The guards allow a stroppy teenager to murder one of their own. Presumably they want to enslave the strongest mutants as warriors. However, the kids are then processed by an unarmed Doctor (Wallace Langham - ) who does not have any guards or other protection. The protagonist's power is to do the Jedi Mind Trick. At first it only affects people she touches, even through their clothing. Later she develops the power to use it at much longer range.
The President is Bradley Whitford ( Handmaid's Tale ). Most of the villains are creepy white men. In fact, villains of colour are not well represented.
The protagonist is helped by a friendly lady doctor ( Mandy Moore ). But does she have a secret agenda? The setup is the standard YA one. The kids have superpowers, and they cannot trust the adults.
Alien starships arrive and hover over the major cities, like in V: The Series . Then they start their attacks. The first wave is an EMP, which makes planes drop out of the sky like in Revolution . The second wave is more literal, a massive tsunami like in Deep Impact . The third wave is an outbreak of disease. The fourth wave is a bunch of hillbillies with hunting rifles.
Finally the US Army arrives on the scene, led by a Colonel (Liev Schreiber - Scream ) and Sergeant ( Maria Bello ). It turns out they are building an army of child soldiers to fight the Fifth Wave of the alien invasion. Anyone who has seen the film Oblivion will be a bit cynical about this whole series of events.
Naturally, when our hero discovers the dark side of his Utopia he rebels against the system. In this case the grown-ups are his Mother ( Katie Holmes ), Father (Alexander Saarsgard - True Blood ) and the community's Matriarch Meryl Streep .
Our heroes are hunted by the Trench Coat Mafia - they have tattoos, they are the least subtle villains since Charmed . Their leader is Joshua from Dark Angel ! Speaking of that show, there is also a mysterious Buffy-lookalike, Faith-acting motorbike chick ( Eliza Taylor ) ...
The result is predictable enough. But if you know what to expect, you have no right to complain.
Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan - Misfits ) works for Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving - The Matrix ), who works for Magnus Crome (Patrick Malahide - The World Is Not Enough ) - the leader of the city of London. Since the cities have become mobile, predatory entities that hunt each other down, this makes Crome and Valentine very powerful. When someone tries to assassinate Valentine, Tom finds himself emeshed in an adventure.
This is typical YA fare, combining a post-apocalyptic world with an extreme concept that the tweenage protagonists must rebel against. There were more books in the series, but this film was not successful enough to warrant a sequel.
The setting is original but the storyline is quite basic. Our protagonist must make allies, explore the maze and eventually save everyone. It is adapted from a Young Adult novel, so it is not overly complicated. However, it is well-made and the style makes up for the substance. All in all, quite a watchable effort.
Thomas (Dylan O'Brien - American Assassin ), Newt (Thomas Brody-Sangster - Game Of Thrones ), and the rest of our teenage heroes find themselves guests in a bunker where they are checked out by medical personnel. But does the boss (Aiden Gillen - Game of Thrones ) have their best intentions at heart? Or is this like in The 100: Season 2 ?
Our heroes make their way across the desert, AKA the Scorch of the title. It does not live up to its reputation, as it is not the thing that actually inflicts damage on their group. No, what puts them in danger is their tendency to REPEATEDLY wander around in dark creepy ruins where the Fast Zombies are lurking! Also note, when wandering in the desert everyone seems to use camp-fires that can be seen many miles away. And they assume that the villains will be unable to track them down!
Our heroes meet Giancarlo Esposito (an untrustworthy renegade who is a more ragged-looking version of his character in Revolution ) and Alan Tudyk (not at all like his character in Firefly ). Can they find Sanctuary, like in Logan’s Run ? Will the rebel leaders ( Lilli Taylor and Barry Pepper - Battleground Earth ) shelter them? And since the villains use helicopters as their main assault vehicle, do the rebels have lookouts and Anti-Aircraft weapons at the ready?
Thomas (Dylan O'Brien - American Assassin ), Newt (Thomas Brody-Sangster - Game Of Thrones ) and the teenage heroes of the series try to rescue their still-imprisoned friend. To do this, they must hijack a train guarded by a SWAT team. The kids have a couple of token adults to help them - Giancarlo Esposito ( Revolution ) and Barry Pepper ( Battleground Earth ).
The boss (Aiden Gillen - Game of Thrones ) is still after the teenagers. They are valuable because they are subjects in an experiment to find a cure to the virus that has destroyed most of the human race. Infected people, basically Fast Zombies, roam the wastelands. The survivors are few and far between.
