Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

A warning that this review will contain spoilers to both this and to Batman vs Superman!

So…Justice League! A film many have waited so many years do. A film with such a legacy in terms of the comics and characters that many wondered if it could ever get made. Well it did get made and it split critics in two. One side said it was terrible, while the other actually quite liked it. Where do I sit? Well read on to find out.

Following on shortly after the climax of BVS (batman vs superman) Justice League starts with Bruce Wayne tracking down the people he saw in the ‘secret’ computer file in the hopes of recruiting them to his super team. For those who havnt seen BvS he is looking for Arthur Curry aka. Aquaman, Barry Allen aka. Flash and Victor Stone aka. Cyborg. He kinda already has Diana on his team and superman,well we all know what happened to superman… He died.

If the death of superman wasn’t enough, the big threat Bruce was warned of in BvS is on his way to destroy everything in the villain called Steppenwolf (not to be confused with the rock band of the same name). Everyone must unite to defeat this threat and save the Earth.

Before the film was made many people, myself included, thought the main villain was going to be Darkseid (a god of extreme power) instead of his uncle Steppenwolf, but I guess this way if they made a sequel Darksid would have reason to hate the League. Although an odd choice it does work and he is a cool bad guy that has enough power for the League to have issues. He has the problem a lot of villains have in superhero films in that we are meant to understand everything about him and his power in the space of one film. Most of this is summed up in a single montage sequence that explains the last time all races came together to stop him. It’s done in an ok fashion but I would say it was hsdled as well as it could be been.

The same issue flows through to some of our hero’s. If the viewer had never heard of Cyborg, you get very little backstory to him or really his motivations. He is used more here as a plot device not a strong superhero. To a lesser extent we get the same with Aquaman and Flash. Flash in the film is reduced to an immature joke making fool (Thank you Mr Whedon) while Aquaman is essentially a heavy metal surfer. The latter works pretty well, the former does not.

The big problem is the terrible comedic relief courtesy of the once great director Joss Whedon. He feels the need to lighten the brilliant dark tone of BvS with some awful direction and writing (to be fair it’s what he was hired for but he could be done a better job) He also felt these to put in pointless yet film damaging scenes such as the awful phone footage of superman at the start which plays no purpose other then showing the audience superman was a good guy (as next time we see him he’s trying to kill stuff.) If only the studios would have gone with Snyder’s original much darker vision. We could have had something truly special. But instead we have half a dark DC movie and half a Joss Whedon mess. For those who believe it the other way round fair enough, but I genuinely believe whedon last great thing was Serenity (which was a massive step up from Firefly). It’s just sad. I guess if it was an entirely Joss Whedon film we would at least have a consistent film. As it stands it’s a mess. Albeit a mess I for the most part did enjoy.

The film also feels far too short to everything that’s crammed in. I would have preferred a 3 hour long film that fully fledged everything out. The pacing again comes from the 2 different directors and it’s easy to see who filmed what. Any piece that flows with a piece of music seamlessly is the work of Snyder. Any piece that’s layered heavily with Danny Elfman’s (albeit great) score is Whedon. It doesn’t really gel at any point and it really hurts the film because if it.

Acting-wise everyone does their part pretty well. You can see some are hindered by script issues but they try their best. Lots have faulted Affleck’s performance but I quite like his take on an older more tired batman. It’s definitely a step up from the 2nd two Christian Bale performances. I love Jason Momoa’s heavy metal inspired, surfer dude Aquaman. Gone are the days if the Aquaman who merely talks to fish like a Dr Dolittle of the sea.

As a film it is really fun and does move from set piece to set piece at a rapid rate. It’s a shame it’s not more like BvS as that truly nailed being a mature grown up comic book movie, whereas this is more akin to the lighter fluff marvel pumps out regularly each year. There is a rather silly bit (sillier then the rest) featuring a robot spider vehicle. That part wasn’t so good. For the most part the other set pieces are pretty great if a little staged at times. When the league are all battling together it gives hints of a much grander and better film.

One day We may see the ‘proper’ cut of the film Zack Snyder set out to make. Until then we have to make do with the flawed yet highly enjoyable mess. It may not be the film fans wanted but it’s the film we got.

Advertisements

Did we really need another mummy film? Let alone a kind of remake of the remake we had back in 1999. You know, the one that had 2 sequels and an endless amount of prequels. The main trilogy of which went actually that bad. The third one had some questionable design choices but on the most part they were fun adventure flicks that worked well and stood as a nice update of the original 1932 universal monsters film.

As always in the modern film industry, some high up exec thought , ‘you know what would be a good idea? Let’s remake so of those beloved universal monster films. They’d bring in money. We have very few fresh ideas and everyone loves the originals, so it’s a sure fire hit!’

So that idea has brought us the first of these remakes in ‘The Mummy’.

Now let me just get it out the way, it’s not a bad film. There’s quite a bit to like. But ultimately it’s neither as good as the original or the 1999 remake. I guess the big question is; is it worth your time? Read on and see.

The long and short of the story is that Tom Cruise plays a soldier who on the side is a treasure Hunter. Him and his friend accidently stumble upon the burial place of Ahmanet (Played by Sofia Boutella), who is the said ‘Mummy’ of the title. They accidently free her in England and thus have to try and stop her with the help of a monster hunting club.

The story doesn’t win any awards for originality but it does at least keep itself flowing at a pretty good pace and is always quite entertaining to watch. I like how they’ve cleverly incorporated the other upcoming Universal Monster films in by putting hints throughout the film.

Another thing I really like is that the film never takes itself to seriously. A great example of this is Tom Cruises friend who plays a role that is very reminiscent of the character ‘Jack’ from ‘An American Werewolf in London’. It’s very tongue in cheek and slightly self mocking at times. It’s a clever move and helps give the film a nice fun vibe. It was also a clever twist making Ahmanet a female as the mummy in previous versions has usually been a male. This choice works really well but does mean the usual semi-romance with the hero is bound to happen.

The film does have some negatives though which stop it being anything special. It’s a little overlong and does drag slightly by the obvious end showdown. The fact it’s all set pretty much in England at night time stops it feeling like an actual adventure film of old. It just lacks the spark.

As I said earlier it’s not a bad film and it’s a pretty entertaining flick. It’s worth watching but not necessarily worth watching again. It’ll be interesting what they do with the rest of the monster movies the to come.

 

firepower

Opening with some pretty good title music 1993’s FIREPOWER instantly feels like a homage to the action films of the 1980’s. It also helps that from the beginning you know your not in store for something award winning but something that looks fun.

Set in the year 2007 the film follows 2 cops as they enter a ‘zone’ in a futuristic Los Angeles in order to expose a black market creating and selling counterfeit AIDS vaccines.

Although the subject matter could be quite deep (well deeper then some action films) the film happy settles for a rather predictable underground fighting plot where good fights evil in battles to the death (well sometimes). The two cops are played by Chad Mcqueen and Gary Daniels. Both actors are great in the film and put in some pretty good performances. It helps both are good fighters as well which helps the fight sequences flow and feel somewhat more believable.  Daniels especially is a really impressive athlete and really proves he can hold his own in a fight.

The main crime boss who they are up against has a hilariously over the top ‘lacky’ called ‘The Swordsman’ who looks much like an 80’s hair metal guitarist. He is quite imposing but at times is almost laughable. In terms of the fights in the film, it is quite nice that some of the matches are from the outset, non-lethal affairs. This makes it slightly differnet from your usual ‘to the death’ features that were popular at the time. As with most action films of this period, the bad guys are absolutely terrible shot with guns. In this some are overly bad but it never wrecks the fun.

All in all if you want to see a fun film that is kind of a mix of Mad max, Robocop and Mortal Kombat, you could do much worse than this film. It’s nothing special but the style and the production design are pretty awesome and the acting from Mcqueen and Daniels keep the film enjoyably watchable.

7/10

 

The_Amazing_Spider-Man_2_(film)_banner

This has been one of the hardest reviews I’ve written as I have found it hard to put in word my true feelings towards this film.

I’ve grown up loving spiderman. I love pretty much everything spidey from the comics, to the various animated series, to the sam raimi films (apart from the 3rd one, that one I did not like), to the 70’s live action series. I even love ‘3Dev Adam’, the turkish rendition of spiderman vs captain america. I loved ‘the amazing spiderman’ and looked forward to a bright future directed by Marc Webb with the great Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and the title hero.

