Gods of Egypt Review

It’s time for a modern action film. Gods of Egypt is certainly very different from a lot of the films that I’ve reviewed lately. I’ve been saying that more and more lately so I suppose that I’m getting a good variety here. That being said, this is another film that certainly could have been better. The characters were very annoying for the most part with the big action scenes really being the only strong parts of the film. Well, I suppose the visuals were solid as well, but those two things go hand in hand.

This film takes place in Egypt, a long time ago. The gods still live among the mortals and they all have inflated egos as a result. One day, Set returns to the kingdom in time for a large ceremony. He is bitter at not being invited so he takes the kingdom over and steals Horus’ super abilities before banishing him away. The country falls into chaos as everyone now serves him and must go to war constantly. Zaya realizes that the only way the day can be saved is if Horus is able to go back to full power and restore peace to the land. She convinces Bek to go and recover his eyes so he can go and give them to Horus. Bek manages to get one of them and gives it to Horus, but the two of them will have to move fast if they want to get the other. All of Egypt is on their tail now and Zaya is also in a tough situation at the moment. Well, Horus is supposed to be almost invincible so this shouldn’t be too hard….right?

There are a lot of missed opportunities in this film, but lets start off by talking about the characters. Horus isn’t very good, but I could have told you that from the trailers. He talks an incredibly good game, but this doesn’t prevent him from being saved over and over and over again. He is simply not ready to deal with threats of this level as he has a decent amount of strength, but no durability. Without both eyes, he is basically just a Captain America level opponent. Horus is also not a good character as he basically admits that he was using Bek the entire time. He doesn’t care for anyone but himself. The end of the movie tries to get you to think that he is a changed man and will be more of a hero from now on, but it was way too late by then. You would have thought that the exile would have helped shape him into being a better person, but all it did was make him bitter. His romance with Hathor is also quite bad.

Hathor is the goddess of love and she loves to flaunt this fact whenever she is on screen. She can control anyone with a glance unless they have already found true love and she will use this ability on anyone just to show off her superiority. Luckily, Bek is immune to this power because he is just that good. Hathor is very annoying as pretty much all of her lines are her flirting. It’s hard to root for her and Horus because she seems to play the field so it doesn’t seem all that genuine. It was a side plot that didn’t actually add anything to the film and could have certainly been removed. Taking Hathor out of the film would have been a good choice.

Bek is the main human. Horus gets a larger role, but Bek is fairly crucial. He may not have any super abilities, but he is athletic so he can navigate through mazes quite well. The hype may have gotten a little overboard when he infiltrated a labyrinth that was made to stop other gods, but he mostly spends the rest of the film panicking and losing so that helps to keep things balanced. I didn’t like Bek and he is fairly generic. He takes Horus’ betrayal a little too well and I would have liked him more if he could actually fight. Zaya was all right, but she was a little too far on the other extreme as she had way too much faith in Horus. He was undeserving of all the praise that she gave him the entire time. If only she had been around to hear Horus admit that it was all a ploy. She never properly learns about this and just acts as if he is an awesome person the whole time.

Set is the main villain and he’s fairly standard as far as those go. He’ll remind you of the villain from Prince of Persia or Clash of The Titans. He does have a fairly cool god mode though so that at least makes him more memorable than the others. It may be a little hard to take him seriously since he couldn’t handle Horus in a fair fight right from the start, but he is still decently strong. I think that giving him a super form for the final fight was a little too much though. He became too strong, to the point where the writers had to get involved. When you need help from the writers, you know that things have definitely gone too far. At least Set isn’t distracted or hesitant with his goals though. He decides that conquest is more important to him than romance and never looks back. I’d say that Set handles his role as the villain quite well.

