ORBzine - Bruce Willis Techno-Thrillers Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

10 Minutes Gone (2019)

10 Minutes Gone (2019) Rex (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ), a big-time Underworld putter-upper, hires Frank (Michael Chiklis - Parker ) and his gang to stage a bank robbery. The robbery ends in a double-cross, and Frank wakes up after ten minutes unconscious. He starts hunting down his surviving crew-members in order to find out who is responsible for the double-cross. The prime suspect is Griffin (Kyle Schmid - Blood Ties ).

This is your basic heist-gone-wrong movie, like The Getaway - the original version which inspired Reservoir Dogs, not the 1990s remake that came after it. The only improvement this effort has is the fact that Rex's top minion, Ivory ( Lydia Hull ), is a female assassin rather than a male one. That said, her job is identified as Cleaner - clearly a reference to La Femme Nikita .

Acts of Violence (2018)

Acts of Violence (2018) The protagonist, Declan McGregor (Cole Hauser - ), is a US military veteran struggling with PTSD. He blames his shrink for his inability to make progress. His youngest brother (Shawn Ashmore - X2 (2003) ) is about to get married, but the bride-to-be is abducted from her bachelorette party.

James Avery (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is a police detective who solves missing persons cases. He and his partner ( Sophia Bush ) take down human traffickers whose MO is straight from Taken . He is the stereotypical violent cop who creates a body count and is not held accountable.

Declan has a lot of military-grade equipment sitting around - enough to kit out himself and his two brothers. They take on the traffickers, in a murderous spree that escalates. Of course, the criminals retaliate against their family.

Assassin (2023)

Assassin (2023) When a Drone pilot is mysteriously incapacitated and put in a coma, his wife confronts his commanding officer (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ). She gets drafted into the unit as her husband's replacement. Instead of controlling a drone aircraft, she is given access to a technology for hijacking a target person's body. Yes, they have weaponised a tech that can do what the killer did in Red Mist AKA Freakdog .

The unit was assigned to take out an arms dealer (Dominic Purcell - John Doe ). The villain has reverse-engineered the unit's technology, and is now hunting them on their own terms. To take out everyone close to him, the protagonist hops into a diverse series of bodies. However, her main victim shares the same criteria as herself - a CIS heteronormative Black female.

This seems to stand out among the Geezer teaser subgenre. While most of them are built around the nominal star, Bruce Willis himself, this is actually a High Concept film that works regardless of the cast. Which is just as well, because other than Willis and Purcell it has a cast of unknowns.

Cold Light Of Day (2012)

Cold Light Of Day (2012) Will (Henry Cavill - Man of Steel ) goes to Spain to spend a few weeks on a yacht with his parents, Martin (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) and Laurie ( Caroline Goodall ). However, the family gets kidnapped. Will has to track them down and save them single-handedly.

It turns out that Martin was a secret agent working for the CIA. His boss, Carrack ( Sigourney Weaver ), offers to help save him. However, she has her own agenda. Luckily Will gets help from Lucia ( Veronica Echegui ) ... a beautiful young woman of his own age, who is unfortunately unsuitable as a love interest.

This has a generic film noir storyline, but it is shot in exotic locations in sunny Spain. Although it was made in the twenty-first century, well into the digital information age, the story is like something out of the 1970s. The mcguffin is an old-fashioned briefcase, not a modern-day flash-drive! The result is a low-key film with an uncertain tone, and it slipped into justified obscurity.

Cosmic Sin (2021)

Cosmic Sin (2021) A space expedition is attacked by aliens. The survivors are landed at a US military base, where security is overseen by a lowly sergeant (Lochlyn Munro - Freddy Vs Jason ). Predictably, it all goes badly wrong.

The General (Frank Grillo - Captain America: Winter Soldier ) sets up a team to deal with the alien menace. Xeno-biologist ( Perry Reeves ) is the first one recruited. A war criminal (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) gets brought in by a Military Policeman (Costas Mandylor - ). They all get sent off-world ...

The ship crash-lands, and the survivors spend a lot of time running around a forest. Willis may be the biggest name in the cast, but he certainly gets the least amount of screen time.

All in all, this is a pretty bad movie.

Deadlock (2021)

Deadlock (2021) A gang of trigger-happy plainclothes cops shoot their way into a house in the suburbs because they suspect it is being used to cook meth. One of the people killed by the cops is the son of a trigger-happy cop-killer named Ron Whitlock (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ).

