Tag Archives: Maggie Grace

Hurricane Heist (2018) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier 

Hurricane Heist

Director: Rob Cohen
Writers: Scott Windhauser (screenplay by), Jeff Dixon (screenplay by)
Stars: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten 

Plot:  Thieves attempt a massive heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches one of its Mint facilities.

Running Time: 1 hour 43 Minutes

IMDB Score: 5.0

Why I Watched It: Well it was on sale at itunes and it looked like goofy cheesy fun.  Just for the record I paid $2.99 for it.

Random Thoughts: Rob Cohen takes a lot of crap from critics and to be fair he’s not a great director but he directs usually fun action genre films, nothing amazing but he sticks to what he knows and the man still works after some very bad films so let’s give him some credit.

What I Liked: This is not a good film but I will say it has it’s charm and most of it comes from the fact that man this is not a good movie but good golly they try.  Everyone is game for sure and you get the sense that Grace and  Kebbell are enjoying playing against type or at least playing something playing something they’re not known for.

Hurricane Heist is one of those films that are hard to review cause really I didn’t love or even like most of it but it means well and you don’t have the heart to pick on it.

I like most of the actors and it was good to see Maggie Grace play a strong and kickass character, she’s trying to get away from the Taken, victim role.  Ryan Kwanteen is good almost playing his True Blood character here.  It’s always nice to see Ben Cross, just saying.

The film moves pretty well, it’s shot well enough, see I told you it’s a tough film to review.

What I Didn’t Like: I swear this is a remake of Hard Rain, right down to the character Ben Cross plays, honestly it is. By the way go look up Hard Rain, a solid and fun action storm/heist movie.

This film is so baldy miscast you swear they did it on purpose, only Grace is American yet everyone is playing Southern, poor Toby Kebbell, good actor but his accent is from Hee Haw,  even Kwanteen,he’s Australian but at least he has done a southern accent, but no one is southern here either don’t make them southern or hire southern actors.  Kwateen is wasted here he should have been the lead.

Alright the heist is boring and that is coming from someone who loves heist movies even bad ones but at least make the actually heist fun and it’s also a bad storm movie, the hurricane is out of Sharknado I swear.  Except for the talent involved this could have been a Sci-Fi channel movie.

It kind of comes back to Rob Cohen, he doesn’t do anything interesting with the premise either make this a kick ass action movie or a fun B-Movie romp and because he plays it down the middle it’s neither fish or fowl it’s just a kind of fun bad movie.

It’s too bad cause with either a little style or a bit of craziness this could have been a hoot, I look at something like Deep Rising and because of the writing and the tone the film worked Hurricane Heist could have been a good popcorn movie instead it’s more of a guilty pleasure, well kind of.

Final Thoughts: I almost kind of liked it, but it’s not that good and I won’t defend it but it means well.

Rating: 5/10

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Aftermath (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

AFTERMATH

Director: Elliott Lester
Writer: Javier Gullón
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maggie Grace, Scoot McNairy

Aftermath is a story about two individuals whose lives are bound together after a devastating plane crash changes their lives forever.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Roman Melnyk and soon to be proud grandfather. After finishing his shift at the construction site, Roman heads for the airport excited to see his wife and his daughter who is pregnant. When instructed to report to the information desk he soon learns the terrible tragedy that has just unfolded about his family’s airplane colliding in the midair with another airplane.

I have to admit being used to and brought up on Arnold’s previous work and his all action hero genre, I kept expecting the character of Roman to go all guns blazing and knock out a corny line or six as he took out the bad guys. Fortunately here, this is Arnold Schwarzenegger the dramatic actor.

Arnold’s portrayal of Roman is sad, sympathetic and emotional finding his way through life after the terrible events of his entire family and world, gone in a flash. Schwarzenegger in Aftermath is superb and really shows his acting ability (a late bloomer) here under the most terrible circumstances. The character of Roman goes through several stages of shock and disbelief to eventual anger and looking for an answer or in his case an apology from someone.

We are then introduced to Jacob (Jake) who is an ordinary family man who works nights as an air traffic controller. Scoot McNairy plays Jake as a normal down to earth guy who lives his wife and young son and takes his job very seriously. Unfortunately for Jake his life is about to change forever. We are then dragged back to the events prior to Roman’s bad news and what is about to happen can only be described as a series of unfortunate and tragic events. Having just arrived at his shift in the control tower, Jake’s colleague decides to have a quick break which Jake has no problem with as it appears he has everything under control.

Things begin to unravel in the tower as maintenance suddenly appear to repair a faulty telephone line, meaning telephones are all out at this moment for the foreseeable time. Adding to this Jake is directing several flights and instructing them to take their positions. It’s at this point in the scene Jake explains to one of the pilots that he will have to contact another airport directly due to the telephone situation. Whilst this happens one of the planes appears to seek advice from Jake on dropping his altitude, which Jake misses in the midst of trying to juggle the workload alone. Jake  witnesses two planes heading across each other at the same altitude colliding and disappearing off the radar.

Director Elliott Lester had the difficult role of handling both perspectives from the “aftermath” of a terrible disaster. Roman Melnyk being the victim of the tragedy losing his wife and daughter whom was pregnant in the plane crash and this is the premise that most audience members will naturally feel for and understand. With the other perspective a little more complex on how you are supposed to feel about Jake, an air traffic controller working the air flight control center alone accidentally missing an update from one of the airplanes resulted in two planes colliding mid-air which led to claiming over 200 deaths, including Roman’s family. Lester manages to keep both storylines running parallel with each other and keep the movie running along at a consistent pace from both perspectives. The writer  Javier Gullón should be commended for never villainizing Jake at any point and allows the audience to make their own minds up on how they feel about both characters.

Aftermath slots Arnold Schwarzenegger into a real life situation of the most horrifying type and it has to be said that this is one of his best performance of his long film career. He is so convincing as the grieving  husband, father and tragically almost a grandfather. One thing I did notice was Arnold’s limited script. He has always been famous for his word count in most of his movies and here is no different. But the difference here is his actions or should that be reactions. His face is angst ridden and his body movement is of a beaten man. Arnold plays the role with conviction and emotion and he deserves enormous credit for his portrayal of Roman.

On the flip side we witness Scoot McNairy as Jacob turn from happy family man to an emotional wreck full of turmoil and isolation from his family and friends. McNairy does a fine job playing basically two characters of the same person and watching his decline is almost as tragic as the incident that sent him on a downward spiral.

To summarise “Aftermath” is an intriguing film that touches a subject that isn’t explored enough in the business. The turmoil and tribulations are explored in great depth within our main characters that are fully developed within the duration of the movie. If you are a fan of Arnie and interested in seeing him in a more dramatic role than normal, I can’t recommend this movie enough. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Taken 3 (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

TAKEN 3

Director: Olivier Megaton (as Olivier Mégaton)
Writers: Luc Besson,  Robert Mark Kamen
Stars: Liam Neeson,  Forest Whitaker,  Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott

Taken 3 is rumoured to be the final installment in the trilogy of the franchise and the concluding chapter somewhat abandons its original idea, intent and formula and instead makes a DIET “The Fugitive (1993)” The Taken series no longer aims the straightforward formula or the context of the original. Don’t get me wrong while it’s still pretty fun to watch Neeson doing his best as Brian Mills, as an action hero, the movie somehow losses the senses of his character.

Mills used to be a clever guy who was always four or five steps ahead of everyone who could get out of any situation with careful, calculating precision. In this instalment he appears to be going out his way basically to make everyone’s accusation of him as a criminal even worse. He just couldn’t do the simple things, his actions always have to unreasonably lead from one disaster to the next. At least in the previous movies we can understand why he strikes his enemies without any remorse. In Taken 3, he comes off looking like the villain who just does things without reason, out of character and clumsy, in spite of his good intentions.

The movie has to go through all of these reasons to make it a lot exciting. There are some action sequences that look great and are shot spectacularly those sequences, but the fast paced editing hurts every action scene, unable to focus in many of its angles, making It harder to follow and can even cause motion sickness in the same way some video games do this.

Taken 3 should have been the topping finale to an excellent franchise with the first class cast who signed up. With the original Neeson, Janssen and Grace carrying the story forward and the addition of the brilliant Forest Whitaker (playing his version of Tommy Lee Jones “Sam Gerard”) and Dougray Scott replacing Xander Berkeley as Stuart, husband to Lenore (Famke Janssen)

As an actor, Liam Neeson hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the role of Brian Mills, at least, but his talent deserves better than what the movie has done to itself. Taken 3 is a rather difficult thing to experience, not because it has a excellent and complex story, but because of its lacking consistency. Taken and Taken 2 consist of the same actors and storylines link together well with the first sequel having a knock on effect with the events of the first and original. The action looks larger and stylish than before but it still doesn’t make for a good replacement.

Forest Whitaker is always a good addition to the movie and does make it a little better, but even he, the ever suspicious FBI detective, tend to just follow Brian Mills around and then proclaims he knew all along what happened because the bagels were still warm. Give me strength.

One of the biggest disappointments was how little screen time Famke Janssen is given and is promptly killed off at the beginning of the movie for the films basis. Now, hold up this isn’t a spoiler so don’t be having a go at me. On the movies original trailer release it was surprisingly revealed and shockingly exposed that Lenore was being killed off. Before I went to see the movie in the cinema the basis of this film left me a little depressed that after everything Brian went through in Taken 2 to ensure his family was safe in Istanbul was quickly removed in the third instalments opening 15 minutes….yes, 15 Minutes.

Maggie Grace as Kim begins to really show her age. In the original she barely passed for a teen, but in the sequels she shows more of her age. A convincing college girl now?  I have to say she was possibly the weakest actor in the movie. Maggie Grace  reprises her role here but since Famke Janssen’s character dies very early at the movie’s beginning, Grace has the added burden of carrying the movie opposite Neeson but falls under the weight of the expectation levels of a character who previously was the “Damsel in Distress”

Dougray Scott replacing Xander Berkeley as Stuart St. John. Here is the link and only link to the previous movies. It was mentioned in the 2008 original film that’s Stuart had some dealings with Russian businessmen and nothing more was said or implied in that conversation. Here Besson and Kamen’s use this as a vehicle for the movies badguys but with a twist at the end which I will not spoil. Dougray Scott, who like Neeson and Whitaker also is much better than the material he’s often given, he tries to make it as the grieving widowed husband with more to him than meets the eye.

Director Olivier Megaton uses a Jason Bourne style of hyper fast edits for the action scenes but they actually come across rather cheaply and messy. Megaton relies on multiple cameras to capture the action throughout the 109 minutes.The film lacks the  energy and action of the first two films. Too often the film halts for deep emotional scenes or plot exposition. To be honest Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen’s screen writing skills have not been severely tested in this instalment in the franchise.

The movie wasn’t the greatest but it wasn’t the worst either. It was just a run of the mill adventure movie with Neeson that has distanced itself not on purpose from the rest of the franchise. Unfortunately Taken 3 looks like the cash in to complete the trilogy with a quickly knocked off and poor script, which is a pity as it could have been a flawless trilogy we would all be talking about in years to come.