NATIONAL SECURITY (2003)

Directed By: Dennis Dugan 
Written By: Jay Scherick & David Rob
Cinematography: Oliver Wood 
Editor: Debra Neil-Fischer 

Cast: Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn, Colm Feore, Bill Duke, Eric Roberts, Timothy Busfield, Robinne Lee, Matt McCoy, Brett Cullen, Cleo King, Mari Morrow, Joe Flaherty, Stephen Tobolowsky 

Two mismatched security guards are thrown together to bust a smuggling operation.


A film that makes you suffer through a buddy comedy. Where the participants are supposed to be opposites coming together. That feels forced and mismatched. 

When it comes to these types of films we understand why two stars teaming up In the movie will hopefully Produce a hit.

Only here do you have one star and a recognizable actor more of a character actor.

The film has very little to remember about it as it is paint by the numbers and not really good or entertaining and feels quite dumb throughout. While we watch them have their differences. Decide to team up and become buddies. Even though by the end it doesn’t feel earned but more surrender to just go With it. 

It doesn’t help that Martin Lawrence’s character comes off more as a scheming asshole more than a character or even comedic force in the film. So Steve Zahn’s character is supposed to be the redneck. Throughout it shows him as decent and more a victim throughout. Though essentially the straight man to Lawrence’s wacky character.

The film Tries to Make fun of racial police battery and brutality that comes across as racist and insulting, definitely insensitive. Portraying it as more As a Scam at Least in this film. That by the end the film just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. 

The latter party of the film tries to focus more on action but even that isn’t too impressive. The supporting cast is more impressive than anything in the film 

This just feels like a film that didn’t need to be made and was a waste of time for all involved.

Grade: D

SPUN (2002)

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Akerlund 
Written By: Will De La Santos & Creighton Vero 
Cinematography By: Eric Broms


Cast: Jason Schwartzmen, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Josh Peck, Patrick Fugit, Debbie Harry, China Chow, Charlotte Ayana, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Gonzalez, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Tony Kaye, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan 

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. 


Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy than anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating.


Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters, there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. 


Sure visually it is great and the cast is likable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste.

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has an eye for visuals but he needs to find material that matches his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be an epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there are little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photoshoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss. 


 There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit I can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement.

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


it’s just a wasted endeavor here, in fact, the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is. 


You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops, and all the usual taboo material. But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge. 

The film has a certain hyper stylization in a kind of trash culture. Trying to glamorize it. It’s distracting though while the film tries to offer characterizations to give us in the audience, people to care about and follow. It also uses then and their pathetic was as folly for humor more than anything else.

It also was the beginning of what seems to be Brittany Murphy’s third act where she seemed to play floozies, addicts and simpletons. Ladies who just seemed off. As she is attractive but seems so out of it that you wonder if it is method acting.

As depending when you were introduced to her as an actress. At first she was a child star then she grew up and played supporting characters and then leads that were more romantic comedic or comedic then she changed her look a bit and became more dramatic. Then the third act of her career came in films like THE DEAD GIRL and SIN CITY. If you watched her grow from a Child actress to here. You wondered if this was a new phase in her career or developing a type to play. As she went fro. Cute to sexy to skanky. Though still walking to the best fi her own drummer.


The film was originally intended to be a documentary on Meth Cooks. Instead, they just took the story of a meth addict (Co-Writer Will De La Santos) and his experiences chauffering a meth cook around town in Eugene, Oregan for three days. They just embellished the stories to be more cinematic. 


 GRADE: C-

THE EXPENDABLES (2010)

Directed By: Sylvester Stallone
Written By: Dave Gallaham & Sylvester Stallone
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Ken Blackwell & Paula Harb

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, Jet Li, Dolph Lungdren, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzenegger, David Zayas, Gary Daniels 

Barney Ross leads the “Expendables”, a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas, martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitionist Toll Road and loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen. When the group is commissioned by the mysterious Mr. Church to assassinate the merciless dictator of a small South American island, Barney and Lee head to the remote locale to scout out their opposition. Once there, they meet with local rebel Sandra and discover the true nature of the conflict engulfing the city. When they escape the island and Sandra stays behind, Ross must choose to either walk away and save his own life – or attempt a suicidal rescue mission that might just save his soul.


