Tag Archives: Action

Guradians of the Galaxy: Movie Review

Guardians was one of my most anticipated movies EVER, so it goes without saying that this has also been one of my most anticipated movie reviews. The drive home after the movies on Friday night had me all amped and excited, as I endlessly regaled my favorite quotes and characters from the film.

It’s important that I start my review by making something very clear, Guardians of the Galaxy absolutely kicked ass. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. But seriously, it was an amazing movie and so entertaining I don’t even know where to begin my review.

Marvel wasted no time at all jumping into the movie. There was a super brief yet emotional “origin story” at the beginning where you get a little history about movie front runner Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. After that the movie is a non-stop sprint to the finish line.

10 minutes into the movie I was sold. The opening scene from the trailers with Chris Pratt and Djimon Hounsou was hilarious, action packed, an 80’s flash back, and probably had PETA shitting bricks.

Marvel managed to do in one film with Guardians, what it took them 6 movies to do with the Avengers ensemble. Guardians Director James Gunn did a phenomenal job getting audiences to fall in love with and root for a bunch of characters they had never even heard of before, in the span of just two hours without it feeling rushed.

Whereas 2012’s Avengers could have plausibly been titled “IRON MAN! …and his friends too”, Guardians does a much better job balancing the roles so that no character drowns out the other.

Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord
Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord, played by Chris Pratt

We have Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. An 80’s American born kid who was abducted by aliens and spends the rest of his life wandering the galaxy as a thief. His only remaining earthly possessions are a Sony Walkman (remember those?) and a mix tape (or those?!) of songs his mom made him. Those songs, artfully chosen, provide the soundtrack for the entire movie. Quill clearly mastered the American art of bull-shitting, which proves to be an invaluable skillset in outer space. Chris Pratt did an amazing job bringing this no-name character to life on the big screen. In fact he did such a good job that he out Iron Man’s Iron Man, and when the Avengers and Guardians finally collide in theaters, Peter Quill is going to be more than a match for Tony Stark. Audiences will find him much more likable too as his character is so humble and down-to-earth.

Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana
Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana

Next we have the femme fatale Gamora. Zoe Saldana loves to play aqua-colored vixens, but she plays them amazingly well! Gamora is an assassin turned good, whose inside knowledge of the threats to the universe make her a pivotal character in movie. Her backstory is bloody and regrettable. She is fierce, cunning, beautiful, and incredibly lethal. She is this ensembles direct response to Black Widow.

Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista
Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista

Then we have Drax the Destroyer, another aqua colored badass in the film and played by David Bautista. This physically intimidating character is on a vengeful killing rampage across the galaxy after his family was killed by movie villain Ronan the Accuser. He comes from a race of aliens whose language and communication style does not lend itself to metaphor, idioms, or innuendo. Most jokes go right over his head, but as Drax would correct you “Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I will seize it.” Huge, green-ish, and not a big talker, Drax is the Guardian’s equivalent of the Hulk.

Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel
Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel

Where do I even start with Rocket? Put frankly, Rocket is foul-mouthed, bi-pedal, incredibly intelligent raccoon that has no clue he’s a raccoon, or for that matter what a raccoon even is. He was experimented on and genetically altered, making him the way he is. Perfectly voiced by Bradley Cooper, he’s rude, insensitive, and had me dying of laughter the entire movie. His backstory is also very tragic, making that a common theme amongst the movies characters. Underneath his insecurities, Rocket the bounty hunting critter has a ton of heart, and is my favorite character in the movie.

Lastly, we have Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Groot, the walking and occasionally talking tree alien was one of my favorites. He is Rocket’s body guard and companion as a bounty hunter. Despite his very limited vocabulary, Groot proves that when it comes to communication, it’s all about quality, not quantity. If you asked me to explain exactly why Groot is so cool and invaluable to the movie, I couldn’t give you an answer. But I promise you he is. (My mom asserts it’s because Groot’s limited vocabulary reminds me of my dad. Hardy har har, mom.) Groot isn’t chatty, fast, or oozing with intelligence, but he is emotional, caring, and extremely protective. Groot is also the dessert of the movie, and Marvel saved the best for last. You’ll have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about.

I was laughing, I was cheering, I was screaming, and I was clapping. The crowd in my theater clapped on four occasions throughout the movie. If this movie doesn’t have you rooting for the good guys, you have no heart. If it doesn’t have you dancing to the Jackson 5, you have no soul. And if it doesn’t have you cramping from laughter, you have no sense of humor. Bring the wife, bring the kids, and hope they don’t learn any new words. This action packed, star spanning movie breathes new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will have you begging for more. Avengers, look out! Here come the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Was it enjoyable? YES! I’ll just come out and say that Guardians of the Galaxy was twice as good as the Avengers. It had more action that action movies, more adventure than adventure movies, and way more laughs than dedicated comedies. On top of that, the movie had one thing Avengers sorely lacked: Heart. For enjoyability, I give Guardians of the Galaxy an A+.

