Tag Archives: Movies

A Silent Voice, Japanese (animated) Movie (2016)

Those of you that have been following me for a while now, and know me a little, probably recall the fact that I mentioned at times that I have been bullied for quite a while at school when I was young. Obviously it’s a past that I don’t like to recall often, as it was a very dark time in my life. But I never really talked about the after effects, and what it meant for the present. A couple of days ago I heard on national television that this year the stats for children being bullied at school were at an alltime low. I scoffed at that. Stats? Really? I think every child that has to go through that every day is one too many. Statistics be damned. Because bullying can have long time effects. For me it has meant a low self esteem and second guessing myself. Always having doubts. Like when someone doesn’t answer a text I sent. (Maybe I said something wrong and the person doesn’t like me anymore? Which obviously usually isn’t the case). But even worse is probably the fact that I have trouble connecting with people at times in real life. Especially when it comes to maybe falling in love. (Because really can someone fall in love with me?) All these dark thoughts aside….I have made progress over the years. Which is a good thing.

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How anyone can even remotely consider bullying this sweet girl is beyond me…..

At one point I was just done with it all. The self pity, or the fact that people might not like me. I began to think more along the lines of when people don’t like me, it’s their loss. And that certainly helped. While I will never fully lose those feelings, I do think it get’s better over time. But this all goes to show what bullying can really do to someone, and that the bullies themselves probably don’t even realise this (or couldn’t care less). The movie A Silent Voice deals with bullying, but it does this in a different way then one might expect. Shōya Ishida is a young and popular boy in his class which also means that a lot of the other children listen to what he has to say. One day a new girl called Shōko Nishimiya is introduced to the class. Well, she has to introduce herself but does this in a very unusual way. She pulls out a notepad, begins to write in it and then shows it to the classroom. It says that in order to get to know her, people can use the notepad. You see, Shōko is deaf. The class at first doesn’t really know how to deal with it. After a few days though, Shōya begins to set the tone, and starts to terrorise the poor girl. Even going so far as pulling out her hearing aids. Yeah…he is a real tough guy.

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I nearly went berserk during this scene. 

But when the principal eventually gets word of this and begins to ask questions about who is responsible, the rest of the class pulls away from Shōya. In fact the tables are turned and his classmates begin to bully him. Shōko eventually leaves the school, getting a transfer, and life moves on. Years later though Shōya begins to feel remorse. His own life is not really going well, and he decides to try and find out what has become of the the girl whose life he made miserable. But is she really willing to forgive him? Or an even better question would be should she even forgive him? I’m not going to lie here, A Silent Voice is not a happy go lucky film. It deals with a lot of things that might trigger unwanted feelings in quite a number of people. Heavy themes such as bullying and suicide all feature prominently in this movie. But it’s also a film that gives hope. There is a line in this anime that says even monsters have a heart. While I’m not so sure if that’s true for every monster, I’m definitely convinced that it’s true in a lot of cases. While there might certainly be children that bully simply because they enjoy it, there is usually more going on.

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X in this case doesn’t mark the spot. 

What I loved about this film is the fact that it shows that people can really change. When you first meet Shōya you begin to develop intense feelings of hate towards him. Especially because of the fact that the object of his reign of terror is one of the most innocent and sweet girls one is likely to meet. But as the movie progresses this changes. You really begin to believe the fact that the boy, now a young man, has changed, and really attempts to make the best of his earlier mistakes. It also helps when you see what has become of Shōya‘s own life. He has trouble talking to people (Which is represented by people having large X’s on their faces. Something I thought was really unique and clever). And his life really isn’t all that great either. Yes one could argue he had it coming. But without giving too much away, you will also see that friendship can sometimes come from the most unlikeliest places. And that’s where the hope lies within this film. It really emphasises how important friendship truly is. Certain people in your life can give you confidence, and I’m glad to say I have those in mine.

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Now, is it me or does the hairstyle of the second guy on the left remind you of a certain someone in a certain anime?

A Silent Voice also has a great animation style. It might not appeal to everyone, and it’s certainly not the best I’ve seen, but I really liked the way the characters were designed, and the way all the backgrounds blended together with these. This movie clocks in at a little over two hours, and I think my only gripe with it is that it might have been slightly too long. There were a few points in the film, where my attention started to waver. But, these moments were never very long, and certainly didn’t spoil the film in any way. This is simply one of those films that I think is very powerful, and deals with a pretty heavy subject matter in a beautiful way. It contains some very likeable characters, an amazing storyline, and ultimately ends up giving hope to people that have been on the receiving end of these kinds of experiences. At times it might make you a little melancholy, but when the credits start to role you will have a film to look back upon that you will be glad to have seen.

I give A Silent Voice a 9 out of 10 score.

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Bleach, Japanese movie (2018)

There are times when I feel like I am a total noob when it comes to anime. Yes, I know that I need to give myself some credit and say that I still seem to watch it enough, and am maybe not a complete and utterly ignorant person when it comes to this medium. But, nonetheless there are still a lot of fan favorite shows that I have only heard of by name, but have never seen. I do like a challenge and still try to catch up with some shows. I have to say though, that nothing is more daunting than having some animes now have over 300 episodes (and some even reaching more staggering amounts). As much as I would love to watch some of those, I know that realistically I simply don’t have the time to see those kind of numbers. Bleach is one of those animes. Having done some research this series has now 366 episodes. I could finish this one maybe if I would watch one episode a day. But I know that I am deluding myself, and will simply admit defeat. Recently Netflix has released a live action movie for it that came recommended to me by Karandi.

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Why….so….serious!

Well, I assume a lot of you are probably already thinking that you will move on, and pass  on this one. I would not even blame you. When it comes to live action adaptations I often find myself wondering what the point of these are. The people that love anime, love exactly that: anime! So why turn an animation into a live action version? Probably to hopefully reach a bigger audience, and maybe get people interested in it more. But often they are just cash grabs, and are dowright mediocre, or even worse: total crap. However there are always exceptions to the rule, and Bleach seems to be one of them at least. Now, as I knew literally next to nothing about the anime (only the name and that a lot of people seem to think very highly of it), I also had the unique position that I had nothing to compare it too. Which also meant that I had no expectations for it. So if you are looking for a review that describes how well (or how badly) it holds up to the original anime, you are better off reading Karandi’s excellent post for it. I really enjoyed reading that one, and it also gave me a little insight in the anime. So what will I be doing here than in this post? Well, I’m just going to give you a review as if this were any other movie. I know, boring right? Hey, I never said that I wasn’t predictable.

