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VaderFan at the Movies – Pain & Gain

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We get so many Hollywood movies that are based on a true story, and a majority of them have been changed to make the movie more dramatic or entertaining. Well, it’s the opposite for this movie. The very highly, over the top, unbelievable scenes are actually true, and the more believable scenes aren’t actually true. I’ve read the journal story in The New Miami Times, and I am in shocked with how much the movie got it right. But, I’m going to talk more about the movie and not to make a comparison with what actually happen.

The movie stars Mark-E-Mark as the body-builder trainer, Daniel Lugo, who believes he deserves more in life. After a seminar to teach him how to be rich, he decides to steal money from his very rich client, Victor Kershaw, played by Tony Shalhoub. He enlists the help of coke addict turned Christian, Paul Doyle, played by The Rock, and the steroid obsessed small penis friend Adrian Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie, or The Falcon. Of course, once you get a bunch of dumb bodybuilders together to come up with a heist, funny chaos ensues. Things always wrong in a heist movie, but this movie takes it to another level. Unlike normal heist movies where it involves a bunch of smart characters, calmly calculating their next move, this movie has just a bunch of idiots winging it as they go on. They fail to capture Victor a couple times by trying to sneak into his house, but abort after they found out he was doing the Shabbat; then try to capture him by trapping him in his BMW, but got the wrong car; and finally they just directly confront him in ninja outfits, and taser him. I didn’t spoil much, since it’s in the trailer, but just the example of the hilarity that is in this movie. And even funnier is that all that actually happen in real life. I’m not going to go into much detail on how they got all his money, but they eventually did and got caught because of stupid mistakes these guys make. One of them being is accidentally killing a guy from ‘roid rage, and leaving a toe with a dog at some guy’s mansion.

I can’t help but see this movie as some sort of dark comedy character piece, despite the fact it’s directed by Michael Bay. Daniel Lugo starts off as a charismatic character, some guy that anyone can get along with, but he has a very short temper, especially when it comes to fitness. He also has this delusion of grandeur, where he thinks it’s up to him to ruin a jerk that has a ton of money because it’s un-American to let a guy like that to be rich. Lugo also gets mad when someone just talks shit about fitness, or his pecks. Then we get Anthony Doorbal who can be viewed as a tragic character for having such a small penis, but he is unlikable because of his idiotic use of steroids and just being an all-round jerk. Then we get Paul Doyle, who is probably the most likable character of the bunch. He is trying to do good after getting out of jail, since he found Jesus, and is the most nice and friendly guy out of the bunch. He was the only guy who treated Kershaw right during his captivity. However, he is so dumb that he can be convinced to do some heinous acts, such as killing a man. Surprisingly, the actors did a really good job in playing these characters. Normally in a Michael Bay movie, actors never really gave a grade A performance, hell not even a grade B, but these actors really performed well.

This movie really works for Michael Bay. It is set in a very wacky world that is his style. His other movies tend to over fictionalize all the action segments, and he kinda over sexualize the women in his movies also. It is hard to find any sort of believability in his movies, but since this movie is based on a true story, we just got to accept everything that happens. It is a fun watch, especially when watching with friends with a great sense of humor.

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VaderFan at the Movies – GI Joe: Retaliation

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GI Joe is back to kick some Cobra ass. I was really excited about this movie after watching some of the trailers, since Cobra Commander is in his full glory with his classic helmet, taking over the white house, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Roadblock, also Bruce Willis is in it, and some pretty cool action scenes. However, actually watching the movie, it didn’t really meet any of my expectations at all, and in fact, it’s pretty dull. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of GI Joe, I didn’t even watch the original growing up, just the 90’s reboot where Cobra Commander wears a burette and a skull mask, but I do know the awesome sauce that the series poured over the nerd culture, and I do know how good it tastes. The sauce in this movie is a bit mild.

