Hobbs and Shaw

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins in London, with a group of MI6 agents trying to recover a deadly virus, Snowflake, which is good enough to cause a global pandemic, bringing humanity closer to the sixth extinction. As they retrieve it from the global terrorist organization Eteon, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon soldier fitted with advanced cybernetic implants arrives and kills all agents except for their leader, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby). She injects Snowflake into herself to keep it away from others’ reach and escapes from the scene. Brixton frames her as a traitor who killed her team and stole Snowflake, and it leads to her being on the run from more than one intelligence agency. Both Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are given the duty to track her down and find Snowflake before it gets to Eteon or some other terrorist group.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that Hattie is the younger sister of Deckard, and after talking to their mother Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren) in prison, he finds it his duty to protect her. As expected, Luke and Deckard can’t get along, and that does cause problems as far as the mission is concerned. They do find her in the end, and even though she is taken to the CIA office, Brixton arrives with his team of mercenaries and captures her. Luke and Deckard manages to save her after trying to defeat Brixton in hand combat without any success. They manage to get away, and decide to find a way to get the virus out of Hattie who only seems to have a few days remaining. They figure out that she has to be killed needs to use an extraction device from the Eteon factory in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Brixton frames them as terrorists, and makes things further difficult.

And what more is to happen? :: For the same, they are helped by Madam M (Eiza Gonzalez), who is Deckard’s old flame, as well as a robber who lives in Russia – she also provides them with some special, powerful weapons. This leaves them with even lesser amount of time to get the virus out of Hattie. Brixton is also searching everywhere for the virus that he feels will change the world forever. With no option to save her, and after getting all the information from the creator of the virus, Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) they decide to have her transferred to Brixton and then go after her in the factory where it was created, as it is the only place where it can be extracted. With time running out, they get their resources ready, while Andreiko is captured by Brixton. It is a tough task ahead for the two people who just don’t want to see each other – can they defeat Brixton, the man who is more like a superhuman with all the implants, or will death be unleashed on common people?

The defence of Hobbs and Shaw :: This is one movie in the Fast and Furious franchise that could do without its “FF” tag, as it has a story which can stand alone, and with its main characters and all the action around, has such great strength beyond the franchise. It is so good even without those scenes of racing in the streets, even though there are also present. The great action sequences go a long way beyond our expectations. The movie has the chases, hand to hand combat, a vertical walk and a grand final battle which has a group of cars against a helicopter. The best thing about the movie is that it knows where to draw the lines, and how to make things believable, helping the willing suspension of disbelief – it is something that some of those dumb masala Bollywood movies can never do. This one begins well and ends well, and in between has a lot to remember. The visuals are stunning, and the best is in store in the end, at Samoa.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has a certain amount of humour in there, and not all the comedy works here. Sometimes, the comic side tries to come in when not needed and the least expected – sometimes, we just love to avoid it as not being part of this grand adventure. All parts of the movie are also not at the same level, leaving us with ups and downs. The use of family idea gets repetitive, but is once again used effectively with the scene shifting to Samoa bring one more family together. Well, we know how much Fast and Furious 6, Fast and Furious 7 and Fast and Furious 8 talked about family, and that is one element which comes up in anything related to the franchise. There is also the talk about people being above technology, and regarding the final setting and The Rock who comes up with such a situation, it becomes believable. There are moments when we feel that it is this movie that needs the sequel and not the original series – Vanessa Kirby might be one strong reason for that.

The performers of the soul :: Fast and Furious franchise is known for its protagonists who have no hair on their head – this one does the job without Vin Diesel though. This is that kind of an occasion where it works perfectly without him – the contrasting styles of the two actors playing the two real different characters become perfect here. Dwayne Johnson brings the power of the Rock or rather Hercules in the last few scenes as we also have Roman Reigns joining in to give a reminder of that WWE world which we have loved for long. Jason Statham’s protagonist who comes with a different style of action has us asking for more. Vanessa Kirby is too good in the action sequences too, as she brings everything into the scene perfectly – Mission Impossible: Fallout had here doing less action, but not this time, as she has some fine sequences of action which we are going to remember. She can surely have a lot more action movies. Idris Alba does a great job playing the villain too. Elza Gonzalez has a small, but noticeable role.

