Mortal Kombat (2021)

Mortal Kombat
Director: Simon McQuoid
Writer: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham
Based on: the video game
Cast: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Joe Taslim, Mehcad Brooks, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, Chin Han, Ludi Lin, Max Huang, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson
Seen on: 22.6.2021

Plot:
Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is a MMA fighter and has gotten his fair share of beatings – as long as he can earn some money for his family (Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent), he’s happy to do it. What Cole doesn’t know, though, is that he is actually the descendant of a legendary fighter, a champion of the Mortal Kombat, which in turn makes Cole eligible to fight in the next Mortal Kombat, too. Since Earth lost the last nine tournaments against Outworld, another loss would mean that Earth goes to Outworld. Permanently. That’s why Shang Tsun (Chin Han), leader of the Outworld fighters, won’t take any chances and has sent Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) to kill all possible champions before the tournament starts. Next on the list: Cole, who finds himself on the run with Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee), trying to figure out his powers.

I was overjoyed to see that Mortal Kombat still got a cinema start after all, but I seriously misjudged the film. I really didn’t expect it to be as bad as it is.

The film poster showing a face in a mask that shows only the eyes, the left side is Scorpion, glowing with fire. The right side is Sub-Zero frosted over with ice.
Continue reading

Chaos Walking (2021)

Chaos Walking
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Patrick Ness, Christopher Ford
Based on: Patrick Ness’ novel The Knife of Never Letting Go
Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Demián Bichir, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Cynthia Erivo, Bethany Anne Lind, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, Ray McKinnon
Seen on: 21.6.2021

Content Note: cissexism

Plot:
Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) is the last boy in Prentisstown, a settlement town on another planet. When the human settlers arrived, the men got telepathic powers. Shortly after their arrival, the native inhabitants killed all the women and girls. Todd grew up knowing nothing but the Noise of the men around him, and as the youngest settler is just about to reach adulthood. But one day he is out and about with his dog Manchee and finds a crashed spaceship – and a girl (Daisy Ridley). He lets the Mayor (Mads Mikkelsen) know, but soon has doubts about how the girl is treated. Doubts that his guardians Ben (Demián Bichir) and Cillian (Kurt Sutter) strengthen. In no time, Todd and the girl – Viola – are on the run together.

I only recently read the book this is based on and hated it. But I watched Chaos Walking anyway because the cinema has air-condition and I knew I’d be getting my puppy a few days later which means no cinema for a while. And, okay, for Mads Mikkelsen. And even though my expectations were lower than low after my experience with the book, I was still underwhelmed.

The film poster showing Todd (Tom Holland) and Viola (Daisy Ridley) superimposed over an eclipse and a moon and a rocket.
Continue reading

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, Dave Callaham
Sequel to: Wonder Woman
Based on: William Moulton Marston‘s comics character
Cast: Gal GadotChris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro PascalConnie NielsenRobin Wright, Lilly Aspell, Amr Waked, Kristoffer Polaha
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 21.6.2021

Content Note: rape (dubious consent at the very least), racism, white saviorism

Plot:
Diana (Gal Gadot) has been living among the humans for decades now, occasionally making an appearance as Wonder Woman, but trying to keep those anonymous. For her day job, she works as an anthropologist in the museum where she meets her new, rather eager colleague Barbara (Kristen Wiig), as well as TV personality slash investor Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). While Diana does take a liking to Barbara, she distrusts Lord immediately. And with good reason – as an artifact that supposedly grants wishes goes missing. But not after fulfilling Diana’s biggest wish and bringing back Steve (Chris Pine).

Given it’s late cinema start, the cat was out of the bag regarding Wonder Woman 1984 and its quality, or rather lack thereof. With my expectatons approriately lowered, the film was ultimately okay, apart from the things that were categorically not okay.

The film poster showing Diana (Gal Gadot) as Wonder Woman in a golden, winged suit with the glowing lasso of truth.
Continue reading

Faster (2010)

Faster
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Writer: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Tom Berenger, Matt Gerald, Mike Epps, Moon Bloodgood, Jennifer Carpenter, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Seen on: 31.5.2021

Plot:
The Driver (Dwayne Johnson) spent ten years in prison after a bank robbery, but now he is finally being released – and he has people to go after. He immediately goes for it, too. Leaving the investigating detectives (Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino) puzzling over his motives. Meanwhile, a bored billionaire and killer-for-hire (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is sent after the Driver as well. The Driver doesn’t have much time to finish his business.

Faster was probably the worst Dwayne Johnson film I ever saw. I mean, usually his films are, if not exactly good, at least entertaining all the way. But this one was just dreary and trying way too hard.

The film poster showing the Driver (Dwayne Johnson) standing tall, revolver in hand.
Continue reading

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Deep Blue Sea
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
Cast: Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rapaport, Stellan Skarsgård, LL Cool J, Aida Turturro
Seen on: 22.5.2021

Plot:
Dr. Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) and her team have been working on a cure to Alzheimer’s by experimenting on sharks. But after one of their sharks escaped from the research facility, attacked a ship and fortunately got brough back in by shark wrangler Carter (Thomas Jane) before anybody died, Susan is in trouble with the company that funds her research. She promises quick results and the company owner Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson) wants to pay their research facility a visit. But once they start their final test, everything goes to hell.

