Thursday, July 9, 2015

Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006)

Number Rolled: 59
Movie Name/Year: Meltdown: Days of Destruction (2006)
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Front Street Pictures, PorchLight Entertainment
Executive Producer: Harvey Kahn
Director: J.P. Howell
Writer: Rick Drew
Actors: Casper Van Dien, Vincent Gale, Stefanie von Pfetten, Venus Terzo, Amanda Crew, Ryan McDonell, Greg Anderson, Bill Dow, Philip Granger, Dee Jay Jackson, Floyd Faircrest

Tom is a cop and a good one at that. When an asteroid knocks Earth off its axis, though, he is faced with more looting and crime than he can manage. The only thing he can do is try and get his family to safety.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Sci-Fi Channel is listed as a distributor for this film, but it’s worth noting that The Asylum is NOT credited in Meltdown: Days of Destruction.

That being said, I only had some issues with this film.

The production value wasn’t bad at all for this kind of film. It’ll never be considered a blockbuster, but for a B-movie the graphics and sets weren’t too bad. The problem was the actual video. It broke in spots. For you people out there who are old like me, you’d recognize it as a VHS tape that’s been overplayed.

Aside from that, the script was a little lackluster and there was less real action than you’d expect in an apocalyptic film.

Story-wise, it was ok. It reminded me of a similar setting to what you see in the second book of The Maze Runner series. There were crazies that reminded me of the cranks, too. It’s a basic trope of this kind of story.

Casper Van Dien (Fire Twister, Sleeping Beauty, Mortal Kombat TV Series) is underrated. He’s definitely my favorite B-movie actor, and the whole reason this film wound up on the list to begin with. Truth is, none of the actors were terrible in Meltdown: Days of Destruction. Sure, the enemies reminded me of acting in 80s action flicks, but I’m a child of the 80s. I totally get it.

This is not a movie I would have watched without this blog in play, but I’m not upset I had to.

Cat’s Point of View:
You never know what to expect when watching one of these Sci-Fi B-movies that tend to run on the SYFY network. I don’t remember seeing this one before, but then I might have just changed the channel.

I just couldn’t seem to suspend disbelief with this one. Not even a little bit.

An asteroid chunk skipping off of the earth’s atmosphere as a result of a botched experiment shoves the earth out of orbit and closer to the sun. Okay, so far that wasn’t horrible – sketchy, maybe. Temperatures across the globe start rising and civilization devolves into chaos in less than a day. Really?

Add to that some teen angst, a love triangle, and ‘your ex con boyfriend isn’t good enough because reasons.’ This movie really tried to take itself seriously, and I just couldn’t.

No one on the ‘good guy team’ got sunburn, while the rest of the population seemed to be blistering. Everyone was wearing heavy long-sleeved clothing, and only showing a modicum of sweat. Even their hair stayed nice.

Cars are exploding but planes at the airport with more volatile fuel were going to be ok? By the end of the movie, I was both glad it was over and wondered what in the world I’d just watched.

I get that this was supposed to be an action thriller, but it both lacked good action or thrills for me. Not even Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers, Noobz, 500 MPH Storm) could save this one.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 23%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.7/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

P.S. There are scenes during the credits.

P.P.S. When looking at Casper Van Dien’s IMDB page, The Random Review came across the information that he’s going to be in 16 movies/TV shows in 2015. One of those movies is called Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf. We just felt like sharing that.

Movie Trailer:

Monday, July 6, 2015

RoboCop (2014)

Number Rolled: 47
Movie Name/Year: RoboCop (2014)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 117 min
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: MGM, Columbia Pictures, Strike Entertainment
Executive Producer: Roger Birnbaum, Bill Carraro
Director: Jose Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Actors: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson, Aimee Garcia, Douglas Urbanski, John Paul Ruttan, Patrick Garrow, K.C. Collins, Zach Grenier

Alex Murphy is a dedicated cop and family man. After going rogue and trying to bring down a crime boss, he becomes the target of a hit that leaves him broken. When he comes up on the radar of a company designing robots to protect citizens, they find a way to make him whole again.

Selina’s Point of View:
I had some issues with the RoboCop remake.

First, it’s important to note that the original film wasn’t exactly my favorite movie. I understand why it’s popular and I enjoyed parts of it, but I wouldn’t really gasp if someone told me they hadn’t seen it.

Still, I found that the first film was bette, for the most part.

This remake concentrated a lot on the emotions that Murphy and his family go through as he’s turned into RoboCop. It was interesting to see, but there were times when I really missed the constant action of the first film.

I also much preferred the story line in the 1987 version. The villains were eviler, they had more depth and back story. The twist at the end really brought things together. In the 2014 version, the antagonists are more about politics than street crime and don’t get me started on the ending. It’s like the writers tried to force the outcome to be the same without keeping the original story and it wound up feeling rushed and awkward.

The RoboCop remake only came out ahead in graphics and acting.

Graphics was to be expected, there’s a big difference between technology in 1987 and technology in 2014. If the graphics weren’t better there would have been a bigger issue than already mentioned.

Where acting is concerned, it’s difficult to not prefer a film starring Gary Oldman (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Paranoia, The Dark Knight Rises), Michael Keaton (Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Noah, The Other Guys), and Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Oldboy). I’d watch the three of them bark for an hour as long as they did it together. I’m also a huge fan of Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman, How to Train Your Dragon 2, This is the End). I think he’s underestimated in a lot of ways.

In the end, the RoboCop remake was a clearer, more refined film… but the original had more heart.

Cat’s Point of View:
I tend to have mixed feelings when a movie gets remade. Especially when it’s an iconic movie like RoboCop (1987). However, my curiosity always wins out.

Special effects technology has made leaps of light years, it seems, since the release of the original. I wanted to see how they’d take advantage of those advancements. I wasn’t disappointed.

There was a sense that there was more man in the machine in this version. Once his armor was stripped away, and you got a peek, he felt a bit more vulnerable inside that suit than before.  In the original, you only saw his face as a reminder of the human element within.

I appreciated the handful of tidbits giving a direct nod to the 1987 film. I didn’t feel like much was omitted, thematically speaking; even while giving a new twist to the story to make it more relevant to today’s issues.

It was smart to flip things around a little with a male partner and keeping Murphy’s family in the picture.  They represented a more strong connection to Murphy’s humanity. It was more compelling, and easier to buy into as a result.

The swap up of the political talk show host played by Samuel L. Jackson (Oldboy, Meeting Evil, Big Game) instead of the news anchors was also a nice modernizing touch.

I was surprised that this was a PG-13 movie. They probably could have done a lot more if they had stuck to the R rating.

When it comes down to the test of time, I’m not sure that this one will be remembered as well as the original; but it sure made an enjoyable and valiant effort.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 49%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 50%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.1/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score2.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.7/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer: