REVIEW: CLEANSKIN

 

CAST

Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Abhin Galeya (Wimbledon)
Charlotte Rampling (Red Sparrow)
Peter Polycarpou (Birds of A Feather)
Tom Burke (The Musketeers)
Tuppence Middleton (Jupiter Ascending)
Michelle Ryan (4.3.2.1.)
Sam Douglas (Snatch)

Harry (Sam Douglas), a British arms dealer, is seen in bed with a prostitute named Rena (Shivani Ghai). While toying with Harry’s pistol, she unloads it but replaces the empty magazine. Harry’s bodyguard Ewan (Sean Bean) is a British Secret Service Agent. Harry and Ewan travel to a bank, transporting a briefcase of Semtex. The men are followed by two terrorists, Ash (Abhin Galeya) and Ibrahim (Mens-Sana Tamakloe). Ibrahim approaches Harry and Ewan from the top of a staircase, shooting at them. After Ash shoots Ewan twice, Harry tries to shoot Ash, only to discover there are no bullets in his gun. Ash kills Harry and takes the briefcase of Semtex. However, Ewan manages to shoot Ash in the arm; but, before he can apprehend him, Ash returns fire and escapes with the briefcase.Ash sews the stolen Semtex into a jacket along with a detonation device. He gives the jacket to Adel (Shane Zaza), who goes to a popular London restaurant and detonates the bomb. Being the only person who knows about the stolen explosives, Ewan is tasked by his two Secret Service superiors Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling) and Scott (James Fox) to find and eliminate the terrorists who created the bomb. His mission is off-the-books and unknown even within the Secret Service. He is given an assistant, rookie agent Mark (Tom Burke). Ewan finds Rena and beats her for any information she has about Harry. She tells Ewan and Mark that a man she frequented, Paul, paid her for information about Harry and to unload his gun. Ewan, Mark, and Rena go to Paul’s house where Rena tries to aid Ewan and Mark in capturing Paul. However, Paul kills her and attempts to detonate a suicide jacket but is killed by Ewan.At a cafè, Ash sees Kate (Tuppence Middleton), his former lover, and they exchange numbers. A series of flashbacks are shown from six years ago, where it is revealed that Ash and Kate were dating at university, where they both studied law. At the school, Nabil (Peter Polycarpou), a Muslim extremist, befriends Ash and asks him to join the pro-Muslim student group he heads. Ash and his friend Yussif (Chris Ryman) join the group and are exposed to Nabil’s anti-Western teachings. Later that night, when Ash is at a bar, he sees Nick (Chris Geere) drinking and hitting on Kate. He argues with her but ultimately forgives her. Ash returns to the bar the following day and sees Nick, who insults him and says that he slept with Kate. Ash beats Nick up and goes to his apartment and breaks up with Kate. Nabil continues to brainwash Ash.In the present, Ewan and Mark are sent to an abandoned building they are told is the home of a terrorist. Ewan confronts the man they find there (Jeetandra Lathigra) and interrogates him. The man begs for mercy, but Ewan sets him on fire and leaves him to burn to death. Searching the building, Ewan takes the man’s jacket. A series of flashbacks cut to three years earlier, where Nabil senses Ash’s readiness to do more for the cause. Nabil tells Ash to participate in the punishment of Sgt. Glen Conlan (Glenn Wrage), an ex-soldier living alone on a farm, who he says tortured and killed Muslims throughout the Middle East. An experienced foreign operative named Amin (Silas Carson) is flown into the UK; Ash and his friend Yussif are instructed to act as his local guides and assistants. They travel to Conlan’s farm. Yussif confronts Conlan in a barn but is stabbed in the face. Ash then chases Conlan and knocks him unconscious. Ash searches the house and finds a woman with a baby but does not tell Amin about them. Amin then searches the house again and kills the woman and her baby. Ash and Amin take Conlan to an abandoned building, where Ash films Amin beheading Conlan.a035b884afa29f51846bdab984980787Ewan and Mark go to a housing estate, where they are noticed by Ash and another man wearing a bulky jacket. The unknown man takes off running, and Ash gets away on his motorcycle. Mark chases after the unknown man and shoots him dead. Mark and Ewan are told by Charlotte that the Secret Service has found out about their covert mission and is hunting them. Later, when Ewan is sleeping in a hotel, Mark breaks in and tries to kill him. After a fight, Ewan stabs Mark; but Mark refuses to tell Ewan who sent him. Ewan then kills Mark. Ewan realises he is now alone and must stop the terror cell before he is killed. Using Mark’s earpiece, he discovers that whoever Mark was working for is facilitating the next bombing.tumblr_m79c1ein7L1r3no5jo2_1280Ash and Kate get back together after six years of being apart. However, Ash sees his work with Nabil as more important and leaves Kate for a final suicide mission. Nabil tasks Ash with killing the head of a pro-Iraqi War think tank at his daughter’s wedding in London. Ash makes a video explaining his reasons justifying his planned suicide attack. He travels to the wedding reception but is confronted by Ewan. Both are wounded in a fight, but Ash gets away. Disguising himself as a waiter, Ash makes his way to the reception’s head table. Moments before Ash detonates his jacket bomb, he is shot by Ewan. After disabling the detonator, Ewan leaves the hotel. At the exit, Ewan notices men in suits delivering luggage on a trolley into the hotel lobby and then driving away from the hotel. Moments later, a bomb hidden in this luggage detonates in the hotel lobby, killing Nabil’s targets.a035b884afa29f51846bdab984980787In the epilogue, Ewan finds a safe deposit box key in the jacket of the man he killed earlier. He finds the box and its contents: a folder and video camera. He watches the tape, which shows footage of the man Ewan set on fire saying that he is an English citizen named Hussein Malik, who is an undercover Secret Service agent like Ewan. Ewan, distraught, goes back to the hotel room where he killed Mark and finds Charlotte’s lighter in Mark’s shirt. He realises that Charlotte hired Mark to kill him and framed Scott for being corrupt to cover any trace of her covert mission. Ewan confronts Charlotte at her countryside mansion and kills her, framing her death as a suicide.screenshot_00001There are no laughs in this movie, no car chases. There is extreme violence, and a lot of incentive to question the purpose of that violence. The characters are strong, as is the message. Unfortunately, those who most need to hear that message are likely to either avoid this film entirely, or conveniently misunderstand it.

