Posts Tagged ‘action’

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.

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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

cnv_08-1

I knew nothing about this book before reading it other than hearing on the side that it was a good bit of fun. After having a hard time trying to find a copy, I finally stumbled upon a copy of the complete series in a beautiful hardback collection.  From looking at the cover I knew that this was going to be something different and fresh. But covers can mislead and some indie titles out there try too hard to seem like a AAA title that they fall flat. How did this pan out…
I can happily say that the comic is about as indie as you can get in the fact that the characters are a bizarre mishmash of humour and seriousness that works for the most part. The characters are genuinely engaging and the story constantly throws new curve balls which only a story about an experimental regime in which people with multiple-personality disorders use their skills to be assassins and the like.  This is where the title falls in with our main protagonist Duncan who happens to think he is also a ninja, a Viking and a cowboy. It is told in a clever way that means you always know which personality is talking either by using portraits of the character or by putting a little image on the speech bubble like a sword or a gun.  I found this worked really well and helped keep the whole thing running forward at a steady pace.
The book is split into two story arcs and each feels different and great. The first really is an introduction and I guess as close as you can get to an origin tale of each of the ‘Triplets’. It has a few plodding moments but on the whole was fun and constantly engaging. The second story is probably a stronger story in both a fun adventure and writing sense although it also isn’t without the odd stumble.   The hardback ‘deluxe’ edition also contains a short story epilogue which rounds everything off perfectly and really makes you think about the whole saga.  I wasn’t expecting a story like this to be as thought provoking as it turned out to be and I will happily read it again and again.
The art by ‘Riley Rossmo’ is phenomenal. I would go as far to say that it is one of the best looking comics / pieces of art that I have ever seen. It really is unlike most other things and works in a stunning way. The only artist that I could compare the work to is ‘Ashley Wood’ and that would only be for the carful use of colours and heavily scratchy looking artwork. The book isn’t black and white but then again it’s not full colour as one usually sees it. There is a carful use of light and dark that echoes the locations and the characters that inhabit the comic world.  You can literally turn to a random page and you will see something that stands out. It’s truly a beautiful piece of work that never gets stale and never looks anything less than steller.
Although I love this book I do have a couple of issues with it. Firstly sometimes it is hard to figure out which way the panels run; i.e. . Across the pages or the usual sticking to one page. I found I had to guess a couple of times because I just couldn’t work out where the next panel was. I found that when this happened it did take me out of the story. Some of the characters get confusing in terms of who their alter egos are but again it wasn’t too bad. The same can be said for some of the dialogue which at times tries far to hard and just gets confusing.  I commend them for some of the clever statements they are trying to make in the story but sometimes less is definitely more.
With that said I couldn’t get enough of ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ and could have happily read more (fighting through the odd confusing moment). This is a phenomenal book and a great piece of fiction that happily now sits up near the top of the best things I’ve ever read.  If you can find a copy and think you’d enjoy something a bit weird, a little funny and surprisingly thought-provoking you’d be hard pressed to find something better then Cowboy Ninja Viking

 

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

 

 

‘A man returns from the grave to solve the murder that he was accused of committing.’

The first film in the series was, for a time my favourite comic book movie of all time. It featured amazing performances, an amazingly well realised gothic world, and a great script.

The sequel ‘The Crow: City of Angels’ tried to expand on the world created in the first but fell quite short of the first films greatness. (Not that it’s a bad film. I really like it but I can see why a lot of people don’t)

‘The Crow Salvation’ is the third film in the series and bears little resemblance to the first to apart for the basic premise of the crow bring the dead back and the makeup (which I’ll get to soon).

I think the film works better because of the fact it goes off on its own course. It was made for television but is by far the most brutal and violent of the 4 films in the series (the 4th is by far the worst with barely any redeeming features). For a made for television movie it looks surprisingly good with some great camerawork and direction. It also evokes some of the haunting soundtrack of the first two films which helps create a great atmosphere. It has a pretty good revenge story at its heart and it plays out pretty well, even if it is very predictable.

The acting is generally pretty good and almost everyone does their job. The weakest entry into the acting department is probably ‘Kirsten Dunst’ who really isn’t very good in the film, not knowing if she is playing a love interest, a friend or just someone who’s somehow gotten involved in the films revenge storyline. Eric Mabius is great as Alex, the main character. He holds the film together and is really watchable.

For me the biggest fault with the whole film is that it is a ‘Crow’ film. As I said before it doesn’t have much in common with the other two. (The second felt very much that it was set in the same world as the original with the reintroduction of Sarah from the original and the gothic world.) This film feels like it could be set anywhere.

The makeup/scarring is my other major complaint. I know the white face with the black eyes and mouth has become synonymous with the franchise but it doesn’t fit in here. The make up in the first film is done as a copy of a mask Eric has hanging in his house that his fiancée had bought. It was his way of coping and having a bit of her with him (along with the ring around his neck). In the second film the makeup is drawn onto Ashe by Sarah (from the first film) as a way of her remembering Eric. It this film the electric chair burns the scars into his face in the shape of the makeup. WHY? The makeup has no relation to the actual Crow of the story and there are no characters (or at least non I noticed) from wither of the first two films. There is no reason for it and I think it harms the film (well it did for me).

If the film had been a straight revenge thriller with no relation to ‘The Crow’, I think it would have been far better. But on the other hand without the established name it would have probably disappeared in amongst all the other low budget thrillers out there. It’s an enjoyable watch, if a vaguely depressing one. It’s worth watching if you like this sort of thing and it does do what it sets out to do pretty well. 6/10

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

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

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