Also known as: Daddy’s Little Girl (working title) Release Date: April 14th, 1989 Directed by: Stan Dragoti Written by: Seth Winston, Michael J. Nathanson Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Tony Danza, Catherine Hicks, Ami Dolenz, Laura Mooney, Wallace Shawn, Derek McGrath, Lance Wilson-White, Dana Ashbrook, Matthew Perry, Dick O’Neil, Dustin Diamond, Oliver Muirhead, Todd Bridges, Robbie Rist
Weintraub Entertainment Group, Upstart Productions, Columbia Pictures, 90 Minutes
“Yeah, wow. Yale, perfect. At last, perfect. Home by 11, perfect. I, uh… wait a minute. Chapter 52. He’s too perfect!” – Doug Simpson
I kind of wish that this movie would’ve at least been a moderate hit, as it would’ve helped transition Tony Danza from a television megastar to a real player in motion pictures. I love Danza and I think he could’ve had a pretty solid comedic film career had he had the right projects to be a part of.
Now I’m not saying that this was a bad project, I actually like it and always have. However, I feel like this movie’s lack of success at the box office prematurely sealed Danza’s fate in the realm of being a comedic force in film.
This is an amusing movie and I like a lot of the people in it but the script did feel a bit weak and the jokes and gags weren’t all that memorable. I guess the reason I like it though is the general premise and because Danza felt perfect in the role of a single father dealing with his teen daughter first discovering boys.
Additionally, I thought Ami Dolenz was really good as the daughter and I always wished she had done more mainstream pictures instead of being one of the early ’90s queens of direct-to-VHS flicks.
I also enjoyed Dana Ashbrook and Matthew Perry in this as two different boyfriends of Dolenz’s character. I also got enjoyment out of Catherine Hicks’ performances, as well as Wallace Shawn, who plays the seedy radio show host that gets in Danza’s ear, pushing him down a parenting path that drives a wedge between himself and his daughter.
Overall, though, this is a goofy, amusing, lighthearted picture. It’s charming escapism and a pretty decent and fun way to waste an hour and a half.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with: other ’80s teen comedies and Tony Danza’s hit television show, Who’s the Boss?
Also known as: Super Mario Brothers: The Movie (original script title) Release Date: May 28th, 1993 Directed by: Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel Written by: Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, Ed Solomon Based on:Mario by Nintendo Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Fiona Shaw, Richard Edson, Mojo Nixon, Dana Kaminski, Lance Henriksen, Frank Welker (voice), Dan Castellaneta (narrator)
“[bathing in mud] Do you know what I love about mud? It’s clean and it’s dirty at the same time.” – King Koopa
Super Mario Bros. was one film in a string of a few that helped to build the reputation that video game movies suck. Looking at the picture in comparison to the video game series it’s based on, I get it. And frankly, it irked the shit out of me when I saw it in 1993.
However, seeing it with pretty fresh eyes nearly three decades later, I have a very different view of the film now. Especially, when I just look at it as its own weird body of work apart from the video game franchise.
Removing the source material from the equation, I can still see why this would be viewed as a bad film by most but for me, a lover of really weird shit, everyone in this cast and late ’80s/early ’90s cyberpunk shit, this is kind of a feast of awesomeness!
Additionally, the Alan Silvestri score is great, lively, playful and boisterous. It reminds me of his score to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which was, honestly, what really set the magnificent tone for that movie. Here, Silvestri’s work is just as effective and man, I miss scores like this.
This movie also feels like a time capsule into the heart of the ’90s. It embraces the wonky tropes of the decade and it completely misses the mark it should’ve been aiming for. Although, in retrospect, I really like that this just did whatever the hell it wanted to and provided the world with something so damn bizarre and zany.
I really liked the bond between Mario and Luigi, even if trying believe that Hoskins and Leguizamo are supposed to be real brothers is maybe the most unbelievable thing in the film. That kind of doesn’t matter, though, as nothing in this needs to make any sort of logical sense. It’s actually cooler that it doesn’t. Now that’s something I’d typically be highly critical of but this movie with its flaws is still so much fun and overly ridiculous that it adds to its charm.
