Hong Kong. But while there, a bomb goes off on U.S. soil at the local American Embassy, and somebody sinister is to blame. Detective Lee takes on the case, pulling along the constantly, yet hilariously bitching and moaning Carter as they cavort through the streets of Hong Kong (and later Las Vegas) in search of those no good hoodlums.

Now this movie is a step up in acting in comparison from the last movie. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan are golden. We lose Tom Wilkinson as Juntao, but we gain John Lone as Ricky Tan, the triad boss and former friend of Detective Lee’s father (although I would find it hard to believe that Lee and Tan are actually closer in age than would be Lee’s father…) I didn’t realize how great

John Lone

John Lone really was. He’s been in War, (shortly after RH2) The Last Emperor, Year of the Dragon, and even a remake at the start of his career as a bit piece in King Kong (Chinese cook, 1976). Now that’s a great career if you ask me, especially The Last Emperor, that movie’s fantastic.

What surprised me more that I had forgotten about was that Ziyi Zhang is in this film. With all the movies she’s been in, I feel like she must be the pride and joy of China (besides Jackie Chan). But Ziyi is great as Hu Li, the badass woman who takes no crap and destroys Chris Tucker. I actually would love to take a second to recap her amazing career:

Ziyi Zhang. Yes.

1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ridiculously good)

2. Rush Hour 2 (Great, reviewing it currently)

3. The Warrior

4. Hero (She’s worked with Jackie Chan AND Jet Li)

5. House of Flying Daggers (SO visually appealing)

6. Memoirs of a Geisha (Award winning)

7. Even TMNT (Voice acting at its finest)

So yeah, I would definitely think that Ziyi Zhang is a big deal. Her fighting is great and she’s really beautiful. Definite Top 10 actresses in my book.

We also have the amazingly gorgeous Roselyn Sanchez, the Puerto Rican goddess who has done her fair share of acting. She plays the sassy, no

Roselyn Sanchez. Puerto Rican Goddess

nonsense undercover agent with a smokin’ body, Isabella Molina. Although she doesn’t come in until later, this woman definitely lights up the screen.

Again, this movie is classic, suave, and full of Chris Tucker in a robe. What more could you want, I’ll throw something your way, sir. Comedy. And Chris Tucker has it all. Black comedy, situational quips and humor, observational comedy, rapport, slapstick. He’s got all that shizz on lockdown. Talk about your A-list comedian. The buck stops here with Chris Tucker.

Only the best.

I really feel like Brett Ratner and Ross LaManna have done it again with the sequel to a great movie. The moves and stunts this time are tighter, faster. Chris Tucker has picked up some moves. The Chinese girls are hot, spicy even. Ziyi Zhang brings a new kind of evil to the screen. The plot thickens and then disperses. And I can’t wait for the next one. 7.7 out of 10.