REVIEW: FAST & FURIOUS 8

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CAST

Vin Diesel (XXX)
Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas)
Jason Statham (Safe)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Tyrese Gibson (Transformers)
Ludacris (Gamer)
Scott Eastwood (Fury)
Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones)
Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
Elsa Pataky (Snakes on a Plane)
Tego Calderón (Illegal Tender)
Don Omar (Los Bandoleros)
Luke Evans (Dracula untold)
Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones)
Helen Mirren (Red)

Dominic “Dom” Toretto and Letty Ortiz are on their honeymoon in Havana when Dom is challenged to a street race at an auto show by local racer Raldo. Dom races for Raldo’s car, intending to give it to his cousin Fernando, while wagering his own show car. After narrowly winning the race, Dom allows Raldo to keep his car, earning his respect, and instead leaves his cousin with his show car. The next day, Dom is approached by elusive cyberterrorist Cipher, who coerces him into working for her.Shortly after the encounter, Dom and his team, comprising Letty, Roman Pearce, Tej Parker, and Ramsey, are recruited by Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs to help him retrieve an EMP device from a military outpost in Berlin. During the getaway, Dom goes rogue, forcing Hobbs off the road and stealing the device for Cipher. Hobbs is arrested and locked up in the same high-security prison he helped imprison Deckard Shaw in. After escaping, both are recruited by intelligence operative Frank Petty/Mr. Nobody and his protégé, Eric Reisner/Little Nobody, to help the team find Dom and capture Cipher.Deckard reveals that Cipher was the mastermind of previous encounters with the team, such as employing his brother Owen Shaw to steal the Nightshade device and orchestrating the attempted theft of God’s Eye, Ramsey’s software program.The team tracks Dom and Cipher to their very location just as they attack the base and steal God’s Eye. When Dom begins to question Cipher’s motives, she reveals that she has held Dom’s ex-lover and DSS agent Elena Neves – as well as their son, whose existence Dom was previously unaware of – hostage in order to keep Dom loyal to her. Elena tells Dom that the child was born as a result of an unintended pregnancy, and that she wanted him to decide the child’s first name, having already given him the middle name Marcos.Cipher then sends Dom to New York City to retrieve a nuclear football held by the Russian Minister of Defence.Dom manages to evade her for a short time through a diversion created by Raldo, allowing him to meet with and persuade Deckard and Owen’s mother, Magdalene Shaw, to help. The team intercepts Dom after he steals the nuclear football, but Dom escapes, shooting and apparently killing Deckard in the process. Cipher facilitates Dom’s escape by hacking into all of the autonomous cars in the city and reprogramming them to auto-drive, wreaking havoc throughout the city. Letty catches up to Dom, but is ambushed and nearly killed by Cipher’s enforcer, Connor Rhodes, before Dom rescues her. In retaliation, Cipher has Rhodes kill Elena in front of Dom.Dom is then sent to Russia to use the EMP device to disable a nuclear submarine, enabling Cipher to hijack it and attempt to use its arsenal to trigger a nuclear war. They are once again intercepted by the team, provided with modified vehicles by Petty. Meanwhile, Deckard, who had faked his death and been extracted by Tego Leo and Rico Santos, former members of Dom’s team, infiltrates Cipher’s plane to rescue Dom’s son at Magdalene’s behest, with the help of Owen. Once Deckard reports that the child is safe, Dom turns on Cipher and kills Rhodes, avenging Elena’s death, before rejoining his team. Outraged, Cipher launches an infrared homing missile at Dom, but he breaks away from his team and maneuvers around it, causing the missile to hit the submarine instead. The team quickly forms a vehicular blockade around Dom, shielding him from the ensuing explosion. When Deckard reaches the front of the plane and confronts Cipher, she makes her escape by parachuting out of the plane. Petty and Reisner visit Dom and his team in New York City to report that Cipher is still at large. Hobbs is offered his DSS job back, but he declines in order to spend more time with his daughter. Deckard then arrives to return Dom’s son, putting his differences aside with Dom and Hobbs in the process, and is accepted into their family. Dom decides to name his son Brian, after his friend and brother-in-law Brian O’Conner, and they celebrate.Fast and Furious 8 is awesome and does what it is trying to do which is entertain with crazy action sequences. A great action packed film to a solid franchise.

