ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – K – Kill Command (2016)

Director: Steven Gomez

Writer: Steve Gomez (Screenplay)

Starring: Vanessa Kirby, David Ajala, Mike Noble, Bentley Kalu, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough, Thure Lindhardt

 

Plot: Set in a near future, technology-reliant society that pits man against killing machines.


Tagline – You can’t fight the future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi That Doesn’t Shine

 

Story: Kill Command starts when a robot training facility has started to malfunction, Mills (Kirby) an engineer is set there with a military squad to bring things under control, Captain Bukes (Lindhardt) leads the team as they go face to face with the killer robots.

When the operations goes well it looks like it will be an easy trip home, only now the robots are copying the techniques shown by the soldiers, making them deadlier killers and the race to survive is on.

 

Thoughts on Kill Command

 

Characters – Miles is a robotic engineer that looks like a human but has the ability to talk to the robots and understand their movements. She does show human emotion which will be her weakness when confronting the robots. Captain Bukes leads his team into the combat zone, he isn’t happy about having Miles joining the team and over the course of the events must learn to trust her. Robinson is the older soldier that knows how to keep the soldier’s calmer during the mission, when others panic he can step up.

PerformancesWhen we study the performances the first name that jumps out is Vanessa Kirby who has been the supporting star of The Crown, she is good as she isn’t meant to be showing emotion in her characters decisions. When you look at the guys playing the soldiers, they could easily be interchangeable as none make that much of an impact in the story.

StoryThe story follows thee idea of a military group needing to deal with a robotic problem in a training camp after the robots start going rogue. This brings us the normal military characters who are looking to get the job done and a subplot about humanised robot that can work with both sides to solve the problem. Most of the story plays out as a warning against the ideas of turning to technology for solutions.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action we get to see is military based as we have military operations and learning how to adapt to these changes. The horror comes from knowing the computers are taking over and they are learning at an alarming rate, which plays into the sci-fi elements to the story.

SettingsThe film takes place on a training island, which saves on the budget as this could be any island anywhere in the world.

Special EffectsThe effects are good as the machines feel like they are part of the real world from start to finish.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It didn’t feel the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard sci-fi movie which never becomes its own.

 

Overall: Sci-fi Forgettable

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)

Director: Dimitri Logothetis

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Christopher Lambert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mike Tyson, Sara Malakul Lane, Hafpor Julius Bjornsson

 

Plot: One year after the events of “Kickboxer: Vengeance”, Kurt Sloan has vowed never to return to Thailand. However, while gearing up for a MMA title shot, he finds himself sedated and forced back into Thailand, this time in prison. He is there because the ones responsible want him to face a 6’8″ 400 lbs. beast named Mongkut and in return for the fight, Kurt will get one million dollars and his freedom back. Kurt at first refuses, in which a bounty is placed on his head as a way to force him to face Mongkut. Kurt soon learns he will have no other choice and will undergo his most rigorous training yet under some unexpected mentors in order to face Mongkut in hopes to regain his freedom.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kickass Fighting Film

 

Story: Kickboxer: Retaliation starts after the events of the first film, Kurt Sloane (Moussi) is rising up the ranks of the MMA world only to find himself abducted back to Thailand, thrown in jail by Thomas Moore (Lambert) who will only set him free, if he defends his title against new champion Mongkut (Bjornsson).

First refusing, a bounty is placed on his head with other prisoners wanting to kill him, Briggs (Tyson) and a now blinded Durand (Van Damme) help Kurt train once Kurt’s wife Liu (Lane) is used to bait him into the fight. Can Kurt defeat this unstoppable fighting machine?

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Retaliation

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane defeated Tong Po in Thailand and went off to rebuild his MMA career with his new wife in America. This hasn’t made the underground fighters happy, as he is drawn back to Thailand to fight the next contender and must train to defeat this next fighter, who is deadlier than anyone he has fought before. He does try to be funny at times, but it misses most of the time. Thomas Moore is the businessman who wants to see what Kurt can do against his own choice of champion, he will force Kurt into battle at any means, even if he is smart enough to negotiate terms. Master Durand has been blinded by Moore because of his involvement in the Tong Po death, he still is deadly in combat and trains Kurt to stand a chance to defeat Mongkut. Briggs becomes the friend in prison that shows him how to recover from injuries and fight in a calm faster method. Liu is the wife that Kurt met in the previous film, she comes searching for him only to become the bait and the one that pushes Kurt for her own safety. Mongkut is the powerhouse that Kurt must fight for his freedom, 6’10 over 400lbs, his is a killing fighting machine, built to be the deadliest fighter in the world.

