Warrior (2011)


How Much Abuse Can One Man Take?

I felt like it was necessary to put off today’s review for as long as possible after the Rocky reviews went up.  This is a movie I’ve been thinking about seeing for a long time, but never really gotten around to it.  And it’s also a movie about underdog fighters trying to do something big.  That being the case, six Rocky movies were enough in one span of time.  I was able to mix it up for the two reviews that separated this movie from Rocky with a romantic comedy and a really old movie, but I’ve had the disk sitting here from RedBox for a couple of days already and didn’t want to keep getting charged for it, so today is the day for my review of Warrior, written by Anthony Tambakis, directed by Gavin O’Connor, and starring Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison, Vanessa Martinez, Frank Grillo, Kevin Dunn, Bryan Callen, Kurt Angle, Erik Apple, Nate Marquardt, and Anthony Johnson.

AWOL US Marine Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy), though he tends to go by Tommy Riordan, returns home to visit his father, Paddy (Nick Nolte), to get him to train him for a winner-takes-all mixed martial arts tournament called Sparta, the winner of which takes home 5 million dollars.  Tommy wants this money to provide for the family of a friend of his that died in the Marine Corps.  Paddy’s older son, Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton), works as a physics teacher but, because of money troubles, he does small time fights on the side.  A bruise on his face gets him suspended from teaching, which is certainly not helping his money troubles.  Though his wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison) is against it, Brendan starts training to participate in Sparta so that the prize money can help him keep his house.

This movie is the Rocky for this generation, or at least it should be.  And hopefully that doesn’t mean they’ll dilute it with too many sequels of questionable quality.  This is a movie that women may avoid as they seem to do with Rocky, but that’s probably because they are making a very incorrect assumption about what this movie is.  Yes, it’s got MMA in it, but the real story is about a broken family somehow repairing itself through punches to the face.  Let’s focus first on the story that should be the reason you watch this.  Tommy’s side of the story is all about slowly unraveling his troubled past and how he deserted the Marines, saved the lives of a bunch of other marines, and the troubles he had with his family.  Brendan was dealing with his financial troubles, his career problems, his disapproving wife, and his family troubles.  Paddy is tying together the two sons who hate his guts.  It’s so well-written and so emotional.  The climax is so satisfying and emotional that I actually got a little choked up for it.  I would say that the beginning of the story is a little drawn out and doesn’t have a lot happening so that could’ve been shaved down a bit to benefit the story.  And I probably would’ve liked to have a little something more after the ending to wrap everything up with Tommy’s desertion problems, but it was still really good.  This is an MMA movie though, and the fights are pretty spectacular.  The first thing I appreciate about this is that I think boxing has lost a lot of its steam since the Rocky days.  I’ve never been that big of a fan of boxing, but I am all about MMA, and this movie does not disappoint.  Though it’s often to a lesser extent, MMA can suffer the same problems as boxing when the fights are moving too slow because the fighters aren’t willing to advance.  In a movie, you don’t have to worry about that.  All of the fights in this movie were intense and exciting.  One of the very first matches was Tommy absolutely embarrassing an experienced but douchey fighter.  He whoops that ass!  Tommy’s style was mostly wrestling and striking, and he won all of his fights with ease and brutality.  Brendan took more of a beating, but always won with some great submission moves.  I really liked his fight with Kurt Angle because Kurt was playing a Russian named Koba who was a force to be reckoned with, and it reminded me of the Rocky vs. Drago fight from Rocky IV.  One problem I had (without spoiling anything) was that there is no way a match would be allowed to continue when one of the fighters has a noticeably dislocated shoulder.  They would’ve stopped that shit and called the other guy the winner.

All of the performances in this movie were superb.  Joel Edgerton gave a very real and grounded performance.  It annoyed me that so many people doubted him because they thought of him only as a physics teacher and ignored the fact that he used to be in the UFC.  But in a world where the UFC actually exists, why are these guys not aware of Rich Franklin?  He used to be a teacher!  Tom Hardy’s performance was not openly emotional, but you could see that he was semi-constantly dealing with some inner turmoil.  And his fights were the most awesome for me to watch, though I do like a good submissions game.  I will say as well that I thought I couldn’t be more excited to see Dark Knight Rises, but now that I’ve seen this guy in this movie, I’m even more excited to see what he does with Bane.  Nick Nolte was fantastic in this movie.  He knew that he had fucked up royally in the past, but had gotten sober and wanted nothing more than for his sons to forgive him.  You feel really bad for him for the bulk of the movie.  If I had to say there was a bad performance in this movie, it would definitely be those douche ass announcers at the Sparta tournament.  When they were first fighting, the announcers said that both of the brothers were going to lose.  After they won, they warmed up to Tommy and kept saying Brendan was going to lose.  Maybe you two should just shut the hell up.  You’re no Miss Cleo.

