Monthly Archives: March 2014

Proper Planning prevents.. Something, Something, Something!

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ESCAPE PLAN (2013)

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Sam Neil, Vincent D’Onofrio

Plot: A prison escape expert is double crossed and finds himself in a high tech prison that is really super hard to escape from. I mean, they have lots of guards and locked doors and everything!

Rating: R for gunplay and bloodshed and guys getting clubbed and tazered. Surprisingly, not one single prison shower joke.

Without a doubt prison is number three on my list of places I hope to never go.

Number two is a live taping of the CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls: a show which deserves to be called a “comedy” the same way Schindler’s list could be categorized as a “the feel good movie of a lifetime.”

Number one on my list of places I hope to never go is the popular mall store Hot Topic. The loud music, the rubber bracelets, the posters and t-shirts featuring bands I’ve never heard of; Hot Topic is the overstocked  Sarlaac pit I hurriedly dash past on the way to the soft pretzel guy.

I loves a good soft pretzel.

Anyhoo, a high tech escape-proof prison is the setting of Escape Planwhere the guards are cruel, the discipline is swift, and the cafeteria menu is loaded with sodium and carbs! Oh, and you’ll probably die trying to escape.

Ray Breslin (Stallone) is a structural engineering genius and prison escape expert who is paid by maximum security prisons to try to break out of their prisons. It must be a pretty lucrative job because Ray has a huge office building with a fun support staff and an oily partner named Clark (D’Onofrio) who probably won’t screw him over.

Ray is approached by the CIA to break out of a super top secret prison so secret, they can’t tell Breslin and his team where it is. Ray takes the job along with the huge check that comes with it, but before he can say “you can always trust the CIA,” he’s thrown in a truck, drugged and taken to the super-secret prison which is code named The Tomb, where everyone lives in tiny cubicles and there is no windows to the outside world. Sounds like my old apartment in New York.

Turns out (big surprise here) Ray has been royally screwed over. The warden who was supposed to be his contact is in fact another guy named Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) who knows nothing about Ray’s real identity and assignment and has different set of orders: Keep the breakout expert locked away forever or maybe longer, and kill him if he tries to escape.

Ray now has to put all his skills to use to break out of the most secure prison ever built. Luckily he’s befriended by a veteran con named Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) who knows plenty about the prison and also wants to escape before the warden can torture information out of him about some master criminal named Mannheim who Rottmayer works for.

Escape Plan is full of suspense and intrigue as Ray teaches Rottmayer the intricacies of prison escape planning while trying to uncover the identity of the bad guys who wanted him locked up. Can these two tough guys put aside their differences long enough to realize that they love each other like no other prisoners have loved each other before?

Oh wait, that’s another prison movie. Forget I said that.

Things draw to a slam bang conclusion as Ray and Rottmayer lead a full scale riot to escape the escape proof Tomb. There’s a great plot twist at the end when Ray finally learns who put him in the Tomb which nearly cost him his life, but I’m not ging to give it away because I don’t like to spoil things. Also, I have a terrible short term memory so I don’t remember what happened at the end of the movie any way.

Speaking of movies, did I tell you about Escape Plan starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger?

In conclusion; if you grew up watching the action movies of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, you’ll enjoy seeing these two big screen legends share a movie for the very first time.

If you were too young to remember or weren’t even born when these guys ruled the summer blockbuster movie season, you’re obviously one of those “millennials”  the internet news reports are always yammering about. You with your fixie bikes and SXSW festival things. I bet if Sylvester Stallone was an iPhone app you’d know who he was! Now get off my lawn!

I’m just kidding. You youngsters are fine.

Seriously get off the lawn. I just seeded.

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A Wolverine Abroad!

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THE WOLVERINE (2013)

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen

Plot: Did you ever see The Bad News Bears go to Japan?  It’s exactly like that.

Rating: PG-13 for shooting and stabbing with the claws and more stabbing with swords. There’s a whole lot of stabbing.

I’m not a big follower of the X-Men movies and characters, but I do know that Wolverine (also known as Logan) played by Hugh Jackman is without a doubt the most popular character of the bunch.

Sorry Halle Berry.

And what’s not to love about this Canadian loner? He’s mean and surly, he’s quite fond of mumbling, he loves a stiff drink and a good cigar, and when push comes to shove he unleashes his adamantium claws and turns his foes into thinly sliced deli meat.

Oh, and he calls everyone “bub.” Love this guy!

The Marvel folks love Wolverine so much he got a second movie to star in all by his angry self. This movie, simply titled The Wolverine has our moody hero traveling to Japan to settle old scores, make some new enemies, and figure out once and for all what the hell is up with Japanese game shows!

As the movie opens, poor Logan/Wolverine is living alone in the woods of his native Canada, still brooding about that time in  X-Men: The Last Stand where he had to kill fellow X-person Jean Grey, who Logan loved but she only loved him as a friend, and we all know how those kinds of relationships turn out!

One night Logan is approached by a mysterious girl named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who has been sent by a Japanese bazillionaire Yashida to find Logan and bring him to Japan for a reunion. Turns out a young Yashida was saved by Logan when the A-bomb destroyed Nagasaki at the end of World War II, and since he’s a bazillionaire now he wants to pay Logan back with what I assume will be one of those giant Publishers Clearinghouse checks and a lifetime supply of Omaha Steaks.

Logan travels with Yukio to Japan and reunites with Yashida who is dying of old age. He makes Logan an incredible offer – Yashida has the technology to transfer Logan’s mutant healing power to his frail and dying body so he may live again, which will also take away Logan’s immortality which he always hated anyway.

I can see why Logan hates being immortal. I mean, how would you like it if you stayed young and healthy forever while the jerks in your life grew old and died?

Wait, can I change my answer?

Anyhoo before Logan can give his final answer, Yashida dies. At the huge funeral, all heck breaks loose when members of the Yakuza (the Japanese Mob) try to kidnap Mariko (Tao Okamoto), Yashida’s granddaughter and heir to the family fortune. Logan and Yukio (who by an amazing stroke of luck is a master of martial arts) prevent Mariko from being taken, and Logan is now on the run with Mariko as they try to figure out what the heck is going on and who wants Mariko dead.

Oh, and to make things interesting, a mysterious blonde lady (Svetlana Khodchenkova) uses her mutant powers to rid our man Wolverine of his healing powers – which makes Logan rethink his usual fighting technique of letting the bad guys shoot him repeatedly until they run out of ammo and then killing them.

The Wolverine bounces from on action scene to another as Logan battles Yakuza thugs on the roof of a bullet train, fights ninjas in a Japanese village, and battles a giant silver robot samurai because it’s freakin Japan and they invented giant silver robot samurai. The film drags in spots to give Logan a few romantic scenes with the lovely Mariko, who should know that The Wolverine aint got no time for love when there’s bad guys to be sliced and diced bub!

Once again, Hugh Jackman does a fine job as the super stabby anti-hero we all know and love. Personally, I think Jackman should get some kind of award for the  thousands of hours he spends in the gym to achieve the super ripped physique required to play Wolverine. At the very least I hope his gym gives him free towels or coupons for free smoothies at the juice bar. That would be nice.