REVIEW: EMPIRE STATE (2013)

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Baywwatch)
Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Michael Angarano (Sky High)
Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire)
Jerry Ferrara (Power)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Michael Rispoli (Summer of Sam)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)

Dwayne Johnson and Liam Hemsworth in Empire State (2013)After failing to get into the local police academy, Chris Potamitis (Hemsworth), settles for a security guard job with the Empire State Armored Truck Company. Chris makes the mistake of mentioning the company’s lax security to his best friend Eddie (Angarano), and is soon unwittingly drawn into an elaborate scheme to rob the abundant piles of cash being stored there – resulting in the largest cash heist ($11 million) to that point in U.S. history. As the stakes continue to rise, Chris and Eddie must outwit James Ransone (Johnson), the veteran NYPD Detective who is hot on their trail, as well as the local crime bosses who want to know who pulled a job on their turf to make sure the perpetrators suffer the consequences.Dwayne Johnson and Lucky Johnson in Empire State (2013)Empire State is based on a true story set during the 1980’s, about a bank heist gone terribly wrong. This film is moreso predictable which is the case with films based on true events, however the story here is interesting enough to continue watching. Empire State had a limited release, which is shame since the film could have made decent profit. Althugh there was far greater potential the what came from the final product. The lead played by Liam Hemsworth is decent, but with a better lead it could have been a far greater film. Also Dwayne Johnson is criminally wasted in this movie as a detective.Liam+Hemsworth+Liam+Hemsworth+Films+Empire+W-xDO2r1OeflWhenever he appeared on screen, my interest level was raised significantly, but that was much too seldom for my liking. Dwayne has a gift when it comes to charisma, and the fact that he has such a small role here is incorrigible. He was far too good to have such a small part in this movie. Emma Roberts is barely in this movie, aside from a few pointless scenes. Overall the film could have fared better with better direction, but it was a decent watch.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MAGGIE

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan The Barbarian)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck)
Douglas M. Griffin (Mr. Right)
J.D. Evermore (Django Unchained)
Rachel Whitman Groves (Claws)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)

In the present-day Midwestern United States, society struggles to function in the aftermath of a zombie pandemic barely under control (Necroambulism). Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) calls her father from a broken city under curfew; her voicemail urges that he not seek her and that she loves him. Her arm was bitten. Knowing she has only weeks before the “Necroambulist virus” turns her cannibalistic, she left home to protect her family. Maggie’s father Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has searched two weeks, despite her warning. Finding her in a hospital for the infected, he brings Maggie home to care for her until she must eventually be quarantined. During their return, a zombie attacks Wade at an abandoned gasoline station and he breaks its neck.At home, Maggie’s younger half-siblings Bobby and Molly (Aidan and Carsen Flowers) are leaving to stay with their aunt. Maggie talks to Bobby, who mostly understands what she is undergoing. She withdraws from her family, struggling to cope with her hopeless