Tag Archives: Kurt Russell

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot
Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket
Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha
Chris Sullivan as Taserface
Sean Gunn as Kraglin
Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord/Starhawk
Kurt Russell as Ego
Director: James Gunn

The team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tries to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. At the same time though, I felt a little worried about the movie as its release date got closer and closer, the marketing didn’t really sell this movie as being much more than just more of the same Guardians of the Galaxy. After seeing it I have to say that while it was a lot better than I thought it would be, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. is one of the weaker entries of the MCU. It’s balancing of the humour and handling of the characters really didn’t always work, and it could’ve been handled a lot better. With that said, the movie is entertaining, some of the humour worked and there are some surprisingly effective emotional moments. This movie is still decent overall, the MCU still hasn’t made a bad movie.

This plot of the movie is more personal, as Peter Quill is finally meeting his father Ego. This storyline is the main focus of the movie, and it was great. However, the conclusion of this storyline was quite underwhelming. There are surprisingly some emotional moments, some of them worked, others didn’t work so well (I’ll get to that in a moment). Despite some of the emotional scenes being hit or miss, I can say that there is a certain scene in the last act which is probably one of the best scenes in the MCU, you’ll know exactly which scene I’m referring to when you see it. Now a reason that some of the emotional scenes didn’t work was because a lot of times the humour actually decreases its impact. Something that really needs to be addressed is the humour in this movie. The use of humour was very hit or miss. The first movie had a lot of jokes but it was balanced out well with the characters and story. This movie however hammers you with an overload amount of jokes and at times it felt like (at least early in the movie) it was just relying on that. The first half of the movie is all fun and humour, the second half is more dramatic and ultimately better, even though there is still a little too much humour in there. Overall this movie had my full attention throughout, even if at the times the story wasn’t the strongest, I was at least entertained. As for post credits scenes, there are like 5 mid-credit scenes in the movie, all of them really weren’t needed, some of them could’ve been fitted inside the ending of the movie before the credits rolled. But some of them at the very least have me interested to see what the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie will be. There’s definitely a lot of potential for a great movie.

The actors all do a great job in their roles but the handling of the characters in this movie was a mixed bag. The best character in the movie by far is Michael Rooker’s Yondu, there is more focus on him this time than in the previous movie. He just has so many great moments in the movie. Also, the interactions between him and Rocket Racoon was absolutely perfect. Fantastic paring. Kurt Russell was also a highlight of this movie, it was great seeing him as Ego interact with his son Peter Quill (played of course by Chris Pratt), however as I said earlier, the payoff of that relationship was underwhelming and weak. Still, Kurt Russell played his part well, and was a scene stealer. Most of the original cast worked well. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora got to interact with Karen Gillan’s Nebula quite a lot, which worked well because of the conflict between them, and we also get to learn about Nebula’s history with her father Thanos. However, I felt that the storyline could’ve been a bit stronger and had more focus on it. Baby Groot wasn’t annoying like I thought he would be but he did feel overused and constantly forced into the movie just to be adorable. As for Dave Bautista’s Drax …. he really wasn’t used well at all. When he’s not a complete joke machine, he is laughing, like all the time. Also, there wasn’t really any arc to him. Sylvester Stallone makes an appearance in the movie, he doesn’t play a huge role but he was great in his short screentime and I can’t wait to see more of him in the future. As for the villain of the movie, I won’t go into spoiler territory. But I will say the villain for was great for most of the movie, but then the last act just reduced them to a simplistic typical MCU villain just to make an explosive climax, and ultimately had a poor payoff. Speaking of villains, there are some secondary villains in the movie who pop up every so often to cause problems, they were incredibly pointless and distracting. While in the long run I understand why they were in the movie, they really could’ve been handled better.

Directionwise, what you saw in the first film is what you get in the sequel, just on a much larger scale. The CGI and action were all really good, no real complaints there. The designs of everything from the ships, to the characters, aliens and the worlds are very creative. The makeup on all the types of aliens were also excellent. The soundtrack (as expected it being a Guardians of the Galaxy film) was very entertaining and well suited for the movie and tone with its use of the score and classic music.

Personally, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 wasn’t as good as the original. The handling of the plot was a bit of a mixed bag, not all the characters were used that well, there was a complete overload of jokes, most of it didn’t work within the movie and a lot of it detracted the effectiveness of the emotional moments. Despite all its many faults however, I do think that it’s worth checking this movie out. This movie is still entertaining overall and it has many elements which work very well (with some surprisingly emotional moments too), it’s just that most of them could’ve and should’ve been done better. Still, I recommend watching this, even if you didn’t like the first movie.