Mack Karr (Patrick Muldoon - Vanquish ) is a hard-drinking engineer who works at the local power plant, a dam that generates hydro-electricity. The place is pretty high security, with ID checks at the front gate and a metal detector at the main door. Mack is a former US Army Ranger, so he has Top Secret clearance from the government.

With the help of some inside men, Ron and a gang of gun-toting thugs take over the power plant. Ironically, Ron used to be Head of Security there. Since it is the largest employer in the county, the cops' nearest and dearest work there. Luckily Mack evades the searchers, and starts wiping them out with ease.

This is basically a clone of Die Hard , with the ironic twist of putting Bruce Willis in the Hans Gruber role. Naturally, the copy falls far short of the original. That said, the script has a certain amount of humanity.

Extraction (2015)

Extraction (2015) Leonard Turner (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) and his partner Robertson (DB Sweeney - ) are the best Field Agents in the CIA. Unfortunately Leonard's cover is blown, and his wife is killed by enemies.

Decades later, Leonard gets pulled out of retirement. Unfortunately the mission goes wrong, with both Leonard and the McGuffin falling into hostile hands. Leonard's son Harry Turner (Kellan Lutz - ) has trained as an agent, and disobeys orders in order to locate his father. Unfortunately the CIA's best agent, Victoria ( Gina Carano ) is already on the case. To complicate things, she is Harry's ex-lover so it is inevitable that she becomes his love interest.

This is not a bad film, but it suffers from a low budget. The action scenes are shot close-up in low light, quickly edited together. In other words, the film's budget should have been spread out - allowing more time for good cinematography and fight choreography. Instead the budget mostly went to Bruce Willis, who provided his marketable name and a day or two of his time. The result is a cheap-looking movie that actually wastes a reasonably good script.

Fire With Fire (2012)

Fire With Fire (2012) Jeremy Coleman (Josh Duhammel - Transformers ) is a heroic firefighter. One day he sees David Hagan (Vincent D'Onofrio - Men in Black ) and his henchman Boyd (Vinny Jones - Swordfish ) comit multiple homicide. Luckily, Police Lieutenant Mile Cella (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is on the case.

Our hero is put into Witness Protection. He falls in love with his bodyguard, Deputy Talia Durham ( Rosario Dawson ). Unfortunately, Hagan has hired freelance sniper Robert (Julian McMahon - Charmed ) to kill the witness and the love interest.

Coleman goes after Hagan and his white supremacist gang. Luckily, Hagan wants a war with a Black gang - the East Side Crips. Lamar (Curtis Jackson - Escape Plan ) and Wallace (Quinton Rampage Jackson - The A-Team ) reluctantly help Coleman.

First Kill (2017)

First Kill (2017) A father (Hayden Christensen - Attack of the Clones ) and his young son accidentally witness a gangland killing. They try to get away, but the gangsters do not want to leave any witnesses.

The Sheriff (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) should help the hero in such circumstances. Unless, of course, he is actually working with the villains.

Christensen may have the lesser name and clout, but he has the largest part in the film. He is able to carry the film, and acquits himself much better than might be expected.

Marauders (2016)

Marauders (2016) A team of expert robbers performs a series of bank heists that leaves needless fatalities. The FBI team investigating it consists of Special Agent in Charge Montgomery (Christopher Meloni - Happy ), veteran Agent Stockwell (Dave Bautista - Spectre ) and rookie Agent Wells (Adrian Grenier - ). They are lumbered with local police detective Mims (Johnathon Schaech - ), who seems shifty and untrustworthy.

The banks targeted are all owned by Hubert (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ), a billionaire with ties to corrupt politicians. It seems the robbers have revenge on their agenda, rather than straight-up greed.

This is a tense crime thriller with a whodunnit element, but the revenge angle is a bit distracting. It muddles the thieves' motivations, as compared to a more straightforward heist movie like Heat (1995) .

Mercury Rising (1998)

Mercury Rising (1998) Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is an FBI agent who specialises in undercover work. His target, Edgar Halstrom (Richard Riehle - ), leads a militia group in South Dakota. Unfortunately FBI Supervisor Martley (John Doman - ) creates a Ruby Ridge type massacre, causing the deaths of at least one under-18 person which leaves Jeffries with a mistrust of authority figures.

A ten-year-old boy named Simon Lynch breaks the NSA's newest top-secret code. NSA nerd Leo Pedranski (Bodhi Elfman - Freedom (2000) ) tells his boss, NSA director Nicholas Kudrow (Alec Baldwin - ), who has his hit-man Shayes (Peter Stormare - Armageddon ) go after the boy. As a result, the boy's father (John Carroll Lynch - The Walking Dead ) is written out of the story.

Art, still traumatised by the death of the boy in the shootout, takes young Simon under his wing. However, since nobody trusts the disgraced agent's word he has to go on the run from the cops too. The only one he can trust is Tommy B. Jordan (Chi McBride - ), his FBI cow-orker and the movie's token black man. Art also recruits Stacey ( Kim Dickens ), a girl he met in a coffee shop. Yes, this is from the Twentieth Century - an era when female roles in stories were incidental.

This is a typical mediocre thriller of the era. What makes it stand out is just how of-its-time it is. The late Nineties had a lot of paranoia about the US Government, especially after the events in Waco, Texas. This undercurrent continued until 9/11. Remember, the movie Swordfish ended its run prematurely because of the destruction of the World Trade Centre. After that, the villain's motivations - the protection of US Intelligents assets worldwide - might seem a reasoable excuse to murder a handful of innocent civilians. After all, the Iranians later broke the CIA's communication system and shared the secret with the Russians and Chinese - thus causing global destabilisation in the following decades.

Paradise City (2022)

Paradise City (2022) Ian Swan (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is a world-class bounty hunter. He goes to Hawaii to catch a big case. Unfortunately he runs into a small army of gunmen.

Robbie (Stephen Dorff - Blade ) is Ian's former partner, reduced to low-value cases. He teams up with Ian's son in order to find the old man's killers.

Buck (John Travolta - Face/Off ), a corrupt millionaire, finances Thomas Kane (Branscombe Richmond - Tremors: The Series ) in a run for the US Senate.

Predictably, the big-name stars are somethng of a supporting cast. The younger generation take over the storyline. Luckily the best police detective in Hawaii is a babe who looks amazing in a bikini, and whose best informants are incredibly hot strippers.

Reprisal (2018)

Reprisal (2018) A bank manager (Frank Grillo - Captain America: Winter Soldier ) lives in a suburban mcmansion with a supermodel wife. The bad news is that they are living beyond their means. The good news is that the protagonist's workplace is robbed by a gun-toting armed robber (Jonathan Schaech - ). Normally this would be a bad thing, but this gives the protagonist the chance to track down the robber ... and then steal back some of the stolen cash. Not to return to the bank or the insurance company, of course, but to pay off his own debts. At least this Film Noir approach allows for a deeper character than the usual Die Hard clone would show.

Meanwhile, the protagonist's next-door neighbour (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is an Obi-Wan Kenobi type. As an aging combat veteran he is around to give lots of advice, but he may as well be a Force Ghost as he does not interact with other characters until the Third Act.

All in all, this film is better than it has any right to be. The Third Act seems to be an extended homage to Heat (1995) , with the villainous robber dressed like Tom Sizemore as this tries to replicate that film's iconic shoutout.

Survive The Night (2020)

Survive The Night (2020) A redneck thug starts a shootout for no reason, which ends up getting innocent people killed and the thug's brother wounded. Now they must find a doctor to treat the gunshot, without drawing the attention of law enforcement.

The doctor they choose is a surgeon from a local clinic. They follow him home to his Cabin in the Woods , where he lives with his estranged father (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ). Unfortunately, the two robbers would have been better off in Texas Chainsaw Massacre . Although the thug is reprehensible, it is his partner - the decent one - who is made to suffer the most.

Tears of the Sun (2003)

Tears of the Sun (2003) Bruce Willis ( Die Hard ) commands a team of US Navy Seals, including Eamonn Walker (Oz) and Nick Chinlund ( Chronicles of Riddick ). It was meant to include the New Zealand actor Kevin Smith ( Xena: Warrior Princess ), who unfortunately passed away just before filming.

The Seals are sent to Africa, where there has been a coup by rebels. The Seals' mission is to evacuate some European citizens, including a photogenic female doctor ( Monica Bellucci ). Of course, the doctor's mission is to protect her patients. As a result, the Seals end up escorting a group of patients through the jungle.

The rebel forces are in hot pursuit. Their commander (Peter Mensah - Spartacus: Blood and Sand ) knows what he is doing, although his team rely on weight of numbers instead of actual skills.

Director Antoine Fuqua delivers a mediocre effort. There is brutal violence, but it is not an anti-war movie. Nor is it an action movie. There is no romance between the two leads, and relatively little cameraderie between the Seals. There is no hero's journey, and nobody really learns anything or develops in any way. All in all, it is something of a shaggy dog story.

  • Behind Enemy Lines
  • Trauma Center (2021)

    Trauma Center (2021) Police Lieutenant Steve Wakes (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ) is investigating serious crimes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, what he does not know is that the crooks he is hunting are actually a couple of corrupt cops in his own department. They are a few steps ahead of him, killing his snitch and setting an ambush for his partner.

    Madison Taylor ( Nicky Whelan ) is working as a waitress in San Juan so her teenage sister can get medical care from Doctor Jones (Steve Guttenberg - Short Circuit ). She has the cheekbones of a professional model and the haircut of a military veteran (or a lipstick lesbian). Since she is the only witness to the villains ambushing Wakes' partner, she is now their main target.

    The main setup for the story is simple. The Final Girl is isolated by the very things that are meant to protect her. Since she is on an empty floor of the hospital, there are no bystanders to help her. And since the villains are corrupt cops, they can use their police privileges to turn everyone else against her. The only one she can trust for help is Wakes, since he is the biggest name star in the movie. However, he is in the minimum number of scenes so it is up to Madison to save the day herself.

    Vendetta (2022)

    Vendetta (2022) Bruce Willis was the murderous vigilante in Death Wish (2018) , but now he is the killer's target. Here he is the godfather of organised crime in a small American city. He delegates most of the gangsterism to his eldest son, Theo Rossi ( ), who leads a classic 1980s-style mixed-race street-gang.

    One night Theo takes his younger brother out to make his bones. This is a classic stereotypical street-gang initiation, where they kill a random stranger instead of an actual enemy. Unfortunately, this particular rando is the teenage daughter of Clive Standish ( Vikings ), an ex-Marine who is looking for an excuse to go kill-crazy.

    As the one-man war hots up, the ex-Marine has to team up with rival gangsters. Specifically, a gun dealer (Thomas Jane - Deep Blue Sea ) who works with chop-shop owner Mike Tyson ( ).

    White Elephant (2022)

    White Elephant (2022) Glen Follett (John Malkovich - R.E.D. (2010) ), middle-man for crime boss Arnold Solomon (Bruce Willis - Die Hard ), hires Gabriel Tancredi (Michael Rooker - Guardians Of The Galaxy ) and his protege Carlo Garcia to assassinate some rival gangsters. Unfortunately police detective Vanessa Flynn ( Olga Kurylenko ) is staking out one of the rivals, and witnesses the assassin making his escape. As a result, the killers come after her so she cannot identify them.

    Predictably, Willis' role is kept to a minimum. This is not a bad thing, because the actual leads are competent in their own right. Kurylenko may have the face and body of a supermodel, but she has a few action heroine roles in the Girls Kick Ass! category. Meanwhile, Rooker has played tough guys for decades and is very convincing at kicking ass himself.

    Die Hard Franchise

    Die Hard (1988)

    Die Hard (1988) John McTiernan , veteran director of action movies like Predator , delivered this effort which not only spawned four sequels but also changed the nature of the action movie genre itself.

    A NYPD police officer named John Maclane (Bruce Willis - Fifth Element ) flies into Los Angeles to see his ex-wife, Holly Gennero ( Bonnie Bedlia ). He visits her office at Nakatomi Tower, where the company's Xmas party is underway. Unfortunately, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman - Harry Potter Franchise ) and his dirty dozen gun-toting terrorists take over the building. Maclane must single-handedly defeat the villains and save the day.

    This is based on a book, Nothing Lasts Forever, and was originally intended to star Frank Sinatra. As with Dirty Harry, Sinatra declined the opportunity and let someone else take a career-defining role. Schwartzenegger was also considered, making this film a direct sequel to Commando . However, luckily this did not take place.

