This Review Roundup is a mix of new releases and a couple that came out last week I got after their release. The biggest is The Protégé starring Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, and Robert Patrick. I had a lot of fun with the film because it feels like a throwback to the action movies I grew up on in the 1980s and 1990s. The royally underrated Maggie Q plays an assassin who grew up in the business after her family is murdered and Samuel L. Jackson takes her in and trains her. They use some flashbacks to give her backstory, but it doesn’t feel bogged down by them. You get just enough to know who she is and why she works for Jackson. Then Keaton enters and he’s not the main bad guy, but he is the one who gets things done. It turns into a classic cat & mouse story and adds a “will they/won’t they” angle as well. There is a twist you probably will see coming, but overall I liked the movie because it’s not trying to be anything it’s not. It has a beautiful woman kicking ass and taking names, a bad guy you want taken down, lots of action and over-the-top violence and that’s all I want in these films. I hope it finds more of an audience on home video and then streaming because I’d totally watch a sequel.
From Mill Creek Entertainment comes The Randolph Scott Western Collection which consists of 12 classic westerns. This is the first time these films have been available on Blu-ray in the U.S. and really showcases what made Randolph Scott a westerns stars. You get other big names including Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford, Pernell Roberts and no westerns collection is complete without Lee Van Cleef. The 12 films in the collection are: The Desperadoes, The Nevadan, Santa Fe, Man in the Saddle, Hangman’s Knot, The Stranger Wore a Gun, A Lawless Street, The Tall T, Decision At Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station. I grew up watching westerns because of my parents and I knew a bunch of these and it’s something I can see myself revisiting through the years. Scott was a tall and charismatic lead who was easy to root for. Watching these movies now, you can see why he made dozens and dozens of westerns in his career, he looked good in the role and was every bit what you wanted from the good guy. If you are a fan, this is a must own.
Third we have The Honeymooners Specials: A Christmas Carol. The Honeymooners is an all-time classic show with some very memorable episodes. A Christmas Carol was one of their reunion specials. Its synopsis: In 1977, Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Jane Kean reunited for the second of four hour-long specials representing the final performances of their classic Honeymooners characters. Ralph enlists Alice, Ed and Trixie to perform with him on stage after he agrees to supervise and star in the annual office holiday fund-raiser for a charity chosen by his boss’ wife. Ralph ends up rewriting and reimagining Charles Dickens’ dramatic classic A Christmas Carol with comedic results when Ed serves as the inexperienced director. I had never seen this before and man is it great. Seeing the original stars reimagining Dickens in TV form was hilarious. Gleason and Carney still had fantastic comedic chemistry all those years later. I’m not sure if this special has been available before with any of the classic 39 episodes so if you are a Honeymooners or Gleason fan you’ll definitely want to pick this up.
Last we have Walker: Season One. This is a reboot of the Chuck Norris show Walker: Texas Ranger starring Jared Padalecki in his first show after Supernatural. I knew they were making the show, but had no idea it actually aired already. Padalecki is a Texan himself and looks the part quite well. He plays a Texas Ranger who returns home after a lengthy undercover assignment he took after his wife is murdered. He is teamed up with Micki Ramirez and eventually he joins the anti-cartel task force. It’s not as goofy as the original and feels very “now” but overall I actually kind of enjoyed it. I liked Padalecki on Supernatual and he seems a good fit. The first season is 18 episodes and Season 2 is currently airing.