Furious Six Review

Title: Furious Six
Distributor: Universal
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Rating (out of 5): 5

Summary: Justin Lin and Chris Morgan deliver yet another outstanding action feature

Suspension of disbelief. That is the one concept a person going to see this film should keep in their mind at all times; that everything happening in this film is really a load of bull. There is no way that any of the characters could ever possibly survive the absolutely deranged action scenes that take place within this film, and yet they always manage to get away just by the skin of their teeth. This however is not a bad thing, but it certainly will make you gasp in awe time and time again at how brilliantly conceived the action is and how amazingly convenient many of the scenarios are.

Picking up where Fast Five ended, Furious Six begins with Special Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) looking to take down the internationally dangerous Shaw (Luke Evans), whose team are taking down militarised convoys in an attempt to build a device worth billions to the highest bidder; a device that could do an unfathomable amount of damage when successfully put together.

With traditional methods out of the question for acquiring such a man and his team, Hobbs is forced to recruit a ‘wolf to hunt a wolf”, in this case Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his team. At the  end of Fast Five, Hobbs receives proof that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive and working with this antagonistic crew, and it is this information he uses to procure Dom and have him and his team meet him in London to help take down this new threat.

Mia (Jordana Brewster’s) role is rather short in this film as she is now the mother of the child that she and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) have had, which furthers the idea of family which flows throughout this entire feature.

Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), Gisele (Gal Gabot) and Han (Sung Kang) once again join the team, with Roman and Tej being primarily in control of delivering the wealth of humor throughout the piece which is efficaciously delivered.

As with the previous films, the connection between each of the characters seems extraordinarily powerful and makes the film’s storyline and the emotional interactions between the characters even more believable. There is not one moment that goes by where you don’t believe all of these friends are not a giant family, and thanks to the flawless acting and terrific writing, this is never challenged which only makes the experience even more easy to devour.

In a film spanning 130 minutes, the feature basically is one action scene after another, with a brief separation in-between each for character interaction and planning for the next deranged action-oriented occurrence, and by deranged, I truly mean that; cars go flying in all directions as cars and even later on a tank alike collide with others in this vehicular slaughter-fest. The amount of damage done in this film is unfathomable, and simply needs to be seen to be believed, and even then you probably won’t believe it. Like I said earlier, many action scenes seem convenient; there is always a car to escape in, or some horrible thing that does not immediately take place, which leads to the characters living to fight another day.

Just when the action seems to be over though, another scene even wilder than the last takes place, and even then you still can’t be sure that the film is over. Be sure to stay after the first few seconds of credits for a terrific little (convenient (again!)) cinematic featuring Jason Stratham, which leaves the film wide open for yet another sequel.

You want my opinion? Universal can make a dozen more Fast and the Furious sequels, for if they are all as good as this, then I will surely love to see how far they can push this truly entertaining series.

Simply put, if there is one action film you see this year, then Fast and the Furious Six is definitely that movie! A must see!

 

Descend into the Darkness in the new Star Trek feature

Title: Star Trek: Into Darkness
Distributor: Paramount
Producers: Sky Dance/Bad Robot
Director: J.J. Abrams

Rating (out of 5): 3

Synopsis: Terrific special effects and a few action sequences are not enough to save Star Trek: Into Darkness from itself.

Review: For those of you aware of the idea that a sequel is never able to live up to the expectations of the original, or the stereotypical notion that there is in fact no such thing as a bad trailer, then you will completely understand when I say that Star Trek: Into Darkness represents both of these ideologies.

For those of you, like me, who saw the trailer for the new Star Trek film and thought how riveting it looked; do not be fooled. Luckily for me I was able to see the film free due to my new membership with the cinema that I frequent, because if I had paid money to see this film, I may be even more disappointed.

Star Trek: Into Darkness begins, how do I put this, almost pointlessly. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the Enterprise are on an alien planet where the local fauna are comprised of primitive humanoids yet to acquire the mantel of technology. Kirk decides to intervene with the course of the history the planet is to take by sending Spock (Zachary Quinto) into a volcano on the verge of erupting, the goal being to cease this event immediately, and for some odd reason this requires stealing a scroll from the local primitives and running through the woods.

After this scene the film does pick up the pace by informing you why this  was applicable; this shows that Kirk is yet to take the role of being a Captain seriously. He has no respect for authority or the rules and is incapable of conforming to Star-fleet’s way of handling missions. This inevitably leads to Kirk being removed as Captain and re-instated as first officer, whilst Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) is recommissioned as the ships’ captain.

