Tag Archives: Ryan Reynolds

Deadpool 2 (2018) Movie Review By John Walsh

Deadpool 2

Director: David Leitch
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick 
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin

I think the burning question on most people’s minds heading in to see the sequel to the most successful R-rated comic book film of all-time was “how the hell can they improve upon the original?” The first Deadpool film was the definition of capturing lightning in a bottle. It had absolutely everything; breathtaking action, visceral violence, gold standard comedy, a hint of romance and an enthralling, if not simplistic origin story. It was a passion project for its leading star that spanned the better part of a decade and that genuine love for the character showed. 

So how the hell could they better or at least equal the ground breaking original? Well for starters, the promotion of Deadpool 2 had to be right and it ended up being a shining example of how to expertly build the anticipation for a film. We had Ryan Reynolds dressing up as Bob Ross in a scarily accurate homage, playing with action figures interspersed with real action and we even had a dance double pirouetting to the overtures of Celine Dion. It was hilarious, quirky, original and packed full of Wade’s unique blend of expletive ridden put downs. 

I don’t know if I’ve seen a better promotional run for a film in my lifetime. It was absolutely relentless, had a ridiculous reach and it succeeded in hyping everyone. More importantly, it showed audiences that everything they enjoyed about the original was back, but only this time on a bigger, more ambitious scale. Which is all well and good, but how many times have we seen a studio bluffing or double bluffing us by sticking entire scenes in trailers that aren’t in the film or giving us a highlights reel with the final product being a complete let down? 

We’ve seen it countless times before, but it’s certainly not the case here. Deadpool 2’s memorable moments from the trailers are very much in the film, there’s no Hulk on Wakanda double bluff here and they have the same punch in the theatre as they did in the trailer, whilst thankfully being intermixed with equally, if not more hilarious moments throughout. 

The plot remains fairly simplistic albeit on a more grandiose scale. Two years have passed since we last saw Wade and he’s living the dream staying with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), whilst hunting down criminals. A Deadpool film can’t be based on a foundation of happily ever after however. The original Deadpool proved that Wade is at his best when he’s got that fire of injustice in his belly. It’s the botched killing of a target which we see in a deranged, quickfire, early montage of death that brings the house of cards down on his fledgling new family life. 

Vanessa’s death is a bit of an emotional double edged sword. It sucks the life out of Wade initially, who unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide weeks later, but then it also drives him to protect and save the young mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison) from the clutches of Cable (Josh Brolin) after a series of tender afterlife interactions. The way the story was handled was actually one of my biggest positives. It flip flopped between the main story, choc full of comedy and action to real dark, introspective and emotional moments for Wade. Deadpool has always had that to an extent, it’s just that people tend to focus on the swearing, violence and great comedy. 

I’ll try not to give the entirety of the story away, because this review would turn into a plot synopsis and you can read that on Wikipedia if that’s your thing.

But needless to say, Cable is a very cool, time travelling, ‘villain’ with an array of equally cool weapons. I don’t even want to call him a villain because he isn’t. He’s a bit of tragic figure, who still carries his daughters charred teddy on his waist. Think of the Terminator with mostly good intentions mixed with the pure vengeance of Sicario’s Alejandro and you’ll get a perfect sense of his journey, motivations and character. Brolin was the perfect choice to play him, despite not being seven foot tall like the comic book iteration. He’s a great actor with oodles of presence. 

Firefist was a turbulent, tortured, abuse victim, struggling to harness his fiery powers and young Julian Dennison was surprisingly fantastic. He absolutely embodied all of those things and yet managed to be quite funny at times too. His story was like a crazy, mutant take on the often pondered moral ambiguity of going back in time to kill the baby Hitler. Is a mass murderer guilty of crimes he’s yet to commit? I don’t know, I’m no psychologist, but that’s one of the many interesting themes they explore regardless. One things for sure, his story and the way it weaves through Wade and Cables was enthralling. 

Wade acts like a deranged agony aunt towards the need, gnawing away at Cables conscience and doing everything to alter the future of a still uncorrupted Collins.

Now for X-Force. I said previously that there wasn’t much bluffing in the trailers, well I was double bluffing. That paragliding scene when the newly established group head towards the prison convoy and encounter mishap after mishap and a series of hilarious, grisly deaths was one of the best moments in the entire film. All but Domino die and that’s probably for the best because they were a bit naff. Domino (Zazie Beetz) was a surprisingly entertaining watch. A mutant with luck as her ability didn’t sound great and Wade ripped her countless times for it, but it was actually very handy and she’ll be a great addition to the new spin-off franchise. 

