REVIEW: MAN DOWN

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad)
Clifton Collins, Jr. (Westworld)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Disturbia)

Clifton Collins Jr., Shia LaBeouf, and Jai Courtney in Man Down (2015)The story transpires in a non-linear fashion, following U.S.Marine Gabriel Drummer in training, in battle in Afghanistan, in counselling in Afghanistan, while searching for his family after returning to a devastated United States and in his final moments as his broken mind returns to reality. Gabriel Drummer is at Camp LeJeune, training as a U.S. Marine. He and wife Natalie have a young son, Jonathan. When Jonathan gets bullied at school after Natalie says “I love you” to him in front of his schoolmates, Gabriel comes up with “man down” as a secret code for “I love you”.Man Down (2015)Gabriel leaves to serve a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Devin Roberts is his best friend since childhood and fellow Marine. Devin stays home for a few extra weeks while recuperating a broken arm. Devin arrives in Afghanistan, where he and Gabriel are “battle buddies, kicking in doors together and taking enemy fire”, further reinforcing their friendship. When their squad is ambushed, Devin is fatally shot and apologizes to Gabriel just before he dies. Gabriel finds a note inside Devins helmet, on which Devin’s password for a video chatting website is written. Gabriel accesses the website and realizes that Natalie cheated on him with Devin. Gabriel is deeply traumatized by the series of events. Still in Afghanistan, he begins mandatory counseling sessions with therapist Captain Peyton, who is concerned about Gabriel’s mental condition. However, Gabriel insists that he is okay and walks out of Peyton’s office.Shia LaBeouf in Man Down (2015)When Gabriel returns home, he finds that his city is devastated. Accompanied (inexplicably – a sign of his break from reality) by Devin as he searches the ruins for Natalie and Jonathan. The two encounter Charles, a civilian trying to survive in the wasteland of the former city. When Gabriel finds that Charles has the envelope from a letter that Gabriel wrote to Jonathan, he and Charles scuffle. In the confusion, Devin accidentally shoots Charles. In the final minutes of the film, events finally sort themselves out for the viewer (but not for Gabriel). Gabriel is again seen returning home, on medical discharge for mental issues, to a perfectly normal city – though he is greeted by Devin, who no one else can see. Natalie is uncertain about his state of mind from the loss of Devin and the loss of his trust in her. We see that Gabriel ends up living on the streets, regularly traumitizing his family and eventually shooting Charles, who was simply another troubled person living on the streets. Brandishing a gun, shooting their dog, a confused Gabriel “rescues” Jonathan from the “ruins” of their home, hiding with him in another “ruined” building (in reality the main floor of his own home), where they are soon surrounded by the police. He strangles (and possibly kills) a policeman and keeps radioing Devin for backup. Natalie comes down the stairs – though Gabriel sees her as the Afghani woman who shot Devin and holds a gun to her head. He suddenly finds clarity and apologizes to Natalie and Jonathan for his confusion just moments before a police sniper shoots him repeatedly.

The screen fades to black, then shows the text:

1 in 5 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are diagnosed with PTSD
200,000 veterans go homeless each night
20 veterans commit suicide every day.Shia LaBeouf and Kate Mara in Man Down (2015)Shia Labeouf’s acting in this movie is absolutely top notch. The story is interesting and it has a good supporting cast, soundtrack and cinematography. I believe it is was of the most underrated and unnoticed movies in recent yars.

