Transcendence

Fascinating premise

What it’s about

After an assassination attempt Will’s desperate wife uploads his consciousness into a quantum computer to save him. He soon begins making groundbreaking discoveries but also displays signs of a dark and hidden motive.

My thoughts

Despite Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman starring in this film along with Paul Bettany, to say that this film got a poor response would be an understatement, it’s Rotten Tomatoes score is just 19%, the question is though does it deserve such a poor response?

​Well in all honesty yes and no, on one level it did deserve its response, and that is because it was and continues to be billed as a very different film to what it actually is. Basically this is an arty film which has a very deep but also interesting premise which is in reality an exploration of the human mind, so basically this film is about delving into the ethics and philosophies of science and technology.

I imagine a lot of people simply from reading that will think that this is not a film for them. And you could be right, but that does not mean that this is not a good film to which. This brings me back to the question of does it deserve its poor critical score. As a commercial film without a doubt, but if it is watched with what it actually is in mind, an exploration of the human mind and the ethics and philosophies of science, this is for what it is a decent film. Or at least I think it is.

To say the least I’m a fan of films which are not afraid to ask the tough questions and follow through with answers that are truthful and honest to the world they have created. And that’s what this film does, you can argue that the world they have created is rubbish but you cannot deny they stay true to it.

The story itself is at its heart quite simple, a woman is in love with a man, but that man has been poisoned and has only weeks to live and she is desperate to save him.

They are great scientists and one of their friends has been experimenting with uploading a person’s mind onto a computer. One of the big questions of the film is is this actually possible, can you upload a person’s consciousness into a computer. Or, will it simply be a digital copy.

In this film they attempt to find out the answer, illegally of course, because Johnny Depp’s character, Doctor Will Caster, gets uploaded onto the computer. His wife played by Rebecca Hall and his friend Max Waters played by Paul Bettany are the ones who secretly upload Will Caster’s mind to the computer. But there is a bit of caveat, Will Caster had been working on creating a self aware computer and they used that computer as a means to upload his mind.

And this is a big factor in this film, is the uploaded Will Caster actually still Will Caster, or is it simply a computer program which on some levels appears to be Will Caster but in actual fact is not. Evelyn Caster thinks that it’s Will, Max Waters does not.

What muddies the waters is the fact the uploaded Will Caster seems to be on a mission to create a means to save the planet, and through technology is able to pretty much heal people from any injury or disease.

So in away think of it like the self-aware computer from Terminator, Skynet, but in this case rather than wanting to kill people, the uploaded Will Caster has good intentions. But the question is are those good intentions ethical and actually to the benefit of mankind.

Step forward a terrorist group who are against technology, and are afraid of the very technology that Will Caster had been working on. In fact they are the group who attempted to kill Will Caster in the first place. They kidnap Max Waters and turn him to their cause, and eventually through him reach out to Morgan Freeman’s character in an effort to finally take down Depp’s character.

So like said this is very much a film that asks questions about the ethics and morality of technology while at the same time asking philosophical questions about what it means to be alive. Are we simply a body and a mind, nothing more than chemical reactions and brain synapses, or are we something more, a mind with the body.

All in all this film is one of those films that if you’re looking for something for purely entertainment purposes then you may find this a disappointment, you may not but there is a high chance that you will, but if you’re looking for something that will make you think, this will most certainly do that. Whether you will think that it’s a load of rubbish or not is an entirely different story, but it will make you think. That means from me this film gets a thumbs up as like said I love films that make you think.

Director: Wally Pfister

Writer: Jack Paglen

Genre: sci-fi, drama, thriller

Year: 2014

​Runtime: 119 minutes

Tenet

A highly complex but enjoyable thrill ride

What it’s about

A secret agent is given a single word as his weapon and sent to prevent the onset of World War III. He must travel through time and bend the laws of nature in order to be successful in his mission.

My thoughts

Rumour is that it took Christopher Nolan five years to get the idea right in his head, then a further five years to term the idea that was in his head into a script. And considering how complex the plot for this film is it is understandable why it would have taken so long.

This is basically an espionage thriller about time travel, and in a way it feels a little bit of a throwback to classic Bond films, not in the time travel and complexity element, but in the spy battling the bad guy element.

In classic Bond films the narrative normally went along the lines of, Bond uses a girl to get on the inside, the bad guy has control of that girl and that girl finds herself aiding Bond under the belief that should she do so he will help her get away from the bad guy.

The fact that the bad guy in this film is a Russian who plans on destroying the world, just makes the link to Bond films of old even stronger. The fact that the bad guy initially invites the good guy to meet him on his yacht is a further throwback to Bond films of old.

Considering Christopher Nolan also is known to be a big fan of Bond films perhaps the similarities are understandable. Anyhow, I’m digressing, so basically this is sort of classic James Bond type narrative thrown into a world of the most complex time travel you will ever have come across.

Basically, John David Washington’s lead character, and I say lead character because the character never gets a name, all we know is that he is a CIA agent who has been enlisted by a mysterious organisation known only by the name of Tenet. Anyhow, John David Washington’s character, I’ll call him the protagonist, must do battle against Kenneth Branagh’s Russian baddie.

Like said a woman is in the middle of this battle, Kenneth Branagh’s characters wife, who is played by Elizabeth Debicki. She has fallen out of love with Branagh’s character, Sator, but he won’t let her go.

Washington’s character offers to help her in return for her helping him. Before talking about the time travel aspect I want to talk about the problem with the latter. In fact I am going to talk about the problem with this film full stop, and that is lack of characterisation.

Outside of Debicki’s character, Kat, it is really hard to buy into the characters motives, I have no doubt that Washington’s character would want to save the world, but there is just no connection to Debicki’s character, it just doesn’t feel like he has any sort of bond with her, least of all a bond that would make him go to the lengths he is willing to go to to help her.

Then there is Branagh’s character, and this is a little bit of a spoiler alert but not an important one, in fact there are a good number of spoiler alerts in this post but in all honesty spoiler alert won’t spoil this film, in fact you could be told the entire plot and story from start to finish and it likely would not affect your enjoyment of the film. Quite the opposite in fact it may help you understand it.

Anyhow, I’ve gone off track, Branagh’s character, Sator, basically he is planning on ending his life and when he dies the world will end, but his motive for wanting to do so is just not believable. In fact I watched this film with my father, and perhaps he said it best. Why would he want to destroy the world, it makes no sense. Especially considering he has a kid.

And that is exactly it, the character that Nolan has created just does not feel like a character that would be willing to destroy the world, I would buy he desired to rule it but not destroy it. And considering the entire premise is based around the protagonist, so Washington’s character, stopping this guy from doing so you have a big problem right there.

In all honesty this is why this film is not as good as Interstellar or Inception, both of those films had very strong characters, this film does not. And it is not the actor’s fault, they all put in solid performances, I’m not sure it is the fault of the script door the directing, I suspect the thing at fault is the plot. It is simply too complex to spend any real-time building up characterisation.

So this is a film which is completely and entirely about the plot, and the characters really exist as vessels in which to help drive the plot forward.

This brings me to the plot, or rather specifically the time travel, because considering that this film is all about the plot it better be good enough to justify the latter characterisation. Get ready for this, because this plot puts the complex into the word complex, basically people from the future have created a means of time travel. But this is no time travel like any you will have heard of before, this time travel uses basically reverse entropy.

Entropy is in simple terms the reason that time moves forwards rather than backwards. Imagine a vase being smashed, that is a form of entropy, it was a vase, now it has been broken down into shards of glass and once it has been broken down it can never be returned to its previous state.

That is of course unless you have a means to create reverse entropy. Reverse entropy is the opposite of entropy, it is that broken vase going backwards and repairing itself and becoming once more like it once was, a non-broken vase. So basically entropy is things breaking down and entering a new form, reverse entropy is things reverting to a previous form.

