Admittedly "Fast Five" was the first entry I saw and was the reason… MoreAdmittedly "Fast Five" was the first entry I saw and was the reason that I chose to check out the rest of the series. After seeing the previous installments I understand now why this entry is well received both by critics and audiences. It ditches it dead serious tone for in favor of a gleefully self-aware tone making this action film deliver a good time for fans and newcomers.
Fast Five follows Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers planning a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent. The opening scene perfectly establishes how it's going to be; if you can't get past a car propelling a bus 20-30 feet into the air look elsewhere if you can't turn of your brain for two hours. Fast Five knows exactly what it wants to be and does well. Sure some will have a issues with spoon-fed dialogue, over the top action, similarities with the Ocean series injected with more action, and the simple plot. It by no means ruins the film, it is after all an entry in "The Fast and the Furious" series would you expect anything else. For fans it's a treat to see familiar faces together and even more so at the unexpected take it goes into parenthood. The best aspect about this entry will be that its self contained so anyone can pick it up. Unfortunately this also means that followers will not see much expansion on the crew background and minimal detail on the new characters. Can't also forget the weak and force romance between Dominic and a cop. Its few flaws are easy to overlook thanks to a new direction preventing the formula from getting too repetitive and focusing the strong suits of the series.
The actor this time are respectfully decent. Yes Vin Diesel still can't play up emotion very well, making his attempts at the more serious scenes here a bit laughable and Paul Walker doesn't fair much better even as a main character takes a backseat to Vin Diesel. Though I would be lying if I said it's not fun seeing both Diesel and Walker in an action film. They got the charisma to be fun the entire run time and look convincing the action scenes. The supporting cast fares better. They don't have to carry much dramatic content and are instead focus on their character roles providing some good laughs. Dwayne Johnson being a newcomer is a welcome addition to the series. He's big, tough, believable, and completely awesome. You could have not ask for better nemesis and his bout with Diesel is excellently staged. The action scenes are top notch, highlighted by two sequences in particular: a train robbery that sees Dom and Brian take a 1966 Corvette Grand Sport off a cliff; and an Act III race through the streets of Rio that finds Dom and Brian (each in separate cars) dragging a giant bank vault behind them. It's over the top for sure, but complete a blast seeing.
Fast Five takes the series into a new direction mixing the caper genre and injected it with action. The acting will leave something to be desired and the plot simplistic, over the top nature won't appeal to everyone, but if you could get past its shortcoming you'll find one well made action that never slows down for minute on exhilaration.
Much like "Rambo" the latest entry suffers from a title that will get… MoreMuch like "Rambo" the latest entry suffers from a title that will get the uninitiated confused whether it's the first entry in the series or a remake. For the fourth outing the stars of the original "The Fast and the Furious" reprise their roles for another outing that deliver what it promise. What it deliver might be enough for some, for others it won't, or it'll leave you with a mix bag.
Fast and Furious is about Brian O'Conner working for the FBI in LA teaming up with Dominic Toretto to bring down a heroin importer by infiltrating his operation. The plot is thin. It maintains it serious nature and puts our characters in the same situation they were in last time we saw them. Brian O'Conner is going undercover, the FBI wants to catch Teretto, and Brain objects to putting him Tertto in prison like in "The Fast and the Furious". This is in some ways similar to the first entry of the series, but even more preposterous. The opening itself sets the bar of what kind of film its going to be. If you're expecting anything to make any logical sense this is not for you. We aren't given any new development for the characters and some characters go under utilized. What keep things interesting is Teretto story line. He has something personal motivating him as oppose to Brian who path is predictable and his plot line dismisses what occurred in two films. The dialogue still retains it charm. It won't win any awards, but there's just something so appealing hearing this series unintentionally funny dialogue.
The cast acting might not be a major improvement, but it's good to see Vin Diesel and Paul Walker together once again. Vin Diesel is more comfortable in his role. He doesn't emote much expression, but his gravelly voice, and cool, playful way around a line of dialogue makes him a lot of fun to watch. Paul Walker doesn't get much to expand upon. He plays the same character as before the same way he last did. Conflicted and loose, though the scenes he shares with Diesel are better for him to work with. The supporting cast are just there in the background with the cars taking center stage. With only two racing scenes these sequences are over blown goodness. Seeing several car get demolished and blown up is a area this series never fails in.
