ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – RocknRolla (2008)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Karel Roden, Toby Kebbell


Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.

Tagline – A story of sex, thugs and rock ‘n roll.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Over Saturated Film


Story: RocknRolla starts when One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) learn the hard way how London mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) operates, needing to collect a large amount of money. Lenny is in the middle of a big deal with a Russian Uri Omovich (Roden) that would be the biggest of his career.

When a piece of art gets stolen Lenny is put under pressure to return the art work to Uri, he turns to his right-hand man Archy (Strong) to get it back, turning to One Two for help as we see how the underworld coming together to get one up on each other.


Thoughts on RocknRolla


Characters – One Two is the leader of the Wild Bunch, he gets left owing a lot of money within the month and it soon becomes his connections that help with the mystery about where a painting is hiding as he plans to solve his own problems. Mumbles is the best friend in the Wild Bunch, he is the one that One Two turns to for advice through the problems. Lenny Cole is the mobster that runs London, he has everyone in his pocket to get what he wants, with his greed taking over when he can have a deal with a billionaire Russian, though his past could cause the trouble in this deal. Stella is the accountant that has each party doing her dealings, she knows how to have each side in the palm of her hands. Archy is the one telling the story, he has the right-hand man for Lenny and the go between all the different sides of the underworld. In this film we do get too many characters with so many different arcs going on through the film.

PerformancesThe acting in this film is good from the whole cast, we have a large cast which does hinder them from getting a true star turn in this film. Butler, Wilkinson, Newton, Strong, Elba, Hardy all show how they can become good at making moments of impact in shorter scenes.

StoryThe story here follows three levels of mobsters as they deal with a deal gone bad as they are trying to stay ahead of each other, in typical Ritchie storytelling we get thrown all over the place with the story telling and miss the most interesting action aspects of the film. when it comes to the criminal underworld side of the story, we don’t get anything new with generic characters who just go through the emotions that don’t always make us enjoy the characters we are enjoy watching.

Action/CrimeThe action is disappointing because we have scenes which should be good, only Ritchie’s style of shooting chops too much hiding the best parts. The crime world created is good because we see just how many different levels of the crime world we are entering.

SettingsThe film is set in London which is good for the film because if these type of deals are happening it would need to be in a busy city location like London.

Scene of the Movie –
Sporting goods fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action editing.

Final ThoughtsThis is your typical British gangster film, it has its own flair which can help and hinder the film at times, we have too many characters to stay on top of which only disappoints with the storytelling process.


Overall: Typical mobster movie.




Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany


Plot: During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.


Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Star Wars Fans Only


Story: Solo: A Star Wars Story starts as we meet Han (Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend Qi’ra (Clarke) are they are planning a life away from a prison like planet, Han gets away and joins forces with smuggler Beckett (Harrelson) and along the way he meets Chewbacca (Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Glover) as they go on one high risk heist to clear their debts from Dryden Vos (Bettany).


Thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story


Characters – Han comes from a prison like planet, dreaming of being the best pilot in the galaxy, once out he wants to save his girl, but to do so he must team up with smugglers to pay for his own ship, he meets his trusted co-pilot Chewbacca and other business partners in the galaxy, not wanting to commit to either side of the impending war. Chewbacca shows his loyalty to Han, as the one who saved him, he is pretty much what we know, but strangely has more of the comic side like we have seen in the modern films. Beckett the thief that reluctantly takes Han under his wing, he teaches him the trade and how to survive becoming the mentor figure for the film. Qi’ra is the girlfriend from the prison planet that Han wants to go back for and save one day, she gives him the strength to take the risks he does. Lando Calrissian is the charismatic smuggler that knows how to get out of any bad situation, he has the flare to draw the ladies in and will do anything to protect his ship. Dryden Vos in a gangster figure that the deal is for, he will kill people, but just ends up being standard villain, not offering much of a threat or back story, to what his scars are about. We have a couple more names characters, but none make too much of an impact, L3-37 doesn’t hit the comedy levels that is hoped for and Rio falls into knocked off Rocket Racoon territory.

PerformancesI don’t want to write that any of the performances we bad, the problem is that most are not that memorable, Alden always had huge shoes to follow and he doesn’t seem to capture the charm Ford bought to the role, Joonas is great as Chewbacca, but not too difficult for what he needs to do, Woody Harrelson is someone I could watch in most films, he is always good. Emilia Clarke continues to pop up in big franchise movies and being fine without being anything more, Paul Bettany enjoys a villainous role without needing to do much and Donald Glover is the scene stealer here as you want to watch every moment he is in.

StoryWe know from the start this is an origin story for Han Solo, this does the instant thing we know, HE WILL NOT BE IN TROUBLE IN THIS FILM, putting him in any peril related moment is almost pointless same goes for Chewbacca and Lando, as for the rest there is always questions about their relationship to Han and whether he could trust them, this is good part. The story also includes the origin of the Solo name, which is awful. The problem with the story for myself is that it is a generic heist movie that we have seen with Firefly/Serenity who did it a lot better, this doesn’t give us too much to go on even if the story is paced well to not give us too much slow moments.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action is on the levels you would expect for a Star Wars film, we have laser battles which the bad guys can’t shot for shit and the heroes one shot anyone, so basically me on Fortnite. The adventure does take Han on his first across the galaxy even though it never feels like we are part of it and even the sci-fi side of the film just seems to not hit the marks.

SettingsThe settings take us to the different planets, we have a snowy one, a criminal based one, a desert one and mining one, none look overly original or make anything memorable about what happens there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best part of the film, nothing looks out of place the creation of the different droids is great and the space sequences look flawless.

Scene of the Movie –
Lando alone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How he got the Solo name.

Final ThoughtsThis is one I can see the Star Wars fan loving, if you haven’t seen a Star Wars movie, this will miss on too many levels, the comedy barely hits, the characters decision making makes no sense and by the end of the movie you will be better off watching Firefly.


Overall: Disappointingly generic sci-fi heist movie.




Mission: Impossible II (2000)

logoDirector: John Woo

Writer: Robert Towne (Screenplay) Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga (Story) Bruce Geller (TV Creator)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell


Plot: A secret agent is sent to Sydney, to find and destroy a genetically modified disease called “Chimera”


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Not As Slick As It Should Be


Story: Mission Impossible II starts yet another iconic city this time Sydney. Here we watch as Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is running a mission to capture biological weapon transfer in mid-flight but it turns out that Sean Ambrose (Scott) and his men have been undercover to take the weapon for themselves. IMF track down the real Ethan Hunt to give his latest mission which means he will have to assemble a new team which has to include Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Newton) a master thief.

When Hunt has finished recruiting Nyah he gets the details for his latest mission with an old friend. Ethan’s mission is to retrieve the stolen information from Ambrose and use Nyah to get close to him. The story follows as Hunt tries to cover the transportation of the virus while Ambrose tries to keep one step ahead of him.

Mission Impossible II really tries to add a spark to the solid and enjoyable first chapter in the Mission Impossible saga, the problem is that everything goes way too overboard making nearly every scene feel very much unbelievable and losing what looked like it would be a previously believable storyline. The idea behind the story is very simple and easy to follow but the unmasking and disguises get boring quickly now, yes it is a surprise when they do it but come on how many times can you really do it in one film? Out of the four Mission Impossible films I find this one has the weakest storyline that never manages to pull you in like the rest do. (6/10)


Actor Review


Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt who gets his holiday interrupted to go on his latest mission impossible, where he has to talk mastermind thief into going undercover with former IMF agent trying to sell a virus on the black market. Tom continues to show his slick style in the film but he gets too many mad jumping shooting scenes that make very little sense. (7/10)


Dougray Scott: Sean Ambrose is the former agent who turns on the agency to get rich selling a virus on the black market, he keeps one step ahead of Hunt as he knows how an agent would think. Dougray makes for a good villain and to say he plays the character in a way we wouldn’t usually see a villain where he will kill the hero given half a chance. (7/10)


Thandie Newton: Nyah Nordoff-Hall is the mastermind thief who agrees to go undercover with her ex-boyfriend Ambrose but ends up getting caught up in the middle of the battle between Hunt and Ambrose. Thandie plays the beautiful almost Bond girl figure in this film very well and convinces along the way. (7/10)


Support Cast: Mission Impossible II has a supporting cast that includes Hunt’s team, Ambrose’s team and the mystery buyer, all of which help the story get to the next chapter by giving us characters to be killed off.


Director Review: John Woo – John puts his trademark staples on this film with flying shooting scenes and plenty of doves but doesn’t reach the levels we would expect form him. (6/10)


Action: Mission Impossible II has plenty of over the top action sequences with bullets flying everywhere. (7/10)

Thriller: Mission Impossible II doesn’t manager to pull you in as much as the previous instalment of the franchise. (5/10)

Settings: Mission Impossible II has the most part of the film set in Sydney which works for the threat being used by Ambrose. (8/10)

Suggestion: Mission Impossible II is still going to be one for the action fans to watch even if it isn’t as good as the rest of the franchise. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Motorbike chase.

Worst Part: Too far over the top.

Action Scene Of The Film: Motorbike chase.

Favourite Quote: Mission Commander Swanbeck ‘Mr. Hunt, this isn’t mission difficult, it’s mission impossible. “Difficult” should be a walk in the park for you.’


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has 3 more sequels

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $546 Million

Budget: $125 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Tagline: Expect the impossible again


Overall: This lacks the edge the first one had and ends up feeling very much over the top and out of place next to the rest.

