Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Based on: Lee Child‘s novel Never Go Back
Sequel to: Jack Reacher
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis HodgeDanika YaroshPatrick Heusinger
Seen on: 17.11.2016

Plot:
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), former military man, now freelancer, works closely with the US government on various missions, always supported by his handler Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). But before they can actually meet in person, Reacher hears that she was arrested on espionage charges. Reacher’s own arrest doesn’t take long either, proving his suspicion that somebody tries to frame them. The only option he sees is to break himself and Turner out of prison and prove their innocence while also protecting the teenaged Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter as he only recently learned.

This is a clear case of “should have re-read my own review of the first film before watching the sequel”. For some reason, I had it in my head tht Jack Reacher was funny like Knight and Day was funny. But it wasn’t and I hated it – which I had forgotten. So I was willing to watch Never Go Back and was taken by surprise and disappointed by the absolute seriousness of it all. At least I didn’t completely hate it, though.

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk
Remake of: The Magnificent Seven
Based on: Shichinin no samurai
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Cam Gigandet, Sean Bridgers
Seen on: 14.10.2016

Plot:
Rose Creek is slowly being squeezed dry by Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). When one of the citizens (Matt Bomer) refuses to cooperate with Bogue, he is shot. His widow Emma (Haley Bennett) decides to go and look for help, somebody to take on Bogue. By chance she finds Chisolm (Denzel Washington) and becomes a witness to his skills as a gunman. She begs for his help and Chisolm agrees reluctantly. But first he’ll have to get together a team and so he gets in touch with a few old friends.

I have neither seen Seven Samurai, nor the old Magnificent Seven, so I was fresh to the story with this film and I really wasn’t particularly taken with it.

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Re-Watch: The Mechanic (2011)

The Mechanic
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Lewis John Carlino
Remake of: the 1972 Charles Bronson film
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
Seen on: 29.8.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a contract killer, the best there is. Even when his next assignment is his mentor and best friend Harry (Donald Sutherland), he only waits to see the evidence that Harry is guilty until he kills him. Yet, afterwards he takes on Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) as an apprentice, despite all his doubts about Steve as a person and social proximity in general, and teaches him everything he knows.

I completely missed that a sequel to this film was coming, so when I saw the posters for that, I was all excited and decided that I really needed to re-watch the first film – and then I missed the sequel because they didn’t show it at decent times in the original version and how can I watch a film with the Stat without hearing his voice? Does not work. In any case, watching The Mechanic a second time is as entertaining as watching it the first time, which is to say: very.

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Re-Watch: The Expendables 2 (2012)

The Expendables 2
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone
Sequel to: The Expendables
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Nan Yu, Liam Hemsworth, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Charisma Carpenter
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the rest of his crew (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jet Li and Liam Hemsworth) have just saved a Chinese businessman who was kidnapped, when Church (Bruce Willis) calls in a favor: they are supposed to retrieve something from a safe in a crashed plane in the Albanian mountains. To crack that safe, they need to take Maggie (Nan Yu) along (though Yin Yang [Jet Li] stays in China). What should be a very quick and not very eventful mission, goes south when Villain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) appears.

When I saw Expendables 2 for the first time, I finally watched the kind of film I wanted The Expendables (1) to be and it made me happy (I liked it so much I watched the first one again which I shouldn’t have). On second watch it isn’t quite as good anymore, but it is still above and beyond the first film.

The_Expendables_2

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The Expendables 2 (2012)

The Expendables 2
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone
Sequel to: The Expendables
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Nan Yu, Liam Hemsworth, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Charisma Carpenter

Plot:
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the rest of his crew (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jet Li and Liam Hemsworth*) have just saved a Chinese businessman who was kidnapped, when Church (Bruce Willis) calls in a favor: they are supposed to retrieve something from a safe in a crashed plane in the Albanian mountains. To crack that safe, they need to take Maggie (Nan Yu) along (though Yin Yang [Jet Li] stays in China**). What should be a very quick and not very eventful mission, goes south when Villain*** (Jean-Claude Van Damme) appears.

The Expendables 2 is everything The Expendables should have been already, but was too shoddily directed and taking itself way too seriously for. In this one, they just go with the flow and end up with a film that is pretty damn satisfying.

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