ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – Kung Fu Yoga (2017)

Director: Stanley Tong

Writer: Stanley Tong (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Disha Patani, Amyra Dastur, Aarif Rahman, Miya Muqi, Sonu Sood, Paul Philip Clark

 

Plot: Two professors team up to locate a lost treasure and embark on an adventure that takes them from a Tibetan ice cave to Dubai to a mountain temple in India.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Fun Jackie Chan Film

 

Story: Kung Fu Yoga starts as new evidence that could connect an ancient story is found between the Indian and Chinese borders. Chinese professor Jack (Chan) teams with the Indian professor Ashmita (Patani) along with their teams Kyra (Dastur), Jones (Rahman), Nuomin (Muqi) and Xiaoguang (Zhang) to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Meanwhile in India Randall (Sood) is planning on getting the secrets and treasures for himself as he looks to take advantage of the discovery made by Jack’s team. As Jack’s team looks to fight off Randall they must use a mix of his kung fu skills and Ashmita’s yoga giving the body peace of mind.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Yoga

 

Characters – Jack is known as the greatest archaeologist in China he has been studying the mystery for years and now he can get to the bottom of the ancient mystery but his kung fu skills will need to be used to stop other people who are after the treasure he is about to unlock. Ashmita is the Indian archaeologist that works with Jack she brings an inner peace with her yoga beliefs. Randall is the man who believes he is entitled to the treasure and will force the others to help him, the rest of the team do add to the humour as they all have different motives for being involved in the treasure hunt.

PerformancesJackie Chan is the big name draw for this film and he does what you want him to do, handle the martial arts with a sense of humour. Going into the rest of the cast, Disha Patani looks the part as the beautiful Indian archaeologist, while Sonu Sood makes for a good lead villain. The rest of the cast do all give us a good performance throughout the film.

StoryThe story gives us a mix of what National Treasure and Indiana Jones are with a sprinkle of the Bollywood style. We have a good old fashion treasure hunt across a couple of countries which gives us a mix of the class culture ideas which is needed for moments of the humour in this film. The story doesn’t go into the most original of ideas but stays safe with the hints from previous films in the genre.

Adventure/Comedy/MysteryThe adventure does take our characters into new location between China, India and Dubai and is a pure treasure hunt movie, the comedy comes from not taking itself too seriously which helps us relax through the film too. The mystery comes from Jack not knowing who to truly trust though the hunt.

SettingsThe settings do take us to three countries even if the whole point is being look at the history of a legend between Indian and Chinese borders.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest link here, certain moments do look bad and can take us out of the main sequences we are watching.


Scene of the Movie –
Dubai car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked just one language being used instead of changing almost every other sentence.

Chances of Sequel: We could have a sequel.

Budget: $65 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure treasure hunting movie that can be enjoyed by all the Jackie Chan fans out there.

 

Overall: Sit back and relax.

Rating

 

 

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Mad Genius (2017)

Director: Royce Gorsuch

Writer: Royce Gorsuch (Screenplay)

Starring: Spencer Locke, Scott Mechlowicz, Faran Tahir, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Levy Tran, Chris Mason, Tehmina Sunny

 

Plot: A young mad genius attempts to ‘hack the human mind’ in order to fix humanity.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ambitious Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Mad Genius starts as we meet hacker Mason (Mason), he has hacked anything in the world, but never feels like he has accomplished anything, now he wants to save the world by figuring out a way of reprogramming the human brain to avoid the destructive nature.

Going about this means going up against the deadly hacker Eden (Tahir), while dealing with his imaginary projection Finn (Mechlowicz) to whom he bounces ideas off, as he looks to solve what he sees is the biggest problem in the world, the human mind.

 

Thoughts on Mad Genius

 

Characters – Mason is brilliant hacker, he has hacked government projects before, he feels like there is more that he can do, when he wants to start to fix the human mind to get rid of the destructive nature, he must work with his projection that can push the limits to make things happen, he is always on the edge of reality and insanity which makes him an interesting figure to try and save the world. Finn is the projection that Mason has created, he plays out like an angel and devil on the shoulder giving him good and bad ideas to succeed at certain objectives. Sawyer is the young woman that walks into Mason’s life though she has a bigger meaning in his mind. Eden is the hacker that has been working on the mind conversion and the enemy that Mason makes, he will hurt people for information when looking for his tools that Mason steals. 

PerformancesChris Mason is good in the leading role, you can see both sides of his mentality as he is on the edge. Scott Mechlowicz gets to have the most fun because he character can do and say what is on the mind of Mason, loud and brash throughout. Faran Tahir is always good for a villainous role and this is no different. Spencer Locke does a good job when we see her, but her role isn’t written as strong as the rest of the main cast.

