ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – # – 22 Bullets (2010)

Director: Richard Berry

Writer: Richard Berry, Mathieu Delaporte, Alexandre de La Patelliere, Eric Assous (Screenplay) Franz-Olivier Giesbert (Novel)

Starring: Jean Reno, Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marina Fois, Joey Starr, Richard Berry, Venantino Venantini, Claude Gensac

 

Plot: A retired mobster goes on a revenge spree after being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body by his former childhood friend.


Tagline – Le sang versé ne sèche jamais (Spilt blood doesn’t dry)

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Action Film

 

Story: 22 Bullets starts when retired Mafia godfather Charly Mattei (Reno) is ambushed by multiply gun man who riddle his body with bullets, 22 in his body and somehow, he survives the attack. The man behind the attack Tony Zacchia (Merad) wants the job finished so he can take the control he wants over the business, while detective Marie Goldman (Fois) has her own scores to settle with Mafia who were behind her husband’s and fellow cops’ death.

Charly brings his trusted friends back together to go into a full-blown war with Tony which see the bodies piling up, until he can get his hands-on Tony himself.

 

Thoughts on 22 Bullets

 

Characters – Charly Mattei is the retired Mafia godfather that walked away from the business with strict rules on how it will continue, he gets left for dead by the new boss who wants to play by his own rules. Now the bear has been poked he will seek revenge on everyone who tried to eliminate him, no matter how many bodies get left in his way, he knows this is the only way to keep his family safe. Tony Zacchia has taken over the business, he doesn’t want to play by the same rules though, he needs to take care of Charly before changing the rules and after that attempts fails, he starts to throw waves of men as Charly to finish the job. Martin is the closest friend to Charly, he will help make the connections to who else was involved in the assassination attempt. Marie Goldman is a cop that lost her husband to the Mafia, she has wanted to take them down for years now and this will be her best chance after she get put in the middle of the blood war.

PerformancesJean Reno is fantastic in the leading role of the film, he brings back the type of performance we saw in Leon where he is the cold-hearted killer with the heart of gold. Kad Merad, Jean-Pierre Darroussin are both good in the supporting role, though it can be easy to mix the two up. Marina Fios is good as the detective trying to get to the bottom of everything with her own tragic back past.

StoryThe story here follows a former Mafia Godfather that goes on a revenge mission against the new godfather after he failed to have his assassinated bring France into a battle for power between the two leading sides in the war. This does play out like a revenge thriller with plenty of bullets, we have seen this done most recently with John Wick and this follows the same tone and body numbers you would be seeing in this one. The added side story of the cop wanting to final takedown the person who killed her husband adds to everything making this feel like a three-way war between the sides. The does play out how you would imagine which is great to see and the story doesn’t hold back either.

Action/CrimeThe action is brutal when it comes to the bullet wound, even if certain moments can become overkill when it comes to the bullets flying. The crime world shown gives us an insight into the world in and out of the world with people wanting out or control.

SettingsThe film is set in Marseille which shows us a new type of city for a crime film to take place in, we have all the locations you would imagine for a Mafia film.


Scene of the Movie –
Dinner meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes overkill.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action revenge thriller, that puts Jean Reno front and centre on a bloody rampage, one well worth watching for the action fans.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Action Film.

Rating

 

 

Matthew Fox Weekend – Alex Cross (2012)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson (Screenplay) James Patterson (Novel)

Starring: Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, Cicely Tyson, Rachel Nichols

 

Plot: A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled hired killer who specializes in torture and pain.


Tagline – Don’t Ever Cross Alex Cross

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fox Shines

 

Story: Alex Cross starts with homicide detective Alex Cross (Perry) and his team Thomas (Burns) and Monica (Nichols) needing to show their skills when a new hired killer nicknamed Picasso (Fox) uses his torture and pain techniques while eliminating people.

When the team learns of the targets they must work with who they think is the main target Giles Mercier (Reno), but this has made his team the newest targets for Picasso, who makes the killings personal.

 

Thoughts on Alex Cross

 

Characters – Dr Alex Cross is a homicide detective, we have seen this character before, but this time we meet a younger version of him, before he becomes the FBI agent we know. Alex has a family and is on the way to making his big career decision, when Picasso comes into his life, Alex will need to balance his skills and rage to stop him. Picasso is a hired gun, he is one of the very best in the world, he enjoys the pain he gives and receives, he makes his mission personal and drives Alex to limits he has never been pushed before. Thomas is the partner of Alex, he is shorter tempered, but loyal to Alex. Giles Mercier seems to be the main target of Picasso mission, he is the rich man that gets what he wants.

