Ice Cube Weekend – Ride Along 2 (2016)

Director: Tim Story

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Mandredi (Screenplay) Greg Coolidge (Characters)

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Bruce McGill, Michael Rose

 

Plot: As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.


Tagline – The brothers-in-law are back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Enjoyable Comedy Sequel

 

Story: Ride Along 2 starts when newly appointed rookie Ben Barber (Hart) ruins his soon-to-be-brother-in-law detective James Payton’s (Cube) latest bust. James must go to Miami to continue the case and reluctantly takes Ben to take him out of his sister’s Angela (Sumpter) hair while she plans the wedding.

In Miami the pair need to remain undercover, which soon seems them going into the world of drug land which sees them working with local detective Maya (Munn) to uncover the truth.

 

Thoughts on Ride Along 2

 

Characters – Detective James Payton is tough talking cop that is dealing with his brother-in-law that is a rookie on the force, he is getting tired of him not following instructions and uses the trip to Miami to hopefully expose his weaknesses to the Captain. He is a good cop that only wants to stop criminals. Ben Barber is the rookie on the force now, he is marrying James’ sister, he talks too much which often sees him getting into trouble. Angela is the sister of James, fiancée to Ben, she is planning the wedding that wants her to see Ben head off for a couple of days. Antonio Pope is the local drug lord who looks like one of the popular businessmen around, he has been making his move to become a bigger dealer in the business, but his action has seen attention drawn on him.

PerformancesIce Cube is always going to do the strong job in the tough guy cop figure, this is no different. Kevin Hart brings his fast talking routine which tends to be a hit or miss with his jokes, but he never relents on them. Tika Sumpter doesn’t get that much screen time which is disappointing really. Benjamin Bratt can give us the routine villainous businessman.

StoryThe story follows the unlikely partnership between a tough talking detective and his soon-to-be-brother-law and fast-talking rookie that investigate a drug dealer in Miami. This does continue to use the idea that the unlikely partnership stumble through case trying to solve the case in a way that shouldn’t be achieved. We know this genre, we know how easily it works the story doesn’t need to be made anything more, but it is hard to still see them fighting between each other.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film follows chases, which are mostly a way of adding the comedy due to the reactions of what is going on. The comedy mostly relies on the fast-talking Kevin Hart, which is hit or miss.

SettingsThe film takes the action away from Atlanta to Miami which brings more sun and sea to the location.


Scene of the Movie –
The video game chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hart’s joke can become too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and fun sequel that will get laughs, but doesn’t hit the levels of the first because it is often just more of the same.

 

Overall: Simple and fun.

Rating

 

 

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Men in Black: International (2019)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Screenplay) Lowell Cunningham (Characters)

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani

 

Plot: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.


Tagline – The Universe is Expanding

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifeless

 

Story: Men in Black: International starts as we see the mission which made Agent High T (Neeson) and Agent H (Hemsworth) famous before meeting Molly (Tessa Thompson) who has been trying to find her way to the Men in Black, proving herself to be a useful asset that Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives a chance to.

Sending Molly under the name Agent M to London, she works with Agent H to uncover the why a dangerous species has arrived on Earth, with a connection to one of the deadliest enemies The Hive, can Agent H show Agent M the ropes to save the world once again?

 

Thoughts on Men in Black: International

 

Characters – Agent H is known as one of the most famous agents in the Men in Black, he uses his swagger to get the job done, seeming to be lucky over good, he almost feels more like a James Bond figure over any other agent we have seen before, his reputation has put him above other agents, but others see him not reaching the promised potential. Agent M, has been trying to find the Men in Black after an encounter as a child, she has applied to every law enforcement agency in America, not getting any luck even after being offered jobs, she has her own way to hunt potential alien visits, until she finds the Men in Black, she gets offered a chance, with her first assignment in London, to work with that branch which leaves her working with Agent H, trying to save the world, left in a position we aren’t sure who to trust like her. This is a strange character because she starts out being all about independent strong woman and soon just gives this up for a guy she fancies. Pawny is one of the aliens that ends up working with H and M, he gets all the laughs and is easily the best part of the movie. Agent O runs the New York branch, she reluctantly gives Molly a chance to prove herself, unlike any system the team has done for recruitment. Agent High T is the former partner of H, they saved the world once, he will always stick up for H after his mistakes, being like a father figure to him. Riza is a former lover and alien arms dealer, she does have a beauty figure that could get what she wants.

PerformancesThis is the hardest part of this review, we have some of my favourite actors in this film and they are exposed to their weaknesses through this film. Chris Hemsworth has been able to handle comedy with ease before, only he does well with his character, only it feels like his character shouldn’t be acting like this. Tessa Thompson starts well, only to just being generic throughout the film. Emma Thompson is just not used enough and Liam Neeson is involved enough to impact the main story. Kumail Nanjiani brings the jokes, showing he knows comedy being the highlight in the film.

StoryThe story follows a rookie MIB agent that finds herself in the middle of the battle to save the universe when visitors are searching for something on Earth. This is where everything does seem to fall apart for this movie, the story is painfully weak and flawed all over the place. we get confusing main characters, who lack the spark the original pairing had, the character don’t even feel like real agents either, granted one is new, but we have always been led to believe they are strict and well behaved. The story going on is hard to get invested in because of the direction it goes through, we don’t get to care about the characters which only makes the big scenes lack that it factor. It does end up feeling like a story which goes, here is one location, head to this location and then another location.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is very basic, we get the chases and minor fight and one moment that includes too many guns, the adventure does take our agents around the world, hence the international name tagged to the film. the comedy misses on nearly every level, if it wasn’t for Pawny, it would have failed completely. The aliens are here and while what the alien twins can do are interesting to see, only we don’t get anything new.

SettingsWe get the easy location around the world, New York, Paris, London etc, we get an international feeling which is all needed.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout with the alien twins getting the most use out of them with their unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Pawny

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is painfully predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple addition to the Men in Black franchise, which does waste the talents of the people involved to give us one of the most predictable movies you will ever see.

 

Overall: Use the Neuralyzer.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – M – Monster Hunt (2015)

Director: Raman Hui

Writer: Alan Yuen (Screenplay)

Starring: Baihe Bai, Boran Jing, Wu Jiang, Elaine Jin, Wallace Chung, Eric Tsang

 

Plot: In an ancient world where monsters rule the land while humans keep to their own kingdom, a baby monster, Wuba, is born to a human father and monster queen. When mortals and creatures alike set out to capture the newborn, Wuba’s adventure begins. The cute baby monster Huba is the child of a human man and a monster queen, threatened by both monster-hating humans and monsters attempting to capture the new-born in an ancient world based on medieval China.


Tagline – The monsters just got bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Doesn’t Translate Well

 

Story: Monster Hunt starts as we enter the ancient world where monsters rule and are now in the middle of a civil war, the Queen in on the run to save her baby which lands her to the path of humans, Song Tianyin (Jing) and Huo Xiaolan (Bai), she passes her baby to Song to protect from the people who are hunting it.

The two set off on their adventure to keep the young baby monster Wubu safe in an attempt to return him to his father when both monsters and humans are chasing them down.

 

Thoughts on Monster Hunt

 

Characters – Huo Xiaolan is one of the two people given the responsibility to look after the new royal baby, she takes it with her travelling partner, she does seem to be the brains between the two and equally capable in combat. Song Tianyin is the other travelling partner, he is impregnated by the queen and takes responsibility for the baby, comes off as the butt of the jokes more often than not. Along the way we do meet a host of colourful characters which are after the prince for their own reasons.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good throughout, Baihe Bai and Boran Jing work very well together and have wonderful chemistry between the pair.

StoryThe story brings us into the world of monsters and humans where the next generation of one species is being bought into the world that is being hunted down only to be guarded by a couple of humans. This does everything you would come to expect when it comes to returning a lost child to their family, it does show us how the people need to learn to overcome their own problems to become the person they were meant to be.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is good throughout the film with a mix of combats going on, the adventure takes our characters on out of their comfort zone to achieve the mission, with the fantasy elements of the film being used to show us monsters and humans together.

SettingsThe film takes place in ancient China which works but also hinders this for the world cinema.

Special EffectsThe effects are good in the film and concept behind the creations can be seen working in the real world.


Scene of the Movie –
Th final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did get confusing at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for the fans of the monster hunter idea, it does show character developments on the journey and the adventure feels like a must for the peace of the world.

 

Overall: Simple and fun throughout even if it can be hard to keep up with.

Rating

 

 

Accidental Hero (1992)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: David Webb Peoples (Screenplay) Laura Ziskin, Alvin Sargent, David Webb Peoples (Story)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Joan Cusack, Kevin J O’Connor, Maury Chaykin, Stephen Tobolowsky

 

Plot: A not-so-nice man rescues passengers from a crashed airliner, only to see someone else take credit.


Tagline – We’re all heroes if you catch us at the right moment. Even Bernie LaPlante.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Idea, Not Funny Enough

 

Story: Accidental Hero starts as we meet Bernie LaPlante (Hoffman) who is facing jail time for his streetwise action, he is trying to talk himself out of jail time, without much success. We also meet reporter Gale (Davis) who has just received an award for her work even if her boss isn’t given her the chances she has earnt.

When the plane carrying Gale crash lands, Bernie happens to be next to accident, he ends up saving everybody on board, before vanishing into the night. When Gale wants to make the story out of the event, a fellow homeless man John Bubber (Garcia) takes credit, who wants to use his new-found fame to help the homeless, while Bernie is left in jail watching the events unfold.

 

Thoughts on Accidental Hero

 

Characters – Bernie LaPlante is a homeless man that has blown his successful life out the water, he lost his wife, most of his time with his son and is facing jail, he knows how to survive and push the limits to make sure he survives on the street, with his car being his home. He ends up doing an act of greatness, saving the passengers on a plane, but not wanting the praise for this, until a monetary reward comes up, he must figure out how to prove it was him. Gale is a reporter on the rise in the business, she is receiving an award, while still fighting her time on the big screen, she makes a story out of the plane crash, which sees her take a homeless man to celebrity status. John Bubber is a homeless man that decides to come forward and claim the reward for being the hero, he soon becomes the talk of the town that would inspire many into doing the right thing.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman is the right man for the job because he fits the unlikely hero that has been through the struggles in life. Geena Davis is fun in the role that sums up the struggle women would have in the professional field. Andy Garcia goes through the biggest change which sees him doing everything to live with the new fame.

StoryThe story follows a reporter who wants to make the hero of a plane crash rescue known to the people they saved, only for the real person behind it all, not getting the game after a fake takes the limelight. This does pain the picture of faster acting celebrities coming from such simple ideas of rescuing somebody, people struggling with new fame and how people are quick to just judge anybody that might be helping others out. Strangely enough this is one of the stories that could really become more appealing in the social media heavy world we now live in and would be an interesting one to see reach new level.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film doesn’t come off, it never feels like a film you could have a giggle about anything happening, the romance is strange because it just doesn’t give us a believable one either.

SettingsThe settings show us just how the big city can capture a story which would make an unknown a celebrity over night.


Scene of the Movie –
The balcony.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of comedy in the comedy film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lacklustre romantic comedy that just doesn’t hit the marks it could and actually feels like it could be one film that makes a bigger impact now.

 

Overall: Stuck between too many genres.

Rating

 

 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating