ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Police Story 3 (1992)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma, Lee Wai Yee (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Wah Yuen, Bill Tung

 

Plot: A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.


Tagline – Meet the cop that can’t be stopped!

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Jackie Chan Movie

 

Story: Police Story 3 starts when a Hong Kong gangster Panther (Yuen) is rumoured to broken out of a Chinese prison, Inspector Ka Kui Chan (Chan) is sent to China to work with the authorities, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh). He must break Panther out and escort him back to Hong Kong so he can face his own countries law.

When back in his home city, Chan must work with Yang as the crime boss Chaibat (Tsang) is preparing to free his wife from prison, while trying to keep his cover from his girlfriend May (Cheung).

 

Thoughts on Police Story 3

 

Characters – Inspector Ka Kui Chan (or Kevin in the dubbed version) he is considered a super cop in Hong Kong and must go undercover in China to bring down a gangster, he can handle himself in a fight even if certain moments it looks like luck over judgement. Inspector Jessica Yang is working for the Chinese police and works with Ka as she looks to use her strict style which clashes with the laidback nature of Ka. May is the girlfriend of Ka Kui and she is the one that blows his cover because the two have no form of communication. Chaibat is the gangster that is trying to get his wife out of prison, he runs Hong Kong and taking him down is just what is needed for the city.

PerformancesJackie Chan is one of those actors you can watch do anything, he is committed to his art form and this shows that he has a little bit of everything, from his pure energy in the action, but his comic timing too. Michelle Yeoh showed us that she was going to become a big action star in this film, handling the comedy just as well as the action. Maggie Cheung is mostly wasted here, her character doesn’t have much to do, while Kenneth Tsang fills the villainous role without any problems.

StoryThe story follows two cops from different countries working together to try and take down a big crime group who find themselves split between the two countries. We get the undercover idea here which works well, the awkward chemistry works well, thee action blends into the story taking our attention away from the simple side of everything involved. This does end up being by the books, we know they will get made and will be forced into action police wouldn’t consider and by the end we will see the cop come out on top with the criminal needing to face him in a final battle. The twists are not going to shock and the major turning point comes from somebody else’s stupidity.

Action/Comedy/CrimeWe are going into a Jackie Chan movie, we know the action is going to be big fight sequences and crazy stunts, this hits all the required expectations for this movie, certain stunts or fights get the laughs required too, which surprises with the number of funny moments that don’t take away from the action.

SettingsThe film keep the settings ready for the set pieces, we have the big cities, the working prisoners and the hideouts, everything you would expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The badly dubbed version shown on TV.

Final ThoughtsThis is a purely entertaining Jackie Chan movie, it has the action we would expect, the comedy that works without trying to be more than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

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The Pack (2015)

Director: Nick Robertson

Writer: Evan Randall Green (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Campbell, Anna Lise Phillips, Katie Moore, Hamish Phillips, Charles Mayer

 

Plot: A farmer and his family must fight for survival after a ferocious pack of wild dogs infiltrates their isolated farmhouse. Through a series of frightening and bloody encounters they are forced into survival mode to make it through the night.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Horror

 

Story: The Pack starts as the Wilson family Adam (Campbell), Carla (Phillips) and children Sophie (Moore) and Henry (Phillips) are struggling to make ends meet on their remote farm, they have an offer to leave or face losing everything and to make matters worse their sheep are being killed off at night.

The night comes are a pack of wild dogs trap the family inside the home, with nowhere to run and the blood thirsty animals outside the family must survive to make it through the night.

 

Thoughts on The Pack

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the traditionalist farmer that doesn’t want to leave his family farm even through the financial struggles but will do anything to protect his family. Carla is a vet that runs a small clinic out of the farm and does believe that moving could be right for the family. Sophie is your typical older teenager that wants to be in the city with friends instead of the middle of nowhere while Henry is the youngster and wanting to follow in both his parent’s footsteps.

Performance wise, well it would be fair to say that everybody is fine, most of what is needed in this film is terror and survive and that depends on the enemy and it would be fair to say they all pull this off well but it is the basics which don’t come off as well.

StoryA family in the middle of nowhere gets trapped by a pack of wild dogs and must survive the night. This isn’t the most difficult story to follow in fact it is easy to understand, we don’t get too much going on but the added financial situation problems shows these characters could become desperate.

Horror The pack of wild blood thirsty dogs does make for a good horror enemy as they will not stop when hunting and are stronger than the domestic ones, we get lots of drawn out scene just waiting for a jump attack to happen through this film.

SettingsThe film does put the family in their home but in the middle of nowhere which shows us the family is not safe in their own home but also have nowhere to run too.

