ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – War (2007)

Director: Philip G Atwell

Writer: Lee Anthony Smith, Gregory J Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzman, Saul Rubinek, Ryo Ishibashi

 

Plot: An FBI Agent seeks vengeance on a mysterious assassin known as “Rogue” who murdered his partner.


Tagline – One wants justice, the other wants revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Twist Filled Film

 

Story: War starts when Crawford (Statham) and his partner Tom (Chen) are trying to locate the known assassin for hire Rogue (Li) the investigation takes a turn, when Tom and his family are murdered by Rogue. Joining a task force in hunt for Rogue, while watching over the two rival gangs the Triads and Yakuza, with Chang (Lone) and Shiro (Ishibashi) leading each side.

When Rogue starts playing both sides, Crawford sees the war coming, can Crawford finally get his hands on the man that killed his partner or will he become the latest victim of the mysterious assassin.

 

Thoughts on War

 

Characters – Rogue is the mysterious assassin that killed Tom’s whole family, he has been working for the Yakuza for years, but now he has switched sides to the Triads, he hasn’t been caught and is know for getting facial reconstruction to hide his identity. Rogue does have his own plans for his latest job which sees him going head to head with Crawford. Crawford is the FBI agent that is sees his partner murdered, he has been chasing Rogue for years and now he will do everything he can to final catch him and end his reign of terror, which has cost him his own wife. Chang is the leader of the Triads that has been able to keep business from persona life, he easily trust a former enemy though. Kira is running the operations for the Yakuza in San Francisco for her father being the only person he can trust.

PerformancesJet Li was in his prime during the mid-2000s, this shows he could be the cold-hearted killer, just as deadly with a gun than his fists. Jason Statham continued to make an impact on the action genre, he works well in this role being the detective we need for the film. John Lone, Devon Aoki and Ryo Ishibashi complete the supporting cast with effective ability doing what is needed for the film.

StoryThe story follows an FBI agent tracking a mysterious assassin who killed his partner, which sees him reappear when two rival gangs are about to go into full blown war. This does seem like a story that is going down one simple line, it is very busy with four different people planning their attacks to stay on top of the game. This is an action story that does get elevated by the final act which does turn everything on its head, making you want to go back and see if you can pick up on the clues being laid.

Action/CrimeThe action in War is combat based, be it the hand to hand fights or the gun flying around making the body count rise. We are completely in the criminal underworld of the Triad and Yakuza war.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which shows us how America has become overrun by international gang wars looking to expand their businesses.


Scene of the Movie –
Shiro versus Rogue fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain flashbacks are annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great action packed movie that is well worth a watch, it does have a killer twist which will make it stand out from the rest.

 

Overall: Wonderful action packed film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Director: Corey Yuen

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden

 

Plot: The world’s best fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. There, four female rival fighters will have to work together to uncover the secret that the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.


Tagline – You’re Invited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Guilty Pleasure

 

Story: DOA: Dead or Alive starts as we meet our three leading ladies, wrestling royalty Tina Armstrong (Pressly) who wants to prove herself in legitimate fighting, Chinese princess Kasumi (Aoki) who leaves her clan to find out what happened to her brother at last year’s tournament and master thief Christie Allen (Valance) who can fight her way out of any corner.

The three get selected to enter this year’s DOA tournament along with 12 other competitors along with daughter of the creature Helena (Carter), they get sent to remote island where the three becomes friends and fight for the prize pool which will see them waiting for their opponents to be selected.

 

Thoughts on DOA: Dead or Alive

 

Characters – Tina Armstrong is an American wrestler, she has been on the top of that world and has always dealt with people questioning her own fighting ability, this tournament will give her a chance to show just how good she is. Kasumi is a princess of a Chinese clan, forbidden to leave the temple or face death, her brother vanished in the last tournament, she will go against tradition and face death in an attempt to uncover the truth about her brother. Christie Allen is a master thief whose latest job attracts the attention of the organisers of the tournament, she along with her partner have other plans while on the island. Helena is the daughter of the creator of the tournament, this is her first year on entry and she wants to do her father proud.

PerformancesThis is a movie which hired actresses that needed to look extra sexy, we can see this from our main four women, each comes from different backgrounds which shows in the performances where they all handle the fighting well, with Jaime Pressley giving us the best performance outside of the fighting.

StoryThe story follows three women bought from different background to enter a fighting tournament on a mysterious island, unlike most fighting tournaments, these can happened whether you get informed about your opponent which does give us different locations for the fights, it also shows us how the honour between these fighters is shown, with none of the fighters being the villainous side of the story. this is a video game turned film, so we know the story isn’t going to need to be the deepest and as long as we see the people fight we will be happy. Things do go over the top in the final act of the story which is fine again, for a video game story it all makes sense. There are clearly holes in the story which comes from where the defeated competitors go after losing and having one extra side story feels like we have slightly too much going on at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is a mix of different fights in different locations with the final fight in the temple being the true highlight on this side of everything. the adventure side of the film takes our characters from around the world ready to compete in the tournament.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on the solo island location, we get the beach, temple and hotel locations shown for the fights.

Special EffectsThe film does have moments of effects which are not as strong as they should be, with explosions and moments in the fights not looking that impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
Christie’s introduction is so ridiculous.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Disappearing characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily become people’s guilty pleasure, it has solid enough action scenes making it an acceptable video adaptation.

 

Overall: Video Game Joy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Screenplay) Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Thom Barry, James Remar, Devon Aoki

 

Plot: Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: 2 Fast 2 Furious starts as Brian (Walker) is now a wanted man, he leaves LA heading for Miami to start a new life on the street racing scene. Getting his races from Tej (Ludacris), Brian has built up his own reputation on the streets.

Once Brian is captured by the FBI Agent Bilkins (Barry) and Agent Markham (Remar) who want Brian to go undercover once more but this time investigating Carter Verone (Hauser) who is recruiting street racers through fellow undercover officer Monica (Mendes), Brian one rule to make this happen is he gets to bring in Roman (Gibson).

The drop that Brian and Roman must make points them in a hard position but with friends around the town, they make their own plan to stick it to Carter and Agent Markham.

 

Thoughts on 2 Fast 2 Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian fresh on the run enjoying the street racing scene, he gets dragged back into the undercover world but this time as an informant bringing in a friend from the past as we learn about his actions in the first film. Roman is the friend, who has suffered from the effects of Brian’s actions before we met him, he is rash, but brilliant behind the wheel and always talks himself into trouble. Villain wise we have Carter a rich criminal who is in need of drivers, he is deadly when you cross him but otherwise nothing unusual for the villain scene. Monica is the eye candle involved in the film who is the Brian character to the world.

Performance wise this is all good, Paul Walker is of course the highlight of the film with Mendes bringing all the sex appeal you need from her. Gibson does add a comical tone to the film which we do see get built on through the franchise. Cole Hauser is fine as a villain but you never believe he would be a threat for anyone.

StoryMuch like the first film this is a heist movie at heart, we have the street racing needed to build the team and respect but otherwise this is in the same vein as the Transporter movie. This is all fun easy to follow but tries to build the characters within the universe.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is all what you would expect from the first film but offers nothing new, the crime world is now Miami but again isn’t too different either if you are left wondering what will happen next.

SettingsMiami does make for a great setting as the franchise looks to expand to new locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between and all work well without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good second chapter of the Brian character, it is a shame that we didn’t see Vin Diesel return because we did see the franchise revolving around him. This isn’t anything new but is easy to follow.

 

Overall: Solid sequel is all good but not great.

Rating