Franchise Weekend – Crank 2: High Voltage (2009)

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Julanne Chidi Hill, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Reno Wilson

Plot: Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.


Tagline – He was dead… but he got better.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Jumps the Shark

Story: Crank 2: High Voltage starts right where the last film finished and Chev Chelios (Statham) somehow has survived his fall and is rescued and given a new heart, an electric one, Chev goes in search for his own heart, but needs to keep his current one full charged or face the same fate as the first film.

Chev must track down the man who stole his heart, which will see him returning a few familiar faces including his girlfriend Eve (Smart) and brother to his old friend Venus (Ramirez).

Thoughts on Crank 2: high Voltage

Characters – Chev Chelios somehow survives his mile high fall from the first film, he is given a new artificial heart which he must keep charged or he will die, he goes in search of his own heart which will see him go against another gang in LA, Eve now knows about Chev’s career, she has become a stripper and will supporting him trying to get his heart back. Doc Miles will do everything he can to help Chev giving him advice on how to keep his heart going. Venus is the brother of Kaylo who goes on to help Chev to get revenge for his own brother’s death. We have more gangs that are working against Chev this time, some return others are new.

PerformancesJason Statham does what he can with the leading role, he handles the action with ease, only he just doesn’t reach the same levels as before, this does affect the rest of the cast who do struggle to make an impact in this film.

StoryThe story does follow the next chapter of Chev’s life, the one after he should have died, only for him to get a new chance which sees him needing to race against time to get his own heart back. This side is simple enough at does work for what the film is doing, Chev take on endless amounts of enemies, the problem here with the story is that we dive too much into the side characters of what is going on and end up getting too many completely random scenes which just seem offensive on too many levels. This story does end up becoming messy and just has one of the worst scripts out there.

Action/CrimeThe action does try to become bigger, only for it to be shot in a style which doesn’t make it easy to connect. The criminal world does feel bigger, but now everything does seem more personal rather gang controlled.

SettingsThe film remains set in LA which does continue to show the crazy gangs that are meant to operate in this city.

Special EffectsThe effects do feel like they are being more ambitious, only for some to be so farfetched they only seem to make things look confusing, including an insulting looking Godzilla like fight.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Godzilla like fight.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly over the top sequel which only ends up becoming too much to handle for the crazy nature of everything going on.

Overall: Too wild.

Rating

ABc Film Challenge – Horror – # – Flight 7500 (2014)

Director: Takashi Shimizu

Writer: Craig Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Scout Taylor-Compton, Nicky Whelan, Jerry Ferrera, Christian Serratos

 

Plot: Flight 7500 departs Los Angeles International Airport bound for Tokyo. As the overnight flight makes its way over the Pacific Ocean during its ten-hour course, the passengers encounter what appears to be a supernatural force in the cabin.


Tagline – At 30,000 feet. There’s Nowhere to Run

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tries too Hard

 

Story: Flight 7500 starts by letting us meet the crew Laura (Bibb), Suzy (Chung) and Captain Pete (Schaech), along with the passengers including couples Brad (Kwanten), Pia (Smart), Liz (Whelan) and Rick (Ferrara) along with a host of singletons Jacinta (Taylor-Compton), Raquel (Serratos) and Jake (Frost) who are traveling from LA to Tokyo on an overnight flight.

When a passenger suddenly dies on the flight, it is only the beginning of a nightmare journey, which brings a supernatural force to the plane, one that nobody is prepared to fight against.

 

Thoughts on Flight 7500

 

Characters – Brad and Pia are a married couple looking to take a vacation away from their normal lives, there is some tension between them because of the decision, Brad will help out more during the supernatural phases of the flight as he is prepared for an emergency situation. Laura and Suzy are the two flight attendants, one is having an affair with the pilot, the other is waiting for her wedding day, they are quick to judge the passengers on the flight. We do meet slightly too many characters in this film because we have newlyweds on their honeymoon, a rebellious looking woman, a prankster and a woman worried about her past. By giving us this many characters it makes it hard to learn everything about them.

PerformancesWe have a cast that are all known actors here, most you might not remember their names, but you will have seen them before, first we have Ryan Kwanten, who like most of this cast is going to get the same problem with their performance, they don’t get time to make an impact, we seem to waste Amy Smart getting not enough time to make any impact for her talent. Leslie Bibb is stronger, but only because her character is in the position to be allowed to make a different.

