REVIEW: ZERO DARK THIRTY

CAST

Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Ehle Fifty Shades Darker)
Kyle Chandler(Super 8)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
James Gandolfini (KIllThem Softly)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Mark Duplass (Greenberg)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jessie Collins (Revolution)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Fares Fares (KIll Your Darlings)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire)
Taylor Kinney (The Forest)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2 & 3)
Christopher Stanley (Argo)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Mark Valley (Human Target)

In 2003, Maya, a young U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst, has spent her entire brief career, since being recruited for the agency, focused solely on gathering intelligence related to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist organization’s September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. She is reassigned to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan to work with a fellow officer, Dan. During the first months of her assignment, Maya often accompanies Dan to a black site for his continuing interrogation of Ammar al-Baluchi, a detainee with suspected links to several of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. Dan subjects the detainee to approved torture interrogation techniques, i.e., stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and humiliation.After failing to get al-Baluchi to give up information on an attack in Saudi Arabia, he and Maya eventually trick Ammar into divulging that an old acquaintance, who is using the alias Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, is working as a personal courier for bin Laden. Other detainees corroborate this, with some claiming Abu Ahmed delivers messages between bin Laden and a man known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi. In 2005, Abu Faraj is apprehended by the CIA and local police in Pakistan. Maya is allowed to interrogate him, but he continues to deny knowing a courier with such a name. Maya interprets this as an attempt by Faraj to conceal the importance of Abu Ahmed.Maya spends the next five years sifting through masses of data and information, using a variety of technology, hunches, and sharing insights. She concentrates on finding Abu Ahmed, theorizing that he is the best way to find bin Laden. In 2008, she is caught up in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. Dan, departing on reassignment, warns Maya about a possible change in politics, suggesting that the new administration may prosecute those officers who had been involved in interrogations. Maya’s fellow officer and friend Jessica is killed in the 2009 Camp Chapman attack. That same day, a grieving Maya receives an interrogation video of a Jordanian detainee, who claims the man previously identified from a photograph as Abu Ahmed is a man he personally buried in 2001. Several CIA officers – Maya’s seniors – conclude the target who could be Abu Ahmed is long dead, and that they have searched a false trail for nine years.Sometime later, a fellow analyst researching Moroccan intelligence archives comes to Maya and suggests that Abu Ahmed is Ibrahim Sayeed, a suspect who had come to CIA attention shortly after 9/11. Realizing her lead may still be alive, Maya contacts Dan, now a senior officer at the CIA headquarters. She theorizes that the CIA’s supposed photograph of Abu Ahmed was actually of his brother, Habib, as he was said to bear a striking resemblance to Ibrahim and was known to have been killed in Afghanistan, and points out that Abu Ahmed’s death in 2001 contradicts Ammar’s account.Dan uses CIA funds to purchase a Lamborghini for a Kuwaiti prince in exchange for the telephone number of Sayeed’s mother. The CIA traces calls to the mother and quickly identifies one suspicious caller who persistently uses tradecraft to avoid detection. Maya concludes that the caller is Abu Ahmed, and with the support of her supervisors, numerous CIA operatives are deployed to search for and identify the caller. They locate him in his vehicle and eventually track him to a large urban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the Pakistan Military Academy. As Maya leaves her residence one morning, she is attacked by multiple gunmen, but the bullet-proof glass in her car saves her. Knowing that she has been blacklisted by al-Qaeda and there will be more attempts on her life if she stays, her superiors remove her from the field and send Maya home to Washington, D.C.The CIA puts the compound under heavy surveillance for several months, using a variety of methods. Although they are confident from circumstantial evidence that bin Laden is there, they cannot prove this photographically. Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Advisor tasks the CIA with producing a plan to capture or kill bin Laden if it can be confirmed that he is in the compound. An agency team devises a plan to use two top-secret stealth helicopters (developed at Area 51) flown by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to secretly enter Pakistan and insert members of DEVGRU and the CIA’s SAD/SOG to raid the compound. Before briefing President Barack Obama, the CIA Director holds a meeting of his top officials, who assess only a 60–80% chance that bin Laden, rather than another high-value target, is living in the compound. Maya, also in attendance, states the chances are 100%.The raid is approved and is executed on May 2, 2011. Although execution is complicated when one of the helicopters crashes, the SEALs gain entry and kill a number of people within the compound, among them a man on the compound’s top floor who is revealed to be bin Laden. They bring bin Laden’s body back to a U.S. base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Maya visually confirms the identity of the corpse. Maya is last seen boarding a military transport to return to the U.S. and sitting in its vast interior as its only passenger. The pilot asks her where she wants to go, but she does not reply. As the plane’s hangar door closes, Maya begins to cry softly.Considering the subject matter of Zero Dark Thirty, a film that follows the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it’d be little surprise were Hollywood to knock the edges off a little to make it easier for a broader audience. But director Kathryn Bigelow makes no such concession. Off the back of her Oscar-winning feature The Hurt Locker, her movie is a pulls-no-punches, under-your-skin drama. As such, it’s not always the easiest film to watch, but it is an utterly compelling one.