I am reasonably certain that I watched Deep Blue Sea already at some point, but I don’t actually have any memory of seeing it before, so I’m not labeling this a re-watch. If I had remembered, I probably wouldn’t have watched it again. While it does have some nice moments, for the most part it’s pretty cringey.

The film poster showing a shark with his mouth open wide behind Susan (Saffron Burrows), up to her breast in water.
Continue reading

The Covenant (2006)

The Covenant
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: J.S. Cardone
Cast: Steven Strait, Laura Ramsey, Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitsch, Chace Crawford, Toby Hemingway, Jessica Lucas, Kyle Schmid, Wendy Crewson, Stephen McHattie
Seen on: 14.5.2021

Plot:
Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Tyler (Chase Crawford) and Reid (Toby Hemingway) are known as the Sons of Ipswich, direct descendants of the witches persecuted in Salem. What the people around them don’t know is that they actually do have magic powers. A new year at their school brings the promise to come into their full powers when they turn 18, and it also brings new people – like Sarah (Laura Ramsey), who Caleb feels immediately drawn to, and Chase (Sebastian Stan) who may be more than it seems at first.

I had heard of The Covenant mostly from people who like Sebastian Stan a lot and I got the distinct impression that this film was pretty good. Well, reader, it was not, on really any level.

The film poster showing the Sons of Ipswich - Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Tyler (Chase Crawford) and Reid (Toby Hemingway) - standing at the edge of a cliff, looking down. Below them is another image of Caleb and Chase (Sebastian Stan) in a magic battle.
Continue reading

Gemini Man (2019)

Gemini Man
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Ralph Brown, Linda Emond, Ilia Volok, E.J. Bonilla
Seen on: 16.10.2019

Plot:
Henry (Will Smith) can look back on a very successful career as a hitman and has decided to call it a day. But his plans to simply retire are crossed when he receives the information that his last kill, and who knows how many, may not have been quite as purely motivated as Henry thought. As Henry starts to question his jobs, he quickly becomes a target himself. And who better to hunt a seasoned assassin than a younger, cloned version of him?

Gemini Man is not an awesome film, it’s a little too clichéd and predictable. But I have definitely seen much worse.

The film poster showing Henry (Will Smith) with an automatic weapon, behind him a fancy building and his own de-aged face in close-up-
Continue reading

Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Writer: Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy
Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Kristian Bruun, Elyse Levesque, Nicky Guadagni, John Ralston
Seen on: 4.10.2019

Plot:
Grace (Samara Weaving) just married Alex (Mark O’Brien) at his luxurious family estate. The ceremony was beautiful and things are winding down, when Alex informs her that it is family tradition that the play a game on wedding night with the entire family. Grace is determined to make a good impression, so of course she’ll play. What she doesn’t know, though, is that it’s not really a game – it’s a question of life and death as she needs to survive the night.

Ready or Not is an entertaining film with a great first, and a not-so great second half. It does squander its critical potential a little, but I definitely had fun with it.

The film poster showing Grace (Samara Weaving) wearing a wedding dress and a bullet belt, and holding a shotgun. She is surrounded by several characters, all sporting different weapons.
Continue reading

Angel Has Fallen (2019)

Angel Has Fallen
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook, Ric Roman Waugh
Sequel to: Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen
Cast: Gerard Butler, Piper Perabo, Morgan Freeman, Frederick Schmidt, Danny Huston, Rocci Williams, Lance Reddick, Michael Landes, Tim Blake Nelson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nick Nolte
Seen on: 2.9.2019

Plot:
Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is still working as the leading Secret Service agent to protect the President (Morgan Freeman), but he is in talk to be promoted to Director. Mike is hesitant to accept, though, as he has health issues he is keeping from the President and from his wife Leah (Piper Perabo). Before he can make any decisions, though, the President is attacked and all the agents protecting him are killed – all but Mike, who is injured, and the President himself, who is in a coma. Quickly, blame falls on Mike and Mike has to run to find out who is actually responsible for the attack.

Angel Has Fallen is probably my favorite of the three Fallen films. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good film, but it is the perfect film to get drunk to and laugh about.

The film poster showing Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) in the front, wearing an armored vest and holding a gun. Behind him walks President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman).
Continue reading

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Spin-off from: The Fast and the Furious series
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza González, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, John Tui, Joshua Mauga, Joe Anoa’i, Rob Delaney, Ryan Reynolds
Seen on: 12.8.2019

Plot:
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) hate each other, and that is putting it very mildly. But when a dangerous virus, called The Snowflake, is about to get into the wrong hands, they are asked to put aside their differences and go after it together. It was last seen with MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), as in Deckard’s younger sister. But even though Hattie is keeping it safe at the moment, somebody is still after it and her: Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) who has his own agenda and enhancements to make it happen.

Hobbs & Shaw is a great spin-off form the Fast and the Furious series, hitting just the right tone and style (albeit leaving gaping plot holes with regards to the other films that should not be discussed). I had great fun with it.

The film poster showing the main characters, Big Ben bathed in red light, an explosion, a car, and a motorcycle.
Continue reading