Franchise Weekend – Underworld (2003)

underworldDirector: Len Wiseman

Writer: Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, Danny McBride (Screenplay) Danny McBride (Story)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Bill Nighy, Erwin Leder, Sophia Myles, Wentworth Miller

 

Plot: Selene, a beautiful warrior, is entrenched in a war between the vampire and werewolf races. Although she is aligned with the vampires, she falls in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, Over the Top Action Fantasy

 

Story: Underworld starts by taking us into a world where vampires and lycans where the vampires have the upper hand with the lycans on the edge of extinction. We meet Selene (Beckinsale) one of the most elite vampire warriors against the lycans who finds herself learning of an uprising of lycans waiting to come back into the battle.

As Selene investigates the encounter she learns that the lycans were targeting a human Michael (Speedman) but the reason is unknown to her, but this doe draw out Lucian (Sheen) the leader of the lycans and the old battle is starts once again. When Selene’s decision to save Michael only begins the war once more as the vampires await the rebirth of Viktor (Nighy) the lycans plan to take over the world.

Underworld is the fast-paced action fantasy film that brings us the war between vampires and werewolves in a style unlike anything we have seen before. We do have to go through a lot of the politics of the vampire world which at times get rather boring but when the action is unleashed it is all bullets and blood.

Beckinsale shines in this leading role showing she can kick ass like the best of them, it is the rest of the cast which don’t get the full effect out of their performance with Speedman looking lost most of the time, Sheen coming off too smart to be in the role he is given and Nighy being your typical elder character. In all honesty, this is purely fun and just switching your brain off you will enjoy it all.

 

Overall: Popcorn vampire flick that is easily enjoyable.

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School of Rock (2003)

schoolDirector: Richard Linklater

Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Lucas Babin, Joan Cusack, Jordan-Claire Green

 

Plot: After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Comedy

 

Story: School of Rock starts as we meet Dewey Finn (Black) a down on his luck musician who is kicked out of his band and about to become homeless unless he kind find the money to pay rent to his long-time roommate Theo (Pascal).

Dewey takes a job as a substitute teacher that is meant to be for Theo and sees his class as a new band that he can enter into the battle of the bands. His class turns into band practise and this gives him a chance to learn to grow up himself and teach the children to be ready for the big world.

School of Rock is a film that shows elements of coming of age tale where we see one man who has never accomplished much who finds his passion for life in helping the next generation stand out from the crowd. This is an entertaining comedy that just spices something new into the teacher student relationship which is always one of the most important in developing the next generation and you can see that this is one role Jack Black was perfect to play, so much so you couldn’t see anyone else doing this role.

 

Overall: This is a perfectly cast fun comedy that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating75

 

 

 

Foolproof (2003)

foolproofDirector: William Phillips

Writer: William Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Kristin Booth, Joris Jarsky, Sean Sullivan, Tara Slone, Soo Garay, Wai Choy, David Suchet

 

Plot: Kevin, Sam and Rob are founding members of a theoretical group which pulls off heists. Leo, a gangster, blackmails them into pulling off a real multi-million dollar heist. Now it’s up to them to get out alive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clichéd Heist Film

 

Story: Foolproof starts as we meet Kevin (Reynolds), Sam (Booth) and Rob (Jarsky) as they play heist in their spare time deciding if they can make a Foolproof plan to rob companies. When the friends have their plans stolen and used they find themselves having to work for Leo (Suchet).

The three friends must work together with Leo to pull of his latest heist much to the friend’s wishes they will have to use all of the skills they have learned to get this job done to show they can pull off the Foolproof plan.

Foolproof tries to take a spin on the the idea of heist films by making the main three characters only plan heists in theory never going into the field. This works well but I do think this could have been used in the final outcome of the film too. The problem comes with the middle where we get to see the crew actually have to go through with a heist and most importantly they never show the most important part from the opening sequence the run through. I do think this film misses a lot of good chance to work on to the next level which it needed to be.

 

Actor Review

 

Ryan Reynolds: Kevin is the wise talking leader of the three friends, he gets sent of the psychical side of the heist to show how he can get this done. He is also the brains behind whether they should do this job. Ryan shows that he has all the potential to go onto bigger things with this performance without being top level.

Kristin Booth: Sam is the feisty member of the team, she can handle herself in a fight but this can also lead her to be in trouble she doesn’t need to be involved in. Kristin is solid in this supporting role without being anything but cliché.

Joris Jarsky: Rob is the last member of the team, he wants to take their practise into action and this chance gets his dream to come true. He is the tech guy of the team but also the clumpy member. Joris is solid but easily the most forgettable in this role.

David Suchet: Leo is the seasoned professional criminal that wants to use the team for his latest job, he gives them respect for their work but will put them in their place if they step out of line. David is solid as the villain but I find his calmness to laid back for my liking.

Support Cast: Foolproof has a small supporting cast with most just being there to make extra part of the trying to suspect our guys.

Director Review: William PhillipsWilliam gives us a clichéd heist movie that doesn’t hit the comedy level it could have.

 

Action: Foolproof has only slight glimpse of action being used through the heist side of the story.

Comedy: Foolproof doesn’t hit any comedy levels needed for a comedy heist movie.

Crime: Foolproof shows us how the crime side of the story is working with learning how the heist is going off.

