Posts Tagged ‘action’

This pretty neat The Final Version novel page has been brought my attention. It has been going a few years and contains some good observations and facts about the book by readers. I’ve copied and excerpt below.

• It is difficult to pin point when WWIII occurs, however, whatever destructive device was used left buildings standing. This leaves the remaining survivors (who have converged on a few remaining city’s world wide) have whole buildings to live in to themselves. To benefit for this arrangement occupants seemingly have to adhere to the consistent surveillance/monitoring. It echoes Blade Runner and Aeon Flux in chapters, with hints of The Thing and Mad Max in others.
• Denton visits every continent.
• Given it is set post WIII the future appears quite habitable (excluding the wastelands and industrial areas). State Side while the rain beats down there are while plastic pavements/side walks and Neon lights have made a come back.
• It’s a ‘kitchen sink’ book as it has so much in it. However, it’s pulls off bringing the sci-fi elements, (not limited to) A.I, cloning, cryogenics and Robotics together with the historic chapters and the events that are touched on subtly which include the discovery of DNA, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Anastasia’s disappearance, Spanish Conquistadors encounters, painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s fate to name a few.
• Religion is outlawed and practised by underground sects. Notbaly the MJ and King sect.

Source: FanDom http://the-final-version.wikia.com/wiki/The_Final_Version_Wiki

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A brawny suited burglar and his equally muscular twin, an upstanding police officer, are forced to team up to bring down some diamond criminals.

With the fashion, music, hairdos and a Rambo III poster on display you’d swear director John Paragon’s Double Trouble was made in the eighties (even though it was 1992). The cast feature plenty of familiar acting faces, surprisingly this B film has some good talent on display. This forgotten film features David Carrdine, James Doohan, Roddy McDowell and those two muscle bound twins from the Conan wannabe film Barbarians (1987), I kid you not. McDowell has lot of fun shooting people and Doohan gets to Scotty rant while the twins get to wink at fine women, fight and shoot a lot. It’s all as outlandish and retro un-PC as it sounds.

The plot is too thin to mention, my first paragraph sums it up. To the twins David and Peter Paul’s credit they are great fun throughout and thanks to some writing flukes including Jessie Venture impressions, sibling rivalry along with Paragon’s clumsy setups and reverse fridge logic it’s more enjoyable than it should be.

If you love the 1980s cheese, this 90s film is a great example, think a second rate Twins mixed with Stop or My Mum will Shoot and Skyscraper. Let your mullet and crop top do the thinking, you should enjoy.

Dr. Paul Kersey is an ER surgeon burning for revenge, to deliver justice for his family’s assailants.

Eli Roth’s Death Wish is arguably more satisfying than revenge films The Equalizer (2014), Oldboy (2013) and on par with the great stylised John Wick (2014) in term of entertainment. Bruce Willis makes a triumphant return to top form as Paul Kersey in this fitting and timely remake of Death Wish. Willis reminds us he can act and not just turn up, this is a well produced on location feel action, unlike his recent low-par films and cameo-like performances.

Eli Roth offers one of his most conventional Hollywood-like movies to date, but includes his staple gore in a few moments throughout mostly dished out by Willis’ slayings and some unconventional use of everyday weapons. The action thriller is fast paced with plenty of shootouts. Likeable Elisabeth Shue is fittingly cast as Kersey’s wife, along side Vincent D’Onofrio as his brother. Notable are actors Camila Morrone is as Kersey’s daughter and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris is cast as warm Detective Kevin Raines.

From a solid screenplay by Joe Carnahan based on Death Wish (1974) and Brian Garfield’s Death Wish novel the film works within its own logic, the doctor come vigilante Willis character has an arc and manhunt aspect where the media debate whether he is a guardian angel or grim reaper gives weight to the intense drama. You could fit on a postage stamp what it has to say about gun crime and it socially sits on the fence, with Roth leaving it for the audience to decide what’s right or wrong.

At the end of the day, it’s an well made action revenge flick. Overall, one of Willis memorable roles to date, recommended.

