Tag Archives: Vin Diesel

XXX:Return Of Xander Cage (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

XXX RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

Director: D.J. Caruso
Writers: Rich Wilkes (based on characters created by), F. Scott Frazier
Stars: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone

Plot: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.
Running Time: 1 hour 47 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 45%   Audience 38%

Why I Watched it: Well I saw the first two movie and no they weren’t great but B-Action movies is my jam, yes I did just write that and yes you just read that.

Thoughts:Why another XXX movie cause everyone likes franchises, studios, actors and by the box office numbers so do audiences so we go back to see if we can milk a few more dollars or movies from a dead franchise.
The first two movies weren’t very good, the first one was boring and I liked the second one cause it was so silly so the only thing I was interested with this movie was the cast.

What I liked:This is an over the top cheesy silly action movie but you know what get your favorite treat grab a couple of beverages of your choice and enjoy the silliness.  I thought the film had a good energy and it wasn’t as boring as the first one, they tried to make Xander Cage a new age James Bond in the first film this time it looks like they were trying to build a team not unlike ‪The Fast And The Furious‬ franchise and I think this works better.  They went for a slicker and lighter tone here which suits the film, you can’t take this serious, well you can but don’t.

The director is DJ Caruso and he’s made some really good genre movies, I love an underrated film of his called The Salton Sea and it’s sad he’s a gun for hire but good he’s still working.  The good thing here is he knows what he’s making, he’s trying to make a fun action film and he kind of does it.

I like the international cast and if this opens up Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa to a bigger audience I’m cool with that. Oddly the thing I like the most about the film is the team dynamic, I’m a sucker for action films that have a team come together or recruited and even though not everyone works it does throw enough interesting actors at you where at least there’s something for everyone.

I do think it was smart cause Xander Cage on his own is just another bland action hero.  Now Vin Diesel has settled into these roles, he’s not so much acting as he’s just being his persona, it’s fine but to be fair you don’t buy any of the over the top action sequences he’s in.

What I Didn’t Like: We’ve seen this kind of movie done before and better and yes they rely on almost every action cliche they could think of.  Like most so so films they borrow from much better films.  The biggest waste here is the cast, Tony Jaa really has nothing to do and he doesn’t get to show off his amazing fighting skills that much.  I liked Nina Dobrev she brought some energy to the tech role.  Toni Collette is doing her Joan Allen impersonation, I do think she’s in another better film.  Samuel L Jackson is picking up a paycheck and it shows.

The main problem here is you just don’t care, there’s no hook for us, it’s a fine looking film but it doesn’t standout and the whole extreme sport thing doesn’t really carry well to this film, it does seem like a lesser ‪Fast and Furious‬ film, I think the big reason for the cats is Diesel just can’t carry a film on his own, Cage is a blank slate, we know nothing about him, he has no arc and Diesel is content to play cool and macho.

Final Thoughts: It wasn’t as bad as I thought, I got through it and smiled at the silliness of it all, I call these type of films “they are what they are” it delivered on the poster kind of movie.  It was a harmless but generic action movie.

Rating: ‪5/10‬

Advertisements

The Last Witch Hunter (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier ‬

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER

Director: Breck Eisner
Writers: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama
Stars: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood

‪Plot: The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.‬
‪Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes ‬
‪Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  17%    Audience 43%‬

‪Why I watched it: I’ll be honest I dragged my feet on it, I started it awhile ago got like 20 minutes in then something came up might to get back to it but didn’t then finally I was looking at my Netflix list and said I have to finish it and I did.  So the why it’s genre and I don’t mind the director. ‬

‪Thoughts: This is meant as a franchise, and it’s a mix of action, kind of horror but more fantasy, Diesel still looking for something other than just the Fast And Furious films.‬

‪What I liked: I like the world building here, it isn’t new but I like the use of magic and witches that they exist and Diesel is like the police he keeps them scared and for the most part behaving, in that the film did remind me of Men In Black. Diesel is fine here, he kind of just does the same thing now, he’s cool, he’s a badass that’s it but here he does seem to be having fun and he goes with it, not a great performance but he’s trying at least a bit here. I really liked Rose Leslie here, I’m not A Game of Thrones watcher so I haven’t see her in much but I liked her energy and she had chemistry with Diesel and she didn’t sleep walk she tried to flesh out a stock character and she did a good job.‬

‪What I Didn’t Like: The CGI was pretty bad across the board, if there going to be that crappy then go practical cause it did hurt the film. The whole technical side was just so so nothing stood out. I think the thing that it hurt it the most was the lack of a solid threat as a bad guy, they had two here and both were boring, stock villains with no real character, they want to destroy the world, really?  The threat was boring and it’s too bad cause I did like the world building but when it came to the villains motivations and the couple of twist they threw in, well to be put it bluntly it was boring and very lazy.  They could have done more with the idea.  That’s the thing here they had an idea and a main character and never worked it out made it interesting.‬

‪Also they wasted Michael Caine, I have on idea why he was in this movie, maybe he had a free couple of days, the part certainly didn’t need an actor like Caine.  Same with Elijah Wood, he seemed off like he wasn’t sure what movie he was in and he gives a very bland and blah performance, he’s a genre guy he could do this in his sleep but he came up empty here.‬

‪Final Thoughts: I didn’t think it was as bad as the buzz, it was a misfire but it was breezy enough to make it watchable.‬

‪Rating: 4/10‬

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn,  Dan Abnett (based on the Marvel comics by)
Stars: Chris Pratt,  Zoe Saldana,  Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell

The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was and still is my favourite comic book movie to ever be released. Gunn weaved magic, rolling out a fresh concept in a fairly bloated genre and ultimately rewarding Disney for the enormous risk they took. It possessed everything; humour in spades, emotion, action, amazing visuals and arguably the best soundtrack out there. It also had a quintet of characters that really anchored the film, transcending the story and forging an instant connection with the overwhelming majority of viewers.

It really was an impossible task then to better that piece of cinematic magnificence in the sequel and whilst James Gunn didn’t quite achieve the impossible, he still got mighty damn close. All the favourites are back and the same hilarious banter that made the first film is back with them. I’ve heard more than a few suggest that the humour was forced, that it didn’t quite pay off or hit the heights of the first. I can only go with my experience and Drax (Dave Bautista) alone had me in stitches at several points. He definitely served as the main comedy provider in the film this time, subsequently being robbed of a more beefier role in the action sequences, which was a minor disappointment. Whilst Chris Pratt as Quill, the other provider of near as many laughs, is a match made in heaven to the point where, like Jackman and Downey Jnr as Wolverine and Iron Man respectively, I honestly can’t envisage anybody else playing that role now.

The film excels in the first and middle act when it strangely lacks a notable plot or villain, instead choosing to primarily focus on the quintet (prominent side characters not withstanding) and the unique, almost dysfunctional, relationship they share with one another. I can relate more than most to this in many ways, as I have a similar relationship with my family, banter flying around and more than a few profanities flung in for good measure. Disney, caught on the hop originally, realised just how popular Baby Groot was going to be and capitalised fully in a brilliant, incredibly cute opener that also lets the viewer know that the music in the second instalment is going to be every bit as varied and good this time round. When Kurt Russell does finally return to the screen again as Quill’s estranged father (there’s a much younger CG version at the beginning which I actually loved), it becomes almost immediately apparent that something isn’t ringing quite true with him.

For one, his name is Ego, which is so glaringly not a name for a benevolent Demi-God. He attempts to reconnect with his prodigal son, explaining that he too has god-like powers, though slyly withholding his real motive until later. Meanwhile, Yondu (Michael Rooker), the man who actually raised Quill steps in to provide some much needed action and a change of pace as the former settles into the transcendental, zen like, environment of Ego’s very own planet. (How fitting was My Sweet Lord by George Harrison during their arrival?) Rooker was absolutely fantastic in this film and the real standout performer. Just about everyone seemed to have a family issue at some stage; Quill with Ego, Gamora with Nebula, Drax and his daughter. Which made Yondu’s arc in particular all the more meaningful, providing some real emotional resonance to the film as his dealings with both Rocket and Quill further fed into the family dominant thematics at play.

If I was to have any criticisms then it would be the underuse of Gamora, those annoying gold gits and the way they continually made a nuisance of themselves at pivotal points, the climatic battle between Ego and the Guardians, and the latter’s suitability/choice as a villain in general. Kurt Russell was amazing don’t get me wrong, I’ve said it before, I love that man and his mere presence was felt here, believe me. It just felt to me like Gunn looked upon the plot and Ego as an afterthought though. His motivations and need for Quill were a little iffy and what was that bizarre jelly plant turning into a weird, city consuming, landslide thing all about? The gold aliens (I hate them that much, I refuse to even google their name) boiled my blood, they were that stupid and irrelevant to the story. As for the climatic battle; it just felt a little rushed, predictable and CG heavy. It wasn’t offensively bad or anything like that, but it was a small gripe nonetheless.

Ultimately though, much like in the first film, it’s all about the characters. They epitomise Guardians of the Galaxy for me and it was them I came back to see. The story didn’t have to be an epic, riveting tale, full of complicated twists, and quite frankly, it wasn’t. It was more inward looking, focusing on emotion and only really exploded into a Galaxy saving experience in the final act. I’m pleased to say that Gunn delivers and some in fleshing out the characters. He continued to develop the backstory of Gamora, her idiosyncratic relationship with Nebula and even the self-titled Starlord himself, delving a little further into his childhood and the relationship between him and Yondu in particular. He also delivered with an absolute belter of a soundtrack and visuals that were borderline eye porn at times. I loved just about every minute of this film and although it’s not quite as good as the first one, there’s not much in it.

If by some bizarre reason you haven’t yet watched this fantastic film, then I would absolutely recommend giving it a blast. Some things need to be experienced in a cinema and this is definitely one of them.