Special EffectsThe effects are used sparingly to show the attacks but mostly editing protects the need for over use.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror to watch, mostly in the midnight selection but still rewarding.

 

Overall: Midnight horror treat.

Rating

 

 

Pet Sematary (2019)

Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Jeff Buhler (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jete Laurence, Naomi Frenette, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera

 

Plot: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.


Tagline – They don’t come back the Same. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fog Machine Screen Test

 

Story: Pet Sematary starts as the Creed family, Louis (Clarke), Rachel (Seimetz), Ellie (Laurence) and toddler Gage, move from Boston to a rural Maine town, to start a quieter life style. The family just so happen to have bought a property with its own pet cemetery, spelt wrong with the S and all. The neighbour Jud (Lithgow) is welcoming and after the family cat Church dies, Jud tells Louis of the powers, which sees Church return, only he isn’t the same.

When tragedy strikes the Creed family, it leaves them divided and Louis is drawn back to the power which could solve the pain, but he only unleashes the secrets of the hidden grounds.

 

Thoughts on Pet Sematary

 

Characters – Louis is a former ER-Doctor, he needed to get out of that life with his new role being a college campus doctor, this gives him more time with his kids as they grow, making his life more relax. He is the one that never believed or talked about the afterlife which is why it seems strange that he is the one that follows Jud through the secret cemetery. Rachel is the wife, she spends most of her time checking her phone, being the typical housewife, she does have a haunted past which still scares her to this day. Jud is the nice welcoming neighbour, he has lived in this house for his whole life and now, he wants to show the wisdom he has learnt from the cemetery. He is the catalyst to everything that unfolds. Ellie is the oldest child of the family, she likes to adventure which can get her in trouble, but what 9-year-old isn’t like this?

PerformancesThis discussion on the performances is going down like most in horror, the child star Jete Laurence doesn’t do anything wrong and is the star of the show. Jason Clarke as often been the go to guy for a reliable lead, doesn’t get tested, while Amy Seimetz gets no true character development, giving her little to work with. John Lithgow get a scene where we learn the cats name being after Winston Churchill, and the wink wink idea that he won awards for playing the leader.

StoryThe story follows a family that relocate to start a quieter life, they seem to have everything down perfectly until death starts coming into their lives, which only sees them needing to face ultimate decisions and figure out the power of the pet sematary in their back garden. This is obviously a remake of the Stephen King classic, so if you have seen the original or read the book, you will know the basics of this story. The story however seems to go off on wild side stories which don’t seem to have any connection to the pet semetery element of the story, it just gets confusing, there is such a large focus on Rachel’s past, which shouldn’t make sense in this film in anyway. Everything that returns from the original film works, it gets the required scare, but as I said the side stories just fill the empty space to make the film longer and get a scare from the audience.

HorrorThe horror in this film can be broken down, we have the jump scares, though they can be seen coming a mile off, we have a thinking horror side to something that happens, which over plays on the mind for no reason too.

SettingsThe film puts the family in a remote house, well one without many neighbours and a tight road that lorries steam down, this is effective for the first proper jump scare, which you would see in the original, for the rest of the settings the fog machine covers up the flaws here.

Special EffectsThe effects when practical look creepy and effective, we don’t get many, but much like the settings, the fog machine makes a big impact here covering up any true weaknesses in the special effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The lorry.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fog machine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor remake of a classic Stephen King horror, we don’t seem to get anything scary like other remakes and end up relying on cheap jump scares to try and maximise the impact.

 

Overall: Simple lifeless remake.

Rating

 

 

The Prodigy (2019)

Director: Nicholas McCarthy

Writer: Jeff Buhler (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackson Robert Scott, Taylor Schilling, Peter Mooney, Col Feore, Paul Fautuex, Brittany Allen, Paula Bourdreau

 

Plot: A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.


Tagline – There’s Something Wrong With Miles

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Jump-Scares

 

Story: The Prodigy starts as we see couple Sarah (Schilling) and John (Mooney) have their first child, Miles (Scott) grew faster than most children showing signs of genius, now 8-years-old Miles has reached new levels of disturbing behaviour, a level where Sarah must try to figure out what is wrong with her son.

Sarah takes Miles to see a specialist Arthur Jacobs (Feore) who offers answers, but the answer is even more disturbing than Sarah could imagine, she must figure out how to get her son back to normal before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on The Prodigy

 

Characters – Miles is the young boy that is turning into a genius, only he has a darker side which sees him acting violently towards people, he sleep walks, talks and must control the situation. Sarah is the mother of Miles, she sees the problems with Miles, trying to figure out how to help him, while become uneasy around her son, once she learns the truth. John is the father, he has come from an abusive family which sees him want to remain calm raising his own son, but even he can’t cope being around Miles. Arthur Jacobs is the doctor that can get to the truth of Miles head, he does unlock the truth which only makes Sarah’s life even harder.