The teens have to penetrate the villains' inner sanctum. It is a walled citadel, inside the fabled Last City. Yes, one city of humans has actually managed to survive thus far. The outskirts are a typical Mad Max shanty town ruled by Walton Goggins ( Predators ). He will help them infiltrate the inner city, where all the rich people still live comfortable middle-class lives. But only if the kids help him destroy the urban utopia!
Thomas discovers his love interest ( Kaya Scodelario ) has converted to the cause of the so-called villains. They are the only ones who can get a cure for the zombie-itis. Okay, they are only doing it so they can be powerful and rule the world. However, since they already have most of the guns and the food we can safely say that they already control as much as they need to.
At its heart, this movie is basically action-adventure. The climax is a CGI-intensive explosion-fest.
Since the story is basically one of teenage anarchists rebelling against the tyrannical authority of adults, there can be no good ending. They live in a Fast Zombie apocalypse. The best outcome they can expect is the one at the end of Planet Terror .
Our heroine is Tris ( Shailene Woodbury ), raised as a public servant, chooses Dauntless. She does not have the physical fitness necessary, and the necessary character traits are not established so it all seems out of character. I mean, Katniss in Hunger Games was established as a bow-hunter, but this girl is never shown as having an interest in free-running.
There is another problem with her leaving her home Faction. You can choose a new Faction, but they do not have to choose you. The bottom 35% of testees are dropped, and since they cannot return home they become Factionless. They will be excluded from citizenship and all the creature comforts, but are still allowed to live in the city (as homeless scroungers in cardboard boxes). Now, this means that there are three times as many of them than of any single faction! That said, there are always the suicides and the selective murders.
Kate Winslet , leader of the snobs, decides to launch a Coup D'Etat against the city leader, the head of the Public Servants - Ray Stevenson ( Punisher: War Zone ). His associates, including Katniss' mother ( Ashley Judd ) are all marked for death. Can Katniss and her friends save the day?
The story has an open ending, because there are two more books in the series. Like Captain America 2 (which was released at the same time) it is PG-13, so the action is CGI violence - there are no realistic injuries. Of course, this effort has a much more simplistic plot, but that is really where the differences end.
The English BF discovers that his mother ( Naomi Watts ) has disguised herself by becoming a brunette and looking ten years younger. She faked her death, and is now the secret leader of the Casteless Untouchables. She plans a violent rebellion against the ruling clique, so she is the perfect ally. However, her son (who has had minimal contact with her for over a decade) condemns her as completely untrustworthy. How can he be so certain? And more importantly, is he correct?
The teenage heroes must infiltrate the villains' HQ and overthrow the evil regime. No surprises there.
The English BF's mother Evelyn ( Naomi Watts ) has her own agenda. She kills anyone who does not do what she says. She starts with Kate Winslet's followers, but then goes on to kill Joan's followers as well.
Tris ( Shailene Woodbury ), her English BF and her brother make a break for freedom. Miles Teller ( Fastastic Four ) tags along, despite having double-crossed Tris (and been forgiven by her) in both the previous two movies. They discover a utopia ruled by ... However, Tris is paranoid about things that are too good to be true. After all, we all know how Mount Weather turned out in The 100: Season 2 .
The villains plan to release a gas that gives everyone in Chicago a memory wipe. The heroes act as if it is a terrible idea, but it is a non-lethal weapon that will stop the war and prevent any further killing.
Our hero is Crusading Journalist Stieg Larson - oops, I mean Mikhail von Blumberg - who looks like International sex symbol James Bond (Daniel Craig - Casino Royale ). He is in trouble for harassing and slandering a businessman who is supposed to have helped finance the Croatian Militias in the defence of their families during the Serbian genocide of the 1990s. Wow, no political point-scoring here.
The title character is Lizbo Salamander ( Rooney Mara ) , who has single-handedly invented the Goth-chick look. Wow, how original! She is a ward of the state - ooh, poor victim. Wait a minute, she is a violent sociopath with multiple convictions for violent felonies. If this story had been re-set in the USA, rather than having English-speaking actors pretending to be Swedish, she would be just another ex-convict being hassled by her Parole Officer. Instead we are meant to side with her against the corrupt socialist institutions that the author Larson himself champions!
The protagonists are hired to investigate a missing persons case. They stumble across a serial killer - more of a Ted Bundy than a John Wayne Gacy, so it is Fem-Jep instead of gay-bashing. The implication is that this is linked to Nazis and anti-Semitism. In reality, Sweden was one of the LEAST fascist European countries in the 1940s - despite having pro-Nazi dictatorships for all their neighbours, and the spectre of invasion by Stalinist Russia, the Swedes remained staunchly neutral (and thus saved thousands of civilians from the Holocaust). Also, not all Nazis were anti-Semitic (and vice versa). But Larson, ever keen to make political attacks on people he disagrees with, ignores the facts.