Whilst this occurs, in London, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), the primary antagionist of the movie approaches a Star-fleet officer and his wife, whose daughter is gravely ill, and says that he will help save her, at a cost, this being only the start of his major plan which results in the deaths of many members of Star-fleet’s highest ranking officers. After this onslaught of violence takes place, Kirk, thirsty for vengeance requests that Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), the highest ranking officer in humanity’s fleet give him permission to pursue Khan to where he is hiding on the Klingon world of Kronos. Marcus agrees to the savagery of the operation, despite it going against the general code of the fleet for this is a mission of destruction, rather than what Star-fleet stereotypically handles. Kirk is provided with no less than 72 missiles to be dropped onto Khan’s head to bring retribution to all he has harmed with his plots. The Enterprise however is to do its best not to alert the Klingon’s to their presence for they have been itching for a reason to go to war against them for so long now that it is basically inevitable.

Of course, not everything goes according to the plan…The movie is not as plain and simple as one might initially imagine, with a very intriguing storyline filled with a fair amount of depth, telling a tale of betrayal, redemption, vengeance, family and love. Not everyone is as good as they seem, just as the bad guys are not so terrible as they may originally appear. There are many twists and turns that ought to keep anyone entertained, but it is there that the film begins to lose points in my opinion.

Although yes, there are a number of action scenes, these often go by so fast that you only begin to enjoy them when they suddenly come to a conclusion. On top of that, Khan is built up to be this incredibly impressive one man killing machine and yet the amount of screen time he has where he is indeed kicking ass and taking names is not quite as much as I would have liked. True, he does a fair bit of damage by the end, but if you are going to have a powerhouse of an enemy, you might as well show off all of his skills. He throws some guys around and breaks some skulls (literally) but apart from that I really wanted to be impressed, after all, he is later hailed as the greatest threat that they ever faced, and yet his reign of terror is eventually halted so darn easily. Mr. Cumberbatch, the actor who portrays Khan did an admirable portrayal of the enemy which only further increased my frustration. The actor was such a fantastic bad guy, I only wished that the film makers had further milked what could have been generated.

On top of this, although the crew do descend to the planet Kronos, the amount of Klingons that are seen could be counted on yours hands (and maybe one of your toes). The War Birds look impressive, but, in my opinion, if you are going to place the crew of the Enterprise on one of the single most inhospitable planets in the known universe, the least you could do is have some extra fighting. There is one particularly engrossing fight scene, and after this the film moves on. All this talk of war with the Klingons and yet, where is it?

The music provides very little new content to the genre, most of the themes been rehashed from the original feature. The cameo role by Leonard Nimoy will no doubt cause your eyes to roll to the side as this was perhaps unnecessary, and although he provides invaluable information, this could have been acquired via alternate methods. On top of this, the cameo by Nazneen Contractor additionally seems odd – I mean, why hire a known actress to play an unbelievably small role?

Moreover, Zoe Saldana’s role as Uhura is not quite as large as many fans of such a character may enjoy. In fact, the amount of screen time that she and Dr. Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) receive in the film does not begin to even contrast with the amount of screen time the blocks receive, this movie being basically a guy’s night out, with the intellectually powerful women being limited in their roles.

Towards the end, a scene that age old Star Trek fans will be familiar with is reflected in the film, and although it is orchestrated very powerfully by the actors involved, it seems cliche when in regards to the scene it is based upon (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!).

In conclusion, Star Trek: Into Darkness will entertain you – but it will leave you hungry for so much more. Let’s just hope that in the future, the next Star Trek villain who claims to be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with really lives up to the title.

Set the entertainment for Cruise Control in the new intense action thriller ‘Jack Reacher’

 

I never did read the novel ‘One Shot’ from acclaimed writer Lee Child, so please forgive me if my interpretation of the film seems way off when in comparison with the text. What I do know about the character from the book is that he was apparently well over six feet in height, which actor Tom Cruise is not. Height however, has nothing to do with talent, and Mr. Cruise sure brings a lot of it in this new thriller which is adjunctively produced by him.

