Fast and Furious 8

Vampire Owl: I remember that a movie in this franchise once inspired me jump of the top of the cliff.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: And I used my wings to fly away.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t really sound furious at all.

Vampire Owl: That was a furious leap of faith.

Vampire Bat: You have wings. You are an owl. I don’t see any need for faith with jumping off the top of anything.

Vampire Owl: But my wings could stop working at any moment, like yours.

Vampire Bat: It is of no concern of yours, because I can fly with my mind.

Vampire Owl: What does it take to prove my furious character?

Vampire Bat: Maybe, do the fast and the furious when there is an occasion?

[Gets three cups of iced tea with a piece of strawberry cake].

What is the movie about? :: Dominic Toretto a.k.a. Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are spending their honeymoon time in Havana, Cuba – there are still races, and the two seems to be enjoying it a lot at the port city and capital. All has been going well for the two until Dom comes across a cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who seems to have something with her that makes him work for her, turning him against his family – it feels more like he is left with no choice. Meanwhile, unaware of this, the Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has his special moments with his daughter cut off when he is asked to get an EMP device from a military centre in Berlin. For the same, he turns to Dom and Letty, as well as the remaning crew, including Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tej Parker (Chris Ludacris Bridges), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and himself going on the mission.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The mission begins and goes on as planned, as they are successful in stealing the device. But after the same, Dom goes rogue, and takes the EMP for himself, getting it to Cipher. Hobbs is captured by the authorities and sent to prison while the rest of the team is left confused with no clue about what is happening. Imprisoned just opposite to Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), both ends up escaping, as the man known more as Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) takes them with him without giving them a chance to beat up each other. He, along with his assistant whom they call Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), recruit the two, along with the remaining members of the team to track down Dom and Cipher, who seems to be planning something huge, which is to become a permanent threat for more than one nation.

And what is to follow with a twist of events? :: Deckard has his own reasons to find Cipher and teach her a lesson. They track Dom using the device known as God’s Eye, and they are found to be at the exact same place – Dom and Cipher arrives with their own team and steals the device, leaving the heroes with no option to trace them anymore. Cipher is not finished though, as her plan goes for more than just an EMP, as she aims to go for nuclear ability. Dom remains her main man in achieving the same too. But the question remains about what advantage does Cipher has over him, and what has kept him doing what she needs him to do. Well, the team is surely thinking about the same, and also looking for an opportunity to stop him, as Dom and Cipher have become very close to bringing mass destruction around, or even beginning another world war. Who can stop the man who is so good at what he does?

The defence of The Fate of the Furious :: This should be the biggest of the Fast and Furious franchise in terms of action and thrills, as one has to wonder if it can go any higher. The humour is also good. There is one sequence involving the cars being hacked and remote-controlled, with those vehicles moving everywhere, out of control, quickly going through the streets, taking off from showrooms, and even falling down from the parking on top floors – you see so much happening along with the attempt at stopping Dom. Then there is that final long scene involving one nuclear submarine and a lot of ice; the franchise does know how to make things bigger and bigger. The action sequences might not be able to get this good with any other franchise, as we had already seen how XXX: Return of Xander Cage had struggled despite having Vin Diesel in there too – there should be something about this franchise, for it comes on top each and every time.

Positives and negatives :: A definite improvement from the last movie by a margin, and better than the movie before that, and also before that, The Fate of the Furious is the flick that you don’t wish to avoid at any cost, even if you are tired of watching this kind of thing – this one brings everything back in style, and we have Charlize Theron as the villain; it is something that elevates the whole movie even more. She is one actress who can nail this at any moment. With Vin Diesel doing what he has been doing so well, we also got Dwayne Johnson, or The Rock, going Hercules again, even though there could have been more fist fights for him. Then there is Jason Statham, as the rock solid one, as he has been more than just the Transporter or the Mechanic for long. Even Luke Evans gets a little bit of action around here. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are once again fun, and Nathalie Emmanuel brings the extra charm. Michelle Rodriguez is there doing the usual, and she has a great chemistry with Vin Diesel.

How it finishes :: Where XXX: Return of Xander Cage had was not much fun, The Fate of the Furious, the eighth movie the franchise comes so good. Well, as Priyanka Chopra had chosen the wrong movie, Baywatch to make a Hollywood impact, Deepika Padukone had chosen XXX: Return of Xander Cage. One has to wonder how it would have been, if she was in this movie instead of that one. The fact remains that nothing matches the Fast and the Furious movies in its content – with the talk about the family and a certain code of honour among its characters Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto will always be superior to Vin Diesel as Xander Cage. Dom is a person that we will love to love, while Xander is someone who gets none of that love, cent percent not from the family audience and those who see things from a matured angle – even his Riddick will get more love in that case. Well, you can trust The Fate of the Furious with the same, and only hope that no Bollywood movie, especially an nth sequel of Dhoom will steal from this flick.

Release date: 14th April 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Tego Calderón, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, Don Omar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Moana

Vampire Owl: I have heard that the name Moana means ocean.

Vampire Bat: This movie is all about ocean.

Vampire Owl: I have even heard that Moana is a Polynesian sea god.

Vampire Bat: What do you know about sea gods?

Vampire Owl: They do not interest me. I am no person of the sea.

Vampire Bat: But we will watch this Oscar nominated movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this is also for The Rock. I am looking forward to what he is cooking again.

Vampire Bat: He cooks really well, as we have seen in Hercules and The Fast and the Furious series.

Vampire Owl: Lets see if this one is worth the Vampire Oscars.

Vampire Bat: I am already prepared to nominate this one.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with sweet puffs].

What is the movie about? :: The famous demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) steals the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti, which seems to be the key to all life. But he is attacked on the way by a lava demon Te Ka, resulting in him losing his magical fish hook which gives him his powers, and the same also leaves him stranded at an unknown location. This is how the legend goes, and for the Polynesian island of Motunui, this is a common tale that the children are told. They are also forbidden from going beyond a certain point into the sea. Tui (Temuera Morrison), the chief of the island has the opinion that the island has all that they need, and that they should stick to the land. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the daughter of the chief is someone who really wants to explore, but she is also prevented from doing the same.

So, what happens next? :: Soon, the food becomes scarce, as the landscape seems to be dying. There is almost no good fruit to eat, and not much of fish to be caught. Still, sailing beyond the reef remains an act prevented from happening. But Moana’s grandmother Tala (Rachel House), who is supposed to be just a crazy old woman, leads her to a secret cave which shows them that they used to be explorers who traveled through the sea to find new islands. After Maui stole the heart of Te Fiti, the journeys had stopped though, with monsters wandering around the ocean. With Te Ka’s lava and ashes spreading through the islands, there is only one hope – to get the heart to where it really belongs, with the help of Maui. Can she find and persuade the demigod in time to save the islands from the darkness that is spreading?

The defence of Moana :: The big advantage of this movie is that how well it connects and works for both children and the adults. It is the main characters that steal the show in this movie too, with Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson creating the big impact – the latter is a lot funny, closely followed only by the pet that gets into the boat with Moana. The bond between the two leading characters is emotional as well as cute, as you will notice right from the first time they meet. Moana is surely one or more steps ahead of the other animated characters of the same type. The movie nicely uses the Polynesian myth, and it is great to see more and more gods who are parts of different culture, especially those rather unknown. The songs are interesting, just like the simple heroine who keeps making an impact along with her partner in sailing. All the characters and the world look really nice.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing that is entirely new about its tale though, and with its source in the myth, we see the heroine who goes beyond the limitations that are imposed on her. The movie could have also used its beautiful world to an even better effect – we know that we love this world, and it is certain that we need more of it. After all, the scope is limitless with a world full of islands awaiting exploration. The message could have also been even more direct, with the wander lust and the need for adventure to be getting a better spot over mythology. The twist about the demon doesn’t go on to be that effective either. This one doesn’t have that much of flaws to make the viewer wonder, and there is nothing much to complain related to this adventure!

Soul exploration :: The movie’s main message is to search for the unknown, explore, and find new places. Moana goes through faith, belief and hope, and the courage and determination that is required to keep them all there. There is no longer the need for the heroine to chase love, and without romance, the focus is on all adventure and the clear objective that is to be gained for the common good. With sea making the call, and caught up on an island, there is always the need to go out there, and to be with the rest of the world. There are dangers that stay ahead, but it is up to us to go far beyond all of them with the strength that is gained from the experience that is added on the way. We are all caught with one thing or the other, and it seems so difficult in this world with the restrictions and the so called duties that come to us at one point or the other, but we need to go on.

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we can be sure about, after watching Moana. It is that the flick is surely better than the eventual winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature after being a tough contendor – Zootopia. I guess that the judgment went in favour of the cuter one this time; animals get to win over humans. I would consider this one to be better than the last two years’ winners Inside Out and Big Hero 6. The best animated movies of the year rarely get to be the best in the academy awards section, do they? There are only a few exceptions like Frozen. Toy Story 3 won when there was How to Train Your Dragon; Rango won when there was Kung Fu Panda 2; Big Hero 6 won when How to Train Your Dragon 2 was existing; Brave won when Rise of the Guardians was there. Well, Moana also has its list of accolades received – lets try watching it again and again!

Release date: 23rd November 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk, Oscar Kightley, Troy Polamalu, Puanani Cravalho

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Central Intelligence

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Vampire Owl: So, are we looking for what the Rock is cooking?

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. We will just watch the movie and come back to the castle.

Vampire Owl: But I am hungry. As hungry as a werewolf on an indefinite hunger strike during a full moon night.

Vampire Bat: When he say so, it doesn’t really mean that.

Vampire Owl: So, he doesn’t cook?

Vampire Bat: Whether he cooks or not, we are not going to have that.

Vampire Owl: So, it is not available with the movie. You mean to say that there is no offer.

Vampire Bat: No, it is not. We have to buy our own food with money from our pockets.

Vampire Owl: And unfortunately, we have a cashless vampire economy.

Vampire Bat: But we have the food here.

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

What is the movie about? :: At a big event, the school’s most popular student and star athlete Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) is being honored by the students and teachers. At the same time, a bully, Trevor Olson (Jason Bateman) and his arrogant friends grab the overweight student Robbie Wierdicht (Dwayne Johnson) from the gym shower and throw him into the centre of the event to humiliate him. With only Calvin and his girlfriend, Maggie Johnson (Danielle Nicolet) showing some sympathy to him, Robbie disappears from the school never to be heard about again for a long time. Many years later, Calvin is married to Robbie and is working as a forensic accountant. With both of them working, and spending almost no good time together, they feel that their marriage is in trouble, and Calvin is also disappointed with his work itself, finding it dull and boring.

So, what happens next? :: While spending his boring time at work and being highly displeased that people who are not that good as him are getting promotions and raise, Calvin receives a friend request on Facebook from a man named Bob Stone – even if he can’t figure out who this man is, he just accepts the request. The man on the other side reveals that he is the old schoolmate Robbie who had disappeared long ago, and asks for a meeting. As they meet, the two are surprised to see that the situation has gone upside down with the man who was supposed to be a big success is caught in a job he doesn’t like, and the one who was humiliated and considered to be good for nothing is now a muscular man with a lot of confidence and happiness – plus he is more than that. Calvin will know more about it when a group of CIA agents led by Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan) arrive at his house – it is the time to save the world, can it be done?

The defence of Central Intelligence :: There is fun guaranteed with Central Intelligence as the two of the leading actors and situations continue to bring the laughter to us, and the action is also stylish from The Rock. There is one thing that we can be thankful about more than anything else, and it is that this one doesn’t go on to be like that terrible, third-rate movie called Kingsman: Secret Service which was the worst comedy movie which we had the chance to watch in such a long time – so many people have pretended to like it just because critics have felt something in the vulgar and violent presence in the movie, but nobody here is falling for that. Here in this movie, we have the fun that we can relate to, and with The Rock punching not just through the walls, but also through our need for comedy, there is the strength of Central Intelligence that gets magnified with its cast. It is the same reason why the movie holds things together even when it is going through a lazy path in between.

The claws of flaw :: One has to feel that with more situations added, Central Intelligence could have been a lot more fun, and might have even become the funniest movie in a long time. The plot also doesn’t hold on strong enough, with a climax that doesn’t go on to create that much of big effect with its twists or the comedy – the big twist could have been done better, but this one refuses to do the same. We do feel this idea is done too many times before, and this one needed the special ingredient within. There are jokes that are rather repetitive, and some of them are not really funny for the common man or the thoughtful ones – the presence of such jokes could have been avoided to fill up with those more quality ones. We remember the movie The Rundown which was also called Welcome to the Jungle – with The Rock himself teaming up with Seann William Scott, that was actually more fun.

