Franchise Weekend – Creed (2015) Revisited

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington (Screenplay) Sylvester Stallone (Characters)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew

 

Plot: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.


Tagline – Your legacy is more than a name

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: Creed starts as we see how Adonis was raised in the foster system, before being adopted by Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne (Rashad) to raise her late husband’s son, given chances of an education, Adonis (Jordan) is drawn to fighting wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Mary Anne reluctant to see Adonis fight, she sends him to Philadelphia to train away from the streets of LA.

Adonis meets Rocky (Stallone) who gets talked into training Adonis and helping him make decisions that will help his career in an even more cutthroat world that boxing has become, when Light Heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan (Bellew) and his manager Tommy Holiday (McTavish) learn of Adonis true identity, they want to make a mega payday, which leads to Adonis in his first major fight, while Rocky will face his next fight in life.

 

Thoughts on Creed

 

Characters – Adonis Johnson is the son of Apollo Creed from an affair that saw him being raised in the foster system which taught him how to be tough. Eventually he is adopted by Apollo’s widow who gives him a chance, where he makes a career for himself, however the desire to fight keeps him heading to Mexico for fights before deciding he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. He heads to Philadelphia to learn from his father’s biggest enemy Rocky Balboa, where he learns about his own destiny in the sport. Rocky Balboa is still running his restaurant, he has no lost everyone in his life, with his loved ones passing on and his son moved away, he reluctantly agrees to train Adonis which brings a new spark to his life, only for him to get news about his own future giving him a new fight to take on. Bianca is the neighbour that Adonis meets, she is a musician on the verge of her own big break, with her own problems, they two get close as she becomes part of his own inspiration. Mary Anne is the wife of Apollo, she raised Adonis as her own giving him the chances he had never received, she doesn’t want him to fight because she knows what it does to a boxer, she does however know she isn’t going to win and sends him to Rocky.  

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives us one of the best boxing performances ever, we believe his own struggles and he gives us belief he is raising up the ranks. Sylvester Stallone bought new life to his character of Rocky here, with a performance that is easily his best in his modern cinema run, he makes everything about his character believable like we caught up with him. Tessa Thompson comes onto the scene with this performance that turned heads, she is great through the film. The rest of the cast are good with Tony Bellew being an actual boxer adding realism to the rival for the fighting world.

StoryThe story here follows Apollo Creed’s son take his first steps in the boxing world, given the unlikely chance for a big fight which is only mean to be a publicity stunt for the champion, much like Rocky’s first big fight. We see how Rocky has made the transition from fighter to trainer with us getting a chance to meet the biggest fictional fighter in his latter years, showing us how life can catch up with everyone. The story could easily be a soft reboot of Rocky and manages to show us how the reboot sequel is working very well at the moment, returning old favourites to help guide the next generation. The side stories going on show us how everybody has their own stories going on, instead of focusing just on one person moment in the sun, which feels refreshing for the genre.

SportsThe boxing in the film is easily the most realistic that you will see in any film, the hit feel as brutal as they are meant to.

SettingsWe return to Philadelphia for most of the film, this shows us how places have changed and others are still the same, it is like stepping into a time capsule at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The big fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra length of time at the press conference.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best in the Rocky franchise for a very long time, it has bought us the same story of becoming an overnight success with one chance to make it, with truly powerful performances from the cast.

 

Overall: Knockout Movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – G – Grudge Match (2013)

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman (Screenplay) Tim Kelleher (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, LL Cool J, Jon Bernthal

 

Plot: A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout, thirty years after their last match.


Tagline – Never give up the fight.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Heartfelt Than You Would Think

 

Story: Grudge Match starts as we see the history of two boxing legends Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) & Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) who has two fights and before The Kid got his rematch, Razor walked away from the sport. 30-years-later after an altercation between the two goes viral, Dante Slate Jr (Hart) arranges one more match between the two.

The two get back into training, Razor uses his old coach Lightning (Arkin) while The Kid turns to a new gym he helped fund run by Frankie Brite (Cool J) but it is his unknown son BJ (Bernthal) that knows how to train, the two go through the press campaign giving everyone buzz about the fight between two fighters past their prime and out of shape.

 

Thoughts on Grudge Match

 

Characters – Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp won the last fight between the two, he then walked away from the sport losing his fortune along the way becoming a factory worker. When the chance to make money by returning for one fight however reluctant he is, he must confront the problems which left him walking away from the ring to be ready for his in-ring return. Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen lost the last fight between the two, he wants rematch, but his reasoning behind him losing is the same as Razor leaving the ring. He has his own bar and jumps at the chance of a rematch. Dante Slate Jr is the fast taking promoter that has followed in his father’s footsteps. Lightning is the trainer for Razor he always has been, the old man cliché is all about him in this film. we have Sally who is the woman that got between the two men trying to rebuild her relationship with Razor.

PerformancesStallone and De Niro both have legendary careers where they both appeared in boxing movies, Rocky and Raging Bull respectable, this performance from the both doesn’t mock what they achieved, but does let them have fun at knowing they are older than when those films were part of their highlights. The supporting cast all get to play into their strengths, Hart with his quick talking, Arkin with his grumpy old man persona and Basinger doing the old flame figure.

StoryThe story follows to old rivals in the Boxing ring that get bought back together for the grudge match with the two having one a single match win each. The story shows how rivalries can last for decades and how they both have survived after leaving the world of boxing. We get to see the ‘old man’ in tech heavy world moments as this fight goes viral which works in places but not others. We see how the personal lives of everyone involved has been affected by the rivalry too.