I had a feeling I would like Warrior when I was going into it, but I didn’t really know that I would love it.  It’s the Rocky of this generation!  A fantastic and exciting fight story, but with a very good emotional storyline that should make even people that don’t like MMA love this movie.  I definitely recommend this movie, and with no caveats.  Everyone should love this movie.  You can probably still find it from a RedBox if you’re unsure, but I will probably be purchasing it post haste.  Warrior gets “I think I liked you better when you were a drunk” out of “C’mon, it’s not as bad as it looks.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Godzilla (1998)


I’m Gonna Be in Godzilla One Day!!

Finally got a fresh crop of review requests, and getting started with one that should be pretty easy to make fun of.  A former supervisor of mine named Shawn threw his vote into the hat on Facebook to recommend today’s movie, and it was right about time I mocked this movie relentlessly.  It’s a movie that you might call a “re-imagining”, but only if you weren’t too busy calling it a piece of shit.  And most people are.  I remember seeing this movie, but I don’t really remember much about it beyond that.  I apparently liked it (or liked making fun of it) well enough to purchase it on DVD, so there’s that.  But now I have watched it again, so let’s find out what I really think of the 1998 crapssic Godzilla, written by Dean Devlin, directed by Roland Emmerich, and starring Matthew Broderick, Maria Pitillo, Jean Reno, Kevin Dunn, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Michael Lerner, Lorry Goldman, Arabella Field, William O’Leary, and Vicki Lewis.

A Japanese fishing vessel goes down under mysterious circumstances, causing the US government to tap Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) to come in to research it, and causing the French government to hold a lighter in front of a Japanese survivor’s face until he says, “Gojilla.”  Nick is able to find a skin sample on the downed ship and determines it belongs to an unknown species, created by nuclear testing.  The giant creature (that the news has labelled Godzilla, but I prefer to keep calling Gojilla) travels to New York City, creates some havoc and destruction, and then disappears.  The military evacuates the city to make some room so they can further ruin the city by trying to kill Gojilla.  Nick discovers a blood sample and uses it to determine that the male creature reproduces asexually and is pregnant, coming to NYC to collect food and lay it’s eggs.  Nick’s ex-girlfriend, aspiring journalist Audrey Timmonds (Maria Pitillo) sees him on TV and decides that she can use him to get the inside scoop on the story, stealing a classified video tape from Nick that is later stolen by her boss Charles Caiman (Harry Shearer).  This causes Nick to be let go from the US military, only to be picked up by Philippe Roache (Jean Reno) of the French secret service.  The US ignores Nick’s idea that Gojilla has laid eggs, but the French help him find them.  Audrey goes along with her cameraman, Victor Palotti (Hank Azaria) to follow Nick and the French as they try to save New York.

Roland Emmerich has done nothing if not proved himself the king of dumb action movies.  Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 just to name a few.  I would certainly call this movie dumb, but it’s a fun watch in it’s dumbness.  The story is … around.  It’s there somewhere, but it’s pretty stupid.  Needless to say I came up with a pretty sizable list of the stupid things that occurred to me in the movie, but I won’t bore you with them … I will REGALE you with them.  First, for Nick to say that New York was a great decision for a place for Gojilla to hide was just retarded for me.  He’s a 300-foot lizard in one of the busiest cities in the United States.  But it worked, so I guess I’m the idiot.  Of course, it worked by having the 300-foot monster find a way to get around in the subway.  …Alright, we’ll go with that…  I’d say the biggest problem I had with the movie was how stupid the US military was made out to be.  You can use Scotch tape to stick a picture to a press pass and get in, you can affect the worst American accent in history to get by them, they instantly want to kill the thing they’ve never seen before that has not intentionally damaged anything but their only idea is to keep firing things that have previously proved ineffectual.  They also take the whole “Not going to listen to the expert we brought in” thing to new heights by kicking him out and going exactly opposite to everything he said, even though he was the only person to ever say anything remotely correct up to that point.  And all because someone who the military shouldn’t have allowed onto their area in the first place stole something from his tent while he wasn’t around.  Take, for instance, when the military guy wants to cement up all of the subway tunnels in New York to trap it in the city until Broderick distracts him with something.  How do you think that’s going to work?  You realize that it swam here, right?  And if the military isn’t inept in this movie, they’re assholes, but it requires some ::SPOILER ALERTS::  They finally kill Gojilla at the end of the movie.  They mainly do this because, for the first time in the movie, Gojilla is actually being aggressive towards something that is not openly attacking it by chasing down a cab containing Nick, Philippe, Audrey, and Victor.  One could excuse Gojilla’s rash behavior because the four of them had just taken part in the destruction of Gojilla’s 200 baby Godzooky’s.  The brave military comes to the rescue (after Nick figures out how to do it for them) after Nick gets Gojilla trapped in a suspension bridge’s wires.  You can practically hear “Eye of the Tiger” or “Hero” by Nickelback playing as the US military bombards the helpless (and justified) creature as it lies trapped and helpless, like a puppy in a safe that they just kicked into the ocean.  ::END SPOILERS::  So badly are the US portrayed in this movie that the French are the smart ones that save the day as the American’s sit around with their thumbs up their asses.  Nothing against the French, I’m actually a fan of theirs.  But if I know my friend Phil, that was the part that made him hate this movie