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REVIEW: CRIMINAL

CAST

Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Michael Pitt (The Village)
Jordi Mollà (Blow)
Antje Traue (Man of Steel)
Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty)
Amaury Nolasco (Max Payne)
Colin Salmon (Limitless TV)
Tommy Hatto (Thor: The Dark World)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Natalie Burn (Mechanic: Resurrection)

Gal Gadot in Criminal (2016)When Spanish industrialist-turned-anarchist Xavier Heimdahl arranges for his associate Jan Strook—a hacker known as “the Dutchman”—to create a wormhole program that would allow the owner to bypass all computer codes protecting the world’s nuclear defense codes, the Dutchman panics and attempts to hand his secret over to the CIA. He makes contact with London-based agent Bill Pope, but although Pope is able to get the Dutchman to a safe house and recover the money to pay him for his services, he is caught by Heimdahl’s men and tortured to death before he can tell anyone where he hid the Dutchman.Tommy Lee Jones in Criminal (2016)Desperate to find the Dutchman, Pope’s CIA supervisor Quaker Wells contacts Dr. Micah Franks, who has developed a treatment that could theoretically plant the memory patterns of a dead man onto a living one. Keeping Pope’s brain stimulated to preserve its knowledge, Franks requests that convict Jerico Stewart be the subject of the procedure, as Stewart’s criminal behavior is the result of childhood brain trauma leaving him with an underdeveloped frontal lobe, hindering his emotional development and impulse control, that they can use to “graft” Pope’s knowledge into Stewart’s mind.Kevin Costner, Freddy Bosche, and Emmanuel Imani in Criminal (2016)While the process initially appears unsuccessful, Jerico is able to escape custody while being transferred after the operation, faking his death and heading to Pope’s house, where he ties Pope’s wife, Jillian, to her bed and gags her mouth with duct tape, is able to disable the house alarms and delay an investigation of the silent alarm which Jillian manages to activate. As time goes on, he experiences memory flashes of Pope’s past, but all he can determine is that the bag of money was hidden behind a shelf of books relating to George Orwell, without identifying where it or the Dutchman are kept.Ryan Reynolds in Criminal (2016)The CIA becomes increasingly anxious to find the Dutchman when they learn that he is now planning to sell the program to the Russians, believing that the CIA has betrayed him. Fortunately, they are able to find Jerico after he contacts Dr. Franks for medication using Pope’s CIA codes, Franks’s questioning confirming that Jerico is developing emotions as well as drawing on Pope’s experience. As Jerico attempts to retrace the route Pope took to hide the Dutchman, Heimdahl creates a distraction at the airport that draws Quaker’s attention, allowing Heimdahl’s henchwoman Elsa to try and capture Jerico, killing his CIA guards before Jerico escapes by driving off a bridge.Gary Oldman in Criminal (2016)His leg injured in his escape, Jerico retreats to the Pope house, where he encounters Jillian and explains the situation to her. Although initially concerned, Jillian comes to accept Jerico’s story as she sees him interacting with her daughter, Emma, allowing Jerico to stay the night. Jerico forms a bond with the two. The next morning, Jerico realizes through a conversation with Jillian that the bag is hidden in the rare books collection at the University of London where she works. He attempts to retrieve the bag, but he is captured by Heimdahl and Elsa once he has found it. Heimdahl forces him to take them to the Dutchman or he will kill Jillian and Emma.Kevin Costner and Scott Adkins in Criminal (2016)With the CIA and a Russian strike team now seeking the Dutchman, Jerico—who has recalled that Pope hid the Dutchman in Jillian’s office at the university—is able to escape Elsa using an improvised nitro-glycerine bomb, returning to the office to provide a hurried explanation to the Dutchman. The two are caught by Elsa before they can escape, Jerico is shot in the shoulder and after she kills the Dutchman, Jerico knocks her out with a potted cactus before killing her by bashing her head in with a lamp. Taking the flash drive containing the wormhole program to the airfield where Heimdahl is attempting an escape, Jerico is able to save Jillian and Emma despite Quaker’s protests about the danger Heimdahl could pose with the program. As Heimdahl’s plane takes off, Jerico reveals to Quaker that he had the Dutchman reprogram the wormhole so that it would target the source of the next transmission, resulting in Heimdahl unwittingly destroying his own plane when he tries to fire a missile at the airfield. A few months later, Jerico is shown on the beach where Pope and Jillian had their honeymoon, initially unresponsive to anything but automatic reflexes and responses. With all other options exhausted, Quaker and Franks take Jillian and Emma to see him, the sight of Pope’s family confirming that some part of Pope exists in Jerico when he responds with a nose-tap that was Pope and Jillian’s way of saying “I love you” in private. Witnessing this, Quaker reflects that he will offer Jerico a job.Ryan Reynolds in Criminal (2016)More like Face off, just that here it’s not the face but the mind that’s been swapped from a CIA operative to Costner. All I can say is watch this movie at any cost cos Costner delivered what no man can do to such perfection it’s almost impossible to explain.

