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

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Hobbit III

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What is it about? :: The journey of one Hobbit and a team of Dwarves continues where the earlier movie had finished with Smaug the Dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) flying away to bring the chaos to the town. After the dragon being unleashed, and as it goes on destroying the town, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) manages to slay the creature after continuous attempts, and he himself emerges as the new leader. The Dwarves lock themselves inside the Lonely Mountain as Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) keeps searching for the Arkenstone with no result as it is already with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who hides it seeing Thorin’s change of attitude. Meanwhile, Thranduil (Lee Pace) arrives with an army of elves in hope to retrieve a stolen Elf treasure.

And what follows? :: While providing aid to the people of the town, he forms an alliance with the humans who wish to have that share of the gold which was promised by the Dwarves. Even though Bard tries to reason with Thorin, he doesn’t agree with the terms as he claims the whole treasure for himself and stays adamant. He would go for war instead of peace, and the arrival of Thorin’s cousin Dáin (Billy Connolly) with an army of Dwarves only make the situation worse. With Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) already imprisoned by the forces of darkness, and the huge army of Orcs lead by Azog the Defiler (Manu Bennett) and their secondary army along with Goblins coming closer, can anything positive come out of this for Elves, Humans or Dwarves?

The defence of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies :: We all know what The Hobbit is all about, and it is extremely difficult to mess things up here. One big advantage that this movie has compared to its predecessors is that it is the shortest among them all. The visuals are once again of the highest quality, and the battle sequences are really good. There is the grand battle which involves Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Humans, and there is a lot of detail right there and what follows. An epic battle was needed, and this one surely delivers that. There is also focus in the minds of the characters and their attitudes here. The attention on the creature detail is also impressive, as we see many creatures around which are worth having further look at.

Claws of flaw :: Among the three movies, this one has the least happenings outside action. There should have been more focus on the plot which seems to go in a predictable way. There is a little bit of emptiness here and there which is masked only by the visual beauty. The dragon gets slain quite early, and things just continue in a predictable way, with armies coming on to clash, as the story goes right where it was expected to go. The romantic angle remains its biggest flaw, as it is forced and it seems so – as we know that the elf lady herself is an extra character added here. Unlike what is shown, it is more like an irritating case of love rather than what has been intended. It is a case of terror for the entire realm, and one has to wonder if it is a priority when these two are around.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Martin Freeman plays the main character, but the focus is more on Richard Armitage nicely making Thorin Oakenshield impressive. Together, they make the whole thing better. Orlando Bloom has some of the most stylish action sequences in the movie, and his one-on-one battle with the orc is a joy to watch. Ian McKellen’s Gandalf the Grey continues to do what he has been doing all the time. Luke Evans has some interesting moments of glory in this one too. Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel is good, but the character’s romantic side completely devastates the situation. Meanwhile, the rest of the dwarf team remains good and effective. The rest of the humans make much lesser impact. The best performer in the movie might still be the CGI.

Soul Exploration :: The major idea remains the same as the stage is set for the battle between good and evil. This is once again about the good overcoming the evil, and the stress is once again on the need for courage and sacrifice, as well as the value of comradeship and mutual help. The hope to go beyond the differences is also there, and it gives that message to get rid of the hatred between races and work together for a better future – it actually works here, and what seems to be only a chance earlier, does come to the light in this case. Unity in diversity is the point here too. Even though the force is mostly on Thorin Oakenshield to do the right thing, the rest also got to make their own decisions here that would affect the outcome.

How it finishes :: The franchise had started with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and continued through The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and has now finished at The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in an interesting way – may be people expected better, but this is still a very good finish. The one thing which you have to keep in mind is that this is more action movie than the rest of the franchise, and you should have watched the previous movies before this one, because the action starts directly and very quickly in this one. It has finished second after Transformers: Age of Extinction with the box-office collections of the year, but The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is surely the better flick by some distance.

Release date: 17th December 2014
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Graham McTavish, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Sylvester McCoy, Manu Bennett, John Tui, Billy Connolly, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Mitchinson, John Bell, Peggy Nesbit, Mary Nesbitt, Simon London

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Battleship

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What is Battleship? :: I have to admit that I had no idea that this was an alien movie mostly based on the sea before I went on to watch it. Yes, I found out that a Hollywood movie has released in the local theatre which would cost me absolutely no travelling charges and just the fifty rupees for the ticket, and wasted no time in looking for the plot synopsis or the reviews. Convert it, and it is not even one Unites States Dollar – too good for a movie with Hollywood effects. Thank God for the cheap tickets even in those multiplexes. Well, let me tell you that this is a confused movie, as it clearly wonders what is is supposed to do and why it is exists. In the meaningless or rather absurd world that it creates, the movie wonders what is it doing. But there is lot of entertainment in store in that world. If people can make Krrish 3 a superhit, why not this one? Always a better science fiction story than Krrish 3 – with better graphics, better story and a lot more. The best thing is that nobody really comes up and gives it a four out of five.