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Pointing your sword that way is just asking for trouble these days….

Remember the phrase “ I see dead people” from the amazing film The Sixth Sense? No? Ugh, shame on you. Well anyways, Ichigo Kurosaki can see them too. Who is this guy you ask? Erm, okay I guess I am kind of jumping into this a little bit too fast. Ichigo Kurosaki is  a teenager and the hero of this movie. Now with that explanation given, lets move on. One day his ability to see ghosts, lets him meet up with Rukia Kuchiki. And she is not just a simple ghost, but has the badass job description of being a Soul Reaper. Now this means she has a mission to guide the souls of dead people to a place called the Soul Society. While this might not sound too bad, there is also a darker side to her mission. And that comes in the form of Hollows, absolutely horrific looking lost souls, that can both harm ghosts and the living. While in the middle of a fight with one of them, trying to defend Ichigo and his young sister, Rukia gets hurt pretty badly. She makes a decision to transfer her powers to Ichigo. But these new powers might just be more than the young man can handle. Not only does he have a fight on his hands with a monstrous Hollow called the Grand Fisher, but there also two Soul Reapers that have it in for him. And they don’t seem all that pleased that he now has Rukia’s powers…..

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Some people just have a big mouth!

Bleach is an action packed, sometimes funny, sometimes scary movie, that certainly was worth the watch. Not everything in this movie worked, but overall this movie definitely entertained. Let’s start with the cast first. The main hero is played by actor Sota Fukushi. He does a pretty adequate job in portraying a bit of a cynical teenager who while at times seems to be in way over his head, still manages to hold his own in the new situation he finds himself in. I do say adequate because quite honestly I didn’t think his acting abilities were too good. In the many action sequences the film contains however, he does come across as very convincing. I liked the character of Rukia more though. Played by actress Hana Sugisaki, she played a role that was quite endearing. The young Soul Reaper was one of those characters that tries to be tough, but really has a heart of gold. It was nice to see her try to avoid becoming a friend to Ichigo, but of course in the end failing to do so. The rest of the cast had far less screentime and as such was harder to form an attachment too. The two other Soul Reapers that had a score to settle with Ichigo I found to be overacting at times, but maybe that was the way their characters were supposed to be like.

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Seriously dude, you need to do something with that hair of yours. 

So how about the special effects then? I have to say that they were very convincing and quite good. I really loved the designs of the Hollows, and as far as monster designs go they were pretty horrific. Action wise, the film has some seriously cool swordfights, and ofcourse Ichigo trying to defeat the monstrous lost souls. All of these scenes looked top notch, and were quite enjoyable. The end fight sequence though was a little bit disappointing. It went pretty overboard and it even became laughable which is something I don’t think was what they intended it to be. Overall though, Bleach is quite the entertaining film. It contains some quirky but fun characters, a nice storyline and great action. Not knowing anything about the anime, I do find myself beginning to realise why this one has become such a fan favorite. Maybe I should set aside some time to go ahead and watch it anyway. It is after all only 366 episodes long. Yeah…right….like that will ever happen. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

I give Bleach a 7 out of 10 score.

Peppermint, American Movie (2018)

There is something extremely appealing to a strong female lead role in a film. Especially when that woman is also an action heroine. And before you all fall over me, I don’t mean that in a sexist way at all. I have always believed that women can pretty much do anything a man can do, and sometimes they do it even better. For the people that have been following my blog for a while now, you know that I have a particular love for revenge movies. It was only a short while ago that I reviewed the Korean revenge movie The Villainess which coincidentally also featured a lady that could seriously kick some  booty. So why are women in such roles so appealing? I don’t exactly have an answer to that question. But I do know it is great to see a woman pretty much beat the living daylights out of men that are so evil that they don’t even deserve to be alive in this world. This month we see Jennifer Garner finally make a very welcome return to the action genre. Looking back to quite a few years ago, some people might remember her playing the feisty agent Sydney Bristow in the hitseries Alias. In Peppermint though she seems to pay homage to that character, only this time she plays the completely psychotic and lethal version of it.

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Sometimes people seek a tougher challenge then decorating Christmas trees.

Riley North is a woman who struggles to make ends meet. She and her husband Chris have a lovely daughter and live a good life, but they do seem to have trouble keeping their heads above water financially. Chris almost went off to do something stupid and illegal but changed his mind at the last second. One night on their daughter’s birthday they head off as a family to the local carnival. They have the time of their lives, but that changes in the blink of an eye when a drive by shooting by local drug cartel members results in something absolutely horrible. Riley survives the incident and has the chance to appear in court, as she alone has managed to step up and identify the suspects. But a sleezeball lawyer and corrupt judge manage to turn the tables, and as a result the perpetrators get set free. But then something snaps in Riley. The once quiet and loving mother is determined to bring a justice of her own to the cartel and woe to anyone who will stand in her way. They say hell hath no fury to a woman scorned, and Riley North has become the living embodiment of that saying….

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Open wide!! Oh wait…it seems that you can’t!

Well, if this sounds like a story you might have seen and heard of a countless number of times in movies, you would be right. Yes this is a straight up good old fashioned revenge movie, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. What we have here is one of those films, that will probably leave your mind by the end of the week, but is still solidly entertaining and worth making a trip to the movie theatre for. One of the reasons for this  is most certainly Jennifer Garner. She is amazing as the grieving mother with a heart, and brings a cold determination to her character as she continues with her mission of vengeance. And what a mission it is. She is a one man erm woman army as she shoots, stabs and kicks all sorts of low life trash to the afterlife. It almost felt at times that I was  looking at an old 80’s Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie, but without the over the top and unrealistic action. (Althought I love those movies in case you were wondering). Garner is totally believable in this role, and it was nice to finally see her step out of her pretty mundane roles of late, and go into full on action mode again.

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Lasergaming still seems to be popular in some circles. 