Ra is one of those high above beings who acts very wise and all, but actually just makes the situation worse the whole time. He makes both Horus and Set feel bad while fueling his own ego, but he doesn’t realize that this could be a little dangerous. He knows that Set is evil and that Set is willing to destroy anyone in his way. Did Ra really believe that he was the exception? Even his concept of a “reward” for Set was quite sad as nobody in their right mind would give up their expanded kingdom for a lonely job in space. See, Ra’s only job in life is to fire a few blasts at a space monster that pops up every day. He literally has to do the same thing every single day for all of eternity. It’s easy to see why Ra wants a replacement, but nobody is ever going to want to take that job. Not to mention that Ra should have still sided with Horus since he was clearly on the side of justice as opposed to Set. Ra seemed to just want to remain on the sidelines and ultimately that wasn’t a good move.

Finally, we also have Apophis. He looks pretty similar to the Krakken and Apophis is a very large monster. His physical strength is enough to cause everyone to worry. The only thing that can defeat him is a well placed fire blast from Ra’s staff. As sad as the situation is for Ra, it is all the worse for Adophis. He has no way of dodging the blasts since he is incredibly slow and he has no blasts of his own to counter them. All he can do is roar a lot and then retreat. Considering that he does this every single night, it probably gets old after a while. It also makes for a fairly anti climactic ending. Adophis is a cool character in theory, but the execution could use some work. If it was meant to be comical, then it succeeded.

There were some other characters, but their roles were fairly minor. Anubis looked decent as he commands quite a presence in the underworld. The god of wisdom was annoying, but I did find it a little funny that he could not solve the riddle. It’s like introducing the Flash in a Justice League movie, but he is then unable to win a speed contest so Superman has to do it instead. You are completely making the character’s addition into the film irrelevant by that point.

As mentioned earlier, the fights are what is really solid here. The first action scene isn’t all that great as the film goes for an eye pluck which I still find quite gross and unnecessary. After that, the god mode battles are pretty hype as the two of them fight in the air at high speeds with a lot of feats. Ra’s quick skirmish with Set also looked really good as both of them boasted a lot of destructive power at the time. The visuals always look sharp as well since there is a lot of gold and fancy architecture surrounding the place. The fire blasts and armor are also very crisp and would fit well in a comic book film. When the action is in place, Gods of Egypt can get you to think that it is a very solid film.

Gods of Egypt could have been so much better than it was though. Seeing all of the gods fight each other would have been awesome since they had such cool super forms. I also think that some of them were way too weak as many would die in an instant to very weak attacks. If they are gods, then they should all possess a good amount of super strength and durability so that they can really earn the title. The random ones barely looked like they were any stronger than humans. Size was the only thing that they had on their side. I also would have liked to have seen the monster be a little tougher or put up more of a fight. The whole ordeal was way too one sided for my liking and it would have been more entertaining if it was a good match. The humans weren’t really necessary for this film either, just focusing on the gods and giving us an epic action story would have sufficed.

Overall, Gods of Egypt is an all right film. It’s fairly entertaining and has a decent amount of replay value. What holds it back from being a really solid film is the fact that the writing is simply sub-par. It’s not incredibly cringe worthy of anything like that, but it certainly doesn’t feel as professional as it could have been. Horus being too overconfident is played up to an extreme that just doesn’t make sense. Nobody would be so confident after being beaten so much. Horus even lost to minion and random monsters throughout the film. That’s just plain disgraceful. The film never drags on at least and I do like the ending. Considering the circumstances, heading to the underworld is something that Horus should do immediately. He has enough power to defend himself so the guy doesn’t have much to worry about right now. He shouldn’t let his guard down though since Horus is way too arrogant for his own good. If you’re up for a quick action film, I’d recommend this one. It may not be the best, but it’s not bad either. Also, how many Egyptian action films have you seen anyway? It may be good to add another one to your collection.

Overall 6/10

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Review

Mission Impossible has always been a fun series and I was looking forward to this film. It was one of the few films that I thought had a chance to dethrone Pixels. It turns out that this wasn’t a very tough feat at all, but the film did not disappoint. Aside from Age of Ultron, this one’s easily the best film that I’ve seen in theaters this year from the live action titles. Off the top of my head it manages to dethrone MI 4 and the original film as the definitive best title, but it has been quite a while since I’ve seen those.