situation and torn about contacting her friends. Falling from a swing, she breaks a finger on her infected arm, from which black fluid oozes. Terrified, even though she feels little or no pain, and despairing over her deteriorating body, Maggie cuts off the finger. She flees outside and encounters a neighbor, Nathan, and his young daughter, both senseless with infection. Wade kills both zombies but feels extreme remorse. The responding sheriffs consider Wade blameless, instead blaming Nathan’s wife Bonnie, who hid her infected family from the authorities. Bonnie visits Wade that night, decrying the dehumanizing treatment of the infected and revealing that Nathan had locked himself in with his sick daughter, becoming infected himself, rather than abandon her to death among strangers in quarantine.A doctor warns Wade that Maggie’s condition is worsening quickly, leaving him three eventual options: she can be quarantined, which Wade refuses; Wade can administer at home the same euthanasia injection offered in quarantine, which he’s warned is painful; or Wade can “make it quick” himself. Wade and Maggie make the most of their remaining days, reminiscing about Maggie’s deceased mother. Despite Maggie’s physical deterioration (she’s woken by maggots wriggling in her dying arm) she struggles to maintain normality. She attends a bonfire with high school friends Allie and an infected boy, Trent (Bryce Romero), whom Maggie previously dated, and whom she kisses. He tells rumors of horrible conditions at the quarantine facilities, saying he would die before going there.One day, Maggie smells food near her stepmother Caroline (Joely Richardson), though Caroline smells nothing and muses that Wade must be cooking downstairs. Finding the kitchen empty, Caroline realizes in horror that Maggie has begun to smell living flesh, in this case Caroline’s, as food. Maggie receives a desperate call from Trent. At his home, Trent has locked himself inside his bedroom after he too felt hunger smelling another human. Maggie tries to comfort him but watches helplessly as the police forcibly remove Trent to quarantine.Back home, Maggie encounters a trapped fox in the woods. Later she runs into her home, hysterical and coated in blood, admitting through tears to her frightened parents that she freed the fox but then couldn’t stop herself from attacking it. Wade shoots the half-eaten fox. Caroline departs and urges Wade it’s time Maggie is taken away. Two officers arrive and Wade fights one of them before Maggie appears, assuring them she has not yet turned. The sympathetic sheriff leaves Wade with a warning that he’d better decide what to do with her before they next come to check on Maggie.Wade shows Maggie white daisies he’s grown in her mother’s old garden, “Daisy” being a nickname he sometimes uses for Maggie. She thanks him for the garden’s beauty, but also begs him to promise that he will “make it stop” before she grows worse. Later, Wade sits alone with his shotgun, still unable to use it. He pretends to sleep when Maggie approaches, her skin now gray and her eyes blackened. She lingers over him, smelling him, seemingly on the edge of self-control, before kissing his forehead. She then climbs to the roof and jumps off, her last memories being of herself as a child frolicking outdoors with her mother, picking a daisy.This is in many ways a good, strange and different film, it is a zombie film, but not in the way you would expect, this is a drama about a dad finding and taking care of his daughter in her last days of an illness. The illness being she is turning into a zombie. I was entertained throughout, it’s a good Zombie Drama movie.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA

 

CAST

Abiigail Spencer (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Emily Alyn Lind (Lights Out)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
Michael Daingerfield (Smallville)

The film is set in 1993. Andy and Lisa Wyrick, along with their daughter Heidi, move into a rural home after receiving a deal from the bank. They are told that no one had previously lived on the land, which is why they are getting such a great deal. Shortly after moving in, Heidi begins to experience visions. After a visit from Lisa’s sister Joyce, it is revealed that Heidi, along with her mother, aunt, and grandmother, was born with a veil over her face, allowing the women of the family to have visions. Joyce embraces her visions, but Lisa tries to prevent them with the help of medication to no avail as she begins to have nightmares and visions of her mother.One of Heidi’s visions is of a man she calls Mr. Gordy, who tells her things to prove his existence, such as money being buried in the garden, and a swing being deep in the woods. When these things turn out to be true, it is revealed that Mr. Gordy had in fact owned the house before the Wyricks. To test Heidi’s knowledge, Joyce and Lisa do some research and ask Heidi to pick Mr. Gordy out of a bunch of old photos, which she does. Lisa begins to have visions of a figure coming after her and her daughter and starts to worry about the sanity of herself and that of her daughter, which leads her to tell Heidi not to speak to Mr. Gordy anymore.One day, the family receives a visit from the local pastor, who tells them that their property was once part of the Underground Railroad and that a stationmaster lived on their land. He tells them of all the good that the stationmaster brought about and warns the family that they may get some visitors wishing to pay homage to the stationmaster, and asks them to be kinder than the previous owner, Mr. Gordy, was.Andy comes home with a dog for Heidi named Chief, trying to alleviate some of the tension that has built up in their family since moving into the new house, but soon after Chief follows something into the woods. When Andy and Heidi go to look for him, they can hear him crying from the woods and find him trapped in a snare. Andy tells Lisa that the snares would have been perfect for a taxidermist, because they would catch and kill animals without leaving a mark. While destroying the snares to prevent Chief from getting caught again, Andy finds Heidi talking to someone who is not there. When he asks her about it, she says that Mr. Gordy says that some people are coming. These people turn out to be Mama Kay and her grandson who buy a quilt from Joyce that she had found at the old station. Mama Kay tells Heidi that she is special and to be careful of what she sees, while her grandson tells Andy the true story of the stationmaster. He was primarily a taxidermist and would enlist the help of guides called Conductors to help guide slaves to a meeting place. He would hold them somewhere secret, then when it was safe, he would move them to the next location. Two of the slaves he had hidden were Mama Kay’s ancestors, Nell and Levi, but they were never heard from after they stopped at the station. When the townspeople found out about his involvement, they blindfolded him, filled his abdomen with stuffing and hung him from the tree where the swing once was that Heidi had seen.Andy relays this information to Joyce and Lisa, who then relays it to Heidi, but tells her that the stationmaster was a good man and helped a lot of people. When Heidi insists that an evil exists in the woods, Lisa becomes frustrated and tells her that she cannot believe her because she cares about her and orders Heidi to get out of the bathtub. When Heidi takes too long, Lisa returns to the bathroom as the lights flicker. The stationmaster is seen standing next to Lisa as Heidi is face down in the bathtub. Lisa pulls her out and attempts to heimlick the water from her lungs, only for Heidi to cough up sawdust and insects. Concerned, the family takes Heidi to the hospital, where her story is questioned. Heidi seems to have no memory of what happened and tells the doctor that when she didn’t get out of the tub like she was supposed to, her mom pulled her out of the tub really hard, making it even harder to believe Lisa’s story. As Lisa is leaving, Heidi tells her that it is hard when people don’t believe you, indicating that she knew what she was doing.Later, the family asks the pastor to come out and bless the land and Heidi. During the blessing, Joyce experiences frightening visions of slaves being taken to the station by the stationmaster, along with the conductors, and she sees the bodies of her family members decomposing during the blessing. That night Heidi follows a ghost out of her house, who turns out to be Nell. She leads her out into the woods, where she disappears. Meanwhile, Lisa is having nightmares and awakens to find out that Heidi is missing and Andy runs out into the woods to look for her. Somehow, Heidi falls to the bottom of the station and begs her father not to leave her down there with “them”, but she is alone. In a frantic attempt to rescue his daughter, Andy reveals a heavy slab covering the entrance, which leads him to wonder how Heidi got down there and he realizes that is where the stationmaster hid the slaves and Heidi reveals the “them” she was talking about were corpses that had been forgotten.MV5BZDdlOTFiZmMtYzVlMi00NzQ0LTgzYjgtODA3N2NkNjUxNWUyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDAyMTY3Nw@@._V1_When the stationmaster was murdered, there was no one to let the slaves out and they died in the station. Heidi tells her father that she thinks something else is in the station too. She tells her family that she wishes to leave the house. Joyce tells her that she released the spirits and that the bad things are gone, but Heidi insists that Mr. Gordy told her she let something bad out. When Andy takes his daughter’s side, it causes a rift between him and Lisa. Lisa tells Heidi that the stationmaster was a good man, to which Heidi replies, “No he wasn’t”.