This brings me to the time travel in this film, which is basically of the inverted form, which is basically a form of reverse entropy but with the addition of the theory of cause and effect. That means when you invert time and so time travel in this film, you are still going forwards but you are going forwards backwards. So basically you start at the end and go back to the beginning. So imagine you plan to shoot a gun, with an inverted gun the gun has already shot, so when you pull the trigger the bullet returns to the gun. So the entropy is going backwards, rather than things breaking down into a new form, they are reverting into an old form.

Hopefully you understood all that, certainly takes a bit of getting your head around. Anyhow, the future has created this machine and sent it into the past, but in nine separate parts, Branagh’s character is attempting to find these nine parts in our time so that he can construct it. The reason it has been sent into the past is because the future are trying to take their world back into the past because they believe if they do so then they will be able to save their world.

Yes I know, another confusing notion in itself but bear with me. Their world has been destroyed due to climate change, so using basically reverse entropy they are trying to take their world back in time to the point before climate change destroyed the world. That means that they’re basically using reverse entropy to revert the world to a state a.k.a. time in which it was not destroyed.

However, by doing this they will destroy our world, which is our present, or they may do so they don’t really know. So basically they are risking the grandfather paradox – that is the theory where if you destroy the past then you will destroy the future. They are risking this paradox because either they don’t think it is a risk or are willing to risk it anyway to save themselves – we are never told which.

Branagh’s character is the person they are using to construct what is basically a nuclear timebomb, so literally a timebomb, not a timebomb as we know it, but a timebomb that is basically a bomb made of time (high five for originality right there!). This timebomb basically works by crashing a forward timeline into an inverted timeline, and the theory is that when time crashes into itself, it will be a bit like the immovable force crashing into the immovable object. Something which of course is not good.

Anyhow, with this all said, the question is what does this all mean in terms of the film you will be watching should you choose to watch this film? Well it means that there is a lot of things going forwards and backwards at the same time. In a way think of it like this, imagine a fight, you watch one guy fighting the fight from the beginning to the end, you watch the other guy fighting the fight from the end to the beginning. So you are watching the same fight, but you are watching one guy fighting it from the start and the other guy fighting it starting it from the end.

Hopefully that makes sense, if not if you watch the film I’m sure it will. Anyhow, needless to say because of the way the fights are i.e. the participants going forwards and backwards at the same time, this film is quite the spectacle, most people will probably have no idea what is going on, but few will dispute that it’s quite the spectacle.

All in all that means that this is basically a throwback to a classic Bond style film but a unique throwback, because it is a throwback in which the classic Bond style narrative has been merged with one of the most complex time travel style narratives that you will likely ever come across.

That means that this film will in all probability confuse the hell out of you, but all the same may still entertain you. That means some people will get it and some people won’t but whether you get it or not will not likely be the defining factor of whether you enjoy this film are not. The defining factor will most likely be whether you can tolerate the fact that characterisation has been sacrificed almost completely and entirely for plot.

All in all though, one thing is for certain this film will definitely give you something to talk about and it is quite a thrill ride, because of that, and because I love films that make you think, from me it gets a thumbs up.

​Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan

Genre: action, sci-fi, thriller

Year: 2020

​Runtime: 150 minutes

Heat

A film that will entertain while at the same time make you think

What it’s about

Lieutenant Hanna, a detective played by Al Pacino, decides to catch a highly intelligent seasonal criminal, played by Robert De Niro, who has vowed to pull off one last robbery before he retires for good.

What you will learn from watching it

​Heat is based on the true story of Neil McCauley and Detective Chuck Adamson from back in 1964, McCauley was a calculating criminal and was an ex-inmate of Alcatraz, Detective Chuck Adamson was the man who caught him.

What makes this film perhaps a really interesting proposition is that though poetic licence has been used to make the story more dramatic, there is a lot of truth in the account of what happened, which is rare for a Hollywood film.

For example, in the film Al Pacino who plays Chuck Adamson and Robert De Niro who plays McCauley, meet one-time for a coffee. This actually happened. The next time they meet in the film guns are drawn. This also is true, in real life the next time they met guns were drawn.

