Writer: Jonnie Malachi (Screenplay)
Starring: Craig Fairbrass, Emmett J Scanlan, James Cosmo, Mem Ferda, Tamer Hassan, Olivia Grant, Bruce Payne
Plot: A professional contract killer, haunted by visions of his violent past, spirals out of control. His work compromised as he reaches breaking point, he is forced to defend his family from his ruthless employers.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller
Story: Breakdown starts as we see how contract killer Alfie (Fairbrass) starts getting visions of his previous kills, this compromises his life and family time when he shows this weakness on front of his boss Albert (Cosmo).
Needing to prove himself to Albert and one of the best clients they have Iraz (Hassan), Alfie must complete a cold-hearted execution on his daughter’s 16th birthday. The test is just the beginning as Alfie wants out of the crime life but his boss isn’t as happy to let him go.
Thoughts on Breakdown
Characters – Alfie is the contract killer and family man, he has balanced the two lives well but now he starts to get nightmare visions of his previous kills, Alfie now wants out and his family is the reason that he must go through on final mission to kill to end the threat to them. Connor is the partner of Alfie, he is younger and seems to have learnt from Alfie over the years. Albert is the crime boss living in a mansion turning to the few men he trusts for the more difficult jobs.
Performance – Craig Fairbrass is fine in the leading role working around his weaknesses to look the part, Emmett makes for a good partner in crime but doesn’t shine the way he could have and James Cosmo is good as the gang leader.
Story – The story is a tried and tested formula, hit man wants out of the business but the boss won’t let him, this time we do get a slight twist on why he wants out but otherwise this doesn’t offer too much on the fresh side.
Thriller – The film does try to keep you on the edge of the seat but the slow pacing holds everything back for the most part.
Settings – We have the settings that you would have come to expect as we see the two lives the kill works in, but no iconic scenes to be had here.
Final Thoughts – This is a by the books hitman wanting out of the business film that doesn’t offer enough fresh but is still going to be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.
Overall: By the book crime thriller.
Writer: Feng Li, Bin Wang, Yimou Zhang (Screenplay)
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Ziyi Zhang, Dandan Song, Hongfei Zhao
Plot: A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.
Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Visually Stunning
Story: House of Flying Daggers starts as we meet two police captains, Jin (Kaneshiro) and Leo (Lau) both have been assigned to locate the new leader of the group known as the Flying Daggers, the first lead is with blind showgirl Xiao Mei (Zhang) who is set to be tortured for the information.
Jin rescues Xiao because of his respect of the Flying Daggers and wanting away from the corrupt government system. With Captain Leo hot on their tails it isn’t long before we are on a race to safety but not everything is what it seems.
Thoughts on House of Flying Daggers
Characters – Jin is one of the captain’s in the police in China, he is a playboy with the women which helps as he goes against order to rescue a prime suspect in the search for the rebel group, known as the Flying Daggers. Jin uses his charm to get close to the truth but his status becomes difficult once the truth about his plan is revealed. Leo is the fellow Captain that is by the books to make sure everything goes to the plan with the torture of Mei. Xiao Mei is the blind showgirl that is a prime suspect in the search for the Flying Daggers. Once rescued from jail, he must decide whether to truth Jin or not in a world which is dark to her, her fighting skills are fantastic as she sounds around her to know where her enemies are.
Performances – Takeshi Kaneshiro is great in this leading role, but this does go for the three lead roles Andy Lau and Ziyi Zhang, the three shine in the film with the combat skills required to handle everything they go through with the emotional moments too.
Story – The story here starts out as any routine, save a prisoner to go against your government idea but soon goes in directions you wouldn’t have imagined as certain things are not what they seem and love consumes the characters and what they believe they stand for. This is a very good story to watch unfold, we get moments of breaking when we turn to the action but that offers us something as the action scenes offer a moment needed for the characters to develop in the bigger picture.
Action/Adventure/Romance – The action through the film is breath-taking moments using nature and weapons is a blend of beauty. The romance side of the film comes on thick in the second half as we see just how far the people will go for love.
Settings – The film takes place mostly in a countryside of China, this gives us the beauty needing for the fight sequences.
Special Effects – The effects are used to help with the fight sequences look even more breath-taking.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the best-looking action movies you will see, it leads you one direction before throwing us into a new one too.
Overall: Visual experience for all.