Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)

iceDirector: Mike Thurmeier, Galen T Chu

Writer: Michael J Wilson, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner (Screenplay) Aubrey Solomon (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Devine, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott

 

Plot: Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thank God it Ends Now

 

Story: Ice Age: Collision Course starts with the adventures of Scrat and his acorn because the main story clearly isn’t enough for the film, this time he ends up in space because all franchise go to space when they run out of ideas and he causes a meteor to head towards Earth because science.

Meanwhile on Earth Manny and his daughter Peaches are playing ice hockey because why not this film has jump to ridiculous a few films ago. Manny, Sid and Diego are all still best friends having their own problems with their mates so we get a bar for them all to go too because this is an animated nonsense film I guess.

Why am I watching this film? We have you forgot the anniversary between Manny (typical Ray Romano character) and Ellie. Parenting issues between Diego and Shira while Sid just can’t get a sloth of his own.

The story actually starts happening when the first signs of the meteor start impacting Earth bring back Buck rom the underground to lead the family to safety giving the animals a chance to deal with their personal issues and family problems.

Ice Age: Collision Course has only one good feature and that is the look of the animation which is always flawless. The story is beyond ridiculous this time around that puts horrendous science into the film that makes you forget what should be an easy subject to understand. The family issues all come off tiresome as we have seen Manny deal with his issues for 5 films now.

The voice acting is also becoming questionable here with each character almost now written to be stand up routine for the additional characters with Adam Levine doing his thing, Wanda Sykes doing her thing and Ray Romano bring back his Everybody Loves Raymond character. Thankfully this is the end of the franchise because this is just not acceptable from them anymore.

 

Overall: Awful addition to the franchise.

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Passengers (2016)

passengerDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Jon Spaihts (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers

 

Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Passengers starts with the Starship Avalon heading towards Homestead II with 5000 passengers and 258 crew members on board. When the ship goes through an asteroid field the ship shows its ability to repair itself in any damage is received. But then the reset process goes through Jim Preston (Pratt) is awoken from his sleep chamber.

Jim entering the preparation process soon discovers he is the only one to have been awoken 90 years early. Spending over a year alone with only an android Arthur (Sheen) to talk to Jim becomes obsessed with fellow passenger Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and wanting to wake her up and once he finally goes through with it he wants to keep that a secret while other odd malfunctions are going on through the ship.

When the romance between the two blossoms, the truth comes out building the tension between the only two living awake humans on the ship but soon the real reason why Jim was woken up when Gus Mancuso (Fishburne) a member of the crew wakes up.

 

Thoughts on Passengers

 

StoryThe story side of this of this film does bottle down to one man alone for 90s years and what would you do to keep yourself busy? We do also end up falling into the ship is damaged and needs fixing which has been done plenty of times. I did enjoy the story in places but much like Oblivion is does feel like a really long music video.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of this story does have elements which do feel slightly creepy in places because could you fall in love with the person that destroys you future? The sci-fi side of this story does show a side to real world where humans would need to find a new planet to live on and this tackles the idea of going on that mission which I did like.

Characters/PerformanceJim is a good everyday person who finds himself alone for the journey giving us the ultimate question if you could wake someone up to be with you would you? Aurora is a strong minded character whose character arc I do feel is very clichéd and I feel not every decision she makes would be realistic. We only have two other characters with Arthur the android who feels like he has just been ripped out of The Shinning and Gus who is only included to fill in the gaps. There are no other characters involved enough to make a real impact.

Looking at the performances we get what you expect from Pratt and Lawrence without reaching the highest levels of their abilities. Sheen fast becomes the star of the show as you do want to see his character as often as possible, Fishburne is good for his role but I was left questioning just what was the point in Andy Garcia being he captain who doesn’t even have a line in the film.

SettingsThis film is set entirely on the spacecraft which helps with the character decisions Jim makes because what would you do if you were alone in space with nobody to talk to or spend time with what would you do. The setting also looks fantastic as you fully believe every inch of the ship.

