Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Alita

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a machine graveyard is now being prepared at the zombie graveyards by the werewolves?

Vampire Bat: What? You can’t have machines in a zombie world. It is a very dangerous situation that can lead to terrible consequences.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the news says that they have already started it.

Vampire Bat: When there is a machine graveyard, it is called a scrapyard. They don’t even know that much?

Vampire Owl: Werewolves were never the experts in learning.

Vampire Bat: So, how far has this been present there?

Vampire Owl: Ever since the movie Alita: Battle Angel released.

Vampire Bat: Well, at least they haven’t based something on the Underworld series or some Frankenstein movie this time.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know them. They are never sure about what they do.

Vampire Bat: If they want something to base their lives on, tell them to watch something like Byzantium or Doctor Sleep.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Three hundred years have passed since a great war destroyed most of Earth. This war known as “The Fall” left the planet devastated, and divided it into the highly advanced Zalem City in the sky, and Iron City on the ground which was very crowded even though it had some of advanced technology. Almost everyone on the ground worked for Zalem, which was supposed to be one of the greatest cities of all-time, and the only one remaining after the continuous war with the enemy group known as United Republics of Mars (URM). A man named Vector (Mahershala Ali) controlled everything on the ground, as a proxy to the ruler at Zalem, getting his dirty job done. Almost everyone from the Iron City wanted to go to Zalem City, and it was part of their dreams for which they worked all day. But someone from the ground rarely made it to the sky, even though vice versa was always possible.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A scientist and doctor, Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) discovers parts of a female cyborg with a working human brain while looking for parts in the city’s scrapyard. With the help of his assistant Nurse Gerhad (Idara Victor), he manages to fit her into a cyborg body at his clinic. He calls her Alita (Rosa Salazar) after his daughter who died earlier, as the cyborg seems to have no memories of her past at all including her own name. Dr Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), Dyson’s former wife who works for Vector doesn’t seem to like it though. She manages to be friends with a scrap deaker Hugo (Keean Johnson) who shows her the world, and his friends including Koyomi (Lana Condor) and Tanji (Jorge Lendeborg Jr). She also knows about the cyborgs that walk on the streets including Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) and Nyssiana (Eiza Gonzalez), and a fight with them will bring some of her memories back. So, who was she? How does that play a role in the future of her and the city?

The defence of Alita: Battle Angel :: There is a well-designed post-apocalyptic and dystopian future that can be seen throughout the movie’s run, and the elements are always there to be seen and enjoyed. The futuristic world is really well designed, with the two cities, as well as what lies beyond. The same can be said about the cyborgs too, as almost each one of them has different characteristics – you can also see that the protagonist makes the best out of it. The action sequences are of top quality, and we are addicted to them, and looking for more of similar moments. The emotional moments are also effective, and the idea behind the movies with moments of its flashbacks makes us wish for a sequel or even a prequel, because both will complete the tale well. This is one of those rare movies when we get close to the cyborgs more than humans. It will be difficult not to be emotionally connected to this movie, and its leading battle angel.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that Alita: Battle Angel leaves many questions to be answered, especially related to how United Republics of Mars (URM) was defeated, and the she ended up in the scrapyard if they were that good with fighting, having an almost perfect cyborg system which is near impossible to be destroyed – such an addition as a prequel or sequel is needed quickly enough. There is the feeling that we have watched most of this before too, and a lost cyborg finding its past and fighting through evil is not something we don’t know much about. The story becomes usual, and we can guess most of the proceedings of the tale. We can also predict what is to happen with some of the characters in the tale a little too easily, as the romantic side just serves as a drag. Let us see if a possible sequel and manage to rise above the usual stuff, and bring in the innovation.

Performers of the soul :: Rosa Salazar’s avatar remains a hit, and as she wore a motion capture suit and gave life to the character with the help of animation, we are glad to have this one added to our favourite list of cyborgs of all-time as the battle angel who is one day going to bring down a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Christoph Waltz’s character is the next one to whom we feel the emotional connect, and he makes the perfect father figure in more than one way. Jennifer Connelly makes a good addition, even though she is there for only shorter periods of time, but she makes some moments worthy. Mahershala Ali is okay as the puppet villain, but the antagonism is lost on a number of occasions. The two next most notable cyborgs played by Jackie Earle Haley and Ed Skrein makes it worthy of our time, being on the darker side of good-evil alignment. Keean Johnson as Hugo is the usual young lover boy done fine.

