Friday, November 30, 2012

Jason and Shawn review Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and The Barrens

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Jason: The latest entry in the Universal Soldiers series left me with mixed emotions. Who'd of thunk that from a B-grade action movie!?!

On the plus side: the action sequences in this movie OWN! These are brutal, rough and tumble throwdowns that don't disappoint. The final 20 minutes are bad to the ass! And kudos to Scott Adkins for giving the fight scenes his all.

The bad: Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren are but bit players in this, yet they are sold as the stars. Not their fault. I blame marketing. Still, It'd of been nice to see more of these guys. Their scenes are great, as are the fights with Adkins, but there's not enough of them.

All said and done, I dug this Universal Soldier. It was different than the entries that have come before, and that's what I appreciate most about it. And it's great to see a venue for Adkins to shine. I'd watch this again, which means it gets a Good.

Shawn: Didn’t like it as much as the last one. Gotta say that right off the bat. Needs more Van Damme. More Dolph. If you are going to have them in the movie, goddamn use them! Both those motherfuckers can act, AND kick ass.

Some pretty rad fight scenes in this movie. Well, one for sure. In the sporting goods store. It was just a weird story. They didn’t pull any punches in terms of violence either. Kid and wife got shot. They showed the kid multiple times as flashback memories with a bullet in her head. Sadly, I think they are a little late on the line-crossing bandwagon too.

While I could find a lot I didn’t like, there was a lot I did. I’ll watch it again, so that rates it a Good. But barely. I would only watch specific scenes. In the old days, this would be a fastforward watch for a second or third time.

The Barrens

Jason: For the most part this is a psychological thriller, with the whole Jersey Devil story serving as the backdrop for one man's descent into madness. Think The Shining set in the Pine Barrens and you kinda get the idea of Darren Lynn Bousman's The Barrens.

The acting really saved this for me. Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirschner and the kids do a really good job. And I love the whole urban legend of the Jersey Devil. Bousman does a good job of keeping us guessing too. Is Moyer losing it? Or is the Devil really after him and his family?

It's the final few minutes that helped me determine my rating. And I loved the way this movie ends. Makes the rest of the trip worthwhile. I'd show this flick to fellow horror fans, as it's worth the watch. A Good from me.

Shawn: Here is a strange little movie. Effective at using the “woods” to creep me out, and that is a chore, since I grew up in the woods. OK, so it wasn’t the woods, it’s the psychotic people in them. Rabies infected bastards.

I didn’t like that the movie toted along and made me believe insanity was the answer…when it clearly could have been…then hit me with a monster. It was a strange formula for me, and it didn’t work, from where I sat. 

I won’t watch it again, because the story wasn’t great either. I found my self easily distracted by the Doritos bag, or shiny stuff… Not horrible, not great. I give' er a Bad.

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