John Wick 3

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) had murdered Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) at The Continental Hotel, violating the rule that there would be no blood on its grounds. Winston (Ian McShane), the owner and manager of the hotel had delayed announcing the resulting excommunication and global bounty by an hour to give him a head start. Now being an excommunicado, John is on the run, and is confronted by lesser assassins even before his time started. With a fourteen million bounty on his head, and on the run from assassins, he manages to gain a safe passage to Casablanca in Morocco by claiming a favour from a lady known as the Director (Anjelica Huston). There he meets Sofia (Halle Berry) who owes him a favour and asks her to lead him to the Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui), a high ranked member of the high table who could take the bounty off his head.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is during the same time that an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) from the high table meets with Winston, who is asked to give up his office in seven days. Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), the leader of a network of vagrant assassins is also asked to give up his position. There would be serious consequences if both were to disagree. An assassin known as Zero (Mark Dacascos) is recruited by her for the mission. He, along with his assassin team members, take on the helpers of John Wick. At the same time, John does come up with a deal, but there is more to be done, and there are so many assassins after him. He would wish to stop this and live in the memories of his wife, but that wouldn’t be possible that easily. Winston and Bowery King wishes to keep their part too, but that will be quite difficult too.

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum :: We have watched the previous two chapters, and one can safely say that the franchise has had a clear improvement, with the second chapter being better than the first, and this third chapter rising above the predecessors. The improvements come in different fields – one is the action, which is surely better, and each sequence and each kill seems to have something in it. There are some interesting sequences in the beginning itself, and in the end, we have another grand one. The ending also assures us of another sequel, and more blood bath. The visuals are also part of the improvement, as what we see on the screen, with the shots from the distance, or even inside the fighting places are all really good. The humour also sees a certain improvement, and a few are there when least expected. Most of us have played the game Hitman, on the silent assassin, and John Wick goes loud, like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

The claws of flaw :: The phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, means “If you want peace, prepare for war”, and “parabellum” in the movie name calls for war, which brings a lots of blood and gore which may not be acceptable for everyone – its actually a lot more than the previous movie, but as we won’t have the original uncut version here, that won’t be a problem for our audience here. One would also wonder why the movie decided not to have a better storyline behind all the big action. While Keanu Reeves is too good here, we miss Ruby Rose with that intensity in the last movie – Asia Kate Dillon never comes up with any action, and Halle Berry is wasted in a small role looking the same all the time. More of Laurence Fishburne would have also been appreciated. Everything also comes together in a way that makes a number of incidents in the movie not worthy, and some replacements could have made it feel better.

How it finishes :: John Wick 3 undoubtedly brings the best full action movie in a long time, maybe the most significant one after Mission Impossible: Fallout. Well, there are many other genres which those usual action movies could fit in, but this one is perfectly suited for exactly one category. But one thing that will surprise the movie fans is related to this flick’s availability in the theatres. As of now, it seems to be available in only one multiplex in Cochin, which is PVR Cinemas in Lulu Mall. The closest place where one can find the same is many kilometres away, in the next district, at INOX in Sobha City Mall, Thrissur. With Avengers: Endgame reigning and breaking all records, there might be no place for another English movie, but with John Wick shows running full, there has to be more, and it is one thing which the assassin deserves. At least it should stay for more.

Release date: 17th May 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Ian McShane

*Below is a short review on another movie which I watched during this weekend – Ishq.

[Short Review: Ishq (2019: Malayalam) – The movie talks about two lovers who are harassed by moral policing locals. It has some fine performances from whole of its cast, and the idea is definitely a good one, with a reflection of certain incidents which have happened in the past. The Shine and Shane combination works like a dream. There is also one beautiful song and the first few moments are nicely done until they get repetitive, and the ending is nice. But with its story and the execution as a whole, the movie struggles. There is also the lack of some good characterization, and wastes its female characters except for the moments in the beginning and the end. The characters act in strange ways as in a brainless slasher movie, leaving the realistic side a long way behind. A journey from a road thriller to home invasion, from “In Fear” to “Funny Games” can always be better.

If there were messages intended, then also the movie gives the wrong ones, as reflected in the response of the audience – they are clapping to those mass scenes which go against the spirit of the movie itself, and in the end, except for the people online, especially on Facebook, others are not seen as giving the highly positive opinions. Giving a tagline which nobody really cares to read is also not an excuse to not living up to what the title says. The movie seems to be something created out of anger rather than with a mission, and to work with the common audience, we need the latter – the intellect has advantage over instinct, and it is something to be kept in mind when dealing with an issue like this one. This was a movie which had a great chance at being something brilliant, but fails to be there, as it embraces mediocrity.]

Also refer to similar movies like Varathan and Uncle which were better.

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Wick 2

Vampire Owl: We need to hire this man. He looks a lot effective.

Vampire Bat: But he is always looking for vengeance.

Vampire Owl: We can make him follow our path. There is just the need to have someone from our enemies list kill his dog.

Vampire Bat: He is a ruthless assassin with connections. He will find out in the end.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that we will have to call the Accountant to finish our job.

Vampire Bat: I thought that you would say Mechanic.

Vampire Owl: I would just kill them myself and get the Transporter to get rid of the werewolf heads.

Vampire Bat: You can always hire Codename 47, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is just that he keeps on getting the reboots, I think.

Vampire Bat: Just keep yourself away from John Wick‘s dog and also his car.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Krackjack biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves), the retired assassin who had earlier returned to killing people after his dog was killed and his car was stolen by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), is not finished with what he had been doing. He searches for, and finds his stolen car at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), the uncle of Iosef. After killing all the men, John spares the life of Tarasov in the name of peace and returns home only to find more of his previous life following him there. After the car which was heavily damaged in the fight is taken for repairs by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), John is provided a surprise visit by the Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to whom he had sworn an oath, often referred to as a marker, which had helped him to finish the impossible task that had set him free from the world of blood and gore, and allowed him to marry Helen (Bridget Moynahan).

So, what happens next in the movie? :: John Wick is supposed to be someone who could keep doing the impossible, as Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist) himself had acknowledged before being dead, and a confident Santino asks John for the favour in return, but the tired assassin decides against going through the violent ways again, and says no without even listening to what the crime lord wanted him to do. An angry Santino goes back to his car, and returns with a grenade launcher to destroy John’s home, almost killing him in the process. John escapes and goes on to meet Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, who tells him to abide by the rules, and he is supposed to honour the promise made in the form of the marker. John decides to play by the rules, and meets Santino again, who provides him the mission of assassinating his sister Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) to claim her seat among the top-level crime lords.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: John gets to Gianna during a party, where she is under the protection of expert fighter and bodyguard Cassian (Common). Even though John is successful in his mission with her choosing to commit suicide rather than get killed, he is chased by the group of tem lead by Santino’s right-hand, a mute young lady known by the name Ares (Ruby Rose), and also by Cassian who seeks vengeance. With Santino himself putting a seven million dollar bounty on the former retired assassin, John Wick has no option, but to fight for his life – Cassian is determined to have his revenge, and Ares is determined to show her allegiance and effectiveness to her master. There are assassins jumping on him out of nowhere, and he decides to have a meeting with the underground crime lord The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), but where does their conflict of interests and a troublesome past lead them?

The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 :: The first movie had become a surprise hit, and this one also follows the same pattern, making things even better by a good margin. Keanu Reeves is also the bigger assassin with this one, and he remains the core. He continues to be at his best as the action hero, doing what he has been doing the best. There is also no humans dead in the name of dogs, as it happens in the name of cows in some parts. The style factor is also too good, and all the action sequences, a lot of them if we consider the total, catch our attention. Among all those who fight the deadly assassin, it is Ruby Rose who comes up with the most memorable show – there is that intensity in her despite being mute, that we feel that she might be one lady whom nobody should have the misfortune of facing. There is that final battle with her, and also the one that we see in the beginning that catch our eyes more than any other. Then there is Laurence Fishburne, evergreen as you would find him in an action thriller.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much in the story here, as it was in the first movie, with the assassin going on killing more and more people, most of them assassins themselves; it is still better than going on to kill people in the name of a dead dog which is given too much importance. The predictability factor is high, as we do have some idea about how things are going to go on and on – John Wick is not that much about surprises, as you might already know from the first movie. This one is also about how great John Wick is, and there is also the presence of those strange laws and oaths which shift the focus. There is also another dog which leaves the option to have another revenge as soon as it is killed. The violence is also there throughout, and deaths have been more and more glorified with this movie. The climax could have also been greater, as something bigger seemed to be getting ready to come up, but unfortunately, that didn’t really happen.

How it finishes :: A long way ahead of the first movie, The defence of John Wick: Chapter 2 is the movie which is once again certain to have your attention with Keanu Reeves going through all the action once again. You have a very nice example of the sequel becoming better than the original movie here, a feature which has more and more examples of things being the other way around – the sequel here has 7.9/10 to 7.2/10, 75% to 68% at Metacritic and 91% to 85% at Rotten Tomatoes, and almost double the box-office collections, compared to the original. There is also a third movie coming up, and we can be sure that it is also going to follow the same pattern, and with all things going more and more global, we can expect more firepower, and a lot more action with the next flick in the franchise. After watching John Wick: Chapter 2, one can safely wait for John Wick: Chapter 3, as we know how much is there to happen in a third movie. The man is a legend, and so we can’t really expect him to finish his tale in two chapters, with so much of him to be unleashed again and again with the certainty of the tides?

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Claudia Gerini, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero, Peter Serafinowicz, Tobias Segal

PS: For the awaited release of the weekend, see the review on Kadam Katha.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Accountant

theaccountant-2

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have added the name to the list.

