Archive for the ‘Sci – fi’ Category

 

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

Advertisements

ratchet-and-clank-movie-poster-800x532

With over 10 games in their arsenal since their first appearance in 2002 it was only a matter of time before the dynamic duo of Ratchet and Clank made it to the big screen (well across  a limited number of cinema screens) 2016 would be the year of this event and also the year that a revamped reboot / remake of the original game would hit Playstation 4’s across the world. With such a back catalogue of adventures and a wide fan base across the years, it’s a risky move reinventing two iconic gaming characters for a cinematic audience especially as the creators would be hoping to keep fans of the games happy while also not alienating people new to the franchise.  How does this film hold up? Does it succeed where many video game adaptions fail? (*shudder* street fighter: the legend of Chun li)
What they have created is basically an origins story which treads on some of the frame work of the games (albeit not quite as deeply due to the run time and lack of interaction). This allows those new to everything a brilliant way in while also kind of keeping fans of the games happy. [I’ll just say that I have played some of the games but have never been a diehard fan. I like the characters and the stories but I could never find myself fully absorbed]
For those new to the franchise, the film follows the adventures of Ratchet, a foolhardy Lombax (feline like alien) and his companion Clank, a small self aware robot who was created in an accident. The two travel across the galaxy trying to stop the universe destroying plans of the evil Chairman Drek and his robot armies.
There is nothing amazing original to the proceedings and the story is as you’d expect a film like this to be even down to the pacing. This isn’t a bad thing and it makes everything accessible to all audiences while not being to heavy or draining on the mind. Its a fun adventure and one that never outstays it’s welcome. The first half is in my opinion stronger then the second but that is only my opinion.
The visuals are surprisingly good for a film like this. I expected a cheap looking cash in but was greeted with some bright beautiful animation which could easily be up there with some of the best we’ve seen from the later game sin the franchise. It all feels crisp and clean while not being garish and distracting. The action sequences are truly stunning and at times it’s hard to not be truly engrossed. The great visuals are complimented by some truly amazing audio. The voice work is brilliant from the cast of the games (with both Ratchet and Clank being voiced by the original artists) and also features some big names such as Paul Giamatti, Sylvester Stallone and even John Goodman. Everyone performs brilliantly and cannot be faulted in their commitment to the characters on screen. The musical score is a beautiful collection of melodies that just fit the visuals perfectly; From industrial factories through to open hillsides, everywhere has it’s own feel and it’s own sound.
There are a lot of in references to the games as you’d probably expect (and even some clever references to other Playstation game franchise’s). We have a lot of the weapons arsenal that made the games stand out in the third person shooter market that, at the time was becoming quite large and samey. We also have most of the main charters from the games aiding our intrepid duo on their mission. This helps as each person has their own feel that helps distinguish them from the crowd and helps elevate the film higher.
That isn’t to say that everything is perfect. I found at times the lip syncing was a bit off which is often an issue with animation. It never detracted much but occasionally it would draw me out of the film. It also feels like there is something missing form the film, that little spark that just says the film is awesome. I can’t put my finger on it but there is definitely something.
So when all is said and done is it a good film? Yes. I really enjoyed it and would be happy to watch it again. I hope that sequels are made as the big screen does bring these characters to life in ways the games never did for me. Its a great family film even if it isn’t the most original out there. I’m happy to recommend this film to everyone even with it’s few flaws.

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.

Hirokin must stand against a powerful emperor to free the people of the planet Aradis and become their saviour.

Well…. Where do I begin?

The film stars Wes Bentley (from ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Lost’) as the titular character Hirokin. I wouldn’t really call him a samurai, more like a wanderer of sorts who just so happens to have a sword (No your usual samurai katana either). I kinda like the character and even like his wonderful 80’s mullet he has going. I like the fact that his morals seem to lay in the grey area between good and bad. He goes on about how he doesn’t want to kill, but happily kills within seconds of saying this. (Some may call this bad writing, Myself included, but i find it more amusing then annoying) He is not alone in changing his mind on a whim, everyone’s doing it.  I also love the fact that he doesn’t initially care about anyone else until the evil man attacks him.

