Category Archives: Action

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) | John R. Leonetti



In this sequel to 1995’s Mortal Kombat, portals between Outworld and Earth are illegally opened by Outworld’s emperor Shao Kahn, who has decided the rules of “Mortal Kombat” need not apply to him. This leaves the world’s mightiest fighters only six days to vanquish this new threat and close the portals or lose Earthrealm to the powers of evil.  They return to Outworld to fight for humanity’s fate.


Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins (1995) | Joseph Francis



Mortal Kombat: The Journey begins was a direct-to-video animated video released in conjunction with the release of Mortal Kombat in theaters in 1995. It purports to be a sequel to the live-action film. For the story, producer Larry Kasanoff employed the services of his screenwriter for the live-action film, Kevin Droney. In Droney’s script, we learn that “Mortal Kombat” is a tournament where warriors from Earth and warriors from the alternate dimension of Outworld compete for domination. Three warriors from Earth are chosen by Raiden, the God of Thunder: Liu Kang, a monk who hails from the Order of Light Temple, Lieutenant Sonya Blade, a United States Special Forces officer, and Johnny Cage,  a major Hollywood action star with actual martial arts skill. Their mission is to travel by boat to a mysterious island to fight the reigning champion of the “Mortal Kombat” tournament for five centuries,  a half-humanoid/half-dragon named Goro. However, to get there, they must first get through evil sorcerer Shang Tsung’s minions, SubZero and Scorpio, as well as a horde of Nomads (aka Tarkatan warriors) protecting Goro. Along the way, Raiden describes the scenario and the backgrounds of the foes they are about to face for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the game.


Mortal Kombat (1995) | Paul W.S. Anderson



The debut episode of “To the 90s and Beyond” podcast!

In the film, there is a gathering of Earth’s top fighters every generation to compete for the fate of the planet to keep the evil forces from Outworld from gaining dominion.  It seems that if Outworld’s fighters defeat Earth in one more tournament, Earth will be theirs.  The current generation’s elite are rounded up, including monk fighter Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Hollywood action hero Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), and military operative Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson), to join forces with Earth’s defending thunder god Rayden (Christopher Lambert) in fighting to the death against the outlandish, deadly creatures from the planet of darkness, headed by the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Paul W.S. Anderson directs.


Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)



The much-demanded and long-awaited release of Zack Snyder’s vision for what was meant to be his 2017 film Justice League. As with the 2017 version, the story follows the events of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman is dead, leaving a vacuum as Earth’s protector. A hulking alien from the planet Apokolips named Steppenwolf comes to Earth to retrieve the three hidden Motherboxes, cubelike artifacts with mysterious, powerful energy, enough to destroy planets when combined. Batman can’t take on such a force alone, rounding up a team of superpowered beings from Earth to stop impending doom -the goddess-like Amazon Wonder Woman, the god-like Atlantean king Aquaman, the turbo-speed demon Flash, and the cybernetic wizard Cyborg. And yet, they will still need the power of Superman somehow.


The Hunt (2020) | Craig Zobel



The Hunt is a violent satire in which liberals kidnap and hunt down “deplorables”, aka Trump supporters. These deplorables wake up in an undisclosed rural area gagged online bloggers and internet trolls claimed to expose online as “Manorgate,” but are left with keys, tools, and weapons to potentially defend themselves and get free. The private jet-flying, caviar-consuming liberal elites hunting them down like giving them a sporting chance, though the odds are heavily stacked against them. However, one of the captives is able to give the hunters a run for their money.  Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Wayne Duvall, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee appear in this film written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Craig Zobel.


Bad Boys for Life (2020) | Adil and Bilall



In this third entry in the long-gestating franchise, Mike Lowery (Will Smith) gets gunned down by up-and-coming Miami crime kingpin Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio) who pops a few rounds into the cop at the direction of his ruthless mother Isabel (Kate del Castillo), getting revenge on all of those cops and lawyers who took down her drug-lord husband years before. Due to Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) making a pact with God to hang up the “bad boys” life if Mike pulls through, he refuses to join forces with his longtime partner on exacting revenge on Armando. To help supplement the cover, loose-cannon Mike teams up with the by-the-book ‘AMMO’ division of the force, a group of young guns with high-tech weapons. Of course, when tragedy strikes once again, Marcus gets off of his recliner for one more chance at the guts and glory of the “bad boys.”


Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) | Jeff Fowler



Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) flees homeworld due to possessing powers that make him a fugitive carrying a bad full of rings that are portals to new dimensions, is typical road-movie adventure comedy we’ve seen many times in a variety of forms. Sonic ends up teleporting to Earth, specifically the flyspeck town of Green Hills, Montana, where he encounters a sheriff so bored with the town’s lack of crims that he’s taken to having conversations with his donuts, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is hoping to not make another day a waste by waiting patiently to nail someone speeding. He gets it in Sonic, who clocks in at a speed that makes Tom question his radar gun. Tom dreams of doing some real crime-fighting, with a goal to move him and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his ever-supportive veterinarian wife, to San Francisco to join their more active police department. It turns out when Sonic loses all of his other rings through an open portal atop the city’s Transamerica Pyramid, he’ll have to tag along as well.

However, when Sonic’s energy burst ends up causing a massive power outage to the entire Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the government sends in a secret weapon, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), a mad, megalomaniacal genius with an army of sophisticated flying drones who tenaciously will find a way to exterminate the blue alien thing once and for all. Robotnik chases Tom and his new companion Sonic as they make their way to California.


Birds of Prey (2020) | Cathy Yan (aka “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey”)



The storyline picks up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) just following her dastardly dreamboat, The Joker, breaking up with her, with the spinout of their toxic relationship leaving her in shambles. An oft-unhinged club owner named Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), whose alter ego is another powerful villain in Gotham City known as Black Mask has secured a rare diamond worth so much that he could afford to up his protection racket operation to become the biggest crime kingpin in Gotham City. That diamond is stumbled onto and taken by a pickpocket extraordinaire named Cassandra Cain, who ends up swallowing it to avoid having to give it up when frisked by police, making her the most sought after person in the city, especially after Roman places a half-million-dollar bounty on her.

All of this leads to Harley forming a ramshackle team of women with grievances with Black Mask to finally put an end to his murderous ways. That team includes Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Punisher-type mafia princess-turned-vigilante who rides a motorcycle and shoots a crossbow – Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Leading the case for the Gotham City Police Department is Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, and newcomer Ella Jay Basco portrays Cassandra Cain. Cathy Yan directs.


1917 (2019) | Sam Mendes



1917 takes place in Northern France amid the Great War. Lance Corporals Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are two British soldiers commanded to carry orders from their General (Colin Firth) across No Man’s Land then behind German-occupied enemy lines. The mission-critical orders are for a battalion of 1600 British soldiers, including Blake’s brother, to stand down from their planned raid the next morning against the Germans who are setting them up for a massive ambush. Through trenches, decimated towns, and bombed-out structures, the duo traverses, cautiously but expeditiously, to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. Sam Mendes directs.


Ford v Ferrari (2019) – aka Le Mans ’66 | James Mangold



Most of the film surrounds the events leading up to France’s illustrious 24 Hours of Le Mans auto racing event, mostly glossing over Ford losses in 1964 and 1965 as roads poorly chosen. We start with Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), a former elite racecar driver, the first American driver to win at Le Mans, who retires into designing racecars and coaching the next generation of elite racers after finding out he has heart disease. Considered a maverick by his contemporaries, his services are sought when the Ford Motor Company, who are attempting to brand their vehicles to younger people who want style and sex appeal in the cars they buy, planned to acquire the financially struggling Ferrari in 1963. Those plans fall through spectacularly, leaving both sides feeling insulted. Ford wants to show Ferrari, and the world, that they are more than just a company that can mass produce family vehicles. Shelby sets about building what would come to be known as the Ford GT40 model, trying to maximize power and minimize weight and drag to be the fastest racer on Earth.

Christian Bale plays British racecar driver Ken Miles, sought by Shelby to help his test out his designs to give them a chance to come out on top in the grudge match between Ford and Ferrari. He’s skilled at what he does, but Henry Ford II wants him replaced by someone less of a loose cannon and willing to tow the Ford line to the media. Ken’s wife, Mollie (Caitriona Balfe), and his son, Peter (Noah Jupe), feel ambivalence about his quest to be the best. They want him to bring home the bacon, but they’re also afraid that he’ll be another casualty in the car racing arena who doesn’t get out of his car in time. Shelby must weigh his friendship and knowledge that Miles is the best shot to win with the needs of his funders, who are only in it to promote their brand. James Mangold directs.