This week on the podcast, Zach and Chris talk about the first trailers for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, The Forever Purge and more, the first look at Kevin Smith’s He-Man reboot, Adult Swim movies, Legends of the Hidden Temple, The Mitchells vs the Machines, Yasuke, Hellmaster, A Knight’s Tale and more.
News: Venom: Let There Be Carnage, The Forever Purge, The Green Knight, and The Protege trailers, Knives Out 2 casting, First look at Kevin Smith’s He-Man Netflix show, Adult Swim greenlights The Venture Bros, Aqua Teen and Metalocaplypse movies, The CW is rebooting Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Rambo and John McClane coming to Call of Duty games.
Show and Tell: Chris saw The Mitchells vs The Machines and Yasuke and Zach saw Scare Package, Hellmaster, and A Knight’s Tale.
Broforce is a game that came onto my radar a few months ago and if you’re reading this site, you should already be purchasing it on Steam because it’s everything we love distilled into an insanely fun, chaotic masterpiece from Devolver Digital and Free Lives Games. If someone told us to make a game based on Everything Action, this is what the result would most likely be.
The basic premise of the game is that you are Broforce, an elite task force composed of the greatest action heroes of all time:
They all have legally distinctive, “bro” pun based aliases but it’s clear exactly who everyone is and everyone has a weapon that’s distinctive to their personality and source material. All the Bros have a special move as well that usually results in the entire screen exploding with awesomeness. John Matrix, John McClane, John Rambo, Blade, Judge Dredd, Robocop, The Terminator, Machete, Neo and tons more are all available to rain their unique brand of destruction onto the unsuspecting enemies. It’s basically the promise of The Expendables taken to the nth degree.
You work your way through various, fully destructible levels, saving your fellow Bros and freeing the land from an evil demon in a business suit and his henchmen. You’ll encounter boss vehicles and characters as you go along and new elements like landmines, guard dogs, mechs, exploding pipes, zip lines and more give you a variety of things to kill and use to kill. Even though the levels are the same if you restart, the fact that all your unlocked Bros are still in play and the fact that you get a random one to start, makes the game almost infinitely replayable, as the Bros all play extremely different and will make you rethink your strategy depending on who you are. The amount of destruction available to you as well means that you could potentially create your own path through the levels. The original version of the game threw random levels at you but the newest update brings a simple but elegant campaign map that gives the game a sense of structure, as you are now navigating your way through various areas and liberating them before moving on to the adjacent ones.
After rescuing his daughter and saving the US from financial meltdown by cyber terrorist Thomas Gabriel, John McClane is back and trying to rescue his other kid, John Jr aka Jack McClane and he heads to Russia to do it in the fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard.
I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that Jack doesn’t need any help as he’s actually a CIA agent, and not a criminal like John believes from the rap sheet he gets. John’s arrival throws a wrench in a carefully concieved plan to extract political prisoner Yuri Komarov, who has evidence that can put away high ranking Russian official, Viktor Chagarin. It’s a far cry from “guy stuck in a skyscraper with terrorists” and the plot is basically only used as an excuse to move from one over the top action sequence to the next. There is also the requisite Die Hard twist about what is really going on but it’s not particularly clever and the series probably needs a simplification back to the classic formula.
Bruce Willis is still pretty great as John McClane but he’s definitely not the same character as the original. In the original, he was make wise cracks and acting cocky so he wouldn’t have to realize how badly the odds were against him and give up. The cockiness is still there but at this point, John is a super solider, an expert in every weapon and vehicle and immune to injury. There isn’t even the slightest hint of hesitation when he gets into this latest scrape, he basically just shrugs and goes along with the insanity. Jai Courtney is a solid side kick, a big step up from Justin Long’s annoying Matt Farrell from Live Free or Die Hard but there isn’t the same sort of relationship building that John had with daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Live Free. Jack and John survive an over the top helicopter attack and that’s it, relationship healed. The villains are overall pretty generic. There is a vague attempt to make main villain Alik slightly interesting but they have barely one scene to establish his character quirks and no of what they establish pays off in the end.
Action wise, A Good Day to Die Hard is solid throughout. The realism is absent but the over the top sequences John and Jack survive are fun to watch nonetheless. Once things kick off, there is basically zero down time as John and Jack run around Moscow and eventually, Cherynobyl (in a ridiculous bit of historical retconning). There is an extended car chase that is pretty great to kick things off and there are two bits involving an attack helicopter that are over the top but entertaining. Things are definitely toned down from the ridiculousness of Live Free, where that movie culminated in John jumping onto a Harrier jet from a semi truck, but the action is still miles away from where the series started. Since John doesn’t even get injured anymore, even after surviving horrific car crashes and falling dozens of stories, there are not the stakes of the original, where one of the deadliest enemies John faced was broken glass on his bare feet. The action of modern Die Hard is on par with it’s contemporaries, like The Expendables, but it’s lost what made everyone love the series to begin with.
