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.

Penguins of Madagascar

penguins (1)

Vampire Owl :: I have received a letter from the vampire penguin.

Vampire Bat :: What does it say?

Vampire Owl :: It says that he is happy to announce the release of Penguins of Madagascar, a movie that make all the undead penguins proud, and he wants us to watch it in the name of the Universal Vampire Brotherhood.

Vampire Bat :: But I have already watched it.

Vampire Owl :: What? Then why did I see no opinion?

Vampire Bat :: Because I delayed it so that there would be gap between the posts.

Vampire Owl :: It is totally unfair. Now as the Vampire Penguin has demanded it, I have to watch it alone. What happened to watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1?

Vampire Bat :: Skipped it. Waiting for some inspiration for me watch it. Nobody has that much of an opinion and I have already read that book and has less hopes about this one.

Vampire Owl :: And then you watched the Penguins alone. A cruel move against me there.

Vampire Bat :: You can watch it with your zombie minions. It has some good ideas for owlification.

[Leaves for the bus stop].

The background :: Do you remember those penguins of the Central Park Zoo? Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private proved to be the smartest creatures around. They have been helping our heroes of the Madagascar series, Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus. We have had no option, but to love the penguins throughout the series. They have been too good, and it is clear that they always deserved a spin-off movie for themselves. Well, this is not just that spin-off, but also the sequel to Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as the action continues from the circus itself as they go on to celebrate Private’s birthday. It is not really the continuation though, as Madagascar 4 is scheduled to be released on May 18th 2018, but as that date is too far away, lets be happy with this arrangement of the penguin characters for now.

What is it about? :: In a flashback, we see that somewhere in Antarctica, three little penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon), save an egg from seals and end up floating far away on an iceberg. The egg hatches and becomes Private (Christopher Knights). Back to the present, as they go to steal from the United Sates treasury to enjoy Private’s birthday after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, the get caught by Dave (John Malkovich), an octopus who lives in the human costume of Dr. Octavius Brine after having to be transported from zoo to zoo due to new cute penguins coming. He is now looking for revenge on all penguin kind. As they try to escape, the Penguins are saved by a special force known as the North Wind, lead by, a wolf named Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), a seal named Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), a polar bear named Corporal (Peter Stormare), and an owl named Eva (Annet Mahendru). Due to some differences, the two teams decide to chase the villain through their own paths; will they succeed?

The defence of Penguins of Madagascar :: Once again, just like the other movies of the Madagascar series, this is lots of fun. There are some genuinely funny moments in this one, and they are just meant for evoking the laughter, making this one a big fun ride, and people are certain to be entertained. The penguins as well as the special animal forces are admirable characters, and this is an opportunity for us to know those characters whom we liked a lot in the franchise in a much better way. The family audiences with kids are going to love this one, that is for sure, and might not want to miss this one. The moments which involve the meeting of the two groups as well as the same with the villain along with that moment when all three groups meet are hilarious. The message is also nicely given, about the appearance not being that much of a factor. Even as the movie doesn’t go on to be one of the top three animated movies of the year as expected, it is really a powered entertainer.

The Claws of flaw :: It is pretty much sillier even considering the fact that it is an animated movie, and the predictability factor is once again big. There is nothing like the final extravaganza that the last movie in the franchise had offered, and even in 3D, this one offers much less compared to what was expected. There are ordinary moments in the movie too, and there are scenes which are extremely dumb, and the presence of those moments which fail to click are also present here and there, but they can still be avoided. This one is also weaker than the three other Madagascar movies, all of which are worth an eighty five and above in the score. This movie actually feeds on that impact that those three movies had created, and ends up extending the fanbase of the franchise. There are moments which are just created for the sake of being there, and the plot never really shows much scope, ever. There is repetition, no doubt about it. There is a chance that this will make the penguins less interesting with too much attention given here.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s first attention is on brotherhood for sure. But it is not the major theme here, as it focuses more on appearances as we can see right from the beginning. The penguin named Private is actually considered to be too cute, and the others feel that the only thing that he can do is to distract the opponent for the rest to take the appropriate action. The same is the case of all four penguins as far as the other animals and birds are concerned – they think that the penguins are too cute to do anything strong and significant. Most of the people here base their assumptions based on the looks and nobody really cares to give these people a try. But everything would change in the end, and it is to this finish which says that appearance doesn’t define the quality or brilliance of a person that the movie strives to reach. It is the appearance itself that creates the villain here, and the movie focuses so much on the same. Penguins of Madagascar never retreats from that aim as we see the traits everywhere.

How it finishes :: The big surprise here was that this movie had shows at more multiplexes than The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. That was surprising because it was clear that it really is the movie that everyone want to watch, its popularity only matched by just another sequel which would be the last part of The Hobbit which is also coming up. I would guess that the multiplexes decided to go completely with the family audiences this time instead of choosing the movie which the youth have been waiting for so long to watch. It is the same reason why the movie has evaded me so far, and another reason is that I know the story and don’t find the first part of the book interesting; even the last book as whole is the least interesting of the series. Yes, I wanted to watch it, but as the time came, I ended up choosing another movie again. Well, there is still time, but I do feel that many others have also done the same, which is why Penguins of Madagascar is doing well here.

Release date: 28th November 2014 (India), 26th November 2014 (USA)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Simon J. Smith, Eric Darnell
Starring (voice): Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Werner Herzog

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.