Performers of the soul :: The Rock stays at the centre of this one too, bringing all fun right to us – Dwayne Johnson plays this role bringing so much entertainment to us. Always the entertainer, whether it is the WWE where he is one of my all-time favourite wrestlers with the Undertaker and Triple H, or even in the movies like Hercules or the Fast and Furious series, there is no exception on his part here. He scores not just with the comedy, but also with those action sequences. Kevin Hart becomes the right partner for him with all the fun around. Their combination is so much fun that, they provide almost everything that this movie needs – it is only until the two meet that you have to wait, and everything begins right there, as you would expect. Aaron Paul who is a lot remembered for Need For Speed, once again has a nice role to do which seemed to be so simple for him. Amy Ryan nicely fits in as the agent too.

How it finishes :: Along with the entertainment, there is a strong message against bullying in Central Intelligence. It shows how someone who was bullied and considered to be among the worst students in all ways, having the least chance to succeed, get to be the person that nobody expected him to be. The same works the other way too, with the big success story of schools and colleges being not meeting the expectations. Well, you gain nothing by underestimating or overestimating people, as none of them are the same. One day or the other, each of us have to face the world in our own ways, and with what we want being different in each case, the judgment that people pass on us won’t be the right one. Everyone is different, and all of us have our own success stories. It is up-to the so called society to accept us as what we are.

Release date: 17th June 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Dilan Boyack, Timothy John Smith, Megan Park, Ryan Hansen, Thomas Kretschmann, Phil Reeves, Kumail Nanjiani, Slaine, Melissa McCarthy (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hercules

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Vampire Owl :: But we were expected to have watched Hercules last week, right?

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t they already prove that good movies are prevented from releasing in India or postponed? Remember The Purge Anarchy, Devil’s Due and Deliver us from Evil? They had just taken all the screens for something like Kick.

Vampire Owl :: We were lost last weekend; like Count Dracula who knew about a blood pool and couldn’t find it.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but the moment has arrived.

Vampire Owl :: So we will finally watch Hercules.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with 22 Jump Street as a possible substitute in case of a houseful situation.

Vampire Owl :: See what they did with Hercules and delayed us our opportunity last week – this is why we should owlify this world.

Vampire Bat :: In the name of Madras Cafe, Amen, Celluloid, Drishyam, Memories, North 24 Kaatham and The Lunchbox, can you just delay the owlification procedure?

Vampire Owl :: I shall ask the owlifier.

Vampire Bat :: You do that later, now lets check the Rock.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and his own nephew, an inexperienced fighter but elegant storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) through a number of battles and winning them all. The legend is about Hercules being the son of Zeus, who has accomplished the impossible against all odds. His reputation is far beyond anything that is known in the Greek world, matched by nobody else. This makes sure that the princess of Thrace, Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) approaches them with an offer they can’t leave behind, as they are offered as much gold as their weight. They are asked to lead the Thracian army into battle against the barbarians who are supposed to lead by an evil man and his minions. Hercules and his mercenaries run through the enemies only to be confronted by a truth which was never really expected. After this twist, they have to make the decision which will change their paths forever.

The defence of Hercules :: The one thing that one can be sure about is that the movie delivers exactly what it was supposed to bring to the audience. Some might need a little more, but this a lot to be exact. The power-packed performance from the Rock as Hercules is there, and the mythological hero is given some other sides here, and some good companions are also added. There is so much strength in the action sequences, and the wars are nicely depicted and so are the heroic deeds. The 3D is very good especially with Atalanta’s arrows and the monsters around. The CGI with the monsters is also good and the Greek world is nicely re-created, and surely not overdone with splendour. I would say that the delay of this movie release in India actually made the result movie make us feel a lot better. In the end, we are left with the need for the more of the hero or may be a prequel or more about the twelves labours that he achieved. Just some information for the doubters – he is Hercules, a demigod and he can do a lot more than what is shown in this movie – no exaggeration there.

A few troubles :: Those who are not big action fans might find fault with this one, and a prejudice for the WWE superstars will also work against them. Unlike, some of those sons and daughters of superstars who get a free ticket to act in the movies, these people from wrestling entertainment can act very well – keep that in mind. If you don’t like action movies or The Rock, please do not watch this movie, and never even have a look at it and spoil its awesomeness. Its name was already spoiled by another Hercules movie released much earlier this year, in the name of The Legend of Hercules, and that proves how well this movie has managed. Then, if you don’t like the Greek mythology or don’t follow it, care not much about this movie, because you will need to develop some love for the same to enjoy this movie more. Well, if you don’t like this movie, I would guess that you would need to go and watch movies like Krrish 3 and Dhoom 3. May be Bollywood movies will suit you more, with random people performing bigger stunts than a demigod. Otherwise, you can show respect to the action-packed stuff which is this movie and watch it with pride.

