Franchise Weekend – Crank 2: High Voltage (2009)

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez, Julanne Chidi Hill, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Reno Wilson

Plot: Chelios faces a Chinese mobster who has stolen his nearly indestructible heart and replaced it with a battery-powered ticker that requires regular jolts of electricity to keep working.


Tagline – He was dead… but he got better.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Jumps the Shark

Story: Crank 2: High Voltage starts right where the last film finished and Chev Chelios (Statham) somehow has survived his fall and is rescued and given a new heart, an electric one, Chev goes in search for his own heart, but needs to keep his current one full charged or face the same fate as the first film.

Chev must track down the man who stole his heart, which will see him returning a few familiar faces including his girlfriend Eve (Smart) and brother to his old friend Venus (Ramirez).

Thoughts on Crank 2: high Voltage

Characters – Chev Chelios somehow survives his mile high fall from the first film, he is given a new artificial heart which he must keep charged or he will die, he goes in search of his own heart which will see him go against another gang in LA, Eve now knows about Chev’s career, she has become a stripper and will supporting him trying to get his heart back. Doc Miles will do everything he can to help Chev giving him advice on how to keep his heart going. Venus is the brother of Kaylo who goes on to help Chev to get revenge for his own brother’s death. We have more gangs that are working against Chev this time, some return others are new.

PerformancesJason Statham does what he can with the leading role, he handles the action with ease, only he just doesn’t reach the same levels as before, this does affect the rest of the cast who do struggle to make an impact in this film.

StoryThe story does follow the next chapter of Chev’s life, the one after he should have died, only for him to get a new chance which sees him needing to race against time to get his own heart back. This side is simple enough at does work for what the film is doing, Chev take on endless amounts of enemies, the problem here with the story is that we dive too much into the side characters of what is going on and end up getting too many completely random scenes which just seem offensive on too many levels. This story does end up becoming messy and just has one of the worst scripts out there.

Action/CrimeThe action does try to become bigger, only for it to be shot in a style which doesn’t make it easy to connect. The criminal world does feel bigger, but now everything does seem more personal rather gang controlled.

SettingsThe film remains set in LA which does continue to show the crazy gangs that are meant to operate in this city.

Special EffectsThe effects do feel like they are being more ambitious, only for some to be so farfetched they only seem to make things look confusing, including an insulting looking Godzilla like fight.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Godzilla like fight.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly over the top sequel which only ends up becoming too much to handle for the crazy nature of everything going on.

Overall: Too wild.

Rating

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Franchise Weekend – Crank (2006)

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Dwight Yoakam, Carlos Sanz

Plot: Professional assassin Chev Chelios learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.


Tagline – If his heart stops pumping adrenalin… It will be the day Chev Chelios dies

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Relentless Action

Story: Crank starts when assassin Chev Chelios (Statham) has been poisoned by his rival assassin Verona (Cantillo) in an attempt at revenge for a job gone wrong. Chev has one hour to live before his heart stops, he learns that if he can keep his adrenaline up, he can remain focused and keep himself alive for longer, which sees him racing around LA in an attempt to locate Verona.

With Chev leaving a host of bodies in his path, he finds a way to keep his heart rate up thanks to his trusted doctor Miles (Yoakam) as he starts to face his own fate before seeking his own girlfriend Eve (Smart) to tell him his mistake.

Thoughts on Crank

Characters – Chev Cheilos is an assassin that has been drugged while knocked out, he has one hour to live unless he can keep his heart rate up, he uses all his violent side to keep his heart rate up as he searches revenge before his time runs out, he uses his connections and isn’t afraid to attack either side of the law. Eve is Chev’s girlfriend, she doesn’t know about his life as an assassin thinking he has a normal everyday job, she doesn’t understand to start with just what is going on. Verona is the man that has poisoned Chev, he is enjoying the idea of getting one over Chev, only he doesn’t want to face the consequences. Kaylo is the connection around town, he looks for the people that Chev wants to find keeping his ears to the floor.