Ethan Hunt has been helping the IMF for quite a while, but it cannot be denied that there is typically a lot of collateral damage. As such, the organization is disbanded and the CIA claims its assets. Ethan goes off the grid to try and learn more about a shadow organization that has been committing acts of terrorism across the globe. Months later, Ethan has finally gotten a solid link on the adversaries and calls in one of his old partners, Benji, to help him with this fight. Together along with a member of the Syndicate (Shadow Organization) who claims to not be loyal to the cause, the three heroes embark on this perilous journey.

Naturally, this is the kind of film where you don’t really want to trust anyone. The characters could turn on each other at any minute and what’s a Mission Impossible film without a few twists and obstacles? That being said, if you believe in the Hollywood style enough, you should be able to see through most of the film’s deceptions. Now, why was this film a cut above the rest? It all goes down to a few elements.

For starters, the writing is good in this movie. As it’s essentially a battle of wits between Ethan and Solomon, the writing needed to be good or things could have gotten pretty dicey. Both characters try to stay one step ahead of the other, although it’s a much tougher task for Ethan since he has no resources for most of the adventure and has to make do with what he’s got. Solomon also has an entire organization to back him up.

The action scenes are pretty fun. There’s a motorcycle race between Ethan and the villains as they all cruise along at top speeds. Ethan has experience in all speeding vehicles so he’s definitely prepared for such a challenge. It’s definitely the best action sequence in the film and does a good job of showing Ethan’s skills as an agent. There’s also a car chase and then the stunt scenes like Ethan going underwater or hanging onto an airplane. Those were all fairly well done and holding one’s breath for so long is a good feat.

The hand to hand battles are also nice and fast paced. They’re a little more violent than the older films as the heroes literally break their opponents a lot of time. For current fight scenes, the trend is to hear the bones breaking and put a lot of emphasis on when the heroes pull a General Zod moment, but it never gets too over the top and you can still appreciate how skilled Ethan is when he’s fighting off the opponents.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m definitely a big fan of the character. Ethan’s been a consistently solid agent since the first film and his skills have improved. He’s not portrayed as being invincible in hand to hand combat as a random thug was overpowering him in a fair fight, but he makes up for that with his other skills. Like James Bond, Ethan has a license to kill and he gives it a real workout here. He’s essentially a legal assassin so you shouldn’t expect him to take any prisoners. It’s simply not his way. That being said, compared to other secret agents who do whatever they want in the process of completing the mission like James Bond or even Jason Bourne, Ethan is simply better at the job. He’s far more professional than James Bond and I’d say that he’s smarter than Bourne.

That being said, the film probably does rub our nose in it a little too much. I don’t believe that Ethan could successfully follow the Syndicate around the world for months without his government status. He somehow manages to also stay one step ahead of the CIA along the way and makes himself a base filled with lots of high tech equipment. I definitely think that it’s a stretch, but Mission Impossible is all about doing the impossible so it’s not something to think about too much. Plot hax is always around if you know where to look.

While Ethan is easily my favorite character in the film, I also like Brandt. He’s the connection on the government side of things and he almost could have been the main character if not for Ethan always stealing the spotlight. He acts like a leader and he’s quite skilled although he’s no Ethan Hunt. Without Brandt helping with the legal aspects of the situation, Ethan would have likely been doomed. Benji is a big player in this film, but I can’t say that I’m a fan. He’s not a bad character, but I feel like he doesn’t really add anything to the film except to be there for when Ethan needs an extra man. I would have preferred Brandt to have been the co-star, but he was definitely needed in the CIA plot.

