Rampage (2018)

Director: Brad Peyton

Writer: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J Condal, Adam Sztykiel (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Will Yun Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello

 

Plot: Davis Okoye and his bestfriend white gorilla fight monsters in a big city.


Tagline – Big Meets Bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over the Top Blast

 

Story: Rampage starts as the secret illegal scientific experiment in space goes horrible wrong causing everyone to die and the research samples to come crashing to Earth, Claire Wyden (Akerman) and her brother Brett (Lacy) are rushing to cover up their work.

One of the areas that gets hit by the research is the San Diego zoo where George the albino gorilla gets infected, his handler and best friend Davis Okoye (Johnson) must rush to save him, joined by Dr Kate Caldwell (Harris) a former employee or the Wyden’s. America is struck by panic when George continues to grow, but he is the only animal as the research has infected a wolf and a crocodile or alligator (sorry can never tell them apart and we never get told which it is either), the race is now on to save the world before they destroy everything in their path.

 

Thoughts on Rampage

 

Characters – Davis Okoye is a former marine turn primatologist who works with the gorilla in San Diego Zoo, most notably George one he rescued when he was a baby from poachers. He does like people and isn’t afraid to admit this, he cares for the animals and will never give up on George. Dr Kate Caldwell is first a for most a good character that we could have been given more about, she is a disgraced scientist that once worked for the Wyden’s, she wants nothing more than to bring them down and happily teams up with Davis to bring them down. Claire Wyden along with her brother Brett run the business that the genetic materials come from, she is always one step ahead of the everyone in her attempts to keep her name out of the papers and jail, slightly cartoonish, but it works for this film. Agent Russell is a by the book man, he does the right thing through the film which makes him the important connection for Davis in the government.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson in the leading role gives us everything we want from him, he handles the big action sequences and even manages to hold back on moments of charisma. Naomie Harris as the doctor with a desperate need to see thing stop works well and Jeffrey Dean Morgan seems to have just become Negan forever. Malin Akerman as the main villain is good too because I believe her character is designed to feel like an evil genius and she pulls it off.

StoryThe story, well the question here is, how do you make a story about a video game which follows you just destroying buildings? This story does work something out here, where as other video games have been heavily story based and struggle to make an impact on screen, this film takes the simple idea that giant animals are destroying stuff and makes it an action movie with a race against time. We have the important moments which are dealing with the backgrounds of the characters, most notable Davis and George’s relationship and why Kate did what she did. For the whole film this  movie knows completely what it had and kept it simple, easy to watch and only needed to give us a sprinkle of humour.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is massive, its everything you want in a big blockbuster popcorn film, giant animals fighting stuff blowing up and no Michael Bay to be seen. The adventure side of the film comes form the race against time to stop total destruction and the sci-fi side shows us just what could happen if you mess with the wrong genetic in any species.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of iconic settings starting with the zoo in San Diego, we get generic land between before the final showdown in Chicago, this work and shows the panic which could hit America.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we have massive battles that have full destruction going on, leaving you to believe everything, the creatures also look wonderful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 30 minutes is fantastic popcorn fun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain characters seem to just disappear.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie, this could easily be up there with the very best video game movies ever made, it is one film you can honestly switch you mind off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Sit back relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating

 

 

Ready Player One (2018)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline (Screenplay) Ernest Cline (Novel)

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller

 

Plot: When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.


Tagline – A better reality awaits.

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Pop-Culture Festival Fun

 

Story: Ready Player One starts in the near future in Columbus of all places, Wade (Sheridan) lives in the stacks, the poor part of town, he along with the rest of the world lives inside the virtual reality world known as the OASIS, created by Halliday (Rylance). The OASIS gives people a chance to live anything they imagine and after Halliday’s death he left an Easter Egg for the players to search for.

6 years have past since this way revealed and nobody has found even the first of three keys, Wade works with Aech (Waithe) Sho and Daito in his attempts to be the one to find it and is joined by Samantha (Cooke) to fight against Sorrento (Mendelsohn) who wants the prize so his company can take over the OASIS selling the space o the players. The battle for the freedom of the game, the world is on and Wade is leading the charge.

