Safe (2012)

safe__spanRoze-Rating: 4 / 5

Luke Wright is an ex cop, living life as a cage fighter making his money from fixing matches so that his “employers” can make money off bets. One day during a rigged fight, he accidentally knocks out his opponent causing his Russian Mafia employers to make an example of his mistake by killing his family. They let him know that he will never live a free life again, being watched during the rest of his life. Luke drifts around New York with no path and considering giving everything up until he see’s a young Chinese girl being harassed by the same men that killed his family. He takes action and attempts to save the girl which saved him.

I’m glad Jason Statham has had a good run of good films, because I was starting to get worried he was picking films for the sake of being in them. 13 and The Mechanic to name a couple. But his judgement is slowly looking up with the successes of The Expendables 2 and this film Safe. It was really refreshing seeing Statham pick a script with a bit more substance. He plays a character with more of a complex, he has a past which he isn’t proud of, and has tried to get away from it by becoming a part of the Russian Mafia’s dishonest path for income. Of course once he makes an honest mistake, the Russian Mafia punish him in the most extreme way, sending him into a suicidal state. Definitely one his most interesting characters, and he pulls it off with ease showing his true acting abilities. I think people praise him too much for his ability to add action to a film with full affect, and forget that he’s a pretty good actor as well

The plot is a bit complicated and maybe seems quite implausible but it doesn’t reach the level of stupidity which makes it instantly bad. It’s an interesting premise and the chaos around it makes it even more entertaining. Obviously it wouldn’t be a Jason Statham without the action, and there’s no need to comment on it because he never fails to deliver in that aspect of films. One of the more surprising films of the year, and a perfect film if your looking for brutal action with a decent story to go along with it

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The Expendables 2 (2012)

2012-The-Expendables-2_1920x1200Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Expendables come back for a second go at a full on action flick. This time they have new members Billy (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) who help take on money hungry savage Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who has no conscience about the destruction he causes along the way to fortune. His actions prompt Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his men to track him, find him then kill him.

I really wasn’t a fan of the first one, I enjoyed the action but everything else was just pure… fail. The acting was terrible, dialogue cliched and the plot was just stupid. Thankfully Mr. Stallone has recognized a few of the problems and fixed them quite successfully, but of course he forgot a few.

The cast has some how gotten awesomer from the first film with introductions of Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris and more screen time from Bruce Willis and “The Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Action junkies will be pumped just by seeing all these action stars together, and that alone is satisfying, as it was for me. Although not all of them put in their best performances, and well there’s a reason that I’ve had a blind eye towards it. It’s unusual because you can really separate the real actors from the action stars. That being said, a lot of them did improve since Expendables 1, and Jean-Claude Van Damme makes a brutal villain, and he plays it to perfection; one of the only good performances.

The action is relentless as it should be and plays tribute to all of the past action classics. It’s loud, violent and unnecessary which is what makes it a lot of fun. It even improved in that aspect of the film. This is what I think was done a lot better than the first, it had clear intentions, which was to pay tribute to these action stars past films and parody them. This will become apparent when you see Arnold Schwarzenegger tell the crew “I’m back!” and when he replies to Bruce Willis with a “Oh yippee-kai-yay”. This film doesn’t takes itself seriously which is where the first film really faulted. This made me look past the below par acting and stale dialogue, because the film isn’t meant to be “excellent”, its meant to be mindless, gratuitous, blood stained fun. It finds the right balance between fun and seriousness.

Savages (2012)

WFTCRMImageFetchRoze-Rating: 2.5 / 5

Successful entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), use their diverse backgrounds to produce the best marijuana ever made. Ben is level headed and uses his money to give back to the poor, making him the brains and ethics of the business. Chon, an ex Navy SEAL uses his anger and trained skills to make sure people pay for their product. What they have in common is the desire to grow the best marijuana and the love for a girl called Ophelia (Blake Lively). Once they get involved with a massive Mexican Drug Cartel and refuse to work with them, life becomes a lot less laid back and they have to do what they can to save Ophelia.

It may be a harsh score, but I went into the film hoping for something great and instead got something very flat and average. This film has a great cast and all pretty experienced, which is why there aren’t many let downs in that area. Benicio Del Toro gave a pretty scary performance making him the ultimate highlight of the film, as well as the two lead men Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson who play their characters to perfection. The two biggest problems were Blake Lively and Salma Kayek. I felt Blake Lively’s character was too unrelatable and ultimately forgettable, which is why throughout the film, your not really caring much for her. Salma Hayek’s character wasn’t scary, nor was she likeable. For a character who is in charge of quite a successful drug business, you expect them to be a lot more grittier and intense but Hayek’s take on it was very underwhelming and not believable. 

There were too many mood and tone changes between Blake Lively and Salma Hayek’s characters to know whether they had a bond or not, and in the end it just felt like a waste of screen time. At times, you also couldn’t tell what Blake Lively was talking about, that scene when she was in her hostage cell is an example, it was like gibberish. The trailer was very misleading, I thought there was going to be some revenge action but there was only one scene that I can remember which contained a little bit, and it wasn’t thrilling, nor were the moments which intended to be. The only time I genuinely felt emotionally connected to the film was when Del Toro was in the picture, the only interesting character there.

