Never Say Never Again (1983)~ Move Review!

Never Say Never Again blasted onto screens in 1983 and we sat back and let it rot as the black sheep of the franchise. It saw a lawsuit taken to the High Court in England to prevent its production. It is the least known and most under rated Bond movie ever, and I am going to look in more depth at the movie! What a final showdown for Sean Connery.

Released – 1983

Film duration – 2hr

Genre – spy, action, adventure, thriller

IMDB – 6.1/10 & Rotten Tomatoes 70

Starring: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey, Alec McCowen, Edward Fox, Rowan Atkinson.

Song – Never Say Never Again – music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman and performed by Lani Hall.

S.P.E.C.T.R.E has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find the targets before they are detonated.

A remake of the 1965 movie Thunderball (easily a top 3 Bond movie), Never Say Never Again (I won’t I promise), was one of the more mature and laid back Bond movies, but still packed a punch and left its heated mark on the world. 007 is re-activated in this movie and has to find two nuclear warheads in time. It is not made by Eon.

The movie does not have the classic shot down the barrel James Bond introduction, rather, we are introduced to the movie with a background song Never Say Never Again, music by Michel Legrand and performed by Lani Hall. It is a good song and quite memorable, and doesn’t lack a Bond feel, it is simply played out differently, without all the naked women, and instead we get to see Bond break into a complex with armed guards and fight them one by one, eventually revealing it is a training mission.

It is clear that Bond is not much liked despite saving the world multiple times, as he is sent to a health center, after being told, “too many free radicals, that’s your problem, caused by eating too much red meat, white bread, too many martinis!” Bond (Connery) seems to have taken onboard the wit that Roger Moore was employing and using the same sort of accent by responding, “then I shall cut out the white bread, sir.” In this health center or spa, we see a fight unfold, and it happens to be the best part of the movie in terms of both action and humour. I find it hilarious yet really satisfying to watch. Bond and his larger, stronger attacker make their fight way through the kitchens, hallways, bedrooms and laboratory, and we get to see the magnificence of the building itself, being luxurious. Connery has no issues with the humour and seems to revel in it, throwing a sample of his own urine at the attacker stops him, so we think. It is just a good fight sequence, and the setting is perfect. Bond has aged, we see that, but is still very self aware and doesn’t shy from a challenge. It is laid back and so is Bond.

I would argue that Connery as Bond in this movie is actually better than the previous movies. Diamonds are Forever was good, so were the others. But this new one is just laid back and relaxing, we know Bond will win, which makes it satisfying to watch, because it is a struggle for him. Of course, it is because of a man called Maximillian Largo that Bond is attacked. Largo is under the control of Blofeld from Spectre. Brandauer plays the villain extremely well, giving him charisma and ego, and that hidden maniac within that we all fear. He does not have an eye patch like in Thunderball however, and does in fact have a bit more mystery to him. There is also no shark pool in this movie, but there is a lot of sharks further into the movie. The villain doesn’t mind getting close to Bond or letting him on his ship, with his woman Domino, or for that matter even in his casino.

We are introduced in the health center to Fatima Blush (Carrera), who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as the villainess. The woman has personality, hates men, abuses them, and is crazy and works for Spectre, specifically under the orders of Largo. She stands out as strong and not to be messed with, she sort of overshadows the first part until Bond eventually blows her up after an intense bike chase scene, he does that with a screw pen which doesn’t work at first and Bond remarks that it’s “not perfected yet.” The other Bond girl is Domino, who’s air force pilot brother Largo killed. She is always dressed to expose her toned buttocks or breasts and I noticed after rewatching the movie last night, that a lot of camera work is on them. Particularly during a scene when she is being auctioned off and we get to see her bum bouncing up and down on a horse. I am not complaining though, because she acted the part well.

So Bond has been introduced to Largo. It is the scene in the casino which is a real Bond moment. But before I talk about that, Bond has explored an underwater wreck, been surrounded by sharks, and has escaped. Brief overview, but the scene is only a little important. The film includes Felix Lighter and he works quite closely with Bond in this film.

So the casino, Bond turns up, not wielding his spy glasses this time that allow him to see through clothes though, dumps a pistol in an ice bucket (don’t ask why they did this, it makes no sense) and then he proceeds to a unique game with Largo, it is memorable and defines the film. The pair has to use two joysticks to fight for control or to defend the different countries of the world, the loser is given an electric shock. As you can imagine Bond never gives up, after a series of debilitating shocks decides to challenge Largo to the world. Largo loses and it shows Bond that he is “certifiably” , which means Bond is saying that Largo is certifiably insane. I agree, the whole scene is crazy, because what sane minded person get electric shocks for money? Seems like a game designed to control peoples minds more than anything. Anyway, Bond settles for one dance with Domino, which Largo agrees to. We know Bond doesn’t usually take money, probably because he has enough or no use for it.

During the dance, he exposes Largo to Domino, saying Largo killed her brother. It is a large and luxurious ballroom, a bit like the building. This to me is a statement of Bond. He is luxurious, among the elite in this fantasy, but is a killer, a spy. For the most part he has been among the elite and has blended in well. But I couldn’t help find the dance scene slightly amusing, because Bond and Domino are the only ones dancing, and when he is talking to her, it would be impossible for the guests not to hear him due to his proximity to them.