With a new Mission Impossible film having been announced, perhaps Mr. Cruise is looking to be involved in another franchise. There can only be so many more Mission Impossible features that writers could possibly develop, and if Mr. Cruise is looking to become involved in a new phenomenal action series, then he has certainly put his money, and his talents, into the right film. Whether or not the fans agree will depend on whether more features based upon the series of books are indeed conceived.

Now apparently at fifty years of age, one may expect that Mr. Cruise is beginning to enter a stage in his career where he could consider retiring from blockbuster action features. But if the feature Jack Reacher has anything to say about his future prospects, that idea is probably not going to come to fruition just yet. During the fight scenes, Jack Reacher moves like liquid, easily taking out his opponents, often with little difficulty and/or injury, and if Mr. Cruise was involved in a majority of the stunts, then that is proof enough that he is surely capable of continuing his action career for quite a while longer. Fingers crossed.

The film opens to the senseless massacre of five innocent individuals going about their daily lives; each of whom are shot by a retired sniper. It seems like an ironclad case against the offender; his bullets and fingerprints were found at the scene, and his vehicle matches the tire treads found there as well. Life in jail with no parole or death are the only options available to this man now, who asks for a Mr. Jack Reacher to become involved in the case.

Jack Reacher, alerted by the news to the senseless shooting, and having a past with the accused, shows up almost immediately to begin digging into what happened. He instantly believes that the accused is the shooter and will do everything in his power to bury him.

The lawyer of the accussed, Helen (played by the beautiful Rosamund Pike), who is the daughter of the District Attorney, immediately takes a shine to Mr. Reacher’s impeccable investigative qualities and asks for him to participate in the case as her primary investigator.

The relationship between both Helen and Reacher is often one of ‘will they or won’t they?’, with many options being available throughout the feature for a possible romance to be generated between the characters.

However, this film is most unlike others that Mr. Cruise often dedicates his time too; Reacher is not the stereotypical protagonist, but then again he is in no way an anti-hero either. He is, to put it shortly, quite the bad ass, and Mr. Cruise does an impeccable job at creating such a hardened hero with ruthlessly efficient combat methodologies, highly intellectual investigative skills and an unbelievable awareness of his surroundings from his prior life in the military as an army police officer.

The case against the accused however is not a normal one, and is instead shrouded in intrigue, corruption and a major set up that has ties to those who are meant to uphold and protect the law. Nothing is sacred anymore, and no one is safe. Luckily, as the tag line of the feature might suggest, Mr. Reacher has no limits to what he will do to ensure that the righteous and the just are safely secure from the hands of antagonists, and that villains get exactly what is coming to them. So with Mr. Reacher on the case, the ominous bad guys have officially met their match.

Appearing rather spookily in the eyes of the enemy, and having the ability to make the blood of his opponents boil anxiously with dread, the darkness that Mr. Cruise brings to his powerful character is furthered with the often dark night scenes that occur throughout the film, the depths of the plot and the incredibly loud sounds of guns going off and cars slamming into surfaces. At times, such great techniques within the feature will cause you to jump unexpectedly, as you are pulled into this dark world that Mr. Reacher inhabits.

Of course, darkness is not the only aspect of the film that poses as a lure. The film itself does not require drawn out action sequences or explosions to capture your interest, but does so with other great abilities; the smart, intelligent dialogue; the witty action sequences and the ways Mr. Reacher takes his opponents down; additional likeable characters the likes of Cash, played by the unfathomably well known Robert Duvall, who portrays a fun sniper at a gun range adds a sense of fun to a dark, foreboding landscape; and the in-depth characterisation that Mr. Cruise brings to his character, not to mention his good looks, which he has amazingly managed to preserve efficaciously benefit the film.

Jack Reacher is a film that immediacy captures your attention and refuses to let you go until the final thrilling sequence. To put my final opinion of the feature simply; you have to watch this film. Whether you are a fan of Mr. Cruise’s work, or enjoy intriguing, intelligent plots and dramatic action thrillers, Jack Reacher has it all and more, and frequently keeps you guessing as to who is trustworthy; and who the real enemy is.

The one film I would die hard for!

 

After seeing this trailer I just have to show it around!

If you have not seen the trailer for the upcoming ‘A Good day to Die Hard’, the fifth film in the action packed Die Hard franchise, then here it is!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riIaTrjyGZ4

 

In this new addition to the franchise, McClain travels to Russia to see his son Jack who appears to be in a bit of trouble, and a bit more than John could ever have imagined when he finds his son is in fact an operative working for the CIA who is in deep cover attempting to take down an illegal arms smuggling operation!

