FlixChatter Review: Death Wish (2018)

I hate using the word “guilty pleasure” when talking about films that I enjoy but I think the old Charles Bronson‘s Death Wish films are definitely my guilty pleasures. Of course, with Hollywood pretty much refusing to make any films that resemble any kind of originality, a remake of the 1974 film was inevitable. The remake was originally going to star and be directed by Sly Stallone, but he left for creative differences. Then Joe Carnahan took over the project but left because he didn’t agree with the studio’s choice of casting Bruce Willis as the lead. The project somehow landed in the hands of, of all people, Eli Roth, whose previous films were all torture porn.

Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is living the good life, he’s got a great job, a big house that he shares with his beautiful wife Lucy (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone). One night while he’s away at work, thieves broke into his house, murdered his wife and left his daughter in a coma. Kersey’s world has now been turned upside down and when the authority couldn’t find his wife’s killers, he decided to turn into a vigilante. I think most movie goers are familiar with either the original film or this kind of story, it’s been told several times before and unfortunately there’s nothing new here in the remake.

Joe Carnahan gets the full credit for the screenplay but apparently Roth and another writer rewrote much of what Carnahan wrote but the screen writers guild gave all the credits to Carnahan. He probably wish his name doesn’t appear in the credits because the story is quite generic. I’ve never read the novel that it’s based on so I don’t know how close it is to the source material.

I’m not a fan of Roth’s work, I don’t find his kind of horror films entertaining. I was skeptical about him doing an action picture and fortunately he did an okay job. He didn’t try to make it into a dark and serious action picture. But he never elevated the material to anything special either, the only thing he added was the extra gore during the action scenes. Also, I don’t think he really knows what kind of picture he wanted to make. Does he support vigilantism or is he against it? A lot of scenes sort of contradict each other.

The performances by the actors were fine, I think Willis tried to add some depth to his character but it didn’t really work. He’s kind of flat on many scenes. His character started out as someone who tried to avoid conflicts but he became John McClane once he lost his family. The only shining performance was Vincent D’Onofrio who played the brother of Kersey and the voice of reason in the story. All of the supporting actors were pretty generic.

At a time where gun control talks are dividing people in this country, this film doesn’t really need to be made. To be fair though, the film was finished way before the mass shootings that happened within the last few months here in the States. For the people don’t like gun violence, you best to stay away from this film. But anyone who like trashy B-action films, then you might enjoy it.


So have you seen Death Wish? Well, what did you think?

Weekend Roundup: Cabin in the Woods + Fast & Furious 6

I ended up venturing out of my comfort zone a couple of times this Memorial Weekend. Thankfully neither one is disappointing. On Friday night, we were debating between three movies, as you can see in my tweet below.

Well, it came down to Cabin in the Woods as I’ve been curious about it for a while and the fact that Joss Whedon’s produced and wrote it sounds like it’s worth seeing. This is not so much of a review, but more of my reaction and overall thoughts of the movies. Here goes:



Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Now, I don’t watch barely any horror movies, but even so, the storyline seems pretty cliché. But from the trailer and even the poster, I had an inkling that there’s more than meets the eye here and sure enough it was. I think a lot of people have seen this movie by now as it was quite a hit a couple of years ago, but I’m still going to give a warning in case some haven’t seen it.

[SPOILER ALERT – keep reading at your own risk!]

Right from the start, you could pretty much guess just what is this cabin about. You see people in some kind of scientific facility, going into a control room with a bunch of TV monitors and what do you see no them? The cabin of course! Boy, that realization immediately made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the goblins haven’t even showed up yet!

Trust me, even the scariest cabin you’ve been on, even those that’s supposedly haunted or whatever, is nowhere near as terrifying as this one. And that is because the whole thing has been rigged. Before you know it, one by one starts getting attacked, though at first I was under the impression that this whole thing is some kind of game, like a much sicker and deadly version of SURVIVOR where each had to do something drastic [kill each other] to survive or something.


Well, I’ll tell you that my reaction to the film kind of fluctuates as it progresses. Sure there are truly scary parts here, albeit some are run-of-the-mill horror stuff where people gather in a spooky basement even if they know they shouldn’t be there, reading and touching stuff they know better not to. But somehow, I kept thinking that the whole thing is human-controlled, which made it somehow less scary to me, and made me ten times more curious just WHO is behind this stuff.

The acting is not much to write home about, apart from the amusing roles of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford as the two main controllers. I haven’t seen them playing such jerks, ahah, but they’re quite convincing. Mr. Thor Chris Hemsworth is the only one I know from the rest of the cast, but there’s nothing extraordinary about the five college kids.

As far as the plot goes, I have to admit it’s pretty creative. So apparently the whole scenario at the cabin is part of an ancient ritual sacrifice that’s happening all over the world. There are footage shown at other facilities and there’s some kind of competitive nature between the various locations.

Now, here’s one main beef I have with this movie:

Just why in the world is a control room with a big red button that says ‘PURGE SYSTEM’ where two of the characters got into is NOT guarded as well as it should’ve been? I mean, if you’ve seen this movie, you know just how crucial and critical that the BIG RED BUTTON does NOT get pushed, whether by accident or not. It’s akin to a button that launches nuclear warheads being aimed at our own neighborhoods, no? Except that this sounds like a far more terrifying way to die than being nuked!!

If THIS is what's gonna happen w/ one button being pushed, wouldn't there be EXTRA security to guard the darn thing?!
If THIS is what’s gonna happen w/ one button being pushed, wouldn’t there be EXTRA security to guard the darn thing?!

Another thing that sort of bothered me after the movie is how my expectations about the plot doesn’t quite aligned with what actually transpires on screen. The whole time I was watching this, I was under the impression that ALL the monsters had been man-made somehow. That the people in labs all over the world created those creatures as killing instruments, and they have a system to trap unsuspecting victims that’d become the ‘stars’ of their shows, for a lack of a better word. So the main purpose of this whole ‘game’ is motivated by greed or fierce competition (where the facility that produce the most killings the fastest win). So when that Purge System button got pushed releasing the creatures from their confinements, the people lost control of their own monster creations, and they’re running rampant killing everybody as they’re basically built as killing machines. I feel like it’d be far more sinister when humans actually create those monsters that end up being the root of their own demise.  Anybody else feels this way, or am I the only one??

Still, the idea of mixing supernatural things with technology – and the idea that people could actually contain ALL of those goblins and demons and confine them into elevators – is pretty imaginative. I could see why this movie was a hit with the critics (92% on Rotten Tomatoes for a horror flick is impressive!) Director and co-writer Drew Goddard thew plenty of humor thrown in as well to lighten the mood, though it certainly has plenty of blood and gore as well to please horror fans. Again this is NOT my genre, but I do appreciate the unusual storyline and overall it’s pretty entertaining.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels



Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all.

So, another movie that’s not exactly my cup of tea. I’ve got to admit the high rating from critics and audiences alike got me curious about this one. No, I didn’t bother watching the other five movies in this franchise as I don’t think I’d be at a loss in regards to the story, and I was right.

All I had to do was go to the IMDb page for this movie and after about five minutes, I got enough ‘history’ of Dom and his ‘family.’ Interesting that his name is Dom (short for Dominic), is it to suggest he’s like the Don in a racer ‘mafia’ or something?? [shrug] In any case, so basically Dom (Vin Diesel, still clad in his favorite wife-beater) and his BFF Brian (Paul Walker, the pretty blond former LAPD) was involved in a Rio heist the last time around which toppled some kingpin’s empire and thus left their crew with about $100 mil. The crew are now scattered all over the globe since their run-in with the law, unable to return home. But then Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson w/ the perfect moniker The Samoan Thor) shows up in his posh villa in Spain offers him a chance at redemption in return for his help to catch a ruthless criminal Shaw (Luke Evans). Apparently one of the catch Hobbs threw at Dom was a photo of his lost love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who’s supposedly been killed. So the chance of finding Letty again PLUS getting a full pardon for his entire crew turns out to be an offer he can’t refuse.