 

REVIEW: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

 

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Elodie Yung (Daredevil)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Yuri Kolokolnikov (The Envy of Gods)
Joaquim de Almeida (Desperado)
Kirsty Mitchell (Lake Placid 3)
Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
Sam Hazeldine (The Monuments Men)

Private European Union based bodyguard Michael Bryce is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa, a Japanese arms dealer. All apparently goes well, until Kurosawa is shot in the head through the airplane window. Two years later, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and ekes out a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives in London. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich, the ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution’s last hope is notorious incarcerated hitman Darius Kincaid, who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for releasing his wife Sonia from prison.Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher assigns Amelia Roussel, an inexperienced agent and Bryce’s ex-girlfriend, to lead the transportation of Kincaid. A squad of Interpol agents composed of French GIPN and British AFO’s from the National Crime Agency begin to escort Kincaid from Manchester to The Hague. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel are killed. The two retreat to a safehouse. They realise someone in Interpol must have betrayed them and they need someone from outside they can trust, so Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years previously, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his reputation. After a brief showdown with Kincaid which reveals that Bryce had multiple conflicts with him in the past, Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation, while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich’s men.Foucher approaches Dukhovich, revealing himself to be the traitor, and demands his payment for selling out Kincaid; Dukhovich stabs him in the hand and informs him he will only be paid when Kincaid is dead. Dukhovich’s men track Kincaid’s location through his cellphone and ambush him and Bryce. While they are able to fight them off, their vehicle is destroyed. The two hitchhike to a ferry terminal and take a ferry to Amsterdam, where Sonia is being held. Kincaid escapes from Bryce to send flowers to Sonia, and Bryce tracks him down and kills several more hitmen. Kincaid reveals that he killed Kurosawa two years ago, having been at the airport only by chance after another job. Enraged at the revelation that he has spent two years blaming Roussel for “betraying” him when in reality the client’s death was a sheer fluke, Bryce punches Kincaid and then abandons him.As Bryce bemoans his failures, a group of hitmen attacks Kincaid. Bryce changes his mind and helps Kincaid escape, but is captured. Dukhovich’s men torture him in an attempt to find Kincaid, who tracks Bryce down and rescues him. After settling their differences, the two battle their way to The Hague, arriving just in time for Kincaid to testify. He testifies that Dukhovich tried to hire Kincaid to assassinate a political rival, but in the process Kincaid witnessed the execution of a village, uploading photos of the massacre to a secret FTP site that he provides the court with access to. Dukhovich resorts to his backup plan; to bomb the court, allowing him to steal a gun and attempt to kill Kincaid. Bryce jumps in the way of the bullet and orders Kincaid to stop Dukhovich from escaping. Roussel notices Foucher acting suspiciously during the attack, and deduces he was the traitor.She subdues him with Bryce’s aid. Kincaid pursues Dukhovich to the roof of the building, where he attempts to escape by helicopter. Kincaid destroys the helicopter and corners Dukhovich. Dukhovich attempts to break Kincaid by claiming he will never be able to redeem himself for his sins, but Kincaid laughs it off, declares that Dukhovich should not have shot Bryce, and kicks Dukhovich off the roof to his death. In the aftermath, Bryce is recovered and has rekindled his relationship with Roussel and Sonia is released. Kincaid is rearrested for his previous crimes, but breaks out of HMP Belmarsh so he and Sonia can celebrate their anniversary in the bar in Honduras where they first met. The movie ends with them dancing and then kissing in the midst of all the fighting and chaos taking place at the bar.This is none stop fun entertainment from start to finish. The story line is simplistic and basic but who cares the two protagonist are having so much fun you just can’t help but be brought along for the ride. Never stopped smiling from the beginning till the end.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009)

CAST

Jim Carrey (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)
Gary Oldman (The Dark KNight)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Robin Wright (Wonder Woman)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Fionnula Flanagan (Transamerica)
Steve Valentine (Mars Attacks)
Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids)
Molly Quinn (Castle)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Callum Blue (Smallville)

In 1843, on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old moneylender at a London counting house, does not share the merriment of Christmas. He declines his cheerful nephew Fred Holywell’s invitation to a Christmas dinner party, and rejects two gentlemen’s offer to collect money for charity. His loyal employee Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge to allow him to have a day off on Christmas Day to spend time with his family, to which Scrooge reluctantly agrees before leaving. In his house, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to repent his wicked ways or he will be condemned in the afterlife like he was, carrying heavy chains forged from his own greediness. Jacob informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit to guide him out of his misery.Scrooge is visited by the candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him back in time to his early life. They visit Scrooge’s boarding school and Scrooge sees his sister Fanie, who died after giving birth to Fred. Scrooge later begins a successful career in business and money lending as an employee under Fezziwig, and he becomes engaged to a woman named Belle. However, the Ghost shows Scrooge how Belle left him when he became obsessed with wealth. A devastated Scrooge extinguishes the spirit with its candle snuffer cap but Scrooge is rocketed thousands of feet into the air while clinging onto the snuffer, only to have it disappear, resulting in Scrooge falling down to earth, back into his bedroom for the next visitation.Scrooge meets the merry Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows him the joys and wonder of Christmas Day. Scrooge and the Ghost visit Bob’s house, learning his family is content with their small dinner, Scrooge taking pity on Bob’s ill son Tiny Tim. The Ghost abruptly ages, commenting that Tiny Tim will likely not survive until next Christmas. The Ghost warns Scrooge about the evils of “Ignorance” and “Want”; Big Ben begins tolling midnight as “Ignorance” and “Want” manifest themselves before Scrooge as two wretched children who grow into violent, insane individuals, leaving the spirit withering away, dying at length when midnight strikes (to the point of dissolving into a skeleton before the twelfth strike).The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, appearing as a dark shadow, and takes Scrooge into the future. He witnesses a group of businessmen discussing the death of an unnamed man where they would only attend the funeral if lunch is provided; Scrooge is then chased across London by the Ghost and later discovers that his possessions are stolen and sold by his maid Mrs. Dilber. Shortly afterwards, Scrooge sees a covered corpse on a bed, followed by a family that is relieved he is dead, as they have more time to pay off their debt. The spirit transports Scrooge to Bob’s residence, discovering that Tiny Tim has died. Scrooge is then taken to a cemetery, where the Ghost points out his own grave, confirming Scrooge was the man who died. Scrooge promises to change his ways just as the Ghost forces him to fall into his empty coffin lying in a deep grave that sits above the fires of Hell.Waking up in his own room on Christmas Day, with love and happiness in his heart, a gleeful Scrooge decides to surprise Bob’s family with a turkey dinner, and ventures out with the charity workers and the citizens of London to spread happiness in the city, and later attends his nephew’s annual Christmas dinner, where he is warmly welcomed. The following day, he gives Cratchit a raise and becomes like “a second father” to Tiny Tim, who escapes death. A changed man, Scrooge now treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and compassion; he now embodies the spirit of Christmas.Jim Carrey is full of surprises and the entire movie is a theatrical outburst of his talent, under the brilliant direction of Robert Zemeckis. Brilliant because it manages to take the Dickens story and walk us through all its dimensions.  It’s an enchanting story and I encourage you all to see it.

