15 Minutes of War

Vampire Owl: This is till longer than our last war against the werewolves.

Vampire Bat: That was not a war, but an ideological difference problem.

Vampire Owl: Okay, then what about the war against the zombies?

Vampire Bat: There has never been a direct war with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You are denying the existence of life-threatening situations.

Vampire Bat: I am only denying its status as something it is not, and not its existence.

Vampire Owl: Okay, what is this particular war about?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself is about a hostage situation and not a war.

Vampire Owl: It seems that nobody got time for a real war.

Vampire Bat: Yes, everybody is busy with the war against the Corona virus which seems to be a long and tiresome process.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In February 1976 in French controlled Djibouti, a school bus suddenly sees a number of gunmen and is taken hostage. After continuing to drive to the border of Djibouti attempting to cross the Somalian border, only to be stopped just before that, as the border security forces of Djibouti shoots it on the wheels, leading to them to halt just before the border, with the Somalian forces looking on from the other side, ready for anything including a full shootout with their neighbours. A negotiation doesn’t seem to be possible, as they intend to take the bus to the other side of the border. The terrorists won’t show any mercy as they don’t care about the children at all because they are white, and are most probably all French. They would be happy to see some of them dead, and didn’t care if the kids are hungry or not. This creates a crisis on both sides of the border, with each second being important.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Francois Simon (Claudio Dos Santos), the bus driver is asked to inform the military and police that any attempt to come near the bus will lead to the death of the kids. Jane Andersen (Olga Kurylenko), one of the teachers of the students’ class rushed to the scene evading the barricades, and asks the terrorists to let her help the children, as they let her stay on the bus as long as she doesn’t create any trouble there. This becomes a crisis which is to be dealt with extreme care, as the life of children are at stake. Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale a.k.a GIGN, an elite police force from Paris specialized in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue reaches there with the intention of freeing the school bus with zero hostilities among children. They are lead by Andre Gerval (Alban Lenoir) who decides to hide behind the rocks around the bus, and wait for the signal from Paris. But will that be coming in time?

The defence of 15 Minutes of War :: It has to be noted that the movie doesn’t even take fifteen minutes to begin the initiation of action with the school bus abduction happening so early. The situation of the hostages and the terrorists are presented well, and the movie is always in control regarding the same. Saving innocent children from terrorists and criminals never really loss its value in movies, for having little kids in the captivity of cruel, remorseless men with guns is something that has everyone tensed, even those who do not care about the movies of this genre. The location has some nice visuals with the shades of the sand having one green bus in the centre. The action is all nicely done, and the tension has been built really well. The final shooting is something which has us at the edge of the seat, and as there is a large amount of uncertainty in play here, 15 Minutes of War has us hoping for the special skill or at least the miracle or luck to help the kids.

The claws of flaw :: Most of the big action, as said in the title is limited to the last fifteen minutes or rather been ten and fifteen minutes here. The movie doesn’t really rush around here, and there is a certain amount slowness that we can find, as it changes focus towards people outside the bus a little more than expected – it should have kept more within the bus unless there were some plans being made about the possible attack on the bus to kill the terrorists and free the children. There are movies which have dealt with the hostage crisis even better, when we look back further, and they had all focused more on where the hostages were held, and in this case, that was even more needed. Some people can choose to be on the side of the terrorists citing reasons from the past, but anyone who holds children at gunpoint to get what they want can only be pure evil, and someone creating terror on the innocents will be called by one name only.

Performers of the soul :: When the Olga Kurylenko is attached to a title, you feel that it could be an interesting thriller, for the Bond girl from Quantum of Solace has been a name associated with some of the most entertaining titles. From the video game shooters made into cinema like Hitman and Max Payne, to Centurion from the past and Oblivion in the future, both history and science fiction had some fine movies for her. Johnny English Strikes Again had her with the gun in a different way while The Courier had her back to action thrillers. We now await more of interesting titles with her in the lead, like The Translators, Empires of the Deep and The Bay of Silence, all supposed to have their own dosage of thrills. If you go in between, you will see Mara and The Emperor of Paris. So, there is not doubt about her skills in movies like these, and she continues her fine form. Alban Lenoir is the next one to catch our attention, and he is very good here.

How it finishes :: Originally titled L’intervention, the movie makes another fine French war thriller which will catch your attention by keeping the tension going, with a thrilling beginning itself. Well, when you see a school bus with white children in what seems to be an African country, and you have also seen that this is an action movie with a hostage crisis right in the middle – that is a heads up with only a few seconds advantage, as the movie takes you on the bus with the children so well. There has been the absence of movies featuring hostage crisis well enough, and this one does manage to solve that absence up to an extent. This is also among the three movies of Olga Kurylenko which I watched in the recent past, and I have to say that all of these have been eight plus out of ten movies for me, and that would make me consider the leading lady as one safe bet as far as movies are considered, both English and French in language spoken.

Release date: 30th January 2019
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Fred Grivois
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Alban Lenoir, Kevin Layne, Michael Abiteboul, Sebastien Lalanne, David Murgia, Guillaume Labbe, Vincent Perez, Josiane Balasko

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Battle of Jangsari

Vampire Owl: I hope that it would be like the battle we had with the zombies.

