ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2020 – P – Playing with Fire (2019) Movie Review

Director: Andy Fickman

Writer: Dan Ewen, Matt Lieberman (Screenplay)

Starring: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery

Plot: A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.

Tagline – 0% contained

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Playing with Fire starts as we meet a group of smokejumpers Jake (Cena), Mark (Key), Rodrigo (Leguizamo) and Axe (Mane) that believe they are the elite in fighting fires with Jake following in his father’s footsteps demanding a perfectly run department.

When the four rescue three children Brynn (Hildebrand), Will (Convery) and Zoey (Slater) the four are left to look after the kids until a storm finishes, now they men will see them dealing with the most difficult challenge of their lives, children.

Thoughts on Playing with Fire

Characters – Jake is the commander of the station, he plays everything by the rulebook not stepping outside his comfort zone, he will do anything to make sure his unit is the best in the area, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, he is emotional closed and this is made him live the remote life not letting people in. Mark is the second in command that will do anything to help Jake keep the department running smoothly. Rodrigo is the chef that always misquotes famous people that is about to get the promotion that he isn’t ready for. Axe is the silent one of the group, always carrying around an axe, he will make us wait for his big moment to speak. Brynn, Will and Zoey are the three children the unit save, they are difficult to handle with them having their own quirks, they will help turn the opinions of Jake on life in a way he never knew.

PerformancesJohn Cena continues to shine in the comedic roles, while embracing the physical side of his appearance. Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo bring the comedy to the film more often than not, with Key sometimes going to much with it, while Leguizamo gets stronger laughs. Tyler Mane often steals the scenes here too, with the silent comedy performance, the younger stars do some off like the handfuls they are meant to be playing through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows four smokejumpers that must care for three children after a rescue, which will see them needing to handle the challenge none of them are used to, children, which will bring them together more than before. This is a story that will come off on the simple side, with lots of over the top behaviour going on, the younger children’s behaviour is completely unrealistic, which will play into the comedy, but the story does have the heart to show us just how important doing the right thing will be for people.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is a right mix, with the created situations of wildly over the top behaviour not getting as much of a laugh as the calmer situations, which are a well played out creation, this does however play into the family friendly creation the film is going for.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the fire station, which will give the children different equipment to get into trouble playing with, while also giving the idea that they are safer then they could have been.

Scene of the Movie – The birthday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The kids Will and Zoey do come off more difficult than they should.

Final Thoughts Playing With Fire is an entertaining comedy, burning with laughter from start to finish.

Outside the Wire (2021) Movie Review

Outside the Wire – Standard War Movie

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Rowan Athale, Rob Yescombe (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Pilou Asbaek, Michael Kelly, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Brady Dowad, Henry Garrett

Plot: In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.

Tagline – Defiant by design.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Outside the Wire starts when Lieutenant Thomas Harp (Idris) a drone pilot goes against orders to hit a missile strike, which will see two marines killed, instead of being court marshalled, he is sent into combat in the Ukraine to work with Leo (Mackie) a top-secret android officer that has intelligence on the warlord leading the battle against Victor Koval (Asbaek) who is leading the war to take Ukraine back into Russia.

Working with Leo taking Harp on his mission, which will see him needing to go head to head with the warlord on a mission where Leo has put himself into a position where he is willing to help more than any human soldier could, teaching Harp the reason why he was redeployed here.

Thoughts on Outside the Wire

Characters & Performances – Lieutenant Thomas Harp is a drone pilot who has an excellent record until he goes against orders to try and save as many members as possible of a unit ends up seeing two marines killed, his punishment is to get sent to the ground to experience active combat under an android soldier, where he will get to see the effects of his work from the sky on the local population and learn the fight isn’t just on the computer screens. Damson Idris does a great job in this film. Captain Leo is an android that has been collecting intel for the military in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with the Americans trying to keep the peace, he shows Harp around, showing him the consequences of war, where he does end up learning more about what could be the right thing. Anthony Mackie in the leading role is the most entertaining part of the film, with his charisma being the part of the film which keeps everything flowing nicely. We get to meet a lot of military figures that all have their own opinion on Harp, which will show how he needs to prove himself to them, while also meeting the residents that are involved in the war, the warlord striking fear in the people.

StoryThe story here follows a drone pilot whose mistake leaves him being sent to conflict zone to learn about the consequences of his action, only to find himself in the middle of a battle which could bring about the start of the next world war. This story does show us how war has been getting fought in different ways, without a soldier ever needing to leave his own country, while the ground will still have the same problems of consequences which will cause people to go in different directions with who to blame, we get to see how a man-made intelligence system will study the problem and look to see what the best solution would be to save more people.

ThemesOutside the Wire does bring us plenty of war action which will have plenty of cuts to chop up the action and not make anything as smooth as it could be, while the fights Leo gets involved in looks more like a superhero movie that an android fight, the settings do show us just how difficult the environment would be for the victims and we do get some great special effects, which include seeing the body Leo has, which is shocking to see first, but looks amazing.

Outside the Wire is a war movie that might well ask a bigger question, but gets caught up in the action, which has way too many fast cuts.

Looted – Release News


Rob (Charley Palmer RothwellLegend), loves driving and stealing cars, living his life at a hundred miles an hour in the cash-starved port town he calls home. He shares a house with his dying father (Tom FisherThe Young Victoria) who thinks he’s out job hunting. Rob manages to keep his two worlds perfectly separated until best mate Leo (Thomas TurgooseThis Is England), gets him involved in a bigger, riskier job which goes terribly wrong. With his relationship with his distant father in shreds and betrayed by his best mate, unexpected hope comes from Leo’s girlfriend Kasia (Morgane PolanskiVikings).

Trailer Alert – Ash and Bone


A troubled teenager is taken to the peace and quiet of the countryside by her father and stepmother in an effort to calm down her wild streak. But after she crosses the infamous McKinley family, it becomes clear that sometimes danger lies hidden in the weeds, ready to strike at any moment.

Away (2019) Movie Review

Away – Stunningly Beautiful

Director: Gints Zilbalodis

Writer: Gints Zilbalodis (Screenplay)

Plot: A boy and a little bird are on a journey across a strange island trying to get back home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Away starts as a young man finds himself stranded in a location where he doesn’t know, a strange figure is heading his way and a bike is his best escape, joined by a small bird that hasn’t learnt to fly, they flew across the beautiful landscapes to discover the world they are in.

Thoughts on Away

Characters – The nameless young man is on the run from the shadow figure, showing his kind nature along the way, helping different creatures, with the little bird joining him, he tries to outsmart the shadow, while learning more about himself. This is a film that has no words, with the other characters being the shadow, just following the young man and the other creatures he meets along the way. We might not get much character development, it is more than the journey.

StoryThe story here follows a young man travelling across an island with a small bird to escape a shadow figure following him. This is a story about the journey, it does reflect what has happened in the young man’s life, showing that kindness will help escape the darkness following, we could dive into many different metaphors going on through this story.

ThemesAway is an animated movie that looks beautiful, with the stunning landscapes, the animal look and the journey, each chapter creates a new visual pleasure.

Away will be on Digital Download from 18th January and can be pre-ordered on iTunes here & AppleTV here

Away is one of the most beautiful movies you will see, engaging in the story and stunning landscapes make this journey a true pleasure to experience.