PerformancesJason Statham is the clear star of the film, he gets to unleash all his action star potential, while using his straight-faced delivery to get a couple of laughs along the way. Amy Smart is mostly the damsel in distress figure, she doesn’t play the smartest character doing what she can with it. Jose Pablo Cantillo is the main villain only he doesn’t feel like a threat to Chev in his performance.

StoryThe story here follows an assassin that must race against time to get revenge on the people that have poisoned him before the poison in his blood ends his life. The story isn’t going to be get into any levels of deep, which is all we need it too be, it is just one man on a rampage, it does have a real-time feeling to everything as Chev only has an hour to live. We get the usual dealings with gangs always searching for power which is why the two sides are going to war with Chev in the middle of it all.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is wildly over the top with each fight, chase or incident becoming larger in scale as the film roles on, with the crime side of the film taking us into the criminal world seeing how the assassins and leaders try to stay in control.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which helps the film show us just how busy the streets would be, with the criminal behaviour happening around every corner too.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the different levels of suffering that Chev is going through, be it the blurred vision or seeing how his heart is shaping up after or before an incident.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is hard to support Chev either after what has happened to him.

Final Thoughts This is a non-stop action adrenaline ride, once it starts it just doesn’t stop which show the energy needed to make this film work on so many different levels.

Overall: Fun and over the top.

Rating

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan

Plot: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunt Work of the Year

Story: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw starts when MI6 Agent Hattie Shaw (Kirby) is framed for stealing a deadly virus that Brixton (Elba) is after, using her ability to go into hiding comes in handy, Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard (Statham) are recruited to work together to help find her and get the virus out of her before it becomes a threat to the world.

With the three teaming up, they must use their connections to stay ahead of Brixton who has been enhanced to make a deadly threat that neither can defeat on their own, can they put aside their different and save the world again?

Thoughts on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Characters – Hobbs is still working in the field to hunt down bad guys, but he remains family based with his daughter being the most important part of his life, he gets the call to save the world once again and doesn’t say no, heading to London to team up with an old enemy and friend in Deckard. He does play the I am bigger than you card, as the two constantly try to play the alpha male card. Deckard must come out of hiding to rescue his own little sister, he is better designed to the spy like side of this mission, we do get to learn a lot more about his past in this film too. Brixton is the big bad, he even introduces himself as ‘the bad guy’ he has been enhanced, making him a proper deadly weapon that will win any one on one fight, he isn’t afraid to fight with his men, though he is only part of a bigger plan going on. Hattie is the MI6 agent that gets framed, she is Deckard sister and knows how to get off the grid, she can handle herself in a fight and isn’t afraid to use a few tricks she learnt from her mother to get out of a sticky situation.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson and Jason Statham must be looked at as one, they are excellent when it comes to the action sequences, you wouldn’t expect anything less, when they have a moment of serious material they do well, it is part of the back and forth between them which does get slightly tiresome after a while. It is almost like the film must stop for 30 seconds to a minute so they can go at each with insults. Idris Elba does look like he is having a hell of a time as the villainous figure, while Vanessa Kirby keeps up with the action heavy stars with ease bring another aspect to the styles of the three.

StoryThe story here follows Hobbs and Shaw as they must once again put their differences a side to help Shaw’s sister get away from a deadly enhanced soldier and the virus he is threatening the world with. Breaking down this story, it does feel like any Fast & Furious film, there is no questions there, we get everything we expect with cheesy dialogue to match. If we do look at the story it is strange because we could easily have had this as a Hobbs or Shaw solo film with the way everything unfolds, with only one aspect of the film truly needing them to work together. The pair do seem to lose certain parts of the chemistry and respect for one an other they got from Fast 8, which again confuses why we need so much bickering between the two, as they are both the alpha, neither comes off as the comical side of the buddy relationship, meaning a lot of the jokes just hold up the film. It is nice this story could build on both the pairs backgrounds more, with slightly more focus on Deckard. If we are being honest, we don’t need a deep story here, we just come for the action.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is huge, the fights, the chases and the explosions, though when it comes to the fights we do get a lot of cuts in them, which just doesn’t work as well as other action heavy films. The adventure does take the crew from London, to Russian to Samoa proving it to be an international mission.

