REVIEW: ELYSIUM

CAST

Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity)
Jodie Foster (The Brave One)
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Alice Braga (I am Legend)
Diego Luna (The Terminal)
Wagner Moura (Elite Squad)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Brandon Auret (Chappie)
Emma Tremblay (The Judge)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Disturbia)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Ona Grauer (Arrow)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Christina Cox (Mutant X)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Pauline Egan (Sanctuary)

Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Kendall Cross (Androemda)

In 2154, Earth is overpopulated and polluted. Most of the earth’s citizens live in poverty, on the edge of starvation, and with little technology and medical care. The rich and powerful live on Elysium — a gigantic, terraformed space habitat located in Earth’s orbit. Elysium is technologically advanced with some of its technology including Med-Bays: medical machines that can cure all diseases, reverse the aging process and regenerate new body parts. A long-running feud exists between the wealthy residents of Elysium and the citizens of Earth, who want Elysian technology to cure their medical ailments.
Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a former car thief on parole lives in the ruins of Los Angeles, and works at an assembly line for Armadyne Corp, a company run by John Carlyle (William Fichtner), who originally designed Elysium, and now supplies its weaponry as well as the robots that police Earth. During an industrial accident at the factory, Max is trapped in a chamber and is hit by a lethal dose of radiation. After being rescued he is informed that he has five days to live before succumbing to radiation poisoning. Desperate for a cure, he and his friend Julio (Diego Luna) seek help from a human smuggler named Spider (Wagner Moura) to get him to Elysium; his only chance for survival is using a Med-Bay.
Meanwhile, when a trio of ships full of illegal immigrants from Earth attempts to reach Elysium and its Med-Bays, Elysian Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a sleeper agent, Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to destroy the shuttles. While two of the shuttles are shot down in space, killing everyone on board, the third shuttle makes it but once on Elysium, everyone on board is either killed or arrested and deported. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) reprimands her for her immoral and unsubtle methods, and threatens to fire her unless she tones down her actions. Regarded as a loose cannon, Kruger is dismissed from service. Delacourt, vowing to protect Elysium and her own power, bargains with John Carlyle to create a program that can override Elysium’s computer core to give her the Presidency. Carlyle stores the reboot program in his brain for transport to Elysium and encrypts it with a lethal protection program.
Spider agrees to get Max to Elysium if he can steal financial information from Carlyle. To assist him, Spider’s men surgically attach a powered exoskeleton to Max. With Julio and a team of Spider’s men, Max shoots down Carlyle’s ship, and in the ensuing firefight with Carlyle’s security droids, Carlyle is fatally wounded. Max downloads the program to his suit’s neural implant, but realizes that the encryption makes it unusable. Alerted to the data theft by Carlyle’s medical implant, Delacourt secretly reinstates Kruger and deploys him to recover the program. In the ensuing firefight, Julio is killed, and Max is wounded. He reaches out to his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga), now a nurse, whose daughter Matilda has leukemia. Frey begs Max to take Matilda to Elysium to be cured, but Max refuses in order to protect them. Soon after Max leaves, Kruger arrives and takes Frey and Matilda prisoner aboard his ship, while his drones hunt for Max. Delacourt orders an airspace lockdown over Los Angeles to buy enough time to recover Carlyle’s program.
Max delivers the program to Spider, who discovers that the program can be used to make all Earth residents Elysian citizens. However, because the lockdown makes it impossible to leave Earth, Max bargains with Kruger to be taken to Elysium, not knowing that Kruger has already found out that Frey assisted Max and is holding her and Matilda hostage on the ship. As Kruger’s ship leaves Earth, Spider and his men take advantage of the lockdown lift and also board a ship towards Elysium. Meanwhile, in Kruger’s ship, a fight ensues and Kruger is grievously wounded by a grenade blast, which also disables the ship’s engines. After Kruger’s ship crashes on Elysium, Max, Frey and Matilda are arrested and taken to Delacourt, who orders the download of the program, despite the fact that it will kill Max.
After being restored in a Med-Bay by his lackeys Drake and Crowe, a defiant Kruger kills Delacourt after she chastises him for his recklessness. On Kruger’s orders, Drake and Crowe exterminate the Elysian political officers in order to seize control for themselves. Meanwhile, having escaped his confinement, Max, knowing that Med-Bays only work for Elysian citizens, resolves to use Carlyle’s program to give everyone on Earth Elysian citizenship. He rescues Frey and Matilda, killing Drake and Crowe on the way. He then meets Spider and heads for Elysium’s core but is ambushed by Kruger, now equipped with a military-grade exoskeleton far superior to Max’s. In the ensuing fight, Max manages to rip out Kruger’s neural implant, rendering his suit immobile. However, Kruger tethers himself to Max’s suit and arms a grenade with the intent of killing them both. Max rips off the tether and hurls Kruger over a ledge to his death.
Spider and Max reach Elysium’s computer core, where Spider realizes that the program’s activation will kill Max. Max personally activates the program, having spoken a last time with Frey via radio. As Max dies, Elysium’s computer core reboots and registers every Earth resident as an Elysian citizen. President Patel arrives with security guards but the robots refuse to arrest Spider, whom they now recognize as a citizen. Matilda is cured by a Med-Bay and Elysium’s computer dispatches a huge fleet of medical ships to begin treatment of the citizens of Earth.
Neil Blomkamp, who dazzled audiences with district nine 4 years prior, does a fantastic job once again with this flick. His vision made the story very real to movie goers everywhere

