TL;DR – A one-dimensional film that gives the narrative nowhere to hide, thus revealing its flaws at every stage.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this video.
Interceptor Review –
There are some films that you know were filmed in Australia without checking. It can be the supporting cast being filled with characters actors you have grown up with, or it could just be the specific energy the film gives off. Today, we look at just such a film, also one that might just have a significantly higher opinion on the ability to shoot down nuclear weapons than what is born out in reality.
So to set the scene, we open with a military base under attack, a substantial military base because Fort Greely in Alaska is one of only two places where America can launch interceptors to shoot down nuclear weapon attacks from Russia. On the only other INTERCEPTOR base, the floating SBX-1, Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) is returning after a battle with the US Brass around sexual assault, which is when they discover that first that Greely has gone dark and then that Tavlinka, a nuclear facility in Russia, has been attacked and terrorists have stolen 16 nuclear weapons. Those weapons are now aimed at America, looking to take out 16 major cities like Los Angeles and Boston. JJ and the base commander Colonel Marshal (Rhys Muldoon), began preparations to lock down the base when they discovered the hard way they had been infiltrated by the terrorist as well. Now JJ has to fight for her life to stop America from being attacked.
TL;DR – Still a triumph, even if parts of it have not aged well in the years since.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ streaming service that viewed this film
Top Gun Review –
Top Gun is one of those films that, even though it came out when I was young, I did see it thanks to it being on a constant rotation on local TV. However, as the new film was about to come out, I had to think about what did I remember from the film, and the answer was not that much. Sure there was the “I Feel The Need… The Need For Speed!”, the charged volleyball scene, the copious amount of Danger Zone, and the somewhat infamous way the US Military shaped the narrative and used it for promotion. Well, there is no better time like the present to dive back in and relive a classic.
So to set the scene, on March 3, 1969, the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Today it is called the Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN. Over the seas, based off the USS Enterprise, pilot LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) and Radar LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) flying an F-14A Tomcat ping an unknown target and got to intercept. They think it was just one target, but it is a pair of MiG-28s. After some ‘fun’, they get the planes to disengage. But their wingman LT Bill “Cougar” Cortell (John Stockwell) freezes and is only saved by Maverick talking him down to a landing. It was a stupid stunt given how much fuel they had left, but it saved the day and booked them a ticket to TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Miramar.
TL;DR – A look at the side of WW2 that does not get shown often, which is full of moments that overwhelm you but also full of awkwardness.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
If there is one conflict that has been extensively explored on screen, it is World War Two. Indeed in 2017, we got three different films that explored Dunkirk. Even with all of this coverage, there are still aspects of WWII that have not received the same attention. One of those aspects is the Chinese front which is where our film is set. It started years before the main war and went on to the very end, but we don’t explore it nearly enough. Well, today we look at a film that is trying to change this, and a film backed by the juggernauts of Tencent and Alibaba.
So to set the scene, we open with the collapse of the front lines of the National Revolutionary Army during The Battle of Shanghai. With the Imperial Japanese Army taking the outskirt town of Dachang the city has been lost. However, there is still hope in the retreat. The Revolutionary Army decides to leave a small contingent of troops behind at Sihang Warehouse led by Colonel Xie Jinyuan (Du Chun). They aim to stall the Imperial Army long enough to allow for the retreat of the rest of the army. The second aim is to be an example to the Western powers that have not yet picked a side. This is because the Warehouse is situated right next to the International Settlement in Shanghai, so for one brief moment, the whole world is focused on them. Now because this is a film based on a real event, we will be discussing parts of the plot in a little more depth than we usually would, so please be careful as there may be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – A powerful and deeply compelling film that explores a key moment in Australia’s military history and the cost it took.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a credit sequence and a mid-credit scene
Australia has a long history of making truly excellent war films. From works
such as the pivotal Gallipoli to Beneath Hill 60 to The Rats of Tobruk and many more. So walking in I knew that there
was a level of quality that was going to be there no matter what. However, for
me, I can either be drawn in fully to war film or I can bounce off it like Andy
Dwyer off an ambulance, so there was still a little hesitation. But I should
not have been concerned because this is some of the best of Australian cinema
at the moment.
So to set the scene, it is 1966 and it is the height of the Vietnam War, a Cold
War proxy conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union played out in the
context of a civil war between North and South Vietnam. The 1st
Australian Task Force headed by Brigadier David Jackson (Richard Roxburgh) is
set up in Nui Dat where they send patrols out into the local countryside. One
night the camp is attacked by mortars and while the Royal Regiment of New
Zealand Artillery were able to target them, the 1st Field Regiment, need to
follow up the next day to find the source. Alpha Company didn’t find much, so
part in punishment Harry Smith’s (Travis Fimmel) Delta Company was sent out to
chase them down while a musical performance was happening back at camp. All was
going well until at the rubber plantation at Long Tan the 11th
Platoon of D Company came under heavy fire and it is soon discovered that this
is not just a raiding party but a full battalion of the North Vietnamese Army
heading their way, 100 men against and advance of 2000 and a monsoon is just
about to hit.