Review: There was once a stunt-and-steroid-heavy actioner – a Point Break-esque spectacle – called xXx in 2002. Vin Diesel, straight outta Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious, was the center of it as Xander Cage, an adrenaline junkie and extreme sport enthusiast-turned-agent for NSA. But, the franchise seemed to be short-lived, following the disastrous second installment that crossed out Diesel’s name from the cast, substituting him with Ice Cube.
Xander Cage was pronounced dead in the 2005 sequel, but Vin Diesel has an agenda. Stepping in the producer seat, Diesel orchestrates his character’s own comeback like nothing happened in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. He turns a dormant franchise into a so-called Vin Diesel film – which draws lots of influence from his tenure in Fast and Furious series. Meaning to say: it’s going to be muscular, over-the-top, and eye-pleasing; but do not expect a story. Continue reading xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Review
Review: Crafted from a game of the same title with movie-material gameplay and interesting pseudo-sci-fi premise; then helmed by Justin Kurzel, the man who successfully adapted the cursed play, Macbeth, along with the stars, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; Technically, Assassin’s Creed would have made ‘the first’ beautifully compelling video-game adaptation. Yet, it simply doesn’t.
Apparently, the culprit is the script, written by Michael Lesslie (Macbeth) and retouched by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Exodus, Allegiant), which cannot accommodate the sense of excitement the game offers, and instead overplots it. Instead of moving the story forward, this Assassin’s Creed is slowing it steps down with uneffective faux complexities. Continue reading Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review
Review: Robert Zemeckis’ new espionage romance drama, Allied, somehow soars before it even flies. Overshadowed in the heat of 2016’s most controversial celebrity divorce news between Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Allied gets all the attention with accusation that leading actress, Marion Cotillard, is Pitt’s mistress. Given the resemblances of Mr. & Mrs. Smith issue in background, coverage to Pitt-Cotillard involvement and talks about Allied is up on the sky… but not until it finally flies.
When it flies, it ejects a seemingly younger and more Quebecois Brad Pitt as Max Vatan parachuted to midst of desert. He soon joins in a lethal behind-enemy-line mission with a French femme-fatale agent, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) in the barren land of exotic French-occupied Casablanca, Morocco. Posing as a husband and wife, the feat spends too much and too intense time in this assasination mission that something more profound embarks from within them. Continue reading Allied (2016) – Review
Review: There’s a well-known paradox known as Schrödinger Cat, a thought experiment in which a cat is put into a box with a toxic acid that may kill it. While inside the box, without observer, the cat is said to be simultaneously alive and dead. One character in The Girl with All the Gifts mentions about the paradox, while simultaneously posts a most appropriate allegory for this film.
The best way to plunge into The Girl with All the Gifts is knowing less beforehand. Not that it is full of surprises and twists, but the adaptation of Mike Carey’s bestselling novel relies much on its first act which serves as a mind-boggling sci-fi mystery with minimum clue available. The less you know about what this film is about, the more this part crawls along your skin with dozens of question marks. Continue reading The Girl with All the Gifts (2016) – Review
Review: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns after his underseen tenure in Jack Reacher. Never Go Back, as a sub-title, might contradict with the idea of a sequel, but it might also means something else. Meaning to say, Jack Reacher isn’t the same thing as he was in the 2012 film: the helmer, the dynamic and the pace is completely different. Yet, seriously, both underlying meanings of the sub-title are true.
Reacher comes back as a solitary man who repetitively claims himself to be an ex-Major. He fights again for justice when Major Turner (Cobie Smulders), a female major who sits in his former position, is arrested for a mysterious cause which, according to Reacher’s instinct, might lead to a conspiracy in military. Meanwhile, he also just knows that he might allegedly have a 15-year-old daughter (Danika Yarosh), and he’s eager to find her to unravel the real relationship between them. Little does he know that both threads might be intertwined as he goes deeper into his fighting for justice. Continue reading Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) – Review
Review: Blessed-with-curse Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks for 3 times in a row), returns to a Ron Howard-directed adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno. While it’s originally the fourth entry, but given Sony’s reputation in switching The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons chronologically, dropping a National Treasure-sque The Lost Symbol to pave the road for Dante-inspired Inferno might seem clinical.
While, technically, Inferno is Dan Brown’s most filmable novel and, undeniably, the weakest among others; what happens in Howard’s Inferno proves that, by far, adapting Dan Brown’s into a good film without convoluted plot is still a chimera, a nearly impossible thing. Continue reading Inferno (2016) – Review