The morals of the story? Freedom of speech is vital, unless you disagree with Stieg Larson's opinions. Big business is corrupt and should be shut down - by an equally corrupt Socialist regime. Rape is horrible and should not be glamourised or exploited - except in stories like this. All in all, self-righteous hypocritical crap.
A Female Supremacist ( Buffy meets Romper Stomper) named Lizbo Salamander ( Noomi Rapace ) takes on the organised sex trade. This is hypocritical, since she pays for lesbian sex herself. A pity that Emma Watson did not get the role for the US remake, because the film would be a great hit if it had Hermione Granger going down on another woman!
This was written by a journalist with his own political agenda to push, and it shows. His hypocrisy is dreadful. In the book he states that a woman merely experiments with bondage, while he accuses a man who does the same of acting out sick rape fantasies.
Lizbo Salamander ( Claire Foy ) may be the richest woman in the world, but she still lives the life of a down-and-out. Somehow she is a wanted criminal, despite having the ability to scrub her own records. She spends her time indulging her sadistic hobby of beating up and robbing rich men. Well, she is really stealing from their wives.
One piece of work-for-hire she accepts is from a computer programmer named Baldur (Stephen Merchant - Logan (2017) ). He took a job from the American NSA, to create an ultimate code-breaker that can access nuclear weapons codes. Now he wants her to steal his work back, although he has no intention of returning the salary he was paid to create it.
Lizbo does the necessary, and hacks the NSA mainframe. Now she is the only person with a copy of the most important program in the world. Of course, she thus brings down hell upon herself. Not just from the NSA, who only have a singleAgent to go after her. No, there is a murder-squad with military-grade weapons as well. They also go after Baldur and his autistic son (Martin from Gotham .
In the second book of the original trilogy, Lizbo took out her father's organised crime network. It was all a bit small-scale and seedy. Now, however, it has been re-activated. Lisbo's albino sister is now in charge. yes, there has been a massive embellishment to her original backstory. Worse, the sister has a massive blond henchman - like a cut-price version of her own brother. Their base is a remote mountainside fortress, more like something from a James Bond movie than anything in the original series. Luckily the walls are made of wood, which comes in useful when it is dramatically appropriate.
Lizbo also berates her journalist ex-lover, because he wants to write stories about her. She ignores the fact these stories will clear her name and help bring villains to justice.
Katniss ( Jennifer Lawrence ) lives in poverty, in a rural district where food is scarce. This is in contrast to the country's Capital, which is Nouveau Georgian in style - all powdered wigs and face-paint (and that is just the men)! Capital controls the districts through their food supply; So where is the food actually created if not in the rural districts?
The Great Dictator (Canadian actor Donald Sutherland - Don't look Now ) and his minions - Wes Bently ( Underworld 3 ), Stanley Tucci ( The Core ) and Toby Jones ( Your Highness ) can manipulate the games. The Dome is fitted with hard-light hologram projectors that can create a forest-fire or a horde of man-eating hounds. Unfortunately, despite this massive Holodeck (a dome several miles in diameter) they cannot be bothered to build food replicators to feed the starving. Yes, they may have circuses but not bread.
The result is a mediocre effort. The cast is incredible, but that is because there was a huge budget. The problem is that the action scenes, the real core of the film, are ruined by shaky-cam.
We get to meet some of the other survivors of previous games. Some of them are potential allies, while others may become arch-rivals. Johanna ( Jenna Malone ) is near breaking point. Jeffrey Wright ( Casino Royale ) is a brainiac. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson - Natural Born Killers ) is still around to give Katniss advice. His scene at the end sets up the next film.
It is nice to see action scenes that are not ruined by shaky-cam. Also, as Big Government cracks down on the rural poor we get a lot more of the political background to the series. The first movie was about survival, while this is more about resistance.
Katniss spends most of the film in an underground bunker. There is a single action scene she is part of, where she uses a single arrow to shoot down TWO enemy fighter-bombers. Apart from that, the film relies mainly on suspense and tension as she watches other people take all the risks. As a result, some viewers feel that splitting the book was a mistake - presumably most of the action-adventure stuff happens in the second half. Some people regard this as being too thought-provoking and not explosive enough.
District 13 have been stockpiling weapons, although these are presumably out-of-date compared to the Capital’s next-generation weaponry. However, the tactics employed by both sides seem unusually wasteful of manpower.