Fast and Furious is a mix bag. It should satisfy fans seeking a continuation of the story, but the uninitiated might not be accepting of it's over the top story and unimpressive acting.
This third entry in the series takes the series in an odd direction.… MoreThis third entry in the series takes the series in an odd direction. Doing away with it American setting for an Asian background with an entirely new cast of actors and characters. It's a slight improvement over 2 Fast 2 Furious, but doesn't gain enough speed to overcome it faults.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is about Alabama teenager Sean Boswell becoming a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America. The major issue with the film lies with it protagonist Sean Boswell. Sean Boswell is unlikeable with his mannerism quickly outwearing it welcome and unjustifying temper. Everything bad that happens to him was of his own doing. You never feel that Sean Boswell went through any change since things are conveniently easy for him to fix therefore making his journey seem insignificant. The plot itself is an improvement. It has something related to racing, but discards it for a weak romance, the Yakuza, and training subplot on drifting only to remember it's about racing in the climax. The dialogue while bad can have it charms. Likely no ones besides car enthusiasts would care about the specifics of an engine. Though some bad lines can be funny both intentional and unintentional. Sadly the bad overcomes any good mostly suffering from an unlikable protagonist while taking itself too seriously with it preposterous story.
Lucas Black at best is okay as the lead, but his Southern accent makes his character more irritating to watch. Bow Wow as a supporting actor falls flat. His present in the movie makes it feel even more dated. Sung Kang is a show stealer despite him not appearing as much as the lead. Kang is still given a prominent role as the non-stereotypical Asian American mentor for the male lead (He is to drifting, what Mr. Miyagi is to karate.) Brian Tee is a bit of a joke as an antagonist, he is more comedic than menacing. The racing scenes were dull and repetitive. It certainly lives to it title. The races themselves are well filmed, but there is only so many times one could tolerate seeing a car drift over, and over, and over, and over again. Seeing a car drift for montages is not something that gets veins pumping. The soundtrack is past it expiration date. It's not music that gets you into the mood to see some high speed racing. You would get more exhilaration racing towards the remote and muting the film whenever it bad soundtrack comes up.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift moves ahead with some improvements, but still ends biting the dust. The plot is preposterous with an annoying hero and mix acting from it cast. The racing scenes rely too much on drifting making each race feel repetitive.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror caught the world on fire the way James… MoreBirdemic: Shock and Terror caught the world on fire the way James Nyguyen never intended it too. Becoming a cult classic among bad movie lovers as well being mocked by the film community. So with the unexpected success of Birdemic: Shock and Terror Nyguyen started work on a sequel. What he failed to realize is what made his first outing worth seeing is his belief he made his masterpiece making it unintentionally funny. Intentional humor this time fails to recapture what viewers enjoyed from the original.
Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is about a platoon of eagles and vultures rising from the La Brea Tar Pit attacking Hollywood, California. The plot structure is exactly the same as it predecessor so expect a pointless musical number, random nature dude, global warming, awkward conversations, an abrupt ending, and other references to the original. The major difference being this time the terrible plot is intentional. So you'll get the inclusion of cavemen, zombie, and bloody rainfall that intentionally never get much of an explanation. It doesn't add any kind of humor to the film and makes it come of as lazy writing. It introduces new characters and makes clear which one are just chow for the birds (one for the zombies) and which one will live. Simply put it's largely a rehash of the original Birdemic only this time it's intentional and unfunny.
Production values this time are somewhat competent. It actually looks like it has a budget, but even with a larger budget you get audio dropping in and out, bad green screen effects, continuity errors, and so on. It's very sad that Nyguyen even attempts to copies the poor productions value. The acting this time is less awful. The actors are less wooden and seeing how it self aware it's hard to hold anything against them. Especially when they fight against birds, zombies, and cavemen in goofy fashion. One actor even does judo kicks to kill some birds and prepare to witness guns with unlimited ammo. I can't recall a single time an actor ever reloaded a gun. Well I guess unless you count the one scene where an actor is talking in a RV and hear an gun reloading sound effect. Guessed he had to reload his dialogue? Not to forget this film takes place in an apocalypse where it very populated with people. You'll constantly see people moving in the background or a car just passing by in this suppose apocalypse. The special effects are less awful. They still retain the bad animation, but at least the birds don't look squarish. Also, it contains random nudity to keep the viewer awake in case they haven't left the room playing the movie.
Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is rehash of the first film only this time in HD and with a self aware nature to intentionally make things bad. It doesn't work on any level and those who enjoyed the first will be disappointed. Yet sadly this rehash has slightly better production values, less awful acting, somewhat improved special effect, and its intentional bad nature makes it more forgivable for it faults.
When it comes to major blockbuster franchises the only natural step… MoreWhen it comes to major blockbuster franchises the only natural step that filmmakers seem to take is go for a darker sequel. Granted over the course the decades a darker sequel has become a cliche route to move a franchise in, but can reap many benefits if done properly. Star Trek Into Darkness is one of those films that while not as welcoming for newcomers as it predecessor benefits from a darker approach serving a good character piece.
Star Trek Into Darkness follows the crew of the Enterprise on a search to find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization with Captain Kirk leading a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. The plot receives some upgrades for the better. The Starfleet is just as well put together and engaging as ever before. Scotty role has been slightly upgraded. His small sub-plot this time around holds relevance to what occurs in the preceding events. The antagonist is a deadlier force for the heroes than Nero was. Having them doubt their every action and every person they come in contact with. It becomes more a battle of wit than it does of who has the better technology. The relationship between Spock and Kirk is maintained becoming more personal. The importance of the duo friendship is consistent focusing on opposing views on the significance of self sacrifice for the greater good, conflicting issues when ones should be driven by logic over emotions in a mission, forming and maintaining a family together, and having faith in one another.
There is some area in the script that downgrade the material. The third act has too much fan service. It prevents it from standing on its own and instead falls into the shadow of the most iconic entry in the series. It will even make events of the film predictable if you're a Trekkie. With the exception of Spock, Kirk, and Scotty the Starfleet roles have been reduce to comedy relief. Especially Uhura who in this sequel has more possibility to be put to better used goes from feeling like a real person into whining girlfriend. As for how the crew function in a given situation and ultimately determine a solution to their problem is mostly reduced to just a gut feeling by Kirk. These flaws will hold it back from matching what the 2009 reboot brought to the series.
When it comes to the cast fans will enjoy seeing familiar faces from the beloved TV series and several references made to the show including the creator himself. In the acting department we have the trio of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Benedict Cumberbatch that hold the most weight. Chris Pine is still roguish and humorous, but carries more emotional depth. Exposing a more vulnerable and uncertain side of Kirk. Zachary Quinto's remains charming of the very human histrionics happening around him while contending with the film's central relationships (more so poignant than the one he has with Uhura). One scene (you'll know when you see it) near the end between Pine and Quinto is easily the best utilization of touching drama and acting in the whole film. Benedict Cumberbatch brings a lot to his role. Fulfilling his role as a strong villain that will more than surely hold your attention. He is expressionless, sliver of a man whose mask only slips when he lunges for his prey. The Enterprise crew look trivial against him, their uniforms retro and goofy against his magazine sleekness. As for the rest of the they do fine, but disappear into the background only to spout out references. Simon Pegg is given more screen time and his role is expanded compared to the rest of the Starfleet, but even he has to take a back seat like the rest of the crew towards the end. More set pieces have been added which goes excellent with the great plot. Expect a good dose of gunfights and some nice space combat. Though more set-pieces might lead to some complaining it feeling more like a action film than a Star Trek film.
Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't surpass it predecessor, but enough improvements are made to satisfy all audiences. It has more action, a superior villain challenging the heroes intellect over their technology, an excellent trio of the actor, and finally taking a small step forward in upping the stakes in the story.
My coverage of this series continue with the sequel which has a bigger… MoreMy coverage of this series continue with the sequel which has a bigger budget and bigger problems. Whereas the first at least provided some decent fun this sequel is a step backward. Also my surprise when I went to post my review to discover that over 31 million people have rated this movie and with that many people rating it's not hard to see why the series is still going.
