The Lamb’s April 2020 MOTM (Franchise Special) – My Rankings


As a frequent and steady contributor to The Large Ass Movie Blog, (The LAMB), I always try to get more people involved with the site.

Every Month, the site runs a poll based on the list of films submitted by LAMB members for the prestigious ability of being named as the Movie of the Month that will be discussed on the LAMBCAST podcast during that given month.

I decided that each month I will watch each of the films chosen and give my rankings of those films in order to decide which film I should vote for and in doing so, maybe help some of you also decide which film to vote for.

The voting is open until Sunday the 22nd of Mar, so make sure to get your vote in soon.

This month, there were 9 Contenders suggested so here they are:

  • Crocodile Dundee (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) [Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report]
  • The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), The Mummy (2017) [Erin Vail, Rated M For MacPhail]
  • X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) [Thomas Stoneham-Judge, For Reel Movie News and Reviews]
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005) [Elwood Jones, From the Depths of DVD Hell]
  • Hellboy (2004), Hellboy: The Golden Army (2008), Hellboy (2019) [Bubbawheat, Flights, Tights & Movie Nights]
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels and Demons (2009), Inferno (2016) [Rebecca Sharp, Almost Ginger]
  • Cars (2006), Cars 2 (2011), Cars 3 (2017) [Chris Staron, The Popcorn Auteur]
  • Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), Rise of the Footsoldier: Part 2 (2013), Rise of the Footsoldier 3 (2017), Rise of the Footsoldier: The Spanish Heist (2019) [Will Slater, Exploding Helicopter]
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) [Nikhat Zarha, Across the Universe]

 

Here are my rankings along with brief thoughts on each film franchise (click on the film title if you want to read my full review)

9.  Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) – Interesting premise that doesn’t work as well as one might hope due to the fact that it fails to stay grounded and ends up all over the place. This is a mediocre Goodfellas (1990) that fails to be as powerful even if it’s entertaining. The characters are all based on real people yet things seem a bit too much like caricatures and stereotypes throughout. The film tries to show how chaotic and disruptive this kind of lifestyle can be and that they manage to definitely relay to the audience without a problem. The cast is good, but none of them clearly stick out among the others because there are too many over the top performances here. (5/10)
Rise of the Footsoldier: Part 2 (2015) –
Another terrible addition to this series because it makes so little sense. They try to hard to try and emulate some of the great mafia films and stories yet fail completely along the way. The characters all feel like caricature and there is no reason to care about what will happen to any of them along the way because no one is presented in a favorable way that we could root for them. The story may be based somewhat on truth, yet things are so absurd throughout and they never find a way to make this story interesting in any way. (2/10)
Rise of the Footsoldier 3 (2017) –
Yet another terrible film in this series. The story is excessively violent and graphic and makes so little sense. It seems as if this was made just to find a way to highlight the graphic nature of how far they can go. None of the characters (including the lead) are developed beyond being a stereotypical sociopath who will do anything to get ahead. The film serves as a prequel to the original film in the series and is in some ways satisfying because you know what eventually happens to this crazy character. I can understand how this series could get a cult following but that in no way means that this is any good. In fact, it’s so horrendous that it’s laughable throughout. (2/10)
Rise of the Footsoldier: The Spanish Heist (2019) –
And the hits keep coming… Another horrendous film in this series that fails to make any sense. This series gets worse and worse as it moves along because it seems as if they are just trying to find reasons to keep making these really shallow and boring crime stories that have no merit what so ever. None of these characters are developed in any real fashion and things seem as if they chose to film them solely for the shock and awe of it all because this film is quite violent and graphic in the way that it depicts the Essex underworld. I think that they ran out of real ideas three films ago and probably should have stayed with the original film instead of grasping for straws in an attempt to create tangent stories that take place after, before or even during the events of that first film. Really hope they stop making these. (2/10)

