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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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Leviathan (2014)

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Writer: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin (Screenplay)

Starring: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Anna Ukolova, Aleksey Rozin

 

Plot: In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Drama

 

Story: Leviathan starts as hard working engineer Nikolay (Serebryakov) is facing the loss of his home and livelihood at the hands of the corrupt mayor, calling on lawyer Dmitriy (Vdovichenkov) to fight the law, he takes his first steps down the road to get what is his.

As the fight between the two parties continues, Dmitriy brings new information to the table, while Nikolay learns that his family isn’t as perfect as he once thought.

 

Thoughts on Leviathan

 

Characters – Nikolay is the hard-working man, he has earnt everything he has, his home, his workshop and his family, but now he must go against the town to keep what is his after they try to take it from him. Lilya is Nikolay’s wife, she is backing the decision against the town even if she has the one with a secret which could tear the family apart. Dmitriy is the big city lawyer that comes to take Nikolay’s case, he knows how to stay on step ahead of the mayor and will push back when needed.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are great through the film, they commit to their roles with many of the drinking scenes including real drinking and reaction.

StoryThe story here stars by focusing on the idea of a singular town’s person fighting against the mayor to keep his home, but soon turns into a personal drama about his own battle to keep his family together through the struggles. The story does give us a good sense of community with how everything unfolds which makes us believe we are watching where the characters are going through life. The pacing of the story might however put people off as it moves at a slow pace.

CrimeThe crime side of the film deals with how the town want to just take a man’s home without him being able to fight them off, this does help show the descent the family will be going in.

SettingsThe film is set in a solo town which shows how united the characters can be during everything that happens.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment Roma gets along is beautiful shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing isn’t for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that does have a few pacing issues, it deals with very real issues and leaves us feeling the way you are meant to by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Powerful drama

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – I Saw the Devil (2010)

Director: Jee-woon Kim

Writer: Hoon-jung Park (Screenplay) Jee-woon Kim (Adaptation)

Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-hyeok Lee, In-seo Kim, Ho-jin Chun, Bo-ra Nam

 

Plot: A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.


Tagline – Prey For Revenge

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Outstanding

 

Story: I Saw the Devil starts as Joo-yeon becomes the latest victim of serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi), we see how this killer operates with no remorse butchery his victims, but this victim happens to be the former Chief of police daughter and fiancée of agent Soo-hyeon (Lee), who swears revenge, even with having any leads.

Given a shortlist of four potential suspects, Soo-hyeon goes out to get answers from any crime these men have committed, as we continue to see Kyung-chul kill his victims. Once Soo-hyeon knows the truth, he enters into a dangerous game of capture and release against the killer.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Devil

 

Characters – Soo-hyeon is a special agent, engaged to the love of his life with a baby on the way. When his fiancée is murdered, he will stop and nothing using his connection to get the equipment to track and torture the man responsible. He shuts his whole life out to make this man pay, doing unthinkable things to get his own revenge. Kyung-chul is a serial killer, he abducts woman before butchering them, he has it down to an art form in his head, but when he picks the wrong victim he finds the tables have been turned on him.

PerformancesByung-hun Lee is fantastic as the broken police officer, he shows the complete lack of emotion his character needs as he seeks revenge. Talking of emotionless performance, but with all the psychotic you need, we have Min-sik Choi as the serial killer, you can see him planning every movement his character is making.

StoryThe story follows a broken police detective that goes on his own path of vengeance against a serial killer which butchered his fiancée. This seems simple, but the detective will turn the tables the hunter becomes the hunted. This brings a new fresh take to the revenge genre, we are used to seeing a group picked off one by one, but going squarely head to head with the killer in this style shows just how far the revenge will go for this man. This is a story that keeps you on the edge from start to finish even being well over two hours long.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action focuses on the violence that both killer and police detective get involved in against the victims or each other, this does dive into the crime side of the film which is the cat and mouse elements and what these two do fill out the disturbing horror quota.

SettingsThe film takes us around parts of South Korea as we see how the serial killer hunts his latest victims.

Special EffectsThe effects when it comes to the violence is brutally realistic for each blow any character takes.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While paced well, it does feel like certain moments seem skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best crime horror movies you will ever see, it takes revenge films to a new level making each blow as disturbing as possible and will test just how far you can watch these characters go.

 

Overall: Fantastic Brutal Revenge Thriller

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – G – Getaway Plan (2016)

Director: Inaki Dorronsoro

Writer: Inaki Dorronsoro (Screenplay)

Starring: Alain Hernandez, Javier Gutierrez, Alba Galocha, Itziar Atienza, Luis Tosar, Florin Opritescu

 

Plot: A thief expert with blowtorch is hired by a group of the Russian mob for a bank assault.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Heist Film

 

Story: Getaway Plan starts when the Russian mob need to find a new expert thief, they turn to Victor (Hernandez) who is famous for using a blowtorch to get into rooms, he has never been caught, making him their only choice.

With the cops trying to eliminate this threat who soon learns the Victor is part of the force, who has gone deep undercover as the two must start to work together to bring down the criminal operation, while Victor’s relationship with his wife Marta (Atienza) is pushed to the limit, Victor turns to the only person he can trust Rapido (Gutierrez) to get the job done.

 

Thoughts on Getaway Plan

 

Characters – Victor is a mastermind thief, he has his own style for getting the job done which sees him blowtorching his way out of buildings or safes, he is in fact an undercover police office balance the fine line between the law, which will see him needing to face difficult decisions in life along the way during his latest job. Rapido is the best friend and only man that Victor can trust, he does have his own addiction problems, but he will be the only person that doesn’t give away Victor’s secrets. Helena is a prostitute that has taken a shine to Victor, he is left torn between his wife and her, when she is willing to turn back to her life of tricks. Marta is the wife and mother of Victor’s baby, she is getting tired of his life undercover, which sees her putting him to the limits of what she will put up with.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Alain Hernandez does a great job showing his character trying to balance the two lives he is currently living, as for the rest of the cast nobody does anything wrong, though nobody makes any real impact on the film.

StoryThe story here follows an undercover police officer that is known for his masterful skills when it comes to robbing banks, he is hired to complete a job for the Russian  mob, which will see him need to balance his two lives which becomes very difficult for the man. When it comes to the heist like films we know they can run smoothly, which in this case the heist side is fine, nothing fancy, the problems with this story comes from, not really having a true villain crime boss, you feel if he was being forced into a job the boss would push him to the limits. The idea that Victor is trying to balance the two lives does become the central story because he can’t talk about his wife in one and seeing her getting frustrated that he isn’t around for their child becomes more understandable. In the end the story is extremely watchable and can be enjoyed in places, though it does fall into the old, we have seen this before line of work.

CrimeThe crime side of the film does bring us a unique way of escaping the robberies, with the blowtorch element being a real factor in the story, the idea this man must live on both sides of the law does play a major factor in the story too.

SettingsThe film uses the typical settings you would imagine, we have the underworld locations, the police headquarters and his home life, each one has different meaning to Victor.


Scene of the Movie –
Blowtorch escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me No real villain of the piece.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple by the book crime drama, it doesn’t do anything truly wrong and can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: Simple and effective.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – D – District 13 (2004)

Director: Pierre Morel

Writer: Luc Besson, Bibi Naceri (Screenplay)

Starring: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D’Amario, Bibi Naceri, Dany Verissimo-Petit, Francois Chattot

 

Plot: Set in the ghettos of Paris in 2010, an undercover cop and ex-thug try to infiltrate a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb.


Tagline – Welcome to District B13 Welcome to the future

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quality Action

 

Story: District 13 starts in the near future well 2010 (it was the future when the film was made) Paris has blocked of ghettos which has only created more crime within the walls. Leito (Belle) is trying to fight a drug war himself against Taha Bemamud (Naceri) with his henchmen K2 (D’Amario) doing the leg work.

In an attempt to get back at Leito by taking his sister Lola (Verissimo-Petit) it only escalates the battle between the two. Trying to go to the cops, Leito is left locked up and Lola taken back, hooked up on the drugs by Taha who has taken over complete control of the district. Captain Damien Tomaso (Raffaelli) joins Leito to eliminate the threat after a neutron bomb is place in the middle of the district.

 

Thoughts on District 13

 

Characters – Captain Damien Tomaso is one of the best officers on thee force, he can go undercover to take down most criminals with his latest operation going perfectly, now he must work with Leito to return a stolen weapon which is due to explode within the day. Leito is a local resident of the district who has been trying to clean up the district, this ends him up in jail and being given a chance save his sister and end the war and get his freedom. The pair both uses their fighting and parkour skills to stay ahead of the game. K2 is the lead henchmen for Taha, he will confront any enemy before the fight even if he ends up looking like an idiot more often than not. Taha is the drug lord controlling the criminal activities in the district, he has an army that will not stop when it comes to following his instructions.

PerformancesCyril Raffaelli and David Belle are fantastic in the leading roles with their own style of parkour action which brings a new style of action to the already well know genre, we don’t have ropes or nets for most of the stunt work either. When we get to the supporting cast the villains are entertaining enough and give the heroes a chance to do what they do best.

StoryThe story is simple and does borrow from the likes of ‘Escape from New York’ by having the districts used to control criminals, while not everyone is a criminal, we see a cop and a rebel needing to take down the leader and stop a weapon being used on the richer side of the country. The film does focus on the action more than anything, which can take away any deepness in the story, though the simplistic idea keeps the action flowing for the audience.

Action/Crime/Sci-FiThe action is a mix of parkour and fighting which felt original at the time, certain stunt moments are fantastic to watch which feels like a breath of fresh air. The criminal world we are entering show us just how it can grow when the government give up on them and the sci-fi world shows us just how the future could become bleak when shutting people away.

SettingsThe film shows us the district have been built up to keep people in only to turn them against each other and the outside world, it creates great moments of parkour for the action to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
The parkour escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not the deepest story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful action film that bought the audience parkour for the first time, something which has been used more famously in bigger movies since, while it doesn’t have the deepest story, it makes up for this with the action.

 

Overall: Action fans treat.

Rating