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence & offensive language
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges as Tej Parker
Scott Eastwood as Eric Reisner/Little Nobody
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Kurt Russell as Frank Petty/Mr Nobody
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: F. Gary Gray

With Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has found some semblance of a normal life. They soon face an unexpected challenge when a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) forces Dom to betray them all. Now, they must unite to bring home the man who made them a family and stop Cipher from unleashing chaos.

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I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about The Fate of the Furious. I liked all of the previous instalments of the Fast and the Furious franchise (haven’t seen the fourth though), especially the more entries in the series. However, the series has started to feel tired and forced, so I had no idea what I would think of the movie. Honestly, The Fate of the Furious surprised me, it’s one of the best movies in the series, with it being completely over the top, but also having a fitting story which tied everything together well.

What this movie did better than the past two Fast and Furious movies (which I still enjoy) is that it doesn’t focus unnecessary attention on other plot points. In Furious 7, while it’s a revenge story with Statham hunting down Diesel and his crew, it unnecessarily focussed on a pivotal device called ‘God’s Eye’, which it really didn’t need. Fate is a lot more straightforward and benefits a lot from that. I was never bored throughout the movie, the pacing of the movie was quite fast and at the same time it never felt rushed. As for the main plot point of the movie, the reason for Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto betraying his team (without spoiling anything), it is really well done and works for the movie. This movie does work on an emotional level surprisingly, it’s not just entertaining, there’s enough in this movie to actually care about what is going on. I was entertained from start to finish, Fate of the Furious was a very fun ride.

The acting is the same as it is in the other movies but some actual character development is here, meaning that these actors had more to work with than in other movies. Vin Diesel particularly is given quite a lot to work with emotionally and while he’s not that good as an actor, he did well enough in these certain scenes. The acting from the other cast works well enough (even though they aren’t great), there are some stand outs. Dwayne Johnson as usual brings his A-game and charisma, so entertaining to watch. I also really liked Jason Statham here, instead of serving as a villain like in the last movie, his character this time teams up with the main characters and it surprisingly works quite well. While I liked him in Furious 7, the film didn’t use him to his full potential. Here though he gets a lot to do. He is particularly fun in his scenes with Dwayne Johnson, those two verbally sparring were so entertaining to see. However the most stand out performance is Charlize Theron, who without a doubt plays the best villain in the franchise’s history. Not only is she smart, she is also very threatening and scary, making a real impression. Definitely an impressive character and performance for the franchise.

The action is even more over the top than the previous movies, and that’s saying a lot. All the action is completely entertaining. There were two stand out sequences to me, one of them was the Manhattan sequence, in which Theron’s character hacks cars. The other was pretty much the entire final act, which involves cars driving on ice as well as an submarine firing torpedoes at them, and its absolutely insane. It does go on for a little too long but I still enjoyed every moment of it. The laws of physics are defied completely, so of course do not go into this movie expecting any form of realism. If there’s any criticism I had, some of the fight scenes were filmed a little shakily but that is it.

If you don’t like any of the Fast of the Furious movies, you won’t like this movie. If you don’t like the recent movies in this series and prefer the street racer focussed movies, you won’t like this movie. However, if you enjoyed the movies 5-7, you will probably like this movie. It’s not a great movie but it knows what it is, and is endlessly entertaining. I do feel that it would be unnecessary to have more movies in this series, and Fate of the Furious would be a good way to end the main series, but I would like to see spin off movies, especially if its with Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, it has a lot of potential.

Furious 7 (2015) Review

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Furious 7

Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Michelle Rodriguez as Leticia “Letty” Ortiz-Toretto
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto-O’Conner
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Director: James Wan

The sins of the past seem to be catch up with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and his crew, when Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) shows up to seek revenge for the travails of his younger brother. When a young unknown hacker who claims to have developed ‘God’s Eye’ is also thrown into the mix, things go haywire and Toretto & his crew need to save the hacker and also settle their scores with Shaw.

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The Fast and Furious is a long running action franchise, starting 14 years ago with The Fast and Furious. Today it is one of the best action franchises today due to its change from street racing to heists in Fast Five. Its latest sequel had the misfortune of Paul Walker’s unfortunate death during production. Despite this, Furious 7 ends up being one of the best movies in the franchise and I have a good feeling that many more films that will follow will be great as the ones before it.

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Horror director James Wan takes over from Justin Lin and I thought he did a pretty good job, surprising seeing as this is an action movie. The plot is simple enough and it isn’t made more convoluted than it needs to be, no one is really going into the Fast and Furious movies for the plot. One thing that each of these movies must do is to up the ante of what how big the action scenes can be over the previous movies. That definitely happens and the scenes without action are done quite well and don’t feel unnecessary or long. One thing I will say is that they could’ve used Jason Statham a little more. He was great in the movie but a lot of the time he just pops up every so often during whatever they are doing. However the biggest thing that most people will want to know is how Paul Walker’s last appearance would be handled. Without spoiling anything I will say that he is sent off well and led to the best possible ending that this movie could’ve had.