Special EffectsThis is one of the most visually stunning movies you will see and this is achieved with all the special effects used to make this happen.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great visual watch but it does lack the real depth in the overall story.

 

Overall: Beautifully shot movie that falls short in the depth in character stories because it does feel like a live action version of Wall-E

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Karate Kill (2016)

Director: Kurando Mitsutake

Writer: Kurando Mitsutake (Screenplay)

Starring: Hayate, Mana Sakura, Katarina Leigh Waters, Rene Wiesner, Asami, David Sakurai, Kirk Geiger

 

Plot: When a mysterious loner and Karate master Kenji’s little sister goes missing in Los Angeles, whoever stands in his way of finding her will face the wrath of a lethal KARATE KILL!

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Soaked Action Horror Delight

 

Story: Karate Kill starts when Kenji (Hayate) travels to America in search his sister Mayumi (Sakura) who he hasn’t heard from for weeks. Arriving in America Kenji learns that she had been doing well but has been abducted by a crazed cult known as Captain Messiah, an internet group that produce snuff, torture videos on the black market.

Kenji must travel to Hooper, Texas, the base for the cult to use his karate to eliminate the Captain Messiah group led by Vendenski (Geiger). Kenji teams up with a former victim of the cult Keiko (Asami) as they prepare to eliminate Vendenski and his best soldiers Simona (Waters) and Benning (Voss) ending their reign of terror.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kill

 

Characters/PerformanceKenji is one man on a mission, to save his sister, he is an expert in his own form of karate, one that can kill, he has trained to defend himself from all threats and now he puts his own life on the line to save Mayumi. Keiko was once going to be a victim of the cult but escaped with only serious injury, now she has waited for someone to help her fight back. Mayumi is the sister looking for a life in America first as a student but that dream is taken away when she is taken by the cult. Vendenski is the psychotic leader of the Captain Messiah cult, he is preforming the torture and murder on film to make money on the black market, this is a great villain and one that isn’t just a man in a suit, he will get you to follow him or kill for him.

Performance wise, Hayate is great for the fighting scenes but with this character we don’t get enough time for the emotional moments. Asami is good for the partner in this battle showing the strength in fight scenes. Kirk Geiger is the star of the show here because this villain is easily one of the most entertaining this year.

StoryThe story is an easy one to follow, whittled down it is one man searching for his sister against a cult of enemies that outnumber him. We know how it will go and sure we have a couple of twists along the way but this story is everything it tries to be, fun.

Action/HorrorWe have wonderfully gory fight sequences that take martial arts in a direction of violence over to kicking someone’s ass which is enjoyable to watch.

SettingsThe settings start by following what you would say are by the books, starting in clubs but when it turns into the cults arena we see a different side to the settings showing the down and dirty battles Kenji will face off in.

Special EffectsThe effects used fit the budget this movie had, it also shows us you can pull of the crazy over the top style needed with everything you need it too.

Final ThoughtsThis will only be for the select audience, there is no lying about that, this will be for the fans of the violent action movies that never wanted to hold back with what we see, with a great villain that works to perfection in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoy the action carnage.

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The Great Wall (2016)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Hanyu Zhang

 

Plot: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big Bad, Forgettable

 

Story: The Great Wall starts with a Great Wall history lesson as we learn the wall was constructed to keep enemies out some known others are legend, this is one of the legends. We meet the European mercenaries William (Damon), Tovar (Pascal) and their men on the run. Finding themselves under attack William and Tovar find an enemy unlike anything they have seen before but that is the least of their worries as they are still being hunted down but find themselves at the mercy of the Chinese.

Captured by the Chinese, Commander Lin Mae (Jing), General Shao (Zhang) and Strategist Wang (Lau) must decide what to do with the men and if their story is true. William and Tovar find themselves trapped in the middle of a battle between the Chinese and their defensive wall and blood thirsty creatures, a war their never asked for but a battle they were always ready to fight in.

