Reviews

‘The Last Duel’ Review

Ridley Scott delivers another epic, this time a medieval affair that showcases some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, where friends becomes enemies and relationships are pushed to the brink.

The Last Duel' Is From Three Different Perspectives Similar To 'Rashomon'

King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

If you were to tell me a movie with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Adam Driver, a movie that was directed by Ridley Scott, would be a complete and utter box-office bomb, I would have called you crazy. The Last Duel suffers from only one thing, being a real film. We live in a world now, where every movie that average movie-goer sees, has to do with Superheroes or is already a large existing IP of some sorts. Even myself, I found it weird to sit down and watch a flick that didn’t have any larger stakes at hand, that wasn’t going to be apart of any larger than life expanded universe and I’ll tell you this, it was lovely.

This is an adult movie, it deals with trauma, rape and the consequences of such evil behaviour. How Ridley Scott dives into this material is through the perspective of our three main characters. Matt Damon plays Jean de Carrouges and he is a noble knight and one hell of a warrior, who just wants to be respected, all while trying to be remembered and have his name passed on throughout the generations. His chapter is first and it tells the events leading up to the tragedy that falls upon his wife. This is a slow burn, but we do get blips of action and when it happens it’s really great. It’s brutal and dirty and looks exhausting as I’m sure combat was back in the 1300’s. The longest of the three chapters of the story, it dives deep in to Carrouges awful luck, whether it’s money, his family or not getting the attention or respect that he rightfully deserved.

His friend, well at the beginning of this story, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) is a fellow Squire, that is almost the polar opposite of Carrouges. He is considered handsome, he has it all, and most importantly he is well respected throughout France. Driver plays him well, the relationship between these two men is strong, but ultimately jealously and bitterness threatens their relationship and is the demise of their tenured friendship. Le Gris has it all, money, woman and respect, so when he sees something he wants, he goes after it and that’s exactly what he does and it becomes his downfall. The second chapter is strong, it showcases Ben Affleck’s Pierre d’Alecnon who is a powerful man and makes Le Gris essentially his right hand man. Affleck is brilliant here, playing a rambunctious, horned up man who loves woman and places his trust in all the wrong people. Driver and Affleck are having the time of their lives all while making Carrouges feel small and unimportant. Taking land that is rightfully his away from him, and not appreciating the amount of blood he is shedding for their rightful King. In the end the thing Le Gris wants most in his life, becomes is ultimate demise as he finds out with unlimited power does not mean life does not have consequences.

In the third and final chapter we get the point of view of Carrouges wife Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer). The tragic victim of it all. We relive her horror twice in the movie, and through her eyes and her perspective it’s even more disheartening and spine-numbing. She’s unlike most woman at this time, educated, loyal can speak multiple languages. She has a heart of gold, who is loyal to her husband and just wants to start a family before it is too late. She doesn’t gain the respect of Jean’s mother, who is almost at fault for what occurs to her, because like most woman of that era, things happen and you should just deal with it. She stands up for herself, without anyone thinking she is in the right. So when Jean comes to her aid and honour both of their lives are at stake when Carrouges and Le Gris fight to the death in the duel. If her husband loses that means she was lying and must be burned alive because that is “the will of god.” She and Jean want justice and to finally put their demons at rest, which culminates in one hell of a fight.

Performances across the board are fantastic, from heartbreaking to hilarious, again Affleck is all over the place in this movie and it’s great to see him spread his wings and fly again. Beautiful cinematography with a chilling score. Some of the scenes looked like they were exhausting to shoot, all of the battle stuff and it’s great to see a movie look like a real life movie, instead of the green screen treatment a lot of movies get these days. Shot on location, with big sets and tons of extra’s it was simply refreshing.

The movie can drag a little bit, but it’s enough meat on the bone to keep you engaged the entire time and it sucks a movie like this crashed and burned at the box-office, but i think it will still be an awards contender. Support movies like this please and thank you.

The Last Duel – 73/100

Reviews

‘No Time To Die’ Review

What a terrific send off for Daniel Craig as 007. A fitting end to his Bhond saga that ties up loose ends and brings his story to an emotional conclusion.

James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Remarkable that Daniel Craig served as 007 for 15 years and made 5 worthy additions to the Bond franchise. But much like every other James Bond before him, time simply ran out for this suit wearing, martini drinking special agent. Fans have waited a long time for this final outing, due to the pandemic, No Time To Die had its fair share of release dates before settling on a Fall 2021 date. It was worth the wait, because not only did this movie live up to the hype, but it’s seeing success at the box-office.

Just when Bond thinks he’s made it in life, retired from the Academy and settled down with the woman of his dreams Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) he stumbles upon a controversy and her past and within a matter of mere moments his life comes crashing down before him. 5 years later, Bond is still semi-retired when an old friend Felix (Jeffrey Wright) comes knocking at his door to help with “one final mission.” Like any good friend Bond agrees and his last hooray turns his world upside down, bringing his past, present and future all together in a tour de force that will entertain fans like no other. One of the most impressive achievements of this film, is the run time of 2 hours and 47 minutes that doesn’t drag at all. No Time To Die doesn’t drag for a second, because the second you think you’re getting a break in the action, you’re right back in the thick of things.

Meeting old friends and making new ones along the way. Bond is reunited with M (Ralph Fiennes) Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) while meeting the new 007 (Lashana Lynch) and Paloma (Ana de Armas). Bond is only as good as his cast of characters around him and the new additions are fantastic. The sly but cool new 007, Lashana really stole a lot of the scenes she was part of and her banter and chemistry with Craig was amazing. Ana isn’t given much screen time but she knocks it out of the park. She plays a new comer, a cooky yet loveable secret agent, that’s just happy to be there and doesn’t mind knocking back a few drinks on the job, a perfect fit for Mr. Bond. Where these characters end will up with the upcoming revamp of the franchise is beyond me, but they are all so perfectly casted, I hope they plunk a new 007 in with these people, rather than recasting the entire franchise. I feel like that would be a massive step backwards, because these characters still have stories to tell, and there are certain moves going forward that they should be apart of.

With every Bond movie comes a classic new villain. Some are better than others, some are so bad you can’t remember their names. I think Rami Malek’s (Safin) falls somewhere in the middle. He gets a pretty awesome introduction to open the movie, but technically we don’t really meet him until halfway into the film and his character is so quiet and never really posses a threat that he almost feels forgettable. It’s whats at stake that Bond is afraid of not the villain and I wish it was the other way around. He is trying to protect what is most important to him, and when he realizes he can no longer do that, the film becomes very emotional. We get that from the only memorable scene with Malek in it, the final confrontation between Salfin and Bond.

