Day 150: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

terminator 3Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken
Rated: R
Length: 109 min.
Release: July 2, 2003

Synopsis: More than 10 years after ‘Terminator 2’, John Connor now exists only as a drifter – living ‘off the grid’, so no more Terminators from the future can hunt him down. Unfortunately, SkyNet does send another one back – and this one is called the T-X, even more powerful & advanced than the dreaded T-1000. However, another CSM-101 Terminator is also sent back to protect John against the T-X. Now, Skynet is patiently assuming control of civilian computer systems, under the guise of a computer virus. John has also met his future wife, Kate Brewster, whose father – a U.S. Air Force General – is in charge of the military computer systems & is leery of up linking SkyNet. However, when the SkyNet virus infects the U.S military computers & leaves the country open to attack, the machines begin their horrific takeover. Soon a nuclear war will result – and the war against the machines will begin. Can the outdated CSM-101 Terminator eliminate the highly advanced T-X – or will a darker future await man following the nuclear attack?

My Thoughts:
Well, he’s back…again. It was a long time coming, and all the hype just made it impossible to live up to. But, for what it’s worth, I did enjoy this movie. Sure, it’s not nearly as good as the other two films. And yeah, it kind of throws the theme of “no fate , but what we make” right out the window…but it’s an entertaining action movie. A top notch action and special effects movie, and lets be honest…that’s what we expect from a terminator movie.

As great as the special effects and action are there are a few things problematic with this film. First off, this was the last movie Arnold did before he took office as California’s governor, so it’s a little strange seeing Arnold play the same type of terminator while he looks older. In addition, the story seems to fly in the face of a major theme of the first two films. “No fate but what we make” was a critical part of the motivation in the first two films. Without giving away to much, that idea is pretty much thrown out the window making us all ask the question…why would that message be sent back from the future in the first place? But perhaps I’m over thinking it too much. Movies and TV shows that deal with time travel can get ruined real fast by over thinking them. Back to the future is one such example. The terminator series is a great example of that as well.

Another problem I have with the film is how the character of John Connor is portrayed. You would think that, having been raised and trained by such a tuff militarized person like Sarah Connor he would have turned out to be more of a badass. Instead, he seems to be on the run rejecting his “calling” and living more like a whiny little punk. Not exactly the approach I would have gone with, but I guess if he was all big, tuff and ready to take on a terminator he wouldn’t have needed another one sent back in time to protect him.

Though not as intimidating and frightening as the T1000 the TX terminator is a solid antagonist in this movie. It’s unique to have a “female” terminator as well. I wasn’t sure how well it would work having Kristanna Loken go head to head with Arnold, but it worked. She played the cold and calculated assassin rather well. I believed she could stand toe to toe with Arnold’s terminator.

Overall, this was still a fun flick. It did the Terminator franchise justice and it was interesting how it gave us a tast of what John Connor was like as a man before he stepped up and became the great military leader he was destined to become. I’m giving this one 3.5 stars.


Day 149: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

t2dec09Terminator 2: Judgment Day
James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Rated: R
Length: 154 min.
Release: July 3, 1991

Nearly 10 years have passed since Sarah Connor was targeted for termination by a cyborg from the future. Now her son, John, the future leader of the resistance, is the target for a newer, more deadly terminator. Once again, the resistance has managed to send a protector back to attempt to save John and his mother Sarah.

My Thoughts:
Well well well…T2. Still considered one of the best action movies ever created and full of special effects that paved the way for CGI work. It heralds the return of Arnold as “a cybernetic organism” (insert “I’ll be back” joke here) and gives more life to this beloved character.

There is very little in T2 that doesn’t work well in telling this story. The dramatic change in Sarah’s personality from the first film makes total sense and works very well. Though, the biggest character change that made this whole film work so well is the terminator. Cameron’s choice to make the iconic villain into the next films hero was a stroke of genius. This gave opportunity to explore many interesting ideas regarding the nature of humanity as well as allow Arnold to add a more personal touch on this robotic assassin/body guard. This brings great opportunity for not only action, but drama and comedy as well.

The music is more in line with a traditional motion picture score (no more cheese dated 80s synthesizers detracting from the scene). It takes the musical themes created in the first film and makes it work more long term. It adds to the intensity of the action and ages a lot better.

The icing on this action packed cake is the vilain. The T1000 is, hands down, one of my all time favorite villains. The liquid metal concept combined with the ferocious and tenacious attitude of a terminator…brilliant combination. He is more slick, smooth and stealthy when he needs to be with all that power behind him…and that makes him really frightening. In fact, in a lot of ways, he is the opposite of what Arnold’s terminator is. Simply put…he is the perfect villain for this movie.

Add all that up and you get one amazing action movie. Terminator 2: Judgment Day gets 5 stars out of 5.

Day 148: The Terminator

the-terminator-1984The Terminator
James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Rated: R
Length: 107 min.
Release: October 26, 1984

Synopsis: A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector – Kyle Reese – also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg?

