By 1993, Robocop had turned from a Christ allegory with a vicious blood streak to a bonafide kids’ mascot who was appearing on lunch boxes and Saturday morning cartoons. Thus was the weird period of the eighties and nineties where even folks like Conan, Rambo, Chuck Norris, and heck, even Freddy Krueger became kiddie fodder. The official final go around for Robocop is a tame and pretty dull 1993 film that director Fred Dekker is saddled with, that takes Robocop in to more family friendly territory right down to having a spunky child sidekick. Not much has happened for Robocop and Detroit since the first two films, as the city is still very much under the death grip of crime, while OCP still controls every going on. Dekker has a lot of catching up to do and sadly doesn’t deliver much in the way of a great sequel, as “Robocop 3” essentially repeats a lot of the same beats from the first two films.
Irvin Kershner has a knack for taking original films and amplifying what makes them work initially. With “RoboCop 2,” Kershner takes the RoboCop mythology to new heights creating a film that’s significantly more memorable than the original and arguably better. That’s a controversial statement for sure but when a lot of fans think of RoboCop, they think about the RoboCop 2 unit which becomes something of a parallel to Alex Murphy. Where in Alex is still grasping with bits and pieces of his humanity and consciousness, our villain Cain fully embraces the technological shell he is transplanted in and begins to wreak absolute havoc.
Every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in! Keanu Reeves’ action starring vehicle “John Wick” ended up being one of the best films of 2014, and three years later, we’re granted what is essentially “The Empire Strikes Back” of the John Wick saga. When John Wick went in to retirement, violence found him once and he wrought unholy vengeance one last time. Now that he’s been a few years in exile, living alone with his trusty pit bull, his past has returned once again. Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio shows up at John’s door aware of his mission of vengeance and now plans to take advantage of a decades old blood oath he made to him when he was working as an assassin. Handing him a very sacred reminder called a “marker” with John’s own blood in it, he plans to hold him to his oath, despite John’s protests.
In the near future, during the second great depression, an ex-con joins a duo of burgeoning bank thieves as there are no jobs and he needs to survive. At the same time, a resistance movement grows fast and a group of female criminals is causing mayhem. As things take a more serious and more violent turn for all involved, the authorities are closing in on them. In writer/director Tony Olmos’ first feature film a few years ago, the story may be a bit exaggerated but it will feel close to what may become reality to some. The story is set in the San Diego area amid racial and class issues, political problems, and an upswing in crime during the second great depression.
Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.
Director and co-writer Gabriel Carrer’s vigilante thriller film “The Demolisher” is one of the highlights of my coverage of Fantasia Fest back in 2015. While the plot points here and there are sloppily constructed, “The Demolisher” is an overall very good and strong tale about grief, sadness, and delusion that can stem from ones own guilt, in the end. While Gabriel Carrer’s film struggles to find its pacing and momentum in the first half hour, “The Demolisher” does inevitably pick up steam to build in to one hell of an interesting revenge thriller.
“Home Alone” already stretched the idea of logic and suspension of disbelief already, but when Dreamworks squeezed out a sequel hoping for equal to more success, we instead got “Lost in New York.” Not only did this follow up basically prove that the original’s premise was a tad far-fetched, but something of a flash in the pan. This sequel is just leaps and bounds sillier than even the third “Home Alone” and even presents a ton of misguided morals within its narrative. You can sense the movie is one giant misstep, when it casts the likes of Tim Curry as one of Kevin’s adversaries, and turns Rob Schneider in to a hilariously slimy bellboy, and wastes them in favor of rehashing the same dynamic we saw with Marv and Harry from the first film.
After witnessing a troubled family, the Bonners, decimated by a murderous family, the MacFarlanes, Father Bane goes on a rampage punishing those he deems not deserving of forgiveness with his new handgun, The Lord. As he punishes left and right and protects the only surviving member of the family, he also decides to go after the murderous, incestuous killers. Written and directed by Ryan LaPlante, Holy Hell throws everything possible at the screen, violence, sex, incest, rape, murder, blood, gore, inappropriate jokes, insensitive jokes, bad jokes, and the whole nine in an effort to be shocking or subversive. This is done with zero good taste and penchant for exaggerated action and ridiculous dialogue.