In an alternate present day, humans, orcs, elves and fairies have been coexisting. Two police officers, one a human, the other an orc, embark on a routine night patrol that will alter the future of their world as they know it.

Director and producer David Ayer offers a part buddy film, reminiscent of the likes of Training Day, Alien Nation with a bit of Tolkien thrown in and you get what adds up to an enjoyable entertaining well paced movie. With wall to wall shoot outs, slick fights and magic wand sorcery Ayer handles the diverse mix of genre themes effortlessly as the unlikely paired partners battle rentlessly throughout an evening in L.A.

Actors Will Smith is on nonchalant form as Serpico-like Daryl Ward, unrecognisable Joel Edgerton with Orc makeup sporting a Nic Nolte-like raspy voice gives a standout performance as Nick Jakoby. Noomi Rapace is notable as a power hunger Elf and gives a physical intense turn as she goes about retrieving her wand to unleash a dark Lord. However, Lucy Fry steals the show as Tikka, a Rogue Elf who assists the unlike Orc and human police channeling Milla Jovovich’s Fifth Element Leeloo.

Writer Max Landis (son of John Landis) and Ayer throw in hints of comedy, a clever alternative Earth premise and interestingly set it during a night and day in L.A. Bright has plenty of ‘street’ atmosphere, as well as strong production values offering well executed special effects. To Ayers credit the mix of both reality and fantasy hold together seamlessly and you buy into the world and the Midnight Run, Judgement Night, Collateral, After Hours feel to name a few night set films from the get go.

Overall, a well balanced mix of genres in an alternative present day, with both underlying and on the nose social commentary that is almost too good for an action fantasy cop film. Recommend.

Once Upon a Time in Venice Movie PosterAn ex-Los Angeles detective turned PI seeks out the ruthless gang that stole his dog.

Director, writer Mark Cullen’s entertaining beach bum action caper which sees Bruce Willis as Steve Ford return to centre stage instead of small cameos. Thankfully Willis isn’t just there to just pick up a pay cheque, its very much his own film, and he’s as cheeky and charming as ever.

The on location feel captures the heat of Venice Beach and Cullen offers plenty of colourful locale visuals. The characters are all quirky and larger than life including humorous Jason Momoa as mumbling gangster Spider and Steve’s heartfelt troubled friend Dave (excellent John Goodman). Things get more and more outlandish as Steve tries to solve a number of weird cases. Sadly, Famke Janssen is wasted as Katey Ford.

With echoes of the recent The Nice Guys (2016) there’s a few shoot outs and double crosses with hints of watered down Tarantino thrown in for good measure, Cullen like the moments of comedy set these up with perfect timing thanks to some effective staging and Matt Deizel fine editing.

Overall, while not Willis’ best it’s an almost return to likes of Last Boy Scout form rather than Die Hard, still it’s good fun and worth a viewing.

Zombie-Fight-Club-PosterA building riddled with a menagerie of working girls, criminals and loners find the corridors of their apartment block infested with zombies.

Oh my have things have progressed since Junk Shiryōgari (2000) and Versus (2000) (certainly in the effects department), Zombie Fight Club (2014) is better than the influx of recent DTV walking dead movies globally produced, in contrast to most Asian dead movies its light on humour, tonally it’s reminiscent of The Horde (2009), Rammbock/Berlin Dead (2010) mixed with Joe Chien’s own twisted incoherent Zombie 108 (2012).

Chien’s zombie offering is packed with action, actually wall to wall bloodshed, excellent make-up effects and an abundance of practical and CGI blood which puts some American modest budget zombie films to shame. It’s colour palette is dark, accompanied by a pumping soundtrack, it’s undeniably fast paced. Oddly it inexplicably interchanges between English and Mandarin and it’s a film of unorthodox two halves with no third act.

When it does slowdown it has a fistful of creepy moments but these are few and far between as buxom beauty Jenny played by Jessica Cambensy witnesses her boyfriend, his crew of rappers and strippers come toe to toe with growing army of zombies. After a flash forward a year after the outbreak Jenny has gone all zombie killer sporting a new hair cut and an even tighter costume (yes there’s the shameless objectification of women but no more than The Resident Evil franchise tries to gloss over).

