Saturday, May 21

Tag: Action

Review: Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has changed the conduct of the game and created a franchise out of the classic holiday flick, Jumanji. In brief, it's way lighter and more carefree than the original. While the magic of the board game (eventually morphed into a video game console) still becomes the epicenter of the story, the magic of the story has gone astray. With an only two-year gap, Jumanji: The Next Level feels more closely to the 2017 movie than to the original one. When Sony decided to green-light the sequel, they have instead rebranded the franchise—leaving only the spirit of Chris van Allsburg's novel remains. Even when Jack Black confirmed via YouTube that Zathura is a part of the canon, the treatment for the whole franchise has taken sharp turns. The new direction for the fran...
Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)

In the 1960s, the deteriorating Ford Motor was desperate to boost their car sales to the first-generation boomers. In their effort, Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) had an epiphany to propose participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which leads to Henry Ford II's (Tracy Letts) direct order to manufacture a built-for-speed car to defeat the mogul, Ferrari. There's where the poster guys, Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) make an entrance to this formulaic ambitious story and rev up the engine to make this one of the finest racing movies ever made. Just like Le Mans, Ford v Ferrari (also titled Le Mans '66) is never an ordinary race. Le Mans requires participating teams to race for a full 24 hours using the same car in the same racetrack. The movie, clocking in at ...
Review: Charlie’s Angels (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Charlie’s Angels (2019)

Elizabeth Banks' reboot of Charlie's Angels is a bold move for the whole franchise. It starts with an exclamation that "women can do anything." Sometimes, that includes utilizing their charm to get things done—something that Farah Fawcett and co. often did in the TV versions back in the 1970s. Some other time, they'll have to get into full-throttle actions—like Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu's angels in McG's 2000 and 2003 tenures excel in. Yet, as the opening conversation continues, Banks' version adds its credo—highlighting that women also "have their own choices." 'Choice' is a positive driving force in this third iteration of Charlie's Angels. Bosley still directs the angels' missions; but, in Banks' world, Bosley is not a mere character, it's a title instead. Several p...
Review: Midway (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Midway (2019)

In Midway, director Roland Emmerich quenches his aviation fetish with a World War II blockbuster. While places and people might not be at their most accurate position in this retelling of the battle that practically changes the course of the war, the movie is confident enough to flaunt the jingoism with some cheesy dialogues (which you might not believe coming from the mouth of an actual person). Imagine this as a more action-packed Pearl Harbor with the absurdity of Independence Day—set to open on Veterans Day period. We know what to expect. Instead of focusing entirely on the Midway tenure, this pseudo war epic opts to focus on several pivotal real-life characters at once. Most of the time, the story will revolve around the cocky, devil-may-care pilot, Richard "Dick" Best (British...
Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

There's no doubt that The Terminator is an instant classic when it comes to sci-fi bravado with lauded action sequences and a compelling narrative. It was an accomplished mission impossible. When Terminator 2: Judgment Day came off in 1991, however, it immediately cements itself as the epitome of sequels that outdid the original. Aside from the bigger, tougher and grittier action sequences, the most pivotal step in engineering T2 is Cameron's bold move to grant Linda Hamilton her wildcard. Making Sarah Connor a more vital role than even the Terminator is inarguably the reason why T2 matters. Both Cameron and Hamilton did not return in any sequel that came after Sarah Connor ' canceled the apocalypse.' From there, the franchise only went downhill with long-awaited sequels (Rise of the M...
Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

There's a ten-year gap between Zombieland (2009) and the sequel, but Zombieland: Double Tap, actually, is a same-old-brand-new movie. Everyone and everything returns—including the stars and the iconic gags, e.g., zombie-survival rules and the "Zombie Killing of the Week" intermezzo. The only new element is a new breed of zombie—a faster, smarter, hungrier, and more durable one. What happened off-screen during the gap had been way more interesting. Director Ruben Fleischer had crafted three more lukewarm movies, including Venom. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had made two highly successful Deadpool movies. Woody Harrelson had got two Oscars nominations and an Emmy nomination; Jesse Eisenberg had an Oscars nomination and a role in DCEU; Emma Stone had an Oscars (with La La Land), a...
Review: The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos / 나쁜 녀석들: 더 무비 (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos / 나쁜 녀석들: 더 무비 (2019)

From the exhilarating Extreme Jobs, the hard-boiled The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil, to the buoyant Miss & Mrs. Cops, recent South Korean blockbusters love to see cops defying the procedure and delving into the grey area to get their job done. Son Yong-ho's The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos attempts to capture the zeitgeist and reuse the working formula to score another hit. With cartoonish characters and an over-the-top presentation, the end-product feels like a combination of many other hits. Adapted from the 2014 TV series, Bad Guys, you should not find it surprising that the premise is Suicide Squad-sy. Kim Sang-joong reprises his role in the series as Oh Gu-tak, an ambitious detective who will use any means necessary to catch criminals, even when it ambiguously blurs his moral lin...
Review: Gemini Man (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Gemini Man (2019)

