Guardians of the Tomb (2018)

Director: Kimble Rendall

Writer: Kimble Rendall, Paul Staheli (Screenplay) Kimble Rendall, Jonathan Scanlon (Story)

Starring: Bingbing Li, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Chun Wu, Shane Jacobson, Stef Dawson, Jason Chong

 

Plot: An innocent discovery of a well-preserved mummified Chinese Emperor from 200 B.C. unearths a two-thousand-year-old nightmare, a secret that should have remained buried.


Tagline – Unearth the legend. Unleash the curse.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Adventure

 

Story: Guardians of the Tomb starts when pharmaceutical business man Mason (Grammer) turns to the daughter of his former partner Jia (Li) to search for her brother Luke (Wu) who went missing during the latest search for a cure that would put the company back on the map.

Jia joins Mason, survival expert Jack Ridley (Lutz), Gary (Jacobson), Milly (Dawson) and Chen (Chong) in search for the answers in the tomb, a tomb which is filled with deadly spiders that could bring a new cure for diseases.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Tomb

 

Characters – Jia is a specialist in venoms and dangerous animals from around the world, she knows how to remain calm around them if somebody is infected, she is forced into the field after her brother goes missing on his latest expedition, where she must use her own expert skills to keep the team alive and guide them out alive. Jack Ridley is bough in because of his skills in survival situations, he is here to keep the team safe. Mason is the co-founder of company, he has seen his partner killed and is always looking to push the boundaries in search new products which could help make him money in the pharmaceutical world, he leads the team after his own men go missing. Luke is the younger brother to Jia, he goes on the adventures, with his latest one seeing him go missing, he is working for Mason too.

PerformancesBingbing Li is easily the best of performers in this film, she does look like she is trying unlike most of the rest of the leading members of the cast. Kellan Lutz continues to fall into the generic soldier figure, offering nothing new, Kelsey Grammer does seem to be wasted in his role, he would have been better to not go on the adventure too. Chun Wu is solid enough in what is a smaller role, though it he could have done more with more screen time.

StoryThe story follows a rescue mission after a discovery mission goes wrong inside an ancient tomb in China. This is a story we have seen before, we know how ancient tombs tend to play out, with traps only this time we get spiders that are protecting a tomb. We have greed, family and memories planning out for the characters, even we do end up just going through the, spiders are coming lets run storyline way too often. This is simply enough without being anything original or enjoyable.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure involved in the film follows the characters as they go through the tomb. The horror in the film comes from the spiders being deadly.

SettingsThe film keeps us going through the tombs with each room offering a new problem for the team to face.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the spiders which at times are awful looking CGI, in a place where we could have had practical ones.


Scene of the Movie –
Couldn’t find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI spiders.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappoint adventure horror that could have been a lot of fun, only to become bland, predictable and just becomes forgettable quickly.

 

Overall: Forgettable.

Rating

 

 

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The Meg (2018)

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Writer: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber (Screenplay) Steve Alten (Novel)

Starring: Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Jessica McNamee, Rainn Wilson, Bingbing Li, Cliff Curtis, Masi Oka, Winston Chao

 

Plot: After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.


Tagline – If you see her coming…It’s all you’ll have time to say.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Massively Entertaining

 

Story: The Meg starts as we learn just how skill and how many difficult decisions expert rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) has made leaving him out of the water. On the other side of the story 5-years-later billionaire Morris (Wilson) has assembled a team run by Dr Zhang (Chao) including marine biologist Suyin (Li) Mac (Curtis), Jaxx (Rose) DJ (Kennedy) Heller (Taylor) The Wall (Olafsson) Lori (McNamee) and Toshi (Oka) to see if there is anything below the bottom of the ocean.

Once they breach the line they believed to be the bottom the submersible comes under attack and is in need of rescue, the only man to have rescued people that far down, Jonas Taylor, now he must rescue them crew and face the monstrous megalodon which ruined his career before it becomes a threat to anybody or anything in the ocean.