I guess Dennis Hopper was miserable working on this due to behind the scenes clusterfucks and severe delays but honestly, it probably worked to the movie’s benefit, as he truly comes off as an insufferable prick and it just makes his character that much more sinister and entertaining to watch.
Additionally, I really liked Samantha Mathis in this, as she played Princess Daisy, the apple of Luigi’s eye. Her and Leguizamo had nice, believable chemistry and she really was a highpoint of the picture. In fact, her final scene where she returns as a gun toting badass really made me wish a sequel had been made.
That being said, I actually wouldn’t be opposed to having more things made from this version of the Super Mario IP. I get it, it was a bomb and most people hated it but it’s also unique and kind of special in its own odd way. Plus, it’s developed a good cult following over the years and I think many people are like me, where seeing this decades later really allows you to separate from what it should of been and wasn’t to seeing it as its own cool thing.
Rating: 5.75/10 Pairs well with: the other few ’90s movies based on video games, as well as other early ’90s cyberpunk films.
Release Date: October 4th, 1991 Directed by: Russell Mulcahy Written by: Steven E. de Souza, Fred Dekker, Menno Meyjes Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T, Kevin Pollak, Lindsay Wagner, Sherman Howard, Mary Ellen Trainor, John Amos, Miguel Sandoval, Jesse Ventura
“I guess a Beretta in the butt beats a butterfly in a boot, huh?” – Nick Styles
Man, this may be the most Fred Dekker movie ever put to celluloid. It’s got his fingerprints all over the story and Steven E. de Souza’s script really encapsulates the spirit of Dekker’s style. Beyond that, the director, Russell Mulcahy, then turns everything up passed eleven! I’d say he turned it to about seventeen!
I haven’t seen this since it was a new movie on VHS but I’ve got to say that even though I remember enjoying it, I didn’t realize how over the top and crazy it was. I guess that’s because this was fairly normal for an early ’90s edgy boi action flick.
Seeing greats like Denzel Washington and John Lithgow clash in this was fucking incredible, though! These guys brought their a-game, their balls and then, I’m assuming, shot a bunch of steroids and extra testosterone into their man bits. That’s the only way I can really explain their intensity in this movie.
This is a high octane action thriller from the very beginning. It follows a young cop that takes down an extremely violent criminal in the first few minutes. The cop becomes a hero and a bit of a celebrity and eventually starts working for the district attorney’s office. He ends up getting married and has two daughters. All the while, Lithgow rots in prison, fighting and murdering other prisoners, waiting for his chance to escape and get vengeance on the cop that put him there.
Once out of prison, the criminal creates an elaborate plot to break the cop down, destroy his personal life, his career, pump him full of heroin and have him get raped by a hooker with an STD. This story goes to some dark, bonkers places.
In the end, Denzel sets his own trap by utilizing the gangsters he grew up with. The big, legitimately awesome finale takes place on the famous Watts Towers. The finale is fucking great! Especially, for those who loved these type of over-the-top, bar pushing action flicks of this era.
All in all, this is far from a perfect film and it has its flaws but it is perfect escapism, chock full of that “toxic” masculinity that modern Hollywood loathes.
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: other cop thrillers of the ’80s and ’90s.
Release Date: August 9th, 1985 Directed by: Carl Reiner Written by: Mark Reisman, Jeremy Stevens Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: John Candy, Karen Austin, Kerri Green, Joey Lawrence, Rip Torn, Richard Crenna, John Larroquette, Richard Herd, Lois Hamilton
St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission, Paramount Pictures, 87 Minutes
“I love you Scully. That’s not the booze talkin’ either.” – Jack Chester
This was one of those movies I used to watch a lot as a kid. I hadn’t seen it in years though but after recently revisiting The Great Outdoors, I wanted to give this similar movie some love.
Sadly, it’s nowhere near as good as I remembered it being. But that’s not to say that it isn’t amusing and funny. It is, but that’s mainly due to how charming and lovable John Candy is regardless of the quality of the production he finds himself in.
