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Fight Valley (2016)
Surprisingly... not bad !!
So being a Miesha Tate fan, i had to watch this movie. The trailer kinda gave me the vibe of a very cheap indy flick, which it is partly but somehow not bad at all for such thing.
The story is actually interesting, i did get emotionally involved in it, and if you want to see Miesha Tate movie debut, well she does have a real role in this. Holly Holm? Just a cameo, i guess they put her as the focus of the cover box because of her title win, cause really she is just a cameo. Cyborg is not too much in it either, and her acting is not good, i guess this is to expect as English ain't her first language from the start but thankfully since her role is small, it pass fine. Miesha really surprised me, i wouldn't say she put a "great performance" but she wasn't bad at all in her acting part. The other actress goes from decent to not too good, but they are not bad enough to put the movie in danger of looking awful either.
The fights? Well i have read lots of reactions to them and i would say this... They are "passable" if i can say. There not very long, there basics, they do there job OK to advance the plot, but clearly it show the director and fight choreographer are both very inexperienced in filming such things.
Movies like Never Back Down for example had much much better fights despite involving actors who are not really fighters. But as weird as it may sound, i had a feeling the fights where not the primary aspect of this movie, it was the plot and how it unfold, and the emotions involved, which surprisingly i got into.
So ... maybe its because i had very low expectation but i was pleased with my VOD rental... I would say if you treat this movie as an indy low budget film, it does a decent job. Forget about the 27 million budget on IMDb page, whoever put this is bogus... If the budget was 1 million i would be surprised... There is nothing costly in this movie beside maybe Miesha Tates pay check lol.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Don't listen to the so called "critics" , the movie is fun
This movie is super fun. Im gonna make it short, as everything probably been said many times. I was not fond of Will Smith being cast as Dead Shot, that's who i had in mind after watching the actor in Arrow. But Will Smith is so charismatic and fun he made me forget all about it. Marggot Robbie as Harley Quinn is just awesome. Even Jai Courtney is very good at Boomerang. Actually my only complain with this character is that there is not enough of him !!! lol The story is basic sure, but it work. Lots of great action. Look although i did like Deadpool, i tough this movie was even better, yeah no jokes.
My only big problem with the movie is i am not a fan of Pimp Joker. I mean the actor did a great job with what he had to work with, but the look is completely off. Joker should NOT be tattooed, no matter if once in the comic he was or whatever. The street gang metal teeth look ridiculous too. But Jared Leto has the face for it tough, make up wise and hair colour, that was good. His acting was convincing.
So yeah i had tons of fun with Suicide Squad, gonna buy it when it comes out on DVD for sure.
Good potential yet mostly wasted...
I knew from the start Bruce Willis just accepted another "glorified cameo" role and was not that much in it. Its not a problem for me and i didn't care.
Kellan Lutz have potential as an action star, he truly does, but he need to choose his movies a bit better. The story start OK and is overall decent for the most part of the movie but the action is ...bad. Lots of jump cuts trying to make Kellan look like a martial artist when he clearly is not. They can capitalize on him being a strong dude, kinda like what Arnold and Stallone did in the 80s and 90s. But don't try to push some martial arts when it clearly look staged completely. The dude is NOT a martial artist and it show.
Then you have Gina Carrano, a true martial artist who can do pretty solid performance on screen. In Haywire she had GREAT fight scene, the plot was just shaky and the script unappealing but the fights where super good. In the Blood was a typical B action movie but it worked cause the story was engaging and again Gina did some solid fights. Here they seem to try to have her fight in a "sluggish way" not capitalizing on what she can do at all and again TERRIBLE jump cuts. She plays somewhat the role of a sidekick in this and again even tough the fights she is in are not too good, she is so underused too.
I want to keep this review spoiler free so i won't touch the story more but lets just say it didn't satisfy me at all. Its the kind of movie if the fights where really good i would had give it a pass but they where not. It may be unfair to compare the director of this movie to Isaac Florentine, especially since the latest work with the great Scott Adkins but i mean don't give what is intended as a martial arts role to a non martial artist.
