Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Of all the movie monsters the werewolf seems to be the one hardly anyone can get right. Films like Dog Soldiers and the Ginger Snap series are some of the few that have worked as well as the remake of The Wolfman that met with mixed reactions. The latest is Universal's somewhat spinoff of their Wolfman film called Werewolf: The Beast Among Us. Really on connected in name alone can this latest attempt deliver the rare well done werewolf film or will it change into just another waste of time like so many others?
Werewolf: The Beast Among Us follows a young man in the 19th century who joins a group of hunters to track down a werewolf. Even though this movie came straight to video, it actually played off very well. There are a few times it felt lower budget but for the most part it comes across well-crafted and entertaining. There isn't anything here that hasn't been done in some way before, but here there was at least a decent effort put in that made the movie work. The story is pretty simple with a few twists and turns here and there to keep you interested. They did a great job at bringing this time period to life with some cool set pieces for them to work from. The werewolf effects were well done with a mix of CGI and practical effects and thankfully never came off like a SyFy movie. As with all werewolf films, they delivered at least one transformation sequence that for the size of this film was really well done. There are a few moments that are a bit slow here and there, but they make up for it with the gore and fun of the werewolf in action.
This is a decent addition to the werewolf genre and one of the better to come along in some time. If you are a fan of this genre and tired of the watered down Twilight infused nonsense that we've been getting as of late, make sure to check out Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.
When the remake of the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 aptly named Death Race hit the big screen in 2008 it wasn't one that you would have thought of as a franchise. After the first film hit they decided to go the prequel route straight to home video with 2010's Death Race 2. Surprisingly that film delivered pretty well and set up great lead in to the previous film, but instead they have crafted a direct sequel for this prequel storyline with Death Race 3: Inferno. Can they continue the fun of the first two films or will it be the one that finally makes it run out of gas?
Death Race 3: Inferno follows Frankenstein as he continues to dominate the Death Race with only one victory away from freedom. When a billionaire takes over the Death Race rites and plans to move it to the deserts of Africa in hopes to expand it globally, he threatens the freedom of Frankenstein and his pit crew. Now they must race to survive not only the race itself, but the new man behind the scenes pulling the strings. Once again they deliver a fun addition to this series. This is easily one of the best and most entertaining action vehicle franchises going right now. The cast do a great job and seem to have good chemistry to bring everything together. They don't spend time cheesing it up where they so easily could have, but instead keep it to the action and story. The story is simple, but works well to move the story along to tell the story of this Frankenstein. Most of the cast from the previous entry is back which is something you just don't see much with these straight to video releases which makes it all that more unique. Obviously the real reason to watch these movies is for the car killing action and it does not skimp on the wreckage. While there isn't as much of the people vs. car as you may want, there are tons of great vehicle demolition sequences that rival any big budget film.
This is a great entry into this franchise and is a lot of fun. It's not breaking any ground in the action world, but it does deliver some bad ass car action and fighting that is worth checking out. With a great cast including Luke Goss, Ving Rhames, Dougray Scott, Robin Shou, and Danny Trejo there is sure to be someone for everyone here. Add to the fact that this continues its perfect lead towards the original and you will not be disappointed.
These days action films are as abundant as horror films with new ones coming out all the time. Like most there are typically more bad ones than good, with the biggest thing separating them being the quality of action. The latest, Gridlocked features a good cast including Dominic Purcell, Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Cody Hackman, Stephen Lang, Trish Stratus, and Saul Rubinek, but does it pack the punch to make this a standout action flick or will it run out of ammo during the fight?
Gridlocked follows former SWAT leader David Hendrix and hard-partying movie star Brody Walker who must cut their forced ride-along short when a police training facility is attacked by a team of mercenaries. This appears to be one of those team ups that we have seen time and again but it becomes quickly clear that will not be the case. The first moment we see Purcell on screen you see that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with and he does not disappoint. They spend just enough time setting up the annoyed relationship these two have before thrusting them into the onslaught of mayhem. Once they get them to the place where everything will be going down bullets begin to fly and do not let up until the very end. This is a full on old school action film that showcases a barrage of bullets with pin point accuracy. They keep the story simple and only bother with just enough information and plot twists to keep the story moving forward, but make no mistake the action is the center piece and it works well. Purcell brings the rugged bad ass mentality to the role and carries the action to perfection alongside a great cast who all hold their own as well. The highlight of the film is seeing them take the old school action approach and while thrusting some fun spins on execution didn't try to reinvent the wheel. They took what works and lets it speak for itself while taking it up a notch with the blood and direction.