    Maclane is not a one-man army like Rambo, the archetypical 1980s action hero. Instead he a blue-collar everyman. While he has a police-issue handgun, the villains have sub-machineguns. This is another break with tradition. Most villains in action thrillers only carried civilian hand-guns, but in Die Hard the bad guys carry military-grade fully-automatic weapons. The next big switch would be in the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies , which features villains in SWAT-style body armour for the first time.

    The one-man-against-hijackers storyline is not entirely original. Alistair MacLean wrote The Golden Rendezvous in the 1960s, but the earliest example of this sub-genre is probably a 1940s film noir called Quiet Please, Murder, which featured a private detective in a library that had been taken over by gangsters.

    The film is a masterpiece on many levels. Each role, no matter how small, has the perfect cast member. There are even a couple of villains from the Bond movies. FBI Agent Johnson is Robert Davi ( Licence to Kill ), and one of Rickman's team is the assassin from The Living Daylights .

    Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

    Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) It is Xmas Eve, and John MacLane (Bruce Willis - The Fifth Element ) is at Dulles Airport in Washington DC to pick up his wife. Unfortunately it is not his day. His wife's flight is delayed, and his car is towed by the local cops. Worse, there are gun-toting bad guys running around the airport.

    The villain of the piece is Colonel Stuart (William Sadler - Roswell ). He is a parody of Colonel Oliver North, here portrayed as a mercenary hired to save a General Noriega figure (Franco Nero - Django Unchained ) who is being extradited to the USA. Strangely the extradition plane will arrive at the civilian airport, rather than at a military Air Force Base, but that is the least of the film's flaws.

    Stuart and his men seize control of the airport's control systems. It all seems quite ridiculous today, in the post-9/11 era. However, the story is set a decade earlier when it was almost believable that security would be more lax.

    There are a few familiar faces in the supporting cast. A very young-looking Robert Patrick ( Terminator 2 ) gets a line of dialogue and a death-scene in a shoot-out. Yes, this is the film that established him as a rent-a-villain before he got to take on Schwartzenegger. Later, Colm Meaney ( Under Siege ) attempts an English accent as the pilot of a passenger jet.

    Denis Franz ( Psycho 2 ) is the airport's chief of police, and has an adversarial relationship with MacLane. This is necessary to maintain the situation of MacLane being a one-man army, with minimal assistance from the authorities. MacLane is pushed even further out of the loop when a US Army Special Forces Unit, Blue Light, arrives to deal with the terrorist threat.

    There is a sub-plot about journalists being bad people. Thornburg (William Atherton - Ghostbusters (1984) ) is on the same airplane as Holly Genero, even though he still has a restraining order against her for punching out two of his teeth at the end of the first film. The stewardesses are resentful of him because he made a TV documentary highlighting unsafe practises in the airline industry. Meanwhile, MacLane resents a nosy lady journalist in the airport although he is more than happy to accept her assistance when it suits him.

    The dialogue actually lampshades the unbelievable coincidence of the same thing happening to the same guy twice. However, this is just not as good as the first one. We never really feel that MacLane is in any jeopardy. In the original film, John McTiernan made MacLane into an everyman character. This time round, Renny Harlin turns MacLane into an unstopable one-man army who can easily defeat a team of Special Forces soldiers.

    Die Hard 3 (1995)

    Die Hard 3 (1995) Simon (Jeremy Irons - Dungeons And Dragons (1999) ) uses a series of bombs to hold New York City to ransom. He starts to play a game of Simon Says over the phone with the police. This involves humiliating John MacLane (Bruce Willis - Fifth Element (1998) ), who has quit the LAPD and returned to his old job in the NYPD.

    Zeke Carver (Samuel L Jackson - Avengers Assemble ) is a storekeeper in Harlem, who helps out local kid Aldis Hodge (Leverage). He gets roped into helping MacLane, rather than see his neighbourhood destroyed by the bombings. The NYPD team has even more diversity, in the form of detectives Graham Greene ( ) and Colleen Camp .

    MacLane and Zeke drive around the city, accepting clues from Simon over the phone and trying to defuse the bombs before they explode. This is from the last decade that a 1970s-style urban thriller like this could work. When the heroes need to contact the police in an emergency, they need to find a rich man with a car-phone.

    It turns out that Simon has a small army of henchmen, and a secret plan that involves aheist. Luckily for our heroes the villains have an unnecessarily convoluted escape route. It turns out that a lot of things have been dumbed down to make the story smoother. Also, MacLane is a mad-dog killer who shoots first and does not even try to arrest suspects.