Vampire Bat: To which list? What kind of list have you made now?

Vampire Owl: Mr. Transporter, Mr. Mechanic and Mr. Codename 47.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that they are all people “specialised” in one particular thing, and they lead us through those sequences of action and thrills.

Vampire Owl: It is exactly what my list about.

Vampire Bat: The Accountant actually has the most hair on the head among all these people.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I will add it to the comments section when I make the Excel sheet.

Vampire Bat: You are keeping an Excel sheet about this?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I am also keeping a backup of the same on my external hard disc.

Vampire Bat: You really need better ways to spend free-time, don’t you?

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) works as a forensic accountant for a number of enterprises, most of them being criminal organizations or those with similar interests from all around the world. His only connection is a voice on his phone that comes from a restricted number, which helps him in getting work as well as disappear with another identity. After being a child with high-functioning autism when he was a child, he was trained by his father who was a special forces officer, to defend himself in a world of chaos where he would always be considered to be different and as an outsider. Christian has managed to work this in his favour, and use what all he had learnt during an intense training, as part of his work, which is not limited to being a normal accountant. He is known in many circles as simply “the accountant”, and he has been a rather anonymous force which people have found hard to tackle.

So, what happens next? :: Christian’s latest assignment includes auditing a robotics corporation known by the name Living Robotics, where the accountant at the place, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), has found something strange within the records which doesn’t really add up. As Christian finds out that things are more complicated than they thought, the CFO of the company, Ed Chilton (Andy Umberger) is murdered by an assassin (Jon Bernthal), and his death is declared as the result of an insulin overdose. The whole problem in the accounts is considered to be his doing, and the case is closed, but Christian is not happy with the same, as he suspects that a thicker plan is at work. Meanwhile, the Accountant is being pursued by Raymond King (J.K. Simmons) of the Treasury Department, and he asks data analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to find him, as a reward for not exposing her criminal past. Where will this game go for the Accountant?

The defence of The Accountant :: An intelligent movie that entertains – The Accountant successfully becomes that; for we have the smarter side working well with the story, and the action scenes are very well done too. We do feel them to be realistic, and there is not much of an exaggerated style added here at any moment. Even though it begins slowly, it just keeps better and better to reach that nice finish – in between, the best thing is that there is no romance in between, which would have deviated things further here. In the beginning, you are unsure about how things are going to be, and how everything will come together in the end – well, things do finish well, there is no doubt about that. The presence of a strong emotional side comes as a boost too. You can be happy about having watched an action movie with quite a lot of brain behind it, which is reflected on the screen too – the performances add as more boost.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is a little too slow in its beginning, and it is only when the flick is near one hour mark that things begin to get interesting – the last one hour and fifteen minutes see steady rise in the overall entertainment factor of the movie, and we are sent on that thrilling ride that has a lot of action around. The complicated parts of this movie will also keep some people away, with the tale being told with so many flashbacks, some of them surely disrupting the overall flow of this movie – a number of people will be left with questions to ask after watching the flick, no matter how clear it will seem to the others. The movie is also so many things at the same time, and by going through more than one genre in the process, some people are certain to wonder if some focus was lost in between. The second plot involving the investigation on the Accountant was the one which needed something more of a boost.

Performers of the soul :: Ben Affleck as the Accountant leads the way here, and there are no surprises about how well he manages this complicated character who is more of a survivor and a man with his own ideas about doing the right thing, rather than anything else. He surely scores with this one, a lot more than what he did as Batman in Batman v Superman, with him being in control all the time – maybe this deserves to have a sequel before that superhero flick gets one. Anna Kendrick also makes a nice addition to this movie, and she looks more than just correct for this role – you will realize that she is really good, if you haven’t yet; she has a lot of moments to look out for. Cynthia Addai-Robinson doesn’t have much of expression going in her way though, as she has that face throughout the movie. It was so much about Ben Affleck’s character though, and so others matter less. Still, you are sure to like how Jon Bernthal gets on with his job.

How it finishes :: The Accountant is the action movie which doesn’t keep things simple, and it is one thing that anyone who is going to watch this movie needs to keep in mind. The presence of action sequences is certain, but they don’t come alone. This movie also leaves with a potential for further sequels, like The Transporter and Mechanic has already displayed, John Wick is on the process of displaying, and Hitman has been doing with the reebot. Among all these, The Accountant has the best potential, with its origin story already done, and its protagonist being someone different. As long as you can take those slow beginnings in this movie, there are those thrills and action sequences that await you – give The Accountant a try, and you are surely not going to be disappointed with the entertainment, as well as a smart side to go with it.

Release date: 14th October 2016
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jake Presley, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, John Lithgow, Jean Smart, Andy Umberger, Alison Wright

theaccountant

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mechanic: Resurrection

mechanic2-1

Vampire Owl: This reminds me of someone I know very closely.

Vampire Bat: Oh, you mean the Transporter. Or the Hitman.

Vampire Owl: None of them – I know that they are exclusive to the human race.

Vampire Bat: Then who are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: Don’t you remember my zombie minion who was a mechanic?

Vampire Bat: He fixed tombstones. You can’t call him a mechanic.

Vampire Owl: Well, we work through magic. What else is there to repair?

Vampire Bat: But the Mechanic here is a Hitman!

Vampire Owl: And Jason Statham is supposed to be the Transporter!

Vampire Bat: They are all professionals – Hitman, Transporter and Mechanic and there is minimum hair on the head. So, consider them as equals in a divided society and lets watch the movie.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham), has left his job as the “mechanic”, which has been a fancy name for a skilled hitman for very long when he was in the field. As he had been more than a professional assassin who specialized in making his assassinations look like accidents, random criminal acts, suicides or just something that happened as a part of collateral damage, he is never really away from his job with the past following him all the time. After pretending to be dead, he has been living in Rio de Janeiro after taking over the name Santos, with no noise, and no more repairing with assassinations as a mechanic. He is approached by a lady named Renee Tran (Rhatha Phongam) who tells him that she knows who he is – she wants him to kill three targets for her boss, and they have to look like accidents or normal deaths.

So, what happens next? :: Using his special skills and experience, Arthur makes his escape from Renee and her mercenaries, making his way into the resort of his old friend, Mae (Michelle Yeoh) in Thailand. There he meets a woman called Gina Thorne (Jessica Alba) who is beaten by a man, and saves her, but later realizes that she is the bait, and someone has put her there to make him fall for her, so that he can later make him do assassinations for him – the same person who was following him in Latin America. It is the man called Crain (Sam Hazeldine) who used to be Arthur’s childhood friend, but that bond no longer remained, only to turn into hate later. He would kidnap the woman, and ask Arthur to do the three kills to keep her safe. Arthur has decided to make sure that Gina remains safe, and so he goes after his first target. But this one is inside a prison, and won’t be that easy – and two more will follow.

The defence of Mechanic: Resurrection :: There is unlimited action guaranteed with this sequel, and one can safely see that it is even bigger than its predecessor in that particular department. All the action remains simple, but effective, and there is no shortage of thrills in this journey. The action actually begins in the first location itself, and there is a fine dose of the same in between – the executions are also nicely done, especially, the one from under the swimming pool at the top of the skyscraper. There are some nice twists to go with the same too, and none of these are without style here – we all know what Jason Statham is capable of from all he has done within this genre. Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Bulgaria – the settings for this movie are all beautiful without doubt; especially those first shots at Rio de Janeiro and what all follows at those times in Thailand.

The claws of flaw :: People might have wished for something more in the story with this second addition to the franchise – a lot more than the usual thing, but they had to be satisfied with the hitman doing jobs with this one. There might also be the need for a more standardized progress with a movie like this and also the requirement for better dialogues and moments to remember. Another thing is that people are going to compare, and that might not do much good here – it is enjoyable what you see on the screen that matters the most. You are also sure to ask more from Jessica Alba’s character and also for Michelle Yeoh. Mechanic: Resurrection could have chosen to satisfy them all, but the fact that it doesn’t try to do the same means that we can watch them all without being bothered by the rest of the world.

Performers of the soul :: Jason Statham once again shines with what he does the best – it used to be The Transporter, Crank or The Expendables, and here, he continues to create that impression on us, as we watch him take on the bad guys. As the person who has been the Transporter before, and as the person who has been the fans’ first preference to become Agent 47 in Hitman, he easily goes through this role which demands nothing that special from someone who is so close to this genre. Well, we need to watch him in this kind of roles as it is how we have known him for a long time. As the hero that we want him to be, he is there again. It is good to see Jessica Alba again, but her role is a little too limited in this one, becoming the damsel in distress for too much time. Sam Hazeldine makes a pretty good villain here, and Tommy Lee Jones scores with the screen time that he has. Michelle Yeoh could also been used more.

How it finishes :: A lot of people might have chosen to degrade this movie, and it might not be the overrated critics’ material – but that doesn’t take out anything from this movie which delivers, and we have no doubt about that. Grossing more than its predecessor, this one proves that there is more to the movie than what the reviews say – Mechanic: Resurrection is not the kind of movie that goes for brainless entertainment either, and so you can be sure that critics have got this wrong, and it is not the case of just with one person. After watching this movie against many opinions, I have only found people who had told that this movie is disappointing, as disappointing for me. It happens very often with action movies as well as the horror flicks; we know a movie is good, and there are those reviews which look at the flicks in a strange way – but we get over it and go through to watch the movie.