What it lacks in plot it makes up for with its kick-ass female and male characters, soldiers and loads of zombie kills, impalement, bullets and action setups. Yes the characters are at times cartoonish and its gratuitous but it’s a solid addition to the Asian live action zombie market, if you’re in to it.

Wild_Card_MoviePosterA Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal skills gets in trouble with the mob when he helps a young female friend who was left for dead.

Based on the 1985 novel Heat (Edged Weapons in the UK) by William Goldman and the remake of Burt Reynolds’ Heat (1986) there’s a fast car, periodic fight scenes, a mild mannered moralist character, Jason Statham must check them off and sign on the dotted line. And that’s not a bad thing Statham in the most typecast of role, rarely, if ever fails to deliver.

Simon West’s Wild Card is finely shot, it plays as an anti Revolver (2005), it’s linear, his Vegas is musty, hazy and dusty. The setting feels real and written intentionally or not what it lacks in pacing structure and credible fleshed out supporting character relationships it makes up for with Statham’s charisma and hand to hand action setups.

Part revenge, part self realisation film, its reminiscent of The Gambler (1974), Payback (1998)/Point Blank (1967), Get Carter (1971 and 2000 remake) to name a few. West offers a series of exceptionally well choreographed hard hitting, bone breaking, wince enduring scenes, which Statham effortlessly pulls off with a smidgen of drama. The action is raw, not dissimilar to the stylish John Wick (2014), and Wild avoids using guns mirroring Denzel Washington’s McCall in The Equalizer (2014).

To Statham’s (who also produced) credit you do root for the gambling Nick Wild, and you can’t help feel he may windup like Carlito’s (1993) Brigante or London Boulevard’s (2010) Mitchel by the end. It’s a pity it chose the action, cutlery stabbing route and you can’t help feel that some of the more dramatic scenes were left on the cutting floor despite Statham showing some great range.

The action is more raw than the stylish John Wick (2014), and Wild doesn’t like to use guns like Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer (2014). Both Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Angarano while entertaining look a little uncomfortable age wise in their respective roles. The supporting cast are mostly extended cameos from the likes of Anne Heche, Sofía Vergara and Stanley Tucci who notably steals the show as mob boss mediator Baby.

Digressing slightly, thanks to Bruce Willis taking pay cheques for small cameo roles it’s left a gap in the market for well loved but still under appreciated Jason Statham who, endless Transporter roles aside, has offered some decent performances in the West’s own Mechanic, Killing Elite, Revolver, spring to mind.

The production values are high. it goes beyond the out of the box action film in terms of look thanks to Shelly Johnson’s cinematography and West’s keen eye for detail giving him a knack for creating atmosphere.

Statham puts in an immense physical performance. It’s a solid action film, and quiet restrained, no big explosions, with minimum gun-play, it focus its on physical altercations. And for these reasons recommend.

2015/01/img_0923.jpgA grieving hit man after a series of unfortunate events goes about exacting revenge on his former boss’ son.

Since Rocky 4 the stereotype Russian bad guy films seemed to ease off, however, mirroring the politics of today there appears to be an increasing influx of bad guy Russians, Equalizer, Taken 3, Jack Ryan, Die Hard 5 to name just a few. Amongst the abundance of them comes John Wick with its on location feel and slick action sequences.

Wonderfully directed by Chad Stahelski & David Leitch’s with great action scenes and Derek Kolstad’s solid dialogue Wick goes from one scene to the next exacting revenge on those who have wronged him. Its a fine straightforward affair without the quirkiness or humour of the likes director Guy Ritchie or Paul McGuigan. Stahelski delivers a straight up action thriller with hard hitting violence, blood baths through a hotel, church, cars and blood spattered clubs. Unashamedly from the shootouts to knife fights it oozes cool, complemented by the lighting, sound design, music tracks and score from Tyler Bates.

