REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL (2012)

CAST

Colin Farrell (Daredevil)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Bryan Cranston (Drive)
Bokeem woodbine (The Breed)
Bill Nighy (Hot Fuzz)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Steve Byers (Smallville)
Will Yun Lee (Elektra)
James McGowan (Bitten)
Michael Therriault (Reign)
Emily Chang (the Vampire Diaries)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)

At the end of the 21st century, Earth is devastated by chemical warfare. What little habitable land remains is divided into two territories, the United Federation of Britain (UFB, located on mainland Europe) and the Colony (Australia). Many residents of the Colony travel to the UFB to work in factories via “the Fall”, a gravity elevator running through the Earth’s core. A Resistance operating in the UFB seeks to improve life in the Colony, which the UFB views as a terrorist movement.
Colony citizen Douglas Quaid[8] has been having dreams of being a secret agent, aided by an unknown woman. Tired of his factory job building police robots with friend Harry, he visits Rekall, a virtual entertainment company that implants artificial memories. Among the choices Rekall salesman Bob McClane offers Quaid are the memories of a secret agent. An emblem of rekall is stamped onto his arm. Just as Quaid is starting to be implanted, McClane discovers that he already has real memories of being a covert operative. As McClane starts to question Quaid about the memories, UFB police officers burst in, killing the Rekall crews and attempt to arrest Quaid. Quaid instinctively reacts and kills the officers before escaping. Upon returning home his wife Lori attempts to kill him, revealing that she is an undercover UFB agent who has been monitoring him for the past six weeks. After Quaid escapes, Charles Hammond, a “friend” Quaid does not recognize, contacts him and directs him to a safe-deposit box. Quaid finds a recorded message from his former self with the address of a UFB apartment.
While being pursued by Lori and other human and robot police, Quaid meets Melina, the woman from his dreams. At the apartment Quaid finds another recording, revealing that his name is actually Carl Hauser, an agent working for UFB Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen. After defecting to the Resistance, Hauser was captured by the UFB and implanted with false memories. The recording reveals that Cohaagen will use robots to invade the Colony so the UFB will have more living space. Hauser, however, has seen a “kill code” that would disable the robots. The code can be recovered from his memory by Resistance leader Matthias. Melina reveals that she was Hauser’s lover before Hauser was captured; she proves that they knew each other by showing that they have matching scars from a time they were both shot whilst holding hands. The police surround the apartment building and Harry appears. He tries to convince Quaid that he is still in a Rekall-induced dream and that killing Melina is the only way out. Quaid is conflicted, but notices a tear on Melina’s cheek and shoots Harry instead. Lori pursues the pair inside the building’s lifts, but fails to capture them.
Quaid and Melina meet with Matthias. While Matthias searches Quaid’s memories, Lori and Cohaagen storm the Resistance base. Cohaagen reveals that Hauser was in fact working for him without Quaid even knowing it due to the memory alteration, using the kill code as a trap. Cohaagen kills Matthias and arranges to restore Hauser’s memory before leaving with Melina as a prisoner. As the officers are about to inject Quaid, Hammond (revealed to be one of the police officers involved in the raid) sacrifices himself to help Quaid escape.
jessica-biel-and-colin-farrell-new-total-recall-2012
Cohaagen begins his invasion of the Colony, loading the Fall with his army of robots. Quaid sneaks on board, setting timed explosives throughout the ship while searching for Melina. After freeing her, they climb atop the Fall as it arrives at the Colony. As they fight the soldiers and Cohaagen, Quaid’s explosives detonate. Quaid and Melina jump off before the ship plummets back into the tunnel and explodes underground, killing Cohaagen and destroying his army and The Fall itself. Waking up in an ambulance, Quaid is greeted by Melina. When he notices that she is missing her scar, he realizes that she is Lori using a holographic disguise; they fight and Lori is killed. Quaid finds the real Melina outside the ambulance and they embrace. As the news channels declare the independence of The Colony, Quaid notices that the emblem of Rekall that was stamped on his arm has disappeared. He looks up to find an advertisement of Rekall on an electronic billboard. Just before Quaid can kiss Melina, the screen cuts to black, making it open to interpretation whether Quaid was actually living the memory of a spy at rekall.
I love the first Total Recall film and put off watching this version due to the negative reviews and uncomplimentary comparisons with Paul Verhoeven’s original, but when I finally got around to watching this movie I was more than pleasantly surprised. Undoubtedly more dour and lacking the humour of its predecessor this is nevertheless an entertaining, action-packed, adrenalin-fuelled, visually spectacular SF movie.