Rating 60

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

logoDirector: David Twohy

Writer: David Twohy (Screenplay) Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Colm Feore, Thandie Newton, Judi Dench, Karl Urban, Alexa Davalos, Linus Roache


Plot: Riddick (Diesel), now a hunted man, finds himself in the middle of two opposing forces in a major crusade. Lord Marshal (Feore) a warrior priest who is the leader of a sect that is waging the tenth and perhaps final crusade 500 years in the future. Aereon (Dench) an ambassador from the Elemental race. She is an ethereal being who helps Riddick unearth his origins.


Verdict: Riddick Origins


Story: Yes this is a sequel and we do get the returning survivors from Pitch Black. Five years has past and Riddick is still a wanted man, but it is an old friend who has put the bounty on his head. Riddick returns to find himself the animal killer needed to fight a war he has no part of. We get to see a lot more of Riddick’s combat skills but to make things more interesting we have plenty of different parties wanting Riddick to be a pawn in their games; be it just for money, to fulfil destiny or to protect a small planet. Each group has different agenda that has been slowly building before the catalyst Riddick turns up. We end up getting a good story that takes a character out of a claustrophobic environment and putting him into a politic war, brave but effective. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Vin Diesel: Riddick we knew what he was capable off from the first one, we heard the stories, but we never saw how effective a fighter he really was. We also learn about where he came from and the people he is the last off. Good performance where he gets to build his character from the first one. (8/10)


Colm Feore: Lord Marshal the leader of a group of destroyer of worlds, you either join them and their faith or you die. He wants to destroy Riddick but is also determined to keep him around and turn him into one of the fiercest warriors in the galaxy. Good performance but never needs to do more than is asked. (7/10)


Thandie Newton: Dame Vaako the wife of the man who wants to be the leader of the invaders, she is a good planning and motivator with her seductive ways. Good performance playing the smart sexy leading villainous lady. (7/10)


Judi Dench: Aereon a peaceful leader against the evil Marshal who has extra powers including invisibility and gliding, she is wise and can see what could happen in the future. Good supporting performance with a character which would need a bit more back story to really make a true impact. (6/10)


Karl Urban: Vaako the want to be leader of the group, he waits for his time and even gets involved with a small side mission just to make sure that he remains in the good books of Marshal. Good early performance from Urban who has gone onto bigger and better performance. (7/10)


Alexa Davalos: Kyra you remember Jack from the first one well she grew up and now she is in prison, a skilled fighter who still wants to be Riddick, she takes not prisoners while fighting and always has a trick up her sleeve. Good performance with plenty of fighting scenes becoming the bad girl of the picture. (7/10)


Director Review: David Twohy – Good direction to take three characters from one genre and move them into another genre, creating a big intergalactic war. (8/10)


Action: Action from start to finish, mainly hand to hand combat or use of whatever is handy, including a tea cup. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: New planets, new species, new religions, new weapons what more can you want in a sci-fi film. (10/10)

Thriller: The story builds up nicely keeping you right in the story from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: Each setting adds more tension to the story with the stand out location being the prison planet. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects but some have dated a bit now. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one that the action fans will really enjoy, but the fans of Pitch Black will be disappointed due to the lack of similar story involved. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: The race against the sun

Worst Part: We could have learnt more about the supporting characters war.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Race against the sun leading into a battle.

Kill Of The Film: Tea Cup

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $115,772,733

Budget: $105 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: All the power in the universe can’t change destiny

Trivia:Vin Diesel wanted Judi Dench to play Aereon and went to great lengths to get her. A long-time fan of Dench, he had her dressing room filled with bouquets of flowers and also advised her that they could not begin casting the movie until she agreed to accept the role.


Overall: The Rise of Riddick

Rating 86

Retreat (2011)

Director: Carl Tibbetts

Writer: Janice Hallett, Carl Tibbetts

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Bell, Thandie Newton


Story Kate (Newton) and Martin (Murphy) escape from a personal tragedy by visiting an island retreat, all alone on this island. With their marriage seemingly failing apart the two are put to the test when a strange man finds them. Jack (Bell) exhausted is found passed out but the couple can’t reach the main land for help. Once Jack awakes he tells them about a virus which has swept across Europe.


After telling the news the Martin and Kate, Jack sets out to board up the house so no one can get in or out. With the night upon them Jack sees and hears people outside and the three set up guard duties to protect the house. Will they make it through the situation?


Verdict With a strong cast and a very simple idea this psychological thriller should be a nice addition to the genre. And it is holding the audience in from start to finish with twists slowly unfolding as the story continues. If you a fan of this genre you should definitely check this one out even though it bares some ideas from different movies.

Story Mark 8/10 Good story that will keep you interested from start to finish.

Horror Mark 8/10 Very thrilling more than scary but edge of your seat stuff

Star Performances All three perform well but it’s Jamie Bell who takes the extra star performance rating for me.

Favourite Character Jack you just don’t know which part of the story he tells is the truth.

Best Part The final scene

Worst Part  I guess you could say that some of the story is not original

Similar Too –  Right At Your Door, Straw Dogs, Wilderness 

My Rating  81%