Army of One (2020) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Durham

Writer: Mary Ann Barnes, David Dittlinger, Stephen Durham, Ellen Hollman (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellen Hollman, Matt Passmore, Stephen Dunlevy, Barry Hanley, Gary Kasper, Kendra Carelli, Cameron Bowen

Plot: Out hiking, Special Forces Brenner Baker stumbles onto a Cartel’s compound. Her husband’s killed and she’s left for dead. The Cartel made two mistakes, killed her husband and left her alive. They won’t live to make another.

Tagline – They Left Her For Dead, Big Mistake

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Army of One starts when Brenner (Hollman) and her husband Dillion (Passmore) head away for a camping vacation to get over Dillion recent injury on the job, the pair stumble upon a Cartel run by Mama (Singer) whose redneck crew kill Dillion and leave Brenner for dead.

Brenner a special forces soldier isn’t going to let the rednecks get away with murdering her husband and sets out on a bloody rampage against them to bring down their enterprise.

Thoughts on Army of One

Characters – Brenner is a special forces soldier who is on a vacation with her husband, when he is murdered she goes out for revenge, which will see her using all her skills to take on the people responsible, bringing them down with her military training. Dillion is Brenner’s husband, who has been through a traumatic experience, leaving him injured, using his time to recover still caught with nightmares of what happened. Mama runs the organisation that she covers with her friendly diner chef, while behind the scenes she is ruthless leader. We have countless number of redneck figures, each one will see Brenner showing off a different skill to defeat.

PerformancesEllen Hollman in the leading role is great to watch, being the action heroine that makes the film stand out, with the physical performance needed during the fights. Matt Passmore along with the support cast all give us strong performance, even if some of the redneck figures might not have the strongest death reactions.

StoryThe story here follows a special forces soldier that is left for dead that looks for revenge against the people who killer her husband and she won’t stop until everyone pays. This might well be a story we have seen many times before, which works keeping everything simple in the strategic attacks planned by Brenner. The one weaker side to the story does come from the cartel group, it is late before we learn what they are involved in and when it comes to the locals, it leaves little to the imagination to who to trust.

ActionThe action is the highlight in the film, with fights Brenner gets involved in trying to get her own revenge. Each fight will put her through a different experience and set of fighting skills, with a wonderful one-shot moment too.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in an off the grid compound where the operations take place, you can see how secure the people think it will be until they come under attack.

Scene of the Movie – The escape one-shot fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The randomness of seeing Dillion’s flashbacks.

Final Thoughts Army of One is an all out action assault where Ellen Hollman shines as the action star.

The Blackout: Invasion Earth (2019) Movie Review

Director: Egor Baranov, Nathalia Hencker

Writer: Ilya Kulikov (Screenplay)

Starring: Aleksey Chadov, Pyotr Fyodorov, Svetlana Ivanova, Lukerya Ilyashenko, Kseniya Kutepova

Plot: Life on Earth is rapidly destroyed except for a small area in Eastern Europe.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Blackout: Invasion Earth starts in the near future when a sudden blackout over the major cities occurs, the people die and the communication between the countries is gone. The Russian military is looking to investigate what is happening to their country within the blackout sites, Oleg (Chadov) leads his unit with Yuriy (Fyodorov) and a camera crew Olga (Ivanova) to learn what is happening in the blackout spots, after previous crews when missing, with one soldier having a deeper connection to what happened, with a warning from an unknown figure.

Thoughts on The Blackout: Invasion Earth

Characters – Oleg is one of the soldiers that gets bought in to fight against the unknown enemy, he gets injured but it always going to be fighting for his men and stop the enemy coming to cause a major threat on everyone in the world. Olga is the press member who is recording the footage of the missions, she will get up close and personal looking for the truth, bringing a more human approach to everything going on. Alyona is the medical soldier that Oleg met before the incident and now needs help from during the attack. We do meet the military officers having to make the big decisions along with the visitors as we learn what they want from Earth.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are strong through the film, we get the military characters, the human factors and the mysterious visitors that will each offer up a different position for the actors to bring to life.

StoryThe story here follows a group of soldiers that need to learn the effects of a mysterious alien attack, which will see them facing a new enemy, with a bigger reason for their visit. This story is very big, it will take focus on the unknown, while borrowing from other massive sci-fi movies with the use a visitor that has been bought to bring a bigger reality to the world. The unknown is what makes the story stand out, where the military is doing all they can to survive knowing they are looking to save their loved ones from something that they can’t defend against. We will be get left with a bigger issue by the end of the film, dealing with moral questions about what to do next.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is massive with the military fights along with the massive horde like attacks, which will have the sci-fi invasion elements about them.

SettingsThe film uses a lot of the aftermath of attacks to show the destroyed cities for the action sequences.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong, showing us just how the alien figure will stand out and look different in the world, even giving a shocking reveal.

Scene of the Movie – The rooftop encounter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the military unit side of things does seem like filled compared to the bigger picture going on.

Final Thoughts The Blackout: Invasion Earth is an ambitiously big sci-fi that has big action and big moral questions going on throughout.


Jiu Jitsu (2020) Movie Review

Director: Dimitri Logothetis

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Marie Avgeropoulos, Frank Grillo, Tony Jaa, Ricky Yune, JuJu Chan, Alain Moussi

Plot: The future hangs in the balance as a being from another world returns to Earth to face off against the best warriors the human race has to offer. From special ops soldiers to the best martial arts experts, an epic battle for survival will place humanity on the brink of extinction.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Jiu Jitsu starts when Jake (Moussi) is found injured in Burma, taking to a local military facility, Myra (Avgeropoulos) looks to help him unlock him memory. When Kueng (Jaa) helps break Jake out, he returns him to a unit run by Harrigan (Grillo) who wants answers, showing the unit being a group of elite soldiers, that will eliminate anyone in their way.

When Jake starts trying to put more of the answers together, he is visited by Wylie (Cage) who teaches him about a mysterious visitor that is looking for a fight, with answers about the fighting technique of Jiu jitsu.

Thoughts on Jiu Jitsu

Characters – Jake is the soldier that has lost his memory, he is left in a condition that needs to recover, but he has people searching for him, soldiers, fighters and a mysterious visitor, he needs to remember before he gets into conflict where he can handle himself with ease. Myra is the US soldier that is trying to help Jake learn the truth, being the only one of the base that will give him the time of day to learn instead of making him out to be an enemy. Wylie will help Jake remember the truth, show him who he is and what the battle will mean against the visitor, reminding him how important this is. Harrigan leads the field side of the unit that Jake was once part of, he expects him to pick it up and return to the conflict they were preparing for. Kueng is the one that rescues Jake to return him to the unit, he is the fastest and most skilled member of the unit, outside of Jake.

PerformancesAlain Moussi in the leading role continues to shine in the conflict heavy positions, building on his more serious side of his performances too, Nicolas Cage is always a joy to watch, this is no different, even if he doesn’t reach the full clown crazy we know off. Frank Grillo is strong in the supporting role, with Tony Jaa bring even more action to the film, stealing most fight sequences. Juju Chan bring yet another fighting style to the film, which will give us everything we need, to show different styles coming to life.

StoryThe story here follows a soldier that has lost his memory, as he looks to prepare to fight against a visitor looking for a fight of honour, which will help give him his memory back. This is a story that does a clever mix between the soldier who has lost his identity and Predator, giving us a reason for the fight to happen, that isn’t just a hunting, with it being more of a fight for honour between the galaxy. This does seem to have plenty going on, which will use the idea of a comic book to build a world that we could see even more from.

Action/Sci-FiThe action uses the single take idea, with Kueng’s introduction playing out following the action instead of cutting between the blows, along with the unique first person prospective Jake has, which easily swaps between a camera on him, to seeing him involved, transitioning between the two.

SettingsThe film is set in Burma, which will show us how America could have mission in smaller nations, along with playing into a cultural temple that is where the fight needs to take place.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are looking at the visitor, Brax that is a mix of Predator, with the costume that requires CGI and the weapons that can play into it, even if a lot of the combat is in your face battles.

Scene of the Movie – Brax versus Wylie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Blink at you miss it death.

Final Thoughts Jiu Jitsu is an entertaining action sci-fi movie with a great cast, that does feel like a Predator movie we have been waiting for.

Signature Entertainment presents Jiu Jitsu on Digital HD 21st December and Blu-ray & DVD 4th January

The Facility (2019) Movie Review

Director: Matt Mitchell

Writer: Matt Mitchell (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarine Sofair, Harriet Madeley, Adrian Edmondson, Sally Phillips, Omar Rose, Kevin Leslie, Michael Fatogun, Sophie Miller

Plot: A group of young urban explorers and a private military unit could become the final pieces in a 60-year plan to reopen a door that should have stayed closed. But what they unleashed could almost tear our world apart.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Facility starts as five urban explorers Grace (Madeley), Becca (Burton), Steve (Leslie), Adam (Bronzy) and Maddie (Miller) break into an abandoned military facility, where they start to find unusual objects and goings on within the walls. Sgt Davies (Fatogun) is assigned to put his team together to get the explorers out at any cost by the mysterious Suited Woman (Philips).

With two teams in the facility, the evil inside is now ready to feed, but it will need to be stopped before it is unleashed on the Earth.

Thoughts on The Facility

Characters – Grace leads the urban explorers, the group does fall into the generic figures, but to bring us urban explorers, you would feel like there would be more professionalism or back stories to the previous explorations they would have been on, which would have made them more understand or used to the conditions before the haunting side of the journey. Davies leads the military unit that just wants the job done, his unit safe and answers before going into a place filled with danger.

PerformancesThe performances are not the strongest, but they are far from bad, certain lines might not be delivered in the most convincing method, but then this does end up playing more into the bigger picture going on.

StoryThe story here follows a group of urban explorers and a military unit that both find themselves trapped in a mysterious military facility which is filled with unexplainable events. The Facility it a sequel to The Rizen and makes a big jump in time to the modern time, which shows us how the spirits are still haunting the facility trying to possess a new generation a soldiers that could be used to feed the evil. We could have seen or at least learnt more about the urban explorers before entering, is this there first one, have they been doing this for years etc, something Grave Encounters made clear for extra horror effect. If you haven’t seen the original, a lot of this will seem strange and not add up on the same level, but the memories of the original, make things add up more. There is a lot going on through this story, which might see little moments missed, but the ambition behind the world creating is something that needs to be praised.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action isn’t as big as it would like to be, with a lot being just shooting into blank spaces, with the horror coming from the darkness and the visions seen around the facility, with the sci-fi side of the film playing into the bigger picture being presented.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the facility, filled with darkness and mystery around every single corner.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed, with the practical looking good, while the CGI moments do stand out more than they should.

Scene of the Movie – Closing the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about the urban explorers past experiences.

Final Thoughts The Facility continues to build the world within the walls, giving us a chance to see how big this world could get.

Fall of a Kingdom (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Wynn, Akhtem Seitablaev

Writer: Rich Ronat, Yaroslav Voytseshek (Screenplay)

Starring: Tommy Flanagan, Robert Patrick, Poppy Drayton, Alison Doody, Alex MacNicoll

Plot: The Mongol Empire had grown to the largest the world had ever known. It’s armies now laid siege to much of Eastern Europe. A small village fights for freedom in the frontier landscape of the Carpathian Mountains.

Tagline – Family. Freedom. Legacy.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Fall of a Kingdom starts as we meet the small village chef Zakhar (Patrick) who wants his sons Maksim (MacNicoll) and Ivan (Myers) to invite the leader of neighbouring village Tugar (Flanagan) for a town meeting, which will see Maksim fall for the daughter Myroslava (Drayton) after rescuing her.

When the small villages find themselves coming under attack by the Mongol Empire, Maksim, Ivan and Petro look to free the people who are being put through the sadistic games.

Thoughts on Fall of a Kingdom

Thoughts – Fall of a Kingdom aims to give us a battle against the odds as a small village looks to try and unite with others to defeat an empire of warriors the Mongols who are sweeping across the lands, killing anyone who stands in their way. We get left in a conflict between the villages who don’t want to work together despite it being best for the people and the empire that will not stop for anyone, seeing people’s true colours. We have solid enough performances, but nobody manages to stand out in anyway through this film, the fights don’t feel fresh, with the battles going into the land of everything we have seen before. The most redeeming part of the film comes from a dramatic water based sequence, which does look super cool.

Final ThoughtsFall of a Kingdom fills in the basics of a battle between small villages and an empire that will stop at nothing, bring little fresh to the table.

Signature Entertainment presents Fall of a Kingdom on DVD and Digital HD from November 30th