Blood Diamond, This Is Africa

Blood Diamond

I didn’t really take Leo DiCaprio as the kind of actor that would play a diamond smuggler looking to secure passage out of Africa using a massive raw diamond as leverage. That said, I was happy to see him. Blood Diamond presents its audience with realism, not acting. To get specific, I mean the nitty gritty, not the glamour. Of course there’s acting. The point is, the movie doesn’t reek of Hollywood taint. You can watch it without having to pause and rinse your mouth out after a long, almost premeditated speech about how a mercenary’s cold heart thawed because of the girl of his dreams. Got it? Glad you’re listening.

Solomon Vandy is a fisherman in the village of Shenge, in Sierra Leonia. The Revolutionary United Front makes a sweep through his area, shooting up everyone they can and kidnapping who they leave alive. Solomon’s son Dia is conscripted and brainwashed by the RUF, and Solomon himself is forced into slavery, panning for diamonds.

Blood DiamondDiamond panning under the RUF is a far cry from safe and simple. Stealing a diamond means your life. Disobedience means your life, or maybe a hand. Odds are, if you’ve been enslaved, you may as well consider yourself dead. Solomon, however, chances upon a pink diamond the size of a bird’s egg, and buries it just as the government comes in and shoots the place up. He winds up on a truck heading to a prison in Freetown.

Danny Archer shares a similar fate, though under different circumstances. He works for South African diamond company executive Van De Kaap, making a living off of smuggling diamonds across the border into Liberia. The border officers catch Danny in the act and confiscate his goods, then slam him into the same truck Solomon was shoved in. The leader of the RUF camp shouts about Solomon’s family, name, and diamond before being carted away. As such, the two set up a deal where Danny will find Solomon’s family in exchange for the ruddy big diamond.

Danny eventually enlists the aid of Maddy Bowen, a journalist who he initially doesn’t care for. At first, she’s just a threat to him because she could blow his smuggling operation. Soon after, she becomes a valuable asset because she has a certain level of influence among the locals. Together, they try to rescue Solomon’s family while simultaneously trying to locate the diamond that’s going to save Danny’s ass from his employer’s vengeance.

Blood DiamondThe movie’s just over two hours long, but it feels a lot longer. I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. Does it have slower parts? Yeah, it does. Does it drag its ass? Nope. The content and quality of Blood Diamond is evenly distributed all throughout. That, coupled with the fantastic acting and above-par plot, should keep you interested until the conclusion rolls around.

Special mention goes to Djimon Hounsou for doing such a fantastic job with his role. You’d think Leo would be the focus by default, but I beg to differ. You rarely see average Joe protagonists that refrain from indulging in obligatory heroics, yet come through as the “good guy” all the same. Better seen than heard, I suppose. Check the film out and see what I’m rambling about.

But first, the Itsvery movie review take on Blood Diamond! To my surprise, many people found that Solomon was a flat, clichéd character. While I can see how that can rouse a bit of discontentedness, I do believe that Solomon was all he needed to be. He was a simple man with simple needs, and he pursued them in a way befitting his personality and situation. Sure, we in the audience may not find him very spectacular, but that’s realism over Hollywoodism for you. Anyway, check out the review here: http://www.moviereviewblog.net/2007/01/30/blood-diamond-by-edward-zwick/

Starship Troopers? More Like Starshit Poopers

Starship TroopersYou’re allowed to judge me for the title. I had to do it. It fits so well.

I’m just gonna come out and say that Starship Troopers pisses me off while entertaining me. It’s like the worst of both worlds, yet the best. So I guess that makes it a paradoxical movie. Before I completely lose you, let me explain. I hate most of the characters in this movie, and I don’t like the setting, and I don’t like all the stupid logical fallacy crap. For example, when dodging a meteor, does one wait until the last second to fire the emergency thrusters, or does one fire them as quick as possible to get the hell out of there? Don’t answer. That said, the movie is consistently annoying. It pulls all the crap together and makes itself an entertaining crap ball! However, since I have nothing positive (and of substance) to say about this movie, the entire review will be me griping about every little thing. If you can dig it, I’ll dish it. Let’s get this horror show started.

It’s a military society. The bugs from outer space are launching meteors at humanity from the other side of the galaxy. How? Don’t ask. Don’t even. Every kid goes to school and learns how violence solves everything. Everyone grows up to be a soldier, or they just sit at home and rub their money on their faces. I don’t know.

Starship TroopersJohnny Rico comes from a rich family, but he really sucks at school. He plays homo football where all the guys wear brightly colored leotards with puffy shoulders and helmets. His girlfriend, Carmen Ibanez, is very smart and good at math. She gets hit on by some guy with black hair. He’s a prick. Dizzy’s hot for Johnny’s Johnny, but Johnny’s got Carmen, so his Johnny’s jolly with her. Also, the blonde friend of Johnny who can do psychic stuff. I don’t… yeah. Anyways, those are the only important characters. The prick with black hair gets stabbed in the ass and dies, I shit you not. Let’s get onto the plot…

Rico’s dumb, so he applies for mobile infantry when it comes time to sign up. His parents totally disown him. Carmen becomes and pirate pilot, and pricky the black haired ass stalks her and becomes a pilot too. The psychic guy’s name is Carl, by the way, and his psychic power grants him access to becoming a part of the military intelligence. Go Carl.

The arachnids are the big bad bugs. Supposedly they colonize planets by hurling their spore into space, but you never see that nor hear it explained. They can, however, shoot plasma into space, throw rocks across the galaxy, and stab footsoldiers a whole bunch of times in a very happy fashion. There are winged variants, giant firebreathing beetle variants, and flower-assed plasma cannon crapping variants. Apparently, human colonization and arachnid colonization met head to head, and everybody got riled up and started killing the other.

Starship TroopersBasically, everyone above Rico in rank keeps conveniently dying so he quickly rises to the tippy top and assumes the role of the hardened vet by the halfway mark of the movie. He keeps repeating lines that his dead officers once said, and that’s supposed to be sentimental or something, but it just makes him look like he’s playing monkey see, monkey do. Oh, nearly forgot. Carmen dumps Rico because she decides to go career pilot, and Rico goes “Oh… okay…” and makes sure they stay friends at the end of the movie. It’s all very lame.

Allow me to spare you two painful hours and tell you that the nude scene is not worth it. Not at all. The movie’s crap, and no matter how many boobs they throw in, that isn’t going to change. The extreme violence is okay. It’s the focus of the special effects, anyway. YEAH! WAR! GUNS! GROWLING AND SHOUTING!

Don’t even think of watching this unless you want to be mildly entertained and mostly annoyed. I mean, I sometimes feel like being mostly annoyed. Once in a blue moon. There are better war movies out there. Go away. Don’t watch this.

Movie Review: Valkyrie (2008)

Valkyrie

Valkyrie

Tom Cruise with an eye patch. Nazis trying to kill Hitler. What is not to love about this movie? Tom Cruise with an eye patch. Nazis trying to kill Hitler. Tom Cruise can be a great actor. “Interview With a Vampire” is a great example. When playing a tough-guy Nazi, however, his annoying scientoligist arrogance takes over, and his uber-assertiveness leaves no room for anything else. He is a Nazi, after all, yet his apparent lack of compassion or sensitivity makes it difficult to believe his character is driven by remorse for Nazi atrocities.

This movie was supposedly based on a true story. The plot would have us believe that there was widespread German resistance to Hitler’s Nazi Germany based on their crimes against humanity. Forget that it only appeared after Normandy, when it was apparent they were going to lose the war. Maybe being invaded and facing a suicidal fight to the death was more incentive to turn against Hitler than anything else. I don’t know – I’m not a historian. I’m just a movie view who didn’t buy it.