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Gunny Mac RSS Feed (Playa del Rey, Ca United States)

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The Chinese Connection
The Chinese Connection
DVD ~ Bruce Lee
34 used & new from $1.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce Lee's best movie, hands down, August 11, 2001
This review is from: The Chinese Connection (DVD)
"The Big Boss" made Bruce Lee known, but "Chinese Connection" is the film that truly made the Chinese audience love him and worship him. Rightfully so, for this is Lee's best movie. He plays Chen, the top disciple of a revered kung fu master, recently killed under mysterious circumstances. Chen's spirit burns with a sense of duty, a desire for vengeance and an indomitable will to uphold the pride and rights of his people in a time where they are treated as second class citizens in their own land. Lee truly showcases his talent as an actor by bringing his character to life with such a wide range of emotion and depth. It totally overshadows his role in Enter the Dragon, where his character is little more than a subdued killer who gets to spout a few lines of philosophy. As for the fight sequences, Lee's characteristic fury is never as intense as it is here. This is also the first time Lee breaks out his infamous nunchakus. The storyline is somewhat simplistic (as is characteristic with all films of the genre) but it is still extremely heartfelt and symbolic if you understand the feelings and sentiments of Chinese people at the time. But even if you don't, the raw power of Bruce's performance along with the gritty, unorthodox fighting should win over any fan of the genre. In character and creativity, the only other Lee film that could match this one is Return of the Dragon. These two films represent Lee's best and overshadow the overrated Enter the Dragon.

No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly fun flick!, July 18, 2001
After the horrible "Lost World", the Jurassic Park series redeems itself with JP3 (ironically, without the vaunted directorial power of Steven Spielberg who was the one who dropped the ball with the last film). But let's not kid ourselves...Jurassic Park has never been about revolutionary film making (with the possible exception in the special effects department) or thought provoking plotlines. No, from the very beginning the first Jurassic Park film set a tone of fun, thrilling entertainment done with enough charm and intelligence to pass as respectable moviemaking. In this spirit, JP3 lives up to the original and will not disappoint. "The Lost World" was full of cheap thrills and gore but sorely lacked any real character and style, but JP3 succeeds where the previous film failed.
For one thing, the characters have enough personality and liveliness to actually hold a film and make the viewer care when it looks like they're about to be eaten by a pteranodon. The quality cast brings a good amount of substance to a pretty conventional plot (this may have something to do with the fact that the front runner is Sam Neill again this time rather than Jeff Goldblum). The dialogue has some interesting exchanges ad there is a good amount of smart humor that really made me enjoy this film a lot. At times, the movie even pokes fun at itself and the Jurassic Park series at large, which makes for great fun.
JP3 is definitely not without flaws though. Director Joe Johnston does a great job stepping in for Spielberg, but Spielberg still cannot be beat in the thrills department. The tension and anticipation of the first film is sorely missing. Although the CGI dinosaurs are the same (if not a bit better), Johnston simply doesn't give them the same intimidation and personality as Spielberg did in the first film. The kills are not nearly as stylish as in JP1, but they are also not as needlessly bloody and graphic as in The Lost World. The body count is actually kind of low this time around which was a bit disappointing to me. There was at least one character who really should have been dino food but for some reason they actually let this person live! I must also say that despite technological advancements in the area of CGI, much of the dino effects didn't really look all that convincing to me. Perhaps there was not enough blending of actual models along with the CGI. The movie is also a little bit on the short side and without giving away too much, I will say that the ending rescue really had a lot more potential than the anti-climactic way it turned out. The ending was a bit disappointing. The bottom line is that this film will not fill you with the same awe and wonder as the first film (yep, the first is still the best) but it is still far better than the second and it will fulfill your wish for a quality dose of cheap matinee entertainment in a summer that has so far been dsappointing.

