ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Pompeii (2014)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland

 

Plot: A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.


Tagline – No warning. No escape

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mindless Action

 

Story: Pompeii starts as the last Celt Milo (Harrington) as slaved turned gladiator gets transported to Pompeii for the last arena to show his power in. while Milo is being prepared for his latest fight against fearless gladiator Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who has one last fight before freedom. Outside his prison, Cassia (Browning) is being lined-up for any bachelors from around the world including Corvus (Sutherland) the man that led the army that butchered Milo’s family.

When Milo and Cassia meet they know they are in love, though the different positions making their love impossible, shown the true colours of Corvus, it is the volcano Mount Vesuvius that will decide these characters fates.

 

Thoughts on Pompeii

 

Characters – Milo is a Celt, his family was butchered when he was a young boy, now he is the last of his kind, a slave turned gladiator, one that is unbeaten in combat. He falls for Cassia the heir to the throne of Pompeii and once the destruction starts he must risk his life to save her. Cassia is the heir to the throne, not interested in the men she is being arranged with seeing something different in Milo, she is being forced to marry Corvus to save her family until the volcano strikes and she needs saving by her true love. Corvus is the evil ruler from Rome, he has conquered around the world killing millions, he will do anything to survive including killing innocent people and uses his position of power to do whatever he wants. Atticus is fellow gladiator who fights with honour even though this could be his last fight because winning would me freedom, he becomes friends with Milo as they work together to escape their enemies.

PerformancesKit Harrington freshly out of Game of Thrones step into this role and does a good job without needing to do too much with the fighting being great to watch. Emily Browning is good too which is same for most of the supporting cast, we do have a couple of weak performances and over the top Kiefer Sutherland is one you will laugh off.

StoryThe story here tries to create the normal Roman traditions on the eve of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. So we do need to break this down a little bit more, first the whole gladiator fighting for freedom and the love of the heir of the city is mostly forgettable, it is almost trying to pull a Titanic with this angle for a love story in the mist of a disaster. Once the eruption starts the story gets more interesting because we learn the true colour of characters, though we do know the outcome making certain moments in the escape feel almost pointless including one where Atticus saves a little girl.  For a disaster movie with elements around it, we have an entertaining enough story, just one that tries too hard to give a fictionally twist on a real event.

Action/Adventure/History/RomanceThe action in the film is good to watch and easily the highlight, we have different sword or weapon fights, chase sequences and destruction. You could easily say the adventure side of things is Milo trying to escape which is a fair enough game to be watching. Now the history, this is hard because this eruption was a real event, what was going on at the time isn’t as clear. Mixing the real events with this nonsense romantic angle doesn’t help though.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in Pompeii for the most part, the destruction sequences show us just how much of a panic it would have been for the victims of the disaster.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mixed, we get moments that could have been better mostly to do with the larger sequences though.


Scene of the Movie –
The eruption.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Milo in the gladiator time, really?

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough disaster movie that does the action well though it has a pointless romance angle.

 

Overall: Simple disaster movie.

Rating

 

 

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Kurt Russell Weekend – Soldier (1998)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: David Webb Peoples (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaac, Connie Nielsen, Sean Pertwee

 

Plot: A soldier is dumped on a waste disposal planet and lives among a community of crash survivors on the planet and takes it upon himself to defend his new home when genetic engineered soldiers are ordered to eliminate the crash survivors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Universal Soldier, Wait No

 

Story: Soldier starts in a world where the military select babies to train into emotionless soldiers, Todd 3465 (Russell) is the best of the first batch of trained men but when Colonel Mekum (Isaacs) starts genetically creating his super soldiers with his star being Caine 607 (Lee), Todd finds himself defeat and dumped on a waste disposal planet.

On this planet Todd is taken in by a community that live there after they crash landed but soon his skills make him a threat to even them, forcing him to leave and become the lone traveller on the planet. This quiet group gets ambushed by the Colonel on a clean-up mission leaving Todd to defend the innocent from his replacements.

 

Thoughts on Solider

 

Characters – Todd 3465 is an emotionless soldier trained from a baby to be the best in the field, he doesn’t say much but when he gets replaced he finds himself using his training to protect the innocent. Caine 607 is the new genetically advanced soldier who has replaced Todd, he is faster, stronger and deadlier than Todd. Colonel Mekum is the man that has bought out the replacements to deal with the bigger problems in the universe, not caring about the original models.

PerformanceKurt Russell is solid in this role, he got himself into shape for it but in the 90s the action stars were more physical presence while Russell doesn’t get the full chance to be the guy we know from the 80s. Jason Scott Lee is solid too in his performance, he has the look of the typical enemy our hero must face in combat to achieve his redemption. Jason Isaacs will always be a good choice for a military role and often finds himself working with this director.

StoryThe story is simple to follow, we have modified soldiers that have been replaced by the newest models and the older model must use his skills to defend the people who took him in against the new and improved model. It is a simple story it does feel like Universal Soldier for the most part too.

Action/Sci/FiThe action sequences are mostly the generic ones we have come to know from the soldier versus soldier film but nothing stands out. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea the soldiers are trained and built to fight in a futuristic war.

SettingsTh settings are easy to use with most being used in the montage to show Todd’s war record, the most part of the film is on a waste planet which puts our characters on the world there are desperate to escape.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects are fine but parts of them have dated through the years.

Scene of the Movie – Todd versus the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a Universal Soldier rip off.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch action film that does feel like just another branch of the Universal Soldier universe.

 

Overall: Easy to watch actioner.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – AVP Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan

 

Plot: During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not That Great

 

Story: AVP: Alien vs. Predator starts by taking us around the world fron Antarctica to space to Nebraska to Nepal where we meet the mountain climbing expert Alexa Woods (Lathan) onto Mexico where we meet the archaeologist Sebastian (Bova) who both get a visit from Maxwell Stafford (Salmon) who represents Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen).

Weyland has discovered an ancient pyramid buried under the ice of Bouvetoya Island in Antarctica and has built a team including Alexa, Sebastian, Miller (Bremner), Mark (Flanagan), Joe (Rye) and Adele (Boulaye) to mention a few. To travel to the island to enter into the pyramid for what could well be a massive discovery for whoever finds it.

What starts out as a simple exhibition turns into a nightmare when above ground the men get attacked by Predators but inside the pyramid they must battle aliens in a battle for survival stuck in the middle of these iconic villains.

 

Thoughts on AVP: Alien vs. Predator

 

Characters/PerformanceAlexa Woods is the expert climber hired to lead the team into the pyramid using her experience on climb ice surfaces, she reluctantly agrees knowing she is the only available person to do the job safely. Sebastian is the archaeologist that is an expert on many ancient cultures. Weyland is the man funding and seeking technology inside the pyramid. The rest of the characters get a proper introduction only to be killed off in about a ten-minute sequence.

Performance was Lathan is good and the highlight of the human characters with everyone else just coming off fine not getting the time to make an impact.

StoryWhen you look at this story you are left thinking this is Alien on Earth, just without any suspense, horror or interesting stuff going on. This sounds harsh because this is an easy watch and people are going to be happy to watch aliens and predators fight, the problem I have was the introducing us to countless humans only to be disposable for these villains. Certain elements of the story telling do work though, looking at the idea of ancient civilizations worshiping the predators in exchange for the pyramids I did like.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all what you would come to expect, large body counts and alien or predator kills we have seen before. The horror is almost gone which disappoints with the sci-fi edge working on the level it needs to only.

SettingsAfter taking us around the world in the opening sequences we do settle down nicely for the setting inside the pyramid under the ice with little escape.

Special EffectsWe have good effects when we keep things small scale but bad effects when things get to the large scale.

Final ThoughtsThis is just fine nothing more, it is an easy watch and brings together icons of film, but this just isn’t as fun as Freddy v Jason.

 

Overall: Easy to watch all actioner horrorless movie.

Rating

 

 

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

resDirector: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy

 

Plot: Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion

 

Story: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter starts with the real origin of the T-Virus as it was created to save the life of its creator’s daughter Alicia, but the side effects gave us deadly outcome of the zombie outbreak, with the creator’s partner Dr Isaacs (Glen) killing him. We continue the narration for 5 minutes before picking up in Washington DC in the aftermath of a trap with Alice (Jovovich).