Storywise this just isn’t an original tale, although there was a twist during the later half of the film that I did not see coming. And it’s always nice to see something like that happening. But in a movie like this it’s the action that counts, and in that way this film doesn’t let up for a second. We have a total adrenaline rush here, that sees you moving from one fight scene, to the next gunbattle and all of these are pretty brutal too. The director doesn’t have a problem with depicting violence, but it never get too gory. As mentioned though, the action certainly wasn’t unrealistic, and it was also refreshing to see that Riley isn’t an invulnerable superwoman but actually get’s wounded, and quite a lot too. The action sequences were choreagraphed very decently, and certainly won’t leave anyone who craves for action in their films feel slighted. The rest of the roles in this film weren’t very memorable to be honest, but this is pretty much a film that is carried by the role of Garner, and I was fine with that.

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Testing, testing..one, two, three….

I had fun with this film. It’s a movie that doesn’t reinvent the revenge genre, but I have to be honest that I’m not always looking for movies that feel the need to do that. Sometimes it’s nice to see just a solid entry into a familiar genre, and on that front this movie absolutely delivers. So do I recommend the film? Well, if you love oldschool action movies, with gunbattles, and energetic fight sequences with a solid female lead, I would say go for it. If that isn’t you usual cup of tea, this movie won’t convince you otherwise, and it’s best to avoid it then. What this movie does prove though is that it’s never a good idea to mess with a mother’s love for her child. Or women in general. Some can certainly turn into angels of vengeance, a lesson that one does best to not forget. And in case you might have forgotten it, I hope you won’t ever run into Riley North. Because I am pretty sure she won’t mind in helping you remember it…..

I give Peppermint a 7 out of 10 score.

 

Mission Impossible Fallout, American Movie (2018)

So let’s talk about Hollywood movie stars. Because, really why not? Big movie stars can have it rough. Imagine if you will: you take a walk to your supermarket to do some grocery shopping and everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows who you are. Would that not be like the most awkward thing ever? And what if it becomes even more creepier, as in papparazi’s stalking you everywhere you go. Don’t for a second think that being a movie star is all that glamorous. You have no private life so to speak of. And when negative things happen, it becomes even worse. Take Tom Cruise for instance. His association with the Scientology church, as well as some other stuff, have left a lot of people disliking the guy. But at what point does an actor’s social life, have an impact on his acting abilities? I for one don’t really care about it. Unless an actor or actress turns into an axe murderer or does something really horrific, I would not stop seeing the movies he or she stars in. And so it is for me with Tom Cruise. I may not always agree with the things he does in his daily life, but I just love his films. And after seeing the latest Mission Impossible movie, my respect for him has only grown.

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The seating arrangements in helicopters these days are just totally off.

Ethan Hunt is back! It is now two years after the events of the last film, and you would think that after the capture of the evil Solomon Lane things have settled down in the world. But…think again. As usually happens with vile and evil organisations like Lane’s “The Syndicate”, the remnants of it have turned into something even more sinister. The Apostles as the new group calls itself, have their sights set on something truly terrifying, three Plutonium cores. With these they plan to unleash three nuclear devices, and bring terror and destruction to the rest of the word. It’s up to Ethan Hunt and the rest of his team to put a stop to this before it’s too late. They are being assisted in their mission by a special CIA operative, a man named August Walker. But soon the stakes become even higher for Hunt when someone very close to him is threatened. And in order to put a stop to the plans of The Apostles and save the people he loves, Ethan might just have to depend on someone he would never think he would meet again….Solomon Lane.

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Erm, pretty sure that normal people wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle.

I don’t know of many franchises where the sixth movie turns out to be the best one. In fact, I have been wracking my mind for a while now and it comes up empty. (Yes…you can say it, maybe it was already empty in the first place). Seriously though, Mission Impossible Fallout pulls it off, and then some. The main reason for this though, is a man named Tom Cruise. Now as mentioned above, a lot of people seem to hate his guts these days, and that’s fine. I for one am not one of them. He is now 58 years old, but in this film he runs around like he’s 20 and even more impressive, does all of his own stunts. Let us just take a moment to leave that to settle in. I mean 58! I don’t know about you but I find that very, very impressive. And we are not talking about stunts that are simple things either. For example, in this movie he pilots a stunt helicopter through some very dangerous and incredibly insane twists and turns. And he does that without any aid: Tom is the pilot, and there is no trickery involved in any way.

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Clark Kent decided he had enough of his glasses and totally went for a mustache look.

This film is an action roller coaster that doesn’t let up. It pulls out of the station with full speed, and it doesn’t stop for anything. Every action scene feels like it belongs there, and wasn’t just put in simply because it might look cool. But of course in case you had not yet figured that out, they do look cool! With so much action, you hardly get any breathers at all. And that does have an impact on the story itself which to be honest, isn’t all that great. It’s a fairly standard, nothing we haven’t seen before tale of a group of people trying to stop a bunch of terrorists from wreaking havoc. But despite that fact, it still works well, and I also felt that out of all the Mission Impossible films to date, this one had a bit of a dark edge to it. There were several moments, especially because of the music that accompanied certain scenes, that I felt myself in a kind of unsettling frame of mind. There are at least some attempts at humor in the film, but these scenes are quite sparse, especially when you compare them to the other five films.

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She is such an amazingly strong woman. The gun is just for show…she doesn’t need it at all!

From an acting point of view we have a great cast assembled here. Henry “Superman” Cavill plays the role of August Walker, donning the infamous mustage. In case you missed it, he was not allowed to shave of this thing when he was filming Justice League. And that meant that they had to remove it digitally, with very mixed results and some often hilarious internet gifs were created because of this. But it has to be said, Henry plays a great part in this film, and it certainly shows of he can do more than just play a Man of Steel. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg both return to reprise their roles, and they do so with great flourish. They really are very comfortable playing these parts, and it totally shows. Rebecca Furguson also reappears as Hunt’s love interest Ilsa, and she already impressed me in the previous installment. She does so again here. I just love her character, a true powerhouse of a woman who can more than hold her own against all the males gathered together in this movie.

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I often wonder why Cruise never joined the Olympics, he sure does like to run!

Mission Impossible Fallout might just very well be the best action movie you will see all year. It’s one that I highly recommend if you like the franchise in the first place, but also when you are a fan of well executed actions movies. The film runs over two hours, but during that time you won’t feel bored for even a single second. Tom Cruise has just simply done it again. Yes he might at times be a bit weird in real life, as an actor he just pretty much always entertains. So just don’t be too impossible about this, and just go and watch this film. It’s one that will have you leaving the theatre with a big grin on your face, a sure tell sign that a movie does something right!

I give Mission Impossible Fallout a 9 out of 10 score

Ant-Man and the Wasp, American movie (2018)

One of my favorite parts of going to a movie theatre, besides eating snacks, is the previews. It’s always exciting to see new and interesting trailers for movies that will be coming out later in the year. However these days, trailers have changed a lot from what they were years ago. While the main purpose of one is of course getting you excited for an upcoming film, nowadays I think that trailers quite often just give away too much. Sometimes whole plotpoints are revealed, and at times this certainly make me regret looking at one in the first place. Now I know what you are going to say: Why watch them then? I think that is a very good question. A good trailer for me, is one that shows you scenes to give you enough of a tease to look forward to a film, while at the same time holding back enough to not ruin the movie itself. It’s an art that not every one seems to have mastered. So why bring this up right now? Well, I will answer that with another question. What if a trailer shows you the entire film in a little over two minutes? Don’t think that can be done? Think again!

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Wait….wasn’t this movie called Ant-man? This looks more like Giant-man!

With all the succes Marvel has had it gave the studio free rein to experiment with characters that are not as well known to the moviegoing audience. Three years ago we got Ant-man, a film that I went to the theatres for with little to no expectations. It ended up being a very nice and lighthearted film, with a lot of humor, some great special effects and a terrific lead in the form of Paul Rudd who played the role of Scott Lang. After this year’s incredible Avengers Infinity War movie (yes I know I still haven’t written a review for that one yet lol), the question on everybody’s mind was: where was Ant-man? Erm, well on some people’s minds anyway. Ant-man and the Wasp answers that question, at least sort of. In any case, we again meet up with Scott Lang, who has been under house arrest and is very close to the end of his sentence. He is trying to be a better father for his daughter, and it seems he is succeeding on that part.

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That’s more like it. Was getting confused there for a second!

But of course eventually, as it always does, bad stuff starts to happen again. His former love interest Hope, has been trying to find a way together with her father to bring back her mother who disappeared into the quantum realm several years ago. But wait, wasn’t she supposed to be dead? Well…yes, but after having Scott return from that place where nobody is supposed to return from, it gave Hope some much needed erm…hope. Of course, our favorite mini sized hero eventually gets dragged into this, and just in time as well, as a new player appears on the scene in the form of Ghost. While in the middle of a deal for trying to obtain an important piece of technology in order to gain access to the quantum realm, Hope gets attacked by this mysterious figure. Just who is Ghost, and what is he or she trying to accomplish? Whatever it might be, it seems to tie in directly to Hope’s mother…

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Is it just me, or does this seem like a character that looks like it walked away out of an anime?

Now, I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned the fact that a full movie can be shown in a trailer. Antman and the Wasp’s trailer accomplished it. There was nothing, and I really mean nothing, in this movie that was a surprise. The trailer really shows you everything, and there wasn’t a single scene in the film that showed me something that I wasn’t expecting. I really thought this was maybe just me, but a friend of mine who had also seen the movie, said the exact same thing. And even well known You Tuber Tyrone Magnus (If you don’t know him yet, go check him out. He has over 1.2 million subscribers, and is totally awesome), made a video review pointing this out. Now I don’t exactly know what this says about the movie itself though. Sure the trailer maybe showed too much, but thinking back on it, I don’t know how they could have done it in any other way. As really there wasn’t anything else worth showing to tease the movie going audience into seeing this film.

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I guess they both smell really bad as they both have masks on. 

Does this mean that this is a bad film though? Well….for one thing this is a comedy movie. And as many of you know I’m not a fan of those. Where the first movie really had some delightful comedic moments, it also had a serious edge to it, and the comedy served simply to lighten the mood. Here it was the other way around: it was full on comedy mode, with jokes that sometimes worked, but also a lot of times fell flat. Without spoiling too much, the humor also felt out of place especially when you find out the nature of this film’s villain. And to be honest, that “villain” wasn’t the best we have seen in a Marvel movie. After all the darkness of Infinity War I can understand that Marvel wanted something lighter to follow in the wake of that movie. But I don’t know if this film completely succeeded at that. But it has to be said, it really isn’t a bad movie, as there is also enough to enjoy.

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I’m as shocked as you are about the final score: Are you crazy?!

Paul Rudd certainly once again serves up the magic as he really brings to life his character in the best way possible. He really does a great job to show he is a father who would do anything for his daughter, and his on screen chemistry with Evangeline Lily who plays Hope aka the Wasp, is also a delight to see. Michael Douglas is always a solid actor, and I really liked the way he evolved his character of Hank Pym into a more symphatetic and likeable one. Criminally underused was actress Michelle Pfeiffer who just had a very small part in the film. I really would have loved to see more of this incredible actress, but sadly that was not to be. Oh well…there is probably always the inevitable sequel. The action scenes and special effects were great, but there certainly weren’t many of them. This is a small movie for Marvel standards, and one that seems befitting to the size of it’s main character. Overall, I was disappointed by this one. But it could be I was just expecting too much or the trailer just ruined it for me. While I was still entertained by the film, it had just too little to offer to make this one of the better Marvel films. If you like comedies, you can add another point to the overall rating below.

I give Ant-man and the Wasp a 6 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Action Movies of the 90’s

Last year I wrote a post about some of my favorite action movies of the 80’s. (In case you missed that one, you can still find it right here). It was a fun one to write, and I had a blast collecting some of my favorites and trying to fit them in one post. Of course I failed miserably and had to skip a few in order to not end up making a feature that would cause all of you to end up getting a sore arm from all that scrolling. For me nothing will ever beat the 80’s as I still think that some of the best action films I have ever seen were made in that era. But that’s not to say that after the 80’s the action genre became stale. Far from it even. So I thought it would be fun to do a follow up to that post and this time focus on the 90’s. It was a timeperiod where I was trying to survive my schooldays, and actually did not go to the theatres much to watch movies. Instead I saw a lot of them on rental. Just like in the original post, I am focussing on non-science fiction action movies (So in case you are wondering why Terminator 2 is missing, that’s why). So lets go: full speed ahead…erm, yeah I guess that’s pun intended.

Speed (1994)

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Always keep your eyes on the road.

Popquiz hotshot! Speed was the movie that pretty much propelled the careers of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock into overdrive. A mad man put a bomb on a bus, and if the speed of the vehicle would ever drop below 80 kilometers per hour, it would detonate. The movie featured a great performance by the late Dennis Hopper, and the chemistry between Reeves and Bullock made it a very enjoyable watch. The action sequences were incredible with one of the highlights being a scene where the bus would have to make a big jump in order to continue driving. Of course there was the inevitable sequel, sadly without Reeves, but that one was hardly worth the effort. The original though is a terrific film and one that is always worth another rewatch.

Cliffhanger (1993)

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Don’t worry: I won’t leave you hanging!

This was a very different action movie from Stallone then the ones we were used too, and for me it worked. It was also a tour de force for the actor as he put himself on some very high ledges and mountains despite his enormous fear of heights. Stallone plays the role of an experienced mountain climber that tries to come to terms with an event from his past that has left him a broken man. When he gets a call to rescue some stranded climbers he gets more than he bargained for, when it turns out the people he needs to save are a bunch of ruthless criminals. John Lithgow’s performance as the lead villain is one of those truly fun roles you can’t help but enjoy. The film contains a few truly nailbiting scenes and to date it is one of my favorite Stallone movies.

Under Siege (1992)

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On today’s menu: broken bones, corpses and a lot of bullets.

Steven Seagal’s career lately has gone so far downhill that you would almost forget that he did make some real good films as well, back at the start of his career. This one, Under Siege, has been his most succesful one. Seagal plays Casey Ryback a cook who is aboard the USS Missouri when it gets overtaken by a bunch of mercenaries who plan to use the ship to wreak havoc. It’s pretty much Die Hard on a ship, but it’s still a lot of fun. Seagal demonstrates his martial arts prowess, and there is a very cool knife fight near the end between him and the leader played by Tommy Lee Jones. Seagal would reprise his role one more time in the sequel to this one: Dark Territory where the action takes place aboard a train. Quite honestly I liked that one a lot as well, and thought it was one of the better action sequels.

Heat (1995)

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Traffic can be such a b*tch sometimes.

Why do I not eloborate further on this movie? Because I have a review coming up for this film, and I don’t want to spoil anything yet. So I will just leave it at: Pacino, DeNiro, cops/robbers, best shoot out ever, and this being my number two favorite movie of all time. Enough said.

Executive Decision (1996)

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Hi, can I please order a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese?

This film takes the action to the skies where a group of terrorists have hijacked a passenger plane and put a bomb on board. It’s up to an unlikely group of heroes to save the day. What I liked the most about this one, is the fact that Kurt Russel’s lead character, dr David Grant isn’t a testostorone fueled action hero. He is an average day man, who gets put into an impossible situtation and depends more on his brain than his brawn. That was really refreshing to see. It also featured a great role by a young Halle Berry who plays a heroic stewardess that must try to keep her wits about her. One of the memorable scenes of this movie was the docking of a stealth bomber to the passenger plane. This is a smart and very tense action thriller and an absolute must watch movie.

The Rock (1996)

The Rock (1996) Directed by Michael Bay Shown: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage
You have a lot of balls looking at me like that.

Yes, it’s a Michael Bay movie. Yes it features his trademark action and yes it is at times completely over the top. But it is also one of the best action films made in the 90’s. Nicolas Cage (in his often completely insane acting mode) and Sean (Bond, James Bond) Connery star in this action fest where they have to stop a bunch of former US soldiers that have taken over Alcatraz and threaten to launch rockets filled with a deadly nerve agent on American soil. Despite this being an action oriented film (very much so) it also has a pretty deep underlying storyline about the way American soldiers are being treated by the US government. In the end though it’s all about the action, and this one delivers that in scores.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

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Don’t look now, but you have something stuck on your cheek.

People who might have thought that both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were really getting to old for this sh*t probably changed their minds after seeing this rollercoaster. With the addition of Hong Kong action superstar Jet Li starring as the villain, this fourth installment of the popular Lethal Weapon franchise was just a great watch from start to finish. This time the two cops have to take an Asian crime syndicate and it contains some of the best action sequences out of all four films. Jet Li certainly shows his stuff, and proves why he is one of the best martial artists ever. With some wonderful comedy and the terrific chemistry between Gibson and Glover this is one of those rare sequels that is still almost as good as the original movie. Having already reviewed parts one and two you can expect a review for the final two films somewhere in the future.

Eraser (1996)

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I AM A TERMINATOR…..

Of course I have to add at least one Schwarzenegger film to this list, else it would not be complete. In Eraser Arnold plays a US Marshall for the Witness Security Protection Program. He specialises in giving people a new identity and he has to pull out all the stops to save a woman who has important information about an illegal arms deal for a new high tech type of weapon. While certainly not one of the best movies he has ever made, the story, classic one-liners and some very inventive action sequences still make this a very enjoyable film to watch. It’s also not every day that you see someone fighting bear handed against a crocodile….

Face/Off (1997)

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Psst…hey Cage, did you know I played in Grease? I’ve still got the moves….

Legendary Hong Kong action director John Woo set his sights on Hollywood, and with Face/Off he delivered an incredibly well made action extravaganza. Nicolas Cage plays the psychotic murderer Castor Troy and John Travolta is the FBI agent Sean Archer who is hellbent on stopping him. Eventually Troy is knocked into a coma, but they then learn that there is a bomb set to go off in a few days and Castor is the only one who knows the location. Using a revolutionary faceplant technique, Archer takes on Troy’s face, in order to contact some of the psychopath’s former associates that might help him find where the bomb is located. But of course Troy wakes up and then takes on Archer’s face. It’s a really cool movie, where Cage and Travolta switch roles perfectly and very convincingly as well. Woo is a director who knows his stuff, and the film is full of shootouts, highspeed chases and those kind of things, while at the same time never losing track of the story itself.

Mission Impossible (1996)

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Must…not…touch…the….ground.

I don’t care what everyboy says about Tom Cruise (and yes no worries I still respect your opinions) I just think he is a terrific and very hardworking actor. To not include this film in the list would be missing out on a very fun movie and one that has so far spawned a total of 5 highly succesful sequels. Based on the televison series of the 60’s , Cruise plays agent Ethan Hunt who gets framed for the murder of his team mates of the Impossible Mission Force. It’s a movie that is full of fun gadgets (especially the face masks), over the top and totally unbelievable stunts (but hey this is a movie after all), and Cruise just excells in this role. It’s hard to believe that this film is now over 20 years old, and Cruise almost looks exactly the same now as he did back then.

In closing….

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So…is this list complete? Duh…of course it isn’t. I had to leave out a lot of films, because this post is already way too long and you know what they say: Too much of a good thing is well…too much. Just like the 80’s post though it was fun to put this list together, and it makes me want to revisit a lot of these films. But times are wasting, and with August being a very busy month for me (you will soon find out why), I’m going to spend my time with watching some new stuff instead of being stuck in the past (as much fun as that is).

What did you think of this list? Are any of your favorite movies included? Which are some of your favorite 90’s action films? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you all for reading this very lengthy post: I hope you enjoyed the read!

Training Day, American Movie (2001)

I have talked a lot on this blog about some of my favorite movies. But I haven’t often talked about the one thing that’s one of the most important ingredients in a film. No I am not talking about special effects. I am talking about the actors and actresses that bring movie characters to life. While I love a good B-movie from time to time, and can find a lot of enjoyment in that, it is a good performance in a film that I love just so much more. In fact, a memorable role in a film can turn something mediocre into something absolutely extraordinary. It takes a special kind of actor or actress to pull that off. And on that note  I do have quite a number of Hollywood greats that are my favorites. One of them is Denzel Washington. I have been following this actor for years now and seen most of his movies. He is known for usually playing the role of a hero, or at the very least a character that has some good traits or redeeming qualities in it. It is all the more ironic that he won an Oscar for a role that has none of these elements in it. To describe the character of Alonzo Harris as a demon made flesh, is not very far of the mark….

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Some people can get very obsessive about their parking spaces.

Police officer Jake Hoyt is feeling very good. He has a beautiful wife, a lovely baby girl and he has just been assigned to a post where he finally hopes to make detective. In order to do this he has to survive an evaluation by the notorious and decorated narcotics officer Alonzo Harris. Jake is very eager and can’t wait to finally get started on what he expects to be his dreamjob. His first encounter with Harris doesn’t go too well though. Meeting up in a diner, Hoyt finds Alonzo reading a newspaper. As he takes a seat right across from him, trying to introduce himself, Harris tells Hoyt to be quiet as he is reading his paper and the rookie is interrupting his routine. In total disbelief Jake tries to again start up a conversation, which is about the worst thing he could have done. Irritated by these very annoying interruptions, Alonze asks Hoyt to tell him a story as he doesn’t seem to get the peace and quiet he asked for. Jake awkwardly tries to come up with a good tale, but obviously he fails to satisfy his new training officer. This is the start of a day in which Jake will soon find out that not everyone in the police department is there to protect and serve….

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Just because I got an Oscar doesn’t mean that you should get one too….

Training Day is a movie that I have seen so many times now, and it still manages to impress me with each viewing. The story of the film is not even a very original one. We have seen countless movies about police corruption as it’s a very popular subject. Clint Eastwood had to fight against crooked cops as Dirty Harry in Magnum Force. And a young Al Pacino was on his own in the classic movie Serpico where he was the only good cop in a whole department gone rogue. So it’s not the story here that brings me back to see this film, although admittedly it’s a tense tale, that doesn’t let up and has plenty of twists and turns to keep it exciting. No, what brings this movie to life is one man namely Denzel Washington. When the film first starts, although he has some unorthodox methods, you can still symphatise with Alonzo. Some of the things he says actually make sense, and you are captivated by the charm with which he tells his experiences as a narcotics officer.

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I’m going to enjoy watching my fellow actor not win the Oscar!

But that is only a false sense of calm. Soon you are beginning to get that creepy feeling that something is off and not quite right. Denzel plays Alonzo to perfection and turns his  role into an experience that few actors can pull off. Yes, you read that right his role is an experience. The character of Alonzo Harris is a being that is truly and utterly evil. All he cares about is his own well being, and damn anyone who gets in his way. And despite all of that, despite all the hate you feel for him and you truly want to see him die for all the things he has done, you don’t want that to happen. Because you want to see more of Denzel’s Oscar winning performance. In fact I would not have objected to the film being four hours longer if that would have meant seeing more of  the scenes like the one below (please note that this clip does contain a couple of F-bombs, so if you are offended by things like that, don’t watch it).

One would almost forget though that there is a perfect counter to the dirty cop, which is officer Jake Hoyt played by Ethan Hawke. Ethan got an Oscar nomination for his role but sadly did not bring home the price. A shame really, because his performance is totally different than his co-actor, but every bit as important. To not only hold out against a juggernaut like Denzel but to almost achieve the same level of acting greatness is something that I have utter respect for. I really love Hoyt. He is a rookie that is caught in an absolutely impossible situation where most people would lose their own integrity. He doesn’t and because of that you really feel and care what happens to him. And you want to see him win. Big time! Training Day is dark, gritty and dirty. It creates an atmosphere that is tense and could even be called claustrophobic at times. It’s not a happy fillm, in fact one could even call it depressive at times. But…in the end though, there is a silver lining and an important lesson as well. This movie is a perfect example of how actors can really make or break a movie. And in this case, if you haven’t caught on yet, they certainly make it. Watch this film if you haven’t already. And if you have…rewatch it. It’s one hell of a good investment of your time.

I give Training Day a 9 out of 10 score.

Skyscraper, American Movie (2018)

With the summer season now in full swing, and temperatures reaching at times very uncomfortable heights (seriously living on the 12th floor of an apartment building does have it’s downsides), Hollywood bring us the usual popcorn summer movies. I love movies, a fact that many of you know very well. I can watch classics, b-movies, action movies, dramas and many others with equal enthusiasm. Lately though it seems that people in general (and mind you this is not meant as criticism) just have forgotten how to have fun at the movies. These days I read a lot of reviews saying that certain films are not original any more, full of cliches, not have a decent storyline and of these kind of remarks. And while of course there is definitely truth in some of those statements, I wonder if that is necessarily a bad thing all the time. Ask yourself the question why we watch movies in the first place? If you answered: “To be entertained”, you answered correctly. So why then if a movie does entertain, but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, are critics so fast to slam it into the ground? A perfect example of this is the new Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) movie Skyscraper.

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Hmm…I guess it can sometimes be hard to find a decent toilet.

The Rock plays former FBI hostage team leader Will Sawyer who lost his leg after a horrible incident. He has managed to pick up the pieces of his life though, and now has a lovely wife and two adorable children and a new job as a security inspector for skyscrapers. One day one of his former FBI team mates introduces him to a wealthy Asian financer, who has just overseen the construction of the tallest building in the world. Called “ The Pearl” and build in Hong Kong it’s a remarkable feat of engineering, and Will gets offered the job to overlook it’s security. After Will leaves the building, later that day a group of terrorists, under the command of a man named Botha, enter it and start an enormous blaze on one of the middle floors. Sawyer’s family who at that time is also present in the Pearl become trapped with the fire creeping ever closer. Will has to find away to enter the burning skycraper and rescue his wife and kids before it’s too late. Things become even more difficult when the police think that he might also be a part of the villains. But Sawyer is determined, and not about to be slowed down…by anyone….

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I know some couples like it hot, but this is taking things a bit too far right?

So if this story sounds somewhat familiar to you, you would be right. Of course one can’t help but think of Die Hard or the brilliant Towering Inferno when watching this. But let’s first start with the good stuff here. This movie once again proves why The Rock is currently the highest paid actor in the business. His natural charisma, acting abilities and physical prowess just seem to win you over in pretty much every role he plays. This one is no exception to that rule. Wil Sawyer is just the kind of hero type that you can’t help but root for. He has a disability in the form of his prosthetic leg, but manages to overcome this and emerge as someone who rises above himself. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Neve “Scream” Campbell again on the bigscreen who played his wife Sarah. She was once one of the most promising young actresses of Hollywood, but sadly her career never took off. Which is a true shame as she really is a terrific actress and in this film that once again became apparent. The on screen chemistry between The Rock and her also worked quite well which is important in a film such as this.

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I guess The Rock did not want to do any rockclimbing because of his name

But of course you go to a movie like this to see action, and in that regard the movie serves you well. As expected you will get a couple of great scenes where Will must overcome dizzying heights in order to get his family to safety. And of course this being a Die Hard type of film there are also plenty of fight scenes, gun battles in short all of the good stuff. The film hardly ever has a point where you get to relax, and thunders along like a rollercoaster, never leaving you bored for a single second. After all the postives there are of course also a few negatives. One of these was the ending of the film. It felt a bit anticlimactic to be honest, especially after the build up that came before it. While it luckily did not ruin the film for me, it was slightly disappointing. The film’s main villain Botha, played by actor Roland Møller, was not particularly menacing and pretty much a stereo type kind of evil guy. And then of course it is inevitable to not mention that the movie lacks in orginality and is pretty much a by the book summer blockbuster.

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Yup…that’s a tall building all right.

But again I ask the question: “ Is this really such a bad thing? “. In the case of this film I can only answer with no. During the entire playtime of this movie I was entertained, except for the conclusion of the film which could have been better. It’s becoming common practice to automatically give a movie a bad grade just because it doesn’t do anything new. And that to me at least isn’t fair. I don’t always need a film that brings me an original script, or Oscar worthy performances. Sometimes I just like to go to the movies and watch a film where I can turn off my mind for 2 hours or so and just enjoy it for what it is: a nice, well made and solidly entertaining action romp. Skycraper is just that: nothing more, nothing less. Chances are that if you like these type of films, you are going to pretty much enjoy this one. This film is just simply solid as a rock, pun of course totally intended.

I give Skyscraper a 8 out of 10 score.

Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The world of computergames is vast. Some say it is currently one of the biggest entertainment mediums, bigger even than Hollywood movies. Many of you already know this but I used to be a very fanatical gamer. One could argue that I was so fanatical that it wasn’t even healthy anymore. But that’s a thing of the past now, as I have stopped playing computergames altogether, well on consoles that is. I do play the occasional game on my Ipad, but that’s nowhere near the level of games that I was used to playing. Games these days are becoming ever more immersive, with virtual reality being one of the latest trends. Putting on special goggles, gamers can experience the gaming world in a way that is almost lifelike. I do say almost, as of course the technology isn’t anywhere close to the things you sometimes see in science fiction movies. Two years ago, around the time when my blog was up and running for a few months, I discovered the anime Sword Art Online, which focusses heavily on virtual reality gaming. It fast became one of my alltime favorite animeseries and now I have a huge collection of merchandise from that series (proving once again my point that I can truly become obsessed when I like something).

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Don’t look now, but I think you might have something stuck in your ear.

Last year a movie that was a follow-up to the series saw the light of day, and now I finally had the chance to see this one for myself as it was released on dvd two weeks ago. (Well here in Europe anyway). Was it worth the wait? Hell yeah it was! It is the year 2026, and the world is under the spell of the Augma device, a new system that allows players all over the world to simulate reality while still being conscious. As a few years prior players became trapped in a virtual reality game called Sword Art online, that used a full dive system, this new device is deemed much safer. We once again meet up with Kirito and Asuna, both survivors of the horrible SOA event, and not surprisingly both are also using the Augma to play the newest and most popular game Ordinal Scale. Although Kirito doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself as much. But then a new event is introduced to the game: old boss monsters from the Sword Art Online world begin appearing accompanied by the mysterious AI idol singer Yuna. What at first seems like a fun and welcome addition to the game, soon begins to take on a much more sinister shape. With Asuna’s life on the line, Kirito has to find out what is going on, before it’s too late. But it might already be too late, for Kirito seems to have met his match in the form of a player that is able to counter his every move….

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Gotta love Asuna’s new look in this film.

Sword Art Online is a series that is hated upon by a lot of animefans. I’m not going to start up that old discussion as I am here to talk about this movie. Suffice it to say though that I am a huge fan of this anime, in fact so much so that it has taken up a spot on my personal top 3 of favorite animeseries. When I first heard about the fact that there would finally be something coming out that would continue the storyline I was delighted. At the same time though I also felt anxious. What if it would suck? Well, having finally been able to see this film now, I am very glad to let you all know that my fears were unfounded. If you are a fan of the animeseries you will love this. Let’s talk about the storyline first. One of the things I really liked about it, is the way it treated the main characters of Asuna and especially Kirito. It was very refreshing to see the latter being out of his element and not the powerhouse player we are used to seeing in the series. Kirito really struggles within this new life and death game, and it takes him a long while to adapt. Asuna also at a certain point becomes very vulnerable, and it’s a side we are not always used to seeing from the starstruck couple. It’s their relationship and love for each other that continues to be heartwarming, and very touching though.

