REVIEW: THE DUEL

Starring

Woody Harrelson (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Alice Braga (Predators)
Emory Cohen (The QA)
Felicity Price (The Gift)
William Sadler (Roswell)
Benedict Samuel (Gotham)
Giles Matthey (Once Upon A Time)
Raphael Sbarge (Home Room)
Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
José Zúñiga (Twilight)

Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth in The Duel (2016)On the Texas border, in 1887, Texas Ranger David Kingston is sent by Governor “Sul” Ross to the isolated town of Mount Hermon. Kingston is to investigate a series of murders and disappearances of Mexican citizens, in particular to search for Maria Calderon, the missing niece of a Mexican general who is threatening to invade to find her. In the town, preacher and mayor Abraham Brant – the man who killed Kingston’s father in a ”Helena Duel” knife fight in 1866 – is keeping all the townsfolk in some kind of fearful grip. When Kingston arrives in town, the townsfolk act cold and hostile towards him, with the exception of Brant, who is smitten by Kingston’s wife, Marisol.Emory Cohen and Liam Hemsworth in The Duel (2016)Kingston hides his identity and purpose from Brant, appearing as a wandering traveler. Brant offers him the role of town sheriff, which the newcomer hesitantly accepts, hoping the position will cover him long enough to carry out his real investigation. While Kingston explores the town and investigates the nearby Rio Grande for bodies, Brant manipulates a weak-spirited Marisol into becoming dependent on him. Marisol becomes Brant’s willing consort, and betrays her husband’s secrets. Kingston eventually learns Brant’s secret – that he is abducting Mexicans to serve as prey for rich foreigners to hunt.Kimberly Hidalgo in The DuelWhen Kingston confronts Brant and the townspeople, Brant’s son Isaac challenges Kingston to a ”Helena Duel” knife fight. During the fight, Kingston is badly wounded before he kills Isaac. Kingston escapes, and frees a number of captured Mexicans from the remote prison compound, including Maria Calderon. Suffering from his knife wounds, Kingston hits Brant in a shootout while near the isolated compound, then pins Brant’s leg under a boulder. When Kingston passes out, Brant cuts his own leg off and crawls to the wounded man. As he is about to cut Kingston’s throat, Maria reappears and shoots Brant dead. David dumps Abraham’s body in the Rio Grande near the dead scalped Mexican woman. The Mexican general is grateful to David for getting Maria back. David is last seen riding off into the brush alone, staring up at the tree where Naomi was hanged from earlier.Liam Hemsworth in The Duel (2016)This is a great western movie. It’s a good strong story, although not entirely original, its stands up well. The acting is very good, Liam Hemsworth I thought was very convincing after originally thinking he was going to be a bit crap, how wrong I was, he was brilliant and played the role very well. There are a couple of slightly wooden bits from bit part players but that’s to be expected I think! Of course you know what you’re going to get from Woody Harrelson, he was also excellent. I am a big fan of Westerns and I really enjoyed watching this very much.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: I AM LEGEND

CAST

Will Smith (Men In Black)
Alica Braga (Predators)
Charlie Tahan (Frankenweenie)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Emma Thompson (Men In Black 3)
Salli Richardson (Biker Boyz)
April Grace (A.I.)
Willow Smith (Menen)
Pat Fraley (G.I.Joe)
Caitlin McHugh (The Vampire Diaries)

In 2009, a genetically re-engineered measles virus, originally created as a cure for cancer, turns into a lethal strain which kills 90% of those it infects, and mutates the remaining 10% into predatory, nocturnal mutants called “Darkseekers” who are extremely vulnerable to sunlight and other sources of UV. Three years after the outbreak, US Army virologist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith) lives an isolated life in the ruins of New York City, which is now deserted, unsure if any other uninfected humans are left in the world.