The Setting :: I always loved Battleship as the guessing game that it is. In spite of reminding me of that very old game called Minesweeper which I played while my computer lab hours of Plus Two, it was fun enough and may be one of those few games which I could just win by making some of the most stupid guesses. I didn’t know how to play the other games including Hearts, Solitaire and Backgammon and my only hope was to install Pinball or Allen Border’s Cricket – those were the days of floppy games, the memories keeping me nostalgic. So here comes Battleship as a movie, and I wondered how is it related to the game? May be because the makers were trying too much of a guessing game about the success of this movie, or may be our hero’s guess work has finally paid off and the alien invaders are defeated. There is indeed a lot of strange happenings in the movie, and I would like to guess that the aliens too guessed after having their own guessing game, may be named “Starship” – yes this has aliens and the military, and lots of battleships from both sides.

What is it about? :: Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is an undisciplined U.S. Navy officer who is in love with Samantha Shane (Brookyln Decker) who is the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson) and our hero is just steps away from being discharged from the navy. But sometimes good things come in the form of an invasion and the best things come in the form of an alien invasion, that too concentrating in the ocean, thus giving him that opportunity to be the alien war hero. Well, five alien spacecrafts arrive, thanks to the curious Earthling cats trying to kill themselves with their space programs and their attempts to communicate and travel to the other world. The Navy fleet comes in contact with an alien fleet and gets most of their forces destroyed. With most of the people dead and Alex Hopper being the next person on charge, he has to take on the aliens with whatever crew he has left (which obviously includes Rihanna’s character) while his girlfriend who is with a U.S. Army veteran tries to take on some other aliens in another way.

The defence of Battleship :: It is better than the other two alien movies which turned out to be success at the box-office in the earlier years, Skyline (2010) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011), but this wouldn’t be that much of a box-office success, mostly due to the higher budget and secondly due to it coming later, after Cowboys and Aliens as well as The Darkest Hour, none of them creating that big impression which the alien movies needed. I don’t think that none of these movies are bad though. Well, I would say that this one needs to be watched just for its action sequences, well-designed alien spacecrafts and weaponry, the special effects and the well-designed alien creatures. We could take the virus-logic of the 1996 Will Smith movie which they decided to name Independence Day and most of the audience accepted the movie which one of the worst climaxes that anyone could think about, and so thinking more about this movie is vain, and one has to accept this one for the effort that was put into it and all that has worked.

The claws of flaw :: There is good design, but that mostly leaves the alien ships as transformers of the ocean (but still having their own style), and the movie concentrates rather too much on the navy which is rather an overdose which one could have avoided. They could have had it, but with lesser emphasis on the awesomeness of that navy or rather decreasing the screen-time. Yes, the name of the movie is Battleship, but it doesn’t mean that you have to praise battleships and show them again and again making us feel that it is the hero and the characters are not important at all. You have someone like Taylor Kitsch and someone as awesome as Liam Neeson, but where is the focus? On the battleships of humans and aliens. May be it can have a big basket to keep its collection of cliches. When a movie tries to claim that it is adapted from a game like Battleship, what can you expect? They can’t even copy the cutscenes or dialogues! Why water? Because they want to show battleships a lot!

Performers of the Soul :: Taylor Kitsch is there playing the protagonist (the one which is human), but doesn’t have that good a role which could prove his abilities, and is still good with the character. John Carter was awesome and his performance was great, and another thing that I appreciate about him is that he is ready to do a sequel to the movie which might be highly unlikely due to its previous box-office performance. I am proud of thee and Lynn Collins. He deserves better than this, just like John Carter deserved a lot more. I really don’t know why they had Rihanna in the movie, and it is a question better left unanswered. Brooklyn Decker has her presence, but one has to think that she wasn’t really needed in this movie, and this so much pales in comparison to how she has been in Sports Illustrated. Another question is that how could they waste an actor like Liam Neeson is such an insignificant role? Ra’s al Ghul and Jean Veljean should dislike that, and I am not even going to Oskar Schindler.

How it finishes :: Battleship is more of an excuse to make another alien invasion movie and get some box-office collection from it. People can watch it to stare at Brooklyn Decker, but it also gives us some reasons why the third movie of Transformers was not that good (as if the second was of any good). This movie also has the CGI and special effects which rival that series, and has Brooklyn Decker instead of Megan Fox and the other lady who was there for the looks. Battleship will not be a movie franchise like Transformers, and this might be the last time we see such an alien movie based on the ocean, but this movie can surely provide us with a lot of entertainment as long as one chooses to watch it. This is still a better movie than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon – if you ever come across these movies at the same time on television, watch this one; has more logic, common sense, style and even better characters and story than the mis-adventures from Bay, and not to forget the use of graphics and the right use of special effects on the explosions and stuff.

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Release date: 18th May 2012
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons, Adam Godley, Gregory D. Gadson, Peter MacNicol, John Tui, Hamish Linklater

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.