Managed To Make It Midway To A Quality War Film

Midway Poster

 

War is hell a wise person once said, and in many ways we the general public have no idea what it was like on those battlegrounds where so many sacrificed so much.  Fortunately for many of us, the movies have offered a glimpse into the world, opening our eyes to the world that cares little of its soldiers in regards to decency and humane treatment.  Many of these films are often about the action, and while not as prominent as they once were back in the day, they still offer some intense views of history.  Past this introduction, this weekend, yet another historical remake is flying in to make a landing, in hopes of wowing the group once more with its depiction of the great war.  Robbie K here with yet another review as we look into:

 

Movie: Midway (2019)

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Modern Technology Prowess

Multiple Aspect providing different viewpoints

The Intensity Of Some War Scenes

The Decent Acting

The Intelligence Aspect

 

DISLIKES:

 

Disjointed Plot

Too many Perspectives

The Semi Forced Love Story

The Choppiness of the scenes

Semi-sloppy use of big names

The Action Scenes

 

SUMMARY:

 

Modern technology allows us to make things more realistic and engaging, and should in theory lead to better fights.  In a way Midway accomplishes this by bringing the chaos with speaker booming effects, special effects that light up the screen, and dances with planes that once relied on plywood models.  It is certainly the selling points of the trailers and should appeal to the modern audiences expectations as realism and style come together.  This film though took a different approach compared to the previous theaters of war, not focusing so much on the action from America by itself, but instead dividing the focus between both parties involved.  This dynamic is impressive to see because it helps show the strategy involved in something you have only read about in a history textbook, allowing for a different appreciation of the tactics in war.  In fact, my favorite aspect, as well as my good buddy, both agreed that seeing the intelligence component involved with determining how to fight the Pacific campaign.  Much of the film is dedicated to showing how codes were cracked, departments coordinated, and risks were taken to determine the best places to strike and this new perspective was very strongly placed.  When the battles did finally occur, there are several moments where you get pulled into the intensity, feeling like you are part of the squad and in the cockpit during this operation.  Nice editing on these parts, and quite an adrenaline rush at the times it works.  Finally, the acting is not an issues in this film, as all personalities of war are brought in and everyone executes there roles quite well when they are on stage.  I’m not saying Academy Award Level, but it’s believable and appropriate for this film’s approach.

 

For all its worth though, there are several limitations for this reviewer that make the film a little less impressive compared to its predecessors.  For one thing, the film feels disjointed, as our time hops and evolution of war occur a little too frequently to necessarily keep track of everything.  All the pesrpectives, while again interesting, also have too much going on, leading to breaking up a lot of scenes just as they start cooking with gas.  The result is a rather contained movie that struggles to find the approach it wants, with choppy scenes that sort of scatter the coordination rather than unite it.  This is especially true for the romance story they try to put in here, which was unnecessary giving the presentation and could have been left out.  Throw in several attempts at character development, the potential bonds that can form between a number of characters, and even the squad mates themselves and you again get sort of piece meal presentations that did not achieve what Pearl Harbor did long ago.  Once more, this reviewer feels part of this is due to how many big names they have, trying to get the most out of the big price tags that come with them.  Midway’s crew acts just fine, but there were so many missed elements and character interactions that I feel many of these people were unnecessary.  Certainly they were able to point out all the contributions they did, but to deny the full fledged chemistry and quality, well that was the disappointment for me.  Finally, the action scenes.  An action junky like me always crave for cohesive battle scenes that utilize their groups well, something that the early war movies, and even some films like Saving Private Ryan knew how to do.  In this one, all the perspectives and heroes were scattered that the action scenes felt again very sloppy and short, chopped up moments that ended too fast or how long it took to start.  Again realistically it accomplishes the portrayal, but at this point and with what the trailers built up… I wanted more out of a modern day, technological behemoth like this one looked to be.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Let’s wrap it up then shall we?  Midway accomplishes the idea of putting modern faces in traditional stories, and this theater of wars proves that trying new things does not always come together for this reviewer.  Sure, the technological advantages are good and all the actors recruited do their parts to bring the group of heroes to life and retell the legacies of men who faced the demons of war.  I’ll also again give them props for focusing a lot on the strategy and intelligence required to pull off the miracle that we did.  However, all of these perspectives and approaches to the story made for what looked like a difficulty to focus on the story they wanted to tell.  The result is again a disjointed movie that struggles to bring A games to any perspective, and relies on B and C graded stories.  Your truly would have loved a little more action to come together, as the trailers promised, but at least the intelligence parts work together to make for an engaging plot.  For special effects it qualifies for a theater visit, but outside of that, hold this one for home viewing instead.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/War/History/Action:   6.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

