REVIEW: EMPIRE STATE (2013)

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Baywwatch)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Michael Angarano (Sky High)
Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire)
Jerry Ferrara (Power)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Michael Rispoli (Summer of Sam)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)

Dwayne Johnson and Liam Hemsworth in Empire State (2013)After failing to get into the local police academy, Chris Potamitis (Hemsworth), settles for a security guard job with the Empire State Armored Truck Company. Chris makes the mistake of mentioning the company’s lax security to his best friend Eddie (Angarano), and is soon unwittingly drawn into an elaborate scheme to rob the abundant piles of cash being stored there – resulting in the largest cash heist ($11 million) to that point in U.S. history. As the stakes continue to rise, Chris and Eddie must outwit James Ransone (Johnson), the veteran NYPD Detective who is hot on their trail, as well as the local crime bosses who want to know who pulled a job on their turf to make sure the perpetrators suffer the consequences.Dwayne Johnson and Lucky Johnson in Empire State (2013)Empire State is based on a true story set during the 1980’s, about a bank heist gone terribly wrong. This film is moreso predictable which is the case with films based on true events, however the story here is interesting enough to continue watching. Empire State had a limited release, which is shame since the film could have made decent profit. Althugh there was far greater potential the what came from the final product. The lead played by Liam Hemsworth is decent, but with a better lead it could have been a far greater film. Also Dwayne Johnson is criminally wasted in this movie as a detective.Liam+Hemsworth+Liam+Hemsworth+Films+Empire+W-xDO2r1OeflWhenever he appeared on screen, my interest level was raised significantly, but that was much too seldom for my liking. Dwayne has a gift when it comes to charisma, and the fact that he has such a small role here is incorrigible. He was far too good to have such a small part in this movie. Emma Roberts is barely in this movie, aside from a few pointless scenes. Overall the film could have fared better with better direction, but it was a decent watch.

 

REVIEW: THE EXPENDABLES 2

CAST

Sylvester Stallone (Judge Dredd)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Jet Li (War)
Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Chuck Norris (A Force of One)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Randy Couture (The Scorpion King 2)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Jean-Claude Van Damme (Timecop)
Bruce Willis (Vice)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty)
Yu Nan (No Man’s Land)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Amanda Ooms (Fear X)

Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture in The Expendables 2 (2012)The Expendables—leader Barney Ross, knife specialist Lee Christmas, hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang, heavy-weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitions expert Toll Road, the unstable Gunner Jensen, and sniper Billy the Kid, the team’s newest recruit and Ross’ protégé—are deployed to Nepal to rescue Dr. Zhou, a hostage. They also rescue the captured mercenary Trench, Ross’s rival. Yang leaves the group to escort Zhou back to China.Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012)After returning to New Orleans, Billy tells Ross that he intends to retire at the end of the month and live with his girlfriend Sophia. Later, Ross is forced to accept a mission from CIA operative Mr. Church to retrieve an item from a downed airplane in Albania. Church sends technical expert Maggie Chan with the team. In Albania the Expendables retrieve the item, but are then ambushed by international criminal and arms dealer Jean Vilain, his right-hand man Hector and his mercenary group (the Sangs), who have captured Billy. Vilain demands the item in exchange for Billy’s life. The team gives up the item, but Vilain roundhouse kicks a knife through Billy’s heart and flees with the Sangs by helicopter. Ross recovers a note for Sophia from Billy’s body; the team buries their fallen comrade, swearing vengeance on Vilain.Jason Statham in The Expendables 2 (2012)Maggie tells them that the item is a computer, with the location of five tons of refined plutonium abandoned in a mine by the Soviet Union after the Cold War. Vilain intends to retrieve the plutonium and sell it. The Expendables are able to weakly track the computer’s signal and follow Vilain, which leads them to Bulgaria where they stay overnight at an abandoned Russian military base. The next morning, the team is ambushed by the Sangs and a tank. After the Expendables run out of ammunition, they are saved by Ross’s old friend, Booker, who quickly eliminates both the Sangs and the tank. Before he departs, Booker informs the group of a nearby village whose residents oppose Vilain. Meanwhile, Hector and Vilain dig up the plutonium and begin collecting it.Terry Crews in The Expendables 2 (2012)In the village, the Expendables find several armed female villagers guarding their children from Vilain’s forces. The local inhabitants are taken and put to work as slaves in the mine, never returning, and the women ask for the Expendables’ help. The Sangs arrive for more villagers, but are ambushed by the Expendables and killed. After locating Vilain and the mine, the team assaults the area with their plane before deliberately crashing into the mine. The team saves the enslaved miners from execution, but Vilain and Hector escape with the plutonium. Vilain remotely detonates explosive charges in the mine; it collapses, trapping the miners and the Expendables. Church and Trench arrive, freeing the miners and the team, and join the Expendables to pursue Vilain. The group intercepts Vilain and his men at an airport as he prepares to leave by plane. Joined again by Booker, the Expendables, Trench and Church engage the Sangs in battle. Christmas decapitates Hector, while Ross and Vilain fight hand-to-hand. Ross defeats Vilain, stabbing him and avenging Billy.Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012)In the aftermath, Ross is given an old Antonov An-2 biplane by Church; Church, Maggie, Booker and Trench then leave the team. In France, Sophia discovers a box on her doorstep with a large sum of money and Billy’s letter. As the Expendables depart in the plane, they propose a final toast to Billy.Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 2 (2012)This sequel to the Expendables has a great  story, a story of revenge. The first film introduces the gang so we get to know them. The second however, we already know the gang so now we actually see how they truly are and how they work. This film is better since the rest of the team (other than Stallone) get more screen time and they have their humor moments. Van Dammne played a very awesome villain, and towards the end of the film, he shows even at the age of 50, he is stronger than ever. Arnie and Bruce Willis had a great screen time too with perfect humor. Dolph Lundgren’s role is much better now and very enjoyable. The cast was great, the story is better, the action is more intense, there is great humor. In conclusion, Expendables 2 brings back the 1980s action style with it’s teaspoon of humor. Enjoy the film!