Andy decides that the family will leave because he doesn’t want Lisa filling Heidi’s head with the idea that she is sick and needs to be on medication. As they are packing up to leave, the ghost of the stationmaster can be seen watching them. Joyce decides to stay and the ghosts of the slaves alert her to the stationmaster’s presence. She sees him walking towards Heidi and when she attempts to warn her niece, the stationmaster turns his attention on her. Joyce coughs up a needle and begins to become sutured from the inside. Meanwhile, Lisa notices that Heidi has disappeared from the truck and she decides to check Joyce’s trailer. She finds her sister strung from the ceiling and cuts the sutures just before the stationmaster is able to get them. When Lisa asks her sister where Heidi is, Joyce replies that “they know”, which leads Lisa to accept her visions. She follows the guidance of the conductor’s ghost, which leads her to the station. There, she finds a hidden door and discovers many animals that had been stuffed by the stationmaster. It is revealed that the stationmaster had kept many slaves and stuffed them for his own keeping, including Nell, Levi, and the conductor.MV5BMTYwNjQ5OTI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDY1NzY5OA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_She finds Heidi tied to the stationmaster’s table and when she attempts to escape with her daughter, she finds the way blocked, except by going straight up through the ground. Heidi begins to climb and then is pulled up through the ground. When Lisa attempts to follow her, she is pulled back down by the stationmaster. She is confronted by the ghost, but experiences a vision of her mother who tells her to “let them in”. She finally embraces her visions and finds out that the Stationmaster had told Nell, Levi, and the Conductor that he would be back for them, but traps them instead, leaving them to starve so that he could stuff them. Learning the truth, it allows their spirits to be freed and have their vengeance on the Stationmaster. The Stationmaster’s death is visited, but instead of it being the townspeople who murder him, it is the spirits of all those he had killed. This allows Lisa to escape and the Stationmaster’s spirit to be destroyed. It is then revealed that the person who had pulled Heidi through the ground was actually the spirit of Mr. Gordy, who had been the Stationmaster’s descendent and had been there to act as a protector to the Wyrick family.Two weeks later, Andy attempts to hang a tire swing for Heidi. Lisa and Joyce speculate about why Mr. Gordy hadn’t wanted people on his land and come to the conclusion that he wanted his ancestor to be remember for the good that he did and not the bad. Meanwhile, Heidi is struggling to ride her bike when it suddenly straightens up. She turns around to see Mr. Gordy and he sends her off to ride happily where she sees the spirits of Nell, Levi, and the Conductor heading off into the woods, finally free. She turns around and sees Mr. Gordy waving goodbye to her before he turns and walks away into the afterlife, satisfied that the Wyricks were safe.In a text epilogue, it is revealed that the Wyricks remained in that house for another five years, Lisa’s visions have not returned, and that Heidi never saw Mr. Gordy again. The final shot shows photos of the real-life Heidi and Mr. Gordy, and then the entire Wyrick family.The Haunting in Connecticut 2 is a good supernatural tale that should have been released in theatre’s like its predecessor. There are nice twists to the story, the acting is good, and the scares are genuinely creepy.

REVIEW: VENOM

Starring

Tom Hardy (Legend)
Michelle Williams (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Riz Ahmed (Jason Bourne)
Scott Haze (As I Lay Dying)
Reid Scott (Home Again)
Jenny Slate (The Lego Batman Movie)
Melora Walters (The Master)
Chris O’Hara (Red Sparrow)
Sope Aluko (Sabotage)
Woody Harrelson (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
Emilio Rivera (Sons of Anarchy)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

