Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sequel

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts a couple of years after the events of the last film, the Vikings and dragons now live side by side, with Hiccup and Toothless exploring the open water searching for new land and opportunity. With Stoick is wanting Hiccup to take over a chief, Hiccup isn’t ready for this responsibility.

When Hiccup goes exploring he learns of a new threat, Drago a man that has a dragon army, wanting to create peace, Hiccup meets another dragon rider, his long-lost mother Valka.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Characters – Hiccup is now exploring the surrounding world with Toothless, he goes far and wide, his discovery this time around will bring a new threat to his homeland and the dragons, while giving him a shocking discovery about his past. Hiccup is on the verge of become chief a responsibility he isn’t ready for too. Stoick is still the chief, he keeps the community together, though he is reaching the age of retirement, trying to prepare Hiccup to take over, he will be just as shocked as Hiccup when it comes to dealing with an old face returning to his life. Valka is the mysterious dragon rider, she has a vast friendly army that is only out to protect the dragon community, she is Hiccup’s mother who was long thought to be dead, she had always thought the same as Hiccup. Drago is the evil tyrant who has a dragon army, he wants complete control of the dragons killing anyone who doesn’t follow him.

StoryThe story here puts our character Hiccup in a new dilemma, one where he must face a future responsibility while trying to learn more about the world, using the dragons to see the world. as this is a sequel we get a surprise appearance from a character we thought was dead, the battles will become bigger much like how the world is becoming bigger for the Vikings. We get to see even more wonderful dragon designs. The more dragons we discover, the bigger the threat can become to the people of the world, it shows how people will need to fight for their people in an attempt to save their people.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in this film is bigger than last time, the large scale dragon battle is breath taking to watch. The adventure in the film takes Hiccup to bigger and further locations than the original showing us how Hiccup is learning about the world. the comedy does take a step back this time, which is fine because we don’t need it with a more serious storyline.

SettingsThe film creates more beautiful locations that could only come from the world filled with dragons, each location has a unique look too.

AnimationThe animation as always is wonderful to see and will be remembered by the end of the film, the scale of the battles is special to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Alpha versus Alpha battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ruffnet’s obsession with Eret.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant sequel that is better than the original, it keeps us full engrossed in the next adventure of Hiccup.

 

Overall: Must watch sequel.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – T – Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge (2014)

Director: Wych Kaos

Writer: Nicole Jones, Steven Paul (Screenplay)

Starring: Kane Kosugi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rade Serbedzija, Gary Daniels, Kelly Wenham, Paige Lindquist, Charlotte Kirk

 

Plot: Suffering from amnesia, a young man trying to discover his true identity is kidnapped by an underground crime organization and turned into a ruthless assassin.


Tagline – Survival Is No Game

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Badly Acted, Miss Titled

 

Story: Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge starts when K (Kosugi) wakes with amnesia, he is kidnapped by the Minister (Serbedzija) who forces him into his program, it is here he is assigned the name ‘K’. trained to kill on command the group in Tekken city. Going along with the program K uses his time to learn his true identity and motivation behind the Minster’s program.

 

Thoughts on Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge

 

Characters – K or Kazuya is the man with amnesia, he has combat skills, weapon skills, but not memory of who he is, now forced into the Minister’s group of assassins he is killing people on command. He must follow orders or be killed until he learns he may not be working for the right side. The Minister is the man who runs the assassins, he picks the candidates up, forcing them to follow instructions to become the killers he knows they could become. Bryan Fury is key to learning the truth, though we don’t see him enough. We have a world filled with assassins, both deadly and misled.

PerformancesKane Kosugi is solid enough for the action sequences but when it comes to the rest of the cast well, there is a reason not many people saw this movie, most of the acting is poor with painfully delivered lines that make little sense to the characters.

StoryTekken is a fighting game right, yes, I have played them, the first film bought us into a fighting tournament which is what we would accept. This time we watch a man that can fight being trained into become an assassin in some sort of seedy crime-based film. This is a slow-moving story that is rinse repeat even while trying to show us a twist in the final part of the film. this isn’t the most engaging story and is easily one that could be missed.

ActionThe action is the only highlight of the film, we have good fighting sequences which show of Kane Kosugi skills in combat.

SettingsThe film is set in Tekken city, we mostly focuses on the different classes of people living in this city, none of which are involved in the story.


Scene of the Movie –
The fights.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the acting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that just doesn’t make us care about anything that is going on, it doesn’t even have fight tournament which is the whole point of the game.

 

Overall: Poor sequel to a weak first film.

Rating

 

 

Kill Me Three Times (2014)

Director: Kriv Stenders

Writer: James McFarland (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Pegg, Steve Le Marquand, Alice Brage, Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton, Luke Hemsworth

 

Plot: Professional hit-man Charlie Wolfe finds himself in three tales of murder, blackmail and revenge after a botched contract assignment.


Tagline – Once is never enough

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Badly Executed Crime Comedy

 

Story: Kill Me Three Times starts with Charlie (Pegg) completing one of his jobs before getting called into the next one, where he follows Alice (Braga) who is the target of Lucy (Palmer) and Nathan (Stapleton), she is trying to get away from her life and be with Dylan (Hemsworth), but her gangster husband Jack (Mulvey) won’t let her.

As the plot thickens Charlie is looking back on where he thinks things might have gone wrong as we jump around the timeline a lot.

 

Thoughts on Kill Me Three Times

 

Characters – Charlie is the hitman assigned to kill Alice, he ends up witnesses another couple trying to get the job done as we see how he operates and thinks about how his plan could unfold. Alice is the target, she is married to an abusive man and is trying to get out of her relationship, only to become the target for hitmen. Nathan and Lucy are a couple that are planning on killed Alice, even when things don’t always go to plan.

