ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – # – Squadron 303 (2018) Movie Review

Director: Denis Delic

Writer: Chris Burdza, Thomsz Kepski, Jacek Samojolwicz (Screenplay) Arkady Fiedler (Book)

Starring: Piotr Adamczyk, Kirk Barker, Gabriela Calun, Maciej Cymorek, Nik Goldman, Antoni Krolikowski, Cara Theobold, Maciej Zakoscielny

Plot: This is the story of the highly regarded fighter squadron, in which served mainly airmen from Poland, in the history of aerial combat and their heroic defence of England during WW2, Battle of Britain against Nazi attacks. The 303 Squadron shot three times more Luftwaffe planes than any other allied squadrons.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak War Movie

Story: Squadron 303 starts at the beginning of World War II, the Polish air force have joined forces with the British, Witold Urbanowicz (Adamczyk) leads the small squadron, while the higher ups in England don’t want to rely on outside help.

As the Polish pilots prove themselves to be deadly in the air, their reputations start to grow, with a once famous actress Victoria Brown (Theobold) is being used to learn about the skills of the Polish. The longer the Polish stay in England the bigger their part in the war defence, which will one day make them heroes.

Thoughts on Squadron 303

Characters – Witold Urbanoqicz is the Polish general that is sent to try and control the pilots that are starting to get out of hand, not getting involved in their behaviour, but answering to the superiors who know what they must risk. Donald is the flashiest pilot, he will often go against orders, knowing he has the skills to get the job done in the skies. Victoria Brown is an actress that is bought into show some photo for the papers, while getting assigned to help the British watch the Polish pilots, slowly falling in love with one of them. We get to meet other Polish pilots, who are close and cockier than the English, while the English are more stuck up and determined to not be out flashed.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, most of the actors do struggle to make an impact, because the story decisions just make things more difficult for anybody to reach their potential.

StoryThe story here follows the Polish pilots that join forces with the British Air Force during World War II, where they must first overcome the discrimination towards them, and secondly get involved with the new heroism that is thrust upon them. This should be a story about the incredible fight the Polish pilots showed during World War II, only it just seems to dwindle into a bit of one upmanship and weird uncomfortable love angle. By the end of the film, you won’t feel anything, the random time jumps, showing why the man are fighting, only leaves us trying to keep up, though it could have show us a lot more from what it had to work with.

WarThe war side of the film does show us dog fights, which don’t look as intense as they could be, which also leaves us disappointed.

SettingsThe film uses the basic world war settings, showing how the people could have been in a new environment, waiting for the time that conflict comes their way.


Scene of the Movie – The first dog fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bad time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a disappoint war film that just doesn’t get going into the reality of war, making it feel like a small holiday with the way everything is shot.

Overall: Disappointing.

1917 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Screenplay)

Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth, pip Carter, Andy Apollo, Paul Tinto

Plot: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.


Tagline – Time is the enemy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational

Story: 1917 starts as Lance Corporal Blake (Chapman) is assigned to pick one man, Lance Corporal Schofield (MacKay) to get a new mission from General Erinmore (Firth), their mission is to travel across enemy lines to deliver a message to stop a battalion of soldiers walking into a trap set by the Germans.

The two must travel at speed, with time against them, walking into the unknown, knowing they need to get to the battalion to hopeful save the soldiers including Blake’s own brother.

Thoughts on 1917

Characters – We do only focus on two main soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake whose brother is in one of the battalions the two are trying to stop attacking, he is more of a talking, can’t wait to get home, very close to his family, while Lance Corporal Schofield has been in the war longer, seen more horrors, keeps his horrors to himself and isn’t as excited about return home, for his own reason, which we learn through the journey. The two must work together to try and get to the battalions, each step is taking them to the unknown, needing to prepared for anything. We do meet other military people, whose job is to help the two continue their journey if they cross paths.

PerformancesGeorge MacKay is brilliant, proving yet again this guy is one of the best rising stars in the industry today, while Dean-Charles Chapman is excellent too, they two do have chemistry that shows off both their strengths in the characters they are playing.

StoryThe story follows two soldiers that must travel into no man’s land in an attempt to try and stop an attack, which would see thousands of soldiers walking into an ambush. The story is kept very simple, it is showing as if we are following the two’s every step, seeing each obstacle they must face along the way, which shows the different horrors of war. We don’t get overly close to the two soldiers, while learning a little bit, not having a cheery conversation like other war films. This is one story that is easy to follow, we get the music which prepares us for anything that happens, as well as having a chance to keep us guessing about if, or how they get to their destination.

WarWhen it comes to the war side of the film, we get to see the environment the men would have been living between the fights, the surroundings that would have been left in the aftermath of the battles.

SettingsThe film shows the war effects on the land, we see the destroyed town, the claustrophobic trenches, the fear of no man’s land, it is beautiful and haunting to see the settings.


Scene of the Movie – The line run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sometimes the camerawork can leave us losing our position in the scenes.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best war films you will ever see, it is shot like one take, which makes us follow their journey, adding the tension to every single moment of the film.

Overall: Simply Breath Taking.

K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jarhead 3 The Siege (2016)

Director: William Kaufman

Writer: Chad Law, Michael D Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert

 

Plot: A group of Marines must protect a US Embassy in the Middle East when it suddenly comes under attack from enemy forces.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Siege Movie

 

Story: Jarhead 3: The Siege starts as new recruit Evan Albright (Weber) who has just gotten a role working in the US Embassy in the Middle East, welcomed by Hansen (Ainsley) and under the orders from Gunny Raines (Adkins) with the job to protect the Ambassador Cahill (Hogan). With Evan going through the lesson of how to operate in the embassy we are ready to begin.

Evan notices somebody outside the normal outside the embassy, which soon sees him learning the lessons of the protocol. The marines find the embassy under siege and must use all their training to keep the Ambassador alive against countless enemies.

 

Thoughts on Jarhead 3: The Siege

 

Characters – Evan is the newest marine bought into the embassy, he does fill in the gaps for the protocol that must be followed by the team, learn to work with the rest of the unit and is the first to suspect something is going on around the embassy and ends up being the one leading the fight back. Gunny Raines is the leader of the marines, you play by his rules or face the consequences. Major Lincoln is the one leading the rescue attempt, bringing the back-up required to hopefully help the stranded marines, spends most of the film in a helicopter racing to the scene. Olivia Winston is the computer operative at the embassy, she like Evan has bigger dreams when it comes to rising up through the military rankings.

PerformancesCharlie Weber does take the leading role here where we follow his character entering the world, he works as a soldier never setting the world alight, which can be same for the whole cast sees Scott Adkins, Sasha Jackson and Dennis Haysbert.

StoryThe story here follows a newly recruit marine in an US embassy that must deal with a siege from the locals on the building meaning he will join the marines to show off their skills to defend the embassy. This is one of the simplest stories you will ever see, we follow Evan as he and we learn the lay of the land, the siege is everything you would expect too, following the usual ideas of needing to have safety and out live the numbers that are trying to kill you. It does feel like the story is safe rather than challenging.

Action/WarThe action plays into the war side of the film, we get plenty of military manoeuvres to see bullets flying around.

SettingsThe settings in the film show us the embassy and how the marines operate within it, we see how this makes the positions difficult to defend.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the books.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to follow military action film, it doesn’t do anything wrong, only it just seems to be by the book and overly safe.

 

Overall: Safe Military Film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jarhead (2005)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: William Broyles Jr (Screenplay) Anthony Swofford (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Scott MacDonald, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Ming Lo, Lucas Black

 

Plot: A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.


Tagline – Every man fights his own war.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow and Effective War Film

 

Story: Jarhead starts as we meet Anthony Swofford (Gyllenhaal) who joined the marines, it isn’t long before he gets taken by Staff Sgt Sykes (Foxx) to the US Marine Sniper division going through the training regime meeting his spotter Alan Troy (Sarsgaard).

When war breaks out the marines are set to the middle east, where they must adapt to the desert condition before going into to conflict, this will test their psychical shape and their mental health as the waiting is just part of the sniper’s game.

 

Thoughts on Jarhead

 

Characters – Anthony Swofford who wrote the book the film is based on, we see how he joined the military out of college and struggled at first through the training regime. Anthony soon discovered he was ready for this life as a sniper, but his time in the gulf sees him start to lose his mind. Alan Troy becomes the best friend of Anthony’s and his spotter, he seems to be the most level-headed marine in the unit. Staff Sgt Sykes is the one running the sniper unit, he demands respect and isn’t afraid to put the marines in their place.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the leading role, he shows everyone how he can play the calm soldier, the crazed soldier and the broken man through the scenes of the film which only increase what he is dealing with. Peter Sarsgaard give us a brilliant supporting performance which shows how the fear can be kept inside a calm outer layer. Jamie Foxx brings us the energy of a career military man.

StoryThe story follows the experiences of one soldier that joins the marines before being put in the sniper division when war breaks out, he must adapt to life in the desert during the waiting game before the conflict. This story does show us just how difficult adapting to war can be for the soldiers and just how the war can be fought without needing to fire a weapon. It shows us just how the mindset can change over a set amount of time which will see the soldiers make decisions they wouldn’t normally consider making. This does focus on the idea that the main soldier Anthony never truly feels like he was part of the war followed by the effects of returning back from war can have on the soldiers who have returned.

Biopic/WarThis film follows Anthony’s experience with war, it shows how war isn’t everything he was planning and how his mindset wasn’t in the right place for parts of his experience. The war side of the film shows us just how different war has become over the years, where the ground soldiers are not as required as once before.

SettingsThe film has some wonderful uses of settings with the march sequence showing us just how open the area in question will be for the soldiers.


Scene of the Movie –
Returning home.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slow start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fascinating look at the modern war effort, how the biggest problem is now waiting for the war to begin rather than the fighting.

 

Overall: Modern war time.

Rating