TJ Miller not returning as Weasel is a minor travesty because his chemistry with Reynolds and the hilarity he brings will be badly, badly missed. But he’s went totally off the rails and it’s unavoidable.  

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, I briefly touched upon it earlier, but he really is the perfect guy to play the role. I wasn’t that big a fan of his prior to Deadpool because I wrongly assumed he was a smarmy, smart arse, but his portrayal of Wade in these two films really did open my eyes. He goes through the emotional wringer, displaying rare hints of humanity and sensitivity amongst all the witty wise cracking, usual antics and hilarity. Wade wouldn’t be anywhere near as likeable for me without Reynolds distinctive voice. I continue to enjoy his self awareness and the repentance he displays for his past career mistakes too. The end credit scenes take this to another level. 

I was concerned when Deadpool 2 was announced because the first film, much like Guardians of the Galaxy, though for totally different reasons, was close to perfection. It was a self contained story that I didn’t think could be bettered. The change of director and rumours of abandoning what made Deadpool so good didn’t allay my fears. I was wrong though. Way wrong. They made everything bigger, shinier, they added double the amount of characters, but more importantly they retained the spirit of the original. They also added Josh Brolin, who always improves a film. It had a bit of everything; humour, romance, sadness, violence, incredible visuals and a perfect score.

It was two hours of pure, unadulterated escapism and I highly recommend watching it. 

Rating: 5/5

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Criminal (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

CRIMINAL

Director: Ariel Vromen
Writers: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg
Stars: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot

Plot:  In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.

Running Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Scores:  Critics 30%       Audience   47%

Why I watched it: The cast alone, that is a deep cast and now you add into the fact how hot Gal Gadot is it’s even better.

Random Thoughts: Two things hit me while I was watching this: 1. Did they need this big name cast for the movie they were doing and 2. this is like  Self/Less that Ryan Reynolds was in he just switched roles.

What I Liked: This is a slick looking film, and all the technol stuff is good, it’s shot well, the sound is good.  Yes I’m reaching there’s not a lot to like about this film but by the cover it’s a good looking film.  I will say out of all the name actors in this Kevin Costner is very good here and why he stands out is because he truly is the only thing making this movie watchable, he’s not only having fun but he seems to be the only one invested in the story and his character.  All the other character’s in Criminal are types but Costner fleshes out some things, he might be over acting at times but i’ll give him that, he’s funny and also makes the most from a truly badly written script.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a waste of some very good actors.  This is one of my pet peeves with bigger Hollywood movies they get big names to play small parts and small parts that aren’t written well but by putting a name in the role it will hide the fact that the role is under written.  There was no need for Tommy Lee Jones in this movie, if you’re a fan of his don’t bother he’s barely in it and really does nothing except be Tommy Lee Jones. Poor Gal Gadot is just playing the wife in peril role a bit of a step down from Wonder Women, she’s fine but this is just such a cliche.  Alice Eve and Michael Pitt must have lost bets cause I can’t figure their careers have fallen this badly, they are playing supporting roles and have not much to do, you might not even notice Eve.

Pitt plays his role up big time gives him way more ticks than the script had probably, he’s trying. I have to say this about Gary Oldman, he’s real bad in this, he screams most of his lines, you can tell he has nothing to play in the script and he resorts in bad over acting, he’s unlikable and he plays like nails on a chalkboard,  he plays his character with one speed, he’s a cliched character type to the max.  I will say this I love Gary Oldman but this is the worst performance I’ve seen him give.

Watching this film and seeing good actors struggle really hits home how important a script is, a plot outline is one thing, but the script and a director’s vision are the two most important things for making a film.  I do blames the director for this, Ariel Vromen, how do you get a bad performance from Gary Oldman?  This film just has no hook for the audience, it seems like we’re watching an idea, a first draft.

You might think I forgot to mention Ryan Reynolds, I will warn you he’s barely in it, so if you’re a fan and just watch this movie for him don’t bother go watch Deadpool again, he’s not bad but it’s a cameo, the lead is Kevin Costner, don’t let the trailers fool you.

Final Thoughts: Criminal is an bloated boring film.  I will add that it’s a tough watch at almost two hours.  It’s all flash and almost no subsistence.