PerformancesThis is a film where we can’t say much good or bad about the acting, because it is the directing and storytelling which are the weak parts. The performances across the board are average without being very good.

StoryThe story here jumps between three timelines to see different point of views when it comes to how the events unfold. Now this comes off messy for the most part because we lack the motivation early on from just what is going on, it tries to be too overly smart and falls flat on its face. This is a story that just doesn’t meet the levels it believes it should be and by the end you will have lost attention to follow each little branch of the story.

Comedy/CrimeThis doesn’t hit the comedy levels it could, even if they try to make us laugh at the moments that just don’t work, with the crime side we see how different sides are trying to get money or get rid of people in their lives.

SettingsThe film is set in a couple of locations where we see the bar, the road, the home just random spots which don’t make things look in the right place.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many branches in the storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing crime comedy that just doesn’t hit the marks it needs to and falls flat on its face.

 

Overall: Dull.

Rating

 

 

Ron Perlman Weekend – The Book of Life (2014)

Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Writer: Jorge R Gutierrez, Doug Landgale (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube

 

Plot: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical

 

Story: The Book of Life starts with a school trip being told the story of two Gods Xibalba and La Muerta making a wager to see who gets to rule the land of the living and the land of the dead, their bet follows two young Mexican boys Manolo and Joaquin betting on who will marry Maria.

Manolo is from a bullfighting family and wants to be a musician, while Joaquin becomes General known for fighting off bandits. When everything gets out of hand in the battle between Manolo and Joaquin, Manolo ends up in the land of the dead to save Maria.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Life

 

Characters – Manolo is from a family of bullfighters, he is expected to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps even though he dreams of being a musician. He is part of the bet, he has the better heart trying to win her heart through music, he travels through three worlds to win her heart. Joaquin is the brave fighter, he has been selected by the evil to win Maria’s heart given the medal of everlasting life meaning he can’t die, this adds to his confidence he possesses. Maria is the woman the two are fighting over, she is independent as they come willing to lead her people without needing a husband by her side.

StoryThe story does seem to follow what we saw in Coco in places, this one did come first. We have the central character of Manolo that is expected to follow on path not allowing him to follow his own dream of music. We have the travel through the land of the living, the dead and the forgotten. Where we go to be different is by including Gods that can make a bet to keep them entertained. This story does feel magical from start to finish.

Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/MusicalThe adventure that Manolo goes on is wonderful to see through the different lands of Mexican culture, this does have good comedy going on through the whole film mostly from the side characters. The fantasy world of the land of the dead and forgotten look beautiful to be travelling through. The songs are delightful to listen to even if some are remixes of famous songs.

SettingsThe settings takes us to Mexico, as we follow the culture of the land, both past and present.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic, different and what we are used to seeing too, the colours stand out and the different lands have a unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Forgive song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had just watched Coco a few weeks again and knowing that movie just stole most of the ideas annoys me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical animation that leaves you with a happy thought about what you have just seen.

 

Overall: Magical and beautiful.

Rating

 

 

Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tell (2014)

Director: J.M.R. Luna

Writer: Timothy Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick, Alan Tudyk, John Michael Higgins, Faizon Love

 

Plot: Ethan Tell is a small time crook who makes a big-time score when he steals 1 million dollars. Ironically, his life radically changes for the worse when he discovers that stealing the money was the easy part and he now must keep his partner, his wife, his parole officer, and two corrupt detectives from stealing it from him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Con-man Playbook Passed

 

Story: Tell starts as a robbery Tell (Ventimiglia) is trying to get out off organised by Ray (Lee) his wife’s Beverly (Sackhoff) brother goes wrong, with Tell locked up for three years, with two cops Ashton (Patrick) and Morton (Tudyk) trying to get their hands on the money along with the parole officer Dwight (Love) as Tell is released from prison.

Out of prison Tell tries to get on with his life, but soon the familiar faces return to his life, Ashton, Morton, Beverly and Ray as he needs to stay one step ahead of them as he looks to collect the money before it is gone for good.

 

Thoughts on Tell

 

Characters – Tell is your standard crook, he always talks about having a normal life, but wants to steal his way to it. He isn’t likeable in anyway and even after getting shot and serving time in prison he still needs to stay ahead of the people that want the money he is meant to have taken. Beverly is the ex-wife of Tell that remarried when he was locked up to help raise their child, she wants to money because she dreams of the life of luxury. Ray is the partner in crime and brother to Beverly, he is left for dead at the crime scene and now has returned for the money, he feels like a loose cannon with crazy ideas. Ashton and Morton are the two cops that are hounding Tell for the money from the robbery.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed because of allowed screen time. Milo doesn’t give us a likeable character and feels like he is cruising through the film for the most part, Katee Sackhoff is solid enough as the wife figure, always after the money, for me it was Jason Lee who shines the best in this film as we just never know what he is going to do next. Patrick and Tudyk both seem to enjoy playing the crooked cops which is good to see.

StoryThe story follows a crook that is trying to collect the money from his previous heist though he has people from the heist, cops and an ex-wife that also want the money. This story follows the heist gone wrong paths well and the whole released from prison people will want what was never recovered, while never addressing the bigger issue, that Tell wants to live a normal life after his time in prison. This isn’t the most engaging story, be it the generic characters, by the books story or overly slow pacing.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is a couple of shoot outs mixed with the punch or strike to get someone’s attention, the crime side of the film shows how the characters are mixed up in a world they shouldn’t be involved in.

SettingsThe film never uses the settings enough to make us understand where we are and even the backgrounds of the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
What happens after the opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers nothing new to the genre of the heist movies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard by the book heist film, it checks the boxes without being anything you will remember enough to suggest this to heist fans.

 

Overall: Heist movie that falls slightly flat.

Rating