For a work of a director renowned for strong dramatic stories (Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, to name a few)—even his blockbuster tenure leans more towards dramatic height than pure spectacles (as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hulk)—it is difficult to fathom the decision why he accepted the kind of story like Gemini Man. Normally, a pseudo-complex action-thriller which leans more on spectacles might not become his main preference. For me, the only plausible scenario is Ang Lee needs leverage for his pursuit of technological advancement in filmmaking and, for that, he's willing to cost his integrity. The technological breakthrough that Lee keeps pursuing is the HFR, in which he shoots the entire movie with 120 frames per second (an ambitious technique he's...
Review: Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

Around 37 years after the misunderstood Green Beret veteran, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), drew the first blood and then wreaked havoc in foreign lands, the iconic action hero still stands firm. We have seen him grows wearier and much less bulky than he had been during the prime era; but, Rambo is still the icon of cinematic escapism. Stallone has somehow done an Unforgiven deed to the titular character in Rambo (2008), but who knows that machismo never really ages, hence Last Bood—a crowd-pleasing entry for long-time fans. The closure in Rambo (2008), as it turns out, is temporal. Rambo settles down in a ranch with an orphaned young girl, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), and her abuelita. The action hero spends his old age taming horses or going for some horseback riding talking about ...
Review: Gundala (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Gundala (2019)

Gundala, based on a comic book series by Hasmi, is set to kick-start the ambitious Indonesian superheroes' shared universe projected as 'Jagad Sinematik BumiLangit' or 'BumiLangit Cinematic Universe' (mainly inspired by the renowned Marvel Cinematic Universe and the now-defunct DC Extended Universe). To set the grand plan—which includes 8 movies for its first phase with, at least, 19 known characters announced—in motion, Gundala must translate the comic book story into a grounded, do-able and entertaining cinematic experience that can distance itself from the million-dollar Hollywood influence. To helm this showpiece, Joko Anwar (A Copy of My Mind, Satan's Slave) is the most obvious choice to have the integrity and vision to decipher all the codes. Anwar treats the movie as an origin ...
Review: EXIT / 엑시트 / Eksiteu (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: EXIT / 엑시트 / Eksiteu (2019)

In his directorial debut, Lee Sang-geun builds a solid survival actioner on the foundations laid by classic action flicks like The Towering Inferno, Die Hard and versatility of MacGyver. It's a familiar story about ordinary people striving to stay alive in such a dire situation. Then, Sang-geun injects tongue-to-cheek comedy and some awkward romance elements to spice up things. The result is a tonal mess that offers endless adrenaline rush and deadpan laughs. The protagonist is Yong-nam (Cho Jung-seok), a rock-climbing prodigy whose luck runs out after graduation. Unemployed and estranged from the rest of his family, Yong-nam insists on celebrating his mother's 70th birthday in a venue where his old crush, Eui-ju (Yoona), works. Soon, he finds himself a fish out of water when his prese...
Review: The Divine Fury (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: The Divine Fury (2019)

Midnight Runners' director, Kim Joo-hwan returns with a new blockbuster that reunites him with the Runners' star, Park Seo-joon. Combining the corniest elements of exorcism horror and comical action-hero tropes, The Divine Fury is a gothic action fantasy which immediately reminds us of Constantine minus the angelic apparitions. From spiritual imagery of Catholicism, priests chanting prayers in Latin to expel demons, to fistfight against demon-possessed people, you are up for an action-packed ride full of blood, holy waters and... campiness, nevertheless. The Divine Fury seems to seam unlikely components into one helluva narrative drive. The story roots on an enticingly crafted mythos of the Dark Bishop, a worshipper of the evil Holy Serpent. Dark Bishop corrupts problematic people and ...
Review: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Fast & Furious evolves like no other franchises. Starting up as a night-racing blockbuster, the carsploitation saga expands into the epitome of over-the-top machismo galore, which at times poking out sci-fi, heist, or even disaster elements. Nobody can actually predict the franchise’s trajectory or direction; not even the filmmakers behind it. Vin Diesel thought he owned the franchise, having stayed in the franchise for the longest time (even when he’s practically absent from 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift). And yet, even Diesel could not believe that his public feud with Dwayne Johnson during the production of The Fate of the Furious would open a new direction; in fact, the beef branches out the franchise into two tracks. Johnson revs up with a spin-off focusing on his character an...
Review Stuber (2019)
Movie Review

Review Stuber (2019)

Basically, there are two different stories with two different genres happening in Michael Dowse’s new movie, Stuber, written by Tripper Clancy. The first story is a hardboiled police story, entangling a gigantic yet shortsighted cop, Victor (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), pursuing an Indonesian drug-lord, Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais with a hybrid yet authentic name) to avenge his killed partner. The second story is a rom-com centering on a hapless Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick) struggling to express his feelings to Becca (Betty Gilpin, GLOW), his unrequited love. Strange but true, both stories complement each other to make a dumb-fun Uber ride through the night. The unlikely alliance begins as post-Lasik operation Vic gets his vision blurred for ...

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