Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious

Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, and more.

Directed by: F. Gary Gray Written by: Chris Morgan Based on characters created by: Gary Scott Thompson Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: During his honeymoon in Cuba, Dom gets trapped by a mysterious woman. She’s picked him specifically. And she’s made sure to get something which will force him to choose to do things her way. First on her to-do list, get Dom to betray his family – that which he holds most dear. As the group tries to figure out why Dom has gone rogue, they get rounded up by Nobody. They want them to help find Dom but to also aid in putting a stop to Cipher’s plans. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Charlize Theron as Cipher was multi-layered and fun (in an evil, despicable way that is :P). Very much enjoyed watching her taunt Dom and act like she has all the answers; even as we see her struggling to understand how he can feel the things he feels. And looking a little jealous. Like I said – fun! Jason Stratham and Dwayne Johnson as Deckard and Hobbs look to have the most fun in the film. The in-joke/subliminal advertising for Moana was rather cute. Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez speak volumes with glances. There’s lots of witty banter and fun. Good job all!

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: As we’ve come to expect from the F&F series, there’s a ton of special effects of all kinds. We’ve got engines catching on fire, crashes galore, subs, tanks, planes, explosions, and more!

They did some cool stuff with the sub and the iced over lake. And the torpedoes? Sweet!

The “rain” in Manhattan was fabulous! The whole Manhattan section was divine. The fight on the plane was also super. Bullet holes galore. Add in Stratham and the “package,” and you’re in for a whole lot of fun! (So unexpected and yet so awesome! lol. My most favorite part of the film.)

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: Science and physics always take a back seat in these movies. This time is no exception. EMP doesn’t mean the same to these guys as it does to everyone else. lol. And though they cut away from the scene, there’s still no way for that sub to get in the water! They do make it all look good, though!

Even though it may hide their hands and faces, you do not go out onto the icefields in Russia without appropriate gear! Oh, you touched that bar with your bare hand outside in sub freezing temps? You just left a layer of skin stuck there. 😛 Sometimes I do wish they’d try a little harder to cover the easier things.

Definite kudos on the little hints dropped here and there as to how Dom might not be quite as subdued as Cipher thinks he is. They do a replay to show the audience what they missed and a little more. So you won’t miss anything, even if you do. 😛 I did like how they wove in a lot of people and history from the other films back into the plot.

No real surprises in the plot, but still fun. Just watching all the insane destruction is half the entertainment. Add in some lovely fights, and voila!

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: There are a ton of gags! Between the fire, the ice, the bullets, the car and people chases, the hand-to-hand and the close weapons combat, the department was kept incredibly busy. Add in a little CGI, and the bar got raised a ton!

I have to mention that the fight at the prison was all levels of fun. A chase within a breakout, within a free for all. Nice!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of interesting sites in the film. Iceland, Cuba, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Germany, even a glacier! And the way they incorporate the names into the landscape is a nice trick. Some lovely spanning views of all the exotic places.

Conclusion: The Fate of the Furious is fast and crazy and full of more cars and stunts than ever. It’s enough to fill any action junkie’s want list. 🙂 Leave the laws of physics at the door, and strap in for a wild ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

 

Movie Review – Mechanic: Resurrection

Mechanic Resurrection

Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, John Cenatiempo, Toby Eddington, Femi Elufowoju Jr., Anteo Quintavalle, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, and more.

Directed by: Dennis Gansel Screenplay by: Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher Story by: Philip Shelby and Brian Pittman Based Upon Characters Created by: Lewis John Carlino and Rachel Long Cinematography by: Daniel Gottschalk Music by: Mark Isham

Premise: Having faked his own death, Bishop’s been leading a normal life down in Rio. But someone from his past has tracked him down and he tries to blackmail him into killing three people. Bishop says no and escapes. Hiding out on a remote island in Thailand, he meets Gina. Someone else being blackmailed by the same man. It’s time to make other plans. (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Jason Statham does what he does well – flawless looking action. He excels at deadpan and brooding expressions mixed with quick glimpses of his inner self. Jessica Alba brings out a little humor and even smiles from the troubled Bishop. She also shows some spunk and isn’t just a helpless female. Tommy Lee Jones is a hoot as Max Adams.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Explosions, grenades, bullets, and more! The fight on the ship put bullet holes everywhere!

A really neat effect is the effects of a chemical reaction Bishop tests for one of the jobs. Nice!

3) Plot/Story – Neutral: You don’t expect a lot of plot from these types of actions films, but there are limits. Though they mention multiple times how important it is for the deaths look “natural”, the first one has Bishop propping up the dead man in prayer. Using items to hold him up. Uhm, how would that look like a natural death to anyone? Especially with his drink all splattered on his clothes? And the bruises from a fight? Hello?

