Franchise Weekend – Fast & Furious (2009)

Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang

 

Plot: Brian O’Conner, back working for the FBI in Los Angeles, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Back on Track

 

Story: Fast & Furious starts as Dominic (Diesel) is back with Letty (Rodriguez) and Han (Kang) living in the Dominic Republic stealing petrol for a living with the team. When the latest job goes wrong the team scatter with Letty being killed back in LA, while Dom is in Panama.

Brian (Walker) is now in the FBI and once again needs to find a way into a street racing circuit to take down a Mexican crime boss. Dom returns home also on the warpath eventually teaming up with Brian going undercover within the street racing circuit once again.

The job is working for Campos (Ortiz) who answers to Braga who is running drugs across the border but can they really work together?

 

Thoughts on Fast & Furious

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is now a Fed, which I guess makes sense after what happened in 2 Fast 2 Furious, he still has the desire to be a street racer and gets this chance working with Dom. Dom is now on the run but risks everything to come back to help get revenge on the people responsible for killing Letty. Campos and Fenix are all solid villains but never dominating like needed to make them different from what we have seen before.

Performance wise, Walker and Diesel work great together even if the film is slightly more focused on Dom’s character, the two get to poke a bit of fun about things that happened in the first film. The other performances are all good without being truly stand out.

StoryBringing the original popular characters back helps this story, we have both men coming back to take down the crime boss because we needed the respectful enemies to become friends, taking a character’s life does drive the story too because it shows we could lose someone in this franchise now too. The core story is all what we have seen before, let’s do a crime, take down crime boss and drive away.

Action/Crime/Thriller The car chases are once again bigger and better than last time out which helps the films new direction, the crime story is now our heroes taking down criminals by breaking the law but it works.

SettingsBringing the story back to LA is good because now we see the effects of the previous films on our characters, the secret tunnel across the border also adds to the action.

Special EffectsThe special effects are what we have come to expect from the franchise and they all work well this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is where the franchises got back on tracks because we get to see Dom and Brian back together working on the case to take down the crime boss, I see this as the beginning of what we know as the best chapters of the franchise.

 

Overall: Fun, mad and over the top, just the way we like it.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Brian Tee, Sung Kang, Nathalie Kelley, Leonardo Nam, Brian Goodman, JJ Sonny Chiba

 

Plot: A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Weak Link

 

Story: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift starts as we meet typical quiet high school student Sean Boswell (Black) who gets tricked into a street race against the jock Clay (Bryan), this leads to all involved getting arrests and injured. Punishment for Sean it movie to Tokyo, Japan to live with his father Major Boswell (Goodman). Making friends the way only Sean can he finds Twinkie (Moss) who shows him the underground street racing where they don’t just race, they drift. It also doesn’t take long for Sean to make enemies with the best drifter in town D.K. (Tee) with Han (Kang) wanting to see just how good Sean is.

Sean fails in this first race but this drives him to learn how to drift with Han showing him but D.K keeping his eyes on him as he goes to impress the Yakuza uncle of his.

 

Thoughts on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

 

Characters/PerformanceSean is randomly selected to be our new lead, he has no connection to the previous films and is a high school student always getting himself into trouble, he is from a broken home and happens to enjoy racing, he gets set to a new country and ends up having to prove to be different to his own father. DK is a hot-headed villain but is nothing but his temper gets himself into trouble and answers to his uncle. Neela is the love interest but nothing more. We get our first introduction to Han in this film but he is only the wiser supporting character.

Performance wise, Lucas Black is miss-cast because he looks so old for a teenager, it would be fair to say none of the performances are that great in this film Sung Kang is good as we get to learn about his character more but otherwise, no one famous enough is in this film.

StoryHigh schoolers street racing, well this film completely confuses me for storytelling because how do these kids especially the poor one in Sean afford street racing cars and insurance? Come on this is ridiculous. Throw into the mix the idea of the Yakuza’s I guess we get a real threat in the villain now, well I just couldn’t get into this story it doesn’t fit into the franchise and is clearly the worst.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe only positive here, the race sequences are the best so far in the franchise, using the Yakuza’s doesn’t mean you have a good crime story because the only illegal actions in this film is the street racing, you are also not left on edge like before.

SettingsTokyo is a brilliant setting because it shows the different mindset for the street racing through the packed streets.

Special EffectsThis is another moment where the special effects are all you need them to be without being special in anyway.

Final ThoughtsThe story confuses but the race sequences are all fun, I couldn’t get my mind around how these high school kids are doing all this racing.

 

Overall: The worst in the franchise from the director who gave us the best too.

