Franchise Weekend – Mulan 2 (2004)

Director: Darrell Rooney, Lynne Southerland

Writer: Michael Lucker, Chris Parker, Roger S.H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Mark Moseley, Lucy Liu, Harvey Fierstein, Sandra Oh

 

Plot: While preparing for their wedding, Shang and Mulan are suddenly sent off on a secret mission. Mushu starts to meddle, and a surprise attack by Mongolians doesn’t help either.


Tagline – Saving China was just The Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Warrior to Wedding Disappoints

 

Story: Mulan 2 starts as Mulan and Shang are planning to wed, but before they go through with the wedding the Emperor sends them on a mission to escort his daughters to Mongolia to marry to help keep the peace between the countries. Mushu on the other hand learns that he will lose his place as a guardian of Mulan if she marries, leading him to try and sabotage their engagement.

When Mulan’s previous experiences inspire one of the princess’ to follow her own heart, everything plays into Mushu plans to break the couple up, but this could bring war back to China.

 

Thoughts on Mulan 2

 

Characters – Mulan has gone from fearless warrior to bride in waiting, she does continue to show that women in Ancient China need to learn to be independent but is a shell of the person we met in the first movie. Shang is the warrior due to marry Mulan, their latest assignment causes a rift between them as he must learn that not all missions are important to complete. Mushu is the guardian about to lose his position if Mulan gets married, he sets out to sabotage their relationship.

StoryThe story here follows Mulan and Shang as they are planning for their wedding while going on a mission, if I am honest I just don’t want to talk about this story because it took a fearless warrior in Mulan into a character that just wants to prepare for her wedding. We have lost all the adventure that was in the first one to what is just a relationship drama.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThis is branded as an action movie and has one weak action scene to come, the comedy is mostly a miss but this is more family friendly over the first film.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings as well, but still has good visual temples included.

AnimationThe animation look is good and is the only redeeming good part of this film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nothing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me ruining what Mulan created.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak Disney sequel in the darker days of Disney where they just make rubbish sequels to loved games.

 

Overall: Poor sequel.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – P – Payback (1999)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Donald E Westlake (Novel)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Gregg Henry, Maria Bello, David Paymer, Bill Duke, Deborah Kara Under, John Glover, Lucy Liu

 

Plot: After a successful heist, Porter is shot by his wife and his best friend. They leave him there to die but when he recovers, he seeks revenge and wants his share of the money.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Revenge Thriller

 

Story: Payback starts as Porter (Gibson) is left for dead by his partner Val (Henry) and wife Lynn (Unger), Porter explains everything he wants to go and why it happened as he tells us all his plan. We watch how Porter dives into the criminal underworld to get his hands-on Val first to get his money, then to kill him.

Porter’s mission is filled with twists and turns along the way as he deals with his former bosses, Bronson (Kristofferson), Carter (Devane), dirty cops and his only friend is old flame Rosie (Bello), can he get what is owned to him?

 

Thoughts on Payback

 

Characters – Porter is a streetwise criminal that does the small jobs in the underworld until he is betrayed, he only wants his money but ends up going after the whole organisation in his cold calculated way. Val is the man that betrayed Porter, he has a short temper and gets himself into trouble more often than not. Rosie is the one person Porter is willing to trust but mostly used to show Porter could have a life after this revenge mission. We also have the traditional crime characters that don’t seem to have anything overly original about them.

PerformanceMel Gibson was one of the hottest properties in the 90’s before any controversy and here you can see he knew how to be the star of the show. Gregg Henry is a good villain but we have three main villains that all get the limited amount of time. Maria Bello is also good in this film as the helper showing us she can pull off the sexy smart partner in crime.

StoryThe story is a by the book revenge story of a betrayed criminal that goes after the man who turned on his just to get the money back but ends up facing off against the how organisation. This is also a film which is known for how the editing changed the tone of the film which is something you can see through the story a lot, one minute it feels like a dark thriller the next it has a moment of what feels slightly comical. This does take part of the film out but the story still ends up going the same way.

Action/CrimeThe action is shoot ups which are a good watch throughout the film, each having bigger stakes and each trying to give us something original. The crime world shows us the world all the characters are from which helps us understand all the motivation they show.

SettingsNew York, my old friend and favourite for a crime setting, nothing can be flawed and staying away from some of the bigger iconic monuments or structures helps us enjoy the gritty underworld.

Scene of the Movie – Pearl in a jam.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would agree with the people who say the edit doesn’t click for the tone.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good by the book crime thriller but the tonal problems stops it reaching the highlights of everything it could have from what I hear of the director’s cut.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni

Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston, JK Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu

 

Plot: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sequel

 

Story: Kung Fu Panda 3 starts as we see how Kai is trying to escape from the spirit world where he has been trapped for 500 years. Po on the other hand is being pushed into become the teacher which Po isn’t prepared for and when his father Li arrives in town, he gets to learn about his past.

Po must learn the art of chi to defeat Kai and only his real father claims to be able to teach him this skill, so Po goes on an adventure of self-discovery. With Po learning about his past the rest of the Furious Six must find a way to stop Kai before he takes all of the students of chi.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Panda 3

 

Characters Po is ready for the next step of being a master and that is to become the teacher, but as he isn’t ready he searches advice from his father only to learn that his real father is still alive and willing to teach him chi. Li is the real father of Po who wants to bring him home with the promise of teaching him chi. Kai is a vengeful spirit who was once a feared warrior but now he is obsessed with getting all the chi in the world to make him the most powerful creature on Earth. The Furious Six are barely used through this outing with Tigress being the only one who is involved in the main story. The world building of characters is good here as we learn more about the past with other warriors and future with new warriors.

StoryThe story here does show us how Po is continuing his development in training to be a grand master, we have the biggest threat in the villain who isn’t just well trained but has supernatural abilities. This is a huge improvement on the last outing and makes us want to follow the story on the deeper level. The dealing with the parent issues also does come off as an important lesson.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action once again is great and entertaining with the comedy being hit or miss throughout. This does seem to be for the family and will entertain the whole family more than the last outing.

SettingsThe settings once again look great and dive more into fantasy this time which is great to see.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which is something we have come to know in this franchise now.

Final ThoughtsThis is an improvement on the last outing and I feel is more entertaining than the first one, so I do believe this is the best in the franchise for the story of Po.

 

Overall: Enjoy the third chapter of this franchise.

Rating

 

Franchise Weekend – Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu

 

Plot: Po and his friends fight to stop a peacock villain from conquering China with a deadly new weapon, but first the Dragon Warrior must come to terms with his past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weaker Sequel

 

Story: Kung Fu Panda 2 starts as we learn of an evil peacock named Shen who has mastered the art of fireworks and has gone into hiding to make the perfect weapon. Meanwhile Po is continuing his training working as a unit in the now Furious Six and when not fighting he is training with Shifu.

With the Furious Six going into battle against Shen, Po must face the truth about where he came from as he finally confronts the realization he was adopted and what happened to his parents.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Panda 2

 

Characters Po is still clumsy but a warrior never the less but this time he must face his past while seeing his heroes disappoint him. Shifu lets his team do the work this time not being overly involved in the story. Shen is the peacock looking to conquer China with his powerful unstoppable weapon. The Furious Six all play their part again too with Tigress seemingly getting the biggest part. The characters do all work for the film and do make this feel like a sequel adventure for the characters taking on a new villain.

StoryThe story does feel slightly flatter this time around, now Po is trained it is just the group taking on a new villain as we try to learn about where Po came from and why he is the only Panda around. It feels like a sequel but lacks the punch the first one had by trying to go overly emotional.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action is all what we expect, big and martial arts that only works for animated, the comedy seems to have dried up more just not clicking enough. This is fine for a family film though that will keep the kids happier than the adults.

SettingsOnce again the settings do look great for battling kingdoms which are surrounded with smaller town.

AnimationWe know the animation is fantastic and once again it doesn’t let us down.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel that just seems to lack the heart the first film had, leaving it all feel like it could have been a straight to DVD sequel.

 

Overall: Weak sequel you just can’t enjoy as much.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Director: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson

Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (Screenplay) Cyrus Voris, Ethan Reiff (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu

 

Plot: The Dragon Warrior has to clash against the savage Tai Lung as China’s fate hangs in the balance: However, the Dragon Warrior mantle is supposedly mistaken to be bestowed upon an obese panda who is a tyro in martial arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Film

 

Story: Kung Fu Panda starts as panda Po dreams of being a martial arts warrior joining the furious five Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane. All trained under their master Shifu but when Tai Lung escapes from prison, Shifu must accept a new student from the wise Oogway who holds a contest to retrieve the dragon scroll declaring Po as the latest Dragon Warrior.

Po is rejected by Shifu, who pushes him to the limits hoping he will quit, but Po isn’t going to just give up. This gives Shifu a chance to fulfil his destiny of training a dragon warrior to defeat his once greatest warrior Tai Lung before his evil ways take over once again.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Panda

 

CharactersPo is a clumsy panda that dreams of leaving his family business and becoming a warrior next to the Furious Five. When he gets picked as the next Dragon Warrior he must overcome his own fears to prove to everyone wrong. Shifu is the master that wants nothing to do with Po but when his best student is coming for what he claims to be his, he must train Po to defeat him. Tai Lung is the former student that grew in darkness which led to him being captured but once he escapes he looks to continue his rampage across the country. The Furious Five are great warriors with their own different strengths and weakness. All the characters do add to the story, we also get the inclusion of the different species which get their trademark moves to defeat opponents in battle.

StoryThe story focuses on an unlikely hero coming from nothing to become the hero in a battle against an evil that will put a former master back on the right path when he searches for the mistake he once made. This all comes off extremely well getting everything you need without making anything complicated for a family audience.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action is martial arts sequences you couldn’t pull off in real life movies which gives us no limits to what we could see and also used to add comedy to everything going on, most of the comedy is slapstick which works for the martial arts theme which fits into the family genre without getting too violent or crude with jokes.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic for everything going on showing where Po comes from and where he could end up once he is fully trained.

AnimationThe animation all looks stunning like you would expect when you see budget this big.

Final ThoughtsThis took a while for me to see but now I have I can say I did enjoy this movie more than I thought.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action family movie.

Rating