Obviously also the film is set in the 90s rather than the 60s, but ignoring that by Hollywood standards this is a fairly decent account of what went down. In terms of what in my view you can learn from watching this film, besides an interesting account of a true crime story, is the power of the bad guy.

To explain, what makes this film interesting is the fact that no person can watch it and not find themselves rooting for the bad guy. You will really want Robert De Niro’s character to get away with it and escape to his new life with his girl.

Based on what he has done, you should not want this to happen, you know you should not want this to happen, there are literally no grounds to justify his actions, and yet you most definitely do want this to happen.

The way I see this film is a perfect example of how bad guys no matter how bad they are when shown and seen in a certain light can feel like the good guys, and because of that you find yourself rooting for them.

In a way it is like the famous saying, bad guys don’t see themselves as bad guys, they see themselves as good guys, which is why at times they can seem so attractive. For example, Al Capone genuinely saw himself as a good guy, he thought he was helping people to have a good time and because of it was working in the interests of the people.

He was not a good guy, selling the alcohol illegally was one thing, but all the killing and the evil crimes he committed were another entirely. But if he told his story the way he wanted to tell it, so from his perspective, no doubt he would argue that every crime he committed was in the interests of the greater good and that he really was a good guy and no doubt he would be able to sell his argument with such strength that you might actually believe him, which at the time a lot of people did.

It is so easy to get taken in by a bad guy, in my view this film shows you just how easy and that for me makes it a great watch. The fact it is such a great film is the cherry on the cake.

Is the story any good

There are a number of angles going on in this film, on the one hand you have the breakdown of Al Pacino’s relationship with his wife, on the other hand you have Robert De Niro’s character realising he does not want to live a life alone, and so is looking for love.

Added to the cat and mouse game that De Niro and Pacino play, it has to be said this film makes for a highly compelling watch but the character that you end up rooting for is without question like said De Niro.

And that is why this is such a good story, because like said you should not be rooting for him. Yet the way the story is told makes you root for him while at the same time making you feel like you shouldn’t be rooting for him.

Final words

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, even a young Natalie Portman, the roll call in this film to say the least is filled with some great actors. And for good reason, this is a brilliant film. It should be said that if you don’t like nitty-gritty crime dramas which are driven more by the actors rather than the effects team, then you will probably find this film boring, but if you do like nitty-gritty crime dramas which are driven by the actors rather than special effects, then you’ll most probably like this film, maybe even love it.

For that reason from me this film gets a big thumbs up.

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Michael Mann

Genre: crime, drama, thriller

Year: 1995

Runtime: 172 minutes

Chain Reaction

Won’t set your heart on fire but will entertain you on a Saturday evening

What it’s about

When a high profile scientist at the University of Chicago is murdered, Eddie, an undergraduate, and physicist Lily are framed and accused of stealing an innovative alternative fuel formula. With the police and the secretive organisation that framed them hunting them, they are forced to go on the run, and if they are to survive they must prove their innocence.

My thoughts

First thing’s first, despite the poor reviews this is an enjoyable and fun film and if you like Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman you’ll probably find it a decent watch; however, before watching it some points need to be taken into account. Firstly, it was made during the time period in which it was popular to believe that there was some secret government force, which was backed by the petrol barons, who were keeping a cheap green energy source from the world.

This film buys into that narrative, a scientist has come up with a way to create cheap and clean energy and wants to give it to the world, but a secret government body controlled by the CIA wants to stop him, the reason being that they argue that the technology would cause markets to crash et cetera et cetera.

So like said it plays into the popular belief of the time, and there are some big names in this, like said Morgan Freeman, Keanu Reeves, but also Brian Cox, Rachel Weisz and others. But despite the strong premise in reality this is nothing more than a typical action thriller.

Or rather the good guy gets framed by the bad guy, then goes on to prove his innocence, save the world, save the girl, and get the girl. The only questionable thing about this film is the fate of Morgan Freeman’s character, he plays a sort of half bad guy half good guy and for the type of film this is the fact he does not face any form of real justice for his half bad guy deeds is perhaps a questionable choice.

In fact it is most likely born out of the the fact producers suspected that cinemagoers wouldn’t like to see Morgan Freeman as the bad guy, or rather at least that they would not like to see him get his comeuppance in the way typical bad guy would. But in all honesty he didn’t have to get a typical bad guy ending, and with a little bit more creative thinking there could have been a better one, at least in regards to the plot.

But I don’t want to be negative because this film is an enjoyable watch, nothing special which the indifferent reviews are testament to, but most definitely an enjoyable watch, and if you are a fan of Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman, and are not the type of person who will sit there criticising every element of a film, it will entertain you on a Saturday evening and for that reason from me it gets a thumbs up.

​​Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: J.F. Lawton and Michael Bortman

Genre: action, drama, sci-fi

Year: 1996

​Runtime: 107 minutes

The Ghost Writer

A solid thriller with a great twist

What it’s about

When a successful ghostwriter agrees to finish the memoirs of a former prime minister after the previous writer suspiciously dies, his publisher assures him it’s the chance of a lifetime. Instead, he begins to uncover evidence that suggests his late predecessor knew a dark secret and may have been murdered to prevent it from coming to light.

My thoughts

This feels a very Roman Polanski -type film, which is inevitable as he directed it, but at the same time it is a very hit and miss sort of film. Ewan McGregor puts in a solid performance as the lead, the other big star name Pierce Brosnan also puts in a solid albeit reality fleeting performance.

And it is indisputable that there is much suspense and mystery in this film, also you definitely get the feeling that there is something sinister going on, and that McGregor’s character has well and truly found himself in the middle of it.

At the same time it is hard to avoid the fact that this feels like a bit of a dig at Tony Blair’s premiership and his close relationship with the US. In fact my first thought upon watching it was that this is a conspiracy film about Tony Blair. It is not but the parallels in the accusations directed at Pierce Brosnan’s Prime Minister and Tony Blair over his relationship with the US is pretty much impossible to miss.

But at the same time this is used to good effect with McGregor’s ghost writer coming to the conclusion that Adam Lang is not who he appears to be, and in fact may have some very troubling links to the CIA. This is of course where we step away from the parallels to Tony Blair and enter into the realms of fantasy, and it is when the film steps away from these apparent Tony Blair parallels that it really comes to life.

Obviously I won’t give away any spoilers but this is a very well done thriller, with McGregor’s character increasingly feeling in grave jeopardy as the film progresses.

The only real letdown is the ending, there is a brilliant twist which is a real aha moment, but that twist in a way is spoilt by what comes after. A little spoiler alert here so be warned, but McGregor’s character ends up getting killed but the lead up to how he gets killed and the way he gets killed just kind of feels unbefitting of how good the story was to this point.

It is not the fact that he dies that is the problem it is the way it happens, the filmmaking is clever but just feels totally illogical for the character. Really you just can’t help but be left feeling that the film deserved a better put together ending, or rather it feels like that the writers thought okay now we’ve revealed the big twist let’s just end things quick.

But I take nothing away from this film, it is an entertaining thriller and as the film progresses you really do feel that McGregor’s character is increasingly in grave jeopardy. For that reason all in all from me it gets a thumbs up.

​​Director: Roman Polanski

Writer: Robert Harris, Roman Polanski

Genre: thriller, drama, mystery

Year: 2010

​Runtime: 130 minutes

True Lies

A brilliant but equally hilarious action thriller

What it’s about

The life of a fearless globetrotting secret agent, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, takes a shocking turn when he suspects his wife of having an extramarital affair with a used-car salesman who is posing as a secret agent. He must now not only save the world but also save his own marriage.

My thoughts

This has everything you want from an Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick, so full of one-liners, a good amount of comedy, and much ass kicking. But it is not a conventional action flick, it is in fact an action film combined with a domestic comedy, two genres that not many people would ever think of combining.

