*NEW* MACHETE REVIEW *NEW*

Ma-sh*ty?

After being set-up and betrayed by the man who hired him to assassinate a Texas Senator (Robert De Niro), an ex-Federale (Danny Trejo) launches a brutal rampage of revenge against his former boss.

Brutal, ridiculous, stupid . . . but oh so fun!

The movie that was spawned from the silly parody trailers thrown in during the “intermission” of the Tarantino\Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature.

Still waiting on Thanksgiving, Mr. Roth. The crippling disappointment still hasn’t left me after the mishandling of the Grindhouse UK release.

Giving them separate releases and blaming the three hour movie length was a BIG no, no! They didn’t even show the mock trailers in the build up to either film?! (Or maybe that was just the crappy cinema I went to).

However once I was able to get my hands on said Grindhouse flick in all its bloody glory . . .

Planet Terror was everything I expected. A proper tribute. Trashy bedlam. Let’s not talk about Death Proof . . .

Okay it wasn’t that bad. Anyway . . .

Rodriguez has always been one to deliver action packed, maniacal, trashy (see where I’m going with this) tour de forces. As much as I loved Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn, they weren’t perfect.

You knew what you were in for from the get go. The ultra-violent opening set the tone as Danny Trejo’s bad ass Machete clocked up the body count within minutes. The silly cliches, the endless bloodshed and the gratuitous nudity. Oh, the nudity.

Seriously, a naked lady pulled out a weapon from a particular hiding spot I didn’t expect.

One delightfully gruesome scene featured our murderous machismo slicing a man’s hand off with the gun still in its possession, only to then use said hand to dispose of another with nothing more than a casual shrug to sum up the encounter. Niiiccee.

Shot in the exact same style as the old Grindhouse flicks. The dated look, the cheesy score, the OTT violence. And of course, those deliberately shoddy quick cuts and badly-put-together edits for good measure. Well, at least I hope that was intentional.

I had to laugh at Steven Seagal as the smug Torrez. Considering this was supposed to be a joke, Seagal seemed to take his role a little too seriously. And was STILL surprisingly wooden.

All the Rodriguez regulars featured left, right and centre. Man, Juni from Spy Kids has grown up (Daryl Sabara. Isn’t he marrying Meghan Trainor?). Anyway, moving on. Made me feel old.

Jeff Fahey lapped it up as the two faced conspirator playing off both sides. An underrated actor that delivered much more conviction than Seagal’s whispery samurai sword wielding weirdo.

“I don’t know what you know but I’m glad I know you”. Quotable one liners and a snappy script from Rodriguez is always a bonus.

The very definition of a Grindhouse flick is a film of “poor quality or low artistic merit”. Only Rodriguez could make something so trashy work so well as Machete made demented nun chucks out of scalpel knives and some bed sheets.

A pointless reference about the human intestine delivered a deliciously revolting and unexpected punchline in a hospital shoot em up.

My main grumble (and where Machete lost points) was the pacing. It took itself a little too seriously in places and it killed a bit of the fun (and momentum). Don’t get me wrong, the themes on immigration were bang on.

Eerily so; considering this film is (at time of writing) EIGHT years old.

De Niro’s evil politician McLaughlin spoke volumes. His “Don’t get caught on the wrong side of the fence” campaign was the very definition of irony. Especially with the De Niro/Trump feud. Replace that electrified fence with a wall and the irony is even more bittersweet.

Jessica Alba’s agent role was a bit nothingy. Stalking Michelle Rodriguez’s Luz and talking in riddles to no avail. Took a good 45 minutes before her path crossed with Machete and for her character to be of any interest. Other than playing on the Wii in yoga pants

What?

Trejo bossed it and once Alba was brought into the mix, the pair made a good duo. Another highlight involved Alba (Hang on . . . ) in hand to hand combat with a Mexican luchador using stiletto heels for knuckle dusters.