As an ‘experienced’ sword fighter, he really isn’t very good with his weapon. It’s almost like he thinks he’s good with it when he really isn’t. He also doesn’t watch his back which you would’ve thought would be quite important when you get into a fight with multiple opponents. This leads him to failing in battle and being captured (tut tut tut). The other fights in the film are much the same. No one really seems to know what they are doing until the final battle which, although really anti-climactic, isn’t that bad. The problem is the fact the films seems to want to have a large scale ‘epic’ feel to the film but never does. Everything is done on a small scale and you never feel there is a bigger power behind it all.

It’s sad really that the film tries to be bigger than it is. Mo-Sun clearly likes his science fiction and this can be seen throughout the movie. It takes things from so many other movies and books, but none more so than Frank Herbert’s masterpiece ‘Dune’. Say what you will about David Lynch’s version of ‘Dune’ but you can’t say it didn’t have that ‘epic’ vibe. It also helped that it had amazing actors, some great direction and a stunning source novel. This film however draws from it (sometimes horribly closely) but still doesn’t get it right. I decided to make a list of the comparisons I could find (it became an interesting game):

  •     DUNE:
  1.     Set on a desert Planet called Arrakis
  2.     Water is scarce meaning it is an invaluable resource
  3.     The planet’s natives , The ‘Freman’ are under oppression from an evil dictator.
  4.     Paul becomes an outcast and must find help.
  5.     Paul Atreides must conquer his fear and lead the Freman to victory.
  6.     Paul has visions of what’s to come in his future.
  7.     There is a power that Paul must master in order to win against the Baron. It is called ‘THE WAY’.
  8.     Paul fights one on one with the baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha and wins.
  9.     Paul leads the Freman to victory but sacrifices his family name and his loyalty to the empire.
  •     HIROKIN:
  1.     Set on a desert planet called Aradis
  2.     Water is Scarce meaning it is an invaluable resource
  3.     The planet’s natives, The ‘Arid’ are under oppression from an evil dictator.
  4.     Hirokin is an outcast and must find help.
  5.     Hirokin must conquer his fear and lead the Arid to victory.
  6.     People have visions of what’s to come in Hirokin’s future.
  7.     There is a power that Hirokin must master in order to win against the villain. It is called ‘THE WAY’.
  8.     Hirokin fights one on one with the villain and wins.
  9.     Hirokin leads the Arid to victory but sacrifices himself to do it.

Quite similar wouldn’t you say?

These are the similarities in story but we also have things such as the production design (albeit on a much smaller scale), music, costumes, hairstyles. That’s not to say that it is only Dune that it ‘acquires from’. It happily draws things from ‘Mad Max’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Chronicles of Riddick’, ‘Highlander’, ‘Gladiator’, etc…

It’s quite sad really as when the film isn’t trying to be ‘Dune’ it’s not that bad. It has a special charm about it. What it does with its small budget is quite inspiring. The sets are pretty good (if little more than a few huts) and the costumes are all top notch (if you get around the similarities to other films’. One thing I really liked was the torture device they’ve created with some big claws that impale the victims. It’s quite an interestingly designed machine (probably stolen from somewhere else but oh well). The musical score for the film is top notch (even if it is a little overpowering at times)

The script is pretty awful and at times really annoying. This is especially true when the characters keep repeating the word ‘Gig’ as apparently adding it to words makes them sound more futuristic. It also doesn’t help that ever line is delivered like some dramatic ultimatum by every character. What starts off as mildly amusing quickly digresses into pure annoyance. The acting isn’t great either. Wes Bentley is watchable and does the job well but everyone else is cringe worthy (not always in an amusing way either).

Pacing-wise the film was OK. It never felt overlong although I’d say the ending wasn’t great. The film builds to a large scale finale but never delivers and is little more than a few people waving swords around (and Hirokin shooting his sword from its handle because he can).

I guess for a directorial debut it could have been far worse. But on the other hand it could have been a heck of a lot better.

What we have at the end of the day is a reasonably fun rehash of far greater films. It passes the time OK but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again. 5/10

I’m here today to compare and figure out which is better, Judge Dredd (1995) – directed by Danny Cannon or Dredd (2012) – directed by Pete Travis?

Firstly I know that it’s not good to compare movies and it’s better to take each movie on its own. But having tried to write separate reviews for each of these films I just can’t help it. As such I have decided to do a proper ‘VS’ section on this blog with these films being the first comparison.

One of the reasons I find it impossible not to compare the films is because I grew up reading Judge Dredd and still read it now. As such I have very strong feelings towards the character and his world, meaning I automatically analyse any media based on the property (sometimes unfairly, but most of the time I think I can clearly justify my reasons.).

 

BASIC BACK STORY OF JUDGE DREDD

In the future the world is a scarred wasteland after international conflicts leading to mass nuclear warfare. Most of the world is radioactive ‘hell on earth’ and is known to the people of the few surviving cities as ‘The Cursed Earth’. In the dystopian city of Mega City One (the main location for the Dredd comics), crime is an everyday thing that people take for granted. Gangs attempt to rule the city and the only things standing in their way are the ‘Judges’ (Judge, Jury and Executioner all in one). Of all the Judges in the city, one if feared above all others, ‘Dredd’. (Essentially Dredd is the ultimate badass who will only give up when he’s dead.)

The idea of Judge Dredd is simple at heart but can be as complex as the writers of the comics want to go. Dredd was spawned in issue 2 of the British comic publication ‘2000ad’ in 1977. This joint creation by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra was an instant hit and is now known the world over in almost all mediums (books, films, comics, videogames, board games etc…) Only 2 official feature films have been of the character. One in 1995 directed by Danny Cannon which came out to a pretty negative reaction and the other directed in 2012 by Pete Travis which aimed to fix the problems people had with the 1995 picture.

So let’s begin the review/comparison:

PLOT

Judge Dredd (1995) –

Dredd is convicted of a murder he did not commit and is sentenced to life imprisonment (after the Chief Judge stands down in order to spare Dredd’s life.) The true culprit of the murder sets about to take over the law department so he can rule over Mega City One. Dredd must find a way back into the city and clear his name before it’s too late.

Dredd (2012) –

Dredd and new recruit Judge Anderson are sent into Peach Trees (a 200 storey tall slum block – essentially a vertical city) to investigate the murder of three drug dealers. After raiding a drugs den they soon find the Owner of the block won’t let them leave easily and has locked down the entire block. Dredd and Anderson must find a way out before they themselves become bullet ridden bodies on the floor.

————–

Two similar films with two very different plots.

  • JUDGE DREDD: The 1995 film has the sort of plot that seemed very popular in the 1990’s and unlike most people I don’t see it as that much of a problem. You could argue that there are hundreds of Judge Dredd storylines they could have used (especially the ‘Judge Death’ storylines) but instead they go with a pretty formulaic ‘man sets out to prove his innocence’ story. Many critics and viewers a like didn’t like the simplistic story and the fact that the plot was very ‘Americanised’, but I think it works and to be fair Dredd has always been quite ‘American’ in style (It’s even set in America). It may not pick holes in the political system as much as the comics but it does the job. One thing that the story does really well is ‘scope’. We get a look at a large chunk of Mega City One and even get a look at the wasteland outside its walls. The plot also incorporates many other characters from the Dredd universe (as well as a few other 2000ad properties). Overall I think the plot works as a great introduction to the character of Dredd and proves to be an above average sci-fi plot. 7/10
  • DREDD: The 2012 film is much smaller in scale compared to the 1995 picture as it is mainly set in a large tower block. It tries to explain the city but struggles because of its limited locations. The story does feel like the sort of tale that is in the comics which is good, but what works in comics does not mean it’ll work in a padded out feature film. There just isn’t enough story to fill out the full run time of the film as essentially it consists of them trying to escape then deciding to go kill ‘Ma Ma’ (the head gang leader). It’s sufficient but really is as simplistic as they come. Also for a film which aims to make the story ‘more like the comics’ it fails to explain factors such as the Psi-Division (a select group of psychic Judges – one of which being Anderson). 4/10