Next memorable scene, and so far the film has demonstrated that Connery is making a final statement, he is the ultimate James Bond, 007. Nobody will ever beat him, and he knows it, or so he appears to show he is the best. It could be that it is not an official Bond movie that makes it so good. Because of the new directors and writing, it has quirks and differences which highlight it as actually being a really good spy action movie. Forget the one liner nonsense, it is passionate and true to the original concepts. The scene where he goes home (safehouse) after the casino still suited, finds his female associate dead, killed by crazy Fatima on orders of Largo. He then cracks then bike open out of site and comes shooting out of the garage. It is a great scene and you can see that later movies that used bikes, made the scenes and action look awfully similar. No Time To Die did nothing but promote the opening sequence on the motorbike, but it was Connery who was jumping over ledges, riding down stairs, and doing insane jumps decades before. The entire scene is fast paced and fantastic to watch. It made me think of a completely different movie with Sean Connery called The Rock and you can find he review here! Overall it is classic Bond, say no more.

We approach the end of the movie and all is not lost. Another sequence involving a horse, similar to The Living Daylights scenes. Bond escapes his capture using a laser watch. This movie does well in regard to using his gadgets, and using many of them. We don’t see that in other movies. He whisks Domino away from the African warlords bidders, across the ruins of the castle and into the ocean. Some versions, and I believe the television people will cut the 8 second clip of the horse falling into the water on its back, because of animal cruelty or something. I suspect the animal was not harmed. They are picked up by Felix and Bond tells that one bomb is under Washington and the other they have to find. The tears of Allah a rather bizarre name for a terrorist operation, way back in the 80s of movies too. No mention of that in the original Thunderball. But nonetheless emphasises that Largo is crazy.

Final showdown in an ancient tomb and a good old fashioned shoot out. It is Domino who shoots Largo underwater. Oh well, fate eh? I think the movie offers a lot in terms of entertainment. I find the rewatch value to be high, meaning that it never becomes boring, and it will not leave you wondering when it will end. I suggest you watch the movie. I have many times. Last night just made me realise how under rated the movie was. Most people don’t even acknowledge the efforts, classing it as a rip off. He is called James Bond 007, it has Q & M, Felix, and spy gadgets, based on Thunderball. It has a theme song. It has spectre and Blofeld. What more do you want? It is a real James Bond movie and Sean Connery’s 7th and final outing. Imagine the fan base finding out that he was returning to the role after 12 years? The title is a clear take from Connery, who remarked after Diamonds are Forever that he would never play the role again. He was in his 50s! Filmed in France, Spain, the Bahamas and Elstree Studios!

On conclusion, the film is one of the better Bond movies. Connery is appealing, talented and imaginative as 007 reprising his role for the final time. The film is full of well timed wit, excellent dialogue and character development, brilliant storylines and script, effective and exciting fight scenes and action and a good production which was a commercial success.

Never Say Never Again

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 star movie.

⭐️Sean Connery – James Bond – Movie Reviews!⭐️

Sean Connery leapt onto the movie screens as James Bond in 1962 movie DR NO. From there Connery went on to become the most recognisable British agent in the world, setting a legend and undefeatable position as the ultimate spy from British MI6. Nobody would ever beat him as 007.

Connery starred as James Bond in Dr No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967). We thought he was done for as George Lazenby graced us with his presence in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

However, Connery made a surprise return in super awesome Diamonds are Forever (1971), appearing slightly aged as he was now in his 40s. However this was the last film Connery would appear in as James Bond. The era that started the Bond franchise, the best movies ever made, the most underrated time for the franchise which later went on to be the biggest in the world. It was huge in the 60s, and thanks to the glorious novels that Ian Fleming gave us, the books provided a solid real grounding and likeable backstory for this icon. Fleming died in 1964 and did not see the success of the series as it was turned to film. He witnessed the beginning though, and probably knew what it would become. The James Bond novels which he wrote are great and I encourage you to read them even if you have seen the movies! He wrote them at his Goldeneye Estate in Jamaica!

Wait, there was a retelling of the story Thunderball in 1983’s movie Never Say Never Again! Sean Connery, despite saying he would never return to the role, came back 12 years after Diamonds are Forever at age 52 to reprise the role he essentially helped to create. Although the movie gets a bad reputation as being a rip off of actual Bond movies, it is in fact a James Bond movie, and a good one. It is enjoyable and thrilling, and Connery does not show any signs of slowing down in it. I do prefer the original Thunderball though, simply because it is the best James Bond ever made (Top 3 at least), but I will come on to that later.

Sean was young, following a brief stint as a bodybuilder he became the ultimate spy, a womanising secret agent who smoked, drank and gambled with no remorse, and he killed people. Who was this cool, laid back, 6 ft dark haired gent with thick accent? It was every mans fantasy, or how they might see themselves. Bond was how many men wanted to be, and at a time of great changes, it is understandable that he was very popular. The 60s movies don’t come across as offensive toward women either, they do objectify women slightly, being Bond’s sex and nothing more. But, many of them are villains, play strong characters and don’t just sit in the background. I think the films are still good, and still acceptable to watch.

The first 3 movies solidified his position and it paved the way for a high standard. Actors had to be in top physical condition and all Bond actors including Daniel Craig have complained at least once about the requirements for the role. I believe actors like Pierce Brosnan jogged on moving trains for the movies, jumping carriage to carriage. Sean Connery had the edge from the beginning, being a bodybuilder. He had that physical strength and in the movies you can see the muscles on his shoulders, particularly in Dr No, when he is captured and put into the cell, wearing a white t-shirt. What came after the first 4 movies was more about the character already being well-established. It gave fans nostalgia of the previous movies, and relied not so much on the original scripting and direction as it did stunts and ‘being cool fighting’.

