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American Made Review (2017) | The Insane Lavish Life of Barry Seal

Who doesn’t like watching the money flow in? Wads of cash lying around, isn’t that the dream? Good news! American Made lets you live that dream through the eyes of a guy working secretively for the CIA in the 80s. It is the story of Barry Seal whom we saw in Narcos before, making a cameo. He was played by Dylan Bruno.

Doesn’t ring a bell? No? This guy right here:

Barry Seal played by Dylan Bruno in Narcos

Javier Pena called him McPickle.

So our McPickle in American Made is played by none other than the dashing Tom Cruise. Morsels of debonair are loud in him even though he is, what, 55 now? His presence gives the character of McPickle a new perspective and slaps a smiling handsome face on a man who “American” made a shit load of money.

Theme of American Made Movie (Spoilers)

American Made is intentionally kept humorous keeping into account the type of work Barry does. The irony lies in Barry Seal being untouchable, since he works for the CIA, which allows him to work even for the bad guys. No matter how ugly it gets, CIA always has his back. Primarily because he is really good at his job. That gives Barry wings for real.

still of Domhnall Gleeson as Monty Schafer in American Made

The absurdity of it all lies in the fact that a character like Barry Seal was created by the CIA in the first place. When things begin to go south, it was CIA only which ends up shredding his files, to wipe themselves clean of any involvement. That stays the highlight of the flick and goes on to paint a wicked picture for a top secret government body, which even though is capable of getting the job done, does things at hideous costs.

Direction and Plot of American Made

The great thing about American Made is its ballsy editing. Doug Liman isn’t afraid to experiment with super fast clips when he chooses to show his frames. Comic oozes out via pickle-situations, and they all beautifully complement his shaky frames. There are stunning bizarre angles from where he chooses to capture his characters, which tell us how good a director he is.

The good thing about American Made is, unlike other biopics, it doesn’t start off from Barry Seal’s past life. Instead within seconds gets directly to the point. A pilot of TWA, who is slowly succumbing to boredom with a stagnant life hits jackpot when he gets contacted by a CIA official Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson).

American Made movie still of Tom Cruise as Barry Seal

Free Lancing Really Pays

His mission initially involves a spy job, taking photographs by flying low over Central America, more like a reconnaissance. As that job progresses Schafer asks him to run errands for him to a certain Manuel Noriega in Panama who had ties with US intelligence. The crunch of money then forces Barry Seal to accept an offer from none other than the infamous Medellin Cartel. The job is to fly cocaine into the States which CIA chooses to overlook.

However, the DEA sniffs his cocaine act. To avoid them, he moves to Mena with his family convincing his wife. The next job is to run guns for Contras. On figuring out that Contras aren’t serious about their mission he starts running guns for the cartel. CIA sets up a Contra base in Mena for training them but many abscond.

JB – the Freeloader

Every crazy happy story has an injurious element. We have JB played by (Caleb Landry Jones), you might have seen him in Get Out before, who plays Barry’s brother-in-law. Offering him a job was a mistake as he gets marked by the cartel for getting caught by Sheriff Downing (Jesse Plemons) while he was running with a suitcase full of cash. Ends up losing his life as his car explodes in flames.

The Wanted Man

Another epic sight in the flick is when CIA decides to wipe its slate clean, shutting down Barry’s program. DEA, FBI and the state police and other agencies show up at his gate trying to get a piece of him, but he walks out unharmed nevertheless.

American Made movie still of Tom CruiseHowever, Barry figures out it isn’t the CIA who had his back this time, but the big Daddy White House itself. He is offered a mission to frame the Sandinistas to get their photos alongside the cartel. But White House releases those photos clearly showing Barry Seal’s face in it. It ends up putting him on the cartel’s cross-hairs.

He is convicted for a really light sentence requiring him to do 1000 hours of community service. Unfortunately, eventually the cartel gets him and kills him for ratting them out. CIA collects the remaining pieces of evidence thereafter to avoid their names from getting stained. The events later give rise to the Iran-Contra affair.

You can order American Made movie from here:

Issues with American Made

One apparent issue with the movie is that it inadvertently aggrandizes a villain. Despite how fun Barry seems, and the fact that he was just trying to make the most of a situation, he still was in the wrong to support the drug inflow. He wasn’t a hero. Period.

