Mechanic: Resurrection

mechanic2-1

Vampire Owl: This reminds me of someone I know very closely.

Vampire Bat: Oh, you mean the Transporter. Or the Hitman.

Vampire Owl: None of them – I know that they are exclusive to the human race.

Vampire Bat: Then who are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: Don’t you remember my zombie minion who was a mechanic?

Vampire Bat: He fixed tombstones. You can’t call him a mechanic.

Vampire Owl: Well, we work through magic. What else is there to repair?

Vampire Bat: But the Mechanic here is a Hitman!

Vampire Owl: And Jason Statham is supposed to be the Transporter!

Vampire Bat: They are all professionals – Hitman, Transporter and Mechanic and there is minimum hair on the head. So, consider them as equals in a divided society and lets watch the movie.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham), has left his job as the “mechanic”, which has been a fancy name for a skilled hitman for very long when he was in the field. As he had been more than a professional assassin who specialized in making his assassinations look like accidents, random criminal acts, suicides or just something that happened as a part of collateral damage, he is never really away from his job with the past following him all the time. After pretending to be dead, he has been living in Rio de Janeiro after taking over the name Santos, with no noise, and no more repairing with assassinations as a mechanic. He is approached by a lady named Renee Tran (Rhatha Phongam) who tells him that she knows who he is – she wants him to kill three targets for her boss, and they have to look like accidents or normal deaths.

So, what happens next? :: Using his special skills and experience, Arthur makes his escape from Renee and her mercenaries, making his way into the resort of his old friend, Mae (Michelle Yeoh) in Thailand. There he meets a woman called Gina Thorne (Jessica Alba) who is beaten by a man, and saves her, but later realizes that she is the bait, and someone has put her there to make him fall for her, so that he can later make him do assassinations for him – the same person who was following him in Latin America. It is the man called Crain (Sam Hazeldine) who used to be Arthur’s childhood friend, but that bond no longer remained, only to turn into hate later. He would kidnap the woman, and ask Arthur to do the three kills to keep her safe. Arthur has decided to make sure that Gina remains safe, and so he goes after his first target. But this one is inside a prison, and won’t be that easy – and two more will follow.

The defence of Mechanic: Resurrection :: There is unlimited action guaranteed with this sequel, and one can safely see that it is even bigger than its predecessor in that particular department. All the action remains simple, but effective, and there is no shortage of thrills in this journey. The action actually begins in the first location itself, and there is a fine dose of the same in between – the executions are also nicely done, especially, the one from under the swimming pool at the top of the skyscraper. There are some nice twists to go with the same too, and none of these are without style here – we all know what Jason Statham is capable of from all he has done within this genre. Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and Bulgaria – the settings for this movie are all beautiful without doubt; especially those first shots at Rio de Janeiro and what all follows at those times in Thailand.

The claws of flaw :: People might have wished for something more in the story with this second addition to the franchise – a lot more than the usual thing, but they had to be satisfied with the hitman doing jobs with this one. There might also be the need for a more standardized progress with a movie like this and also the requirement for better dialogues and moments to remember. Another thing is that people are going to compare, and that might not do much good here – it is enjoyable what you see on the screen that matters the most. You are also sure to ask more from Jessica Alba’s character and also for Michelle Yeoh. Mechanic: Resurrection could have chosen to satisfy them all, but the fact that it doesn’t try to do the same means that we can watch them all without being bothered by the rest of the world.

Performers of the soul :: Jason Statham once again shines with what he does the best – it used to be The Transporter, Crank or The Expendables, and here, he continues to create that impression on us, as we watch him take on the bad guys. As the person who has been the Transporter before, and as the person who has been the fans’ first preference to become Agent 47 in Hitman, he easily goes through this role which demands nothing that special from someone who is so close to this genre. Well, we need to watch him in this kind of roles as it is how we have known him for a long time. As the hero that we want him to be, he is there again. It is good to see Jessica Alba again, but her role is a little too limited in this one, becoming the damsel in distress for too much time. Sam Hazeldine makes a pretty good villain here, and Tommy Lee Jones scores with the screen time that he has. Michelle Yeoh could also been used more.

How it finishes :: A lot of people might have chosen to degrade this movie, and it might not be the overrated critics’ material – but that doesn’t take out anything from this movie which delivers, and we have no doubt about that. Grossing more than its predecessor, this one proves that there is more to the movie than what the reviews say – Mechanic: Resurrection is not the kind of movie that goes for brainless entertainment either, and so you can be sure that critics have got this wrong, and it is not the case of just with one person. After watching this movie against many opinions, I have only found people who had told that this movie is disappointing, as disappointing for me. It happens very often with action movies as well as the horror flicks; we know a movie is good, and there are those reviews which look at the flicks in a strange way – but we get over it and go through to watch the movie.