One scene in You Only Live Twice, when Bond flies Little Nellie, a cool little copter, is a stand out scene. Alongside the jetpack in the opening to Thunderball. Or the scene where Bond swings from a skyscraper in Diamonds are Forever using 2 thin sets of strings. What about in Goldfinger, when Bond is driving his car down the alleyway directly at an oncoming vehicle, only to crash into the wall, and we discover it was a mirror? All memorable and tense moments from a series of movies which will always be the best. I say again, Sean Connery’s movies were the best. Yes, there were other great films to come, some of which are my favourite, but the originals really are special. They are nostalgic, magical, professional and extremely well made. I cannot imagine how excited they must have felt in the 60’s going to see one of these classics at the movie theatres.

My reasoning could go on, but the main winning point being the fantastic scripting, acting, direction, music scores, drama, storytelling, humour and wit and winning production crew making the most fantastic worthwhile movies in history. No expense spared in terms of quality, which is what makes them the best. You see, a fantastic line, delivered in the perfect setting can win a scene more than shooting and action ever could. The 60s was a decade of good movies, period. James Bond being born in that decade is no coincidence. An era of genius film makers and dedicated studios, including Pinewood studios where Eon Productions filmed the movies.

Dr No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thunderball – to demonstrate my point it gets the full 5 stars. This is the high point for Sean Connery and the early Bond movies. You need to watch this to appreciate the scale of both the acting, script writing, direction, and overall production, being one of the best movies ever made, in film in general.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever – not that I don’t think they are great, just to prove that the peak resulted a inevitable decrease which would continue.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Never Say Never Again – the rogue Bond movie of 1983, and aged Connery but nonetheless a gripping retelling of Thunderball. What a hidden gem, and having the original Bond return for the role must have been a brilliant surprise.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We said goodbye to a 90 year old Connery in 2020, but his legacy lived on for many years. He went on to star in so many famous movies after James Bond that to think he played the original is a little surreal. I really am grateful that I have had the joy of his movies since I was a child. Without him as Bond it would not be the same. I don’t want to discredit other actors playing the role, as they all brought unique qualities to the position. For me, Timothy Dalton was brilliant and so was Pierce Brosnan, both for the same reasons, their movies were high tech, multiple gadget action movies which had such thrilling action. I rate The Living Daylights and Goldeneye in my top 10.

It is time to end this post here. Thank you for reading. Which Bond actor is your favourite? Which Sean Connery movie was your favourite? Which Bond movie is your favourite? What do you get nostalgic about?


The Batman: Movie Review!

IMDB – 8.5

Rotten Tomatoes – 85%

Total run time – 2 hours 56 minutes!

Release date – UK 4th March

Director: Matt Reeves


I watched The Batman last night. Got into the cinema and sat down by 7pm. Film started 20 minutes later after a couple adverts, not many. The film ran from that time to about 10:10pm! So, from the beginning of this review, you should know the new Warner Bros. DC movie The Batman is long and it is dark and there is actually more to this than first meets thee eye.

I will highlight firstly that this seems and appears to be a direct continuation of the franchise in that Batman is established and he is not going through any type of renewal. This is a key word in the movie, renewal. He refers to himself at the start of the movie as vengeance. He is also called vengeance throughout by others.

The movie uses a gothic castle as his home! Finally. This is brilliant. The overall aesthetic of the movie is dark and gothic it is brilliant. The architecture being used it old as opposed to new or modern. Even the subway system looks outdated.

It starts with Batman revealing how he operates, how criminals are afraid when they know he may be out in the night, how he fights but cannot tackle every problem. Understandable. Robert Pattinson is also a good look for Batman. He wears black eye makeup a lot of the time, even with the suit on. He is tall and slim. Muscle isn’t really there in one of the scenes where he exposes his torso. I don’t know if anyone else has an issue with this but the suit in the film does give the impression his quite strong and muscularly, although with the suit you can still see that slimness. But he knows how to fight, he uses those skills effectively, being able to take on 5 or 6 fearlessly.

We go to a murder, specifically in this big mansion. It leads us onto the topic of the movie. Why was he killed, who did it and why? We soon learn at the crime scene that there is more to this. It appears there is a card addressed to the batman in which is a riddle. That’s right. The Riddler is back at his sick games. Batman, coupled with commissioner Gordon, is trying to track him down all the while dealing with an elusive and mysterious woman who dresses in black at night, and has lots of cats – catwoman? We never get that information but clearly, she is. Who recalls Halle Berry in that awful 2004 movie? What about Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992 Batman Returns? Zoe Kravitz is now catwoman. And, we get to see the workings of some dark club in which a lot of police, corrupt DA’s have been hanging out.

The club forefront man, is none less than the Penguin. (This movie should have done more with him). But the Penguin, although known, is on the backburner. Played by an unrecognisable Colin Farrell. The club is a mafia run joint. It’s basically a long journey from this point of trying to figure out who the Riddler is couple with trying to expose the corrupt cops. All the while Alfred is hospitalised after an attack and more.

But in terms of character we can see that stories of the past and particularly Bruce Waynes parents death has crept back into the fold, supposedly being some sort of trigger for renewal. I should also mention that at the beginning of the movie, a group of thugs has the face paint of joker. Although it doesn’t have any attention drawn to it, when looking at the Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, it is significant. Even more so when comparing with the death of Bruce Waynes parents. You see movie makers, Warner Brothers and writers should all be familiar with previous films stories. In Joker it is suggested that Thomas Wayne is the Jokers father, and the Jokers uprising is responsible for the death of Bruce Waynes parents. In this film, the Batman, it is suggested that the mafia boss or the Riddler is responsible. At the end of the movie, we see the Joker in Arkham Asylum, so we know throughout the movie that his far reaching affects are still taking place because of the Joker impersonators. This supposed disregard to what the Joker did in the previous movies makes me wonder why they ignored it.

