ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – K – Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Director: Stephen Chow

Writer: Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang, Xin Huo, Man Keung Chan (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen, Zhihua Dong, Kwok-Kwan Chan

 

Plot: In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious “Axe Gang” while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.


Tagline – A new comedy unlike anything you have seen before

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Kung Fu Hustle starts when hustler Sing (Chow) and his sidekick Bone (Lam) arrive in the slums in Shanghai, Sing wanting to become part of the notorious Axe Gang ends up calling them there to help him, only to discover the slums are filled with masters of kung fu.

To be welcomed into the gang Sing must prove he can kill someone which brings him back to Pig Sty Ally to get the deed done. Sing will now need to learn which side of the law he need to be on.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Hustle

 

Characters – Sing is a hustler that wants to be a gangster, this leads him to getting into the situations he finds himself in as he is drawn between the two different sides of the law. Bone is Sing’s sidekick, he doesn’t get things done playing the simple card too often. Brother Sum is the leader of the Axe gang, he must find a way to kill the kung fu masters.

PerformancesThe performances are good from the whole cast, Stephen Chow gets the most laughs, while letting the rest of the cast do most of the kung fu performances until the end sequence.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of gangster movies can be wildly over the top as one man needs to find his own place in the world with gangsters, kung fu masters and honest people. This works if you like gangsters movies because everything unfolds like you would expect and being wildly over the top.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action is kung fu, but madly over the top which does play into the comedy which is good fun to watch, this plays into the crime side of gangs trying to take over.

SettingsThe settings shows the different worlds the gang and the masters live which is where the battle takes place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to add to the comedy in this movie as we get slapstick and even cartoonish effects through the movie.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Holding Stephen Chow back too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one hell of a great fun comedy movie that checks off everything it needs to as it makes you laugh from nearly the opening sequence to the credits.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge Horror – K – Knucklebones (2016)

Director: Mitch Wilson

Writer: Mitch Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Julin, Tom Zembrod, Katie Bosacki, Cameron Deane Stewart, Taylor Tippins, Justin Arnold, Mary Catherine Wells

 

Plot: A group of bored college students unleash a murderous demon while playing a dice game made from human knucklebones.


Tagline – Roll Them Bones

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gore Filled Horror

 

Story: Knucklebones starts as we see a Nazi experiment go horribly wrong, years later we meet Neesa (Julin) who gets dumped by her boyfriend where she attempts suicide, her best friend Samantha (Bosacki) invites her to hang out at an abandoned building.

In the building, Neesa, Samantha are joined by Kia (Tippins), Adam (Stewart) and Travis (Arnold) as they explore the abandoned building with drinks in tow. When the friends find a dice game they play the games that involves human knucklebones in a hope to summon the demon himself and soon they will race to survive as Knucklebones comes after them all.

 

Thoughts on Knucklebones

 

Characters – Well characters, this will be short and sweet, Neesa is our leading lady, she has been dumped by her boyfriend and tried to kill herself, to help recover she goes with her friends to get drunk and maybe laid, while summoning demons (as you do) she is against this last part, but must face the consequences. The rest of the groups are generically painful, and you learn nothing of any note about them. Knucklebones is the killer, relentless and unkillable, he will kill everyone.

PerformancesThe performances are you would imagine are not going to impress in this film, Julin is solid as our leading lady and Tom Zembrod does make for an imposing villain, but the rest, let’s just stay with they weren’t very good at all.

StoryThe story is five young adults that while on a drinking night end up releasing a demon and needing to survive to send it back to hell. There isn’t much more to go into here, we have seen it all before and we don’t really care where things go, we even get a random group of four people thrown into the story just for the women to get naked and the characters to be killed, not the most original either. There also doesn’t seem to be many rules to what they can or can’t do even though they play it out like the people can’t leave.

HorrorThe horror comes into the film with the killer just butchering the characters with plenty of blood and gore.

SettingsMost of the horror takes place in the abandon building, which is fine and works, but suddenly we can find ourselves outside this location which doesn’t make complete sense.

Special EffectsThe gore effects are the highlight of the film, we get plenty of moments of gore heavy which will keep people happy.


Scene of the Movie –
Knucklebones entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t learn anything about the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard but forgettable horror movie, it follows the ABCs of horror not offering us characters we care about.

 

Overall: Forgettable horror

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – K – Knocked Up (2007)

Director: Judd Apatow

Writer: Judd Apatow (Screenplay)

Starring: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: For fun-loving party animal Ben Stone, the last thing he ever expected was for his one-night stand to show up on his doorstep eight weeks later to tell him she’s pregnant with his child.


Tagline – A one night stand that turned into something more.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hilarious

 

Story: Knocked Up starts as we meet Ben Stone (Rogen) a stoner who along with his friends are looking to create a ‘Flesh of the Stars’ website when he isn’t getting high. We also meet Alison Scott (Heigl) who has just been given a promotion to become an on-air talent for E entertainment.

When the two hook up on a drunken night having a wild night of sex they go their separate ways. When Alison learns she is pregnant the twos lives change, Alison needs to keep it secret from work and the two must get to know each other if they are to raise their child, even though they are very different.

 

Thoughts on Knocked Up

 

Characters – Ben Stone is a slacker, stoner that wants to get rich quick. He gets Alison pregnant and tries to do everything to support her, but he doesn’t find a way to get an income to support the baby. He tries to make light of the situation which is his way of dealing with everything. Alison Scott is about to become an on-air talent for an entertainment network her career is what has driven her for years, but when she becomes pregnant she needs to accept her new incoming baby and tries to have Ben on her side through everything. Pete and Debbie give the couple a view on what could become of married life with children.

PerformancesSeth Rogen broke into the leading man roles with his performance here, he is great through the film even if he style of comedy isn’t for everyone. Katherine Heigl is good in this role, her reaction to thing happening are believable and it is a shame that her career hasn’t gone onto bigger things. We get a lot of the regular cast members of the gangs which help the supporting characters have natural chemistry.

StoryThe story follows two different people from different worlds that end up getting pregnant together, we see how the difference must be put aside for the new life they are bringing into the world. It was disappointing that we didn’t get to see Ben grow up in more detail because it does seem like a major part of the film that only becomes a minor montage. Saying that we do get a good look at how the relationship between the two gets compared to the married couple which adds extra laughs and a mirror for the twos potential future. The story does feel like a real reaction to an unexpected pregnancy too which is important for this movie.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy might not be for everyone because a lot of it can be considered the stoner humour, but luckily Paul Rudd’s character offers something different. The romance in the movie shows how a relationship happens instead of being over the top gestures.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which shows the different people living there following their dreams and attempting dreams, but this could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Growing up moment for Ben.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story takes way to long for Ben to grow up.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great comedy that will get you laughing and give you moment of real behaviour from the characters, you should be enjoying this one throughout.

 

Overall: Hilarious comedy that will make you laugh.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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