How it finishes :: We have always wanted more of the Fast and Furious franchise, and this one makes sure that there is more, and that too with the two superstars who could be even bigger than the whole movie. With Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham launching the right punches, this one offers even more than what we thought it would deliver. A complete entertainer from the beginning to the end, Hobbs and Shaw is a movie that you shouldn’t miss, as far as you are looking for a grand action thriller. There will be more fast and furious movies coming up, but this one will be remembered for what has brought to the screen in a grand fashion. We are gladly past the boring street racing saga to aim at something higher. Creating a spin-off out of a successful franchise and making it as big as the original series requires some fine skills, and here the same is on display. Hobbs and Shaw will keep the expectations high until the next movie in the franchise arrives.

Release date: 2nd August 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marson, Helen Mirren, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Josh Mauga, John Tui, Lori Pelenise Tuisano

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious 8

Vampire Owl: I remember that a movie in this franchise once inspired me jump of the top of the cliff.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: And I used my wings to fly away.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t really sound furious at all.

Vampire Owl: That was a furious leap of faith.

Vampire Bat: You have wings. You are an owl. I don’t see any need for faith with jumping off the top of anything.

Vampire Owl: But my wings could stop working at any moment, like yours.

Vampire Bat: It is of no concern of yours, because I can fly with my mind.

Vampire Owl: What does it take to prove my furious character?

Vampire Bat: Maybe, do the fast and the furious when there is an occasion?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with a piece of strawberry cake].

What is the movie about? :: Dominic Toretto a.k.a. Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are spending their honeymoon time in Havana, Cuba – there are still races, and the two seems to be enjoying it a lot at the port city and capital. All has been going well for the two until Dom comes across a cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who seems to have something with her that makes him work for her, turning him against his family – it feels more like he is left with no choice. Meanwhile, unaware of this, the Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has his special moments with his daughter cut off when he is asked to get an EMP device from a military centre in Berlin. For the same, he turns to Dom and Letty, as well as the remaning crew, including Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tej Parker (Chris Ludacris Bridges), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and himself going on the mission.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The mission begins and goes on as planned, as they are successful in stealing the device. But after the same, Dom goes rogue, and takes the EMP for himself, getting it to Cipher. Hobbs is captured by the authorities and sent to prison while the rest of the team is left confused with no clue about what is happening. Imprisoned just opposite to Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), both ends up escaping, as the man known more as Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) takes them with him without giving them a chance to beat up each other. He, along with his assistant whom they call Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), recruit the two, along with the remaining members of the team to track down Dom and Cipher, who seems to be planning something huge, which is to become a permanent threat for more than one nation.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: Deckard has his own reasons to find Cipher and teach her a lesson. They track Dom using the device known as God’s Eye, and they are found to be at the exact same place – Dom and Cipher arrives with their own team and steals the device, leaving the heroes with no option to trace them anymore. Cipher is not finished though, as her plan goes for more than just an EMP, as she aims to go for nuclear ability. Dom remains her main man in achieving the same too. But the question remains about what advantage does Cipher has over him, and what has kept him doing what she needs him to do. Well, the team is surely thinking about the same, and also looking for an opportunity to stop him, as Dom and Cipher have become very close to bringing mass destruction around, or even beginning another world war. Who can stop the man who is so good at what he does?

The defence of The Fate of the Furious :: This should be the biggest of the Fast and Furious franchise in terms of action and thrills, as one has to wonder if it can go any higher. The humour is also good. There is one sequence involving the cars being hacked and remote-controlled, with those vehicles moving everywhere, out of control, quickly going through the streets, taking off from showrooms, and even falling down from the parking on top floors – you see so much happening along with the attempt at stopping Dom. Then there is that final long scene involving one nuclear submarine and a lot of ice; the franchise does know how to make things bigger and bigger. The action sequences might not be able to get this good with any other franchise, as we had already seen how XXX: Return of Xander Cage had struggled despite having Vin Diesel in there too – there should be something about this franchise, for it comes on top each and every time.

Positives and negatives :: A definite improvement from the last movie by a margin, and better than the movie before that, and also before that, The Fate of the Furious is the flick that you don’t wish to avoid at any cost, even if you are tired of watching this kind of thing – this one brings everything back in style, and we have Charlize Theron as the villain; it is something that elevates the whole movie even more. She is one actress who can nail this at any moment. With Vin Diesel doing what he has been doing so well, we also got Dwayne Johnson, or The Rock, going Hercules again, even though there could have been more fist fights for him. Then there is Jason Statham, as the rock solid one, as he has been more than just the Transporter or the Mechanic for long. Even Luke Evans gets a little bit of action around here. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are once again fun, and Nathalie Emmanuel brings the extra charm. Michelle Rodriguez is there doing the usual, and she has a great chemistry with Vin Diesel.

How it finishes :: Where XXX: Return of Xander Cage had was not much fun, The Fate of the Furious, the eighth movie the franchise comes so good. Well, as Priyanka Chopra had chosen the wrong movie, Baywatch to make a Hollywood impact, Deepika Padukone had chosen XXX: Return of Xander Cage. One has to wonder how it would have been, if she was in this movie instead of that one. The fact remains that nothing matches the Fast and the Furious movies in its content – with the talk about the family and a certain code of honour among its characters Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto will always be superior to Vin Diesel as Xander Cage. Dom is a person that we will love to love, while Xander is someone who gets none of that love, cent percent not from the family audience and those who see things from a matured angle – even his Riddick will get more love in that case. Well, you can trust The Fate of the Furious with the same, and only hope that no Bollywood movie, especially an nth sequel of Dhoom will steal from this flick.

Release date: 14th April 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Tego Calderón, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, Don Omar

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mechanic: Resurrection

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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

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*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.

The Transporter IV

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Vampire Owl: There is no Jason Statham in this movie. You have called me to watch the wrong Transporter here. There is even too much hair on the head of the protagonist. It is not fair.

Vampire Bat: May be! But they have still used him on some of the posters as a psychological move to attract more viewers.

Vampire Owl: I will still look for him throughout the movie. Then I will be sure that he is not there at all.

Vampire Bat: Lets consider this as an action movie with someone who is not Jason Statham, rather than as a Transporter movie. It should help you a lot.

[Gets the tickets].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1079-the-transporter-refueled-movie-review.html

The Transporter franchise is not among the lesser known ones, because all three movies of the series were successful and with Jason Statham in the lead, have managed to be the action thriller franchise which could set the bar high. The audience has identified this franchise as well as its protagonist as something related to Jason Statham, and he is the one name that comes to everyone’s mind when there is any mention of this series. But this one comes up with Ed Skrein in the lead as the new Transporter, and so there is the question of being successful in catching the interest of the fans. It has been quite a big doubt, and we will clearly know more as the movie is at the theatres already.

Somewhere in France, a former soldier who is working as a Transporter with his own rules gets in trouble as he is caught between four women looking for revenge and a mafia boss who had ruined the women’s lives. Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) thought that this was going to be just another job as the Transporter, but it was never going to be. With his father Frank Martin Sr. (Ray Stevenson) kidnapped, and both girls with the guns and the criminals all around him, he has to make a big choice, and it certainly has to be about choosing a side. But whichever side he would choose, there will be blood and dead bodies lying all around.

The Transporter: Refueled never goes below a certain level, but the question still remains if this entry in the movie franchise was really needed. The audience had three movies already, and they have enjoyed it so much that they can’t really think about another person other than Jason Statham in this particular role. Ed Skrein does make a good Transporter, and we can be sure about that, but he is still no Jason Statham who has been exceptional in that particular role, and could successfully make people say that he is the one true Transporter. Ed Skrein with more hair than a Transporter has ever had, manages to be another good version, but just not as big as the original.

The action sequences remain the strength of this movie, but there was the need for more considering the fact that this was going to be needing the power to match up to a franchise which had the power of Jason Statham. This one also has the power of action, but could have used even more, mostly related to the Transporter job progress. Beyond being the Transporter, this movie has more action sequences, and Ed Skrein nails them very well. There is actually a lot less number of scenes with our protagonist doing the Transporter job, as he is at most times being the son to his father and otherwise helping the damsels in distress or causing distress to some very evil men.

The damsels turning femme fatale are good here, but other than Loan Chabanol, the rest just goes along without adding too much. Tatiana Pajkovic does have the second position in the same, even though it is mostly about Loan Chabanol playing Anna and also developing certain interest with the protagonist. The shots of Europe are very nice, and do inspire one to travel yet again. Noémie Lenoir who plays the lady villain has only a few things to do, and none of them really makes much of an impact. Actually, the fact remains that none of the villains leave that much of a mark in this movie centered on the protagonist and the ladies.