8. Crocodile Dundee (1986) –Interesting ‘fish out of water’ story that worked much better when it came out over 30 years ago than it does now due to its unique approach to things. Hogan is great as the title character but it has been so overused over the past 3 decades, it’s hard to still see the film as it was seen back then. The innovation of this film is slightly hurt by the fact that the jokes and situations all feel very superficial and in some cases quite stereotypical. The chemistry between Hogan and Kozlowski fades in and out over the course of the story yet strangely works due to the way that the ‘fish out of water’ aspect of the film is presented. (6/10)
Crocodile Dundee II (1988) – Typical sequel that manages to bring back the characters we love to watch yet doesn’t have a very good plot that is engaging or enjoyable enough on its own. Hogan and Kozlowski both return here and once again, their strained chemistry hurts this film more than helps it. The plot itself isn’t very interesting and is far from unique especially when there were so many films made at that time dealing with this kind of premise. The jokes aren’t very funny and they seem to have stretched this kind of fish out of water story far beyond its limits which is a shame since it hurts the legacy of the original. (5/10)
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001) –
Terrible end of this trilogy that should have remained a single stand alone film. This film drags things down so far especially when it tries to make a mockery of the Hollywood establishment when it comes to movie making. Hogan is horrendous in this film and it’s easy to see how his fame from 15 years earlier ruined his charm that was quite apparent in the original film. The plot is quite strained and lacks anything interesting at all and the jokes all fall completely flat. The gimmick to add a young Crocodile Dundee doesn’t work at all. Complete waste of time. (3/10)

7. Cars (2006) –The animation is amazing, but the story itself is far from being among Pixar’s best. The voice cast is superb as always with Newman being the best of the lot. The message of the film is quite good and especially in this day and age, it’s quite important to slow down and take a look at what goes on around us. My biggest problem with this film is the fact that it’s a bit creepy thinking about a world populated by talking cars. (7/10) 
Cars 2 (2011) –
Interesting idea that just doesn’t work as well as I would have hoped. The best thing about this film is the innocent idiocy of Mater. The story feels too unoriginal and many of the reveals are too predictable. Deviates too far from the original concept and just isn’t as interesting. (6/10)
Cars 3 (2017) –
Once again, they have taken a popular theme from lots of films and adapted it to the world of talking and living vehicles. It is hard to take this story seriously because it comes across as being more humorous than it should since one would expect such a storyline to be more heartwarming. The added use of lots of scenes with Newman’s character (see trivia below) helps make this film worth watching at least once. (5/10)

6. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) –Interesting thriller that works much better than one would expect. The character is developed quite well and they establish what kind of life he needs despite his disability. The story moves along in a nice way and allows us to get a complete understand as to why the characters each do what they do. The way that things are in constant change helps make this even more enjoyable especially since there are some nice surprises along the way. The movie is a bit brutal, but I liked the way that the brutality worked within the story and didn’t feel excessive or gratuitous in any way. This is such a great revenge film because it doesn’t suffice to focus just on the revenge of one character because the idea is always in motion throughout. (8/10)
Oldboy (2003) –
Had too high expectations for this film. Since I have seen the Hollywood remake, there were no real surprises as to what will happen and that takes away from the impact that this story can have when one sees it for the first time. The violence is very cartoonish despite looking cool. Unfortunately, the story isn’t as effective as it might have been which was pretty disappointing for me. (6/10)
Lady Vengeance (2005) –
Probably the weakest of the Vengeance trilogy IMHO. The story moves at a slow pace and it takes too long to get to where it wants to go. The story and plot are a bit convoluted and the fact that parts get a bit too confusing doesn’t help make it any more engaging. The action scenes are done well and that is probably the most memorable aspect of the movie. The characters aren’t developed well enough and they try too hard to keep things intriguing and opposite is the end result. (5/10)

5. The Da Vinci Code (2006) –The original 2.5 hour version is a disappointment, but the 3 hour extended cut makes the movie seem more complete and is closer to the vision of the book. Hanks needs to definitely do something about the hair, quite distracting. (5/10)
Angels and Demons (2009) –
Adequate adaptation that could have been better, but still maintains much of the thrills and mystery of the book. Hanks does a better and more believable job as Langdon here, showing he is more comfortable with the part. (8/10)
Inferno (2016) –
Hanks once again slips into this character really well and allows us to enjoy this mystery along with his character. The plot is done quite well and deals with some great issues that are quite relevant to the world we live in. The story has some nice twists and turns along the way that help make it even more intriguing to follow as both the viewer and Langdon attempt to connect the dots. The supporting cast is also great and Jones obviously stands out as Langdon’s typical female helper. (8/10)

