R.I.P.D. Review

ripdRobert Schwentke (RED) directs R.I.P.D., a movie based on Peter M. Lenkov’s Dark Horse Comics graphic novel. The film surrounds a Boston cop, played by Reynolds, who gets murdered and then in the afterlife gets enrolled into the Rest In Peace Department. His mission is to partner with veteran R.I.P.D. officer Roy, played by Bridges, to protect the earth from dead folk who have so far avoided judgement.

With a rookie to the supernatural force teaming up with an old, established and experienced guy it’s basically a paranormal Men in Black. In truth, it’s a complete Men in Black rip-off. Yes its mildly clever having former cops join the R.I.P.D. which is governed by Eternal Affairs, but that’s exactly where the cleverness ends.

Not only do we have a complete Men in Black rip-off, we also have Bridges ripping off another character he has already played. In R.I.P.D. Bridges basically plays his Oscar nominated Rooster Cogburn role from True Grit, but with added hammyness and overacting thrown in. Reynolds is just Reynolds. All looks the part but his comedic lines and delivery go way, way wide of the funny mark. With the director previously directing Red, Mary-Louise Parker plays the R.I.P.D. department boss. She isn’t bad at all. In fact the casting, in all honesty and on paper, isn’t too bad; it’s just the entire films delivery that fails it.

The CGI is awful, the script is awful and its execution is cheap, shoddy and rushed. It flits between repetitive scenes, stupid comedy liners and predictable story telling. With so many comic book based movies getting made somebody here has tried to cash in on source material which deserved better. I’m aghast that this movie allegedly cost over $100 million to make. I have no idea where this cash was spent and I’m ashamed to say it pleases me greatly that it will lose copious amounts of money.

This whole fascination with getting comic book or graphic novels onto the big screen has to stop. If it’s a good idea think it through, write a good script and get good people involved. Make a film deserving of the material, not some 94 minute Men in Black inspired shite-fest like this. Just saying it’s based on comic book material will not get people to go and watch it. The reasons for people watching a film are the same as they always have been. The story, script, cast, performances, screen chemistry, budget and director – these all sell a movie to movie goers.

If this is what Universal Pictures, Original Film and Dark Horse Entertainment think movie goers deserve then they need to lose money, have a step back, re-think and offer us something more deserving of our hard earned cash next time.

One R.I.P.D. review I read said it was as enjoyable as “pouring acid on your face”. I wouldn’t go that far but hot soup in the face would have been welcome at some points.

Red 2

red2 RED 2 is the follow up to the fairly average but well received 2010 film RED. For those not in the know RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) is a comic book series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and published by DC Comics.

The film follows on with the exploits of Frank (Willis) his friend Marvin (Malkovich) and his danger hound girlfriend Sarah, played by Mary-Louise Parker. With supporting cast members Helen Mirren, Brian Cox (the actor), Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones there is no shortage of acting ability on show.

So you have a popular first franchise outing, an able sequel cast and a semi-popular comic book series to use as inspiration, what could go wrong? Well in truth, a bit but not a lot. There’s just something a little lacking in the film, it’s all a bit auto pilot from a cast that deserves a little more to work with. Obviously this is not serious story telling; it’s an obvious payday for everyone involved and that brings with it a certain lack of dramatic effort.

You can’t really fault any performances, they are what they are. Willis however should be looking for other roles to challenge him. His Sixth Sense work showed what a talented actor he can be but he has basically been playing the same character in his last 10 movies. I do wonder if his repetitive film making is boring him as much as the press interviews he does do. The film’s not without its charm though. It has a few decent scenes with Hopkins, a few jokes and some good flowing action. There are plenty of locations, fast paced storytelling and some decent one liners.

This films a no brainer. Its entertainment in the form of almost two hours of guns, lines, rapid MI6/CIA/KGB storytelling and glamorous worldwide locations. It’ll never win an Oscar but it’s an OK way to spend your cinema time. It’s not that good, but it’s by no means that bad.