Rating: 3/10

Life (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh 

LIFE.png

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds

I seem to have developed a bit of fetish for the horror/thrillers genre recently and next on my list is Life by Daniel Espinosa. It’s a clear Alien homage, which never quite hits anywhere near the heights of that classic. That’s not to say it’s a terrible film, it’s absolutely not. It’s visually beautiful, has a great ending and has it’s fair share of tense moments in between, but it lacks some originality and falls into the familiar pattern of the genre.

Taking place on the ISS (International Space Station), it follows the travails of six astronauts/scientists as they at first discover and then study a single cell organism hailing all the way from Mars. Things start off fine and dandy for the crew. Well after Rory’s (Ryan Reynolds) nervous, near death collision with the probe carrying the life-form at least. Hugh (Ariyon Bakare), the resident scientist begins trying to reanimate the alien organism almost immediately, finally succeeding after changing atmospheric conditions to mimic pre-historic Earth. They even give their new pet Alien the cute nickname Calvin.

Of course, things don’t remain this calm for long. It would be a pretty boring film and not much of a sci-fi thriller if it did. Things take a turn for the worst after the little organism begins displaying rapid, accelerated, growth and signs of keen intelligence. This only seems to concern Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson), who briefly narrates to the viewer, telling them as much, following a minor mishap involving a lab valve with Hugh that leaves the life-form in a temporary stasis. Her relief at its halted growth is short lived however when a guilt ridden Hugh decides to shock the creature back into action. The shit hits the proverbial fan at this point and one of the crew goes down in gruesome fashion (the first and certainly not the last) shortly thereafter.

The film then plays out like your archetypal horror/thriller thereafter with members of the crew dropping like flies, as Calvin grows ever larger, feasting on the fresh corpses of his victims. There’s the usual acts of stupidity you frequently see in this genre, which can be forgiven when it’s a regular pleb in a house, but you expect more these supposed intellectually superior astronauts. That’s reading like a absolutely hated this film, I know. Again, I have to stress, absolutely not the case at all. I actually quite enjoyed it. Just don’t expect any realistic, scientific, recreation here, much like Gravity, which shared a similar setting. It’s a horror film that’s very deliberately set in the extremely claustrophobic surroundings of a space station.

With that said, some of the choices the characters and film made did annoy my slightly. Whether it be Kat’s indefensible decision to not just push off from the station whilst being mauled by Calvin on a spacewalk; Sho’s harebrained choice to burn up nearly all the fuel, sending them into a decaying orbit in a fruitless effort to keep the alien outside; David (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miranda’s lack of empathy or will to save Sho when he was stranded on his own and they could clearly track Calvin; and the inconsistencies in the latter’s ability to survive with or without oxygen. At one point it’s outside in the vacuum of space for a sustained period, surviving just fine and then it’s desperately scrambling around in search of oxygen to sustain its life.

In terms of performances, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson see the most screen time and development, although even then there isn’t a great deal of the latter, which was another slight letdown. Gyllenhaal and Ferguson did a decent enough job here, the former was slightly passive aggressive throughout mind, but he played the role well enough. Ryan Reynolds had a brief cameo, which is about as much as I can say on that. The rest were more filler than anything else, who you fully expected to die as the film progressed. Maybe Hugh played by Bakare being the exception with a slightly meatier role. I wasn’t a fan of the character though and the emotionless delivery of the line “We’ve just let it back in here” summed him up for me.

Having said that, I enjoyed the early moments in the film as it built up the tension and the claustrophobic uneasiness of the middle act, in the confined corridors of the station, as the ravenous Alien roamed around unchecked, picking them off at random. The twist at the end was incredible too and one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long while. I genuinely didn’t expect it, despite the film hinting quite heavily in that direction, which is predominantly down to the excellent way that Espinosa handled the scene. It reminded me of The Dark Knight rescue twist in the way it kept the viewer on the edge of their seats right until the end.

Whilst I did enjoy aspects of this film and it kept me relatively engrossed until the end, it wasn’t anywhere near being what you sensed it attempted to be. I.e. An Alien clone. It lacked the character development of that film, which meant there was literally zero connection to any of them and I wasn’t fussed when they died. It was visually amazing however and the zero gravity shots were stunningly realistic, whilst the alien, Calvin, was well brought to life and interacted beautifully with the ‘real’ things on screen. Overall, I would recommend this film. Despite my minor grievances (I’m a tad anal at times), it’s a decent little, horror that should be seen for the final scene alone.