 

Thoughts on The Meg

 

Characters – Jonas Taylor is the expert rescue diver, disgraced for a job he made the right decision on, forced to come back and save a new crew which includes his ex-wife. The reluctant hero is this character and the only that will do anything crazy enough to protect human lives. Suyin is the marine biologist who also has her daughter Meiying on the research base, this research could help define her career and she will play to the side of nature rather than shooting first. Morris is the billionaire financing this research, it just so happens to be his visiting day when they break through, though when the Meg is loose, he sees everything as a potential PR opportunity or disaster. Mac runs the operations on the crew, an old friend of Jonas’ he pretty much just relays the instructions for the film. Dr Zhang has worked his entire life on the theory of the bottom of the ocean only being layer that can be crossed to go deeper, the discovery would change how the world see him, though he would never risk human life for science. Jaxx is the computer expert, she designed the base and like DJ is here for moment of comic relief. Meiying the daughter of Suyin just roams the base, unlikely most children in films this is one of the strongest and best characters in the film.

PerformancesJason Statham a former Olympic diver turned action star, could you have written a more perfect role for him? He is great as the action lead and this is easily one f his best solo roles in years. Bingbing Li is our leading lady and she is great to watch, gets put in just as many action sequences as Statham never looking out of place, while handling the emotion moments too. Rainn Wilson is good for a laugh, the occasion good idea and showing us just how crazy billionaires can be. The rest of the cast are good, they give us good moments to laugh for the most part with Page Kennedy taking over large part with his normal person reaction to everything.

StoryThe story here comes from the popular novel of the same name, we have a crew that must try and stop a megalodon from causing problems to the rest of the world after they discover it and accidently release it. Did we really think this was going to have the deepest story, no, did we just want to watch a megalodon eat stuff while human try to stop it, yes. This sums up the story perfectly, we never get anything complicated, we do touch on the idea of science versus survival which is important, but also gets answered rationally. We are saved a lot of the science talk which could have clouded over moments and even though most of the character are generic they fit the pieces together for all we wanted in the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action, well this is big, the shark is 70-foot long, we know we are going to have destruction and what we got in the final sequence is just what we wanted. The horror is difficult to get work in this movie, partial because of the rating 12a in England, and you can’t really build suspense when the shark is that big. The sci-fi side of the film shows what would happen if we found a real megalodon being released in the eco-system.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the wide ocean, this makes sense, you won’t bump into the shark at the supermarket, the idea this megalodon would out swim most boats adds to the idea running isn’t going to help and for the feeding ground we know we are in for a treat, or it is.

Special EffectsWhen you have a budget this big you expect the effects to be top of the level, for the most part they are, the scale of megalodon makes everything seem life or death and the crafts created feel fresh for the underwater experience.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Parenting question most, while Meiying isn’t an annoying kid, surely with the money this family has it would be better to keep her on land or a nanny.

Final ThoughtsThis is everything you wanted for a giant shark versus Jason Statham movie, you know moments are going to be dumb, but they are fun.

 

Overall: Big, dumb and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – F – The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)

 

Director: Rob Minkoff

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay)

Starring: Jet Li, Michael Angarano, Jackie Chan, Juana Collignon, Morgan Benoit, Jack Posobiec, Yifei Liu, Bingbing Li

 

Plot: A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Martial Arts Film

 

Story: The Forbidden Kingdom starts as we meet outsider teenager Jason (Angarano) who has a love for kung fu movies, his life is tipped upside down when he ends up in Ancient China with an important weapon, but no one speaks his language. Once in China Jason meets Lu Yan (Chan) a drunken master that helps him return the weapon a staff to the Monkey King (Li) the only man that could stop the Jade Warlord (Chou) reign of terror.

Jason becomes Lu Yan’s student as he joins him on a quest to save the Monkey King, where they are joined by the Golden Sparrow (Liu) on their journey, where the enemies come thick and fast, Jason will need to learn who to trust though.