Incomplete Artistic Liberties Derail This UnderGround Railroad Story

Harriet Poster

    Historical dramas are another fine genre to grace the new age, but with them you get artistic liberties that sometimes does not go the way they planned.  Yet, we keep trying to make the next ultimate movie to bring these people to modern times, and help teach their contributions to society through the magic of film.  So what does tonight’s film have to offer?  That’s where yours truly comes in and thus Robbie K is here with another review as we check out:

 

Movie: Harriet (2019)

 

Director:

Kasi Lemmons

Writers:

Gregory Allen Howard (screenplay by), Kasi Lemmons(screenplay by)

Stars:

Cynthia ErivoLeslie Odom Jr.Joe Alwyn

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Recreation Of History
  • The Cultural Songs
  • The Dialogue
  • The Acting

 

DISLIKES:

  • Pacing is Off
  • A Little Too Montage Moments
  • Other characters to be integrated
  • Weaker Antagonist Characters
  • The Vision Piece Of The Puzzle
  • The Action Component or lack of

Summary:

 

Movies continue to prove their abilities to act as windows into different worlds, and in this case the budget they have is impressive in recreating the troubled times of our countries past.  Harriet’s dive back into the Civil War comes with impressive recreations of a time forgotten, bringing the simplicity of the plantations and the surrounding towns to full life to immerse one into the culture.  Costumes play a major support adding a subtle edge to the movie that will integrate you into the culture a little more.  This is perhaps the biggest strength of Harriet, showing cultural components of the time period and while the visual elements are impressive the writing only augments that to bigger levels.  Harriet loves showing off the song traditions of that time period, in the power of religious hymns and soul music that not only served to inspire, but acted as a means of signaling to others.  Erivo’s voice holds the power you expect of this music, and while I would have liked more diversity in the song I give props to the use and execution of the power melodies that Tubman held in this film.  Fortunately, this thing is not a musical, and the rest of the spoken word contains a powerful dialogue that makes for a wonderful platform of explaining the story.  Harriet’s dialogue contains the raw passion of the times, bringing out the emotional fury of the times, while also the passion of the people.  It’s deep, metaphor filled writing is the stuff novelists love to unleash, and it will surely be on quotable boards in future classrooms.  As to who unleashes that writing, well the actors get the props and skills from this reviewers to bring that fire to the film.  Erivo leads the group into dealing out how much hurt and anguish the people of this time had, and showing how it fueled their drive to bring people to freedom.  It’s a bit overdramatic I’ll admit, but when honed with the words, you get those models that made the women behind me comment in agreement and potentially act as the focal point of the movie.

 

Yet, for all the passion that the movie has there are some things that I was not impressed with.  For one thing the pacing feels a little off for me, starting out slow and meticulous at the set-up, only to go fast in the journey to freedom, before going slow once more.  The stop and go approach has never been my preference, and based on the expectations from the trailers I had hoped for a little more conflict and impasse to add spark to the mix.  Sadly, the montage approach was used where only small segments took the form of the rescuing scenes and intense moments that was a little disappointing to be honest.  Now let’s take in the characters that were built up in the beginning.  Most of them practically don’t exist, guess that’s why it is called Harriet I guess, and it led to many characters feeling only as afterthoughts and not really involved in the story.  I would have liked to see some of these people work alongside her, have more character involvement, than small exchanges, especially when they went to all the trouble to introduce and try to build them up.  But, the drama aspect takes over and leads to very dramatic, bluntly ended affairs that were almost not needed.  It’s like these intense moments were just the seasoning on a burger, rather than the meat, leading to flat ended plots that were a little boring to say the least.  This is especially true for the antagonists, men I thought would be ruthless hounds in their pursuit of Harriet, with legendary skills that would push Harriet to the heights of her abilities.  Instead, we get egotistical, weaker characters that do little to contribute to the story outside of, looking like grandiose fools and do a little hurting on the side.  I’m with a lot of fans here in stating that if you are going to blur the line of reality and fantasy, do it in a little more style with characters that actually made the journey worthwhile.  Another thing I’m mixed about is the vision aspect of the movie.  Harriet’s connection to the Lord is one I’ll always envy from this film in getting communication back, but the way this movie did it made it like a super power that acted as her means of movie.  An original twist?  Yes!  What was needed for this movie?  I don’t think so and can’t say this vision was my cup of tea.  Finally, I had hoped that the trailers showing Harriet wielding guns and an army was going to add a little more flair to the mix, helping with the pacing and adding that edge that we discussed earlier.  Perhaps then the movie magic decisions would have been worth the effort.

