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An utterly unique and superb film on many levels
In most of the commentaries given on this film people have cited many of the aspects of Predator that make it one of the best action/horror films ever made. SPOILER!! The aspect of the film i like the best is that it is almost two films with two distinct plots and themes that blend almost seamlessly into one another. In the beginning there are these well armed, well trained commandoes on a cut and dry mission to rescue hostages taken by a guerilla force. They go in, find the hostages dead, eliminate their captors and complete their mission. They are then in a rush against time to evade more guerillas who are hot on their trail. Now, it becomes a different movie, and the Predator aspect of it comes into play. The commandoes are killed one by one in a way that is unpredictable and wonderfully directed. Then it's down to Dutch, Billy, a severely wounded Poncho, and Anna. You think they might just make it to the chopper when in several quick scenes everyone is dead but Dutch and Anna. Anna goes to the chopper and the film evolves again into something wonderfully unique. Dutch vs. the Alien. He has none of his weapons but a knife and his cunning and the Predator is still running at full force. He makes some weapons and metamorphoses into a primal warrior, creating a bow and some primitive explosives from leftover launchable grenades. He sets off to stalk the stalker and it begins with that incredibly memorable war-cry of Arnold's and his rippling, mud covered body holds that massive torch in the air and issues that chilling war cry, inviting the alien to battle. Using not much more than his cunning and his natural surroundings, he traps and kills the physically and technologically more advanced Predator. What a wonderful progression and evolution in one perfect, neat film that certainly shouldn't have been ruined by a sequel. This movie is an A+
The Lords of Flatbush (1974)
A worthwhile not-a-movie
This film really isn't a movie in the conventional sense of the word, in that it doesn't really have a plot, character development, or even real dialogue. This film is as if a little hole was torn in time and the viewer is allowed to peek through. The film feels like a documentary and the dialogue is largely ad-libbed and not always well, which gives it a realistic feel. One feels like these
characters could actually be real and that they don't exist merely for the sake of the story. Some may criticize this film for its lack of character development, but these guys aren't the type to open up and pour out their feelings, and if they try, it usually doesn't come out right. The realism and authenticity of this film make up for its lack of character development and swiss cheesy plot. Definitely worth seeing.
Afghanistan: Land in Crisis (2002)
This featurette is incredibly useful for the viewer to place Rambo III in a historical context and understand how the characters in the film, primarily the Afghans, relate to the current political climate of the world today. Many view this movie as ironic because it seems that Rambo aids the very people who attacked America on September 11, but this documentary reveals that to be not entirely true. It offers a greater understanding of America's involvement in the Afghan/Soviet war and allows Americans to see how this film is still relevant to events occurring today in Afghanistan.
This film is a testament to the adaptation of a book to film. The mood in Thompson's book is strange and foreign to most, and very difficult to visualize, this film however, made it utterly believable. The film and characters are spot on, and nearly all of the important elements of the book made it in, even some of the most depraved and twisted parts. Johnny Depp is wonderful as Thompson, and
this is more apparent when you see film of Thompson himself. Depp got the
smallest mannerism down pat. The only shortcoming of this film may be that the grand realizations that were present in the book weren't adequately represented in the film. The only instance of this is the part in the first hotel room after Dr. Gonzo's acid freak-out when the montage of the 60's is shown. Other than that, nothing really summed up the scenes and one could view this film as a bunch of incidents of one long drug binge depicted sequentially, with no real plot. The film does have a plot and an important one, but it is a little more buried than it should be.
Rambo III (1988)
Great for what it is
(WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD)This movie is an action film. Trying to look at it as anything else will most certainly bring the viewer a great disappointment, but it shouldn't be viewed as anything else. True, it does not contain the same moral messages as First Blood or First Blood part II, but the sheer ferocity of the violence and Rambo's character more than make up for it. Stallone is in, arguably, the best physical shape of his life in this film and the wonderfully choreographed stick fighting scene in the beginning more than shows off his ridiculous physique. Rambo is bigger (including his knife which, designed by Gil Hibben, beats out the Part II blade by two inches), stronger, and more determined than ever, sealing the character's place as a hero icon.
The true essence of a hero is one that faces incredible odds and fights bravely for the right reasons. Rambo is there to save his friend, pure and simple. He does, in a way, adopt the cause of the Afghans who aid him. And all Afghans are not evil terrorists, some are just people who WERE subject to extreme brutality during the attempted Soviet invasion. The story may seem comical now, but in the midst of the Cold War, it made audiences cheer.
Many of the action scenes are a bit over the top and there are the classic action downfalls of the "never-ending-clip" and Rambo never seems to miss a shot whereas the Soviets can't hit anything accept Afghanis and prisoners. Rambo is injured however by a piece of debris sent flying by a grenade blast and has to performed some self-surgery echoing back to the arm-stitching of First Blood.
Also, this movie lets us see Rambo working with people that aren't soldiers of his caliber. Musa and the boy are loyal fighters, but not trained soldiers, and Rambo's first rescue attempt is botched because of this, whereas in the second film, he was rescued by his Vietnamese aid, Co. The film rounds off the series well and should be considered a darn good action movie.
Cool, but wrong
This bonus selection from the bonus disc in the Rambo trilogy DVD box set in fun to watch as a montage of Rambo using different weapons throughout the three films is shown. Whenever he uses a new weapon, a screen pops up with technical specs of that weapon. Unfortunately, many of the technical specs are wrong. When the specs come up for the knife from First Blood: Part II, the green outline is that of the knife from Rambo III. The montage shows Rambo using an M-60 machine gun in First Blood and the machine gun from the helicopter in Part II. They put both guns under the heading of M-60 but the gun from Part II is a Russian variation on the M-60 concept but is not actually an M-60.
Stallone should be more careful
DRIVEN is bad film, and it's a shame that it's such a bad film. It is comprised of stale themes and painfully predictable "plot twists" that are barely interesting (and nearly all were present in DAYS OF THUNDER),all being performed by
characters that are so wooden that you can't care about them even a little. That is, except for Stallone's character. Sly pulls of a decent acting job in this film and does the best that he could with the rather weak dialogue he had.
Stallone seems to have grown in his capabilities as an actor and it is clear he doesn't always want to play the hero role any longer as his roles in DRIVEN and COPLAND indicate. It's a shame that Sly can't pick his vehicles for his new take on acting more carefully. He should stay away from stale, been-there-done-that films and concentrate on more edgy indie style themed films if he wants to
regain the respect of the film world that he lost after Rocky.