Acceleration

Vampire Owl: How far can you accelerate here?

Vampire Bat: Well, the movie has a world of crime in it, and so, we can be sure that the acceleration will be related to action.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such an acceleration will affect the plot negatively.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that there will be just the usual plot.

Vampire Owl: They are not really into create a story to run beneath the action, or do they value it too?

Vampire Bat: I have read what the movie is about. It is nothing that you have heard about – we have only that tale without surprises.

Vampire Owl: So, this movie is to be watched only for the action sequences.

Vampire Bat: There could also be some thrilling moments in store.

Vampire Owl: Well, if it works with what it needs to, I have no real objection.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how it manages to work out.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vladik Zorich (Dolph Lundgren) is one of the much feared and respected crime lords of Los Angeles. As he is double-crossed by his most trusted operative on crime, Rhona Zyocki (Natalie Burn), the man who runs many businesses including weapons, gambling, drugs and skin trafficking, decides to make her dance according to his songs. With no more risks possible in his current business, he kidnaps her only son, and with the little kid by his side, he gets the power to make her obey everything that he asks him to do, like a slave under command, the chain being attached to the child. As her son’s life is in his hands, Rhona struggles to obey Vladik’s orders, as she has to face some of the most twisted men and women in the business. But with her son’s life on the line, she will go through punches, kicks, gunshots and torture, with one goal in mind. Can Natalie do all the necessary things needed to keep her son alive, as Vladik has more plans for her? Will she and her son survive?

The defence of Acceleration :: The movie does have some nice action sequences, more related to shooting, and thanks to Natalie Burn being perfect in doing all that, Acceleration does manage to accelerate through its short run-time which is actually shorter due to the longer credit scenes, making it lasting about one hour and twenty minutes, losing another five minutes in the process. With such a low budget, they did manage to make this much, and has also managed to have some good performances from the main cast. The visuals are good too, as we look at the city which is coloured nicely in the night and with the darkness to set the mood for some action with much at stake. As the movie progresses you want to see more of Natalie on the screen, as sooner or later, this becomes all about her, the character on whom everything around here focuses on. You will have to watch it without thinking too much, and things will come together with progress.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when we feel that the writers were in a hurry to finish this movie. This is already a very short movie lasting less than one and half hours, and they don’t find it enough, as it seems from how this movie has been jumping from one scene to the other. There could have been better editing in place for sure. In the end, there is a rush, and at times, the protagonist has it easy – she beats up people easily, and escapes from bondage by herself, not really looking as if she ever had even a little trouble. You shouldn’t make things too easy in a movie like this, as the way she escapes here is just too silly, as the man who caught her and tied her up is a human trafficker and had intended to punish her hard in a way which she would remember throughout her like until she dies, but she just frees herself and simply stabs him after walking through his evil lair which is supposed to be so difficult to escape from. The movie’s twists are not interesting either – there were opportunities to add to it, but the movie doesn’t do so.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Natalie Burn written all over it as far as performances are concerned, as she becomes the perfect action star with looks and style as much as the action sequences. With her looks, she is separated from the usual leading actress – she possesses that intensity that cannot be unmatched, and that is more or less due to her appearance, as she becomes someone we expect to beat people up, and maybe even shoot them nicely. But action surely is not her only skill, as Natalia Guslistaya, the Ukrainian model can do much more, without doubt. She was also seen in Mechanic: Resurrection, Expendables 3 and Criminal, all of them action thrillers, even though not in those main roles, and so there is a good chance that you might have missed her in those films. Dolph Lundgren was last seen in Aquaman in a significant role, and you can try finding him there, and the clue is that it is linked to Mera, the superhero’s lover underwater in the Kingdom of Atlantis. He is the one other actor worth mentioning, and the others just manage to play along at most of time.

How it finishes :: Acceleration is more or less the time-pass action movie which you can watch without spending much time thinking about. There is not much otherwise as far as this movie is concerned. There is enough in this movie to keep you interested as a crime action thriller. But escapism does get the advantage over the other things, and thus this movie is left with not much for the brain. It goes on the lines of many other action thrillers, but doesn’t use those elements of the genre to the best of advantage – but that might not have been needed considering the fact that this movie doesn’t try too hard. It lets everything go accordingly, because with Natalie Burn and Dolph Lundgren in the lead, an action thriller can go on as expected, without attempted to come with something grand. Acceleration accelerates just enough for you, and the escapist entertainment runs on that initial acceleration which is a little boosted at times.

[Gets some friench fries along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have been so much more.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have used the leading lady to more potential.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: She surely is perfect for an action movie, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but more as the lady villain rather than as the heroine.

Vampire Bat: There is no question about the fact that she looks quite lethal with the action sequences and more.

Vampire Owl: I never knew that Hollywood has such actresses custom made for such roles.

Vampire Bat: We didn’t know that there would be Corona Virus either.

Vampire Owl: There are so many things that we don’t know.

Vampire Bat: Well, knowledge doesn’t come with immortality. You have to read a lot to come up with that.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the oak tree].