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REVIEW: FAST & FURIOUS 6

CAST

Vin Diesel (XXX)
Paul Walker (Brick Mansion)
Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas)
Jordana Brewster (Chuck)
Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil)
Tyrese Gibson (Transformers)
Ludacris (Gamer)
Sung Kang (Bullet to The Head)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Luke Evans (Dracula untold)
Gina Carano (Deadpoll)
John Ortiz (Narc)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Elsa Pataky (Snakes on a Plane)
Jason Statham (Safe)

Following their successful heist in Brazil, Dominic “Dom” Toretto and his professional criminal crew have fled around the world: Dom lives with Elena; his sister Mia lives with Brian O’Conner and their son, Jack; Gisele and Han live together; and Roman and Tej live in luxury. Meanwhile, DSS agent Luke Hobbs and Riley Hicks investigate the destruction of a Russian military convoy by a crew led by former British SAS Major and special ops soldier Owen Shaw. Hobbs persuades Dom to help capture Shaw by showing him a photo of the supposedly long-dead Letty Ortiz, Dom’s former lover. Dom and his crew accept the mission in exchange for their amnesty, allowing them to return to the United States.In London, Shaw’s hideout is found, but this is revealed to be a trap, distracting them and the police while Shaw’s crew performs a heist at an Interpol building. Shaw flees by car, detonating his hideout and disabling most of the police, leaving Dom, Brian, Tej, Han, Gisele, Hobbs, and Riley to pursue him. Letty arrives to help Shaw, shooting Dom without hesitation before escaping. Back at their headquarters, Hobbs tells Dom’s crew that Shaw is stealing components to create a deadly device, intending to sell it to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, Shaw’s investigation into the opposing crew reveals Letty’s relationship with Dom, but she is revealed to be suffering from amnesia. Dominic’s crew learns that Shaw is connected to a drug lord who was imprisoned by Brian, Arturo Braga. Brian returns to Los Angeles as a prisoner to question Braga, who says Letty survived the explosion that seemingly killed her; Shaw took her in after discovering her amnesia. With FBI help, Brian is released from prison, regrouping with the team in London.Dom challenges Letty in a street racing competition; afterwards, he returns her cross necklace he had kept. After Letty leaves, Shaw offers Dom a chance to walk away, threatening to otherwise hurt his family, but Dom refuses. Tej tracks Shaw’s next attack to a Spanish NATO base. Shaw’s crew assaults a highway military convoy carrying a computer chip to complete his deadly device. Dom’s crew interferes while Shaw, accompanied by Letty, commandeers a tank, destroying cars en route. Brian and Roman manage to flip the tank before it causes further damage, resulting in Letty being thrown from the vehicle and Dom risking his life to save her. Shaw and his crew are captured, but reveal Mia has been kidnapped by Shaw. Hobbs is forced to release Shaw, and Riley, revealed to be Shaw’s covert accomplice, leaves with him; Letty chooses to remain with Dom.Shaw’s group board a large moving aircraft on a runway as Dom’s crew gives chase. Dom, Letty, and Brian board the craft; Brian rescues Mia, escaping in an onboard car. The plane attempts take-off, but is held down by excess weight as the rest of the team tether the plane to their vehicles. Gisele sacrifices herself to save Han from Shaw’s henchman; Letty kills Riley and escapes to safety, but Dom pursues Shaw and the computer chip. As the plane crashes into the ground, Shaw is thrown from it, seriously injuring him, and Dom drives a car out of the exploding plane. Dom reunites with his crew, and gives the chip to Hobbs to secure their pardons. Dom and the others return to his old family home in Los Angeles. Hobbs and Elena, now working together, arrive to confirm the crew’s freedom; Elena accepts that Dom loves Letty. As Roman says grace over the crew’s meal, Dom asks Letty if the gathering feels familiar; she answers “no, but it feels like home.” In a mid-credits scene, which takes place in Tokyo, Han is involved in a car chase when he is suddenly broadsided by an oncoming car. The driver walks away from the scene after leaving Letty’s cross necklace by the crash, and calls Dom as Han’s car fatally explodes, saying, “You don’t know me. You’re about to.”It’s so rare nowadays that sequels improve and franchises get better, well Fast & Furious shows us it’s truth. This sixth addition lives up to it’s speedy natured title yet again with furious action sequences that will excite audiences from the epic scale convoy heist to the knockout plane finale, it’s all so over the top and that’s exactly what you want.

