Not Foreign To Edge or Plot

Foreigner

 

Jackie Chan a legend in the cinematic world for many famous roles many will remember for years to come.  With epic Marshal Arts sequences, a sense of comedic delivery and great chemistry with a variety of actors, it is no wonder the man has been involved in so many projects.  And after a hiatus, the legend seems to be making a comeback lending his voice to Lego Ninjago and now returning in a live action film the Foreigner.  Does the man still have the magic, or was he better left sitting on the sidelines?  Robbie K here to review another movie and as always let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

 

Edgy:  The trailers promised Chan would be returning with some sharper, and darker, edges and sure enough they delivered.  Mr. Quan is certainly one of the darker roles I’ve seen him play, as he seeks out his own brand of justice in a manner only a vigilante could.  No punches are thrown in this role, and this more intense role is a nice touch to Chan’s normal lighter roles.  Saying few words, Chan has the look down with sullen wise eyes filled with a hateful, hopeless stare, and scowl that seems permanently fixated in a faithless fury.  This darker role was fascinating to watch, primarily to see how far he would go to crush the opposition.

 

Fairly fast pacing: No surprise here, but the Foreigner moves at a fairly brisk pace, starting out with a literal bang and diving into the search to come.  Information is provided in a fairly linear manner so that you get all the answers you need, all the while maximizing the “action” at the same time.

 

Complete story:  Despite the quickened pace, this movie does manage to close all the convoluted loops established in this film.  The Foreigner has a lot of dramatic elements integrated into the action that include affairs, conspiracies, and betrayals that feels much like soap opera plot lines.  Rather than taking episodes to finish these tales, the writers provided all the answers one needs to be satisfied with the closure.  Not saying it’s the best closure mind you, but at least it finishes the tale quite well.

 

Chan’s moves:  While certainly not the freshest or more convoluted stunts he’s ever done, it is satisfying to see Chan still have some of his magic.  The Foreigner does a nice job of giving our star chances to show off his acrobatic skills.  After leaping around like an old squirrel, Chan next dazzles with his close combat choreographer, still executing his close style fist fights in a smooth dance.  And with the new edge, Chan’s darker combat is unleashed, losing the feeling of being planned to the adrenaline rush we love to see.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pierce Brosnan’s accent:  A minor dislike at best, I couldn’t get on board with Brosnan’s attempt at sounding Irish.  While certainly better than me, the former Bond star has a little more refining to do in order to sell the angry Irish man to me.  It was comical at times and took away from the threat he was trying to bring to the table, well that and the fact that he didn’t seem to have many skills himself. Sorry Pierce, you’ve got debonair down, but not the fury of the fiery reds.

 

Editing:  While dramas are sometimes a bit overbearing to me, I could handle most of the character antics in this film.  However, the storyboard team dropped the ball a few times for me in how much they crammed into this film.  Some of the relationships were not needed, merely extra branches to take up space in attempt to fill up time.  While the tangents expand a little on our two lead characters, they could have been left out, or kept in small bits of dialogues instead of full out sequences, especially when it came to the wife scenes.  Drama lovers will certainly enjoy this element, but the rest get ready to yawn.  Speaking of which…

 

Not as action packed:  I thought the Foreigner was going to have more bite with Chan finally emerging from his retirement.  Instead of the energy that Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon brought, the Foreigner slowed the pace down a bit.  Those extensive bouts of fist punching are brought to a minimum in terms of time, reduced to some covert moves that would make Rambo proud in their pyrotechnic awe.  The few bouts we do have maximize the new tone and provide some satisfying stunt work, but for me… it paled to the classics I grew up with.  Still not a bad display for the aged master, I just would have liked more of that and less drama.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Foreigner is a great restart to Chan’s career giving him a new edge I haven’t seen before.  It’s a film that does its part as an action drama, trying to craft more of a story with the action to support it in the long run.  And while the tale is decent, and complete, it’s still a bit too slow and drawn out when there could have been more fighting.  The result is still entertaining, but with enough drab parts to outweigh the extent of action we got.  Chan may still have some moves up his sleeve, but I’ll take revisiting the classics any day.  Nevertheless, there is enough kick to warrant a theater visit for this one, primarily in regards to those satisfying, climactic fights that occur.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

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King Me…Again

Kingsman

 

“Manners, Maketh, Man!” Such an elegant phrase that got millions all fired up years ago in preparation for the spy action flick of the season.  Kingsman was a smashing success back in the day for me, and when I saw a sequel coming, I may have squealed in glee a tiny bit.  Yet, I feared that a sequel could smudge the adventure I enjoyed so much, especially with the expanded cast.  So tonight, I put on my suit (or t-shirt) and hit the theater to scope out the next mission.  Was the mission a success?  Read on to find out friends.

 

LIKES:

 

Funny:  Remember that edgy humor the first Kingsman had?  Well the magic continues my friends, as Kingsman2 is certainly Golden in much of its comedic bite.  It starts like always with the banter between agents, well-timed and well-delivered by our cast to maximize the punch at hand. Then comes the reactions of our agents as their thrown ridiculous curve balls, or baseballs at points, meant to hinder their way.  Yet the cameo by a certain celebrity might have been a major source of gut busting guffaws.  I won’t reveal who it is (I leave that to the Internet), but get ready to laugh so hard you might cry with his “rock n roll’ themed lines.

 

Emotional:  Surprisingly, Kingsman 2 may be more heart wrenching than the first movie.  Eggsy’s next stage of life has more than enough sad moments that will slow the adrenaline ride down, like those stubborn speedbumps in a parking lot, or a Game of Thrones episode.  Character development is certainly stronger than ever in this movie, pushing our lead protagonist to levels we never really thought he would have to face.   All these challenges keep you invested in Eggsy, Merlin, and others for the second round, making for a more immersive experience.

 

Fast PacedKingsman 2 may run for 2.5 hours, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it at all to me.  With all the laughs, emotional investment, and action, you’ll experience a time warp to the end of the film.  I certainly did not feel bored in this movie at all, and was quite pleased by the entertainment it brought.  To have that pace and the decent balance brought with it, is not something you see in most films.

 

Action:  Of course my favorite aspect has to be the action packed into the film on many levels.  Kingsman 2 keeps up the high energy infused sequences that are about guns, melee, gadgets, and over the top stunts.  Eggsy and the gang bring their skills back in high definition, special effects crazy goodness, with a fantastic play list to further amp things up.  This dynamic was maintained through most of the movie, keeping things interesting with new gadgets to tear baddies a new one with.  Despite a few missed moments, the action is certainly the selling point of this movie, especially with its integration into the plot and the pertinence to the mission.  Throw in stable camera work and editing, and you just maximize the excitement of this film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Ridiculousness:  Don’t get me wrong, the absurdity of this film is one of those charming qualities that got me into the movie.  However, in this sequel, that level sometimes went a little too far outside reality to take away from the atmosphere they were creating.  If the stunts aren’t too farfetched for you, then the invulnerability, or medical technology feats will have you rolling their eyes as they reach preposterous proportions.  It fits in the comedic spoof theme, but feels out of place at times and took a little away from the suspense.  This is only a small dislike. 

 

Viscous nature:  I like a good action movie, and darkness can certainly open the gates to maximize the violence we love to see our actors perform.  They unfortunately overstep their boundaries at times, crossing into the darker world I like to avoid if possible. Some rather gruesome deaths and blood bashings are the first scratches that chinked my armor.  While a few are obviously computer generated, the special effects craft some rather scarring images that won’t leave my memory anytime soonEven worse though, is the cruelty to animals in this film.  You know I hate unnecessary hurting of our furrier friends, but Kingsman was not hesitant to go the distance of getting emotional responses by this means.  Not cool for me, but if you lack that empathy, you’ll shrug it off like the agent’s credo.

 

Wasted Characters:  Kingsman has a lot of great actors, with much of our cast reprising their roles in style and to great heights.  Even newcomers like Julianne Moore as an eccentric villain, or Halle Berry as a tech geek, get applause from me.  Hollywood though fails to live up to utilizing all their characters to the same degree…again.  Agents who survived the wraith of the last film are reduced to the background with little remorse, making small contributions at the best.  New agent wise… don’t count on eye candy Channing Tatum to do much better, resorting to one action scene, and more modeling in an Abercrombie and Fitch manner.  Why he doesn’t get a serious chance?  I can’t answer, but I was disappointed with his involvement in the film.

 

VERDICT:

 

            Overall, I was very pleased with this sequel and enjoyed the thrill of returning to the frontlines of the spy war.  A compelling story with much emotion, amidst comedy and high speed action are the selling points to this film.  Yet, the ridiculousness of the stunts, amidst the brutal kills shots and wasted characters takes away from the movie.  Still, it’s worth a trip to the theater and I encourage you to hit the theaters to experience the stunts in full glory and enjoy another fun action adventure. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Guards Up For Action Packed Laughs

Bodyguard

 

Summer movie season is starting to putter out, but the movie magic continues to trickle to get a buck out of us.  This weekend tries to muster up some chuckles in the form of not one, but wo comedies that look to be more of the same.  I start my weekend off with The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring the dynamic duo Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. With dynamic comedy styles and a track list of movies behind them, one can only wonder what these two bring to the big screen this weekend.  Fortunately, I have the privilege of providing that information and giving you some insight.  Let’s get started on another review, shall we?

 

Likes:

 

Soundtrack:  Always good to have a soundtrack with quality music and surprisingly Hitman’s Bodyguard kills it on this aspect.  Much of the music fits in with the scenes, often used as a comedic ploy to compound on the humor presented in the movie.  They even managed to make the action even more exciting with the music, primarily during Black Betty’s epic guitar solo.  One way or another though, you may find yourself tapping your feet to the soundtrack at hand.

 

Action:  When they say action/comedy they mean action comedy alright.  Hitman’s Bodyguard has edge packed into its gun happy, pro-violence run and in a variety of styles that help diversify the plot.  Jackson and Reynolds, or at least their doubles, are involved in a variety of stunts that mix martial arts, weaponry mastery, and insane driving on their journey to testify.  I myself had an adrenaline-fueled blast with the movie, but one fan hollered in approval at the hardcore action contained in this film, despite how illogical, unrealistic, or death defying they were.  And as a note, the camera work is quite stable to pull off an approval from yours truly.

 

Comedy:  The leading component of this film though, is the comedy loaded in to the firearm that is this film.  I found myself laughing for most of the movie at the writing this film had.  The screenplay writers had a field day with the dialogue of this film, stretching their minds to deliver lines worthy of cheap laughs to witty gold.  I certainly enjoyed the entire spectrum in this movie, but really enjoyed the timing of the jokes and the delivery from the two leading actors, especially Jackson, sold the line for full price.  While certainly not the best writing to grace Hollywood, Hitman’s Bodyguard hits some balance that other comedies ignores.

 

Dislikes:

 

Jokes grow stale:  Despite all the antics packed into this pistol, many of the potshots are crafted into the same mold and fired so rapidly that they quickly lose their punch.  Reynolds’ angles are the biggest victim of going stale and becoming more eye rolling/annoying than gut busting.  I have to agree with my fellow reviewers in how the movie is relentlessly throwing jokes at you during the film and it gets tiring after a while, especially when interrupting the more serious moments.

 

Gary Oldman’s character:  Oldman is a master of playing those grittier roles and he didn’t shy away from the communist leader role in this film.  Sadly, the villains have little bite, reduced to threatening facial gestures (amidst unimpressive makeup), a few grandiose speeches, and oh yes, a running scene.  The worst part though has to be the accent and direction Oldman gave the character, which sounded forced, stretched, and uncommitted to the character at hand.  This protagonist was boring and outside Oldman’s normal range, leaving the flunkies to bring the pain.  Had they focused on his lieutenant a little more, we may have had a real ringer.

 

Jackson’s catchphrase:  I know, you get Jackson, you often get a certain phrase alongside him, and Hitman’s Bodyguard is no exception.  This film is relentless with their cursing, focusing on the magical F word and all its iterations as the primary ammunition for comedy.  Jackson in particular goes overboard with these words and while funny at times, gets old after a while.  Salma Hayek’s cameo was a welcome change to the mix, but with the lazy writing and merchandising off this word, I can’t get on board with their overuse.  To quote the movie, Jackson may be destroying the MF phrase, which is hard to do.

 

The Verdict:

 

I had fun with Hitman’s Bodyguard and enjoying the approach this movie took with comedy and action.  It’s go simplistic, unoriginal stunts that are predictable, but it is nicely executed keep your heart pumping.  In addition, the laughs are nicely integrated into the film to go along with the pace of the movie and not diverging down the slow, unnecessary paths that most do.  Still, it’s not the most unique movie to grace the theaters and like many films is unable to obtain that balance of using their gimmicks.  Throw in the over utilization of the F word and well…you see where it gets panned on.  Still, it is an enjoyable ride for a movie venture, but your money many be better spent elsewhere. 

 

My scores:

 

Action/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Atomic Action

Atomic Blonde

 

Spies, they come in every shape and size from goofy men in naked gun to the suave iterations of James Bond.  Yet one thing is certain, they often are involved in incredibly threatening situations that require luck, training, and sets of skills to get the job done.  This weekend, a new agent appears in the world of the silver screen and her name is Charlize Theron.  This gorgeous actress has been teasing the trailers with some exciting, seductive, and sexy scenes of her movie Atomic Blonde, promising an adventure to be had.  Robbie K back with another review, so let’s get this mission started.

 

LIKES:

 

Theron’s acting:  Lead actresses carry a lot of the movie when they are the featured character. Fortunately, Theron nails the role of the spy on all the avenues promised by the trailer.  Her physical looks, capable of making people go gaga, are only the superficial wrapping paper for the talent within, as she unleashes her cold ruthlessness with a little twist. She plays the wise and sly role well, bringing a dynamic character who has great chemistry with her fellow cast, crafting a deadly board to run their games on. Theron may be monotone in much of her roles, and often may play the same types of roles, but it works in this setting quite well.

 

Funny:  While certainly not the sole theme of this movie, Atomic Blonde is a figurative blast in the laughter department.  One of my friends compared some scenes to Monty Python in their comedic ploys of minions constantly getting up.  Seeing these stooges fall, dive, and become injured in a number of manners, but have ridiculous stamina is entertaining on many levels.  In addition, Atomic Blonde has some well-timed, and well-aimed, lines to relieve some of the tension. Mix all this with the over-the-top shock factor of this movie and you won’t help but laugh at the presentation at hand.

 

Action: The trailers painted an exciting thrill ride of death defying battles and spy warfare destruction.  And the trailers didn’t lie at all.  Atomic Blonde knocked hard on the action door as Theron faced the insurmountable odds of the secret army of spies out to hinder her mission and end her beautiful life.  The film has a number of styles for you including hand to hand combat, gunplay (and lots of it), and a few car chase scenes to keep things interesting.  Each of the drawn-out battles fits into the mission well, and the dynamic setting adds to the heat of the moment that is satisfying on so many levels.

 

The Soundtrack:  As Frozen proved years ago, a good soundtrack is something to take notice of.  Atomic Blonde’s featured tracks are all in the 80s, and the sweet beats are utilized to an excellent level that brings out the spirit of the scene.  And if you don’t care about a track matching to the movie, but like the synthesizer heavy music of the decade, then good news, you’ll be dancing in your seat to the sweet beats of the movie.  Whatever the reason, note that Atomic Bomb’s soundtrack is certainly a blast to the past of energizing music.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Convoluted story:  You may not have expected much of a story, after all most action heavy films seldom have one.  Yet, the thin story was certainly a complicated mess given everything packed into the movie and the directions they took to present it.  There is a mystery there, but it is overshadowed by the stunts and combat that ring throughout the movie. While the action is exciting, it distracts from the main plot and left little to follow given the shock factor of the series.  The dry dialogue doesn’t help much either, nor the fact that the movie jumps through so many perspectives in a short amount of time. The bottom line is…the presentation makes for a rather dry story, with only a few emotional oases to breathe life into the film.

 

Violence:  Action often does breed violence, but Atomic Blonde’s battles are true spectacles of mutilation and torture.  All the extras in particular are brutally battered in the fights, bashed in extraordinary detail to turn a few heads or make one of my friends cover her eyes. Theron’s character gets hit pretty hard too, painting her a few shades of gore as well. The gunplay makes for a ballad of painting the walls red, and the emphasis of close up, head explosions can be a little overdone at times. However, the most disturbing components are seeing the up and close drawn out deaths of a few character and their agonizing last breath.  Keep that in mind before jumping into the theater.

 

The unneeded romance scene:  I’m not one for the hot and sexy sequences in bed, but I can appreciate it when either done with class or pertinent to the story.  A scene in the trailers, and of course the movie, showed a rather hot moment that just didn’t feel necessary to me in the story.  Certainly, editing could have left this out, or at least the director’s cut, but without the added emphasis of relationships to the movie, I could have done without it.

 

The Verdict:

 

Atomic Blonde held much of what the trailers promised. It is an off the wall, very shocking film that leaves little to the imagination.  It is a thrilling, adrenaline pumping ride that felt fresh given the unique presentation and a soundtrack to further add fun.  Unfortunately, the stunts, violence, and convoluted presentation derailed the story for me and left me wondering what it is I just watched. There is plenty of theater worthy material to justify a visit, but if violence isn’t your cup of tea, pass this mission on to someone else. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Mystery/Thriller:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

War or Survival of the Apes: Still Apemazing

Apes

Planet of the Apes, a series that has had ups and downs over the decades it’s been in existence.  The recent remakes have breathed life into the series and delivered some fantastic films that scream science fiction as they explain the events leading to the “classic” story. After a grand slam, middle movie that started the war, the third installment promised to bring that battle to full swing (according to the trailers).  Robbie K here with another review to fill the details and help guide your viewing choices.  War…what is it good for?  Let’s see if we can answer that question.

 

LIKES:

 

The Graphics:  The new series forewent the costumes, makeup, and looks of the classic series and instead focused on CGI graphics to bring the apes to life.  Once more, this series gets the animation perfect in all the high definition detail that modern technology bringsAndy Serkis (or Smeagle from LOTR for most of you) flexes his motion capture muscles in a stunning performance as Caesar the lead ape.  The movements are fluid, the facial gestures on point, and despite being painted as a chimpanzee, manages to brilliantly bring out a human like protagonist you can’t help but love.  When the more exciting moments are brought in, the border between reality (pyrotechnics) and virtual display is blurred even further in a balanced execution that keeps things in check.  Overall, the visual presentation is stunning.

 

The Story:  When you are doing prequels, it can be difficult to answer questions, but still craft an original story that is good (see the countless Star Wars prequel discussions).  War for the Planet of the Apes manages to achieve this balance of answering questions, while still bringing a story of its own.  This film manages to further develop Caesar’s life, while integrating key relationships that establish a firm foundation needed for these movies.  Much of the film is packed with this deep dive into the character psyche, while trying to infuse tension and suspense at the fates of the other apes. A good story indeed.

 

The Emotion:  And what makes the story so good, it’s the emotion captured in much of the scenes and sequences in the film.  Caesar himself is a complicated mess of feelings, motivations, and morale decisions, which is all brought out in the motion capture animation of Serkis’ work.  Watching his reactions, as well as the visualization of the war are brilliantly displayed with fantastic cinematography and supporting audio that maximizes the punches/kicks of the moment.  Animal activists will get double the slaps, but such emotion kept me engaged in the movie and suspenseful as what would happen next.  This may be the best component of the movie for me.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Length:  Another example of editing, War for the Planet of the Apes could have cut some time off the movie.  This could have been achieved by shortening some of the suffering scenes, or dropping another sequence itself, though this might have weakened the story at points.  For this reviewer, there were components that felt a little long winded and unnecessary, which kind of bored me give the title of the movie (more on this later).

 

The Torture:  If seeing characters tortured is your idea of entertainment, then get stoked because this is your movie.  War for the Planet of the Apes has many dark moments that show the horrors that war can truly be.  The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) is a stereotypical, military antagonist and this movie is not afraid to show off his cruelty in that overinflated manner Hollywood makes famous.  Many scenes may be disturbing to those with sensitive constitutions or again animal activist passion.  I found myself quite irritated, annoyed, and ticked off at times at seeing these scenes over and over again.  While I admit a few of these scenes were needed, there is too much of a “good” thing that can lead to it being overdone.

 

The Lack of Action:  For a movie called War for the Planet of the Apes, I was expecting more combat to be packed in.  The trailers promised scenes of battle between man and ape, with military tactics going up against technologically advanced soldiers.  Sadly, this was not the case as this film had only two battle sequences to throw some excitement into the mix. These scenes were cool, but a little anti-climactic and didn’t show the bravado I really wanted to see to deliver that exciting bang I craved.  Sure, War is not just about the exciting battles made famous in cinema and video games, and this film shows another side to War.  If that is going to be the case, don’t edit the trailers to promise that.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            War for the Planet of the Apes might have been better named survival of the Planet of the Apes.  While not the most exciting of the movies and a little darker in regards to portrayal of the Apes’ journey, it definitely has the emotional punch of the other installments.  It’s a beautiful tale that brings the prequels to full closure, while still opening up another movie or two to continue bridging the gap between classic and new.  I do agree that it is one of the better movies of the summer, still it needs a little tweaking in the editing and action department to bring it to full life.  Worth a trip to the theater?  The answer is yes!

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Drama:  8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Getting Wicky With It!

wick-2

 

The Boogeyman has had a lot of different forms over the years from grotesque features, grossly deformed into the vision of nightmares to a man with slicked back hair and a… depressed look on his face?  No, I’m not delirious my friends, but the reference I made is to the codename of John Wick, the legendary assassin of 2014. After a thrilling, and complete conclusion, one may have thought Wick’s journey ended there.  Obviously, Hollywood did not think so and thus comes Chapter 2 of the action adventure and whatever, random target that is assigned.  Robbie K here, and today we take a look at John Wick: Chapter 2.  Let’s get started!

 

Likes:

  • Dry sense of humor
  • Visuals and special effects
  • Stable camera work
  • Lots of action and excitement

 

Summary:  There isn’t much in regards to John Wick, so finding a like outside of action, but one component is the dry sense of humor this film has.  Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man of few words, but the few he speaks are worth a good laugh.  The writers win points for a dialogue that is both pun filled and classy, timing them at key points to maximize laughs while sticking to the stoic nature of our players.

 

Yet the humor is just an added bonus to what is John Wick’s strongest feature, the action.  All the reviews are in agreement that Wick is back with more action than ever imagined, as this one-man army unleashes a storm of well-placed bullets, knife slashing (and sometimes pencil) stand offs, and Marshal Arts punches.  Wick’s skills with a pistol (among other weaponry) are intense displays of choreography, proving that you can coordinate extras dying to imaginary wounds in an exciting way.  The hand-to-hand combat also gets points, not quite as developed as the 70s and 80s movies, but still an enjoyable element to mix things up. Helping support all the action is impressive special effects, which adds the extra flare and touch that gets our hearts pumping (e.g. explosions, crashes, and comic book bashing sounds). You can guess there is plenty of blood to go around too (for you gore seeking fans), which adds more to the chaos and violence at hand that somehow… adds a bit of satisfaction to the mix.  But even better, is the entire film has stable camera work that keeps you scoped on the action without making you vomit due to vertigo.  Overall, this exciting package gets two thumbs up in its etiquette, design, and impressive work on the action.

 

Dislikes:

  • Keanu’s acting (at times)
  • Simplistic story
  • Overstepping boundaries at times
  • Some fights a bit blocky
  • Unorthodox presentation
  • Slower parts a bit…too slow

 

Summary: While we never expected an academy for this performance, there are times where Keanu’s acting is a bit too lax.  His lines are meant to be serious, but come out awkward, effortless, and sometimes bored at the unoriginal dialogue.  While this certainly isn’t a big weakness, there are moments where this acting took away Wick’s awesome factor, or made me chuckle unintentionally.

 

Acting aside, the story is another limiting factor that Wick really needs some fine tuning on.  Yes, I know story isn’t the main theme of this series (hence why I make a genre rating people), but movie overall this film’s plot is a little less put together than its predecessor.  A random guy shows up, tells a vague back story to establish a weak connection, and then becomes another revengeful chase across two cities.  All the convoluted (shallowly explained) relationships and teases did nothing but make more targets for Wick and did nothing to add to the story for me.

 

Finally, while the action is indeed awesome and well done, there are still a few limitations that hit this quality.  First, those who aren’t fans of repetitive gun play and headshots, need to skip this film…because that is a majority of the action.  But outside of repetition, the action sometimes oversteps the boundaries of realism.  A car mercilessly being smashed (and smashing) yet still running, a number of injuries that magically heal, and the inaccuracy of other assassins are just some of the eye-rolling moments of this film. In addition, some of the fist fights get very blocky, have awkward pauses, or lack the edge (music and sound effects) that make the fighting less exciting and more we just extending screen time.  Another component I didn’t like was how they reduced Wick’s fighting of other assassins to a messy set of montages that seemed out of place and were lackluster compared to Wick fighting off nameless extras.  Such missed potential for memorable rivalries, and more diverse fights. And even more missed potential, was the slower parts not taking time to advance a story, or establish better character dynamics, which made for some dragged out moments.

 

The Verdict:

 

Wick’s journey of revenge and killing is certainly more exciting than his last ordeal.  The emphasis is on the action, with a majority of the film geared towards the stunts, effects, and violence, so adrenaline junkies strap up and hit the theater.  However, if you are looking for the complete package of story, dynamics, and balance, then this film isn’t the right one for you.  Wick still lacks a lot of other qualities in the movie overall category.  Worth a trip to theater?  Yes, as the special effects and excitement are made for the theater.  But if you can’t handle extreme violence then skip!

 

My scores:

Action/Crime/Thriller:  8 (for the action)

Movie Overall: 5

Had No Problems Sleeping Through This Movie

sleepless

 

Crime Thrillers seem to be the rage this weekend, as this is my third movie with the genre tag to review.  My latest review is on Sleepless starring Jamie Foxx. From the trailers, this film looks like a mash up of Triple 9 with Taken, and perhaps with a lower budget. Can the man of many talents make this movie, or is it just another knock off meant to take our money.  Robbie K here and as always please read on for my input on the latest films to hit the silver screen.

 

LIKES:

  • Complicated Crime Story
  • Michelle Monaghan’s dynamic character
  • Humorous

 

Summary: For those worrying about this being another mindless action flick, you have nothing to worry about.  Sleepless is more convoluted relationships and chasing rabbit holes than anything else.  Much of the story centers on trying to uncover the truth behind a massive drug dispensing ring and who the true leader is.  There is not much more I can say past this simplistic plot, but this predictable theme remains constant throughout the entire tale.  In fact, the only good thing past this simplicity is Michelle Monaghan’s character, a very passionate (and obsessive) cop caught between a lot of rocks and hard places.  Her fiery determination, single minded sense of justice, and act first ask later attitude adds the needed excitement to this otherwise bland tale.  And the movie is surprisingly humorous, though how much is on purpose vs. accidental remains to be seen.  Much of the movie has very “silly” moments that had me   laughing by how cheesy and out of place it was (e.g. random people showing up, surprisingly bright dealers forgetting to check things, and a seemingly endless supply of ammunition). These ridiculous notions made a targeted serious movie, end up an indirect comedy for this reviewer.

 

DISLIKES

  • Gets stale quickly
  • Dropped concepts that don’t work
  • Action nothing like Taken
  • Lacked a uniform direction

 

Summary: As I mentioned earlier, Sleepless main theme is walking around a casino trying to find the goodsThis endless game of hide and go seek the drug got old fast, as a giant bag full of cocaine continued to disappear despite all the high technology and hired help.  Watching Foxx and the rest of the cast go in endless circles lost its entertainment value quickly, and lacked very little suspense.  In addition, much of the concepts they highlighted in the trailers did not last long in this movie, which was very disappointing to say the least.  The whole kidnap the kid and try to find him was over in five minutes, and the rest of the drama was very lackluster compared to the other films I saw this weekend. An even bigger disappointment was the lack of real action in this movie, a big selling point promoted in the trailers.  Surprise, surprise, the action is diluted down to a few staged fist fights and a little shoot out that won’t be high on the most thrilling fights listFor this reviewer, all these shortcomings came from what seemed a lack of direction in what type of movie they wanted.  Instead of an epic action movie with a crime theme, we got a circular tale where nothing was really accomplished until the final ten minutes.  This my friends is the biggest shortcoming of the film, and the missed potential it held.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Sleepless certainly doesn’t live up to its name, as I found myself fighting sleep from the boredom I had watching this tale.  Outside a convoluted crime ring, and some humorous antics, this movie did not deliver the thrills it set its sights on.  If you’re looking for a gory, adventure where we walk around a fancy casino, then check this movie out, but this reviewer encourages you to save the time (and money) by skipping this movie.  I can maybe suggest if for Netflix, but even that is a bit of a stretch for this movie for me. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Thriller: 4.0

Movie Overall:  4.0