Release date: 26th August 2016
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Dennis Gansel
Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Rhatha Phongam, Natalie Burn, Anteo Quintavalle, Femi Elufowoju, John Cenatiempo, Toby Eddington

mechanic2

*Also check Ouija: Origin of Evil, Lights Out, The Witch, Vatican Tapes and Before I Wake specially for this Friday the 13th inspired weekend.

@ 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.

Resident Evil V

residentevil5 (3)

It is should be the right thing to say in this redundant flashback – that Resident Evil, in both its forms, as the movie and as the game, have been an integral part of my alternate reality. Thus this flashback to a few months ago is clearly justified. There are so many things that this one prepares us for, and the most important thing is to be prepared for a zombie apocalypse, and that a virus is the most evil and the powerful thing which could be created and manipulated by man in a zombie fiction, and proving it with a series of arrows from its quiver which is the game and movie collection. The addiction with this movie made my download even another movie The Resident by mistake, which was pretty good too, and being such a master in action-horror genre, our series makes such an impact on everyone who is not faint-hearted in an anti-gore manner, that the need for more of it arises. It is from this need that the game series has reached its peak, and the movie series has reached what is called Resident Evil: Retribution, and is going to reach that stage which is called Resident Evil: Armageddon which should be the last movie of this series unless they change their mind or do a reboot. In this world of pseudo-experts growing dislike for this movie, what you need to do though, is accept this movie with its flaws which are not really “the flaw” considering its origin.

As a continuation of the story, Alice (Milla Jovovich) and he friends are attacked by a group of airships led by Alice’s former ally and friend, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who has been brainwashed by the Umbrella Corporation through a red scarab device attached to her chest, a battle which results in an explosion which knocks her out and throws her into the water. Alice awakens as a prisoner in an Umbrella jail. Jill tortures Alice, but she escapes and fights through another world, the Tokyo simulation of the original outbreak and encounters Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) who has changed sides leaving the Umbrella Corporation behind. They go on a mission to save whatever is left of mankind, but before that they have to get out. They have to go through a number of artificial worlds though, the different virus outbreak simulations which are meant to test her clones and may be she can even encounter a few other faces of herself. As there are many simulations and recreations of outbreaks, with so many basic models in such testing environments with different roles assigned to the same Alice, as she might be a businesswoman in one, a housewife in another or even a soldier working for Umbrella Corporation in the next. It is another centre of pure scientific evil through which they have to go through to get out into the real world.

Resident Evil series can never be included in the list of pure action nor pure horror movies. It is a clear mixture of both, and what is has produced is a group of powerful female protagonists who are also incredibly good-looking in their attires, and comes up with breath-taking stunts. There are a few male characters who supports, but still fails to create the much needed impact. To add to it, the human villains remain the men, and zombies have to be considered beyond them. There are basically five female characters who have created a huge impact within the series, and among them, one is the main protagonist and two of them can be considered as her perfect partners in action. The other two also make a powerful impact upon presence. This is more of an improvement from both Underworld and Kill Bill series, which had such protagonists, but just one female in all cases, and so is the case of Alien series. What Resident Evil has done is that there are so many characters who have filled this apocalyptic future with their own style and characteristics, and they all have their significance in the future.

Milla Jovovich as Alice Alice, is the main protagonist of the Resident Evil film series. The story of each film is mostly about her own struggle with the Umbrella Corporation. She starts as lady wearing nothing other than two pieces of paper supported by a small thread, which is more like a superior fashion design which Umbrella seem to be interested in giving to their captives and research items from the number of movies she wears it – in the first movie, she starts under the shower with amnesia. This repetition of paper-clothing and her words about her name being Alice are the two things which seems to reiterate itself without any sense. But what is to be noticed is that she evolves into a highly efficient killing machine and more of a bio-weapon which is stopped from unleashing itself only by her conscience. Alice would seem to become more and more efficient throughout the series. It is even seen in her clothing, as she seems more like Underworld‘s Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in this movie, close to being the best female action protagonist. Alice’s superhuman abilities which she has achieved with the successful bonding with the T-virus which has negatively affected others, makes her more of a superhero character – she even has psychic abilities. Considering the number of clones of her which the Umbrella Corporation produces, one might even end up doubting if she who is depicted in the movie might be really that Alice of the first movie.

In the last movie, we saw that her superhuman abilities have been taken away by the disabling of her T-virus affected cells. Still, we can see that she is still strong enough in this movie as she comes up with those breath-taking stunts. But, at the end of this one, her powers are back with another injection as it is needed as the last hope for humanity. She is referred to as “Alice in Wasteland” in the posters of this movie, more of a combination of Alice in Wonderland and The Wasteland, thus combining the feelings of being in a different world of strange characters as well as feeling the disaster of the world. Li Bingbing as Ada Wong has run away from Umbrella to save the remnants of mankind in this movie, and she serves as support for Alice in Resident Evil: Retribution. She could be seen as another version of Alice itself, without the T-virus and involving in all the action and adventure with what seems to be her highly trained abilities. She could be another perfect clone of Alice with all that she seemed to be doing in the movie. Even in her first appearance in the movie series, she has created an impact which is on par with her character in the video game, and that is perfect.

Alison Elizabeth “Ali” Larter as Claire Redfield is first seen as the leader of a convoy of zombie apocalypse survivors in Resident Evil: Extinction. In Resident Evil: Afterlife, she is captured by the Umbrella Corporation and manipulated by a device that controls her mind before reuniting with Alice and her brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller). Claire did not return in this movie despite of the popularity of her character. Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, is back in this movie after being a major character in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. This time, she no longer is with Alice due to the mind-controlling device placed on her. It is upto Alice to bring her back to her side. These two characters would be needed as the main protagonists of a possible reeboot as they might be able to surpass Alice in creating a better impact on the viewers as they did in the game series. Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo is introduced in the first Resident Evil movie, where she works for the Umbrella Corporation’s commando division. In this movie, there are many of her, as good and bad clones are used as test subjects in the simulated environment, but they are all killed. So there is doubt if there would be any more of her in the next installment unless another return occurs for Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast & Furious 6 style.

I have believed in Resident Evil just like I believed in Silent Hill, as a computer game, and it is the same with the movies too, and I have never really tried to separate one experience from the other. The former had been with me till Resident Evil 4 and has been my favourite video game adaptation so far along with Hitman and Tomb Raider, and the latter is more of memories, mostly of Silent Hill 3. For me, this genre of fear was mostly about Undying, the first graphically good enough horror game which I had played. Well, these three games together make such an impact which nothing else can; the horror is possibly better than most of the horror movies around. The world of gaming has almost ended for me, even as there is a little dose of Age of Empires, Age of Wonders and Unreal Tournament at times – No true gamer with faith in computer gaming can forget the classics, right? I would wait for the release of the games based on Need For Speed, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed though, for they have more and more memories of another world, of that reality where I spent a good amount of my life. Here, the movie is strong in its action sequences and moments of horror and surprise supported by great 3D effects and awesome CGI with all the needed special effects. You can try to be pseudo-intellectual and dislike this movie, but it has continued to do what is expected of an action-horror video game adaptation.

Release date: 14th September 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand, Aryana Engineer, Shawn Roberts, Colin Salmon, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe

residentevil copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Silent Hill II

silenthill (2)

This is the time for flashback, to a few months ago. This is the time when the thirst for horror has reached its zenith. This movie series itself is a legend in quenching this thirst, as it comes up with that horror which is so difficult to fathom as a simple horror fan. The movie is not just an enigma, for it gives everything away; but the problem is about what we take in. I have to admit that I am at loss; for none of the horror movies came here this year; guess they can’t take the terror from Hollywood, and it must be so beyond them. Did the good horror die a painful death? The answer would be no, as I would try to resurrect this one out of my mind and have that vision of horror which the critics never liked, but I enjoyed without that sceptical mind. There will be no bones scattered and no blood spilled in the review; there would be the horror of returning to the Silent Hill that will be horrifying enough. There will be pain and suffering, for this dimension is not for the faint-hearted. Well, one just doesn’t go to Silent Hill on vacation and come back refreshed with a heart full of immense happiness and pleasure, so as if there was the chance to dance with the daffodils. They can still flash upon that inward eye and fill the world with fear; for nightmares of the night are outdated and those of the day take over.

Welcome to Silent Hill. Welcome to the fictional foggy American town of Silent Hill far beyond the reach of the electronic equipments, and its dark alternate dimension. There is the original world and the Otherworld, both separated by nothing but time. The Silent Hill has a cult, “The Order” which does ritual human sacrifices and awaits the rise of their diety, something which could be equated with the anti-christ. But the concepts of good and evil are inversed in this Otherworld of Silent Hill, and they would stop at nothing to bring the goodness that is pure evil upon Earth. They have their priestess and the good amount of blind followers. Their attempt to create the pseudo-paradise on Earth will unleash the inferno, or the original hell on the planet. It shall be the beginning of the end. Considering such a background which is firmly based on a highly successful video game, people tend to expect more, which would lead to disappointment. But as long as this one is considered, what it does is performing its duty to its genre and scare as much as possible; its scary elements remain strong, and may be it works even better than its predecessor. Everything else will slowly come into terms as the base is still strong, even as the influence is less.

Continuing from where the first part had left off, Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) has managed to save her daughter from Silent Hill, even though she gets caught in that dimension. She made the choice so that the girl as well as her world would be safe from whatever evil lurks inside the foggy dimension of the abandoned town. But the horrors of the alternate dimension hasn’t left Sharon Da Silva (Adelaide Clemens) who is currently living as Heather Mason with her adoptive father Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) in another town, as they go on changing places every now and then making sure that the people from the cult of Silent Hill won’t find her. But she is plagued by consistent hallucinations and nightmares, and she even feels the shift from this world to the other. She still believes that they are on the move because her father killed a man in self-defense and the police are seeking him. She is also made to believe that her adoptive mother Rose had died in a car crash. Now, as time has passed and she has grown older, the cult has increased the frequency of their search for her.

Heather fails to belong to the class or the school where she studies, and successfully becomes a complete outsider right from the beginning itself with a speech warning the other students against befriending her. She is approached by a private investigator named Douglas Cartland (Martin Donovan) who explains to her that he was hired by the Order to find Heather, but has decided to help her as he come to know some disturbing information about his clients. He also tells her that she is not what she thinks she is, and the life she is living is more of a lie than anything else. Heather is curious, but before he tells more about it, a fierce demon from the other world, the Missionary, kills Douglas, and Heather becomes a suspect to his murder as all the clues point to her. She finds that her father is missing, and at home, she finds a message instructing her to go to Silent Hill. She learns the truth about the place by reading a letter from her father, and decides to go to Silent Hill to rescue him even as the letter prohibited her from going anywhere near the foggy town.

Her classmate Vincent (Kit Harington) who helps her throughout reveals that he is the son of the cult’s leader Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), and was there to convince her to willingly come to Silent Hill, as it would really work if she is forced to be there. But he changes his mind and wants her to survive and therefore he tries to stop her in her attempts to rescue her father. He further tells her that Heather is actually a part of Alessa Gillespie, a girl who was burnt thirty eight years ago by the same cult but never died, leading her to create the town’s shifting dimensions. Heather is the manifestation of Alessa’s remaining innocence and goodness, as the other side knows only pain and suffering inflicted upon herself as well as the others of the town. A quick shift to the Otherworld occurs unexpectedly, and Vincent is dragged away by the same demon, Missionary. Heather enters the other dimension to find her dad as well as Leonard along with knowing more about herself. This is where the next level of horror begins.

I have believed in Silent Hill as much as I had in Resident Evil, as a computer game. The latter had been with me till Resident Evil 4 and has been my favourite video game adaptation so far along with Hitman and Tomb Raider, and the former is more of memories, mostly of Silent Hill 3 which was similar enough to this movie title. For me, this genre of fear was mostly about Undying, the first graphically good enough horror game which I had played. Well, these three games together make such an impact which nothing else can; the horror is possibly better than most of the horror movies around. The world of gaming has almost ended for me, even as there is a little dose of Age of Empires, Age of Wonders and Unreal Tournament at times – who can forget the classics, right? I would wait for the release of the games based on Need For Speed, Deus Ex, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed though, for they have memories of the other dimension, that reality where I spent a good amount of my life. There is another parallel world, that of computer games, and some games like Silent Hill got another reality inside its reality; sounds complicated enough. But the question would be about which reality being the most evil of them all, and the present human world qualifies for a race to that position.

For a movie made more for maximum horror than anything else, this one has done a very good job. If you are looking for ambiguities, come with a big truck as there might be a huge load of them. Well, it works on parallel universe or alternative reality. When a video game based horror movie deals with the self-contained separate reality which co-exists, there is always going to be loose-ends. Even the first half had its own collection of ambiguities, some which has carried over to this sequel. We can still consider the Silent Hill as that alternate reality which always co-exists, as a place for those belonging to the evil, for they are there even without themselves knowing. For them, it should be the original place and where they live should be their Silent Hill where they do not belong; a place which scares them with the goodness. But considering where the world is going, there is going to be the same reality here and there. There will be two Silent Hills and the choice would create more ambiguities. Still, this alternate reality helps one to live another life, something different, but all the online world which creates a second life can turn into another Silent Hill all of a sudden. It is always about faith which keeps the Silent Hills away, or without evil.

Release date: 26th October 2012
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kit Harington, Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan, Malcolm McDowell, Radha Mitchell

silenthill copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Die Hard V

hard

We had a hostage situation in 1988 on screen; that was what Die Hard brought with itself – one of my favourite action movies of all time and may be something superior to most of the rest when I first watched it. When they took over the airport in Die Hard 2, this sequel was not something which could have failed, and it didn’t. Actually, there were moments which made this one seem to try and overtake the first. Then came Die Hard 3, which did the exact same thing as Transporter 2 did to The Transporter – it brought the level of magnificence down from the firmament; still distant from being the worst imaginable sequel, for it became a lesser thing only due to the power of the first two movies. It took the series twelve years to come back as Live Free or Die Hard – not a bad return for something which seemed to have disappeared long ago. It was quite certain at that moment that we hadn’t seen the last of the series, and here we have Die Hard 5 a.k.a A Good Day to Die Hard. May be John McClane is forever; like the T-virus. But a virus infection would make another bloody story – and the same is the case with an immortal McClane; therefore, lets keep that away.

