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|66 reviews in total|
THE Fast and Furious franchise is back for the seventh time, but
without Paul Walker, who died in a car crash (ironic, isn't it?). It
was nice of Vin Diesel to name his newborn daughter Pauline in honour
of his former friend.
The film carries on with the theme of family. It's not every man for himself, but it's every man for this multiracial family.
Furious 7, however, is stuck in first gear and never gets going. I felt bored and restless in the first few minutes and hoped that the action scenes would rev me up. However, despite all the hullabaloo happening on screen, I never felt excited or bothered by it.
One reason could be that viewers would have seen all the action before. The prerequisite implausible car scene, involving freeing a beautiful hacker, is more than viewers can hope for, but a voice inside them will tell them that science fiction films are more believable than this.
Furthermore, the film let the cat out of the bag by showing this scene in its trailer, thereby removing any iota of excitement.
Diesel, who's also a producer of the film, is still the glue that holds this motley crew together. His tough-guy persona is wearing thin, as is his ability to take hits from bad guy Deckard (Jason Statham) and the number of times he survives car crashes.
His Dominic Toretto is gruff as ever but I didn't empathise with him as much as I did in the sixth film of the franchise.
Walker, who died two years ago in speeding-car accident, is gently pushed aside as Brian. Dominic tells Brian that the bravest thing the latter ever did was to be a father to his family. Such a sombre scene requires time for it to sink into viewers, but in the next scene, we see bikini-clad women strutting their stuff in Abu Dhabi.
Has anyone noticed that this franchise's preferred way of filming sexy babes is something that I call below-the-butt eyeline?
Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) looks hot wearing a red gown and duking it out with another babe.
Roman (Tyrese Gibson) cracks jokes and Tej (Ludacris) provides the necessary IT support. They briefly fight over sultry hacker Ramsey (British actress Nathalie Emmanuel) and just when you thought that they'd argue over her brains, Malaysian-born director James Wan lets viewers ogle her in her black bikini at the beach.
The film's preposterousness reaches a new level with a sports car flying through three high-rise towers. Even if you had wanted to gawk at its silliness, the film took that away by showing it in its trailer, too.
The ending, which takes place in downtown Los Angeles, is the final nail in the coffin for the film. An armed helicopter can wreak havoc with nary a sight of US jet fighters intercepting it. The police, meanwhile, are inept because they can't stop the accidents caused by car chases.
By this time, however, I just wanted the film to finish so I could get out of the theatre.
1 out of 5 stars
'FOCUS' reminds me of 'Now You See Me' because both depend on a sleight
of hand to distract people from the true goal of their con. Even the
deception trick in 'Focus' derives from 'Now You See Me'. And as long
as the former focuses on tricks, it acquits itself admirably in
However, once it delves into the realm of romance between Will Smith and Margot Robbie, things go awry. Robbie is absolutely gorgeous and Smith's chiselled body and nipples are worth the admission ticket, but I didn't buy their relationship.
Neither is sure whether the other person is revealing his or her's true feelings, but audiences won't care.
2 out of 5 stars.
SEXY MILF J. Lo falls for a hunky 20-year-old with psycho problems
after her husband cheats on her. The hunk, of course, doesn't take it
kindly when she wants to break off the relationship.
When she can't get him of her back, she blames her vulnerability during her separation for her moment of weakness.
The film can be interpreted as defending the family institution, especially when it comes under attack from external elements. The film accepts that there will be problems in marriages, and it calls for those involved to patch things up with their spouse for the good of the institution.
The acting is middling and the plot is predictable. I expected J. Lo to do what was necessary to preserve her marriage. The bad boy with mental and anger problems is also routine in films.
2 out of 5 stars
He's handsome, she's gorgeous. He owes money lenders a lot of money,
she's has some dough. It's your usual boy- meets-girl flick, but this
time, there's a lot of running around and jumping, all in the name of
The only thing that kept me awake was the action, which, after awhile, got a bit blasé.
Lautner's character may have got into trouble because his desire to pay off his debts, but it certainly doesn't absolve him from using ill- gotten wealth to clear them.
2 out of 5 stars
THE excitement of The Expendables series has always been about elderly
and mostly white former action stars kicking the ass of dictatorial
regimes across the world.
