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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

Resident Evil VI

Vampire Owl: I am pretty much not in support of this franchise.

Vampire Bat: What? But you do like this kind of action, and praised the first movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but this is becoming a little too much. Too many zombies are being killed, and my team of zombie minions have given a petition.

Vampire Bat: And what was the petition about?

Vampire Owl: It was about saving the remaining zombies of the Resident Evil by an airlift.

Vampire Bat: But they are brainless zombies and this is a movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but killing so many zombies is nothing more than racism leading to genocide.

Vampire Bat: But they are just infected humans mutating into zombies.

Vampire Owl: In the end, there is no real difference, you know.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you can accept the petition and decide to watch this movie only in parts.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special dosa].

What is the movie about? :: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in the ruins of the White House, after being betrayed by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) again. She is attacked by the Umbrella employees as well as giant flying creature which seemed to have taken the mutation to another level. Once again on the wrong side of success, it is The Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) who appears in front of her and gives her the clue on how to save humanity, and build a future that seemed near impossible some time ago. It means that Alice has to returned to where it all started in the first movie of the franchise, to the Hive in Raccoon City within forty eight hours, as the Umbrella Corporation has successfully developed an airborne antivirus, which has the power to kill each and every organism infected by the T-virus – but there is only those two days left before the last human settlement is destroyed.

So, what happens next? :: Alice, despite the fear that this particular antidote will kill her too, decides to make this journey to end all of these, and after fighting through Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his team that captures her, goes through to reach a human settlement which has managed to keep the undead creatures away until now. There she is captured by the team of Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola) and Razor (Fraser James) who don’t believe her until her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) shows up as part of the group, once again alive and ready for battle. The group makes a stand against the group of armored vehicles and the army of undead lead by Alexander and defeats them, although Cobalt is killed and the man in charge of the Umbrella operations escape. Soon, more of similar groups seem to be coming in their direction.

What is to follow in this final chapter? :: With almost no defence left against the bigger horde which is to follow, Alice decides to go to the Hive, and the rest of the group decides to go with her. There they will face more horror, starting with the mutated dogs which kill Christian. It will be followed by more, and Red Queen will reveal something else to the group, a secret that will show the true nature of the Umbrella Corporation which has always wanted to play God, and deal with the people whom it considered to be below them. The Red Queen reveals that even though it could never hurt an Umbrella employee, it was also programmed to value and protect human lives, which is why it is helping Alice to get into the Hive and get her hands on the anti-virus; after all, she is the only who seems to have the skill and capability to do the same, as she has proven many time before. But with only a few minutes of time left, can Alice do what she needs to do?

The defence of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter :: This movie continues what the franchise has been doing for so long, with all the action going on, and those zombies hungry for more coming after the survivors. This movie is also the best reviewed one in this franchise by the critics, which do seems strange – maybe they considered the fact that this is the last movie of the franchise, and they will have to review the movies of the series no more; still this improved opinion can be taken in consideration for the defence of this movie, as this final flick is not that far behind in action at any point of time. Milla Jovovich is at her best with what she does, and as Kate Beckinsale does to the Underworld franchise, she makes things work so well, and seeing Ali Larter again adds to the happiness. This time, people have reason to fight, and so the battles go great. The world also remains really good, and the post-apocalyptic setting has us a lot interested, and the same can be said about the return to the underground facility where all started in the first movie.

The claws of flaw :: One would be surprised to see so much of repetition in this movie, as the whole thing just seems to go on and on rather than bringing something out of the box in a last movie, for which the franchise will be remembered for long – we can’t really say that this will stay the last movie for long though, considering that ending which doesn’t really end the whole thing, with scope always there for a new beginninng out of this. Those who have played the video games might have wanted more, and the same is the case of those people who were already planning to not like this movie. The character of Claire is underused, and some of the best characters from the franchise, Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, Ada Wong played by Li Bingbing, Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller and Leon S. Kennedy played by Johann Urb were not there, and we could find no clue of what happened to them, which is real disappointment, as a movie fan as well as a gamer. It could have also used better twists in there.

How it finishes :: This is a franchise that has been entertaining us since 2002, and fifteen years later, with six movies to boast about, the whole thing is finally coming to an end. This series which started with Resident Evil went on to bring Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and now, finally Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to finish off the big video game’s movie adaptations. The games have a total count that is going to touch thirty, sooner or later, and I am pretty sure that we are not done with that – I particularly remember Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and along with Silent Hill, this is another survivor horror game adaptation that I have close to my heart; this might not be among the best movies of the franchise, but still, after Need for Speed, Hitman: Agent 47 and Warcraft in the last three years, another action-filled and interesting video game adaptation is here.

Release date: 27th January 2017
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Iain Glen, Lee Joon-gi, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Gabo Anderson, Matthew Santoro

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.