Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Jan de Bont, Randall McCormick (Story)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison, Brian McCardie, Christine Firkins

 

Plot: A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker.


Tagline – Rush hour hits the water.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Passable Action Film

 

Story: Speed 2: Cruise Control starts as we meet Annie (Bullock) still trying to get her driving licence back, long past dating Jack (Because Keanu was smart enough not to come back) and has moved onto what she thinks is a quiet cop role of Alex Shaw (Patric) who is actually a SWAT officer too.

To break the tension, Alex takes Annie on a cruise, which happens to have John Geiger (Dafoe) onboard that has his own plans for the cruise. As John takes over the boat, he plans to evacuate the passengers which will leave him the ship, but Alex will get to the bottom of this and try to save the day.

 

Thoughts on Speed 2: Cruise Control

 

Characters – Annie is back, she still can’t drive and now she has fallen for another risk-taking cop in Alex, this is a character that strangely feels iconic for the genre, while not being bad character or being weak, she doesn’t do much over than panic. Alex is the risk-taking cop, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? He will do anything to save the day. John Geiger is the villain of the piece, he has made his plan and wants to operate through his plan, though he didn’t plan for Alex. Strangely he never plans to kill anyone.

PerformancesSandra Bullock is fine in her role here, she works for these films. Jason Patric just lacks the charisma Keanu had in the first one which doesn’t make you care about his character. Willem Dafoe is one of the most reliable villains in Hollywood, it is strange that he is good, but the character is largely forgettable.

StoryThe story is just like the first Speed, it has a criminal that takes a vehicle with the promise to kill everyone if demands aren’t met. This is the old tried and tested formula without being overly impressive and never reaches the levels of the first film. it does everything it needs to do while being easy to watch from start to finish.

Action/Crime/RomanceThe action sequences for the most part are entertaining even if they are overly long at times, like the sequence crashing into the island, just seems to go on and on. The romance involved is just more of the same mostly tagged on too.

SettingsThe film being set on the bottle, tries to do something different, but it just lacks the tension the first one has.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are terrible and even in places laughable.


Scene of the Movie –
While long the boat crashing into the harbour is fun watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random dog sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot of bashing, it does everything it needs to for an action film, that just isn’t on the same level as the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that works well enough.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012)

Director: Roel Reine

Writer: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn (Screenplay) Randall McCormick (Story)

Starring: Victor Webster, Billy Zane, Ron Perlman, Selina Lo, Dave Bautista, Krystal Vee

 

Plot: Since his rise to power, Mathayus’ kingdom has fallen. Now an assassin for hire, he must defend a kingdom from an evil tyrant and his ghost warriors for the chance to regain the power and glory he once knew.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funnier Sequel

 

Story: The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption starts where a disgraced Mathayus (Webster) is in search of a worthy death not that he has lost his kingdom and love, now he fights for money and honour with Horus (Perlman) hiring him to take out his brother Talus (Zane) a man trying to conquer the land. Mathayus is sent with European warrior Olaf (Christopher) who helps save a princess Silda (Vee) for King Ramusan (Morrison).

But this easy looking adventure takes a turn in the search for Cobra before Mathayus must come up against ghost warriors in Argomael (Bautista), Zulu Kondo (Ferguson), Tsukai (Lo) to free the kingdom from war.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is now older which is good because now this is a sequel to the original as we see how he has fallen from grace but is still a brilliant warrior. Silda is the plucky warrior woman starting her own revolution against the evil ruler. With Talus being the over the top cowardly ruler that will never get his hands dirty. Olaf adds most of the laughs in this film with the ghost warriors all have a great look about them.

Performance wise, Victor Webster is solid in the leading role being an improvement on the last outing but never reaching Johnson level. Krystal Vee makes for yet another beautiful warrior but Billy Zane is way to over the top for this role. The early role for Dave Bautista does show how far he has come though. If you are looking to see a lot of Ron Perlman you will be disappointed.

