Karl Thomasson is back and is still tortured by his days serving in the military. After flashing back to his old days with a military buddy named Macy who made him swear an oath before he died while imprisoned, he visits his Macy’s daughter. She so happens to be a teacher at a fictitious college where the dominant force is the school football team, all of whom are juicing up on some kind of experimental steroids. After she’s attacked by local drug dealers, Thomasson takes it upon himself to go undercover as a professor and begin investigating who attacked her. While trying to figure out the identity of her attackers, he uncovers a drug ring and begins learning about the dangers of steroids as players slowly either turn up dead or become increasingly violent.
I was surprised there was even such a thing as a “The Substitute 2” since the first film barely warranted a sequel if at all. Tom Berenger is a fine character actor, but the original film only grants a viewing thanks to some okay action moments. I initially thought the sequel series featured Berenger’s character on various adventures as an undercover mercenary playing a substitute, but thankfully the writers dodge that trap. “The Substitute 2” is a sequel in that it is set in the same universe as Berenger’s character. New character Karl Thomasson, as played by Treat Williams, served in the military alongside Berenger’s character O’Shea, and is helped by the surviving mercenary from the first film. Hey, that’s about all you’re getting.
It’s a thing of beauty to see DC Comics and Warner finally embrace what’s so awe-inspiring about their characters. I’ve been a very vocal critic about DC’s output of live action films, and “Wonder Woman” is thankfully a remarkable jumping point for the new direction of the cinematic universe for DC and Warner. Patty Jenkins’ film presents Wonder Woman at a turning point at the very end of her own movie and is one of the most socially relevant superhero films made in the last fifteen years. “Wonder Woman” arrives in an age where worldwide, efforts are being made by various political and corrupt powers to silence women. Out of the darkness comes Diana Prince, a woman who will not be silenced or put in to the background.
Diana grew up to become an Amazon warrior. Little did she know, she was much more than that and when the time comes, she heads to war with a man who crashed near the island she lives on with only women. There she discovers her full potential as much more than a warrior, but also a hero.
Mill Creek Entertainment is looking to make your summer as action packed as possible with a three bill economy blu-ray of some pretty nifty action pictures. Allowing a bang for your bucks, “Payback Time Triple Feature” garners action movie essentials that should allow for a great afternoon with popcorn and some beer. First up there’s the very good (and my personal favorite) “Blind Fury,” a solid remake of a classic “Zatoichi” movie starring Rutger Hauer as a blind Vietnam Veteran Nick Parker, who is taught the art of the sword after being rendered disabled.
Despite what Disney and Lucasfilm have been doing lately with the “Star Wars” cinematic universe and promising “Star Wars” films until the foreseeable future, that doesn’t stop fans from contributing their own stories. “The Force and the Fury” is a great and simple short fan film that is beautifully directed and works on the fundamentals of “Star Wars”: The narrative is simple, straight to the point, and about family and how the Sith and Jedi affect those within its realm.
Much like a classic mix tape, “Vol. 2” of “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a movie that’s similar in theme to its predecessor but feels fresh and original. Director James Gunn delivered a truly remarkable adaptation in 2014, and now he offers up a sequel that’s just as good, with a hefty narrative that thankfully has so much going on, but never loses sight of its central themes of family, love, and how music is the soundtrack of our lives. With “Guardians” the group of Starlord, Gamorra, Groot, Rocket, and Drax are back committing to a difficult job for a race of aliens called the Sovereign. They’re tasked with killing a vicious monster called the Abilisk and protecting priceless batteries. In exchange, they give Gamorra her sister Nebula back, who has been held prisoner.
At this point you know what you’re getting with the “Fast and the Furious” movie series, but they also seem to be thinking of new ways to get ridiculous. While you can’t really expect realism with these movies (seriously, gravity does not exist in this world), “Fate of the Furious” reaches new heights of absurdity that it becomes comical; and not the good kind of comical, either. Where James Bond had “Die Another Day” where he surfed a tsunami on a plane door and parachute, “The Fate of the Furious” has its own “jump the shark” moment. But this one involves a missile chasing a car, and Dwayne Johnson merely leaning out of a high speed car and pushing the missile away with his hand, allowing it to divert in to the car of a bad guy. It’s that point where I realized that it’s about time for the series to come to an end.