REVIEW: KILL THE IRISHMAN

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Punisher Warzone)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Tony Dartrow (The Sopranos)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes man)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Laura Ramsey (The Covenant)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Mike Starr (Radio Days)

In 1960, Danny Greene and his childhood friends Billy McComber and Art Sneperger are longshoremen at the Cleveland docks. Meanwhile, the members are exploited by corrupt union boss, Jerry Merke and the leadership of the ILA union urges Greene to run against him. Meanwhile, Sneperger can’t pay a gambling debt to Cleveland Mafia Capo John Nardi. In return for Sneperger’s debt being forgiven, Greene supplies Nardi’s crew with goods stolen from the docks. Merke finds out, demands a cut of Greene’s profits, and then sends an enforcer to kill him. Instead, Greene beats up the enforcer, then beats up Merke, throws the union leader out of his office, and is later elected union president. He improves the working conditions at the docks while continuing his dealings with Nardi.Greene’s corruption is exposed by the Plain Dealer newspaper and Cleveland Police Detective Joe Manditski, who grew up with Greene in Collinwood, arrests him. Bankrupt and facing prison, Greene plea bargains to lesser charges in return for becoming an FBI informant and being banned for life from organized labor. Greene is released and moves his unhappy wife and daughters back to Collinwood. Nardi gets him work as an enforcer for Hungarian Jewish loan shark Shondor Birns, and later helps pitch a deal to Mafia Capo Jack Licavoli: Greene will force the city’s garbage haulers to join the union Licavoli controls. Greene, McComber, Sneperger, and ex-Hells Angel Keith Ritson terrorize many into joining, but Greene’s friend Mike Frato refuses. Licavoli orders Greene to kill Frato, but Greene balks because Frato has ten children. Nardi tells him privately, though, that, “You wanted to play in the big leagues. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t wanna do.”As Greene prepare’s to kill Frato with a car bomb, he learns from the FBI that Sneperger has returned to gambling, and has become an informant for Manditsky. That night, Greene assigns Sneperger to set the bomb under Frato’s car and presses the detonator as he does it. An enraged Frato later shoots at Greene in a park. Greene returns fire, kills Frato, and is arrested for murder, but released after Frato’s driver tells Manditski that Greene acted in self-defense. Having had enough, Greene’s long suffering wife leaves him and takes the children. Greene sees his elderly Irish neighbor, Grace O’Keefe, being evicted. He intervenes, pays her rent, and she gratefully gives him her father’s gold Celtic cross to wear for protection. Greene begins to use his money and connections to help other Irish-Americans in need, and earns the nickname “The Robin Hood of Collinwood”.Greene wants to open his own restaurant, and asks Shondor Birns to help him. Birns arranges a $70,000 loan from the Gambinos, but Birns’ courier buys cocaine with the money and gets arrested. Birns and Greene argue over which of them should pay back the money; when Greene refuses to pay, Birns hires a hitman to kill him. Greene narrowly escapes, and later kills Birns with a car bomb. After Mafia boss John Scalish dies, both Nardi and Licavoli are considered for succession. Licavoli is chosen due to his closer ties to the Five Families and decides to charge Greene 30% “street tax” for doing business in Cleveland. Greene refuses to pay, crudely mocks Licavoli’s Italian heritage, and vows, “The Irishman’s in business for himself now.” An outraged Licavoli has Greene’s house blown up, but he survives. He then attempts to demote Nardi and take away his crew, only to have the latter join forces with Greene. Vowing to take over Cleveland together, Greene and Nardi start by organizing the murders of Licavoli’s associates, many of whom are blown up. Thirty-six car bombings occur during the summer of 1976, drawing national attention and humiliating Licavoli. After failing multiple times to kill Greene, Licavoli is forced to humbly ask Genovese boss Anthony Salerno to help him kill Nardi and Greene.Having learned of this from the FBI, Greene claims that he wants to leave Cleveland and buy a ranch in Texas, but needs to raise $2 million. Wishing to size up their enemies, Greene and Nardi travel to New York and invite Salerno to invest in the ranch. After they leave, Salerno orders his associates to hire professional hitman Ray Ferritto to kill them both. Nardi is killed in a car explosion, McComber dies in a bombing at the Cleveland docks, and Ritson is shot near his house. Detective Manditski lets Greene know that a master killer is after him. He offers Greene protection, but is told, “My enemies will be taken care of.” After a dentist’s appointment on October 6, 1977, Greene notices Ferritto driving by slowly, and accepts that he is about to die, giving his gold cross to an admiring boy. Ferritto detonates a bomb on the car next to Greene’s, killing Greene instantly. An epilogue, by Manditski, reveals that the investigation of Danny Greene’s murder led to the collapse of the Mafia, not only in Cleveland, but all over the United States.I’m not a big fan of biopics or mobster films like this.  With that said the film is more fascinating and entertaining than most others of it’s type. The actors are all good and well cast, especially Stevenson. He’s always been a cool action bad ass in films before but here he’s really given a chance to show off his acting abilities and range. His performance combined with Hensleigh’s better than average directing make the film one definitely worth checking out. Probably especially if you’re a fan of the genre.