2 Fast 2 Furious is about former cop, Brian O'Conner finally arrested after letting his leader escape the law. To avoid the consequences, he must now work with an old college friend and help the police arrest a local drug exporter. The premise while having allot more to work off with than the previous entry is even worse. It's a very formulaic film where it thinks it creating suspense around the idea the criminals will discover our hero identity, but you know where it heading because of bad writing. The plot is nearly nonexistent with some questionably bad scenes. One involving the villain threatening to kill a crooked cop with a bucket, a rat, and a blow torch. The climax is also a huge letdown with the final confrontation with our heroes and the villian ending quickly as it begins. Our hero sidekick is a complete moron. The sidekick here shoots at police officers despite being undercover among other idiotic things that surprisingly didn't make thing worse for the heroes. The protagonist and his sidekick regardless of his stupidity are the best thing about the movie. The two are given some development and are fun to see together, but hammy conversations tend to ruin that too. It's a shame that the only good aspect of the film is ruined by a nonexistent, formulaic plot.
Paul Walker was the best actor in the previous entry and delivers the same performance here. He has plenty more material to work of here on the dramatic and can make the cheesiest of dialogue serviceable. Tyrese Gibson is a loose cannon and is fun to watch. His character is infuriating at time, but Gibson chemistry with Walker is their to prevent things feeling like a drag. The other actors ranges from bland to forgettable. When the leads are not on screen expect bad acting and a lost of interest. The race scenes are underwhelming. Instead of using the bigger budget on bigger practical stunts we get video game like CGI. It looks awful and doesn't have the same punch as the original. Even the structure of the racing scenes feel too familiar to the original. As for the wretched green effect it better left unseen.
2 Fast 2 Furious is a bad sequel that fails to improve on a film that didn't much have going for it. It's a step back as bad CG replace practical stunts and a story that's devoid of much originality does away with the enjoyment it could have delivered.
Star Trek is a significant part of pop culture that lasted for over 50… MoreStar Trek is a significant part of pop culture that lasted for over 50 years since it debuted on television back in the 1960s. Of course when any franchise that last as long as it does it bounds to have issues maintaining it fanbase happy and approachable for a new audience. This entry in the long running series is among one of the best film in the popular series and one well thought out sci-fi that delivers excitement with wit.
Star Trek follows the brash James T. Kirk trying to live up to his father's legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful, time-traveling Romulan creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time. The plot is masterfully written satisfying the hardcore fanbase and newcomer. It's a smart film while maintaining consistent tone. The comedy here can relieve some tension, but is also carefully used to provide important characteristic. The relationship between Kirk and Spock is the highlight of the film. Seeing the two banter with one another as well as cooperating is always a plus. While Kirk is heavily focused in the story it's Spock that becomes the more interesting hero. Kirk main goal is to live up to his father legacy as oppose to Spock who has more at stakes not just his life, but internal struggles of showcasing emotions and the occurring events that affect his culture. The plot is crowded with many characters each being balanced in screen time and a specific event scene to shine. This sci-fi is not light on set pieces that should thrill viewers. It one film that not satisfies the hardcore fans, but a newcomer can easily why it lasted as long as did.
Now hardcore Trekkies or whatever they call themselves will not as be as forgiving of the plot like newcomers. Nero did come from the future so it would make sense if he killed Kirk or even Spock when their infants, but he doesn't. Then the convenient plot point that two (totally different) people who sent Kirk and Spot (totally independently of one another) both decided this icy planet of the many habitable planets was the best for punishing people. The chances these two punished character meeting would be nitpick to death by Trekkies among other elements. Not being one of them I can look past these plot holes since it doesn't sacrifice brains over visual spectacles (*cough* Prometheus *cough*).
Chris Pine recreates an iconic character and gives a new take on it. The cocky-yet-genius attitude was brilliant, the humor and seriousness factor he brings to the role is fantastic. He also nails portraying several of the trademark attitudes and behavior of the Kirk we all know and love. Zackary Quinto is equally brilliant in his take of an iconic character. He played the role as Spock convincingly that you can't help but be impressed by his overall intellect and his cold, calculated logic, and feel very sympathetic for him when he finally gets a grip of his emotions. The supporting cast all just fine. Zoe Saldana's Uhura benefits the most, and for the first time ever actually feels like a real person. John Cho's is solid when on screen. Anton Yelchin's Chekov and Simon Pegg's Scotty are mostly played for laughs. Karl Urban is the only actor of the Starfleet that won't make much of an impression. His take only seems to mimic DeForest Kelley's Leonard McCoy. Eric Bana plays a cliche villain with a cold and stubborn nature that make him a solid presence. The only disappointing cast member would be Leonard Nimoy. Leonard Nimoy appearance is only here is please the fanbase, but illogical he is only here to provide exposition.
