ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Escape Plan: The Extractors (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because of the director John Herzfeld.

Director: John Herzfeld

Writer: John Herzfeld, Miles Chapman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, 50 Cent, Jin Zhang, Harry Shum jr, Devon Sawa, Jaime King, Lydia Hull

Plot: After security expert Ray Breslin is hired to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Hong Kong tech mogul from a formidable Latvian prison, Breslin’s girlfriend is also captured.

Tagline – Prepare for the Damage!
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty

Story: Escape Plan: The Extractors starts as a Hong Kong businesswoman Daya Zhang (Melise) is kidnapped, Shen (Zhang) and Bao (Shum Jr) are forced to turn to Ray Breslin (Stallone) to help locate her, joined by Trent DeRosa (Bautista) they look into their past where they will need to face Lester Clark Jr (Sawa).

As Lester puts his plan into action, he takes Abigail (King), Ray’s girlfriend in an attempt to get leverage over him, only Ray isn’t giving up on the job and will look to prove him reputation when it comes to escaping jails.

Thoughts on Escape Plan: The Extractors

Characters – Ray Breslin still works on the field of getting people out of impossible situations, with his latest case being about rescuing a businesswoman kidnapped, only he will need to face his past as one of his old deals with see Lester Clark Jr target him, for what happened to his father. He sees the job becoming more personal, which shows he will not stop. Trent is the old friend that will always turn up when Ray calls, kick ass and leave, we really don’t see enough of this character. Lester Clark Jr has set up a masterplan to get revenge on Ray Breslin for what happened to his father, he will kill people that don’t follow his instructions or give him the information he requires. Shen and Bao are two men that will look to protect Daya, they have both failed and now they are doing what it takes to save her.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone in the leading role is trying to make up for the last outing, he does all the basics well, but it could have been any action film he has ever done, not letting him hit his high notes, Dave Bautista just doesn’t get enough screen time, while Devon Sawa is the only character you want to watch because of his character’s actions.

StoryThe story here follows Ray Breslin as he gets his latest job to break into a prison and rescue a kidnapped businesswoman from an old enemy. This story does want to continue to use the ideas that was created with the first film, only it doesn’t seem to feel as slick as it was, we fall into a more gritty idea that just does feel like a routine action film that we would have seen before, it is nothing we haven’t seen before and doesn’t leave us with enough twists along the way, become rather plain by the end, despite being an improvement on the last outing in the franchise.

Action/CrimeThe action is everything you would expect to see from a Stallone movie, his fighting works well enough, we do have the Hong Kong based character doing their fighting, while Dave Bautista gets to do the power on power fighting.

SettingsThe film is set in the one location which is the prison where Lester operates, it doesn’t have the elaborate ideas the previous ones did, which does take away something from the concept behind the film.

Scene of the Movie – Trent versus the big guy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is a generic action film.

Final Thoughts This a generic sequel that does improve on the messy that was the second film, but it still along way away from the style of the first film.

Overall: Generic Action.

Finding Grace (2019) Movie Review

Director: Warren Fast

Writer: Warren Fast (Screenplay)

Starring: Erin Gray, David Keith, Bo Svenson, Paris Warner, Jasen Wade, London Grace, Lacy Hartselle

Plot: A struggling family, already on the verge of disintegration, faces new challenges that will test their faith in God and each other.

Tagline – There comes a time in each person’s life… to make a choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: Finding Grace starts as 18-year-old Alaska Rose (Warner) finds herself facing a judge after breaking the law, giving community service or facing jail, her father Conner (Wade) wants Alaska to learn responsibility before it is too late, with her desire to party still coming through.

Alaska must do her community service at a nursing home with Amanda Wheeler (Davenport) watching over, here Alaska meets lonely resident Julianna Foster (Oglesby) who acts strangely around her, as the time in the home continues, Alaska learns she can help, she doesn’t want the shallow life her friends seem to b pushing her towards, all while dealing with her own pain of losing her mother, becoming the big sister her brother always needed.

Thoughts on Finding Grace

Characters – Alaska Rose has just turned 18, she has found herself in trouble with the law and given a suspended prison sentence with community service at a nursing home. Alaska starts of as a self-centred teenager, who is more interested in partying with friends, that facing the future coming her way, she needs to learn responsibility before it is too late. Alaska is also haunted by the death of mother when she was younger, which does show the strain in her relationship with her father. Alaska is the focal point of the arc in this story, her transformation through the film is excellent. Conner is Alaska’s father, he struggles with work with a business that isn’t as successful as he had hoped and he has become distant from his children in his own way of grieving for his wife, he looks to find God once again, in a hope to move on with his life. Julianna Foster is the elderly resident at the home that Alaska strikes up an unlikely friendship, she has lived a colourful life that not enough people have heard about until Alaska listens to her story and finally finds somebody to open up to.

PerformancesParis Warner is wonderful in the leading role, we see how she shows the change in her character over the two month spell, as well as showing the pain she carries with her. Jasen Wade does bring the distance required for his character through the film. Kisha Sharon Oglesby brings the heart needed for the film, her performance does everything to show Alaska how important change will be.

StoryThe story here follows an 18-year-old that is facing prison if she doesn’t clean up her act, where she does community services to hopefully turn her life around and learn to open up about her own pain in her life. This story does use the faith side of life to get the message across, while this might well be the key motivation for change, it does show, how the right people in life can put you on the right path, change you for the better and those around you. We do sometimes focus on Alaska’s father in a mix of either not enough or too much, where he does have arc to go through, though it doesn’t seem like it gets the attention desired, or whether we needed his complete arc running next to hers. This is a very touching drama that does show everything it needs too, to pull on the emotions.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Alaska would find herself in places she wouldn’t have planned on being, with these being helpful in her change.

Scene of the Movie – Second court

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much focus on Conner’s arc.

Final Thoughts This is a drama that plays on the emotional chords that shows us that change can make lives better and finding the right path will always set you free.

Overall: Emotional Drama.

UK Blu-ray™ and DVD Release of Snowpiercer 25th May 2020


From the visionary mind behind 2020 Oscar-winner Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho’s star-studded dystopian sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer is making its way to Blu-ray™ and DVD for the very first time in the UK.

Set in 2031, the entire planet is frozen and the world’s only survivors live aboard the Snowpiercer: a train that’s been hurtling around the globe for the past seventeen years. Within the carriages the remnants of the human race have formed their own divisive economic and class system.

This is all set to change when Curtis (Chris Evans) leads a group of lower-class citizens, who live in squalor at the back of the train, on a fight to the front of the Snowpiercer to share the food and wealth equally among the inhabitants. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the rebel group as they battle their way from carriage to carriage. A revolution has begun…

Full of action spectacle and plenty of biting social commentary, from acclaimed director Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite, Okja, The Host) this exciting dystopian thriller finally makes its way to UK Blu-ray™ and DVD in an extras-packed edition for fans and first time viewers alike.

Snowpiercer’s A-list cast includes: Chris Evans (Captain America: Civil War), Song Kang Ho (Parasite), Tilda Swinton (Dr. Strange), Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) and the late John Hurt (Alien).

A Netflix series based on the film and the original graphic novel is due for release in May 2020.


Blu-ray special features:
Transperceniege: From the Blank Page to the Blank Screen
Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton on Snowpiercer
The Birth of Snowpiercer
The End of the World, and the New Beginning (animated prologue)

The Platform (2019) Movie Review

Director: Galder Gaztelu-Irrutia

Writer: David Desola, Pedro Rivero (Screenplay)

Starring: Ivan Massague, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay, Zihara Llana, Mario Pardo

Plot: A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. One only food platform and two minutes per day to feed from up to down. An endless nightmare trapped in The Pit.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstandingly Original

Story: The Platform starts when Goreng (Massague) wakes up in a room with one cellmate Trimagasi (Eguileor), the cell has a hole in the middle and they are on level 48. Goreng gets the answers about the different levels in the structure, with them being nearer the middle, giving them options on the food supplies that get lowered to each level daily, with the people lower down getting whatever the levels above leaves.

After the first month, the pair find themselves near the very bottom of the system, which brings out a darker side of Trimagasi, where Goreng gets to learn more about the harsh reality, he finds himself in.

Thoughts on The Platform

Characters – Goreng has volunteered to be part of this prison, in exchange for a degree, he wants to understand this procedure and wants to make a change, only to learn that he can only hope, he learns the reality of where he finds himself and must learn to survive with different cellmates. Trimagasi is the first cellmate that Goreng has, he has been in the prison for months and has been at the highest and lowest levels, knowing what it takes to survive the different levels. Imoguiri is second cell mate that Goreng has, she has worked for the company for years and has volunteered to be part of this, believing she could make a change. We do see other people in the prison, with ideas of trying to get out as well as seeing how the people who run it operate.

PerformancesIvan Massague is great in the leading role, he shows how his character evolves through the events of his time in the prison. Zorion Eguileor fills in the gaps very well through the film, which is what most of the other actors do in the film, they give us the information to help on the journey.

StoryThe story follows a man that wakes up in a prison with one cellmate and a hole in the middle of the room, where each day a platform with food a arrives on each level, with the lower down the building you are, the less food you receive with you only getting what the above rooms leave. This is an exceptional story that dives into greed and consumerism, show how people will always want to take more than they deserve, which will cause problems to the ones below. The story does give us the idea that desperation could bring out the worst in people and shows that the weak will not last in this situation unless they can convince the dangerous ones to work together.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from the situation the characters find themselves in, the battle to survive the problems, with the structure coming straight out of the wildest sci-fi imagination, when you think of the pure size of this structure.

SettingsThe film is set inside of a prison structure with different levels, the rooms have a hole in which a platform of food arrives on daily, we don’t know how many levels we are going through here, which leaves us wondering of the pure scale of the structure.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects to show us how the injuries are inflicted when it comes to the fights and even showing us the scale of the building.

Scene of the Movie – Goreng and Baharat journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The above world either need to not exist or exist more than we get.

Final Thoughts This is a thought-provoking film that asks very big questions and highlights the problems in the world, with an added chapter of Cube.

Overall: Wonderful