Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan

Plot: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunt Work of the Year

Story: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw starts when MI6 Agent Hattie Shaw (Kirby) is framed for stealing a deadly virus that Brixton (Elba) is after, using her ability to go into hiding comes in handy, Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard (Statham) are recruited to work together to help find her and get the virus out of her before it becomes a threat to the world.

With the three teaming up, they must use their connections to stay ahead of Brixton who has been enhanced to make a deadly threat that neither can defeat on their own, can they put aside their different and save the world again?

Thoughts on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Characters – Hobbs is still working in the field to hunt down bad guys, but he remains family based with his daughter being the most important part of his life, he gets the call to save the world once again and doesn’t say no, heading to London to team up with an old enemy and friend in Deckard. He does play the I am bigger than you card, as the two constantly try to play the alpha male card. Deckard must come out of hiding to rescue his own little sister, he is better designed to the spy like side of this mission, we do get to learn a lot more about his past in this film too. Brixton is the big bad, he even introduces himself as ‘the bad guy’ he has been enhanced, making him a proper deadly weapon that will win any one on one fight, he isn’t afraid to fight with his men, though he is only part of a bigger plan going on. Hattie is the MI6 agent that gets framed, she is Deckard sister and knows how to get off the grid, she can handle herself in a fight and isn’t afraid to use a few tricks she learnt from her mother to get out of a sticky situation.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson and Jason Statham must be looked at as one, they are excellent when it comes to the action sequences, you wouldn’t expect anything less, when they have a moment of serious material they do well, it is part of the back and forth between them which does get slightly tiresome after a while. It is almost like the film must stop for 30 seconds to a minute so they can go at each with insults. Idris Elba does look like he is having a hell of a time as the villainous figure, while Vanessa Kirby keeps up with the action heavy stars with ease bring another aspect to the styles of the three.

StoryThe story here follows Hobbs and Shaw as they must once again put their differences a side to help Shaw’s sister get away from a deadly enhanced soldier and the virus he is threatening the world with. Breaking down this story, it does feel like any Fast & Furious film, there is no questions there, we get everything we expect with cheesy dialogue to match. If we do look at the story it is strange because we could easily have had this as a Hobbs or Shaw solo film with the way everything unfolds, with only one aspect of the film truly needing them to work together. The pair do seem to lose certain parts of the chemistry and respect for one an other they got from Fast 8, which again confuses why we need so much bickering between the two, as they are both the alpha, neither comes off as the comical side of the buddy relationship, meaning a lot of the jokes just hold up the film. It is nice this story could build on both the pairs backgrounds more, with slightly more focus on Deckard. If we are being honest, we don’t need a deep story here, we just come for the action.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is huge, the fights, the chases and the explosions, though when it comes to the fights we do get a lot of cuts in them, which just doesn’t work as well as other action heavy films. The adventure does take the crew from London, to Russian to Samoa proving it to be an international mission.

SettingsThe film uses the tight streets of London for the spy side of the movie, along with one big car chase, we use the other cities for the wide-open big action sequences in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are also a mixed bad, certain bits look wonderful, including how Brixton is almost attached to his motorbike, it is the couple of moments which you can see the CGI effects at work which let it down.


Scene of the Movie – The base escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The bickering gets tiresome.

Final Thoughts This is everything you expect in a Fast & Furious film, it is big, the action is ridiculous, and you can just sit back and enjoy.

Overall: Big dumb fun

Rating

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Keanu Reeves Weekend – 47 Ronin (2013)

47Director: Carl Rinsch

Writer: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini, Walter Hamada (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibaski, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka, Jim Akanishi, Masayoshi Haneda

 

Plot: A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Samurai

 

Story: 47 Ronin starts as we learn how Kai (Reeves) a half-breed is discovered in ancient Japan, he is bought into village by Lord Asano (Tanaka). Attracted to his daughter Mika (Shibasaki) and looked down on by her brother Oishi (Sanada) and the rest of the samurai Kai lives on the outskirts. Even after saving Oishi from a beast he is looked down by the samurai.

When Lord Kira (Asano) visits not everything is as it seems as Kai believes one of the members is in fact a witch. When Lord Asano becomes bewitched into harming Lord Kira he must accept the ancient act of Seppuku the rest of the samurais and Kai go out for revenge once they discover that Lore Kira has been planning this all along.

47 Ronin gives us a very simple samurai storyline that we can easily follow and offers us very little fresh. We get the revenge story that is driven by honour as is apparently based on real events I am guessing it doesn’t include the mental supernatural side to everything. I do feel we could have had more in this story because I found Kai was kind of a confusing character one minute he is the main character the next he is the support. I would have also liked to have seen more of the supernatural side to the story. This is an easy watch but never challenging.

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Kai is a half-breed in the middle of Japan, he is loyal to the man that saved him even if the rest of the men disapprove of him being part of their village. When he is the one to first notice the witchcraft he is questioned but after the master is killed he must work with the samurai that final see him as one of their own to get revenge. Keanu is solid but does sometimes look out of place at times.kai

Hiroyuki Sanada: Oishi is the son of the Lord Asano, he is in charge of the samurai and doesn’t like Kai around because of honour. When his father is framed he most turn to Kai and his men to lead a revenge mission against Kira. Hiroyuki does well in this role getting to show off his skills.oishi

Ko Shibasaki: Mika is the daughter of Lord Asano that is involved in a forbidden love is Kai, when her father is killed she is forced into marrying Lord Kira so he can take over the village. Ko is solid in this role where she does become the damsel in distress.

Tadanobu Asano: Lord Kira is the evil man using witchcraft to take over the ancient kingdoms, he takes Mika to be his wife while taking out anybody who gets in his way. Tadanobu is solid in this role but I feel we needed to see more from his character.

Support Cast: 47 Ronin has a supporting cast that are all involved in the fights without being overly memorable.

Director Review: Carl RinschCarl gives us an easy to watch film without really testing the audience.

 

Action: 47 Ronin has plenty of action when it comes to the fight scenes.

Adventure: 47 Ronin puts our characters on the adventure to get their revenge.

Fantasy: 47 Ronin shows us a world where witches and demons are in fact real.

Settings: 47 Ronin doesn’t create any truly memorable location which doesn’t help when it comes to the story.
Special Effects
: 47 Ronin has solid effects when entering the supernatural side of everything but if it is based on a real story where did they come from?

Suggestion: 47 Ronin is one to try, it isn’t the most memorable but could be enjoyed without having to think much. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final fight.

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

 

Believability: It is based on a legend.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $175 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: This Christmas, seize eternity.

 

Overall: Samurai film done in very easy style.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Fast & Furious (2009)

Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang

 

Plot: Brian O’Conner, back working for the FBI in Los Angeles, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Back on Track

 

Story: Fast & Furious starts as Dominic (Diesel) is back with Letty (Rodriguez) and Han (Kang) living in the Dominic Republic stealing petrol for a living with the team. When the latest job goes wrong the team scatter with Letty being killed back in LA, while Dom is in Panama.

Brian (Walker) is now in the FBI and once again needs to find a way into a street racing circuit to take down a Mexican crime boss. Dom returns home also on the warpath eventually teaming up with Brian going undercover within the street racing circuit once again.

The job is working for Campos (Ortiz) who answers to Braga who is running drugs across the border but can they really work together?

 

Thoughts on Fast & Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is now a Fed, which I guess makes sense after what happened in 2 Fast 2 Furious, he still has the desire to be a street racer and gets this chance working with Dom. Dom is now on the run but risks everything to come back to help get revenge on the people responsible for killing Letty. Campos and Fenix are all solid villains but never dominating like needed to make them different from what we have seen before.

Performance wise, Walker and Diesel work great together even if the film is slightly more focused on Dom’s character, the two get to poke a bit of fun about things that happened in the first film. The other performances are all good without being truly stand out.

StoryBringing the original popular characters back helps this story, we have both men coming back to take down the crime boss because we needed the respectful enemies to become friends, taking a character’s life does drive the story too because it shows we could lose someone in this franchise now too. The core story is all what we have seen before, let’s do a crime, take down crime boss and drive away.

Action/Crime/Thriller The car chases are once again bigger and better than last time out which helps the films new direction, the crime story is now our heroes taking down criminals by breaking the law but it works.

SettingsBringing the story back to LA is good because now we see the effects of the previous films on our characters, the secret tunnel across the border also adds to the action.

Special EffectsThe special effects are what we have come to expect from the franchise and they all work well this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is where the franchises got back on tracks because we get to see Dom and Brian back together working on the case to take down the crime boss, I see this as the beginning of what we know as the best chapters of the franchise.

 

Overall: Fun, mad and over the top, just the way we like it.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Brian Tee, Sung Kang, Nathalie Kelley, Leonardo Nam, Brian Goodman, JJ Sonny Chiba

 

Plot: A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Weak Link

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift starts as we meet typical quiet high school student Sean Boswell (Black) who gets tricked into a street race against the jock Clay (Bryan), this leads to all involved getting arrests and injured. Punishment for Sean it movie to Tokyo, Japan to live with his father Major Boswell (Goodman). Making friends the way only Sean can he finds Twinkie (Moss) who shows him the underground street racing where they don’t just race, they drift. It also doesn’t take long for Sean to make enemies with the best drifter in town D.K. (Tee) with Han (Kang) wanting to see just how good Sean is.

