Tag Archives: the rock

Movie Review – Red Notice (2021)

I don’t know how it’s possible for a movie starring The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot to be a boring stinkfest but darned if Netflix didn’t find a way to make it happen.

BQB here with a review.

I don’t know how Netflix tricked me again, seeing as how I’ve written about how Netflix has tricked me before. They put out promos for awesome looking movies with big stars and you can’t wait and then it drops and it stinks.

The way I see it: Apparently, Netflix can hire big stars or great writers, but it’s rare for the company to bring both together.

Ironically, the plot sounds as awesome at the stars. Rival art thieves (Gadot and Reynolds) go to war over Cleopatra’s (she of Ancient Egypt fame) prized golden eggs, with FBI agent The Rock caught in the middle. Double crosses, triple crosses, globe trotting, heists, explosions, and Nazi secrets abound and yet…YAWN.

Why? Heavy on the exposition dumps. I hate exposition dumps. You hate exposition dumps. Writing 101. Show us. Don’t tell us. We go to movies for entertainment, not to be given a bunch of facts up front that we have to commit to memory so we can understand the plot later.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too hard on these movies because Netflix made them but I don’t think so. If one really strikes my fancy, I’ll give it its due, like I did recently with Army of Thieves, but I think when it’s billed as a film with three top stars, you go in expecting a lot of razzle dazzle and instead well…imagine if like, a sophomore English major banged out a movie script in an hour but for some reason, was rich enough to hire The Rock, Reynolds and Gadot to star in it…maybe its not THAT bad but still. I expected more. I expected these three would look at the script and be like, “Um…keep the money. I don’t want to be in sucky movies.”

To be fair, the film has its moments, as many do. Its a fun distraction to eat popcorn to but there’s zero character development and I get it. Most of these flicks don’t have any character development but at least there’s an attempt. The biggest question left on the floor is how did a musclebound FBI agent end up as an art expert? What convinced him to use his art knowledge to fight art crime?

I do have to give it some points in that it let Gadot be the villain, which is a big change for her. Even so, Reynolds rattles off his “Who, me?” one liners. The Rock kicks ass. Gadot is that rare person who is both beautiful and kind, such that even when she applies an electro shock device to The Rock’s nards, it’s hard to believe she isn’t secretly concerned for her adversary’s safety.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but I’m wise to this scam. From now on, I won’t get excited by these streaming service blockbuster ads because I know deep down, they’ll spend big on the special effects and actors, but skimp on the writing, so I will never again watch a…OH MY GOD! DISNEY PLUS JUST RELEASED A NEW HOME ALONE MOVIE?! I GOTTA GO WATCH THIS THING! THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!

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Movie Review: Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)

This review will be brief.

As action movies go, its OK.   It’s worth the price of admission and fun to watch on the big screen.  On the other hand, it isn’t something that I’m clamoring to watch again.

The Fast and Furious movies have always required suspension of disbelief in their brand of putting awesome stunts above little nit picky things like laws of physics and gravity and so on.  Probably the most unlikely suspension though is that the Fast and Furious team accepts Shaw (Statham) as one of their own even though in a previous film, he openly murders one of their teammates in a gruesome way.  I guess eventually that becomes something we’re supposed to forget and frankly, I think most people do because it is silly to expend too much brain power on these films.

Hobbs (The Rock) a government agent who sometimes chases and sometimes works with rhe F and F crew, teams up with Shaw to help save Shaw’s sister (Vanessa Kirby) who has been implanted with a capsule containing a virus that could destroy the world.  Once a pair of awesome badasses, now they kind of look like old bald men going off on an adventure with some young chick paid to act like they are interesting.

Idris Elba picks up a payday as the villain but we won’t hold it against him.

There are some great scenes and it is fun and at one point, The Rock pulls a helicopter down with a chain.  Like I said, it’s fun and worth a ticket but it’s not something you’d want to see again and again.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Rampage (2018)

So, a trio of monsters walk into a bar and…

BQB here with a review of “Rampage.”

Ugh.  How did this movie get made, 3.5 readers?  Honestly.

