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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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Vengeance Is Mine, Saith Stallone!

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BULLET TO THE HEAD (2013) Director: Walter Hill Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Momoa Rating: R for bullets to the head, punches to the face, cursing from the mouth, and bleeding on the floor. 

Ya gotta give it up for Sylvester Stallone. For a movie star who is old enough to retire and spend his days telling kids to get off his lawn, he looks like a man half his age in the thriller Bullet to the Head. 

I bet he works out. He probably eats healthy too. I could work out and eat healthy, but if I cut back on the junk food, several snack cake companies would have to lay off thousands of employees. I cannot have that on my conscience. Would you like a Twinkie?

Anyhoo, in Bullet to the Head, super ripped sexagenarian Sly plays James “Bobo” Bonomo, a hitman who like most movie hitmen only kills guys who really deserve to be killed. As the film opens, Bobo and his young partner Louis (Jon Seda) whack a coked up jackass in a swanky hotel suite. Bobo spares the life of the hooker who witnesses the killing because as I said before he is the good kind of hired killer.

As Bobo and Louis enjoy a post homicide drink at a crowded New Orleans bar, a big dude named Keegan (Jason Momoa) stabs Louis to death, which really pisses off Bobo and puts a serious damper on ladies night at the bar.

Meanwhile, Washington D.C. Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) arrives in New Orleans looking for his rogue partner only to find out he was the coked up jackass that Bobo and Louis killed. Turns out Kwon’s dead partner wanted to blackmail a powerful New Orleans businessman named Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who is actually a crime boss determined to buy up half of New Orleans and build nice shiny New Orleans condos.

Oh, did I mention this movie takes place in New Orleans?

Kwon figures the murder of his partner and the death of Louis are connected, and because he’s an amazing detective with a smartphone, he tracks down Bobo and offers to team up with him find out who is behind the killings. A cop and a surly criminal working together? How kooky can this get?

Bullet to the Head isn’t exactly a adrenaline filled actioner with exciting gun battles and elaborately choreographed fight scenes. But there are lots of scenes with Bobo and Kwon driving from place to place to interrogate people.

Thrill as Bobo and Kwon drive to a bath house and interrogate a criminal who has information!

Gasp as Bobo and Kwon kidnap Morel’s sleazy lawyer (Christian Slater) and drive him to a hide out and interrogate him for more information!

Shriek as Bobo and Kwon drive over to meet Bobo’s daughter Lisa (Sara Shahi) at her house and use her computer to look up something!

My heart can’t take another parking scene!

Okay, things pick up at the end of the movie when the crazy big dude Keegan kidnaps Lisa to get a flash drive Bobo and Kwon have which contains evidence that will put Morel in jail for a long time. Bobo and Keegan face off in an ax wielding fight to the death as Kwon wanders around a warehouse and records Morel saying incriminating things with his smartphone. Kwon really knows how to work his smartphone. I bet he knows how to attach photos from different apps to the same e-mail!

I don’t now how to do that.  I wish I did.

Bullet to the Head is kinda boring and a bit of a letdown compared to most of Stallone’s filmography.

But it is better than Get Carter. And Driven. And Assassins. And Daylight. And The Specialist. And Demolition Man.

This could take a while, so thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Stop Or My Mom will Shoot! And Oscar. And Over the Top. and friggin Rhinestone. Oh God, I hate Rhinestone…

Better Off Dredd!

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DREDD (2012) Director: Pete Travis Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thrilby, Lena Headey Rating: R for a ton of graphic violence, bad language, adult situations, and dystopian future stuff.

Gather around kids, it’s time to learn something!

Wait! Come back! This will be brief, I promise. The movie I’m reviewing this week is based on a long running comic book, and I thought it would be nice if I gave you a little history lesson about the title character based on my extensive knowledge of something I just read on Wikipedia.

In 1977 Judge Joseph Dredd made his debut in 2000 AD, a British science fiction anthology comic book and became one of the most popular recurring characters. Fans thrilled to the gritty exploits of this “Street Judge” who dispenses law and order in a future society armed with a high tech handgun and an awesome helmet.

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Pictured: helmet that is awesome.

Then in 1995, Hollywood came a calling, and cult comic book Judge Dredd became big action movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone, his awesome helmet…

and his plated package!

Critics and comic book fans worldwide gave a big thumbs down to Sly’s robotic codpiece and everything else about Judge Dredd, although I think Rob Shneider did a fantastic job in the thankless role of Fergie, Dredd’s wisecracking, non codpiece wearing sidekick.

A good sidekick is aces in my book. So is a nude scene by an A list actress as long as it’s integral to the plot and she’s really really pretty.

Anyway, now that 17 years have passed and the horrible memories of  Judge Dredd have finally subsided, a new Judge Dredd was reborn with the 2012 actioner simply titled DREDD. Gone are the flying motorcycles and Versace designed costumes, replaced with lots of guns and buckets of CG blood and gore because that’s what Judge Dredd would want even though he’s a fictional character and therefore doesn’t exist!

In the future the world has been turned into a blighted wasteland because of a nuclear war or a plague or because someone forgot to water the plants. Everyone in America now lives in Mega City One, a mega metropolis which stretches from Boston to Washington DC, is home to 800 million people, and looks like a soundstage in South Africa.

Crime and lawlessness are rampant in Mega City One, and it’s up to The Judges (who have the power of judge, jury, and executioner) to maintain order. Leading the charge against the criminals is the biggest baddest Street Judge on the force, Joseph Dredd (Karl Urban) who talks softly and carries a really big gun with more bells and whistles than the bells and whistles kiosk at the mall.

Dredd, who hates to work with a partner, is of course partnered with a rookie Judge named Anderson (Olivia Thrilby) who is a psychic and can’t wear the awesome helmet because it interferes with her mind reading powers and hides her purty face.

While investigating a series of murders at a 200 story apartment building, Dredd and Anderson run afoul of Ma-Ma (Lena Heady), a ruthless drug lord who is really cranky when it comes to cops who want to disrupt her busy narcotics factory. Before he can call for backup, Dredd and his young partner find themselves sealed inside the massive skyscraper with hundreds of Ma-Ma’s heavily armed thugs who are just dying to welcome their new guests to the neighborhood.

It’s at this point where DREDD turns into a giant live action rated M for mature video game as Dredd and Anderson jump from level to level picking off bad guys with lots of gun fights and ass kicking, trying to shut down Ma-Ma’s drug empire and find an open window so they can call for backup because even in the future you can’t get a decent cell phone signal in a freakin high rise!

Action movie fans should be pretty satisfied with DREDD. Sci-fi fans who love things exploding in slow motion will love DREDD. People who like to see all of Karl Urban’s face will absolutly hate DREDD, because the actor never removes his helmet. Why? It’s awesome.

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Pictured: Awesome.