My Thoughts:
What is there to say about this classic 80s action/si-fi movie? It was groundbreaking for its time. No question about it. Phenomenal job by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The whole idea came from James Cameron’s head…and what an idea it was. This film launched one of the most iconic sci-fi action characters of film history. The special effects world would not be the same today without this film.

With all that said, the real question is how does it hold up over time? The first thing you will notice is this movie has the 80s all over it. It’s a real product of its time period and proud of it. The hair, the clothes, the cheesy synthesized soundtrack…everything about it screams the 1980s. If you aren’t a fan of that decade…this film is probably not going to hold up in your mind. The music in particular can become very distracting. I must admit, I even have a hard time with it at some points.

Still, there is something very special about this movie. Arnold’s portrayal of The Terminator is iconic and will remain one of (if not THE best) of his career. He really steals the show in this movie and hits all the right notes to convey a machine that is so cold, calculated, menacing and relentless in its pursuit of its target.

There is also something rather creepy about looking back at a film from the 1980s where they talk about the dangers of computers being interconnected to everything and running everything in our lives…and then turning on us. It would almost be prophetic if it weren’t for the whole artificial intelligence thing. Let’s pray that never happens. 🙂

For better or for worse The Terminator is truly a product of the 80s. Though elements of that decade can become distracting (especially the music) the film still stands as an iconic movie with one of the best characters in action sci-fi history. The Terminator gets 4 stars out of 5.

Day 133: The World Is Not Enough

The World Is Not Enough
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle & Denise Richards
Rated: PG-13
Length: 128 min
Released: November 19, 1999
Trailer Synopsis:
James Bond is back. An oil tycoon is murdered in MI6 and Bond is sent to protect his daughter. Renard, who has a bullet lodged in his brain from a previous agent, is secretly planning the destruction of a pipeline. Bond gains a hand from a research scientist, Dr. Christmas Jones who witnesses the action which happens when Bond meets up with Renard, but Bond becomes suspicious about Elektra King, especially when Bond’s boss, M goes missing. Bond must work quickly to prevent Renard from destroying Europe.

My Thoughts:
Well…I’m getting back into the blogging world. Done with school…no full time job…what else am I doing. LOL.

So on with the review!

This is not my favorite Brosnan Bond Film. In fact I’d say it’s probably my least favorite. Equally, it’s probably in my top ten list of worst Bond films of all times. Maybe even the top five.

Why is it so bad? Well it starts with the acting. Above all Denise Richards is horrible in this movie. She can’t say a single line without it sounding forced. The only reason she is in the movie is to run around in a white wet t-shirt as a ditsy bond girl. Easily the worst performance in the whole film and quite possibly the worst in the entire James Bond franchise.

Also, the villain is just stupid! Some guy who has a bullet in his head?…can’t feel pain?…so what. He should have less of a role and been reduced to a mindless muscle guy like Od Job or Jaws. There is another villain in the movie that adds a little bit more credibility…and could be considered the “brains” behind the plot, but it isn’t enough to redeem the whole movie. Combining the two together still make for a week villain.

Lastly…they barely used the car!!! The only reason it was in the movie at all is because BMW signed a deal with United Artist to have a new BMW featured in 3 consecutive Bond films starting with Goldeneye. As I understand it there was a bit of a falling out between the two companies by the time this movie came along and UA used this movie to stay in the legal parameters of their agreement while simultaneously sending a message.  As it turns out this was number 3 and in the next film Die Another Day the car an Aston Martin Vanquish is used a lot more and is a whole lot sweeter.

Perhaps the saddest thing about this movie is that it is the last time we see Desmond Llewelyn as the legendary Q as he will pass away before the film is released. I only wish the movie better. It wasn’t exactly the best Bond film to say good by. Though I have to admit, his moments on screen are among the best in the whole movie. He has fitting last moments on screen and a fine farewell.

I’m giving this one 2 stars.

Day 132: Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh & Teri Hatcher
Rated: PG-13
Length: 119 min
Released: December 19, 1997
Trailer Synopsis:
Agent 007, the unstoppable action hero must prevent a tremendous disaster ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. Someone is pitting the world’s superpowers against each other – and only James Bond can stop it. When a British warship is mysteriously destroyed in Chinese waters, the world teeters on the brink of World War III – until 007 zeros in on the true criminal mastermind. Bond’s do-or-die mission takes him to Elliot Carver, a powerful media mogul who manipulates world events as easily as he changes headlines from his global media empire. After soliciting help from Carver’s sexy wife, Paris, Bond join forces with a stunning yet lethal Chinese agent, Wai Lin, in a series of explosive chases, brutal confrontations and breathtaking escapes as they race to stop the presses on Carver’s next planned news story: global pandemonium!

My Thoughts:
So, it’s been FOREVER!!! I know…I know. Lets just say that James Bond did me in…that was a LOT of Bond. I mean come on…a whole month! On top of that I had to drop my internet, so…yeah…it’s been a while.

