ABC Film Challenge – Crime – G – The Gunman (2015)

Director: Pierre Morel

Writer: Don MacPherson, Peter Travis, Sean Penn (Screenplay) Jean-Patrick Manchette (Novel)

Starring: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Idris Elba

 

Plot: A sniper on a mercenary assassination team, kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.


Tagline – Guard the truth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre

 

Story: The Gunman starts as we meet Terrier (Penn) a mercenary whose cover as a humanitarian working in Congo who assignment was to kill the new minster of mining whose new policy could bring the country to its knees again. With the mission being a success, Terrier is forced to flee the country for his own safety. Years past and Terrier believes he is being followed and turns to his old friends who worked on that last mission, Stanley (Winstone), Terrance (Rylance) and Felix (Bardem) to see if anyone leaked the information about the hit.

Not knowing who to trust Terrier must race against tie to figure out the truth with his own life and loved ones lives on the line as the past continues to come back and haunt him.

 

Thoughts on The Gunman

 

Characters – Terrier is a sniper mercenary who poses as a humanitarian, he knows how to make connections and uses them to complete jobs, though his latest job turns out to be his last as he goes into hiding. Learning his life is in danger he goes in search for answers about who is after him, giving him a chance to see his love once again. Annie is the woman that Terrier must leave when he goes into hiding, the woman he loved, she has moved on though she still does love Terrier even after all these years. Felix is one of the connections from the job, he had always been jealous of the relationship Terrier and Annie had, leaving him to make his move once Terrier is out of the picture. Stanley is the connection in London that is a good friend that will help out where needed. Terrance is the one of the group which continued his success and knows who is still in the loop.

PerformancesWhen it comes to performances we need to face the reality that Sean Penn is trying his luck at the Liam Neeson style of action film, he just doesn’t have the same levels of action in him and for the most part he doesn’t do anything to make us truly care about his character. When we look at the supporting cast on the male side we get four big-names we know do solid enough supporting roles, while Jasmine Trinca is solid enough as the love interest for Terrier.

StoryThe story follows a mercenary that finds his previous job exposed to the people it has effective, but soon needs to learn who released the information. The was sold to be a fast paced action thriller, though the story is slow burning political thriller which focuses on the ideas that have been put forward when the rich try to control countries for their own means. The slow pace takes us out of the story because things just become boring for the most part.

Action/CrimeFor an action film we get the very basic levels of shooting and combat which are covering up the bigger crime going on between the men.

SettingsThe film takes us from growing African country that the Europeans and Americans are looking to take advantage off, to Europe as we get the locations that are designed to show us the hiding places are in every city.

Special EffectsThe effects come from how the wounds look and that is about it, for the most part they are the strongest part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sniper time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning action crime thriller that lacks any tension, suspicious about who the villain is and ends up playing out like a paint by numbers cliché.

 

Overall: Cliched and boring.

Rating

 

 

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Ice Cube Weekend – Ghosts of Mars (2001) Revisited

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone

 

Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.


Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror

 

Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).

When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.

 

Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars

 

Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.

PerformancesNatasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.

StoryThe story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.

Special EffectsThe special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.


Scene of the Movie –
Who is in charge now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action horror.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal III (2009)

Director: Andrew Morahan

Writer: Mike Jefferies, Piers Ashworth (Screenplay)

Starring: Kuno Becker, JJ Field, Leo Gregory, Kasia Smutniak, Anya Lahiri, Nick Moran

 

Plot: The heroes compete on the greatest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup Finals.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Soap Opera Boredom

 

Story: Goal III starts as we follow three footballers from Real Madrid Santiago (Becker) and two England internationals Liam (Feild) and Charlie (Gregory), they have finished their season and now the World Cup is on the horizon. Charlie gets a movie role, Liam will need to find a new club, which sees him return to Newcastle, while Santiago gets an injury which sees him ruled out of the world cup and leaving Real Madrid.

The Santiago watching from the touchline and seemingly forgotten about in this movie, we focus on the England lads who must learn life lesson while trying to make history.

 

Thoughts on Goal III

 

Characters – Santiago was the main character in the first two movies, here he is just the teammate that watches his teammates play in the world after getting injured, we have the smallest possible scene of him looking back at the love he lost in Roz, though they don’t mention names. Liam is being released by Real Madrid, returning to Newcastle, where he discovers a big surprise, a daughter he never knew he had, Liam must learn to give up his party style life to become the father he never knew he could be. Charlie remains at the big club, he gets a film role and meets the girl of his dreams, with his life turning around, he is ready to make history. Sophia is the actress that Charlie falls in love with, she is willing to make a new life with him too.

PerformancesKuno Becker has been the highlight of the franchise until this film, he is barely in the film which disappoints greatly. When we look at the newcomers JJ Feild and Leo Gregory, they both struggle in this film too. In fairness none of this acting is in any way shape or form near the standards we are used too.

StoryThe story decides to make this film become an England story by pretty much writing Santiago out of the film, with his teammates needing to sort their careers and lives out during the World Cup. First problem, this is going to be a list,

·        we have no timeline between the end of the last one and the events in this one.

·        Where did Gavin Harris go?

·        Who are these two new players, are they world beaters or just squad fillers?

·        Why did we forget Santiago’s story, which the franchise is about?

·        When did this become a soap opera?

Enough of the lists now, we do seen to have a script that feels like scraped soap opera, because everything that happens is too unrealistic, with too many, badly delivered lines. Plus that ending, really, are we ending a trilogy like that?

Romance/SportsThere is a romance in this film, it isn’t realistic in anyway though, the sports side of the film also takes a backburner here to life, we are meant to care if these players can make an impact right?

SettingsThe film is meant to be follow the England camp preparing for the world cup, we are meant to be in Germany, though we never see any locations to make us believe this.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm, pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pushing Santiago to the background.

Final ThoughtsThis is a terrible finally to the franchise, this forgets the original character turning the film into a soap opera.

 

Overall: Painful watching.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel

 

Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.


Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.

 

Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream

 

Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.


Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)

Director: Danny Cannon

Writer: Mike Jefferies, Adrian Butchart, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Sean Pertwee

 

Plot: The extremely talented Santiago Munez is given a chance at professional football, after being spotted by a scout who has ties with Newcastle United.


Tagline – Every Dream Has A Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Excellent Sporting Drama

 

Story: Goal! The Dream Begins starts when Mexican immigrates move to LA to start a new life, Santiago (Becker) works for his father’s business, turning to football to relax, where he excels. When former scout Glen Foy (Dillane) sees him play, he believes he could make it professionally, turning to his old boss to give him a trial at Newcastle United.

Santiago makes the trip getting a one-month trial, here he must learn the more difficult side to football, to prove everybody including his father, who never wanted him to follow his dreams, while Newcastle have spent heavy on their new signing Gavin Harris (Nivola) a flashy player whose reputation of a playboy lifestyle follows him around.

 

Thoughts on Goal! The Dream Begins

 

Characters – Santiago Munez is an immigrate kid living in LA, grown up to work with his father to keep the family together, he is a brilliant young footballer though, which he plays in his free time. He gets spotted by a former player that wants him to travel to Newcastle for a trial, a moment which could change his life forever, first he must prove his worth, showing determination to go with his skills and learning how to handle the fame which fellow playboy player could show him the darker side. Glen Foy is the former Newcastle player and scout that see Santiago play football believing he could one day be a big star, he pushes Santiago into travelling, though he would make this happen for him. Gavin Harris is the playboy style footballer, a big money signing that is all flash on and off the pitch, he does show Santiago the wrong path, only to learn just as much from him. Roz is the nurse that Santiago falls for, she doesn’t like the celebrity status around footballers, which will see her have to question why she is interested in Santiago, only to see that he is different than most footballers.

PerformancesKuno Becker in the leading role is strong, while some of the footballing stuff isn’t great to watch, the determination his character needs to show through the difficult moment in his life. Alessandro Nivola as the playboy footballer is entertaining to watch through the film, in the supporting roles we see Stephen Dillane and Anna Friel both doing their roles with ease.

StoryWhen we look at the story, we have a cliched, but enjoyable rags to riches story of a young man whose life gets turned upside down when he gets offered a chance to play football for one of the biggest teams in the world. we see how he must learn to adapt to a new country and culture, be put in pressure situations of just new fame, while remaining grounded requiring the approval from his father. One of the key aspects that makes this story enjoyable is the fact we are not watching Santiago join a team about to win something, they are looking to achieve the next level of success. We know how this will end as a story because it does follow the trend of a sports drama without fail.

Romance/SportThe romance in the film comes from Santiago’s relationship with Roz, though it does take a backburner to the sports drama which is front and centre of this film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different locations Santiago has come from, be it Mexico, the hot sunny street of LA or the cold muddy Newcastle, this will give him something to adapt too.


Scene of the Movie –
Making the squad.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why is Gavin Harris taking a penalty with Alan Shearer in the team?

Final ThoughtsThis is a football fans favourite type of sports drama, an unknown comes to save your team in their moment of need become an overnight legend in their eyes.

 

Overall: Fun football drama.

Rating