While exploring space for new habitable worlds, a probe belonging to the bio-engineering corporation Life Foundation discovers a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms. The probe returns to Earth with four samples, but one escapes and causes the ship to crash in Malaysia. The Life Foundation recovers the other three and transports them to their research facility in San Francisco, where they discover that the symbiotes cannot survive without oxygen-breathing hosts, which often fatally reject the symbiosis. Investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) lives with his fiancée Anne Weying, an attorney at the law firm representing the Life Foundation. While Weying is sleeping, Brock logs on to her computer and learns about these human trials from a confidential document he finds after accessing her work email. Brock uses the information to publicly confront Life Foundation CEO Carlton Drake about the trials, leading to both Brock and Weying being fired from their jobs. Consequently, Weying ends their relationship.Peggy Lu and Sam Medina in Venom (2018)Six months later, Drake’s symbiosis trials are closer to success, though one of his symbiotes dies due to carelessness. Brock is approached by Dora Skirth, one of Drake’s scientists who disagrees with his methods and wants to expose him. She helps Brock break into the research facility to search for evidence, and he learns that an acquaintance of his, a homeless woman named Maria, is one of the test subjects. Brock attempts to rescue Maria, but the symbiote possessing her transfers to his body without him realizing, leaving her dead. Brock escapes and soon begins displaying strange symptoms. He reaches out to Weying for help, and her new boyfriend, Dr. Dan Lewis, discovers the symbiote on examining Brock. Drake exposes Skirth to the remaining captive symbiote, which ultimately dies. This leaves the symbiote inside Brock as the only known surviving specimen.Venom (2018)Drake sends mercenaries to retrieve the symbiote from Brock, but it manifests around his body as a monstrous creature that fights off the attackers. It later introduces itself to Brock as Venom, and explains that the comet is searching for planets where the symbiotes can possess and devour the inhabitants. Venom offers to spare Brock if he helps the symbiotes achieve their goal, and Brock comes to enjoy the superhuman attributes that the symbiote imbues him with. Brock breaks into his old workplace to turn in evidence of Drake’s crimes, but is surrounded by SWAT officers and is forced to transform to escape. Weying witnesses this transformation and takes Brock back to Lewis’s office, where they explain that the symbiote is slowly rotting Brock’s internal organs. Brock notes that the symbiote has two weaknesses: high-pitched noises and fire. Although Venom claims that the organ damage can be prevented, Weying uses an MRI machine to help Brock separate from the symbiote. Brock is then captured by Drake’s men.Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)Meanwhile, the fourth symbiote, Riot, makes its way from Malaysia to San Francisco by hopping from body to body. It bonds with Drake, who agrees to take Riot in a Life Foundation space probe to collect the rest of the symbiotes and bring them to Earth. Weying reluctantly bonds with Venom so they can free Brock. When Brock and Venom are bonded again, the latter states that he has been convinced to help protect the Earth from his kind through his interactions with Brock, and the pair attempt to stop Riot and Drake with Weying’s help. Venom damages the probe as it takes off, causing it to explode and kill both Riot and Drake. Weying believes Brock is no longer bonded to Venom after this, and that Venom also died in the explosion. However, the pair remain secretly bonded and set out to protect San Francisco by killing criminals. Brock also returns to journalism, and in a mid-credits scene he is invited to interview incarcerated serial killer Cletus Kasady, who promises “carnage” when he escapes.Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)The story was fun and it was thrilling at times and also had some great comedic moments. There were times where I was either on the edge of my seat or struggling not to burst out laughing .Overall this is a fun film to watch and sure it isn’t perfect only 1 or 2 problems but other than that I’d give it an 10 just for being a fun film and giving one of my favourite characters of all of media the spotlight

REVIEW: JUSTICE

CAST

Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider)
January Jones (X-Men: First Class)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Jennifer Carpenter (Limitless TV)
Xander Berkeley (The Walking Dead)
Demetrius Bridges (The Vampire Diaries)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
Jason Davis (The Accountant)
J.D. Evermore (12 Years a Slave)

