Rise of the Black Swan

Vampire Owl: I have missed the Vampire Swan for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we haven’t really employed one.

Vampire Owl: There was the one which stood guard near the vampire canteen.

Vampire Bat: It was the Vampire Duck, on temporary service.

Vampire Owl: You had ducks as temporary vampire guards?

Vampire Bat: Well, there was the zombie threat and we were in short of troops.

Vampire Owl: Still, why didn’t anyone choose a majestic black swan instead?

Vampire Bat: Well, the ducks charged less, and zombies never know the difference.

Vampire Owl: They would have known if they had reached the castle during the attack.

Vampire Bat: Even then, the zombies would eat only the brains of a duck.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Black Swans is an American private military company owned by the family of William Lewis (Tom Wilkinson) and his children Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and Oliver Lewis (Owain Yeoman). British Army’s Special Air Service Commander George Clements (Andy Serkis) gives them the mission to clear a remote village somewhere in Georgia for a transnational gas pipeline. But the villagers are not ready to leave their homes, and the Black Swans brutally murder all the men, leaving the women and children to run for their lives. But the atrocities committed in the village were filmed secretly, and red notices are served following the accusations of crimes against citizens of different countries. The international law demands that the United Kingdom extradite the three accused – William, Grace and Oliver to the Hague for a trial. The Prime Minister Atwood (Ray Panthaki) asks Clements to kill William and anyone who comes against them so that the involvement of the government is covered.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: William had already become too rich and influential with his mercenary business, buying new homes and business. The team attacks the mansion of the Black Swans and Clements personally murders William, only to find that Grace and Oliver are not there anymore. It seems that they had all of these planned, and Grace always knew what was coming to them. Tom Buckingham (Sam Heughan) who is planning to propose to Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) is one of the special troops who attempted to raid the mansion, and fought off a good number of Black Swans who were guarding the area. He decides to go to Paris on romantic trip with her, as there is a doubt which remains among both of them about their love affair, and both do wonder if they love each other than much to get married. But that really doesn’t really seem like a good idea, as he notices someone who looks like Grace inside the Eurostream train going to Paris.

And what more is to follow in this dangerous journey of another king? :: Soon enough, the train is hijacked by Grace and her group of Black Swans with the support of Oliver. Tom manages to escape from the train and starts sending updates his good friend and fellow special troops officer Declan Smith (Tom Hopper), who informs the authorities about what has happened within the tunnel. Major Bisset (Noel Clarke) who is the commanding officer of the operation wishes to save as many hostages as possible, while this becomes breaking news in the television channels all over the United Kingdom, and many speculations arise as the news reaches world-wide. Clements is also sent to the location by the Prime Minister with only one aim, to finish off Grace who knows everything about their secrets. Tom is determined to save Sophie, but she refuses his aid and is not ready to leave the train as there are so many passengers in there who needs some medical assistance. Grace asks for a ransp, of $500 million from the company which wanted to have the villages cleared, Britgaz. But can she get that, and can the hostages be saved?

The defence of SAS: Rise of the Black Swan a.k.a. SAS: Red Notice :: As expected, this one serves as the action thriller which it was supposed to be. It provides some of the very engaging moments with so many lives at stake. Ruby Rose remains strong in another action movie role, like she had done in John Wick. She continues to excel in the action scenes, and remains strong with a certain psychotic side. Sam Heughan remains strong in the role that is about saving too many people. Hannah John-Kamen also does a fine job, while Andy Serkis and Tom Hopper remains good. The settings serve really good, and being caught in a train within a tube full of mercenaries ready to kill, serves the purpose well. The movie surely feels somewhat old fashioned, but maintains a certain amount of standard related to that, even though it never goes down to that level of those silly mass masala movies of Bollywood or some of those overrated high budget movies of the South. The world here surely keeps itself from going down from the suitable level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does remind us of many other movies, even though it is not of that much strength as some of the others. For most of the film, people seem to reiterate the fact that the main character here is trained, and isn’t too much bothered about his presence on board the train. There is also a certain amount of silliness with the movie’s primary antagonist and her actions, and even though she is menacing, is not even. They surely had the budget to add some special scenes around here too, and also some spectacular action sequences which are not usually seen. A little bit of exaggeration, especially related to action scenes was expected, and the same is present around here. The predictability factor is also present without doubt, and we know mostly what is going to happen around here. You have the specially trained hero trying to save the people inside a train from a group of mercenaries led by a merciless maniac.

How it finishes :: As this movie is known as SAS: Red Notice, it is not to be confused with that particular movie which has the big names like Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in the lead. This one is also an action movie, but surely more serious than that one. This is also an entertaining ride as much as that one though. As a movie based on the novel with the same name by Andy McNab, whether it satisfies the fans of the books is yet to be known. But as of now, we can enjoy the work done here, thanks to the lot of action that goes on around here. We are never short of a possibility of a terrorist attack happening at any part of the world, and so we are looking for a lot of saviours in action. It is the kind of movie in which we go with the flow of action, and get immersed in the adventure that we witness around. Well, after all, most of us might not be traveling in the Channel Tunnel in our lives, and a lot of us most probably won’t be inside a high-speed train or travel underwater – let us enjoy what we see on the screen in that way too.

Release date: 12th March 2021 (UK); 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Magnus Martens
Starring: Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Hannah John-Kamen, Anne Reid, Andy Serkis, Tom Hopper, Noel Clarke, Owain Yeoman, Ray Panthaki, Tom Wilkinson, Jing Lusi

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Belko Experiment

Vampire Owl: I hope this doesn’t turn out to be something like those experiments from Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Well, Mr. Frankenstein has not equal, and so, there is no relevance for such a question.

