Point Break (1991) – Movie Review

Point Break 1991I remember seeing thing movie long time ago and as with a few other movies I saw again, this one has a remake coming out in a few months. As much as I’m excited about it, I’m not, so I decided to go back and watch the original again.

If you’ve seen the trailers for the remake or even seen the movie – depending on when you’re reading this – throw all your biases away, and don’t expect to see the same movie, even though you just might. I just want you to take a look at this classic movie with a fresh look no matter how similar the remake and the original may seem or are.

Point Break isn’t a typical movie about an FBI agent or a cop who goes undercover in order to infiltrate a drug cartel or a gang. Point Break is a little bit smarter than your usual cliches (no matter how many it actually has), and it differentiates itself from the movies in the genre – undercover cop and heist movies – by infiltrating a completely unknown, never before infiltrated tribe – a group of surfers who rob banks in summer so they can surf the rest of the year. The premise itself is risky, but it pays off in the end because it makes for a fun and exciting movie with a great plot.

One of the things I like about Point Break is not just the introduction of extreme sports to my life, or at the very least broadening my horizons about surfing and parachuting, it’s that it’s another time capsule into the time before there was internet and people actually spent time playing outside or doing various outside activities, which only reminds me I gotta get back in shape.

The movie starts slowly by introducing the life of an agent coming straight out of training and training on the new job; and then it slowly pulls you in until it climaxes. I give Point Break 8/10.

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Airborne (1993) – Movie Review

Airborne 1993Until a few months ago I didn’t know this was the movie I saw back in mid 90s under a “different” name. Since I live in Croatia, all the movie titles get translated, and they don’t always get translated literally. Anyway, if I remember correctly this was a VHS release only – at least in my town, and since skateboarding was becoming popular, and one of my friends was heavy into it, he told me about this movie, which I proceeded to rent and love, and saw a few times before 90s ended. So, when I heard Josh “The Wildman” Macuga talk about Airborne being one of his favorite movies, I proceeded to check it out, and upon seeing the poster I immediately remembered the movie itself. I couldn’t believe there was a person out there who had a high opinion about Airborne. So upon discovering this movie after so many years since last seeing it, I thought it would be great to give it another watch.

Even though this movie isn’t about skateboarding, it is a movie about extreme sports – mainly rollerblading. To be more accurate Airborne is a story about a kid who loves surfing, and upon his parents getting a new research job in Australia for 6 months, he is unable to go with them because of school, and is sent to live with his uncle Louie, aunt Irene, and cousin Wylie in…can you guess? Wait for it – Cincinnati. Yup, talk about a fish out of water. Just imagine a kid with a surf board standing in snowy airport in a city where everyone plays hockey. Look at it as an adventure, his parents said. It will be great they said. Well, that picture pretty much sums up the movie, but there’s more to a kid with a surfboard standing in a snowy airport than one would expect.

This movie has a great soundtrack and a story that still holds up 22 years later. It’s a great becoming of age movie that will take you back through high school, fight with a bully in the most unconventional way that I haven’t seen in a movie until I saw this movie (even back in 90s), and last but not least make you fall in love with a girl. One of the things that stood out to me was cousin Wylie who bonded really well with our hero, which actually goes the opposite of mainstream trends where a distant relative usually resents their newly-arrived family member for any reason you can imagine, and is a trend that still happens in movies today.

Shane McDermott didn’t do much in Hollywood after this movie, Seth Green who plays cousin Wylie did make a name for himself as did Jack Black who also appears. Brittney Powell, Chris Conrad and few others didn’t become A-list actors, but they still have an acting career.

Airborne may be somewhat formulaic, but it has great montages that will take your mind away from that and let you enjoy the music, while at the same time make you want to go outside and do something exciting. Overall, if you want to chill with your buddies or even girl, this is a great movie to play and enjoy. I give Airborne 7.5/10.

Smoke (1995) – Movie Review

Smoke 1995I saw this movie for the first time in the mid or late 90s, and the only thing I remembered from it was the black and white scene at the end of the movie. What I remember about it was that it was a Christmas story about someone doing something nice, about a camera, and for some reason I was in the mood to rewatch this – what I remember to be a great movie – so I did.

Needless to say I also remember Harvey Keitel was in this movie so that’s how I remembered it and found it again. I also think this is the first time I saw Harvey in a movie to begin with. I’ve seen Harvey in few more movies – old and new – since then and I was really glad to go back to this classic.

Premise of Smoke – where main characters all smoke and hang out in a cigar shop – is not the kind of thing that would be made in a movie today, at least not in my opinion, and as an avid anti-smoker, I don’t think that’s a wrong thing or a bad thing. However, this movie is another time capsule. It will take you directly to early 90s when it was made, and will show you opinions of some current events as well as pull you in with an interesting story.

This is a drama, so this movie changes only a few sets, and the entire movie tells few different stories that it also finishes both directly and indirectly. For example, without any spoilers, there is one particular story whose characters’ story finishes by the way of telling us about it in the newspapers. What is potentially a very difficult situation turns out to be front-page news and that’s where it ends.

William Hurt is great, and we find out things about Harvey’s character that we won’t see coming. Forest Whitaker is also great, and trailer below doesn’t do him justice because he plays a much bigger role than any of the girls. The thing I love about his character is that he is pretty much disabled, but he puts that aside, and takes his life into his own hands and makes something out of it.