PerformancesTyler Perry was considered a strange choice for the leading role in this movie, known mostly for comedy and taking over from Morgan Freeman, he just doesn’t reach his levels, but is good through the film. it is Matthew Fox that shines the most as the cold calculated killer that enjoys the pain. The commitment Fox showed to this role needs to be praised because of the physical change he put his body through makes him an unlikely looking threat. Edward Burn is good as the partner while not being anything special and Jean Reno will always be good in the role he takes.

StoryTo step into another Alex Cross story is always going to be interesting, picking up before he became an FBI agent helps us understand what drove him to be the determined man we know. Making the story personal for Cross shows how he can balance the law and revenge in his attempts to solve the crime. The story might not reach the level of intensity is could have for a personal story, it does everything we need for an entertaining crime mystery thriller.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action involved in the film is good, even if moments of the effects used are weak. The crime is an interesting one to watch unfold, but it takes away from the mystery because we are always on the same level of the cops, we are not feed anything to solve.

SettingsDetroit makes for a good setting, it always feels like it is a place known for the crime rates.


Scene of the Movie –
Picasso introduction fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Rocket effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch crime thriller, it does everything it needs to do and is carried by a wonderful villain performance from Fox.

 

Overall: Crime fans watch.

Rating

 

 

Natalie Portman Weekend – Leon (1994)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel

 

Plot: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Assassin Film

 

Story: Leon starts as we see just how deadly of an assassin Leon (Reno) is, you know the usual easy job to show he can pull tricks to confuse the enemy. Leon lives in a small apartment in New York where he has neighbours with middle child Mathilda (Portman) feeling out of place with her abusive father and sister. When we see how her father has gotten them in trouble with Stansfield (Oldman) he murders the whole family.

Leon reluctantly welcomes Mathilda into his home but they soon make an agreement that Leon will train Mathilda to be a ‘cleaner’ just like him so she get kill Stansfield and the men that killed her family.

 

Thoughts on Leon

 

Characters – Leon is the loner assassin that is brilliant at getting the job done and spends his free time keeping his planet in the sun and watching old movies in the cinema. He has a code, no women or children which is why he takes Mathilda in so he can teach her the ways and help her get revenge on the man who killed her family. Mathilda is the 12-year-old girl that has never fitted in her family and is being abused by her family, she sees her family murdered and her only hope is Leon, she wants to be trained to be like him so she can get revenge. We get a lot of different characteristics from this character that acts a lot older than she should but it makes sense because of her childhood being ripped from her. Stansfield is the cop that killed Mathilda’s family, he is a dirty cop with a love for classical music that doesn’t care who he kills to keep his business alive.

PerformanceJean Reno is fantastic in this role, he plays a character perfectly to make us see his kindness to go against his heartless nature as a killer. Gary Oldman makes for a brilliant villain as we see just how emotionless he can be. Natalie Portman gave us her first performance here and it is one of the best child actor performances you will see which makes you understand why she has had such a long career.

StoryThe story follows the idea that a lone assassin teaming up with a young girl who has become a victim of a dirty cop as their friendship blossoms the revenge becomes personal. This is easily one of the best relationship between two people from different worlds coming together for a common goal without anything needing to get complicated.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the film shows the world of assassins, dirty cops and innocent victims as we are left on edge waiting to see what will be happening to our characters.

SettingsNew York always makes for a wonderful setting as we get to see how the overcrowding can let hitmen get away easily.

Scene of the Movie – Mathilda’s Gift for Stansfield.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing, really.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of all times, it shows how to make a lone assassin movie can be one of the best of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant, masterpiece movie.

Rating

 

 

Malin Akerman Weekend – Couples Retreat (2009)

Director: Peter Billingsley

Writer: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Dana Fox (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin David, Kali Hawk, Tasha Smith, Jean Reno

 

Plot: A comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.


Tagline –  A comedy about a vacation in paradise they’ll never forget

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Well Casted Comedy

 

Story: Couples Retreat starts as we meet the four couples at the different stages of their relationships, Dave (Vaughn) & Ronnie (Akerman) who have infant kids, Joey (Favreau) & Lucy (Davis) who are about to see their kid go off to college, leaving them to go their desperate ways, Shane (Love) who has just separated from his wife and dating 20-year-old Trudy (Hawk) and Jason (Bateman) & Cynthia (Bell) who are struggling to conceive and want the support of their friends by going on the tropical retreat.

Once the couples arrive on the island they learn they all must take part in the exercises, which isn’t what they signed up for and we are left to see which couples will make it through under the guidance of Marcel (Reno) and his theories.

