War Ready For Action. Needs Repairs For A Story

Pacific Rim Uprising


Giant Robots or Giant Monsters, which of the two titans is the better combatant for the silver screen?  That question has continued to test audience members discussion boards as behemoths like King Kong and Godzilla try to usurp the title from Optimus Prime and Megatron.  Tonight’s movie though, doesn’t make you choose, because it combines the two in an epic throw down that will hopefully please both sides of the spectrum.  Pacific Rim Uprising rears back to make some noise this weekend, and yours truly is here to report his findings on the latest silver screen smash to guide your viewing needs.  Let’s get started!



Special Effects:  Most will be tired of the CGI haven these movies have become, but yours truly appreciates the work that went into unleashing the havoc.  The design of the new robots gets a round of applause, with sleek angular designs, some new tricks, and a fluid movement that fit well with the Japanese monster movie feel.  Monster wise, the Kaijou aren’t as prominent as the first film, but once breached, the monsters have got their own unique design that is odd, but again fitting in theme, with movements that again work with the pace of the movie.  And of course, all the lights, punches, and collapsing buildings are beautifully brought to life in all their dazzling, speaker rustling greatness. 


The Story:  While certainly not the best to grace the screen, the movie’s predictable plot has a few twists and spins on the mix to keep things interesting.  In a movie where smashing and fights are the key, you don’t always get the deepest tale, but it works in explaining what happened in the ten years and the whole grand design of the plot.  Unlike its predecessor, the movie managed to cut off a lot of fat to present this in a neat, less than 2-hour, package.  As such, you have all the elements to put a reason behind the fighting and keep as many characters as involved.


The Acting:  Believe it or not, the acting is a step up from other films in this genre.  The main stars of John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and Cailee Spaeny all work in that dysfunctional family united by challenging times way.  Still, they all manage to bring some power to otherwise simple characters that are semi-engaging to watch.  Of all of them… I think Boyega gets my vote for having the best acting of all, being pushed across all realms to make a balanced character.  As for Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, they are the comedic relief and do it well, but also manage to have some involvement in the story (nice directing) and not trying to sell themselves anyway. 


The Action:  I’ve gone through all the stuff you might care about, but let’s face it, this series is more known for its action and that’s what you want.  Well, for this reviewer it a step up compared to the first installment.  Timing the movie, about 70% of the film involved some type of action, a majority involving the metallic behemoths fighting one giant obstruction after another.  The battles have more variety than part 1, managing to help one differentiate one battle from another.  What makes me even happier to report, is that the team listened to reviews and actually utilized their other robots more, instead of dropping them out in five minutes flat.  While still not the greatest utilization of secondary robots, it was miles better for me in the long run, making the last 30 minutes of the movie, an action-packed climax to close the story out.




The Comedy at Times:  The movie is ridiculous, I get it, but the comedy sometimes is a little too ridiculous and distracting from the overall tone of the movie.  A random aside here and there works, but when over utilized as it is in this film, well…then it gets rusty and breaks down.  In addition, there are some asides that felt awkward at the moment they chose to unleash it, jumping in amidst the action scenes when they would have fit in other realms.  These culminations weren’t my favorite use of comedic relief, as I think it crossed into corniness a few times.


Shallow Character Development:  Monster movies are seldom about our main characters growing a lot, but we’ve had previous installments capable of achieving this balance.  Pacific Rim Uprising is not one of these movies.  While Boyega’s Jake has a little more complexity in terms of everyone knowing him, the rest of the cast have less depth to them past a few traumatic backstories to garnish them up.  This is highly evidenced in the other pilots outside the main crew who after getting named are reduced to the shadows given the grand complexity of the film.  Uprising proves too busy to invest in its characters, but most may not care as long as they get a good smashing.  Still better than the last few transformers though. 


Obsidian Fury:  As cool as the name and design, I had hoped the new bot would have more point to it, but this is again where the movie fails on at least a story level.  The antagonizing robot brings a pretty epic fist fight, but plot wise it felt out of place, a tangent leading down a path that was as cold as the artic frontier it somewhat takes place in.  Yes, there are some purposes it serves, but as the movie’s plot progresses, its relevance became less and less for me, until it was just a convenient distraction.