It is all about detective and chase work. The Batmobile makes and appearance as a loud and obnoxious vehicle with huge engine and flaming turbine on the back. It’s small but not quite fast enough. It comes in good use when Batman suspects the Penguin of being an elusive rat with wings that the Riddler is hunting. It is downplayed but the movie operates at a level of genuine sophistication and Batman genuineness. It is true to the character. He is not perfect, he is still not supported 100% by Gotham police department aside from commissioner Gordon. He is still the Dark Knight, just in a more reclusive way. Bruce Wayne is in the negative spotlight throughout as the city want blood for the billionaires corrupt dealings.

This battle is lost and Batman cannot figure out the Riddler’s last clue until it is too late. The city is in jeopardy. It is a laboured love but the movie shows and demonstrates that key element which makes us all love Batman to begin with. He gives the city hope and is a light of positivity. Although the Riddler wasn’t quite as eccentric as Jim Carrey in 1995s Batman Forever, he is still a bad guy and its fun to watch the pursuit.

The run time does seem excessive. It could have been cut down considerably, which I suspect is what already happened. Maybe they could have given us 2 hours 30 minutes? Seems reasonable to say at least 20 minutes of combined footage is not needed, a city shot here or there, or the sound of engines revving.

Congratulations to Robert Pattinson for doing a decent job of making Batman dark, strong and genuinely a force to be reckoned with. Acting is superb. The dark theme, overall gothic tones and a huge amount of visual close up fighting, with little special effects. It is so difficult to rate though.

RATING: 4.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Movie Review!

“Walter Mitty (Stiller) oversees analogue photographic images for Life magazine; he’s an outwardly quiet, sensible man, who carefully manages his income so he can support his widowed mother (Shirley MacLaine) and his sister (Kathryn Hahn). Many of Mitty’s colleagues mock him for being boring but, inside his head, he regularly embarks on fantastical exploits that are invariably intended to win the heart of a more sympathetic colleague, Cheryl (Wiig). However, real life is about to catch up with his fantasies. The search for a missing photographic negative will impel Mitty to set out on an adventure-packed global quest to track down the photo’s elusive photographer (Penn), and also bring him closer to the woman he secretly loves”

Release date: December 2013

Director: Ben Stiller

Run time: 1 hr 54 mins

IMDB: 7.3/10

A lighthearted comedy romance focused on one man and his elaborate and fantasy filled life, soon taking a turn for the better when he is forced to go on a real world adventure. Long gone are the daydreams plaguing Walter, here comes a brave tale of one man who frightfully mirrors a lot of people in the real world, including myself.

He works as a photograph processor for Life magazine, he is kind and visibly shy or quite. He takes his job seriously and has been processing pictures in a series for wild adventurer Shaun who is on the move sending photos to Walter for the magazine. We Can see early on his issues with confidence, he isn’t even confident enough to wink at a woman he likes on his dating site that he uses and he also pays someone to manage his profile for him. It is part comedy, but also given the nature of the way he is disrespected at work, we know he just wants a quite life. He lives in his head, daydreaming of saving people, of making himself a superhero, of doing good. This is to bypass his life in reality, to make it easier, or maybe he can’t help it.

His mother and sister know of this zoning out as Walter calls it. His name has become associated with those who dream of being something they are not, such as fake war heroes which have been referred to as Walter Mittys. The story takes a great turn when somewhat boring Walter is forced to go looking for a missing photograph or get fired by his bully boss. It takes him to Greenland where he takes the decision to then go by helicopter to Iceland, and from there beyond, involving a huge mountain.

We can see that his work is important and he is doing all this for work and it is slightly saddening, but as he continues his adventure, such as a lovely and wonderful skateboard downhill in the most scenic part of the movie, we see him moving from the work to actually enjoying himself. Toward the end of the film, he climbs the mountain, encounters Shaun, by chance, and at that point I knew that work was no in his mind.

The pair sit there waiting for a snow leopard, referred to as a ghost, the pair, Shaun and Walter, take in the moment and Walter realises what matters in life. That the moment there, where the picture isn’t taken, is more important to take a chance to get there and enjoy than to waste it worrying. Nonetheless, he as learned a valuable lesson. He is informed that the missing photograph was already sent to him in a wallet which he discarded. He does not know what the picture is.

After returning home, he hands the picture to his ex boss, even though he was fired, he persevered and completed Shauns work for him. Leaving a legacy at Life magazine despite losing his job. It is a really heart felt ending. As Walter, seemingly closer to the woman he loves, comes to see the picture on the Life magazine. The final photo was of Walter, dedicated to all those at Life magazine. This is such a lovely moment and is so so perfect when considering his old boss didn’t even know the company motto, and Walter in the end had the courage to stand up for what is right. He took the higher ground by giving the photo over, by accepting who he is.

I think this film was under appreciated when I first saw it. I think it is worth it.

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Fast and The Furious: Remembering Paul Walker

The first movie in the franchise, The Fast and The Furious, was released in 2001, 20 years ago. It was a high octane racing thriller and captivated youths all over the modern world. Everybody wanted to be either Vin Diesel or Paul Walker (Dom and Brian). A film that spawned the biggest grossing series in the world, with the first movie ranking in $206,512,310!