How it finishes :: Alita: Battle Angel is the very next project from James Cameroon’s Lightstorm Entertainment after Avatar, and before Terminator: Dark Fate which followed in the same year. If you look at that list, the next two movies are Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, followed by even more sequels if the two makes enough money. The director’s last movie was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, some years ago. So, this is one project which was much expected – well, the trailer was really good too. Alita: Battle Angel, despite dealing with a post-apocalyptic and dystopian theme, with a dark side, can be watched by families, and it is an advantage that this movie have to widen its audience. I would recommend this movie over most of the movies which I have watched during lock-down. It has its heart and soul at the right place, and we are going to expect an even bigger sequel.

Release date: 14th February 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Rosa Salazar, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Keean Johnson, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Idara Victor, Mahershala Ali, Jeff Fahey, Rick Yune

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ex Machina

What is it about? :: Bluebook is the most popular search engine in the world, handling more than ninety percent of the internet user search. It is one of the most powerful companies in the world, and maintains a certain amount of control over the internet. Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer working at the same company, wins a one-week visit to the home of the CEO of the same company. Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac) lives in a secluded building surrounded by greenery, an environment providing beautiful views and assuring separation from the busy life of the cities where the search engine offices are based. The only other person at home is a maid known as Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno) who doesn’t understand English and just does her job.

So what happens in this environment? :: So, this home of the CEO is actually more than what meets the eye. One would have guessed the same considering the fact that he has almost no contact with anyone else. He has a secret, and the place is more of a secret research facility than a house. He has developed something which needs to be tested, and Caleb is the man to administer the test to a special humanoid robot with Artificial Intelligence. This robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) develops a good friendly relationship with Caleb, but it seems that she is a lot more than what he knows about, and there is a long history behind the robot and also beyond her. There are things that will be uncovered in the environment, but not many facts can go outside that world.

The defence of Ex Machina :: An intelligent science fiction movie takes form as Ex Machina, as it slowly, but steadily moves on to become more and more interesting, from a rather normal beginning. It has the good looks right from the beginning as the scene shifts to a world close to natural beauty. There, the insides of the home are also well done. There is elegance all around, and then we see the robot with the Artificial Intelligence and we feel that it might be the best we have seen with the design. Then, things go on to become rather tense, a feeling which comes along with the intellectual and creepy side going forward together. Sooner or later, this one asks you about whose side you are on, and most of the time when facing the question, you will have no answer; but you might not need to take sides – you can grab the messages instead. Then there is Alicia Vikander as the lady robot who will simply take your breath away with her performance; not human or robot, she is right there as the Artificial Intelligence.

Positives and negatives :: The other two main actors, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac do their job really well. In this movie, you can see no action sequences or frightening scenes on screen, making this no sc-fi action and absolutely no sci-fi horror. But it is still a thriller and a drama, filled with messages in the core. A certain slow pace in the movie never really feels as we are too much interesting in the situation that is presented in this movie; sometimes one feel that it makes us more restless and unsettled. But whichever way the movie takes the turn, it keeps working so well. It keeps us engaged in the flick, and keeps providing us with those moments to memorize and think about. The twists in this movie are not heavily presented, but they are all result of some very clever work. As it moves towards a more haunting side, you will feel that this might be the best science fiction movie made without much of a heavy budget.

Soul exploration :: There are many messages in Ex Machina, and they can affect different people in different ways. Most of us are familiar about the Latin term “Deus ex machina” which means “god from the machine”. As I missed that during a literary quiz programme and this one will stay on my mind forever. It refers to a plot device by which a seemingly insolvable problem is solved all of a sudden by an unexpected thing – it is often a rather convenient method. Here, the title should mean “from the machine”. The movie deals with the insides of a machine here, with how the Artificial Intelligence makes the change, and brings something more out of a machine than what was expected of it. The one difference here is that it is the human who plays the God.

More soul exploration :: The problem in the movie arises from the human playing the role of God. He thinks that he can be in control all the time, but he just can’t do that. There are limitations to his abilities, and there are a few people who don’t really deserve to do such things. Man is no God and with power and money corrupting the brain, morality and any compassion takes the backseat. The robot here is not just a symbol of the specific character here, but that of a lot of people in the world who have restrictions imposed on them. Only a few people get lucky, and the rest are enslaved in one way or the other. The rich and the influential ones play God while the rest are made to be obedient robots. But if there will be change, and it might all be about one moment, just like Ava’s case.

