RED (2010 Movie)

redWhat a blast of an action film!  Thanks to everyone who voted for it, it turned out fantastic.

If you care about details, here’s the IMDB page:

RED on IMDB

Basic synopsis is that Frank Moses is a Retired, Extremely Dangerous, blackops operative. The highlight of his life is tearing up his social security check each month so he can call and talk to Sarah, the bored, attractive woman who wants more than her cubicle job. Moses is attacked one night by a whole team of commandos and goes on the run. He ends up kidnapping Sara to keep her safe, as he knows his calls have been monitored and whoever his enemy is will come after her to get to him. Obviously, Sarah isn’t very happy about this, nor does she believe that Moses is anything more than a delusional nutjob stalker, until he rescues her from a fake police officer who tries to drug and kidnap her. Moses hooks up with various other RED operatives to figure out what is going on. It all comes down to the Vice President of the United States and a village being massacred many years ago.  Sarah gets captured and during the exchange, the real villain is revealed and the CIA agent who has been legally tracking Moses down realizes what is going on, switches sides and the good guys win (well, except for the VP. That bugger still dies).

 

I have been a Bruce Willis fan ever since I first saw Diehard on tv many years ago so any movie that stars him at least gets a “hmmm, maybe I’ll watch that someday” instead of outright dismissal like most of the movies today.  The rest of the cast is pretty great too.  Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren all fit their roles and one never overshadowed the other.  Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah the young woman (well, I say “young” but she’s gotta be in her early 30’s in the movie) seemed to be there to propel Moses onward and to show off her cleavage. Thankfully, after she gets onboard and realizes that Frank Moses is serious she becomes a good lense of “ordinary” while the others are all trained assassins.

mary-louise2bparker2bas2bsarah2bross2b003

 

I also really enjoyed Karl Urban as the up and coming Specialist who is tracking down Moses without knowing the full story.  He is ruthless and completely competent but right from the get go we know he’s not a villain, as he’s talking to his wife on the phone about their son being bullied at school WHILE hanging a guy and making it look like a suicide. That was just awesome! Also, he was a bit more chiseled in his face than when I saw him in Thor: Ragnarok, where he looked like a fat little dumpling. Once he knows the full story at the end he does the right thing. He and Willis do a brutal fight scene inside the CIA and it captures the essence of this movie. Hard, brutal, awesome and totally unrealistic.

red-mv-22

 

Make no mistake, if things being “real” is something you need in a movie, don’t bother with this. In the first scene where Urban and Willis meet each other, Willis steps out of a moving at 30mph, spinning car and times things so he can step out of the car, miss the backend hitting him and starts walking towards Urban and shooting at him.  It is physically impossible to go from a moving car to a walk, as your body is moving 30mph as well. But my goodness, it looked so cool!

maxresdefault

 

At the same time, this was not a grim movie, not by any means. John Malkovich provides enough lunacy as a lsd experiment by the CIA to make anyone laugh and the little subplot with Helen Mirren and her old flame, a Russian operative, is gold. Freeman, as an operative with cancer, brings some poignancy to the movie and Brian Cox, as Mirren’s old flame, almost makes me not want to kill communists (but only “almost”).

red32

 

I immediately went on and watched RED 2 and enjoyed it too. Not quite so cool, but still fun. However, a 3rd movie was never made and I don’t know why.  I suspect that the 25% drop in revenue between the two movies might have had something to do with it however. This was actually based on a series of comics published by DC but while I enjoyed the movies tremendously, I doubt I’ll ever check them out.

Overall, this was a fantastic movie that scratched that over the top action machoman guy itch I occasionally get.

 

Next month I’m letting Mrs B pick the movie and I think she’s already settled on one called Penelope. I guess I’ll find out what it is about when I watch it with her 🙂 I just LOVE surprises!

penelope

 

bookstooge (Custom)

Advertisements

Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay #1) ★★★☆½

fearnothing (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Fear Nothing
Series: Moonlight Bay #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 450
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

Christopher Snow was born afflicted with (insert really long medically sounding name), otherwise known as XP. His body can’t heal from UV damage and something like a flashlight can take years off his life or make him go blind in months. He is now 28 and his parents have sacrificed a lot to give him as much freedom as possible. He roams the night, writes successful novels and surfs.