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

CAST
Hugh Jackman (Chappie)
Liev Schreiber (Scream 3)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Will.I.Am (Date Night)
Lynn Collins (John Carter)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Dominc Monaghan (Lost)
Taylor Kitsch (Battleship)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Daniel Henney (The Last Stand)
Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier 4)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
In 1845, James Howlett, a boy living in Canada, sees his father being killed by groundskeeper Thomas Logan. The trauma activates the boy’s mutation: bone claws protrude from his knuckles, and he kills Thomas, who reveals that he is James’s real father. James flees along with Thomas’s son Victor Creed, who is thus James’s half-brother. They spend the next century as soldiers, fighting in the American Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, Victor kills a senior officer. James defends Victor and the two are sentenced to execution by firing squad, which they survive. Major William Stryker approaches them in military custody, and offers them membership in Team X, a group of mutants including Agent Zero, Wade Wilson, John Wraith, Fred Dukes, and Chris Bradley. They join the team for a few years, but the group’s disregard for human life causes James to leave.
Six years later, James, now using the alias Logan, works as a lumberjack in Canada, where he lives with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox. Stryker and Zero approach Logan at work. Stryker reports that Wade and Bradley have been killed, and he thinks someone is targeting the team’s members. Logan refuses to rejoin Stryker, but after finding Kayla’s bloodied body in the woods, Logan realizes Victor is responsible. He finds him at a local bar, but Logan loses the subsequent fight. Afterward, Stryker explains that Victor has gone rogue, and offers Logan a way to become strong enough to get his revenge. Logan undergoes a painful operation to reinforce his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal. Once the procedure is complete, Stryker attempts to betray Logan by ordering that his memory be erased. Logan overhears this and escapes to a nearby farm, where an elderly couple take him in. Zero kills them the following morning and tries to kill Logan. Logan brings down Zero’s helicopter, killing him, and swears to kill both Stryker and Victor.
Logan locates John and Fred at a boxing club. Fred explains that Victor is still working for Stryker, hunting down mutants for Stryker to experiment on at his new laboratory, located at a place called “The Island”. Fred mentions Remy “Gambit” LeBeau, who escaped from the island and therefore knows its location. John and Logan find LeBeau in New Orleans, then both fight Victor, who kills John and extracts his DNA. Agreeing to help release mutants that Stryker has captured, Gambit takes Logan to Stryker’s facility on Three Mile Island. Logan learns that Kayla is alive, having been coerced by Stryker into keeping tabs on him in exchange for her sister’s safety. However, Stryker refuses to release her sister and denies Victor the adamantium bonding promised for his service, claiming that test results revealed Victor would not survive the operation. Stryker activates a mouth-sewn Wade, now known as Weapon XI, a “mutant killer” with the powers of multiple mutants, who he refers to as the “Deadpool”.
While Logan and Victor join forces to fight Deadpool, Kayla is mortally wounded leading the Island’s captive mutants — including a teenager named Scott Summers — to safety, and she has no choice but to stay behind. The mutants are subsequently rescued by Professor Charles Xavier. Logan decapitates Deadpool, destroying one of the cooling towers in the process. Stryker arrives and shoots Logan in the head with adamantium bullets, rendering him unconscious. Before Stryker can shoot Kayla, she grabs him and uses her mutant power to persuade him to turn around and walk away until his feet bleed. Logan regains consciousness but has lost his memory. He sees Kayla’s body, but does not recognize her, and leaves the island.
In a mid-credits scene, Stryker is detained for questioning by some MPs in connection with the death of his superior, General Munson, whom Stryker did in fact kill after Munson declared his intent to shut down Stryker’s project. There is another scene which features the fate of Deadpool.
Director Gavin Hood does a decent job of bringing Wolverine’s origin story to the screen, and although it was generally an enjoyable effort, it’s solid rather than spectacular.

REVIEW: DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

 

CAST

Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes)
Benedict Wong (The Martian)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Men In Black 3)
Benjamin Bratt (Traffic)
Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading)
Chris Hemsworth (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
Stan Lee (Chuck)
Amy Landecker (Dan In Real Life)