The effects of the virus vary in other species. Animals that coexist with humans like rats and domestic dogs are infected but wild animals like deer and lions are unaffected. The city has fallen into ruins and overgrown vegetation covers crumbling buildings and wild deer roam the streets while being preyed upon by lions that have escaped Central Park Zoo. Neville’s daily routine includes experimentation on infected rats to find a cure for the virus and trips through Manhattan to hunt for food and supplies. He also waits each day for a response to his continuous recorded radio broadcasts, which instruct any uninfected survivors to meet him at midday at the South Street Seaport. Flashbacks reveal that his wife (Salli Richardson) and daughter (Willow Smith) died in a helicopter accident during the chaotic evacuation of Manhattan, prior to the military-enforced quarantine of the island in 2009, in which Neville stays behind on the island as military personnel. Neville’s loneliness is mitigated by the companionship of his German Shepherd Sam (given to him by his daughter Marley as a puppy before she died in the helicopter crash to protect him), interaction with mannequins he has set up as patrons at a video store, and recordings of old television broadcasts. At night, he barricades himself and Sam inside his heavily fortified Washington Square Park home to hide from the Darkseekers. One day while waiting for survivors, Sam follows a deer into a dark building while she and Robert were hunting. Neville cautiously goes in after her and finds the deer’s corpse along with Sam, but the building is infested by a colony of Darkseekers, both manage to escape unharmed and the attacking Darkseekers are killed by the sunlight.

Neville finds a promising treatment derived from his own blood, so he sets a snare trap and captures a female Darkseeker while a male Darkseeker (termed “Alpha Male” in the script, and played by Dash Mihok)[6] watches from the shadows. Back in his laboratory in the basement of his house, Neville treats the female without success. The next day, he is ensnared in a trap similar to the one he used to capture the female, and by the time he manages to escape, it is dark and he is attacked by infected dogs. Neville and Sam manage to kill them, but Sam is bitten in the fight. Neville brings Sam home and injects her with a strand of his serum, but when she shows signs of infection and tries to attack him, Neville is forced to strangle her to death. The next night, driven over the edge by loneliness, he ventures out and suicidally attacks a group of Darkseekers. He is nearly killed, but is rescued by a pair of immune survivors, Anna (Alice Braga) and a young boy named Ethan (Charlie Tahan), who have traveled from Maryland after hearing one of his broadcasts. They take the injured Neville back to his home, where Anna explains that they survived the outbreak aboard a Red Cross evacuation ship from São Paulo and are making their way to a survivors’ camp in Bethel, Vermont. Neville angrily argues that no such survivors’ camp exists.

Neville once again attempts to administer a potential cure to the infected woman in his laboratory, but the next night, a group of Darkseekers, who had followed Anna and Neville back the night before, attacks the house and overruns its defenses. Neville, Anna, and Ethan retreat into the basement laboratory, sealing themselves in with the female Darkseeker on which Neville has been experimenting. Discovering that the last treatment was successful, Neville draws a vial of her blood and gives it to Anna, before shutting Ethan and her inside a coal chute in the back of the lab. He then takes a grenade and kills the Darkseekers and himself, saving the cure.MV5BNzA5OGFmN2YtYWYyMC00ZjAyLTgwZjItMGE5MDQwMjQzNDI2L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc3MjUzNTI@._V1_Fantastic zombie film, epic scenes in New York. Wonderful special effects. Heartbreaking story in places. A zombie / thriller film fan must

REVIEW: REDBELT

CAST

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange)
Tim Allen (Last Man Standing)
Alice Braga (I Am Legend)
Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (The Walking Dead)
Randy Couture (The Scorpian King 2)
Caroline Correa (Go Big)
Ricky Jay (Mystery Men)
Joe Mantegna (The Rat Pack)
Max Martini (The Town)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and the Real Girl)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)

While closing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu studio one evening, martial arts teacher Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is approached by attorney Laura Black (Emily Mortimer), who is seeking the owner of the vehicle she accidentally sideswiped. Off-duty police officer Joe Collins (Max Martini), who was receiving a private lesson from Mike, sees that Laura is distressed and tries to take her coat. Startled, Laura grabs Joe’s gun and it goes off, shattering the studio’s front window. To avoid having Laura charged with attempted murder, Mike and Joe agree to conceal the event.Mike’s insurance, however, will not cover his act of God claim that the window was broken by a strong wind. Mike’s wife Sondra (Alice Braga), whose fashion business profits are the only thing keeping the struggling studio afloat, requests that Mike ask for a loan from her brother Ricardo (John Machado), a mixed martial arts champion. At Ricardo’s nightclub, Mike meets with Sondra’s other brother, Bruno (Rodrigo Santoro), and learns that Joe quit as the club’s bouncer because Bruno never paid him. Mike confronts Bruno about the situation but is rebuffed. Mike then declines Bruno’s offer to fight on the undercard of an upcoming match between Ricardo and Japanese legend Morisaki (Enson Inoue), which could potentially pay out $50,000. Mike believes competitions with money as the incentive are not honorable and weaken the fighter.Meanwhile, aging Hollywood action star Chet Frank (Tim Allen) enters the nightclub without security and is accosted by a man with a broken bottle. Mike intervenes and subdues three men in the process. The following day, Mike receives an expensive watch and an invitation to dinner from Chet. Mike gives the watch to Joe to pawn in lieu of his unpaid salary at the nightclub. At the dinner party, Chet’s wife Zena (Rebecca Pidgeon) arranges an informal business deal to buy a large amount of dresses from Sondra’s company. Chet, impressed by Mike, invites him to the set of his current film. As Mike and Sondra leave the dinner, Mike explains his unique training method to Chet’s business associate Jerry Weiss (Joe Mantegna). Before a sparring match, each fighter must draw one of three marbles, two white and one black; whoever draws a black marble has to fight with a handicap.Mike uses his military experience to answer a few technical questions for Chet on the film set and is offered the role of co-producer. That evening, Mike faxes the details of his training methods to Jerry so they can be used in the film. Joe arrives at the studio and informs Mike that he was suspended from duty for pawning the watch, which turned out to be stolen. During their dinner that evening, Mike relays the information to Jerry who excuses himself to handle the matter, but never returns. At home, Mike learns that the phone numbers that Zena gave Sondra have been disconnected. Sondra is panicky, having borrowed $30,000 from a loan shark to order the fabric for the dresses. As he meets with the loan shark to discuss an extension, Mike notices Bruno and Marty Brown (Ricky Jay) on television using Mike’s marble-drawing method as a promotional gimmick for the undercard fights of Ricardo’s match.Mike hires Laura to sue, but Marty’s lawyer threatens that if they do not drop the lawsuit, he will give the police an empty shell casing with Laura’s fingerprints, as proof that she attempted to kill an off-duty cop. He also threatens Mike as a witness who covered up the crime by bribing the cop with a stolen watch. When told of the situation, Joe feels responsible and kills himself. Mike feels obligated to help Joe’s financially struggling wife and, in desperate need of money himself, decides to compete as an undercard fighter in the upcoming competition. At the arena, Mike discovers the fights are being fixed via a magician (Cyril Takayama) using sleight of hand to surreptitiously switch the white and black marbles. Disgusted by this revelation, Mike confronts the conspirators: Marty, Jerry and Bruno who confirm that unknown to the competitors, the fights are handicapped by the fight promoters so as to ensure winning bets. They also reveal that Ricardo is intentionally losing the fight to Morisaki so they can make money on the rematch. Jerry tells Mike that Sondra is the one who told them about Laura shooting the window and Bruno justifies her betrayal by explaining that his sister is too smart to stay with someone who cannot provide for her.As Mike is exiting the arena, he meets Laura. Their conversation is not audible, but it ends with Laura slapping Mike. Mike then re-enters the arena. He incapacitates several security guards trying to stop him and is ultimately engaged by Ricardo. The audience and camera crews take notice as Mike and Ricardo face off in the arena’s corridors. Inspired by the Professor (Dan Inosanto), an elderly martial arts master attending the match, Mike manages to slip a difficult choke hold and defeats Ricardo, making it onto the ring to speak to the Professor personally. He is approached by Morisaki, who offers Mike his ivory-studded belt, previously referred to as a Japanese national treasure, as a sign of respect. He is then approached by the Professor himself, who proceeds to award the coveted red belt to an incredulous Mike, and embraces him, acknowledging his dedication to the art.Red Belt doesn’t fail at being an action flick; it just succeeds more so at being an entertaining drama with an MMA theme. This is an easy movie to recommend.