So I was really looking forward to the sequel. It promised to be bigger and better then the first as it wouldn’t have to do the origin story again. I was pumped for it. I went to the cinema on day of release and excitedly awaited what was to come….

Let me get this off my chest now ‘the Amazing Spiderman 2’ (herein called asm2 to save me from typing the full title) sucked.

now I know a lot of people like this film but I’m still slightly stumped at why. for me it was one of the worst comic book adaptations I have ever seen, probably the weakest Spiderman film that has ever been made (yes, I’d argue spidey 3 is the better film) and one of my least favourite films I’ve seen in a long time.

So! why do I hate this film?

I have a feeling that my hatred towards the film may emanate largely from the hype surrounding the movie and the promise of another spiderman film like Marc Webb’s first effort. Where the first film focused more on the actual characters and their relationships, this one focuses more on grand scale battles and lots of dated CGI effects that at times look very much like a video game. this change in focus really brings the film down in my view as Webb’s greatness as director comes in fleshing out the characters and allowing them to move throughout the film seemingly in a realistic fashion, while keeping them likeable and engaging. what we get in asm2 is;

  • a grumpy Emma Stone
  • a mopey Andrew Garfield
  • a crazy Dane DeHaan
  • and a WTF Jamie Fox
  • plus a pointless Paul Giamatti

It’s sad really as there is promise n the script but it is just so wasted and all of the chacrters minus maybe Gwen and Aunt May are not really that likable.

Peter parker spends the entire film moping about like a little sad puppy wanting to get it’s  own way. I just makes the character downright unlikeable. He literally spends a chunk of the movie stalking her like some crazed obsesive killer. He doesn’t seem to find anything wrong with following her wherever she goes and to be fair she doesn’t seem to have much of an issue about it when he reveals he know’s what she’s been up to. She seems to kind of like the fact that she now has an obsessive stalker who’s probably crying under his mask, allowing the tears to cool his warm face due to his constant being in the suit.

When not in the suit he constantly looks like he is about to break down and cry. if anything it reminds me of that scene in ‘Social Network’ where Garfield turns up on the door in the pouring rain and just looks really really upset. the difference between them though is that ‘Social network’ was a truly great film. You just want to punch him in the face rather then comfort him because in this film he is just such a wimp.

Where the first film used a lot of green-screen to produce a realistic Spidey swinging high above the city streets, asm2 uses a ridiculous amount a dodgy CGI that looks so unbelievably fake, it’s just feels like an early Playstation 2 game. I will say a few of the effects are pretty nifty such as Electro pulsing around in blue lightning to dub-step, but these sequences are few and far between. Visually this film feels like a massive step backward and i’d argue visually is the most ‘fake’ of all of the spiderman films.  It’s really disappointing considering how far visual effects have come along in recent years that a film of this calibre looks as bad as this does. I put it partly down to the fact that they are pushing the whole ‘3D’ experience nowadays as they have a tendency to brighten a lot of the foreground characters to make them stand out from the background.  But not all films do this. Just look at something like ‘Pacific Rim’ which for me visually is one of the best uses of 3D i’ve seen. they keep the colours mute and desaturated and don’t try to go over the top and force the 3D in our faces.

what about the acting i hear you say….

well I’ve stated that Garfield isn’t very good in it, which for me is really disappointing as i think he usually is a great actor. In this he just seems to be going through the motions of a depressed teenager (or however old he’s meant to be in this film).

Paul Giamatti, who again is an amazing actor is truly wasted here and is simply in it as a way of introducing another character for asm3. (the trailers make it feel like Rhino is in this film as a proper villain. he’s in it for around 5 minutes and just feels out of place).

Then we have the main villain in Jamie Fox. To be fair he isn’t too bad and plays the geek part quite well. He never really gets to shine though as the script and pacing are so incredibly poor, he can only act to small amount of his potential.

finally we have Emma Stone and Dane DeHaan. DeHaan is surprisingly good in this and i did like his transformation into a literal monster. it would have been nice to have a bit more of him but as it is we have around 20 minutes of his acting talents.  Emma Stone is what holds this film together (albeit very loosely) She is fantastic as always and it’s a shame that the script never allows her to reach her true potential.

I’ve mentioned a fair few things I disliked about the film, but was there actually anything i liked?

Well yes. firstly it’s Spiderman and no matter how much i hate the film i just can’t truly dismiss it because I love the character so much. Secondly the music for the film is very good and there is some great musical cues used for Electro especially the previously mentioned scene with him darting around to dub step music. Then we have Emma Stone and Dane Dehann.

That’s about it. I truly hated everything else about it and think that it is easily the worst spiderman production ever created (I even prefer the 70’s TV series and even the animated Spiderman unlimited) and one of the worst films i have ever seen. poor script, awful pacing, poor direction, underwhelming acting, awful CGI . Need I say more?

I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone (which I never thought I’d be saying as i was so looking forward to this film). I cannot figure out why people seem to like this film as much as they do. I know everything is subjective but it doesn’t stop me being confused.

I find it hard writing about this film without getting angry so I will stop here.  I rate it     2/10

 

 

I’ll start by saying it’s been a while since I’ve last written a review so here goes:

Godzilla

Before we get into the review I will warn they may be possible spoilers throughout:

So where do I begin?

Well I guess an introduction to Godzilla isn’t really needed as he really is such a cultural icon, which makes it hard to find a suitable opening. Anyway we’ll give it a go.

Now having 27  films in the Japanese series, and 4 American pictures (even if one of them is just the original Godzilla film with an American actor slipped in) Godzilla is one of the longest running film franchises around. This newest incarnation is helmed by the great Gareth Edwards of ‘Monsters’ fame. Where ‘Monsters’ was a low budget almost indie film made with pretty much no crew, 2 actors, a camera and a load of CGI done on a home computer, this is a much larger beast (like the creatures in the film). This film has hundreds of cast and crew and effects that rival pretty much all films on the market today, plus a budget of over 20 times what ‘monsters’ had. I wondered if the money would go straight to Edwards’ head like numerous directors nowadays but I was gladly surprised.

The film is hands down one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had at the cinema in a long while especially after the travesty that was ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. For me almost everything about it worked, not that there aren’t a few issues which I will get to in due time, but let me just say I really liked this film.

For me one of the things that really worked and in a way didn’t work were the characters in the story. Much like Edwards’ earlier film ‘Monsters’ (sorry to keep mentioning it but it does feel like Edwards has taken a lot from his previous effort and implemented aspects into this film) he focuses very much on the relationships of the characters involved and does really make you care about some of them. The broken relationship between Bryan Cranston’s ‘Joe’ and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s ‘Ford’ is brilliant and they really do feel like father and son. the same can be said for Joe and his Wife. Everything kinda gels with the characters. But they also feel kind of pointless. we get these relationships and we get these characters but they ultimately mean nothing. the character of ‘Ford’ simply exists as a plot device to take us where the monsters are going. he doesn’t really learn or accomplish anything in the film. the only real character that does is ‘Joe’ but even then it kind of feels pointless. the fact they are pointless doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters aren’t the main focus of the film either because you could argue they are but they feel like something is missing.

The other issue I have with the ‘pointless’ characters is Elizabeth Olsen’s ‘Elle’. she is simply inserted, again as a plot device to try and bring ‘Ford’ home to her. without her there would be little reason for ‘Ford’ to keep moving with the monsters, but at the same time she is completely wasted. She is kind of necessary to the story but at the same time is not.

You may notice that I keep on mentioning ‘Monsters’ in plural and that is because this film has more than one monster. This is one of the films biggest assets as it truly harks back to the Godzilla films of old. In this film Godzilla IS NOT the bad guy and I love that fact. The monster on monster fights are handled really well even if you cleverly see very little of all but the final battle. The CGI is very impressive and for the most part blends seamlessly with the real environments and actors. In a way it feels very much like the other large creature film ‘Pacific Rim’ which also featured amazing effects and sound and an equally large number of pointless characters.

