Kidnap (2017)

Director: Luis Prieto

Writer: Knate Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lewis Temple, Jason George

 

Plot: A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.


Tagline – They messed with the wrong mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thrilling Thrill-Ride

 

Story: Kidnap starts as single mother Karla (Berry) who works as a waitress is shown working her ass off just to get time to spend with her son Frankie (Correa) which the afternoon offers her. The trip takes a turn when a moment of dealing with her ex’s demands leads to her son getting kidnapped but unknown people and the glimpse of the captures leads to a high speed chase down the freeways.

How far with Karla go to rescue her son but just what is the motives of the kidnappers, that is the questions we are left to wonder about.

 

Thoughts on Kidnap

 

Characters – Karla is the waitress that works extra hard to keep everything together for her son Frankie, in one of those moments of looking after her son she finds herself distracted with a phone call and finds herself chasing down the kidnappers. We get to see the determination she is to save her son through the film showing that he is the only important part of her life. Frankie is the son that has been kidnapped. Margo is one of the kidnappers who has taken Frankie for seemingly money, I do feel like we needed to learn more about their motivation.

PerformancesHalle Berry is strong in her role in the film, she doesn’t have the look of someone who would win in a physical battle which is why she makes a great opponent for the kidnappers, the other performances are good without getting enough time to make the full impact in the film.

StoryThe story is single parent has child taken and will not stop until they get their child back. This has always been entertaining but we are used to seeing a father in the role who would win in a fight, having a waitress shows how she must use her brain to win this but also use her surroundings in the car. Outside of the chase you are left wondering why no one seems to be reporting the car chases through the highways and not learning too much about the kidnappers does take something away because you are left wondering why they would risk so much for a child for only a little money, but I guess this does play into the idea we only see things from Karla’s point of view.

ThrillerWe are kept on the edge of our seats in this movie because we know Karla can’t do too much once she catches the kidnappers, because it could mean hurting her own son. The idea of waiting to see how far things will go is interesting and edge of your seat.

SettingsThe film keep the location on the move which works because it is mainly a chase with the final act in one location showing us the underworld that has been created.


Scene of the Movie –
New car to chase showing the goodness in Karla.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kidnappers seem to make rash decisions which should only get them caught.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice intense easy to watch thriller, sure it has flaws but not every film needs to be perfect sometimes you just need to be entertained.

 

Overall: Fun easy to watch thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating

 

 

Monster’s Ball (2001)

logoDirector: Marc Forster

Writer: Milo Addica, Will Rokos (Screenplay)

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Peter Boyle, Mos Def, Sean Combs

 

Plot: After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard re-examines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

Story: Monster’s Ball starts by introducing us to Hank Grotowski (Thornton) who seems to be a friendly man around town, he has a son Sonny (Ledger) who enjoys his drink and prostitutes and also lives with his father Buck (Boyle). Buck has raised Hank to be racist against blacks including chasing them off his property. Hank is a prison guard and has got his son a job there too where he is teaching the ways of the system after personal mistakes.

We see that the prison is preparing for the execution of Lawrence Musgrove (Combs), we see how Lawrence is having his final visit with his family Leticia (Berry) and his son Tyrell. Promised one final phone call to his son Lawrence has this taken away from him by the warden and it is up to Hank and Sonny to look after Lawrence for his final hours. The execution itself goes through correctly the final walk doesn’t go as plan because of Sonny.

This failure leads to a domestic fight between Hank and Sonny before the next morning Sonny confronts Hank before killing himself. After this personal tragedy Hank quits his job leading to him to have his father look down on him but when he is trying to figure out what to do he finds Leticia on the side of the road with her son seriously injured after being hit by a car. For this first time Hank stops to help a black person showing that he is starting to change but it is too for the boy who dies because of the injuries.

Hank and Leticia both have suffered the loss of a child that they both were too strict which leads them both to have a common issue in their lives. It isn’t long before the two become friends and romantically involved, but things take a turn when they learn about the original connection they had in the past.

Monster’s Ball was a film that got all of the Oscar talk and then only managed to get a few nominations, it does tell a very powerful story about loss and moving on which comes off very well. It shows how a potential negative upbringing can make you make the same mistakes and that you will need to change before it is too late. The film also shows how a racial opinion can continue down through a generation without properly seeing the problem. I will say the story won’t be for everyone but it is one of the most powerful. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

Billy Bob Thornton: Hank Grotowski a good prison guard who has been raised to be racist but hides it for the most part, but when it comes out we see his true colours. Hank also has problems with his own son who he has been trying to help clean up his act but his strictness leads to tragedy. After his own tragedy he gets involved with Leticia who is also struggling with her own loss. Billy gives a great performance. (8/10)

