Vulcan Stev's Database

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Vulcan Stev famliy movie review: Live Free or Die Hard

Bruce Willis …  John McClane
Timothy Olyphant …  Thomas Gabriel
Justin Long …  Matthew ‘Matt’ Farrell
Maggie Q …  Mai Linh
Cliff Curtis …  FBI Deputy Director Miguel Bowman
Jonathan Sadowski …  Trey
Andrew Friedman …  Casper 
Kevin Smith …  Frederick ‘Warlock’ Kaludis
Yorgo Constantine …  Russo
Cyril Raffaelli …  Rand
Chris Palermo …  Del
Mary Elizabeth Winstead …  Lucy Gennero McClane
Sung Kang …  Raj 
Zeljko Ivanek …  Agent Molina
Christina Chang …  Taylor

20th Century Fox * 2007 * 128 mins * PG-13

Synopsis from IMDb: When someone hacks into the computers at the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division; the Director decides to round up all the hackers who could have done this. When he’s told that because it’s the 4th of July most of their agents are not around so they might have trouble getting people to get the hackers. So he instructs them to get local PD’S to take care of it. And one of the cops they ask is John McClane who is tasked with bringing a hacker named Farrell to the FBI. But as soon as he gets there someone starts shooting at them. McClane manages to get them out but they’re still being pursued. And it’s just when McClane arrives in Washington that the whole system breaks down and chaos ensues.

VS: 1.7 pointed ears
I’m not going to harp on the dysfunctional McClane/Genero family.  John and Holly are divorced and his kids don’t listen to him.  One again McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time, however this time he’s on the job before things start to unravel.  This film proves that an action flick doesn’t need to have the F*bomb dropped in every scene.  The scenario is plausible, but I doubt it’s likely.  My only quibbles with this film were the indiscriminate destruction of the highway to go after the “terrorist” and the lack of ability by the pilot to take out the target.  The whole jet scene is enough in some folk’s opinions as to sink the whole movie.  I won’t say the scene was that bad, but it did manage to take me out of the movie.

PIT #2: 1.9 pointed ears
I like the Independence Day takeover of America.  It was a unique twist to not have a Die Hard movie take place at Christmas.  Again the language (ed note we watched the Director’s Cut) was a problem.  The cyber-terroism and the concept of a fire sale was right for the time.  I thought it was cool that the computer hacker was played by Justin Long as he is more famous for playing “Mac” in the “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ad campaign.

PIT #3: 1.75 pointed ears
This is definitely a Die Hard movie.  I like the notion that John McClane acknowledges that being a hero is nothing more than being “That” guy when everything hits the fan.  The downside is that most of the “terror” is simulated (ed. note: spoken like someone who constantly eats the food in the fridge and then wonders why the fridge is empty).  The other thing is that Bruce Willis is getting kind of old.  How much longer can he keep doing these movies?

5.35 pointed ears out of 6
I don’t necessarily see this franchise as having “jumped the shark”.  Some of the action sequences seemed forced as the producers tried to give us “more”.  Maybe it’s just the V.S. family, but we all acknowledged that this film left the “realism” of the previous three.  The theatrical release of this film was more friendly to families than the director’s cut on DVD.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vulcan Stev family movie review: Die Hard with a Vengence

Bruce Willis …  John McClane
Jeremy Irons …  Simon Gruber
Samuel L. Jackson …  Zeus Carver
Graham Greene …  Joe Lambert
Colleen Camp …  Connie Kowalski
Larry Bryggman …  Insp. Walter Cobb
Anthony Peck …  Ricky Walsh
Nicholas Wyman …  Mathias Targo
Sam Phillips …  Katya
Kevin Chamberlin …  Charles Weiss
Sharon Washington …  Officer Jane
Stephen Pearlman …  Dr. Fred Schiller
Michael Alexander Jackson …  Dexter
Aldis Hodge …  Raymond
Mischa Hausserman …  Mischa

1995 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for language and violence

Synopsis from IMDb: John McClane is now almost a full-blown alcoholic and is suspended from the NYPD. But when a bomb goes off in the Bonwit Teller Department Store the police go insane trying to figure out what’s going on. Soon, a man named Simon calls and asks for McClane. Simon tells Inspector Walter Cobb that McClane is going to play a game called “Simon Says”. He says that McClane is going to do the tasks he assigns him. If not, he’ll blow off another bomb. With the help of a Harlem electrician, John McClane must race all over New York trying to figure out the frustrating puzzles that the crafty terrorist gives him. But when a bomb goes off in a subway station right by the Federal Reserve (the biggest gold storage in the world) things start to get heated up.

Vulcan Stev: 1.7 pointed ears
Probably my favorite of the four Die Hard films.  Yes, it still has gratuitous violence.  Yes it still drops the F*bomb, but it’s an engaging story.  The two big problems I have with this film are the once again strained relations between John and Holly and the fact that the dump trucks are woefully underpowered to be carrying the  stated amount of gold.  I understand the producers didn’t want to make a third film of John saving Holly and the only solution the director and writers can come up with is that John and Holly are having problems again.  Yup, there’s an original solution.  This couple has seen death up close and personal not once but twice.  This couple has been brought together by the events of the first two films.  Yet they’re shown as having problems which lead to their eventual divorce.  I guess John McClane has got to be a stubborn S.O.B. to throw away his marriage like that.

The Dump truck problem is glaring but it’s not necessarily a ‘what the…’ moment that completely drags you out of the film.  At least not in my case.

