Franchise Weekend – Ripley’s Game (2002)

ripleyDirector: Liliana Cavani

Writer: Charles McKeown, Liliana Cavani (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Chiara Caselli

 

Plot: Tom Ripley persuades a man to commit a murder for a large sum of money. The situation goes out of control, and that man must escape trouble.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Ripley’s Game starts as we see an older Tom Ripley (Malkovich) trying to make a deal that his partner on this case Reeves (Winstone) has ruined the full amount on. 3 years later Tom is back in Italy in his mansion.

Trying to live a quiet life Ripley’s old partner is back Reeves wants Ripley to help him with a problem back in Germany with Ripley looks at his neighbour Jonathan Trevanny (Scott) to do the dirty deed as a final attempt to help Jonathan financial future with his sickness.

When Jonathan does the job, he has to deal with the consequences that has Reeves continue to contact him to do other jobs for him but has he found himself in the middle of a deadly game that only Tom can save him from.

 

Thoughts on Ripley’s Game

 

StoryThis is a follow up to the 1999 film taking place years after the events in that film. Ripley is in full control of his abilities now and his ability to complete any job required. The problem I have with the story this time is that it feels like a heist film gone wrong rather than a smart slick con-artist film. I just don’t think this film clicked on the levels of the first film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story does in fact feel bigger throughout this film it just doesn’t balance with the thrilling side of the story leaving the crime elements feeling average because Ripley is designed to be slick with his actions.

Characters/PerformanceMalkovich is always an interesting performer and his grabs this role and makes it his own but when it comes to both the performance of Scott and Winstone they feel out of place to the world created making it hard to be pulled into the world we are watching this time around.

SettingsThe first film captured the background if Italy perfectly this time around everything just feels slightly messy with not a single scene being iconic when it comes to seeing what we do with the character’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is really a sub-par sequel that never reaches the heights of the Talented Mr Ripley.

 

Overall: Heads in the wrong direction for what the film had created.

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Rings (2017)

ringsDirector: F Javier Gutierrez

Writer: David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan

 

Plot: A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in seven days.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 30 Second Sigh

 

Story: Rings starts with the latest victim of the tape on a plane when his 7 days are due to be up and the plane crashes. 2 years later Gabriel (Galecki) buys the old video player only to find the tape inside and of course he decides to watch the tape and receives the phone call 7 days.

We go onto meet couple Julia (Lutz) and Holt (Roe) who must go their separate direction with Holt going off to college. When Holt goes missing and Julia receives her own strange phone call she heads to the college to figure out what is going on. What Julia discover is that Gabriel a professor as the university, has been working on unlocking the Samara mystery with the students which is forcing people to watch the tape and spreading the Samara curse through tapes.

When the network starts building Holt finds himself needing to find a solution within the next 12 hours or he will become the latest victim, all for a bigger picture of Gabriel trying to uncover proof of a sole. When Julia takes the curse for Holt it gives them a week to unlock the secrets but Julia’s tape plays something new and can’t be copied, which means the two must investigate the case once more.

 

Thoughts on Rings

 

Characters/PerformanceJulia and Holt are clearly two of the most pointless characters in the leading roles of this film, I feel this way because when it was Naomi Watts’ character she was a reporting and could understand how to investigate a case, these two are just random students. Gabriel on the other hand while coming off like a desperate scientist at least looks at the idea of this curse being a way to prove the existence of a sole after death which I do think adds something to this film, but I do think he should have been more of a asshole professor rather than a studying one.

Performance wise well Lutz and Roe do struggle to make an impact in their roles and Johnny Galecki really can’t shake the Leonard role from Big Bang Theory with this performance.stars

Story*Rant Warning* This story is getting ridiculous, we do have a ghost investigation style story but it is looking at a deeper idea to what was solved in the first films and now nothing makes any sense to what they left us. We have weak characters to follow on the story too. The only good thing in this story is the idea that a professor is trying to figure out how to capture a human sole after death and that gets forgotten quickly too.

