James Bond Month – Spectre (2015)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: A cryptic message from 007’s past sends him pitted against a mysterious terrorist organization called Spectre, and learns of its involvement in previous events of his most dangerous missions.


Tagline – The dead are alive

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tries Too Hard to be an Espionage Movie

 

Story: Spectre starts as James Bond (Craig) heads to Mexico in search for his own reasons where he learns about a mysterious terrorist known as the Pale King, he doesn’t leave without causing damage, which forces M (Fiennes) to ground him from active duty.

James goes against orders, going in search of the terrorist group which after his actions in having one of its first meetings in years, to appoint a replacement to the table, where the leader (Waltz) and M have now made James their number one target, forcing James to turn to an old enemy for help.

 

Thoughts on Spectre

 

Characters – James Bond has reached the peak of his experience, he will still break the rules when it comes to tracking down a lead, only now he will need to learn to overcome modern technology placed on him to elude his superiors. James will need to take on Spectre the very group which has been involved in trying to cause chaos in all his mission. Blofeld is the leader of Spectre, the man that has been pulling all the strings, a man that has faked his own death to rise to the position of power, where his ultimate control will see him seek the power to watch the world. Madeleine is the daughter of an old enemy, she has become a target for Spectre, which means she must come out of hiding to work with James, not willing to be one of the women in James’s love life though. M is trying to keep James in line, while also dealing with the ideas that somebody C is trying to push through a new surveillance that would see the 00 branch closed. Hinx is the main hitman that is tracking down James, his is the silent type, that is bigger, more powerful and even smart, a pure brute of a hitman.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to not put a foot wrong in this role, handling the action and giving the cold responses to anything asked of him. Christoph Waltz just doesn’t reach the levels we know he can, it is partly because the character isn’t given the deserved time though. Lea Seydoux does well in her role, but often takes second fiddle to the scenes with Daniel in surrounding the action moments. Ralph Fiennes does step into this role well, while Dave Bautista does make for one of the more memorable hitmen in the Craig era of Bond.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission, which sees him coming face to face with one of the most famous villains in the franchise history Blofeld who has had hand in each of the missions he has been involved in. The base of this James Bond mission is everything we have seen before, seeing him travelling the world to fight the villain of the piece, the problem with the storytelling comes from focusing too heavily on the side part of the film which sees M needing to prove the worth of the 00 branch which is connected to the bigger picture, but takes away the reason we enjoy these films about an all out action spy star. The fact the story does continue to operate in a universe where each film is connected is also a big plus because the consequences of the actions in the previous films are being felt throughout this one.

Action/AdventureThe action in this outing does once again give us a brilliant opening sequence, which slowly turns into enhanced versions of what we have seen before through the franchise, though we do get more of a feel of an adventure here, with the locations James visits.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the unique moments in the film, be it the opening in Mexico, the Austrian mountain range or the Italian meeting place, they all give the film a unique look at how everything unfolds.


Scene of the Movie –
Mexico City.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Monica Bellucci is criminally underused.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining Bond movie, when it comes to the spy side of everything nothing feels out of place, but as soon as we start looking at side stories, things start to fizzle out.

 

Overall: Entertaining Bond Outing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Hotel Artemis (2018)

Director: Drew Pearce

Writer: Drew Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.


Tagline – No Guns, No Cops, No Killing The Other Patients 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Film

 

Story: Hotel Artemis starts in the future with a riot running through LA, bank robbers Waikiki (Brown) and his brother Honolulu (Henry) get injured which leads them to the criminal hospital known as Hotel Artemis, run by the Nurse (Foster), you must be a member to be treated in this hospital and her clients including Nice (Boutella) and Acapulco (Bautista).

The Nurse’s night doesn’t get any easier when the building owner’s son Crosby (Quinto) wants to be treated, breaking the rules to get to the location and when cop Morgan (Slate) breaks through she must help her too. Her only protection comes from orderly Everest (Bautista), as the night turns into chaos.

