Tag Archives: Dougray Scott

Hitman (2007) Review

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Hitman

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Offensive Language & Nudity
Cast:
Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47
Dougray Scott as Mike Whittier
Robert Knepper as Yuri Marklov
Olga Kurylenko as Nika Boronina
Director: Xavier Gens

Raised from childhood by the mysterious Diana organisation, Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) is the perfect killer, but when he is dispatched to kill the Russian president, 47 discovers that his employers have betrayed him. Taking prostitute, and possible witness to his last hit, Nika with him, the enigmatic assassin flees from both Interpol and the Russian secret service as he fights to uncover the root of the conspiracy.

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I’m not too familiar with the Hitman games and hadn’t played much of them before watching both movies, but I knew about it, and more recently I had played the 2016 game titled Hitman. The Hitman video game series made quite an impact even just when it came out. So it’s not really surprising that it eventually received a film adaptation in 2004. The movie itself not really a good representation of the character and games for the big screen, but there have been way worse video game movies.

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This script is written by Skip Woods of all people, and needless to say the writing is about as good as you’d expect from the man who wrote X-Men Origins Wolverine, Die Hard 5 and for whatever reason Hitman: Agent 47 (the other Hitman movie less than a decade later). I’ve only played one game but I’m pretty familiar with what the Hitman series is about, and I can definitely say that this movie isn’t accurate to the games. Agent 47 in this movie doesn’t act like one of those silent assassins like he was supposed to be in the game, he acts a lot more like the other types of assassins, the ones who are flashy, shoot a lot of people and look very ‘cool’. Plotwise, I barely remember what this movie is about. The plot is generic, convoluted and very difficult to follow, the dialogue is rather terrible too. There’s really nothing to connect with or to be excited by in the story. It’s just a rather bland action movie that so happens to have the Hitman and Agent 47 names attached do it.

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With Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47, I can’t tell whether it’s a good performance from him or whether it’s a phoned in one (even though he has confirmed he just took this role for a paycheck), I guess he fitted the silent assassin role, but he also seemed a little boring. The characterisation of 47 wasn’t really the best. Despite being established as a cold blooded assassin, he makes certain decisions that aren’t in line with the character, and don’t really make much sense. The thing is it’s not just that they had a completely different portrayal, they get somewhat close to the character but yet miss in major ways. I guess a few of the supporting cast are fine enough. Olga Kurylenko also works a little bit in her role, especially considering she was placed in the role of ‘forced love interest’. The whole relationship between the two just didn’t work, it was very difficult to buy, even if the two actors share enough good chemistry. Dougary Scott is a police officer hunting 47 down, and Robert Knepper is a villain. They’re not great but I guess they do the job fine enough.

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The direction by Xavier Gens wasn’t all that good, but I guess it wasn’t terrible either. None of the action scenes really fit Agent 47 as a character, a lot of him shooting multiple people with guns. Disregarding the video games however, the setups of them all are fine enough for an action movie. However a lot of the action scenes, especially one that took place in a train station, has too many cuts and so you couldn’t quite enjoy it as much. Not to mention they’re kind of just standard at best, not particularly exciting at all.

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As far as video game movies go, Hitman isn’t amongst the worst of them. However there’s not really enough to the movie to make it worth watching, for both non fans and fans alike. It really missed the point of the games and the character, but putting that aside it’s a pretty mediocre action movie, and the action scenes aren’t even entertaining enough to make it necessarily worth checking out. I guess it’s a harmless enough movie though, so if you wanted to kill 90 minutes on a movie, Hitman I guess is okay.

Mission Impossible 2 (2000) Review

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Medium level violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Thandie Newton as Nyah Nordoff-Hall
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Dougray Scott as Sean Ambrose
Brendan Gleeson as John C. McCloy
Richard Roxburgh as Hugh Stamp
John Polson as Billy Baird
Radé Sherbedgia as Dr. Nekhorvich
Director: John Woo

Tom Cruise returns to his role as Ethan Hunt in the second installment of “Mission: Impossible.” This time Ethan Hunt leads his IMF team on a mission to capture a deadly German virus before it is released by terrorists. His mission is made impossible due to the fact that he is not the only person after samples of the disease. He must also contest with a gang of international terrorists headed by a turned bad former IMF agent who has already managed to steal the cure.

