Ultimate Justice (2017)

Director: Martin Christopher Bode

Writer: Marco Theiss, Mike Leeder (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Brandon Rhea, Matthias Hues, Mike Moller, Mike Leeder, Wolfgang Riehm

 

Plot: When a family member of one of their own is attacked, a team of former elite soldiers are called back into action and a ruthless game of kill or be killed is set in motion.


Tagline – Brothers in Battle, Friends Forever

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fast Paced Action Film

 

Story: Ultimate Justice starts as we get to see this squad of soldiers, led by Commander (Riehm) with his most trusted friend in the unit being Gus (Dacascos), the pair step away from the field into security where they start their own families. When Commander has his house invasion his wife is murdered and his child taken.

Gus brings back the team, Joe (Leeder), Frank (Hues), Benny (Moller), Henry (Muller), Nicki (Koniestschke) and Flo (Baden) to locate the missing daughter to put the puzzle into who these men are.

 

Thoughts on Ultimate Justice

 

Characters – Gus becomes the leader of the unit once Commander becomes the victim of the crime. He will take a chance save his men when needed while also being able to control them in the heat of the moment. Doc is the member of the unit that has been questioning his motives in the past struggling to be part of the unit again but knows it is for the right cause, he will also get anyone to talk. Benny is the most hands on of the unit, we get to see his fighting style in nearly every fight which is the biggest highlight of all the characters. The unit is large and we have plenty of different styles per character, we have one that’s strength in boxing, one that is tech while another is heavy handheld weapons.

PerformancesMark Dacascos is a good leading member of the team, he keeps the calm when needed but shows us his combat skills when pushes to the limits. Brandon Rhea gets to have the best character arc through the film and we see him deal with the different mindsets his character is in. Mike Moller is the star in the making in this film where he shows the added combat skills which I want to see in more films.

StoryThe story follows an elite group of soldiers must reteam to find the answers to kidnapped one of their children. The easiest way to describe this would be that it has a group like he Expendables. We get an investigation which involves countless grunt or goons to be picked off but this does lead to the biggest weakness in the story, we are never introduced to the main villain until the final scene, so we never get that drive to see our heroes succeed. The story does come off simple and fun to watch though.

ActionThe action is a mix of hand to hand combat and shoot outs, which all work well, the combat shown is a mix of different styles which does entertain.

SettingsThe films settings are not used to the best, we have generic basement, warehouse or quiet location for anything to happen, which in a way works for the criminal underworld but could be largely forgotten.


Scene of the Movie –
Benny and the bikers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a villain’s presence.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to action films, you do need to be able to switch off to enjoy and this film checks those boxes, we have fighting which could make you look away. We do lack a villain but otherwise it will be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Unfolding (2016)

Director: Eugene McGing

Writer: Eugene McGing (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Daws, Nick Julian, Lisa Kerr, Kitty McGeever, Lachlan Nieboer, Sam Swainsbury

 

Plot: An exciting and relevant new take on the Haunted House story. The Fall of 2016. A fearful world stands on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. A young researcher in psychical events, together with his girlfriend, travel to the legendary wilds of Dartmoor, England, to investigate a rambling, centuries old building – here they find themselves drawn into a murder mystery from the past, a mortal confrontation with pure evil, and a fight for their very survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Low Budget Ghost Story

 

Story: The unfolding starts as Tam (Nieboer) a young researcher and his girlfriend Rose (Kerr) are in the middle of Dartmoor with the world on the verge of nuclear catastrophe. Eventually locating the massive house, they are staying in we get to see just what the research includes.

The research includes looking into the truth being paranormal activity and alone in this house it isn’t long before strange events start happening around the house. Joined by friend Harvey (Julian) the haunting events start to get worse but what is causing them?

With Professor Chessman (Daws) joining the investigation, Rose does want to leave but seems to have become connected to the house and the spirits haunting it.

 

Thoughts on The Unfolding

 

Characters/PerformanceProfessor Chessman has been conducting these experiments on the house with his research team, he is open minded and calm through all the hauntings. Tam is the latest of the researcher who is trying to get the credit needed in what could be a huge discovery, he brings his girlfriend Rose who instantly wants to leave even though she has a connection with the spirit. Harvey is a friend that wants to learn the truth once he witnesses the haunting himself.

Performance wise everybody does well without being truly stand out, you can see the younger members of the cast are also making their first few steps in feature leading roles.

StoryThe story does come off like most haunted house films but this does have an interesting backdrop to everything going on, we have the idea of a potential nuclear war meaning being in this house could be safer than being in a big city. I do think the story does have a few pacing issues in places because it takes its time getting going.

Horror/Mystery The horror is the standard haunted house material but this does offer a mystery focuses more on what the spirits motives are.

SettingsNearly the whole film is set in and around this one house that is haunted, this works because all the scares happen here, the house has history and the safety away from big a city.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good low budget ghost house film, it does have a good backdrop story and doesn’t give away too much too early but does suffer from pacing.

 

Overall: Good late night horror experience.

Rating

 

 

Una (2016)

Director: Benedict Andrews

Writer: David Harrower (Screenplay)

Starring: Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, Tara Fitzgerald, Riz Ahmed

 

Plot: A woman confronts an older man, her former neighbour, to find out why he abandoned her after they had a sexual relationship when she was thirteen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Watch Drama

 

Story: Una starts as we meet Una (Mara) a young woman with a troubled past after she was sexually abused at the age of 13. Una goes in search for the man Ray, now going by the name Peter (Mendelsohn) to learn why he did what he did. We get flashbacks showing the relationship between a young Una (Stokes) and Ray which started as friendship before it went too far, landing Ray in prison.

We follow how both Una and Ray have spent years dealing with the consequences of that moment, Ray believing he wasn’t a paedophile but branded one so much so that he had to get a new name and town, Una looks to get the closure she never received as a child and this night of conversation look like it will offer that.

 

Thoughts on Una

 

Characters – Una is the once sexually abused teenager but has spent the next 15-years wondering why, waiting for the chance to speak to the man again, we see how to confronts him to explain her feelings while dealing with the lack of closure she ever had with him. Ray was the man that sexual abused Una when she was 13, he served his time and started a new life with a new name, he also believes nothing was truly wrong with what he did.

PerformanceRooney Mara does give us an emotionally driven performance throughout the film, Ben Mendelsohn is great throughout showing us a true outline of a men living with regret.

StoryThe story does cover a taboo subject, sexual interaction between a minor and an adult, it plays along the idea that not everything is about the idea whether it was right or wrong but what the people involved must deal with later in life if it was just an encounter over abuse. There will be the questions asked about whether it was or wasn’t abuse but that will also be asked through the film otherwise this is a story that focuses on the victim not living a health life, the adult needing to rebuild his life and keep it together when the truth comes around. This is a slow burning story and isn’t going to be with the light hearted due to the sensitive subject but does show us the important message.

SettingsThe low key settings show us this could be everyday life for the people involved which is the highlight, as it never over victimises anyone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Breaking all the safety rules but not wearing hi-vis vests in a warehouse with forklifts operating.

Final ThoughtsThis is going to be a hard watch for many, mostly because of the subject matter. Away from this it also could play an important part to life looking at how the victims could be effected by anything that happens to them.

 

Overall: Important but slow drama.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)

underworldDirector: Anna Foerster

Writer: Cory Goodman (Screenplay) Kyle Ward, Cory Goldman, Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Story/Characters)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, Charles Dance, James Faulkner

 

Plot: Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Final Nail in the Coffin

 

Story: Underworld: Blood Wars starts with backstory of Selene’s (Beckinsale) story and now that she is alone in the battle with nothing left to live for, she is hunted by the Lycans stills but does still have an ally in David (James).

With a new leader, Marius (Menzies) the Lycans want to put an end to the war with Semira (Pulver) the leader of the vampire covenant bringing in David’s father Thomas (Dance) one of the elders to bring Selene back into the fold to train the new vampire recruits ready for the war.

After what seems like a pointless training exercise, it turns out to be pointless training exercise as Semira has bought Selene into take her blood but when David finds a way to save Selene she must once again go into battle against both vampire and Lycans.

 

Thoughts on Underworld: Blood Wars

 

StoryOne of the biggest problems with the last film was that the story was difficult to make work, now we try to bring this out of sequence storytelling to the next chapter. This does feel like some part remake of the original and in the end the story does try to bring a bigger picture of a world we have finally had enough of now.

Action/HorrorMindless action and no horror, well that is the genre in a nutshell really.

Characters/PerformanceSelene is back yet again but you just don’t feel she is the kick ass heroine we have seen in the past, David continues to be just another leading man with nothing much going on, Marius does make for a slightly more interesting villain but again nothing special with Semira just being another power-hungry vampire character.

Performance wise it is nice to know Beckinsale has enough money now to go and make films she will be able to perform in, James has never proved himself as a leading man yet, Both Menzies and Pulver have studied up for the roles and just borrowed everything from the previous film without bringing an ounce of originality to their performances.actors

SettingsWe have the isolated style settings, I am not going to lie, I am confused with the timeline now, I thought the last film was in the future and nothing looked futuristic for the genre and returning to the coven war while good feels like nothing has evolved like the franchise should have.

Special EffectsWe have the special effects we have all come to know for this film, it isn’t on the strongest level with wildly over the top action, annoying amount of flashbacks through drinking blood memories.genre

Final ThoughtsHow has this series turned into an Uzi battle between vampires and Lycans, that is the biggest questions out there.

 

Overall: Painfully awful sequel that we didn’t need.

Ratingrating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Underworld Awakening (2012)

underDirector: Mans Marling, Bjorn Stein

Writer: Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, J Michael Straczynski, Allison Burnett (Screenplay) Len Wiseman, John Hlavin (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance

 

Plot: When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrior Selene leads the battle against humankind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Sequel

 

Story: Underworld: Awakening starts with back story in case you missed the first three films Selene (Beckinsale) explains to us the audience where we are in the story now, the story she thought she had won, but no humans are now the enemies. Humans are now tracking down both vampires and lycans killing any they find.

After being captured Selene returns to where she last remembers being only to discover it was 12 years ago, and her beloved Michael is missing. Selene goes on a killing revenge mission to discover the truth behind the reason why the humans kept her alive all this time. Selene works with fellow vampire David (James) as she learns just what remains of both species now.

Underworld: Awakening brings a new enemy in humans only to forget that issue quite quickly into the film by going back to the vampire and lycan battle. We get a massive middle finger to what the originals had by just going fully blown Resident Evil mode by having genetically enhanced lycans for the bigger opponent in battle, come on really? The special effects actually feel like a step back from the first films too while the action is just wildly over the top like before.

Beckinsale being back is a huge plus because she is just as ruthless as we remember her to be. James is just a poor replacement for Michael but that is down to character development no James’ performance, much the same could be said Ealy’s cop character who just helps with a solo scene to explain and no rival cop to contend with either and finally Stephen Rea is the doctor character you expect him to be, Charles Dance gets added for an experienced elder character while the rest are just generic almost extras.

 

Overall: All action no story with a love character just thrown into this story.

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