Overall Recommendation:
3.5 stars
(4)
5 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
4 Stars:
50.0%
(2)
 
3 Stars:
50.0%
(2)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
2.8 stars
(4)
 
Story structure:
2.8 stars
(4)
 
Character:
2.3 stars
(4)
 
Dialogue:
3.0 stars
(4)
 
Emotion:
3.0 stars
(4)
 
 
1-4 of 4 reviews
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1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Very interesting story

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
 
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

a good idea, but lacks focus

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
April 09, 2012
A real page turner of a script Jim, read it twice, both times in one sitting, but I have to admit the second time was for clarity. The story and action seemed to focus on so many different things and introduce different characters that I lost track of the story a couple of times.

-page 5 “A SNAKE’S FANGS DROOL with Venom and is held inches from the petrified Man’s face. The Snake’s REFLECTION grows inside the man’s ever-growing pupils.” Great description.

-great sequence in opening 10 pages, no dialogue, all visuals, but I'm not sure still of the absolute importance to the whole story that this sequence had.

-lots of white on the page, a good sign for an action script.

-less of the use of “we” just tell us what is in the frame or needs focus on, what is important to story or character.

-page 9 “The woman is BRIDGET SMYTH; a pilot in the US Air Force; contemplates quitting, only six months of duty left.” Try to visually describe contemplating quitting. As the audience, we need to be shown this, or in some cases told this through exposition.

-I felt the abduction of John by Mick should have been a more tense scene, there was no attempt to fight Mick off, no struggle, no conflict, which in turn made the use of the gas seem unnecessary.

-dream sequence on page 27/28 feels melodramatic, ill-fitting to the boys own adventure of the main storyline.

-enjoyed the subplot involving Bridget, gives the love interest something to do, not something we see a lot of, a refreshing change from the usual damsel in distress.

-very pacy, brief descriptions of action, yet still seemed meandering in certain scenes.

-too many inserts of computer screen information, would help to just show that a character knows what he is doing with information not shown, or even reads it out, and only when its vital to the story. Sometimes a character needs to react to something on the monitor in a certain way, but the audience doesn't know, thus creating suspense.

-didn’t feel growth in John as the story was going on, he seemed to deal too easily with a lot of the obstacles, he should be challenged, more of an intellectual and physical struggle, make more of his age instead of little snippets of dialogue everything should hurt, put him through hell, while also adding a little more personality to him. I know he's not an OAP, but he's old enough to retire from the profession, it should show.

-page 59 JOHN (V.O.) Sometimes in life... that’s all we have.
Didn’t believe this is something John would say felt out of place with the tone, and also felt wishy washy, like the dream sequences.

-page 62, a great scene, but the slo-mo turns an intense, unpredictable scene into melodrama. This may be personal preference, but I feel slo-mo should be a decision of the director, the writer needs to emphasize the importance of an action, and thats all.

-a difficult tone, violent yet light hearted dialogue, up and down, find a balance.

-page 70 perfect placing of the all is lost moment, but all is not actually lost, just another recently introduced character that the audience hasn't had chance to care for.

-in terms of story, felt a little similar to Angels and Demons, well a lot of other films, racing from one place to another, a psycho taunting the government, but I didn't feel the tension, the countdown didn't feel important, I don't think I believed the stakes.

-as a Brit, loved the mine on a milk float idea, very entertaining, and the whole London sequence felt the most engaging and focused for me, only some dialogue, or knowing looks between Bridget and John when they take the mine with them in the helicopter would help the scene move better, not sure, something didn’t work-

-twist felt similar to “Watchmen”, all the sacrifices to make a point, was unexpected but not sure if it worked in this story, unless I completely mis-read it, I'm not entirely sure about the motivations behind everything.

-was sometimes incoherent, and I felt John should have been on page 1 , or at the latest page 5, similar to the film "Sahara" where you have a who;e sequence before you have any chance of investing in your protagonist. Your hero carries the heart and soul of the script, the themes, the ideologies, they should be upfront and centre, yet John sometimes got lost in events for me.

in summary, a good script, nice globe-trotter, but a lot of chances to make it more unique, go for broke with the grit or make it a completely light hearted caper in tone, both works, but mixed together, difficult tone. But as I say, I have read it twice, there were many things I enjoyed, so a good effort overall Jim!
 
1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Could be more focused.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
2 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
1 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
April 07, 2012
I think I read somewhere that in Hollywood, readers flick through a script first and if all they see is blocks of action, it gets instantly trashed. That may be a myth but I do think this script is too heavy on the action and too light on the dialogue. I do think you write the military action visuals extremely well. What I'm seeing in the frame is very clear (unfortunately there isn't a rating for visual style). However, why what I'm seeing is happeneing is not so clear.