 

Halle Berry: Leticia Musgrove whose husband in on death row and her child is overweight, but after her husband’s execution she wants to continue her life. Tragedy strikes again in her life when her son is hit by a car and dies leading to her getting a helping hand of Hank. Halle gives an Oscar winning performance here and shows why she got the award. (10/10)

Heath Ledger: Sonny Grotowski son of Hank who has had problems before but is trying to turn his life around. When things don’t go as Hank played he ends up making a point before killing himself. Heath gives a solid supporting performance and showed how good he was in his short time on screen. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Monster’s Ball has a supporting cast that all have different opinions on the situation of the world, we see the racist father, the locked up prisoner or fellow victims of the racism. Each member helps the final story unfold.

Director Review: Marc Forster – Marc does a good job directing this powerful drama putting out characters through a full range of emotions. (8/10)

 

Drama: Monster’s Ball is very powerful putting the characters through some tough moments in their lives. (9/10)

Romance: Monster’s Ball has an almost awkward romantic angle that helps change both the characters lives. (8/10)

Settings: Monster’s Ball uses the settings well to show the difference in living class of the two main characters. (9/10)

Suggestion: Monster’s Ball is one to try, it might not be for everyone but the ones who do watch it will find it very powerful. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Seeing the change in Hank over the course of the film.

Worst Part: Very depressing film.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars and winning Best Actress.

Box Office: $45 Million

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

Tagline: A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.

 

Overall: Monster’s Ball is a very powerful film that deserved the praise it got.

Rating 85

Executive Decision (1996)

logoDirector: Stuart Baird

Writer: Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Berry, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Joe Morton, DB Wong, Len Cariou, Whip Hubley, Andrea Katsulas

 

Plot: When terrorists seize control of an airliner, an intelligence analyst accompanies a commando unit for a mid-air boarding operation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: All Thriller Less Action

 

Story: Executive Decision starts by showing Colonel Austin Travis (Seagal) and his men taking down a house in Italy. The mission comes to be a failure when no hostages are found. Next we meet trainee pilot Doctor David Grant (Russell) who has been running a mission to take down known terrorist. The terrorists take over an airplane demanding that El Sayed Jaffa (Katsulas) or they will detonate more bombs. Grant and Travis along with the rest of the defence team for United States must come up with an idea to save the passengers. Travis calls for Dennis Cahill (Platt) and his researching idea to board the plane.

Travis gets his team together Rat (Leguizamo), Cappy (Morton) Louie (Wong) Baker (Hubley) Doc (Neihaus) and Grant set out on the mission. When the mission meets has a few problems Grant and Cahill end up stuck on the plane and the team loses one of their own. On board the team must figure out if a nerve agent is on board while remaining undetected as well as make contact with America to let them know the answer and that they are on board.

Executive Decision goes in the direction of all thrills, it holds back the action to let the tension build. We don’t get anything truly original but it follows the book page by page. The story tries to throw us a few twists in the story but ends up explaining them before they happen. This is pretty simple to follow and you know exactly what you are going to get just switch your brain off and enjoy. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Kurt Russell: Dr. David Grant an intelligence analyst who believes that the terrorists on the plane are going to bring a nerve bomb to America. He teams up with a team of commandos who board the plane trying to take back over it. Kurt gives a good performance in the level you would expect this action star. (7/10)

 

Steven Seagal: Lt. Colonel Austin Travis leader of the commandos whose men have to take the plane without being known. Steven doesn’t last as long as you would expect though. (5/10)

 

Halle Berry: Jean a flight attendant who tries to keep the passengers happy all while secretly helping the commandos. Halle gives a solid performance and does what little she needs to do. (5/10)

 

Oliver Platt: Dennis Cahill engineer who has the plane to attach to the hijacked plane but ends up stuck on the hijacked plane where he has to work on trying to defuse the bomb. Oliver gives a good performance in the role that is unlikely for the situation. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Executive Decision has a large supporting cast with the terrorists, the passengers, commandos and the politicians back in America. They all help the story grow building the tension as the situation gets more serious.

 

Director Review: Stuart Baird – Stuart follows the books on action thriller films to give us a solid action thriller film. (7/10)

 

Action: Executive Decision saves the action for most of the final moments. (7/10)

Thriller: Executive Decision has tension built from start to finish. (7/10)

Settings: Executive Decision uses the setting on the plane gives us an isolated feeling throughout which adds to the tension. (9/10)

Suggestion: Executive Decision is one for all the action fans out there to enjoy, just sit back and enjoy it all unfold. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Bomb defusing.

Worst Part: Not as much action as advertised.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $121 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

Tagline: Fasten your seat belts

 

Overall: Simple Action Thriller

Rating 65