In Kathmandu, Nepal, the sorcerer Kaecilius and his zealots enter the secret compound Kamar-Taj and behead its librarian. From the ancient and mystical texts, they steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One, a sorcerer who has lived for an unknown time and taught all at Kamar-Taj, including Kaecilius, in the ways of the mystic arts. The Ancient One pursues the traitors, but Kaecilius escapes with the pages and some of his followers.In New York City, Stephen Strange, an acclaimed but arrogant neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Fellow surgeon and former lover Christine Palmer tries to help him move on, but Strange, firmly believing he can regain use of his hands, instead uses all his resources pursuing experimental surgeries in vain. After learning of Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who mysteriously was able to walk again, Strange seeks him out, and is directed to Kamar-Taj. There, Strange is taken in by another sorcerer under the Ancient One, Mordo. The Ancient One shows Strange her power, revealing the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension. Amazed, Strange begs her to teach him, and she eventually agrees despite his arrogance, which reminds her of Kaecilius.Strange begins his tutelage under the Ancient One and Mordo, and learns from the ancient books in the library, now presided over by the master Wong. Strange learns that Earth is protected from other dimensions by a spell formed from three buildings called Sanctums, found in New York City, London, and Hong Kong. The task of the sorcerers is to protect the Sanctums, though Pangborn chose to forgo this responsibility in favor of channelling mystical energy into walking again. Strange advances quickly over several months, even secretly reading from the text Kaecilius stole from and learning to bend time with the mystical Eye of Agamotto. Mordo and Wong warn Strange against breaking the laws of nature, comparing his arrogant yearning for power to that of Kaecilius, who believes, after the deaths of his loved ones, that everyone should have eternal life.Kaecilius and his followers use the stolen pages to begin summoning the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist and all can live forever. This destroys the London Sanctum, and sends Strange from Kamar-Taj to the New York Sanctum. The zealots then attack there, where Strange holds them off with the mystical Cloak of Levitation until Mordo and the Ancient One arrive. Strange and Mordo become disillusioned with the Ancient One after Kaecilius reveals that her long life has come from her own use of Dormammu’s power. Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One, and escapes to Hong Kong. The Ancient One tells Strange that he, too, will have to break the rules, to balance Mordo’s steadfast nature. She then dies, despite the best efforts of Strange and a bewildered Palmer. Strange and Mordo arrive in Hong Kong to find Wong dead and the Sanctum destroyed, with the Dark Dimension already engulfing Earth. Strange uses the Eye to turn back time and save Wong, before creating an infinite time loop inside the Dark Dimension that traps himself and Dormammu in the same moment forever. After killing Strange many times to no avail, Dormammu reluctantly agrees to leave Earth if Strange undoes the time loop, taking Kaecilius and the zealots with him.Disgusted by Strange and the Ancient One’s disregard for the consequences of defying nature, Mordo departs. Strange returns the Eye, which Wong calls an Infinity Stone, to Kamar-Taj, and then takes up residence in the New York Sanctum to continue his studies. In a mid-credits scene, Strange decides to help Thor, who has brought his brother Loki to Earth to search for their father Odin. In a post-credits scene, Mordo confronts Pangborn and takes the energy he uses to walk, stating that Earth has “too many sorcerers”.The Marvel Cinematic Universe shines again with manipulative sorcery and cognitive storytelling as this may be the strangest addition but still delivers some kick-ass entertainment.

 

REVIEW: GRIMSBY

CAST

Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
Penelope Cruz (Zoolander 2)
Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids)
Isla Fisher (Scooby-Doo)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Rory Keenan (Reign of Fire)
Tamsin Egerton (Camelot)
Johnny Vegas (Ideal)
Ricky Tomlinson (The 51st State)
David Harewood (Supergirl)
Scott Adkins (The Legend of Hercules)
Ian McShane (Game of Thrones)

Nobby Butcher (Sacha Baron Cohen) has been separated from his brother Sebastian for 28 years. During the 28 year separation, Nobby has become alcoholic and has started his own life with his wife Dawn (Rebel Wilson) and 11 children in the poor English town of Grimsby.

Sebastian (now Sebastian Graves) has become one of MI6’s top agents. After completing an interrogation, Sebastian comes into information regarding philanthropist Rhonda George (Penélope Cruz), who is hosting a benefit called WorldCure and is a potential target for assassination, and is assigned to go. Nobby’s pub friends also find out that his brother will be at WorldCure and convince Nobby to go and reconnect with him. Sebastian goes to the event and sees a hitman, later known as Pavel Lukashenko (Scott Adkins), who plans to assassinate Rhonda with a gun disguised as a video camera. As Sebastian prepares to shoot the camera, Nobby sees him and gives him a hug, accidentally causing him to shoot a Jewish-Palestinian boy with AIDS. The spray of blood lands in Daniel Radcliffe’s mouth, giving him AIDS.

The brothers go on the run from the authorities and other assassins, with Sebastian breaking his ankle in the process. Despite Sebastian’s protests, Nobby convinces him it would be best to hide at his home in Grimsby. Meanwhile, MI6 believes that Sebastian has gone rogue. The MI6 send orders to an assassin named Chilcott (Sam Hazeldine) to track Sebastian down. However, Sebastian calls his handler Jodie and proclaims his innocence.

Chilcott and his men find the two brothers at a pub. Sebastian and Nobby spot them and run away with help from the pub clientele, but Sebastian is hit with two poison darts in the process. Nobby is forced to first suck the poison out of his brother’s chest and then his testicles to save him. The brothers travel to South Africa, after Jodie informs Sebastian that Lukashenko was doing a deal with Joris Smit (Nick Boraine) in Tshukaru Bush Lodge. Sebastian accidentally injects himself with heroin, mistaking it for the bone strengthening treatment for his broken ankle. Nobby must assume his identity and go undercover. Nobby tries to seduce Joris’s wife Lina, but first seduces the wrong woman and is then interrupted by Joris and his two men. Sebastian arrives and saves Nobby. Lina tells them that Lukashenko bought some sort of virus, but she is fatally shot by Chilcott and his men from a distance before she gives any further information. To outrun Chilcott’s men, the brothers hide inside an elephant’s vagina, but in the process they become trapped inside after a male elephant begins having sexual intercourse with it. As they wash off afterwards, Sebastian asks why Nobby abandoned him as a child. Nobby explains that Sebastian’s adoptive parents only wanted to adopt one of the brothers but were unable to decide, and he ran away so Sebastian could have a better life.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2708409.main_image.jpgThe two brothers travel to Santiago, Chile. They realize that the syndicate plans to unleash their weapon upon a football match in the area, but the syndicate captures Sebastian. Rhonda visits the captured Sebastian and tells him her plans to launch the virus—called WorldCure—into the arena via fireworks. Nobby finally finds Sebastian, but he is intercepted by Lukashenko. Lukashenko overpowers Nobby, but he obtains Lukashenko’s gun and shoots him in the head. He easily kills the other henchmen before rescuing Sebastian.

The brothers go back to the arena and spot Rhonda. While Nobby tries to intercept Rhonda, Chilcott attempts to kill Sebastian, but Nobby’s kids throw a wheelchair at him, knocking him over and impaling on a helmet. Nobby obtains a gun and spotted Rhonda running through the arena. He goes after her. In the meantime, Raheem Sterling in the final match between England and Germany attempts a shot from a distance, however, the shot was going wide. Nobby shot the ball and it conveniently deflected into the goal. Nobby also shot the referee who’s going to disallow the goal, resulting in England winning the match. Nobby then tries to shoot Rhonda but his gun jams and he realizes he must stop the fireworks himself. He sits on one of the fireworks containing the virus; Sebastian sits on the other at the last minute, reaffirming his brotherhood with Nobby. The fireworks go off with the two atop them and the brothers are knocked unconscious upon landing. Nobby’s gun goes off and hits Daniel Radcliffe, whose infectious blood spills onto Donald Trump’s mouth.
 It is reported that Rhonda is arrested, the Graves brothers “died” after saving the world, and Donald Trump has AIDS. The brothers are actually recovering in the hospital. Jodie visits and gives them new identities, informing them that the virus did not affect them because its antidote is elephant semen. Nobby’s family also visits them. In the final scene, eight weeks later, Nobby and Sebastian are on a mission in Jakarta, Indonesia. On a boat, Nobby is approached by a team of gunmen, who he quickly kills. He reaches Sebastian, who asks him if he’s met the team; Nobby realizes too late that the gunmen were his team. In a post credit scene the brothers are in a car and stop to ask a man for directions to the stadium, after receiving directions Nobby shoots the man saying ‘leave no witnesses’ disturbing Sebastian.Grimsby also known as The Brothers Grimsby in America. This is one of the best comedy  movies released and definitely worthy of repeat viewings if you’re a fan of this type of comedy, and especially if you appreciate Sacha Baron Cohen’s brand of humor.

 

 

REVIEW: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 1-4

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Ally Walker (Longmire)
Ed O’Ross (Red Heat)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Tommy “Tiny” Lister (Jackie Brown)
Jerry Orbach (LAw & Order)
Tico Wells (The Relic)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Ralf Möller (The Bad Pack)

In 1969, a U.S. Army Special Forces team receives orders to secure a village against North Vietnamese forces. Private Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) discovers members of his squad and various villagers dead, all with their ears removed. Deveraux finds Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), who has gone insane, with a string of severed ears and holding a young boy and girl hostage. Devereaux, who is near the end of his tour of duty, tries to reason with Scott, who shoots the boy and orders Devereaux to shoot the girl to prove his loyalty. Deveraux refuses and tries to save the girl, but Scott kills her with a grenade. The two soldiers shoot each other to death. Deveraux and Scott’s corpses are recovered by a second U.S. Special Forces squad and cryogenically frozen, their deaths covered up as “missing in action”.

Deveraux and Scott are revived without memories of their previous lives and are selected for the “Universal Soldier” program, an elite counter terrorism unit, and are deployed via an Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy to the Hoover Dam to resolve a hostage situation. Devereaux used efficient means to dispatch terrorists, but Scott used excessive force, which causes concern among the project technicians. The team demonstrates their superior training and physical abilities against the terrorists, such as when GR76 (Ralf Möller) withstands close-range rifle fire. After the area is secured, Devereaux begins to regain patches of memory from his former life upon seeing two hostages who strongly resemble the villagers he tried to save in Vietnam, causing him to ignore commands from the control team and become unresponsive.