65/100

 

Review – The Wolverine

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The Wolverine’ is released in cinemas this week in Hugh Jackman’s fifth outing as the super-healing adamantium filled mutant super-hero. Set, very loosely I might add, after the events of X-Men 3 we see the Wolverine yet again as a lone wolf trying to find himself. He heads to Japan where in a previous World War II visit he did a little bit of hero work and saved a Japanese soldier from a rather large nuclear explosion.

Back in the present day the previously mentioned Japanese soldier is now rather old, grateful and seriously rich and powerful. As any mental billionaire would he has taken quite a keen interest in Logan’s super mutanty healing ability. The sort of interest any mega rich dying man would take in a guy who can heal himself quickly and live rather a long time.

So basically an old rich guy who Logan once saved wants to steal his healing ability. That’s the tall, short and depth of this film. The film also sees a brief return for Jean Grey, but only in Logan’s mind. The films a journey for ‘The Wolverine’ to find and forgive himself after killing Jean and leaving the X-Men far behind.

Wolverine is easily the most interesting of the X-Men characters (just ahead of magneto) and probably the reason he has spawned what are now two spin-off films. Logan has lived a long time due to his ability to heal, so he has seen and done a fair bit that can be explored in films. See what I wrote there, he can heal. He is not, as this film states, immortal. This is the first of very many problems this film has. I’m quite sure it was written by someone who has no grasp of the character at all. Logan can heal, he can’t however live forever. If he could live forever he wouldn’t get any older looking and would be a man-baby with very annoying baby claws.

My second problem with the film is the fact that its rubbish. It’s basically a Japanese government funded film about how great Japan is and how it looks at its past and embraces its future. Yet again there are no, and I do mean no, decent action scenes in the entire movie that are not in the trailer. It’s basically 3 minutes of action dragged out into nearly two hours. There must be a total of 6 minutes combined screen time for the films entire tepid and boring bad guys. It’s woefully short of any serious or major bad guy catalyst and this is one of the main reasons for its general crappyness. Even the weirdly weird looking good girl Yukio, played by Rila Fukushima, is underused in a film that offers very little new action.

The what I shall sarcastically call ‘epic showdown’ at the end is nothing more than what’s on the trailer mixed with sheer predictability. The only interest I took any interest is when yet again i found myself wondering why the writers failed to take into account the Wolverines actual powers. This is a running theme in the movie where they forget that ‘The Wolverine’ has an adamantium (a very rare super strong metal) skeleton. Basically he has a Terminator undercarriage so shoving bullets, knives and swords into him wouldn’t go in very far in unless you went in through the stomach.

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The only reason Logan can tolerate the adamantium skeleton and not get metal toxicity is the fact that he is a super healer. When stripped of his healing powers he would die very suddenly, or at the very least feel the effects. They also forgot that retracting and showing his claws would mean them ripping through his skin and leaving him in agony, as seen previously. The end of the film has Logan losing the visible part of his claws, and being left with adamantium stumps. Then suddenly the writers forget about the adamantium claw stumps and he was back having his re-grown boney claws again. So he grew bone around a metal claw stamp. Obviously Logan’s Wolverine abilities now involve growing back bone claws around indestructible metal in mere seconds.

When you have had Man Of Steel recently with its varied and new type action sequences this film just seems like turgid drivel. It offers nothing new action wise and Logan just throws his claws about in a boringly routine, as seen before manner. The only glimmer of hope was that there is a very interesting after end-credits scene. Not worth sitting through ‘The Wolverine’ movie for I might add, but interesting none the less.

If you haven’t seen any of the trailers, TV clips or ads you may find this a tolerable watch. If you have then you have seen it all. Hollywood clips have ruined yet another film and I can tell you not to bother. Watch the trailer below and save yourself time and money.

Turgid, lazy storytelling, a failure to grasp the characters abilities and lacking in bad-guy screen time. Very, very disappointing.

60/100

Review – World War Z

wwzBased roughly (very roughly I believe) on Max Brooks Zombie book World War Z tell the story of a man V zombie attack. Brad Pitt leads the way for the humans in trying to save his family and find a cure.

