• 2 Guns (2013)

     

     

    "Two Guns" is a very entertaining action movie that mixes brutal and tension filled moments on one side with a lot of addicting dry humour on the other side. The chemistry between the two outstanding main actors Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg is simply great. The first one portrays a cynic and sometimes even misanthropic cop with strong nerves who has only one weak point which happens to be his superior Deb with whom he has a complicated romantic relationship. The latter one portrays a smart but quite offensive US marine who naively believes in justice and truth at all costs. Denzel Washington somewhat portrays the true face of modern America while Mark Wahlberg stands for idealized illusion of it. Both characters are quite different and complement each other very well in this movie.

    They are both working on an undercover mission without knowing each other's identity. They have infiltrated a Mexican drug cartel and are led to steal three million US dollars from a bank that is used by the drug cartel. When they finally rob the bank, they discover that there are not only three million but forty-three million dollars. The US marine gets away with the money and encounters his superiors but they want to eliminate him for not having killed his partner and done his job properly in every detail. The cop is not only followed by his superiors but gets also tracked down by a mysterious gang who is after the money. In addition to this, the drug cartel is also seeking for revenge and wants to get its money back. The two quite different partners need to team up to fight against drug cartels, the police, marines and members of the secret service to get rid of the money and out of this disaster alive.

    The movie works great because of many explosive action scenes, a good dose of dry humour and an authentic acting performance from all main and supporting actors. The story is your usual conspiracy flick which gets a little bit predictable. In the end, there was one scene that happened a little bit too quickly for me to fully understand it when one of the main actors found the stolen money but apart of that the movie has a vivid but not hectic pace and is easy to follow. The side story with the cop's superior portrayed by Paula Patton was too constructed and somewhat unnecessary to me and took the attention away from the main issue but nothing's perfect.

    Fans of the two main actors and conspiracy flicks shouldn't miss this one out. This movie is far from being revolutionary but it's entertaining and definitely worth a walk to the movie theatres. I wouldn't though recommend to purchase this film. You can see it once and truly enjoy it from the beginning until the end but it doesn't request more attention.

     

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  • Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

     

    This movie is an entertaining, action and tension filled thriller in the key of the Die Hard series where terrorists attack the White House from the inside and menace American society and have to be stopped by a disgraced lone wolf who wants to clear his name and save his country.

    From the dramatic opening scene to the tension filled ending, this movie is a breathless hunt. The action scenes are off course a little bit overproduced but it's better than other recent Hollywood flicks like "A Good Day to Die Hard" that simply go too far with their special effects and feel rather ridiculous in the end. The story line is definitely nothing new but the intensity and the surprisingly solid acting Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman and antagonist Rick Yune make this movie one of the better of its popular and repetitive kind. On a personal note, I might also add supporting actress Malana Lea who doesn't have a big role but who perfectly incarnates the devil in disguise, a breathtaking beauty with a truly evil side. 

    Nevertheless, the movie has a couple of flaws. It's not quite clear what happens to the First Lady in the beginning of the movie. I thought the accident scene on the bridge was somewhat strange. Was it a simple accident or an attack from the outside? The movie includes other strange moments. The role of the character played by Dylan McDermott remains mysterious. One gets no credible reason for his negative attitude as well as for his sudden change of mind. It's also strange that he isn't used by the main actor after his change of mind to mix up things in the bunker of the White House. His role could have been a lot more profound and he could have been the changing element of the whole story. Instead, his fate is quickly abandoned. Let's add also that even the intentions of the antagonists remain somewhat superficial. How did they all infiltrate the South Korean government as well as the United States of America and what are the true convictions and reasons behind their actions? I'm aware of the fact that this flick is meant to be a straight action thriller but a little bit more depth would have been a great deal as well to stand out of all these quite similar movies.

    Once again, I must also add that this film includes mild propaganda elements. It's not as evident as in "Red Dawn" but maybe similar to "Argo". Instead of choosing mafia bosses, radical American terrorists who want to destroy their own government or an international gangster organization, it had to be once again pro North Korea terrorists. This movie underlines in a subtle way how dangerous this American enemy could be and what could eventually happen if one didn't try to prevent them from doing what they do. I think that arts and politics shouldn't mix too much. There have been plenty of patriotic war movies after the 9/11 incident and they surely had their reasons to be there. After a few years, these patriotic movies disappeared but now they seem to have come back over the last three years or so for no apparent reason. These slight propaganda attitudes seem to have for goal to challenge the nation's enemies and to make people believe that the United States of America are still going strong despite the economic crisis and the events that made Afghanistan and Iraq a second or third Vietnam. I would have liked this movie more if the terrorists had not been stereotypes of an American enemy.

    Despite these few flaws, this movie is truly entertaining and among the strongest films of the not so young year 2013. I recommend you to watch this film in your local cinemas to be able to appreciate the great sound and special effects it has. As many people said, this is what the last "Die Hard" movie should have been.
     

