Recliner Reviews for June 5, 2014

Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.


The original “RoboCop” franchise isn’t considered the holy trinity of sci-fi films. But the first film is still a fan favorite, and Peter Weller will be welcome at geek conventions for the rest of his life. This time the title role goes to relatively unknown Joel Kinnaman, best known for AMC’s “The Killing.” Kinnaman drops some action and drama science. Coming for a ride-along is TV favorite Michael K. Williams (Omar from HBO’s “The Wire” and Chalky White from “Boardwalk Empire”). The rest of the cast is tried-and-true veterans – Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Jackie Earle Haley. And proving he can be in every current big budget film, Samuel L. Jackson shows up for a cameo. The acting is passable, and the action has its moments. But after awhile, you start to ask yourself – why are we watching this again? The first film made such a cultural statement in the ’80s about police states, corporate corruption and consumerism. This time some more statements are made, they’re just not made as well. We wouldn’t buy this version for a dollar – pass.

“Lone Survivor”

You have to give it up for director Peter Berg and stars Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch – all three worked cheaper than usual to make this film about a group of real-life Navy Seals on a capture or kill mission in Afghanistan’s Taliban territory. Berg also used military veterans in acting and extra roles. For those who haven’t heard the story, these guys engaged in a firefight, without reinforcements, for five days straight. The film reduces it to three days, but it’s still brutal to watch. Wahlberg and Kitsch team up with Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana to scream over machine gun fire and speak in Navy Seal code. Berg throws down the quick-cut style he used in 2007’s “The Kingdom.” It’s action packed, but it’s far from a fun action flick. It’s an important film, displaying the cruelty and courage of war – worth a watch.

“Odd Thomas”

Let’s start by saying this movie was made by Stephen Sommers – the dude who brought you “The Mummy,” “The Mummy Returns,” “Van Helsing” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Yeah, those movies sucked. The good news is this movie is better than all those. It’s better because it doesn’t try too hard with effects or overacting. It relies instead on a quirky B-movie-styled story. Based on Dean R. Koontz’s paranormal series of novels, the film deals with a guy named Odd that can communicate with the dead. The title character is played by Anton Yelchin who breaks his cycle of starring in reboots (“Star Trek,” “Fright Night” and “Terminator Salvation”). His co-stars are amicable enough – Willem Dafoe and Addison Timlin. There are plenty of issues with the clunky plot. Some of the acting is a problem. But the movie doesn’t try to be too much. It’s a fun little romp through a spooky town and it’s barely worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge