Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)

Director: Steven S DeKnight

Writer: Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin (Screenplay) Travis Beacham (Characters)

Starring: John Boyega, Rinko Kikuchi, Scott Eastwood, Adria Arjona, Tian Jing, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Tian Jing, Jin Zhang

 

Plot: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.


Tagline – Rise up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action Film

 

Story: Pacific Rim Uprising starts in the aftermath of the great war with the Kaiju, cities have been rebuilt, while others became squatter’s paradise, Jake Pentecost (Boyega) has taken to this life style, getting what he wants through stealing, not following in his father’s footsteps. When he meets genius engineer Arama (Spaeny) who has built her own illegal Jaeger unit, the get captured.

Jake is force back into the Jaeger program by his step-sister Mako (Kikuchi) with Amara being one of his cadets. When Liwen Shao (Jing) has created drone controlled Jaeger, it looks like the program has become obsolete, until they malfunction bringing the Kaiju back with a bigger and deadlier threat. Jake must put his past a side, follow in his father’s footsteps and work with his rival Nate Lambert (Eastwood) to save the world again.

 

Thoughts on Pacific Rim Uprising

 

Characters – Jake is the son of the great Stacker Pentecost, he hasn’t followed in his father’s footsteps, believing the war to be over for good, getting himself in trouble with the law brings him back into the program to train new recruits in case the Jaegers return. When they do he must become the leader his father was. Nate Lambert is the Ranger that has been working in the force for years, he enjoys training and was once a brilliant combat operator, he is the rival in the sense of having different mentality, but they both respect each other. Amara is the 15-year-old genius engineer that can build Jaeger’s like the best, she gets to become a cadet where she must prove herself to the fellow cadets. We have a random love interest, that seems to be there to add slight, weak tension between the boys, the scientists are back with their experiments and Liwen Shao is the brilliant mind behind an improved defence system.

PerformancesJohn Boyega gets to have fun in this role, his performances feels like a mix of his Attack the Block streets wise and Fin who is being brave on the outside, this works even though he does get more screen time that you think he needs for certain moments. Scott Eastwood is good in his role, its not the most difficult role to play and he doesn’t put a foot wrong. Cailee Spaeny is the new comer here, she has good chemistry for the banter with Boyega which is important between the two. No one really gives a bad performance, it is the lack of time given to Jin Zhang and Rinko Kikuchi that disappoints the most.

StoryThe story here brings us into a world which has seen the war, believed it was over and moved with life. This reflects what would happen with major disasters, parts gets rebuilt others forgotten. The idea that a tech firm wants to improve, this time by going drone warfare is something we know and have seen before, while the twist behind everything just seems random and out of place. we come into this movie to watch giant robots fight giant monsters, we get moments but for a story this felt like almost a forced sequel that believes it will become a franchise. The characters arcs are basic Jake’s has the clearest one at that.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are a mixed bag here, the big finally one, great loved how it was shot, tracking the different battles, the problem with most of the action sequences comes when we jump between non action moments, taking us out of the carnage. The adventure side comes from new people needing to prepare for a big battle, been here seen this. The sci-fi side of this is giant robots fighting giant monsters from another dimension, can you get more sci-fi than this?

SettingsThe settings show us once again that Kaiju only attack tourist destinations, like Sydney and Tokyo, we have some random time in the snow because why not.

Special EffectsThe effects do look flawless on the surface, my only issue here is watching the destruction sequences, it always feels like the buildings just vanish at times.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The building destruction never feels permanent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel, it does everything a brain switch off movie needs to, grab popcorn, don’t car about anything for 2 hours and enjoy. If you want a deep story you will be disappointed and loveable characters, look elsewhere.

 

Overall: Solid popcorn nonsense.

Rating

 

 

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The Great Wall (2016)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Hanyu Zhang

 

Plot: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big Bad, Forgettable

 

Story: The Great Wall starts with a Great Wall history lesson as we learn the wall was constructed to keep enemies out some known others are legend, this is one of the legends. We meet the European mercenaries William (Damon), Tovar (Pascal) and their men on the run. Finding themselves under attack William and Tovar find an enemy unlike anything they have seen before but that is the least of their worries as they are still being hunted down but find themselves at the mercy of the Chinese.

Captured by the Chinese, Commander Lin Mae (Jing), General Shao (Zhang) and Strategist Wang (Lau) must decide what to do with the men and if their story is true. William and Tovar find themselves trapped in the middle of a battle between the Chinese and their defensive wall and blood thirsty creatures, a war their never asked for but a battle they were always ready to fight in.

 

Thoughts on The Great Wall

 

Characters/PerformanceWilliam is one of the Europeans who finds himself using all his combat skills to help the Chinese fight the creatures that terrorise their people and if they can get through the world. This battle gives William a chance at redemption for the wrongs he has committed in life. Tovar is his partner who wants to continue the darker path but his loyalty to William keeps him stuck between the lines.  Commander Lin is the strong leading women, she is willing to sacrifice herself to protect her people and he combat skills excel. Ballard is the once captured man who has become part of the battle but against his own will. The rest of the characters are all what you would expect in the wildly over the top action fantasy adventure films.

Performance wise, Matt Damon does struggle in this role, his accent skills are terrible as he bounces between most European from scene to scene even though he holds his own in the action sequences. Pedro Pascal is fun getting most of the comic relief throughout the film. Willem Defoe is the usual odd ball supporting role with Tian Jing being the star of the show.

StoryThe story does work in places, the mystery about the Great Wall will always make for an appealing story, while most of the history is known it is always interesting to see a twist on what could be a story about the history behind it all. The fantasy elements of the story is what drives this but in the end it is nothing more humans versus monsters with people needing to work together to make them win.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big, but at times hard to follow with the adventure coming from how the humans battle to survive. The fantasy side does work but also feels like something we have seen way too often.

SettingsHaving the film set mostly on the Great Wall works in my opinion because it plays into the fantasy idea of the wall being built to fight an ancient enemy.

Special EffectsThis is a film that is very heavy on the CGI and you can tell because a lot of them miss and look bad for the overall quality of the film.

Final ThoughtsI found this to be over the top, unoriginal but easy to watch, I don’t think this will be up for any awards just become forgettable.

 

Overall: This is an easy film to watch but nowhere near a classic

Rating

 

 

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) John Gatins (Story)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Monster Mayhem

 

Story: Kong: Skull Island starts as we see an instant introduction to Kong during World War II, move forward to 1973 Bill Randa (Goodman) want to lead an expedition to the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean, one that has only just been discovered by satellite images. Joined by his assistant Brooks (Hawkins) and a mapping team Randa puts together a unit to cover him if the stories are true.

The team includes tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), San (Jing) and army unit led by Preston Packard (Jackson). Upon arrive on the island Kong destroys all the helicopter killing half the unit, with the scientists looking for a way off the island and Packard out for revenge the two battle within as they face enemies they had never imagined including the monstrous Kong.

 

Thoughts on Kong: Skull Island

 

Characters/PerformanceConrad is a British tracker who we rarely see track, Weaver is a photographer who clashes with Packard a lot on the morale side of her job post-Vietnam, she isn’t just the damsel in distress though. Packard is a war-hero who I believe wasn’t a hero in war, he wants one more chance to go into a battle before returning home, as the film unfolds he does feel very similar to Pete Postlethwaite character in Jurassic Park 2. Bill knows more than he lets on but could be considered a businessman villain. Hank steals most of the scenes here, he is the former WWII pilot who has been stuck on the island for 28 years. Kong is a character all to his own, destroying anything that gets in his way while also showing the most emotion of any character in the film. we also have scientists who are forgettable, and soldiers who are giving basic banter to work with.

Performance wise, Hiddleston does struggling to make much of the poorly written character, Larson starts well but again her character is written weakly, Jackson does what Jackson does well without being his best, Goodman also doesn’t reach his potential while Reilly knows how to steal a movie with limited scenes. Most of the stars all struggle with the same problem, their characters are written very weakly.

