Just Mercy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Bryan Stevenson (Book)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, Marcus A Griffin Jr, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Plot: World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Just Mercy starts when Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) learns the struggles of the poor, mostly black men on death row for crimes they didn’t get proper representation in court. Gaining the funding to start helping these men, one case Walter McMillian (Foxx) takes centre stage.

Bryan must battle a legal system that doesn’t seem to want to let a black man have a fair trial, to prove that Walter never committed a murder that was convicted on just one witness statement, no evidence was false, to save a man’s life and change the system forever.

Thoughts on Just Mercy

Characters – The characters here are based on real people, which shows the incredible work they went through, Bryan has just qualified as a lawyer and is willing to give up massive paydays to help the men trapped on death row, to get a fair trial and save lives. He will risk his life, reputation and career on proving, fairly that Walter isn’t a murderer. Walter McMillian has worked hard his whole life, his one mistake made him an easy target for the police who wanted to frame a black man, now on death row, he doesn’t have much faith of getting out, until he meets Bryan who shows him that somebody is willing to fight for him, even though he has always claimed his innocence and helped keep the fellow inmates believing they could get out. Eva Ansley works with Bryan, she leads more of the campaign, while helping study the law side, not fighting in the courtroom, she is the person that keeps Bryan going through it all, though not seeing her involved more in the courtroom, is slightly disappointing.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan steps up here to prove he will be able to take leading roles in a more serious environment once again, he shows all the calm his character needs during the testing times. Jamie Foxx is wonderful as the wrongly convicted killer, showing how the system has beaten him down more than anything else. Brie Larson gets great scenes, but it is a mix of her character not getting enough scenes and seemingly more we don’t learn about her character which leaves us wanting more.

StoryThe story here follows the young lawyer that wants to fight for the rights of the men on death row, with his first major case being defending Walter McMillian, a man believed to be wrongfully convicted a crime he could never have committed. This is an important story, it shows how hard the people worked to campaign to give people a fair trial in a system which has shown countless cases of corruption, he shows all the struggles they would face and how the law will always hold people back from getting the truth out there fairly. We focus on one major case, while it does feel like we could watch many cases this man worked on, just to show us how unfair the law can be on the poor.

SettingsThe film uses a few settings, the prison for the interviews, the courtroom, which as you all know is one of my favourite settings in film, offices and homes which show how hard everybody worked to get this story out there.


Scene of the Movie – The supreme courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The law being this bad.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful important look at how the law works, not always as fairly as it should do, we have a massive story and brilliant performances from the cast.

Overall: Important.

Bad Boys for Life (2020) Movie Review

Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writer: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Del Castillo, Jacob Scipio

Plot: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.


Tagline – Ride Together. Die Together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Absolute Blast

Story: Bad Boys for Life starts as we hit a new personal landmark for Marcus Burnett (Lawrence), he has become a grandfather, considering retirement once again, Mike Lowrey (Smith) doesn’t want him to retire and after he is shot in a drive by, by a vengeful Armando (Scipio) life flies by.

Mike wanting to hunt his attempted killer, must reluctantly work with a new department known as AMMO run by his ex-girlfriend Rita (Nunez) to learn who is behind this and why has he become targeted.

Thoughts on Bad Boys for Life

Characters – Mike Lowrey is still the playboy we know from the first two films, he actually even runs from the new baby showing he fear of commitment once again, he gets shot, only just surviving and comes back with hate in his blood, wanting to break every rule in the book, he must look into his own past to learn who his want to be assassin is. Marcus Burnett has become a Grandfather, now he wants to retire for good and after Mike’s shooting he follows through, only he is bored with his retirement and reluctantly helps Mike look into the case, getting all of the laughs along the way. Isabel is the escaped convict who has targeting Mike with her son doing her dirty work, she is known for believing in the dead, with her son willing to do anything for her. Armando is the son of Isabel who will do everything his mother askes him to, to get revenge for his father’s death, becoming the deadliest enemy that the bad boys have come up against

PerformancesWill Smith does take more of the centre stage this time around, but he does an excellent job, giving one of his best performances in years, if not decades. Martin Lawrence does steal the show here, he gets the laughs in every single scene, as the pair just have the chemistry producers pray to have on screen. Kate del Catillo makes for a great villain, being different to what we have seen before, while Jacob Scipio is wonderful as the deadly fighter, who will do anything for his mother.

StoryThe story here continues the adventures of the bad boy detectives in Miami, with one facing life of death and the other looking to his future away from the force. This might well be the most personal of the stories, the pair have been through. The continuing life growing situations Marcus goes through works wonderfully for the comedy side of the film, while Mike has a more intense storyline, which feels like it could be more for a vendetta based movie, even though he shows how the balance the law with the work. The story keeps us wanting to see the motivation behind why Mike is being targeted, while showing us just how the two senior detectives will need to embrace a younger approach to fighting crime.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is a nice mix of car chases, fight scenes and a big spectacle ending which continues to build up the stakes as the shoot out goes on. The crime side of the film doesn’t focus on the drug world this time, it is a criminal’s revenge mission against people they believed wronged them, which is different and nice to see. The comedy is the best in the franchise here with Martin Lawrence getting most of the laughs, while we do get a couple of generational laughs along the way too.

SettingsKeeping the film set mostly in Miami is good for the series, it is where the cops operate in, we do see them travel for the final battle, which is no different than the last one.


Scene of the Movie – Hotel fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like a better story than one of Will Smith’s recent films.

Final Thoughts This is a blast, so much fun with Smith and Lawrence hitting out the park with their performances.

Overall: Most Fun at the Cinema This Year.

Thunder Road (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jim Cummings

Writer: Jim Cummings (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Cummings, Kendal Farr, Nican Robinson, Jocelyn DeBoer, Chelsea Edmundson, Macon Blair, Ammie Masterson

Plot: A police officer faces a personal meltdown following a divorce and the death of his mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Cummings Shines

Story: Thunder Road starts on the day of Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings) funeral, here he breaks down slightly despite trying to stay strong for his daughter Crystal (Farr), being forced to take time off work, his partner Nate Lewis (Robinson) supports him. As Jim is also going through a divorce from Rosalind (DeBoer) which has only just hit him with the papers, Jim is trying to keep his life in order.

As Jim sees even more of his life fall apart, he is left losing everything, hoping he could fix things before it is too late, showing just how easily somebody’s life can fall in a matter moments.

Thoughts on Thunder Road

Characters – Officer Jim Arnaud is a good cop, good father and was a good husband, while his marriage has gone in different direction, it has ended well enough to keep their daughter together, he loses his mother and lets out his sadness on a suspect, he is happy to have split custody of their daughter, only when he loses this, he falls of the rails completely, he shows how easily somebody can have a breakdown without having the support of people in their lives. Crystal is the daughter that is caught in the middle of the divorce, she loves both her parents and is growing up too fast for Jim’s liking. Nate Lewis is Jim’s partner, who spends time of duty supporting his friend, being one of the few that will step up more once he sees the decline in his mental state. Rosalind is the ex-wife that has been patient with Jim, even though she is the one that puts the papers in for the divorce.

PerformancesJim Cummings is excellent in the leading role here, we understand each emotion that Jim is going through, all while trying his hardest to remain calm, even when he can’t. Kendal Farr as the young girl works well through the film, while Nican Robinson brings in the best friend figure with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a police officer whose life starts falling apart around him after the death of his mother, divorce and custody battle for his daughter, showing us just how someone can spiral out of control. This story does show the pain somebody can go through when life hits too hard, not with one moment, but a string of them, which will make it feel like everything is against you. The spiral is hard to watch because Jim does come off like a nice honest person, that does always try to do the right thing in life. Where this story does shine, is by showing us how people will be there for you, if you are willing to accept or ask for help.

ComedyThe comedy in the film does come from a couple of moments of social awkward behaviour that Jim has, harmless, though.

SettingsThe film does keep us in the one town setting, it shows how there is stories about the people in it.


Scene of the Movie – Police station confrontation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Custody case.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy that has a shining performance from the lead Jim Cummings and shows just how life can be hard to the nicest people.

Overall: Nice Hard Hitting Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – Q – The Quake (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Andreas Andersen

Writer: John Kare Raake, Harald Rosenlow-Eeg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, Katherine Thorborg Johansen, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Stig R Amdam

Plot: In 1904 an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 on the Richter scale shook Oslo, with an epicenter in the “Oslo Graben” which runs under the Norwegian capital. There are now signs that indicate that we can expect a major future earthquake in Oslo.


Tagline – The Wave was only the beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Set Piece Disaster Film

Story: The Quake starts one year after the events of the Wave, Norway is remembering the tragedy, while preparing for any other unexpected disasters, with belief there could be an Earthquake in the near future. Geologist Kristian Eikjord (Joner) is still feeling guilty for the number of people who died, despite saving his family from the tragedy.

When one of Kristian colleagues dies looking into seismic activity, it brings he out of his research to follow up on the information he has received and now in the Oslo, his worst fears look like they might come true.

Thoughts on The Quake

Characters – Kristian predicted the tsunami in the Wave, he couldn’t save everybody, now he is still feeling the guilt of not saving everybody, now he believes there could be an Earthquake hitting Oslo, one that could take more lives, he wants to find evidence to prove this, even if it means he is becoming more distant from his own children. Idun is the ex-wife to Kristian who will give him chances when it comes to their children, but doesn’t want to forgive him for become distant from then in the past. Julia is the daughter that wants to spend time with her father, she is getting pushed away by his own guilt, she will be the one that needs to be rescued the most in the film. Marit is the daughter of the colleague, that starts helping Kristian with his research understand that his work meant something more and his death can’t be in vain.

PerformancesKristoffer Joner does return as does the most part of his family actors, he is the best performer in the film, with her desperation, while the rest of the cast don’t seem to get as much impact in the film.

StoryThe story in the film does follow the guilt of surviving a disaster and the fear another one could come, before it does hit showing the desperate actions of one man to try and save his family. The story does follow the same formula as The Wave, so we know we are getting into a debate between characters about whether it could happen or not, before the event, the event itself is big and the battle to survive likewise, even if certain parts of it are repeated. It does feel slightly too random that everybody else does just vanish after the quake as we solely focus on the four trying to figure out how to survive.

ActionThe action here does wait for the big event to happen, which is a big event and doesn’t hold anything back.

SettingsThe film does take us to a new location, a big city in Oslo, with the big disaster sequences happening within the skyscrapers, with so how dangerous they would be in an Earthquake.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used for the destruction sequences, which do look terrifying, it shows the pure amount of destruction a city will face and fires up the tension in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The Quake Hitting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Trying to survive in the quake is slightly too repetitive

Final Thoughts This is a nice sequel to The Wave, the disasters are still big and the determination to survive is the most important part of the film.

Overall: Big Disaster Movie.