Central Intelligence (2016)

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Ike BarinholtzDavid Stassen, Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne JohnsonKevin HartAmy RyanDanielle NicoletJason BatemanAaron PaulRyan HansenThomas KretschmannKumail NanjianiMelissa McCarthy
Seen on: 23.6.2016

Plot:
When he was in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart) was the star for everyone, but still with enough kindness in his heart to not bully the fat Bob (Dwayne Johnson) like everybody else did. But high school is long since over and Calvin may still have his smart and beautiful girlfriend Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but otherwise he is stuck in a total rut and dreading the upcoming school reunion. That’s when he gets a call from Bob and decides, on a whim, to meet with him. On the surface Bob is much changed: he is still huge, but from muscles and there doesn’t seem to be the tiniest bit of fat on his body. He is still weird, though, and his obvious excitement to see Calvin again is flattering, but strange. And then things get worse: turns out, Bob works for the CIA and he’s in trouble – and Calvin is quickly more involved than he ever wanted to be.

I was very hesitant about wanting to see Central Intelligence. Its humor really didn’t seem up my alley. But then again I think Dwayne Johnson is funny as hell, so I had hopes that he would make the film work for me. And while the film is far from being my favorite, that is mostly what happened.

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San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas
Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Carlton Cuse
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Will Yun Lee, Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes
Seen on: 29.5.2015

Plot:
Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a rescue helicopter pilot, a father and most recently a divorcee. His ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) just moved in with Emma’s new boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffud) and anyway, Blake is about to move to college. But when the biggest earthquake in recent history hits the west coast, it becomes Ray’s only mission to save his family against all odds, even if said family is much less helpless than one might think.

[SPOILERS, at least if you can’t guess the plot from other movies of the same ilk]

On the surface San Andreas is pretty standard fare: as the world falls apart, the heroic dad saves his family and thus wins back his ex-wife (whose new boyfriend is an idiot anyway). And I wouldn’t blame anybody if they decided to leave it at that, throw their hands up in exasperation and maybe avoid the film altogether. But personally I thought that there was a little more to the film than appeared at first. Also, the special effects were really cool.

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Furious 7 (2015)

Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul WalkerDwayne JohnsonJason Statham, Jordana BrewsterMichelle Rodriguez, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, (Luke Evans, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang)
Seen on: 11.4.2015

Plot:
After Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the rest of their team/family brought the criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) down, and brought him down so hard that he’s still in a coma, Shaw’s brother Deckard (Jason Statham) has sworn revenge. He starts in Tokyo, but he’s soon right in Dom’s and Brian’s lives – including their families. So Dom and Brian – who thought that they could finally settle down with Letty (Gina Rodriguez) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) respectively – find themselves less retired than expected. But Shaw is not the only trouble, there’s also Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) who orders them to help with a new surveillance software that could do much harm in the wrong hands – which is just where it risks ending up.

I watched all seven Fast & Furious movies in less than 24 hours (which was kinda awesome, but also kinda insane and not to be done sober*), so Furious 7 really had to be fantastic to still make me pay attention. But no worries, it did and with apparent ease.

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Hercules (2014)

Hercules
Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on: Steve Moore‘s comic
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Rebecca Ferguson, Joe Anderson, Peter Mullan

Plot:
Everybody knows the legend of Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) and his heroic deeds, strategically enhanced by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Now that he completed his twelve tasks and after horrific past events that still haunt him, Hercules works as a sword for hire with his group – Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) and Iolaus. When he is approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) for help defeating warlord Rheseus (Peter Santelmann), Hercules takes the job. But it isn’t quite as simple as it appears at first.

Hercules had everything I wanted it to have: self-awareness, nice action, quipping, Dwayne Johnson in a skirt, an excellent cast and so much fun. It was utterly enjoyable.

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Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Pete Collinsarticles
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed HarrisRob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Michael Rispoli

Plot:
Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) believes in two things: fitness and the American Dream. But his dream awaits fulfillment while he toils away in a fitness studio. When he gets a new client – Victor (Tony Shalhoub), superrich superdouche, Daniel teams up with his best friend Adrian (Anthony Mackie) and the recently released from prison Paul (Dwayne Johnson) to kidnap Victor and take everything he owns.

Pain & Gain was way more fun than I expected it to be. Not only were the performances by the main cast great, but the script was really entertaining and Bay hasn’t directed as well in a very, very, very long time.

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Snitch (2013)

Snitch
Director:  Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rafi GavronNadine Velazquez, Melina Kanakaredes, Benjamin Bratt, David Harbour, Harold Perrineau

Plot:
When Jason (Rafi Gavron) is arrested on drug charges that are not really called for, his father John (Dwayne Johnson) tries to bargain with the prosecution to get his sentence reduced. But the prosecution is quite unwilling to help. It’s only when John offers to basically go undercover for them and get some bigger fish arrested, that they agree to help. So John asks his employee and ex-con Daniel (Jon Bernthal) for an introduction into the drug world and soon finds himself a little in over his head.

Snitch isn’t a great movie. But it is quite ok and surprisingly full of social criticism.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Fast & Furious 6
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul WalkerDwayne Johnson, Jordana BrewsterMichelle RodriguezGina Carano, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Matt Schulze, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Joaquim de AlmeidaElsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, [SPOILER] Jason Statham [/SPOILER]

Plot:
After the events of Fast Five, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian’s (Paul Walker) group have scattered around the globe. Dom and Elena (Elsa Pataky), Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have settled down in paradise but it doesn’t feel like home to them. So when Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) tracks them down and offers them pardons in exchange for hunting down Shaw (Luke Evans), plus shows them pictures of a clearly still alive Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) working with Shaw, they jump at the chance and reassemble their team.

Fast & Furious 6 is fun. I do think it might have the dumbest script of them all, but maybe just because of that it’s extremely entertaining.

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Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana BrewsterTyrese GibsonLudacris, Matt Schulze, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Joaquim de AlmeidaElsa Pataky, Dwayne Johnson

Plot:
After the events of the last movie, Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have been on the run. They finally end up in Rio where they are hired for a robbery. But as it turns out, there is more to the robbery. And then Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) arrives in Rio to hunt them down. And Hobbs never misses his mark.

This installment was the best so far (and I’m not saying this just because of Dwayne Johnson). It just changed the right things about the series to appeal to my tastes more.

Fast-Five

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Sequel to: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Based on: the toys
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Adrienne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Walton Goggins, RZA, Arnold Vosloo, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis

Plot:
Since the last movie, Duke (Channing Tatum) has taken over the leadership of the G.I. Joes, with Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) as his second in command. Both Cobra Commander and Destro have been imprisoned and there should be an end to them. But it isn’t so. While on a mission that all the Joes (save Snake Eyes [Ray Park]) are on, they are attacked and nobody but Roadblock, Lady Jaye (Adrienne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) survive. The Cobras have not only killed the Joes, but also completely destroyed their reputation. And now it is the job of the three survivors [plus Snake Eyes] to set things right again.

Since I’m one of the few people who enjoyed the hell out of the first G.I. Joe movie, I expected grand things from this one. And it fully delivered. It doesn’t make much sense or is smart at all, but it is so. much. fun.

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Re-Watch: The Scorpion King (2002)

The Scorpion King
Director: Chuck Russell
Writer: Stephen Sommers, William Osborne, David Hayter
Prequel to: The Mummy Returns
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Hu, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bernard Hill, Grant Heslov, Peter Facinelli

Plot:
Memnon (Steven Brand) is taking over the world, one battle at a time, with the help of Cassandra’s (Kelly Hu) prophecies. The few remaining tribes come together and hire Mathayus (Dwayne Johnson) to try and stop Memnon by killing the sorceress. But things go differently than planned and Mathayus finds himself in the desert with a small-time crook (Grant Heslov) and said sorceress who is still very much alive. It seems destiny has a bigger fate in store for Mathayus.

Oh, I can not even begin to explain how much nostalgia is attached to this film in my head. Without that I probably wouldn’t like it as much as I do, though it would still be an amazingly cheesy, entertaining schlockfest.

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