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.

John Wick

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Vampire Owl :: May be we should watch Beauty and the Beast instead of this.

Vampire Bat :: Now why should you think so after getting the tickets?

Vampire Owl :: Because you can find more than one John everywhere, but a beauty is so rare to find.

Vampire Bat :: You are beauty-blind. You never appreciate any kind of beauty. Do you know that?

Vampire Owl :: That is not true. I find beauty even in a mortuary.

Vampire Bat :: It is exactly what I am talking about. And this is why you will find more beauty or the strange image of beauty in an action movie like John Wick.

Vampire Owl :: What about Jessabelle? I have heard that she is a beauty.

Vampire Bat :: It has been panned by critics, and might not release here soon. The same is the case of Horns.

Vampire Owl :: See, they don’t release the right movie here. You should arrange a mutiny while I am planning to owlify the world.

Vampire Bat :: Still doing better than the censor board.

[Goes into the theatre].

What is it about? :: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is spending his life in sadness and depression after the death of his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) due to cancer. But he receives a puppy which his wife had left for him and decides to love it a lot. One day, a group of gang members ask him to name a price for his car in which they are interested. But John refuses and leaves them very angry. But at night, lead by Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen), they get into his home, beat him up, kills his dog and steals the car. Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), the leader of the gang and the father of Iosef scolds him and tells him who John actually is. He was his best assassin, who was nicknamed the boogeyman, and this ruthless killer will come to get the one who attacked him, and there is no force that can stop him. He tries to talk to John, which fails, and therefore places a bounty on him – the two major assassins who seem to take the offer seriously are Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Miss Perkins (Adrianne Palicki). But John Wick has already started his mission – he has been in the best in the business.

The defence of John Wick :: The world of John Wick is nicely created, and it is a nice and gory one full of action and violence which stands apart. It gives a special feeling as we are guided through that strange and lawless world with its own chaos as the right thing to do. It is stylish work, and its style doesn’t go too much and make it complicated – it is simple and nice, with some melee combat and lots of gunshots, never really trying anything spectacular. We do need a good action movie with a lot of action which doesn’t get overdone with flying bodies, people doing insance stunts and all, and here is it. For those who need a bloody revenge story, here it is. It might be the time to imagine all those who were bad to you this week getting shot – yes, it is a lot like a video game and the one that first comes to mind is Max Payne. There is that kind of a feeling going on, and there is even the shot of a man playing a first person shooter getting shot, all of a sudden. Shoot, shoot and save the movie – I would say that it is the motto of John Wick.

Claws of flaw :: There is drag, and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The slowness of the movie is rather awkward and there are also some uninteresting parts of the action sequences which are uncalled for. The movie does seem to offer a lot in the beginning, but that much is not provided – John Wick is this, John Wick is that, but he is not that smart as it turns out to be, but sometimes goes on like a kind of Chuck Norris, getting rid of people who are in his way. But in melee combat, he gets beaten up a lot, and one has to wonder why he was considered that scary. It is all because of his dog getting killed, and that is also strange considering how much of a murderer the protagonist has been. Then there is the ending, and the final scenes as well as the fights are not the better things in the movie, even as they could have been – and that is a let down. We think that it has ended, and it has not, and then there is the hope for another ending, and finally it ends, it is predictable, keeping us looking on our watches – there are boring moments, and the movie is a little too long.

Performers of the soul :: Here is a movie of Keanu Reeves which is all about him as the name itself suggests. He is once again at his best, and in action, he seems supreme. He has blended into this avatar so nicely that this might be his best performance for some time. There is still nothing like seeing him in The Matrix, Constantine and Speed though – sorry, couldn’t live without mentioning them here. Michael Nyqvist is fantastic as the gang lord. The movie does leave one hoping that Adrianne Palicki had more to do – the only thing she does here is to try to kill John Wick, but she is supposed to be a smart lady assassin, and should do more, and could have controlled a lot more in the movie, and her end is also too cold. I thought she was very good in G.I. Joe: Retaliation as Lady Jaye, and here she has a blunt character, but I liked the way she dealt with it. The same is the case of Willem Dafoe who was needed more – there could have been more with him and that sniper rifle. Lance Reddick is nice indeed in his scenes. Ian McShane also leaves a nice mark. I do wish Bridget Moynahan was out of John Wick’s mobile screen for a little more time.