REVIEW: PLANET 51

CAST (VOICES)

Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
James Corden (One Chance)
Alan Marriott (Voltron Force)

On Planet 51, green humanoids with snail-like feelers and pointed ears live peacefully in a society reminiscent of the 1950s United States, but with alien technology and 1950s-themed alien homes. In the town of Glipforg, Lem is a teenager with a new part-time job at the local planetarium and a long-time crush on his neighbor, Neera. His best friend is Skiff, a big fan of the Humaniacs films. Lem tries to ask Neera on a date, but her hippie friend, Glar, keeps interrupting with his protest songs.A mysterious spacecraft goes into orbit around Planet 51 and sends out a signal. On Planet 51, under a secret Army installation called Base 9 (their version of Area 51), there is a basement filled with Earth artifacts including robotic satellites launched by the United States and the Soviet Union. The spacecraft’s signal activates Rover, a wheeled A.I. probe. Rover escapes, following a program to locate the newly arrived astronaut. The Planetary Army becomes suspicious after Rover’s escape and begins to investigate.The spacecraft touches down in Neera’s backyard; NASA astronaut Charles “Chuck” T. Baker emerges. As Chuck plants the United States flag, he steps on a “rubber ducky” someone left on the ground. Everyone stares, and Chuck tries to get back into his module. Shocked when he realizes he is on an inhabited planet, Chuck runs about wildly and hides at the planetarium as the Army arrives on the scene. Planetary Army General Grawl consults Professor Kipple about the “alien invader”. The Army quarantines the area and asks citizens to start a local civil defense force to prevent the citizens from becoming “zombies”.At the planetarium, Lem discovers Chuck’s hiding place. They are surprised to discover they speak the same language. Realizing this alien is no threat, Lem decides to help Chuck, hiding him in his bedroom for the night. Rover finds Chuck, who is very happy to see it. As the General and his men search Lem’s room, the group sneaks back into the planetarium with Chuck, who tells Lem he has “the right stuff”. Chuck also shows Lem the star that Earth orbits and how the universe is much bigger than Lem had thought. The next morning, the Army takes Chuck’s module to a secret location.The next night is the première of a new Humaniacs movie, and Lem, Skiff and Chuck attend in costume as fans. Chuck introduces some new music as part of the contest and teaches Lem to dance. Things go well until Rover arrives: chaos ensues. Grawl arrives and points out that Chuck’s U.S. flag insignia identifies him as the alien. Chuck is captured and unmasked. When Lem tries to keep him from being taken away, Grawl labels Lem a zombie, and Kipple announces he will dissect both their brains. To protect Lem, Chuck pretends to “release” him from his control. Lem is proclaimed a hero, and Chuck and Rover are taken away.At Base 9, Grawl interrogates Chuck, and an accidental gunshot starts a complicated chain reaction with soldiers shooting at each other. Grawl thinks Chuck is resisting his demands and allows Kipple to have a go at dissecting Chuck’s brain. Lem gets his job back at the planetarium and is permitted to speak about the incident on TV, but cannot fully accept the honor. He feels terrible about Chuck and decides to do the right thing. Neera, Skiff and Eckle join him to go off to rescue Chuck. The teens know luck is on their side when Rover shows up on the edge of town—he unscrewed the bolts holding together the armored vehicle in which he was imprisoned.Rover sniffs out Chuck’s trail and leads them to an abandoned gas station in the desert. They look around, and Skiff sees a soda bottle in an old refrigerator. When he tries to take it, it opens up the entrance to Base 9. Lem has Glar distract the soldiers guarding the base with his protest group while the rest of them sneak into the base. They find Chuck strapped to a laboratory table, and Kipple getting ready to remove his brain. Lem and his friends break in through the ceiling while Rover scares away the scientists, technicians, and guards. They release Chuck but set off alarms.Rover helps the group find Chuck’s spacecraft, which was in a hangar. Grawl warns that, if the “alien” tries to leave, he will blow up the hangar. To give Chuck his chance to escape, Lem initiates the 2-minute destruct countdown by pressing the self-destruct control button, which panics the guards into fleeing the underground base. In the resulting firestorm, the General is knocked unconscious. The teenagers and Rover get into the module, but Chuck rescues the General from the fire. Chuck pilots the ship out of the base just in time as the base starts to blow up and up into orbit around the planet, allowing the teens to experience outer space. Skiff and Eckle enjoy the weightlessness, Grawl realizes Chuck has not turned him into a zombie, and Lem asks Neera out on a date. Chuck returns to the planet’s surface. Although the soldiers are ready to shoot anyone who appears, Grawl stops them. Finally, the inhabitants of Planet 51 see that Chuck came to their planet for peaceful purposes. Chuck lets Rover stay with Skiff and says his farewells to Planet 51. Chuck then leaves Planet 51 peacefully, accompanied by the alien pet dog seen throughout the film (who had sneaked aboard Chuck’s ship without anyone noticing, except its owner). In an end scene Kipple is seen emerging from Base 9 from a hatch, only to be seized and dragged away by two military test subjects of Kipple’s brain removal procedure who insist that the professor share the delightful experience of having his brain removed.The plot is not very original, it’s not meant to be. Part of the fun watching this film is identifying with clichés and different representations of our favorite scenes from movies past. It’s a fun way to get through a slow night.