REVIEW: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

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CAST

Emily Blunt (Looper)
Haley Bennett (The Equalizer)
Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible 5)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Edgar Ramirez (Joy)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Allison Janney (Spy)
Lisa Kudrow (Bad Neighbours)

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) is an alcoholic who divorced her husband, Tom Watson (Justin Theroux), after catching him cheating on her with their real estate agent, Anna Boyd (Rebecca Ferguson). During their marriage, Rachel was prone to alcohol-induced blackouts during which she engaged in self-destructive behavior that she only later learned about from Tom, and to which she attributes the ending of their marriage, in addition to her being infertile.  Rachel shares an apartment with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon) and spends her days commuting on a train, often stalking Tom, Anna, and their newborn daughter Evie. During her trips, Rachel grows fascinated with Tom’s neighbors, Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett), a young couple in what Rachel believes is a perfect marriage. In reality, Scott is aggressive and controlling, while Megan is detached, prone to dishonesty and sex addiction, and has frequent therapy sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr. Kamal Abdic (Édgar Ramírez).

While passing by the neighborhood one day, Rachel spots Megan kissing Kamal on her balcony and becomes infuriated by what she perceives as Megan’s ruining her “perfect” marriage. After a drinking binge, Rachel leaves the train to confront Megan, only to black out and awaken hours later at her apartment, injured. Rachel later finds out that Megan is missing and presumed dead, and is questioned by Detective Sergeant Riley (Allison Janney), who suspects Rachel might be involved due to her recent erratic behavior. Rachel, pretending to be a friend of Megan’s, approaches Scott and tells him about Megan’s affair. Scott identifies Kamal as Megan’s lover. Believing Kamal is behind Megan’s disappearance, Rachel schedules an appointment with him, wherein they discuss Rachel’s troubled relationship with Tom – particularly an incident in which she lashed out at an office party and aggravated Tom’s boss’s wife Martha (Lisa Kudrow), leading to Tom being fired.

At a bar, Rachel recognizes another commuter, who reveals that he saw her when she left the train the night that Megan disappeared. The commuter, heading home, later found Rachel unconscious in a tunnel, having been severely beaten by an unseen figure. Assuming she fell he offers his help, but she aggressively declined. Rachel returns to the tunnel and recalls seeing Megan with Tom and shouting at her before being ambushed. Meanwhile, Anna becomes suspicious of Tom after Sgt. Riley suggests that he is encouraging Rachel’s behavior by keeping in touch with her. Anna attempts to hack into Tom’s computer, and in the process she finds a secret phone with several voice messages to another woman Tom is having an affair with.
Megan is found dead and forensics determine she was pregnant, but the child was neither Scott’s nor Kamal’s. Scott becomes a suspect and confronts Rachel, believing she is conspiring against him, and in the process reveals he assaulted Megan prior to her death. Rachel runs into Martha and apologizes for her behavior at the party, only to discover she didn’t lash out or get Tom fired, but rather Tom was fired for having sexual relations with numerous co-workers. Rachel realizes Tom planted false memories in her head to account for his own abusive behavior. Anna identifies the woman Tom was exchanging phone calls with as Megan, and finds out Tom and Megan were having an affair. Rachel realizes Megan was pregnant with Tom’s baby and confided that to Kamal, leading to Rachel misinterpreting the nature of their encounter on the balcony. After leaving the train that day, Rachel caught Tom meeting with Megan and shouted at her, mistaking her for Anna. Tom then beat Rachel before returning to Megan, who announced she was keeping the baby. Realizing this would expose their affair, Tom murdered Megan.
Rachel goes to Tom’s house to warn Anna, but Anna reveals that she already knows about the affair. Tom arrives and Rachel confronts him. As Tom and Rachel argue Anna reveals she found Megan’s phone. Tom then carries out Evie, as a fearful Anna pleads for him to give her the baby while Rachel tries to dial 911. Tom takes the phone from Rachel and tells her to sit down. She begins to tell him how she now knows of all his wrong doings and false accusations. Tom then knocks Rachel unconscious as a flashback showing how he killed Megan plays. When Rachel regains consciousness, Tom tells her he wished she would have just stayed away for that one night. Rachel tries to run out of the house, grabbing a corkscrew on her way out. Tom catches up to her and attempts to strangle her, but she hits him with a lamp and tries to run again. Now outside the house, Tom catches up to Rachel, but this time she stabs him in the neck with the corkscrew as Anna watches from the window. Anna then exits the house and pushes the corkscrew deeper into Tom’s neck, finishing him off.
the-girl-on-the-train-trailerRachel and Anna come to an understanding and separately confirm to the police that Rachel killed Tom in self-defense, after he revealed himself to be Megan’s killer. One year later, Rachel has become sober and found a new job, and while still commuting on the same train, she now sits on the opposite side in a different car, leaving her old neighborhood in the past.asa-butterfield-and-ella-purnell-in-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-1The Girl on the Train features a great lead performance from Emily Blunt and a solid supporting cast, Haley Bennett and Rebecca Ferguson jumping on the paranoia train with Emily Blunt to great effect.  So, if you’re a fan of either mysteries or thrillers, The Girl on the Train will be a journey you want to go on.