HorrorWe get the disturbing video with extra images, yay. We also have endless amounts of bad jumps scares going on making this feel have no scare factor.

SettingsOnce we get to the island/town we look to investigate the mystery once more which doesn’t make sense in the way it should do.

Special EffectsWe have very basic special effects here with most just being well placed horrific attempted images.genre

Final ThoughtsWe have yet another sequel we didn’t need again, we have poor script, average at best acting and just a bad rehash of what was once great.

 

Overall: Something we didn’t need at all.

Rating

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The ReZort (2015)

rezort

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Paul Gerstenberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Claire Goose, Elen Rhys, Jassa Ahluwalia

 

Plot: The ReZort, a safari park, offers paying guests the opportunity to kill as many zombies as they please following an outbreak.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun Zombie Action Horror

 

Story: The ReZort starts in a world that overcame a zombie outbreak with the world rebuilt apart from one small island known as the ReZort where you can pay to shot the undead, but something has gone wrong that has the world on the edge of their seats.

Rewind 10 days and we meet Melanie (De Gouw) who has struggled with survivor’s guilt following the outbreak as she turns to her boyfriend Lewis (McCann) to head to the ReZort as a form of therapy. Joining them on the trip we have mysterious Archer (Scott), left at the alter Sadie (Rhys) as well as two thriller seekers and a business group looking to make their own ReZort.

When one of the guests hacks into the system the heavily controlled zombies get released leading to Project Brimstone being ordered which is a countdown before the island gets levelled, the remaining survivors must find a way to get off the island before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on The ReZort

 

StoryHow has the idea of having a zombie Jurassic Park hybrid not been done before? Well this finally give us that film and sure the film is easy enough to read but it is so much fun to watch in the zombie genre that is always looking to go for super serious we get something that is easy to follow and plays into the conspiracy idea too. I do have my own personal complaint and that is make up your mind which type of zombie you want because one minute we have the slow-moving ones the next they are the sprinters and it doesn’t add up for a zombie fan. If you want an easy to watch fun zombie film look no further.

HorrorWe have all the basic zombie scares going on through this film as the film balance between action horror going on.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all what you would come to expect from a zombie film, we have the wildly happy to kill character, the people over their head, the hero that hiding a secret with the only fresh feeling character being Melanie who doesn’t want to kill but wants to use it to help her overcome her personal problems. They are all good and play out their part perfectly.

The performances are all good without anyone stealing the show, Dougray Scott does feel like the biggest star in the film with how he plays out his character with Jassa Ahluwalia and Lawrence Walker boarding on either great or annoying.

SettingsHaving a whole island for a zombie killing holiday is all good for the setting, it is strikingly familiar to the Jurassic Park concept as well as Westworld but it does offer yet another fresh approach to the zombie genre of horror.

Special EffectsWe all know the zombie special effects by now and this doesn’t give us anything new on that side of everything but does live up to the standards you need from the genre.

Final ThoughtsI feel this film has some beautiful shots of the zombie attack, we have one that follows over a zombie’s shoulder which I haven’t seen in film and the final shot I think is one of my new favourites in zombie film.

 

Overall: This is a really fun film, just imagine Jurassic Park with Zombies while also mixing the games of Dead Rising and Dead Island you get this wonderful mix of action horror fun.

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Red Heat (1988)

redDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: Harry Kleiner, Walter Hill, Troy Kennedy-Martin (Screenplay) Walter Hill (Story)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi, Peter Boyle, Ed O’Ross, Laurence Fishburne, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Crime Comedy

 

Story: Red Heat starts as we follow Ivan Danko (Schwarzenegger) a Russian police officer trying to crack down on the war of drugs in Russia, but when his partner is killed by Viktor Rostavili (O’Ross), Ivan must travel to America to get his on revenge. Over in America Chicago we meet cocky police officer Art Ridzik (Belushi) who is on his last warning and not helping himself.

The two have to work together to track down Viktor on the streets of Chicago as the two become the unlikely partners with very opposite personalities.

Red Heat is an action crime comedy that follows the traditions of the opposites having to work together to achieve a common goal. It isn’t the most original storyline wise but does the job to the best of its abilities. The settings are all good for Chicago being used with the reputation it has. The comedy misses in places as they don’t let Belushi free to do what he is best at.

As for the acting Schwarzenegger and Belushi do work well with each other even if the accents come of slight strange in places. The villain is pretty much generic performance and the police chief will we all know how they turn up to be the same in these films. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty generic for the genre but again nothing special.

 

Overall: Odd couple action crime comedy that hits in place and misses in others and just doesn’t bring the heat.

Rating

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Matthew McConaughey Weekend – Reign of Fire (2002)

reignDirector: Rob Bowman

Writer: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka (Story)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Scott Moutter, David Kennedy, Alexander Siddig

 

Plot: A brood of fire-breathing dragons emerges from the earth and begins setting everything ablaze, establishing dominance over the planet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fire Breathingly Good

 

Story: Reign of Fire starts when dragons come back from beyond the grave taking over the Earth once more and in the year 2020 Quinn (Bale) keeps a small group of survivor’s safe underground from the dragons with his trusted best friend Creedy (Butler).

When the times are getting tough a squad of American soldiers led by Denton Van Zan (McConaughey) who have been hunting dragons arrive on the scene and with the new information and weaponry we could see the end of the dragon problem the world is facing.

Reign of Fire takes us into a battle between humans and dragons and the dragons are winning this one at the moment. This is what the story is really about how the humans will need to fight back to win this one and continue in this world. We have seen this used in the alien genre and this one brings fresh breath to the idea that it is the dragons a creature of mystery that could be the threat. Everything is easy to watch without really challenging us.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Quinn was the first person to see a dragon as a young boy and after luckily escaping he now leads a group of survivors who are just looking to survive the dragon controlled world. He thinks he always knows best and doesn’t want to risk anything in making the dragon numbers decrease. Christian is good in this role where he gets to see him as the hero of the piece.

Matthew McConaughey: Denton Van Zan is an American soldier who has been hunting dragons with his squad but knows the numbers are getting smaller on the human side, he wants to end the dragons once and for all and pushes Quinn into helping. Matthew plays a character fully out of character for himself where he does a good job in this role.

Izabella Scorupco: Alex is the pilot on Denton’s team she has learnt that there could only be one male dragon and killing this dragon could mean winning the war. Izabelle is solid in this role but doesn’t have that one scene for impact.

Gerard Butler: Creedy is the loyal friend to Quinn who has helped keep the community safe when Quinn let things get out of hand. He keeps the kids safe but isn’t the strongest in combat. Gerard is solid in this supporting role where he could easily be the lead if this was made now.

Support Cast: Reign of Fire has a supporting cast that doesn’t really offer too much to the main story with most just being introduced to die or give a few words of encouragement to Quinn.

Director Review: Rob BowmanRob gives us what I would like to consider a bit of a forgotten gem in the sci-fi fantasy genre.

 

Action: Reign of Fire has breath-taking action sequence when it comes to fighting the dragons.

Fantasy: Reign of Fire puts us square in the middle of a world where dragons are real and have taken over the world, bringing a fantasy character back from the land of myths.

Sci-Fi: Reign of Fire shows a world destroyed by an enemy the humans couldn’t fight without having to deal with destruction.

Settings: Reign of Fire has settings which looks like that have all be destroyed by fire during the war.
Special Effects
: Reign of Fire has great effects when it comes to the dragon attacks even if we do have a couple of moments that have dated the attacks look terrifying.

Suggestion: Reign of Fire is one for all the sci-fi fantasy fans to go back and visit. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Dragon attacks.

Worst Part: Denton’s actions are at times strange.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: They’re extremely intelligent. Highly evolved. And they don’t like sharing the planet.

 

Overall: Enjoyable dragon based ci-fi fantasy.

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