Vampire Bat: We had a battle with the zombies last year?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the one which was fought near the meeting point of two rivers.

Vampire Bat: Wan’t that a battle with the werewolves?

Vampire Owl: Yes, they looked like wolves, but technically, they were zombies.

Vampire Bat: I do not understand the idea which you are talking about.

Vampire Owl: See, these werewolves were bitten by zombies. Therefore, the are former werewolves who are now zombies.

Vampire Bat: So, you are taking out the werewolf qualities out of them, and saying that the zombie characteristics will takeover.

Vampire Owl: Yes, if you are bitten by an undead, you are no longer alive. The werewolves will acquire the qualities of the undead which bit them.

Vampire Bat: Okay, I guess the only problem will be if a werewolf is bitten by a zombie and a vampire. One has to wonder which characteristics will be taken by the wolf.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie’s background about? :: As the Second World War ended, the Allies lead by the Soviet Union and the United States of America liberated Korea from Japanese control, days after the dropping of atom bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With two major powers set to on a Cold War for many years after the defeat of Germany and Italy as well as the weakening of Great Britain and France due to war, Korea was divided into two zones of occupation, as the Soviets were in control of the northern half while the Americans administered the southern half. As different governments having exactly opposite ideologies were established on both sides, there was continuous tension, and each group proclaimed ownership of the whole of Korean peninsula, but didn’t launch a full-scale attack until then. But on the 25th of June, 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea, it had marked the beginning of the Korean War, fought completely in the Korean peninsula.

So, what happens with the events here? :: North Korea, had the support of the major Communist nations of China and the Soviet Union while South Korea, had the support of the United States of America and its allies. The United Nations Security Council itself had approved the sending troops in support of South Korea against what was a full scale military invasion without provocation. A total of twenty one nations are supposed to have provided support to the United Nations defence of South Korea, but United States of America was the leader with ninety percent of the troops provided for the purpose. After the first two months of war, South Korean Army and the United States forces Korea were almost defeated. But in September 1950, an sea-based United Nations counter-offensive was to be launched at Incheon, to cut off many North Korean troops in South Korea. A group of seven hundred and seventy two student soldiers has the task of staging a diversionary mission at Jangsari Beach in South Korea.

And, what is to follow here, as this is war, and a case of final defence for the South Koreans :: This particular attempt at landing would trick the the North Korean forces into thinking that the opposition forces would be soon launching a decisive invasion there would distract the North Koreans from Incheon. But the waves are very high and there is a shortage of landing boats. The student soldiers have no idea what they are doing, and the only thing they has done since getting into the ship, is vomitting. This seems to be a strange and impossible mission on the beach for the students who are trained at nothing except a little boot camp time, while highly trained North Korean defence await on the shores. Can they succeed in this, or will they at least dare to try, as North Korea is very close to making its dreams of one Korean peninsula under them? How long can the South’s resistance at the Nakdong River in the southernmost region stand, and how good is the United Nations in stopping this?

The defence of The Battle of Jangsari :: As you might have expected, there is war written on it right from the beginning, as far as The Battle of Jangsari is concerned. With a thunderstorm seemingly around, we know that there will be no smooth sailing in the movie for the troops, and it is certainly a kind of foreshadowing. The movie is full of some nicely worked out scenes of war, with battle tanks, guns and landmines never ceasing to come up on the screen, as one battle follows the other. There are also those emotional sequences, as some of the soldiers even have a tale to tell, and we also come to know that this is a hopeless situation, from where an escape seems to be too distant. The area where the battles are fought is perfect to provide those nice visuals too. The performances are all good, especially considering the fact that we have a young cast here. Lee Ho-Jung plays the only female among the soldiers, and she does a fine job too.

The claws of flaw :: With a premise and an idea like this, the movie could have achieved a lot more for sure. As it gets near the end, things begin to get more and more predictable, even though there is no certainty about who all will be the ones to survive. The battles could have been more, and we needed to see more of the battles happening in other parts of Korea, at least as a quick reminder. Megan Fox’s character is underused, and there is not much being done to create a change there. The movie also suffers from the absence of female characters, both on the battlefield, and also outside. With Megan around, there could have been more, maybe even with the help of a flashback that goes far behind before the North Korean invasion started. For someone who is coming from outside countries like Korea, Russia, United States of America, Japan, United Kingdom and China, maybe people could use a little bit more of information on this war which hasn’t been known much at this part of the world.

How it finishes :: As far as The Battle of Jangsari as a war movie is concerned, there was lot more to be taken, but it doesn’t do that. It is still a fine film with a forgotten episode of war, which will always be something of interest. As we are not that familiar with this particular war in comparison to the World Wars and the Cold War, this could a fine new experience for us, as the Korean perspective only becomes more interesting. The war with some extraordinary deeds of courage, and an emotional touch which keeps getting stronger towards the end, makes The Battle of Jangsari a movie which needs to be watched. As we take a look at a movie on Korean War which might be the first film most us around here watch based on a war from that side, this might be a war movie you will recommend to many others. After all, there is some history around here, and most of the war movies teach you that, mostly from one side of the battling nations. They have surely kept this one simple and enjoyable.