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REVIEW: THE MAN INSIDE

CAST

Ashley Thomas (24: Legacy)
David Harewood (Supergirl)
Michelle Ryan (4.3.2.1.)
Peter Mullen (War Horse)
Jason Maza (Welcome To The Punch)
Theo Barkin-Biggs (Tatau)

865116-30826-clp-950Clayton Murdoch (Ashley Thomas) carries a terrible darkness inside him. As a boy he was exposed, by his father(David Harewood), to murder and gang culture, With his father now in prison, Clayton struggles to overcome what he was groomed to become, in a city where every day there is a constant threat of violence and death. Clayton channels his aggression into boxing. Controlled, powerful, contained. However, when the violence starts to destroy his own family, Clayton loses control, and the darkness within him is unleashed. And now, to get the revenge against those who have taken his loved ones, he must ask the one man he fears the most for help, his father. With everything around him falling apart and the full shocking fury in him let loose, Clayton must look death in the face and find out who is the man inside.themaninside600This is one of those machocentric ego boost films where violence is always around the next corner and pride is as dangerous as a six shooter. This is gritty both in violence and the street language. The acting is all above average and the direction is pretty good too from Dan Turner who also wrote the screenplay. There are some issues with lighting where some of the scenes are so dark it is hard to see what is going on, but that may have been intentional to create atmos or whatever. Any way it does not really detract from what is actually quite a solid movie

REVIEW: BIONIC WOMAN (2007)

