REVIEW: Chaos Walking (2021)

Daisy Ridley as Viola and Tom Holland as Todd Hewitt in Doug Liman’s CHAOS WALKING — Photo: Lionsgate.

Directed by Doug Liman — Screenplay by Patrick Ness & Christopher Ford.

On paper, this should be a huge hit. It’s a science-fiction action film starring Tom Holland of Spider-Man fame and Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame, they are surrounded by a more than capable cast including the incredible Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round), and the film was directed by Edge of Tomorrow‘s Doug Liman. And yet this is a film that has been through quite a lot of behind-the-scenes work. It has gone through several rounds of rewrites and expensive reshoots, and it, reportedly, was the victim of poor reception at test screenings. After having had its release delayed several times, Chaos Walking is now here, but while it has all the ingredients of a film made for me, it just doesn’t work as a complete package.

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REVIEW: The Suicide Squad (2021)

David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Idris Elba, and Daniela Mechior in THE SUICIDE SQUAD — Photo: Jessica Miglio / Warner Bros.

Directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) — Screenplay by James Gunn.

Over the years, I have certainly not tried to hide the fact that I think 2016’s Suicide Squad, which was directed by David Ayer (though he has repeatedly made it clear that the film was essentially taken away from him as a result of studio interference), is, to put it mildly, one of my least favorite films ever made in the superhero genre. That 2016 film certainly reeked of studio interference, it was an almost incoherent mess, it was needlessly grimy and at times quite ugly, it used a decent soundtrack as a crutch and in a way that became incredibly tiring, all the while failing to get you to care about the characters or the relationships they were building. There were some decent things about it, but, on the whole, it felt like someone had tried to turn Ayer’s vision into a shameless imitation of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that just didn’t work for the film that Ayer had envisioned.

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REVIEW: Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Karen Gillan as Sam in ‘Gunpowder Milkshake.’ Photo: Reiner Bajo / Netflix / StudioCanal.

Directed by Navot Papushado — Screenplay by Navot Papushado & Ehud Lavski.

While the Chad Stahelski and David Leitch’s John Wick from 2014 was a fantastic and emotionally involving revenge action film, I didn’t initially like the idea of making it a franchise. Eventually, though, I warmed to the idea and grew to really appreciate the Keanu Reeves-led stylized action franchise, and I became invested in the films’ epic underworld which was surprisingly complex. With the success of Stahelski and Leitch’s action franchise, similar films were produced to varying results. Unfortunately, in spite of its impressive cast, Navot Papushado’s Gunpowder Mikshake feels more like an imitation of Stahelski and Leitch’s impressive world-building than a successful original film.

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REVIEW: The Tomorrow War (2021)

Still image — Chris Pratt in ‘THE TOMORROW WAR’ — Available now on Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) — Screenplay Zach Dean.

Several years ago, there was a time when me and my father would watch and rewatch science-fiction films so much so that we knew the dialogue by heart. I can’t possibly tell you the amount of times that I’ve seen, for example, Stargate, which I have a lot of love for. When I was a kid, my father would always steer me towards horror or science-fiction films, and therefore it was a great joy for me to be able to watch this film with my father. Although I had some problems with the film, I genuinely had a lot of fun with it, and I know that if I were still a kid today, then he and I would watch The Tomorrow War over and over again.

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REVIEW: Shorta (2020)

“Shorta,” Still Image — Photo: Tine Harden / Jacob Møller / Scanbox.

Directed by Anders Ølholm & Frederik Louis Hviid — Screenplay by Anders Ølholm & Frederik Louis Hviid.

Shorta (which is apparently an Arabic word for ‘police’) is a Danish action-thriller about the so-called blue wall of silence, i.e. a tendency for police officers to withhold information and not report on their colleagues’ misconduct. The film follows two police officers — Jens (played by Simon Sears) and Mike (played by Jacob Lohmann) — who are on patrol. In the film, law enforcement has been asked not to go into the fictionalized ghetto ‘Svalegården’ since the last significant encounter between police officers and the inhabitants of Svalegården led to officers kneeling on the back of the neck of a young man, Talib Ben Hassi, who is, at the beginning of the film, in a coma. Continue reading “REVIEW: Shorta (2020)”

REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)

Outside the Wire Image
‘Outside the Wire,’ — Photo: Jonathan Prime / Netflix.