As this is the first time I encountered Dom’s crew, I’m most entertained by Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) who’re constantly bickering. They’re the comic relief of sort and I love that they’re not above making fun of their whole group. The women are pretty much the killer eye candy, not quite a femme-fatale but at least not the ‘damsel in distress’ type. There are endless fight scenes between Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez, but then again what else is Gina to do, we all know acting nor emoting is not her strong suit. The rest of the guys are pretty much only rehashing what they’ve been doing in the last five movies (except for Dwayne Johnson who’s only joined the franchise in the previous sequel Fast Five). The two main players Diesel and Walker are the least interesting people in the whole bunch. Yes I know the rest of the group aren’t exactly magnetic either, but still, those two are pretty dull indeed.

But hey, you go see this movie not really for the stunts and well, Taiwanese director Justin Lin delivers the goods big time with the most ridiculous car chases from start to finish. Seems as if the filmmakers go out of their way to create some extra outrageous stunts, which is ludicrous even by Michael Bay standards. Case in point: two people from two opposite vehicles jumping across a bridge with cars on the highway going 100 MPH, then somehow manage to catch each other midair and landing on the hood of a running vehicle and come away absolutely unscathed. I mean, come on!! The funny thing is, the very same characters were discussing just a few scenes ago about how they got their scars from doing relatively ‘safer’ stunt than this one they pulled off here!! If you’ve seen the latest official trailer, you’ll know exactly which scene I’m referring to.

Trust me, this is nowhere near as ludicrous as what’s about to happen next

Luke Evans as the villain Shaw started out quite promising. The Welsh actor is hunky with tons of sex appeal and screen charisma to boot (hence he’s one of my choices to play 007), but I feel like his role is underwritten. He appears cool but lacks menace as there’s not much substance to his character. Plus the ending is rather anti-climactic despite such a bombastic action sequence. Oh, it was fun to see an Indonesian actor Joe Taslim (The Raid) displaying his kick-ass fighting skills as one of Shaw’s minions, though I’m still baffled as to why he was speaking Indonesian at one point in the movie, ahah.

Well overall this movie was worth the price of a matinee showing. It’s still a heck of a lot better than Die Hard 5 and according to my hubby who had to endure the G.I. Joe sequel, it’s a hundred times better than that one, ahah. I’m not about to check out the other five movies prior to this, but you know what, I just might give Fast 7 a shot. Yes, with $310 mil worldwide gross so far, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the end of this franchise any time soon!

3 out of 5 reels

What are your thoughts on these movies? I’m especially curious to hear what you think of my reaction to The Cabin in the Woods Let me know in the comments!

The Flix List: 80s & 90s action flicks that are so bad they’re good

Well, just yesterday SONY announced the Roland Emmerich’s version of the White House action flick, currently titled White House Down, from November 2 to June 28, 2013. Now, instead of the Snow White movie battles we saw this year, it’s battles on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course you already know I’d rather watch Olympus Has Fallen in a million years, I mean Channing Tatum vs. Gerry Butler?? I think the choice is clear.

Well, in ‘honor’ of Emmerich, the godfather of ‘action flicks that are so bad they’re good,’ my pal Ted comes up with his favorite list from that very special genre 😀


If you’ve read some of my articles on this site then you know that I love action films. I’ve been watching this genre since a very young age and I still can’t get enough of 90sthem. Sure action films are easy target for critics and audiences alike to trash and yes most of them are pretty mediocre; but I enjoyed them anyway. Since we’re well into the second half of the Summer movie season, Hollywood have unloaded many of the big action films into multiplexes. While some are great (The Dark Knight Rises), some turned out to be a dud (I’m looking at you, Total Recall remake).

