Writer: Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Rachel Boynton (Documentary)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan
Plot: A battle-hardened American political consultant is sent to help re-elect a controversial president in Bolivia, where she must compete with a long-term rival working for another candidate.
Tagline – May the best campaign win.
Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Unfunny Political Comedy
Story: Our Brand is Crisis starts when disgraced political consultant Jane (Bullock) gets recruited by Nell (Dowd) and Ben (Mackie) to help improve the approval rating of Bolivian presidential candidate Castillo (de Almeida).
Jane must go against her old enemy Pat Candy (Thornton) who has always beaten her in campaign battles, this is going to be the time she will not be prepared to lose as she will try new ideas he isn’t prepared for.
Thoughts on Our Brand is Crisis
Characters – Jane is nicknamed calamity Jane after her mistakes in previous campaigns, she is dragged into returning to the field in Bolivia going against her old enemy. She has bright ideas which will help, but her own personal problems could cause the downfall in the campaign. Pat Candy is the rival that has always beaten Jane, he knows all the dirty tricks and will use them to make sure he wins. Ben is the member of the campaign that wasn’t in full support of hiring Jane because of her history or lack of involvement in her early days on the campaign. Castillo is the senator that is running for the presidency of Bolivia, a role he once had, he needs to help turn his public image around in hopes of trying to win this election.
Performances – Sandra Bullock is good through the film, though she isn’t as strong as we know she can be. Billy Bob Thornton is solid in his role, he will always make for a good villainous figure even if he is just the other side of the law. Anthony Mackie gives us another solid supporting performance without being too involved in the main story.
Story – The story here follows a political consultant that gets bought into Bolivia to help with the Presidential campaign that is losing quickly. She goes against her real enemy, the man that always beats her in a country that remains loyal to certain sides of everything. this is loosely based on a true story and for a story that we are meant to care about, we just don’t get sucked into knowing or caring about what happens with the campaign. None of the characters are overly likeable and by the end you won’t remember too many events of the story.
Comedy – The film tries to use comedy, though most of it misses, the only time it hits are on random scene which don’t have too much to do with the actual campaign.
Settings – The film is set in Bolivia, this can be seen with the divide in the people, the different classes and reaction to each presidential candidate.
Final Thoughts – Mostly forgettable political comedy, two words that shouldn’t go together when it comes to dealing with a real campaign.
Overall: Disappointing and boring.
Writer: Lee Anthony Smith, Gregory J Bradley (Screenplay)
Starring: Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzman, Saul Rubinek, Ryo Ishibashi
Plot: An FBI Agent seeks vengeance on a mysterious assassin known as “Rogue” who murdered his partner.
Tagline – One wants justice, the other wants revenge.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Action Packed Twist Filled Film
Story: War starts when Crawford (Statham) and his partner Tom (Chen) are trying to locate the known assassin for hire Rogue (Li) the investigation takes a turn, when Tom and his family are murdered by Rogue. Joining a task force in hunt for Rogue, while watching over the two rival gangs the Triads and Yakuza, with Chang (Lone) and Shiro (Ishibashi) leading each side.
When Rogue starts playing both sides, Crawford sees the war coming, can Crawford finally get his hands on the man that killed his partner or will he become the latest victim of the mysterious assassin.
Thoughts on War
Characters – Rogue is the mysterious assassin that killed Tom’s whole family, he has been working for the Yakuza for years, but now he has switched sides to the Triads, he hasn’t been caught and is know for getting facial reconstruction to hide his identity. Rogue does have his own plans for his latest job which sees him going head to head with Crawford. Crawford is the FBI agent that is sees his partner murdered, he has been chasing Rogue for years and now he will do everything he can to final catch him and end his reign of terror, which has cost him his own wife. Chang is the leader of the Triads that has been able to keep business from persona life, he easily trust a former enemy though. Kira is running the operations for the Yakuza in San Francisco for her father being the only person he can trust.
Performances – Jet Li was in his prime during the mid-2000s, this shows he could be the cold-hearted killer, just as deadly with a gun than his fists. Jason Statham continued to make an impact on the action genre, he works well in this role being the detective we need for the film. John Lone, Devon Aoki and Ryo Ishibashi complete the supporting cast with effective ability doing what is needed for the film.
Story – The story follows an FBI agent tracking a mysterious assassin who killed his partner, which sees him reappear when two rival gangs are about to go into full blown war. This does seem like a story that is going down one simple line, it is very busy with four different people planning their attacks to stay on top of the game. This is an action story that does get elevated by the final act which does turn everything on its head, making you want to go back and see if you can pick up on the clues being laid.
Action/Crime – The action in War is combat based, be it the hand to hand fights or the gun flying around making the body count rise. We are completely in the criminal underworld of the Triad and Yakuza war.
Settings – The film is set in San Francisco which shows us how America has become overrun by international gang wars looking to expand their businesses.
Final Thoughts – This is a great action packed movie that is well worth a watch, it does have a killer twist which will make it stand out from the rest.
Overall: Wonderful action packed film.