In a way the film ‘Pacific Rim’ has lessened the impact of ‘Godzilla’ due to it’s similarly large monsters and epic battles (you could argue it was the best non-Godzilla, Godzilla film in recent memory). that’s not to say this isn’t amazing when the action really ramps up. The final battle really is amazing and really feels like the Godzilla’s of old (minus the man in rubber  suit dramatics).

there are a few other odd negatives such as a military compound that no-one seems to have noticed has a giant hole in the side of it, the sheer collateral damage the fighting monsters do that seems to go unnoticed, the fact that the creature is far larger then it’s ‘cocoon/egg’.  there are probably a few more but they were not important. In fact none of the negatives I mention really detract from this film.

When all is said and done this is kind of what you’d expect from a large budgeted Godzilla film. Its loud, big and has awesome action. but in a way has far less action then you may expect. In its 2 hour runtime less than half is action, but when they come some of the set-pieces are breathtakingly awesome (like the amazing Halo jump features in the trailer).

So as you may have guessed I really like this film (although I may have focused on more negatives then positives weirdly). It’s rekindled my love of Godzilla and has spurred me on to watch all of the old ones again ( including the Roland Emmerich 1998 film that I also really enjoy. It’s fun and delivers on what it sets out to do) and possibly the animated series that was also produced.

All in all I’d highly recommend watching this film if you like this kind of cinema (most of you reading this have probably already seen the film or are planning to see it so you know who you are) I’d give it a strong 8/10.

 

godzilla image property of warner brothers and is used in fair use.

A terrorist threatens to launch a nuclear missile at the United States unless they put $1 Billion into his Swiss bank account. Jack Tannen (Frank Zagarino) is sent to secure the missile and disable the terrorists.

This is your typical mid-nineties action film. There is nothing about it that really makes it stand out, but then again there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it.

It’s very low budget which shows at times but it does look like they’ve squeezed everything they can out of it (mainly on explosions and bullets I expect). The action is competent with a pretty good action scene on a bridge around half way through in which Zagarino’s team gets ambushed. It’ a nice set piece which moves at quite a good pace.

The overall pace of the film isn’t too bad. It kinda drags a little towards the end but I didn’t really expect it to be perfect. The acting is above par for this kind of movie with Zagarino standing out as the best on show (not really saying much).

It’s OK I guess if there is nothing else to watch. Even if you usually like this sort of film I’d approach with caution as it’s not good and it’s not ‘too bad to be good’, it sits in that middle ground of being simply ‘MEH!’ 5/10

GIVE ME BACK MY…….UM……..SELF? THEN MY WIFE!

Liam Neeson is back as former CIA Operative Bryan Mills in the sequel that very few (myself included) wanted.

2008’s ‘Taken’ was a reasonable piece of fun but was nothing special in my eyes. It was essentially Liam Neeson running around punching people in the throats while shouting ‘GIVE ME BACK MY DAUGHTER!’. I watched it and found it took itself far too seriously and was frankly lacking in pretty much everything. The action wasn’t particularly well directed, the script was awful (which is a shame as it was co-written by Luc Besson who created masterpieces such as ‘La Femme Nikita’ and ‘Leon’). With my thoughts of the first film as they were, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I heard they were making a sequel in 2012. I ended up getting the chance to watch it so I thought I may as well.

The second film follows on from the events of the first film with Bryan having got back his daughter Kim and killing the people who took her. A while later (not quite sure how long) he invites his ex-wife and daughter to Istanbul where he is working. While there, Murad Krasniqi (the father of the main thug who took Bryan’s daughter) decides he wants revenge. He kidnaps Bryan and his wife. This time his daughter must find him……….

With essentially a rehashed plot from the first film, just in reverse I was really expecting nothing from this film, but I must say I was a little surprised. It seems to take itself tongue in cheek unlike the first film. This really helped me enjoy some of the ridiculous things that happen, such as Kim throwing grenades randomly around the city to triangulate Bryan’s position (it really is as stupid as it sounds). I love the fact no one pays any attention to all these random explosions or the random shootings in the streets. But they do notice a car travelling too fast! (they know where the real problems are.)