Seriously. God knows what Rodriguez was smoking BUT it worked. And of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Rodriguez flick if Cheech Marin didn’t make an appearance in another scene stealing cameo as Padre.

This wasn’t without its faults (Believe me) BUT Machete would fall happily in the “sh*t but good” folder. If you’re a RR fan or in the mood for an entertaining ridiculous bloodfest then look no further.

2.5/5

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*NEW* DEATH WISH REVIEW *NEW*

I must have had one watching this tripe . . .

Well, that was what I thought I was going to say.

Regardless of what I think of the man, Bruce Willis can still hold his own in this violent revenge flick.

Dr Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

After the ghastly ratings, I expected something really dire. Being a fan of the original cult crime classic, I wasn’t the happiest to hear of a remake. I mean who could top the icon that was Charles Bronson?! BUT I found this latest rehash surprisingly watchable.

The rapid opening sequence (with a fantastic panning shot) riddled with reports of shootings all over Detroit spoke volumes. Finger on the pulse stuff for a generic shoot-em-up. Especially with what’s been happening with gun crime in the US.

Willis’ robotic introduction didn’t give me high hopes . . . At first. He was always going to have a tough act to follow. BUT it added a degree of cynicism to the surgeon as he apologised to the copper whose partner he couldn’t save. And then moved over to the next bed and saved the monster who killed him.

The family melodrama was incredibly cheesy BUT easy going enough as we waited for the inevitable to happen.

The pacing did leave a little to be desired BUT I wasn’t bored. I liked the fact that Kersey didn’t turn into a stone cold killer straight away. A slow burning montage showed a gradual transformation as this down beaten man grew frustrated with the system and his psychiatrist (Wendy Crewson – Air Force One).

Dean Norris was literally playing Hank from Breaking Bad as Detective Raines. Tied by the rules and hoping for the best.

It took a good 40 minutes before Kersey began his vigilante spree. Donning his Unbreakable hoodie and terrorising the streets.

I was a little sceptical that the tone felt as muddled as its message. It may have raised debates about gun crime and vigilantism BUT it was a bit hard to be taken seriously when Willis would then shoot a drug dealer to a bloody pulp in the next frame.

A scene between Kersey and his father in law (Len Cariou – Blue Bloods) was incredibly hammy as the old boy fended off some poachers and preached about “a man defending his own”. Yawn.

The mismatched song choices killed off the seriousness of certain scenes. Using YouTube to learn how to shoot and assemble guns to AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ spoiled what could have been a satirical boiling point.

However, the consumerization of gun culture was brilliantly encapsulated with Bethany, the sales girl at the Jolly Rogers’ gun emporium: “Easy forms to fill, nobody ever fails gun safety class, 100 per cent American made”. Talking about weapons like they were new cars. Kersey’s smirk at such hypocrisy said it all.

The vengeance spree was violent enough as the vigilante ‘honed his craft’. Working his way through the food chain. Looking for the ones who tore his family apart. An unsavoury interrogation with a shady car mechanic did not make for easy viewing after just eating a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti. That’s all I’m saying.

To be honest, I was more surprised at how ‘tame’ this really was. Especially when the director at the helm was Eli “Hostel” Roth. Normally the master of disgust BUT I was relieved to see that NOT everything was taken from the original i.e. the unsavoury rape scene.

It is what is. A violent actioner. Willis held his own and carried the film. It killed the time and deliver what I expected.

It wasn’t perfect and the kills were hardly memorable. I still remember Bronson’s newspaper kill (No, he didn’t kill a guy with a newspaper). BUT nowhere near as unmemorable as Wendy Crewson’s psychiatrist or Vincent D’Onofrio as Kersey’s useless (and incredibly annoying) brother-in-law. Nothing more than a meaningless red herring.

You could pick at the fact that if the police were looking for a vigilante in a dark hoodie, you wouldn’t walk into a public nightclub in said garb with pistol in tow. Come on!

BUT despite the muddled politics and mismatched tone, did we really expect this to be anything other a bloody shoot-em-up?

I just wish that cheeky trigger pose didn’t come off so tacky. Sorry, McClane. Charles Bronson, you ain’t.

2.5/5

*NEW* EXPOSED REVIEW *NEW*

exposed

Some secrets are better left buried. A bit like this film, really.

Absolutely bloody dreadful.

A police detective (Keanu Reeves) investigates the truth behind his partner’s death.

A case that unearths disturbing police corruption and a dangerous secret involving an unlikely young woman (Ana de Armas).

Or so the synopsis would lead you to believe. Thank God, Reeves has got John Wick to fall on because this coma-inducing effort would have been a career killer.

If you haven’t heard of this film, then GOOD. You’re one of the lucky ones. If you were thinking of giving it a go, I would strongly advise against it.

Maybe Armas and Reeves shouldn’t work together on a project again. Fool me once, Eli Roth’s horrendous Knock Knock. Fool me twice, this monstrosity.

The opening was creepy enough as Armas loitered around an empty subway. An air of unease uncomfortably set. The Shining-esque tunnels. The strange visions. A shame that momentum couldn’t stick.

I haven’t seen something so dull and disjointed in a long time. I expected a slow burning supernatural thriller BUT was rewarded (I say rewarded) with a questionable mess that never really got going.

The alluring Armas (What?) did her best with the part BUT it just didn’t work. If it wasn’t for the strange dream sequences and that crazy albino woman, I would have switched off from the get go.

What drove Keanu to do this? He was laughable. His stone cold pallor and incessant mumbling did nothing for his character. A disgruntled detective out on the trail to avenge his murdered partner.

His story line felt it should have been in another movie altogether. It ran completely separate to Isabel’s story. They didn’t even cross paths until the very last frame. And by then, you wondered why he was in it in the first place?

It was so boring, cliched and full of plot holes. His investigation consisted of grunting, slapping some people about and getting jiggy with his partner’s grieving widow (Mira Sorvino).

Sorvino (Mimic) was terrible. Her character’s unhinged and volatile behaviour made her extremely unlikeable and really bloody annoying. She brought nothing to the mix.

Big Daddy Kane’s slimy gangster Jonathan ‘Black’ Jones was completely unnecessary. He swaggered around, bumping people off left, right and centre that had nothing to do with Reeve’s investigation or Isabel.

There was a bizarre and surprisingly violent encounter between Jones and Isabel’s brother-in-law. BUT was there any explanation? Any relevance to what was going on? Nope.

And that was the main problem. In terms of story telling, there wasn’t any. Gee Malik Linton just seemed to throw in any old thing, hoping it would stick and make some sort of movie.

Just question after question with no answers. It just got stranger and more disjointed as it slowly crawled (Bearing in mind, it’s only 98 minutes long) to its abysmal finale.

Isabel immaculately conceived a baby. Weird considering her fella was in the army and hadn’t been back on leave in over a year. The whole religious connotation to the Virgin Mary came off so hammy that even her family weren’t buying it!

Reeves’ Galban just slept walk through this film, blurting some school boy Spanish here and there was one scene that had me in stitches . . .

It was supposed to add a bit of depth to the broken man. Drunkenly calling his son late at night just for someone to talk to. Isolated and alone.

BUT what does our hero do after this failed attempt at emotional bonding? He slaps himself repeatedly with the phone, of course. I wish I could find a GIF for it.

And considering the synopsis suggested corruption. I didn’t see any in this film. Christopher MacDonald (Happy Gilmore) was completely wasted in the generic role of Lieutenant Galway. Repeatedly telling Galban to drop the investigation. I really wish he had taken his advice.

The last 10 minutes finally explained those bizarre visions (which did surprise me). I will admit I didn’t see the twist (I say twist) coming.

A twist that ultimately led to a highly unsavoury scene.

BUT once I got that over initial and shocking scene, the film then capsized even further as everything came to a befuddling and dismal ending.

I actually couldn’t care by the time the credits rolled and will spend no more time after this review looking into it.

I urge you to do the same. Awful. AVOID. Unless you really, and I mean REALLY, have nothing better to do.

1.5/5

KNOCK KNOCK REVIEW

knock-knock-uk-poster

Knock, knock? Who’s there? One of the worst films of the year. That’s what.

So what’s it about? A pair of femme fatales (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man (Keanu Reeves).

Woah, this was horrific. For all the wrong reasons. At 99 minutes, this film felt considerably longer. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Roth’s work. At his best, the backpacking travel terror flick Hostel. At his worst, Hostel 2 . . . Or Cabin Fever. Well, I’ve found a new one to add to his worst list.

The opening was painfully slow. I was prepared to let the tension build before the alluring ladies made their introduction. BUT we were subjected to mindless vomit inducing cliched family chatter.

I thought writer/director Eli Roth made the opening as a joke. The exchanges were so corny. After 15 minutes, I was praying for that knock on the door as Reeves chased after kids with cake all over his gob, calling himself the ‘Cake Monster’. Cringe.

When the ladies finally made their appearance, it didn’t really didn’t pick up. A knock at the door. Some unbelievable excuse about a mix up with addresses and the femme fatales were in.

For another 20 minutes, we had to endure Reeves playing an awkward game of musical chairs as the girls flirted and shared “seductive” stories that he ate up. Because hey, why would strangers lie? “Valiantly” turning down their advances and re-iterating that he is a happily married man.

It was just so slow, uninteresting and unsettling. And not even in the creepy sense. It felt like a badly done porno. The vintage music. The awful pick up lines. The bad interior decor. An eclectic collection of trippy looking items. Reeves trying to woo the ladies with his old record player because . . . Well, would you look at that? He used to be a DJ.

All within 45 minutes of waiting for a taxi cab? Really? Things must have been getting desperate as we had to listen to some rubbish from Reeves about drying the moisture out of a damp iPhone with a bowl of rice? Come on.

When the deed finally happened, I thought “Here we go” (No, not like that). The games will begin. Oh no. If anything Izzo and Armas were really annoying. Acting like spoiled high school kids. Throwing pancakes at the wall and messing up the kitchen while refusing to leave.

Childish and even more boring. When things finally took a darker turn and their real motives finally revealed, there was only a slight improvement.

Armas wearing Reeves’ daughter’s school uniform while riding him and barking like a dog made for bizarre viewing. I’m sure Knock Knock was supposed to be a sexy horror. A cross between Misery with Funny Games with a splash of Hard Candy. Well, that was what I was hoping for.

BUT oh no! This was worse than one of Roth’s intentionally bad B-movie grindhouse flicks. There was no suspense and no tension as Reeves’ character spend the rest of the film effing and jeffing while being strapped to a chair.

His character was so stupid and his endless commentary on what the two girls were doing was highly comical. “You’re going to kill me? You ARE going to kill ME?! You came to my house”. Oh, Keanu. How the mighty have fallen!

He just didn’t even try to make an effort to escape. And when he finally mustered the brain cells to try, the girls caught him easily. One particular highlight being in one of the only tense moments in the film; Reeves looks set to break free . . .  Only to trip over something. Face palm.

What sucked was that this was probably one of Keanu’s most liveliest performances in the last decade. He really went for it. It’s a shame that it came off a whole lot laughable than it should have.

Izzo (Roth’s wife. Funny that) and Armas played the parts as well as they could but it felt like something out of Scary Movie than anything else. Misery had suspense and tension. An atmosphere hanging off every scene. And that was with two people.

And to make matters worse, there were only ever going to be two outcomes with a film like this. And both were predictable and terrible. Seriously, in the cinema, most people were laughing or talking among themselves. Uninterested and rightly so.

Knock, knock? Who’s there? Oh, the Keanu Reeves horror flick? Now, that’s a joke.

1.5/5