Kidnap (2017)

Director: Luis Prieto

Writer: Knate Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lewis Temple, Jason George

 

Plot: A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.


Tagline – They messed with the wrong mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thrilling Thrill-Ride

 

Story: Kidnap starts as single mother Karla (Berry) who works as a waitress is shown working her ass off just to get time to spend with her son Frankie (Correa) which the afternoon offers her. The trip takes a turn when a moment of dealing with her ex’s demands leads to her son getting kidnapped but unknown people and the glimpse of the captures leads to a high speed chase down the freeways.

How far with Karla go to rescue her son but just what is the motives of the kidnappers, that is the questions we are left to wonder about.

 

Thoughts on Kidnap

 

Characters – Karla is the waitress that works extra hard to keep everything together for her son Frankie, in one of those moments of looking after her son she finds herself distracted with a phone call and finds herself chasing down the kidnappers. We get to see the determination she is to save her son through the film showing that he is the only important part of her life. Frankie is the son that has been kidnapped. Margo is one of the kidnappers who has taken Frankie for seemingly money, I do feel like we needed to learn more about their motivation.

PerformancesHalle Berry is strong in her role in the film, she doesn’t have the look of someone who would win in a physical battle which is why she makes a great opponent for the kidnappers, the other performances are good without getting enough time to make the full impact in the film.

StoryThe story is single parent has child taken and will not stop until they get their child back. This has always been entertaining but we are used to seeing a father in the role who would win in a fight, having a waitress shows how she must use her brain to win this but also use her surroundings in the car. Outside of the chase you are left wondering why no one seems to be reporting the car chases through the highways and not learning too much about the kidnappers does take something away because you are left wondering why they would risk so much for a child for only a little money, but I guess this does play into the idea we only see things from Karla’s point of view.

ThrillerWe are kept on the edge of our seats in this movie because we know Karla can’t do too much once she catches the kidnappers, because it could mean hurting her own son. The idea of waiting to see how far things will go is interesting and edge of your seat.

SettingsThe film keep the location on the move which works because it is mainly a chase with the final act in one location showing us the underworld that has been created.


Scene of the Movie –
New car to chase showing the goodness in Karla.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kidnappers seem to make rash decisions which should only get them caught.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice intense easy to watch thriller, sure it has flaws but not every film needs to be perfect sometimes you just need to be entertained.

 

Overall: Fun easy to watch thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Original v Remake – The Karate Kid (2010)

This is the follow up entry to the Now and Then Blogathon from Thoughts All Sorts.

 

Director: Harald Zwart

Writer: Christopher Murphey (Screenplay) Robert Mark Kamen (Story)

Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Wenwen Han, Rongguang Yu

 

Plot: Work causes a single mother to move to China with her young son; in his new home, the boy embraces kung fu, taught to him by a master.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Stand Alone Movie

 

Story: The Karate Kid starts as Dre (Smith) and his mother Sherry (Henson) move from Detroit to Beijing, China. While this is a bigger move that the original we follow the same idea, Dre meets a girl Meiying (Han) and grabs the attention of the local bullies led by Cheng (Wang).

When the bully looks like Dre will find himself in trouble he can’t get out of, the handyman Mr Han (Chan) comes to his aid. Mr Han sees the Master training the bullies and gets Dre entered into a tournament leading to him to teach him kung fu before the tournament, this gives Dre the level of discipline he would need in life.

 

Thoughts on The Karate Kid

 

Characters – Dre is our teenager that goes from Detroit to China, he faces a language barrier, needing to make new friends and worst of all bullies. When he gets the chance to learn kung fu, he gains the discipline needed to be w worthy fighter. Mr Han is the handyman that becomes the teacher for Dre, he keeps to himself for the most part but when he sees Dre in looks to pass on his training. Sherry is the over protective mother that moves her son to China. In this film the love interest and bully do seem to have small parts to the bigger picture though.

PerformanceJaden Smith does lack the charisma which we had in the first film to carry the leading role. Jackie Chan is fine in his role working as the mentor but doesn’t bring anything new to the role. Taraji P Henson does a solid job as the mother role.

StoryThe story is boy moves to new town or in this case country where he must learn a new culture as well as discipline when it comes to defending himself, we have the same training idea leading to the same tournament. The differences come from the idea that Sherry moves for a promotion, the love interest does feel awkward as they seem too young and we have kung fu over karate. This doesn’t have the same magical feeling the original film had but could be enjoyed if you haven’t seen the original.

Action/Family/SportThe action does feel weaker than the original, it is a tame couple of chases and then the tournament. I feel it would be hard to get the family to enjoy this because of the running time of nearly 2 and half hours.

SettingsThis is the biggest plus for the film, the setting of China makes the move impossible for Dre to go back on, he must learn the new culture and it does get to look at moments of the spiritual side of the kung fu.

Scene of the Movie – What happened to Mr Han’s family.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a subtitles moan or a lack there of for moments when the kids are arguing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, it does lose what made the original magical but as a standalone film it can be watched for what it is meant to be.

 

Overall: Remake waste, solo film enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

Original V Remake – The Karate Kid (1984)

This is also an entry into the Then and Now Blogathon, with the Then appearing on Realweemidget site

 

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, martin Kove, Randee Heller, William Zabka

 

Plot: A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: Karate Kid starts as Daniel (Macchio) moves from New Jersey to California with his mother, he needs to make new friends and it isn’t long before he meets a girl Ali (Shue) from his new school but also grabs the attention of the local bullies and their leader Johnny (Zabka) who knows karate.