In New Orleans, Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is a humble English teacher at Rampart High School. Will’s best friend Jimmy (Harold Perrineau) also works at the school. Will’s wife Laura (January Jones) is a musician who is in a local orchestra. One night, after a performance, Laura is beaten and brutally raped by a stranger named Hodge (Alex Van). At the hospital, while Will is waiting for news about Laura’s condition, Jimmy tells a distraught Will that he’s confident that the rapist will be found. A stranger who calls himself Simon (Guy Pearce) tells Will that he represents an organization that deals with criminals the justice system has not. Simon describes his group as “a few citizens seeking justice.” He says Hodge has raped other women before, and was paroled three weeks prior to his attack on Laura.Simon proposes an intriguing offer; in exchange for a favor from Will to be determined later, Simon will arrange to have a complete stranger make Hodge pay for Laura’s rape. This would spare Will and Laura a drawn-out trial, which would make Laura suffer even more than she already has by repeatedly forcing her to relive the rape, and to be traumatized by defense attorneys. Distraught and grief-stricken, Will consents to the deal. Hodge is killed, and a picture of Hodge’s body, along with a medallion that Hodge took from Laura during the rape, are sent to Will as proof. The organization’s code phrase is: “The hungry rabbit jumps.” Six months later, Simon returns. He wants Will to follow a woman and her two children to the zoo and to look out for a man. If Will sees this man, he must call a number attached to a picture. Will agrees, hoping this will fulfill his debt. Simon, however, continues to call Will, asking him to continue what he’s doing, claiming the man is a sex offender. Having no choice, as Simon promises to exact revenge if he doesn’t obey, a reluctant Will agrees. He is instructed to kill the man on a pedestrian walkway that’s under a high overpass by “accidentally” bumping him off it to his death, making it look like suicide.Instead of killing the man, Will decides to see if the man has any knowledge of Simon. The man, already paranoid, becomes suspicious that Will is there to kill him. He throws his bicycle at Will. As they struggle, the man falls off the walkway despite Will’s efforts to save him. The man lands and is hit by a truck. Will goes home, where Detective Rudeski (Joe Chrest) and Detective Green (Marcus Lyle Brown) arrest him for murdering the man, whose name is Alan Marsh. At the station, Will can’t get Green and Rudeski to believe anything he says. The detectives’ boss, Lieutenant Durgan (Xander Berkeley), wants to talk to Will alone. Durgan wants to play a game, asking Will to complete sentences. After a few rounds, Durgan asks, “A hungry rabbit…” to which Will responds “jumps. A hungry rabbit jumps”, signifying his connection to Simon’s organization. Durgan lets Will free, giving him 24 hours to get out of the city before Simon and his henchmen Scar (Irone Singleton) and Cancer (Wayne Pére) come looking for him.Will runs, but he’s looking for answers. He goes to a memorial for Alan, finding the man is not a sex offender but actually an award-winning investigative reporter for the New Orleans Post who was investigating the vigilante organization. Will now knows why Simon wanted Alan dead. Simon, Scar, and Cancer suddenly turn up. Scar chases Will out onto a busy street, but is killed by a SUV that hits and drags him. Will goes to a storage facility that Alan used and finds a DVD describing some of the people in the group, along with their missions. Will explains what’s happening to Laura, who says she would’ve done the same had their situations been reversed. Will then tells Laura his whereabouts, advising her to stay away from the cops and anyone else who’s asking questions.Will learns that Simon’s real name is Eugene Cook and that Jimmy joined the organization years ago, after his brother was murdered, when the cops were unable to find the killer. Will sends Cook a copy of the DVD, outraged at its implications. Cook agrees to a trade where Will would receive security camera footage proving his innocence in Alan’s death, as he was acting out of self-defense, in exchange for the DVD. Will agrees, and they agree to meet at the Louisiana Superdome, during a monster truck show. At the dome, Will is told Laura has been kidnapped as an extra incentive to make him give up the DVD. Jimmy, Cancer, and a man called Sideburns (Dikran Tulaine) are holding Laura. They go to a nearby mall, abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. Will gives up the DVD, but Cook reneges on the deal, saying that Will and Laura will both be killed to remove all threats to the organization. He orders them to be shot.Cancer is about to pull the trigger on Laura when he is fatally shot by Jimmy, after which Will forces Sideburns down an inactive escalator, then through the glass at the bottom of the escalator. Sideburns is killed when a chunk of the glass becomes impaled in his neck. Jimmy says that they didn’t get into the organization to kill innocent people. Cook and Jimmy exchange gunfire, until Cook kills him with two shots to the chest. Laura flees with a gun in her hand. Cook throws her into a glass display case, causing her to drop the gun. Will arrives and begins beating up Cook, but both fall onto another escalator, rolling to the bottom. Laura, who has grabbed the gun that Cook forced her to drop, shoots Cook six times, killing him. Happy to be alive, Will and Laura walk back up the escalator. Durgan arrives, asking who killed Cook. Will responds that it was him, but Durgan says that the way he sees it, the dead guys killed each other. There was no one else there. With both DVDs in hand, Will clears his name. He decides to follow up on Alan’s work by giving the DVD to Gibbs (Mike Pniewski), another reporter. Thanking him, Gibbs says, “The hungry rabbit jumps, eh?” indicating to a surprised Will that Gibbs knows about or is also in the organization.Justice has some great action scenes and some interesting ( if a little unbelievable) plot twists and I enjoyed it for what it was – a good action thriller.