If you were turned off by Live Free or Die Hard, A Good Day to Die Hard is more of the same; ridiculous action, generic villains and an indestructible superhero John McClane. If you can separate this movie from the franchise and look at it by itself, it’s an extremely solid action movie, easily the best one this year so far, but Die Hard as we now and love it ended with A Vengeance.
Everyone’s love of John McClane overtook the traditional Valentine’s Day fare like Safe Haven to take the number one spot at the box office this weekend. The latest Die Hard made $25 million, and just over $33 million since it came out on Thursday last week. It’s about $5 million or so off from Live Free or Die Hard’s opening. Identity Thief dropped down to second with another $23.4 million and just under $71 million total, so it should easily break $100 million in the next week or two. Safe Haven took third place with $21.4 million and around $30 million for it’s four days out, just under the last Nicolas Sparks adaptation, Dear John, with $33 million. The first animated kid’s movie of the year, Escape from Planet Earth, took fourth place with $16 million, which is better than similar movies like Sony’s Planet 51 but still nowhere near a Pixar or Dreamworks release. Warm Bodies rounded out the top 5 with $9 million. Speaking of Warm Bodies, it handily defeated potential usurper, Beautiful Creatures, which came in at a pretty bad sixth place with $$7.5 million. It’s nowhere near Warm Bodies $20 million opening weekend and it’s even worse than bombs like Beastly, which made just over $9 million it’s opening weekend. Everything else on the chart moved down about 3-4 spots to accomodate the new releases.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yulia Snigir, Rasha Bukvic
Directed by: John Moore
Plot: John McClane heads to Moscow when he gets word that his son may be in trouble there but finds that Jack is working for the CIA trying to stop a group of terrorists who are acquiring nuclear material.
Rotten Tomatoes Freshness: 15%
Critic Consensus: “A Good Day to Die Hard is the weakest entry in a storied franchise, and not even Bruce Willis’ smirking demeanor can enliven a cliched, uninspired script”
Starring: Alden Ehreneich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Thomas Mann
Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
Plot: A new girl arrives in small Southern town and falls for a local boy but has to try and push him away as she is nearing a supernatural change that will either put her on side of light magic or cause her to fall to dark magic.
RT Freshness: 47%
Critic Consensus: “Charming romantic leads and esteemed supporting cast aside, Beautiful Creatures is a plodding YA novel adaptation that feels watered down for the Twilight set”
Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons
Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Plot: A young woman on the run from the police winds up in a small, seaside town and starts a relationship with a widowed store owner.
RT Freshness: 13%
Critic Consensus: “Schmaltzy, predictable, and melodramatic, Safe Haven also suffers from a ludicrous plot twist toward the end, making for a particularly ignominious Nicholas Sparks adaptation”
Escape from Planet Earth
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Ricky Gervais, Rob Corddry, William Shatner, Jane Lynch
Directed by: Callan Brunker
Plot: A group of aliens captured by the US Government and sent to Area 51 try to find a way to escape and get home.
This week the Die Hard franchise becomes a quintrilogy with A Good Day to Die Hard hitting theaters and we’re back with Franchise Flashback to see how far John McClane has come before he heads to Russia.
Die Hard (1988): The original Die Hard is one of the greatest action movies of all time and set the tone for what 90’s action would be following the Schwarzenegger/Stallone one man armies of the 80’s. Bruce Willis as John McClane was just a regular guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time but was the only who who could save day. The movie was actually based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp and followed basically the same plot of an NYPD detective who gets caught in an office building taken over by terrorists, led by the charming but ruthless Hans Gruber, and forced to figure out some way to defeat them and free the hostages with basically no resources. The same structure was copied by tons of movies over the years, like Sudden Death, Air Force One, Executive Decision, Under Siege and more.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990): The sequel to Die Hard had massive expectations attached to it and, while financially performed better, has in recent years has widely been considered the weakest in the series. It was also based on a novel, 58 Minutes by Walter Wager and finds John having to stop a group of mercenaries led by rogue special forces officer, Col. Stuart, who have taken control of Dulles Airport and preventing planes from landing, including the one carrying his wife, Holly. Stuart was no where near as charismatic and cunning as Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber and the traditional “twist” to the villains was trying too hard to be clever and one up the original. There were some great action sequences, like John killing someone with an icicle and blowing up a plane on the runway in the finale but it definitely failed to live up the greatness of the original.
Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995): The third movie in the Die Hard franchise is arguably the second best movie in the series with Samuel L. Jackson partnered up with John to stop Simon Gruber, the revenge seeking brother of Hans Gruber. The movie moves at a breakneck pace as John and Jackson’s Zeus have to defeat a series of puzzles and challenges Simon has laid out across New York City, all basically just a distraction so he and his crew can steal the gold from NYC’s Federal Reserve bank. The movie utilizes it’s setting to great effect with a subway bombing setting off the movie, a fantastic chase through Central Park in a cab and Zeus and John heading up and down all the boroughs of NYC doing what “Simon Says”.
Live Free or Die Hard (2007): After more than ten years away, John McClane returned for Live Free or Die Hard and it was one of the weaker entries in the series for a number of reasons, most notably that the historically violent and curse filled series was neutered to a PG-13, leaving John to call people “jerk off” and the iconic catchphrase of “Yippee Ki Yay Mother Fucker” getting cut off by a gunshot. As much as we love Timothy Olyphant on Justified, he was not the greatest villain as cyber terrorist, Thomas Gabriel. Justin Long was also pretty annoying as McClane’s hacker sidekick, Matt Farrell and a huge step down from Samuel L. Jackson. The entire plot revolved around Gabriel causing a “fire sale”, a meltdown of all the nation’s computer systems as a way to steal the information from the Social Security Administration. This entry also turned McClane from a regular guy into an unstoppable superhero, culminating in him fighting a Harrier jet with a semi truck and then jumping onto said jet after the semi is destroyed.
Bullet to the Head: Stallone teams up with Sung Kang (aka Han of the Fast & Furious series) to take down a New Orleans crime boss and his ruthless assassin, played by Jason Momoa. Khal Drogo vs Rambo in an axe fight? Tickets bought already.
Warm Bodies: In an apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, one zombie starts to regain some of his humanity after falling for a survivor.
Stand Up Guys: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin star as a trio of mob buddies who go out for a night on the town to celebrate Pacino’s release from prison but one of the friends has a hidden agenda forced on him by the bosses.
Identity Thief: Jason Bateman has to head across the country to confront Melissa McCarthy, a shopaholic with the same name who has stolen his identity and gone on a shopping spree.
Side Effects: The latest from Steven Soderbergh, Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara star as a couple who are reunited after Channing gets out of prison but Mara suffers from heavy anxiety disorder and sees psychiatrist Jude Law, who prescribes a new drug. Mara wakes up after taking the drug, finds a body and realizes she committed murder.
A Good Day to Die Hard: John McClane returns for the fifth entry in the Die Hard series and this time he’s heading to Moscow because he gets word that his son, Jack, is in trouble with the local authorities. John soon learns that Jack is working for the government and trying to stop a dangerous terrorist group from stealing and detonating a cache of plutonium.
Beautiful Creatures: A young girl arrives in a new town and falls for one of the local boys but she has to try and keep him safe from the dark secret that haunts her family.
Escape from Planet Earth: An alien astronaut is sent on a mission to Earth and is captured and taken to Area 51. Meeting some fellow captured aliens, they decide to plan an escape and get home.
Safe Haven: The latest romantic schlock from Nicolas Sparks finds Julianne Hough as a women with a dark past who moves to a small town and falls for local guy, Josh Duhamel.
Dark Skies: Trading ghosts and demons for aliens, the producers of Insidious puts Keri Russell and her family in the cross-hairs of extraterrestrials, who have marked them for abduction.
Snitch: The Rock attempts to keep his son out of prison by infiltrating the local drug business and giving the authorities the kingpin.
If there’s one name that represents everything about Valentine’s Day, it’s John McClane. At least that’s what the fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise is hoping. A Good Day to Die Hard finds John McClane heading to Moscow to help out his son, John Jr., who has gotten in over his head. As usual for everyone’s favorite NYPD officer, things get out of control quickly and father and son have to fight their way out against terrorists whose real motives will remain hidden until the last 2/3 of the movie. This new trailer has some more of what looks like will be some absolutely over the top action sequences and some nods to the other movies, I appreciate the Lucy cameo, dropping John off at the airport and it looks like John might have a Russian cabbie version of Argyle. Check out the trailer below and the movie is February 14th, 2013.