Director Cary Fukunaga brings it with a stylish entry, that features tons of gorgeous cinematography and clean cut action. The visuals and landscapes throughout the movie are beautiful and it just feels like an epic conclusion. An emotional score that has you weeping in certain moments, all help put the bow on this James Bond present. So you really can’t ask for much more with a Bond film, perhaps a stronger villain, but at the end of the day, this movie was about finishing Daniel Craig’s time as Bond and they did it to perfection in my opinion. Everything comes full circle. In the end Bond leaves this world knowing that he left the most beautiful thing in the world behind.

It was a hell of a run for Daniel Craig, so cheers to him.

No Time To Die = 86/100

Reviews

‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ Review

You can’t help feel like this movie wanted to be something it’s not. It almost immediately falls flat on its face and never fully recovers

Eddie Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kassady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution

Venom was a feel good movie when it was released 4 years ago. It was different and maybe not for everyone but it made a killing at the box office and it was inevitable that a sequel was going to happen. The natural progression was to introduce a little anarchy, a little carnage……

I have very few good things to say about this movie, in fact the nicest thing I can say is that the most enjoyable part of the entire movie is free to watch because SONY released it as a clip to promote the film. Now Venom was weird and off the rails, but almost in the best way possible. Venom 2 is just on some sort of weirdo steroids that leads to no where and we end up getting some pretty bad performances and pretty much zero action.

After “saving” the city, Eddie Brock and his new pal Venom are still having the same problems. Venom wants to eat people and Eddie just wants his career to get back on track. The dynamic between the two is great, it’s fun, but there’s almost none of it happening and they go just over the top with it. They just leaned so hard on the weirdness that it felt so unnatural and forced this time around. So when they go visit their pal Cletus Kassady (Woody Harrelson) Eddie is upset that Venom is better at his job than he is. Talk about a serious misfire for casting. Wow, Harrelson is just god awful in this. Even from the Venom post-credit scene, I knew he wasn’t right for Carnage. He took his character from Natural Born Killers and just turned it up and down and spun it all around for a unmemorable performance. Yes Venom and Carnage look great but at the same time I also didn’t like the design of Carnage. They just made him red and bigger and that’s not always the case for the character. Carnage has an amazing prison escape sequence and it’s the highlight of the film, but that’s it. They wasted Carnage and rather cast someone to play the character they cast someone who’s name will look good on the poster. They don’t even feel like they are in the same movie.

The film is going by so fast, the pacing is insane. They don’t even give us time to be with these characters and understand Carnage a little more. The movie flies by, introducing more than one new foe. We meet Cletus’s girlfriend Shriek (Naomi Harris) who is so over the top, I couldn’t believe it. For a cool character and the dynamic between her powers and Carnage’s weakness was such a great idea and they just don’t even spend time on it. She’s just a looney cartoon wondering around this movie. Michelle Williams is back because I’m pretty sure she has too. So let’s make her the damsel in distress because why not right? She doesn’t want to be here and it’s obvious.

We don’t even get to see Venom try and be a good guy, I was hoping for him to have a scene at the start of the movie where he’s doing some good and kicking some ass but that never happens. With Andy Serkis directing I had high hopes for this film but it’s the worst movie I’ve seen this year. It’s all wasted potential. Venom is barely around, this isn’t the proper Carnage and nothing really happens. This whole movie is building towards the post-credit scene and it’s a shame. Cool, that’s the direction they are going but to waste a movie just so we could have some 90 second fan service is beyond me.

I’m just not sure what went wrong because I think the fist Venom is far superior because it even had a little more scariness to it. That’s the thing, Carnage is suppose to be crazy and terrifying and they couldn’t even do that right. Maybe it was the PG 13 rating but Carnage should have been straight out of a horror movie and he was just Venom but red.

Let’s see where they go from here but I’m glad that’s over and so is this review.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage = 43/100

Reviews

‘Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings’ Review

The best origin MCU flick since Iron Man. Shang Chi delivers on everything you would want in a comic-book movie. Packing a serious punch behind Simu Liu, who is the newest addition to the Avengers roster.

Shang-Chi" is an unapologetically Asian triumph about an unapologetically Asian superhero | Salon.comShang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry-based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.

Boy, it sure felt great to be back at the cinemas watching an MCU flick. The next phase of the MCU is upon us and it is already reaching new and spectacular heights. Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is a master of Kung Fu and now possesses the all-mighty Ten Rings. Something the MCU has severely lacked is great hand-to-hand combat fights and that stops here because Shang-Chi has some of the best fight sequences ANY comic-book movie has to offer.

Again, the team over at Marvel has taken a lesser-known character and made them into a rock star, because you may or may not like their formula but it works. The MCU is essentially the Buckleys of film-making. Not saying the MCU is awful, but that, it just works.

Shang-Chi follows the aforementioned on a journey of self-discovery after he ditches his heritage and his family, to try and start a new path for himself. He has his trusty sidekick Katy (Awkwafina) who is always down for some karaoke, laughs, and never leaves his side. She was terrific in this role, her comedy was spot-on, and she didn’t feel out of place. They didn’t just make her some background love interest, she actually has things to do and much like her friend Shang-Chi, she too is on a journey. This film is about self-discovery, not running away from your past, and realizing that you have greatness inside of you. That being mediocre isn’t the way to go through life and that you’re stronger than you think. It was really well done and it resonates with a ton of our characters, including Shang-Chi’s sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). Meng’er shines as the baby sister who just wanted to fit in and show that it doesn’t matter who you are, everyone and anyone can achieve greatness. All three of the hero leads work so well together and it felt like we had been with these people before. They will blend flawlessly into the MCU and the larger scope of things and I can’t wait to see that happen.

Now for the villain. Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) was AMAZING. One of the strongest villains in the MCU in recent memory. He has a purpose and felt connected to everything going on within the film. He can be caring and kind but then has a switch that can go cold and calculated in a matter of seconds which made him a worthy foe for our heroes. He kicks ass and took no prisoners and much like any family man, he loves his family but has a misguided ideology of what it means to be a good father. One gripe with the film and a lot of MCU movies are, why are they killing off all the bad guys after just one movie? There is always room for more story with these people and I’ll never understand that. The MCU loves to kill off the bad guy at the end of every movie like the good guy ‘needs to win” but that just closes the door on a ton of sequel possibilities.

This movie certainly packs a punch. The action is astonishing, with a bus sequence that is by far one of the best MCU action scenes yet. Every punch feels like it matters, you and the people inside the movie feel it. The fight scenes are so well-choreographed that you can’t wait to see them go back to this well for future movies. I can’t say enough good things about the bus sequence because it’s everything the MCU has to offer at its very peak. The 3rd act gets a little CGI-heavy, but honestly, the movie deserves it. The whole movie is so grounded, especially with the first two-fight sequences that of course there’s going to be an epic showdown at the end, that involves two giant monsters, but I loved it. It felt earned and showcased what this movie is all about. Embracing other cultures.

Overall, I had a ton of fun with Shang-Chi, it’s the best MCU origin flick in a long time. Showed us that the MCU isn’t slowing down, and added some new depth and likable new characters. You can’t really ask for more!

Shang-Chi = 83/100

Reviews

‘The Suicide Squad’ Review

James Gunn brings it with the latest entry into the DCEU. With a ton of heart and more violence, you can shake a stick at.

The Suicide Squad' Isn't a Typical Superhero Movie - The Atlantic

I can’t think of another director working today that is capable of taking ordinary and lesser-known comic book characters and turning them into captivating, crowd-pleasing “heroes” than James Gunn. This serves as a reboot almost, more like a launching pad for the next wave of convicts turned superhero hand-picked by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). You know the drill a bomb is implanted in their skulls and if they misbehave or go off mission, bye-bye birdie.

Enter Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Rat-Catcher 2 (Daniela Menchoir), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) Kingshark (voiced by Sly Stallone), and bringing back everyone’s favorite Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman). This is the new group of rag-tag heroes set on a mission to save the world from the inner galactic starfish Starro. First things first, this new team is incredible, who have terrific chemistry and play off one another so well. All having their moments to shine, fight amongst one another, and most importantly try to right their past wrongs. Among the team, I can’t even say one stands out more than the others because the new squad is actually so damn memorable. Polka-Dot Man being in a comic-book movie and having unbelievable powers? Who would have thought it? King Shark can flip a switch in a heartbeat from a lovable cute idiot, to someone who will literally rip you in half. Bloodsport is without a doubt the brawn of the group, the leader if you must. I loved his entire concept and his bag of tricks that were his weapons. Rat-Catcher 2 was the heart. Her love for not just rats but everyone in the group was heartwarming and she brought such a positive light to the film. The person who really surprised me the most was John Cena. Going from WWE to big Hollywood movies is never an easy task, but he was so impressive here and had some of the most emotional and raw scenes in the movie.

As for the two previous squad members, I felt Harley and Flagg were both insanely elevated this time around. Margot Robbie again kills it in this role, each time she’s portrayed Harley, she knocks it out of the park. As for Rick Flagg, he wasn’t at the forefront but it felt he was more important and actually cared way more about the team this time around. James Gunn manages to incorporate horror, action, humor, and heart, all simultaneously and it works so well. When it wants to be emotional it works and when the action hits, it hits hard. Harley Quinn has an all-time DCEU moment, while the third and final act of the film is so much fun.

It just feels like a breath of fresh air for not only the DCEU but comic book movies in general. The stakes are high, but it doesn’t feel like that, just seeing new comic book characters brought to life is always entertaining. When those characters come across the screen as well as they do here, it’s even better. The jokes mostly land, some don’t but with James Gunn directing you can expect a bunch of jokes and some will be better than others. Even some of the most violent and brutal action ends up being one of the funniest parts of the film and it feels like something only James Gunn could pull off.

Just from top to bottom, The Suicide Squad is a quality film that won’t be for everyone, but I loved every single second of it. This is what a comic book movie should feel and look like. Bright, splash pages coming to life. Absurd characters popping off the screen, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. We need to see these characters again soon because they were all home runs, and I hope maybe they will pop again in another DCEU movie. King Shark not having a little cameo in Aquaman 2 just seems like a missed opportunity if you ask me. Tons of fun, plenty of laughs, and many memorable moments.

The Suicide Squad – 83/100

Reviews

‘Black Widow’ Review

Natasha Romanoff finally gets to spread her wings and star in her own solo flick. Too bad she gets upstaged by her sister and her father. Tough break

Scarlett Johannson starrer 'Black Widow' movie has a new TV spot; take a look

A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

It took long enough, actually, all it took for Scarlett Johansson to land her Black Widow solo movie was literally dying. I don’t want to say it was too late or this didn’t matter because it did and Black Widow is surprisingly one of the better MCU solo flicks that sets up a few storylines for Phase 4. After the big showdown at the airport in Civil War, which leads to the break up of the Avengers, Natasha only has one choice and that’s to go on the run. She no longer has any friends or family…….. or so she thought.

Audiences and fans have always wanted to learn a little more about this character, she has always been at the forefront of the movies, being an original Avenger and one of the biggest female characters if not the biggest the MCU has to offer. So this movie was a great opportunity to showcase who she is and where she came from. Introducing her hilarious and superfamily, baby sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), father Alexei (David Harbour), and mother Melina (Rachel Weisz). These are worthy additions to the MCU, all of them providing a ton of comedic moments, especially Pugh who was so rough around the edges and I really felt like all of her jokes landed. She had great chemistry with Scarlett and I’m very excited to see what they do with her next in the MCU. As for her parents, Harbour plays the Russian Captain America still living in his glory years and he was just a dumb stump for the majority of the film, but in the best way possible. Melina serves as the voice of reason, the strong motherly figure who is so happy to have her “family” reunited.

One aspect of Black Widow that I enjoyed was in all other solo movies, there is always some world-ending event going down, and everyone is like “why don’t you just call another Avenger,” but this time she actually couldn’t and I think it was cool to see her with her back against the wall and relying on people she thought she had lost forever. Behind this event is the scum of the Earth Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and his trusty sidekick Taskmaster. Honestly, the villains could have used a little work, Taskmaster has a cool gimmick but they certainly didn’t showcase it enough and from the trailers, I really thought Taskmaster would be at the forefront of the movie. On the other side of things, I don’t really think this movie needed a strong villain to be successful, because this was more about spending one last movie with Natasha and finally learning about her backstory and what really went down in Budapest. They achieve that goal and it was nice to get some emotional scenes with Natasha and everything that’s happened to her prior to this movie finally catching up to her.

I thought the first 20-30 minutes were solid as a rock, especially the opening credits. If you can pull off and execute effective opening credits, it only helps your movie. Throw in some Nirvana cover songs and we are talking nothing but positive things. Yelena and Natasha’s first encounter was a great scene and you knew right away that they would be fantastic throughout the entire film together. The comedy really works, although with some more emotional scenes I think the MCU as a whole needs to stop tossing in one last joke to overshadow the scene. It takes away from some of the most powerful scenes in the movie and you really don’t need jokes in every single scene of the movie. I think that and the weakish third act would be my only complaints about the movie.