The cast are unprecedentedly on form with Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki and memorable Willem Dafoe. Bridget Moynahan and Ian McShane cameo with John Leguizamo small part effortlessly stealing the cameo show. Keane Reeves is perfectly cast with his minimal dialogue and screen presence. Even with its dark tone it’s more fun than the comparable excellent Equalizer.

Yes, like all actions there’s an obligatory Jason Statham/Van Damme-like showdown/fight off and John Wick is unavoidably reminiscent of Get Carter and Payback but as a revenge action it is as completely rounded as they come – recommended.

The Transformers are being hunted down by humans with the help of an interstellar bounty hunter. Optimus Prime aided by a human inventor set about to stop another annihilation by a device called the seed.

There’s no doubt that the action set ups, sound design and special effects are fantastic. However, any trace of characterisation from the original TV series is all but extinct. The Transformer characters once again are given little dialogue nor interaction with each other, with the Dinobots not even getting a line of dialogue.

The Transformers on screen are as empty and soulless as the transformer copies created by an entrepreneur inventor/military contractor played by Stanley Tucci in a subplot with his company having the ability to create their own Transformers. Kelsey Grammar is on form but his evil Harold Attinger motivations are as interchangeable as his ties – queue disgruntled, unappreciated, shady CIA character. Sophia Myles talents are simply under utilised.

With a vast world of 1980’s characters at their finger tips that could be updated/developed writer Ehren Kruger and director Michael Bay fail to use any of these typesets or even any basic personality dynamics from the series. Bring back Star Scream, Jazz, Soundwave and the others that prompted the people to make these movies in the first place – Glavatron (voiced by Frank Welker) is wasted. Age of Extinction borrows plot elements from Prometheus and Man of Steel to name a few instead of using anything Tranformer-esque.

T.J. Miller’s likable character Lucas Flannery is disposed of in the first 20 minutes and its remaining few redeeming features Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz battle on trying to avoid cliché after cliché, also Optimus Prime has some character development. Actually if Shia
Labeouf’s Sam had been by replaced Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager it may have been a better film series, that said, if Sam returned with Cade it would make some good character interaction but I digress, it’s a one man and robot show with everything else falling short and brushed over thinly with new elements being added needlessly. Age of Extinction makes Dark of the Moon look like the Godfather.

Given its lengthy running time its themes and plot are never fully developed. Should the writers and producers have gone back to the source material the fans and film goers would have thanked them for it. This instalment once again banks on viewers desire to see a Transformers film and of course we come in masses but are once short changed as it doesn’t deliver – it’s like a shiny brand new convertible without an engine, looks good and cool but it is vacant.

It’s clear that the talents behind of Age of Extinction have no love for Transformers (but are great at the movie business) – sadly not recommended.

A group of thieves take a job tipped by their recently released from jail former associate, but the heat is on with the police hot on their trail.
With some tippex and thinner this may well have been a proposed sequel to Michael Mann’s 1995 hit Heat. It has a solid story with a cast of terrific actors and an above par supporting cast including Jay Hernandez and Chris Brown in a free-running spree. Leads include physical, quirky Hayden Christensen, Idris Elba and Paul Walker in a Chris Shiherlis/Val Kilmer type role who are all on form. Matt Dillon steals the show in another heat-alike role reminiscent of Al Pacino’s Hanna. That said, Zoe Saldana’s talents are completely wasted, reduced to simple eye candy.
Love or hate it, director John Luessenhop’s and Michael Barrett’s photography handheld camera look is frustrating, possibly better reserved for the action setups or a horror film as in Takers case it quickly becomes tiresome, Mann’s Collateral (2004) it is not. 
There’s some great sound design with the shootouts becoming semi-silent allowing certain sounds and cues to be heard. With a fistful of writers namely Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, Luessenhop and Avery Duff there’s still some questionable character motives and actions, this aside it has slick costumes, cool music from Haslinger, great lighting and grand settings – as a simple heist film with interesting characters it works perfectly.
Nevertheless, the camera work takes you out of the moment, robbing Takers of any finesse and tension.