Trailer Syndrome:  One thing this day of advertising is famous for, is revealing too much in shorter movies like this.  Pacific Rim Uprising’s biggest spoiler is that much of that awesome last battle has already been shown in the trailers.  Catch all three of the trailers and you pretty much have pieced 75% of that sequence, with the other 25% feeling very nostalgic/overdramatic.  I had hoped for some more dynamic moments to bypass that syndrome, or less advertising, but I didn’t get my wish again.  So, avoid the trailers and you’ll be okay.



            Pacific Rim Uprising doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a monster/robot movie.  It gives you the CGI thrills, spills, and chills in terms of design and the sound editing beautifully complements it.  While the story is not the deepest, it works for the most part, allowing plenty of time to cram in the action you oh so wanted to see.  Yet, the movie still has to work on its balance learning to not cram so much into the film and maximize on elements that the movie is going to be known for.  In addition, stop revealing everything in the trailers and it means less elaborate scenes you have to shoot to make up for it.  So, looking for a monster vs. robot’s movie?  Look no further, because this film is a success in terms of the action and big battles that are theater worthy.  As a film as a whole though, the movie still has a lot of repairs to make, before it becomes war ready.  Oh well, we at least have a soundtrack to get you revved up. 


My scores:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5



The Panther King

Black panther


Another Marvelous weekend is here and it holds another Disney branded film to be released into the local theaters.  The superhero theme of the weekend strays from the normal leads you’ve seen in the last few years, one who has more ferocity than the usual crew, maybe outside of the Hulk.  Yes, I’m talking about Black Panther, and after much anticipation it is here and ready to unleash the cat within.  Does this highly awaited film meet expectations?  Robbie K is here to help out, with yet another movie review.  Sit back, relax, and read on as I help out with your movie going pleasures.




The Cinematography:  A good hero movie requires good visuals to bring it to life, and Black Panther reigns supreme on this level.  After some unique storytelling art at the beginning, the movie resorts to beautiful blends of real-life, breathtaking shots and impressive visuals.  The movie drops you into what feels like a technologically advanced city, complete with James Bond like gadgets that feel super in themselves.  Black Panther’s camerawork is also very dynamic, energetic enough to increase the action, but contained enough to not leaving you nauseous or confused.


The Acting:  Marvel movies sometimes tank in this section, but again Black Panther raises the bar on this levelChadwick Boseman retains the regality of T’Challa from Civil War but adds more conflict and growth to the character as he struggles with the mantle of king. Michael B. Jordan comes back with a fire, once again showing that he earns his spot in Hollywood with an emotionally charged performance that seethes with that raw edge. Lupita Nyong’o brings the balance to the movie, portraying a character that acts as a solid bridge between all parties, keeping her dynamic performance balanced at the same time, while Danai Gurira grounds the characters down with her strong will and fantastic stage combat skills.  Letitia Wright is the comedy of the film who has a fantastic delivery of the well-written lines this movie has.  Almost all parties involved nailed their roles, with the chemistry between everyone favorably mixing to create what felt like a tribe.  Fantastic job casting director.


The Comedy: Marvel is all about making you laugh, sometimes making that the focus of the film and other times as a nice add-on.  Black Panther took the latter for me and was tastefully done to perhaps be one of the best executions of the Marvel Universe.  In this darker movie, there is a lot of tension and raw nerves exposed in the Savannah drama, with many negative emotions running rampant like the predators of the plains.  Yet, intermixed in this intensity is comedic gold, or vibranium in this case, well-placed to maximize laughs and clever to avoid the usual slapstick staleness that plagues most movies.  This style of comedy didn’t detract from the movie but added another layer to help reset the tension and keep you engaged in the movie from start to finish.  Plus, you’ve got a nice combination of styles in store as well, so two thumbs up for that.


The Emotion in the Story:  The movie does not have the most unique story, something hard to accomplish in this age of saturation. Yet this Marvel version of the Lion King is packed with so many moments to send one into an emotional fervor, sending you on a roller coaster ride of feelings.  Black Panther will be inspiring to many, bringing approving claps and motivation to change the world.  It’s a moral filled tale that brings out the dynamic use of technology, the importance of family, and the dilemmas of a new king having to face.  While I’m not the biggest supporter of dramas, Black Panther manages to make the drama feel less soap opera like that many movies fail to avoid. 


