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Staff ***1/2Refreshingly childlike, strong sequel.Skip to next paragraph
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Sex/Nudity: None. Profanity: 1 mild expression. Violence: 8 scenes with mostly mild violence. Drugs: 2 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Walter Hill. With Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Peter Falk. (96 min.)
Staff **1/2 George "Iceman" Chambers (Rhames), the world's undisputed heavyweight boxing champion, goes to prison for a rape he denies, but is mean enough to have committed. There he encounters Monroe Hutchens (Snipes), an introspective lifer, undefeated in the prison system's fight program. It's inevitable that the two will meet in the ring, especially with an aging mobster and oddsmaker (Falk) pulling strings inside and outside to bring it about. Director Hill's spare, macho style manages to avoid clichés and to keep things moving enough that you don't think too much about plausibility. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances, mostly innuendo; some nudity. Violence: 16 instances violence, including fight scenes. Profanity: 70 strong expressions. Drugs: At least 2 instances smoking.
Director: Rob Cohen. With Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson. (120 min.)
Sterritt * Extreme sports meet cold-war politics as our hero gets recruited by the government to battle an anarchist gang in Eastern Europe. If your idea of star power is "buff to the max" with "attitude to spare," as the publicity puts it, then Diesel is your man. But do we really need a warmed-over James Bond adventure with 007 transformed into the movie-poster version of a village idiot?
Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes. Violence: 18 scenes, including shootings. Profanity: 15 strong expressions. Drugs: 12 scenes with smoking, drinking, drugs.
Director: Roger Michell. With Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Affleck, Amanda Peet, Sidney Pollack. (96 min.)
Sterritt *** A corporate lawyer and an insurance salesman become adversaries after a highway fender-bender, sparking a daylong ordeal of threats and counter-threats. The filmmakers meant to whip up a high-tension thriller. What they ended up with is a psychological satire that's quite engrossing if you regard it as an absurdist morality tale rather than a straight-ahead suspense yarn. It loses its bite in a last-minute happy ending, but much of the way it's a refreshingly novel ride.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances innuendo. Violence: 5 scenes, including assault. Profanity: 13 strong expressions. Drugs: 3 instances drinking.
Director: Kevin Reynolds. With Jim Caviezel, Richard Harris, Dagmara Dominczyk, Guy Pearce. (113 min.)
Sterritt *** Edmond Dantes is a French sailor who hits hard times when his best friend steals his girlfriend, a magistrate brands him as a courier for Napoleon, and he's thrown into prison. Things look up when he escapes, finds buried treasure, and sets about avenging himself on his treacherous enemies. The filmmakers focus more on personalities than on action and violence, but there's plenty of flashing steel. It's a nifty comeback for 19th-century novelist Alexandre Dumas.
Staff *** Clever, comic, beautiful scenery.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes implied sex. Violence: 14 scenes, mostly swordfighting. Profanity: 1 instance. Drugs: 15 scenes of drinking or smoking.