REVIEW: THE THREE MUSKETEERS (2011)

CAST

Matthew Macfadyen (Robin Hood)
Logan Lerman (The Number 23)
Ray Stevenson (Thor)
Milla Jonovich (Resident Evil)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Orlando Bloom (Lord of The Rings)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Gabriellla Wilde (Carrie 2013)
James Corden (Into The Woods)
Freddie Fox (St Trinians 2)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Til Schweiger (This Means War)
Carsten Norgaard (The Man In The High Castle)
Dexter Fletcher (Kick-Ass)

In Venice at the beginning of the 17th century, the Three Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and Aramis (Luke Evans), with the help of Athos’ longtime lover, Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich), steal airship blueprints made by Leonardo da Vinci. However, they are betrayed by Milady, who gives the blueprints to the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Upon returning to France, the Musketeers are forced to disband by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) for their failure, and they end up on the streets of Paris.

A year later, a young man named d’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) leaves his village in Gascony for Paris in hopes of becoming a Musketeer as his father was, only to learn that they no longer exist. At a rural bar, d’Artagnan accuses Captain Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen), the leader of Richelieu’s guard, of offending his horse, and challenges him to a duel. Rochefort shoots him while he is distracted but he is saved by Milady de Winter. Arriving in Paris, d’Artagnan by coincidence separately encounters Athos, Porthos and Aramis accidentally offending all three, then scheduling duels with each at 12:00, 1:00 and 2:00 pm respectively.

Athos brings Porthos and Aramis to the duel as his seconds. d’Artagnan realises they are the Musketeers he is seeking. He is prepared to continue with the duel but Richelieu’s guards break it up. The three are inspired by d’Artagnan and fight together and defeat the soldiers, but later are summoned before the young King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) and his wife, Queen Anne (Juno Temple). Richelieu asks the king to execute the four, but the queen is impressed by their bravery and the king congratulates them and invites them to an event, which to Athos’ anger, turns out to be Buckingham’s arrival (who comes in an airship built following da Vinci’s blueprints).

Later, Richelieu orders Milady, who is actually working for him, to plant false love letters among Queen Anne’s possessions, steal Queen Anne’s diamond necklace, and take it to the Tower of London to frame Queen Anne as having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. The affair would force King Louis to execute Queen Anne and declare war on England. At this point, the people would demand a more experienced leader: Richelieu himself. But Milady demands that Richelieu declare in writing that she is working on behalf of France, to protect herself in case of palace intrigue.

The false letters (saying that the necklace has been given to Buckingham) are found by a maid and are given to King Louis, who is advised by Richelieu to set up a ball at which Queen Anne would be forced to wear the necklace. If she doesn’t, then her affair is real, and there will be war against England. Queen Anne’s lady-in-waiting Constance Bonacieux (Gabriella Wilde) discovers Richelieu’s plan and asks the Musketeers to stop him. The Musketeers plan to sail to England and retrieve the jewels before the ball. However, at the dock, Rochefort sets up a blockade to prevent anybody from boarding the ships. Constance takes d’Artagnan’s hat, cape and horse to divert the guards standing in front of the boat to allow the Musketeers to board undetected.

In London, Milady warns Buckingham that the Musketeers have arrived to take revenge on him. Milady instructs Buckingham of all their tendencies in battle, but Athos predicts this and the Musketeers resolve to do just the opposite. Buckingham captures d’Artagnan, but he was a decoy to let the Musketeers steal the airship. The Musketeers rescue d’Artagnan, demolishing the top floor of the Tower in the process. Athos was sure that Milady would have fled, taking the necklace with her as insurance, so he planted the Musketeers’ manservant Planchet (James Corden) as her carriage driver to take her to an isolated spot where the airship could pick up the carriage. As retribution for betraying them, Athos prepares to execute Milady. However, Milady leaps off the airship before Athos can shoot, apparently dying on her own terms.

The Musketeers fly back to Paris with the necklace, but they are attacked by Rochefort in another airship, as Milady had given Richelieu copies of da Vinci’s blueprints. Rochefort then reveals that he has Constance, and threatens to kill her if they don’t hand over the necklace. d’Artagnan agrees to exchange the necklace for Constance, with whom he is infatuated, but Rochefort knocks him out and captures him as soon as the necklace is in his possession. Rochefort then proceeds to attack the Musketeers’ ship, at first gaining the upper hand due to the superior size and weaponry of his airship. However, the Musketeers lure Rochefort into a storm cloud, burst the balloon of the airship and make the ship crash onto the Notre Dame Cathedral. On the roof, d’Artagnan duels and stabs Rochefort, who falls to his death. Meanwhile, Constance returns the necklace to Queen Anne.

The Musketeers arrive at the ball in Buckingham’s damaged airship. However, for the sake of King Louis and his people, they claim that Richelieu had it built for the king, but an attempt was made by Rochefort to sabotage it, also showing King Louis the authorization Richelieu had given Milady, pretending that it was given to them. The King then congratulates the Musketeers, and thanks d’Artagnan, who he sees as his best friend, for everything. Richelieu, impressed by how the Musketeers handled the situation, offers them places in his employ, but they refuse. Richelieu threatens them by saying they will one day regret their choices, but they laugh him off. As Louis and Anne dance, d’Artagnan and Constance kiss. The Musketeers then leave, promising that they will protect France as Musketeers when they are needed.

At sea, Milady (who survived her fall) is rescued by Buckingham, who reveals that he knows that she was working for Richelieu and says that he is going to fight against France. The camera backs away and shows Buckingham advancing towards France’s shore with a massive fleet of battleships and airships.

This is a good fun romp, the latest version of the classic tale is not to be taken seriously in any way whatsoever. Done very tongue in cheek with good action scenes and decent performances, this is a good fun film the whole family can enjoy though it has to be taken with a huge pinch of salt as 17th century airshps do battle. Yes, you read that right, airships. The cast are all good, all the classic characters are there, D’artagnan, Porthos, Aramis, Athos, Milady, Rocehfort & the Cardinal. The film is daft, yes and takes liberties with the plot of the novel but as i said it’s all done very tongue in cheek with everybody involved hamming it up like there’s no tomorrow. And the end screams sequel.

REVIEW: ROBIN HOOD (2010)

CAST

Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Max Von Sydow (Minority Report)
William Hurt (The Host)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars – Episode VII)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Eileen Atkins (Cold Mountain)
Mark Addy (Game of Thrones)
Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Arthur Darvill (Legends of Tomorrow)

In 1199 A.D., Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). A veteran of Richard’s crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the King’s conduct after the King asks him to answer him honestly. Though the Kings commends him for his honesty Robin and his comrades – archers Allan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) – find themselves in the stocks.
When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate the King. As Godfrey flees Robin attempts to shoot him but only succeeds in wounding Godfrey’s face with an arrow. Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. As they depart, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return a sword to his father in Nottingham.
As Robin and his men become drunk on the voyage, they awake too late to flee unnoticed and Robin is forced to assume the identity of the slain Loxley and publicly inform the royal family of the King’s death. He witnesses the coronation of King John (Oscar Isaac), who orders harsh new taxes to be collected, dispatching Sir Godfrey to the North to do so – unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and create an opening for Philip to invade England.
Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxley’s elderly and blind father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), asks him to continue impersonating his son, to prevent the family lands being taken by the Crown. However, Loxley’s widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him, when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant. Godfrey’s actions incite the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes the King agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and unite his country. Having realized Godfrey’s deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, the French marauders plunder Nottingham and Godfrey murders Sir Walter. Robin and the northern barons arrive and stop Godfrey’s men.

As the French begin their invasion on the beach below the Cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the now united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempted to kill Marion and flees until Robin finally succeeds in shooting him with an arrow from afar. Philip realizes that his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrendering to Robin instead of himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London, John reneges on his promise to sign the charter, instead declaring Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) announces the decree as Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marion narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the Kingdom of King John.