 

Thoughts on The Great Wall

 

Characters/PerformanceWilliam is one of the Europeans who finds himself using all his combat skills to help the Chinese fight the creatures that terrorise their people and if they can get through the world. This battle gives William a chance at redemption for the wrongs he has committed in life. Tovar is his partner who wants to continue the darker path but his loyalty to William keeps him stuck between the lines.  Commander Lin is the strong leading women, she is willing to sacrifice herself to protect her people and he combat skills excel. Ballard is the once captured man who has become part of the battle but against his own will. The rest of the characters are all what you would expect in the wildly over the top action fantasy adventure films.

Performance wise, Matt Damon does struggle in this role, his accent skills are terrible as he bounces between most European from scene to scene even though he holds his own in the action sequences. Pedro Pascal is fun getting most of the comic relief throughout the film. Willem Defoe is the usual odd ball supporting role with Tian Jing being the star of the show.

StoryThe story does work in places, the mystery about the Great Wall will always make for an appealing story, while most of the history is known it is always interesting to see a twist on what could be a story about the history behind it all. The fantasy elements of the story is what drives this but in the end it is nothing more humans versus monsters with people needing to work together to make them win.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big, but at times hard to follow with the adventure coming from how the humans battle to survive. The fantasy side does work but also feels like something we have seen way too often.

SettingsHaving the film set mostly on the Great Wall works in my opinion because it plays into the fantasy idea of the wall being built to fight an ancient enemy.

Special EffectsThis is a film that is very heavy on the CGI and you can tell because a lot of them miss and look bad for the overall quality of the film.

Final ThoughtsI found this to be over the top, unoriginal but easy to watch, I don’t think this will be up for any awards just become forgettable.

 

Overall: This is an easy film to watch but nowhere near a classic

Rating

 

 

The Chamber (2016)

Director: Ben Parker

Writer: Ben Parker (Screenplay)

Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Charlotte Salt, James McArdle, Elliot Levey, Christian Hillborg, James Artaius

 

Plot: A claustrophobic survival thriller set beneath the Yellow Sea off the coast of North Korea where the pilot of a small submersible craft and a three man Special Ops team on a secret recovery mission become trapped underwater in a fight for survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: ABC of Underwater Thriller

 

Story: The Chamber starts when submersible pilot Mats (Kuhnke) finds his craft needed by an elite three person special ops team, Edwards (Salt), Parks (McArdle) and Denholm (Levey) having to guide them on a secret mission in a 6 hour dive off the coast of South Korea in the Yellow Sea.

The topside side gets boarded by the North Korean’s the submersible is alone with the mission going on. When the mission gets complete the submersible finds itself damaged and taking on water with no hope of rescue, with the tensions rising we are left to see who could escape and if there will be anyone waiting on the surface for them

 

Thoughts on The Chamber

 

Characters/PerformanceMats is the expert when it comes to surviving underwater in the submersible even if things do go wrong, he is calm through the situation as long as no one does anything rash. Edwards is the leader of the team who will do anything to complete the mission putting the civilian life before hers and soldiers. Parks is the panic quickly one and Denholm is the one who does believe Mats could be making the right decision.

The performances are all fine with nobody truly standing out or coming off terrible, every performance just keeps the story rolling.

StoryThe story is easy to follow without being anything we haven’t seen before, group of divers get trapped underwater let’s rely on the tension to keep the audience happy. While this isn’t bad its just what we have seen in ‘Pressure’ or ‘Pioneer’ previously.

ThrillerThe being trapped underwater with no potential escape is always good for a thriller movie because it plays into a fear very well.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the submersible both pre-mission and post-mission trying to survive, this works and is the highlight of the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between which is good because the film doesn’t leave us having to deal with a CGI mess rather than focusing on the character decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis will fit into the trapped underwater genre of films well without being truly special.

 

Overall: Easy to watch thriller

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