However…I’m back! It may not be at a once a day pace like before, but on a weekly basis I will be updating on a movie or two that I have been watching. Because I am still watching them…a lot. So let’s get this started!

Picking up where I left off we have the second Brosnen Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Arguably my favorite. It’s neck and neck with Goldeneye. Why is that?…again I have to go back to the villan. I am a HUGE media junky so the concept for this villan was right up my alley.

On top of that, I am a huge ninja/kung-fu fan…so the Chinese element is awesome as well. By far, the best car in the Brosnen era is showcased in this film. An innovative and modern take on integrating a cell phone with the car in that way was a perfect modern gadget update for a modernized bond film.

The acting is also spot on…for a bond film. In particular Teri Hatcher is a pleasant surprise along with a fantastic job by Johnathan Pryce as villan Elliot Carver. This villan almost is reminiscent of various other screen portrayals of an Anti-Christ  figure…without all the religious/demonic/spiritual elements added to it. He does a great job.

Last but not least, I have to give mention to the music. Techno/House DJ Moby got his hands on the Bond Theme and gave this technology driven Bond modernization a well needed update. His version is perfect for the feel of this much needed update. In addition, the films theme song “Tomorrow Never Dies” by Sheryl Crow is probably my favorite Bond theme song to date.

So…where do I stand on this one? You probably guessed it…4 stars.

Day 131: Goldeneye

Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco
, Famke Janssen & Judi Dench
Rated: PG-13
Length: 130 min.
Released: November 17, 1995
Trailer & a cool Teaser Trailer Synopsis:
9 years after infiltrating a chemical weapons facility in Russia, where friend and fellow M:I-6 agent Alec Trevelyan 006 was killed by corrupt Russian military officer General Ourumov. Seductive British secret agent James Bond 007 is assigned by his new boss, a female ‘M’ to recover “GoldenEye” the access key to a top secret space weapon orbiting the Earth which fires a electromagnetic pulse which shuts down all electronic equipment. The “GoldenEye” has been stolen from the Severnya space research station by General Ourumov and the lethal and deadly Xenia Onatopp and slaughtered everyone at Servernya. Helped by Russian computer programmer Natalya Siminova, who was the sole survivor of the Servernya massacre and witnessed Ourumov and Xenia steal the “GoldenEye”, Bond learns Ourumov and Xenia are working for Alec Trevelyan, now a renegade M:I-6, and 006 plans on using GoldenEye to wipe out London. 007 and Natalya set out to Cuba where Bond faces Trevelyan in a thrilling showdown as 007 sets out to save London from destruction.

My Thoughts:
Arguably the BEST Brosnan Bond film of them all. This film got an incredible amount of attention because of the success of the N64 video game by the same title (which is being updated and re-released in November). To this day I still consider it (the movie and the game) one of the best Bond products ever released. Certainly Brosnan’s best Bond film…hands down.

This film revived the Bond series in a huge way. It breathed new life into a dying series and gave it a much needed makeover/update. It really took the series out of the rut it was in.

The acting is spot on sassy sarcastic over confident Bond…with a 90’s attitude. The addition of Judi Dench as M was a particularly nice touch. She’s perfect and a perfect parallel to Brosnan’s Bond.

Also, I think this has one of the best Bond villains of all time…which just makes the film that much better. What better villian is there than a former friend who knows Bond’s every move?

This one gets 5 stars out of 5.

Day 130: Licence to Kill

Licence to Kill
Director: John Glen
Starring: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell & Robert Davi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 133 min.
Released: July 14, 1989
Trailer Synopsis:
After attending the wedding of friend CIA agent Felix Leiter and his bride Della Churchill, seductive British secret agent James Bond 007 disobeys orders and turns in his license to kill, when ruthless drug lord Franz Sanchez (After helping Feliex and the DEA capture Sanchez) tortures Felix and leaves him for dead and kills Della. James sets off on a personal vendetta against the drug lord, and arrives in Mexico City. Helped by cocky and beautiful CIA agent and pilot Pam Bouvier, Sanchez’s sexy mistress Lupe Lamora and Bond’s friend and fellow quartermaster ‘Q’. Bond plays on both sides of the law, as he infiltrates his organization by bringing Sanchez down. Where 007 embarks in the ultimate confrontation and he will not rest until he kills Sanchez and those responsible for torturing Felix and murdering Della.

My Thoughts:
Posted from my phone while on the road. Ha ha! I love technology!

Probably the better of Dalton’s two Bond films…in my opinion. The reason for that is it`s got an intresting idea for a plot. It`s only one of two Bond films where he goes “rogue” and becomes an “enemy” of the state to get the job done.

Also, the villian is rather sick…and brutal. Probably one of the darkest of all the Bond villians

Still…with all that said it`s still an aweful movie. It really is. It embodies a lot of cleche action movie cheese that`s just hard to except. They reach a new level of unbelievability with this one.

I`m giving it 2.5 stars out of 5.