The Capital is a massive mega-city with a holodeck several miles in diameter. This is powered by a hydro-electric power plant similar to the Hoover Dam. So what on earth do they need ten thousand hillbillies to mine coal for? And for every ten miners there are five guards to act as slave-drivers. This is a terrible waste of resources!
District 13 has weaponry and trained soldiers, but they do not distribute them to the local Resistance movements like the SOE did in World War Two. Instead they rely on the revolting peasants to use human wave tactics, losing so many civilians that the villains run out of ammunition. So is District 13 any better than the Capital in terms of wasting human life?
The Presidential Dictator (Canadian actor Donald Sutherland - Don't look Now ) uses his minion Robert Knepper (Prison Break) as a scapegoat for military failures. Then he gets the games-makers to weaponise their forcefield technology. Instead of repairing the mile-wide holodeck they create hundreds of replicators that function as boobytraps, creating deadly flame or oil to kill the approaching rebels.
Katniss also has personal problems. Both her love interests are included in the propaganda team. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson - Bridge to Terabithia ) has been brainwashed by the villains, and Gaela (Chris Hemsworth - Expendables 2 ) is now too deeply integrated with the District 13 mindset for comfort.
The gamesmaster, Philip Seymour Hoffman ( Mission Impossible 3 ) is missing from a couple of key scenes because the actor died during production. His loss is keenly felt, even though the film papers over his absence.
Aeon is pursued by the Rebels and the security forces. Can they escape alive?
This is a mediocre Sci-Fi shoot'em-up. It is nice to see Theron in action (usually Milla Jovovich got this kind of work, although Angelina Jolie has done some action-girl flicks as well). Also, Csokas gets to show more depth and range than his usual snarling thug.
The story is set three hundred years after the Fall - an apocalyptic event that we later find out was caused by an interplanetary war. Now, the main city floats over a massive trash dump - like the Martian city in Mars Needs Moms . Worse, a slum city has grown up on the edge of the trash dump.
One day a mechanic (Christoph Waltz - Green Hornet ) is scavenging on the trash pile when he discovers a disused android. Real Steel , anyone? This android resembles a young girl, so he patches her up and calls her Alita. She has amnesia, so she goes along with it.
Alita signs up as a bounty-hunter, then tries to win the support of the others by insulting them and starting a bar-room brawl. So much for keeping a low profile. Brute force and ignorance seem to work, however.
The story moves forward five years. Anna ( Sasha Luss ), a young woman from Moscow, is recruited to become a top international supermodel. She gets a new life in Paris, France.
The story hops around again in time. This happens several more times, in order for double-crosses to be revealed. The movie makes allusions to russian dolls, with a new one always nested inside the others.
Basically, at one point in the story Anna is recruited and trained as an assassin by Helen Mirren . If this all sound a bit familiar, it is ripped directly from La Femme Nikita . However, Luc Besson cannot sue - because he wrote and directed it!
Anna fights like a female John Wick . The strange thing about it is that there are a couple of scenes where there are pistols lying around, but both she and her opponents fight with improvised melee weapons instead.
All in all, this is a decent film. It is an updated Nikita with the style of Wick, but it covers much the same ground as Red Sparrow .
The title character is basically a female James Bond. The brutal violence is like something out of Jason Bourne , but she also has the sex drive of 007. The last female action character who could compete with Bond in this area is Barbarella .
The blonde is sent to West Berlin, where she is teamed up with the local British agent (James McAvoy - Wanted ). They team up against the KGB.
Their non-so-idyllic domestic situation is interrupted by the rude arrival of Dominick (Kevin James - Zookeeper ) and his gang, including Cole (Ryan McDonald - Fringe ). They are White Supremacists, so they occupy the same shorthand-for-pure-evil niche that the comanches filled in the John Wayne westerns, or that zombies and killer robots filled in dystopian scifi stories. That said, the actors do a great job - especially when you consider that they generally play good guys ... and they now play torturers and dog-killers.
The white men just want a key, their mcguffin. In contrast, Becky's motivation is far darker. She is obsessed with revenge, and carries it out in a fashion that takes Home Alone to the level of a full-on torture porn horror movie.
Basically this is a by-the-numbers thriller. The master villain does not have a team of Euro-thugs like in Die Hard . Instead, he had to recruit the dregs from the local county jail-house. One is a nervous rookie, another is a borderline psycho. Yes, all the archetypes are covered. Things go well until the Real Estate Agent ( Christa Miller ) turns up.
In the fifteen years since the original room, it seems that there has not been much improvement in CCTV technology. The security system includes a small drone, but that is about the only update. Similarly, the protagonist has no military-style skills or gear. She has to fumble her way through the encounters, and relies more on luck than actual ability.
The acting performances are decent, but the film is let down by its basic unoriginality.
The introductory once upon a time section, which used irony to contast the cliche of three little girls with the extreme competence of the strong female protagonists, has been ditched. Instead we get a video montage of young women playing a variety of outdoor pastimes. Yes, this bit is basically an advert for tampons.
The main plot is a lot like the generic Mission: Predictable movies. The new client is a scientist ( Naomi Scott ) who works on a team that has invented a new energy source. This is the McGuffin that the Angels chase around Europe after. Since there are only two Angels, the scientist fills in for the third one.
The scientist is a terrible employee, and the others are terrible human beings. They walk through this generic plot, leaving a trail of unnecessary corpses.
Since Mission: Predictable always involves a betrayal, this follows the same trope. Old Bosley (Patrick Stewart - Star Trek: TNG ) has been forced into early retirement by Girl Bosley ( Elizabeth Banks ). She used to be an Angel, before she got promoted. Now we are reminded that at least one Angel was corrupt - see Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle . So is this movie deep enough to have a female villain, or is the term straight man synonymous with bad guy?
The two McG movies, which are still part of this effort's backstory, got humour from comedic homages to famous motion pictures. In contrast, the Banks movie attempts humour through horrendous gender-based violence against men. There are multiple examples of a male character's death being so gruesome and undeserved that it far exceeds the karmic balance. We all recall the mediocre movie Jurassic World , and how the gratuitous death scene of Katie McGrath was called out as being excessive. In contrast, the mainstream has ignored many such similar scenes in this effort.
Fifteen years later, the girl has grown up to be Zoe Saldana . She may be the best assassin in the world, but she has a very nasty habit of grandstanding. Leaving a calling card is bad enough, but instead of killing a man with a single shot she takes out all his security team as well for no reason. This does not get her enemy's attention, she just gets herself targeted by FBI Agent Lennie James ( Walking Dead ).
The arch-villain, the Colombian drug lord who killed her parents, is under witness relocation thanks to CIA Agent Callum Blue ( Dead like Me ). However, he still has his old death squad hanging around.
This was directed by Olivier Megaton , and is basically a cliched shoot-em-up.
The kidnappers are led by Father (Richard Dreyfuss - Jaws (1975) ). Unfortunately they can't shoot straight, and they are being stalked by a ravenous pack of man-eating wolves.
The acting is not great - Dreyfuss chews the scenery, but Carano seems quite out of her depth. The setting worked better in a few Canadian thrillers starring Marie Avgeropolous . The storyline uses aspects from a couple of Liam Neeson films - the kidnapped offspring worked better in Taken and the wolves were a more effective presence in The Grey . As for the action scenes - the stunt doubles may outnumber the listed cast, but the fights themselves are unconvincing.
Natassia Malthe is a Ninja sent to kill the Princess for abandoning the clan. The so-called Ninjas use Chinese skills, not Japanese ones, but this is not the kind of film to take seriously.
The fights are well-shot and expertly choreographed, but it descends to typically OTT wire-fu. This was shot by a Hong Kong director on a Hollywood budget ...
Bobbi is not a great investigator, since she tends to kill suspects rather than take them alive for interrogation. It turns out that she is not an NCIS agent, and instead just wants revenge on her former Special Forces unit.
The result is a halfway decent movie. Considering it is a low-budget straight-to-video effort from the mid-nineties it is actually quite watchable. While there are no recognisable names in the cast, they acquit themselves well. The bad guys are actually fleshed out, rather than just being cardboard targets for the protagonist to knock down. Also, despite Bobbi and the others being proficient with martial arts the characters only go hand-to-hand as a last resort. Instead they do what real Navy Seals would do, and that is to go for a weapon at every opportunity.
The film is intended to be shown to American audiences without subtitles. As a result it completely lacks subtlety. For example, when Johansson becomes a cyborg the doctor ( Juliette Binoche ) explains that her mind - the Ghost of the title - is in a shell-like robot body.
The Major, a cyborg, is part of a police unit that runs a dystopian city. The villains are held to be bad people because they believe that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. In contrast, the police kill suspects on sight and rarely take prisoners, so the issue of morality is irrelevant.
The problem is that this film lacks any kind of context. It is set in a working class neighbourhood in Belfast, which is an incredibly politicised environment. The truth is that this was written by a Dublin-based screenwriter, so it is basically a Dublin story that is only set in Belfast.