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: TRIANGLE

CAST
Melissa George (Alias)
Michael Dorman (Killer Elite)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Henry Nixon (The Landing)
Rachael Carpani (McLeod’s Daughters)
Emma Lung (Wonderland)
Single mother Jess prepares to take her autistic son Tommy on a boat trip with her friend Greg. While Jess tidies up the house, the doorbell rings, but no one is there. Jess later arrives at the harbor alone and boards Greg’s boat. Joining them for the trip are Victor, a runaway teen who lives with Greg; Sally and Downey, married friends of Greg; and Heather, a friend of Sally’s. While on the boat out at sea, they are overwhelmed by a storm and Heather is swept out into the water when the boat capsizes. When the storm clears, the others climb onto the upturned boat.
When an ocean liner arrives, the group board it, only to find it apparently deserted, though Jess experiences a sense of déjà vu as they explore. Various strange occurrences take place on the ship, hinting that there is someone else on board, though the person remains unseen. Jess eventually witnesses the others die one by one: Victor from a wound in his head, while Greg, Sally and Downey are shot by a burlap-masked shooter. The shooter chases Jess to the ship’s front deck, but she fights back; she disarms and sends her assailant overboard.
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Jess then hears yelling, and sees herself and the others alive and standing on Greg’s upturned boat, in the position they had been in earlier. Jess secretly trails the group when they board the ship again, realizing that she is in a causality loop, whereby she is the unseen figure of earlier. Jess attempts to warn Victor, only to accidentally impale his head on a wall hook. She flees deeper into the ship and finds evidence that the loop has repeated many times before. Jess decides that she can change the way events play out, but another counterpart of hers from an earlier loop is still on board the ship and kills the others one by one. This older counterpart is then killed and thrown overboard by Jess’ newer counterpart, and the loop repeats again. Greg’s upturned boat and its survivors return, and Jess realizes the time loop restarts when everyone is killed. Desperate to stop the loop and prevent them from boarding at all, Jess sets everything from the first loop into motion, and she herself becomes the shooter. When she is disarmed, she urges her counterpart to kill everyone when they return, before falling off the ship.
Jess awakens washed ashore and returns home, only to find herself returned to earlier that morning. As she watches from outside, it is revealed that Jess abuses Tommy out of anger toward his autism. Promising to stop the abuse, Jess distracts her counterpart with the doorbell and kills her in order to take her place. Jess then leaves with Tommy in her car, only to find evidence that this sequence of events has happened many times before as well. Their car is hit by a truck and Tommy is killed, leaving Jess alone. A taxi driver approaches and Jess accepts a ride to the harbor, where she joins the others on Greg’s boat, setting the events of the loop in motion again.
The atmosphere in “Triangle” is a mixture of weird and scary, but even if it progressively gets scarier and scarier it never gets too weird. The director kept the film very strictly under control and therefore there is no obvious plot holes or useless scenes.  Melissa George did a very good job in this film and helped a lot to make it a success as her character (Jess) is the center of all the story and all other actors play supporting roles.