John McClane is back; this time in Russia – the man with his own style of facing everything, from near-death situations to almost-life situations. He is the man who is always in the middle of a crisis, whether it is a complicated family problem or an extremely simple shoot-out which might even include helicopters and fighter planes. He is specialized in being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it might be something hereditary. The one thing that the viewer could be sure about, is that his character is not that far away from a superhero status. He faces his villains with more confidence than the superheroes – one simple thing which has to be kept in the mind before watching Die Hard V. Well, there are not many other heroes of this calibre – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand made me think about intentionally feeling otherwise, but one has to come to the conclusion that McClane belongs to another genre; a similar but another area of interest. Our men of the video games, featured in the movies Hitman and Max Payne, might have a shot in future though.

The scene has shifted to Moscow. The name of the villain is Yuri Komarov – brings to me the memories of Boris Pasternak’s masterpiece Doctor Zhivago with its Yuri Zhivago and Komarovsky. Other than thinking about these two names which strike a similarity with this one name, there is nothing to be mentioned about this movie related to the Nobel prize winning novel and its critically acclaimed movie adaptation by David Lean. No, that was not even a comparison but something which caught my attention. The other villain is named Viktor Chagarin, not a name I am going to identify with some other character of another work. It is in the battle between these two, that the hero’s son Jack McClane is caught. John McClane who has not been in touch with his son for years, makes a visit to Russia to get him out of trouble – or in his words, he goes on a vacation to Moscow. Jack had ended up in prison, but escapes with Komarov. Even as the father and the son never seems to get along in the beginning, they slowly begins to work together and solve the problems.

The son turns out to be a CIA agent (his father would address him as the 007 of Plainfield, New Jersey), and his undercover operation would turn out to be a lesser twist than what Komarov and his daughter Irina would have to offer for them. Fortunately, there is no twist over twist, like that one Bollywood movie, Race 2. Still, to take the story to another level (or to a rather strange idea which could have surely taken a better twist) action would soon shift to Chernobyl, Ukraine; uranium, radio-activity and weapons. There are some twists and betrayals coming close to creating an impact, but most of the time, what saves the movie is its action scenes and the one-liners. There is enough fun and mindless action to keep this running. The McClane family problems would surely be solved in the end. Jack had said that “We’re not a hugging family” before the first half, and one knows that the family is united by the end, and can guess that “the hugging problem” might be solved before a possible Die Hard VI.

Bruce Willis stands strong as John McClane. He has continued with his “everyman” action star who seems to be drifting away a little from that status. One can only remember K’naan’s lines “When I get older I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom, just like a wavin’ flag” – something which I heard a lot during the 2010 FIFA World Cup run of the Spanish Armada; McClane is just like that, for he has only got stronger with the age. But the doubt might be about his strength and durability which is reaching a new level with experience of old age, something which reminds me of those video games. That takes away that one McClane of the earlier century who was more vulnerable and prone to errors. The age has surely caught up with McClane, but it has had a positive impact on him, both physically and intellectually. Expendables 1 and 2 had similar impact on its characters, and as Bruce Willis played one of them, one has to doubt if that element has stayed as far as Die Hard V.

Yuliya Snigir looked extremely good out there, but should have had a better role to play in this one; as her character couldn’t create that impact which one of the two main antagonists could have come up with. The twists basically revolved around her, and there was mystery surrounding her until the Chernobyl scene, but the character of Irina had to suffer due to the action-centered approach to the movie. Actually, one has to wonder what has been there for the character in the movie- a typical one-dimensional character, a title for which even John McClane might be suitable someday. There is nothing wrong in the performances, but there is that absence of three-dimensional character elements throughout the movie. Even among these confusions, the best part of the movie was undoubtedly the car chase scene, and it powers the experience from the beginning. The end-action might be a little overdose, but still not unsuitable for the style of the movie. The support of good special effects make even the ordinary action scenes worth a watch.

We surely miss that skyscraper; also that airport. But still, Die Hard series would stay alive. When John McClane says that he is on vacation, it is a fact. This is a vacation which is slightly below the quality of the other movies of the series. But still, there are gun-shots everywhere, and high-speed car chases end up in heavy destruction of property, and even the flying machines join the action. So, in simple words, this is his vacation. If that means that there is even better to expect when he is out of vacation, that would be quite a treat. Die Hard IV was an improvement from Die Hard III and therefore, there is no shortage of expectations which can be put on the shoulders of this series. Even if one might have the tendency to call it a dumb action movie, I would say that it is just because it belongs to that genre and it has performed its duty. There was Expendables 1 and 2 along with many others which could have deserved that title in an even better way. Come back, Die Hard; come back stronger.

Release date: 13th February 2013 (USA); 22nd February 2013 (India)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: John Moore
Starring: Bruce Willis, Yuliya Snigir, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Radivoje Bukvić, Cole Hauser

diehard5 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.