The focus never really goes anywhere else except for moving towards the protagonist’s father. Ray Stevenson as Frank Martin Sr. has some nice lines here adding to the fun, but most of the times, this one is a strange character. There are times when one has to wonder if he actually exists mainly to get kidnapped multiple times and make the protagonist keeping returning to save the father who might be his only real friend. It makes one feel that this was more like a test dose of Transporter which just comes before the possible sequels. Ed Skrein himself might have been a test, and the one who was there for one season in Game of Thrones can have a longer and better run as the Transporter depending on how this one turns out to be.

Once again the battle between the good and evil, the black and white goes on here, and the Transporter becomes the key. He is the difference maker in this world inside the cinematic universe which is otherwise more favourable to the wrong side. The story-line is there without trying too much, as this is another case of having a chance at revenge against the powerful evil. It is still well presented and used in such a way as to keep the audience interested. The Transporter: Refueled is a short movie which stands just above one and half hours, and that makes sure that the movie never gets boring. Something always keeps happening as the movie goes on with its action and thrills.

Release date: 4th September 2015
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Starring: Ed Skrein, Ray Stevenson, Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatjana Pajković, Wenxia Yu, Radivoje Bukvić, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Anatole Taubman, Noémie Lenoir

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious 7

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Vampire Owl :: Its been quite a long time after the release. What took you this many days to watch this one?

Vampire Bat :: I just couldn’t get the tickets, even at the more local theatres where audience usually avoid the English movies.

Vampire Owl :: I thought so. After all, this was a much expected movie of the year, not as much as Jupiter Ascending for you, but still you seemed to avoid this one.

Vampire Bat :: I waited for the queue almost everyday for the first show, but couldn’t manage to get a ticket, only now I managed it now because they changed this movie to the bigger movie hall switching places with the other one.

Vampire Owl :: Well, there were other ways, but I know that the Vampire Bat never do a ticket reservation. He just stands in the queue everyday.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all this for the privilege of watching this movie with such an audience who turns into chaotic people when the lights are switched off.

Vampire Owl :: The darkness of the theatre is scary, I mean it is not even the real darkness but created by man.

Vampire Bat :: It is a dangerous place indeed; strange beasts roam around, some of them howl, others whistle and few others talk in a language which comes out as abuse.

Vampire Owl :: So, it has worsened. This is why we should watch movies more at home rather than anywhere else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I have already watched this one and is ready with the review.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: With Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team defeated, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew might have thought that life was going to get simple and without problems, but they were wrong. It comes to light that the old villain had an older brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who hopes and strives for revenge on the crew who put his brother in a terrible position, and for him, vengeance is beyond that word – he is like a man custom made for things like these. After Han-Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) is killed, a bomb explodes which puts Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) as well as their child in a precarious situation, and the protagonist decides to take things into his own hands. After the funeral of Han, the team will return for their final mission, but that won’t start with the attempt on taking the big Shaw down; there will be more to it.

The defence of Fast and Furious 7 :: The action is fast and furious, thus posing no scope to bring any challenge to the name of this movie. The movie is more action than any other element, and wastes no time in getting to it; the vengeance element stays strong and so does the tendency for turning into a heist movie in parts. The comic side also work, just at times. The cast stays strong, and the power of the action sequences can never be questioned. There are also some free lessons for Bollywood if they are making any disgusting sequels to Krrish or Dhoom – they should learn something and not copy – don’t go down to the abyss while making the next movie in one of these two ridiculous sequels.

The claws of flaw :: We can’t have this one at the top if we consider the other movies of this genre or those of the same franchise. The transformation into a full action movie with revenge as central theme might bother some fans, and this one is also free of any possible racing elements which some people might have wanted. The action sequences do ask for a lot of willing suspension of disbelief, even more than you used to do, with this franchise. May be there was the need to set a limit, but being fast and furious should go beyond the limits, if we go into deeper thoughts about it. Another problem might be about the story going predictable, but that also just comes with this one.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is a fine tribute to Paul Walker, and it was good to watch him doing what he always did the best. We will surely miss him if a sequel or a reboot for this series will ever come to us. Vin Diesel is fine as usual and continues his good run in the series even though I have always liked him more in Riddick as the titular character. Still the best moments of the movie goes to Dwayne Johnson who has more awesome seconds in the beginning and end, making so strong an impact. You will know that he is the one true cavalry. Jason Statham wasn’t that much of an interesting villain here as expected, even though he does deliver a punch or rather a number of them. I would say that a different “type” was needed here with the character. Nathalie Emmanuel looked amazingly good in the movie, and was a very nice addition to this one.