 

REVIEW: FANTASTIC FOUR (2015)

CAST
Miles Teller (Divergent)
Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
Kate Mara (Iron Man 2)
Jamie Bell (King Kong)
Toby Kebbell (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Reg E.Cathey (Seven)
Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
Friends Reed Richards and Ben Grimm have worked together on a prototype teleporter since childhood, eventually attracting the attention of Professor Franklin Storm, director of the Baxter Foundation, a government-sponsored research institute for young prodigies. Reed is recruited to join them and aid Storm’s children, scientist Sue Storm and the somewhat reckless technician Johnny Storm, into completing a “Quantum Gate” designed by Storm’s wayward protégé, Victor von Doom, who begrudgingly agrees to help due to his unrequited feelings for Sue.
The experiment is successful, and the facility’s supervisor, Dr. Allen, plans to send a group from NASA to venture into a parallel dimension known as “Planet Zero”. Disappointed at being denied the chance to join the expedition, Reed, Johnny, and Victor along with Ben use the Quantum Gate to embark on an unsanctioned voyage to Planet Zero, which they learn is a world filled with otherworldly substances. Victor attempts to touch the green-lava like substance, causing the surface they are on to collapse and the ground to erupt. Reed, Johnny, and Ben return to their shuttle just as Sue brings them back to Earth. Victor is left behind after he falls into the collapsing landscape. The machine explodes, altering Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben on a molecular-genetic level, affording them superhuman conditions and abilities beyond their control: Reed can stretch like rubber, Sue can become invisible and generate force fields of energy, Johnny can engulf his entire body in flames and fly, and Ben becomes bigger and develops a rock-like hide which gives him enhanced strength and durability. They are then placed in government custody and confinement to be studied and have their conditions and abilities tested. Blaming himself for the accident, Reed escapes from the facility and tries to find a cure for their changes.
Miles Teller in Fantastic Four (2015)
One year later, Reed is now a fugitive and has built a suit that is able to adapt to his body’s plasticity and also helps him control his ability. Hiding in Central America, he is eventually found by the United States military with Sue’s help and captured by Ben, who has become a military asset along with Johnny and Sue. Johnny and Sue have been outfitted with specialized suits designed to help them stabilize and control their abilities. Reed is brought to Area 57, where Dr. Allen conscripts him to open another portal to Planet Zero in exchange for giving Reed the necessary resources to find a cure. Arriving in Planet Zero, Dr. Allen’s explorers find Victor, who has been fused to his spacesuit and can now control the elements, as well as having telekinetic abilities, and bring him back to Earth. Believing the human race needs to be destroyed so he can rebuild Planet Zero in his image, Victor kills scientists and soldiers in the base including Dr. Allen and Professor Storm and returns to Planet Zero using the Quantum Gate, with Ben, Johnny, Reed, and Sue in pursuit.
Miles Teller in Fantastic Four (2015)
Now dubbing himself “Doom”, Victor activates a portal on Planet Zero using a structure he made while in the realm, that begins consuming the landscape of the Earth. He is confronted by the four and, after a destructive battle, Ben punches Doom into the portal’s energy beam, disintegrating him, while Johnny closes the portal. Returning to Earth, the group is rewarded for their heroics by being given a new base of operations by the US military. They decide to use their powers to help people and adopt the mantle of the “Fantastic Four”.

It’s certainly different from the comics, so if you go into it with an open mind you may find a better experience than if you want it to remain the same. It’s inventive, there’s an engaging cast, the Marco Beltrami/Philip Glass score is wonderful, but ultimately it goes against a lot of the superhero conventions. The big action setpieces had to be scrapped due to budgetary concerns and it shows. It’s a slow moving film but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. It’s notably darker with some elements of Cronenberg-esque body horror, yet it still has elements of humour and the ending isn’t really that bad. Some aspects could have been developed better and some of the reshoots are laughably bad – like with Reed asking Sue if she’s adopted. But it’s definitely worth watching even just to see what aspects didn’t work so well or to see the elements that do work. Because the elements that work are really gripping, and it’s very interesting to see superheroes reduced to test subjects in Area 57 and government stooges. It’s just unfortunate the good elements are often only glimpses. But if you can put up with that it’s a nice contrast to Marvel Studios’ output.