StoryThe story here is fine, I liked that is wasn’t the same as the 30’s era trying to bring Kong back to New York, this is just a surveillance job turned race against time to survive. So, this is The Lost World with King Kong in the end. There isn’t too much to say good about the story because I found myself confused a lot, we had ONE ship with about SIX helicopters on it and sudden when they reach Skull Island there is about TWENTY helicopters, the same goes for the number of soldiers, one minute we have the FOUR we know and then when we need people to die there suddenly seems to be another group of disposable ones. These inconsistent annoyed me most.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is very big and sure you can switch off and enjoy it all, the adventure is in the new world unseen and comes off fine throughout, the fantasy comes from battle what should be the impossible.

SettingsI did like that we kept all the action upon Skull Island, I feel this is important to creating the bigger universe they want to.

Special EffectsI also think the special effects are brilliant through the whole film and could barely tell the different between what is real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is big bad and fun but I feel the character development comes off pointless in places because all we get is a sudden death to a character that doesn’t make sense or it is an unknown character killed to save ones we have got to know.

 

Overall: This will go down in the fun but not great action set piece.

Rating

 

 

Police Story: Lockdown (2016)

Police Story: Lockdown (on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 25th July 2016 and for download from Monday 18th July 2016)

 poloce

Director: Ding Sheng

Writer: Alex Jia (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Ye Liu, Tian Jing, Tao Yin, Yiwei Liu, Wei Na, Xiaoou Zhou, Rongguang Yu

 

Plot: A man looking for the release of a long-time prisoner takes a police officer, his daughter, and a group of strangers hostage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Enjoyable

 

Story: Police Story: Lockdown starts as we meet the down on his luck cop Zhong Wen (Chan) who is trying to reconnect with his daughter Miao Miao (Jing) who he finds working in a Wu Bar which is filled with party lifestyle crowd. When the true motives of the owner of the club Wu Jiang (Liu) come through Zhong find himself locked in the club as one of the hostages

Trapped inside the club Zhong must escape and navigate the halls of the clubs to save his daughter and the hostages from Wu and his men who are trying to get a prisoner released from prison.

Police Story: Lockdown gives us an action film that brings Jackie Chan back to the franchise that made him an international star only this time returning as a different character. This works because we get a fresh character that is an experienced cop and the story actually plays out very much like a slightly heavy twist filled Die Hard. The twists keep the final outcome of this film look very strong as we question the motives of the villain throughout the film and by the end we could actually side with him while still knowing what he is doing is wrong. This is one of the best spins on the action crime genre in recent years.

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Chan: Zhong Wen is the experienced cop returning for this latest instalment of the Police Story saga as a new character. This time he just wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter only to find himself locked inside a club held hostage with a man who wants a prisoner released. Zhong must use all of his experience to talk through the situation while also using his combat skills when needed. Jackie is great in this role showing he can handle the acting side of a story as wel as the action.

Ye Liu: Wu Jiang is the owner of the club and soon has his own plans to take people hostage so he can get a prisoner released. He is happy to negotiate with Zhong trading stories as well as honouring what need to be honoured. Ye makes for a great villain that does have complex side to him.

Tian Jing: Miao Miao is the daughter of Zhong who has been distant from him for years and doesn’t want anything to do with him until he is the only one who can save them from the situation they find themselves in. Tian is good but is kind of just a damsel in distress.

Support Cast: Police Story: Lockdown has a supporting cast that are mostly the hostages, the fellow gun men and the police outside. The cast all do a good job without having anyone overly memorable.

Director Review: Ding ShengDing gives us a hostage film that is filled with twists along the way.

 

Action: Police Story: Lockdown has well-constructed action sequences that all come off great without just using mindless action.

Crime: Police Story: Lockdown puts us into the middle of a hostage situation where we have to see how it all unfolds for our hero.

Settings: Police Story: Lockdown keeps most of the story inside the club with only flashbacks being outside the main area. The setting works for where the story goes very well.
Special Effects
: Police Story: Lockdown has small moments that turn to the special effects which all work for when needed.

Suggestion: Police Story: Lockdown is one for all the action fans to enjoy because it feels like a modern Die Hard we all could enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Villains motives.

Worst Part: There is a slight slow spell in the middle.

Action Scene Of The Film: Fight for a hostage.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Bloopers

Similar Too: Die Hard

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

Overall: One of the freshest action thrillers in recent years.

Ratingcard