ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Acts of Vengeance (2017)

Director: Isaac Florentine

Writer: Matt Venne (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Karl Urban, Paz Vega, Cristina Serafini, Atanas Srebrev

 

Plot: A fast-talking lawyer transforms his body and takes a vow of silence, not to be broken until he finds out who killed his wife and daughter and has his revenge.


Tagline – Payback Speaks Louder Than Words

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Book Action

 

Story: Acts of Vengeance starts as fast-talking defence lawyer Frank (Banderas) misses his daughter’s talent show, that same night his wife Sue (Serafini) and daughter Olivia (Blankenship) are killed, with the police struggling to come up with the answers to who was behind it.

Frank teaches himself how to fight and defend himself as he continues to investigate the murders, being joined by a nurse Alma (Vega), he learns about the corruption coming from the streets, setting out to end the problem once and for all, while under a vow of silence.

 

Thoughts on Acts of Vengeance

 

Characters – Frank was a fast-talking defence lawyer, he made a career out of getting criminals off, this only put his personal life on the back burner though, leaving him to not be around when his wife and daughter are murdered. Taking a vow of silence, Frank decides to train and investigate the crime to seek the vengeance he requires to move on with his life. Strode is the one cop that offers Frank any advice while he searches for the truth. Alma is a nurse that has found herself under the fingers of a ruthless gang that want her to do work, she choses to help Frank when he becomes injured. While the end of the film does give the motivation for the killer, that does offer the question of who is in the right for the most part.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is the strongest part of the film, we know he can handle himself in a fight, making this easy for him to deliver on. The supporting cast do struggle to make the impact which would be required, which only disappoints with the talent we have on show.

StoryThe film follows a man that loses his wife and child, forcing him to go on a one man mission to learn the truth and taking on crime after making his career from defending criminals. When it comes to stories, this is the simplest kind, which is needed for action, when we get the reveal to who the killer was, it does make perfect sense, it is just the building up to this moment that is a waste, with endless amounts of time spend talking about the number of words a person say in a day.

ActionThe action is mostly the training before Frank gets into his fights, each fight is in a different location which the fighting seemingly being easy to shoot style never too difficult to pull off.

SettingsThe film is set in one city which sees just how different parts of the city can be the corrupt.


Scene of the Movie –
Killer’s motivation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The talking about using too many words.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another basic action movie, it offers little new material for the genre and if we are honest is nothing more than a late night movie.

 

Overall: Late Night action film.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Legend of Zorro (2005)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (Screenplay) Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso

 

Plot: Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California’s pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) — and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) — to take action.


Tagline – This Fall, adventure begins with a Z.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Become a Parody of Itself

 

Story: The Legend of Zorro starts as Don Alejandro (Banderas) is still riding under the mask of Zorro, his wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) wants him to retire the mask and be the father to their son Joaquin (Alonso), with his desire to continue to help California prepare for the statehood, has put a strain on their relationship.

When the two go through a divorce, Elena starts dating Armand (Sewell) from Spain looking to make a vineyard only he has other plans which only Zorro could stop.

 

Thoughts on The Legend of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro is Zorro, he has been working on trying to retire, but America needs him, he is left with a hard choice on whether to protect the land or be there for his father. He choices wrong and ends up falling back in the same circle he once did, before needing to put the mask on again to save California. Elena is the wife of Alejandro that wants him to give up the life, when he doesn’t, she divorces him to go under cover with an old family friend that has moved to the area, who has his own ideas. For some reason this character goes in a different direction from the stronger figure we met in the first film. Armand has moved to California to open a vineyard, he has stolen Elena from Alejandro and now he has bigger plans for America, which brings Zorro out of his retirement.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas has all the right parts to make this character legendary, he just struggles to make the impact we know he can this time, this follows Catherine Zeta-Jones who disappoints too as we know she could lead the film with ease. Rufus Sewell does a solid enough job in the villainous role, though he never makes his character feel like a threat.

StoryThe story takes place 10 years after the first movie, this does work for the film because it takes us to a time where the couple have a child and must decide what to do (following in the Mummy’s footsteps here) with their future adventures. The decision-making process shows us just how important the figure of Zorro has become to the people and just how difficult walking away from it would be for the city. The problem comes with the tone of the story which seems to just spend more time watching the couple bicker it just takes everything out of the life of the story.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action continues to bring us the sword swing fights we are used to seeing from the Zorro character, with a stronger final chase, this doesn’t seem to offer much new to the western action genre, with the adventure that we go on, never seeming like it will go anywhere new for the characters. the romance is the most annoying part of the film because it just focuses on the bickering between the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in the early stages of California which never looks out of place for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bickering.