     

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  • A Good Day To Die Hard (2013)

     

    This film is by far the best comedy movie of the year so far. It includes completely ridiculous and exaggerated action scenes that can last for overlong ten minutes or more and involved hundreds of cars destroyed in a city centre by only a few guys. It includes stunning passages where one can find car keys out of nowhere with massive weapons hidden inside a car in front of a Chechen bar in the middle of Moscow. It includes parts where Moscow and Chernobyl seem to be in the same country and only a few hours situated from each other so you can easily go there by car. It's possible to enter a completely devastated nuclear plant without any protective suits. It happens that you stroll around this highly radioactive area without getting any harms. If accidents and explosions happen in this area, no visible consequences occur. Add dry one-liner dialogues to this, a twisted father-son relationship and other funny sequences such as an annoying singing taxi cab driver.

    Seriously, this must be the movie with some of the highest number of film errors and ridiculously embarrassing dialogues I have ever seen. That's why one simply can't take this film serious. You have to take this as an over the top action comedy flick that never fails to make you laugh out loud. If you simply want to have entertaining fun and change your mind, this film is for you. If you want to laugh about closed minded American stereotypes and get another example for the downfall of the Western world, this one is also for you. This one is to switch your brains off and head for a fun ride.

    If you are looking for some tension filled moments, a clever story line or something more than the usual stereotypes of evil old Russian terrorists as you have them in any classic American propaganda movie of the eighties, this movie is not for you. 

    The entertainment and comedy factor is worth ten points. The story itself not more than one or two points which leads to a final result of six points out of ten. Go for this movie without associating it to the previous Die Hard movies to avoid deception and take this as some sort of action comedy movie with a script that could have been written by a bunch of ten year old boys.
     

     

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  • Gangster Suqad (2013)

    Gangster Squad is the first small highlight of the young year 2013. It's not that this movie has a truly surprising story line or adds anything new to the genre. The movie is in fact based on true events as many movies are these days and the good cops versus evil gangsters story is rather predictable.

    The strength of the movie lies in a well-crafted retro touch reminding the dirty forties of Los Angeles. The decorations, make-ups and settings are above standards and create an intriguing basis of this movie. 

    In addition to this, the film mixes tension filled action scenes with dramatic moments that focus on a certain character development. The actors that convinced me most were Robert Patrick as grizzled old gunslinger with a dry sense of humour and Sean Penn in the role of a choleric and dangerous gangster boss who terrorizes not only a whole city but also his partners and his girlfriend. 

    The movie is entertaining from the beginning to the end and offers a surprisingly brutal but also dramatic showdown. Don't expect a new "Once Upon A Time In America", "Scarface" or "The Godfather" but an entertaining and sometimes rather hard gangster movie with a nostalgic flair and convincing actors.
     

     

     

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  • Red Dawn (2012)

     

     

    "Red Dawn" is a lukewarm remake of a classic with an incredibly stupid story line when North Korean invaders attack the United States of America with the help of the Russians and impose their ideology. A few young men seek refuge in the forests and try to fight the invaders by organizing a guerrilla. In the beginning, they are very unexperienced and a few of them won't survive their brave acts which leads to important tensions within the team but the guerrilla gets better and better and finally decides to attack the main building of the enemies.

    The positive thing about the movie is its short length and the fact that it never gets boring. The dialogues and the acting are a little bit weak but better than I would have expected. The action scenes are a little bit ordinary in the beginning but get better and better towards the explosive and entertaining end. I also liked the fact that the ending was rather surprising and dramatic. It's not your usual happy end and included two rather sad scenes even though the final message happens to be positive and warlike again.

    On the negative side, the story is completely stupid and unreal and the movie's intentions are not a far call from propaganda movies of the Cold War which feels rather inappropriate in modern times of globalization. The American screenwriters still seem to think that their government is the best in the world and that anybody who disagrees such as communists are automatically evil. This kind of movie only supports the propagandistic ideas of the North Korean government who takes the Americans for their worst enemies. While the North Korean government slowly opens for economy, diplomacy and modernization, Americans are still stuck in the past and release this kind of questionable movie. Some people might identify with the closed minded attitude to fight anything and anybody who attacks your country at all costs and that's what creates more and more conflicts but I simply can't agree on that point. As a German I can only say that I'm glad that my own country which I still love and respect a lot got defeated during the Second World War and I wouldn't have defended it if I had been able to chose. It's always a mistake to blindly follow a government and accept anything it asks you to do. American governments have created lots of wars, sometimes with good, sometimes with bad intentions, and it's strange that such a story line comes from this country because they haven't been the victims apart of 9/11 which was a terrible incident but definitely not a year long war as what happened in Korea or Vietnam. When arts and politics mix, the final result is always extremely biased and that's also the case of this movie. I'm surprised that these kinds of stories are still written today and one simply can't ignore this aspect if one watches this film. If there wasn't the political dimension of this movie and if the invaders would have been anonymous, I would have given one more point to the flick but this movie is still only of an average quality.

    In the end, I can only recommend this movie for those who are looking for a patriotic action flick. It's quite entertaining and gets better and better towards the end but the acting and the story are rather bad. Anything who expects a thought out story line or a strong acting shouldn't watch this movie. If you like war movies, you should go for the Korean "Tae Guk Gi" who shows you a very balanced and realistic view of what happened during the Korean War.

     

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