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All the surviving cast from the previous movie returns and they do quite well in their roles. They aren’t Oscar worthy performances but they aren’t supposed to be. Dwayne Johnson is as usual great in this movie, however he’s not in it as much as the previous movies. I would’ve liked to have seen more of him in this movie but he’s awesome in the scenes he’s in. Jason Statham was really good as the villain and I’d even go so far as to say that he’s the best villain in the franchise. Also a mention should definitely go to Kurt Russell as a government agent, this is his best role in years and hopefully he’ll appear in future Fast and Furious movies.

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Despite James Wan mostly being a director of horror movies he’s managed to direct action very well. The action scenes are done excellently and as I said before, they even go more over the top than the scenes in the previous movies. Whether it be cars parachuting from a plane or cars driving around in skyscrapers, everything is filmed really well. The fight scenes are also well choreographed and filmed as much as possible. Due to Paul Walker’s death, the film had stunt doubles and CGI to replace him in the scenes he hadn’t filmed, some people saw it but I personally didn’t notice it.

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Furious 7 is one of the best movies in the Fast and Furious franchise. If you didn’t like the direction these recent movies have gone in, or if you’ve never liked any of these movies than this film won’t change your mind. I’m open to the idea of more Fast and Furious movies (it’s been recently announced that there will be an 8th film) but if this series ended with this film, it would’ve been a suitable movie to end on.

Death Proof (2007)

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Death Proof

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Offensive language, violence and content that may offend
Cast:
Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike
Rosario Dawson as Abernathy
Vanessa Ferlito as Arlene
Jordan Ladd as Shanna
Rose McGowan as Pam
Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Jungle Julia
Tracie Thoms as Kim
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lee
Zoë Bell as Herself
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman (Kurt Russell) who uses his “death proof” cars to execute his murderous plans.

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Death Proof is the second part of the Grindhouse movie pack which is paired with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Quentin Tarantino usually has something to impress me with, usually with the dialogue and the performances he can make the actors give. Unfortunately, with this movie he’s unsuccessful doing this. His tribute to the grindhouse (or exploitation) movies should entertain but it doesn’t do that. Instead we are left with a 113 Minute movie that only a few times had my interest.

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Tarantino’s movies are dialogue driven movies however people who know about exploitation movies know that the dialogue isn’t well written. Making exploitation movies dialogue driven is like making a chick flick have horror elements; still, Tarantino makes the movie dialogue driven and it doesn’t work. The dialogue here is more cringe worthy than some real exploitation movie dialogue because unlike the exploitation movies which don’t focus on it, this movie really focuses on it a lot. Nearly all of the dialogue has nothing to do with anything; Tarantino manages to make his other movies have people talking about irrelevant things while keeping the movie entertaining (like the tipping scene from Reservoir Dogs) but here it is just boring and makes this one of the most frustrating movie experiences to sit through. Despite the plot being about these women being stalked by Kurt Russell’s character, there is no presence of him being a threat; I wouldn’t even call this movie a thriller.

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Easily the best performance of this movie is by Kurt Russell, he really relishes in the role that he has, apart from near the end where he seems to jump character. He is not in the movie a lot though; he pops up somewhere in the middle and twice near the end. Also, despite being advertised as the main star of this movie, he’s not really that; the women are; which consist of Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Zoë Bell as herself. Although they do the best they can with what they have, the script doesn’t really give them a chance to give the characters any personality. I know that exploitation movies don’t usually have characters that have much personality but if someone is going to write a dialogue driven movie, the characters should have at least some personality. It results in the audience not really caring for any of the characters.

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The movie for the first half of the movie uses the grainy grindhouse filter well; in that aspect it felt like a grindhouse movie. However halfway through the movie the film changes to a black and white look for no reason at all and halfway through that scene it changes to colour without the grainy look. The car scenes are well done and aren’t CGI, however (I’m not spoiling anything here) there are only two car chase scenes. The soundtrack is well chosen by Tarantino, as he usually does.

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Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is not a movie that I would recommend that people see but I wouldn’t say to avoid it. I’ve heard of people who absolutely love this movie, for whatever reason. What I will say is that if you are planning to watch this movie, be careful of what you expect. Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror seems to capture more successfully the style and enjoyment of a grindhouse movie much more than this movie. Death Proof isn’t a terrible movie but it isn’t really one that I’d say is good.