• Les Insoumis / Crossfire (2008)

     

    "Les Insoumis" is a surprisingly solid French action-thriller. It convinces with a twisted story line that ends in a rather classic and predictable ending but the beginning and the middle of the movie present a lot of tension filled events such as the desperate woman with the sick daughter that misses her husband, the young drug dealer that gets killed in strange circumstances, the racist legionnaire that shoots cats at night, the mysterious burglaries in a weapons cache or the suspicious past of the new police commander. All these events create an addicting puzzle the viewer has to put together before the final solution is presented.

    The movie also convinces with a very authentic social portrait of a desperate suburb in the south of France where authorities are not respected and even young kids insult police officers. The movie shows pitiless desperate young drug dealers, corrupt police officers, brutal thugs and pervert racists. Among these negative characters, there are also a couple of shining lights such as the police commander's friendly neighbour or some of his colleagues that try to do their job the best they can despite a lot of problems.

    The acting in this movie is definitely the best point. The rather unknown Richard Berry does an incredible job in the role of the cold, dutiful and straight police commander Vincent Drieu that has to fight his past demons to not repeat the mistakes he has once done. His acting is very authentic, filled with emotions and extremely addicting. I hope to see more movies of a similar kind with him in the future. The supporting actors also do an incredible job and portray very authentic and touching characters. I just want to cite the very charming but refreshingly down to earth character of Kathia that is portrayed by the very strong actress Aïssa Maïga that I particularly liked. She's quite the opposite of the main character and this contrast is why they fit so well together in this movie.

    Apart of these addicting characters and a very solid screenplay, the movie convinces with many well done action sequences, especially in the beginning and the ending of the movie. These scenes keep the pace high and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. These scenes are nothing new to the genre but once again filled with a lot of suspense and an excellent acting.

    In the end, I think that this movie should be more famous than it actually is. The acting is simply amazing, the story has some quite good ideas and the pace of action and suspense is always very fast. The only negative points are the too generic and predictable ending that doesn't fit to the rest of this original movie and the fact that this movie could have been a little bit longer. I would have liked to see an even stronger character development because the different characters were simply authentic. Once again, France has proved that they can do excellent action and suspense movies and not only the usual comedy and drama movies that get way more world wide attention.

     

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  • Hobo With A Shotgun (2011)

     

    Hobo with a Shotgun is a great comeback for the charismatic actor Rutger Hauer that has played in many well known classics of modern cinema such as Blade Runner, Ladyhawke and The Hitcher. He plays the role of a merciless and yet very philosophic, melancholic and warm heartened homeless that gets in conflict with a whole corrupted city where violence and crime reign when he tries to save the life of a prostitute.

    This low budget b-movie has the potential to become a true cult movie. It has some philosophical and introspective parts and presents an exaggerated criticism of modern society. The acting is quite strong and credible even though the movie works a lot with extremes and stereotypical or exaggerated events which give the whole flick an almost "dystopian" or at least abstract and surreal touch.

    But the main focus of the movie lies on the vengeance story that leads to many harsh dialogues with memorable bad language quotes and a lot of bloody execution scenes. There is a lot of blood and gore in this movie and this is nothing for weak stomaches. Thanks to a lot of dark humour and a lot of exaggerating moments, the whole thing doesn't get too heavy to disturb most of the viewers but the main characters are credible and profound enough to connect the viewers to them. The movie finds just the right middle way here and is easy to digest without being too superficial and simplistic. Of course, the story is short, sweet and simple and we should not expect any twists, surprises or innovating moments but the potential cult factor is so elevated that we don't need those things to make this flick stay in our minds. The movie generally feels like an experimental hack and slash movie with a contemporary Asian style that can also be found in the latest works of Quentin Tarantino for example.

    If you like rude and bloody vengeance movies with some memorable scenes and quote, this movie here is your highlight of the year. If you are a fan of Rutger Hauer, you will witness his strongest performance in years and a great unexpected comeback. If you look for an entertaining short and sweet b-movie that is not too flat to be one movie amongst many others but not too commercial to lose its rude charm, you can't go wrong with this at all.

    You should only avoid this if you expect a well thought and twisted vengeance story. You may find better stuff in the contemporary Asian cinema with movies such as "Oldboy", "Mother" or "I saw the devil".

     

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  • Sanctum (2011)

     

    James Cameron's Sanctum always proves that the ex-Canadian and now Hollywood director was involved in the project. The movie focuses on beautiful and breathtaking landscapes, a lot of special and light effects and dramatic survival action. But it also contains the negative elements of his movies. The lack of originality, the complete assimilation to Hollywood standards, the extremely superficial characters and the lack of depth.

    Concerning the actors, this movie might easily be his worst. The first thirty minutes of this movie were painful. The high amount of superficial, childish and predictable characters may even be too much for the thirteen year old fast food cinema maniac which explains the low rating on this site. To anybody that knows something about the history of cinema, the dialogues of the first thirty minutes or so are pretty much the worst thing I have ever read or heard since the last Ed Wood movies and they still had a certain charm, bad actors and a lack of budget. In here, all the money seems to be put into special effects but no money at all in the actors. They all should get banned from the film industry.

    Why do I still give a couple of points to the movie? That's because after the thirty most horrible minutes in contemporary cinema, the story finally kicks off and delivers an entertaining survival drama. The acting gets slightly better and many dramatic events focus our interest on something else and accelerate the pace of the movie. It surely is no "Cliffhanger" but not that far away from it in the end. Technically taken, this flick is indeed very well executed in the end and kept me in front of the screen until the end. The ending of the movie is surprisingly not rubbish and stereotypical and rather short and sweet which was a positive surprise to me. Now, if they had done the same thing for the beginning, we would have had an excellent action drama with a running time around seventy-five minutes which would have risen the quality of this flick by far. As you can read, there is some potential in here as in many Cameron movies but the cheesy opening just already kills it for me.

    I really suggest you watching this flick in the cinemas or in a high quality definition for the great sounds and effects and it won't work as well with the normal standards. This movie is simply focused on the honestly said superficial appearances rather than on something intellectual, profound or original.

     

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  • 12 Rounds

     

    I know that this movie has some similarities to the "Die Hard" and "Speed" classics, but that's the only negative point that I can find about this movie.

    Let's talk about the great things now. The movie shows us an interesting but not overlong introduction to introduce the characters and what leads to the main story. After this, the movie doesn't take any prisoners and gives you no more break. This movie is filled with extreme action, extreme tension, extreme missions, extreme characters, extreme effects and extreme situations. Each one of the twelve rounds presents a new crazy idea and next to the action, the movie doesn't forget about the characters that are also well developed for such a kind of movie. In the end, you even have a very special twist and huge surprise and that isn't the case in many other action movies. You begin to analyze the movie from a new point of view and realize that this film is not only for the adrenaline junkies but also intellectual people.

    In fact, this spectacular and intense movie is way better than recent overrated and gore adrenaline movies without any true story like "Crank". Everyone who likes action movies in general, shall not dislike this stuff.

     

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  • Blade (1998)

     

    I really have a lot of difficulties to appreciate modern movies about vampires as the "Underworld" saga, the "Nochnoy dozor: Night watch" and its sequels or the Blade saga. I'm a fan of old and sometimes even modern horror movies ("30 days of night" is a nice modern film about vampires for example) and I leak to read horror literature too, but this movie is not convincing me at all.

    Wesley Sinpes plays a cool and tough guy and is doing a quite well job even though he is maybe a little bit too "gangsta" for such a movie, there are also some nice fighting and gore scenes, but this film has an important lack of horror elements, of an interesting and suspenseful story and a horrifying atmosphere.

    The movie is much more an action movie with some surprising lengths in the middle of the movie (while movies as "Dead snow" or parts of the "Underworld" saga still have much more adrenaline) rather than a horror movie. I would compare this movie to the first "Matrix" movie, this one being also a wanna-be cool action movie with a pseudo science-fiction background instead of a horror background like in this one.

    I give the four points for the acceptable first thirty minutes, the action effects, the style of the actors and the special acting of Wesley Snipes. I haven't seen the sequels but this one didn't give me the state of euphoria to head for the other ones at all.

     

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