Friday, March 30, 2018

The Three Musketeers (1993)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! All for one and one for another movie, please?



The Three Musketeers (1993) – 2 out of 5

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately because my job has been crazy busy and my performance and writing schedule has been hectic, so I’ve been turning to junk food to try and help me manage.  It’s a terrible way to go about it but my exercise schedule (which is also crazy) isn’t exactly cutting the stress right now.  One of my go-to junk food options is a 3 Musketeers bar and, while eating one, I was reminded of the Disney movie from the 90s.  I haven’t seen this one in some time so I decided to revisit it…and use it as an excuse to write an awkward opening paragraph that involves telling you too much about me.  Oh, also, I really didn’t think the movie was that great.

Three blades, three musketeers?  Coincidence?
Probably.

Cardinal Richelieu (Tim Curry) is plotting behind the back of the King of France with the help of the villainous Captain Rochefort (Michael Wincott).  In his efforts, he has the Musketeers, the group loyal to and in charge of protecting the king, disbanded.  Three Musketeers; Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Aramis (Charlie Sheen) and Porthos (Oliver Platt), decide to ignore the order and refuse to relinquish their duties.  Now being hunted by Richelieu’s men, the group find themselves meeting up with a young hopeful who hopes to be a Musketeer himself; D’Artagnan (Chris O’Donnell).  Together, they seek to uncover the plot and restore the Musketeers and to protect the king.

But before they save the day, they pose for the photo on their Christian
rock album.

I have very vague memories of watching this movie when it came out and pretty much the only thing that stuck with me was a moment where Porthos is mocking the flourishes of a highly skilled and flashy swordsman.  That is pretty much it.  Re-watching it now, I realized that this might have to do with the fact the film really isn’t that interesting or attention grabbing.  Sure, it has some moments of fun and there are elements of its production that are nice and work but, overall, the film is just kinda bland.

A day will come when people will genuinely wonder why Charlie Sheen was
a star and why we allowed him to be one in the first place.

Curry is Curry in this film and that's a good thing.
The highlights of this film include various members of the cast.  Michael Wincott is genuinely enjoyable as the henchman to Cardinal Richelieu and his intimidating demeanor makes for a bad guy that you enjoy hating.  Additionally, the villain of the Cardinal himself is pretty entertaining because it’s Tim Curry in the role.  I honestly don’t need to say more because that guy is always great.  On the Musketeers side, I really enjoyed the performances of Kiefer Sutherland and Oliver Platt.  Sutherland does a great job of bring forth the weight the character needed and has the natural charisma to be the lead Musketeer and Platt is doing a decent job of providing humor.  Sadly, that’s kinda where the good things I found in this movie end.

The facial hair screams "bad guy" louder than the eye patch.

The rest of the film is just kinda uninteresting to me.  There are no real decent action scenes and the few swordfights that are delivered are, honestly, pretty unimpressive, and the plot of Cardinal Richelieu’s attempt to backstab the king never really felt that dire.  However, the worst part of the whole movie is D’Artagnan and Chris O’Donnell’s performance.  The character is such a despicable and cocky chump that it was impossible to care about him.  While, in theory, he’s supposed to learn humility and be a better person by the end of the film, he never really feels this way due to O’Donnell’s performance.  The arrogance and swagger is still there and O’Donnell never can achieve the balance of making the character confident instead of narcissistic.  The character is the center of the story and having him both written and performed poorly really made it hard to become invested in his journey and, in turn, get invested in this film.

I don't want to be mean but he really is just hard to watch in this one.

The Three Musketeers ultimately feels like a forgettable feature.  Yeah, it had moments of entertainment value but these moments were small and fleeting.  Having a main character that was too unlikable to bother investing in wasn’t helping things.  Most of it just wasn’t that interesting and it was really hard to not overlook that the French fighters were all speaking with American accents. 

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  "Cyberspace," one of the 90s favorite buzzwords.



Lawnmower Man 2:  Beyond Cyberspace – 0 out of 5

Recently I revisited The Lawnmower Man because I hadn’t seen it since it came out.  When I originally saw it, I thought it was pretty crummy and checking it out again over two decades later, I realized that opinion didn’t change.  I had never seen the film’s sequel; Lawnmower Man 2:  Beyond Cyberspace (also subtitled Jobe’s War, for some reason), and, since I watched the first one, I thought I would finally give this one a go.  Various places on the internet herald this one as one of the worst films ever made but we tend to be very overdramatic with things (hell, look at how the internet reacted to the Ghostbusters reboot and The Last Jedi) so, when I read this, I thought there is no way it could be that bad.  Could it?  Well, let me put it like this:  I still think they are being overdramatic but not by much.

An accurate portrayal of the face I made the entire time I watched this film.

The first film ended with Jobe (then played by Jeff Fahey) giving up his mortal form and becoming one with the digital world.  Well, that ending means nothing in this one as Jobe’s body (now played by Matthew Frewer) somehow made it out in one piece (despite looking deflated and involved in an explosion last go-around) and his consciousness is pulled out of cyberspace.  The company that saved him and its evil boss; Jonathan Walker (Kevin Conway), is hoping to use Jobe’s expertise in order to unlock an item called the Chiron chip, an operating system that can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.  The original creator of the chip; Dr. Benjamin Trace (Patrick Bergin) must now team with an old flame (Ely Pouget) and an old friend of Jobe’s (Austin O’Brien) and stop Jobe from unleashing the secrets of the Chiron chip and taking over the world.

It's like the description of "evil 90s CEO" came to life and was cast in
the film.

I thought the first film was a mess but this one is even worse.  All the problems the first one had seem to be amplified and then mixed with a technical prowess and quality that can only be described as a made-for-TV film that aired on Fox in the 90s—which, I guess, is a tad redundant because this came out in 1996 (and somehow got a theatrical release) so it has that 90s vibe but that doesn’t change the fact this film looked and felt cheap.  The problems, however, doesn’t stop with the fact this film has the appearance it existed on a shoe-string budget as it takes its movie tech ideas to an even more laughable extension, completely changes the main character, and has a story that really has no intrigue.

Wait, is that Johnny and Denny from The Room?

I teased the first film because of how it looked at virtual reality and thought that it could be used in conjunction with drugs to make a mentally challenged person smart and grant them brain powers like telekinesis and setting fire to things with their mind.  This one has the same kind of follies but what really makes this film laughable is how it believes that in the span of 6 years, the normal modern day landscape of the first film will be replaced with a cyberpunk world of tomorrow complete with a VR set for everyone (which, strangely, only seems to utilize glasses and no other points of contact to extrapolate movement or sensory data), wild futuristic cars and advanced computer systems.  Yep, somehow the world that once had the equivalent of the graphics from Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” video now has realistic VR environments and locales that look like they are from The Asylum’s mockbuster of Demolition Man.  It ends up making this feel less like a sequel and more of just a generic cyberpunk feature.  And, speaking of feeling less like a sequel, this film assists in that feeling by completely reworking its main character.

Yes, it's "The Future."  This makes the film timeless.

I won’t try to make the argument that Jobe is an iconic character in the world of sci-fi thrillers because I simply wouldn’t agree with that.  In fact, I will go as far to say the character was derivative, problematic, and, honestly, kinda bland and boring.  However, he is presented as an aggressive character that, as his powers grow, becomes more subdued and more interesting in getting more power than he is with pithy one-liners and mugging at his enemies.  That’s exactly what you get this time around and I’m sure it has more to do with Frewer’s performance style than how the character is written.  I won’t say that Frewer’s performance is bad—far from it—because I’m a big fan of Frewer.  It’s just that Jobe is a completely different character than he was in the last film.  That being said, the issues that I had with Fahey’s performance of a mentally challenged person and how uncomfortable it was at times, bringing in Frewer and letting him go a little goofy as Jobe is now drunk and loopy on power is actually a big improvement.

So, being that he was Max Headroom is how he got the role, right?

The final thing that really killed this movie is the fact it’s just not that interesting.  The conflict doesn’t seem that important, the plot just sorta feels like it is lackadaisically moving from point to point and the characters just weren’t that intriguing.  Do I agree that this is one of the worst made movies of all time?  No, not entirely.  Yes, it looks cheap but the real killer is that it is just boring and there isn’t an interesting character in sight.  The story basically offered nothing to latch onto and it was barely worth the energy to tease or riff on.  

Although, seeing this outfit made it kinda easy to make fun of occasionally.

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace is something I wouldn't necessarily call a bad movie.  Its low budget is obvious and it has a whole list of problems with its plot, story and characters.  What I would call it is boring.  That’s the thing.  It’s just not an engaging or entertaining film.  Sure, I liked that Matthew Frewer was in it but, excluding that, the rest of the feature just was yawn inducing.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Lawnmower Man

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  It's sod, it's grass, it's LAWNMOWER MAN!!!



The Lawnmower Man – 1 out of 5

The most memorable thing about The Lawnmower Man for me is the fact that it was a script that barely had anything to do with the Stephen King short story of the same name and the studio just tried to slap the author’s name on it for recognition purposes.  Beyond that, I had vague memories of renting it with my dad when it came out in 1992.  I can partially remember some moments from it like the wife of Pierce Brosnan’s character getting mad he was spending so much time in virtual reality but I mostly remember thinking it was dumb.  Recently, I decided to revisit it and see if my memories of it being a bad product remain unchanged.  And guess what?  They did!

If a metal band did the "Money for Nothing" music video.

Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Brosnan) is working on drugs and using virtual reality to try and raise the intelligence of chimps (because movie science) but when his experiments lead to enhanced aggression he realizes that he needs to try a different tactic.  Desiring to test on a human subject, he decides that the mentally handicapped man; Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), who mows his lawn will be the perfect candidate.  His methods with a new drug seem to work and Jobe starts to see improvement as he gets smarter.  However, after the old drug is introduced into Jobe’s system, he starts to get aggressive and more violent as mental powers like telekinesis and pyrokinesis starts to develop.  Now, mad with power, Jobe seeks to leave his mortal body behind and enter the world of virtual reality so he can live forever and become power incarnate.

He totally played the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye on the virtual reality
machine, you know he did.

So, like I said, I thought the film was dumb when it came out and revisiting it now, that opinion hasn’t changed.  In fact, it might be even worse because of how dated it looks and feels in 2018.  The computer effects are goofy as hell (believe it or not, it was considered revolutionary at the time) and it’s hard to not snicker at them but what’s even more laughable is how writers at the time thought the future of virtual reality was going to be.  Screenwriters always seem pretty out-of-touch when it concerns technology and hindsight gives us the clarity we need to see that they missed the mark by a lot with this one.  Sure, movie drugs to increase a person’s intelligence is something I can suspend my disbelief with but using virtual reality?  That part was hard to take seriously and even the movie barely works in an explanation as to why it would work.  I’m sure VR now has been discovered to help with brain function in some way in this day and age but it’s pretty silly (but kinda fun) to see how we, as a society, thought how big it was going to be in the 90s.

The key to total immersion into virtual reality is to just...hang there...yeah.

If you like a movie with loads of sweaty Jeff Fahey,
this movie is for you.
To be perfectly blunt, there was nothing about this film that I found interesting or engaging.  The dated computer effects are only the superficial problems with this one.  The performances feel barely serviceable and border on problematic as Jeff Fahey seems to be only seconds away from doing exactly what Tropic Thunder says an actor shouldn’t do.  Brosnan doesn’t look interested most of the time and the supporting players are all a gamble on whether they are giving too much or providing too little.  The story isn’t very griping as it hits all the predictable beats one expects the movie to go.  Finally, none of the characters were that interesting.  Fahey’s performance is too hard to take seriously for Jobe to be fascinating and Brosnan’s character barely feels developed or feathered out.  

Yeah...this doesn't hold up.

The Lawnmower Man is funny watching now because of how awful the CG looks but is hard to sit through due to its messy construction and story.  Pretty much from the moment the film starts, it's a sloppy thriller that offers up little thrills and too many one-dimensional characters.  Normally, I try to find redeeming factors in even the worst movie but the only thing about this movie that worked is how riff-able it is.  Seriously, the best part I found about the movie that doesn’t age very well is how easy it is to tease, laugh at, and make snarky comments about its production, story, characters and special effects.

Remember, this was state-of-the-art in the 90s.