Nope, didn’t do Star Wars 😀
Both our movies this week have stellar casts, so we’ll start with Phil’s Retro Thursday movie which stars John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Sam Shepherd, Halle Berry, and Don Cheadle, and was directed by Dominic Sena. Swordfish (2001) is a crime thriller, and we were rewinding to see the opening sequence again within 5 minutes of the start! An explosion in slow-motion with the camera sweeping around so you get to see people, cars and bits of building flying in great detail. For all that this isn’t really a shoot’em up action movie, and there is very little blood and guts in it. The plot revolves around Jackman’s character, Stanley Jobson, a paroled computer/cyber hacker who isn’t allowed to use the internet, and also has a restraining order put on him by his wife, preventing him from seeing his little girl. The fabulously named Andrea Donna De Matteo plays the wife, Melissa with seedy relish as she is an alcoholic part-time porn star. Halle Berry as Ginger Knowles recruits Stanley to work for Gabriel Shear (Travolta) and produce a computer virus, ‘hydra’, to hack into a government slush fund and steal $9 1/2 billion out of which Jackman will be paid $10 million which will sort his problems out and enable him to afford a lawyer to help get his daughter back. Don Cheadle is an FBI agent who is on to Stanley but uses him to get to Gabriel, who turns out to be an operative for Senator Reisman, (Shepherd) who oversees Black Cell, a clandestine organisation set up by J.Edgar Hoover to eliminate terrorists who threaten the USA. As always, no spoilers so I’ll leave it there. Well, we enjoyed it, even after 20 years the explosion scenes were well done, and the plot had a few twists in it but was easy to follow. The actors were not stretched here, but Jackman and Berry were nice to look at, apparently Berry got a $500,000 sweetener on top of her $2 million salary for getting her tits oot for the lads in a completely gratuitous scene, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do I suppose. Travolta deservedly won a Golden Raspberry award for worst actor 🤣 but it didn’t matter. The critics panned it, but it still did well at the box office. Best bits- the opening explosion, and the TVR car chase.
My Saturday Night Fun movie was Run All Night (2015), on Netflix now, which I wouldn’t have chosen if I hadn’t read Keith’s review of it. Again the cast held promise, Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, and Joel Kinnaman are the main stars and it was directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, who is making a habit of directing Neeson in action movies. And Run All Night is definitely a full on action movie. Taking place in New York over one night, the plot revolves around Neeson’s character Jimmy Conlon having to save his son Mike (Kinnaman) from being killed by the mob headed up by Shawn Maguire (Harris). You could be forgiven now for thinking ‘oh no another ‘Taken” ‘ but you’d be wrong, as Jimmy is a down and out ex-mob assassin, who once worked for Maguire, and his nickname ‘The Gravedigger’ indicates his success in that sphere. Mike has disowned him after a turbulent childhood and became a chauffeur and retired professional boxer who mentors at-risk kids at the local gym. Maguire’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) is an upstart entrepreneur in the underworld and murders an Albanian drug dealer and his bodyguards, whomst Mike had taken to Danny’s place. Mike witnesses Danny killing one of the henchmen who had escaped and was on his way back to Mike’s limo. Unfortunately Danny knows Mike saw him, and in spite of his Dad’s instructions to the contrary, goes off to get rid of Mike. That’s the stoppage point for spoilers. For all that it is an action movie, the director intersperses the action with emotional scenes between Jimmy and Mike, and both Neeson and Kinnaman do these really well, so that you care about the outcome for both of them. Because Maguire and Jimmy have a long history together, there is a lot involved in their relationship as well and that too is addressed, Ed Harris spot on as the steely eyed vengeful Maguire. Vincent D’Onofrio plays a non-corrupt cop (there are a few corrupt ones working for Maguire) who wants to put Jimmy behind bars from the homicides he’s got away with. So, much more to this than the ‘action’ genre it’s labelled with. The soundtrack is cool, and Collett-Sera directs his stars between action and acting with a smooth touch.