Settings: Foolproof keeps the settings to scouting the ideas or the inside of the jobs. Nothing really comes off overly memorable.
Special Effects
: Foolproof uses the effects when needed without being used meaninglessly.

Suggestion: Foolproof is one that I feel is a good late night TV film. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: You can see Reynolds had the star quality.

Worst Part: Too clichéd.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: This fall suspense gets intense!

Trivia: The movie was not only the widest release of a Canadian movie in history (as of October 2003), but had a record-breaking marketing budget of $2 million.

 

Overall: Overly clichéd heist film that is a fun enough watch.

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Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Knights (2003)

knightsDirector: David Dobkin

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Tom Fisher, Aidan Gillen, Fann Wong, Donnie Yen

 

Plot: When a Chinese rebel murders Chon’s estranged father and escapes to England, Chon and Roy make their way to London with revenge on their minds.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Sequel

 

Story: Shanghai Knights starts when Chon Wang’s (Chan) father is murdered by Lord Rathbone (Gillen) and the imperial seal is stolen and taken to London. Chon Wang must locate Roy (Wilson) and head to London for revenge.

On their adventures in England the pair meet a string of characters including street thieve Charlie Chaplin (Taylor-Johnson) and Artie Doyle (Fisher) who aid them on their adventure against Rathbone and Wu Chan (Yen) as we get a loose run through English history.

Shanghai Knights is a huge improvement on the original mainly because it gets to poke good fun at the vintage English style of living where we get to see historical characters for the time including a reference to Jack the Ripper. We get to see the building chemistry between Chan and Wilson which again works perfectly. The original had plenty of nods towards classic westerns this has plenty of nods towards the silent movies. We also get the first showdown on film between Chan and Donnie Yen which for the fans of the genre is something they would have been waiting for.

 

Overall: Plain old enjoyable odd couple action comedy.

Rating82

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

matrix 3Director: The Wachowski Brothers

Writer: The Wachowski Brothers (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Monica Bellucci, Essie Davis, Nona Gaye, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, Gina Torres

 

Plot: The human city of Zion defends itself against the massive invasion of the machines as Neo fights to end the war at another front while also opposing the rogue Agent Smith.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Finale

 

Story: The Matrix Revolutions starts up right where the first film finished with Zion facing elimination within the next 20 Hours. Neo (Reeves) still in a coma like state stuck between worlds of both The Matrix and the Real World with Morpheus (Fishburne) receiving summons from the Oracle.

Trinity (Moss) and Morpheus go into the Matrix to locate Neo coming face to face with an old enemy. Once released from his lost state Neo learns that he is the only one who can save both worlds from both enemies with Agent Smith (Weaving) becoming even deadlier killing the Oracle but also trying to enter the real world.

Agent Smith finds himself fighting his fight in the real world as he puts Neo to the ultimate test one his one-way mission to save the humans in their battle. We await the final conclusion to this epic story where humanity will need to overcome the odds to win.

The Matrix Revolutions does finish of the saga very well but sadly this is nearly a two-hour action bonanza that does forget how import the Morpheus character. While the story does come full circle it does it with us having to deal with all the over the top action. It could all be discussed to deal with the religious elements going on but in the end that is up to how you want to read the story.

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Neo finds himself having to battle Agent Smith in both worlds as he searches to once and for complete his destiny as the one to save humanity from the machine controlled world. Keanu is good in this role but doesn’t reach the same levels as before.

Laurence Fishburne: Morpheus joins the rest of the resistance in battle against the machines showing he true leadership skills when it comes to battle to save the human race. Laurence gave us two brilliant iconic performance but this time Morpheus falls into supporting character we hardly see being the character we knew before.

Carrie Anne Moss: Trinity joins Neo on his one-way mission to the machine city to face the machines in what looks like a suicide mission. The love between the two will drive this mission. Carrie is god but like the rest she doesn’t reach the same levels.

Hugo Weaving: Agent Smith takes full control in the Matrix making him the force that Neo can’t battle within this world but with him entering the real world he becomes a foe Neo wasn’t ready to battle. Hugo has his more sinister scenes but is barely in the final movie because of the battle going on.

Support Cast: The Matrix Revolutions still has the massive supporting cast which are all genetic soldier like characters during the immense battle sequences.

Director Review: The Wachowski BrothersThe brothers do give us a seemingly non-stop action bonanza with the concluding part of their sci-fi saga.

 

Action: The Matrix Revolutions is pretty much non-stop from the opening sequence to the final scene when it comes to action even though large amounts are mass combat scenes.

Sci-Fi: The Matrix Revolutions continues to keep the sci-fi world looking strong where we get to see the battles going on in a post-apocalyptic future.

Settings: The Matrix Revolutions uses both worlds to show just how bleak the future is with the machines controlling over it.
Special Effects
: The Matrix Revolutions gets the special effects back on track with this one with each scene look and feeling like the real deal.

Suggestion: The Matrix Revolutions is one you should watch to complete the series because the end works out very much complete. (Complete Franchise)

 

Best Part: Robot invasion battle.

Worst Part: Somehow there is too much action.

Action Scene Of The Film: Machine battle.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

Tagline:  Everything that has a beginning has an end. 

 

Overall: Tidy conclusion to the series that is all action.

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