Release date: 8th November 2019
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Michael Merino, Daniel Zirilli
Starring: Natalie Burn, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Sean Patrick Flanery, Danny Trejo, Dobromir Mashukov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aquaman

What is the movie about? :: A lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) comes up against Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), who is the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis which had sunk under the Atlantic Ocean on one eventful day of ambition and hubris. He saves the injured princess and they fall in love. The unexpected sequence of events lead to the birth of Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) who shows the ability to communicate with marine lifeforms, and it is only one of his special skills. With the attack of the troops of Atlantis threatening her family’s life, she decides to go back to the city, hoping to come back on another day when the situation gets better. An Atlantean Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) is assigned to train Arthur as he grows up.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Back to the events after the incidents of Justice League, the invasion of Steppenwolf had made Arthur further part of saving the world as Aquaman, a name with which he has been referred to by the media. He comes up against the pirate David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and his team while the group was trying to hijack a nuclear submarine – Arthur ends up defeating them, and leaves David’s father dead in the process, for which the young pirate wants revenge. Meanwhile, Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s younger half-brother and Atlantis’ king wants to begin a war against the people on the surface, as revenge against polluting ocean and causing the death of many creatures of the seas. Using an attack by David as the immediate cause, he seeks the support of the rest of the underwater kingdoms to go on war.

And what else is to follow here? :: He easily gets the support of Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), another king under the sea, and looks forward for more. The daughter of Nereus, Mera (Amber Heard) supports Arthur to become the king as the rightful heir to the crown. But at the same time, Orm wishes to get rid of Arthur, who is the first-born of the queen and therefore has a claim to the throne of Atlantis. Despite Orm sending huge tidal waves all around the world, the surface world remains ignorant about what lies beneath. Mera convinces Arthur to try and save both worlds and he agrees. But the fact remains that Arthur doesn’t have much of a chance against the power that Orm holds on his way to becoming the Ocean Master. But there might be one chance – the question remains if he can take it.

The defence of Aquaman :: One can appreciate Aquaman for its great fight sequences and stunning visuals more than anything else. It becomes a spectacle easily with these, and we just love to keep watching without taking eyes away at any moment. The visuals under the sea has all those fights happening underwater too. We have so many things to add to this visual extravaganza. Atlantis itself is a beautiful sight, and we see that even the people and their costumes are nice. There is a lot of world detail around here. The locations on the surface are also nicely chosen. The fight scene in Sicily is glorious, and the final combat is great to watch. There is also the allusion to the tale of the legendary British king Arthur, and the other reminder is related to Thor: Ragnarok which had the hero from Norse mythology fighting his sibling for control over the kingdom. Well, it even has some horror with its marine creatures – that reminds you who the director is.

Positives and negatives :: There is nothing special being added to the story, and there are no twists coming your way. The similarities to Thor: Ragnarok are many, with not just the sibling battle, but also regarding the early defeat, loss of weapon and arena battle, this time in the absence of the Incredible Hulk. But we see the cast, and most of the problems vanish with the beautiful visuals – Amber Heard does what Natalie Portman couldn’t do in Thor, as the action star on the lines of Kate Beckinsale of Underworld and Mila Jovovich of Resident Evil, as she does the same thing better than ever. A journey through the underwater world, and witnessing a city with so much detail can negate the negatives easily enough. There is some nice humour, and the emotions stay strong for most of the time too. It hasn’t been that easy going for DC, even though Suicide Squad was a movie I enjoyed a lot, personally. Aquaman makes it easy for DC to go forward now.

The performers of the soul :: Jason Momoa remains strong in this one, and unlike that Justice League role, this time, he brings more charm. He nicely gets into the mix of Justice League with this one, and it will be interesting to see how everything works out with another movie with a team of superheroes trying to match the Avengers in another universe. Amber Heard is amazingly good as the warrior princess from underwater. We remember her for her presence in the thrilling horror movies like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Ward and The Stepfather as well as the action thrillers like And Soon the Darkness, 3 Days to Kill and Drive Angry. This one will be the new way to identify her, as a character which brings the best. She is perfectly suited for action sequences other than being remembered as a scream queen, and it is something that she seems to reiterate here. Patrick Wilson from Insidious & The Conjuring fame becomes an extremely effective villain too. Nicole Kidman has some fine moments too.

How it finishes :: Aquaman might be that one movie which could rise its level to catch up with Marvel, and after Wonder Woman, we have one another movie which lifts the universe again, with hope for even more. On the lines of Thor and Norse mythology, DC has its Greek mythology and elements including Atlantis about which we have read about in Plato’s Republic right in place. The myth and the visuals here can be considered to be even ahead of Wonder Woman, even though the island its inhabitants had their own charm too – nothing matches some nicely created underwater visual splendour though. With the second part of Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel to do the job for Marvel, DC has surely made its move in a nice way, the director of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has made a point once again. Well, it is surprising that Aquaman about whom not many people know – the lesser known superhero now has a movie better than each and every better known superhero of Justice League.

Release date: 14th December 2018 (India); 21st December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Graham McTavish, Temuera, Ludi Lin, Randall, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, Sophia Forrest

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Expendables III

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Vampire Owl :: I am outsourcing this. Counting sucks.

Vampire Bat :: It is impossible to count the superstars in this movie, especially because we predate Mathematics. Uncle Dracula survived for so long without it.

Vampire Owl :: I am hiring an owlification assistant.

Vampire Bat :: Leave it and just remember Sylvester Stallone.

Vampire Owl :: I just hope the screen is enough for all of them.

Vampire Bat :: I told you it was better to watch Scarlett Johansson.

Vampire Owl :: I have graveyard shift. How can I wake up for its early show?

Vampire Bat :: There is something called alarm. Try it at least once. I know you can’t stand that sound.

Vampire Owl :: Still better than being under an ice bucket.

Vampire Bat :: I am not wasting water on that.

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of Expendables is once again in a conflict, but this time, they come face to face against the co-founder of the same team long ago, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who has transformed himself into a ruthless man. Barney’s team lose the battle there and are almost killed, with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) seriously injured. He leaves his old team behind for their own safety and gets a new one including John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Luna (Ronda Rousey), Thorn (Glen Powell) and Mars (Victor Ortiz) and goes after the new enemy, much to the dismay of the older members, especially Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture). But would that be enough to take down the big man who has always been one step ahead of the current Expendables leader? Will the strength and agility of the new members prove better than the experience and smartness of the older members? Can the team even stand together in a battle for which they are not actually enough trained and prepared? Will they live up-to their name, or can they actually live beyond their name?

The defence of The Expendables 3 :: Here comes the nostalgia of The Terminator, Rambo and a few others on the screen, and it is something that can’t be matched. It is something like a 20-20 cricket match in which there are so many superstars with two all-star teams playing, with legends running all around. It is that kind of an opportunity which comes only with this franchise lead by Sylvester Stallone and his team(s). It is where the movie scores easy points, an advantage which no other movie or franchise got, and something like this might not be easy to come either. The action sequences are also there are expected, but they are really less here, and they come late. There are lots of stylish and powerful sequences there, and it is not just good to see them together – it is more than that to the fans. There were lots of claps in the theatre, especially for three people, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last one even without doing much. That much is the power of these people, and the movie can run nicely with that.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has a population problem in there, with the density of population being too much for a flick which lasts just over two hours – there is not enough for everyone, and the plot also suffers due to the same; it seemed to want to do something for all the stars, but fails miserably in doing it. The result is a certain amount of drag which comes in between, and for showing all these people on the screen for enough time with something given to them all, the movie misses out on being engaging. The action sequences are missing for quite a lot of time, and the first half thus goes into a slower mode. It struggles so hard to be not the shadow of itself in a world which itself is losing in strength. The dialogues also lack punch, as if the stars are losing their powers to entertain along with becoming older. There is no innovation added to the movie in this sequel, as it depends on its own superstars who have been crowd favourites for such a long time. It is repetitive, and is surely going to do the same again.

Performers of the soul :: I had expected this to be the movie of Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, but that was not the case to be. The movie has scenes and sequences for almost everyone there, and it tries to give something to all. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li are wasted in their roles, as they are left with nothing much to do other than being there only to get some action just as the end nears – the latter actually seems lesser known to audience here these days while the former at least gets some claps when his face is shown on the big screen – thanks to those awesome flicks of his wonderful times; same is the case of Stallone and Statham. This population explosion on the screen has actually made their characters suffer a lot. The worst hit might be Antonio Banderas who is caught in a role which never really seemed to suit him, and yet he has tried so well. The question would remain what was the need for him to take a character which was better suited for someone like Jet Li – meanwhile, Mel Gibson and Ronda Rousey steals the show – there is no second opinion about it.

Soul exploration :: The Expendables III is undoubtedly the worst movie of the franchise so far even as it is not bad otherwise. Its inability to live up-to the expectations is actually depressing and not anything else. As it has those superstars whom we loved for such a long time, and even defined our childhood, it needed something for us to remember and recollect. But this one just comes and goes, leaving nothing behind. It surely shows us our favourite stars, but does nothing to support them. With all this talent brought together, is this all they could do? The 34% critics rating at Rotten Tomatoes is not a surprise, and you will know it from the first half itself, and the second half also struggles to provide anything good to these stars other than what they are getting paid. This won’t be a movie in which they will be remembered. It is a sad situation for our memories, but at the same time, it does awaken that nostalgia – so we can’t keep blaming them for giving us something to cheer about, right?

How it finishes :: The Expendables III is not of the power that its franchise used to have, as it is struggles to keep itself going. It is unable to find any special ingrediant for the movie as it goes on with its usual style which is less interesting at this stage when they are coming up with a third movie on the same path as its predecessors. But still its major competitor this weekend from Hollywood is just Lucy, as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is yet to arrive here, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules and Into the Storm remains in the theatres. The Hindi movie of the weekend is Mardaani and the Malayalam one is Munnariyippu. There is not much challenge in store for a movie which has so many superstar in a world which is governed by celebrity worship. Still, the power is undoubtedly reduced this time, as this is the third movie of a franchise which has no innovation – but it is always good to see these superstars who were there during our childhood, right?

Release date: 22nd August 2014 (India); 15th August 2014 (US)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.