 

The VERDICT:

            Depending on what you are going in here for will determine how much of Harriet you like.  It’s certainly the dramatic flair of modern cinema, taking lots of liberties to make history a little more pleasing to the attention span of today.  If you can appreciate the liberties, the full-on passion and professional writing for powerful monologues then I feel you’re going to enjoy the attitude of this film.  Throw in some impressive visual recreation and acting to bring all this to life, and well you’ve got the world of dramatic Civil War.  However, if you are looking for historical accuracy or at least a dramatic world that has a lot more edge and character involvement, then prepared to be ignorant or disappointed.  Harriet’s  artistic liberties were appreciated, but in the long run it did not come altogether for me and I was left wanting a little more investment to bring this magnificent woman’s story to life. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Biography/Drama:   6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

Is This a Dark Fate For The Series?

Terminator: Dark Fate Poster

 

The Terminator timeline is like a game of connect the dots that suddenly gets more dots and has to be redrawn.  No matter how many times we think the story is over, the team’s quest for more bucks finds ways to try and give “unique” stories, but still keep it in the universe.  After the reception of the last film, I can’t lie that I’m surprised a sixth installment is coming.  Yet here we are, ready to review the latest entry into the Sci-Fi franchise.  What’s ins tore?  Well Robbie K is here to shed some light and potentially alter your future.  Let’s get started!

 

Movie: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

 

Director:

Tim Miller

Writers:

James Cameron (story by), Charles H. Eglee (story by)

Stars:

Linda HamiltonArnold SchwarzeneggerMackenzie Davis

 

 

Likes:

  • Good Acting
  • Funny At Times
  • Better Character Development
  • Surprisingly Deeper
  • The Graphics At Time
  • The Pace
  • The Action

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Predictability
  • The Unnecessary Politics
  • The Computer Graphics
  • Bloated At Points
  • More Action Needed
  • Convoluting The Timeline Even Further

 

SUMMARY

 

A Terminator movie has never been known for Academy Award winning performances, but this reviewer will not lie that he enjoyed the acting.  The classic champions of the franchise succeed in reliving their characters, bringing a new light to the simplistic roles, but yet being familiar.  Meanwhile newcomers like Davis and Reyes succeed in fitting into the new roles that the franchise wants them to take.  It’s not the most complicated of the roles, but the it works for the premise of the film.  The writing stems from those characters being the simple cat and mouse game with a little gun play involved, but in this installment the comedy seems to be there once more to offset the darker tones, with simple jokes integrated into natural conversation that make fans like me laugh.  All of this boils down to more dynamic characters, where people are much more than simple fodder for the terminators, but instead starting to show more heart and wisdom then what I think I have seen in any film.  This opens up into a surprisingly deeper film, finally achieving characters that we want to see, instead of the generic one-dimensional shells that are no better than the robots they are fighting, which is something I enjoyed.  Yet, this does not mean the Terminators have deviated too much from their normal delivery of the Terminator films.  The computer graphics have continued to improve, helping beef up action sequences, and help design one of the deadliest series to date.  These qualities are the thumbs up of computer technology in this film and things I absolutely love to see.  When it comes to the pace of the film, Dark Fates keeps things moving, refusing to linger too long as they chase/hunt continues and the defense plans need to evolve.  For guys like me, this pace is welcomed, because it keeps things exciting, but yet does not move so fast that the character development is rushed.  The heavy dialogue moments are then interrupted by some decent action sequences, with the first and last moments holding the planning and execution of scenes I like.  Fights are vicious, fun, exciting, and have the darkness to allow for some seriously awesome moves and struggles that are fitting of this series.

 

Sadly with all the stuff I enjoyed of the film, there are still some things the series is working to find balance in for me.  First, the predictability of the story is probably one of the most obvious things I’ve seen in a long time.  Attempts to hide the truth are poorly diverted, with too many nonverbal cues and obvious bait liners present to point the trend along the entire time until the “big’ reveal at the end.  Like, many films, Terminator 6 has fallen victim to the political messages of the time, with some lines, and the twist, a little too focused on these issues that did not seem quite a needed in this tale.  All these political entanglements with attempts to throw us off the scent led to the film being a little bloated, the over 2 hours run time that not needed when there were some things that could have been cut.  At this point you might be saying, who cares about the story, I’m in this film for the thrills and chaos.  Well even at this point Terminator’s team still has a few things to tune up.  For one thing, the computer work may have thumbs up in design and sound editing, but they still have not mastered the ability for the smoothest/most realistic looking action.  There are some movements and transitions that still look a little corny to me, and I laughed at the obvious actor placement that they threw into the mix.  In addition, there could have been either a few more action moments or maybe a little more evolved action to again make the entire time investment worth it.  Terminator’s opening moment sets the bar high, and it would have been nice to see the momentum carried on, or at least the finale having even more bite to go hand in hand with the storytelling.  Overall though, this film is all about further convoluting the timeline and potentially opening up for the next chapter that is “different” but yet the same.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Going into with lower expectations, I’ll admit I enjoyed Dark Fates on a variety of levels.  Old and new cast team up to start the legacy of the film off right, brining character development that is deeper than anticipated and style that is aggressively awesome.  With fast pace and action to keep things moving, alongside some impressive video and sound editing, this film delivers on the special effects boom.  Yet, the film still cannot find the full balance it needs, bringing predictability and politics to what should be a film that is willing to take a step into new realms.  Throw in some work with the special effects and better finesse of the action scenes, this bloated part of the film could have been filed away to make a better film.  Still, worth a trip to the theater for this one, especially for fans of the series. 

 

My scores are: 

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Black and Blue Political View

Black and Blue Poster

 

Politics drives the film a lot more than I care to admit, but as a fellow reviewer said recently, it’s a new age and they are giving what the audience wants.  So tonight’s film looks to be one of these issue driven films wrapped in a potential action casing.  Yet, trailer artists are impressive in their ability to hook us into the film and so reviewers like me are here to give some thoughts as to the quality of the latest film.  Get ready, because here we go as I take a look into:

 

Movie: Black & Blue (2019)

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

Peter A. Dowling

Stars:

Naomie HarrisMike ColterFrank Grillo

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • Nice Portrayal of a Cultural War Zone
  • Dynamic passing of the hot item
  • Music that Portrays The Attitude
  • More Suspense Than Some Other Films

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Drawn Out
  • Some Suspense Of Disbelief
  • Politics Take Priority Over Story
  • Stereotypes
  • Language
  • Some undeveloped aspects
  • The Action

 

Summary:

When you have a pollical feature you need to have people to play the new age champions of the generation.  Well they picked fantastic cast members to bring it to life with Naomie Harris the beacon of hope in this emotionally charged film.  She’s a hero that brings the motivation and good intentions to life in a character that is meant to be the focal point.  Tyrese Gibson brings his usual charm to the film, an edge that shows being tough, but curbed to not be quite the hot head his Fast And Furious counterpart shines in.  The rest of the cast begins to come together to paint their various characters, but it’s really these two that shined for this reviewer.  Outside of portraying the character swell, I nod to the portrayal of a cultural war zone, where modern society feels different pressures that results in the divisions seen in the media.  Black and Blue’s emotion is actually much derived from the setting, a nice touch to the political piece of the film.  With that hot item that is the body cam, this film got creative in the means of passing the hot item around like the world’s most intense game of hot potato.  I give them props for the means of passing the information it contains, and the solutions they come up with to work around things.  It adds the suspense element to the film, and I’ll admit there was a little more intensity to the film in determining how far both parties were willing to go to achieve their goals.  And to be truthful, it is that suspense that makes the true entertaining value of the movie.  Finally, the music brought into this film goes the extra mile to add that last bit of finesse to document the energy and emotion of the film.