 

 

Thoughts on The Forbidden Kingdom

 

Characters – Jason is an American teenager who loves kung fu, he is a loner but soon finds himself transported back to Ancient China in the middle of a battle against the Jade Emperor’s reign of terror. Here he must learn the skills he loves on an adventure he could never have dreamed off. Lu Yan is one of the eight immortals living, his elixir is wine, he takes Jason under his wing to head to release the Monkey King. The Silent Monk also joins the journey as another great warrior in need of fighting his way to the give himself the freedom. Golden Sparrow also joins the party as she is fighting for revenge against the Jade Emperor for slaughtering her family. Ni Chang is the general set to retrieve the staff from Jason for the Jade Warlord, she is beautiful and deadly showing why she was the first choice by the warlord.

PerformancesMichael Angarano is the teenager, he performs well with the highly trained talent within the film. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are the big draws for this film, they bring the skills and get to have some fun in their roles. the female leads are strong too, with Yifei Liu and Bingbing Li both showing their skills in combat with the elite in the industry.

StoryThe story follows the loner that gets transported to the time he loves, in this case Ancient China where he finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle for power. This is a routine story that brings two of the biggest icons of martial arts together for the world audience. We have the elements of our teenager learning and the characters that fit the film wonderfully throughout to tell the story of redemption needed to complete their destinies.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big like you would expect in any martial arts film, with have plenty of fights for both Chan and Li to show off their skills. The adventure takes out unlikely hero from the streets of Boston to Ancient China in what is a fantasy world of immortals, witches and warlords.

SettingsThe American settings show just how far our teenager will go on his adventure, while the ancient Chinese setting shows us the old traditions that Jason must learn to stay alive.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the film, we have certain moments that look genuine, but they are soon followed by moments you can almost see the stunt being performed.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too by the book.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun enjoyable action adventure film, it doesn’t take things too seriously and can be enjoyed by all martial arts fans.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and fun throughout.

Rating

 

 

1911 Revolution (2011)

Director: Li Zhang, Jackie Chan

Writer: Xiagdong Wang, Baoguang Chen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Winston Chao, Bingbing Li, Chun Sun, Joan Cheen, Wu Jiang, Jayceee Chan

 

Plot: A historical drama based on the founding of the Republic of China when nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Follow

 

Story: 1911 Revolution starts as we start learning the facts of the revolution against the Qing Dynasty, we have Sun Yat-sen (Chao) who is leading the revolution with his loyal soldier Commander Huang Xing (Chan) heading into the battles. As the story unfolds we continue to get pop up information about each battle which does make this hard to follow because instead of letting the story unfold on front of us a lot of details happens off camera with just information filling in the gaps.

 

Thoughts on 1911 Revolution

 

Final ThoughtsI have decided not to do the breakdown like normal here, mostly because this wasn’t a very impressive film. Jackie Chan just doesn’t seem to fit a straight-faced war character, while I have no issues with him doing non-comic roles this is one serious role that doesn’t come off. The war sequences do all look great without being anything special but it is the story telling process I have most issues with. The story is show us a short scene then throw some text up to explain who this new character is and this happens a lot making us wonder what is actually happening.

 

Overall: Very poor storytelling of what could have been an interesting war film.

Rating 1/10

 

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

logoDirector: Michael Bay

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li, T. J. Miller

 

Plot: Autobots must escape sight from a bounty hunter who takes control of the human serendipity: Unexpectedly, Optimus Prime and his remaining gang turn to a mechanic and his daughter for help.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Headache

 