The plot is silly, the script is pretty dire, the acting is mainly bad (apart from Neeson who does occasionally look bored) but the film has got a few good points:

  • The action is very well directed and is pretty good. (although a lack of throat punching from Neeson). There is a good car chase towards the end which I really enjoyed (even if it felt slightly too long). This car chase did lead to the problem of the finale to the film being pretty anticlimactic coming straight after this high speed action.
  • The pacing isn’t bad for this kind of film and I never felt bored (or at least not for a prolonged amount of time
  • It has a good musical score that matches the film pretty well, although at times seems a little overpowering.

As I say the film isn’t too bad and if you can turn your brain off and accept it as the ‘popcorn’ flick that it is you should have a good time. 6/10

 

 

Dean Cain VS Eric Roberts in a shopping mall at Christmas!!!!!

-Need I say more?

Also known as ‘Christmas Rush’, this made for TV film offers Hollywood thrills in a small package finished off with a pretty bow. The film consists of Eric Roberts robbing a shopping mall at Christmas and taking everyone hostage, everyone that is except for Dean Cain (a cop who’s lost his badge and who has the name Lt. Cornelius Morgan!). Dean Cain takes it on himself to take down Roberts and save the day.

Think ‘Die Hard’ in a shopping mall and you’ve pretty much got a good idea of what to expect (although Roberts’ villain does have some interesting and well thought out motives for wanting the money) I won’t pretend that this is of the same quality of something like the masterpiece that is ‘Die Hard’, but what I will say is that this is just pure fun. It never takes itself seriously and just works. It’s what it says on the tin.

The action set pieces are great in the film especially a shootout between Roberts’ right hand man (who may be Russian) who has a massive light machine gun and Dean Cain. It’s just fun to watch and is a well filmed piece of action. In fact pretty much the whole film is really well filmed for what it is. I can’t complain about anything in the film really other than the fact it’s not particularly original. I will also say that I really like the end to the film which is far better than I expected.

The acting is awesome. Both Dean Cain and Eric Roberts are on top form and have a good chemistry between them. I love both actors and am sad that they’ve both disappeared into b-movie obscurity. I guess the one thing that kind of disappointed me was the fact that Eric Roberts doesn’t do any real hand to hand combat which I want to see in all his films. (He didn’t in ‘Raptor’ either, but we’ll get to that film at a later date.)

Overall this is a fun piece of action filmmaking and well worth checking out. 7/10

Growing up, it was all about running around the garden shouting the names of dinosaurs while holding our ‘morphers’ in front of us. We’d then fight each other like we were shown on television (this may be one of those times when violence on TV kinda did cause violence in the youth).  We’d continue this until the enemy was vanquished; we were called in for dinner. Or the program we that taught us these fight moves came on. That program was MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS.

Fast forward almost 20 years and the show is still going. It has lost most of the magic that once made it so great and made it truly stand out from everything else on TV but still its legacy continues. I remember the afternoon they aired the first episode in the UK. Me and a friend sat there glued to the screen (not literally), we had seen nothing like this before. Taking the kung Fu from its Japanese predecessor and the likeable American teens reminiscent of those from Saved by the Bell, Power Rangers broke new ground. Of course years before there were the badly dubbed episodes of shows like ‘Monkey’ and ‘The Water Margin’ but this was straight out of the west and just felt fresh.

The main group of rangers has changed over the years but during the first 3 amazing seasons (some of this team appeared in the third season), one movie, and one sequel series (Zeo) we had the best team of all Tommy, Billy, Kimberley, Rocky, Adam and Aisha.

I remember that as a kid the sheer amount of violence in the series was captivating. It was something you just didn’t see as much of in a single show. Sure you had things like Thundercats and He-man, but they were animated. Now we had real people beating up other real (when they’re not models) people. The media were all over this yet they never really won. I guess they’ve toned it all down a bit since the original 3 series and film but there is still a lot of fighting.  Power Rangers was essentially a combination or fighting, explosions, monsters, more fighting, bigger monsters and even more fighting.

As such a fan of the TV series I was so excited to see that they were making a feature film. I remember dragging my parents to the cinema to see what I hoped would be the ultimate Power Rangers experience. I wasn’t disappointed. The film blew my mind. The monsters were bigger, the villain more over the top, the fights were bigger (it was the first film I saw where a person backflips over another person). In fact it was just like an extended episode with a much bigger budget.

