Tag Archives: action

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

There are major spoilers in this review, past the jump on the main page, but if you’re reading the article page or via RSS there will be no jump, stop reading now, you have been warned.  You will not be warned again.

We took the chance to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine at our local Showcase De Lux (sic) in Derby.  The sound and picture were really good, the leather reclining chairs were okay (not as comfortable as we’d hoped), the service and prices in the bar were shocking (prices not so surprising, service disappointing).  Combined with the price and the cost of parking (during the day) we’ll probably stick to the premier seats in the Nottingham Showcase.

Anyway.

I thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was okay.  The movie tells the story of the (apparently) most popular X-Men member, Wolverine.  Unfortunately, a lot of that was already covered in the first few X-Men movies, so there’s a little bit of repetition.  Sure we learn some new stuff (for people who’ve never read the comics) and we see a little back story about how Logan started out, and we get to see how he turns from man-with-bone-blades to man-with-adamantium-bones.  The problem is that there’s no tension.  Spoilers follow.

Continue reading X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Bulletproof Monk

I bought this movie an age ago, and then I read a review saying it was pure tripe.  So it sat on the shelf for a long old while in the ‘to watch’ section.  However, the universe works in karmic ways and while a friend was visiting, we asked her what she wanted to watch and she picked this.  It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  It’s a pretty straight forward buddy movie, an Asian monk protecting an ancient scroll, a young American martial arts movie loving kid and the love interest.  The monk takes the kid under his wing (even if the kid doesn’t know it), prophecies are fulfilled and the world is saved.

There are some above-average action sequences, some sassy dialog, some tin-pot wisdom and a couple of scenes which make you glad you watched.  There are some frustrations as well, the villain introduces some over complex technology near the end to explain away one minor plot issue that could have been countered in more simple and pleasing ways and bits of the final battle leave a sour taste in the mouth for their paint-by-numbers feel.  Overall though it satisfies the comedy action glands and presses some of the right buttons.  Certainly no more than 5/10 but it’s a solid 5.

Hancock

I saw Hancock listed recently, in a collection of Superhero Spoof movies.  Let’s get this straight from the start, this is not a spoof.  This is a superhero movie and if you go in expecting a spoof you’ll be disappointed.  Yes, it’s a comedic superhero movie, but the comedy is an inherent part of the action and the story, this is a superhero movie with heart, depth and an excellent twist.

I was in fact, totally surprised at how much I enjoyed this, certainly, the most surprising movie experience in quite a while.  I was expecting a steady Will Smith comedy vehicle but Hancock is much more than that.  Our hero (Hancock) is a drunk, asshole superhero who saves people from crime and causes more damage in the process than the criminals ever would.  His reputation stinks, most people hate him and the city has hundreds of warrants out for his arrest, which he ignores.  It’s clear who really needs saving in this town, and when Hancock saves the life of a publicity specialist the resulting relationship nearly kills them all.

I won’t tell you anything else about the story because the real enjoyment of this story comes from the twists and to give them away would destroy half the film.  Suffice to say the performances are great, I really thought Will gave a great performance, big when it needed to be big and understated when it needed that.  Charlize Theron is a little hit and miss, but when she hits the character it’s really great.  There’s one really emotional scene, but it’s quietly sad and Charlize pulls a blinder.  I loved the humour, the subtle touches and the excellent action sequences.  Hancock really is a fully rounded and enjoyable movie.

Taken

Liam Neeson isn’t the first person that springs to mind when talking about action movies but he’s a great actor with plenty of on screen presence and I was hopeful that Taken would deliver.  The film starts out pretty well, we learn about Neeson (ex-government agent of some kind) and his relationship with his ex-wife and 17 year old daughter.  Neeson is clearly paranoid and his ex-wife is maybe less protective of her daughter than she should be, so neither of them are perfect.  His daughter is planning a trip to Paris with her slightly older friend, they tell Neeson they’re staying in one place but the reality is they’re following a band on tour.  He finds out, but she still goes.

Once in France however, it’s clear her friend has slightly less concern about their safety than maybe she should and within moments they’re both kidnapped.  There’s no real spoiler here, the whole premise of the movie is that Neesom’s character has to locate his daughter, everything up to this point has really been about setting your expectations of him as a father and an action hero.

The pace quickens immediately from this point onwards, with Neeson telling his daughter’s captors that he has ‘certain skills’ and that he will find them.  You get the impression that these skills will be stealthy, investigative, assassin-like .  It turns out he’s just good at killing people with guns and running around.  The first big let down of the film is that Neeson isn’t that believable, not because of his acting but because the character isn’t that well written.  He’s too blundering, too reliant on luck, too emotional.  Yes, he’s trying to save his daughter but he’s a man of steel and iron and if he can’t control his anger at the critical moment then what kind of government agent was he?  The second let down is that there’s no twist.  None.  The movie starts at A, moves through the alphabet and arrives and Z.

All that out of the way – it’s a half decent action thriller.  The scenes are well played, there’s a small amount of tension as Neeson gets closer and closer to the men who have his daughter, and there’s a couple of moments where we see what might have been with a better written hero.  Maybe Bourne spoiled us all but in his shadow Bryan Mills (Neeson’s character) just looks like a thug.

I would have liked to see more skulduggery, and more involvement from his former team members (they get a small intro at the start).  Taken is a simple movie without complexity or concern for detail, it’ll probably entertain you for 93 minutes but you may soon wonder what you just did and where those 93 minutes went.