Soul exploration :: This certainly works as that wonderful tribute to Paul Walker as his final movie. There are some very nice stunts featuring him, and the final few scenes which provides a beautiful farewell to him. This was never going to be an easy job after his demise, but they have surely managed well. Once again, the movie itself is all about family and brotherhood – something that continues with the same power. Fast and Furious 7 has its heart and soul right there. The emotional moments are all about supporting the same, and there is very fine success there. There is something clearly for the soul there, and it feels so good.

How it finishes :: Fast and Furious 7 is that movie which had a wonderful reception here, far beyond the expectations. I waited so long to get a ticket not in the malls, but at those local theatres, and finally got lucky on a Thursday just because the movie was changed to a bigger movie hall. This is actually expected to do more here, as it is the final movie Paul Walker, and the cast includes people like Dwyane Johnson the Rock, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham. Yes, add them to the cars and we have a lot for the audience here. The next week also has some holidays in the form of Ambedkar Jayanthi and Vishu, and after the big Easter weekend success, this will only earn a lot more, and may be go on to become the biggest grossing Hollywood movie at this part of the world.

Release date: 2nd April 2015 (India); 3rd April 2015 (US)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, John Brotherton, Ali Fazal, Noel Gugliemi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Expendables III

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

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

Vampire Owl :: I am hiring an owlification assistant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Goes to the ticket counter].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious VI

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Fast & Furious 6 is many things, and when we take two of its major components alone, the good old Destruction Derby has met Need for Speed once again, and whatever was left undone in Fast & Furious 5 a.k.a Fast Five is accomplished here, and that too in a magnificent fashion. If you are looking for logic, this isn’t the movie for you, but still it is as close to reality as possible considering its genre. Well, your reasoning and the strict principles of validity are rarely correct in a world of complete chaos. The elders of evil are the perpetrators of this chaos which is hidden enough from those who lacks the eyes to see, and sadly that includes a lot of people. When someone looks for truth through something as incomplete as science, there is this chaos which will finally devour the world into a black hole of inhumanity and cruelty to nature which started a long time ago. There is this lack of faith which might make watching this movie further difficult. Well, there is not always a perfect definition for everything and not every theory is qualified enough to called by that name. This perfection of logic itself is a lie, as it can never be attained. In that case, this movie is pure imperfect logic which makes a powerful impact.

How did it feel to wake up at another part of the universe in Star Trek, a few weeks ago? Well, this is not another universe, but it is still a new world of absolute mayhem. This world will have no aliens, but it can still give enough alienation to the common man, which should be another reason for its success. For series which I had least interest in, has developed into something which I can’t resist, thanks to Fast Five. I had thought that I was done with it by the fourth of the series, but as we all know, good things do come to those who wait. No, I do not belong to the group of the new age procrastinators group. I do whatever I have to as early as possible, but as long as the things which are not under our control are concerned, I shall wait without losing faith. When one understands that most of the things are not of your control and the world you know needs waiting, as John Milton had said in On His Blindness, “They also serve who only stand and wait”. So, there are times when you have to take that leap of faith, and believe – those are the moments when logic goes to its grave and you get the much deserved reward for waiting with undisputed, incomparable faith which is a quality of you. Still, never leap into the wrong place, for it is a sin even from a movie watcher’s perspective.

Here, we come back to the two major components again, as Destruction Derby was one of the first of the computer games I ever played, and Destruction Derby 2 followed. That vehicular combat game based on the sport of demolition derby, the collisions, destruction, damage, and all the mayhem that followed. The defensive style and taking calculated risks were two things we had learnt from this game. Still, we never ended up finishing this game which was second only to Road Rash in popularity among us. It was a welcome change from those never-ending driving simulations, a hybrid. The same is the case of our movie, which successfully accomplishes its role as a combination of more than one thing; the first thing being vehicular combat and mayhem. The second one is Need For Speed, which has very little to contribute to this game, except for one race which didn’t even go and get completed in the right manner. But still, it is the base of everything, the reason why I ever cared about the first few movies of the series in the first place. It was never the most influencing game of my gaming life, but the Brooke Burke inspired Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed many things including my superior love for action and strategy games. The time spent by me for the latter was so much that I had to retire myself just one step before finishing the game, as the second best, in order to continue my search for more games.