REVIEW: SPY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Jude Law (A.I.)
Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jason Staham (Fast & Furious 7)
Miranda Hart (Miranda)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of The Dead)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
50 Cent (Southpaw)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine kills Tihomir Boyanov after he sneezes without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.
Susan is sent to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). Later that night, Ford appears in the hotel Susan is staying at and insists that she will ruin the mission due to being an inexperienced field agent. The next morning, Susan sees an assassin working for De Luca, and one of his contacts, exchanging Ford’s bag for one with a bomb inside it. Susan warns Ford, then catches up to the assassin, but he is killed when they fight. Susan follows De Luca to Rome, where she meets her contact Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a suave Italian informant who makes inappropriate advances towards her. Susan meets Rayna in a casino, prevents Rayna’s assassination, and becomes part of her inner circle. When they fly in her private plane to Budapest, the steward kills the bodyguard and pilots and tries to kill Rayna, but Susan subdues him and lands the plane in Budapest.
Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA spy, but Susan convinces Rayna that her father hired her to be Rayna’s bodyguard. In Budapest, the two encounter Susan’s best friend Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), who is sent by Crocker to provide back-up. After being shot at in the street, Susan orders Nancy to get Rayna to safety while she pursues the shooter’s vehicle. The shooter turns out to be CIA double agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), who sold Rayna the names of the agents. As she is about to shoot Susan, Walker is killed by an unknown sniper. Later that night, Susan and Nancy accompany Rayna to a party. The contact is De Luca’s associate, Lia (Nargis Fakhri). Nancy creates a diversion so Susan can fight Lia, who is a skilled assassin. Just as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is fatally stabbed in the chest by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be Bradley Fine. Susan is captured and is told that Fine faked his death so he could become Rayna’s lover.
Jason Statham and Melissa McCarthy in Spy (2015)
After Susan is imprisoned with Aldo in a bunker, Fine appears and reveals to Susan that the real reason he faked his death was to gain intelligence on the device’s location, which could only happen if he gained Rayna’s trust. Fine also reveals that he was the one who assassinated Karen. Susan and Aldo escape after subduing two bodyguards. Eventually, Susan accompanies Rayna and Fine at De Luca’s mansion while posing as a double agent. Chechen terrorist Solsa Dudaev (Richard Brake) and his men arrive to purchase the device for a suitcase full of diamonds. Rayna then reveals the location of the device. However, De Luca, now in possession of the device and doubting that Dudaev can safely smuggle it into the United States, kills him and his men and keeps the diamonds. De Luca intends to sell the device to someone who can transport it to New York City within a week. As De Luca is about to kill Rayna, Ford appears and distracts him, allowing Susan to save Rayna’s life again.
Melissa McCarthy and Nargis Fakhri in Spy (2015)
De Luca escapes with the device and diamonds on his helicopter, with Susan and Ford clinging to the landing gear. Ford loses his grip, causing him to falls into the lake ocean, leaving Susan to confront De Luca in the helicopter alone. After Nancy and Aldo arrive in a helicopter and help Susan kill De Luca, Crocker shows up to recover the device. Rayna is arrested, but it is implied that she has come to like Susan as a friend. After Aldo reveals to Susan that his real name is Albert and he is an MI6 agent, he invites her to dinner should they ever cross paths in London, which Susan accepts. Susan declines a similar offer from Fine and instead opts for a girls’ night out with Nancy. The next morning, Susan is shown screaming after waking up amidst empty champagne bottles, realizing that she has slept with Ford.
I thought Spy would be just another parody of the James Bond-type of movies, cheap and cringy. But I was wrong! This is a highly entertaining and intelligent film. The leading lady Melissa McCarthy excels in this clever action-comedy galore. The ensemble of actors, the script, director’s work all makes for a great film.

REVIEW: ELEKTRA (2005)

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Goran Visnjic (Practical Magic)
Will Yun Lee (Die Another Day)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Kristen Prout (Mindstorm)
Colin Cunningham (Stargate SG.1)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Ben Affleck (The Town) – Directors Cut
Nathaniel Arcand (Cold Pursuit)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Kendall Cross (Paycheck)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)