The Ending:  Many f Marvel’s movies often fail to find that satisfying ending to conclude the awesome tale.  Black Panther, manages to keep everything going from start to finish and brings all the building tension to full boil with an exciting climax.  All the characters are brought into the mix, having some involvement in the conflict at hand, as they fight in impressive choreographed battles.  And while our combatants dance in the virtual field, the story continues to progress and the characters develop with each swing of the weapon.  It utilizes all the elements that they had developed during the movie, which goes to show story telling is still alive.




Impressionable Hate:  More of a warning, the main villain is not only skilled and deadly, but has a surprising amount of hate contained in his chiseled body.  Killmonger is a character that has a lot of issues, and his plot to change the world is something that can motivate impressionable minds down the wrong avenue.  Be careful when taking friends and younger audience members to the film who have difficulty understanding character flaws.


Martin Freeman:  The movie did an okay job with the former hobbit, but I expected a lot more from Freeman’s character.  Though there is some comic relief, and a little action with his character, Freeman really didn’t feel that pertinent to the story until near the very end.  Such a legendary actor deserved some more relevance to the plot, some extra comedy, or at least some better development to justify the price tag that comes with him.  Not the weakest character mind you, but not what I expected.


More Action:  No surprise, Robbie want’s more action in his Marvel movie.  With Black Panther, I had worried that most of the excitement was ruined in the trailers, especially with a huge gap between those action-packed sequences.  Had it not been for the ending, I would have been disappointed in this quality, but still I wanted more to be unleashed in this movie to put T’Challa’s skills to the test.




            Black Panther is by far one of the better Marvel films to grace the theaters and shows promise for the future of the series.  The tale has fantastic visuals to bring the world to life, alongside amazing writing and acting to further bring Wakanda to the playing field. It keeps its characters engaged and fills the 2-hour 15-minute run time with an emotional fervor to keep you integrated into every aspect until that incredible ending sequence.  However, the movie still has a few limitations including needing a little more action, a dab more of Martin Freeman’s relevance, and a slight decrease in predictability to make this a perfect film in the Marvel universe.  Still, the film gets massive props for reviving the Marvel movement this year.  So definitely get out there and see Black Panther and unleash the beast that dwells within all us comic book fans. 


My scores are:


Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

A Cure To Extra Movies Telling The Story!

Death Cure


Books, once the primary medium for telling stories, has now become the newest screenplay source for Hollywood.  The big wigs are back this weekend with another dystopian novel coming up to the big screen in hopes of concluding the tale with that justice fans demand.  As these series are a mixed bag (Hunger games vs. Divergent), one may wonder how this book will fair, especially with the mixed response the first two have had.  Robbie K here, hoping to help you out with another movie weekend and hopefully save you some time and money.  Let’s go!




Strong Opening:  You always like your movie to grab your attention from the start, and the Death Cure is happy to accommodate.  The movie takes little time to get the excitement going, pumping into an action scene and kicking the pace off to 4th gear.  Even after the scene finishes, the movie sets things up quickly, to keep the pace and tension going, a plus given the long run time. I myself enjoyed the opening act of the film and how it was able to establish all three-story fronts and run them in tandem, accomplishing the balance of concise and complete.


Acting: To make these classics come to life, one must get the cast just right to bring these characters off the page.  Well the squad who was cast long ago, continues their strong work of capturing Thomas and his band of merry men.  Dylan O’Brien is the leading man again, getting the rebellious, battle hardened leader role down.  Stoic and heroic are his leading qualities, but handling that emotional vulnerability that comes with the role was a challenge well accomplished by this actor.  Ki Hong Lee, while not quite the champion he was in the first two installments, still keeps his calm in his role, securing the suffering portrayal and for once not sounding sexual when a character screams.  Kaya Scodelario as Theresa was a little dry and mundane at times, but starts to redeem herself and get her complexities down at the climax of the movie. And my favorite of the characters, Newt played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster who got all the emotions right, played the transition roles to point, and delivered some of the best speeches I’ve heard in a character. 