 

REVIEW: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jason Clarke (Terminator Salvation)
Gary Oldman (Robocop 2014)
Keri Russell (Waitress)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four 2015)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kirk Acevedo (Fringe)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Ten years after the worldwide pandemic of the deadly ALZ-113 virus, or Simian Flu, human civilization is completely destroyed following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Over 90% of the human population has died in the pandemic, while apes with genetically enhanced intelligence have started to build a civilization of their own. Near the ruins of San Francisco, Caesar leads and governs an ape colony located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his friend Ash encounter a human named Carver, who panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, who are genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded and unfinished high-rise tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings an army of apes to the city tower where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs too.
Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the ape village, but is captured by gorilla guards, who bring him to Caesar. After a tense discussion, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, if they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides; the truce is endangered when Caesar’s infant son Milo discovers a shotgun smuggled in by Carver, but the two sides reconcile when Ellie offers to help treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his “love” for humans. In response, Caesar severely beats Koba, but at the last moment refrains from killing him; adhering to his philosophy that “ape not kill ape”, Caesar hesitantly forgives Koba. The furious Koba then returns to the armory, where he steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. Returning home, he secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.
The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, then, unseen to anyone else, shoots Caesar in the shoulder, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, and having planted Carver’s cap at the scene of the shooting, urging the apes to fight against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar.
Malcolm’s group finds Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that apes were better than humans was naïve and that apes can be as violent as humans. Malcolm leaves the group and heads to the city to find medical supplies for Caesar. While looking for medical supplies, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes; disenchanted with Koba’s leadership, the young ape spares Malcolm’s life and returns to the house with him, where he reconciles with his father. Caesar grows nostalgic watching a video clip from his childhood of his former owner and father figure Will Rodman on his old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. A plan is put into action: Blue Eyes returns to the tower and frees the caged humans and apes loyal to Caesar, then Malcolm leads the apes, unseen, into the tower from below. After accomplishing this, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with military survivors at a base to the north, who are on their way to help fight the apes. Caesar confronts Koba at the top of the tower, but as they battle, Dreyfus detonates C-4 charges he has planted beneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills him and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, with Koba hanging over the edge of the tower. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar states that Koba is not an ape and lets him fall to his death.
Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human military reinforcements and both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and advises him to leave with his family for safety as the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm disappears into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes, awaiting the war to come.
The exhilarating action scenes and set pieces are of a grander scale than in ‘Rise’ and with the use of some truly spectacular digital effects that are as realistic as any you will see, makes for an absorbing visual feast. But the finest achievements of the film lie in it’s thoughtful, emotional core, that cleverly aligns our sympathies with both apes and humans and makes for a moving and thoroughly rewarding experience that is far removed from the one-dimensionality of today’s brainless blockbusters.

REVIEW: ROBOCOP (2014)

CAST
Joel Kinnaman (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Gary Oldman (Leon)
Michael Keaton (Batman 1989)
Abbie Cornish (Limitless)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Jennifer Ehle (The Ides of March)
Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Aimee Garcia (Impastor)
In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp revolutionizes warfare with the introduction of robotic peacekeepers capable of maintaining law and order in hot spots such as Iran. Led by CEO Raymond Sellars, the company moves to market its tech to domestic law enforcement, but the passage of the Dreyfus Act, forbidding deployment of drones on U.S. soil, prevents this. Aware that most Americans oppose the use of military systems in their communities, Sellars asks Dr. Dennett Norton and his research team to create an alternative. The result is a proposal for a cyborg police officer. However, Norton informs Sellars that only someone who is stable enough to handle being a cyborg can be turned into one, and some candidates are rejected.
A Detroit police detective, Alex Murphy, is chosen after he is critically injured in a car bomb explosion arranged by crime boss Antoine Vallon in revenge for Murphy’s investigation into his activities. Norton persuades Murphy’s wife Clara to sign off on the procedure. Upon waking up and realizing the extent of his transformation, Murphy flies into a rage and escapes the lab, but Norton shuts him down and brings him back to the lab. As Norton reveals to Murphy that the only remnants of his human body are most of his head (excluding parts of the brain), his respiratory organs, his heart, and a hand, Murphy is disgusted, and asks for euthanasia. Norton reminds Murphy about his wife’s and son’s patience, and convinces him to live on. During combat training with trainer Rick Mattox, Murphy proves unable to compete with the standard OmniCorp drones in efficiency. Norton alters his programming to make him more efficient by having drone programming take over his actions, but make him think they are his. This increases his efficiency dramatically, but also makes him less empathetic due to his human nature being bypassed.
Shortly before he is to be publicly unveiled, Murphy has an emotional breakdown, forcing Norton to remove his emotions. During the ceremony, RoboCop identifies and apprehends a criminal in the crowd. He goes on to reduce crime in Detroit dramatically, wrecking public support for the Dreyfus Act. Aware that Clara has begun to ask questions, Sellars orders Norton to keep her away from her husband.
Clara nevertheless manages to confront RoboCop, telling him of their son David’s nightmares. The experience leads Murphy to override his programming and access the previously sealed files on his attempted murder. From them, he learns his son witnessed the explosion and was left traumatized. Murphy pursues Vallon’s gang for revenge. He takes heavy damage from their armor-piercing weapons, but manages to kill the boss and his men. Murphy returns to the station and joins with his old partner, Jack Lewis, to confront the two corrupt cops who betrayed him to Vallon, shooting one and tazing the other. Learning that the Chief of Police was also involved, Murphy moves to arrest her, but is remotely shut down by Mattox.
With the help of Pat Novak, a pro-OmniCorp talk show host, Sellars uses the incident to get the Dreyfus Act repealed. Clara goes to the press and angrily demands to see her husband. Fearful of being exposed, Sellars orders Mattox to destroy RoboCop while he’s being repaired. Norton is able to reach him first and reveals the truth. RoboCop narrowly escapes the building just as it undergoes lockdown.
Murphy returns and storms the building, fighting his way through the ED-209 drones sent to stop him, while Lewis and his fellow police arrive to hold off the rest of OmniCorp’s forces. Mattox subdues Murphy and prepares to finish him off, but is killed by Lewis. Murphy then makes his way to the roof where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter with Clara and David as hostages. Murphy’s programming initially prevents him from arresting Sellars, but he overcomes it long enough to kill Sellars despite being severely wounded.
OmniCorp’s parent company, OCP, shuts down the project. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfus Act based on the testimony of Norton, to Novak’s anger. Murphy’s body is rebuilt in Norton’s laboratory, and he waits for Clara and David, who are coming to visit him.
As a great fan of the original franchise I was genuinely surprised how good this was. The lead was superb and maintained a great emotional presence throughout the film