Franchise Weekend – Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

underDirector: Patrick Tatopoulos

Writer: Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain (Screenplay) Len Wiseman, Robert Orr, Danny McBride (Story)

Starring: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Steven Mackintosh, Kevin Grevioux, David Aston

 

Plot: An origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Poor Cash Grab

 

Story: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans starts by going full prequel on us where we see Viktor (Nighy) has bred Lucian (Sheen) to be the first lycan and to guard the vampires during the daylight hours. With an ever increasing threat the vampires need to find a new way to protect themselves with the idea being Lucian the loyal lycan lead the defence from outside the walls, but his secret relationship with Sonja (Mitra) the daughter of Viktor which drives Lucian to be free.

When Lucian defines his orders, it becomes clear that he has a power over all the wild lycans as well as having the respect from the other slave lycans. With Lucian leading the lycans the war between the vampires and lycans is set to begin.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans brings the story back to the origin behind the original film with Viktor against Lucian, the problem is we learn most of the reasons within the first film and this ends up feeling like an over long flashback sequence that we didn’t need to really see. The film also feels a lot slower than the previous outing with a lot more sneaking rather than fighting.

Sheen and Nighy are brilliant actors but in this one they both look like they enjoyed the pay check to be involved while Mitra just isn’t on the same level as Beckinsale who is sadly missing this time around. I personally feel this film missed a huge chance to make itself unique to the other but in the end just feels like a rinse repeat of the first twos plot, a high-ranking vampire ruins the order of things taking away the peace that was once created. You also don’t see the threat in Lucian or Viktor because we know they are in a later instalment of the timeline.

 

Overall: This really is a disappointing addition to the franchise which takes away all the fun the first two had leaving us with a story we know the outcome of.

Ratingcard

 

 

Disaster Weekend – Tidal Wave (2009)

tidalDirector: JK Youn

Writer: JK Youn (Screenplay)

Starring: Ji-won Ha, Kyung-gu Sol, Jeong-hwa Eom, Min-ki Lee, Nicole Dionne, Ye-won Kang

 

Plot: Professor Kim, a marine geologist, recognizes the impending danger of a mega tsunami headed straight for Haeundae, a popular vacation spot on the south coast of Korea. He desperately attempts to warn authorities and alert the unknowing vacationers of the 500 MPH destructive force of nature headed their direction.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Poor Disaster Film

 

Story: Tidal Wave starts as we see a fishing boat with Man-shik (Sol) being rescued when a huge wave is heading their way. We move onto meet the rest of the idea where Professor Kim Hwi (Kang) has been warning South Korea of a potential Mega Tsunami which could hit a vacation resort. We continue to meet more characters from around the area with their own stories to tell.

When the first signs of an Earthquake start happening the residents of the vacation resort all have to escape their own way from the wave which will take no prisoners.

Tidal Wave is a disaster movie and you all know I love a good disaster movie. The actual disaster a tsunami is a great action sequence even if half is actually bad CGI going on. My problem with this film is how we get introduced to way too many characters to care about by the time the tsunami hits. Certain parts of this film are laughable and they are not meant to be the comedy moments either. This isn’t one of the better disaster movies and in the end just falls flat for the genre.

 

Overall: Below average disaster film that could have been great.

Rating 30

 

 

Milla Jovovich Weekend – The Fourth Kind (2009)

fourthDirector: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: Olatunde Osunsanmi (Screenplay) Olatunde Osunsanmi, Terry Robbins (Story)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Corey Johnson, Enzo Cilenti, Elias Koteas

 

Plot: A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Fourth Kind starts as Milla Jovovich as herself introducing this movie explaining she will be playing Dr Abigail Tyler a therapist who worked in Alaska on the date of October 1st 2000, she continues to explain this will be a mix of achieve footage and recreation. So we know the film is looking back at real footage of real events, nothing at all is made up right? No.

We go into the main story as we follow Abigail as she sees her own colleague Dr Campos (Koteas) to help with the problems she is having. We see how Abigail’s husband Will has recently died and that Nome her home is only accessible by plane.

Dr Tyler’s patients all start having similar nightmares about an owl watching over them even with her own nightmares having the same memories as the night her husband died. What we go onto discover is a terrifying truth about what had been happening in this small isolated town.

The Fourth Kind is a mystery sci-fi thriller that tried to play into the shock value of make it fully sold on real events, it was not off real events let’s make that clear but the complete sell of this movie on it being recreation of what really happened works for the horror side to this story. With this being said the scare factor comes off very well to a level of unsettling at times when we see how the visits were meant to get played out like.

The acting is strange because we are not used to seeing Milla Jovovich looking so vulnerable in leading roles but she is solid without shining while Elias Koteas is good in the supporting role along with Will Patton. The slightly disrespectful side of story comes from the fact the actors playing the original tapes don’t get enough credit for their performances.

 

Overall: Sold brilliantly, executed well with scares that work for the unknown time we live in.

Ratingcard

 

 

Double Feature Weekend – Ju-On Black Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Mari Asato

Writer: Mari Asato (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Koji Seto, Kuniteru Shigeyama, Kana Tsugihara, Ai Kago

 

Plot: After losing her child at birth, the dark horror of the grudge begins growing within her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feels Scarier

 

Story: Ju-On: Back Ghost starts as we meet Tetsuya (Seto) who has been dreaming of his neighbour for years only to find something strange about her. This film continues where White Ghost leads off where we get a series of stories that all pieces together with an even more terrifying version of the vengeance ghost take out the victims in the area.

Ju-On: Black Ghost continues to build on the idea that the first one had with multiple stories all wrapping into one by the final act which works now we know what we are expecting to see. I do feel the ghost presence is a lot scarier this time around as it comes from the shadows more adding the darkness fear to the story. This film isn’t going to make the fans of the original idea happy though because we do have to deal with slight too many characters once more.

 

Overall: Has good scare points but not enough to make us care about these characters.

Rating50

 

 

Double Feature Weekend – Ju-on: White Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Ryuta Miyake

Writer: Ryuta Miyake (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Hiroki Suzuki, Ichirota Miyakawa, Natsuki Kasa, Akina Minami, Marika Fukunaga, Chie Amemiya, Mihiro

 

Plot: Akane begins seeing visions of a female ghost wearing the same yellow hat and red satchel she wore as a school child.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not As Effective

 

Story: Ju-On: White Ghost starts with the first of the series of stories as Fumiya (Suzuki) is delivering a cake to the house being controlled by the Grudge spirit. In our second story, we follow taxi driver Hajime Kashiwagi (Miyakawa) deal with a mysterious passenger in his taxi. This trend continues through the film as we jump into meeting the latest victims with Akane (Minami) who upon using a Ouija board starts to get visions from a mysterious girl that reminds her of her younger self. The stories continue with links to each other as the film unfolds.

Ju-On: White Ghost tries to tell many different stories of people who come face to face with the vengeful spirit but this takes away all of the effects the originals had where we would follow one victim slowly breakdown. The scares are not as effective because we know something is going to happen in every single scene rather than slowly building up and having a calm down scene between the scares.

 

Overall: There just isn’t enough to drag us in this time around.

Rating40