Franchise Weekend – The Fast of the Furious (2001)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine

 

Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Begins

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious starts as we meet Brian (Walker) a want to be street racer trying to find his way into the good books of street racing icon Dominic Toretto (Diesel). Earning the respect of Dom after saving him from the police, Brian finds himself welcomed into the world.

This opens the door for us to meet Dom’s enemy on the street, Johnny Tran (Yune) before we learn the truth about Brian’s involvement as an undercover police officer trying to uncover who is behind the crime spree behind the street racing thieves.

The deeper Brian gets into the family the greater the respect both sides have towards each but with his superiors running out of patience Brian must learn what is really going on before Dom’s crew get hurt.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters we have all come to love start here with Brian the undercover police officers trying to up his ranking in the police force while growing the respect of the underground street racers. Brian fits this world as the outsider as the way in for us the audience too. Dom is the alpha male of the group that everyone respects and once you earn his you become untouchable. He is the best racer, the loyalist friend and brother. Johnny Tran makes for a good starter villain who is just a racing rival to Dom. Letty is the girlfriend of Dom that does have control over him but we don’t see too much from, Mia is Dom’s brother that becomes a love interest for Brian. The rest of the characters are all small parts to the big world Dom controls.

Performance wise, you can see the draw of Paul Walker to this role where you can argue his is the bigger name for the time and he is great, in this film you can see how early into his career Vin Diesel was and he just doesn’t have the screen presence we know from him now. The rest of the cast all do well playing the parts how you would expect them to be.

StoryThe story side of this movie is easy to follow, uncover cop gets drawn to the world he is investigating because of the excitement it gives him. We have the checklist for story here offer us just flashy races to make this different than for example Point Break.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe races are all good to watch, as well are the heists being pulled off which show us both the crime sides of the story because of the illegal racing and they keeps us all on edge for the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA which makes for the style the film has because it is away from the glitz and glamor of the world we know.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all here for the races and showing how certain elements of the engine work to increase speed.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise is the go to for nonsense action, but it didn’t start that way and this film shows us the street racing, beginning of a friendship and just how far these guys would go.

 

Overall: The true fans will always love this one over any sequel because of the importance this film gives us to the future franchise.

Rating

 

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

Director: Patrick Hughes

Writer: Tom O’Connor (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Selma Hayek

 

Plot: The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Watchable Fun

 

Story: The Hitman’s Bodyguard starts as we see how our triple A bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) lose his reputation after losing a client, we learn that Vladislav Dukhovich (Oldman) the former President of Belarus is being charged with war crimes but his witnesses keep going missing but now Darius Kincad (Jackson) a hitman comes forward to seal his fate with Sonia (Hayek) a deal to get his wife released from prison.

When the transport goes wrong Michael gets bought in to become the bodyguard for Darius but the history between the two brings us the comedy as the enemies must work together to get from Manchester to the Hauge to being Dukhovich down once and for all, as we learn the skills both men have.

 

Thoughts on The Hitman’s Bodyguard

 

Characters – Michael Bryce might as well just be Van Wilder grown up as he likes the perfect plan but feels free like it comes together naturally, his by the book style clashes with Darius which adds to the comedy as he believes he can manage this job alone if Darius can follow instructions. Darius Kincaid is the hitman that has racked up a lot of kills, he has crossed paths with Michael before and now he wants to help set his wife free from jail, his is deadly with a gun and reluctantly works with Michael to make everything work even if his style is carefree. Dukhovich is the tyrant dictator bring charged with the crimes, he does seem to believe he has ultimate power but spends most of the film just in the court room being evil looking. Sonia suffers the same fate, she is in prison most of the film just ranting about Darius and wanting to be free.

PerformanceRyan Reynolds gives us the fast taking character we know he can here with Samuel L Jackson also give his more aggressive fast talking style. Oldman is always a great villain but here he almost feels wasted as is Salma Hayek.

StoryThe story is a by the books two men from different worlds must come together for the greater good but things don’t go as planned along the way, we have generic characters that offer little to the bigger picture and in the end the story does feel flat at times, but we do get arcs to the Michael and Darius characters similar to what we saw with Hobbs and Shaw in Fast & Furious 8 but outside this we have nothing new.

Action/ComedyThe action does come off great, we have designed chases that have bullets flying all over the place but then lose the comedy in these moments, the comedy is fine but does feel like it is just the two shouting at each other most of the time, and if it was more action based it could have been a lot more enjoyable.

SettingsThe settings bring the film to Europe, well England and Holland which is fine, the chases feel more compact which the highlight being in Amsterdam.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well at times, most are used for comedy moments or flashbacks.

Scene of the Movie – Amsterdam chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like it wanted to be a comedy when it seems to play out better as just an action film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action comedy that is fine but doesn’t take any awards for best action or comedy this year.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing overly special.

Rating

 

 

2017 Watched List – Part 27

2017 Movie Watched List

Movie Watched list are always interesting to read to see what order people watch films in, over the past two years I have started doing watched lists with two different styles to talk about the over 1000 movies I had seen. This year I decided to mix it up once more. This time I will be listing the films in 10 like before and then picking just my favourites on a couple of subject’s I am picking favourites over best because sometimes the best films are difficult re-watches which is why I like the term favourite.

Here is 261 – 270

1.    Black Mass

2.    A Mother Knows Best

3.    The Overnight

4.    Mojave

5.    Kill Zone 2

6.    Fatal Attraction

7.    The Last Exorcism Part II

8.    Boogie Nights

9.    Table 19

10. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Favourite Film
Table 19

Table 19 is one of the biggest surprises of the year, it is a film that I found myself enjoying every character through the film, laughing when you need to and having the emotional level when needed too.

Worst Film
The Overnight

I have picked this as the worst because it was one film that just feels awkward, it isn’t one you could watch with your family or your friends and at times just becomes boring.

Any other question you would like to know about the selection feel free to leave a comment and I will answer or maybe even add to future Watched Lists.

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Scream of the Banshee (2011)

screamDirector: Steven C Miller

Writer: Anthony C Ferrante, Jacob Hair (Screenplay)

Starring: Lauren Holly, Lance Henriksen, Eric F Adams, Marcelle Baer, Edrick Browne, Leanne Cochran, Thomas C Daniel

 

Plot: An archaeology professor unearths a dangerous artefact, unwittingly releasing a creature that is able to kill with the power of its bone-splitting scream.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Horror

 

Story: Scream of the Banshee starts in 12th century Ireland as we see an evil vanquished before moving to present day. We get to meet researcher Professor Isla Whelan (Holly) and her students Shayla (Baer), Janie (Cochran) and Otto (Haberkorn) who are getting the latest project ready.

When the team discovers a box from the 12th century they discover the head inside which unleashes a terrifying scream before vanishing. When the research team start getting haunted by the banshee they must locate former professors Samuel Page (Adams) and Broderick Duncan (Henriksen) for answers on how to stop the creature.

Scream of the Banshee plays into the screaming banshee myth which is the first time I have seen this in a horror movie which I am happy to see. The problems do build from that though because the story makes a big point of this being an Irish myth and sets the film in America almost randomly. We get the banshee that can only attack when you scream but in the final act it doesn’t seem to matter so we have built up nicely on for it to end playing against all of the rules created earlier in the film. The overall story is easy to follow so just enjoy the kills and look into an interesting myth.

 

Actor Review

 

Lauren Holly: Professor Isla Whelan leads an archiving team at the university who discover a 12th century box with a head inside. Once they open the box they start getting haunted by the banshee as she needs to rebuild her crumbling relationship with her daughter. Lauren is solid in this role but the character doesn’t seem to be as big of an expert as we are led to believe.

Lance Henriksen: Broderick Duncan is a former professor who was obsessed with the box so much so that he has become a fanatic theorist. Lance is the big name in the film even though we don’t meet his character in person till the final act.

Eric F Adams: Samuel Page is the former assistant to Duncan who doesn’t want anything to do with but once he starts also getting haunted by the banshee he must help the researchers find Duncan to put a stop to everything. Eric does a basic job as the character telling more of the story.

Support Cast: Scream of the Banshee has a supporting cast which are mostly made up for the students who just become disposable as the story unfolds.

Director Review: Steven C MillerSteven give us a horror that looks into Irish folk law to get the horror but has one too many false jump scares.

 

Horror: Scream of the Banshee plays into the jump scares of horror as we see each character getting haunted with jump scares coming in nearly every scene but often too many times.

Settings: Scream of the Banshee throws us into the university style settings to start with before moving out, the settings don’t really have any impact on where the story actually goes.
Special Effects
: Scream of the Banshee has solid effects throughout while not everything is jaw-dropping it all works for the concept of the film.

Suggestion: Scream of the Banshee is a late night television experience that can be enjoyed by the horror fans. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Banshee idea works.

Worst Part: Certain inconsistency in how the banshee acts.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: She hasn’t been out for a thousand years.

 

Overall: Simple horror that does all it needs to.

Ratingcard