We got introduced to some great new characters going forward, we got an amazing sendoff to one of the OG Avengers and it was nice to have an MCU movie back in our lives. Overall, Black Widow works on just about every single level and I look forward to seeing where they take all these storylines next.

Black Widow – 71/100

Reviews

Looking Back At The ‘Fast & Furious’ Franchise

With F9 soon approaching, I’ve decided to do the only logical thing. Going through life a quarter-mile at a time and watching the entire series from start to finish, something I haven’t done in a long time. Sit back, grab a Corona and enjoy the show.

All 9 'Fast and Furious' Movies, Ranked

The Fast & The Furious. Release Date. June 22nd, 2001. Director. Rob Cohen. Box-Office. 207.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 56%

The Fast And The Furious Timeline Explained

Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Conner must decide where his loyalty really lies when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

Simpler times, remember when this was just a semi rip-off of Point Break. Corona beers, an undercover cop, and a badass yet likable villain. Honestly, I can’t even say Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is a villain, he’s just misunderstood? Brian (Paul Walker) even falling for Mia (Jordana Brewster) is classic Point Break material. Going back and watching this, it’s like looking at a basic Pokemon. It hasn’t evolved yet into something so grand and epic in scale. Remember this movie revolves around street racing and stolen DVD players. Reading and writing that sentence sounds preposterous when you think about it. One DVD player (LOL) and I truly believe the whole street racing angle of this franchise was the lamest thing about it. This screams the early 2000’s, the soundtrack, the fashion, the technology (I’m not joking, there’s a floppy disc at one point), the god-awful-looking cars, and the fact that Brian and Dom actually ride in a taxi.

The cast is so young and good-looking, something that is still a reoccurring theme of these movies. Leti (Michelle Rodriguez) has come a long way from her being kind of a throwaway character. They even have a hilarious Ja Rule cameo and I could be wrong but he might have the only F-Bomb of the entire franchise (I’ll report back on this later) I’m back and Brian actually drops an F-Bomb in Fast 4!. He’s probably so pissed off that he didn’t become a larger part of this universe with the success of both Tyrese and Ludacris in future movies.

The building blocks of this whole franchise are right here in the first one. It’s remarkable, that 20 years and 8 films later those themes are still present. I’m talking about BBQs and the concept of nothing is bigger than family. Slinging back Corona’s and enjoying the little things in life, are concepts that are deep-rooted in this franchise. Even Dom sounds like normal in this. For some reason as these movies have gone on, his voice becomes more horse and unrecognizable to a certain degree.

Some things work so well from the very get-go. The perfect casing of Walker and Diesel. The immaculate chemistry between Walker and Brewster is something that is a real driving force in the movie. It hits hard when it wants to, it becomes emotional in key moments, it’s just not a movie at this point but a movement The thrilling highway sequence that is actually pulled off really well, is child’s play compared to the future, but nonetheless, the over-the-top dynamics are a part of this franchise from day one.

A tiny seed was planted in 2001 and has grown into a beanstalk. A beanstalk that is going to the moon. I can’t believe what this franchise has turned into.

Rest easy to Jesse, the first heartbreaking death of the franchise.

Final thought. Did Fast & Furious create the post-credit stinger?

75/100

2 Fast 2 Furious. Release Date. June 6th, 2003. Director. John Singleton. Box-Office. 236.3 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 36%

2 Fast 2 Furious isn't what I expected. | by Ant | Every Day Is Movies | Medium

Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

First things first. Amazing title. Like as sequels go, it’s one of the best ever. As for the movie? Perhaps the worst of the bunch. The only movie in the entire franchise that does not involve Vin Diesel and is iconic Dominic Toretto and that is felt without a doubt on this rewatch. This whole franchise is built upon the shoulders of Diesel and when you think back on it, maybe it was the best thing for the franchise that he stepped away for a movie. After the success of the first, Diesel felt that it was a “classic” he didn’t want to ruin the legacy of that movie and what he felt he stood for by what he called “sequelizing” the entire thing. So he decided to part ways and it wasn’t until his cameo at the end of Toyko Drift and becoming a producer on the 4th film did this franchise really understand how important he was.

Now, as for this movie, well, you take out the heart of something, it will usually die. John Singleton steps into the director’s chair and he put his little spin on the franchise, but ultimately the movie is doing doughnuts. Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese) join the party, who become part of the fast team and really the comedic duo of the franchise going forward. But with this installment, they kind of feel like replacements. With Vin Diesel sitting this one out, this movie almost felt like a soft reboot, a spin-off almost. New city, this taking place in Miami instead of LA, and these guys felt like the new crew. Obviously, at this time they didn’t know what the Fast franchise was going to be, so it’s not their fault, but when you go back and rewatch it, that’s exactly how it appears.

It’s great seeing the team being built from the early days. Very Oceans 11 inspired, each one bringing their own skills and flair to the team. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Not only do our characters and their skills evolve but the movies they’re in. Dom and Brian only work with the very best. James Remar even shows up and does his best asshole cop routine.

One thing that this movie does nail in my mind is the villain. One thing you can always count on with these movies – a great bad guy. They rarely miss when it comes to the people wanting to kill our friends and Cole Hauser is no exception. He brings the necessary cheese, but also the badassness. Without Mia, Brian needs someone to latch onto, he’s a pretty boy after all. So in comes Eva Mendes as another undercover cop Monica, and let’s be real, she could never replace Mia Toretto.

This just feels so disconnected from where the franchise went afterward and you can’t help but think this is the weakest of the Fast franchise.

