Antono Banderas Weekend – Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Lem Dobbs (Screenplay)

Starring: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.


Tagline – They left her no choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Action

 

Story: Haywire starts as Mallory Kane (Carano) a black ops soldier for the CIA is currently on the run after her partners Aaron (Tatum), Kenneth (McGregor), Rodrigo (Banderas) an Alex (Douglas) have set up to eliminate her. Mallory looks back on her career with the mission which things went wrong, one where she must get to know a MI6 agent Paul (Fassbender).

Mallory needs to bring down the men who have been setting her up, while finding the only person she can trust John (Paxton) her father, here she knows she can trust him to help her expose the corruption that is framing her.

 

Thoughts on Haywire

 

Characters – Mallory is the black ops soldier, now on the run after being set up by her own people, she uses her skills to remain ahead of them, using her combat skills to disarm the situations and tries to figure out who she can trust. This is basically a female version of Jason Bourne. Kenneth is the one the liaised on the last mission and the one that is currently after Mallory, he answers to people above his head, while control the ones below. Paul is the agent that Mallory is meant to meet, the one that she ended up coming to blows with leading to her to being chased. We have the people above Mallory that just want to see a mess cleaned up, while others are just facing orders.

PerformancesGina Carano is the star of the showing in the leading role, she handles all the action with ease and makes us believe she could be a threat for anybody who messes with her. The supporting male cast handle the heavy dialogue scenes, which takes away the one weakness Gina could have.

StoryThe story follows a black ops soldier that must clear her name, while being hunted down by the employees after a mission goes wrong. This is a style of story we have seen before, it is one that is a tried and tested formula, this way of telling the story, however, is weak, mainly because we are doing a large part of it in flashback style, which takes away any peril in the film for Mallory. We also try to get over-complicated with the motivation behind trying to frame her and by the end we don’t feel like we have experienced a tense enough action film. the music doesn’t help this movie either because it makes it feel like we are just watching slick heist movie.

ActionGina Carano does her best to save this film with her action star abilities with combat, they are the only enjoyed scenes in the film.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world for the action scenes, showing this to be a worldwide operation.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotel escape sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end fight feels like just a training montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film that had potential, only for it to become to average with the story, with the one highlight being Gina Carano.

 

Overall: Basic action flick.

Rating

 

 

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Antonio Banderas Weekend – The Skin I Live In (2011)

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Writer: Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar (Screenplay) Thierry Jonquet (Novel)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Eduard Fernandez, Jose Luis Gomez

 

Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling & Disturbing

 

Story: The Skin I Live In starts as we see how Robert’s (Banderas) research as a plastic surgeon has helped create a new form of synthetic skin to help burn victims recover from the pain they suffer through, he has a guinea pig for this, Vera (Anaya) who has been suffering the pain for years, though his research has made it bearable for her, with her special body suit to protect her.

Robert can’t get approval from the medical boards to continue his work, which shows as it turns out Vera is being hidden from the world, though he does have his own motives for trying to find a cure after a tragedy involving his wife and daughter.

 

Thoughts on The Skin I Live In

 

Characters – Robert is a plastic surgeon with a tragic past, he lost his wife due to the after effects of a fire accident and his daughter to another. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through these pains and has created a new synthetic skin to help recover damaged skin on burn victims, the question is, will he go too far in his search for answers? Vera is the guinea pig, still suffering just as badly as she once was, she has a bond with Robert while also wanting to escape from him. Marilia is the mother of Robert, he has remained loyal to her and she has helped him with his projects no matter whether they are right or wrong. Vicente is a young man from the town that commits a horrible crime and believes nothing of it.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is unlike anything we have seen from him before, cold, calculated and always planning, it is a very disturbing performance for the most part. Elena Anaya is great in her role as the guinea pig which only makes you think how good her performance is once you learn the full story. Marisa Paredes gives us a good strong supporting performance and Jan Cornet is great in his role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a plastic surgeon trying to make a difference in the world, he has a guinea pig locked away as he tries to make a skin that is harder than normal ski to help recovery, only he is haunted by his past and has taken shocking decisions along the way to change it forever. The story starts off feeling like an interesting science related one, then suddenly it takes a big twist that will leave you needing to re-digest everything you saw in the first half of the film. this is a story that will stick with you because of how chilling and disturbing the story gets and will make you want to pause and react before learning the next chapter of the secret. A story like this is one you must applaud for being different surprising and one that will stick with you.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film come from what we learn, they will shock you and disturb just as much as they should.

SettingsThe film keeps us in Robert’s house for the most part, it is isolated away from the world, just the way he likes it, which has helped his patients before only now, it will be for his own benefit.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is the moment that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lost track about what is finally happening to Norma, his daughter.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most shocking and disturbing movies you will see even if it starts seemingly harmless.

 

Overall: Will leave you shocked.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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