In the mobile command center, it is revealed that the UniSols are genetically augmented soldiers with enhanced healing abilities and superior strength, but also have a tendency to overheat and shut down. They are given a neural serum to keep their minds susceptible and their previous memories suppressed. As a result of the glitch, Woodward (Leon Rippy), one of the technicians on the project, feels it may be better to remove Devereaux from the team until he can be further analyzed, but UniSol commander Colonel Perry (Ed O’Ross) refuses. TV journalist Veronica Roberts (Ally Walker), who was fired while covering the Hoover Dam incident, tries to get a story on the UniSol project in order to get her job back. Roberts sneaks onto the base with a cameraman, discovering GR76 immersed in ice, still alive despite normally-fatal injuries.

When her presence is noticed, Devereaux and Scott are ordered to capture her. She flees to her cameraman’s car, but they crash. Scott coldly executes the cameraman against orders, before Devereaux stops him from shooting Roberts. Together, Devereaux and Roberts escape in a UniSol vehicle. Colonel Perry insists on preventing knowledge of the UniSols getting out, not only to the public, but to the Pentagon, which does not know the true nature of the project. Devereaux and Roberts flee to a motel, where Roberts discovers she has been framed for the murder of her cameraman. Scott’s previously insane personality begins to emerge, causing him to kill Perry and the technicians. Scott then takes command of the UniSol team, ordering them to find and kill Devereaux and Roberts.

Devereaux continues to rebuild his memory while Roberts tries to find more information about the UniSol program. They meet Dr. Christopher Gregor (Jerry Orbach), the creator of the program, who informs them that the UniSol project was started in the 1960s in order to develop the perfect soldier. Although they were able to reanimate dead humans, they were never able to overcome the body’s need for constant cooling. The other major problem is that memories of the last moments of life are greatly amplified. In Devereaux’s case, he still believes he is a soldier who wants to go home, while Scott believes he is still in Vietnam fighting insurgents. When Devereaux and Roberts leave the doctor’s office, they are caught and arrested by the police. En route to jail, the police convoy is ambushed by Scott and GR76. A chase ensues, ending when the police bus and the UniSol truck both drive off a cliff and explode, killing GR76. Devereaux and Roberts head to Devereaux’s family’s farm in Louisiana. After Devereaux reunites with his family, Scott appears and takes the family and Roberts hostage. A brutal fight ensues, and Scott’s use of muscle enhancers enables him to mercilessly beat Devereaux. Roberts manages to escape, only to be seemingly killed by a grenade thrown by Scott. Devereaux grabs the muscle enhancers Scott used and injects himself. Now evenly matched, Devereaux fights back and is able to impale Scott on the spikes of a hay harvester. Devereaux then starts the machine up, grinding Scott into pieces. Roberts survived the explosion and she and Devereaux embrace.This is going to be a lot of people’s guilty pleasure. If you like your action fast and violent then this movie is definitely for you

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Heidi Schanz (The Truman Show)
Xander Berkeley (Taken)
Justin Lazard (Species II)
Daniel Von Bargen (The Postman)
James Black (Anger Management)
Seven years after the events in the first film, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme), now an ordinary human, is a technical expert who is working with the government with his partner Maggie (Kiana Tom), who has been through countless hours of combat training with him, in order to refine and perfect the UniSol program in an effort to make a new, stronger breed of soldier that is more sophisticated and intelligent to reduce the use of normal, human soldiers in the battlefield. All of the new UniSols, which are faster and stronger than the original UniSols, are connected through an artificially intelligent computer system called S.E.T.H. (voice of Michael Jai White), a Self-Evolving Thought Helix. When S.E.T.H. discovers that the Universal Soldier program is scheduled to be shut down because of budget cuts, it takes action to protect itself.

Killing those who try to shut off its power, and unleashing a platoon of super soldiers, led by the musclebound Romeo (Bill Goldberg), S.E.T.H. spares Devereaux, only because Devereaux has the secret code that is needed to deactivate a built-in program that will shut S.E.T.H. down in a matter of hours. With the help of Squid (Brent Hinkley), a rogue cyberpunk, S.E.T.H. is able to put its program in a UniSol which Squid made superior to any of the newer models (White). Not only must Luc contend with ambitious reporter Erin Young (Schanz), who will not leave his side, but he must also contend with General Radford (Daniel von Bargen) who wants to take extreme measures to stop S.E.T.H.. S.E.T.H. has arranged Romeo to kidnap Luc’s injured 13-year-old daughter Hillary (Karis Paige Bryant), killing Maggie in the process.

Luc is the only person who can rescue Hillary, because Luc knows firsthand how a UniSol thinks, feels, and fights. Luc infiltrates the UniSol building, but finds Maggie, now revived as one of the UniSols. S.E.T.H is able to figure out the code itself, decides to kill Luc and raise Hillary as a daughter, who it has healed using UniSol technology. During the fight Luc covers S.E.T.H. in liquid nitrogen then shatters S.E.T.H.’s frozen body. Luc then engages into a final fight with Romeo, which ends when Maggie finally rebels against the UniSols by shooting Romeo, and allows Luc and Hillary to get out of the building on time. However, the bomb that General Radford had placed was deactivated by S.E.T.H.. As Romeo and the platoon of Universal Soldiers start to march out for battle, Luc fires at the explosive charge blowing up the building, killing all the Universal Soldiers.

Its a terrific film if not taken too seriously and it really is good to see two martial arts experts go head to head and a ex superstar wrestler steal the show with a very over the top and funny character and though sometimes it doesn’t make sense this is always entertaining.

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Mike Pyle (Men In Black 3)
Anfrei Arloviski (Limitless TV)
Corey Johnson (Ex Machina)
Gary Cooper (New Tricks)
Emily Joyce (Jane Eyre)

Image result for universal soldier regenerationA group of terrorists led by Commander Topov (Zahary Baharov) kidnap the Ukrainian prime minister’s son and daughter and hold them hostage, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades within 72 hours. In addition, they have taken over the crippled Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and threaten to detonate it if their demands are not met. It is revealed that among the ranks of the terrorists is an experimental Next-Generation UniSol (NGU) (Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski), who was smuggled in by rogue scientist Dr. Colin (Kerry Shale). U.S. forces join up with the Ukrainian army at the plant, but quickly retreat when the NGU slaughters most of them effortlessly. Dr. Porter (Garry Cooper), Dr. Colin’s former colleague on the Universal Soldier program, revives four UniSols to take down the NGU, but they are systematically eliminated.
Image result for universal soldier regeneration
Former UniSol Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who is undergoing rehabilitation therapy in Switzerland with Dr. Sandra Fleming (Emily Joyce) with the goal of rejoining society, is taken back by the military to participate in the mission. As the deadline nears its expiration, the prime minister announces the release of the prisoners. The terrorists, having gotten what they wanted, rejoice and shut off the bomb. Dr. Colin, however, is not pleased with the outcome, as he feels his side of the business is not done. As the NGU is programmed not to harm the terrorists, Dr. Colin unleashes his second UniSol: a cloned and upgraded version of Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) – Deveraux’s nemesis – who quickly kills Commander Topov. However, Dr. Colin never considered Scott’s mental instability, and he is killed by his own creation. Scott then reactivates the bomb before heading out to hunt the children.
Image result for universal soldier regeneration
In the midst of the chaos, Capt. Kevin Burke (Mike Pyle) is sent in to infiltrate the plant and rescue the prime minister’s children. He is successful in locating them and leads them toward safety. On their way out, they encounter the NGU. The children flee as Burke tries in vain to hold off the NGU, who stabs him to death after a brutal fight.
Image result for universal soldier regeneration
With 30 minutes remaining on the bomb’s timer, a re-conditioned Deveraux is geared up and sent to the plant, where he kills every terrorist he encounters. He searches the buildings and finds the children cornered by Scott. Scott, who has distorted memories of Deveraux, is about to kill the children when Deveraux attacks and a grueling fight ensues. In the end, Deveraux impales Scott on the forehead with a lead pipe and fires a shotgun through it, blowing his brains out. As Deveraux escorts the children to safety, they are attacked by the NGU. Deveraux and the NGU take the fight to the site of the bomb, with less than two minutes remaining. During the melee, Deveraux removes the detonator and jams it in the back of the NGU’s uniform as they both jump out of the reactor chamber. NGU pulls the detonator off his back as it explodes, taking him with it. U.S. soldiers quickly arrive on the scene and tend to the children as Deveraux leaves. Burke’s body is placed in a black bag and taken away, as well as recovered pieces of the NGU. In Langley, Virginia, Burke’s body is shown stored in a cryogenic chamber as a new UniSol, along with multiple clones made of him.Image result for universal soldier regenerationIt had great atmosphere throughout – one of it’s best features, it was riviting. To dismiss this film as another crappy sequel would be a big mistake. A certain must-buy for JCVD fans or films of the original – there are some quite clever references to the first movie in it, without being cheesy.

CAST

Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Scott Adkins (The Legend of Hercules)
Anfrei Arloviski (Limitless TV)
Mariah Bonner (The Social Network)

John (Scott Adkins) awakens from a coma to find that his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in a home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible: Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), one of the original Universal Soldiers (UniSol). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things are complicated by a relentless UniSol named Magnus (Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski), who is determined to kill John. Meanwhile, Deveraux and surviving UniSol Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are preparing to unleash anarchy and build a new order ruled by Unisols. They are weeding out the weak and constantly testing their strongest warriors in brutal, life and death combat. Luc has emerged operating the UniSol Church of Eventualism, taking in wayward Unisols whom the government has been secretly operating as remote controlled sleeper agents. His mission is to liberate these UniSols from the implanted memories and the lies the government has inserted in them. As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rogue army of genetically enhanced warriors, he discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true.Eventually, John reaches the underground bunker where the Unisol Church has its headquarters. There, he is greeted by Dr. Su, who reveals to be the designer of the fake memories of John’s family that were implanted into him, as part of the government program that created him merely a few weeks earlier. John accepts Dr. Su’s offer to surgically remove the implant, but is driven insane by the pain and the attachment to his memories, causing him to rebel. He kills every UniSol in his path, culminating with Scott in a one-on-one confrontation. John then reaches Deveraux himself and a fight ensues, with Deveraux eventually gaining the upper hand. Realizing that the cycle of sending clones of John against rogue UniSols is destined to repeat, and seeing John as a worthy successor who could turn the tide of the rebellion, Deveraux gives in to John, who kills him.Some time later, John meets with FBI Agent Gorman in the woods. Gorman admits to his involvement with the UniSol program, and to having purposefully put an unaware John on Deveraux’s trail. Gorman ascribes John’s success to the attachment to family he was designed with, as opposed to the patriotism implanted in his predecessors. John kills Gorman, then two UniSols and a clone of Gorman emerge from John’s van. The clone leaves in the car of original Gorman, hinting that John has taken over the UniSol Church and intends to infiltrate the government.Day of reckoning is crass, extremely violent, uneven, and low budget, but it should also be commended for being ambitious, and shot through with passion and creative vision. It is absolutely not a movie for everyone — if you want a safer trip up action-memory-lane stick with The Expendables 2 — but if you fancy a detour of the beaten path, and are willing to forgive the flaws the flaws that are a consequence of the directorial ambition, then by all means give this a shot.

REVIEW: THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM

CAST
Matt Damon (Dogma)
Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook)
David Straithairn (L.A. Confidential)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz)
Edgar Ramirez (Wrath of The Titans)
Albert Finney (Big Fish)
Joan Allen (The Notebook)
Daniel Bruhl (Captain America: Civil War)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Franka Potente (Blow)
Following his pursuit by Kirill, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) evades Moscow police. Six weeks later, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) divulges the audiotaped confession of Ward Abbott, the late former head of Operation Treadstone, to Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn). Meanwhile, in Turin, journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) of The Guardian meets an informant to learn about Jason and Operation Blackbriar, the program succeeding Treadstone. The CIA tracks Ross as he returns to London, after his mention of “Blackbriar” during a cell-phone call to his editor is detected by the ECHELON system. Jason reappears in Paris to inform Martin Kreutz (Daniel Brühl), the step-brother of his girlfriend Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente) of her assassination in India.
Jason reads Ross’s articles and arranges a meeting with him at London Waterloo station. Jason realizes that the CIA is following Ross and helps him evade capture, but Ross ignores Jason’s instructions, despite warning him and is quickly assassinated by Blackbriar assassin Paz (Edgar Ramirez), on orders of Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Straithairn) right in front of the crowd of citizens. Vosen’s team, reluctantly assisted by Landy, analyzes Ross’s notes and realize Neal Daniels (Colin Stinton), a CIA Station chief involved with Treadstone and Blackbriar, was his source. Jason makes his way to Daniels’s office in Madrid but finds it empty. He incapacitates gunmen sent by Vosen and Landy. Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons (Julia Stiles), a former Treadstone technician who shares a history with Jason, tells him that Daniels has fled to Tangier and aids his escape from an arriving CIA unit.
Nicky learns that Blackbriar “asset” Desh Bouksani (Joey Ansah) has been tasked with killing Daniels. Vosen sees that Nicky accessed information about Daniels and sends Bouksani after Nicky and Jason as well, a decision with which Landy fiercely disagrees. Jason follows Bouksani to Daniels but fails to prevent Daniels’s death by a planted bomb. However, Jason manages to kill Bouksani before he can kill Nicky. After sending Nicky into hiding, Jason examines the contents of Daniels’s briefcase and finds the address of the deep-cover CIA bureau in New York City, where Vosen directs Blackbriar. Jason travels to New York.
Landy receives a phone call from Jason, which is intercepted by Vosen. Landy tells him that his real name is David Webb and mentions “4-15-71”. Bourne tells Landy to “get some rest” because she “look[s] tired”, tipping off his presence in New York. Vosen intercepts a text to Landy from Jason, apparently of a location to meet up and leaves his office with a rendition team to capture him. Instead, Jason enters Vosen’s office and takes classified Blackbriar documents. Realizing that he has been hoodwinked, Vosen sends Paz after Jason, resulting in Paz forcing Jason’s car to crash into a concrete barrier. Jason holds Paz at gunpoint before sparing his life.
Jason arrives at a hospital at 415 East 71st Street, memories of which were triggered by the numbers that Landy had given him earlier. Outside, Jason meets Landy and gives her the Blackbriar files before going inside. Vosen figures out Landy’s code and warns Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), who ran Treadstone’s behavior modification program, that Jason is coming. He follows Landy inside the building but is too late to stop her from faxing the Blackbriar documents out. Meanwhile, Jason encounters Hirsch on an upper floor and, with Hirsch’s help, remembers that he volunteered for Treadstone. As Jason flees to the roof, he is confronted by Paz, who asks, “Why didn’t you take the shot?” Jason repeats the dying words of The Professor: “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Paz lowers his gun, but Vosen appears and shoots at Jason as he collapses into the East River.
Some time later, Nicky watches a news broadcast about the exposure of Operation Blackbriar, the arrests of Hirsch and Vosen, a criminal investigation against Kramer, and the whereabouts of David Webb a.k.a. Jason Bourne. Upon hearing that his body has not been found after a three-day search of the river, Nicky smiles. Jason is shown having survived from his attempted killing and swims away.
Wonderful. It just keeps on getting better., every new Bourne film improves on the last and this is, without a doubt, the best of them.

