Film Review – DANTE’S PEAK (1997)

DANTE’S PEAK (1997, USA, 108m, 12) ***
Action, Adventure, Thriller
dist. Universal Pictures (USA), United International Pictures (UIP) (UK); pr co. Universal Pictures / Pacific Western; d. Roger Donaldson; w. Leslie Bohem; pr. Gale Anne Hurd, Joseph Singer, Marliese Schneider; ph. Andrzej Bartkowiak (DeLuxe | 2.39:1); m. John Frizzell; ed. Conrad Buff IV, Tina Hirsch, Howard E. Smith; pd. J. Dennis Washington; ad. Francis J. Pezza, Thomas T. Taylor.
cast: Pierce Brosnan (Harry Dalton), Linda Hamilton (Rachel Wando), Jamie Renée Smith (Lauren Wando), Jeremy Foley (Graham Wando), Elizabeth Hoffman (Ruth), Charles Hallahan (Paul Dreyfus), Grant Heslov (Greg), Kirk Trutner (Terry Furlong), Arabella Field (Nancy), Tzi Ma (Stan), Brian Reddy (Les Worrell), Lee Garlington (Dr. Jane Fox), Bill Bolender (Sheriff Turner), Carole Androsky (Mary Kelly), Peter Jason (Norman Gates), Jeffrey L. Ward (Jack Collins), Tim Haldeman (Elliot Blair), Walker Brandt (Marianne), Hansford Rowe (Warren Cluster), Susie Spear Purcell (Karen Narlington (as Susie Spear)).
This effects-driven disaster movie sees Brosnan as a volcanologist who convinces Dante’s Peak town mayor (Hamilton) and the unbelieving populace that the big one is about to hit and they need to evacuate immediately. When Hamilton’s two children (Smith and Foley) go up the mountain to get their stubborn grandmother (Hoffman), Brosnan and Hamilton must rescue the kids and grandma before the volcano explodes in a shower of molten lava and ash. The visual effects work is excellent and the many scenes of chaos and destruction are well constructed. Alongside this, Brosnan and Hamilton make engaging leads whose relationship grows through the story. Once the eruption gets underway character development takes second place to the non-stop action. There are some weaknesses and an occasional lack of logic and plausibility in the mechanical script, but for those willing to go along for the ride there is still plenty to enjoy here.

Film Review – TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (2019)

Image result for terminator dark fate posterTERMINATOR: DARK FATE (USA/China, 2019) **
      Distributor: Paramount Pictures (USA), 20th Century Fox (UK); Production Company: Paramount Pictures / Twentieth Century Fox / Skydance Media / Lightstorm Entertainment; Release Date: 23 October 2019 (UK), 1 November 2019 (USA); Filming Dates: 29 May 2018 – 17 November 2018; Running Time: 128m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos | Dolby Digital; Film Format: D-Cinema; Film Process: ARRIRAW (4.5K) (source format), Cineovision (anamorphic) (source format), Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), J-D-C Scope (anamorphic) (source format), Master Scope (anamorphic) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15 – strong violence, bloody images, language.
      Director: Tim Miller; Writer: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray (based on a story by James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer and Justin Rhodes and characters created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd); Executive Producer: Edward Cheng, Bonnie Curtis, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, John J. Kelly, Julie Lynn; Producer: James Cameron, David Ellison; Director of Photography: Ken Seng; Music Composer: Junkie XL; Film Editor: Julian Clarke; Casting Director: Mindy Marin, Lucinda Syson; Production Designer: Sonja Klaus; Art Director: Lucienne Suren; Set Decorator: Mike Britton; Costumes: Ngila Dickson; Make-up: Dennis Liddiard, Brian Sipe, Bill Corso; Sound: Stephen Brown, Tim Gomillion, Tamás Bohács; Special Effects: Neil Corbould, Aaron Cox, Pau Costa; Visual Effects: Lisa Beroud, Thomas Boland, Lenka Likarova, Samantha Finkler Brainerd, Daniel Booty, David Fox, Matthew Dravitzki.
      Cast: Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor), Arnold Schwarzenegger (T-800 / Carl), Mackenzie Davis (Grace), Natalia Reyes (Dani Ramos), Gabriel Luna (Gabriel / REV-9), Diego Boneta (Diego Ramos), Ferran Fernández (Flacco), Tristán Ulloa (Felipe Gandal), Tomás Álvarez (Lucas / Floor Guard (as Tomy Alvarez)), Tom Hopper (William Hadrell), Alicia Borrachero (Alicia), Enrique Arce (Vicente), Manuel Pacific (Mateo), Fraser James (Major Dean), Pedro Rudolphi (Cholo), Diego Marínez (Cesar Mateo), Kevin Medina (Pepito), Steven Cree (Rigby), Matt Devere (US Border Riot & Locker Officer), Karen Gagnon (AFB Operator).
      Synopsis: Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.
      Comment: Pointless sixth and probably final entry in the TERMINATOR franchise basically rehashes elements from earlier series entries. It is the laziest of blockbusters where all the money goes to the technicians to polish the visuals and none to the script to polish the story. The plot is a hackneyed riff on the original story, but here lacking the wit and originality of that ground-breaking movie. Stilted dialogue and numerous action-movie clichés undermine the hefty action sequences, which ultimately dull the senses through their cartoon-like realisation and heavy reliance on CGI visual effects. The movie pretends to have a heart, but it comes across as contrived rather than organic from within the characters. Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor and delivers a one-note performance. Arnie has one or two funny lines but otherwise is handed over to the stuntmen and vfx technicians. Davis and Reyes try hard to inject some life into their characters but are given some truly awful dialogue to work with. A big disappointment that will only please those with an addiction to video game-like violence. Anyone looking for a modicum of intelligence would be better looking elsewhere or revisiting the original.