Villain (1971)

Director: Michael Tuchner

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay) James Barlow (Novel)

Starring: Richard Burton, Ian McShane, Nigel Davenport, Donald Sinden, Fiona Lewis, T.P. McKenna, Joss Ackland

 

Plot: In 1970s London, the Scotland Yard orchestrates the downfall of mob boss Vic Dakin after he crosses the line by blackmailing Members of Parliament.


Tagline – You are looking at the face of a Villain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic British Gangster Film

 

Story: Villain starts as we see how gangster Vic Dakin (Burton) controls London, he has people that will grass on him to the cops with Inspector Bob Matthews (Davenport) trying to bring down the criminal.

Vic continues to use his business connections to stay ahead of the police, with Wolfe Lissner (McShane) being the latest person the inspectors are turning to try and give up Vic’s secrets.

 

Thoughts on Villain

 

Characters – Vic Dakin runs London with his criminal activities, he is feared by most people and if you cross him, you will get hurt if not killed. He has become over confident that he can get away with anything, making him one of the prime targets for everyone involved in law. Wolf Lissner works for Vic, he is one of the youngster members of the crew and the one that the police are trying to use to turn on him, even if he the one person that Vic will always turn to. Bob Matthews is the inspector that has been trying to bring down Vic for years, he has risen up the ranks, got the people in the gang, but never been able to get the conviction. Gerald Draycott is the politician that is being blackmailed to keep the business under wraps for Vic.

PerformancesWe do have two big names in his film, first Richard Burton that doesn’t get to show the skill he could bring to a film, while a younger Ian McShane shows us that he could be set for a career in this sidekick gangster role. The rest of the cast are doing all they need to without being in anyway stand out through the film.

StoryThe story follows a gangster that has the power over London, the police have been hunting him for years, but he always finds a way to get out of trouble. This time they get closer than ever before and could finally take down one of the biggest gangsters in London. When it comes to the gangster genre, we don’t really ever get much different when it comes to where the story goes, this one is based loosely on the Kray brother, but for some reason only one of the twins. It does feel like we have seen everything before, we don’t get drawn into support either side of the battle and end up feeling like it is just another gangster film.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just where the criminals operate and just where the police will need to turn to, in any hope of bringing him down.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London which see just how the criminals operate, where they can get away from crime.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening scene as we see just how Vic can operate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical British gangster film that starts with an intense opening, only to become a drag as the film unfolds.

 

Overall: British Gangster 101.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Sexy Beast (2000)

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Writer: Louis Mellis, David Scinto (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox, Cavan Kendall, Julianne White

 

Plot: Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits “retired” safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.


Tagline – Sometimes It’s Hard To Say No

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insult Heavy Crime Thriller

 

Story: Sexy Beast starts as we meet retired safecracker Gal (Winstone) living the life of luxury in a Spanish villa which he enjoys relaxing by the pool enjoying his retirement. His retirement is put to the test when brutal gangster Don Logan (Kingsley) arrives in Spain to try and force him into doing one more job for him, he won’t take no for an answer.

Reluctantly taking the job, Gal returns to London and as most heist style movies, things don’t go to plan.

 

Thoughts on Sexy Beast

 

Characters – Gal was once the go to safecracker, now he is in retirement in Spain loving his life in the sun with his pool and friends, he has zero interest in returning to the game even after Don Logan pushes him. He stays relaxed through each scene because he knows his answer will always be no. he does reluctantly return for this last job mostly to get rid of Don. Don Logan is the brutal gangster, he knows who he wants for the jobs and this time it is Gal, he will not take ‘No’ as an answer, he will get violent and his outbursts will be the things you remember the most. Teddy is the man that the job is for, a fellow gangster that wants the best men for the job. DeeDee is the wife of Gal, she will stand by Gal in every decision even after the endless insults thrown their way.

PerformancesRay Winstone is great in this leading role, he is the perfect choice for a cockney criminal who knows there is a better life out there away from London. Ben Kingsley clearly steals every single scene in this movie with his performance that is filed with so much anger and aggression, you won’t be able to take your eyes off him. Ian McShane is great too where he brings us a calmer gangster who is also filled with anger. These three take most of the spotlight away from any other performers in the film.

StoryThe story follows a retired criminal that gets forced to return to the game for one final job by an aggressive gangster, where this film does stand out from the other films in this genre, is that our hero Gal is 100% not interested in returning as most film give us the idea of ‘ok, I will do it’ on an easier formula. The story does have a nice twist on how things go and gives us the characters we could believe are from this world. if you are looking for a heist storyline, you will be disappointed though as this film focuses on the idea of getting the man to do the job.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime world we enter giving us gangsters which will not take no for an answer, we don’t learn enough of their previous lives in the world though, only going on reputations.

SettingsThe film uses Spain for the setting which gives us the retirement feel for a Brit to take, the sun increases the idea of the heat in the scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The heated argument.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of heist action.

Final ThoughtsThis is a true British crime film, it has great characters and a stunning performance from Ben Kingsley.

 

Overall: British Crime 101

Rating

 

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum (2019)

Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Ian McShane, Jason Mantzoukas, Said Taghmaoui, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos

 

Plot: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.


Tagline – If you want peace, prepare for war

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum starts right where the last film ended, John Wick (Reeves) has one hour before the bounty on his head becomes live reluctantly by Winston (McShane), John searches for a way to escape which sees him turning to old connections including The Director (Huston) and Sofia (Berry).

With John searching for safety or redemption, The Adjudicator (Dillon) is set to punish the people that helped John commit the kill in the previous film, with her chosen assassin Zero (Dacascos) proving to be one of the toughest enemies John has ever faced.

 

Thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

 

Characters – John Wick is the world known assassin that broke the codes put in place, this sees him become the target this time with everybody wanting to hunt him down and cash in on his bounty. John does have connections which will see him stay ahead of the problems before he needs to make his own stand against the table. Sofia is from John’s past, she is the manager of another hotel who will help John because of what he did for her in the past, she is just as deadly of an assassin working hand in hand with her dogs, she is a character we want to see more of even if it is her own movie. Winston is the manager of the hotel in New York, he has run the place for 40 years and is reluctant to put the hit out on John, his delay will see him facing consequences of his action, but he is calm and always has a plan. Bowery King is a character we met last film, he has the ears of on the streets, left needing to honour the decision to go for the hit on John, he will also need to face actions for his decision to help John. Zero is the new assassin chosen to lead the battle against anybody that has help John, he has waited for this chance to get his hands on John to prove himself in combat. The Adjudicator has arrived to clean up the mess which led to John being able to kill inside the walls of the hotel, she is sent to punish anyone that helped John with the kill. Charon is the loyal member of the hotel that welcomes the guests and gets to step up when needed. The Director is one of the people John turns too, she does have a connection to his past which will be key to his escape.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves is fantastic once again in this role, he has made this character truly iconic in the action genre, with the effortless ability to step into the countless fight sequences. Halle Berry enters the franchise and gets one of the most memorable sequences, only wanting to see more from her character. Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Riddick continue to excel in the supporting roles, while Anjelica Huston adds to this list with ease. Mark Dacascos is a wonderful fighting villain, he even gets moments of comedy that don’t feel forced in anyway. Asia Kate Dillon is arguable the least known star in this film, she brings the a-game to shining in this role which shows authority and calmness through the film.

StoryThe story does pick up right where the last one left, showing us what happens next to John Wick when he becomes the target for all the fellow assassins in the world. This does continue to build the world that we have seen growing, showing how people can operate within the world. the story does follow John Wick facing endless amounts of enemies, connect to former contacts hoping they will honour their loyalty over the code, hoping to find a way to end the waves of enemies heading his way. The story does show how other characters have been affected by the actions in the previous film too, while also bringing in new characters with ease.

Action This is one of the purest, most brutal action films you will ever see, the fight sequences are breath-taking and you will see each and every blow giving out.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully, be it the New York, the hotel and even outside the city where John must visit for help.

Special EffectsThe effects are brutal as you end up seeing the wounds inflicted through the film, some even might make you wince that little bit.


Scene of the Movie –
John & Sofia double team fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me John getting a taxi in New York at half five and being confused about the traffic.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest third instalments in any action film, it is a must watch for fans of the originals and makes the trilogy feel complete.

 

Overall: Must Watch Action Film.

Rating

 

 

Hellboy (2019)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Andrew Cosby (Screenplay) Mike Mignola (Comic)

Starring: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Penelope Mitchell, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim

 

Plot: Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.


Tagline – Save the World for the Hell of It

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Goriest Comic Movie Ever

 

Story: Hellboy starts as we learn about the history of Nimue the Blood Queen (Jovovich) an ancient sorceress who clashed with King Arthur, leading to her being dismembered and scattered across the land. Move into the modern day and Hellboy (Harbour) is the reluctant hero taking on the paranormal under the influence of his father Professor Broom (McShane).

The latest case sees Hellboy reconnecting with an old friend Alice (Lane) who he once saved from evil forces, a British paranormal agent Major Ben Daimio (Kim) as they must race against time to stop Nimue returning to finally spread the disease on humans, so the creatures from the dark can rise up, Hellboy must figure out which side of this war he wants to fight on.

 

Thoughts on Hellboy

 

Characters – Hellboy is a demon from hell that came to Earth as a baby, which saw him raised to protect humans from the paranormal, multiple people want him dead, he is meant to bring about the end of mankind, yet he keeps fighting for the human race. He uses one liners to react (most of these miss though) and his does have an identity crisis because of Nimue appearance which could show him his own power, this story does give Hellboy a personal arc he must learn to control just how he sees his powers. Nimue is an ancient sorceress that was at war with the human race, betrayed, left trapped in boxes until she is freed. She has come back for revenge and this time she sees what could turn the table in her favour, Hellboy. She knows how to use beings to get what she wants and wile never getting into a physical fight, she will use her powers to inflict great pain. Alice is a friend to Hellboy, she once was saved and her own psychic powers and connections to the dead will prove to be a useful asset to have around. Major Ben Daimio is from the British side of the paranormal investigation, he doesn’t want to work with Hellboy, he is by the books, even if he does have his own secret. Professor Broom is the man that took Hellboy in to teach and use to fight back against the evil in the world.

PerformancesDavid Harbour stepping into the shoes of Ron Perlman, was always going to need to do something very special, he does everything he can which works for the darker side of the character, but he doesn’t hit the comedy Perlman could. Milla Jovovich always works in her own way for an evil figure, she isn’t truly challenged, but doesn’t seem to do much wrong. Ian McShane again suffers from stepping into big shoes, he does enough however to make this feel like his own version of the character. Sasha Lane brings the attitude to her character well, while Daniel Dae Kim could be the best performer in the film.

StoryThe story follows Hellboy as he must learn who is truly is when it comes to battle to stop the biggest threat yet, Nimue a sorceress that wants to wipe out humanity. The first thing that must be discussed when talking about the story, is the style, it does feel like we are watching a comic book unfold. When we dive more into the story it does fall into the story technique of, we must go here to do that, we must go there to do this, which soon becomes repetitive. However, what we lack in storytelling style, we do get in other areas which includes the pure bloodshed levels thrown into this story. there is an angle in the story which basically sees Hellboy being tempted into becoming the evil he was always meant to be, which is nice and does play into the anti-hero idea of Hellboy. The story works for the basics being told without needing to be anything complicated, we do fill in most back stories which could annoy people with the number of flashbacks.

Action/Fantasy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this movie is huge, be it Hellboy fighting giants, a giant pig or the creatures coming to inflict pain on the humans. This does play into the fantasy and we learn how Hellboy could be dragged into other locations to meet a friend or foe. The horror comes from the number of bodies that pile up, we never hold back when it comes to seeing the wounds being inflicted or the aftermath.

SettingsThe film does use the idea London will be the main destruction area, which is fine, we need a big city for reference, when we see certain other locations we do hit the weird secret locations that could only come from the mind of a comic book author.

Special EffectsThe effects are going to be one of the bigger talking points, we do have a major weak moment which will most likely be mocked, but this is one of the best practical effects movies you will see, the wounds, the injuries, the blood shed are brutal to watch and must be praised.


Scene of the Movie –
London creatures.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The trailer gives away Daimio’s secret skill.

Final ThoughtsThis can easily be called the goriest comic book movie ever, it does have a basic story though, which could hold back its greatness, we do go in a direction far enough away from the original two, which does help make this feel like its own movie.

 

Overall: Blood shed galore.

Rating

 

 

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (2015)

Director: Khurram H Alavi, Ayman Jamal

Writer: Khurram H Alavi, Ayman Jamal, Alexander Kronemer, Michael Wolfe, Yassin Kamel (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ian McShane, China Anne McClain, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Michael Gross

 

Plot: A thousand years ago, one boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior is abducted with his sister and taken to a land far away from home. Thrown into a world where greed and injustice rule all, Bilal finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change. Inspired by true events, this is a story of a real hero who earned his remembrance in time and history.


Tagline – A Legend Breaks Free!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment from History

 

Story: Bilal: A New Breed of Hero starts a thousand years ago, Bilal and his sister Ghufaira are taken into slavery by the evil ruler Umayya, facing a life in chains the two must do what they can to survive.

Bilal growing up to be one of the most respected slaves, will stand up for his own kind make friends Saad along the way. Bilal learns his place in the world as the man that would lead his people to freedom and away from the slavery world they are being forced to live in, a journey that will test him to his limits.

 

Thoughts on Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

 

Characters – Bilal was once a free child, but raised as a slave, now a man he is starting to lose hope of ever being free until he meets one of the other men that had escaped the world and learns that he could be the one to lead the rest of the slaves to freedom. Umayya is the evil ruler that controls with an iron fist whipping anyone that goes against him or his people. Ghufaira is the sister to Bilal that has been pushed to her own limits that he must protect. Saad is the one man that Bilal can trust, they met as teenagers in a small altercation only to gain mutual respect for each other.

StoryThe story here shows one of the very first men to rise up against his slave owners to fight for their freedoms, now this could easily be compared to Moses story without the supernatural elements involved for an easy reference point, but this is its own story. it shows how one man Bilal wouldn’t stand by and take the abuse that was being thrown his way and would join forces with people that could make a difference. The pace of the story is a little bit slow at times, though this does help us understand the struggle being faced at times. We learn how heroes were born and how a nation would need to stand up for themselves to become free.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is a special treat when we see it because we see the few training montages, though the final epically big battle is one of the best in animated film history. The adventure shows us just how hard Bilal’s journey would be to get the freedom he desires.

SettingsThe film puts us in a middle Eastern country, it is set before they were named with names we know, it shows us just how away from the world the people could be from peace one moment to war the next.

AnimationThe animation in the film is beautiful, it does feel more lifelike than other animations which helps as we are learning a story about people, it has large scale scenes which look flawless when it comes to showing us the battles going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jump mostly feels confusing even though the characters are aging through these moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot animation that tells the story of a real hero that you will never have heard of.

 

Overall: Animation Fans Watch This One.

Rating