Breaking In (2018)

Director: James McTeigue

Writer: Ryan Engle (Screenplay) Jaime Primak Sullivan (Story)

Starring: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus, Levi Meaden, Seth Carr, Mark Furze

 

Plot: A woman fights to protect her family during a home invasion


Tagline – Payback is a Mother

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Home Invasion Film

 

Story: Breaking In starts when Shaun Russell (Union) takes her children Jasmine (Alexus) and Glover (Carr) to her father’s estate after his death, the weekend is meant to be to prepare the house for sale. The weekend takes a dark twist when four thieves Eddie (Burke), Duncan (Cabral), Sam (Meaden) and Peter (Furze) have broken in, searching for a secret safe.

With Shaun locked out and her children being held captive by the thieves, she will do anything to save her children, not caring what the men want, this does become a battle of a mother that will do anything versus thieves that won’t stop for anything.

 

Thoughts on Breaking In

 

Characters – Shaun is a mother of two children that is tidying up the affairs of her late father, she thinks her weekend will just be tidying up his house, but she soon shows that she has a few skills picked up from her father, she will play a cat-n-mouse game with a group of thieves that are holding her children hostage, Shaun will prove herself as somebody smarter than the thieves, showing a mother’s love will overcome any plan. Eddie is the leader of the thieves, he remains calm and in control, even if his men can get out of hand, he only wants the money, getting pushed into difficult decisions. Duncan is the loose cannon of the thieves, he doesn’t want to leave any witnesses to the crime they are committing. Jasmine is the eldest daughter that needs to protect her little brother from the situation, even if the two have a bickering relationship.

PerformancesGabrielle Union in the leading role is great, she brings us a strong powerful mother that isn’t going to let any man take advantage of her family. Billy Burke does bring the required calmness to his character which is everything needed, with Richard Cabral bring his own unhinged character to life to just about step away from the generic normal one. Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr fill the children roles which in the works very well as they feel like they could easily be brother and sister.

StoryThe story here follows a mother that will do anything to get her children to safety after their home gets invaded by a group of criminals searching for money. This is a home invasion film, it doesn’t need to break away from the normal in anyway, we know the formula, with this one putting the spin on the mother being separated from her children, we have the discussion of power between the criminals and mother, which is an important scene. We see how the mother might have a few more tricks up her sleeves that first thought. This is everything you expect without needing to make anything complicated, making it an easy watch.

Action/Crime The action is restricted because of the separation between the characters, but when we need it, we get action we need, the crime story does follow how the thieves operate, though we don’t learn everything about the father’s situation in the criminal world.

SettingsThe film is set in one location which is the house that has the ability to hold people out or keep people in, this helps build the battle between mother and thieves.


Scene of the Movie –
Losing control.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not truly learning about the Shaun’s father previous life as a criminal.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book home invasion film, it does give us plenty of entertainment and is above the average in the sub-genre.

 

Overall: Home invasion above the rest.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

The Commuter (2018)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, Killian Scott

 

Plot: A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.


Tagline – Lives Are On The Line

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Done Action

 

Story: The Commuter starts as hard working father and husband Michael MacCauley (Neeson) who commutes to and from New York city everyday for his job, only to get laid off five years from retirement. He was once a police office staying in contact with his former partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) who both don’t get on with the new Captain Hawthorne (Neill).

One his commute home, Michael is approached by Joanna (Farmiga) who makes him an offer to figure out who on the train doesn’t belong. Michael must race against time to solve the riddle with his child and wife in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Commuter

 

Characters – Michael MacCauley has commuted to work for years in New York City, close to retirement with his son about to go to college. His day isn’t going to go well, after getting fired, he is forced into figure out who a witness for a crime is on the train home, a train full of commuters. Michael is resourceful when it comes to getting the answers he needs and can handle himself in a fight. Joanna is the lady pulling the strings forcing Michael into completely the task, mostly used on the phone warning Michael about the rules. Murphy is the old partner of Michael, his connection in the force when he is trying to get help.

PerformancesWhen we go into the performances, this movie revolves around Neeson’s performance and he is great throughout the film do his older man action style we like to see. We do have a big name supporting cast that all do their job well through the film.

StoryThe story follows an everyday commuter that is left with using his knowledge of the same passengers to figure out just who is the stranger on the train, a witness for a big case. The idea of the stranger needing to figure out who is out of place on a train is a normal thing but having the regular commuter does make us more interesting because we don’t need to go through the whole interview every person idea. The bigger issues are good because we know as much as Michael and learn when it unfolds. The story is easy to follow and will be going to play along with as you are guessing along with Michael.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this movie adds to the mystery because Michael is forced to help cover up a crime, while needing to figure out who is behind it.

SettingsThe film takes place on the train, this keeps the story contained through the whole film which is helping us know as much as Michael.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved for one full sequences which looks good when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Crash sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea the we don’t learn enough about Michael’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining action film that checks the boxes for the fans f the genre with ease.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Rampage (2018)

Director: Brad Peyton

Writer: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J Condal, Adam Sztykiel (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Will Yun Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello

 

Plot: Davis Okoye and his bestfriend white gorilla fight monsters in a big city.


Tagline – Big Meets Bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over the Top Blast

 

Story: Rampage starts as the secret illegal scientific experiment in space goes horrible wrong causing everyone to die and the research samples to come crashing to Earth, Claire Wyden (Akerman) and her brother Brett (Lacy) are rushing to cover up their work.

One of the areas that gets hit by the research is the San Diego zoo where George the albino gorilla gets infected, his handler and best friend Davis Okoye (Johnson) must rush to save him, joined by Dr Kate Caldwell (Harris) a former employee or the Wyden’s. America is struck by panic when George continues to grow, but he is the only animal as the research has infected a wolf and a crocodile or alligator (sorry can never tell them apart and we never get told which it is either), the race is now on to save the world before they destroy everything in their path.

 

Thoughts on Rampage

 

Characters – Davis Okoye is a former marine turn primatologist who works with the gorilla in San Diego Zoo, most notably George one he rescued when he was a baby from poachers. He does like people and isn’t afraid to admit this, he cares for the animals and will never give up on George. Dr Kate Caldwell is first a for most a good character that we could have been given more about, she is a disgraced scientist that once worked for the Wyden’s, she wants nothing more than to bring them down and happily teams up with Davis to bring them down. Claire Wyden along with her brother Brett run the business that the genetic materials come from, she is always one step ahead of the everyone in her attempts to keep her name out of the papers and jail, slightly cartoonish, but it works for this film. Agent Russell is a by the book man, he does the right thing through the film which makes him the important connection for Davis in the government.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson in the leading role gives us everything we want from him, he handles the big action sequences and even manages to hold back on moments of charisma. Naomie Harris as the doctor with a desperate need to see thing stop works well and Jeffrey Dean Morgan seems to have just become Negan forever. Malin Akerman as the main villain is good too because I believe her character is designed to feel like an evil genius and she pulls it off.

StoryThe story, well the question here is, how do you make a story about a video game which follows you just destroying buildings? This story does work something out here, where as other video games have been heavily story based and struggle to make an impact on screen, this film takes the simple idea that giant animals are destroying stuff and makes it an action movie with a race against time. We have the important moments which are dealing with the backgrounds of the characters, most notable Davis and George’s relationship and why Kate did what she did. For the whole film this  movie knows completely what it had and kept it simple, easy to watch and only needed to give us a sprinkle of humour.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is massive, its everything you want in a big blockbuster popcorn film, giant animals fighting stuff blowing up and no Michael Bay to be seen. The adventure side of the film comes form the race against time to stop total destruction and the sci-fi side shows us just what could happen if you mess with the wrong genetic in any species.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of iconic settings starting with the zoo in San Diego, we get generic land between before the final showdown in Chicago, this work and shows the panic which could hit America.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we have massive battles that have full destruction going on, leaving you to believe everything, the creatures also look wonderful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 30 minutes is fantastic popcorn fun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain characters seem to just disappear.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie, this could easily be up there with the very best video game movies ever made, it is one film you can honestly switch you mind off and enjoy.

 

Overall: Sit back relax and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Non-Stop (2014)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianna Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally

 

Plot: Bill Marks (Neeson) is a former cop who after dealing with his daughter’s death by drinking, is now an air marshal. While on a flight from London to New York, Mark gets a text telling him that unless 150 Million dollars is deposited to an off shore account within 20 minutes some will die. He tries to tell the other air marshal, Hammond but Hammond doesn’t believe him. Bill ends up going to extreme lengths to find the person responsible but the more he does the guiltier he looks.

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: With a thriller you need to be left guessing from start to finish and I literally don’t know how many times I changed my mind on who was involved. This is a huge plus for this film and having a ‘broken’ lead in Bill Marks works too. The tension growing through the film is also a big positive. Now the big negative the motive behind the action really disappoints and unlike anything we see before a hostage situation is usually very important to know the motive early and not having that works too, but after it finally gets revealed it is an anti-climax to a near perfect popcorn thriller. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Liam Neeson: Bill Marks a former cop who has turned to the bottle because of the death of his young daughter, he does this job as a last resort for his skills. When he gets the message he starts to investigate, but comes off as the villain to the outside world when all he wants is the save everyone. Great performance grabbing the audience’s attention from start to finish. (9/10)

 neeson

Julianne Moore: Jen a fellow passenger who befriends Bill, but not giving too much away about who she really is just poses more questions for Marks. Good supporting performance but nothing truly special next too Neeson powerhouse performance. (7/10)

moore

Scoot McNairy: Tom another passenger on the plane that Bill turns to for explanations but like everyone else on the plane are they involved? Good supporting performance playing the maybe villain maybe innocent. (8/10)

 

Michelle Dockery: Nancy a trust air hostess that has known Marks for a few years, she tries to help but even she gets questioned by Marks. She didn’t look like she fitted in here. (5/10)

 michelle

Director Review: Jaume Collet-Serra – Creates a real guess who done it game here that will keep you guessing from start to finish. (8/10)

 

Action: Most action is restricted as it is hard to have a real fight on a plane, but the small combat fights are good. (7/10)

Mystery: You will be trying to solve this just as much as Marks. (10/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: Perfect setting for the story that shows how being trapped heighten tense from everyone. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Only has one use of effects and that looks good but the film doesn’t rely on the effects. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this will surprise a few people out there, because the concept seems pretty simple and turns into a real thriller. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Neeson

Worst Part: Motive.

Action Scene Of The Film: Confrontation at the end.

Believability: Has elements of realism because the film focuses on the characters rather than the action and how each person would react to the situation. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could but doesn’t really need one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $198,727,550

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: The Hijacking Was Just the Beginning

 

Overall: Brilliant Easy to Watch Thriller

Rating 88