John Wick: Chapter 2 continues where the first film left off, with Wick looking to retrieve his car. This film is directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. It stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane. After addressing the events of the 2014 film, Wick goes on the run due to a bounty being placed on him. Continue reading
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is the latest Tom Cruise spy action adventure installment in the Mission Impossible franchise. This time around it involves Ethan Hunt uncovering anti-IMF Syndicate bent on world chaos. Christopher McQuarrie writes and directs this fifth installment. Continue reading
Kingsman: The Secret Service is about a super secret spy group comprised of gentleman whose codenames are that of the Knights of the Roundtable. They’re on a mission to stop Samuel L. Jackson as he lisps his way to mass genocide, throw in slick action sequences and over the top violence with an underdog recruit, and that’s what we have here.
The good; the movie is just fun, it knows what it is and goes with it, meaning, it self references itself and almost winks at the audience. From the opening credits, you know what you’re getting.
The movie is rated R and it really earned a hard R rating. But back to being fun, it’s everything we’ve grown to know about Mark Millar (who wrote the graphic novel the film is based on), he takes a teenage boys’ angst and cathartically channels it through media. Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is recruited by agent Harry Hart to be a Kingsman, Eggsy is the typical teenage male with a chip on his shoulder, but through this training he learns to shot guns and kill the bad guys, what boy doesn’t want that??
Eggsy is played by Taron Egerton, and he does a great job carrying this movie. I’ve never seen Egerton in anything else, to me he’s an unknown, Matthew Vaughn took a gamble casting him in the lead role for this movie, and it paid off.
Harry Hart is played by Colin Firth, a job well done playing the gentleman spy/agent/killer. Mark Strong as a mentor is a nice change of pace, really compliments the who group.
The bad; other than Mark Millar’s creative works being made by the devil spawn that is 20th century fox international distribution management…
There were some bad effects shots. They probably had to trim the budget in certain areas, but it was the small stuff that stuck out. Put aside the over the top violence, I’m talking stuff that you don’t normally take a second glance at, but when done hap-hazardly sticks out. The example that comes to mind is the brick wall in the elevator in to the secret chamber, obvious green screen. And some of the shots when the private plane lands in the mountain headquarters… just odd.
*SPOILERS* Oh and there’s a thing that happens with President Obama in this movie that felt… wrong. I get it that all the world leaders are in on the devious plot, but we should’ve seen some of the others suffering from the same fate. It just didn’t sit with me very well, hahaha, I guess I am patriotic. *END SPOILERS*
I haven’t read the source material, but I was hoping that the movie would be about a group of gentleman secret agents fighting the bad guys in tailored suits, oh well.
Overall, very fun, there hasn’t been a fun secret agent movie in a while. Kingsman does a great job in being meta and calling out that “this isn’t that type of movie,” where villains spout off their entire plan while they have the hero captured. The casting is brilliant. The action is sublime. The suits are tailored.
Oh and there’s a scene at a Kentucky church where things go extremely wrong and agent Hart is in the middle of it, he does something very irredeemable and pays the price. It’s shocking but yet justified, bravo for that.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a cover to a song we all know, but it’s a great cover.
John Wick is a through and through action movie. It stars Keanu Reeves as the titular character, along with Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe. The film is directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, it’s written by Derek Kolstad.
Wick is a retired hitman seeking vengeance for a recent death. Throw in Keanu, a dance club scene, mafioso types and action upon action sequences and you have John Wick. Continue reading
Raiders of the Lost Ark (later marketed as Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark) is our introduction to Indiana Jones. It’s an action adventure film from the minds of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
It stars Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, among others. It’s directed by Spielberg and written by Lawrence Kasdan, the movie was released on June 12, 1981, it became that year’s top grossing film, it was also nominated for 9 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but it won these awards; Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects, plus a fifth special achievement award for Sound Effects Editing.
