Review Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 (2018)

Wiro Sableng smartly plays out on one of the source material’s finest advantage—exotic world building and exquisite characters—to craft a real blockbuster treat, despite all the flaws.

Review Wiro Sableng 212 Warrior: Wiro Sableng (trans. Crazy Wiro), a character created by Bastian Tito, is one of the most renowned & legendary martial art warriors in Indonesian comic scene—along with Panji Tengkorak (Skull Panji) and Si Buta dari Goa Hantu (Blind Warrior from Ghost Cave). From comic book, Wiro Sableng had been adapted into a several movies and, most notably, long-running television series that had gained cult-following and launched a one-hit wonder status to the star, Ken Ken. In 2018, a latest incarnation of the famous character is brought into existence by Angga D. Sasongko (Filosofi Kopi series, Bukaan 8), backed by Lifelike Pictures and Hollywood mogul, Twentieth Century Fox.

Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 feels special in the development. Penned by Tumpal Tampubolon and Sheila Timothy with senior Indonesian author (and martial-art writer), Seno Gumira Ajidarma, the plot is straight-forward poetic justice action mixed with political turmoil in the background. Partially inspired by classic wuxia stories, the narrative also elaborates a Shakespearian dash and clash that look like Coriolanus and the lots. More enticingly, the fact that Vino G. Bastian, an interesting Indonesian actor who plays the titular role, is Bastian Tito’s son makes a real point as if all stars are aligned for this adaptation. Continue reading “Review Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 (2018)”

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Review Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Review Ant-Man and the Wasp. To clean the palette after the devastating Infinity Wars, Marvel presents an all-round fun and funny family comedy.

Movie review Ant-Man and the Wasp: Back in 2015, a small-scale, lesser-known superhero named ‘Ant-Man’ carrying heavy-scale burden to follow up the Marvel’s ambitious (yet convoluted) assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron was almost unimaginable. Stormed with production issue—when the appointed director, Edgar Wright, left due to creative difference and get replaced by Yes Man director, Peyton Reed—Ant-Man was, again, almost an expected trainwreck. Only, it did not end up becoming one; it instead becomes one of Marvel’s most prominent standalone movies which blends superhero action, unapologetic comedy and warm family drama.

In 2018, Ant-Man makes a come-back in a similar role to the previous film—to clean the palette after the devastating Avengers: Infinity War. In doing so, Ant-Man and the Wasp, still helmed by Reed, stays a small movie that completes the grand image of a bigger one. Effective proportion is what it takes to do the role. It stays minuscule and distant from the recent event, but it paves a way to be an important addition (or even key-point) in the next grand event, which as we may expect is the untitled fourth Avengers movie. Continue reading “Review Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)”

Justice League (2017) – Review

DC has found its fun serum that does no justice

Review: Let’s break down Justice League into good news and bad news first. The good news is Justice League shows that DC has actually learned how to concoct a story out of their metahumans (yes, for them, the word ‘superhero’ is overrated) extensively since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how to sweeten up their preferably dark universe with proper humors, too, ever since Suicide Squad. While the bad news: the good news only slightly helps the film from being a total mess.

Following rave reviews showering Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and news of reshoots along with post-production galore to Avengers’ helmer, Joss Whedon, expectation flown high on how Justice League would finally do the justice to DC. At some points, it might live up the expectation; thanks to balance between Zack Snyder’s grim visions and Whedon’s holly jolly. Snyder, who left during post-production, still gets the sole director billing for his extensive work; but, we know that it’s Whedon who invents and injects the fun-serum. The cahoots result in a fun, energetic, light and more accessible crowdpleaser using DC’s properties. Regardless, Justice League apparently not a back-to-back victory. Continue reading “Justice League (2017) – Review”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Review

Review: Recapturing the magic of the original/first film is often an arduous quest, even by Marvel standards. Let’s forget not about how Joss Whedon’s misery, in crafting Age of Ultron to follow up the groundbreaking Avengers assemble, could not live up to the expectation. Given that record, it’s not a big surprise that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 falls flat in its attempt to live up the virtuoso of Marvel’s biggest gamble; what’s surprising: it still makes an awesome fun-tertaining space bravura centering on galaxy’s most favorite dysfunctional ‘family.’

Element of surprise is what’s missed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The Guardians – along with their closest relatives – aren’t unfamiliar faces anymore; same goes to Awesome Mix, the intergalactic vistas, and the typical jokes and banters they’re throwing. During their tenure in Guardians of the Galaxy, they’ve shared spotlight to finally form this band of misfits into a sort of universe protectors. Now, some must relegate into supporting roles and some must go upfront in not so typical disbanding-after-assembling sequel trope. Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Review”

Doctor Strange (2016) – Review

Review: Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has expanded at accelerating pace to some level we can fathom where it leads anymore. Along its long run, all Earth’s mightiest heroes in Avengers have contributed to numbers of on-screen collateral damage more than any franchises have ever done. They even acknowledge it in and exploit it as the cause of Civil War, which is a clever move.

Yet, as one character in Marvel’s latest tenure Doctor Strange said, “Avengers protect Earth from physical dangers.” As it highlights the physical attacks hence the collateral damage, how about the supernatural or metaphysical attack? That’s where the Sorcerer Supreme gets his solid slot in MCU.

In fact Doctor Strange is another biggest gamble Marvel ever done since Guardians of the Galaxy. It appears mostly as a stand-alone feature, referencing the renowned MCU at minimum basis (only some direct spoken references and an apparition of Avengers towers), and posits itself in an unknown points at MCU timeline. The only gripe is: it is another origin story along with the cliched formula of origin story. Yet, this is a necessary origin story—for an important character and for an area Marvel has never touched. Continue reading “Doctor Strange (2016) – Review”

Suicide Squad (2016) – Review

Review: Say DC and Warner Bros misinterpret the legacy of Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy for its dark, bleak, and sorrowful atmosphere albeit more grounded approach to reality; DC Extended Universe might still have a spark of hope in eccentrically dark Suicide Squad to save the ship from sinking after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got lambasted a while ago. Yet, that’s not the story.

I wanted so bad to like Suicide Squad. It has a completely fresh idea like no other studios ever done before, in this lucrative season of superhero films: assembling the most notorious comic book villains to do a job that Superman or Batman supposed to do. Moreover, writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) reintroduces the dark and gritty atmosphere, the scapegoat of BvS’s free fall, as a powerful message with a twist.

A world full of filthy and out-of-the zone humor with vibrant visuals and total anarchy is supposed to be an Ayer’s answer to Marvel’s irreverent humor. It’s a hybrid world of nihilistic spasms a la Deadpool, quirkiness of Guardian of the Galaxy and a mockery to typical hero-assemble trend. It sounds badass; it feels menacing; and it looks evil… only at the beginning. Continue reading “Suicide Squad (2016) – Review”