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GET READYYYYYYY: FIGHT!!!!

Another thing I liked about the film’s story is some of the questions it asked that really made you think.What if you were able to forget about things from your past that were not very happy thoughts or events?  Would you do that if you were able to? Or are they a part of your life no matter how unhappy these memories might be? I think that is an intriguing question and one that could almost be the topic for an entire post or at the very least a lively discussion. The movie runs for two hours, and it is in my opinion just a tad bit too long. Some of the story elements felt a bit forced, and a few of the side characters had way too little screentime, but were probably just added to the mix for the fans. Nevertheless there are also quite a few things in it for fans of the original series that will in all likelyhood give you a few goosebumps. On the action front the film doesn’t disappoint. Even though it’s not a full on fight fest, there are enough action scenes in the film that make it very satisfying. The fights also feel much more threatening and dangerous.

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I just love my special edition boxed set version of this movie 😀

 

While the animation might not be as beautiful as some of the higher level animefilms out there, I still found it to be very decent, with some spectacular setpieces. The new outfits for most of the characters also worked quite well and had a really nice look to it. Another thing that plays a big role in this film is the music. With the introduction of the new character of Yuna, an AI idol singer, there were quite a number of scenes that featured her singing. At times it almost felt as if I was watching a new installment of the  Macross saga. But I have to admit that this element did work quite well and wasn’t distracting in the least. The music featured in the film fits the tone of Sword Art Online and as such is very pleasing to the ear. Even though the film can be watched on it’s own without any prior knowledge of the world of Sword Art Online, you will find it more enjoyable if you first watch the original anime. If you hated SOA in the first place, this movie won’t make you love the series all of a sudden. For the fans though this is a more than decent follow up to the original anime and with the words Sword Art Online will return at the end of the credits, we can rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of Kirito and Asuna. And I would not have it any other way. Link start !

I give Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale a 8 out of 10 score.

The Villainess, Korean Movie (2017)

There is a particular type of film in the action genre that I am very fond of: the revenge movie. I always love it when someone loses everything and then turns into a complete psycho, hellbent on getting revenge on his or her tormentors. Usually that makes for a very entertaining, albeit often bloody, movie experience. As with any film genre there is always a risk that there are too many movies that are being made and as such it becomes either predictable or very boring. The South Korean movie industry certainly is no stranger to this particular type of film. In the past, movies such as Old Boy, I Saw the Devil and A Company Man have all been received very well (while at the same time causing quite a stir because of the often extreme violence depicted in those movies). No matter how you look at it, I have always thought that the Koreans are masters of the genre, and I always look forward to a new entry into the ranks. Last year The Villainess was released, that supposedly infused the revenge movie with a new and fresh take on it. Having just seen the film, I have mixed feelings about it, but more on that later.

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Some people take the “till death do us part thing” way to literally.

The Villainess can best be described as South Korea’s take on La Femme Nikita. It focusses on a woman named Sook-hee who is a highly trained assassin. As a young girl she lost her father to an unknown assailant and witnessed him being killed while hiding under her bed. The face of the killer is unknown to her, but she does hear him whistle an eerie tune. Years later Sook-hee is captured by South Korea’s intelligence agency and given a new identity and name: Yeon-soo. While she is being trained by them, she gives birth to her daughter Eun-hye. Yeon-soo is offered the deal to work for the intelligence agency, and after 10 years she will gain her freedom for herself and her daughter. Having very little choice she accepts. But the shadow of her father’s death always looms over her. Eventually the past creeps up on her as it usually tends to do in these matters. With people gunning for her at every turn, the life expectancy of the skilled assassin becomes ever shorter. But Yeon-soo will not go down without a fight…

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When the airconditioning of your car doesn’t work this is a great alternative.

The opening sequence of this film puts you smack down right in the middle of the action. Without even knowing exactly what is going on, we see a fight sequence from a first person view as Sook-hee hacks, shoots and punches her way through a group of men in a warehouse. It is chaotic, bloody, brutal, but honestly a truly terrific way of setting the tone for this film. Where this film excels at is it’s uniquely choreographed fight sequences. The camera angles in some of the scenes are really one of a kind, and at times it feels almost as if you are the one that is delivering all of the violence. And there is a word that also describes this film very well: violence. This movie is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t shy away from showing arteries being ruptured, limbs being cut off, and blood spraying in every direction. The Villainess is a brutal movie but as usual this does suit the theme of the film. If it’s action you want, this film brings it and then some. Be especially on the look out for a highspeed motorcycle chase that I found to be one of the best scenes of the film.

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What do you mean you forgot the bread to feed the ducks? Go home and get it!

The hero of the film (if you can call her that of course) is being played by actress Kim Ok-vin and she does it well. Or to phrase it better: she knows how to kick some ass. A film like this stands or falls with a good lead, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint. In the fight sequences she shines the most as she is able to hold her own against the men that are trying to take her life. And she manages to do so with guns, knives and her bare hands. It all feels natural and realistic and you could almost believe she is an assassin in real life. Her character hasn’t got much depth to it, but admittedly the bond with her young daughter is what gives this otherwise very bleak movie at least a little bit of sunshine. This movie pretty much centers around her, and that’s why the supporting cast, such as it is, doesn’t really get a chance to show what they are made of. That is certainly one of the weak points of the film.

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If looks could kill, I would be dead right now.

Another one is the story itself. At times it’s very confusing to follow what exactly is going on. The film uses a lot of flashback scenes, which is not a bad thing in itself, but at times it seems to insert them almost randomly. Not only that but sometimes you get one right after another and in a totally different time frame. That took me out of the film quite a few times and left me looking at the screen in bewilderment. While the action in movies like this is usually the most important, I do have to say that in revengethrillers especially it’s nice to have at least some kind of motive for the main character. In that this film partially succeeded but it could have been handled better. With all of it’s flaws I still recommend seeing this movie if you like these type of films. The action sequences alone make it a very worthwhile watch, as in this it really does try to do something totally different than what we are used to seeing. Don’t expect to much from it, and you will have a great time. Especially if you like to see a strong woman beat the crap out of a bunch of men.

I give the Villainess a 7 out of 10 score.