The story follows a guy who is forced to take a vacation so he packs up the family and heads to Florida for the summer. Once there, a series of mishaps happen and the vacation is turned into a bit of a nightmare but ultimately, he has to come to look at the silver lining and reconnect with those he loves most while also challenging himself in a new way in an effort to succeed at something important to him.
This is a lighthearted positive film and it feels like a relic because there are few movies like this anymore, which is kind of sad. But even with all the shit that is thrown at John Candy’s Jack Chester, he tends to find a way to get over it and be optimistic.
Apart from Candy, I really liked Rip Torn as his buddy that teaches him how to sail and helps inspire him to win a sailing race against the town’s rich asshole.
That asshole is played by Richard Crenna, who I also liked a lot in this, as he isn’t playing his typical tough guy role but is instead playing a pompous old yuppie that gets to ham it up and have fun. In fact, he and Candy made such good rivals in this, I’m surprised Crenna didn’t get more similar roles following this film. But then again, this just did okay in theaters and was critically panned at the time.
Summer Rental isn’t the best John Candy movie, by any means, but it still showcases the guy’s magnetic charm and it makes you want to root for him and his family.
Rating: 5.75/10 Pairs well with: other vacation comedies of the ’80s, most notably The Great Outdoors, also with John Candy.
Also known as: Quitters, Inc., The Ledge, General (segment titles) Release Date: April 12th, 1985 Directed by: Lewis Teague Written by: Stephen King Based on: stories by Stephen King Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Drew Barrymore, James Woods, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Robert Hays, Candy Clark, James Naughton, James Rebhorn, Charles S. Dutton, Mike Starr
Dino De Laurentiis Company, Famous Films, International Film Corporation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 94 Minutes
“[to Junk] Forget the cat, you hemorrhoid! Get the gun!” – Dr. Vinny Donatti
My feelings on anthology horror movies has been made pretty clear on previous reviews. However, I really, really like the third and final story in this movie and it saves it from being a real dud.
The first story is interesting but in no way realistic. It’s entertaining to watch, though, simply because James Woods is so damn good in it and he commits to the bit with reckless abandon.
In this story, we see a man go to Quitters, Inc. in an effort to quit smoking. The organization’s methods, however, are extremely fucked up and life altering. It’s a cool idea but it wasn’t very well thought out before execution. Granted, that could also be due to the segment really only having about a half hour to tell its story.
The second segment is like a dam in the river and it almost kills the movie. I guess it works watching it for the first time but there isn’t much to make you want to revisit it. In fact, I only sat through it to re-familiarize myself with it for this review.
It’s about a rich mafioso type in Atlantic City that forces the man that’s fucking his wife to have to make a lap around his casino penthouse by shimmying along a narrow ledge. Of course, the asshole tries to knock the guy off several times. Ultimately, the tables are turned and you’re probably thankful that we can move on to another story.
The third and final tale is a really neat horror fantasy starring a young Drew Barrymore, as a girl who takes in a stray cat she names General. Now the mom isn’t too keen on the cat and keeps forcing it outside. However, there is a small goblin-like monster that sits on the girl’s chest at night and steals her breath. The cat, of course, is trying to save the girl from this tiny and clever monster.
I love this story so much that I feel like it should’ve just been its own movie. Maybe they couldn’t have stretched it out to 90 minutes but it’s still really cool and it leaves you wanting more. Honestly, it reminded me of the really great episodes from the TV show Amazing Stories.
In the end, this film is okay. It’s really held back by the second segment but it is then gloriously saved by the great finale.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with: other ’80s horror anthology movies, as well as films based on the work of Stephen King.
Release Date: April 22nd, 2019 (Los Angeles premiere) Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely Based on:The Avengers by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Ross Marquand, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Linda Cardellini, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Frank Grillo, Robert Redford, Ty Simpkins, James D’Arcy, Ken Jeong, Yvette Nichole Brown
Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios, 181 Minutes
“You could not live with your own failure, and where did that bring you? Back to me.” – Thanos
*There be spoilers here! But I kept it as minimal as possible.
Here we are… the end.
Well, it’s the end of an era but not the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although, this may be the end for me, as there isn’t much else I’m looking forward to from the MCU after Endgame. Granted, there hasn’t been much news on what’s coming next, either.