But this is James Cameron, a man who is indisputably the king of making great films. And this is a great film, and perhaps what makes this film one of Arnie’s best non-terminator outings is the relationship between Schwarzenegger himself and his on-screen wife, who is played by Jamie Lee Curtis.

Basically Helen Tasker, wife of Harry Tasker, has no idea that Harry is a secret agent and in fact believes him to be an extremely boring computer salesman. Their marriage is dull, so dull that when a snake car salesman pretends to be a secret agent in an effort to lull her into bed, she falls for it.

Arnie’s Harry Tasker though, gets wind of this cue hilarity. Anyhow while hilariously trying to save his marriage he loses sight of his main mission which is of stopping a terrorist from using four nuclear warheads which have been smuggled into the US.

This leads to both he and his wife being kidnapped by the terrorists. Much kick ass’ery then ensues, along with much hilarity, perhaps two of the funniest moments coming firstly when Jamie Lee Curtis’ Helen Tasker drops a machine gun and it falls down a flight of stairs, in the process taking out all the terrorists, and then secondly later on in the film when the terrorists find themselves in a precarious position in a van which hangs over the edge of the bridge. They think that they are safe and that they are not going to fall over the edge, but then a bird lands on the bonnet. Guess what happens next, goodbye terrorists.

The best one-liner and the one to watch out for in this film inevitably comes at the end, it is not one of his best but is still highly effective. (Spoiler alert) While flying a fighter jet, the terrorist gets hung up on one of the rockets, before releasing the rocket and sending the terrorist to his doom, Arnie says, “you’re fired”, and he says it in that way that only Arnie can.

All in all this is a highly entertaining watch, and without a doubt one of Arnie’s best in the more slapstick style action hero genre. For that reason, along with the fact that it’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger film (I’m a big fan), from me it gets a big thumbs up.

​​Director: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron

Genre: action, comedy, thriller

Year: 1994

​Runtime: 141 minutes

Vantage Point

Solid Action Thriller Told in a Unique Way

What it’s about

US President Henry Ashton attends a summit in Spain to sign a treaty but is shot by an unknown sniper. Subsequently, an explosion takes place in the square, which leads to absolute chaos.

My thoughts

Despite the unique storytelling style this is basically a run-of-the-mill action film, so someone gets shot in this case the president, someone has to chase the shooter and there is much shooting and a car chase from a car which has been commandeered et cetera et cetera.

In terms of the unique story making style, basically as said the president is assassinated and the moments leading up to and right after the assassination are told from several different perspectives.

What this means is rather than a normal film in which time moves normally, we watch the same moment happen several times over but from the perspectives of different characters, each character providing another piece of the puzzle.

With that said first things first about this film it is short, and considering that in reality it is only telling a period of time of about thirty minutes or so in total, and is telling those thirty minutes again and again but from different perspectives, and there is not any depth to the story, it needs to be.

In terms of whether it works, after the fourth or fifth perspective change the film starts to drag namely because it is only reaching the point of the assassination and not moving beyond it, and there is not much story to it, but thankfully the director has realised that this is the limit and has allowed the film to really kick on from this point with the action properly taking off.

And when the action takes off this becomes a surprisingly pleasing to watch action thriller, nothing special which is likely why it receives such a poor critical response, but as an action film it is entertaining. The only real gripe I have with it is how it ends, without giving anything away basically rather than Dennis Quaid’s character using his smarts to save the day, basically he gets lucky.

I have to say I am not a fan at all of endings where the good guy only saves the day because of pure luck, it just screams of laziness from both the director and writer. And I have to say I believe this film deserved a better ending. In fact it deserved a better story full stop, especially considering this was a film told using such a unique style. It was just begging a more compelling story than just your standard run-of-the-mill action film story of someone gets shot good guy chases bad guy et cetera et cetera.

But that aside this is still a highly watchable action film which is told in a unique way, and as Dennis Quaid and Forest Whitaker put in solid performances as the lead characters, that means all in all this film gets a thumbs up from me.