Rating

 

 

Bullet to the Head (2012)

logoDirector: Walter Hill

Writer: Alessandro Camon (Screenplay) Alexis Nolent, Colin Wilson (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Stallone Action Flick

 

Story: Bullet to the Head starts by showing James Bonomo (Stallone) saving a cop before explaining why and we flashback to how he got there. James is a hit man and along with is partner Louis (Seda) are good at their jobs. When they go to collect their money Louis is killed by Keegan (Momoa) and after he goes after James he gets more than he bargained for. Officer Taylor Kwon (Kang) comes into town from Washington to investigate the man that James and Louis killed but he wants to people who hired them and attempts to work with James to uncover the truth. Reluctantly they team up

Keegan who has been working for Robert Nkomo Morel (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Marcus Baptiste (Slater) is set on his next mission who shows us just how much of an efficient killer he is. James & Taylor start their investigation where we get the traditional conflict of styles between a killer and a cop. The odd couple build must try to get to the bottom of who killed their former partners.

Bullet to the Head is one of those films that you know what you are going to get, but saying that we do get a few surprises. On the good guys we don’t get any surprises but how the villains are handled is where the surprises are with shock kills turns and twists. The story itself is easy to follow and never offers anything new to the genre but it didn’t need to. This is easily in the ratings for a relaxaction film and you won’t need to worry about thinking about what will happen next. This is solid but not perfect. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: James Bonomo hit man whose partner is killed by the people who hired them to do the job. He must team up with a cop to get to the bottom of who is responsible. Sylvester made his name in action films where he isn’t the most convincing and this is no different we know what we will get and he delivers what we expect. (7/10)

 sly

Sung Kang: Taylor Kwon Washington cop whose former partner who is killed after dealing with the wrong people. He teams up with James to find the people who hired them for the job. Sung gives a good performance in his opposite mind-set of James. (7/10)

taylor

Sarah Shahi: Lisa James’ daughter who is his go to girl for medical work needed while she is a tattoo artist. Sarah ends up playing the typical damsel in distress. (5/10)

 lisa

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Robert Nkomo Morel criminal mastermind who has everyone under his thumb with all his business deals. Adewale does a solid job as the criminal business man. (6/10)

 morel

Jason Momoa: Keegan hit man who kills Louis and goes after James but constantly gets foiled in his attempts. Jason is the real star of this film showing his remorseless side when it comes to his kills. (8/10)

 keegan

Christian Slater: Marcus Baptiste second in command who ends up spilling the beans on the plan which leads to James & Taylor having the knowledge on who to take down. Christian plays a solid supporting role. (6/10)

 slater

Support Cast: Bullet to the Head supporting cast is mainly extra people to be killed by both sides.

 

Director Review: Walter Hill – Walter does a good job directing an action film you expect to be watching but nothing special. (7/10)

 

Action: Bullet to the Head has plenty of fights to keep the action flowing nicely. (8/10)

Thriller: Bullet to the Head doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat like it could but you do want to know the truth. (5/10)

Settings: Bullet to the Head New Orleans makes for a good setting but no scene is really standing out for location. (5/10)

Suggestion: Bullet to the Head is one for the action fans to enjoy, it is simple to follow and doesn’t require any think, just sit back and enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Axe fight.

Worst Part: Business villains are boring.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Axe Fight.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely, but is left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nope

Box Office: $9.5 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Revenge never gets old.

 

Overall: Simple Action Thriller

Rating 65

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

faast 6Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gabot, Ludacris, Luke Evans, Elsa Patasky, Gina Carano

 

Story: When Hobbs (Johnson) is struggling to stop a ruthless criminal mastermind led by Shaw (Evans), he turns to Dom (Diesel) with a chance to get a full pardon on all crimes committed. His piece of bait is Letty (Rodriguez) still being alive. Dom brings the team back for an adventure all over Europe.

 

Verdict

 

Action: A full-blown action film once an action scene starts it draws you in and will leave you in amazement. (10/10)

 

Thriller: edge of your seat chase keeps you completely entertained through out. (10/10)

 

Sound: Great sound effects all the way through, lots of fancy engine sounds. (10/10)

 

Settings: London was a great location choice with its tight streets adding to the suspense of the chases. (9/10)

 

Suggestion: Car junkies will simply have to see this and all action fan will be able to consider this one of the best out this year. (9/10)

 

Best Part: The tank chase

 

Worst Part: The story doesn’t require much thinking.

 

Star Performance: Luke Evans

Favourite Character: Roman Funny all the way through

 

Favourite Quote: Shaw ‘I can reach out and break you whenever I want’

 

Trivia: David Tennant was considered for the role of Shaw

 

Similar Too: Fast Five

 

Overall: A thrill ride that will leave you wanting more and more, the best in the franchise which just seems to get better and better. Very much Ocean’s Eleven on wheels this is a major contender for action film of the year and shows that Dwayne and Vin can hold their own in action films. An end credits scene which opens the door to an even bigger film next time out. Sit back and enjoy.

 

Rating 97%