But anyway, how was this film? The big, badass finale to a 22 movie franchise?
It was good but it wasn’t anything close to stellar.
My biggest issue with it was that it was a pretty big clusterfuck that had too many parts to try and balance. Where the previous film Infinity War did that just fine, Endgame had so many more extra layers thrown on top of it that it was overkill. I mean every single character that had any sort of significant impact on MCU storylines over 22 films ended up shoehorned into this thing. Even Natalie Portman, who wanted nothing to do with these movies after being in two of them and dialing in a mediocre performance both times.
Also, the time travel element to the story did a bunch of things that didn’t make sense and they also pissed on Back to the Future because it’s easier to shit on a classic (and its fictitious application of quantum physics) than to actually write a coherent time travel story of your own. Endgame opted to go the lazy Doctor Who “timey wimey” route than to concern itself with paradoxes and all that other catastrophic nonsense. They even kill a version of a character from the past and it in no way effects the present version of that same character.
The big battle at the end was the most epic thing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done but what should have felt like Marvel’s version of The Return of the King felt more like Ready Player Two. It was a CGI shitfest and I’m not even sure how Spider-Man was web-swinging on a large, open battlefield where the only objects above him were fast moving spaceships going in the opposite of the direction he was swinging in. But whatever, physics is hard, brah.
I liked that this film gave us some closure for some major characters. Granted, I’m not all that happy with what that closure was but like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., I’m also very, very tired of this franchise. I feel like Endgame really is a jumping off point for fans that have rode this train for 11 years that feel like they need a break. I feel like I need a break and even if my mind was made up before this film, Endgame really solidified it.
Although, I am a bit excited for whatever happens with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor. As for the rest of the characters and their films, I don’t really care. I think I’m only really enthused about cosmic Marvel and not Earth Marvel, at this point.
Almost all of the acting was damn good, especially in regards to Robert Downey Jr., Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson.
Brie Larson on the other hand is a fucking charisma vacuum and every time she was on screen, I felt like I was looking at a first time community theater actress trying to play Nurse Ratched. And the Justin Bieber makeover was terrible. That scene where she blew up the ship and floated there, victoriously, just made me yearn for someone, anyone else to be in that role. My brain immediately thought, “Man, imagine if that was Charlize Theron, the theater would’ve just erupted instead of everyone just sitting here sucking loudly on empty soda cups.” I’m not wrong, I rarely ever am.
Anyway, the movie was messy but it had some really good moments. But this isn’t a movie that can stand on its own. You need the previous 21 films for context or all of this would be lost on you. Sure, it’s emotional and some bits are powerful but without 11 years of context, the weight isn’t there. And I prefer to judge films on their own merits as a sole body of work and not as an episode of a TV show or a chapter in a book. But at the same time, there is no way you can recap everything before this, as this film series is now too damn big.
Well, it’s over I guess. In 2008, it was hard imagining this day. But here it is. And I’m tired.
Rating: 7.75/10 Pairs well with: Everything in the MCU before this film, as it all leads up to this one.
Also known as: Three (fake working title) Release Date: May 25th, 1990 Directed by: Robert Zemeckis Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, Flea, James Tolkan, Jeffrey Weissman, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, Donovan Scott, Bill McKinney
“Listen up, Eastwood! I aim to shoot somebody today and I’d prefer it’d be you. But if you’re just too damn yella, I guess it’ll just have to be your blacksmith friend.” – Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen
The Back to the Future trilogy is one of the greatest trilogies in cinematic history. It’s damn near perfect and the films are still just as enjoyable now, as they were thirty years ago.
Each one is a tad bit weaker than the previous but since the first one is an absolute masterpiece, the sequels are still better than 95 percent of all the movies ever made.
Part III is my least favorite chapter in the trilogy but it is still one of the best popcorn movies a film fan could ask for.
This takes the Back to the Future formula and throws it into the Old West. I like that they did this and it opens up the series for some fresh takes on some of its tropes but I also feel like the western twist maybe wasn’t strong enough on its own to carry the whole film. What I liked most about the second film, the one I find to be the most entertaining, is that it jumped around and showed us a variety of different times and alternate timelines.