PerformancesJackson Robert Scott is the strongest member of the cast, he has to deal with the innocent nature of a child and the other figure in his mind, a much darker one. Taylor Schilling is solid enough as the mother, taking most of the horror elements of the film. Peter Mooney struggles to make an impact in the film, which is more to do with the lack of character given to his role. Colm Feore fits the doctor role well even if he is only has limited involvement in the film.

StoryThe story follows a mother than must learn what is wrong with her son before he turns into an evil force. Now the story could easily be compared to ‘The Omen’ this can be seen, but this film does bring us an original spin on the idea, while it does become clear from the opening scene it works to bring a new level of horror in the story. That is the only positive side of the story because this story is filled with flaws, which are all about the decision-making process, everything Sarah seems to do, doesn’t have any logic, when there are simple issues that could be solved, we just ignore them, it gets very frustrating.  We also don’t get to see much of the lives the parents live, how can they afford a house like this when neither seems to have a job or career.

HorrorThe horror in this film does include some very effective jump scares, sadly, some are used in the trailer, but the one where Sarah sees Miles in the hallway, is easily one of the best in recent years.

SettingsMost of the film seems to be set in the house, which shows how the evil within a child could come into your home without you knowing.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, they are not overly used, but the times we get them, they are used for added horror.


Scene of the Movie –
The hallway hug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Decision-Making processes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror with great jump scares, but weak character decision-making, it will make you jump and hit your head against the wall.

 

Overall: Good for the scares.

Rating

 

 

Pet Graveyard (2019)

Director: Rebecca Matthews

Writer: Suzy Spade (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica O’Toole, David Cotter, Hindolo Koroma, Rita Siddiqui, Katie Milner Evans, Hattie Willow

 

Plot: A group of teens are tormented by the Grim Reaper and his pet after undergoing an experiment that allows them to revisit the dead.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Afterlife Delight

 

Story: Pet Graveyard starts when struggle college student Lily (O’Toole) is pressured by her internet famous brother Jeff (Cotter) to take part in one of his latest videos, one that will push the boundaries of science and the natural world in a hope to speak to their late mother. Joining the siblings are Zara (Siddiqui) and Francis (Koroma) who are both wanting to reconnect with lost ones.

The three will kill themselves to travel to the afterlife, where they do get to see the lost loved one before Lily brings them back to life. The problems start when the three start getting haunted by what they saw because once you enter the afterlife it doesn’t want to let you go.

 

Thoughts on Pet Graveyard

 

Characters – Lily is the student nurse that has been struggling with her grades after the death of her mother, she reluctantly agrees to help her brother with his latest stunt video, being trained to bring the back from the afterlife, she is the one that investigates when the strange events start happening to the three that went to the other side. Jeff is the now daredevil internet celebrity looking for his latest fix for views, he does want to see his mother once again after how they last saw each other, he will need to let lily help once the experiment starts having darker side effects. Zara is one of the other people to take part, she wants to see her little brother again, she is the first to go under, giving us the idea of what we will be experiencing. Francis is the third member of the experiment, he wants to reconnect to the girlfriend he lost, he tries to go back to his normal life after, but what haunts him will not stay away.

PerformancesWe have four main actors in this film, Jessica O’Toole does take the leading role with her needing to balance the grief and responsibility required for character. David Cotter does make us believe we are watching an internet celebrity figure, or at least one trying to become a superstar, bringing the carefree attitude to life. Rita Siddiqui brings her characters traditional beliefs to the film which works for the supporting roles, with Hindolo Koroma completing the cast with supporting performance that works well.

StoryThe story follows four people that perform an experiment to visit lost loved one only for the grim reaper to come calling for them. The first element of the story we need to address, is the title of the film, this has nothing to do with pets, in fact it is closer to Flatliners. Getting past this, we do have an interesting horror that does address the question about whether you should try to community with the dead or not. When it comes to the figure that visits, we do get a new looking figure that is one you wouldn’t want to meet, that does give a unique kills too. It might have certain moments that are by the book, but for a horror story this is easy to follow and that’s all we need.

HorrorThe horror comes from the visit to the afterlife, the figure that comes for the victims, it does feel like we could have a new horror figure too.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we have the ritual location which is filled with spiritual creepiness, while the rest of the settings include everyday life, showing how the hauntings will follow them home.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple, we only use them when needed and they don’t look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The afterlife world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong horror that will ask a question about the afterlife, introduces us to a potential new horror icon and has unique kills.

 

Overall: A new horror killer is born.

Rating