PerformancesAlain Moussi is brilliant when it comes to the combat side of the film, there is no question about it, but when it comes to the more serious side of his character he does struggle at times. Lambert does make for an interesting villain of the piece, but does seem like he is taking things slightly too lightly. Van Damme and Tyson are both good at the fighting, but not the acting where they both feel like they could bring a lot more to the table. Bjornsson is the presence when it comes to the fighter which is needed, while Lane is fine in the supporting role.

StoryThe story follows Kurt as he is dragged back into the underground fighting world, where he must take on a bigger, deadlier contender for his recently won crown. This is a tried and tested formula for this genre which we know works, we don’t need to change it because we are watching this more for the fights than the depth of the story. there are a few weak points in the story, where you would like a bigger emotional impact on the events of a moment, but the fights soon make you forget this.

ActionThe action in this film gives us plenty of fighting sequences, be it the numbers game in prison where we get to see the different styles Kurt can bring to the table and adapt too, or the one on one match against Mongkut which is the David v Goliath story we have heard about for years.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help with the fights, we get to have environmental fights using them to make each fight unique.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The emotional impact of a certain meeting with Mongkut.

Final ThoughtsThis does build on the last instalment well, the fights feel bigger and last a lot longer which is what we want to see more often in this style of film.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Action film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay) Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark DiSalle (Characters)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sara Malakul Lane

 

Plot: A kick boxer is out to avenge his brother.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Kickboxer: Vengeance starts as Kurt Sloane (Moussi) arrives in Thailand in search for underground fighter Tong Po (Bautista) the man that killed his brother Eric (Shahlavi) in one of the underground fights. Eric was trained by Durand (Van Damme) a master in his own right.

When Kurt’s plan goes wrong Tong Po has his arrested leaving local cop Liu (Lane) to hide him in Durand’s place, where he can have the training he requires if he is ever going to be able to fight Tong Po.

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Vengeance

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane is the young brother of champion fighter, he has trained with him and saw his brother killed in an underground fight. He is out for vengeance, first he must be trained by Durand to be ready to take on such a fighter, while this is a simple character to create, we don’t see him win all his fights preparing for Tong Po, so it is hard to take him serious in a full fight. Tong Po is the champion fighter in Thailand, he is known to have the largest body count in the fighting world, he will fight for honour in the battles, he won’t turn to dirty tricks, making him a strange villain to behold. Master Durand is the man that is training Kurt and his brother previously, an expert in Mauy Thai making him an expert to be learning from. Marcia is the lady pulling the strings, she is setting up the fights to make her own money. We do end up meeting more characters than you would expect, we have cops, corrupt and one that is helping Kurt and other fighters that want to learn from masters.

PerformancesAlain Moussi takes the leading role, known more for his stunt work and fight co-ordination, he does a good job stepping into the shoes made famous by Van Damme himself. Dave Bautista is always going to be a threating villain and he isn’t afraid to step into these roles, he has the look and attitude to pull them off with ease. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the film franchise which made him famous, this time he takes the mentor role and does everything you expect from him. While it isn’t her own fault, I do feel like we wasted what we could have had from Gina Carano.

StoryThis is a soft remake of the much loved original, with the Sloane brothers facing Tong Po, get this side of the story straight, it was an easy to follow idea in the first place and this doesn’t do anything to over-complicate things either, it does modernise certain aspects which is good to see, but in the end bottles down to the idea of one man wanting vengeance for his brother’s death, we have the training time and the questioned asked whether it is right or wrong, simple to follow and all we need.

Action/CrimeThe action is the fighting sequences which are hard hitting with different styles through the rounds. The crime story shows us the underground fighting going on.

SettingsThe film is set in Thailand and shows us the big city, the training grounds and the underground fight arenas.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly confusing why Kurt was escorted out of the country.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie with hard hitting fighting sequences that does everything you want in this style of movie.

 

Overall: Hard hitting action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – Kung Fu Yoga (2017)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Stanley Tong (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Disha Patani, Amyra Dastur, Aarif Rahman, Miya Muqi, Sonu Sood, Paul Philip Clark

 

Plot: Two professors team up to locate a lost treasure and embark on an adventure that takes them from a Tibetan ice cave to Dubai to a mountain temple in India.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Fun Jackie Chan Film

 

Story: Kung Fu Yoga starts as new evidence that could connect an ancient story is found between the Indian and Chinese borders. Chinese professor Jack (Chan) teams with the Indian professor Ashmita (Patani) along with their teams Kyra (Dastur), Jones (Rahman), Nuomin (Muqi) and Xiaoguang (Zhang) to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Meanwhile in India Randall (Sood) is planning on getting the secrets and treasures for himself as he looks to take advantage of the discovery made by Jack’s team. As Jack’s team looks to fight off Randall they must use a mix of his kung fu skills and Ashmita’s yoga giving the body peace of mind.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Yoga

 

Characters – Jack is known as the greatest archaeologist in China he has been studying the mystery for years and now he can get to the bottom of the ancient mystery but his kung fu skills will need to be used to stop other people who are after the treasure he is about to unlock. Ashmita is the Indian archaeologist that works with Jack she brings an inner peace with her yoga beliefs. Randall is the man who believes he is entitled to the treasure and will force the others to help him, the rest of the team do add to the humour as they all have different motives for being involved in the treasure hunt.

PerformancesJackie Chan is the big name draw for this film and he does what you want him to do, handle the martial arts with a sense of humour. Going into the rest of the cast, Disha Patani looks the part as the beautiful Indian archaeologist, while Sonu Sood makes for a good lead villain. The rest of the cast do all give us a good performance throughout the film.

StoryThe story gives us a mix of what National Treasure and Indiana Jones are with a sprinkle of the Bollywood style. We have a good old fashion treasure hunt across a couple of countries which gives us a mix of the class culture ideas which is needed for moments of the humour in this film. The story doesn’t go into the most original of ideas but stays safe with the hints from previous films in the genre.

Adventure/Comedy/MysteryThe adventure does take our characters into new location between China, India and Dubai and is a pure treasure hunt movie, the comedy comes from not taking itself too seriously which helps us relax through the film too. The mystery comes from Jack not knowing who to truly trust though the hunt.

SettingsThe settings do take us to three countries even if the whole point is being look at the history of a legend between Indian and Chinese borders.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest link here, certain moments do look bad and can take us out of the main sequences we are watching.


Scene of the Movie –
Dubai car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked just one language being used instead of changing almost every other sentence.

Chances of Sequel: We could have a sequel.

Budget: $65 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure treasure hunting movie that can be enjoyed by all the Jackie Chan fans out there.

 

Overall: Sit back and relax.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – K – Khumba (2013)

Director: Anthony Silverston

Writer: Raffaella Delle Donne, Anthony Silverston, Jonathan Roberts, Camilla Bubna-Kasteliz, Mike De Seve, Joe Vitale, Dave Bejoya (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jake T Austin, Adrian Rhodes, Sam Reigel, Bryce Papenbrook, Devon Graye, Alexander Polinsky, Jonny Rees

 

Plot: Rejected by his superstitious herd, a half-striped zebra embarks on a daring quest to earn his stripes but finds the courage and self-acceptance to save all the animals of the Great Karoo.


Tagline – Half a zebra, a whole lot of adventure!

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Animation

 

Story: Khumba starts as we learn about how the zebras live isolated away from the rest of the animals in the wild, with their own water hole, but when Khumba is born he isn’t like the rest, he is only half striped. Never fitting in with the rest of the zebras, he tries to use his kindness to open the door to other animals only to shows Phango a leopard where the zebras are hiding.

Wanting to find a new place for his herd, he goes outside the border where he joins forces with a wildebeest Mama V and ostrich Bradley to complete his search for this new home, while being hunted down by Phango.

 

Thoughts on Khumba

 

Characters – Khumba is the half-striped zebra that always feels rejected by his herd, when he goes out to search for a new water hole he goes on an adventure of self-discovery in the wild Karoo, meeting different species along the way as he learns his place in the world. Mama V is a wildebeest that takes Khumba under her wings because of her own tragic story of loss in the wild, Bradley is an ostrich that joins the adventure because they are travel together, he likes to be a show man though. We also have the stereotypical villain in the hunter Phango a leopard that is always hunting.

StoryThe story follows a zebra going on an adventure of a lifetime to learn his place in the world, this does follow the normal animated storyline, by putting our character through a test to accept that he is different and that is a good thing for him and will make him be the one to be remembered in the world. We have the inclusion of many different species of animals which must work together to survive the world which helps show us how animals from different locations will need to work together to achieve their own safety. This is one story that is easy to follow, it has moments of peril, but nothing overly scary.

AdventureThe adventure in the movie follows Khumba escaping from his contained life to learn about the full-scale size of his world.

SettingsThe settings show us the world of the Karoo, a beautiful open world safari world.

AnimationThe animation does work well for the whole film and is something good outside of the normal big-name companies that make animation.


Scene of the Movie –
Escape the hunters.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The real world references just miss.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animation that does everything you want without being anything special, it will keep the family happy and tell an important generic story.

 

Overall: Enjoyable animation throughout.

Rating