 

 

 

REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

 

Untitled

CAST

Kellan Lutz (Twilight)
Gaia Weiss (Vikings)
Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier 4)
Roxanne McKee (Wrong Turn 5)
Liam Garrigan (Once Upon A Time)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Rade Serbedzija (Batman Begins)
Jonathan Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Luke Newberry (In The Flesh)

In 1200 BC ancient Greece, King Amphitryon of Tiryns invades Argos. Amphitryon eventually fights rival King Galenus in personal combat, killing Galenus and seizing his kingdom. Queen Alcmene is disgusted by her husband’s thirst for power and warmongering. She prays to Hera for guidance and Hera, wife of Zeus, tells her that she will allow Zeus to impregnate Alcemene with the savior of her people, a demi-god son to be named Hercules. The only other witness to this is Chiron, the queen’s loyal adviser. Amphitryon names his new “son” Alcides, though Alcmene secretly acknowledges his true name as Hercules. Twenty years later, Prince Alcides (Hercules) is the lover of Princess Hebe of Crete. Hercules and his older brother, Prince Iphicles, are attacked by a lion, which Hercules wrestles and kills. Iphicles takes all the credit and arrives at a royal banquet wearing the lion’s pelt as a cloak and calls his brother a coward, though Hebe sees through this lie. At the banquet Amphitryon announces the engagement of Hebe and Iphicles, while Hercules is sent away to a military campaign in Egypt.

Alcemene tells him of his true lineage and that his name is Hercules, not Alcides. Hercules vows to return to Hebe in three moons, before her impending nuptials. He joins the command of Captain Sotiris in the Egyptian desert, where their small company is ambushed, leaving “Alcides” and Sotiris as the last survivors. When the leader of the ambush demands to know where the prince is, Sotiris gestures to the body of a slain soldier, while Hercules finally uses his gods-given name to conceal his identity as the prince. It is revealed that Amphitryon arranged the ambush to eliminate Hercules. The two are sold off as slaves to a promoter of gladiator style fights, where they excel. The two ask the promoter to take them to Greece to fight in an arena battle, where the two will fight six undefeated gladiators and potentially make the promoter a wildly rich man. When Sotiris is injured in a battle before leaving for Greece, Hercules convinces the promoter to set Sotiris free and he will fight all six gladiators himself. Sotiris secretly follows him to Greece.

Alcmene and Hebe mourn the death of Alcides/Hercules. When Alcmene seeks guidance from Hera, Amphitryon discovers her and learns the truth of Hercules’ parentage and that he is fated to overthrow him. Amphitryon stabs Alcmene with her own dagger, then tells Chiron that the Queen committed suicide in her grief. Meanwhile, Hercules arrives in Greece and easily beats the six gladiators in battle. The people celebrate his victory and deserters of Amphitryon’s army join him and Sotiris.Hebe is in anguish after the death of Alcides and dreads her pending wedding to Iphicles She tries to leap off the roof of the palace but is saved by Chiron who brings her to Hercules. Amphitryon’s army begins to desert him, forcing him to hire foreign mercenaries when Hercules and Sotiris begin a fight against Amphitryon’s campaign of tyranny. Iphicles threatens Sotiris’ son’s life, forcing Sotiris to lead him to Hercules. Iphicles is surprised to discover that Hercules is Alcides. Hercules is chained and publicly flogged, then watches in horror as Iphicles murders Chiron under Amphitryon’s orders. In anguish he acknowledges Zeus as his father and calls upon him for strength. Hercules breaks free from his chains and kills Amphitryon’s guard, though Amphitryon and Iphicles escape.Hercules and Sotiris raise an army and storm Amphitryon’s palace. Amphitryon’s palace guard join Hercules and his army and they battle Amphitryon’s mercenaries. Hercules calls upon his father who infuses his sword with the power of lightning. Hercules defeats the mercenaries with his lightning sword, then meets Amphitryon in personal combat. Hercules nearly defeats Amphitryon but Iphicles holds Hebe hostage and threatens to kill her if Hercules does not let Amphitryon go. Hercules hesitates but Hebe thrusts the dagger through her shoulder, killing Iphicles. Hercules finally avenges Alcmene’s death and kills Amphitryon with the same blade that killed his mother. Hercules rushes to Hebe’s side as she slowly drifts into unconsciousness. Nearly a year later, the cries of a baby are heard, Hercules’ and Hebe’s baby boy. That night, he watches over his kingdom, finally fulfilling his destiny.After listening to all the bad reviews and press this movie has had, I didn’t fancy it much. Having watched it, I’m glad that I did. It may not have big named stars but it is of no consequence as the movie is entertaining and action packed.