Anyway this movie is a bit of a mess but somewhat kept me entertain for 75% of it (the end is the worst) and at least Gina Carrano can showcase some acting skills and i hope to see her get more role. She has everything to be a major B movie stars, she can fight, she is gorgeous, and I'm really sure she can act enough to carry those type of movies.
But this one... You won't remember it in T-minus 1 day, yup already forgot... (Yes Jeremy Jahns reference here)
Michael Jai White does it again !! Much better than the trailer
I enjoyed a lot the first one back then, surprisingly even tough it had an Hollywood cast and was very commercial i loved it. Amber Heard... oh boy... lol. The second one came as a good surprise and i enjoyed it again a damn lot. The character of Case Walker was good but so was the other ones as well.
It was inevitable that the third movie would focus on Case, after all Michael Jai White is a huge name in the martial art style and the story of the kids from the second movie was wrapped up.
So when the trailer drop, i was a bit surprised. I mean it didn't looked as good as i had in mind for the next step in Case Walker story. But after having seen the movie, i do feel the movie is a lot better than the trailer. By a lot. Good action, solid character development, the story is engaging even tough a bit less personal than in previous movies. Non the less Michael Jai White make it work super great. The only thing that people may have a grip with, just like i do, is that the movie lacks a great antagonist. The battle is not personal on that level. I don't want to go into a spoiler review so i will not say more, but lets just say that the focus in clearly on the main characters and there relationship together. He does work very good tough.
In the end i had a ton of fun with that movie, its movies like that i am waiting for and i welcome so much the release once in a while. Its like 90s kickboxing movies goodness but at the same time with better direction, better acting, betting production value as a whole.
I do not know the budget for this movie, but for a direct to DVD (not even blu ray, at least here in Quebec) its damn impressive what they accomplished. Fans of martial art action, give it a shot for sure.
Close Range (2015)
Not Isaac Florentine's best for sure, but decent and entertaining.
Isaac Florentine + Scott Adkins is a must watch for me. Undisputed 3 is still to this day in my top 3 (easily) best martial arts movie and the Ninja Movies (also starring Adkins) are pretty cool. The guy knows how to film great action and honestly here i must say the hand to hand combat is pretty sharp once again.
The little problem with this one is that there seem to be less hand to hand and focus more on gunfights. Those gunfights are not bad at all but there pretty cliché of the 80/90s type, lots and lots of ammunition wasted and this is where it kinda lost a bit of appeal to me. After having watch the excellent JOHN WICK with Keanue Reeves, i don't know if i can go back and watch tons of gunshots hitting walls and everything but the enemies. The protagonist is supposed to be some kind of elite soldier, but he does miss a lot and some shots that you would expect a marksman to hit. I can buy the thugs missing lots of bullets, but him? When it comes to acting and story, well the story is okay, it serve its purpose. Its nothing off the hook, very simple but effective, and as for the acting, its nothing stellar but it didn't bother me much. Its important to note i watched a french dubbed version and the dubbing was pretty ordinary, so i don't want to put too much emphasis on that on my review.
So in the end, was i entertained? Yes. Would i had like more hand to hand combat? Yes, cause the ones in it, no matter if they where justified or not, where very cool. But overall the movie was nice enough, i wasn't bored, i liked the characters overall. I noticed some flaws yes but its a B action movie, so well? What else to expect.
I still have lots of "new" Scott Adkins movie to watch yet, being in Quebec and watching mostly my movies in french does not make it easy so i will give this one a plus for the effort of being released here on blu ray in french. But i do hope much better for the next Boyka movie for sure.
Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016)
Surprising....sequel...to say the least
Alright, i saw the first movie as a kid, and it starred my (then) favourite "actor" in Arnold Swartzenagger. So of course as a kid i liked the first one. Nowhere near an iconic or classic as Commando, Terminator 2 or whatever, but still a good time. I picked it up years later and watch it again and my tough changed a bit. I tough it was a bit funny still but i guess its the kind of humour that work either on kids or old parents.