It was a pretty good idea for Taylor KItsch to have his own group of men to do any handy work with, so it would have been awesome to see more of that. The story line and plot in the end didn’t really entice me, nor did the characters. A positive would be the style conveyed throughout this film, it’s pretty nice at times, such as the vivid colours and the dopey scenes. Other than that, pretty much a let down and way too long.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Dark Knight Rises came with huge anticipation, after having huge success with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I didn’t watch the previous films until a few months ago, but after watching them I knew that the final addition to the trilogy was going to be something special, especially after seeing the additions of Tom Hardy and Anne Hatheway. Hardy of course with big shoes to fill after a great performance from Heath Ledger playing the infamous Joker, who set’s the stage for today’s Gotham City.

This film goes way back into the previous two films to capture the rise of Bruce Wayne and his vigilante side, batman. Not only does the effects of the Joker impact the ways of Gotham City, but Bruce Wayne’s past catches up with him unexpectedly when a member of the League of Shadows forces him to rev up the Batmobile for a final time. Without  knowledge from previous films, this could prove to be a very confusing two and a half hours, made apparent by a couple of girls beside me who kept asking me “what’s happening?”, “who’s that?”, “is he a bad guy?”, which made the film experience not as awesome as it could have been, but at least it tested my batman knowledge to an extent. The fact that this film explored a lot of Bruce Wayne’s past, also juggling introductions of Catwoman and Bane, made for a film with a lot of substance. For some films, this could prove to be a downfall, but the intelligent plot and fluent story telling made it entertaining and not hard to grasp at all, which wasn’t the same story for the girls beside me. The story alone was interesting enough to engage the audience but from a film with a reputation of great action, it wasn’t enough, and that’s where the film faults. If there was room for more action and darkness, this would have been the perfect film, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it proves to be the perfect finale to a great trilogy. Tom Hardy makes previous villains of the Batman franchise proud, with an intense performance, having only the expressions from his eyes and limbs to express his character. I also fell for Catwoman, who was perfectly played by Anne Hatheway, finding the perfect balance between seductiveness and grit, there could be potential for an origin film there, which I would be totally up for.

After an epic showdown, the film ends perfectly concluding Batman’s legacy, leaving a moment which made me literally leap in excitement; a moment which will leave hardcore comic fans salivating for more. It also leaves a lot of room for possible sequels, so this might not be the end of The Dark Knight, but the birth of something really special. I just hope that the speculation towards a Batman reboot for a possible Justice League film isn’t true, because that’s just asking for some hate.

Do you guys think there is room for a sequel? and who do you think will be involved? Would you also be up for Justice League film without Christian Bale? and do you think it will live up to the success of The Avengers?

Total Recall (2012)

colin-farrell-total-recallRoze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

This film is a remake of the same titled 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which achieved raving reviews. I haven’t seen the original version but from research the remake covers most of the events which take place in the original, except for a significant mars scene. The remake also focuses more on the political side of the story. It takes place at the end of the 21st century after a nuclear war had broken out affecting almost the whole earth, leaving only “The United Federation of Britain (UFB)” and “The Colony”. This nuclear outbreak prompted the governments to build a gravitational elevator which transports people from one side of the earth to the other, so that workers can be used within the UFB. One worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), is extremely unhappy with his life, despite having a loving wife, he still seeks a way to escape his lifestyle and live his dreams, motivating himself even more to visit “Rekall”; a solution for his problem. The procedure goes terribly wrong and Quaid finds himself in a world that he may regret wishing for.

This film suffers from being a remake, which explains a lot of the negativity surrounding it. If its predecessor never existed then this would be a pretty solid but regular blockbuster film, which is why I have rated it “3.5 / 5″, which could rightly be a lot different had I watched the original. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed a few aspects of the film, which I can safely assume improved upon the original, such as the special effects, action and filming.

The special effects helped create a whole new world which was quite frankly awesome to look at, it truly looked like a post apocalyptic world, with seemingly floating buildings and magnetic cars moving with no wheels. The fact that they could create the look of this fictional setting with a genuine slum tone and a coherent style was magic to my eyes. This aspect of the film, ultimately sets up the rest of the film in terms of action sequences and atmosphere.

The action was easily the best part of this film, making it a lot of fun to watch since it wasn’t your typical gun fight, fist fight or human fight. The war zones were infested with robot killers and people dressed in robot looking gear which you could instantly tell was going to be unique compared to your average blockbuster. The best scene will have to be the elevator scene, giving it a real comic sensation, where your getting main characters switching from elevator to elevator trying not to get crushed. The main cast were exceptional with their action sequences, especially Kate Beckinsale, who has proved time and time again that she can take on gritty action chick characters from her roles in “Underworld”.

Aiding the relentless action was the sharp camera work and it’s movement, which gave it a futuristic look. This was appropriate since the contraption Quain used seemed very video game like, and that’s exactly how the film felt. For instance the way the camera would quickly sway from one kill to the other and the zero gravity action scenes. It made the sequences a lot more exciting and engaging to watch.

The plot is very complex and it leaves a lot of room for an elaborate psychological game to inhabit the film and it’s characters as well as the audience. The reason for this is because I found that I was constantly second-guessing myself after a certain event would take place, and I went from one opinion to another then back again. If done correctly this would have been a pretty great film, but they were extremely safe with it. The dialogue was too literal, and you found yourself listening to a character practically explaining every single significant occurrence which affected the storyline. This made it a lot easier to understand, but it wasn’t subtle or mysterious and took away a lot of the fun that could have come with it. It also felt unrealistic as characters would spend quite awhile just explaining. A clear example of this would be at the start with Kate Beckinsale’s character, when she confronts Quiad, which didn’t make sense anyway.

A lot of potential was lost with that one little lost opportunity, but other than that better than average blockbuster Sci-Fi flick, with top quality action. Popcorn stuff.