F9: The Fast Saga

Vampire Owl: How fast are the things around here?

Vampire Bat: Well, you know the case with this particular franchise.

Vampire Owl: They are surely not faster than us.

Vampire Bat: Well, humans have enough scientific inventions to go faster.

Vampire Owl: You feel that they can match the inventions of Dr Frankenstein?

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is not a real scientist, and he is not one of us.

Vampire Owl: You keep repeating the same, but he has blended in.

Vampire Bat: He even has some really bad teeth and breath.

Vampire Owl: He tests his own elixirs by drinking them, which causes this.

Vampire Bat: Well, those are the drinks which taste like Sprite or Sprint all the time.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who has stopped all his dangerous and adventurous activities is not settled down with his wife, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and child. Good old friends Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Parker (Chris Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) arrive at their location in the middle of nowhere with news about a plane crash. They ask Dominic and Letty to help them in recovering something important from the plane, as it involves Cipher (Charlize Theron), one of their biggest enemies, whom they defeated with much difficulty. Dominic feels that he is done with all of these activities as they now live for the child, and nothing else. He is reminded that Cipher, the murderer of Dominic’s son’s mother might be free now, and all set to enjoy her life, while committing more crimes against people and nations. He still disagrees, but as Letty tells him that this is not what they are, he decides to join her who had already started. It is also because he realizes that his lost brother Jakob Toretto (John Cena) is also involved in all of these.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After searching the crashed plane, the find a device called Project Aries, which has the ability to hack into any computer-controlled system. The team is then attacked by a group of mercenaries led by Jakob who manages to steal the device, while the team of Dominic just manages to escape in time. The device seems to be something which can end the world. Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) also joins them against the advice of Dominic. Letty and Mia goes to Tokyo to investigate and discovers that their old friend Han Lue (Sung Kang) is alive, while Dominic who finds Jakob is arrested by his financier Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) who has his connections and is also holding Cipher hostage. But he manages to break out, while Roman and Tej finds help. They will soon have to meet up in Edinburgh, where Jakob is using an electromagnet to steal the other half of the Project Aries device. But the question remains if the team is up to the challenge. Well, this is also about family for Dominic, but in another way.

The defence of F9: The Fast Saga :: Well, we know what the Fast and Furious series of movies have been coming up with – they are fast and they are indeed furious. There is a lot of mind-blowing action happening around here, not just with the cars racing and fighting, but also with a good amount of melee combat and gunshots which are also around. The final battle seems to be huge, as one would expect from this franchise. The cast is also once again at the best, and the new addition only make things better – they are all the superstars of the blockbuster level like never before. Well, what was seen in the trailer was quite less – there is a lot more of flying and destruction to follow. It is the kind of action for which the screen might seem to be rather small. The movie also adds a strange, but still effective emotional side to the same. The fans of the franchise are not going to complain, as there is no shortage of what they have always wanted. Being fast and furious will only continue to be what the name suggests for years to come, as the scope for sequel is also provided around here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have the problems in letting its characters die – it should actually do that and let others just take over. Now, it seems that some people won’t even die of old age if there was the chance. Then, we keep missing Dwayne Johnson – there is nothing as furious as The Rock; maybe I even wanted Jason Statham after Hobbs and Shaw. You can always have the Transporter and Mechanic around here while adding three heads without hair on one mission with a lot of muscles to go with the same. For action, they could have actually gone a more classic way rather than bringing so much of destruction without trying to make more sense out here. People might also get tired of being tired of having too many brothers and sisters coming out of nowhere, as much as the dead people coming alive. If someone had to be brought back to life, the best choice for that was Gal Gadot, but they seem to find it easier to get all other back here, maybe because of some cost concerns. The repetitions are surely there, and it makes things difficult to rise above a certain level.