The story progresses somewhat like this: Following their successful Brazilian heist in Fast Five, Dominic Toretto and his crew of expert criminals have retired and living in different parts of the world. Brian O’Conner and Mia Torreto has a kid, and Dominic Toretto has retired to a life with Elena Neves. Meanwhile, Luke Hobbs and his new partner Riley are involved in the investigation of an unexpected attack on a Russian military convoy. They find a new group of professional criminals led by a man called Owen Shaw responsible for the attack. Hobbs requests the help of Dominic with a new photo of his former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who was supposed to be dead. Dominic gathers his crew together and they accept Hobbs’ mission in exchange for a pardon for all of their past crimes so that they can finally go back home again. During their first encounter with the gang, Letty arrives to help Shaw, and shoots Dominic thus helping Shaw in escaping. Later, she is revealed to be suffering from severe memory loss. Later, Dominic battles Letty in a street racing competition and later explains her past to her, but there is nothing remembered and she leaves. The complicated situation demands the capture of Shaw and the return of Letty to the extended family where she belongs. The two things will demand more than just a car race or a fist fight, and even shooting has its limitations – only extreme destruction can solve it.

Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto a.k.a Dom, and there might be so many occasions that he is back again. Other than being Riddick, he has been Xander Cage and Hugo Cornelius Toorop, both having inferior status, and Riddick being a little lesser compared to the popularity that Dom has brought him. Well, the good old Dom remains the same, and whatever told of him will bring no surprise nor new information in a fast and furious world which continues to conquer the world. Elsa Pataky plays his love interest for a short period of tension free time, after which Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz takes charge. It is from then, that Gina Carano as Riley takes charge. They have such a fight which might have been made to parallel the Vin Diesel – Dwayne Johnson fight of the fifth movie, but this one is a little behind. Still, it is one of the highlights of the hand-to-hand combat side of the movie, a side which is of lesser significance. There is a lot of power involved in the battles involving the two women, and there is no doubt that there has been a lot of effort put behind it. Brian O’Conner, the former FBI agent continues to be cool with Paul Walker at the helm. Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar has a sad end, but not without a cause nor without showing her dose of heroics. Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto has a lesser involvement with this mission, as she is left behind on the Spanish island with the kid.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw scores as the villain, but compared to what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had achieved with his hunt for the protagonist, this is a little far behind. The Rock was undoubtedly the main attraction of that movie, and in this one, he has a slightly lesser, but a more positive role to play. Still, there is no shortage of action scenes for him, and he has only got better. We can still know what he is cooking, and it is pure action whoever he is against. He is rightly considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, and he gets closer to more glory in movies each and every time he is there. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are there for the fun part as usual, and so is Sung Kang. Well, still not everyone gets out of the movie, a clue which is already given in this review, and it surely can’t be the crowd favourites Dom or Hobbes. If such a thing had happened, this would have been a fairy tale action adventure mayhem, one of the first of its kind with such a plot and cast. For a movie which can work very well even as a stand-alone version, as it is powered by everything an action movie can dream about; the more appropriate question would be what it should have had, and there is nothing much, as long as its genre is concerned.

The one-liners work and so does the escapist fantasy world which has been provided. The action sequences are breath-taking, which includes the group of cars take down a battle tank as well as a huge airplane trying to take off. There are enough twists, not of high quality, but still deserving a few claps. The movie’s two hour plus is more of a positive, but still, there were more expectations from the trailers. The most significant scenes of the movie are those shown in the trailers, and thankfully they are quite long. But there could have been a few more scenes to support them. There is no shortage of the memories of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels. Still, it defies death, and for those extremists and fundamentalists, defies logic. Laws of Physics? What is a law but what you feel? There is nothing like that to create unnecessary logic in this movie. Well, Physics was pure evil and I knew it during my school days. The only thing worse was Mathematics. The fact is that this series will continue to rule the theatres. It has released here a day before the world-wide release and who wishes to let go of such a wonderful opportunity? The stylish and powerful action which keeps one wishing for more and the answer comes in the form of Jason Statham who seems to assure a sequel as the villain who brings a new game to the scene. It makes sure that the vehicular combat shall live on! This is not to be missed by the fans of the franchise at any cost, as the impact on the big screen is that intense.

Release date: 23rd May 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, John Ortiz, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Rita Ora, Jason Statham (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.