Directed by Mikael Håfström — Screenplay by Rob Yescombe & Rowan Athale.

In 2020, Netflix found some success by placing a Marvel star in a fast-paced action movie with a somewhat forgettable plot with the Chris Hemsworth-led Extraction, which I liked. Now, in 2021, Netflix is hoping that they can do the same thing again with Outside the Wire, a science fiction action film starring Anthony Mackie, from the director of the John Cusack-led 1408, which I actually also like quite a bit. Unfortunately, Outside the Wire is nowhere near as effective of an action film as Extraction was, and they forgot to make it as fast-paced as the aforementioned film. Instead, we’re left with a serviceable but incredibly forgettable and generic science fiction flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)”

REVIEW: Tenet (2020)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of Tenet — Directed by Christopher Nolan.

In December of 2019, I sat down in an IMAX theater to watch the ninth episode of the so-called Skywalker-saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Accompanying the latest Disney space opera was an early preview of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Tenet. The lengthy, overwhelming, and jaw-dropping clip was riveting and showed a lot of promise. As a Star Wars fan, it hurts to admit that that clip was so good, in fact, that the Disney-film it preceded struggled to live up to it. In fact, during the last eight months, I’ve thought a lot about that preview, while I have yet to revisit The Rise of Skywalker. Christopher Nolan’s ambitious spy flick has, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, been proclaimed to be the potential savior of the theatrical experience, which has, understandably, struggled immensely this summer. Continue reading “REVIEW: Tenet (2020)”

REVIEW: The Old Guard (2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Old Guard — Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Old Guard is a straight-to-Netflix superhero action film that is based on the comic book of the same name, which was written by the film’s screenwriter Greg Rucka. The Old Guard follows a group of four warriors led by Andromache “Andy” of Scythia (played by Charlize Theron). Each of these warriors is superpowered with regenerative healing abilities, which means that they can all survive being killed. After the superpowered vigilante squad survive an ambush on a mission in South Sudan, they soon realize that they are being hunted by someone who wants the power that they possess, and, meanwhile, they have visions that indicate that there is a potential new recruit in the United States Marine Corps, Nile Freeman (played by KiKi Layne). Continue reading “REVIEW: The Old Guard (2020)”

REVIEW: Extraction (2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Extraction — Directed by Sam Hargrave.

The straight-to-Netflix action thriller Extraction is based on the comic book Ciudad, which was written by Ande Parks (comic book writer), and the Russo brothers (the directors of Avengers: Endgame, one of whom also wrote Extraction). Extraction was even directed by a Marvel movie veteran. This is the directorial debut of Sam Hargrave, who has experience as a stunt double and stunt coordinator on multiple Marvel movies. Unlike Disney-Marvel movies, however, Extraction is filled to the brim with excessive violence. Hargrave’s debut, though not narratively challenging, is a thrilling exercise in hectic action set pieces. It’s not exactly John Wick-quality, but it is one of the best Netflix original action films to have been released thus far. Continue reading “REVIEW: Extraction (2020)”

REVIEW: 6 Underground (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of 6 Underground — Directed by Michael Bay.

If you think the Netflix film-catalog merely consists of Oscar bait and shoddy romantic-comedies, then Michael Bay’s 6 Underground is here to disprove that notion. While Netflix is releasing this year’s batch of awards-worthy dramas — like Marriage Story and The Irishman — they also have their complete antithesis, 6 Underground, ready for quick consumption. Its star, Ryan Reynolds, has been seen in marketing describing the film as the ‘most Michael Bay movie in the history of Michael Bay,’ thus promising an explosion-heavy, no-holds-barred modern action movie from one of the most commercially successful filmmakers in history. Reynolds’ description is apt, however, 6 Underground just isn’t a very good movie. Continue reading “REVIEW: 6 Underground (2019)”