Another one of Ethan’s friends, Luther shows up during the film. After the opening scene, he essentially vanished until the halfway point or maybe even later. He’s good and his computer skills are top notch. He doesn’t get much to do compared to the other members, but he helps out when the team is in a pinch. The leader of the CIA was a fairly likable character and you couldn’t help, but root for him at times. He always meant well and looking at things from his perspective, it’s hard to deny that he made some good calls. Destroying the IMF? It’s probably a good idea, but he would need to have a backup squad ready ASAP before the villains got any ideas.

As for the villains, let’s start off with Solomon. He’s actually a good villain who thinks things through and did a good job of outsmarting the heroes for a while. He has one “intimidation” scene that will make you wince and/or roll your eyes, but that was the only scene where he wasn’t impressive. I like how he turned the whole “Should you accept it” speech around on Ethan. He did it twice, but the first time was certainly the best moment. It really came out of nowhere and while we knew that the villain would make a move, it’s safe to say that nobody expected it to be so epic. It made the wait for the rematch that much more epic.

There were other villains like the “Bone Doctor” who gave the film some fights. Beyond them, the other big character would be the heroine, Ilsa. Throughout the film, you have to decide if you will trust her or not. I give the film some major props for not trying to turn her into a love interest for Ethan. That would have been pretty terrible and most films make that mistake, but not this one. Ilsa is used for some slight fanservice in one or two scenes, but it’s slight at least and not played up. (As it would certainly be in a lesser film) Ilsa’s a good character, but at the same time, she doesn’t think about her current situation enough. She takes a whole lot of risks for her country, but it goes into dicey territory with how unnecessary a lot of them are. She should realize that she’s just being used and act accordingly. Ilsa also came close to destroying Ethan on several occasions and you have to wonder if she meant to or not since depending on the answer, it does make her look bad. On the bright side, while it was at the expense of the British, the American Government looks nice and fair by comparison this time.

Rogue Nation has a lot of intense action scenes, but it’s also a lot of fun throughout and has a similar upbeat tone to that of The Avengers. People in the audience cracked up when the M16 chief got shot because of his extremely mild/dazed response. The film also has a good amount of witty banter about it. It never turns into full on comedy mode, but has enough light moments to keep you entertained throughout the film. It’s only around 2 hours, but the film really crams in a ton of content so the movie is always going.

I have to note that the film also uses a retro effect that I haven’t seen some time. Remember a few decades ago when the opening credits of a film would show scenes from the actual film that hadn’t happened yet? This one does that as the credits were rolling and it’s interesting. I’m actually not a huge fan of this since it’s showing you scenes that are about to happen, but I suppose that it could be a good way to generate hype. I dunno, I’m still against it, but it’s worth noting.

One thing that I liked about the ending was who the new recruit to the IMF was. It’s the perfect situation since as long as this person remains in the shadows, the IMF can do whatever they want. Of course, with no one to check on them, the IMF has to be very careful that they don’t go down a similar path like the Syndicate. As mentioned several times, Ethan is a gambler and the IMF takes a lot of huge risks. They will fail sometimes, but at least they still save lives whenever they enter the field.

Finally, I can’t forget to mention that the soundtrack is really good. The opening theme that played sounded an awful lot like a Terminator remix and then we also got the classic MI theme a few times during the film. It was a great selection of themes to be sure and they helped to make the film even more fun than it could have been. It’s safe to say that no other live action film this year will be able to defeat this film except for possibly Star Wars and even that only has a really slim shot. Mission Impossible is just too fun a franchise and can hold its own with any big title.

Overall, Rogue Nation is another win for the Mission Impossible series. On the record, I believe that it is the best MI title to date, but the series has had a good track record of aging well so it’s possible that the older titles will age slower than this one and overtake it. We shall see, but I don’t see myself lowering this score anytime soon so they will have to catch up to it. With fun fight scenes and an epic soundtrack, this film had all the tools needed to be a winner. There are a lot of things that can happen in the next film since it’s essentially a clean slate right now. If you want to check out an action film, this is the perfect one for you.

Overall 8/10