The opening scene to The Villainess employs the same video game POV styling of Hardcore Henry, although here director Byung-gil Jung doesn’t mince any words.
While directed flashy, this opening scene benefits from its frenetic whip pans which hide some shoddy CG blood effects. Five minutes into the film, when the camera pulls back to reveal our protagonist for the evening—the almost mechanically ferocious Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim)—the camera captures stunt choreography more successfully. Still, the whole scene remains overly frantic and shaky.
Why spend so much time discussing the film’s opening scene? It is Continue reading The Villainess (2017) Movie Review
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is, like its predecessor Kingsman: The Secret Service, a violence-obsessed take on the James Bond formula. In the same Bond vein, the plot revolves around a megalomaniac’s scheme to decimate the world population and the spies who follow the convoluted path to stop the evil plan in time.
The evil plan involves the chipper and sociopathic leader of a drug cartel (Julianne Moore) whose latest batch of drugs infects its users with Continue reading Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Movie Review
American Assassin opens on Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), our handsome action hero, proposing to his girlfriend (Charlotte Vega) on a beach in Spain. Because we need Rapp to become a grizzled action hero with a chip on his shoulder, decked out in a scraggly beard so that we know he’s in grief, his girlfriend has to die in a random act of violence.
Enter the CIA in the form of the dueling ideologies of Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) and Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). They recruit Rapp in an elite anti-terrorism unit, a unit so cutthroat that it Continue reading American Assassin (2017) Movie Review
Birth of the Dragon is a biopic of legendary martial arts and action film star Bruce Lee (portrayed here by Philip Ng). It tells the story of his rise to prominence in the Western world, and the confrontation between him and martial arts master Wong Jack Man (Xia Yu).
Except, Birth of the Dragon really wants to focus on Continue reading Birth of the Dragon (2017) Movie Review
Armed with a constant blue-gray aesthetic, Atomic Blonde lacks the adrenaline energy of a John Wick despite sharing a director, so much so that the intricately staged hand-to-hand combat sequences can sometimes come off as dreary and mechanical.
This said, select sequences from this batch are the Continue reading Atomic Blonde (2017) Movie Review
Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver. He works under Kevin Spacey’s Doc, a heist mastermind who never works with the same crew twice but who considers Baby his lucky charm. A lucky charm that he has under his thumb thanks to a juvenile mistake that Baby pulled on him at a young age.
Baby is the eccentric protagonist and your archetypal “mysterious quiet type” character. After an accident left him both orphaned and ailed by tinnitus, Baby lives Continue reading Baby Driver (2017) Movie Review
In this fourth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, quite confusingly entitled Fast & Furious, the old crew is up to the same old tricks. Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Han (Sung Kang) rob a moving fuel truck in the Dominican Republic. They take their cut and split ways to lay low.
When Letty is murdered, the crew reunites to avenge her death. Wrapped up in this via FBI investigation is Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), who now works for the bureau.
With this premise comes the narrative intrigue of Continue reading Fast & Furious (2009) Movie Review
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a cocksure neurosurgeon with the mind of a savant, becomes victim to a (rather excessive) car wreck. His hands smashed through the windshield and succumbing to massive nerve damage, he may never practice surgery again. Wonderful parallel shots show his fall from grace in a shot structure that seems almost too elegant for a Marvel film.
When a physical recovery becomes impossible for him, Strange seeks Continue reading Doctor Strange (2016) Movie Review