King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Joby Harold, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) David Dobkin, Joby Harold (Story)

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox

 

Plot: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gangster Fantasy Film

 

Story: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword starts with backstory, yay, in this we get to see how King Uther (Bana) has waged war against Mages showing he is keeping him people safe at Camelot. After the latest victory, Uther finds his kingdom under attack from within racing to save his son Arthur from his corrupted brother Vortigern (Law). With Arthur safe we get a flash into how Arthur and Vortigern spend the next years before we start our main story.

Arthur (Hunnam) now a gangster like figure in Londium crosses paths with King Vortigern and learns his own destiny within the world as he is the only man to be able to remove the sword from the stone. With King Vortigern needing to hunt down and kill Arthur who begins his own resistance movement against the new evil ruler with a mix of loyal men to his father and his own friends.

 

Thoughts on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

 

Characters/PerformanceArthur is the boy raised in the gutter that was destine to become king, we follow his journey from small time street hustler to warrior and then king, this isn’t too much in the field of original in the character design. The Mage is the guide into the fantasy world for Arthur mostly in riddles. Vortigern is the evil king looking to gain the power of magic through the sacrifices he is willing to make, he hasn’t plenty of chances to kill Arthur but wants to do it in display style. The rest of the characters all help with the characters through the film without being that memorable.

Performance wise, Charlie Hunnam does struggle in the leading role which does leave you wondering how he keeps getting potential franchise lead roles, Jude Law does give us a very mixed performance, one minute you feel like it is good then it comes off cheesy. Astrid Berges-Frisbey does seem to struggle throughout, it seems part is the language barrier because it feels like she is just reading the script with no idea how to add any impact to her lines. The rest of the stars are better and handle their supporting role well.

StoryKing Arthur is a story that has been told plenty of times and building the idea of a fantasy world should work, but you do have plenty of things going wrong here, first it uses the explaining the action scene while it is unfolding way too often, I think it was about 5 times through the film. we also have dialogue which feels like we are watching a gangster film. the story does end feeling very long and misses the chances for the best action sequences for extra talking scenes.

Action/Adventure/FantasyAction sequences are all cut chopped and edited down losing the scale we would like to have seen, the adventure side of the story is forgettable but it is difficult to make this original. The fantasy world is what is interesting but we do get large scale scenes which just feel like a film trying to be bigger than it is.

SettingsThe settings are all fine but none of them can become iconic enough.

Special EffectsThe special effects look good throughout but in the end, are used in places just to be big.

Final ThoughtsThis is an awkward mix of gangster and fantasy film that doesn’t quite click with the film missing too many chances to give us a truly memorable action sequence.

 

Overall: This is a forgettable fantasy gangster film.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating

 

 

Nerve (2016)

nerveDirector: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Writer: Jessica Sharzer (Screenplay) Jeanne Ryan (Novel)

Starring: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Marc John Jeffries

 

Plot: A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Glossy Thriller

 

Story: Nerve starts as we meet Vee (Roberts) a high school senior looking to go onto her dream college but for now she has to face staying at home with her mother after their own loss. When her risky friend Sydney (Meade) teaches about a new online game called Nerve which is Truth or Dare minus the Truth we get to see a new risk people are meant to take money.

When Vee gets her heartbroken by her crush she decides to be impulsive and become a player in Nerve. When Vee meets another player Ian (Franco) she finds herself getting caught up in a darker version of the game where she must battle life and death to make a little extra cash.

Nerve is a thriller that starts off simple and calm but soon becomes deadly, well this also ends up playing along the ideas of how far you will go to get extra money. This also plays on the idea that friendships at that age could only be thin and easily broken. When the film is all set and done this feels really long and over glossy to get to where the film wants to go and I would rather be watching the horror version of 13 Sins.

 

Overall: Over glossy thriller that just doesn’t suck you in like it should.

Rating

 55

 

Seven Samurai (1954)

sevnDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Writer: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni (Screenplay)

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Daisuke Kato, Isao Kimura, Seiji Miyaguchi, Yoshio Inaba

 

Plot: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Master Class

 

Story: Seven Samurai starts as we see the small poor village getting approached by bandits that they have already raided but decide to wait until the barley is ready which one of the villagers over hears. Searching for answers some of the villagers decide to go in search of poor hungry samurai to fight back against the bandits.

When the villagers find Kambei (Shimura) he purposes they need seven samurai including himself to defend the village once he learns just how desperate the villagers are. Kambei recruits the further six samurai Katayama (Inaba), Shichiroji (Kato), Kyuzo (Miyaguchi), Heihachi (Chiaki), Katsushiro (Kimura) and Kikuchiyo (Mifune) to come and protect the village putting aside all their difference they fight for honour.

 

Thoughts on Seven Samurai

 

StoryThe story shows how the villagers must defend themselves from bandits and just how they went about that happening. We get to see the honour of a samurai who are willing to fight not for money but for the right thing. This story is simple to follow but most importantly it is about how you can help somebody with their problems if you believe in the right things.

Action/Adventure When you look at the action inside tis film we get brilliantly choregraphed fight sequences for the time would have been something nobody would have seen and they still stand the test of time now.

Characters/PerformanceEach of the samurai has their own characteristics which makes us have added laughs for some but know they will be a force when it comes to battle. The performances are all good to throughout as we see the events of the film unfold.

SettingsThe settings for this film are constant as we see most of the film happen within the small village that needs defending, this helps us show just how close the community living there is making us support them through their struggles with the bandits.

Final ThoughtsThis is the classic people say it is, while it might be a little bit long you barely notice the 3 hour plus run time.

 

Overall: Essential viewing for anyone that wants to know how to make a truly special film.

Rating

 90

 

The Order (2001)

orderDirector: Sheldon Lettich

Writer: Les Weldon, Jean-Claude Van Damme (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charlton Heston, Sofia Milos, Brian Thompson, Ben Cross, Vernon Dobtcheff

 

Plot: Van Damme plays Rudy whose father, Oscar is an archaeologist. His father goes to Israel. When his father disappears, he goes to Israel to find him. The chief of police claims that his father never entered the country, but an old friend of his father’s was expecting him and before he could tell him more, some people start shooting at them. He manages to get away, and when he goes back to the police chief, he still refuses to believe that a crime has been committed. He then has Rudy deported, but Rudy convinces the police woman assigned to bring him to the airport not to and help him find his father.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Van Damme 101

 

Story: The Order starts with a history lesson because we need back story to what happen in this one battle in Jerusalem where a new order was born against the religious crusades. We move to the present day and meet Rudy Cafmeyer (Van Damme) who is a world class thief applying his latest job in Ukraine. Rudy’s father is archaeologist who has discovered the final chapter of the Visialy script while Ruby’s last adventure has led him to be wanted by the Russian Mafia.

When his father goes missing Ruby travels to Israel to uncover the truth and working with his father’s old friend Walter Finney (Heston) he learns just how much danger his father has got himself into. Rudy must work with LT Dalia Barr (Milos) to uncover a religious movement that his father has discovered the final piece off being led by Cyrus Jacob (Thompson) in the city of Jerusalem during the time when other religions have come to pray thanks to their gods.

 

Thoughts on The Order

 

StoryThe story is designed to give Van Damme a chance to show his fighting while have a loss idea on how to deal with a potential religious uprising in a modern world. This is a treasure hunt style movie which all works for fun and that is all you need from it.

Action/ThrillerWhen it comes to the action we have plenty of chase sequences as well as good fight sequences again all designed to show off Van Damme’s skills.

Characters/Performance –  Ruby is a thief that has a way of being able to look after himself and has a way to cover his tracks while uncovering the truth, this is what you would call a typical Van Damme character that is there to show off his fighting ability. Charlton Heston is pretty much here to fill in the gaps for Rudy in the history before biting the bullet early on. We do have the typical good cop working with Ruby too as well as a good religious leader ticking off the villainous role.

SettingsThe film uses Jerusalem as the main setting which works because of the religious implication going on within the story as well as looking good for the chase sequences.

Special EffectsHas good enough effects for the characters involved because we don’t need anything fancy just a few explosions during the chases.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film designed solely to show off how could Van Damme is as fighting, it has a good religious idea going on. This is fun easy to watch action film from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is easily the rule book on how to make a Van Damme movie.

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