StoryThe story follows what happens once Mathayus has fallen from the top returning to his warrior ways for money. Finding him stuck between two sides in the battle also works and it could be argued that this is the best story yet from a Scorpion King film.

Action/AdventureThe action is almost painfully choregraphed with the adventure side of the film going the wrong direction. The fantasy side does work in places with the ghost warriors.

SettingsThe settings once more could have just been anywhere with no location sticking out.

Special EffectsThe special effects are fine as the film cuts back on them mostly returning just to hand to hand combat.

Final ThoughtsThis story is good but the poorly directed action, poor acting and repetitive action gets tiresome quickly.

 

Overall: Another part of this franchise where you don’t need to see anything else beforehand.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior (2008)

Director: Russel Mulcahy

Writer: Randall McCormick (Screenplay) Stephen Sommers (Characters)

Starring: Michael Copon, Randy Couture, Natalie Becker, Karen David, Simon Quarterman, Tom Wu, Andreas Wisniewski

 

Plot: In Ancient Akkad, Mathayus grows up as the proud son of Ashur, a captain in the world-renowned military corps of Black Scorpions, first-rate bodyguards, most of which are sent to courts wide away. By objecting to young Mathayus joining the corps, Ashur incurs the undying enmity of ruthless generalissimo Sargon, gets killed and the orphaned knave is shipped off to a desolate training camp for six years by king Hammurabi’s clemency. When he returns as a Black Scorpio, Sargon has bloodily seized the throne and demands cruel proof of blind loyalty. Mathayus refuses, becoming a chased hero. With youth friends, the resourceful Greek Pollux and various mercenary warriors, he embarks on a daring quest to obtain a legendary sword from Sargon’s magical ally, the war-goddess Astarte.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Re-Writing Mythology Sequel

 

Story: The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior starts with an origin story, yay, Mathayus’ father Ashur was part of the elite warriors known as thee Black Scorpions but objects of his son following in his footsteps but after Mathayus finds himself training under the ruthless general Sargon (Couture) making an early enemy within the kingdom. When his father is killed by Sargon, Mathayus has no proof, so he sets out to prove himself by learning the ways of the Black Scorpions, but upon his return Sargon has risen to power.

When Mathayus (Copon) refuses to surround blind loyalty to Sargon, he learns the strength he posses with the dark arts and must train to return to bring down the tyrant Sargon with the help of friends along the way including old friend Layla (David), Ari (Quarterman) and Pollux (Wisniewski) who must first fight against the Minotaur.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is the young warrior trained in the art of the Black Scorpion which again goes against everything we have learnt in the first two films. But away from these strange new character developments, he is mostly just a warrior seeking revenge for the murder of his father. Layla is the strong adventurous woman that wants to be a warrior and love interest for Mathayus. Sargon is the deadly warrior who has become king, he has used the dark magic to gain his power and makes for a great opposition for Mathayus.

Performance wise, Copon doesn’t reach the levels we have come to expect from this character with Johnson’s ability in the leading role. Karen David is good in the lead lady role with Couture struggling to make the impact with his villainous role but he can handle the fights well.

StoryLooking at the story, we get a prequel to the prequel that was involving a character from a sequel, yeah it is getting confusing already. This time Mathayus gets trained by the Black Scorpions and works under a king in what is a flat-out revenge adventure action fantasy film. we dive into a mix of mythologies now mixing Greek and Egyptian and a deadlier villain. It works as a one of film but as a sequel it is almost irrelevant.

Action/Adventure The action is plenty of combat scenes which all are fine without being anything special with the adventure being to the underworld and back which does make for a good fantasy side to everything.

SettingsThe settings all look fine but you don’t identify with enough of them for the ancient world.

Special EffectsThe weakest of all here are the special effects that are nearly all awful looking CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fine starter for an action adventure on low budget but as a sequel/prequel it goes in the wrong direction for me.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action adventure.

Rating