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Showing posts from July 23, 2017

Review: Kickboxer

American heavyweight kickboxing champ Denis Alexio and his naïve brother Jean-Claude Van Damme travel to Thailand to test his skills out with the originators of the sport. One look at the fearsome local champ Tong Po (Michel Qissi) and Van Damme is all ‘I have a bad feeling about this’. Sadly junior is unable to convince his older, cocky brother not to go and get his arse kicked. And thoroughly kicked his arse does indeed get, so Van Damme becomes enraged and seeks vengeance against the man who paralysed his brother. Unfortunately, Van Damme’s not as skilled or experienced as his beefy brother, but on the advice of U.S. ranger turned arms dealer (!) Haskell Anderson (quite fun, but not exactly a master thespian), he meets up with Muay Thai teacher Dennis Chan (a scene-stealer, in the Mr. Miyagi sort of role) who will ready him for his obligatory showdown with the uber-villain.

I have no good reason for liking this 1989 Mark DiSalle vehicle for the Muscles from Brussels (DiSalle would …

Review: Suicide Squad

Federal agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) persuades US government officials that America needs to have a plan should some Superman-esque being decide to turn its sights on humanity to do very bad things (Superman being now deceased after “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”). Waller’s solution is to bring together a ragtag group of mostly super-powered criminals, all kept in line via the threat of Waller detonating implanted explosives remotely. The team are; Deadly accurate assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who is basically a human torch, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) a former Arkham Asylum shrink turned bugfuck crazy, Aussie crim Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the reptilian-skinned thug Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and late addition Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Cara Delevingne plays scientist Dr. June Moone, who has been possessed by a sinister entity known as Enchantress, which must be stopped. Jared Leto turns up as Harley’s whack-job punk boyfri…

Review: Children of Men

Set in dour England circa 2027, wherein things have taken a decidedly apocalyptic, futile turn (and Britain is the last standing superpower, it seems). You see, the human race has become sterile, with women being unable to bear children in 2009 (?!). Soon, the human race will die out. Anyhoo, Somewhat passive former activist Clive Owen meets up with activist and former flame Julianne Moore (who belongs to a group of rebels including the ubiquitous Chiwetel Ejiofor) who brings him to Claire-Hope Ashitey, who is (gasp!) pregnant! Soon Owen, assigned as the woman’s protector, finds himself in the middle of a war between government soldiers and rebels, each wanting to get their hands on the young woman. Sir Michael Caine and Pam Ferris are his only help, an aging, pot-smoking hippie and a midwife, respectively. Danny Huston plays Owen’s cousin, in an inexplicable and extraneous role that was presumably mostly left in the scrap heap.

Surprisingly dull 2006 Alfonso Cuaron (“Harry Potter and…

Review: Independence Day: Resurgence

After the events of the first film, Earth has integrated alien technology with Earth technology to some good advancements over the last 20 years since the attack. On the anniversary of said attack, David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) now working as director of the space defence program, is called upon to investigate something interesting that has turned up in Africa: An alien ship, and it has just lit up. Meanwhile, a new alien ship has appeared near the moon, as encountered by the fly crew stationed on the moon. That crew includes hot-shot pilots and currently not friendly with one another Jake (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan (Jesse T. Usher), the latter of whom is the son of Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox) and the now late Steven (Will Smith, AKA Sir Not Appearing in This Film). And yes, Dylan does get his own groan-worthy ‘Welcome to Erf’-style corny catch phrase at one regrettable point. Jake’s girlfriend Patricia (Maika Monroe) used to be a flygirl too, but now devotes all of her time looking afte…

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

With cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett) taking credit for their heroic efforts in saving New York City, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been living a somewhat low-key existence. That is until arch-villain Shredder (Brian Tee) and two knucklehead prisoners Beebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen ‘Sheamus’ Farrelly) are rescued from their prisoner transportation vehicle by Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett!) who is basically a brain-like alien head inside of a gargantuan robotic body. Krang needs Shredder’s help on some evil scheme, and gives Shredder a mysterious ooze that he uses to transform Beebop and Rocksteady into mutants…who are still knuckleheads. Throw in ace reporter April O’Neill (Megan Fox) a former corrections officer turned masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), and some dissention among the turtles on what to do about this ooze, and you’ve got yourself a movie. Tyler Perry plays Dr. Baxter Stockman, a scientist in Shredder’s employ, Laura Linney is a …

Review: The Offence

Dour, mature-minded police film concerning copper Sean Connery’s mental disintegration whilst investigating a child molestation case, causing him to beat the dishevelled prime suspect Ian Bannen to death during interrogation. Why would Connery do that? Well, Bannen seems to see something in Connery when he locks eyes with him early on, so perhaps there’s something to that. Is he seeing an unacknowledged fellow molester? Perhaps. Is Connery just mentally scarred by his job and the horrible crimes he investigates? Perhaps. Is the crafty Bannen merely seeing a volatile man he can manipulate? And is Bannen a child molester or not? You’ll have to see the film for yourself, and even then you won’t get a nice neat little answer. Vivien Merchant is Connery’s well-meaning but nagging wife (she wants him to talk to her, open up, something she might actually regret if she knew better), and Trevor Howard has an extended cameo as the chief inspector interrogating Connery.

In perhaps his finest-eve…

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Fourth film in the series has Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) joining up with an old flame (Penelope Cruz) on board a ship captained by infamous pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), as they set sail in search of the famed fountain of youth. Along the way they are also joined by a young missionary (Sam Claflin) and, of all things, a mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). Meanwhile, old foe Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is hot on their trail, as untrustworthy as ever, but this time in the service of the King, who needs the fountain’s magically healing water. Kevin R. McNally is back as Sparrow’s right-hand man, Keith Richards turns up again as Sparrow’s salty dad, and Richard Griffiths plays the foppish old King.

I’ve always been a defender of Disney, because whilst they’re very corporate and their films tend to seem like products at times, the fact is, they tend to produce quality product. That was certainly the case of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, which brought a freshness a…