Story: Transformers: Age of Extinction starts by showing the elimination of the dinosaurs by an alien race. We move to the discovery of a frozen Dinobot. With little time through the first two scenes we get to meet our protagonist Cade (Wahlberg) a scrap fixer along with his employee Lucas (Miller) and his teenage daughter Tessa (Peltz). The three struggles for money but Cade is working his hardest to make sure he gets Tessa through college. The film picks up after the first three where the Autobots are granted asylum on Earth. We learn that Autobots have gone into hiding from the government where Harold Attinger (Grammer) arranges black ops missions to hunt them down. Cade discovers he has one of the hidden Autobots Optimus Prime, which puts him in the middle of a new battle against the government. The Autobots must reunite to put a stop to the plan which involves them being hunted down and used by the humans to make a new defence system. All while an old enemy is waiting for his chance to rise to power again.

optimusWell what was meant to be a reboot turns into a sequel without any of the annoying bad acting cast (LeBeouf, Huntington or Fox). The idea of an over protective father putting his teenage daughter in the most possible danger he can comes off rather funny and the over used generic hate towards the boyfriend does attempt to offer laughs. The core idea that we as humans are now the problem does work well because let’s face it if we got that power we would use it and mess it up big time. We have the same problem we always get while watching Transformers film of not being able to tell them apart during the fight apart from Hound (Voiced by John Goodman) who is an overweight Autobot. In the end we do get a better cast, but we get the same old crap we are used to. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Wahlberg: Cade a mechanic who is struggling to support his daughter but wants to make sure he can put her through college. He finds an Autobot which leads him to have his daughter put in great danger. Cade joins the fight with the Autobots while risking his life over and over again. Mark does well in the action sequences but struggles to convince outside of them. (6/10)

 cade

Stanley Tucci: Joshua mastermind behind KSI a technology company who was started to make their own transformers by using the Autobots technology. He learns the errors of his way but spends more time screaming during the action scenes. Stanley makes for a good ambitious businessman but wastes his talent with the final acts. (6/10)

 

Kelsey Grammer: Harold Attinger man behind the tracking down of the Autobots but under the cover of Decepticons hunting. He is the villain of the piece and uses his position of power within the government to cover everything up. He has a deal with an Transformer bounty hunter to help continue on the research being done by Joshua. Kelsey makes for a great villain and really is the shining light on the acting side. (8/10)

 fraser

Nicola Peltz: Tessa daughter of Cade who wants to have a normal teenager’s life but after Cade refuses to let her date before college, she has a whole other life behind his back. She never listens to her father and ends up in dangerous predicaments throughout. Nicola does up the lead actress acting but never really gets a chance to do anything except run, scream, argue or piss of her dad. (6/10)

 tessa

Jack Reynor: Shane boyfriend of Tessa who is also a race car driver. He joins in on the fight and ends up spending nearly the whole film trying to one up Cade to prove his love for Tessa. Jack does what he can with what is a very boring character. (5/10)

 shane

Support Cast: Transformers: Age of Extinction is filled with plenty of supporting cast members usually used for attempted comic relief which is fair enough but known of them offer anything to the main story.

 

Director Review: Michael Bay – We know what Michael does with his direction, he makes popcorn films where you need no intelligence to enjoy, for that he does well again. (7/10)

 

Action: Transformers: Age of Extinction has plenty of action scenes, but knowing what the hell is happening is a different matter. (7/10)

Sci-Fi: Transformers: Age of Extinction uses the idea of future technology from space that has created the Earth look interesting and it shows how reckless we would be with it. (7/10)

Settings: Transformers: Age of Extinction used a range of settings but they all become a blur with the action going on. (5/10)
Special Effects
: Transformers: Age of Extinction uses some great special effects to create the transformers. (10/10)

Suggestion: If you want a brainless action film Transformers: Age of Extinction is for you. (Try)

 

Best Part: Lucas

Worst Part: Lucas gets killed early on.

Action Scene Of The Film: Normal car chase escaping the farm.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes there will be one

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Might get some special effects and sound nominations.

Box Office: $1 Billion

Budget: $210 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 45 Minutes

Tagline: This is not war, it’s extinction

 

Overall: Boom, boom, boom, what just happened?

Rating 55