Somewhat soured the rest of the film for me. And it’s a pity, as they get very creative on the jobs he pulls off! Which in its own way made the trouble worse since the guy is super intelligent and ends up doing a super stupid thing. (Which no one notices?) Ugh.

Crain’s motivation wasn’t well thought out either. Why wait so long to get revenge? There was no catalyst for it. Also, the whole “Father’s Watch” bit didn’t work. If Bishop was an orphan and was sold to a group to be trained to fight, they would have never let him keep the watch. I’d half expected it to have a GPS locator in it, so it would have some function, but they let that opportunity pass.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: All the stunt guys get a major workout on this one. There are a bunch of close quarters fighting and shooting. They looked great! The fight on the big boat was too fun to watch. And wait till the battle in the submarine bay. Sweet!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The locations for the film were all over the world – Bulgaria, Thailand, Australia, Brazil, and Malaysia. So there are a ton of gorgeous vistas and different architectures used to add flavor to the film.

The cinematography was very well done – taking full advantage of most of the locations. The guys will definitely enjoy the lovely photography of Jessica Alba swimming in the clear waters in Thailand. 😛

Conclusion: If you like tons of action, action, action – the Mechanic: Ressurection delivers. Plot and consistency wise? Not so much.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

 

Movie Review – Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslim, Lydia Wilson, and more.

Directed by: Justin Lin Written by: Simon Pegg and Doug Jung Based on the series by: Gene Roddenberry Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Three years into their five year mission, Kirk is wondering if he doesn’t need a change. While visiting the new Yorktown space station, the Enterprise gets an unexpected mission. They are tasked to go rescue a stranded crew in an uncharted nebula. But the mission turns out to be something else entirely. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The gang is back! And Karl Urban is too awesome. lol. I do love me some Dr. McCoy and he is so good at it! lol. Chris Pine does a nice job showing Kirk’s drifting as he internally loses his way. Zachary Quinto continues to deliver those great flat line punche. And also we get some surprises from him as well. Anton Yelchin truly puts his stamp as Chekov this time around, which will make us miss him all the more. Sofia Boutella adds a nice extra layer as Jaylah.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Some amazing stuff this time around with the special effects. Yorktown is super cool. Though I wish they’d slowed down the fast panning when we get our first look – it went way too fast. Which is a pity since it was so awesome! Let us enjoy your work!

Kudos on making the bad guys’ blasters/energy discharges look different. The energy had a funky shape, which was neat. The buildings and machinery of the ancient dwellings were rather neat. They definitely spoke of it being a different culture.

Though they were all still humanoid, we did get to see a whole range of new species in the film, which was awesome. I could not take my eyes off of Tyvanna and her cauliflower like layered head.

The swarm ships were rather nifty and looked cool. They way they were employed was rather brilliant. The Federation needs to get ahold of this metal!

If you see the film in 3D, the credits are a super treat as they show different planets, nebulas, and other gas fields. (Keep your eyes peeled for the giant green hand! I kid you not! lol) Lots of lovely work throughout the film.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I’ve pretty much given up on the science making sense in this franchise anymore, so I don’t even try. So if you can turn that part of your brain off, the film can be quite enjoyable.

This is the film that bridges the old with the new. It’s like we are at the cusp of them being at the point where we first meet them in the original series. They merge the new theme music with the old theme music even more than in the past. Snippets and lines get thrown in that are well known and even in-jokes allude to the old series. And at the end they wrap it up with those words we all know so well.

Kirk and Spock finds themselves at a cross-roads. It is for different reasons, yet the decisions they are poised to make can change everything. Kirk’s ends up resonating as a recurring theme for several characters and even the main plot. There are some unexpected layers to why things are happening. So some things will seem odd until the explanations finally reveal what is not yet known.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of phaser combat on the ship and on the planet. Explosions, gravity shifts, and more get people thrown all over the place. Nice job!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: As I mentioned earlier, they took the pan views of Yorktown way too fast. For the rest of the shots, however, you get some great views of the areas. The shots in space of the hive, the station, and the general mayhem in the first attack were fabulous.

Conclusion: Star Trek Beyond ties the old and new together. They still have issues with bad science. But if you can ignoring those, the film moves well and has plenty for audiences to enjoy. Some lovely in-jokes too!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Movie Review – London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen

Starring: Gerard Butler, Alon Aboutboul, Waleed Zuaiter, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Mehdi Dehbi, Colin Salmon, Jackie Earle Haley, Charlotte Riley, and many more.