4. Hellboy (2004) –Great adaptation of this comic book character and the world he is part of. Perlman is superb in the title role and helps bring this character to life, quirks and all. The special effects are done really well and help make this doppelganger Earth feel so realistic and plausible throughout. The characters are developed well so that we are able to get a clear picture of who they are and what they want to do here. Del Toro is a masterful storyteller and is able to do wonders with this story by making things so suspenseful and thrilling the whole way through. Clearly the best film in the series. (8/10)
Hellboy: The Golden Army (2008) –
Interesting way to continue the story of these characters. Del Toro once again does things so well and he makes these characters so enjoyable to watch. The story in this film is a bit weaker than the previous one and that hurts things slightly. Perlman is back as Hellboy and once again shows how much he was born to play this role. The special effects are great and allow for the story to feel a bit more realistic along the way. They do a fine job adding to the backstory that we already know about these characters, but the story has too many lulls along the way and doesn’t manage to keep things engaging throughout which is a shame, but still manages to stay entertaining enough. (7/10)
Hellboy (2019) –
Interesting addition to the series but it doesn’t work as well as the previous two did. Part of that has to do with the fact that as good an actor as David Harbour is, he truly isn’t Ron Perlman who made the character so iconic. In addition, this film doesn’t have the visionary leader like Guillermo Del Toro at the helm which also leads to the story showing too many cracks along the way. The special effects works well in enhancing the mediocre story a bit but overall this film just doesn’t work well enough to remain engaging and enjoyable throughout. (5/10)

3. The Mummy (1999) –Quite a fun film especially since it takes so many cues from the Indiana Jones series. Fraser isn’t an actor that I would have suspected could lead a film like this, but he does it so well that they even brought him back to do it again. His chemistry with Weisz is great and we get heroes that we want to root for. Hannah is great as comic relief with Vosloo commanding as the villain even with the added enhancements and use of special effects. The effects work so well across the board to make this film feel and look very realistic. The 30’s serial look and feel also works really well as it helps keep the suspense engaging the entire time. (7/10)
The Mummy Returns (2001) –
Really fun Indian Jones ripoff that works so well largely due to the great chemistry between Fraser and Weisz. The story picks up a few years after the previous film and allows for these characters to continue their story in a really enjoyable way. The addition of their son adds so much to the story because he is a great character who is interesting to watch as the story develops. The special effects are great and allow things to look really cool as the story unfolds. The film tries too hard to add comic relief to things and that actually takes away from the kind of impact a story like this should have. (7/10)
The Scorpion King (2002) –
Terrible film that is so boring and uninteresting. Having The Rock and Michael Clarke Duncan in it should theoretically make it more enjoyable, but besides the various fight scenes, this film has absolutely nothing to offer. Even the addition of Kelly Hu doesn’t manage to make this any more enjoyable and the plot seems completely bloated the entire time. The character of The Scorpion King, might have been an interesting one as a side character, but as the lead, he’s a completely dud. (3/10)
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) –
Fun continuation of the adventures of this family that works quite well. The choice to change the venue and kind of mummy actually helps keep things feeling more fresh and original instead of as a retread of what has been previously done. Great seeing Fraser back in the lead and Bello is a nice substitute for Weisz. The special effects are amazingly done and help enhance the story and the thrills as things move along. Li once again gets to show his amazing martial arts abilities here and we get some great fight scenes to watch. The choice to leave this series as a trilogy was a wise one and I think they found a way to end it and still keep their dignity because the tone and humor still works extremely well here. (7/10)
The Mummy (2017) –
Interesting idea for the revival of this monster movie that fails miserably. Cruise is totally miscast here yet I have no doubt that he was chosen for his star status instead of because he fit the role. Crowe is great in the few scenes he’s in, but is sorely underused. This film starts off well but loses all of its momentum within minutes. The plane scene is the only part that is truly memorable here. (4/10)

2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) – This reboot was done so much better than the previous attempt. Amazing special effects really bring the Apes to life. (9/10)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) –
Love the direction this franchise is going towards. Once again amazing special effects that allow us to believe that these apes really exist. (9/10)
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) –
Great addition to this series because it is able to tell such an engrossing story without needing as much dialogue. The special effects are superb and it seems as if we are truly watching apes interacting with their own kind and with humans. Sirkis once again shows how great of an actor he can be by giving another exceptional performance using motion capture. Besides Sirkis, the work of Zahn really stands out among the rest and I loved the way his character was portrayed. The story is taken into a very interesting and fascinating direction and allows us to get a much better understanding of the positions of both the humans and the apes. I’m really excited to see where they plan to take these ideas in any future installments. (9/10)

