Relentlessly leaping from various orgasmic, nerve-racking action set pieces to ever-expanding world building that probes for self-deducing, Parabellum is a wickedly lethal chapter.
You must never forget how this wicked gun-fu revivalist saga started. The titular character, John Wick (Keanu Reeves), is a retired assassin who wreaked havoc and slaughtered a horde of mobsters in retribution for the death of his beloved dog. Absurd as the premise might sound, the first movie instead spawns a new icon—celebrated for the gun-fu bravura, the devotion to over-kill and the underworld myth-building. The second chapter cements Wick’s reputation deeper and further digs the myth that becomes more obscure as the titular character reluctantly honoring a blood oath he made a few years back, only to be double-crossed. At the end of it, Wick is declared ‘excommunicado‘ and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum begins the minute Wick run for his life.
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Instead of ending up being a crowd-pleaser, Triple Threat only comes as a crowd-teaser.
Triple Threat deliberately engineers a fictional Southeast Asian country called Maha Jaya—which basically is Thailand but with extremely large China influence comprising of tycoons and cartels, backed by Indonesian mercenaries—only to allow the three leads: Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen speaking roles in their native language. Strange as it may sound, but at some points, the made-up setting becomes a reasonable venue to showcase a showdown between glorified Muay Thai, Pencak Silat and Kung Fu against current B-movie actioner stars consisting of Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White and Michael Bisping.
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Chandor pulls some grim, emotional twist in what looked a gonzo celebration of machismo the size of Expendables but not.
In paper, Triple Frontier feels like a deviation from the director, J.C. Chandor’s filmography so far. Often presenting gritty, thought-provoking thrillers about the descend of men without hand-on action sequences, Chandor takes a radical premise when he collaborates with writer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal. There are stand-offs here, but Chandor’s gripping signature lies around in this star-studded machismo celebration.
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Crawling slowly when finding the focus in the beginning, Extreme Job cooks up exhilarating Korean buddy-cop tropes with an absurd plot of fried chicken detective.
Upon the return of a Korean drug kingpin, a team of narcs led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-ryong) needs to devise a new M.O. in order to catch the big fish. After a series of failed, silly attempts, the team finally finds their secret plan—a full stakeout mission by going undercover in an obsolete fried chicken joint. In an unexpected twist of fate, the revamped fried chicken joint ends up being a national phenomenon. With a risk of compromising the whole mission, Ko and his happy-go-lucky team goes into a comedic adventure full of deadpan moments.
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With surprisingly bleak comedy of errors and revenge-is-a-dish-better-served-cold tropes, Cold Pursuit (2019) paints the blizzard red in what could’ve been an episode of Fargo’s latest season.
Set in the cold, white ski city of Kehoe (fictionally located in Colorado), Cold Pursuit sees an angry, old Liam Neeson in another quest for revenge. It’s barely surprising if skeptical viewers might mistake it for another cousin of Taken (along with Non-Stop, Run All Night, and The Commuter) given the premise. Yet, give it a go and you’ll find out that Hans Petter Moland’s remake of his own Norwegian thriller is more like Fargo (Noah Hawley’s rendition over Coen Brothers’): stark, slick and ambiguous.
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Kenneth Branagh crafts a Poirot-laden blockbuster for Orient Express redux to secure his future gigs.
Review: Kenneth Branagh knows that modern viewers don’t fancy over-exposition in crime-mystery story as in Agatha Christie’s original whodunit classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Therefore, the actor/director adjusts the premise and crafts a more energetic, carefree version of the story which focuses more on the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, more than anything else in the story.
Details are altered; but, the basic things are intact. The titular Orient Express still leaves from Istanbul to London during a cold winter; and, Poirot boards in the train along with dozen strangers. As the title might suggest, there’s a murder on board. The detective must solve the case by interrogating other passengers of the train before the train stops on the nearby station. Staged within limited area with limited access, Branagh presents a non-stop series of investigation that goes back and forth at full-speed. At that speed, we might get the illusion that the train (and the case) is going somewhere enticing; while it hasn’t actually moved a bit. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review”
Review: In Wind River, Taylor Sheridan again demonstrates a prowess he once showcased on writing tenure for Sicario and Hell or High Water. His painstaking flair for slick and immaculate script—with penchant to coherence and symmetrical storyline—is utterly exquisite. With Sheridan running for both writing and directing gigs, we finally get to see his full-creative-control mode; and, lucky you, it’s taut and clever as you might imagine.
The title refers to a snow-covered Native American reservation in Wyoming, which becomes the setting of this film. It’s the place where a hunter, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), resides. As he tracks a wild mountain lion who preys on local cattles, the all-white-camouflaged hunter accidentally finds a local girl’s body… dead and stark. For the case, FBI sends rookie Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who immediately team up with Lambert to investigate it.
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