Sean fails in this first race but this drives him to learn how to drift with Han showing him but D.K keeping his eyes on him as he goes to impress the Yakuza uncle of his.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

 

Characters/PerformanceSean is randomly selected to be our new lead, he has no connection to the previous films and is a high school student always getting himself into trouble, he is from a broken home and happens to enjoy racing, he gets set to a new country and ends up having to prove to be different to his own father. DK is a hot-headed villain but is nothing but his temper gets himself into trouble and answers to his uncle. Neela is the love interest but nothing more. We get our first introduction to Han in this film but he is only the wiser supporting character.

Performance wise, Lucas Black is miss-cast because he looks so old for a teenager, it would be fair to say none of the performances are that great in this film Sung Kang is good as we get to learn about his character more but otherwise, no one famous enough is in this film.

StoryHigh schoolers street racing, well this film completely confuses me for storytelling because how do these kids especially the poor one in Sean afford street racing cars and insurance? Come on this is ridiculous. Throw into the mix the idea of the Yakuza’s I guess we get a real threat in the villain now, well I just couldn’t get into this story it doesn’t fit into the franchise and is clearly the worst.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe only positive here, the race sequences are the best so far in the franchise, using the Yakuza’s doesn’t mean you have a good crime story because the only illegal actions in this film is the street racing, you are also not left on edge like before.

SettingsTokyo is a brilliant setting because it shows the different mindset for the street racing through the packed streets.

Special EffectsThis is another moment where the special effects are all you need them to be without being special in anyway.

Final ThoughtsThe story confuses but the race sequences are all fun, I couldn’t get my mind around how these high school kids are doing all this racing.

 

Overall: The worst in the franchise from the director who gave us the best too.

Rating

 

 

The Vatican Tapes (2015)

vaticanDirector: Mark Neveldine

Writer: Christopher Borrelli, Michael C Martin (Screenplay) Chris Morgan, Christopher Borrelli (Story)

Starring: Michael Pena, Olivia Dudley, Djimon Hounsou, Dougray Scott, Alison Lohman, Kathleen Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Michael Pare

 

Plot: A priest and two Vatican exorcists must do battle with an ancient satanic force to save the soul of a young woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Different Twist to the Possession Film

 

Story: The Vatican Tapes starts as we learn Vicar Imani (Hounsou) is being assigned the latest case of a potential anti-Christ coming through Angela (Dudley), and we have to rewind 2 months to meet Angela a happy young lady from America. While celebrating her 25th birthday Angela suffers a cut to her hand and over the next few days he starts to act very different to how her boyfriend Pete (Amedori) and father Roger (Scott) are used to.

When Angela is involved in an accident she ends up in a coma and Father Lozano (Pena) is bought in to look for answers that could explain the non-medical problems she is suffering from. Angela finds herself in a mental home where the demon inside of her starts to take over bringing in the Vatican to solve the situation.

The Vatican Tapes comes off like a standard exorcism possession case as we follow from early stages to medical investigation, mental home before entering into the exorcism side which I will say is good. The final twist is excellent but for the negatives I have found this sub-genre something that is difficult to find a fresh approach and this ends up down the same road. Well about my favourite part I do think you get a reward with the final outcome though.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Pena: Father Lozano is the local Priest that is looking over Angela, a former soldier turned Priest start suspecting something unusual but nothing prepared him for his first possession case. Michael is good and well restricted from his normal comic tone we get through his performances.

Olivia Dudley: Angela is the young lady that finds herself being possessed by a demon, it all starts with a small cut before she starts having powers unlike any human acting out of character but can she fight the demon inside her? Olivia is good as the victim in this film.

Djimon Hounsou: Vicar Imani is the man that learns about the Anti-Christ coming to the Earth and must find a way to stop him taking over. Djimon is barely in this film which is a huge disappointment really.

Dougray Scott: Roger Holmes is the father of Angela who has raised her himself and is still very protective of her even after she has started to live her own life. Dougray is very much a supporting character that I don’t understand why we have such a known actor in.

Support Cast: The Vatican Tapes has a supporting cast which are all about wondering what is happening and are trying to solve the problem.

Director Review: Mark NeveldineMark gives us a good couple of twists to the story we are used to seeing.

 

Horror: The Vatican Tapes has all the horror elements need for a possession based movie.

Thriller: The Vatican Tapes does try to keep us guessing throughout which works throughout.

Settings: The Vatican Tapes tries to keep the settings looking like an everyday location to try and show how easily it can happen.
Special Effects
: The Vatican Tapes has good effects to show what is happening with the possession side of the events.

Suggestion: The Vatican Tapes is one for the horror fans to try if you are a possession based fan this is good choice for you. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Final twist.

Worst Part: We have seen most of this before.

 

Believability: It’s you want you want to believe

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8,405,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline:  For 2,000 years the Vatican has recorded evidence of evil. May God have mercy on their souls.

Trivia: The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2009 Blacklist, a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

 

Overall: One of the stronger possession based films.

Ratingcard