​​Director: Pete Travis

Writer: Barry L Levy

Genre: action, thriller, crime

Year: 2008

​Runtime: 90 minutes

Message Man

Solid Action Flick with a Terrible Name

What it’s about

When his dark past threatens to catch up with him, an assassin comes out of retirement to go on a final killing spree to make things right.

My thoughts

First thing’s first it has to be said this film arguably has the lamest name in the history of films, the fact that any person thought that Message Man was a brilliant name for a ruthless assassin is beyond belief.

However, ignoring the terrible name this is actually quite an enjoyable film, and if you like action flicks along the lines of John Wick and the Rambo films, so ruthless killers killing bad people ruthlessly, then it is highly probable that will enjoy this.​

Is it as good as said films, no but it is indisputably a decent action flick, with ex-Home and Away man Paul O’Brien putting in a solid performance as the lead actor.

There is not much in the form of story, but there never is in films like this. What matters in films like this is whether there is enough story to justify all the killing, and this film ticks that box.

Basically Message Man hires a young boy to help him and goes on to befriend his mother. That young boy then gets kidnapped by someone from Message Man’s past, forcing Message Man to come out of retirement to get him back. Much ruthless killing then ensues.

All in all it is one of those films that you don’t expect much of but goes on to pleasantly surprise you. Best of all the name Message Man is barely mentioned in the entire film, which means it gets a thumbs up from me.

​​Director: Corey Pearson

Writer: Corey Pearson

Genre: action, crime, thriller

Year: 2018

​Runtime: 86 minutes

Need for Speed

A Videogame with a Supercharger Attached

What it’s about

A street racer is framed by a rival who is also a wealthy business associate in a murder case. Upon his release, the street racer devises a plan with revenge in mind.

My thoughts

Tyre burning in this film is taken to an entirely different level. In fact it is probable that during filming, they will have burnt through so many tyres that they could have filled a tyre graveyard. But if you like films in which high-powered cars are taken to their limits, then you will like this film.

But only if you are able to watch it for what it is, and that is a video game turned into a film, which means if you are person that likes films to have a semblance of realism to them you’re gonna think this film ridiculous.

That means to say the least poetic licence is used in this film, and the way the title characters are willing to just pop in and out of jail so freely and willingly, and to risk jail so freely and willingly is definitely more videogame than feature film.

In fact the entire film is more videogame than feature film. But video games are fun and this film is fun, and if you’re willing to watch it with that in mind then you will find it a fun and easy to watch film which pays solid homage to the video game it is based upon.​

For these reasons it gets a solid thumbs up from me.

​Director: Scott Waugh

Writer: George Gatins and John Gatins

Genre: action, crime, thriller

Year: 2014

​Runtime: 132 minutes

2 Guns

Action Thriller That Starts Slow but Has a Clever Twist

What it’s about

Two undercover agents, Robert and Michael, aim to expose Manny ‘Papi’ Greco, a drug lord. Unaware of each other’s true identities, the two get into trouble when they finally meet Papi.

My thoughts

An action film which stars both Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg to say the least sounds a mighty compelling film. But that is perhaps why this film struggles to impress. The problem of expectations.

And those expectations are hit right at the beginning because to say the least this is a bit of a slow starter, and the way the timeline jumps back and forth in the beginning is without a doubt messy. However, it is still a fun film with a surprisingly clever storyline.

Also despite in the beginning the chemistry between Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg seeming a bit lacking the chemistry along with the initial slow pacing grows as the narrative progresses.

All in all, this is a passable action flick that feels like it should have been more than it is but as it is is still half decent watch. Basically if you like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg then in all likelihood you will enjoy this film, but not as much as perhaps you would hope.

And that perhaps is the lasting feeling, and the fundamental problem with this film, it’s a good film with a clever storyline but not as good a film as you want it to be considering the billing.

But as it is a decent action film it gets a solid thumbs up from me.

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Writer: Blake Masters and Steve Blake

Genre: action, crime, thriller

Year: 2013

Runtime: 99 minutes