For this article I want to list some of the action films that I thought were sooo bad yet I can’t resist watching them when they’re on TV. Heck I even own some of them on DVD/BD. Of course I could just list films of Arnold, Stallone, Van Damme, Norris and Seagal and this list would be complete. But I’m not taking the easy route, instead I’ll list the very bad ones that I somehow love to watch again and again; now some of these films are well known while some aren’t. Again I want to reiterate that these films are bad, so don’t blame me for wasting your time if you decide to watch any of them. So here they are:

1. Blind Fury (1989)

This western modern day take on the Zatoichi film series from Japan starred Rutger Hauer as the blind swordsman who’s also a Vietnam War veteran named Nick Parker. The film starts out with Parker getting wounded and losing his sight during a battle in the war and is rescued by the local villagers in the jungle. The film didn’t specify where he was but I assume it was somewhere in the deep jungle of Vietnam. Then we see a montage of the villagers teaching him how to use the sword and live as blind man; it’s a silly sequence but it sets up the story.

Then fast forward a few years later we see Parker now living in the States and looking for his friend from the war. Unfortunately this friend is in a big trouble with the mob. While visiting his friend’s house, the mob henchmen were also there to kidnap his friend’s wife and son. Parker intervened and for the rest of the film, he’s trying to keep his friend’s son safe from the mobster’s henchmen. The film was directed by Phillip Noyce, who was still new in Hollywood but made a name for himself by directing two of the Jack Ryan films, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger a few years later. I like his direction but he didn’t have much to work with because the script was so badly-written.

The reason why I enjoyed this film was mostly because of Hauer’s performance, he apparently trained for a month with a real blind swordsman to prepare for this role and some of the action sequences were well-staged. I especially love the climax sword battle between Hauer and Sho Kosugi; if you don’t know who Kosugi is, look him up on IMDb, he’s one bad ass dude.

2. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

This was one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen and yet I truly enjoyed it. Believe it or not, the producers thought the film would be a big hit and they even prepped a sequel for it. Unfortunately the film was so badly-directed and written that it didn’t make a lick of sense, so it tanked at the box office and the production company who financed it went bankrupt.

The film does have a cult following and in early 2000s, there were talks of turning it into a TV series but it never materializes. I actually would love to see a remake of this film; someone like Tim Burton can make it into a fun sci-fi action/adventure. [related article: Five franchise hopefuls that fail to catch on]

3. Terminal Velocity (1994)

This was one of the two films that have a professional skydiver as a main character, the other was Drop Zone, which was also a bad film but didn’t make my list. The film starred Charlie Sheen as a professional skydiver who gets mixed up with Russian spies and ended up saving the world from another big war, yeah I know it sounds very silly and it was. Apparently the script was written for Tom Cruise but he was apparently smart enough to pass on the project. Everything in this film was bad, from directing, acting, editing and writing. Even though the film has a budget of $50mil — pretty big for its time — it looked like it cost $5mil or less. Seriously, the cinematography of this movie was so bad you’d think it was shot by some amateur filmmakers.

What so surprising to me was that the cinematographer was Oliver Wood, who a couple of years earlier shot Die Hard 2, which looked great and later in his career he shot some really great looking films such as Face/Off, The Bourne Trilogy and Switchback. I think the blame is solely on the film’s director, Deran Sarafian, who after this film’s failure at the box office, has been directing made-for-TV movies or TV shows ever since.

With all that said, I still enjoyed the heck out of this movie. It has some good action set pieces, such as the sequence where a sports car’s falling out of a plane and our hero has to save the pretty girl from falling to her death. This was one of the rare PG-13 action films of the 90s, it’s weird saying it now since 95% of today’s action films are PG-13; so there was only one shootout sequence in the entire film. Also, James Gandolfini looked like he had a lot of fun playing his role and I thought he was great in it. The film is finally available on Blu-ray and you can get one for a cheap low price of $5 at Best Buy or Amazon. Just a warning though, the HD transfer is awful, it looks like an up-converted DVD picture; but the loss-less surround sound is pretty good.

4. Ricochet (1991)

This was one of the early action films for Denzel Washington, it seems now all he does are action films. It has a pretty good setup, a rookie cop named Nick Styles (Washington) who has huge ambitions of climbing up the latter in the legal world, busted a criminal named Earl Blake (John Lithgow),  who’s also wants to climb up the latter in his field, which is crime. Blake got sent to prison for life and while sitting in jail, he’s also planning a revenge on Styles. We fast forward a few years where Styles is now a family man and an Assistant DA. One night Blake broke out of prison and for the rest of the movie he basically made Styles life a living hell. The performances by Washington and Lithgow were great, they took their respective roles quite seriously, but the plot was so ridiculous and over the top, you can’t help but laugh at it.