Also, I feel like going further back in time to the Old West might have worked better in the second film. Like maybe they could have flip-flopped the second and third pictures. Which also could have given us the wonderful Mary Steenburgen in two movies instead of just this one where she was actually a bit underutilized. Sure, you’d have to rework some narrative details.
I am going off on some tangents and most people will probably disagree with my take but in the end, this was still a superb motion picture and one of the best from its era.
While it is still exciting it is a bit bogged down by the scenery and is the slowest of the three films, which also adds to my thoughts on it not being the best choice for the final chapter. This feels more like a second act and when it ends, it ends quite abruptly.
But I love the tone of the film and it still captures the amazing Back to the Future spirit. It also probably would have played better, at least for me, if they kept making these and just didn’t cap it off at three films like every other movie franchise of its time. They could’ve given us two more of these pictures, had they made them shortly after this one and frankly, I’m pretty sure they would have maintained the same quality had they utilized the same creative team.
Back to the Future, Part III is the weakest of the three but the bronze medal winner in the strongman championships is still stronger than just about everyone else in the world.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with: the other two Back to the Future movies, as well as ’80s Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante Films.
Also known as: Paradox (fake working title) Release Date: November 20th, 1989 (Century City premiere) Directed by: Robert Zemeckis Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue, Flea, James Tolkan, Casey Siemaszko, Billy Zane, Jeffrey Weissman, Charles Fleischer, Jason Scott Lee, Elijah Wood, Joe Flaherty, Buck Flower, Marc McClure (uncredited), Crispin Glover (archive footage), Mary Ellen Trainor (uncredited)
“The almanac. Son of a bitch stole my idea! He must have been listening when I… it’s my fault! The whole thing is my fault. If I hadn’t bought that damn book, none of this would have ever happened.” – Marty McFly
Back to the Future is pretty much a perfect film. Back to the Future, Part II isn’t perfect but it’s so damn good, it’s hard to see the flaws unless you really look for them and then, they’re mostly narrative issues that can be dismissed if you look at this with a Doctor Who “timey wimey” sentiment.
This chapter in the classic and awesome film series sees our heroes go to the future, return to an alternate present and then take a trip back to the past where we saw them in the first film. Part II takes you to more places than the other two films combined but it works really well for the middle act of this three act trilogy. It also does the best job of showing the consequences that can arise from disrupting the timeline.
I think that this has the most layered plot and with that, tells a more complicated story. I remember some people back in 1989 saying it was kind of hard to follow but these were also people significantly older than me. As a ten year-old, I thought it all made sense and I still do. Granted, there are some other paradoxes that this would have created and the film just conveniently ignores them but if it were to follow science to a T it would have broke the movie.
The cast is still solid in this film but Crispin Glover is sorely missed. I really wish he had returned to this just because I think it would have made the story better. While he appears in archive footage and another actor stands in for him and wears a mask of his face, this all lead to a major lawsuit that forced Hollywood to change how they use the likeness of non-contracted actors.
While I can’t say that this is better than the first movie, it is my favorite to revisit just for all the things it throws at you. It’s certainly the most entertaining overall and it sort of embraces the absurdity of its subject matter without overdoing it. It’s mostly a comedy but it is balanced well with its more dramatic moments. There is an underlying darkness in this chapter that the other two movies don’t have and I think it gives it a bit of an edginess lacking in the other two. Not that they needed to be edgy but that element works well here.
Back to the Future, Part II is how you do a sequel. It upped the ante, was more creative than its predecessor and enriched its universe, giving it more depth while developing its characters further.
Rating: 9.75/10 Pairs well with: the other two Back to the Future movies, as well as ’80s Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante Films.
Release Date: July 3rd, 1985 Directed by: Robert Zemeckis Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, James Tolkan, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, Frances Lee McCain, Casey Siemaszko, Billy Zane, Jason Hervey, Maia Brewton, Courtney Gains, Buck Flower, Huey Lewis (cameo)
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.” – Dr. Emmett Brown
Back to the Future is a classic, which makes it kind of hard to review. It’s a film I’ve put off reviewing for awhile because I can’t really come up with anything other than paragraphs of praise. It’s perfect.
