ABC Film Challenge – Animation – R – Robin Hood (1973)

Director: Wolfgang Reitherman

Writer: Larry Clemmons, Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry, Frank Thomas, Eric Cleworth, Julius Svendsen, David Michener (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Roger Miller, Peter Ustinov, Terry Thomas, Brain Bedford, Monica Evans, Phil Harris, Andy Devine, Carole Shelly

 

Plot: The story of the legendary outlaw is portrayed with the characters as humanoid animals.


Tagline – Oo-de-Lolly Golly What a Movie!

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Disney

 

Story: Robin Hood starts as we head to Nottingham to meet the humanoid versions of the Robin Hood legend, Robin a fox with Little John being a bear, we see how they are trying to fight back against the Prince John a lion who uses the Sheriff of Nottingham a wolf to take the taxes from the poor leaving the country being near broke. We play into the idea of how Robin Hood fought back against this prince in a hope to bring King Richard back to his rightful place.

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters – Robin Hood is the legend we know in British folk law, stealing from the rich giving to the poor, a brilliant archer that finds a way to get away with any crime that comes his way and now he stands up for what everyone can’t. Little John is the trust second and partner of Robin Hood, they have excellent chemistry which helps us see there plans come together. The Sheriff of Nottingham does Prince John’s dirty work, taking the money a striking fear in the locals. Prince John continues to take the money from whoever has any to continue his reign of terror.

StoryThe story plays loosely into the idea of Robin Hood, to make it family friendly of course, this is Disney. We see how the poor were treated badly by the Prince of John and being told through different animals adds to the predator that this could be considered through these characters. It is an easy to follow story, which does have a side to how serious things could get, but never offers the true peril of the situation.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventures of Robin Hood are the stuff of legends and this is nothing away from this, even if it has a comic tone to everything going on.

SettingsThe film recreates the Nottingham setting for the Robin Hood era well to show the divide between the castle of the Prince and the homes of the poor.

AnimationDisney were the top dogs for animation and this never looks like it misses any beats with how the look of the film looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Archer tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too loose with the legend.

Final ThoughtsThis is Disney doing their magic in the 70s without a doubt, a fun and enjoyable movie throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family enjoyment.

Rating

 

 

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Red Sparrow (2018)

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Justin Haythe (Screenplay) Jason Matthews (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons

 

Plot: Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.


Tagline –  I Know Your Secrets.

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Espionage Movie

 

Story: Red Sparrow starts when CIA agent Nate Nash (Edgerton) blows his cover in Russia just as brilliant ballerina Dominika (Lawrence) breaks her leg during a performance, 3 months later her Uncle Vanya (Schoenaerts) offers to help with the new financial crisis her family would be facing, by bringing her into the Sparrow school.

The Sparrow program teaches the subjects to use their bodies to seduce the enemies of the Russia as Nate is forced back into the field as he is the only contact to a source within Russia. Dominika’s first assignment is to track down and seduce Nate bring stopping him from getting the security information he is after in Hungry, the cat-n-mouse chase is now on.

 

Thoughts on Red Sparrow

 

Characters – Dominika was once a brilliant ballerina, destine to be one of the top stars of the dancing world, after an accident her priorities change as she is desperately trying to keep the roof over her sick mother’s head. She is recruited to become a Sparrow, an agent that seduces the enemy in hopes of getting secrets, she isn’t like the other sparrows though, she has a way about getting the job done. Nate Nash is a CIA agent undercover in Russia, he does blow his cover landing him back home, but when his source will only talk to him he enters the field again, he uses his skills to get the information and stay ahead of Dominika. Vanya is the Uncle of Dominika, he recruits her with his government position believing that her family connection will help get results.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is good even if her accent comes in and out way too often for a consistent level required in the film. Joel Edgerton is good throughout, we can always count on his to give us strong performances throughout any film though. Matthias Schoenaerts is the best performer in the film in the supporting role and to say how many big names we have in the supporting roles we get to see some of the best actors in the industry here.

StoryThe story takes us into the espionage style movie where we follow a reluctant young Russian woman being forced into working for the Russian government and an American CIA agent looking to finish a case he should have been removed from. This does fall into the cat-n-mouse style story which will try to keep you guessing along the way and shows how both sides of the intelligence war are operating, leaving you to figure out who is the mole for the Americans. It should have higher levels of suspense for the subject matter, but just doesn’t suck you into the film on the levels you are expecting.

Mystery/ThrillerThe film uses the mystery side of the story to keep us guessing to who the contact in Russia is, what are the secrets that are being released and which side will get the upper hand, the Russians or the Americans. The film doesn’t feel like the highest tension level that it should though.

SettingsThe film does have some beautiful shots as we learn where the film is being set, we do move around Europe for the film though, which takes away moments of suspense we could receive.


Scene of the Movie –
The weapon of choice for the assassin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has slow pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced spy thriller, it does try to keep us guessing throughout only to end up failing to give us any suspense or use any of the sexual skills we are forced to watch the training side of things.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t hit the suspense levels required.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – R – Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Edward Tang, Fibe Ma (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Francoise Yip, Bill Tung, Marc Akerstream, Garvin Cross

 

Plot: A young man visiting and helping his uncle in New York City finds himself forced to fight a street gang and the mob with his martial art skills.


Tagline – No Fear. No Stuntman. No Equal

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Action Flick

 

Story: Rumble in the Bronx starts Keung (Chan) heads to America to visit his Uncle Bill (Tung) a shopkeeper in the Bronx, as he gets married Elaine (Mui) plans to buy the shop with Keung overseeing the takeover. Keung finds there is a gang problem on the streets which it doesn’t take him long to clash with them protecting the shop.

Keung starts to look to clean up the streets when he continually gets targeted while trying to convert one of the gang Nancy (Yip) into being a better sister to her disabled younger brother.

 

Thoughts on Rumble in the Bronx

 

Characters – Keung is the kind-hearted young man coming from China to help the trade of his Uncle’s shop but ends up in the middle of a gang war. He uses his combat skills to clean up the streets while learning the new culture, while trying to focus them on new lives. Elaine is the young lady who takes over the shop but is left disappointed when Keung keeps leaving her in trouble. Nancy is one of the gang members that just so happens to live next door to Keung which shows her that she needs to change her ways. Tony is the leader of the street gang who doesn’t care who he hurts to steal and cause mayhem in the neighbourhood.

PerformancesJackie Chan is the star of the show, this film is designed for him and it shows with his performance here as the reluctant hero. The rest of the cast are good throughout letting Jackie take the spotlight.

StoryThe story follows the Asian figure coming to America trying to learn the culture but ends up getting stuck in the middle of a gang battle over the streets of the Bronx. It is the classic fish out of water film where the kind natured man teaches misled characters a new direction while taking on a bigger criminal causing the problems in the area. This is a great fun story to see unfold that could be enjoyed by all.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is the highlight here, it is Jackie Chan’s bread and butter, giving us some truly entertaining action sequences from start to finish which seem to increase each time the film goes on. The comedy comes and goes which I feel it depends which couple of the film you watch to get the best of it. The crime puts us in the underworld of the Bronx which has different levels of crimes.

SettingsThe film is set in the Bronx which shows the new culture Keung must learn about and it shows the different levels of criminal activity going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Hovercraft

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sadly the version I watched was the edited and dubbed version.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun action film, it clicks to both entertain and excite, showing of Chan’s skills without making the story difficult to follow.

 

Overall: Must watch for action and Chan fans.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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