 

 

REVIEW: DISTRICT 9

CAST
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Jason Cope (Dredd)
Nathalie Boltt (Step Dave)
Sylvaine Strike (Ali)
John Sumner (Power Rangers Dino Charge)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Brandon Auret (Chappie)
District 9 (2009)
In an alternate 1982, an alien ship inexplicably stops over Johannesburg. When investigation teams enter the ship, they discover a population of sick and malnourished extraterrestrials, referred to as “prawns”. The South African government confines the aliens to “District 9”, a government camp that is located outside of Johannesburg. Twenty-eight years later, in 2010, following periodic conflict between the aliens and the locals living near District 9, the government hires private military company Multinational United (MNU) to relocate the aliens to a new internment. Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an Afrikaner bureaucrat, is appointed by Piet Smit (Louis Minnaar), an MNU executive and his father-in-law, to lead the relocation. Meanwhile, three aliens — Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), his son, and a friend — scavenge pieces of their technology from which they distill a fluid of their native provenance, and store it in a small canister. Wikus confiscates the canister from the shack of Christopher’s friend, but accidentally sprays some of the fluid onto his face. Christopher’s friend is subsequently killed by Koobus Venter (David James), a sadistic mercenary soldier employed by MNU.
Under the fluid’s influence, Wikus’ body, starting with his injured left arm, begins to deteriorate and become alien tissue. He is immediately detained and transported to MNU headquarters for experimentation, where it is discovered that Wikus’ chimeric DNA grants him the ability to use alien weapons- which are biologically restricted to work for alien users only. Realizing the potential fortune to be made from Wikus’ tissue in its current state, Smit and his scientists decide to vivisect Wikus; but he overpowers them and escapes the facility. Smit orders Venter and his men to hunt Wikus down, while a smear story is published that claims Wikus has been engaging in sexual activity with aliens and is a fugitive infected by an alien STD. Everyone believes the story, even, for a time, Wikus’ wife (and Smit’s daughter) Tania (Vanessa Haywood).
Sharlto Copley in District 9 (2009)
Wikus finds refuge in District 9 and stumbles into Christopher’s shack, where he learns that Christopher is hiding the lost command module of their spacecraft underground. Christopher discloses that the fluid in the canister would allow him to reactivate the command module and the dormant mothership, in which he claims he can reverse Wikus’ mutation. To recover the canister from MNU headquarters, Wikus obtains alien weapons from superstitious Nigerian arms-dealer Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa) and his gang, then he and Christopher attack the MNU offices, retrieve the canister, and flee to District 9 with MNU forces in pursuit. Appalled by the illegal experiments on his fellow aliens at MNU headquarters, Christopher decides to get help before curing Wikus, which will take three years. Frustrated, Wikus knocks out Christopher and attempts to fly the command module to the mothership, but is almost immediately shot down by Venter and his men. They capture Wikus and Christopher, but Obesandjo’s gang intervene and seize Wikus, acting on Obesandjo’s belief that eating Wikus’ transformed arm will enable him to use alien weaponry. Obesandjo’s base is then attacked by MNU.
In the command module, Christopher’s son remotely activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit in Obesandjo’s base which kills Obesandjo and his men. Wikus takes control of the battle suit and rescues Christopher, who promises to return in three years with a cure. Wikus kills all the attacking soldiers before Venter cripples the suit, which ejects Wikus. As he corners Wikus, a group of aliens kill Venter by tearing him apart. The command module with Christopher and his son is lifted into the mothership, which they use to leave Earth, and Johannesburg’s residents celebrate its departure. A series of interviews and news broadcasts are shown speculating about Wikus’ whereabouts and the potential return of Christopher and the spacecraft, and what it may entail. MNU’s illegal experiments are exposed by Wikus’ friend and assistant Fundiswa (Mandla Gaduka), and District 9 is demolished; all the aliens are subsequently moved to the larger District 10. Tania finds a metal flower on her doorstep, giving her hope that Wikus is still alive. The final scene shows a fully transformed Wikus in a junkyard, crafting a similar flower.
Rarely in the sci-fi genre has a movie been so deep dealing with so many issues through prejudice, mans inhumanity and cruelness and large corrupt companies. Central to it is the superb performance of Copley and his bond with the alien Christopher. Blomkamp has fused a great story together and created a classic sci-fi flick that I enjoyed immensely.