But has the film held up 19 years on?

The short answer in my eyes is yes. It may not be worthy of any awards but it is still a fun (violent) adventure film for children. Let me get the violence out of the way first. Unlike the series where the bad ‘lackeys’ were made of putty and kind of ran away clutching their chests when defeated, the film features ‘lackeys’ made from ooze. During one of the big (pretty well choreographed) fights in a construction yard, these villains are exploding from punches and splattering everywhere. If you changed the ooze for blood the film would easily have to be cut. There is one moment when a skip is dropped on a few of these Ooze creatures and they get crushed, ooze seeping from underneath. As a kid you don’t really question it but now it’s a bit close to having blood splattering everywhere and occasionally a little uncomfortable. The rangers don’t seem fazed by all this ooze exploding onto them, in fact they don’t seem fazed about killing anything that doesn’t look human (watch out E.T). The fights themselves are surprisingly well put together and are actually quite fun to watch.

The money has really be invested wisely while making the film as the locations and the costumes also are a massive step up from the series (they now have leather suits instead of spandex). There is also a far more varied variety of locations from forests to temples to cities to construction yards. It gives the whole film more scope and a more ‘epic’ feel.

Another thing the film gets right is the rangers themselves. They are all likeable and believable. They feel like real teens (well ok mid 20 year olds) who want to help and save the day. Many children’s shows feature annoying characters that whine and moan every step of the way. Here we actually have a good team of people that feel like the know each other (most worked together on the series) and trust each other to get things done.

I love this film. I really do. It brought back so much nostalgia. But that isn’t to say it’s perfect. Far from it.

The biggest flaw in my eyes is the use of CGI over miniatures. I’ve always preferred model work as I find it ages far less and looks more believable when done right. Just look at Star Wars a new hope. Not the redone version but the original. Sure it’s looking slightly ropey, but it always did. It hasn’t aged though. Now look at this film or the feature film version of ‘Lost in Space’. They look pretty bad. This especially. The Zords look terrible as does the ridiculous gigantic version of Ivan Ooze (the villain of the picture). It is horrible to watch. CGI can be used very effectively as can be seen in things like ‘Lord of the Rings’ but even then I find that any characters generated on a computer age quite quickly. I find CGI is better used to enhance what is already there or sculpting part of landscapes. The more hidden, the better.

I also didn’t care for the side plot of the film with all the parents of Angel Grove (home of the Power Rangers) turning into zombies under Oozes control. I’d have preferred to stick with the rangers training in the way of the ninja.

As a standalone film I think it is a great bit of entertainment. As an evolution and companion to the TV series I’d say it’s a complete success (excluding the CGI). I’d say it’s well worth a watch for nostalgia fans and a must see for current fans of Power Rangers who missed out on the very best of it… 7/10

GO GO POWER RANGERS!!!!!!!

 

Taken was one of those films that never needed a sequel. It was a pretty self contained revenge/rescue picture in which Liam Neeson punched a load of people in the throat. Come 2012 and they decide that in fact they should make a sequel, but this time instead of his daughter being kidnapped it would be Mr Neeson himself (and his wife, but she’s not that important)

I was never a big fan of the first film. I found it boring thriller with a poor script and some poor action sequences (except for Neeson’s throat punches.) So I was not excited at the prospect of a 2nd film. I put off watching it until this evening as I had nothing else I could be bothered to watch.

Boy, was I surprised…….

I really enjoyed it. Yes it has a poor plot and some awful dialogue but it was just fun. It focused almost entirely on action and it did the action really well. It kinda harked back to old school action flicks from the early 90’s. It’s pace was good and I never found myself getting bored. The fight sequences were well choreographed as well as a long car chase (which as car chases go, was very good.)

There are a few things that annoyed me such as the fact that no one seems too bothered by the random explosions that are going off around the city as Neeson’s daughter throws grenades so he can triangulate his position on a map (it is pretty far-fetched.) I think this is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the film. It never really felt it was taking itself too seriously (unlike the first one).

I’d say it’s well worth a watch and should provide a good couple of hours of mindless fun…. 7/10