Soul exploration :: This is a story of revenge, and how it goes in a violent manner – there is no chance for regret in this world of chaos and annihilation. There is the assertion of the truth that one’s past can’t be asked to go away, especially if it is violent in nature. There can be many things that a man can be, but being not influenced at least indirectly by his past is rather not possible – the grave where you hide these tend to come back as zombies, and John Wick is no exception for the same. The Malayalam word for “past” is “bhootham” which means ghost, and it keeps haunting us, thus making that name a worthy one. John’s attempt to escape from his past doesn’t prove to be good for his present, and keeps his future uncertain. Yes, worrying about the past is useless, but not when it is a terrible one, and you do have something left in you to take your mind and body back to it – that means that you have not changed. Unless you have not let go in a way in which there is no return, there is no escape, because ghosts will successfully feed on them some day. There are not many twisted things in this movie, as the plot is direct – find, kill, have your revenge, leave in one piece if possible.

How it finishes :: This weekend’s challengers for John Wick are from Nightcrawler and Beauty and the Beast. The remains from the past include Gone Girl which is still going strong, along with Interstellar, Big Hero 6 and Fury which should be of no challenge for this one. Among this week’s releases too, this one should have the advantage, with Keanu Reeves being back at what he has been doing the best and can accomplish with that certain amount of awesomeness – there will be a lot of Matrix fans who have been hoping for the same. It is also the only hundred percent action movie among all the releases. The releases in other languages also has none that belongs to full action. Lets hope that John Wick will bring a change in the action genre as it hasn’t been doing that well as the situation used to be, unless being mixed with science fiction or some random adventure into the unknown or fantasy. Do give John Wick a chance if you are a strong action fan, otherwise may be you can doubt.

Release date: 14th November 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Regan, Keith Jardine, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Clarke Peters, Kevin Nash, Randall Duk Kim, Scott Tixier

johnwick

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hercules

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Hercules last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t they already prove that good movies are prevented from releasing in India or postponed? Remember The Purge Anarchy, Devil’s Due and Deliver us from Evil? They had just taken all the screens for something like Kick.

Vampire Owl :: We were lost last weekend; like Count Dracula who knew about a blood pool and couldn’t find it.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but the moment has arrived.

Vampire Owl :: So we will finally watch Hercules.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with 22 Jump Street as a possible substitute in case of a houseful situation.

Vampire Owl :: See what they did with Hercules and delayed us our opportunity last week – this is why we should owlify this world.

Vampire Bat :: In the name of Madras Cafe, Amen, Celluloid, Drishyam, Memories, North 24 Kaatham and The Lunchbox, can you just delay the owlification procedure?

Vampire Owl :: I shall ask the owlifier.

Vampire Bat :: You do that later, now lets check the Rock.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and his own nephew, an inexperienced fighter but elegant storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) through a number of battles and winning them all. The legend is about Hercules being the son of Zeus, who has accomplished the impossible against all odds. His reputation is far beyond anything that is known in the Greek world, matched by nobody else. This makes sure that the princess of Thrace, Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) approaches them with an offer they can’t leave behind, as they are offered as much gold as their weight. They are asked to lead the Thracian army into battle against the barbarians who are supposed to lead by an evil man and his minions. Hercules and his mercenaries run through the enemies only to be confronted by a truth which was never really expected. After this twist, they have to make the decision which will change their paths forever.

The defence of Hercules :: The one thing that one can be sure about is that the movie delivers exactly what it was supposed to bring to the audience. Some might need a little more, but this a lot to be exact. The power-packed performance from the Rock as Hercules is there, and the mythological hero is given some other sides here, and some good companions are also added. There is so much strength in the action sequences, and the wars are nicely depicted and so are the heroic deeds. The 3D is very good especially with Atalanta’s arrows and the monsters around. The CGI with the monsters is also good and the Greek world is nicely re-created, and surely not overdone with splendour. I would say that the delay of this movie release in India actually made the result movie make us feel a lot better. In the end, we are left with the need for the more of the hero or may be a prequel or more about the twelves labours that he achieved. Just some information for the doubters – he is Hercules, a demigod and he can do a lot more than what is shown in this movie – no exaggeration there.