CAST

Michelle Ryan (4.3.2.1)
Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3)
Molly Price (The Knick)
Will Yun Lee (Elektra)
Lucy Hale (Scream 4)
Mark Sheppard (Chuck)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Isaiah Washington (Romeo Must Die)
Kevin Rankin (Hulk)
Jordan Bridges (Drive me Crazy)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Aaron Douglas (Smallville)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Jacqueline Samuda (Stargate SG.1)
Erin Karpluk (Ripper 2)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Magda Apanowicz (Caprica)
Elise Gatien (Smallville)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Kenneth Walsh (the Aviator)
Callume Rennie (Flashforward)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)

The ‘Bionic Woman’ character has (through her injured body being rebuilt with cutting edge technology) ‘superhero’-like powers, but without the strange costumes and other weirdness of the Bat Man & Spiderman type ‘Superhero’ genre.

This is a series of adventures but also raises questions about how far science should try to fundamentally ‘improve’ the human body, even an injured human body. That is seen especially in the first four episodes when the heroine not only has to come to terms with the effects of the rebuilding, in new improved form, of her own body after a car crash, but of meeting the troubled earlier ‘prototype’ bionic woman Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackhoff)

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Michelle Ryan might be a more obvious choice for a comedy or romance than to play an action superhero like the Bionic Woman. She is not as exceptional or charismatic an actress as Katee Sackhoff, who plays the Sarah Corvus character. However, Michelle Ryan is still good, and makes her character likeable and even charming.

Her character’s home life, juggling dangerous adventures with being stand in parent to a precocious younger sister, was not in the original 1970s series. However, as to a lesser extent with the ‘Bionic Woman’s romance over a few episodes with a CIA agent, it adds interest.

Little Lucy Hale is good as the younger sister, convincingly playing an adolescent.  A good series, cancelled prematurely, but the 8 episodes made still amount to more than 5 hours viewing time, which is a reasonable length. Although not originally written to be the end of the series, the last scene, between the heroine and her sister, while not wrapping everything up, is not a bad note on which to end.

REVIEW: 4.3.2.1.

CAST

Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Shanika Warren-Markland (Adulthood)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Tamsin Egerton (Grimsby)
Adam Deacon (Ali G Indahouse)
Ashley Thomas (24: Legacy)
Steven Cree (John Carter)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Noel Clarke (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Eve (XXX)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)

4.3.2.1 technically stands for 4 girls. 3 days. 2 cities. 1 chance. Yeah, that’s a bit off, but it sort of works in context. The primaries include: Joanne (Emma Roberts), Shannon (Ophelia Lovibond), Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton), and Kerrys (Shanika Warren-Markland). They’re four girlfriends from all walks of life ranging from working class to the filthy rich, but are bonded together by love. They’re best mates.

The gist of the story is that as they carry on with their lives they end up getting mixed up in a botched jewelry heist gone haywire. One of the thieves hides the diamonds in of the unsuspecting girls’ bags and hell ensues shortly after. It’s pretty straightforward but in a bit of a clichéd daze we are made to watch as each girl’s story arc is divided by four interweaving storylines that will ultimately join up at the end.

I was with the film all the way through due to really liking the main cast of girls with some very cool cameos sprinkled in throughout the film, which I will try to name if I can. We’ve got a very funny cameo by Kevin Smith (very self-deprecating, but funny), Eve (yes, the singer), Mandy Patinkin, Alexander Siddig (he steals the show with his bit part), Noel Clarke (Dr. Who, Kidulthood) & Adam Deacon (Anuvahood).
What I think works and makes for an enjoyable piece of entertainment isn’t necessarily that all four of our sexy protagonists are drop-dead gorgeous. It’s that they can handle themselves like badasses. They really do bring the beat downs on scumbags that deserve it. Not only that, but they’re fairly street-smart, savvy, independent, and don’t take crap from either sex.

4.3.2.1 is a fun and sexy romp-caper that should be experienced at least once. Give it a go.