58/100

The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. Release Date. June 16th, 2006. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 159 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 37%

It's Not the Ride, It's the Rider: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) — Talk Film Society

A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.
The official start of the Fast Universe? Looking back it sure seems like it. Also when you look back you realize that this might have been the 3rd movie released but when you line all the movies up this takes place after the events of Fast 4, 5, and 6. Crazy right? Maybe a little loophole to bring our dear friend Han back from the dead, but also a way to make this movie, that felt like potentially the end of the franchise way more relevant. That being said, Han had already been through so much, I can’t believe we are to believe that he would give a rats ass about this high school drama. When you think about it, it’s a great idea but in the end, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.
This movie is probably the most immature of the bunch, seeing how this is about a bunch of high school kids, then you realize, why is Han hanging out with a bunch of high school kids? Brad Taylor from Home Improvement shows up at the beginning and he’s pushing 30 in this movie and it shows. Our new guy Sean (Lucas Black) is again a worthy addition to the crew, as we know he will pop up in later installments. He’s got heart, he can drive and he really doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s kind of like the white trash version of Brian. We even get Bow Wow in this thing, and I’m not going to lie, he does a pretty good job here. It appears that Twinkie is actually making a comeback in F9 which should please everyone.
The movie is fine, the premise is wild, but again we are talking about the Fast & Furious here. Drifting became a part of driving lingo forever and considering the first three movies are about street racing, this has by far the coolest driving sequences. They feel way less cartoonish than in the first two and it was refreshing to see. Justin Lin steps in as director and you can thank him for that.
Tokyo Drift actually holds up after all this time and again we have a worthy villain in DK (Brian Tee). We get the most forced love story in any movie between Sean and Neela (Nathalie Kelley) and again it’s just not needed in these movies.
Can’t wait for the return on Han.
66/100
Fast & Furious. Release Date. April 3rd, 2009. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 363.2 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 28%
Fast & Furious': A remake of 'The Fast and the Furious' – The Mercury News
Brian O’Conner, back working for the FBI in Los Angeles, teams up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation.
You know what this movie feels like? Like the boys finally graduated high school and left the house for college. The very opening scene of this movie lets you know that things are about to be different. This ain’t about stealing DVD Players no more. The whole mood is different, and things have matured. This is without a doubt at this point the best-looking movie of the franchise. It’s well made and the cinematography is terrific. I wasn’t a big fan of this franchise before Fast Five, I can honestly say I hadn’t really seen any of these movies except for Tokyo Drift. But this certainly feels like the start of the new era of Fast movies. I was kind of in disbelief during the opening sequence.
Just remember, it’s ride or die!
Fans must have been so confused seeing Han pop up. But it’s quickly revealed this is taking place before the events in Hong Kong. They don’t wait long to drop an atomic bomb on you. Letty is murdered. That’s right, Dom’s woman is killed, and he ain’t too happy about it. You get the sense that after almost a two-movie hiatus, Vin Diesel is back and these movies are going to be about him. He became a producer and things revolving around the movies are very Dom centric going forward. We all know that in this universe, no one is really dead…….
On the other side of this bromance, we get our first look at Brian who is now an FBI Agent (said in a Johnny Utah accent). He’s working Shea Whigham! That’s all I will say, come on now, he’s so underused here it’s infuriating. The bromance hasn’t truly bloomed yet between Dom and Brian, in fact, it’s still Brian vs Dom. They haven’t become brothers just yet, it takes this movie and them finally putting aside their differences to come together.
They can’t do it alone, so with Dom, we get the return of Mia. Low key the most underrated character in this universe. She and Brian just work so well, and it’s great to see the band coming back together. Enter Gisele. Played by the incredible Gal Gadot. My god, what a different time this was. Gal Gadot before she became a titan. This is her coming-out party for the world and it’s crazy to think how big of a star she has become. They need to bring her back because again, no one ever really dies and makes her the villain for F10. It would be absolutely bonkers. As for this movie, she’s actually pretty great. She’s a worthy addition to the family and she adds that strong female presence this franchise needs. My guess is they brought her in to replace Letty, but Michelle Rodriguez wanted back in, so the more the merrier. Even Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) make their first appearance in the franchise, a brief introduction in the beginning, but they are part of the Fast family for life.
We get John Ortiz and Laz Alonzo as our villains and again, not too shabby. Especially Laz Alonzo has the man responsible for the man who “kills” Letty. He also has the best death scene so far in the franchise, with Dom crushing his lower half with a car, immediately followed by Dom calling him a pussy.
Without a doubt the best so far, and you can even tell by the box-office numbers. Things were on the up and up, and then they decided, let’s go all-in and bring in the Mother Fucking Rock.
79/100
Fast Five. Release Date. April 29th, 2011. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 626.1 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 77%
Fast Five Movie Stills - Movie Fanatic
Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.
They brought in the big dog for this one. In the immortal words of Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys, “Shit just got real.” Brian has decided its brotherhood over the badge. He’s no longer a cop and is on the run just like Dom and Mia. I would say they finally put their big boy pants on for this one and Fast Five really solidified this franchise into the zeitgeist for the rest of humanity. This movie knocks you on your ass on several occasions and was the real turning point for the franchise.
There’s only one person that can bring these two men to justice, and that man is Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Like this man needs an introduction. Hired to bring Brian and Toretto in, he’s oiled up and ready to kick some ass. It’s no coincidence that this is the most violent movie so far. Hobbs is snapping necks and cashing checks. A very high body count and people are just getting mowed down. The first staredown between Dom and Hobbs is glorious, it’s building to the inevitable, the ultimate throw-down. All good things come to those who wait. And wait we shall. He also drops the 3rd F-bomb of the series! Seriously though, adding Dwayne Johnson to this franchise is probably the best casting and addition to an already standing franchise I can ever remember.
Vince! Our boy Vince returns and you know that time is just a flat circle. With Vince we get the just incredible car jacking train sequence, that really let us know, these people are now full-blown superheroes. Again, this is the movie where the TEAM is finally built. Their own Oceans 11 impression and everything just falls into place so perfectly. We get the Chameleon (Han), the fast talker (Roman), the person good with circuits (Tej), the guys who will punch through the walls (Leo & Santos), and the utilities and weapons specialist (Gisele). We have our team, obviously, Mia, Dom, and Brian round it out. This is where this franchise really starts to break out and grow and truly shine. This cast and these people are having so much fun and it shows on screen. It’s terrific chemistry between everyone and tossing Dwayne in the mix makes it a tasty recipe. I’ll just say this about the team, Han and Gisele forever! We need them back together, again we need Gal Gadot back, make it happen.
Tensions build, Dom becomes involved with another lady, Elena (Elsa Pataky) and all roads lead to the ultimate showdown. Now, we all knew that this fight between Vin Diesel and Dwanye Johnson was going to go down. We also all knew that neither man likes to lose. In fact, they even have crazy things in their contracts for such movies about getting hit a certain amount of times and all that nonsense. The fight hits hard and it’s entertaining as hell. I think in the end, it goes to Dom, which makes sense, these are his movies.
We all know what happens next. A little friendship starts to blossom between Hobbs and the gang, we sadly lose Vince. Rest easy big fella and the great 3rd act that involves them driving a god damn safe through the streets of Rio. I still can’t believe how well this holds up after all this time. I think this set piece is the crowning jewel of the franchise and you know they had to take a page out of the Oceans 11 playbook with the old – fake safe trick.
Dom’s Dad LOVED BBQs just as much as anyone. We have that man to thank for all the family scenes and where Dom gets his foundational love for all things family and BBQ. Thank you, Mr. Toretto.
What a movie!
96/100
Fast & Furious 6. Release Date. May 24th, 2013. Director. Justin Lin. Box-Office. 788.8 Million. Rotten Tomatoes. 70%