StoryThe story here follows the idea of trying to use a machine to reprogram the human mind to solve the problems in the world, we are in the world of hackers for this story which shows the danger they will be facing and the different limits people will go to for the same information. This will ask the question about where the human mind will be, and would you want to fix the mind to solve problems or let the mind learn the solve the problems. The tone of the story is strange though because part of the film does feel like it is a young adult style film, but the tones being shown wouldn’t be for that audience.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi elements of this film come from being able to use technology to try and control the human mind, beyond ambitious with the concept, but believable with an idea.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the settings you would imagine hackers to operate in, we would see where they meet, hang out and conduct their experiments to get to the next level of success.

Special EffectsThe effects are consistent with how they are shown, they start of strange, but by the end of the film the jamming like moments look and fit the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The glitches start.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments of comedy or banter feel like a different movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is an ambitious sci-fi film that will ask questions to the audience which is what we like to see and even though we go down the path you would expect this is an enjoyable watch.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Mohawk (2017)

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Writer: Ted Geoghegan, Grady Hendrix (Screenplay)

Starring: Kaniehtiio Horn, Ezra Buzzington, Eamon Farren, Justin Rain, Jon Huber, Robert Longstreet, Noah Segan

 

Plot: Late in the War of 1812, a young Mohawk woman and her two lovers battle a squad of American soldiers hell-bent on revenge.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Revenge Film

 

Story: Mohawk starts in 1812 as the war between the Americans and the British rage on through the native American land, forcing them to select which side to fight for. British soldier Joshua Pinsmail (Farren) is working with the Native American Calvin Two Rivers (Rain) while also being involved in a relationship with native American Okwaho (Horn).

When the Americans led by Hezekiah Holt (Buzzington) stumble across the three, they must work together to defeat the soldiers after their own people become the victims of the soldiers.

 

Thoughts on Mohawk

 

Characters – Okwaho is the native American women that is torn between her two loves, but fighting the same war as them, she is a warrior at heart and will fight for her land. Joshua Pinsmall is one of the British soldiers that has been working with the Native Americans to fight the American soldiers, he is in love with Okwaho and will always do the right thing when it comes to fighting. Calvin Two Rivers believes he is a great warrior and works to defend his land with Joshua. Hezikiah Holt is the commander of the American soldiers, he doesn’t like anyone left behind and will kill anyone that isn’t on his side. We have his men as part of the characters too, but here is one of the biggest issues I have with the film, they have moments where they want to do the soldier way, then the next minute they were happy just to get a kill and this never stayed the same through the film.

PerformancesKaniehtiio Horn is great in the leading role of this film, her character may take time to show us what she is capable off, but once she is let loose we are going to like what we see from her. Ezra Buzzington in the villainous role is strong throughout the film as he makes us hate his character from early on which is what we need to do. Eamon Farren and Justin Rain are both good in the supporting roles and a shout out to Jon Huber, better known a Harper in WWE who gives one of the best supporting role performances from any wrestler trying their hand at acting.

StoryThe story here plays on the war between the Americans, British and Native Americans in the early 1800s, it showed how the natives were almost stuck in the middle of a war for their land being forced to pick a side. We see how soldiers can get out of control when let loose against an enemy. We get the revenge angle against the soldiers which plays into Native American folklore and does everything it needs to for the ideas of a revenge film.

Action/Horror/Romance/WarThe action is brutal with the weapons for the time being used in the fights. The horror comes from the hunting down people in the film and with the kills. The romance between Okwaho and Joshua giving us the motivation to fight for more and the war side of the film shows just how the Native Americans were stuck in the middle of war happening on their land.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods which shows us how the Native American land would have been in the middle of the war that was never about them.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good when it comes to the kills we see with the battles between the two sides.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle is worth the wait.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The consistency of the American soldier’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun revenge film that touches on the serious nature of the 1800s war and how it effective the natives of America.

 

Overall: A revenge film that is an easy watch.

Rating

 

 

Gunn (2017)

Gunn is available on Amazon Prime Now

 

Director: C.J. Renner

Writer: C.J. Renner (Screenplay)

Starring: Amanda Day, Andrew Stecker, Richard Keats, Peter Christian Hansen, Douglas Sidney, Gwen Ruhoff, Anna Stranz

 

Plot: When a prohibition-era gangster discovers his whole world is just a staged play, he must dodge not only cops but stagehands – he must save not only his crumbling empire, but his last hold on reality.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stylish Twist on the Gangster Film

 

Story: Gunn starts as we meet Elston Gunn (Stecker) a loyal gun man in prohibition-era gangster time to midtown boss Sam Foster (Keats), he gets the jobs done while his boss is struggling with his own addiction, he has his girl Winnie Foster (Stranz) daughter of Sam and with a new gang rising, Elston must plan with Sam for the future.

As the comfortable world starts to crumble around Elston, he wants to find a way out of this life, that is until he learns the truth about his own life.

 

Thoughts on Gunn

 

Characters – Elston Gunn is the right-hand man in the mob, he has been loyal and gets the jobs done, he is in a position where he can offer to help the control of power, he is planning to get out of the life of crime and his confidence in any situation shows how he was able to rise and how he could escape it too. Winnie is the boss’s daughter in a relationship with Elston, she wants him to leave the life of crime as she is seeing her father’s position of power start to disappear. Sam Foster is the boss, the leader of Midtown, he has face competition before, though this is the biggest one to date, he is an alcoholic and lets Elston do most of the dirty work for him.

PerformancesAndrew Stecker in the leading role is clearly the star of the show here, he completes the gangster needs to the strongest of the whole cast and in the final act he gets to outshine everyone. When we look at the supporting cast we have strong performance from the likes of Anna Stranz, Amanda Day and Richard Keats.

StoryThe story starts and plays out like a gangster film, we get the righthand man wanting out of the life of crime when he sees things going wrong, this is all that makes sense for what we know in gangster films. The story does have a major twist in the final act which does make this film feel different. This is also a story that will leave you asking questions with the final shot. When we look at the gangster side of the story we may have liked something outside of the generic side of things, but this again does get explained by the final act.

SettingsThe has the settings which make things not look right, the car clearly isn’t real, the house never feel like they are in rooms, this does play a part in where the film goes, which does make everything work for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The musical number felt slightly weird.

Final ThoughtsThis is a uniquely told gangster movie which does a twist which explains everything that looks out of place throughout the film.

 

Overall: Gangster Film with a Twist.

Rating

 

 

Crystal Inferno (2017)

Director: Eric Summer

Writer: Regina Luvitt, Phillip J Roth (Screenplay)

Starring: Claire Forlani, Jamie Bamber, Riley Jackson, Isaac Rouse, Nigel Barber, Atana Srebrev

 

Plot: Disaster hits when two teenagers are caught in a fire on the 20th floor of a skyscraper. Their parents are on the 60th. Will they survive the flames?

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Boring Throughout

 

Story: Crystal Inferno starts as we see how a shady businessman Lucas Beaumont (Barber) will look to cut costs in his latest skyscraper at any cost. His latest target to corrupt is Brianna (Forlani) who already is in a difficult marriage to Tom (Bamber) and sets up a fake affair to get her out of the business dealings.

When the divorce starts going through, Anne (Jackson) and Ben (Rouse) the children learn the photos are fake they head to save the marriage in the very building Brianna was meant to be inspecting, when disaster strikes as a fire breaks out and the parents must figure out how to save their children.

 

Thoughts on Crystal Inferno

 

Characters – Brianna is a structural engineer that has been framed with an affair to keep her quiet from exposing the cost-cutting on the latest building. She is trying to save her marriage, but once the fire breaks out it will be her skills that come in handy to save their children trapped in the fire. Tom is the husband that has been feeling distant from his wife and the photos sent to him give him means to be. He must however trust Brianna to save their children while he seeks more help. We have the two kids too that are trying to prevent the divorce after discovering the truth about the photos, they need rescuing, that is their job here.

PerformancesThe performances are not the best, the supporting cast are at the awful level of being lost more than anything in most scenes. As for the leads, Claire Forlani, what the happened to her, remember she used to be one of the hottest properties in the business, reduced to this and not giving us any belief things could get better for her. The rest of the family just don’t get the moment to shine in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a family torn apart in their real life, that gets bought back together after getting captured in a skyscraper fire, we do have one twist in the parental figure that needs to prove their love with it being the wife that may have done wrong. The rescue attempt happens without anything being anything overly memorable and you will forget anything about the story quickly.

Action/AdventureThe action is weak for a disaster styled film which only seems to have the one explosion and not much on the case of near misses or edge of your seat action.

SettingsThe film is set in the skyscraper, but apart from the lift shaft you would barely remember it was set in one.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak too when anything is out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The credits because it is over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boring action movie which just never gets going, never gives us characters we care about and just becomes terrible.

 

Overall: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Rating