 

Thoughts on Hotel Artemis

 

Characters – The Nurse runs a criminal hospital disguised like a hotel, she has exclusive memberships which will see her help injured criminals for money, if you don’t follow the rules you don’t get treated, she does have a dark past though which has kept her inside for years. Waikiki is the smarter of the brother’s who have just committed a robbery, he takes his injured brother to the hotel, which does seem him being nosey while he is being treated. His brother Honolulu gets injured in the escape, his choice to what to steal leads to the chaos within the hotel. Nice is an assassin planning her latest job, which will involve a patient in the hospital. Niagara is the king of crime, he helped start up the hotel knowing just how good The Nurse is at curing people. Morgan is a cop that has a connection to the Nurse’s family, she is the only cop that she has helped in her time in the hotel. Crosby is the youngest son of Niagara, he is a loose cannon not willing to take no as an answer. Acapulco is a magician that is currently in the hotel, he talks too much believing that he can talk or buy his way out of anything. Everest is the orderly in the hotel, he deals with any unwanted guests and does the odd jobs around the hotel. There is a problem with the characters though and that is, that we must have codenames and real names, depending on who are the ones that know who.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Jodie Foster is the highlight because she is the only good person involved out of the people that get enough time to do anything. This is the problem for most of the stars, they just don’t get enough time to make the biggest impact, Dave Bautista however does seem to enjoy his role in the film getting to play the biggest member and the funniest member of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the events inside a secret hospital disguised as a hotel to which criminals come for medical attention, only this night is when riots have taken over the city and the rules are about to be broken. The story works for the fast pace style of this movie, we do have to digest a lot of characters, nine main ones which clearly doesn’t give the characters enough time to do their thing. The strangest way to describe this story, would be that it feels like a season finale to an interesting world we don’t get to experience enough. I do think this is extremely watchable as a story though, never getting too complicated even with the pure number of characters we have.

Action/Crime/Sci-FiThe action is fast paced shooting mostly, we have a couple of fights, it shows how the underworld needs to operate to stay afloat. The crime world we see just how many people will visit this hospital in search of help. The future shows just how hectic the world has become.

SettingsThe film is set inside the Hotel Artemis, which is a secret hospital in the middle of the city for criminals, it is a clever idea to make our characters only facing off within the walls.

Special EffectsThe effects are shown mostly in how the surgery happens using newer technology which doesn’t seem too far away.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the characters just don’t get enough time to make an impact.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fast paced action film, it does have good performances even if it does become crowded in places, we have a clever idea which at least is original from Hollywood.

 

Overall: Fun and easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Final Score (2018)

Director: Scott Mann

Writer: Jonathan Frank, David T Lynch, Keith Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Stevenson, Martyn Ford, Ralph Brown, Victoria Broom, Lucy Gaskell, Lara Peake

 

Plot: After deadly terrorists abduct his niece at a soccer match, an ex-soldier with lethal fighting skills wages a one-man war to save her and prevent mass destruction.


Tagline – 35,000 lives. 90 minutes. No extra time

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action Delight

 

Story: Final Score starts when Michael Knox (Bautista) visits his niece Danni (Peake) in London to take her to the last ever game at the Boelyn Stadium for West Ham in a European Semi Final (This is hilarious because West Ham haven’t been near one in decades) against a Russian team called Dynamo FC.

With his niece going to be with her boyfriend, Michael must search for her, which just so happens to become locked down by terrorist Arkady (Stevenson) who wants to use the game to kill his brother Dimitri (Brosnan), when Michael learns of the problem, he must become a one man fight to save the stadium.

 

Thoughts on Final Score

 

Characters – Michael Knox is a soldier that has travelled the globe fighting the good cause, his brother was lost in battle and he watches over his niece taking her to football matches. He sees that there is a big problem and uses his training to save his niece and the people in the stadium. Arkady is the terrorist that has taken over the stadium, the former war criminal will do anything to get his hands on his brother even if it means killing everyone in the stadium. Dimitri is the brother that recreated his life after leaving his brother to be destroyed and bring peace to their home country, he is now the target for the nights terrorist actions. In the rest of the characters we get the typical men working for Arkady, the one that is bigger than Michael, the bad ass woman and the tech heavy one etc, we also have the rebellious teenager and the quick talking steward.