Release date: 25th September 2019
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Kwak Kyung-taek, Kim Tae-hoon
Starring: Kim Myung-min, Megan Fox, Choi Min-ho, Kim Sung-cheol, Kim In-kwon, Kwak Si-yang, Jang Ji-Gun, Lee Ho-Jung, Lee Jae-wook, Dong Bang-Woo, George Eads, Jeong Jong-Jun, Kim Min-Kyu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kill Command

killcommand (1)

Vampire Owl :: I remember having made such a command.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I totally understand. To your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: No, to the Frankenstein Monster.

Vampire Bat :: No wonder nobody gets killed by that command.

Vampire Owl :: My question is about why nobody has told me anything about this movie yet.

Vampire Bat :: Nobody I know have heard about this movie either.

Vampire Owl :: But I have a feeling that we will like this one. The poster is so nice.

Vampire Bat :: A science fiction action thriller will only do good at this time. We never really get much of such movies.

Vampire Owl :: We are going to make Dr. Victor Frankenstein proud by watching such movies.

Vampire Bat :: And we have Vanessa Kirby as the central character.

[Gets three cups of tea with bananachips].

What is it about? :: The story set a long way into the future, as technology has gone beyond human expectations, transforming lives as well as combat. Captain Bukes (Thure Lindhardt) and his team of marines are off to a training facility in a remote island. They are joined by Mills (Vanessa Kirby), a human who is genetically enhanced by robotic technology, being part of one of the many types of machines and hybrids who are supposed to replace the human soldiers later. The idea is simple, to finish off the machines which were designed by Mills and get out of the facility, as she herself will observe the whole thing. The soldiers don’t really trust Mills, and hesitate to consider her as one of them. But they trust themselves to go through this training with ease, as the opponents are just mindless machines who have always been there as part of the programme.

So what happens next? :: Even though things seem easy in the beginning, soon they find out that the machines are copying their battle style, and are learning how to counter the human soldiers, using the human idea against themselves, and steadily becoming the superior force with better skill acquired through the experience of fighting with the marines. This no longer remains a training programme, but a battle for survival, as there are more effective killing machines on the island than they had imagined. So, with marines getting killed one after the other, what are the chances of them completing the training or at least getting out of the island? What role does Mills play in this newly declared war, and on which side does her loyalties lie? Where did this simple training programme go wrong and how can the marines make their last stand with machines everywhere?

The defence of Kill Command :: The movie has great CGI; it was rather unexpected for a lesser known movie which seems to be made from a lower budget. It is the kind of movie that you can watch instead of all those high budget movies which keep coming for you, with almost nothing inside them other than the repetition of what we have been seeing for many years. The machines look really good and environment including the surroundings and the insides of the buildings are all nicely designed. There is also a lot of action going on here. There are some nice thrilling moments with the machines around, and you can look forward to a big adventure. This is also a short movie and things go on smoothly throughout its run, leaving no boring moments behind. The acting is also good, and there is something special about how it turns out on the screen – you see even a few nice scares to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: There will be similarities to be found when in comparison with other movies, with its central idea. A better treatment of the same subject could have been done with more entertainment and further twists. This one often takes its progression straight, taking things for granted, and not making the best use of everything. There is also a certain amount of predictability that comes in, and it hesitates to go as the movie progresses towards the end – a better finish would have also been nice, as everything seemed to be moving towards the big final moments, but that never really happens. There are the nicely designed machines, there is the partially machine character, there is a special environment which can bring mystery and horror, and also a lot of action, but all these are not used to create the maximum impact, which would have raised the level of this flick.

Performers of the soul :: The best of this movie are its machines; we will get to love how they look and work. This whole thing can be compared to one big video game that you might have played during your childhood – there is that kind of a feel throughout this flick. The cast includes mostly unknown names as far as people in this part of the world are concerned. The best among them, and the one who leads the way as the protagonist, is great to watch – Vanessa Kirby who has played Estella Havisham in the BBC version of Great Expectations, makes her half-human, half-machine character work with ease. Genetically enhanced characters or cyborgs are not really the best characters had to be that good, and I would consider this particular one to be another memorable mixed existence. The rest are there in support, which they manage well.

How it finishes :: Kill Command is that kind of a movie which can create a great video game out of itself – it is like a perfect setting for a First Person Shooter, especially one featuring some arena battles following games like Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. As a sci-fi action thriller, it makes a nice impact, even without trying too hard. With the kind of material that exists here, I would want to have a sequel, and I am pretty sure that it can surpass this one. Kill Command provides you with that feeling that some nice sci-fi movies can be made without the big names and those huge action sequences that destroy everything around. Just a few machines, some people and a remote location is enough to make the whole experience better with some nice CGI and performances, as long as the resources are used nicely. I would consider this movie to be a fine addition to those simple, but effective sci-fi movies – this is no Ex Machina, but still a fine work.

***This is the 300th movie review on this blog!!!

Release date: 13th May 2016
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Steven Gomez
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Thure Lindhardt, David Ajala, Bentley Kalu, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough, Deborah Rosan

killcommand

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.