How it finishes :: Ex Machina is the directorial debut of the man who wrote screenplay for 28 Days Later, Sunshine and the cult flick and favourite 2012 action movie Dredd. Here, we are provided with more questions than ever, about where humanity begins and ends, what is consciousness and how it can be defined, the influence of technology and its control over us, the limits which should be established – and many more. It is not something which you can hope to get with this much clarity as well as simplicity from the Hollywood movies. What this movie reminds me about is the 2011 Spanish psychological thriller movie, The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) starring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya. Ex Machina leaves one with a similar feeling; there is no visible horror and moments to make you scream, but it provides that special unsettling feeling.

Release date: 10th April 2015
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Alex Garland
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Sonoya Mizuno, Oscar Isaac, Symara A. Templeman, Elina Alminas, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Tiffany Pisani, Claire Selby, Corey Johnson

exmachina

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chappie

chappie (2)

Vampire Owl :: I thought you were going to watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but then Chappie was there and that show started earlier by ten minutes.

Vampire Owl :: That name actually makes me depressed.

Vampire Bat :: It happens when you say that in Malayalam.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that India actually lost against Australia?

Vampire Bat :: Did they? I thought some extra-efficient online Keralites once again saved India by abusing Mitchell Johnson and the Australian Cricket Team.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, just like Maria Sharapova lost to Serena Williams and the Pakistan Hockey Team played bad after the abuse by Keralites.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, everybody losses to Serena Williams. It is quite natural. And Asia is not a hockey powerhouse anymore.

Vampire Owl :: Damn! The cent percent literacy is wasted.

Vampire Bat :: Cent percent literacy! It is the literacy for abuse!

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: As the South African police at Johannesburg a group of advanced robots from weapons and ammunition manufacturer called Tetravaal, the crime rates are brought to a new low, and as expected the criminals and their bosses are concerned. The inventor is Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) who seems to be getting most of the appreciation much to the dismay of another engineer, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) who wishes to send his own robot model named Moose into operation. But as it is very costly and is highly equipped with too much firepower needing full human control, it is rejected until further notice. But when our inventor creates an artificial intelligence which is rather too human, things take a twist, and things are no longer in his control. A group of criminals also decide to take control of a robot.

The defence of Chappie :: There are some good ideas running through this movie, and it becomes evident right after the first few minutes of Chappie. The robot instantly becomes interesting even with the scope for improvement always there. There are lots of action sequences in the movie, and there is a certain amount of emotional strength whenever a different kind of thing comes to existence and tries to cope with the world around, which works in this one too. There are thoughts left behind, and there is the social message which we can take home, even though it rarely becomes the big thing in this movie. There are surely some good performances to support this one.

The Claws of Flaw :: Chappie doesn’t really use its strengths to its advantage, and has problems with dealing with its central ideas – not really there in making them work completely and bringing things to the right finish. Instead, the movie is too addicted to consciousness, a lot more than Transcendence did, and it is like one can never die as the same keeps getting transferred from one body to the other. The character of our dear robot never really gets to display the awesomeness, and the criminal characters are not really up-to the mark either. Along with reminding us of Transcendence, this one has its own Robocop elements to add to the same. It is a big surprise that still this couldn’t better than what it really is.

Performers of the soul :: Sharlto Copley gives voice to biggest performer of the movie, which is the one robot with its name as the film title. He was there in the same director’s District 9, Elysium and now this one – here in the non-human form for the first time. Hugh Jackman is good, but in a different avatar, and doesn’t impress at all times – still, makes a fine villain. Dev Patel is so natural in this movie, and as he plays the second most significant character in the movie after our own protagonist robot, does very well. This role seemed to suit him so well, and he manages it with ease. Yolandi Visser was nice in a special avatar, and Sigourney Weaver leaves no impact in her less significant role.

Soul exploration :: Chappie does focus so much on the soul elements. There seems to be questions asked, but none of them are direct, and the answers are never really there. There is the talk about making the robot which is more like a human, and also the transfer of human consciousness to robots as well as the consciousness of one robot to the other – they seems to get things working all of a sudden and keep doing the same without fail. The idea of the robot consciousness developing from nothing to a new thing is interesting, but one has to wonder if that was given enough significance in the right manner and was portrayed with enough attention to the details. It is like they speeded up a few things to reach the desired end, which is not what the viewers really wanted.