With the movie skimming the comic genre, it somehow sends the wrong message to the mass, a tad opposed to Narcos where you could tell the good guys and the bad guys apart. One might wish to live the lavish life of Barry Seal that wasn’t totally loyal to anybody but himself. There were twists and turns and close calls that saved his ass on a lot of occasions, that had him alive and breathing.

Barry got lucky on a lot of occasions, and with his slate shouting out loud (his conscience not so much) for all the good and the bad things that he did, because he was a talented opportunist, living a life so grand might seem like a good idea to many. That’s where the flick misconstrues its message unknowingly.

Dangerous characters of the Medellin gang like Pablo and Jorge Ochoa are shown in a fun light. You can’t take them seriously with all the killing.

Apart from that, even the screenplay isn’t that intriguing. The movie uses the following one-liner for comical effect, but using it more than once makes it less funny:

I am the gringo that always delivers.

The Final Verdict

The great thing about American Made is that it constantly narrates a story. Despite booking things for fun, there is a plot that is worth all the attention. The shortcomings of CIA, the government and the Reagan rule, it all comes out in the open. The way things were dealt back then, and how things will always remain the authority’s prerogative, are all things that will make you feel really puny and insignificant.

At the end of the day, you will remember American Made movie for all the cash you see. Barry makes so much money that it will literally hurt your eyes. There is cash everywhere. It is all really satisfying to watch since we all like to see heroes earning tons and living a prodigious life.

Enjoy this flick for its theme, its humour, and all the things that you feel when you see someone’s gaudy life flash on the big screen.

You can check out the trailer of American Made movie here:

The Mummy Movie Review (2017) | Dark Universe’s First is a Misfire

Dark Universe’s The Mummy movie is Universal’s epic fail. For most parts, it is scrounging for a plot, galloping forward with an out of focus story, at the same time trying to delve into an impending universe. It doesn’t retain the magic the original Mummy had. Neither does it have the power to sustain on its own, nor does it carry any chemistry to even let you feel anything for its characters. With this unpredictable tumble, the fate of the rest of the movies lined up for production has suddenly become uncertain.

While everyone is busy trying to get on the bandwagon of Universes following Marvel‘s footsteps, why would Universal be left behind? And so they decided to revive that old ghastly universe with characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Jekyll-Hyde, Wolfman and every other literary character that were better off being a fantastical story than being spoiled with a cheap shot at motion picture.

They bagged good actors, nay great ones, and things seemed to be going fine for them, with their website and everything, except they didn’t think the story through. How do you introduce characters into the universe? They didn’t make DC’s mistake of shoehorning every character into just one movie. And yet they failed big time. So what really went wrong?

Plot of The Mummy Movie

It wouldn’t be wrong to take a dig at their storytelling style and focus. Because it really sucked. To kickstart the events of The Mummy movie we are shown some Templars trying to hide a large ruby in a tomb of one of their own. The same knight’s tomb is discovered in the present day by a mysterious figure, who supersedes every authority.

Then a flashback starts showing us glimpses from the past about a princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). She was going to be the ruler when she was stripped of her birthright because his father’s second wife gave birth to a son. She makes a deal with the devil allowing the Egyptian God Set to enter into a special dagger. Ahmanet goes rogue on her family slaying them all and tries to bring Set to life by sacrificing her lover. But she gets caught and is mummified for eternity inside a sarcophagus.

Depicting the events of the present world again, we have Tom Cruise cruising down alongside Jake Johnson in their Nick Morton and Chris Vail avatars trying to fight off insurgents in Iraq. I was really looking forward to that bit, but it was as terse as it was in the trailers. I thought they were going to show how they ended up being sitting ducks, but the director Alex Kurtzman had other plans. (Was he running out of time already?)

Ahmanet’s Ruin

In comes archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who makes an entry planting a slap on Nick’s face. They clearly had a past. I wanted to see that too, but Alex skipped ahead. They come to discover a tomb (just the three of them) and Nick, the smartass he was, decides to shoot the ropes that seemed to be clearly keeping something down. Ahmanet’s coffin surfaces, and suddenly Nick becomes the chosen one. He begins to see visions thereafter.

Tom Cruise as Nick in The Mummy Movie

Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance) and his crew take the sarcophagus up on a plane where Vail starts behaving strangely. He was infected by a spider in the tomb and ends up killing Greenway and attacking others. Nick shoots him down. But their plane gets attacked by countless crows as they crash. However, before dying Nick saves Jenny by giving her a parachute in the ‘nick’ of time.

Nick wakes up in the morgue. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?) I think we saw that part in the trailers too so digesting that wasn’t that hard. But he could now see Vail’s ghost too who is talking to him with his intact sense of humour. Vail tells him about Ahmanet’s intention to use Nick as a body vessel to let Set free into him.

Unleashing Chaos

At the crash site, Ahmanet is now back in her mummy form busy sucking life out of rescue workers to regain her strength. With her powers, she coaxes Nick into seeing him in a church, where the dagger is. But the dagger wouldn’t work without the red ruby atop. While trying to attack Nick andJenny, Ahmanet is interposed and subdued by a group of soldiers who take her down to a secret place. We find about Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) then the mysterious man we had seen earlier, who claims to be the leader of Prodigium a secret society aimed at keeping supernatural threats in check. Jekyll reveals his intent of letting Ahmanet possess Nick so as to let Set out. He wanted to kill him then so as to rid the world of evil.

As Ahmanet overpowers a technician to escape, Jekyll ends up becoming Hyde (I was really looking forward to him turning into a monster but I was really disappointed to see him stay the same size) and attacks Nick. Nick subjugates Hyde with the serum he used to use to control himself from becoming his alter ego. Ahmanet escapes breaking all hell loose on the city. She manages to grab hold of the ruby too by summoning her army of mummies. With that, she had everything she needed to summon Set, except Nick’s body.

You can order The Mummy from here:

The Final Clash

She lures Nick by drowning Jenny, and slaps her (yes twice and really hard too!) into making him bow down to her. Nick steals the dagger and stabs himself letting Set enter his body. (So she was already going to stab him with the dagger, and he chose to do that himself. Hmmmm…interesting.) However, the tables turn when Nick sees Jenny’s body. He becomes furious and sucks the life out of Ahmanet. He then revives Jenny back to life. (Oh! stop) Then he revives Vail back (Oh! stop already!) and proceeds to seek more adventure.

Other Issues

There isn’t just one thing wrong with the movie and you know it. That resuscitating angle where Nick wakes up in a morgue without a scratch after crashing head-on to the ground, I mean how did they even find his body? He should have been blown to smithereens. You could argue that it was Ahmanet Wolverinizing him, but that’s just as pathetic as it sounds.

The Mummy movie delves into horror more than it should have. You are mid-way and you are thinking if you bought the right tickets.

Then a big downer was Hyde, who I thought would turn out to be some kind of Hulk, but that would have been even more cliched. However, somehow their decision to show him as a normal man, just powerful seemed like a right idea. But watching him turn like that just didn’t fit the bill.

What were they thinking, closing the door and isolating Hyde? If Nick wouldn’t have got accidentally trapped, who would have turned him into Jekyll again? Were they planning on sitting it out? Weren’t they prepared for this kind of aberration? Too hard to digest.

Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll and Hyde in The Mummy movie

Not Addressing the Obvious

To stop Ahmanet after finding out her true power, there were just four soldiers guarding the gate. I mean really? You should have sent an army, to stop her from reaching the ruby.

And when the final showdown between Nick and Ahmanet is happening why does she order her minions to go to dust. Why couldn’t the boss fight be made better with other mummies attacking Nick too? I would have loved to see Nick struggle through all those mummies to reach the boss.

There’s no element of surprise when Nick kills his first mummy. Did he already know that’s how they were supposed to go down? Had it something to do with him watching the original movie Mummy and being prepared beforehand?

The Mummy movie seems to be running towards something. It would have really helped if they sat down for a while to understand what is going on. We couldn’t see any real acting, but unfeeling people trying to escape or fight their way through.

The Final Verdict

The Mummy movie lacks focus, shoots a dud shot, tries to be horror and action, lacks chemistry, forgets all about drama and aspires to be a hit. Unfortunately, it has nothing of the sorts. It becomes successful in making you go nostalgic about the Stephen Sommers franchise which was something at least if not great.

The plan to whip a universe out of dark characters has failed miserably. I wonder what Universal is thinking right now.