 

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REVIEW: THE TRANSPORTER REFUELLED

CAST

Ed SKrein (Deadpool)
Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Loan Chabanol (Third Person)
Gabriella Wright (The Tudors)
Noémie Lenoir (Rush Hour 3)
Anatole Taubman (Band of Brothers)

Former special-operations mercenary Frank Martin is living a less perilous lifestyle than he had previously, transporting classified packages for questionable people. Then he took the contract from Anna following his three rules of no names, no questions and no renegotiations. According to the contract, he should be near the bank for her and her two packages. However, he finds himself thrust into danger again when Anna and her accomplices Gina, Maria, and Qiao orchestrate a bank robbery and kidnap Martin’s father to confront and kill Arkady Karasov, a human trafficker who had victimized Anna years earlier. Anna’s whole team robbed Arkady’s friends and framed him for it.All in all it’s pretty much what you would get from a Transporter film. Lots of intense and over the top action, awesome fight scenes. Would I say this movie is terrible, well no. Would I say it’s great, not that either. A film like this is just a film to pass the time, you’ll like it for the action nothing more.

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: THE OTHER GUYS

CAST

Will Ferrell (Anchorman)
Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Ray Stevenson (Punsiher Warzone)
Samuel L. Jackson (Iron Man)
Dwayne Johnson (Walking Tall)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Damon Wayans Jr. (New Girl)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Zoe-Lister Jones (Salt)
Lindsay Sloane (Bring It On)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump)
Ice-T (Tank Girl)
Tracy Morgan (Little Man)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Zak Orth (Wet Hot American Summer)

Detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a mild-mannered forensic accountant and was a pimp in the past. Hot-tempered detective Terry “Yankee Clipper” Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) has been partnered with Allen ever since he mistakenly shot Derek Jeter during the World Series. Allen and Terry receive no respect from the other officers, particularly detectives Martin (Rob Riggle) and Fosse (Damon Wayans, Jr.). All but Terry idolize cocky detectives Chris Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and P. K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson), who are considered the city’s best policemen even though they frequently cause millions of dollars in property damage catching petty criminals. During a pursuit, Danson and Highsmith leap to their deaths after misjudging their ability to survive a fall, which causes the precinct to wonder why they did it and who will take their place.

Allen and Terry investigate a scaffolding permit violation by multi-billionaire Sir David Ershon (Steve Coogan) but wind up uncovering a much bigger plot by Ershon to cover his losses to his client Lendl Global. Lendl CEO Pamela Boardman (Anne Heche) hires a team of mercenaries led by Roger Wesley (Ray Stevenson) to make sure Ershon pays her back. During their investigation, Allen confides in Terry about how he ran a college dating service in his past, though he denies that he was a pimp. When Allen’s life spiraled out of control, he was sent to the hospital where he met his future wife Sheila (Eva Mendes), and he promised Sheila that he would never get out of control again. When Sheila tells Allen that she is pregnant, Allen reverts to his old dark personality, and she kicks him out. Meanwhile, Terry unsuccessfully attempts to reconnect with his ex-fiancée Francine (Lindsay Sloane), who had walked out on him due to his temper.

Their investigation comes to a halt when Ershon’s attorney, Don Beaman (Andy Buckley), learns of Ershon’s plan to cover his losses, leading Wesley to kill him and make it look like a suicide. Angered at their lack of progress, Capt. Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton) splits up Allen and Terry, sending Terry to traffic duty and Allen to beat patrol. Despite Terry’s anger, Allen still works the case on his own. After Allen learns that Danson and Highsmith died investigating a staged theft during which Wesley broke into an accounting firm next door, he finds credible evidence and earns his gun back from Mauch. Allen then convinces Terry to rejoin him. They meet Capt. Mauch at Bed Bath & Beyond, his second job, where the police captain admits he has been holding off on the case because Ershon has high-profile connections that could ruin him, and he allows them to finish the case off-the-books.

They go to an investment meeting Ershon is having and realize that the $32 billion Ershon seeks is really coming from the New York Police Department pension fund. They escape with Ershon to his private apartment, and Ershon tells them that the money for the pension fund is already in his account, ready to be transferred. Later that night, Allen and Terry finally reconcile with their loved ones. Allen apologizes to Sheila with the help of her mother and she welcomes her husband back. Terry also apologizes to Francine for letting his anger rule his life.

The next morning, they drive to the bank to stop the transfer, evading Wesley’s team, groups of Chechen and Nigerian investors to whom Ershon owes money, and police officers who are told Allen and Terry have gone rogue. They reach the bank and halt the transfer. Wesley arrives, and as a delaying tactic, shoots both officers and Ershon in their arms. Mauch finally arrives with police backup, rescuing the two and arresting Ershon for his embezzlement, and Wesley for multiple counts of murder. Ershon’s arrest leads to a stock market crash and the subsequent federal bailout of Lendl Global. Terry marries Francine, and although he asks Sheila to be his best man, she declines. Sheila reunites with her husband. The narrator (Ice-T) finishes off by stating that the true heroes are the everyday people who work to make a difference, not the ones who appear in the newspaper or on TV.

This is a very funny film, with several very funny moments delivered by a series of excellent comedic acting performances. There will be the occasional “funny situation” that has you cringing, but bear with it and you’ll be laughing again in no time!

REVIEW: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

CAST

Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars)
Theo James (Underworld 4)
Jeff Daniels (The Martian)
Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Road Fury)
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)
Miles Teller (Fantastic Four)
Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove)
Jonny Weston (Project Almanac)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Mekhi Phifer (Lie To Me)
Ashley Judd (High Crimes)
Xander Berkeley (Poison Ivy 2)

Many Chicago citizens run towards the wall, but soldiers under Evelyn (Naomi Watts) are told to shut down the perimeter, and thus, no one is allowed through. Evelyn directs Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim) of Candor to hold trials for the Erudite and Dauntless conspirators, in which a number of them becoming executions, starting with Max (Mekhi Phifer). Evelyn and Johanna (Octavia Spencer) attempt to pressure Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) into taking leadership positions in the new coalition, but both refuse. After seeing that the hostile situation within the city is only going to get worse, Tris escapes with Four, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Tori (Maggie Q), and Peter (Miles Teller) to journey beyond the wall that encloses Chicago. However, Tori is killed by Edgar (Jonny Weston) in the attempt.  The group is ambushed by Edgar, who is later disabled by an armed group of individuals and airships. The soldiers take the group to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a highly advanced city where they learn that years ago the government believed that society’s problems were caused by “damaged genes”. In an attempt to create a better society, they began to modify people’s genes, with disastrous results. The government set up “experiments” in an attempt to repair this mistake, establishing isolated cities across the remains of the United States. The hope is to raise enough genetically pure Divergent individuals to fix the “genetic damage” left in the wake of the Purity War.

Tris and Four are tested by Matthew (Bill Skarsgård) and Nita (Nadia Hilker) to verify and study their Divergence. Tris is shown to be truly Divergent, but Four’s genetic structure indicates that his genes are still “damaged”. Caleb and Peter are assigned to surveillance teams that monitor Chicago. Matthew then brings Tris to the leader of the Bureau, David (Jeff Daniels). David gives Tris a device that allows her to view her mother’s memories, and sees that her mother was rescued and adopted by the Bureau before volunteering to join the Chicago experiment out of dedication to the project. In return for his help in restoring peace to Chicago, Tris agrees to help David, who claims that only the council he reports to has the power to intervene.

Meanwhile, Four and Christina train with Nita and joins the Bureau’s military force. They join the military on a rescue mission to a nearby wasteland village, though Four becomes mistrusting of the Bureau’s intentions after realizing that they are going there to kidnap and forcefully integrate children into the Bureau’s populace. Upon their return, Four discreetly petitions Caleb to keep an eye on the situation in Chicago. Four also attempts to warn Tris of the Bureau’s intentions, but she rejects his ideas.

Caleb warns Four of a rapidly escalating conflict back in Chicago between Johanna’s group of Allegiants and Evelyn’s factionless, with open war becoming an imminent threat. Four appeals to Tris for her to return to Chicago with him to end the bloodshed, but she decides to go with David to Providence to meet with the council. David agrees to reinsert Four back in Chicago, escorted by Matthew and some Bureau soldiers. Once in the air, Matthew quietly reveals to Four that the flight is a trap and he is meant to be killed. A skirmish breaks out and Four defeats all of the soldiers, though the airship crashes as a result. Matthew betrays David by helping Four get through the cloak wall. Four proceeds to Chicago while Matthew remains behind to be rescued by the Bureau and warn Tris.

Meanwhile, Tris and David meet with the council. Tris disagrees with the council’s objectives and criticizes how they have done nothing to stop the violence in Chicago. The council responds that David had the power to intervene whenever he desires, revealing that he has lied to her from the beginning. During the return flight to the Bureau, Tris ends their partnership. Upon her return, she gathers Caleb and Christina in David’s airship to return to Chicago, and Nita helps them escape. Four is captured by the factionless and confronts Evelyn to end the violence although she shows no intention of standing down. Tris, Caleb, and Christina arrive to find the city tearing itself apart at the opening stage of a full assault by the Allegiant. David makes a deal with Peter in exchange for Peter’s promotion and inserts him into Chicago to convince Evelyn to deploy a hidden Bureau stockpile of gas to wipe the memories of the attackers and force a peace in her favor, to which she reluctantly agrees. Peter takes her to a vault where she can deploy the gas across the city but remain safe herself, making her the only individual in Chicago who will remember any of those events.

Tris and Christina fight through the factionless and arrive at the vault, having rescued Four along the way. At the vault door, Four convinces Evelyn to stop the gas attack, as he wouldn’t remember who she was if she carried it out. She folds and stops the release, and is shot by a frustrated Peter. Peter gloats in his victory until the same gas starts releasing inside the vault as well. Realizing David has betrayed him, Peter opens the vault so Tris and Four can stop the gas release and flees back towards the cloak wall, as Four says he will make him pay for badly wounding his mother.

Caleb arrives and aids Tris in destroying the gas dispersion hub, stopping the release. The main characters gather atop the Erudite building as they watch the stolen shuttle fly back towards the Bureau, heavily laden with explosives. Tris transmits a message to the whole city, revealing to them the existence of the Bureau and that Chicago was an experiment of the Pure. Her message to the Bureau is that Chicago is no longer their experiment, but the home of its citizens. Caleb detonates the explosives at the end of the message, tearing a massive hole through the cloak wall and revealing the two cities to each other. The film ends with the Chicago characters gazing at the Bureau in the distance, with David standing behind Tris via his machine, glaring at her.I really enjoyed this film.I love Tobias and Tris’ relationship, the challenges they face and the way they overcome this with the help of other characters. I think this movie, more than the previous two, really cemented the personalities of some of the other significant characters so we can become more invested in them and I really appreciated this touch. The movie is also shot beautifully. The only downside to the film is that its only the first half of the book we have to wait till next year for the final part.

REVIEW: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT

CAST

Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars)
Theo James (Underworld 4)
Kate Winslet (Quills)
Naomi Watts (Birdman)
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)
Mekhi Phifer (Lie To Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Road Fury)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genysis)
Miles Teller (Fantastic Four)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Maggie Q (The King of Fighters)
Tony Goldwyn (Ghost)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash)
Ashley Judd (High Crimes)
Justin Leak (Powers)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Jonny Weston (Project Almanac)
Suki Waterhouse (Pride and Predjudice and Zombies)

