ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Assassination Games (2011)

This is under V for Van Damme.

Director: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Ivan Kaye, Valentin Teodosiu, Alin Panc, Kevin Chapman, Serban Celea

Plot: Two assassins agree to work together as one tries to avenge his wife and the other collect a reward for a job.

Tagline – Twice the fire… double the power!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Action Revenge 101

Story: Assassination Games starts when Vincent Brazil (Van Damme) is hired to assassinate Polo Yakur (Kaye) a man released from prison to bait out another professional hitman Roland Flint (Adkins) who has been waiting for his chance to get his revenge on Polo after what he did to his wife.

When Vincent and Roland learn they are after the same man, they decide to work together to eliminate the dangerous criminal who knows the people are coming for him.

Thoughts on Assassination Games

Characters – Vincent Brazil is a lone assassin living in a small apartment in the small town, he keeps to himself which sees him work best. He has his connection in town which give him his jobs and his latest one is inside his own home, he must learn to work together with Roland to complete this job which sees him using all his skills. Roland Flint used to work undercover for Polo, once discovered his wife is beaten into a coma state, with Roland waiting for the day he can get revenge, once Polo is released from prison he goes in search of his target, willing to kill him for free, he will work with Vincent to get the job done. Polo Yakur is a ruthless gangster that has been in prison, he is released by the CIA as bait to capture Flint, but he has other ideas to clean up other problems left unfinished. The rest of the characters we meet are the CIA agents, the members of the gang and the loved ones they have lost along the way.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme does everything he needs to do as the action star lead, we know we are focusing on his action skills over his acting skills, this is the same for Scott Adkins, they both get their chance to shine in combat. Ivan Kaye does all he needs to as the villain, he does come off as the ruthless side his character requires.

StoryThe story follows two assassins that team up to take out a common enemy that has made his targeting of them personal. This is a Van Damme action film, the story is never going to be that deep and will focus on the action, this isn’t a problem though, because the basics of the story are here with an idea of revenge that the two must go on to get their man. Both men have different reasons to be after Polo, while one has been waiting for him another one has been taking another payday. By seeing this we get to see how the two men have a different mindset which does help support them through the fights.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film lets both Van Damme and Adkins show off their skills, which is all we want from them, while the crime world shows us just how dangerous Polo could be if you were to get on his bad side.

SettingsThe film is set in Romania which shows us how the crime world can still operate here without being questioned until the right people come along.

Scene of the Movie – Laser gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How easy it was to get into Vincent secret apartment.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch Van Damme action film, it does everything you would expect without being anything you haven’t seen before.

Overall: Enjoyable action.


Triple Threat (2019)

Director: Jesse V Johnson

Writer: Joey O’Bryan, Fangjin Song, Paul Staheli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tony Jaa, Tiger Hu Chen, Iko Uwais, Scott Adkins, Celina Jade, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping


Plot: A hit contract is taken out on a billionaire’s daughter who is intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate. A down and out team of mercenaries must take on a group of professional assassins and stop them before they kill their target.


Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Action Flick


Story: Triple Threat starts when a group of professional assassins led by Devereaux (White) breaks Collins (Adkins) out of a remote holding location in the jungle, Jaka (Uwais) is the only survive of the assault which sees the love of his life killed. Xian (Jade) the daughter of a billionaire is planning to use her fortune to take down a crime syndicate, which makes her a big target for the syndicate.

Jaka searching for the people responsible locates two members of the team Paya (Jaa) and Long Fei (Chen) who were also left for dead by the assassins, soon Payu and Long Fei will find themselves needing to defend Xian, while Jaka using other means to get revenge.


Thoughts on Triple Threat


Characters – Payu is one of the guides that helps the assassins through the jungle, he is betrayed and left for dead with his partner, returning to the underground fighting scene for money, he soon finds himself going up against the assassins once again, using his connections from his mysterious past to do the right thing. Long Fei is the partner of Payu, he is much more straight down the line with everything, equally as good in combat, the two make for a deadly team. Jaka is one of the guards of the camp, he is left for dead and left to bury his wife, he wants revenge and knows how to get it, he is hunting down everybody involved, playing them against each other to get what he wants. Collins is the leader of the assassins, broken out of prison to take on the latest job, he must complete the last job, which sees him hunting down Payu and Long Fei, while leading his team in the assassination mission of Xian. He is cocky and believes he can always win in a fight against any level of opponent. Xian is the daughter of a billionaire, she has made it clear she will be giving up for fortune to make the streets clean for the next generation of children, this sees her being the target for the crime syndicates of the country, forcing her to figure out who to trust for her own safety. Devereaux is the second in command, he doesn’t trust Jaka in any of the missions and is quite happy to watch anywhere they have worked burn to the ground.