Check out the trailer of The Mummy Movie here:

 

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie Review (2016) | Reacher is Lost

We have lost him! I repeat. We have lost him! Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie has forced one of the most badass protagonists to fade into vacuity. All that smug style and mannerism whilst fighting and figuring out crime has lost its shine in this garish sequel. Jack Reacher that Christopher McQuarrie had so beautifully carved in the first one has been completely obliterated. And you can’t just blame the movie’s direction for it. Somewhere the plot asks of you to hold it against the wall too.

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Even though we hadn’t aced the Reacher Lee Child had created by taking Tom Cruise in the vanguard, he still looked fine in the first one. Primarily because Tom Cruise had created a different grim persona altogether that held him apart from his other roles. He let Reacher stories bank on his dour comportment and McQuarrie made sure of that with his subtlety. He wanted people to fall in love with him all over again.

Edward Zwick, au contraire, let go of that ingenuity. His frames miss out on the subtlety. The story chosen doesn’t give you the adrenaline rush either. It ends up becoming just any other movie, and not what Jack Reacher truly deserves.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie has taken the heroics of the super human Reacher to new lows. We don’t see his intelligence unspool much here, which kind of beats the movie’s purpose in the first place. Jack Reacher has to be complete badass. Period.

Plot of Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie (Spoilers)

A huge conspiracy is at play. It has swallowed up and is in the process of subjugating Major Susan Turner, played by Cobie Smulders. Jack believing her, since they used to talk on phone on numerous occasions in the past, ends up trying to save the wrongfully accused Turner. Jack is being pinned on a murder of Turner’s attorney as well with whom he was seen a couple of times before. With the intent to get Turner out, Reacher reaches in and sweeps her away to figure out who is trying to play her.

still of Cobie Smulders as Turner in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

Unfortunately things are strangely contrived in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie, giving you an impression that every set up has been placed in order to create individual scenes. That being said, it lacks a natural flair of frames that is supposed to continuously hunt for awesomeness. We don’t see much of that going on here.

Another one of the greatest bummers this movie packs in is via its subplot. A stale tale of a daughter angle! There is literally a non-existent chemistry of father daughter relationship present in the movie. It wasn’t shown or acted properly. What would really make one shake their head is the climax scene, which you see coming BTW. You know you are supposed to feel for both the characters Samantha (Danika Yarosh) and Reacher, but you just can’t. Because in the entire movie there wasn’t anything solid given to you to chew on. How could one feel for its absent drama?

Screenplay

Looking at the screenplay of Jack Reacher Never Go Back, there isn’t much in that department either. One of the coolest lines in the flick, however, gets delivered by The Hunter portrayed by Patrick Heusinger.

still of Patrick Heusinger as the hunter in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

It’s people like us. We can never go back to the world.

That’s when you realize how odd Reacher is, and how he doesn’t fit in the normal world. Amongst other ones, most of them are laughable, the others are pretty cliched like when he is bowing The Hunter out with a final blow, he says:

Look at me! Look at me!

It lets you in on the burning wrath in him. But it gets over in a jiffy with his blow, and dies down just like the antagonist.

Bright Sides

To look at the shimmering horizon, the plot was well kept under the wraps. And everything keeps happening for a reason. It doesn’t break the order as some movies often do by jumping to different frames to vex people. It is a gradual unfurling that makes everything perceptible. When you look at the fight scenes, even though there is nothing memorable that you go home satisfied with, it still is very natural, and that’s where the flick manages to keep up.

still of jack reacher in never go back jack on following him

There are some thrilling moments that are squeezed in as well. Like Jack’s disappearing act followed by him bashing a car window to warn those who follow him. Also, the unfazed jump at The Hunter in the end where they both fall off a roof. It goes on to show the colossal import of the concept of saving lives, and sacrificing himself for others without worrying about his well being or safety.

You can pre-order Jack Reacher: Never Go Back here

The Final Verdict

When you don’t go with high expectations to watch Jack Reacher 2, you will be surprised that it’s fairly enjoyable. But when you do, that’s when you begin to see its shoddiness, and how there isn’t even a pinch of subtlety in it. The movie doesn’t do anything to beckon ogles. It ends up becoming too mediocre for a character like that of Reacher’s.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is Lee Child’s 18th book in the Jack Reacher series.

Check out the trailer of Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie here: