ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – K – Kite (2014)

kiteDirector: Ralph Ziman

Writer: Brian Cox (Screenplay) Yasuomi Umetsu (Original Film)

Starring: India Eisely, Callan McAuiffe, Samuel L Jackson, Carl Beukes

 

Plot: When her cop father is killed, a young woman tracks the murder with the help of his ex-partner.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What a Mess

 

Story: Kite starts as Sawa (Eisley) a young woman out for revenge on the gang that killed her parents, she works with Lieutenant Aker (Jackson) as they are targeting the Thornhill’s gang. The deeper Sawa gets the more dangerous is becomes but her bloody quest for revenge isn’t going to stop until the last one pays for what they did.

 

Thoughts on Kite

 

StoryThis story seems to be a blend of Hit Girl and Hanna without anything to make it interesting, we have the revenge story we have seen before and an unlikely hero with the girl working with police officer to take down gang, yay this is just what it is and forgettable at that.

Action/Crime/ThrillerWe do get mindless action and the traditional crime story of trying to take down a gang but it doesn’t feel fresh.

Characters/PerformanceSawa is this new young woman hit girl that takes on the bigger men in a revenge mission, the cop character is also something you have seen before giving nothing fresh to this idea. The performances here are all pretty bad with what feels like dreadful dubbing in place too.

SettingsWe get the typical gang locations all designed to give Sawa a new weapon of chance for a kill or two.

Special EffectsWell finally something that we can have positives about and that is the special effects which are all good enough for the film we are watching which must be over the top and in places pulled from an anime story.

Final ThoughtsThis was a terrible film that is an insult to the anime to live action genre.

 

Overall: Just avoid this mess.

Rating15

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – I – Into the Storm (2014)

Director: Steven Quale

Writer: John Swetnam (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress

 

Plot: Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Storm Movie

 

Story: Into the Storm starts as we follow storm chasers led by Pete (Walsh) who is looking for tornadoes for the latest series of their show. Allison (Callies) is the latest member of team who uses the technology to track storms even if it hasn’t been the most successful so far. With the funding almost pulled Pete gives Allison’s choice one last chance which brings the team to Silverton. Silverton is the home of teenagers Donnie (Deacon) and Trey (Kress) who are assigned to film the graduation in time capsule at their high school for their vice-principal father Gary (Armitage).

As the team arrive in Silverton the tornadoes appear with devastating consequences as Gary must race across town to save Donnie and he works with the storm chasing team to save him and record the biggest storm from first time accounts of the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Into the Storm

 

Characters/PerformanceGary is the high school vice-principal and father of two students, he is distant because of the loss of his wife but loves them both, pushing them to achieve greatness will respecting their choices. Allison is the technology based storm chasers newer to the team that must prove her ability to predict storms for her boss and then for the people of the town of Silverton. Pete is the ambitious presenter of a storm chasing show, he will put his team in danger and will do anything to get ahead of the game, he is part asshole too in this film. the kids are what you expect finding themselves in danger needing adults to save them but also knowing a few tricks to save the day.

Performance wise, Richard Armitage is solid enough in the leading role and completely different to his Hobbit role he is most famous for, Sarah Wayne Callies does a good job in her role proving she has managed to get away from television in lower key movies. Matt Walsh does give us the type of character we know for this genre of film. the rest of the cast are all fine in this movie.

StoryThe story is routine here, we have a broken family needing to come together to survive with another single mother wanting to do the right thing while a greedy person looks to get famous. We also have very over the top tornadoes that are being chased, so this is simply one that doesn’t have the most difficult story to watch and is easy to watch, even if it is short as a survivor’s story.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are big, over the top and entertaining, this will give us a great thrill ride through the film.

SettingsThe setting is in and around a small town which shows how a small community can be effected by tornadoes which is something the film wants to tell in the story.

Special EffectsThe tornadoes all look fantastic through the film and must be applauded.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun, disaster movie that is way over the top but still just as enjoyable throughout.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Drive Hard (2014)

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Writer: Brigitte Jean Allen, Brian Trenchard-Smith (Screenplay) Chad Law, Evan Law (Story)

Starring: John Cusack, Thomas Jane, Zoe Ventoura, Christopher Morris, Yesse Spence, Jerome Ehlers

 

Plot: A former race car driver is abducted by a mysterious thief and forced to be the wheel-man for a crime that puts them both in the sights of the cops and the mob.


Tagline – This heist is about to go into overdrive.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Switch Your Brain off Movie

 

Story: Drive Hard starts as we learn that former race car driver Peter Roberts (Jane) who runs a driving school is struggling with money as his wife Tessa (Spence) pushing him to take on a new job. When Peter goes for his client it turns out to be American Simon Keller (Cusack) who ends up robbing a bank, forcing Peter to be his getaway driver with cops, feds and gangster chasing them through the Australian countryside.

 

Thoughts on Drive Hard

 

Characters – Peter Roberts is a former winning race car driver that is now struggling to keep his driving school open, he finds himself being selected by Keller to be his getaway driver, where he finds that he is trapped in the middle of a crime needing to work with Keller even though he wants nothing to do with the crime. Keller is the seasoned criminal who forces Peter to be his getaway driver, he tries to make Peter a more forward thinking person, as the two end up on buddy comedy level. Agent Walker is the standard fed who is trying to investigate the robbery, we learn very little about her.

PerformancesThomas Jane is good in a role where he gets to play against the usual strong character we have gotten used to seeing him in and he does work well with the unhinged performance from John Cusack. The rest of the cast as fine without being anything special or memorable.

StoryThe story follows a criminal that makes a former racing driver become his getaway driver and over the course of the robbery they become unlikely friends as the whole of Australia is in search for the two. The two together is great entertainment to watch, but most of the other characters just seem to be in something that can only be described as a series of adverts because the story gets dull with them.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action involves a couple of good chase sequences including one around a city on the Gold Coast of Australia, the comedy comes from the two men working on different sides of the crime as they must learn to work together to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in Australia which is new and refreshing from the usual America setting for a similar story.


Scene of the Movie –
First getaway chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of importance about the rest of the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard enjoyable action movie that doesn’t have too many brains but will entertain from start to finish.

 

Overall: Action movie 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – B – Big Game (2014)

Director: Jalmari Helander

Writer: Jalmari Helander (Screenplay) Jalmari Helander, Petri Jokiranta (Story)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson, Victor Garber, Mehmet Kurtulus, Ted Levine

 

Plot: A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Action Film

 

Story: Big Game starts as Oskari (Tommila) is entering his right of passage as a 13-year-old that must go into the woods and hunt alone, like his father and his grandfather. Over his time in the woods Air Force One is overhead with President William Alan Moore (Jackson) on board, but it is shot down leaving Moore (I am going to call him this from now on) stranded in the woods while the traitor Morris (Stevenson) works to recover the Moore.

Oskari rescues Moore and uses his skills to help him out of the woods while Morris and his business partners treat this as a hunting trip with the CIA running operations back in states to figure out who has targeted the President and who has betrayed him.

 

Thoughts on Big Game

 

Characters – President Moore is the man losing approval rating, not used to being in the wild but brave enough to take anyone who would get in his way, he shows the inspiration, selfless nature you would expect from the leader of the free world. Oskari is the teenager sent into the woods to prove himself as a hunter, even though people doubt him, he stands up for what he believes in making him the President’s only hope of survival. Morris is the secret service agent that has betrayed the President for money and he leads the plans to keep the President away from rescue. We do also have the officials trying to find the President back in America all using their own set of skills and the billionaire trying to kill the President.

PerformanceSamuel L Jackson looks like he does have a lot of fun in this role where he understands he is playing the mentor figure to Oskari. Onni Tommila is great as the young man looking for his right to passage. Ray Stevenson is good as the main villain but you do feel we could have had slightly more from the character.

StoryThe story is about a terrorist plan to kill the President but a boy on his right to passage is the only one that can save him, this side of the story I found entertaining enough with a couple of moments that show both facing their own weaknesses to improve themselves. With that being positive we most look at the negatives, first I don’t really understand the motives of the villains and you just gloss over the war room politics of what was going on which seems like it should be a lot more interesting than we are shown.

Action/AdventureThe action is big when we see it, mostly CGI with the big plane crash and mega explosion at the end, the adventure side of things show Oskari learning the important lessons to become a man in the woods showing he is just like the villagers he is from.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the woods showing how the hunting side of the film is going to become the clear point of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are CGI for the action sequences, we get plenty going on with the moments and the final explosion feels like one of the biggest I have seen in a pure action film.

Scene of the Movie – Final explosion is shocking impressive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We spend time in the war room with the Americans trying to fine the President and it is a mix of pointless additional storyline or not involved storyline going on there.

Tagline – The President has one small chance of survival

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch action film, it does have a weak side story which does feel out of place at times but away from that you can enjoy this one.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

Calvary (2014)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran

 

Plot: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama That Misses The Point at Times

 

Story: Calvary starts as mid-mannered priest Father James (Gleeson) gets a warning from one of his worshippers that he will kill him in one week on the beach during confession. Father James daughter Fiona (Reilly) comes to visit as we see how Father James goes about his normal routine with the locals.

As the week goes by we see how Father James deals atheist doctor Drank Harte (Gillen), butcher Jack Brennan (O’Dowd), rich member of the village Michael Fitzgerald (Moran) and many others, but he leads to the end of the week questioning his own existence and whether the man can go through with it.

 

Thoughts on Calvary

 

Characters – Father James is a well-liked priest that receives a threat during confession, but he doesn’t take it too seriously as he continues to show how respected he is around the village even with the people with no faith. Fiona Lavelle is Father James’ daughter from his time when he was married, she is having her own problems but know the two are all they have after her mother’s death. Jack is the local butcher that has gone through a separation with his wife but getting on with his life for the most part, he doesn’t have full faith but does have some faith.

PerformanceBrendan Gleeson is fantastic in this leading role as the priest who gets on with everyone and must face is own place in the world. Kelly Reilly is good in her role but like the rest of the cast they do all play second fiddle to Gleeson. Chris O’Dowd is good too but he does fall into the crowd of the supporting cast.

StoryShowing a week in the life of a priest in a small community is interesting through the story side of everything, we are left to see him learn about himself as he does question parts of his faith while staying strong for the people who need him. This story does keep you engaged throughout the film even if it feels like not much is happening.

ComedyThe comedy is all dark comedy take a darker look at a small village community as they get to question their faith.

SettingsThe small town community helps this movie shine as we are left to see how Father James deals with his potential impending death at the hands of one of the locals.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Frank’s scenes get the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea could have been strong to the point of everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong dark comedy that does want to address a serious issue but doesn’t cover it in enough time, instead focusing on other parts of the community.

 

Overall: Good drama well worth watching.

Rating