    Die Hard 4.0 AKA Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

    Die Hard 4.0 AKA Live Free or Die Hard (2007) John MacLane (Bruce Willis - Fifth Element ) is still in the NYPD, but has nothing better to do than hang around a college campus stalking - I mean, protecting - his daughter Lucy ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead ). Then he gets a call, to go and arrest computer hacker Justin Long ( Galaxy Quest, Jeepers Creepers ) ...

    Super-hacker Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant - Hitman ) does not limit himself to a building, an airport or even a city. He has decided to shut down the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. His girlfriend ( Maggie Q ) is also an ass-kicking assassin, which is lucky for him since he can get her to kill potential threats without having to pay her the going rate.

    Kevin Smith tries his hand at proper acting. Let's just say he was better as Silent Bob!

  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  • Die Hard 3
  • Die Hard 5: A Good Day To Die Hard (2013)

    Die Hard 5 (2013) John MacLane (Bruce Willis - Fifth Element ) gets a lift to the airport with his daughter Lucy ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead ). This could have been the start of a great movie, with a kick-ass female leading the next generation of the the Die Hard Die-Nasty. Will they board a plane to Germany to face Hans Gruber's relatives?

    Unfortunately, Lucy stays home while daddy goes to Moscow alone. He must collect his wayward son (Jai Courtney - Spartacus: Blood and Sand ). Yes, the next generation of MacLanes is just an inferior copy of the original. This makes Courtney the new Sam Worthington. Remember how, a couple of years before this film, Worthington was the Australian who starred in remakes of classics like Clash of the Titans , franchise films like Terminator Salvation and blockbusters like Avatar ? Well, his fellow Australian Courtney has filled his niche with franchise films like Divergent, Terminator: Genesys, Suicide Squad .

  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  • Die Hard 3
  • Die Hard 4.0 AKA Live Free or Die Hard
  • R.E.D. Franchise

    R.E.D. (2010)

    R.E.D. (2010) Bruce Willis ( GI Joe: Retaliation ) has taken early retirement from the CIA. He spends all day talking on the phone to helpdesk lady Mary Parker .

    Willis is attacked by trigger-happy goons who do not understand the concept of tactics. He himself does not believe in taking prisoners, so he has nobody to interrogate and thus no leads to investigate. Instead he gets together his old team from the Cold War days. This includes his old partner (John Malkovich - White Elephant (2022) ) and MI6 hit-person Helen Mirren . Even their arch-enemy, Ivan the KGB Agent (Brian Cox - Manhunter ) is on their side now!

    They take on the entire US Military-Industrial Complex, from their former CIA handler (Richard Dreyfus - Close Encounters of the Third Kind ) to the Vice President of the USA (Julian McMahon - Fantastic Four ). Karl Urban ( Judge Dredd ) is the CIA assassin called in to clean up the mess. The result is a lot of shootouts that owe a lot more to the story's comic-book origins than to any real-world laws of physics!

    R.E.D. 2 (2013)

    R.E.D. 2 (2013) Bruce Willis ( GI Joe: Retaliation ) and Mary Parker are living happily ever after in suburban bliss. John Malkovich ( White Elephant (2022) ) drops by to warn them, in his own inimitable way, that a wikileaks document has linked them to a CIA Black Op from 1968. Somehow this was only THIRTY-two years ago, so something is off with the timescale.

    CIA goon Neal McDonagh ( Arrow: Season 4 ) leads a hit-squad after the good guys. He even hires a world-class Korean assassin to hunt them down. Worse, MI6 send their best hit-person ( Helen Mirren ).

    Luckily, our heroes have a few allies, even if they do have dubious loyalties. These include a femme fatale ( Catherine Zeta Jones ), Ivan the KGB Agent (Brian Cox - Manhunter ) and a mad scientist (Anthony Hopkins - Hannibal ). Yes, the two actors who played Hannibal Lector in the movies have a scene together.

    The McGuffin is a red mercury nuke with a one-megaton yield. Strangely it does not obey the laws of physics - for example, an airburst would normally enhance the destructive power of an explosion, but here it seems to negate it. Also, a major atomic explosion near a major metropolitan area would normally result in a lot of nuclear fallout, but this does not appear to be a problem here.