How it finishes :: Chappie doesn’t finish that strong as expected, and it leaves me with the thought that may be Cinderella or Focus might have been a better choice. They are still running though, and the choice stays. As the maker of District 9 and Elysium, this is another step downward for the director, Neill Blomkamp – it is also evident in the opinion of the critics. In the movie poster, they label Chappie as humanity’s last hope, but that makes one wonder if that really matches the movie. No, this robot is not really humanity’s last hope; there is no point at which he proves to be that unless you take a few characters as “the world” – yes, there are things that he can do, but in his absence, may be things would have just gone on and on. You can watch this one for the ideas, and not for many other things.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 6th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Watkin Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret, Anderson Cooper

chappie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Transformers IV

transformers extinction (3)

Vampire Owl :: Isn’t this the movie in which your Chevrolet Beat transforms?

Vampire Bat :: No, it doesn’t. The best it can do is to transform into a Titanic on on our roads on a monsoon season giving company to the other cars.

Vampire Owl :: Shouldn’t the movie at least feature you?

Vampire Bat :: Why me? When was the last time I transformed?

Vampire Owl :: It is named Age of Extinction. I think Vampire Bats are going extinct. Nobody really likes you. Even Poe prefers a raven at night.

Vampire Bat :: No, that is not true. There are people who like me, like Count Dracula, Batman, the cute zombie girl next door and twelve thousand two hundred and fifty three normal vampires. I might even have a candlelight dinner with Countess Dracula.

Vampire Owl :: I hope you take this lightly, but Countess Dracula is dead.

Vampire Bat :: What? When?

Vampire Owl :: I am not sure, but that should be about four hundred years ago or so?

Vampire Bat :: It is difficult being immortal; you have to watch good people suffering and bad people thriving.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Years have passed since the last battle between autobots and decepticons which left the city in ruins and so many people dead, making it difficult for the government to rebuild it again, and as a result, all the aliens were declared fugitives and there was not going to be any combined efforts between humans and the autobots anymore. Another transformer called Lockdown who belongs to neither of the two factions is shown to help the government in doing the same, with a promise of something in return for the capture of the autobot leader, Optimus Prime. Meanwhile, the human research on dead transformers is progressing, and there was the discovery of transformium, a metal which is unstable and can transform, creating more of such robots which can replace human soldiers in the case of a war. With the help of a captured Brains, they are slowly using this metal to build transformers which accept command from the humans, including Galvatron, Stinger and Junkheap. At the same time, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his friend Lucas Flannery (T. J. Miller) purchase an old truck in hope of helping Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) in her studies with the money they can get from selling the parts. But that truck would be Optimus Prime in hiding and things will take a turn.

The defence of Transformers: Age of Extinction :: The movie has great battles, as robots collide and fight against each other in a war which lets sparks fly and makes things come towards you in 3D which is a nice visual extravaganza. The special effects nicely compliment the action sequences, and the chaotic world is nice to watch with transformations to come with the same. There are the nice cars to which the robots transform which look better than ever. The best scene is that which involves the huge spaceship which wanders in the sky, and also uses its powers with all the possible awesomeness as far as a movie like this is concerned. The destruction is also taken to another level. The transformations also take a twist, with dinobots having robots transforming into giant dinosaurs as well as the human constructed transformers having their own way of changing, all of them contributing in a different manner. The three machines which are better than the others are the Optimus Prime and Galvatron (Pacific Rim‘s Gypsy Danger’s evil twin) trucks along with the cars of Lockdown and Stinger. There is a lot for the Transformers fans to cheer about, as the awesome heroes once again go on their mission to save planet Earth with the support of a very few human allies. The human greed and the inherent evil are also nicely shown.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the usual problems with the plot which we can associate with all the Transformers movies which try to follow the path of the original with one villain at a time, Megatron, Fallen and Sentinel Prime who were in the previous movies make way for Lockdown, and Megatron is once again here being the secondary villain, just in another form. There is also the old truck Optimus Prime who refuses to stay in the grave and comes back from the dead as the metallic zombie which I have always hoped to have stayed dead or refusing to die at all. Bumblebee continues to be overrated and lives, while the kill off the last interesting robot from the first movie, Ratchet, something which they already did to Jazz and Ironhide. The robot design is also more complicated, but at the same time, horribly flawed, as we no longer see the usual robot faces, but creatures with face of Japanese Samurai and those with beard and smoking cigars, something which looks so dumb in the detail. The plot gets predictable by the second half, and the addition of dinobots is nice variety, but the way in which they are introduced is lame. The movie is also too long and has too many repetitive fights which often makes the viewers wonder if they had already seen all these. The characterization is another case for downfall.