PIT #2: 1.9 pointed ears
The dump truck escape was one of the more ingenious escape routes I’ve seen in a motion picture.  The fact that the “terrorists” were willing to use kids as a dodge to their true objective but not really put the kids in harm’s way was also pretty cool.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
I liked this movie.  McClane isn’t such a loner in this movie.  It reminded me of the Lethal Weapon buddy movies.  I also liked the fact that John had to think in this movie.  Not everything was solved by shooting guns.

5.6 pointed ears out of 6
Aside from one scene, the blood and gore in this movie have been toned down from the predecessors.  The language is still a problem.  Kudos to the producers for the attempt at opening up the “dungeon” just a bit.  It might be a little telling about the prevalence of swearing in today’s society that my 11 year-old does not notice the swearing going on in the movie.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: Die Hard 2

Bruce Willis …  Lt. John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia …  Holly McClane
William Atherton …  Richard Thornburg
William Sadler …  Col. Stuart
Reginald VelJohnson …  Sgt. Al Powell
Franco Nero …  Gen. Ramon Esperanza
John Amos …  Maj. Grant
Dennis Franz …  Capt. Carmine Lorenzo
Art Evans …  Leslie Barnes
Fred Dalton Thompson …  Trudeau
Tom Bower …  Marvin
Sheila McCarthy …  Samantha ‘Sam’ Coleman
Don Harvey …  Garber
Tony Ganios …  Baker
Peter Nelson …  Thompson

Plot synopsis from IMDb: Once again, New York cop John McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time – this time he’s waiting for his wife’s plane to arrive at Washington’s Dulles Airport when he uncovers a plot to sabotage the airport’s landing system. The criminals wish to free a drug baron being extradited to America for trial by holding the airport to ransom until they all safely escape on another plane. However, if they’d known that Holly McClane was on a flight home to the very airport they were hijacking, they would have picked another day.

1990 * 20th Century Fox * 124 mins
Rated R for violence and language

Vulcan Stev: 1.6 pointed ears

Unlike most sequels which give you more of the same, this sequel actually feels like a continuation of the previous film.  The McClanes have reconciled.  John has moved to L.A. and is waiting for his wife to come to DC to spend Christmas with the extended family.  In that sense the movie is a decent sequel.  Yes this movie still suffers from an excess of language (what is Hollywood’s obsession with the F*bomb?), yes the violence is overdone in some scenes.  However it manages to give us everything we like in the first movie without being a re-hash.  My BIGGEST problem with this film is the notion that an elite strike team of America’s military is willing to sell out their country for drug money.

This film continues the premise of someone being disingenuous about their objectives.  In the other three films of the franchise it’s the “terrorists” who aren’t completely honest about what they want.  In this movie it’s the military that is portrayed as something other than what they claim to be.   I’m not sure how the movie could have been written without using the military as the traitors, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

PIT #2: 1.5 pointed ears
The plot device of telling McClane to stay out of it and McClane not listening to anyone all to save his wife was very inspiring to me.  To me this version of the John/Holly relationship is what should’ve continued through the series.  The  language and blood could’ve been toned down as well.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
It was pretty cool that McClane was the only one who accomplished anything even though nobody wanted  him to help.  The terrorists really thought about the whole situation.  Too often in the movies the villains are pretty stupid.  I thought it was pretty unique idea that the army unit was in league with the terrorists.

5.1 pointed ears out of 6
The violence and language take what is a nice story of a man doing EVERYTHING he can to save the woman he loves, and bring it down a notch.  Just because blood spatters during a real gunfight doesn’t mean we need to see it in every scene.  Again not a family movie.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family movie review: Die Hard

Bruce Willis …  Officer John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia …  Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson …  Sgt. Al Powell
Paul Gleason …  Dep. Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
De’voreaux White …  Argyle
William Atherton …  Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner …  Harry Ellis
James Shigeta …  Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman …  Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov …  Karl
Bruno Doyon …  Franco
Andreas Wisniewski …  Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. …  Theo
Joey Plewa …  Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza …  Marco

1988 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for violence and language

Plot synopsis from IMDb: Tough New York cop John McClane finds himself in a tight situation when an office building in Los Angeles is taken over by terrorists. Apart from himself, everyone else in the building – including his wife – is held at gunpoint while their captors spell out their demands. The F.B.I. are called in to survey the situation, but John McClane has other plans for the terrorists…

Vulcan Stev: 1.6 out of 2 pointed ears.

The film that made Bruce Willis a movie star, this is one of the first “violent” films I actually went to see in the theater.  I’ll admit to having a squeamish side (needles creep me out more than snakes do Indiana Jones), I don’t like the sight of blood and this movie has quite a bit.  Definitely a movie of its time period, the story still holds up and with a few minor rewrites the story could be told again today.  The violence is not overly gratuitous but it can be excessive.  The language on the other hand is a little too gratuitous, F-bombs abound.   The whole “terrorism is a front for massive theft” plot, although unique at the time, has been done to death (no pun intended) and in today’s political climate doesn’t seem quite as entertaining.

PIT #2:  1.2 pointed ears
Even though this is the first movie of the franchise, it is the last one that I saw (darn little brother watching movies on his day off from school when I’m not home).  The language was a little too gratuitous for my tastes.  The action seemed minor compared with what comes later.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
This was a cool movie.  I liked the fact that nobody believed him about the terrorists until they were getting shot at themselves.  McClane’s antagonism of the terrorists was also very cool.  I also like the fact that McClane is not above talking to himself.

4.8 pointed ears out 6
This is not a family friendly movie.  Language and violence are pervasive throughout.  The violence can be needlessly gory at times as well.  Older teens should have no problem with this flick but only you can determine what is appropriate for your family.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments