The Darkest Dawn (2016)

Director: Drew Casson

Writer: Drew Casson, Jess Cleverly (Screenplay)

Starring: Bethan Mary Leadley, Cherry Wallis, Jess Cleverly, Sarah Perugia, Stuart Ashen, Drew Casson

 

Plot: The story of two sisters, as Britain descends into an alien apocalypse.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Invasion Movie

 

Story: The Darkest Dawn starts as 16-year-old Chloe (Leadley) gets a new camera for her birthday hoping one day that she could become a big director, she uses her camera like a reporter and when an alien outbreak happens in England Chloe and her older sister Sam (Wallis) must go into hiding.

The girls join forces with fellow survivors Cowen (Casson), Adam (Scareltt) and Kipper (Carter) in search for Adam’s sister, as they head to the surfaces in hopes of surviving, where the treats don’t just come from the aliens.

 

Thoughts on The Darkest Dawn

 

Characters – Chloe is the youngest of the two sisters, she dreams of being a director, which is why she is using the camera to document the events of the invasion hoping that her mother will see her story and follow them. Sam is the older sister and nurse, she keeps an eye out for Chloe while also seeing the change she is going through on the journey. Cowen is the leader of the people that is searching for his girlfriend to whom they thought they had lost in the first invasion.

PerformancesWhen we come to performances we must first look at the idea that this is found footage, so we know that we are not overly performance driven here. Bethan Mary Leadley is good in the leading role, we see enthusiasm in her performance through the horror. When it comes to the rest of the cast we do get good performances throughout where we understand the different decisions they are making.

StoryThe story is the end of normality when an alien invasion has take over England, maybe the world. we follow a group of survivors who see the different sides of humanity in the moments of panic and desperation to survive. The story is fresh for the Chloe and Sam characters, but the rest are part of a sequel, which from the title you would never know, this is disappointing to learn through the film because you would understand certain decisions at times. When follow the events of the story it is clear that we are going to be following the traditional trend when it comes to who are likely to meet along the way.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film brings us into the end of the world alien invasion, one we are losing and the weapons being used don’t give us a chance.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well to show how shelter is the only safety from the attacks, we see the big city destruction too.

Special EffectsThe effects are strange, I say this because they do seem good, but for a found footage film they seem too good. We believe the destructions we are witnessing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack and the panic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing this is a sequel till part way through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good found footage film that can give us a real feel to an invasion which will leave you believing it was real.

 

Overall: Found Footage to be watched.

Rating

 

 

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Rampage (2018)

Director: Brad Peyton

Writer: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J Condal, Adam Sztykiel (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Will Yun Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello

 

Plot: Davis Okoye and his bestfriend white gorilla fight monsters in a big city.


Tagline – Big Meets Bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over the Top Blast

 

Story: Rampage starts as the secret illegal scientific experiment in space goes horrible wrong causing everyone to die and the research samples to come crashing to Earth, Claire Wyden (Akerman) and her brother Brett (Lacy) are rushing to cover up their work.

One of the areas that gets hit by the research is the San Diego zoo where George the albino gorilla gets infected, his handler and best friend Davis Okoye (Johnson) must rush to save him, joined by Dr Kate Caldwell (Harris) a former employee or the Wyden’s. America is struck by panic when George continues to grow, but he is the only animal as the research has infected a wolf and a crocodile or alligator (sorry can never tell them apart and we never get told which it is either), the race is now on to save the world before they destroy everything in their path.

 

Thoughts on Rampage

 

Characters – Davis Okoye is a former marine turn primatologist who works with the gorilla in San Diego Zoo, most notably George one he rescued when he was a baby from poachers. He does like people and isn’t afraid to admit this, he cares for the animals and will never give up on George. Dr Kate Caldwell is first a for most a good character that we could have been given more about, she is a disgraced scientist that once worked for the Wyden’s, she wants nothing more than to bring them down and happily teams up with Davis to bring them down. Claire Wyden along with her brother Brett run the business that the genetic materials come from, she is always one step ahead of the everyone in her attempts to keep her name out of the papers and jail, slightly cartoonish, but it works for this film. Agent Russell is a by the book man, he does the right thing through the film which makes him the important connection for Davis in the government.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson in the leading role gives us everything we want from him, he handles the big action sequences and even manages to hold back on moments of charisma. Naomie Harris as the doctor with a desperate need to see thing stop works well and Jeffrey Dean Morgan seems to have just become Negan forever. Malin Akerman as the main villain is good too because I believe her character is designed to feel like an evil genius and she pulls it off.

StoryThe story, well the question here is, how do you make a story about a video game which follows you just destroying buildings? This story does work something out here, where as other video games have been heavily story based and struggle to make an impact on screen, this film takes the simple idea that giant animals are destroying stuff and makes it an action movie with a race against time. We have the important moments which are dealing with the backgrounds of the characters, most notable Davis and George’s relationship and why Kate did what she did. For the whole film this  movie knows completely what it had and kept it simple, easy to watch and only needed to give us a sprinkle of humour.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is massive, its everything you want in a big blockbuster popcorn film, giant animals fighting stuff blowing up and no Michael Bay to be seen. The adventure side of the film comes form the race against time to stop total destruction and the sci-fi side shows us just what could happen if you mess with the wrong genetic in any species.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of iconic settings starting with the zoo in San Diego, we get generic land between before the final showdown in Chicago, this work and shows the panic which could hit America.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we have massive battles that have full destruction going on, leaving you to believe everything, the creatures also look wonderful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 30 minutes is fantastic popcorn fun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain characters seem to just disappear.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie, this could easily be up there with the very best video game movies ever made, it is one film you can honestly switch you mind off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Sit back relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Cartel 2045 (2017)

Director: Chris Le

Writer: Chris Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexander P Heartman, Brad Schmidt, Blake Webb, Jay Whittaker, Kyler Steve Fisher

 

Plot: Its the year 2045. War on drugs in Mexico has escalated as a ruthless drug Cartel use robots to enforce their operations.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Robot Drug Wars

 

Story: Cartel 2045 starts as the war against drugs in Mexico looked like it was going to get cleaned up by the introduction of robots, but when the Cartel get their hands on the robots, drug lord Angel Malvado (Trejo) takes over the war. In the latest attempt to tackle the war former US Marine Carson Wright (Schmidt) is assigned to a team to take down Estevan Flores only for Angel to become the bigger threat.

 

Thoughts on Cartel 2045

 

Characters – Angel Malvado is the ruthless drug lord that controls the trade in Mexico with his robot bodyguards that will do any of his dirty work, he knows how to get the honest people to work for him and is smart enough not to waste a resource before their worth to him. Carson Wright is the former US Marine, being placed in jail, he gets offered a chance for freedom to be with his family by going on this latest mission, he has a past in battle and isn’t fond of the technology being used in battle.

PerformancesDanny Trejo is the biggest draw for this movie we know he can play the drug lord role with ease and this is no different. Brad Schmidt is good in the leading hero role looking just like any other soldier.

StoryThe story in this movie is the Mexican drug war with robots included, they are similar style to what we had in Chappie, we have the secret mission version the criminal drug lord that will stop at nothing to stay ahead in the game. The story is by the book and easy to follow, it is the other sides of the film which feel overly ambitious for the budget available.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is basic shooting between human guns and robots with the robots not always looking convincing enough. The sci-fi side of everything feels very ambitious for the budget the film had because the robots seem placed into the scenes over the being part of it.

SettingsThe film does have a generic Mexican town which could be anywhere in the country.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most parts are not the strongest because everything feels too ambitious.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The robots don’t seem to be very effective with their shooting.

Final ThoughtsThis is an ambitious movie, that doesn’t always hit the marks because it gets held back by the budgets the film has.

 

Overall: Try this sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

The Omega Man (1971)

Director: Boris Sagal

Writer: John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington (Screenplay) Richard Matheson (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick

 

Plot: Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: The Omega Man starts as we follow Neville (Heston) living in an abandoned New York City as he searches for resources to help him discover a cure for the disease which wiped out most of the population. At night, blind humans who can’t be in sunlight appear, led by Matthias (Zerbe) as we learn both are battling each other.

When the two clash they do discover they are both just fighting to survive but it is the new human in town Lisa (Cash) that saves Neville from certain death from the creatures of the night as they search for the cure.

 

Thoughts on The Omega Man

 

Characters – Neville lives alone in New York City, well by day he treats it like whatever he wants, taking what he wants but preparing for safety from the Brotherhood, he is searching for a cure and when he learns of other humans he steps up his search. Matthias is the leader of the brotherhood who roam the streets at night looking to kill Neville for his involvement in the creation of the infection. Lisa is another human that has been hiding in safety from both the battling sides but when one of their own start to show infection she must risk everything to get Neville to find a cure. She is able to handle herself in battle against enemies that put her life in danger.

PerformanceCharlton Heston was always a good action lead back at the time of release and he was star power with his good performance, Anthony Zerbe is also good as you need to have the creepy villain while Rosalind Cash does make for a strong female character.

StoryA virus as destroyed most of humanity leaving just one man needing to find a cure before the last pocket are killed or infected, well this is easy to follow, I like how the villains are just humans that are infected rather than creatures which we see in the remake, but otherwise is generic in every way as it leads up to the finale moments.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is just random gun battles which is fine but nothing special with the sci-fi elements coming from the idea the world has now been destroyed for the most part.

SettingsAn empty New York is haunting throughout the film, along with all the empty locations we find our character going through, showing just how our big world would become empty with no one in it.

Scene of the Movie – Shopping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You don’t get enough as to why Matthias is leading a cult like group.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has dated badly and even not being the biggest fan of I am Legend I couldn’t help but find that a much more interesting film all around.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi doesn’t always stand the test of time.

Rating

 

 

Dominion: The Last Star Warrior (2015)

Director: Richard Lowry

Writer: Richard Lowry (Screenplay) Erick Hansen (Story)

Starring: Barry Lynch, Travis Hammer, Christine Joelle, Booboo Stewart, Lisa Marie, Sasha Jackson

 

Plot: In just FIVE days the world we know will change forever with devastating results. Jaelen an observer from another planet searches to find and rescue the human woman he fell in love with before it all happens. Robert Casey a retired US Intelligence agent turned UFO investigator races to discover what the yet to be known DOMINION has in store for the Human race.


Tagline – In just five days human existence as we know it will change forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thinking Persons Invasion Movie

 

Story: Dominion: The Last Star Warrior starts with retired US Intelligence agent Robert Casey (Lynch) who is interviewing a stranger Jaelen (Hammer) in his UFO investigation about an impending attack on Earth that will end life as we know it. Jaelen is from a different world and normally his people would defend against the attack, but they are battling their own war, other peaceful aliens including Tonjura (Marie) offer advice on how to prepare before evacuating themselves.

Jaelan unwilling to leave before his human love Alyssa (Joelle) is safe and freed from the torture of the government that has been warned about the ending coming, Robert races against time to help Jaelen before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Dominion: The Last Star Warrior

 

Characters – Robert Casey is a former intelligence officer turn UFO hunter, he has a reputation for be honest in his hunt which has him welcomed into the community but hunted by his former employers. He helps Jaelen find his love while keeping the secret and accepting his fate. He has the smarts to stay ahead of the people in his field and understands that he can’t be the one to save anybody. Jaelen is the alien living among the humans, he has broken his own traditions by falling in love with a human and even though he knows the end is coming he won’t leave without her. Alyssa is the woman that Jaelen has fallen in love with, she is captured and being tortured in hope of locating Jaelen before he gives away the secret, she is the driving force for Jaelen and Robert to do the right thing.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good through the film, Barry Lynch gives us a truly believable character that is in search of the truth, both smart and ready to ask the difficult questions. Travis Hammer makes us believe his is from another planet through the film, Christine Joelle does well enough, she doesn’t have that much to do other than to have been in pain.

StoryThe story here follows the final days of Earth as we know it, we follow an UFO investigation and an alien as they race against time to locate a love and save as many humans as possible before the end date. The story does tell us from the opening that Earth did end and we follow the events leading up to this which is helpful because it changes the tone of the film, to be looking at where things could be going from an unknown invader. It shows love can cross any race and across the universe too. This isn’t all action, it plays into the idea of conspiracy which often get laughed off, while it turns out to be real, it does make this very interesting to see unfold.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is used few and far between, we have a couple of weak and basic car chases that seem very easy and have no peril. The sci-fi side of this is the highlight as we are left to see the idea of different species and races in the universe that have different ideas for Earth.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to place us where you would expect to see UFO investigators would be operating in.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used often, they are not the best but they work because we only have the inclusion of UFOs over fighting versions of them.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The UFOs do like generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking sci-fi film, it isn’t about the battle for survival, it is look at how it will end, which is a nice twist and does play into the ideas of both good and bad in the universe.

 

Overall: Sci-fi fans to try this one out.

Rating