What really kickstarted the series was Paul Walker, an undercover FBI agent. See, he’d starred in other movies, but the Fast and the Furious films were what he was and is still known for. First starring alongside Vin Diesel in the first movie, then being the star of the second, and reuniting with Vin for number 4. Film 4 and 5 was where we start to see a competitiveness between the actors to be the lead. Vin had vanished for movie 2 and made a brief appearance at the end of movie 3, Tokyo Drift. The 3rd movie, Tokyo Drift, was never my favourite, I preferred the first 2 movies. At the time though it didn’t matter, you liked it and you were cool, didn’t like and you were living in the past of the first movie.

The movies could arguable be the reason for video games such as Need for Speed: Underground released in 2003, and Need for Speed: Underground 2 released in 2004. Don’t forget Burnout, released in 2001. I played all 3 and I preferred Need for Speed, simply because of the car customisation which was a huge part of the first few Fast and Furious movies. They went from being crime films full of octane chases and races, to more of action thrillers where the cars customisation took the backseat. I still like the movies and for me number 7, Paul Walkers last movie, was my favourite. I still have to see the 9th movie!

So, what happened? Obviously Paul passed away in 2013, after the release of Fast and Furious 6. Making a digital appearance for number 7. It was known that he loved cars in real life as well as being in the Hollywood success series. The 6th movie also introduced Dwayne Johnson, which was a surprise. What was a bigger suprise was that he stayed on in the following movies. Going from antagonist to friend of the group.

See, Paul Walker starred in the first few movies, helping to build up the franchise and make it what it is today. Sadly, not everybody wanted that. He brought to the series a likeable character. Overshadowed by one person and pushed to the back seat a lot of the time, which we start to see in 2009 releases Fast and Furious.

We can’t change the past, but we can appreciate that Walker played the main character, Brian O’Connor in the first movies and added that undercover cop magic. The series grew, so did the income, so it was really not a surprise to see more recognisable faces showing up, like Dwayne Johnson, like Kurt Russel. The excellent spin off movie, still a part of the franchise, Hobbs and Shaw, starring Johnson and Jason Statham! Yes, an epic combination and to be honest, one of the best films I have seen in terms of action and plot. It still retains that Fast and Furious seal of approval, the upgrading of vehicles, the car chases. The crew of the series did well to integrate this spin off. See, Jason Statham, if memory proves correct, made a brief appearance at the end of one of the Fast and Furious movies. I think it was number 7, and then then film ends. So, to bring him back in film 8 (?) been a while since watching, was a good idea. An ideal villain. Anyway the spin off was good.

Back when the franchise was starting Paul and Vin were the only big stars in the movie that people cared about. There was Michelle Rodriguez though, who turned heads. She stayed in the series until film 4, Fast and Furious, in which she was killed and the plot evolved around Dom trying to avenge her. It was a rather emotional entry in the series. But fear not, she magically comes back in a later movie and sticks around. Rodriguez did go on to star in films like Resident Evil.

If the series continues, and no doubt it will, because of the money, then lets hope they go back to a time when the film was about the races, the upgrading of cars, and the neon lights on the streets of Los Angeles. The movies still have cars and fast chases, but the original movies were about racing. They lined up, some women in tight shirts would wave the banner and then they race. There was nitrous, there were crashes, and there was winners and losers. It felt very real. The newer movies don’t feel quite the same.

This has been a remembrance of Paul Walker’s contribution to the franchise, without whom it would not be where it is today. For the sake of clarity, I like the movies.

The Rock : Movie Review!

I thought I had reviewed this classic action movie from the 90s! I am now reviewing it!

Where the heck do I begin with another all time favourite of mine. I absolutely love The Rock, along with Face/Off and Con Air! All 90s action movies starring Nicolas Cage. I recently re-watched them all as they have all just been added to Amazon Prime! $%@& me!

“Hugely improbable and hugely entertaining action thriller about a mild-mannered scientist (Nicolas Cage) and a hardened ex-con (Sean Connery) who join Navy SEALs in an attempt to retake Alcatraz from terrorists.”

Release date: 1996 (United States)

Director: Michael Bay

Gross revenue: $335.10 million

Run time: 2 hours 16 minutes (finished about 2 hours 5 minutes)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

A blockbuster movie set in the heart of San Francisco on the infamous ex prison island Alcatraz. The Rock is one of the most well known movies to be set on this island, and the movie and the plot, the acting, action scenes and generally overall theme including music, lighting, tension and drama are enough to make this one of the greatest movies of all time. The other movie set on Alcatraz which I really find amazing is the Clint Eastwood movie Escape from Alcatraz. (https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/alcatraz-escape).

Let us begin. We are introduce immediately to a rogue unit of military men who are seemingly breaking into a secure facility and stealing some potent vx poison gas rockets. They are doing this so that they can get some type of compensation for the fallen men of the military who have gone without a proper military burial and whose families have been left with nothing. This is quite true and unfortunately is still happening, the sad reality is that many courageous men, women and young people are giving their lives for their countries and are being disgraced by a government who won’t acknowledge them. This film takes that to the extreme, although cases of rogue soldiers and hostage situations are real and are happening as we speak.

Enter Stanley Goodspeed (an FBI chemical weapons specialist with a love of the Beatles and other classic music, note a reference to Elton John’s Rocket Man later on toward the end of the movie). He has been prepping for this moment throughout his career, and is thrust from the lab to the frontline by the FBI and the USA government to assist a cutting edge marine core unit who are assigned with entering Alcatraz, and disabling the vx poison gas rockets. Little does he know that the FBI is also seeking the help of John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), an ex Alcatraz inmate who previously escaped and knows the ins and outs of the island and is therefore the best person to assist the team. Mason has a history of being trained by British intelligence and knows a shed load of state secrets, and was held without trial for most of his life until he gave up intelligence that he had.