Looks not half bad so far, but it is a new direction in the series that has specifically focused on an American backdrop for the previous films. It will be quite the interesting ride to see how this one goes!

Have a great day!

Hollywood; Loyal Movie Developer, or the Murderer of Movies?

 

The following content is but my opinion, so if you don’t agree that is purely your prerogative, and you have every right to it.

However, I would like to state that over the past few years, the varieties of films that have graced our screens at the cinema and at our own homes I would say are less ‘gracing’ our screens as they once did, but are tormenting them with stories that require additional development, characters who are either very similar to others or who are simply brain dead and are unable to postulate a single thought of their own, and special effects that inevitably cause the audience to become lost within the, sometimes, beauty of the graphics and forget what the plot was in the first place – which doesn’t say much about the plot.

I would argue that it seems that Hollywood has officially run out of gas. The vehicle that is the movie making monopoly has stalled on the side of the road and is attempting to make its way back to the city on gasoline that is less that the required ‘premium’ variety that it is used to.

How often recently have you seen a film that was an original concept? I mean, every second film contains vampires, every third film contains werewolves and every fourth film contains aliens that are hell bent on our destruction. There are only so many ways you can create a storyline that is reflective of these genres, and eventually they all just blur together and it is as though you are watching the same film over and over again.

And don’t you dare get me started on the remakes that are been tossed out from Hollywood faster than its trash.

I have always wondered, how do the creators, the actors, the writers, the producers, the directors, and all the other hundreds of people involved in the original features feel when Hollywood decides to orchestrate a new film based upon the original story. Hollywood claims it is ‘better’, but really – these stories are shorter, chuck out the original script and take out all the ‘unnecessary’ parts (you know, the story) and riddle it with enough action in the hope of keeping the audience on their toes. Now, this can work; Poseidon and Fright Night were both, in my opinion, terrific re-imaginings of the original film concepts. But still, how do the people involved in the original feature feel when Hollywood markets the re-make as though the original never happened. I remember with Poseidon, which I just complimented by the way, the trailer said it was the first great film from WB and bla, bla, bla, but never in the trailer did they say it was based on the original film, or on the book that the original film was based upon. They said that in the titles, but who honestly reads them anymore? According to statistics in Australia, 40% of the workforce cannot read. And we are a ‘developed’ country. HA! My point is that I was the only person I knew at the time it was an actual remake. Hell, none of the other people I knew had even heard of the tele-movie ‘the New Poseidon Adventure’, let alone the original Poseidon Adventure.

Then there are the remakes that ruin the original films. A great example would have to be Clash of the Titans. The original film stuck to the concept of Greek Gods and the mythology that the ancient culture that believed in them based their religious theories upon. The Gods were mischievous and interfered with the lives of mere mortals. They could care less for humans, and never physically made their way down to the planet to mingle with them, and instead watched their struggles, and, if they became bored, would make said struggles even more forebodingly difficult and treacherous.

In the remake – well, for one, the robotic owl that appeared in the original – is scrapped! The Gods, well, they love humans. Zeus is constantly jumping down to Earth to talk to his half-son Perseus and give him warm advice and offerings and much needed encouragement, which he refuses, which is a first for me. I mean, who is offered a great array of amazing powers and tools, etc, only to say ‘no thanks’?

Then we have the insufferable love story that gets in the way of enjoying the real storyline. I remember when the young lady died (I could care less for the film which is why I forget her name), at the cinema, a little girl sitting not far from me said ‘mummy, is she going to Heaven?’ I felt like leaning over and barking ‘no you little idiot! She’s going to Hades! Now hush!’ My point? Our society has an imbedded ideology of our religious concepts thanks to films and other such factors, and in doing so we have ultimately forgotten where all of the religions began and many seem to think they never occurred at all.

And the ending – typical Hollywood – unable to generate an ending that is anything but happy. For once, I would like to see the hero fail or the loved one perish and never return or some other tragically emotional occurrence.

