ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Director: Corey Yuen

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden

 

Plot: The world’s best fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. There, four female rival fighters will have to work together to uncover the secret that the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.


Tagline – You’re Invited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Guilty Pleasure

 

Story: DOA: Dead or Alive starts as we meet our three leading ladies, wrestling royalty Tina Armstrong (Pressly) who wants to prove herself in legitimate fighting, Chinese princess Kasumi (Aoki) who leaves her clan to find out what happened to her brother at last year’s tournament and master thief Christie Allen (Valance) who can fight her way out of any corner.

The three get selected to enter this year’s DOA tournament along with 12 other competitors along with daughter of the creature Helena (Carter), they get sent to remote island where the three becomes friends and fight for the prize pool which will see them waiting for their opponents to be selected.

 

Thoughts on DOA: Dead or Alive

 

Characters – Tina Armstrong is an American wrestler, she has been on the top of that world and has always dealt with people questioning her own fighting ability, this tournament will give her a chance to show just how good she is. Kasumi is a princess of a Chinese clan, forbidden to leave the temple or face death, her brother vanished in the last tournament, she will go against tradition and face death in an attempt to uncover the truth about her brother. Christie Allen is a master thief whose latest job attracts the attention of the organisers of the tournament, she along with her partner have other plans while on the island. Helena is the daughter of the creator of the tournament, this is her first year on entry and she wants to do her father proud.

PerformancesThis is a movie which hired actresses that needed to look extra sexy, we can see this from our main four women, each comes from different backgrounds which shows in the performances where they all handle the fighting well, with Jaime Pressley giving us the best performance outside of the fighting.

StoryThe story follows three women bought from different background to enter a fighting tournament on a mysterious island, unlike most fighting tournaments, these can happened whether you get informed about your opponent which does give us different locations for the fights, it also shows us how the honour between these fighters is shown, with none of the fighters being the villainous side of the story. this is a video game turned film, so we know the story isn’t going to need to be the deepest and as long as we see the people fight we will be happy. Things do go over the top in the final act of the story which is fine again, for a video game story it all makes sense. There are clearly holes in the story which comes from where the defeated competitors go after losing and having one extra side story feels like we have slightly too much going on at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is a mix of different fights in different locations with the final fight in the temple being the true highlight on this side of everything. the adventure side of the film takes our characters from around the world ready to compete in the tournament.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on the solo island location, we get the beach, temple and hotel locations shown for the fights.

Special EffectsThe film does have moments of effects which are not as strong as they should be, with explosions and moments in the fights not looking that impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
Christie’s introduction is so ridiculous.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Disappearing characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily become people’s guilty pleasure, it has solid enough action scenes making it an acceptable video adaptation.

 

Overall: Video Game Joy.

Rating

 

 

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Diane (2018)

Director: Kent Jones

Writer: Kent Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin, Deirdre O’Connell, Glynnis O’Connor

 

Plot: Diane fills her days helping others and desperately attempting to bond with her drug-addicted son. As these pieces of her existence begin to fade, she finds herself confronting memories she’d sooner forget than face.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Real, Tender & Eye Opening True

 

Story: Diane starts as we meet Diane (Place) a lady who is seeing her cousin Donna (O’Connell) suffering through cancer, her son Brian (Lacy) wasting his life with his drug abuse, trying to make him return to rehab. Diane spends her days helping people with her friend Bobbie (Martin), while dealing with her own personal problems.

As Diane’s struggle becomes more difficult, she remains calm, being forced into making the biggest decision about Brian, whether to continue to help him while suffering abuse from him and seeing life change around her at such a pace.

 

Thoughts on Diane

 

Characters – Diane is a middle-aged woman that keeps herself busy, by visiting sick relatives, helping the homeless or showing her love towards her drug abusive son. She sees her life going past fast, people leaving, changing, making her life harder to process, while still dealing with the mistakes from her past. Diane is a character that shows how difficult loneliness can be in a parent, you start to see friends passing on, feeling helpless and regretting their past. Brian is the son of Diane’s he is a drug abuser that can’t shake his addition and is getting tired of his mother trying to help him, causing him to be abusive toward her, he does need to sort his life out before it is too late. Bobbie is the best friend who helps Diane with the charity work, she gives her advice on Brian and tries to make her enjoy her own life, not to worry as much. We have lots of different characters that are part of Diane’s life, they have their own lives which makes hers harder to find time for them.

PerformancesMary Kay Place is fantastic, we follow her in every single scene, seeing how her character must react to everything going on in her life, we feel her struggles, understand her mistakes and just want to see her happy. The supporting cast includes Jake Lacy as the son, who pulls off both versions of him with ease, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin and Deirdre O’Connell who just shine when they get to share the spotlight with Mary.

StoryThe story follows the everyday life of Diane, a middle-aged woman that is seeing her friends getting ill, her son spiralling out of control and time being spent on helping the homeless. The story does show us how life can become more difficult at the middling to later ages in life, how you can start to become isolated, forcing you to reach out to everyone in your life. It shows the realism that can come from this situation and shows us just how difficult the life can be, you do see these situations being real and the struggles can be felt by many. The way this story is shot, makes us want to see the best for Diane, who has always tried to do the best for everyone in her life.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the everyday life for Diane, ones you can see her using to make herself feel happy.


Scene of the Movie –
Reunited at the diner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was difficult to read the notes Diane was leaving.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tender look at life for a woman that has been seeing everything around her life changing, Mary Kay Place gives a brilliant performance that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at life.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Daredevil (2003)

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Mark Steven Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Scott Terra, Ellen Pompeo

 

Plot: A man blinded by toxic waste which also enhanced his remaining senses fights crime as an acrobatic martial arts superhero.


Tagline – A man without hope, is a man without… fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Origin Film

 

Story: Daredevil starts when young Matt Murdock becomes blind through a freak accident only to see his other sense bring him new life and after his father’s death, he dedicates his life to help fight for the ones who need it. Now an adult Matt (Affleck) he has become a lawyer to help people the mob victimise, if he doesn’t get justice in a courtroom, he puts on the mask to become Daredevil and eliminates the threat.

The Kingpin (Duncan) runs the town and he keeps everyone working for him under control, tired of Daredevil causing problems, he hires Bullseye (Farrell). With a new love interest in warrior Elektra (Garner) the daughter of a billionaire, the sides all come together to give Matt his toughest battle yet.

 

Thoughts on Daredevil

 

Characters – Matt Murdock was blinded as a child and saw his father killed by the mob. He dedicates his life to stopping the mob in a courtroom and if that fails, he will take justice into his own hands. A trained warrior who uses sound to visualise his enemies believing that revenge in the best way to solve the problems. Elektra is the daughter of a billionaire who grabs Matt’s attention, she is trained to protect herself and after her father is killed, she sets out on her own mission for revenge. Bullseye is an assassin for hire, he never misses, well that is his skill, he can turn anything into a weapon and enjoys the competition. The Kingpin is the man that runs the neighbourhood’s crime ring, he will kill anyone that gets in his way and doesn’t care who he kills.

PerformancesBen Affleck in the leading role is good for what he needs to do, there might be a few questions over the blind scenes, but for the fights he can handle himself well. Jennifer Garner has the look and experience in the combat roles, she doesn’t have much to do outside of this though. Michael Clarke Duncan in a villainous role where he is bigger than his opponent is an easy and good choice, while Colin Farrell seems to love playing this role.

StoryThe story shows us how Daredevil rose up to take on the biggest crime boss in the city of New York, he does have to question where he lays in the battle, will he cross the lines the villains do and get revenge for his father’s death. this might seem like a pretty safe origin story which is all we want at times. We do keep most of the story around human enhancements over superpowers which is good to see to because at times we are facing anything from Gods to aliens. The way this story is told does make it feel like an adult Spider-man though.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is entertaining, we have a couple of close combat sequences bringing in an Eastern fight style to the Western heroes mentality which was different at the time compared to what the other comic book films were giving us.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which is always known for the high crime levels which would make a vigilante believable.

Special EffectsThe effects are interesting because we get the idea of how Matt can see being the main use of effects which does feel unique in style and does add that little something to the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
I never miss.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blind scenes don’t look natural.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot more stick that it deserves if we are being honest, it is a simple to watch comic book movie that gets what it needs to right and doesn’t go wildly over the top.

 

Overall: Entertaining and watchable comic book movie.

Rating

 

 

Dragonflies Only Live for 24 Hours (2018)

Director: Richard Anthony Dunford

Writer: Richard Anthony Dunford (Screenplay)

Starring: Karl Kennedy-Williams, Judson Vaughan, Julie Rose Smith, Paul Coster, Faith Elizabeth, Cathy Conneff, Bhasker Patel

 

Plot: Two ambitious detectives stakeout a potential drug deal.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Police Drama

 

Story: Dragonflies Only Live for 24 Hours starts as we meet everyday police officers Frankie Mills (Kennedy-Williams) and Parker Lyle (Vaughan) who have their own personal problems and are stuck dealing with petty crimes.

After the two miss out on a detective promotion, which they both needed for financial reasons, they decide to team up to create their own business, using their connections from the force to make the money they believe they deserve.

 

Thoughts on Dragonflies Only Live for 24 Minutes

 

Characters – Frankie Mills is the rougher of the two police officers, he keeps himself to himself in his personal life, he has a shady past which would see him struggle to get on the force, but he always turns up for work, helps the victims. Once they miss out, he will turn to the more violent side of the crimes they are committing. Parker is the married father with a drinking problem, he has a clean past, he will do the sneakier of the job for the two officers, even if his drinking problem could become the downfall of their plan. Brooke is the wife of Parker that has seen the problems in his life, but someone he can’t talk to about them. Hyde is the captain that has overlooked the two officers in the first place, before needing to turn to them.

PerformancesKarl Kennedy-Williams and Judson Vaughan both give strong performances of police officers that are pushed over the limit of the run of the mill system, they show us how they must reluctantly deal with crimes on the small scale, while showing their ambition to become more. The supporting cast do a strong job through the film.

StoryThe story follows two run of the mill police officers that get tired of being over looked and turn to the life of crime to get what they believe they deserve. This does show the simple routine careers the police officers must follow dealing with petty crimes, trying to fill out the paperwork trying to get the promotion they believe they deserve and worked hard enough to receive, it shows the limits they have reached in this career. We get to see how they start using the laws to get what they want and need along with the path this will send them down, one they shouldn’t be able to recover from. We get to see how the friendship between the two is used to make this happen and how much it will be pushed to the limits. We could have seen more from their criminal activities, but otherwise this can show how turning to crime isn’t going to be a smart idea.

CrimeThe crime side of the film comes from how the two police officers turn to the life of crime to get what they want, it sees how they will go through steps that become more serious as they get deeper.

SettingsThe settings show us how the everyday life can have small crimes in and how the police can deal with small crimes in the right way.


Scene of the Movie –
Kidnapping gnomes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more from the criminal side of their activities.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong crime drama that shows just how far police officers might get pushed to get what they deserve.

 

Overall: Crime drama worth experiencing.

Rating

 

 

Division 19 (2017)

Director: S.A. Halewood

Writer: S.A. Halewood (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Doody, Linus Roache, Lotte Verbeek, Clarke Peters, Will Rothhaar, L. Scott Caldwell, Jamie Draven

 

Plot: 2039. Jails have been turned into online portals where the public gets to choose what prisoners eat, wear, watch and who they fight. So successful is Panopticon TV, it is about to be rolled out to a whole town, providing subscribers even more choice.


Tagline – Anonymity is freedom

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting World Building

 

Story: Division 19 starts in the near future, in a world where prisoners are now being watched 24/7 by the public, almost become the celebrities of the new world, Hardin Jones (Draven) is one of the most popular in the system now, with Charles Lyndon (Roache) profiting of his exposure.

When Neilsen the mastermind behind the prisoner cameras brings up the idea of putting them in a fully operational town, Hardin is the first member of this society, giving his brother Nash (Rothhaar) the chance to break him out and expose the truth.

 

Thoughts on Division 19

 

Characters – Neilsen is thee mastermind behind the prisoner program, the program giving the public a chance to buy prisoners and give them material to do, control their action, she is ambitious and wants to continue to build the program to become bigger, a whole town. Charles Lyndon is the leader of the free world, he has been happy to use the prisoner program, but when he learns just how much suffering is going on in the real-world, he wants to make a change, listen to the young people’s request. Hardin is the most popular prisoner, he gets released into the town, where he ends up escaping the surveillance state the people are living in. Nash is the younger brother, one of the fighters for the next generation, he along with the others has a plan to force the government into making the world equal, until he gets caught.

PerformancesAlison Doody in the authority business woman like lead role is strong, we know we need an actor that can demand power, she does this. Linus Roache is strong too in the role which is a government figure, trying to maintain control. Will Rothhaar and Jamie Draven as the brothers considered criminals both work well together and in their solo roles

StoryThe story here follows us in the future where people are being watched and controlled, prisoners are not used for entertainment purposes, with the gap between rich and poor at a new high. We have seen this type of world created many times, which isn’t going to be hard to build this divide, where this story tries to be different is with the prisoners being used as marketing tools more than anything, they have elements of freedom, compared to a ‘Gamer’ or ‘Death Race’ where the prisoner is put through extreme death sports. We have a fight which is designed to end the gap between rich and poor, one that could easily make sense in this world. the story does blend together nicely to show both sides of the story with ease.

Action/Sci-fiThe action in the film is chase sequences which do work well without being the most edge of your seat. The sci-fi world created is wonderful though, showing the divide between the people.

SettingsThe film is set in the near future, each setting works very well to show us the divide in the people.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used in the limited function, but they help with the moments of the futuristic world.


Scene of the Movie –
The manifesto.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have more moments in the streets.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart idea for a sci-fi film, it brings us a world that could happen and shows the greed involved in this world.

 

Overall: Smart Sci-fi world.

Rating