Release date: 26th August 2016
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Dennis Gansel
Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Rhatha Phongam, Natalie Burn, Anteo Quintavalle, Femi Elufowoju, John Cenatiempo, Toby Eddington

mechanic2

*Also check Ouija: Origin of Evil, Lights Out, The Witch, Vatican Tapes and Before I Wake specially for this Friday the 13th inspired weekend.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Huntsman

thehuntsman (2)

What is it about? :: The movie begins a long time before the incidents which were depicted in Snow White and the Huntsman, as Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the dark sorceress finds out that her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) has an affair with Andrew (Colin Morgan), and is carrying her child. But the marriage doesn’t happen as Andrew is engaged to someone else, and after giving birth to a baby girl, Freya on a dark night, sees that he has murdered their child. This unleashes an uncontrolled fury in her which brings out the hidden powers of ice and snow from inside her, killing her lover and transforming her love into hate. She abandons her sister’s kingdom and comes up with a new kingdom in the north which is covered in ice and snow under her power.

So what happens next? :: It is a new world of depression and sadness that she creates far north to the kingdom of her sister who unleashes her own evil. She gets children kidnapped so that they could be trained to become remorseless huntsmen, who were to become part of her army. She raises the group to become her soldiers who know no love and has no regret. All of them trains to become the elite group of huntsmen who are feared and fight her battles. Soon she finds the best of them in Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), but they only fall in love many years later, something that she can never agree to. She successfully separates them, and the former lives in the grief of having watched the latter die.

And then to the present :: Then the scene shifts to many years later, after the incidents of the first movie, as Eric is wandering through the forest only to find that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is ill and the magic mirror has gone missing. Freya is having an eye on these lands, and the dark magic in the mirror threatens the kingdom. Now it is up-to Eric the Huntsman to save the day and he is joined by Nion (Nick Frost) and his half-brother Gryff (Rob Brydon). Two other dwarves Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach) also join their team. There will be magic and there shall be goblins on their way. Freya has sent her own team of huntsmen, but another big surprise awaits them. What about true love? Does it go beyond death and devastation?

The defence of The Huntsman: Winter’s War :: There is one thing that a person can be sure about here, and it is that The Huntsman: Winter’s War is cent percent a better movie than its predecessor Snow White and the Huntsman which was so empty a movie with empty expressions from its heroine. We also have some of the most amazing visuals here, with all the magic around. The snow and ice on the screen never ceases to be interesting. With magical creatures added, there is the further scope for visual beauty an that is explored very well here. The final scene of battle is also a very good one, which means that the movie manages to finish off really well. It is mostly all that a fairy-tale should be, and is a clear improvement from the predecessor; the lower box-office collection should go to the credit of the terrible predecessor which had already ruined the opinion about what was to follow.

The claws of flaw :: There are those predictable lines going through this movie too. A number of things can be guessed, and there is no real attempt to try differently either. The journey from a prequel to sequel goes rather strange too – it could have been just the sequel with a very small flashback and that could have worked out perfectly. There is also the chance to make use of its potential, which is not fully taken. Charlize Theron is underused, and we needed more battles of magic like the final one. In a movie in which there are two evil sorceresses, we see a little too less use of powerful magic. There is also the case of the mirror which should have been better utilized. There are those times when the direction of the movie is a little doubtful and some of the jokes also go on without making the desired effect.

Performers of the soul :: Even though Charlize Theron is there only for a few minutes, she has that kind of a presence that is strong enough to steal the show. We are sure to ask for more of her. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt shines in her ice and snow avatar while Jessica Chastain remains just okay in her role as the huntswoman. Maybe these two could have switched their roles to bring a better effect as we all know what the former is capable of in such a role with her Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow. Chris Hemsworth continues the same thing as he did with the earlier movie, and that manages to be okay. The actors and actresses who played the dwarves bring some good fun. It is nice to have gotten rid of Kristen Stewart’s Snow White though, as that certainly made things a lot better.

How it finishes :: As many other fairy-tales, this one also focuses on that one special thing, which is true love. The main idea here itself is about the two main protagonists and the lost love even though the villains do steal the show in between. It is the usual battle between love and hate that goes on here, and the much awaited defeat of evil waiting to happen by the finish. As a whole, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an entertaining movie which takes those usual elements of fairy-tales and deals them well enough with some interesting messages. It was just too much underrated by the audience and the critics judging it as a part of its predecessor. There are things that fairy-tales could do, and this one thankfully knows that well enough.

Release date: 22nd April 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin, Rob Brydon, Alexandra Roach, Sheridan Smith, Sope Dirisu, Colin Morgan, Fred Tatasciore, Sam Hazeldine, Sophie Cookson, Madeleine Worrall, Kristen Stewart

thehuntsman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Raven

theraven (3)

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door”. These are the first few lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, The Raven, which we had to study as a part of our American Literature syllabus for the partial fulfilment of the Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. Even as I found the process of doing seminar about Emily Dickinson more fascinating in this particular paper, my favourite work of that one paper was undoubtedly this poem about this black creature. Later in the poem, we have a better sight of the magnificent dark bird: “In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door — Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door — Perched, and sat, and nothing more”. The poem created such a great supernatural environment with the raven’s unexpected visit to a man who is mourning over his lost love.