It’s like Hollywood refuses to take a risk anymore.  Anything that comes with a brand, a name, a nostalgic audience…it’s going to get made.

Do you remember the “Rampage” video game?  As arcade games go, it was pretty awesome.  As a kid, it was one of my favorites.  It was pretty easy.  You take control of a monster.  You climb the beast up and down buildings, punch them until they fall down.  Gain extra points by destroying helicopters, tanks etc and if you need more health, just eat some people.

Hmmm.  Maybe that’s why I’m so messed up.  Anyway, what usually makes for a good video game does not make for a good movie so….I’ll be very kind here….it’s a fun popcorn movie and it was better than I thought it would be, but that being said, it’s not something I’d bother to watch again either.

The plot?  Ummm….let’s just say it’s the Rock doing his thing – saving garbage movies by being a big, loveable lug, that rare bodybuilding tough guy who seems like he could save your ass and yet he’s probably read a book or two so he might also hold up his end of a conversation.

The Rock = saver of shitty movies, from “Fast and Furious” to “GI Joe” and now, this drek.  Without him, I doubt it would have been watchable.

The evil Wyden Corporation, headed by a duo of duplicitous cartoon villains/brother-sister siblings (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacey as Claire and Brett Wyden) have corrupted the genetic research of ex-employee, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris).  Their super evil corporation has turned what was supposed to be a cure for all diseases and used it to, instead, make animals become super big and strong and crazy and able to destroy entire cities.

Um…because apparently giant, city destroying animals are way more profitable than a cure-all for all of mankind’s diseases but, yeah, stop thinking too much.  Seriously.  If you saw the trailer with the Rock running around with a giant gorilla and thought this was a thinking man’s film then I don’t know what to tell you.

Rounding out the cast is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a mysterious government agent dubbed “The Cowboy.”  He more or less plays a watered down version of his Negan character from “The Walking Dead.”  While he doesn’t carry a bat and isn’t a murderous psychopath, he does have that similar, “Look at me, I’m saying inappropriate things but because I’m saying them with an attitude, you’re supposed to think they’re really clever!”

The Rock, of course, plays an ex-special forces soldier turned primatologist because, apparently that’s a thing.  When his buddy, a normally well-mannered gorilla (George) is turned into an insane killing machine because of the Wyden’s dubious concoction, it’s up to the saver of all franchises to save the day (and this movie because seriously, the man’s macho charisma is the only reason to bother watching…although Naomie Harris is hot, intelligent…arguably too good for this picture.)

One complaint – it’s PG-13 so…I guess it’s ok for the teenagers but still, there are a few jokes where it’s like…eh….really…do we need so much use of the word “shit” and other naughty activities (George likes to give the middle finger to the Rock).  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve become an old man but PG 13 meant something different in my day.  Get off my lawn and I’m keeping your football.  It’s mine now.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy.  It’s not a flick for the ages, but it’s a fun ride.  As utterly ridiculous as it was to make a movie based on a very simple video game, this version was the best possible version that could have been made, I think.  It doesn’t suck as much as I thought it would, let me put it that way.

I had the chance to watch it at Disney’s super deluxe AMC with all the thrills, my seat shook when the monsters punched each other and shit.  Good stuff.  Go see it in the theater once, have a good time, then try to forgive yourself for wasting two hours of your life on this tomfoolery.

 

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Movie Trailer – Rampage (Or, The Rock Saves Any Movie)

 

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

When I was a kid, I loved the “Rampage” video game.  It was popular as an arcade game and later they made console versions.  You played as your choice of a giant ape, lizard, or werewolf and you made your character climb buildings, bash them, eat people, complete mayhem and destruction.  It was all very cartoonish with humor, i.e. you could eat people while they were sitting on the toilet.  Your character was usually a human that turned into a monster, so if you were injured, you’d turn into a human without clothes and slink away embarrassed.

With the occasional exception, video game based movies usually suck.  So, when I heard they were making a “Rampage” video game, I thought Hollywood was really scraping the bottom of the barrel.  I mean, the game was fun, but it was pretty mindless and devoid of any plot whatsoever.