If you don’t like drama without too much character development, but is yet smart and has great dialogue, you won’t like this movie. However, there is a great story hiding in here and I highly recommend watching Smoke, whether you’re a fan of smoking or not. You may end up liking this movie. I give Smoke 8/10, which is a bit stretched, I admit, but that last black and white sequence is worth the watch and the high score.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – Movie Review

Smokey and the Bandit 1977I saw this movie few years ago for the first time and I liked it a lot. It’s a great movie you can watch with friends and be entertained. Plus, Sally Field is drop-dead gorgeous, and watching two guys being chased by cops through half of the movie is always fun.

But you’re not a fan of country music. Well, there is very little country music in the movie, which fits perfectly with the scenes they’re in, but I promise you that you will find it bearable. There isn’t all that much music in the movie anyway. It’s all car noises and dialogue.

If you’re a car person – this is the movie that introduced Pontiac Trans Am to two generations of people according to Wikipedia, and you’ll definitely love the CB radio interactions between Bandit 1 and Bandit 2.

So, what’s the movie about? The plot is definitely elementary. Two rich guys who have more money than what they know what to do with it like to make bets with people who drive trucks. They usually ask them to do something illegal for an insane amount of money, and if they lose it’s probably because they got caught by the police which is part of the bet because these truckers wouldn’t be able to pay up the cash the rich guy is paying anyway. So between jail and the cash – it’s a good risk-reward ratio for both parties.

Burt Reynolds plays Bandit, who’s a tough trucker who’s been across the country a few times and knows his stuff, as well as a big ego and pride the size of Texas. Jerry Reed plays Snowman, who is Bandit’s partner and best friend, and together these two did many jobs previously. Together, they take on a bet to do something that’s never been done before. In 28 hours, that make the timeline of this movie, and along the way something happens that makes the movie even more interesting and introduces us to the cops who make the movie all the more interesting, even if they are very cliched characters.

All in all, Smokey and the Bandit isn’t an academy award winner, but it is fun and entertaining. I give Smokey and the Bandit 7/10.

Mortal Kombat (1995) – Movie Review

Mortal Kombat 1995As I mentioned in my review of Big Trouble in Little China, the inspiration for video game Mortal Kombat came from Big Trouble in Little China move itself. Mortal Kombat video game soon became very popular and someone decided to create a movie to monetize that success even more. I don’t know who it was but that was the best idea ever in my opinion because I remember playing Mortal Kombat 2 alone and with my friends; fighting to see who is better, or trying to get to the difficult and almost impossible last fight against the evil emperor. Only a few of us were able to do it, and it was only done a few times, and I don’t think anyone beat the game. So when I heard there’s a movie that was based on the first game, I was nothing short of excited, especially if we can see the evil emperor getting beat. But the emperor is barely in the movie. He’s in the sequel, and I don’t suggest watching the sequel.

Having said all that, when looking at the movie which I may be biased to, it’s important to keep a clear head, but I still think this is the best video game based movie ever made simply because the source material had no story to inspire.

The game lets you choose 1 of 12 or so characters (at least the second game did) and what a player would do is fight a different opponent on a different set until he came to the end where he would fight the emperor himself – if he was lucky and skilled enough to get to him, let alone defeat him. As mentioned earlier – almost impossible.

So, on to the movie. Mortal Kombat starts by introducing each of the main characters and giving us some of their background stories, which are then connected through the main villain, who sets us up for a tournament that we’re not sure if it’s even real or if its consequences are as serious as few of the characters believe they are.

Another thing that makes Mortal Kombat awesome is its score that is one of the best scores ever made for a movie, and will stay in your head for days. The whole soundtrack is great, and I’m going to link the video with the score instead of the trailer.

The movie has a great variety of sets, practical effects and CGI which blend in well together and make movie watchable. The effort was really put into making the sets look good, and it was definitely worth the effort because the plot of the movie is not on planet Earth, and even though some of the sets look like places on Earth, we still have a lot of weird and unusual scenery that puts us in a different dimension.

Though the main cast is not memorable, and the women are stunning, these people show some martial arts skills, though how professional they are I’m not sure of, they make us believe they know what they’re doing while at the same time copying the moves straight from the game.

Christopher Lambert brings star power to help reputation of this movie as a legitimate one, and though his role is not the biggest one, his character is important to the overall plot. I love Christopher Lambert, and he it’s great having him in Mortal Kombat.

The villains of the movie are somewhat unique, though they are general bad guys who want to destroy their Earthly opponents so they can rule the Earth, or serve their evil master in order for him to rule the world. Scorpion and Sub-Zero are two of the most memorable ones, and definitely the most popular ones in the game, with Scorpion being the more unique of the two. They also have a “twin” Reptile, who wasn’t as developed as his “brothers”, but he was present in few of the important fights for the plot.

The overall feel of the movie is something campy mixed with something strange, with a dose of adventure and uncertainty, while at the same time we know we’re supposed to have fun with this movie with its great score, believable characters, and an over-used plot synopsis. To say that Mortal Kombat is a masterpiece would be an overstatement, but it is a great video game based movie that will entertain you for an entire 90 minutes.

I give Mortal Kombat 8/10 because it is a movie you can enjoy, especially if you like martial arts movies, or cheesy movies with one liners that won’t make you cringe like you’d expect them to. With that in mind, prepare yourself for the trip, and enter the world of Mortal Kombat.