We start the main story with Alice taking on a dragon like zombie because why the hell not, right? Alice gets a visit from the Red Queen who offers her a chance to end the zombie outbreak for good and revenge on Wesker (Roberts) who led Alice and her friends into the trap. The mission is to head back to Racoon City and back into the Hive where it all began to release an airborne cure. Along the road Alive finds an old enemy in Dr Isaacs who has been controlling things in what he calls a cleansing mission, leading an army of the undead back to Racoon City. Arriving back in Racoon City Alice finds a new pocket of survivors who Claire Redfield (Larter) has joined as the remaining humans go to war against Isaacs and his army of zombies before looking to finally put an end to zombie apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

 

StoryThere are two ways I am looking at the story, the first is in all the positives and that is this does come back to tie everything together in the series and deliver a final instalment the fans can enjoy with plenty of throw backs to the previous instalments of the franchise. On the negative side of the story we don’t have the most original story because it is the same core Alice joins resistance group, ends up leading them in the battle before most die and she must fight an ‘unkillable’ enemy that she can kill. Yay that is the core story which is all fine when you switch you brain off but offers very little new.

Action/HorrorThe action is wildly over the top just like we know, we have bigger action set pieces while the horror side of the film is almost forgotten now in the series.

Characters/Performanceslooking at the characters we all know the Alice story by now, Dr Isaacs and Wesker are both franchise favourite villains and the returning Claire Redfield is all good. It is the new ‘disposable’ character which are mostly all forgettable as we have the tough chick, the one who hates Alice only to grow respect and the tough guy who you can replace with almost anybody.

The performances are all on a par with anything we have seen before with Jovovich showing she is the true star of the show, Gen adding the class in the villainous role with Roberts impressing once again as the emotionless villain. Looking deeper into the cast I felt Fraser James was doing his best Idris Elba impression throughout the film and it is getting worrying to see Ruby Rose continuing to look like she is take the role Michelle Rodriguez is best known for the bad ass chick which she is good at but this is the second time this year.

SettingsBringing all the action back to Racoon City I feel is a good thing, we get plenty of nods to the previous instalments along the way with the use of the settings, I feel this is a good way to end the franchise by respecting each location we have seen Alice must fight through.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the special effects we always find ourselves getting plenty of over the top sequences that all look good throughout as the film sometimes focuses on the effects over the story.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise will always end up going down as one of my guilty pleasures watches, I do like switching my brain off at time and Resident Evil is always going to offer that for me. This isn’t the most original but the action is pure madness so I am happy to enjoy that and paying respect to the previous films I am happy to see too, but I would have liked some of the other characters who were stood ready for war at the end of the last film with Alice appearing in the film.

 

Overall: Good mindless action film you can fully switch off and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resDirector: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke

 

Plot: Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Extinction starts with Dr Isaacs (Glen) performing tests on Alice (Jovovich) only to learn he has a clone army of Alice’s looking for one that can meet the abilities of the original Alice.

We jump forward years now with the world destroyed left in a desert like state and Alice a lone traveller in this wasteland. Also, travelling the wasteland Carlos (Fehr) and Claire (Larter) lead a convoy of survivors around staying one step ahead of the undead using the safety in numbers idea.

When the two collide, they find themselves on the run from Umbrella as Dr Isaacs is searching to the original Alice to help complete his research in the hunt for a cure for the T-Virus.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil Extinction

 

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Alice and shows how Umbrella are still experimenting within this world. My issue with this story is the major jump in time, the first two are almost over two days but this jumps forward in years to the full destruction of the Earth that is covered with infected. This other problem with this story is that you can’t go back to fill in the gaps so the sequels after this must work around the world being in this condition which isn’t where the games are. For this franchise of films this is slightly out of character as a story but like the first two it is just a group of survivors trying to survive waves of the undead before Alice faces a big boss like enemy, not the most original but a tried and tested formula.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger once again, the horror is weaker once again but overall this is all you need from this video game adaption.

Characters/PerformanceAlice continues to show off her character’s true abilities which continue to get unlocked through the film. Carlos also returns but offers nothing new and we get another video game favourite Claire Redfield joining the survival, but she is written as a leader but isn’t as strong as Jill. We also have a new primary villain in Dr Isaacs who is working on Umbrella research and is mostly the same as we had last time.

As performances go Jovovich continues to make herself the icon of the series and she is good at this. Glen adds the class in the villainous role without excelling and Ali Larter does well but the character isn’t written well enough for my liking. The rest of the supporting cast are all fine and good for the few scenes they are in.

SettingsHaving the film set in the desert leaves me feeling slightly mixed because I do feel that is needed to be a slow improvement in size rather than going almost worldwide, but I also like the big environment because it offers the film a chance to go in a different direction.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good but not the best they could be, because of the film you are willing to let things go in places too.

Final ThoughtsWhen you watch the whole franchise through this one does feel like the longest but is also does help take the series to a larger scale.

 

Overall: Opens the door for the franchise to become bigger.

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