Sam messes up two assignments in one night. She kills the son of a rival gangster, Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson - Hurricane Heist ). Then, she decides to make a ransom drop instead of a simple debt collection. While her intentions are pure, and she saves a young girl's life in the process, she can no longer count on the protection of her former bosses. Now she must go on the run with the girl, pursued by McAlester's nephew (Adam Nagaitis - The Terror ) and a couple of dozen expendable hitmen.
The violence is so extreme that it might be called Tarantinoesque. However, Quentin Tarantino started with Reservoir Dogs - which used extreme violence in a way that shocked the audience. In contrast, the violence in this film is generally without consequences - it is comedic violence that is pretty much played for laughs. While it may seem to be a female version of John Wick , it owes more to the most recent version of Charlie's Angels (2019) .
Rambo: Last Blood was called out because the protagonist basically wipes out the adult male population of a Mexican slum. In comparison, this movie kills all the Russian and Irish-American men ... yet it is portrayed as being good clean fun.
This has elements of fairytales, with Hanna as a Little Red Riding Hood and Blanchett as a Wicked Witch. But Bana is an unstoppable killing machine in his own right, especially compared to the mediocre henchmen that Blanchett deploys, that the main battle is something of an anti-climax.
Abeline, Texas in 1866. A young girl lives on a farm with her father (Cameron Bancroft - Codename Eternity ) and the rest of her family. Unfortunately the family are massacred by a gang led by a outlaw named McMurphy (John Pyper-Ferguson - Alphas ). McMurphy wears a Union Army cap, although since his gang includes a Native American he may just be a deserter.
Ten years later the girl has grown up to become Sarah Canning . She earns a living as a bounty hunter, serving warrants made out by Wyatt Earp (Greyston Holt - Bitten ). There is a gambler in the local tavern who seems to be Doc Holliday, Which one is her love interest?
Familiar faces include a powerful cattle baron (Billy Zane - Back to the Future ).
There is a predictable subplot. The protagonist's foster father Isaac (Danny Glover - Age of Dragons ) is wanted for murder. Another bounty hunter comes to town in search of him.
Can the lead actress cut it? She is a Mixed Martial Arts cage-fighter, not a supermodel or Shakespearean thespian, but the script was written for her strengths. If The Rock can follow in Arnold Schwarzenegger's footsteps, why can a woman not do likewise? A look at the male action stars (Van Damme, Seagal, Lundgren, etc) shows a tendency towards athleticism over thespianism.
Stephen Soderburgh delivers a lot of action, but the cast does not let up in terms of acting ability. Duplicitous characters include Michael Fassbender ( X-Men: First Class ), Ewan McGregor ( Star Wars: TPM ) and Antonio Banderas ( Mark of Zorro ).
What the Manorgate team failed to realise is that Crystal is a highly-trained military veteran. She handles herself like a seasoned professional, and takes on everyone who she comes up against. Unfortunately she learns she cannot trust the obvious.
This was quite controversial when it first came out, because it portrays the deplorables as sympathetic ... something which they themselves found offensive! In contrast, real-life liberals were able to laugh at a highly exaggerated portrayal of their own sensibilities.
The action heroine is helped by a pair of redneck brothers - Toby Kebbell ( Bloodshot (2020) ) and Ryan Kwanten ( True Blood ). Despite their heavy Alabama accents, one is English and the other is Australian. Well, the film was mostly shot in Bulgaria so we are lucky they spoke the right language.
The so-called villains seize the highly secure Federal depository with zero loss of life. All they want to do is steal some money that has been marked for destruction. In real life, the serial numbers would be recorded so it would be very difficult to use. Anyway, once the so-called heroine gets involved the body-count sky-rockets.
The kill scenes are done in the spirit of the Hayes Code - people can get killed, but very rarely do we see them bleed. This kind of cartoonish approach to violence, where the true consequences are not shown on-screen, is typical of modern action movies.
Each of the wives has their own story arc. The mother ( Melissa McCarthy ) has to cope without the father of her children. The battered wife ( Elizabeth Moss ) becomes lover and apprentice to a hitman (Domnall Gleason - Star Wars: The Force Awakens ). The most interesting story arc is of the black wife.
This follows in the line of movies like Scarface (1981). However, that entire genre is about the rise and fall of the gangsters. Where this movie fails is that most of the female thugs do not face any real karmic justice for their misdeeds.