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The original Mission Impossible directed by Brian De Palma was a huge success, and would naturally get a sequel. Instead of the original director being in charge of it, it’s John Woo who directs this movie. Woo known for his over the top action movies like Broken Arrow and Face/Off, so you can expect the kind of movie that we got with Mission Impossible 2. It’s known by pretty much everyone as being by far the worst in the series and for very good reason. However, the biggest problem with the movie isn’t necessarily that it’s cheesy and stupid, its that it tries to do that while still having a rather dull plot, it’s a rather mixed bag.

From the very beginning you can tell that something is off. By the time we cut to Tom Cruise rock climbing, you begin to notice that this movie seems like it’s very much an 80s movie, whether it be the music, the slow motion, the cheesy dialogue, Tom Cruise wearing sunglasses (it’s not surprise that The Matrix game out the previous year) or Tom Cruise’s hair. In order to enjoy it, you have to know that it’s not really a Mission Impossible movie. Even the ridiculous aspects of the other films are amplified, for example there are at least 4 face mask reveals over the course of the movie with no explanation or showing of characters even creating them. This is very much a standard Tom Cruise action movie, not a Mission Impossible movie. At first one would think “okay, it’s not a Mission Impossible movie or a good movie, but at least it could be an entertaining movie”. However this movie is really dull and has such a mediocre story. On top of that, this movie has so much exposition dumps and ironically it tries way too hard to be serious. While this movie is very over the top with its action scenes, we don’t get many of them until over an hour into the movie, and no that first hour isn’t entertaining or intriguing in the slightest. If this movie was consistently cheesy and over the top at least this movie would work on some way. But here we have a really by the numbers and average action movie that just has some moments of enjoyable ridiculousness.

None of the cast do that great here. Tom Cruise is not Ethan Hunt here. He is trying to play an American James Bond (Brosnan era), it’s actually rather jarring how goofy he is here. He has a lot of charm, says one liners and acts like a playboy. Even the villain notes that he “grins like an idiot every 15 minutes”. While Ethan Hunt in the first Mission Impossible wasn’t particularly deep and had some moments where he was just invincible (the character improved in MI3), he still had some vulnerable moments and wasn’t a James Bond sort of character. For whatever reason that wasn’t present in the second film. Tom Cruise tries his best here though, to his credit he does go all in with whatever he was told to do, he does have genuine charisma and is very dedicated. Also all his stunts are great and he is worth all the praise for it, from rock climbing in Utah to having a knife nearly touch his eye halfway through a very intense fight scene near the end. Thandie Newton is a great actress but here she’s got really nothing to work with and doesn’t leave any kind of impression. The ‘relationship’ between her character and Cruise is so unbelievable and hilarious. Ethan Hunt has the smallest team here out of all the movies, with only 2 people. The first is Ving Rhames who returns as Luther Stickell, having appeared in every Mission Impossible movie, he’s one of the best characters of the series. Unfortunately it seems that all the personality and humour was sucked from him and I have no idea why. Despite this he still fared better than the second team member Bill Baird played by John Polson who was completely forgettable. The villain played by Dougray Scott is really silly, cliché and over the top, and not in an enjoyable way. He’s also really boring and dull, and he gets quite a bit of screentime so when he was on screen he was just kind of annoying. He’s really hard to take seriously and is by far the worst villain in the series. Richard Roxburgh plays another villain but he is a little better than Scott. Brendan Gleeson is in this movie for some reason, he plays such a small role it makes you wonder why he was in there to begin with. Anthony Hopkins is also in this movie in one scene for some reason, he just comes and he goes quickly.

John Woo is the most prominent person in the entire movie, his style is everywhere. There is an awful lots of slow-mo, even in non action scenes, there are people flipping and flying everywhere, and there are doves flying in front of the camera. To Woo’s credit, the action scenes, for as over the top as they are, are pretty good and entertaining for what they are. In the third act, John Woo dials up the craziness to 11 and is filled with explosions, motorcycles, slow-motion, people jousting with motorcycles and jumping in mid air to collide with each other, it’s absolutely wild. The third act is so ridiculously stupid and filled with so many action clichés that it’s actually entertaining, and you stop caring about the dull plot. Also the end fight features some pretty good stunts, in fact the fight scenes are all done pretty well, even if it does feel out of place from other Mission Impossible movies. The CGI is quite bad, and doesn’t really hold up today but its far from being the main problem with the movie. Hans Zimmer’s score is pretty good.

If you plan on watching the Mission Impossible movies, you don’t need to watch this one. There’s not really anything you’re missing. It really has a dull plot with not much of substance, and despite all the entertainment factors, it’s still not enough to make this a completely entertaining movie. With that said, there is some fun to be had with Mission Impossible 2. Tom Cruise despite not being Ethan Hunt here is very dedicated, some of the action is entertaining (especially in the third act) and it features so many silly moments that end up being hilarious. Just don’t treat it as a Mission Impossible movie, be aware that it’s not like the other Mission Impossible movies (and I mean that in a bad way).

Taken 3 (2015) Review

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Taken 3

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills
Forest Whitaker as Inspector Frank Dotzler
Maggie Grace as Kim Mills
Famke Janssen as Lenore Mills-St. John
Dougray Scott as Stuart St. John
Sam Spruell as Oleg Malankov
Leland Orser as Sam Gilroy
Director: Olivier Megaton

Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose long awaited reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter.

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Taken was a really good action thriller released in 2008 and it launched Liam Neeson’s action career. Even though I watched Taken 2 I can’t remember how it was, but judging by how it was received, I probably wouldn’t like it if I re-watched it. The director of that film returns to this movie (odd choice) to deliver us the concluding chapter to the Taken Trilogy. Taken 3 is terrible as an action movie, a thriller, and as a movie in general. The plot is convoluted and a mess and the action is so messy and incomprehensible. We all probably saw it coming with the director of Taken 2 returning but it is still painful to see Liam Neeson wasted in a bad action movie.

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This movie is basically a bad version of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford, the wife is killed and the husband is accused of murder and tries to find the murderer while dodging a highly skilled cop. The plot is so loosely stringed together and that led to many plot holes and conveniences. For example I never got how Liam Neeson was instantly framed as soon as he was discovered with his ex-wife’s body. It wasn’t like there was any hard evidence to prove it, it felt like the script was supposed to show a detail but it was left out. The plot is also very predictable, I was able to pick out the main villain within the first 20 minutes of the movie. Another thing to note is that Liam Neeson is basically a god in this movie. Even though in the original he was strong, you felt that he could be hurt badly. Here he’s pretty much invincible. In many ways this movie reminds me of Die Hard 5. They both have convoluted plots, terrible action and unstoppable main characters.

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Liam Neeson is good in the movie, and when he has to act, he does a good job. Forrest Whitaker was also good, even though he was pretty much Tommy Lee Jones in the Fugitive, he was too good of an actor to be in this movie. Famke Jensen and Maggie Grace do fine. Generally the acting is fine, which probably means it’s probably the best part of the movie but it’s not saying a lot.

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The action in Taken 3 is some of the worst action I’ve seen in a movie. There are so many cuts that happen in the action scenes that it’s often incomprehensible. I tried finding a shot that lasted 2 seconds long but it wasn’t there. There’s a scene where Neeson climbs over a fence and it used 7 shots to show it, not kidding. Also a lot of the action (and all the fight scenes) are done in close up, so I couldn’t understand what was going on. It becomes extremely frustrating as you try to figure out what is going on in these scenes.

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Taken 3 is a terrible movie, if you haven’t seen the original, just watch that and skip 2 and 3. The plot was a mess, the action was awful and it was just a bad version of The Fugitive. I really felt that if Taken was to have sequels, it should’ve revolved around other characters, not Neeson’s family. The main focus of this movie wasn’t a kidnapping, so I don’t know why its part of a franchise called Taken. If you liked Taken, you should probably stay away from this movie and watch some of Neeson’s other action films as substitutes, they work a lot better than this movie.