This review may contain film spoilers. A rumoured $170 million (70% of the Man of Steel budget) has brought this zombie film to the big screen. I really don’t know why they bothered. We’ve had Zombie films coming thick and fast over the years. Every now and again there is a new take but Zombies are and should always be ‘proper’ Zombies.

In short there’s been a Zombie breakout, nobody knows where it started and Brad Pitt has to try and find out. The worlds all infected and Pitt travels around looking for clues for a cure and reasons for why it started. Zombies die, humans die and Pitt does not. Bit of a spoiler there but I did warn you!

Now this film isn’t rubbish as many have said, it’s just not very good. If you want Zombies you want flesh eating, blood and gore. You want head shots and pick axes to the face; you want people to get ripped apart. This film lacks all that in any sort of quantity you want. Yes there is a big body count but it’s sort of a serious Zombie film and who wants to see that at the cinema? If I want serious Zombie I watch The Walking Dead, and I do. If I want entertaining for two hours at the cinema I want fun, gore and blood.

There’s nothing wrong with the film acting wise, it’s just slow, predictable and a little boring. The Zombies are either slow and placid, or superhuman. There’s real inconsistency with the Zombies and it got a little annoying when action scenes are like The Flash v Quicksilver or your Nan v Brad Pitt. As many many others have said it’s basically contagion with zombies but the zombies are crap.

Disappointing but not terrible. Not worth a cinema ticket but it’s worth a rental in 6 months.

Review by @vincentbuckley

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Review – Superman – Man Of Steel

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With the world of superhero movies getting it right is a major problem. Superman and Batman are without doubt the big two where criticism and praise will be thrown no matter what you do. The recent Batman movie franchise changed things. It made Marvel adapt its storytelling and DC has been slow to catch up. There’s no point in Batman fighting aliens in a sole Batman movie, Batman is Batman, he’s the world’s greatest detective. He’s Sherlock Holmes with a cape. The Avengers can fight Aliens because that’s what they do in the Marvel universe. Superman fights aliens because Superman is an alien. Nolan’s trilogy changed things for the better when it came to stories and movie telling.

Things need to be what they are. It’s what the comic book movie world has been lacking. Superman is the golden boy, the man without weakness (apart from kryptonite). He’s the moral high ground. He’s the outsider who will do what’s right, not what’s needed whereas Batman will do what’s needed, not what’s right. So how in the hell do you do a movie about a man with so many powers, make it realistic enough so that it’s watchable and still make it surprising?

Sucker punch aside what has Snyder ever done wrong? OK things in 300 and Watchmen are graphic and CGI but they are stories, graphic novels of substance but with no original movie to compare to. Superman is Superman. Everyone has seen the original Reeve/Donner movies. If you do Superman wrong you end up wanting the baddie to win. He’s too perfect. He’s the American golden boy who people forget is Kryptonian.

So how do you reboot Superman after Singer so drastically failed only a few years ago? Singer knows his stuff, I enjoyed Superman Returns but it wasn’t Superman. It was predictable. Spacey made a fine Luthor but the story was grand yet unfulfilled. There was too much Super child, too much Daily Planet and too much Lois Lane.

There is no doubt in my mind that a Justice League movie has been waiting for Superman. I am delighted to tell you that the wait is over. Superman has not landed; he has landed, smacked Zod in the face, told a story and entertained. This movie is good. It’s good on any standard of film telling, it’s especially good for a superhero film.

It’s got scenes fit for the latest computer games, it’s got a story so old and retold that this interpretation is actually refreshing. It’s got acting and a cast strong and reliable and nobody is under or overused. It’s not sickly or hammy, it’s actually bloody spot on.

Yes there’s a few plot gaps, leaps and guesses but you just don’t care because you’re too busy enjoying yourself. There is a little too much Lois Lane at times. Why movie people think we care about Lois Lane so much I’ll never know but it all fits in the end. Cavill, Shannon and Crowe are excellent. Their green screen and CGI work are flawless.

