ABC Film Challenge – Random – Kill Zone 2 (2015)

Director: Pou-Soi Cheang

Writer: Lai-yin Leung, Ying Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Tony Jaa, Jing Wu, Simon Yam, Jin Zhang, Louis Koo, Ken Lo, Jun Kung

 

Plot: While undercover officer Kit is taken prisoner by the syndicate, he befriends his keeper and discovers an organ trafficking ring.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Charged Action Film

 

Story: Kill Zone 2 starts as we learn about an organ trafficking ring going on through China operated by Hung Mun-Gong (Koo), Kit (Wu) is an undercover police officer trying to break and expose the ring but finds himself in a Thai jail once his cover is blown. Inside the jail a prison guard Chatchai (Jaa) is dealing with his own daughter suffering with leukaemia with little hope in being able to afford a cure.

With Mr Hung also needing a transplant he finds himself searching for his missing brother with Kit even with the language barrier working with Chatchai to find his daughter a cure and bring down the crime syndicate.

 

Thoughts on Kill Zone 2

 

Characters/PerformanceChatchai is an honest hard working prison guard, he is going through heartache as his own daughter is suffering with leukaemia and in desperate need for bone marrow transplant. He risks his career and life to find a cure for her, much like any father in this situation. Kit is the undercover Chinese cop that is trying to bring down a crime syndicate that is trafficking human organs, he ends up in a Thai prison where he doesn’t speak the language and the only person that shows any kindness is Chatchai. Mr Hung is the man running the organ trafficking mostly so he can find a cure for his own sickness. Warden Ko is one of the loyal followers of Mr Hung that uses his position to help cover up the problems in another country.

Performance wise, we know we are going to get good action performances from the whole cast with Tony Jaa, Jing Wu and Jin Zhang all get scenes where they dominate the screen. There is also good emotional range because of what is going on to the characters through the film

StoryOn the surface this could have been a very basic take down the crime boss who is doing something illegal in organ trafficking but this story is so much more. We have characters that have true stakes going, the prison warden fighting to save his daughter, the cop needing to recover from his undercover position and a crime boss willing to sacrifice his own brother to survive. Mixing this altogether leaves us wanting to see what happens and rooting for all the characters.

Action/CrimeThe action is great and just what you have come to expect from Tony Jaa action films, but I would point out this isn’t just about him and his action appeal, this is a combined effort. The crime side of the film is crucial but at times doesn’t feel like it gets all the attention it starts off with.

SettingsMixing the settings between China and Thailand works because it builds the idea of things getting lost in translation between the two heroes.

Final ThoughtsWe all know I like a good action film, I also love an action film that has heart behind it all and this film does have that and then some. I like the stakes in play for the characters as we can all understand how far a parent would go to save their child and the mix in fighting styles is something to truly enjoy.

 

Overall: One for all the action film fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Killer Mountain (2011)

Director: Sheldon Wilson

Writer: Sheldon Wilson, Peter Sullivan (Screenplay)

Starring: Emmanuelle Vaugier, Aaron Douglas, Paul Campbell, Andrew Airlie, Crystal Lowe

 

Plot: A group of mountain climbers disappears while climbing the Himalayas in the 1950s. In the present, another group takes the same route and also disappears. A shady rich man hires a professional mountaineer and some scientists to find them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Killer Mountain starts when Mr Barton (Airlie) comes to Ward Donovan (Douglas) to help organise a rescue mission climbing a forbidden mountain. Ward’s ex-wife Kate (Vaugier) is leading the original mission which has gone missing, now Ward must team up with scientists to find her party on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

The rescue team learn that the original team is nearly all gone with Kate in hiding on the mountain from what is only meant to be a legend, but this legend is true with a monster living high up in the mountain waiting to feast.

 

Thoughts on Killer Mountain

 

Characters/PerformanceWard Donovan is the expert climber with all the records of being the faster to ascend and descend the deadliest mountains, he might well be out of the business but now he must come out of retirement to rescue his ex-wife. Kate is the ex-wife of Wade that finds herself alone on the mountain needing to find a way down away from the creature living in the high altitude. Barton is the millionaire searching for something on the mountain and isn’t worried about how many teams he loses searching for it.

Performance wise, Nobody in this film really shines, most of them just work with the script they have to make the most basic idea to happen without showing off any of the skills.

StoryA mountain with a creature living near the top that kills anyone that gets close, well that is original enough for a sci-fi standard film and nothing more, we get the tagged on former relationship between the trapped one and the leader of the rescue team and a greedy man trying to get something he shouldn’t, that covers it all.

Adventure/Sci-fiThe adventure does come from climbing an unknown mountain system with the sci-fi side of the story coming from the idea that a creature lives in the mountain protecting something powerful.

SettingsThe settings upon the mountain are good because we get our characters trapped with nowhere to run when being hunted down by the creature.

Special EffectsThe effects are all cheap and very weak CGI to create the creature which you can see placed into the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a clear made for TV movie that has very little going for it and could become something you watch late night on TV.

 

Overall: Forgettable sci-fi adventure creature feature.

Rating

 

 

Killing Joan (2018)

Director: Todd Bartoo

Writer: Todd Bartoo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bernadette, Teo Celigo, Erik Aude, David Carey Foster, Daniel Gardner

 

Plot: An enforcer for the mob enacts her revenge on those who wronged her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Death Wish We Wanted in 2018

 

Story: Killing Joan starts as we meet Joan (Bernadette) a ruthless enforcer for the mob that leads her own squad including Miles (Aude) and Henry (Basco) doing the work for Frank (Foster). Joan’s temper leads her to make mistakes which are not respected by the rest of the gang which leads to her betrayed by her own gang.

Left for dead Joan seems to gain a supernatural ability as her quest for revenge goes after the ones near and dear that left her for dead, with her ex-boyfriend Anthony (Celigo) being the only support, Joan aims to clean up the streets on the ones she once worked for.

 

Thoughts on Killing Joan

 

Characters – Joan is an enforcer for the mob, she is strict, has an attitude, but is fair to the people she is collecting from. When she is left for dead, she returns with new gifts that make her a force to be reckoned with on her revenge mission. This is a strong female leading role which we often see a male performer take on. Anthony is the ex-girlfriend of Joan’s he works in a youth housing for the homeless he is opposite to Joan and becoming a problem for the gang she works for. He offers the help she needs after what happens to her which only leads him to become her biggest weakness. Frank runs the gang with Miles, Henry being part of it, there are your typical gangsters which will get what they want at any means.

PerformancesJamie Bernadette is the star of this movie, she gives us the strong ass kicking female lead and runs with it, to become the star o the movie. When you dive into the rest of the performances they are good without being on the same level as Bernadette’s.

StoryThe story is a revenge movie which follows the one character that wants revenge after being betrayed by the mob she is part off. This is a story we know where most of the turns can come and go, but this film does offer us another spin on this again with supernatural elements. While this is an enjoyable watch, it does feel like it is split in two at times, the opening is a crime action film the second half gives us the horror story and opens doors for the story you didn’t see coming.

Action/Crime/Horror The action is the combat sequences you would imagine for this style of movie, but as all the good ones the final one is the stand out, the whole film is centred in the crime world with the horror offering a supernatural twist to the revenge movie.

SettingsThe settings are the normal for a crime movie, we have back allies, abandoned warehouses to make sure no one will see dealings.

Special EffectsThe effects are very impressive for a low budget movie, they have a feel of something we hadn’t seen with the supernatural elements that are given to Joan.


Scene of the Movie –
The new powers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The gangsters are not the most interesting or original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a revenge movie that you are going to enjoy because of the different direction the movie ends up going in.

 

Overall: With Death Wise coming out this year, the revenge movie is going to be getting attention, this is one you will need to be watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Director: Robert Benton

Writer: Robert Benton (Screenplay) Avery Corman (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, Howard Duff, George Coe

 

Plot: Ted Kramer’s wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.


Tagline – There are three sides to this love story!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterclass

 

Story: Kramer vs Kramer starts as Joanna Kramer (Streep) walks out on her businessman husband Ted (Hoffman) leaving him to raise their child Billy (Henry). Ted must learn how to be a single parent while also keeping his career on path because he is on the verge of one of his biggest moments of his career.

15 months later Joanna reappears in the Ted’s life wanting custody which leads to a heated custody battle between the parents while Ted must deal with his own career problems.

 

Thoughts on Kramer vs. Kramer

 

Characters – Ted Kramer is a busy marketing man whose wife walks out on him leaving him to raise his child alone, the added responsibility of raising his son, his work starts to get comprised but it is when his wife returns, where Ted must fight for full custody of his own son. Joanna is the wife that walks out on the family, when she returns she wants to have custody of her son again, we don’t learn much else about her during the time which disappoints. Margaret is the neighbour that is there for Ted during his tough times. Billy is the child that finds himself in the middle of the custody battle after 15 months with just his father.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman gives us an acting masterclass here showing he can give us an Oscar worthy performance given the right material. Meryl Streep is fantastic in the supporting role showing us just how good her talent was going to be. Justin Henry gives on of the best child actors performances too in this film.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to learn to be a better father once he is left alone with his son, before turning into a custody battle, which has become an all too often event in the modern world. Seeing how the custody battle unfolds brings us into the reality of how difficult a job being a single parent holding down the job on demanding success level can be. We learn how wrong the system appears to be in one of the most powerful films you will see.

SettingsThe New York setting shows how busy the lives of the people involved would be.


Scene of the Movie –
The aftermath of the case in the park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we could have learnt a lot more about Joanna’s motivation during the 15-months too.

Award Wins: Won 5 Oscars

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most powerful, perfectly acted movies you will ever see, the emotions you will feel will leave you broken for what is one of the best films ever made.

 

Overall: Easily one of the greatest films of all time.

Rating

 

 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Bill Camp, Sunny Suljic

 

Plot: Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not Sure!

 

Story: The Killing of a Sacred Deer starts as wee meet surgeon Steven Murphy (Farrell) who has a friendship with Martin (Keoghan) whose father died on his operating table. Steven has his family, wife Anna (Kidman) and children Kim (Cassidy) and Bob (Suljic) with their own dreams at home.

As Martin starts to become overly attached to Steven, he starts to find a way to force himself into his life by befriending Kim, while Bob becomes sick with no explanation to what is causing his problems. It isn’t long before Kim gets sick too, this pushed Steven into trying to find out what Martin has done to make this happen, giving him the option to save his family.

 

Thoughts on The Killing of a Sacred Deer

 

Characters – Steven Murphy is a surgeon, he has years of experience and a family, but when the son of one of his patients starts getting to involved in his life, he must look into his past to save his family. Anna is the wife of Steven, she starts to go in his case to learn the truth in a way to hopefully save her children from whatever has been done to them. Martin is the son of a patient who died on Steven’s table, he starts by striking up a friendship only to show a sinister reason for the friendship which puts Steven’s family in danger.

PerformancesColin Farrell brings us another good performance, it does feel like he does just continue to use the same style of performance that he gave us from The Lobster. Nicole Kidman is good in this role using her beauty to get what she can from her character. Barry Keoghan continues to make an impact on the business this year after Dunkirk, he gives us a haunting performance as Martin.

StoryThe story follows a doctor whose life comes crashing down around him once the son of a former patient comes into his life. We see how the actions lead to Steven needing to make a difficult decision, one that would change his life, but we are mostly left to see just what is causing the actions to happen, the true motivations behind it and just what he wants.

Horror/MysteryWhen you look at the horror side of the film we get moments of disturbing behaviour, which is the mystery behind everything that just keeps us interested in to where the horror could go.

SettingsThe setting doesn’t do too much for the film, we don’t seem to be located in any locations which makes a true impact on the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The elevator.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The almost pointless dialogue.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is weird, this is the understate of the year I think, it has random dialogue style, moments that just seem random and most importantly keeps us wanting to know what the hell is going on.

 

Overall: Too strange for the casual viewer.

Rating