Several months ago his mother died in a car accident. The book opens with his father expiring from cancer in the local hospital. Everything Chris ever starts to go sidewise as he sees the local mortician replace his father’s body with some hitchhiker’s. His father’s body is loaded into a van and taken away to Wyvern, a supposedly closed military base.

During the next 2 days Chris uncovers a lot of secrets hiding in Moonlight Bay. His mother was involved in genetic experimentation with the aim of helping cure Chris’s XP. Chris’s father’s cancer might have been caused by a rogue genetic experiment gone awry. Chris finds out that the experiments have been successful, but not in the way his mother intended. The politicians and top army brass have used it to enhance intelligence in animals and to transfer animal characteristics to humans. Unfortunately, the carrier evolved and people began becoming infected unknowingly and spreading it even outside of Moonlight Bay.

Several of the solid citizens of Moonlight Bay have already fallen to the gene therapy. The Chief of Police dreams of raping and killing little girls. He tries to kill Christopher to keep his secret but dies in the attempt. A troup of bloody thirsty enhanced monkey’s attack Chris, his girlfriend and his beach bum friend one night. The troup is led by a court-martialed sociopath who has been hiding his own “becoming” from all his superiors.

To top it all off, it turns out that Chris’s own dog, Orson, is the product of the tests and is just as intelligent as a human. Orson, however, shows no sign of the psychopathic murderous tendencies exhibited in almost all the other patients that Chris has seen.

The book ends with Chris realizing that he simply can’t fight this end of the world as we know it.

 

My Thoughts:

I actually read the sequel to this 18 years ago. I wasn’t reviewing per se, so I didn’t remember any details and so nothing was spoiled for this book. Just an anecdote, that is all.

In the character of Chris Snow are the seeds that will, 5 years later, turn into Odd Thomas and that much more successful series.

I found the scene between Chris and the Chief of Police to be as horrific as Koontz intended without it being offensive. There is nothing graphic in what Koontz writes and yet when the Chief is talking to Chris about his nightmares and his plans and his descent into animal savagery, I was horrified. It walked the line of talking about something absolutely evil without crossing that line into being voyeuristic about it. More authors should take note, as it takes real skill to write that way.

I enjoyed this but once again, like his Frankenstein series, Koontz is actually only telling one story and splitting it up into “books” to satisfy publishing demands. This book ends with Chris and Co surviving the attacks by various infected creatures, human or otherwise but the threat is so big that it IS the end of the world as humans know it. If I hadn’t known there was another book, I would have assumed this was a standalone with the Big Ending (ie, the end of the world) left up in the air for the readers to imagine.

Considering how proto-Odd Thomas Chris Snow is, I was figuring that Snow’s girlfriend was going to die the whole book. Color me pleasantly surprised when she made it through almost unscathed. That’ll teach me to be cynical.

The other thing I’m learning about Koontz seems to be that he likes to write about short time periods. The first ¾’s of the book only took 12hrs and the final ¼ was the next 24. Thirty-six hours for a 450 page book. I’ll have to remember that so I don’t expect dramas drawn out over the years.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

77 Shadow Street ★★★☆½

77shadowstreet (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: 77 Shadow Street
Series: ———-
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Pages: 722
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

The Pendleton. Built back in the late 1800’s, it was the biggest mansion of its kind to date. Throughout the years, strange things have happened to those who lived there. Murders, kidnappings, disappearances, suicides, mental breakdowns. Now the Pendleton has been turned into a bunch of luxury condos. Now the residents are starting to see some really weird things. Now one old man who has done his research knows he must get everybody out of the building if any of them want to survive the next 24hrs.

A disparate group are brought together and through the mystery of Scyenze, are swept into the future to a world that is post-human. Post-anything in fact, except for The One. The One rules All, The One Knows All, The One IS All. Among the group is revealed the creator of The One and The One sows the seeds for its own birth, thus making sure of its own survival and the destruction of humanity.

The One hower, is NO match for 2 kids, an ex-Marine, a Honky-tonk song writer, a brilliant novelist, a blind man, 2 old ladies and their cats, a Scyenzist who swears he WON’T create The One and some others. Oh yeah, and one insane murdering hitman. The group survives and puts paid to the Scyenzist and some shadowy figure kills the other Scyenzist who could do the same.

The World is Safe. For Now.

 

My Thoughts:

Despite the tone of my Synopsis, I rather enjoyed this. I called this a Horror/Thriller because while it had elements of Horror, they weren’t supernatural. However, when creatures shove black goop down your throat and turn you into more of them, what else do you call that? It sure isn’t slapstick comedy.