PerformancesDave Bautista has been steadily getting on with the action genre, he does a good job once again as the reluctant hero of the situation, handling the combat scenes well and looking like the uncle that would only scare boys away from the niece. Ray Stevenson in the villainous role is good to never letting his accent drop through the film. Pierce Brosnan is good even though he doesn’t really do too much in the film, as are the rest of the cast working well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man that must stop a terrorist attack within a certain amount of time, 90 minutes well 105 minutes if you include half time. This is simple enough for a story and by having the countdown helps us feel like part of the action. This does follow the trend of any action film which can be compared to Die Hard, only this time in a football stadium. When we look at the villains motives we get mixed feelings as it seems simple to start with only to become overly complicated when we get the mass numbers outside the stadium trying to stop anything happening. Overall the story isn’t challenging, it is watchable and enjoyed which is all we want to see.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the fights, which all play into Dave Bautista’s strengths, with the highlight of the film being the motorcycle chase through the stadium, which shouldn’t work only to be brilliant.

SettingsThe film is set inside Upton Park, now this could be easy to say this is Die Hard in a football stadium and it is, but having the match going on at the same time gives us a true look at the time rolling by and just how difficult it would be to stop people from knowing what is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film don’t always look good, but strangely enough fit the movie well.


Scene of the Movie –
Motorbike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too hard to believe West Ham would be in a semi-final in European football.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action film that gets most things right to make us enjoy what we are seeing, easy to watch and shows Bautista to be a good action star.

 

Overall: Action packed fun.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay) Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark DiSalle (Characters)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sara Malakul Lane

 

Plot: A kick boxer is out to avenge his brother.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Kickboxer: Vengeance starts as Kurt Sloane (Moussi) arrives in Thailand in search for underground fighter Tong Po (Bautista) the man that killed his brother Eric (Shahlavi) in one of the underground fights. Eric was trained by Durand (Van Damme) a master in his own right.

When Kurt’s plan goes wrong Tong Po has his arrested leaving local cop Liu (Lane) to hide him in Durand’s place, where he can have the training he requires if he is ever going to be able to fight Tong Po.

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Vengeance

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane is the young brother of champion fighter, he has trained with him and saw his brother killed in an underground fight. He is out for vengeance, first he must be trained by Durand to be ready to take on such a fighter, while this is a simple character to create, we don’t see him win all his fights preparing for Tong Po, so it is hard to take him serious in a full fight. Tong Po is the champion fighter in Thailand, he is known to have the largest body count in the fighting world, he will fight for honour in the battles, he won’t turn to dirty tricks, making him a strange villain to behold. Master Durand is the man that is training Kurt and his brother previously, an expert in Mauy Thai making him an expert to be learning from. Marcia is the lady pulling the strings, she is setting up the fights to make her own money. We do end up meeting more characters than you would expect, we have cops, corrupt and one that is helping Kurt and other fighters that want to learn from masters.

PerformancesAlain Moussi takes the leading role, known more for his stunt work and fight co-ordination, he does a good job stepping into the shoes made famous by Van Damme himself. Dave Bautista is always going to be a threating villain and he isn’t afraid to step into these roles, he has the look and attitude to pull them off with ease. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the film franchise which made him famous, this time he takes the mentor role and does everything you expect from him. While it isn’t her own fault, I do feel like we wasted what we could have had from Gina Carano.

StoryThis is a soft remake of the much loved original, with the Sloane brothers facing Tong Po, get this side of the story straight, it was an easy to follow idea in the first place and this doesn’t do anything to over-complicate things either, it does modernise certain aspects which is good to see, but in the end bottles down to the idea of one man wanting vengeance for his brother’s death, we have the training time and the questioned asked whether it is right or wrong, simple to follow and all we need.

Action/CrimeThe action is the fighting sequences which are hard hitting with different styles through the rounds. The crime story shows us the underground fighting going on.

SettingsThe film is set in Thailand and shows us the big city, the training grounds and the underground fight arenas.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly confusing why Kurt was escorted out of the country.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie with hard hitting fighting sequences that does everything you want in this style of movie.

 

Overall: Hard hitting action film.

Rating