Proof of Life
Proof of Life
DVD ~ Meg Ryan
Offered by Surplus DVD Source
Price: $6.00
243 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad movie at all!!, July 8, 2001
This review is from: Proof of Life (DVD)
I don't undersand why this movie was mutilated so badly by the's not a bad movie! I'm not saying that it is perfect. In fact I'm not even saying its great, but it is still more intelligent and interesting than most of the stuff that's out there nowadays. I'm going to try to explain the levels at which this movie works well and the levels at which it fails.
First off, it fails as a love story. It tries to develop the forbidden love relationship between Crowe and Ryan but falls flat in that regard. Their feelings for one another are never truly portrayed in depth enough to make an effective love story. And personally I find it ridiculous that they could have Meg Ryan's character so distressed and preoccupied with saving her beloved husband who is in dire jeopardy while at the same time falling for Russell Crowe. Can you imagine having the state of mind and desire to cheat on your spouse when he/she is being held hostage by terrorists and you are the only person who can do anything to get him/her back safely? Its possible I guess, but it seems unlikely. But this is the only major criticism I have of this movie. Now, let me tell you why its good! First of all, it gives a very interesting and accurate portrayal of the turbulent nature of certain areas in the world today. It gives the viewer a very up close taste of third world terrorism and violence. What "Traffic" did to portray the North American narcotics trade, "Proof of Life" does for Kidnap & Ransom terrorism. This is one of those films I think people should see if for nothing else, then as an informative portrayal of some of the uglier aspects of our world as it is today. It even takes a bit of time to explain that much of the increased corruption and instability is a result of the Cold War ending. I found these aspects of the film very interesting. David Morse's desperate situation as the terrorists' hostage is portrayed very well. Although this film isn't intended as a pure action movie at all, it culminates in a high risk covert rescue mission led in by Russell Crowe once it becomes obvious that all other options to save Morse's life are gone. And this was definitely my favorite part of the movie! From a military perspective, the planning, insertion and tactical execution of a covert operation is one of the best, most accurate portrayals I've seen in a modern film. If you find this kind of thing interesting, you will really appreciate the attention to detail in "Proof of Life". When it gets down to it, this film isn't going to please everybody. If you want to see a dramatic love story, this isn't going to do it for you. If you want to see a Hollywood rock n'roll action flick, this isn't going to do it for you. But if the subject matter interests you, or if you are a fan of Tom Clancy type real world fiction, you won't be disappointed.

Traffic [VHS]
Traffic [VHS]
Offered by mediaphreak
Price: $4.80
118 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overrated, June 3, 2001
This review is from: Traffic [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This was a decent film but I failed to see the reason behind why it got so much acclaim. It is a great depiction of the drug war situation, yes. But I didn't find the overall plot very compelling and the film itself isn't really very entertaining. Traffic is a great movie for showing the viewer "this is the way things are" (from a totally pessimistic point of view) but when it comes to powerful storytelling, it lacks. One reason for this is the fact that there are many stories all going on at once, and the characters in each of these stories have their own conflicts to resolve. But the film shifts its attention from one to the other much too often and it seems that none of them have enough time or description to really set in with the viewer. It seems more like each one is given a cursory, impersonal overview which at the end doesn't really leave any lasting effect on the audience. The cast did a fine job with their roles, but none of them really had to do much to challenge or showcase their utmost abilities as performers. Most of the conflicts aren't truly resolved at the end, but the film seems very preachy throughout its course on how pointless the war on drugs is. This is what seems like the overall message. Although Traffic comes out to be a good look into a contemporary problem that our society faces, it cannot stand on its own as a great work of motion picture storytelling. When it comes down to it, Traffic simply isn't a very entertaining or involving film.

No Title Available

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good war movie, but not perfect..., June 3, 2001
The first thing this film definitely deserves credit for is the fact that it presents a WWII story from a POV that definitely hasn't been explored enough in film (the Russian perspective). And this film does so without any strong biases. It does not try to portray the russian soldiers from an American point of view, for example (although it did have a bit of an underlying commentary on communism). An American viewer will not feel conscious of the fact that these are Soviet heroes rather than US Army Rangers...they are simply portrayed as protagonists in a desperate conflict. Stalingrad was a pinnacle point in the war and it really does deserve to have a mainstream film made about it. As a movie about the battle of Stalingrad itself, this film is good but not great. The sets are great and the opening battle gives you an idea of just how desperate a situation the Soviet troops were in (and why their valiant efforts at Stalingrad should be tributed). But on the other hand, I felt that the background information leading up to the battle was overly simplistic. The extent of the battle was not really portrayed enough either. After the initial landing scene, the battle of Stalingrad is largely ignored so that the film can focus solely on the sniper battle as if it was the only thing that mattered. They should have shown more of the large scale warfare and the bloody and hopeless city fighting that went on, as well as how the Germans began losing the upper hand (it's not like it was due entirely to the efforts of one single russian sniper!) They could also have portrayed the fact that people were starving, rather than having the available resources to sit down and have good meals and parties while they weren't fighting. Nevertheless, the sniper battles were very well done and the atmosphere was conveyed very well. I also felt that the plot (about the russian sniper who must bear the unwilling burden of being a heroic symbol for his people, despite his own fears and limitations), made a very touching example of wartime sacrifice. Sometimes you have no choice but to be a hero, and it is not an easy cross to bear. I think that the love triangle could have worked, but it really needed to be fleshed out a bit more and the resolution seemed too abrupt, too simple and overly dramatic. As a result, it hurts the film and gives us the impression that they just HAD to throw in a generic love conflict. But its not nearly as untolerable as the one in Pearl Harbor though. Ultimately, the film's main flaws are that it is a bit too conventional and also fails in one or two major areas in successfully telling the Stalingrad story. If it had been tweaked a bit it would've had potential to be a classic war film along the lines of Saving Private Ryan. Instead it turns out as a very well executed, albeit conventional war film. Although not perfect, it still stands high above such useless drivel as "Pearl Harbor" and "The Patriot".

No Title Available

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another big budget Hollywood disaster, May 28, 2001
In my opinion, Pearl Harbor was a poor film. The movie is way too long and can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a love story or a war movie. On both counts, it fails. The dialogue is corny and Ben Affleck is so annoying with his country accent. The film just doesn't seem to have much connectedness. It feels more like a bunch of disjointed subplots. One moment its about the relationship between Affleck, Beckinsale and the other guy, the next moment its about Cuba Gooding Jr., next moment it focuses on the president and the pressing matters that he must deal with. Since there is no virtually no interaction between these separate character stories, shifting the focus and point of view between them is just a bad idea. Although the love triangle is the backbone of the movie, it fails to hold up the rest of the film and is simply cliched and uninteresting. The attack on Pearl Harbor itself had good special effects and was done well enough, but in this day and age with the sinking ship in Titanic and the graphic battle scenes of Saving Private Ryan, its not all that spectacular. When it gets right down to it, Pearl Harbor does not reflect any sort of good storytelling or creativity. It is a film that simply tries to cash in on the WWII fad while throwing in a formulaic love story, obligatory political correctness and big budget special effects. It will defiitely make tons of money initially but it will not have any lasting effect and will not be remembered as a great film.

Grappling (Jeet Kune Do)
Grappling (Jeet Kune Do)
by Tim Tacket
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from $11.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique JKD look at grappling strategy, May 22, 2001
I really liked a lot of the material in this book. It really stands out because Sifu Hartsell does not simply give us a bunch of random grappling techniques. Instead he gives us techniques and strategies that truly reflect the techniques and ideas of the Jeet Kune Do fighting method. I particularly liked the section that dealt with using the JKD trapping tools as a defense against grappling attacks. It is this aspect and the various clinch strategies that make his book a worthy addition to a JKD practitioner's library. On the downside, you must remember that this book was published in 1987 and so it does not take into account a lot of modern day grappling/submissions knowledge. As a result, some of the material (especially the stuff that deals with groundfighting, joint locks and submission) seems dated by today's standards. Nevertheless, you'll still find plenty of valuable stuff in this book.

Liberty's Crusade (StarCraft, Book 1)
Liberty's Crusade (StarCraft, Book 1)
by Jeff Grubb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
105 used & new from $0.01

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in some areas, but sorely lacking in others, May 22, 2001
Being a fan of the Starcraft games and an avid reader of junk sci-fi (when I have time to kill) I thought I'd love this book. Unfortunately, I feel that the book really does not live up to the game. I will give the author credit for doing a great job of bringing the characters to life. He does an especially good job of developing Kerrigan. Telling the story through the eyes of Liberty was a great idea. But that's where the good stuff ends. Although he does well with the narrative style and the characters, he fails miserably in fleshing out the conflict and writing an exciting war story. He more or less completely ignores the strategic element of the battles and he doesn't bother writing ANY colorful descriptions of the full scale combat that makes Starcraft exciting. He seems much more interested in writing background info and character interaction than in describing the war. In my opinion, that is unforgivable in a novel based on Starcraft. Although he describes the fact that there are massive Zerg attacks going on in the sector as well as Protoss extermination missions, he does nothing to put us in the midst of this chaos. Plus, even with all the effort he put into writing the background info surrounding the story, he still didn't fix certain important plot holes found in the story. But oh well, the next book in the series is written by a different author so hopefully it will be better.

Gladiator Signature Selection (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Gladiator Signature Selection (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Russell Crowe
Offered by DAILY "Black-Friday" 4U
Price: $22.99
98 used & new from $0.01

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic movie...and a very satisfying DVD, November 26, 2000
First off, this is a great movie. Its not necessarily revolutionary in any way, but it is simply pulled off so well. The cinematography, majestic sceneries, excellent special effects and emotionally stirring music combine to create a very heartfelt and poetic film. Its one of those films that can just totally immerse you from start to finish. Gladiator has been accused of having a conventional storyline, but in my opinion it simply proves that the traditional formula of the hero epic can still make a great movie, as long as it is done the right way. The actors do a superb job with their characters. Russell Crowe wins the audience's heart with a very multi-dimensional portrayal of Maximus. Maximus has the noble heart and steadfast strength of a true hero, yet his pain and quiet humility prove that he is still human. The well filmed and choreographed fights convey the cruelty and chaos of battle without overly emphasizing graphic bloodshed. Gladiator isn't ground breaking, but it is the best epic adventure film to come out in a long time and it keeps you enthralled and truly stirs your emotions. This is what film making is all about.
The DVD is definitely worth buying. The great picture quality and sound are essential in order to make the viewer truly appreciate a movie such as this. There are also a ton of interesting extra features such as behind the scenes looks at the making of the film, production notes, TV spots and a number of deleted scenes. A great movie and a great value!

John Carpenter's Vampires
John Carpenter's Vampires
DVD ~ Daniel Baldwin
Offered by Best Bargains Inc
Price: $19.99
137 used & new from $0.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar, gratuitously violent, testosterone pumped bloodbath, December 30, 1999
This review is from: John Carpenter's Vampires (DVD)
In other words, I LOVED IT! Yes this is a very explicit,bloody, politically incorrect, occasionally offensive Carpenter film.And that is precisely its appeal for a certain male audience (you know who you are!). On paper it may seem like a pretty unoriginal, unambitious yawn-fest. But Carpenter pulls it off with such style and successfully combines the best elements of several B-movie genres: the horror flick, the spaghetti western and the run of the mill tough guy action flick. Spirited performances from all the actors, simple but shockingly realistic special effects and a great soundtrack help to polish off the entire package. It is a much better vampire busting movie than Blade, in my opinion. As long as you treat it as a fun B-movie flick you'll enjoy it (that is, if you enjoy this genre to begin with). If you go into it expecting an oscar nominee for best film, then you will most likely be quite disappointed. But honestly, how can you go into a movie about a bunch of tough guys who kill vampires and expect an oscar winner?

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