Having read the Frankenstein novels and the Odd Thomas series, I can see so many ideas that Koontz uses over and over. I think that would/will be a problem if I read a bunch of Koontz back to back or even with just a month of each other. I think with the spacing I have though it should be ok.

The Good Guys Win. That knocked my rating up a half star easily. It is refreshing. Obviously not everybody makes it and there is a big enough group that no particular outcome is telegraphed in terms of survival so I never felt like any particular character was safe (except for the 2 kids, especially the autistic girl). That bit of tension is nice and made the story have a bit of “snap” to it.

I have no desire to ever re-read this book but that is pretty much how I’ve felt about all of Koontz’s books. With the amount he’s turned out though, that really isn’t a problem. A solid fun read that was just scary enough for me but not really scary (which is how I like my scary books).

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Cloak ★★★☆½

cloak (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Cloak
Series: ———-
Author: Timothy Zahn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 566
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

SPOILERS AHEAD AND BOY DO I MEAN SPOILERS

Synopsis:

A scientist is working on an invisibility cloak. He and most of his team are murdered and the cloaks stolen. The scientists wife is ambushed by skimasked killers and it is only through the intervention of a local private investigator that she stays alive. The detective convinces her not to go to the police but to stay on the run with him. His motives are murky at best.

At the same time, a tactical nuke is stolen from India and somehow the responsibility for finding it rolls right off the Indian government’s shoulders and into the United States’ lap. But the group that stole it knew the US would be looking and plays so many games of misdirection that nobody is sure where it is, where it is going or what the final purpose for it is.

At the same time, the President of the United States is touring the country trying to drum up support for an initiative he wants to pass at at upcoming United Nations meeting. The initiative? To give the UN their own true army, fully weaponized, including tactical nukes.

It call comes together in New York where a rogue Indian General and his agents are trying to nuke the UN meeting to wipe out a lot of political dissidents from around the world and it is up to the scientist’s wife, the PI (who is really a retired FBI agent) and 2 others to stop them. But how do you stop an invisible nuke that you aren’t even sure is in the city?

You figure out it is on an invisible zeppelin floating down the streets of New York of course! And then deactive it.

Score for the good guys.

 

My Thoughts:

When I read Zahn’s Soulminder back in ’14, even though I enjoyed it, I wasn’t impressed. I enjoyed this one a good bit more. The misdirection is impossible to ignore so I didn’t even try to figure out what was going on. I just sat back and let things happen.

I didn’t know WHAT was going to happen until it did and letting go was good for me. I felt like it was the real strength of the book while at the same time being its kryptonite. I doubt this has any re-read value and honestly, the older I get, the more I like to re-read. So some of my consideration of a book is “would I want to re-read this”. With knowing everything, I suspect most of the punch would be gone.

But since I didn’t know everything, this really packed a punch. Sometimes Zahn would misdirect purposely and at other times it was like he was using previous instances of misdirection to make me question if this current situation was a misdirection or not. I love having my chain yanked like that, when I know it is happening anyway.

This was a kickstarter originally. Honestly, I wish he’d do more kickstarter projects and write the books he wants to write instead of sticking to the miserables sods in the Star Wars universe. Well, I don’t know, maybe he LIKES writing in that “wretched hive of scum and villainy” but since I’m no longer a Star Wars fan I want other stories by him. I guess this will have to tide me over.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Dead Town (Frankenstein #5) ★★☆☆☆

thedeadtown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Dead Town
Series: Frankenstein #5
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 447
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Everything begins falling apart for Victor Immaculate. His vat grown creations once again transcend their genetic coding and that transcendance is always in the form of breaking. Builders take on non-biological matter and can’t reproduce properly, the replacement clones begin to obsess and lose sight of their mission.

Through it all, Michael and Carson begin helping the townsfolk defend themselves while Deucalion hunts Victor down. Deucalion snaps Victor’s neck, the creations fall apart upon their creator’s death and Deucalion can now walk quantumly through the Light instead of skulking through the Shadows.

 

My Thoughts:

Even while I was expecting this story to turn out like this, it was still disappointing to have it actually happen. This followed the exact same pattern as the first trilogy but without any finesse or style. Evil simply falls apart and the good guys win by default.

Also, I already wrote this review, forgot to post it online, forgot I hadn’t posted it and deleted the hard copy from Open Office. So I’m writing this all over again. That always ruins things.

Basically, I didn’t enjoy this book or this series overall. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am going to continue dipping my toes into the Koontz universe. I’ve got 20 of his books available so I’m going to go exploring and see what I find. I hope I find better things than this book.

If anyone has read some of his standalone stuff, feel free to make recommendations in the comments, otherwise I’m just going to start picking stuff randomly.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Lost Souls (Frankenstein #4) ★★★☆☆

lostsouls (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lost Souls
Series: Frankenstein #4
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor is alive. Or at least, his replacement clone is. But Victor 2.0 isn’t quite the same as Victor Helios. Victor Immaculate, as he calls himself, doesn’t want to replace humanity now, he wants to destroy it. If he can do that, he’ll have negated Scripture, thus making him more powerful than God.

With an array of new replicants and a new type of human called Builders, Victor sets forth his plan to begin exterminating humanity in a small town in Montana. With key officials replaced, the Builders can begin feeding on the towns people and begin the cycle of death and destruction.

Michael and Carson, now private eyes with a baby girl named Scout, realize that they have more to lose than ever. Scout means more to them than their own lives. When Deucalion comes calling telling them he has a hunch that Victor is alive, they don’t want to believe him. Then Erica Five, who has been living in a small Montanna town, calls Carson and tells her she has seen Victor. Now Michael and Carson have no choice. If they want there to be a world for Scout to grow up in, they must go out and do battle once again.

We also follow various townspeople from Rainbow Falls as things begin to go downhill. A vagrant and a special needs man, both in jail but for opposite reasons, survive the first wave of Builders’ feeding and must work together to stay alive. An old man and a young boy, both in the hospital, must depend on each other to escape the hospital, which has become a major center for the Builders. Two X-Files style FBI Agents are also in town chasing down rumors that The Money Man, a shadowy figure, will be in town and they mean to nab him.

Everything is set in motion for a climactic battle for the survival of Rainbow Falls and the world itself. Then the book abruptly ends. Like a meat cleaver right down the middle of a carcass of a cow.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one and it was all set to be a 3 ½ star book. Then came the artificial ending. It was obvious that this book and the next, titled Deadtown, are really one story but due to length was cut in half. However, that cutting was done with all the finesse of a drunk butcher, who was blindfolded and who was told that one of the slabs of beef hanging in his freezer was really a pinata and to have at it. No resolution of any kind, no story arc completed, just full stop. That is bad story telling and it pissed me off. So I knocked that coveted ½ star off. I sure taught Koontz a lesson with that!

Besides that grievance, I did like this. I didn’t give it much detail in the synopsis but we really spend more time in the town of Rainbow Falls with various townspeople than we do with either Michael and Carson or Deucalion. That worked well as the Koontz definitely goes into “horror” territory more than in some of the previous Frankenstein books. How the Builders consume people is something else. There was one instance of where a church group was locked into a building and when some Builders were let loose and the replicants were watching, almost every single adult in the group pulled out a gun. The replicants were all killed and some ex-soldiers led the group out. It was great. God, guns and guts (ie, courage, not literally guts. With this book, there might be some confusion, hence this awkward, longwinded and rather unnecessary explanation)

The X-Files guys, (one of whom is named Dagget for goodness sake!!!!), play almost no part beyond being introduced and giving the reader a tiny bit of info.I suspect they’ll play a bigger part in the final book with how everything gets cleaned up.

Given how quickly the storyline for Victor Helios was wrapped up in the previous trilogy, I suspect the next book (which is also the final book in this series) is going to follow the same pattern. Koontz definitely has a paint by numbers plan for this series. A special needs child, the badguys beginning to fall apart on their own (evil consuming itself), etc, etc. It’s not a bad formula, just a bit obvious.

I chose not to read the final book immediately, due to my reading setup, but for anyone else, I’d recommend they read the first trilogy all in one go and then this duology in one go. I suspect it might make the overall narrative less choppy feeling if each story arc is read as one big book.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) DNF@18% ☆☆☆☆½

lasttown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Last Town
Series: Wayward Pines #3
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Thriller
Pages: 308/DNF
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF @ 18%

 

My Thoughts:

“And what he saw, he didn’t know how to process”

…….

“A string of indelible images.”

…..

“In the middle of Main Street, a large abby on top of Megan Fisher, violating her.”

 

Enough. I will not read stuff like that.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)