Franchise Weekend – Ip Man 2 (2010)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Tai-lee Chan, Hiu-Yan Choi, Edmond Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Xiaoming Huang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Lynn Hung, Kent Cheng, Darren Shahlavi

 

Plot: Centering on Ip Man’s migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Actioner

 

Story: Ip Man 2 starts in 1949, as Ip Man (Yen) has migrated to Hong Kong to start his own martial arts school, struggle for pupils early on it is Wong Shun-Leung (Huang) who becomes his first student, one of many who want to learn the art of Wing Chun. Ip must also come to terms with the causalities of the war with the friends that are no longer the same.

Ip clashes with fellow Master Hung Chun-Nam (Hung) who also has control of the city, this forces Ip into passing tests to prove himself worthy of being able to train in the city. This soon turns into a city-wide battle between the students trying to honour their masters.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man 2

 

Characters – Ip Man find himself residing in Hong Kong, he looks to pass on his training to anyone who wants to learn but he must stand up for what he believes in against the Master who runs the city to prove he is the true master. Leung is the first student Ip recruits, he is rash at times but his determination is everything needed to learn. Master Hung runs the city, he sees Ip as a threat to his power but over the course of the film the two learn to put aside their difference to face a common enemy.

PerformanceDonnie Yen once again shines in this leading role showing us once again that he is ready to be the biggest name in martial arts films. Xiaoming Huang is also good in this supporting role showing us a student role needed for the movie. Sammo Hung is great in his role as the rival master that grows respect through the film, it plays it all straight throughout. The performance throughout are good though the Brits do feel out of place in the film with their performances that do feel over the top.

StoryThe story does follow Ip Man as he must overcome a foreign enemy as well as one from home. Yes, the enemy isn’t as deadly to the whole country this time but it does show how he will stand up for his martial art form against anyone who is willing to get in his way and gain respect from the people that doubted him. It does feel like the previous formula once more with less of a threat but a deadlier final showdown.

Action/Biography/Sports The action here is fantastic with the combat sequences looking and feeling like the punches and kicks are real, this is also a look at another chapter of Ip Man’s life and what his belief and martial arts style bought to the world.

SettingsThe settings have changed but they still look like we are part of the movie for each of the experience Ip Man goes through.

Scene of the Movie – The massive fish market battle early on, because of the scale of the battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Brits are made to be complete assholes.

Final ThoughtsA sequel worthy of standing tall next to the first and one that can be enjoyed picking up in the middle too.

 

Overall: Must watch again for martial arts fans.

Rating

 

 

Pound of Flesh (2015)

logoDirector: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Joshua James (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Darren Shahlavi, Charlotte Peters, John Ralston, Aki Aleong, Jason Tobin, Kevin Lee

Plot: A man’s heroic attempt to help a woman in distress ends up with him waking up the next day without a kidney and plotting his revenge.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Good Simple Action Movie

Story: Pound of Flesh starts with Deacon (Van Damme) arriving in Philippines checking into his hotel before waking up in an ice bath trying to piece together what has happened. The flashback includes Deacon breaking up a man Drake (Shahlavi) beating up his partner Ana (Peters), who later brings him back to the hotel room where she drugs him and has an organ removed.

Deacon calls upon an old friend Kung (Aleong) as we meet George (Ralston) Deacon’s brother who has been waiting for Deacon to give his kidney to his dying daughter. Deacon starts retracing his steps to locate this kidney, leaving bodies laying in his way. He is against time because when time runs out his niece will die.