When the handy man Mr Miyagi (Morita) of the building sees Daniel’s struggle he comes to his aid showing that he is a martial arts master and agrees to train him ready to face Johnny and the bullies in a karate tournament. Daniel goes through an unusual training routine to prepare him for the fight.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kid

 

Characters – Daniel moves to a new town where knows nobody, he finds himself targeted by the local bullies but with the help of Miyagi he learns karate to get one over the main bully. Miyagi is the karate master that works as a building handyman to cover his personal pain, he does see bright things in Daniel and agrees to train him with unusual methods. Ali is the girl that Daniel falls for at school, she is the ex of the bully, she likes Daniel even though he is from the wrong side of town. Johnny is our bully, he doesn’t like that Daniel will stand up to him and uses his advance karate to point him in his place.

PerformanceRalph Macchio gave us a performance here that made people want to be in a karate movie, he sums up the lost teenage perfectly. Pat Morita is fantastic in his role as the mentor which often gets emulated but never duplicated. Elisabeth Shue is good as the love interest and William Zabka is good as thee bully.

StoryThe story shows how an ill-disciplined student can be turned into a calm fighter ready to defend himself against anyone who challenges him. This shows us that anyone can blossom into something great given the right guidance and self-belief in their own abilities, making it a bench mark for anyone that has been questioning their own skills.

Action/Family/SportThe action plays to a typical 80s musical background being high school level chases and fights. The family side shows us just what you need to be doing within a family when it comes to guiding children. The sport is karate in competition.

SettingsThe settings show us the places 80s high school student would hang out and the trouble they can find themselves in.

Scene of the Movie – Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the film is slightly too long for the same point message.

Tagline – He taught him the secret to Karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films of all cinema, it is a film that shows character needed to defeat in the right manner.

 

Overall: One of the best sports films of all time.

Rating

 

 

Kepler’s Dream (2017)

Director: Amy Glazer

Writer: Sylvia Brownrigg, Ann Cummins, Amy Glazer, Vijay Rajan, Sedge Thomson (Screenplay) Juliet Bell (Novel)

Starring: Isabella Blake-Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery, Holland Taylor, Kelly Lynch, Steven Michael Quezada, Esperanza Fermin, Kelly Hu

 

Plot: Eleven-year-old Ella is a city girl forced to spend the summer on the New Mexico ranch of her reclusive grandmother, Violet Von Stern. while Ella’s mom undergoes chemotherapy in another state. As she tries to cope with her grandmother’s strict rules and snooty friends, Ella longs for her mother and begs her estranged father for rescue. But Ella’s dad has his own reasons to stay away from his childhood home. Meanwhile, Ella finds allies in fatherly ranch hand Miguel and his down-to-earth daughter, Rosie. But when a priceless book is stolen from Violet’s collection, Miguel is the key suspect, and Ella must find the real thief in order to save her friends. Emotional connections are reshaped, and a family that was lost finds its way. The music of Patrick Neil Doyle helps tell this unusual and heartwarming story.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Coming of Age Tale

 

Story: Kepler’s Dream starts as we meet Ella (Blake-Thomas) an 11-year-old girl that lives with her mother Amy (Lynch) who is about to undergo surgery for her leukaemia, which means Ella needs someone to look after her, when her father Walt (Flanery) doesn’t make himself available he sends her to New Mexico to stay with his mother Violet (Taylor), a relative she has never met.

Ella gets a friendly welcome from Miguel (Quezada) and his daughter Rosie (Fermin) who helps out on Violet’s ranch, while Violet is a mystery to Ella, a well-travelled lady who enjoys collecting artefacts from her journeys, but we have no wi-fi here.

As Ella’s time in the house continues she learns about a Kepler’s Dream book, one of only two in the world, but this only shows ore of the strict rules her grandmother has, be it using proper English or not touching anything. It is Miguel that offers her the only positive moments in the summer, teaching her to ride a horse. When he priceless book is stolen the suspects are a very short list and now Ella wants to solve the mystery and save the friendship she has started with Rosie.

 

Thoughts on Kepler’s Dream

 

Characters – Ella is an 11-year-old girl, daughter of divorced parents with her mother battling cancer, her father distant, she must spend her summer with her grandmother who she has never met. This is always going to be hardest summer of her life, but it also offers her new adventure in the world. Violet is the grandmother, she has travelled the world as well as collected books and objects to add to her prized collection. She hasn’t ever met Ella but tries to help even with her stricter rules. Miguel is the ranch hand that helps out, he offers Ella the friendship she requires with his own daughter Rosie as the two bond over the summer. Walt is Ella’s father who always found a reason to be busy and away from his daughter even when she needs him.

PerformancesIsabella Blake-Thomas is our new face and lead in this movie, she is full of the innocence needed for this role. Holland Taylor is great as the strict grandmother who has lived an enjoyable life. The rest of the cast are good through the film showing us the different emotional range needed for what is happening through the film.

StoryThe story does follow the development Ella needs for life, she is going to go through a tough summer that will help define her life. The big case that needs solving though is the weakest part of the film because we don’t dive into it enough. The story does focus on Ella and her experiences, her feelings her difficulties she will be face which is good to watch because it shows how growing up will be painful if they go through the same experiences.

Adventure/Family/MysteryThe adventure side of the film comes Ella experiencing a new location, which is plays into the western themes being used. The this a very family oriented movie even though it does have a small mystery moment going on.

SettingsThe settings are important here, first we have the busy city where Ella is but taken her to a new location where she wouldn’t know or have experienced teaching her more about the bigger world.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth about the book.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would like more about the missing book.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good coming of age film, it will be targeted more for the young girls, with certain decisions being made, the troubles she goes through could apply to either sex though. It does have an important message but has the tagged-on mystery in places.

 

Overall: Good coming of age movie. 

Rating

 

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating