Braven (2018)

Director: Lin Oeding

Writer: Thomas Pa’a Sibbett (Screenplay) Michael Nilon, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett (Story)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Garret Dillahunt, Jill Wagner, Stephen Land, Sasha Rossof, Sala Baker, Fraser Aitcheson

 

Plot: A logger defends his family from a group of dangerous drug runners.


Tagline – They threatened his world. He will destroy theirs.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action 101

 

Story: Braven starts as we meet everyday nice guy Joe Braven (Momoa) who is caring for his aging father Linden (Lang), while having a family of his own with wife Stephanie (Wagner) and daughter Charlotte (Rossof). In an attempt to help his father with a difficult decision, Joe takes him to their remote cabin, with Charlotte sneaking along.

Joe will have to defend his family however, after a drug transport goes wrong and the drug runners use his cabin to hide their merchandise. The kingpin behind the drugs Kassen (Dillahunt) arrives in town to clean up the mistake which sees him going face to face with Joe.

 

Thoughts on Braven

 

Characters – Joe is a good man, he has always looked after his family and worked hard, he is in need of making a difficult decision regarding his father, whose mental health is getting worse. With this moment being his main focus, it isn’t long before he learns his family is in danger from drug runners and his must defend them at any cost. Kassen is the leader of the drug runners, he isn’t afraid to kill anyone who gets in his way and shows that he is the brains of the operation. He doesn’t like to leave a mess behind. Stephanie is Joe’s wife, she is the only family member not at the cabin, while he is worried about what is happening once she learns their daughter has snuck away. Linden is Joe’s father, a war veteran whose memory is going, he gets himself in trouble around town because of this, but when conflict occurs, he will show not everything in his mind is gone.

PerformancesJason Momoa in the leading role is great, he has the physical presence required for this role, while also looking vulnerable when it comes to what is happening, to make his performance complete he gets to show the emotional impact while caring for his father. Garret Dillahunt is an actor that can play the twisted villain and always has been underused in this side of films, here he gets to shine once again. Jill Wagner doesn’t get as much to do in this film but what she does do is good, while Stephen Lang brings the experience required to the film.

StoryThe story here is very simple, it is a man trying to protect his family from drug runners, this is all we need for an action film at times, we do have a side story about how Joe is coping with his father’s mental state which is getting worse, which is one of the serious moments within the story. The idea that one man will take out a squad of drug runners is one we have seen before, it does work and is easy to watch from a story side of things.

ActionThe action comes from the use of environment to stay ahead of an enemy, while having the typical shootouts which we have become a custom to. Nothing is overly complicated with the fights and we do know how they will end though.

SettingsThe film takes place in and around a remote cabin in the snowy mountains, this provides the isolation in which a drug deal could take place, but we also get to use the environment to give Joe the advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cops pretty useless.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable simple to watch action film, it gets everything it needs to right without going over the top at any point.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action.

Rating

 

 

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Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Justice League (2017)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel (Characters)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ray Fisher

 

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Justice League starts as a new unknown threat is attacking the world, with criminals committing acts of terror in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) teams up with Diana Prince (Gadot) to stop this new threat Steppenwolf, who wants to destroy the world, yeah the usual villain stuff.

The team they recruit includes Barry Allen (Miller), Arthur Curry (Momoa) and Victor Stone (Fisher) as these three new recruits get a better introduction than we saw in the Batman v Superman movie. Using their skills they are left with an ultimate decision which could swing the battle in their favour or risk seeing the world destroyed by this ancient evil.

 

Thoughts on Justice League

 

Characters – Bruce Wayne, knows his weakness, uses his money to recruit the team, his technology to spy on the team and his human touch to connect to the characters. Diana Prince lives a quiet life after the event of Wonder Woman over 100 years ago, she still believes in the good in human and beings from different backgrounds. Barry Allen is a young man living off the grid trying to find a way to get his father out of prison, he gets excited to be able to work with a team and gets most of the laughs. Arthur Curry is a man of mystery, one with the ocean, he has left his past behind him which leads him down the Logan road. Victor Stone is a science experiment gone wrong, part human, part robot needing to learn to control his newly found abilities. Lois Lane is here, she doesn’t do much to be honest. Clark Kent is the heart of the characters drives to fight, he selfless actions last time out give hope to them all.

As for the alter-egos Batman looks so out of place in this film, we have Gods, experiments gone wrong and this random rich guy who is past his best, trying to pull the team together, he is ineffective in the combat scenes too. Wonder Woman gets the best moments in the fights, jumping on the beliefs of just how inspirational the character is. The Flash gets moments that will make you laugh, but you would rather be watching Quicksilver moments. Aquaman gets the awkward underwater scenes, which must be hard to shoot, he enjoys a good fight though. Cyborg is the brains of the team, solving the problems before they happen.

As for the villain, Steppenwolf he is a threat there is no doubt about that, he is ruthless too, but his desire for destruction does feel like it got ripped out of a Transformers movie.

PerformancesBen Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good Batman, you can believe his arrogance when trying to build the team. Gal Gadot is the star of the hero’s side of the story showing in the world of DC she is their trump card. Erza Miller does add the much-needed comedy to the serious film and hits more than he misses. Jason Momoa is good throughout too, his character feels like what Wonder Woman was in Batman v Superman, we just what more. Ray Fisher is strong too, he gives the character the darkness needed to make us want more from his backstory. The none Justice League performances are fine, but no one gets much time to do anything. Having a CGI villain means we only get the voice work which works for the film.

StoryThe origin of the Justice League, well Marvel did it with the Avengers so, why not. To be fair we got the first seeds of this in Batman v Superman and this continued the ideas to show how they could come together to fight an evil presence. My problems with the story come from the trailers, which show the team working together, much like Stephen King’s IT we follow the individual stories for a large amount of time trying to play the will they won’t they game about joining the team, but the trailer gave this away. If you want to see the story continue you strongly I will say DC’s storytelling for the bigger picture is going in the right direction and this is easy to follow and enjoy is this is your style of film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big, like you would expect for the superhero movie, sadly Batman doesn’t fit in the action sequences in my opinion. The ci-fi comes from Gods, aliens and experiments working together in battle be it with each other or against.

SettingsThe settings are all over the place, not in a bad way, we get the references to previous films and teases of locations for our new addition.

Special EffectsThe effects are complete mixed bag, we get certain moments which look great but then we get the weak moments that disappoint.


Scene of the Movie –
Rebirth

That Moment That Annoyed Me Batman feels very out of place in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the superhero collection, in a year of impressive films this doesn’t crack my top 3 in the genre but doesn’t take the spot of the worst, I could happily enjoy watching this again and I hope you do too.

 

Overall: Fun enjoyable superhero movie for everyone to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

 

The Bad Batch (2017)

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour (Screenplay)

Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Giovanni Ribisi

 

Plot: A love story set in a community of cannibals in a future dystopia. In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stylish Sci-Fi Horror

 

Story: The Bad Batch starts as Arlen (Waterhouse) leaves her facility heading into the dystopian wasteland to fend for herself, but it doesn’t go well because she gets captured by cannibals who take an arm and a leg off her for food. Arlen isn’t going out without a fight though because she fights her way out before getting rescued by the Hermit (Carrey), who takes her to a friendly community.

5 months past and with a fake league passed onto her Arlen continues to explore the wasteland when she can until she finds a person from the area to which she kills her but takes in the child with them Honey (Fink) back to Dream’s (Reeves) compound, which drives Miami Man (Momoa) into his own journey in search for his daughter. When Miami Man and Arlen team up in the wasteland we learn that both sides of the battle are not as similar as we might think.

 

Thoughts on The Bad Batch

 

Characters – Arlen gets removed from the facility she was raised in to fend for herself in the wasteland. She doesn’t do to well to start with but she does show the fight required to survive in after having her arm and leg taken by cannibals. We follow her through the wasteland and the communities that are at war with each other. Miami Man is one of the cannibals, his daughter gets taken which forces him to need to work with Arlen to get her back even though he is at war with the community she is part off. The Dream runs his community, he keeps his people happy even if it involves them having to take drugs and he becomes somewhat of a cult like leader. This wasteland is filed with colourful characters for us to watch Arlen meet.

PerformancesSukie Waterhouse is great in this leading role through the film, she shows the strength even when her character has an image of looking damaged. Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey both show they are enjoying smaller roles in films where they can still shine even just for a moment. Jason Momoa is great too showing us once again that he will be around for plenty of years.