Performers of the soul :: There is no one like Dwayne Johnson who is suited for this movie, and there is nobody like the Rock in doing such roles. The former WWE star is one of those people whom I have always thought as the great hero from the Greek mythology. He once again proves why he was among the greatest entertainers in the history of professional wrestling and at the top of the WWE chart. He often becomes bigger than most of the other things in the movie. He has such a great screen presence and his physique helps him in being the incredibly strong demigod. The next person whom one will notice will be Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta, the huntress making a powerful impact with her arrows which are shot with such speed and accuracy that this character often takes over a lot of action. She is another perfect fit for the character. Irina Shayk has only a small role as Hercules’ wife unlike expected. Ian McShane has some nice funny moments there, and Rebecca Ferguson is quite appropriate for the role of the princess even as there is not too much there to do. The other companions of Hercules are pretty good too.

Soul exploration :: Even as I have always preferred Achilles among the Greek heroes just like most of the people would, there was always something about Hercules and Odysseus, a lot more than a few others like Perseus, Thesues and Jason for sure. My interest for Hercules was there not only in his brutal strength and his demigod status, but also in his suffering. Along with his adventures known as the the Twelve Labours of Hercules, he has suffered a lot, and never had the great status as some other heroes did. He was never a greatly revered general or a king, but a man who went through a lot of trouble to accomplish some of the tasks considered impossible. Even among the monsters, there is nothing more interesting to me than Hydra. The physical strength element is there, and so is the divine side, but he achieved something even the gods of the times would have doubted on achieving. The demigod side is rather brought down in this movie, and Hercules here is rather made more mortal, bleeding and even captured and beaten up, and as he goes on with his companions, there is nobody who is considered as a lesser mortal among the group. This newly achieved mortality is rather a nice addition to this movie.

How it finishes :: This movie is as strong as its own hero and the man who leads the cast. The strength of the Rock as the powerful character as well as his own image is reflected in this movie. The Rock has made his best comeback as the hero right here. It is what the action movie fans have always hoped for, and it is what this movie delivers. It releases with 22 Jump Street here, but I would choose an action movie with The Rock in it instead of some stupid comedy with added adult stuff which had an overrated first part – I got a feeling that I might like that one too though. If you haven’t read much of such mythological tales, it might be time you read some. If you are looking for some simple re-telling of the Greek mythological stories, I would recommend Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green – a part of Puffin Classics available in India. With the tagline “Walk amongst the gods and men”, this book gives a quick and easy reading of the tales of Hercules (Heracles), Theseus, Atalanta, Prometheus and many others. Well, I am surprised about what some of the Indian reviewers are writing about this movie, and I hope they continue enjoying some “extra special” Bollywood movies.

Release date: 1st August 2014 (India); 25th July 2014 (US)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Rebecca Ferguson, Steve Peacocke, Joe Anderson, Tamina Snuka, Barbara Palvin, Tobias Santelmann

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Riddick

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Vin Diesel is back in a form which is not at all unfamiliar to his fans, for he is Riddick once again, the intergalactic nocturnal criminal of the worst kind. This movie, just like that well known quote “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a “film of Vin Diesel, by Vin Diesel, for Vin Diesel”, but that would decrease the scope by a long margin. So, this is a movie for Vin Diesel fans, lovers of Alien sci-fi horror, those not disturbed by violence, and the ones who can wait for some action sequences despite of an initial drag. Yes, it is a huge improvement over its predecessor, The Chronicles of Riddick and a sight improvement over Pitch Black, the first movie of the franchise. But then, questions shall arise, if this was actually needed; is it just made to create another movie in the series, or is it a pre-matured release of something which could have been far better. The movie keeps the questions active, as it progresses in an attempt to re-create the impact of Pitch Black and make it better. Radha Mitchell was quite unsuitable for that movie and she didn’t bend in like she could in Silent Hill, but in this movie, we also have a better and a more suitable female lead, about whom we shall discuss later.

So, the story follows where the second movie of the series, The Chronicles of Riddick had left the plot. Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), the new Lord Marshall of the Necromongers was fed up with his new life and wanted to return to his homeworld of Furya for which he makes a deal with Commander Vaako (Karl Urban); to get to him to his home planet with Vaako being given the throne in return for the service. Riddick and a group of Necromongers go to a planet which he identifies as not Furya, but is trapped under rubble after the ledge on which he stood is destroyed by one of them and he fell to his doom as they guessed. But Riddick survives, as he gets up from underneath the dust and even manages to thrive, after defeating dog-like alien creatures and getting away from scorpion-like aliens. He becomes a Robinson Crusoe of another planet, living life on his own terms. He catches and trains one of the dog-like creatures and with it, crosses the water which had the scorpion-like things, killing two of them in the process, reaching grasslands from the devastated area he was caught in.

As the next phase of his life begins in the grasslands, he locates an abandoned communication station, and as the final and the only possible attempt to get out of the planet, he activates the station’s emergency beacon which identifies him and sends his photos and bounty details all over the universe. The beacon is answered by two ships, one led by a man named Santana (Jordi Mollà), and another led by another man named Boss Johns (Matt Nable). As the first team seems to be full of bounty hunters, the second seems to be of hunters of another type. They don’t seem to get along at all, as Santana and Johns’ second-in-command Dahl (Katee Sackhoff) gets in serious confrontations, and the presence of a second group of hunters is not entertained by the first group, as they were there first and wanted to claim all the bounty for Riddick’s head. Riddick sends them a message to leave one of the ships and go back to their world if they don’t wish to be killed, which they ignore. Three of Santana’s men are killed in the first night itself, courtesy the intergalactic murderer, his pet alien dog and his traps.

The next phase of his time on the planet begins as he manages to steal a power core from each ship which would destroy the ship’s balance and its ability to traverse as it is supposed to. He then approaches Johns and Santana to work out a deal, the same thing concerning leaving a ship behind for him. But it doesn’t work out as he might have wanted, as Santana kills his pet alien dog and their sniper Dahl takes him down with strong tranquilizers. He is chained as Santana keeps asking for his head in a cage. But when the nightmare creatures of the planet, the highly evolved and lethal aliens, arrive in another black moonless night, to save themselves from the pitch black creatures, they are forced to unleash Riddick. He has the power cores, he can see at night and he is one of the most lethal convicts ever, and there was no other choice for sure. But the question remains if he shall be their saviour or their destroyer, as the first thing he does is to cut off Santana’s head, something which he was planning to do to Riddick. He is lethal, no doubt about that, and will he stick to his word? And will the hunters stick to their word after evading the creatures and getting the ship ready to escape?

Yes, this is Vin Diesel’s movie. How often do you have the same lone leading character in a movie which released nine years after the earlier movie in the franchise? There is nothing in the story that doesn’t concern Riddick – the whole thing is about him, as how good is his survival skills, how well he can adapt, and most of all, how well he can kill. Vin Diesel is once again the perfect Riddick, but slightly lesser in aggression compared to what he was in the previous titles. Just like The Fast and the Furious banks on him, and XXX will bank on him again sooner or later, this movie depends upon the man to get itself working, and to give the franchise that life which he gave to that one dying franchise with Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. There is no doubt that this will survive due to him, and might even produce sequels, but how much of a success this would be is still a question. I would guess that some moderate success will be in store, but a sequel would do better both critically and also in the box-office. Dominic Toretto, Xander Cage and Richard B. Riddick, these three will be the names with which Diesel shall always be remembered, and this was that golden opportunity to keep Riddick high over the others, but even as he has done nothing wrong, this character would remain second in the Vin Diesel world.

Karl Urban as Vaako has just a small presence, but we can hope for more from him in a possible sequel. Dave Bautista, better known as Batista, The Animal and The Leviathan for the WWE fans also makes an impact as one of the bounty hunters, as he goes on battle with our own anti-hero, but gets killed unlike how the other former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who jointed Diesel’s character in his most popular franchise. He provides the extra muscle for the movie. Matt Nable as Boss Johns has done a neat job, as the man who has a lot more reasons other than a bounty to come and search for the wanted convict. His character is just the opposite of Jordi Mollà’s Santana, the former matured and showing his experience while the latter showing his greed, ego and recklessness. Both of them has done their characters quite a lot of justice for sure, and the latter upto that extent that the man became extremely annoying. They are all bounty hunters or mercenaries in one way or the another. Katee Sackhoff makes a powerful performance as Dahl, and as she herself is said to have told in an interview that it is one of the toughest characters she has ever played. She is the dazzling badass girl who can play Power Girl or Wonder Woman someday. She is depicted as one of the strongest and able to give away heavyweight punches along with gunshots of extreme accuracy.

Talking more of the Katee Sackhoff character’s strength and durability is certain as she often reminds us of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, and talking about Alien, the creatures of this movie are not so different from those, except for the fact that they don’t come out of the chests, but rather go through it. The creature imagery formed by the CGI is quite superb. They are still not as frightening as expected, but they keep their level. The one thing about the world is that it is heavily detailed, and one can find so much in the environment, which embraces the beauty of another world perfectly. There is darkness which generates alienation and fear, and the shot of Riddick fighting massive number of aliens on a slope with lightning and rain in the background, is a shot worth remembering, and there are some lesser shots of style when he walks on the scorched areas of the planet much earlier and later as he moves around in he grasslands. There is horror for sure, and there is action with lots of blood and gore, but the question remains if this is John Carter’s Die Hard, as this is more like what Bruce Willis might have done in Mars to save the day, not denying the fact that Riddick is one of his kind. Did Riddick say “I’ll be back” in any of the earlier movies, if not, he has surely meant to say it and make it happen with this movie, and my only hope is that they can actually have a good plot and progress of the story next time rather than thinking like Pitch Black again.

Release date: 6th September 2013
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, Karl Urban, Conrad Pla, Danny Blanco Hall, Noah Danby, Neil Napier, Nolan Gerard Funk, Alex Branson, Andreas Apergis, Keri Hilson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious VI

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Fast & Furious 6 is many things, and when we take two of its major components alone, the good old Destruction Derby has met Need for Speed once again, and whatever was left undone in Fast & Furious 5 a.k.a Fast Five is accomplished here, and that too in a magnificent fashion. If you are looking for logic, this isn’t the movie for you, but still it is as close to reality as possible considering its genre. Well, your reasoning and the strict principles of validity are rarely correct in a world of complete chaos. The elders of evil are the perpetrators of this chaos which is hidden enough from those who lacks the eyes to see, and sadly that includes a lot of people. When someone looks for truth through something as incomplete as science, there is this chaos which will finally devour the world into a black hole of inhumanity and cruelty to nature which started a long time ago. There is this lack of faith which might make watching this movie further difficult. Well, there is not always a perfect definition for everything and not every theory is qualified enough to called by that name. This perfection of logic itself is a lie, as it can never be attained. In that case, this movie is pure imperfect logic which makes a powerful impact.

How did it feel to wake up at another part of the universe in Star Trek, a few weeks ago? Well, this is not another universe, but it is still a new world of absolute mayhem. This world will have no aliens, but it can still give enough alienation to the common man, which should be another reason for its success. For series which I had least interest in, has developed into something which I can’t resist, thanks to Fast Five. I had thought that I was done with it by the fourth of the series, but as we all know, good things do come to those who wait. No, I do not belong to the group of the new age procrastinators group. I do whatever I have to as early as possible, but as long as the things which are not under our control are concerned, I shall wait without losing faith. When one understands that most of the things are not of your control and the world you know needs waiting, as John Milton had said in On His Blindness, “They also serve who only stand and wait”. So, there are times when you have to take that leap of faith, and believe – those are the moments when logic goes to its grave and you get the much deserved reward for waiting with undisputed, incomparable faith which is a quality of you. Still, never leap into the wrong place, for it is a sin even from a movie watcher’s perspective.

Here, we come back to the two major components again, as Destruction Derby was one of the first of the computer games I ever played, and Destruction Derby 2 followed. That vehicular combat game based on the sport of demolition derby, the collisions, destruction, damage, and all the mayhem that followed. The defensive style and taking calculated risks were two things we had learnt from this game. Still, we never ended up finishing this game which was second only to Road Rash in popularity among us. It was a welcome change from those never-ending driving simulations, a hybrid. The same is the case of our movie, which successfully accomplishes its role as a combination of more than one thing; the first thing being vehicular combat and mayhem. The second one is Need For Speed, which has very little to contribute to this game, except for one race which didn’t even go and get completed in the right manner. But still, it is the base of everything, the reason why I ever cared about the first few movies of the series in the first place. It was never the most influencing game of my gaming life, but the Brooke Burke inspired Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed many things including my superior love for action and strategy games. The time spent by me for the latter was so much that I had to retire myself just one step before finishing the game, as the second best, in order to continue my search for more games.