CHARACTERS

DREDD

The main character of both films is of course the title character ‘Judge Dredd’. Both films provide a very different take on the character. (In my view neither is perfect):

  • JUDGE DREDD: The title role is held by Sylvester Stallone that many seemed to agree made a great Dredd until he takes his helmet off (not because it is Stallone underneath but because in the comics he rarely removes his helmet and even when he does you never see his face. in the 35+ years the comic has been running his face has never been shown clearly.) for many this was enough for them to instantly dismiss the film as a whole. For me I honestly didn’t mind. The main reason he takes his helmet off is because when you have a film with Stallone in you kind of have to show his face (well you kind of did in the 90’s.) You also have to remember that Dredd wasn’t as widely known around the world and as such was a gamble they hoped would pay off after the success of other comic book films in the years previous. (Without Stallone I doubt the film would have been made and I doubt he would have done it if you never saw his face.) Enough about the helmet issue. In my view, Stallone plays the part pretty much perfectly. He may not be the best actor in the world but his lack of acting and ‘woodenness’ help portray the cold character from the comics. (This is not to say I don’t like Stallone in other films. I think he can be a good actor and he usually does the job put before him, pretty admirably.) In this film he delivers each line like the character from the comic (even when he’s trying to add an emotional depth to the character). He also has the physical presence that Dredd is meant to have helping you believe why people would both fear and respect him… Stallone pretty much carries the film on his back with his portrayal of Dredd and as such you’ve got to commend him. 8/10
  • DREDD: For this version of Dredd we get the actor Karl Urban. Although nowhere near as big an actor as Stallone, Urban has in recent years been in some of the biggest films such as ‘Star Trek’ and ‘the Chronicles of Riddick’. He is a great actor and in terms of acting is far superior to Stallone. This is where my problem with him as Dredd lies. Dredd is meant to be ‘cold’ and doesn’t ever really show emotion (even though Stallone’s tried to). Urban just doesn’t have the coldness. He delivers each line with too much emotion and it just feels forced (almost like he trying to imitate Stallone’s ‘non-acting’) He also doesn’t have the presence that Dredd has in the comics. In the film he just feels like a member of a S.W.A.T team. For me I just didn’t believe in the character and as such just found him a kind of failure (Which I find sad as I usually really like Urban as an actor). 4/10

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS & VILLIAN

Interestingly both films use different supporting characters from the comics, so this is less a comparison of the actor’s portraying them and more on the strength of them as how they fit into the story.

