THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (2021)

 Directed By: Patrick Hughes 
Written By: Brandon Murphy & Phillip Murphy 
Based On Characters Created By & Story By: Tom O’Connor 
Cinematography: Terry Stacey 
Editor: Jack Hutchings & Michael J. Duthie

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Alice McMillan 

The bodyguard, Michael Bryce, continues his friendship with assassin, Darius Kincaid, as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia


This is a movie that seems rushed to make money off the surprise hit of the first film and this time offers more Salma Hayek that the first film. Where she was a memorable supporting character.

This film offers a lot more of her including in her low-cut outfits and even a sex scene that is more comedic than sexy. Though the film gives her a chance to shine. 

The film is more aimed at being a comedy with action in it rather than the other way around and as hilarious as the film is you never take it seriously and just try to have fun. As much as the cast seems to be having.

This film offers up recognizable cast members new to the franchise in surprising supporting roles. Though luckily it seems as soon as they wear out their welcome they either disappear or are dispatched. 

They try to sideline Ryan Reynolds a little. as once again his character is going through confidence problems and here he has decided to not be violent throughout. He is involved in the action sequences. As more the straight man who keeps getting punished violently while all around him kill and fight. Which might be to make room for Salma Hayek to have more to do and be part of the action. He for the most part is abused throughout 

What works for these films is that while they are silly and quite stupid. They stay entertaining and are never boring and come off as guilty pleasures more than anything else. Especially by the end which is just ridiculous.

These films feel like the CRANK movies only not as over the top, campy or low brow. They are dirty And they all feel like they have the energy of an energized bunny or play out like violent love action cartoons more than anything anyone can really identify with. 

Grade: C+

THIS IS THE NIGHT (2021)

Written & Directed By: James DeMonaco
Cinematography: Anastas N. Michos
Editor: Keith Fraase 

Cast: Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo, Lucius Hoyos, Madelyn Cline, Chase Vacnin, Bobby Cannavale, River Alexander, Max Casella, Steve Lipman, Method Man, Lenny Venito, Jonah Hauer-King

A teenager living in Staten Island during the summer of 1982 embarks on a quest that draws in his family members.


This is a sweet coming-of-age film. It is earnest and tries to give you an overview of the neighborhood, families, times, and atmosphere. So that it feels more natural. Which in a way only exposes how false it is at times. The problem is that it feels way too familiar for the audience.

It tells the tale of a family throughout two days that will come to define them. Each member of the family has to deal with a challenge and we see how they deal with it and overcome it.

Even if most of the film is the adventure of the youngest son and his mission to tell the girl of his dreams happy birthday and that he loves her. With plenty of traps and roadblocks along the way.

The film works as far as nostalgia taking us to STATEN island during the 1980s and while that is fun. Even putting at the heart of the film is the debut of ROCKY III. Which inspired and ties the films and its character together.

The film still feels way too familiar. It’snWorth watching if not necessarily a film fan or for a younger audience, but it offers no surprises nor any reason to really stay invested.

As even when young ladies are willing to sneak them into a bar and give them plenty of drinks out of nowhere. You can tell something is not right and it feels too much of a scene from the warriors.

So that by the end this feels more like an Italian American inspired television movie and while it might be more autobiographical for the writer-director James DeMonaco

It also feels more like a movie that has a checklist and makes sure it goes through the list one by one and on schedule. As the teen adventures Seem a bit like an homage to THE WARRIORS.

Even when it comes to the bully getting their comeuppance you can’t wait. Even if the film makes you wait a bit too long and his girlfriend gives him up a little too easily. It just makes her seem that much more innocent despite her father being the local heavy 

Even in the part that involves a character coming out of the closet while it’s Appreciated that the character is confused and not sure about who they are exactly. Was it necessary for them to do it in drag? Maybe that was the truth for the character and how they choose to express themselves, but it offers up a bonding Experience. It also feels a bit stereotypical.  Especially when it comes to acceptance from others who are just a little too quick. So the true film feels cookie-cutter. As everything is resolved in the end a little too neatly and finally.

The cast is impressive and the bigger names get a chance to show off in certain roles we might not expect. Especially Method man who seems like he is playing a minor role but is one of importance later on and as a known resident of STATEN island it is nice to see him represent. 

It could easily be seen as ironic that the film in question At the center of this film is ROCKY III, but it shows no matter what might be universally thought of Something. If you can identify with characters that bring you peace, pride, or inspiration that is all that matters, and how some characters are icons to communities and bring them together on the same wavelength. 

Though Bobby Cannavale is left with a more stereotypical role. That can be said of half the cast. Though Frank Grillo gets to play a more dramatic role it still has him involved in a fight scene. 

In the end, the film can be entertaining. It just feels like you have seen it before and has been built off of other films you have seen and never quite feels itself or fresh. Even if it has its heart in the right place.

GRADE: C

COPSHOP (2021)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan 
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod 
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz 
Editor: Kevin Hale

Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman 

On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.


This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.

Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.

This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.

Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie. 

It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.

The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.

Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown. 

Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy. 

While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes. 

It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded. 

Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza. 

This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time 

Grade: B

THE SWEETEST THING (2002)

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Directed By: Roger Kumble
Written By: Nancy Pimental
Cinematography By: Anthony B. Richmond
Editor: David Rennie & Wendy Greene Bricmont

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane, Jason Bateman, Parker Posey, Frank Grillo

To ease their roommate through a relationship-induced depression, Christina Walters and Courtney Rockcliffe take her out on the town. During their attempts to find her “Mr. Right Now”, Christina meets Peter Donahue. Missing her opportunity with him that night, Christina is talked into pursuing him to his brother’s wedding.

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POINT BLANK (2019)

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Directed By: Joe Lynch
Written By: Adam Green
Based on characters created By: Fred Cavaye
Cinematography: Juan Miguel Azpiroz 

Cast: Frank Grillo, Anthony Mackie, Marcia Gay Harden, Stuart F. Wilson, Christian Cooke, Teyonah Parris, Boris Micgiver, Markice Moore 

An ER nurse and a career criminal are forced into an unlikely partnership in taking down a ring of corrupt cops threatening the lives of both their families.

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