ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – RocknRolla (2008)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Karel Roden, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.


Tagline – A story of sex, thugs and rock ‘n roll.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Saturated Film

 

Story: RocknRolla starts when One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) learn the hard way how London mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) operates, needing to collect a large amount of money. Lenny is in the middle of a big deal with a Russian Uri Omovich (Roden) that would be the biggest of his career.

When a piece of art gets stolen Lenny is put under pressure to return the art work to Uri, he turns to his right-hand man Archy (Strong) to get it back, turning to One Two for help as we see how the underworld coming together to get one up on each other.

 

Thoughts on RocknRolla

 

Characters – One Two is the leader of the Wild Bunch, he gets left owing a lot of money within the month and it soon becomes his connections that help with the mystery about where a painting is hiding as he plans to solve his own problems. Mumbles is the best friend in the Wild Bunch, he is the one that One Two turns to for advice through the problems. Lenny Cole is the mobster that runs London, he has everyone in his pocket to get what he wants, with his greed taking over when he can have a deal with a billionaire Russian, though his past could cause the trouble in this deal. Stella is the accountant that has each party doing her dealings, she knows how to have each side in the palm of her hands. Archy is the one telling the story, he has the right-hand man for Lenny and the go between all the different sides of the underworld. In this film we do get too many characters with so many different arcs going on through the film.

PerformancesThe acting in this film is good from the whole cast, we have a large cast which does hinder them from getting a true star turn in this film. Butler, Wilkinson, Newton, Strong, Elba, Hardy all show how they can become good at making moments of impact in shorter scenes.

StoryThe story here follows three levels of mobsters as they deal with a deal gone bad as they are trying to stay ahead of each other, in typical Ritchie storytelling we get thrown all over the place with the story telling and miss the most interesting action aspects of the film. when it comes to the criminal underworld side of the story, we don’t get anything new with generic characters who just go through the emotions that don’t always make us enjoy the characters we are enjoy watching.

Action/CrimeThe action is disappointing because we have scenes which should be good, only Ritchie’s style of shooting chops too much hiding the best parts. The crime world created is good because we see just how many different levels of the crime world we are entering.

SettingsThe film is set in London which is good for the film because if these type of deals are happening it would need to be in a busy city location like London.


Scene of the Movie –
Sporting goods fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action editing.

Final ThoughtsThis is your typical British gangster film, it has its own flair which can help and hinder the film at times, we have too many characters to stay on top of which only disappoints with the storytelling process.

 

Overall: Typical mobster movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – Gene Quintano – Sudden Death (1995)

Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Gene Quintano (Screenplay) Karen Baldwin (Story)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J Barry, Whittni Wright, Ross Malinger, Dorian Harewood

 

Plot: A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.


Tagline – Tonight, 17 thousand hockey fans have been taken hostage…but just one of them knows it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: Sudden Death starts as we meet firefighter Darren McCord (Van Damme) who is involved in a tragic rescue resulting in a young girls death. 2-years-later McCord has got a job as a fire inspector for the city ice hockey team as they are preparing for the seventh game in the Stanley Cup, taking his two children Emily (Wright) and Tyler (Malinger) to the game.

With the game under way Joshua Foss (Boothe) executes his plan to hold the Vice President (Barry) hostage along with the rest of the arena threatening to kill the hostage unless he gets paid, McCord becomes the only person that can save the arena and redeem his reputation.

 

Thoughts on Sudden Death

 

Characters – Darren McCord is a former firefighter who lost a young girl during a rescue, 2-years-late he is now a fire marshal for the ice hockey arena, he takes his kids to the game only for his daughter to be taken by the terrorists. He must use his fighting skills to stay ahead of the terrorists and save not only his daughter, but the vice President and the rest of the spectators in the arena. Joshua Foss is the leader of the terrorists, he wants money and lots of it, knowing where to take it from, he will kill anyone who is involved in the plan, he will kill hostages being a man of his word knowing he has a full arena of victims. Vice President is the man being held hostage by Joshua, he remains calm knowing that the situation doesn’t need to get out of hand no matter how many people Joshua executes. We do have Darren’s kids who are both just what you would expect with the members of the terrorist group completing the mix with the generic ones we know.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is one of the biggest icons in action, this could very well be one of his best roles, he looks like an everyday man with his own problems acting like a hero and showing us the fighting skills which have made him famous Power Boothe is great in the villainous role, he calmness makes his character fell disturbing throughout the film and is easily on of the underrated villains of the action genre. The rest of the cast are good, while the main two steal the show.

StoryThe story is what people branded ‘Die Hard, in an Ice Hockey Arena’ that is the best way to describe it, a former hero needing to redeem himself from a past mistake and when the chance presents itself in the ice hockey arena he must save the people from a criminal. It uses the real-time feeling as the have the game being the countdown through the events which does help show the rush to save the day as well as dealing with a villain that is cold-hearted and has been planning this job for years. For action we don’t always need the deepest of stories, this shows us what we can have achieved within the time period in question.

Action/CrimeThe action shows McCord going up against different henchman in different locations around the arena, even if the kitchen one against the penguin suit is the one you will most likely remember. The crime shows how a robbery can be put together to work like clockwork even if things don’t always go to plan.

SettingsThe film is set in the ice hockey arena, the action needs to remain here for the whole game giving us a tidy timeline to deal with through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
McCord versus the penguin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We miss the comic relief needed for the bonkers side of the idea.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable action film that shows us just how entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme can be if we are allowed to let him off his leash to fight.

 

Overall: Action film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Police Story 3 (1992)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma, Lee Wai Yee (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Wah Yuen, Bill Tung

 

Plot: A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.


Tagline – Meet the cop that can’t be stopped!

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Jackie Chan Movie

 

Story: Police Story 3 starts when a Hong Kong gangster Panther (Yuen) is rumoured to broken out of a Chinese prison, Inspector Ka Kui Chan (Chan) is sent to China to work with the authorities, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh). He must break Panther out and escort him back to Hong Kong so he can face his own countries law.

When back in his home city, Chan must work with Yang as the crime boss Chaibat (Tsang) is preparing to free his wife from prison, while trying to keep his cover from his girlfriend May (Cheung).

 

Thoughts on Police Story 3

 

Characters – Inspector Ka Kui Chan (or Kevin in the dubbed version) he is considered a super cop in Hong Kong and must go undercover in China to bring down a gangster, he can handle himself in a fight even if certain moments it looks like luck over judgement. Inspector Jessica Yang is working for the Chinese police and works with Ka as she looks to use her strict style which clashes with the laidback nature of Ka. May is the girlfriend of Ka Kui and she is the one that blows his cover because the two have no form of communication. Chaibat is the gangster that is trying to get his wife out of prison, he runs Hong Kong and taking him down is just what is needed for the city.

PerformancesJackie Chan is one of those actors you can watch do anything, he is committed to his art form and this shows that he has a little bit of everything, from his pure energy in the action, but his comic timing too. Michelle Yeoh showed us that she was going to become a big action star in this film, handling the comedy just as well as the action. Maggie Cheung is mostly wasted here, her character doesn’t have much to do, while Kenneth Tsang fills the villainous role without any problems.

StoryThe story follows two cops from different countries working together to try and take down a big crime group who find themselves split between the two countries. We get the undercover idea here which works well, the awkward chemistry works well, thee action blends into the story taking our attention away from the simple side of everything involved. This does end up being by the books, we know they will get made and will be forced into action police wouldn’t consider and by the end we will see the cop come out on top with the criminal needing to face him in a final battle. The twists are not going to shock and the major turning point comes from somebody else’s stupidity.

Action/Comedy/CrimeWe are going into a Jackie Chan movie, we know the action is going to be big fight sequences and crazy stunts, this hits all the required expectations for this movie, certain stunts or fights get the laughs required too, which surprises with the number of funny moments that don’t take away from the action.

SettingsThe film keep the settings ready for the set pieces, we have the big cities, the working prisoners and the hideouts, everything you would expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The badly dubbed version shown on TV.

Final ThoughtsThis is a purely entertaining Jackie Chan movie, it has the action we would expect, the comedy that works without trying to be more than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

Blood & Oil (2015)

Director: Curtis Graham

Writer: Samantha Iwowo (Screenplay)

Starring: William R Moses, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Dayton Sinkia

 

Plot: Based on True Events. A story about the 1st oil well drilled in Nigeria and how the impact has affected a small Nigerian Delta Village  (Oloibiri) and the lives of those involved.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Shocking Truth

 

Story: Blood & Oil starts after oil is discovered in a small Nigerian village of Oloibiri, the locals under a man known as Gunpowder (Mofe-Damijo) look to control the people, while businessman Powell (Moses) wants fair working conditions on everyone working for the transport of the oil.

Where the oil wasn’t controlled properly the first time, it led to the locals becoming sick and dying, this has led to the tension growing between the two sides when the new investment arrives with the locals not wanting to risk the lives of their own children.

 

Thoughts on Blood & Oil

 

Characters – Powell is the businessman that wants to run an oil business in Nigeria, he wants a honest business, with safe working and environmentally friendly towards the neighbourhood, unlike the previous people that run the company, he finds himself on the run after the locals want nothing to do with him. Gunpowder runs the local area, believing the oil will in fact be his to control, he rules by killing and forcing people to give him what he wants. He is feared by most of the locals in the area. Azu works for Powell, he has seen the consequences of the oil in his country and is torn between which side to be working on.

PerformancesWilliam R Moses is the America figure in the film and does a good job which is mostly trying to do the right thing. Richard Mofe-Damijo does bring us a character that does strike fear into the audience with just how dominate he makes his character.

StoryThe story here shows how one Nigerian village is dealing with the latest oil discovery and soon we see just how the different sides react to the latest look at investment. This does show us just how the oil business will make people do the craziest things for greed, we see how relationship between outsiders had become strained because of the actions of the people beforehand. We see how this behaviour is still happening in the modern times which shows how oil is only going to drive people to do crazy actions.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the militant behaviour of the Gunpowder and his men that use their guns to control people.

SettingsThe film is set in Nigeria in one village that shows how the people here have been affected for years and turned the mentality of the people in the area.


Scene of the Movie –
The captured reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more from the Powell ideas of doing things the right way.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at how the mentality of people when it comes to oil and the potential money that could come from controlling it.

 

Overall: Interesting look at the oil industry.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Tomb (2018)

Director: Kimble Rendall

Writer: Kimble Rendall, Paul Staheli (Screenplay) Kimble Rendall, Jonathan Scanlon (Story)

Starring: Bingbing Li, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Chun Wu, Shane Jacobson, Stef Dawson, Jason Chong

 

Plot: An innocent discovery of a well-preserved mummified Chinese Emperor from 200 B.C. unearths a two-thousand-year-old nightmare, a secret that should have remained buried.


Tagline – Unearth the legend. Unleash the curse.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Adventure

 

Story: Guardians of the Tomb starts when pharmaceutical business man Mason (Grammer) turns to the daughter of his former partner Jia (Li) to search for her brother Luke (Wu) who went missing during the latest search for a cure that would put the company back on the map.

Jia joins Mason, survival expert Jack Ridley (Lutz), Gary (Jacobson), Milly (Dawson) and Chen (Chong) in search for the answers in the tomb, a tomb which is filled with deadly spiders that could bring a new cure for diseases.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Tomb

 

Characters – Jia is a specialist in venoms and dangerous animals from around the world, she knows how to remain calm around them if somebody is infected, she is forced into the field after her brother goes missing on his latest expedition, where she must use her own expert skills to keep the team alive and guide them out alive. Jack Ridley is bough in because of his skills in survival situations, he is here to keep the team safe. Mason is the co-founder of company, he has seen his partner killed and is always looking to push the boundaries in search new products which could help make him money in the pharmaceutical world, he leads the team after his own men go missing. Luke is the younger brother to Jia, he goes on the adventures, with his latest one seeing him go missing, he is working for Mason too.

PerformancesBingbing Li is easily the best of performers in this film, she does look like she is trying unlike most of the rest of the leading members of the cast. Kellan Lutz continues to fall into the generic soldier figure, offering nothing new, Kelsey Grammer does seem to be wasted in his role, he would have been better to not go on the adventure too. Chun Wu is solid enough in what is a smaller role, though it he could have done more with more screen time.

StoryThe story follows a rescue mission after a discovery mission goes wrong inside an ancient tomb in China. This is a story we have seen before, we know how ancient tombs tend to play out, with traps only this time we get spiders that are protecting a tomb. We have greed, family and memories planning out for the characters, even we do end up just going through the, spiders are coming lets run storyline way too often. This is simply enough without being anything original or enjoyable.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure involved in the film follows the characters as they go through the tomb. The horror in the film comes from the spiders being deadly.

SettingsThe film keeps us going through the tombs with each room offering a new problem for the team to face.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the spiders which at times are awful looking CGI, in a place where we could have had practical ones.


Scene of the Movie –
Couldn’t find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI spiders.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint adventure horror that could have been a lot of fun, only to become bland, predictable and just becomes forgettable quickly.

 

Overall: Forgettable.

Rating