The story progresses somewhat like this: Following their successful Brazilian heist in Fast Five, Dominic Toretto and his crew of expert criminals have retired and living in different parts of the world. Brian O’Conner and Mia Torreto has a kid, and Dominic Toretto has retired to a life with Elena Neves. Meanwhile, Luke Hobbs and his new partner Riley are involved in the investigation of an unexpected attack on a Russian military convoy. They find a new group of professional criminals led by a man called Owen Shaw responsible for the attack. Hobbs requests the help of Dominic with a new photo of his former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who was supposed to be dead. Dominic gathers his crew together and they accept Hobbs’ mission in exchange for a pardon for all of their past crimes so that they can finally go back home again. During their first encounter with the gang, Letty arrives to help Shaw, and shoots Dominic thus helping Shaw in escaping. Later, she is revealed to be suffering from severe memory loss. Later, Dominic battles Letty in a street racing competition and later explains her past to her, but there is nothing remembered and she leaves. The complicated situation demands the capture of Shaw and the return of Letty to the extended family where she belongs. The two things will demand more than just a car race or a fist fight, and even shooting has its limitations – only extreme destruction can solve it.

Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto a.k.a Dom, and there might be so many occasions that he is back again. Other than being Riddick, he has been Xander Cage and Hugo Cornelius Toorop, both having inferior status, and Riddick being a little lesser compared to the popularity that Dom has brought him. Well, the good old Dom remains the same, and whatever told of him will bring no surprise nor new information in a fast and furious world which continues to conquer the world. Elsa Pataky plays his love interest for a short period of tension free time, after which Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz takes charge. It is from then, that Gina Carano as Riley takes charge. They have such a fight which might have been made to parallel the Vin Diesel – Dwayne Johnson fight of the fifth movie, but this one is a little behind. Still, it is one of the highlights of the hand-to-hand combat side of the movie, a side which is of lesser significance. There is a lot of power involved in the battles involving the two women, and there is no doubt that there has been a lot of effort put behind it. Brian O’Conner, the former FBI agent continues to be cool with Paul Walker at the helm. Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar has a sad end, but not without a cause nor without showing her dose of heroics. Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto has a lesser involvement with this mission, as she is left behind on the Spanish island with the kid.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw scores as the villain, but compared to what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had achieved with his hunt for the protagonist, this is a little far behind. The Rock was undoubtedly the main attraction of that movie, and in this one, he has a slightly lesser, but a more positive role to play. Still, there is no shortage of action scenes for him, and he has only got better. We can still know what he is cooking, and it is pure action whoever he is against. He is rightly considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, and he gets closer to more glory in movies each and every time he is there. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges are there for the fun part as usual, and so is Sung Kang. Well, still not everyone gets out of the movie, a clue which is already given in this review, and it surely can’t be the crowd favourites Dom or Hobbes. If such a thing had happened, this would have been a fairy tale action adventure mayhem, one of the first of its kind with such a plot and cast. For a movie which can work very well even as a stand-alone version, as it is powered by everything an action movie can dream about; the more appropriate question would be what it should have had, and there is nothing much, as long as its genre is concerned.

The one-liners work and so does the escapist fantasy world which has been provided. The action sequences are breath-taking, which includes the group of cars take down a battle tank as well as a huge airplane trying to take off. There are enough twists, not of high quality, but still deserving a few claps. The movie’s two hour plus is more of a positive, but still, there were more expectations from the trailers. The most significant scenes of the movie are those shown in the trailers, and thankfully they are quite long. But there could have been a few more scenes to support them. There is no shortage of the memories of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels. Still, it defies death, and for those extremists and fundamentalists, defies logic. Laws of Physics? What is a law but what you feel? There is nothing like that to create unnecessary logic in this movie. Well, Physics was pure evil and I knew it during my school days. The only thing worse was Mathematics. The fact is that this series will continue to rule the theatres. It has released here a day before the world-wide release and who wishes to let go of such a wonderful opportunity? The stylish and powerful action which keeps one wishing for more and the answer comes in the form of Jason Statham who seems to assure a sequel as the villain who brings a new game to the scene. It makes sure that the vehicular combat shall live on! This is not to be missed by the fans of the franchise at any cost, as the impact on the big screen is that intense.

Release date: 23rd May 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, John Ortiz, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Rita Ora, Jason Statham (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.