Five days after the assault on the Abnegation faction by Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and her mind-controlled Dauntless soldiers, Jeanine has declared martial law and that the Divergents – those with the qualities of multiple factions – and those allied with them are the enemy. Among the Abnegation wreckage, Dauntless leader Eric (Jai Courtney) and his platoon recover a five-sided box: each side has a faction symbol. Jeanine presumes it contains data from the city’s founders and the means to end the Divergence problem. As only a Divergent is capable of opening the box, she orders the capture of all Divergents.
Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) hide within the Amity compound. Soon after, Eric and his fleet arrive to test all the occupants for Divergence. Peter gives up the group’s location as Tris, Four, and Caleb escape and board a train headed into Factionless territory. After fights with the Factionless aboard, Four reveals his name–Tobias Eaton–which prompts the Factionless to stand down and reply that they have been searching for him.
Four, Tris and Caleb are given amnesty at Factionless. There, Tris and Caleb discover that the Factionless leader is Four’s mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts). She suggests that Dauntless and Factionless should ally against Erudite, but Four declines. The next morning, the three leave Factionless for Candor to meet up with the remaining Dauntless; during the trek, Caleb tells his sister Tris that he cannot continue with them and goes in a different direction. Upon arrival, Tris and Four are arrested and brought before Candor leader Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim), who intends to deliver them to Jeanine. However, Four pleads for Jack to conduct a trial in Candor with the use of truth serum. During the trial, Four communicates his motives and is absolved. Tris tearfully admits her guilt in shooting and killing Will, which angers Christina.
Candor is attacked by the Dauntless who have sided with Eric, and many people are shot with pellets of new simulation serum. Tris is captured by Eric who learns she has a Divergence reading of 100%, making her the perfect subject to open the box. Eric arrests Tris, but Four and the Factionless allies arrive to save her. After a brief exchange, Four shoots Eric in the head for the murder of hundreds of people. Back at Erudite, Jeanine, frustrated that none of the Divergent subjects have survived the simulation trials required to open the box, is approached by Peter, who pledges his loyalty to Erudite, and suggests the best way to get Tris to surrender is by exploiting her humanity.
Back at the Factionless base, Four reluctantly agrees with Evelyn that war is inevitable and that they need to prepare. Jeanine activates the pellets, causing Christina, Marlene and Hector to repeatedly chant that Tris must turn herself in or more death will follow, as they step closer and closer to the edge of a tall structure. Tris and Tori then climb the sides of the roof as Tris rescues Christina and Tori, Hector. However, Marlene plunges to her death. Overcome by guilt, Tris decides to turn herself in. That night, she and Four sleep together, and then she quietly slips away.
Upon arrival at the Erudite headquarters, Tris is immediately arrested. She agrees to undergo the trials provided that the suicides cease. Tris overcomes four of the trials, however, when her vitals drop, Jeanine reluctantly halts the simulation so that Tris can rest. Tris then discovers that they have captured Four. She fails the final trial and her vital signs cease. Her body is wheeled over to Four’s cell so the latter can mourn, but when she awakens, Peter assists Four in overpowering the guards, revealing that he had faked her death by injecting her with a sleep serum. Tris is determined to open the box and find the truth about its message; she and Four head to the simulation room, while Peter returns to the control room to secretly grant them security access.
Overcoming the final trial, Tris successfully opens the box. A woman explains that the walled city and faction system is actually an experiment they devised, that the Divergents are actually the success of the experiment, and that the world is waiting outside for them to return to humanity. Realizing she has lost all her power, Jeanine orders that the box be buried and that Four and Tris be executed. However, the Factionless army breaks into the simulation room to rescue Tris and Four. Jeanine and Caleb are arrested. The message from the box is broadcast to the entire city. Tris is hailed as a hero by the masses, eager to explore the world beyond the wall. As Jeanine looks out from her cell, she states that after 200 years since the city was enclosed, there is no telling what awaits them beyond it. Evelyn tells her that she will never find out and kills her.Insurgent is a fantastic follow up to Divergent, however I would recommend watching one after the other. Everyone was awesome in their roles, once again Kate and Shailene shone. But I also loved Octavia as she really showed what a true Amity leader would be like. I also loved when they went into Candor where Tris and Four were on trial. Props to Robert Schwentke for a perfect sequel that (like its predecessor) has you craving more.