REVIEW: CHAPPIE

CAST
Sharlto Copley (District 9)
Dev Patel (Slimdog Millionare)
Hugh Jackman  (The Wolverine)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Brandon Auret (Elysium)
Yo-Landi Visser (Die Antwoord)
Bill Marchant (Stargate SG.1)
In response to a record high crime rate in Johannesburg, the South African government purchases a squadron of state-of-the-art, armour-plated attack robots from weapons manufacturer Tetravaal, developed by Deon Wilson. A competing project is the remotely controlled MOOSE, developed by soldier-turned-engineer Vincent Moore. Deon is praised for Tetravaal’s success but Vincent grows jealous when the police are unwilling to give his heavy weapons platform equal attention. At home, Deon creates a prototype artificial intelligence that mimics a human mind to the point of feeling emotions and having opinions, but Tetravaal CEO Michelle Bradley refuses to let him test the A.I. on a police robot. Undeterred, Deon steals a recently damaged robot before it is destroyed and puts it in his van, along with the “guard key” needed to update the robot’s software. On his way home, he is kidnapped by a group of gangsters, Ninja, Yolandi, and Amerika, who threaten to kill him unless he reprograms a police robot to fight for them. Deon installs the new software into the damaged robot, which responds with childlike terror upon powering up. Deon and Yolandi calm the robot, teaching it words and naming it “Chappie”. Despite Deon wanting to stay with the robot, Ninja forces him out of their hideout.
Ninja’s gang only has a few days to pay a debt of 20 million rand to Hippo, a powerful gangster. Yolandi sees Chappie as a child and wants to mother him, but Ninja grows impatient with his development due to both the impending deadline for the debt and Chappie’s irreplaceable battery running out, giving him days to live. Ninja tries to train Chappie to be a gangster by leaving him to fend for himself in a dangerous neighborhood. After being wounded by thugs, he is followed by Vincent, who plans to deactivate all Tetravaal weapons except for MOOSE. Vincent successfully extracts the guard key for his own use, but the traumatised Chappie escapes and returns to the hideout. Yolandi scolds Ninja for this mistreatment, but he manages to earn Chappie’s forgiveness by training him in martial arts and weapon handling. Ninja and Amerika trick Chappie into stealing cars for them, and lie about needing the money to replace his dying body.
At Tetravaal, Vincent uses the guard key to upload a virus shutting down all police robots including Chappie. Johannesburg’s criminals immediately start rioting in the streets, and Deon brings Chappie to the Tetravaal factory to fix him. After being restarted, Chappie notices a helmet used to control MOOSE. At the hideout, he re-engineers it to allow him to transfer his consciousness into a computer, so he can change bodies when his current one dies. Ninja’s gang uses Chappie to raid a police van and steal money, which is caught on the news prompting Tetravaal to pursue him. When Chappie learns that Ninja’s plan to acquire the body was a lie, he prepares to kill Ninja for betrayal. However, Deon arrives to warn them that Michelle Bradley has ordered that Chappie be destroyed. At that moment, the MOOSE robot (controlled remotely by Vincent) is launched to assassinate Deon and Chappie at the hideout and Hippo also arrives to collect his debt. Amerika and Hippo are killed in the ensuing battle while Deon is mortally wounded. When Ninja is about to be killed, Yolandi sacrifices herself to save him and Chappie destroys MOOSE by detonating a bomb.
Enraged by Yolandi’s death, Chappie drives Deon to the factory, storms into an office, and fiercely beats Vincent close to death. He then transfers the dying Deon’s consciousness into a spare robot through the modified MOOSE helmet. As Chappie’s battery dies, the now-robotic Deon wirelessly transfers Chappie’s consciousness into a deactivated police robot nearby. Deon and Chappie go into hiding as the police discontinue their contract with Tetravaal. The grieving Ninja finds a flash drive marked “Mommy’s Consciousness Test Backup”, which contains a copy of Yolandi’s consciousness that Chappie took while testing the device on her. Chappie hacks into Tetravaal’s manufacturing facility, builds a robot resembling Yolandi, and uploads the drive’s contents.
A bond develops between the gang and the robot and some parts of this movie are bot humorous and touching. A thoroughly enjoyable movie and well worth watching