The amount of violence and bodies in it provided a visceral thrill to audiences. The plot hardly mattered as there was always some regime in the world that needed to be beaten to pulp by angry Americans.
Sylvester Stallone, the creator and the star of the series, plays a former US secret operations soldier who is quick to dispense justice, and to make his character appealing, he has a moral conscience.
This theme is prevalent in many violent US films. It's as if the filmmakers are saying that it's okay for Americans to be violent and run roughshod over others, as long as they have a heart of gold.
The Expendables 3 follows the path created by the first two films. A bunch of oldies, part of a former group of dark ops agents, is given the task of taking out baddies or saving the world from a crisis of unparalleled proportions.
The third film, realising that this formula is wearing old, mixes it up by adding younger killers, and also giving it a much larger role to play in the film.
However, the result is always the same: a cacophony of violence and destruction that will give the Transformers series a run for the money.
As usual, the killers perform their job with aplomb and with nary a scratch.
Read more at: www.jeffleemovies.com/the-expendables-3-old-hand-at-violence/
** Turtles-on-drugs film will leave you feeling shell-shocked ** Movie
transforms into a wild ride into oblivion teenage mutant ninja turtles
A FRIEND, knowing that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was produced by Transformers director Michael Bay, asked me whether it was good. I told him it was better than Transformers.
However, there's a caveat. I had trashed the Transformers just as easily as the Autobots had trashed the Decepticons.
As usual, with Bay films, there is an avalanche of violence and quick editing that will make your eyes blurry-eyed.
Once the action starts, it just accelerates and leaves you breathless and wanting to get out of the theatre.
As for me, I don't know if I was just tired, but I had to fight hard to keep my eyes open, even during the film's chaotic and mind-numbing finale.
Another huge problem that audiences will have this film is the fact that they won't connect with the Turtles.
Sure, each one has a distinct voice, slightly distinct personality and comes with a coloured mask, but there's nothing about them that will make you feel for them.
Even the plot is risible. How many times does New York have to come under attack by malevolent people who are hell-bent on perpetrating their malfeasance?
Also, how many times does an up-and-coming TV reporter have to be the one who cracks the case?
** Eric Bana struggles to keep you interested in his travails while **
Olivia Munn's delectable low-cut white dress is the only reason to see
GOD should forgive the filmmaker for making this run-of-the-mill horror film.
There's mumbo-jumbo about a New York cop's loss of faith, and a priest's handsome curls distracting viewers from his message about fighting the devil.
However, the film's penultimate scene is its most ludicrous.
Viewers have seen many films about exorcism, so they would not be surprised about what happens during one, and they could even predicts its outcome. What is risible is conducting an exorcism in a police interrogation room.
Arnold Schwarzenegger wreaked havoc in a police station in Terminator (1984) so I suppose director and co-writer Scott Derrickson (Sinister, 2012) thought he could do the same thing in Deliver Us From Evil.
With all the wailing, screaming and broken glass resulting from the exorcism, I'm surprised that the police didn't send in a SWAT team to break up the proceedings.
Read more at www.jeffleemovies.com
THE fourth instalment in director Michael Bay's Transformers series is
as brash, loud and excruciatingly painful to watch as the first one.
Bay hopes to replicate the previous films' unusual success by doling
out more of the same stuff: a pretty girl, Autobots vs Decepticons and
Bay's films are characterised by a surfeit of violence, rapid-fire editing and special effects, and a distinct lack of proper narrative. He believes that editing an action film is similar to editing a Formula 1 race, which means the film will go by in the blink of an eye.
I was getting restless and my head was pounding by the time Transformers 4 reached its denouement. The jumble of images was annoying and the noise was pulverising any thought I had.
I've seen the three previous films so I knew what to expect in terms of noise and confusion, but Bay has taken both points to a new level in this film.
More at www.jeffleemovies.com
FIRST off, viewers must know that this film is co-written by Seth
MacFarlane, the foul-mouthed guy who co-wrote, directed and starred in
the profanity-laced 'Ted' (2012). And if they are expecting a similar
foul-mouthed rant in 'A Million Ways To Die In The West', they are
The problem is, viewers will feel that he's trying too hard to make people fall under his spell again. I didn't feel like laughing out loud during the screening; I was more prone to emitting the occasional snort of laughter, much like the rest of the audience.