The performers of the soul :: Vin Diesel is here doing what he would have done with Dwayne Johnson on his side, and this time he has to manage with less muscle power on his side, as he is also missing Jason Statham. He does what he has been doing for a long time yet again, as he has to do a lot of racing as well as the fighting with him being the big guy once again in the absence of competition on his side. John Cena who becomes the new addition to the lost family also comes up as a fine antagonist, a strong one without doubt. Among the lady leads, Nathalie Emmanuel does come up with the smartest work, while Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez have their moments of big action too. But the one true antagonist is played by Charlize Theron, who will always be among the best of them all, an actress who suits all roles very well. In comparison to that character which seems to be on the way to becoming the big eternal nemesis, Thue Ersted Rasmussen plays the rich antagonist who is supposed to fall in short of plans. Among all of these, Anna Sawai also leaves us with some moments to remember – she could have more of Hollywood for sure.

How it finishes :: F9: The Fast Saga is that movie which is not that different from the previous movies. Fast and Furious itself is nothing less than a genre all by itself. There are not many people who haven’t wanted to watch any one of the sequels in this particular franchise, and most of them have done the same on the big screen at the time of its release. Well, the franchise surely isn’t done yet, as there seems to be two more sequels coming up to finally end the series. The series hasn’t managed to increase its level, as most of the interesting and believable things have been done already, and highest point seems to have been already reached earlier. Yet, people seem to be still in need of more action – they keep hoping for more all the time. If it is so, there is none other to serve with so much of entertainment, even though at times feeling like going for an overdose. The best thing about this series though, is that they have managed to make it look so good, and with this suitable, they surely know how to get the audience in support too.

Release date: 25th June 2021
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Charlize Theron, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Meander

Vampire Owl: I remember having met an elf with a similar name.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is certainly not a fantasy movie.

Vampire Owl: Elves are as real as we are. None of us are fantasy.

Vampire Bat: Well, for humans, we are all fantasy elements.

Vampire Owl: The girl on the poster does look very much real.

Vampire Bat: You surely cannot say the same about her surroundings.

Vampire Owl: The poster here doesn’t seems to mean anything.

Vampire Bat: It could be a reflection of the useless lives that the humans lead.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the terrible mindset that they have, what else can they do?

Vampire Bat: They could always choose to be extinct and save the planet and the other life forms that live without hate.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lisa (Gaia Weiss) who works as a waiter is seen lying in the middle of a road in the countryside until a car arrives from a distance. She starts walking, but the man in the car, Adam (Peter Franzen) who works as a night watchman offers her a lift, as there is nobody nearby, and there is no hope of finding civilization soon enough. They seem to get along well enough, and Lisa is disappointed about her daughter’s death – she realizes that the girl would have been nine years old on that day if she was alive. There is the feeling of melancholy that runs through her, and she hopes that she could die one day and unite with he daughter again. It is then that it turns out that the man who is with her is a murderer, and the police is in search of him, as she realizes the same from the news on the radio. But the realization comes a little late, as he slams her head against the dashboard of the car, leaving her motionless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Lisa wakes up in a small room which seems to have no way out. She is clothed in a strange suit which tightly fits her body, and a strange light-emitting device is attached to her wrist. Later, a door on the side opens and reveals a narrow tunnel through which she crawls with great difficulty, and the door closes right behind her, leaving her trapped inside on her all fours. She has no option, but to continue crawling, trying to find and exit which could lead her to freedom. The device on her wrist also seems to have a timer and alarm, as it seems to remind her of time running out, as she has to go squeeze through extremely narrow passages, as she moved towards light. As the roof of the tunnel comes down, almost catching her buttocks stuck within, that would be only the first of the challenges that she would have to overcome, soon to be followed by a rotten body, water, acid and others.

The defence of Meander :: Almost whole of the movie has just one setting around here, and it has also dealt with the same effectively. There are some fine traps in here, and the more terrifying thing is that they are all within a crawlspace, with the chance of escape being really minute – I wouldn’t give most of us any chance with this, but we root for the lady in distress here, as we are more confident about her getting through, even though not as much as Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider would. Here, in between, we come to know that there is more to all of these than what meets the eye, and that there is something beyond our comprehension, most probably supernatural or paranormal at work. The same is revealed in the end, and it means that we have further scope for a sequel here. After all, this kind of a premise, like that of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, even though lesser in grandeur, can have many different paths to follow. The mysterious feeling never really leaves us.