The Suspense: What I liked about this movie the most though, is how well they captured the suspense and tension of the film.  Unlike the earlier installments that hit those dead moments, the third installment manages to keep things always moving and on the edge.  With suspense and thrills packed in, it’s hard not to get lost in all the action on board and its nail biting, cleverness.  Loaded into this excitement though, is a bounty of emotions that rope you into the character’s struggles and tether the chaos to the story.  Riding this roller coaster was very satisfying, and personally, I loved how engged these characters were into the film as the epic conclusion started to arise.


The Final Scene: And after all this excitement, comes a finish that was perfect to wrap up the chaos at hand.  While not the most complete in terms of answers, the finale’s combination of epic soundtrack, emotional monologue, and cinematography brought goosebumps to my skin, and no it wasn’t due to a virus.  It’s this final punch that finally shows you can take a book series and end it epically, so stick around ladies and gents to see how trials finish up.




No refresher:  In most of these movies, the writers are able to remind you of the previous events in either dialogue or an opening montage.  Death Cure doesn’t remotely try to attempt to give you a refresher course, and for those who haven’t seen the films or reread the novels, you are on your own for connecting the dots.


The Length: You know there has to be massive entertainment or an engaging twist to keep you hooked into the movie.  And while Death Cure was exciting, I couldn’t justify the movie being past 120 minutes.  Much of the extra length came from drawn out chases and dialogue that were bloated examples of arrogance.  These moments might have held tension, but eventually got too drawn out for me, and had be begging for a conclusion.  Nevertheless, the suspenseful moments of the film sometimes turned into ridiculousness for me, because they seemed to move at half speed to get to the predictable ending.  More editing would have been a plus here.


The Coincidences:  Can’t tell if this was the theme in the book, but did the events really rely on this much serendipity and suspense of belief.  I’m not talking about the dystopia feel, or the zombie like cranks that seemed to be the latest overplayed creature.  No, my beef  comes with how inconsistent or stretching one sees them take with things like bullet proof glass suddenly breaking, convenient structural integrity collapse, and how the creatures somehow don’t attack the outskirts of the last city.  With all of these conveniences, it was hard for me not to laugh at these choices as they became a rather weak wrap up.


Reduction of Characters:  I give these guys props for integrating so many characters, but this film kind of dropped both plot and characters into the background, more than I would have expected.  Some of our heroes from the last movie have barely ten minutes in the film, and other major villains don’t have quite the bite that one would have expected from the trailers.  Even new characters making their appearance were a little drab, not in terms of looks, but again in a leaner story that I thought was more prominent in the book than on the screen.  Why we didn’t see more of these rag tag mercenaries and supporting characters , I don’t know, but again balance is key.




            Maze Runner: Death Cure was a good conclusion to the trilogy for this reviewer.  The cast continues to remain strong, with a strong set of scenes to grip you into the action and lock in the suspense to come over the 120 minute run time.  And the fact they crafted a finale without going into an extra film wins bonus points for me. However, the movie is a bit unnecessarily long for me, failing to impress with exaggerated chase scenes that come to a convenient ending. In addition, the characters they highlight in the trailers, primarily the new antagonists, needed some better balance for me to help bring this final installment to the top.  Still, given all the excitement and special effects, as well as an emotionally packed story, this trilogy’s finale is worth a trip to the theaters.


My scores are:


Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

You Might Get Down In The Dumps With Downsizing: Artistic Politics Meets Indecisive Plot



Political issues continue to storm the world today with the constant media flood of negative events and the violence/greed that plagues the world.  One would think that we would learn from these mistakes, but sadly the human psyche is difficult to change given the effort that is required to actively change your lifestyle. So perhaps a movie will be an inspiration, because that seems to be the theme of my next movie to review Downsizing starring Matt Damon. Depending on which trailer you’ve seen, assuming you have seen the trailer, you might not know what to expect from this movie. Robbie K is back again to provide some thoughts on the latest release.  So let’s get started!




-Cinematography:  For those who appreciate the art of camerawork, editing, and world building, this movie is a beauty to say the least. Downsizing’s impressive visuals start with bringing the shrinking to life, blending the use of giant props with camera angels to give you the illusion of being small. This gimmick is nicely balanced, dropping the relativity factor in now and again to keep you in the world without crossing into Honey I Shrunk The Kids Territory. Aside from that, the visuals are stunning from the modernized apartments and slums to the beautiful rich European countryside.  It all makes for a stunning display to help you appreciate the majesty of the world.


The Acting:  Downsizing is a movie that does not rely on flashy stunts and slapstick humor, but it does rely heavily on the actors bringing the issues to life.  Much like the Martian, Damon holds a lot of the movie on his shoulder and he does a nice job playing the broad spectrum role of Paul. Despite some character directions they took, Damon plays the balanced role well and keeps you engaged in his discovery of the brand new world that downsizing brings.  Christoph Waltz on the other hand is the entertainment factor of the group bringing his charisma, arrogance, and fantastic delivery to bring the selfish, materialistic slime ball role to life.  He offset the drier tone of the movie, and helped keep things a little more exciting in this rather long run time. And the third key player is Hong Chau who has the humanistic role down pat.  Chau captures the cultured mannerisms of an activist and mixes it with the blunt honesty many people have these days.  Her character is certainly the moral compass, and Chau does it in a mostly natural way devoid of cheesy, impressive speeches that Hollywood writing is famous for.


-The Morals:  I said earlier this movie was political, and that perhaps is the central component of downsizing. Like a glossed up version of an Inconvenient Truth documentary, Downsizing is a movie  all about the evaluation of cultural trends from equality in living to the global crises that plague our world.  Downsizing hits all of these in a very tasteful manner, working them into the story via natural dialogue and the nice cinematography to support it via the world they have created.  Those who love talking politics are going to love the artistic discussion this movie provides, and how it makes you think about all the issues present in this movie and where the world is heading.  This movie is certainly Oscar worthy in terms of the ethic content it contains.



-Boring at times:  I know, I like action, which this movie wasn’t expected to have. However, I like a story that has a little more drive and feels less like a new bulletin brought to life.  Downsizing’s plot is very thin outside of the morals it presents, with little progression outside of moving from one setting to another.  The character development is interesting to say the least, and I feel the movie got too caught up in the artistic presentation to really flesh out the story.  The pacing is just off for me, with documentaries having more drive than this movie did for me, and that depreciate the theater value for me.


Aimless Plot:  Part of the reason I found this movie boring is due to the indecisiveness of the story they wanted to tell.  The movie is filled with political food, but they never stick around long enough to flesh out an entertaining plot before addressing the next moral issue.  Eventually a humanitarian vibe takes hold in the background, but it never becomes a progressing plot, because we have to tackle the issues of divorce next. Even worse, a rather pathetic love story started to take root, but it happened to late in the movie to really make it worthwhile.  This is an example of too many plots in a single production and a little sad that the director couldn’t figure out which plots to really focus on.


Depressing:  I mentioned earlier that it depends on which trailer you saw as to what to expect.  A majority of the initial trailers I saw painted this movie as a fun drama of minuscule proportions with a little socialism and romance to tide things over.  Unfortunately, the movie is not as much fun as I had hoped. Clever writing, witty comedy, and solid delivery are there, but the impending messages of the film heavily crush the fun to be had to sell the point. Combine this with my other dislikes and you understand why this may not have been the movie to release so close to a time of joy.  Ho, Ho, Ho, human race not a go!




            Downsizing is a fantastic representation of the art movie making can be in regards to presenting political issues in a unique angle.  The beautiful cinematography and acting really bring these issue to life, and it is one of the smarter films to grace the silver screen in a long time.  Yet, the movie suffers from too many issues brought into one installment, which is only further weakened by the aimless development of these plots because they have to cram another issue in. There was so much potential to be cultivated and yet… it failed to take fruit and become the fun drama I think the trailers portrayed in the beginning.  I recommend you hold out on this one for home viewing, or at least wait until the holidays are over to avoid depressing yourself into sullen madness. 


My scores are:

Comedy/Drama/Sci-Fi: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

GeoPower! This Storm Is Stronger Than Expected



There are very few things scarier than a natural disaster.  The sheer power contained within these storms, droughts, and floods is something we as humans have difficulty containing.  Now what would happen if that power could be harnessed by humans, manipulated to our whim in order to keep our world acclimated and functioning perfectly?  Could such a thing be used for good, or would it merely be repurposed as a weapon?  This question is the key concept in my next movie review, titled Geostorm, the latest disaster flick to “storm” into the theaters.  Pun aside, Robbie K is back for another overview, so let’s get started, shall we?




The Sound:  My first like is the incredible sound editing Geostorm contains within it.  These editors “blew” me away with the fantastic renditions of Mother Nature’s torment, capturing all those destructive sounds and unleashing them into the theater.  Lightning filled maelstroms, horrendous fires, and bone chilling ice storms all drop with mighty blow, causing the theater to rumble in delight.  This effect may not seem like much, but it really rounds the experience out and immerses you into the havoc.


The Visuals:  No surprise here, Geostorm’s visuals are also beautiful displays of technology.  We know this genre is all about making disasters look real, and this film brings that power out with little hesitancy.  Watching destruction unfold is breathtaking, as the terrifying mayhem of the manmade storms unfold, helping you experience the horror without actually being there.  Geostorm’s displays, although limited in number, are the selling point of this film, especially during the exciting moments when our characters are trying to navigate their way through the destruction.


Acting:  Sometimes these disaster movies tank on the cast, resulting in whiny, nimrod characters who are asking to be sucked up into a twister.  Not the case for this film. Geostorm’s cast is actually fantastic in bringing their characters to life, and also brings an awesome team to the mix to diversify the genre.  Gerard Butler was a solid choice for the lead, combining action gruff with scientific strategy to craft a tough as nails character to lead the project.  This dynamic nature made a fun hero to root for while seeing him evolve past his flaws.  Jim Sturgess does a bang-up job in his role as well, playing the role of the neurotic congressmen forced to choose between family and job.  His character required a much broader class of emotions, and he manages to hit all of these with little trouble. As for the female leads of Abbie Cornish and Alexandra Maria Lara, these women were incredible displays of girl power in the modern world.  No super powers needed here, for these women have intelligence, ferocity, and heart as they tackle all the demands this movie placed on them, and all with a realistic touch.  I wished they had utilized them a little more, but they maximized their screen time.


The Story:  Despite how cheesy it looked, Geostorm’s story was better than I expected.  The characters have some backstory not lost to the storm, requiring them to grow much like the threat of total cataclysm. During the actual presentation itself, Geostorm is nicely divided into four sections each occurring simultaneously and playing important roles to the dilemma at hand.  Throw in a little mystery to figure out the culprits, and you have a more engaging story line than we typically see in these films.  All in all, they managed to execute this ridiculous concept quite well for me.




Storm moments:  Despite the promise of major cataclysm, Geostorm is surprisingly bare of storm sequences for much of the movie.  Many of these scenes are in the background, with only a few having that thrilling, on the seat edge. In addition, despite being thrilling, these moments get a little too ridiculous, the sheer unrealistic maneuvers violating the science without the technology to do so.  While I appreciate, the disasters fitting into the movie, they still needed a little refining.


The Predictability: Geostorm tries its best to throw you off the trail to the culprits, but the trailers and obvious foreshadowing will give you the answer within the first 30 minutes. In addition, the fate of other characters is not surprising at all, mostly because they figure things out minutes within the film.  Had it not been for the visuals and exciting pace, the story would have been drab and put me to sleep.  I’ll admit there was a nice little uncertain moment, reminiscent of a few other flicks you are certain to remember.  Past that though, it’s a predictable mess indeed.


Underutilized team:  Like many films, our protagonist becomes part of a special team in charge of fixing the problem.  Unfortunately, after the introductions, most of the team is essentially useless save two members who actually get more screen time.  While not as bad as the gang from Wonder Woman, this group just didn’t feel needed in the grand scheme of the picture and could have been utilized in a more conducive environment to add a little more suspense in the mix. Either that or cut the characters to help the budget.




            Despite the cheesy idea, Geostorm was a welcome change to the natural disaster movie collection.  Stunning special effects, a Sci-Fi Esque story, and dynamic characters are certain to entertain fans of this genre and bring with it a nice twist.  However, if you are looking for a storm movie, you need to pick another tale as the disasters are a minimum or overly cheesy to be believable.  Throw in some weaker story elements and predictable plot, and you further weaken the storm they were trying to bring.  Overall not a bad film at all, and the special effects are more than worthy of a theater visit. Otherwise check this one out when it hits home release.


My Scores:


Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Runs to Artistic, Emotional Crime, but Lack On Thrills Of Predecessor

Blade Runner 2049


There are plenty of movies in Hollywood, only some of which ever reach legendary status that seals their place in history.  These sacred films were usually ended in a manner that didn’t require a sequel, but leave it to the big studios to not leave things along.  Tonight, Blade Runner 2049 premiers to the public, alongside some high review scores and plenty of praise.  Despite the decades long gap, this movie holds promise to be just as good as the sequel.  Robbie K is here to share some thoughts on the latest flick and help guide your viewing pleasures.




True Sci-Fi Crime: The trailers don’t lie when they say Blade Runner 2049 is a crime noire film.  It opens with the reference back to the first film and soon uncovers a mystery that will run the course of the movie. As this occurs, the other parties are seeking ways to hinder our “hero” (Ryan Gosling) from uncovering the truth.  Like a glorified episode of half the crime-dramas on television, Blade Runner 2049 is all about capitalizing on a prolonged crime and mixing as much drama into it to help add character development.  All of this is nicely wrapped up in a science-fiction spin, integrating the floating ships, robots, and large computers as the theater it unfolds in.


Emotionally Artistic:  The thing that many reviewers seem to appreciate is that the movie brings a lot of emotional punch to the audience.  Our directors managed to interject a lot of feeling into Gosling’s supposedly emotional character.  As his story continues to unfold, you’ll be submerged into the psychological nightmare he is forced to face.  While the traumatic stress is certainly enough to pull some heart strings, it’s the artistic portrayal of determining one’s self that adds fuel to the fire. Self-Identity, a thing many struggle with, is well-addressed in this film, trying to uncover the truth about his self, all while solving the crime.  Throw in a rather deep, albeit weird, romance story and you will round out the emotional plotlines many seek.


Acting:  A character is only as good as the actor who portrays it to life and Blade Runner 2049 is a shining example of quality acting.  Gosling as the lead was a good choice, his ability to play a man with an identity crisis is quite believable, primarily in the way he seems to stand on the border of sane and psychopathic.  While not his best role, I enjoyed seeing the anti-hero part played by him again.  Harrison Ford reprises his edge well enough, but I felt they didn’t utilize him as well as they could.


Ana De Armas:  I was happy to see more of Ana in this film, seeing her branch down some more emotional pathways, all while driving the character development of Gosling’s character.  Yet, I can’t lie, that she was beautiful in the various outfits she shifted into during the film.  I got the best of both world in this film, and appreciated the costumes that she sported in her awkward scenes.







Not so thrilling:  The first Blade Runner had some suspense to it, the constant thrill of the chase as Ford tried to hunt down the rogue androids.  It kept the pace going, all while integrating the elements I mentioned in the likes section.  Blade Runner 2049 though wasn’t that thrilling to me.  The action was rather bland, the emotion with it almost as flat, and had little suspense outside of how much torture some of the characters could take. I expected a little more spice to the mix, but don’t let the trailers fool you, the thrills were more like spills.


Long: If a movie is going to be nearly three hours, it needs to either move, or have an exciting climax.  I found neither of these elements in this movie, but instead a very drawn out movie that seemed to drag.  While the message and artistic license are appreciated, the editors could have really dropped half the footage to get me out of the theater faster.  Perhaps if the ending hadn’t been predictable I would have been more intrigued, but I found myself fighting sleep at times because from these elaborate, and often unnecessary details.


Predictable Story and Under Utilized Characters: Blade Runner 2049 might have been a well-built Sci-Fi Crime story, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t predictable.  Most of the “twists” I got in the first hour, leaving me nearly two to go until they revealed it.  In addition, my expectations of where the story was going were also shattered as other characters were underutilized for more sappy looks and near depression.  This especially goes for Ford and Leto, who I felt got the short-end of the stick in this film. Throw in some of the loose ends, more like bait for the next film, and it left me unsatisfied with where the story was going.


Loud:  Many films are loud in a theater with blaring music and special effects to make the seats shake.  This movie though, just had obnoxious sound effects that were high-pitched groans, mixed with a soundtrack that while unique was not the most pleasing to me. Brace yourselves for this interesting sound soiree, because you are going to hear it a lot.




Blade Runner 2049 is artistic, a visual display that is packed with emotion, Sci-Fi charm, and a crime noire element.  It has much of the same feel as its predecessor, but I felt it lacked the suspense and thrills that the trailers promised back in the teaser. Sadly the predictable story, underutilized characters and audio assault didn’t justify the nearly three hour run time for me.  Don’t see this one when your energy is low folks, or you just might be fighting sleep.


My Scores:


Sci-Fi/Thriller:  8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0

Flat on Many Levels! Needs A Full Code To Bring To Life


            Death, the inevitable destination that we are constantly reminded of in the various forms of media.  We spend all our time trying to postpone it that sometimes we miss out on life itself.  This weekend’s remake though focuses on hastening to that endpoint all in the name of science.  I’m talking about Flatliners, a movie that many may be “deathly” afraid to see for one reason or another, however this reviewer is back in the theater to bring you some information on the latest silver screen picture.  Let’s go!




Pretty Cast:  You get this from the trailers, but Flatliners is another example of pretty faces taking full front in a movie.  Like MTV meets a horror film, this cast will make young and old hearts beat as the characters dress in either preppy fashion or tight clothing to get the blood pumping.  Made up faces sparkle in the light, despite the ever-pressing doom hanging over them, and even in their worst they still look incredible.  Very important qualities in a movie.


Morals Wrapped in HorrorA better reward of this movie is the impressive delivery of some important lessons, one of which was rather personal to me.  The first is not to play with the defibrillator to study death, a lesson we all thought we knew, but guess we could use a refresher. Second is to take responsibility for your actions, and make up for them in an honorable manner.  Third is all about forgiveness, something that everyone can use a reminder of in terms of accepting apologies of those that are sincere.  While a bit theatrical at times, Flatliners delivers its lessons solidly, integrating it into the plot and making it fit well into the story.  This gooey, moral driven center is the sweet reward of the movie and perhaps my favorite component of the movie.


Decent Characters: Horror movies often have idiots for characters, or so blatantly shallow you can’t help but root for them to meet their end.  Not the case in this film.  Flatliner’s crew, despite the stupid desire to meet death, actually feel like relatable characters.  Their friendship, their flaws, and their fears were relevant to me, and were well-acted by our beautiful cast. As such, these characters are little easier to latch onto and invest your time into, following them through the nightmare they unleashed. For me, it was Diego Luna I grasped on to the most, his character being a keystone into connecting the elements of the plot.


Short Run Time:  Always nice when a horror movie doesn’t drag out too long, lost in the unnecessary details that often aren’t needed. Flatliners did a decent job trimming the fat, keeping things concise (if a bit rushed) and essential to explaining our character’s backstory, while still keeping the plot moving.




Not Scary:  Perhaps it’s me seeing so many movies, but Flatliners again failed to shock me.  Outside of the looks they wear when they stop their own hearts (as well as the questionable medical techniques), the movie doesn’t remotely focus on scares of any sort.  There are few vivid images that start down the path, but these fizzle out and become lost in a rather vague concept.  Throw in the rather lax attacks of the entity and well… there isn’t much more to build on to explain the calm pace this movie takes.


Vague Creature:  The trailers portray something being unleashed, but Flatliners does a poor job explaining what it is.  A spirit?  A demon? Their minds breaking from all the stress?  The answer is left for you to decipher, but don’t expect much in terms of the evil taking any form. This not only robs the movie of potential scares, but also makes the story confusing and more towards a drama than anything else. While this gets points for making you think, I still would have liked a little more imagination into my monster, or whatever it was.


Rushed Elements:  While the characters are better than most horrors, they still are mere shadows to great story works. Flatliners’ dilemmas are hastened through on many levels, a rather pathetic climax with a resolution obtained more easily than the Hulk Smashing through a building.  Some characters got their just desserts on development, but others got off a little easier than expected.  But development would mean a longer movie, so I can’t be too upset.


Predictable:  It’s hard to throw surprises in these days, but Flatliners was a little too familiar for my tastes.  In addition to the scares, much of the tale was easy to see coming, and following that pathway just takes away from the originality factor.  With this gone, the special feeling of this movie is further reduced to just another weekend filler.




            Flatliners is another example of modern, horror movies with superficial glimmer that is merely gold paint. A pretty cast and good morals don’t offset the fact that movie is just not scary enough, nor original enough, to garnish a theater visit.  The abstract monster that dwells within us all gets you thinking, but come on, we want something to make us lose sleep at night.  Therefore, this mediocre remake gets the following:


Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0