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.

REVIEW: INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

INDEPENDEDNCE DAY 2 3D

CAST

Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Jessie Usher (Almost Christmas)
Bill Pullman (The Grudge)
Maika Monroe (The 5th Wave)
Sela Ward (Gone Girl)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Judd Hirsch (Tower Heist)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Angelababy (Hitman: Agent 47)
Robert Loggia (Psycho II)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Chin Han (Arrow)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)
Mckenna Grace (I, Tonya)

Twenty years after a devastating alien invasion, the United Nations has set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a global defense and research program to reverse-engineer alien technology and serve as Earth’s early warning system against extraterrestrial threats. The main defense force utilizes equipment salvaged from the remains of the alien forces and operates military bases built on the Moon, Mars, and Rhea. The Area 51 base in Nevada has become the ESD Headquarters.The world is preparing to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their survival after the invasion. In the provincial African state Republique Nationale d’Umbutu, ESD Director David Levinson meets with Dr. Catherine Marceaux and warlord Dikembe Umbutu, who lead him to an intact alien destroyer. Aboard the ship, they discover that the alien occupants sent a distress call to their home planet before being defeated. Furthermore, Umbutu, former U.S. President Thomas Whitmore, and Dr. Brackish Okun (who awakens at Area 51 after a twenty-year coma)—all of them once telepathically linked with the aliens ever since their personal encounters with them—have of late been receiving strange visions of an unidentifiable spherical object.An unidentified spherical ship, with design and technology different from that of the aliens who attacked 20 years earlier, emerges from a wormhole near the ESD’s Moon defense headquarters. Levinson believes that it belongs to another extraterrestrial race that might be benevolent and urges the world’s Security Council not to attack, but they vote to shoot it down regardless. Against the Council’s orders, pilots Jake Morrison and Charlie Miller pick up Levinson, Marceaux, Umbutu, and U.S. federal controller Floyd Rosenberg on a space tug, and they head for the wreckage near the Van de Graaff crater, where they recover a container. An alien mothership 3,000 miles (4,800 km) in diameter suddenly emerges and destroys Earth’s planetary defenses before approaching the planet. The space tug is caught in the mothership’s gravitational pull, which lifts objects from across Asia, causing massive damage on its path. The debris falls all over Europe, where the tug manages to escape before heading on to Area 51. The mothership lands over the north of the Atlantic Ocean, destroying cities on the Eastern Seaboard, and begins drilling a hole through the bottom of the ocean floor to harvest the Earth’s core for fuel, which will destroy both its magnetic field and atmosphere in the process, killing all life.Whitmore’s group interrogates one of the aliens held in captivity from the war, who has recently awoken from a 20-year catatonic state. The ESD learns that the aliens exist in eusociality and that one of their colossal Queens is commanding the invasion. Levinson hypothesizes that, if they kill the supervising Queen, her forces will cease drilling and retreat. An ESD aerial fleet, led by Captain Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, stages a counterattack on the Queen’s chamber, but they are caught in a trap within the mothership, which nearly wipes out the entire unit. In Area 51, Okun opens the container and releases a giant white sphere of virtual intelligence; indeed benevolent and more advanced than the attacking aliens. It reveals that its mission is to evacuate survivors from worlds targeted by the aliens, whom it calls “Harvesters”, and that it has gathered a viable resistance force against the Harvesters, hidden in a refugee planet at a location unknown to the Harvesters. Despite being the last of its kind, the sphere implores the humans to destroy it in order to prevent the Harvesters from discovering the location of the planet where it has hidden the survivors. In the mothership, Dylan, Jake, and other survivors manage to escape by hijacking enemy attack craft, and pursue the Queen’s personal ship, which is heading to Area 51 with its convoy.Knowing the Queen has become aware of the sphere’s presence, the ESD forces hide it in an isolation chamber and use a decoy to lure the Queen’s ship to a trap filled with fusion weapons. Against his daughter Patricia’s wishes, Whitmore volunteers to pilot the space tug on the suicide mission, leading the warship to the trap and detonating the bombs, thus sacrificing himself and destroying the ship. However, the Queen survives by using an energy shield on her biomechanical suit. Several fighters fire at the Queen, but the shield protects her.However, Patricia manages to fire through a gap in the shield when the Queen prepares to fire her own gun, thereby disabling the Queen’s shield, allowing Dylan’s arriving party to kill the Queen before she can take the sphere. With the Queen dead, all the remaining alien fighters are rendered inactive, while the mothership stops drilling and retreats to space. Okun reveals that the sphere has asked humanity to lead its resistance and has offered the humans new technology in preparation for a counterattack to assault the Harvesters’ home world and take the fight to the aliens.The action is decent. The jeopardy level is good. What it can’t quite offer is the shock of the new that the original gave us. But for fun science fiction action blockbuster escapism, it’s not bad. So it’s an entertaining watch.

REVIEW: THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

 

CAST

Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jessica Chastain (The Martian)
Emily Blunt (Looper)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Rob Brydon (Cinderella)
Sheridan Smith (Cilla)
Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady)
Sam Claflin (The Quiet Ones)
Sophie Cookson (Kingsman)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)

MV5BODE5NGY1ZTUtNzE2Ni00OTNiLWFkNDctNjIxZGNiYjY5ZmIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNDMwNzI@._V1_Long before her death, the evil sorceress, Queen Ravenna, (Charlize Theron) learns that her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt) is not only engaged in an illicit affair with a noblemen Andrew (Colin Morgan), but is also carrying his child. Sometime after Freya gives birth to a baby girl, Freya discovers that Andrew has murdered their child and, and in a grief-fueled rage, Freya kills him with her long-dormant ice powers. Freya abandons the kingdom and build herself a new kingdom in the north. She orders children to be abducted so as to train them to be fearsome huntsmen to conquer for her, and to harden their hearts so to spare them the pain of losing someone they love. Despite the training, two of her best huntsmen Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), grow up only to fall in love with each other, secretly marry and plan to escape together. However Freya discovers their secrets. She confronts them and creates a massive ice wall to separate them before forcing Eric to watch Sara be killed by her fellow huntsmen. Eric then was cast out and left to die, only to somehow survive.MV5BZTBiODJlZTEtOGQ0Yi00ODk3LWJjZDQtYzUyYWJhZWQwNjY1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjAwODA4Mw@@._V1_Seven years later, and after Ravenna’s death, Queen Snow White falls ill after hearing Ravenna’s Magic Mirror calling her. Because of its dark magic, she ordered it to be taken to the Sanctuary, the magical place that sheltered Snow White during the events leading to Ravenna’s death, so that the mirror’s magic can be forever contained there. Snow White’s husband, William, informs Eric that the soldiers tasked with carrying the Mirror went missing while en route to the Sanctuary. Eric is aware that Freya has been secretly observing their conversation through a mask that projects her consciousness in the form of a magically animated Snowy owl, and he destroys it. Knowing the magic of the mirror can make Freya even stronger, Eric agrees to investigate, but reluctantly allows Snow White’s dwarf ally Nion (Nick Frost) and his half-brother Gryff (Rob Brydon) to come along.
MV5BYTEzYjk1NjQtYTgwNy00MGRhLWI2ZWItMGFmYmFkZTY4MTY4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTIzOTk5ODM@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_While en route to the last known location of the soldiers, the trio are attacked by a number of Freya’s huntsmen, but are rescued by Sara. Sara reveals that she had been imprisoned by Freya the entire time, only to escape recently. Sara believes she saw Eric running away rather than fighting to get to her, and feels betrayed. Eric tries to convince her that it was a vision conjured by Freya, since he himself saw Sara being murdered. He told Sara he never stopped loving her, however Sara is not convinced. Eventually Sara agrees to work with Eric and the dwarves only to thwart Freya.
MV5BZTk2YmJkNDQtZDcyNy00ZmM0LWEwMTEtMjZmNWQ0ODQ4OTU0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNDMwNzI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,888_AL_Sometime later, the quartet is ensnared in a trap laid out by female dwarves Bromwyn (Sheridan Smith) and Doreena (Alexandra Roach). They convince the female dwarves to help find the Mirror, and the female dwarves lead them to the goblins, whom the female dwarves suspected of taking the mirror. The party fight off the goblins to get to the Mirror, and Eric sacrifices himself to buy time for the party to escape with the mirror. Sara mourns his apparent death, only to see Eric somehow survived. Eric reveals that he had never taken off a medallion Sara gave him as a token of her love. With the Mirror, the party is about to reach the Sanctuary, only to be ambushed by Freya and her huntsmen. Freya reveals Sara is loyal to Freya all along, and Sara has been using them to find the Mirror. In the ensuing chaos, Nion and Doreena are turned into ice statues, and Sara fires an arrow into Eric’s chest by Freya’s order. Freya departs with the Magic Mirror, but she is unaware that Sara intentionally shot the arrow at the medallion she gave Eric, thus saving him and revealing Sara’s true feelings.
MV5BNGVhZWMyMGEtNDNjYy00NDBiLWE3MDYtZGIyYTkwNGVkYzAzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI2ODA2NTc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1431,1000_AL_Back in her palace up north, Freya approaches the mirror and asks who is the fairest of them all. The mirror replies by forming a golden liquid, eventually transforming into Ravenna. Ravenna reveals that her spirit is trapped and becomes one with the mirror after Snow White vanquished her, but she is now freed by Freya. Ravenna proceeds to usurp Freya’s rule by preparing Freya’s huntsmen to exact revenge on Snow White’s kingdom, without consulting Freya.  Meanwhile, Eric has infiltrated the ice palace with help of Gryff and Bromwyn. He attempts to assassinate Freya, only to be stopped by Ravenna. When Freya realizes that Sara hadn’t actually killed Eric, she reluctantly sentences them both to death because of Ravenna’s manipulation. However, Eric is able to convince a few huntsmen to rebel, claiming the love of brethren. Ravenna begins to kill the huntsmen. Freya, realizing that she loves her huntsmen, protects them with an ice wall and separating them from the sisters.