REVIEW: DIVERGENT

CAST

Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars)
Theo James (Underworld 4)
Kate Winslet (Quills)
Ashley Judd (High Crimes)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genysis)
Ray Stevenson (Punisher: Warzone)
Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Road Fury)
Miles Teller (Fantastic Four)
Tony Goldwyn (Ghost)
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)
Maggie Q (The King of Fighters)
Mekhi Phifer (Lie To Me)

In a futuristic dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellectual). The remaining population are the Factionless, who have no status or privilege in this society. When children reach the age of 16, they undergo a serum-induced psychological aptitude test which indicates their best-suited faction, though they are allowed to choose any faction as their permanent group at the subsequent Choosing Ceremony.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) was born into Abnegation, which runs the government. Her father, Andrew Prior (Tony Goldwyn), serves on the ruling council along with the head of Abnegation, Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson). Beatrice takes her test with a Dauntless woman named Tori Wu (Maggie Q) as her proctor. Her results show equal attributes of multiple factions, meaning she is Divergent. Her divergence includes Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. Tori records her results as Abnegation and warns her to keep the true result a secret, saying that because Divergents can think independently the government cannot control them and they are considered threats to the existing social order.

The next day at the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice’s brother Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite. After some indecision, Beatrice defects to Dauntless. After the ceremony, Beatrice meets Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Al (Christian Madsen), and Will (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), three other initiates from other factions who also chose Dauntless. Christina and Al are from Candor, and Will is from Erudite. The initiates’ commitment and fearlessness are immediately tested, and Eric Coulter (Jai Courtney), a brutal Dauntless leader, makes it clear that anyone not meeting Dauntless’ high expectations will be expelled from the faction to become Factionless. Beatrice is the first to volunteer for a leap of faith from a tall building into a dark hole, landing in a net. When Four (Theo James), a transfer initiates’ instructor, asks her name, she shortens it to “Tris” leaving her Abnegation childhood behind.

Tris initially struggles in Dauntless training, ranking far below the cutoff after the first evaluation, but with Four’s help slowly improves. Eric matches her against her nemesis — Peter (Miles Teller) in a fight. Tris is soundly defeated and wakes up in the infirmary. Informed that she will miss the most important test, Capture The Flag, Tris leaves the infirmary and joins the other initiates, secures her team’s victory, and makes the final cut.

In the next phase of training, the initiates face their worst fears in psychological simulations. Divergents are resistant to serums and simulations, so Tris excels at these tests, solving them in peculiar ways, but Four warns her to solve the challenges as a normal Dauntless would in order to hide her abilities. Tris visits Caleb, who tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow Abnegation and become the ruling faction. On her return to Dauntless quarters, Tris is attacked by Al, Peter, and Drew before being rescued by Four. The next day Al pleads for Tris’ forgiveness but she refuses, calling him a coward. He later kills himself by jumping into “The Chasm” rather than live with the shame.

To prepare her for the final test, Four takes Tris into his own fear simulations, where she learns that he was Tobias Eaton, the son of Marcus Eaton. After the simulation, they kiss. Tris then passes her test and is officially initiated into Dauntless. The rest of the Dauntless are injected with a serum supplied by Erudite which is supposedly for tracking, but is actually for mind control. The next morning, the Dauntless prepare to execute Abnegations by the orders of the Erudites. Divergents are unaffected by the new serum, so Tris must blend in to avoid suspicion. She finds Four, who reveals himself as a Divergent. While the Dauntless move to raid Abnegation, Tris and Four separate from the group and attempt to locate Tris’ parents, but Eric realises Four is not under control and captures the two. Four is taken into custody while Tris is ordered to be executed. Her mother Natalie (Ashley Judd) appears and liberates her but is shot dead as they flee.

Tris finds her father in hiding with several Abnegations including Caleb and Marcus. The group sneaks into Dauntless headquarters, where Tris encounters Peter and forces him to lead them to Erudite’s control center. Her father sacrifices himself in a shootout, and Tris goes in alone to find Four, who is now under stronger mind control designed for Divergents and attacks her. Using her knowledge of his fears, she manages to wake him from the mind control and the two enter the central control room, where Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is about to have the Dauntless army execute the entire Abnegation faction. Tris uses a sample of the mind control serum on her to force her to cancel the program. The group escapes the compound and boards a train out of the complex.

A great start to a superb franchise. Unlike many science-fiction stories, the narrative is focused on the main character’s journey as she tries to identify where she fits in a post-war world. It is therefore fortunate the the main character is very well acted, and this film is more about her journey than about the wider societal issues that form the ending. The film is also nicely grounded despite it being set centuries in the future, so there is little in the form of distracting CGI visuals. it’s refreshing to have a nicely fleshed out world that feels real.