That leads me to the other issue – sustenance. All of the films made by Hollywood are so nice and sweet that if aliens are really watching these things, they’ll probably invade Earth just based on the principle that humanity seems to be a bunch of sissy’s, no offence. Well, I have offended thee, so let me explain why…the romantic, happy, hero always wins and gets the girl storylines are so far from being realistic that to call them so would be outrageous. In reality, such beautiful storylines are not articulated. Humanity would not survive against an alien force with bigger guns, bigger brains and better technology than us – but in films we always do. In reality the vampire would not be a tragically defeated soul looking for someone to soothe his lonely, wounded heart – but in films, that’s all he ever is, and the idea of sipping blood is suddenly turned into a big ‘no! No!’

I would like to think that people who watch films are intelligent. If that be the case, then intelligent people would expect more from their films than the stereotypical Hollywood jargon that is continuously been promulgated and force fed down our throats. True, we don’t have to watch it, but the thing is, do we have a choice? Australian films are few and far between. Foreign films – well, unless one understands the lingo you ain’t gonna have much fun because the subtitles fly across the screen faster than a Formula One Racing Car. At the end of the day, if we are to endure films to acquire some pleasing entertainment from them, I think we would very much appreciate to gain that entertainment rather than be denied it time and time again.

This leads me to my next argument. Video games that are turned into movies. Okay, I will admit, on occasion, the films in themselves stand alone as not half bad features. They are often action packed, fast hitting and quite enjoyable for a good couple hours. On the other hand however, when in comparison to the actual video games they are ‘based’ upon, I cannot see the resemblance. Take Doom for example. In the original Doom game, the Union Aerospace Corporation is taken over by demons spawned from Hell that kill everyone and leave only one man surviving – the hero the gamer plays as. In the film, the monsters are scientific organisms that were once people and have thus been transformed due to genetic experimentation, and have escaped and are running rampant throughout the scientific facility. Apart from a three minute FPS experience and the fact that a couple monsters looked similar to the ones found in Doom3, I failed to see the resemblance.

Now however, Hollywood has announced that Mass Effect, Just Cause, World of Warcraft, Bioshock and a couple other titles are all on the way to been turned into movies. My question is…why? Games are like movies – you experience them for the entertainment. Games are basically you could say like anime – they are animated features with the exception that the viewer becomes involved in the storyline and is thus further immersed into the world than one ever would in a film, which is beneficial if you ask me. Now, the shortest game I have ever played lasted around 4.5 hours. The longest lasted well over 36. My question – how do you compress all of that story into under 2 hours, cuz, let’s face it, there has never been as movie based on a video game that has gone for longer than 108 minutes!

Of course, there is always the Halo film that is continuously been put on hold by the fact that the directors keep running away from the project as far as their legs can carry them. I would presume they are right to flee from fear of the reprisal that will be brought upon them if the film is anything less than an accurate articulation of the entertainment that was acquired from the original video game.

In conclusion to this section, I find Hollywood’s continued use of turning video games into films proof that they are officially out of ideas, and so instead of creating another lame plot, need to turn an amazing video game experience into a lame plot.

Then there is the Australian film industry. I have spent enough time attacking the American version, so allow me to move onto one that is closer to home. However, this too is linked back to my argument on Hollywood; I blame Hollywood for the current state of the Australian industry. Not in regards to its financial issues or its lack of productivity, but in relation to the fact that Australian films are becoming much more Americanised. The perfect example of what Australian cinema used to be like would have to be the Mad Max films, especially the second in the franchise. Mad Max is the perfect anti-hero, which is what Australian cinema used to be riddled with. Americans have always loved their heroes. In films, their heroes will do anything to save people, country, God and anything else that stands for freedom and liberty just because they can. In Australian cinema, Australians in general used to like their heroes to be a bit dirtier. In regards to Mad Max, he agreed to help the settlers who were under siege from the antagonistic armies; however, he had a price. He wanted a vehicle, fuel and ammunition. If his demands were not met, he was not going to assist them. That is the perfect representation of the anti-hero. However, such an idea seems to have dried up and died with Australian heroes, when there are heroes, often they are now-a-days been articulated as true blue heroic characters that will lay their lives on the line to save anything and everything. The impact of American films on Australia has ultimately rendered our film traditions moot as audiences crave more and more American content that has caused the industry to adapt to the changing face of the Australian audience.

So, after that rant of mine, what does the fair readership of this piece think? Do you believe that Hollywood is still as fantastic as it once was and is spewing out pieces of amazing work? Or do you think that I may be onto something, and that Hollywood is in fact a ravenous monster, keen to devour everything in its path and turn what could be great into quite the opposite?

Thank you for reading,

Naughty Nefarious, signing off!