MacFarlane is not afraid to mock Chinese, blacks and Christians, but you really feel him straining when you encounter a prostitute who services 15 men a day but is averse to having sex with her virgin boyfriend.
You may feel him more than just straining when a woman places a daisy in the anus of a man she's just knocked out cold with a rock.
Read more at: www.jeffleemovies.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THIS RoboCop reboot by director Jose Padilha, thankfully, doesn't try to copy the original 1987 version by Paul Verhoeven, although it does follow the same path. Viewers will still get to see a Christ-like figure being killed, resurrected and saving his city, or flock, from the evils of capitalism. There's still a corporation that's pulling the strings of the city, and maybe the whole country, by promoting its saviour, which in this 2014 version comes in a sleek black chrome finish. The 1987 was a satire about TV news programmes and the greed of corporations. However, its main theme was that underneath the Judge Dredd-like armour lay a heart teeming with humanity. The 2014 version still places the story in Detroit but doesn't mention that the city in reality is bankrupt. It also focuses more on the relationship between RoboCop and his wife and son, who were not prominent in the first version. RoboCop (Joel Kinnaman) hands Dr Dennett Norton a tough question. This film has its moments, particularly when RoboCop faces off against a multitude of robotic cops in a warehouse. He disposes of them with the elan of a confident gamer, and viewers even get to see his point of view. However, for a film that talks a lot about emotions, this film feels strangely detached, meaning, it doesn't encourage viewers to root for our "black" superhero. It doesn't help that RoboCop's wife keeps popping into the picture at inopportune moments. The filmmaker wants to show more of RoboCop's family life, but this is the part of the film that fails miserably. The idea of having robots patrolling cities was a new one in 1987. But, in 2014, with all the news about US drones taking out Afghan Taliban rebels, the idea of that now is much more plausible. Padilha frames his film with the notion that US robots and drones are maintaining law and order in faraway lands (Iran) but can't do the same back home because of a piece of legislation that bars them from doing so. Samuel Jackson plays TV host Pat Novak, whose in-your-face reportage is often incendiary. He asks if Americans are robo-phobic. "What's more important than the safety of the American people?" The preamble doesn't aid the film in any way. The film should have just cut out the first few minutes and leapt headfirst into the story. It wants to comment on current issues, just like what the 1987 film did, but its preface bogs down the film. Similarly, it showing OmniCorp as thinking about ways to maximise profits from its robots and drones in the US market is nothing short of boring. Isn't that what all corporations do? There's nothing devious about it. The firm wants to humanise its robots because OmniCorp boss Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) says Americans want a product with a conscience, or something that knows what it feels like to be human. I take this to mean that American troops or security forces will always think twice before killing civilians. I had to suppress a snigger when I heard Sellars say that line. Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman of TV's The Killing) is a righteous cop who stumbles on a plot about dirty cops working hand in hand with drug lord Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow). For that, he gets blown into smithereens. When he next wakes up, he's in a body armour. He recoils at the sight of his metallic structure and runs out of the lab and into the fields in a scene similar to that in Avatar. The scene of Dr Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) showing RoboCop what's left of his body is touching, and so is the scene where he meets his son for the first time. RoboCop's wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish), is competent as the strong wife who wants to know what happened to her husband. Her total acceptance of his new body is commendable but it would have been more realistic to show her gasping or taking a moment to take it all in. She could also have been showed wondering how they would ever make love again. However, Clara becomes persistent and a pain in viewers' necks. I don't think viewers will for one minute believe in their unusual relationship. For the rest of the film, viewers will see RoboCop being put through his paces and watching him expand his limited acting skills. This brings us to Kinnaman, whose sardonic and wisecracking ways are curbed by the suit he's wearing. In fact, he's just a lump of metal. Paul Weller was in a similar situation in the first film but he allowed his acting to show us his pain, anger and desire for revenge. Kinnaman, meanwhile, just goes through the motions. In short, RoboCop is a huge mess that lacks emotion. Heck, I can't even be bothered to make myself be angry with this film or take it as an affront to the first film. 2 1/2 out of 5
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