A few words about Fast & Furious 6's post-credits sequence | Den of Geek

Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets sidetracked with facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.
We get the first Fast baby! Little baby Jack enters our lives and our friends are growing up right before our eyes. He isn’t the only person coming into our lives. Dom, fresh off his retirement, is happy with Elenna living their best life when Hobbs shows up to drop a NUKE on him…..
That’s right, Letty is alive and well, and she’s running with a new crew. The hunt for Letty is on and the ultimate tag-team of Brian and Dom is once again back in action. This time the shoe is on the other foot and it’s Hobbs who needs help. He wants Dom to resemble his team and bring down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). One of the best parts of this movie is Shaw and his team, like Roman points out, they are almost the evil doppelgangers of our heroes. Roman also drops the 4th F-Bomb of the franchise! They go all out for the villains in this, I love the mirror images of Shaw’s team, especially the brick shit-house Firuz (Thure Lindhardt). He actually manages to do something spectacular, which makes Dwanye Jonhson look small.
This is the movie that you really felt other actors truly wanted to be a part of it. We get new and old faces back in the mix, for me, most notably, Gina Carano (Riley Hicks). She plays Hobb’s sidekick, until a great heel turn in the final act which I didn’t see coming at all the first time I watched. I mention her, because sorry Fenix, she takes the crown for the most epic death yet in the series. Getting shot with a  harpoon gun all while being tossed from a moving plane (Wrong team bitch). Owen Shaw can roster his own amazing team and his introduction, driving a Formula 1 car through the streets of London is as badass as it gets. He’s a formidable foe for our team and the best villain yet. He doesn’t mess around and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty himself.
One thing this movie did a great job with, the fights. They up the ante with really great hand-to-hand combat. Something severely lacking in the franchise prior to this movie. Everyone is throwing it down at some point, and it just works so well. For me, the middle of this movie is just a ton of fluff, but it all leads to a pretty remarkable last hour. It starts with the tank highway chase scene, which sets up one of the most amazing moments in the series history. Dom flying through the air and catching Letty before landing himself on the windshield of a car. That’s right, there’s a goddamn tank in this movie.
I love that no matter how big or how small your role is in one of these movies it matters. You’re a piece of a puzzle and you need all pieces to complete it. Callbacks to previous movies are always a theme in the Fast franchise and that’s what makes it so special. It means they care.
All roads in this movie lead to the never-ending airstrip sequence. But we don’t care about things like that when it comes to these movies. Everyone is doing their part and everyone is throwing down. Dom’s the fucking Terminator in this scene, from his epic headbutt to him walking away from his horrific car wreck, Dom truly is a superhero here. We also have to say goodbye to Gisele, with her tragic passing, as she sacrifices herself to save Han. Again, we do not see her or her body, and no one is truly dead, we have to bring her back. It’s by far the most emotional death of the team so far and it sucks they decided to kill her off.
Can’t have a Fast movie without a street race and a good old fashion family BBQ. Family, BBQ’s and ride or die, are the staples of this.
Setting up the ultimate stinger, where we finally see the other side of Han’s death and none of than Jason Statham walks out of the car, setting up F7……..and we all know what happens next.
83/100
Furious 7. Release Date. April 3rd, 2015. Director. James Wan. Box-Office. 1.516 Billion. Rotten Tomatoes. 82%
Scene Stealers: Jason Statham in Fast & Furious 7 - One Room With A View
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
Good guy or bad guy, never mess with another man’s family. The movie opens up with our new beloved brothers, Owen, and Deckard Shaw. Owen is somehow alive and well, after his tumble out of an airplane and big brother is by his side declaring war on whoever did this. The biggest foe our team has ever faced, Jason Statham enters the chat and my god is he unbelievable in this! He gets just a rip-roaring introduction, after an onslaught in a hospital.
This movie comes with a very heavy heart, Paul’s farewell. It was emotional at the time and still is on a rewatch. He has a lot to do in this movie, showcasing all of his skills and this movie just feels like the perfect sendoff. From kicking Tony Jaa’s ass to his crowning moment in the series, his amazing, slow-motion run up the bus while it’s falling down the cliff. The team is doing well, but Letty needs some time to herself to find herself, leaving Dom heartbroken, and without any women in his life.
The movie doesn’t take long for us to realize the stakes are at an all-time high. Deckard goes to get the information he needs and comes face-to-face with Hobbs. Now when Dwayne has a busy schedule it’s obvious because he kind of takes a major back seat in this one. But nonetheless, it didn’t take long at all, well, one scene really, for fans to witness the amazing chemistry between Johnson and Statham. They have a kick-ass fight scene, where we see Round 1 go to Shaw (He fights dirty). Shaw gets what he needs and it leads him to Tokyo, and we all know how that ends……….
Shaw “kills” Han and almost blows up the entire Toretto family and now Dom means serious business. The Shaw brothers do not mess around, and when Dom and Deckard finally meet, Deckard lets Dom know that he isn’t playing any games here. Again, Dom has gone from DVD stealer to now need the government’s help. Kurt Russell ladies and gentleman, that’s right, this legend is in a Fast movie. Wild times. Acting as Mr. Nobody, he needs the help of Dom and his team to acquire something known as “God’s Eye.”
He brings the team together once again, and it’s obvious that they are a little short-handed, so Roman is trying his best to carry the load of comedic genius and plan maker. I think this is Tyrese’s best performance out of any of the films, he’s almost the best part of the entire movie. He decides that falling out of a fucking airplane in a car, strapped with a parachute is a good idea. This leads us into our flying parachute mountain car sequence, and that is a mouthful to say. We see the team recuse Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and she instantly feels like part of the family.
When you watch these movies you almost feel like you’re on vacation. Great cars, beautiful women, amazing music, and exotic locations around the globe. We head to Dubai where our team needs to recover the God’s Eye and we get the bat shit crazy skyscraper scene. It’s moments like these, why I love this franchise so much. It’s always something new and fresh and just when you think they have gone off the deep end, you end up watching Dom and Brian drive a car through three different skyscrapers and things just don’t make sense anymore. They legit fly and somehow manage to not kill anyone and not kill themselves and it’s without question one of the most iconic most in the entire franchise. Meanwhile, Letty is throwing down with Ronda Rousey and she may be a terrible actor, but this fight goes hard!
Dom and Deckard play a few games of cat and mouse, we see Kurt Russell being an absolute badass. We finally head back to the streets of LA. Where chaos ensues, we get Hobbs FLEXING his way out of an arm cast and carry a mini-gun through the streets. Dom literally shows us once again that he is a Terminator when he Hulk smashes the pavement with his foot causing it to break and we watch as Deckard falls to his untimely capture.
James Wan really brings it with this one and it’s no wonder why it made 1.5 BILLION fucking dollars. This movie goes so hard and it’s just so much fun. It even leaves you at the end wiping away those tears. We watched Paul Walker literally grow up before our eyes with these movies and they do a beautiful job honoring him at the end.
84/100
The Fate of The Furious. Release Date. April 14th, 2017. Director. F. Gary. Gray. Box-Office. 1.236 Billion.
The Fate of the Furious Is So Stupid, Our Critic Can't Even | Film | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events | Riverfront Times
When a mysterious woman seduces Dominic Toretto into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
Don’t mess with a man on his Honeymoon. Dom and Letty are trying to peacefully enjoy their time alone, Dom is even street racing. In a sequence that involves him driving a flaming car, that’s right, Dom has once again upped his game and is driving a car that is literally engulfed in flames. Happiness doesn’t last forever has Dom soon realizes that the world that he once knew is about to be shattered and changed forever when Cipher (Charlize Theron) enters the chat.
Again, the Fast franchise is like, you thought Deckard Shaw was a great villain, well, get a load of Cipher. Charlize won an Oscar, but she doesn’t care, she’s having so much fun here and she’s quite terrific. She does the one thing the world isn’t ready for, turn Dominic Toretto rogue. Dom vs. The Team, something I didn’t think I wanted, but something we desperately needed.
Hobbs is back! This time we get more of his Dad side as he is the ultimate Soccer coach, it’s great having him full-time unlike the last movie. This is where we all realized he and Shaw needed their own spin-off. From the amazing prison fight scene, to their terrific chemistry, every time they are together on screen. These two just elevate the franchise so much and Deckard becoming a good guy is such a great move for the franchise. His mom even gets involved and it’s the LEGEND Helen Mirren. I love it, everyone loves it, Helen herself loves being present. She even drops an F-Bomb and the term “Devil’s Butthole.”
Dom turns his back on one family to save another. Dom is a Dad! Elena has his kid, but Cipher has them both. We get the soul-sucking Elena’s death which is going to haunt Dom forever, but we get his son Brian and that is something. The airplane sequence that involves the Shaw brothers rescuing the baby is one of the most fun scenes in the entire franchise.
The New York chase scene is one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen. Dom somehow getting away when the rest of the team shoots harpoons into his car is to this day perhaps the craziest thing I’ve seen in any of these movies. It’s short-lived when the team forms a car circle around Dom at the end of the movie to protect him from a giant explosion. But, it’s these kinds of things that keep our fans coming back. We get cars driving on ice our running an iceberg, with Hobbs stopping a torpedo with his arms and passing it along the ice like a goddamn hockey puck. These are things we need in our lives and this franchise is the only one willing to give it to us.
It should be illegal to end a Fast movie without a family BBQ. In fact, all movies should end this way, it just feels so right.
80/100
The latest entry was epic and I can’t wait for F9. I’m not doing Hobbs and Shaw because it just doesn’t fit the mold and isn’t fair to the rest of the family. In no time we will all be gathering around like family and watching F9 and it will probably be the highlight of the summer.
Remember. Nothing comes between family, ride or die, and always live your life a quarter-mile at a time.
Reviews