  1. X-Men (2000) – Great start for the franchise that proves that even superhero films that don’t rely on one main character can be successful and so much fun to watch. The characters all have great and diverse abilities which allows for them to work together and compliment one another during battle. The storyline is quite original and works really well in both developing all of these new characters for those unfamiliar with the comic. Before seeing the way that these characters interact in this film, I never had much love for the X-Men, but that all changed once I saw this film which showed the true effectiveness of such a series for the screen. The special effects and action scenes are done really well in order to make things feel so realistic as the world they inhabit is similar to our own save for the addition of super powered beings that possess the mutant gene. (9/10)
    X2 (2003) –
    Excellent sequel that is able to build on the story from the previous film. The way that the film shows that good and evil can have a very thin line between them, helps make this storyline quite poignant in what it is trying to tell us. The film gives us a bit more information about Wolverine’s past and still shows how important team work is when fighting as superheroes. The opening scene in the White House is amazingly done and shows both the potential and danger of mutants in their world and remains one of the best sequences in the entire franchise. Love how they don’t need to rely on developing any of the characters and things can get moving right away. Superb action sequences that are enhanced by the special effects. (9/10)
    X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) –
    Probably the weakest of all of the films in the franchise, yet they still manage to keep things enjoyable to watch unfold. The plot and sub plots are all quite good yet they try much too hard to compress so many story lines into a short run time and things feel as if they have been truncated instead of allowing them to flourish. The addition of a few new characters also helps keep things fresh and Grammar is the best new addition especially due to his character’s personality and the effects used to make his character look realistic. The battle at the end is a bit of a mess because it involves much too many characters, but the message of the film is still quite good. The failure of this film obviously helped put a stop to the way the franchise was unfolding and in reality that helped them look for fresh and innovative ways to continue the series without it feeling as if it’s churning out the same thing over and over. (7/10)
    X-Men: First Class (2011) –Another amazing addition to the franchise that is in essence a reboot, yet is also done as an origins story. The characters are developed really well and we get a clear idea of each of their powers and how they must work together as a team in order to develop their own powers but also to compliment one another when fighting against their enemies. Love the way that the story is able to integrate real world events into their timeline because it makes it feel even more realistic. In addition, they do a wonderful job making these characters dearer to our hearts since we get to see them when they are younger and are still fighting their own demons along the way. The battle scenes are great and show how creative the film makers are while showing how these characters came to create a school for mutants. (9/10)
    X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) –
    Such an amazing premise that works so well on so many levels. They are able to bridge the gap between the two timelines of the franchise and also utilize actors and characters that have up until now never been in the same film. The special effects are superbly done and this once again is able to enhance the story even more. The choice to not explain the time travel aspect too intensely also helps make us believe what is happening quite easily. The movie gives us a very compelling and complex story that deal with an age old question of whether the future is truly set that has been explored quite often in other time travel based movies and stories. The use of the 1970’s as the backdrop for the story also works really well in establishing the future of the characters from one strand of the franchise and the past of the other strand. The mixing and matching of characters from both strands works very effectively in making a continuity that we can accept quite easily. They once again prove that an ensemble cast of heroes is integral to making film like this work so well because they all can complement the powers of one another so effectively and precisely to fight against their enemies. (9/10)
    X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) –
    Another good installment of the franchise that isn’t as powerful as some of the previous entries, but still remains effective. Great seeing the characters that we have grown to know and love return to fight another battle. Once again, they prove how effective they can be as a team whose powers complement one another. The story itself gets a little stale towards the mid way point and things turn into a typical generic action film which is a bit of a shame tho. The effects are once again wondrous and allow us to see what can be done with proper special effects that can enhance the story and our view of the effects of the powers that these mutants all wield. This story has so much more potential that feels a bit wasted because it feels too rushed along the way. Really enjoyed seeing the cast return from the previous outing along with younger versions of some of the other characters who are essential to the future of the timeline like Cyclops, Storm and of course Jean Grey. Isaacs is unfortunately underused here as the main villain and is somewhat wasted in that part even though he is superb in the few scenes that he appears in. (7/10)
    X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) –
    Another nice addition to the franchise that has a great message about unity, the good of the many versus the good of the few. Great once again revisiting some of the characters from the previous films as they all struggle internally about what is more important; to save the world or to save a friend. The story takes things into some very intriguing philosophical areas that help bring the debate of this issue to the forefront. The action scenes are done well and this film feels as if they are once again going in the right direction with things, but still aren’t there yet. I’m quite curious to see where they plan to take the franchise from here, especially given the fact that ownership right have now been transferred to the MCU. The special effects helps enhance the battle scenes to a point where we can feel as if it is even more realistic. The choice to make the villains other worldly is a way to introduce both us and the X-Men to other species, but I’m not 100% convinced that that was really necessary. (7/10)

 

So who should You vote for? – There are some really fascinating franchises listed here that would make for some great conversation, but I think the X-Men franchise is the most enjoyable and interesting one of the lot especially given the fact that they are also the most consistent of the choices when it comes to delivering great story lines.

To vote, click here

 

Good luck to one and all!!!

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