Even though it was produced by Joel Silver, who was on top of his game when it comes to big action films at the time, he’d just produced Die Hard 1 & 2, Lethal Weapon 1 & 2 and Predator; this film looked like it was made for TV. The production value looked so cheap that I thought maybe it was made by some no-name producers and director but nope, it was a Joel Silver production and the director was Russell Mulcahy, who directed the first two Highlander films. But for all its awfulness, this movie was entertaining as hell. I love some of the over-the-top action sequences. Just be warned if you ever decide to watch it, the film includes some graphic violence and sex. It’s an early 90s action film so you shouldn’t be surprised by it.

5. Let’s Get Harry (1986)

This film about an American engineer named Harry Burck (Mark Harmon) who went down to Columbia to help open a new water pipeline but got kidnapped by Columbian rebels. The rebels turned out be a group of men who works for a drug lord and they demand a ransom or they’ll kill Harry. News reached his brother and friends back in his home town somewhere in Illinois. His brother and friends learned that the US government will not negotiate with the drug and refuses to help in getting Harry back. So his brother and friends decided to go down to Columbia and try to rescue Harry themselves. Sounds silly isn’t it? And believe me it was, these men who has no experience in weapons training decided they wanted to take on a drug lord in a foreign country.

The film was of course a box office failure when it came out in 1986 and was more notable for its director using the alias Alan Smithee instead of his real name which was Stuart Rosenberg. Apparently Rosenberg was upset that the studio re-edit the film without his permission so he asked his name be removed from the film. I think he might’ve realized he made a bad film and decided he want his name attached to it.

Also, they even somehow got Robert Duvall to appear in it, I wonder if he owed the producers or studio money or something because he looked like he’d rather be somewhere else than star in this movie.

With all the silliness in this movie, I thought it was entertaining just to see these characters go through such hardship to rescue someone who they care about tremendously. I mean I’d do the same too if someone I care about was kidnapped and no one wants to help me.

6. Moon 44 (1990)

Before Roland Emmerich started blowing up American landmarks with his expensive and famous films such as Independence Day and 2012, he actually made this very low budget action/sci-fi film. The film’s pretty much a rip-off of Blade Runner, Outland, Dune and Aliens. It’s littered with bad acting, the script was awful and of course the special effects were cheesy. But I thought Emmerich did a good job of staging some of the more complex action sequences in the movie, I mean he didn’t have much to work with but some of the action scenes were quite exciting to watch.

After this film came out, Emmerich got the attention of several Hollywood producers, including Joel Silver who hired him to direct the unproduced Stallone’s sci-fi action picture, can’t remember the name of it. When that project never took off, he made another cheesy sci-fi/action film, Universal Soldier. Of all his films, I somehow prefer watching Moon 44 over his more expensive and popular ones. Well I thought The Day After Tomorrow was entertaining but haven’t seen it in a long time, I’ve watched Moon 44 maybe ten times already.

Honorable mentions:

Even though I didn’t want to list films of Arnold, Sly and other action stars, I have to at least mention them.

Raw Deal (1986)
Arnold played a cop who went undercover as a mobster and he kill many mobsters by the end of the film. Pure cheese and very entertaining.

Cobra (1986)
After turning down the role of Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop, Stallone decided to star in this film, rumors has it that he wanted this movie to be a dark action thriller but Paramount wanted a more light comedy action film. So Stallone decided to incorporate the script of his version of Beverly Hills Cop into this movie. What else there is to say, he killed a bunch of bad guys and gets the girl. The end.

The Punisher (1990)
Ah the forgotten comic book film based on the popular Marvel character. This one starred Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle who later became known as the Punisher. The film was actually produced by a company in Australia and it never got released theatrically here in the States. I first saw this film when I was in grade school and loved every second of it. Again our hero killed a bunch of bad guys and blow a lot of shit up, lots of fun!