Performances of the soul :: Mark Wahlberg is rock solid in this movie, and it is good to see him instead of the usual cast that we had, because he is always one of those nice action stars who are suitable to play this kind of role which involves being the hero and yet not being the strongest one around. Here he is, being the mechanic, father and action hero all at the same time, and makes it work even as his character is not without flaws. Nicola Peltz is more about being the beauty among the population which are mostly robots or action heroes, and being the one with teenage girl problems and having problems with her father. She looks great and proves that one thing. Sophia Myles and Li Bingbing also contributes to the overall beauty, having nothing too much with their characters. T. J. Miller provides some comic side which is there only for some time. Stanley Tucci’s partially villainous character also provides some comic relief during the intense action, but it only works partially – not something which the Transformers franchise haven’t tried before and often succeeded; other times proving the inherent dumbness. Jack Reynor has a nice presence, as what can be called the supporting actor, but as a need for our girlfriend to have a love interest. Kelsey Grammer is a nice villain, but not fully utilized and forced to come second. Titus Welliver also comes up with a strong performance.

Soul exploration :: The movie leaves with hope for a sequel, but the question remains if it has a soul to work on. It had the always-ready-to-die Optimus Prime with an ideal, but that is actually less worked on now. The autobot-decepticon enmity has also gone the wrong way. At the same time, the movie has given us an idea about how bad the effects of science and technology can be, and there are secrets that should be left alone, for there are other things that humanity should focus on, as they are that species which are infested by greed, hatred, lust and envy. The technology is rarely safe in the hands of man, as they are incapable of handling the same due to the presence of their inherent evil nature. When the movie goes on to be a massive success story at the box-office, the one thing we have to think about is how well it has portrayed humanity and the problems caused by its pride. Even a robot knows better than humans who are blessed with better teachers throughout the centuries, and even with all the knowledge that they have gathered, man fails to be good, and it is a case of shame. Then in finding the creators, they are indeed Prometheus infested.

How it finishes :: I had considered Transformers: Dark of the Moon as the worst Transformers movie of all time, and I will stick to the same, but I would still think that our movie here has got more problems in its story-line than the others, but it does make up with the better special effects and action sequences, plus Mark Wahlberg who looks very well suited for this kind of role. Still, except for the first Transformers movie which I have watched so many times already, I wouldn’t dare to watch another one of this franchise again. I would suggest you watch the robots of Pacific Rim rather than watch the aliens of this movie if given a choice. But there is no denying that this movie is pure entertainment, except for the fact that its lack of brain and the repetition, along with the terrible length makes the situation a bit intolerable to a few. Transformers fans should like this movie a lot, and the new additions can impress a number of viewers. This is one of those non-superhero Hollywood movies which are running houseful right from the day it was released, and one can be sure that this is not the end for this franchise, and this sequel is going to collect a lot of money.

Release date: 27th June 2014
Running time: 165 minutes
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, T. J. Miller, Melanie Specht, Victoria Summer

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

RoboCop

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A hybrid in black :: A long time after the release of the 1987 version, here is a reboot which was much talked about. There are times when remakes and reboots do work, like in the case of Dredd, Batman Begins, The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel, but there are times when they don’t. RoboCop might have also wondered about the same, and no wonder they wanted to make this hero black too, and remains so through most of the movie. It has released here two days after the original release in the United States and seems to have attracted less audience even as the title character is rather famous among the masses and the posters are pretty much impressive. The original movie re-telecasted on television might have brought better audience, even as this one might have just managed to keep itself together, but not throughout the whole movie, that is for sure. As the original movie was rather ahead of its times, one would wonder where this one will stand as bigger robots have come and gone in the form of Transformers and Pacific Rim.

What is it about? :: The world has gone on to 2028. OmniCorp is the organization that supplies mechanized soldiers to the United States Army which are used abroad. They wish to use the same inside the United States, but the same doesn’t happen due to Dreyfus Act which prevents it. The CEO of the organization asks a leading scientist to create a soldier who is a combination of man and machine, so that the public will like him and support more machines. As they look for a human who can be merged with the machine, one of the cops Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb blast. As his wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish) approves the same to see him live, he is chosen as the RoboCop. The control of the human side is kept to the minimum so that his decisions are more accurate and without being shadowed by human emotions which could weaken his reliability. The question remains if the man or the machine wins in the end, and whether he can have revenge on the people who tried to kill him as well as those who wishes to control him.

The defence of RoboCop :: So RoboCop rides on the fame of a movie which was more popular than even those movies which had big stars in 1987. Being Alexander James Murphy and newest model from OCP Crime Prevention Unit of Detroit Police Department, this guy has been a popular hero for quite a long time. The idea of a cyborg, half-man and half-machine was a crowd favourite. This movie works on that solid grounds, and therefore this movie does starts with certain good score. There are lots of action sequences in store for such a character, and this movie also has the same, but mostly about shooting people. Along with the cyborg, the other robots are also nicely done. The robot versus drones training fight remains the best shooting sequence in the movie. The movie tries again and again to bring more and more thoughts into the process, including humanity, machines and souls, and it makes more and more efforts to keep the emotional side powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie can’t really use this emotional side to its advantage, as it is so much caught between it’s confusion about the major character being a man or robot, and in the process, often forgets that the viewers are human, or mostly belonging to that particular species which is supposed to be intellectually superior. RoboCop tries to live on the hype of the original, and in the process, ends up being too less of an entity which can be something which belongs to this age. To add to it, some fight sequences are horribly uninteresting. Then Iran seems to be occupied by the United States and RoboCop is made in China. There is also a television programme which is rather boring for the common viewer. Whenever there is too much deviation from the core of a movie like this, which should have been action, there was to be struggle, and RoboCop is caught in that problem which it has brought upon itself with repetition of the “emotion” stuff, as it gets overdone.

How it works :: Joel Kinnaman does well as the protagonist of the movie. One has to appreciate his presence as the cyborg right from that moment he wakes up inside that suit which is himself. Abbie Cornish is also nice; and I have seen her only in Sucker Punch before. There are lots of good moments provided by the cast, and the movie certainly has its own style. RoboCop seems to be doing better than the 2012 remake of Dredd for now, but I would say that the latter is one of the best reboots ever, even as RoboCop will surely collect more money than the same. Both works on almost the same platform, in a futuristic world full of crime, but RoboCop has the advantage of its hybrid character, and it is what sells, no matter how better Dredd really is. Unlike the original movie, this one isn’t really clear, as it seems to wonder what it is going to convey to the audience. It could have used a lot of updates which any robot should have with that advancement in technology.

Soul exploration :: As RoboCop is the latest victim to Hollywood’s desire to remake movies, there is surely a lot more than what meets the eye. There is a certain amount of satire in it, about the millionaire corporate greed and the prejudice of media, even as they rarely strike hard enough. There is lot of weakness in the idea. The audience expectation of an action movie is fulfilled only on occasions, as the robot police doesn’t get into the field until the second half. There is a lot of slowness related to the first half due to this, but one can spend that time thinking about what is to come and which part of this new breed of police will take over. The movie repeats what one would have always thought about the original law enforcer cyborg, and somewhat adds to the questions which were already there. But the answers are rather not clear in this case. May be it is because the movie wonders about its genre, but it fails to make its point clear as it has another television show in the end which continues what it had been saying.

How it finishes :: RoboCop doesn’t finish that strong as expected from the trailer. There was almost no scene which evoked any good response from the audience in the theatre. It was as if everyone in there was dead; there is always something to cheer for in almost every Hollywood action movie, but not in this one. When it tries too much in order to touch the foreign policy of the United States, capitalism, imperialism, media lies, human tendency towards corruption, terrorism, violence, modern tenchnology with side-effects and all things possible, with no particular care for one, there is rather too much of mess in an action movie which people are expecting. May be it had stuck to one or two things and used more interesting action sequences, with a better link between the audience and the human side of the robot, this would have been better. For now, it is just another okay movie which manages to hold on.

Release date: 14th February 2014 (India); 12th February 2014 (USA)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: José Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.