Directed by: Babak Najafi Screenplay by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, and Chad St. John Story by: Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt Cinematography by: Ed Wild Music by: Trevor Morris

Premise: With his wife pregnant and the baby almost due, Mike Banning is seriously considering leaving the secret service. Before he can send his resignation, he’s called back from vacation when the unexpected death of the Prime Minister forces the White House to make hasty plans to attend the funeral. Unfortunately, someone circuitously arranged the death in order to get the world’s top leaders in the same city to enact their revenge for a drone strike two years before. Once again, Mike must do his utmost to keep the President of the United States alive and in one piece even as London falls around them. (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Gerard Butler reprises his role as tough secret service agent Mike Banning. It is lots of fun watching him go from easy going, worried parent to be, to cold and efficient secret service agent. Alon Aboutboul treads the line nicely between monster and wronged parent. Waleed Zuaiter also gives a good performance as the spearhead of his father’s revenge. Aaron Eckhart has some lovely repartee with Gerard Butler and eloquently shows his civilian, father, and president faces, even digging deep to emulate the calm of those trying to protect him. Wished they’d done a little more with Colin Salmon though – have been loving his work on the TV series Limitless. 🙂

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: There are a ton of special effects in the film. London has explosions at multiple locations – so they get to destroy several historical parts of the city (and it’s not even Dr. Who or Christmas!). 😛 Most of the explosions were nicely done. A lot of the collateral damage from the concussions blasts was very well done.  Showing us several of the locations at the end undergoing “repairs” was a nice touch and added to the believability factor.

A ton of bullets fly in all manner of places. Grenades, rocket launches, stinger missiles, and more make an appearance. There are chase scenes on foot, in vehicles, with motorcycles – and close up fights inside buildings – all of them with bullets flying everywhere!

The helicopter scenes were also quite nice. Can’t say too much though. Wouldn’t want to spoil the fun. 🙂

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: This is an action and shoot ’em up film so you shouldn’t expect too much from the plot. They did set it up nicely – giving some backstory on the bad guys to justify the extremes taken (even if it was rather cliche). (Amazing how it’s okay to do things to others, but suddenly it’s bad when it happens to you!) They gave us a look at Mike’s normal life and his relationship with the president so we got a feel for them as people (and also eliminates the need to have seen the first film to enjoy this one). They even put Mike at a crossroads as he’s trying to figure out what he should do now that he’s about to become a parent for the first time. (This makes for a lovely and touching scene with the president deep in the film.) Family, parenting, and choices are big themes in the film.

The setup and execution of the Big Plan seemed well thought out. You have to love it when the mastermind is surprised when things actually go his way on almost all counts. 🙂 (Most real plans hardly ever go off without a hitch.) 😛 There were other little details that were subtle but well thought out and gave some heft to the story (like the French President purposely delaying his arrival as a small political slight to the Brits – not that it helped him any!) And some actually funny moments – as the characters attempt to defuse the seriousness of their situation.

The only hang ups for me were the population and possibly the depth of the infiltration. Some of the cops and other service people could have been easily inserted with the proper uniforms and fake IDs (something the mole had access to) especially as an occasion such as this would have brought many precincts together that would not necessarily know each other. But the infiltration of men into the Queen’s Guard was harder to swallow.

The city of London is a super crowded metropolis – one which would have had tens of thousands of people crowding the streets for blocks around for the funeral.  Yet they seemed to disappear rather quickly, despite the fact rapid transit had no power and most would have been stuck there with no place to go except the subway stations or a pub. (Would have made for a lot more trouble and collateral damage, so I can see why they fidged there – especially for the subway scenes!)

Oh and one other big cliche/warning sign – if the characters are in a vehicle and think they got through something bad and start congratulating themselves for surviving, this is a screaming clue a car/truck/bus is about to hit them from the side. lol. Mike Banning would know better. 😛

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Stunts, stunts, and more stunts! The chase scenes were great. Some new ways to get rid of pursuers on motorcycles. Heh heh.

Loads of lovely hand to hand combat scenes and shooting scenes. Loved the detail given to what gun Mike used when making his way in the final building – switching from an AK-47 to his .45 and back again depending on where he was and how much room he had. Nicely done!

Another lovely scene was Mike and the cavalry making their way down the street towards the building full of bad guys: shots, rockets, burning cars galore yet the group moved in smooth precision, shooting, taking cover, crisscrossing each other, moving ever forward. Loved it!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The film had several unusual and neat shots here and there. Air Force One gliding over a long field of clouds, the gorgeous location for Aamir Barkawi’s compound, the long shot of the park after the helicopter has come down, aerial shots of different parts of London and many of its landmarks. Locations for the film were in the UK, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Conclusion: London Has Fallen sets up the scene and then dives into the action like a rollercoaster down a steep hill. Lots of great chase scenes and close quarter combat. Even tries to rouse some American pride! 😛

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)