Death Wish

Death Wish

In 1974, Charles Bronson took on the role of Paul Kersey, an innocent man who is set over the edge into a sea of violence when his wife and daughter are attacked. the film sparked a five-film long series. Now in 2018, director Eli Roth attempts to put his gorry stamp on his own version of the series. This time starring the aging action icon Bruce Willis who plays Kersey, this time re-imagined as a doctor.

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Review: A Good Day To Die Hard

A-Good-Day-To-Die-Hard The fifth installment of the Die Hard franchise is not true to form of the first one, but its true to what the series has become. A loud outlandish shoot em up fest has replaced the more nuanced action film of 1988. While I love well thought out plots and great acting, part of me is still 12 years old inside. This is where A Good Day to Die Hard (Die Hard 5) lives, in our guts not our minds. Die Hard 5 tells the “story” of John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his quest to save his son. When he finds out that his son, Jack (Jai Courtney) is headed off to prison in Russia, McClane hops a plane to see what he can do. The rest of the plot is full of nonsensical “plot” beats that are really just designed to get you to the next action sequence.

Russia is the perfect location for the madness that is Die Hard 5. From the poor and obvious jokes about how John McClane doesn’t speak the language to the use of new scenery in a Die Hard movie it works. When the action begins we get chase scenes that are only matched in their ludicrous nature by the brain dead Fast and Furious franchise. That being said, I had a blast watching it. Die Hard 5 knows exactly what it is, and it hits those marks with flying colors. Is it a good movie? ABSOLUTELY NOT ITS TERRIBLE! Is it a fun movie to just turn your brain off to? ABSOLUTELY! There are nods to previous films that will get audible cheers from the crowd, and that’s what this movie sets out to do. Its just 97 minutes of pure 12 year old boy action fan service. From tanks to attack helicopters and back again Die Hard 5 never misses the popcorn movie mark.

The acting is what you would expect, not good, but not so bad that you can’t concentrate of the task at hand. Bruce Willis is just Bruce Willis at this point. There is no depth to his character. He just throws on a t-shirt and begins shooting whatever gun they give him. Jai Courtney does a decent job of playing McClane Jr. I wouldn’t mind him taking over the series after Die Hard 6. Its not as if its going to take or demand a whole hell of alot at this point. The villains in this movie are in my opinion the worst of the entire franchise, minus Die Hard 4. Nothing about them is particularly interesting except perhaps their accents.  All and all, I think Die Hard 5 is a fun movie, but hardly a quality film. Go in expecting a big dumb fun action movie and you will get what you paid for. Expect anything else at your own peril. That is why I am giving this two ratings - Normal Movie vs. Meathead Entertainment:

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Review: Looper

Rian Johnson’s Looper shows us that the sometimes you have to save the best for last. Coming in after a mega blockbuster summer, Looper shows it can still please the crowds during the slow roll into Oscar season. Time travel is the easiest concept to screw up and yet the most intriguing to tackle as a director. If you get it right the crowds rejoice. If you get too complicated and confuse the audience then your film, no matter how good, will just be thrown to the waste side. Fortunately for Rian Johnson he struck the proper cord and delivered a great sci-fi romp through time. The future is not a clean and wonderful utopia in the vein of an episode of The Jetsons, but rather a realistic upgrade to our lives presently. I always prefer that the future be portrayed in this way, allowing the audience to stay connected. Looper tells the story of a hitman named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose job it is to take down people that the mob from his future send back to be killed. Its a pretty simple job, Joe is told when and where the victim will arrive and all he has to do is pull the trigger and get paid. However, life really goes off the rails when the older version of Joe (Bruce Willis) shows up as a victim. The momentary hesitation allows Old Joe to escape and thus beginning the crumbling of Young Joe’s world. The moral conundrum that plays out on whether to kill your future self in order to save the present day you in fascinating. With Old Joe on the run, the mob is now hunting down both of them to close the loop. The high octane chase scenes are fun to watch and add an element of danger and suspense to an already intriguing story. Once Sara (Emily Blunt) is included in the story we get a very interesting play on what is destined for the future of both Joe characters. Is your future already laid out for you or can you change it on a whim? There are so many twists and turns in this film that talking too much about what happens next will just spoil the movie going experience. Needless to say, you never know what’s coming around the bend, but you will be happy when you get there.

One of the most noticeable elements in the film is the extent to which Joseph Gordon-Levitt went to play a young Bruce Willis. Facial prosthetics and voice coaching were clearly used to really bring a young Willis to life. There is a scene where the two actors sit across from one another in a diner and it seems as if they are actually related. The mannerisms, facial expressions, and voice are meticulously accurate. Gordon-Levitt performs well here a much added improvement over his very mediocre performance in Premium Rush. Bruce Willis brings a certain level of man on a mission attitude that makes him believable in his unrelenting pursuits. Emily Blunt puts on her best American accent and really generates a heartfelt character striving to protect the one thing most important to her. All in all, the performances were top notch. For an action sci-fi flick it was one of the best I have seen this year. The sci-fi genre has had some excellent thoughtful films as of late, and this one is no exception. Rian Johnson takes advantage of his fantastic cast and weaves a narrative that people will examine and reexamine for years to come. His portrayal of the near future is a simple one on the surface but masks a world that is far more complicated and nuanced. Listen to this week's upcoming The Nerdpocalypse podcast episode for a spoiler filled review and further analysis.

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