  • JUDGE DREDD: The main supporting character in the film is ‘Fergee’ played by comedian Rob Schneider. When I first watched the film I didn’t like the comedicness of the character as I found it detracted from the reasonably dark storyline. Having reread many of the comics from the 90’s (and even many of the more recent ones) I kind of like the character now. It’s where the humour from the comics kind of comes through. He’s not great but he plays off Stallone pretty well. The main female in the film is ‘Judge Hershey’ played by Diane Lane. She is a strong female character and does all of the ‘thinking’ in the film. She is the character who is ruching against time to try and clear Dredd’s name. She is a good actress and she is great here. The main bad guy in the flick is ‘Rico’ played by Armand Assante. He does the job as a villain but never feels truly threatening enough for me. I find that you always need a villain equal to or more powerful than the hero. In this I didn’t ever feel that, He only managed to win against Dredd at the start by faking footage and faking Dredd’s uniform. I guess in the grand scheme of things he gets the job done but he never a great character (I think the problem is the character instead of the actual acting). Max Von Syndow also does an admiral job as Chief Judge Fargo. AS a whole everyone does a very good job. 7/10
  • DREDD: ‘Judge Anderson’ is the lead female in the 2012 adaptation and is played amazingly well by Olivia Thirlby. Anderson is a regular character in the comics and it is nice to see her translated well onto film. As the film focuses on the beginning of her career she only begins to become as badass as she is in the comics towards the end. But this doesn’t stop her being great. The problem we have is I think that she’s a far stronger character in this film then Dredd and as such I feel this impacted on the whole film. I didn’t care about Dredd and was just keen to watch Anderson’s development. The villain of the picture is Madeline ‘Ma-Ma’ Madrigal played by Lena Headey and again she never feels ‘evil’ enough. She’s probably a better villain and more comic like then ‘Rico’ from the ’95 film but she still isn’t amazing. You see some of her power coming through but never the full extent of how strong she is (considering she led her gang to take over the entire block). There are a few other incidental characters that do the job but no one else is standout. 6/10 (For Thirlby’s portrayal of Judge Anderson alone.)

VISUALS & AUDIO

Being comic book adaptations, both films aim to try and recreate the look of the comics. As with everything both take very different routes to doing so:

  • JUDGE DREDD: The 1995 feature uses model work and Matte paintings to help create the dystopian future for Mega City One. As such the effects haven’t really dated; they look like they did when the film was released. The director was very clever in filming almost everything in the city at night, thus helping the dark feel of the city. The ‘Cursed Earth’ bits are done during daytime which helps emphasise the vastness and the bleakness of the hostile terrain. Both play off one another perfectly and help create a great looking Judge Dredd. Dredd has always been one of the ‘darker’ comics and as such that is how I feel it should be filmed. The whole visual style is much akin to films such as ‘The Crow’, ‘Dark City’ and even ‘Blade runner’. It works really well. The costumes, weapons and vehicles all look like they’ve been pulled straight out of the comics and they are what I remember from when I was young and reading Dredd. Even the ABC warrior is great (although possibly slightly misplaced in this film). It is really well done and looks like it did in the comics. The music is typical of the sort of film it is with a strong score running through it. Nothing much to fault at all 9/10
  • DREDD: This is a tricky one because the film does look very ‘comic-booky’ but it gets boring very fast (at least for me it did) the outside shots look very ‘fake ‘ and CGI which is a shame and I think that it’ll look even worse it years to come. The film also uses a lot of slow motion which does look really good, the first few times then it just gets boring. They use ‘Phantom’ Cameras to film at a ridiculously fast speed meaning they can pretty much slow it down and pause a rain drop if they wanted to. It’s an amazing bit of kit but it can get boring. (It’s not even like its brand new technology or even the first film to be using it. Lars Von Tier used a Phantom camera in 2009 on his film ‘antichrist’ which used the tech a lot more artistically. Even the Jackass franchise used the same tech.) On one hand it does feel like a comic but on the other, the hand that looks at the film as a series of moving images, it sees it as a simple way of padding out a flimsy story with a shortish runtime by an extra 25%. The costumes, weapons and vehicles all feel too different from the comics and from what I remember. They also look far less practical and far more ‘silly’ some of the indoor sets look great but they can’t make up for everything else. The audio takes a very industrial feel which kind of works but sometimes just feel like there are faults in the soundtrack. It’s not bad and I can see what they were going for. They just failed to deliver 5/10

FUN FACTOR

This is where things become even more subjective but I will try to explain my reasons for enjoying/not enjoying each film:

  • JUDGE DREDD: I love this film. It is the definition of a well-made guilty pleasure. The story keeps the pace on-going and Stallone is always watchable on screen. The humour between him and Schneider is great and works really well. I just find this film a great piece of entertainment every time I see it. There are always bits I forget about as well which always gives the film a reasonably fresh feeling. It’s never boring and always enjoyable. 8/10
  • DREDD: I wanted to love this film. The first time I watched it I got around an hour in and just wasn’t enjoying it at all so I turned it off. I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to fully enjoy it. I decided to give it another chance recently and was kind of excited to do so. I don’t know why I was so excited. To be fair it was slightly better than the first time but only marginally. I just found it poorly scripted and really badly paced. I got almost no enjoyment out of it at all and what little I did was from the character of Judge Anderson. 3/10

VERDICT

It’s pretty obvious which of these films I preferred before working out the average score (rounded up) based on all of the above sections. But let’s do it anyway:

JUDGE DREDD – 8/10

DREDD – 5/10

There we have it. I honestly think that the new film was a massive step backwards, both in terms of Dredd films but also Comic book adaptations. The ’95 flick has its problems but they are nowhere near as bad as the problems with the new film (which focuses all on ‘fancy’ visuals instead of story, characters, script, or anything else important.) This is just my opinion but if you want to see the better of the two Judge Dredd films watch the 1995 one (ignore the new one. It’s not even really worth a watch)

‘Total Recall’, one of my favourite Schwarzenegger films by one of my favourite directors.

‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’, one of my favourite short stories by Philip K. Dick.

‘Total Recall 2012’, a convoluted mess of ideas that feels like a more futuristic ‘Minority report’ clone (although saying that, Philip K.Dick did write the original story for Minority Report). At some times it really does feel like Len Wiseman was converting the wrong story. With so many writers on board ( I think there were 7) It is quite easy to see why the story doesn’t quite mesh into one perfectly paced piece of filmmaking.

But let’s forget for the rest of the review that it is based on any original story or that it is a remake of sorts. Let’s look at it as a new film.

In the near future the world has kind of destroyed itself and there are now only two livable land masses, Britain (the UFB) and Australia (the Colony). A lot of people who live in ‘The Colony’ must travel each day via ‘The fall’ (essentially an elevator that travels through the centre of the earth) to the ‘UFB’ to work in the factories.  Douglas Quaid (played by Colin Farrell) is one of these people.  One day, being bored with his life, Quaid decides he is going to visit the company Rekall (a company that can implant fake memories into your mind, making you believe that you have lived them.) Rekall employee Bob McClane (played by the great yet very random John Cho) convinces Quaid to go with the memories of a secret agent. all is going well until McClane discovers that Quaid already has memories of being a secret agent. All hell then breaks loose and thus starts 2 hours of Quaid running from everything.

I hope i didn’t lose you in that little summary. Even from that I hope you can see why I say it is convoluted. There is no good reason for ‘the fall’. It literally only seems to exist to make everything seem more futuristic and also allows an interesting environment for a shootout towards the end of the film. There is never an explanation (or at least I didn’t hear one) for why people have to travel to the ‘UFB’ (UFB stands for United Federation of Britain) to work. There is no good reason. I like the idea of mankind pretty much destroying the Earth but it could have been handled in a much better way.

It almost feels like the scriptwriters just sat round a table and shouted random ‘futuristic’ ideas at one another:

  • floating buildings
  • flying cars
  • dystopian world
  • holograms
  • robots
  • phone implants (implants in the hand I must say. What is the point or reason. Would it not be more useful to have an implant in the ear so you wouldn’t need you hands to use it? It is kind of cool that they get image if they place their hand on glass but then that relies on you having glass at hand. It would be far more useful an idea if they want image to then combine the implant with some visual implant to the eye. they seem to be able to do everything else so why not? as it stands I’d prefer to have an actual smart phone any day over the hand implanted one as it just seems more convenient and more user friendly.)
  • memory implantation

Combining a few of these ideas would have been fine but by putting all of them and more into the film kinda feels like the old saying ‘less is more’. There is no explanation for things such as the floating buildings. I get that there are so many people that they need to expand upwards but then it doesn’t really explain about how these buildings stay floating in place. They seem to be like they are for the chase sequences because it provides that instant feeling that Quaid may fall to his death. Although there is one point where he kind of falls and ends up in what seems to be modern-day Britain with normal cars and buildings. Again there is no explanation (this sequence does lead to one of the most random cameos of the film from Ethan Hawke).

It really does feel like they are trying to hard to cram everything in. As I’ve stated in the title this sis a review of the extended edition which clocks in at 130 minutes. Even with the extra 20 minutes it feels to cramped while also feeling over long for what is essentially a chase film along the lines of something like ‘Minority Report’. The problem we have here is, where films like ‘Minority Report’ try to explain how their technology works, ‘Total Recall 2012’ doesn’t seem that bothered.

It is really quite frustrating because there is a really fun chase flick hidden within its overlong run time.

The film is technically really well filmed (although there is an overuse of lens glare which now seems to be the ‘done thing’ after J.J Abrams technical powerhouse that was ‘Star Trek’). It is a really nice film to look at and some of the production design is truly brilliant. The acting is pretty good throughout with Colin Farrell being a great lead man. The supporting cast are all pretty good, especially Jessica Biel, whose character is reasonably well crafted. Kate Beckinsale isn’t bad although her accent change from American to British when she makes the change from good to evil was just ridiculous. (I know that American productions seem to love having British people playing the bad guys but still). The wonderful Bryan Cranston plays a great over the top character and seems to be enjoying himself.

This could have been a truly amazing re-imagining of a classic film, instead it feels like a well made cash-in. For a chase flick it’s not to bad but is overlong. It’s got a niceish setting, good acting, iffy script, and iffy story. I wanted to like this far more than I actually did. It’s worth a watch 7/10.

The day is an interesting take on the recently popular ‘post apocalyptic’ setting that many films seem to be using in recent years. Part ‘Mad Max’, part ‘Assault on Precinct 13’, the film strives to create an epic feeling in a very small environment.  Most of the film is set and filmed in a farm house in the middle of nowhere and as such saves a great deal of budget that has been put towards good actors.

The film focuses on a group of individuals who are trying to survive in a new hostile world after some big event happened (we never fully find out what this event is, and to be fair the film is possibly better because of it.) The group is led by  Dominic Monaghan (yep the one from Lord of the Rings) and his semi right hand man Shawn Ashmore (the Ashmore twin from X-men, not the one from Smallville. Ido find the fact that one has been in a massive marvel film series while the other has been in a massive DC tv series quite interesting.) This pairing is great and both actors play their parts very well indeed.

The group come across a house and soon trigger a booby trap alerting a nearby group of cannibals. The rest of the film is essentially the group fighting off the cannibals while struggling with their own issues and coming to terms with the fact that not everyone is who they say they are.

The film is quite short running at only 87 minutes but this is possibly for the better due to there isn’t much ‘story’ to speak of. The visuals are very desaturated which helps create a post apocalyptic feeling (I have no idea why it does but it always seems to work? Maybe it’s the fact the drained colour of the visuals parallel the drained world…. I dunno….) I really like the look of the film and I think it helps make the film look ‘more expensive’.. (That is not to say I believe every film should look ‘expensive’ but it does sometimes help draw you into the picture.)

While never as good as ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ the film does echo its themes of survival against impossible odds and for the most part succeeds. I would say that it is one of those films that is well worth watching, but may not hold up that well to multiple viewings (I’m not sure why. It may be because of the way the film interprets what you’ve seen. For me personally my mind has created a best of compilation which kind of sums up the film in a few scenes.) Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad film just one you may not want to watch again ( I think it could also be because it is not as good as the films it echos.) I’d say the film deserves a good score but because of the lack of replayability I’ll give it  6/10