Did it deliver what it advertised? Yes and much, much more. I was expecting a B movie with a Disney financed A movie advertising budget. I was quickly corrected. This movie is the movie you’ve been waiting for. A+.

Would I see it again? I plan on seeing Guardians at least once more in theaters and have every intention of purchasing the Blu Ray when it comes out on release, hopefully by Christmas.

The Purge: Anarchy: Movie review

After 90 minutes at the drive in, I made it through Lucy. After a quick  run to the restroom, I was back in my car and ready for the second feature of the night, The Purge: Anarchy.

Being that The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel, I didn’t set my hopes too high, but I was still plenty excited about it since I enjoyed the first one, and was curious to see how they were to going to take the premise of the 2013 film and build on it.

From the commotion on the grapevine – or lack thereof – The Purge (2013) didn’t do so well financially or with the critics. I didn’t hear any smack talking, but I also didn’t hear of anyone talking it up or rushing out to see it. I enjoyed the first film nonetheless, and took it for the movie it was.

Purgers and Hunters, from "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Purgers and Hunters, from “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

For those who haven’t see either, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy take place in the not so distant future, in the years 2022 and 2023, respectively. The U.S. is governed by “The New Founding Fathers” and every year starting on March 21, all crime is completely legal* (including theft, rape, and murder) for 12 hours (7PM March 21st – 7AM March 22nd). There are a few exceptions however, such as not being allowed to use anything over a “Class 4” weapon, which isn’t defined. The big exception is that it is still illegal to target certain government officials. Bullshit, right? This period of lawlessness is called the purge.

In this world, crime, unemployment, and other societal ills have dropped to astonishingly low levels, by U.S. standards. In The Purge (2013), it’s generally accepted that the purge is creditable for these changes. The argument in the first installation is: Do the ends justify the means? Is it worth it? Is letting people take out their aggression on others without reprimand acceptable?

Purging sacrifice
Purging sacrifice, “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

In The Purge: Anarchy, the moral quagmire is that the purge isn’t just the government’s way of letting people blow off steam, but that it is in fact designed to reduce the population of people society deems undesirable. Those who are weak and defenseless, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and anyone else unable to defend themselves during the 12 hour onslaught make easy pickings for the hordes of “purgers”. The rich, with their fortress style mansions (explained in the 2013 film), and private security, are practically untouchable. Naturally, government officials (class 10 or higher) have exempted themselves from the annual purge.

The Anarchy touches up on issues of class warfare, racism, greed, genocide, and a plethora of other issues and cleverly dresses them up as an action/suspense movie.

Audiences probably noticed there was no Ethan Hawk in this movie. It was a sequel, but the film centers around an entirely new lineup of cast and characters. It takes places a year after the first events. Whereas the first movie took place in white bread Suburbia, Anarchy takes place in a completely difference setting: Urban America.

I knew nothing of the cast before I watched the film. Once the movie picked up the pace, I immediately recognized Frank Grillo (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Prison Break). Grillo does an amazing job playing a grieving father whose son was killed, who is looking to enact his revenge on the night of the purge. He carries most of the major action scenes and shoot outs, and keeps the story grounded.

Frank Grillo in "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Frank Grillo in “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

There is a couple on the edge of divorce that gets stranded in the middle of the city shortly before the beginning of the purge. Call me paranoid, but if I lived in this world, I probably wouldn’t leave my house on March 21, and if I did it’s because I was hundreds of miles in the middle of nowhere in a bunker, and armed to the teeth – or in Canada.

We also have a mother and daughter. The mother is harmless, and hardworking to support her family. Her daughter, despite having good intentions and probably being the most morally incorruptible of the cast, had me shouting “Shut the fuck up!” every couple minutes throughout the entire movie. Luckily you can scream out loud when you’re in your own car.

All said and done, it was definitely an entertaining, nail biting, thought provoking, and worthwhile film. Anarchy was to The Purge, as Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was to the prior Paranormal films in the franchise. Each of the latest incarnations taking on more of an urban, gritty tone.

Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Not only was it as good as the first movie, but it was better and very different. Will The Purge franchise turn into the next Saw or Paranormal Activity, where audiences can expect a new sequel every year? Will the studio use the backdrop of the annual purge to address other societal concern and controversial issues? For enjoyability, I give this movie a solid A.

Did it deliver what it advertised? The trailers were a little misleading, and omitted a lot of the finer points of the movie. Did it deliver as advertised? Yes, it did, and much more. Again, Anarchy gets an A.

Would I see it again? I might buy the DVD, but not the Bluray. Given the chance I would definitely watch this movie again, and would gladly welcome a third installment.