This is a real Superman film. Theres no Mr Nice Guy. This guy fights because he has to. This guy looks the part, acts the part and takes apart. He punches likes Superman, gets punched like Superman and breaks things like Superman. This is clever story telling. This is the start of a three film series to rival if not surpass Nolan’s trilogy. If, and I mean if, Warner and DC can get their act together, story arc and timing then we now have broad and super shoulders to launch a Justice League movie.

This is one-el of a film and the Superman we deserve.

86/100

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Review – Star Trek – Into Darkness

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So here it is. The hotly hyped sequel to the very good (in my opinion) Star Trek Reboot of 4 years ago. Here we are a bit down the line from the events of that film and the Enterprise is back home to find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated a huge bomb in London. Starfleet is at war with a terrorist called John Harrison (Cumberbatch) leaving our world and the galaxy in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk (Pine)leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

After writing a wonderful script to make a separate time line in the first reboot film we again travel along it. Some things haven’t changed from the original series though, but they have sort of been flipped and twisted. Im still not sure if tweaking old Star Trek stories is a good, brave or lazy thing to do. Not quite sure why it’s called into Darkness either.

For me it didn’t really feel like the Star Trek I know and love and at times it was a little bit Star Wars. There was too many humour pondering scenes, too much harking back and not enough action. Bones was given silly lines and was greatly underused. Pegg’s Scottish accent is overdone and over-played. Not to say there isn’t loads of action but yet again the trailer and promo shots have shown me all that months before. There is some serious lack of Star Fleet vessels in a long scene outside of earth which makes you wonder whether any old ship can come and park up at Earth.

Yes there’s holes, and yes there’s gaps that won’t satisfy Trekkies but as an action movie it’s quite good. Cumberbatch is without doubt the best thing in it and there are no weak or lazy performances. There are just hammy lines and silly accents that really don’t need to be made. This is world and galactic peril, not make jokes for non-trekkies. It plays to the masses but with a $180 million budget it’s the masses that watch films and get films made.

Will there be a sequel, without doubt. Will JJ Abrahams direct it? I don’t think so. It’s nicely left off for a quick sequel while JJ goes off Star Warsing. I’d like to see a bit less lens flare and a bit more grit.

 

Worth a watch and better than most.

 

 

Final Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer

Review – Iron Man 3

ironmanSo the summer hero season has started with the release of Iron Man3. The film pits brash but brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr) against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

With Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, and Rebecca Hall some of the supporting cast Iron Man 3 is big, bold, brash, and full of talent and set to be a summer smash. The question is though, is it any good?

Following on from the events of Avengers Assemble Iron Man3 takes us once more on an Iron Man adventure.  The film is partially billed as a continuation of the events of Assemble but quite frankly it hardly even mentions it in any worthwhile follow-up terms. While Downey fit’s the armour perfectly this film is very bit hit-and-miss. Long patches are all Tony Stark, and then when Iron Man appears it’s all the footage you’ve seen on the trailer. Quite frankly if you’ve seen the trailer you may as well give this film a wide berth.

Im keeping this brief because there’s only a few bits (if you haven’t seen the trailer) that are new (or mildly interesting) so I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Kingsley and Hall were underused, while Favreau was overused. While I won’t blame Shane Black for this disappointing effort it does bring up the question of whether he was the right man for the job. You can clearly see the comedic, character centred work of his while the effects were obviously done by someone else. Im quite sure that whoever did the effects, did the trailer and they were so proud of their work they put the whole film into 3 minutes of action and released it to the world.

It’s nicely tidied up at the end but leaves me wondering whether I’ve had my fill of Iron Man for a while. I certainly hope after the highs of Assemble that Marvel/Disney stop and reflect because I’ve seen the Thor 2 trailer and that could easily be as disappointing as this. Im bored of Loki and there are only so many hammer throws and battery failures in an armoured suit you need to see before you need to stop and take a breather.

 

Im glad I watched it, Im just sad I did.

 

6/10