Your tagline suggests this a high-octane, action-packed, seat-of-your-pants, roller-coaster-ride with a good old ticking-clock - with the action focused on ONE MAN. But that man barely appears in the action in the first 15 pages. I think you need to build your story around your hero. Perhaps even think about telling the story almost totally from his POV. This might help you focus the story more, because at the moment I think it's too vague. For this genre, the pacing needs to be 'hit-the-ground-running'. Sure there's things blowing up and peole getting guns pointed at them, but I don't know why I should care.

I found the plot difficult to follow and I think this was partly down to the lack dialogue. By the time I got to page 50 or so, I was completely lost. I wanted to refer to the synopsis, just to get my bearings but you haven't included one.

Now we come to the introduction of your two main characters (but not until page 8). The best thing you can do for your characters is to think about the 'show don't tell' rule. John Smith (why this name, are you implying your hero is mr average?) has a complicated character description - but if he's really "ex-Marine; ex-SAS; ex-CIA" let's see it. John Smith is a reluctant hero who does not want to come out of retirement, yet he gets recruited all too easily. This is a big wasted opportunity. Why not play out the battle between him and Crenshaw? This way we would get to know our hero and be more involved in his plight.

Also, remember everything that happens to our characters reflects on them. If he's done by a simple spray to the face by a guy who's going on 60 and out of shape - what does that make John look like? He's easy meat. But don't you want to demonstrate/set up for your audience an exceptional hero who can overcome odds others can't?

The same goes for Bridget as far as 'show don't tell'. If she's really a frustrated fighter pilot, lets see it. ie: in the set up. So we know who she is because we've seen her in action. You don't even need to have her flying - all you have to do is have her watching a dog fight, shouting at the pilot for doing it wrong (which will show her frustration).

I think you need to make the plot clearer. When John announces that four European cities are going to get nuked, I haven't understood how we've got to this point. Again, this would be a good reason for telling your story (mostly) from John's POV - if we see what's happening through him, we will understand as much as he does. ie: when we get to the point where he realises the bombs are going to go off, we will have been on the journey with him.

I would also say this is too much too soon. Perhaps you might be better starting this as one man against a deadly enemy where the stakes eventually get raised to - 4 entire cities are going to get nuked.

From this point on, the narrative seems to stay at one level - with almost constant, similar paced action. I feel a lack of character and narrative development in this script. Think you could look at the structure and pacing of your roller-coster ride. It would be nice to read a synopsis and it might be to your benefit to write one as it might help you focus on the structure.
 
3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

I'm still not sure what this script was all about, but it had action and a love story

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
2 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
April 01, 2012
This story really only had two characters, the rest seemed brought in for the convenience of the moment, and dispensed with just as quickly. I like the two leads and their over-the-top love affair. The action sequences were better written than the first draft that I started but never finished reading. Still, I think you need to sharpen them some more. Try to hit the beats of what we see, and match the rhythm of the action to the sentences. Try to use more precise language, especially when differentiating between the good guys and bad guys.

As usual with Jamster scripts, i find myself stuck with a long, growing list of "why" questions.

I wondered throughout the whole story why was John so special to this story. Why did they want him to find the bombs. I waited and waited, and finally the big reveal came at the end. The bad guys wanted him involved. But I didn't get what the bad guys (who were really good guys) wanted. World peace? An end to climate change? An end to Darfur, or Afghanistan?

The script focuses on what John does and how he feels, and that's good, but I'm one of those guys that hungers to know how they located all the bombs. This information was fed to John from out of the blue, or he just got a hunch and went with it. I thought this aspect could have been sharper, particularly since the "bad guys" wanted John to find them and defuse the bombs. It all amounted to a publicity stunt. Perhaps if he regularly got to talk to the leader, "Red", via phone, and better yet, if we the readers (and potential viewers) knew all along that "Red" had specifically requested John. That would personalize it, and give us a relationship between hero and villain that we don't see until the end. So it feels like Deus-ex-machina. Nowadays people think of that as cheating.

I had many other "why" questions, but none as important as the ones I've already mentioned. For instance, why did they dig a hole in the side of the Brandenberg Gate, and how did the CIA or SAS guys get in there without tipping off the terrorists? If these bombs could vaporize ten city blocks, how come the one that exploded didn't do that? John and Bridget survived a bomb blast, and it always seemed to me they were much closer than ten city blocks. When, or how did Mick get injured? Why would John try to kill Bridget, the woman he loves, just because she knows about the mission? His motivation here seemed really weak, and their subsequent reconciliation unreal (as a result of the weak motivation).

That's about it. Mostly just sharpen it up. It has unique characters, unique villains, and could amount to something.
 

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