PerformancesThis has a cast that will be an action fans dream, Tony Jaa, Tiger Hu Chen and Iko Uwais fighting is something we can watch all day long, seeing the human side of the story has help show how the three are improving outside of the action scenes in film too. Scott Adkins in the villainous role works very well too showing his fighting skills, while being a villain that is easy to see how they are performing through the film. Celina Jade and Michael Jai White complete the main cast not putting a foot wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows an elite group of assassins that have been hired to eliminate a billionaire woman that wants to end the crime world going on in her home land, only for her to need to turn to new mercenaries who will be the ones that will keep her safe from the danger. This is a story that focuses on the action over any really difficult subjects going on, we do get people coming from different sides searching for a moment which will see them getting their own objective, be it a paid job, revenge or change. The story is mostly, lets get to this location or lets get away from this location usually involving a fight along the way, it is nothing completed hitting everything it needs to by the end of the film.

ActionThe action brings some of the best martial artists together in dream fight matches, we have each unique style given to the actors involved, they don’t go to the full levels of their hits or give away all their best moves.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to create different locations for the fights, be it the jungle, the police station or the final showdown location.

Scene of the Movie –
Seeing Jaa, Uwais and Adkins fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact they don’t let Xian show any fighting skills.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action film that brings together some of the brightest fighting stars in the business today in a story which will see them get a chance to fight.


Overall: Pure action fun.



Franchise Weekend – Jarhead 3 The Siege (2016)

Director: William Kaufman

Writer: Chad Law, Michael D Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert


Plot: A group of Marines must protect a US Embassy in the Middle East when it suddenly comes under attack from enemy forces.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Basic Siege Movie


Story: Jarhead 3: The Siege starts as new recruit Evan Albright (Weber) who has just gotten a role working in the US Embassy in the Middle East, welcomed by Hansen (Ainsley) and under the orders from Gunny Raines (Adkins) with the job to protect the Ambassador Cahill (Hogan). With Evan going through the lesson of how to operate in the embassy we are ready to begin.

Evan notices somebody outside the normal outside the embassy, which soon sees him learning the lessons of the protocol. The marines find the embassy under siege and must use all their training to keep the Ambassador alive against countless enemies.


Thoughts on Jarhead 3: The Siege


Characters – Evan is the newest marine bought into the embassy, he does fill in the gaps for the protocol that must be followed by the team, learn to work with the rest of the unit and is the first to suspect something is going on around the embassy and ends up being the one leading the fight back. Gunny Raines is the leader of the marines, you play by his rules or face the consequences. Major Lincoln is the one leading the rescue attempt, bringing the back-up required to hopefully help the stranded marines, spends most of the film in a helicopter racing to the scene. Olivia Winston is the computer operative at the embassy, she like Evan has bigger dreams when it comes to rising up through the military rankings.

PerformancesCharlie Weber does take the leading role here where we follow his character entering the world, he works as a soldier never setting the world alight, which can be same for the whole cast sees Scott Adkins, Sasha Jackson and Dennis Haysbert.

StoryThe story here follows a newly recruit marine in an US embassy that must deal with a siege from the locals on the building meaning he will join the marines to show off their skills to defend the embassy. This is one of the simplest stories you will ever see, we follow Evan as he and we learn the lay of the land, the siege is everything you would expect too, following the usual ideas of needing to have safety and out live the numbers that are trying to kill you. It does feel like the story is safe rather than challenging.

Action/WarThe action plays into the war side of the film, we get plenty of military manoeuvres to see bullets flying around.

SettingsThe settings in the film show us the embassy and how the marines operate within it, we see how this makes the positions difficult to defend.

Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the books.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to follow military action film, it doesn’t do anything wrong, only it just seems to be by the book and overly safe.


Overall: Safe Military Film.




American Assassin (2017)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Writer: Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, Marshal Herskovitz (Screenplay) Vince Flynn (Novel)

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Scott Adkins, Shiva Negar, Taylor Kitsch


Plot: A story centered on counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp.

Tagline – Assassins aren’t born. They’re made.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Hard Hitting Action Blast


Story: American Assassin starts as normal American Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) sees his fiancée gunned down by terrorists and himself left for dead, 18 months later he has trained himself to eliminate the men responsible but little does he know that CIA agent Irene Kennedy (Lathan) has been watching his action.

When Kennedy arranges to save Mitch from a certain death, she recruits him for a special section of the CIA working under Stan Hurley (Keaton) who trains agents to go undercover but if caught or killed no one will come for them.

The first mission is to locate nuclear weapon components before former agent Ghost (Kitsch) can use or sell them giving somebody in the world a nuclear bomb that can wipe out millions.