I’m a little torn when it comes to the look of this movie.  I actually kind of liked the new look of Gojilla … sometimes.  I understand their decision to make him look that way because it was more reminiscent of a komodo dragon.  It was kind of cool looking, but also seemed like they probably just saw Jurassic Park and said, “Do that, but make his arms longer.  And give him more scary, spikey things on his back.”  When we catch a look at the Godzooky’s later on, you get that idea cemented a little bit, but this time with the Tyrannosaurus switched with the Velociraptors.  When Gojilla is running around by himself, the look of him is alright, or at least it hides it’s imperfections behind constant rain and often darkness.  Except maybe when it starts randomly hugging a building and screeching to the heavens for no reason.  That seemed out of place.  By the time we see the Godzooky’s, the imperfections become more noticeable.  They were as goofy looking as they were a bad idea.  And that is only a slightly better idea than having those same Godzooky’s slip on gumballs and basketballs without using Yakety Sax as the music.

Since none of the performances were worth mentioning, I’ll just use this paragraph to use my character specific mockings.  Matthew Broderick was inexplicably a super genius.  I will get behind him being a radiation expert because that’s how he’s introduced.  I’ll even allow him to be an expert in reptiles because he studied … worms …  I’m being forgiving!  But what does not seem to fit in with his specialization is his knowledge of taxis (knowing the military could find his radio channel from the sign he threw from the taxi), suspension bridges (knowing that would hold Gojilla), dentistry (knowing that sticking an electrical cable into it’s gums would cause Gojilla to release the car they were in), gynecology (knowing what to look for to find out Gojilla was both male and pregnant), and musical theater (he’s gay).  What I noticed he doesn’t specialize in is blinking with one eyes, or delivering clever dialogue.  Broderick seems to always be around to deliver some clever witticisms, like when they stacked up a huge pile of fish in the middle of a street to draw Gojilla in and he said, “That’s a lot of fish.”  Y’know what, Matt, I never looked at it like that before.  You’ve given me a lot to think about.  His character motivation was also completely confused.  When they are trying to get the Godzooky’s blown up, he delivers a speech about these “amazing reptiles”, which is followed shortly by something along the lines of, “Blow the crikey fuck out of them!”  Jean Reno was probably the next biggest character (that I have a joke about), and he also had about one personality trait, and that was an obsession with coffee.  He was also a master of hotwiring cars, knowing what we all hope no car thieves ever figure out: a car can be hotwired by pulling out the ignition slot, jamming a knife in there, and twisting it.  I wasn’t a fan of Hank Azaria or his movie wife Arabella Field, but mainly because their attitudes and accents made them seem like they were fresh out of the Jersey Shore.  Also, Arabella Field’s character mistook the coming of Gojilla as a parade, which I resent because my mother never took me to one of those awesome parades composed of a giant piston firing into the ground, shaking the surroundings and making a loud thumping noise.  Can’t say I really understood the decision to make the mayor of the city Roger Ebert, and his assistant Gene Siskel.  If Emmerich was doing it as punishment for a history of bad reviews for his movie, you’d think he’d kill them off in the movie … or start making better movies.

So, no one’s surprised to hear that this movie is not a great movie, but hopefully we had fun finding out.  It’s stupid, the characters are pretty one-dimensional, the look is hit and miss, and it’s stupid, but it can be a fun watch, or at least a movie that’s fun to make fun of.  I still wouldn’t really recommend it as a watch to anyone, mainly because I won’t be blamed for wasting a few hours of your life.  But if you need something to make fun of, this movie is the kind you’re looking for.  MST3k got a lot of material from the original Godzilla movies, so why shouldn’t you get the same from the remake of Gojilla.  And so Godzilla gets “That’s a negative impact, sir!” out of “You’ve caused more damage than that goddamn thing did!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.