Helgeland wrote a clever script, showing Medieval ideology and a complex political situation. His previous Medieval film was A Knight’s Tale, which he wrote and directed. But with Robin Hood he seems to have grown up as a writer and gives this film a little more of a complex plot and shows a bigger picture. He also cleverly mixes different aspects about how the legend has changed, like how Robin starting as a commoner and pretends to be a higher ranked man. The film also covers its bases by showing the two sites places that claim to be Robin’s home, Nottingham and Barnsdale. However this film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on screen like this before.  Robin Hood is also historically suspect, with events and dates being changed and made up, some ideas and culture also seems to be the victim of artistic license. But Scott knows that storytelling requires character development and show a more balanced picture, particularly with historically set films. At least this film does accept that it is a piece of historical fiction.

REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

 

CAST

Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First CLass)
Gemma Arterton (The Voices)
Alexa Davalos (Angel)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Izabella Miko (The Cape)
Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)

In ancient times after defeating their predecessors, the Titans, the gods divided the Universe among themselves. Zeus took the skies, Poseidon took the seas, and Hades was left with the Underworld upon being tricked by Zeus. The gods created the mortals, whose faith and prayers fueled the gods’ immortality. As time passed, however, mortals began to question and soon resist their creators, angering the Olympians. A fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea, discovering a baby, Perseus and his mother Danaë. Spyros decided to raise Perseus.

As Perseus and his family fish from a boat, they watch soldiers from the city of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus. Infuriated at this desecration, the Gods unleash the Furies who attack the soldiers and destroy the fishing vessel. Only Perseus survives and is found by a group of the soldiers. Perseus is brought before King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, who are celebrating their campaign against the gods. Queen Cassiopeia brashly compares her daughter Andromeda to the gods and boasts that she is more beautiful than Aphrodite. The revelry is cut short by the arrival of Hades, who has been given leave by Zeus to punish the mortals for their defiance. Hades threatens to unleash his monster the Kraken against Argos, unless Andromeda is offered as a sacrifice. Before leaving, he reveals that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus.

Perseus meets Io, who confirms his origin. Io also reveals that she has watched over Perseus his entire life. She has always protected him for he is the only one who can defeat the gods. Perseus leads the King’s Guard to the Stygian Witches, looking for a way to kill the Kraken. After being betrayed by the power-hungry Hades, Zeus gives Perseus a sword forged on Mount Olympus and a winged horse named Pegasus. Perseus refuses both, but the captain of the King’s guard named Draco keeps the sword for when Perseus needs it. Soon after, they are attacked by Calibos, an agent of Hades. Draco severs the beast’s hand and Calibos flees. The band give chase but are attacked by giant scorpions called Scorpioxs that spring from spilled drops of Calibos’s blood. They are saved by a band of Djinn, non-human desert sorcerers led by Sheik Suleiman where the remaining Scorpioxs are tamed by the Djinn. The Djinn also wish for the gods’ defeat and lend their aid to Perseus and his band.

The group arrives at the lair of the Stygian Witches and learn that to kill the Kraken, they must obtain and use the head of Medusa, a gorgon who resides in a temple in the Underworld. Any living creature that looks on Medusa’s eyes turns into stone. Perseus, Io, Suleiman, Draco, and his remaining men, Solon, Eusebios, and Ixas, cross into the Underworld. The men enter Medusa’s temple lair while Io, being a woman and forbidden from entering, remains outside. Medusa kills all three of Draco’s men. Suleiman and Draco both wound the gorgon, sacrificing themselves in the process. Perseus finally beheads her by using his reflective shield to see her with his back turned. As he leaves the temple with Medusa’s head, Calibos appears behind Io and fatally stabs her. Perseus and Calibos fight where upon finally accepting that he is a son of Zeus, Perseus picks up the Olympian sword and stabs Calibos through the chest, who with his last breath urges Perseus not to become a God.

