The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating

 

 

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States (2019)

Director: Zach Gayne

Writer: Zach Gayne (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy O Harris, Alex Essoe, Jasmin Kaset, Makenzie Green, D.C. Paul, Rachel Cederberg, Robbie Bruens

Plot: A transient road film featuring an array of young drifters wandering throughout the U.S. with varying degrees of purpose, or lack-thereof , “States” is a multifaceted meditation on freedom – via Twain, Kerouac, Altman, Linklater… – and an outsider’s love letter to America and the searchers of its endless highways.


Tagline – It’s not where you’re going…

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Drifters Stories

Story: States starts as we meet four drifters first a man who wakes up stranded in Mexico, needing to get back across the border before getting home, secondly we have Rachel (Cederberg) who is hunting for aliens, trying to get herself to Roswell, thirdly Simon (Harris) who is trying to get across country being picked up by two ladies Jaz (Kaset) and Kenz (Green) who take a shine towards him and finally Grace (Essoe) an actress that has been studying for her latest role who takes an uber driver Frank (Bruens) across America. As we follow the different drifters we start to see how the people they meet are not always the ones they look like on the surface and the drifters wonder if they can make it to their locations or not.

Thoughts on States

Characters – We do meet a lot of characters along the way here, we have the drifters that are trying to discover themselves, while trying to get to a new location cross America, some of the drifters just want an honest journey, while others have their own plans, but some of the people they meet have other ideas about why they will pick up the strangers.

PerformancesThe performances in the film a solid enough, we do meet a lot of characters which does make it more difficult for us to see any other cast truly shine in the film, but nobody seems to put their foot wrong.

StoryThe story here follows a group of different drifters on their adventures across America, we do jump between a large number with more random ones being added right to the end of the film too, none of these stories seem to be connected which doesn’t help us want to follow any of the stories more than the others. We do have some interesting stories which could have done with having more time placed on them, only they seem to get left to focus on other stories too. It would have been nice to see more time on some of them though.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure shows us just how many different drifters can find themselves going through on the way to making a difference on their trips, while the comedy can come from the colourful characters we meet along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in a range of different locations around America which does show just how far these people will go for their next adventure.


Scene of the Movie – Rachel’s adventure.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many random adventures.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look drifters in America, we have plenty of stories that show just how far the people are looking to go for adventures.

Overall: Drifters 101

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan

Plot: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunt Work of the Year

Story: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw starts when MI6 Agent Hattie Shaw (Kirby) is framed for stealing a deadly virus that Brixton (Elba) is after, using her ability to go into hiding comes in handy, Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard (Statham) are recruited to work together to help find her and get the virus out of her before it becomes a threat to the world.

With the three teaming up, they must use their connections to stay ahead of Brixton who has been enhanced to make a deadly threat that neither can defeat on their own, can they put aside their different and save the world again?

Thoughts on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Characters – Hobbs is still working in the field to hunt down bad guys, but he remains family based with his daughter being the most important part of his life, he gets the call to save the world once again and doesn’t say no, heading to London to team up with an old enemy and friend in Deckard. He does play the I am bigger than you card, as the two constantly try to play the alpha male card. Deckard must come out of hiding to rescue his own little sister, he is better designed to the spy like side of this mission, we do get to learn a lot more about his past in this film too. Brixton is the big bad, he even introduces himself as ‘the bad guy’ he has been enhanced, making him a proper deadly weapon that will win any one on one fight, he isn’t afraid to fight with his men, though he is only part of a bigger plan going on. Hattie is the MI6 agent that gets framed, she is Deckard sister and knows how to get off the grid, she can handle herself in a fight and isn’t afraid to use a few tricks she learnt from her mother to get out of a sticky situation.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson and Jason Statham must be looked at as one, they are excellent when it comes to the action sequences, you wouldn’t expect anything less, when they have a moment of serious material they do well, it is part of the back and forth between them which does get slightly tiresome after a while. It is almost like the film must stop for 30 seconds to a minute so they can go at each with insults. Idris Elba does look like he is having a hell of a time as the villainous figure, while Vanessa Kirby keeps up with the action heavy stars with ease bring another aspect to the styles of the three.

StoryThe story here follows Hobbs and Shaw as they must once again put their differences a side to help Shaw’s sister get away from a deadly enhanced soldier and the virus he is threatening the world with. Breaking down this story, it does feel like any Fast & Furious film, there is no questions there, we get everything we expect with cheesy dialogue to match. If we do look at the story it is strange because we could easily have had this as a Hobbs or Shaw solo film with the way everything unfolds, with only one aspect of the film truly needing them to work together. The pair do seem to lose certain parts of the chemistry and respect for one an other they got from Fast 8, which again confuses why we need so much bickering between the two, as they are both the alpha, neither comes off as the comical side of the buddy relationship, meaning a lot of the jokes just hold up the film. It is nice this story could build on both the pairs backgrounds more, with slightly more focus on Deckard. If we are being honest, we don’t need a deep story here, we just come for the action.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is huge, the fights, the chases and the explosions, though when it comes to the fights we do get a lot of cuts in them, which just doesn’t work as well as other action heavy films. The adventure does take the crew from London, to Russian to Samoa proving it to be an international mission.

SettingsThe film uses the tight streets of London for the spy side of the movie, along with one big car chase, we use the other cities for the wide-open big action sequences in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are also a mixed bad, certain bits look wonderful, including how Brixton is almost attached to his motorbike, it is the couple of moments which you can see the CGI effects at work which let it down.


Scene of the Movie – The base escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The bickering gets tiresome.

Final Thoughts This is everything you expect in a Fast & Furious film, it is big, the action is ridiculous, and you can just sit back and enjoy.

Overall: Big dumb fun

Rating

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Russo (Screenplay) Fran Striker, George W Trendle (Characters)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale

 

Plot: Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.


Tagline –  Never Take Off the Mask

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Long

 

Story: The Lone Ranger starts with Tonto (Depp) telling the story of how he met the Lone Ranger John Reid (Hammer) the district attorney of Texas, we see how Butch Cavendish (Fichtner) killed John only for Tonto to bring him back from the dead to get their vengeance on the outlaws.

The journey takes the two men across the wild west to expose the truth behind everything that has been going on between the outlaws and the native Americans.

 

Thoughts on The Lone Ranger

 

Characters – John Reid is a district attorney in Texas, living in the shadow of his brother, but this time he gets to go on an adventure with his brother only to be murdered and bought back to life by Tonto. He must work with Tonto to get the people behind his brother’s death. Tonto is the native American that shows John the way as his own past makes him the colourful character that does things in his own direction. Butch Cavendish is the villainous outlaw not afraid to kill anyone who gets in the way of what he desires.

PerformancesArmie Hammer in this leading role is good through the film, he must play the straight-laced character and pulls this off. Johnny Depp is going on one of his stranger character missions again here and at times is fine, but at others gets annoying. William Fichtner as a villain is something we always want to see.

StoryThe story follows the origin of The Lone Ranger and Tonto as they faced their first enemy together in the wild west. The story plays out nicely just how you would imagine any Disney related material to, as an unlikely hero is born, even if it does follow elements of the Pirates beginning. This does have an adventure across the west feel which is nice to see and the twists and turns do seem to be easy to see unfolding, with a villain that knows the danger the two heroes pose to him.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action sequences do come off feeling like the highlight of the movie, with an amazing opening train sequence. The adventure side of the film is written all over the idea of going across the wild west to stop the villainous characters. The western feel comes through strong too, while not the most serious we do see both sides of the law.

SettingsThe settings take us all over the wild west fitting into nearly ever typical location we know about.

Special EffectsThe effects are good too in the film while only being used to cover up certain moments of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Ladder trick.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lot of fun even if it is too long in places, the cast do a good job and this one will be a film that you can switch off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action adventure.

Rating

 

 

Sylvester Stallone Weekend – The Expendables (2010)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin

 

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.


Tagline – Every movie has a hero. This one has them all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindlessly Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: The Expendables starts as we get to see Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team Lee (Statham), Yin (Li), Gunner (Lundgren), Toll (Couture) and Hale (Crews) eliminate a threat, to show just how capable they are at dealing with international threats.

Once home Barney is given a new assignment, to take out General Garza (Zayas) and James Munroe (Roberts) who are controlling an asset the government require, this soon turns into the five-man army taking on a full army.

 

Thoughts on The Expendables

 

Characters – Barney Ross is the leader of the mercenaries, he does play by a rule book, which sees him needing make a difficult decision with one of his team. He takes the latest job once he realizes that sometimes the impossible can make a big difference being a better all-around combat asset. Lee Christmas is Barney’s second in command, the one that Barney will turn to most, during this story he finds himself having lady problems and shows a man what will happen if you beat one up, he is also the knife expert on the team. Yin is the smallest member of the team, he is the martial artist of the team and is always worried about enough money for his family. Gunner is the member of the team which gets kicked out because he wants too much brutality in the missions, he has a drug problem which needs to be cleaned up before he could ever be considered back on the team. Eric Roberts is the businessman that has taken over the island, he is paying for everything even if it makes enemies out of the locals, he will strike fear into them with fear. Paine is the strongest member of Munroe’s team, he has been waiting for a challenge which Barney and his team will offer him.

PerformancesThis movie does have an all-star cast of action heroes, Sylvester Stallone does take centre stage here and does what he knows how to be, a lead action star, Jason Statham does this too, with a little more subtle side to his outside the business performance. These two both get the best action moments in the film. Jet Li does well with the action, but gets wasted outside of these moments, while Dolph Lundgren does what he can with a character that does have plenty more to offer to this film. Eric Roberts fits the generic villainous role, he doesn’t get enough time to make his character as memorable as he could have been.

StoryThe story follows a group of mercenaries that are hired to solve the militant control of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to the story, we don’t need too much, this film is more designed to show of the action stars of the movie industry. By keeping everything on the simple side we get an enjoyable story to see unfold, though it would have been nice to get some sort of character development about the crew. This story is easy to watch without ever needing to test us.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is wildly over the top with a mix of guns, knives and hand to hand combat, all you would want from the cast we have here. The adventure side of the film does take our crew to a new island that they haven’t heard of before to make the events of the film happen.

SettingsThe film mixes the home that the men have back in America with the island that needs freeing, showing how they can and will adapt to any landscape they are placed in.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly by.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough Jet Li.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that is purely for the action fans, it goes well over the top and deliveries you favourite action stars doing what they do best, shooting gun and fighting.

 

Overall: Fun Filled Action Film.

Rating