Star Trek can be ranked among the best sci-fi films. Maintaining what works in the beloved series and keeping out what doesn't to please both the newcomers and hardcore fanbase. So if you want to know what the fuss is about with Star Trek or want a film adaptation that showcases the best of the series this film will deliver on all fronts.
Note: Now I'm not going to talk about J.J. Abrams plan to do Star Wars, but really? Not so subtle foreshadowing on your part Abrams. Though I will admit it was clever hiding R2-D2 in this significant sci-fi property.
No one could have expected back in 2001 that "The Fast and the… MoreNo one could have expected back in 2001 that "The Fast and the Furious" would be the start of a series that would last over a decade. The film itself while the first in a long running series will have you wonder how it ever became a franchise.
The Fast and the Furious is about an undercover cop infiltrating an underworld subculture of Los Angeles street racers looking to bust a hijacking ring, and soon begins to question his loyalties when his new street racing friends become the prime suspects. The premise is standard and so is the way it told. If you have ever seen a film about an undercover cop then you'll know what to expect. The dialogue is generally mixed in quality. Car enthusiast might understand what the characters are talking about when it comes to cars, but the average viewer might not share the same interest. The dialogue that moves the story is more interesting. The theme of family is unexpectedly well handle here and instead is the focus over showing off cool cars. At best the story is average since it does nothing new with it premise, but the characters relationship is enough to stick around with it.
The production values are a bit higher in quality compared to the script. The acting is okay at best. Vin Diesel doesn't leave much of an impression. His performance is one note which is unfortunate since he's a lead. Paul Walker fares a bit better putting in some more effort in his performance. It's nothing special, but has the right amount of charisma to keep things interesting. The supporting actors do their best to elevate the average material with more or less successful results. The cinematography is very good in particular when filming the car scenes. The editing is clean and smooth making each race, chase, or heist entertaining to watch. The stunts do exactly what they needed to do in adding a rush of adrenaline into the audience senses.
The Fast and the Furious is an alright film that doesn't stand out in many ways. It's a well made racing film that will make you wish more would have come from it.
It been about a month since I last cover anything from cinematic past… MoreIt been about a month since I last cover anything from cinematic past so I chose to see to the well known regarded classic Bullitt. Age hasn't been too kind on this one, but is still a solid film.
Bullitt is about a San Francisco cop, Bullitt, who has a witness in his protection killed and must uncover the culprit whilst being pursued by an ambitious politician angry that his star witness is dead. The plot is a good complex mystery unfortunately plagued by a slow pace. Now usually a slow pace mystery would not bothersome, but here it tends to drag. The reason for this is from the characterization. While it is appreciated the protagonist, Bullitt, is developed there is no sense of urgency for him. It's just another case and another killer to catch with nothing that appears to make this particular story in Bullitt life worth telling. The film is heavy on talking and is never in a hurry to move on to the next scene. The dialogue is witty and holds our attention. Though not every scene has someone talking. Whenever there is a chase of any kind it characters remain silence for a much needed break of the slow pace talking. A major miss in the plot is the love interest who doesn't much of a use for the story. The love interest could have been written out and nothing drastic would have been changed. If slow moving dialogue films aren't your things avoid since it takes it time getting to the end. For those who do will enjoy the journey while it last.
The much praised car chase doesn't live up to expectations, but that by no mean faults of the filmmakers. The structure of the car chase scene in Bullitt has pretty much been done to death since it release. The chase sequence, which starts with us being aware that the cab and then McQueen's car are being followed by a car with the two hit men in it. The beginning of the sequence is mild, as we see them driving after McQueen, but the turning point is when they have apparently lost him, and he reappears following their car. Then they go into the outskirts of San Francisco, and the roads from the city, with the added threats of other vehicles and of a twelve gage sawed - off shotgun one of the hit men uses. It's structure has been copied many times and the influence of the car chase scene is still present. Steve McQueen is understated, cool, and intense. This is mostly McQueen film for he takes up a considerably large amount of screen time. The other actors are worth mentioning for their good effort, but it's clear that this is a showcase for Steve McQueen. The soundtrack is jazzy and gritty adding intensity to the scenes when the story fails to do so.
Bullitt car chase won't have the same effect on viewer as it did when it was release. What does hold up is a good slow moving story for solid entertainment.