Before dying, Io urges a reluctant Perseus to leave her and save Andromeda and Argos. Then she dissolves into a golden ethereal vapor. Pegasus appears and Perseus mounts the flying horse and hastens back to Argos as the Kraken is released. The people of Argos seize and bind Andromeda to offer her to the Kraken. Meanwhile, as people die in the Kraken’s wake, the balance of power on Olympus shifts. Hades reveals he does not require the faith or worship of mortals (as Zeus does), as he has learned to survive on their fear. Hades then effortlessly subdues the weakened Zeus. Riding the black Pegasus, Perseus arrives at Argos and exposes Medusa’s head to the Kraken, which makes eye contact just before it is able to reach Andromeda. The Kraken, petrified, slowly turns to stone and shatters. Prokopion, the insane leader of the Cult of Hades, tries to kill Perseus, but Kepheus stops him and is stabbed, before both are killed when the kraken’s petrified hand falls on them. Hades appears, intending to finally kill Perseus. Perseus, calling upon Zeus, throws his sword at Hades. A lightning bolt engulfs the sword and the blast sends Hades back to the Underworld.

Perseus rescues Andromeda, who is now the rightful Queen of Argos. Andromeda asks Perseus to stay by her side as King, but he declines. Perseus also refuses another offer of godhood from Zeus, who then proclaims that if Perseus is to live as a human he should not be alone and revives Io.

The moviet keeps moving without feeling too chopped up and thankfully there’s a minimum of shakeycam or MTV overediting to accompany the overdose of testosterone. Big on spectacle and short on charm, it’s a very different animal to Harryhausen’s film (there’s even an injoke about that version’s irritating mechanical owl), but as long as you’re expecting that it’s one of the better action adventures of recent years.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: DRACULA UNTOLD

CAST

Luke Evans(the Hobbit)
Dominc Cooper (Agent Carter)
Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Paul Kaye (Pan)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)

In the Middle Ages, Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) is the Prince of Wallachia and Transylvania. As a child, he was a princely hostage of the Ottoman Empire and was trained to be a soldier in the Sultan’s elite Janissary corps, where he became their most feared warrior. He was called Vlad the Impaler after slaughtering thousands by impaling them on spears. Eventually sickened by his acts, he put aside his past and returned to rule his domains in peace. One day in the forest, Vlad and his soldiers discover a helmet in a stream. Fearing that an Ottoman scouting party is preparing the way for invasion, they follow the stream to a high mountain cave called Broken Tooth Mountain. Upon entering the cave, they discover the ground of the cave is carpeted in crushed bone; and they are attacked in the dark by an unknown creature (Charles Dance) with shining red eyes, as well as inhuman speed and strength. While his men are killed, Vlad cuts the creature of the cave with his sword before being thrown to the ground. The blood on the sword he used to cut the creature dissolves when exposed to sunlight, and the creature does not pursue Vlad into the sunlight at the mouth of the cave. Returning to his castle, Vlad learns from a local monk that the creature is a vampire, who was once a man who summoned a demon from the depths of hell and made a pact with it for dark powers before being tricked by the demon and cursed to remain in the cave forever until he is released by someone who drinks his blood, then drinks the blood of a human. The person is welcome to share his power in exchange for the freedom to escape the cave.

The next day, as Vlad celebrates an Easter feast with his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), his son Ingeras (Art Parkinson), and his subjects, an Ottoman contingent arrives unexpectedly at the castle. Vlad offers them the usual tribute payment of silver coins, but the emissary notes that a battalion of Ottoman scouts has gone missing, implying that Vlad has had them killed. Vlad professes that he had not killed them. The emissary demands an additional tribute of 1,000 boys to be trained as Janissaries, through the devşirme system. Vlad refuses, but his army is small and no match for the Turks. Mirena believes that, because of Vlad and Mehmed’s (Dominic Cooper) history together as children, being close like brothers, if he were to ask, Mehmed would show him mercy. He approaches Mehmed II and asks him not to take the country’s boys. When that fails, he offers himself in place of the boys; but the Sultan refuses and demands Vlad’s son in addition. The Sultan sends the emissary to bring Vlad’s son. Vlad has an argument with his wife, as he is sending his son to meet the emissary and Ottoman soldiers. Vlad tells his wife to trust him before leaving his wife and son and going to meet the emissary and the soldiers alone. He is unarmed; but his son, afraid for him, runs to him, takes his hand, and tells his father that he is ready to join the Sultan’s army. As Vlad approaches the Turks, the emissary, smiling, tells Vlad that he thought there would be some kind of difficulty. Vlad tells his son to run back to his mother, then takes the emissary’s sword and kills him and his small entourage of soldiers.

Knowing his actions will lead to war, Vlad returns to the Broken Tooth Mountain cave to seek help from the vampire. Once he is inside, the vampire asks Vlad why he returned. Vlad replies, saying he needs the power of the vampire so that he can defeat the Ottoman army. The vampire tells him there are consequences and offers him some of his blood, which will temporarily give Vlad the powers of a vampire. If he resists the intense urge to drink human blood for three days, he will turn back into a human. Otherwise, he will remain a vampire forever and will one day be called upon to help his maker. Vlad accepts the offer and drinks the vampire’s blood, going through a painful and deathlike experience as he transforms.

Waking up in the forest afterwards, Vlad discovers he has been granted heightened senses, inhuman strength and speed, and the ability to transform into a flock of bats; but his skin slowly burns in direct sunlight. When he returns to Castle Dracula, the Ottoman army attacks, but Vlad single-handedly kills them all. He then sends most of the castle’s subjects to Cozia Monastery, which is situated on the edge of a mountain, as a better base for safety. During the journey, Mirena learns of Vlad’s curse as she sees Vlad holding silver to keep himself weak when near his people to avoid revealing his condition to them or attack them for blood. After Vlad promises he will resist human blood, she accepts that he will regain his mortality once the Ottomans are defeated. A Romani named Shkelgim, who knows Vlad is a vampire, proclaims himself as his servant and offers his own blood; but Vlad resists. As they near the monastery, the Valahs are ambushed by Ottoman soldiers; and, while Vlad and his men successfully repel them, Vlad’s sudden increased strength arouses suspicion among his subjects. The next day at the monastery, a monk learns of the curse and leads the Prince’s subjects to turn on Vlad, trapping him in a burning building in the sunlight. Black smoke blocks out the sun, allowing an outraged Vlad to escape the fire, and he angrily reveals that he became a vampire for the sole purpose of protecting his people from the Ottoman suzerainty. Before he acts out against them, Mirena stops him and calms him down.

That night, the Ottoman army marches on the monastery. Vlad commands an enormous swarm of bats to repel them; however, the soldiers are actually a decoy force, allowing a handful of Turks to infiltrate the monastery, kill many of the inhabitants and kidnap Ingeras. Mirena tries to defend her son, and falls from the edge of the monastery wall. Dying, Mirena pleads with Vlad to drink her blood before the sun rises to give him the strength to save their son. Vlad reluctantly drinks her blood, triggering his final transformation into a full-blooded vampire and granting him even greater powers. Vlad returns to the monastery and turns a small group of survivors and mortally wounded into vampires as well. At the Ottoman army’s camp, Mehmed prepares for a massive invasion of Europe. Vlad and his vampires arrive and easily massacre the terrified Ottoman soldiers, while Vlad himself goes after Mehmed, who is holding Ingeras captive. Aware that vampires are weakened by silver, Mehmed has lined the floor of his tent with silver coins, reducing Vlad’s strength and speed, and impairing his vision, and fights Vlad with a silver sword. He overpowers Vlad and prepares to impale his heart with a wooden stake, but Vlad turns into a flock of bats and evades him. Taking the name “Dracula, Son of the Devil,” he kills Mehmed with the stake and drinks his blood, fully succumbed to the savagery of his vampiric condition.

As they leave Mehmed’s tent, Dracula and Ingeras are confronted by the other vampires, who demand that his son be killed because he is human. The monk who had previously led the Valahs against Vlad appears and keeps the vampires at bay with a Christian cross. When one of the vampires attempts to kill Ingeras, Dracula impales him with a spear as a warning to the others not to harm his son. Dracula orders the monk to take Ingeras away, then uses his power to clear the black clouds in the sky. The sunlight burns the vampires into dust, while Dracula collapses into a charred corpse. With Vlad presumed dead and Europe saved from the Ottoman invasion, Ingeras is crowned the new Prince of Wallachia. However, Shkelgim secretly takes Dracula into a nearby tent and revives him with his blood.

In the present day, Vlad meets a woman named Mina, who strikingly resembles Mirena, in the streets of a modern city (London), and they have a conversation about a line of poetry they have in common. The vampire who cursed Vlad, now healed, in a more human form, and still alive, watches them from afar and follows them, and anticipates what he has planned for Dracula in the future, saying, “Let the games begin.”

It’s a film with some great effects, has a charismatic lead with Luke Evans and when added to a great performance by Dominic Cooper as the Sultan Mehmed all round gave a film that was quite enjoyable.