The McGuffin is a new drug that unlocks the human brain’s full potential. This was previously covered in the film Limitless , where the drug only increased intelligence. However, in this film the drug also gives the taker telepathy, then telekinesis … and finally turns them into a Star Trek creature of pure energy.
This is not a straight-up action thriller, more of a film noir. There is a crime, and the protagonist is implicated. She is blackmailed by both the gangsters and the DEA, so there is nobody she can turn to for help. Certainly not the local cops, who seem to be highly corrupt.
One of the gangsters, the local Cartel boss, uses her to smuggle things to Anthony Mackie ( Captain America: Winter Soldier ) in the USA. The heroine learns to cover her tracks, by lying and framing people for her misdeeds.
The climax is a shoot-out where she has to rescue her friend. Luckily, the Cartel boss taught her how to use an AR-15 rifle. Despite his attempts to bond with her, she is unhappy about the idea he may have lied to her. Yes, as if her part in their relationship involved complete honesty.
The film starts slowly, as we get to know a bit about each of the characters. This does not really make us care about any of them, because everything is so slow-moving that they just seem a bit boring. There is a certain amount of tension, however. That is because of the ever-present fear that this story might just be another Frankenstein story, the kind that every robot-based storyline usually turns into - one where the scientists are destroyed by their own creation.
Things really start to happen with the arrival of the interrogator (Paul Giamatti - Shoot 'Em Up ). His scene-stealing, scenery-chewing performance really brings the show to life, and lets us realise exactly what is missing from the rest of the film. Unfortunately this is something of a high point. There are a few action scenes, including the compulsory car chase, but nothing in the original setup really led up to this.
When our heroine tries to recruit a hot new girl ( Vanessa Morgan ), she falls foul of a dangerous rival pimp.
This is set in County Sligo in the West of Ireland, but none of the main cast seem to be from that town. In fact, it is a Northern Ireland Screen co-production so the indoor scenes were probably all shot in Belfast.
Henson previously played a freelance killer in Smoking Aces . This time she is an assassin who works for a Chicago crime syndicate run by Danny Glover ( Age of Dragons ). One of the killings she commits leaves a young boy orphaned. A year later, the boy is homeless and earns a crust by running errands for a rival gangster, Uncle (Xander Berkley - Barb Wire ). A shocking indictment of Child Protective Services and the foster-care system. Mary intervenes, and things get violent.
It looks like things might boil over into all-out war with Uncle's gang. Mary needs a patsy, so she picks the black syndicate's token white man - her good buddy Walter (Neal McDonagh - Legends of Tomorrow ). He is implied to be of the same inclination as his character in Justified, but this is still a nasty move for a character to make.
The gang war breaks out anyway. The Godfather has a small army of thugs and enforcer, but he prefers to use Mary as a one-woman army. After all, he trained her and his son as super-assassins. This is the old cliche, like Liam Neeson in Run All Night or Tom Hanks in Road To Perdition . In other words, this is a very old-fashioned kind of movie.
In the climax, Mary's unofficial foster-son gets held hostage by her bosses. She must defeat her entire army of cow-orkers in order to save the boy. Obviously, this chevalric motive raises her above the generic hard-boiled revenge-motivated heroes of most film noir movies. However, sad to say this film really has nothing new or original to offer.
Lawrence is a Prima Ballerina in Moscow when she gets an injury that ends her career. This is when her character is established, as is the genre of the film. She seeks bloody revenge on those she holds responsible for her injury. Throughout the film, she follows the path of revenge. There is no character development, no learning of morality - the only thing she develops is her ability to destroy peoples' bodies and lives.
The ex-Ballerina's uncle is Assistant Director of Russian Intelligence. He recruits her for undercover work, and sends her to a special school run by Charlotte Rampling . She is trained to seduce and destroy enemies of the state, like a female James Bond.
Meanwhile, a CIA Agent (Joel Edgerton - Midnight Special (2015) ) is running a Mole in Moscow. Unfortunately Edgerton's tradecraft is sloppy: his pass-off is clumsy, and draws attention of local beat cops. Worse, he then panicks and then blows his cover. Yes, he is the worst CIA Agent ever. But he has to be, to make the ex-Ballerina look good.
Finally, Lawrence is posted abroad with flat-mate Thekla Reuten , and ordered to seduce Edgerton in order to uncover the Mole. She tells him that she wants to defect, for some strange reason. Her logic is never realistically explained - however, she is obsessed with revenge for any imagined slight so perhaps it is best to see her as a manipulator akin to Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct . Only without the glamourous sex scenes, of course. At its heart this is a grim and gritty revenge thriller, nothing more.
