Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King: Quest for Power (2015)

Director: Mike Elliott

Writer: Michael Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Victor Webster, Ellen Hollman, Will Kemp, Barry Bostwick, Rutger Hauer, Michael Biehn, M Emmet Walsh

 

Plot: When he is betrayed by a trusted friend, Mathayus must marshal all his strength and cunning to outwit a formidable opponent who will stop at nothing to unlock a supreme ancient power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flat-Out Comedy Now

 

Story: The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power starts with Mathayus (Webster) and his apprentice Drazen (Kemp) looking to steal an ancient artefact which will give whoever holds it great power but Skizurra (Ferrigno) proves to be formidable opponent for Mathayus, but he finds himself betrayed by Drazen.

Failing his mission Mathayus is sent by King Zakkour (Hauer) to offer a peace agreement with King Yannick (Biehn) the father Drazen. When the king is murdered with scorpions, Mathayus must go on the run with Valina (Hollman) to work with her father Sorrell (Bostwick) to stop Drazen from unlocking the secret ancient power that can bring down the kingdoms.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is now once again a warrior for hire, we learn no reason or story to how he lost the kingdom he earnt at the end of the last film. he gets betrayed again before going on the mission. Valina is the feisty woman this time trying to go against tradition and be a warrior leader with Drazen being the power-hungry villain. The fellow character all add laughs without doing too much for the story.

Performance wise, Victor Webster has made this role his own and hands the comical side of this film, Ellen Hollman is fine in the leading role but it would be say she is the weakest of the leading ladies of the franchise. Will Kemp does bring certain credibility back to the villainous role but how can anyone be worse than Billy Zane. The rest of the cast all do well throughout.

StoryThe story is good even if they do forget to explain why Mathayus is no longer king again, we get everything we need for an adventure but the biggest positive for me was the balancing of science version myth which I have found other films have attempted and failed, this film gets it about right.

Action/AdventureThe action is fine just lots of hand to hand combat which is fine without being anything impressive but the adventure does feel like a lot more fun.

SettingsThe settings confused at times because we seem to have got past the idea of sand and heading into the woods because filming in Romania is cheap.

Special EffectsThe special effects are weak through the film which does take certain moments away from the final film.

Final ThoughtsThis film was better than certain comedies I saw from this year and the adventure is fine but it just doesn’t feel like a Scorpion King movie anymore.

 

Overall: Comical sequel that should be fun to watch if watched as a comedy.

Rating

 

 

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2018 Anticipated Film #10 Meg

2018 Anticipated Film

2017 was one of my favourite years for movies in years, so through the month of December I am going to look at 31 movies that I am looking forward to in the year of 2018, they are not in any order just 31 I want to discuss.

Meg

Main CastJason Statham, Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis

Plot –After escaping an attack by what he claims was by a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

Will I Enjoy It?Jason Statham versus a shark, shut up and take my money.

Will it be successful? This could easily be one of the most hated films of the year, but it could also turn into one of the most enjoyable ones.

Release Date (UK)2nd March 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writer: Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

 

Plot: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.


Tagline – The game has evolved.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Blast

 

Story: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we follow four teenage high school students the geek Spencer (Wolff), the social media diva Bethany (Iseman), the start American football player Fridge (Blain) and the hard-working studier Martha (Turner) who are all sentenced to detention for different reasons. While in detention they find an old video game, an evolved version of Jumanji, to which they all get sucked into.

In the game the students become the characters they selected, Spencer becomes Dr Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Fridge becomes Moose Finbar (Hart), Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon (Black) and Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan). Each character they are playing as is completely different to their human characters and now they must use their newly found strength to save Jumanji and return home.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – The students first Spencer is a geek, loner who has lost his once friendship with Fridge because of how they went different direction, he does try to help Fridge with his studies and is a video game expert. Fridge is the star American football player of the school, we don’t learn too much about him other than he is struggling with his studies. Bethany is the diva of the school, she is glued to her phone, not caring about anybody else in the world. Martha is a student that is desperate to succeed in her studies, adding unneeded pressure on herself to achieve as much as she can.

The players, Dr Smolder Bravestone is a born adventurer, strong, fast and full of smouldering intensity, this gives Spencer the physical strength he never had against Fridge. Ruby Roundhouse helps turns Martha into a bad ass fighter, this gives Martha a chance to break out of her shell. Professor Shelly Oberon becomes a nightmare for Bethany, an overweight middle-aged man, a true teenage nightmare. Shelly is the only one that can guide them through Jumanji, this gives Bethany a chance to realize there are people outside of her phone. Moose Finbar is a zoologist, that shows Fridge what life is like from the point of view of someone without muscles, this is one of the only weak points in the movie, that is because we haven’t learnt enough about Fridge before hand and now he isn’t on the same learning level the other three are.

PerformancesThe performances of the four in the game are great, Dwayne Johnson continues to show us why we love him as an actor, he can step into any fun role and make it his own. Karen Gillan had to spend time defending her characters wardrobe, but for the character shows that she is one of the action-packed actresses to watch out for. Kevin Hart is entertaining, but he is too different from his human character. Jack Black is the true star of the show here, he gets the best lines and is the best performance of a teenage girl you will see this year.

StoryThe story does play out much like the original only we enter the game because it has evolved into a video game. We have a Breakfast Club feel to why the characters are in detention and needing to learn that however different they may seem on the outside, inside they are similar in many ways. The story does get plenty of escapes too by being a video game, we have built in characters who only have certain responses because of programming over the idea of poorly written characters, we have lots of fun with how it all unfolds with each stage becoming more difficult as they go on.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action does feel like a video game which is fine because it entertains throughout, this plans into the adventure through the jungle for our characters. The film is set with a comic tone which likes to poke fun at body-swapping, which does become a fine balance through the film.

SettingsThe high school settings is what we have seen before, but the jungle becomes a character of its own with the beauty of the landscapes out characters will find themselves in.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, though we do see the green screen moments and CGI animals too often.


Scene of the Movie –
Introduction to Shelly Oberon and the reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel that Moose is written for Kevin Hart rather than to be an opposite to Fridge.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is a lot of fun from start to finish, you can forget this is a remake sequel because of the nods to the original, you will find yourself enjoying nearly everything in this fun movie.

 

Overall: Truly fun adventure movie.

Rating

 

 

Mountains May Depart (2017)

Director: Zhangke Jia

Writer: Zhangke Jia (Screenplay)

Starring: Tao Zhao, Yi Zhang, Jing Dong Liang, Zijian Dong, Sylvia Chang, Sanming Han

 

Plot: The life of Tao, and those close to her, is explored in three different time periods: 1999, 2014, and 2025.


Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Heart-Breakingly Wonderful

 

Story: Mountains May Depart starts in 1999, two friends Jinsheng (Zhang) and Liangzi (Liang) are both in love with their friend Tao (Zhao), though both are from very different backgrounds, Jinsheng is set for a successful career as the owner of the mine, while Liangzi is set to work around the mines.

When Tao chooses Jinsheng to marry, it is the friendship with Liangzi that must suffer as he becomes distant from the two forcing him to leave, Jinsheng and Tao starting a family.

We move to the 2014 where Liangzi is still a miner, he has a family of his own now, but he is sick, needing to borrow money for his treatment, needing to return to his old friends. We continue to follow our three characters stories focusing on Tao mostly in the year 2025 to see how things change, but friendship can hold people together even with decades apart.

 

Thoughts on Mountains May Depart

 

Characters – Tao is the central character we follow, we see how she must choose between two friends, knowing she would leave one broken. In the middle chapter of the story we see how her life hasn’t gone as planned, separated from husband and worse, her son. This is a wonderfully created character, that must go through so many different emotions, make choices that will break her, but are right for the people in her life. Jinsheng is the successful businessman that won Tao’s heart, only to divorce her moving away from her life with their child. Liangzi is the other friend, the manual worker that is never going to get out of the mining world. He leaves a broken man only to return with his own family, sick in need of support from his friends.

PerformancesTao Zhao in the leading role gives us a brilliant performance, we feel each emotion she must go through, the difficulty she shows in the decisions she makes. Jing Dong Liang is the next best performer over the three leads, you can see his heartbreak and desperation in his character. Yi Zhang is great too, but I feel we didn’t get to see enough of his characters motivation through the film. the supporting cast are all fantastic too, we see the difficult decisions they must make to find their way.

StoryThe story follows Tao in three different years of her life, the first is just after university, the second is the death of her father and her child going to a new country, the third is the direction her life went after that moment. We do also follow other characters through the different stages of their lives, be it the two friends and the son that doesn’t know where to take his life. This movie could easily have comparisons to ‘Lion’ which does have a different reason for the separate, but the time jumps do show us the difficult for the child and the parents.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows the decision Tao must make, the consequences and the path her son takes without her, for the most part this is more about the drama of the choices Tao and her friends make over the romantic side of things.

SettingsThe settings show us the different worlds our characters are living in, moving to and the lives people can have.


Scene of the Movie –
Trip home with young Dollar.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing what happened to Liangzi.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows us the difficult decisions that needed to be made from these characters, they seem to be the right ones but the hardest to make.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama that will play on the emotions.

Rating