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where our leading lady must learn quick about the sides she can or can’t trust. It shows us how not every first impression is the right one and that we can have a wild adventure with colourful characters in a wasteland. The story does have a feel of how Turbo Kid without all the nostalgia behind it too.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side comes from the inclusion of cannibals in this sci-fi world which dysphonia world we enter.

SettingsThe world we are using look fantastic with the dystopian future that we don’t need to learn why it is in the state it is in.

Special EffectsThe effects are all practical and are used excellently to show Arlen after what happens to her in the opening sequences.


Scene of the Movie –
The shock value of the opening capture.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film does feel slightly too long for the story it is telling us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a stylish sci-fi horror that fits the world we are thrown into perfectly even if the film can feel longer than it needs to be.

 

Overall: If you want a sci-fi horror that is filled with style this one stands out this year.

Rating

 

 

Bullet to the Head (2012)

logoDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: Alessandro Camon (Screenplay) Alexis Nolent, Colin Wilson (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Stallone Action Flick

 

Story: Bullet to the Head starts by showing James Bonomo (Stallone) saving a cop before explaining why and we flashback to how he got there. James is a hit man and along with is partner Louis (Seda) are good at their jobs. When they go to collect their money Louis is killed by Keegan (Momoa) and after he goes after James he gets more than he bargained for. Officer Taylor Kwon (Kang) comes into town from Washington to investigate the man that James and Louis killed but he wants to people who hired them and attempts to work with James to uncover the truth. Reluctantly they team up

Keegan who has been working for Robert Nkomo Morel (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Marcus Baptiste (Slater) is set on his next mission who shows us just how much of an efficient killer he is. James & Taylor start their investigation where we get the traditional conflict of styles between a killer and a cop. The odd couple build must try to get to the bottom of who killed their former partners.

Bullet to the Head is one of those films that you know what you are going to get, but saying that we do get a few surprises. On the good guys we don’t get any surprises but how the villains are handled is where the surprises are with shock kills turns and twists. The story itself is easy to follow and never offers anything new to the genre but it didn’t need to. This is easily in the ratings for a relaxaction film and you won’t need to worry about thinking about what will happen next. This is solid but not perfect. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: James Bonomo hit man whose partner is killed by the people who hired them to do the job. He must team up with a cop to get to the bottom of who is responsible. Sylvester made his name in action films where he isn’t the most convincing and this is no different we know what we will get and he delivers what we expect. (7/10)

 sly

Sung Kang: Taylor Kwon Washington cop whose former partner who is killed after dealing with the wrong people. He teams up with James to find the people who hired them for the job. Sung gives a good performance in his opposite mind-set of James. (7/10)

taylor

Sarah Shahi: Lisa James’ daughter who is his go to girl for medical work needed while she is a tattoo artist. Sarah ends up playing the typical damsel in distress. (5/10)

 lisa

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Robert Nkomo Morel criminal mastermind who has everyone under his thumb with all his business deals. Adewale does a solid job as the criminal business man. (6/10)

 morel

Jason Momoa: Keegan hit man who kills Louis and goes after James but constantly gets foiled in his attempts. Jason is the real star of this film showing his remorseless side when it comes to his kills. (8/10)

 keegan

Christian Slater: Marcus Baptiste second in command who ends up spilling the beans on the plan which leads to James & Taylor having the knowledge on who to take down. Christian plays a solid supporting role. (6/10)

 slater

Support Cast: Bullet to the Head supporting cast is mainly extra people to be killed by both sides.

 

Director Review: Walter Hill – Walter does a good job directing an action film you expect to be watching but nothing special. (7/10)

 

Action: Bullet to the Head has plenty of fights to keep the action flowing nicely. (8/10)

Thriller: Bullet to the Head doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat like it could but you do want to know the truth. (5/10)

Settings: Bullet to the Head New Orleans makes for a good setting but no scene is really standing out for location. (5/10)

Suggestion: Bullet to the Head is one for the action fans to enjoy, it is simple to follow and doesn’t require any think, just sit back and enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Axe fight.

Worst Part: Business villains are boring.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Axe Fight.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely, but is left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nope

Box Office: $9.5 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Revenge never gets old.

 

Overall: Simple Action Thriller

Rating 65