Code of Silence (1985)
Chuck Norris played a Chicago cop who killed a bunch of bad guys with the aid of a robot, ‘nuf said. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.

Double Impact (1991)
‘Double the Vam Dammage’ was the tagline for this movie and I love it. The mussel from Brussels played twins who took on the bad guys who killed their parents. Big shootouts and big fight scenes, what else do you need?

Hard to Kill (1990) 
Steven Seagal woke up from a coma and decides to take revenge on the corrupt cops who killed his wife and framed him for the murder. Lots of shootouts and Seagal running around flapping his arms like a little girl. Can’t beat that.


So there you have it, my list of bad action films but so entertaining to watch. Feel free to include your own list, not just action films. Any film you think it’s bad but yet sooo good.

Anticipated Flix Updates: The Expendables’ new poster & Coriolanus’ Concept Art

The Expendables

Normally this isn’t my go-to genre, but hey I did grow up with 80s and 90s action flicks starring most of actors that make up the cast. I first heard about it earlier this year that I just had to blog about it, and now a new poster’s been released that is as clever as it is bad ass!! In fact, my husband quipped that it should’ve been called that. It’s one of the best looking poster I’ve seen in a while, it’s like the butterfly of death that you can’t take your eyes off. I like the tagline, too, it fits the visual perfectly. It’s brutally simple, in your face, subtlety be damned – which is what could be said about the movie.

Click poster for a larger version

Lionsgate also released the official plot details: The Expendables is a hard-hitting action/thriller about a group of mercenaries hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. With their mission thwarted and an innocent life in danger, the men struggle with an even tougher challenge – one that threatens to destroy this band of brothers. (more official synopsis on SlashFilm)

I don’t see Arnie Schwarzenegger’s name on the poster, but Petter Sciretta of Slash Film saw the trailer at ShoWest Cinema Expo and has this to say: “It was incredibly cool, showcased all the big action star names that pack the cast. It even shows a clip from the scene with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, which drew huge cheers from the crowd. If I have any complaint it is that the trailer was lighter on action than I would have expected.”

So I guess the Governator will be making a cameo? We’ll see if the trailer – and the flick itself for that matter – will be as awesome as the poster. I just might see this one on opening night come August 13.



Even as a fan of Gerry Butler, ‘psyched’ isn’t a word I’d use to describe my reaction to The Bounty Hunter‘s release. The single-digit Tomato-meter doesn’t help matter, it actually confirms my dread after seeing the trailer a few months back. The only thing the two leads should be relentlessly hunting down is a decent script, oh and a new agent while they’re at it! Alas, I’m actually going to see it tonight as my friend and I have planned this weeks ago (I’m not backing out, Prairiegirl!), if anything it’s ample material for an amusing review.

Enough about that one, there is a silver lining in Butler’s career – whom even Roger Ebert calls “… a hunk who can also act” in his double-thumbsdown review. One of them is Ralph Fiennes’ directing debut Coriolanus. I just found out via Twitter there’s a new blog dedicated for the film version of Shakespeare’s political tale, started by Fiennes’ personal friend.

Here’s what the British thespian (who’ll direct and star in the movie) revealed about the project:

“When I performed it theatrically, I knew there were nuances and visual aspects that could emerge more strongly on film. I want to bring out the biting political nature of the piece, and the story’s great panoramic potential. The People, for example, play such a leading role in Coriolanus. It’s hard to capture that sense of a clamoring multitude in the theater… It never left me that I wanted to see this play on film.”

As for his rationale for opting to make it contemporary, instead of the swords & sandal version:

Coriolanus is a strong, complicated, gritty piece,” Ralph explained. “I thought about whether it should be Roman with swords and sandals, or even 19th century. But ultimately, I believed it had to be set in today’s world. It should have a high momentum and earn its ability to suddenly be still for one or two key moments when the human element has to have space to breathe.”

Thanks to GB.net, I was able to view these hi-res concept arts and on-location photos in Serbia. Click the photo for a larger version.

Coriolanus Concept Art

Set location in Serbia

Film shoots already begun yesterday (March 17) in Belgrade. Can’t hardly wait for this one!