Do I need to run through all the regular tidbits about it having a great story, script, director, cast, composer, cinematographer, special effects department and everything else under the sun?
I’m reviewing this right after I reviewed RoboCop, which I also gave a 10 out of 10. But don’t take that score lightly, it is really hard for me to give out 10s but this film certainly deserves it and maybe even a score slightly beyond that. The only other movie from my childhood that can really compete for this as the best film from that era is Raiders of the Lost Ark.
While the Roger Eberts, Gene Siskels and Pauline Kaels have their Citizen Kane, Vertigo and Seven Samurai, I have Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back and Back to the Future. These are my generation’s classics and even though they are much more modern, their greatness can’t be denied. Well, unless you’re completely devoid of taste.
This film was a perfect storm, even if it had some major production issues early on. But those issues led to this and it’s hard to imagine that a film with a slightly different cast would have been as good as this ended up being.
If you haven’t seen this film already, I don’t understand what you’ve been doing with all of your time on this planet. If you have seen it and don’t like it, we probably won’t be friends.
This is, hands down, one of the absolute best films of the 1980s, regardless of genre or style. There are other movies that one can refer to as “perfect” but how many are actually this fun?
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: the other two Back to the Future movies, as well as ’80s Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante Films.
Also known as: Dredd (Slovania) Release Date: June 30th, 1995 Directed by: Danny Cannon Written by: William Wisher Jr., Steven E. de Souza, Michael De Luca Based on:Judge Dredd by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra Music by: Alan Silvestri Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Joan Chen, Jürgen Prochnow, Max von Sydow, Balthazar Getty, Scott Wilson, Ewen Bremmer, James Remar (uncredited), James Earl Jones (narrator)
Hollywood Pictures, Cinergi Pictures, Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation, Buena Vista Pictures, 96 Minutes
“I am the law!” – Judge Dredd
I was itching to watch the 2012 Dredd movie, once again. However, I figured that I’d revisit this adaptation first, as I hadn’t seen it since 1995.
Back then I thought it was pretty terrible. 24 years later, it still isn’t great but I appreciate it a bit more.
This movie is stupid, mindless and a total mess. However, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and just wacky enough to have some value.
Stallone is certainly enjoyable in this, as he hams it up big time and really embraces the insanity of what this picture is. But he had to know that it wasn’t going to be good once he got on set.
It had a post-apocalyptic feel that is typical of ’90s action sci-fi but man, this thing looks cheap. There are some good sets and big areas but there’s also a lot of shoddy green screen work that looks terrible when compared to the modern standard or really, the standard just a few years after this movie came out. I get that the production was limited by its resources but they were employing some techniques that were already outdated by the time 1995 rolled around.
One problem with the film is that the story is kind of incoherent and it felt like they didn’t have much of a script and just a sort of outline of the scenes. It feels like they’re just winging it and trying to make it work. Yes, I know there was an actual script but it doesn’t seem like it was fine tuned, it’s more like an early draft with some ideas for scenes stapled together.
This surprisingly had a pretty interesting cast between Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante, Joan Chen, Max von Sydow, Balthazar Getty, Ewen Bremmer, James Remar, Scott Wilson and narration by James Earl Jones. But seriously, did Lane read this script before singing on? She just feels out of place, not because she isn’t a capable actress, she’s damn good, but because she’s just an odd choice to play a female Judge and she felt like she was above the rest of the film. Granted, I still liked her in it, she just stuck out like a sore thumb because she’s Diane f’n Lane. It’d be like having ’90s Julia Roberts in Double Dragon.
The only thing going for this is that it is a ham festival and pretty fun. It’s really dated and a big ’90s cliche but that kind of makes it lovable all these years later.
Also, I really like the chemistry between Stallone and Schneider, which we also got to experience in Demolition Man.
Overall, not a good movie but it is still a rather entertaining one for fans of ’90s cheese and action sci-fi.
Rating: 5.75/10 Pairs well with:Demolition Man, Robocop, Hardware and it’s much better reboot, Dredd.