Then I saw the trailer and I have to admit, it looks pretty awesome.  Partly because they went all out with the special effects, but mostly because of the Rock.  From GI Joe to Fast and Furious, The Rock saves all.

What say you, 3.5?

 

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Rock (1996)

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Sean Connery!  Nicolas Cage!

They used to be awesome, millennials.  Eh, in a way, they still are.

BQB here with a review of one of the best action films of the late 1990s.

I don’t think my millennial readers believe me when I tell them that Nicolas Cage was a big time action movie star around the turn of the new millennium.  But he was and between this film and “Face/Off” he was box office gold.

I know.  It’s hard to believe.  People with a hairline like that are lucky if they’re even allowed to enter a movie theater let alone appear on the big screen.

Anyway, in this film, a group of tourists visiting the long shutdown island prison Alcatraz aka “the Rock” are taken hostage by General Hummel (Ed Harris) and his men, a group of special soldiers who believe they have been betrayed by the government.

From their new island base, they point a bunch of poison gas laced rockets at San Francisco.  If they are attacked, they’ll kill the hostages and destroy the bay area.

Enter Stanley Goodspeed (Cage), the world’s cockiest poison gas expert because apparently, that’s a thing.  Actually I don’t mean to jest.  That probably is a thing.  Some dude somewhere is being paid right now by the government to study poison gas.  I’m sure of it.

Cage teams up with John Mason (Connery), the only prisoner to have ever escaped Alcatraz.  Goodspeed knows how to disarm the gas bombs (I usually disarm my gas bombs by taking a Tums tablet after a good bowl of chili) and Connery knows how to get Goodspeed inside the joint.

It’s a fast paced ride full of car chases, explosions, etc.  And personally, I’d put it up against any action movie released today.

Check it out, 3.5 readers.  Check it out.

STATUS: Shelfworthy.

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Movie Review – Baywatch (2017)

Boobs!  So many boobs!  Did I mention the butts?

BQB here with a review of Baywatch.

It seems like every generation has a show that is terrible of terms of plot, yet beloved and watched anyway.  And in the next generation, that show is destined to be parodied and adults who used to love the show will love the parody.

The Brady Bunch, for example, was one of the silliest shows on TV in Uncle Hardass’ day. By the time I was a young man, the show was lampooned in a series of films where the Brady Bunch keep acting like they’re in the 1960s but in modern times.

Add Baywatch to the list of TV shows turned movie parodies.  Honestly, the premise of the original show was so silly that it’s hard to believe that it, in and of itself, was not a parody.  David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider fame used to parade his pecs around a California beach while Pamela Andersen and a bevy of other scantily clad beauties would show off their personal flotation devices.  (Psst!  I’m talking about their knockers!  Awooga!)  Somehow, the lifeguards would end up fighting desperadoes and solving beach related crimes in between rescues.

In this reimagining of the show, The Rock flexes his ridiculously awesome muscles as the new Lt. Mitch Buchannon, leader of the plucky young Baywatch crew.  Zac Efron, also packing some fab abs himself (which I noticed purely in a speculative way and not in a gay way although I’m told there’s nothing wrong with that anymore) is new recruit Brody, a once beloved Olympic swimmer who has since hit the skids after an embarrassing occurrence at the Rio games.

Mitch and Brodie but heads throughout the film.  Brody thinks he’s the best swimmer ever and has nothing else to learn.  Mitch points out that Brody has the swimming part down, but needs to work on teamwork and life saving skills.

Also, to Brody’s surprise, fighting crime.  Yes, as the group’s newcomer, he’s shocked to learn that whenever the lifeguards see crimes they don’t just, you know, call the police.  Instead, with no law enforcement training whatsoever, they take it upon themselves to follow leads, track down suspects, and bring down bad guys themselves.  The running joke of the film is that Brody is the only one who finds this odd.