Story is important, but when you want to deliver an action film it has to work with the story and not feel forced. Here they have crafted an Assault on Precinct 13 style story that while familiar does its own thing in a fun way. They veer away from the cheesy partner actioner and make sure you know that no one is safe and bodies will pile up and they do. The action sticks mostly to the gun play, but the few hand to hand sequences are well choreographed and executed by all involved making it work on just about every level. If you are an action fan then this is a great addition to the genre, that requires little more than strapping in and enjoying the ride through a ballet of bullet ridding mayhem.
When Pitch Black burst into theaters in 2000 and introduced the world to Riddick and in turn Vin Diesel, it came as no shock that they moved forward with more adventures. Sadly the bigger budget follow-up Chronicles of Riddick didn't get the same reception so it seemed we had seen the last of everyone's favorite Furyan, but thanks to some smart business decisions and passion for the character Diesel and director Twohy have delivered an all-new adventure aptly titled Riddick, but does it return to what made the character great or continue on with the larger scale cluttered world?
Riddick follows Furyan Riddick who has been betrayed and left for dead on a desolate planet fighting for survival against the deadly predators. But with something more dangerous on the horizon, Riddick sends out a distress beacon in hopes to bring bounty hunters to the planet for his escape, but those seeking a bounty and revenge walks into Riddick's vicious vengeance and become the hunted. With this latest installment they streamlined it back to more like Pitch Black and delivered a film miles above the previous entry. While it isn't quite as good as Pitch Black, it still brings everything you could have wanted from this type of film. The first half of the film is easily the best spending one on one time with Riddick as he struggles to survive. There are a few moments during this time that helps to effectively and simply explain how he got from ruling a planet to being near death on this planet. When the bounty hunters come things shift gears a bit and it feels more like the original film with Riddick somewhat knocked to the back allowing these mercenaries to take center stage. This is where some of the things don't work as much as most of their performances are pretty bad with the exception of Bookem Woodbine, the always badass Katee Sackhoff and beast of a man Dave Bautista. Sackhoff is easily the coolest of the bunch and while not given as much time with the action as she deserves still manages to make sure you know she's not playing around. Bautista is slowly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the big screen with this his last and successful test run before bringing Marvel's Drax to life.
The rest of the mercenaries just don't work all that well but mostly due to performances and cheesy dialogue. Diesel dives right back into the character like he never left showing a true passion he has for the character. Sure there are some cheesy moments from him, but that is part of the fun of the character. Well that and his complete bad ass look and ability to kill everyone and everything around him. The CGI was decent for most of the movie with the only real issue being the dog-like creature that was a central character. At first it was easy to dismiss them, but with one becoming a major player alongside Riddick it needed a little extra time spent to get more realism to the character. That being said with the streamlined budget to the film it is easy to let it go and just enjoy the old school science fiction aspect to the overall film. Sure there are some ridiculous moments and decisions made by some of the characters, but part of that is the charm of it all.
The story here is pretty simple, but they did an interesting job of adding elements to connect this latest addition with both Pitch Black and Chronicles will letting it be its own movie. Diesel risked a lot to get Riddick back on the big screen and looks like it paid off. Returning to the roots of the character and making sure to include both throw away characters as well as badass ones that work made for an entertaining genre film. Hopefully this will be the return to this cool character and we can get more adventures that will hopefully continue to keep them simple as that's what makes the character so cool.
There are movies that come along that seem a bit out there, sporting a cast that doesn't make all that much sense and it's usually is a good thing. The stranger the story though, the higher risk you take on getting something that just doesn't work. The latest Scenic Route features Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler and cover art that looks like something out of the Road Warrior. Could this be one of those surprisingly original films or is it another misleading generic straight to video release?
Scenic Route follows two lifelong friends whose truck breaks down on an isolated desert road during a road trip. As the heat and despair begin to take over they begin to turn on each other, attacking each other's life decisions with unwavering brutality. Going into these kinds of movies you really never know what to expect, but here the movie really delivers. It's not anything breaking boundaries or anything, but just some clever filmmaking and storytelling. The story is pretty simple but manages to deliver a really effective overall tale. Duhamel has done comedy, drama, and action but here is given a chance to do a bit of it all and gives easily one of his best performances to date. His character goes the furthest off the rails of the two and really seems to dive head first into this role. The real surprise comes from Fogler who normally goes for the comedy route and has some funny moments here, but is given the chance to showcase more emotion and talent with this character and also delivers. These two guys worked really well together which was a must for this film since pretty much the entire film is just them at odds.
This is one of those rare gems that works on pretty much every level, but may lose some with the ending. While it works perfectly to the stuff they go through, those expecting more may be put off. Whether you get it or not the journey these characters take and the performances Duhamel and Fogler give make for a great film and worth checking out.