REVIEW: THE A-TEAM (2010)

CAST

Liam Neeson (Batman begins)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Jessica Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Quinton Jackson (Vigilante Diaries)
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring)
Gereald McRaney (Mike & Molly)
Henry Czerny (Revenge)
Maury Sterling (Coherence)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica)
Dwight Schultz (Star Trek: TNG)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Brian Bloom (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Brendan Penny (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Jason Schombing (Timecop)

John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) is held captive in Mexico by two Federal Police officers working for renegade General Javier Tuco (Yul Vazquez). Hannibal escapes and sets out to rescue Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper), who is held captive at Tuco’s ranch. Hannibal saves Face after enlisting fellow Ranger B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson), driving to the rescue in BA’s modified GMC Vandura van.[9] Pursued by Tuco, they stop at a nearby Army Hospital to recruit the services of eccentric pilot Howling Mad Murdock (Sharlto Copley). They flee in a medical helicopter, chased by Tuco, in a dogfight that leaves BA with a fear of flying. The battle ends when they lure Tuco’s helicopter into American airspace, where it is shot down by a USAF F-22 Raptor for trespassing.Eight years later in Iraq, Hannibal is contacted by CIA Special Activities Division operative Lynch (Patrick Wilson), who assigns them a black ops mission to recover U.S. Treasury plates and over $1 billion in cash from Iraqi insurgents slated to move it out of Baghdad in an armored convoy. Hannibal’s commanding officer, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney), consents to the operation but Face’s former girlfriend, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Capt. Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel), tries to discourage the team against getting the plates. The mission is successful; when the team returns to base, however, the money and Morrison’s vehicle are destroyed by Brock Pike (Brian Bloom) and his men from the private security firm Black Forest. Without Morrison (the only proof that they were authorized to act), Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and BA are court martialed and they are sentenced to ten years in separate prisons and dishonorably discharged. Sosa also ended up court-martialed and is demoted to lieutenant.Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in prison and tells him that Pike may be trying to sell the plates with the help of an Arab backer. Hannibal, who has been tracking Pike on his own, makes a deal with Lynch: full reinstatement and clean records for his team in return for the plates. Lynch agrees and Hannibal escapes, breaking out Face, BA, and Murdock in the process. Sosa is hot on the team’s trail. The team hijacks a USMC Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft, which is later shot down by Reaper UCAVs, but not before the team parachute away in a tank stashed aboard and make it to the ground safely. The team moves to reclaim the plates and kidnap Pike’s backer. It is revealed that the backer is actually General Morrison, who plotted with Lynch and Pike to steal the plates but teamed up with Pike to double-cross Lynch and fake his death. Lynch orders an airstrike to kill the team and Morrison, but the team manages to escape.Hannibal arranges to meet Sosa on board a container ship at the Los Angeles docks, saying he will hand over Morrison and the plates. Face then calls Sosa on a drop phone he planted on her at the train station, and conspires a different plan with her. It all unfolds according to plan until Pike, who is now working with Lynch, blows up the container ship and chases Face to near death. BA finally gives up his pacifist ways and kills Pike, saving Face. Hannibal leads Lynch into a container with Murdock, who, wearing a covered bullet-proof helmet, is portraying Morrison. Lynch shoots at Murdock’s head, believing that he is killing Morrison, and is later tricked into admitting that he stole the plates, and is subsequently arrested by Sosa.The CIA agents led by a man named “Lynch” (Jon Hamm) comes and claims custody of the other Lynch. Despite their success and proving themselves innocent, the military still arrests the team for escaping from prison, also a crime; they and Sosa are angered by this. Sosa is reinstated to captain, but she promises to do all she can to set the team free and kisses Face as everybody is led into a prison van. In the van everyone starts saying that the system has burned us again, but Hannibal tells them that there is always a way out of any situation, and turns towards Face, who smiles and says “I dont want to steal your line boss but, I like it when the plan comes altogether” and opens his mouth and reveals a handcuff key, given to him by Sosa through the kiss.The final scene includes a narration (spoken by Corey Burton) similar to the show’s opening narration.In a post-credits scene, Murdock and Face of A-Team’s original cast are seen.A Strong cast. I think that it is a good stand alone romp with lots of twists and turns, good plot and nice nods to the original series. I know that it has been criticised, and that Dirk Benedict subsequently regretted his involvement; but for me at least it was a brilliant film. It had a good pace, great stunts.

REVIEW: POWERS – SEASON ONE

CAST

Sharlto Copley (District 9)
Susan Heyward (Poltergeist)
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones)
Olesya Rulin (Urban Legends 3)
Adam Godley (Terminator: TSCC)
Max Fowler (Rage)
Michelle Forbes (Battlestar Galactica)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Logan Browning in Powers (2015)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Logan Browning (Bratz)
Claire Bronson (Containment)
Aaron Farbs (42)
Justin Leak (Insurgent)
Mario Lopez (Nip/Tuck)
Bianco Amato (The Big C)
Andrew Sensenig (Beyond The Farthest Star)
Hayley Lovitt (The Originals)
Shelby Steel (Sleepy Hollow)

As the first original scripted show for the ‘PlayStation Network’ this show presents an original take on a genre that’s in abundance at the moment but also in high demand, from a renowned comics writer. It’s hard to imagine even the most ardent fans of this genre going out to buy a costly PlayStation for the sake of being able to watch this, even if they really enjoyed the pilot. This example therefore not only shows that a series like this has a large and clear potential audience, but also on the flip-side proves that this could have done much better had it been a network show or even on netflixs.powersChristian Walker was once a superhero with strength and flight, but losing his powers to super-villain Wolfe has left him grounded and now a detective with the ‘Powers’ division of the LAPD who police the many super-powered who live in the city. Partnered with inexperienced Deena Pilgrim they investigate the new threat of a designer drug killing many in the community, discovering unexpected links to old foes.
I like Sharlto Copley, and there are moments in which I felt he was well-suited for the role as he looked the part as an ex-superhero and begrudging cop. Villain-wise there’s one stroke of genius in the casting, that of Eddie Izzard as Wolfe, an incredibly powerful incarcerated villain who started out as a philosopher. With Izzard’s elocution and speech he fits the role very well. The story arc for season 1 is rounded off in the final episode, whilst ending on a cliffhanger to lead you into season 2. the second season wont air till 2016 so there is quite a wait.