The claws of flaw :: Meander is surely not the usual kind of a movie, and it goes divergent from even any other possible film who can deal with a similar circumstance. It doesn’t have much more than what it provides here, and leaves us with minimal settings. People who don’t wish to see one person trying to fight it all to make the way out of a long crawlspace won’t find this one to be of their type. Even though this is supposed to be science fiction, the same type of elements show less of a presence around here. We also feel that this could have been better, more direct in what it does, because you know how these have worked really well with the video games. There could have been direct ideas provided here, and even though there could be symbolism being connected here, there is not much that we can use directly. We do have many films with one actor getting all the focus, and others being almost absent – Sunny is a recent example, and this one could have done more with the one character other than the trap escape acts.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has only two actors, and it is more or less about Gaia Weiss, who is there for the whole of the movie, and works through it very all, as her character keeps trying to survive against all odds. She nicely fits in here, and one would feel that if there is a full action film coming soon, she could be right in there, doing a great job. She plays the character that has do the impossible, and she does some fantastic work as the one person who goes through all of these. To add to it, there is also an emotional side to her character, which is also portrayed well. Peter Franzen also has some work to do, but he has a very less time on the screen. Basically, we can say that everything is left to Gaia, and she becomes the sole pillar on which the movie depends on, as far as performances are concerned. She never looks like she is going to lag with that much of a weight on her. Not many people could have handled the same so well too.

How it finishes :: Meander makes a fine French movie that has different elements coming together even with almost everything set in one particular place. It is all about survival, set in a seemingly difficult situation, much scarier than The Shallows where we know the enemy, and much hopeless than The Platform in which there was at least the certainty of food and a possible companionship. Unlike the rest which has some hope for its protagonists, this one is at an advanced level of leaving almost no chance to survive, like a hopeless level of The Maze Runner. As a film which gives you claustrophobia, this one is surely an experiment which you might want to remember for long. As the lady moves through this particular crawlspace world, you are into some slow and effective moments of thrills, unlike the ones that we usually see elsewhere. It is that tale of survival which once again has the protagonist fighting against all odds, and we are all hoping for her to survive.

Release date: 11th October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Mathieu Turi
Starring: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RED 2

red2 (1)

There are a few movies which reduce the chance of White House Down doing a good job, and among them the one which is the most similar in what happens on the screen, is RED 2, which can take out the take-over movie with its big cast. The closeness in the Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings might also help in creating that big doubt in the minds of the viewers which is affected by Bruce Willis to attract them to this one, and I would say that even without that drag, this holds a clear edge over its only “same genre competitor” around here. You might already know that Red means “Retired Extremely Dangerous”, as a group of retired secret agents try to make an impact when forced out of retirement by several reasons, the most prominent one being them or their best friends being hunted to be shot at sight. While having such a title thrown towards the protagonists, they do the same designation of being extremely dangerous, a favour – they do what they do the best and what they were always expected to do throughout their lives. They react in such a way that the tables are turned on their enemies, and in the process, saves the day. This one will not have Karl Urban as William Cooper and that is a shame. But the entry of Anthony Hopkins, Lee Byung-hun and Catherine Zeta-Jones would add something else.

So we know that “the best never rest”, and once again Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is hunted and prevented from leading a normal life. Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) is still by him as the old best friend who saves Frank after faking his own death. Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) is with them, and after falling for Frank’s adventures, she is now eagerly looking forward to more dangers which could make her feel special. The gorgeous Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones) getting back to his life, and being mentioned as “Frank’s Kryptonite” makes Sarah jealous and possessive and she herself tries to get into the middle of the action. He is supposed to be hunted, but actually supported by Victoria Winters (Helen Mirren), and is followed by Han Jo-Bae (Lee Byung-hun) who has taken the contract to murder Frank. In their mission, they come across the information about Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) who would be needed in for their objective to be a success, but is currently in a lunatic asylum. Frank would need to bring them all together, and know who is on his side, how can be with him, and who might end up trying to kill him in order to survive the battle, thus creating a complicated situation, nothing that a retired, extremely dangerous man can’t solve again.