Anyway when i saw this was released i had to give it a look. I like Dolph Lundgren, i mean sure he is a more mobile Steven Seagal, starring in the same type of scripts and same type of roles as him, usually in the same type of budget movies. But i guess i just like those b action movies...
So i gave it a look and ... well... its not as bad as it may look. Despite having nothing storywise to do with the first movie it does follow a similar formula, and call it a sequel or a remake, it does not matter. Its similarly entertaining as the first one and its by no mean a "bad movie".
But my biggest problem with it is Mister Lundgren's age. He is acting and somewhat playing the role of a 35 years old (max) dude while he clearly look in his advanced 50s at least. And of course they decided to give the supporting role to a beautiful actress that look like a barely 26 years old hottie. IMDb list her as being 29 years old. The fact is, she is way too young for Lundgren and this make the whole movie awkward and unbelievable. They could had easily go with a 39 to 43 years old good looking mature lady instead, which would had made it a bit more believable.
Lets face it, Dolph does not have that much comedy background, and the movie never show how a "badass" he is supposed to be unlike Arny in the first movie. They could had give the role to Kevin Hart and it would had been much funnier and believable. Well if anything Lundgren's partner remind me of him and have the same french voice actor too, and he serve the comic relief role somewhat.
So in the end, this movie may make you ask why they made it in the first place, but then the real question should be why not? The first one was never "that good" to begin with, and it wasn't that terrible. This a family movie, one that you should watch with your kids and have a fun Saturday night.
I saw Dolph do better, i saw him do much worst, but in the end the movie is serving its purpose and as i said my most biggest gripe is the age factor when it comes to Dolph, who act like and is surrounded by people half his age and just do like he is 35.
Very cheap movie and it show...
I really appreciate Danny Trejo in everything he does, or should i say more or less. The guy usually have good screen presence even when relayed to a supporting cast, or even close to an extra.
But this movie... The general plot on paper does not sound bad at all. Classic... VERY classic sure, but there is plenty that could be done with it.
But the execution is sloppy, like very sloppy, in everything. The story, the gunfights, the bare knuckles fights. Trejo does not look like a one man army on a mission like for example Liam Neeson in Taken, he just look like a tired old man and there is full of clichés that does not help its cause either. Like bad guy have could shoot him, but decide to for ... we don't know why? Its really one of those very low budget movie that really do not deserve a second look. I don't blame Trejo but really the production company and the director.
Oh and i watched a dubbed version, and its really one of those super cheap dubbing in french, where you recognize every one of the voice actors, like there is a total of 10 people or less they employ in that company. And its really mediocre recording and "talents". So yeah this didn't help, but usually they pick very low budget cause if not for them we wouldn't get those movie anyway, as nobody would pick them. So well...
Let Me In (2010)
Would had probably loved it more as a child, but still liked it.
When i was a child, i was captured by the vampire concept, i always wished i would meet a girl that was a vampire and could turn me into one and we would live forever. Yup child mind... lol In this movie, we meet that bullied little kid who realize his new cute little neighbour is actually a vampire. They still develop a love relationship and the movie follow these two characters mostly as there story progress.
As an adult i can't relate as much to the characters as when i was younger, but i still could appreciate the story. The best part is certainly some gritty feels of the cinematography. The snow scenes when they meet for the first time for example has a kinda enchanted vibe.
So overall its a good movie but you must realize its very... very... slow paced. Longer than your usual 90 minutes movie, i feel the movie would had benefit of being at least 20 minutes shorter.
Yet i would say its definitely worth a rental, the story kept me interest during the movie, i just wish it would had moved a bit faster in some parts.
Still a solid 7
Fung wan II (2009)
Good Special Effects, the rest is just a mess...
I had this movie for a while in my "to watch list" , got it from a VIDEO STORE selling a while ago, i think 2 years... Yeah, been a long time. I finally decided to watch it today. I had saw a trailer back in the day and tough it looked cool, thus why i purchased it.
