‘The Fate of the Furious’ Review

fast-furious-8I’ve begun the last couple of reviews for films in the Fast & Furious series by noting just what an unusual path this franchise has taken to becoming one of the most successful and important film series of modern times. I don’t want to get too repetitive, but let’s just say that my opinion of this series has turned around so much that I’ve gone from thinking they were actively bad movies that I wouldn’t consider paying to see, to being hugely excited about seeing the latest instalment on opening night. Continue reading

‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review

kong-skull-island-kongIt makes sense that a studio would want to attempt a giant monsters cross-over again in the current trend for desiring shared universes, and considering that the Japanese production King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) is one of the earlier examples of such a movie. So in case you didn’t know, Kong: Skull Island takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla, but at a completely different time point so they are generally more unrelated, save for mentions of the mysterious Monarch organisation, and while the two most iconic movie monsters of all time are clearly being positioned for a future confrontation, Skull Island is its own story and not all a big set-up. Continue reading

‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Review

John_Wick_Chapter_2_Large.jpg2014’s John Wick appeared pretty much out of nowhere and was quickly embraced by action fans of all stripes as a potential new genre classic. It was not so much the character or storyline that made John Wick such an enjoyable piece of action filmmaking though; it’s premise was a weary one, former elite killer comes out of retirement for revenge after being wronged, even if it had a somewhat novel spin in that it was John Wick’s dog that got killed to provoke him rather than his wife. The great success of the film was two-fold, first in its manner of choreographing its action scenes, employing long takes and practical effects which really helped it stand out in a world fill of quick edits and massive CGI explosions, but also the world it presented. Continue reading

‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’ Review

xxx-the-returnI won’t pretend I have any idea what goes on in Vin Diesel’s mind, but now he’s made all of the money with the resurgence of the Fast & Furious films the producer-star has revealed that he apparently wishes to resurrect the other properties he led early in his career, first with 2013’s awful Riddick sequel/reboot, and now he’s turned his eyes on xXx, his mostly forgotten 2002 “extreme sports James Bond” actioner that started another franchise he promptly exited after a single film. Who knows why, but he has the clout to get it made, so get it made he will. Continue reading

Action Week: ‘USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage’ Review

uss-indianapolisNow I couldn’t have a week of watching DTV action movies without at least one appearance from Nicolas Cage could I? It’s not like I’m short on options, the hokily titled USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage is Cage’s fourth (of five) movies out this year. In this fact-based would-be World War II epic, Cage plays real-life Captain Charles McVay, who commands the titular cruiser USS Indianapolis. Continue reading

Action Week: ‘Kickboxer: Vengeance’ Review

kickboxer-vengeanceThere had been rumours of a remake of 1989’s Kickboxer – an early success for Jean-Claude Van Damme that itself spawned 4 sequels in the early nineties – for some time now. Upon its eventual release now in 2016, the producers are apparently so sure about their reboot of the series that a second film, titled Kickboxer: Retaliation, has already been filmed and is slated for release within the year. But is such confidence in their new series warranted? Continue reading

Action Week: ‘Hard Target 2’ Review

Hard Target 22016 has been referred to as the year or the unwanted sequel numerous times, with plentiful examples of sequels underperforming, but here’s a sequel I actually hadn’t even heard about until last month; Hard Target 2. I’m not sure if there’s even enough name recognition for 1993’s Hard Target anymore to resurrect it for a DTV sequel now, and it tends to be best remembered purely for the fact that it was John Woo’s American directorial debut. I haven’t seen it in years but I remember it being one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s better early nineties efforts. Continue reading