A few troubles :: Those who are not big action fans might find fault with this one, and a prejudice for the WWE superstars will also work against them. Unlike, some of those sons and daughters of superstars who get a free ticket to act in the movies, these people from wrestling entertainment can act very well – keep that in mind. If you don’t like action movies or The Rock, please do not watch this movie, and never even have a look at it and spoil its awesomeness. Its name was already spoiled by another Hercules movie released much earlier this year, in the name of The Legend of Hercules, and that proves how well this movie has managed. Then, if you don’t like the Greek mythology or don’t follow it, care not much about this movie, because you will need to develop some love for the same to enjoy this movie more. Well, if you don’t like this movie, I would guess that you would need to go and watch movies like Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. May be Bollywood movies will suit you more, with random people performing bigger stunts than a demigod. Otherwise, you can show respect to the action-packed stuff which is this movie and watch it with pride.

Performers of the soul :: There is no one like Dwayne Johnson who is suited for this movie, and there is nobody like the Rock in doing such roles. The former WWE star is one of those people whom I have always thought as the great hero from the Greek mythology. He once again proves why he was among the greatest entertainers in the history of professional wrestling and at the top of the WWE chart. He often becomes bigger than most of the other things in the movie. He has such a great screen presence and his physique helps him in being the incredibly strong demigod. The next person whom one will notice will be Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta, the huntress making a powerful impact with her arrows which are shot with such speed and accuracy that this character often takes over a lot of action. She is another perfect fit for the character. Irina Shayk has only a small role as Hercules’ wife unlike expected. Ian McShane has some nice funny moments there, and Rebecca Ferguson is quite appropriate for the role of the princess even as there is not too much there to do. The other companions of Hercules are pretty good too.

Soul exploration :: Even as I have always preferred Achilles among the Greek heroes just like most of the people would, there was always something about Hercules and Odysseus, a lot more than a few others like Perseus, Thesues and Jason for sure. My interest for Hercules was there not only in his brutal strength and his demigod status, but also in his suffering. Along with his adventures known as the the Twelve Labours of Hercules, he has suffered a lot, and never had the great status as some other heroes did. He was never a greatly revered general or a king, but a man who went through a lot of trouble to accomplish some of the tasks considered impossible. Even among the monsters, there is nothing more interesting to me than Hydra. The physical strength element is there, and so is the divine side, but he achieved something even the gods of the times would have doubted on achieving. The demigod side is rather brought down in this movie, and Hercules here is rather made more mortal, bleeding and even captured and beaten up, and as he goes on with his companions, there is nobody who is considered as a lesser mortal among the group. This newly achieved mortality is rather a nice addition to this movie.

How it finishes :: This movie is as strong as its own hero and the man who leads the cast. The strength of the Rock as the powerful character as well as his own image is reflected in this movie. The Rock has made his best comeback as the hero right here. It is what the action movie fans have always hoped for, and it is what this movie delivers. It releases with 22 Jump Street here, but I would choose an action movie with The Rock in it instead of some stupid comedy with added adult stuff which had an overrated first part – I got a feeling that I might like that one too though. If you haven’t read much of such mythological tales, it might be time you read some. If you are looking for some simple re-telling of the Greek mythological stories, I would recommend Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green – a part of Puffin Classics available in India. With the tagline “Walk amongst the gods and men”, this book gives a quick and easy reading of the tales of Hercules (Heracles), Theseus, Atalanta, Prometheus and many others. Well, I am surprised about what some of the Indian reviewers are writing about this movie, and I hope they continue enjoying some “extra special” Bollywood movies.

Release date: 1st August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Rebecca Ferguson, Steve Peacocke, Joe Anderson, Tamina Snuka, Barbara Palvin, Tobias Santelmann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.