So let me start this review positively. The CGI is actually pretty good. I mean it does look like a video game in some point but in a way that the movie is constant and you never have this impression that it is out of place. Obviously if you enjoy the style or not, this is your own point of view, but i personally did enjoy it and i am not a fan of wired fu to say the least.
That being said, sadly the movie fail on almost every other aspect for me. Sure the music was alright but all the rest, characters, story, all movie long i was wondering what was going on. The movie start very abrupt and show us our main heroes all chain and ready to be executed. But by some mean they manage to escape, think there stronger than the bad guy, but get there a** kicked. So they then need to find a way to get stronger in order to defeat the bad guy. That part is easy to understand but all the rest surrounding this is really hard to understand. I get that this is based on a comic book, and no i never read it, and i never saw the first movie either. Actually you can blame me on jumping on the sequel and then complaining about the story or you can blame the North American distributor for naming the movie The Storm Warriors instead of The Storm Riders 2. Yeah i figured out i was watching a sequel later when i checked IMDb. So yeah i did had a hard time connecting to those characters and the lore of the movie, and especially that whole plot point which end up being a major one about a stupid dragon spine that for some reason is super important for china to stand together. Spoiler ... the bone actually get split in half and never is mentioned again... wow, what an important plot point.
I really had a hard time figuring who is who, maybe learning more about the lore would had help me, again if i knew before watching the movie, but so much character are there and you don't know too much about them. For example that Lord Wicked guy, he is supposed to be the strongest of them all, yet he cut his arms because he was evil? That plot point almost made no sense what so ever. And "Nameless" which is supposed to be such a legend, it seem the movie kinda tell us midway that he was poisoned and for that he does not have all his strength so thats why he can't defeat the bad guy. I just feel there is just too much characters with little development to really care about them. In a magic word like this, you want to know who is who and why he is so...
As for the fights... well beside the special effects which i said where pretty good, there is not much fight choreography for the martial arts aficionado, a little here and there but its almost purely a special effect CGI fest. Honestly this movie somewhat remind me of Dragon Tiger Gate done wrong. That movie had a similar premise as young pupils training to beat an almost unbeatable enemy in a martial art set up that also involved super powers. The difference tough was you cared for the characters, the special powers added to the movie but there is still plenty of great martial arts. Obviously Donnie Yen... hard to wrong. But anyway that movie was much more entertaining than that Storm Warriors movie.
This is the kind of movie i feel i will forget in T-minus 1 hour... yup already forgot.
Pound of Flesh (2015)
I was expecting better mainly due to hype...
This movie was somewhat hyped as the "Van Damme is back in full action force" or something like that. I was expecting an action showcase, with spin kicks and fights all the way true. Instead the movie seem to focus a lot on story...
Don't get me wrong, the story is not bad, its not stellar either but this is more what would i expect from a Pierce Brosnan movie in 2015, not a Van Damme one.
The first fight of the movie despite being very short is actually one of the best, it shows kicking and what we are use to see from Van Damme. The rest seem to mainly focus on MMA type of ground and grappling attacks, which if done right can be fun on screen, but here i tough it didn't suit Van Damme at all. The fights just appear to be slow, clunky and lack luster in general. I know Van Damme is not too young anymore but i left me without much excitement unlike his other recent movies that i fairly enjoyed.
Sadly Darren Shalavi passed away lately and this will be one of his last film along his Kickboxer remake role(if he had time to finish everything, which i hope he did) and to be fairly honest i know he could do much better than in this movie. Maybe he had to tone down himself to match Van Damme, but i saw much better fights with the younger Scott Adkins for example.
Another thing that was very bad is the fake CGI blood, it really looked terrible. There is also one particular gunshot they totally forgot to add the damage to it. You will know which one when you see it.
Now despite being far from a great movie, it was enjoyable to a degree, i guess i was just expecting a lot better from a kick ass trailer. I had much more fun with 6 Bullets and Ennemies Closer for example. But i still think Van Damme has a lot of potential left, i hope he keep making movies. Lately its been hit or miss but the misses mostly had him in secondary roles, like Dragon Eyes or Universal Soldier 4, but this one has him really as main character. I will still rent the next one no matter.