StoryThe story follows the passengers and crew of a 10 hour flight that start getting haunted by a supernatural presence mid-flight causing them to need to figure out what is going on before it is too late, with nowhere to run. This story does end up throwing us into a mystery about what is happening, which doesn’t really get solved by the characters on the plane, only to end up trying to turn to a big reveal on the truth, which feels more like a cop out leaving too many unanswered questioned in the story.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror elements are interesting because we do get to focus on the idea of something supernatural going on, this does dive into the mystery, sci-fi elements of the film because once we learn what the answers are.

SettingsThe film is set on a plane which is important because once in flight, there is nowhere our passengers can go and when things start going through the supernatural events.


Scene of the Movie –
Adding the pieces together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just seems to end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror mystery which starts off keeping us interested, only for it to run out of ideas and just end suddenly.

 

Overall: A horror without a true ending.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Crank (2006)

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Carlos Sanz

Plot: Professional assassin Chev Chelios learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.


Tagline – If his heart stops pumping adrenalin… It will be the day Chev Chelios dies

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Relentless Action

Story: Crank starts when assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) has been poisoned by his rival assassin Verona (Cantillo) in an attempt at revenge for a job gone wrong. Chev has one hour to live before his heart stops, he learns that if he can keep his adrenaline up, he can remain focused and keep himself alive for longer, which sees him racing around LA in an attempt to locate Verona.

With Chev leaving a host of bodies in his path, he finds a way to keep his heart rate up thanks to his trusted doctor Miles (Yoakam) as he starts to face his own fate before seeking his own girlfriend Eve (Smart) to tell him his mistake.

Thoughts on Crank

Characters – Chev Cheilos is an assassin that has been drugged while knocked out, he has one hour to live unless he can keep his heart rate up, he uses all his violent side to keep his heart rate up as he searches revenge before his time runs out, he uses his connections and isn’t afraid to attack either side of the law. Eve is Chev’s girlfriend, she doesn’t know about his life as an assassin thinking he has a normal everyday job, she doesn’t understand to start with just what is going on. Verona is the man that has poisoned Chev, he is enjoying the idea of getting one over Chev, only he doesn’t want to face the consequences. Kaylo is the connection around town, he looks for the people that Chev wants to find keeping his ears to the floor.

PerformancesJason Statham is the clear star of the film, he gets to unleash all his action star potential, while using his straight-faced delivery to get a couple of laughs along the way. Amy Smart is mostly the damsel in distress figure, she doesn’t play the smartest character doing what she can with it. Jose Pablo Cantillo is the main villain only he doesn’t feel like a threat to Chev in his performance.

StoryThe story here follows an assassin that must race against time to get revenge on the people that have poisoned him before the poison in his blood ends his life. The story isn’t going to be get into any levels of deep, which is all we need it too be, it is just one man on a rampage, it does have a real-time feeling to everything as Chev only has an hour to live. We get the usual dealings with gangs always searching for power which is why the two sides are going to war with Chev in the middle of it all.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is wildly over the top with each fight, chase or incident becoming larger in scale as the film roles on, with the crime side of the film taking us into the criminal world seeing how the assassins and leaders try to stay in control.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which helps the film show us just how busy the streets would be, with the criminal behaviour happening around every corner too.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the different levels of suffering that Chev is going through, be it the blurred vision or seeing how his heart is shaping up after or before an incident.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is hard to support Chev either after what has happened to him.

Final Thoughts This is a non-stop action adrenaline ride, once it starts it just doesn’t stop which show the energy needed to make this film work on so many different levels.

Overall: Fun and over the top.

Rating

Seventh Moon (2008)

Director: Eduardo Sanchez

Writer: Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Smart, Tim Chiou, Dennis Chan

 

Plot: Melissa and Yul, Americans honeymooning in China, come across the exotic ‘Hungry Ghost’ festival. When night falls, the couple end up in a remote village, and soon realize the legend is all too real. Plunged into an ancient custom they cannot comprehend, the couple must find a way to survive the night of the Seventh Moon.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Camerawork Ruins the Film

 

Story: Seventh Moon starts as newlywed Melissa (Smart) and Yul (Chiou) are travelling around China for their honeymoon, we get the montage to show the best bits, before they take a trip with their trust guide Ping (Chan) who leaves them in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Getting concerned the two investigate only to learn not everything is as it seems and now they must battle to survive against the locals and their spirits that are visiting on the Seventh Moon,

 

Thoughts on Seventh Moon

 

Characters – We know horror movies don’t get the best character development and this movie shows why, we have American Melissa who would rather be swimming with dolphins than going to China the homeland of her husband, she is stronger when it comes to surviving horror, forcing her husband to do the manly thing. Yul is the Chinese American that married Melissa and is heading to his homeland for their honeymoon, she doesn’t speak fluent which shows during the non-English moments and needs to be pushed to do the right thing.

PerformancesDoes any remember when Amy Smart was shine in the teenage romantic comedies over the turn of the century, Road Trip and later Just Friends? Well this is where she ended up doing horrors which doesn’t involve too much actual acting. Tim Chiou doesn’t give the best of performances, again this is down to the material and awful camerawork.

StoryThe story wants to be something a lot bigger than what we got, in reality it is American tourist not understand culture and getting caught in the middle of a ritual they don’t understand, mostly running around the woods/forest screaming and hiding. When we watch horror, we don’t always need the best stories, granted but we do at least need something to care about, characters to root for an enemy we might understand. This gives us none of this and ends up feeling flat and boring throughout.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror in this film comes from what is in the woods/forest, it uses the myth of the Seventh Moon to say spirits will come out looking for fresh blood and these creatures are what we must see our character hide and fight against.

SettingsThe setting is the woods or forest, this is fine and works for the idea in the movie, we know that small communities will have different beliefs and while the settings are not used in the most terrifying way they suit the film we are watching.

Special EffectsThe effects are the confusing part of this film, this is because the make-up works very well for the creatures, but the camerawork makes this borderline unwatchable at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The creatures attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The camerawork is terrible.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid idea for a horror film, but the camerawork starts to make this feel unwatchable for the most part.

 

Overall: Camerawork ruins a smart idea that should work.

Rating

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – Road Trip (2000)

roadDirector: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Tom Green

 

Plot: Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Teen Comedy

 

Story: Road Trip starts as Josh (Meyer) and Tiffany (Blanchard) childhood sweethearts who have gone their own separate ways with college, they communicate through phone and video messages, yes this is a movie from 2000. When Josh doesn’t hear from Tiffany he stats getting worried and with the beautiful Beth (Smart) flirting with him Josh is pushed to enjoy the college experience by his friends EL (Scott) and Rubin (Costanzo).

When a drunken night where Josh records his night of sex with Beth he finds out Barry (Green) has sent the wrong tape to Tiffany. Josh finds out why he hasn’t spoken to Tiffany and now must travel 18,000 miles in 3 days with EL, Rubin and Kyle (Qualls) the shy student that hasn’t come out of his shell, but he has a car. What follows is the wacky adventure the four students travelling cross-country.

 

Thoughts on Road Trip

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters we get to see the traditional college students, Josh is the ‘good’ boyfriend who has planned his life, EL is the party animal that will most likely just make it in life with minimal effort, Rubin is a student that isn’t challenge by college and whose genius is above them all, while Kyle is the shy timid student that gets to be let out of his shell on this adventure with EL pushing him the most to enjoy his life. Beth is portrayed to be the new girl in Josh’s life, she doesn’t know he has a girlfriend but feels just as used by the night, we don’t really get to learn enough about this character all around.

Performance wise Meyer is good in the leading role, with Seann William Scott continue his highlight performances in the teen comedies, Amy Smart is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. Tom Green does bring his unique form of comedy that you are either going to love or hate. This is the first film performance from DJ Qualls and you can see him breakout in this performance.stars

StoryThe story is simple, guy records sex tape sends to girlfriend and must travel cross country to stop her seeing it. Yes, we do get a road trip that only student get to experience with partying going on through the trip. This is easy to follow and you do get moments of self-discovery for the guys on the trip.

Adventure/ComedyThe cross-country adventure is all good but I do feel like I would have liked to have seen more than just colleges, the comedy I would say is hit or miss, when I was younger I loved it but now certain jokes just miss for me.

SettingsWe get to see a lot colleges across America but considering how far they travel they seem to miss all the major landmarks.genre

Final Thoughts – I was a big fan of this when I was younger and being released the same time as American Pie this fits in the boom the teen comedies had, with this easily being one of the better ones.

 

Overall: Teen comedy that hits all the point it needs to for the target audience.

Ratingrating