Goodspeed (God Speed) is soon getting acquainted with Mason in San Francisco as he is being lied to in order to assist the FBI. All the while Frank Hummel is leading the rogue soldiers on Alcatraz with Tom Baxter and giving the government 17 hours to pay up. Mason is cleaned up in a nice hotel and I must say this is the start of one hell of a big action sequence involving a car chase. Mason escapes said hotel after distracting the FBI agents by ordering room service (LOL) and is soon hijacking a Hummer and flooring it across that all so famous San Francisco landscape. Stanley Goodspeed, out of some kind of responsibility to do the right thing, and being aware of the serious threat from Alcatraz and the poison, is soon pursuing Mason in a yellow Ferrari. It’s literally all down hill and carnage and mayhem ensue as the FBI and police are in hot pursuit. They can’t exactly arrest Mason since they requested his help in the first place!

Mason ends up evading the law for a brief while to visit his daughter. Goodspeed however is still following and informs them of the location. I guess we can imagine how hard Mason had it being locked up away from his daughter for years, and Goodspeed does the honorable thing when the law turns up and tells Mason’s daugther that he is assisting with an important FBI matter. It’s got the humour in this movie that I love, as soon as Mason’s daughter has gone, Goodspeed is soon grilling Mason on his pain from the car chase.

It’s time for the team to start moving into Alcatraz. Informed of the mission. Mason soon learns Goodspeed is in fact a chemical weapons expert and remarks that he was lying about being a field agent, and that he shouldn’t get them fucking killed. Good writing. It’s an underwater start to enter the island. With an ex con to guide the team and Goodspeed to assist, things go wrong fairly quick. The rogue militants on the island have booby trapped every entrance and after triggering a sphere alarm system, whist trying to enter the bathroom/shower room of the island, the elite navy seal team are now at the mercy of the mercenaries. It’s a brutal massacre of every member of the team except Mason and Goodspeed, and from that point on, there is a cat and mouse pursuit and Hummel knows of their presence, yet cannot find them.

It is only when Mason tries to leave that Goodspeed is forced to explain the situation to Mason. Disappointed with the news and fearful for his daughter, Mason, maybe out of a some sort of moral righteousness, decides to stay and help. Given that it is over 2km back to shore, realistically how could he get back without being caught? Things are tense, things are dark and wet and the duo, although chalk and cheese, do make a good team. Acting is great and the pair have a chemistry that I found echoed that in Cages other movies like Con Air and Face/Off. It is not often that such pairings are found in modern movies, save for The Fast and the Furious. Although The Rock in an action movie, it is I believe about working together and forming friends for the greater good. So although they may not like each other, and this is evident to an extent, the two have to work together to defeat a threat greater than themselves. Without this cooperation, neither could survive.

Although the marines are determined to kill the innocent citizens of the city and are holding 81 hostages, they have a plan, and they expect that plan to be executed. So, when Mason and Goodspeed interrupt this plan, it starts to reveal cracks in General Hummels moral mindset. Mason understands that such a man would not kill the innocent, but Goodspeed is unsure. The marines themselves have doubts. Soon the pair are killing off the marines, derailing the plan and having an awesome shoot out in some old mine in the belly of Alcatraz. The vx gas rockets guidance chips are being destroyed and Hummel, short on time, is pressure to fire. He decides to launch, and at the last moment stops the rocket confirming that Mason was right about him. This leaves one rocket left, and plenty of crazy marines. It is also the time when Mason and Goodspeed witness the general being killed by his men as they attempt to overthrow him.

Left with no choice, the remaining marines are determined to launch the final rocket and our duo heroes are still battling to stop the rocket. Unfortunately due to the previous vx poison gas rocket launch, the president has now authorised a bombing strike on the island. Cage is fighting to disarm the rocket and counting down to the moment the jets are dropping bomb on him, it is pure anxiety. We want the hero to succeed and we want the world to be safer.

Cage disarms the rocket, and is blown into the water, Mason saves him. This is our ending, an unlikely pair who happen to save 81 hostages, after what seems to be a massive glorious action movie. All of this takes place within an hour in movie time, yet it feels like more, this is clever movie making. The crammed action does not give you chance for breath. There is not a dull moment. A bittersweet ending sees Mason leave and Goodspeed off with his wife and future child.

We all love that sort of feeling. A story worth telling, a movie worth watching, a feeling worth having.

This film made my childhood along with other Cage action classics. You have to watch this if you haven’t.

Rating : 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Face/Off – Movie Review!

Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who has boarded a plane in Los Angeles. After the plane crashes and Troy is severely injured, possibly dead, Archer undergoes surgery to remove his face and replace it with Troy’s. As Archer tries to use his disguise to elicit information about a bomb from Troy’s brother, Troy awakes from a coma and forces the doctor who performed the surgery to give him Archer’s face.”

Ranking 7.2 on IMDB and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes!

Face/Off, one of Nicolas Cage biggest 90s movies. They magical days of Cages career in a 90s decade which saw him in blockbusters movies like Con Air, The Rock, Face/Off, Snake Eyes, 8mm, Kiss of Death, Leaving Las Vegas and City of Angels among others.

Run time : 2 hours 18 mins

Director: John Woo

Genre : Action

Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Travolta

Trailer for 1997 Face/off

This is one of the greatest movies ever made, one of my all time favourites and one of Nicolas Cage and John Travolta best movies. It has all the material for a blockbuster action film, including guns fights, fist fights, terrorism, gangsters, crazy protagonists and more than enough likeable characters.

The highlight of this movie is the acting, really superb, surpassing many movies that either actor did after the year 2000. The movie starts with deluded terrorist Castor Troy being apprehended by FBI agent Sean Archer after many years of pursuing him following the murder of Archers son. It has all seemingly been settled, until they discover a bomb will go off and the FBI induct Archer into a top secret program to remove his face and replace it with Castor Troy who is currently in a coma, or so they think. After receiving Troys face, Archer is brought to a secret prison, where inmates are forced to wear metallic magnetic boots which they cannot take off. It is a sadistic prison and Archer, wearing Castors face, has to not only blend in but convince others he is who he says he is, including the terrorists brother, who has doubts.

Not long after extracting the information on the bombs location, Archer is ready to be removed from the prison, however, Troy has escaped, and killed the only people who know about the operation. This is also one of the points I did not understand, surely more than 2 people would know about this, but it addsto the tension and the fear. When Archer is visited in prison by Troy, wearing Archers face, both him and the audience will feel their hearts drop. I know I did, because it really is quite a scary moment in movie history, and the worst part is that these sorts of things are possible.

But this is where the magic happens, as Archer is breaking down, and Castor is reveling in his new found FBI career and new found wife and daughter, we see an incredible transformation in acting and I really believe they studied each other well. As Troy is living with Archers family, the first time I watched this movie, and still to this day, I was surprised that he did not hurt the wife or daugther, physically or sexually. I think it shows a different part of the bad guy, and also shows up how crazy he really is. He even tells the FBI where the bomb is to become an American hero, and free his brother at the same time.

See the source image
Sean Archer as criminal Castor Troy in prison.

I suppose it can be a little confusing when talking about it, but when you watch it I cannot imagine anyone struggling to understand, although when I first watched it I found it slightly difficult to grasp that they were the opposite person because again, the scenes, acting and storyline were convincing.

Of course, what would a 90s action movie be without action. It has plenty of guns fights, plenty of antagonist and protagonist chases and plenty of tensions. Soon, Archer has escaped the prison and brings the fight to the city where he encounters some of Troys well known friends. He also discovers that Troy has a girlfriend of sorts and a son. See, Archer is a FBI agent who caught this major criminal, and he still retains that goodness throughout as he doesn’t actually kill anyone, tries not to, by shooting to the side and maybe disarming. This is important as it shows a clear difference between the real Troy and Archer, yet, nobody knows, and this is blending. He has successfully blended with the criminal world and convinced them that he is still that bad guy. Back to Troys son, Archer does in a sense lie to the mother by saying that he will keep the son safe. This is sort of true, but if he really was Castor Troy it would be lies. At the end of the movie, Archer takes in the son, seemingly to replace his own deceased son Mike.

Before the finale, we have this tens church scene with Troy and Archer. It leads to a gun fight, and a boat chase. One of the most memorable and brilliant endings in any movie, up there with The Rock. It also kept me on edge, as Archer has now convinced his wife, but not his daughter, that he is wearing the bad guys face. This naturally leads to the FBI coming in, with this information and helping, at the end once Archer shoots Troy with a spear. A gruesome death.

I feel like the ending is bittersweet and I never want the movie to end. But of course it does, and it just always feels like a massive action adventure with enough heart and goodness that one can enjoy for many years.

I watched this on Amazon Prime the other day as it was recently added. I had not seen it for years so when it popped up I thought, that is a paid movie or a mistake. They never have movies like this on streaming, probably because it is actually good.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes action, Nicolas cage or just good 90s movies.

Rating; 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Zombie for Sale: Movie Review!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9765144/

Run time: 1hr 52

‘When a pharmaceutical company’s illegal experiments inadvertently create a zombie, the strange Park family finds it and tries to profit from it.’

Wow, the south Koreans have done it again with an awesomely terrifying, and this time, hilarious zombie comedy! From a country that has pumped out really imaginative and innovative zombies movies that frightened the life out of me, like #Alive on Netflix and Train to Busan (and the 2nd movie, Peninsula) comes something of a fairly creative yet effective take on the zombie genre. It has all the aesthetic one could want, huge Romero and Shaun of the Dead vibes, and decidedly knows how it is going to play out. It’s half comedy, half horror, by the time the scary dead arrive you’ll be fairly connected to the cast of characters.

Meet the Odd family. They run a small gas station, which I think provides a fantastic set piece, among the acres of hills and mountains that surround them and the small town where the dead take over. It all starts with a zombie, that zombie happens to be a lone wandered and nobody knows what he is until suddenly, after failing to kill him, this Odd family take him in, let their own father be bitten, and then turn it into a business. A zombie that eats lettuce by the way and is semi aware. That’s what they were into before, scamming people by setting traps to cause damage to vehicles. Now, they want to bite you and give you the thrill for a fee. Absolutely absurd, stupid idiotic and silly!

That’s what I love about this movie, it’s silly. Silly humour, yet manages to pull of the seriousness of the situation with comedy perfectly. I can’t count how many times I laughed, because say someone sets off fireworks at a gas station to distract the zombies, or the fact the family are so disjointed at times it is hilarious.

Of all the things in this movie, the way it took the focus off the negative and focused on the positive was a big plus. I enjoy movies that have an arc that ends upbeat. After we see the father biting people for money it is not long before the entire population is zombified and back for flesh. The father vanishes, returning at the end of the movie supposedly immune, he came back in Hawaiian shirt and hat. Yes, there is the immune survivors.

Considering this is a foreign movie I expected it to be of lower quality. This is most certainly not the case as I mentioned above, south Koreans really do a great job of zombies. They know have to choreograph and use their artistic and directive skills to make them realistic whilst providing what I consider to be some of the better stories in recent zombie movie. Flashback to Shaun of the Dead – original and groundbreaking, a huge smash hit in the UK. 28 days Later – another groundbreaking and terrifyingly memorable experience. Heck even Zombieland took things to a new level!

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Maybe not a Hawaiian shirt, but certainly seems to have come back from their? The man on the end is very similar to Glenn from the Walking Dead when at the prison, when he wore the riot gear.

The difference is that foreign movies and western movies from rich countries is that people automatically, I believe, place them in the category of inferiority. They shouldn’t. Maybe I’ve just got lucky that these foreign movies are about zombies which is my favourite genre.

Back to the movie. Some poor lady is pregnant during it! Yes, it is complicated. But all has a happy ending. The ending takes things to a familiar place, even though the film was released in 2019. The immune father, and the others, take a fortified campervan and begin to bite the zombies to reverse the illness and cure them. Ironic circle there. The camper is covered in writing such as ‘vaccination’ and the cause of the original zombie was that he escaped from a pharmaceutical lab with human experimentation. It was slightly uncomfortable to draw those connections but oh well, it’s not like anybody really cares.

This movie is also by Arrow Films! I didn’t realise they still made original stuff! It develops slowly and at a suitable rate, some films are slow and boring, however it held my interest and the location is quite eye pleasing. When things pick up, it becomes slightly scary but not terrifying which I believe makes this great. The comedy aspect helps to keep this watchable although there was a few moments when I felt like I could not watch.

I recommend someone to spend 1 hour 50 minutes watching this well thought out laugh fest, full of silly humour and a story about family and life. I had to use subtitles but not an issue. I also found this on Amazon Prime by mistake, but there are no mistakes, just happy accidents.

Rest in peace.

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Anna and the Apocalypse! Movie Review

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6433880/

A cracking zombie comedy apocalypse musical! Among the funnier zombie movies over the last 20 years. Up there with the likes of Shaun of the Dead! Great British musical, with talented cast and effective cinematography. You want to watch this in the festive season, it puts you right in the mood.

Young British schoolgirl. Anna. A group of friends. A high school party. A zombie invasion. The music starts and you get singing. Really not what I expected. I was really glad that someone had the initiative to make a zombie musical, because it really works well. British cast make this even more special. Helps to make it feel like Christmas. I would also say it is similar to the video game Dead Rising 4, set during the holidays at the Willamette mall.

What this movie seems to pull off so well is the essence or theme and feel of close friends battling for their lives. I really enjoyed the scene at the bowling alley because it has an awesome set piece, with great lighting and just the right amount of comedy and singing to make it mega fun. Rated at 15, this movie is probably okay for children. Maybe I was an outcast, but when I watched Shaun of the Dead on its release I was not 15. The ratings board will always be there to protect the children from something that they see regularly on gaming consoles because their parents bought them it, or on billboards or in the street. Movies are the last thing to affect children. Anyway, 15 is more of a marker of a target audience.

What will a zombie comedy be without poor use of weapons and a bunch of egoist teens? Probably boring. The film had a run time of 1 hour 30 mins approx.

Not much else to say other than it is not too late to watch this movie. Watch it in April.

Forgot to add the rating! 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Oliver! – British Classics

Released in 1968, set in 1830s London and one of the most loved British musicals ever to grace the screens, this gem is always going to have a special place in cinematography.

Amongst one of the longer movies of the 20th Century, musical movies that is, and among the most popular, comes a tale of a young so called orphan, Oliver! Dragged from the workhouse for boys to the coffin filled rooms of the not so nice mortician, Oliver soon finds an escape after a dark start to the film, and makes his way to the big city, London!

One of the highlights of this movie is the set design. I really enjoy that because every set, dress costume and just aesthetic feel like the 1800’s, if I knew what it was like to be alive then. I praise the movies historical accuracy, especially one of the core themes, the difference between the rich and the poor. Oliver is soon embarking into the life of crime with Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and Fagin (Ron Moody), skillfully directed by Carol Reed. Of course, what crime life isn’t complete without a bad guy, true bad man Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) is one of modern films more harrowing villains.

All of this is accumulating rather quickly, Oliver is learning the ropes of pick pocketing. Only when a first job goes wrong, and he is being chased by police… soon in Magistrates… soon in the home of the very gentlemen he was accused of robbing. All of this is turning the tables, we expect this poor boy, an orphan will not fit in. In fact this act of kindness really helped us to empathize with Oliver more. He’s come a long way, and the trouble is still brewing. Bill Sikes don’t like the sound of Oliver living among the rich, especially since the risk of being grassed on is so high.

But we know that Oliver is good, enjoying his new life. A lot of song and dance really cast hope for him. Only later will we know that the rich gentlemens niece, by the miraculous miracle of movie magic, is Oliver’s mother. So it is claimed, the truth is that this is never proven. But hope can and will. You get into the film, really into each scene and I don’t like it when I know it will end, but it must.

Oliver has his final showdown with Bill Sikes. Fagin and the boys are just business criminals and nothing more or less, they never cared for Oliver. Of course, it takes the sacrifice of Sikes girlfriend Nancy to save Oliver from the clutches of the evil. But she does not succeed, instead meeting her demise at his hands. Such metaphorical and allegorical plays here, a movie within a movie. The good and evil battle rages on.

It’s a classic and it’s worth watching. A journey of struggle and reward. Much to be liked and much to be remembered. Did I mention set design? Choreography? Acting? Brilliant.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 stars, because it’s hard to find a movie like this anymore.