Vampire Owl: I have never really liked him. You know how much blood the vampire community has to donate for his cause. A number of blood banks have been left with minimum resources.

Vampire Bat: But, it is for building a better future, of the vampire community.

Vampire Owl: Why would he even try to do that? He is no vampire, and he is not even distantly related to our community.

Vampire Bat: He is a good scientist. He made a monster, and now he wants to make something good.

Vampire Owl: He experimented on himself to keep staying alive for this long!

Vampire Bat: Yes, which is how he became very useful to us.

Vampire Owl: But I doubt his inner motives, which he isn’t showing to us.

Vampire Bat: Even if there is something, it is going to be nothing in front of the Belko Experiment. I am sure about that.

[Gets three cups of Vagamon tea with a piece of green apple cake].

What is the movie about? :: Belko Industries a vey famous American-based non-profit organisation which has branches all over the world, and facilitates American companies in South America in hiring American workers. It is a popular choice among freshers when looking for jobs, and has a high reputation everywhere. It is at one of its lesser known branches, the office building in Bogota, Colombia, which is located at a rural or rather remote setting that Mike Milch (John Gallagher Jr) and his girlfriend Leandra Florez (Adria Arjona) works. They find it strange tha there is a long queue in front of the office with the Colombian local workers being sent back, and new people being in charge of security. The two, along with the other employees including the newest employee Dany (Melonie Diaz) are all there, and when the last of the employees get into the office, things change.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: After the final employee is inside the office, a voice asks everyone to kill two of the co-workers in half an hour of time, or they will randomly chosen and killed. The building is covered by steel shutters from all sides, and all phones including the mobiles stop working – everything is cut off, including the air conditioning. The company’s chief operating officer Barry Norris (Tony Goldwyn) try to tell everyone that there is nothing to panic. But it is him who panics first as the head of four employees are blown, and he, along with two other workers, Wendell Dukes (John C. McGinley) and Terry Winters (Owain Yeoman) decide that it is only fair that they kill a few people if it is all that takes to make sure that they keep living for a longer period of time. Mike tries to take the tracer off with a knife, but the people in control finds out what is being done to the tag, and warns him against doing the same.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: They realise that the Colombian workers were sent back home, because only the American employees had the tracer put in them to find them in case they were kidnapped in another nation, and so only they could be manipulated here. The announcement is no longer considered a prank, as things turn too serious – thirty of them are to be dead within two hours in one way or the other, or sixty people will be killed, according to the voice. Barry, along with this newfound friends tries to get the weapons stored within, so that they can kill according to the demands of the voice, while Mike who is against it, along with his girlfriend, and the only remaining security guard Evan Smith (James Earl), as well as the tech worker Keith McLure (Josh Brener), tries to hang banners from the top of the building, only to get shot at, by the special guards outside. With people losing patience as well as hope, how many will be dead, and who all will survive?

The defence of The Belko Experiment :: This is one movie that begins the adventure right from the initial stages itself, and goes on to continue well right into the experiment within the building. There are so many thrilling moments in this movie, and it has us guessing what is to happen next for most of the time – as we know that there is no escape, and with a short run-time, things are surely progressing rather quickly. There is a fine concept at work here, and we once again get to see how much each person wishes to live, at the cost of the lives of others around. It is quite thought-provoking without doubt, and we keep wondering about our situation. Maybe this movie is more human than the rest of the movies, with people looking to earn money, and survive, with that survival getting a new meaning here – some of them just live up-to that too. The cast, as a whole works pretty good for this one, even though there is nothing big.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain kind of predictability that comes in through the middle, going on, and there is also the limitation coming in, with not that much tried with its setting right inside a building. With people caught inside a huge building without any option to escape, and having chips inside their heads ready to be blasted, there was not that much of an option left – if there was at least one path left free, it would have been more interesting; without escape routes, this is rather one-sided, thus the movie removing its own options. There is a certain amount of sadism in this movie, which puts people against one another, and in the situation which make them kill or be killed, we feel the survival of the fittest in an office. The inherent evil in man comes out with a number of people here too. In this movie, we are without hope, and its sadistic experiment on human nature is something that not many people can stand. Better execution to keep the balance, maybe?

How it finishes :: The Belko Experiment is another one of those movies involving experiments, but not on the lines of Morgan or Ex Machina, as this one looks out for social behaviour rather than anything else. But in the end, we humans just got to give in to one thing or the other, whether it is is science, politics, religion or whatever else. There is all the action that happens in a building, the thrills, and along the violence, this movie leaves you with something to think about. Those people who are looking for some different horror or more of thrillers, are surely going to love this one. Among those movies which seem to go rather the same way, there is The Belko Experiment which travels a strange and depressing path, which is is more or less a reflection of human nature – darkness falls into humanity too easily when facing terror, doesn’t it? You don’t need much of an experiment to prove the same on most occasions.

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Greg McLean
Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Adria Arjona, Melonie Diaz, Tony Goldwyn, John C. McGinley, Josh Brener, Michael Rooker, David Del Rio, Stephen Blackehart, Rusty Schwimmer, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Abraham Benrubi, David Dastmalchian, Gail Bean, Valentine Miele, Joe Fria, Benjamin Byron Davis, James Earl. Cindy Better, Kristina Lilley, Maruia Shelton, Brent Sexton, Mikaela Hoover, Lorena Tobar, Gamal Dillard, Gregg Henry

PS: The best of lesser known horror is at The Autopsy of Jane Doe.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.