Additional new recruits include Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass.)  To the film’s credit, Baywatch, whether in TV form or this version, has always been known for putting the hottest beach bodies on TV.  This time, the crew adds Ronnie the tech nerd, the only lifeguard with a flabby physique that requires him to run through the sand with his shirt still on.  Naturally, he’s the comic relief and butt of many jokes because, you know, a nerd could never be just, really awesome and a super important member of the team but hey, baby steps.  They let a chubby guy get a role in a film for beautiful people so you got to start somewhere.

Meanwhile, Alexandra is hot while Kelly Rohrbach is an epic inducer of boners in her reprisal of Pam Anderson’s CJ Parker role.  Boi-yoi-yoi-yoi-yoing!

Cameos by Pam and Hoff themselves.  Pam’s is somewhat humorous.  Hoff’s is as well, though it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

In fact, little of the film does.  Much of it is slapped together simply so you can enjoy the beautiful beach scenery and all of the hot boobs and butts and wonder where you went so wrong that you didn’t hit the gym more and get your ass out to California while you could have.

Hell, if you’re still breathing maybe it’s not too late.  Start working out now and invest in hair dye.  Also, find Pam’s plastic surgeon.  Sigh.  Do you know I don’t think there was a single man in the 1990s who wasn’t tugging it to the Pamster 24/7?  Ahh, memories, like the corners of my mind…

Did I mention there are a lot of boobs and butts?  There’s also a…uh…well I’ll let you see it for yourself but suffice it to say, there is one scene that I was surprised didn’t earn the film a XXX porno rating.

STATUS:  Split decision.  If you came for humor, action, boobs and butts, it’s an A+.  If you came for something serious, you picked the wrong movie.  Personally, I find it shelf worthy due to the boobs and butts.  FYI none of them are uncovered but you know, close enough.

 

 

 

 

 

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Movie Trailer – Baywatch (2017)

I never watched Baywatch as a kid, but it was literally always on all the time.  If you just left your TV on and went to do something, it would inevitably be on.  And it was on for a long time too.  I don’t know how those lifeguards got into so many adventures but they sure did.

And now, like everything else from my youth, it is being parodied.  That’s ok.  It was pretty much a parody at the time.

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Movie Review – Moana (2016)

Water!  Pretty colors!  A stupid chicken!

BQB here with a review of Disney’s Moana.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

The short version is that Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), demigod Maui (The Rock) and Moana’s incredibly dumb pet chicken set sail on a quest to return the island goddess Te Fiti’s heart (in the form of a jade stone) that Maui once stole because he’s kind of a jerkface.

Monsters big and small are fought. Moana’s chicken remains stupid.

Oh and lots of singing.

There’s not much else I can say without giving away the whole thing, but if you’re looking for something to do with the family this Thanksgiving weekend, you can’t go wrong here.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy and though I’m not a fan of 3D, it is worth seeing in 3D due to some awesome animation sequences where all kinds of crazy things happen with water.

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Movie Review – Central Intelligence (2016)

Kevin Hart. The Rock. 1990’s nostalgia.

Let’s do this.

I’ll tell you what I want, want I really really want…SPOILERS!

Back in 1996, Robbie Wierdick (no I’m sure no kids made fun of that name) was an overweight nerd with no friends. But when big man on campus Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) showed him a kindness that no one else would, he never forgot it.

Flashforward twenty years and Robbie is now Bob Stone (the Rock).  There’s been a total role reversal. Bob’s whipped himself into shape and has become a badass CIA agent whereas Cal, once voted most likely to succeed, now lives the boring life of an accountant.

Blah blah blah…through a hilarious sequence of events, Bob and Cal end up working together on a mission to save the world.

It’s your typical Kevin Hart film. Kevin gets thrust into a dangerous situation and then hilariously whines and tries to wiggle his way out.

The running joke of the film is that Bob (again, remember, he’s played by the Rock), despite having become a ripped secret agent, still pretty much acts like his old nerdy self.

In other words, there was probably a contest in the writer’s room to see how many dorky things they could get the Rock to say. (Highlights – he loves unicorns, can’t get enough of Molly Ringwald, and his voicemail message plays the Spice Girls.)

Speaking of the Spice Girls, there’s a whole plethora of 1990’s references as the action circles around Bob and Cal trying to save the day in time to get to their twentieth high school reunion.

Sheesh. Was 1996 really 20 years ago?

Damn it. That means Bob and Cal saw Independence Day after they graduated, with no idea that twenty years later there’d be a ridiculous sequel.

Hollywood, why are you insisting on reminding me that 1996 was twenty years ago? Boo!

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but again, follows the pretty standard Kevin Hart film formula.  No need to rush out to the theater for it, but worth a rental for the laughs and 90’s flashbacks.

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Movie Review – San Andreas (2015)

Holy Crap it must suck to live in Los Angeles.

At any given moment you could be burnt up in a wildfire, carjacked by hoodlums, or hell, you could be practicing your putt on the back nine when friggin’ Harrison Ford lands a damn antique World War II plane directly on your face.

On top of all that, earthquakes are always a constant danger for the west coast due to the San Andreas fault and thanks to big blockbuster special effects, audiences are given a front row seat to experience just how horrifying it would be to trapped in the middle of one.

“Shut your mouth and know your rule, you 9.0 on the Richter scale, jabroni!  Can you smell what the Rock is cookin’?”

Because…you know…the Rock used to be a wrestler and he’d call his opponents jabronis and ask them if they can smell what he’s cooking?

Never mind, 3.5 readers.  Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of this summer’s wide scale disaster film, San Andreas.

(I know.  I’m disappointed that it wasn’t about the video game that took away a large chunk of my early  to mid 2000’s.)

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

Trailer – San Andreas – Warner Brothers Pictures

I’m sorry.  I forgot we have to refer to the lead actor as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  He’ll always be the Rock to me, but I don’t want to quibble with a guy who could rip my arm off and beat me with it.  I don’t think he would, he seems like too nice of a guy, but the point is he totally could so why chance it?

Johnson stars as Ray, an LA Fire Department rescue chopper pilot.  He’s in the process of a divorce with his wife Emma (Carla Gugino).  Together, they scour the California coast in search of their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), braving a non-stop onslaught of falling buildings, debris, explosions, floods looters along the way.

Blake teams up with two British blokes, her love interest Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ben’s little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) as they face all sorts of mayhem on their own.

Paul Giamatti lends his fine tuned character acting skills to bring us Lawrence, the Cal Tech professor who was able to predict the earthquake was coming but no one listened.  Once the carnage ensues, people are all ears it’s it up to Lawrence to save as many lives as possible by getting across the message that more large scale seismic activity is on the way.

Overall, the film is more of a thrill ride on screen than a vehicle to deliver any sort of a plot, though it does have its dramatic flair moments.  Ioan Gruffodd of the original Fantastic Four films plays the cowardly Daniel, the man Emma’s left Ray for only to instantly regret it once his true colors are shown.

(Between you and me, 3.5 readers, in a film about a man flying around in the middle of a major earthquake, the most far fetched concept is the idea that a woman would dump the Rock in the first place.  I mean, I don’t know, I’m not a woman but I’d venture that few are able to resist the smell of what the Rock is cooking.)

If the movie serves any social purpose, it would be that once all of the CGI eye candy is digested, the very real danger of earthquakes and other devastating natural catastrophes are something that we should be preparing more for.

I’ll have to consult with Dr. Hugo because I honestly have no idea what kind of warning systems are in place and what evacuation procedures are available for Californians other than to run around with their arms flailing as the chunks of cement come flying overhead as illustrated in this film every two seconds.

As disaster flicks go, it wasn’t half-bad.  Not the worst film I’ve ever seen but not the best either.  It’s definitely something you’ll enjoy more on the big screen so it’s worth a trip to your local theater.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

PS – Am I the only one who didn’t know that guy’s name is Ioan Gruffudd?  I feel like I’ve seen him in a zillion movies/TV shows over the years but never did I once suspect he was packing a moniker like “Ioan Gruffudd.”

Kind of sounds like he could be the villain in the next Star Wars movie.  “Quick!  Use the force or Ioan Gruffudd will conquer the galaxy!”

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