 

Thoughts on Couples Retreat

 

Characters – We have a lot of characters here, we are going to go through the couples first, Dave is a video game designer who has a young family, married to Ronnie, he is the most reluctant to go because of the age of their kids. Ronnie is similar to Dave, the kids are taking their time, taking away from their free time. Jason & Cynthia are the couple that request the help on the holiday, they want children and are two people that are almost identical with their planning. Joey & Lucy have accepted they are going to separate once their daughter goes to college, they are both looking for options on the island because they have been together since high school. Shane has separated from his wife already, he has fallen into a relationship with a 20-year-old in Trudy as part of his mid-life crisis. Trudy is a youngster of the group always unhappy that Shane can’t keep up with her.

PerformancesWe do have a very good cast here, Vince Vaughn gives us his normal comic idea, which is something I enjoy watching, it goes well opposite Jason Bateman’s slightly uptight style. Jon Favreau is good in his role and the most unknown f the four men is Faizon Love that keeps up with the rest well. The women get to focus on the different stages of life too, the thing is they could all be interchangeable in their roles if we are being honest. Kali Hawk is the stand out of the women performers.

StoryThe story follows four couples at different stages of their relationships, this is important because friends will need to learn from their friend’s positions and see where things could go. While this doesn’t always give each relationship, the time required to show where things are going for the couples, but this unleashes more comical moments in the film. While not overly loved by everyone, I feel this does work for the people that will enjoy a simple comedy movie.

ComedyThis comedy does work in most places, we have couples moments and solo moments which work to keep things flowing.

SettingsMost of the film is on the tropical island which gives us the beautiful backdrop for the events.


Scene of the Movie –
Clashing with employees.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have the man problems, but we don’t see enough of what the women problems are.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy that hints more often than it misses and has good cast working towards their strengths.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Rollerball (2002)

rllerDirector: John McTiernan

Writer: Larry Ferguson, John Pogue (Screenplay) William Harrison (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Klein, Jean Reno, LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn, Naveen Andrews Oleg Takarov

 

Plot: The big thing in 2005 is a violent sport which can have some pretty serious consequences… like dying.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Social Commentary 101

 

Story: Rollerball starts as we see aimless extreme sports lover Jonathan Cross (Klein) taking part in a boarding race through the streets of San Francisco only to be saved by his old friend Marcus Ridley (Cool J) who offers him a chance to take part in Rollerball in Central Asia where he can make a fortune for a couple of seasons work.

The sport is mostly hosted in Kazakhstan which while isn’t related to the film this does sum up big sports being offered major deals in Asia in the likes of football and cricket. Anyway, back to the story, Jonathan has become an overnight success in the sport and new favourite for owner Alexis Petrovich (Reno) with the sponsorship money pouring through Jonathan becomes the star for the whole crowd.

When the sport continues to draw a large audience with the violence we get to see just how deadly this sport can become as Jonathan’s popularity sky rockets he gets to live the life of luxury, fast cars, beautiful women and parties, but looking past this life Jonathan can see the problems within the country and with the sport he has become the star off.

 

Thoughts on Rollerball

 

Characters/PerformanceJonathan being made out to be the naïve extreme sports player works for this version of the film because he is the one that can see the problems in the sport he is the star of but isn’t able to take on what could easily be a dictator for the nation involved. Marcus is the best friend in the sport that is wiser to the country as well as happier to turn away from the problems he has seen. Aurora is your standard love interest with a dark past where she finds from the world. Alexis is the all powerful owner of the sport and what feel like the country that is desperate to be as rich as possible.

Performance wise Chris Klein does struggle to be the lead this film needs in places, but does pull the naïve side off well just not the action man lead. LL Cool J is fun as the best friend role while Rebecca Romijn does work for the love interest. Jean Reno does a good job as the power-hungry owner too. The rest of the supporting cast are all good without being scene stealers.stars

StoryThe story here is different in enough places from the original to only really use the sport as the remaining elements from the original. This time the sport has only just started to take off, the money is in it but the story focuses on the idea the sport is about to become the biggest sport in the world because of the nearly acquired blood lust of the audience, with the star player seeing this and wanting out and to stop this change to the sport. We get the feeling the rest of the world gets when they see the billionaires in similar countries spending money on sports when the rest of the country is struggle to make ends meet.

Action/Sci-Fi/SportsThe action is bigger and bloodier than the original film which shows how the fans will be drawn to the blood sport. The sports side is all entertaining for the fans.

SettingsThe settings are based in Asia showing how that is the new future for high paying sports owned by corrupt billionaire.

Special EffectsThe special effects for this film are all good but the night shot tries to be different and looks very difficult to watch.genre

Final ThoughtsI do have a personal soft spot for this movie and I can see why people don’t like it, but this is one film you can switch your brain off and enjoy the mad over the top entertainment.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable sports action movie.

Ratingrating