Comedy/SportsThe comedy is solid in most places we get Hart doing his thing most and Arkin do the grumpy old man routine which gets the most laughs. The sports brings us in the boxing world with former rivals.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the two boxers home city of Pittsburgh which shows the sport will bring the city together.


Scene of the Movie –
The match itself.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain jokes miss.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that was a lot better than I would expect, the jokes can hit and by the end you will enjoy this movie with two boxing legends finally ending their tie.

 

Overall: Fun sports comedy.

Rating

 

 

Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Miles Chapman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Xiaoming Huang, Jesse Metcalfe, 50 Cent, Wes Chatham, Chen Tang, Jaime King

 

Plot: Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world’s most impenetrable prisons. When his most trusted operative, Shu Ren, is kidnapped and disappears inside the most elaborate prison ever built, entirely computerized and constantly changing shape, Ray must track him down with the help of some of his former friends.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Boring

 

Story: Escape Plan 2: Hades starts as Ray Breslin (Stallone) sees his team Shu Ren (Huang), Like (Metcalfe) and Kimbral (Chatham) go wrong resulting in the death of a team member. We pick up one year later we travel to Bangkok where Shu Ren is watching over his cousin Yusheng Ma (Tang) and things don’t go well as Shu Ren ends up in Hades, a new state of the art prison known for a zoo for inmates to fight.

Shu Ren uses his training to survive and plan the escape with Luke, while Ray looks to make contacts including Trent DeRosa (Bautista) to help conduct the big rescue attempt in the new prison that no one seems to be able to escape from.

 

Thoughts on Escape Plan 2 Hades

 

Characters – Ray Breslin is the man that runs the security team, we met him in the first film, he has created a team that can do the job for him and for the most part in this movie he is trying to figure out where his team is and how to get them out, his narration to Shu keeps him relevant in this film. Trent DeRosa is an old friend of Ray, he has the connections in Bangkok which brings him to Ray side, though he is mostly just here for the tech side of things. Shu Ren is the student of Ray, he has been learning how to conduct himself in the solution of the escaping from prisons and now he must put all his lessons together to figure out how to escape. Luke is another student, he is reckless as times, but will work for the team, Hush is the connection around the world with his hacking skills and Jasper is the teammate that gets let go only to end up in the prison with Shu Ren.

PerformancesWhen we come to the performance, we need to understand certain factors, first Xiaoming Huang is the star of this movie and he is good, but his character is written to handle things strongly, but seems to come off weak when it comes to knowing what he is doing. Stallone is mostly the mentor in this film, he gets a couple of scenes though he isn’t involved anywhere near as much as the first film and looks like he is here for a pay check. Dave Bautista is one of the hottest action stars in Hollywood now, he is completely wasted in this role, which is sad because he could be the star is written correctly.

StoryThe story continues to follow the lives of security expert Ray Breslin who along with his team can break out of any prison, we enter a new computerised prison with state of the art protection system which should be uncrackable. We do focus on one of the students Shu Ren more than Ray this time as he goes over the rules we learnt first time in the battle to survive the prison. If we look at the story, it does feel slow paced for the most part and doesn’t get going enough, we compromise on characters we know to cover up the lack of screen time the originals have and the prison never really feels like a prison. The whole escape seems rushed and you will not believe in anyway they won’t make it. 

ActionThe action when it comes to the fight sequences are good and you can see they bought in Xiaoming Huang for the fight sequences. The shooting scenes are fine, but nothing overly interesting.

SettingsThe film puts us in the new prison, though it is so computerised it never feels like it would be real. Outside the prison it is all generically forgettable location.

Special EffectsThe effects are not impressive either, because we do get moments of computerised electricity to contain that look bad.


Scene of the Movie –
Give big Dave a gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ray is barely in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bad sequel, it does come off slow and boring for the most part and is hugely miss sold on the idea Stallone is the star of the movie.

 

Overall: Sequel not worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating

 

 

Tango & Cash (1989)

tangoDirector: Andrey Konchalovskiy, Albert Magnoli

Writer: Randy Feldman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Teri Hatcher, Jack Palance, Brion James, James Hong, Marc Alaimo

 

Plot: Two cops are framed and must clear their names.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Puntastically Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Tango & Cash starts as we see smartly dressed Beverly Hills cop Lt Raymond Tango (Stallone) take down another drugs bust, as well as laid back street smart cop Lt Gabriel Cash (Russell) having someone try to kill him. The two have been taking down the same drug lord Yves Perret (Palance) who has a plan to get rid of the pair.

When the unlikely pair get framed for a murder of an FBI agent they both get sent to a maximum-security prison to deal with most of the men they have put away. The two must work together using both their sets of skills to bring down the biggest drug ring to have hit the city and clear their names.

Tango & Cash is an action comedy that brings us a buddy cop movie together with two of the biggest stars of the time Stallone and Russell. While the story is very generic odd couple cops must work together to solve a crime no one else believes risking their lives against seemingly endless amounts of enemies it does everything it needs to for the story. The comedy comes from the endless amounts of puns going on through the film which at times poke fun at what are used in serious film but in this are designed for the laughs.

Stallone and Russell are great together getting to poke fun at the characters they have played before with Stallone poking fun and Rambo and Russell getting an Elvis reference in once again. As for the villain, we don’t get too much time with him while the henchmen are what you would expect in these films. Hatcher is written to be tough but only their really to add an extra dimension to the relationship between Tango & Cash. In the end this is purely a great fun film that is easy to watch as long as you don’t want anything too serious.

 

Overall: 80s Fun all in one movie what more could you ask for?

Ratingcard