 

For all the good this drama did though, there are some thing I think overshadow the entertainment piece of the movie.  It starts with the predictability, another linear tale where thanks to trailers, obvious dialogue, and stale writing, you have enough foreshadows to lead you to the end of the film.  What’s worse is that knowing the ending that is coming, it takes a little longer to get where you are going.  Black and Blue is a bit too drawn out for me, a little too bloated with these monologues and boring exchanges that starts to blunt the suspense mentioned earlier for the more political nature.  Throw in some suspense of disbelief and well you get the toned-down moments that other reviewers have talked about.  Yet where the movie really starts to lose it for me is the focus on politics over the other elements.  For those who want the relatability of an issue, who like the realism drawn into the film, and rooting for your champions as they make the first steps towards change, this movie is for you.  However, for me the stereotypes and directed writing got a bit overwhelming for me and sort of retracted from the things I thought the trailer was going to show.  Again, the movie manages to capture a realer tone with the language and mannerisms, but the aggressive use of these devices usually leaves a bland taste in my mouth so I can’t say it was a win for me.  Still, another big weakness is the sort of lackadaisical development of the movie’s aspect such as full rounded character development, histories of some key people, even the better integration of those threat elements could have gone a long way to round out the story and make the time investment worthwhile.  Finally, the action, the one thing I thought this movie was wrapped in is sadly missing for much of the movie.  The drama is the main entertaining factor, but it really need a few more gun battles, chases, and warlike feature I had hoped would spice things up.  Sadly, there are only a few short-lived moments that quickly cease and fall into the past.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Black And Blue is going to be the movie that will appeal to those that love a politically fervor movie with attitude and aggressive visualization of key events.  It’s got the  emotional aspect to it, brought to life by the cast, setting, and suspenseful game of hot potato that is a key factor.  For Drama lovers and crime lovers this is your bread and butter movie of the week so far, but for action lovers well hold your horses.  The political component is the one you have to prepare for, because it is going to be the key factor that is stretched out, slow, and a little bloated.  I’m not sure how people will respond to the painstakingly obvious issues and dialogue, the stereotypical roles and the portrayals of the cast.  For me I would have liked better story, more developed aspects of the film, and certainly more excitement to help amp up the suspense.  All in all though, the movie needs to find a little more balance and excitement before I can say it’s worth the trip to the theater, so hold out for Netflix on this one if you can.  With that said, my scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Is This Double Tap Lethal To The Series, Or An Evolution In Sequels?

Zombieland: Double Tap Poster

 

Ten years ago, a cult phenomenon was born that beat out the wave of zombie films/shows that currently walk amongst us.  It was a fun comedy that was aggressive, bold, and downright different which made it a legend in the film world.  So ten years later… it seems like the perfect time for a sequel in Hollywood’s eyes.  Thus, yours truly reviews the rules, stocks up on plenty of ammunition, and is ready to take another tap at the zombie world as he reviews:

 

Movie: Zombieland: Double Tap

 

Director:

Ruben Fleischer

Writers:

Dave Callaham (screenplay), Rhett Reese (screenplay)

Stars:

Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergEmma Stone

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Plot’s Pace
  • The Comedy
  • The Action Scenes, when actually happening
  • The References
  • The Mid Credit Scene
  • Woody Harrelson

DISLIKES:

  • The Plot is weaker
  • The Overkill of Carnage
  • The Under Utilization Of Most New Actors
  • The Blonde Ditzy side gets old
  • The New Location is a let down
  • More Action Was Needed For Me
  • The End Credit Scene

 

SUMMARY:

Much like the first film, Zombie Land is not afraid to dive in and establish all the new rules and get right into the continuation of the “noble” journey. Once it gets started, the pace does not let up as the movie dives into a rapid tale of once again migrating from area to area in search of new wonders and new creatures.  As simple as it sounds, the movie does accomplish the goal of making you laugh, recruiting some new jokes into a natural flow that works so well to entertain with the aggressive insults, the slapstick antics, and ridiculous idiocy this series capitalizes on!  The comedy is certainly new, with super creative, over the top antics that only push the envelope to extreme even further, but never quite lifting the finger on the pulse of ZombieLand comedy.    It’s ridiculousness that fans love sticks around in every aspect including the action scenes which hold all the charm that zombie slaying games have made famous.  It’s vicious, it’s fun, and more importantly still brings out the stupid humor in the form of klutzy coordination, all while increasing the excitement.  In addition, the references are always fun to dive into, as the history of movies, music, and cultural trends are poked fun at while being utilized as survival tools/classifications.  Younger audience members may not quite get them all, but seasoned viewers will enjoy the iconic recreations and integrations to add to the comedy. Much of this is accomplished by the writing, but the writing gets brought to life by the actors and while most of the cast comes back in super form… it’s Harrelson who wins the award for me.  His ire from Haymitch, the sarcasm of the teacher from Seventeen, and the gun slinging of the western desperado drive the movie and had me laughing the most while still enjoying the character, something the others did not quite accomplish.  Finally, to answer the questions, yes there is a mid and end credits scene and truth be told the mid credits scene may have been the best part of the movie.  I won’t spoil anything, but definitely stick around to have what many dreamed of become a reality and totally worth sticking around to enjoy, or at least find on YouTube later.

 

Despite all the familiarity and additions though, Zombieland did fail on some levels for this reviewer.  First, I found the plot weaker. Although very similar to the first one, the quest they set out for, to which the trailers made famous, was rather lame and short sighted.  An almost watered-down copy of the original, and while it meets the rules of the universe it set up, it also was not the fresh revisit I had hoped.  In addition, the carnage overkill was a little much for me, primarily in watching constant puking and pointless overshooting that only goes so far for me before it gets old.  And speaking of overkill, the dumb blonde moments of Madison (Zoey Deutch) were a little too much for me as her air headedness was unrelenting.  At first cute, and actually quite well timed, Madison’s character was a nice mix to the usual impassive tone of the other crew, but about halfway through the movie, that fun started going too stupid for me and only kept getting worse.  You may notice a number of characters that are being introduced to help out with introducing new blood, and in a new way it does, but for me many of the characters were not that exciting, unique, or even utilized the way the trailers suggested.  As such, can’t say I was impressed for the new twist they tried to introduced and the rather sloppy execution outside of a few good laughs.  Like last time there is a new destination set to offer salvation, but unlike the amusement park this place is a little… boring.  Design wise and plot device wise it works with the jokes and bizarre sense of humor, but it’s simplicity and magnitude are far less than the first installments dive into zombie madness.  At least we get a semi-decent action scene and a new award to go with it, but I’d hoped for a little more excitement like the first one’s climax.  This brings me to the action, or the fact that there was more needed in order to help out with giving a little more excitement to the film.  Zombieland 2 really focused on the ridiculousness and the comedy than the guts to glory action and for a junkie like me… it would have been nice to see the full package.  This is especially true in again the end, which although unique and fun, just did not have the climax I was looking for.  In addition, the end credit scene was also a big letdown, more like an outtake of the mid-credit scene than anything worthwhile and thus not worth sticking around.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Zombieland 2 is a decent sequel that offers the same laughs and dose of comedy extremes that the fanbase seems to love.  It has enough nod to the old to make fans smile, but also added enough new to help actually make a second tap worth the effort, primarily in the writing, references, and Woody Harrelson taking charge once more.  Yet, as many sequels show, the film’s evolution brought more superficial thrills to the gene pool than actual plot, resulting in a rather shallow pool to kill in.  Over usage of gimmicks and personality flaws, while underutilizing new characters, locations, and even the action to a degree made me a little sad at the lack of inspiration.  Still it’s got the fun medium and special effects to warrant a trip to the theater, especially in a group like the sports teams did the other night at my theater.  Factoring in everything my scores are:

 

Action/Comedy/Horror:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Gemini MAN-aged to DeAge and Excite, But Was Not A Successful Action Clone

Gemini Man Poster

 

 

Will Smith, a legendary actor who has found various avenues to bring his work to someone you know, maybe even you.  Whether you think everything he is touching is gold, or varies in spectrum, I have to give the man props for his bravery of taking on these roles.  Today, after many years of being in the works, a supposed personal interest rears its head after months of advertising in hopes that it will rock the socks off the audience.  Thanks to technology catching up, we get this weekend to check out the film:

 

Movie: Gemini Man (2019)

 

Director:

Ang Lee

Writers:

