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Hags888's reviews view profile

Where's the action?  
on May 8, 2008 - 6:51 AM PDT
  of Ghost Rider (2007)
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful

I will preface this review by saying I knew little to nothing about the comic book character Ghost Rider before viewing this movie. I had seen some cover art, and had an idea of what Ghost Rider looked like, but that was pretty much it. So, while I thought this movie was pretty lame, I can't help but wonder if I had already known the character intimately from the comics if that would have helped, but I'm thinking that it wouldn't have.

So, I'll jump right in with the bad. There were two big things that stood out for me, the first being a total lack of character development and the other being a near lack of action. This was supposed to be a super-hero movie, right? So, where's the action? We get plenty of scenes of the Ghost Rider on his bike chasing demons, and we also get some 1 on 1 face-offs with the Ghost Rider using his chain-whip, but those weren't really "action-packed." How exciting is it watching someone sit on a bike or swing a whip? Even the daredevil stunt stuff with Johnny Blaze was boring, maybe because they put all the jumps in slow motion?

I didn't feel a connection to the characters at all, and this is largely because they didn't spend enough time getting to know the characters or explaining the reasons behind the plot motivations. We meet Johnny Blaze when he is a young, up and coming carnival rider, but we don't learn anything about what makes him tick. We learn he has a forbidden love interest, but we don't care. Then flash-forward and Johnny Blaze is a house-hold name daredevil rider, and we still don't care. The major plot points needed fleshing out, especially the motivations behind the demons and their interest in some "scroll", which also isn't explained very well (what does the scroll do again?). So Johnny sold his soul to the devil to save his father, and the devil will eventually give him powers (aka, turning him into the Ghost Rider), but the powers and what the Ghost Rider actually does (and why) aren't explained until much later in the film, and way after the fact, ie, way after we've stopped caring. This is where I wonder if I had known previously what the Ghost Rider comic was all about, that some of the plot stuff and character development would have made more sense.

At this point in the review I would normally point out a few good things and the wrap up with a recap of the bad, but I can't even do that. The CGI stuff was unrealistic to the point where the Ghost Rider's flaming head just looked cartoony, and the music was trite and ill-conceived. Even Peter Fonda and Sam Elliot gave flat performances (the latter more stereotypical than flat). Sure Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendes are good eye candy, but so what? This movie did nothing for me, and I think it *could* have been so much more in the hands of a more capable writer/director, especially one who could have packed a little more action into the mix (at least Elektra and Daredevil HAD action scenes).
Even for a "fun" formualic movie, it was boring  
on May 1, 2008 - 1:15 PM PDT
  of Van Helsing (2004)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

I have seen worse movies, but not many. I went into to this one expecting it to be bad, and usually when that happens I am pleasantly surprised. However, that was not the case with this movie. It wasn't entirely bad, so I'll start with the good things.

First, the costumes were incredible. It was partly a period piece, and the monster costumes along with Jackman and Beckinsale's character's costumes, were very detailed and believable. The sets were also outstanding. In terms of visuals (aside from the CGI) there was nothing to complain about, especially Beckinsale and Jackman, which were great eye candy. Also, you do get a healthy dose of most of the stereotypical "classic" horror figures: Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and Werewolves.

However, the rest of it was pretty bad. The accents were poorly matched, that is, each actor had a slightly different accent, despite the fact that they all seemed to be from the same place. The acting was very cheesy, and normally this might have been fine, but I didn't get a sense from the music or dialogue that it should have been taken as a campy movie. It seemed like it was trying to be a genuine action/adventure horror, ala Underworld, but the end result was pure cheese, and not the good kind.

Also, the music was a bizarre mix of classical/techno/goth/pop that just didn't work for me. It was a visually dark movie that would have benefited from an entirely orchestral score, but the strange pop/techno mixture didn't seem to relate to anything on screen, especially considering the bit of 19th century period piece-ness. The CGI was over-done and not believable (especially the Mr. Hyde). I will say that the "changing" from human to monster CGI stuff was good though.

So, in the end, this was trying to be a "fun" almost "blockbuster" style action/adventure that tapped into the classic horror models using two very charismatic leads, but the end result was a cheesy blend of bad acting, uninteresting music, formulaic plot devices all wrapped up in an un-chewable, bland shell that unfortunately, lasted longer than a gobstopper.
Bad, but not THAT bad  
on March 30, 2008 - 6:04 PM PDT
  of Ultraviolet (2006)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Maybe it was because I went into this one knowing its reputation for being "bad", but I didn't think it was as terrible as some critics made it out to be. So, first, the good stuff. The visuals in this movie were very reminiscent of Equilibrium. Lots of camera motion followed by a freeze. There were moments when the angles and symmetry in the shots were really impressive to look at, and the colors were very rich and vibrant, and I like how some of the shots setup illusions. It was a visually appealing film, especially if you're a fan of Milla Jovovich's mid-drif. If you enjoyed the martial art sequences in Equilibirum, especially the Gun Kata thing, you'll get some of that in this movie as well. As a professional musician, I found the music very engaging and quite well done.

Now for the bad. The acting was very average at best. Milla Jovovich is a competent actress (note: not great, competent), but her support (with the notable exception of William Fitchner) was stiff. The storyline was very singular and that made it quite uninteresting, especially considering the relative lack of back-story and character development. There was essentially no sub-plot, and the one major "twist" in the plot was predictable. The science behind the vampirism was sketchy at best and didn't follow any of the traditional mythologies about vampires (aside from pointy teeth and being sensitive to sunlight).

So, yes, the movie isn't that great, but it does have some good qualities. So, its not all bad. I gave it a 4 out of 10 for having good music, being visually appealing, and because I'm a fan of the Gun Kata thing from Equilibrium. But it didn't score higher , because the story and acting were too bland.

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