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

 

 

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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

 

 

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