Never Back Down (2008)

Djimon Hounsou, Sean Faris, Amber Heard, Cam Gigandet

Jake Tyler (Faris) is a troubled teen, struggling to cope with the death of his father. A death he may have been able to prevent. He is baited and unable to control his anger towards any taunt directed his way. On moving to a new school, Jake finds a new culture, one of organised brawls which ends in him unwittingly becoming involved. Under the guidance of Roqua (Hounsou) a mixed martial art expert, Jake must learn to control the very factors that he battles with every day. Can Jake come to grips with the fight within to prevent those he loves being hurt?

This is kind of a fight club with teenagers. Gigandet plays McCarthy, the best fighter at school, and does it extremely well. He must have based himself on Brad Pitt as he regularly moves in the same manor while delivering his lines almost as if Tyler Durden was there himself. The internal views of bones breaking is very cool, slow motion at its best. The story line is a bit loose, but you definitely get into the fight scenes. I like this movie and it has become a regular for me.

Favourite Quote “It’s on you, always has been, always will be” Jean Roqua

3.75 out of 5

Hitman (2007)

Tim Olyphant, Robert Knipper

Olyphant is ‘Number 47’, an elite assassin from a group that doesn’t exist. Breed for killing, he is the ultimate machine. Until The Organisation decided after he has performed a political hit that he is too hot and orders him terminated. With Interpol, the Russian Military (Knipper) and The Organisation all after him, 47 uses all of his guile and experience to find a way out.

I love this flick. I watch this movie at least 4 times a year. Olyphant plays the deadpan, emotionless agent to perfection. His carefully calculated way of working through every scenario is amazing. Preparation is the key to his success. Knipper’s portrayal of a corrupt agent is also very good. If you have played the computer game, you will enjoy how they have converted this into film. I would like to think they could make another one (I am available for the lead).

Favourite Quote “Whoa whoa whoa hold up. This is not a Kadr. It’s a Chinese copy. In fact, I don’t know if it’s the drugs, or if you’re usually this inept, but you’ve been wrong about most of these weapons. If the gun you’re holding is as cheap as this one, even if you did manage to shoot her in the eye, and I’m not saying you could, you wouldn’t kill her.” 47

4.5 out of 5

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Fox

D’Amato (Pacino) is the coach of the Sharks, a struggling football team who are reeling after their starting quarterback, and legend of the game, Cap Rooney (Quaid) suffers a terrible injury. Forced to go to his third string QB, Beaman (Fox), their season starts to get back on track. With the owner (Diaz) working behind closed doors to move the team, this movie focuses on the struggles associated with running an elite team, with medical breaches, sex, drugs and egos all playing their part.

Everyone would know the inspirational speech that Pacino delivers in this movie. How they portray the players and their ability to fight through injuries, often at the detriment for their future well being is impressive. A real eye opener into the ethical concerns of the medical staff and owners. Fox plays the arrogant QB extremely well and watching his development into the team leader is brilliant. You also get the insight into how hard recovery is for fallen stars of the game.

I love this movie, one of my favourite sporting movies, but with an ‘R’ rating, it is not one for the kids.

Favourite quote “I’m trying to win coach. I ain’t trying to disrespect nobody, but winning is the only thing I respect” Willie Beaman

4.5 out 5

The Court Jester (1955)

Danny Kaye, Angela Lansbury, Basil Rathbone, Glynis Johns

Hawkins (Kaye) is a bumbling freedom fighter charged with the responsibility of guarding the infant heir to the throne. After becoming Giacomo, the jester to the king, he wrongly trusts Sir Ravenhurst (Rathbone), believing he is the inside contact while also being hypnotised into believing he is a champion knight. Winning the heart of the princess (Lansbury) and assassinating Ravenhurst’s rivals can Hawkins put the rightful heir on the throne?

This is one of my all time favourite movies. Danny Kaye is amazing as a singing assassin. His facial expressions would not be out of place in today’s movies. While the version I have watched has been digitally touched up, it takes nothing away from the quality of the movie. I love the old school mistakes (dummies being tossed into the ocean), but you do not watch this movie for the special effects. It has, quite possibly, the best scene in any movie - “The Flagon with a Dragon has the pellet with the poison, the Chalice from the Palace has the brew that is true” - when you see this scene it is impossible not to laugh!!!

Favourite Quote (other than the one mentioned above) “Get it?” “Got it” “Good!” (repeated through the movie)

This is not an action movie, rather a comedy with some action and singing.

4.75 out of 5!! (do yourself a favour and watch this one)

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey

Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) are a pair of cops who are assigned to work with each other. Murtaugh, the veteran does everything by the book, where as Riggs is a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy with a death wish. Battling a a drug syndicate full of mercenaries (Busey), they must overcome more than just their hatred of working with each other to bring about justice.

This, as we know, turned into a fantastic series of movies. Gibson plays the crazy cop to perfection. His ability to make you believe he has actually got no will left to live after the death of his wife is brilliant. You also start to see how he develops the character throughout the movie, slightly softening because Glover invites him into his life. As the first of the franchise, I could watch this movie every year and never get tired of it. As is usually the case, I kin of liked this one more than some of the others.

Favourite Quote “I’m too old for this shit” Murtaugh

3.5 out of 5

Behind Enemy Lines

Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson

Wilson plays Lt. Chris Burnett, a navigator who is shot down ‘Behind Enemy Lines’. Alone and scared, Burnett must find his way to the emergency beacon whilst being pursued by the enemy. Hackman plays Admiral Reigart who is ordered not to pursue the saving of Burnett. Burnett must use all his skill to stay alive.

Yep, good movie although not the best war based movie I have watched. There is something about Wilson in this role that just does not work for me. Maybe it is that I have seen him in too many comedy films, but he just does not fit the character for me. There was a couple of very clever scenes like where Burnett hides under the bodies in a mass grave and it is watched via satellite back at the command centre, but the film is lacking somewhat.

Favourite Quote “Let’s go get our boy” - Admiral Reigart

2.5 out of 5

Fight Club (1999)

Brad Pitt, Edwards Norton

Norton plays an insomniac who meets up with Tyler Durden (Pitt) a soap salesman who between them create an idea of fighting to releave the many stresses of their lives. The underground ‘Fight Club’ has a series of rules to ensure its ever growing followers do not get out of control.

I am not ashamed to say that I find this movie hard to watch. I do really like the movie, however I will not be watching it again any time soon. The fight scenes are well choreographed, the camera angles really make you feel like you are in the cellar watching the fights. Norton is brilliant as is Pitt who actually chipped his own tooth just to play the part!!

Quote of the movie “You do not talk about fight club” - Tyler Durden

3.5 out of 5

Gladiator (2000)

Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

Crowe plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a general in the Roman army who is betrayed by the murdered emperor’s son. He enters the Gladiator pit as a slave and becomes as powerful as the new emperor himself. Seeking the ultimate revenge by literally fighting for his freedom.

The movie contains some of the best monologues and motivational speeches of any movie (up there with Braveheart). The fight scenes are extremely well choreographed and played out. The story line is great. Some things actually annoy me in this movie, like the fake birds flying in front of the Colosseum, however, this does not detract from my eagerness to watch this movie.

4.25 out of 5 

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly

After accidentally killing members of the Mafia, two Irish brothers decide God has given them a task to rid the world of ‘bad’ people. Smecker (Dafoe) is the best detective in the land who is tasked with finding the culprits for these murders.

Flanery and Reedus are very good as the Irish brothers. Learning on the job, they turn themselves into fearsome killers. Connolly looks fantastic as the most dangerous man to walk the planet - IL Duce - and his initial gun battle shows how good he was at portraying this cold killer. This is kind of a cult movie. One of my best mates put me onto it and I have loved it ever since. The sometimes far fetched story line works for me. I mean, how accurate can you be firing a gun during certain scenes (no spoilers here, but you will know the scene when you see it)? It all makes for a good story I guess.

4.25 out of 5

Avatar (2009)

Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Salanda

Jake Sully (Worthington) is a paraplegic marine sent to Pandora after his brother’s untimely death. Arriving to take control of an ‘Avatar’ which will allow him to walk with the unique flora and fauna, Sully is required to learn the ways of the ‘Na-vi’, the indigenous people of Pandora who are at one with the land and all it’s inhabitants. His undercover mission is to continue sending updates to the Colonel who wants to destroy the Na-vi and mine their resources for the corporate world.

This has some of the best characters, best actors, best special effects that you will see in a movie. Stephen Lang’s portrayal as Colonel Quaritch is sensational. The over the top attitude, his demeanour and arrogance is brilliant. He makes the role his own and controls the movie. Worthington’s development and understanding is very good. Weaver plays the role of biologist well and the role of Neytiri played by Salanda is excellent. Again, there is an underlying message to this movie, which I love, about acceptance, forgiveness, bravery and respect for nature that you cannot help but buy into. This is one of those movies that I seem to take in another key message or detail each time I watch it. Simply outstanding.

5 out of 5!!