SettingsThe film uses the tight streets of London for the spy side of the movie, along with one big car chase, we use the other cities for the wide-open big action sequences in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are also a mixed bad, certain bits look wonderful, including how Brixton is almost attached to his motorbike, it is the couple of moments which you can see the CGI effects at work which let it down.


Scene of the Movie – The base escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The bickering gets tiresome.

Final Thoughts This is everything you expect in a Fast & Furious film, it is big, the action is ridiculous, and you can just sit back and enjoy.

Overall: Big dumb fun

Rating

Sylvester Stallone Weekend – The Expendables (2010)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin

 

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.


Tagline – Every movie has a hero. This one has them all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindlessly Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: The Expendables starts as we get to see Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team Lee (Statham), Yin (Li), Gunner (Lundgren), Toll (Couture) and Hale (Crews) eliminate a threat, to show just how capable they are at dealing with international threats.

Once home Barney is given a new assignment, to take out General Garza (Zayas) and James Munroe (Roberts) who are controlling an asset the government require, this soon turns into the five-man army taking on a full army.

 

Thoughts on The Expendables

 

Characters – Barney Ross is the leader of the mercenaries, he does play by a rule book, which sees him needing make a difficult decision with one of his team. He takes the latest job once he realizes that sometimes the impossible can make a big difference being a better all-around combat asset. Lee Christmas is Barney’s second in command, the one that Barney will turn to most, during this story he finds himself having lady problems and shows a man what will happen if you beat one up, he is also the knife expert on the team. Yin is the smallest member of the team, he is the martial artist of the team and is always worried about enough money for his family. Gunner is the member of the team which gets kicked out because he wants too much brutality in the missions, he has a drug problem which needs to be cleaned up before he could ever be considered back on the team. Eric Roberts is the businessman that has taken over the island, he is paying for everything even if it makes enemies out of the locals, he will strike fear into them with fear. Paine is the strongest member of Munroe’s team, he has been waiting for a challenge which Barney and his team will offer him.

PerformancesThis movie does have an all-star cast of action heroes, Sylvester Stallone does take centre stage here and does what he knows how to be, a lead action star, Jason Statham does this too, with a little more subtle side to his outside the business performance. These two both get the best action moments in the film. Jet Li does well with the action, but gets wasted outside of these moments, while Dolph Lundgren does what he can with a character that does have plenty more to offer to this film. Eric Roberts fits the generic villainous role, he doesn’t get enough time to make his character as memorable as he could have been.

StoryThe story follows a group of mercenaries that are hired to solve the militant control of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to the story, we don’t need too much, this film is more designed to show of the action stars of the movie industry. By keeping everything on the simple side we get an enjoyable story to see unfold, though it would have been nice to get some sort of character development about the crew. This story is easy to watch without ever needing to test us.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is wildly over the top with a mix of guns, knives and hand to hand combat, all you would want from the cast we have here. The adventure side of the film does take our crew to a new island that they haven’t heard of before to make the events of the film happen.

SettingsThe film mixes the home that the men have back in America with the island that needs freeing, showing how they can and will adapt to any landscape they are placed in.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly by.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough Jet Li.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that is purely for the action fans, it goes well over the top and deliveries you favourite action stars doing what they do best, shooting gun and fighting.

 

Overall: Fun Filled Action Film.

Rating

 

 

Ice Cube Weekend – Ghosts of Mars (2001) Revisited

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone

 

Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.


Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror

 

Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).

When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.

 

Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars

 

Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.

PerformancesNatasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.

StoryThe story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.

Special EffectsThe special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.


Scene of the Movie –
Who is in charge now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action horror.

Rating