MV5BMTMwNzEwNDI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ2ODYzNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_As Eric, Sara and the rebelling huntsmen climb over the wall to fight Ravenna and Freya, the two sisters argue over the icy kingdom. Freya discovers that Ravenna ultimately caused the death of Freya’s child, so Freya finally turns against her sister. Freya is no match for Ravenna and is stabbed, but with her remaining strength Freya freezes the magic mirror. Eric shatters the mirror, thus destroying Ravenna. As Freya dies from her wounds, she smiles at the sight of a vision of her old loving self, and gladly witnessing Eric and Sara together. With Freya’s death, all those who had been imprisoned by Freya’s magic are now free, including Nion and Doreena. Meanwhile, a mysterious golden bird flies overhead, hinting that Ravenna’s spirit may still live.MV5BMTMwNzEwNDI4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ2ODYzNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_It’s a film involving magic, dwarves, Goblins, an ice kingdom and sisterly rivalry! I found the story to be reasonably engaging, and the action sequences to be exciting. The visual effects are  quite amazing (especially when the Freya character unleashes her icy powers). While it’s certainly not a sophisticated story, it is good fun – and ought to be judged in those terms (as a visual spectacle and action fantasy film).

 

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Josh Hutcherson (The Forger)
Liam Hemsworth (Knowing)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Julianne Moore (Freedomland)
Willow Shields (beyond The Blackboard)
Sam Claflin (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Mahershala Ali (Alphas)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Robert Knepper (Heroes)
April Grace (Lost)
Sarita Choudhury (Jessica Jones)

Katniss Everdeen is recovering after being attacked by Peeta Mellark, who has been brainwashed by the Capitol. The rebels attack and disable the Capitol’s weapons arsenal in District 2. Katniss tries to rally the loyalists against the Capitol, but is shot and injured in the confrontation. Despite Katniss’ desire to kill President Snow personally, Alma Coin refuses to allow her into battle. At Finnick and Annie’s wedding, Johanna Mason suggests Katniss sneak aboard a supply ship leaving for the Capitol, where Commander Paylor is planning an invasion. Unable to bring her back, Coin has her assigned to the “Star Squad”, led by Boggs and includes Gale, Finnick, Cressida, Messalla, Castor, Pollux, Jackson, the Leeg twins, Mitchell, and Homes; they will follow in relative safety behind the actual invasion of the Capitol providing video of their incursion for propaganda purposes. Boggs carries a holographic map (the “Holo”) to help them evade known booby trapped “pods” which line the streets of the Capitol. Coin also sends Peeta to join the squad, even though he has not fully recovered from the Capitol’s conditioning.

As they venture deeper into the Capitol, Boggs triggers a pod which sets off a land mine and mortally wounds him, and transfers command of the Holo to Katniss before dying. The squad triggers another pod, which releases a flood of lethal black tar. Peeta momentarily succumbs to his conditioning and attacks Katniss, pushing Mitchell into the tar and killing him. The group takes shelter in an abandoned building, where Jackson, the second-in-command, attempts to commandeer the Holo, until Katniss convinces them she is under secret orders from Coin to kill Snow. Katniss and most of the group escape just before a squad of Peacekeepers arrive and destroy the building, killing the Leeg twins. The Capitol broadcasts a message announcing Katniss’s death, which is interrupted by Coin, who delivers an impassioned eulogy for her, to rally the rebels.

The team descends into the Capitol’s sewers to avoid further pods, but they are attacked by a horde of genetically engineered creatures called “mutts”. Jackson, Castor, and Homes are killed as the squad flees through the sewers. Finnick is overwhelmed as he fights off the swarm to allow the team to escape, forcing Katniss to set the Holo’s self-destruct, killing him and the remaining mutts. The surviving team members reach the surface but are chased by Peacekeepers, and Messalla is killed by a pod that melts and disintegrates him. The team takes refuge in a shop, where Tigris, a former Hunger Games stylist and rebel sympathizer, hides them in her basement.

As rebel forces gain ground, Snow invites fleeing Capitol citizens into his mansion for protection. Katniss and Gale join the crowd, posing as refugees to gain access to Snow. Rebels arrive and attack, killing many in the crossfire. In the chaos, Katniss pushes forward to Snow’s mansion, where Peacekeepers are herding Capitol children toward the closed gates. A hovercraft flies overhead, and drops small parcels by parachute into the pen of children. The parcels explode, killing them. A team of rebel medics attempt to help the injured, among whom is Katniss’s sister Prim. A second wave of bombs detonate, killing Prim and knocking Katniss unconscious. Upon recovering, Katniss learns the Capitol has been conquered, and Snow captured. When Katniss confronts Snow, he claims that Coin orchestrated the bombing outside his mansion to turn his soldiers against him. Katniss realizes that the incident resembles a trap that Gale had developed earlier. When Gale is unable to assure Katniss that the bombs were not of his design, Katniss cuts all ties with him. Coin invites the remaining Hunger Games victors to vote on a proposal to have another Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol, as a symbolic gesture to satisfy the districts. Katniss swings the vote in favor, in exchange for the right to execute Snow personally.

At the execution, Katniss shoots and kills Coin instead of Snow. The rebels take Katniss into custody, while Snow is tortured and killed by the angry mob. Katniss is eventually pardoned for her crime and returns to District 12, where she is joined by Peeta, who has recovered from his conditioning. Commander Paylor is elected the new President of Panem, and Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch bond over their shared trauma. Years later, Katniss and Peeta play with their two children, as Katniss contemplates the nightmares of her past, and somberly reflects that “there are much worse games to play.”

The special effects are amazing, and the film gripped me throughout. There are some chilling and sad moments and with some twists along the way. Music from previous films is used to powerful effect. Jennifer Lawrence puts in an incredible performance as Katniss, and there are other strong performances from the cast. I was sad to see this end series, but feel everyone involved can be incredibly proud of what has been achieved. An outstanding and thought provoking finale.