‘Cruella’ Review

Everyone’s favorite dog-knapper gets an inventive and fresh makeover. In order to become Cruella, first you got to get a little cruel.

Disney's 'Cruella' gave its puppy-killing villain a catty history in the fashion biz and made it work

A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
What causes someone to loath Dalmations so much? Well, watch the first ten minutes of Disney’s new live-action Cruella and you’ll totally understand. Emma Stone stars in the tale of the up-and-coming fashion designer/ master thief who is pseudo out for revenge all while trying to make it in the world.
A young Estella (Cruella) is different, she doesn’t belong in her school, she does things her own way and wants to become a successful fashion designer. When she’s introduced to a world she never knew possible, she sets her expectations on her life just a little bit higher. After a freak accident, she is left alone and makes her way to London where she meets up with Jasper (John Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). Together they form a thieving empire, where they let their dogs (Wink and Buddy) do all the heavy lifting. As much as she enjoys the stealing, that’s more for her pals Jasper and Horace.
Even bad people have enemies and Cruella doesn’t know it quite yet, but The Baroness (Emma Thompson) is that person. She’s the most powerful person in London, and Estella’s creative side has caught her eye. This is where the movie gives off a little Devil Wears Prada vibe. From there two worlds will be colliding for what was an entertaining and unexpected fun movie. Disney has been turning out live-action adaptations for almost a decade now, each unique in their own way, but none of which have really blown audiences away. Besides The Jungle Book, I haven’t really been that impressed by any of the live-action films. Maybe it’s just Emma Stone elevating the material at play here, but Cruella just felt and looked different.
We all came for the main event, which is Emma Stone. She’s doing the Lord’s work here, even giving us a homage to Heath Ledger and his unforgettable dinner party scene. This is just a fabulous sequence, followed by a big reveal that officially turns Estella into Curella. This is her origin story, tip-toeing between the lines of good and evil. You can tell she’s having a ton of fun, and I don’t want to say she was born for this role, but it’s hard to imagine someone else playing a young Cruella so well.
Forming unlikely alliances with Artie, an owner of a vintage fashion store (John McCrea), and Anita, a gossip columnist (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Together they all form Cruella’s entourage and they all have one goal, taking down The Baroness. Cruella and The Baroness have some Zoolander-like runway showdowns. With Cruella always gaining the upper hand, the chemistry and dynamic between Stone and Thompson were terrific. You can see all the inspiration at play throughout the movie, and I think that’s what makes this thing so enjoyable.
Mix in a terrific soundtrack, that really boosts certain scenes. The music is a character of its own. Cruella has both style and substance and it’s clearly what separates it from past live-action adaptations. The movie looks beautiful, with some stunning costumes and set pieces, the movie just looks beautiful.
Overall, it’s a win for Cruella. Perhaps a little long in the tooth, but I have no real complaints about the thing. Disney gets a solid win for this and I wonder if we will see more Emma as Cruella in the future. I mean they set up the next thing at the end, you know with those two famous dogs, Pongo Perdita.
Cruella = 77/100
Reviews

‘Mortal Kombat’ Review

The definition of a mixed bag. Mortal Kombat doesn’t come without its flaws, but overall a solid foundation for what’s to possibly come.

MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

Everyone remembers their first fatality. It was almost a right of passage for any young gamer. Mortal Kombat has been part of our lives for a long long time and people have been clamoring for a suitable live-action adaption of this beloved franchise. Fans waited almost 25 years since the colossal disaster that was Mortal Kombat: Annihilation for another shot at immortality and to be crowned the winner of the ultimate tournament. When the first trailer dropped, jaws hit the floor because this promised to be bloody and brutal and after seeing the film, some of those promises were kept, but we got a small taste of what could be a very fun new franchise.

Fans are divided, some are happy with the finished product and others wanted more. The characters we all love are present and some stick out more than others and we get that solid R rating that showcased some awesome gore and unforgettable fatalities. I just felt that what we got was satisfying but in the smallest possible way. Seeing all the characters look amazing, most notably Kabal (Daniel Nelson) Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and the cousins Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). The show stealing Kano (Josh Lawson) who legit steals almost every scene he is in. Points in my books for all of his popular culture references and his dirty Aussie mouth. That’s a guy I would hang out with. His comedy was something that everyone is talking about and something that almost carries the film when it felt a little slow. His BFF Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) is a worthy advisory for Kano and they worked really well together. Even the new addition of Cole Young (Lewis Tan) works. Being a new character in the lore of MK I would have liked a little more backstory and character development for him, but hopefully, we get that in the future.

The two superstars of the franchise; Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) really kick off the movie with a pretty terrific first ten minutes. We came for a few showdowns between the two and we get exactly that. They look amazing and really got the sense they enjoyed playing these characters. Sub-Zero is probably the coolest character in the movie because I felt like his powers were on display the most and HELLO – he freezes and breaks Jax’s arms off like a pair of toothpicks. Looking forward to seeing these two fight in the near future.

Now, on to the things that just didn’t work for me. In a movie called Mortal Kombat we want brutal fights. Yes, we get some gruesome fatalities but the fights themselves seemed rushed and not impactful enough, we wanted to see some brutality to these things and that just wasn’t the case. Feeling the weight of punches and these characters feeling a little more human and less superhuman. Also, I’ve never been a fan of quick cut editing and that’s all that’s happening during these fights. Let’s get some long drawn-out edits for our fights for the sequel, something that feels more a fight and less than a montage. Another letdown was the leaders of Outworld and Earth Realm. Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Shang Tsung (Chin Han) were weak. Barley having anything to do and we didn’t even get to see them throw down. Sure, we get the classic soul-suck from Shang Tsung but at the end of the day, these are two massively important characters that felt so bland. King Goro himself, who was a massive upgrade from ‘95, was WASHED! He didn’t even have a speaking part or a scene to explain who the heck he was for people who don’t know the character. Sure, he was amazing to look at, but he’s King Goro, put some respect on his name. Now, he will be back for the sequel, or at least I think he will be.

Overall, I think Mortal Kombat was solid enough to warrant a sequel. Things need to change, maybe find a new director and better writers. Simon McQuiod might have bit off a little more than he can chew. Being his first major studio movie, it felt that way with some of the decisions being made. Look, we had to wait over two decades for a new movie, this isn’t a hot commodity and I do think there were more positives than negatives, but the negatives perhaps outweigh those positives.

I’m excited for what this franchise could be. With the right direction behind it, fixing the mistakes and listening to the criticisms from fans. There’s a bunch of good ingredients here, they just need to find the right recipe. We should know pretty quickly if we will be getting a sequel within the next few years. Hope we do.

I’ll leave it on this. When a man uses a hat as a buzzsaw to cut someone in half, obviously I’m going to enjoy that movie.

Mortal Kombat = 71/100

 

 

Reviews

Looking Back At ‘Mortal Kombat’

We are a week out from Mortal Kombat coming back into our lives. So I decided to review the 1995 movie and see if it lives up to the nostalgia hype.

15 Things I Just Learned About the 1995 Mortal Kombat Movie – We Minored in Film

Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
Release Date. August 18th, 1995. Director. Paul W.S Anderson. Box-Office. 122.2 Million
This movie kind of gets you amped up and ready to go from the very get-go. The epic and I mean epic opening intro, you know – MORTAL KOMBAT! At the time movies that had been based on video games didn’t have the best track record, hell they still don’t. Even 26 years later, this is still regarded as one of the best video game movie adaptations of all time. I’m not sure if that’s saying a lot or saying very little.
I’ll say this, the movie is fun. It’s 26 years old, clearly, the movie will feel very ’90s, and since then the lore and mythology and love for all things MK has only grown. We were dealing with an IP that was still kind of a baby. That being said, in everything we get, I do feel like there was a real heart behind this project. Just at this time, studios didn’t want to pour a ton of movies into a video game movie film.
Personally, the casting is almost flawless. Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), Raiden (Christopher Lambert), and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) couldn’t be more perfect in their respected roles. I think that’s what really drives this movie forward because without proper casting we all know what happens – I’m looking at you MK Annihilation (which I won’t be reviewing). The only characters that needed to be properly cast and flushed out were Scorpion and Sub-Zero. At the time, they looked cool but they are almost meant to be low-level side characters and they are anything but that. The new movie looks to revolve around them and their history, so we will have come a long way from them being very disposable.
The fights feel like 1995 fight scenes, nothing special but some very memorable moments. Most notably Johnny Cage versus both Scorpion and Goro. Probably the highlight of the film, great one-liners and at the time Goro was King Shit. That will be one of the bummers from the new movie the absences of Johnny Cage and it will be interesting to see if maybe he shows up during a post-credit stinger.
We can’t really talk about this without blessing Robin Shou because he is the embodiment of Liu Kang. His incredible flow, his awesome moves, and the fact he was the only big three cast member to come back. It would be great if some of these OG cast members popped up in the new MK, I guess we will know soon enough.
The film works, it’s got some great set pieces, a fun cast, and some enjoyable fight sequences. It’s aged pretty well and as far as video game movies go, it’s near the top of the list. It set the bar pretty high in the ’90s.
Memorable and hasn’t been forgotten. Mortal Kombat showed fans what could be done with video game properties and we have waited well over two decades for the next chance to see these beloved characters in action. I can’t wait for the new movie to drop, GET OVER HERE!
Mortal Kombat = 68/100