Dredd (2012)


90851_galRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Judge’s have the combined power of being judge, jury and executioner all at the same time. Dredd has a prestigious reputation making him known as the most feared judge around. They have been enforced to keep order in a deteriorating society where the criminals rule the chaotic streets. Justice calls for Judge Dredd to take down drug leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) who is the main distributor of a new street drug “slow-mo” which makes your brain perceive reality a fraction slower. He has been given rookie Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) a mutant psychic, for him to assess, unlucky for her, her first day isn’t a breeze in the park.

This film is exactly what we’ve been missing this year. I think we’ve been deprived of good no nonsense action films with cool gadgets and a simple bad ass character with good one liners. It’s unrealistic, gritty and bad ass all at the same time, exactly what you want from a comic book character brought to the screen. I have no relationship with the comics and little knowledge of the character, but from what I’ve read about it, Dredd perfectly captures that deteriorating society atmosphere with murky surroundings and a tolerance to violence. 

I really liked the cinematography, it’s stylish and has a genuine comic book look to it. The transitioning of the scenes reminded me of how comic strips are laid out and drawn, as well as the vivid colours that came out of the slow-mo moments. It made the action a lot more enjoyable to watch and set itself apart from the generic action films with static camera work.

Despite the lack of expression of Judge Dredd, I think Karl Urban did an outstanding job, he captured that non nonsense precision of the character perfectly. He plays Dredd extremely tough but also portrays his human side effectively during his moments with Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Would like to see him in more actions flicks as good as this. Olivia Thirlby surprised me so much in this film, when I saw her cast as Judge Dredd’s temporary partner I honestly thought her character would be a mess. I’m extremely happy to say that she put in one of the most surprising performances of this year for me, I was totally hooked to her character. At first I expected her to exude femininity because of Thirlby’s past roles, but she doesn’t show a hint of it. She’s mysterious, calculated and incredibly gritty. Her abilities make her interesting and the way they are used is very entertaining. Definitely one of my favourite characters this year.

A great action film bringing Judge Dredd from the comic strips to the big screen with stylish cinematography, excess computerized blood and engaging characters, definitely one of the best action films of the year. I really hope they make a sequel, can’t get enough of these characters, truly badass.

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

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

the-amazing-spider-manRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

There was a lot of confusion and pessimism towards this Spider-Man reboot. People were confused about the change of cast thinking that the previous Spider-Man trilogy had not finished, but with a cast like this, I think it was hard to figure out where it could go wrong. I myself was a huge fan of the Spider-Man trilogy and was pretty intrigued about this reboot, especially when I heard Emma Stone was in it, who is my favourite female actor at the moment. Going into the film I was expecting something familiar but I’m glad to say that there was a lot of things different about this film compared to the original and most of those things were huge positives.

A lot of the advertising at first for this film was that it would expose the “untold story” about Peter Parker in terms of where he came from and his parents. To an extent this film explores what exactly happened to his parents, how they were related to Oscorp and how they died but it only touches on it in small doses. If your going to see the film purely for that aspect of the film, then there will be a bit of disappointment, but I guess that’s where they attract you back into the character for this film but also the sequel. As usual these comic films have snippets at the end to leave you guessing who the next villain will be etc, and there’s a mysterious looking man who mentions Peters father, insinuating that there’s still a lot untold, this will be frustrating but I guess that’s where the fanboys come in and speculation begins, which is the whole spirit of these comic films, the film is one thing but the speculation and the hype also adds to the awesome experience.

The film features Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and he totally triumphed, giving the web slinger a whole new identity compared to the original Spider-Man. From playing a few Spidey games and cartoons, the character seemed a lot more witty and annoying than Toby McGuires version, and I think that’s where Andrew Garfield got it right. He was more than just a nerd, he had attitude, heart and style, which is why the little touches like the skateboard and the way he treated his enemies as quite vital to the role. It was also awesome to find out that he was a childhood fan of Spider-Man and looked up to the character, so you knew that he was coming from the right places. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, DAYM, great person for the role, I mean she brings a lot to her characters and this character was never intended to be just cute and a damsel in distress, she brought a lot of charisma and humour to make her a much more interesting and smart character to root for. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone seemed very natural, I don’t know if it’s because they are an item (Damn you Garfield!) but what they were doing worked. Perfect awkward moments mixed with the dialogue, but when they kissed on that roof, Gwen looked a bit too turned on by the fact Peter was Spider-Man, but I’m not complaining. As for the rest of the cast, solid performances of course, especially Rhys Ifans playing over obsessed scientist Dr. Conners, who lets the pressure of Oscorp and his own desire for limb regrowth get to him, ultimately becoming The Lizard.

The action is great, some memorable scenes and I like how they stayed true to all of his trademark moves, seemed identical to the game at some points, which was pretty awesome. The effects weren’t cheap and the The Lizard looked pretty bad ass. Compared to the original, I can’t remember anything negative about the effects, but this version definitely brought something new to the film with the first person scenes, which made you feel even more absorbed into this world that they created. Overall pretty solid action.

I think the only negative of this film compared to the original is that the original had a lot more iconic moments which will live on, while this film didn’t really produce any except for the crane scene. The fact that the original had those iconic and memorable moments made leaving the cinema slightly dissatisfying, because I expected there to be a “with great power, comes great responsibility” line, but it never came, it was all disjointed. I think this film tried a bit too hard to be different from the original which is quite apparent with the way they did the origin story for this film, but it still works, so no complaints there.

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.