 

Thoughts on Ready Player One

 

Characters – Wade is the down on his luck scraping a living in the virtual reality world type of guy, in the real world he doesn’t have any friends and his only enemy seems to be his Step-Uncles. In the OASIS he has a close group of friends while never being in a CLAN, he has been searching for the answers to the clues for 6 years like everyone else, only this time he learns something new and ends up leading the players in the battle to save the OASIS from the corporate hands. Samantha is one of the most famous players in the OASIS, much like Wade she is a solo player, joining forces with Wade reveals she is part of a rebellion against the corporate company trying to take over the game which leads her to risk everything to save the OASIS too. Sorrento is your businessman enemy, he sees money in being the owner of the OASIS, he doesn’t understand the pop culture and for sure he will do anything to get what he wants. Halliday is the Willy Wonka of this creation, it was his dream, his ideas and it is his clues people are searching for to take over after his death, guided at heart, determined but anti-social this man’s genius has bought together the world.

PerformancesThe performances through the film on the overall point of view are good, nobody puts any feet wrong, Tye Sheridan steps up to the lead role with ease after his work on indie films, Olivia Cooke continues to show she is a great choice in the lead supporting female role and Ben Mendelsohn is always going to make a wonderful villain in any movie.

StoryThe story breaks down into a glorified virtual reality world treasure hunt, it is the unlikely guy being the one that can unlock the secrets which the business mind people want for themselves. It is by the books, the clues seem too easy to work out, like if someone had taken their time earlier things would have been solved earlier. The idea people rely on this world is never played on enough for my liking, we also don’t focus enough on the punishments that the company forces people to be in the game for their own side, this disappoints greatly because certain parts of the film we see everyday life being normal, but early on we are shown this is the only way to live. If you are watching for pop-culture references it will be hard to keep up with things for the most part too, you will miss some even if they don’t matter to the story.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is massive, in the game is easily the more memorable moments and outside the game it is routine as they come. The adventure sends us on the quest to find the clues, this is what we want to see, so no problems on this end for that. The sci-fi side of the story shows us just what the world could become like if we continue to use technology, it should be a bleaker future but for the sake of this movie it isn’t.

SettingsThe real world looks bleaker at times but other times looks like something we normal see. The virtual world creates the wonderful settings for our characters to play in.

Special EffectsThis movie will get all the praise in the world for the special effects, they are flawless, making this one of the easiest movies to watch, the team deserves the most praise for this film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Shining

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure if this game is the only option for people or not, we get told but what we see later it isn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis will go down as the most visually creative movie of the year, we have plenty of pop-culture references, crazy action sequences and overall it is fun, only the story itself hold sit back.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Road House (1989)

Director: Rowdy Herrington

Writer: R Lance Hill, Hilary Henkin (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Marshall R Teague, Julie Michaels, Red West, Sunshine Parker

 

Plot: A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Thriller

 

Story: Road House starts as we get to see how Dalton (Swayze) can control a bar from getting out of control. This leads to him being offered a role as a cooler for the Double Deuce owned by Tilghman (Tighe). The bar is filled with the roughest crowd around and Dalton puts in his plan to make the bar run smoother bringing in a sociable night out for people.

With Dalton in control of the bar, he gets rid of the problems within the staff making an enemy with the local crime boss Brad Wesley (Gazzara) who has been using the bar to conduct business. To fight back Dalton calls the best in the business Wade Garrett (Elliott) to put a stop to all the illegal activities Wesley is involved in.

 

Thoughts on Road House

 

Characters/PerformanceDalton is a man with a reputation of being a man people fear and respect within the bar and bouncer community. He gets recruited but ends up finding himself having to battle a crime boss controlling the town, he is a strong likeable character that is filled with regret after going too far once. Doc is the love interest for Dalton as well as being an almost pawn in the battle between Dalton and the Crime Boss Wesley. This isn’t the strongest female character you will see. Wade is the traditional mentor figure needed to explain the skills Dalton has, with Brad Wesley being the villain small town America could easily have.

Patrick Swayze shines in this role where he commands the screen in every single scene, Kelly Lynch is good but not anywhere near the level of Swayze with Sam Elliott giving us the performance we know he can do as the strong supporting friend. Ben Gazzara does a great job as the villain of the piece who enjoys the terror he reigns over the town.

StoryLooking into the story we get an easy to follow story of one outsider going on a crusade against a crime boss. Having only seen this for the first time I can say this does play out in the similar veins of Walking Tall and with that I found myself enjoying this all that much more. You can see the 80’s all over the story though which could turn people off but could also help people enjoy all that more.

Action/ThrillerWe have action with all of the fights going with each fight becoming bigger as the story unfolds. We are left to keep things guessing as to where the story will unfold.

SettingsWe are left in small town America which is nearly perfect for this film.

Special EffectsWe get small amounts of the effects needed in a film which is all the film needs.

Final Thoughts80’s films will always go in two different directions when we get to go back in time, they have either dated, become a cult or a true classic and this is one that still stands up.

 

Overall: This is a fun 80’s classic which is one you can enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – R – The Remaining (2014)

Director: Casey La Scala

Writer: Casey La Scala, Chris Dowling (Screenplay)

Starring: Alexa PenaVega, Johnny Pacar, Liz E Morgan, Italia Ricci, Shaun Sipos, Kimberley Drummond

 

Plot: Friends gather at a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by terrifying apocalyptic events forcing them to examine life, love and faith as they must choose between redemption and survival.


Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable End of the World Horror

 

Story: The Remaining starts with two long-term friends Skylar (PenaVega) and Dan (Dechart) getting married, with their closest friends around them, Tommy (Pacar), Jack (Sipos), Allison (Ricci) and Lauren (Drummond). What was a perfect wedding turns into a living nightmare for the friends though, when an unknown catastrophic event happens leaving people dead and our friends trying to solve what has happened.

Skylar from a religious family believes this is the rapture and being joined by Sam (Morgan) a mysterious woman also just trying to survive, the friends go in search of Allison who had become separated from them. Once reunited the group must figure out how to survive the creatures picking off the remaining survivors on Earth.

 

Thoughts on The Remaining

 

Characters – Skylar is the religious woman who is getting married, she has attended church her whole life, but doesn’t understand why she hasn’t been taken is this was a rapture, spending the film trying to figure out what she has done wrong. Dan is the man she is marrying that had attended church to make Skylar happy, but this will become the trend, they guys seem to all be written the same.  Tommy is he guy filming the day and does try to record the events (don’t worry, this isn’t found footage, they just use his footage at times to look back at moments they thought they had missed). Jack is one of the best men, he leads the friends out in search for Allison his girlfriend, that is his character in a nutshell. Allison is the best friend of Skylar, wildly jealous of Skylar getting married while she has been in the long-term relationship with Jack. Sam is the random woman that joins them in search of escape from the terror that is happening.

PerformancesThe performances well here are the start of the negatives, this isn’t down solely to the performers though, the characters are written to feel very generic, which doesn’t give the stars much to work with, it would be fair to say you could swap the cast around easily and they wouldn’t have to do much different either. No one deserves any praise for their work.

StoryThe story is the world has ended, God has taken the worthy leaving the rest to fight to survive against creatures left to roam the Earth. We watch how these six people try to survive the end of the world, making bad decisions along the way. I feel the film does want to have the balance between is it religious or other source, but in the end just falls into trying to borrow from the Bible about the rapture putting their own spin on what is going to be. We also must deal with a love triangle between friends which isn’t needed either. The story isn’t the most compelling if we are being honest.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror comes from the idea the world would end instantly for the faith driven people, leaving the rest to face the rapture, this could well be a nightmare situation, but this film doesn’t drive home the horror like it should.

SettingsThe settings place us in a city, not sure which one it was meant to be, but it also doesn’t matter too much, we are meant to believe this could be a worldwide issue.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine, they aren’t used that often which at times works and other times doesn’t.


Scene of the Movie –
The first moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me They spent a day in the hospital that had nobody in it or no resources, when they fear what is in the night.

Final ThoughtsThis is a largely forgettable movie, the characters are bland which give the actors nothing to work with and by the end it becomes overly preachy to only the idea of Bible being the true religion, we should have opened doors to potential of other beliefs having the same prediction.

 

Overall: Forgettable on nearly every level.

Rating