There are a lot of things I’m going to talk about this movie, so here’s your spoiler warning. The movie starts off explaining that Duke, reprised by the handsome Channing Tatum, taking over a new group of GI Joes: Roadblock, played by The Rock; Lady Jaye, played by Adrianne Palicki; and Flint, played by DJ Cotrona. We get to see the Joes in action, and some relationship history between Duke and Roadblock, which wasn’t executed well since their jokes were pretty lame. We get some feeling that they’ve been friends for years, however it seems to undermine everything that happened in the last movie. We’re missing other characters such as Scarlet, Heavy Duty, and General Hawk, some of whom are my personal favorites from the cartoon. Then, out of nowhere, the Joes are under attack, which results the least tragic death for a main character ever, the death of Duke. We just see his face, cut to a vehicle explosion, and the emotionless expression of The Rock. We couldn’t tell if he actually died. The Rock didn’t even seem to care that his best friend died so horribly, it’s pointless. So, at this point the villain Zartan, posing as the president (Jonathan Pryce), states that the GI Joes has became evil, and Cobra has defeated them, thus making them the good guys. So, now it’s up to the remaining Joes to stop Cobra.

Meanwhile, Storm Shadow, played by Byung-hun Lee, and Firefly, played by Ray Stevenson, broke into a high security prison to rescue Cobra Commander. It was a cool breakout, with Firefly’s motorcycle breaking apart into rockets to destroy the facility, and Storm Shadow using his awesome ninja skills cutting through bullets and a bunch of guards. Now, here’s the problem with this scene. Destro is in the prison also, and all we get to see is his eyes squinting once in awhile and looking angry. Then, out of nowhere Cobra Commander said, “You’re out of the band,” and left the fool to die in the prison. It does not make sense at all, since Destro is one of the key villains in the GI Joe universe, and just to write him off like that is almost a kick in the balls. I have a feeling they did this because they couldn’t get the original actor from the first movie to play him in the second, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt played Cobra Commander in the first one, and they replace him in the second, so it does not make sense at all.

Then we get to Japan where Snake Eyes spars against Jynx, where the RZA plays the blind master, narrating what they should do to bring Storm Shadow to justice. Here is where I find the movie to be enjoyable is how Asian the RZA acts. He really got the accent down, even the pronunciation sounds so Asian it made me laugh. The guy really wants to be Asian; I mean he is part of the Wu-Tang Clan. Now, Snake Eyes and Jynx goes to some mountain to capture Storm Shadow, and the action sequence here is really cool. They use zip lines and fight a ton of ninjas on the side of the mountain, and the way it’s done looks like a realistic portrayal of a ninja anime. The ninjas they fight have to be the worst ninjas in the world since they keep falling, tripping over each other, and can’t hit anything for the life of them. It’s like they graduated from the storm trooper ninja school or something. After all this, Storm Shadow all the sudden changed sides, and decides to help the Joes. Here is where the movie starts to lose me. One thing I always looked forward to when I was younger was the fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. We barely get that in the movie, and at this point, I never will. Then Bruce Willis shows up, and his character was a waste, it was pointless to have him here.

Now, I’ve been focusing so much on the plot on this movie, and I’ll be the first to tell you that when it comes to action movies, plot don’t matter it’s the action. However, when the action scenes are really dull, you just can’t help but notice everything about the plot. The action scenes suffer the problem of being shot way too close with a shaking camera, so it’s hard to tell what’s happening, and the explosions aren’t even impressive. A lot of it is stuff that I’ve really seen. Eventually Cobra Commander recruits all the world leaders into a war room, where he then reveals that he has a doomsday device that will destroy each of the major cities. Guess what, the Joes manage to stop him from destroying the world. He did escape, but he never did a cheesy “I’ll get you next time,” line. I was really expecting it when he climbed atop his helicopter to fly off. The plot may seem enjoyable to watch, but a lot of it fell flat. Many characters are wasted, everything is all over the place, Cobra Commander barely makes an appearance, and all the action scenes except the ninja fight aren’t that great. If you’re with the right people who like to make fun of movies as they watch it, this one is good for you, but other than that, it really isn’t worth watching in my opinion.

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