Thoughts on American Assassin


Characters – Mitch Rapp is an American that loses everything at the hands of terrorists, he learns combat and language skills to go undercover in the terrorist cell for revenge, he gets recruited by the CIA where he must learn discipline but this is where he struggles because he always wants to go after the criminal. This character does feel like a young Jack Bauer because of his rule breaking attitude for the right reasons. Stan Hurley is the off the grid trainer who takes Mitch as part of his unit, he gets tired of the Mitch’s lack of discipline but knows he needs him to capture his former student. Irene Kennedy is the deputy director of the CIA, she sees the potential in Mitch forcing Hurley to take him on, but also falls into the standard CIA director figure that will risk their reputation to prove others wrong. Ghost is the former trainee of Hurley that is using all the skills gained to stay one step ahead of him while collecting the nuclear components.

PerformancesDylan O’Brien is an actor that got into the young adult films but this role showed an adult character, showing he could go onto action films without looking like the complete actions star. Michael Keaton looks like he did enjoy the mentoring role while also getting the action role he isn’t known for. Sanaa Lathan is good in her role even if the character is very generic. Taylor Kitsch does seem to be on the recovering his career tour showing everyone just how talented he is in the villainous role.

StoryThe story does play out like an origin story for Mitch Rapp in the CIA, we see what motivated him to accept the offer, we see what makes him different from other potential agents. We have the standard level of threat, potential nuclear weapon and a story of needing to learn discipline to become a top agent while keeping his unique traits. This is an easy to watch but could easily be an over the top pilot for a television show.

Action/ThrillerThe action starts out brutal with the terrorist attack, we also fall into the car chases, fights and shoot outs which are fun to watch, the final action sequences is just popcorn wow.

SettingsThe settings take us on a tour of Europe which is fine and is giving us an iconic location moment, which is easy to locate for us.

Special EffectsThe effects in the opening sequence are brutal but then it just becomes by the book stuff.

Scene of the Movie –
Speed Boat fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it started with violent level, it did turn into Jack Bauer origin feeling.

Chances of Sequel: Easily could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film that is fun but not one of the greatest of the year.


Overall: Fun action packed blast.




Grimsby (2016)

casting cardDirector: Louis Leterrier

Writer: Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, Peter Baynham (Screenplay) Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston (Story)

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Rebel Wilson, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Johnny Vegas, Scott Adkins, Penelope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe


Plot: A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Just Awful


Story: Grimsby starts as we meet council estate football hooligan Nobby (Cohen) who has a large family but has been searching for his long lost brother Sebastian (Strong) his whole life. Sebastian is a secret agent working for MI6.

When Nobby learns that Sebastian is still alive he finds him in the middle of a mission and accidently makes Sebastian the prime suspect in a terrorist attack which is really being run by Rhonda George (Cruz). Reluctantly the two have to work together to clear Sebastian’s name and keep Nobby’s family safe.

Grimsby is an action comedy story that understands that it is happy to parody plenty of films. The problem is the parody gets lost in the humiliating grossed out comedy that is going on. The secret agent stuff is passable but sadly the comedy kills any of this. So many of the scenes in this film come off awkward and the only remotely good thing about this movie is that villain plans could make sense.


Actor Review


Sacha Baron Cohen: Nobby is a football hooligan living in the council estates in Grimsby who has always kept hope that his brother will return to his life. When he finds out about his brother he finds himself having getting in his brother’s way and having to take part in the latest mission. Sacha is an actor I believe has all the talent in the world but he keeps doing all these awful roles.

Mark Strong: Sebastian is the slick spy that has been working on his latest mission when Nobby interferes making him the prime suspect. He wants to clean his name but has to work with his idiot brother leaving him having to face his hardest mission to date. Mark is an actor I have huge respect for but I found myself wondering why on Earth he took this role that fully embarrasses him.

Rebel Wilson: Dawn is the girlfriend of Nobby, she is the perfect match for him without being anything to involved. Rebel is nothing but a supporting character not getting the time needed on camera to make anything happen.

Penelope Cruz: Rhonda is the famous face planning the attack, while her plan is one of the better ones from a villain we barely even get to see her character on screen. Penelope is one of the few highlights but she just doesn’t get the time to shine.

Support Cast: Grimsby has a supporting cast all designed to add extra laughs through the different situations our character finds themselves in.

Director Review: Louis LeterrierLouis does try his best with a poor script but this film won’t leave him with a good reputation in comedy.


Action: Grimsby has very simple action that doesn’t add anything to the story.

Comedy: Grimsby doesn’t hit any good comedy marks in my eyes with most being crude throughout.

Settings: Grimsby throws the characters into random location which well don’t get used well enough.
Special Effects
: Grimsby has lazy effects that just don’t work and are awkward throughout.

Suggestion: Grimsby is one to avoid at all costs. (Avoid)


Best Part: Villain’s plan.

Worst Part: Where do I start?


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Yes


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: Behind every hero is an embarrassing sibling


Overall: Dentist treatment is more enjoyable than this film.