 

 

REVIEW: ELYSIUM

CAST

Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity)
Jodie Foster (The Brave One)
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Alice Braga (I am Legend)
Diego Luna (The Terminal)
Wagner Moura (Elite Squad)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Brandon Auret (Chappie)
Emma Tremblay (The Judge)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Disturbia)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Ona Grauer (Arrow)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Christina Cox (Mutant X)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Pauline Egan (Sanctuary)

Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Kendall Cross (Androemda)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)

In 2154, Earth is overpopulated and polluted. Most of the earth’s citizens live in poverty, on the edge of starvation, and with little technology and medical care. The rich and powerful live on Elysium — a gigantic, terraformed space habitat located in Earth’s orbit. Elysium is technologically advanced with some of its technology including Med-Bays: medical machines that can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process and regenerate new body parts. A long-running feud exists between the wealthy residents of Elysium and the citizens of Earth, who want Elysian technology to cure their medical ailments.
Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a former car thief on parole lives in the ruins of Los Angeles, and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company run by John Carlyle (William Fichtner), who originally designed Elysium, and now supplies its weaponry as well as the robots that police Earth. During an industrial accident at the factory, Max is trapped in a chamber and is hit by a lethal dose of radiation. After being rescued he is informed that he has five days to live before succumbing to radiation poisoning. Desperate for a cure, he and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) seek help from a human smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium; his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay.
Meanwhile, when a trio of ships full of illegal immigrants from Earth attempts to reach Elysium and its Med-Bays, Elysian Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a sleeper agent, Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to destroy the shuttles. While two of the shuttles are shot down in space, killing everyone on board, the third shuttle makes it but once on Elysium, everyone on board is either killed or arrested and deported. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) reprimands her for her immoral and unsubtle methods, and threatens to fire her unless she tones down her actions. Regarded as a loose cannon, Kruger is dismissed from service. Delacourt, vowing to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with John Carlyle to create a program that can override Elysium’s computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle stores the reboot program in his brain for transport to Elysium and encrypts it with a lethal protection program.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he can steal financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider’s men surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. With Julio and a team of Spider’s men, Max shoots down Carlyle’s ship, and in the ensuing firefight with Carlyle’s security droids, Carlyle is fatally wounded. Max downloads the program to his suit’s neural implant, but realizes that the encryption makes it unusable. Alerted to the data theft by Carlyle’s medical implant, Delacourt secretly reinstates Kruger and deploys him to recover the program. In the ensuing firefight, Julio is killed, and Max is wounded. He reaches out to his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga), now a nurse, whose daughter Matilda has leukemia. Frey begs Max to take Matilda to Elysium to be cured, but Max refuses in order to protect them. Soon after Max leaves, Kruger arrives and takes Frey and Matilda prisoner aboard his ship, while his drones hunt for Max. Delacourt orders an airspace lockdown over Los Angeles to buy enough time to recover Carlyle’s program.
Max delivers the program to Spider, who discovers that the program can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens. However, because the lockdown makes it impossible to leave Earth, Max bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, not knowing that Kruger has already found out that Frey assisted Max and is holding her and Matilda hostage on the ship. As Kruger’s ship leaves Earth, Spider and his men take advantage of the lockdown lift and also board a ship towards Elysium. Meanwhile, in Kruger’s ship, a fight ensues and Kruger is grievously wounded by a grenade blast, which also disables the ship’s engines. After Kruger’s ship crashes on Elysium, Max, Frey and Matilda are arrested and taken to Delacourt, who orders the download of the program, despite the fact that it will kill Max.
After being restored in a Med-Bay by his lackeys Drake and Crowe, a defiant Kruger kills Delacourt after she chastises him for his recklessness. On Kruger’s orders, Drake and Crowe exterminate the Elysian political officers in order to seize control for themselves. Meanwhile, having escaped his confinement, Max, knowing that Med-Bays only work for Elysian citizens, resolves to use Carlyle’s program to give everyone on Earth Elysian citizenship. He rescues Frey and Matilda, killing Drake and Crowe on the way. He then meets Spider and heads for Elysium’s core but is ambushed by Kruger, now equipped with a military-grade exoskeleton far superior to Max’s. In the ensuing fight, Max manages to rip out Kruger’s neural implant, rendering his suit immobile. However, Kruger tethers himself to Max’s suit and arms a grenade with the intent of killing them both. Max rips off the tether and hurls Kruger over a ledge to his death.
Spider and Max reach Elysium’s computer core, where Spider realizes that the program’s activation will kill Max. Max personally activates the program, having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium’s computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider, whom they now recognize as a citizen. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay and Elysium’s computer dispatches a huge fleet of medical ships to begin treatment of the citizens of Earth.
Neil Blomkamp, who dazzled audiences with district nine 4 years prior, does a fantastic job once again with this flick. His vision made the story very real to movie goers everywhere