Pound of Flesh puts a slightly different twist on the action genre, we have seen so many films that end up being drug, robbery or basic nonsense, but this ends up using the human body part transplants. Having the hero lose a body part and want to get it back for a heroic reason works and tries to put the heart into the action much like The Warrior King. The action side of the story will end up coming average, but the story adds some heart to the fight. (7/10)

Actor Review

Jean-Claude Van Damme: Deacon is a man with a secret past coming to help his distant brother as his daughter who needs a new kidney. He finds himself drugged and his kidney stolen, he has to piece together the events of the night before to track down the people responsible for stealing hi kidney before it is too late. Jean-Claude does a good job giving us the performance we would expect. (7/10)deacon

Darren Shahlavi: Drake is the man who has the idea to steal Deacon’s kidney, he is calculated and uses his skills of SAS training to make him a deadly enemy. Darren does a solid job but really doesn’t get enough screen time for his role. (6/10)drake

Charlotte Peters: Ana is the escort that comes onto Deacon so the kidney can be taken, she doesn’t understand what is at stake thinking this would just be a big pay day for herself. Charlotte gives a basic début performance but doesn’t get enough screen time. (5/10)

John Ralston: George is Deacon’s brother that has to put aside his differences to help his daughter, he ends up joining forces with his brother and uses his brains to solve the situation rather than his brother’s muscles. John does a good job being the opposite to Deacon. (7/10)george

Aki Aleong: Kung is an old associate of Deacon who helps them discover the truth about who stole the kidney. He tries to keep Deacon out of trouble or on the safe path as he goes through the underground looking for his kidney. Aki does a good job in the role mostly as guide though. (6/10)

Support Cast: Pound of Flesh has generic supporting characters that really don’t end up adding much to the film just someone for Deacon to kill.

Director Review: Ernie BarbarashErnie gives us a solid action that ends up giving up plenty of heart. (7/10)

Action: Pound of Flesh gives us the action we expect to see without giving us anything breath taking. (5/10)

Thriller: Pound of Flesh does make you interested in what will happen but you have the constant feel of what will happen. (7/10)

Settings: Pound of Flesh give us the location of the Asian to make it generic underground idea in a new country. (5/10)

Suggestion: Pound of Flesh is one for the action fans to enjoy because it entertains. (Action Fans Watch)

Best Part: The heart side of the story.

Worst Part: Action is slight generic.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final fight.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Trivia: Pound of Flesh is dedicated to the memory of British actor Darren Shahlavi who plays the films main villain Goran, who passed away in January 2015.

Overall: Solid Action film that gets to show of Jean Claude Van Damme skills.

Rating 60

Alone in the Dark (2005)

logoDirector: Uwe Boll

Writer: Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch, Peter Scheerer (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, Frank C Turner, Matthew Walker, Will Sanderson, Mark Acheson, Darren Shahlavi, Karin Kinival

 

Plot: Based on the video game, Alone in the Dark focuses on Edward Carnby, a detective of the paranormal, who slowly unravels a mysterious events with deadly results.

 

Verdict: Video Game Butchery

 

Story: I am going to first look at this only as a story, no opinions on the CGI or casting choices. If you were to look at the story as a solo idea you get a solid action horror. Now I hear people going ‘no its just crap’ so let’s look at the details. First off we have an idea of scientific experiment on children to create sleepers, but something goes wrong so we don’t see why it happened until more discoveries in the future. Then we have a search for hidden treasures of a lost ancient people. Add in a paranormal investigator, a secret government paranormal investigating team and the search for a truth. Now looking at those factors we should have a good story not special but enjoyable. Now with terrible casting decisions, awful CGI and a script that could have been written but a child everything goes south fast. As an idea for a story this is good, but as an execution of a story it’s bad. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Slater: Edward Carnby a paranormal investigator who has been trying to uncover the truth about his childhood, this puts him in danger as this time he has got closer than ever before. He must team up with his old organisation to final uncover the truth that has lost him the memories of his childhood. Slater strolls for this role without showing any of the skills that made him a star in the early 90s. (5/10)

 slater

Tara Reid: Aline Cedrac assistant curator at the museum who also happens to be Edward’s girlfriend, she gets caught up in the middle of the battle after she uncover the location of the door. Going to take a deep breath before going for this one, just no how did this happen? Try your luck in romantic comedies. (2/10)

reid

Stephen Dorff: Commander Burke leader of a military team trying to keep the monsters away from the public, old partner of Edward but after seeing the truth he teams up with them to uncover the truth. Stephen can act and has proven it many times, just need to give him something to work with. (4/10)