Even as this movie takes the title from the same poem, and carries over the same darkness which the poem had in itself, the movie is not directly related to the poem, as it rather fictionalizes the final days of Poe’s life until his mysterious death instead of taking the poem’s imagery forward, and at the same time, gives our poet the powerful image of a crime solver. The use of the image of a literary figure can always be interesting, and as this one poet is considered, he was that big an influence in our question papers that it was quite difficult to take a decision to skip his poems – for that would leave us with not much to score in the exams. There might be many differences between a crow and a raven even as they look the same; as we consider the two movies The Crow and The Raven, they also belong to two different worlds, united only be the presence of murders, deaths and the dark side in both the movies. As the 1994 supernatural action movie is concerned, it remains one of my favourites, but I can’t say the same about The Raven with its investigative thriller atmosphere even as I have my own reasons for liking it.

The story takes us back to the nineteenth century, when Poe (John Cusak) lives his life filled with alcohol claiming to have used up all his literary abilities, and the only other thing he is interested in is the love for one woman, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). He is loathed by the lady’s rich and influential father (Brendan Gleeson) though. Meanwhile, a group of cops find two dead bodies of a woman and her daughter, and detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds out that the crime resembles a murder in the short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue written by Edgar Allan Poe. As more incidents follow, Poe is called to the police station and is asked to help the cops in solving the strange case. At the same time, Emily is kidnapped by the killer who asks Poe to publish a new story. The murderer keeps leaving Poe clues until he gets to that one final clue which would reveal what has lead to this situation, and also that mystery behind the killer should be removed. But as Emily is buried under the ground in a coffin and time keeps running out, Poe is left with less to think and more to act.

I might have to agree that this didn’t work as well as I supposed it would, even as John Cusack and Luke Evans have come up with very good performances and so did the villain who shall not be revealed here. Cusak plays the man who invented the detective genre and blessed us with the best of the supernatural, with so much ease, even as the question remains about how much the character in the movie has deviated from the original person except for the mustache. May be the movie tried to bring too much of the characteristics of the man into one movie which is a suspense thriller with an unnecessary romantic background, thus making it a little too much of a mixture. Poe might not have liked it, but as an admirer of his work, I do; and there is no suspense about it. Alice Eve once again gives her best along with being out of the league, making her way towards the character as she should have. She plays more of a lover of Poe as a poet and his ideas, and plans to marry him despite of the disapproval of her father; and this is one love story which doesn’t have a good beginning or a happy ending.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! — Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted — On this home by Horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore” – the lines from the poem matches with the depiction of Poe in the movie too, as he accepts his dark imaginations in the movie, and asks if imagining is also a crime. He is shown as a man with no money or fame left, even as The Raven remains one of the most famous works. He finds solace in alcohol as well as his love, and attempts to publish articles instead of fiction which both the editor and the admirers want, and would be something which can bring him fame and fortune again. As he says “Nevermore”, we can see that his character mostly reflects the same man who is the protagonist in his most famous poem. He is there to prove his lines, “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore”! So as the title is concerned, we can identify the man more with the protagonist of the poem of the same name, which is more Poe than anywhere else.

The Raven has its own collection of blood and gore, with even a huge mechanical axe-like device used by the murderer to cut a man into two halves, as the machine swings to and fro like a pendulum coming down towards the victim second by second – from Poe’s another work, The Pit and the Pendulum. The whole atmosphere is full of shadows and darkness creating the much needed creepy world. The villain is someone who knows Poe’s imagination more than he himself does, and his characters and stories too well. There is even that question about Poe inspiring those murders. The inspiration for the movie might be many slasher movies which came earlier, that is for sure. There lies the agony, and the sadness which arises due to the fact that this is just a random fictionalized story with lots of areas which could have been better. There could have been further logic and strong connections, but The Raven has taken the easy way out, with three of the skilled leading actors and an addition of the dark atmosphere supported by blood and gore, trying to work the mystery of a literary figure and his works. It does work in parts most of the time, but as a movie which requires that standard of the poem whose title has been taken, there should have been a lot more.

Coming from the man who directed V for Vendetta this is surely a let-down. May be the movie confuses itself a bit about what it tries to achieve, but this is still a good flick for the literature enthusiasts, especially fans of this one poet and his works, even as there can be disappointment about the changes in depiction of the poet, and the lack of anything amazing in the story that made him a crime solver. There was a lot more scope to this idea of the fiction which has been explored here. I liked this movie because I could connect it with Poe’s works which I had to study and it was easy to remember more about him with this movie, even as it would have helped me much better if the movie had released in 2011. This movie is my nostalgia, of my time reading Poe at college. I can’t say the same about others though, and for those who don’t know Poe or haven’t read any of his works, this is better to be avoided. The other choice for you is to read his works, something which might be a tough ask in a world which is ruled by fiction of no real quality. Still, I would suggest you read the poem The Raven, about which I managed to write a lot in my exam, and a reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel with it might prove further interesting.

Release date: 9th March 2012
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Kevin McNally, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, John Warnaby, Brendan Coyle

therav copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.