Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) John Gatins (Story)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Monster Mayhem

 

Story: Kong: Skull Island starts as we see an instant introduction to Kong during World War II, move forward to 1973 Bill Randa (Goodman) want to lead an expedition to the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean, one that has only just been discovered by satellite images. Joined by his assistant Brooks (Hawkins) and a mapping team Randa puts together a unit to cover him if the stories are true.

The team includes tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), San (Jing) and army unit led by Preston Packard (Jackson). Upon arrive on the island Kong destroys all the helicopter killing half the unit, with the scientists looking for a way off the island and Packard out for revenge the two battle within as they face enemies they had never imagined including the monstrous Kong.

 

Thoughts on Kong: Skull Island

 

Characters/PerformanceConrad is a British tracker who we rarely see track, Weaver is a photographer who clashes with Packard a lot on the morale side of her job post-Vietnam, she isn’t just the damsel in distress though. Packard is a war-hero who I believe wasn’t a hero in war, he wants one more chance to go into a battle before returning home, as the film unfolds he does feel very similar to Pete Postlethwaite character in Jurassic Park 2. Bill knows more than he lets on but could be considered a businessman villain. Hank steals most of the scenes here, he is the former WWII pilot who has been stuck on the island for 28 years. Kong is a character all to his own, destroying anything that gets in his way while also showing the most emotion of any character in the film. we also have scientists who are forgettable, and soldiers who are giving basic banter to work with.

Performance wise, Hiddleston does struggling to make much of the poorly written character, Larson starts well but again her character is written weakly, Jackson does what Jackson does well without being his best, Goodman also doesn’t reach his potential while Reilly knows how to steal a movie with limited scenes. Most of the stars all struggle with the same problem, their characters are written very weakly.

StoryThe story here is fine, I liked that is wasn’t the same as the 30’s era trying to bring Kong back to New York, this is just a surveillance job turned race against time to survive. So, this is The Lost World with King Kong in the end. There isn’t too much to say good about the story because I found myself confused a lot, we had ONE ship with about SIX helicopters on it and sudden when they reach Skull Island there is about TWENTY helicopters, the same goes for the number of soldiers, one minute we have the FOUR we know and then when we need people to die there suddenly seems to be another group of disposable ones. These inconsistent annoyed me most.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is very big and sure you can switch off and enjoy it all, the adventure is in the new world unseen and comes off fine throughout, the fantasy comes from battle what should be the impossible.

SettingsI did like that we kept all the action upon Skull Island, I feel this is important to creating the bigger universe they want to.

Special EffectsI also think the special effects are brilliant through the whole film and could barely tell the different between what is real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is big bad and fun but I feel the character development comes off pointless in places because all we get is a sudden death to a character that doesn’t make sense or it is an unknown character killed to save ones we have got to know.

 

Overall: This will go down in the fun but not great action set piece.

Rating

 

 

Forbidden Kingdom (2014)

forbiddenDirector: Oleg Stepchenko

Writer: Aleksandr Karpov, Oleg Stepchenko (Screenplay) Nikolai Gogol (Story)

Starring: Jason Flemyng, Andrey Smolyakov, Aleksey Chadov, Adnia Ditkovskite, Yuriy Tsurilo, Olga Zaytseva

 

Plot: An 18th century English cartographer, Jonathan Green, sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Ukrainian forest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Gave Up

 

Story: Forbidden Kingdom starts as we meet English cartographer and womanizer Jonathan Green (Flemyng) who escapes the reaches of the father of the woman. We move to Ukraine where we see a girl taken by the Viy spirit that terrorises the people.

Ok I am going to be honest here, I really just got completely lost watching this film, not sure if it is the terribly dubbing going on or awful wigs.

Forbidden Kingdom is the first film that I abandoned this year because it really just became unwatched after only thirty minutes. I also thought it was going to be the Jackie Chan and Jet Li film.

 

Overall: Just total garbage.

Rating N/A

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior (1981)

roadDirector: George Miller

Writer: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michal Preston, Max Phipps Vernon Wells, Kjell Nilsson, Virginia Hey, William Zappa

 

Plot: In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Better and Bloodier

 

Story: Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior starts by showing us the dystopian world Max (Gibson) roams and just how destructive it has become with oil running low. Max is now deadlier than ever taking zero prisoners when it comes to fighting on the road.

When Max meets, the wasteland guy The Gyro Captain (Spence) he learns about an endless supply of gas which keep Max supplied for years but there is one problem it is controlled by warriors who are under threat from The Humengus (Nilsson) and his bloody thirsty gang that want the gas for themselves.

Max reluctant helps the warriors defend the gas from the gang in what is a battle in the middle of the desert for the most valuable resource in the new world gas.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior

 

StoryThe story picks up where the last one finished with the character of Max now ready to rule the wasteland, the first film introduced us to Max this one unleashes him to be the bad ass action character we need and the story shows just how he is willing to work for the greater good when need be. This also enters into the time when stories were simple and this one shows just how simple story telling can be something the audience of the Fury Road chapter learnt in 2015.

Action/ThrillerThe action is bigger with the chases being riskier and edge of your seat throughout but this time when it comes to the genres it makes everything very clear that this a post-apocalyptic world we are now in. The film uses the genres to improve this film to the next level.

Characters/PerformanceMad Max is the strong silent type not having many lines in the whole film and this works for Gibson who continues to shine in the role, this time we get some comic relief to lighten the higher end action going on. The villains on the other side feel like a much bigger threat and wildly over the top so much so that not one but two of the references whether it be the nickname of image became huge through the World Wrestling Federation.

SettingsThe settings are again very simple but effective as nearly the whole movie is set on battle to protect the gas supply, this continues the trend this film set by making sure the story is big but simple.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects everything is all perfectly placed stunt work to make sure the chase or battle scenes come off to their full effect.

Final ThoughtsThis is the improvement the fans wanted from the original, everything is bigger, bloodier and just overall way more entertaining.

 

Overall: How all action films should improve themselves.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mad Max (1979)

maDirector: George Miller

Writer: James McCausland, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Lisa Aldenhoven

 

Plot: In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic

 

Story: Mad Max starts in the near future from now which would be the past for us watching I guess as we have police of this world chasing down criminal in their flashy yellow pursuit vehicles. We see how hapless the two first pursuit vehicles and motorcycle were but the criminals had no idea the Max (Gibson) was waiting for them.

When Max learns the people, who supporting the man he killed are after him he just laughs it off like nothing but the gang led by Toecutter (Keays-Byrne) comes for revenge by causing trouble causing Max to respond but when the case is thrown out Max’s partner flips but the pursuit team get can do what you want on the streets from their sergeant.

When the gang make things, personal Max becomes Mad Max and goes on a bloody mission of vengeance against the whole biker gang leaving bodies in his path.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max

 

StoryThe story behind Mad Max comes off as a simple revenge story as we follow a police officer who loses everything he has to a gang of criminals and goes on his own mission to kill them all. This work on so many levels because we are introduced to one of the icons of action cinema. I do think a lot of the scenes are shot to feel like a bloody version of Batman which adds light hearted comedy to what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action going on through this film are all over the top car chases with explosive consequences on each one, we are told this is in the future but it just doesn’t feel like the dystopian world it is advertised to be in the later chapters. The car chases do keep you on the edge of your seat throughout though.

Characters/PerformanceMel Gibson becomes the overnight sensation with his performance and this character becomes one of the popular action heroes of cinema. When it comes from the rest of the cast we don’t get too much special going on with the villain being slightly out there but never a true threat and the rest of the performances being good enough for the film.

SettingsThe Australian outback is perfect for the setting for this film as we get to see the open roads for the chase scenes and they show how they can go on for miles with no safety.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great for the budget behind the film making everything work for the world created by the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the beginning of the film franchise following the adventures of Mad Max but this film is actually a very slow build to meet him for the origin story because his quest for vengeance doesn’t start till well over the hour mark and is over within the hour and half run time. I did find this disappointing but great for what it is.

 

Overall: Never dated, never dull often misleading though.

Ratingcard

 

 

Original v Remake – Poseidon (2006)

poseideonDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Paul Gallico (Novel)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy but Pointless Remake

 

Story: Poseidon starts on board the Luxury Ocean Liner Poseidon and we go through meeting al our characters Robert Ramsey (Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Rossum) who is with her boyfriend Christian (Vogel), we also meet gambler Dylan Johns (Lucas), Elena (Maestro) who has snuck on board to be with her boyfriend Marco (Rodriguez) who works on the crew. Richard Nelson (Dreyfuss) is celebrating his trip away wanting a midnight call from his loved one even though he has had his heartbroken back home with Captain Bradford (Braugher) keeping everything calm. This character introduction feels very rushed and I am not sure if I want to cheer for any of these characters. Actually I want to see Richard’s story.

New Year’s Eve again and the celebrations start the new year before the disaster strikes as a rogue enormous wave strikes the ship rolling it upside down. As if all the characters we met are important they are the ones that survive and go out to search for a way out while the rest stay behind in safety so we have Robert, Jennifer, Dylan, Elena, Marco, Richard, Maggie (Barrett) and her son Conor (Bennett). It would be fair to say this is slightly too many characters to be dealing with so I guess we need to trim them down by having over the top deaths for the supporting ones, there we go it starts.

We are left to wonder which ones of the survivors will make it out alive even if we use the process of elimination we know which ones will make it to the end.

Poseidon is a remake of the classic disaster film and what this film does this time is go for the overkill on the characters that are not part of the main group, be it through the first wave, the survivors who didn’t want to go with the rest or just the less important characters have big, Hollywood style kills. The threat remains good because if your ship gets tipped upside down it is easy to create the peril needed for this film. It ends up being nothing but a Hollywood glorified over the top disaster film with under developed characters.

When it comes to the cast you see Josh Lucas get a leading role in an action film where due to poorly written character he is never good or bad with the way he behaves this can also be said about the Kurt Russell character with neither taking the roles filled by Hackman or Borgnine is the original. None of the other performance stand out with as I said before just being disposable characters throughout the film. This film almost feels like a pointless cash in remake for a film that never need to be remade as an action set piece rather than the quest to survive.

 

Overall: Easy to watch disaster film that lacks character development needed.

Ratingcard