dorff 

Frank C Turner: Sam an old connection within the organisation that still communicates with Edward, he fills in the science gaps and you can guess what happens to him by the end. Basic supporting performance. (4/10)

 fisher

Matthew Walker: Professor Hudgens scientist trying to open the door to the truth about the ancient people, he will do anything to get his answers including sacrificing anybody who gets in his way. As villains go this is generic one that doesn’t need too much to make them special. (4/10)

 profes

Director Review: Uwe Boll – He not only managed to mess up a relatively easy story with awful CGI and lack of directing ideas. (2/10)

 

Action: Plenty of guns being fired, not sure if they ever hit anything as everything is in the pitch black. (3/10)

Horror: Doesn’t give you any scares, frights, well made with the acting. (1/10)

Settings: The settings used for the gun fights are used well, because they would make real settings for such a discover if someone wanted to keep it quiet. (6/10)
Special Effects
: Terrible special effects that I only saw one good one and that was a soldier’s head split in two. (1/10)

Suggestion: I think if you are bored one night and this is on it would be acceptable to watch it as it slips close to the line of so bad you have to see. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: The idea

Worst Part: The CGI, Acting and Execution of the idea.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Actually has one sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $10 Million

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Can mankind defeat the army of darkness unleashed by an ancient evil cult?

 

Overall: Not only did this film destroy the source material, it ruined any chance the video game had of returning.

Rating 35

The Marine 3: Homefront (2013)

logo

Director: Scott Viper

Writer: Scott Viper, Declan O’Brien (Screenplay)

Starring: Mike Mizanin, Neal McDonough, Ashley Bell, Camille Sullivan, Michael Eklund, Jeffrey Ballard, Darren Shahlavi, Jared Keeso

 

Story: Sgt. Jake Carter (Mizanin) returns home after his active duty. Jake comes home to see some changes to the small town he grew up in, with his two sisters Amanda (Sullivan) and Lilly (Bell) waiting for him. While some things have changed Jake still wants to protect his loved ones, but his overprotection only drives his younger sister Lilly further away.

Everything seems to be running smoothly in the town until terrorist Jonah Pope (McDonough) and his men turn up in town. After Lilly witnesses Jonah execute a man, Lilly and her boyfriend Darren (Ballard) is kidnapped By Jonah. With the FBI hot on Jonah tail Jake goes against them in Rambo style mission to save his sister before it is too late.

 

Lilly after being kidnapped

Lilly after being kidnapped

Verdict: Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin steps into the shoes of the Marine previously played by John Cena and Ted Dibiase. The Marine Homefront returns to a more central location and personal scenario. The tempo of this film is huge plus point with the comfortable slow feeling for the Carter family reunion but once the action starts it just doesn’t stop. It may follow a few clichés but they all work to its advantage of not needing to spend too much time on the character development. With a few twists and turns you expect to have in a Marine film this doesn’t fail to deliver them.

Action: Strong action that never lets you take a breath. (9/10)

Thriller: An edge of the seat ride. (9/10)

Settings: Small town in America good setting without having to use too much to make the battleground easy to set out. (8/10)

Suggestion: If you can get past the fact a wrestler is the lead you will enjoy this film, a very back to basic action film of an all American hero saving his family and country. So if you like a simple to follow action film this is one for you to see. (8/10)

Star Performance: Neal McDonough – Always brilliant in a role of cold calculated villain, this role showed his motive to question how evil he is or is he just pushing for change too hard.  jonah

Favourite Character: Jake Carter – Strong minded, ruthless and kick ass would be best to describe Jake. 

 the miz

Best Part: Some of the fight scenes.

Worst Part: Bit short really.

Trivia: Randy Orton was cast as the Marine but after it emerged about his questionable time as a Marine The Miz was cast instead.

Similar Too: The Marine, 12 Rounds

Overall: An adrenaline action film with plenty of guns, fights and awesomeness

Rating 85%