Before I get ahead of myself, and in to more detail, go check out what my friends Dr. Q at Craft Beer Tasters and Cody from Three B Zine have to say about this film, you can also read what we’ve done previously here. Continue reading
The Raid 2 is the sequel to The Raid: Redemption. We pick up almost right after the events of the first movie, Rama’s just gotten back from surviving that apartment complex, he then meets up with this other older cop who’s trying to find other dirty cops. So they send Rama on this deep undercover mission to infiltrate a criminal organization. Sounds simple enough right? Like the first one? Continue reading
I just saw The Raid: Redemption with Andrew and Mark. Why did we wait this long to see it??
It takes place in a slum of Indonesia, in this particular apartment building lives the mob boss, and all the tenants are under his rule/employ. A SWAT team goes in to take out this boss, little did they know that they’ve entered a hornet’s nest.
The good; wall to wall action, in the age of close up shots and shaky camera action, this Indonesian film knows how to cover an action and covers it well. I get a sense of geography with the wider shots, I get the impact of punches and kicks from close ups, I get a sense of training and skill from the medium shots and I appreciate that I can see things without getting dizzy.
The film starts off with gun fire and as they ditch the guns for obvious reasons they have to switch to hand to hand combat, which is beautifully choreographed and executed. The skill of all the bodies on camera is very apparent and appreciated. Makes me think that everyone in Indonesian knows the martial art of Silat.
There’s also a lack of a love story, the film opens with Rama, played by Iko Uwais, praying before he goes to work as he then says bye to his pregnant wife. Here we get that he’s a family man, expecting a child, and he’s Muslim, it’s a nice way to introduce this character and get the who love interest thing out of the way. If this were an American movie there would’ve been a “hooker with a heart of gold” that’s in the apartment building and she’d want to help the Police, thank you for not having that archetype.
The bad; ummmm, not much in this department. The movie’s a lean one hundred minutes, it’s a meat and potatoes type of movie that showcases martial arts skills. Oh, Ryan brought this up to me, they use they forearms to block a lot, A LOT, of hits from enemies, and yet they’re arms remain unbruised or bloodied. Some wounds there would’ve made it more believable, but maybe they train so their forearms are like leather??
One very bad thing… they’re remaking this in America… go watch the original and learn to read, cause this movie is subtitled. You just might learn a new word or two, or heaven forbid, learn what some words are in another language.
Overall, The Raid does not disappoint. It’s directed by Gareth Evans who’s Welsh, and this is his second film with Iko Uwais. Please make more like this.
This was a while back, but I saw Let The Bullets Fly with Gonzalo, a week ago. The short of it is, it takes place in the nineteen twenties in Sichuan China. A bandit named Zhang comes to a Goosetown and poses as the new mayor, but the town has a local mobster named Master Huang, the two of them then engage in mind games and deception.
The good; there’s a lot of action. The opening sequence is a very elaborate plan to take the real mayor’s train. It involves a speeding train, bandits on horses, a lot of gunfire and then some over the top action.
There’s the whole time period, it feels like a Peckinpah revisionist western. I know it takes place in the twenties, but you still have the sets and costumes of most people as being traditional Chinese garb, then you have the rich characters who are wearing suits and fedoras, and then you have .45 pistols. This whole “transitional” period draws me in.
Chow Yun-fat plays a bad guy, he’ usually the good guy in things, so it was nice to see him in a different role.
The bad; there were points in the film where the subtitles blended in to the picture, mainly cause someone was wearing white and the text just blended in to their clothes. They really should’ve picked a different color or adjusted the subtitles when this would happen.
The film’s length was quite long, there could’ve been some tightening to scenes. There were some confusing scenes, the two leads just kept playing mind games with each other and the explanation as to why and what happened went by very quickly. I would’ve liked more time devoted to why they did what they did.
Overall I enjoy this film, with it’s overly Communist propaganda messages. Sure there will be some cultural nuances that are lost on the American movie-going audience, but the action is something that’ll penetrate all language barriers.