Final ThoughtsThis is not on the same level as the previous film, it feels like it wants to be taken seriously, only for it to become somewhat of a parody of itself.

 

Overall: Disappointing sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Oscar Isaac Weekend – Life Itself (2018)

Director: Dan Fogelman

Writer: Dan Fogelman (Screenplay)

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Jean Smart, Olivia Cooke, Antonio Banderas

 

Plot: As a young New York City couple goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes.


Tagline – We’re all part of a greater story

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Storytelling Done Wrong

 

Story: Life Itself starts as we meet Will (Isaac) a depressed man whose wife Abby (Wilde) has left him, he is going through therapy with Dr Cait Morris (Bening) who he is telling the story of how they met, got engaged and were expecting their first child, only for tragedy to strike.

Will’s father Irwin (Painkin) raises their daughter Dylan as she must live in the world like her mother did. Dylan (Cooke) now 21 and ready to experience the world herself, live her own life.

 

Thoughts on Life Itself

 

Characters – Will is the depressed writer, he is telling the story of how he met Abby, fell in love and planned to start a family, we see the positives from the relationship they had and see how he is now struggling with life without his wife. Abby is the woman Will meets and falls in love with, she has had a tragic life with Will be the highlight of it. Dr Cait Morris is trying to help Will through the problems he is facing, being left by his wife, she knows the truth and is planning to make his face it one day. Irwin is the father of Will that raises Dylan, he does everything he can to make sure she has a wonderful life. Dylan is the daughter that has lived a life of tragedy, now 21 she is ready for the next stage of her life. Mr Saccione runs a vineyard which has a connection the tragic events of the film.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are on the average level, mostly because none of the talent gets enough time to shine, we seem to waste the talents of Oscar Isaac who does start interesting only for his part of the story to end, while Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke and Antonio Banderas just get time to do anything else.

StoryThe story is easily the most confusing and overly trying one you will see, we try to connect many lives together over many different time periods to show how life can happen and you never know the connection you could have with people. It is the way this story is told which leads to most of the problems, it could have work in drawn together better, but it just feels like we had a weak story ad went, lets stick an extension on this one and we get this a couple of times which just makes us feel uninvested in any of the characters we are meeting. This just leave us feeling empty and mostly bored through the story telling process.

RomanceThe idea behind this film is about romance being found in the most unusual place, which is fine, though this is too on the face with it.

SettingsThe film uses New York as the central location for this film, it works for the most part only it can come up short in places.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story telling process.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak, boring and unconnectable story that tries too hard to give us something bigger, while the ambition could be praised, the craft fails.

 

Overall: Weak and dull.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – # – The 33 (2015)

Director: Patricia Riggen

Writer: Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten, Michael Thomas, Jose Rivera (Screenplay) Hector Tobar (Book)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas

 

Plot: Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible True Story, Slow Film

 

Story: The 33 starts as we follow our Chilean miners including family man Mario Sepulveda (Banderas) and safety inspector Don Lucho (Phillips) who is reluctantly backs down from their boss about the conditions inside the mine, believing the mountain will start to collapse in on itself.

When the mine does collapse, it leaves all 33 miners trapped hoping they might get rescued, well that is inside the mine. Outside the mine the miner’s families led by Maria Segovia (Binoche) demanded answers and help from the government with Laurence Golborne (Santoro) calling the shots, doing the best he can to find a way to rescue the miners. This is the incredible story of how the Chilean miners survived and were rescued.

 

Thoughts on The 33

 

Characters/PerformanceThe film is based on the real people involved, Mario is the one that takes control inside the mine, the reluctant hero even against the odds. Laurence is the government man that must do the right thing while working with the experts as well as keep the families happy. Maria is the sister of one of the miners and leads the protest to find answers about her brother and other miners.

Performance wise, Banderas shows himself to be the biggest star within the mine, we do get strange casting choices up next because we have a French actress playing a Chilean lady, and Irish man as a Chilean. But away from this we have good performances all around from the whole cast.

StoryThe story is one that we all followed on the news, it was one of the most must watch news stories of the 21st Century. Seeing the amazing story of how the men survived, the way a small town can together to bring a nation, then the world to see, beg and pray for these men is an incredible story of courage, strength and belief in the human race.

Biography/HistoryWhile we don’t truly get to know the men personally, we do see the 69 days that changed their lives. This will go down in history as one of our moments of greatness as a human race.

SettingsThe film is set between the mine which shows us just how trapped the character will be but we also see how the family members are working towards rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story that was one we followed and seeing this brings back the memories but in places this is slightly slow.

 

Overall: Great glimpse into history.

Rating