After being killed in Daredevil, Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) is revived by a blind martial arts master called Stick (Terence Stamp). She is brought to his training compound to learn Kimagure, an ancient martial arts discipline that provides its practitioners with precognition as well as the ability to resurrect the dead. Elektra is soon expelled because of her inability to let go of her rage. She leaves and uses her training to become a contract killer.Years later, Elektra infiltrates a heavily guarded area, kills the guards, and manages to slay her target DeMarco (Jason Isaacs). Elektra’s agent McCabe (Colin Cunningham) receives an unusually large offer from an anonymous client wishing to hire Elektra’s services. The only stipulation; she must spend a few days in a rented home on the island where the assassination is to be performed before the names of the targets are revealed. During the wait, Elektra finds a girl Abby (Kirsten Prout) who tried to swipe Elektra’s necklace and Elektra sends her away. While meditating, Elektra meets and befriends Abby’s father Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic). Abby later invites Elektra to dinner on Mark’s behalf. Later that day, Elektra discovers that Abby, like Elektra herself, has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Elektra develops a romantic interest in Mark, but soon learns he and Abby are the targets she has been hired to kill. Elektra spares them and leaves, but later returns in time to protect them from assassins sent by The Hand, a crime syndicate of ninja mercenaries.Meanwhile, Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), master of The Hand, learns of the failed attempt and permits his son Kirigi (Will Yun Lee) to lead a new team of assassins to kill Elektra and return with Abby, referred to as “The Treasure”. Elektra tries to leave Abby and Mark with Stick, but he scolds her into protecting them herself. She then drives Mark and Abby to McCabe’s country house, but is followed by Kirigi, Typhoid (Natassia Malthe), Stone (Bob Sapp), Kinkou (Edison T. Ribeiro), and Tattoo (Chris Ackerman). Elektra flees with Mark and Abby through a secret underground exit to the orchard, while McCabe sacrifices himself to allow them to escape.Kirigi and the assassins hunt down Elektra, Mark, and Abby in the forest nearby. Elektra manages to kill Stone, while Abby and Mark kill Kinkou with one of his own daggers. As Elektra is distracted by the revelation that Abby has martial arts skills, Typhoid gives Elektra the “Kiss of Death”. Abby is captured by Kirigi. Suddenly, Stick and his Chaste ninjas arrive, forcing Kirigi, Typhoid, and Tattoo to retreat. Stick manages to save Elektra from death and takes them under his protection. Stick confirms Abby is a martial arts prodigy which is the “Treasure” of martial arts whom the Hand seek to use. Elektra learns that she was a Treasure herself and her mother was a casualty of the fight between The Chaste and The Hand with her as reason. She also learns that Stick set up the murder contract on Mark and Abby in order to test Elektra’s propensity for compassion. Elektra astrally projects herself to a meeting with Kirigi and challenges him to a fight; the winner claiming Abby for their own purpose. Elektra returns to her childhood home to face Kirigi, and finally remembers he was her mother’s killer. Elektra is defeated by Kirigi, but Abby arrives and engages him long enough for Elektra to recuperate. Elektra and Abby then escape and hide in a hedge maze but are separated when Abby is captured by snakes dispatched by Tattoo. Elektra finds Tattoo and kills him, saving Abby in the process. Elektra engages Kirigi a second time and manages to kill him. Typhoid poisons Abby, the same way she did to Elektra earlier, killing her in the process. Elektra kills Typhoid and successfully resurrects Abby, overcoming her rage. When Mark comes to take Abby, he and Elektra kiss and go their separate ways. Just as Elektra leaves the grounds of her childhood home for the final time, she meets Stick and the two exchange words to each other. Elektra departs, knowing Abby and Mark will be safe.It’s great for what it is. Don’t expect to figure out the meaning of life, this movie is just for fun. It has great action, pretty darn good visuals, and is everything a comic book movie should be.An extended and slightly refined two-disc unrated edition director’s cut DVD was released in October 2005, featuring a cut detailed for a home video. However, unlike the Daredevil director’s cut which added about 30 minutes of material not in the original theatrical release, this director’s cut added only about 3 minutes of footage.

REVIEW: BIONIC WOMAN (2007)

CAST

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

the-bionic-woman-2007-20070213100314678

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Isaiah Washington (Romeo Must Die)
Kevin Rankin (Hulk)
Jordan Bridges (Drive me Crazy)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Aaron Douglas (Smallville)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Jacqueline Samuda (Stargate SG.1)
Erin Karpluk (Ripper 2)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Magda Apanowicz (Caprica)
Elise Gatien (Smallville)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Kenneth Walsh (The Aviator)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Lara Gilchrist (Stargate: Atlantis)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Tracy Spiridakos (Bates Motel)
Roger Cross (Continuum)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Ben Cotton (Slither
Valerie Tian (Izombie)

MV5BMjMwMjUzNzgzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTMzOTAxMTE@._V1_The ‘Bionic Woman’ character has (through her injured body being rebuilt with cutting edge technology) ‘superhero’-like powers, but without the strange costumes and other weirdness of the Bat Man & Spiderman type ‘Superhero’ genre.This is a series of adventures but also raises questions about how far science should try to fundamentally ‘improve’ the human body, even an injured human body. That is seen especially in the first four episodes when the heroine not only has to come to terms with the effects of the rebuilding, in new improved form, of her own body after a car crash, but of meeting the troubled earlier ‘prototype’ bionic woman Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackhoff)Michelle Ryan might be a more obvious choice for a comedy or romance than to play an action superhero like the Bionic Woman. She is not as exceptional or charismatic an actress as Katee Sackhoff, who plays the Sarah Corvus character. However, Michelle Ryan is still good, and makes her character likeable and even charming.Her character’s home life, juggling dangerous adventures with being stand in parent to a precocious younger sister, was not in the original 1970s series. However, as to a lesser extent with the ‘Bionic Woman’s romance over a few episodes with a CIA agent, it adds interest. Little Lucy Hale is good as the younger sister, convincingly playing an adolescent.  A good series, cancelled prematurely, but the 8 episodes made still amount to more than 5 hours viewing time, which is a reasonable length. Although not originally written to be the end of the series, the last scene, between the heroine and her sister, while not wrapping everything up, is not a bad note on which to end.