ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Screenplay) Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Gary Scott Thompson (Story)

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Ludacris, Thom Barry, James Remar, Devon Aoki

 

Plot: Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: 2 Fast 2 Furious starts as Brian (Walker) is now a wanted man, he leaves LA heading for Miami to start a new life on the street racing scene. Getting his races from Tej (Ludacris), Brian has built up his own reputation on the streets.

Once Brian is captured by the FBI Agent Bilkins (Barry) and Agent Markham (Remar) who want Brian to go undercover once more but this time investigating Carter Verone (Hauser) who is recruiting street racers through fellow undercover officer Monica (Mendes), Brian one rule to make this happen is he gets to bring in Roman (Gibson).

The drop that Brian and Roman must make points them in a hard position but with friends around the town, they make their own plan to stick it to Carter and Agent Markham.

 

Thoughts on 2 Fast 2 Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian fresh on the run enjoying the street racing scene, he gets dragged back into the undercover world but this time as an informant bringing in a friend from the past as we learn about his actions in the first film. Roman is the friend, who has suffered from the effects of Brian’s actions before we met him, he is rash, but brilliant behind the wheel and always talks himself into trouble. Villain wise we have Carter a rich criminal who is in need of drivers, he is deadly when you cross him but otherwise nothing unusual for the villain scene. Monica is the eye candle involved in the film who is the Brian character to the world.

Performance wise this is all good, Paul Walker is of course the highlight of the film with Mendes bringing all the sex appeal you need from her. Gibson does add a comical tone to the film which we do see get built on through the franchise. Cole Hauser is fine as a villain but you never believe he would be a threat for anyone.

StoryMuch like the first film this is a heist movie at heart, we have the street racing needed to build the team and respect but otherwise this is in the same vein as the Transporter movie. This is all fun easy to follow but tries to build the characters within the universe.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is all what you would expect from the first film but offers nothing new, the crime world is now Miami but again isn’t too different either if you are left wondering what will happen next.

SettingsMiami does make for a great setting as the franchise looks to expand to new locations.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between and all work well without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good second chapter of the Brian character, it is a shame that we didn’t see Vin Diesel return because we did see the franchise revolving around him. This isn’t anything new but is easy to follow.

 

Overall: Solid sequel is all good but not great.

Rating

 

 

Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

logoDirector: James Wan

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey

 

Plot: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Rollercoaster

 

Story: Furious 7 starts by firstly filling in between the end of Fast & Furious 6 and that telephone call between Dominic (Diesel) and Deckard Shaw (Statham). The opening scene shows Deckard in a hospital standing over his still alive brother Owen (Evans) before showing how many people he has taken out to see his brother. We get to see how Dom is still trying to help Letty (Rodriguez) find her memories. We also see Deckard pay Hobbs (Johnson) a visit finding out who nearly killed his brother leading to Hobbs ending up in hospital and the Toretto’s house being blown up.

Having everything in place we can say goodbye to Han with the whole family Brian (Walker) Mia (Brewster), Roman (Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) back together for the funeral. This leads to the first face to face meeting between Dominic and Deckard before the mysterious Mr Nobody (Russell) to get involved. Mr Nobody wants to retrieve a device created by hacker Ramsey (Emmanuel) but she has been kidnapped by a terrorist unit run by Jakande (Hounsou) with his second in command Kiet (Jaa). Ramsey has created a device called the God’s Eye which can locate anyone, anywhere in the world by hacking into camera.

Dominic’s crew is assigned to retrieve the device which Mr Nobody willing to allow him to use to find Deckard. The crew set out on their mission which includes plenty of action and travelling all over the world and each time everything looks under control Deckard turns up with things escalating once Deckard joins up with Jakande. This leads to an all-out assault with Dom and his crew having to outsmart the terrorists and retrieve the God’s Eye.

Furious 7 is a film I want to talk about in different sections, first I will look at the overall story and I will follow it up with how the franchise deals with Paul Walker’s exit. The story itself is what you would expect from the franchise, we get a bigger villain but one that is still connected to what happened much like what ‘Die Hard 3’ did the Gruber’s brother. Where this film gets extra points is by not making it a two way battle which we could have had with Deckard versus Dominic, we get two extra parties involved one on the good and one of the bad. These teams do actual have their own motives and when all four clash we get the chaos. Remember you will need to suspend your disbelief to a whole new level while watching this. One aspect I did enjoy was the Deckard is willing to go to war alone, no army of soldiers he wants to get everything done alone.

Paul Walker’s departure is always going to be one of the big talking points about this film. The whole film hints at the idea that Dominic wants Brian to stop risking his life and start raising his family. We get told this will be his last ride and after they finish we get a simple goodbye, we and Dom get to say goodbye with the haunting line from Brian ‘You think you could leave without saying goodbye?’ (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Vin Diesel: Dominic Toretto is our alpha who takes responsibility for his action after Deckard decides to come for revenge on everyone who took out his brother. Dominic makes deals with suits to make sure he can get to Deckard where he ends up having a showdown fans have wanted to see for years. Vin does a great job in this role showing that he isn’t just a fancy driver he is also bad ass when it comes to hand to hand combat. (8/10)

 dom

Paul Walker: Brian O’Connor is the family man struggling to adjust to his new life all while driving a minivan. Brian misses the action but ends up getting drawn back into it when his family gets put in danger by Deckard. This being Paul’s final role it is hard to say anything bad, we get what we expect from the character and we all get to say goodbye. (8/10)

brian

Jason Statham: Deckard Shaw is the brother of Owen, he wants to clean up the mess his brother has created and is unlike anybody the crew has come up against before. Deckard is a one man wrecking ball and doesn’t need men to get the job done, ex black ops we know that he has all the skills to kill anyone whenever he wants. Jason does a great job as the villain of the piece but he is really only fighting for his brother. (8/10)

 deckard

Michelle Rodriguez: Letty is still struggling with memory loss but with Dominic’s help she is trying to remember just who she once was. Letty goes on the mission getting some of the best driving scenes and fight scene against UFC Ronda Rousey. Michelle does a good job giving us what we expect from the character. (8/10)

 letty

Tyrese Gibson: Roman is clearly the comedy side of this story where he gets to have so many funny lines and scenes; he takes away all the serious side of the story. Tyrese does what you need him to do becoming comic relief. (7/10)

 roman

Ludacris: Tej is almost the double act with Roman but he does have skills the team needs, Tej is the hacker of the team who can make anything work to help the missions. Ludacris does a good job and works well with Gibson. (7/10)

 tej

Dwayne Johnson: Hobbs is the agent who gets first fight with Deckard before ending up in a hospital, he brings Dominic in to finish Deckard off and only turns back up in the film with the final act. Dwayne does a good job with the scenes he is in but it is disappoint just how little he really was used. (7/10)

hobbs

Kurt Russell: Mr Nobody is a mysterious government man who recruits Dominic to retrieve the God’s Eye with the promise of taking down Deckard; this is a very shady role that we don’t know how it will go through the film. Kurt does a good job and gets a glimpse of what he can do in an action film with his Snake memories. (8/10)

 nobody

Nathalie Emmanuel: Ramsey is the hacker and creator of God’s Eye, she is the one who needs to be rescued before working with Dominic and his crew as they use the God’s Eye to get Deckard. Nathalie does a good job joining the franchise which is always going to be hard but she fits in nicely. (7/10)

 ramswey

Tony Jaa: Kiet is the second in command to Jakande who leads the henchmen on the ground, he is also an expert in hand to hand combat leading to fights with Brian. I was disappointed with how little Tony was used because his fighting style is something very special to watch. (7/10)

 

Djimon Hounsou: Jakande is the leader of the terrorists who have Ramsey, but he ends up going up against Dominic and his crew to get the device even if it means teaming up with Deckard. Djimon does a good job in this role playing the role you would expect to see. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Furious 7 still has plenty more characters we could talk about, we have cameos from the cast Tokyo Drift which would have been nice to have a longer part. We also have many soldiers who offer good fights and many more familiar faces only in the odd scene here and there.

 

Director Review: James Wan – James steps out from the horror genre very well, we get to see how he uses his horror ideas on the action genre to give us one of the easiest films to watch in many years. (8/10)

 

Action: Furious 7 is filled with action, be it the skydiving planes, the tower to tower flying or the helicopter, cars and drone back on home turf. There are so many different types of over the top action going on here. (9/10)

Thriller: Furious 7 really keeps you guessing to what will happen to the characters next be it the good or bad. (8/10)

Settings: Furious 7 uses all the settings to make everything look like it has finally gone global but going to Tokyo, Adu Dhabi, London, Afghanistan or back in LA. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Furious 7 uses great effects to make every single mad looking scene look realistic. (9/10)

Suggestion: Furious 7 is one for all the action fans to watch, it will be one the franchise fans will have to watch too. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Mountain action scene.

Worst Part: The lack of the Tokyo casts involvement.

Action Scene Of The Film: Skydiving cars.

Funniest Scene: Most of Roman’s scenes.

Oh My God Moment: Ambulance versus the drone.

Favourite Quote:  Deckard ‘Dominic Toretto. You don’t know me, but you’re about to.’

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: Only with the goodbyes with Brian. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: It could easily have another one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

Tagline: Vengeance hits home

 

Overall: Furious 7 is adrenaline fuelled action with a touching final tribute

Rating 82

 

Max Payne (2008)

logoDirector: John Moore

Writer: Beau Thorne (Screenplay) Sam Lake (Video Game Characters)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Chris O’Donnell, Donal Logue, Amaury Nolasco, Kate burton, Olga Kurylenko

 

Plot: Three years ago, NYPD detective Max Payne (Wahlberg) wife and baby were murdered. Max gets himself transferred to the cold case office where he can continue searching for the killer who got away. He’s a loner, but two people reach out to him during a fateful week. Alex (Logue) his ex-partner who may have found a clue and BB (Bridges), the security chief at the pharmaceutical company where Max’s wife worked. Meanwhile bodies are piling up, some as a result of a drug on the street that is highly addictive and for many who take it brings hideous hallucinations. When one of the bodies is a woman Payne was the last to see alive her sister Mona (Kunis) comes looking for him armed to the teeth. Max must move fast.

 

Verdict: Video Game Action success?

Story: Having never played the games or even knowing anything about the games I could really see this fresh as an action fan. I was expecting some form of supernatural side to the story but I was wrong. It is just a revenge thriller that has lots of action and very little dialogue. Most of the support characters have very little development and are each only used to pass on a small part of the story. In the end as a standalone action film it is switch the mind of acceptable. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Mark Wahlberg – Max Payne the determined cop who wants to truth who ends up getting caught up in something bigger than he could have ever imagined. Solid from Mark but the fans of the games will dislike what he does to the character. (7/10)

 max

Actor Review: Mila Kunis – Mona from the more underworld side of the city she ends up teaming up with Max to take down the people responsible for the death of their loved ones. I think this was a bit too early in her career, she looks a little bit out of place, and maybe she could return for a sequel and use what she has learned. (4/10)

mila

Actor Review: Beau Bridges – BB Hensley friend of Max who was also good friends with his wife, he tries to help but ultimately is the guy responsible for everything that has driven Max. Good but nothing special performance. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Ludacris – Jim the internal affairs officer trying to figure out what the corruption in the Police could change how they look at crimes being committed in the town. Another guy who was in a role that is hard to believe too early in his acting career, he tries but it just doesn’t quite some off for him. (5/10)

 ludicrus

Actor Review: Chris O’Donnell – Jason a former work colleague of Max’s wife, knows more than he is letting on. Good supporting role that is good use for information only. (5/10)

 

Actor Review: Donal Logue – Alex ex-partner who tries to reconnect after discovering a new clue about Max’s wife’s murder. Only a small role but the look of a desperate friend works well. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Amaury Nolasco – Jack a man that spends a lot of time watching what is going on with Max and Mona, but he does have a motive, but we never know what he final motive is. Good supporting role used well to create a target for Max. (6/10)

amruay

Director Review: John Moore – Simple direction used to create plenty of over the top action for the more casual fan to enjoy. (6/10)

 

Action: Plenty of gun fights throughout, I really don’t know how many bullets they must have used. (9/10)

Crime: Simple crime aspects used nothing truly original though. (6/10)

Thriller: Tries to pull of some thrills but doesn’t really succeed. (6/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects for the hallucination scenes and gun battles. (9/10)

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Dark settings used to create a very dark world similar to the story they are in. (8/10)

 

Suggestion: This is really one to try I can’t say it is very original and like most video game films isn’t the most popular compared to the games. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Gun rights.

Worst Part: poor support character development.

Action Scene Of The Film: The office gun battle

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Do to the poor box office it would be a no.

 

Overall: Video Game Action, You Know What You Are Getting

Rating 56

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

faast 6Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gabot, Ludacris, Luke Evans, Elsa Patasky, Gina Carano

 

Story: When Hobbs (Johnson) is struggling to stop a ruthless criminal mastermind led by Shaw (Evans), he turns to Dom (Diesel) with a chance to get a full pardon on all crimes committed. His piece of bait is Letty (Rodriguez) still being alive. Dom brings the team back for an adventure all over Europe.

 

Verdict

 

Action: A full-blown action film once an action scene starts it draws you in and will leave you in amazement. (10/10)

 

Thriller: edge of your seat chase keeps you completely entertained through out. (10/10)

 

Sound: Great sound effects all the way through, lots of fancy engine sounds. (10/10)

 

Settings: London was a great location choice with its tight streets adding to the suspense of the chases. (9/10)

 

Suggestion: Car junkies will simply have to see this and all action fan will be able to consider this one of the best out this year. (9/10)

 

Best Part: The tank chase

 

Worst Part: The story doesn’t require much thinking.

 

Star Performance: Luke Evans

Favourite Character: Roman Funny all the way through

 

Favourite Quote: Shaw ‘I can reach out and break you whenever I want’

 

Trivia: David Tennant was considered for the role of Shaw

 

Similar Too: Fast Five

 

Overall: A thrill ride that will leave you wanting more and more, the best in the franchise which just seems to get better and better. Very much Ocean’s Eleven on wheels this is a major contender for action film of the year and shows that Dwayne and Vin can hold their own in action films. An end credits scene which opens the door to an even bigger film next time out. Sit back and enjoy.

 

Rating 97%