Stephanie is an English girl whose parents and siblings were killed in a plane crash. Since then, for the last three years, she has fallen on hard times - with addiction issues and a job as a low-end sex worker. A freelance journalist confronts her with his theory that the plane was destroyed by a terrorist's bomb. She sets out to track down and kill the terrorist cell.
Stephanie is trained by an ex-MI6 agent named Boyd (Jude Law - AI: Artificial Intelligence ). This is a great sequence, developing the characters and their relationship. It is so much better than the other female-led action movie where Law played the heroine's mentor - Captain Marvel .
Stephanie goes undercover as a freelance assassin named Petra, and gets involved with an underworld fixer named Serra (Sterling K Brown - The Predator (2019) ). For the right price, he will give her info on the terrorists ... and even find some high-paying wet-work for her to do.
This is a revenge thriller, so there is no chivalry or glamour. The violence is brutal, and Stephanie takes a real beating a few times. Of course, as the protagonist she wins more than she loses.
The main plot is about hunting down the mysterious mastermind behind the bombing - an Unknown Suspect known only as codename U17. The problem with this is that it is basically a whodunnit that has a very limited list of suspects. Not as bad as the MCU movies, which all have pretty much the same twist, but it still gets a bit predictable.
It is Senior Prank Day at High School, when the graduating class play practical jokes on the teachers. A handful of the pupils have taken it a step further, and hold half the school hostage at gunpoint. They have diversions to distract the Sheriff (Treat Williams - The Phantom ), so the girl is left to save the day. If anything, the most unbelievable aspect about it is the fact that the school staff apparently cannot hear the gunshots!
This is the first movie by Ben Shapiro's production house, and it is nice to see that an indie movie is getting a wide release. While Shapiro is best known as a so-called Alt-Right figure, this movie focuses on entertainment rather than politics. The irony is that, with Shapiro's signing of Gina Carano , he might become the main Producer of female-led action movies.
When this came out, mainstream critics lauded it as the first female-led action movie. Of course, not only is this a slap in the face to fans of the Resident Evil franchise or the Underworld series, but it also ignores the fact that the female lead in this film had already starred in TWO Lara Croft movies!
When Kate is out with Naomi Rosenbaum ( Antonia Thomas ) and her other cow-orkers, they are targeted by an aging hit-man known as the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan - Die Another Day (2002) ). When Kate escapes, she is blamed for the incident and labelled a terrorist. Yes, this is a generic Mission: Predictable plot about a spy who has been disavowed and must save the day by outsmarting their own Agency instead of just working within the system.
MI5 Agent Paul Anderson (James D'Arcy - Agent Carter ) is after Kate, and US Ambassador Maureen Crane ( Angela Bassett ) gives him her express permission to kill Kate on sight. The only one who seems to believe Kate is Embassy security officer Sam Parker (Dylan McDermott - ). Of course, he might be a mole as well.
In the third act, Kate starts to hunt the Watchman instead of the other way around. She has deduced that the plot involves a massive bomb in New York City, so she gets there and chases down the plotters.
The story has a subplot about the corruption of Chicago politics. The African-American candidate is a gangster who sends his henchman (Daniel Kaluga - Get Out! ) out to retrieve his stolen money by any means necessary. The rival candidate (Colin Farrell - Minority Report ), pushed into a political career by his overbearing father (Robert Duvall - ), is really not much better.
Kat holds out under basic torture, while her Marine bodyguard takes far worse abuse. When confronted with the threat of sexual assault she cracks like a nut, although she chides the Marine when he also cracks in order to save her. Surprise, surprise - this was written and directed by a man. Perhaps if one of those roles had been performed by a female then this would be a bit more convincing.
This is not a big-budget action movie - more like a theatre play adapted to the bog screen. There are two sets used, and less than a dozen actors. Since the violence mostly happens off-screen, Kat does not try to defeat her captors physically but instead tries to gather as much information about them as she can in order to use it against them.
Kathryn Bigelow made this as the follow-up to her Oscar-winning Iraq War movie, Hurt Locker. That film has been said to be the beneficiary of the American Film Academy's antagonism to Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron , whose film Avatar was also up for many awards that year. In contrast, the Academy's members seem to have objected to this film's storyline and instead chose to award the Best Picture oscar to Ben Affleck's movie Argo . If they had been serious about the quality of Affleck's movie, he would have been nominated for the Best Director award. Although Argo is also a Hollywood take on a true-life story about the USA's involvement in Middle East politics, the Affleck movie showed Hollywood tricksters saving the day with non-violent means. In contrast, Bigelow's version depicted real-life CIA torture techniques.