    Nobody (2021)

    Nobody (2021) The protagonist, Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk - Better Call Saul ) is stuck in a boring middle-class life with a beautiful wife ( Connie Nielsen ) and a depressing 9-to-5 job. In fact, the wife is the successful one in the family - following in the footsteps of her father (Michael Ironside - Total Recall (1990) ). Things take a turn for the worse when the family home is scene of a home-invasion burglary.

    Hutch goes out looking for trouble, and ends up in the most pointless fight on a city-bus since The Specialist . Unfortunately one of the thugs that Hutch hospitalises is the younger brother of the head of the local Russian Mafia.

    Our hero and his father (Christopher Lloyd - Back to the Future ) face off against an army of Russian mobsters.

    Hitman Franchise

    Hitman (2007)

    Hitman (2007) We get an expositionary intro stolen from the pilot episode of Dark Angel , as the baldy barcoded children escape from their school. . Basically, this is about super-assassins who can somehow blend in anywhere on earth, despite being bald-headed Caucasian men with barcodes tattooed on their heads. Seriously.

    The protagonist, Number 47 (Timothy Olyphant - The Crazies Die hard 4.0 ) must have been caught, because when he grows up he is a Hitman working for a secret Agency. He kills a Russian politician, gets hunted by the Head of local police (T-Bag from Heroes ), and then gets told he must kill a witness. Naturally the plot takes a couple of twists from there, and the Hitman must go on the run.

    He takes along the witness ( Olga Kurlenko ), a friendly Russian hooker who keeps our hero company and becomes his cliched love interest. Despite being a black-clad baldie with a barcode on his head and Interpol cops after him, he manages to remain remarkably inconspicuous.

    He goes on the offensive, and tracks down Desmond from Lost - the Russian President's wayward brother, an illegal arms dealer who becomes the Hitman's target.

    There are some great action scenes, but it is nothing we have not seen in John Woo films over the years.

  • Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
  • Hitman: Redemption AKA Asher (2018)
  • Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

    Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) Agent 47 is back, although he now looks like Rupert Friend. His backstory has been rewritten, and the hitmen were now created by the Soviets rather than the Americans. His mission this time is to locate his progenitor (Ciaran Hinds - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life ) before the Syndicate can use his knowledge and re-start their super-soldier program.

    Agent 47's first target is a young woman who is believed to be able to find the progenitor. However, a helpful fellow tries to protect the woman. The bad news is, he is Syler from Heroes .

    This is a low-budget straight-to-video effort. Well, the original film was not exactly big-budget either, but this has a cast of virtual unknowns. However, the small budget is well-spent on flashy visuals such as shoot-outs. Not exactly John Woo stuff, but the film-makers knew what their target audience wanted.

  • Hitman
  • Hitman: Redemption AKA Asher (2018)
  • Hitman: Redemption AKA Asher (2018)

    Hitman: Redemption (2018) This was directed by Michael Caton Jones , not some flashy action director, so you can expect characterisation and drama instead of gratuitous explosions. It might be shelved with the other movies in the Hitman series, but the killer is not a bald-headed superman with a barcode on the back of his neck. Instead, he relies on brains rather than CGI-enhanced acrobatics.

    The title character, Ashur (Ron Perlman - Season of the Witch ), is a former Mossad assassin who now freelances for the Jewish mob in Brooklyn, New York City. The godfather (Richard Dreyfus - Jaws (1975) ) gives him a special mission. A new gang has started moving in on the mob's territory, and someone has to make an example out of them. Ashur has to complete three kills in order to complete the contract.

    The hitman is past his best, and he knows it. He has a close brush with death - not at the hands of an enemy gunman, but due to a heart attack brought on by climbing too many staircases. Luckily this brings him into contact with a potential love interest - Famke Janssen . A pity that she is now the love interest of older men, instead of being the ass-kicking Xenia Onnatop she was back in Goldeneye (1995) .

    As a drama, the external conflict is somewhat limited. While the gangsters are in the background of the story, the main focus is on the protagonist's human side. In other words, it is all relatively slow-moving.

    Like all the best fictional hitmen, Asher prefers to work buy himself. However, he gets a good offer to team up with Peter Facinelli ( Hollow Man 2 ), and goes along to check out the mission.

  • Hitman
  • Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)