Triumph (2021) Movie Review

Director: Brett Leonard

Writer: Michael D Coffey (Screenplay)

Starring: RJ Mitte, Terrence Howard, Colton Haynes, Johnathon Schaech, Grace Victoria Cox, Michael D Coffey

Plot: Inspired by a real story, a determined high school senior strives to be a wrestler one last time despite having cerebral palsy and goes to extreme lengths, crushing obstacles and inspiring others along his journey to prove his abilities.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Triumph starts when Mike (Mitte) a high school student with cerebral palsy looks to continue his dreams of becoming a wrestler, trying out for the team under Coach Cutting (Howard), Jeff (Haynes) sees the determination he is showing, offering him friendship, while others look down on him, including his father Doug (Schaech).

Once Mike makes the wrestling team, his father starts supporting him, after seeing just how much this means to him, as he looks to fight against the odds.

Thoughts on Triumph

Characters & Performances – Mike is a high school student that has cerebral palsy, when he was younger, he tried wrestling, only to get injured, but in a new school, he looks to try once more, where he will show more determination than most of the team. He will look to define all the odds to make sure he doesn’t get left behind, never letting his disability get in his way. RJ Mitte does a solid job in the leading role, even if it will spark a debate about these roles going to disabled actors or not. Coach Cutting is the man that will give Mike the chance, having moments of inspiration to the young man. Terrence Howard might well be the biggest name in the film, but he doesn’t seem to be an inspirational as he truly should be. The rest of the characters we meet are the people that will look to overcome their feelings to show Mike what he needs in life, support.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student with cerebral palsy who wants to try out for the wrestling team, where he will need to overcome the odds to make the team and prove everyone wrong, based on the real story of the athlete. This is a story that is looking at how difficult the life would have been for Mike, the inspiration of never giving up and being given chances for hard work is important, because sports isn’t always about ability and can be about heart. When we look to dive into the heart and soul moments, we do see certain parts feel like they might fall shorter than they should, which is disappointing, making everything feel like a standard made for TV movie.

ThemesTriumph is a sports drama focusing on amateur level wrestling, it will show that no matter what disabilities you might have, understand the fundamentals will give you a chance to compete in the sport.

Signature Entertainment presents Triumph on Digital Platforms from 28th June

Final Thoughts Triumph is a by the book inspirational sports drama.

Blood Pageant (2021) Movie Review

Director: Harvey Lowry

Writer: Chris Gilmore, Anthony J Sands (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Snoop Dogg, Danielle C Ryan, Beverley Mitchell, Matthew Marsden, David Chokachi, Ted Lange, Christina DeRosa, Ellia English, Joanna De Castro, Julianna Destefano, Steve Spiro, Gayle Gaston, Michael Collins

Plot: What began as a million-dollar reality show competition between seven beautiful women turns into a battle for life itself when one contestant uses black magic to gain an edge over the competition. An ancient curse dating back to the Salem Witch Trials is unleashed and the competition becomes a Blood Pageant of death, destruction, and evil forces.  Forget about who will win… who will survive?

Tagline – Meet your new Queen… and die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Blood Pageant starts when seven beautiful women Crystal (Castro), Amy (Destefano), Chloe (Chen), Mocha (Cortez), Lucie (Savostikova), Peyton (Day) and Isabella (Adams) enter the latest edition of American Dream, hosted by Barry (Chokachi) a scripted reality show.

With Barry always looking to create extra drama in the show, Amy has her own plans for winning the competition, looking to make sure the other contestants are going to get in her way for victory, as a set of paranormal events start happening around the set.

Thoughts on Blood Pageant

Characters & Performances – Crystal is the religious school teacher that is willing to risk a chance to win the competition, as well as wanting to hold onto her beliefs, she doesn’t like lying and isn’t willing to fold in the same way the other women in the competition will. She is one of the few people that will have the strength to fight back against the evil in the house. JoAnna De Castro is solid enough in her role, she makes her character feel different to the rest of the women in the home. Amy is the contestant that has been working with the s life coach to make sure she wins, while trying to fighting the typical figures in these competitions. Julianna Destefano also makes her character standout from the rest of the crowd, which will give the pair an edge of over the rest of the cast. The other women in the competition are largely forgettable, with just being what we have seen before and what you would expect in the beauty competition. When it comes to the people behind the scenes, we get the loud mouth director, the presenter who thinks he is the most important part of the show, all of them becoming the over top figures you could see in the world. We do get appearances from big names who are mostly here more for cameo like performances for important sequences in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a new series of America Dream a reality show where seven contestants battle it out in a scripted reality show to see who will win one million dollar prize, only for an evil presence to make itself known on set, targeting anyone that gets in its way. This is a story that will look to poke a bit of fun at the scripted reality show world, by adding the supernatural feel to it, in a similar way that Dead Set did years ago. The story gives us the characters you would expect and would expect to be picked off in horror films, with one of the biggest weakness in this film being the runtime, this is a slasher like horror movie that could easily have been an hour and half and still got the same message over. The battle between good and evil works well enough, with the sleezy figures getting what is coming to them, we could have had more focus on the horror side of the story, with most of the final act being rushed to fill in the gaps rather than slowly letting everything that has happened unfold, as well as the missing contestants never getting the true attention required for what was at stake.

ThemesBlood Pageant is a horror film that likes to poke fun at scripted reality shows, which will hold back the scares, despite there being an interesting idea behind what is causing the supernatural events on the set to happen. The singular big house location for the show does help, but doesn’t answer the questions about why contestants would just vanish, with the effects showing the low budget behind everything we see.

Final Thoughts Blood Pageant is an easy watch horror that doesn’t hit any of the scares it wants to, focusing more on poking fun at the reality tv world.

Endangered Species (2021) Movie Review

Endangered Species – Tension Fuelled Experience

Director: M.J. Bassett

Writer: Isabel Bassett, M.J. Bassett (Screenplay) Paul Chronnell (Story)

Starring: Rebecca Romijn, Philip Winchester, Isabel Bassett, Michael Johnston, Chris Fisher, Jerry O’Connell

Plot: a wealthy American family who travel to the vast African wilderness of Kenya hoping for a dream vacation filled with excitement, bonding and a chance to fix the growing rifts within their family. But when their safari vehicle is attacked by a rhino protecting her calf, the family is left stranded miles from help and their dream vacation turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival in a world where they are the bottom of the food chain.

Tagline – Far from home. Far from safety. Far from over.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Endangered Species starts when a family Lauren (Romijn), Jack (Winchester), Zoe (Bassett), Noah (Johnston) and Zoe’s boyfriend Billy (Fisher) arrive in Africa for a safari holiday, they get into the beauty of the location, while getting prepared for an adventure of a lifetime.

As the family look to explore the safari themselves, they stumble upon a rhino family which will flip their vehicle, leaving them stranded in the middle of the safari, injured, helpless and prime for the picking for the wildlife.

Thoughts on Endangered Species

Characters & Performances – Jack is the father of the household, he has used his money from his luxury job to pay for his holiday as a treat, he is struggling to connect with his son, he wants to make sure this holiday is better than they expect, only his head strong attitude will find them in more trouble. Philip Winchester does give us the character that is conflicted with love and unable to change. Lauren is the wife and mother who is diabetic, which will cause another problem in the battle to survive the situation they find themselves in. Rebecca Romijn might well be the biggest name in this film and she does everything well, it is more that she doesn’t have much to do. Zoe and Noah are the children that are both finding themselves feeling distant from Jack, with them both getting a chance to win his approval on the trip, despite knowing he doesn’t believe everything they want from life. Both Isabel Bassett and Michael Johnston give us performances that will make us believe the insecurities in their characters.

StoryThe story here follows a wealthy American family that are on a safari in Africa, only for the trip to turn into a nightmare when they become stranded with the wildlife waiting for a chance to hunt them down, needing to find a way to survive. This story is one that we have seen before with a different environment, a family in need of help, stranded, needing to weight up their options for survival. The obstacles they come across will see them tested and will let them deal with the problems between them too. The story does have a deeper message about poaching, as well as showing us the African animals in their natural environment.

ThemesEndangered Species is an action thriller that will see man versus the wild, seeing how the group must figure out how to survive different encounters. The African backdrop is stunningly beautiful to see, even if the CGI on the animals doesn’t feel as smooth as it could do.

Endangered Species which is on digital 28 June and DVD 5 July

Endangered Species is a tense safari from hell.

Edge of the World (2021) Movie Review

Edge of the World – Simple History Lesson

Director: Michael Haussman

Writer: Rob Allyn (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Dominic Monaghan, Ralph Ineson, Hannah New, Josie Ho, Bront Palarae

Plot: The adventures of Sir James Brooke, who defied the British Empire to rule a jungle kingdom in 1840s Borneo, embarked on a lifelong crusade to end piracy, slavery and head-hunting, and inspired LORD JIM and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Edge of the World starts as Britain’s Empire had continued to span the globe, with Sir James Brooke (Meyers) leading the latest expedition to a new land of Borneo, with Arthur Crookshank (Monaghan) by his side they find the new land and the Pengiran Indera Mahkota (Palarae).

As James Brooke starts to adapt to the country, he starts to see himself being considered the King of the land, looking to make sure the slavery is stopped within the country, but it doesn’t go as smoothly as he would like, with enemies from every direction.

Thoughts on Edge of the World

Characters & Performances – Sir James Brooke is a traveller representing the British Empire in the 1800’s, he has arrived at a new land, wanting to know how the people of Borneo operate, to help continue to build the British Empire in new lands. He is trying to stop slavery, piracy, all to create an equal land, despite learning about the barbaric methods the country uses. Jonathan Rhys Meyers does bring this character to life, showing him not to be an evil conquer, but someone who wanted to learn. When it comes to the other characters we get Arthur and Charlie that have travelled with James, they both have different ideas of what is needed to be done, one wants change, one wants to learn. One of the problems you will find in the film, is the lack building of the supporting characters and what they truly want from the new land to them.

StoryThe story here follows Sir James Brooke as he leads the expedition of Borneo looking to learn their culture and finding himself in the middle of a war between people on the jungle island, where he must look to bring peace to the land, while trying to prevent the British Empire taking advantage of the land. This is a history lesson like story, that does show the first few days or weeks on the island, before a big moment to try and change things, which is fine. The problem will come from not really seeing the bigger work he is meant to have achieved, which is only shown through the written material at the end of the film, which could have been larger interesting aspects of what happens.

ThemesEdge of the World is a history drama adventure about Sir James Brooke and how he tried to stop slavery, piracy and head-hunting in Borneo, the locations look brilliant, being the biggest highlight of the while film.

Signature Entertainment presents Edge of the World on Digital Platforms 18th June and DVD 21st June


Edge of the World is a basic history lesson that does seem to skip over the bigger moments of the life.