The Droving (2020) Movie Review

Director: George Popov

Writer: George Popov, Jonathan Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Oldroyd, Suzie Frances Garton, Amy Tyger, Jonathan Lawrence Risdon, Bobby Robertson

Plot: A man returns from the military in search for his lost sister, who mysteriously went missing around the time of a strange traditional festival called ‘The Droving’.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Suspenseful

Story: The Droving starts as Martin (Oldroyd) returns home from a military stint in search for his sister Megan (Tyger) who has gone missing, Tess (Garton) gives Martin the information she knows about, which includes a strange festival that was happening at the same time, which sees Martin starting his investigation.

As Martin heads into the wilderness, he starts to learn about the locals, with some offering clues, while others teach him about the ritual that is meant to be happening soon, each step is giving Martin the clues to what might have happened to Megan.

Thoughts on The Droving

Characters – Martin is a soldier that is going in search for his missing sister, he is trained in military defence which gets highlight in how he deals with threats and will push the limits in looking for answers, as we learn more about his past when he was in the services. Tess is the friend that gives Martin an update with what she does know about Megan’s disappearance, she is clear with everything that she knows. Megan is the sister that has done missing, we learn about her more from Martin knowing how she thinks and in flashback of their times together. We do meet other people that could offer clues along the way for Martin.

PerformancesDaniel Oldroyd in the leading role is the star of the show, he carries the film with his delivery, which will make you a mix of scared and respect for his character through the film. When it comes to the rest of the cast, they all do a good job as they will being filling in the story through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a soldier that goes in search of sister after she went missing, his investigation takes him into a festival which will see him diving into superstitions. When we look at this story, the best way to describe it would be to say it has the same feeling as ‘The Kill List’ with how it seems to start very normal, before diving into the supernatural incidents. The story is explained in the way that Martin will learn things, does help us question everything we are learning, even if it does also fall into the story telling style of, go here, then here, learn this, go here, see this person, learn more. It does keep it simple to follow and does balance the lines between reality and superstitions.

MysteryThe mystery in this film comes from seeing how Martin is trying to learn the truth about his sister, we learn like he does and it will go in a direction that he wasn’t expecting.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how village can still believe in strange beliefs which will see them being unwelcoming to strangers, add an air of tension to the film.

Scene of the Movie – The Hermit chat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The dumb kid’s behaviour.

Final Thoughts This is a suspenseful mystery that does keep us guessing through the film, we will be left wondering what did and will happen as the investigation continues.

Overall: Erie Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Escape Plan: The Extractors (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because of the director John Herzfeld.

Director: John Herzfeld

Writer: John Herzfeld, Miles Chapman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, 50 Cent, Jin Zhang, Harry Shum jr, Devon Sawa, Jaime King, Lydia Hull

Plot: After security expert Ray Breslin is hired to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Hong Kong tech mogul from a formidable Latvian prison, Breslin’s girlfriend is also captured.

Tagline – Prepare for the Damage!
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty

Story: Escape Plan: The Extractors starts as a Hong Kong businesswoman Daya Zhang (Melise) is kidnapped, Shen (Zhang) and Bao (Shum Jr) are forced to turn to Ray Breslin (Stallone) to help locate her, joined by Trent DeRosa (Bautista) they look into their past where they will need to face Lester Clark Jr (Sawa).

As Lester puts his plan into action, he takes Abigail (King), Ray’s girlfriend in an attempt to get leverage over him, only Ray isn’t giving up on the job and will look to prove him reputation when it comes to escaping jails.

Thoughts on Escape Plan: The Extractors

Characters – Ray Breslin still works on the field of getting people out of impossible situations, with his latest case being about rescuing a businesswoman kidnapped, only he will need to face his past as one of his old deals with see Lester Clark Jr target him, for what happened to his father. He sees the job becoming more personal, which shows he will not stop. Trent is the old friend that will always turn up when Ray calls, kick ass and leave, we really don’t see enough of this character. Lester Clark Jr has set up a masterplan to get revenge on Ray Breslin for what happened to his father, he will kill people that don’t follow his instructions or give him the information he requires. Shen and Bao are two men that will look to protect Daya, they have both failed and now they are doing what it takes to save her.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone in the leading role is trying to make up for the last outing, he does all the basics well, but it could have been any action film he has ever done, not letting him hit his high notes, Dave Bautista just doesn’t get enough screen time, while Devon Sawa is the only character you want to watch because of his character’s actions.

StoryThe story here follows Ray Breslin as he gets his latest job to break into a prison and rescue a kidnapped businesswoman from an old enemy. This story does want to continue to use the ideas that was created with the first film, only it doesn’t seem to feel as slick as it was, we fall into a more gritty idea that just does feel like a routine action film that we would have seen before, it is nothing we haven’t seen before and doesn’t leave us with enough twists along the way, become rather plain by the end, despite being an improvement on the last outing in the franchise.

Action/CrimeThe action is everything you would expect to see from a Stallone movie, his fighting works well enough, we do have the Hong Kong based character doing their fighting, while Dave Bautista gets to do the power on power fighting.

SettingsThe film is set in the one location which is the prison where Lester operates, it doesn’t have the elaborate ideas the previous ones did, which does take away something from the concept behind the film.

Scene of the Movie – Trent versus the big guy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is a generic action film.

Final Thoughts This a generic sequel that does improve on the messy that was the second film, but it still along way away from the style of the first film.

Overall: Generic Action.

Finding Grace (2019) Movie Review

Director: Warren Fast

Writer: Warren Fast (Screenplay)

Starring: Erin Gray, David Keith, Bo Svenson, Paris Warner, Jasen Wade, London Grace, Lacy Hartselle

Plot: A struggling family, already on the verge of disintegration, faces new challenges that will test their faith in God and each other.

Tagline – There comes a time in each person’s life… to make a choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: Finding Grace starts as 18-year-old Alaska Rose (Warner) finds herself facing a judge after breaking the law, giving community service or facing jail, her father Conner (Wade) wants Alaska to learn responsibility before it is too late, with her desire to party still coming through.

Alaska must do her community service at a nursing home with Amanda Wheeler (Davenport) watching over, here Alaska meets lonely resident Julianna Foster (Oglesby) who acts strangely around her, as the time in the home continues, Alaska learns she can help, she doesn’t want the shallow life her friends seem to b pushing her towards, all while dealing with her own pain of losing her mother, becoming the big sister her brother always needed.

Thoughts on Finding Grace

Characters – Alaska Rose has just turned 18, she has found herself in trouble with the law and given a suspended prison sentence with community service at a nursing home. Alaska starts of as a self-centred teenager, who is more interested in partying with friends, that facing the future coming her way, she needs to learn responsibility before it is too late. Alaska is also haunted by the death of mother when she was younger, which does show the strain in her relationship with her father. Alaska is the focal point of the arc in this story, her transformation through the film is excellent. Conner is Alaska’s father, he struggles with work with a business that isn’t as successful as he had hoped and he has become distant from his children in his own way of grieving for his wife, he looks to find God once again, in a hope to move on with his life. Julianna Foster is the elderly resident at the home that Alaska strikes up an unlikely friendship, she has lived a colourful life that not enough people have heard about until Alaska listens to her story and finally finds somebody to open up to.

PerformancesParis Warner is wonderful in the leading role, we see how she shows the change in her character over the two month spell, as well as showing the pain she carries with her. Jasen Wade does bring the distance required for his character through the film. Kisha Sharon Oglesby brings the heart needed for the film, her performance does everything to show Alaska how important change will be.

StoryThe story here follows an 18-year-old that is facing prison if she doesn’t clean up her act, where she does community services to hopefully turn her life around and learn to open up about her own pain in her life. This story does use the faith side of life to get the message across, while this might well be the key motivation for change, it does show, how the right people in life can put you on the right path, change you for the better and those around you. We do sometimes focus on Alaska’s father in a mix of either not enough or too much, where he does have arc to go through, though it doesn’t seem like it gets the attention desired, or whether we needed his complete arc running next to hers. This is a very touching drama that does show everything it needs too, to pull on the emotions.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Alaska would find herself in places she wouldn’t have planned on being, with these being helpful in her change.

Scene of the Movie – Second court

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much focus on Conner’s arc.

Final Thoughts This is a drama that plays on the emotional chords that shows us that change can make lives better and finding the right path will always set you free.

Overall: Emotional Drama.