David Benioff (screenplay), Billy Ray (screenplay)  |3 more credits »

Stars:

Mary Elizabeth WinsteadWill SmithClive Owen

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Comedy
  • The Acting
  • The Pace (somewhat)
  • The Action Scenes
  • The Technology

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Plot
  • The Predictability
  • The Commercial spoilers
  • More Action
  • The Ending

 

Summary:

 

Like any movie with darker/grittier themes, you sometimes need a good timed joke to relieve you from the cloud of dismay that hovers over the world.  Gemini does this without breaking its stride, finding ways to throw jabs and some banter into a rather linear, monotone dialogue and captivate on the laughs. Much of this is due to Benedict Wong for me, but Smith manages to get a little Fresh Prince vibes going into help get a chuckle.  Despite a number of reviews calling the acting mundane, this reviewer found that it was not quite the spectrum that people claim it to be, more so in the characters themselves.  Again, Wong manages to be the best one for me, with Ms. Winstead bringing a close second alongside the younger version of Will.  The chemistry is sort of there, but it works to bring the simplistic chess pieces into this story and get the thrills going.  Instead of award-winning performance, the focus of this film is definitely going for the action setting, and this is where I think the studio’s efforts shine.  First off, the pace is much like an action film, trying to get started on a high note, and diving into valleys of jargon and one-note conversations that try to complicate a rather simple plot before going into the action sequences.  At these exciting moments is where I give my favorite aspect to, for they were able to bring most of the scenes to the level of excitement I wanted without breaking their reality.  Chase sequences and close combat really shined for me in this movie, with the technology and camera work, alongside the sound effects of course, being designed to add that adrenaline-fueled excitement that I love.  For the technology itself, I give Lee and his team props because they successfully accomplished the impossible of de-aging and it looks smooth as silk (for most parts) and beautifully done.  A young Will Smith vs. his older self was the selling theme and they capitalized on this technology that is sure to come into play with the next decade of films.

 

As I have to agree though, there are limitations that come with this special effects loaded cinema piece.  First of all, the plot took a major hit, designing itself more around action scenes instead of vice-versa.  It’s a predictable piece of work with targets drawn in red well before any action occurs, with a rather shallow version of this whole ordeal, and back stories that are mediocre at best for me.  Not diving into the emotional pieces, or at least exploiting them a little, left for simplistic characters and monotone pieces that offered little to grasp on to outside of when the next display of fighting would occur.  What took away from the splendor of this is the amount of advertising that sort of flooded every avenue of media.  You’ll get much of the tale in the commercials, with only one twist avoiding its eye, though you can probably piece it together.  Thus, only the full extent of the action scenes escapes the spoiling component and is worth the investment.  Yet, again for an action movie I was hoping for a little more of the high energy scenes than what I got.  Gemini man proved its strength and it needed to flex more of those moments instead of this cat and mouse game of dialogue and shallow character development. This is especially true at the ending, where everything is super rushed, hastily finished, and very lack luster that just reveals all the predictable plot elements and tries to handle loose ends.  Sure, it’s got a bit of a 90s closer at the finish that I liked, but the climax was a peak that was shorter than the mid movie point.

 

The VERDICT:

            In truth Gemini Man is not awful, but it certainly is not the spectacle that the trailers tried to build up, but in truth it does have some qualities I think that they wanted to achieve.  Above all, the technology accomplished the goals set out by the project in terms of de-aging someone and making it look super believable.  Throw in that most of the technology comes together to make for action scene spectaculars that will have fans dancing in their seats in excitement at this fast-paced feature.  Sadly, the reviewers are right that the plot and characters are very simplistic, with a predictable and low developed plot shoved into the run time, where focus on action leads to hasty wrap ups and a sloppy finish for this reviewer.  Perhaps if more time had been looked into the plot as the technology it would have pleased more, but for the wait, well it is not quite worth it for this guy.  Therefore, my scores are:

 

Action/Drama/Sci-fi:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5-5.0

Is This Rambo’s Last Blood Fest?

Rambo: Last Blood Poster

 

 

He’s the man with a mug and muscles.  A legendary collection of characters whose stories continue to hold their place in history and face the test of time.  Surprisingly, he manages to continue putting those stars of decades past into the modern times so that they can continue to rake in the attention, fame, and potentially tell a story doing it.  I’m talking aboutSylvester Stallone, the one-man action star who despite the passing years still does what he can to bring the boom. Tonight’s feature is an unretired action legend that decades ago sunk his knife into our hearts, and now years later, he’s trying to do it again with modern tools.  What is in store?  Well that’s where I come in to give some insight as Robbie K is back with another look at:

 

Film: Rambo Last Blood (2019)

 

Director:

Adrian Grunberg

Writers:

Matthew Cirulnick (screenplay by), Sylvester Stallone (screenplay by)  |3 more credits »

Stars:

Sylvester StallonePaz VegaYvette Monreal

 

 

LIKES:

 

Stallone’s character still adapting

Great use of cinematography to get the feeling

Touching Side of Rambo

The Rambo Action Package At The End

Montage

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Lacking Depth

Wasted Characters

Lame Villains

First hour is cliché, simplistic build up

A Little Too Much Focus Of Blood

Inconsistencies in this film’s logic

 

SUMMARY:

 

Rambo has gone through some of the darkest battles and nightmares we only glimpse in films, so seeing his journey of moving past that is always nice to see.  Last Blood’s attempt to push the character to new levels gets a nod of respect, especially seeing the doors to his inner character open to reveal the touching side of Rambo.  Sure, you’ve seen this vulnerability at moments in the past, but for this film you really get an in-depth dive into this new side which will help you appreciate the legend even more.  Much of this is due to the acting, which is okay but works, but I liked the cinematography and use of filming filters and techniques to help bring out that depth. Much of this most aren’t going to care about, so perhaps the use of the film technique is better suited for the carnage that Rambo films bring.  True to the title, there is plenty of blood and gore to bring to the table, as modern technology and focus on violence comes rushing into the last fifteen to twenty minutes of the film.  The loud wet smacks, the red carnage, the screams of agony, and intense focus will give you more than an eye full of Rambo’s tactics to fill you to the brim and really end on an exciting climax.  Note: This is not like the 80s blood so those thinking of taking impressionable minds need to think five times before trekking this.  When all is said and done through and the credits start rolling, the last montage of Rambo’s past adventures will seal up the deal in what may or may not be the last film of the franchise.

 

Now I’ll be the first to admit that a Rambo film is not always the fleshed out, Oscar Worthy pick that will shatter new levels. However, I do recall that at least the first two films had a decent story to drive the adventure and help begin to expand on our… hero.  This film did offer a touching side, but Last Blood’s plot is very predictable, a linear voyage that lacks the depth that other installments do.  To take sixty to seventy minutes of the film and not provide the John Rambo action sooner was well a little disappointing.  This cliché, simplistic build up again had some heart, and is true to the character to some level, but the other characters they introduced were not utilized well.  His family and a potential new friend “contributed”, but they just did not have the same level of involvement his usual supporting characters do.  I would also say the villains did not quite have the same bite. Past rivals to John Rambo had military training, corrupt armies, or inside information for them to abuse. This one though, is just a bunch of greasy looking thugs, who certainly deserve the fight, but lack any bite to them and were quite unimpressive for the most part making the “battle” certainly justice filled, but again one sided and missing that exciting spark.  The bloodlust the director and squad chose this time were a bit more of the plan than actual battling, and Rambo’s continued pushing of the red paint was quite overloaded for me, but may be right up the alley of others.  What also took away from me was the inconsistencies in the film’s logic.  Rambo’s choices in body armor, why they showed almost every grotesque way to kills, but then skip other kills, or even more so why the Mexican Cartel lacked brains in this installment is beyond me.

 

The VERDICT

 

            Overall, Rambo: Last Blood has the same simplistic approach the rest of the movies have done, but they did not quite execute as well for me.  The story elements were sacrificed for superficial components, and the definition of action packed is a little different from my worldview.  Sure, it’s all about building up a justified tale of vengeance, and it does open up the side of Rambo that is outside the rugged stoicism that he loves.  Yet, the modern take of extreme, weak villains, underutilized characters, and focus on the blood took away from the balance the first film did so well.  Still, I’ll agree with my fellow reviewers that if you are a die-hard fan and want the modern technology to blend with it, this fil is for you.  All others, I would hold out for, and for everyone please don’t take those that are too young to this blood fest. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5