It is hard to believe that Sylvester Stallone has been not only a star but a box office draw and #1 film superstar over 5 decades. Which makes me respect him for his longevity alone. It is hard to believe and remember that when he first became a star with ROCKY which he also wrote, he was considered a serious dramatic actor compared on the same level as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Now he didn’t really become an action superstar until FIRST BLOOD and has pretty much ran with it ever since.

The 90’s weren’t great for him as he followed that path into the ground with horrible studio action films and comedies that tarnished his record. After many diminishing returns, he decided to branch out again by appearing in indie films and taking a dramatic lead which did show he still could act but it wasn’t the career resurgence he expected like John Travolta at the time so it was only awhile until he returned to the genre he knew best but this time he was more informed and began to return to his iconic roles only this time with him writing and producing the films and as other laughed at him for these decisions it actually proved to be a smart move as the audiences were intrigued and both ROCKY BALBOA and RAMBO were box office hits and surprisingly decent films.

So of course for his first original film since making those films he puts together a all-star cast of action heroes and ex-costars for this film about a group of mercenaries who take on secret covert missions. They decide to take on an unwinnable one to help a land that has been taken over by an ex-cia agent in cahoots with the dictator of the land who is growing drugs to sell but in effect robbing the land and its people of there freedom. So of course Sylvert Stallone and crew take on the mission.

The film is a perfect throwback to 80’s action film with generic Villians and plot, But in it’s own way it is action campy as each of the cast gets a scene to shine. Jason Statham one of the real major co-stars gets a simple side story that is really only there to show off his romantic side and his ass-kicking skills. Nothing in the film makes anyone stretch as an actor. Jet-Li is mostly here to fight Dolph Lundgren in fight scenes.

The rest of the expendables are mostly there in small roles or extended cameos rather than being vital characters. Even early in the film Stallone and Statham go on a mission to check out the land alone and pretty much kick a lot of ass on their own. Only later do they come back with reinforcements.

The only actor who really makes a mark with their role is surprisingly Dolph Lundgren in a role that was rumored to be for Jean-Claude van Damme who turned it down. The action scenes are glorious but nothing special except for the grand scale of them.

There is nothing in the film you wouldn’t expect in this type of film. It falls short in many ways when it comes to my expectations. I was hoping for more surprises. For a top action spectacle. But as an action film that is a homage to the films that made Stallone an 80’s star, it is ok and enjoyable.

The perfect kind of Popcorn movie. It also is missing a lot of Action legends it supposedly is supposed to have Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, The Rock, Jean Claude Van-Damme, Chow Yun Fat, he could have even thrown a bone to some straight to home video action stars for bit roles, Michael Dudikoff, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Thomas Ian Giffith, and Danny Trejo.

Even as more of a guilty pleasure, The film is a satisfying rental

GRADE: C+

THE SPECIALIST (1994)

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Directed By: Luis Llosa
Written By: Alexandra Seros
Based on The Specialist series of books By: John Shirley
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Jack Hofstra 


Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Eric Roberts, Rod Steiger 


 Ray Quick is a bomb expert who worked for the CIA along with a guy named Ned Trent, who’s extremely demented. When they have a falling out, Ray becomes a freelancer who lives off the grid. A woman named May Munro contacts and wants him to kill the three men who killed her family years ago, who work for the Leon crime family. Ray does it and after killing the first one, the Leons need to find the one who did it and it turns out Ned is now working for them and they task him with finding the bomber. The Leons get him to work with the police and he looks for the bomber. In the meantime Ray, while working on getting the others, can’t help but follow May wherever she goes.

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