Triple Frontier (2019)

Director: J.C. Chandor

Writer: J.C. Chandor, Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona

 

Plot: Five former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the first time in their prestigious careers these unsung heroes undertake this dangerous mission for self instead of country. But when events take an unexpected turn and threaten to spiral out of control, their skills, their loyalties and their morals are pushed to a breaking point in an epic battle for survival.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Heist Film

 

Story: Triple Frontier starts military police officer working in South America Santiago (Isaac) is getting tired of the drug lord causing the pain and suffering to the locals, he comes up with a plan using local Yovanna (Arjona) to get back at him. Santiago returns to America to put a team together with his former squad Tom (Affleck), William (Hunnam), Ben (Hedlund) and Francisco (Pascal) to help him in South America.

The team look at the job with Santiago needing to talk them into completing a heist against drug lord, giving the war heroes a moment to have earnt the money they should have after their years of service, can they complete the job and escape, that is the question.

 

Thoughts on Triple Frontier

 

Characters – Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis is the captain of the unit, he is struggling in the real world trying to be a real estate agent, living in his ex-wife’s garage, he wants to be able to send his girls to college and however reluctant he is to complete this job, but when he sees the potential reward, he is the plan behind the heist. Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia is the member of the team working in South America, he has been fighting this drug lord for 3 years now and has seen a window of opportunity to take on the drug lord. He brings his old unit together to help a local pushing them all into a job that they can do, but didn’t plan to do, but can do. William ‘Ironhead’ Miller has been giving talks to young soldiers about his experiences, in and out of the military, preparing them for life in both situations, he agrees to help just for some action in his life. Ben Miller is William’s brother, he has turned to MMA for money where he is a good fighter, but it is only a matter of time before he gets hurt. Francisco ‘Catfish’ Morales is the pilot of the unit, he has lost his licence in the real-world, this could give him he security he no longer has in life. Yovanna is the local that has made a deal with Santiago to get the job done, she is doing it for her brother who has fallen onto the wrong side of the law.

PerformancesBen Affleck is strong in the leading role, he does give us the most interesting of the five characters because he makes us see the subtle problems the war machine has on the soldiers. Oscar Isaac is the highlight of the performance because he is playing the character balancing the most. Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal complete the unit, but sadly we don’t see them do much more than being the rest of the unit soldiers.

StoryThe story here follows a former military unit who travel to South America to complete a heist on a drug lord, what they end up facing is a battle to survive against the locals and elements to make it out alive. This does start of with a simple idea of a heist, which surprisingly is done within the first hour or so, most of the film is the journey to escape which sees them facing different obstacles which become increasingly more difficult as the journey unfolds. We do have the themes of soldiers struggling to deal with everyday life here, which is why they go on the heist, this is important, but sadly we only see this in one of the four men that go on the mission. The drug lord doesn’t seem like that big of a threat either, which is strange if we are being honest. This does feel like one of the tried and tested stories we have seen before, which can be enjoyed, but never tests us.

Action/Adventure/Crime The action is all military based, the chase scenes, the formations everything feels very calculated in what we see. The adventure takes the men to a new country, one where they must try to figure out how to escape from, it will test them and their training. The crime is the heist they are looking to commit, against a drug lord.

SettingsThe film is set in South America, this brings us into the jungle environment for the journey and sees us take on the drug lords of the area. It does offer something new for the heist genre though.


Scene of the Movie –
The cliff top shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about the rest of the unit.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting heist movie, it does have a close unit, but it does seem to lack a presence of a villainous figure for the second half of the film.

 

Overall: By the Books military heist film.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating

 

 

The Great Wall (2016)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Hanyu Zhang

 

Plot: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big Bad, Forgettable

 

Story: The Great Wall starts with a Great Wall history lesson as we learn the wall was constructed to keep enemies out some known others are legend, this is one of the legends. We meet the European mercenaries William (Damon), Tovar (Pascal) and their men on the run. Finding themselves under attack William and Tovar find an enemy unlike anything they have seen before but that is the least of their worries as they are still being hunted down but find themselves at the mercy of the Chinese.

Captured by the Chinese, Commander Lin Mae (Jing), General Shao (Zhang) and Strategist Wang (Lau) must decide what to do with the men and if their story is true. William and Tovar find themselves trapped in the middle of a battle between the Chinese and their defensive wall and blood thirsty creatures, a war their never asked for but a battle they were always ready to fight in.

 

Thoughts on The Great Wall

 

Characters/PerformanceWilliam is one of the Europeans who finds himself using all his combat skills to help the Chinese fight the creatures that terrorise their people and if they can get through the world. This battle gives William a chance at redemption for the wrongs he has committed in life. Tovar is his partner who wants to continue the darker path but his loyalty to William keeps him stuck between the lines.  Commander Lin is the strong leading women, she is willing to sacrifice herself to protect her people and he combat skills excel. Ballard is the once captured man who has become part of the battle but against his own will. The rest of the characters are all what you would expect in the wildly over the top action fantasy adventure films.

Performance wise, Matt Damon does struggle in this role, his accent skills are terrible as he bounces between most European from scene to scene even though he holds his own in the action sequences. Pedro Pascal is fun getting most of the comic relief throughout the film. Willem Defoe is the usual odd ball supporting role with Tian Jing being the star of the show.

StoryThe story does work in places, the mystery about the Great Wall will always make for an appealing story, while most of the history is known it is always interesting to see a twist on what could be a story about the history behind it all. The fantasy elements of the story is what drives this but in the end it is nothing more humans versus monsters with people needing to work together to make them win.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big, but at times hard to follow with the adventure coming from how the humans battle to survive. The fantasy side does work but also feels like something we have seen way too often.

SettingsHaving the film set mostly on the Great Wall works in my opinion because it plays into the fantasy idea of the wall being built to fight an ancient enemy.

Special EffectsThis is a film that is very heavy on the CGI and you can tell because a lot of them miss and look bad for the overall quality of the film.

Final ThoughtsI found this to be over the top, unoriginal but easy to watch, I don’t think this will be up for any awards just become forgettable.

 

Overall: This is an easy film to watch but nowhere near a classic

Rating