Bruce Willis continues with what he has been doing in the best way, and the triangle featuring him, Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones makes the funnier scenes of the movie. Jason Statham’s Frank Martin might be proud of this Frank, the older and the funnier one who has got no car to race. This Frank is there beating up people quite a lot, shooting them and bombing a lot of the world around him. Do they get stronger when they get older? Some might wish to ask so, and Die Hard fans would have to wonder if this is the series which might take Bruce Willis away from them in a crisis of retirement. There is no need to be doubtful though, as this is one man who might be retirement-proof in his real life too. Mary-Louise Parker’s character has only gotten funnier in this sequel, and comes up with some of the funniest moments, sometimes with the dialogues, but mostly just with the expressions. Her character makes so many attempts to prove her better than the possible weakness of her man, and by doing the same, she does the stranger things which adds to the fun element.

Catherine Zeta-Jones would have been not that easy to recognize for her earlier fans, of The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment, and seems to have qualified for being still extremely dangerous, doesn’t matter if retirement is knocking at the door. A few memories do keep coming back from those days of early movie watching experience in the absence of the big screen. Those were the days, and she was there on the small screen. Despite of the loss of her older self, she still competes with Helen Mirren with the screen presence, but not with the action sequences. Marvin Boggs’ character continues the job John Malkovich did in the first part, but unfortunately there is no pig this time and we miss him saying “Frank, I never thought I’d say this again. I’m getting the pig!” But, the man still carries the movie forward with his funny one-liners and those comic scenes which never look out of place. There might be no occasion that won’t suit him, and if there is any character who can use a spin-off movie, here is one.

Lee Byung-hun remains the Storm Shadow in essence here too, and may be even as the better ninja than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel which was released earlier this year. He remains the character that he has been in that movie and as the assassin, he continues the same. Anthony Hopkins, our own Hannibal Lecter makes a personal impact on this one, not that big as The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal or Red Dragon, but still something that comes as a pleasant, evil surprise of good quality. Being in the lunatic asylum is one of those common things, and here there are more characteristics for him, of qualities strange enough to be another man of surprising variations. In many ways, these two were needed, as the movie is too much inclined to the funny side otherwise, not that they are completely against contributions to the comic side, but there is the need for the twists, thrills and awesome action. This is Expendables with such a huge cast, but in many ways funnier and the comic side being very effective, if not too effective. May be that movie could have been called with something similar to being retired, and extremely dangerous again.

Even as the movie keeps scoring with its action sequences and the funny dialogues, there is that feeling of the imitation of the first movie, and the predictability keeps on getting higher and higher. Even the climax is too predictable for the usual movie watcher’s liking. As our characters are played by those celebrities who are basically more royal than the others, they keep the viewers interested, but this kind of movie needs its own dose of little shocks, and RED 2 does have it, but not that powerful a thing of the royalty’s standard. There is no situation where the audience is supposed to be terrified or feel for the heroes. There are frequent one-liners which clear any doubt in the minds of the viewers, and with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins guiding the gang, and Lee Byung-hun following the path in a majestic manner, there is the reconquest of whatever is lost, and whenever the movie is about to drop down in its level, something new comes up, once in the form of Catherine Zeta-Jones and at another occasion in the form of Anthony Hopkins; the rest is well managed by the one-liners which drops a comic bomb which handles and stabilizes the situation.

RED 2 is stretching its arms towards that weekend box office victory here, but surely on a limited level. The movie edges over White House Down, and can pretend to be competent against Pacific Rim, Despicable Me 2 and Man of Steel as this is the new entrant in the game and the reviews are not completely out yet, and Turbo belongs to an entirely different genre and attracts another type of viewers. There was still hope for more, that is for sure; RED had come up with the right platform of origins which could have been exploited further. At the same time, it had also used up a lot of resources, and the need of this sequel was for creativity, which has successfully arrived partially. But when one is looking for fun, there is hardly any opportunity to care and think more, and RED 2 gives that unlimited fun which is not without the flaws list. If this movie belongs to that genre which is pure entertainment, you are welcome to forgive its flaws. I would say that I have forgiven and forgotten the same and got into that roller coaster ride of entertainment which this movie hides behind its pillars of old age. May be it is time for most of you to give it a try, and the rest can wait for the year has a lot more in store.

Release date: 19th July 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough

red2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.